Thursday, January 31, 2008

Millionaires Who Hate Democrats and the Democrats Who Love Them


Does anybody really believe that Gov. Steve Beshear, Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer think that the very best person to represent Kentucky in the U.S. Senate is Bruce Lunsford?

Of course not. I doubt they even think Bruce Lunsford is a Democrat. Or care.

Beshear, Reid and Schumer don't even think Lunsford is the strongest candidate Kentucky Democrats can put up against Mitch McConnell.

But they nevertheless want Lunsford to be the Democratic nominee for Mitch McConnell's Senate seat. Why?

Because Lunsford has the most money.

Here's the really stupid part: Twice in the last five years, Bruce Lunsford has spent millions of his own money in races for statewide office.

And lost. Lost huge. Both times.

In 2003, he wasted $8 million on negative TV ads, then dropped out when polls showed him still coming in third - if not fourth - in the gubernatorial primary. Lunsford then added insult to injuries he inflicted on the Democratic nominee by endorsing the republican, who went on to win in November.

In the 2007 gubernatorial primary, Lunsford was touted as the only hope for poor Democrats up against a well-funded republican incumbent. He spent more millions, and still lost to Steve Beshear by 20 points.

That's quite a record of humiliating failure. Perhaps if Lunsford were a loyal, dedicated Democrat who had contributed tens of thousands of dollars to worthy Democratic candidates over the years, he might even deserve a third chance.

Lunsford, however, has contributed tens of thousands of dollars to republicans. He has proudly advertised his close, personal relationship to republicans like Ernie Fletcher, Anne Northup and - wait for it - Mitch McConnell.

Two-time loser, multi-millionaire who can't buy a single lousy election, criminal, democratic traitor, Mitch's BFF: this is the person your Democratic "leaders" think should carry the Democratic flag into battle against Mitch McConnell.

I am sick and fucking tired of hearing supposedly sentient Democrats whine about Mitch's $11 million "war chest."

Here's the truth about Mitch's money: It has taken him five years to accumulate $11 million. Five years during most of which he was the third-most powerful politician in the country.

Last year, in just the nine months between February and November, Steve Beshear - a has-been Democrat challenging an incumbent republican in a small, red state - raised$9.5 million. And won.

An unknown, underdog democrat raised 90 percent of what Mitch raised in one-sixth the time.

If a genuinely strong Democratic nominee for Senate can't raise at least $10 million to beat the third-most-hated Republican in the country, then Democrats should just concede the entire 2008 ballot right now.

But of course a genuinely strong Democratic nominee like Andrew Horne will raise much more than Bruce Lunsford is willing to spend on an election he knows he can't win.

An election that - $10 million or no - Andrew Horne can and will win.

UPDATE, 5:15 p.m.: Apparently the pro-Lunsford forces are way more stupider than I thought - they're pushing Bruce even though he claims he will not spend his millions on the race to beat Mitch. Huh? PageOneKentucky has the details.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Bruce Lunsford is Mitch McConnell's Dream Opponent

New Kentucky Democratic Governor Steve Beshear's all-but-endorsement of Criminal and Democratic Traitor Bruce Lunsford for Mitch McConnell's Senate seat has Democratic heads exploding all over the Commonwealth.

Bruce Lunsford is by all accounts a personable guy. I met him once, and the Mark of the Beast is barely visible.

But here's why all true Democrats curse his name.

Lunsford made his millions with a Louisville health care company called Vencor. He touted it as the next Humana, and drew thousands of small investors from all over Kentucky eager to invest in a local boy done well. But Vencor was less Humana than Enron.

When expectations outgrew revenues, Lunsford starting throwing old, sick, poor people out of his nursing homes to make room for rich old people who could pay more. When that didn't work, he pulled out the remaining cash and left the empty shell for creditors to fight over. Thousands of middle-class Kentucky investors lost millions.

Lunsford skated away from the disaster he'd created, and turned his attention to politics.

As I wrote back in April, when Lunsford was running in the Democratic gubernatorial primary: (Just substitute "McConnell" for "Fletcher.")

It's a close call as to which is more important: defeating Fletcher, or defeating Lunsford.

Lunsford’s a multi-millionaire (he sank $8 million into his 2003 primary run before quitting), supposedly willing to put his personal fortune into the general election. That’s why some seriously deluded/desperate Democrats are claiming he has the best chance to beat Fletcher.

Bruce Lunsford made his millions off the backs of two groups: the poor, sick old people he threw out of his nursing homes to make room for richer patients, and the poor, trusting Kentucky families who lost their life savings investing in Lunsford’s company before he bankrupted it.

His vicious ads attacking State Attorney General Ben Chandler in the 2003 gubernatorial primary fatally wounded Chandler in the general election, especially after Lunsford dropped out of the primary and endorsed Ernie Fletcher.

Read that again, slowly: A Democratic primary candidate endorsed the Republican primary winner. After promising to support the Democratic primary winner.

Ernie won, and gave Lunsford a nice job. Since 1995, Lunsford has given more than $40,000 to Republican candidates, and less than $12,000 to Democratic candidates.

Now he wants to be the Democratic nominee.

Ernie Fletcher has been one of the worst governors in Kentucky history. Cleaning up the mess he’s created will take years if not decades and billions of dollars Kentucky doesn’t have. We can’t afford another four months, never mind another four years of Ernie Fletcher.

But a lot of Democrats will be voting for Fletcher – if Bruce Lunsford gets the nomination.

Wait - it gets worse! PageOneKentucky predicts that Lunsford's staff will fail to protect Bruce from the attacks stemming from his past, even if they manage to avoid a Federal Elections Commission complaint about illegal financing. Page One also has a great list of links to the low-down on Lunsford.

So, Kentucky, how bout it? Interested in allowing Bruce to buy this election? Is Bruce ready for everything to hit the fan?

Stick with us throughout 2008 as we delve into the world of Bruce Lunsford. It’s not pretty.

Get ready for it. This isn’t 2003. Or 2007. It’s 2008 and the entire Democratic Party is out to get him.

But only if MediaCzeck doesn't get him first.

Hear that scraping noise? That's the sound of KY Labor sharpening their knives in preparation of Bruce Lunsford announcing his candidacy for Senate.

And Gov. Beshear? Don't think encouraging him to run won't make your life absolutely miserable... labor has a long memory and would not hesitate to make the safe little bubble you've built evaporate.

The "unity" moment that Democrats shared last year, singing cumbaya by the campfire as we roasted Republican weenies? If Beshear convinces Lunsford to run, expect an absolute bloodbath among Kentucky Democrats this year.

Click the link for videos of Bruce with his BFFs Ernie and Mitch, and a sample of the anti-Lunsford attack ads Mitch probably already has in the can.

Cross-posted at Watching Those We Chose.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Traitor Returns, and a Mitch Protege Drops Out

Today's 4 p.m. deadline for filing to run in 2008 elections in Kentucky arrived with some expected bad news and two surprise gifts for Democrats.

Criminal and Democratic Traitor Bruce Lunsford filed at the last minute to run in the eight-person Democratic primary for Mitch McConnell's U.S. Senate seat.

That had been rumored for weeks, but still came as a blow to those of us who thought Lunsford's 20-point loss in the gubernatorial primary last year effectively killed him as a candidate.

Note to self: Next time, chop the body into tiny pieces and bury it in a pit of lime.

