Friday, August 31, 20070 comments
Ray McGovern: Do We Have The Courage To Stop War With Iran?
In a replay of the moves that set the Iraq occupation in motion, Bush started his campaign to attack Iran.
There is very little time to exercise our rights as citizens and stop this madness. At a similarly critical juncture, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was typically direct. I find his words a challenge to us today:This is the surge they know how to do - the PR surge. Kevin believes that General Petraeus has spent more time on the Iraq PR surge than running the troop surge."There is such a thing as being too late.... Life often leaves us standing bare, naked, and dejected with lost opportunity.... Over the bleached bones of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words: 'Too late.'"
Related - I notice I misplaced a post over a week ago. Here is TIME magazine commenting on Bush-Cheney's push for war with Iran.
Away from blogging till Monday or later. The games are on.
I will play more of my new Twilight Struggle, the Cold War 1945-1989, and try to avoid a nuclear war. I will also play another game of opposing evil empires, compete for the Texas Puerto Rico board game championship, (here is an online version), and may organize a Lying Pirates Liars Dice game championship and give more of my hand-made pirate refrigerator magnets away.
Gary Permalink on 8/31/2007
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Letters after Hurricane Katrina from the Reverend Jacqueline Luck
The Rev. Luck serves the Unitarian Universalist Church of Jackson, Mississippi, and Our Home Universalist Unitarian Church in Ellisville, Mississippi
September 2, 2005One year later in New Orleans, one year ago.
"Please tell people, New Orleans is not well. This is a city that is dying, and it could be any place...this could happen to your city. America has a short attention span and this is uncomfortable...but [people need to ask themselves] 'what if this happened to us? How would you react?'"TODAY - TWO YEARS LATER
Two years after Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans is starting to come back - but not for all.
Small businesses in New Orleans still struggling.
Chicago Sun Times: Failed flood of promises
Bush's inaction leaves New Orleans mired.
Official list of disaster victims still untabulated
Bush hopeful of 'better days' ahead
Although Bush argued that distance has allowed him to see the progress that New Orleanians can't see, locals -- from the woman who made an obscene gesture toward Bush's motorcade on Canal Street on Tuesday night to the New Orleans city councilwoman whose open letter to the president called for aid comparable to what Iraq has received -- did not greet him as liberator of a city still languishing under federal red tape.Better days = he'll be gone soon.
Katrina remembered in New Orleans
"They say New Orleans is coming back?" said Sophie Dominick, who lost her home in Violet to the floodwaters. "When? Two years later and we're still waiting. Nothing has changed. Everything is on hold. I've been in a FEMA trailer for one year. I don't see any progress."Gary Permalink on 8/30/2007
Burka is in
I am adding the informative but eccentric Burka to my blogroll but am putting an R after his name. He is not an R but more a Kinky Texan. He says that governor candidate Bell shocked by getting 29% of the vote. Real Democrats are shocked he only got 29%. Gary Permalink on 8/30/2007
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Today you have to have heart
Driving down the main drag in Deer Park I saw a Baptist Church with a message to the world from God that those who support freedom of speech really support "loose lips." I don't know how many times I keep being told "freedom isn't free" by conservatives who don't believe in sacrifice. "You don't understand, they want to attack us." "9/11 changed everything." "Shut up and support the troops who are defending our country." "One thing you have to give credit to Bush is he is defending our country."
How is it defending our country to be occupying countries that have not attacked us? Just who are we supposed to be so frightened of? Are Syria and Iran going to sneak attack us from Mexico and capture Brownsville? We are making more terrorists then we are getting rid of in Iraq but we are also not letting them in the country. What ships am I sinking when I say that Bush and Cheney are dangerous reactionary fools?
The US spends one trillion dollars a year on military security, more than all of the rest of the world put together. Don't the Baptists feel safer?
For fiscal year 2006, Robert Higgs of the Independent Institute calculated national security outlays at almost a trillion dollars -- $934.9 billion to be exact -- broken down as follows (in billions of dollars):That doe not count the black budget programs for the CIA, NSA, NRO, and other programs not disclosed. We have more than 700 bases in 130 countries to defend us! Defend us from what? We are so powerful our biggest enemy today is a few thousand men without a country forced to spend years planning ways to steal our stuff to ram it into buildings.
How do we heal the authoritarian minds, easily frightened, wanting to follow strong leaders and looking for scapegoats?
Today on Democracy Now! there was a long segment with psychologist, author Mary Pipher, who says she now works to give people moral imagination, to open their hearts and put themselves in someone else's place. Authoritarians have a problem with seeing another point of view, with empathy. It is too easy to demonize faceless objects, the unknown other. Pipher tells stories that hearts can understand to get through.
At a Houston UU church I told people I was on the Universalist side of Unitarian Universalism. The Unitarians were the clever ones who went to college and kept whittling away at the Bible because they had brains. The Universalists were the non-college educated preachers who kept expanding the Bible because they had hearts. Today's UU churches are where their descendants come together and argue over coffee.
