Tuesday, January 31, 2006
The American Prospect has a short article about the Academy Award winning documentary Marjoe. This was about a famous young faith healing evangelical preacher Marjoe who came clean. It's all a scam based on tricks and basic psychology.
I had heard about the film and national magazines had articles but never saw it. It turns out the distributor was afraid to show it in the South. Finally it is being shown again and also being released on DVD.
Here is an interview with Marjoe about sudden personality change, the Holy Spirit, and the power of rhetoric.
Monday, January 30, 2006
The Republicans needed 60 votes to prevail on Bill Frist's cloture motion. They got 72. Democrats voting in favor of cloture -- which is to say, against a filibuster -- included Daniel Akaka, Max Baucus, Jeff Bingaman, Robert Byrd, Maria Cantwell, Tom Carper, Byron Dorgan, Daniel Inouye, Tim Johnson, Herb Kohl, Mary Landrieu, Joe Lieberman, Blanche Lincoln, Ben Nelson, Bill Nelson, Jay Rockefeller and Ken Salazar. [I've highlighted surprises to me.]Major hurts for the filibuster campaign was the well-planned and well-executed GOP media campaign and that last Wednesday the Senate Dem caucus decided not to filibuster. Under intense pressure from activists Kerry and Kennedy from the most liberal state did a fast reverse and mounted a weak last minute attempt.
There were no defections among Democrats with an eye on the White House in 2008
My opinion: The DC Democrats don't get it. Most are still trying to play like the GOP hasn't become a ravenous beast demanding more and more power.
WP buried at the end of an article on the science of politics:
The analysis found that substantial majorities of Americans, liberals and conservatives, found it more difficult to associate black faces with positive concepts than white faces -- evidence of implicit bias. But districts that registered higher levels of bias systematically produced more votes for Bush.
"Obviously, such research does not speak at all to the question of the prejudice level of the president," said Banaji, "but it does show that George W. Bush is appealing as a leader to those Americans who harbor greater anti-black prejudice."
"If anyone in Washington is skeptical about these findings, they are in denial," he said. "We have 50 years of evidence that racial prejudice predicts voting. Republicans are supported by whites with prejudice against blacks. If people say, 'This takes me aback,' they are ignoring a huge volume of research."
Sunday, January 29, 2006
The Democratic leadership and the public interest groups did not prepare well for the filibuster battle. Right now victory will be preventing Alito from being confirmed before the Tuesday night State of the Union. That is beginning to appear likely.
Some relevant lefty blog comments.
MyDD :: You Don't Get Points for Trying.
America Blog is mad at and disappointed in the DC Democrats and the multi-million dollar non-profits who should have been leading this fight.
The aggressive progressives at Democrat.com have been leading this fight and have the contact numbers.
Digby - Democrats felt the pressure from the people to do the right thing regardless of the tittering congnoscenti.
Raw Story: Liberal bloggers push hard for filibuster.
"The intensity of the internet response on this has been beyond belief," georgia10 told RAW STORY in an email. "Constituents have raised so much support for the filibuster--Senators' mailboxes are full, inboxes are overflowing, fax machines are running out of paper, and phone lines are ringing off the hook. Considering each internet activist represents not only their own concerns, but the concerns of millions of Americans, the support for a filibuster is astounding."
Current Daily Kos numbers to call. Shut down the switchboards on Monday.
Saturday, January 28, 2006
What's the matter with What's the Matter with What's the Matter with Kansas?
A big demographic argument over definitions of white working class and why they have turned Republican, or have they? I am with Ruy Teixeira here, its the education, stupid. They have turned GOP.
Among non-college-educated whites with $30,000 - $50,000 in household income, Bush beat Kerry by twenty-four points (62 percent to 38 percent); among college-educated whites at the same income level, Kerry actually managed a 49 percent to 49 percent tie. And among non-college-educated whites with $50,000 - $75,000 in household income, Bush beat Kerry by a shocking forty-one points (70 percent to 29 percent), while leading by only five points (52 percent to 47 percent) among college-educated whites at the same income level.Purely coincidentally my sister getting her online college degree coincided with her reluctant switch back to the Democrats. She still feels Democrats are too influenced by anti-religious and minority groups. She just feels the Republicans are more crooked and beholden to very big corporations and the very wealthy.
Ruy Teixeira's latest weekly package covers "values" and the favorable Democratic Party ID trend from Gallup. This also has a bearing on What's the Matter with Kansas and even the gay marriage and family values debate. Poorer communities do feel families are threatened because they actually are more unstable. The most liberal on gay rights are richer lower divorce rate states like Massachusetts.
I, Cringely -- The Falafel Connection: This is far from the first instance of such unartful phone tapping, as my friend Mike Class reports from Chicago. Though I didn't know it until we'd been e-mailing back and forth for years, Mike is the Socius to the Provincial -- effectively the number two Jesuit in the Windy City:
"Here's one more tidbit on wire-taps: They get you free phone service! The feds tapped the phone of the Sisters of Mercy in Washington D.C. because of some anti-war stance or something they took in the 1980s. The good sisters noticed some kind of clicking on the phone at times, and finally decided that someone must have tapped into their phone. Their solution: Don't pay the bill so the phone company will have to shut off the phone. The phone never went dead, and they quit sending them bills! The Feds wouldn't let Ma Bell shut them down, and probably began paying the bills. The sisters talked long and free with their friends across the country!"
American Institutes for Research has a new study that shows even our college students are dumb.
Twenty percent of U.S. college students completing 4-year degrees – and 30 percent of students earning 2-year degrees – have only basic quantitative literacy skills, meaning they are unable to estimate if their car has enough gasoline to get to the next gas station or calculate the total cost of ordering office supplies, according to a new national survey by the American Institutes for Research (AIR).In reading the report I was struck that only 13% of all American adults are proficient enough in literacy to compare viewpoints in two editorials.
Nothing Matters and What If It Did had the popular press version of this story from the AP on ABC News and it made her sick.
More than half of students at four-year colleges and at least 75 percent at two-year colleges lack the literacy to handle complex, real-life tasks such as understanding credit card offers, a study found.
