March 31, 2006
I probably shouldn't post this, but I have a temper too.
John Aravosis of Americablog, normally one of my favorite blogs, just posted an intemperate and unjustified slam at Rep. Cynthia McKinney, NOW, and the NAACP. The issue was McKinney's recent altercation with the capitol police. Aravosis and several commenters went completely out of control, as did Neil Boortz. I don't know enough about the specifics of the case to be sure what I think, but neither did Aravosis.
I'm not a regular there but I happened to be passing by. I was appalled and I suggested several times, reasonably temperately, that Aravosis delete his crappy post. I thought he was embarassing himself. So "the Emerson asshole" got banned.
Aravosis got a lot of more-or-less-unjustified criticism the other day, so I guess he's a little testy, but his McKinney post was bullshit.
Perhaps we'll all feel better in the morning.
More blatant (but typical) Republican racism. Media Matters - Boortz: Rep. McKinney "looks like a ghetto slut"
On the March 31 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio program, Neal Boortz said that Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) "looks like a ghetto slut."
... Boortz said that McKinney's "new hair-do" makes her look "like a ghetto slut," like "an explosion at a Brillo pad factory," like "Tina Turner peeing on an electric fence," and like "a shih tzu." McKinney is the first African-American woman elected to Congress from Georgia.
There is a great Kos diary, Daily Kos: Peak Sugar - Entropy Will Not Be Mocked, that discusses whether it takes more energy to make ethanol than the ethanol produces. Very interesting.
March 30, 2006
Turn on C-SPAN now. Nancy Pelosi has introduced a "Privileged Resolution" requiring an ethics investigation of Members of Congress bribed by Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff, and the House is going nuts!
Update - Later - here is the resolution that Pelosi introduced. Demcorats voted FOR it, Republicans voted AGAINST it. No more of this "they're all the same" stuff, please.
Privileged Resolution Requiring Ethics Investigation of Members of Congress Bribed by Republican Lobbyist Jack Abramoff
WHEREAS, it has been two years since credible reports of misconduct by Mr. Jack Abramoff and Members of Congress began appearing regularly in the public record, including reports closely linking Republican Members of Congress with the documented misconduct of Mr. Abramoff;
WHEREAS, in the first session of the 109th Congress, for the first time in the history of the House of Representatives, the rules of procedure of the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct were changed on a partisan basis, the Chairman of the Committee and two of his Republican Colleagues were dismissed from the Committee, the newly appointed Chairman of the Committee improperly and unilaterally fired non-partisan staff, and the Chairman attempted to appoint supervisory staff without a vote of the Committee in direct contravention of the intent of the bi-partisan procedures adopted in 1997;
WHEREAS, because of these actions, the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct conducted no investigative activities in the first session of the 109th Congress and has not yet conducted such activities;
WHEREAS, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and the Senate Committee on Finance have both undertaken investigations of Mr. Jack Abramoff’s activities, yet no House Committee has begun any such investigation;
WHEREAS, on March 29th, 2006, Mr. Jack Abramoff was sentenced to five years and ten months in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy and wire fraud;
WHEREAS, a Justice Department press release reported that Mr. Jack Abramoff “corruptly provid[ed] things of value to public officials … including, but not limited to, a lavish trip to Scotland to play golf on world-famous courses, tickets to sporting events and other entertainment, regular meals at Abramoff’s upscale restaurant, and campaign contributions for [a] Representative, his political action committee, his campaign committee, and other political committees on behalf of [that] Representative.” (Department of Justice press release, January 3, 2006);
WHEREAS, Mr. Jack Abramoff’s plea agreement states that he and his colleagues “provided things of value to public officials in exchange for a series of official acts and influence…including agreements to support and pass legislation (and) agreements to place statements in the Congressional Record.” (Abramoff Plea Agreement);
WHEREAS, on November 5, 2005, in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, a former Congressional staff member and business partner of Mr. Jack Abramoff pled guilty to conspiracy to violate federal laws and admitted that, beginning in January, 2000, he offered and provided things of value to public officials, including Members of Congress and staff, in exchange for a series of official acts;
RESOLVED, That the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct shall immediately initiate an investigation of the misconduct by Members of Congress and their staff implicated in the scandals associated with Mr. Jack Abramoff’s criminal activity.
March 29, 2006
A few days ago I told you about voting machine companies refusing to sell to counties that threaten to test the machines. This would cause the counties to be in violation of federal requirements to get new voting equipment, lose federal funding, and ruin careers of county officials.
Now in Utah, Diebold is saying that local officials allowing independent testing of voting machines violates their warranty and "allowing unauthorized people access to the machines had violated their integrity." They are demanding $40,000 to fly people in to "fix" the machines.
Diebold's $40,000 estimate is exaggerated to frighten other clerks from questioning the machines' integrity, Funk said. "What they are really saying is, 'We don't want anyone else to think of doing this.' "The voting machine companies are now using threats and intiidation to keep people from testing whether these machines can be rigged.
The solution is to require that these machines print a paper ballot for the voter to check. Then the voter puts the ballot in a separate, guarded ballot box - just like now.
Shorter Kos: Don't like it? Tough shit. Learn to read.
I love that guy.
After recently sneaking in Diebold voting machines -- the kind that leave us with no way to know who really won the election -- the new Republicn Secretary of State is engaged in a new scheme!
Latest Campaign Update:
Yesterday’s response to our call for action against the Rubber Stamp Republican Congress was amazing. We had more than 200 orders in a single day — most of which were for multiple rubber stamps — all of which will be on their way today.
Click and act.
March 28, 2006
The issue at hand is no longer "in the face of Republican collapse, why aren't Democrats doing better?" Democrats are doing better. They have huge leads, and have had them for several months.
We’re unorganized and don’t wear our beliefs on our sleeves. We’re not pushing for changes to marriage institutions. (We can already marry your daughters, even if you don’t want us to. Nyaah, nyaah.) Radical sects of us don’t go blowing things up. Other than having a suspicious amount of free time on Sundays, we fit right in.It's not right that they (we) can marry. The government has to do something about that.
The chief officers of Sequoia-Smartmatic are two 32-year old Venezuelans from Caracas, Antonio Mugica and Alfredo Anzola. Anzola also works as a Venezuela-based lawyer brokering international oil deals with the Cleveland law firm of Squire, Sanders & Dempsey.
... There is, however, nothing verifiable about the Sequoia voting system used in Cook County. The voter has no way of knowing if his vote has been counted or how it was counted.
The absolute lack of transparency in U.S. voting systems yields unverifiable election results, which can only be accepted on faith. In Chicago voters are asked to trust the results produced by malfunctioning machines operated by a privately owned foreign company.
... Dimas Ulacio, one of the Venezuelan technicians who worked in the tally area spoke with American Free Press. “Who really owns Sequoia?” Ulacio was asked. “Is Sequoia-Smartmatic truly a Venezuelan company or is it a British-owned company masquerading as a Venezuelan company?”
Suppose the price of energy reflected its cost? It seems that the way we all make money is to extract oil and avoid the cost of using it. Almost everything in our economy involves applying energy to something. The "profit" we live off of seems to come from passing along the costs to the future.
I'm talking about global warming mostly, the cost of putting CO2 into the air. Nuclear energy costs a lot but that cost is really just the expense of containing the radioactivity -- we pay that cost today but we don't really have to. Nuclear would be cheap if we didn't pay for shielding and cooling towers and just released the radioactivity into the air, the way we currently release CO2 into the air.
Suppose there was a law that said for every part CO2 you put into the atmosphere, you have to take out 3 parts? The PRICE of a oil or coal would then reflect the COST of so may years of putting CO2 in the air... but the climate change problem would start getting better. Imagine purchasing big solar-panel-powered machines that extract carbon from CO2...
This article, My Saudi Arabian Breakfast, delves into how much energy it takes just to produce one simple breakfast. Something to think about.
Click and act.
I woke up this morning thinking about something Chris Bowers wrote at MyDD a while ago. We need to start to tie Bush and the war to "Republicans."
Chris Bowers discovered that when a certain percent of the public can identify which party controls the Congress, the other party gains seats in the next election. (Doesn't matter if they correctly identify which party.) He suggested that Dems advertise that Republicans control the Congress to win this election.
I think we in the blogosphere are hyper-informed and don't really understand where regular people are at -- the thought that regular people can't even identify who controls Congress boggles our minds. But that's the way it is. Regular people are in a different world than the one we are in, get their information in different ways, and retain information for different reasons. The better we understand and utilize this, the better off we will be at getting regular people to see things our way.
So before we work to pump "facts" out there, we need to cover the basics. Let's start by making sure that the public identifies their troubles with Republicans.
March 27, 2006
March 26, 2006
This is a turning point. In tomorrow's New York Times, Bush Was Set on Path to War, Memo by British Adviser Says,
In the weeks before the United States-led invasion of Iraq, as the United States and Britain pressed for a second United Nations resolution condemning Iraq, President Bush's public ultimatum to Saddam Hussein was blunt: Disarm or face war.
But behind closed doors, the president was certain that war was inevitable. During a private two-hour meeting in the Oval Office on Jan. 31, 2003, he made clear to Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain that he was determined to invade Iraq without the second resolution, or even if international arms inspectors failed to find unconventional weapons, said a confidential memo about the meeting written by Mr. Blair's top foreign policy adviser and reviewed by The New York Times.
