News on Politics and Religion with Rants, Ideas, Links and Items for Liberals, Libertarians, Moderates, Progressives, Democrats and Anti-Authoritarians.
Sunday, July 31, 2005
Saturday, July 30, 2005
Friday, July 29, 2005
Honorary Texan Candidate
His success is our success, not just as Texas Democrats, but as Democrats period.
"Paul Hackett is hereby granted "Temporary Texan" status from now and election day in the Ohio 2nd (August 2). I'm pretty sure I have no legal standing whatsoever to convey Texan-ship, but who am I to let that stop me?"
Certainly not us Greg. So join us today, for Honorary Texan Paul Hackett. Let's roll.
Gold Star Families for Peace
This is from Nick and is about the Gold Star Familes for Peace and the soldiers who leave behind loved ones.
Nick's address to the Spiritual Activism Conference
As we gather tomorrow, friends of Karen Meredith, whose only child, Lt. Ken Ballard, would have turned 28 on Thursday, will release 28 gold balloons south of here in Mountain View. Ken was killed in action in Iraq on May 30, 2004. While we were talking here yesterday, my friend Karen was taking a trip to the beach to yell at the sky, to tell God how angry she is.
My name is Nick Arnett and I am speaking to you on behalf of an organization that nobody wants to qualify for – Gold Star Families for Peace. We are families of soldiers killed in action, primarily in Iraq. I have a niece who became a widow at the age of 21, last November 10th when someone in Fallujah, Iraq fired a rocket-powered grenade at her husband, Lance Corporal Wes Canning, United States Marine Corps. Wes was trading places in the turret of his amphibious armored vehicle with another young man named Wes, Wes Campbell, who was horribly and permanently injured, losing part of his skull.
A few days later I was in Friendswood, Texas, where Wes grew up, where he enlisted in the Marines while still in high school because, he told me, he wanted to see the world. Just before Wes and Chayla were married, I asked him if he would have enlisted if he’d known we would attack Iraq. He said he wasn’t sure, but he said that if he had known he would meet Chayla, fall in love with her and marry her, he never would have signed up. He had already served one tour in Iraq, with the first troops into Baghdad and Tikrit, and I told him that I knew, from working as a paramedic many years ago, what it’s like to feel helpless in a situation where you’re supposed to be in control. When I said the word “helpless,” our eyes met and it was clear that although I barely knew this young man in the ordinary sense, he was my brother in a way that we don’t have words to explain.
Wes volunteered to go back to Iraq. The young man who told me he wouldn’t have enlisted if he’d known he would marry Chayla volunteered to go back. This made no sense to me until I discovered that that the part of me that is still a paramedic is telling me to go there, too. While the rest of us were observing a sad anniversary on September 11thlast year, Wes was on a plane to Iraq. All day, I thought, this time he knows what he’s getting into. He was laying down his life for his friends and there is no greater love.
On November 12th at about 10:20 in the evening, our phone rang. It was for my wife and I asked who was calling. “It’s Megan, calling for Chayla.” Megan is Chablis' best friend. When you join our military, they ask your next of kin who should come along if they have to notify you. That was Megan’s job. When Chayla had came home that Friday night, she was carrying a bag of baby clothes. She and Wes didn’t have kids, she wasn’t pregnant, but there was a sale, so she’d bought some for when he came home because they wanted to have a big family. Chayla wanted to be a teacher, but she’s not sure she’ll ever be able to do that now, because whenever she is around children, she cries.
A few days later, at Wes’ parents’ house, after we buried him, Chayla was telling me that the Marines had asked her if she would like to be notified if and when they found anymore pieces of his body because when that RPG hit him, he was thrown 20 feet and blown to bits. One of my prayers is that some day soon, Fallujah is a peaceful enough place that our family can go visit his other grave, the ground in the desert sanctified by the blood of Wes and his friends.
If you are uncomfortable with the details I’m giving, upset by how much I am sharing, let me tell you why I have decided to offer so much. It is because we are family and family deserves the truth. Painful truth when withheld keeps us apart. When we share our suffering, we create bonds of friendship and love. You have come here in a spirit of self-sacrifice, giving up whatever else you could have been doing these four days. Although I disagree completely with the policies that sent Wes to Iraq, I treasure the spirit of self-sacrifice that led him to lay down his life for his friends. You have come here in the same spirit and I thank you for it. We honor those who gave it all when we let that spirit live on through us.
