News on Politics and Religion with Rants, Ideas, Links and Items for Liberals, Libertarians, Moderates, Progressives, Democrats and Anti-Authoritarians.
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
AP Jamialgate = Wingnut Meth
They can't resist taking another hit.
Texas is one of only seven Red States Now
There are the armed compound states of Nebraska, Idaho and Utah, and the slender GOP lead in South Dakota, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Texas.
Teagan Goddard's Political Wire:
The Evans-Novak Political Report: "Although President George W. Bush officially is opposed to setting any time table for getting out of Iraq, senior administration officials and Republican leaders in Congress privately say there cannot be U.S. boots on the ground or blood being spilled in Iraq when 2008 begins if Republicans are to have a chance in next year's elections. That effectively sets a December 2007 deadline for getting out."
Bush Is Not Above the Law - New York Times
To allow a president to break the law and commit a felony for more than five years without even a formal independent investigation would be the ultimate subversion of the Constitution and the rule of law.
Amanda from Austin, also known as Pandagon, has a new gig
Was Big Battle near Najaf a mistaken confused massacre?
Cole was right, the conflicting reports showed problems with the tale the US military initially gave reporters. Reports now appear of a pitched battle that was fought because an Iraqi check-point accidentally killed a tribal chief. Armed followers on the pilgrimage then started a battle and the US was called in for air strikes. But Juan Cole also thinks this story has too many holes in it. The one thing that is clear is that the US caused massive casualties on an anti-Iranian group while supporting the pro-Iranian authorities in Najaf.
Tags: Iraq, Najaf, hell-hole
Libby Trial: Judy Miller's Memory Mess
David Corn, also blogging here, is the goto guy for the Libby trial and the Valerie Plame story.
ADDED - Handwritten note at trial indicates Bush knew about wide-ranging effort to damage Wilson, contrary to White House denials.
Firedoglake has the best live blogging. Better informed than almost live updates from cable news.
Iraq War Hopelessly Lost, Iran War Likely, Iran Supplying IEDs?
Another warning, this time from Robert Perry, who's sources are all in agreement that Bush is likely to attack Iran in a "crazy" throw of the dice. Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for the Associated Press and Newsweek. He also reports that the hopeless nature of Iraq is also all the insider talk in DC.
Israel privately believes it can deter a nuclear Iran with its own large nuclear arsenal but all public efforts are devoted to stopping Iran's nuclear weapons capability. Israel can only do a limited attack on its own to stop this, their plans assume an American attack at some point.
Despite Charges, No Evidence Iran Sending IEDs to Iraq. I am skeptical as I believe that with Iran's strong influence in Iraq it doesn't need to do this and it seems dangerously provocative to do this to a superpower looking for an excuse to attack. Why would anyone believe American intel statements on this now without any proof? Of course, this doesn't mean that Iran didn't provide training for the people and groups involved. Guerrilla military training for sympathetic groups is part of Iran's strategic doctrine. Does the US provide military training to similar groups? Yes. Are we using them to attack Iran? Yes, under the Iran Freedom Support Act of which the American media only mentioned the sanctions part. The Iraqi Prime Minister has now asked both sides, the US and Iran, to stand down and try to prevent his country from becoming their battlefield.
A counterargument that Iran is actually supplying these IEDs is that once an institution is set up to do something a certain way it always does it that way. Iran has set up a training and military supply program for sympathetic groups and not supplying them with the latest techniques and weapons would take a major act of political leadership.
Some history - as an example of Standard Operating Procedures creating unintended consequences see the Cuban Missile Crisis. This was partially the result of military and foreign policy institutions in both the Soviet Union and the United States following S.O.P. after their leaders had decided on new policies. John F. Kennedy had ordered short range obsolete nuclear missiles removed from Greece and Turkey but the military had never gotten around to carrying out that order. Khrushchev was understandably upset about missiles on the Soviet Union's borders and ordered similar military missile bases secretly set up in Cuba to be revealed at the proper moment. The Russian military team in Cuba followed the same blueprint for the bases they used in Russia and a U.S. photo-analyst recognized what they were. The result was the bases were revealed before they were complete, actually the missiles could fire already but the U.S. didn't know that, and Kennedy could not publicly trade removing his missile bases on Russian borders he had already ordered removed for the Cuban bases removal without looking weak. The U.S. invasion of Cuba only days away was also planned under the assumption that the Russian troops wouldn't receive authorization to use nuclear weapons. Under Russian military SOP the local commander was authorized and prepared to use both the missiles and some tactical nuclear weapons if attacked. Despite tremendous pressure from our military leaders, Kennedy by not following normal diplomatic procedures managed to avert a nuclear war.
In Iran, Bush wants a war and with war momentum, cautious Democrats, and Murphy's laws of SOP he may get it.
Update - Bush-Cheney Building a case for war with Iran.
The poor case for war with Iran.
Tags: Iran, war, Israel, history, SOP, Cuban Missile Crisis, nuclear war
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Libby trial shows unsealed lips in DC
The CIA and DC staffers can't keep a secret.
"If you can't give the vice president and president information with any degree of confidence that it is going to be protected, then you know, the entire game is up."
Wired News: I Was a Cybercrook for the FBI
An ID badge that Taylor wore when he was arrested indicated that he worked for Microsoft. But that was no more accurate than the two-dozen other employee badges he possessed for E-Trade and AT&T Broadband, or the 15 driver's licenses from various states that featured his congenial face and a dozen aliases. Nor did Thomas's California driver's license help authorities identify him. Although it had his picture, the name and address on the ID belonged to a producer for the A&E channel.I once found the social security number, tax returns, and credit applications belonging to a Houston millionaire. He would not realize they were lost until and unless I used them in some kind of fraud scheme, if then. After being tempted for months, unemployed and with mounting credit card debt, I decided to pass on the opportunity to turn to a life of crime.
With so many fake IDs in play it was unclear to police exactly who they had in custody. Then as they read Thomas his rights, he told them: "Get me some federal agents and I'll give you a case involving the Russians and millions of dollars."
Thus was the beginning of Thomas' turn to the other side. For 18 months beginning in April 2003, Thomas worked as a "paid asset" for the FBI running a website for identity and credit card thieves from a government-supplied apartment in the tony Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle.
From bedrise to bedrest, seven days a week, he rode the boards and forums of his and other carding sites using the online nickname El Mariachi. He recorded private messages and IRC chats for the FBI as "carders" schemed to, among other things, sell stolen credit and debit card numbers, defraud the George Bush and John Kerry campaign sites, drain hundreds of thousands of dollars from bank and investment accounts, sell access to Paris Hilton's T-Mobile account and run phishing scams against U.S. Bank and the FDIC. He did it all while battling denial-of-service attacks against his site and dodging attempts by his old partner Taylor and other carders to track his whereabouts and out him as a fed.
Just as his enemies were closing in on him in September 2004, the FBI pulled the plug on his work and cut him loose. But not before Thomas had given authorities a valuable look at the internet's underworld, though the strain of leading a double life nearly broke him.
Now Thomas is telling the story of his work during this period. It's a tale that provides a rare glimpse of the thriving international computer underground of high and low-tech thieves and swindlers whose crimes cost millions each year. It also illuminates the rarely seen world of federal law enforcement's war against these organized criminals, and the moral and ethical trade offs sworn agents make in pursuing their mission -- providing crooks with an electronic marketplace where they can congregate and conduct their ignominious business anonymously. Even allowing some crimes to go unpunished.
Tags: crime, credit card, ID theft, fraud, FBI
Monday, January 29, 2007
Fallout expected from Edward's speech in Israel?
