Easter Lemming Liberal News

Friday, June 30, 2006

A Partisan and Ignorant Library


The Dean of Library Services at a San Antonio University library has ordered the cancellation of their subscription to The New York Times.

As reported in the San Antonio Express-News: ""Since no one elected the New York Times to determine national security policy, the only action I know to register protest for their irresponsible action (treason?) is to withdraw support of their operations by canceling our subscription," Mendell D. Morgan, Jr. wrote in a June 28 email to library staff. "If enough do, perhaps they will get the point."

As is perfectly obvious to anyone not relying on the GOP propaganda machine for news, this equating of the New York Times actions in publishing a story with possible treason is ignorant, baseless and false.

Falsehood: Times article tipped off terrorists to U.S. bank-tracking efforts

Bush and other administration officials have long acknowledged that terrorists were increasingly using other methods of transferring money to evade detection because of the tracking and monitoring programs they themselves revealed. Bush spoke of a "foreign terrorist asset tracking center at the Department of the Treasury to identify and investigate the financial infrastructure of the international terrorist networks" shortly after 9/11. On November 7, 2001, then-Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill announced that the United States, along with an "international coalition," had begun "to block assets, to seize books, records and evidence, and to follow audit trails to track terrorist cells poised to do violence to our common interests." In a September 10, 2004, statement, the Treasury Department disclosed "some of the many weapons used against terrorist networks," which included "following money trails to previously unknown terrorist cells." An April 2006 Treasury Department report similarly noted that the department "follows the terrorists' money trails aggressively, exploits them for intelligence, and severs links where we can."

There have been numerous reports on how successful this program has been. A Dec. 2002 report to the United Nations Security Council -- which is available online -- describes the administration's efforts to monitor SWIFT transactions. "There have been public references to SWIFT before," said Roger Cressey, a senior White House counterterrorism official until 2003. Richard Clarke, the former anti-terrorism czar in this administration concurred in a joint op-ed: "They want the public to believe that it had not already occurred to every terrorist on the planet that his telephone was probably monitored and his international bank transfers subject to scrutiny. How gullible does the administration take the American citizenry to be?"

As I previously wrote, the international agency responsible for international wire transfers is not at all secret, difficult to be secret with their trade show and magazine, and posts prominently on its website its cooperation with international law enforcement authorities. The attacks on The New York Times try to create an impression this is some top secret agency instead of a prominent financial institution that every wire transfer document references. This was not a secret given how much the administration has bragged about it and no details were revealed by the Times that would put anyone's lives at risk. Instead this is an example of how a political party makes up a story by getting a number of people to make wild over-inflated attacks and escalating the demagoguery. They've got nothing but fear keeping them in office and they needed to turn it up a couple of notches.

The New York Times did not violate any espionage act and did not commit treason. Far from it, the free press is our first line of defense against secretive governments determined to take away liberties. The administration knew about the story which had over a dozen administration and government sources cited, most anonymously, and held long talks about what should be revealed. Ultimately the administration was not able to make a good case for not publishing the story. So they decided to make a rhetorical case in their right wing media machine and rile up the conservative base.

Mendell D. Morgan, Jr., Dean of Library Services at University of the Incarnate Word, (210) 829-3837 appears to be the most gullible, partisan and ignorant library official in America. Considering The New York Times is the newspaper of record for the United States, this partisan swipe ill serves the students and patrons of the library. In this action he not only reveals his ignorance but is lowering the standing of the university and harming the education of the students. I note he has changed or blocked his university email account today.




Supreme Court victory had a price for military lawyer

The military appears not to be happy with Navy lawyer who fought hard for his client. I can believe this, but this is not fully substantiated in the short article. Still, how can anyone not suffering from xenophobia and fear beyond rationality defend
Prisoners of the war against terror “may be taken—kidnapped if necessary—from any location in the world, even thousands of miles from any battlefield, without the knowledge or participation of the host government and without any judicial process. … They may be held for the rest of their lives, based solely on the president’s self-asserted authority. At the prison, they can be subjected to any conditions or treatment the military devises. And throughout their imprisonment, they may be held incommunicado and in solitary confinement, without access to courts or counsel, without charges of any kind, unknown to the world, and without the benefit of the Geneva Conventions, an international treaty signed and ratified by the United States and designed to protect people seized during armed conflict.”

“Today, no one can credibly maintain that the prisoners in Cuba are the worst of the worst. … More than 250 prisoners have been released with no intimation that they did anything wrong. The chief interrogator at the base says 75 percent of the prisoners are no longer being questioned. Even the camp commander says many of the 500 who remain could be released tomorrow at no risk to the United States.”




Asshole

Go to Google, type in asshole, hit "I'm feeling lucky."




Thursday, June 29, 2006


THE subject to avoid for happy comments

Forget politics, forget religion, forget sex, forget any mixtures of the three - what drives even more of the nasty-mouthed freaks out from all sides is any post on Israel and the Palestinians.
I will confess that over the years I have moved from a strong support of the Israeli side to a disgust so deep that it is almost existential. I am not so self-righteous, so sure of my Gandhi-nature, to think that if I had been born in Palestine, as a Palestinian, that I would be committed to a non-violent solution.

People don't seem to get it. Most Palestinians have never known anything but occupation. They have never known anything but curfews, residences being bulldozed, travel passes and settlers moving in increasing numbers and taking the best land, along with access to water.

They have never known anything but a boot in the face. It's that simple.

And the Israeli army, once the finest in the world, has been, as all armies are, coarsened by the occupation. The Israeli state bemoans suicide bombers, then kills Palestinian opposition leaders with rockets - rockets they know will cause collateral damage (a phrase that means "will kill innocents").
I have had supposedly rational people tell me I just don't get it - that there is a difference in targeting a school bus with a suicide bomber and targeting someone who might be a Palestinian leader knowing you will hit 50 women and children as well. I will confess, I don't get it. You don't compare evil behavior you support with the most evil behavior in history and claim the moral high ground because it could be worse. This applies to other topics as well - don't give me "we don't boil people alive to get confessions, we just sent them to where they will be boiled alive" and proclaim moral superiority.