I have a neighbor, Dolores, who begged her son Erik not to re-enlist after 9/11. But he did and on his eighth day in Iraq, flying his very first mission, an off-course helicopter collided with the one he was flying and he was killed. As a result, she had a chance to meet the president of the United States. She told him how angry and unhappy she is about this war and showed him a picture of Erik. He wrote, "Best always" on it and handed it back to her. Best always!
I want to challenge you to figure out how to join us in our grief, to lead our nation and world in healing, peacemaking rituals in which grow closer by sharing our suffering. We in Gold Star Families need this. You need this. The world needs this. Jim Wallis says that religion is always personal, but never private. The same is true of a soldier who is killed in action. Each one has an immediate family. But we are also a national family and a global family. I want to challenge you to end policies that isolate us, such as the secrecy when our heroes’ bodies come home. There is a policy, which nobody seems admit exists, that the department of defense offers no help for the Gold Star families to contact each other, which is why projects like Eyes Wide Open and Arlington West are so important. More than one million U.S. soldiers have served in Iraq – can we tell a million families that if they hang a blue star banner on their house, their neighbors will offer compassion and not judgment?
Will you lead our nation and our world to adopt and celebrate, even for an hour or a day, the lives of Wes, Erik, Casey, Mike, Travis, Sherwood, Patrick and all the others, to share our grief because they are your sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews? And let us remember that the human family is bigger than just one nation, so that we might share in the grief of our brothers and sisters in Iraq and so many places where we rarely turn our eyes. Let us grieve not just for the people we have lost, but also for the innocence that our children lose when we give them immoral orders and they follow them. Give us the courage to speak the words of another of my heroes, Archbishop Oscar Romero, in his final sermon before he was assassinated.”
“No soldier is obliged to obey an order contrary to the law of God. No one has to obey an immoral law. It is high time you recovered your consciences and obeyed your consciences rather than a sinful order. The church, the defender of the rights of God, of the law of God, of human dignity, of the person, cannot remain silent before such an abomination. We want the government to face the fact that reforms are valueless if they are to be carried out at the cost of so much blood. In the name of God, in the name of this suffering people whose cries rise to heaven more loudly each day, I implore you, I beg you, I order you in the name of God: stop the repression.”
All of humanity is a Gold Star family.
Thank you for listening. Help us tell our stories. Help the world listen. Thank you for listening. Thank you for listening.
This is the talk I gave last Friday. It was interrupted by a very long-standing ovation after the first sentence of the second paragraph. I take that applause not for myself, but for the spirit of self-sacrifice and determination that led Wes and so many others to give their lives for their friends, a spirit that is thriving in many of the rest of us.
Texans Look Good In Togas
Whiskey Bar writes about Rove and DeLay and the swindling of the public comparable to Imperial Roman Senate
I bet the spectacle of bribes being negotiated on the floor of the House of Representatives in wholesale lots, like pork bellies on the Chicago Board of Trade, would have astounded even Mark Twain -- the man who once argued that America has no native criminal class, except, of course, for congressmen. But if Twain had a chance to observe some of the avaricious rednecks now bossing the pit, I think he'd recognize the type. Twain's writings suggest a certain experience with the morals of slavetraders and horse thieves.
War Made Easy By Willing Press
So-Called Liberal Media Always the Last to Know
During the late 1960s, concerns about a "quagmire" grew at powerful media institutions. Following several years of assurances from the Johnson administration about the Vietnam War, rosy scenarios for military success were in disrepute. But here's a revealing fact: In early 1968, The Boston Globe conducted a survey of 39 major U.S. daily newspapers and found that not a single one had editorialized in favor of U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam. While millions of Americans were demanding an immediate pullout, such a concept was still viewed as extremely unrealistic by the editorial boards of big daily papers – including the liberal New York Times and Washington Post.
After more than a year of U.S. occupation warfare in Iraq, the editorial positions of major dailies were much more conformist than the American public. In midspring 2004, a Wall Street Journal/NBC poll was showing that "one in four Americans say troops should leave Iraq as soon as possible and another 30% say they should come home within 18 months." But as usual, when it came to rejection of the latest war, the media establishment lagged way behind the populace. Despite sometimes-withering media criticism of the Bush administration's foreign policy, all of the sizable newspapers steered clear of urging withdrawal. Many favored sending in even more troops. On May 7, 2004, Editor & Publisher headlined a column by the magazine's editor this way: "When Will the First Major Newspaper Call for a Pullout in Iraq?"
Salon.com Classic - Ditch the real diamonds
Salon.com - Nice ice
Lab-made diamonds are as dazzling as those mined by third-world labor. This bling may be easier on your conscience -- and your wallet.
