According to Poll, Time for Evangelicals to Ask WWJD Re Torture

Pew has stunning news out from a recent poll, that the correlation between allowing torture and church attendance is pretty strong. And what kind of frequent churchgoer prefers torture most? Evangelicals. Hold it a moment, isn’t George Bush an Evangelical? Have they even heard of Jesus the torture victim in his church?


Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

This is a stunning survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and analyzed by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life. Here’s the graphs, and here’s the survey. The upshot is reported by CNN:

The more often Americans go to church, the more likely they are to support the torture of suspected terrorists, according to a new analysis.

More than half of people who attend services at least once a week – 54 percent – said the use of torture against suspected terrorists is “often” or “sometimes” justified. Only 42 percent of people who “seldom or never” go to services agreed, according the analysis released Wednesday by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

White evangelical Protestants were the religious group most likely to say torture is often or sometimes justified – more than 6 in 10 supported it. People unaffiliated with any religious organization were least likely to back it. Only 4 in 10 of them did.

I would like to quote my wife on the subject.

Wow. Just wow. The people who would likely claim that they are most in tune with the teachings and doctrines of a man who was, well, tortured to death, are most likely to support torture and think it is “often” or “sometimes” justified. Unbelievable.

Man, this is disturbing. Sure, the survey is likely not merely measuring frequency of religious worship or the magnitude of one’s fundamentalism, but also how partisan one is a Republican. Yup, the correlation between one’s Republican partisanship and loving torture is probably even stronger than the one between religious practice and loving torture. What this tells me is that they’re teaching Republican values in these churches far more than they are teaching Jesus. How horrid such news is. How predictable, too.

Thursday, April 30th, 2009 by Steven Reynolds |

An American Outrage: Bernie, AIG, and Us

Why are we outraged at AIG and not the state of homelessness, of children in poverty, of Bush-backed torture, of innocents slaughtered in Iraq, of worldwide hunger, of corporations ignoring our overheating planet. Is money truly the root of all the outrage?


Commentary By: Walter Brasch


by Rosemary and Walter Brasch

There have now been more than 4,000 deaths and 30,000 casualties of American military in the war in Iraq. More than 100,000 Iraqis and others, most of them civilian, have also been killed in what is now known to be an unnecessary war. But, we as a nation are not outraged.

We have recently learned that former President Bush and former Vice-President Cheney had authorized the use of torture. But, we as a nation are not outraged.

The Supreme Court has ruled there have been significant and substantial constitutional violations during the Bush–Cheney era. But, we as a nation are not outraged.

More than 46 million Americans don’t have health insurance. Millions don’t get the health care they need or are turned away because they can’t pay. But, we as a nation are not outraged.

The unemployment rate has climbed past 8 percent. More than 12 million Americans are unemployed and actively looking for work. About three million have been unemployed more than half a year. About 2.6 millions jobs were lost just in the past four months, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Companies have eliminated jobs, forcing the remaining employees to work beyond their capacity. These companies have cut wages and benefits; they have shipped jobs overseas. But, we as a nation are not outraged.

About 38 million Americans are living in poverty, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. But, we as a nation are not outraged.

About 3.5 million people were homeless last year. More than one million of the homeless are children, according to the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty. Over a half-million are veterans. But, we as a nation are not outraged.

Almost every reputable scientist has told us that the world’s environment is in jeopardy from man-made destruction. But, we as a nation are not outraged.

We are killing off our animals by a combination of neglect and planned destruction of their lives and habitat. About 1,600 animal species are critically endangered, according to the World Conservation Union; about 25 become extinct every year. But, we as a nation are not outraged.

But, we are outraged about one thing. Our money.

We are outraged that Wall Street financiers, corporate bankers, and real estate brokers have seemingly conspired for personal greed, leading to a plunge in the value of our own stocks and investments, forcing the nation into the worst economic crisis in more than seven decades.

We, as a nation, are outraged that Bernard Madoff scammed individuals and charitable foundations for billions.