Right Christians especially seem oblivious on this. They ignore the lessons of the Bible as their minds get warped around literalism. What was the lesson you were supposed to learn from Pontius Pilate? What were any of the teachings of Jesus? Show me where Jesus was on a crusade to rid his land of heretics, the Samaritans, prostitutes and homosexuals? How would Jesus act if he was like the Right televangelicals painted him? Who would Jesus torture?

On my Sexual blog, and I haven't gotten any thanks for removing the topic to its own blog, some anonymous commenter supposedly left when he thought I was mocking the Bible when I linked to some religious freak justifying his sexual kinkiness with long Bible sermons.

When I quote, digest and excerpt, is it mockery, observation, serious, or funny? What liberals get outraged by reading information you don't see elsewhere? If you are not liberal or looking for liberal ramblings why are you reading this? More than occasionally I dive into the other side to see what they are thinking, but I have a limit to my outrage when I know they are going to be, from my perspective, twisted and crazy.

Right Christians are also such strong supporters of Israel it is sometimes difficult to get rational arguments. If they are not agitating for Israeli support because Armageddon is coming soon and we need to be on the right prepared side it is the condemnation of the Arabs as uncivilized heathens who support IslamoFascism.





Badges of honor in fighting the hostile takeover

If both Washington journalists and the DLC diss your book it is probably worth reading.




U.S. losing war on terror, experts say

84 out of 100 terorism experts say US is losing war to terrorists, Iraq cited as reason.
One participant, a former CIA official who described himself as a conservative Republican, said the war in Iraq has provided global terrorist groups with a recruiting bonanza, a valuable training ground and a strategic beachhead at the crossroads of the oil-rich Persian Gulf and Turkey.

Asked whether the United States is "winning the war on terror," 84 percent said no and 13 percent answered yes. Asked whether the war in Iraq is helping or hurting the global anti-terrorism campaign, 87 percent said hurting. Eighty-six percent said the world is becoming "more dangerous for the United States and the American people."





Supremes Strongly Rebuke Bush's Gitmo Trials

Majority rules that the present trials violate U.S. law, the code of military justice and the Geneva Convention. Scalito, Thomas and Alito dissented and Roberts recused himself.

One more lousy Bush Supreme and all personal civil liberties, as opposed to corporate and government power, are gone.




How many people does it take to hack an election?

A panel of cybersecurity experts after a long study concluded ONE person with access to the e-voting machines could do it.

Hacking an election is not something that is done by some anonymous far-off secret group. It would be done, or has been done, by partisan state officials, county clerks, or election judges.
"It's not a question of 'if,' it's a question of 'when,' " Davis said of an attempt to manipulate election results.





The New York Review of Books: The Threat to the Planet

We have 2 years to act because we must have made fundamental changes which involve political will within 10 years.


FM 97.5 TALK moves to the ignorant right


Riding in my car Wednesday afternoon I turned to 97.5, which brought moderate talk radio to FM Houston airwaves and I heard someone new. It sounded like a Rush Limbaugh clone - pfft. As I listened further I heard it was conservative Tennessee yokel Phil Valentine's newly syndicated show.

Now, I tuned to that station because it hadn't been stupified by the right before now that I'd heard, although admittedly it has some odd programs and I hadn't listened much.

How bad was Phil's show? I heard a defense of "no global warming and not human caused if it was" that was straight off of conservative talking points that had been revealed as hoaxes years ago. How bad - a long attack on Al Gore as a lying propagandist and the 17,000 scientists that disagree with human caused global warming.

Do you know where that 17,000 scientists hoax is from? Here, tell them online you're a "scientist" (along with the Spice Girls and the characters from MASH who are among thousand of "scientists" signed up) and add your name to the list. Isn't that "Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine" a reputable organization? No, they are a father and son barnyard institute set up to sell nuclear war survival supplies and alternative medical information.

Who should I believe - Al Gore and real scientists - or a barnyard institute petition that anyone can sign saying they are a scientist? Which is more likely to be cited by a lying propagandist - hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific journals or an internet petition?

The American people are being scammed, hood-winked, flim-flammed and had by the rich snake-oil salesmen of the right and their media machine. And now we have more thought pollution on Houston radio.



A SWIFT Kick in the Head

Froomkin points out that the White House's position is that one of the largest financial institutions in the world; which has an extensive website, publishes a magazine, has a huge trade show, and puts a notice on all wire transfers; is a top-secret organization.

There was some political analysis on CNN, where all emails from viewers on all issues that I caught were anti-Bush yesterday, that the White House did its standard liberal media pushback on the story and was shocked and unprepared with how it resonated with its whacko base.

Added: Atrios saw something I didn't several days ago - CNN said on the presidential signing statements emails were running 498 to 2 against Bush.




Sadly, No! - Two-Minute Townhall

I had a short disagreement with a conservative over the BS the prominent conservative site Town Hall puts out. Town Hall can be taken as the official well-funded voice of the GOP mainstream now. About Sadly, No.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006








Greenwald: The Bush lynch mob against the nation's free press

Those crazy-making, crazy thinking Bushists are driving me to distraction. Here Greenwald shoots them down over their demands and states they have gone outside the bounds of rational thought.

Added: Many similar takes, here are two.

These irrational and dangerous voices on Iraq and terrorists and the So-Called-Liberal Media and civil rights, I am starting to agree with Ben Franklin, many of these people don't deserve America.
Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.*
*It turns out there is doubt that ol' Ben Franklin ever wrote this and most assuredly he did not the more common paraphrases..



ACLU Video - How to protect your rights in police encounters

Another link from Jim.

ADDED - That video ended for me less than half-way through with a notice it was not available.

David Icke, who posted the video, recommends a film coming out Aaron Russo's: America, From Freedom to Fascism. It will open August 4 at the Angelika.



Monday, June 26, 2006







Greenland's Ice Sheet Is Slip-Sliding Away - Los Angeles Times

Sea-levels rising as Greenland rapidly melts. - Link from Janette.


Thursday, June 22, 2006

Ack, I have to Post this


Vote for $5,000 to be given to your favorite national candidates from Warner's PAC.