If a presidential candidate speaks in Israel to a conservative group it is natural they will use hawkish rhetoric. But did Edwards go too far?
Edwards will face increased scrutiny at home and possible loss of support from liberals for the unmitigated pro-Israeli, anti-Arab hawkishness of the views he offered. Not only on Iran but on Syria, Palestine, and Lebanon, Edwards offered support for the most hawkish Israeli politicians and policies.
Is this simply foreign policy inexperience showing? Unlike in Bush's case, this seems to me to be more likely purely campaign rhetoric.
Raw Story has more regarding Iran:
Although Edwards has criticized the war in Iraq, and has urged bringing the troops home, the former senator firmly declared that "all options must remain on the table," in regards to dealing with Iran, whose nuclear ambition "threatens the security of Israel and the entire world."Full transcript is here, but with errors, which has some better news:
"Let me be clear: Under no circumstances can Iran be allowed to have nuclear weapons," Edwards said. "For years, the US hasn’t done enough to deal with what I have seen as a threat from Iran. As my country stayed on the sidelines, these problems got worse."
Edwards continued, "To a large extent, the US abdicated its responsibility to the Europeans. This was a mistake. The Iranian president’s statements such as his description of the Holocaust as a myth and his goals to wipe Israel off the map indicate that Iran is serious about its threats."
"Once Iran goes nuclear, other countries in the Middle East will go nuclear, making Israel’s neighborhood much more volatile," Edwards said.
Edwards added, "Iran must know that the world won’t back down. The recent UN resolution ordering Iran to halt the enrichment of uranium was not enough. We need meaningful political and economic sanctions. We have muddled along for far too long. To ensure that Iran never gets nuclear weapons, we need to keep ALL options on the table, Let me reiterate – ALL options must remain on the table."
For example, we need to support direct engagement with Iranians. We need to be tough but I think it is a mistake strategically to avoid engagement with Iran.
Tags: John Edwards, Iran, Israel, 2008
Democrats must Stop the Iran War before it Starts
Scott Ritter warned Republicans in 2001 they would be branded with an Iraq War. Now he warns Democrats about Iran.
If left unchallenged by Congress, the Bush Administration firmly believes it has all of the authority required to initiate military action against Iran without Congressional approval.
This is not an idle statement on my part. One needs only to read the words of President Bush during his recent State of the Union address....
Tags: Iran, war, Scott Ritter, Democrats
Warren Zevon: Roland The Headless Thompson Gunner Video
I was thinking about this song the other day and The News Blog posted it.
Steve's site has moved but continues posting excellent entries like this about the back door draft.
Kagan has no qualifications to decide military policy
Steve Gilliard has a much more colorful rant about that. Better than my simply pointing out Kagen's obvious mistakes earlier.
Iraq - hopeless - endgame
It has unraveled so quickly - TNYT. Sad stories that add to what Riverbend at Baghdad Burning has been telling liberals for years - the radicals are in control, moderates in hiding or leaving, and death stalks the streets.
The CIA's Iraqi blogger is mainly useful for telling us when and where military operations are starting. They will start showcasing the new "Battle for Baghdad" next week. Watch for the new colorful logos on TV.
There was a big battle around Najaf. There are major conflicting reports of who shot which multi-ethnic group composed of which groups. Ignoring that big battle, Iraq was otherwise a bloody hellhole.
When Parade Magazine informs its readers that we can't expect help from Pakistan in Afghanistan because their secret service arms and supports the Taliban with the support of their president, correctly, the gang of idiots in Washington have lost control of the American mass media which had functioned as their war propaganda arm. Some personality update Parade!
Today the Time and Washington Post edition.
Add The New York Times - reporter class to the foul mix.
Greenwald: On just "evolution in action"
The latest racist or anti-religious screed by Glenn Reynolds and the right wing bloggers gets a good dressing down by Glenn Greenwald. The only thing I would add is that the phrase "Think of it as evolution in action" comes from the 1982 novel Oath of Fealty by science fiction writers Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. In the novel upper-class citizens are moving into extremely large condo skyscrapers with all city amenities inside and the phrase is mainly used about lower-class people or liberal dissidents who try to break in or otherwise do stupid things that lead to their deaths. The exact circumstances of the first use of the phrase are protestors who sneak in and are killed because building security believes they could be terrorists carrying bombs. Depending on how you feel it can be considered indicative of an offensive conservative superior attitude or simply prophetic in light of much current anti-terrorism mentality.
Tags: evolution in action, Niven, Pournelle, Greenwald, SF
VP Cheney to resign? Condi to be nominated?
Latest prediction from the Comedy Central blog which scooped the traditional media that Rumsfeld would resign. Rumors that even I have heard have been floating around for a weeks but now they say they are getting it from more than one reliable source. If true I might give up watching anything but Jon and Colbert for my Washington news fix.
Tags: Cheney, Condi Rice
Everyone knows about the coming attack on Iran except the American public
Conservative GOP insider Paul Craig Roberts lets the Libertarians know. This is like the media doesn't know the Iraq surge has already started weeks ago because the military hasn't had a big press conference about it. Remember, if you depend on the American mass media there is no telling what idiots you'll elect and what lies you might be told.
America ‘poised to strike at Iran’s nuclear sites’ from bases in Bulgaria and Romania
Tags: Iran, nuclear war
Sunday, January 28, 2007
Has the media improved since 2000?
As bad as the media's coverage of prominent Democrats from the late 1990s through the 2000 campaign was -- and it was almost indescribably bad, though that doesn't stop us from trying to describe it -- we aren't sure it's much better now. It's hard to identify improvement when someone like Glenn Beck -- who has fantasized on-air about murdering Michael Moore, said he hates the families of 9-11 victims, and demanded that a Muslim congressman-elect 'prove to me that you are not working with our enemies' -- gets hired by both CNN and ABC.
Bush's Four Anti-Terror Successes In SOTU All Fictional
This is "ho-hum, so what else is new" for the left but the right will never question them.
Arianna Huffington: Davos Notes: John McCain Bites My Head Off
McCain as the praying mantis candidate.
The government we support
As I have said since the current Iraqi government was installed, we are supporting building a new Iran in Iraq, a new religious Muslim state. The Shiite radical Muslims dominate the government, the politicians, the Interior Ministry, and the Iraq security forces.
I see, and foresaw, no way to prevent this.
Do conservatives, often religious fundamentalists themselves, think there is a way of keeping the fundamentalists out of power in an Iraqi democracy? Or perhaps they think there is some magic secret of putting a strongman ruler in power in Baghdad who will throttle and put down enemies of the United States and Israel, out of the headlines of the American media, because he needs our support? After the example of the last American strongman who filled that role, the Shah of Iran, being overthrown by the people lead by religious fundamentalists, it is hard to see an American strongman in Iraq lasting long at all.
So the best case scenario in Iraq -- what we achieve in the extremely unlikely circumstance that we accomplish our current, stated goals -- is to strengthen a government dominated by Shiite death squads and/or Iran.All of those who advocated this administration pursuing this war for the trumped up reasons they gave have a great deal of repenting they still have to go through.
ADDED: Robert Kagan, one of those advocates for this war and now the person whose plan the administration is advocating for Iraq, has his own Grand Delusion. He ignores that this new "battle for Baghdad" was previously tried by our military only to be cancelled after two months because it did not work. He ignores the several previous American military surges in Iraq that would turn the corner as the insurgency was on its "last throes." This is more of the same, not a new policy "to fight the insurgency as it has not been fought since the war began" - The Big Lie. His policy does not address the fundamental fact that radical Shiites are in control in Iraq and they want the American occupiers out.