There is more to be gained with urging action from the heart than from the mind. Compare
What can we do today to speak to the heart of frightened mislead conservatives? What do we tell our Southern Baptist friends and neighbors to make them realize that the gays aren't going to destroy their marriage, that Muslims are not followers of Satan taking over the world, that Armageddon need not happen now? Can we even convince them in the face of the other sides relentless propaganda that the media isn't liberal and liberal is not a bad thing?
Mary Pipher says when you despair of the world take some action. You'll feel better and part of the world will get better.
Catherine Austin Fitts, who I wrote about earlier, says to quit watching the unimportant fake stuff on TV and stop shopping at places supporting a corrupt system. How many people like me have been sticking with one bank because of their many ATMs when they support and enable actions that our hurting this country? I shop at Wal-Mart because they are close and cheap, ouch. How much am I willing to inconvenience myself to protest their anti-union, anti-worker, anti-American policies?
So, my easy actions are to quit patronizing large multinational corporations I disapprove of. Bringing compassion to my local uncompassionate Christian neighbors may take longer.
I have been incredibly busy, so busy I failed to note my five year anniversary in blogging. That is 35 in blog years and feels like it today.
Gary Permalink on 8/29/2007
Bush preparing to start Iranian War
I believe the real headline could be Bush/Cheney prepare to start World War 3.
US bombers and long range missiles are ready today to destroy 10,000 targets in Iran in a few hours.
Reuters: The US UN Ambassador warns of World War 3 over Middle East turmoil
Front Page UK Guardian: Bush threatens to confront Iran over alleged support for Iraqi insurgents
UK Times: Bush raises the stakes over Iran bomb with warning of 'holocaust'
BBC: Bush warns Iran over insurgent support
A Reminder, Hersh: CIA Analysis Finds No Firm Evidence Iran Developing Nuclear Weapons
Iran Slams US-India Nuke Deal
Gary Permalink on 8/29/2007
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
What about SCHIP? How many poor in Texas?
More than the official poverty rate indicates. A good rule of thumb is to double the official poverty level income
From the Center For Public Policy Priorities and The Baptist General Convention of Texas: Texas Poverty 101.
The estimated cost of housing, food, child care, transportation, health care, other necessities such as clothing, and taxes for two adults and one child in Houston is $2,821 per month (more than $16 per hour in combined household wages), or $33,852 per year. This is more than twice the official poverty level in 2005, at $16,090 annually for a family of three. CPPP and EPI’s approach is supported by poverty experts, including the National Research Council, which has recommended a similar approach to replace the official federal poverty measure.This relates to the SCHIP debate with conservatives and Bush objecting to "socialized medicine" for children of working families. The eligibility for Texas state child health coverage is twice the official poverty rate unless the money runs out first and the Republicans stick some other reasons to deny coverage in. As a state health program it is not nearly as simple as going to your doctor. Count on hours, much paperwork and long lines to prove your eligibility unless some special outreach is taking place.
There are nine million USA children uninsured. Bush has infamously said to them "After all, you just go to an emergency room."
I am sure you want already overcrowded emergency rooms (ER visits up 25% in ten years while the number of ERs down 25%), the most expensive health care in the world, used for emergency care for kids not getting regular care. The cost of an emergency visit is 3-4 times more expensive than a cost of a regular office visit. This also raises your local property tax rates and forces many families into bankruptcy because of health costs. You don't get a free ride in emergency rooms just because you don't have insurance. In fact, uninsured rates are more than triple what insured people pay.
The costs of uninsured persons using the emergency room are significant: 6.2% of all hospital bills were incurred due to uninsured patients who could not pay their own bills. Like Medicare and Medicaid, 80-85% of this amount is paid for by the government in one form or another. Another portion is spread as higher costs for all hospital care, treatment and services. ER's already being used as primary care facilities instead of only for emergencies has created the GOMER problem (doc) - "get out of my emergency room." Increasingly overcrowded ER's with problems that should be treated elsewhere with many unable to pay. Cuts in Medicaid/care funding have only exacerbated this problem, with recipients of these benefits three times as likely to seek emergency department care than those with private insurance.
Health care is the most serious of the many crises Bush and the Republicans have made worse and are unable to face or provide solutions.
Gary Permalink on 8/28/2007
Monday, August 27, 2007
Gonzo finally goes to bed - Bush is ticked off. Even his most creepy allies say 'good riddance.' When even a main stream media (CBS News/Newsweek/Washington Post) legal analyst says things like the following it is well past time to go:
By any reasonable standard, the Gonzales Era at the Justice Department is void of almost all redemptive qualities. He brought shame and disgrace to the Department because of his lack of independent judgment on some of the most vital legal issues of our time. And he brought chaos and confusion to the Department because of his lack of respectable leadership over a cabinet-level department among the most important in the nation.The Texas State Democratic Party had its quarterly meeting and seems to have done very little. The two hour general meeting included a long skit and no new business and appeared to not recognize speakers from the floor. This is from an email from John McConnell via Carl Whitmarsh on the USDemocrat-TX-Houston Yahoo group. The Texas Democrats need to get their act together and become a Democratic Party not an insider party. Of course, Boyd has a new public ass kisser.
