July 31, 2007
It is possible, just possible,that things have gotten just a little bit better in Iraq. If so, this is a good thing, for all concerned. Let's just hope it is true. Maybe with a bit of breathing room the world can start to find a way out of the terrible, terrible mess that Bush and the Republicans have created for the entire region.
American and Iraqi casualties are down a bit: U.S. forces welcome least deadly month of Iraq push
Of course, the people still live in terrible fear, neighborhoods are experiencing "ethnic cleansing," millions of refugees have fled, death squads act with near-impunity, and the Iraqi Parliament responds, Bush-style, by leaving on vacation.
But maybe, just maybe, things are a bit better than they were. Let's hope so.
You may have heard that the FBI searched Republican Senator Stevens' house yesterday.Senator Stevens. But you may not have heard that the Republican Justice Department gave him a warning and time to clear out any evidence.
Stevens said in a statement that his attorneys were advised of the impending search yesterday morning.I spent nearly 9 years as a federal prosecutor. I'm not aware of a single instance when any prosecutor or agent told anyone outside the Justice Department that a search warrant was going to be executed later in the day.
This is really funny:
I think on principle impeachment is important. We have never seen lawlessness and defiance of the Constitution like this. It is important to make the statement that leaders cannot do this,
But a question: What happens if the House impeaches and enough Republicans in the Senate block conviction. Wouldn't that mean that Bush is excused and is free to continue on as he pleases? Does it set a very dangerous precedent?
John Edwards is really starting to sound great. Watch this video:
If you thought that was good, watch this one, where he talks about why the media is promoting the "haircut" story:
The other day I wrote that it doesn't matter how well we fix the voting machines because there is no reason for people to trust the results unless there is a paper ballot printed out and checked by the voter. These ballots can be checked against whatever the machine reports and can be used to PROVE that the results are accurate or not.
That is, of course, not the whole solution to our voting problems. Remember the long lines in Democratic-majority precincts in Ohio, etc... You can only count the ballots of those people fortunate enough to make it past the obstacles put in place to keep them from voting.
I received a letter about this:
The problem with the [voting machine hacking] reports and your reply is that they may be barking up the wrong tree.
As we have seen in OH, it the insiders, not the outside hackers, that are the biggest threat. These reports seem to be missing that. All the procedures and rules don't mean a thing if the folks that have implemented the rules, and know exactly how to circumvent them, are themselves untrustworthy.
The only solution I have come up with is to greatly increase election transparency. It takes the peoples' eyes to assure that elections are run fairly. But I'm sure you know that.
July 30, 2007
I will be leaving Wednesday for Chicago to attend YearlyKos.
Thursday at 8am I am moderating a session titled Connecting Major Donors to the Netroots. The panelists are:
Lisa Seitz Gruwell
Rob Stein of Democracy Alliance, who will give his famous (in certain circles) presentation on the right's infrastructure and funding.
At 9:30 I am moderating a session titled Creating a Culture of Grassroots Giving. The panelists are:
Joe Rospars, now of the Obama for America campaign
Joe Trippi, now of the Edwards for President campaign
Shai Sachs of MyDD
I am also a panelist at the following sessions:
Early in June I wrote about a house down the street marked as 'Coming Soon'. I just thought I would mention that the house now has a "Price Reduced" sign on it.
And in other housing-bubble news, Signs of contagion in the U.S. housing downturn
By the end of last week, any lingering hope that the housing downturn in the United States would be contained had vanished. As this week begins, signs of contagion seem to be everywhere.American Home Mortgage tumbles on liquidity issues,
Unnerved by mounting losses in mortgage-related investments, investors have started to shun tens of billions of dollars in corporate debt offers as well - and seem likely to go on doing so for months to come. That would stanch the flow of easy money that has fueled the leveraged buyout boom, which would, in turn, expose the extent to which stocks have also come to depend on cheap credit.
Stocks took a dive last week because debt-driven buyouts had long boosted the share prices of targeted companies. Stocks have also benefited directly from easy money because public companies have borrowed heavily to buy back their own stock, a ploy to drive up earnings per share.
American Home Mortgage Investment Corp shares fell sharply Monday after the company delayed its quarterly dividend, announced “major” write-downs, and said lenders were demanding it put up more cash.Continues...
