Thursday, October 19, 2006

It's National Charactor Counts Week!

A howler from TPMuckraker's Daily Muck Archives

Milbank Tells Olbermann About Further Page Rumors
"[On] MSNBC, Washington Post reporter Dana Milbank told Keith Olbermann that 'there are rumors now about a third [page scandal], this one involving a 16-year-old girl.'

"Milbank later noted that 'political news is starting to sound more and more like you’re reading the police blotter, with Ney last week, the eighth guilty plea or conviction in the Abramoff case, piled on top of Scooter Libby and Tom DeLay and Curt Weldon. It goes on and on. And, of course, the punchline is that President Bush has declared this to be National Character Counts Week.'" (Think Progress)

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How could I have missed this?

Rape, Murder, It's Just a Shot Away - Wonkette

A couple of mysterious 911 calls to Las Vegas police — all apparently made from the bathroom of a Starbucks on Paradise Road by a terrified drunk gal — have suddenly derailed Congressman Jim Gibbons and his campaign for Nevada governor.

The story is changing so quick we can’t even get a timeline in order, so let’s just randomly toss together some of the filthier details, after the jump.

And there are lots, none of which I intend to verify, because I no longer fucking care. I've spent all day already wading in revelations of the formally private perversions of politicians... god, I'm so alliterate... and they all seem to be Republican.

I hate to look a gift horse in the mouth... but it ain't the mouth end I find myself looking at.

So, a story about this tomorrow, I think, afer I've ruminated a bit.

Meanwhile, as the joke goes, "This Congress Sucks. And not particularly well, either."

Bigger than Before; Bigger, Stronger, Brassier!

Kerry Grows a new pair, and it's about damn time.

John Kerry, writing in a fundraiser for the The Patriot Project:

"The Patriot Project has an incredibly important and concise mission. 'Freedom of speech and the right to dissent are cornerstones of our democracy. The Patriot Project will defend any man or woman, regardless of party or affiliation, who is attacked or defamed and whose patriotism is questioned simply because they exercise their rights as Americans. This is our mission.'

That's pretty damn fundamental in itself to who we are. But there's a human face behind it. The fight is intensely personal to me. Veterans are running for office all over our country. A lot of them got interested in politics as part of my campaign, and some got involved in Wes Clark's race. Some of us had disagreements for thirty five years -- like me and Jim Webb, we didn't see eye to eye over the war we fought in. But no matter where we came from, something much bigger now brings us together -- we're all a band of brothers now. When I got off the phone with Patrick Murphy after the chickenshit attacks on his military record, something felt awfully familiar and it got me pissed off. I care about these men and women. They've got guts and they've got brains and they've got heart and I'm telling you they will change the character of this pathetic Congress, and I'm boiling mad watching people who didn't serve attack those who did because they can't win a debate on the merits."
There is nothing, nothing that infuriates me more viscerally than assaults on the honor and dignity of a combat veteran. Oh, I know there are a lot of vets on the "wrong" side of the political divide, and some of them are the most self-righteous, pompous asshats you well ever hear or read. Ordinarily I'd link to one to prove my point, but not in this context. Not ever in this context!

There is only one reason to insult the service of a veteran, and that is if they were found dishonorable and court-martialed. If their service was good enough for the men and women of his unit, you, civvy, have no damn right to question that judgement.

And while I do not take stupid shit from vets about how I don't have a right to my opinion because I haven't served, I will nonetheless put up with a lot more from a combat vet, because he damn well has earned an above-average right to be listened to, even if he IS full of crap.

No-one who has ever stood in Arlington National Cemetery, or upon the blood-soaked field of Appomattox and felt that amazing presence can seriously argue that point.

But my respect for the right to be loudly, patriotically and provably wrong stops at the point where it becomes an attack on the service of those who took equal or greater risks on behalf of my personal pink ass, and I'm starting to loudly question the values they teach recruits and cadets these days, because there are too damn many vets willing to do that.

The armed forces damn well need to clean house, and it needs to start at the Pentagon and work it's way down to the foxholes and humvees. But is not something to be done by civilians, unless we are forced to do so.

Soldiers should hold themselves to higher standards of behavior, because so often they are alone with nothing but a gun and their own integrity. You know what a warrior with a gun and no integrity is? He's a fucking terrorist!

