May 25, 2007

Bush’s Pick for Surgeon General Makes Us Sick: Killed Veterans, Hates Gays, Loves Republicans

Filed under: Uncategorized — Volt @ 4:22 pm

A BuzzFlash News Analysis, May 25, 2007

Dr. James Holsinger was tapped by President Bush Thursday to be the nation’s next Surgeon General. Sure enough, Holsinger’s record is mired with incompetence, zealous conservatism, and, of course, sizable campaign contributions to Republicans.

As Chief Medical Director of the Department of Veterans Affairs under Bush’s father, Dr. Holsinger was neglecting our vets long before Walter Reed made it fashionable. A government investigation found “several cases in which incompetence and neglect led to the deaths of patients.” Dr. Holsinger was forced to admit blame for the deaths of six patients in less than a year at a single Chicago hospital alone.

But the problems weren’t limited to Chicago. In a Wyoming, a patient scheduled for surgery for a treatable cancer died after he was ignored for 45 days following the resignation of the staff urologist over a contract dispute. Thirty VA hospitals were found to have “high numbers of patient complications and other indicators of substandard care.”

A decade later, Dr. Holsinger was appointed Kentucky’s Cabinet Secretary for Health and Family Services. By the end of his tenure, a Kentucky newspaper found that the state was at the bottom of the nation for almost every health measure. Kentuckians die at a rate of 18 percent above the national average, the newspaper reported.

“We don’t have to worry about foreign aggressors. We are killing ourselves off,” said Dr. Baretta Casey, a Hazard physician and University of Kentucky professor. “I see a lot of illnesses similar to a third-world country,” added Dr. Sandra Dionisio, a Kentucky internist trained in the Philippines.

Read More Here

May 24, 2007

Sidney Blumenthal: Wolfowitz’s Tomb

Filed under: Uncategorized — Volt @ 7:44 pm

Sidney Blumenthal, Salon, May 24, 2007

Paul Wolfowitz’s doctrines are a summa of numerous failed political dogmas of the 20th century. His notion of politics was essentially Bolshevik, but less democratic in practice than Lenin’s. Wolfowitz had no concept of mass politics. Nor did he have an idea of democratic centralism, the core of Leninism, by which the vanguard led the cells of the party. Wolfowitz believed only in the vanguard. The dutiful student of obscurantist authoritarian philosopher Leo Strauss operated as a solitary intellectual at the head of a single cell, the lone Wolfowitz. His view of international political dynamics was a strange concoction of the most heated, impassioned idea of Leon Trotsky — the permanent revolution — admixed with the most rigid, Manichaean metaphor of John Foster Dulles — the domino theory of the Cold War. Dulles’ idea, applied to Southeast Asia, was a reaction to his mistaken understanding of Communist expansion as Trotskyist in conception. From this thesis and antithesis came the synthesis of Paul Wolfowitz. Welcome to the dustbin of history.

The squalid ending of Wolfowitz’s glittering career, bickering over lies about payments to his girlfriend, submerged his grandiosity. Wheedling with the World Bank board, he appeared as a shadow of his former self, the intellectual field marshal pulverizing the opposition with the artillery of his arguments, reduced to using a Washington lawyer to make fine points. His class enemies — the CIA and the Baathists, the State Department and the McGovernites — had retreated under his barrages, but he found himself at last whining of persecution at the hands of the sort of bureaucrats he had brushed aside throughout his long rise.

Wolfowitz’s vision promised nothing less than a rupture with the entire world order. By one decisive act of will, all that existed — all — would be transformed. After a brief, very brief, interval, collective happiness and universal harmony would be ushered in. With shock and awe, change would roll in mighty waves, pounding all with its unceasing force.

