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September 1, 2006

Sharing The Pie?
You're Not Even At The Table!

[BREAK] BCP logo If you needed to give someone a wake-up call on the need for unions, this piece would be a good primer. As most sentient beings could tell you, just because increased productivity leads to increased profits in a company/industry that does NOT mean those who produced the profit will get to share in it. In Realityville, a place the corporate Repugnants would rather isolate and quarantine, report after report shows that the lack of organization amongst the workers causes the profit sharing to get stuck in a bottleneck somewhere below the corporate execs and the shareholders. This forces the Execs to grab some of the productivity cash and grant the rest to the stockholders. Since the Reagan years, and accelerating with the Bush administration,there have been four distinct, but oh so very connected, stories on the business pages of our newspapers. Meantime, instead of giving appropriate page/TV space to crimes based on the harm to society, white collar criminals get little press while kids dealing pot and the sporadic news of corrupt union officials gets plenty of space/time. So, Jimmy Six-pack/Jane Merlot is often the first to spout off with "Why should I shell out dues money to someone?" Jimmy goes home with less real cash each year, and, although working more hours and producing more each hour he/she works, Jane/Jimmy wonders why he can't afford to live like he did yesterday. And the corporate pirates chuckle at the ease with which they've enlisted Jimmy/Jane in a war of self attrition, while those gaining from the employees labor keep divvying up the huge productivity cash pie! Wouldn't you? ===== [/BREAK] How the World Works - Salon.com Too productive While browsing the World Bank Web site this morning, a headline caught my eye: "Rapid Growth in China, India Are Reducing Extreme Poverty, UN Labor Agency Says." That's odd, I thought, the International Labor Organization doesn't usually specialize in repeating World Bank talking points. As noted here before, the single most common justification given for expanding free trade are the hundreds of millions of people who have escaped extreme poverty in India and China as a result of the integration of those nations into the global economy. But the ILO's attention tends to focus on other matters. I guess executive summaries are all in the eye of the beholder. Here, for example, is the lead sentence of a Shanghai Daily article on the same ILO report referenced by the World Bank, "Eye-popping economic growth and productivity gains in East Asia haven't led to adequate job creation, higher wages or improved working conditions in the region, the International Labor Organization said in a report yesterday." More Here!

September 2, 2006

Conflating Real Liberals with (Progressive?) Democrats

[BREAK] BCP logoUnfortunately, while the meat of Frank's thought is fine, he makes one major flaw. He conflates Liberal with Democrat in his bash of politicians in the Democratic Party. Some of us can fathom the immense difference between a Liberal, like Ned Lamont or Denis Kucinich(Fair trade vs Free Trade, Health Care vs Neglect etc.), and some Democrats like Biden, Lieberman and, now, Hillary Clinton. Liberals and the (DLC's) "New Democrats" are like oil and water. Just because someone (Frank) tries to mix them together does not preclude the oil (Liberal) from rising to the top! Other than that conflating flaw, this op-ed be a precious jewel and well worth the viewing. [/BREAK] =====
The Unknown Candidate: Rendezvous With Oblivion By Thomas Frank The New York Times Over the last month I have tried to describe conservative power in Washington, but with a small change of emphasis I could just as well have been describing the failure of liberalism: the center-left’s inability to comprehend the current political situation or to draw upon what is most vital in its own history. scissor.gif - - - SNIP Historically, liberalism was a fighting response to precisely these conditions. Look through the foundational texts of American liberalism and you can find everything you need to derail the conservative juggernaut. But don’t expect liberal leaders in Washington to use those things. They are “New Democrats” now, enlightened and entrepreneurial and barely able to get out of bed in the morning, let alone muster the strength to deliver some Rooseveltian stemwinder against “economic royalists.” scissor.gif - - - End of SNIPPET More Here

September 3, 2006

Times Supports
War Supporter?
Naturally!

[BREAK] BCP logo Well, my fervor for Tasini takes a boost from a NY Times knock. And don't you just love it when the premiere media organ to help garner support for Bush's Baghdad Blunder, by publishing weeks on end worth of lies as to WMD and Iraq connections to Al Qaeda, deigns to explain and render innocuous Hillary's support for the war??? The Times has yet to successfully explain its own war mongering. And the Times, in a rare glimpse beneath the Gray Lady's skirts, seems to allow why it comes out so soon with an endorsement against Jonathan Tasini:
Mr. Tasini, a labor leader who once successfully sued The Times on behalf of freelance writers, is the politically impractical candidate from the left that many commentators incorrectly imagined Ned Lamont to be when he challenged Mr. Lieberman in Connecticut. Mr. Tasini deserves credit for making the run and we are sorry that Mrs. Clinton did not respond to his demands for a debate. But it is hard to imagine him working well in a large body of egotistic and generally conservative politicians.
Tasini fought the Times . . . and Tasini won! ===== [/BREAK] A Senate Primary in New York - New York Times scissor.gif - - - SNIP Mr. Tasini, a labor leader who once successfully sued The Times on behalf of freelance writers, is the politically impractical candidate from the left that many commentators incorrectly imagined Ned Lamont to be when he challenged Mr. Lieberman in Connecticut. Mr. Tasini deserves credit for making the run and we are sorry that Mrs. Clinton did not respond to his demands for a debate. But it is hard to imagine him working well in a large body of egotistic and generally conservative politicians. scissor.gif - - - End of SNIPPET More Here

September 6, 2006

Mickey Mouse Meanders
Into
Malicious and Manipulative
Misinformation!

[BREAK] BCP logoDisney has this new propaganda film on 9/11 (“The Path to 9/11”)that puts the blame on Clinton. (So far, 9/11 Commision members and Richard Clarke, amongst others, have come out saying the 2-part, commercial free miniseries is full of lies.) For example, they show Clinton refusing a CIA request to kill bin Laden when they had him in their sites. In reality, the CIA says Clinton authorized the killing of bin Laden many times, every time the CIA asked.
“As we were watching, we were trying to think how they could have misinterpreted the 9/11 commission’s finding the way that they had,” Mr. Ben-Veniste said. “They gave the impression that Clinton had not given the green light to an operation that had been cleared by the C.I.A. to kill bin Laden,” when, in fact, the Sept. 11 commission concluded that Mr. Clinton had.

Continue reading "Mickey Mouse Meanders
Into
Malicious and Manipulative
Misinformation!" »

September 7, 2006

"Don't Know Much
'Bout No History!"

[BREAK] BCP logo For many people, being a "witness to history" is a goal. Being present when important events go down, events that shape the future and will be recorded in our texts/videos, is an exciting thing. Well citizens of River City, I'm here to tell you that, as the Chinese say, you live in interesting times. You are "witnesses to history . . . being revised." The Disney/ABC 9/11 movie is just one of many recent attempts to rewrite our past in order to shape thought in the future. (And Disney claims it avoids partisan outlooks???) As FAIR points out, it ain't just a slowly dying broadcast TV Network that is putting it's integrity in jeopardy in order to shape a national debate. The once prestigious NY Times recently gave us a half-hearted apology for allowing Mata Hari Miller (Judy) to manipulate their readers into supporting a push to war. But, as luck would have it, most readers of the Times are also familiar with other sources of news, and had realized that, based on the length the lie kept running, the front page placement of many chapters of the lie AND the financial costs and human anguish caused by the lie, the Times/Judy needed to give a much more sincere, open and moving apology. As luck would have it, once again,the NY Times saw that we are in an astrological period wherein the planet Reality is being rocked by the exaggerated "spinning" of its moon, Corporatocracy. In Astrology, they refer to the phenomenon as "The Spin." In this scenario, Corporatocracy will allow "The Spin" to take reality wherever Corporatocracy wishes. Hence, while the paper must apologize if it led folks to believe Saddam HAD WMD, it doesn't need to give any "Sorry's" to the unwashed masses if the people can be made to believe we only said:
"The possibility that Saddam Hussein might develop "weapons of mass destruction" and pass them to terrorists was the prime reason Mr. Bush gave in 2003 for ordering the invasion of Iraq."
You see, when referring to the reasons we attacked, invaded and occupied Iraq, putting in cavernous wide caveats like "possibility" and that Saddam might "develop" WMD's and might "pass them to terrorists" can make folk forget Judy's "THEY HAVE NUKES, BUBONIC PLAGUE and KLINGON LIGHT SABERS THAT BEHEAD ANY CHRISTIANS (INCLUDING CUTE WHITE CHRISTIAN BABIES) WITHOUT ANYBODY HOLDING THEM!" (A bit of poetic license, that. But, with the fear running around the town square back then, [and continuing through today]it could be said to be an accurate representation of Judy's stories effect.) So, the Times need not apologize IF the reasons Bush gave for an illegal war were factual. And, if we get to rewrite the reasons 3 years later, why wouldn't they now be reasons we could defend? And, with Bush well into "attack Iran" mode, we just have to grant him some credibility in his last push to war, even if that leaves poor reality-based History raped, bleeding and gasping with last breath in the alley of fraud. So, now we can wait for the anniversary of that September day in 2001 that Hitler attacked America, Liberals lined the streets cheering the terrorists in the planes and watching entranced as their fellow Americans jumped from the upper floors of the Twin Towers. The same times that GW Bush saved the US Constitution by protecting it with the Patriot Act and TIA program, and finally gave the tools (cattle prods, iron ladies, water-boarding kits, etc.) to our Justice system that it had long needed, and that we found, in recently discovered diaries, our founding fathers had originally written into the Constitution . . . but was deleted by a nefarious and (you guessed it) stinkin' LIBERAL printer!
What's that? Oh, I see. Sorry 'bout that, Chief. My mistake!
That movie doesn't come out until September 2007!
[/BREAK]

September 25, 2006

What I've Been Saying
(But Never Said Quite So Well!)

[BREAK] BCP logo Glenn Greenwald gives a brief analysis that, I believe, grants the answer to the cry of "HOW!" that may be uttered by all of us Liberal/Progressives/Democrats on the morning after the Presidential election in '08, if not asked after an earlier election, just a few weeks from now. Of course, I'm one of those who believes the fix may be in already, with tamper-easy voting machines on the march into precincts/districts/parishes near you. But, I also held the hope that were enough voters to decide that our Constitution, Bill of Rights and the epiphany in human affairs that was the idea of America held a place of importance in their souls that the sheer number of "NO!" voters to the current regime of Repugnants that hold our ideals hostage, that "fixing" the election through those machines would be too daunting a task. The problem with that prayer is that in order for the people to come out in large numbers you need to give them an alternative to vote for. Instead, we give them the psychotic high school bully [Repugnants] or their meek, weak sycophants who stands by, not quite cheering the carnage, but obsequiously holding the bully's coat and books as the bully does the damage. Senator Russ Feingold tried to get other Senators, hopefully a large group with a good showing by fellow Democratic Senators, to agree just walk away when the bully looked for his coat holder (by simply agreeing to a statement saying nobody is above the law in these United States, but found the coat holders weren't up to such a blatant provocation to the bellowing bully. So, we're left with a choice of voting for the bully King of the prom, or voting for his cheering section, and hoping that they'll get a backbone and change the status quo. You can bet the ranch that, in almost every case, nobody gets out of bed early, or wastes precious time from a busy day, to help empower the bully's weak buds. [/BREAK]

Continue reading "What I've Been Saying
(But Never Said Quite So Well!)" »

September 27, 2006

It Ain't Easy Being . . . Blue!

