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April 30, 2007

Maria Leavey Award for Unsung Progressive Heroes

Campaign for America's Future is announcing a Maria Leavey award and is asking for nominations.

Who was Maria Leavey? Maria was an organizer with extraordinary skills and heart. A behind-the-scenes force who connected rising young talent with Washington leaders. A selfless advocate who often worked without credit, or even compensation.

Working out of her small apartment with an outdated computer, Maria was a tireless and path-breaking promoter of the bloggers, radio personalities, and journalists who've broadcast our progressive message to the world.

Sadly, after years of selfless service to our progressive movement, Maria passed away on December 31, 2006, at the all too young age of 52.


So they have started an award in honor of Maria Leavey.

To celebrate Maria's life and work and to honor those who follow in her footsteps, the Campaign for America's Future has created the annual Maria Leavey Tribute Award. Please take a moment to learn more about the award and nominate an unsung progressive hero that you know.

Nominations are due by May 6, 2007. A panel of Maria's family, friends and colleagues will select award finalists by mid-May, and everyone interested will be invited to vote to select the award winner.

Submit your nominations here

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:00 AM | Comments (2) | Link Cosmos | TrackBack

Washington Media Thinking

This is just offensive: Wag the Blog: What's Next for Democrats on Iraq - The Fix,

Some Democratic strategists fret that by turning the Iraq debate into a war of words on funding for the troops, an idea which Americans generally still support, the party could watch a political winner turn into a loser at the ballot box in 2008.

Today's Wag the Blog question asks The Fix's community to sound off on what the Democrats' best next move is -- politically -- when it comes to the debate over the war.

Should Democrats escalate the current standoff and provoke a showdown with the White House over funding? Or should Democrats compromise in hopes of negotiating some sort of timeline for withdrawal? If they pursue the former strategy, will it risk turning off moderate voters who will be key in next year's presidential and congressional races? And if it's the latter, will the vocal liberal wing of the party revolt, attacking congressional leaders seen as too moderate on the war issue.

Remember the issue is not which argument makes the most sense from a policy perspective, but rather which one is the savviest from a political viewpoint.

We passed 100 American soldiers dead so far this month. How many Iraqis? How many "contractors?" How much closer is the Middle East to a regional conflict breaking out?

And "some Democratic strategists" and the Washington media crowd want to talk about who it's helping politically.

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General Odom on Iraq

This is from Saturday, but it is important. General William Odom Delivers Democratic Radio Address on Iraq,


“To put this in a simple army metaphor, the Commander-in-Chief seems to have gone AWOL, that is ‘absent without leave.’ He neither acts nor talks as though he is in charge. Rather, he engages in tit-for-tat games…I hope the President seizes this moment for a basic change in course and signs the bill the Congress has sent him. I will respect him greatly for such a rare act of courage, and so too, I suspect, will most Americans.”
- Lieutenant General William E. Odom

Good morning, this is Lieutenant General William E. Odom, U.S. Army, retired.

I am not now nor have I ever been a Democrat or a Republican. Thus, I do not speak for the Democratic Party. I speak for myself, as a non-partisan retired military officer who is a former Director of the National Security Agency. I do so because Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, asked me.

In principle, I do not favor Congressional involvement in the execution of U.S. foreign and military policy. I have seen its perverse effects in many cases. The conflict in Iraq is different. Over the past couple of years, the President has let it proceed on automatic pilot, making no corrections in the face of accumulating evidence that his strategy is failing and cannot be rescued.

Thus, he lets the United States fly further and further into trouble, squandering its influence, money, and blood, facilitating the gains of our enemies. The Congress is the only mechanism we have to fill this vacuum in command judgment.

To put this in a simple army metaphor, the Commander-in-Chief seems to have gone AWOL, that is ‘absent without leave.’ He neither acts nor talks as though he is in charge. Rather, he engages in tit-for-tat games.

Some in Congress on both sides of the aisle have responded with their own tits-for-tats. These kinds of games, however, are no longer helpful, much less amusing. They merely reflect the absence of effective leadership in a crisis. And we are in a crisis.

Most Americans suspect that something is fundamentally wrong with the President’s management of the conflict in Iraq. And they are right.

The challenge we face today is not how to win in Iraq; it is how to recover from a strategic mistake: invading Iraq in the first place. The war could never have served American interests.

But it has served Iran’s interest by revenging Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Iran in the 1980s and enhancing Iran’s influence within Iraq. It has also served al Qaeda’s interests, providing a much better training ground than did Afghanistan, allowing it to build its ranks far above the levels and competence that otherwise would have been possible.

We cannot ‘win’ a war that serves our enemies interests and not our own. Thus continuing to pursue the illusion of victory in Iraq makes no sense. We can now see that it never did.

A wise commander in this situation normally revises his objectives and changes his strategy, not just marginally, but radically. Nothing less today will limit the death and destruction that the invasion of Iraq has unleashed.

No effective new strategy can be devised for the United States until it begins withdrawing its forces from Iraq. Only that step will break the paralysis that now confronts us. Withdrawal is the pre-condition for winning support from countries in Europe that have stood aside and other major powers including India, China, Japan, Russia.

It will also shock and change attitudes in Iran, Syria, and other countries on Iraq’s borders, making them far more likely to take seriously new U.S. approaches, not just to Iraq, but to restoring regional stability and heading off the spreading chaos that our war has caused.

The bill that Congress approved this week, with bipartisan support, setting schedules for withdrawal, provides the President an opportunity to begin this kind of strategic shift, one that defines regional stability as the measure of victory, not some impossible outcome.

I hope the President seizes this moment for a basic change in course and signs the bill the Congress has sent him. I will respect him greatly for such a rare act of courage, and so too, I suspect, will most Americans.

This is retired General Odom. Thank you for listening.


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April 27, 2007

More Right-Wing Terrorism News

Earlier I wrote about a terrorist bomb discovered outside an Austin, Texas abortion clinic

Now this: Militia raid targets weapons,

Simultaneous raids carried out in four Alabama counties Thursday turned up truckloads of explosives and weapons, including 130 grenades, an improvised rocket launcher and 2,500 rounds of ammunition belonging to the small, but mightily armed, Alabama Free Militia.
Will we hear calls to "profile" Christians now? Will white males now be searched whenever they try to get on a airplane?

Will we hard anything about this on the news?

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Today's Housing Bubble Post - "Worldwide Bubble"

A warning, and not just on housing: All the World's a Bubble,

Grantham says we are now seeing the first worldwide bubble in history covering all asset classes.

Everything is in bubble territory, he says.

Everything.

[. . .] And it becomes self-sustaining. "The more leverage you take, the better you do; the better you do, the more leverage you take. A critical part of a bubble is the reinforcement you get for your very optimistic view from those around you."

[. . .] "The bursting of [this] bubble will be across all countries and all assets, with the probable exception of high-grade bonds," Grantham warned. "Since no similar global event has occurred before, the stresses to the system are likely to be unexpected. All of this is likely to depress confidence and lower economic activity."

Ouch.

Yes, ouch. Watch your backs. And, maybe buy some gold.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 11:23 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos | TrackBack

SP ALERT: The Candidates All Flubbed The ONLY Question.

By Dave Johnson and James Boyce.

Will America be safer with a Republican president?

This has been the big "elephant in the room" question: the Republican branding of "strong on defense." Did any of the candidates knock this down?

Senator Clinton Senatorially said it is a "disconnect between the rhetoric and the reality" and then dived into policy details. "We haven't secured our borders, our ports, our mass transit systems ... resources haven't gotten to the front lines where decisions are made in local government..."

Senator Dodd also filibustered with boring policy details. "our first responders are not getting the support they deserve. The administration has been resistant in supporting them ... , not building the kind of international support -- stateless terrorism is a multinational problem ... requires a multinational response ... institutions we need to build to effectively engage and fight back against terrorism ... need to have leadership that knows how to build those relationships, to encourage that kind of participation..."

The other candidates didn't get a chance to respond, and politely did not.

But this is the question. This is, to many, the only question. Why didn't these candidates knock it out of the park?

We would not have been so polite. We would have made Mike Gravel look tame and shy -- shouting and waving our arms. We would have said:

"This is a lie. This is a marketing fraud perpetuated by the Right Wing against the American people. This is a well funded marketing program that is determined to mislead the American people and give them the Right Wing the power to send our sons and daughters to their deaths. It is just false.

This country was attacked on 9/11 and Americans died because this Republican administration was weak, not strong.

New York firefighters died because Rudy Giuliani was incompetent, and far from a hero.

