• Cost of Iraq War – More Than Money

    The National Priorities Project current reports show the cost of the war in Iraq is at $333,085,725,999, or $333.08 BILLION, and climbing constantly. zFacts.com puts the cost so far at $330,905,485,295, or $330.90 BILLION.? The U.S. Treasury Department shows our national debt at an all-time record high: $8,545,048,487,560.99, or $8.54 TRILLION. Other sources show the national debt much higher. The U.S. National Debt Clock reports $8,553,405,931,810.83 as of 3:11:52 PM GMT.

    Any other costs to the war in Iraq? Antiwar.com reports 2,743 American deaths in Iraq since the war began. An official count shows 20,468 injuries, with estimates much higher (20,000-48,100). And Iraq Body Count reports that somewhere between 43,850 and 48,693 Iraqi civilians have been killed by military intervention in Iraq.

    The cost of this war is staggering.


  • Lawmakers Saw Foley Messages in 2000

    The Washington Post reports today that Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.) knew of inappropriate Internet exchanges between former Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) as far back as 2000 and confronted Foley personally about them. The Post reports:

    A spokeswoman for Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.) confirmed yesterday that a former page showed the congressman Internet messages that had made the youth feel uncomfortable with the direction Foley (R-Fla.) was taking their e-mail relationship. Last week, when the Foley matter erupted, a Kolbe staff member suggested to the former page that he take the matter to the clerk of the House, Karen Haas, said Kolbe’s press secretary, Korenna Cline.

    So the timeline goes back 5 more years than House Republicans first claimed they had knowledge of Foley’s inappropriate conduct. Dennis Hastert had asserted that lawmakers only became aware of Foley’s behavior last fall. Apparently many more were in the know.

    What else are they hiding?


  • Marriage Equality

    The Human Rights Campaign reports that a California court has ruled against marriage equality. The court ruled that California’s ban on gay marriage does not violate the constitutional rights of gays and lesbians. The case began in 2004 when San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom began allowing marriage licenses to be issued to same-sex couples. KCBS News in San Francisco reports that city officials plan to continue the battle. According to KCBS:

    KCBS reporter Tim Ryan spoke with City Attorney Dennis Herrera who said an appeal is going to be made to the State Supreme Court. Herrera said if the High Court upholds the ban it would be “one of California’s darkest hours for civil rights.”

    San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom said simply the court “got it wrong. (The ruling ) is on the wrong side of history and it’s offensive to me.”

    So the battle continues.

    In a related story, in New York, the frontrunner in the governor’s race has declared his support for full marriage equality for GLBT people. State Attorney General Elliot Spitzer has vowed to push to legalize gay marriage if elected. New York passed a Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (SONDA) in 2003.


  • Time Magazine: Republican Revolution Is Over!

    Time Magazine cover, October 16, 2006

    Time Magazine’s October 16, 2006 issues declares the Republican Revolution over with a telling headline: “What a Mess.” Time reports Dennis Hastert said, in an appearance on Laura Ingraham’s conservative talk show, “If I fold up my tent and leave, then where does that leave us? If the Democrats sweep, then we’d have no ability to fight back and get our message out.” Time’s conclusion should sober any member of the G.O.P. hoping to party in November:

    That quiet admission may have been the most damning one yet in the unfolding scandal surrounding Florida Congressman Mark Foley: holding on to power has become not just the means but also the end for the onetime reformers who in 1994 unseated a calcified and corrupted Democratic majority. Washington scandals, it seems, have been following a Moore’s law of their own, coming at a faster clip every time there is a shift in control. It took 40 years for the House Democrats to exhaust their goodwill. It may take only 12 years for the Republicans to get there.

    Time also reports in this issue on the results of a TIME poll that shows that two-thirds of Americans believe Republican leaders tried to cover up the scandal. 54% of registered voters in November said they would likely vote for Democratic candidates in November. 65% said they disapprove of the way President Bush has handled the war in Iraq.