The literacy study funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, the first to target the skills of graduating students, finds that students fail to lock in key skills no matter their field of study.
The results cut across three types of literacy: analyzing news stories and other prose, understanding documents and having math skills needed for checkbooks or restaurant tips.
WE CAN STOP ALITO THIS WEEKEND Democrats.com
The White House and the mainstream press have been pushing the story this is a futile cause. It is a last minute chance for Senate Democrats to wake up or lose their base. Do they think anyone respects them if they don't ever fight for principles?
Hillary has come on board.
The always responsible Ann Coulter suggests another tactic for the right - poison.
Call your Senators to tell them to Filibuster Alito: 888-818-6641 / 888-355-3588 / 800-426-8073
Filibuster, How To (only you can make it happen!) has a good list of priorities.
Alito must get 60 Yes votes to pass. Unlikely unless the Democrats wimp out.
Friday, January 27, 2006
The American Prospect conducted an extensive analysis and Indian tribes reduced giving to Democrats after hiring Abramoff. This is a GOP scandal.
The analysis shows that when Abramoff took on his tribal clients, the majority of them dramatically ratcheted up donations to Republicans. Meanwhile, donations to Democrats from the same clients either dropped, remained largely static or, in two cases, rose by a far smaller percentage than the ones to Republicans did. This pattern suggests that whatever money went to Democrats, rather than having been steered by Abramoff, may have largely been money the tribes would have given anyway.
The Boondocks Episode 9 - Return of the King - animated video
In an alternate history Martin Luther King did not die but fell into a coma until the year 2000. He is unhappy in the new America and moves to Canada.
The totally irrelevant Al Sharpton did not like it. The Boondocks has been renewed for a new season.
Internet Archive has an interesting educational film about despotism made in 1946. I would recommend one of the downloads as the streams are not working well.
This has been updated in Despotism Today (2005).
Rob Parish has another slightly better video remix.
Both remixes could be improved.
Link was originally from Boing-Boing.
The Heretic Test?
I think most readers here will score as a heretic so this is more a what type of heresy do you follow quiz.
I scored as Pelagianism.
You are a Pelagian (more). You reject ideas about man's fallen human nature and believe that as a result we are able to fully obey God. You are the first Briton to contribute significantly to Christian thought, but you're still excommunicated in 417.
I found very few things I could agree with on the test.
Looking up Pelagian sites I see Google Ads that refer one to Biblical Unitarianism. This is the heresy of rejecting the Trinity through Bible verses. That one is too easy as it is the Trinity that is hard to support.
I am more impressed with Biblical Universalism. This rejects the concept of Hell, eternal punishment by a loving God. Say what? That one is also too easy.
Bible! Verses with universalist readings:
1 Tim 2:4 - salvation of all desired
1 Tim 2:6 - Christ was ransom for all
1 Tim 4:10 - Christ was savior of all, especially (and therefore not limited to) those who believe
1 Cor 15:22 - all made alive in Christ
1 Cor 15:27 - all subject to him
Phil 2:10-11 - all will worship him
Col 1:20 - all reconciled in Christ
Romans 5 (cf 1 John 2:2) - all justified and made righteous
2 Cor 5:19 - all reconciled
Romans 11:32 - all receive mercy
Eph 1:9-10 - all gathered up in him
Verses with limitarian readings:
2 Th 1:9
2 Th 2:10
As a follower of Unitarian Universalism I can find inspiration from other religious traditions and from nature, science, spiritualism and philosophy as well. You may discern some good and bad things about this freedom. Typical questions include: are you free to believe anything you want? Can you define strong reasons to be moral? I think most UU's would answer no and yes.
A religious characteristic about UU's are the sacraments of coffee and discussion groups. One of the many topics for discussion may be the Bible. Many if not most UU's are no longer much impressed with the Bible and would prefer a better edited, more uplifting, and more tolerant Holy Book.
The most extreme example of this would be a crusader against the Bible. I had a friend Mosch Virshup who set out to write a better Bible. His first priority was moral teachings - this time in a hierarchal order. He felt that was a big flaw in the Bible. Here is a wayback look at some related documents in Writings at Her Feet. He became convinced the Bible had very few good moral teachings and many immoral ones. Now this is a heretic!
Heretics are more reviled by religions than heathens. A heretic is someone who knows your religion and rejects some of its teachings. Much preferable are those who do not know your religion and can be converted. It is felt that heretics by rejecting official doctrine and having knowledge and ability that could be used to gain followers must be destroyed.
Unitarian Universalists have become the most well-known of the Christian heretics. UU's are also well educated, tolerant and liberal. This is contra to the dominant American Christian community. Evangelicals are increasingly anti-science, intolerant and conservative. Many Christians will say they are not like that and even say their Church community is not like that. However, I don't think they can deny the dominant voices in the American media are the Christian leaders who are.
I am somewhat encouraged by more moderate and liberal Christian organizations trying to gain a larger voice. I subscribe to the Sojourners email list to keep up with developments. Other people I know subscribe to Beliefnet which covers nearly all faiths.
Some liberals have expressed strong reservations about Beliefnet. It is such a large site there is probable something for most people somewhere but the main page articles have a conservative bias.
Today, for example, I see an editor for the National Review writing about how it is OK for a memoir to contain lies to illuminate a larger truth and tell a good story. This is exactly the position I would expect from him. ("David Klinghoffer, a frequent contributor to National Review, often uses selective readings from rabbinical tradition to push neocon doctrine.") Neocons are frequently philosophical followers of Leo Strauss and follow his belief that elites are obligated to tell lies to keep the support of the ignorant masses.
Frequently in religion and politics I believe you'll find the biggest heresy of all is the truth. That is what happened to me in my investigation into religion. I felt I didn't know enough about the history of Christianity. Perhaps unfortunately I also continued a habit I learned of reading sources from both sides of an issue. As I got deeper and deeper into the murk of early Christianity I was shocked. There was the dawning realization that in many ways the Christian religion was determined by a small group of early church leaders seeking power. They had little regard for the truth. Taking advantage of what we would now call a police-state they established the official state religion and removed all dissent. I was in shock when I realized after about two years of study that the simple answer was they lied. They lied and then removed all the evidence they could of their lies with the power of the Empire behind them. Saints were made of those who burned libraries and many of the church leaders led sweeps to burn or alter texts that didn't support their doctrine.