The facts are clear. The Republicans market the myth. The Democrats deal in the reality of serving their country on the battlefield when they're young and keeping this country safer when they serve in Washington."


From the debate transcript:

MR. WILLIAMS: Governor, thank you. We're all out of time.

Senator Clinton, Rudolph Giuliani, a friend of yours from back home, said this past week, quote: "The Democrats do not understand the full nature and scope of the terrorist war against us." Another quote: "America will be safer with a Republican president." How do you think, Senator, it happened that that notion of Republicans as protectors in a post-9/11 world has taken on so?

SEN. CLINTON: Well, Brian, I think that, as a senator from New York, it is something that I've worked on very hard ever since 9/11 to try to convince the administration to do those things that would actually work to make us safer. And I think there's a big disconnect between the rhetoric and the reality.

You know, we haven't secured our borders, our ports, our mass transit systems. You can go across this country and see so much that has not been done. The resources haven't gotten to the front lines where decisions are made in local government the way that they need to, and I think that this administration has consistently tried to hype the fear without delivering on the promise of making America safer. And its foreign policy around the world, as you've heard from all of my colleagues here, has also made the world less stable, which, of course, has a ripple effect with respect to what we're going to face in the future.

So I hope that we can put that myth to rest. It is certainly something I will try to do during that -- the campaign.
MR. WILLIAMS: Senator Dodd, same question. How has this label been attached to the Democratic Party, that the Republicans will protect America best?

SEN. DODD: Well, that's a great question, Brian, because it's a myth in the sense when you consider what this administration has done over six years, given the attacks we faced on 9/11. Here, our first responders are not getting the support they deserve. The administration has been resistant in supporting them. The war in Iraq -- we haven't been dealing with the Taliban in Afghanistan, where our efforts should have been over the last number of years, not building the kind of international support -- stateless terrorism is a multinational problem. It's a tactic. It requires a multinational response. This administration has walked away from that. The very institutions we need to build to effectively engage and fight back against terrorism, this administration seems to take the other track and move in a different direction.

I would have answered your question earlier on what's a serious threat we face. It is stateless terrorism. It isn't states; it's the absence of diplomacy, the absence of engaging nations around the world to build those relationships that allow us to have a far more effective response to these -- this scourge that we face in this century. We need to have leadership that knows how to build those relationships, to encourage that kind of participation. This administration's done just the opposite.

MR. WILLIAMS: Senator, thank you.

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Terrorist Attack In Austin

And the news media won't report it. See if you can guess why not.

Feministe :: The terrorism that dare not speak its name

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:42 AM | Comments (2) | Link Cosmos | TrackBack

April 26, 2007

The Debate

Did any of these candidates help themselves? Does anyone stand out? I liked Edwards, Dodd (?) ... some of Gravels statements.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 5:37 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos | TrackBack

The Debate - Mike Gravel

Where did this guy come from?

Former Senator Mike Gravel. I suspect he is going to gain a LOT of attention and some popularity. Looking at his website (while they're all talking) I see a mixture of good and bad. I'm not sure dropping the income tax is a great idea at a time when wealth is concentrating at the top.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 4:24 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos | TrackBack

April 25, 2007

What Does 'Win' Mean In Iraq?

Bush says we need to 'win' the Iraq war. Can someone explain what that even means? Didn't we 'win' on 2003 when Saddam Hussein was overthrown as the President of Iraq?

If we 'win' who surrenders? If we 'win' who 'loses?'

Who are we fighting 'against' in Iraq?

Can anyone answer these questions? Any right-wingers care to weigh in?

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:35 AM | Comments (3) | Link Cosmos | TrackBack

The National Security State

Like poetry, like things I remember reading during the great awakening of the 60s: MyDD :: Ending the National Security State. Excerpt,

Like an organism, American adapted to this constitutional order. Highways sprawled outward, suburbs ate the landscape, cities died and were reborn, and American dotted the world with military bases. Education turned into a competition for credentials, a cultural war where the winners turned to legal drugs and the losers turned to illegal drugs upon which there was apparently a war. Wars on concepts actually became quite popular, often initiated by those from Texas. Democrats became the party of the status quo, Nixon criminalized politics, David Broder-esque pundit middle-managers infected discourse, TV became Geraldo-ified and the civil rights movement detached from its class-based origins and moved to a rights-based model even as black nationalists convulsed from within. The culture became lost in dreams and pain, addiction mainstreamed itself, a superwealthy class helped itself to everything, and young boys and girls adopted the role model of 'more'. The religion of America turned to anticommunism, which morphed nicely into anti-enlightenment and anti-reason. America today is full of promise, but this last fifty years has been ugly and full of spite. Better living through chemistry, baby.

And then, of course, came George W. Bush, a stupid man full of evil, lethargic weakness, and spite. In a tragic election, he beat Al Gore, a man who knew all that was wrong but could not bring himself to believe that the public wanted it fixed. Bush grew up in one of these artificial suburbs, helped himself to drugs, to superwealth, to educational connections. He dreamed of nothing but 'more', and he believed in wars on concepts. Bush was a man who epitomizes all that is wrong with America, but he was chosen by a Republican Party that reveres him and beat a Democratic Party that could not reject the hatred and authoritarian system that let him happen.

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Smoking Politics BlogTalkRadio Show Live at Noon EST

The Smoking Politics BlogTalkRadio show with Dave Johnson and James Boyce will be live today at Noon EST, 9am Pacific. Give us a call! The call-in number is (718) 508-9604

Click this to listen live online:
Gotta Get Something Off Your Chest?

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April 24, 2007

Blog Comments

The press likes to write about comments at various liberal/progressive blogs, and how "uncivil" we are.

But never about the comments at right-wing sites.

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SP Alert: Four Hundred Bucks For A Haircut? WTF?

By Dave Johnson and James Boyce

A quick visit to John Edwards's Presidential Campaign web site clearly shows what his passions are and what he wants to talk about. Not necessarily in order of his priority, but John Edwards wants to:

    End the war in Iraq.

    Guarantee affordable health care to every American.

    Fight global warming.

    Eliminate poverty in America.

    Revitalize rural America.

    Restore America's moral authority in the world.

    Help solve the humanitarian crisis in Africa.

It's almost too many critical issues and is more than enough to talk about right?

Well, this past week, we have seen clearly, that the Right Wing doesn't want to talk about these issues. Let's break them down briefly:


End the war in Iraq? No, the Right wants to continue the escalation in Iraq and potentially expand the conflict to Iran.

Fight global warming? No, the Right as best shown by Exxon-funded Media Research Center and their attacks on Laurie David and Sheryl Crow's global warming concert tour insist on putting profit before morality. They know the science as well as anyone but the scientific facts conflict with the profits of their top donors, ergo, their denial program continues.

Guarantee affordable health care to every American? Absolutely not. The cost to corporate donors makes it a necessity to stop this in its tracks. Tens of millions spent fighting and lobbying against health care reform is money well spent by those wishing to block this from becomming a right of every American.

Eliminate poverty in America? No, the programs that would facilitate this, such as the raising of the minimum wage, conflict with the goals of the Right's corporate base.

Revitalize rural America? Again, the programs that would facilitate this would cost large corporations money, no.

Restore America's moral authority in the world? The Right sees this differently. They don't mind torture, choosing war over peace and the death of civilians. It's a fundamental difference of morality.

Help solve the humanitarian crisis in Africa? The Right asks: why bother?

So clearly, there is a conflict because the vast majority would BENEFIT from John Edward's plans and actions (for starters, the 40,000,000 Americans without health care, their lives would greatly benefit.)

So how do they distract people from talking about these issues? The tobacco industry solved this problem nicely by portraying people who didn't smoke as not cool. They couldn't talk about their product honestly, so instead mock and make fun of the people who don't use the product.

So how would you make fun of the son of a mill worker who rose up from poverty himself in rural South Carolina to run for President? How would you distract people from his message and his ideas?

Well, he has too big a house. This is the problem with Liberals, they're not "like us," they think they are better, riding in limo's, drinking their chardonnay and lattes.

Recently, there was a concerted effort to circulate stories that John Edwards is so rich that he has just built a mansion that is the biggest house in the county where he lives in North Carolina. Can you imagine?

What a scum ball! He made enough money to build a big house and he built it. That story struck home with the people the Right wanted to reach. Did their tactic work? Absolutely. According to a Google search there are now over 796,000 web pages that reference the words 'John' 'Edwards' and 'mansion' and 13,800,000 that contain the words 'John' 'Edwards' 'big' and 'house'.

