Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Civics Lesson

Richard Dreyfuss on Bill Maher talking about education, thinking, and the "Big Ideas" of modern Democracy. (There's some overlap in the two parts, but it's so good, I'm posting them both anyway.)

Part I:

Part II:

You can actually learn the constancy of curiosity and the constancy of outrage. You can learn that it is okay to keep asking the questions and to be dissenters and if you don't--if you're not taught it, then you don't know it, but we owe ourselves and the United States that we will pass off to our children to relearn the tools of reason, logic, clarity, dissent, civility, and debate. And those things are the nonpartisan bases of democracy and without them you can kiss this thing goodbye.
Got me kind of excited.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Science Teachers Inconvenienced by Truth

Money Talks Bullshit

NSTA President earns Olbermann's Worst Person Award
This story really gets me where it hurts. I am an unrepentant fan of science, and a self-described philosophical empiricist, meaning I like to base my beliefs on observable facts. I have no room in my mind for faith-based creation myths, and even less for politically motivated junk science that denies the facts because they are inconvenient to the reich* and powerful in the oil industry.
"In tomorrow’s Washington Post, global warming activist Laurie David writes about her effort to donate 50,000 free DVD copies of An Inconvenient Truth (which she co-produced) to the National Science Teachers Association. The Association refused to accept the DVDs:

Accepting the DVDs, they wrote, would place 'unnecessary risk upon the [NSTA] capital campaign, especially certain targeted supporters.' "
Those unnamed targeted supporters were of course the reich and powerful in the oil industry.
"As it turns out, those supporters already include “special interests,” including Exxon-Mobil, Shell Oil, and the American Petroleum Institute, which have given millions in funding to the NSTA. And while the NSTA showed no interest in helping educators get copies of Al Gore’s movie (which scientists gave “five stars for accuracy“), it has distributed oil industry-funded “educational” content, like this video produced by the American Petroleum Institute: Fuel-less: You Can't Be Cool Without Fuel."
I feel betrayed. Science is supposed to be above this kind of financial manipulation. I'm already pissed off enough that corporate ownership of the media has led to a wholesale distortion of the 'facts' put in front of the public via the radio and TV airwaves. I'm disturbed and dismayed that the religious right has tried with some success to replace evolution with 'intelligent design' in the classroom. The idea that science teachers would do this is too much.

* - 'reich and powerful' - a typo, I thought it fitting to let it stand as is.
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Sunday, November 26, 2006

Message From Iran

We'll Help... On One Condition

Despite all the proposals of sending more troops to secure Iraq, we don't happen to have an army lying around that we're not using. We can't even win in Afghanistan, much less Iraq, so we need a way out. One possibility--Make Bush's War Amadinejad's War.

From AFP:

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani will visit Tehran on Monday for talks with hardline counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad expected to focus on Iran's possible role in curbing bloodshed in the war-ravaged neighbour.

Talabani had been scheduled to fly to Tehran on Saturday but postponed the visit due to a curfew in Baghdad imposed after a string of car bombs on Thursday killed 202 people and wounded 256.

He is now set to travel to Iraq's eastern neighbour on Monday, his spokesman told AFP.

"I can confirm that the president will travel to Tehran on Monday. His visit is for a couple of days," Hiwa Othman said.

Today Amadinejad had this less than diplomatic message:

The Iranian nation is ready to help you get out of that swamp (in Iraq) on one condition ... you should pledge to correct your attitude. Go back and take your forces to behind your borders and serve your own nations.

Swamp, quagmire, same difference. This subtle detail of translation points to the obvious conclusion... Amadinejad is working with Pelosi--OMG!~

VIDEO: BBC coverage of Iran's offer to help us out.

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A Modest Proposal

The Mostafa Tabatabainejad Library
at The University of California at Los Angeles

Our very own Jump to the Left has inspired me to re-examine my initial non-reaction to the UCLA Taser Incident.

I'm not sure if that's the way the MSM is referring to it, but after being brainwashed by overblown story after overblown story--Michael Richards, eh?--I don't need the MSM to effectively tag a story. I think we know how it's done by now. Call it the UCLA Taser Incident (or UCLA Stun Gun Incident as these folks have dubbed it), put it on a chyron and show the video over and over until the next "compelling" video comes along. That video already has come along--two or three times over. Of course, that video can't come from war zones in Iraq or Afghanistan--we have to protect the morale of our troops. Comedy clubs will do.

The UCLA Taser Incident--see how the repetition sticks it in your head--came on the heels of another police brutality incident, so when I first saw the video, I was appalled, but unmoved. The camera in the grainy YouTube video doesn't really convey the horror of the scene, and besides, I am a product of a society desensitized to 'small things' like police brutality by A GIGANTIC WAR.

Well, that cuts it too thin--the desensitization began long ago. Maybe it was the Rodney King Incident, or maybe it goes all the way back to the assassination of JFK. One has to include the Challenger Explosion and the tracer fire and the scud scares of the Gulf War, but this brutal misuse of horror on TV spiked with 9/11. Over and over we watched the planes hit the towers. Since then we've been embedded in the initial assaults on Afghanistan and Iraq, until that became too real for the MSM--the victim role the U.S. had after 9/11 was clearly obliterated by the time the Abu Gharib photos hit the news cycle. The media quickly adjusted. In the place of the actual horrors of war, we got a steady stream of domestic clowns, mostly celebrities and politicians, caught on tape doing and saying ugly, unacceptable things. But the horror of the Terror War was battered home during the 2004 election and the PR blitzes used to justify the NSA wiretapping and now the Military Comissions Act.

So, when I initially watched the UCLA Taser Incident, I missed the obvious significance. I didn't even know the name of the victim in the UCLA Taser Incident until I looked it up. His name is Mostafa Tabatabainejad. He even has his own wikipedia page. But when he was screaming on my monitor, I just thought, "Well, maybe it's just some trouble maker, who can say? The police can't be that brutal can they?"

But Jump to the Left was physically sickened.

Quickly realizing I missed something profoundly simple, I read the eye witness accounts:
Eyewitness David Remesnitsky said of the incident: "It was the most disgusting and vile act I had ever seen in my life."

"It is a real mistake to treat a Taser as some benign thing that painlessly brings people under control," said Peter Eliasberg, managing attorney at the ACLU of Southern California. "The Taser can be incredibly violent and result in death," Eliasberg said.

"(He was) no possible danger to any of the police," Zaragoza said. "(He was) getting shocked and Tasered as he was handcuffed."
The most telling statement was made by Tabatabainejad himself in the midst of the horror that the cell phone camera could only partially capture. He screamed, "Here's your Patriot Act, here's your fucking abuse of power!"