"Our diplomatic strategy had to be arranged around the military planning," David Manning, Mr. Blair's chief foreign policy adviser at the time, wrote in the memo that summarized the discussion between Mr. Bush, Mr. Blair and six of their top aides.
"The start date for the military campaign was now penciled in for 10 March," Mr. Manning wrote, paraphrasing the president. "This was when the bombing would begin."
Go read the whole thing.
[. . .] The memo indicates the two leaders envisioned a quick victory and a transition to a new Iraqi government that would be complicated, but manageable. Mr. Bush predicted that it was "unlikely there would be internecine warfare between the different religious and ethnic groups." Mr. Blair agreed with that assessment.
The memo also shows that the president and the prime minister acknowledged that no unconventional weapons had been found inside Iraq. Faced with the possibility of not finding any before the planned invasion, Mr. Bush talked about several ways to provoke a confrontation, including a proposal to paint a United States surveillance plane in the colors of the United Nations in hopes of drawing fire, or assassinating Mr. Hussein.
. . . Two senior British officials confirmed the authenticity of the memo, but declined to talk further about it, citing Britain's Official Secrets Act, which made it illegal to divulge classified information. But one of them said, "In all of this discussion during the run-up to the Iraq war, it is obvious that viewing a snapshot at a certain point in time gives only a partial view of the decision-making process."
[. . .] By late January 2003, United Nations inspectors had spent six weeks in Iraq hunting for weapons under the auspices of Security Council Resolution 1441, which authorized "serious consequences" if Iraq voluntarily failed to disarm. Led by Hans Blix, the inspectors had reported little cooperation from Mr. Hussein, and no success finding any unconventional weapons.
At their meeting, Mr. Bush and Mr. Blair candidly expressed their doubts that chemical, biological or nuclear weapons would be found in Iraq in the coming weeks, the memo said. The president spoke as if an invasion was unavoidable. The two leaders discussed a timetable for the war, details of the military campaign and plans for the aftermath of the war.
So here we are. There is now no doubt that Bush and Blair committed the crime of aggressive war. What will we do about this? There is no masking the need to defend our Constitution and democracy from a criminal takeover. Is there anything we CAN do about this?
Voting machine companies now refuse to sell to election officials who might TEST the machines to see if they are vulnerable to vote manipulation. These officials are required by federal law to to acquire new voting machines, so the refusal to sell can ruin careers.
A spokesman said Diebold will not sell to Sancho without assurances that he will not permit more such tests, which the company considers a reckless use of the machines.And surprise, it is Bush (lack of) federal oversight causing trouble again,
The dispute highlights what many elections experts say is a failure in federal oversight. In Maryland, North Carolina, Texas and elsewhere, elections officials have called into question the security and accuracy of new voting machines. The experts said that a more rigorous federal oversight process, in which machine testers have no financial connections to the voting machine companies, is needed to ensure election security in the United States.Is this the regular Bush incompetence, or are they TRYING to get flawed voting machines in place?
Abramoff Probe Widens to Murder at Truthout.
When Bush first met Russian President Putin, Bush declared that he had "looked into his soul" and a bunch of hogwash like that. Maybe that should have been a tip-off: Researchers peg Putin as a plagiarist over thesis,
Large chunks of Mr. Putin's mid-1990s economics dissertation on planning in the natural resources sector were lifted straight out of a management text published by two University of Pittsburgh academics nearly 20 years earlier, Washington researchers insisted yesterday.Warning, this story originated at the Washington Times, which is published by a Korean-based religious cult with shadowy connections to the Korean CIA and the Japanese mafia. So there are reasons to suspect this accusation (as anything from this source) might just be propaganda with an agenda behind it,
Six diagrams and tables from the 218-page dissertation mimic in form and content similar charts in the Russian translation of the Americans' work as well, according to Brookings Institution senior fellow Clifford G. Gaddy.
In a semiautobiographical series of interviews published just after he was named president of Russia in 2000, Mr. Putin does not even mention the thesis, referring only to preliminary work he did on another dissertation on international law at the then-Leningrad State University in 1990 while still formally an employee of the KGB. It is not even clear when Mr. Putin wrote the thesis, formally titled "The Strategic Planning of Regional Resources Under the Formation of Market Relations," although it is known he returned from Moscow to St. Petersburg in 1997 to defend his work.Grain of salt...
[. . .] Although it may fall short of Western scholarly conventions, Mr. Putin's effort should be seen in a Russian, post-Soviet context, some scholars said.
E. Wayne Merry, senior associate at the American Foreign Policy Council, said dubious academic credential building was common in Eastern Europe and especially the old East Germany, where Mr. Putin served as a KGB agent in the dying years of the Soviet Union.
"It was really quite common for an up-and-coming apparatchik to get a ghostwritten work done to obtain a degree," he said. "It's probably an open question whether Putin even read his dissertation until shortly before he had to defend it."
I ask everyone to please read the diary Daily Kos: Vegetables of Mass Destruction - Obesity: Whose Fault? and remember to recommend it. It is important to your health to understand what she is writing.
I am working on something that touches on this, about what I call "marketing diseases." I think obesity is a marketing disease. Wanting a new car is a marketing disease. Debt is a marketing disease. Global warming is a marketing disease. The corporate Right's mantra of "personal responsibility" really means pitting isolated individuals against billions of dollars of research into marketing and psychological manipulation...
March 25, 2006
In Administration tells Congress (again) - We won't abide by your "laws", Glenn Greenwald lays it out:
The reality is that the Administration has been making clear for quite some time that they have unlimited power and that nothing -- not even the law -- can restrict it. ... As I have documented more times than I can count, we have a President who has seized unlimited power, including the power to break the law, and the Administration -- somewhat commendably -- is quite candid and straightforward about that fact.I think this is the key line:
And the media continues to fail in its duty to inform the country about the powers the Administration has seized, likely because they are so extreme that people still do not really believe that the Administration means what they are saying.This is the key. Maybe, just maybe, they mean the things they are saying. And I think this warning about the extreme things the Right is saying is a big part of what political blogging is about.
Blogs are an Internet phenomenon. So bloggers tend to be people who spend a lot of time online, and political bloggers read a lot about politics. So political bloggers are more likely than others to be visiting websites and forums where right-wingers more openly discuss their ideas, or are more likely to be listening to Limbaugh and others on the radio. And what we are reading and hearing is frightening. The things they are saying to each other are DIFFERENT from what they are saying to the public. The things they are writing and saying are extreme and violent and subversive. It is not like what we as Americans are used to reading and hearing.
The things the Republicans are saying and doing are so extreme that regular people refuse to believe it when you try to warn them about what is happening. For example, several years ago I had been reading the right's newsletters, forums and websites, and I was trying to tell my moderate-centrist aunt that the conservatives were talking about getting rid of public schools. She called ME an extremist for saying something like that. It's a natural reaction. But now, years later, we know that this is what their agenda has been all along, and like the frogs in heating water it no longer seems so extreme. Bringing this back to Glenn's post, if today you try to tell someone that an American President is asserting that laws do not apply to him, they think YOU'RE the crazy person in the room.
Bloggers are trying to warn the public that what is going on in America is DIFFERENT from politics-as-usual. The bloggers have been trying to get the Democratic leadership and the media to understand this. We are seeing something new to America forming, something dangerous to democracy. The "pendulum" is not swinging back. It is right there in front of your eyes if you are willing to see it, but it represents something so radical, so different from what we are used to, that it is difficult to believe this could be happening to us.
Yes, the President of the United States is asserting that he is above the law. The nature of American government has changed. The question is, who among us has the courage to stand up and say that we do not accept this? Who among us is willing to speak out, beyond the blogs? When will the media begin to understand what is happening, and start to warn the public? When will the Democratic leadership begin to realize that the extreme things the Republicans are saying might be what they mean to do?
March 24, 2006
Bush claims that the illegal wiretapping is OK because they are only listening to known terrorists. But now there is more evidence supporting my theory that the NSA is listening to every call, to see IF any might involve terroists. (And maybe to collect information to use to blackmail political opponents and the press.)
The National Security Agency could have legally monitored ordinarily confidential communications between doctors and patients or attorneys and their clients, the Justice Department said Friday of its controversial warrantless surveillance program.Could have monitored calls between doctors and patients or attorneys and clients? They're listening to EVERYONE. They are intercepting every single call, computers are looking for certain words, and calls that trigger the computers are sent to a human for analysis. It's what the NSA is said to do, and they just added domestic calls.
I'm old enough to remember seeing the footage on the news, and wish I could find a source for it so you could see it, too.
At ePluribus, in Viral Propaganda in the Rovewellian Age (originating here) Jeff Huber writes about a chain e-mail he received. It JUST HAPPENS to coincide with the White House's new campaign to blame the press for bad news out of Iraq.
The subject is "Too Graphic for the 'Main' Stream Media."Go read the rest. It has so much of the usual obvious professionally-crafted propaganda that I'm surprised it didn't start with "I used to be a Democrat, but..."
The opening paragraph says "Here is an important message you are not likely to get anywhere else, particularly from U.S. News sources--Pictures From Iraq That Are Too Shocking & Graphic for The Mainstream Media."