Distract. Distract. Distract.

On April 15th, Presidential Candidates of both parties released their fundraising and expenditure documents and there is a wealth of information iavailable about the candidates, who is giving money and how they are spending their money.

Operatives from both parties trolled through the documents and what did they come up with from the Edwards documents?

A $400 haircut.

Perfect fodder for the machine because blue collar men are not going to like some pretty boy who goes to a spa and spends more on one hair cut than they do in a year. (And if the Right can make Edwards a "pretty boy," maybe those same men will be distracted from realizing that if Edwards was elected, their jobs would come with better pay and benefits, and their kids would have cleaner water to fish in and a better future. Let's talk hair cuts boys.)

The story moves up the food chain on the Right,. And, like the Gore energy bill story, it gets the stamp of validation from Fox News. Millions of Americans are exposed to something that simply doesn't matter.

The story is heavily promoted by Fox News. The online Fox News story begins, "Looking pretty is costing John Edwards' presidential campaign a lot of pennies." The story adds that Edwards visits a salon that caters mostly to women. Double-whammy. Limousine Liberal AND a pretty-boy!

The story has spread rapidly. If you do a Google search for pages that contain the words 'edwards', '$400' and 'haircut' there are already 187,000 web pages that contain those terms! (Testing this by looking at page 43 and then page 100 of the search results, every page cited was still directly about the purported John Edwards $400 haircut.) Similarly, a search for 'John' 'Edwards' 'Breck' and 'girl' yields 134,000 results.

What a 'faggot' as Ann Coulter would - did - say.

What a disgrace we say, that they try to distract us from talking about such important issues.

If you can, join us on our BlogTalkRadio show at noon eastern on Wednesday. We will be discussing this and how we can fight back. We will be taking calls and would love to hear from you.

One final point:

If you are a Barack supporter or a fan of Senator Clinton, or any other Democratic candidate, don't smile at the furor around Senator Edwards and this issue.

Because be it Barack's supposed radical Muslim childhood or Senator Clinton's personal life, they're coming for you next. The way to fight this is to back each other up -- because that backs ALL OF US up.

Please join us as we talk about subjects like this this at Smoking Politics and on our "Smoking Politics Radio Show" on BlogTalkRadio at Noon eastern on Wednesday. We will be taking calls!

blog radio

Posted by Dave Johnson at 12:30 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos | TrackBack

Today's Housing Bubble Post - Worst Drop In 18 Years

The tightening of mortgage lending standards is beginning - just beginning - to have an effect.

Existing home sales pace, prices fall again in March - Apr. 24, 2007,

Home sales posted their sharpest drop in 18 years in March, a real estate group said Tuesday, as problems in the subprime mortgage sector pushed sales well below what economists had forecast.

Sales of existing homes fell 8.4 percent to an annual rate of 6.12 million in March from February's 6.68 million rate, the National Association of Realtors said. It was the biggest one-month drop since January 1989. Economists surveyed by Briefing.com had forecast sales would fall to an annual rate of 6.45 million in March.

It's also beginning - just beginning - to affect prices,
At the same time, prices also dropped. The median price of an existing single-family home decreased 0.9 percent last month, to $215,300, compared with a year earlier.
And it will get worse,
The realtors’ association report reflected a housing market that is becoming increasingly unfriendly to anyone looking to sell their home. While the number of unsold existing homes for sale fell 1.6 percent in March, to 3,745,000, the time it took to sell a home increased. There was a 7.3-month supply of unsold properties on the market last month, up from a 6.8-month supply in February.

Economists said that if home prices continued to fall, potential buyers would be discouraged from acting while they waited for the bottom of the market to hit.

All of this could add up : Poor housing data raise fears for US economy

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April 21, 2007

Sun Ra Ringtone

How come I can't find any Sun Ra Space Is The Place ringtones for my phone? (My wife says, "Good!")

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Our Trade Deals Harm America

The Establishment Rethinks Globalization.

Short version: Our trade deals are transferring "wealth-generating productive capacity" to other countries, which weakens America.

It's not just that we no longer make stuff, it's that we're transferring the capacity to make stuff, along with the higher-paying jobs that tend to be located where the stuff is made. Shoes are one thing, and you can start making shoes again in a relatively short time if you have to. But LCD screens and computer chips are another thing entirely. The technology advances rapidly. When you transfer that it's gone and very hard to get back.

"The question is where do you put your technology and knowledge and investment? These other countries understand that. They have understood the following divergence: What countries want and what companies want are different."
And,
Americans can choose to blame China or disloyal multinationals, but the problem is grounded in US politics. The solution can be found only in Washington. China and other developing nations are pursuing national self-interest and doing what the system allows. In a way, so are the US multinationals. "I want to stress it's a system problem," Gomory says. "The directors are doing the job they're sworn to do. It's a system that says the companies have to have a sole focus on maximizing profit."
And the best part:

He [Gomory] wants to re-create an understanding of the corporation's obligations to society, the social perspective that flourished for a time in the last century but is now nearly extinct. The old idea was that the corporation is a trust, not only for shareholders but for the benefit of the country, the employees and the people who use the product. "That attitude was the attitude I grew up on in IBM," Gomory explains. "That's the way we thought--good for the country, good for the people, good for the shareholders--and I hope we will get back to it.... We should measure corporations by their impact on all their constituencies.

"So in my utopian dream, we decide what we want from the corporations and that's how they make a profit--by doing those things. Failing that, I would settle for the general realization of this divergence and let people argue it out."

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Saturday Cartoons

BobGeiger.com: The Saturday Cartoons

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April 20, 2007

Alberto Gonzales Isn't The Point

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales can resign or not - so what? The PROBLEM will remain. The PROBLEM is that we have 93 US Attorneys who have already proven - by not being fired - that they will indict innocent Democrats and ignore Republican corruption and criminality. THAT is the problem we have to do something about!

The Republicans learned in the 2006 election that lots of headlines about corruption influences votes. So the plan is to start investigating and indicting lots of Democrats - guilty or not - to provide plenty of 2008 election-time headlines. And the plan is to block as many investigations and indictments of corrupt Republicans as they can. (That brings other benefits to them as well...)

So Gonzales can resign or not - don't be distracted from thinking about how to stop what is coming.

Watch your backs!

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April 19, 2007

Unprecedented Security Clearances For A Libyan?

And no one knows who bypassed our national security rules and gave the clearance. And, of course, no one will investigate.

From Wolfowitz's girlfriend problem,

State Department officials familiar with the details of this matter confirmed to me that Shaha Ali Riza was detailed to the State Department and had unescorted access while working for Elizabeth Cheney. Access to the building requires a national security clearance or permanent escort by a person with such a clearance. But the State Department has no record of having issued a national security clearance to Riza.

State Department officials believe that Riza was issued such a clearance by the Defense Department after SAIC was forced by Wolfowitz and Feith to hire her.

... But State Department officials tell me that no such letter can be confirmed as received. And the officials stress that the department would never issue a clearance to a non-U.S. citizen as part of a contractual requisition. Issuing a national security clearance to a foreign national under instructions from a Pentagon official would constitute a violation of the executive orders governing clearances, they say.

Come to think of it, Karl Rove still has a security clearance - even after admitting that he revealed the identity of a covert CIA agent!

Is there NO law?

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:16 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos | TrackBack

On Imus

The Enablers of Imus: A Study In Careerism,

It's hard to predict when you will be confronted with a moral test. The Imus controversy arrived suddenly and challenged the vital interests of the Washington press corps and political pantheon. In the end, they willfully overlooked Imus' bigotry, advocating forgiveness to protect their platform, their careers -- and their paychecks. For the enablers of Imus, it was never about freedom of expression, it was about themselves.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 6:24 AM | Comments (1) | Link Cosmos | TrackBack

April 18, 2007

Don't Reward Failure

At Firedoglake: Don’t Reward Failure By Giving Money to NARAL,

And what did they do with all that cash? They sat it and didn't do a damn thing, didn't lift a finger to fight Samuel Alito. Worse yet, when the Gang of 14 decided to vote in favor of cloture, they said that they did not consider cloture votes "significant" and would not be considering them in their scorecard. They then went on to add insult to injury by asking their membership to thank Lincoln Chafee and Joe Lieberman for the beatings they delivered with their "aye" cloture vote by pretending that their "nay" floor votes were significant. They then poured salt into the wound by endorsing both "short ride" Lieberman and Chafee over their opponents who made it clear that they would not have voted for cloture for Alito, which gave us the 5-4 decision we have today.
Go read.
Don't reward failure. Tell your friends. Don't give money to NARAL when they come knocking on your door to tell you that choice is going down the crapper unless you give them a lot of money, because what you'll be giving money for is Nancy Keenan's ability to point her little pinky over tea at Washington cocktail parties and tut-tut over the state of choice in this country at the hands of the fundamentalists. She'll take no responsibility for the fact that NARAL will not fight, will not back those that fight, and worse yet, that NARAL sucks up all the pro-choice money so nobody else can mount a meaningful fight, either.