See, I'm a bit slow. Sometimes it takes a few days for the simple things to sink in. What happened to Mostafa Tabatabainejad is about the administration's imposed terror war mentality. An Iranian Baha'i, Tabatabainejad's ethnicity and religion or assumed ethnicity and religion may or may not have had a conscious or subconscious role in this obvious abuse of power, but so too does the erosion of civil liberties. How can we expect our police to be mindful of our civil liberties when we have less civil liberties every day? When Habeas Corpus itself is a victim of the global war on terror, what chance does an individual in a library have, no matter how astute their critique of their own tasering.
"Here's your Patriot Act, here's your fucking abuse of power!"
I hope one day that very library is named after Mostafa Tabatabainejad as a means to keep us all conscious of what happens when fear beats liberty.

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Bush Eliminates Hunger in the U.S.

Just in time for Thanksgiving, the USDA has announced that it has eliminated hunger in the United States. This will certainly be good news to the nearly 100 persons we feed every week at our church. Or is it?

As it turns out, the only thing Bush has eliminated is the word "hunger" from the government's vocabulary. Because hunger is such an unscientific word, that condition will now be called "low food security" or "very low food security."

The "low food security" ranks dwindled a bit, to 35 million, but the "very low food security" numbers rose to 10.8 million from 10.7 million. I'm guessing that this group experienced what the report describes as "a potential consequence of ... prolonged, involuntary lack of food (that) results in discomfort, illness, weakness or pain ..."

And what can we expect President Bush to do about this national shame? In 1999, Texas Gov. George W. Bush, then running for president, said he thought the annual USDA report -- which consistently finds his home state one of the hungriest in the nation -- was fabricated.

"I'm sure there are some people in my state who are hungry," Bush said. "I don't believe 5 percent are hungry."

And in true Bushite fashion, he postponed the release of this year's report until after the elections.

35 million people - 12 million of them children - aren't always sure where their next meal is coming from. 10.8 million are worse off than that.

No doubt the President is amazed at the very high tolerance children have for hunger pangs.

This in the land of milk and honey.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Bush Exit Strategy Collapses

Remember this infamous gaffe of Bush's when he tried to leave a conference during a trip to China and the door he chose was locked? This incident should become a prominent feature of Bush's recurring nightmares for the rest of his lame-duck illegal occupation of the White House. The door he sees closing in front of him now is morphing in front of his eyes into the gray bars of a jail cell.

The loudest bang and click of a latch came of course when on Nov. 7 the Diebold hacking of thousands of precinct results was insufficient to thwart the will of the people. Sufficient however to be obvious by comparison to the exit polls. Dependence on a compliant and complicit legislature is no longer an option. This is made clear in this story from USNews and World Report. His exit strategy for getting out of criminal responsibility in the NSA wiretapping program just slammed in his face. (Emphasis mine)
"His plea for a legislative stamp of approval on the controversial spy effort is an "important priority in the war on terror," Bush said. The response: deafening silence. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist quickly dispatched aides to put out the word on Bush's request: Not gonna happen.
...And with Democrats promising oversight hearings next year on how the program was hatched and whom it targets, it appears likely that the issue will be decided in court and, ultimately, the Supreme Court."
With subpoena powers in the hands of a Democratic Congress, judges like Anna Diggs Taylor may suddenly find themselves in possession of seriously damning evidence against the administration. The stone wall is crumbling. NSA paper shredders must be working 24/7 destroying related documents. In a more general sense, the return of the concept of checks and balances, and oversight responsibility to the House and Senate spell bad news for the administration. According to this post at The Raw Story, they plan to use their new authority aggressively. Which news is sad for the administration, but true. And good news for America, which I am more than happy to report.

If things go the way US law going back to the Youngstown decision says it should, I may have to change my handle to HappyButTrue. There is still the chance that they will react like cornered rats and lash out, now that their every conceivable exit is blocked.

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Saturday, November 18, 2006

The Waxman Cometh

And while it's nice to see that the new Congress plans to investigate torture it's clear that Rummy and Alberto won't be going off to Germany any time soon.

But the war profiteers, are another story. They do not need to go anywhere--our jails right here in America will accommodate them nicely.

Are profiteering prosecutions realistic?

They're as real as the Democratic majority in congress.

They're as real as Henry Waxman.

From The Village News:
The Democratic congressman who will investigate the Bush administration's running of the government says there are so many areas of possible wrongdoing, his biggest problem will be deciding which ones to pursue.

There's the response to Hurricane Katrina, government contracting in Iraq and on homeland security, political interference in regulatory decisions by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration, and allegations of war profiteering, Rep. Henry Waxman (news, bio, voting record), D-Calif., told the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce.

"I'm going to have an interesting time because the Government Reform Committee has jurisdiction over everything," Waxman said Friday, three days after his party's capture of Congress put him in line to chair the panel. "The most difficult thing will be to pick and choose."

Waxman, who's in his 16th term representing West Los Angeles, had plenty of experience leading congressional investigations before the Democrats lost control of the House to Republicans in 1994.

That was the year when, as chairman of an Energy and Commerce subcommittee, he presided over dramatic hearings he convened where the heads of leading tobacco companies testified that they didn't believe nicotine was addictive.

The scene made it into the movie "The Insider," but Waxman noted Friday that no subpoenas were issued to produce that testimony.

Republicans have speculated that a Democratic congressional majority will mean a flurry of subpoenas and investigations into everything under the sun as retaliation against the GOP and President Bush.

Not so, Waxman said.

By the way something, all the current and former investigations are listed here. So, a lot of leg work is already done. That is how you run a shadow government, my friends.

VIDEO: Watch Waxman wax Halliburton--this is going to be happening daily.

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More Media Hypocrisy

"Damned Liberal Media Bias!"
Today I thought I would do a roundup of items about media coverage since the Democrats big midterm election victory. There is no lack of evidence of bias, but it is by no means of a liberal nature. After a week of pushing the ridiculous idea that the Democrats won because they fielded conservative candidates, or that the Republicans lost because they weren't really conservative enough, the theme has shifted to sniping at the new House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi. Glenn Greenwald blogs on that theme,
or you can watch KO discuss it here:
Olbermann points out the obvious difference between the friendly media coverage of Republican leadership selection and the same process in the Democratic party, portayed as 'infighting.' For more on the sniping at Nancy Pelosi that has been incessantly in the news, see this piece by Taylor Marsh at Huffington Post. If you decide to visit HuffPo, you should check out Nancy's declaration that 'Bringing the War to an End is My Highest Priority as Speaker.' That's good news.