We, as a nation, are outraged that executives at failed insurance giant AIG are receiving millions in bonuses paid for by taxpayer funds. In Congress, conservatives and liberals, many of whom were part of the problem of the subprime mortgage crisis, have united for the first time in years and have expressed their outrage. The President, who inherited this mess, is outraged. The media who had failed to adequately report this mess are outraged. Almost every American is outraged.

And why are we outraged? Because it’s money.

As homeless children sleep beneath bridges, as millions desperate for work are told to go home and collect a pittance in unemployment, as inn

Thursday, April 30th, 2009 by Walter Brasch |

Value Voters Summit – An Eclectic Mix of Values, With “Obama Waffles”

What’s better than a gathering of 24%er’s at a conference which includes the conservative stylings of such “values” luminaries as Bill Bennett, Tom DeLay, Stephen Baldwin, Phyllis Schafly, Rudy Giuliani, and Newt Gingrich? Why, the conservative entrepreneurial spirt and the sale of Obama Waffles, of course!

Commentary By: Richard Blair

You are excused if you missed the memo, but the annual Values Voters Summit is taking place this weekend in Washington, DC. I’m not going to write extensively about the summit, because quite frankly, it’s little more than another gathering of angry 24%’ers who think that George Bush has been too liberal on “values issues”. If you really want a blow-by-blow rundown of the summit (no, Larry Craig was not invited, as far as I can tell), go here.

Still, it’s always kind of interesting to check out the list of speakers at these kinds of events. Here’s a short run down of some of the highlighted guests, who are lecturing America this weekend on how to behave:

William Bennett – noted gambler and addict
Tom Delay – noted crook and future felon
Newt Gingrich – noted adulterer
Rudy Giuliani – see Gingrich, above (and noted cross-dresser)
Stephen Baldwin – noted “D”-list actor and drug and alcohol addict
J. Kenneth Blackwell – noted voter suppressionist & minority disenfranchiser

Draw your own conclusions.

Anyway, a big hit at the VVS has been the sales of Obama Waffles. (No, I’m not going to link to their site – I assume you, unlike John McCain, know how to work the google.) This culinary delight was apparently selling like hotcakes (no pun intended) to the fundie crowd, until event organizers took heat for the vendor booth and shut it down on Saturday afternoon. Here’s what the box looks like. Check out the top and the sides, as well as the front:

Thursday, April 30th, 2009 by Richard Blair |

Following Specter, Two More Republicans to Leave the GOP?

It’s just a rumor at the moment, fueled by the abuse the Republican Party is showering on two of its biggest names, Michael Steele and Jon Huntsman. But this rumor will grow. Huntsman evidently isn’t conservative enough, and the RNC doesn’t want to trust Steele with its money. So why wouldn’t they defect to the Democratic Party?


Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

The GOP rank and file has been generally celebrating Arlen Specter’s departure from the party for the Democratic Party. Arlen gave them gravitas, seniority, and a big name. Sure, Specter was reviled by the Republicans for being too liberal, and he was reviled by the Democrats for selling out on principled issues like the US Attorney scandal, the NSA wiretapping scandal, and the Torture Regime of the Bush Administration. So Specter isn’t well-liked except by his moderate constituents in PA. But surely the calls of “Swine Flew” when Specter left the now extremist Republican Party are a bit whacked out. But that’s OK. That attitude will result in a couple other defections, and I’ve got some bold predictions about a couple Republicans who just might get fed up with the GOP and take off.

The first of my predictions is a supposed rising star in the GOP. Even though Utah Governor Jon Huntsman is young and hip and rich, the GOP doesn’t seem to appreciate his electability. Wait, let me make sure I’ve got that right. Huntsman, a Mormon, isn’t conservative enough. At least that’s what they think in Grand Rapids, MI. You see, Jon Huntsman supports civil unions for gay citizens in this country. Not gay marriage, mind you, but civil unions. And the Republicans in Grand Rapids, dominated by the extremists on the religious wing of the party, think Huntsman is a not sufficiently a supporter of traditional marriage. From the Salt Lake Tribune:

Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.’s appearance at a Michigan county Republican Party event was scrapped this week after the county chairwoman said that hosting the moderate Utah governor would mean abandoning the party’s conservative principles.