Tags: Iraq, Shiite, Robert Kagan
D'Huckster D'Liar D'Souza
Would you believe there is someone out huckstering his book that Muslims were correct to believe that America is an immoral pagan society worthy of being attacked? That someone agrees with the attackers on the corrupt and sleazy and immoral nature of American society? That someone believes America is unworthy in the sight of those who value God and morality and tradition? Would you believe that this immigrant to the United States, Dinesh D'Souza, works for a leading conservative think tank and gets lots of mainstream media platform space while being wildly applauded by the right? Sadly, this is all true. Dinesh D'Souza tries to explain how liberal Godless America brought on the terrorist attacks.
David Neiwert explains how D'Souza has it wrong:
Indeed, it's clear that American military action and the heavy hand of its economic interests are the sectors of American society that are the source of [Bin Laden's] anger -- not gay marriage and bad Hollywood movies. This was clear from the choice of targets on Sept. 11 -- the World Trade Center, the vibrant center of American economic might, and the Pentagon, its center of military power.D'Souza now has a new cause, to expose how the left is being uncivil to him, because of his beliefs. And he attempts to justify his book and explain the attacks on him and his book in the same way of those who defend The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. He claims he is exposing a hidden truth that those liberals harming the real America don't want to see exposed and those depraved,liberal heathens are trying to shut him up. Wolcott explains that really the book is a pack of lies.
Yet D'Souza sees it this way:I pose a simple question: Why did the terrorists do it? In a 2003 statement, bin Laden said that to him, the World Trade Center resembled the idols that the prophet Muhammad removed from Mecca. In other words, bin Laden believes that the United States represents the pagan depravity that Muslims have a duty to resist.Funny that D'Souza would assume that the "pagan depravity" that angers Muslims and radicalizes them has something to do with hip-hop music and the Oscars, when the only real "pagan depravity" that the World Trade Center and the Pentagon represents is the willingness of entrenched American powers to readily oppress and blithely murder thousands of Arabs in the sake of a nonexistent threat from "weapons of mass destruction."
On January 7 I linked to another writer noticing that the right in this country was becoming similar to Holocaust deniers. D'Souza is the latest example of this same mentality. You distort reality and claim everything bad is the result of this vast evil conspiracy by some powerful group, in this case the liberals, and then claim when liberals cry foul on your fraud it actually helps prove your case.
Recently I read The Plot by the late famed graphic artist Will Eisner. It is a history of how The Protocols, first published in 1903, were fabricated by the Russian czar's secret police as a way of undermining a growing social reform movement and to stop or slow Czar Nicholas's turn toward the West. Jews figured prominently in this movement, and the police theorized that they could discredit it by fabricating "the sinister Jewish agenda." Mathieu Golovinski, concocted the "protocols" or minutes of an international meeting of Jewish bankers, journalists and financiers outlining a purported plot to dominate the world. He based this primarily on a French book and quickly copied its arguments about a supposed plot to undermine the Emperor but placing Jews as the protagonists. Amazingly this fraud was exposed in 1921, and repeatedly thereafter, but the printings of the book multiplied and the harm it caused spread. The first line of the novel is Eisner at his simple and powerful best: Whenever one group of people is taught to hate another, a lie is created to inflame the hatred and justify the plot. The target is easy to find because the enemy is always the other.
For conservatives, liberals have become the other, and the lies to justify their hatred multiply. Linking liberals to why America was attacked on 9/11, as D'Souza does, is part of the Big Lie, the Plot.
Is it possible to rationally debate this? Perhaps you may think that believers in this big lie just need to be shown how absurd their arguments are. I'll ask you, have you ever tried to rationally debate a Holocaust denier? By engaging with them you are acknowledging some part of what they say might be true. In the end they are unconvinced and they believe that you are either part of the deluded masses or are helping the other's plot.
Calling D'Souza a "ratfink," "a national disgrace," "a childish thinker," "a lover spurned," "surrender monkey" who has produced "sleazy, shameless, ignorant, ahistorical, tendentious, meretricious lie" is more than appropriate.
Added: Not all of the prominent right media agreed with D'Souza. In fact, there were some strong attacks like this. They are very angry at him for promoting a peaceful moral Islam instead of showing that all Muslims follow a hate-filled religion.
Tags: Dinesh D'Souza, Nazis, psychology, Will Eisner, shrill, rant, Holocaust deniers
Michelle Malkin's lowering standards
One single photograph is enough to topple her claims regarding her supposed rebuttal of the AP reports on the attacks on Sunni mosques in Baghdad. Then Sadly No applies the snark liberally.
Those who still support any of Malkin's "reporting" on this matter lack the basic rudiments of intelligence and demonstrate nothing but their own biased distorted world view.
Tags: Michelle Malkin
Saturday, January 27, 2007
CBO reports - You paid more in taxes, millionaires paid less
Families earning more than $1 million a year saw their federal tax rates drop more sharply than any group in the country as a result of President Bush’s tax cuts, according to a Congressional study.
The study, by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, also shows that tax rates for middle-income earners edged up in 2004, the most recent year for which data was available, while rates for people at the very top continued to decline.
For 15 years Cheney has wanted to attack Iran
This has escalated in the last six years and may finally happen. The Bush-Cheney administration has concluded that Iran is guilty until proven innocent and it is in their interests to maintain that the Persian Gulf belongs to Americans setting the stage for their long delayed military strike. The White House has stalled the release of a new National Intelligence Estimate on Iran, which should reflect the CIA's conclusion that there is no evidence of an Iranian nuclear weapons program.
What has been the most interesting development in this march to war is that Washington officials are now blaming Iran for supplying the Iraqi insurgents with bombs that are killing Americans and have in effect authorized shoot-to-kill orders against Iranians. In reality, Iran is supporting the government of Iraq since they control a majority of the elected representatives through their Shiite allies.
All of this is par for the course and parallels the campaign to demonize Saddam for over a year before the US invasion of Iraq. Dismissals of US plans to attack as "urban legends" and conspiracy theories should be viewed in the same light that early preparations for the attack on Iraq were dismissed.
How to attack and the reaction to an attack on the over 100,000 Iranians in Iraq may be a problem. From CNN:
BLITZER: Well, what would happen if the U.S. does kill these Iranians and the president has signed off on it?
LANG: Well, if he has signed off on it and intelligence is developed that indicates that what he says it's true, then they will in fact eliminate the people. The problem is, is that the Iranians will then have to make a decision as to how they're going to retaliate for that.
BLITZER: Well, how could they retaliate?
LANG: They could retaliate against U.S. forces in Iraq in a big way.
BLITZER: How could they do that?
LANG: They have hundreds of thousands of people from the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and the Revolutionary Guard corps already in Iraq.
BLITZER: Hundreds of thousands?
LANG: Oh, yes. That's a well-established figure that's though to be true across the community of people that look at this. And they're there as liaison personnel with the very Shia militias and things like that. And if they get sufficiently angry with us, they can start retaliating directly against our forces.