Below that is a series of digital photographs depicting "positive images" from Iraq. Several show U.S. soldiers visiting Iraqi kids at their schools and playing with them on the street. In one, an Iraqi woman holds up two handwritten signs that read "Iraqi people happy today. Thank You Thank You U.S.A." In another, an Iraqi boy in a car holds out a sign that says, "Thank You Very much Mr. BUSH."
Viral propaganda works much like viral marketing. Viral marketing is a pyramid advertising scheme in which "genuine" word of mouth personal testimony about a commercial product's virtues is spread by "plain folks" who have been paid and trained to spread it but who don't let their target audiences know that. It's normally conducted in conjunction with more overt, traditional advertising campaigns. "Viral marketing" is an Internet age term that reflects the language of the contemporary information age--covert "testimonial" advertising can literally be spread like a computer virus.
But covert viral marketing isn't limited to the electronic information sphere. Viral marketers arrive at parties, cookouts, school and church functions, and other social events with free samples of the products they're hawking. They engage family, friends, and acquaintances in conversations into which they interject carefully prepared and easily remembered slogans, buzz phrases, mantras, memes, and talking points.
Pretty soon, the viral marketers' targets are repeating the marketing rhetoric, unknowingly becoming unpaid non-salaried employees of a sophisticated advertising firm.
The Right understands how people get information, and what factors are involved in credibility and retention.
The question is, was this government-funded?
In the aftermath of the Dubai ports dispute, the Bush administration is hiring a Hong Kong conglomerate to help detect nuclear materials inside cargo passing through the Bahamas to the United States and elsewhere.This is not like the Dubai ports deal, where terrorists who might get nukes might be able to infiltrate the company handling ports. This is a country, a communist dictatorship with nukes, now in charge of our port security, specifically in charge of detecting nukes.
The administration acknowledges the no-bid contract with Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. represents the first time a foreign company will be involved in running a sophisticated U.S. radiation detector at an overseas port without American customs agents present. [emphasis added]
Josh Marshall remembers that in the 1990s Republicans were so concerned that "Trent Lott went so far as to call Hutchison "an arm of the People's Liberation Army." (In fact, Lott was correct.) And now they're giving them CONTROL over detecting whether a nuke is being sneaked into our country.
March 23, 2006
Ben Domenech is not a journalist. He's a moderately fluent writer, though prone to plagiarism, but he's been hired because, like Jonah Goldberg of the LA Times, he's a loyal and combative Republican operative with excellent connections. (This is how people were hired to reconstruct Iraq, and how Homeland Security and Fema were staffed and led).
Domenech does not work for the Washington Post. He works for the Party. He'll collect his Post pay for now, but he has every reason to expect that one way or another the Party will take care of him for the rest of his life.
This isn't completely new. A lot of established journalists earn a substantial part of their income by giving highly-paid speeches to ideological groups. What's new is Domenech's complete lack of qualifications. He's like a Soviet political commissar, or like the gangsters planted in union locals by the national offices of mobbed-up unions.
What we can expect him to do is to keep an eye on the real journalists at the Post. That's what he's been doing all along: he trashed Froomkin just a couple of weeks ago. Supposedly he's been hired to balance Froomkin, but that's phony. Froomkin is not a Democratic Party operative, and Froomkin, unlike Domenech, is an actual journalist.
When the facts hurt the Republicans, they accuse anyone who reports the facts of being biased. Domenech will be the on-site man to do that at the Post.
The Post didn't blunder. The Post was responding to organized outside pressures -- some of them public in the blogosphere and elsewhere, and some of them from behind the scenes. The Times and the Post have been knuckling under for some time now. Examples include coverage of the Clinton impeachment, coverage of the Gore-Bush race, and coverage of the runup to the Iraq war. There's no longer any reason to believe that either the Times or the Post will ever resist this pressure, or even to be sure that they really want to.
No one wants to put the heat on Sulzberger or Graham, because jobs at the Times and the Post are still the best in the biz, and no one is willing to burn any bridges. Those two guys wield a powerful carrot.
Increasingly, the Party is the media, and the Party is the State.
P.S. Ezra Klein has objected to my singling him out. In fact, Ezra is not an especially bad case, and this particular instance is not an especially terrible example of what I'm talking about. But in a toxic profession like present-day journalism, "reasonableness" puts you at risk. More in the extended entry.
First of all, it's me. Dave may or may not agree with me.
Second, I have a history with Tapped. A year or two ago Somerby and I had a messy triangular spat with someone there who made a silly slighting remark about his work. (I'm out of touch with Somerby, and I'm only speaking for myself now.)
Anyone hoping for a journalistic career will be tempted to pull punches for reasons of collegiality, and also to protect sources. I've seen even Alterman do that, and I believe that Alterman has made a considerable career sacrifice by choosing the political and journalistic course he has taken. He's just barely major-media even now, and he wrote somewhere about watching his conservative and mainstream colleagues pull down comfy think-tank positions while he was still living like a student.
Judy Miller is a scarier case yet. When she first went to Washington she was working for The Progressive, the weeniest of the weeny-liberal magazines. And I do believe that I've seen people move up from TAP to bigger media, and as I remember I thought that they had been taking an unnecessarily mild and "reasonable" tone right before they did that.
If the journalistic profession were healthy, there'd be nothing wrong with this kind of prudence. But it's deathly sick and terribly corrupt. If you look again at my STF piece, my real targets were Sulzburger and Graham. They have to be regarded as central to the corruption of print journalism, yet no one ever goes after them except me. I've been trying to convince DeLong to do so, and he won't. Even Somerby seemed to be willing to let the buck stop with individual reporters, even though a persisent, widespread problem has to be a management problem.
Sulzburger and Graham are still the kingmakers, both in the world of print journalism and in the political world. We're all still hoping for them to fix things, like Russian peasants hoping for to get past the "corrupt ministers" and speak directly to the Czar.
By temperament, choice, personal history, and circumstance I am pretty much stuck with the outsider perspective, and I think that this perspective is always a necessary part of the mix -- never more so than now. So I watch the up-and-coming people in the field closely from my particular point of view.
In my STF piece I did give my reasons why the Domenech hiring should be taken seriously. I thought your dismissal of the problem was one more example of the liberal tendency to finesse things away with clever rationalizations. And it had a flavor of the kind of in-crowd collegiality and unwillingness to make a stink, or step outside the rules of what's cool to say, that caused many Democrats to favor George Packer's misguided book over all the various people who could be regarded as peaceniks and outside the pale of decent society.
This is a general theme of mine. You are far from the worst offender, but it's pretty hard to make a general point without occasionally naming an individuals.
PS. After rereading your letter: I did not accuse you of dishonesty. I accused you of anticipatory socialization, excessive and inappropriate discretion, mistaken prudence, and misplaced collegiality in a toxic profession.
Go here to see the Unseen Al Gore Campaign video from 2000, by Spike Jonze.
Remember that Gore got more votes in 2000, and if the vote-counting in Florida had not been halted 5-4 by the Republicans on the Supreme Court, that Gore would be President. (This isn't even counting the 90,000 votes that Nader took just in Florida.)
Think about how the country would be different today if Gore had become President.
9/11 probably would have been prevented. There would be no war in Iraq even if 9/11 had happened. 100,000+ Iraqi civilians, 2500 Americans, how many Iraqi soldiers? would not have been killed, etc.
We would be actively fighting global warming. We would be MUCH less dependent on Middle East oil.
The country would have continued paying off debt. We might have already payed of the entire national debt by now. Instead we just went to 9 TRILLION in debt. We currently pay well over $250 billion per year just for interest. Think of what that $250 billion could be used for. (See below.)
We would probably have national health insurance for everyone now.
Average incomes would not be declining. Househod debt would not be rising. We wouldn't all be worrying about losing our pensions. Do you think our jobs would be moving overseas?
This list could just go on and on.
Just think of all the consequences to the country of Bush taking office!
Former President Jimmy Carter has a diary up at DailyKos today: Jack Carter - A return to America's Values,
There is a desperate need in America to block and reverse the radical departures from the moral and ethical principles that have made ours a great nation.
This is not a conflict between liberals and conservatives or even between Democrats and Republicans. The unprecedented changes in policy are from those of Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, Dwight Eisenhower, and also, of course, from those of Democratic presidents.
These changes involve the most basic aspects of America's moral values: peace, human rights, justice, the environment, fiscal responsibility, respects for the civil rights of Americans, the honoring of international commitments, separation of church and state, and the control of nuclear weapons.
I received a mind-boggling e-mail spam from Republican Chairman Ken Mehlman. A part of it says,
Democrat leaders' talk of censure and impeachment isn't about the law or the President doing anything wrong. It's about the fact that Democrat leaders don't want America to fight the War on Terror with every tool in our arsenal.Saying something this extreme is so far, far out of normal discourse, so cult-like, so just plain WEIRD, that I wonder how long they can keep using this kind of stuff? I mean, "the base" lets them talk like this because they think it will bring other people along -- wink, nod... They understand that they don't really mean it when they talk like this, they just say it for effect. They understand that it is all just propaganda.
But there can't really be people who believe that the Democrats side with the terrorists and want us all killed, can there? To anyone who might actually take such talk seriously, I think that saying stuff like that is as close as there can be to a direct call for violence. "Those people are helping terrorists who want to kill your children."
But it is Howard Dean who is called "extreme."
I can't get myself to write much about anything, it could be mental exhaustion brought on by the rising cost of gas and groceries or by the endless waves of cruel corruption rolling out of Washington.Or it could be the hunt for a job...