He was a good boy, not a rebel. Unlike some neoconservatives who had begun on the left and swerved right, his path was straight. His mathematician father’s only complaint about him was that he had not become a mathematician. Instead, young Wolfowitz fell under the spell of one of his father’s friends, Albert Wohlstetter, an old Trotskyist turned Cold War nuclear theologian. Wolfowitz was a pupil in the most exclusive school. (Richard Perle was another acolyte of Wohlstetter’s.) Wolfowitz’s study of nuclear policy was more than a higher mathematics; it was a kind of mystical Kabbalah. Strauss’ influence on him at the University of Chicago was decidedly minor. His connection at the University of Chicago with Ahmed Chalabi, the Iraqi exile, and Zalmay Khalilzad, another neocon later to be U.S. ambassador to Iraq, was more significant than having Strauss as a teacher. His true master was Wohlstetter, master of throw-weights. Wolfowitz’s doctoral thesis was on why Israeli development of a nuclear weapon threatened Middle Eastern and world stability.

Read More Here

White House Sets Up “Rapid Response” Team to Counter Bloggers

Filed under: Uncategorized — Volt @ 11:32 am

Kathy Kiely and David Jackson, USA TODAY, May 24, 2007

McLEAN, Va. — Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff on Wednesday said Republican conservatives working to block an immigration bill risk endorsing a “silent amnesty” by insisting on deportations that are “not going to happen.”

Chertoff also leveled criticism at liberal immigrant rights advocates, saying they could prolong the anguish of immigrant families by withholding support for legislation that could make them legal.

His warnings came in an 80-minute appearance he and Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez made before the USA TODAY editorial board. The two men’s appearance is a preview of a media blitz by the Bush administration as Congress prepares to go on a week-long Memorial Day recess that will give both sides in the emotional debate a chance to sway senators on a bill President Bush wants as part of his legacy.

The Homeland Security secretary said he canceled an overseas trip to help. In addition, the president is expected to stump for the bill next week and a “rapid response” team is countering critics, not only in the conventional media but, for the first time, on Internet blogs, said White House communications director Kevin Sullivan. The president’s press secretary, Tony Snow, already has debated talk radio host Rush Limbaugh and TV commentator Lou Dobbs, both critics of the bill.

Read More Here

Filed under: Uncategorized — Volt @ 11:15 am

Is Rush Limbaugh Right When He Says the Issue of Immigration Will Crack the GOP Base?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Volt @ 9:41 am

Thomas F. Schaller, Salon, May 23, 2007

On his radio talk show last Friday, dittohead in chief Rush Limbaugh was working himself into quite a lather. The subject? Immigration reform, specifically the controversial immigration bill now before the Senate — or, as Limbaugh dubbed it, the Comprehensive Destroy the Republican Party Act. Though Limbaugh pummeled his usual targets on the left, complaining that the current immigration reform proposal was yet another Ted Kennedy-led scheme to destroy America, Limbaugh was also unsparing toward national Republicans:

“At the end of the day here, what we’re talking about is the marginalization, if not the destruction, of the Republican Party. Look, it’s time to be blunt here. I said I’m going to stop carrying the water last November, and I’m not carrying the water. The current crop of Republican leaders has not only lost the Congress, the current crop of Republican leaders is on the way to destroying the base by signing on to this kind of legislation.”

This is not the first time I’ve heard this sentiment. Before the 2006 midterms, a leader of a prominent national conservative organization told me flatly that conservatives were willing to choke down their disgust with Bush till the votes were counted, but afterward, win or lose, they would be silent no more. Sure enough, post-election, Limbaugh and others gave vent to some of their more unkind feelings about the president and his party. And now, thanks to immigration reform, the volume of complaints has risen to a roar. As soon as the details of the painstakingly negotiated bipartisan proposal began to trickle out last week, talk radio and the right half of the blogosphere went ballistic, saying the bill meant de facto amnesty for illegal aliens. Furious members of the Republican rank and file began talking about last straws and using “impeachment” and “Bush” in the same sentence.

For the past three decades, Republicans have carefully sidestepped the kinds of issues that could divide a party’s followers from its Beltway elites — and expertly deployed the same wedge issues against the Democrats. Now the party’s 2008 front-runners are in trouble, one of Karl Rove’s long-term strategic goals is in doubt, and the foot soldiers are close to open revolt, all thanks to one uniquely radioactive wedge issue. Could Limbaugh’s warning about a great unraveling be true?