My MapChangers


WEST

TX-Gov Chris Bell

Has a chance with a 4-way race

MT-Sen Jon Tester

Dems need the Senate

TX-Sen Barbara Radnofsky

Dems need the Senate

TX-21 John Courage

Fighting Dem

TX-10 Ted Ankrum

Fighting Dem

EAST

VA-Sen James Webb

Dems need the Senate

RI-Sen Sheldon Whitehouse

Dems need the Senate

OH-03 Stephanie Studebaker

Ohio is a battleground for 08

OH-12 Bob Shamansky

Ohio is a battleground for 08

PA-19 Phil Avillo, Jr.

Penn is a battleground for 08


Want to choose your own MapChangers?








Case Closed - Bush wired to receive radio prompts


Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

During the Kerry debates, in violation of the debate rules, Bush wore a radio receiver to receive prompts. He often does that in many speeches. It looks like he wore the back radio receiver with a t-shirt above.

The So-Called-Liberal-Media refused to pursue this question during the campaign and the New York Times and the Washington Post killed the story where a NASA photo interpreter confirmed an object on Bush's back.

When has this administration been honest? That is like asking if Bush has always chosen stupidity, which someone answered.

Top 20 Bush lies extensively documented and lies A-Z, a partial list.

I will be busy at ApolloCon 3 in Houston by Bush Airport for a few days and thought I would leave something up relating to how this blog got started - the mendacity of this administration. Perhaps something a little more earth shaking and dangerous or more recent might have been better but the utter contempt for both the truth and the American people by this administration and the cowardliness and enabling by the media is the biggest danger for America.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us *

While I am gone take a gander at the links on the left where you can find good posts like this on the unemployment rate. Good stuff on the left and I really need to include a lot more.

The notion that a radical is one who hates his country is naive and usually idiotic. He is, more likely, one who likes his country more than the rest of us, and is thus more disturbed than the rest of us when he sees it debauched. He is not a bad citizen turning to crime; he is a good citizen driven to despair. -- H.L. Mencken

The quote above is from the Charles Aulds' email list. He was an Alabama Republican and patriot who saw what Bush was doing and first could not be silent and after 2000 and 2004 felt he had to move to Canada. The people who have objected the most to Bush's reign have not been wild-eyed liberals and radicals but moderates who love this country. I would not have called myself a liberal 8 years ago. The current politics of this country made me study and claim the word.


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Case Closed: The Debate about Global Warming is Over

Yes, it is. Easterbrook, one of the worst popular science writers around, is a real conservative who has turned around. Everything he says was obvious years ago when he was distorting studies to show no greenhouse warming. But the debate is over when even a critic like him admits it.
Here's the short version of everything you need to know about global warming. First, the consensus of the scientific community has shifted from skepticism to near-unanimous acceptance of the evidence of an artificial greenhouse effect. Second, while artificial climate change may have some beneficial effects, the odds are we're not going to like it. Third, reducing emissions of greenhouse gases may turn out to be much more practical and affordable than currently assumed.
Shifted from skepticism? He was one of the few skeptics!

Even though he has shifted he will still score conservative brownie points by pooh-poohing all claims that don't have about five good solid studies behind them. Here he dismisses the increasing fury of hurricanes by focusing on only on property damage and the rising coastal property values. If he can find a scientist or two to support his conservative positions.... he ain't becoming a treehugger.



Blogs banned in Kentucky

With the worst and most corrupt governor in the nation, based on his wholesale pardons, the Virginia statehouse today banned government computers from accessing critical blog sites.



When will the Houston Chronicle run a story like this?


The Raw Story : Former detainee paints harrowing portrait of life at Guantanamo Bay

Ahmed had left England to meet with friends in Afghanistan and go to a Pakistani wedding. He made the mistake of going during the US-Northern Alliance war against the Taliban. The local warlord anxious for reward money and to prove loyalty turned over him and his friends to the US Army and CIA as al-Qaida terrorists.

Conditions were not good, particularly after a Major General Miller arrived. There were many kinds of abuse including sexual. After being tortured for five months he confessed to working for al-Qaeda and appearing in recruitment videos. But the UK had records of him working, on probation, and doing community service at that time.
Ahmed believes that Guantanamo interrogators were "obviously" aware that they were extracting false information from detainees. "By torturing people, you cannot make them confess the truth," he explains. "You can make them say what you want, but you can't get what you don't [already] know. Torture doesn't work."

"It shouldn't be allowed in any country, whatsoever," he adds. "Even if a tortured person is a terrorist, you've just become a terrorist by torturing them. You've actually come to his level, and that's the last thing you want."

Maj. Gen. Miller has claimed 400 prisoners at Guantanamo Bay have confessed to being involved in terrorism, and have continued to provide "actionable intelligence" to interrogators.
Ahmed was finally turned over to the British after public pressure in Britain and taken to England. Two days later he was released without charges. He is married with kids now but can not speak of his time in US custody without tears.

OK, conservatives and Christians - who would Jesus torture?




ABC's daily love letter to the GOP and the Washington media

Refered to inside the Washington political media as the one must read it is GOP talking points and cheerleading combined with mush letters to the media.








Lie Detector Tests Work Half of the Time


Polygraph Test Results Vary Among Washington Security Agencies.

I have taken three lie detector tests for retail and security jobs. It is really the man giving the test who makes a judgement call. One of the tests I failed but was later passed by better examiners on the same questions. The WP article says the exams in Washington have gotten worse since the Soviet spy Ames was able to fool them for years. The agencies in Washington are now not beleiving other agencies' tests and people are going to hynpotists to learn how to pass them. Notes from the underground on taking a lie detector test.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usTruth?

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usLie?

Guess which are the real questions?

Take your time. Look at the response to 3, 4 , 5 and 6, forget 7.

The top line is respiration and the second line blood pressure.

Only two questions count.

The answer is in comments.


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Cable News Today


Fox News was all about the scary North Koreans going to launch a missile that could hit the United States and Thank God Bush put up a missile shield over the objections of the liberals who want Americans to die and Bush will save us!!!

MSNBC had a bit on the Houston flooding.