ADDED: What happens now about Gonzo?
Gary Permalink on 8/27/2007
Texas Round-Up 7
It's time once again for the weekly Texas Progressive Alliance blog round-up. This week's round-up is brought to you by Vince from Capitol Annex.
Gary Permalink on 8/27/2007
Friday, August 24, 2007
Michigan State University
The rantings of this MSU graduate seem apt for most, but not all, MSU campus housing units. Holmes Hall was a classy dorm. That came from being primarily a liberal arts science college*. But we had a song:
Moon over Akers, a shot in the dark, drunks in the hallway, addicts on a lark....Akers was the large dorm complex across from us. MSU went after National Merit finalists in a very big way when I was there in an attempt to raise the caliber of their students. I heard they lost a large part of the budget used to do that later. Interesting college town of East Lansing, beautiful large campus, and Animal House students, with a few notable exceptions.
*WTF is a liberal arts science college? It had lofty ideals of making well-rounded scientists and engineers. That was changing when I was there when word was spreading that Lyman Briggs, the college based in Holmes Hall, had the nation's highest acceptence rates into Medical School of its graduates.
I was not in Lyman Briggs college except for pre-registration. I spoke with the Dean during class registration and said I liked Social Science classes much better than Science classes. He drove me over to change my registration. I was a typical idiotic freshman. My dorm residence stayed the same.
Lyman Briggs had a great paperback SF library that I expanded with donations a bit when I left. Would have been more but I knew a perpetual grad student who gave me $10 for my big box full. Briggs also had a great SF writer's workshop program - Clarion, in the summers until this year.
Gary Permalink on 8/24/2007
Man Who Fought For Americans' Rights Demands Americans Stop Exercising Their Rights - The Onion
"Wherever you look today, you see people using the First Amendment to openly criticize or protest the U.S. government. I don't think that's what the framers of the Constitution had in mind. And I, for one, didn't storm the beach at Normandy so I could see America dragged through the mud."Gary Permalink on 8/24/2007
Big Ketchup 3
Lets see if I can ever clear my desktop of shortcuts...
Democrats fear Clinton drag on downticket races. In very red areas, is she the worst possible candidate?
Cheney Youtube - Invading Iraq would create a quagmire. More from The Daily Show.
US Slipping in Life Expectancy Rankings
Reading right-wing blogs can make life very depressing - Sadly, No! Case in point - the idiotic Ace of Spades. I find Ace of Spades often has an inability to read, watch and interpret. He seems the right blogger ringleader on faux outrages. The junior college I am working at now attempts to teach students how to think clearly as many seem sadly lacking in reasoning skills. Is it too late for Ace?
RIP the most famous photographer you never heard of. RIP Truman and the atomic victims.
Wealthy buyers scramble for credit during mortgage crunch. Still in denial?
"This credit crunch is hitting harder than most people realize," said the man from Lehman Bros. "It's not just a subprime problem any more. You can put together a great deal…you still won't be able to get financing for it.Cheney winning his Iran war goal - the designation of the elite units of the Iranian Army as terrorists sets up future attack. Taylor Marsh agrees.
Glenn Greenwald takes down my old friend Roger L. Simon who supports this President despite being pro-civil rights, gay rights and women's rights. Why? Because Roger thinks the Islamic horde is coming! It has been a bit sad watching a good writer in mental decline.
Economic snapshot - gale warnings.
Now the right has brought in the National Park Service to harass dissent and music festivals. Capital Hill Blue also notes some academic speech and writing is now unacceptable and The USA Unpatriotic Act. The NYT on the unacceptable writing.
Texans to Bush: Get off my lawn, don't build this wall!
Texas Job Application: Corporate Crony for Rick Perry.
Imagine, a conservative who likes liberty.
Pentagon Paid $998,798 to Ship Two 19-Cent Washers
I also can no longer defend Hugo Chavez. The BBC on Chavez.
A brief history:
Anti-War Person 2002: We shouldn't go to war.Logically, we are entertainment for some guy in the future. More.
Watergate plumber: Nixon White House was complete breakdown of integrity.
Torching mosques in America.
A Giant Golfball for missile defense being repaired.
Rove as Gremlin. Don't feed him after dark.
Jose Padilla is Winston Smith.
God's Politics: Why Prosperous Costa Rica says NO to CAFTA. Christian University fires prof for becoming too liberal. Like that hasn't happened before. Yet another favorable encounter with "socialized medicine."
Huff Post: Mine Safety Czar Richard Stickler: Another Bush Fox Guarding the Henhouse.
More to come....
