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August 28, 2006

Patriot or Pessimist?
Soldier or Skeptic?

BCP logo At 5:30 AM this morning, my wife and I sat and watched the final half hour of a film we had rented, Eugene Jarecki's Why We Fight. If you've not seen it, you really should. If you have viewed it, you'll never forget how the Bush Administration, through deception and control of the US media, took a retired NYC Police Sargent (Viet-vet) who lost his son in the Towers on 9/11, and led him on a multi year journey from big Iraq War booster to where he's become a depressed and disillusioned questioner of "America" and our goals. The man had been so strong in his backing of Bush's Baghdad Blunder that he petitioned the powers-that-be to have his son's name stenciled onto one of the bombs dropped in our Shock and Awe production of war crime horror. Today, he puffs up with rage while tearing up when he watches Bush's later admission that "We have no evidence Saddam was connected to 9/11." In today's What Is the Latest Thing to Be Discouraged About? The Rise of Pessimism - New York Times , Adam Cohen relates how recent American disappointments have caused a "Rise of Pessimism". Mr. Cohen ends with:
Part of Mr. Bush’s legacy may well be that he robbed America of its optimism — a force that Franklin Delano Roosevelt and other presidents, like Ronald Reagan, used to rally the country when it was deeply challenged. The next generation of leaders will have to resell discouraged Americans on the very idea of optimism, and convince them again that their goal should not be to live with their ailments, but to cure them.
While the loss of optimism is important, the loss of faith, not religious faith, but faith in "America", is the most serious problem facing our country's future. Losing optimism is worrisome. Growing skepticism can be fatal to a representative democracy on the brink of becoming a dictatorship, a theocracy or some weird Super-Sized combo of them both. At the end of Why We Fight, I told Barb how the Bush years had altered my feelings. 27 years ago, I voluntarily dropped a rock solid deferment, as I thought it was time I "did my duty." That sounds so corny that through the years, when asked "why", I've tried out a dozen different rationals for putting my ass in front of bullets. "Wanted to learn about war", "Wanted to see for myself if the 'protesters' or the 'patriots' were right.", or that "I wanted to 'find' myself." But those were dodges, meant to get me away from the sicky-sweet, Norman Rockwell type that would actually feel they had a "duty" to risk all for an ideal. So, I was stupid, corny, ill informed, but, in my slothful ignorance, trying to do the right thing. Today, I'd laugh at anyone using the term "ideal" in conjunction with ANYTHING that is in ANYWAY connected with authority figures, be they US President or the local school crossing guard. If I were 22 today, I'd be marching in protests and, if a draft were coming, my ass would be sitting on a plane out of here. Today, if one of my kids mentioned joining the military, in any job/title that held any possibility of having them face combat, I might be found holding that child in a basement room/prison until the war ends. If a nuclear weapon exploded on American soil, it would take an awful lot of evidence to get me to believe that whatever country our President blames might, in fact, be the country behind the bombing. And don't think I'm exaggerating. Look into your own soul. If next month, a passenger plane flying from London to NYC, blows up, would you quickly agree if the Bushies told you it was al Qaeda. How about if they said it was Iran. Or the local Democrat running for an important House seat? Or, take this one step further. After all the lies and self-serving media stories you've been fed since 9/11, have you not, at least once, thought "I hope they don't commit some horror before the election" . . . and realized it was NOT Osama you were referring to as "they?" This is what the current crop of neo-con war criminals have left America as their legacy.
Skepticism AND pessimism.
May God forgive them. =====

August 30, 2006

The Bush Pot Calling an
Islamic Kettle Fascist?

[BREAK] BCP logo As anyone with even the most rudimentary acquaintance with the word "fascism" can tell you, having a column on the use of the word that does NOT contain any mention of government bowing to corporate interests is akin to writing a piece on the Pope and failing to mention the Catholic Church! But the Repugnants are hoping that, as they did with Saddam and 9/11, they can cojoin Islam and Fascist and their supplicants in the mainstream media will help keep the citizens ignorant of the true facts. It worked with Bush's Baghdad Blunder in 2003, so why not now? That's why even Rumsfeld is throwing the F word at Liberals, claiming they aid the Fascists. Of course, should one give the subject a little thought, a malodorous fascist scent can be discerned in our "War on Terror." Corporate power, corrupt contracting, a growing disparity between classes, Patriot Act outrages, "Total Information Awareness", torture and war crimes are all reminiscent of what we heard of the fascist regimes in WWII.
But, they sure don't want you going there!!!
===== [/BREAK]
Republicans Target 'Islamic Fascism' - Los Angeles Times Republicans Target 'Islamic Fascism' By TOM RAUM, Associated Press Writer 4:23 AM PDT, August 30, 2006 WASHINGTON -- President Bush in recent days has recast the global war on terror into a "war against Islamic fascism." Fascism, in fact, seems to be the new buzz word for Republicans in an election season dominated by an unpopular war in Iraq. Bush used the term earlier this month in talking about the arrest of suspected terrorists in Britain, and spoke of "Islamic fascists" in a later speech in Green Bay, Wis. Spokesman Tony Snow has used variations on the phrase at White House press briefings. Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., in a tough re-election fight, drew parallels on Monday between World War II and the current war against "Islamic fascism," saying they both require fighting a common foe in multiple countries. It's a phrase Santorum has been using for months. And Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Tuesday took it a step further in a speech to an American Legion convention in Salt Lake City, accusing critics of the administration's Iraq and anti-terrorism policies of trying to appease "a new type of fascism." White House aides and outside Republican strategists said the new description is an attempt to more clearly identify the ideology that motivates many organized terrorist groups, representing a shift in emphasis from the general to the specific. More Here

August 31, 2006

Falacious Fascism Folderol

[BREAK] BCP logoBarb and I watched Keith Olbermann deliver this chilling piece. For those of you who read beyond the mainstream media, he adds nothing truly new. But he used prose that strikes a group of chords that could lead to a truly patriotic harmony. And his passionate but reasoned delivery emphasizes how close we are to it being TOO LATE to stop the true fascist juggernaut that is mightily churning through the homes in America, while the right-wing noise machine is kept at a volume that deafens many to the Repugnant juggernaut's explosive razing of all that's good about our country while it raises the country's once minor faults to where it is all that others, even in many country's that once were considered friends, can now see. If the American people don't forcibly take back the juggernaut's controls, either in the upcoming elections, or, assuming that the "fix" is in, by taking to the streets in protest, within but months we'll be at war with Iraq/Islam and the blood of our kids, their kids and kids unconnected to any of the machinations will forever stain the pages of our history. But not for long. Because, even with a school system in which students hear nothing of true history, civics or even get to use the critical thought process produced by a reading of simple geography, the history texts that are now available at the college level will be so sanitized that future generations in Amerika will be reading of the commie ideas of George Washington (democracy), Thomas Jefferson (public schooling, democracy), Abraham Lincoln (strong unions), Theodore Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman (health care), Franklin D. Roosevelt (EVERYTHING!), Dwight D. Eisenhower (Corporatocracy warnings), John F. Kennedy (Peace Corps), Lyndon B. Johnson (Civil Rights), Richard M. Nixon (EPA) and Jimmy Carter (human rights and honest government), while being treated to stories of the heroism, intellect and military mastery of the Bush/Cheney (AWOL/Draft Dodgers, war crimes, Patriot Act horrors, Katrina, 9/11) dynasty. Wake up, sheeple!!! (And pass the link below on to every Republican in your address book . . . AFTER you pass it to everyone else!) ===== [/BREAK]
Crooks and Liars � Keith Olbermann Delivers One Hell Of a Commentary on Rumsfeld scissor.gif - - - SNIP The confusion we — as its citizens - must now address, is stark and forbidding. But variations of it have faced our forefathers, when men like Nixon and McCarthy and Curtis LeMay have darkened our skies and obscured our flag. Note - with hope in your heart - that those earlier Americans always found their way to the light… and we can, too. The confusion is about whether this Secretary of Defense, and this Administration, are in fact now accomplishing what they claim the terrorists seek: The destruction of our freedoms, the very ones for which the same veterans Mr. Rumsfeld addressed yesterday in Salt Lake City, so valiantly fought. And about Mr. Rumsfeld’s other main assertion, that this country faces a "new type of fascism." As he was correct to remind us how a government that knew everything could get everything wrong, so too was he right when he said that — though probably not in the way he thought he meant it. scissor.gif - - - End of SNIPPET

Piddling Protests?
Please!!!

