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(Check out the list of features provided below the Recommended Reading to
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Political Cortex is structured around a community software platform
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Again, Welcome to Political Cortex!
t is axiomatic that everyone looks good when things are going well. Dealing with high times isn’t a traumatic test of character, and therefore doesn’t reveal true character. It’s when things get tough that authentic personalities are exposed – and there can be no better example of this psychobabbling truism than today’s Republican Party in action.
With the White House’s upper echelon now in criminal jeopardy, we pause with wonder at how leading GOPers have scrambled, dissembled, backpedaled and raised hypocrisy to new and breathtaking heights. Perjury? Obstruction of justice? Pshaw. Mere misdemeanors, they say, little bumps in the political road that only hypercritical naysayers would condemn as serious.
Remember how, according to Republicans, the national sky was falling when Bill Clinton hit these same bumps? His perjurious ways – and over sex, mind you, not national security – were a bane on our national reputation, an intolerable blight on the presidency and demanding of the harshest punishment: impeachment.
But so much for that. It’s a new age.
Bill Clinton and his administration were the targets of a series of politically-motivated investigations (read: "witchunts") that started with a real estate venture called "Whitewater."
A few years and over $60 million in taxpayer dollars later, the GOP used government printing presses to produce "The Whitewater Report," which mentioned "Whitewater" four times and found no wrongdoing -- but had 283 sexual references.
It looks like Miers has her own shady real estate deal, and it's a not as innocent as Clinton's turned out to be:
Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers collected more than 10 times the market value for a small slice of... land in a large Superfund pollution cleanup site in Dallas where the state wanted to build a highway off-ramp.
The windfall came after a judge who received thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Miers' law firm appointed a close professional associate of Miers and an outspoken property-rights activist to the three-person panel that determined how much the state should pay.
...Mediation efforts in 2003 reduced the award from $106,915 to $80,915, but Miers, who controls the family’s interest in the land, hasn’t reimbursed the state for the $26,000 difference, even after Bush appointed her to the Supreme Court.
First she "forgets" to pay her dues
to the Washington, D.C. and Texas bar associations, which suspends her license, then we discover unethical financial dealings
between her law firm and Bush's 1998 gubernatorial re-election campaign that she (of course) failed to report on the Senate Judiciary Committee's questionnaire -- which was sent back to her
for having "inadequate" and "insufficient" answers.
Bush has traded on his family's name and connections to get everything he has; it's obvious that Miers followed suit, using the Bush family name and her connection to George W. to get her sweetheart land deal.
Just another example of the Republican Party's cronyist Culture of Corruption.
Cheney vs. Terrorists: Contest of the Ridiculous
Today, we're going to play a little game. It's been a really bad week for the Government, and they're scrambling like mad to cover their respective asses while simultaneously rolling out new terror info in an attempt to throw the media off the trail. The result is that some odd new stories have been coming to light. So here's what we'll do: I have two stories that have what I believe are unbelievable elements. I'll present them, and your objective is to figure out which one is the most deranged. A no-prize to anyone who guesses which story will be contradicted first.
Here we go: Story #1 and Story #2. Read through both, or just check out the synopsis.
#1 - The value of Cheney's stock options (mostly Halliburton) have gone up more than 3,000% over the past year.
#2 - An intercepted letter from al-Qaeda reveals the roots of a plan for Iraq.
THE RIDICULOUS PART:
#1 - Cheney claims he's giving all $8 million in profit to charity.
#2 - The letter was sent by al-Qaeda's #2 in Iraq.
THE OBVIOUS JOKE:
#1 - I hate to break it to Dick, but Lynne Cheney doesn't qualify as a "charity."
#2 - Either they have a lot of #2s or al-Qaeda's zombification project is really coming along.
THE REALLY CONVENIENT PART:
#1 - According to Cheney, his Halliburton stock doesn't constitute a financial interest in Halliburton. Yes, he's really arguing that.
#2 - Quote: "The aftermath of the collapse of American power in Vietnam - and how they ran and left their agents - is noteworthy. ... We must be ready starting now." How convenient - he's saying the exact same thing as the administration.
THE PART I COMPLETELY MADE UP, BUT WOULD FIT ANYWAY:
#1 - Cheney: "Even if I was connected to Halliburton - which I'm not - it's not like they would have given me that much money. Now, if you'll excuse me, Lynne and I are going airplane shopping."
#2 - Zarqawi: "Also, we must be wary not to further inflame the passions of the Great Devil Bush, for he will surely smite us with his unswerving courage and honor, unlike that cowardly John Kerry who would surely have handed us the reigns of power. Also, Michael Moore is fat."
RELATIVE GOODNESS AS DICTATED BY THE GERMATRICULATOR:
#1 - 68%
#2 - 66%
For the Bush administration, Iraq is no longer a democratic test tube, or tabula rasa for geopolitical mapmakers, or even a Rovian opportunity to whip injured nationalism into a vengeful froth. It is way beyond that. Iraq has become, instead, nothing more than the administration’s tar baby of Hobson’s choices, Catch 22s, vicious cycles, and proverbial rocks and hard places amidst the desert.
The one bright spot is that Iraq as an immediate problem could very well be thrown out along with Bush’s other fetid bathwaters in 2008. The dark side, however, is that this criminal war has made an international rogue of the United States and the self-made image will linger in the world’s mind for years to come. Furthermore, the neocon Bushies who were intent on flexing America’s muscle to intimidate global girlie-men have instead shown (once again) that raw military power is a 98-pound, counterinsurgent weakling. Indeed, Bush’s excellent Iraq adventure has been an inspiration to the bin Ladens and Zarqawis everywhere waiting to kick sand in our face.
Jeff Jacoby, the Boston Globe’s resident conservative, doesn’t usually get it. Most of his columns - reality-based disconnects of Heritage Foundation fantasies and talking-point drafts for the Limbaugh crowd - leave the thoughtful reader either slackjawed or in stitches. But on Wednesday he actually got it, and perhaps the only thing that rendered readers slackjawed this time around was how “it” could take so damn long to occur.
Mr. Jacoby, it seems, just discovered that present-day, self-ballyhooed conservatives - specifically, those in Congress and the White House - aren’t … well, conservative. In what must have been a etymological epiphany, it came to Jacoby that “conservative” comes from “conserve,” as in to fiscally conserve, and his lads in power aren’t doing anything of the sort.
I don’t know if it was his keen, investigative skills or the endless stream of kids-in-the-candy-store headlines for five years that tipped him off, but whichever it was, he’s hot on the story. And just plain hot. He feels betrayed.
I once heard the actor James Cagney reminisce with eloquent brevity about his hard-drinking father. By the time of the younger Cagney’s adolescence, pop, he said, had swilled himself into that psychological vortex of “a good man going downhill fast.”
Most liberals would redact the “good” from that character sketch to describe George W. Bush’s current and personal state of affairs, but even conservatives and their more right-wing and militant brethren privately concur these days with the “going downhill fast” part. Never has a fall from presidential grace occurred with such rapidity and conspicuousness.
Katrina and Rita were huge stories in their own right, of course, but the latter took on a unique hugeness only because it followed the former’s hugeness being simultaneously overshadowed by the huger hugeness of Bush’s incompetence in responding. Political fallout, not nature’s, became Katrina’s primary narrative, and a political eulogy became its color commentary. Bush’s swagger swiftly devolved to feigned humility, then abject supplication. He desperately needs voters to cut him some slack, and the man who claims not to care about polling numbers is now willing to say or do anything to bump them up.
George W. Bush