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SP Alert: Mitt Romney Should Return Sam Fox's $100,000

On our "Smoking Politics Radio Show" we just sent a simple message to Mitt Romney, and a fair one too:

Give SwiftBoat Donor Sam Fox his $100,000 back.

Sam Fox (now our Ambassador to Belgium you might recall thanks to President Bush's recess appointment) gave $50,000 to the Swift Boat Liars in 2004 and has since claimed that he didn't know what they were doing. Hah. Anyway.

Mitt Romney has no such excuse.

Mitt Romney knows that John O'Neill never served a single day in Vietnam with John Kerry. Mitt Romney knows that Swifties like O'Neill got big checks from the Swift Boat veterans. Mitt Romney should give Sam Fox his money back.

Because if Fox got an ambassadorship for $50,000, what did Romney promise for $100,000?

Here is Romney's campaign contact info.

Give the blood money back Mitt!

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Smoking Politics Radio Show Live at 9am PDT

I'm hosting the Smoking Politics show today at 9am California Time, Noon EST TODAY! The call-in number is (718) 508-9604

We're going to talk about Mitt Romney's Dirty Money and other subjects on our "Smoking Politics Radio Show" a.

Taylor Marsh, of www.taylormarsh.com will join us with her wonderful and unique perspective.

Listen Live

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April 17, 2007

Conservatives

Conservatives are always about what other people should do. Other people should go fight in Iraq, etc. Other people should not get abortions. Other people should pray to the God they believe exists.

Now they're saying that the students at Virginia Tech should be ashamed of themselves for being shot.

Think I'm kidding? Read this, Think Progress サ More blaming the victim. then read this Blaming the Victims ... Because They're Total Wusses

Posted by Dave Johnson at 4:02 PM | Comments (4) | Link Cosmos | TrackBack

Note On The Shooting

30,000 Americans are killed by guns every year in the US. 32 of them yesterday.

32 dead from a shooting or other violence is almost a daily occurrence in Iraq - thanks to us - and gets almost no mention on our news. But it's the ONLY thing on the news when it happens here. Why is that? Juan Cole on PBS Newshour last night, through Think Progress (with video at the link)

Remember that we’re all concerned, as we should be, about these events at Virginia Tech today. In Iraq this is a daily event. Imagine how horrible it would be if this kind of massacre were occurring every single day. And the people of Iraq feel that either the Americans are not stopping it or they’re actually causing it.

The shooter came to the U.S. at age 8 in 1992, a legal resident, studying English Literature in college. But suddenly he is a South Korean. S.Korean student blamed for shooting rampage - Yahoo! News

Posted by Dave Johnson at 11:42 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos | TrackBack

Smoking Politics Alert: Mitt Romney Loves That Dirty Money

A Smoking Politics post by Dave Johnson and James Boyce

They say you can tell a lot about a person by the company he keeps. And they say you can tell a lot about a politician by the donors he loves. In fairness, any politician can get money from rather unsavory sources, but when patterns emerge you can tell what a politician is like by the donor company he or she keeps.

If this holds true for Mitt Romney it would make him a push-polling, SwiftBoat-lying, racist, immigrant-hating, Hitler-using candidate.

Allow us to explain.

Mitt Romney has a number of great contradictions. For a man who won't swear and doesn't drink, he certainly likes hanging out with some real lowlifes.

Let's start from the top.

Carl Linder is going to be Mitt Romney's Finance Co-Chair in Ohio.

Carl Linder gave over $425,000 to a group called Common Sense Ohio, which ran deceptive ads and push-polling. And by the way, when Mitt Romney was chair of the Republican Governors Association, that organization gave money directly to Common Sense Ohio. What the H-E-double toothpicks Mitt? A direct endorsement of push-polling and deceptive ads? Nice.

Sam Fox gave Mitt Romney's PAC $100,000. (And just think George Bush made Fox an ambassador for a mere $50,000 to the Swift Boat Liars.) Sam Fox may have had amnesia regarding what scum the Swifties were, but Mitt should know. Evidently Mitt doesn't care.

And last but not least, there's Romney National Finance Chair, John Rakolta. You might think that Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm is a remarkable woman. Mr. Rakolta thinks that she, and some other prominent Democratic presidents, resemble Hitler. (See Romney camp catches flak for Hitler ad)

(The DNC did a great re-cap of these donors and Mitt's dirty money.)

This is cross-posted at Smoking Politics, and we're going to talk about this on our "Smoking Politics Radio Show" at noon Eastern Wednesday. Taylor Marsh, of www.taylormarsh.com will join us with her wonderful and unique perspective.

Listen Live

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:29 AM | Comments (1) | Link Cosmos | TrackBack

April 14, 2007

WHY They Say Such Outrageous Things

Jamison Foser writes in this week's "Media Matters",

In the midst of a torrent of comments about "femi-Nazis" and "bitches" and "hos," these more subtle problems are rarely even noticed, and even more rarely discussed among the media elite and those who appear on their shows.

And that may be the most damaging effect of the kind of commentary that we routinely hear from the likes of Imus and Limbaugh and Coulter: Rhetoric that should be unacceptable becomes merely outrageous; that which should be outrageous becomes merely controversial; and that which should be controversial is barely noticed, if at all.

I gave a talk a few weeks ago to an organization that supports public education. My talk as titled We're All In This Together. I began the talk by playing a video clip of Neil Boortz on Fox, saying that teachers unions are more dangerous to America than terrorists armed with nuclear weapons because a nuke could only wipe out 100,000 people but public schools are "destroying a generation."

I talked about the terrible things right-wingers routinely say. Then I explained the Right's Overton Window strategy of walking people's thinking up a ladder that turns unthinkable ideas into acceptable and even reasonable-sounding.

After explaining the Overton Window I said,

NOW we can understand the role of people like the guy from the video clip. He is out at the extreme – on the right side of the see-saw. Anything LESS extreme sounds almost moderate by comparison – in the window of “thinkable.” THIS is why they say those outrageous things. They’re walking people up the ladder. It’s part of the long-term strategy.
If you're interested, I have the whole thing posted over at the Commonweal Institute blog, along with links to reference materials.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 11:41 AM | Comments (1) | Link Cosmos | TrackBack

Bob's Saturday Cartoons

BobGeiger.com: The Saturday Cartoons

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:40 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos | TrackBack

ANOTHER Political Prosecution From A Scandal-Tainted US Attorney?

This looks like it might be yet another political prosecution. This time it isn't a US Attorney engaging in a political prosecution in order to keep the job -- instead it involves one of those NEW, Rove-approved US Attorneys who replaced those US Attorneys fired for failing to engage in political prosecutions. This prosecution shows us what to expect from now on. This one is prosecuting a guy entirely for political and not legal reasons, AFTER the courts threw out the case AND after the judge said they should drop the charges.

This case is about medical marijuana. California voters passed an initiative allowing the use of marijuana for AIDS, cancer and other patients because it helps them to eat and reduces symptoms. The Christian Right doesn't like that so the Bush administration has been prosecuting people for Federal crimes - even though they are legally operating according to state law.

From the article, Prosecutors will retry Ed Rosenthal, known as the `guru of ganja',

Federal prosecutors said today they would retry marijuana grower Ed Rosenthal on cultivation charges, even after a federal judge urged them to drop the case and chastised the government for lodging charges solely to punish the self-proclaimed "guru of ganja."

U.S. District Court Judge Charles Breyer demanded to know who in the Department of Justice made the decision to continue pursuing Rosenthal, who had his original conviction overturned last year.

... Newly appointed U.S. Attorney Scott Schools made the decision, said Assistant U.S. Attorney George Bevan, but he was not sure if Department of Justice officials in Washington were involved. [all emphasis added]

So here we go, another political prosecution from a Rove-connected prosecutor?

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:20 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos | TrackBack

April 13, 2007

Media Matters Featured In My Morning Paper

Are times beginning to change - a little bit? An actual mention of Media Matters in the newspaper!