Kent County Republican Party Chairwoman Joanne Voorhees abruptly canceled the party fundraiser scheduled for Saturday.

“The voters want and expect us to stand on principle and return to our roots. Unfortunately, by holding an event with Governor Huntsman, we would be doing the exact opposite,” Voorhees wrote in an e-mail quoted in The Grand Rapids Press .

Voorhees did not specify which issues she felt were contrary to the party’s principles and did not return messages left at the party headquarters and on her cell phone.

The group Campaign for Michigan Families praised the cancellation, attributing it to Huntsman’s support of civil unions, and urged the Oakland and Kalamazoo county parties, where Huntsman is also scheduled to speak this weekend, to do the same.

Now I’ve not heard from Huntsman that he might actually leave the Republican Party, but getting disinvited to an event is pretty big stuff. And Huntsman certainly doesn’t seem all that excited by Republican prospects in the next couple years.

Asked last week about the future of the GOP, Huntsman said “I don’t know where the party is moving. The party isn’t going anywhere.”

Well, Huntsman isn’t going much of anywhere, either, and especially not to Grand Rapids, MI. It may behoove Huntsman, who isn’t conservative enough for the extremist Republicans in Michigan, to think about joining a more inclusive political party, such as the Democrats. And he’s not the only big name Republican to be abused by his own party this week.

Michael Steele? The Republicans have been pretending Michael Steele is the GOP Chair for some time now, while taking turns kissing Rush Limbaugh’s ring. (Is ring kissing a sexual act on the order of teabagging?) Even though the RNC elected Michael Steele to the pretend position of RNC Chair, they don’t seem to quite trust him. You see, the Chair has control over spending some of that hundreds of millions of dollars the Republicans raise yearly. The members of the NC have decided they don’t want Michael Steele to have his paws on all that money. Really, they elect a black man as pretend RNC Chair, and now they want to make sure he doesn’t have the power to spend RNC funds. Let’s just say they never took that power away from any of their previous white pretend RNC Chairs. From the Washington Times:

A battle over control of the party’s purse strings has erupted at the troubled Republican National Committee, with defenders of Chairman Michael S. Steele accusing dissident RNC members of trying to “embarrass and neuter” the party’s new leader.

Randy Pullen, the RNC’s elected treasurer, former RNC General Counsel David Norcross and three other former top RNC officers have presented Mr. Steele with a resolution, calling for a new set of checks and balances on the chairman’s power to dole out money.

The powers include new controls on awarding contracts and spending money on outside legal and other services.

I’m simply amazed at the audacity of these folks. Michael Steele as the face of the Republican Party is about the only sign left of any diversity in the GOP. They’ve lost the Latino vote, the African American vote, the gay vote, the oyuht vote and the woman vote. It appears now that the middle aged white men who actually run the GOP are not about to let a black man spend their money. My goodness but there’s tons of room for a few tasteless jokes here, but I’m not going to go there. Nope, not a little bit.

I will say that Michale Steele and Jon Huntsman should look to Arlen Specter as an example. Were they to convert themselves to Democrats, as Specter has done, these guys could . . . be ridiculed openly by the GOP? But, wait, they’re already being ridiculed openly by members of the GOP. OK, ok, I’m not seeing much advantage of these two moving to the Democratic Party, but they sure are being abused by their own, and while the Democratic Party could always use another Governor and more influence in Utah, I’m not sure what we would do with Micheal Steele. Maybe we could put him in charge or redecorating or something?

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009 by Steven Reynolds |

GOP Surprised by Specter Announcement, NYTimes Headline

The GOP leadership in the Senate was caught by surprise by Arlen Specter’s becoming a Democrat. That shows how out of touch the GOP leadersip is. They will be surprised this morning that the New York Times sees signs of change in the GOP on the gay marriage issue. No, the Times is wrong on this one. The GOP will remain bigoted.


Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

The GOP Senate leadership was surprised by Arlen Specter’s defection from the Republican Party yesterday. Considering the failures and incompetence demonstrated by Republicans over the last eight years or so, a picture of a bunch of befuddled GOP Senators seems appropriate to me. One thing I don’t expect is any immediate change in the Republican platform in order to create a “big tent.” (Scarborough this morning noted that the GOP is suffering from a “small tent,” and there’s no sign of a wonder drug to help with that.) But the New York Times, in a journalistic coup, has spotted signs that the GOP is softening its stance on gay marriage. Really, here’s the New York Times headline: “Signs G.O.P. Is Rethinking Stance on Gay Marriage.” This may be the stupidest story of the year from American print journalism in the “not in WingNutDaily” category.

The Times story is based on a couple factors. First there was former McCain campaign staffer Steven Schmidt who wrote about how the GOP should de-emphasize the issue of gay marriage. Hey, NYTimes, that’s the opinion of one guy, and if you look around at the GOP reaction to Steven Schmidt’s opinion you’ll see that the rank and file think he should just shut up. Then the Times cites the Specter defection as a sign the GOP is thinking of changing its tune on gay marriage. Hey, even if GOP outlier Olympia Snowe shows regret for Arlen Specter leaving the GOP, that just isn’t a sign that the GOP is softening its anti-gay stance. Good God, the big headlines all over the right side of the blogosphere was “Swine Flew” in response to Arlen Specter’s defection yesterday – and while I’m unsure that the headline is anti-semitic, it can’t be denied that there’s just one Republican JEw now in Congress, Eric Cantor. The GOP is alienating both Jews and gays.

The New York Times here is right to note that demographics are not in favor of the GOP on the gay marriage issue, and that those demographics are getting worse everyday. Here’s a snippet fromt eh Times article:

Consider this: In the latest New York Times/CBS News poll, released on Monday, 31 percent of respondents over the age of 40 said they supported gay marriage. By contrast, 57 percent under age 40 said they supported it, a 26-point difference. Among the older respondents, 35 percent said they opposed any legal recognition of same-sex couples, be it marriage or civil unions. Among the younger crowd, just 19 percent held that view.

. . .

This does not mean, Republicans said, that most Americans are suddenly embracing the idea of same-sex couples going to the chapel. It is more that, for a lot of these Americans, gay marriage is not something they spend a lot of time worrying about, or even thinking about.

For younger respondents, this shift may in part be cultural: the result of coming of age in an era when openly gay people have become increasingly common in popular entertainment and in public life, not to mention in their own families or social circles. Familiarity in this case breeds relative comfort, or perhaps just lack of interest.

Again, this may be reality on the ground, but nowhere here is there evidence that the GOP is recognizing that reality and changing as a result. I suppose I expect them to recognize that their virulent opposition to gay marriage, and their close ties with a religious right wing that is bigoted on the issue, is harmful to the GOP, but that recognition is a long way off. For the Times to crow in a headline about how they’ve read tea leaves that show there are portents of change int he GOP – HOGWASH!

The big stories here are that the GOP is blind to the future. They couldn’t see that Specter was ripe to switch parties and were supposedly stunned by the development. They can’t see that such divisive and extremist views such as they hold on gay marriage are only going to further alienate Americans who believe in offering, as Olympia Snowe notes, “individual opportunity” to Americans. Heck, the Dems sure knew Specter was ripe to switch parties, with Biden, Casey and Rendell all recruiting Specter for the Dems for a month or two prior to this announcement. There’s your stark difference there between the parties. The GOP is not only “just say no,” but also a bit of an ostrich with its head in the sand concerning political reality, especially on issues like gay marriage. The Dems, on the other hand, are bringing about change, in Vermont and DC and Iowa, for sure, but also in PA with the gain of a Democrat in the Senate.

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009 by Steven Reynolds |

Arlen Specter (D-Pa) Switches Parties

BREAKING: Arlen Specter is reportedly switching his party allegiances to the Democratic Party.

Commentary By: Richard Blair

Wow.

This is huge news. MS-NBC is running the story that Arlen Specter is switching to the Democratic Party. Given that Al Franken is almost sure to be eventually declared the Senate winner in Minnesota, it’s likely that the Dems now have their 60 seat majority in the Senate.

While I don’t expect Specter to vote in lockstep with the Dem party (actually, he’ll probably be closer to Joe Lieberman in terms of philosophy), this is seismic.