Gary Permalink on 8/24/2007
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Cheney Death Wish - Attack Iran and take them all with me
Retired CIA analyst Ray McGovern:
Here I must reveal a trade secret and risk puncturing the mystique of intelligence analysis. Generally speaking, 80 percent of the information one needs to form judgments on key intelligence targets or issues is available in open media. It helps to have been trained -- as my contemporaries and I had the good fortune to be trained -- by past masters of the discipline of media analysis, which began in a structured way in targeting Japanese and German media in the 1940s. But, truth be told, anyone with a high school education can do it. It is not rocket science....A DC conference coming up on our war with Iran.
Former pentagon military analyst Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski:
All the signs are there, the suggestions that Iranian bombs are killing American soldiers, that’s not true, but it’s certainly been made in, I think every American newspaper, the suggestion that Iran is somehow killing Americans. The suggestion that Iran has nuclear weapons, is imminently close to nuclear weapons. That is not true but that’s been, those claims are made, even by this Administration. The idea that we have two carrier battle groups currently in the region and in fact I just saw today, Admiral Walsh, one of the big guys in the Navy said that we’re very concerned about what Iran is doing even more so than Al Qaeda. So there, all the signs are there that we are being, we’re going to wake up one morning soon, very soon, and we will be at war with Iran. We will have bombed them in some sort of shock and awe campaign destroying many lives and setting back US relations even further than we’ve already done it with Iraq.Karen elsewhere:
Karl’s departure leaves Bush to oversee his daughter’s upcoming wedding, and Cheney to finish his neoconservative mission. That mission is to solidify American military bases and presence in Iraq, in Afghanistan and in Kuwait and Qatar – and maintain it in Turkey, in order to deal with the last upstart in the region that would politically challenge both our will and that of our biggest little military ally in the region. The $30 billion in aid over the next ten years represents just the military aid we provide Israel, not the economic, and it represents a 25% increase over the status quo.The lack of context in American mass media. Why Cheney will probably get his disastrous war.
Bolton: I ‘Absolutely’ Hope The U.S. Will Attack Iran In The Next ‘Six Months’
Iraqi insurgents = Al-Qaeda = Khmer Rouge. Anyone who believes that has a screw loose and will shortly add "Iran =" to the equation.
Gary Permalink on 8/23/2007
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
General Batiste blasts Republicans for supporting this occupation
The only way to stabilize Iraq and allow our military to rearm and refit for the long fight ahead is to begin a responsible and deliberate redeployment from Iraq and replace the troops with far less expensive and much more effective resources–those of diplomacy and the critical work of political reconciliation and economic recovery. In other words, when it comes to Iraq, it’s time for conservatives to once again be conservative.Gary Permalink on 8/22/2007
Censorship and Uncivil Airwaves on Houston's Radio News
Earlier this summer I had some civil email exchanges with the Program Director of 740 AM. My specific complaints were their adding Rush and the loser Dennis Miller, the embarrassingly ignorant Joe Pags they rebroadcast from San Antonio, and the bleed over of right wing misinformation into their news updates.
One of the things he mentioned in his defense of the station was that Rush Limbaugh had tripled the ratings of the local talk they used to have in the spot.
Sounds terrific, right? But then he wrote they were now in the top 10 in that time slot with a rating of 4. Tripling your ratings gets you a 4 and only within the top 10? Their local conservative talk must truly be a disaster in drawing listeners.
I made a bet with myself that the locals would soon disappear. Any smart programming would quickly eliminate the local-yokel right-wing clowns and pick up the cheaper syndicated well-publicized shows with direct feeds and publicity from the Right Wing Noise Machine. When you have more expensive local programming producing lower ratings than just piping in a national show it goes - pure business sense 101.
So now KTRH has picked up Sean Hannity in the afternoons. Conservative radio clowns outsourced - poetic justice?
In our emails he denied the beginnings of some right slant on the half-hourly updates. I'll leave that to you to check out what and how they report political developments now.
One odd part of our exchange was that after complaining about the biased inaccurate information of the conservative shows, I confessed to listening to the nightly Coast-to-Coast AM. This show is about ghosts and UFOs and conspiracies and the fringe of science and often well beyond. Take any supposed factual statements on the shows with a large saltshaker of "Don't Trust - verify". I like it, I feel there is a difference between weird speculation and the lies for political agendas I hate.
This past weekend KTRH demonstrated the new forces ruling the station. Coast to Coast AM had a guest on discussing the meltdown in the housing and financial markets. Catherine Austin Fitts is a former HUD Assistant Secretary under Bush 41 whose Republican eyes were opened to financial and government corruption. I now call her my favorite radical Libertarian Green.
In the first hour of the show this past Saturday, the conversation veered to how Halliburton would have made no money, would probably be bankrupt, without the co$t+plu$ contracts from the Iraq Occupation. She also was beginning to get into the current administration corruption as well as the Federal Reserve rescuing the bankers exporting jobs and foreclosing on homes.
After the first hour KTRH pulled the program and played a 10-year old Art Bell program from the archives. I could verify that it was a local decision by switching to 560 AM from Beaumont which continued with the original program.