There is also THIS PIECE at YouTube where Olbermann discusses the recently disclosed FOX "news" memo that constitutes the 'smoking gun' of journalistic bias. (Sorry, the embedding function was disabled on this video. The link will open in a new window.) Best quote, from Robert Greenwald, "If they were journalists, they would be ashamed, but they're not."

Shameless. Not Journalists. - FOX "news" new slogan?

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

My Left Vote

It's time to cut the spin and speak out about what our vote for Democrats meant.

The Left and Right, including Bush, have been busy spinning what the Democratic wins in congress mean, and what the People want. Some say the vote was about Iraq. Some note the importance of domestic issues. Some say the vote was against Bush. Some say the vote was for checks and balances. Some say it was a vote against corruption. Some say the vote was about the Foley scandal. Some say it was about change. Some say the vote was a sign that the People do not have the "stomach" for war. Some say only conservative Democratic candidates won; some note that more liberal Republicans lost. Some say the new Democratic congress should have started impeachment hearings last week, because Americans want it. Some say the Democrats should have fixed Iraq last week. Some say the Democrats, who will be sworn in on January 3, 2007, should focus on the job of congress--providing responsible oversight.

Impeachment Off the Table

I have decided I can speak for myself better than anyone else, because afterall, my own interests are not clouded by political aspirations. I intend to engage in a letter writing campaign to explain to the new Democratic Leadership exactly what my vote meant, and exactly what I expect them to do. I invite anyone who is so included to Jump in with me. Here are some tools: provides sample letters to congress, what's currenlty on the congressional agenda, and lots of other useful information. It also includes a handy "Take Action" tool that returns the names and contact information for your local officials. You can even have your representatives votes sent to you weekly by email.

Helpful information on writing letters to congress is available here. The Physicians for Human Rights site provides guidance for contacting elected officials, also.

Contact information for the current congress is listed here. (Information for 110th congress will be available after it is sworn in on January 03, 2007.)

A useful tool for looking up bills is provided here.
And to whom will I announce the meaning of my vote? Behold the new Democratic Senate Leadership, for starters:
  • Robert C. Byrd, President Pro Tem
  • Dick Durbin, Assistant Majority Leader
  • Charles E. Schumer, Vice Chair of the Conference
  • Patty Murray, Secretary of the Conference
  • Charles E. Schumer, Chairman of Campaign Committee
  • Byron L. Dorgan, Chairman of Policy Committee
  • Debbie Stabenow, Chair of Steering and Outreach Committee
  • Jeff Bingaman, Chairman of Committee Outreach
  • Hillary Rodham Clinton, Vice Chair of Committee Outreach
  • Blanche L. Lincoln, Chair of Rural Outreach
  • Barbara Boxer, Chief Deputy Whip
  • Thomas R. Carper, Deputy Whip
  • Bill Nelson, Deputy Whip
  • Russell D. Feingold, Deputy Whip
  • Nancy Erickson, Secretary of the Senate
  • Terrance Gainer, Sergeant at Arms
After that, I'll focus on Senate committee chairs and members, and then on to the House of Representatives:
  • Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Speaker
  • Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Majority Leader
  • Jim Clyburn (D-SC), Majority Whip
  • Rahm Emanuel (D-IL), Caucus Chair
  • John Larson (D-CT), Vice-Caucus Chair
And just what was my Democratic vote about? With so much work ahead for the new Congress, I hate to burden them with interpreting my vote. I will rid them of this burden to allow them more time to work for the People and will state my intention directly. For the record, this is what my vote meant:
  • I expect Congress to defend the Constitution and Bill of Rights. I want torture stopped, habeas corpus restored, and the Patriot Act revised.
  • I expect Election Reform, with verifiable ballots; the cornerstone of Democracy deserves it.
  • I expect the illegal occupation of Iraq to end, forthwith.
  • I expect a complete audit and accountability for all spending in Iraq.
  • I expect illegal wiretapping to end. Any invasion of privacy should comply with existing law and, at bare minimum, involve oversight.
  • I expect the tax "breaks" favoring America's most wealthy to end.
  • I expect Congress to uphold the separation of Church and State.
  • I expect oversight, accountability, and full disclosure of all elected officials who stand to personally benefit from their own policy decisions.
  • I expect investigations of the administrations Energy Task Force and its use of intelligence leading to the Iraq war, for starters.
I've written letters before, but never quite like I plan to now. My aim is to make it perfectly clear that I intend to hold the Democratic Congress responsible for providing true oversight, functioning on behalf of my interests, and defending our Constitution. Please, feel free to Jump in.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Democratic Diversity: A Curse in Disguise?

OK, let’s crunch the numbers: Democrats, without giving an inch, gained 29 seats in the House. In the Senate, the majority is as razor-thin as you can get.

Fractiousness and dissent within the ranks of the GOP, especially when public opinion on Iraq began to sour during Cindy Sheehan’s standoff in Crawford last year, characterized a party that was forced to do a gut check and decide if George W. Bush’s wagon was still worth hitching to. The divisiveness and infighting as Iraq proved to be the Republicans’ hair shirt, especially in the cases of Chuck Hagel, Lindsey Graham and John Warner, was alternately fascinating and troubling to a nation looking in vain for decisive leadership. The unity of a Congress that had given George Bush twice the forty billion he’d need to fight terror, a Senate that had voted 98-1 on the PATRIOT Act and a 77-23 split on the Iraq Resolution, had gradually eroded.

Now the Democrats will hold the Senate majority as well as the gavel in the lower chamber. Even the casual observer will note the even more conspicuous diversity on the left side of the aisle and I’m afraid said diversity may be less of a blessing and more of a curse.

The midterm elections provided American voters with many centrist and conservative Democrats, so it isn’t surprising nor coincidental that the Democrats who’d prevailed and picked up those crucial three dozen seats didn’t exactly wrench us hard to port. It would’ve been a naïve kneejerk reaction to call for radical liberals to overcompensate for what amounted to four years of all-powerful neoconservative, one party tyranny. Realizing this, potential candidates and grassroots organizations (and an increasingly robust netroots movement spearheaded by Daily Kos, Firedoglake, Atrios & etc.) deliberately fielded many moderate conservative Democrats. In other words, Democratic and Independent voters, unlike Republican voters, weren’t tempted to pack Congress with the neoliberals that hardly exist to begin with. (For another take on this phenomenon, check out NJ Barnes’ take on this in “The Democrats Strike Back.”)

But can these purplish to navy blue Democrats get on the same page, especially in the tight Senate, where the long dissenting vote could place a neocon agenda into the clutches of Dick Cheney?