... American Home specializes in prime and near-prime loans. It has, however, made many loans that allow borrowers to produce little documentation of income or assets. American Home, organized as a real estate investment trust, recently commanded a roughly 2.5 percent share of the U.S. mortgage market.
“Bankruptcy is not out of the question,” said Matt Howlett, an analyst at Fox-Pitt Kelton Inc. in New York. “It needs to find a partner with alternative funding and hope the market turns around. It's going to be tough.”
He added, “It's clear now we're in a liquidity crisis. Any loans that aren't pure prime are falling in value.”
GMAC Financial Services, the finance company formerly controlled by General Motors Corp., said Monday continued losses from its home lending operations caused second-quarter profit to fall sharply.http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2007/07/30/ap3967119.htmlSector Snap: Mortgage REITs Dive
Shares of mortgage real estate investment trusts plummeted Monday after the New York Stock Exchange halted trading of shares of American Home Mortgage Investment Corp. pending an announcement from the troubled mortgage lender.U.S. mortgage woes claim first German victim,
The move spooked already jittery investors, deepening worries that the subprime mortgage market fallout is far from over.
The U.S. sub-prime mortgage crisis claimed lender IKB as a first victim in Germany on Monday, triggering sharp falls in other German bank shares on fears that they, too, could face sudden problems.
... But IKB's exposure to complicated U.S. mortgage investments was the first time the sub-prime spectre had loomed in Europe's biggest economy. It scared investors, fuelling worries that other German banks could be affected in the same way.
David Neiwert writes about Bill O'Reilly of FOX News in Orcinus: Bill O'Reilly, hatemonger. He has a number of quotes from O'Reilly himself, including "Well, I want to kill Michael Moore" and "Mexican wetbacks" and talking about a "final solution" for dealing with Arabs.
July 29, 2007
The California Secretary of State ordered tests on all the voting machines. They flunked. Most vote machines lose test to hackers,
State-sanctioned teams of computer hackers were able to break through the security of virtually every model of California's voting machines and change results or take control of some of the systems' electronic functions, according to a University of California study released Friday.Suppose they fix these "vulnerabilities? But o matter how much testing you do and bugs or vulnerabilities you fix there are going to be more - the ones we don't know about. That is how it is with computers.
The researchers "were able to bypass physical and software security in every machine they tested,'' said Secretary of State Debra Bowen, who authorized the "top to bottom review" of every voting system certified by the state.
Here's a simple test for election systems: "Prove it." What do I mean? Suppose you have a perfect voting machine and every possible security problem that anyone can think of is accounted for. The machine's code is carefully inspected. The hardware is working. So I go in and cast a vote, and they say, "Your vote was recorded accurately." I say, "Prove it."
They can't. So I'm not happy.
Or, imagine this test: You ask them to let you cast the only vote and then they count the votes. You cast a vote for 'A' but tell them that you cast a vote for 'B'. There is no way they can PROVE you did that. So no one has a reason to trust the "election" results.
Here is the answer - the only answer. After you cast your vote, a paper record of your vote is printed, you look at it, and you put it into a separate box. Now there is a way to PROVE how people voted. You open the box, you count the ballots. You prove it.
The only solution to the voting machines problem is to print a paper ballot that the voter examines. If you have that system in place then it doesn't matter if the machine was hacked, or broken, or you made a mistake. With that piece of paper you have a way to double-check what the machine did. Without that piece of paper it doesn't matter how secure the machine is - because you can't prove it.
July 26, 2007
Following today's terrible stock market, more mortgage-backed news:
Bear Stearns Cos. said late Thursday that it seized assets from its High-Grade Structured Credit Strategies Fund after the hedge fund suffered huge losses in mortgage-backed securities and structured-finance markets.
UPDATE 2-Wells Fargo shuts subprime mortgage unit,cuts jobs|Funds News|Reuters.com
Wells Fargo & Co., the second-largest U.S. mortgage lender, said on Thursday it will close its subprime wholesale lending business, which processes and funds loans for third-party brokers, citing turmoil in the market for riskier home loans.Foreclosure rates could soar,
The company will shut operations in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, causing a loss of 170 jobs, and in Des Moines, Iowa, where it will seek other jobs for 67 workers. Wells Fargo also cut 444 subprime jobs last winter.