KTRH - right wing propaganda machine. Did they get a call or was this their decision? Does it matter?
As a marketing advertising guy I thought I understood where KTRH was coming from on some of their programming. By far their highest ratings come from their sports broadcasts. They want a compatible format which keeps those ears when they aren't broadcasting the games. Particularly as the right to broadcast the games is so expensive the pre and post game shows and ears that stay around or come back for anything else are what probably prevents the expensive games from losing money for KTRH. They feel right wing talk is more compatible for their game listeners. (Odd, I see more discussion about baseball on left blogs than right.) I could disagree with that but it is a business argument you could make. With the extremist hate speech often on even the most popular right wing national talk shows is this still a good business model? And if now KTRH feels it must censor critics of Halliburton and this administration and the Federal Reserve has this moved beyond a business model and into their own right wing agenda?
A long digression.
Here is a bit of history which relates to when I first became aware of Catherine Austin Fitts years ago. She began the process of moving away from conservative at about the same time and for related reasons as I did - the Wall Street rape of Federated Department Stores and their employees. I was working inside Foley's when the insane, as in recently released from the mental hospital, crazy Canadian Campeau found Wall Street firms willing to issue junk bonds to enable him to purchase Federated. From an online book by Fitts (bold and italics mine), A Parting of the Ways :
Things came to a head when I arrived at the weekly banking meeting of the Dillon Read partners one morning in 1988 and listened to Steve Fenster, one of the partners who had joined us in 1987 from Lehman Brothers with an interim stint at Chase, make his presentation on why Dillon’s LBO group should take the second position behind First Boston in the Campeau hostile takeover of the Federated Department Stores. During his presentation, Fenster, later a professor at the Harvard Business School, presented a “sources and uses of funds” statement. This is a statement that estimates where the money is coming from to buy the company and how it will be spent and in what amounts. Steve described a significant source of funds would come from “productivity improvements” — a portion of what was needed to fund the cost of hundreds of millions for golden parachutes for senior management and fees for lawyers and investment bankers.I think we all have to learn the hard way - there are some crazy greedy f***ers running the country now and AM 740 has moved into their camp as a follower. The apt phrase I believe is media whore. A civil exchange in emails doesn’t mean I can't see what is happening to 740 on the air.
Tags: KTRH, Houston, Coast to Coast AM, radio, media whores, RWNM, SCLM, Federated, Catherine Austin FittsGary Permalink on 8/22/2007
Big Ketchup - Part 2
Naked Protest - 600 bare all on a melting glacier.
If the US declares an arm of the Iranian state a terrorist organisation (and under the Bush doctrine, those who harbour terrorists are as guilty of terrorism as the terrorists themselves) what chance does Washington have of prising influential Iranian opinion away from the belief that the bomb is the best insurance policy against outside attack?Bye, bye Baghdad - a self-confessed overpaid contractor has become zombiefied in the lost war in Iraq.
The Portrait House for Humanity.
Should President Obama Stack the Supreme Court?
Another call for an Islamic Reformation - NYT Magazine - The Politics of God.
In local politics, I still think this is odd, New Pasadena City Council majority defunds mayor's Executive Assistant position. This is an example for our Democratic Congress - purse strings equals power.
In local weather - our house was four inches from flooding. Pasadena floods from Erin.
Are you a real liberal? Get working.
On Iraq. CNN - Iraqi interpreter: 'Now I have no future'
On Nuclear War. The Atlantic: Why America’s growing nuclear supremacy may make war with China more likely. Our increasingly accurate and powerful weapons almost seem designed for a first strike.
Now that's a conspiracy theory. MajestyTwelve: UFO reports are a government plan to confuse the public, like the fake moon landings, as they prepare the New World Order. Your only defense is to join an armed militia group.
LAT - Ronald Brownstein: GOP moderates and mavericks face poor prospects in 2008 election.
Centrist Democrats aren't immune to these trends.... This difference is rooted in the fact that the Democrats today are much more of a coalition party than the Republicans: Polls show that only about half of Democratic voters consider themselves liberals, while three-fourths or more of Republicans call themselves conservatives. That means to win elections, Democrats depend more than Republicans on the votes of moderates -- which compels them to accept more dissent from party orthodoxy.Russia, China and allies play war game. Play out how to counter the U.S. in central Asia.
Jamison Foser: Mass media relies on misleading anecdotes, refuses to correct errors. The Padilla case illustrates the mass media failures.
The Texas Observer: Eating Local Isn’t Always the Greenest Option.
David Sirota: How to End the War. Make the GOP decide between protecting our borders or occupying Iraq.
On Blue Dogs and Bush Dogs.
The new pentagon supported Christian homoerotic art.
The Chavez's - GOP fundraising as a family business. They seemed to mainly provide for their affluent lifestyle, with little toward their causes.
WP - How the Fight for Vast New Spying Powers Was Won. Dems were played and folded.
Bush, Congress could collide on Iran - will Dems stand up?