“The Republican strategy on immigration has been one of the great failures of modern politics,” says Simon Rosenberg, president of the New Democrat Network, which has organized a systematic outreach campaign to Hispanic voters. “What’s going on in the Republican Party is a debate between the strategists who want to win and a part of their base that is extremely xenophobic.”

Read More Here

May 23, 2007

Max Blumenthal: Diary of a Christian Terrorist

Filed under: Uncategorized — Volt @ 6:46 pm

The Huffington Post, May 23, 2007

Visitors to Mark David Uhl’s Myspace page will quickly learn that Uhl is a student at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University, that he is a devoted Christian, that his name means “Mighty Warrior” — and that he likes Will Smith’s saccharine tear-up-the-club track, “Switch.” Uhl reveals his career ambitions on his page as well: “I will join the Army as an officer after college.” Already, Uhl was preparing in Liberty’s ROTC program.

Uhl waited until he was offline, however, to reveal his plot to kill the family of itinerant Calvinist provocateur Fred Phelps (famous for their “Fag Troops” rallies outside soldiers’ funerals). The Phelpses planned to protest Falwell’s funeral, a bizarre stunt designed to highlight Falwell’s somehow insufficiently draconian attitude towards homosexuals. Uhl made several bombs and allegedly told a family member he planned to use them to attack the Phelps family.

He was arrested soon after and charged with manufacturing explosives. On the surface, Uhl appears to be the latest version of Virginia Tech rampage killer (and “Richard McBeef” author) Cho Seung-Hui. Indeed, both Uhl and Cho were alienated young men who conceived or carried out campaigns of mass murder on college campuses.

But there is a crucial difference between Uhl and Cho: while Cho’s motives remain a source of intense debate, Uhl was an a devout evangelical Christian who advocated religious violence in the name of American nationalism. Uhl’s blog, featured on his Myspace page, offers a window into the political underpinnings of his bomb plot. In one post, Uhl implores Christians to die on the battlefield for “Uncle Sam.” He justifies his call to arms by quoting several Biblical passages and reminding his readers that the “gift of God” is eternal life.

“Christians, we have been given life after death and we should help others receive it and not sit here in our big buildings and sing to ourselves so we can go home and feel good about ourselves,” Uhl writes. “Christians, fear of death, fear of death. The fear of death shows you don’t believe.”

Read More Here

George Will: Inconvenient Truth at the Gas Pump for Pelosi and the Democrats

Filed under: Uncategorized — Volt @ 5:09 pm

George F. Will, The Washington Post, May 20, 2007

Democrats, seething at the injustice of gasoline prices, have sprung to the aid of embattled motorists. So resolute are Democrats about defending the downtrodden, they are undeterred by the fact that motorists, not acting like people trodden upon, are driving more than ever. Gasoline consumption has increased 2.14 percent during the last year.

That probably is explained by the inconvenient (to the Democrats’ narrative) truth that Speaker Nancy Pelosi was characteristically overwrought when she said that Democrats intend to do this and that because the price of gasoline recently “set a record” at $3.07 a gallon. In real (inflation-adjusted) rather than nominal dollars, $3.07 is less than gasoline cost in 1981.

Pelosi vowed, as politicians have been doing since President Nixon set the fashion, to achieve “energy independence.” Such vows are, as Soviet grain production quotas used to be, irrational reflexes that no serious person takes seriously. Pelosi baldly asserts that “energy independence is essential to reducing the price at the pump,” but does not say how.

As Steven Hayward of the American Enterprise Institute notes, there is no yearning for national self-sufficiency concerning other essential goods, such as food, automobiles, airplanes or medicines. Are Democrats worried about security of oil supplies? In some ways, Hayward says, America’s energy supply is more secure than it was in the 1970s, partly because “since 1975, energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product has fallen 48 percent.” Furthermore, “oil represents a shrinking share of total U.S. energy consumption — from 44 percent in 1970 to 40 percent in 2005.” The oil America consumes — only one-eighth of which comes from the Middle East — is used almost entirely in transportation, and accounts for about 40 percent of energy uses. Half of America’s electricity is generated by coal, of which America has a huge abundance.