[BREAK] BCP logo In an op-ed in today's NY Times, Andrew Rosenthal writes of the lack of large protest marches against the Bush regime in general and Bush's Baghdad Blunder in particular. When he bemoans the lack of campus outrage, I somewhat share his pain. But he also seems to give short shrift to general, more generic, protests. He states:
Now, people find protesters vaguely embarrassing and don’t want to make too much noise.
On that, I both differ and agree. While I certainly think there needs to be more protest in America, I wonder if Mr. Rosenthal has been locked in a cave for the past 6 years? He also mentions that
"There was a brief burst of protest when America first invaded Iraq."
No, there were near a a quarter-million "noisy" people in NYC, and many millions around the world, protesting the month BEFORE we began committing war crimes under Bush. And there have been many protests since, from large ones like at the Repugnant's convention in NYC and marches in Wash DC, through smaller ones organized though Code Pink and at Camp Casey [Sheehan]. Sure I'd love the younger generation to be protesting on the campuses, ala the 60's. And, I believe that if the media covered protests/war now even half as well as they did back then, you'd have a much larger protest community and many more marches. Hell, I'll go further. If the media covered Iraq as well as it did Vietnam, and Bush as well as they did Johnson/Nixon, there would have been impeachment hearings long ago. Iraq would be over, if ever it began. And, the more informed Mr. Rosenthal would have been aware of the protests AND would NEVER have believed "Mr. Young’s call for impeachment is over the top,", but would have joined in the chorus of the [informed] majority that would be in harmony in calling for Bush's ouster from the people's White House! [/BREAK]
There Is Silence in the Streets; Where Have All the Protesters Gone? - New York Times By ANDREW ROSENTHAL Published: August 31, 2006 It was almost painful the other night to hear Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young sing about a war whose purpose Americans never really understood, started by a president who didn’t tell the truth and then waged the war ineptly. And that was before they sang about Iraq. The audience rose for Neil Young’s blast at George Bush, “Let’s Impeach the President,” and sang the words displayed on a huge TV screen, even the 20-something in front of us who had been text-messaging throughout the concert. That same screen also displayed thumbnail photos of slain soldiers while a counter ran up the most recent toll. It takes longer than you might think to count to 2,600. More Here

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!

When Fear Rode a Boomerang!

[BREAK] BCP logo Following a sunny blue sky horrific day in September, 2001, the Repugnants have, with much help from a manipulated mainstream media, heaped irrational fear onto the citizenry of the US, and tossed, or inspired to be tossed/placed by others, bomb loads of VERY RATIONAL fear onto countries far and wide. Now, as November looms large in their sights, fear has decided to take residence in the empty, dark recesses of the Repugnants themselves. This year, they fear those they once frightened, the American voters! How delicious is that bowl of irony! ===== [/BREAK]
GOP kisses up to liberal Chafee | Salon News Chances for a Democratic takeover of the Senate may hinge on whether Republican maverick Lincoln Chafee survives the Rhode Island primary. By Walter Shapiro Sept. 1, 2006 | PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- One of the nastier attack ads currently being aired anywhere in the country is being aired here, and is sponsored by the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the official arm of the GOP majority. The 30-second spot employs all the traditional techniques of political fear-mongering: a voice-of-doom narrator, grainy photographs, purported FBI warnings, menacing footage of a Willie Horton-like villain (a Hispanic illegal immigrant) and the stark closing question about the challenger, "Will he put our security at risk in the Senate?" The factual basis for the commercial is flimsy. The mayor of Cranston agreed in 2005 to accept Mexican-government-issued matricula cards as a valid form of identification, a position so radical that it is shared by the U.S. Treasury Department. But that justification is enough to allow the NRSC to tar the mayor, who is now running for the Senate, as a permissive advocate of open borders who is seemingly eager for every resident of a Mexican barrio to move into the mansions of Newport. What makes this GOP smear attack so unusual is that the target of this venom, Mayor Steve Laffey, is a Republican. And he is the only Rhode Island Senate candidate who voted for George W. Bush in 2004, supports the Iraq war and believes in the magic elixir of Miracle-Gro tax cuts. Laffey's unforgivable sin in the eyes of the national Republican establishment is that he has an even-money chance of defeating antiwar incumbent GOP Sen. Lincoln Chafee in the traditionally low-turnout Sept. 12 party primary. 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 8, 2006

The Late, Great NY Times!

[BREAK] BCP logo Once again, the NY Times proves that its new motto should be "All the news that's fit to print, unless it reflects poorly on an administration run by war criminals seeking to render the Constitution, and America's soul, into crap they can wipe from their boots!" A failed land deal, in which a powerful local politician lost money (Whitewater)? The Times' will run it to death, while peppering the front page with baseless allegations and unconfirmed rumor. A politician (Gore) has a meet and greet in a Buddhist temple . . . the Times will turn it into the story of the year. Don't even get me started on a stained blue dress from the Gap. The Times, and the Republican Congress, could not have given more prominence to an asteroid on a collision course with the Earth. But when it becomes clear that America is using torture, even to the death of captives, the Times figures that anyone searching for a small bra ad from Macy's on page 14 is worthy of hearing that tale. There is much going on in today's Amerika that I wouldn't have fathomed just 6 short years ago. But one thing I find the most telling of our current situation. If you're in NYC and you're looking for unbiased coverage of the Washington political scene, I'd recommend you bring your laptop, as the newspapers aren't what they once were so you'll want to visit news on the Internet. But should you be stuck without a vehicle to drive onto the info superhighway, I'd recommend the NY Post over the NY Times. For whatever reason, the NY Post has been covering the real stories of our ride down the moral roller-coaster on the journey to the section of Hell for citizens that allowed their country to go bad, while the Times has been spraying hot grease on the rails! ===== [/BREAK]
Columbia Journalism Review: Failures of Imagination (9–10/06) by Eric Umansky Media Views New York Times Afghanistan reporter Carlotta Gall overcame her initial reaction to learning the 2002 death of a Bagram Air Base prisoner named Dilawar was a homicide and not simply due to heart attack, as originally claimed by the U.S. military—"I remember gasping and saying, ‘Oh, my God, they killed him.' I hadn’t really been thinking that before.” But Howell Raines and other Times editors found the idea "just hard to get their mind around," despite then-Times foreign editor Roger Cohen having "pitched it, I don’t know, four times at page-one meetings, with increasing urgency and frustration.... My single greatest frustration as foreign editor was my inability to get that story on page one.” More Here

September 9, 2006

9/18/2001 A Day To Live In Infamy!

