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43 posts from February 2007

February 28, 2007

Frameshop: Giuliani the Transvestite


Warm Fuzzies: Giuliani and trump sex it up for the cameras (watch video)

Of all the words used to describe the campaign of Rudy Giuliani, transvestite may be the most accurate.  The video from 2000--which shows Donald Trump thrusting his face into Rudy's deftly sported novelty breasts--may be the first thing that comes to mind. But Giuliani's fetish for frocks is more of a one-liner than what really makes him a cross-dresser.

The issue in the video is not the morality of dressing as the opposite sex, but the authenticity of Giuliani's rebirth as a socially conservative, authoritarian Republican.  If a Republican candidate for president dresses up as Dame Edna--either for entertainment or just for relaxation--nobody should judge him for it.  But if that same candidate "dresses up" as a spokesman for those whose politics support a culture of violence against homosexuals--that is cause enough for judgment and alarm.

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Frameshop: Giuliani Cozied Up to Gay-Bashers

The Advocate.org showed Rudy Giuliani strategy for dressing up as an anti-choice anti-equal rights GOP candidate: by campaigning for the likes of notorious gay-bashers like Rick Santorum, Jim Nussle and Ralph Reed in the 2006 campaign:

There are signs that former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani may be trying to distance himself from his reputation for supporting abortion rights and gay equality as he eyes a possible run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008. In a 1999 Interview with CNN's Inside Politics, then-mayor Giuliani said, “I’m pro-choice. I’m pro–gay rights”

But as the midterm election draws near and Giuliani gets closer to what many believe will be a shot at the presidency, the former mayor is campaigning for some very antichoice, anti–gay rights GOP candidates. Some political experts say he's "mending fences."

On Tuesday, Giuliani appeared at a rally for U.S. senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, a vocal opponent of gay rights, who has said that states should regulate homosexuality "the same as they regulate human sexual contact with animals." Giuliani said of Santorum, "In any age you don't have many leaders. Senator Santorum is one of them."

The New York Times reports that Giuliani will head to Iowa later this month to campaign for U.S. representative and gubernatorial candidate Jim Nussle. Nussle is also an opponent of gay rights, having voted for the federal constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in 2004 and a ban on adoptions by gays in Washington, D.C., in 1999. Iowa is also home of the first national presidential caucus—and one of the first stops for most presidential candidates.

And earlier this week former Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed announced that Giuliani would headline a fund-raiser in May for Reed's campaign for lieutenant governor of Georgia.

Fundraising for that crew, obviously, was Giuliani's strategy for making sure those same backers who support notorious GOP gay-bashers will open their wallets in 2007-2008 to support him.

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February 27, 2007

Frameshop: Elderly Women Eating from Garbage Cans

This weekend, while the right-wing continued its violent rhetoric against Democrats, I saw something that I had hoped I would never see in my lifetime: an elderly woman eating directly out of a garbage can in the middle of a crowded cafe.   

At first it did not quite register.  The cafe where I was sitting was busy and there were quite a few elderly women walking around the room.   Suddenly, one person caught my eye:  a white women in her early 70s pulling a grocery pull-cart with one hand and carrying a single piece of salmon sushi in the other hand.  My eyes followed her as she passed by me, although not for any particular reason, and I watched as she bent over to look into the garbage can just behind my table, holding the sushi slightly away from the opening, stood back up, and then sat down at a bench nearby.  I chuckled to myself and thought: Funny old gal. Wants to make sure she's not throwing fish in the recycling bin. I continued eating.

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February 26, 2007

Frameshop: Bush's Photo with Cub Scouts

Oddly touching or touching oddly? (source: WH)

The White House has given its website a face lift and, as a result, I found myself this morning stumbling around in search of my usual cache of transcripts.

Serendipity, thus, brought me to an odd photo of President Bush caught in the midst of hugging a 10-year-old Cub Scout. 

The photo has a decidedly "creepy uncle" air about it that made me wonder about Bush's tendency to touch people--literally--in unexpected ways and places. 

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February 23, 2007

Frameshop: The 80% Solution

In his 2006 Book The One Percent Doctrine, Ron Suskind summed up Dick Cheney's approach to national security after 9/11:

if there was even a 1 percent chance of terrorists getting a weapon of mass destruction -- and there has been a small probability of such an occurrence for some time -- the United States must now act as if it were a certainty.
(quote courtesy NYT)

What Suskind saw in Cheney, in other words, was a man who proclaimed himself a man of action, not analysis.  What matters to Cheney is the act of preventing disaster.  The analysis to show that act was necessary can come later, if at all. 

How strange it is--or maybe not so strange--that Cheney's one percent doctrine as it applies to invading a foreign country, quickly inflates to a new, at-least-90-percent doctrine when it comes to fighting one of the greatest threats to national security of our time: the global crisis climate.

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Frameshop: Malkin Flexes Media Muscle

In the wake of Republican threats, last week, to commit acts of violence against Democratic campaign staffers, right-wing blogger Michelle Malkin suddenly published a story about a so-called "raving leftist" who confronted a college Republican in Virginia. 