CSPAN this morning had people calling about a minimum wage increase - over 80% in favor, about half even on the Republican line.

CNN kept having promos because Angelina Jolie was giving an interview with Anderson Cooper, their new news media star, tonight about her life and about her work with refugees.

BTW - North Korea is not a threat but Fox News as a branch of the Republican Party is pushing this new GOP line. The WP national security blogger noted that the GOP media and/or White House changed the subject to one they liked. It is likely their talking points group sent out memos that war threats and scaring idiots is good for the party.

It is likely the missile will be another attempt to launch a satellite.








Playing at War - When Idiots are in charge of anti-terrorism

Reporter Ron Suskind has a blockbuster new book out where the people in our war on terror tell how this administration has been running it. It is called The One Percent Doctrine based on Cheney's response on how to protect against "a low-probability, high-impact event." His answer was to treat them all as a certainty in terms of US actions.

Big story 1 - Abu Zubaydah was declared by the White House as Al-Qaeda's chief of staff after his capture. This was repeated even after they learned he was clinically insane with split personalities and only in charge of minor logistics - travel for wives and children. The White House knows all this as they go on describing their great catch. Then they decide to unleash their new harsh interrogation techniques on him. Under "torture" he gives the interrogators whatever stories they want.
Under that duress, he began to speak of plots of every variety -- against shopping malls, banks, supermarkets, water systems, nuclear plants, apartment buildings, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty. With each new tale, "thousands of uniformed men and women raced in a panic to each . . . target." And so, Suskind writes, "the United States would torture a mentally disturbed man and then leap, screaming, at every word he uttered."
Big story 2: First Data Corp. and other credit card and communication companies turned over all data to the NSA shortly after 9/11 as the intelligence community rushed to build incredible large data-mining operations.

Big story 3: There have been at least two spies the CIA had from within al-Qaeda. One collected a $25 million reward and is now living in the USA with a new identity. Do you have a new Arab neighbor?

Big story 4 - Bring me the head of Ayman al-Zawahiri. CIA agents offered a huge bounty on this high ranking al-Qaeda head and Afghan tribal chiefs kept saying they captured or killed him. In one case an agent flew back to Washington with the supposed head in a box for DNA testing. If it turned out to be him Bush said "I hope you bring it here" [to the White House.]

Other not big stories because we have heard it repeatedly - The CIA sent someone to personally reinforce to the president the importance of the memo before 9/11 - "Bin Laden determined to strike in the US." Bush dismissed him as the CIA covering it's ass. The CIA also briefed the White House that Osama would escape from Tora Bora unless many more US troops were sent in. This administration is incompetent and doesn't listen.

The book also finds the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to be "nonexistent" and "basically a joke."

ADDED: I should place here that al-Qaeda's interest in a cyanide gas attack in the New York subway was not a big story or a surprise as the media, like TIME magazine, seems to feel. Gas attacks are easy if you have people willing to die for a cause and a subway or large building or auditorium is the best target. I'd have been surprised if they hadn't planned that.

MORE: The NYT article is a bit better.





Starve the Beasts - The Dire Straits of the Texas Parks System

North Texas Liberal brings us information about the pathetically underfunded and neglected Texas parks.
How does Texas rate nationally in support of its parks?
Texas ranks 49th among the 50 states in funding for state parks. With Texas' population pushing 23 million, the state parks annual operating budget is a puny $54.4 million, or roughly $2.37 per Texan - about what you might pay for a small cheeseburger.

At a time when the Texas state government enjoys a surplus of eight billion dollars, support for the park system has gone from bad to worse.
The comments has an interesting entry on Strayhorn's flip-flops and anti-Democratic values.



Toy maker Lego to lay off 1,200, move Connecticut production to Mexico

We had a small Pasadena Area 5 Democratic Club meeting. Two young people from the LaRouche Democrats were there and got a respectful hearing. They were urging support for a proposal to re-industrialize America and stop the exporting of American jobs.

Democrats used to ignore the LaRouche faction as crazy. When I read their literature about a decade ago over half seemed too far out there and wild attempts to link everyone to Nazis and the British royal family to drug trafficking. Since then, without retreating much if any from his central positions, less than 10% of his material seems crazy. I think when LaRouche dies and if a less authoritarian organization emerges his energetic followers could become leaders in the Democratic Party. Meanwhile, what is happening at Legoland, Delphi auto parts manufacturing, and pretty much all manufacturing sites in the United States indicates that LaRouche is correct - American business is auctioning off America's ability to produce. Next time they give you some literature, read it. Some info on the plant closings and the LaRouche campaign, good, but from a very something-or-other source.


Monday, June 19, 2006

Bush Abandoned Hiring Illegal Worker Enforcement
The Bush administration, which is vowing to crack down on U.S. companies that hire illegal workers, virtually abandoned such employer sanctions before it began pushing to overhaul U.S. immigration laws last year, government statistics show.
Had Enough?



RedStaters debating the US starting a nuclear war

The liberal side on the Daily Kos debates a campaign strategy - Had Enough?

This encapsulates the two sides, for both good and bad. Conservatives want to talk about big issues but they discuss them in stupid ways. All those who feel the US should go nuclear first raise your hand. By the question and the responses you know you are in right-wingnut territory. RedState is actually the less radical and racist of their discussion forums.

Liberals are more concerned with the ineffective messages the Democratic party has been putting out. Had Enough? is a good debate, people have had enough, but this is not an earth-shaking topic.

I wonder if come November RedStaters will feel they should have been debating ways to get people to the GOP instead of feeding their military fantasies?



DeLay supporters drag suit to federal court

The legality of the GOP actions to fill Delay's chair in the House has been moved from state to federal court.

WP:
DeLay resigned this month and moved to Virginia, but he won renomination in the Texas primary in March. DeLay's decision to resign from Congress and not run again means the GOP could name a replacement candidate without holding a special election....