Let’s take a look at two of the biggest gains in the Senate:

Jon Tester, about as independent a candidate as we’d fielded this election cycle, rejected the DNC’s help even though his battle against Conrad Burns was a tight one from wire to wire. Tester’s positions include an opposition to gay marriage, one that could prove to be dangerous considering the majority of the nation’s voters relaxed attitude toward it.

Webb? We all know about him. A former Republican who’d served as Secretary of the Navy under Ron Reagan, left the GOP for a number of reasons, the handling of Iraq being just one of them. Webb, as David Brooks reminds us, once wrote a book in which he’d glorified, by his own admission, trailer park trash, his people.

Then there’s Joe Lieberman, always the GOP’s potential X factor. Lieberman will never join the Republican party, despite him refusing to rule it out (didn’t we already go through this on again-off again, Mario Cuomo shit regarding him officially abandoning the Democratic party for an Independent party?) and this is why: If he joins the GOP (unnecessary to retain his seniority, since he’s already been guaranteed it), not only will he be reviled by the nation's liberals and moderates but he’ll be just another Republican. It would deny him his most successful persona: That of the Man of All Parties and None who’s the Great Facilitator in the Center Aisle. Anyone who was suckered in by his lip service about voting with the Democratic caucus (what was keeping him from doing that over half the time in the last 18 years?) deserves to be represented by this self-centered, fence-straddling jerk.

The DCCC’s official website reports that with 82% of precincts reporting, Tammy Duckworth is behind Roskam by 3.2% in IL-06, a Republican stronghold held by Henry Hyde for over 30 years. In OH-02, Jean Schmidt, clearly the most clueless and incompetent boob to get elected to Congress since Katherine Harris, a beneficiary of a solid red district, beat Victoria Wulsin by a mere 1%.

Sweetest of all, we now own the deed to Tom DeLay’s district (TX-22), once considered Holy Ground by the Powers That Were. Lampson’s winning by over 15% with 72% of precincts reporting. Same thing in Foley’s district, FL-16 (taken by Mahoney, another former Republican).

The storming of Republican strongholds by disappointed and disenfranchised voters tells two tales: The gates are being stormed but not so much by barbarians as centrist Democrats who really aren’t all that different from moderate Republicans. The 29 seat pickup and close shaves by Republican incumbents and challengers is the voters’ way of saying, There may be more where that came from.

Nonetheless, the microscopic victory margins in many of these races is the voters’ way of adding, These seats are on probation, so do it right this time.

Which brings us back to my original point: This diverse Democratic party must seek middle ground and means of compromise within itself before it can seek the same with a suddenly more moderate Republican minority. Some suggestions, although this list is not by any stretch of the imagination all-inclusive:

Barney Franks’ likely ascension as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, a potentially powerful but lapdog committee that regulates how business is done on Wall Street, is quite promising. Frank (MA-04), long a proponent of the rights of the working man, must let his constituency know that the parade is not passing them by and that we the working class can be actively involved in, and benefit from, this economic growth that is largely benefiting the wealthiest 1%.

Henry Waxman, the California Democrat who’ll likely head up the House Ethics Committee, must, with Speaker in waiting Nancy Pelosi, reassure the American voter that the rule of law is inviolate, that we are indeed ruled by it and not out-of-touch men who are temporarily in power.


Oh, what to do about Iraq? I don’t recall a single Democratic candidate who was calling for an immediate withdrawal from Iraq. Most voters, in their wisdom, know that a cold turkey approach would be a disaster on all levels, in so many different ways. Think of America as an arrow puncturing an artery in Iraq. Pull it out and the victim bleeds out quickly. Leave it in, the body rebels against it and infection poisons the whole.

Gradual withdrawal of the arrow, stopping the bleeding while simultaneously trying to prevent infection, is the best alternative. The American voters, as well as our troops, as well as the Iraqi people and all people in the Middle East, need evidence of an actual exit strategy, however belated. We need to reinstate Iraqi reconstruction and democracy funding, the same funding that was pulled out from under Iraq’s feet after companies like Halliburton, Bechtel, KBR, the Parsons Group and a gazillion Republican-friendly companies had swilled their fill without doing the job. We need to reinstill whatever good faith we can salvage in the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people that we do not intend to bust up their country like an epileptic bull in a china shop and will hire reputable contractors to finish building those schools, hospitals, clinics, police stations, sewers, power stations and other parts of their infrastructure.

If John Murtha is installed as Majority leader as Pelosi wants, it’ll add a lot of conservative muscle, respected muscle, that can work with the Republicans in the various committees.

And this is my point: If recent criticisms by the likes of Warner, Graham and Hagel, as well as the dissenting Republican voices in the House are any indication, then it should be demonstrable proof to the new Democratic majority that the Republicans of the 110th session of Congress this January will be much more approachable than its belligerent, arrogant predecessors. With seven Republicans, six of them odious, out of the Senate, Harry Reid as Majority Leader should also have an easier time dealing with the right side in the higher chamber.

Bush will not be amenable to bipartisanship, so our hope, a very real one, will be to interface with and find common ground, with the less extreme Republican constituency in the legislative branch.

Lastly, the Democrats had better reassure the American voter that they’re willing to stick to their principles and to not kowtow to a hostile press that has demonstrated time and again that it’s harder on Democrats than Republicans. If the press tries to play the liberal card, they do so at their own risk, since they’ve been reporting pretty regularly that moderates and conservatives make up the bulk of the new crop of Democrats.

Common sense is not to be confused with liberalism, the Democrats can tell them. Unlike the GOP, hopefully we will have the courage to show America that we understand the true meaning of compassionate conservatism and that our diversity as a party is not a curse in disguise.

-Posted by Jurassic Pork, (honorary mobster)

Fake Anthrax Mailer Nailed

Fool Sent Powder to Olbermann, Stewart, Letterman, Pelosi and Shumer...

Wait, Shumer? Really?

Anyway, they caught the alleged perp and it's a Freeper. Jeepers Creepers.

KO reports:

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Dems Ready to Bring It On

Investigations with subpoena powers - Oh, My!!
Forget about Lions and Tigers and Bears, for that matter forget about flying monkeys and the Wicked Witch of the West. The thing that Republicans fear most is scrutiny, and it's just around the corner. The newly elected Democratic congressional majority has sent BushCo™ a little message; "Your checks (and balances) are in the mail." Behavior that the Republicans have indulged in with impunity for six long years will finally be brought into the light of day. As reported in the LA Times on Friday,
"With control of every committee in Congress starting in January, the new majority will inherit broad powers to subpoena and investigate. And that is expected to translate into wide-ranging and contentious hearings.

