In the comments of my last post at Hullabaloo
, Jemand von Niemand
ran through some of the week's highlights.
On May 15th, the Senate cast a near-unanimous vote to reverse the Federal Communication Commission's December 2007 decision to let media companies own both a major TV or radio station and a major daily newspaper in the same city. (freepress.net)
On May 16th... Bush used a private visit to King Abdullah’s ranch here Friday to make a second attempt to persuade the Saudi government to increase oil production and was rebuffed yet again. (NYT)
The California Supreme Court struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage on May 15th ... invalidat[ing] virtually any law that discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation. (LA Times)
On May 14th, about 100 House Republicans refused to vote for more war funding, voting 'present'... Democrats were able to increase their 'no' vote number on funding from 141 to 149; the bill failed...
Finally the GI bill passed with overwhelming margin of 256 votes in the House, including 32 Republicans... This might actually be the most remarkable piece of the votes today; conservative Democrats agreeing to raise taxes on the wealthy to pay for educational benefits for veterans. (Matt Stoller)
On May 16th, Hans von Spakovsky, a former Justice Department official who never had Democratic support to win confirmation, withdrew his nomination on Friday. Bush "reluctantly accepted" von Spakovsky's request, the White House said. (sfgate.com)
Hell of a week, huh, Bootsie? And there are thirty more to come.
Not even a mention of Travis Childers' win in a Mississippi House seat that has caused Republicans to despair of a landslide loss
in the fall.
Representative Tom Davis, Republican of Virginia and former leader of his party’s Congressional campaign committee, issued a dire warning that the Republican Party had been severely damaged, in no small part because of its identification with President Bush. Mr. Davis said that, unless Republican candidates changed course, they could lose 20 seats in the House and 6 in the Senate.
“They are canaries in the coal mine, warning of far greater losses in the fall, if steps are not taken to remedy the current climate,” Mr. Davis said in a memorandum. “The political atmosphere facing House Republicans this November is the worst since Watergate and is far more toxic than it was in 2006.”
And let me give you another one to add to the list. Remember that Missouri voter ID scheme that Digby wrote about
earlier in the week? Turns out the State Senate refused to consider it
In a victory for all voters, Missouri lawmakers ended this year’s legislative session without a final vote on legislation that could have prevented up to 240,000 Missourians from voting. The proposed change would have altered Missouri’s constitution, allowing for strict citizenship and government-issued photo ID requirements that would make Missouri one of the toughest states in the country for eligible, law-abiding citizens to register to vote or cast a ballot.
“I am relieved that I will be able to vote this fall,” said Lillie Lewis, a St. Louis city resident, “I’ve been voting in every election since I can remember, but if I needed my birth certificate, that would be the end of that. I hope this is the last we hear of this nonsense.” Lillie Lewis was born in Mississippi, but the state sent her a letter stating they have no record of her birth.
Birdell Owen, a Missouri resident who was displaced by hurricane Katrina, also voiced her relief. “I should be able to participate in my democracy,” she said, “even if Louisiana can’t get me a copy of my birth certificate. I’m glad Missouri politicians had the sense to protect my right to vote.”
Oh, and Series of Tubes Ted Stevens
might lose his Senate seat after 50-odd years.
We're seeing an entire political party's collapse happen before our eyes, and in many of these cases a strong citizen-led movement, aided by leadership in the political sphere, has been decisive. There are two things at work here. One, you have a conservative movement that has been horrible for the country and created all these terrible policies which have made us less safe, less economically secure, and weakened in the eyes of the world. And you have a vibrant progressive movement that has been able to broadcast these failures widely. Consider what we've learned in the last month or so:
• The Defense Department embedded "military analysts" as propaganda engines inside US media with the full knowledge of the White House
, mainlining the Pentagon message directly to the public with the imprimatur of independent media voices.
• The politicized show trials
scheduled to crop up at Guantanamo during the fall election have been delayed
because of the amount of perversions of justice employed by interrogators. The top DoD adviser to military commissions has been barred from participating in them
because of evidence of bias, and one detainee had his charges dropped
because torture was used (authorized by the Secretary of Defense
), making the testimony inadmissable. Meanwhile the US is planning a huge new prison
in Afghanistan, suggesting that indefinite detentions of masses of prisoners will continue.
• Domestic spying in the United States has spiked at a time when actual terrorism prosecutions have decreased
, a massive violation of citizen privacy with no material benefit in stopping crime.
• The US government routinely injects psychotropic drugs into detainees
to keep them sedated during deportation flights. , in violation of international human rights standards.
• An official at the VA told his staffers to stop diagnosing returning soldiers
with PTSD, in an attempt to lower the costs of permanent disability payments. Many leaders in Washington, including Sen. Obama
, are demanding an investigation.
The Republicans are wasting away because of more than just bad branding
. It's because over the last eight years they've taken the country we know and done something terrible to it. And despite media blackouts and whitewashes, Americans intuitively know this, and are reaching to alternative media sources to discover more. The historically high wrong-track numbers have a basis in economic struggles, but I believe just as much in this loss of faith in what we've become as a country in the Age of Bush. And no amount of cajoling or re-branding is going to lure people back to the GOP. Not this year. Not after all this.
It's going to take years to repair the damage, and the Republicans will be all too happy to sabotage those efforts as the opposition and pin the blame on their opponents. It's what they do. For now, however, it's time to bask in the glow of the demise of the Republican Party, and work very hard to restore America's trust in their government and the ability to move forward.
Labels: conservatives, drugs, George W. Bush, Guantanamo, Missouri, propaganda, PTSD, Republicans, terrorism, torture, veterans, voter ID laws, warrantless wiretapping