"Tom DeLay and the Republican Party willfully and intentionally conspired to run a bogus primary to allow DeLay to raise funds for his legal defense, hoping to use state law to have a handful of party bosses handpick their nominee instead of the voters," said Texas Democratic Party Chairman Boyd Richie.
Interesting exercise reading both articles. Does the Houston Chronicle or the Washington Post lean more to the GOP side of the arguments? The WP does launch a separate story about a new website for Democratic Strategies at the end of the story in the article which, despite the headline, is a collection of political news stories.





John Lott - again


This post is adapted from a comment I have in a Chronicle reader political blog - Blue Bayou.

John Lott is a lying propagandist for the gun lobby. All of his statistical work is suspect, and not only about guns. He has been so outrageously false in his claims and so twisted in the false identities he establishes to pretend someone is supporting him he has become the subject of extensive ridicule.

Short summary

http://www.whoismaryrosh.com/

Lott attempted to perform a statistical study for the Republican Party on the Florida 2000 vote. This attempt was notable for producing a long response in an official appendix to a Senate Subcommittee report documenting his incompetence - the famous appendix X.

A professor at Rutgers University mentioned him prominently in an analysis of researchers lying with econometrics - pdf.

Here is a long article in Mother Jones reviewing problems with his work and his repeated prevarications and equivocations to explain non-replicable results. Yes, Mother Jones is a left-wing source. John Lott's entire career has been to support right-wing causes and so left-wing sources are more motivated to report on his pattern of behavior.

The popular book Freakonomics discusses Lott's apparently fabricated research and Lott has filed a lawsuit against the authors. Some recent discussion on this here.

His notoriety and the lawsuit have finally caused the mainstream media to pay attention. From a recent LA Times Op-Ed:
If you Google "John Lott" and "research fraud," [here] you get nearly 150 results, starting off with a 2003 article published in Science magazine by Donald Kennedy, the editor in chief, which criticizes Lott's "cooked data." You get an article by Yale Law School professors Ian Ayres and John Donohue, published in the Stanford Law and Economics Working Paper series, who have run the numbers. "In most states," they wrote in 2002, right-to-carry laws "have been associated with more crime," not less. Most important, you get the exhaustive 2004 report from the prestigious National Research Council, which found "no credible evidence" supporting Lott's thesis — pretty much what "Freakonomics" said.

But Lott and his supporters disagree. They say it's not true that other researchers have been unable to validate his results. They point to a 2001 issue of the Journal of Law and Economics that contains several articles by scholars who agree with Lott.

But it turns out that all the papers in that issue were originally presented at a conference organized by Lott, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. The Chronicle reported that Lott not only "arranged for the papers to be published in a special edition" of the journal, which is not unusual, but he also paid for the printing and postage....

Lott's reputation has indeed been "seriously damaged" by critics, but only because they have described many apparent holes in his dubious research and misleading citations. Blocking the sale of a book based on a literal interpretation of a single word would be outrageous.

The U.S. District Court should throw this case out promptly.

Of course, all the other scientists casting serious and extensive doubts on Lott's research studies and his twisted and unbelievable defenses for his errors, missing data and missing surveys has simply made him a hero to the right. Besides, hardly anyone else can do a study and get results that emphatically agree with what conservatives want to hear.


Sunday, June 18, 2006

Resolved: America great! Bin Laden evil! Go Bush!

Rep. Walter Jones, the North Carolina Republican who invented the phrase "freedom fries," feels duped by the congressional GOP leadership. He has now turned against the war, (We Won! Time to Leave!) and was hoping for an honest debate about it. The resolution offered was essentially did you want Osama bin Laden to win? A surprising number of members said they didn't care and voted for it. Rep. Jones stayed away from the debate and voted present.

Meanwhile, Ann Coulter wants Murtha fragged, spits on 9/11 widows with zero repercussions. I am sure glad we have our own "camera hogs of the left" who we almost never see.



A Shift Among the Evangelicals

Some sanity returning to Southern Baptists? They just had an election upset and the conservative leadership was rebuffed and a moderate populist was chosen. His big change will be toning down the rhetoric.
"I believe in the word of God," Page said. "I'm just not mad about it."
Bill Leonard, the dean of the Wake Forest University, said "Some people are tired of just fighting liberals. You need a reason to be a Southern Baptist other than just fighting liberals in the culture or in the church."

So I suppose I am safe from the pitchforks and firebrands for a while.

Another sign of change - there is even a literalist Chronicle blogger who is indicating some limited movement toward accepting women teachers in church. His mistake, as some of his co-religionists call it, I suppose was actually looking at the issue and the contradictions on it in the New Testament. I pointed out to him he will also have to decide if Titus and Timothy were actually written by Paul and if should go with the King James Version with a female apostle or the more conservative Bibles who have changed her to a man despite no masculine form of that name.

Is the American Taliban softening?



Saturday, June 17, 2006

What really matters

In line with my preceding post this is very apt:
The defining issue of our time is not the Iraq war. It is not the "global war on terror." It is not our inability (or unwillingness) to ensure that all Americans have access to affordable health care. Nor is it immigration, outsourcing, or growing income inequity. It is not education, it is not global warming, and it is not Social Security.

The defining issue of our time is the media.

The dominant political force of our time is not Karl Rove or the Christian Right or Bill Clinton. It is not the ruthlessness or the tactical and strategic superiority of the Republicans, and it is not your favorite theory about what is wrong with the Democrats.

The dominant political force of our time is the media.

....Look back at more than a decade of media treatment of progressive leaders including Bill and Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, Howard Dean, John Kerry, Jack Murtha, and Harry Reid.

....Whatever issue you care most about, the media are likely skewing the public debate on that issue.
Read here the things you can do about this right media bias. Primarily support alternative news, visit fact checking web sites, protest and attempt to correct the bias, and keep fighting.



2004 Election Fraud - still more argument

Salon refused to publish this major letter attacking their no-fraud stance and so the debate moves to The Huffington Post. My own take is very mixed - this is such a serious charge it requires a smoking gun. There is lots of evidence of fraud, fraud was possible, and serious voter suppression was going on but despite this there is no smoking gun that would convince the establishment media.

RFK: The election was such a mess that we can't be sure Bush won. We need to clean it up.

Salon: No one stole the election!! RFK is full of crap!!! But we need to clean it up!