San Jose Mercury News - Group that exposed Imus angers conservatives,

While radio shock jock Don Imus was hanging up his cowboy hat and getting canned Wednesday from his MSNBC TV show and then Thursday from CBS for a racial slur made a week earlier, the Washington, D.C., organization Media Matters for America was scratching a notch on its belt.

In its third year, the non-profit with 50 employees and a budget of $3 million to $4 million was getting its biggest recognition so far for its efforts to "monitor, analyze and correct conservative misinformation."

Over three years, and to the ire of the conservatives it targets, the group had reported some 15 other examples of racist speech by the popular in-the-Beltway host, as well as countless corrections to reports in major media outlets, from the New York Times to Fox News. But even it was surprised that the Imus incident was the spark that caught fire.

"We were the first to draw attention to the comments a week ago," said Jamison Foser, the organization's managing director. "We focused a great deal of effort to make sure that people understood this wasn't an isolated incident, as he was claiming afterward."

Posted by Dave Johnson at 12:26 PM | Comments (1) | Link Cosmos | TrackBack

Anti-Islam Propaganda

The latest propaganda from the right: "The secret plan of the Democratic Party..."

Picture of 9/11 plane flying into WTC tower, scary music, scary photos of brown people...

"At the time America is facing the greatest danger of her history...

...When our freedom is at stake...

...The Democratic Party of America has a plan to defend the country..."

Greatest danger, but no draft, no taxes to pay for the war, no calls to enlist, no sacrifice of any kind, the President tells us to "go shopping." Right. Watch the video.

Dirty fucking hippies in tie-died clothes, gays dressed like clowns, bad pics of Democratic leaders, Marlboro Man soldiers smoking cigarettes, etc...

Headline: "Treason - shameful vote aids our enemies", followed by a picture of Nancy Pelosi ...

Photoshopped picture of John Kerry witha French mustache and beret.

Seal of the Democratic Party around a picture of a baby crying.

Finally ending with a nuclear bomb going off and Democrats holding up white flags of surrender.

All to the tune of "Feel the love"

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:37 AM | Comments (1) | Link Cosmos | TrackBack

Iraqi Civilian Deaths - A Visual Representation

How many Iraqi civilians have died as a result of the war?

Go to Daily Kos: Picture this: 69 Times the Number at Normandy and scroll down. This is a visual representation of how many.

Note - this is not direct casualties, this is the number of additional deaths over the pre-war baseline. For example, if due to the war a diabetic can't get insulin, or there are not enough antibiotics in a region, or no power for a hospital...

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:23 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos | TrackBack

April 12, 2007

Is This As Bad As I Think?

Turkish Army Seeks OK for Iraq Raids,

Turkey's military asked the government Thursday to approve attacks on Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq, signaling growing frustration over a lack of action against the guerrillas by Iraqi and U.S. forces.

Such action could put an overstretched U.S. military in the middle of a fight between two crucial partners, the Turks and the Iraqi Kurds. A recent surge in Kurdish attacks in southeastern Turkey has increased the pressure on Turkey's military to act.

``An operation into Iraq is necessary,'' Gen. Yasar Buyukanit told reporters.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:21 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos | TrackBack

A Technical Point About Those Missing E-Mails

Here is how e-mail is typically stored: There are at least three hard drives where an e-mail is located: The sender, the server and the recipient. If there is more than one recipient of an e-mail the other recipient's hard drives will also have copies. (Webmail is another story...)

Even supposedly-deleted data would still be on each of these hard drive - marked as deleted but still there - unless it has been overwritten. That is not as likely these days with very large-capacity hard drives. A data recovery effort would locate the e-mails or report why not. If the erasure was due to normal file overwriting, this would be apparent. And if it was due to intentional erasure, this would also be apparent.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 11:27 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos | TrackBack

The Missing E-Mails

Daily Kos: The 18-minute gap and the Saturday Night Massacre, all rolled up into one,

Media note: Suggested scandal nickname, DogAte.
It's the crime and the coverup.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:24 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos | TrackBack

For Kurt Vonnegut

"How to love people who have no use?"

This is the end of a 2003 Who Is Our Economy For? post. It's a post worth reading, by the way.

"... a problem whose queasy horrors will eventually be made world-wide by the sophistication of machines. The problem is this: How to love people who have no use?

In time, almost all men and women will become worthless as producers of goods, food, services, and more machines, as sources of practical ideas in the areas of economics, engineering and probably medicine too. So, if we can't find reasons and methods for treasuring human beings because they are human beings, then we might as well, as so often has been suggested, rub them out."

- Kilgore Trout, in Kurt Vonnegut's God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:32 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos | TrackBack

April 11, 2007

I Promise

I promise not to go on the Don Imus show.

Was that so hard?

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:13 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos | TrackBack

White House "Accidentally" Loses Requested E-Mails

Here we go. Think Progress : White House Claims It Lost RNC Emails.

The background is that the law requirs the White House to preserve all official e-mails. So Rove and others instead used an e-mail server at the Republican Party (RNC) to try to get around this requirement. When Congress learned of this they asked for these e-mails. The White House now claims these were accidentally lost.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:09 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos | TrackBack

Introducing Smoking Politics. And Our Mission To End The Right Wing Strategy Of Fear and $mear.

By Dave Johnson and James Boyce

Today, we are launching a new web site, and a new radio show, and continuing a passion and partnership that has been developing over the past year. The site is Smoking Politics and on it we will track, expose and fight back - hard - every single day against the right's strategy of Fear and $mear. We will also host a weekly BlogTalkRadio show, The Smoking Politics Radio Hour, with our first show today at noon Eastern, 9:00 am Pacific. We will be taking calls.

blog radio

Why do we call this project "Smoking Politics?" Because the origins of the conservative strategy of Fear and $mear come out of the golden age of the tobacco companies. The tobacco companies learned that with the right combination of psychological persuasion tactics and media budget that literally anything could be marketed to the American public.

They were so good that they could persuade people to kill themselves - and to hand over their money while they did it. The right saw the success of this strategy - and noted the total lack of facts and morals involved and decided - if people will pay to smoke, maybe they could be convinced to support a right-wing agenda which was equally deadly. Maybe they could actually convince blue-collar workers to accept the right-wing agenda that asked them to give up their health care and pensions so CEOs could buy bigger jets? So they took these tactics into the political realm.

Look at how much of the right's political agenda is aligned with the needs of the tobacco companies. There's deregulation, especially in the area of protecting the health and safety of the public, or of regulating toxic substances. There's "tort reform" - the attempt to prevent victims of corporate malfeasance from using the courts to hold companies responsible for their actions. And, of course, there's tax cuts for corporations - and the government looking the other way as the tobacco industry continues to spend $35,000,000 a month marketing their product.

There's another critical link between the far-right and the tobacco industry. Few people know that Karl Rove was a tobacco company advisor. Even fewer know that the heads of the "political consulting firms" like DCI that set up Republican-connected 527 front groups like the Swift Boat Vets came from tobacco companies as well. Tobacco funds supported the right. Tobacco consultants sold the agenda.

The recent Union of Concerned Scientists report on the efforts to discredit global warming science describe an in-place infrastructure of organizations that had aided the tobacco companies in their strategy of discrediting the science that said cigarettes were killing hundreds of thousands of Americans. The report describes how Exxon basically took over this infrastructure of science-denial organizations and used it to muddy the waters about the science that shows global warming is occurring.

And look at the ridicule that Al Gore is enduring from the right. Why? Because he is trying to save the planet - he is the object of humiliation. We even saw it just this week when a "charity" who recently gave Rush Limbaugh an award for "media excellence" and accepts $50,000 a year from ExxonMobil attacked Laurie David and Sheryl Crow's Stop Global Warming tour.

So the tobacco strategy of Fear and $mear, combined with the psychological persuasion tactic of "Marlboro Man" appeals to self-image and its counter-image of ridiculing and humiliating the "wimp" became America's politics.

What is Ronald Reagan's image, hat askew on his horse, if not that of the Marlboro Man?

And how did they cast Jimmy Carter to prepare the country for Reagan's campaign, if not the ineffective wimp and an object of ridicule - despite the fact that Jimmy Carter was a Navy man? Sound familiar? Fear and $mear. And how have they cast their politicians and policies since? As variations on the macho Marlboro Man. Do we need to say how our Democratic leaders have been portrayed since? $meared as effete, ineffectual clowns.