March 22, 2006
Digby: The Worm Turns,
Listening to George W. Bush's speeches for the last five years, particularly after 9/11, is like having someone sing "It's a small world after all" over and over and over again. It was bad the first time. Now it makes you want to stab your ears with a letter opener.Best line of the day.
TBogg has it. US Navy buying ads on far-far-far right-wing blogs.
This goes along with today's news story about the government funding far-right political groups, Grants Flow To Bush Allies On Social Issues,
...Millions of dollars in taxpayer funds have flowed to groups that support President Bush's agenda on abortion and other social issues.Democracy is SO over.
Under the auspices of its religion-based initiatives and other federal programs, the administration has funneled at least $157 million in grants to organizations run by political and ideological allies, according to federal grant documents and interviews.
[. . .] Among other new beneficiaries of federal funding during the Bush years are groups run by Christian conservatives, including those in the African American and Hispanic communities. Many of the leaders have been active Republicans and influential supporters of Bush's presidential campaigns.
In Will Your Job Survive? Harold Meyerson writes,
In the new global order, Blinder writes, not just manufacturing jobs but a large number of service jobs will be performed in cheaper climes. Indeed, only hands-on or face-to-face services look safe.Meyerson quotes an economist who recommends that people specialize "in the delivery of services where personal presence is either imperative or highly beneficial. Thus, the U.S. workforce of the future will likely have more divorce lawyers and fewer attorneys who write routine contracts."
... the grand total of American jobs that could be bound for Bangalore or Bangladesh is somewhere between 42 million and 56 million. That doesn't mean all those jobs are going to be exported. It does mean that the Americans performing them will be in competition with people who will do the same work for a whole lot less.
Here's the problem with "service sector" jobs: they require people with money to service. We won't all be able to service the top few who are winding up with all of the money and property in the country.
Meyerson agrees, writing,
Every other advanced economy -- certainly, those of the Europeans and the Japanese -- has a conscious strategy to keep its most highly skilled jobs at home. We have none; American capitalism, dominated by our financial sector, is uniquely wedded to disaggregating companies, thwarting unionization campaigns and offshoring work in a ceaseless campaign to impress investors that it has found the cheapest labor imaginable.His proposals (go read them) are much more modest than what I would recommend. I think we need to completely redefine the concept of "ownership."
Who "owns" a corporation? The government - you and me - grant corporations certain protections, including limitations of liability. In other words, stockholders in a company are not liable for the debts of the company. When a company goes bankrupt the shareholders don't have to cough up the money to cover what the company owed. So what is happening here is that for the benefit OF ALL OF US, we allow companies to operate in certain ways. It isn't about letting a few people get really rich while stealing our pensions and cancelling our health insurance. It's supposed to be about ALL OF US ending up better off.
A society shares resources. Does an oil company "own" the oil, or water, or air? Or does society grant them a license to profit from the extraction and development of that commonly-shared resource, FOR THE BENEFIT OF ALL OF US?
Companies are granted charters to operate by the community-at-large. Does a drug company have the right to refuse to develop new antibiotics? Shouldn't we instead yank their licence to be a drug company and give that license to a different company that agrees to develop needed drugs? I mean, they were chartered as a corporation to serve the public by developing drugs! And what about vaccine companies that reduce costs by shutting down or otherwise reduce their vaccine-making capacity?
So why are we letting corporations export our jobs in order to enrich a very few people? Why aren't WE sharing in the proceeds? Why is it COSTING us our pensions and health insurance and wages? WHO IS OUR ECONOMY FOR, ANYWAY?
This throws a few ideas into the air. Discuss - let's see where they land.
At MyDD there is an excellent post on a right-wing corporatist organization called ALEC: Exposing The Machinery Of The Corporate Right,
Up in Wyoming, the local Casper Star-Tribune decided to take a look at the machinery that pushes conservative laws in the state's legislature. Many here at MyDD may be well aware of ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, the corporate-funded rightist law-writing factory that works behind the scenes to cram their agenda on the states. But I have a feeling it's a group that isn't discussed very often among readers of the Star-Tribune (or, for that matter, any local paper outside of Washington, DC). That's why their coverage of ALEC is so important.Please go read the post.
Well I left a comment, based on a line in the post. Readers here might be familiar with this, but repetition works, and this can't be said often enough:
"If you ever find yourself frustrated that the Republicans seem to be better tacticians than Democrats, you should know that ALEC is one of the reasons why."
Let me add something here. We all find ourselves criticizing "The Democrats" for one thing or another. And it's usually in contrast to the way "The Republicans" are doing something - messaging, jumping on an issue, strategerizing, etc.
But I think it's a key to understanding how to fix the problem, if we realize that ALEC isn't "The Republicans" at all. And it's almost always the ALECs -- Heritage Foundation or CATO or AEI one of those hundreds of non-Party organizations -- that we are talking about! ALEC is legally a non-partisan organization. Same with Heritage, etc. But these organizations, all part of the "conservative movement," all largely corporate-funded, have really taken over the Republican Party. It is THESE organizations, not the Repubican Party, that are out there talking to the general public, publishing books, paying pundits and geting them on TV and the radio, and all the other things that we credit "The Republicans" with doing so well.
The Democrats don't have an infrastructure of similar organizations employing an army of operatives. And this is why "The Democrats" are not responding to events as effectively as "The Repubicans" are able to do.
What this means to us is that we need to understand the need to build up an infrastructure of organizations designed to reach the public and persuade them that progresive values are better for them than conservative values, and that a progressive approach to issues and progressive candidates are better for them than conservatives. (If you have read Crashing the Gate, you'll recognize this idea.)
This means sending money - real money - to PLAN and other organizations that are trying to counter this Republican machines. (Commonweal Institute is another such organization.) Start donating money to these organizations and you'll start seeing a difference.
March 21, 2006
At feministing.com, 10 Reasons Why Liberal Men are Better in Bed.
I was clicking through channels, stopped on Fox for a second, a guy was saying "the war broke out just about three years ago." I like that, "the war broke out." Not "The US invaded Iraq" but "the war broke out." Cute. It just happened. Somehow.
Question: hypothetically giving Bush the benefit of the doubt, just for a minute assume that he really really believed that Iraq ordered 9/11 and was preparing to attack us with weapons of mass destruction... (retch) ... So even giving him that, wouldn't you think that someone making THAT bad of a mistake and starting a WAR ... (breath) ... wouldn't you think that was a reason to get the FUCK out of there and get someone COMPETENT in the job?!!!
March 20, 2006
The Republicans are about to launch a major effort to Change the Subject. Just watch it unfold.
March 19, 2006
Good Job Bush the Incompetent: Conversion to Christianity could bring death penalty in Bush's Afghanistan. Story here and here.
This with Americans still fighting in Afghanistan!
And where did blue meme hear about this?
The only reason I know about this story is because I heard about it on BBC World News in the car -- most major U.S. news outlets have ignored it.Further discussion at Below the Beltway.
Of course, this is what is coming in Iraq, too. Iraq was a secular country under Saddam. But now we've put in place a Shiite government alied with Iran... Conservatives, for some reason, are surprised that the results of "bringing democracy to the Middle East" (I think that was reason #47, floated after reason #46 didn't sell...) might not have been in America's interests!
The other day at Smelling the Coffee, I linked to a video clip that shows what happens when you have had EXACTLY enough coffee.
Well, today Smelling the Coffee links to another video clip that shows what happens when you have exactly enough coffee AND a shot of espresso.
March 18, 2006
This remarkable video from al Jazeera shows an Arab woman arguing against the "backwardness" of the fundamentalist Muslims. (Arabic with subtitles.)
When is the last time you saw someone on American TV arguing against the backwardness of fundamentalist Christians? American TV wouldn't allow that -- not in today's environment of threats and intimidation.
March 17, 2006
Caller: ...I voted for Kerry and '04, and after that -- I mean, very shortly; I'm talking like even a month after that -- I started to study. ... I mean, it's emasculating how the Democratic Party is, just because, I mean, Reagan and Bush, they have that in common. They see something and they know it's right, they're going to do it no matter what and that's what a man does, and the Democratic Party, I mean, that's the reason I left is because --
Rush: Tim, this is fascinating. You're a very interesting guy. I want to know how this process happened, because the way you tell the story, here you are, this lifelong Democrat; you're even part of this group Catawba for Kerry, and you're out there rallying, and then you said a month after you voted for Kerry you felt emasculated. ... You had to have guilt about being a Democrat for a long time. What triggered this reversal?It continues...
Caller: ... Well, I was going to a lot of different groups and like support things and rallies for like, you know, women's rights first of all I had that guilt in the back of my head. I'm going. :I'm not a woman, why am I here? [Note, previously the caller said he was from North Caroline. Women's rights rallies?]
[...] Rush: Well, this is fascinating. You felt emasculated after voting for Kerry because you had to go to these women's rights rallies at...
Caller: ... I was just going to say it's just wimpy. I just felt extremely wimpy. You know, "Terrorists attack their country? Oh, let's hug them." There's no common sense behind it. [. . .] There is no common sense there. That's the other thing that got it, is the emasculation and the common sense -- lack thereof, anyway.
I suspect this was professionally crafted. "Emasculation" - going straight to the psychological/emotional heart of persuasion.