African-American Military Voters Scrubbed by Secret GOP Hit List

Blockbuster story from Greg Palast:
The Republican National Committee has a special offer for African-American soldiers: Go to Baghdad, lose your vote.

A confidential campaign directed by GOP party chiefs in October 2004 sought to challenge the ballots of tens of thousands of voters in the last presidential election, virtually all of them cast by residents of Black-majority precincts.

Files from the secret vote-blocking campaign were obtained by BBC Television Newsnight, London. They were attached to emails accidentally sent by Republican operatives to a non-party website.

Here's how the scheme worked: The RNC mailed these voters letters in envelopes marked, "Do not forward" to be returned to the sender. These letters were mailed to servicemen and women, some stationed overseas, to their US home addresses. The letters then returned to the Bush-Cheney campaign as "undeliverable."

The lists of soldiers of "undeliverable" letters were transmitted from state headquarters, in this case Florida, to the RNC in Washington. The party could then challenge the voters' registration and thereby prevent their absentee ballots being counted.

Setting up such a challenge list would be a crime under federal law. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 outlaws mass challenges of voters where race is a factor in choosing the targeted group.
Greg also has: No Child's Behind Left, a litany of the problems of Bush's education policies amounting to a war on the poor and middle-class.
They take away your overtime, your 40-hour week, your regulatory protection against corporate marauders, your right to courtroom justice, your protection against unfair trade, even the right to get your ballot counted. But there’s always hope. Hope is the last thing to go. And your hope is your kids, that they’ll have an opportunity you didn’t have.....

Someone has to care for the privileged. No society can have winners without lots and lots of losers.
And so we have No Child Left Behind — to provide the new worker drones that will clean the toilets at the Yale Alumni Club, punch the cash registers color-coded for illiterates, and pamper the winner class on the higher floors of the new economic order.
Greg Palast has a new book Armed Madhouse Bush's Class war and GOP economic piggery. Check out this illustration from the book, or this one.



Prosper: Online People to People Lending

Interesting concept for bypassing traditional banks. Prosper hooks up people willing to lend money and get a good return on their investment and people needing loans. People must join a group to get a loan and part of their credit grade is connected to the group's credit grade. This is somewhat similar to traditional Asian prosperity groups.

I have place this in political as it bypasses normal institutions except for their use of the credit scoring companies. Some church groups are involved in lending money or seeking money for projects.


Friday, June 16, 2006

Politics of Definition

How liberals win elections

A long digest from a very long series of posts by John Halpin and Ruy Teixeira.


(1) The starting point for all political organizing and campaigns should be: “What are my core beliefs and principles and how do I best explain them to supporters and skeptics alike?”

(2) Every political battle, both proactive and defensive, should represent a basic statement of progressive character and present a clear, concise contrast with conservatives. Do not blur lines.

(3) All issue campaigns and agenda items are not equal. Progressives should focus their efforts on issues that can simultaneously strengthen the base and appeal to centrist voters. Progressives must be willing to make sacrifices and tradeoffs -- in terms of coalition building and budgetary concerns -- to achieve their most important agenda items.

(4) Escalate battles that expose the extremism of the right or splinter their coalition. [Follow-up: When confronted with the right’s social, cultural, or national security agenda, the absolute worst response is to fail to combat these caricatures or to explain one’s position directly to voters, regardless of the popularity of the position.]

(5) Every political action should highlight three essential progressive attributes: a clear stand on the side of those who lack power, wealth or influence; a deep commitment to the common good; and a strong belief in fairness and opportunity for all.

2004 post-election polling conducted by Zogby International, and co-sponsored by the Center for American Progress, Res Publica and Pax Christi, found that nearly two-thirds of American voters believe “greed and materialism” or “poverty and economic justice” are the most urgent moral problems facing America, compared to only 27 percent of voters who said “abortion” and “same-sex marriage.”

Progressives should state clearly that there will be no long-term military bases in Iraq and that our stay in Iraq will be temporary to help ensure stability during the democratic transition. We should demand full accountability for the misuse of pre-war intelligence and the absence of weapons of mass destruction; the billions of dollars in taxpayer money squandered in Iraq or lost through corruption; torture and abusive treatment of detainees; and failure to provide adequate plans for the war by military and civilian officials alike.

We should remind voters that had progressives been in charge on 9/11, we would not have taken our eye off of al-Qaeda and bin Laden by diverting critical military and intelligence assets to Iraq. Similarly, we would not have allowed the Iraqi diversion to stop our focus on North Korea and Iran as emerging new threats. And we most certainly would not have alienated three-quarters of the world population in pursuit of a failed vision for fighting terrorism.

The common good serves as the overarching philosophical principle, helping to define a clear and optimistic progressive vision for the future.

This politics of definition plus a reorganized Democratic Party contesting for every seat in every state will lead the way for the emerging Democratic American majority.

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Right-Wing Shelves Vote on Minimum Wage Increase

House committee votes for increase, GOP leadership plots to not introduce the bill. The House just approved a pay raise for themselves.

Bush Claimed Iraqis Oppose Withdrawal Timetable the Day After Iraq’s VP Personally Asked Him for One

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Electric Car Booted From Smithsonian As Movie Opens

GM created an electric car its owners loved and then destroyed them all. This WP article explores the question that GM used its influence to have the EV1 taken off display at the Smithsonian at this time.

Who Killed the Electric Car is starting to open in selected theaters across the country including the Houston River Oaks.



That So-Called-Liberal Houston Chronicle


There were two lawsuits filed against the state of Texas in the last couple of days.

The NAACP, the Texas Democratic candidate for attorney general David Van Os, and the Texas Civil Rights Project filed suit saying the lack of paper ballots violated the state constitution. Here - (*) is the Houston Chronicle story.

Can't get the link to work? That is because there isn't one but here is a brief Austin Statesman story about it.

Some Republican conservatives than filed suit saying that Texas was violating the Constitution by not adequately holding down state spending despite the fact Texas has a mechanism in place to do that.

Here is the Houston Chronicle story on that.