Seek truth, but be warned: heresy can be easy to catch. Would you rather know the truth or be happy? Should you tell others the truth if it makes them unhappy? Are big lies necessary for some people? These are the type of questions heretics must answer. Decide what type or kind of heretic you should be.
Thursday, January 26, 2006
I know the article is completely correct but isn't there some self-interest on view?
Writer and reporter David Neiwert:
I broke my longstanding policy of not donating money to political parties last fall when the folks from the DNC called and asked for money to help gird them for the upcoming fights over judicial seats. I was assured that indeed they would fight to keep right-wing extremists off the Supreme Court.The Democrats as the lyin' ass boyfriend party here.
And now, faced with a clear-cut extremist (and dissembler) who is about to not only overturn the right to obtain an abortion, but also to pave the path for an imperial executive branch with limitless powers ... nothing.
I'm not terribly inclined, as my readers know, to use profanity in my posts. But if the Democratic Party wants any more of my money, they can just go f*** themselves.
This just in. Senator Byrd who had picked up an immense amount of grassroots support opposing the war and opposing the Imperial Presidency of Bush, has destroyed his credibility by announcing his support for Alito. How can you support the decisive vote on the Supreme Court going to a man who supports a President with unlimited authority?
How can any Democrat or any progressive support Senators Byrd, Nelson and Johnson? Not only will they not filibuster they have announced support for Alito.
Cross-posted at Daily Kos.
Kerry to lead a filibuster.
Hamas with majority of seats to form government in Palestine
The religious group which has vowed to establish a religious state and remove Israel from the map is now the official government. They are also known for their support of suicide bombings.
The near majority party in Iraq is closely tied to Iran and the new constitution follows religious law. Iran itself has become more conservative and opposed to both Israel and the United States in the last elections. Iran may feel confident it can avoid military confrontation over its nuclear program due to its influence in Iraq. If the US supports an attack on Iran the Iranian-linked Shiites could lead an even larger uprising.
Do the neo-cons have any more of their great ideas they want to try? Democracy does need mean a more peaceful Middle East if we continue to pursue the wrong policies and the wrong rhetoric. Much of the turning away from the US is the rhetoric coming from this administration as well as the misguided policies. It is popular now to be anti-US in most places in the world.
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Whoa, "I don't support our troops" is just asking for hate mail. I also disagree. The troops did not ask for an idiotic incompetent President.
In an alternate reality Mallard Fillmore is actually funny.
At one time the Houston Chronicle ran Doonesbury on the editorial page. When they acquired the right-wing Mallard they put him on the comics page. It was years before they moved Doonesbury to the comics pages to join Mallard the right wing loon. The Houston Chronicle made a smart decision about that time to have one of the largest if not the largest comics pages in the country.
ADDED - Here is some good commentary on newspaper comics pages. And here are just some of the Houston Chronicle comics - they allow you to create your own personal pages.
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Sounding more like a Democrat all the time Comptroller Rylander nails Texas Homebuilders Commission. She does this in a letter to Rep. Todd Smith in which she states that her office's research shows that the Texas Residential Construction Commission (TRCC) functions as a builder protection agency.
Carole Strayhorn writes in the letter:
In fiscal 2005, the agency spent $3.7 million on its operations. That same year, the agency collected $6.6 million from builders and homeowners. As a result, the agency transferred $2.9 million to the general fund, effectively helping balance the general state budget on the backs of homeowners.
In the next two years, the agency is estimated to raise about $9.7 million a year from its fees and spend only $4.2 million a year, meaning that the agency will be putting more money in the general budget than it does into doing its job.
For these reasons, if it were up to me personally, I would blast this TRCC builder-protection agency off the bureaucratic books.
A pretty damning 50-page report is attached to the letter - PDF file..
The Houston Chronicle reports on it:
"It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize what a trick the TRCC was," said John Cobarruvias, president of the Texas chapter of Homeowners Against Deficient Dwellings and president of the Bay Area New Democrats. "Now we got a state agency backing us up. That's great."
In a review conducted at the request of Rep. Todd Smith, R-Bedford, the comptroller said, among other things, the construction commission:
•Fails to hold builders accountable for construction defects.
•Needs public members on the commission who don't have ties to the industry.
•Shouldn't charge fees to consumers who use the agency's dispute resolution process.
Consumer groups also released a report that showed who bought this protection racket mandated by the state legislature:
The homebuilders contributed in total over the last 4 years to state executive and legislative candidates, parties, and PACs at least $8.9 million in identifiable contributions.
Over this period, the homebuilders contributed at least $1,009,162 to the state’s leadership (the Governor, Lt. Governor, and Speaker).
They contributed at least $238,450 to the 16 members of the committees that approved the new law (House Regulated Industries and Senate Business & Commerce).
Perry of Perry Homes has the governor in his pocket and most of the state legislature being Texas's largest campaign contributor - at least $6,897,250 since January 2001.
Perry doesn't only like Texas Republicans. His national donations in 2004 totaled over $2.5 million dollars. This year his 527 organization is trying to get Judge Alito confirmed. In 2004 his Swift Vote Liars, exposed here, was well worth his over one million dollars and his 1.5 million bought the most effective TV ad of the campaign - "Ashley's story."
Texas Observer: The Agency that Bob Perry built.
This is Bob Perry's agency, bought and paid for through our elected Texas representatives and their need for campaign donations.
Let's have another look at that wargame. Look at the results and what we learned.
"After all this effort, I am left with two simple sentences for policymakers," Sam Gardiner said of his exercise. "You have no military solution for the issues of Iran. And you have to make diplomacy work."
Monday, January 23, 2006
Former Abu Ghraib Guard Calls Top Brass Culpable for Abuse
Stepping into the Abu Ghraib prison for the first time, Megan Ambuhl was stunned. There were naked men in dusty cells, male prisoners wearing women's underwear, others hooded and shackled in contorted positions to metal railings.