[BREAK] BCP logo In one of his pieces on Salon (War Room - Salon.com), Glenn Greenwald elaborates on just one of the myriad of reasons that many Liberals, or to be au courant - and use verbal camouflage- Progressives will find it hard to pull a lever.press the screen under/adjacent to a Clinton, Warner or even Obama name in 2008, and may have thoughts of skipping the polling places just a few weeks from now.
The beginning of Greenwald's War Room piece:
scissor.gif - - - SNIP The willingness of Senate Democrats to vote for the torture bill appears substantial, at least if one listens to their leader, Sen. Harry Reid. From the New York Times this morning: "Democrats, who have found themselves on the losing end of the national security debate the past two national elections, said the changes to the bill had not yet reached a level that would cause them to try to block it altogether. To underscore the point, Reid said this about the bill: "We want to do this. And we want to do it in compliance with the direction from the Supreme Court. We want to do it in compliance with the Constitution." scissor.gif - - - End of SNIPPET
I realize I'm entering dangerous territory here. Back in 2004, I got a straight out ass chewing by one of the then, and still now, stars in the blogosphere's celestial backdrop. I had the temerity to point out that, when you used super-blogger's own much written criteria for a suitable candidate, Howard Dean, whom he loudly supported, was a bit of a disappointment. Not, mind you, that Governor Dean wasn't a far superior choice to Bush, or even Kerry, General Clark or some others (Joementum???). By simply sing the blogger's own wish list, I showed that Denis Kucinich should have been his pick for the primary. I was eventually hit with the "We must pick the candidate who looks to have the best chance of being elected" bullet. When I wrote that, according to the then polls, he should support GW, he called me an idiot and we ceased our corresponding. So, I know that basing support on a list of criteria one believes essential to keeping America strong, healthy and somewhat recognizable (in ongoing principle) to those brave souls who risked all to give birth to this fragile democracy is NOT an all popular strategy. But (and you knew that "But" would appear right after my throwing of the Founding Father's into the mix), allowing electibility to trump principle places one on a path to electoral Hell. Choosing Republican Lite over true Republican, or over the group of traitorous bastards that hold America hostage in some dark cave where she is forced to condone torture while she witnesses the shredding of human and civil rights both at home and in countries where we hide prisoners around the globe, is NOT a strategy that helps get her back and standing tall. It only allows a creeping crud of fascism to gain ground and/or a dose political amnesia that makes our citizens forget what once was and lose hope for what could have been. The DLC will not go quietly into that dark night of failed domestic/corporate coups. If we, the voters who are sickened by how a Republican party capitulated to the worst of its members and became the Repugnant Party, don't retaliate by choosing a candidate who won't just slow the Ship Of State as she heads for the whirlpool of Corporatism so close by but one who will grab the wheel and arc us back 180 degrees to where Jefferson's dreams became FDR's agenda. They showed integrity! They held tight to certain principles, and helped our country advance! Where a power-hungry, corrupt southern bigot who, when the Presidency was abruptly handed him through a tragedy on the streets of Dallas, became a champion of civil rights, even though Johnson knew it would bring great harm on his party and his democratic peers in the south. He showed integrity! He held tight to certain principles, and helped our country advance!
More from Greenwald's War Room piece:
scissor.gif - - - SNIP Sen. Lindsey Graham even claims that an amendment to provide habeas corpus rights to detainees -- a provision that could alleviate some of the bill's most tyrannical aspects -- "will be defeated, I think, in a bipartisan fashion, with a solid vote." Whether or not Graham is right about Democratic opposition even to habeas corpus rights, it appears certain that not only will Senate Democrats fail to impede enactment, but at least some (perhaps even the majority of) Democrats will vote for the bill and enthusiastically praise it. Their Senate leader is already doing so. scissor.gif - - - End of SNIPPET
Greenwald points out that to be a happy Democrat today, one has to smile at the end of habeas corpus, giggle at torture and care little about one's fellow human. While he only names one of the Democratics (Harry Reid) who will be helping turn the screws on innocent, as well as guilty, torture victims, you'll read that the Republicans have Democrats on board for this tragedy.
More from Greenwald's War Room piece:
scissor.gif - - - SNIP Yale law professor Jack Balkin, whose rhetoric is typically restrained and mild, put it this way this morning: "The Democrats may think that if they let this pass, they are guaranteed to pick up more seats in the House and Senate. But they will actually win less seats this way. For they will have proved to the American people that they are spineless and opportunistic -- that, when faced with a genuine choice and a genuine challenge, they can keep neither our country nor our values safe." scissor.gif - - - End of SNIPPET
Well, those Dems who support/suborn torture won't get my vote. Not this year, and not in '08. And, if enough of us rally behind that sentiment, and NOT just look on the choice of America's stewardship as if it were only a matter of being a winner, like your vote were just a turn of a card or drop of a roulette ball that, if you wanted, you could choose to be a winner, the DLC and Republican Lite candidates WILL disappear, or change. (See the recent attempt at metamorphosis by Hillary, including chastising Rumsfeld and backing Bill's in-your-face with Chris Wallace.) But, if they see that after all your bitching and griping about Bush, you're still willing to back a candidate who cares little about torture and/or wants more troops in Iraq and/or thinks bankruptcy should only be a trump card for mega-corporations but not help families decimated by a health crisis, then you'll never find a Kucinich or Russ Feingold taken seriously by the party, the media OR certain conflicted super bloggers. [BREAK] More Here Democrats may come to regret not opposing Bush on torture While it is almost certain that Congress will fail to enact a warrantless eavesdropping bill prior to Friday's adjournment, it appears equally certain that both houses of Congress will enact the president's torture and detention bill. On that issue, there seem to be only two unresolved questions at this point: 1) Exactly how draconian will the president's powers be under this bill (more on that later)? 2) How much Democratic support will this bill attract?

September 28, 2006

"Amerika!", Opening At A Country Near You Soon!

BCP logo Wonder where the Democrats went to, after 9/11/01? Do certain bloggers and supposed "Liberal" media commentators/hosts confuse you with their sudden change into a cheering squad for Democrats who seemingly support Bush's Baghdad Blunder, or the bankruptcy bill that puts a boot on the throat of middle-class families suffering through major medical crisis?

Read this, (Antiterrorism Bill on Detainees, Geneva Conventions - Rushing Off a Cliff - New York Times), this (House Approves Bill on Detainees - washingtonpost.com), this (Don't Suspend Habeas Corpus - Los Angeles Times) and this!

Then think about where we're headed and what you need to do to change our course!
(My view was expressed here.)

September 29, 2006

America, America, God Sheds Many Tears For Thee!

[BREAK] BCP logo Go read BuzzFlash here!

UPDATE:

Go Here to see how the Bushies are already starting to put a full court press on the Federal Judiciary. You see, we don't need no stinkin' judges in the new Bush/Cheney Amerika! (I'm guessing that were a judge to rule against Bush in one of the cases, he'd instantly have proved he "supported terrorism", and he'd be secretly kidnapped, incarcerated under the new rules and never be heard of again!)

END OF UPDATE!

We now return you to your regular program.
===== Now, for those idiot Repugnants (not true Republicans, but those who hijacked their party and turned into an echo of . . . here it comes . . . a certain party in the Germany of the 1930's) who want to throw "traitor" and "unpatriotic" around, here's my BS. Viet-vet, (volunteer) Combat Infantryman's Badge, Bronze Star, 2 Air Medals and a bunch of other pretty ribbons. Married 36 years, 2 grown kids. Never charged with taking bribes, pedophilia, shooting a friend and have had no affairs with interns (male or female). And I was coherent enough to march with other combat veterans on February 15, 2003 against Bush's Baghdad Blunder! In brief, it is obvious that I can't be a Repugnant Party member. Until yesterday, I had been a Democrat for 41 years. And, for almost all of those years I was a proud Democrat.
I'll be switching my registration to Independent
If I am forced to associate myself with a political party, it won't be one that capitulates with the torture of America's ideals while pretending to stand for those very ideals. Why associate with the Dems if they won't even filibuster a bill that will make legal the arrest of someone, many of whom will be innocents (based on the release of hundreds of detainees from Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and elsewhere) WITH NO RIGHT TO BE CHARGED OR RIGHT TO GO BEFORE A JUDGE, will make legal the torture of an innocent AND would them deny that innocent the right to go to court and sue the torturer. Of course, some will say, "If we don't stay with the Democrats, the Republicans will do whatever they want."
Wake the fuck up!
The Republicans ARE doing whatever the Hell they want. You are just satisfying yourself with some psychic pacifier, sucking at the Democratic teat while your mom, America, is being beaten, raped and left to lie in a pool of her own blood. If it isn't time for a non-violent revolution in this country (general strike?), then we should officially declare those dumb rebelling bastards in powdered wigs of the late 18th Century with being sociopathic terrorists who led this country astray with an evil Constitution. Those men risked their fortunes, their lives, their families lives in order to grant us, their heirs, a right to have a judge approve of our detention, to force our accusers to step forward and face us, IN THAT COURT, to have a right to council and a right to be treated as a human being! Yesterday, the Democrats played with themselves while those rights were shredded and burned. They played pocket pool while the rape of a detainee, innocent or guilty, by the US personnel holding them became something less than torture. While the Geneva Conventions were reinterpreted to become a document whose meaning is solely decided by the Bush/Cheney Torture Team. As Bush signs this horrific assault on America, please recall one very important fact. The House and Senate of the United States, with the tacit applause of the majority of their fearful voting constituents, have surrendered America and her venerated Constitution to 19 young maniacs who brought some cheap box cutters on to 4 US passenger airliners. After fighting the mightiest militaries on the planet, in the late 1770's on up to the early 1940's, 19 young fanatics found America's soft underbelly just when America's population had lost the will to fight against an enemy they feared . . . albeit the smallest enemy every to defeat a world power. We now have, in the reality based world, no Constitutional protections. The only "persons" in America whose protections, from Constitutional ones to those bankruptcy protections, are still in effect are the mega-Corporations. Oh, and a fetus. The rights of an American are sacrosanct to the Repugnants, UNTIL BIRTH! Individual American citizens CAN be "disappeared" from our streets, if Bush thinks their statements provided support for any of his supposed "enemies". They CAN be jailed and tortured FOREVER, without EVER getting to see a judge or speak with a lawyer. AND THE WEAK-KNEED DEMOCRATS NOT ONLY FAILED TO FILIBUSTER, HARRY REID REFUSED TO EVEN ATTEMPT ONE. Of course, calling for a filibuster would have exposed the names of every one of the Democrats who now remain hidden behind a wall of "no filibuster was called for." Finally, the removal of legal rights was not the ONLY thing this bill accomplishes. It granted some startling new rights . . . to Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Alberto Gonzales, Bill Frist and Halliburton. They are now granted immunity from any past war crimes they, or their employees may have committed. I'M NOT PROUD OF AN AMERICA WHEREIN OUR LEADERS NEEDED RETROACTIVE IMMUNITY FROM WAR CRIMES??? I'M NOT PROUD OF A POLITICAL PARTY THAT REFUSES TO FILIBUSTER SUCH A BILL BECAUSE SOME OF THEIR MEMBERS CONDONE SUCH A BILL? That's not my America. That's NOT a political party to which I want to be associated. =====
Go here to see how your Senator and Member of Congress voted on torture:
Senate here!
House here!
[/BREAK]
On Friday, September 29, It's Mourning in America | BuzzFlash A BUZZFLASH EDITORIAL Just as it is hard to fully comprehend the grief of a beloved friend or relative killed needlessly in an accident, it is excruciatingly painful to try to come to terms with the pernicious betrayal of our Constitution and liberty that occurred in the Senate on Thursday, September 28. In the past week alone, we have seen factual evidence that belies the need for the power play/pre-election attack on our Constitution. In fact, these developments indicate that giving Bush even more unprecedented power is not only unconscionable; it puts the national security of the United States of America in peril: Bush’s newly "revamped" top 16 intelligence agencies reached the conclusion that the Iraq War had become a primary cause in the growth of terrorists and the increased threat of terrorism to the United States. Bush called the report of his own top intelligent agencies "naïve." Meanwhile, a second U.N. report came to the same conclusion as the American spy agencies. The U.N. also reported that more Iraqis may now be being tortured under U.S. occupation than were tortured under Saddam Hussein. scissor.gif - - - SNIP Today, tears would flow down the olive robe of the Statue of Liberty if she were human. But she is just an inanimate symbol. We are the ones who have to cope with the pain of a democracy destroyed in a political play for power and permanent one-party rule, which is not a Constitutional form of government. That is called a dictatorship. And the one thing in common with dictators through history, whether Communist or fascist, is their state-sanctioned ability to torture people at will. Beyond the overwhelming facts this week that Bush has endangered the national security of the United States of America with his failed and costly fanatic ignorance, we are left with this sad fact. With the law passed on September 28th by Congress, we have become the Republic of torture. We not only have lost our claim to be a civilizing force among nations and abandoned our Constitution, we have appeased the terrorists by doing so. Because isn’t it Bush who keeps telling us that the "terrorists hate us for our freedoms"? So, to appease those same enemies of America, the White House and the Republicans have abandoned civilized standards of behavior and taken freedoms away. We are only beginning to grieve for the great beacon of democracy and justice that we lost yesterday. scissor.gif - - - End of SNIPPET
Read the whole BuzzFlash Editorial here!