Speaking of Lieberman, does the GOP now step up its efforts to get Lieberman to switch?

Discuss while this story is breaking…

Adding: CNN is reporting that Specter made the decision because of a significant GOP challenge in next year’s primary from uber wingnut Pat Toomey. There’s little question that Toomey would have been rough competition for Specter. The question remains: who will challenge Specter in the Dem primary?? Or have promises been made by the Dems in Pennsylvania?

Adding: I’m watching a quick photo op on CNN from outside of Specter’s office, and the crowd of constituents from Pa. is clapping and whooping it up. There will be a news conference later this afternoon.

Adding: I really like the chances of true healthcare reform now.

Update, 2:30PM – In Specter’s press conference, he aligned himself with the Lieberman wing of the Democratic Party. Oh, wait. Joe isn’t a Dem. Hmmm.

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009 by Richard Blair |

Honoring Jesus in Florida, the Wing Nut Way

Jesus joins the manatees and turtles in Florida, which is not the same as “sleeping with the fishes.” Legislators there solved (= ignored) every problem in the state in order to add Jesus to the star studded line-up of causes one can honor on one’s license plate. Dashboard Jesuses are striking in protest.


Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

The Florida legislature has made it possible for you to honor Jesus by choosing a license plate with His image on it. This landmark legislation was snuck onto another measure the other day by a bipartisan couple of lawmakers. The wing nuts will be pleased. From the St. Petersburg Times:

If you want Jesus on your license plate, the Florida Senate is looking out for you.

Because why worry about a budget impasse or property insurance when you can spend more than an hour talking about Jesus, the devil and license plates?

Religious specialty plates offered by Sen. Ronda Storms, R-Valrico, and Sen. Gary Siplin, D-Orlando, made it onto a bill Friday even though many members had not seen images of those plates and none was produced for the debate.

Siplin didn’t mince words when asked what his “Trinity” plate looks like, saying, “It has a picture of my Lord and savior Jesus Christ.”

OK, I’m not going to riff about the seperation of church and state. I’m not going to riff about how the legislature is irresponsible to even discuss this when there are a whole lot of other problems in Florida that need to be dealt with. no, I think this is completely appropriate legislation, as it fits the Florida image as America’s tackiest state. OK, Jesus might not be all that pleased to know he’s been relagated to the exhaust end of the car. Heck, wasn’t he on dashboards just a few years ago? Well, he’s honored with a license plate now, and license plates in Florida are nothing if not the great leveler. One can honor almost anything in Florida by choosing a special license plate. Jesus is but one amongst a plethora of honorees, including manatees, turtles and the Space Shuttle.

Monday, April 27th, 2009 by Steven Reynolds |

Swine Flu, GOP Panic, Flip Flop

So we might have a pandemic of swine flu in our future? Rick Perry, who has decried help from Washington, is now wetting his pants and begging for help from. . . Washington. Meanwhile, who gutted the pandemic preparedness money from the Obama stimulus package? the GOP, led by Rove. But Rush Limbaugh is still a swine.


Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

It appears we may have the beginnings of a pandemic on our hands. the swine flu that has killed 86 people in Mexico is showing up in the US, with 8 cases in New York so far, and one in Ohio. No deaths here as yet, but this is definitely something the CDC is on top of. Still, it is early and it is good to keep the populace ready, aware, but calm. that’s just what the CDC is doing, it seems to me. From the Los Angeles Times:

Federal officials today declared a public health emergency involving human swine flu, warning Americans to prepare for widespread outbreaks now or in the future, yet urging them not to panic.

In a briefing at the White House, the acting head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Richard Besser, said that eight cases of suspected swine flu in New York had been confirmed and that another had been identified in Ohio, bringing the U.S. total to 20 cases.

“As we continue to look for cases, we are going to see a broader spectrum of disease,” Besser said. “We’re going to see more severe disease in this country.”

Canadian officials said this morning that four cases had been confirmed in Nova Scotia and another two in British Columbia, marking the first time that the disease has appeared north of the border. All six Canadian cases were mild, like those in the United States.