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
DeLay Slips $1.5 Billion of Pork to his Supporters
Think Progress » DeLay Still Up To Dirty Tricks
A Helluva lot of Pork DeLay and Hastert slipped into Energy Bill after the conference was closed.
Hillary’s ‘American Dream’: Stuck in the Middle With You
Arianna - Drawing an immediate response from Democrats on what is wrong with the DLC.
Hillary to be DLC candidate - but possibly more populist than Bill
The Democratic Leadership Council named Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton today to direct a new initiative to define a party agenda for the 2006 and 2008 elections.
In her new role, the New York Democrat immediately called for a truce between the DLC and liberal elements of the party, which have engaged in a ferocious war of words over the Democrats' direction since President Bush won reelection in November.
"Now, I know the DLC has taken some shots from some within our party and that it has returned fire too," she told a gathering of the group here. "Well, I think it's high time for a cease-fire, time for all Democrats to work together based on the fundamental values we all share." [Article mention Daily Kos as liberal Democratic activists.]
While the DLC recently endorsed the Central American Free Trade Agreement, Clinton voted against it in the Senate. Almost all House "New Democrats" are expected to oppose it when the lower chamber votes on the agreement this week. Several of the speakers sounded more skeptical notes toward free trade than were common among moderate Democrats in the 1990s.
Since Clinton left office, though, a broad array of liberal activists, many of them clustered around left-leaning websites like the Daily Kos, have accused the DLC of weakening the party by advocating positions, such as support for free trade or the Iraq war, that they say have blurred distinctions with the GOP.
David Sirota, a Democratic consultant who posts indefatigably on his own liberal web log, responded to the news of the "American Dream Initiative" Clinton is leading by warning that Democrats would be doomed to "permanent minority status" if they followed the DLC direction.
el - Just in terms of electability Virginia Gov. Mark Warner deserves a close look.
David Sirota: The Democrats 2008 Choice: Sell Out & Lose, Or Stand Up & Win
The 2008 Democratic presidential candidates this week are busy genuflecting at Corporate America's altar -- otherwise known as the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC). Now, it's true -- the DLC is really just a group of Beltway-insulated corporate-funded hacks who have spent the better part of the last decade trying to undermine the Democratic Party's traditional working class base -- a base that had kept Democrats in power for 40 years and now, thanks to the DLC, has been forfeited to the Republicans. Even so, the fact that these presidential candidates feel the need to bow down to the DLC is a troubling sign about whether the Democratic Party is really serious about regaining power in America.
Conservatives and the So-Called Liberal Media make up history - here is the true story of "Borking."
July 13: "Now we’re going to find out, Mr. President, if you’ll keep your word: who do you value more, Mr. President, do you value intelligence
operatives defending the United States of America or do you value
political operatives from Texas?" Dean told a crowd of 500 in a
downtown Madison theater.
"Who do you value more, Mr. President, the security of the American
people, or your political cronies? Will you keep your word?"
We have seen who the President values more.
CASUALTY OF WAR: THE U.S. ECONOMY
Total Cost of Iraq Afghanistan War to top $700 Billion
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have already cost taxpayers $314 billion, and the Congressional Budget Office projects additional expenses of perhaps $450 billion over the next 10 years.
That could make the combined campaigns, especially the war in Iraq, the most expensive military effort in the last 60 years, causing even some conservative experts to criticize the open-ended commitment to an elusive goal. The concern is that the soaring costs, given little weight before now, could play a growing role in U.S. strategic decisions because of the fiscal impact.
"Osama (bin Laden) doesn't have to win; he will just bleed us to death," said Michael Scheuer, a former counterterrorism official at the CIA who led the pursuit of bin Laden and recently retired after writing two books critical of the Clinton and Bush administrations. "He's well on his way to doing it."
The Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a nonpartisan Washington think tank, has estimated that the Korean War cost about $430 billion and the Vietnam War cost about $600 billion, in current dollars. According to the latest estimates, the cost of the war in Iraq could exceed $700 billion.
Put simply, critics say, the war is not making the United States safer and is harming U.S. taxpayers by saddling them with an enormous debt burden, since the war is being financed with deficit spending.
One of the most vocal Republican critics has been Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, who said the costs of the war -- many multiples greater than what the White House had estimated in 2003 -- are throwing U.S. fiscal priorities out of balance.
"It's dangerously irresponsible," Hagel said in February of the war spending.
He later told U.S. News & World Report, "The White House is completely disconnected from reality." He added that the apparent lack of solid plans for defeating the insurgency and providing stability in Iraq made it seem "like they're just making it up as they go along."
