Blue-shifting the Gem State, one blog entry at a time.

Failure is not an option, it's mandatory.

"For more than three decades, the Republican Party has relied on the "culture war" to rescue their chances every four years, from Richard Nixon's campaign against the liberal news media to George H. W. Bush's campaign against the liberal flag-burners. In this culture war, the real divide is between "regular people" and an endlessly scheming "liberal elite." This strategy allows them to depict themselves as friends of the common people even as they gut workplace safety rules and lay plans to turn Social Security over to Wall Street. Most important, it has allowed Republicans to speak the language of populism."

An opinion about how the surety of losing wins votes for the Republican party.

AP Seeks Release of Bush Military Records

..."Records released so far do not put to rest questions over whether Bush fulfilled his National Guard service for a period during the Vietnam War, the AP argued in papers filed in federal court in New York. Those records came from federal records clearinghouses. Texas law requires separate record keeping for state National Guard service, and those records should exist on microfilm in Austin, the AP said. ..."

The lid is blowing off. - global coverage of alleged child abuse at Abu Ghraib grows, US Media hides under the bed

Tom Tomorrow reports that the story of the 107 imprisoned, tortured, and raped children in Abu Ghraib is beginning to break all over the world, as the US media remains in patriotic silence. We're already about to lose our first ally over this, Norway.

ID Nat'l Guard talking points memo, or indirect orders?

News reports came out yesterday that the Idaho National Guard has issued a set of talking points for Guard soldiers to use when they speak to the media. These points tell them to focus on their confidence in U.S. troops and support for the war in Iraq. Ooookaaay...

In this month's newsletter to the 116th Brigade Combat Team, the unit's public affairs officer told soldiers that referring to the approved themes "adds continuity to the message we are portraying as a unit."

The five "command themes" are:

  • pride in being on active duty
  • support for the U.S. presence in Iraq
  • confidence in American troops
  • commitment to unified forces
  • appreciation for families and employers

"Those are the messages we want out there right now," said Capt. Monte Hibbert, the officer who wrote the article. Hibbert, with his wife Farhana, own and operate Idaho Unido, a spanish language newspaper out of Pocatello, and are both Republicans.

Hibbert claims he didn't intend to restrict comments the soldiers could make to the media, and I hope that's the case. After all, a newspaper man should be well acquainted with the 1st Amendment.

I don't believe there's anything wrong, per se, with the themes. But when soldiers are given "guidelines" like these, most of them are going to assume that if they cross them, they're going to feel heat from the brass. It has the subtle but chilling effect of making soldiers think twice if they talk to the media. Bland, watered-down statements or even silence would obviously be preferred by those who lean far-right in the military and, of course, to the Bush administration.

Here's my question to Capt. Hibbert and his superiors: with troops as smart and well-trained as the men and women in our Idaho National Guard, shouldn't we assume they're intelligent enough to decide for themselves what they can say to the media? I'm more than willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Democracy in the Balance - Bill Moyers

How do we nurture the healing side of religion over the killing side? How do we protect the soul of democracy against bad theology in service of an imperial state?

I trace my spiritual lineage back to a radical Baptist in England named Thomas Helwys who believed that God, and not the King, was Lord of conscience. In 1612 Roman Catholics were the embattled target of the Crown and Thomas Helwys, the Baptist, came to their defense with the first tract in English demanding full religious liberty. Here's what he said:  read more »

And carry a big stick

The news is slowly leaking out about the children being sodomized at Abu Ghraib. Sy Hersh, speaking at the ALCU convention, mentioned that not only did those working on behalf of the U.S. do it, they videotaped it. From the other bloggers' reports, it’s beyond appalling -- reading about the screams of the children, it just makes you sick to your stomach. Mothers and wives who were also detained sent out notes to their husbands to please kill them because of all the misery at the prison.

Naturally, the national news is very slow to report on these acts of violence due to their nature. American's wouldn't do anything this appalling! Currently it's up to the bloggers to spread the news of these atrocious acts.

We must keep the pressure on the major news sources to force them finally to admit how reprehensible this really is. I’m sure there is a lot of pressure from the government to keep this hush-hush. This would be another big black eye for the Bushes.

Since Rush Limbaugh believes these are college pranks, let’s have Rush take one for the team and see how he likes it. For more reports about this, the Daily Kos blog has some observant write-ups to fill in the vacant news reporting.

As we descend to an all time low, we must ask: who is in charge? My answer is, it goes all the way to the top. Bush and the Republican Party have one agenda on their mind -- to get what they want with no conscience to what happens to people who get in their way. This is what’s happening to the lower and middle classes currently, the big stick...

Boise's Nicole LeFavour makes Dean Dozen!