WP: Obama's Rise was a Series of Fortunate Events
Utah mine had warnings and 'bumps' early this year.
Guantánamo man's family release 'torture' dossier. Detailed timeline of US supervised torture.
Rove's Effort to Promote the President and His Allies Using Tax Dollars Was Unprecedented in Its Reach
'The Argument' by Matt Bai. How progressives should ally with WalMart and free traders and how the new left is all (only?) about aggressive tactics. WTF? The NDN and DLC will love this book.
Reaction - Lots of BS. A simple lack of fact-checking. Even before it was hard to take Matt seriously. Yet again in June. The labor blog:
I could address the problems with this argument -- e.g., the complete absence of any discussion of power or unions -- but I have a simpler solution. I'm sure the New York Times could find a very smart writer in India or China who could crank out the same argument for one fifth the salary. Maybe then the Matt Bai's of this world would spend less time showing how clever they are in saying "Wal-Mart's not to blame" and more time talking about how we fight our way out of this hole. And if not, at least I'd save a little money on my Times subscription.NYT Eight American NCO's in Iraq:
To believe that Americans, with an occupying force that long ago outlived its reluctant welcome, can win over a recalcitrant local population and win this counterinsurgency is far-fetched.NYT - After Foreclosure, a Big Tax Bill From the I.R.S.
Conservatives now discuss how to win in Iraq - by leaving.
Greenwald on The truth behind the Pollack-O'Hanlon trip to Iraq. Recently he takes on the "Democratic" foreign policy establishment and the use of the labels Pacifist and Imperialist.
KPFT dissent, Texas style. Some very odd Chron reporting as they struggle to avoid admitting that KPFT is the only liberal news radio outlet in Houston. Update.
Impeach Perry. (This reminds me of some old hippy bringing out his buttons - Impeach LBJ, Impeach Nixon, Impeach Ford, Impeach Clinton, Impeach Bush....)
Idiotic writer suing over bad reviews. Stuart Pivar! You’re a crackpot! This is similar to another $1 billion threat involving a "literary agent" vulture. There are other vultures out there for writers. Writers Beware. Yew Gotta Larf - poetry(?) contest. The Castration of Sam McGee.
FoxNews wants war with Iran - video.
When staying alive means going bankrupt - America's health insurance system scam.
I have much more to go on this series as I keep getting distracted and mixing in more current stuff.
Gary Permalink on 8/22/2007
Monday, August 20, 2007
Texas Round-Up 6
Here is your Texas Progressive Alliance Blog Round-Up for the week of August 20, 2007. This week's installment is brought to you Vince from Capitol Annex.
Why Karl Rove Left?
Jeff Gannon, fake conservative white house reporter/gay escort, has a book coming out. Does the son of a cover-boy for Piercing Fans International Quarterly play a featured role in how Gannon got his White House press pass without vetting?
What brings this on is the tangently related post in Boing Boing: “I’m The Proud Owner Of Karl Rove’s Father’s Solid Gold Cock Ring.”
Karl Rove's father was proud of his adorned and decorated cock. Karl Rove has been called both proud of his father and adept of keeping his father's gay S&M piercing lifestyle secret. He has also been discreet about his own atheism and former mistress while wooing the hard core Christian church vote.
Very not safe for work - includes photos of Karl's Dad package: Cannonfire, Sadly No, and Corrente wire. The original article has more. Jesus' General prays that Karl Rove be given back his father's cock ring, in the name of God.
Bill Moyers on Karl Rove: “Rove is riding out of Dodge City as the posse rides in.”
More on his lying, spinning complicit mass media Texas grand almost farewell tour.
Merv was also being remembered this weekend for being a semi-closeted gay.
Gary Permalink on 8/20/2007
Friday, August 17, 2007
Big Ketchup - Part 1
I have just been posting very interesting stuff on the desktop and it is time to clean up!
The White House was using the Commerce, Treasury and other departments to boost GOP campaigns. Your tax dollars at work.
POLITICAL MELTDOWN IN IRAQ - Iran wins. Not that I haven't been saying that for years.
THE OSTRICH PAPERS: It Will Take ALL Decent Citizens to Save America - David Brin. How to have civil conversations with conservatives about what the GOP is doing and how to get back to the rule of law.
Profane Minutemen kill illegal on video. Isn't that like, very illegal? (If not a fake.)
Run on banks starting in California. Mortgages collapsing leading to bank bankruptcy worries.
Conservative betrayed. Major GOP figures set up website to warn against Bush and many GOP candidates like Thompson. A little late.
Krugman - Workouts, not bailouts. Will the fed rescue financiers after ignoring hard-working Americans?
Declaring Iranian Republican Guards terrorists makes no sense, except as an excuse to attack Iran.
Warren Buffett makes the pitch for Obama while also endorsing Hillary.
Get Digital Inspiration suggests Robert Nagle the Houston technical writer.