Lunsford and fellow Republican millionaire Greg Fischer were encouraged to enter the Democratic primary by Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chair Chuck Schumer and other DLC/republican-lite types in D.C. and Frankfort.

I will have more to say about this intractable suicidal tendency later, but for the moment, just remember this: Lunsford/Fischer = Mitch victory.

But take heart, progressives: One of Mitch's original protege`s has thrown in the towel. Seven-term Congressman Ron Lewis, R-KY 2, is not running for re-election, throwing the 2nd District into real contention for the first time in more than a decade.

Back in February 1994, when Democratic Congressman William Natcher, who had represented the 2nd District of Kentucky for decades, died in office, then-freshman senator Mitch McConnell cast his net for a useful dupe to run as a republican in the special election.

He found itinerant preacher and religious bookstore owner Ron Lewis in tiny Cecilia, and never looked back. In 14 years, Lewis has distinguished himself primarily by doing nothing to draw anyone's attention. In 2006, the last year of the republican majority in the House of Representatives, Lewis' power ranking was below 200 - near the bottom of his party, despite 12 years in office.

As of this morning, only Owensboro representative David Boswell had filed as a Democrat for Lewis' seat, but immediately after Lewis' last-minute withdrawal, another dem and two repugs jumped in.

Another Mitch protege` announced her desire for a third electoral humiliation in 18 months. In the Third Congressional District of Louisville, former Congresswoman Anne Northup has filed to run against Democrat John Yarmuth, who beat every prediction to upset her in November 2006.

In 2007, Annie followed Mitch's advice to challege incumbent Republican governor Ernie Fletcher in the primary, only to lose big again in May.

Now rumors say Annie is very pissed that three other republicans have also filed in the primary. How tacky of them!

In the Fourth, two-term incumbent repug Geoff Davis has three - count 'em, three - republican primary opponents and one Democratic opponent.

In the Sixth, DINO Extraordinaire Ben Chandler has two republican opponents and, to the shame of every Real Democrat in the Sixth District, no Democratic primary opponent.

In the Fifth District, republican Congressman-for-Life Hal Rogers is unopposed. His constituents may all be Democrats, but they know the value of a congressman who will break any law to bring billions in pork to the home folks.

It's going to be one hell of a ride between now and the Primary on May 20. Check back here for updates as frequent as I can manage to make them.

Cross-posted at Watching Those We Chose.

Heather Ryan Declares for Congress

Navy veteran and Mitch McConnell nemesis Heather Ryan has filed to run for Congress as a Democrat, challenging Ed Whitfield, R-KY 1.

Two weeks ago, Heather's 12-year-old daughter Heaven confronted U.S. Senate Minority Leader McConnell in downtown Paducah, KY, demanding to know why Mitch wants her active-duty Navy dad to die in Iraq.

Mitch ran away from the adorable but determined red-head, then retaliated by extorting the city of Paducah into firing Heaven's mother from her job as executive director of a non-profit independent theater.

Hillbilly has the video at BlueGrassRoots, and this to say:

It's a shame when a little girl tries to ask a US Senator about her father, and it results in her mother, a military veteran, losing her job. Now the child has two things to worry about, her mother and her father. Shame on you Senator Mitch McConnell!!!

If you've never heard of Congressman Ed Whitfield, don't feel bad; neither has anyone else. In his 13 years in Congress, he hasn't done one single blessed thing, as far as anyone can tell. Nobody seems to know what he looks like.

Here's the fun part: until Heather Ryan filed to run against Whitfield, Eddie-boy had no opposition.

Scratch that: until a 12-year-old-girl terrified the third-most-powerful Republican in the nation into grossly over-reacting to a simple question, republican Ed Whitfield was set to sail to re-election.

Now, Eddie-boy, who I daresay is barely known at the Republican National Committee, faces opposition from a woman who has already gotten national publicity for standing up to McConnell.

In a year when people are going to be voting for anybody and everybody with a D next to their names.

Well done, Mitch. Your diabolical plan to take over the country by destroying the Kentucky Republican Party appears to be ahead of schedule.

Cross-posted at Watching Those We Chose.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Hillary: Lying, Cheating, Stealing

Remember the neighborhood kid who always bossed everybody around, loudly demanding that everybody obey the rules, only to go behind your back and cheat to get ahead?

Well, she's all grown up now and she's running for president. But she knows she can't draw enough real votes to win if she plays by the rules, so she's cheating.

No, I'm not talking about New Hampshire ballots; I'm talking about Michigan primary delegates. Hillary is stealing them.

156 delegates is more than Hillary has acquired from actual voters so far. And it's 156 more than she actually earned in Michigan.

Last year, the Democratic National Committee, in a desperate effort to prevent states from moving their primaries back before Halloween, dropped a sanctions anvil on Michigan and Florida.

For the crime of moving their primaries ahead of Stupid Tuesday (h/t, salon commenter "sforme"), the DNC stripped both states of all their delegates. Go ahead, hold your primaries whenever you want, the DNC said; come the convention, your count will be zero.

All the Democratic presidential candidates went along, agreeing not to campaign or compete in either state. John Edwards and Barack Obama went so far as to have their names removed from the Michigan ballot.

Hillary did not. When Michigan democrats voted on January 15, the only names on the ballot were Hillary Clinton and Dennis Kucinich. Hillary took 55 percent of the votes. Which is actually pretty pathetic, considering that "uncomitted" got 40 percent.

But it doesn't matter because those delegates don't count, right?

Today, Hillary announced that she will demand the DNC seat Michigan's and Florida's delegates. Delegates that only she - in violation of DNC rules - competed for. Delegates that her underhanded manuevering kept away from Obama and Edwards. Delegates she lied, cheated and stole to get.

She also admonished Edwards and Obama to keep their promise not to campaign in Florida, whose primary is next Tuesday. Convenient for her, that they should not have a chance to counter her blatant delegate-pander to Florida voters.

Playing hardball with your competition is fine, but playing the voters for chumps is likely to backfire.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Breeze is Picking Up

Roper: "So now you'd give the devil the benefit of law?"

More: "Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the devil?"

Roper: "I'd cut down every law in England to do that."

More: "Oh, and when the last law was down, and the devil turned on you, where would you hide, Roper, all the laws being flat? This country is planted thick with laws from coast to coast, man's laws not God's, and if you cut them down -- and you're just the man to do it -- do you really think that you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then?

"Yes, I'd give the devil the benefit of the law, for my own safety's sake."

---A Man for All Seasons


TPM Muckraker has the list of the Teleco Ten, the "Democratic" Senators who voted this afternoon to kill a FISA bill that did NOT give amnesty to lawbreaking telecommunications companies.

The final tally was actually 60-36, not 60-34, and the full list of Dems voting to kill were: Sens. Evan Bayh (D-IN), Tom Carper (D-DE), Daniel Inouye (D-HI), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Ben Nelson (D-NE), Mark Pryor (D-AR), Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), and Ken Salazar (D-CO).

Now comes the "debate" on the FISA bill that hands Smirky-Darth dictatorial powers and gives amnesty to the telecommunications companies who illegally wiretapped innocent American citizens.

Glenn Greenwald at Salon has a great analysis, and FiredogLake is liveblogging the debate.

Meanwhile, Salon commenter Jim White reports that John Edwards is finally stepping up on this issue:

I just got this email from Edwards. He stops short of calling for Obama and Clinton to go to Washington but he does say all of the right things otherwise. I think those calls and emails are helping.

Dear Jim,
When it comes to protecting the rule of law, words are not enough. We need action.