Just received this email from Democracy for America on their newest Dean Dozen, and it includes Idaho's own Nicole LeFavour:

Nicole LeFavour for Idaho State House. Idaho needs leaders like Nicole LeFavour -- people who will fight for smaller class sizes, better health care and the conservation of our natural resources. She has helped defeat an anti-gay ballot initiative, brought community groups together to fight pollution and discrimination, and taught school in Boise. Democracy for America proudly supports teacher, labor advocate and human rights campaigner Nicole LeFavour.

A big ol' shout out and congratulation to Ms. LeFavour and her team -- she's going to win her race, and this endorsement is just icing on the cake!

Besides the support of Howard Dean's Democracy for America organization, I hope it means she'll get more money for her campaign. Way to go, Nicole!

Idaho's Senators: It's Great to Hate!

AMENDMENT BEFORE THE SENATE: Do you hate homosexuals and think bigotry ought to be written into the Constitution?

Sen. Larry "what rumors?" Craig (R-ID):

  • Votes YES

Sen. Mike "what rumors, Larry?" Crapo (R-ID):

  • Votes YES

The GOoPmeisters in the U.S. Senate didn't even get enough votes to reach cloture (a parliamentary procedure by which debate is ended and an immediate vote is taken on the matter under discussion). They lost this round, and knew they would beforehand. But our dynamic duo of Craig and Crapo made sure they scrawled their mark in support of prejudice and inequality anyway. Ain't they just a piece of work?

It's clowns like these two who give Idaho such a bad reputation. Let's get to the polls in November and see if we can't break up these lovebirds.

Preston for Congress website online

Naomi Preston, Idaho Democratic candidate for U.S. House of Representatives
has her new website up. She's going up against Butch "I only voted for the Medicare
bill because my convictions are weaker than my party's threats"
Otter. And folks,
we here in Idaho absolutely need Naomi in Congress.

Is Butch Otter a nice person? I suppose so. Is he the kind of guy you could
sit down a have a beer with? Probably. Is he the man to stand up for the needs
of everyday Idahoans, a person who can make the right choices about our state,
even if it goes against his party's wishes? Hell no.
He's proven that already.

to the Washington Post
, before last November's vote on the Medicare bill,
Otter told a reporter  read more »

Outfoxed houseparties in Idaho this Sunday


Seven days a week, 24 hours a day, Fox News Channel turns Republican talking points into news headlines. Now Uncovered director Robert Greenwald -- working with a group of Fox-monitoring MoveOn members -- has put together a documentary film called Outfoxed that exposes Fox for what it is: partisan spin, not news.

This Sunday evening, July 18th, you're invited to be among the first to see Outfoxed at one of over 2,500 house parties across the nation, hosted by MoveOn and Common Cause members. Then join together in a coast-to-coast conference call with comedian and radio host Al Franken and the movie's director, Robert Greenwald. We'll kick off an exciting campaign to take on Fox for its partisan reporting and deceptive slogan "Fair and Balanced."

Throughout Idaho, folks are hosting houseparties to show Outfoxed. You can find viewings in Boise, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho Falls, Meridian and Pocatello, and I'm sure many more will be announced in the next couple days. Just click here to sign up to attend, or to host your own party. I'm all signed up and ready to watch the doc this Sunday.

Time to skin us a Fox!

"I have made the change and have done so proudly."

Can you guess which Idahoan wrote this?

Throughout my life I have thought of myself as a moderate Republican. Over the last three years, however, I have become increasingly disenchanted with the policies of the current administration and Republican Congress. I realized that their policies ignore what used to be considered the cornerstones of the Republicanism that I grew up with as a child: 1) Fiscal responsibility, 2) Maintenance of a strong position of moral leadership in the world community, 3) Support of a strong military, and 4) Staunch defense of personal freedoms. On every point, the Democratic Party has taken the position of leadership. Therefore, changing title from Republican to Democrat allows me to defend those principles I held so dear throughout my life. I have made the change and have done so proudly.

The writer's website should be up in a few days. I'll tell you then.

UPDATE 07/19/04: Click here for the answer.

Even a blind elephant finds a peanut once in a while...

Writer, GOP shill and (after a fashion) gay activist Andrew Sullivan usually gets nothing from me but distain. But being gay, he's often torn between his slavering devotion for the right-wing fundies, and his repeated astonishment that they despise his kind.

Sully is the original kid who wakes up on Christmas morning only to find a truck has accidentally rolled backward into his house and dumped a huge pile of horse manure into the living room. Instead of being horrified at what happened, Sully dives into the steaming pile every time, thinking there's a pony hiding nearby. Charlie Brown had less trust of Lucy than Sully does of his Rethug masters.

