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Saturday, February 04, 2006

FDL Late Nite: In the Trenches

Glenn Greenwald continues his sojourn in DC:
[T]he fact that we were able to obtain access to high-level staffers in the days before these hearings is an encouraging reflection of the growing recognition that the blogosphere is something they cannot ignore or simply use for their benefit, but instead is a substantive and genuine (and growing) force that needs to be recognized, respected and taken seriously. I think we need to look at this as a mid-range project, not something that will yield immediate, overnight results. We've had lots of successes in the past several weeks, with multiple episodes, in having a real impact on the establishment media and even what happens in DC. But it's going to be an incremental process.


Specifically as to the NSA issue, Monday is only the first day and Gonzales (who will be under oath) is only the first witness (Senate Democrats are essentially unanimous that additional witnesses -- perhaps Comey, Ashcroft, Yoo and others -- need to testify, and Gonzales will likely have to come back both because they won't be done questioning him and because additional documents will likely be released by the Justice Department which they are currently trying to withhold). We should be able to build on the access and contacts we created this time by obtaining even more influential access for the coming days of testimony (I say "we" not in the royal sense, but because the meetings I had were enabled by the work of numerous bloggers and inside-DC types who want to help the blogosphere gain more access and influence).

Regarding the hearings themselves, I have a lot of trepidation about what will happen on Monday, to be honest. Democrats are clearly scared of this issue. They believe that Republicans are going to accuse them of "wanting to give Al Qaeda our playbook" (a phrase several different people used independently) and that those tactics will work to obscure the real issues here. They seem -- at least to me -- to be more frightened than impassioned, more worried about how to avoid looking like Al Qaeda allies than how to question Gonzales in order to prove that the Administration here broke the law and that it is intolerable for the President to break the law.
People have been asking what they can do to support Glenn specifically but the NSA hearings in general. One of the things the GOP machine does really well is have a network of people all across the country who are available for booking on any local radio or TV show at the drop of a hat to push right wing talking points. Over at Kos a diarist has a tremendous link to local media in your area (by zip code) where you can find places to write LTEs and call in to radio talk shows. Let them know directly and succinctly that the wiretapping scandal is a matter of bipartisan concern -- people like Grover Norquist and Bob Barr know that the right to privacy is a fundamental American value and the President should be held accountable for breaking the law. That it is cowardly and weak for him to dismiss his critics as "terrorists."

You can then stop by the site and let them know about it, since they're keeping track of media outlets that have been contacted. It's a great, grassrootsy way to counter Karl's army.

And we've now raised $5625 for Ciro Rodriguez here at FDL.

I am so lovin' this.


Casino Jack Screws the Indians -- Yet Again

I've said it before and will no doubt say it again, the best writing in the blogosphere on Jack Abramoff is being done by Mary Beth Williams of Wampum. She has another amazing story up (this time at Kos) about how Casino Jack ran a slush fund to pay off Republicans who provided cover for Gayle Norton and her attempts to keep the government from settling a case in which the Indian lands had been ripped off to the tune of $150 billion by oil, gas, mining and forestry industries:
Colorado native Norton is of the James Watt school of pillage the environment (she entered the Reagan Administration to work for him) and her entire career has been to forward the interests of oil and gas, mining and forestry industries. And in the West, that means easy access to cheap federal land leases, hundreds of millions of acres of land rich with natural resources.

A large chunk of those federal lands are Indian Trust Fund lands, taken into trust in the late 1800s via the Dawes Act, and leased out to industries, ranchers and farmers at cut-rate prices. The money was then to be managed by Interior and paid out to native landowners. Of course, that didn't happen - hence Cobell v. Norton.

The courts have ordered a full accounting of the Trust. Problem is, many of the documents were destroyed, including a slew of them under Norton. So the plaintiffs decided a few years back that the only way to get a real accounting is to audit the industries' books. That's what makes everyone so nervous, as plaintiff experts, having done some sampling, estimate we're talking over $150 billion in underpayments and fraud, along with interest, of course. Yes, $150 BILLION. And the pressure would be huge for Congress to force a repayment by the guilty. If not, then it comes out of the taxpayers' pockets, as the courts have already ordered the accounts be properly audited and brought up to date. Hence, the concern of the oil/gas, mining, ranching, forestry and agriculture interests which use/abuse the land lease process.

So Norton did what she could to subvert the case, but as the heat was turned up, and the Administration losing appeal after appeal, she started pushing for Congressional Republicans to take the case and force a settlement. A settlement for a fraction of the potential amount, but one which would prevent an audit of industry accounts. Who is the chief supporter of a Congressional settlement? None other than the puppet of the oil, gas and mining industry, Richard Pombo. Twice Pombo has written legislation ordering a settlement (both times with no settlement figures, of course), but Delay intervened. Not because he likes Indians, but because he figures that it's safer to stall than to provide even the smallest chance the industry books will be audited. (Delay and most oilmen Congressmen voted against the original Indian Trust Accountability Act back in 1994 - only 36 Reps did.) So from 2002 to 2005, Delay ordered, despite a court order, that no accounting of the trust fund occur (or at least there'd be no funding for it, which, of course, means it doesn't happen.)

This is where Abramoff comes in. He was the slush fund operator. Indians thought they were paying Pombo and others on House Resources and Senate Indian Affairs, et al., for help with gaming issues, and Abramoff was in fact padding coffers necessary to protect the industry from auditing.

Think this is all too far-fetched? Just last week, the NYTimes posted an article on three months' of research into federal land leases (including Indian trust lands) and found rampant fraud and underpayment. In addition, numerous whistleblowers were fired, including Norton and Griles trustee for the BIA, who refused to testify before Congress that the Trust was fine. Accountants and fund managers were fired for doing a good job and finding fraud.

McCain and Pombo are once again pushing for a settlement, and in the increasingly hostile environment for Indians due to success in portraying Abramoff's tribal clients as villains, not victims, they'll most likely get it, at rock-bottom prices. And the industry books will remain safely closed.
And yet the Washington Post spends no small amount of effort trying to drag Democrats into the scandal, while this goes unreported. Norton has fired whistleblowers, and thanks to the efforts of the WaPo and others to smear the Indians:
McCain and Pombo are once again pushing for a settlement, and in the increasingly hostile environment for Indians due to success in portraying Abramoff's tribal clients as villains, not victims, they'll most likely get it, at rock-bottom prices. And the industry books will remain safely closed.
I have to say that when the whole Deborah Howell mess went down, the "Abramoff gave money to Democrats too" thing was actually the lesser target of my rage. The major portion was reserved for the shoddy, condescending, dismissive and downright racist way with which Steno Sue and others at the WaPo continue to characterize the Indian tribes and their involvement in this mess, and the result is stuff like this.

Mary Beth has compiled links to her research here.

(graphic by Graham G.)


Back in the Saddle

Ah it's so good to be back in Plame again.

In digging through the new documents, the first thing that struck me is that they are going full-bore to paint Fitzgerald as an obstructionist (worked for Tom Daschle, why not give it a try?) as they attempt a discovery fishing expedition. And although we always appreciate the appearance on the scene of Fitz's superior snark, this is no doubt one of the reasons Team Libby chose to release his January 26, 2006 letter as part of their motions request this week wherein he openly scoffs at their efforts to do so.

Ding-dong Norah O'Donnell (she can write?) was ever so helpful on this front this morning:
Fitzgerald's letter was responding to a request from Libby's lawyers for additional documents, e-mails and other correspondence the Libby team says is essential to mount a defense. Lawyers for Libby this week accused prosecutors of withholding evidence the defense team has sought.
But if one actually bothered to read Libby's Motion to Compel Discovery of Information Regarding News Reporters and Organizations (and here we feel adequately justified in jumping to the conclusion that this is beyond Norah's abilities), it is abundantly clear that Libby's request for documents relies on a complete misstatement of what Libby is actually charged with:
This motion concerns the defense's request for production of documents and information regarding three important issues in this case: what did the press know prior to June 14, 2003 about whether Valerie Plame Wilson worked at the CIA, from whom did they learn it, and with whom did they discuss it. This information is important for a number of reasons. Most significantly, it relates directly to the truth or falsity of two alleged false statements by Mr. Libby: (1) that Mr. Russert said "all the reporters knew" about Ms. Wilson's employment status; and (2) that Mr. Libby "had heard that other reporters were saying that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA."
Is this all they've got? If so Scooter is the one in the bear cage and Fitzgerald is the one with the stick. Scooter is not charged with lying to Tim Russert, he's charged with lying to the FBI and the grand jury about what was said during his conversation with Russert. Fitzgerald never took issue with the substantive truth of what Russert and Libby did or did not say to each other, only that Libby's account of the conversation was different than Russert's. And the evidence supports Russert's version.