    With less than a month before the election, the tide has turned decidedly in the Democrats’ favor. Much can happen in that time. Karl Rove has apparently been promising Republican insiders that an October surprise is in the works. Perhaps Osama bin Laden is on ice somewhere, about to be revealed? Will that be enough to deter a waking electorate?


  • Jeb Bush In The Closet

    Gov. Bush coming out of the closetFlorida Governor Jeb Bush visited Pittsburgh, PA, Friday for a fund-raiser for Sen. Rick Santorum. Bush was making his way to the Duquesne Club, a posh, private club in Downtown Pittsburgh. Membership is by “invitation only.” If you have to ask how much membership costs, well, you probably won’t be asked to join.

    The closest I ever came seeing anything like it was watching 1983’s Trading Places, with Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy.

    At any rate, as Bush approached the club, he had a close encounter with a group of anti-Republican protesters. The protesters were on their way to join other protesters already gathered in front of the club.

    Protesters say Gov. Bush “blew them a kiss,” which was enough to thrill the group of about 30 protesters that was made up of United Steelworkers, and members of a group called Uprise Counter Recruitment, whose website says they are, “…a tour of mid-west and mid-Atlantic states aimed at advancing regional counter-recruitment efforts and linking the issues of war and military recruitment to corporate globalization and environmental sustainability. The Tour consists of a dozen activists traveling via a bio-diesel bus to cities both large and small.” They have teamed up with Iraq Veterans Against the War and Alive In Baghdad. Alive in Baghdad “shows the occupation through the voices of Iraqis.”

    It was this distinguished group, then, that Gov. Bush blew a kiss to on a street in Pittsburgh.

    The group drew nearer, shouting, “Jeb, go home.”

    The governor made a retreat to a nearby T-station, an entry to Pittsburgh’s subway. The protesters followed Bush into the station, so Mr. Bush descended the escalators to the mezzanine level. At this point, Mr. Bush found himself surounded by signs that read, “Pittsburgh is a Santorum Free Zone,” and, “Honk if you’re sick of Rick.” “We don’t want you here,” protesters chanted.

    Some days it just doesn’t pay to be born with a silver spoon in your mouth.

    The situation apparently became very tense. Approximately 75 protesters had gathered on the street. They were asked to disperse, and did not. Two protesters were tased by two officers from a Port Authority canine unit.

    As a precaution, the governor was ushered into a T-station supply closet. He reportedly remained there until the crowd dispersed.

    Pittsburgh police, monitoring the front of the Duquesne Club, said the protesters were peaceful, and did not respond, and apparently were not asked to respond to the incident at the T-station.

    The entire incident lasted approximately 5 minutes, after which Gov. Bush came out of the closet.


  • FOX News Looking Forward to Armageddon?

    Just when you thought FOX news was Odd and Biased, they go right over the edge.

    David Friend’s new book, Watching the World Change, takes a look at the images of 9/11, some of the stories behind them, and the effect of these images on a post-9/11 world. The book has made a major impact on the lives of many, and Friend’s website has become a focal point for people’s memories and reflections.

    What has escaped the attention of many up to this point was a disturbing quote in the book from Roger Ailes, head of FOX news. Friend asked him, “What was the significance of two billion people being able to watch the same thing at the same time on September 11?” Ailes’ response was extremely disturbing:

    Roger Ailes laughing to the end.“The implications from a television standpoint are simply that: When the end of the world comes, we’ll be able to cover it live until the last camera goes out. I believe I mean it literally. If you can witness something like [9/11] by two billion people, live, then there’s nothing that can’t be covered. And if we get into a world war, with nuclear weapons, I assume we’ll be covering it live.”

    “It’s horrifying to think about. But maybe God set it up that way. You can either figure out how to live in freedom…and hope, or you can watch yourselves burn to death. Nine-eleven is a warning shot that says: Look, this can go either way. It’s your choice, folks.”