An enlisted officer giving her a tour of the U.S. facility in October 2003 pointed to a group of detainees chained to a cell. He said the bars had often "been decorated like a Christmas tree," with prisoners as ornaments.
Ambuhl says she and other MPs used aggressive techniques against detainees because that is what military intelligence soldiers and civilian interrogators told her to do.
She described a "roster board" that included which military intelligence "treatment" to give to certain detainees and said trainers from the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, taught the MPs how to put detainees in "stress positions." She said military intelligence officials told them to keep detainees naked, embarrass them or make them exercise until they reached exhaustion.
Military officials "have been trying to conceal that it was a policy that spiraled out of control," Ambuhl said, a rare moment of anger rising in her voice. "They made us out to be the cause of every ill in Iraq."
UK Guardian - "Widespread Abuse":
The sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison was not an invention of maverick guards, but part of a system of ill-treatment and degradation used by special forces soldiers that is now being disseminated among ordinary troops and contractors who do not know what they are doing, according to British military sources.
The techniques devised in the system, called R2I - resistance to interrogation - match the crude exploitation and abuse of prisoners at the Abu Ghraib jail in Baghdad.
One former British special forces officer who returned last week from Iraq, said: "It was clear from discussions with US private contractors in Iraq that the prison guards were using R2I techniques, but they didn't know what they were doing."
"The crucial difference from Iraq is that frontline soldiers who are made to experience R2I techniques themselves develop empathy. They realize the suffering they are causing. But people who haven't undergone this don't realize what they are doing to people. It's a shambles in Iraq".
The British former officer said the dissemination of R2I techniques inside Iraq was all the more dangerous because of the general mood among American troops.
"The feeling among US soldiers I've spoken to in the last week is also that 'the gloves are off'. Many of them still think they are dealing with people responsible for 9/11".
ABC NEWS has removed this but I can track people referring to it:
The photographs show a 52-year-old former Baath Party official, Nadem Sadoon Hatab, who died at the detention center last June after a three-day period in which he was allegedly subjected to beatings and karate kicks to the chest and left to die naked in his own feces.
RUSH LIMBAUGH - Abu Ghraib: Fraternity 'Hazing', a.k.a. 'Not as Bad as Saddam'
"Hours before President George W. Bush announced plans to address the Arab world to condemn the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. military personnel at the Abu Ghraib prison, Rush Limbaugh justified the U.S. guards' mistreatment of the Iraqis, stating that they were just 'having a good time,' and that their actions served as an 'emotional release'."
The Practice of Torture by the American Army Was Widespread
Military reports, cited by Human Rights Watch, detail the treatment undergone by two Afghan prisoners who died in December 2002 at Baghram. The same interrogation techniques were then applied to detainees in Abu Ghraib prison.
Mullah Habibullah died of a pulmonary embolism apparently linked to the presence of clots formed in his legs following blows received to them, according to a June 1, 2004 report.
Among the other soldiers under indictment, one "put his penis alongside the face" of a prisoner" and "simulated sodomization."
We had to cut his penis in order to save America
An Ethiopian student who lived in London claims that he was brutally tortured with the involvement of British and US intelligence agencies.
Binyam Mohammed, 27, says he spent nearly three years in the CIA's network of 'black sites'. In Morocco he claims he underwent the strappado torture of being hung for hours from his wrists, and scalpel cuts to his chest and penis and that a CIA officer was a regular interrogator.
'They took a scalpel to my right chest. It was only a small cut. Then they cut my left chest. One of them took my penis in his hand and began to make cuts. He did it once, and they stood still for maybe a minute watching. I was in agony, crying, trying desperately to suppress myself, but I was screaming... They must have done this 20 to 30 times in maybe two hours. There was blood all over.'
Benyam (Benjamin) Mohammed al Habashi is currently still detained in Guantanamo Bay prison.
In an article like this I could go on and on, Perhaps I could simply give previous links I carried. Perhaps I should trace the roots of this torture to the training we gave soldiers on how to withstand communist interrogation, which we would never do, and how a new batch of people just copied the communist interrogation techniques when they were looking for inspiration. The role of the CIA and military intel in this is deep and extensive and pretty covered up as well. I just don't think torturing to preserve America preserves America. I think those who advocate it are un-American cowards. Our standard should not be Rush's and Bush's standard - that we are not as bad as Saddam.
Atrios was given an interview of Deborah Howell. How very interesting and candid and indecent. The WP originally removed hundreds of posts they claimed were obscene or indecent about her but researchers found very few indecent posts. A new batch of the deleted posts was reposted except they again kept back a non-obscene six.
Sunday, January 22, 2006
While blasting liberal bloggers for playing a game of semantics she retracts both offensive statements.
I wrote that he gave campaign money to both parties and their members of Congress. He didn't. I should have said he directed his client Indian tribes to make campaign contributions to members of Congress from both parties.No problem there and that is OK. She should have also included that his client victims reduced their previous giving to Democrats but we have to start with getting rid of the obvious lies.
My mistake set off a firestorm. I heard that I was lying, that Democrats never got a penny of Abramoff-tainted money, that I was trying to say it was a bipartisan scandal, as some Republicans claim. I didn't say that. It's not a bipartisan scandal; it's a Republican scandal, and that's why the Republicans are scurrying around trying to enact lobbying reforms.She admits it is a Republican scandal. Earlier she had written "stay tuned" as so far only Republicans have been indicted.
I would say the bloggers won one.
Saturday, January 21, 2006
They called it an obscene outpouring of hate. A preliminary investigation doesn't show that. While some of the language is intemperate hardly any is out of bounds.
An analysis of one time period indicates abouts 20% were removed and not for indecent language. Some others not captured may have been removed but there is little evidence of that. The WP just didn't like being called incompetent and fools. The Washington Post is now believed to have an ombudsman who is incompetent and a liar by thousands. Is this what they want?