The agenda is likely to be dominated by the Iraq war, but could include probes into the Bush administration's warrantless surveillance, environmental policies and new prescription-drug program for seniors. Industries, such as oil companies, could also come under closer scrutiny.

'The American people sent a clear message that they do not want a rubber-stamp Congress that simply signs off the president's agenda,' said Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), who is in line to become chairman of the House Judiciary Committee."
And there are no shortages of committees whose oversight responsibility could lead to investigations. The richest vein is the Iraq war, and its relationship to the shadowy energy policy meeting conducted by Dick Cheney in the administration's first term. The vast overcharging of government by Halliburton and other Republican-connected corporations that were awarded lucrative no-bid contracts looks and smells fishy even when the details are largely unknown.
"Rep. Ike Skelton knows what he will do in one of his first acts as chairman of the Armed Services Committee in the Democratic-led House: resurrect the subcommittee on oversight and investigations.

The panel was disbanded by the Republicans after they won control of Congress in 1994. Now, Skelton (D-Mo.) intends to use it as a forum to probe Pentagon spending and the Bush administration's conduct of the Iraq war."
When corruption is found, as it surely will be, how are the Republicans going to explain the disbanding of this subcommittee? They will look like the burglar caught in your house who just happened to have some hamburger to bribe the watchdog into silence. So let's imagine three parallel investigations; one into the bogus 'intelligence' that led America to war with Iraq to search for WMDs the administration knew damned well weren't there, another into Cheney's energy policy meetings prior to the war, which included maps of Iraqi oil fields, and a third probing misdirection of funds by Halliburton et. al. Care to predict that these three separate probes won't eventually overlap? Me neither.

One of the criticisms leveled by progressives against House Speaker Elect Nancy Pelosi during the recent election campaign was that she had vowed to keep the idea of impeachment of George W. Bush off the table. Hmmmm.. not so much, if you read this Washington Post article from last May.
"House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) said in an interview last week that a Democratic House would launch a series of investigations of the Bush administration, beginning with the White House's first-term energy task force and probably including the use of intelligence in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. Pelosi denied Republican allegations that a Democratic House would move quickly to impeach President Bush. But, she said of the planned investigations, 'You never know where it leads to.' "
Well, we all know where it leads to, don't we? And it isn't down some yellow brick road. When these investigations get well under way, they will stir up a tornado of discontent over the crimes committed by the Bush regime. All their wickedness, which they have gotten away with under the naive presumption that it was justified by the Great War On Terror, will be seen for what it is. A vast power and money grab, and ultimately a covert war on the democratic values that have sustained America for more than two centuries.

The Republicans are going to feel like a house fell on them. Specifically, the House of Representatives.

UPDATE: The Guardian is reporting that Senator Carl Levin has confirmed that he will be investigating abuses of the US rendition program when he takes over as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. This is good news indeed, that program and its 'enabling' Military Commissions Act being the worst thing to have come out of the administration.
"The extra-judicial programme has seen untried criminal suspects rounded up by CIA operatives in more than a dozen countries and sent to third states for interrogation. Some captives have allegedly been snatched off the streets and suffered torture in detention.

Asked whether he would investigate the renditions programme, including the secret prisons and missing detainees, Mr Levin replied: 'Yes. Yes, yes and yes.' "
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Monday, November 13, 2006

Target: Dick Cheney

The Bus is Coming; The Hands are on his Back

Something wicked is afoot. Time is short for the Bush Administration. America has spoken--we want the troops home now. Before dinner.

But the administration isn't into crowd pleasing, so expect stall tactics to abound. They can't allow it to look like the American people by their vote alone can change things. My God, what an horrific example that would be.

One stalling tactic was the appointment of Robert Gates to take over for Donald Rumsfeld. This guy is there because Poppy Bush put him there to ease Bush away from Cheney.

Cheney is in a very precarious position, and, according to Mike Whitney, he knows it.

Whitney writes:
This is all about Cheney now; Dick Cheney, political survivor and skilled bureaucratic infighter. If anyone thinks that he's going to sit around waiting for the Democrats to start sniffing around the Republican corruption-cesspool; they're crazy.

He knows what's going on. He knows that Bush Senior, and Brzezinski, and Baker, and the rest of the "old order" Republicans have muscled in and are taking over. He knows he won't be able to bomb Iran, kill another 650,000 Iraqis, or declare martial law at home. And, he also knows that Conyers and the rest of them will be nosing-around the Halliburton "no bid" contracts; going through every sordid detail with a fine-tooth comb, and dredging up new scandals on a daily basis.

He grasps all of that. He understands the political climate and he knows that he only has two choices left; offense or defense?

Either he steps down or he collects his wits, gets his team together; Addington, Abrams, Chertoff, Gonzales etc; all the guys who are "one step ahead of the hangman"; and slaps together one "last-ditch" effort to establish absolute-dictatorial power that will put him forever beyond the reach of the law or of any future accountability for his war crimes.

All eyes are on the President's meeting with the Iraq Study Group before he blows out of town to go darken Vietnam's door. He knows too. The subpoenas are coming. He'll have to pay for this. It's just like Colin Powell said in his other doctrine--the Pottery Barn Rule. Bush broke it, now it's his. But, Bush may not have to pay up in full if the American people get their 45 pounds of flesh out of Cheney's arse.

UPDATE: Wayne Madsen reports that moves are afoot to replace Cheney.

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Sunday, November 12, 2006

Congratulations, Ice Station Tango

On Your 1,000th. Post!!
That's right folks. Our good friend Station Agent, who diligently cranks out four or five excellent posts a day, has reached his 1,000 millestone. For a small gift, we have added him to our official ranks, so that his 'guest' posts will now have their own byline.

My attitude developed in my hippie days thirty or so years ago. If someone was already crashing on your couch regularly, I figure you give them a key. You either trust someone or you don't.

BTW, it's not his 1,000th or anything, but we have also extended membership to Jurassic Pork of Welcome to Pottersville. This is to acknowledge our gratitude for the excellent guest posts he has been leaving here from time to time.

Party Hearty! (Try not to fall asleep in the sauna. PLEASE don't piss in any of the potted plants. Some of those I hope to smoke someday soon!)

Ice Station Tango
Space Station Tango
IST Control Center
The Walrus Speaks

Friday, November 10, 2006

Rummy Charged With War Crimes

German Lawsuit Also Names Gonzales, Tenet, Others.