    The political and religious implications of this statement are horrifying. Do the execs. at FOX really believe that the end is near, and they will somehow be blest to cover the final battle? When pressed as to whether he really meant that we would all be watching the Apocalypse live on FOX, Ailes responded, “I believe I mean it literally.”

    Someone check the man’s medication and turn the channel.


  • Hastert Knew, But Dems Running a Dud

    The sad thing is, it seems very evident that House Speaker Dennis Hastert knew about the content of former Rep. Mark Foley’s (R-Fla.) emails, and did nothing. Senior congressional aide Kirk Fordham’s statements are clear. Hastert knew in 2004, and late in 2005 saw copies of Foley’s emails and shrugged them off as “overly-friendly.”

    Family values. Yup.

    The way to beat any politician is at the polls. If we want someone out of office, we vote them out. The problem is, the Democrats have a real dud this year in Hastert’s district. John Laesch’s puerile behavior in this campaign leaves the voters with a hard choice: re-elect Denny Hastert, or send a man with sub-adolescent mentality to Washington.

    One of Laesch’s stunts included the following:

    Hastert apparently enjoys morning coffee at the same shop regularly in his district when he’s in town. One morning, candidate for United States Congress John Laesch thought it would be funny to stop by the coffee shop while Hastert was inside getting his coffee. Laesch put one of his campaign’s bumper stickers on Hastert’s car, and posed next to the vehicle for a photograph.

    This behavior is beneath adolescent. Too bad the Dems are running a dud. They’ll have to re-organize for 2 years and try for the seat again. This year, it’s likely to be a wash.


  • Human Rights Campaign Letter to Speaker Dennis Hastert

    Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, sent a letter today to Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert following the Speaker’s news conference today on the Mark Foley scandal. In part, the letter says:

    Your decision today to accept full responsibility for the inaction of the House to protect the Pages for the United States House of Representatives is long overdue. Mark Foley’s actions are inexcusable and everyone involved should be accountable for his or her actions. We have, however, been deeply troubled in recent days to hear voices in the Republican Party publicly scapegoat gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans for this inappropriate and immoral conduct.

    This is not a gay or straight issue; it is an issue of inappropriate behavior that regardless of one’s sexual orientation, political affiliation or any other characteristic is dead wrong.

    The letter goes on to say that the HRC fully supports an investigation into the matter, that it is completely inappropriate that members of the Republican Party are attempting to shift blame onto GLBT individuals.


  • Republican Duck and Cover

    Mark Foley labelled as a Democrat on O'Reilly Factor

    When the old Soviet Union began nuclear testing in the early 1950s, the Civil Defense branch of the United States government released a film called Duck and Cover. The basic premise was that Americans should take heart. If we ever did come under nuclear attack (note the “l” appears before the letter “e”), the film advises children to “duck and cover.” Basically, in the face of a nuclear blast, one would apparently be safer squatting down with hands over one’s head than one would be standing up. And this was supposed to calm people’s fears. If you see the flash of an atomic bomb, “duck and cover” to remain safe and survive.

    The Republican party has learned this lesson well. House Speaker Dennis Hastert’s chief of staff, Scott Palmer, is denying the account of former aide, Kirk Fordham, who said in an interview that he had told Palmer of Foley’s inappropriate emails before 2004. The party of “family values” protected and enabled a sexaul predator.

    The bomb has gone off. The flash is still in the sky, and the best that the Republicans can do is “duck and cover,” hoping that they will survive the blast.

    Amazingly, Fox new’s The O’Reilly Factor labelled Foley a Democrat on October 3. Just change history if you don’t like it, I guess. The screenshot above is from Sweet Jesus, I Hate Bill O’Reilly, International.

    Maybe the blast will go away and we’ll all be safe. Foley can blame his past, and we’ll convince the world he really was a Democrat.