It's wrong for your government to spy on you. That's why I'm asking you to join me today in calling on Senate Democrats to filibuster revisions to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) that would give "retroactive immunity" to the giant telecom companies for their role in aiding George W. Bush's illegal eavesdropping on American citizens.

The Senate is debating this issue right now -- which is why we must act right now. You can call your Senators here:

Mel Martinez, (R): (202) 224-3041

Bill Nelson, (D): (202) 224-5274

Granting retroactive immunity is wrong. It will let corporate law-breakers off the hook. It will hamstring efforts to learn the truth about Bush's illegal spying program. And it will flip on its head a core principle that has guided our nation since our founding: the belief that no one, no matter how well connected or what office they hold, is above the law.

But in Washington today, the telecom lobbyists have launched a full-court press for retroactive immunity. George Bush and Dick Cheney are doing everything in their power to ensure it passes. And too many Senate Democrats are ready to give the lobbyists and the Bush administration exactly what they want.

Please join me in calling on every Senate Democrat to do everything in their power -- including joining Senator Dodd's efforts to filibuster this legislation -- to stop retroactive immunity and stand up for the rule of law. The Constitution should not be for sale at any price.

Thank you for taking action.

UPDATE,7 p.m.: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid rejected Mitch McConnell's motion to end debate - which would have handed Smirky-Darth their victorious execution of the Rule of Law - and postponed further debate until Monday.

That gives us all day tomorrow to call and email our Senators to warn them about the comming hurricane.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Last Chance to Save the Rule of Law

This is it. Tomorrow morning, Harry Reid is planning to ram through the Senate a FISA bill that not only hands Smirky/Darth all the dictatorial domestic spying powers they want, but also gives giant telecommunications companies amnesty for illegally spying on the phone calls, emails and text messages of millions of innocent American citizens for the past seven years.

He's doing it over the objections of Democratic Senators Chris Dodd and Russ Feingold, even though Reid always honors such "holds" by republican senators.

He's doing it just as Democratic senators prepare to jet off to Switzerland for a "retreat." This timing forces Dodd and Feingold to launch a filibuster that ruins their colleagues' nice European vacation.

Reid's throwing everything he's got at these lonely defenders of the Constitution and the Rule of Law because the last time he tried this, in November, a concentrated grassroots protest forced him to back off.

We've got to do it again, only harder, faster and better.

The same coalition of progressive groups and bloggers that stopped the wiretapping amnesty train last time is back on the case, this time with a new tactic:

Demanding former Senator and Presidential Candidate John Edwards take the lead as the only presidential candidate backing Dodd and Feingold's Last Stand Defense of American Liberty.

Jane Hamsher and Glenn Greenwald write in an email:

John Edwards should challenge his rivals Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to go back to Washington, DC and fight against retroactive immunity for the telecoms.

Without the help of the presidential candidates, we are doomed to lose this fight. And all their calls for change will ring hollow if they allow George Bush to railroad this bill through a supine Democratic-controlled Senate because of their absence.

You can email Senator Edwards directly at

Greenwald adds this in a post:
UPDATE II: For what it's worth (not all that much), both Obama and Clinton have told Markos Moulitsas, in response to being asked, that they oppose telecom immunity and support Dodd's filibuster. Far more active efforts than that would be necessary to have an effect.

On a separate note, Christy Hardin Smith has the contact information for the 14 Senators who seemed prepared to support Dodd's filibuster back in December. It's probably worth calling as many of them as possible -- including Dodd -- to encourage them to do so again.

Credo Action (formerly Working Assets) has been pushing this hard all day, to the point that they crashed Obama's campaign email servers. But we can't let up. Email Edwards, email or call your own and everyone else's Senators, raise hell and keep raisin' it until we win.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Be A Stealth Candidate

It’s one week to the January 29 deadline for filing to run for office in 2008. Do you know who’s challenging your state representative/senator?

Probably not, because as of today, 110 of the 119 representatives and senators up for re-election in Kentucky this year have no opponent in November.

In the Senate, only four of the 19 seats will be contested in November.

In the House, only five of the 100 seats will be contested in November.

Not even Russian President Vladimir Putin, who keeps the testicles of every member of the Duma in a jar on his desk, can boast that rate of incumbency return.

Here are the only three allowable excuses for NOT running for political office:

1. You will be fired from your job (running for office is cause for dismissal.)

2. Your spouse will kill you.

3. Public exposure will reveal secrets from your past that will get you fired from your job and/or cause your spouse to kill you.

One, two or all three of these excuses apply to yours truly, which is why I get to sit here comfortably and nag the rest off you into running for office.

Here’s the biggest excuse for not running for office, and why it is bogus:

A state House race costs at least $50,000, and I can’t afford it.

That’s why they call it fundraising, not fundwithdrawing. OK, so all your friends and relatives are poor, too. The false assumption here is that there is some kind of rule that you must spend money if you are running for office.

Here’s the secret truth: No you don’t! Once you’ve paid the filing fee ($200), you can sit on your ass all day, every day, for almost 10 months, until Election Day, when it really is bad form to not even bother to vote for yourself.

The point is that you only have to spend money if you are so desperate to win that you believe the party insiders and consultants who lie about how much TV advertising you need.

If, however, you are running simply to make the point that no one should be allowed to skate into public office without an opponent, then there is no reason to spend a single dime.

In a year like 2008, when voters are desperate to punish someone, anyone, they are going to take aim at every incumbent they can find. They’re going to vote for every challenger on the ballot, even if they’ve never heard or read the challenger’s name before.

Especially if they’ve never heard or read the challenger’s name before.

So I propose Stealth Candidacies. If your local House member or Senator has no opponent from the other party, quietly file for the seat yourself.

Don’t tell anybody.

Don’t send out a press release, don’t ask anybody for money, and for pity’s sake don’t tell any bloggers.

If you insist on making it exciting, you could start a whisper campaign, spreading rumors about your opponent. Incumbents have used this tactic against challengers for decades and gotten away with it – why should they have all the fun? Phrase the rumor in the form of a question – “did you hear that Representative Charlie Hoffman (D-Georgetown) eats boogers?" - and you’re accountability-free.

With a little luck, we could see at least a few overconfident incumbents wake up November 5 to the news that somebody nobody ever heard of has thrown them out of office.

As a bonus, we’d get a few representatives and senators who got elected all by their lonesomes, owing nothing to campaign contributors, lobbyists or party honchos.

Then we’d see some real fun.

Here’s the list of
members of the Kentucky House of Representatives.
All of them are up for re-election.

Here’s the list of members of the Kentucky Senate. The 19 who represent odd-numbered Senate Districts are up for re-election.

Here’s the list of candidates who have filed to run for a seat in the Kentucky House of Representatives.

Here’s the list of candidates who have filed to run for a seat in the Kentucky Senate.

H/T a pissed-off Democrat whose repug representative is running unchallenged.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Mitch vs. Heather Update

MediaCzech at BlueGrassRoots is on top of the Heather Ryan debacle.

First, the Heather Ryan Plan of Action, complete with phone numbers and email addresses for the Kentucky MSM reporters who are ostentatiously ignoring Mitch's despicable and probably criminal behavior.

Then, local coverage of Heather's firing in the Paducah Sun. Considering that compared to the Sun, National Review reads like Mother Jones, the piece is actually pretty fair.