Libby's lawyers claim:
There can be no information more material to the defense of a perjury case than information tending to show that the alleged false statements are, in fact, true or that they could be the result of mistake or confusion. The government should not be allowed to charge Mr. Libby with lying about statements concerning what reporters knew about Ms. Wilson's identity, and at the same time deny him information that may establish one of these possible defenses.
Well I'll agree with that, and how handy it is that the government didn't. Libby is not charged with lying about statements concerning what reporters knew, he's charged with something completely different. And Fitzgerald in his letter indicates he is having none of this dancing bs; he makes it clear that they are not entitled to information relevant only to defending Libby against charges that have not been brought against him. Norah does not mention this. Color us surprised.

The release of the Fitzgerald letter by team Libby is still odd, however. While it did obviously lead Norah O'Donnell down the bunny trail she would've gone there anyway with a whole lot less prodding, and the "obstructionist" bit was quite overshadowed by the news that some White House emails had been "disappeared." Which obviously leads to speculation about the Hadley email, and of course Karl Rove. You have to wonder what kind of games within games are being played here.


Now it All Finally Makes Sense

Stephen Colbert:
"You American workers haven't seen an increase in real wages since the 1970s...But are you rioting? No. You're voting for Republican candidates who give people like me tax cuts. You know what? I think that's your way of saying 'thank you.'"
Clip at Crooks & Liars.


Friday, February 03, 2006

Late Nite FDL: Kickin' Ass and Takin' Names

Glenn Greenwald is having a really successful trip to Washington DC. He's meeting with key staff of the Senate Judiciary Committee members as well as media people and representing well for all of us, I'm sure. He flew all the way from Brazil on his own dime for this so stop by his comments and cheer him on.

On the Ciro Rodriguez front, we're now the number three fundraiser on Act Blue with one hundred donors giving $4417 in one day. That's incredible. And as if we needed more motivation, Kos lets us know that his opponent Cuellar "worked with Tom DeLay ally and House Redistricting Committee Chairman Phil King to redraw Texas congressional districts and eliminate five senior Democrats from Congress." Just giving that guy a little extra grief alone is worth it, and you can do so here.

It should be an interesting week. I have to say that I'm really looking forward to the Gonzo questioning myself -- with all the thunder and lightening my dogs haven't been sleeping so well lately and a 25 minute opening statement by Sam Brownback ought to do the trick.

Update: Digby has more on Cuellar and Crooks & Liars lets us know that Tom DeLay thinks all his woes are due to an ACLU plot.


Because Enquiring Minds Want to Know

Ah it's so good to have Dan Froomkin back, isn't it? And he does not disappoint. Compare and contrast to the usual WaPo BushCo. hem kissing:
President Bush's fundamental challenge as he tries to regain his political footing is that most Americans don't trust him anymore.

In the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll, for instance, 53 percent of Americans said they do not consider him honest and trustworthy. A recent New York Times/CBS News poll found 52 percent of Americans believe the Bush administration intentionally misled the public in making its case for war in Iraq. Serious stuff.


And yet, when Bush faces the press corps -- either en masse, in a news conference, or in the occasional sit-down interview -- the central issue of credibility typically goes unexplored.


It seems to me the trick would be for the next news outlet that gets a sit-down with the president to devote an entire interview -- a la Oprah v. Frey -- to the issue of credibility. And to be prepared with quotes and clips -- a la Stewart -- to force Bush to directly address the various inconsistent, misleading, or outright false statements that have peppered his presidency.

Such an interview could still be wide ranging, of course. It could cover the issue of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction; his descriptions of the run-up to war; his views of progress in Iraq; his statements -- and then silence -- about the CIA leak investigation; his concealment of -- and then questionable assertions about -- domestic spying; his promises for New Orleans; his stonewalling on the Abramoff lobbying scandal.

I could go on.

And in fact, with the help of you readers, I'd like to put together a series of sample interview questions for the president on the subject of his credibility. E-mail me at (And I apologize in advance for not responding to each e-mail.)
It wouldn't even require the talents of a bully like Oprah, all they'd really have to do is ask a few pertinent questions and insist that Bush, you know, answer them.

I realize of course that the chances of this actually happening roughly approach those of me doing some command performance tapdancing at the Royal Albert Hall in the next week or so. But it does bring to mind that there were days not so long ago when we had a president who had not delivered such a thorough screwing to the entire country that he feared facing the people under anything but the most controlled circumstances.

How they palm off that Steely Eyed Rocket Man malarky with a guy who is consumed by fear at the sight of a black t-shirt is a mystery to me.


Crashing the Gates

In the preface to their new book, "Crashing the Gates," Jerome Armstrong and Markos Moulitsas Zuniga acknowledge that last fall they took a long look at everything they had put together for their book to date, realized they were lost, chucked it all and started over.

After reading the book I can understand what fostered this sentiment. They had taken on the extraordinary difficult task of wrestling all the flailing tentacles of the right wing machine, as well as the horrible legacy of the past four years of George Bush's imperial reign, and tried to hone it down to a simple, direct message that was focused through the lens of their formidable online experience to forge a blueprint for the future of netroots activism. That they would suddenly find themselves sitting in a pile of unwieldy information is no surprise. That they would have the courage to throw it all out, regroup and refine their narrative to a 183 page dagger that cuts to the heart of the system most certainly is.

The book is a gem, a must-read for anyone contemplating the future of online activism, a subject that is certainly consuming pages and pages of blog space these days. Their outline of the extremely deep and well-developed GOP message apparatus is fascinating, and their examination of it as it worked to shape public perceptions around many events that should have played well for the Democrats is both enlightening and daunting.

But perhaps of even greater concern is their depiction of the DC Democratic consultant/interest group nexus that could really not do a better job of keeping their party in the minority if they tried. As disheartening as these details are to read, however, the book gives a clearer picture than anything out there to date about exactly what we're up against, its architecture and its weaknesses.

Crashing the Gate is way ahead of its time; you'll no doubt see copycat tomes just catching up to it years from now. It does presume familiarity with a lot of events, personalities and online conventions that might make it a bit challenging for people unfamiliar with the blog world to fully understand, but it is so engaging and well-written that I don't think that would be a problem for any intelligent person whose first exposure to the world of political blogging and online activism came with this book. I myself really appreciated the respect for the reader that this style of writing displays; I didn't feel like I was always trying to scan through pages and pages of exposition that I already know all too well.

Sometimes I feel like I get lost in the day-to-day aspect of blogging and never step back to take the long view of what we're engaged in. This book does this superbly and if you're on my birthday list this year you now know what you're getting.

You can buy Crashing the Gates online here through the publisher, at Amazon and also at Barnes & Noble.


Thursday, February 02, 2006

Late Nite FDL: Republican in Sheep's Clothing

This, to quote Paris Hilton, is hot:
A well-traveled photograph of U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar being embraced by President Bush prior to Tuesday's State of the Union address triggered a rush of Internet donations to one of Cuellar's Democratic primary rivals Thursday.

Within hours of a call to arms being posted on two liberal-leaning political blogs, the Daily Kos and Eschaton, former congressman Ciro Rodriguez's campaign received 263 cyber contributions totaling nearly $12,000, according to ActBlue, a Web-based clearinghouse for Democratic candidates nationwide.

“This may be billed as a Democratic primary, but in this solidly Democratic Latino-majority district, Republicans needed a Republican in sheep's clothing like Cuellar to have a chance of winning,” the Daily Kos blog post read.

Oscar Sanchez, a spokesman for the Rodriguez campaign, said the photograph of Bush holding a smiling Cuellar's head between his hands struck a nerve among Democrats.

“It really shows that Democrats want a real Democrat in Congress,” Sanchez said.

A spokesman for Cuellar, who has been criticized as too cozy with the GOP since his support of Bush over Al Gore in the 2000 presidential election, characterized the controversy as a “one-day story.”
Thanks to everyone who donated, we raised $1100 for Rodriguez today on this site alone. You can contribute here.

No more faux Dems....


Isolationist Boogeymen

Andrew Bacevich in the LA Times:
IN HIS STATE of the Union address on Tuesday, President Bush worked himself into a lather about the dangers of "retreating within our borders." His speech bulged with ominous references to ostensibly resurgent isolationists hankering to "tie our hands" and leave "an assaulted world to fend for itself." Turning inward, the president cautioned, would provide "false comfort" because isolationism inevitably "ends in danger and decline."