Propaganda, professionally crafted, repeated and repeated over years and decades, through every possible channel by which information reaches people... Do you thnk it sinks in?
So how many times a week do you hear one or another form of the mesage that conservatives are good, and liberals/Democrats are bad? How many times a week do you hear the reverse message?
WHY don't year hear the message that progressives/liberals/Democrats are good, and progressives/liberals/Democrats ideas/values/candidates are good for you? WHY don't year hear that?
March 16, 2006
This is why I don't eat meat.
Everything Kevin says in this post. Go read it.
See the forest. Learn to look at what Republicans do, not what they say. They say they think Iran is a threat because Iran could develop nukes, but they vote against increasing port security. They voted against installing radiation monitors. They voted against requiring scanning of containers entering the country.
And then they accused Democratic Senator Feingold of siding with the terrorists.
Lately the Republican spin clowns have been hopping like fleas who've lost their dog. Here's why:
A national American Research Group poll reports that 48% of voters support Feingold's resolution, and 43% of voters support impeachment. Even 18% of Republicans support impeachment.
People say that voters are idiots, but at the moment it's the media and the politicians who are pretending that Bush isn't dead meat.
You see, morons, you are morally and intellectually bankrupt.
How did Thomas find this out? Because it's true!
A few days ago the moral and intellectual credit card company filed moral and intellectual liens on my moron house and my moron car. They had raised my moral and intellectual credit limit higher and higher as I went further into moral and intellectual debt, and when eventually I couldn't even pay the 25% moral and intellectual interest rate, they sent the moral and intellectual repo man after my sorry moron ass. And the rest is history.
firedoglake has Classified Information Oughtn't Be Gamed by Team Libby,
Scooter Libby violated his SF 312 by disclosing classified information. Further, so far as we know publicly, he did not follow his affirmative duty to turn in Karl Rove nor himself for doing this -- with Matt Cooper, with Robert Novak, with Judy Miller, and with who knows which other journalists about town as the pushback on Joe and Valerie Wilson was in full swing.Laws are for the little people.
And while we're talking about it, Karl Rove, as far as we know publicly, failed to do the same. Why is it that Karl Rove still has his high level security clearance? THAT is a question that journalists ought to be repeatedly asking until this Administration gives an answer -- since Karl has admitted to revealing Valerie Wilson's job to Matt Cooper and Bob Novak, his clearance, had he been treated like any other governmental employee or any other person in this nation who holds such a clearance, would have been immediately suspended, pending investigation, and likely yanked altogether once his admissions were confirmed.
Yet there he sits, with who knows how much classified information moving across his desk, his access intact. The Bush Administration consistently brings up legal violations in others, but when the laws are to be applied to them, it's "we don't have to follow the rules -- those are for little people."
It's easier to rig an electronic voting machine than a Las Vegas slot machine, says University of Pennsylvania visiting professor Steve Freeman.If you have voting machines that don't offer any way to PROVE who people voted for, it is a recipe for civil chaos. FIX THIS!
That's because Vegas slots are better monitored and regulated than America's voting machines, Freeman writes in a book out in July that argues, among other things, that President Bush may owe his last win to an unfair vote count.
March 15, 2006
Calitics : California Politics. The Left Coast. Progressive California. A California politics blog.
I'm working on an article for AlterNet, about Chris Matthews' speaking fees and repeating right-wing nonsense about liberals and Democrats. I'll let you know when it's posted. Until then, please visit Think Progress and Raw Story.
Update More at Open letter to Chris Matthews.
March 14, 2006
[My only comment is, if we had a sensible electoral system, we wouldn't be stuck with recycling two utterly failed political parties... alternatives would arise to replace them. This may happen even under our current system, witness the ass kicking the Progressive Party candidate for Mayor in Burlington, VT (Bob Kiss) just delivered to the Democrat and Republican candidates. -Thomas]
The Republicans are unbearable. They break the law, lie, spin, spend, invade, torture and give away our money to lobbyists. So, I'm trying my best to not disparage the Democrats, since they're our only hope left.
I don't want to perpetuate the image of them as soft, feckless and spineless. I am worried to death that will turn off some voters and have them vote for Republicans who are driving this country over a cliff instead.
But the Democrats sometimes make it impossible to not criticize them.[... continued at link above ...]
I just noticed that The Raw Story has a new look.
As if Iraq and Katrina were not enough reason, here is ONE MORE reason elections matter.
"I personally believe it will happen and make personal preparations," said Webster, who has stored a three-month supply of food and water at his home in case of an outbreak.Do YOU think Bush and the Republicans have taken sufficient steps to prepare the country to deal with this?
"Society just can't accept the idea that 50 percent of the population could die. And I think we have to face that possibility," Webster said. "I'm sorry if I'm making people a little frightened, but I feel it's my role." [emphasis added]
And another point, have YOU prepared for the possibility of bird flu pasing from human to human? Do YOU have 3 months of supplies saved up so you won't have to go outside?
March 13, 2006
skippy deconstructs the "wartime" President myth in skippy the bush kangaroo: wherein we prove that the "wartime president" defense is inconsequential - no - make that outright "lame"
Senator Feingold of Wisconsin will introduce a resolution to censure President Bush for illegally spying on Americans at home. This is the boldest move so far of any major Democrat, and we need to support him.
I doubt that the resolution will pass, and it might not even get much Senate support, but this is a chance to show the world, and the media, that opposition to Bush is not a fringe position.
More here, including Senate contact information.
It just takes a few minutes to phone, email, or write your Senator.
Update: You can also ask your representative to support Rep. Conyers House Resolution 635, asking the House to investigate the possibilty of impeachment.
March 12, 2006
yearly kos is a gathering, convention, meeting, assembly, networking event of liberals, progressives, Democracts, bloggers, blog readers and compulsive gamblers in Las Vegas from June 8-11. Senator Reid will be the Keynote Speaker.
There will be panels, speakers, parties and other events. I don't know if there will be a CSI "plushies and furries" party.
YOU should go to this. YOU should register now.
Also they're trying to raise money to help defray costs. So throw the a few bucks even if you don't sign up to go.
If you have signed up to receive e-mail summaries of Seeing the Forest through Bloglet, you will start receiving them from FeedBlitz as well. Soon I will disable the Bloglet e-mails.
If you have not subscribed, you can subscribe to receive a digest of headlines of Seeing the Forest posts each day. In the right-hand column scroll down to Subscribe. There are several choices for services.
The latest claim that Vakerie Plame was not really a covert agent comes from Plame's identity, if truly a secret, was thinly veiled. The evidence? She said she was employed by "Brewster-Jennings & Associates." And just how does this indicate she worked for the CIA?
Brewster-Jennings was not a terribly convincing cover. According to Dun & Bradstreet, the company, created in 1994, is a "legal services office" grossing $60,000 a year and headed by a chief executive named Victor Brewster. Commercial databases accessible by the Tribune contain no indication that such a person exists.There you have it, indisputable evidence that the company was a CIA front!
The article then says that "Another sign" the company was a CIA front was,
the online resume of a Washington attorney, who until last week claimed to have been employed by Brewster-Jennings as an "engineering consultant" from 1985 to 1989 and to have served from 1989 to 1995 as a CIA "case officer," the agency's term for field operatives who collect information from paid informants.So OK, that's a mistake. If terrorists have the resources to locate and scan every resume of every person in the United States and cross-check them and find a resume that made this mistake, then they could surmise that the company was a CIA cover, and look at the other employees of the company.
Therefore it's OK for the heads of our government to reveal the identity of covert CIA agents who risk their lives to stop Iran and terrorist organizations from obtaining weapons of mass destruction -- IF YOU ARE A REPUBLICAN.
(And, by the way, this is what every hostile country in the world is doing now since the White House leaked Plame's identity -- looking at the past and travel history of every employee Brewster-Jennings ever had and every contact that person may have ever had and rounding up those contacts... HOW many deaths did this White House leak cause? HOW much damage? Remember, Valerie Plame was working to protect us by keeping terrorists and specifically Iran from obtaining weapons of mass destruction.)
Update - Larry Johnson has more,
Well, Valerie Plame was safe until the White House pointed reporters in her direction. Even if Crewdson's assertion that Valerie's cover was "thin" (it was not), what we know for a fact is that her neighbors did not know she worked for the CIA. Only those who had a need to know knew.
...Crewdson's searches were conducted after the names of individuals and companies appeared in the news. He searched on those names and found links to the U.S. Government.
...But here is what is really fascinating. Crewdson says he identified 2600 CIA officers but, out of concern for national security, declined to out them. Thank you Mr. Crewdson. At least you understand that blowing someones cover, even a thin one, would be an act of treason. I am in favor of having Crewdson give Bob Novak a lesson in journalistic ethics and responsibility.
Why are liberals healthier?
Vegetarianism is scorned by conservatives. Cigarettes are promoted by conservatives.
Then there's pollution, mercury, arsenic, national parks, clean water, lead, even SUVs, which are more dangerous than regular cars. And don't leave out processed foods.
Oh yeah, health care. Liberals are for it.
Is "conservatism" ENTIRELY about being duped by corporations to do things that are against your own interests? It sure seems that way.