Lastly, for the moment, we're getting some bamboozlement pushback on the Mitch-got-Heaven's-Mom-Fired story, so let's address each pro-Mitch Lying Point in turn:

Heather Ryan is a bad mother for "using" her child. Wrong. Heather Ryan gave her 12-year-old daughter a priceless gift in the opportunity to stand up to corrupt power and speak her mind as a free American citizen.

The video proves Mitch did nothing wrong. Backwards. The video proves Mitch lied about what Heather did. Heather is the one who did nothing wrong; Mitch is the one who lied and falsely accused her of doing things she did not do.

The Board of Directors fired Heather for violating some kind of Executive Director Code of Conduct. You have that in a PDF you can email, maybe? No. The Board of Directors fired Heather because Mitch extorted them, threatening to take away Paducah's federal funding if they didn't fire her. Extortion by a public official, by the way, is a crime: a Class D felony punishable by at least one (1) year but not more than five (5) years in prison.

Heather deserved to be fired because what she did was tacky. Tacky?! String 'er up! Her and her little girl, too! Heather and Heaven were publicly voicing political dissent - the most patriotic act any American can commit. They are Heroes of Democracy and should be honored and showered with rewards.

Cross-posted at Watching Those We Chose.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Mitch Attacks Another 12-year-old

UPDATE II - Video!

S-CHIP defender Graeme Frost had it easy: all Mitch McConnell did to him was unleash attack-bloggers to defame and humiliate his family.

Heaven Ryan dared to demand why Mitch wants her active-duty Daddy to die in Iraq. So Mitch is extorting the city of Paducah, Kentucky, into firing Heaven's Mommy.

In the immortal words of Dave Barry, I am not making this up.

It started January 15, with what Heaven's mother Heather Ryan describes as "the most bizarre political day of my life."

As I promised my 12 year old, Heaven, that she could join me on the day's adventures if she scored 100% on last week's spelling test, she was in tow for a day of work and a quick protest of Senator Mitch McConnell's re-election campaign swing through our fair city of Paducah. There's something about that kid, she just loves a good protest.

Mitch arrives, ignores the freezing but determined DitchMitch protesters, ducks indoors to deliver speech to fatcat supporters. Protesters get it on videotape, and Heather returns to work as executive director of the Maiden Alley Cinema, an independent movie theater.

As we pulled up, we ran into fate - also known as the Executive Director of the River Heritage Museum, Julie Harris. The River Heritage Museum, The Maiden Alley Cinema and the Seaman's Church share a beautiful, historic building in downtown Paducah. We have a little collective use agreement which allows all of our non-profit organizations to use the lobby and movie theater during different times of the day/week/year. Julie then informs me that a certain Senator will be paying a visit to her fine establishment in just a little bit and that I should thank my lucky stars for such a fabulous Senator since his pork projects are what built the theater (gag - that's so not true!). This was a revelation to me. When did they schedule this visit and why was I not informed?

My mind was racing a mile a minute. What would I say to the Senate Minority Leader should the chance present itself? Should I remain in my professional capacity as an Executive Director most assuredly should? Or, should I speak my mind and find out why the hell he still backs this cluster f*ck war and president? So much to contemplate, with such little time. What to do, what to say, would I lose my job, would I look unprofessional, would his security people tackle me and torture me by sucking up spit streams from their mouths just to let them dangle millimeters from my lips and sucking them back up again? The possibilities were endless. Then, it dawned on me - I didn't have to do anything, I could simply put the kid up to the dirty work. Hell, that's why we have kids - to make them do all the crap to which we are too cowardly to own up. I could have her ask the Senator what was on her mind, then if he dogs her, not only is he an asshole for dissing a 12 year old, but I could get it on camera! SCORE!

Read the whole thing for a rollicking account of Heather's and Heaven's action-movie chase-down of Mitch, but eventually:

Finally, our opportunity! "Senator, I want to talk to you about the war in Iraq. It will just take a minute of your time". Heaven's screaming, "Do you want my dad to die? Should I start training for war?" Holy crap, my heart is going to come out of my chest! The goon security man yells at my daughter, "We won't have any of that!" to which I replied, "What are you going to do? This is free speech!” Then we resume asking the Senator for a minute of his time. Vrrrrooooommm - his rented SUV halls ass out of my alley - presumably for the first and last time. I doubt he will frequent our fine independent movies after this encounter. Damn - I just lost the theater $6.50 for an adult admission! Oh wait, I also just pissed off Senator Mitch McConnell and his security goons because I wanted to talk about the war in Iraq. Although Heaven didn't get an answer to her question, "Would you care if my dad died in the war?" (her dad is active duty Navy, I'm a vet), and I never did get that one minute of the Senator's time (I don't have $250.00 for the fund-raiser to which he was rushing), it was a good damned day!

Need I point out that there are wealthy and powerful "Democrats" in this country who cannot summon the courage and ovaries to do what Heaven and Heather Ryan did that day?

No, the third-most-powerful Republican in the nation is not afraid of his Senate colleagues. He is, however, terrified of one pink-haired 12-year-old and her Navy veteran mother. Heather reports the next day:

Within the past 24 hours, tens of millions of dollars in funding for all programs previously promised from the Federal Government to our fair city's River Front Revitalization Program have suddenly been moved into the "uncertain column"; at least until the city fathers can prove that crazy rabble rouser "Heather Ryan" is not associated with their programs/organizations. That's right ladies and gentlemen, in no uncertain terms, I've been informed that my little "escapade" in videotaping the Senate Minority Leader has suddenly put Paducah Pork on the chopping block in Mr. McConnell's book should me and my silly little girl remain in the forefront of Paducah Politics. Last night, at a dinner attended by my superior, myself, my husband, and my daughter Heaven, I was informed that if I did not cease my political activities in Paducah I would LOSE MY JOB.


I'm Speechless folks. A first for me, indeed. Speechless and sadly, most likely, soon to be Jobless. I hope you understand the gravity of this matter. The most powerful Republican in the world is effectively attempting to destroy the lives of a veteran mother and her family because she was bold enough to ask the question we all want to know, "What are you hiding Mitch?". I can tell you what I will be hiding, the original video tape. And I’ll tell you what I won’t be hiding. The copies.

On Friday night the 18th, Heather appeared as summoned before her Board of Directors.

Apparently, during those many conversations Senator McConnell and his staff shared with his wealthy donors as well as the business and political leaders of the city, he elaborated on what seems to be an entirely different scene from what Heaven and I experienced. Senator McConnell and his big, burly security entourage were terrified of this 5'3" handycam toting mother and her 70 pound pre-teen. According to numerous accounts, they insist that we were wielding antagonistic signs, pounding on the theater's windows, attempting to ruin the filming of his re-election campaign commercial, harassing his security personnel, banging on the SUV which was chauffeuring around the Senator and (this is my personal favorite) screaming, "I hope you die" to the Senator.

Now people, I know that we have been through seven rough years of idiocy in the White House, but work with me here. Let's put aside the moron mentality which our leaders desire we use and put to practice some common sense. If you have peeked your head out the door for any portion of the past seven years, you realize that you simply CANNOT make "Terroristic Threats" toward ANYONE in government, let alone the Senior Senator in the Republican Party! Come On! If this were even remotely true, don't you think Heaven and I would be spending a little time visiting our friends in the "Bed and Breakfast" run by the McCracken County Sheriff? These claims are OUTRAGEOUS and make me look like a complete nut case - which is apparently what Senator McConnell intended.