September 30, 2006

Disabused Democrat Defects

[BREAK] BCP logoThe title of this blog means something to me. I wasn't always sitting at a computer while on disability. I'm proud of the work I did, and of the people I had the privilege of working for, with and/or over. When people found that I was a hard hat who was once the Treasurer of NYC Mensa, they often ask "How was it working with the people in the construction trades?" And, while I always found the question offensive, I always answered honestly. "I found more intelligent people in construction than I did at Mensa meetings." That's true! That's why I was horrified as I've watched, in shanties on high rise building construction in Manhattan, on oil refinery platforms in Canada, in nuclear plants in Ohio and New York, in paper mills in Maine and rocket fuel refineries in Baltimore, the morphing of once strongly Democratic blue collar, union workers into Republican cheerleaders. The reasons are, of course, many. Some are reasons for the switch do the Democratic Party proud. (i.e.: Anger at job losses due to desegregation of construction unions lost some Dem workers to the GOP.) But what seems to be a big reason is the "wimp factor." The men and women toil with their muscle, in outdoor conditions that make the complaints of office workers about how cold the walk from the heated parking lot to their heated office seem a bit shrill. There is little time for in depth conversation when welding steel on a parapet 90 feet above a cement floor, or while humping heavy pipe into place within confined spaces. So, these folk speak rather plainly. Nuance is not a constant companion. As the work is often dangerous, a blunt and factual intercourse is most appreciated. Long winded conversations are saved for lunch of after work at a local gin mill. The Republicans, while screwing these folks through the tax codes, loose pension regulation and anti-union legislation, did one smart thing. They stayed on message; they came up with easily understood points and fought for them even when they knew they would lose. Democrats tried to be all things to all people, and wound up being ill defined and seemingly weak. In just a few sentences, a newly minted Republican blue collar worker could give you a synopsis of the Republican Party that, while it might appeal to the lower, more base, prejudices and feelings of his/her audience, they made the listeners think that they'd be a part of a powerful movement. When was the last time a Democrat felt that she/he was part of anything powerful? For me, it goes back to JFK's inaugural speech . . . a time before most Americans were born. And, lately, the feeling of weakness is overwhelming. So, as I mentioned on this blog yesterday, it's time to change. While many of the Liberal mega-blogs, and many of the hosts on Air America, are frantically attempting to hide the fact that the Democratic Party could have stopped this heinous bill from being passed, thankfully, some see through the BS, including The Nation takes a stand and tells it like it is.
Did John McCain and his GOP colleagues cave? Yes. In particular, they betrayed the courageous military officers and Pentagon lawyers who for months fought for the rule of law. But the refusal of many Democrats to confront this constitutional crisis is more scandalous. For weeks Harry Reid and other Democratic leaders enjoyed the luxury of sitting on their hands while McCain and other Republicans publicly bucked the White House. But when vigorous Democratic opposition might have slowed the bill until a saner, less politicized moment after the election-season recess, a tepid Senator Reid refused to stand in its way: "We want to do this. And we want to do it in compliance with the direction from the Supreme Court. We want to do it in compliance with the Constitution." Never mind that the whole bill is out of compliance. As more than 300 law professors wrote in a letter to Congressional leaders, the enemy-combatants debate is "an urgent test of our nation's constitutional and democratic values." Democrats as well as Republicans have failed the test.
The Founding Fathers would not believe that, while America rolls back the clock to where a Monarchy again rules this land, and detention, torture and lack of legal redress once again soil America's skirts, Briton Cites 'Divergence' With U.S., with her top legal official taking pains to differentiate her justice with America's willingness "to do things beyond the law." It is a shame that blogs and organizations that gained trust by speaking honestly and directly about problems in America are now so tied into the Democratic Party that they have become a new DLC - The Democratic Liberal Chorus, instead of an independent voice. There is no hiding the fact that Harry Reid cut deals that failed the American people, Liberals and the standing of America in history. It is time for a Move-On, KOS, or Atrios to speak up for what is right, not what is politically convenient. It's time for Air America hosts to stop toeing the DLC line, and quit telling us "Democrats do speak up. Just turn on CSPAN3 and you'll hear them." While there is certainly a right-wing bias in the media, and Dems get much less face time on political talk TV, the Dem leaders DO get some time. And, they use it to again echo the GOP lines, but with a little sad violin accompaniment. Sure, you'll get a Russ Feingold or Carl Levin occasionally. But the vast majority of air time afforded Dems goes to the likes of Harry Reid and (once a firebrand, now a tumbleweed) Nancy Pelosi. And they both use the time poorly. So poorly, that things like Legislating Violations of the Constitutiongo virtually unnoticed by the majority of Americans. Sadly, it seems that the more popular the TV show, the less likely a Democratic leader will say anything that would distinguish her/him from a moderate Republican. (With that in mind, I was shaking my head as Lincoln Chaffee, a Republican, voted AGAINST an awful Republican bill on torture and detainment, but a bill on which the Democrats couldn't even muster a filibuster.) Things have gotten so bad, I wouldn't be surprised if Democrats somehow turned the new Woodward tome into a plus for Bush. By parroting the "We must put winning the 2006 election" above all of our important principles, we only play an electoral version of "Leave No Democratic Politician Behind", which may someday garner a political win, but you'll hardly recognize the candidate/party you've won with. The knee-jerk "Must Win" process allowed Clinton to bend over on flawed and vindictive Welfare Reform, instead of a bill providing training, child care and hope for those trapped in poverty. Of course, as this was pre-Katrina, many Democrats had fallen for the con from Republican (and Democratic Repug-Lite politicians) that there were only a few lazy "Welfare Queens driving their Caddies (Lexus's?) to pick up Welfare Checks" that would be effected by the bill. Clinton also signed the disastrous telecommunications bill, that left us with hate radio on so many stations across America, where now there are more different faces of right-wing talk radio than there are different (local) news broadcasts. Now, an operation like Clear Channel can produce a single radio news spot that will be run in hundreds of cities and towns, providing only that news that a huge media outfit would like their customers to hear. Now let me be clear, Clinton held back the fascist tied for 8 years, and accomplished much when faced with external forces and internal havoc. But he knew how far he could go without having his feet held to the fire by his left-wing. And that IS a problem. Both during and since the Clinton years, we (in the Democratic Party sense) have been gaining momentum in a slide to the bottom. While the worst, and most unappetizing group of fascist/theocratic thugs are riding roughshod over the true Republicans who still remain in that party, we seem to have mastered losing the unloseable elections. While Clinton was peaking in popularity, we lost the House. We needed to turn a Republican Senator, just to bring that body into a tie between Dems and Repugnants. And we then lost the Senate, giving the coming little coward an America who was hogtied and unable to resist the torture the little psychopath was looking to inflict. We ran a sitting vice-President (who had viced under an unbelievably popular, yet fully viced himself, President) against a cowardly pip-squeak who had trouble stringing two syllables together and would need help finding America on a map. We lost. Our candidate, many say, did the gentlemanly thing by not contesting the fraudulent election process, and standing by as a rogue Supreme Court decided that it, and not the voters, should decide Presidential elections. Should Gore have tried a coup? Maybe not. But shooting off a few paragraphs of fact and passion at the eulogy to democratic elections in America might have been appropriate. Gore could have, legally, been that single Senator that members of the Black Caucus so desperately needed in order to force a look into that fatally flawed election. But, we are the well-behaved Democrats in a school full of bullying sociopath Repugnants, and we wouldn't think of raising a fuss. Would we? We ran disabled war veterans (Max Cleland) against ugly, racist thugs, and lost. In 2004, all those mega-blogs told us we could NOT lose! We had a hot-damn honest-to-God war hero we'd run against the Howdy Doody on steroids playing landscaper in an ass-ugly, weed-covered farm in Crawford, Texas. Of course, our hero had to play the same game that Harry Reid and the Accessories played on this torture bill. He'd have to get so close to Republican positions that, were both sides in the foxholes one should expect in a political battle for the life blood of our country, if one sneezed the other would be wiping snot from their face. Kerry took that plan and ran with it. He played Repug-lite on Iraq. More troops? Sure! More money? Of course! Say anything about a totally illegal invasion? Nope! Criticize the tactics of fear? Not so much! Tell the flat out truth to the followers who so wanted a true leader? ARE YOU CRAZY! That's not how you play politics. So, after another miserable day of losing poll numbers, we were left to whine about "Election Fraud!", as if that was a brand new happening in American politics. For Christ's sake, I'll bet there was some finagling back during the early Greek democracy. Instead of whining for the passed 2 years, someone should have taken the entire membership of the Dem party, sat them down and screamed "You don't win elections by showing your people how closely you can follow every asinine thing your opponent does. You win elections by showing folks true leadership qualities. And, for a political party to inspire people, the party must stand for something. And NOT by standing up for something as meek as sitting on its hands when the country is imperiled! Do you really expect busy, overworked, underpaid Americans to look forward to standing in a line at a polling place in order to elect people who will, when America is about to be assaulted, cut deals that prevent the members of that party to try and stop the assault? Sure there's election fraud. But Democrats outnumber Republicans nationwide, and if you would only show that by electing Democrats our country would/could change, there would be such an outpouring of support that it would be near impossible to switch enough votes to turn the election with impunity. Instead, we get told "Forget what you just saw happen." If you'll only hold together and vote Democratic, after winning the election we Dem politicians will run into the nearest phone booth and switch to our Super Hero tights. Well, phone booths are hard to find, and after watching the Democrats, tine after time, capitulate and/or enable atrocity after atrocity to be enacted upon our Constitution and our ideals (from Patriot Act through Bankruptcy Bill, from Guantanamo to Abu Ghraib), many of us don't believe the Dems would know what to do with such powers. They'd likely ask the Repugnants for advice. So, as I said in yesterday's post, I'm switching registration. Green or Independent, I'm not yet sure. That certainly doesn't mean that I'll vote for a candidate from my new party who might have little or no chance of winning. But, if I'm only offered a Repugnant against a Dem-Lite, that yes I'll vote for neither. And the Democratic Party will change, or more and more Democrats will help form a party that actually follows the principles that made the Democratic Party great, and, for too short of a time, helped make America great! For now, I'll vote for anyone, from whatever party, who sincerely wants to get us back on track AND isn't afraid to stand up for what is decent and just . . . without looking to cut deals that lead to naught but Pyrrhic victories and leaving America hoist on a Republican-lite/Democratic petard. =====
Accessories to Torture These are grim days for the Constitution. The House and the Senate have passed the catastrophic "compromise" negotiated by senators McCain & Co. to the President's "enemy combatants" bill. The only thing compromised is the rule of law; the bill still strips detainees of the right to appeal, broadens the President's unilateral powers to decide who is an enemy and which interrogation methods violate the Geneva Conventions, and fatally undermines the War Crimes Act. The bill was rushed to passage just days after the Canadian government exonerated Maher Arar, "rendered" by the United States to Syria, imprisoned and tortured for nearly a year. Go here for the whole article!

October 4, 2006

Evil Draws Men Together.

[BREAK] BCP logo If, like me, Seven Days In May caused you concern that someday we might have a devilish coup in America, you must be perplexed today. You might find yourself rooting for those particpating in a bloodless pseudo-coup. Instead of taking over the government, we have true patriots, with Generals in the ranks, using truth to cripple a harmful group that now sits in the power seats. In just the last couple of weeks we've had recently Retired Generals telling us that our democracy is endangered by war mongering civilians/Bushies and active duty Generals leaking memos that show Rumsfeld as a bumbler who deserves the blame for US troop deaths. The CIA and other agencies have begun steadily leaking classified memos and reports that show we were lied to, by the White House, since the first week the Bushies moved in, let alone the torrent of lies since 9/11 and the flood of them that got us into, and keeps us stuck in, Iraq. Now we find the long hidden Rep. Foley's sick email were NOT leaked by any Democrat. They couldn't have been; the Repugs kept the Dems out of the loop on the perveing of our House). They were leaked by Justice Dept. and FBI employees, who were sick of being told they had to assist in the cover up of the abuse of power by the Repugs. (Much of the right-wing punditocracy, while acting tough on Foley and, even, Hastert, is pummeling the Dems by, along with a sly conflating jab from the Washington Post, inferring this was just a homosexual scandal, which falls in line with the GOP "Gays Are Bad" theme. Edifying them as to the difference between homosexuality and pedophilia would be about as effective as an attempt to point out that Christ was not only a Liberal, but that, for his time, he would have seemed far to the left of today's Michael Moore.) As one who falls into the camp that says neither God nor any demon makes a man do anything, other than the Gods and demons he brings to the gray matter table himself, the term Evil fits too well in our current circumstances. (And now, with Foley pointing the finger of blame at a childhood priest, we have our package of Evil tied up with a fallen angel bow.) The quote I used as the title of this entry, "Evil draws men together" is from Aristotle, in the 3rd Century, BC. That it is still true today helps explain how, even in the face of contradictory facts, you have a group of powerful folk (Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice etc.) who continue to spout the same novel of lies . . . no matter how foolish such a strategy makes them all look. "I was never briefed in July by Tenet or anyone on the al Qaeda threat prior to 9/11/01" is just the most glaring lie told by that crew this week. Lies (Osama + Saddam + WMD + 9/11 = Shock & Awe!) led to war on innocents, to the use of Depleted Uranium against generations of innocent Iraqis, to the use of so called "productive" torture (LEGALIZED TORTURE AS PART OF AMERICAN JURISPRUDENCE???), to the domestic lies used to harm future generations of Americans (deficits caused by tax cuts ["improves the economy" BS], lies to hide war profiteering (Cheney/Halliburton etc.), Government aided Corporate fraud (Enron, etc.), covering up child molestation, etc., etc., forever! And the Repugnants who have brought us this, they claim a certain closeness with a higher power. Bush claims that God told him to do what does. Flip Wilson might have told him different. If all of this horror weren't done behind the camouflaging curtain of Red, White and Blue, the term Evil Empire might be making a comeback. As election day approaches, I hope the true Republicans, who have been benched by the Repugnants since even before Bush's Baghdad Blunder, remember the words of one of their heros:
"The evil of the world is made possible by nothing but the sanction you give it." Ayn Rand
===== [/BREAK]
Wayne Madsen Report - Home October 3, 2006 -- WMR has learned from informed sources in the Justice Department that the salacious e-mails from Rep. Mark Foley were leaked to ABC News by career Justice Department prosecutors and FBI agents who are incensed that Attorneys General John Ashcroft and Alberto Gonzales covered up the House page scandal for political reasons. The back story of Pagegate is that there was a criminal conspiracy by the top political leadership of the Justice Department to cover up the predatory activities of Foley and other GOP members of Congress since at least 2003 and, likely, as early as 2001. Other informed sources in the nation's capital report that Pagegate will soon implicate a number of GOP staffers in both the House and the Senate who intimidated and pressured male pages into inappropriate sexual relationships. One source confided that the staff members' contact with pages was "more egregious" than Foley's behavior.
More Here!

October 5, 2006

Will God Damn Us For Encouraging Critical Thought?