[BREAK] BCP logo IF you think you're reading too much in the blogosphere about the "Path To 9/11", you're not paying attention. Remember, Bush has suddenly requested a live 15-20 minute interruption of the film's final hour (Eastern Time) to give a speech to the nation. The Repugnants are really scared . . . scared that voters will come out against them in numbers that may be hard to overcome just by corrupting the ballot count in certain areas. Well, if you don't realize how your neighbor can still be swayed by irrational fear, Karl Rove does. So, they have a movie that blames Dems come out, sans commercials, just prior to primaries across the nation and weeks before a big election. Blaming Dems for letting attacks take place (during Bush's presidency?) helps make that neighbor fill a Republican ballot. He'd rather live under a trult fascist regime, rather than chance death defending the Constitution under a Democrat who seems to be in the party at fault for the 9/11 ataacks. Sounds crazy, I know. But with the country divided, just a few confused voters can bring the Repugs close enough to steal another election. Remember, the Dems need a real landslide if they want to be sure of winning; the Repugs are well satisfied with a fairly close [but easily turned] loss. Which brings us to how that same fear can lead to the granting of powers, powers that make the Constitution moot, to someone who promises to keep the bogeyman out of your closet. Let's hope we're rid of our own bogeyman, and get back our country, real soon!! As this writer for the UK Independant reports, we started on a fear/revenge road to America's ruin just a week after 9/11. His whole piece, portions of which I cut into the "Continue reading" part of this entry (below), is well worth a read. While it points to the mess we Americans have managed to make of the planet in the last 6 years, his final paragraph highlights what, to me, is the hope and dream of every patriotic American - to be rid of a President who puts the Constitution in the drawer while he allows America's power to be misused around the globe and her troops to be abused in order to maintain corporate profits of his buds!
scissor.gif - - - - - - - - SNIP Were the Democrats to gain control of the House of Representatives and/or the Senate in the November mid-term elections (not very likely but certainly possible), that would at least restore the separation of powers, allowing a Democratic legislative branch to check and balance the Republican executive. Unless and until that happens, the Bush administration is likely to go on using the images and memories of September 11 to reinforce and justify the enormous boost of power it received on September 18. What further discord this turbocharged presidency may engineer here and in the larger world between now and January 2009 is the stuff of international bad dreams. scissor.gif - - - - - - - - End of SNIPPET

Of course, it's rather bittersweet, reading what you've known to be sad but true
. . . and then finding that only the foreign mainstream media publishes/gets it!

===== [/BREAK]

Continue reading "9/18/2001 A Day To Live In Infamy!" »

September 16, 2006

Using "God" to Damn!

[BREAK] BCP logo Believe what you want, the Pope is not stupid. While he'll certainly give an apology; he knew exactly what reaction his taunt would engender. If a Muslim, Jew or Buddhist had said that all Christ brought to religion was "only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.”, the Pope would lead the chorus of "Off with his/her head!" Yet, historically, a case could be made. Begin with the Inquisition and the Crusades and carry forward to GW Bush grabbing Jesus's coat tails every time he wants to kill and/or a few thousand more people. The fact that some whackos like Osama and Bush use religion as a force for evil should not be cause to condemn whole religions or their founders. ===== [/BREAK]
The Pope’s Words - New York Times Published: September 16, 2006 There is more than enough religious anger in the world. So it is particularly disturbing that Pope Benedict XVI has insulted Muslims, quoting a 14th-century description of Islam as “evil and inhuman.” In the most provocative part of a speech this week on “faith and reason,” the pontiff recounted a conversation between an “erudite” Byzantine Christian emperor and a “learned” Muslim Persian circa 1391. The pope quoted the emperor saying, “Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.” scissor.gif - - - SNIP The Vatican issued a statement saying that Benedict meant no offense and in fact desired dialogue. But this is not the first time the pope has fomented discord between Christians and Muslims. In 2004 when he was still the Vatican’s top theologian, he spoke out against Turkey’s joining the European Union, because Turkey, as a Muslim country was “in permanent contrast to Europe.” scissor.gif - - - End of SNIPPET
More Here

September 18, 2006

Right-Wing + Right "Cross" = Right Turn To Hell!

[BREAK] BCP logo I've liked to think that by keeping myself "aware," by keeping well informed, by reading voraciously, I and a large portion of the beings on this great nation with me have kept ourselves way above the fawning wackos who so eagerly fell for the Anti-Christ, Rapture and Second Coming crowd of fear mongers. We aware ones had no need to even acknowledge, let alone confront, those who so yearned for strict moral leadership that even sanctimonious evil (albeit evil that is poorly camouflaged by a covering cloak manufactured from a hodgepodge of misused religious phraseology and symbols) commanded their adoration and sacrifice. The fact that instead of debating how many angels could dance on the head of a pin, these priests of evil debate how much torture the masses would allow and pretended to care about the Constitution and Geneva Convention protections for detainees. We aware ones just shook our heads while observing how pseudo-moralistic fascist's who spout anti-fascist and oxymoronic rhetoric (Islamo-Fascists!, the Bushies cry) were allowed to confidently order the waste the lives of their most ardent worshiper's sons and daughters by using them as cannon fodder for artificially conceived wars, as the modern day corporate-government sock puppets knew colorful yellow-ribbons, red meat speeches and material carrying a red,white and blue pattern would suffice as reason for the ill informed worshipers. Today's Washington Post story, Corruption That Shook Capitol Isn't Rattling Elections, shows that we forget/forgive so quickly, it's a wonder more politicians don't cross the line. And, yes. Corporatist's have infiltrated both sides of the political spectrum, but there's still some difference between the Repugnants and the Dems.) That miraculous anxiety-numbing salve, of arrogant super-ego mixed with a dollop of disinterested sophistication, that kept many of us sated has been steadily and progressively weakened in the past few years, as more and more people fell under the spell of the war criminals who currently lead much of the Earth's human population. The ability to see right through the smoke and mirrors that Karl Rove and his ilk used to stupefy the masses no longer brings any relief or comfort, as the US is losing two wars, suffering the deaths of thousands of young troops, causing the deaths of a multitude of innocents and making preparations to add a third country to George Bush's death march to a bankrupt Empire. Now that we have placed war, war anytime/anywhere/anyone, above all other priorities, we can not handle any domestic crisis. Ask a homeless Katrina victim, an uninsured sick child, a veteran from Afghanistan/Iraq needing treatment or a 9/11 Ground Zero rescue worker who can't get medical care for his/her scorched lungs or decrepit kidney. Domestic security is in shambles, from poor port security, through flawed flight security to failed programs to protect us from bio-terrorism. And, while America is certainly leading the civilized world in deconstructing back to a more primitive state, it ain't just us yanks going crazy. While some sociopaths use their own warped interpretation on the Koran to try and justify mass murder, we have a Pope who decided to pick at scabs covering centuries of wounds from Christian and Muslim battles, then offended many Jews with his belated apology to the Muslim faithful. In England, our partner in crime and an exhausted ally in Iraq/Afghanistan, the now centrist Labour Party, led by Tony Blair, is holding on by its fingertips, while the Conservatives are salivating over polls that show them taking over Britain. In Germany, neo-Nazism is on the rise, to the point that swastikas are near to becoming a common fashion accessory. In France, escalating discrimination has led to bloody riots. In Darfur, where tens of thousands have died and over 200,000 have fled their country, and in other Hell-On-Earth spots that dot the globe, killing on a scale that could make Hitler envious is proceeding on a daily basis. And the march of right-wing governments are increasing as if contagious. [/BREAK]

Continue reading "Right-Wing + Right "Cross" = Right Turn To Hell!" »

September 21, 2006

Repugnant's Scandals Are But
Teeny, Tiny Blips
On Mainstream Media Radar!