State of the Union - 2007
--Median household income in 2000: $47,599
--Median household income in 2005: $46,326
(US Census Bureau, Table H-8. Median Household Income by State)
--Salary of a full-time minimum wage employee without vacation: $10,712
--Average time for top CEOs to earn that sum: 2.06 hours
(Forbes Magazine. "What the Boss Makes." April 20, 2006)
--Federal minimum wage in 2000: $5.15/hr
--Federal minimum wage in 2006: $5.15/hr
--Loss in purchasing power, full time worker annually: $1,562
ON ENERGY PRICES:
--Average price of home heating oil on Jan. 3, 2000: $1.15 per gallon
--Average price of home heating oil on Jan. 1, 2007: $2.42 per gallon
(U.S. Energy Information Admin. Jan. 4, 2007)
--Average price of gasoline on Jan. 3, 2000: $1.31 per gallon
--Average price of gasoline on Jan. 1, 2007: $2.38 per gallon
(U.S. Energy Information Admin. Jan. 5, 2007)
--Exxon Mobil profits in 2000: $7.9 billion
--Exxon Mobil profits in 2006: $36.1 billion
(CNNMoney.com, accessed Jan. 19, 2007)
ON CLIMATE CHANGE:
--Year Bush said Kyoto Protocol emission targets were “not based upon science”: 2000
--Decrease in NASA budget for Earth observation since 2000: 30 percent
--Year with highest average U.S. temperature ever recorded: 2006
(The White House, June 11, 2001; New York Times, Jan. 21, 2006; National Climate Data Center. U.S. Dept. of Commerce. Jan. 9, 2007)
--Average cost of a year at a public four-year college in 2000: $9,958
--Average cost of a year at a public four-year college in 2006: $12,796
(Costs include tuition, fees, room & board. MSN Money 2000/Associated Press. Jan. 14, 2005. College Board. Trends in College Pricing 2007)
ON RETIREMENT SECURITY:
--Workers without retirement plans at work in the private sector 2006: 80 percent
--Baby boom Americans approaching retirement: 76 million
(Bureau of Labor Statistics, March 2006; The Seattle Times. Jan. 22, 2005)
ON HEALTH CARE COSTS:
--Americans without health insurance, 2000: 38.2 million
--Americans without health insurance, 2005: 46.6 million
(US Census Bureau, Sept. 2001; US Census Bureau, Aug. 2006)
--Average monthly worker contribution for family coverage in 2000: $135
--Average monthly worker contribution for family coverage in 2006: $248
--Personal bankruptcies due to medical bills: 55 percent
(The Kaiser Family Foundation, Sept. 26, 2006; Health Affairs Health Policy Journal, Feb. 2, 2005)
ON THE IRAQ WAR:
--Number of US troops killed in Iraq prior to “Mission Accomplished” speech in 2003: 139
--Number of US troops killed in Iraq as of Jan. 22, 2007: 3,056
--Number of Iraqi civilians killed in 2006, according to the United Nations: 34,452
(iCasualties.org, Jan. 22, 2007; U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq, Jan. 16, 2006)
--Number of US troops wounded in Iraq prior to “Mission Accomplished” speech in 2003: 542
--Number of US troops wounded in Iraq as of January 10, 2007: 22,834
(iCasualties.org. Jan. 10, 2007)
--Total US military expenditures (including in Iraq and Afghanistan) in 2006: $522 billion
--Total military expenditures of the 10 next top spenders combined: $386 billion
(Includes China, Russia, the UK, Japan, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Italy, and Australia.)
--U.S. Federal Discretionary Budget spent on Military not including Iraq, in 2006: 48.7 percent
--Amount spent on Education: 6.7 percent
(White House Office of Management and Budget, Feb. 6, 2006)
ON DEBTS AND DEFICITS:
--Monthly U.S. Trade Deficit in October 2000: $33.8 billion
--Monthly U.S. Trade Deficit in October 2006: $58.9 billion
(U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics. Jan. 10, 2007)
--U.S. Current Account Deficit, FY 2000: $435.4 billion
--U.S. Current Account Deficit, FY 2006: $900 billion
(Economic Policy Institute. March 14, 2001; Economic Policy Institute. March 14, 2006)
--Loss of value of U.S. dollar relative to the Euro, Jan. 24, 2000 to Jan. 23, 2006: 23 percent
(X-rate.com, accessed Jan. 23, 2006)
--US Budget Deficit in FY 2000: $230 billion surplus
--US Budget Deficit in FY 2006: $423 billion deficit
(White House Office of Management and Budget. Budget of the United States Government, Historical Tables, Fiscal Year 2007; White House Office of Management and Budget. Table S-1. 2006 budget totals)
--US National Debt in FY 2000: $5.7 trillion
--US National Debt in FY 2006: $8.5 trillion
(Bureau of the Public Debt, Jan. 16, 2007)
Forwarded by Janette from 16-year-old liberal Ivan Espinosa.
Bush's Health Care Fool's Gold
This Progressive Populist editorial expands on why the President's plan to give everyone a new tax deduction, supposedly for health insurance, is not a health care plan at all. This is actually a new large tax deduction that for political purposes has been connected to health-care insurance. Since it is a deduction and not a tax credit it doesn't help those who most need both lower taxes and health insurance.
If you remove making health care insurance taxable out of the proposal I could support this, although some other means of paying for it would have to be found. Repealing all of the Bush-Cheny tax cuts perhaps? Ending the over $7 billion a week Iraqi occupation?
More on this right-wing think tank proposal that is indifferent to the people who really need healthcare from Paul Krugman.
Ezra Klien supported this until he looked at the details and admitted he was wrong.
In a dissenting view, Paul Star attempts to make the case that making all health-care insurance costs taxable and visible on W2s might kick start a debate on creating a better, more liberal system. Ezra explains what is the health-care insurance system that we liberals want.
Tags: health insurance, taxes, Krugman
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Fox News' O'Reilly Says Possible Sex Abuse Victim Enjoyed It - video
Latest O'Reilly outrage. Does Bill O'Reilly have some reason to believe that unwanted sexual advances could actually be wanted? Ask his former producer.
Sen. Chuck Hagel on fire…
One GOP senator gets it.
DIEBOLD VOTING MACHINE KEY COPIED FROM PHOTO AT COMPANY'S OWN ONLINE STORE!
The incompetents at Diebold have done it again. They have one common key that unlocks every voting machine they make. Then they placed photos of the key online where anyone buying a blank master and with a little filing could create copies of the key. This was discovered at Princeton University where they had earlier discovered that anyone with access to a Diebold machine and a common memory card could in 60 seconds introduce a virus into one machine that would infect all machines in a county. The virus could carry an undetectable vote stealing program.
Link from Jim.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Senate Republicans Block Minimum Wage Increase
Kennedy asked the question of the day after the vote…
"Why can't we do just one thing for minimum wage workers, no strings attached, no giveaways for the powerful?"
Election staff convicted of rigging recount in Ohio
Partial Justice. There were many irregularities in the Ohio 2004 election and county and state election officials worked to cover them up. There may be more indictments as the supervisors have escaped review.
Senate Panel Opposes Troop Increase in Iraq, 12-9
Right blogosphere and conservative callers to right talk radio reduced to "our troop sacrifices will have been in vain" arguments and requests to kill more Iraqis to win.
Out of every 20 Iraqis we kill maybe one has any connection to al Qaeda, Nearly all we kill are defending their country from what they see as an occupying Army that has killed their friends and relatives and destroyed their homes and businesses. Everyone of them we kill creates more who feel the same way.
If the ignorant masses want to blame anyone blame this administration who lied them into this war and not those who have been right on what would happen every step of the way.
Former Senator Edwards appeals to present Senators to block the escalation with an ad in Washington's Roll Call. Edwards - a cartoon of his current problem.
Randy Newman - A few words in defense of our country.
Jim sends me a right wing blogger who still loves Bush who has protected her from terrorists. I have protected her from the Cylon invaders in the same sense that Bush has protected her from terrorists, does she love me?
Senator Webb speaks for me: Many, including myself, warned even before the war began that it was unnecessary, that it would take our energy and attention away from the larger war against terrorism, and that invading and occupying Iraq would leave us strategically vulnerable in the most violent and turbulent corner of the world.