But who exactly are these isolationists eager to pull up the drawbridges? What party do they control? What influential journals of opinion do they publish? Who are their leaders? Which foundations bankroll this isolationist cause?

The president provided no such details, and for good reason: They do not exist. Indeed, in present-day American politics, isolationism does not exist. It is a fiction, a fabrication and a smear imported from another era.

Isolationism survives in contemporary American political discourse because it retains utility as a cheap device employed to impose discipline. Think of it as akin to red-baiting — conjuring up bogus fears to enforce conformity in the realm of foreign policy. In that regard, the beleaguered Bush, his standing in public opinion polls tumbling, is by no means the first president to sound the alarm about supposed isolationists subverting American statecraft.
I guess this is the latest broadside in the GOP meme wars. We're not commies any more, we're not granola eating liberals (hard to characterize Murtha as that), we're "isolationists." I imagine they dreamed up this particular me just for Murtha and the growing faction he represents, in fact.

No doubt this is poised to go on auto-repeat by the Mighty Wurlitzer.


NARAL Defends Chafee to the End

This is absurd. A letter received by mike4273 from NARAL over Lincoln Chafee:
Thank you for contacting us. As a pro-Choice American, your values and beliefs are at the core of our mission. We want to hear from you and appreciate the support you have demonstrated over the years to help make our online advocacy program one of the most effective and admired in the progressive community.

I have read your note, and I know you are not happy with us regarding our endorsement of Senator Lincoln Chafee. We did indeed urge senators to support extended debate on the controversial Alito nomination - and naturally, it's a disappointment when any senator votes against our recommendation. In fact, if you review the vote tally, you will see that we lost many pro-choice senators on the cloture vote -- not just Chafee. You should know that we did score both Alito votes, so the record will forever document each senator's ultimate decision on each vote. In other words, it's not being ignored.

But with so many relentless attacks on choice, and an anti-choice president determined to see this right taken away from American women forever, we must prioritize our work, and we need all the friends we can get. I do understand your frustration with Senator Chafee's vote - but he is a longtime ally and he has earned our endorsement. We treat him no differently than any other pro-choice senator - Democrat or Republican. I know we disagree on this one point, but our challenge is so monumental that I hope we can continue to stand together against our real opponents: President Bush, congressional leaders, and anti-choice senators who oppose us on every single vote.

Again, I appreciate the passion of your commitment to the fundamental freedoms we cherish. You are always welcome to contact us--with agreements and disagreements. I hope we can count on your continued support as we roll up our sleeves to achieve the common goals we share.

What decade are they living in? Do they fundamentally not understand that a vote for cloture was a vote for Alito? That Lincoln Chafee was let off his leash by the GOP to vote against Alito when it was purely window dressing, and he did not back them up on the vote that counted?

I received this last night from reader Gosprey, and I want everyone to read it because I don't think NARAL or PFAW or anyone on the Democratic side of the aisle who thought this battle was not worth fighting understands this. This comes from STRATFOR (no link, via email), so consider the source, but it's a good insight into how much the right had banking on an Alito victory:
"Recall, if you will, our view last fall that Bush was on the verge of a failed presidency. At that point, if he dropped below the 35-37 percent approval range, his core constituency would have been deserting him -- and that is something from which no president recovers. Bush hit the level and then paused. For about a month, his presidency teetered on the brink. Then the numbers started to rise and grew steadily into the mid- to high-40s -- which isn't great, but is out of the danger zone.

"For Bush, the very first step was to consolidate his base of support. He did a number of things along those lines, but the single most important thing he did came to fruition Tuesday -- Samuel Alito's nomination to the Supreme Court. The Republican core consists of three constituencies: Social, economic and national security conservatives. Last fall, Bush was in trouble with two of these groups. The national security conservatives felt that he was not providing sufficient resources to the military, was stretching it too thin. But he had to nail down the social conservatives before he could consider anything else.

"That's what Alito's nomination and confirmation were designed to do. Social conservatives believe -- hearings notwithstanding -- that Alito is with them on their key issues. Whether he is or not remains to be seen, but that Bush satisfied this key constituency has been obvious. He stabilized them as soon as he announced Alito's nomination.
As Gosprey notes, if Bush had lost control of the base and his polls continued to sink we would have stood a much better chance in the fall of 2006. That the Democrats and the interest groups did not at the very minimum use this as an opportunity to flush out the blue state "moderate" GOP Senators and make them show their allegiance to Bush over any kind of progressive causes they pretend to support is inexcusable.

In the Post article this morning, Ben Nelson pretty much woke up to ads in his local paper supporting Alito. Where were the local ads from the other side? Where was the campaign to put pressure on the Gang of 14, whose influence carried the day? That NARAL and others did not use this opportunity to give serious blows to Senators who do not -- make no mistake about it, despite all window dressing to the contrary -- support their agenda is so misguided it's ridiculous.

Says Digby:
If the NRA had been in NARAL's position this past week, they would have ripped their support from Lincoln Chafee so fast it would make Trent Lott's hair crack. They know when to pull the strings. Chafee chose his gang of 14 cred over his pro-choice cred. That's all you need to know about him. He has shown himself useless to the cause and should be dropped immediately. This is a seat that can be picked up by a real pro-choice Democrat who isn't running as a bowl of lukewarm water.

I honestly can't understand what in the hell they were thinking. It's one thing to back Chafee to make the Democrats not take you for granted. It's quite another to continue to back him after he failed a monumental test. Now Chafee knows they won't press him when the shit comes down and Democrats see them as a spent and useless force. What a spectacular strategy. When forced childbirth becomes the law of the land, I'm sure they'll be able to sleep nights knowing they cleverly backed a man who played them for fools.
That NARAL continues to back Lincoln Chafee over his opponent who would not have voted for cloture is just wrong, and their continued defense of him indicates that they fundamentally do not understand the long game, and they have no perception into the nature of what they are up against.

You can contact them here:
NARAL Pro-Choice America
1156 15th Street, NW Suite 700
Washington, DC 20005

Main Number: 202.973.3000
Main Fax: 202.973.3096
feedback form
NARAL is asking readers on their blog what they think they should do. I encourage you to make your thoughts known, and please be respectful, we are fighting for the same ultimate goal.


Voting With Dollars

In light of the abject, dismal failure on the part of interest groups like NARAL and PFAW to do anything other than sit on piles of cash during the Alito confirmation (and if anyone needs to stoke their rage on that particular front, read this article from this morning, about which I'll have more later) a lot of people have been emailing me asking for advice on the best places to put their money. I'm sorry if I've been slow getting back to people because the answer is I just didn't have an answer; the thorough and shocking inadequacy of these groups we've all been giving to came as a surprise to me as well.

Today both Atrios and Kos have endorsed the candidacy of Ciro Rodriguez who is running for a congressional seat in Texas. His opponent Cuellar (pictured above in full-on Lieberman mode) looks ready, as Kos notes, to jump ship over to the GOP at any moment. Rodriguez is a solid pro-choice Democrat and his primary is coming up on March 7. I've set up a ActBlue page for candidates worthy of support and donated the first $100 to Rodriguez myself, , so anyone looking to register some financial outrage against Democrats wandering across the aisle and and abandoning progressive values can do so here.


Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Late Nite FDL: Let Us All Now Listen to Digby

This afternoon the AP had a few cooperative words on the Sheehan arrest:
Sheehan's T-shirt alluded to the number of soldiers killed in Iraq: "2245 Dead. How many more?" . . .

Young's shirt had just the opposite message: "Support the Troops — Defending Our Freedom."
Glenn Greenwald (and others from the comments) were on this earlier, and Glenn emailed the article's author, Laurie Kellman. I feel like the friggin' revision police these days, but I just went back to the article for the link I found that it had been changed. It now reads:
Young's shirt had this message: "Support the Troops — Defending Our Freedom."
Nobody wants to be the next Deborah Howell. Score one for the team.

But it's amazing what a bunch of trained monkeys the press have become, so effortlessly repeating right-wing talking points that they truly seem to have internalized them and made them their own. Peter Daou and Steve Benen have begun to chronicle the frequency with which this happens and it's quite something to behold when you see it all lumped together in one spot. The words "steaming pile" come to mind.