[BREAK] BCP logo You can be certain, were evidence of hundreds of such meetings had been with Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi, the Wash Post would have also only allocated minimal (5 paragraphs) coverage way back on page A-11 of the newspaper.
Right?
===== [/BREAK]
Abramoff Associates, Bush Aides Met Often - washingtonpost.com Associated Press Thursday, September 21, 2006; Page A11 Former associates of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff had dozens of appointments with Bush administration staff members, according to Secret Service visitor logs the White House released yesterday to settle a lawsuit by the Democratic Party and an ethics watchdog group. Republican activists Grover Norquist and Ralph Reed, political allies of President Bush and longtime Abramoff associates, totaled more than 100 visits to the Bush White House. Abramoff, a former GOP lobbyist, has pleaded guilty to fraud and is cooperating with prosecutors in an influence-peddling investigation. White House officials said they believe all their meetings that included Bush were group events, such as Christmas parties or policy briefings for GOP supporters. Among others who visited White House staff members are two former Abramoff lobbying associates who have also pleaded guilty in the ongoing lobbying probe. Neil Volz, an aide to Rep. Robert W. Ney (R-Ohio) before joining Abramoff's lobbying team, had 18 appointments with White House aides. Tony Rudy, an aide to then-Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), visited the Bush White House 13 times. Former Abramoff lobbying associate Kevin Ring, a former aide to Rep. John T. Doolittle (R-Calif.), had 21, and lobbyist Shawn Vasell had 18 -- two this year. White House officials said Norquist, who runs the nonprofit Americans for Tax Reform, was cleared for 97 visits to the White House complex from 2001 to this year, half a dozen including Bush. Reed, former executive director of the Christian Coalition and an unsuccessful candidate for lieutenant governor in Georgia this year, got 18 meetings, including two events with Bush.

To The Moon(ies), Max!

[BREAK] BCP logo Max Blumenthal has a great article on the battle going on at the Mega-Moonie, extremist loving, Washington Times. [/BREAK]
Hell of a 'Times' These are edgy times at the Washington Times. Still one of the most important right-wing organs in the nation, the paper has a circulation base of around 100,000. According to a source close to senior management, in the past two decades it has burned through far more than the $1.7 billion previously reported. During that time its editorial stance has consistently leaned to the hard right, as its favorite targets have ranged from liberal comsymps to President Bill Clinton to, most recently, "illegal aliens" and their allies in the "open borders lobby." Throughout, the Times has served as a major key on the conservative movement's Mighty Wurlitzer. A nasty succession battle is now heating up at the paper, punctuated by allegations of racism, sexism and unprofessional conduct, that has implications far beyond its fractious newsroom. According to several reliable inside sources, Preston Moon, the youngest son of Korean Unification Church leader and Times financier Sun Myung Moon, has initiated a search committee to find a replacement for editor in chief Wesley Pruden--a replacement who is not Pruden's handpicked successor, managing editor Francis Coombs. scissor.gif - - - SNIP Since its founding in 1982 by eccentric cult leader and self-proclaimed Messiah Sun Myung Moon, the Times has been a favorite outlet for the right. President Ronald Reagan granted Times reporters special access to the White House, and he publicly called it his favorite paper--pointedly not the Washington Post. During the Clinton era, the Times helped push media coverage of Ken Starr's ultimately fruitless Whitewater land-deal investigation. It has long served as a nest for fledgling conservative talent like its former editorial page editor Tony Snow, now White House press secretary and a key link between the paper and the Bush Administration. National Review's O'Sullivan told The Nation, "The Times is an extremely important paper for conservatives because it's in Washington and it has great influence with the Administration." In January 2005 Bush hosted Coombs, Pruden and a handful of Times principals for an exclusive interview and tour of the Oval Office. Two months later Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was queried about her presidential ambitions by Pruden, Coombs and several Times reporters at the paper's offices. (Among Rice's revelations was that "shopping is fun.") scissor.gif - - - End of SNIPPET
More Here.

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 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!

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]

Continue reading "Will God Damn Us For Encouraging Critical Thought?" »

October 10, 2006

16 Tons, And What Do You Get?

[BREAK] BCP logo Today, we meet to sell highways to corporate interests. Instead of the fear of virtual toll stations on the Internet, there will be actual toll booths collecting dollars for share holders (who might get cut rate Easy Passes?) While a decade from now, with much luck - and more than a dollop of irony - you may still be pledging allegiance to the flag, you'll be paying for EVERYTHING on a single page bill to a conglomerate composed of Halliburton and, if they are lucky, a few other large political donor corporations. Gas, electric an telephone charges will be but a small portion of your monthly bill. The "National Corporate Conglomeration" will run a subsidiary for-profit corporation for the military, a subsidiary for-profit corporation for the environment, a subsidiary for-profit corporation for the National (FBI) and Local (NYPD) policing, a subsidiary for-profit corporation for the Fire Department, a subsidiary for-profit corporation for blood donor/seller centers, a subsidiary for-profit corporation for sanitation, a subsidiary for-profit corporation for adoption and foster care and a subsidiary for-profit corporation for motor vehicle affairs, etc., etc. and etc. (props to Yul.) Of course, a for-profit military will need to, as such armies have throughout world history, make conquests of countries that can pay a mighty tribute or aid in insuring the power/defense of the mother country/corp, or both. All other corporate-government agencies will need to produce no red ink on their ledgers, and all will be below the great and powerful military corp., probably named The Halliburton Marauders. There will be no more NAFTA, CAFTA or other free trade agreements. The All Earth rules, that disallow unions, minimum wages or other unpatriotic attempts to hinder corporate profits have been outlawed, making trade agreement superfluous. We'll probably still hold elections, but power and duties will have evolved in keeping with the new, and constantly changing/improving reality that morphs on corporate demand. The famous Wall Street bronze Bull has become a religious icon of the fast growing Church of Hedonistic Pleasures (CHP), where membership is dependent on your listing in Forbes. CHP generous offer to take over all education in the US has been gladly accepted by the Clinton/Bush administration, with both Chelsea Clinton and Jenna Bush gushing about all the modern, instantaneous DNA readers on lease from CHP, so that the children will learn how to use.the machines to make any and all purchases. Your corporate credit status is immediately viewed by merchants, and deductions for purchases are made without any financial instruments (cash) ever changing hands. Of course, employers use the same DNA scan to find your age, health history, genetic proclivities, school records (which now really are "permanent records") and all other personal info, prior to hiring anyone. (The "security" uses of such invasive technology raised many questions at the inception. In a stroke of genius, the uber-Corp declared that all activities that might cause a future employer concern, like protest marching, unacceptable speech and complaining about the great and powerful uber-Corp. as being illegal and punishable by a life sentence of working in one of the toxic areas of the planet wherein much of the poisonous, but necessary, goods/chemicals/petroleum plants are located. As the average human lasts but 3-5 years in the soupy environment, this quickly keeps the population of free speech troublemakers to a minimum. Our Presidency will mimic the British Royal Family. She/he will appear at ship launchings, supermarket openings and will ring the quaint old bell at Wall Street, on the 4th of July and Corporate Appreciation Day! The UN will be a place where similarly factotums will meet to discuss the recommendations from the 5 member uber-Corps as to where the next Olympics, World's Fair or uber-Corp board meeting will take place. They will send there views back to the mega luxurious space station Xanadu, where the uber-Corporate board members and the 400 or so trillionaires live a life of unheard of luxury, far from the earth bound, cancer ridden serfs on the depleted planet below. (They believe this is a charitable arrangement, as they'd rather avoid any jealousy that might arise when the starving masses see that, in the hidden class war, winning really was everything.) And to think, it all began when Halliburton began hiring mercenaries in Iraq and corporate toll booths popped up on the Jersey Turnpike! ===== [/BREAK]
Fiscal Advisers Due to Weigh In on Selling New Jersey Turnpike - New York Times By RICHARD G. JONES Published: October 10, 2006 TRENTON, Oct. 9 — For months, Gov. Jon S. Corzine — slipping now and then into the skin of the investment banker that he once was — has talked about finding new ways to generate billions of dollars to help close New Jersey’s growing budget deficits. Next week, state officials may begin to take their first steps using some strategies from Mr. Corzine’s Wall Street past to help shape New Jersey’s financial future. On Monday, a financial consulting company is expected to deliver several recommendations about whether New Jersey should sell off or lease some of the state’s assets, including the New Jersey Turnpike. 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 13, 2006

Brit Biggie Belittles Blair and Bashes Bush's Baghdad Blunder!