[BREAK] BCP logoCrooks And Liars has a great post up today, Culture Warriors In Action and I salute Nicole Belle on her putting together of a hat trick of recent fundamentalist attempts to keep our kid's minds walking some straight and narrow path, with blinders and earplugs so they are never allowed to view/hear any aspects of life on our planet that does not conform with the exact faith-based dictates of that family's religion. (It is also nice to see reporting on something other than the child molesting Congressman Foley. If all you read are the headlines in our nation's newspapers, you might mistakenly think Iraq was peaceful (Attacks in Baghdad Kill 13 U.S. Soldiers in 3 Days) and that nothing of import was happening elsewhere on the globe (Al-Qaeda's Far-Reaching New Partner). Even George Will, with George F. Will - What Goeth Before the Fall, weighs in on Foley today, putting today's top story in its Republican/religious context:
To a Republican Party increasingly defined by the ascendancy of the religious right, the Foley episode is doubly deadly. His behavior was disgusting, and some Republican reactions seem more calculating than indignant.
But on Crooks and Liars, at least one story never mentions the Florida Republican . . . and I give thanks for that. As one who believes religions have, overall, done more good than harm in the course of human history, I find myself compelled to vainly attempt to keep the good/bad scales of religious contribution heavy on the good side by pointing out when man's flaws have him misusing faith in a manner that throws those scales out of whack. Like the attempts highlighted by Ms. Belle, in which parents seem to believe that their God is ashamed of the bodies He/She created, wanted children to be bereft of imagination and wonder and would like to attend bonfires, if the right books were being torched. I might agree with those who would say I've been crying "Wolf!" for way too long now on this issue of primarily math/reading education (aided by the unfunded No Child Left Behind . . . or No Child Left Sentient?), with no classroom introduction to anything requiring more than a rote playback of the teacher's/book's words/text . . . except THERE REALLY IS A WOLF (see Jennifer Booher-Jennings - Rationing Education for just one example), he's expanding his territory daily and he's been busy snacking on much of our future generations' critical thought portion of their gray matter. (And I'm not even going into the cultural bias aspect or the military recruitment aid of the NCLB act.) But this wolf doesn't come in sheep's clothing. He comes as governmental regulation that forces history, civic, geography, literature and the arts to be left out of curricula. He also comes as a "man of God", one who will quickly testify that she/he is surely not trying to remove knowledge from the reach of the children; he/she only wants to purify that knowledge through a moral filter in order to have it conform to the dictates of an ancient and important instrument of his belief system. Thus, evolution, carbon dating, archeology, geology, medicine -from stem cells through euthanasia - and other areas of knowledge must be removed, or worse, altered so it fits into the subject knowledge of a handful of men who authored portions of a book over two millennia ago. CAUTION: Suicidal blogger will attempt to more firmly grasp this live third rail here, and try to come away unharmed. [/BREAK]

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October 10, 2006

Kudos for Toussaint!

[BREAK] BCP logo Sometimes, buried under a mound of festering bad news about America, with our current Repugnant government's domestic and international garbage heaped high on the pile, there's a bit of shining glitter to be found. The fact that, after soooo much bad publicity, the working New Yorker still understands the importance of labor unions, and that media (only after first trashing that glitter) reports on it, is such a piece of beloved and much needed glitter! ===== [/BREAK]
Support for Toussaint on the streets - Newsday.com Support for Toussaint on the streets BY CHUCK BENNETT amNEWYORK October 10, 2006 It was a "challenge" amNewYork couldn't refuse. Roger Toussaint, president of the Transport Workers Union Local 100 and the man who ordered last year's three-day strike, asked for a chance to rebut a story amNewYork ran last week about his unusual re-election fundraising tactic of selling $2 autographed pictures of himself. Toussaint took umbrage at quotes from straphangers interviewed outside Penn Station who overwhelmingly gave him and his $2 John Hancock a thumbs-down. So the Trinidad native walked the streets on his turf - working-class, outer-borough neighborhoods - predicting that the cheers from working men and women would far outweigh the jeers. "They perceive me as one of them," Toussaint said. For the most part, people honked their horns, gave thumbs-up, patted him on the back, shook his hand and even asked for photographs. One woman shouted an obscenity as she climbed the steps of the 30th Avenue station in Astoria, but she was the exception. More Here

October 11, 2006

Politics? Ain't It All About Politics?

[BREAK] BCP logo This morning's Washington Post has a must read article by David Brown, that is derived from an AP report on a study conducted by a team of American and Iraqi epidemiologists. The article is titled Study Claims Iraq's 'Excess' Death Toll Has Reached 655,000 .
A team of American and Iraqi epidemiologists estimates that 655,000 more people have died in Iraq since coalition forces arrived in March 2003 than would have died if the invasion had not occurred. The estimate, produced by interviewing residents during a random sampling of households throughout the country, is far higher than ones produced by other groups, including Iraq's government.
While polls seem to indicate that somewhere around 30% to 35% of Americans will read the horrible results of the study and come away smiling and praising the military genius of the Bush crime family (see: White House Briefing -- News on President George W Bush and the Bush Administration - washingtonpost.com), the other two thirds of the saner folk will walk a little more slowly, bow their heads a bit more lowly, this morning. (And, with recent revelations about Republica's running in Congressional and State elections, the "Values Voters" are beginning to wake up. And it's doubtful that "Staff" will be able to deflect heat from the high level Republican cover-up in the Foley affair(s).
Surprise, surprise!
When you use all the horrendous weapons of conventional war, from pretty colored, toy looking cluster bombs through depleted uranium munitions that throw radioactive dust all over the environment of the country you claim to love so much you'll waste thousands of our own soldier's lives and the taxes of many future generations . . . all sorts of SHIT HAPPENS! And if there's anything Amerika has become expert at in the past 5 years, it's turning shouted good intentions into works resembling the most evil whispers of demons. On the other hand, if you read the unadorned AP report in today's NY Times, the chilling figures of death are given short shrift as early as the second paragraph: NY Times:
The timing of the survey's release, just a few weeks before the U.S. congressional elections, led one expert to call it "politics."
The whole damn Attack, Invasion, Occupation thing is nothing but politics, so how could a body count be not?! Just yesterday McCain blamed North Korea's nuke ambitions on Bill Clinton, 6 years into Bush's grabbing of the wheel of the good ship US. Was McCain's attempt to look good to the Repugnant, anti-Clinton base political. Of course it was. Yet, if a Democrat points out that the Bush administration is In Search of a North Korea Policy - washingtonpost.com, that person would be pilloried with "You're just playing politics!" As the US has a Congressional election every 2 years, and campaigning for the next one often starts before the votes have been counted in a current one, just when the Hell is it convenient to hang out the Repugnant's dirty laundry without being accused of playing politics? With the Repugnants damaging the fabric of America daily, and the corporate media laying back and counting the money left on the dresser (FCC "deregulation" bucks!), getting any facts on what is going on is a blessing. Be it the day before, the day after or the day elections are deemed unpatriotic. And that last wasn't meant as exaggeration to make a point. It was fearful, sorrowful prognostication, if anything. For redacting and shredding the Constitution has become the raison de être of this Administration, and it has had willing accomplices in the Republican AND Democratic parties. As Keith Olbermann pointed out last night, only the 3rd Amendment is still in effect. We don't have the King's soldiers in our living rooms nor his horses/tanks in our stables/carports. All other Amendments are no longer in effect, according to Bills passed by our fearful, spineless AND treasonous officials.
If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will lose its freedom; and the irony of it is that if it is comfort that it values more, it will lose that too. -- W. Somerset Maugham
Invading non-aggressor nations, abrogating treaties and other agreements made under the bond of "America's bond", dissing all of our allies while enraging and empowering our enemies and, last but far from least, treating our troops as if they were literal cannon fodder, to be sent into battle for longer than they were prepared to fight, with insufficient munitions and supplies (including rationing their food and water, while Halliburton ran up huge and uncontested contract overages), then cast aside as an insignificant waste necessary in the pursuit of empire. That's ALL POLITICS . . . and shining a light on any of it, INCLUDING THE PRICE PAID IN BLOOD BY THE VERY PEOPLE WE CLAIM WE CAME TO HELP!
Let's remember a very relevant and timely quote:
Nazi Reich Marshal Hermann Goering, before committing suicide at the Nuremberg Trials, appeared to be advising the future neo-cons: Goering: "Why, of course, the people don't want war. why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in American, nor for that matter in Germany. that is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship." (interviewer) Gilbert: "There is one difference. in a democracy the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars." Goering: "Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country." —Nazi leader Hermann Goering, interviewed by Gustave Gilbert during the Easter recess of the Nuremberg trials, 1946 April 18, quoted in Gilbert's book, Nuremberg Diary
Controlling the media, especially by using the old dodge "We're at war, and even if the printed facts are true they hurt our country now.", or the present one which combines our War-time need for self censorship with the plea that bad news could influence an upcoming election, makes Goering's message all the more chilling. One must realize that the Bushies, lacking much intellectual initiative for innovation, has been clinging to playbooks from the past. They know how the country rallied behind Roosevelt after Pearl Harbor and gave him powers that allowed him to take on a war against 2 major powers. And how, after WW II, Roosevelt used that good will to push through policies not thought possible. From Social Security through a Marshall Plan that set up working social democracies in Europe and proved to the world that by taking care of the poor and cultivating a secure middle-class you can have a healthy economic engine the likes of which was thought impractical by most Republicans and fiscal insanity by many. So the Bush regime, fully aware of the philosophy expressed by Goerring, saw the opportunity handed them by 19 young fanatics who really did little more than hijack 4 American domestic airplanes (hardly as mighty an attack as Pearl Harbor). The Bushies stoked and stirred the cauldron of fear until it was boiling over. Once the people were so blinded by irrational fear, which was "politically" fueled by the ingenious misuse of color coded charts inspiring timely fear, they forgot the original American heroes who took on the mightiest army on Earth (the Brits) in 1776 to garner certain inalienable rights and desired freedoms for future generations, the Bushies began stripping those rights and freedoms with more skill than any of America's past enemies had ever dared believed possible. Some have taken notice:
"I think this is the worst government the US has ever had in its more than 200 years of history. It has engaged in extraordinarily irresponsible policies not only in foreign policy and economics but also in social and environmental policy." "This is not normal government policy. now is the time for (American) people to engage in civil disobedience. I think it's time to protest - as much as possible." American 2001 Nobel Prize Laureate for Economics George A. Akerlof, who teaches economics at the University of California in Berkeley. The 61-year-old scholar's areas of expertise include macro-economics, monetary policy and poverty.
Of course, had Hitler stated, out loud, that, with the consent of a majority of both his people and the government officials of both his and the opposition's officials, he would destroy our Constitution, that he'd lock up Americans on a whim, with no regard for evidence (Habeas Corpus), that he'd torture those he arbitrarily chose . . . Japan might not have earned the dubious distinction of being the first nation to see only a mushroom cloud where a city once stood. Yet, here in Amerika, we allowed an elected leadership to turn America into something resembling the pre-Revolution colony of Royal subjects whose abuse in the name of the unjust regent was stirring the seeds of a glorious revolt. We, the silent citizenry who are turning our backs on the Washington's, Jefferson's and Lincoln's had both an Authorization For Force and a Patriot Act passed near unanimously, turning America into war-mongering freedom hating land. A further step back was the recent bill on Military Commissions that allows Bush to lock up Laura, if he likes, and she'd have absolutely no rights other than those King George would allow. (Thanks for your courage in opposition, Russ Feingold. May my nightmare of Hillary using you as her running mate to deflect the criticism of her jingoistic cheerleading for the illegal Iraq occupation, be something that scares me alone, and is never visited on the rest of our nation.) How then can we be told that any report that shows us exactly what we have become should be dismissed as "political?" Just because inconvenient truths are popping up all over now does NOT mean those truths were rushed, nor that they were held, just to harm the Republicans or help Democrats. Hell, I'd argue that most Democrats should carry those deaths over their heads as well. The harm those truths bring should have been front page news since prior to March of 2003, but should certainly be brought to light at whatever time the mainstream media finds itself with surplus testosterone . . . which, be it immediately prior to an election, may seem to be Divine justice for those who aided in the deaths so reported here. Remember:
"To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime, it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole." -- International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, 1946
Should a country not hold those who began an illegal war responsible for that action? Or is it deemed only a fair election if the electorate goes into the booth wholly ignorant of the abominations performed by their elected officials in their names? ===== [/BREAK]
Study Claims Iraq's 'Excess' Death Toll Has Reached 655,000 - washingtonpost.com A team of American and Iraqi epidemiologists estimates that 655,000 more people have died in Iraq since coalition forces arrived in March 2003 than would have died if the invasion had not occurred. The estimate, produced by interviewing residents during a random sampling of households throughout the country, is far higher than ones produced by other groups, including Iraq's government. It is more than 20 times the estimate of 30,000 civilian deaths that President Bush gave in a speech in December. It is more than 10 times the estimate of roughly 50,000 civilian deaths made by the British-based Iraq Body Count research group. The surveyors said they found a steady increase in mortality since the invasion, with a steeper rise in the last year that appears to reflect a worsening of violence as reported by the U.S. military, the news media and civilian groups. In the year ending in June, the team calculated Iraq's mortality rate to be roughly four times what it was the year before the war.
More Here

October 16, 2006

"Because Bill Clinton lied! That's why!"

