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This past Sunday morning, I was guest host on The Peter Laufer Show on Green 960, the Air America station in San Francisco.  On Sundays, Speaker Nancy Pelosi has brunch and holds court at her favorite spot along the waterfront, just a few blocks from the station.

So she just might have been listening when Don Siegelman came on the air with a special message for the speaker: please permit a floor vote on the contempt citation for Karl Rove.

Gov. Siegelman is Rove-kill, Exhibit A.  He is a witness to a hatchet job that sent him from Alabama's governor's mansion to a federal prison on phony, political charges, and he fingers Karl Rove as a central figure in the caper.  The story is recapped in this audio clip

Siegelman believes that his case, if it's blown open, could expose more about the politicization of the Justice Department and its US Attorneys.  His story includes the theft of his re-election, and a failed prosecution followed by one that got him 7 years in federal prison, he's now free on bail during appeal.

The House Judiciary Committee voted out the contempt citation in August, and now it's up to Pelosi to schedule a vote to enforce it.  It's mostly symbolic, but could help Siegelman and future investigations.  To me, it's the bare minimum she can do to deliver some accountability for the clear violations of law and ethical standards by the Bush admin.

Today's Washington Post reported that Cheney's lawyer David Addington forged the signature of Alberto Gonzalez on a document intended to provide legal cover for the illegal monitoring of phones and emails in the US. This will not be the last Bushie crime to go uninvestigated, unpunished.

Please call Pelosi at 202-225-0100 and urge the vote on contempt for Rove.  And to some of the fine folks who post lengthy comments here, intended to tweak other posters, may I suggest you put the time & effort into getting the word out on contempt for Rove?  much obliged.

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Sugar Sugar

If you consume sugar today, in almost any form, you will likely be patronizing the Fanjul family of Florida.  They control 32% of the sugar market in the US, and large swaths of land in Florida, including 40,000 acres between Lake Okeechobee (say it 5 times fast) and the Everglades. The Fanjuls are also big political donors, to both parties, and enjoy access and influence that is, well, special.

About 10 years back, when the Clinton impeachment was on the table, Monica testified about a time she was in the Oval Office and under the desk pleasuring the President.  The "prosecutor" asked Monica to back up her oral assertion with proof of the date and time, she said that Mr. Fanjul had called to protest a plan Al Gore had just announced that would affect sugar cane areas in or near the Everglades.  The prosecutor guy (was it Ken Starr or Bob Barr? my memory is fuzzy) confirmed that the call was on the log for that date and time, so Monica's account was deemed credible.  But he didn't note that Clinton did intervene at his donor's behest, and gore's plan was re-tooled to please the sugar kings.

For more, there is a remarkably honest and detailed story in the Business Section of the Sunday NYT (link)


There's a barrage of coverage of the very thin story of Gov. Palin, but I've managed to absorb quite a bit.  CNN featured back-to-back hour specials on Sunday, lady first, and called hers "Sarah Palin Revealed"; Biden's hour was slugged "Who Is He?" .   The Sarah hour of power started off gauzy and cheezy but I learned this nugget: it took Sarah 5 years and 5 different schools (two in Hawaii, that exotic place that Obama was criticized for his vacation destination) to get her journalism degree.
CNN serves up Sarah's big sister to tell us about the quickie wedding to Todd at the court house, complete with elderly strangers from a rest home nearby who were wheeled in to serve as witnesses. And, they discreetly add, 8 months later their son Track is born.  The hour has other critical reporting about her stints on the Council and as Mayor of Wasila and more recently as Gov. has fired incumbent pros and replaced them with loyalists, including about half of her high school classmates.  And the Trooper of Troopergate was on screen, Mike Wooten, and he calmly refuted Sarah and Todd's allegations that he had threatened his ex-father-in-law, and explained that his son wanted to know what a taser felt like before he agreed to zap the boy, at low power.  The troopergate investigation is Palin's biggest liability right now, although her inexperience may produce more boo boos when she gets off the script "I told Congress, thanks but no thanks for the bridge"
is demonstrably false, but they kept a  lot of that money!


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Lipstick Lies

Sarah Palin injected lipstick into the political lexicon in her speech in St. Paul, which is the script she uses all the time.  She was reeling off the zingers that had been written for her and seemed to veer from the (tele)Prompter to add a joke about hockey moms and pit bulls with lipstick as the punch line.

The lipstick line (ital) resignated (end ital) as W. would say, even with progressives; many emails have spun puns around it, and a (female) caller to my radio show today referred to the almost-Miss-Alaska as "Bush with lipstick".

Then I got an email flash from Ari Melber, who is on the Obama press bus and is filing frequently at with this story from Lebanon, Virginia.

So Obama was reaching for ways to say McCain and Palin are stretching the truth and fibbin about some sh*t and used the old cliche about putting lipstick on a pig.  And the GOP Slime Squad's Sexism Strike Force spins into action, outraged by its own concoction--that Obama called Palin a pig.

They'll say anything, twist everything they can as they play the politics of distraction and destruction.  Hold your nose, watch your back.

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OMG, There's a Lib on My Tee Vee!!

After hearing Giuliani, Palin and others demonize the "liberal media" at the RNC last week, it's so damn refreshing to see a new progressive face in prime time on cable news. Rachel Maddow had a pretty smooth launch on MSNBC tonight, and delivered nooz and perspective with some of that cool attitude she brings to her radio show. I was glad that they didn't have a lotta whooshes or cartoon graphics, and far less of the cheezy celebrations of celebrities, morons, and O'Reilly that clutter up Olberman's show.