[BREAK] BCP logo Great news for America! Even better news for our military!! Devastating news for the already faltering world domination plans of the current Evil Empire administration!!! Britain's top military man, General Sir Richard Dannatt, delivered a broadside against the handling of the Iraq occupation, and pulled no punches as to the devastating effect it is having on the British military AND on Christian values in his homeland.
scissor.gif - - - SNIP His comments come after an exclusive interview with the Daily Mail, where Sir Richard warned that the continuing presence of British troops "exacerbates the security problems" in Iraq and added that a "moral and spiritual vacuum" has opened up in British society, which is allowing Muslim extremists to undermine "our accepted way of life." The Chief of the General Staff believes that Christian values are under threat in Britain and that continuing to fight in Iraq will only make the situation worse. scissor.gif - - - End of SNIPPET.
Here's the DC take on this:
UK Troops Worsen Problems in Iraq: Army Chief - washingtonpost.com By Deborah Haynes and Peter Graff Reuters Friday, October 13, 2006; 5:42 AM LONDON - Britain's top army commander said the presence of British troops in Iraq was exacerbating security problems on the ground and they should be withdrawn soon. In an interview with the Daily Mail newspaper, General Richard Dannatt criticized post-war planning for the 2003 U.S.-led invasion and said the British presence in Iraq also hurt British security interests abroad, which British Prime Minister Tony Blair has repeatedly denied.
More Here
Here's the Brits take, from the Daily Mail:
Army could be broken by Iraq, warns chief officer | the Daily Mail The Army could 'break' if it is kept too long in Iraq and British troops should be withdrawn 'soon', the head of the Army has said today. In a devastating broadside at Tony Blair's foreign policy, General Sir Richard Dannatt said: "I want an Army in five years time and 10 years time. Don't let's break it on this one. Let's keep an eye on time."
And, from this same Daily Mail article, we discover that the Gods of politics seem to love some irony. Check out the name of the British "Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs spokesman"!
scissor.gif - - - SNIP Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs spokesman Michael Moore said: "This is the frankest assessment we have had about Iraq. It illustrates that the government has no clear strategy." scissor.gif - - - End of SNIPPET
More Here
As Repugnants keep using the long ago pictures of the "purple fingers" of Iraqi voters as their proof that attacking, invading and occupying Iraq was a good thing, they always fail to mention that the government the Iraqis voted for was overturned by American puppets, and that more changes to the UNELECTED Iraqi government continue. More Here [/BREAK]

Continue reading "Brit Biggie Belittles Blair and Bashes Bush's Baghdad Blunder!" »

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]

Continue reading "Bill Moyers On Net Neutrality!" »

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.
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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 25, 2006

America: The Land of the (Somewhat Less) Free!

[BREAK] BCP logo Well, Finland, Iceland, Ireland and the Netherlands should be proud. Being listed at the top of the Free Press rankings is something that deserves applause. Of course, places like the Czech Republic (5), Estonia (6), Slovakia (8), Hungary, Slovenia (tied at 10), Latvia (11) and Bosnia and Herzegovina (19) have special reasons for seeing freedom of the press as an important part of keeping their governments in check. If you are a "half-full glass" type of optimist, you might like:
"Each year new countries in less-developed parts of the world move up the Index to positions above some European countries or the United States. This is good news and shows once again that, even though very poor, countries can be very observant of freedom of expression.
If you are, instead, living in the reality based world here in the United States of Unfettered Corporatocracy, you'll see that we have somewhat of a "glass half-empty with a huge crack at the base" kind of problem: From the Washington Post
"The United States has slipped further down the scale in a global press freedom index compiled by Reporters Without Borders."
From Reporters Without Borders:
The United States (53rd) has fallen nine places since last year, after being in 17th position in the first year of the Index, in 2002. Relations between the media and the Bush administration sharply deteriorated after the president used the pretext of “national security” to regard as suspicious any journalist who questioned his “war on terrorism.” The zeal of federal courts which, unlike those in 33 US states, refuse to recognise the media’s right not to reveal its sources, even threatens journalists whose investigations have no connection at all with terrorism. Freelance journalist and blogger Josh Wolf was imprisoned when he refused to hand over his video archives. Sudanese cameraman Sami al-Haj, who works for the pan-Arab broadcaster Al-Jazeera, has been held without trial since June 2002 at the US military base at Guantanamo, and Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein has been held by US authorities in Iraq since April this year.
========== [/BREAK]

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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]

Two All Beef Patties My ASS!

[BREAK] BCP logo Media Matters has posted a memo listing corporations that are demanding that ABC radio make certain none of their commercials are played when ABC affiliates run a program put out by Air America Raidio. (AAR)
Media Matters - ABC memo reveals Air America advertiser blacklist
No matter if you consider yourself a Democrat, a Liberal or hide behind the "Progressive" label, and whether you are a fan of Air America Radio (AAR) or not, having these corporations demand that "NONE of their commercials air during AIR AMERICA programming." should cause you to react with a bit of justifiable anger. If you are as Liberal as I, you consider AAR a more mainstream outlet. One akin to where NPR was, pre-Reagan. Certainly no militant lefty-media bugle. So, if those corporations have no problem with their commercials running during other shows carried on ABC stations, like Hannity, Rush and Michael Weiner (Savage), how dare they demand their ads not run when an Al Frankin or Sam Seder show is run by an ABC affiliate? I only wish there were a radio network Liberal enough to carry a host who might really set corporate teeth on edge, like a Mike Malloy once did on AAR. But AAR, for all the bashing by the right-wing loonies, is really not a radical Liberal war drum. Not agreeing with the shredding of the Constitution by the Bushies and the illegal war in Iraq places AAR with the majority of Americans, according to the recent polls. So, one can only hope that the same majorities who agree with AAR's hosts will now begin looking at the names on that memo when thinking of things to avoid. While I can't really have any effect on the US Navy or the US Postal Service, I'll be skipping McDonalds from now on, and looking at the memo before making other purchases. (Also note that MicroSoft is on the list. If you'll use the "Take back the web" graphic on the top left of this blog's home page, you can kill two birds with a single click! Get the superior Firefox browser, and stick a sharp stick in the faulty MicroSoft Internet Explorer's eye!) [/BREAK]

November 2, 2006

Out Damned Spot!
Or How To Rid Oneself Of
Blood Stains From Iraq Madness?