[BREAK] BCP logoYou can spend hours arguing with a Bushie about the way the country has gone downhill since Bill Clinton left office. The economy, deficit, world standing, Iraq etc., etc.. But, with most of those arguments, one side continually answers with "Clinton lied." So, you'd be forgiven if you thought that all Republicans demand absolute honesty to the public, even if the subject was something as personal and not germane to the carrying out of his Presidential duties as an extramarital affair. Astonishingly, even if the lies were about an attack on the United States, an attack that was used as an excuse to send nearly 3,000 American troops and over a half-million innocent Iraqis to their death, you'd be wrong! It seems that only personal sins upset a large portion of the Bush followers. Lies told to the nation that cause waves of blood to be spilled are not as important as one that is attached to a stained blue dress. Let me be straight here. I don't believe the Bush administration has been honest about 9/11, and I'd still carry an umbrella if Dick Cheney called and told me it was sunny and dry out. I'm biased, but it is a bias based on past experience. ("Saddam wouldn't let the inspectors in" Bush says, as I watch them monitoring missiles being sent to destruction.) But I always assumed that some difference in genetics made it impossible for Bush's followers to understand that they were being led down a path paved with lies, deception and misdirection. I figured that genetic tic was what caused those Bushies to now rally against David Kuo's stunning indictment of the whole White House "Faith Based" circus and to ignore the incompetence chronicled by so many recent books on the Bush admin... I was wrong. Polls keep showing that, even at his worst, Bush has about a third of the people who view him favorably. Yet, a new poll shows that only about half those fans actually believe the Bush Administration tells the truth about something as serious as the September 11, 2001 attacks.
scissor.gif - - - SNIP Only 16 per cent of respondents say the government headed by U.S. president George W. Bush is telling the truth on what it knew prior to the terrorist attacks, down five points since May 2002. scissor.gif - - - End of SNIPPET
Boy, finding out that the vast majority of the American people, who I might have said were kept ignorant by the corporate media, actually believe that Bush/Cheney are frauds . . . well, that's encouraging, to say the least! Finding that only 16% believe them, but twice that number supports them, says some interesting things about Republican politics, to say the least. This should be some election! [/BREAK]

Continue reading ""Because Bill Clinton lied! That's why!"" »

October 18, 2006

Bill Moyers On Net Neutrality!

[BREAK] BCP logoGo to the Bloomberg news article here. Read the piece. Watch the show, on PBS at 9 p.m. EDT .tonight! Of course, if you want a little chuckle at how the corporate media tries to show its allies in the best light, take a look at this Washington Post Telecom article. Then tell me if you could seriously headline the piece as the Wash Post did:
AT&T Says It Will Embrace 'Net Neutrality'
Oh yes they did! Even as the piece begins with:
AT&T has told the Federal Communications Commission that it would accept a series of "net neutrality" principles if the commission approves the company's $81 billion proposed acquisition of BellSouth. AT&T's lawyers told the FCC that a paragraph regarding "net neutrality" had been erroneously left off a list of possible conditions that the company submitted Friday in an bid to break a deadlock between Democratic and Republican commissioners.
Hmm? When an "embrace" relies on an $81 BILIION deal being approved, some might escalate "embrace" up to "date rape" between AT&T and the FCC. ===== [/BREAK]

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October 19, 2006

What Did You Do
During The Illegal War
Daddy/Mommy?

[BREAK] BCP logo We finally know where River has been. Now, the more important questions are "Where are you? What are you doing?" I run a dinky little mailing list/service that pushes out news stories, articles and links to blog posts daily, for a bunch of activists, reporters, friends and relatives. (Okay, my wife gets hit with the full 50 to 75+ news articles I forward a day, while my daughter, whose boss believes she should read at home, can only suffer through a minimal list of about a dozen or so of the most important pieces.) I'd venture that everyone on the list is a Liberal, although some might seek the camouflage of the "Progressive" labeling. They all view the Bush admin as an enemy of all that was once good about America, and see through the Bushie use of fear as a political power enhancer.
shock-awe.jpg - 8254 Bytes
They were well read, including reports in the international media.
Therefore, they were all against our attacking, invading and occupying Iraq.
They are all good people, who work hard to leave the planet/country in as good a shape, if not better, than when they began helping to steer the ship of state. So, being that they are good people, I will unfairly use them as a sample for all the good people who complain about Bush, who think the Iraq war is farce - bloody, death dealing farce, but farce all the same - and who worry that future generations - including their own kids - will be deprived of the experience of knowing one lives in one of the most wonderful countries on the planet. While I fear this may look as a way of saying "I'm better than you", I mean nothing of the sort. For I believe that until I find a way to be part of something that stops our collective fall into a well of self-defeating insanity, I'm as much, if not more, guilty as anyone. If you've fought in an illegal war, as I have, you have a greater duty to prevent future illegal wars by your country. If you have children, your duty geometrically increases. If you possess any informational tools, such as my single typing finger or you have access to the much more powerful bullhorn of the Town Crier, mainstream media, and you waste such power in other, less worthy pursuits, guilt has to be your burden. (Not meaning to single out NOW, but this arrived in my mailbox, just as I finished reading the new Baghdad Burning entry. If, when studying the rise of . . . here it comes! . . . Hitler, we discovered that a major organization of opposition to Hitler's policies was sending out drivel like this instead of spending EVERY moment battling for the rights it stands for, we would be shaking our heads and wondering where the sanity of that group had gone. Come on, admit it! "LOVE YOUR BODY DAY!" It sounds like something from a Foley email that Hastert thought was just cute and friendly.) Here are some conclusions, based on my small sampling of good, compassionate people: Many "good people" avoid demonstrations/protests. for what I'm sure they view as legitimate reasons. Some have shared their reasons with me. Kids; fear of being seen by someone from work and, the number 1 reason, the organizers support other causes with which I disagree. The most recent protest I attended, a couple of weeks ago, was called for by The World Can't Wait. I was the ONLY member from my mailing list to attend.
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Seems that:
  • 1) it was held during working hours (though it continued until well after business hours.)
  • 2) The organizers had some connection to either socialist or communist organizations.
# 2 was, by far, the most common excuse for avoiding the protest. Ironically, many of these folk would cheer those who battled against McCarthy, and would likely idolize those who provided help to the unfortunate souls who were blacklisted during the 50's. But to march in protest with folks who might have been on that list, or whose parents were on it, well, that would be just too much. On April 29, 2006 of this year there was a larger demonstration. Again, I was alone of my sample. (I should mention that my wife, on my right and holding the Military Families banner) also marches. I somehow think of her as someone more than a member of my sample.) Again, I found none of my associates there.
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By August 16, 2005, attendance at protests were at a low. But a few of my list members did attend the candlelight marches in their neighborhoods.
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Earlier on, there was more of a showing at marches. At the Republican Convention in NYC, the crowd was huge. And more than few of my mailing list members were there on August 29, 2001.
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Barb and I at the Repugnant National Convention demonstration.

Of course, what should have been the most important demonstration of American sentiment of all, the February 15, 2003 (photo below) pre-attack march, was attended by the largest number of my sample. And, of course, it was when many of us discovered that the media had gone from biased propagandists to full out sycophantic whores for the Bush administration. Suddenly, a demonstration that could paralyze NYC on a weekend day was only attended by "thousands" of protesters, according to the NY Times. We, who were there, knew that the Times must have only counted people on one of the alternate/overflow avenues . . . and they must have only counted the "thousands" of crowd control cops there. But, the Times either wouldn't report, or couldn't conceive, that even after all of its front page lies about Iraq, and the barge loads of BS Judy Miller was transcribing Karl Rove's take on Ahmad Chalabi's fantasies, people, MILES AND MILES OF INTELLIGENT PEOPLE, still believed we had no business attacking Iraq.
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February 15, 2003. A month prior to our illegal attack on Iraq.
Why do I bore/chastise you with all of this?
Quite simply, I'm looking for a way to do more to stop our country's decline into history's Hell. More Here [/BREAK]

Continue reading "What Did You Do
During The Illegal War
Daddy/Mommy?" »

October 20, 2006

Support The Troops? Help Feed Their Poor Families!!!

[BREAK] BCP logoThis is a Goddamn sin!!!
families waiting for food photo
EDUARDO CONTRERAS / Union Tribune Volunteer Marisela Helgeson (left) and Military Outreach Ministry associate director Patty Dutra prepared to distribute food to Marine families at Camp Pendleton. Behind them, some family members waited to pick up the donated items.
When I came back from Vietnam, Barb and I, along with other returning soldiers, had to spend a couple of weeks in a roach/spider/lizard infested motel near Ft. Huachuca, Arizona, until some base housing opened up. And I thought that was a poor way to treat guys returning from one of America's wars. Boy, was I spoiled! Today's soldier fights in a 360 degree war, with innocent civilians and deadly enemies just about everywhere. She/he is aware that our government has a plethora of plans for victory and/or defeat and/or withdrawal and/or permanent basing. He/she is sick of hearing of the latest Major Change Expected In Strategy for Iraq War, as he/she knows that the same folks promising change are those who had a "Mission Accomplished" banner hung way back in 2003. Just today, they'll read how a Shiite Militia Seizes Control of Iraq City, and that the militia controlling Amarah is run by anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. On top of that, they'll find that a two star General says mission In Baghdad falls short, which doesn't sit well while your playing miss that mine in a Humvee. If he reads much of the US mainstream media, he'll discover that much space is given to Republican claims that, in essence, say the coming Democratic majority will be giving terrorists maps to our best targets for dirty bombs, visas to get them in-country and police escorts after their bombs go off. And troop morale can't help but be lowered when, during the worst days of US casualties for the US military in Iraq since the siege of Falujah, she sees that the debate on who is or isn't gay in Congress is the main topic on Capital Hill. But to read this about his family back at home has got to be the hardest hit of all!
The women and children who formed a line at Camp Pendleton last week could have been waiting for a child-care center to open or Disney on Ice tickets to go on sale. Instead, they were waiting for day-old bread and frozen dinners packaged in slightly damaged boxes. these families are among a growing number of military households in San Diego County that regularly rely on donated food. scissor.gif - - - SNIP Too often, the supplies run out before the lines do, said Regina Hunter, who coordinates food distribution at one Camp Pendleton site. "Here they are defending the country. . . . It is heartbreaking to see," said Hunter, manager of the on-base Abby Reinke Community Center. "If we could find more sources of food, we would open the program up to more people. We believe anyone who stands in a line for food needs it and deserves it." scissor.gif - - - End of SNIPPET
The well-meaning, but none the less offensive "Ways To Help" box (text below) is a farce. The ONLY realistic way to truly help these families is to throw the damn Repugnicans out of office, impeach Bush and put him and the rest of the Bush Crime Family on trial! To do anything less would be unpatriotic, as this administration has bungled a war (Bush's Baghdad Blunder), mistreated our troops while enriching everyone else connected to Iraq, mishandled our domestic economy and shredded our Constitution. Here's the Repugnant way to help, if you believe our military families deserve to beg for milk and cheese!
Ways to help
People interested in donating food, furniture or money to help military families in San Diego County can call: Military Outreach Ministry at Camp Pendleton: (760) 908-7043 Military Outreach Ministries at Miramar Marine Corps Air Station: (619) 843-8964
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The NY Times Suffers From Political Amnesia?

[BREAK] BCP logoGee, with a supposed "Liberal-media" icon like the NY Times cheering us on, what more encouragement could we need . . . to blow our frigging brains out maybe? Editor & Publisher gives us an advance peek at an article in this Sunday's NY Times Magazine section by Noah Feldman. It is headed: "The Mere Midterms." The deck: "Even if voters send President Bush a strong message, he is not likely to listen." Somehow, this reporter, with the supposed premiere news media outlet on the planet, totally forgets or purposely deflates the powers of Congress.
"Nor," he points out, "can a Democratic Congress do much to make the Bush administration more competent," or block "hack" appointees to lower positions.
Well, I've worked in government, and blocking the top appointees is THE power you want, as the top sets the tone, direction AND politics of the body. (Yes, Virginia, there is politics in government agencies.) The competence is also influenced throughout by the team at the top. And, with Bush having instituted high bonuses for Federal employees, DECIDED BY THE GUY/GAL AT THE TOP, greed is also a factor. But the Times reporter really misses the forest by concentrating on what he believes is the sole tree standing, with this:
Finally: "What that leaves the Democrats is oversight--an idea that right now gets their hearts racing but whose limits will eventually become apparent....Government in the sunshine is a good thing--but a brightly lit Washington will still, mostly, be George W. Bush's Washington."
Oversight??? Can Noah Feldman have forgotten how lone Ken Star tied up our government for years, just because the Republican "majority" in Congress didn't like the President hiding his extramarital affair? Now, I would NOT advocate any impeachment hearing for GW Bush even if he were caught having sex with Condi AND Hastert.
More of this post here!
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October 23, 2006

Newsweek Weak On Fairness, Strong On Republicans

[BREAK] BCP logo Okay, we're all aware of many stories that actually show signs of encouragement for Democrats (or, God forbid, Liberals) being forced through the old corporate-media distortion filter until they are either smoothed to a bland "looks like it's a political wash for both sides" consistency, or, worse. Such as when the corporate-media picks and chooses story element (or "facts", as they were once labelled by respectable journalism outlets) to come up with something that leans so far to the right that it must be shored up with non-relative and often distorted quotes from other disingenuous stories. In the excerpt below, poll numbers that give me great hope are packaged by Newsweek's reporter, Marcus Mabry, in a manner that changes a welcome present itnto something looking like political trash for the Dems:
Other parts of a potential Democratic agenda receive less support, especially calls to impeach Bush: 47 percent of Democrats say that should be a “top priority,” but only 28 percent of all Americans say it should be, 23 percent say it should be a lower priority and nearly half, 44 percent, say it should not be done. (Five percent of Republicans say it should be a top priority and 15 percent of Republicans say it should be a lower priority; 78 percent oppose impeachment.)
Forgetting Newsweek's disingenuous slanting of the poll in their reporting of its findings, I find the actual polling data quite startling and overwhelmingly heartening. Any fair reading of the data lets one conclude that Americans are steadily turning to the Democrats for more than just a way out of the Iraq mess. Health Care, Tex Reform and other Democratic initiatives are suddenly supported by a majority. (The pharmaceutical corps. will be writing huge checks to the Repugnant candidates as soon as they see this poll.) Before any of the expected investigations of mis/mal/non-feasance of the current administration by a new Congress, investigations that will certainly shed new light on the scandals of which we in the "reality community" are already aware, and the near certain new horrors of abuse of power by the Bush crime family that will surface after subpoena's testimony begins to flow, the majority of Americans support the impeachment of the well-armed village idiot! WOW! Democrats are more trusted, and believed to have the moral values issue on their side, according to those polled. 66% think rolling back the Bush tax cuts should be a priority. (38% say it should be a top priority, and 28% also think it should be a lower priority, but still, a "priority.") Further, as of now (again, this is before we have even more damaging info on the Bush/Cheney regime), Newsweek's finds that 20% of Republicans think that impeaching Bush should be a priority!!! I don't have the figures, but I'm almost sure that, before any Congressional committee investigations found how awful the Nixon administration was handling the reigns of power, 20% of the Republicans weren't looking for an impeachment. [/BREAK] ==========

Continue reading "Newsweek Weak On Fairness, Strong On Republicans" »

October 30, 2006

Democrats In Search Of A Principle?