1. You're not a good-looking female who likes posting naked pictures of herself. - From Tonga with no clothes and love - Now this is a popular blog - not work safe at all.
2. There's nothing in it for them.
Yeah, people really want to spend the short time they've been given on this Earth to find out what an unemployed managing consultant dork has to say. Dream on.
3. "Passion & Authority" are just buzzwords to you.
Yeah, I've read the Cluetrain as well. So has my pet canary. Get back in line.
Vote March 7th and stay at the voting place afterwards to take over the party.
Got an idea how the government can do better? Are you libertarian, populist, green, moderate, progressive, or liberal? How about atheist, agnostic, Christian, Budhist, Muslim, or Hindoo? This party is wide open and you can take it where you want. Bring a couple friends and a few resolutions and work your way into control.
I thought it was very strange that I saw not one media report on Scaife's NewsMax repackage of The Swift Boat Liars report. This ran as a 30 minute infomercial on PAX ABC/Family Network stations right before the Presidential election.
What a thing to show on TV. Especially on family channels. 30 minutes of unrestrained Republican hatemongers, often wearing their old military uniforms, calling John Kerry a traitor who lengthened the war and promoted the torture of American POWs.
I suppose it is that none of the liberal media normally watch this network with its strong rural family Christian viewership that prevented this from being noticed or commented on.
The infomercial appeared to be a condensed version of the program Sinclair Network was going to air distilled to 30 minutes of hate speech. Every 5-10 minutes a written pitch superimposed to buy the video for $5 made it an infomercial. Is this the way around campaign watchdogs, disguise 30 minutes of propaganda as an infomercial? Can liberals start buying up infomercial time and attack GOP public officials claiming it is to sell videos?
Scaife has always been a pioneer in vicious attacks. He spent tens of millions of dollars investigating Clinton and promoting wild charges hoping something would shake loose. Eventually something did.
Maybe this time he took a clue from the Perot's campaign 30 minute ad blocks.
Running infomercials directly at a target audience on a media the metropolitan press doesn't see - brilliant. No wonder there was the massive rural voter rejection of Kerry. Kerry was branded a traitor and no one in the media or his campaign noticed. Rural people and families and Christian noticed. Kerry had a record low percentage of the rural county vote.
This was right before the 2004 election, over a year ago, but it still bugs me.
The crooked GOP crony lobby contracts will cost Texas taxpayers $1.1 million by the time they expire in 2007.
Most of Texas' Democratic congressmen Friday told Gov. Rick Perry he should cancel the $1.1 million contracts of the state's outside lobbyists because they've never contacted any of them.
Monterey County Herald | 01/20/2006 | Pastor admits molesting 2 girls
The daughter came under Domelle's custody when she was 3 years old and was adopted six years later. Between the ages of 10 and 19, Thelander said, Domelle repeatedly had sex with her.
"She never told law enforcement. She told people in the community and nobody believed her," Thelander said. "(Domelle and his wife) then sent her off to Christian school in Texas."
Texas show giving minorities, including a gay couple, a chance to own a small mansion in all white neighborhood killed after filming. Producers blame Disney's Christian Narnia campaign.
Bloomberg News reports that after Abramoff began represented them Indian tribes reduced their giving to Democrats.
Abramoff's tribal clients continued to give money to Democrats even after he began representing them, although in smaller percentages than in the past.
The Saginaw Chippewas gave $500,500 to Republicans between 2001 and 2004 and $277,210 to Democrats, according to a review of data compiled by Dwight L. Morris & Associates, a Bristow, Virginia-based company that tracks campaign-finance reports. Between 1997 and 2000, the tribe gave just $158,000 to Republicans and $279,000 to Democrats.
...The numbers show that "Abramoff's big connections were with the Republicans," said Larry Noble, the former top lawyer for the Federal Election Commission, who directs the Washington-based Center for Responsive Politics.
"It is somewhat unusual in that most lobbyists try to work with both Republicans and Democrats, but we're already seeing that Jack Abramoff doesn't seem to be a usual lobbyist," Noble said.
It might be well to start calling the Indian tribes victims instead of clients. They were ripped off by a GOP operative who also induced them to give less to their long time Democratic friends. Now the GOP is claiming because they continued to give lower amounts to Democrats it proves this is a bipartisan scandal.
This controversy and reporting on it is shaking the media.
The Washington Post has shut down their blog about their paper to comments after Democrats and liberals became outraged by the hundreds after their ombudsman, in an otherwise excellent article on the paper's reporting on Abramoff, stated incorrectly that Abramoff gave money to Democrats. She then ended by hinting that while Republicans would soon face indictments Democrats might face indictments too.
Many respondents were furious and intemperate in their language. Imagine that. Think about the last time you really lashed out at someone. Could it have been when someone who claimed to be truthful and responsible lied? When someone in a position of trust to you, like an ombudsman is supposed to be to the readers, lied and showed they could not be trusted? Could you have gotten intemperate in your language?
The other editors of the paper have not been much better. They have been busy defending her while admitting she was wrong in related articles. The editor of the WP online edition only appeared on a conservative talk show, which regularly blasts the paper for being "liberal," to discuss the controversy. Brady is apparently is unaware of liberal talk show alternatives.
Friday, January 20, 2006
A quick review Former NSA head said "The invasion of Iraq I believe will turn out to be the greatest strategic disaster in U.S. history." He recently gave another talk which David Corn attended and said it again. He also says stablizing Iraq would take 700,000 - 900,000 troops. We don't have that many.
I have said this repeatedly - We should declare victory and bring our troops home this year.
The Onion - America's Finest News Source
"The U.S. government, America's place for law and order since 1776, has lost its lease, and everything must go, go, go," Bush said. "But our loss is your gain, and make no mistake: You, the people, would be crazy to miss out on these amazing closeout bargains."
The Washington-based government, which hasn't shown a profit in five years and carries the highest debt in its history, was ultimately driven out of business by costly overhead and cheap foreign competitors.
In the Style Section
An interview with Powell's former chief of staff is treated as a personality and entertainment article.