Thursday, June 15, 2006

Al Gore as Captain Planet

Rorshach is dismissive and insulting to Gore before displaying a surprising lack of knowledge about science and engineering - re: his proposal for a sunshade over the Earth.

The only serious criticism of Al Gore's film is that there is not a mention of CO2 concentrations over a million years ago. That is understandable with the lack of continuous data and more than made up for by the record Gore brilliantly showed of the last 650,000 years.

Added - he is starting to make up for it in his comments but still hasn't really thought about the scale of the sunshades. Here is a good defense of the film from the attack by the science hack Easterbrook.




"The Fireside Chat that Roosevelt Threw Away"

Upon taking office FDR was urged by many to become a dictator. He refused. Good story about the pressures on FDR to take stronger measures.

This has an interesting relationship with a plot just after the inauguration by some powerful bankers and manufacturers for a Fascist coup against Roosevelt. The plot was exposed but dismissed by the major media and even many later historians. A congressional committee confirmed the existence of the plot but proposed no action be taken against the instigators. The mainstream media again dismissed the story.

Resources on the coup attempt. One of the better stories of General Butler and the plot and much more readable than the Wikipedia entry. A good show on DVD from the History Channel is available. A recent political essay on the plot and its relevance today.




My letter to the FCC


Regarding the $3.6 million fine for Without a Trace for what you described as a teen sex orgy.

I saw the clip of the teen orgy. There was no nudity on the show, it was on at a late hour, the content was marked adult, and it was necessary to the plot of the show.

The only things indecent, profane and obscene are the FCC for the over $3 million fine and the complaints that originated from two Christian sex hate groups. None of the original complainers actually appear to have seen the show.

I have a serious complaint about your abuse.

I thought you were the place to go to complain about the takeover by fewer and fewer corporations of the public airways or the political propaganda put on by the new batch of conservative PBS talk shows? I haven't seen any actions you have taken on those matters. My newscasts this week also had a photo of the face of an Iraqi corpse which I thought was a no-no. There is also some pirate broadcaster that occasionally interrupts my programming to put on some faux Texas rancher in a big white house. Can you do anything to stop that program?


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

BREAKING - David Van Os files suit for paper ballots

Texas candidate for state attorney general coming off a rousing Democratic Party Convention has joined with the NAACP to file suite against the state of Texas to require paper ballots based on the Texas Constitution.

TXSharon has the story at Daily Kos.




American Toll Roads Being Snatched Up By Foreign Countries

This is what Perry's toll road plans will lead to. Except it isn't just Perry, Harris County Judge Bob Eckels is pushing toll roads, as is all the Texas GOP leadership and even Democrats who toll road lobbyists spend their money on.




Tripping to Baghdad

Froomkin has a very extensive round-up of reaction to Bush's secret trip.

One correction for Milbank - "turd blossom" is not only an expression for a flower that blooms in manure but also another name for the cow patty itself.






Israeli PM's party plagiarized Texas Democratic Platform

This is odd. The USA Kadima Party website plagiarized the Texas Democratic party platform and website. Their website developer has been fired for this. Suspicions were aroused because of its generic nature with little specific Israeli information.
New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind, D-Brooklyn, first brought the website similarities to light. Hikind told WND he thought something was "a little off" upon browsing the Kadima USA site.

"Things seemed very generic, almost like what should be descriptions of an American political party," said Hikind.
Google searches quickly revealed the source. The Kadima Party was developed quickly by former Prime Minister Sharon in late 2005. The Texas Democratic Party platform and site was developed in 2004.

The right wing news site which reported the story was threatened by a spokesperson of the Kadima USA for revealing the plagiarism but that threat has been condemned by Kadima Israel.

The Texas Democratic Party should be proud that others want to claim its platform. This story would have been even odder if they had copied the John Birch Society freak show which is the Texas GOP website and platform. Many Republicans when they are read the specifics of the Texas GOP 2004 and 2006 platforms quickly disavow them.



Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Quick hits


Prisoners in Gitmo committing suicide - is it an act of war against us or a PR stunt? Those are the two Pentagon explanations.

Rove may not be indicted. He sooo deserves to be. Here is a list of reasons why he should at least be fired. That statement was only from Rove's attorney but it looks like Jason Leopold was wrong when he said Rove had already been indicted. Jason has no further defense of his accusation but points to a mysterious Sealed vs. Sealed Grand Jury indictment. Truthout is standing by the story although there is now a letter saying Fitzgerald is not seeking an indictment.

US Iraqi bases for decades?

The Ipod sweatshops of China. All of the high tech stuff is now made by sweatshops.

We are not in a war on terrorism. Terrorists are not at war. "The whole point of terrorism is to attack a government or a people so hard, in such a tender and precious spot, that the government goes nuts in rage and fear." Some people get scared so much they beg the government to do anything, suspend civil rights, make mass arrests of suspects, allow torture, create gulags, to protect them. (Quote from Bruce Sterling's geek 9/11 thriller The Zenith Angle.)

What can a sensible person do? Point out that the government has gone nuts, support sensible actions, loudly object when we do what the terrorists want, and ridicule and pity the unAmerican cowards.

The FoxNews effect. Some evidence that Fox News swayed voters to support Bush.

This post edited after a busy day.


Monday, June 12, 2006

Was the 2004 Election Stolen - continued

A scholarly response to criticism of the RFK Jr. article makes clearer the high probability of Republican fraud.

ADDED - The Mystery Pollster disagrees with his series on exit polls and the RFK Jr. article.

San Franciscophobia by Garrison Keillor - We're stuck with a terrible war and a worse president, and all the GOP can do is scream, "Pelosi and her Nancy boys are coming"? This is pathetic.
The iPod was not developed by Baptists in Waco, Texas. There may be a reason for this. Creative people thrive in a climate of openness and tolerance, since some great ideas start out sounding ridiculous. Creativity is a key to economic progress. Authoritarianism is stifling. I don't believe that Mr. Hewlett and Mr. Packard were gay, but what's important is: In San Francisco, it doesn't matter so much. When the cultural Sturmbannfuhrers try to marshal everyone into straight lines, it has consequences for the economic future of this country.
And many more great articles at Salon.com.