[BREAK] BCP logoHere's one reason why it is so hard to get excited about being a Democrat, or to have your heart race while hoping for a Democratic majority. It is often said that the Republican leadership promises the base everything, but delivers little. (No abortion ban, but making obtaining one harder. No direct Church-State alliance, but faith-based tax dollars delivered onto the collection plate, etc.) But, with the Democrats, you often get even less. No promises of rose-garden policies during the campaigns, and when elected, the Democrat's base gets "bipartisan" crap like a "Free Trade" bill that allows American workers to compete with workers from Chinese prisons and "U.S." lands like Saipan and the other 13 Northern Mariana Islands, where sex slavery and forced abortions take place, while US Repugnant politicians like Tom DeLay cavort in the resorts. While we progressives battle for years to get America back on course, the mainstream Democrats avoid us like the plague. But, when the recent polls begin to show that America's voters are siding with us, the same politicians begin showing up a Progressive/Liberal meetings and begin courting the top bloggers. Worst of all is watching some of those bloggers fall under some bewitching political spell and quickly forgive all manner of political sins if they can only interview/accompany/wash the car of someone who voted for the awful bankruptcy bill and/or supported the Iraq madness until polls changed in the last handful of weeks and/or played the "I don't support the war the way Bush handled it, but I can't support a timetable for withdrawal!" BS. But this year, when/if the Dems become the majority and morph into Republicans we can't pretend any naive outrage. They are giving you fair warning! Even Nancy Pelosi has become more of a Republican than the Republicans of just a few years ago. We all know of the contract fraud/war profiteering going on under the Bush administration, in Iraq, as a result of hurricane Katrina and who knows how many other areas. Halliburton would seem to have a case for trademarking corporate thievery greased by the blood of our troops. We know of lies told, blatant lies, to the American people in order to send our troops to attack, invade and occupy a non-aggressor nation. And on, and on. We know that John Conyers, the Michigan Congressman for over 40 years, has wanted hearings by his Judicial Committee for years now. And we know that, should the Congress change, Mr. Conyers will be Chair of that committee, and will have the subpoena power needed to make the hearings a revelation. But, why would Conyers fight for such investigations, if he knows that, no matter what is uncovered, his likely Speaker has ruled out the ONLY way the sitting President can be legally tried, if the hearings uncover crimes. Pelosi on CBS:
"not going to impeach the president, it's just simply not going to happen," she said. "impeachment takes away the time we need to build the future."
If that is the reaction of the current leader of the Congressional Democrats, and likely Speaker for the next Congress AND the politician seen as the icon of Liberalism, we are in deep crap in this country. Here's more:
What won't be seen is any serious move to impeach Bush, even though the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, has introduced a bill calling on Congress to determine whether there are grounds for impeachment over the government's warrantless wiretapping program. Conyers already has been overruled by Democratic leaders including would-be Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, who dismiss any talk of impeachment. And there's no talk of gun control measures _ anathema to the 40 or so pro-gun Democrats in the House _ nor even much speculation about steps to curb greenhouse gas emissions thought responsible for global warming. For starters, would-be Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell, D-Mich., is a staunch supporter of his state's automobile manufacturers.
If Nancy Pelosi sees no duty for Congress to hold accountable this administration (one that has shredded the Constitution, redacted almost all of the Bill of Rights and given the US a reputation of war mongering, torturing corporate toadies), Amerikan Corporate-Christo fascism can come out of hiding in the back of the Mainstream Church closet and proclaim a Straussian victory, for it is all over folks!
Now, does that mean I won't vote to throw out the Repugnants? No, I'm not crazy.
But what it means is that, wherever possible, I'll vote for the Democrat on a ballot line held by the more Liberal/Progressive party. If, in your state (as in NY), a Democrat may run under lines of various parties, and each vote for her/him is counted together, choose the most progressive party/line. If you have a true Liberal Party line, Progressive Party line, or other, left leaning line for the Democratic candidate, vote on that line. If a Democrat is run under the Democratic line, and appears under the Green party, vote Green. And be vocal when you attend (or get captured at) a meet-and-greet. If you get to speak with the candidate, even if it's only one line as you wait for a bus or enter a train station, say "I'm going to give you my vote so that you'll a chance to investigate the administration and take back America. Please don't disappoint me." We want to elect a Democratic majority in both houses. Unfortunately, we don't seem to have Democrats running for many of the seats. Just opportunists who place power above principle, and are already pandering to a Repugnant line even as they ask us to "change" things. So, vote for the faux Democrats, but continually let them know that their lust for power depends on YOU, NOT on the folks sitting in the White House. The word "investigation" is NOT a partisan one. Investigations should be impartial.

But they must be done if America is to be taken off life support!

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Continue reading "Democrats In Search Of A Principle?" »

October 31, 2006

Mo, Larry and Curly Run For Governor of Flori-Duh!

[BREAK] BCP logo I believe I need political rehab? I knew I was getting close to political junkie status when I found myself using precious time to read the most trivial things in the Blue State/Red state sphere. Things that have nearly no chance of having any effect on my NYC life - like the disastrous Katherine Harris campaign. I mean, this battle is so forlorn that the Washington Post is being too kind heading a story on it Campaign Gone South - washingtonpost.com Even were this a year where Repugnants were doing well, and Bush wasn't reduced to a message of Bush Says 'America Loses' Under Democrats, adding "President Bush said terrorists will win if Democrats win . . . ", a Kathrine Harris candidacy was bound to have some great stories generated by the controversial candidate . . . especially around Halloween! (couldn't help myself, there!)
Katherine Harris, who is trying to become a U.S. senator, says she is writing a tell-all about the many people who have wronged her. This includes, but is not necessarily limited to: the Republican leaders who didn't want her to run, the press that has covered her troubled campaign, and the many staffers who have quit her employ, whom she accuses of colluding with her opponent. She is vague about what, precisely, makes her a victim, but she says she has it all documented. scissor.gif - - - SNIP Perhaps the worst blow to Harris's campaign has been the stories that have emerged from former staffers. They describe a Jekyll-and-Hyde candidate who can be seductively charming at one moment and pitch a temper tantrum the next, throwing a cellphone at a wall or a sheaf of papers at a campaign manager. Former chief adviser Ed Rollins, who managed Ronald Reagan's reelection to the White House in 1984, said working for Harris was like "being in insanity camp." He likened her staff to dogs that have been kicked. Before he became the first of three campaign managers to quit, Jim Dornan programmed his cellphone to play the theme song from "The Exorcist" when Harris called. scissor.gif - - - End of SNIPPET
The above helps explain how Florida has become the flaming car wreck of America's electoral process . . . you just can't help but stare in morbid amazement, though you know that you're probably viewing the horrendous loss of something/someone much beloved. In 2000, the flaming wreckage was of an important part of America - elections. Florida, and how it handled the counting of a varied, and often complex, mishmash of ballots across the State became more important than the millions of citizens who had voted across the rest of America. And the Governor of Florida, though his choice of Secretary of State, the aforemention loon Katherine Harris, became one of ten king makers in America. (The other 9 wore black robes and lived far from Florida;s beaches, in Washington DC. I guess that explains why, while much of the country watched Oprah pull a bait and switch on her audience, and others were reading how the Bush administration wants sex banned until the participents are over 30 years of age, I found myself watching the debate for the job of Governor of Florida on MSNBC last night. None of the 3 candidates knows enough about the electoral process to even deserve having their name on any ballot. The Democrat, Congressman Jim Davis, had what should have been a slam dunk ANYWHERE, but a real nuclear weapon in his hands, especially in Florida. Election fraud! So, when Chris Matthews asks the Republican, Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist, why he hasn't supported a paper-trail in Florida's elections, Crist says he fears having bosses, who have paid/forced citizens to vote for a certain candidate, standing outside the polling places looking over the paper receipt in the voter's hand, checking to see that the person voted for the chosen hack. I sit there, waiting or Davis to make a fool out of this ignorant, pandering SOB. Jim Davis had NO ANSWER. Just kept saying "I'm for a paper trail.", every time Mathews asks him to refute the Republicans fears. Mathews hits him with that query 4 TIMES! Each time, the guy proves that, EVEN IN FLORI-DUH, the politicians from both major parties (and the lackluster Reform Party candidate Max Linn) HAVE NEVER EVEN READ THE MANY WELL THOUGHT OUT PROPOSALS FOR PLACING A PAPER TRAIL ON OUR ELECTIONS??? NO VOTER TAKES ANY PAPER OUTSIDE THE POLLS SHOWING HOW THEY VOTED! Many bright folks have weighed in with proposals for verifiable paper trails, and 3 guys who want to be Governor of a large State might be expected to be familiar WITH A FEW! In one of the many WELL THOUGHT OUT methods, the voter hits the choices on the touch screen. When finished, the voter touches the FINISHED button. The vote is recorded by the computer, and a printed "receipt" gets spit out. The voter checks that the "receipt" has the correct candidates checked, to match the selections the voter chose. The voter then places the receipt into a locked box/receptacle, where it stays for a decent enough time for electoral challenges. Should a challenge be deemed meritorious by whatever body the legislature had chosen (courts?), the boxes/receptacles can be opened, and the paper receipts counted by hand. AT NO TIME DOES ANYONE, OTHER THAN THE VOTER, SEE HOW THE VOTER CHOSE!!! If 3 candidates for Governor can't get that, in the state that is now more well known for electoral screw-ups than oranges, we are in deeper trouble than even I thought!
No wonder Diebold et. al. can so easily pry our democracy away from us. We have elected the dumbest amongst us to guard the gates!
Update: Seems Florida is already experiencing voting problems . . . a week prior to the actual election! [/BREAK]

November 6, 2006

Raising America While Razing Amerika!

[BREAK] BCP logo So, in England, finding that, for large cash transfers, someone gets to put a few letters after their name (OBE) causes an uproar that could unseat and/or jail, the leader of their government. Meanwhile, back in the former colony that fought a revolution with England over the partnership of England's government with a powerful corrupt corporation that was in bed with the rulers, large cash transfers lets corporations raid the treasury and steal billions from the taxpayers through fraud and corrupt contracting processes. AND NOBODY WORRIES ABOUT LOSING THEIR JOBS, LET ALONE EVER GOING TO JAIL! Maybe it's time we started a system with "Honours", whereby instead of stealing the billions that will need to come from our kids, we hold auctions to let the heads of huge corporation's call themselves Marquis of Manhattan, Duke of Detroit, Baron of Boston, Lord of LA or some such? In return, when caught stealing public funds through contract finagling/war profiteering, instead of allowing Repugnants to fire the person who finds the fraud, we send the white-collar theives to a CIA secret prison where they are subjected to the latest in the Bush administration's definition of (non-torture???) "aggressive interrogation, without access to family, lawyer or court . . . forever and a day! When it is a defense contractor, and their finagling has led to the deaths of our troops from inferior products or shortages caused by the stealing of allocated funds, we offer them either the same deal as above, or a trial we guarantee to run as well/fairly as that of the dictator Hussein. (Their lawyers will be subjected to assassination, we'll change the judge any time we feel he isn't as biased as possible against the defendant and the prosecution chooses what evidence the defense can present.) Or, we have a much easier method available to help throttle back the razing of America's future by our loss of moral authority, the theft of the treasury and the tax-breaks for the wealthy that is making certain the treasury remains insolvent for decades so things like universal health care and improvements in public education are just impossible dreams.
Kick the bums out!
VOTE!
If you've never voted, or have been a Republican who feels shame at what the Repugnants have done to your party/country, tomorrow is the day you can look for some absolution, while placing America back on life support. Despite some predictions, every vote does count and the outcome can come down to very few ballots (remember Florida!)
Vote for Democratic candidates as if the future of America depended upon it.

Because it very well might!

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Killer e-mail sends Blair into panic over cash for honours row | News | This is London Tony Blair is in a blind panic over the looming threat of being arrested in the police inquiry into the cash-for-peerages scandal, Cabinet sources have revealed. A senior Minister said a 'black cloud' had descended over Downing Street at the growing realisation that the Prime Minister and his closest allies face the risk of being prosecuted over the affair.
More on this story, here.

November 17, 2006

Pelosi/Murtha Loss Could Have Been A Win!