The President took us into this war recklessly. He disregarded warnings from the national security adviser during the first Gulf War, the chief of staff of the army, two former commanding generals of the Central Command, whose jurisdiction includes Iraq, the director of operations on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and many, many others with great integrity and long experience in national security affairs. We are now, as a nation, held hostage to the predictable and predicted disarray that has followed.
Webb - A star is born. Webb's "performance Tuesday in squashing whatever little boost Bush may have expected from the polls has made him into an instant star for his party."
McCain blames Cheney and Rumsfeld for War mistakes. He seems to be seeking a political strategy where he can support Bush but not be on the wrong side on the Iraq war issue.
Arab League warns U.S. on Iran attack. Violence could spread throughout the Middle East.
Hawks and Doves deeply divided over Iran.
The ideal candidate for the Democrats may be the man who won the popular vote in 2000 - Al Gore. Imagine.
More danger from terrorism on Afghan border than in Iraq.
DOWD - In light of the 2006 debacle, the White House might have been better off saving Scooter and dumping Karl.
Greenwald - The infantile Bush psychological movement. Faux tough guys and their parental attachments. Another sign of psychological fixation.
"New York Financial People" attack Wesley Clark and Matthew Yglesias for pointing out they are pushing for a war with Iran on behalf of another country.
Shocking, the WP actually started documenting the lies in Bush's SOTU. Or is it simply a "flawed" understanding by the Prez?
Bush's health care plan bad, very bad
That is some insane plan that is DOA but is useful to illustrate the hidden agendas of Bush policies. Check out the comments.
Ed Schultz not getting love from Hillary
That and other local Houston radio news follows.
Well-organized and well-financed Democratic centrist presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is not spreading her "accessibility" to liberal talk radio. That is according to Ed Schultz, the rapidly rising star of liberal talk radio currently heard on Houston's KTRH - 740 AM most evenings. He blasted her, or her staff, after repeatedly failing to get her on as a guest. Considering the sharp and pointed questioning she gets in her TV appearances EL is surprised she doesn't want the friendlier environment liberal talk radio would provide.
At work I could listen to Rush Limbaugh yesterday on 740 AM. I may be mistaken in thinking this was bad news when "Houston's Information Source" picked up his show. I couldn't help thinking while listening that the more people are exposed to his ignorant biased blather the more they should reject conservative Republican thinking. The only think interesting about the show was when he dissed Bush's health care plan as a tax increase, which contrasted nicely to the main stream media calling it a tax deduction. They are both right depending on your situation. But thirty minutes later he claims it was all a trick, he really supports Bush and every single one of his policies and he claims he was showing how the Bush plan could be distorted as a tax increase. Either it was a trick or he got a call from his White House handler. Picking up Rush was bad for KTRH's reputation as a truthful news source but may not be bad for progressives in Houston.
The ABC-TV 13 political blog ripped KTRH's Chris Baker for dissing TV hosts and not covering real news. Doesn't she realize that they are moving away from real news as having uninformed hosts spouting opinions and arguing with callers is a lot cheaper?
KTRH has moved Joe Pigs to early evening which hopefully is a sign he will soon be off Houston airwaves and only pollute San Antonio. They are looking for a new reporter/anchor with "fast paced, conversational delivery." Is that all that you want from your information source?
Holding Their Feet to the Fire
A new Texas progressive blog has been launched with the objective to place some well deserved kicks to some behinds in Texas, including some Democratic asses to get them moving again in a progressive direction.
The blog Feet to the Fire.
One of their first posts - The candidate left out in the cold, a report on the lack of support that Janette Sexton's campaign for state representative received despite early promises from Democratic office holders and leaders. The post is duplicated at Brains and Eggs.
With no previous political experience but inspired by Howard Dean's campaign and call to challenge the Republicans everywhere, she took on long established Robert Talton, a GOP power-broker in Austin. Despite his radical Right Christian views and his becoming the leading spokesman for Texas homophobia and despite his being a multiple award winner of Texas Monthly's top ten worst legislators in Austin, he may have gone unchallenged except for her entry into the race. (Attorney Rick Molina, who doesn't live in the district but who has a very loose sense of where he really lives, may have run but instead choose another seat in a special election race in which district he also didn't live. He is next going to claim a Pasadena residency for a local race there on which his residency claim I am told will finally be challenged.)
Full disclosure, I worked on Janette Sexton's campaign by creating her successful but limited fund-raising letters and placing half of her signs. I also prepared her list of phones to be called and an analysis of vote objectives for each precinct.
Since I was with her from the beginning of her campaign, which she decided on in November 2004 just after Bush's reelection, I can testify to the calls of support and endorsement her early entry initially received from some Democratic leaders and the unreturned calls and emails and silence later. I was also shocked when told she had been told not to expect help and support or endorsements from Democratic office-holders who had to work with Talton and the Republican majority.
One correction to PDiddie's article: of her $13,000 campaign she financed $8,000 out of her savings as a technical writer, a temp writer at the beginning of the campaign. Talton outspent her ten to one.
Her outspokenness for progressive causes and her willingness to not blindly support long established local Democratic Party leaders put her on the outs with the leadership of one of the three local Democratic Clubs. Recently this club voted not to help her reduce her campaign debt.
Added: another dos centavos.
Tags: Janette Sexton, Texas, politics, Democratic Party, Rick Molina
Friday, January 19, 2007
Solveig Dommartin, Parisian, actress, dead at 45
Rumors on the Internet for several days are finally being confirmed in European media. From an email:
A reliable friend in Paris has informed me that there will be a ceremony for Solveig Dommartin on Monday afternoon January 22nd somewhere in Paris. Wim Wenders is organizing this tribute.Solveig was in Wim Wender's Until the End of the World and Wings of Desire.
Solveig will be buried probably around January 26th in the Vosges, where her grandfather was buried, east of Paris near the border with Germany.
Solveig's mother, named Sylvette Dommartin, confirmed that Solveig was born on May 16, 1961. She was 45 years old. Solveig's father also died at age 45 during the month of January. The information given on IMDB and Wikipedia about Solveig's birth in 1958 is wrong. Solveig leaves behind a daughter named Venus.
There was to have been an autopsy performed on Solveig today in Paris. The results have yet to be announced.
Interview: "Seeing with a Child's Heart" - IMDB.
Tags: Solveig Dommartin
Art Buchwald dies at 81
When I was growing up Art was my favorite political writer and favorite newspaper columnist and favorite humorist. Political muckraker Jack Anderson might have been more important but Art Buchwald was more fun and about as influential.
He once collaborated with Dr. Seuss for a column about Nixon -
Richard M. Nixon, will you please go now!Nine days later, Nixon announced his resignation.
The time has come.
The time is now.
I don't care how.
You can go by foot.
You can go by cow.
Richard M. Nixon, will you please go now!
You can go on skates.
You can go on skis.
You can go in a hat.
Art also said one of the most important men in America was the one at the New York Times who decided each day what four people who died deserved the big obituary. Here is Art's. Here is his wiki.
Tags: Art Buchwald
Saturday, January 13, 2007
Media Matters - Michelle Malkin's, and war blogger's, credibility, R.I.P.
A summary from Media Matters.
Updating the Valerie Plame Story
Valerie Plame's CIA Group was responsible for keeping Iran from getting nuclear material. Cheney directed she be outed to show the CIA and diplomats what happened to anyone whose family crossed the White House. The security of the United States took second place to partisan politics and vindictiveness.
ADDED - I have very limited PC access at the moment and, of course, I find I had left some glaring typos.
Tags: Valerie Plame, traitors, treason
Digby: "Urban Legend"
The administration does not know what words mean,
what it is talking about,
is saber rattling at Syria and Iran,
is preparing for attacks on these countries,
does not know the consequences of actions,
or all of the above.