No Nonsense In November! - VOTE AGAINST THE AMENDMENT!
NONSENSE: BECAUSE IT IS OVERLY BROAD
Even if you oppose civil marriage for same gender couples, this also prohibits civil unions, domestic partnerships and may impact common law marriage.
NONSENSE: SINCE IT’S ALREADY THE LAW
Civil marriage is already prohibited in Texas.
NONSENSE: DISCRIMINATING AGAINST SOME TEXAS FAMILIES
Every family should have the right to protect their loved ones in all the important areas of life: medical decisions, inheritance, property, parental rights, and more. All Texans should have access to civil marriage, civil unions, domestic partnerships or common law marriage.
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
The ABCs of the Housing Bubble
Over 2 million housing units are being built annually, while the number of households is only growing by 1.4 million a year.
Some regions of the U.S. have experienced a 60 percent increase in real home prices, while the average for the country as a whole is 45 percent. Historically, real home prices have not increased, as house prices have just kept pace with the overall rate of inflation.
The collapse of the housing bubble will have a larger impact than the collapse of the stock bubble, since housing wealth is far more evenly distributed than stock wealth.
The collapse of the housing bubble will likely throw the economy into a recession and require a federal bailout of the mortgage market. It could lead to a loss of 3.6 to 4.5 percentage points of GDP.
Monday, July 25, 2005
What Kind of Person Is Robert's?
Roberts Listed in Federalist Society '97-98 Directory
Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. has repeatedly said that he has no memory of belonging to the Federalist Society, but his name appears in the influential, conservative legal organization's 1997-1998 leadership directory... It lists Roberts, then a partner at the law firm Hogan & Hartson, as a member of the steering committee of the organization's Washington chapter and includes his firm's address and telephone number.Whenever a politician or lawyer says "I have no memory or recollection of that" that is lawyer talk for YES but I won't tell you unless you can prove it.
Sunday, July 24, 2005
Dean, Dean!, DEAN! Go Dean go!
Return of the Angry Man?
"Dean represents 'loony left redundancy,' says former RNC chair Rich Bond, who also calls Dean's ascent 'a disaster' and 'a joke.' Former House speaker Newt Gingrich has said Dean represents 'a true death wish' on the part of Democrats.
But Dean is also the guy who made speaking up fashionable again for Democrats. And that is one reason his party is wagering on him. If Dean says things that are ill-considered, he also remains his party's leading rebel -- one with enough fresh fight in him to take on not only Republicans but also those change-resistant Democrats who would rather be titular heads of a dying party than less relevant figures in a renewed one. The hope for Democrats is: Dean will be the antidote for a party that is lacking a strong message and that needs somebody, anybody, to say something. Dean likes to quote his political hero, Harry Truman. 'I don't give 'em hell,' Truman said in 1948. 'I just tell the truth, and they think it's hell.' And the truth, as Dean sees it, is that mushmouthedness is killing the party, and so is voter neglect. 'Somebody has to take those right wingers on,' he says, 'and I enjoy doing it.'"
In fact, it was another blunt statement that helped him get this job. Dean has vowed not to run for president in 2008, "and one of the reasons I'm not running," he told DNC delegates, "is because if we don't change this party, it won't matter who the nominee is."
In his first four months, Dean visited 23 states, 10 of them Republican "red." A testament to the mileage he has covered, and to his Yankee frugality, are the loafers he is balancing against a desk. Two perfect half moons have been worn deep into the heels. The shoes suggest the man.
He is an old-fashioned Yankee fiscal conservative with moderate social values, the strictly reared son of one of New York's first families, whose anti-Republican rhetoric comes from a genuine loathing of deficits and resentment of governmental intrusions. "They're undermining American values," he snaps. At times, he resembles the kind of Democrat that existed pre-Great Society, in the mode of Truman. Dean so identifies with Truman that he used to read from David McCullough's biography to his children, Anne and Paul, at bedtime. "He stood for common sense, common decency. He spoke the common tongue."
Then again, sometimes he doesn't resemble a Democrat at all. Sometimes he sounds like a Rockefeller Republican, who preaches individual rights "but also responsibilities." It's a Deanian irony that the only people he angers more than conservatives are liberals. In fact, Dean resists simple ideology or box politics. What to do with a pro-choice, civil-unions, fiscal-conservative, antiwar, NRA-endorsed law-and-order-pro-death-penalty Democrat who won't keep quiet? He's a maverick.