America has about 22 billion barrels of “proven” oil reserves, defined as “reasonably certain to be recoverable in future years under existing economic and operating conditions.” In addition, there are an estimated 112 billion barrels that could be recovered with existing drilling and production technology. Make that, with existing drilling and production technology — and fewer Democrats like Pelosi who, while promising energy independence, are opposed to any drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and much drilling offshore, where 87 billion of the 112 billion barrels are located, as is much of the estimated 656 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas.

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The Thumpin’: How Rahm Emanuel and the Democrats Learned to Be Ruthless and Ended the Republican Revolution

Filed under: Uncategorized — Centristdem @ 1:31 pm
Here’s a quote for you:

“You know what our party thinks? We’re good people with good ideas. That’s just enough, isn’t it?’ Being tough enough, mean enough, and vicious enough is just not what they want.”

That’s Rahm Emanuel speaking to author Naftali Bendavid in his new book “The Thumpin’: How Rahm Emanuel and the Democrats Learned to Be Ruthless and Ended the Republican Revolution.” And you know what? He’s right. You KNOW he’s right. For as long as I can remember, Democrats have been on the correct side of major ideas but were too nice to take on the Republican slime machine. John Kerry and Max Cleland ring a bell? So ruthless and cut throat are the Republicans sinse Newt’s little coup in ‘94 that they smeared one of their own – Sen. John McCain.

I witnessed this firsthand.


Maureen Dowd: Pass the Clam Dip

Filed under: Uncategorized — Volt @ 6:51 am

Maureen Dowd, The New York Times, May 23, 2007

It’s no wonder Al Gore is a little touchy about his weight, what with everyone trying to read his fat cells like tea leaves to see if he’s going to run.

He was so determined to make his new book look weighty, in the this-treatise-belongs-on-the-shelf-between-Plato-and-Cato sense, rather than the double-chin-isn’t-quite-gone-yet sense, that he did something practically unheard of for a politician: He didn’t plaster his picture on the front.

“The Assault on Reason” looks more like the Beatles’ White Album than a screed against the tinny Texan who didn’t get as many votes in 2000.

The Goracle does concede a small author’s picture on the inside back flap, a chiseled profile that screams Profile in Courage and that also screams Really Old Picture. Indeed, if you read the small print next to the wallet-sized photo of Thin Gore looking out prophetically into the distance, it says it’s from his White House years.

A subliminal clue to his intentions, perhaps? He must be flattered that many demoralized leading Republicans and Bush insiders think a Gore-Obama ticket would be unbeatable. And he must be gratified that his rival Hillary has never cemented her inevitability, even with Bill Clinton’s lip-licking Web video pushing her.

But though he’s on a book tour clearly timed to build on his Oscar flash and Nobel buzz, and take advantage of the public’s curiosity about whether he’ll jump in the race, he almost seems to want to sigh and roll his eyes when he’s asked about it.

“I’m not a candidate,” he told Diane Sawyer on “Good Morning America.” “This book is not a political book. It’s not a candidate book at all.”

Of course, his protestation was lost given the fact that he was sitting in front of a screen blaring the message “The Race to ’08,” and above a crawl that asked “Will he run for the White House?”

Read More Here

May 22, 2007

The Limbaugh Deal

Filed under: Uncategorized — grimgold @ 8:48 pm

I wrote this about a year ago. Hope you enjoy it. G


One beautiful morning, Rush Limbaugh was playing golf at his favorite course, the impossibly exclusive Gold Doubloons and Pieces of Eight Links.

A gorgeous blonde caddy gently drew near, followed by a large, rough-looking man with a bristling beard. She smiled at Rush, causing him to forget about golf – but only for a moment. “Mister Limbaugh?” Her voice was a sweet song.

He champed down on his ever present cigar and, scowling intently at his putter, replied, “Yeah, Melody. What can I do for you?”

“There’s a gentleman here who wishes to speak to you, Sir… please allow me to introduce the world famous fisherman, Alaska Al.”

The men met, shook hands, then sighed, as together they watched Melody gracefully glide away, her tiny caddy uniform barely containing her soft, firm curves.