The already poor performance of many mortgage loans will worsen substantially through the rest of the year, according to an analysis released Thursday by Moody's Economy.com.
The company predicts that 2.5 million first mortgages will default this year, with little chance for improvement soon - Economy.com expects delinquencies to peak in the summer of 2008 at 3.6 percent of all outstanding mortgage debt, up from 2.9 percent during the first three months of 2007.
The next and biggest wave of problem loans could come as monthly payments soar for both prime and subprime borrowers who took out adjustable-rate loans with little or no documentation, or who used so-called piggyback loans on top of their first mortgages to make up for small down payments, analysts said.
Become a Fox Attacker. Help identify FOX News advertisers (national and local) for the database. Then let advertisers know what is being said on FOX News. This is not a boycott, it is letting advertisers know what is being done with their advertising dollars.
Fight back! Become a Fox Attacker.Thanks to Brave New Films.
Fox is not a legitimate news channel. They consistently misrepresent facts, manufacture terror, and slander progressives.
We're fighting back by identifying and calling all of FOX's advertisers. All of them. Particularly local advertisers who probably have no idea the kind of hatred their money is supporting.
We’re fighting back by identifying and calling all of FOX’s advertisers. All of them. Particularly local advertisers who probably have no idea the kind of hatred their money is supporting.
This is not a boycott. We are simply calling advertisers and informing them about FOX. And making Bill O’Reilly’s life a living hell.
I've just become a proud "FOX Attacker". Now you can too. It's not a boycott. It's simply calling advertisers and informing them what FOX says. FOX can't survive that. Have a blog? Then help spread the word.
Down about 312 as I write this. Now 320... Now a minute later 333... 349... 345... 362... 383... 396... 405... better just go see for yourself. 443...
Go look at details: ^DJI: Summary for DOW JONES INDUSTRIAL AVERAGE IN
"The market is correcting because of uncertainty about how bad the subprime credit problem is going to be. We're in a period of fear and uncertainty right now, and these things can take a while to sort out," said Sam Rahman, portfolio manager at Baring Asset Management Inc.
Sales of new homes fell in June by the largest amount in five months as the housing industry continued to struggle with its worst downturn in 16 years. The median home price also fell.An important note about that median price - we have a bifurcated economy where the rich are richer. So houses at the top of the market are selling well. This means that the median price reflects that high price point at the top. REGULAR housing prices are falling much more than this indicates.
... Sales are now 22.3 percent below the level of a year ago.
The median price of a new home sold last month dropped to $237,900, down by 2.2 percent from a year ago.
Prices Update - I want to emphasize what I said about prices. If the only houses selling at all are at the top, this will raise the median price.
Another factor that distorts prices is "incentives." If a homebuilder is selling a house for $400K but throws in a new $60,000 Mercedes as and "incentive" to buy the house, the sales is reported as a $400K sale. And all across the country homebuilders are offering these incentives.
Prices are falling, it's just that the reporting methods do not reflect what is happening. We are just coming out of a bubble -- just like stocks did. Do not think about the price of a house in relation to where it was priced during the bubble. If you did that with Enron stock, you thought you were getting a bargain. Think about where the price will be, not where it was.
Look at it this way. We have house prices way higher than anyone can afford. We have the highest inventory of unsold houses in a long time - ever? We have the lenders tightening credit so fewer people can buy houses. We know prices are falling. We have a huge number of people falling behind on their payments and huge numbers of houses going into foreclosure. And it is just starting.
Anyone buying a house right now is an idiot. Prices are probably about double where they should be. Like I said earlier, remember Enron stock and think about where the price will be, not where it was.
Susan Madrak at Suburban Guerrilla writes today about Shredding the Constitution
History will not judge us kindly if we let this pass.
The Center for Media and Democracy is sponsoring a "Breakfast with the Troops" in Chicago on Sunday, August 5, 9 a.m. at the Yearly Kos extravaganza in the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place.
Join Sheldon Rampton and me for coffee, pastries and a moderated discussion of how online activists can better support our troops in their own resistance to the war in Iraq. We'll be discussing the war with Garett Reppenhagen, Aaron Hughes and other soldiers who are the backbone of Iraq Veterans Against the War, IVAW.