And then there's the Fear Factor - we spend more on military than the rest of world's countries combined, but we need to live in fear. Fear of a man in cave. Fear of a country that doesn't even have nuclear weapons. Fear of fighting them here if we don't fight them over there. Fear of 9/11.

At The Patriot Project last fall, we explored and exposed this pattern. We were able to begin to bring awareness of this tactic into the media. Many of those posts are here.

Now we are bringing all this experience to Smoking Politics, where we will fight this fight on a daily basis - exposing the lies and smears and sell strategies that the right uses to win elections and destroy our leaders.

We will show, as Swiftboater-financing Sam Fox's recess appointment, and the ongoing US Attorney scandal clearly showcased - that there is a circle of corruption. Right-wing donors pay for the $mears of our leaders and reap financial benefits and appointments and a government that looks the other way. They win elections through fear and $mear. They make money from their victories and the cycle repeats itself.

We think that going into the 2008 election cycle nothing matters as much as this issue - the first thing we have to defeat is this tobacco Fear and $mear strategy that has been so effective at destroying our leaders and building up their own.

We have plenty of time to lay the groundwork on this effort before the 2008 campaign is in full swing. But we don't have sufficient funding to hire the researchers and writers we need. Stay tuned as we will be announcing fundraising events and online fundraising efforts.

And don't forget to tuned to tune into our show today. We look forward to hearing from you.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:20 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos | TrackBack

April 10, 2007

Smoking Politics Hour

Tomorrow (Wednesday) at 9am California time, come listen to the Smoking Politics Hour's first talk show, with me and James Boyce, through Blog Talk Radio - and call in. Or you can listen to it later. Click here or on the Blog Talk Radio icon below to join in.

blog radio


Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:59 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos | TrackBack

Breaking News! - A Democrat Defended Another Democrat!!!!!

This may be a first: A Democrat publicly defended another Democrat against right-wing attacks today!

Hillary Smacks White House Over Criticism Of Pelosi's Syria Trip | TPMCafe,

In a little-noticed interview with WSYR radio, Hillary has finally spoken out on the bogus Pelosi-to-Syria controversy, defending the Speaker from the phony charges being lodged against her by the GOP and the White House...
Perhaps a reader can provide an answer to this: Is this the first time this has happened? Has a Democrat ever stood up for another Democrat before today?

Posted by Dave Johnson at 12:37 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos | TrackBack

Bush Orders Congress To "Report" To Him

Bush in full-on authoritarian mode: President Bush Discusses Iraq War Supplemental, War on Terror,

... So I'm inviting congressional leaders from both parties -- both political parties -- to meet with me at the White House next week. At this meeting, the leaders in Congress can report on progress on getting an emergency spending bill to my desk. [emphasis added]
I don't know how many of you took a class called "civics" in school, but that class explained how our government works. Congress does not "report" to the President. In fact, the President is required in our Constitution to report to Congress.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 12:27 PM | Comments (1) | Link Cosmos | TrackBack

"Sleeper Cells" Infiltrating Our Government

Yet Another "Sleeper Cell" - "Sleeper Cells" infiltrating the government, waiting for the chance to take over - or to destroy a Democratic Presidency.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:26 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos | TrackBack

It's The Food - Not The People

Severely Obese Are Fastest Growing Segment of Overweight Americans

The proportion of severely obese Americans -- those with a body mass index of 40 or more -- increased by 50 percent from 2000 to 2005, twice as fast as the increase in moderate obesity, a new study finds.

... A typical severely obese man weighs 300 pounds at a height of 5 feet 10 inches, while a typical severely obese woman weighs 250 pounds at a height of 5 feet 4 inches.

When EVERYONE is suddenly gaining weight since 2000 we have to look at why. EVERYone doesn't just become irresponsible at the same time. Is it marketing? Is it additives? Is it formulations?

Is it a reaction to the stress of life in a Bush America - loss of health care, loss of pensions, fear of job loss, massive debt, etc...?

WHY are so many of us becoming obese and "severely obese" at the same time?

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:46 AM | Comments (1) | Link Cosmos | TrackBack

Fear

Instead of being afraid of what Republicans have traditionally told people to be afraid of, now most people are just afraid of Republicans.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:18 AM | Comments (1) | Link Cosmos | TrackBack

April 9, 2007

Party Over Country On The Draft

OK, because of Bush's "surge" the country has run flat out of troops to fight in Iraq and is dipping way into the National Guard. Again.

This is serious shit. There are times when you need a ready armed force. Responsible leaders do not use up the military like this without calling up a draft to cover emergencies. If Bush gave a hoot about defending the country he would start an emergency draft, and increases taxes to pay for this mess.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 3:58 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos | TrackBack

Laurie And Sheryl Didn't Make It Very Far Before Exxon Tried To Slash Tour Bus Tires

By Dave Johnson and James Boyce

When Al Gore's movie, An Inconvenient Truth won the Oscar for Best Documentary, it didn't take him long to be attacked by the Right Wing $MEAR machine. (And the mainstream media didn't help much but not even checking out the basic facts of the story.)

So this morning when Laurie David and Sheryl Crow kicked off their Stop Global Warming tour, where they are doing outrageous things like discussing the reality of global warming and how concerned college students, aka our nation's future, can become involved, surely you didn't expect the oil companies to let them slide did you. Of course not.

Here are the first couple of shots. One accuses ABC NEWS of letting their on-air talent be used for a "political agenda."

For anyone who wants us to connect the dots, here they are.

1. Newsbusters is a project of The Media Research Center.

2. Media Research Center is, believe it or not, a charitable organization so if you give money to them, you get a tax deduction.

Founded in 1987, the MRC is a 501 (c)(3) non profit research and education foundation.
3. Media Research recently gave Rush Limbaugh an award for "Media Excellence." We can't make this shit up if we tried.

4. And who gives them a nice $50,000 check every year? And gets the tax deduction? ExxonMobil.

Let's be clear.

Global Warming is not a political issue, it is a scientific fact.

The attempt to turn it into a partisan issue is a political issue and is being done by the Right Wing donors, such as ExxonMobil, who have the most to lose if we move to alternative energies. If you can turn it into a political issue, you can begin to hide the facts.

Know the facts, and you know the truth. So get on the bus with Laurie and Sheryl.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 3:19 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos | TrackBack

Racism In The Media - With Update

For those of you who do not know, radio personality (simulcast on MSNBC) Don Imus referred to the Rutgers women's basketball team, which has black members, as "nappy-headed hos." Another guest on the show referred to a game between "The Jigaboos vs. The Wannabees."

Right-wing blogger Macsmind,

Another “White” celebrity in trouble for supposed “racist” remarks, this time it’s Don Imus. [...] this “parsing for racism” ONLY when it’s occurs by whites needs to stop now. ... Until then shut up.
Update - MSNBC today "suspended" Imus for two weeks. MSNBC didn't suspend him after this happened on the show, it suspended him after this started to become a widely discussed issue.

The white boy's club that runs this country...

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:17 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos | TrackBack

April 7, 2007

In The Tank For Bush & The Right

Is it just me, or does it seem to you like the media is much more in the tank for Bush and the right since the election?

On another subject, does it seem to you that the US Attorney scandal has faded from the news with nothing being done, leaving in place US Attorneys who let Republicans and corporate criminals off the hook, while investigating or indicting Democrats? My prediction - if these US Attorneys stay in place, the lead-up to the 2008 election will include LOTS of news stories about Democrats being investigated and indicted, and no stories about Republicans being investigated at all.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:31 PM | Comments (2) | Link Cosmos | TrackBack

Saturday Cartoons

BobGeiger.com: The Saturday Cartoons

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:40 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos | TrackBack

April 6, 2007

Treatment of Prisoners

Mistreatment of prisoners is wrong when the United States does it, and wrong when Iran does it. Bush and the authoritarian right's acceptance of such treatment doesn't make it right when Iran does it. Bush should be removed from office and tried for war crimes, and so should Iranian President Ahmadinejad.


Posted by Dave Johnson at 6:37 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos | TrackBack

White-Collar Jobs, Too

"Fast-tracking" your job out the door. When is the last time you saw something "Made in the USA"?

When was the last time you saw someone on TV or read in your local newspaper about the benefits of joining a union?

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:12 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos | TrackBack

April 4, 2007

skippy

what has skippy the bush kangaroo been up to lately?

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:40 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos | TrackBack

Their COVER STORY Was Even Illegal

The Bush administration - again too clever by half.

Clever once: Recently Bush claimed that "executive privilege" prevents staff e-mails from being turned over to Congress. Except in an attempt to keep the e-mails away from legal scrutiny many were illegally routed through the Republican Party, which means they aren't privileged. Too clever by half.