Breaking News: In a Time Magazine 'exclusive' article, supported by this item from yesterday's ABC News Blotter it is disclosed that an American group will file a lawsuit in Germany seeking an investigation of recently ousted Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, ex-CIA head George Tenet and "other senior U.S. civilian and military officers, for their alleged roles in abuses committed at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison and at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba."

"But wait," some of you with better memories might ask, "haven't we heard this story before?" Very good question hypothetical questioner(s), and the answer is yes you have, for some time now, notably this DKos Diary from November '04. "So what's different now?", you ask. Good question! Well, "...circumstances have changed in two important ways. Rumsfeld's resignation, they say, means that the former Defense Secretary will lose the legal immunity usually accorded high government officials. Moreover, the plaintiffs argue that the German prosecutor's reasoning for rejecting the previous case — that U.S. authorities were dealing with the issue — has been proven wrong." This MSNBC report from May, 2004 shows the administration was worried about this possibility, and trying to circumvent it as early as January, 2002, and citing this Alberto Gonzales memo (pdf.)

Ironically, a key element in the German decision is the passing of the Military Commissions Act. This travesty, which we at Les Enragé have referred to as the War Criminals' Protection Act, is seen by the German prosecutors as just that, a proof that action wouldn't be taken in US courts. If justice was to be done, it would have to be in a foreign court. Germany was chosen because that country's laws exert a claim of universal jurisdiction over war crimes matters.

When he resigned only two days ago, many were warning Rummy "don't let the door hit you in the ass." Well, apparently it did.

Hat-tip: Nigel Elliott

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Where Do We Go From Here? -Pt. 2-

In Part One, we looked at Nancy Pelosi's list of stated objectives for the legislative session beginning in January. Russ Weiss put up his own list at Ice Station Tango, and link to Adam McKay's list at Huffington Post. One could hardly stroll around the suddenly so much sunnier realm of Greater Left Blogistan for the last couple of days without stubbing one's toe on a to-do list for the new era of democracy. Since I am therefore in a bind making my list stand out, I offer this for you to listen to while reading it, as an inducement. By the time you're finished, I will explain to you what makes this list different.
Many Rivers to Cross

As to the first objective, I agree with Adam McKay. Bring back some form of the fairness doctrine, threaten or even revoke ABC/Disney's broadcast license, put Limbaugh in jail for his OxyContin crimes, do SOMEthing to get America's media back on an even political keel. The reason this is at the top of the list is simple. Some hard decisions have to be made, and some bitter medicine swallowed. The President has veto power. What needs to be done has to have the full support of the American people, impossible if 30% or more of them are being deliberately misinformed on a daily basis by FOX "news" and their ilk.
"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." -- Thomas Jefferson
"I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crises. The great point is to bring them the real facts." -- Abraham Lincoln

The second objective, no less vital, is to totally scrap the idea of electronic voting machines. There is no compelling rationale behind their use, and hundreds of well documented problems arguing against them. Paper. Pencil. Ballots to be hand counted, all witnessed by scrutineers from both (or all) parties. Any questions? I didn't think so.

At the top of Russ' list, and high on mine is lobbying and legislative reform. Disconnect both parties from the corrupt campaign financing that sustains the lobbying industry, the practice of earmarking, and the inherent threat to democracy posed by corporate megabucks. The sad but true fact is; if a corporation can spend a million dollars on campaign contributions, lobbying, and outright bribery that results in them saving ten million in taxes and five million in regulatory costs, they're going to do that every time. And America loses, every time.

In fourth spot, roll back the tax cuts for the ultra-wealthy. The Democrats should have been pointing out during this campaign how many of the beneficiaries of these cuts actually live outside the country, and are not citizens. I don't see US citizens supporting a gravy train for Saudi princes, German industrialists, Japanese financiers, or Chinese despots. They are the ones whose investment dollars are going to outsourcing American jobs, and destroying the middle class.

And in fifth spot, increase the minimum wage. I think it is unconscionable that a person working a full 40 hours or more a week should not be able to pay his or her rent and have enough left over to adequately provide for the basic necessities of life; food, clothing, transportation and basic health care.

Obviously this is a very short list, and some of it coincides with Nancy's, Russ's, or Adam McKay's. And there are glaring omissions, most notably repeal of the odious Military Commissions War Criminals' Protection Act. So what makes it different, and what is my rationale for this particular list in this particular order?
This list has a theme that was drawn from the sad but true fact of the Presidential veto. The Democrats cannot override legislation that has already been put in place while they were out of power. Therefore they must use the next two years to consolidate and expand the political capital they have so far amassed. (And unlike the pResident's phantom political capital, achieved only by gerrymandering, voter suppression, fraud and deceit, I think the Dems' capital is the real deal.) The next 24 months, they should hammer on one message, "America, we're on your side." Come to think of it, that wouldn't be a bad slogan in '08.

America, we're on your side against the right-wing propagandists who want to lead you to the polls like sheep with their lies.
America, we're on your side against those who would steal your vote through electronic legerdemain.
America, we're on your side against the lobbyists who put the interests of GLOBAL capital ahead of you and your family.

Democratic legislation should send a clear and unmistakable message to the people. Every opportunity should be made to challenge Bush's policies. When he takes out his veto pen, he should be called a radical obstructionist. Every opportunity must be taken, and more opportunities created to show the people that the Republicans are decidedly NOT on their side when they side with Big Oil, Big Pharma, and Big Greed.

A major battle has been won, but the war is far from over. It has barely begun.

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Where Do We Go From Here? - Pt.1-