According to former campaign manager Joe Trippi, spontaneity is Dean's great strength and weakness. It lends him sincerity, but it proved his downfall as a candidate, because it obscured his abilities and more moderate convictions, allowing opponents to paint him as extreme. "He was caricatured, but in the end a lot of the caricature was ammo that he provided," says Trippi, who believes Dean almost reflexively defies any attempt to Washingtonize him.
"It almost got to the point where, if you wanted him to go out through that door," Trippi says, "you had to point to the other door."
Dean rarely speaks from a prepared text, preferring to jot thoughts on an index card, which he then barely refers to. Exasperated aides urge him to stick to a script. "Give the speech," says media consultant Tom Ochs, a member of Dean's DNC transition team. "That's why it's called a 'speech.' " But Dean gives speeches only on his terms. If Dems thought they were hiring a servile functionary, they were mistaken.
A young man stood up and asked what he could do to help the party, other than give money, which he didn't have. Dean bobbed on his feet, delighted with the question, because it allowed him to show off his best side -- the side that grew a presidential candidacy from a small Vermont operation with seven employees into a national campaign with 600,000 supporters.
"The number one thing you can do is run for office."
"I'm absolutely serious. I am not kidding."
The class grew quiet. Here was Dean as a Johnny Appleseed, sowing civics in the young. While Democrats have conceded parts of the country considered hostile, Republicans have left no office untested, he pointed out. The result is that Dems have no farm system, no ability to find young political talent in red states and groom it.
Run, he urged the students. Run for county road commissioner. Run for city council. "If you don't have people running for offices like county commissioner, who do you think is going to run for Congress a generation from now?
"You may not win the first time," he said, "or the second time or the third time . . . If you lose, so what? It's worth the investment if we can have somebody there who gives the message, who's articulate and thoughtful, and respectful of the voters, because they'll get a better impression of Democrats than they would otherwise if there was no opposition whatsoever. That's the great failure, one of the great failures, of the party. Because we were in power for so long, we didn't think we had to appeal to places like that. Well, we do. And we will." More...
Saturday, July 23, 2005
The Whispering Campaign
How to start educating your neighborhood - leaflet news articles the general public doesn't see.
This is just a limited beginning. Then you start a neighborhood group where people can meet and discuss and decide what to do next. You start your own reform group and actually get involved in politics. You will find it is actually fun and tiny groups can make big changes over time.
Are you tired of shouting? Let's start whispering.
The GOP is doing this and spread their story by means that go under the radar of most media and most of the opponents of their ideas. They use churches and even big ad campaigns like their PAX station broadcasts of 30-minute attacks on Kerry's patriotism disguised as infomercials. The Democratic response - "Who is watching PAX anyway?" The answer was more rural area, more traditional families and more religious fundamentalists, all voters who went overwhelming against Kerry.
Slide under their radar and go local. You have the advantage - progressive policies benefit over 90% of the people while the conservatives play to their small base but find issues to distract the voters to get slim majorities.
I have been pushing the idea that the Democratic Party is waiting to be taken over by people like you in your area. I have seen what has happened to the Democratic Party in Texas as a big influx of Kucinich and Dean supporters and is taking it over. Kucinich delegates, many former Greens, got the most important parts of their platforms adopted - in Texas. The Dean and Clark delegates became the center of the party.
Bashing Gays and Children
Robert Talton Bashing Gays and Children
Doofus Robert Talton suggested by Rachel at VeryOpinionated. More succinct than stupid, bigotted bully.
"Last Throes of Credibility: Five Years of Lies and Deception "
(36-page PDF) of Rep. Conyer's timeline
AfterDowningStreet.org - "Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy." From British head of intelligence memo used in a 10 Downing Street national security briefing regarding his high level meetings in Washington.
Rep. John Conyers: Today, I released my current version of the time-line both leading up to and subsequent to the Iraq war, entitled "Last Throes of Credibility: Five Years of Lies and Deception." Both the full 36-page time line and the summary and conclusions can be found at afterdowningstreet.org. I owe many thanks to the Kos community for helping me develop this interim chronology.
"The present administration is rolling back the Great Society, the New Deal, the Enlightenment, and the Renaissance." - JohninWestland
Want to really have an impact in politics?
Take over your local Democratic Party The link is to a story out of Philadelphia but I can tell you that your local Democratic Party is probably that empty and old and out of touch and a small group can take it over and get it moving and start functioning like a democracy. Go visit your local party HQ and ask around.
Cheney's Plan If There's Another 9/11?
According to Pat Buchanan's Mag - Nuke Iran!