I have to confess I am guilty of some of the same behavior, however. I am trying to practice what Digby preaches:
People are more reluctant to identify themselves as liberals or progressives than they were in 1988 and one of the reasons is that people like Al From and his boys helped the Republicans degrade the label to such an extent that people don't want to be associated with it. It is one thing to criticize your brothers; it's another to sully the family name. They continue to do this by talking about purging Michael Moore and Move-On and generally showing such a lack of respect for the grassroots that you wonder why they don't just call us all filthy rabble and tell us to eat cake. The lesson here is to never employ GOP rhetoric about the Democratic Party, ever. This is one thing that simply has got to stop.
Digby's right -- do not reinforce Republican narratives, ever. It's hard when you want to point out that certain Democrats seem to be...ouch...lacking critical anatomical parts, but the much harder task is to find another way to criticize them. The GOP does a bang-up job characterizing the Democrats as weak, they sure don't need us to do their job for them.

Hey, aren't those some manly, rugged hairplugs on Joe Biden?


Thanks Ted

Just got off a post-Alito conference call with Ted Kennedy. I told him how much everyone appreciated the fact that he was willing to step forward and provide some leadership on a cause that we were all so passionate about. He thanked everyone for the great job they did showing up, and wanted us all to know that our faxes, phone calls and emails made a mark. He said Alito himself certainly noticed, and now he knows we'll be watching.

I also asked him if he'd heard about Glenn Greenwald's work on the illegal NSA wiretaps that has had such an impact of late, and arrangements were made to get Glenn's information to him. I'm sure we can all expect much howling from the right to the effect that all the Democrats who dare to question Gonzo are unpatriotic, so think about brewing up some inspired LTEs and phoning in to your favorite radio bloviators to spread the good word that this isn't a partisan issue -- many conservatives are also extremely alarmed about what's going on.

It's high time the Malkins of the world were shouted down, don't you think?

Update: Stephen Parrish reminds us that Grover Norquist himself opposes Bush's wiretap program: "You need someone who is a Republican to call the president on this," he said.


NARAL and Coathanger Chafee

I've always been a big NARAL supporter, and I recognize that they do their job under tremendous and constant pressure from the right. Many Democrats are abandoning pro-choice values in order to seem less "liberal" despite the fact that most Americans want abortion to remain legal, which can only be attributed to the money and organization devoted to fanatically opposing their efforts. I believe in NARAL, I think they do valiant work. I give them money, I'm a feminist and I won't vote for a candidate who is anti-choice, period.

But something went horribly wrong with the Samuel Alito nomination:
"NARAL Pro-Choice America surpassed its fundraising goals in the hours following Justice O'Connor's announcement," said President Nancy Keenan. Donors "are deeply concerned that President Bush will choose to further divide this nation by nominating a radical right-wing conservative."

Moderation is not the tone of fundraising appeals in the nomination contest. "This is big, people. Huge," NARAL wrote to supporters. "It's true, there is no freedom without choice. Without choice, we are not free."
Despite the fact that NARAL was whipping their membership into a checkwriting frenzy over the matter and money came flooding into their coffers for the express purpose of fighting this particular battle, NARAL waged no aggressive campaign against his confirmation. Over at MyDD, Matt Stoller gives an idea of what a true campaign would have looked like, but we saw nothing like that. Perhaps they thought the battle was already lost and not worth fighting, but they don't appear to have been telling people this when they were pumping them for money.

The fact is that Alito's elevation to the Supreme Court tips the balance inexorably toward the right, and yet in response NARAL sat on the war chest they had collected for the purpose of opposing him and did next to nothing. I was among those who defended NARAL's decision to support Lincoln Chafee in Rhode Island over his anti-choice opponent. I thought it was a bold strategy to tell timid Democrats who were afraid to commit themselves to the pro-choice cause that they better think twice about sucking up to the fundies. I don't think NARAL owes anything to the Democratic Party if the party does not support them, and it certainly owes nothing to Democratic candidates who refuse to defend their cause. But when the cloture vote on Samuel Alito was taken and Lincoln Chafee knuckled under and sided with the forced birth brigade, it was high time for NARAL to cut Chafee loose.

NARAL's Bush v. Choice website made no mention of the cloture vote on Monday, surely the biggest blow to the pro-choice cause in this country since Roe v. Wade was decided 33 years ago. Yesterday after the final vote there was a weak statement by NARAL president Nancy Keenan who said:
This persistent assault on our freedoms will not go unnoticed by an American public that overwhelmingly supports a woman's right to privacy as guaranteed by Roe. We intend to mobilize these voters to elect a president and senators who will defend and protect our personal freedom and individual liberties.
They did not bring up the fact that they continue to endorse a man who just voted against the protection of those liberties over two other pro-choice candidates who would not have done so.

Their readers, however, noticed. From Katha Pollitt, in their comments:
NARAL can start by NOT endorsing pro-choice Republicans. As the Alito roll call shows, when their party calls, they obey. Even supposedly feminist "republican for choice' Olympia Snowe. If the pro-choice republicans had backed the filibuster, Alito would not have been confirmed today. Whatever their private beliefs about women's reproductive rights, they are soldiers in the wrong army.
(Note: Pollitt's comment has now been scrubbed from the website but I contacted her and she confirmed that she did, in fact, leave it.)

Chafee's opponent, Sheldon Whitehouse, sent him a letter challenging him on the Alito nomination:
In 2000, you pledged that you would never support a Supreme Court nominee who would put a woman's right to choose at risk. You failed to honor that pledge by supporting John Roberts. Now, the Alito nomination presents an even greater threat -- and it's clear that keeping this nominee off the Court will demand not only a simple "No"” vote, but a filibuster as well.

As I travel throughout Rhode Island, I have heard the extreme concern that people have about the direction that President Bush and your Republican leadership are taking this country. This nominee is likely to tilt a narrowly divided Supreme Court in an extremely conservative direction. I hope that you will support a filibuster in order to keep your promise to the people of Rhode Island.
Instead of holding his feet to the fire, NARAL allowed Chafee to slither out by voting in the final vote against Alito, knowing full well this was a hollow gesture. Chafee pledged his loyalty to the Gang of 14 who collectively blocked the filibuster and effectively guaranteed Alito's confirmation. When the true test of loyalty presented itself, he chose to abandon his pro-choice friends and knuckle under to the Bush junta.

There are three more years of George Bush's presidency left to go, and the chances that another of the aging Supreme Court justices could vacate a seat is not remote. One of the best hopes of putting a pro-choice Senator in office who would not bend to fundamental extremists the next time around is in the progressive state of Rhode Island, and yet NARAL will not even address the concerns of its own membership on this front.

I tried to contact them to discuss this. I was told that a cloture vote would "probably not have a significant impact on an endorsement." (Since that time their PR person who handles blogs has contacted me to say she is not able to speak for NARAL. I asked to be put in contact with someone who could speak for them, but nobody has contacted me.)

NARAL does much good work on behalf of the pro-choice movement, but their endorsement of Lincoln Chafee only serves to guarantee that people who will vote to confirm anti-choice judges will retain their majority in the Senate. Women bloggers like Roxanne and Amanda have been calling for NARAL to cut bait with Chafee since he supported John Roberts, but to no avail. As long as they continue to cling to this disastrous policy they are not doing their job as stewards of the money that hard working people across the country entrust them with to carry on the battle on behalf of reproductive rights.

NARAL needs to withdraw their support of Lincoln Chaffe, an endorsement that could tip an extremely tight race, and they need to do it now. To do anything else is to betray their own cause and undermine the very woman they purport to defend.

You can contact NARAL and tell them your membership is contingent on withdrawing their support for Lincoln Chafee and other Republican candidates willing to sacrifice the pro-choice cause in their loyalty to the GOP agenda:

NARAL Pro-Choice America
1156 15th Street, NW Suite 700
Washington, DC 20005

Main Number: 202.973.3000
Main Fax: 202.973.3096
feedback form

You can also contact these major donors who give significant funding to NARAL and let them know there are serious questions about this endorsement that NARAL refuses to address:

George Soros
Open Society Institute
400 West 59th Street
New York, NY 10019, U.S.A.
Tel (212)548-0600
Fax (212)548-4600
contact form

(no longer contributing to NARAL)

The David and Lucile Packard Foundation
300 Second Street
Tel (650) 948-7658
Fax (650) 917-0546

Michael Finley, President
Turner Foundation, Inc.
133 Luckie Street NW
2nd Floor
Atlanta, GA 30303
Tel: 404-681-9900
Fax: 404-681-0172

Free fax service here.

And for those who have emailed me expressing anger about the NARAL donation envelopes they continue to receive in the mail, I suggest you write NO MORE MONEY FOR COATHANGER CHAFEE across the back and return them.


Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Late Nite FDL: What Are These People On

Via TBogg, we find a headline over at MSNBC:
The Case for Joe Biden:

A long time political consultant argues that the senior senator from Delaware is the Democrat’s best shot.
Whenever anybody asks what should be done first when the revolution comes -- take out the punditry class (like Joe Klein) or the the political consultant class (like Bob Shrum) -- I am always torn. Tonight, for obvious reasons, I lean towards the consultants. Hard to say who does more damage.


Update: Tom, from the comments: "Good God. Don't kill Bob Shrum. He writes the best concession speeches in the business. We need such experience on the front lines."


2,245 Dead — How Many More??

AOL wants to know what you think. So does MSNBC.

Update: Just so everyone knows -- The Crooks & Liars servers are down. They should be up soon with all kinds of Olbermann O'Reilly ass-kicking goodness.


What About Mars?

John McCain clapped like a trained monkey. Cindy Sheehan got herself arrested:
WASHINGTON - Activist Cindy Sheehan, who was invited to
President George W. Bush's State of the Union speech, has been arrested, according to CNN.

Sheehan, who was invited to attend the address by California's Democratic Rep. Lynn Woolsey (news, bio, voting record), was reportedly already seated in the House chamber when she was detained, CNN said.

A Capitol police official reportedly said Sheehan had unfurled a banner, which is a violation of House rules.

Parents of fallen soldiers have been special guests at Bush's State of the Union speeches. But Sheehan was one invited guest he couldn't have been eager to see: Sheehan, gained international fame with her anti-war protest outside Bush's Texas ranch last year.

"I'm proud that Cindy's my guest tonight," Woolsey said in an interview before the speech, and reported arrest. "She has made a difference in the debate to bring our troops home from Iraq."
Think Progress is live debunking the speech.

Update: AP is reporting a different Sheehan story:
Sheehan, who had been invited to attend the speech by Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif., was charged with demonstrating in the Capitol building, a misdemeanor, said Capitol Police Sgt. Kimberly Schneider. Sheehan was taken in handcuffs to police headquarters a few blocks away and her case was processed as Bush spoke.

Schneider said Sheehan had worn a T-shirt with an anti-war slogan to the speech and covered it up until she took her seat. Police warned her that such displays were not allowed, but she did not respond, the spokeswoman said.

Police handcuffed Sheehan and removed her from the gallery before Bush arrived. Sheehan was to be released on her own recognizance, Schneider said.
(graphic thanks to Valley Girl)

Update: Bradblog is posting updates.

Update II: Arianna will be on with Anderson Cooper.


Document the Atrocities

SOTU open thread (Think Progress has the text). Pay special attention to fawning bloviators, I expect they will really outdo themselves tonight.

Someone will say something ungodly stupid before this evening is over, and my cable just went out (big storm here in Oregon, dogs are terrified) so please let me know what I'm missing.

I like to think of it as one of God's random acts of kindness.

Update: MSNBC says Cindy Sheehan has been arrested at the SOTU.

(thanks to sans-culotte for the photo)


Degenerate Gambler Handicaps Horse's Ass

So how come CNN has three conservatives and one "progressive" commenting on the SOTU? Personally I'd rather hear Bill Bennett opine about pickin' the ponies.

And over at Orcinus, David Niewert writes a letter to Maria Cantwell withdrawing his support after her vote on Strip Search Sammy. Good on him. They call it "vote trading." We call it "betrayal." Hardly seems like we're speaking the same language any more.

Update: The General lays claim to Cantwell's uterus.



Today is the final day to vote for the Bloggies. We've been nominated for Best Political Blog. All our fellow nominees are excellent and it's impossible to make a bad choice with Wonkette, Kos, Talking Points Memo and Crooks & Liars also in the running.

Your vote will be critical in helping to determine who wins the coveted prize, a right-wing Christian book. I think it is fair to say they did not anticipate the popularity of lefty political blogs this year.


Monday, January 30, 2006

FDL Late Nite Bonus Edition: No Columnist Left Behind

Continuing its tradition of journalistic excellence, the Washington Post sends its best and brightest to bash the blogs:
Elected Democrats and their liberal base are in one of their periodic splits between pragmatism and symbolism. Under pressure from blogs and liberal groups, Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) yesterday attempted an obviously doomed filibuster against the Supreme Court nomination of Samuel Alito -- and Kerry got only 25 of the 60 needed votes.
Don't worry Dana, we will unleash no swarm of "hate speech" upon your tender ears explaining the difference between 41 and 60. Nobody thinks enough of this particular mistake to impute you with any partisan motives.

Is there some sort of basic literacy test you have to fail to work at the Washington Post?

(hat tip Teddy)


FDL Late Nite: Coffee and Cigarettes

One of my favorite websites on all the internets is Vinyl Mine, where Jim H. has his trademark "Coffee and Cigarettes" MP3 mixes. He's got a Burt Bacharach fetish going on at the moment and one one of the mixes includes "Alfie," "The Look of Love" and "Raindrops." Another has a very good Mice Parade track that I'm fond of, but somehow the Bacharach seems quite right tonight. Burt has, of late, grown quite political.

And Wendy Wasserstein died today. Here's a piece from the New Yorker she wrote in 1999 on discovering her true calling as a Shiksa Goddess.



Now What?

I can't say it often enough, it was a great effort these past few days. Time to relax and revel in the fact that your labors sucked much of the joy out of wingnuttia tonight, and that the "weak liberal" meme is dissolving even as the dittoheads piddle themselves silly over our bad language and righteous indignation.

And on that note, I highly recommend:

1. Hooking up with your local chapter of Drinking Liberally and making the acquaintance of like-minded people over a few beers. From the minute I started reading blogs I made a real effort to meet other residents of upper blogistan and I've made some of the best friends I've ever had and I think it's saved what bits of my sanity the Bush Junta had yet to shred. There are Drinking Liberally get-togethers all over the country, not only in places like New York and Los Angeles but Walla Walla Washington and Ames, Iowa. Actually I don't drink but that never seems to matter, the topic of politics with like-minded people is quite intoxicating enough.

2. Watching Keith Olbermann. Not only is he the best newscaster on television, his program is a regular beacon of hope. It would be great to give him the ratings power to wrestle free of the restraints placed on him by management (they complain if he books too many "liberals" on the show) and it's a great way to say informed. Just make sure you change the channel before Rita Cosby comes on or she could start talking about porn and your dog might barf in your shoe (true story).

3. Seeing what's going on with the Democrats in your area. You can check out the Democracy for America website where they have community meet-ups listed by zip code, and the DNC has links to each state's Democratic Party. Nothing will be as effective in the fall of 2006 as boots on the ground.

Above all remember that the thing Karl Rove fears even more than Patrick Fitzgerald and vigorous physical exercise is people like us getting motivated and mobilized. So throw him a sleepless night or two and get connected.



The Judiciary Committee hearings on Alito were a real eye opener for me and I think for many others as well. Not so much because the members of the committee were in such disarray -- that's been going on for a long time -- but because as we sat here together and watched them collectively I got a sense in reading the comments that some seismic shift was happening, that people finally realized that enough was enough. Something had to be done, someone had to start agitating for change and it wasn't going to come from within the Democratic establishment.

I want to take a moment to thank each and every person who took the time to participate in the comments section on this and other blogs to voice your frustration and your willingness to do something. It really took me by surprise, I have to say, to hear people so engaged and ready to mobilize. This amazing move to fight this battle came from the ground up. DC pundits are feeling threatened, and many have tried to dismiss this as John Kerry's cynical attempts to manipulate the grass roots, but that's a mistake. It was a groundswell that swept me and other bloggers up and called out for direction, and somehow John Kerry heard that and he stepped into a leadership position and he gave it to us. He gave our frustrations a focus, he offered us a chance to stand up and fight regardless of the likelihood of success, and that was all we asked. He validated our efforts and he let people know that their voices were being heard in spite of the timidity gripping many of his peers.

I frankly think the passion of the netroots community surprised him. For those who want to criticize him for not acting earlier or better, I do not think he had any reason to believe that this kind of support was extant or that we would have his back. He put his neck on the line over at Kos and the Huffington Post, not knowing what was going to come back. The outpouring of gratitude that came back to him for his efforts was extremely moving.

Next time he'll know. And so will we.

We shook things up. People like Joe Biden and Barak Obama were extremely irked about being put on the spot. Diane Feinstein changed her vote, and it's entirely possible others did likewise and we just didn't hear it. We forced those who voted for cloture into publicly opposing us, and now we know where things stand. And everyone across the political spectrum knows we're here now. They are starting to get a glimmer of the kind of muscle we can put behind something we believe it. It was a great moment, a grand and noble fight and I am so proud of each and every one of you for taking part in it.