Soldiers need to know that when they make the hardest judgement calls any human being will ever make; the ones involving life, death and personal sacrifice, that integrity will be honored, and those who hew to a lesser standard will be scorned. Not by civilians who have never been shot at, or by vengeful civilians who have been shot at and survived; but by their own; by men and women who know the difference between the handle and the sharp end and the situations a soldier faces.

Every veteran put their ass on the line for their country for those of you who did not, so even if their motives were less than pure, their understanding of the world less than complete, their ability to distinguish shades of gray, much less a rainbow of alternate possibilities is beside the point most days.

This regard is even more vital for those who served in combat; what is a potential risk for most members of the armed forces was daily reality for those who are decorated combat veterans.

So there is absolutely nothing slimier or more dishonorable, no greater stain to the emblems of the units with which they served than a combat veteran who takes money to slander their comrades in arms.

It speaks to their reasons for serving; a question we do not ordinarily ask, but there are people who join because they are patriots and people who join up for the opportunity to dick-size with a gun, with an eye out toward a bit of rape and pillage if the sergeant ain't lookin',

We do not wish to think of this, we do not wish to speak of it, but those who have served know the truth; not every soldier is a plaster saint, nor all motives pure.

But unless they prove otherwise, we honor the service they gave us even when it was for selfish reasons. Being an asshole doesn't make you bulletproof, and besides, more than a few such assholes have been changed by their service into honorable men and women.

But clearly, it does not always take, and "By their fruits ye shall know them." Some go on to become mercenaries, and some go on to put money above their honor in other ways.

These "Blackwater Boys" need to be dealt with as is the just tradition for dealing who choose to dishonor the soldier's trade and the laws of just warfare, on and off the battlefield.

ummarily, and with all due prejudice.

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Reality Bites Republicans; Film at Eleven

Have you noticed that there is a widespread lack of confidence in legitimacy of the electoral process? Yes, me too, and the reason is Republican-controlled electronic voting. But according to the Spinning Heads of the Right, the REAL concern is the voters themselves; massive hordes of illegal votes coming from graveyards and illegal immigrants; or in other words, what they think of as the Democratic "base."

That's a great line, actually.

But the reality is quite different. According to People for the American Way, USA Today has broken a story that shows that the Government has learned there is no legitimate reason for concern.

You’ve heard the expression, “the cure is worse than the disease.” Well that’s especially true when you don’t even have the disease in question!

Right-wing members of Congress and state legislators have been passing onerous laws that make it harder for citizens to vote. Despite erecting barriers to the ballot box and disenfranchising voters, they’ve claimed these laws are necessary to stop rampant voter fraud.

Thanks to a press leak, it is now public that the US Elections Assistance Commission (EAC) commissioned a report to find out about voter fraud. According to USA Today, the EAC’s report shows that there is no evidence that significant numbers of voters are lying about their identity at the polls, voting twice, or voting in the name of dead people. Let me repeat that: NO EVIDENCE.

While this has long been suspected by those of us who have fought discriminatory attempts to address “voter fraud” (e.g. voter ID bills that would, in effect, create a poll tax for poor, elderly and minority citizens who don’t have or need government issued ID in their regular lives), the EAC report makes it official: voter fraud does not present a health risk to our democracy. That is, it would be official if the EAC had released it. … But it won’t release it.

Please petition the EAC to release the report at!

Across the country, states have been introducing legislation requiring voters to show identification before voting, preventing eligible voters from casting ballots. Indeed, the US Congress has tried to pass national Voter ID legislation four times in the last four months – all in the name of stopping the one electoral cancer from which we don’t appear to be suffering. Worse, the mostly Republican legislators who are pushing such “prescriptions” are more like doctors who are getting kickbacks for prescribing cancer drugs to healthy people, insofar as they are keeping away from the polls voters who tend to cast ballots for the other party.

Sign the petition to the EAC urging that this report be released and that hearings be held on its findings. We deserve to know which threats are real and which threats are imaginary.

-- Your Allies at People For the American Way Clearly

they are more concerned about legitimate voters. They can make up fraudulent voters all by themselves. Ordinarily, dirty politics are aimed at opponents and critics, but now the Republicans have simply skipped the middleman and are attempting to disenfranchise anyone who is statistically less likely to vote Republican.

You may wish to communicate your displeasure about this to your elected officials of all parties. I think they need to hear that you are willing to "pay any price and bear any burden" to vote.

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