... August 5th's "Breakfast with the Troops" is an opportunity for Yearly Kos attendees to converse with a constituency crucial to stopping the war, anti-war soldiers themselves.
July 25, 2007
Over at The Left Coaster Steve Soto is endorsing Hillary. Steve says Hillary can
·Most capably deal with the biases of the corporate media;This follows the recent endorsement by Ambassador Joe Wilson.
·Most capably fight the right wing smear machine;
·Ruthlessly battle the GOP’s likely 2008 campaign tactics;
·Obtain the nomination and,
·Most importantly, step into the job in January 2009.
The other day I wrote that I am not endorsing anyone for now. I do not dislike any of the major candidates.
Fox News and Bill O'Reilly have been threatening corporations like JetBlue that sponsor the YearlyKos convention, telling their viewers that DailyKos is a "hate site." JetBlue caved and wrote a public letter, echoing that DailyKos is a "hate site."
So AmericaBlog took a look at O'Reilly's site. Go see Bill O'Reilly's Web site threatens Hillary's life - AMERICAblog.
If Hillary wins, I will be respectful of our leader. If you could read my thoughts, I would be on the SS [Secret Service] watch list.
As a woman, i would open the door for her.....now, if there was nothing on the other side but empty space and a 50 foot drop into a moat filled leeches and (gulp) rats...well, I can't be held responsible.
They have the screen shots, too.
Over at All Spin Zone, “Welcome Back Bob. Now, STFU.”
Bush welcomes back Bob Woodruff, a reporter injured by a bob in Iraq. The Woodruff asks a questions, and Bush says,
“Just because I recognized you, Bob, doesn’t mean I’m going to answer your questions here.”As All Spin Zone puts it:
(Of course, CNN obediently left out that part of the exchange in their report.)
In other words: “Thanks for being here as a prop for me, Bob, now shut the fuck up.”
July 24, 2007
Countrywide said payments were at least 30 days late at the end of second quarter on 4.56% of prime home-equity loans serviced by the company, up from 1.77% a year earlier.A huge jump from 1.77% to 4.56% of prime mortgages with late payments, and from 15.33% to 23.71% of sub-prime. And housing prices haven't even really started falling yet.
Payments were late on 23.71% of sub-prime mortgage loans, up from 15.33% at the end of the same period in 2006, the company said.
But they will.
Do you remember that Al Gore was accused of improperly making a fundraising call from a government office, and of improper fundraising when he visited a Buddhist temple? The right's machine was able to turn these insignificant events into major, major scandal stories that are still repeated to this day. A Google search yields more than half a million websites that mention these. They even tried to get another special prosecutor just for this, claiming that the Clinton Justice Department would cover up Gore's crimes. (Remember, lack of evidence of ANY Clinton or Gore wrongdoing was proof of a massive coverup conspiracy.)
The Republicans even made an accusation that Clinton used his Christmas card list for political purposes into a major story, with a Congressional investigation and days of hearings. They even made a huge scandal out of an accusation that the Clinton White Hose "tracked donors."
As a result much of the public to this day thinks that the Clinton White House improperly used the government to help them raise funds.
Compare and contrast - does thie public "know" about the Bush corruption of the entire government for political purposes? Is is getting the same coverage in the media? Political Briefings At Agencies Disclosed,
White House officials conducted 20 private briefings on Republican electoral prospects in the last midterm election for senior officials in at least 15 government agencies covered by federal restrictions on partisan political activity, a White House spokesman and other administration officials said yesterday.This is not about fundraising, this is about use of the power of the government itself to promote the interests of a political party.
The previously undisclosed briefings were part of what now appears to be a regular effort in which the White House sent senior political officials to brief top appointees in government agencies on which seats Republican candidates might win or lose, and how the election outcomes could affect the success of administration policies, the officials said.
And today, not just the Bush Justice Department and the General Services Administration, also the State Department,
Karl Rove ... instructed his White House deputies to repeatedly brief State Department officials and U.S. ambassadors in key foreign missions about GOP electoral priorities.