Clever again: When the Bush administration fired US Attorney Iglesias because he didn't indict enough Democrats, they tried to explain it with a cover story claiming he was fired because he took too much time away from the office. Well, you see, Iglesias is a captain in the Navy Reserve. And there is a law that says you can't fire someone because they have to attend Reserve duty.

So Newsweek is reporting that,

Iglesias confirmed to NEWSWEEK that he was recently questioned by lawyers for the Office of Special Counsel, an independent federal watchdog agency, to determine if his dismissal was a violation of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), a federal law that prohibits job discrimination against members of the U.S. military.

At the encouragement of Office of Special Counsel director Scott Bloch and his deputies, Iglesias said he is this week filing a formal legal complaint with OSC against the Justice Department over his dismissal on this and other grounds.

I learned about this through TPMmuckraker April 4, 2007 04:56 PM

Posted by Dave Johnson at 3:35 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos | TrackBack

Ethnic Cleansing In Iraq If We Leave?

Gates sees Iraq "ethnic cleansing" if U.S. pulls out,

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Wednesday warned that limiting troops' activities in
Iraq and withdrawing from Baghdad could lead to "ethnic cleansing" in the capital and elsewhere in the country.
I agree. Civil war is happening now, but who protects the civilians if we leave? This is what Bush brought to Iraq, maybe to the region. But what do we do now? Do we stay and try to keep the civil war from turning into out-and-out slaughter? Of course, with Bush in charge that isn't even what we are doing there...

Discuss.

(Note - I turned off the requirement that commenters be registered to see what would happen, and received over 20 spam comments in less than 10 minutes, so I turned it back on. Please leave a comment so I know it is working now.)

Posted by Dave Johnson at 2:07 PM | Comments (1) | Link Cosmos | TrackBack

As Surely As Night Follows Day - Smears Follow Bush Criticisms

Co-written with James Boyce

The other day in the New York Times, Bush "campaign strategist" Matthew Dowd was quoted saying he had "lost faith" in Bush. From the article, Bush campaign strategist Matthew Dowd says he has "lost faith in Bush."

"Looking back, Mr. Dowd now says his faith in Mr. Bush was misplaced.

In a wide-ranging interview here, Mr. Dowd called for a withdrawal from Iraq and expressed his disappointment in Mr. Bush's leadership.

He criticized the president as failing to call the nation to a shared sense of sacrifice at a time of war, failing to reach across the political divide to build consensus and ignoring the will of the people on Iraq. He said he believed the president had not moved aggressively enough to hold anyone accountable for the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, and that Mr. Bush still approached governing with a "my way or the highway" mentality reinforced by a shrinking circle of trusted aides."

As surely as night follows day the right began the smear campaign. Mr. Dowd, you see, is "emotional" and has "personal problems."

Through Think Progress, White House Claims Dowd Is Too Emotional, Turned On Bush Because Of 'Personal Turmoil' and The Huffington Post has the following video in White House Blames Matthew Dowd's Criticism Of Bush On "Personal Problems":

Picking up on the White House's cue, conservative weblog Captains Quarter's, in Dowd Bails On Bush, writes,

The man whom I believed so rational turns out to have run on emotion...

... As much as I like Dowd, and he is a very likable man in person ... boo hoo. I can't believe this Dowd is a grown-up.

... So Bush didn't act as a uniter. Neither did the Democrats, who spent most of the first term calling Bush the "Commander-in-Thief", constantly undermining his authority. ...

... Dowd engages in one long, petulant rant, consumed by his disappointment at Bush's failure to change when Dowd changed. I'm sorry for Dowd's disappointment, but this says much more about Dowd's emotionalism than it does about the Bush administration.

Others chimed in:

Are the Only Republicans in the New York Times' Rolodex Liberal Republicans?,

One of the reasons the Left-Wing Media pulled so hard for Democrats to win back Congress in 2006 is surely that they were sick of going to meetings that didn't matter. Hard to impress Hill interns with your access when all you know are disgruntled Democrats.
And others:

The author of "Flip-Flop" flips

April Fool (but no joke)

And finally President Bush himself, always one to pursue a carefully-crafted talking point, said Dowd is "emotional."

...noting that Mr. Dowd has a son in the Army who is awaiting deployment, Mr. Bush added, "I understand his anguish over war; I understand this is an emotional issue for Matthew, as it is for a lot of other people in our country."
Of course no one in President Bush's family - or few other conservative leaders' families, for that matter - is at risk of being sent to Iraq. The logic apparently being that not having to personally face the consequences of their decisions qualifies them to be deciding issues of war and peace.

Update - From a New York Times editorial today,

"President Bush and his advisers have made a lot of ridiculous charges about critics of the war in Iraq: they're unpatriotic, they want the terrorists to win, they don't support the troops, to cite just a few. But none of these seem quite as absurd as President Bush's latest suggestion, that critics of the war whose children are at risk are too "emotional" to see things clearly.

The direct target was Matthew Dowd, one of the chief strategists of Mr. Bush's 2004 presidential campaign, who has grown disillusioned with the president and the war, which he made clear in an interview with Jim Rutenberg published in The Times last Sunday. But by extension, Mr. Bush's comments were insulting to the hundreds of thousands of Americans whose sons, daughters, sisters, brothers and spouses have served or will serve in Iraq. "


Dave Johnson and James Boyce have spent over a year researching, exposing and trying to stop the Right Wing dual strategy of $ell and $mear. You can read more at www.smokingpolitics.com.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 1:31 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos | TrackBack

Wal-Mart Operating A Private Spy Network?

Fired Wal-Mart worker claims surveillance ops: report|Business News|Reuters.com,

As part of the surveillance, the retailer last year had a long-haired employee infiltrate an anti-Wal-Mart group to determine if it planned protests at the company's annual meeting, according to Bruce Gabbard, the fired security worker, the Journal said.

The company also deployed cutting-edge monitoring systems made by a supplier to the Defense Department that allowed it to capture and record the actions of anyone connected to its global computer network, the Journal said.

So we have to worry about more than just Bush...

Watch your backs.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 12:31 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos | TrackBack

Uh-Oh!

Oh No!!!

I thought YOU were watching him!

What could happen if we don't get Bush out in time.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:48 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos | TrackBack

Pelosi Wears Scarf - Wingnuts In Full-On Frenzy

Sheesh. Speaker Pelosi wore a head covering whie visiting a mosque, and the right-wingers are in a frothing, seething, full-on anti-Muslim racist frenzy.

scarf1.jpg

Never mind that Laura Bush and Condoleeza Rice ALSO wore headcoverings when visiting mosques, as well as when visiting the Vatican.

22cnd-laura-bush.2.jpg condi.jpg

So here they go: Pelosi Allows Radical Muslim Propaganda Coup,

"The anti-American propaganda this woman has given the very people who want to totally destroy us is immense."
Here's a good one,
"Tired of being beheaded, hijacked, kidnapped and terrorized? Try Dhimmitude! It's 100% submissive and guaranteed to appease the enemies of freedom. Well, temporally anyway. Because that's all we have to do you know, is just be nice to them. [. . .] The left wants peace at any cost. Terrorism pays."
Another, with a dose of pure anti-Muslim racism:
"I guess the Muslims will give her props for the head scarf, after all she is playing the role of a good dhimmicrat. Then again, depending on how sensitive the Syrians are feeling, she may of sparked another international “Religion of Peace” murderous rage."
See also Has speaker Pelosi committed sedition by her visit to the mideast?

Go see the pics and read The Mahablog : Pelosi Wears Scarf; Righties Bark at Moon

And to really understand America's right, read the 800 comments here.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:00 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos | TrackBack

Waxman Requests Illegal White House E-Mails Sent Through Republican Party

There is a law that says all communications by White House employees must be preserved. Trying to dodge around that law, many White House employees used alternate e-mail addresses for official correspondence. Many of these e-mails were handled by the Republican Party's e-mail servers.

Now that this has come out, the Congress is requesting to see those e-mails - which are the property of the public. I've included the entire letter below, and you can also read the request at Speaker Pelosi's blog, The Gavel: Waxman Requests Emails:

April 4, 2007

Mike Duncan
Chairman
Republican National Committee
310 First Street, SE
Washington, DC 20003

Dear Mr. Duncan:

I am writing to request e-mail communications stored on Republican National Committee servers that relate to the use of federal agencies and federal resources for partisan political purposes.