In his latest article for The New Republic, Sullivan dissects the radio speech George W. Bush's gave Sunday, where Bush defends and promotes his approval of the Federal Marriage Amendment. Sully gives the kind of refutation that can only be put forth by someone with so much to lose if this amendment passes. It's definitely worth a read -- click here to see for yourself. I'm sorry to see Sully only be this articulate and enlightened when his way of life is threatened.

Some nice Bordeaux sounds good...

Yesterday I read an article that the French government was investigating Vice President Dick “blank off” Cheney for bribery, corruption and other Republican tactics. As C.E.O. of Halliburton, Dick did a real number on a deal for a reactor in Nigeria. In short detail, the whole thing is a big abhorrent back door deal.

The French government has been investigating all the crimes committed by various companies and guess who the worst was? The Magistrate assigned to overseeing the case is one of the best in dealing with political corruption. His credentials include taking down almost the entire French government in the 90's for scandal and corruption. The French are planning on calling Dick to testify in the upcoming trail. I wonder how many nasty words Dick can learn in French?  read more »

The Right-Wing: so stupid, they don't even listen to themselves

What leftie, commie, pinko traitor said this?

"I think the fact of the matter, of course, (same-sex relationship recognition) is regulated by the states. I think different states are likely to come to different conclusions, and that's appropriate. I don't think there should necessarily be a federal policy in this area. I try to be open-minded about it as much as I can, and tolerant of those relationships. And like (Senator) Joe (Lieberman), I also wrestle with the extent to which there ought to be legal sanction of those relationships. I think we ought to do everything we can to tolerate and accommodate whatever kind of relationships people want to enter into."

Who said this? None other than Dick Cheney, during the 2000 vice-presidential debate. To read lots of other conservative GOoPers arguing against the Federal Marriage Amendment, click this link at the Human Rights Campaign website.

If only the wingers were capable of doing as they say, instead of doing as Karl Rove commands.

Hack, Dig & Slash for GOP Cash

My house is built with wood, I use paper and Mota only knows what other wood-based products. I believe properly-managed forests are a renewable resource and an important industry necessary for good jobs and the U.S. economy. America needs to explore in a planned and careful way for energy, in addition to ramping up work on wind, solar, hydrogen and yes, even nuclear. There are people, lots of good folks, who love to ride dirt bikes and four-wheelers and snowmobiles. To everything, there should be a balance.

But after watching the Bush badministration for the last 3.5+ years, I'm as certain as the sun will rise in the morning that with this ruling -- like everything else they touch -- they'll choose every wrong decision possible and run with it like a stray dog with garbage. Holden, subbing for Atrios at Eschaton, has more:  read more »

Your action needed NOW — help kill the FMA is sponsoring a petition to be sent to President Bush and your senators and representatives asking them to vote against the Federal Marriage Amendment. This amendment is coming up for a vote this Wednesday in the Senate, and if passed through Congress, it would deny same-sex couples the right to marry.

Whether you're comfortable or not with same-sex marriage has not one damn thing to do with this amendment. There are lots of things that right-winger's spout and spew every day, things I disagree with to the very marrow of my bones, but I'm not about to demand that their 1st Amendment rights be repealed to shut those clowns the hell up.

When two adults truly love each other, whatever their sexual orientation, we should be shouting "Hell Yeah!" from the rooftops, not trying to force them underground and out of the light.

Here's the letter I sent today through the petition at  read more »

Mommy, they're bein' mean to me again!

"Nobody loves me, ever'body hates me, I'm gonna go eat worms..."

(Thu Jul 8, 8:52 AM ET) US President George W. Bush walks away from a briefing with the media, refusing to answer questions after he was asked about Enron and the reported indictment of former CEO Kenneth Lay, who was a close adviser and fund-raiser for Bush and his father, earning him the presidential nickname of 'Kenny Boy.'(AFP/Paul J. Richards)

If he's pissed-off now, wait until November 2nd (dependent upon whether the Rethugs manage to postpone elections, that is.)

U.S. Mulling How to Delay Nov. Vote in Case of Attack

(WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. counterterrorism officials are looking at an emergency proposal on the legal steps needed to postpone the November presidential election in case of an attack by al Qaeda, Newsweek reported on Sunday.)

Teresa Heinz-Kerry in Idaho 7/17

Teresa Heinz-Kerry, wife of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, will be in Idaho next Saturday at a fund-raiser in Ketchum. Click here for KBCI-2 article.

NTodd parses Dubya

From Dohiyi Mir:

Gay marriages are such a threat to our nation it is more important that we tinker with the Constitution to prevent them than it is to pass homeland security funding legislation.

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