WTF? Have the lunatics really taken over?
More on nukes here as Justin Logan reviews magazines not online yet - Would you have dropped the A-bombs on Japan?
A Deaniac takes back a conservative Southern district
Taking back America one race at a time
Knowing that the Republican Party would launch an enormous attack campaign in the two weeks before the election, Condon and her campaign team designed an ambitious field plan that would build a strong foundation of support in May and June in order to withstand the onslaught. The team also developed a volunteer-powered absentee ballot program to make up for the fact that many voters would be vacationing on Election Day.
On July 5th, the barrage began. Because Colleen's opponent had no legs to run on, the Republicans brought in party heavyweights state Senator Pro Tem Glenn McConnell (who not only lives in Colleen's district, but her home precinct), and former Governor James Edwards to serve as Douan's campaign co-chairmen.
Senator McConnell led the charge by sending out two blistering mail pieces, one in which he personally attacked the "Democrats and the liberal interest groups, like Howard Dean's radical Democracy for America, who want to control Charleston County Government."
For the next 14 days the Republican Party jammed voters' mail boxes and flooded their phone lines with negative messages about Colleen, trying to scare citizens into believing that "Howard Dean was trying to pick your next County Council member". The attacks reached a new low when the Charleston County Republican Party sent out a mailing claiming "Colleen Condon & Howard Dean are Too Extreme for Charleston County". The mailing not only attacked Colleen and Governor Dean, but it even targeted Condon's campaign manager Kevin Puleo—abeling him as a "national DFA spin doctor", despite the fact that he had never managed a political campaign before.
Colleen stood her ground, and when the Post & Courier asked about her DFA-List endorsement, she made it clear that she was "proud to receive DFA's endorsement, because they support grassroots campaigns and candidates that are fiscally responsible." During the last week, the South Carolina GOP sent out several e-mails to their supporters throughout the state encouraging them to travel to Charleston to counter the "radical liberal Deaniacs who would be screaming their way to Charleston" the weekend before the election. Clearly, the Republicans were concerned.
On Election Day, Colleen's campaign orchestrated one of the largest volunteer efforts ever seen in a South Carolina County Council election. They staffed every polling place with a lawyer and a checker, and had over thirty people making calls to voters in addition to 22 people out knocking on doors to deliver reminders. Sensing the looming defeat, the desperate Republicans attempted to challenge every voter who lived at Plantation Apartments, the same people who were disenfranchised in the January 11 special election. Tempers flared at the polling place as the Republican lawyers filed their baseless challenges in an attempt to intimidate voters. Refusing to be bullied, Condon's team of poll watchers fiercely protested the challenges and when the dust settled, a Republican lawyer was thrown out of the polling place for disrupting the democratic process. ...more
Friday, July 22, 2005
CAMPAIGN AGAINST ANTI-GAY CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT
Former State Representative Glen Maxey of Austin has been named Campaign Director in the mounting effort to keep discriminatory language out of the Texas Constitution.
Thursday, July 21, 2005
Janette Kicks Off Her Campaign with a Party at Gilley's
An enthusiastic crowd of supporters turned out to hear Janette Sexton announce her candidacy for State Representative for District 144.
An informal photo blog of the event is here: For the People, For a Change, Go Janette Go!
This would have been posted earlier except for my moving and losing internet access for days. I hate moving.
Added - Janette Sexton For District 144 website link.
Plame's Identity Marked As Secret
The biggest argument I have had with the usual gang of idiots is that they try to say Plame wasn't a covert agent. The memo Rove and Libby and others used in outing her answers that.
The paragraph identifying her as the wife of former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV was clearly marked to show that it contained classified material at the "secret" level, two sources said. The CIA classifies as "secret" the names of officers whose identities are covert, according to former senior agency officials.
Anyone reading that paragraph should have been aware that it contained secret information, though that designation was not specifically attached to Plame's name and did not describe her status as covert, the sources said. It is a federal crime, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, for a federal official to knowingly disclose the identity of a covert CIA official if the person knows the government is trying to keep it secret.
Blogging Ethics? - a study
Weblog Ethics Survey Results
"... the limited support from bloggers for a blogging code of ethics poses a serious problem for advocates of on-line social responsibility. If any inroads are to be made in terms of bloggers regulating themselves, consensus in the community must be developed."
Krugman - Why is unemployment low when every other sign says the economy is slow?
Official unemployment at 5% - (later in the monthly employment report it gives another measure of 9%, never mentioned in the media, which includes discouraged workers and part-timers looking for full-time.)