March 11, 2006
Asked if a civil war was developing there, Burns said, "It's always been a civil war," adding that it's just a matter of extent. He said the current U.S. leaders there--military and diplomatic--were doing there best but sectarian differences would "probably" doom the enterprise.I was talking to a believer last week, who said to understand our invasion of Iraq you need to look at a Risk game board. Iraq is "the key to the Middle East" and pins Iran between itself and Afghanistan. So you have Iran surrounded, and bases in the middle of the region. Etc.
Burns said that he and others underestimated this problem, feeling for a long time that toppling Saddam Hussein would almost inevitably lead to something much better.
Reality is so damn inconvenient. You get the whole thing mapped out according to a board game you played a lot in college, and it all looks like a winning strategy. So you finally get control of the government, and want to show how good a Risk player you are, so you invade Iraq.
...and then these darn things that never came up in the board game start happening and just mess everything UP for you. Like private sectarian militias - where are THEY in the board game, anyway?! And civil wars! There's no civil wars in Risk! And IEDs. And car bombs in the middle of crowds of police recruits. And you don't even NEED body armor in Risk. And post-traumatic stress disorder. And dead children. And the smell of burning flesh. And needing another $100 bilion dollars that you have to borrow from the Chinese. And not having enough troops so you have to call up the National Guard and keep them oversees for an extra year.
These people just don't understand the GAME!
March 10, 2006
What happens when you have had EXACTLY enough coffee?
Go see. It's really amazing.
It's only March and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is running Schwartzenegger campaign ads in California. I'm seeing them all the time. You can watch one here.
What is the legality of the Chamber running campaign ads? Are they just assuming that since Republicans control everything no one will do anything about it?
A black man is running for Senator in Tennessee. How does the Republican Party campaign? With blatant racism, what else? Basketball, white women, portraying him as a pimp... There's probably something about driving a Cadillac, but I got sick of looking at the site.
Republicans are so scared of black people. And "Fancy?" Is it a homophobic slur?
Jesse Berney has more. So does MyDD. Steve Gilliard saw this, too... (later additions) TMP finds the word I was looking for, "Uppity," adding "If I had the volume on on my computer I'd actually be surprised if they didn't have the Shaft soundtrack playing in the background." Pam's House Blend, "There's nothing like creating visions of the uppity, horny Negro who lusts after white women, living the high life and not knowing his place."
Update - Confederate Yankee doesn't see it. Maybe the "Confederate" in him is blocking his vision.
Update - The other side hits back!
March 8, 2006
The House will be voting in a few hours on HR 4167, a bill that proposes to enact "uniform" food labeling laws. Uniform, as in if your state has more stringent labeling laws than the federal government, then your state laws go away. This includes laws that label carcinogens and hazards to children and pregnant women, such as California's insistence on labeling the presence of arsenic, lead and mercury.Too late, it passed: House votes to override state food safety labels,
Legislation that could void hundreds of food safety warnings in California and other states passed the House on Wednesday after heated debate.
... Despite the far-reaching implications of the bill, it was brought to the House floor without a committee hearing, which would have allowed lawmakers to hear testimony from proponents and opponents of the bill from industry, government and advocacy groups.
Some say that Bush favors large corporate interests. But what happens when industries have conflicting needs?
From this news item today, Salmon fishing ban advised,
Federal fish managers told the Pacific Fishery Management Council on Tuesday that salmon fishing from California to Oregon must not be allowed this season.
... Klamath River chinook populations have fallen well below required limits for the last several years, said NMFS spokesman Peter Dygert -- the main factor driving the closing recommendation.
... Fishermen, whose livelihoods are at risk, said the problem in the Klamath isn't fishing harvests. It's a sick river.May, 2003, Conservation Groups Challenge Old Growth Logging in Federal Court, Klamath Plan Would Damage Wild and Scenic Salmon River,
Jim Anderson, spokesman for the California Salmon Council, said lower river levels and warmer river temperatures cause parasites that kill the fish.
The Wild and Scenic Salmon River, one of the crown jewels of California, supports some of the last remaining wild summer steelhead, spring Chinook, and coho salmon runs in the state, provides world-class whitewater recreational opportunities, and is a critical source of much-needed cold, clear water to the Klamath River. The Knob timber sale would destroy almost 600 acres of ancient forest that provides critical habitat for a diverse array of plant and animal species, including the northern spotted owl, northern goshawk, fishers, martens, wild orchids, and rare salamanders.From July, 2003, Oregon Water Saga Illuminates Rove's Methods With Agencies,
... "The Knob timber sale, along with several other recent and proposed timber sales in the watershed, will remove much of the remaining low elevation old-growth in the area, including the last remaining critical spotted owl habitat outside of Reserves. The proposed logging plans threaten to significantly impact all of the species that depend on these ancient forests for their survival."
In a darkened conference room, White House political strategist Karl Rove was making an unusual address to 50 top managers at the U.S. Interior Department. Flashing color slides, he spoke of poll results, critical constituencies -- and water levels in the Klamath River basin.
At the time of the meeting, in January 2002, Mr. Rove had just returned from accompanying President Bush on a trip to Oregon, where they visited with a Republican senator facing re-election. Republican leaders there wanted to support their agricultural base by diverting water from the river basin to nearby farms, and Mr. Rove signaled that the administration did, too.
Three months later, Interior Secretary Gale Norton stood with Sen. Gordon Smith in Klamath Falls and opened the irrigation-system head gates that increased the water supply to 220,000 acres of farmland -- a policy shift that continues to stir bitter criticism from environmentalists and Indian tribes.
... His remarks weren't entirely welcome -- especially by officials grappling with the competing arguments made by environmentalists, who wanted river levels high to protect endangered salmon, and Indian tribes, who depend on the salmon for their livelihoods.
... Environmentalists blame the change in water levels for the subsequent death of more than 30,000 salmon, calling it the largest fish kill in the history of the West.
The price of something should reflect the cost. Right? If something costs very little, its price should be low. If something costs a lot, its price should be high.
Have you ever encountered something where the price had an inverse relationship to the cost?
What is the cost of burning oil? First, there is the extraction cost. Then there is the cost of refining the oil into products. Then there is the transport and storage cost.
But there are other, higher costs associated with oil. Oddly, as these costs rise the price of oil drops. The simplest illustration of what I mean is that at times when we pump more oil out of the ground the current supply is greater so the price drops. But what is the cost of pumping more oil out of the ground?
What is the cost of opening up the Arctic wilderness to drilling? More oil is available today, so the price drops.
What is the cost of using up more of the remaining oil? We pump more oil so the price drops, but think about the cost to a future world running out of oil.
As we burn oil we pollute the air. What is the cost? What is the cost in health consequences? What is the cost in CO2 effects like the current melting of the Greenland ice? Scientists say the strength of hurricane Katrina and the record number of hurricanes last year are the result of global warming. That is a cost that was not reflected at the gas station.
What is the political cost? When we buy oil we are financing the Right's network of propaganda organizations. We fund Middle-Eastern dictatorships.
The COSTS of oil seem to have an inverse relationship to the PRICE we pay at the gas station.
March 7, 2006
A lot of people want to know, who are the bloggers and what is it all about?
At places like The Washington Post lately they’re asking: “Who are these people?!”
I started my blog Seeing the Forest in 2002. Like many others I have been blogging every day since, usually several posts a day. I’m not paid to do it, and I don’t consider what I write a “product.” To me, blogging is about shouting “wake up!”
A remarkable thing about the progressive political blogs is that this phenomenon was all largely started by average citizens, men and women of all ages and ethnicities, all around the country, all fed up with what right-wing government is doing to the country and with the failure of the Democratic leadership to confront them.
And as traditional news media became increasingly concentrated in corporate hands with news analysis more and more reflecting corporate and right-wing “conventional wisdom,” the bloggers stepped in as “Citizen Journalists” filling the vacuum.
I have described blogs as a big, open-source think tank. One blogger posts an idea, people respond in the comments, other bloggers link in, and the original blogger responds. Ideas are generated, discussed, refined and – very important – widely disseminated at a very rapid pace.
Blogging is a true meritocracy in which the best thinkers and writers gain wide readership.
Which brings me to Markos, our speaker today.
Markos Moulitsas was raised in El Salvador, served in the US Army and earned a law degree from Boston University.
Markos started the website DailyKos in May, 2002, and it has emerged as the “top” politically-oriented blog. Currently averaging about 750,000 visitors per day, on a “big news” day the site can receive well over 2 million visitors.
But a progressive really knows you have arrived when the right-wingers call you nasty names. Markos is number 52 on Jonah Goldberg’s “100 people who are screwing up America.” The Republican Senatorial Committee calls him a “liberal extremist.” He has received the Daily Coward and the Weekly Jackass awards. And one site (ankle-biting pundits) writes that his postings are “an illogical, barely literate mess.”
We can laugh at that (I hope) because WE know that what right-wingers say is ALWAYS the OPPOSITE of the truth. Which makes that last insult a good segue to Markos’ IMPORTANT new book.
In the coming months you are going to be hearing a lot about the new book, Crashing the Gate, written with Jerome Armstrong of the blog MyDD. An information card about this book is included in your tote bag – I urge you to order a copy soon.
Crashing the Gate is about what we are doing here.
Crashing the Gate is about winning.
And I’ll let Markos talk about that. Please welcome Markos Moulitsas
Theories of widespread election fraud are highly debatable, to say the least. Some people enjoy that debate. I do not. It encourages a sense of hopelessness and consumes energy that could instead be focused on long-term changes that could give us elections we can trust.I agree, word the problem in a way that we can win. Elections should be transparent. We should be able to prove who won.