The next big battle on the horizon are the NSA wiretap hearings coming up next week. On February 6 the Judiciary Committee will begin questioning Alberto Gonzales. I hope everyone will stop by Glenn Greenwald's blog and take time to look over his post on the points he believes will be the most important to cover during this process and to contribute your ideas. Glenn has a lot of people's ears right now after his work on the topic made headlines so it's a great way to prepare for and contribute to something that's going to be very critical for all of us.

I don't think anyone can look at the Alito battle on the part of the netroots community and say it was anything other than a huge success. We proved we could show up and we knew how to fight for what we believe in, no matter the odds, just because it's the right thing to do. Your courage, your conviction and your fearlessness are inspirational.

If anyone's been looking for the heart of the Democratic party, it's right here.

Update: I'd also like to take this opportunity to invite the "lurkers" to join in the comments, people who stop by but haven't felt that the time was right to participate in the conversation. Please feel free to introduce yourself. The natives are friendly and the water is warm.


Final Vote Count

Here's the list:

Akaka, Daniel K. (D-HI) Yes
Alexander, Lamar (R-TN) Yes
Allard, Wayne (R-CO) Yes
Allen, George (R-VA) Yes
Baucus, Max (D-MT) Yes
Bayh, Evan (D-IN) No
Bennett, Robert F. (R-UT) Yes
Biden, Joseph R., Jr. (D-DE) No
Bingaman, Jeff (D-NM) Yes
Bond, Christopher S. (R-MO) Yes
Boxer, Barbara (D-CA) No
Brownback, Sam (R-KS) Yes
Bunning, Jim (R-KY) Yes
Burns, Conrad R. (R-MT) Yes
Burr, Richard (R-NC) Yes
Byrd, Robert C. (D-WV) Yes
Cantwell, Maria (D-WA) Yes
Carper, Thomas R. (D-DE) Yes
Chafee, Lincoln (R-RI) Yes
Chambliss, Saxby (R-GA) Yes
Clinton, Hillary Rodham (D-NY) No
Coburn, Tom (R-OK) Yes
Cochran, Thad (R-MS) Yes
Coleman, Norm (R-MN) Yes
Collins, Susan M. (R-ME) Yes
Conrad, Kent (D-ND) Yes
Cornyn, John (R-TX) Yes
Craig, Larry E. (R-ID) Yes
Crapo, Mike (R-ID) Yes
Dayton, Mark (D-MN) No
DeMint, Jim (R-SC) Yes
DeWine, Mike (R-OH) Yes
Dodd, Christopher J. (D-CT) No
Dole, Elizabeth (R-NC) Yes
Domenici, Pete V. (R-NM) Yes
Dorgan, Byron L. (D-ND) Yes
Durbin, Richard (D-IL) No
Ensign, John (R-NV) NV NV
Enzi, Michael B. (R-WY) Yes
Feingold, Russell D. (D-WI) No
Feinstein, Dianne (D-CA) No
Frist, William H. (R-TN) Yes
Graham, Lindsey (R-SC)Yes
Grassley, Chuck (R-IA) Yes
Gregg, Judd (R-NH) Yes
Hagel, Chuck (R-NE) NV NV
Harkin, Tom (D-IA) NV NV
Hatch, Orrin G. (R-UT) Yes
Hutchison, Kay Bailey (R-TX) Yes
Inhofe, James M. (R-OK) Yes
Inouye, Daniel K. (D-HI) Yes
Isakson, Johnny (R-GA) Yes
Jeffords, James M. (I-VT) No
Johnson, Tim (D-SD) Yes
Kennedy, Edward M. (D-MA) No
Kerry, John F. (D-MA) No
Kohl, Herb (D-WI) Yes
Kyl, Jon (R-AZ) Yes
Landrieu, Mary L. (D-LA) Yes
Lautenberg, Frank R. (D-NJ) No
Leahy, Patrick J. (D-VT) No
Levin, Carl (D-MI) No
Lieberman, Joseph I. (D-CT) Yes
Lincoln, Blanche L. (D-AR) Yes
Lott, Trent (R-MS) Yes
Lugar, Richard G. (R-IN) Yes
Martinez, Mel (R-FL) Yes
McCain, John (R-AZ) Yes
McConnell, Mitch (R-KY) Yes
Menendez, Robert (D-NJ) No
Mikulski, Barbara A. (D-MD) No
Murkowski, Lisa (R-AK) Yes
Murray, Patty (D-WA) No
Nelson, Bill (D-FL) Yes
Nelson, E. Benjamin (D-NE) Yes
Obama, Barack (D-IL) No
Pryor, Mark L. (D-AR) Yes
Reed, Jack (D-RI) No
Reid, Harry (D-NV) No
Roberts, Pat (R-KS) Yes
Rockefeller, John D., IV (D-WV) Yes
Salazar, Ken (D-CO) Yes
Santorum, Rick (R-PA) Yes
Sarbanes, Paul S. (D-MD) No
Schumer, Charles E. (D-NY) No
Sessions, Jeff (R-AL) Yes
Shelby, Richard C. (R-AL) Yes
Smith, Gordon H. (R-OR) Yes
Snowe, Olympia J. (R-ME) Yes
Specter, Arlen (R-PA) Yes
Stabenow, Debbie (D-MI) No
Stevens, Ted (R-AK) Yes
Sununu, John E. (R-NH)Yes
Talent, Jim (R-MO) Yes
Thomas, Craig (R-WY) Yes
Thune, John (R-SD) Yes
Vitter, David (R-LA) Yes
Voinovich, George V. (R-OH) Yes
Warner, John (R-VA) Yes
Wyden, Ron (D-OR) No

TOTAL 72 Yes 25 No

Please, please take time to call, fax and email the Senators who supported us and voted "no" on cloture. Let them know that we appreciate them, and that we will remember this.

Thanks to everyone who participated. You're amazing. We showed up. We fought hard. And this is only the beginning.

Contact information here.


NARAL Drops the Ball

The announcement this morning that Lincoln Chaffee would vote "no" on Alito but "yes" on cloture was a hollow gesture to NARAL and the pro-choice community he pretends to cultivate. A vote for cloture is a vote for Alito. It's that simple.

I write this post with great regret because I am a long time supporter of NARAL, an unabashed feminist and pro-choice advocate who understood why they backed Chaffee in the first place. As Democrats quickly tried to shed a commitment to choice in a rush to become "Republican lite," it was a way for NARAL to say don't take us for granted -- don't assume we will be here just because the other guy is worse. I thought it was an effective way to telegraph to Democrats that if they wanted the tremendous money and resources NARAL could put behind a candidate, they were going to have to take a stand.

I just got off the phone with NARAL and I am being told that they do not consider Chaffee's vote on cloture to be significant. They are not going to pull their support for him over this.

Let's just be clear. Lincoln Chaffee is getting ready to vote for the single biggest blow to choice in this country since Roe v. Wade was passed 33 years ago. This ridiculous little kabuki about voting AGAINST Alito and FOR cloture is a sham, and if NARAL is going to look the other way they no longer deserve to be the guardians of a woman's right to choose in this country.

They had the money. They had the manpower. They did not organize effectively to oppose Alito's confirmation, and now they are rubber stamping his ascendancy to the Supreme Court.

I don't want to take people's efforts away from calling their Senators and keeping the pressure on as we come down to the wire, but watching groups like NARAL sit this one out is unacceptable. They should be calling Chafee right now and letting him know that they will cut him off if he throws his vote with the Gang of 14. Anything less is unacceptable, and a mockery of everything they purport to stand for.

NARAL Pro-Choice America
1156 15th Street, NW Suite 700
Washington, DC 20005

Main Number: 202.973.3000
Main Fax: 202.973.3096
feedback form

Update: Georgia10 at Kos says ditto that.

Update II: Meteor Blades, from the comments: "Some of us can multitask on the phone. I've probably contributed $5000 to NARAL over the years, and I just finished telling them that they need to speak publicly and NOW regarding Chafee."


You Know the Drill

Per Gilliard:
9am Monday morning shut down the Senate switchboard.
You can use these toll-free numbers (and ask for the Senators by name): 888-355-3588 or 888-818-6641.
Tanya has more info and individual contact numbers if the toll free numbers get jammed.


Sunday, January 29, 2006

FDL Late Nite: Ezra Klein is Hot

We scratch, they bleed.