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Moving - very light posting
Until I get reliable internet service again keep up with the best spot for progressive national and international news.
Friday, July 15, 2005
Daily Kos: either / or
It's very, very simple
Either the Bush Administration and the GOP are a group of sincere, earnest patriots doing their best in trying times to serve our nation...
or they are the biggest bunch of liars, opportunists and hypocrites our country has ever seen.
I really need to get more positive.
Was a pretty good meeting at Gilley's tonight. unfortunately Sexton's supporters are not people with lots of money. Someone was talking privately after the meeting tonight how to get majority to vote for you in the suburban and rural areas and some of the urban areas of red states. Talk about God, a lot. Another experienced politician said to be good treat even your opponents and people who will not vote for you well.
Thursday, July 14, 2005
Knight Ridder's Baghdad Chief Replies to Criticism From Back Home
More of the real story.
Daily Kos: How the White House knew Plame was CIA.
Look for charges to be filed involving leaking classified information, not the harder to meet technical specifications of outing a covert agent.
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Two Years Ago I blogged about the Plame Game
2003, July 17 - A busy blog day included posts about Bolton exaggerations, Milbank turning (he seems to have turned back), administration lies, Iraq as a guerilla war, Texas redistricting, North Korea, Cheney lies, Alberto Gonzales incompetence, neo-cons, Howard Dean, no WMDs, Wolfowitz, Fallujah, and administration lie, after lie after lie.
That was one day two years ago I devoted solely to blogging and the real subject was incompetence and lies from this administration. The only good news I provided was Thom Hartmann, a real American patriot. Damn, looking at that makes me realize I have hundreds of days just like it in my archives. And how only now are the majority of the American people coming to realize what I realized then. And how what we see today in the media is only what they were ignoring then. Having an unpopular incompetent fading lame duck seems to have emboldened the So-Called Liberal Media.
Of course, I have now moved on. Bush's being the worst President ever is so yesterday. Building a truely progressive, liberty-loving better society should be the goal. We need to now be fighting the new American Taliban and the old corporate crooks and corrupt politicians. There are things to do and we shouldn't waste any more time then we need to on small lying cowardly frightened men. Still I can't forget how these men have harmed our country. As we say in Texas "Impeach him, Hell, tar-and-feathering is more what he needs."
Act to make a better Patriot Act, not a worse one
The American Civil Liberties Union has a means.
To members of Congress: I urge you to oppose plans to make the Patriot Act permanent, and to support the SAFE Act and its common sense fixes to the law. I join more than 400 communities, including seven states, that have passed resolutions calling on Congress to bring the Patriot Act in line with the Constitution by including appropriate checks and balances to prevent abuse.
Act Now Before Congress Expands the Patriot Act
Baghdad Burning without AC
From Baghdad they have a different perspective than Bush. Bush said:
“The troops here and across the world are fighting a global war on terror. The war reached our shores on September 11, 2001.”
Do people really still believe this? In spite of that fact that no WMD were found in Iraq, in spite of the fact that prior to the war, no American was ever killed in Iraq and now almost 2000 are dead on Iraqi soil? It’s difficult to comprehend that rational people, after all of this, still actually accept the claims of a link between 9/11 and Iraq. Or that they could actually believe Iraq is less of a threat today than it was in 2003.
We did not have Al-Qaeda in Iraq prior to the war. We didn’t know that sort of extremism. We didn’t have beheadings or the abduction of foreigners or religious intolerance. We actually pitied America and Americans when the Twin Towers went down and when news began leaking out about it being Muslim fundamentalists- possibly Arabs- we were outraged.
Now 9/11 is getting old. Now, 100,000+ Iraqi lives and 1700+ American lives later, it’s becoming difficult to summon up the same sort of sympathy as before. How does the death of 3,000 Americans and the fall of two towers somehow justify the horrors in Iraq when not one of the people involved with the attack was Iraqi?
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Daily Kos: Republican Leaders: We Support CIA Agent Outing
"So Ken Mehlman, you've got a decision to make. The top advisor to the White House has been exposed as having direct connections to the "outing" of a CIA NOC agent. Documents confirm it. Both Cooper and Rove's own lawyer admit it. You need to decide how long you're going to defend it, or if maybe -- maybe -- damaging this country's intelligence capabilities during a time of war is a line that you, Ken Mehlman, don't want to cross"
Monday, July 11, 2005
Krugman Un-Spinning the Budget
Un-Spin the Budget - New York Times
To understand where the budget deficit came from, you can't do better than the Jan. 18, 2001, issue of the satirical newspaper The Onion, which predicted the future with eerie precision. "We must squander our nation's hard-won budget surplus on tax breaks for the wealthiest 15 percent," the magazine's spoof had the president-elect declare. "And, on the foreign front, we must find an enemy and defeat it."