And How Do We Get There?
Well, that was a nice party, and it was really good for morale to have won an important battle so decisively. Now it's time to remember that the battle is not the war, there is plenty of work left to do, and lots still to be enraged about. The Military Commissions Act War Criminals' Protection Act is still tentatively the law of the land, for instance. Its repeal would require a veto-proof bill by the new congress, an impossibility. Or it could be declared unconstitutional by a Supreme Court that consists of 7-2 Republican/Democratic appointees. If it can be brought before a court. One of the more odious provisions of the act is that it cannot be challenged, and that courts have no jurisdiction in detainees' cases. A legal catch-22 and an absurdity that no judge worthy of the name could possibly countenance. More on this most enraging of outrages later.
Let's kick off the discussion with the stated objectives of the new Democratic caucus, what Nancy Pelosi calls the 100 hours plan, and see where that takes us. Here's what she is calling for;
  1. -Break the link between lobbyists and legislation. aka 'drain the swamp.'
  2. -Enact all recommendations of the 9/11 commission.
  3. -Raise the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour, maybe in one step.
  4. -Cut the interest rate on student loans in half.
  5. -Allow the government to negotiate directly with the pharmaceutical companies for lower drug prices for Medicare patients.
  6. -Broaden the types of stem cell research allowed with federal funds.
  7. -Roll back tax cuts for the wealthiest of Americans that have enriched them at the cost of bankrupting the country.
Keep in mind this list was printed in WaPo on Monday, before the magnitude of the Democratic victory was known. The program is probably being ambitiously expanded as I type this. The clear theme though, is the reinstatement of the idea of governing for the people, not just the rich people. Pelosi has a nice blog at HuffPo describing what happens in 100 hours thanks to the policies of the Administration. It all favours the rich.
Take item one; is small town America likely to be comfortable with the fact that another small town, population around 30,000, lives on K street? That's right. Amazingly there are more than 60 registered lobbyists in Washington for every congressperson and senator. There are a lot of alligators in those swamps, where Jack Abramoff so recently wallowed in the muck.
Are Americans comfortable with the fact that they live in a country where, "The wealthiest 1 percent of households owns roughly 33.4% of the nation's net worth, the top 10% of households owns over 71%, and the bottom 40% of households owns less than 1%." ? (2001 figures. It's gotten much worse in the last 5 years.) Logic suggests that 90% would say no, but the myth of the American Dream keeps people in a psychological state where they expect someday to rise into the ranks of the 'haves and the have mores' - consequently they identify with a tax bracket they will never occupy.
Are Americans happy with the fact that, thanks to Jack Abramoff and his Republican cohorts, some of those ultra-wealthy made scads off of slave labour in Saipan, and their profits trickled down streamed gushed out of the country into offshore tax shelters? Or back into the pockets of lobbyists and corrupt legislators to enable more of the same?

Continuing investigations into Abramoff, Foley, and others may force even more Republicans out of their seats, notably John Doolittle and Dennis Hastaert. This will be an opportunity for further Democratic gains before 2008. Hopefully this will embolden them to tackle even more pressing problems facing the country. In an upcoming post I will discuss my list of things not on Nancy Pelosi's list, and consider the best tactical route to get where we need to be.

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Now that we've quaffed the koolaid, put down the glass ...

Bush 43 let the cat out of the bag yesterday. He just couldn't keep it secret; it worked too well.
"I obviously was working harder in the campaign than he [Rove] was."

Of course Bush did. He hit every small town in America. Rove had nothing to do with it.

But that was the plan. Let the Dems win. Both houses, with some voter fraud bones pitched in here and there to heighten election night drama.

Brilliant. Rove's best work yet, you might say. Except it was Bush 43's consiglieres who engineered this palace coup. They needed a Dem House and Senate to dispatch it in record time. They told Rove to sit on his hands.

So what do they get for this Maine event checkmate?
(1) Booting Rummy isolated a stunned Cheney, his neocons, and their brand of career warmongering Israel-firsters in one chop. Publicly. Wrapped up by the curb now for two years "because the nation has spoken." Thump. [Emanuel, Perle, Frum, and Wurmser, et al, got a whiff it might happen a month ago; hence, the frantic rewording of their previous rants.]

(2) The nation's sigh of relief will blow fairy dust all over Gate's confirmation because the nation wants its boys home. Who cares what Gates had to do with the genesis of the current debacle back in the 80s.

(3) The Dems will have a scant two years to mop up a political Katrina, then shoulder the blame; long enough for the GOP to take 2008 advantage of a beleaguered nation's sloppy grasp of cause and effect.

(4) Bush 41 protects the family's wartime legacies and dynastic name, the understandable concern of an historically important dying man. Rummy and Cheney get none of the credit, relegated to history as out-of-control civil servants, not visionary men.

(5) Rove's new 9-to-5 is scandal free and, after another turkey dinner in two weeks, free to Atwater a 2008 win.

Happy Birthday Bonnie Raitt

And Have a Salty Marguerita on Me!

I WISH you the best.

I've got to hurry with this one, I only found out it was her birthday a little while ago, and it won't be, even on the west coast, in a matter of minutes.

A great musician with a beautiful liberal voice, and a longtime friend of John Hall, newly elected congressman from the 19th district in New York.

We all hope you're having a wonderful time!! Woo HOOOOO!!!

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Most American Thing

Well, the election dust is settling and the triumvirate fog is lifting. Trepidation has given way to elation. There is jubilation across the nation. Nonetheless, may we remember that in many ways our work has just begun, because...

Questioning Government

And don't think for a minute that we will let up because of a shift in power. There is much to correct, starting with that dynamic duo: Election Reform and dissolution of the War Crimes Protection Act.

I would like this picture even more if it read "Democratic" or "Patriotic" instead of "American"more inclusive of our friends and neighbours across the globe who are celebrating with us.

I hope you're taking your vitamins progressive friends, because we have work to do.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Olbermann Speaks the Truth

Last Licks Before The Election
Nobody says it better.
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We're not Kidding

A few weeks ago, in an article describing what to expect from the Republicans in the run-up to the midterm elections, we published this image, courtesy of Project for the Old American Century. POAC is a great site by the way, and a particularly rich source of terrific anti-BushCo™ graphics.

Now one might say that the message of this graphic is a little over the top, and that the Republicans would never stoop so low as the obvious fear-mongering propaganda portrayed here. One might say that, but one would be WRONG. Let's compare to the graphic below, from actual Republican campaign material. Not too much different, right? You can't parody these guys' corruption and slime, because to do so would be to exceed their amoral depravity. Hat-tip goes out to Pam, from Musings of a Working Mom.

And while I'm mentioning POAC anyway, this is their current graphic depicting the standard campaigning technique of the GOP, which I noted on a visit over there to get their URL.
Anyone ready to say this one is over the top? I didn't think so.

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Your Election Day Video

Gawd, I love the contributions Les Enragé gets from the threads! Especially when they make great posts as is, with little work on my part. Here's a video from YouTube that is perfect for election day. It presents images emphasizing the failures of the Bush administration in every arena, from Iraq, to Katrina, to the Dubai Ports deal, to the NSA wiretapping program, to the Military Commissions War Criminals' Protection Act....
....You Get my drift.
On the other hand, the video shows the hope we all feel for a better world without the grasping, arrogant, corrupt and stupid bastards currently in control getting their unbridled way. An exuberant optimism conveyed through the rhythm of the accompanying song.