[BREAK] BCP logo Politics has become much more savvy, both media wise and in psychological terms, to allow what they now consider a major mistake to occur again. The granting of any credit to war protesters for bringing eventual sense to a nation whose people swallowed whole easily refutable lies ended with the Vietnam War. Even today, much is written about how the protests had little or no real effect on ending the war, with hawks saying the American public just "lost its will" or "ran out of patience." We dinosaurs who lived during the period, and, most especially, we who had the soil of Vietnam on our boots and jungle rot . . . in odd places, know better. We left Vietnam for, at least, two reasons, one military and one civilian. The lack of morale was often spoken of by the military leadership in the latter 1960's, and the protests had much to do with that. Not any spitting on returning troops or other horror stories. But the points the protests highlighted. Between moments of Hell, there were times of boredom. During those times, troops read. The read letters, newspapers and books. In Vietnam, we read about the protests, and heard facts we were never taught in Basic, AIT or OCS. There were too many "facts" to list here, but they pointed to reasons we might be fighting, how much money was being generated by the blood of our dead friends and the foibles of the politicians who, even then, lied of gifting "liberty" but led us, and the Vietnamese, down a primrose path to perdition. The protesters had no "gifts" of "liberty" to promise anyone, but the knowledge they highlighted led many of us serving in Vietnam to realize that while patriotism and/or a Draft might place your ass in Vietnam, the reasons for fighting and chancing death and mutilation might have been rather flimsy. And when doubt, especially doubt based on fact, creeps under your tent, your leaders soon realize that its getting to be time to leave. Back home, the protests educated the parents of the protesters. They highlighted the deaths of our relatives, friends and neighbors. While the media had not yet surrendered to the forces of Corporatism, and therefore was reporting much more info on Vietnam than we get today on Iraq, the protests fanned the sparks of outrage that were flaring all over America. And those fires put so much heat on the once war-happy politicians (Republican AND Democratic), that support for the war collapsed. Once enough politicians began marching to the drums of "War, What Is It Good For?", the Congress began cutting the funds that allowed the Vietnam War to continue long after most sane folk realized it was . . . say it with me now . . . A QUAGMIRE! So, the protests were, at minimum, a catalyst that considerably pushed up the end date for that war, saved many American and Vietnamese lives and stopped a financial drain on our treasury that could have led to a true depression. For the reasons above, today's hawks are trying to negate any acknowledgment that those who were, early on, against the illegal attack, invasion and occupation of Iraq might have been right. And that the protests had the same effect as they did in the 60's. That they educated both the troops and the American civilians/electorate of facts with which they were unaware (and that our subservient media was not about to publish.) And, I believe, that's why the pundits and politicians who have finally woken up and smelt the odor of burning American troops and Iraqi civilians in a no-win war are suddenly finding post-invasion reasons for withdrawing today. And they will either say that the early protesters were wrong and that Saddam had to go, or they'll conflate the protesters into their camp and try to make it seem as though the protests were against not the "Why?" of our unwarranted attack on a non-aggressor nation but against the "How" of the ensuing failed strategy that now has us being compared unfavorably to Saddam when it comes to torture and the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocents. Andrew Sullivan has been a great example of these "Get out of Iraq" Johnny come lately's. He's quoted in a story titled After President Meets Reporters, Sullivan -- Once a Bush Backer -- Now Suggests He May Have 'Lost His Mind' by the staff at Editor & Publisher.
No one objectively could look at the way this war has been conducted, whether you were for it, as I was, or against it, and say that it has been done well. It's a disaster. "For him to say it's a fantastic job suggests the president has lost it, I'm sorry, there's no other way to say it.....These people must be held accountable."
Don't let Sullivan put those who "were for it, as I was" into the same tent as those who were "against it". To place all together in a camp complaining about the failed strategy in Iraq would appear to imply that:
  • 1) there was a "winning" strategy for an attack against what was a highly nationalistic AND a 3 way militantly religious country.
  • 2) if we did "win" in Iraq it would have somehow made the attack legitimate and might have caused to protesters to then embrace the original illegal attack in Bush's Baghdad Blunder.
I can't, of course, speak for other protesters. But I believe that even had we sent the "several hundred thousand troops" that General Shinseki estimated we'd need to take and hold secure Iraq, we would have still needed to retain a huge (200,000?) military force in Iraq for the unseeable future, as the granting of "freedom" from Saddam's secular rule would still have allowed the same tribal/religious battles of today to begin. Unlike the dream of easy victory that Sullivan and his ilk pushed for years (and held through the 2004 election, granting us a second term of Bushies), I and many of the protesters with whom I spoke believed that attacking Iraq should have occurred only in one circumstance: Iraq launching an attack against American interests. Being down on Rumsfeld, Cheney or Bush today is easy. You're now in the majority . . . and you know it. (Though, sadly, pundits predict little change in Iraq regrdless of next wee's election's outcomes.) Sullivan changed stripes years and many deaths too late. While I welcome him to the right side of the road, and hope more former Bush cheerleaders will join him, I am not about to grant some form of post-dated heroism onto the people who took so long to open their eyes. Blood is on their hands, and even calling Bush an idiot (Sullivan on Bush's current optimism in the face of stark reality: ""It's unhinged. It suggests this man has lost his mind.")and calling for Rumsfeld's resignation will not cause the stained palms to come clear. Those who helped push us into a war they now wish to disassociate from need to perform some form of penance before I allow them to peacock around as peace-loving sages, so shortly after being warmongering dunces. Let Andrew volunteer at Walter Reed. Or, better still, let him work in one of the "hospitals" the US taxpayer gave billions to Bushie corps to build in Iraq. Helping those he once pushed to kill/maim might make me want to shake Andrew's hand. For now, as crude as it may sound, I could only spit in it. And I'll be damned if I'd allow him to try and form any public coalition between his neo-con con men who used lies and deceit to push us into Iraq and those who protested early and suffered the brickbats thrown in his columns and in those of other recent-day withdrawal worshipers. Too much blood, from 19 year-old American troops and 3 year-old innocent Iraqi children cloud my windshield for me to see clearly to a place where these former cheerleaders sit in places of honor! ========== [/BREAK]
After President Meets Reporters, Sullivan -- Once a Bush Backer -- Now Suggests He May Have 'Lost His Mind' By E&P Staff Published: November 01, 2006 10:00 PM ET NEW YORK In a move that no doubt sent a shiver through several candidates in his own party, President Bush, in a special interview with wire service reporters in the White House, today guaranteed a job for his Pentagon chief for two more years, adding that both Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Cheney "are doing fantastic jobs and I strongly support them." But it wasn't only endangered Republicans who have been calling for Rumsfeld's ouster who may have blanched. Andrew Sullivan, the conservative writer who was once a key media supporter for the Iraq war, denounced the latest Bush statement on CNN on Wednesday night, stating that the president is so delusional, "This is not an election anymore, it's an intervention." Sullivan said the president was "so in denial," comparing the Rumsfeld endorsement to applauding the job FEMA's Michael Brown did on Katrina: "It's unhinged. It suggests this man has lost his mind. No one objectively could look at the way this war has been conducted, whether you were for it, as I was, or against it, and say that it has been done well. It's a disaster. "For him to say it's a fantastic job suggests the president has lost it, I'm sorry, there's no other way to say it.....These people must be held accountable." He added that today, Richard Perle, a leading neocon and Iraq war backer, had today called the administration "dysfunctional."
More Here!

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!

[/BREAK] ==========
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 8, 2006

Gone Fishin!!!