I tried out the Pappa John's Internet pizza ordering site. At the very end it tells you they will send an email as a confirmation. I get no email. No call. I have lots of other calls and stuff I'm doing. Finally over an hour later we get a call saying your pizzas have been ready for an hour. She had called when they were done and someone was on the phone and it rolled over to our voicemail. She has no idea why it says they are supposed to email, maybe it was when the site was new.
Oops, I got called in to work. To be continued... Gary Permalink on 8/17/2007
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Chris Hedges: American Fascists - The Christian Right and the War on America
Google Video. The book.
In American Fascists, Chris Hedges, veteran journalist and author of the National Book Award finalist War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, challenges the Christian Right's religious legitimacy and argues that at its core it is a mass movement fueled by unbridled nationalism and a hatred for the open society.The right radical religious political movement in the main is a religion and politics of despair. This is similar to the Fascist and Nazi movements in Europe as noted by several studies.
Hedges, who grew up in rural parishes in upstate New York where his father was a Presbyterian pastor, attacks the movement as someone steeped in the Bible and Christian tradition. He points to the hundreds of senators and members of Congress who have earned between 80 and 100 percent approval ratings from the three most influential Christian Right advocacy groups as one of many signs that the movement is burrowing deep inside the American government to subvert it.The positions of many churches and many GOP politicians have been taken wholesale from the John Birch Society, positions the GOP rejected in the 60's and 70's.
The movement's call to dismantle the wall between church and state and the intolerance it preaches against all who do not conform to its warped vision of a Christian America are pumped into tens of millions of American homes through Christian television and radio stations, as well as reinforced through the curriculum in Christian schools. The movement's yearning for apocalyptic violence and its assault on dispassionate, intellectual inquiry are laying the foundation for a new, frightening America.This is a movement of intolerance which cannot be reasoned with. They view Islam and secularists as Satanic. They believe we are at the End of Days and all who oppose them will be swept away to eternal punishment. How do you argue with people who so completely reject opposing viewpoints they not only deny them legitimacy but believe holders of differing views should be eternally punished? These radical right Christians also comprise a frightening percentage of the voters in this country. In 2004 22 percent of voters identified themselves as evangelical Christians.
American Fascists, which includes interviews and coverage of events such as pro-life rallies and weeklong classes on conversion techniques, examines the movement's origins, its driving motivations and its dark ideological underpinnings. Hedges argues that the movement currently resembles the young fascist movements in Italy and Germany in the 1920s and '30s, movements that often masked the full extent of their drive for totalitarianism and were willing to make concessions until they achieved unrivaled power. The Christian Right, like these early fascist movements, does not openly call for dictatorship, nor does it use physical violence to suppress opposition. In short, the movement is not yet revolutionary. But the ideological architecture of a Christian fascism is being cemented in place. The movement has roused its followers to a fever pitch of despair and fury. All it will take, Hedges writes, is one more national crisis on the order of September 11 for the Christian Right to make a concerted drive to destroy American democracy. The movement awaits a crisis. At that moment they will reveal themselves for what they truly are -- the American heirs to fascism.Like the Nazi movement's alliances, the current American Fascist short term goals are supported by groups in a very uneasy alliance. Corporations, churches of differing denominations, millenarists, small businessmen, social conservatives, traditional conservatives, have all signed on to a party and leaders pledged or beholden to an unChristian, unAmerican, undemocratic agenda. It is surprising the allies the leaders of the Domionist churches have made in pursuing political agendas and power when privately they remain anti-Catholic and anti-Jewish, for example.
Hedges issues a potent, impassioned warning. We face an imminent threat. His book reminds us of the dangers liberal, democratic societies face when they tolerate the intolerant.Twenty-five years ago Chris Hedges was warned by an influential elderly divinity school professor to watch for what the radical Christian right would do to homosexuals. In Germany, homosexuals were the first victims of the rise of the Nazi party, even before the Jews. In 2004, despite already having laws prohibiting the practice, 11 states enacted further laws against same-sex marriages. Why? To demonstrate strength and mobilization in thwarting "the homosexual and liberal activist judges agenda." The Christian family and even the American Nation was under threat. Just as Hitler rallied the Germans against similar "threats" to the people, family, and nation.
See also Chris Hedge's interviews with combat veterans of The Other War published in The Nation.
Sara at Orcinus, who also keeps up with our radical right extremists, noticed that someone who wants to be the next Southern Baptist Convention president has issued a fatwa against people who noted he broke the law again. Dr. Wiley S. Drake keeps endorsing candidates using his church position and authority. He called upon his followers to curse those who report his transgressions.
On the topic of America's new incipient Fascists see also David Neiwert - The Rise of Pseudo-Fascism (pdf) and Rush, Newspeak and Fascism: An Exegesis (pdf) or illustrated html.
Reuters: Texas will almost certainly hit the grim total of 400 executions this month, far ahead of any other state, testament to the influence of the state's conservative evangelical Christians and its cultural mix of Old South and Wild West.