And so it has turned out. President Bush has presided over the transformation of a budget surplus into a large deficit, which threatens the government's long-run solvency. The principal cause of that reversal was Mr. Bush's unprecedented decision to cut taxes, especially on the wealthiest Americans, while taking the nation into an expensive war.
Krugman reads The Onion!
Sexton For Texas State Rep. District 144
Janette Sexton for State Representive Kickoff Meeting
Please join Janette on Thursday, July 14, from 7:00-8:30 PM at Gilley's, 6777 Fairmont Parkway, as she kick-offs her campaign for State Representative in District 144.
JANETTE SEXTON’S CAMPAIGN KICK-OFF PARTY
Janette is a Democrat running for State Representative District 144 currently held by Republican Robert Talton, who is a radical conservative named “One of the worst legislators for 2005” by Texas Monthly.
A more formal invitation is here.
Friday, July 08, 2005
Solving the Medicare and Health Crisis
Why Universal Health Care Vouchers is the next big idea. It covers everyone. It cuts costs. It can get through Congress. (el - A repeat of an earlier link because this looks like it works.)
Thursday, July 07, 2005
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
Which Political Brand Would You Buy?
TIME has an interesting analysis on American politics today.
Shorter Joe Klein - Populists (Party of Passion) and moderate top businessmen (Party of Sanity) feel unrepresented by the two parties today.
The GOP has done the best job of getting support from elements of these two disaffected groups. In national elections Democrats are prone to select East Coast professionals who get some support from the "Sanity Party" but not enough national support. Even Dr. Dean is a populist-leaning member of this Eastern professional class.
The fact that Klein calls the concerns of elitist businessmen the "Party of Sanity" reflects Time's political bias. David Sirota has a good take on this and Klein's Elitist Party of Insanity.
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
Failure is an Option - Iraqi War lost - how to recover
Whiskey Bar has an overview of the Iraq mess now.
...The most important questions that need to be asked about the war on terrorism (and this was true even before 9/11) are on the grand strategic level. Grand strategy has been defined as the process by which nations articulate and pursue their core interests. Col. John Boyd, one of the great military thinker of the post World War II era, argued that grand strategy should focus on six key goals:
* Ensuring the nation's fitness, as an organic whole, to shape and cope with an ever-changing environment.
* Strengthening national resolve and increasing internal political solidarity.
* Weakening the resolve of the nation's adversaries and reducing their internal cohesion.
* Reinforcing the commitments of our allies to our cause and making them empathetic to our success.
* Attracting the uncommitted to our cause.
* Ending conflicts on terms that do not sow the seeds for future conflicts.
These, of course, are precisely the areas where the Cheney administration's failures have been most abject.
Whiskey Bar praises Dr. Cordesman so I don't have to
Radio Clowns - Anthony Cordesman, the conservative but reality-based Iraq analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, provides a good thumbnail description of Al Qaeda's war strategy in his most recent report, Iraq's Evolving Insurgency:
The goal of Bin Laden and those like him is not to persuade the US or the West, it is rather to so alienate them from the Islamic and Arab world that the forces of secularism in the region will be sharply undermined, and Western secular influence can be controlled or eliminated. The goal of most Iraqi insurgents is narrower -- drive the US and its allies out of Iraq -- but involves many of the same methods.
As it happens, the paid propagandists of wing nut radio have the same objective -- to promote a clash of civilizations. They do it by playing up every atrocity committed by the insurgents while ignoring every display of massive overkill (like the flattening of Fallujah) committed by the U.S. military, by glorifying torture and degradation (I Heart Gitmo), by demonizing Islam as a "gutter" religion and the Arabs as a subhuman species, and in general by being the loudest, most obnoxious assholes on the face of the earth. Walking billboards for anti-Americanism, in fact.
And they do these things for much the same reason Bin Ladin rants about Zionists and crusaders: because it gets good ratings. Spewing hatred over the airwaves 24/7 keeps the true believers in a permanent froth, drowning out any doubts about the party line and the party elite. This, in turn, makes it easer to paint dissent as treason and criticism of the Cheney administration as support for terrorism. It's all fairly conventional totalitarian stuff -- which is why I tend to think of wing nut radio as the living embodiment of Ingsoc's slogan: Ignorance is Strength.
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