[BREAK] BCP logoGonna take today off, as if it were a new American holiday - In Honor Of Retaining Our Democracy, Our Sanity and, with luck, Our Moral Compass!!! Jack =====
Dem-Win.jpg - 15397 Bytes
A new contract with America | Salon.com GOP corruption and an unpopular war bring an end to Republican domination in Washington -- and leave President Bush answering to a new Democratic majority. By Walter Shapiro Nov. 8, 2006 | "This is not a Republican victory. It's not a Democratic victory. It's about the American people making a set of choices." -- House Speaker-to-be Newt Gingrich in Marietta, Ga., on election night 1994 Twelve years later, the American people have made another set of choices, erasing the once impregnable Sunbelt-based House conservative majority that Gingrich and his successors worked so hard to maintain. But corruption will do that to you -- the outright money-for-favors corruption that pointed two GOP incumbents toward prison, the see-no-evil corruption that caused the House Republican leadership to wink at Mark Foley's preying on congressional pages and, most of all, the corruption of the idea that Congress is an independent branch of government.
=====
Democrats Take House - washingtonpost.com Democrats Take House Two Dozen Seats Gained in House
=====
A Loud Message for Bush - New York Times Everything is different now for President Bush. The era of one-party Republican rule in Washington ended with a crash in yesterday’s midterm elections, putting a proudly unyielding president on notice that the voters want change, especially on the war in Iraq.
=====
A Voter Rebuke For Bush, the War And the Right - washingtonpost.com
=====
Democrats Promise Broad New Agenda - washingtonpost.com
=====
The Democratic House - New York Times There was only one explanation for the crazy-quilt combination of victories around the country that gave the Democrats control of the House of Representatives last night: an angry shout of repudiation of the Bush White House and the abysmal way the Republican majority has run Congress.
===== And here's some icing on that American cake!
South Dakotans Reject Tough Abortion Ban - washingtonpost.com
[/BREAK]

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

November 27, 2006

Perverted Penguins Panic Paranoid Prayer People!

[BREAK] BCP logo Media Matters has a good take on the current flap over our web footed friends. ( Media Matters - The War on Christmas Penguins) Seems that penguins are really getting on the Repugnant's nerves. This time, it is due to the pro environment background in the movie. Earlier this month, it was about two male penguins who "adopted" and raised an orphaned penguin chick. The penguins "mated" for a time, but, eventually, one moved on to a hot female bird! But tree-hugging, or same sex hugging, little guys in tuxes have the right-wing all aflutter. Now, whatever your religion, or lack of one, if there is an all wise God/Gods/Thing/Spirit, It/They/He/She/Whatever is laughing They/Its/His/Her/Whatevers head(s) off at the utter stupidity and downright arrogant ignorance of the species that claims to be the highest intelligence on one of the billions upon billions of rocks hurtling through the universe. A portrayal of Gay and/or environmentalist (cartoon???) penguins threaten our way of life? Of course, biologists tell us that, like the all-mighty human animal, our more wild fellow denizens of the planet have a 10% to 20% "gay" population also. Ironically, though, in this well publicized case, the demonic penguins who want to take our kids to a wicked place aren't even Gay, in the more literal sense. As Ellen S (a member of a daily news mailing list I put out) pointed out in a reply to the original news story on this that I had forwarded a while back:
So, to use accurate lingo, the penguins weren't gay or bi, they were MSM's - (Men who have sex with men) like guys in jail just because that's what's available...
On a related note, I recall in high school how a guy tried to berate me for having a gay friend [Buddy R. - who wore bright clothing and worshiped Judy Garland - yet it took over a year before I figured out he was gay?] The guy said to me "You just don't get it, Ballinger. Your friend is a perve. Can you think of anything as gross and disgusting as what 2 gay men do?" In my one brush with brilliant repartee, I replied: "Yeah, I remember being 10 and having an older guy tell me how a man and a woman made babies. My God, I had never heard anything so disgusting ! . . and it took years - about 2 1/2 if I remember right - before I completely changed my mind on that subject. Just think, maybe you'll do an about face on this subject in just a couple of years." [/BREAK]

January 24, 2007

NY Times Emerges As Innocent
After Trip Down The Memory Hole!

[BREAK] BCP logo
NY Times: Where all the news that fits (our wished for image) we print!
Okay, in our gut we all know that "nostalgia" is just our way of looking at the past through some user-friendly form of Alzheimer's. We tend to forget the bad, exaggerate the good and, in the end, find ourselves to be either the hero/ine of that chapter, or, at the very least, an innocent bystander in anything that reflects badly on the participants. But a news organization, at least one that claims to have any standards at all (you're off the hook on this, Fox News, NY Post etc.?), must remember relevant facts that must be emphasized in any editorializing, even if such facts cast a harsh light on that same news outlet. Well, the standards for newspapers keeps getting lowered.
In the wake of 9/11, Mr. Bush had a second chance to rally the nation — and the world — only to squander it on a pointless, catastrophic war in Iraq.
When the icon of national news in the US, even after giving a grudgingly half-hearted apology for its HUGE part in granting uncritical and factually flawed justification for our attack, invasion and occupation of Iraq, can now point to Bush's Baghdad Blunder with scorn, yet leave it's own role unspoken, we MUST take time for a reality check. I, along with hundreds of thousands of others, marched in NYC on February 15, 2003 . . . a month prior to Bush launching us on his Iraq blunder.
We ALL knew that, had we depended on the verbiage in the NY Times alone, we would have never crowded 1st, 2nd and 3rd Avenue in NYC that cold day. We would have been home, waiting for our courageous leader to launch an attack on Osama's buddy, on the holder of tons and tons of WMD. And we would have been willing to shed much of our kids' blood in order to prevent Saddam from launching a fleet of lethal gas/chemical/biological agent bearing drones that would cross the vast ocean and kill hundreds of thousands of us. Yep, that's what a faithful NY Times reader would have done . . . had (s)he only garnered info from the gray lady of US media. Fortunately, those marching had a less parochial view. They had access to the leading media from around the world. And, many had been granted the tools of critical thought by their teachers - long before No Child Left Behind took critical thought off the table. So, despite the war drums beating from 42nd street, the world saw the largest display of disenchantment with government (US/UK) policy ever! And the Times yawned, and pointedly ignored the whole thing. In fact, readers of the Times, back then, would have little trouble catching the inference that those against the Iraq madness were ill-informed dupes who were committing a treason based on ignorance, or worse. Now, years after it refused to acknowledge those dissenters, it has suddenly jumped into the group shot of those that said "NO!" And, after years of the Times being a pamphlet composed of the slogans of Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld, the Times now writes as if it were a Bush critic from day 1! Nostalgia sure is a soothing balm. I'm now going to remember the days in High School, when I was a lady killing machine. (If you think you remember me as a skinny, pimple-faced, rather shy guy, you are so not in that same "as you wished it were" memory hole as I, and the editors at the Times.) JB =====
The State of the Union - New York Times Editorial The State of the Union Published: January 24, 2007 The White House spin ahead of George W. Bush’s seventh State of the Union address was that the president would make a bipartisan call to revive his domestic agenda with “bold and innovative concepts.” The problem with that was obvious last night — in six years, Mr. Bush has shown no interest in bipartisanship, and his domestic agenda was set years ago, with huge tax cuts for wealthy Americans and crippling debt for the country.
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 26, 2007

Modern Tower/Quagmire of Babel?

[BREAK] BCP logoWell, after a half-century of American pressure/involvement, in an area that has long been friendly to America, we MIGHT have a chance to work out an agreement between people/neighbors who speak our language and are of the same country/background/history in Ireland. I see this as boding not so well for our successful involvement with people who despise us, have no common ancestry [unless we go back to a monkey's uncle somewhere near the garden of Eden? . . . and that would only count to those, on all sides, who believe in Darwin!], don't share our views/God/tastes/culture and whom almost all have lost loved ones [or had some tortured] by us. I'm guessing that sometime around the first ship lands from our farms on Mars America might begin withdrawing her last troops from Baghdad! JB ===== [/BREAK]
Days of Decision in Ulster - New York Times Editorial Days of Decision in Ulster Published: January 26, 2007 The militant Irish republican Gerry Adams and the fire-breathing unionist preacher Ian Paisley have long symbolized the irreconcilable extremes of Ulster politics. But over the next few days, they have the chance to lead the province into a new era of democratic self-rule.
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

January 31, 2007

Spitting In The Wind!