His Chief of Staff actually called some of the power players in Paducah from Washington, D.C., the following day, to let them know how "disturbed" both he and the Senator were by our actions (see previous update regarding cutting funding to Paducah pork programs if the nut case [me] remains affiliated with the city). Then, certain members of my board were told to "take care of the situation" - as if they are supposed to channel Tony Soprano. So, that's how we found ourselves in a 6:00 PM emergency meeting of the Board of Directors.

After vehemently denying all of these crazy assertions, we simply popped "exhibit A" into the VCR, which was dragged into the conference room especially for this occasion. Oh look, there we were, in front of the theater, filming McConnell, just as I said we did. Hmmm, oddly enough, we weren't banging on the windows, acting like morons, screaming about our desire for the Senator's demise - we were simply expressing our First Amendment Right to ask the Senator about the War in Iraq. Crazy as it may seem, the tape also showed his overly ambitious, middle management security staff being complete assholes, just as I said they were, and the Senator arrogantly blowing us off, just as I said he did. Needless to say, the meeting broke up shortly thereafter, with some expressions of disgust about being misled, because there is simply no evidence that I was the stark raving lunatic to which Senator McConnell and his staff insisted.

Remember how Mitch's attack-bloggers lied about Graeme Frost's family, and then WHAS-11's Mark Hebert caught Mitch on tape lying about the fact that he sicced his attack-bloggers on the Frosts? Apparently, that's the only tactic he knows. MediaCzeck of BlueGrassRoots, which has been documenting this travesty, notes:

... a particularly disgusting trend on Mitch McConnell's de facto attack blog, EITB.

EITB, which receives its talking points directly from the offices of Senator McConnell, recently mimicked his private dishonest talking points regarding Heather and Heaven Ryan, who confronted Mitch on videotape last week in Paducah.

EITB falsely claims (as Mitch did in exact words to Ryan's employers) that they were screaming "I hope you die" to Senator McConnell. This is before McConnell's false claim was public knowledge. But as Ryan's video showed in her meeting with her employers yesterday, the video clearly shows that no such thing happened. It was completely invented by Mitch McConnell's people, and his mouthpiece at EITB printed it before that false smear was presented to her by her employers.

It remains to be seen if McConnell's threats overcome truth, beauty and the American Way in Paducah, but Heather promises to keep us informed.

Many thanks to Brian Smith for posting Heather's emails to BlueGrassRoots.

UPDATE, 6:57 p.m.: I am sad and furious to report that Heather Ryan has, indeed, been fired. DitchMitchKY has the details.

And as MediaCzech at BlueGrassRoots vows, this isn't over.

UPDATE II, Jan. 22, 6:07 a.m. - Video!

Cross-posted at Watching Those We Chose.

Friday, January 11, 2008

KY Rep. Charlie Hoffman Eats Boogers - Pass It On

And probably lots of other gross stuff that I'd love to specify, but I promised my mama I wouldn't get arrested for anything except civil disobedience.

Yep, you guessed it - the Georgetown, KY Democrat wants to make it a crime - punishable by jail time - to say rude things on the Internet.

Is he trying to bring the world economy to a screeching halt?

As David Adams at the Bluegrass Policy Blog puts it:

Rep. Charle Hoffman Eats Boogers

The headline you just read could get me thrown in jail for up to ninety days if the above-referenced booger-eater from Georgetown has his way.

HB 281 prohibits communication via the internet "which causes annoyance or alarm and serves no purpose of legitimate communication."

And since I'm clearly unrepentent, my soon-to-follow second offense would land me in jail for up to a year.

In 2008, it should go without saying that we err on the side of liberty and thick skin on the internet.

Given that it costs municipalities in Kentucky up to $88.44 a day to put someone in our already-overcrowded jails, maybe we can call this the Thin Skinned Tax-Raising Ninny Act of 2008.

Page One Kentucky jumps on the bandwagon (Click the link to see Page One's hysterical photo of Charlie Hoffman virutally eating virtual boogers):

Charlie Hoffman Really Does Eat Boogers

This man. The one pictured right here. He is a known booger eater. Because of him we’re inciting a riot, encouraging annoyance and alarm. Get to it! Go start fights in Hoffman’s name.

As David Adams reports, Rep. Charlie Hoffman (D-Waste of Time) is pushing worthless legislation that would prohibit online communication that causes “annoyance or alarm” and serves no legitimate purpose.

Like David says, telling the peeps on that scary internets about Charlie Hoffman and his booger eating ways could land a blogger in jail for up to 90 days. A second offense carries up to a year in jail as punishment.

Yeah, that’s the ticket. Let’s stifle free speech because a few booger eaters in Frankfort can’t handle criticism. We’re not suggesting that people go crazy by publishing defaming and false material, but come on. What century is this?

Charlie Hoffman. Time and money waster. Another Democrat deserving of a primary opponent.

The late, great Molly Ivins always said the most effective political attack is ridicule. So, everybody, all together now:

Charlie Hoffman Eats Boogers!

Pass it on.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Don't Be Fooled: Presidential Race is a Three-Way Tie

Every Presidential Election year around June, people start complaining about how "the media" annointed a party nominee in February, before half the nation had voted for a primary candidates or half the delegates had been awarded.

Yeah, the Tweetys and the Russerts are assholes, but why do supporters of the second- and third-place candidates let themselves be fooled?

I'm starting to hear totally unwarranted panic from Obama supporters and even less-warranted surrender from Edwards supporters, all of which feeds directly into the Big Lie of Hillary inevitability.

Salon commenter CarolynETaylor makes some good points about why the real "Comeback Kid" in New Hampshire is Edwards:

Yes, it was disappointing to Edwards' supporters that he didn't do better than he did with 17% but that sentence should say "even better" in light of his own progress among New Hampshire voters.

He received nearly twice as many votes as he did in New Hampshire in 2004, going from 26,000 to 48,000, which, given the overall increase in voters meant going from 12% to 17%. That too is significant, although given the agenda of the MSM, it will, I bet, never show up at all, so "lost" in the obsession over this being a Clinton-Obama race, period.

I think it's safe to say that Southerners have tended to have an extra hurdle to mount in NH primaries. In 1992, the very time when placing 2nd made Bill Clinton the "comeback kid," Clinton received 41,540 votes (compared to Tsongas' 55,000). That 1992 Bill Clinton vote count is 6,500 FEWER votes than Edwards received there yesterday.

It all depends on what the media choose to focus on. If they single-mindedly focus only on horse-race results and do not see under the first-place finishes what other data are there to mine which may stand in some contradiction to the more simplistic storyline, then that too is part of the problem. Sure, Hillary is lead story today, but is her new "comeback kid" story the ONLY story out of NH?

Why can't the media just as easily be saying, Wow, Edwards finished 2nd in Iowa over Clinton despite being vastly outspent, now he nearly doubled his numbers in New Hampshire over his previous election, if he can repeat his victory of 2004 in South Carolina (despite the media bandwagon for his opponents), he's just as much in this race as anyone.

Kentucky's primary isn't until May, and if everybody just calms down and hangs in there, my primary vote might actually count, for the first time in my life.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Horne Breaches Repug Wall in Western Kentucky

On election night 2004, Democrat Dan Mongiardo was beating incumbent repug U.S. Senator Jim Bunning by four points with the majority of Eastern Time Zone precincts reporting. Even including Bunning's home area of Northern Kentucky, Mongiardo was well ahead.