Mexico’s Health Secretary Jose Angel Cordova said five more deaths had occurred from influenza in that country overnight, bring the death total to 86. Two of the new cases were confirmed as swine flu, but it is not clear how many of the others were.

Janet Napolitano, U.S. Homeland Security secretary, said the government would release a quarter of its 50-million-unit strategic reserve of antiviral medications, which combat the disease in infected patients, to states where outbreaks have occurred. Besser said the CDC has isolated the swine flu virus and prepared a “seed stock” for the manufacture of a vaccine but will not distribute it to pharmaceutical companies until the situation becomes more severe. Manufacture of a new vaccine will require months.

The officials cast the moves as aggressive but precautionary, and they counseled calm.

Meanwhile, in Texas, Governor Perry, who recently talked about his state seceding from the United States, and who has tried mightily to turn back the stimulus money coming to Texas from the Obama Administration’s recovery plan, has decided that he now wants some stimulus in the form of vaccines. Yeah, Governor Rick Perry is both flip flopping and panicking. When he wants to score political points he’ll show all kinds of disdain about the Democratic-led government in Washington, but now that the piggy flu is coming, Rick screams for help. The extent of the swine flu problem in Texas is described here.

I think the only panic for the GOP should be political. They are the ones who ridiculed the beefing up of pandemic preparedness when it was part of the Obama stimulus package. Yes, led by Karl Rove Republicans in the House and Senate went to war over pandemic preparedness measures put forth by congressman David Obey, who now seems prescient compared to these GOP bozos who have threatened our lives, once again, by making sure we are not prepared. (Wasn’t Katrina a big enough warning for them?) From John Nichols at The Nation:

Rove dismissed Obey’s proposals as “disturbing” and “laden with new spending programs.” He said the congressman was peddling a plan based on “deeply flawed assumptions.”

Like what?

Rove specifically complained that Obey’s proposal included “$462 million for the Centers for Disease Control, and $900 million for pandemic flu preparations.”

This was wrong, the political operative charged, because the health care sector added jobs in 2008.

As bizarre as that criticism may sound – especially now – Rove’s argument was picked up by House and Senate Republicans, who made it an essential message in their attacks on the legislation. Even as Rove and his compatriots argued that a stimulus bill should include initiatives designed to shore-up and maintain any recovery, they consistently, and loudly, objected to spending money to address the potentially devastating economic impact of a major public health emergency.

The attack on pandemic preparation became so central to the GOP strategies that AP reported in February: “Republicans, meanwhile, plan to push for broader and deeper tax cuts, to trim major spending provisions that support Democrats’ longer-term policy goals, and to try to knock out what they consider questionable spending items, such as $870 million to combat the flu and $400 million to slow the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.”

Famously, Maine Senator Susan Collins, the supposedly moderate Republican who demanded cuts in health care spending in exchange for her support of a watered-down version of the stimulus, fumed about the pandemic funding: “Does it belong in this bill? Should we have $870 million in this bill No, we should not.”

Even now, Collins continues to use her official website to highlight the fact that she led the fight to strip the pandemic preparedness money out of the Senate’s version of the stimulus measure.

The Republicans essentially succeeded. The Senate version of the stimulus plan included no money whatsoever for pandemic preparedness. In the conference committee that reconciled the House and Senate plans, Obey and his allies succeeded in securing $50 million for improving information systems at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

But state and local governments, and the emergency services that would necessarily be on the frontlines in any effort to contain a pandemic, got nothing.

As John Nichols notes, this wasn’t the case that the GOP wanted disaster to threaten our country, but that the GOP wants to play politics, and it doesn’t matter what they play politics with. I think he’s right, but it is starker than he saays. The GOP has become the Party of “No” even if saying “No” will eventually harm our country, because they only want to win politically. Doing the right thing is not anywhere near their agenda anymore.

Of course none of this will show up in regular news stories. Olbermann might give it a ride, and maybe Maddow, but FoxNews and ABC and NBC will not remind us of the Republicans undermining our pandemic preparedness, nor will they emphasize Governor Rick Perry’s refusal of stimulus dollars until there’s a threat and he instantlly wets his pants and goes crying to Washington.