As it turns out, Alaska Al wanted to trade a day on the golf course for a day of fishing at his secret location off the coast of Alaska. Called Jurassic Park, it held the promise of great excitement with fish so huge that the only other place they were found was in Heaven.

Rush quickly agreed, and Melody was called back to witness the I.O.U. scrawled on the back side of a golf score card by Al. It guaranteed Rush a day of excellent fishing and promised to be a welcome break from the humdrum of golf.

But, in spite of his momentary excitement at the prospect of doing something worthwhile (fishing) instead of wasting his time (golf), Rush stuffed the I.O.U. away and forgot about it.

Several years later, his new cleaning lady, a beautiful blonde, flowed up and smiled, “Mister Limbaugh?” Her voice had the warble of a song bird.

Rush looked up from his copy of Jude Wanniski’s book, The Way the World Works, and growled, “Yeah, Melody, what can I do for you?”

“Sir, I found this. It fell out of an old golf bag.”

It was Alaska Al’s I.O.U., tattered but still in one piece, still as good as gold.

The story continues, but I must stop here to make the point: no matter that the I.O.U. was years old, it still had the same worth as the day it was written. It hadn’t inflated, deflated, floated, or any of the other things that happen when money is involved.

This comparison shows something is wrong with our dollars.

Our monetary system should be at least as sound and reliable as that promissory note.

We shouldn’t have to tolerate our money becoming worth less from day to day and year to year. Its value should be at least as solid over time as the I.O.U. written by Alaska Al.


Filed under: Uncategorized — Volt @ 11:17 am

May 21, 2007

Paul Krugman: Fear of Eating

Filed under: Uncategorized — Volt @ 8:50 am

Paul Krugman, The New York Times, May 21, 2007

Yesterday I did something risky: I ate a salad.

These are anxious days at the lunch table. For all you know, there may be E. coli on your spinach, salmonella in your peanut butter and melamine in your pet’s food and, because it was in the feed, in your chicken sandwich.

Who’s responsible for the new fear of eating? Some blame globalization; some blame food-producing corporations; some blame the Bush administration. But I blame Milton Friedman.

Now, those who blame globalization do have a point. U.S. officials can’t inspect overseas food-processing plants without the permission of foreign governments — and since the Food and Drug Administration has limited funds and manpower, it can inspect only a small percentage of imports. This leaves American consumers effectively dependent on the quality of foreign food-safety enforcement. And that’s not a healthy place to be, especially when it comes to imports from China, where the state of food safety is roughly what it was in this country before the Progressive movement.

The Washington Post, reviewing F.D.A. documents, found that last month the agency detained shipments from China that included dried apples treated with carcinogenic chemicals and seafood “coated with putrefying bacteria.” You can be sure that a lot of similarly unsafe and disgusting food ends up in American stomachs.

Those who blame corporations also have a point. In 2005, the F.D.A. suspected that peanut butter produced by ConAgra, which sells the product under multiple brand names, might be contaminated with salmonella. According to The New York Times, “when agency inspectors went to the plant that made the peanut butter, the company acknowledged it had destroyed some product but declined to say why,” and refused to let the inspectors examine its records without a written authorization.

According to the company, the agency never followed through. This brings us to our third villain, the Bush administration.

Read More Here

Kevin Ferris on Democrats: Getting creative, winning elections

Filed under: Uncategorized — Centristdem @ 7:57 am

Great piece by Kevin in today’s Philadephia Inquirer on Democrats and the 2006 mid-terms.  In it, the author spotlights NY Senator Chuck Shumer’s role in the Senate victories of last year.  Here’s some excerpts:

Schumer long ago figured out that Democratic boilerplate – abortion, affirmative action, welfare – didn’t cut it with middle-class voters. They wanted to hear about safer neighborhoods and basic pocketbook issues. As Schumer put it, Democrats were good at talking to the middle-class, but not so good at listening.

So he’s listened. And, in return, the (middle class) voters have been very good to him.

They helped guide Schumer to upset victories in 1998, both in the Democratic primary and later against Republican Sen. Alfonse D’Amato. Once elected senator, he kept the Baileys’ concerns in mind, enough to win re-election in 2004 with 71 percent of the vote.