The election fraud debate frames the problem incorrectly. The question should not be whether there is widespread election fraud. It should be: "Why should we trust the results of elections?" It's not good enough that election results be accurate. We have to know they are accurate—and we don't.
In a word, elections must be transparent. People must be able to assure themselves that the results are accurate through direct observation during the election and examination of evidence afterwards.
U.S. elections are far from transparent. Instead, winning candidates and election officials alike tend to put all their efforts into suppressing recounts. That attitude has led to increasing bitterness with each national election, at least since Florida 2000.
But we can conclusively win a debate about election transparency.
Also see Abramoff's Evangelical Soldiers.
March 6, 2006
Jane Hamsher at Firedoglake brings up an interesting question:It says it all. If you're going to put doctors - and women - in jail for abortion of clusters of cells, do you save 5 clusters of cells in the petri dish or one baby, given the choice?I brought up one of my favorite forced birth conundrums the other day, guaranteed to make wingnut "life begins at conception" heads explode. If a fire breaks out in a fertility clinic and you can only save a petri dish with five blastulae or a two-year old child, which do you save?
We just love Mike Stark, who takes this stuff to the streets. He called Andrew Wilkow's radio talk show and put the question to him, and Wilkow's head did, in fact, explode. He was reduced to a sputtering rage, screaming that he would not, in fact, save the two year-old child. Mike hung right in there with him and the results are predictably hilarious. You can just feel Wilkow's listeners flipping the channel and saying "F that noise, that guy's insane." It's a brilliant little sound clip.
Through The Daou Report, which you should visit every single day.
For SOME reason I'm starting to study up on con-man techniques. I came across this page of quotes, incuding:
"The men the American people admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest most are those who try to tell them the truth." (H.l, Mencken)
"Every violation of truth is not only a sort of suicide in the liar, but is a stab at the health of human society." (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
"Propaganda does not deceive people; it merely helps them to deceive themselves." (Eric Hoffer)
"Tain't what a man don't know that hurts him; it's what he knows that just ain't so." (Frank Hubbard)
"Be wary of a man who urges an action in which he himself incurs no risk." (Joaquin Setanti)
"Truth is whatever a con artist can lead you to believe at any given moment in time." (Dennis M. Marlock)
"The great masses of the people...will more easily fall victims to a big lie than to a small one." (Adolf Hitler)
"We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable." - Alexander Solzhenitsyn
More good news for those of you who like a swift pint or two: beer doesn't just fight cancer and make you clever but also blocks "interferon-gamma-induced chemical processes".
This is a good thing, trust us, because what the Innsbruck Medical University team behind this revelation has shown - in layman's terms - is that beer offers a resultant anti-inflammatory effect which may have a "beneficial impact on coronary heart diseases".
In case there is any misundertanding about where the Republicans are trying to take us, see Christianity as the Official "Majority Religion" of Missouri
And Seeing the Forest is on the list. You know what you have to do. Now you have to go do it.
All the catagories are here, in case you also want to vote for other things.
March 5, 2006
My son's post-Decemberist band, Amelia, is playing at Barbès in Brooklyn at 9:30 pm on Monday, March 6th. (376 9th Street - corner of 6th Avenue in Park Slope, 718.965.9177, www.barbesbrooklyn.com) .
On Thursday, March 9th at 7 pm they play in NYC at Living Room. (154 Ludlow Street between Stanton and Rivington, 212.533.7235, www.livingroomny.com).
Not like the Decemberists at all. Jazzy, somewhat Latin, adult music (AAA format for radio).
Not a political band, just a musical one.
If you are thinking this is a good time to buy a house, think again. Here is a preview of what happens: Shanghai's housing bubble bursts, causing some panic,
American homeowners wondering what follows a housing bubble can look to China's largest city.Now, to the situation in America:
Once one of the hottest markets in the world, sales of homes have virtually halted in some areas of Shanghai, prompting developers to slash prices and real estate brokerages to shutter thousands of offices.
For the first time, homeowners here are learning what it means to have an upside-down mortgage — when the value of a home falls below the amount of debt on the property. Recent home buyers are suing to get their money back. Banks are fretting about a wave of defaults on loans.
Local housing prices have come tumbling down over the last two months, erasing months of drastic increases.Housing under pressure
Just two months ago, the median sale price for homes in Clovis' 93611 zip code was $439,000. But in just 60 days, those homes plummeted $51,000, to $388,000.
That housing bubble has definitely sprung a leak.Maybe this is a good time to wait a bit before making an offer on a house. Why not wait a month or two and pay a lot less? Or wait 6 months and pay half as much? There is a LOT of room for prices to fall this time.
This morning, the National Association of Realtors reported that sales of existing homes fell 2.8 percent in January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.56 million new units. Existing condominium and co-op sales were even worse, falling 10.6 percent last month.
... oday's bad news comes on the heels of a separate report issued Monday by the Commerce Department that showed that sales of newly constructed homes also fell in January – by 5 percent.
During Nikita Kruschev's "secret speech" to the 20th Congress of the Communist Party, in which he denounced the "suspicion, fear, and terror" of Stalin's rule, it is said that someone in the audience shouted out a challenge, implying Kruschev should have done more: "Where were you?"
Kruschev was silent for a minute, and then demanded, "Who said that?" ... Silence.
Then, louder, "WHO SAID THAT?" ... Silence.
Then, pounding on the table, "WHO SAID THAT?"
After a long, nervous silence, Kruschev said, "THAT's where I was."
THAT is the atmosphere that Bush and the Right are creating in this contry.
As predicted the Right is starting to look for the scapegoat for the loss in Iraq. Kevin Drum writes about Instapundit blaming the media. (Instapundit is the top-traffic right-wing blog, but does not allow readers to post comments.) The comments to kevin's post are what is interesting:
But damn it, if the chickenhawks had just gone and fought...we'd have won easily, right?..
So..we never had enough troops..chickenhawks did not support the war with enlistment..draw your conclusions..
He is the "media" for f***s sake!
I don't know why anyone would have a quibble with this particular bit of instapunditry. If Karl Rove has anything to do with it, a lot of people undoubtedly will blame the media.Discuss.
It's not like Bush is going to stand up and accept responsibility for his own actions.
I blame the media for the loss. Without a media assist, Bush would never have had his war on at all.
From DarkSyde at Kos, regarding a rumored troop pullout from Iraq in early 2007:
Two observations if this does play out: 1) Murtha was right, 2) The Republicans Lost the War. Remember that last point when the GOP/Rove machine cranks up to blame the ensuing chaos in Iraq on Democrats or administration critics. It really says it all.
The Democrats have to be first out of the box on this -- they really need to start right now. Bush started an unnecessary war, lost it, killed tens of thousands of Iraqis and thousands of Americans, and left the world in a much worse place than it had been when he started. END OF STORY.
There will be recriminations. We have to get our version out there first and loudest. We have the advantage of being right, but they're the ones with the big propaganda machine.
It'll be tough. We'll hear the "stabbed-in-the-back" whine again, with a vengeance -- worse than after Vietnam. We can't count on things staying legal. If you read the loopier far-right sites, a lot of them are hoping for civil war, and not all of those guys are wankers. Some of them are survivalist gun-collecters with military experience.
We can't be gentlemen about this. There must be blame and there must be recriminations. Bush's criminal associates should be jailed. His enablers in the press should be fired. His Republican enablers, the so-called moderates and honest conservatives who supported him for so long, should be skulking around shamefacedly, hanging their heads and begging for forgiveness. (And some of the Democrats too).
Someone is going to be punished, and if it's not them, it will be us.
(And also -- if you're able to get dual citizenship somewhere, do so. )
It won't just be the media that "a lot of people" will blame. I've never linked to Instapundit before, but he gives you a pretty good idea which way the fascist branch of the libertarians will fall when the chips are down.
March 4, 2006
Was just forwarded this in my email... utterly brilliant. Join the Rebellion!
March 3, 2006
Not Americans... at least not any more. The list below the fold is from an article by Thom Hartmann, entitled, When Americans No Longer Own America
. The figures are rather startling...