Then the polls closed in the Central Time Zone, in Western Kentucky. And precinct by precinct, Mongiardo's lead evaporated. He lost by 2 percentage points.

Outside the repug stronghold of the Old Fifth in South-Central Kentucky, Western Kentucky has been the biggest thorn in the side of progressives struggling to paint the Commonwealth blue again.

New Democratic Governor Steve Beshear, a native Western Kentuckian himself, made huge inroads this year by carrying almost every western county.

But that was a native son in a state race. How would a Louisville Democrat fare in a race for federal office? Say, for instance, Andrew Horne running against Mitch McConnell?

The first indicators are in, and they speak well for Horne's chances.

In a piece arguing that Horne will beat Mitch, Media Czech at BlueGrassRoots cites as evidence positive comments about Horne from a moderately conservative blogger in Western Kentucky.

In a post titled "Col. Horne plays well in Western Kentucky," the Underground Rooster writes:

As a Conservative on most issues, I'm known for being a hard sell for Democrats trying to get elected down here but I will have to admit that I found Col. Andrew Horne very appealing ....

It is still a little early but I think Col. Andrew Horne may have enough matches in his box to start a big fire down here in Western Kentucky.

MediaCzech comments:

People are fed up with politics as usual in Washington .... Lt. Col. Andrew Horne is the candidate that they will be looking for. Honesty, integrity, experience and straight-talk. That's what will cut into McConnell's support in Western Kentucky and other rural or "conservative" areas.

Mitch may have been in office for 24 years, but don't think Western Kentuckians have forgotten he's a city boy from Louisville. Nor will the many voters with connections to the army base at Fort Campbell fail to make comparisons between Marine Lt. Col. Horne's Iraq combat experience and Mitch's Vietnam-era discharge for bad eyes.

If Horne can win over Western Kentucky, he'll wipe the floor with Mitch in November.

Cross-posted at Watching Those We Chose.

Who's Afraid of Mike Huckabee?

Anyone who's ever been to a Chamber of Commerce meeting knows the idea of those overfed, self-satisfied incompetents* actually getting out of their comfy office suites to build anything is too hilarious for words.

But it seems the impudence of presidential candidates daring to utter "populist" ideas has got the chamber's national president sputtering empty threats:

From The Los Angeles Times:

Alarmed at the increasingly populist tone of the 2008 political campaign, the president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is set to issue a fiery promise to spend millions of dollars to defeat candidates deemed to be anti-business.

"We plan to build a grass-roots business organization so strong that when it bites you in the butt, you bleed," chamber President Tom Donohue said....

Although Donohue shied away from precise figures, he indicated that his organization would spend in excess of the approximately $60 million it spent in the last presidential cycle. That approaches the spending levels planned by the largest labor unions....

"I'm concerned about anti-corporate and populist rhetoric from candidates for the presidency, members of Congress and the media," he said. "It suggests to us that we have to demonstrate who it is in this society that creates jobs, wealth and benefits -- and who it is that eats them."

Okay, leaving aside the sexual-sado-masochistic metaphors that bring to mind corpulent 19th-century factory owners buggering their starving child laborers, Donohue's got this completely backwards.

As I wrote in a comment to TPMMuckraker:

Companies do NOT create jobs; consumers of products that companies manufacture create jobs.

Seen the horse-whip industry creating many jobs lately?

High time someone reminded the Chamber that "labor" is not a bunch of non-consuming Martians outside the economy. "Labor" is consumers.

Decades ago, a GM exec showed UAW leader Walter Reuther an auto-building robot and crowed, "Let's see you get THAT to join a union!":

Ruether retorted: "Let's see you get THAT to buy a car."

It was Henry Ford, a capitalist who makes the fascists in the Chamber seems like Commies, who paid his assembly-line workers the un-heard-of sum of $5 per day for one purely capitalist reason:

So they could afford to BUY the cars they were BUILDING.

Wake up, assholes. By opposing populism, you're digging your own graves.

*The Chamber, especially in its lobbying-centric national form, is hardly friendly to the entrepreneurial small business people who are the true backbone of the U.S. economy.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Electability = Loser

The next person who mentions a candidate's "electability" should be forced to watch an endless loop videotape of John Kerry windsurfing and pretending to hunt.

In every single non-incumbent election since 1960, the "unelectable" candidate has beaten the "electable" one.

Callow, Catholic Kennedy beat sitting VP Nixon.

Two-time loser Nixon beat sitting VP Humphrey.

Goofy-looking, too-religious Carter beat sitting (but un-elected) Ford.

Iran-Contra-weakened Bush beat Massachusetts Miracle Dukakis.

Famous failure, deserter, alcoholic and family joke Smirky beat super-experienced sitting VP Gore.

Not to mention the "unelectables" who beat incumbents: Too-dumb, senile, right-wing (when it was a bad thing) Reagan beat Carter, and philandering, trashy Bubba Clinton beat George I.

Belief in electability is what got us John Kerry, possibly the only Democrat on earth or in space who could not have beaten Smirky by 50 points.

Clinging to electability in 2008 is going to get us Hillary Clinton, definitely the only Democrat in the entire galaxy who could not beat the republicans even if they nominate bin Laden.

If you truly, genuinely believe corporate-owned, war-mongering, actual republican Hillary would be the best Democratic president, then go ahead - send her money, support her, vote for her.

But shut up about her electability. It's a guarantee Democrats will lose.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Looks Like a Real Race

Edwards supporters, late-primary states and lovers of Demcracy: rejoice! We might just have a real Democratic primary race here.

At this point four years ago, John Kerry was the nominee and the Swift Boat ads were in the can.

Now, the repug attack wing may not find out until May whether they have to deal with the Muslim, the Fag or the Bitch.

I'll go out on a limb again and say that Edwards and Obama are in a good position. Nevada and South Carolina voters now have reasons to look much more closely at the candidates themselves rather than following Iowa or New Hampshire results like sheep.

Chattering Monkey Time in Frankfort

The General Assembly gathered in Frankfort today to begin their bi-annual "regular" session (meaning, I guess, that the session held in odd-numbered years is constipated - or more so.)

Much as we all try to pretend otherwise, this is actually extremely important to your personal life. As Molly Ivins pointed out every four years, the laws your state legislature passes are way more important than the presidential race.

Want to make sure the workers at your local day-care have to pass a criminal background check? That the kitchen of your favorite restaurant is regularly inspected for cockroaches? That the dental hygienist poking at your gums with a lethally sharp object has a license?

It's your state legislator - not the president - who makes those decisions. She is making them right now, and will make hundreds of them before the General Assembly adjourns in May.

Hundreds of decisions that will affect you every day: the fine for illegally parking in that handicapped spot, whether your day at the races will be enhanced - or ruined - by slot machines, whether you have to get a special photo ID in order to vote.

So here, direct from the General Assembly itself, is a list of phone numbers and web sites to find out what's going on in Frankfort during the session, keep track of bills and harangue your local representative and senator.

- The Legislative Message Line at 1-800-372-7181 is available for constituents to offer their opinions to state lawmakers. A Spanish-language line is available at 1-866-840-6574. The legislature also operates a TTY Message Line for citizens with hearing or speech impairments at 1-800-896-0305.

- Residents can also get information about the legislature's activities by calling the Calendar Line, updated each evening, at 1-800-633-9650. The recording announces the upcoming day's scheduled committee hearings and floor meeting times.

- The status of each bill filed in the House or Senate is also available at 1-866-840-2835.