Wilkerson, a once-loyal Republican with 31 years of Army service, has emerged in recent months as a merciless critic of President Bush and his top people, accusing them of carrying out a reckless foreign policy and imperiling the future of the U.S. military.That headlined Thursday's Style section. Today their Style section has two movie reviews and a discussion of the Winchester rifle.
"My wife would probably shoot me if I headed to the ballot box with a Republican vote again," he says. "This is not a Republican administration, not in my view. This is a radical administration."
Wilkerson calls Bush an unsophisticated leader who has been easily swayed by "messianic" neoconservatives and power-hungry, secretive schemers in the administration. In a landmark speech in October, Wilkerson said: "What I saw was a cabal between the vice president of the United States, Richard Cheney, and the secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, on critical issues that made decisions that the bureaucracy did not know were being made."
He is particularly appalled by U.S. treatment of enemy detainees, counting at least 100 deaths in custody during the course of the war on terrorism -- 27 of them ruled homicides. "Murder is torture," he says. "It's not torture lite."
As for the invasion of Iraq? A blunder of historic proportions, he believes.
"This is really a very inept administration," says Wilkerson, who has credentials not only as an insider in the Bush I, Clinton and Bush II presidencies but also as a former professor at two of the nation's war colleges. "As a teacher who's studied every administration since 1945, I think this is probably the worst ineptitude in governance, decision-making and leadership I've seen in 50-plus years. You've got to go back and think about that. That includes the Bay of Pigs, that includes -- oh my God, Vietnam. That includes Iran-contra, Watergate."
This is where I would normally say write the ombusdman who is supposed to represent the readers but in their case she is a GOP flack who doesn't reply to criticism.
Thursday, January 19, 2006
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Al Gore's big mistake was picking Lieberman as his running mate.
He thought it would bring moralists who disliked Clinton to the party and carry Florida's Jewish vote. In reality, only a minuscule percentage of voters pay attention to Senators or politicians outside of their home state. While it may have helped marginally in Florida it reinforced an image of the Democratic Party as a collection of liberal special interests.
Instead of an East Coast wealthy Jewish Senator who is liberal on domestic policy but conservative on moral and foreign issues a Gore pick of moderate conservative Senator Graham of Florida would have helped in Florida, the entire South, and the overall vote.
Why? Sen. Graham is from Florida, he is from the South, and his pick nudges the party more toward the perceptual right/left center sweet spot. All of these are factors in the presidential election electoral college game.
American presidential elections are over 90% predictable based on the last few presidential elections party votes by state, the state of the economy, the home state of the president and VP candidates, candidates from the South, and the perceptual left/right centrality of the tickets. Some models use slightly different but similar factors but only a small part of the electorate are really swayed by the campaign.
The South, includes Texas and Oklahoma, is the only region that adds a few points to the tickets with regional candidate selection. Bush had already negated much of the Democratic Southern strategy by being from the South but adding another Southerner gives a nudge.
There was an early computer game that came out based on this voting pattern. It actually had on the cover of the box the states that each side won later that year. (The game itself made small adjustments for campaign stops and advertising and positions on the issues or style in simulated debates.) It appears to be an earlier version or an Apple version of 'President Elect 88' by Strategic Simulations Inc.
You can download that game free here This wasn't the version I played which I don't remember being so 1988 issues specific. (Lot's of pop-ups and spam at site.)
ADDED - Found the game I played on Virtual Apple. Play it online. It was using a slightly different model than I remember.
What's in a name? And how is that connected to politics?
My first name reached its height of popularity in 1954 and is fairly rapidly becoming obscure again. I found this information for free courtesy of our tax dollars.
You can find the popularity of birth names in a service provided by the Social Security Administration.
There is an important note at the bottom that they "do not conduct research on baby name popularity or naming trends." That was for those wondering how they answered people objecting to tax dollars spent on this.
Should the Social Security Administration provide this information or should they sell the data to someone else that could offer this service?
Let's ignore the question that it is simpler for the SSA to do this. They have the huge databases of records they need for other purposes anyway. Let us also ignore the possible identity theft and privacy abuses that would occur trying to give all the records to a private company. They could spend as much time scrubbing data as simply making it available free. Focus - Should this service and information be privatized?
Which leads me to politics and my current observation.
Privatization doesn't lead to corruption - it is corruption.
It is almost impossible to remove corruption when people make money off of services the government provides.
As you get more involved in politics you become aware that everyone contributing money to politicians wants something. Most people want something pretty specific. Most big contributors seem to be getting their money back in pretty specific ways. Even in our local little governments the big contributors are the one getting the local contracts.
Privatizing services just provides more opportunity for more money to flow back to the politicians. Any money supposedly saved comes out of wages and benefits to the workers. But for profit corporations must pay their investors and must pay taxes that public service don't. A government may save money but the more they save the more they are having a third party pay employees wages and benefits at low scales they are unwilling to directly pay.
As more governmental services are privatized more sources of political donations are created. Any politician advocating privatization wants to lower wages and benefits, to increase compensation to owners and managers, and to collect payola from the contractors.
How can a service be more efficient if it has higher costs due to the necessity of making a profit for its investors, the additional taxes it must pay? Only by cutting something out of the picture - the workers who actually do the jobs.
The New Democrats, the DFC libertarians and the DLC "free market" privatization advocates need to explain why they want lower wages and benefits for workers and more corruption in politics.
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Daily Kos: Gore's response to the cowards.
Added - In Desperation, Gonzales Smears Gore.
Hillary: The House "has been run like a plantation... We have a culture of corruption. we have cronyism, we have incompetence."
More from the NYT.
USATODAY.com - When fiction masquerades as truth
This is an issue that is beyond conservative and liberal. If you publish a memoir it should be substantially correct. If you change names and details you explain why. In no case do you consistently remake yourself as a fictional character incredibly more evil and more victimized and more depraved than you are to make a more dramatic story. There is an old adage that Americans love a redemption story and the more evil and unlikely to survive the better the uplifting and transformative redemption. James Frey exploited that.