Tags: Chris Hedges, religion, theocracy, fascism, radical right, Dominionism, Southern Baptists, Iraq, Texas, veteransGary Permalink on 8/16/2007
Monday, August 13, 2007
Flash - US Healthcare is not the best in the world
In fact our system of health care ranks pretty low. Is that just Michael Moore and people who contacted him saying this? No, it's The New York Times.
Seven years ago, the World Health Organization made the first major effort to rank the health systems of 191 nations. France and Italy took the top two spots; the United States was a dismal 37th. More recently, the highly regarded Commonwealth Fund has pioneered in comparing the United States with other advanced nations through surveys of patients and doctors and analysis of other data. Its latest report, issued in May, ranked the United States last or next-to-last compared with five other nations — Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand and the United Kingdom — on most measures of performance, including quality of care and access to it. Other comparative studies also put the United States in a relatively bad light.What can you do? Email Congress. P.S. - let Canadians tell you about those Canadian waiting times.
Watching SiCKO, Malke felt "just really embarrassed." When her mother-in-law in India got lung cancer, treatment to full recovery cost less than $800. She wonders why the richest nation on earth does not do as well.Gary Permalink on 8/13/2007
Karl Rove, Adviser to President Bush, to Quit - washingtonpost.com
Another one bites the dust. Gary Permalink on 8/13/2007
The Word from Rudy
“Freedom is not a concept in which people can do anything they want, be anything they can be. Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do.”I had the link from my brother but Digby reminded me of this 1984ish quote in it.
Gary Permalink on 8/13/2007
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Captain America is Dead
With Bush's and the GOP's corruption of American values, Captain America no longer has a place.
Long live Captain America. (That really looks like the hands of Prince Namor and Bucky so is this a flashback series or Captain America in the super hero afterlife?)
Captain America Movie Next From Marvel After Hulk! Many, many comic book movies coming.
Gary Permalink on 8/12/2007
Texas Round-Up 5
It’s Monday, and that means it is time for this weeks Texas Progressive Alliance’s statewide round up. Matt Glazer over at Burnt Orange Report is giving Vince a break this week and has the best of the left from over a dozen progressive blogs.
Charles Kuffner at Off the Kuff is suffering from a little Kinky fatigue.
Gary at Easter Lemming Liberal News has a local digest this time: In the event of a WMD attack our librarians will be sent in.
McBlogger special correspondent and legal counsel, Harry Balczak, enjoys a trip to the AFL-CIO Democratic Presidential debate...and interviews the candidates!
North Texas Liberal reports on the rumor that Tarrant County Democratic Party Chairman Art Brender and Ft. Worth City Council Member Wendy Davis are going to square off for a chance to face unpopular Sen. Kim Brimer, R-District 10, in 2008.
Marc also shows us the Democrats have set their sights on SDD-10 and Tarrant County Democrats have reason to be optimistic.
Matt Glazer at Burnt Orange Report is working for change. Bloggers and activists across the state have launch TexBlog PAC to usher in a new majority—a Democratic Majority.
What do Republicans do when whistleblowers reveal their evil secrets? South Texas Chisme let’s us know they go after the whistleblowers, of course. Fixing the problem? Not an option. TYC goes after employees who report to the Texas legislature or to newspapers.
Stace Medellin from DosCentavos is added to the Texas Kaos family. But never fear, DosCentavos will still be around for your reading pleasure! Stace begins his association with TK on Monday, August 13!
Speaking of TexasKaos, this week the Presidential candidates sat down and answered questions from the LGBT community on Logo. Texas Kaos'contributor Refinish69 writes just how far the LGBT rights fight has come in his post, GLBT History was Made Tonight & My Part in That History.
Stop Cornyn highlights John Cornyn’s low lights. Sad thing is just how many bad votes he has made just this past week.
"Republicans For Rick Noriega?" Half Empty explores the origins of this movement.
Musings reports on Rick Noriega's visit to The Lake – firedoglake, that is!
WCNews at Eye on Williamson asks What Did Senator Carona Expect? After caving to Ric Williamson during the legislative session Sen. John Carona can't believe Williamson isn't showing courtesy to him.
Vince at Capitol Annex brings us news about protesters--who happened to have been paid operatives hired through a temporary agency—who tried to make noise at a fundraiser for Texas Supreme Court candidate Susan Criss.
Who's more corrupt, Republicans or Democrats? Find out at Bluedaze, with TXsharon's Corruption in Government: Comprehensive List. Hint: Republicans = 204 – Democrats = 3.
John Coby at Bay Area Houston simply calls the Republican Texas Ethics Commissioners incompetent after the disclosures of millions in undisclosed campaign expenditures.
PDiddie at Brains and Eggs wrote the tongue-in-cheek advance of the Democratic presidential front-runner's visit to the Bayou City with The Nutcracker comes to H-Town.
Steve at WhosPlayin? takes Congressman Michael Burgess (R - Lewisville) to task for fear-mongering about the trace amounts of mercury in energy-saving compact fluorescent bulbs.
Gary Permalink on 8/12/2007