Candidate investigating voter fraud has the book thrown at him

The Raw Story has an amazing case showing an example of the GOP with the cooperation of corrupt Democrats taking over small towns for developers. The state representative candidate after announcing he was investigating voter fraud on the part of city officials was arrested on the charge of publicly recording his meetings with officials. This is a Democratic area but the GOP is funding leading Democrats who will switch parties if they run for higher office.

More on the story here. LA City Beat coverage here. Judge had to rule he is allowed to attend city council meetings. The war of the websites.

The description of going's on in Alachua Florida is not that different than Pasadena Texas with a mayor and some of city council in bed with rich developers, the beginnings of a reform movement, problems with mail-in ballots, a losing candidate being allowed on the board for one year after the election, and a community forum heating up.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us - It's a real zoo in suburbia lately.





What failures enable such a sorry President to still have supporters?

I am 80 years old and the hardest thing I have ever had to contemplate and to reason why is that the American people have twice elected a man of the calibre of George W. Bush. Further, it is extremely difficult to fathom why anyone of any stripe would still be supporting him as millions seem to be doing. What this tells me is that there is a tremendous failing on the part of our educational and religious institutions, government bodies - local and national - and the media. Scott Ritter has hit the nail on the head when he avers that the incipient weakness of acumen and character has trailed down from the head man to the general populace.

Mildred Miller
If I get any comment on this post from conservatives it will be an attack on her speaking favorably of Scott Ritter. During the time of his most vocal criticism of Bush policies "someone" leaked to the press that he had been previously charged with attempting to meet with what he thought were teenage girls. The charge was dropped and the records sealed. After the exposure, the records were passed to the FBI and the Justice Department to possibly reopen the case but they did not do so. Would Scott Ritter be a worse President than Bush? Does he have more moral failings? Where does picking up teenage girls rank compared to drug and alcohol abuse and failure to fulfil a military service commitment? Would you vote for Bill Clinton if possible?



9/11 - Wild Conspiracies at war with Rational Concerns

The official government accounts related to 9/11 have unexplained errors and problems. This does not mean a U.S. conspiracy brought down the towers.
I, for one, have no problem accepting the notion that a small group of true believers -- people like Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz and the rest of the neocon "cabal" -- used the attacks of 9/11 to seize and consolidate power. And I'm comfortable accepting that they view liberal democracy as a threat, their political opponents as a national weakness, and American militarism as the best hope for humanity.

They've proved, to my mind, that they're happiest when governing in secrecy -- a prerequisite for a conspiracy. Think about the administration's obsession with classifying everything under the sun, or Dick Cheney going all the way to the Supreme Court to avoid divulging who, exactly, crafted America's energy policy.

The administration's hardliners also represent a nexus between the more authoritarian end of our political spectrum and the anti-egalitarian business Right; the administration and its backers, allies and former partners are making an unprecedented fortune in all corners of the "war on terror," and that goes to motive.

It's a group of ideologues that knows its prescriptions aren't popular. The Project for a New American Century, where a "White House in waiting" of hard-right operatives weathered the Clinton years, urged a massive "rebuilding" of America's military capabilities (PDF), but warned that it wouldn't be easy unless there was a major attack on the American homeland. "The process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event -- like a new Pearl Harbor," they wrote.

....there will be no further serious investigation into the events of 9/11. Ironically, that's largely because of the 9/11 "truth movement" itself -- by embracing fanciful notions that the government blew up the World Trade Center with thermite charges, or that the Pentagon was hit by a missile -- makes it hard for the rest of us to express rational skepticism of the official account.





What if the Bilbray-Busby race were to be typical this November?

Compared to 2004 CA-50 had -9% GOP swing. If that played out in November the Republicans easily lose majority status in the House. In order to preserve the seat the GOP had to dump over 5 million more dollars into the race than the Democrats and got lucky with a pre-election Democratic gaffe on immigration and voting.

Other news - I saw an Inconvenient Truth, great. Makes clear the incredible tragedy for America Gore is not President instead of our village idiot and should, but won't, silence the blind deniers of global climate change.


Sunday, June 11, 2006


In Texas Town, New Drug Plan Baffles Patient and Provider Alike

The party that doesn't like government and social programs doesn't know how to set up a drug benefit.


Friday, June 09, 2006

Iraq Progress

I never thought I’d actually miss the car bombs. At least a car bomb is indiscriminate. It doesn’t seek you out because you’re Sunni or Shia.



Before the Drug War

Images from labels of many psychoactive products once legal in the U.S..

Link from brother Jim. Blogger might be working again. It killed two long posts before not being available for two days.


Monday, June 05, 2006

Female South Dakota Sioux leader faces impeachment


The male tribal leaders have suspended Cecelia Fire Thunder pending an impeachment hearing after she advocated a women's clinic on tribal lands in response to South Dakota's outlawing of abortions. The tribal council also outlawed abortions on tribal lands. Bitch's earlier post. Just how patriarchal are the Sioux anyway? Meanwhile about 39,000 people have signed a measure to put a vote on the repeal of the state abortion ban on the ballot.



Poll: Americans concerned about values in a way that supports Democrats

Center For American Progress:
– Asked to name the most serious moral crisis in America today, 28% of Americans cite “kids not raised with the right values”; followed by 22% saying “corruption in government/business”; 17% saying “greed and materialism” or “people too focused on themselves”; and only 3% citing “abortion and homosexuality.”

– On addressing poverty: 68% of voters strongly agree that “government should uphold the basic decency and dignity of all and take greater steps to help the poor and disadvantaged in America” (89% total agree).

– On religious freedom: 67% of voters believe that religious freedom is a “critical” part of their image of America compared to less than three in 10 who believe Judeo-Christian faith specifically is critical to this image.





On 3rd tour of duty in Iraq Marines were totally out of control

UK Guardian: Marine sergeant's wife says drug and alcohol problems, hazing and high stress on overextended unit.

Newsweek - Investigating a bloodbath. More on the war.

Shhhh! You know this is undermining our troops when they hear reports they are committing massacres. At least my nephew is back from Iraq now - his last was also his third tour.


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