I had posted other reactions to a Million Little Lies last week on another of my blogs but this is starting to illuminate a larger issue. To what extent is the truth an important virtue in religion and politics? To what extant is a disregard for the truth an important part of the strategy of what I call the conservative elite? I know many on the right who feel it is part of the strategy of what they call the liberal elite. The Frey case helps them.
I think lies, large and small, are a big part of the strategy of the conservative leaders in both politics and religion. I find many conservatives feel that serving a "larger truth" is more important. What I call true conservatives do not feel that they need to compromise.
The fact that this fictional memoir is championed by Oprah and the East Coast book publishing industry would lead some to be believe that a disregard for the truth is a liberal failing. I think it is a human failing of both sides.
I have ranted against the hypocrisy and lies from the neo-cons and the religious right. Can I do less than also criticize Oprah and some in the book industry?
Oprah and the publisher should relabel the book as fiction based on a true story.
Read the investigation by the Smoking Gun looking for a mugshot that started this.
This Google will allow you to keep up with the scandal and see what others have to say.
Added - in this case The New York Times gets it.
Richard Cohen has an accurate account of Oprah's Grand Delusion.
What she needs is a session with Dr. Phil... Here is where Dr. Phil steps in. He might tell his friend and mentor that there is no redemption without honesty. Treatment, as one expert told me, begins with "owning your life" and not embellishing it for the sake of others or yourself. It was one thing when Frey's tale was believed to be 100 percent true. Now that the lie has been exposed, the message can no longer be about redemption but about concoction -- the lies that addicts tell others, the ones they tell themselves.
As for Doubleday, the liar's publisher, it uttered all sorts of nonsense about different rules for memoirs but had no real explanation of how an hour or so in jail could be recollected as three months. In this vast corporation, there seemed to be no one who knew the difference between fact and fiction, truth and a lie. (Fiction packaged as fact is a lie.) Doubleday did not seem even a tad embarrassed that it had been snookered, that it had lent its considerable name and reputation -- built on the hard work of many an honest writer -- to a sham. What's more, it did not acknowledge that it must have suspected for some time that Frey had cooked his book. Back in 2003, for instance, the Minneapolis Star Tribune had questioned the book's factualness. (Some of "A Million Little Pieces" takes place in Minneapolis.) In effect, the story was dismissed -- go away, silly newspaper, there's too much money at stake.
New Chief Justice Roberts shows his stance against individual liberties in favor of big government.
Under the Death with Dignity Act, a patient must have less than six months to live, must be deemed by two doctors as mentally fit to make the decision, and must present one written and two oral demands over a certain period.
He can then obtain lethal medication from his doctor but must administer it himself.
Monday, January 16, 2006
In a story about the Washington Post's investigation of Abramoff Deborah Howell shows she has no business being ombudsman. Either reporter Susan Schmidt lied to her and she didn't fact check or she inserted on her own Abramoff "made substantial campaign contributions to both major parties." In addition, she tries to buy off GOP criticism at the end by repeating the claim and then saying Democrats may yet be investigated. She does not support that claim. If you ignore the factual errors and the Dem slamming to score GOP points it should have been a good article.
Ask the Washington Post to remove Deborah Howell from the position of ombudsmen. There are many WP blogs you could post that on or they provide several ways of contacting them or posting on their site.
Knight-Ridder produced a factual analysis of all of Alito's written opinions and, no surprise, documented he was very conservative. Then the GOP went to work. Knight-Ridder has been the most important news media chain in the US as it doesn't simply parrot the official government line but does investigative work. For this it has gotten a reputation as liberal. I guess the facts are liberal.
Henderson and Mintz cataloged the cases by category - employment discrimination, criminal justice, immigration and so on - and analyzed each one with help from attorneys who participated on both sides of the cases and experts in those fields of law. They interviewed legal scholars and other judges, many of them admirers of Alito.
They concluded that, "although Alito's opinions are rarely written with obvious ideology, he's seldom sided with a criminal defendant, a foreign national facing deportation, an employee alleging discrimination or consumers...
The Republican National Committee circulated a blistering personal attack on Henderson to some reporters, taking quotes out of context in an attempt to portray him as biased.
The RNC said Henderson "admitted he was previously an editorial writer," as though that very public part of a distinguished reporter's career was a secret that he'd been trying to hide. The RNC statement then linked Henderson to editorials he didn't write.
This hysteria over a carefully researched article that documents the obvious - that Samuel Alito is a judicial conservative - is the latest example of a disturbing trend of attacking the messenger instead of debating difficult issues....
Sunday, January 15, 2006
Saturday, January 14, 2006
Only about half of likely GOP Primary voters now rate DeLay favorably, and only 39 percent are committed to voting for him in March.
If the general election where held today, DeLay would get 22 percent of the vote, Lampson 30 percent, and Stockman 11 percent. The remainder are undecided or support other candidates. The ballot also will include a Libertarian Party nominee and possibly another independent.
These right wing nut crazies are nothing if not predictable. The Right Wing Noise Machine, with assistance from the White House, has decided to take down Rep. John Murtha with a smear campaign.
The White House is trying to find current military officers to denounce him, so far without much sucess. A general in Iraq did call his statements demoralizing.
The partisan and conservative (and tax-free) CNS news network, known for its factual inaccuracies, is trying to cast doubts on his war medals. Extreme right calls Murtha's War Hero Status Called Into Question. Here is one site set up to document CNS distortions,
Later - Daily Kos also saw this Swift-Boating of Murtha.
More - Crooks and Liars quickly googles this smear and finds it directed by people highly connected to the Republican National Committee. The main spokesperson is a bitter GOP rival of Murtha's whose damaging statements supposedly come from someone who died 30 years ago..
Friday, January 13, 2006
Core Vision of an Interfaith Movement
In short, the political must have a spiritual dimension. This is a dimension of life which is rarely given attention in social change movements, but it is a central concern of the TIKKUN Community.Among the central building blocks of such a spiritual dimension:
the development of a personal spiritual practice such as meditation or prayerThe Network of Spiritual Progressives (NSP)
the practice of generosity and sharing what we have with others, compassion toward others and toward oneself, including the open-hearted acceptance of one's own and other's flaws
developing the habit of affirming the being of others even when we may disagree with some of their beliefs or practices
careful attention to one's speech so as to not say hurtful things towards others
joyfulness and the affirmation of pleasure
treasuring our bodies through conscious eating and exercising (but without politically correct guilt trips)
the practice of forgiveness and repentance
giving to give and not to get
letting go of fantasies that we can control everything,
and recognizing that there is enough and that we are enough.