This viewer must ask: why does MSNBC insert the Grand Wizard of the culture wars into every one of its shows? Pat Buchanan is only occasionally relevant these days, but he seems to be the most frequent paid panelist on MSNBC and Rachel is not immune--there was Pat on her maiden voyage, the feminist voice defending Palin from the "scurvy lies and slander" on dailykos and now here's Pat, the Opus Dei Catholic extremist, defending the VP candidate for her religious extremist views You Tubed fresh this summer, by sliming Rachel for "trashing religion" by examining the religious rants of the born-again Gov. Now, Pat lobs the absurd smokebomb, demanding proof that Palin plans to establish her church as a national church but that's a dud so he attacks Obama for Rev. Wright as Rachel deftly scolds him "bad strategy to talk about trashing religion and come on and bring that stuff up" and winds the geezer down to the break with a thankyouverymuch. We're all
rooting for Rachel to survive and thrive in the pixel jungle of cable news--tell your friends to watch!


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Pulling the Pin on the Palin Grenade

McCain and his lobbyist-heavy campaign team have lobbed the grenade named Sarah Palin into this year’s political combat. While they will go to great lengths to protect the young governor from close scrutiny by the press or Obama/Biden, I think it will be hard to keep her leashed and on script. Her extreme religious zealotry includes a righteous streak that is clear in her record in Wasilla and Juneau, and even in the town halls with carefully selected crowds, I expect she will define herself in ways that will drive up her negatives in the polls.

But Palin is connecting with some Republicans who were lukewarm about McCain. On a hot Saturday night, we made Mojitos and BBQ for our neighbors Hank and Gail, who define themselves as low-tax, small government Republicans; they soured on Bush only in the last year or two, and have the fear of Dems and Libs you get from regular exposure to Fox News and conservative talkradio. They buy into the concoction the GOP served up in St. Paul—that McCain and Palin are peacemongers and reformers, and that the liberal media will try to destroy her.

I mentioned that I thought the McCain team was employing the strategy used by diehard Hillary supporters at the end of the primary; even though it was clear she could not beat Obama, a group funded by a San Francisco millionaire ran ads portraying Sen. Clinton as a victim of sexism and misogyny. The GOP has played the victim card almost from the introduction of Gov. Palin, and their talking points demonize the media for “attacks” that have been mild and reasonable, and often based on family matters that clearly conflict with Republican ideals of “family values”. Giuliani and Palin both took big swipes at the media in rhetorical brushbacks that have, unfortunately, intimidated much of the media.

But Hank changed the subject to his biggest concern, which is Obama’s connection to Rev. Wright and Black Liberation Theology. His indictment was rich in the disinformation that is Sean Hannity’s signature product, and included, of course, the out of context soundbite “God Damn America”. While Hank conceded that the quote was way out of context, his outrage was undiminished. So I made the point that Wright is not running for president, but that Palin’s own comments that mix religion and politics were “chilling” to me. This put Hank over the top—he had seen the same video on YouTube, and found her comments quite acceptable, even the part about the war in Iraq being one of “God’s tasks”. My comparison of his candidate’s religious extremism to that of Obama’s former pastor was way out of line; he said he couldn’t listen to me anymore, and got up to clear the dishes.

I see Sarah Palin as an updated Spiro Agnew in a skirt. Her injection into this campaign will enhance the fearmongering and division that have been effective GOP tools in recent years, and if Hank and Gail are any indication, many Republicans and some independents are ready to buy the incredible package they are being sold: a 25-year veteran of Washington who will extend our sorry status quo has repackaged himself as the reformer who is running against Washington and his own party.

We have a lot of work to do, and we can start by pressing the corporate media to provide full, honest coverage of Palin and not allow her to avoid scrutiny and contact with the media.

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We're in Denver, offering progressive coverage of the Democratic Convention. It's crazy here, but great to see politically active people from all over the country. Interesting to see some of the corporate sponsors--A T & T was complicit in the Bush illegal eavesdropping, and are celebrating the FISA cave-in with a big party here Monday--will it have a theme of "retroactive immunity"? Also visible here is the Denver-based telecom, Quest, the company that resisted the wiretap requests that started months before 9/11.

Our coverage has no corporate sponsors

Please spread the word

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So much going on….

This has been quite a week. Ron Suskind’s revelations about Bush/Cheney’s attempts to get the CIA to forge a document creating a connection between Saddam and 9/11, Bush’s reported berating of the FBI director who wasn’t willing to falsely blame Al Qaeda for the anthrax incidents, and the corporate media offering healthy skepticsm (for a change) of the FBI’s “case closed” fingering Dr. Ivins for the anthrax mailings, now that he is (conveniently) no longer alive to defend himself. Impeachment is on the table–in Pakistan. And the Hamdan show trial at Gitmo produces a split decision and a humane sentence, despite the fundamental unfairness of the process and the fact that Hamdan was tortured. If you missed some of these topics, grab a podcast and get caught up.

My personal thanks to all who have supported our fundraiser to help cover our costs for coverage of the Democratic Convention in Denver at the end of August!


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Peter B in Madison, WI

This Friday, August 1, we will be live from Madison, Wisconsin, site of the Nonstop Radio conference. Get the details at Guests include Thom Hartmann, John Nichols (The Nation, media reform leader) and Matthew Rothschild of the Progressive. PBC will be leading several panels at the conference on Saturday and Sunday. If you can, join us in Madison!