Saturday, May 31, 2008

Local Politics and National Influence

It's going to be an interesting summer here in Arizona's 1st congressional district as the race to replace Mr. corruption Renzi heats up. First, I'm really frustrated with the Democratic party (America's second worst party) who seem determined to pick our candidate for us, rather than let the voters make the choice in our primary. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has decided to back Ann Kirkpatrick in the race, a poor choice in my opinion. I'm a strong supporter and volunteer for Howard Shanker (, so my opinion is somewhat biased, but my goal is to elect the best possible congressperson in the general election. The DCCC's anointed candidates lost to Renzi three times in a row in races that should have been won, so their endorsement is not a harbinger of success. Kirkpatrick seems to fit their profile of bland safe candidates, moderately conservative "blue dogs" who won't rock the boat. Shanker, on the other hand, is a real progressive with a strong agenda for change in Washington. He's taken strong stands on energy, the environment, and against the war in Iraq while Kirkpatrick's positions have been safely vague. And that's what really bothers me about the DCCC. They seem determined to select "safe" candidates who then lose in the general election, rather than candidates who offer a real potential for change. Given the mess that shrub and the republicans have created, we need more real change agents in congress. Howard Shanker should be one of those change agents.
For all of you here in Flagstaff, I'd like to invite you to a party with Howard on Saturday, June 21st:


Celebrate Democracy in Action

Come for the food and
Stay to meet and ask your questions To our next

Howard Shanker

Candidate in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District

Come enjoy a Saturday afternoon BBQ and Block Party and find
out why we should elect Howard Shanker for Congress.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


Hosted byYour Neighbor, Andy Bessler

3405 North Grandview Drive

Flagstaff, AZ

This should be fun, and we have a very real opportunity to win this one. Making it more of a challenge, however, is the schedule. The primary is on Sept. 2nd, which doesn't leave a lot of time to gear up for November.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

State of Corruption

Arizona's congressional delegation has piled up a catalogue of corruption that few states can rival. My representative, and Republican corruption poster boy, Rick Renzi (who should be in jail) is sharing some of the investigation with our Senators St. Sleazy McCain and bloody stupid Jon Kyl:

Federal agents interviewed staffers for likely Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) as part of their corruption case against Rep. Rick Renzi (R-Ariz.).

U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona Diane J. Humetewa and fellow prosecutors disclosed the interviews with aides for McCain and fellow Arizona Republican Sen. Jon Kyl in a written response to Renzi’s attorneys, who asked for the contents of the interview to help prepare for Renzi’s upcoming trial, which is scheduled for October.

The aides were interviewed about land exchanges, according to an April letter from Humetewa filed with the U.S. District Court of Arizona late last week. The letter did not indicate when the interviews occurred.

A federal land swap critical to developing a $3 billion copper mine southeast of Phoenix is at the heart of the case against Renzi, who is facing 35 public corruption charges, including conspiracy, money-laundering, extortion and insurance fraud. Renzi is retiring at the end of this session.

Prosecutors said they would provide Renzi’s legal team with reports and transcripts of the staffer interviews. They also mentioned that they have requested documents from both Arizona senators’ offices.

While there is no evidence (yet) that St. Sleazy was involved in Renzi's solicitation of bribes, it does tie in with his current lobbyist problems. St. Sleazy likes to choose foxes to advise him on henhouse security:

Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain’s national campaign general co-chair was being paid by a Swiss bank to lobby Congress about the U.S. mortgage crisis at the same time he was advising McCain about his economic policy, federal records show.

“Countdown with Keith Olbermann” reported Tuesday night that lobbying disclosure forms, filed by the giant Swiss bank UBS, list McCain’s campaign co-chair, former Texas Sen. Phil Gramm, as a lobbyist dealing specifically with legislation regarding the mortgage crisis as recently as Dec. 31, 2007.

Gramm joined the bank in 2002 and had registered as a lobbyist by 2004. UBS filed paperwork deregistering Gramm on April 18 of this year. Gramm continues to serve as a UBS vice chairman.

St. Sleazy will try to distance himself from shrub and his low poll numbers, but he's still surrounded by the culture of corruption. He was closely tied to Renzi until Rick got caught. The Arizona Republican congressional delegation have a long history of sharing the spoils from their dirty deals, so I wouldn't be surprised if St. Sleazy found a way to profit from Renzi's corruption.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Now They'll Tell Us

For those of us who've been paying attention this is no surprise, but another one of shrub's pet sycophants has decided to tell the truth about the lies. Scott McClellan:

Former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan writes in a surprisingly scathing memoir to be published next week that President Bush “veered terribly off course,” was not “open and forthright on Iraq,” and took a “permanent campaign approach” to governing at the expense of candor and competence.

Among the most explosive revelations in the 341-page book, titled “What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception” (Public Affairs, price deleted):

• McClellan charges that Bush relied on “propaganda” to sell the war.

• He says the White House press corps was too easy on the administration during the run-up to the war.

• He admits that some of his own assertions from the briefing room podium turned out to be “badly misguided.”

• The longtime Bush loyalist also suggests that two top aides held a secret West Wing meeting to get their story straight about the CIA leak case at a time when federal prosecutors were after them — and McClellan was continuing to defend them despite mounting evidence they had not given him all the facts.

• McClellan asserts that the aides — Karl Rove, the president’s senior adviser, and I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, the vice president’s chief of staff — “had at best misled” him about their role in the disclosure of former CIA operative Valerie Plame’s identity.

I have no respect for people like this. He knew he was lying to us. Quite a few of shrub's liars have written their "apologia" after leaving the maladministration. If they had of possessed any honor they would have told the truth at the time, or at least refused to lie. Historians may enjoy uncovering all the deceptions as they perform the political autopsy of shrub. But we're living with it.
We deserve better.

The Military and College

Dare I say this? St. Sleazy McCain's thinking on veteran's benefits actually has a certain logic to it. He points out that young people might prefer college to the military:
Republican Presidential candidate John McCain has made an astute point in regards to modernizing the current GI Bill - If the U.S. starts offering too much education to veterans, no one will want to be a soldier anymore. McCain envisions a new GI Bill where troops will be forced to "earn" their education dollars by serving longer and longer stints in the military.

"It is important to do that because, otherwise, we will encourage more people to leave the military after they have completed one enlistment," McCain said.

There is a certain amount of insight here. Despite the slick TV marketing, the military tends to be less fun than college. College offers a wider variety of scheduling choices, better parties, and better fashion. Also, it is generally a safer place to be.
I can only speak from my own experience on this. I was never in the military. I reached military age in the post-Vietnam era, so there wasn't any real need for me to serve. But I did go to college. I can honestly say that my time in college was the best eleven years of my life. While some professor's lectures were painful to endure, I am sure that a drill sergeant would be worse. The military (I'm told) builds "character" and "discipline", but college allows the intellectual opportunity to debate the meaning of Nietzsche and Descartes while stoned at 3:00 am.
In short, St. Sleazy is probably right that many young people would choose the option of bettering their lives over spending more time risking their lives in a pointless war. I can see why he wouldn't want them to have that option.
Added: The vets deserve the greater education benefits. That's why the rethugs are against them.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Happy Towel Day

Happy Towel Day. This universe is tough, and you've really got to know where your towel is.