- A wealth of information is also available to constituents through the General Assembly's website. Among the services available are the meetings calendar, help on discovering who represents each area of Kentucky in Frankfort, pending legislation, current laws, and a guide to how the legislature operates.

- The LRC Public Information Office e-mails regular legislative updates to subscribers of its eNews service. Anyone can subscribe by visiting the website. In addition, the Public Information Office maintains a Web log of legislative news, "Capitol Notes," detailing legislative action.

- Kentucky Education Television records all meetings of the full House and Senate as well as many committee meetings. House and Senate chamber proceedings and some committee meetings can be viewed on a live stream available at KET's website.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Dem Whores Lining Up to Lose to Mitch

Seems DLC sweetheart Chuck Schumer is still ignoring stand-up guy Andrew Horne to bat his eyelashes at a couple of Louisville millionaires.

Two Louisville Democrats who are capable of writing big checks to their campaign accounts continue to mull running for the U.S. Senate.

Greg Fischer, CEO of stadium seating company Dant Clayton Corp., said in an interview that he hopes to make his final call "by the middle of the month."

"I have not filed for the office, but I'm strongly looking at it," Fischer said. "I'm telling people I'm strongly considering it."

Meanwhile, Bruce Lunsford -- the Vencor founder, movie production company owner and two-time gubernatorial candidate -- also hasn't ruled out a run after meeting with Democratic leaders in Washington, D.C. last month.

To call Fischer a dilettante is a understatement. To call Lunsford a Democrat is a crime.

Lunsford is simply beneath contempt, but Page One Kentucky reveals Fischer may be giving Lunsford a run for his felonious reputation:

He says he hasn’t made up his mind about running for the United States Senate but an email Greg Fischer sent to tons of people on December 24, 2007 suggests otherwise. In the message, sent from Fischer’s Dant Clayton corporate email account, he sends a plea for finance staff. Young, old, experienced, inexperienced, it doesn’t matter to him. We won’t waste time pointing out to Fischer that an experienced finance team is crucial.

What we will point out, though, is that conducting campaign business via a corporate email account on corporate equipment is a violation of campaign finance law. That sort of activity? It’s considered a corporate contribution and doesn’t fly with the FEC.

Page One also calls our attention to an interview in which Andrew Horne pointed out the danger of putting too much faith in a candidate's bank account:

Andrew Horne, the biggest-name Democrat to announce his candidacy for McConnell's seat, said yesterday he wasn't concerned about the money.

"If it were all about money, Steve Forbes would be president and Bruce Lunsford would be governor," Horne said in an interview. "This election won't just concern money. It'll concern a misconceived war that McConnell allowed (President) Bush to get us into."

Schumer and the kiddies at the DLC seem to be panicking over Mitch's $11 million war chest. Well, let's see if we can't calm their tiny nerves with a few facts:

- It's taken Mitch five long, hard years of begging and fellating repug moneymen to collect $11 million. Five years during which he was one of the most powerful republicans in the country.

- In just nine months, from February to November 2007, new Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear raised $9.6 million. Nine months during which he was a Democratic challenger running against a republican incumbent in a red state.

- Given the low prices in Kentucky media markets and the finite amount of commercial time available in those markets, there's a limit to the actual amount of money anyone - even a Smirky repug - can spend in one campaign. $10 million is probably that limit.

Andrew Horne is a progressive darling, already popular in liberal money circles across the country. Granted, there will be many demands for Democratic money this year, but I seriously doubt Horne will raise less than $7 million. Which should be more than enough to wipe the floor with Mitch.

And in case there's any doubt about just how important it is to beat Mitch into a greasy spot on the floor, Cooler King at BlueGrassRoots reminds us.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Hillary Torpedoes Campaign in Last Debate

Corpus Juris at Watching Those We Chose has the video of a New Hampshire focus group acting as the Greek Chorus predicting Hillary's downfall.

As I said in comments on that post:

I thought Hillary's constant appropriation of Bill's accomplishments as her own was blatant and stupid - which is why I love it.

She is really, really pissed that this campaign is revealing her for the corporate tool she is and always has been - so pissed she can't hide it any more.

If there were just a few more days before New Hampshire, I think she'd implode completely and end up in fourth place behind Richardson.

As it is, I think her extremely bad performance last night is going to lose her lots of votes, possibly dropping her to third.

The only question is whether enough of them will go to Edwards to keep him in the race.

FISA and Dodd's Fight for the Constitution

Now that Senator Chris Dodd has dropped out of the presidential race, let's not forget that he was and remains the only prominent Democrat in the country fighting to restore our Constitutional rights.

And when I say "fighting," I don't mean complaining about that meanie in the White House after the latest dictatorial legislation has passed and it's too late.

I mean Dodd returned to D.C. at the height of the Iowa campaign to stand alone in the well of the Senate and say to telecom immunity in the FISA bill:

"This shall not pass."

And it didn't! Dodd won! Temporarily, yes, but it was the first and only victory by Democrats in defense of the Constitution in the 12 months since they took over Congress.

It was also the biggest single accomplishment by any of the Democratic presidential candidates, by far.

The Hydra-headed FISA re-authorization that hands amnesty to corporate law-breakers is coming back soon, and it's critical we stand behind Dodd again.

Glenn Greenwald, as always, nailed it:

Dan Froomkin yesterday reported on what the top legislative priority is for the Bush administration and the reasons why it is such: As President Bush begins his final year in office, the White House is aiming for one last major domestic legislative triumph: permanent expansion of government spy powers, including retroactive immunity for the telecom companies that assisted in warrantless surveillance.

In an impromptu briefing aboard Air Force One, as Bush returned to Washington from his Texas vacation yesterday, White House counselor Ed Gillespie told reporters that an administration-supported bill to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is Bush's top priority.

"FISA is front and center," Gillespie said, according to a pool report from New York Times White House correspondent Sheryl Gay Stolberg. "If it is allowed to lapse we will be less safe as a country" . . .

Why is this such a big deal to the White House? Eric Lichtblau, James Risen and Scott Shane explained in the New York Times last month: "At stake is the federal government's extensive but uneasy partnership with industry to conduct a wide range of secret surveillance operations in fighting terrorism and crime". . . .

In short, it's a historic battle over the future of the country as a surveillance state.Indeed it is. I would add that retroactive immunity is also so vital to the White House because it is the key to suppressing permanently any prospect that their illegal spying will be investigated and adjudicated by a court.

That's why obtaining telecom immunity is the top priority for Bush. That's why stopping it ought to be a top priority for anyone who cares about the rule of law and limits on our government's surveillance powers. And that's why it is so obscene for Democrats such as Harry Reid and Jay Rockefeller to be leading the way in ensuring that Bush is given everything he is demanding.

In a email to supporters (I'm an Edwards partisan, but I gave money to Dodd to support his FISA fight) after Iowa, Dodd wrote this:

I know a lot of you came to this email list through a shared desire to return our nation to one that respects the rule of law, and I want to make one thing clear to all of you:

The fight to restore the Constitution and stop retroactive immunity does not end with my Presidential campaign. FISA will come back in a few weeks and my pledge to filibuster ANY bill that includes retroactive immunity remains operative.

You've been an invaluable ally in the battle, and I'll need you to stick by my side despite tonight's caucus results.

We made a real difference in shaping the debate, and we'll continue to do so in the coming days, weeks and years.

Chris Dodd

Smirky and Darth have a whole year left to finish shredding the Constitution and divide the citizenry into sheep and detainees.