[BREAK] BCP logo In today's Huffington Post, Arianna writes:
The Blog | Arianna Huffington: Murtha Loses... But It's Still a Victory for Pelosi
The Washington Post, with a much larger circulation, tells the story a bit differently:
Democrats Pick Hoyer Over Murtha - washingtonpost.com Democrats Pick Hoyer Over Murtha House Colleagues Elect Pelosi Speaker but Reject Her Choice for Majority Leader By Jonathan Weisman and Lois Romano Washington Post Staff Writers Friday, November 17, 2006; Page A01 House Democrats elected Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (Md.) the new majority leader yesterday over strong opposition from Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), exposing a deep political divide even before the party takes control. The 149 to 86 vote for Hoyer over Rep. John P. Murtha (Pa.) was viewed by many in the party as a repudiation of Pelosi's strong-arm tactics and a recognition of Hoyer's tireless work to elect a Democratic majority for the first time in 12 years. If the Hoyer camp's head count was correct going into yesterday's secret balloting, Pelosi and her allies may not have swayed a single vote for Murtha, a close associate.
And, this losing battle gave the media another shot at the Democrats . . . months before any of these jobs are even empowered:
Political Pragmatism Carried Hoyer to the Top - washingtonpost.com By Shailagh Murray Washington Post Staff Writer Friday, November 17, 2006; Page A06 Steny H. Hoyer is a practical moderate and Nancy Pelosi is a liberal idealist, and for more than 40 years they have competed like siblings, all the way to the pinnacle of politics. Hoyer's rout yesterday of Rep. John P. Murtha (Pa.), Pelosi's handpicked candidate for majority leader, validated the methodical, no-frills approach that the congressman from Maryland has taken throughout his long career, from his rapid ascent in state politics to his somewhat bumpier climb through the House.
The other major media all have Pelosi suffering a huge loss. And so called "progressive pundits", like E. J. Dionne, are already chastising Pelosi and the Dems as if this 3 day battle delayed important legislation.
E. J. Dionne Jr. - Remember Who Sent You - washingtonpost.com Remember Who Sent You Memo to Democrats: Stop Squabbling and Start Helping the Middle Class By E. J. Dionne Jr. Friday, November 17, 2006; Page A25 Democrats might usefully take a break from their inane round of back-stabbing and score-settling to focus, for a few moments, on why voters gave them their congressional majorities. A lot of Americans are hurting in the pocketbook, and if Democrats don't use the next two years to help them, the party will squander the trust it has temporarily earned.
(Don't you love E. J.'s choice of words:
. . . the party will squander the trust it has temporarily earned.
After the stunning election victory had by the Democrats, and especially the progressives, most would say they had, for now and until they did something to have that trust removed, "earned" the voters trust. But old E.J. has his perspicacity at full tilt, so he knows this is only short term trust. Hence "temporary", I guess? I fear that the corporate media "liberals", like Dionne, will be a Hell of a lot tougher on the Democrats than they were on the Bushies . . . when they seemed to lay down wagging their tales while the Constitution was shredded and America began embracing a policy of illegal war and sanctioned war crimes. Of course, no matter how some blow up the impact of the loss, nor how much Arianna tries to morph it into a strategic victory, Pelosi did suffer a loss. The vote wasn't even close, and, unless Pelosi secretly wanted Murtha humiliated, she isn't celebrating a win today. She and Murtha could have done well, even with a Hoyer win, had she played their cards a bit differently. You know, I surely I marveled at how the Repugnants would, over the past 6 years, turn political sow's ears into silken GOP purses. How, no matter the level of awful in some policy defeat or news story, Rove and his ilk could make it appear, through their rule over the corporate media, that the Repugs had done well again. Look at Plamegate: 1) Libby indicted. 2) Karl Rove needs 5 trips to the Grand Jury in order to finally tell a believable enough story that proves he DID give classified info to a Time magazine reporter, but he gave it after Libby had already told Judy Miller. 3) Richard Armitage, Bush's number 2 at the State Dept., turns out to have been the first to reveal the secret of Valerie Plame's identity. There's much more, but let's just look at those 3. We have 3 top tier figures in the White House now known to have revealed secret info, put Plame and her whole crew of spies [working on Iran and WMD!!!] in jeopardy, but we, the majority at least, are told to be proud that it wasn't Bush or Cheney who may have committed treason. It was just their top people. In an unfortunate way, the Dems have learned from the Bushies . . . if learning to deceive is what you want? Problem is, without the Roveian advantage of having mainstream corporate media to trumpet in your deception, the only ones you play to are the more savvy political junkies who keep up with the important battles that occur daily in our government. When the press tells the vast majority of the voters that Pelosi suffered a big defeat. If past practice is a predictor, the people will believe what they've read. Hence, Arianna's spin goes mainly to the savvy political junkie . . . and there it dies. Because we all know it was NOT A WIN. Murtha lost, so did Pelosi. However, there could have been a far better result. And one that would have been seen as a win, partial or complete, by many more folks than those who read Arianna. Let's give this a closer look. Here we have Arianna saying, in a perfect example of Rovian double-speak:
scissor.gif - - - SNIP "It bodes well for Pelosi that was willing to spend her political capital right off the bat -- especially on the issue that will define her time at the helm. Far too many modern politicians save their political capital until it's lost all its value." scissor.gif - - - End of SNIPPET
If you read behind that pleasant sounding rhetoric, you find that, in reality-ville, Arianna is complementing Pelosi for spending her political capital on a LOSS? The term "political capital" has a definition, and when used in a battle it is always diminished, to some extent. If a politician proposes something with universal acclaim, no political capital is used. Only when a proposal requires arm twisting is political capital offered, and to the recipients of the twisted arm, some of that capital is lost. The encyclopedia at Free Dictionary defines this ethereal currency thusly:
Political capital is the quality of a public figure's favorable image among the populace. Also, his current standing among other important personalities (who are usually in government) is important. It is thought of as a commodity which must be spent wisely in pushing for an issue which may not be as popular unless advocated by someone popular.
Now, I am not knocking Ms. Pelosi for backing someone who aided her when she needed a friend. That is an all too lacking of an attribute amongst many politicians. And her use of political capital was a fine way of showing she is loyal to those who help her help America. On the other hand, I believe, in this instance, the important portion of the definition is: " . . . a commodity which must be spent wisely . . . " Using it on a losing cause is rarely a wise expenditure. Spending it on a friend with a bucket of ethical problems was a mistake. But it did not have to be. I believe it COULD have been changed from throwing that capital to the wind into an investment of capital to help a friend AND gain interest on the metaphorical cash. Pelosi and Murtha should have had their staffs work on a short proposal that Murtha would make to the Democratic caucus. Mr. Murtha would outline reforms he'd like made to guide the House Ethics Committee. Reforms that would toughen the committee and make clear some of the gray areas that still guide/camouflage problems wherein money/donations skirt the rules and help influence/buy Members of Congress. In the same week that Jack Abramoff was jailed, Jack Murtha could have given some tough talk about K Street's influence and pushed for rules making in impossible for the technically "legal" golfing/fishing/hunting trips that caught up so many Repugs in scandals these past few years. Murtha is also one of the few Members who could have brought up his own past forays into gray areas that taught him that better defined ethics rules can help "keep the honest person from stumbling into that gray area, while still needing to 'bring home the bacon' to her/his constituency/district and raise ridiculous sums of money for the next campaign." Of course, such a statement leads right into two areas of concern for intelligent voters. The misuse of "earmarks" in legislation and the horrible state of campaign financing. (See, instead of taking home a loss that cost Pelosi much capital, even a loss under this scenario could have been a major gain BEFORE Pelosi et al have even taken the reigns of power. It would have made Pelosi's choice to back him seem much more in the people's interest, instead of just having the corporate media pointing to Abscam and Murtha's more recent tap dancing around ethical conundrums. If Murtha won, Pelosi would win. If Murtha lost, Pelosi would look like a champion of clean-up, who could retain most of her political capital for another day.
Karl Rove would have . . . defecated!
[/BREAK]

November 20, 2006

Out Damned Spot!
(Or Why Removing Iraq War Stain
Does Not A Clean Garment Make.)

[BREAK] BCP logo Yes, Virginia. Iraq is not the only place where Liberty's skirt is dragging through some self-made mud. Unfortunately, when the Dems extricate us from Bush's Baghdad Blunder, most Americans will feel so glad that our "right hand" is cleansed that they will ignore the steady dripping of mud/blood from the left hand, that forms an ugly, and growing, toxic pool at her feet. ----- [/BREAK]
This Modern World � Blog Archive � Why do “they” hate us? Is it somehow connected to the way we cut off their limbs with chainsaws? Jonathan Schwarz: Why do “they” hate us? Is it somehow connected to the way we cut off their limbs with chainsaws? Before the 9/11 attacks came along, I used to work with groups trying to get the U.S. to stop funding Colombia’s right-wing paramilitaries. The pretense, of course, was we were funding the Colombian military in their heroic struggle in the War on Drugs. The reality, that the paramilitaries were run by the Colombian government to murder anyone to the left of Elliot Abrams, is finally being acknowledged: The government of President �lvaro Uribe is being shaken by its most serious political crisis yet, as details emerge about members of Congress who collaborated with right-wing death squads to spread terror and exert political control across Colombia’s Caribbean coast…All are from the state of Sucre, where the attorney general’s office has been exhuming bodies from mass graves… It’s difficult to overstate the level of human depravity exhibited by the paramilitaries. One of their favorite techniques is to kill people with chainsaws: More here

January 25, 2007

Strong Dems Need Not Be "Reaganites!"

[BREAK] BCP logo In past columns, E.J. Dionne has used the pathos of the herd when pointing to Progressive/Liberal politics and those who believe in such. You know, the way the mainstream media kept harping on how the Democrats only did well in the '06 elections because they "ran to the center". Of course, you can only reach such a conclusion if you totally ignore the fact that in most of the "surprise" democratic wins, the winner was from the left of center! Then you had the continual "advise" of Dionne-like pundits who counseled that the Dems had better not feel free buck Bush on Iraq, as it would show the country they were "weak on National Defense!" (As if attacking, invading and occupying Iraq was EVER linked to our nation's security.) This barrage of negativism had the desired effect. In Speaker Pelosi's listing of priorities that the Dems would work on during the first 100 hours, Iraq wasn't even mentioned! But then a funny thing happened on the way to the State of the Union speech! Democrats had been inundated by phone calls, letters, faxes and email, all demanding that they take a stand on the disastrous policies the US was following. And Republicans began grumbling, first at a low growl but building to where Chuck Hagle basically questioned the competence and the intelligence of his party's leaders. And the Presidents already miserable poll numbers of December began to look like the good old days at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Things have gone so awry with Bush's Baghdad Blunder that we now have competing Republican and Democratic proposals on how to change course in Iraq being pushed out so quickly that the ink hasn't time to dry! Obviously, the rantings of the Dionne-like mob of political prognosticators were wrong; bucking Bush on Iraq was exactly what the country was clamoring for when they entered the polls just a couple of months ago. Yet, when it comes to eating a bit of crow, our mainstream media mavens like to dress the blackbird up as a Turkey. Then they swear they're just celebrating Thanksgiving, not choking down the feathers of the much tougher bird of humility and repentance. Hence, when James Webb is chosen to give voice to the long time belittled (by the press) and/or much ignored clamor that began on the left, and Senator Webb chastises the President for the folly that has bled the life out of so many thousands of our troops and innocent Iraqis, Dionne can't just write about it without finding some way to make Webb seem at least to be right of center in the Democratic Party. Hell, Dionne strains to shape Webb into more of a Republican than Bush! First you have the chosen heading of the column:
Reagan Democrat
Next you have the literary furnishings Dionne uses to present the ambiance:
Like him or not, Ronald ("Tear Down This Wall") Reagan spoke in a clean, clear prose that almost always left listeners with a sense that he stood for something. It may thus be no accident that Jim Webb, Virginia's new Democratic senator, was once a Reaganite.
There's more, much more. Almost enough to cause someone who doesn't know better to believe that Webb might just be a Republican who strayed across the line by mistake. And there's the hilarious way that, by many of the newly awed pundits, the words that have been mocked after coming from the mouths of Dennis Kucinich, Maxine Waters, Charlie Rangel and Russ Feingold are now deemed "courageous" and as presenting "no mush". After years of Dems being castigated in the media for pointing to the unfair Bush tax cuts, the awful scandal of a never rising minimum wage, the desperate need for health care for those without means and the decline of America's middle-class, Dionne slyly tells us:
Many Democrats tremble that they will be accused by some right-wing Web site or presidential spokesman of waging class warfare. Webb made clear that there is a class war going on and that the wrong side is winning it.
I can think of no progressive who has shied from pointing to the unfairness of Bush's policies, and I certainly can't even imagine one who worries about being accused of anything by a right-wing website. Hell, most wear the slings and arrows of Drudge, Murdoch and the freepers as badges of accomplishment. What was really holding Democratic tongues were the slings and arrows of the supposed "independent" columnist, writers and editorialists who have been acting as if they were in the pay of the White House. (Of course, some, like Armstrong Williams and others, were exactly that!) So, I guess James Webb will now be used to provide cover for the infiltration by the Dionne's of mediadom back into America's mainstream. If so, we owe Webb even more than I thought after hearing him speak. For only by insuring we again have a strong fourth estate, one willing to bite the ass of ANY politician, whether Democrat or Republican, Liberal or Conservative, who screws up in her/his job as an employee of the citizens, will we begin to crawl out of the hole we've been in for 6 long years. In the hope that the way out is through the aid of the media, I'll forgive Dionne for his lack of self awareness in this column. I'll hope he soon realizes that a Democrat surely doesn't need to have come from the Reagan administration in order to have courage. =====
E. J. Dionne Jr. - Reagan Democrat - washingtonpost.com Reagan Democrat By E. J. Dionne Jr. Thursday, January 25, 2007; Page A25 Like him or not, Ronald ("Tear Down This Wall") Reagan spoke in a clean, clear prose that almost always left listeners with a sense that he stood for something. It may thus be no accident that Jim Webb, Virginia's new Democratic senator, was once a Reaganite.
More here

January 27, 2007

NYT: The Bait-and-Switch White House

[BREAK] BCP logo The opening paragraph of today's NY Times Editorial seems to say it all:
We often wonder whether there is a limit to the Bush administration’s obsession with secrecy, its assault on the rule of law, its disdain for the powers of Congress, its willingness to con the public and its refusal to heed expert advice or recognize facts on the ground. Events of the past week suggest the answer is no.
Full editorial here! [/BREAK]

"Democracy" in the US is still on life support!