    Duck and cover.


  • When Right Is Wrong – The School of Karl Rove

    With the revelations this week about the illicit emails and text messages former Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla., sent to underage pages, one has to wonder how the right will respond in the long-term? What has been their modus operandi when found to be in the wrong? One can only surmise that the extreme right-wing is already scheming and plotting the best way to spin this story the other way. Let’s call these people graduates of The School of Karl Rove. The School of Karl Rove has been particularly merciless on victims. Ann Coulter, who holds an endowed chair at The School of Karl Rove, ripped apart a group of women who were left widowed by the tragic events of 9-11-2001. In her book, “Godless: The Church of Liberalism,” chastised a group of four women from East Brunswick, NJ, who were pushing for improvements in how the government guards against future attacks. Coulter said the four were acting, “as if the terrorist attacks happened only to them.”

    Amazing. Did these women not get the memo that The School of Karl Rove, the extreme far right of the Republic Party, owns 9-11, that they are the only ones permitted to benefit politically from the tragedy? Did they not realize that the terrorist attacks only happened to those living on the far right? Coulter further called these women, “The Witches of East Brunswick,” and said they were “self-obsessed” and enjoying their husbands’ deaths.

    So why The School of Karl Rove, and not The School of Ann Coulter? Rove’s been at it longer. He’s more refined, and brought such activity to national politics in ways that former D.C. politicians never dreamed of. Consider the following from his past:

    But Rove acknowledges that, in 1970, he used a false identity to gain entry to the campaign offices of Illinois Democrat Alan Dixon, who was running for state treasurer. Once inside, Rove swiped some letterhead stationery and sent out 1,000 bogus invitations to the opening of the candidate’s headquarters promising “free beer, free food, girls and a good time for nothing.”

    “It was a youthful prank at the age of 19 and I regret it,” Rove says.

    But most who know him say this was Karl Rove showing his true colors early on. What The School of Karl Rove did to former Senator Max Cleland D-GA, triple amputee, should never be forgotten. Cleland volunteered for duty in Vietnam in 1967. On April 8, 1968, Mr. Cleland was wounded in a grenade explosion, lost both legs and his right arm.

    Forward in time almost 4 decades. Senator Cleland was up for re-election against Republican Saxby Chambliss. Chambliss, a graduate of The School of Karl Rove, slandered Cleland in an ad that challenged the senator’s votes on the formation of the Department of Homeland Security. Recall that the far right owns 9-11, and this ownership gives them exclusive right to use it to advance their own political careers. The text of the ad follows:

    “As America faces terrorists and extremist dictators, Max Cleland runs television ads claiming he has the courage to lead.
    “He says he supports President Bush at every opportunity, but that’s not the truth.”
    “Since July, Max Cleland voted against President Bush’s vital homeland security efforts 11 times.”
    “But the record proves, Max Cleland is just misleading.”

    The issue the ad was referring to was in 2002, civil service protections for Homeland Security employees, which President Bush opposed and Cleland supported. The ad did not point out that Cleland supported the creation of a Department of Homeland Security before President Bush did. Remember, the Bush Administration was not on board with the creation of the department after 9-11.

    Ann Coulter weighed in as well at the time. She wrote that Cleland should not be referred to as a war hero, since he lost his limbs in a routine non-combat mission.

    And it worked.

    Which brings me to Rep. Mark Foley, and the “unidentified teenager” who was the recipient of Foley’s advances. How long will his identity remain a secret? How soon until his name and face are revealed in a FOX News Special Report? How long until his reputation is sullied in the national press, until Ann Coulter turns him into the predator, scheming to ruin the reputation of a United States Congressman who remained head of a Congressional caucus on children’s issues until he was forced to resign in disgrace because this of this scorned lad? How long until Foley becomes hero and victim?

    Even now, current students and graduates of The School of Karl Rove are planning their next move. Stay tuned to FOX News.