Go ahead and read all of Hullaballoo preceding this while you are at it. Disturbing times, reminds me of Nixon wandering the halls of the White House talking to pictures of Presidents.
News: GOP bill requires Congress's OK on Iran
U.S. policies have made Israel less safe, Israeli experts say
Captain Smash hasn't gotten the message: Our service and our friends' deaths mean nothing unless we escalate onward to victory. I think there are several mistaken assumptions in his opinion.
It's Informal War Day: The President plots secret moves against Syria and Iran without Congressional consent. It's Casual Friday! Bush is beginning a war with Syria and Iran the way you would put on a pair of pants.
Conservative military analyst Cordesman, whose military equipment numbers I sometimes use, disects the President's speech - it ain't pretty.
To supporters of the president's latest plan, the media should ask, among other questions, the following: "The administration's last 'Strategy for Victory,' released late 2005, which you supported, didn't work so well. How could the administration have been so wrong? How can you be sure they -- and you -- aren't wrong again? Why should we trust your judgment?""The good news: Last night President Bush admitted he'd made some mistakes in Iraq. The bad news: he's planning on making the same mistakes again." --Jay Leno....
Christian leader Dobson rejects McCain
McCain's hard right tilt is not paying off where it counts - the GOP conservative church base.
Dobson says he couldn't support senator 'under any circumstances'
Ron Paul to run for President as a Republican
He was previously the nominee of the Libertarian Party.
He already ranks higher in my opinion than every other GOP candidate.
It is difficult to imagine circumstance where I would vote for him, however. It more brings into question the possibility of spoiler votes in Texas for Paul. Would it be better to have an anti-war GOP candidate given a speaking voice at their convention if the Democratic nomination is already locked up before Texas votes?
Tags: Ron Paul, 2008, Libertarian, anti-war, presidential race
Another Conservative Turns
Greenwald reports on the conversion of Rod Dreher, who now realizes the "dirty hippies" were trying to tell him something.
Take the Quiz | 6° of Energy Efficiency
A short quiz sent from Janette.
Friday, January 12, 2007
Bush secretly warns TV anchors, war with Iran is coming
It is the best of times, it is the worst of times. There is majority bipartisan opposition to the Bush-Cheney war and the escalation policy.
Secretary of State Rice meets with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and encounters unanimous opposition and criticism so that she wishes she was meeting with "My Fox guys, I love every single one of them."
And all of that is to no avail as Bush prepares to attack Iran and possibly Syria in his presidency of Cliff Notes and "fatally flawed" plans build on mistaken assumptions.
ADDED: Time agrees with me! - Bush is a bad gambler losing who is determined to press our bets.
Bush gets right wing blogger help on his new war - against the American media. See my many recent posts on the right bloggers and how accurate and smart they are.
Bush received "a less enthusiastic reception" from soldiers at Ft. Benning.
Bush speech about Iran - not Iraq.
Did the President Already Declare "Secret War" Against Syria and Iran? Informed sources are buzzing with the news.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
Right Wing Nut House offers not much support for Bush
The major point of unreality remaining in their world view is the refusal to acknowledge that al-Sadr is the one in charge: in the Iraqi Congress, in the Interior Ministry, and in most of the Iraqi Army. This expectation for a showdown with "Mookie’s Army" shows the extent that support for this escalation is driven by fervent wishes and not realistic assessments. Expecting the Iraqi government to go to war against itself is the last fevered dream of the unsophisticated ignorant babes in the woods who have supported Bush-Cheney's war from the beginning. The shouts of "Moqtada" at Saddam's execution show who is in control - Moqtada al-Sadr. Still, even the Iraq Study group showed a painful denial of the facts on the ground. Expecting the self-described Right Wing Nuts to be better is another exercise in futility.
Tags: Moqtada al-Sadr, Iraq, Right Wing Nuts
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Terry Jone - They have made a killing
By the figures the administration believes it has cost $10 million for every dead Iraqi. In reality increased Iraqi deaths since the war are ten times that so it is a million dollars a body. Maybe we should have followed the Afghanistan model and just given $10,000 for every possible terrorist killed or turned in. Of course, we ended up with hundreds of people just turned in for the money, many we still have in Gitmo. Still, a million is a lot of money. Could we have given everyone in Iraq $10,000 if they said they loved America? That would have cost about half as much.
There was a similar proposal in the Vietnam War to drop hundred of millions of dollars in guns, ammo, radios, TVs, clothes, food, and books about both democracy and over throwing governments in North Vietnam and seeing if a pro-Western underground could get established. It would have cost less than the bombing campaigns and might have been more effective. Of course, that was only proposed in a science fiction magazine.
Early this year the Bush administration is to ask Congress to approve an additional $100bn for the onerous task of making life intolerable for the Iraqis. This will bring the total spent on the White House's current obsession with war to almost $500bn - enough to have given every US citizen $1,600 each. I wonder which the voters would have gone for if given the choice: shall we (a) give every American $1,600 or (b) spend the money on bombing a country in the Middle East that doesn't use lavatory paper?
Of course, there's another thing that George Bush could have done with the money: he could have given every Iraqi $18,700. I imagine that would have reduced the threat of international terrorism somewhat. Call me old-fashioned, but I can't help thinking that giving someone $18,700 brings them round to your side more quickly than bombing the hell out of them. They could certainly buy a lot of lavatory paper with it.
Tags: guns, bombs, butter, cost of war, Terry Jones, value
Battle for Baghdad as President asks for More troops
Replace Baghdad with Hue or Saigon...
The Fall of the War Bloggers
How the mighty have fallen illustrates the problems with writing based on authoritarianism and fear and hatred and reversing progress.
Is TV killing Democracy in America?
This is a food for thought post. Follow the link and think about it.
Neil Postman argues that TV, by it's nature, debases political discourse. That TV, by it's very nature, turns news into amusement and politics into entertainment.A lot of links and arguments to absorb here. Without TV and radio, missing from this argument here, would politics be better today?
He argues, by contrast, that the invention of the printing press had huge positive effects on society, allowing science, rationality, and democracy to flower. More reading leads to better cognitive skills and vocabulary (comic books have larger vocabularies than prime time TV).
According to seminal media theorist Marshall McLuhan and historian Elizabeth Eisenstein, the scientific revolution and the Enlightenment were both products of the printing press.
I am concerned about the decline in civic and community involvement and the increasingly either polarized or corrupt nature of politics today. I am also concerned about talk radio, which is not covered in this concentration on TV at the link. By the proliferation of stations both televised and on radio, viewers and listeners get reinforced the points of view they already agree with. To improve ratings, differences and violent arguments are exaggerated. It is like going to a noisy pub where nearly everyone is the same and drunken bar flies talk about "we gotta to something about them nasty other guys."
Food for thought.
Tags: television, TV, democracy, politics, intelligence, aggression
Spocko's Brain Vs. ABC-Disney story spreads
Media Matters - ABC shut down blogger who criticized violent rhetoric on one of its radio stations.
Spocko's Brain back up at another host. - Reports another success - Michigan Economic Development Corporation horrified at the examples of hate speech - pulls radio ads. Spocko urges support for sponsers that pull ads like MEDC and Visa.
Discussion at Daily Kos.
Tags: Spocko, ABC Radio Disney, blogs, fair use, hate speech, radio
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
So much for my political forecasting ability - I got it about 30 minutes before it happened when he won the secret ballot vote 80 - 68. That was 6 more than he needed. Expect some opposition next election, how much is too early to tell, to the 10 to 14 House Democrats who provided Craddicks firewall.