[BREAK] BCP logo Here in New York, where we like to think of our city/state as the leader of the modern world, we can't get what should be just a clone of one of the simplest computer systems on the planet [think ATM for voting] in place due to political bargaining for "favored" corporations, and the admitted collusion between "independent" testing/auditing firms and voting device corporations. Here's an excerpt from this morning's NY Times:
According to the documents, a federal auditor found last July that Ciber, the nation’s largest tester of voting machine software, did not follow its own quality-control procedures or conduct all the proper tests. The documents indicate that in many cases, the lab simply used tests suggested by the voting machine manufacturers, rather than running standardized checks of its own. The auditor also criticized the lab for “acceding too quickly” to requests by the voting machine companies to modify the tests. Voting machine experts have long been concerned about possible conflicts of interest in the testing, and some say the problems with Ciber have raised questions about the security and reliability of some of the machines now in use.
Let's remember, much blood and treasure was spent in gaining independence from the rule of the mighty few. And since, much blood and treasure was expended in attempts to keep this fragile system called "democracy" alive. We all know of the shenanigans performed by ALL the political parties in past elections. And we've seen how that practice was refined by the Republicans since the 2000 judicial/electoral coup. If we allow the corporations to continue to fiddle with our votes, and don't demand a recount friendly type of system, all is lost. A receipt should be printed for each voter, simply certifying that the citizen has voted. (I'd also like to see a small tax credit, say $20, granted when said citizen includes a copy of that receipt with their tax return. And/or a sticker/pin given, to help embarrass/remind others to vote that day.) Then, a paper copy of the actual votes (like your ATM receipt that lists your actions at the machine), without any identifiers as to the voter's identification, is given to the voter. The voter checks the printed copy for accuracy, folds it on the dotted lines, and puts it into the slot on top of a sealed box. Those paper ballots remain available for any ordered recount. Or, we can allow our democracy to fester some more, and die a horrible death due to citizen apathy. The choice is ours! JB ===== [/BREAK]
New York Won’t Replace Voting Machines by the Fall - New York Times By CHRISTOPHER DREW Published: January 27, 2007 New York officials have given up on replacing the state’s aging voting machines by the fall elections, and some would like to put off buying new electronic voting systems until after the 2008 presidential election, state officials said yesterday. New York is the last state to update its machines, and the latest delay comes amid growing questions about the work of a laboratory that was hired to help test the machines being offered by five bidders.
More here

January 30, 2007

Support Our Barbaro?

[BREAK] BCP logoYes, I too feel bad about Barbaro's fate. But I also wonder at the different world we would live in had the NY Times, Wash Post and/or other major media outlets made it standard policy to print such eloquent eulogies on their most prominent pages for EVERY human death taken in the blood filled desert called Iraq. Do not EACH of the over 3000 dead American troops rate at least as much coverage as the death of a horse most had only heard of from his winning of a single race?
Have we become so inured to the toll of war that
our perspective is this far out of whack?
We vainly laud our human compassion in our treatment of such a marvelous beast, while, on a daily basis, most of us unconsciously ignore our own complicity in sending the younger generation in to see the elephant without the equipment needed to even grant a small edge of safety. (Of course, we now know of collateral brutality, like the torture of prisoners and illegal detention of thousands of innocents, are the offal of our Bushie butchery.) Is absolution granted when we march, once a year or less, in protest? (In one of life's cruelest ironies, there will be some who will suffer a moist eye over Barbaro who support Bush's desired escalation of this war that was lost before it began. I believe that, for them, all hope is lost!) Would that ALL of the innocent victims, be they American troops, soldiers of other countries in the coalition of the billing or the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians, that Bush's Baghdad Blunder be given a small percentage of the corporate media ink that this horse will be granted, around the globe, today. If we lived in such a world, war would not cease to rear its ugly head. However, the brutality war brings, once exposed in such an honest, prominent and, yes, fitting manner would help insure that the people of each nation would need to be convinced war was necessary and unavoidable before they'd subject their children, or those of others, to the carnage inherent in the human abattoir called war. Especially in a war founded on lies and kept going through intimidation of critics, like our attack, invasion and long-term occupation of an Iraq now beset with a civil war, we have constructed a horrifically efficient yet senseless human slaughterhouse that leaves dead, crippled and psychologically razed kids such that it makes Barbaros's fate seem a Godly kindness. JB ===== [/BREAK]
One Horse Dies - New York Times Editorial One Horse Dies Published: January 30, 2007 Why should we feel so much grief at the loss of one horse? After all, this is a world in which horses are sacrificed again and again for the sport of humans. Barbaro was euthanized yesterday, eight months after he shattered his right hind leg at the start of the Preakness Stakes. After an injury like that, most racehorses would have been put down minutes later. But every race is a complex equation — a balance of economics, athleticism, equine grace and conscience. Conscience often comes in last, but not in this case. Barbaro’s owners gave that horse exactly what he had given them, which is everything. It was the very least they could do, and yet it seemed truly exceptional in a sport that is as often barbarous as it is beautiful .
More here

February 5, 2007

Tim Carries Repugnant's Water -
Throws Bucket On Edwards

[BREAK] BCP logoIf you regularly watch Tim Russert on Meet The Press, you already know at least 3 things: 1) Tim used his guest list and his questions in a manner that helped push for the war 2) Tim implicitly mocked the anti-war demonstrations/demonstrators as often as possible. 3) Tim lauded the Bushies as often as he could. (Damn near rolls over and presents his belly to Cheney!) 4) Tim hates most Dems, even though it was with the Democratic Party that he cut his teeth. (He seems cozy with Lieberman, and friendly to Biden and James Carville.)
If you've been watching the Scooter Libby trial, you now know:
5) The White House was well aware of Tim's bias, and used MTP to help counter criticism of the war!
By now you've learned another thing about NBC's high paid on-air personality:
6) If you're a candidate prone to speak about the obvious class war being waged in America, Tim ain't prone to treating you too well. Edwards has apologized for his vote authorizing Bush to pressure Iraq, up to invading, if necessary, unless Saddam gave up the WMD Bush swore Iraq held. Edwards was the FIRST of the Dems to admit being wrong, way back in 2005. Yet Tim went OVER AND OVER the fact that Edwards had voted for the authorization. Tim said, numerous times, that Edwards was WRONG to vote that way. Funny thing is, Tim has NEVER pushed the liars that used deception to get Congress, AND THE MAJORITY OF AMERICANS, to support America's worst war crime EVER! Why Edwards is, in Tim's view, the only one who should carry blame FOR BUSH'S LIES, I don't know. (Ironically, the other thing that caught Tim's ire was Edwards truth telling on his plan for health care. Edwards made the sin of allowing that in order to tackle something as huge as health care, you have to be willing to use tax revenue to pay for it! Edwards will soon learn why Bush's lies have little consequence. Telling hard truths is something the mainstream press will crucify you for.) I do know, much like Dennis Kucinich in 2004, Tim and other MSM members will be spending much time trying to insure that the 2008 race comes down to a Dem and a Rep who can only be distinguished by which of the two bends over the furthest for corporate interests, and which cares the least about those earning somewhat less than millions per annum! JB ===== [/BREAK]
Edwards Again Says He Was Wrong to Vote for War - washingtonpost.com Edwards Again Says He Was Wrong to Vote for War By Matthew Mosk Washington Post Staff Writer Monday, February 5, 2007; Page A04 Of the 2008 Democratic presidential contenders who voted to give President Bush authority to wage war in Iraq, only one will have no chance to make a very public U-turn when resolutions opposing the president's new war plan come before Congress in the coming days. That one is John Edwards, the former North Carolina senator who showed again yesterday that he will find other venues to parlay his Senate vote into an extended mea culpa.
More here

February 6, 2007

Ah, yes. I remember it well!

[BREAK] BCP logoSeems like only yesterday when the Republicans were castigating the Dems for even thinking the word "filibuster." And the media! They had conniptions about the traitorous Democrats who would be such obstructionists when it came to trying to keep in check the "Majority." Matthews et. al. would quickly remind all that "the people had spoken" when they elected a Repugnant majority. Today, on NBC the political reporter virtually blushed at how "strong" the Republican minority had proved to be, by using the filibuster card to hold back a vote . . . a vote desired by that new majority, elected as those same "people's" representatives. Here (below) in today's NY Times, the headline is written by the Repugnants, so they are referred to as "A ‘Robust’ G.O.P." When the Dems threatened filibuster, it was an act of betrayal to our system. With the Repugs, not so much:
"I mean, we’re not stalling. We’re using, at the risk of being redundant, the power of a robust minority to guarantee that we get fair treatment." Minority Leader Mitch McConnell
I can remember when Mr. McConnell advocated removing the Dems power to filibuster bills he liked. But, that was then, this is now. And, while it hurts to admit it, were I McConnell, and faced with such weak Democrats, I'd pull the same bullying tactics. JB ===== [/BREAK]
A Robust G.O.P. Blocks Senate War Debate - The Caucus - Politics - New York Times Blog February 5, 2007, 7:43 pm A ‘Robust’ G.O.P. Blocks Senate War Debate By Kate Phillips On the Senate floor just a short while ago, a pretty hot debate ensued before any real debate on Iraq resolutions was allowed, or actually not allowed by the vote following the debate about the proposed debate. The Senate went 49-47, the Democrats well shy of the 60 votes needed to moved ahead on one of the war resolutions. As you may have anticipated through reports during the weekend and today, Republicans in the Senate voted in near unanimity tonight against the Democratic leadership’s intention to bring the Warner-Levin resolution opposing President Bush’s troop buildup to the floor for debate. From watching the roll call on the vote, it would appear that nearly all Republicans, excepting Susan Collins of Maine and Norm Coleman of Minnesota,voted to keep the Warner-Levin measure from being Topic A.
More here

February 10, 2007

Impeach The Cheerleader, Save The World!

[BREAK] BCP logoThere is one difference between the attack on Iraq and the coming attack on Iran. The time span between demonstration and attack this time will probably be shorter . . . say 2-3 weeks. In February 2003, many of us marched in the huge anti-war demonstration in NYC while others marched around our nation and around the globe. Bush (and the media) paid little attention, and the US illegally attacked Iraq approximately 5 weeks later.
We violated international law and UN regulations, killed over a half-million innocent Iraqis (Bush would say we liberated them?), lost over 3000 of our most precious young warriors and misspent/lost.gave away hundreds of billion$ that our future generations will need to make up. We've performed so poorly, even Bush's Russian pal (Pooty Poot) Putin is now chastising us for making the world less safe.
Russian President Vladimir Putin blasted the United States today for acting in a unilateral, militaristic fashion that he said "overstepped" its role and made the world a more dangerous place than during the Cold War. "Nobody feels secure anymore, because nobody can take safety behind the stone wall of international law," he told an international security conference here attended by dozens of foreign and defense ministers and other officials, including Defense Secretary Robert Gates and a congressional delegation.
And, the reasons given for attacking Iraq, though now known to be lies and exaggerations, seem to mirror the reasons we now hear for attacking Iran. Just this week, in a much delayed report, we were told:
. . . a Defense Department inspector general's conclusion that a Pentagon policy office produced and gave senior policymakers "alternative intelligence assessments on Iraq and Al Qaida relations" that were "inconsistent" with the intelligence community's consensus view in the lead-up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
On March 18, there will be a similar march in NYC, and other environs. If you live in an area where a demonstration is being held, and you find you have other things to do on that day (things beside having open heart surgery, birthing your child, heading into danger in Iraq etc.), washing the blood of the future dead innocents from your hands may become a 24/7 job. And, if this demonstration has as little effect as its predecessor(s), I hope that some truly courageous leader (which really lets out the top contenders for the Presidential race in '08, sans Chuck Hagel and, just maybe, an Edwards, Gore or even Vilsack) will use the term "General Strike" in an upcoming speech. For when a war is called not as a vital national security interest, but to appease corporate interests by throwing fiscal sanity to the winds (when it comes to humongous contracts) and to guarantee a short term boost in fossil fuel for the victors, thereby stalling renewed efforts to find a desperately needed alternative source(s) of energy, the best way to get the corporate leaders attention is to hit them in the pocketbook. (Yes, you offer up a days pay. But, as any corporate leader can tell you, a day spent on a general strike takes more than a day from the corporate finances.)
WE HAVE TO TAKE DEMOCRACY BACK!
Impeach the Cheerleader (Bush),
Save The World!
[/BREAK] =====
Target Iran: US able to strike in the spring | Iran | Guardian Unlimited Despite denials, Pentagon plans for possible attack on nuclear sites are well advanced Ewen MacAskill in Washington Saturday February 10, 2007 The Guardian

A second battle group has been ordered to the Gulf and extra missiles have already been sent out. Meanwhile oil is being stockpiled. Photograph: Reuters
US preparations for an air strike against Iran are at an advanced stage, in spite of repeated public denials by the Bush administration, according to informed sources in Washington. The present military build-up in the Gulf would allow the US to mount an attack by the spring. But the sources said that if there was an attack, it was more likely next year, just before Mr Bush leaves office.
More here

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