During that time, other Democrats weren’t so creative. Republicans won Congress and the White House – often with the votes of the middle-class.

But then there was last year, when Schumer led the Democrats’ successful fight to retake the Senate. The keys to victory?  (more…)

The Nation’s Hit Job On Hillary Clinton: Shoddy Research, Fabrications, and Bias

Filed under: Uncategorized — Centristdem @ 5:06 am

The Nation, once a respected resource of liberal opinion and journalism, has seemingly declared war on Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton. Their recent pieces on the Senator from New York contain at least two factual inaccuracies, casting doubt on the veracity of the entire series of articles and the motives of the author. (more…)

May 20, 2007

Ron Paul Was Only Half Right – Religion is the Other Half of the Problem

Filed under: Uncategorized — daveb @ 3:53 pm

The right-wingers went ape-shit during the last GOP debate because of the reasons Ron Paul said he believes Muslim Terrorists are attacking the US. Paul had the audacity to deviate from the standard “they hate us for our freedoms” talking point. He said they’re “over here [attacking us] because we’re over there.” Why would Ron Paul have the audacity to say such a thing? To imply that we might bear some responsibility for the terrorist’s motives?

The men gaped, transfixed.

Filed under: Uncategorized — grimgold @ 10:33 am

Swivel Hips Sue was new in town. In fact, most of the men in Kelly’s Bar had never seen her before. Dressed in tiny Levi shorts and a tight white cotton blouse covered with a print of luscious strawberries, she slowly strutted into the establishment. The music stopped. The men gaped, transfixed. Tongues hit the floor with a wet “thud!”
Sound like a familiar scenario?
But why do men respond to this? What, for example, is the universal appeal of high cheek bones and large eyes? Large eyes have nothing to do with sexual attraction, yet men are mesmerized by them. Why? Why not small squinty eyes? Why does it have to be large eyes?
No one knows. The response to the Swivel Hips Sues of the world rushes up with a wolf whistle or “Hmmm!” of approval from some dark but powerful corner beneath consciousness.
A man spies a supple young lady and thinks to himself, “Nice!” But that’s not the whole picture. How does he know she’s ‘nice’? What’s the mechanism that makes this judgment call?
In the back of the mind of every man is a large room filled with the memories of curves and pleasing appearances of women, both from experience and the media.
The door to this room has various labels, depending on the man, from “Lovely Women Room” to “T&A Room.” The point is, when man sees woman, quick as a blink he enters his comparison room and looks around. The trick is that it’s very fast, automatic, and subconscious. The admired girl is measured against a set of perimeters, a sort of sizing up by instantaneous comparison.
So why am I going to all the trouble of delicately explaining this? Because homosexuals are locked out of their T&A rooms. They look at a woman’s breasts and see two lumps of fat slapped on a thin chest. The large eyes look like those of a nocturnal animal, such as a lemur, blankly staring into the light, blinking slowly. Homosexuals are denied the male response to the curves and allure of feminine beauty. There is no rush of adrenaline, no warm response, no slow smile. The room is locked. The sign says “No Entry.” A part of them is shut down for some psychological reason. They claim to love women, but it isn’t true. They love other men and their mother. Period. They live a life devoid of a real appreciation of women and all they have to offer: as lovers, companions, advisors, and comforters.
Fortunately, homosexuality is curable. It isn’t all that difficult to wake up the inner feminine, to unlock the door, and on the net there are groups that have helped homosexuals to become utterly heterosexual, not just suppressed, but cured.
I don’t understand why ‘gays’ have ganged together, especially in San Francisco, and raised such a fuss. Maybe homosexuality exists because of ignorance or by choice. Perhaps the successful, such as Elton John and Michael Jackson, are afraid of losing their sweet life by plunging themselves into the darkness of inner reality. Does being homosexual serve them like a sick man who doesn’t want to get better because he’ll lose his govt. assistance check?
Homosexuality can be eradicated and is an unnecessary burden for people to carry. Each of us has our dark demons, and one of our life challenges is to take the inner road and discover what really motivates us, discover why the various doors are locked, so to speak, and to gently but firmly open them and begin living with renewed purpose and deeper life direction.

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