Tags: Texas, Craddick, Texas House Speaker
Texas House Speaker vote now
Kuff has the links to read the inaction.
Bush Senior Early CIA Ties Revealed
Bush Sr. worked for the CIA covertly for years as part of the Yale network. New memos just place a CIA involvement in setting up his oil company. More evidence to support that he was the Bush in Texas with the CIA briefed the day after the Kennedy assignation.
Tags: CIA, Bush
Monday, January 08, 2007
What a unique experience
The last 20 people who got to here through search engines were not looking for sex pictures.
Last 20 Searchengine Queries Unique Visitors
08 Jan, Mon, 10:46:31 Google: happy feet conservative blog
08 Jan, Mon, 12:25:25 Google: Iran attack
08 Jan, Mon, 13:52:45 Google: "15% solution" "jonathan westminster"
08 Jan, Mon, 16:10:24 Yahoo: FBI Unitarian houston
08 Jan, Mon, 18:03:06 Google: lemming
08 Jan, Mon, 18:49:02 Google: does happy feet talk about global warming?
08 Jan, Mon, 20:05:34 Google: Robert Thompson happy feet
08 Jan, Mon, 20:31:29 Google: what is toening for fat burning
08 Jan, Mon, 20:53:24 Google: seiu miami secky
08 Jan, Mon, 22:18:12 Altavista: molly ringwald
08 Jan, Mon, 22:56:28 Google: Texas Liberal News
09 Jan, Tue, 00:24:59 Google: Spocko
09 Jan, Tue, 01:41:57 Google: liberal news
09 Jan, Tue, 02:03:05 Google: houston liberal legal
09 Jan, Tue, 02:27:08 Google: offthekuff.com
09 Jan, Tue, 03:59:59 Google: when is easter in the tear of 2008
09 Jan, Tue, 07:05:05 Google: debunking 23 minutes in hell
OK, I don't know what that Molly Ringwald photo search is about. Uh, oh, I bet I linked to a revealing Molly Ringwald picture that I can't find now. Damn blogspot search.
Tags: blog, searched, naked
Top Bushisms for 2006
I think "I'm the Decider" and "I use the Google" tie for # 1.
Link from the other Drudge, the Drudge Retort.
Bush latest moves still on path to Armageddon
His military, foreign relations and intelligence staff changes remove those who oppose war with Iran and Syria. All of the personnel changes seems like a bet to play the "all in game" - recklessly escalate and see if the other side blinks and history vindicates him.
Tags: Bush, Iran, Syria, war, Armageddon
Christian Essay from Congressional Rep.
In America today, we are encouraged to believe in the myth of scarcity - that there just isn't enough - of anything. But in the story of the miracle of the loaves and fishes, Jesus, who the Muslims call Isa, found himself preaching to 5000 (not including the women by the way) at dinner time, and there didn’t appear to be enough food. The disciples said that there were only five barley loaves and two fish. We just have to send them away hungry. We simply don't have enough. But Jesus took the loaves and the fish and started sharing food. There was enough for everyone. There was more than enough. What was perceived as scarcity was illusory as long as there was sharing, and not hoarding.- Muslim Minn. Rep. Keith Ellison.
The idea here is not that there is a boundless supply of everything. Such an idea leads to waste and dispensability of everything. But the idea is that there is enough.
If scarcity is a myth, then poverty is not necessary. America need not have 37 million Americans living below the poverty line. It is a choice. Hunger is a choice. Exclusion of the stranger, the immigrant, or the darker other is a choice.
We can choose generosity. In America today, we spend more on health care than any other industrialized nation, yet 46 Million people have none. Canada spends half of what we spend and covers everyone. Perfectly? Of course not. But adequately. That’s more than what a lot of people have right now.
Tags: Keith Ellison, religion, myths, scarcity, Islam, Christianity
What is happening in Tom Delay's Paradise Lost?
MS Magazine has a few updates to its summer article about Greed, Sex Slavery, Forced Abortions and Right-Wing Moralists in the Northern Marianas Islands. The islands, with DeLay's former staff as lobbyists and DeLay's active assistance, offered foreign manufacturers a MADE IN USA label while being exempt from US labor and immigration laws. Not to mention the sex slavery businesses and forced abortions supported by the wealthy sweat shop owners.
Looks like the Democratic Congress wants to change that and the Bush administration is unhappy. Read more about it from dengre at Daily Kos.
Tags: Tom DeLay, Bush, Saipan, CNMI, Mariana Islands, sweatshops, labor abuse, hypocrisy
The growing right blog credibility problem: Pajamas Media example
The death of a leader that isn't.
UPDATE: Add these others to the lists.
Bad Poetry but No News on Texas Speaker's Race
There is nothing on the Houston TV news about the contest to control the Texas House. This could be pretty important to local citizen's pocket books. Instead we get bad poetry from KTRK's political blogger. It may be a start that they have a political blogger.
You can go to Kuff for news on the race, and he got some of it from the Houston Chronicle.
Update: I don't particularly like Paul Burka, his vote for the Kinkster shows his political acumen, but he is getting a lot of players to talk to him on the Speaker's race.
Tags: Texas, Austin, House, Speaker
Subscription Blues and Job Scams
Yesterday I went to answer the door here at home in La Porte and there was a teenage girl, maybe young twenties, selling magazines she said as part of a contest. My sister says she was the third young person this week. We didn't buy any but after she left I realized I should have asked a few questions about her crew and her experiences. Anytime you are getting these people there is a traveling subscription crew in your area. The people trying to sell the subscriptions as well as you and your neighbors are at risk of, at minimum, being ripped off.
These young people doing this are being ripped off in a very dangerous industry. Many of these companies operate rolling sweatshops and the kids are lucky to get $20 a day for 12+ hours of work and if they are lucky are only ripped off and exploited and beaten. They are getting $20 a day for food, often less on weekends, and promises to be paid for their work later. If they manage to last until the end of their recruitment period they will find the hotel and travel expenses and arbitrary fines for various infractions usually leave them with nothing. The unlucky ones have been raped and killed in a dangerous industry with no safety standards.
Next time someone comes to your door ask them where they are from, if anyone they know has ever gotten all the money promised and if they need to call home or need help. Perhaps they are in one of the few OK businesses in the field.
NYRM: Desperate young magazine sellers are looking for suckers. Have you been conned? Probably has too much emphasis on you not getting your subscriptions but is a good start.
The Portland Tribune had excellent articles this past August about the Industry. Subscription for disaster is the lead off.
Many young people have lost their lives in this industry and a memorial site tracks news about the exploitation companies involved. More links. The subscription crews are often traveling crime waves, either committed on the crews or by the crews.
Why your vote matters. Now that we have a Democratic Congress perhaps we can get some federal oversight. Write or talk to your Congressperson. This is also an example of the "independent contractor" exploitation of laws and regulations that should be more controlled.
I should thank Kuff for reminding me that many people don't know about this story. With a new cell phone I should also watch for cell phone scams.
Tags: magazines, subscriptions, selling, door to door, labor laws
Whats the Matter With Texas Democrats: Ben Barnes edition
TV News Media - Incredibly Conservative biased
Jason Foster goes through the latest outrages from the So-Called Liberal News Media. From their choice of guests to the questions they ask to the talking points and party frames they use, it was all Republican, all the time. And he didn't even look at Fox News.
Technorati Tags: SCLM, SCLNM, Media Matters
No Respect, no respect, I tell you
This blog is not as tied into the Texas Blog network as some. I often find it is ignored by other liberal or progressive blogs.
The latest example is a collection of liberal bloggers in Texas delivering a message to Democratic Texas Party officials. It includes a list of "liberal" Texas blogs, in fact two lists, they might want to keep up with.