Hat-tip to Nigel Elliott.
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Monday, November 06, 2006

End of the Neo-Cons

"Every Dogma Has Its Day" -- (Abraham Rotstein)

I read this great editorial in the Toronto Star today, echoing a theme we've been hearing quite a bit lately. Conservatives who have been supporting the Bush administration in every detail of their criminal enterprise posing as government are beginning to turn against their masters like a pack of rabid curs. It has gotten considerably lonelier at the top of the self-created neocon shitpile. This administration, so recently described as circling the bowl, now looks more like they forgot to flush. For six. long. years. The stench is so foul that no-one wants to be anywhere near it. And that stench emits from BushCo's Iraq policy.

Military Newspapers are calling for Donald Rumsfeld's resignation. Richard Perle, one of the chief intellectual architects of the Iraq invasion, told Vanity Fair that had he known in 2003 what he knows now about Bush & Co.’s incompetence, he would not have advocated an invasion. The very people who so fervently advocated this disaster are now against it, and trying to pretend that they had nothing to do with it. People such as David Frum, Michael Rubin and Michael Ledeen join the throng fleeing like rats from the sinking ship of state. As this article by Glenn Greenwald points out, Ledeen went so far that he, "not only denied that he ever supported the invasion of Iraq, but further, he affirmatively claimed that he opposed the invasion. And that is just an outright lie."

Even Bush himself has recently resorted to the outrageous lie that, "it has never been a stay the course strategy", despite numerous instances of he and his administration saying just that over the years.
In front of cameras.
All of this prompted noted conservative Andrew Sullivan to say the following;
"Let me put this kindly: anyone who believes that Donald Rumsfeld has done a “fantastic job” in Iraq is out of his mind. The fact that such a person is President of the United States is beyond disturbing. But then this is the man who told Michael Brown he was doing a 'heckuva job.' And, yes, our Iraq policy begins to look uncannily like the Katrina response."
I'm no psychiatrist, but I happen to agree with Sullivan's assessment that Bush is literally insane, but for different reasons. And whatever the outcome on Tuesday, he will still be in the White House on Wednesday. Oh, here's an excerpt from that Toronto Star editorial linked above. It's well worth a read.
"The neo-cons' grand design lies in ruins, having accomplished nothing other than to shrink America's stature in the world. The great unwinding of the American "benign global hegemony" first heralded by neo-cons William Kristol and Robert Kagan in 1996 will commence after the election, when America's political leadership will abandon Iraq and the neo-cons. The neo-cons' starting point, of course, was the Americanization of Iraq — the "easy win" that would trigger rogue states from the Middle East to the Korean peninsula to fall in line with American values of capitalism, democracy and pro-Israel policies."
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Sunday, November 05, 2006

Hypocrisy Personified

Unbelievable YouTube Video of Ted Haggard
You can't make this stuff up. Ted Haggard is shown here talking about the Bible and what it says about homosexuality. At one point he looks straight into the camera points and says, "I think I know what you did last night...If you send me a thousand dollars I won't tell your wife."
Like the title says, HYPOCRISY PERSONIFIED.

Update: For more on the Haggard scandal, and the hypocrisy of the religious right in general, check out this great post at Ice Station Tango.

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The Great Leap

Get Your Bragg On!

I discovered Billy Bragg this year. I still don't quite understand how I had missed him. So much outrage; so little time...

Anyway, back in 1988 Bragg released Waiting for the Great Leap Forwards.

The Great Leap refers to a period of rapid cultural change and advancement in the course of human evolution—sort of like the monolith-to-bones-to-weapons moment from the Arthur C. Clarke novel and Stanely Kubric film, 2001: A Space Oddity. And back in 1988, Billy Bragg was waiting for it (lyrics):
It may have been Camelot for Jack and Jacqueline
But on the Che Guevara highway filling up with gasoline
Fidel Castro's brother spies a rich lady who's crying
Over luxury's disappointment
So he walks over and he's trying
To sympathise with her
But he thinks that he should warn her
That the third world is just around the corner

In the Soviet Union a scientist is blinded
By the resumption of nuclear testing and he is reminded
That Dr. Robert Oppenheimer's optimism fell
At the first hurdle

In the cheese pavilion, and the only noise I hear
Is the sound of someone stacking chairs
And mopping up spilt beer
And someone asking questions and basking in the light
Of the fifteen fame filled minutes of the fanzine writer

Mixing pop and politics, he asks me what the use is
I offer him embarrassment and my usual excuses
While looking down the corridor
Out to where the van is waiting
I'm looking for the great leap forwards

Jumble sales are organised
And pamphlets have been posted
Even after closing time there's still parties to be hosted
You can be active with the activists
Or sleep in with the sleepers
While youre waiting for the great leap forwards

One leap forward, two leaps back
Will politics get me the sack?

Here comes the future and you can't run from it
If you've got a blacklist, I want to be on it

It's a mighty long way down rock n roll
From top of the pops to drawing the dole

If no one seems to understand
Start your own revolution and cut out the middleman

In a perfect world we'd all sing in tune
But this is reality, so give me some room

So join the struggle while you may
The revolution is just a t-shirt away
Waiting for the great leap forwards
(Bragg's TV debut on Letterman, 1988)
Great Leap

But times have changed, and so have the lyrics. Rumsfeld makes it in by name, as does YouTube. Great statement about patriots after the performance, also.

This is a song that makes me happy and sad at the same time. It laments being stuck in failed policies, stuck in a political quagmire, stuck somewhere in the course of human evolution, waiting. It also revels in hope for the future and the possibility of tomorrow. It delights in the struggle; it frolics in progressive optimism while wading through the muck of the morass of the moment. I choose to have hope, otherwise there is no reason to work for or expect a better world.

It's somehow fitting that Bush, who doesn't believe in evolution, is content "staying the course", and wouldn't recognize the Great Leap if it crept up on him from behind.


And me? I'll just stay active as I continue to wait.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Bush's Incredibly Bad Idea

pResident Bush continues to terrorize the American public while simultaneously holding his administration out as the only protection against terrorists. In one of the most politically cynical and incredibly, insanely idiotic decisions made to date, they have posted archive documents from Iraq on the internet that describe in detail how to build a thermonuclear device.
??WHAT??!! That's right, "diagrams, dimensions, diameters, fusing mechanisms, descriptions of explosive tests..." A road map to the design and construction of an atomic weapon.
This was done to revive the long debunked notion that the war in Iraq was about finding and destroying Weapons of Mass Destruction.
"The Bush administration did so under pressure from Congressional Republicans who had said they hoped to 'leverage the Internet' to find new evidence of the prewar dangers posed by Saddam Hussein."
Against the strident objections of the intelligence community, ignoring all sane advice (as usual), this is nothing short of outright insanity. The material was posted last March, and only taken down after the fact of its existence was revealed in this New York Times article.
Report From Keith Olbermann

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