1) Advocates a New Bottom Line in America. This bottom takes into consideration not only how well institutions and the economy maximize money and power, but how well they maximizes love and caring, ethical and ecological sensitivity and behavior, kindness and generosity, non-violence and peace, and the extent to which they enhance our capacities to respond to other human beings in a way that honors them as embodiments of the sacred, and enhance our capacities to respond to the earth and the universe with awe, wonder and radical amazement.As long as I am posting about the spiritual dimension of politics I should not forget Houston's First UU Church - newsletter (pdf) and mp3s of sermons.
2) Challenges the misuse of religion, God and spirit by the Religious Right and
3) Challenging the anti-religious and anti-spiritual assumptions and behaviors that have increasingly become part of the liberal culture
4) Challenges the extreme individualism and "me-firstism" that permeate all parts of the global market culture.
Thursday, January 12, 2006
Peter Daou documents the DC Democrats lack of media savvy. Before the hearings Democrats needed to lay the groundwork for a PR campaign like the GOP. Now the Alito hearings are following the GOP media storyboard. The charges of right-wing media bias should be loudly trumpeted, instead the right is charging left-wing bias and playing the media like a bad weak umpire.
By linking to this attack on the AP which had the real story. Who caused Alito's wife to cry?
Consortiumnews.com - American Hero
Circling over the village, Thompson was at first uncertain what he was witnessing. A bloodied unit of the Americal Division, furious over its own casualties, had stormed into a hamlet known as My Lai 4.I will be occasionally ending my no digest mode for important stories where I have little to add to the story.
Revenge-seeking American soldiers rousted Vietnamese civilians – mostly old men, women and children – from their thatched huts and herded them into the village's irrigation ditches.
As the round-up continued, some Americans raped the girls. Then, under orders from junior officers on the ground, soldiers began emptying their M-16s into the terrified peasants. Some parents used their bodies futilely to shield their children from the bullets. Soldiers stepped among the corpses to finish off the wounded.
But there also were American heroes that day in My Lai, including helicopter pilot Hugh Clowers Thompson Jr. from Stone Mountain, Georgia. After concluding that he was witnessing a massacre, he landed his helicopter between one group of fleeing civilians and American soldiers in pursuit.
A senior British officer has criticised the US army for its conduct in Iraq, accusing it of institutional racism, moral righteousness, misplaced optimism, and of being ill-suited to engage in counter-insurgency operations. The brigadier was deputy commander of the office of security transition for training and organising Iraq's armed forces in 2004. What is startling is the severity of his comments - and the decision by Military Review, a US army magazine, to publish them.
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Thanks to Jeremy for reminding me of the hot tub propensities of Tom and his daughter.
DeLay Thanks Lobbyists With Vegas Trip - 02-04-21 - (washingtonpost.com)The Houston Press passed along a snippet:
House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), legendary on Capitol Hill for his aggressive efforts to cultivate corporate interests, hit on a new way of rewarding his friends last weekend, flying more than 30 lobbyists to Las Vegas for a golf tournament and a round of partying....
The weekend included a late-night party Saturday in DeLay's suite at the Rio Hotel and Casino, which featured a living room, bar and hot tub on the balcony. DeLay was not present, aides said; the event was hosted by his daughter, Dani Ferro [age 27], the campaign manager for DeLay's reelection campaign. After the party, Ferro told associates that a lobbyist poured champagne on her while she was in the hot tub.
the Capitol Hill weekly Roll Call broke the story last fall, quoting a witness as saying Ferro was "among the revelers" at a late-night party and "there were a lot of lobbyists in the hot tub, pouring champagne on each other." And no doubt discussing those sybaritic Democrats.Of course, the daughter was just taking after her father who
"As a Texas state legislator from 1978 to 1984, DeLay had a reputation in Austin less as a lawmaker than as a partyer and playboy known as "Hot Tub Tom." DeLay was kicked out of Baylor in 1967 for his "extracurricular activities" and "too vigorous a social life." He roomed with other fun-loving male legislators at a condo they dubbed "Macho Manor." When DeLay first got to Congress, he says, "I would stay out all night drinking till the bars closed... I just did it, and then I got up sober and went to work."Let's round this out with some specifics of how DeLay is using his power to direct money to his family. From The New York Times last April:
The wife and daughter of Tom DeLay, the House majority leader, have been paid more than $500,000 since 2001 by Mr. DeLay's political action and campaign committees, according to a detailed review of disclosure statements filed with the Federal Election Commission and separate fund-raising records in Mr. DeLay's home state, Texas.
Most of the payments to his wife, Christine A. DeLay, and his only child, Dani DeLay Ferro, were described in the disclosure forms as "fund-raising fees," "campaign management" or "payroll," with no additional details about how they earned the money. The payments appear to reflect what Mr. DeLay's aides say is the central role played by the majority leader's wife and daughter in his political career...
"It's DeLay Inc. " said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a research group that has closely monitored Mr. DeLay and his campaign fund-raising and expenditures. "If it's not illegal, it certainly is inappropriate for members of Congress to use their positions to enrich their families."
Larry Noble, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics and a former general counsel of the Federal Election Commission, said that "questions are raised anytime a politician puts close family members on the payroll."
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
ABCNews - Breaking - NYT Source says all calls monitored for key words
Tice says the technology exists to track and sort through every domestic and international phone call as they are switched through centers, such as one in New York, and to search for key words or phrases that a terrorist might use.
"If you picked the word 'jihad' out of a conversation," Tice said, "the technology exists that you focus in on that conversation, and you pull it out of the system for processing."
According to Tice, intelligence analysts use the information to develop graphs that resemble spiderwebs linking one suspect's phone number to hundreds or even thousands more.