As www.economyincrisis.com, US Government statistics indicate the following percentages of foreign ownership of American industry:
· Sound recording industries - 97%
· Commodity contracts dealing and brokerage - 79%
· Motion picture and sound recording industries - 75%
· Metal ore mining - 65%
· Motion picture and video industries - 64%
· Wineries and distilleries - 64%
· Database, directory, and other publishers - 63%
· Book publishers - 63%
· Cement, concrete, lime, and gypsum product - 62%
· Engine, turbine and power transmission equipment - 57%
· Rubber product - 53%
· Nonmetallic mineral product manufacturing - 53%
· Plastics and rubber products manufacturing - 52%
· Plastics product - 51%
· Other insurance related activities - 51%
· Boiler, tank, and shipping container - 50%
· Glass and glass product - 48%
· Coal mining - 48%
· Sugar and confectionery product - 48%
· Nonmetallic mineral mining and quarrying - 47%
· Advertising and related services - 41%
· Pharmaceutical and medicine - 40%
· Clay, refractory, and other nonmetallic mineral products - 40%
· Securities brokerage - 38%
· Other general purpose machinery - 37%
· Audio and video equipment mfg and reproducing magnetic and optical media -
· Support activities for mining - 36%
· Soap, cleaning compound, and toilet preparation - 32%
· Chemical manufacturing - 30%
· Industrial machinery - 30%
· Securities, commodity contracts, and other financial investments and
related activities - 30%
· Other food - 29%
· Motor vehicles and parts - 29%
· Machinery manufacturing - 28%
· Other electrical equipment and component - 28%
· Securities and commodity exchanges and other financial investment
activities - 27%
· Architectural, engineering, and related services - 26%
· Credit card issuing and other consumer credit - 26%
· Petroleum refineries (including integrated) - 25%
· Navigational, measuring, electromedical, and control instruments - 25%
· Petroleum and coal products manufacturing - 25%
· Transportation equipment manufacturing - 25%
· Commercial and service industry machinery - 25%
· Basic chemical - 24%
· Investment banking and securities dealing - 24%
· Semiconductor and other electronic component - 23%
· Paint, coating, and adhesive - 22%
· Printing and related support activities - 21%
· Chemical product and preparation - 20%
· Iron, steel mills, and steel products - 20%
· Agriculture, construction, and mining machinery - 20%
· Publishing industries - 20%
· Medical equipment and supplies - 20%
Sometime fiction is more truthful than reality... The Onion reports on the Democrats' determination to bungle the greatest opportunity for realignment in a generation (or two).
This just in, via Dave Farber's Interesting People list... if you have a Senator who was not on the list of 24 Democrats and 1 Independent who voted to filibuster Alioto, then I suggest you call him or her up and give the Senator in question a piece of your mind. Doubly so, if they actually voted FOR Alioto - especially if they are Democrats or "moderates". Plain and simple, they had a choice between theocracy and democracy, and they chose theocracy over the rule of law and the separation of church and state.
To Dobson, With Love, Sam Scalito ...
: Alito Sends James Dobson a Valentine
During his broadcast today, Focus on the Family founder and president James Dobson promoted his organization's annual ex-gay conference, Love Won Out, in which gays and their families are told that homosexuality is "preventable and treatable." Then, he presented evidence that "the pendulum is swinging back," informing his listeners that he had just received a thank you note from new Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.
The text of the note (which Dobson read on air), follows below the fold.
Dear Dr. Dobson:
This is just a short note to express my heartfelt thanks to you and the entire staff of Focus on the Family for your help and support during the past few challenging months.
I would also greatly appreciate it if you would convey my appreciation to the good people from all parts of the country who wrote to tell me that they were praying for me and for my family during this period.
As I said when I spoke at my formal investiture at the White House last week, the prayers of so many people from around the country were a palpable and powerful force.
As long as I serve on the Supreme Court I will keep in mind the trust that has been placed in me.
I hope that we'll have the opportunity to meet personally at some point in the future.
In the meantime my entire family and I hope that you and the Focus on the Family staff know how we appreciate all that you have done.
I wonder who else got a note like this? Did the head of the Unitarian Universalist church get one? How about the spiritual leader of America's Reform Jews? Did any Muslim Imams get one?
The latest Gallup Poll shows that, when asked who they will most likely vote for in November, 53% of those surveyed picked Democrats, and just 39% Republicans. 59% of those polled also said that President Bush can no longer manage the government effectively (as if he ever could). 65% of those surveyed want the troops to start coming home.
The article in question, from "Editor & Publisher", also points out that public opinion settling on "get out of Iraq ASAP" has happened in the face of a virtual editorial blackout by major American newspapers. This demonstrates that the neo-con radical right's tactic of suppressing media coverage has finally lost its effectiveness. There is hope. The Mighty Wurlitzer has broken down.
Seriously: it would appear that the country is no longer split right down the middle, but rather that a decisive shift towards our position has been made. 53% to 39% is just huge... if the Republicans go into November with this kind of disadvantage, we could be looking at a six year itch of historic proportions... potentially a wipe out on the scale of the "Progressive Conservatives" in Canada a few years back.
P.S. Bush is on the verge of outdoing Nixon in unpopularity.
March 2, 2006
I'm at a conference for a few days, might not get much chance to post here.
I'm not sure what to think. Go take a look. I looked at the "Wire Tappin'!" video.
|SuperNews 13: Wiretapping|
Controversy unfolds in the oval office over Bush's domestic wire tapping.
Let me know what you think.
In case you missed the importance of the Katrina Video story, Video: Bush knew of levee risk, after the hurricane, when FEMA and the Bush administration were being criticized for their (lack of) performance, this was Bush's statement:
Bush, in post-hurricane comments, insisted that his administration had no warning that the levees were in danger.But the videotapes tell a very different story:
"I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees,'' Bush said Sept. 1. "They did anticipate a serious storm. But these levees got breached. And, as a result, much of New Orleans is flooded.''
President Bush was warned about Hurricane Katrina's devastating impact on New Orleans' levees before the storm hit, according to transcripts of emergency briefings that Bush received. The transcripts appear to contradict his assertions that no one anticipated the failure of levees that flooded the city.Bush, caught in a flat-out lie.
Transcripts of the briefings, first reported by the Associated Press and also obtained by Knight Ridder, show that Bush was told in stark detail about Katrina's potential deadly impact and that he heard a top hurricane expert express "grave concerns'' about the ability of the levees to withstand what turned out to be a catastrophic hurricane. They also show that Bush asked no questions.
Former FEMA Director Michael Brown said that before the storm slammed into the Gulf Coast, he and the nation's top hurricane scientist did all they could to convince Bush, the White House staff and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff that "the big one'' was about to happen.
"I don't know how he couldn't understand how bad it was or bad it could be,'' Brown said in an interview with Knight Ridder, referring to Bush.
National Hurricane Center Director Max Mayfield worried about breached levees, and Brown talked about how the Superdome, which was destined to be the home for thousands of evacuees, was below sea level and at risk of flooding. He also talked about trouble evacuating prisons and hospitals -- all before Katrina hit.
And with all those warnings, why didn't Bush or his administration do anything to prepare, to make sure everything was in oace, to get resources where they were needed, or to help the victims after the hurricane hit? Because Bush was on vacaton and was not paying any attention.
The news that Bush was warned in advance about Katrina's destructive power is another blow to an administration whose integrity and competence has come under fire for its response to the hurricane, the ill-fated Harriet Miers Supreme Court nomination, its handling of a transaction that would let a United Arab Emirates company manage cargo terminals at six major U.S. ports, and its conduct of the war in Iraq.Yep.
"It's devastating that the president would ask no questions,'' said David Gergen... "If he sat there mum in a full briefing . . . that will only confirm the suspicions of a lot of opponents.''
The American public can forgive mistakes, so long as they are not done with some malignant intent. Apparently they can also overlook some incompetence, so long as they believe the President is working hard at his job.Go look at the post, it shows one lie after another after another, just in the last couple of WEEKS!
But when the public begins to think they have been lied to -- repeatedly -- that love goes sour. Very sour. And lately, for the Bush Administration, it's been all about the lying.
It's all about the lying. No accountability, no taking responsibility, none. This President comes off as an irresponsible frat boy who is more than willing to blame anyone else to get his own ass out of trouble. That may work when you are 19 (although it wouldn't have worked with my parents, I can tell you that), but one would think that the President of the United States would hold himself to a higher ethical standard on this. Especially given a situation where people lost their lives.
March 1, 2006
More Republican corruption. Why do Republicans corrupt everything they touch? (Answer at end.)
THIS time they're being paid by the big food and chemical companies to gut the food safety regulations in place now in the individual states. On top of that, they're gutting California's Prop. 65, which requires businesses to warn people when they might be exposed to dangerous chemicals!
The bill, which has 226 co-sponsors in the House, would amend the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act to supersede existing state legislation and practices on food-warning labels. It would also require states to petition the Food and Drug Administration to restore laws and regulations they currently have.
Some of the state laws that could be affected cover farm and food plant inspections, whereas others involve rules on shellfish, dairy products, allowable levels of arsenic and other contaminants in bottled water, lead in food and serving dishes, and whether salmon has to be labeled as wild or farmed. Numerous states have food-safety laws that are considerably tougher than federal standards.Another report, Bill to pre-empt state food safety rules,
The House bill has been promoted for several years by a coalition of food companies and producer trade associations.
In particular, the measure would pre-empt California's Proposition 65, a 1986 law that requires consumers to be notified about contaminants known to cause cancer or birth defects.Republicans corrupt everything they touch because they believe in an ideology of greed, of wealth and ower over regular people, while Democrats believe that people should work together to make everyone's lives better -- democracy and community.
The California law, which led to the reduction of arsenic in bottled water and lead in calcium supplements nationwide, has prompted the Food and Drug Administration to tighten federal standards over the years. Most recently the state has required warnings for pregnant women about mercury in certain fish.
Erik Olson, senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said: "What the bill would do is assure the lowest common denominator of protection. Cheaper food that has poisonous chemicals in it is no bargain. They are being responsible and protecting citizens when the federal government hasn't done its job."
Take a look at the series, Rightwing Authoritarianism and Conservative Identity Politics, at Patterns That Connect.
This is important to help us build a progressive voice. If advertisers understand who is reading blogs they will be willing to put money into ads, and eventually bloggers can focus a bit more on what they do best instead of their pesky day jobs.
On question 23 please list Seeing the Forest as the blog that referred you.
This REALLY helps. Thanks!