The best sign that the status quo is in flux up is the sudden, loud chorus of establishment types wanting to dicipline liberal bloggers back into their caves. John has a few choice words for Katarina Vanden Heuvel, who seems to be channeling the GOP via Jim VandeHei over the Kaine/Murtha SOTU blogospheric non-controversy:
Your post focuses on an issue that was barely discussed in the blogosphere at all, except for a few comments back on Jan 18 -- yet your headline frames the issue as if it was a hotly contested debate. Most of us just nodded our heads and said OK. Did you suddenly turn on your computer two weeks after the fact and find that your monitor was frozen on this post? Arianna objected to Kaine being the speaker primarily because she felt he was much weaker on national defense than John Murtha is and that is a big issue for the Democratic Party. Your whole post is a straw man argument because the main premise is wrong. It only pushes the meme that liberal bloggers are irrational and unwieldy when that is simply not the case. Please do us a favor and if you are going to be a critic of the blogosphere (we welcome you with open arms) then do us the courtesy of actually reading what we write.
Katarina notes that Ezra Klein is "no Brad Pitt." I know Ezra and I'm with David E. and Mrs. TBogg on that one -- is she blind?


Punchin' the Freeper Clock

From the comments:
My theory is that a lot of the creepy freepers who post on lefty sites are just low-level right-out-of-college cubicle jockeys at right wing think-tanks. They're getting paid to skulk around and regurgitate winger talking points. Just a theory of course.

Have you ever noticed that a lot of them tend to post a lot during business hours and then disappear on the weekends? I guess that's when their busy date-raping one another ...
I've noticed this a lot over at the HuffPo. There seem to be a couple of people whose job it is to just jump in and leave right-wing talking points at the top of every thread. It doesn't happen if you post at night, and then they won't show up until business hours the next day.

No point, really, just nice to know the tactics of the enemy.

Update: William N. provides this link for the skeptics.


Who Wants to Be the New Lieberman?

The filibuster turnout has been insane. I'm hearing from Sean-Paul Kelley that eFax service is out, that's how many faxes are being sent. The Dems -- and no doubt the GOP -- have to be shocked that we could show up like this.

I'm not surprised in the least.

But Ken Salazar is still more afraid of Mullah Dobson than he is the members of his own party, apparently. Read what one organizer, a teacher from Colorado who was one of the people who pounded the pavement to put Salazar in office in the first place, is now saying over at Kos:
This was the same populist wave that propelled you to high office, sir, and now I'm calling in whatever chit my role in your election earned me. I'm afraid I'll only be able to view the choice you make in the coming days in one of two ways: If you choose to be a union man and join your fellows in solidarity by supporting the filibuster of Judge Alito, you will earn my admiration and support. If you choose to sit on the fence and leave Democrat men and women of principle to fall on their swords alone, you will earn my political enmity for all eternity. For me, at least, primary season 2010 will begin the day after you vote in favor of cloture.

Trust in the folks who put you in office, Senator Salazar; people like me won't leave you hanging later if you support us now. Ask Mark Cloer, the Republican State Rep from District 17, who faced a primary challenge from his right because he crossed party lines to vote against a moronic school voucher program. I, a flaming liberal from Boulder, walked and dropped literature for Cloer, a Republican in Colorado Springs, at the behest of a grateful CEA. Representative Cloer won, by the way - better to have a Republican who stands on principle than a Democrat who could win in the Springs, right, Senator?
If indeed Salazar is on his knees blowing Mullah Dobson and is willing to throw the country into the shitter for the next thirty years just so some foaming fascist won't say mean things about him, well we know where he stands. Especially if Holy Joe splits off from the gang of 14 and supports the filibuster, you can count me in for making Salazar's life miserable every day we can on the road to 2010.

Salazar contact info once again:
Denver Metro Region
2300 15th Street, Suite 450
Denver, CO 80202
Phone: (303) 455-7600
Fax: (303) 455-8851

Washington, D.C.
U.S. Senator Ken Salazar
702 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
(202) 224-5852 main
(202) 228-5036 fax

Pikes Peak Region
(719) 328-1100

High Plains Region
(970) 542-9446

Arkansas River Region
(719) 542-7550

Four Corners Region
(970) 259-1710

Western Slope/I 70 West Region
(970) 241-6631

North Central Region
(970) 224-2200

(719) 587-0096

Alamosa 719-587-0098 (fax)
Fort Morgan 970-542-3088 (fax)
Colorado Springs 719-328-1129 (fax)
Fort Collins 970-224-2205 (fax)
Pueblo 719-542-7555 (fax)
Durango 970-259-9789 (fax)
Grand Junction 970-241-8313 (fax)
Denver 303-455-8851 (fax)

You can also send a telegram here.
Oh well, look on the bright side. If Alito gets confirmed thanks to Kenny Boy, I'm sure the photoshoppers will have a field day whipping up entertaining images of him his new best buddy the Mullah for the next six years.

Update: Colorado bloggers are saying that Salazar is now running from his own constituents as he tries to avoid being answerable for this one.


Strip Search Sammy Fax Fest Continues

I'm hearing that most of the Senate email and phone message boxes are full, so below are the fax numbers for key senators. If you don't have a fax machine you can send one from your computer (the free fax services seem to be overloaded, so there must be a lot of people participating, a very good sign). These links will give you instructions for Windows XP, Windows 2000, OS X-Panther and OS X-Tiger. If you have any tech trouble ask someone in the comments for help (and any techies who can chime in will be greatly appreciated).

You can also sign up for a 30 day free trial at eFax.
Washington 202-224-2354 (fax)
Fairbanks 907-451-7290 (fax)
Juneau 907-586-8922 (fax)
Anchorage 907-258-9305 (fax)
Kenai 907-283-4363 (fax)
Wasilla 907-376-8526 (fax)
Bethel 907-543-1637 (fax)
Ketchikan 907-225-0390 (fax)

Senator Blanche Lambert Lincoln [AR] DEMOCRAT SWING VOTE
Washington 202-228-1371 (fax)
Dumas 870-382-1026 (fax)
Texarkana 870-774-7627 (fax)
Little Rock 501-375-7064 (fax)
Fayetteville 479-251-1410 (fax)
Jonesboro 870-910-6898 (fax)

Washington 202-228-0908 (fax)
Little Rock 501-324-5320 (fax)

Senator Dianne Feinstein [CA] (thank for supporting)
Washington 202-228-3954 (fax)
Fresno 559-485-9689 (fax)
San Francisco 415-393-0710 (fax)
Los Angeles 310-914-7318 (fax)
San Diego 619-231-1108 (fax)

Senator Barbara Boxer [CA](thank for supporting)
Washington 415-956-6701 (fax)
Los Angeles 213-894-5042 (fax)
San Francisco 415-956-6701 (fax)
San Bernadino 909-888-8613 (fax)
San Diego 619-239-5719 (fax)
Sacramento 916-448-2563 (fax)
Fresno 559-497-5111 (fax)

Alamosa 719-587-0098 (fax)
Fort Morgan 970-542-3088 (fax)
Colorado Springs 719-328-1129 (fax)
Fort Collins 970-224-2205 (fax)
Pueblo 719-542-7555 (fax)
Durango 970-259-9789 (fax)
Grand Junction 970-241-8313 (fax)
Denver 303-455-8851 (fax)

Senator Christopher J Dodd [CT](thank for supporting)
Washington 202-224-1083 (fax)
Wethersfield 860-258-6958 (fax)

Senator Joseph I Lieberman [CT] DEMOCRAT SWING VOTE
Washington 202-224-9750 (fax)
Hartford 860-549-8478 (fax)

Senator Joseph R Biden Jr [DE] (thank for supporting)
Washington, 202-224-0139 (fax)
Wilmington, 302-573-6351 (fax)
Milford 302-424-8098 (fax)

Senator Thomas R Carper [DE] DEMOCRAT SWING VOTE
Washington, 202-228-2190 (fax)

Washington 202-228-2183 (fax)
Tallahassee 850-942-8450 (fax)
West Palm Beach 561-514-4078 (fax)
Tampa 813-225-7050 (fax)
Jacksonville 904-346-4506 (fax)
Coral Gables 305-536-5991 (fax)
Ft. Myers 239-334-7710 (fax)
Davie 954-693-4862 (fax)
Orlando 407-872-7165 (fax)

Senator Daniel K Inouye [HI] DEMOCRAT SWING VOTE
Washington 202-224-6747 (fax)
Wailuku Maui 808-242-7233 (fax)
Lihue Kauai 808-246-9515 (fax)
Kaunakakai 808-560-3385 (fax)
Honolulu 808-541-2549 (fax)
Hilo 808-961-5163 (fax)
Kealakekua 808-961-5163 (fax)