Last week, the Committee held a hearing into allegations of misconduct at the General Services Administration. One of the issues examined at the hearing involved a partisan political presentation that White House Deputy Director of Political Affairs, J. Scott Jennings, made to the GSA Administrator, Lurita A. Doan, and approximately 40 GSA appointees in the GSA headquarters building on January 26, 2007. At this event, Mr. Jennings presented a 28-page PowerPoint briefing that reviewed the 2006 election results and identified the Republican party’s top electoral targets in upcoming federal and state elections. Following the presentation, Ms. Doan asked her staff to consider how GSA resources could be used to help “our candidates” in the next election.

Serious questions were raised at the hearing about the legality and propriety of Mr. Jennings’s presentation and the discussion that followed it. In addition, the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service issued a report finding that the presentation itself and Ms. Doan’s comments could be violations of the federal Hatch Act.[1] According to a White House spokesperson, however: “This is regular communication from the White House to political appointees throughout the administration.”[2]

In communicating with GSA about the presentation, Mr. Jennings and his assistant used “gwb43.com” e-mail accounts maintained by the RNC rather than their official White House e-mail accounts. In their e-mails, they described the presentation as a “close hold” and said that “we’re not supposed to be emailing it around.”[3]

To assist the Committee in its investigation of these issues, I request that you provide any electronic messages sent or received by Karl Rove, J. Scott Jennings, or any other White House officials using accounts maintained by the RNC that relate to (1) the January 26, 2007, PowerPoint presentation at GSA, (2) the presentation of any similar political briefings at other federal agencies or to other federal employees, or (3) the use of federal agencies or resources to help Republican candidates.

The Committee requests that you produce these documents on or before April 18, 2007.

The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is the principal oversight committee in the House of Representatives and has broad oversight jurisdiction as set forth in House Rule X. An attachment to this letter provides additional information about how to respond to the Committee’s request.

If you have any questions regarding this request, please contact David Rapallo or Anna Laitin with the Committee staff at (202) 225-5420.

Sincerely,

Henry A. Waxman
Chairman

Enclosure

cc: Tom Davis
Ranking Minority Member

——————————————————————————–

[1] Memorandum from Congressional Research Service to House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Meetings, Conferences as “Political Activities” in a Federal Office, and “Hatch Act” Considerations (Mar. 26, 2007) (online at www.oversight.house.gov/ Documents/20070328154603-20874.pdf).

[2] Panel Asks Rove for Information on ’08 Election Presentation, Washington Post (Mar. 30, 2007).

[3] Email from Jocelyn Webster to Tessa Truesdale (Jan. 19, 2007) (W-02-0310).

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:51 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos | TrackBack

April 2, 2007

Senator McCain needlessly endangered the lives of over 100 US Troops for a Photo Opp

Last week Senator John McCain attempted to sell a rosy picture of the situation in Iraq on CNN with Wolf Blitzer. He failed of course. He got smacked down in grand fashion. It was actually quite embarrassing to watch a man of his former stature demonstrate such a large degree of disconnectedness.

It got worse, much worse. Over the weekend I saw pictures on the major networks of the Senator in Iraq wearing a bullet proof vest, walking in an area outside the green zone, in a market I believe.

This was clearly another stunt in a series of stunts all designed to pull the wool over the American people's eyes. On this matter Senator McCain has clearly "jumped the shark". This was nothing more than a PR stunt which was part of his political agenda to sell an unsubstantiated rosy scenario to the American people.

But the important issue is not his false and failed message, so much as his careless disregard for the troops. The news coverage said there were over 100 soldiers and 5 helicopters on hand for this media spectacle. How dare he endanger the lives of US servicemen and women, and Iraqi civilians so he can have his self serving political photo opp!

Try to imagine the extent of the GOP outrage if Senator Hillary Clinton or Senator Obama or for that matter any other Democratic Candidate had done this.

My question is will the Democrats and the MSM media call him to task for this blatant PR stunt and the more serious danger it posed to US troops?

You can bet your as the GOP machine would lay to waste any Democrat who would dare to pull off such a disgusting pr move, and rightfully so. Hell I'd join them!

Posted by Ron Sheridan at 12:58 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos | TrackBack

YearlyKos In August

It's time to be thinking about going to the YearlyKos Convention this year. It is going to be August 2-5 in Chicago.

Visit the website, and maybe drop them a dollar or two to help make it happen!

Posted by Dave Johnson at 12:53 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos | TrackBack

April 1, 2007

Pet-Food Contaminant Might Be In Human Food, Too!

The Huffington Post | David Goldstein: Tainted Wheat Gluten Sold as "Food Grade",

Del Monte Foods has confirmed that the melamine-tainted wheat gluten used in several of its recalled pet food products was supplied as a "food grade" additive, raising the likelihood that contaminated wheat gluten might have entered the human food supply.

"Yes, it is food grade," Del Monte spokesperson Melissa Murphy-Brown wrote in reply to an e-mail query.

So is it in human food? The agency whose job it is to tell us ... won't tell us.
Stephen F. Sundlof, director of the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Veterinary Medicine said the FDA is not aware of any contaminated gluten that went into human food but said he could not confirm this "with 100 percent certainty." Wheat gluten is a common food additive used as a thickener, dough conditioner, and meat substitute. It is widely used as an additive in commercial bakery items and special purpose flours.

The FDA announced today that it has traced the contaminated wheat gluten to a single processor, Xuzhou Anying Biological Technology of Peixian, China, but has not released the name of the U.S. distributor who supplied the product to Del Monte, Menu Foods, Nestle Purina, and Hills Nutritional. [emphasis added]

... Public statements have indicated that the contaminated gluten was distributed by a single U.S. company, but since the FDA refuses to name the supplier, it is not yet known if this company also supplies human food manufacturers. It is also not yet known if Xuzhou Anying sells direct to food manufacturers in the U.S. or abroad.

If FDA won't release the name of the distributor, how do we find out if this is in human food, and which food? People are wondering if their food is contaminated and the government will not let them know?

If this was on the other foot this would be used as agitprop with headlines at Drudge, etc., making claims that all our food is contaminated along with accusations that the Democrats are being paid to cover it up.

Meanwhile, Down With Tyranny asks if this is happening because of Republican deregulation and outsourcing?

Sadly No,

Our rulers, reactionary and neoliberal, presume the following heirarchies: Cheap > healthy; free trade > heavy (safe, conscientious, fair) regulation.

It’s economics, stupid. Now eat up.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:10 PM | Comments (1) | Link Cosmos | TrackBack

Media Matters

"Media Matters"; by Jamison Foser,

How many ways can one news outlet demonstrate that it is out of touch with the public in one week?

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:45 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos | TrackBack

Drumming Up The Fear For Summer

Headlined at Drudge, this: IDF intelligence: Iran, Hizbullah preparing for possible US strike - Israel News, Ynetnews.

Sounds bad, no? Iran AND Hizbullah both getting ready to strike at the United Stastes this summer!

But if you do what most people do not do - click through to the story and read it - it does NOT say they are preparing to strike the U.S. It says they fear that the U.S. is going to attack them.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:23 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos | TrackBack

One more reason why the DLC should be run out of town.

Ever since 1988, the controlling DLC faction has oriented Democratic campaigns toward moderate and independent "swing voters". This actually worked in 1992, but only at the Presidential level, and the rabidly partisan Gingrich Republicans gained control of Congress in 1994. Pursuing his centrist strategy, Clinton further weakened Congressional Democrats by working against them and relying on Republican votes to get his program through.

Now, Matt Dowd, the Bush strategist who just jumped ship, also happens to be the guy who showed Karl Rove in 2002 that most voters (93%) are partisan and that elections are won by getting out the base. In 2004 Rove picked that up and ran with it. However, all Dowd really did was figure out that the toxic Gingrich-Delay strategy would work at the Presidential level too.

The Democrats used to be the smart party, but now they're the dumb party. Hillary Clinton hasn't learned anything in thirteen years and is still running to the almost non-existent center -- to a degree, so is Obama. And the Democrats' party pros and retainered consultants are still mostly the Froms and Shrums who've helped us lose for all these years. (Of course, while the Democratic Party pros are pretty bad, if you want real clueless idiocy you have to go to the editorial pages and read what those fatheads have to say. David Broder is only the worst of a bad lot.)

Increasingly, Democrats are running as Democrats, but the Democratic Party still has some housecleaning to do.

Sysyphus Shrugged on Dowd / Digby on Dowd / Firedoglake on Dowd

Posted by John Emerson at 4:45 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos | TrackBack