There were two problems with Malkin's piece.  For starters, the person she labeled a "raving leftist" in her story has absolutely no connection to liberal blogs, organized progressive activism or any Democratic political campaign.  But beyond that, Malkin's piece seemed to undercut was a week long effort by progressive bloggers to shine a light on the violent rhetoric and threats injected regularly by Republicans into U.S. politics. 

Malkin made a falsehood seem like a truth--she made it seem that there are violent types on both sides of the political spectrum. 

In fact, the piece was really about Michelle Malkin flexing her media muscle, her way of shooting back at progressive blogs by saying,  "Ha!  You can call the right violent all you want, but in the end I get to decide because I have an agent, I appear regularly on TV."

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February 21, 2007

Frameshop: Republican "Slow Bleed" Frame Falsely Attributed to Murtha

Phrase First Use by Right-Wing Blog, Attributed to Democrats by Media, Republican Congressmen

Media Matters has done a great job tracking the Republican use of the phrase "slow bleed" in what appears to be a well-coordinated effort to frame John Murtha's proposed legislation as an act of treason.

"Slow-bleed" was first used February 14, 2007 by right-wing pundit John Bresnahan on the Republican-leaning website Politico.com (House Democrats' New Strategy: Force Slow End to War).  Politico.com posts are listed on LexisNexis and widely distrubuted through news wires.  With this wide reach, Bresnahan's phrase "slow bleed" was quickly repeated throughout the mainstream media.  By February 16, the White House itself was repeating this phrase, followed by its repetition by Republican leaders.

Shockingly, rather than attributing "slow bleed" to a Bresnehan, Republicans have systematically attributed it to Murtha himself--who never said anything of the sort. 

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February 20, 2007

Frameshop: "God Gap" Getting Grisly



A dangerous trend emerging in the "God Gap" (source: The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life).

If last week's right-wing ugliness is any indication, Republicans are undergoing a massive revival of faith--not faith in God, but in the advice of overpaid Republican consultants who are again telling their clients to attack Democrats as "anti-religious."

The reason is likely more than the old canard about church attendance as an "indicator" of voter affiliation (e.g., the more you attend church, the more you vote Republican).  Instead, a new statistic has emerged from the 2006 election data that seems to be guiding the smear tactics of the Republicans:  a majority of Americans with strong religious beliefs now view themselves as the victims of discrimination.

So, even as Democrats made some gains amongst religious voters in the last round of elections, authoritarian conservatives continue to gain ground by convincing huge  Americans that religion is under attack.

The "God Gap," in other words, is getting nasty--and if last week is any indication, things are about to get much, much worse.

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February 16, 2007

Frameshop: The Violence Frame


The normalcy with which Republicans now call for acts of violence against Democrats is alarming. 

Recently, individual Republicans taking matters into their own hands--not connected to, but seemingly inspired by, the Catholic League's smear campaign against John Edwards--sent hate mail calling for the sodomy, rape and murder of Democratic staffers.  On the heels of those disturbing death threats, Congressman Don Young (R-AK) used a fake quote attributed to Abraham Lincoln to argue that Democrats who criticized the President's Iraq policy deserved to be "arrested, exiled or hanged."

Glenn Greenwald does an excellent job showing how this quote attributed to Lincoln was in fact fabricated by J. Michael Waller in a 2003 Insight Magazine article, "Democrats Usher in an Age of Treason," and how--despite being disavowed by Waller--was still used by Frank Gaffney in his column this week for The Washington Times.  As Greenwald puts it so aptly:

This [fabricated] quote has become a favorite weapon for those who want to criminalize criticism of the Leader and the War.

While I agree with Greenwald (and appreciate him ferreting out the origins of the fake quote), I believe this quote being repeated in authoritarian conservative magazines and newspapers, and then on the floor of the House of Representatives is part of a much broader and much more disturbing trend amongst Republicans than just the belief that war criticism should be a criminal act.

What I see is a growing ease with which Republicans use the media to call for violence to be committed against Democrats.  And as far as I can tell, they have been allowed to do this without any consequences whatsoever.

Continue reading "Frameshop: The Violence Frame" »

Frameshop: Stop the Splurge

Americans angered by Bush's "surge" in Iraq should be apoplectic about the "splurge." 

This video of Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA) explains in clear terms how the corporations DynCorp and Corporate Bank effectively filched U.S. taxpayers out of $8,000,000 by outsourcing Iraq contracts below the original value of the awarded job.  In this case, DynCorp was awarded a contract for $55 million, outsourced it to Corporate Bank for $55 million who then outsourced it to an Italian company for $47 million.  Net result:  $8 million into the coffers of Corporate Bank (no doubt with a kickback to DynCorp) for doing nothing.

Repeat this scenario a few dozen times and suddenly it becomes clear what happened to the $10 billion unaccounted for in Iraq reconstruction money.

It's a shame that accounting scandals never seem to register outrage with the American public, but I suspect there are hundreds outsourcing scams that unfolded since the U.S. occupied Iraq.

To add to the list of all the other crimes committed by the Bush administration: overpriced contracts giving their cronies millions in freebie profits.

I suppose this is what they meant by "free market."

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