Don't let the presidential election distract you from the fateful battle former candidate Chris Dodd is still fighting.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Friday, January 4, 2008

New Hampshire Predictions

If it's true, as so many letter-writers on Salon's Iowa coverage believe, that the MSM is shilling for Hillary by ignoring Edward's second-place finish, I think there might be a backlash coming in New Hampshire.

My initial reaction last night was to predict that Obama would win even bigger in New Hampshire with more than 40 percent, Hillary would fall under 20 percent and Edwards would barely hang on in second place with maybe 25 percent.

But there's a lot of fury out on there Edwards' behalf - and not just from Edwards partisans - that he could turn to his advantage, if he plays it right.

I'm going to say that the cold fact that he beat the presumptive nominee despite being outspent 5-1, plus Elizabeth's determination, plus having nothing to lose, might just propel John Edwards to a close second in New Hampshire, and leave Hillary even further back in the dust. That will be enough to keep him alive through South Carolina and to Super Tuesday, where southern states will propel Edwards past Obama.

I'm sticking with my repug predictions, being on a roll. That scream of terror you heard last night came from Wall Street, where they can't write enough zeros on the checks they're sending to John McCain. The Stop Huckabee attacks are going to make the Anybody-But-Dean movement of 2004 seem like a knitting circle.

As for Willard, is there a repug out there who could really respect a front-runner who lost big to Gomer, despite out-spending him about 20-1?

And Rudy - please, please, please stay in the race. I promise you, Florida's going make you a winner. Really. Seriously. N-Pod swears it.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Primary Results: First Impressions

More tomorrow, after digestion and cogitation, but for now, some first impressions:

Hillary is wounded and deeply humiliated. I've never believed she has Bill's political smarts, charisma, courage or strength. This loss in a race she thought dems would hand her on a silver platter is going to crack that pretty shell and reveal the shallow tool she's always been.

Edwards beat Hillary. That's a victory, no matter what anyone says. I sent money to him this morning, and I bet I'm not the only one.

Obama. I'm actually fucking choking up here. As a Southerner of a certain age, I'm moved by his win in ways that you youngsters can't appreciate. As Molly once wrote, all liberal Southerners who grew up in the South before civil rights come from the same place: race.

I still say the winning team next year is going to be Edwards-Obama, but right now I want to find every Iowan who caucused for Barack and hug them.

Huckabee, Huckabee, he's our man! If he can't kill the republican party, nobody can!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

2007 Rooties: Best and Worst of the Year in Kentucky Politics

Kentucky's original political blog, BluegrassRoots, announces the winners of the 2007 Rooties!

It's got more than just the usual Best and Worst Campaigns; here are the Most Unintentionally Funny Moment, Best Drunken Interview, Most Blatant Lie, Biggest Waste of Ink, Phoniest Exploiter of Religion and Most Disturbing Image.

Media Czech's commentary on winners and runners-up is hilarious and dead-on.

Plenty 'O Links - including video! - for non-Kentuckians.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Put Your Civil Liberties Down and Back Away Slowly

I have just finished reading Takeover: The Return of the Imperial Presidency and the Subversion of American Democracy by Pulitzer Prize-winning Boston Globe reporter Charlie Savage, and can sum it up this way:

The phrase "we are so completely fucked" is the understatement of the century.

Over the past two years, as one outrage after another by the Smirky-Darth administration has come to light, the cumulative impact has been numbing: Abu Graib, torture, rape and murder of innocent civilians, American citizens secretly and indefinitely detained, warrantless wiretapping of anyone and everyone, hundreds of billions of dollars stolen from taxpayers to enrich bush/cheney cronies, laws ignored, laws broken, the Constitution shredded.

Even the death of our last hope - the self-strangling of the "Democratic" Congress - is just one more hardly-felt blow to a body politic already at death's door.

The great revelation of Savage's meticulously documented book is just how thoroughly, successfully and permanently this maladminstration has stripped power from citizens, from Congress, from the bureaucracy and from the courts, until there is legally and literally nothing anyone can do to stop this or any other president from exercising the absolute power he has finally acquired.

Right now, this minute, if Smirky took it into his head to declare martial law, dispatch Blackwater to round up everyone who objects and throw them into Guantanamo forever or just summarily execute them, there is nothing - nothing - to stop him.

Martial law? Specifically authorized by Congress in the Military Commissions Act of 2006.

Secret and indefinite detention of citizens? Once it was stopped only by the prospect of a Supreme Court decision on Jose Padilla, but Congress specifically stripped the courts of jurisdiction in such cases in - you guessed it - the MCA.

"The Republican-led Congress used the Military Commissions Act to virtually eliminate the possibiity that the Supreme Court could ever again act as a check on a president's power in the war on terrorism. The bill aslo granted a congressional blessing, in statute, for many of the hugely expanded executive pwoers that the Bush-Cheney administration had previously seized onb its own, ensuring that they would be even more difficult to roll back."

The "Commander in Chief" of America now has powers over his own citizenry that dictators like Pinochet, Somoza, and Mugabe, who slaughtered thousands of their countrymen, could only dream of.

Because the powers of the "Commander in Chief" of America were handed to him on a silver platter by a Congress democratically elected by the people.

We asked for it, we deserve it, we got it.

Forgive us, Ben: you gave us a Republic, but we couldn't keep it.

If you're thinking about next year's elections, don't bother. Seriously, if you'd spent seven years accumulating unprecedented power, the kind of power that allows you to straddle the world as a colossus and do exactly as you damn well please, would you just give it up and walk away? Especially if it meant handing all that hard-won power to someone who stands for everything you hate, despise and loathe?

And if you were that someone, suddenly handed, by virtue of having won a democratic election, power on the level of that wielded by medieval kings, would you demand that Congress take it away from you? Especially when you need all the power you can get to undo the damage done to your beloved country and the world over the previous eight years?

The kind of power that we, the people, have handed to the Commander in Chief of America is the kind of power I wouldn't trust in the hands of anyone. Not Obama, not Edwards, and certainly not Hillary.

Hell, that kind of power would turn even gentle, Department-of-Peace-creating Dennis Kucinich into a monster.

We are lip-deep in the quicksand, people, and sinking fast. This one is not going to be fixable in a year, or a decade, or a generation.

No, I don't have the answer. I don't think a real, bullets-flying revolution is practical, much less winnable. Nor do I think continuing to elect "Democrats" who perpetuate the status quo is going to cut it.

But because so many of these dictatorial powers are tied to Smirky's claims of inherent and exclusive executive powers in prosecuting the "war on terror," the key may be taking that excuse away.

I've argued for a long time that the Iraq occupation and the temporarily derailed attack on Iran have nothing to do with terror, oil or even enriching cronies. They are all about creating and perpetuating permanent war. And permanent war is the one irreplaceable ingredient in establishing and maintaining a dictatorship.

Leaders at peace are leaders with minimal power. Leaders at war have carte blanche.

So the first step in restoring the Constitution is to not just end the Iraq occupation, but change the "war on terror" into what it should have been from the beginning: a criminal investigation, with law enforcement making arrests and civilian courts trying suspects before civilian juries.

It's going to be a long, hard slog through the enemy jungle, dodging snipers, drinking fever-water, eating our boots.

But it's one we've faced before, and one that the smartest sumbitches who ever lived (thank you Molly) knew we'd face again. One of them spoke the words that gave them strength then, and give me strength now:

Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death."

Happy New Year.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.