[BREAK] BCP logoMedia Matters has been doing a bang-up job of following the saga of Cpl. Joshua Sparling, a wounded veteran back home from Iraq. Normally, I'd have enough respect for the service the soldier provided to give him a lot of slack, as far as any disparity in our views on the war or any other differences of opinion we might have. And, as he is a seriously wounded returnee, I'd stand silent as he'd bash my views on Iraq, Bush and anything else he might like. But when his false celebrity gets to the point that he can harm the whole anti-war movement, and thereby give a boost to Bush's Baghdad Blunder, with just a little well played mendacity, other vets should take him to task. This guy Sparling is a disgrace. He's changed his story numerous times, going from "one protester spit at" him to "many protesters spit on" him. On top of that, he's kinda stuck saying that the first "spitter" wore an 82nd Airborne patch, as he had said it the first time and saw it added to the reporters excitement.
OF COURSE IT DID!
Any idiot would be struck by the incongruity of a war protester who, supposedly, despised the troops (or just disturbed troops like Spurling?) wearing the patch of the military he despised??? I'm one of those with a story of being dissed when I returned from 'Nam. No spitting; just a cabdriver refusing service when he discovered I had just that moment returned. But others had worse stories of harassment. The country was torn, with some (VERY FEW) blaming the "baby killer" troops, by proxy. A guy like Spurling, or Vietnam Vets who exaggerate their trauma at being dissed at home, cast doubt on, and cause more suffering to, those who were really harmed by idiots who can't discriminate between the tool of war and the maniacs who are elected and wield the tools. JB ===== [/BREAK]
Media Matters - Still more questions for the NY Times regarding the alleged spitting incident Still more questions for the NY Times regarding the alleged spitting incident As Media Matters for America noted, in a January 29 article, The New York Times' Ian Urbina reported that a protestor spit "at the ground near" Cpl. Joshua Sparling, a wounded Iraq war veteran, during the January 27 anti-Iraq war protest in Washington, D.C. But the article offered no details regarding the alleged incident, giving rise to several unanswered questions, which Media Matters laid out. Sparling appeared on the January 29 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes and the January 30 edition of Fox & Friends and gave his own version of the events, contradicting some aspects of the Times' reporting.
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

Moving Deeper Into Quicksand
. . . But Doing So Smartly?

[BREAK] BCP logoAs if there weren't enough similarities between the Vietnam and Iraq wars. Kennedy's "Whiz Kids", who were often referred to as "The Best and the Brightest", were likely the most educated groups of advisers ever to aid a President in the conduct of a guerrilla war. While it is always good to have intelligent advisers, people working under a President often conform their advice into something palatable to the Commander in Chief. Asking them for advice on how best to escalate, when that can only move you deeper into a quagmire, is, as Vietnam proved, just a way to lose more young American lives so the tough decisions are left to future administrations. JB ===== [/BREAK]
Officers With PhDs Advising War Effort - washingtonpost.com Officers With PhDs Advising War Effort By Thomas E. Ricks Washington Post Staff Writer Monday, February 5, 2007; Page A01 Gen. David H. Petraeus, the new U.S. commander in Iraq, is assembling a small band of warrior-intellectuals -- including a quirky Australian anthropologist, a Princeton economist who is the son of a former U.S. attorney general and a military expert on the Vietnam War sharply critical of its top commanders -- in an eleventh-hour effort to reverse the downward trend in the Iraq war.
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

Mission Impossible? Yep!

[BREAK] BCP logoJust about every expert agrees that the ONLY way to win against an insurgency is to be able to gain the trust of the vast majority of the population. (As I can attest from my own experience in Vietnam, doing so without an interpreter is damn near impossible. But, that's just one of the myriad of problems we face in Bush's Baghdad Blunder!) After attacking, invading and occupying their country, and after they've seen the results of our torture policy, cluster bombings and the outrageous actions committed by the unfettered contracted security forces our corporations use, we are so reviled in Iraq that we'd have a better chance of successfully pairing up Michael Moore and Ann Coulter than gaining the affections of the civilian populace. In todays Wash Post, we read how an Iraqi Army Major's wife, who holds a master's degree in English translation, fears "death" when asked if she'd work with Americans. And her fear is NOT of being targeted by insurgents:
"With you? No. Not with you. Do I want to die?" she said. "I am afraid of you, I'm sorry."
When you can't win the single "heart and mind" of an English speaking allied officer's wife, your chances are much diminished as far as dealing with a farmer whose crops and livestock you've bombed, or whose children your bombs have crippled/killed. As the soldier said:
Faced with an often distrustful, frightened populace, members of the task force said they doubted that adding thousands more U.S. troops would change this frustrating dynamic. One soldier, on his second tour in Iraq, said the attitude of the Iraqi civilians toward the Americans continues to deteriorate.
JB ===== [/BREAK]
U.S. Unit Walks 'A Fine Line' In Iraqi Capital - washingtonpost.com U.S. Unit Walks 'A Fine Line' In Iraqi Capital By Joshua Partlow Washington Post Foreign Service Tuesday, February 6, 2007; Page A01 BAGHDAD, Feb. 5 -- The camouflaged American soldiers, weary from hours of struggling to talk with Iraqis during a patrol in eastern Baghdad, laughed with relief after an Iraqi army major's wife met them at her door. The soldiers had no interpreter. She had a master's degree in English translation. "Do you want to work for the Americans?" asked U.S. Army Lt. Anthony Slamar, 26. "Do you want a job as a translator?" The woman stepped back into her darkened doorway. "With you? No. Not with you. Do I want to die?" she said. "I am afraid of you, I'm sorry."
More here

February 7, 2007

Yes, we'll have no restrictions/conscience!

[BREAK] BCP logoOf course the US didn't sign on to a long-negotiated treaty prohibiting governments from holding people in secret detention. The other 57 civilized nations who thought secret detention was an abomination did not have the same baggage as we do.
The United States declined to endorse the document, saying its text did not meet U.S. expectations.
Of course it didn't meet our expectations. When it comes to restrictions, ANY restrictions, of actions by sovereign powers, the Bushies expect the final sentence to read: "The US, under GW Bush, is hereby exempted from any and all restrictions contained herein." The Repugnants cringe when they read:
Louise Arbour, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, said the treaty was "a message to all modern-day authorities committed to the fight against terrorism" that some practices are "not acceptable."
You see, as with the many Geneva Conventions, International Courts/law, UN resolutions and all other treaties and agreements the US joined, once Emperor Bush was elected/selected, things changed. We are now the class bully, and God help any other/weaker country that tries to stop us from committing (what those wimpy countries refer to as) crimes against humanity! JB ---
U.S. Declines to Join Accord on Secret Detentions - washingtonpost.com U.S. Declines to Join Accord on Secret Detentions 58 Nations Sign Separate Pact On Child Soldiers By Molly Moore Washington Post Foreign Service Wednesday, February 7, 2007; Page A14 PARIS, Feb. 6 -- Representatives from 57 countries on Tuesday signed a long-negotiated treaty prohibiting governments from holding people in secret detention. The United States declined to endorse the document, saying its text did not meet U.S. expectations. Louise Arbour, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, said the treaty was "a message to all modern-day authorities committed to the fight against terrorism" that some practices are "not acceptable."
More here [/BREAK]

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!
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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.
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