Washington 202-224-2126 (fax)
Honolulu 808-545-4683 (fax)
Hilo 808-935-9064 (fax)

Washington 202-224-9369 (fax)
Des Moines 515-284-4937 (fax)
Cedar Rapids 319-365-4683 (fax)
Davenport 563-322-0417 (fax)
Dubuque 563-582-2342 (fax)
Sioux City 712-252-1638 (fax)

Senator Richard J Durbin [IL](thank for supporting)
Washington 202-228-0400 (fax)
Marion 618-997-0176 (fax)
Springfield 217-492-4382 (fax)
Chicago 312-353-0150 (fax)

Senator Barack Obama [IL] (thank for supporting)
Washington 202-228-4260 (fax)
Springfield 217-492-5099 (fax)
Chicago 312-886-3514 (fax)
Marion 618-997-2850 (fax)

Washington 202-228-1377 (fax)
Indianapolis 317-554-0760 (fax)

Washington 202-224-9735 (fax)
Lake Charles 337-439-3762 (fax)
New Orleans 504-589-4023 (fax)
Shreveport 318-676-3100 (fax)
Baton Rouge, 225-389-0660 (fax)

Senator Edward M Kennedy [MA](thank for supporting)
Washington 202-224-2417 (fax)

Senator John F Kerry [MA](thank for supporting)
Washington 202-224-8525 (fax)
Worcester, 508-831-7381 (fax)
Springfield, 413-736-1049 (fax)
Boston 617-248-3870 (fax)
Fall River 508-677-0275 (fax)

Senator Barbara A Mikulski [MD] DEMOCRAT SWING VOTE
Washington 202-224-8858 (fax)
Salisbury 410-546-9324 (fax)
Greenbelt 301-345-7573 (fax)
Annapolis 410-263-5949 (fax)
Hagerstown 301-797-2241 (fax)
Baltimore 410-962-4760 (fax)

Senator Paul S Sarbanes [MD] DEMOCRAT SWING VOTE
Washington 202-224-1651 (fax)
Salisbury 410-860-2134 (fax)
Cumberland 301-724-4660 (fax)
Silver Spring 301-589-0598 (fax)
Baltimore 410-962-4156 (fax)
Bryans Road 301-375-8914 (fax)

Senator Olympia Snowe [ME] REPUBLICAN SWING VOTE
Washington 202-224-1946 (fax)
Bangor 207-941-9525 (fax)
Presque Isle 207-764-6420 (fax)
Biddeford 207-284-2358 (fax)
Auburn 207-782-1438 (fax)
Augusta 207-622-7295 (fax)
Portland 207-874-7631 (fax)

Senator Susan Collins [ME] REPUBLICAN SWING VOTE
Washington 202-224-2693 (fax)
Biddeford 207-283-4054 (fax)
Portland 207-828-0380 (fax)
Caribou 207-493-7810 (fax)
Bangor 207-990-4604 (fax)
Augusta 207-622-5884 (fax)
Lewiston 207-782-6475 (fax)

Washington 202-224-1388 (fax)
Grand Rapids 616-456-5147 (fax)
Saginaw 989-754-2920 (fax)
Escanaba 906-789-0015 (fax)
Traverse City 231-947-9518 (fax)
Lansing, 517-377-1506 (fax)
Warren, 586-573-8260 (fax)
Detroit 313-226-6948 (fax)

Senator Debbie A Stabenow [MI](thank for supporting)
Washington 202-228-0325 (fax)

Senator Mark Dayton [MN] DEMOCRAT SWING VOTE
Washington 202-228-2186 (fax)
Fort Snelling 612-727-5223 (fax)
Biwabik 218-865-4667 (fax)
East Grand Forks 218-773-1993 (fax)

Washington 202-224-0515 (fax)

Washington 202-224-7776 (fax)
Minot 701-838-8196 (fax)
Grand Forks 701-746-1990 (fax)
Fargo 701-232-6449 (fax)
Bismarck 701-258-1254 (fax)

Washington 202-224-1193 (fax)
Grand Forks 701-746-9122 (fax)
Bismarck 701-250-4484 (fax)
Minot 701-838-8196 (fax)
Fargo 701-239-5112 (fax)

Washington 202-228-0012 (fax)
Lincoln, 402-476-8753 (fax)
Omaha 402-391-4725 (fax)

Senator Robert Menendez [NJ] DEMOCRAT SWING VOTE
Washington 202-228-2197 (fax)

Senator Frank Lautenberg [NJ] DEMOCRAT SWING VOTE
Washington 202-228-4054 (fax)
Camden 856-338-8936 (fax)
Newark 973-639-8723 (fax)

Senator Jeff Bingaman [NM] DEMOCRAT SWING VOTE
Washington 202-224-2852 (fax)

Senator Harry Reid [NV] (thank for supporting)
Washington 202-224-7327 (fax)
Reno 775-686-5757 (fax)
Carson City 775-883-1980 (fax)
Las Vegas 702-388-5030 (fax)

Senator Charles Schumer [NY](thank for supporting)
Washington 202-228-3027 (fax)
Binghamton 607-772-8124 (fax)
Rochester 585-263-3173 (fax)
Buffalo 716-846-4113 (fax)
Red Hook 845-758-1043 (fax)
Melville, 631-753-0997 (fax)
New York 212-486-7693 (fax)
Albany 518-431-4076 (fax)
Syracuse, 315-423-5185 (fax)

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton [NY](thank for supporting)
Washington 202-228-0282 (fax)
Buffalo 716-854-9731 (fax)
Albany 518-431-0128 (fax)
New York 212-688-7444 (fax)
Hartsdale 914-472-5073 (fax)
Lowville 315-376-6118 (fax)
Melville 631-249-2847 (fax)
Syracuse 315-448-0476 (fax)
Rochester 585-263-6247 (fax)

Senator Ron Wyden [OR](thank for supporting)
Washington 202-228-2717 (fax)

Washington 202-224-4680 (fax)
Cranston 401-464-6837 (fax)
Providence 401-528-5242 (fax)

Senator Lincoln D Chafee [RI] REPUBLICAN SWING VOTE
Washington 202-228-2853 (fax)

Washington 202-228-5765 (fax)
Aberdeen 605-226-2439 (fax)
Sioux Falls 605-332-2824 (fax)
Rapid City 605-341-2207 (fax)

Senator Patrick J Leahy [VT] DEMOCRAT SWING VOTE
Washington 202-224-3479 (fax)

Senator James M Jeffords [VT] INDEPENDENT SWING VOTE
Washington 202-228-0776 (fax)

Senator Patty Murray [WA] DEMOCRAT SWING VOTE
Washington 202-224-0238 (fax)
Everett 425-259-7152 (fax)
Seattle 206-553-0891 (fax)
Spokane 509-624-9561 (fax)
Vancouver 360-696-7798 (fax)
Yakima 509-453-7731 (fax)

Senator Maria Cantwell [WA] DEMOCRAT SWING VOTE
Washington 202-228-0514 (fax)
Everett 425-303-8351 (fax)
Spokane 509-353-2547 (fax)
Vancouver 360-696-7844 (fax)
Tacoma 253-572-5859 (fax)
Seattle 206-220-6404 (fax)
Richland 509-946-6937 (fax)

Washington 202-224-9787 (fax)

Senator Russell D Feingold [WI](thank for supporting)
Washington 202-224-2725 (fax)
Milwaukee 414-276-7284 (fax)
Middleton 608-828-1203 (fax)

Washington 202-228-0002 (fax)
Charleston 304-343-7144 (fax)

Senator John D Rockefeller IV [WV] DEMOCRAT SWING VOTE
Washington 202-224-7665 (fax)
Fairmont 304-367-0822 (fax)
Martinsburg 304-262-9288 (fax)
Charleston 304-347-5371 (fax)
Beckley 304-253-2578 (fax)
Urban Pirate also has a good cut & paste list of fax numbers.

The Young Turks are still broadcasting live with their on-air filibuster.

Just a personal note to the three Democratic men -- Salazar, Pryor and Conrad -- who have told all us women to go fuck ourselves: we are going to have long memories of this one.

To the keyboards!

Update: From
Good news and bad news: Sen. Obama told George Staphylococcus he will (reluctantly) support the filibuster (#14), but also that it would fail - without identifying which Democrats would cause it to fail, which would help us turn them around. Obama said he opposed "procedural maneuvers" and wished Democrats had framed the substantive issues better.
Update: Biden has said he will vote against cloture -- but just once. We'll put him on the thank-you list -- for now.

Update II: I'm being told eFax services are down because of overuse. Somebody's been busy. We're getting it done.