Sunday, April 26th, 2009 by Steven Reynolds |

Bush Ducks Shoes, Norm Coleman Ducks Eggs

Norm Coleman is imitating George Bush up there in Minneapolis. He’s keeping his head up, when he’s not ducking while avoiding impromptu political commentary. Oh, er, ah. . . this blog does not condone vandalism. But we can laugh about Norm Coleman a little.


Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

No, Norm Coleman did not clear brush in his imitation of George Bush, nor did he insist we did not torture, even though his fingerprints are all over his Administration’s regime of torture. No, Norm did not win elections, as did George Bush. He ducked. From FOX 9 in Minneapolis/St. Paul:

Norm Coleman says he was the victim of a ride-by egging, telling the St. Paul Pioneer Press a young man on a bicycle threw eggs at his St. Paul house.

The alleged vandalism came one day after a three-judge panel ruled Democrat Al Franken won last year’s Senate race.

Coleman, a Republican, told police he heard thumping Tuesday night and when he went outside, a man launched another egg – and obscenities.

Coleman told the Pioneer Press he ducked in a “George Bush move,” referring to how Bush dodged shoes thrown at him by an Iraqi man. Coleman said he chased the man, but didn’t catch him.

OK, this is a week old or so, but still funny. Can’t you just see Coleman making this a case to send to the Minnesota Supreme Court? Funnier than “Get OFF My Lawn!”

Friday, April 24th, 2009 by Steven Reynolds |

Taliban Advances in Pakistan

The ham-handed, post-9/11 foreign policy moves of the Bush administration have actually led the world much closer to the possibility nuclear terrorism. In the near term, President Obama is left with very few (if any) realistic options to deal with the deteriorating political situation in Pakistan.

Commentary By: Richard Blair

Taliban in PakistanIn the immediate aftermath of the events of 9/1//2001, the Bush administration made a strategic foreign policy blunder that is still reverberating with negative consequences: embracing the government of Pakistan, then controlled by military strongman Pervez Musharraf, as a full partner in the administration’s horribly misguided “global war on terror”.

The thing is, the Musharraf regime was never more than an unwilling accomplice to BushCo’s wet dreams of U.S. dominion in the Middle East. Terrorist training camps within Pakistan continued to operate unfettered even as U.S. forces stormed into neighboring Afghanistan. Operations conducted by Pakistan’s military have been mostly staged for “show” purposes, and have been only marginally effective. Since Musharraf’s resignation as President, extremist elements in the country have made significant inroads, up to and including the government acceding to Taliban demands earlier this year that Shari’a law be implemented in a major Pakistani province.

And now, it appears as if Taliban militias are within striking distance of toppling the Pakistani government. Militia forces have advanced to within mere miles of Islamabad:

Residents streaming from Buner, home to nearly a million people, told local newspapers that armed militants are patrolling the streets. Pakistani television stations aired footage of Taliban soldiers looting government offices and capturing vehicles belonging to aid organizations and development projects. The police, say residents, are nowhere to be seen…

…Maulana Fazlur Rehman, head of one of the country’s Islamic political parties, warned in Parliament Wednesday [that] the Margalla Hills, a small mountain range north of the capital that separates it from Buner, appears to be “the only hurdle in their march toward the federal capital,” The only solution, he said, was for the entire nation to accept Shari’a law in order to deprive the Taliban of their principal cause.

The Bush administration left office with the full knowledge that they were leaving behind a fetid, smoking pile of foreign policy manure. Without a doubt, the instability in nuclear armed Pakistan is fast becoming the number one priority for Team Obama.

It’s interesting that the handwringers on the right were so worried about extremist Islamic elements getting their hands on nuclear weaponry from Saddam in the aftermath of 9/11. Many of us on the left also harbored the same concerns – except that the geographic source of the concern was much different – Pakistan, a nation that already possessed the weapons of mass destruction.

The ham-handed, post-9/11 foreign policy moves of the Bush administration have actually led the world much closer to the possibility nuclear terrorism. In the near term, President Obama is left with very few (if any) realistic options to deal with the deteriorating political situation in Pakistan.

But deal with it, he must. And soon.

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009 by Richard Blair |
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