This blog is not one of them.
Meanwhile, if I check with Google on "Texas Liberal News" this blog is number two. If you go "Texas Liberal News blog" it is number one. Liberal is sometimes a curse word in Texas which is why I choose it. It shouldn't be and we need to reclaim it.
If Texas Democrats and bloggers don't like the word liberal if I try "Texas Progressive News Blog" Easter Lemming is still 23. I see that there is a Texas Progressive Alliance Blog Aggregator, which is number one on that search, that I am not on, although I am now on their email list. I am usually on, sometimes off, with no pattern I can detect, on the other aggregator - Lefty Blogs/Texas. If I leave news out of the search "Texas Progressive blog" I am screwed - not listed.
I had always referred to this as a news digest and not a blog when asked for a description. Not that there is a standard definition of a blog. I have also emphasized national and international news over Texas and local news. On a generic "Liberal News" Google search I am just below Raw Story, Op Ed News and Air America radio. The local Democrats I hang with also talk more about national and international issues as well.
It might have been a mistake to delete my email subscription to the Texas Progressive list serve when I was backed up with 8,000 unread emails - excluding spam, and getting 400 messages a day on one of my three email addresses. There was probably some list or pledge I should have signed.
OTOH, considering the caliber of some of our political leaders would I want them reading this blog?
Tags: Texas, blogs, Rodney Dangerfield
Sunday, January 07, 2007
Arianna: Wesley Clark worried about US attack on Iran
"How can you talk about bombing a country when you won't even talk to them?" said Clark. "It's outrageous. We're the United States of America; we don't do that. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the military option is off the table -- but diplomacy is not what Jim Baker says it is. It's not, What will it take for you boys to support us on Iraq? It's sitting down for a couple of days and talking about our families and our hopes, and building relationships."FYI - The recent reports of Israel planning a nuclear strike on Iran are not credible, which is why I hadn't posted them.
For Clark, this is the biggest foreign policy issue facing the U.S. "I'm worried about the surge," he said. "But I'm worried about this even more."
An example of the 'news' you get from the hysterical right
First the real story - Miami Herald: Incident at the Port of Miami-Dade caused by 'miscommunication,' authorities say.
Right bloggers, all watching Fox News, sprang into run around in circles we are under attack mode:
Powerline: Middle Easterners Arrested In Miami! Uh, no.
Prairie Pundit: 3 probe Port of Miami security?
Gateway Pundit: FBI Arrests 3 Middle Eastern Men Trying to Enter Miami Ports! ** Authorities have a warrant out on one of the three Middle Eastern men arrested at the Port of Miami!!
Little Green small balls was a pile of right wisdom.
Ace of Spades: Three Middle Eastern Men Arrested At Miami Airport [Well, the three middle eastern men was right.]
Open Pajamas Media: Another one averted? That was it, short and not so sweet.
Blogs of War: It certainly looks fishy.
Wizbang: Breaking: All Cargo Operations Suspended at the Port of Miami. That was actually true. Then he updating 10 times hoping(?) for something more.
Of course, they could say they were simply spreading the rumors as facts that Fox News and the Miami Herald were posting. Unfortunately, the Internet lets the mass media update their online stories and bury their mistakes.
This continues the right bloggers, and the conservative mainstream media, recent breathtaking record of hysteria and false information they are feeding to their readers. Recently A Tiny Revolution compared the right bloggers to Holocaust deniers, similar methods, same denial of reality. He updates here.
Greenwald updates his post on the right blogger's untruthfulness and begins to come around on the AWOL Bush documents which was the first rightie blogger's false victory. Mapes is absolutely correct, their is much more evidence to believe those documents are not forgeries.
UPDATE: Someone was watching FOX NEWS and says they were practically practically crapping their pants over this story that turned out to be driving while Arab.
Tags: hysteria, right bloggers, blogs, misinformation, FEAR!
Spocko' s Brain Resurrected
The Disney Mouse attack has not killed it.
Saturday, January 06, 2007
Disney forces hate speech documenting blogger off line
Most people don't know that Disney also owns ABC radio affiliates. Some of those are of the radical right hate speech persuasion. Spocko's Brain, a liberal blog, launched a media campaign against his local hate radio station that was highly successful in getting advertisers to pull their sponsorship from the station. He was highly successful because he recorded the hate speech and had it available for listening on his blog. He then wrote the advertisers about what they were saying and asked them to listen themselves. Christmas Eve the radio station got ABC Radio/Disney lawyers to contact his ISP to pull his site for posting copyrighted material unless he took all the recordings down. There is a legal fair use issue at play here - it is permitted to copy material to criticize it. His site is now down but the story is just spreading.
KSFO features hard right-wing talk show hosts who endorse torture, call for the public hangings of New York Times editor Bill Keller and other journalists, and demand that callers mock Islam. They also mock their own advertisers--calling Chevrolet, for example, "sh!tty," or recommending that Sears' Diehard battery be attached to an African-American's testicles.The Disney Rat versus Spocko's Brain story looks likely to go mainstream. I don't think Disney wants to me known for supporting hate speech.
Since Spocko began contacting advertisers, they have departed KSFO in droves. Netflix, MasterCard, Bank of America, and most recently, Visa have pulled their advertising from the station. According to Spocko, Federal Express, AT&T and Kaiser Permanente are weighing their departure as well.
A spokeswoman for ABC Radio declined comment. Spocko's situation was originally reported on the Web site Daily Kos.
Some of us liberal bloggers and members of Democratic clubs and liberal organizations have been wanting a way to really take on Houston's radio hate speech, maybe we should get together on a project of recording and contacting like this.
Original Daily Kos story.
Electronic Freedom Foundation is helping out with legal support and people are suggesting ways to get his site back up.
YouTube with some audio clips.
Firedoglake, Impolitic, AJ Kandy, skippy the bush kangaroo, and Whiskey Fire. Paul Lukasiak is hosting all the clips and trying to keep up with the links.
Tags: free speech, hate speech, Spocko's Brain, Spocko, ABC, Disney, KSFO, RWNM, blog, audio, EFF, radio, ABC Radio Disney
Friday, January 05, 2007
New Proof That The Wingnut "Lonely Kerry" Story Is Bogus
Is there anything the right bloggers got right since they lost the House and Senate? I know they seemed desperate for stories they could jump on to prevent any reflection, any soul-searching, any acknowledgement of the incredible disaster that is Iraq and any reflection on the left turn of the country but they made mountains out of inaccurate molehills. They seemed more hysterical then at any time during the last four years and with less rationality to their jumping up and down. I had to quit reading them before Christmas, it was difficult to continue to read their insanity. That was a Christmas present to myself.
ADDED: Glenn Greenwald also notes the hysterics of the reality denying right-wing bloggers and lists some of the accusations they threw at the AP on the "policeman who was" story and reminds us also of the "Clinton wiretaps on Princess Di that weren't" they also announced. They have no credibility.
ADDED - Another liberal blogger also can't believe how crazy the wingnuts have become. Trex has more vivid imagery of the current state of the righties. Media Matters - apology that right loonies demanded of AP now not forthcoming from them, Righties - the AP lost Iraq. It seems only Fox News anchor Brit Hume has acknowledged the obvious - "AP has been vindicated" on Iraq atrocity story."
UPDATE: I can never tell what might bring a Chronicle link. Catch the Home page and see if anything else interests you. I have had a number of posts after the election and even after this post on the insanity and hysteria and misinformation that has grabbed the right bloggers. I am not the only one to notice this.
Tags: Iraq, Kerry, hysteria, right blogosphere, RWNM, insanity, blogs, Wrong again
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