[. . .] raises the question of how U.S. foreign policy, and specific binational relationships, is unfolding right now to serve a partisan agenda rather than the national interest.
Progressive bloggers talk to each other. Conservatives talk to the public.
For example, Bush and the Republicans recently renewed their claim Iraq attacked us on 9/11 and that is why we invaded that country. Their politicians, pundits, talk-show hosts, bloggers, news anchors, op-ed writers, letter-to-the-editor writers and others all said it, using largely the same "tested" words and phrases, on the radio, in the newspapers, in their blogs and on their TV channels. Progressive bloggers responded with the truth, but who did they reach?
The right talks to the public, and it works. Support for Initial Invasion Has Risen, Poll Shows,
Americans’ support for the initial invasion of Iraq has risen somewhat as the White House has continued to ask the public to reserve judgment about the war until at least the fall.And other lies continue as well. Just today, for example, from the right-wing Heritage Foundation, The War in Iraq: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions,
[. . .] However, the number of people who say the war is going “very badly” has fallen from 45 percent earlier in July to a current reading of 35 percent...
[. . .] The poll’s findings are in line with those of one conducted last week by The New York Times and CBS News.
While WMD were not found, some may have been moved to Syria in the convoys of hundreds of trucks that crossed the border just before the U.S.-led intervention and during the first few weeks of fighting.Right, blame Clinton. But it was Clinton who did something about Iraq's WMD, and tried to do something about al Qaeda before 9/11, not Bush. Remember the "aspirin factory?"
[. . .] If the U.S. pulls out of Iraq before it has a stable government capable of defending itself, the likes of bin Laden will have a safe haven from which to attack the U.S. again.
[. . .] If we stand back and allow al-Qaeda's terrorists to succeed, they will turn Iraq into a base for attacking us, just as they turned Afghanistan into a base for attacking us. The Clinton Administration decided that the U.S. had no stake in the civil war in Afghanistan in the 1990s. Only after the Taliban allowed al-Qaeda to operate from its territory did we discover—too late—that we did have a stake there.
Progressives need to start reaching the general public with the truth as well as each other. We need to start working together to fund and build the organizational infrastructure to develop and test messaging, then coordinate the use of messaging, train speakers, employ pundits, develop media channels, etc.
July 23, 2007
Mitt Romney holds up a sign saying "Obama Osama"
July 21, 2007
I haven't endorsed any candidate for President yet. I probably will before the primaries. I like Edwards a lot but I want him to explain HOW he made the mistake in his war vote and what he has learned from that. I wish Gore would enter the race - but he might be the answer if no one has enough delegates going into the convention and the convention can't come to a decision. I hadn't thought Obama has enough experience at a time when the country and the world are in a mess. But seeing him speak a couple of weeks ago - I think he is saying the things I want to public to hear in ways they should hear it, and that is important and part of finding a way through the mess we're in. I think Hillary would bring a team in that could handle the mess but I don't like some of the things she has done that seem to dismiss the progressive base, like supporting outlawing flag-burning.
I'm hearing good things about Dodd but don't know enough. The joke about Biden that he can't stop talking unfortunately isn't a joke - I've seen it. He's smart and has a good instinct but he isn't really in the race, even if he doesn't know it. Richardson - I don't know enough.
So I at least don't dislike any of the Democratic candidates.
Four years ago I didn't like any of the candidates until Dean came along. So this is a different time.
Jerome Armstrong has the story: MyDD :: Jet Blue on drugs. The President of JetBlue caves to a right-wing intimidation campaign led by Fox News, and writes a letter echoing Fox news' characterization of DailyKos as a "hate site."
July 19, 2007
This week is Seeing the Forest's fifth anniversary.
The first post ("Welcome" doesn't count.): Ralph Nader is a Scab,
In the union movement we learned the hard way that the only way to fight the moneyed interests is to stick together. It's called SOLIDARITY. It's what "union" MEANS.
When unions are in a fight the members stick together, and those crossing the lines are called "scabs".
In the 2000 election it was the usual fragile Democratic coalition fighting the usual moneyed interests. Ralph Nader broke the solidarity, divided the coalition, and lost us the election. Ralph Nader is a scab.
This post the next day defined the theme of this blog:
Seeing the forest
Recent polls show that the public is blaming Clinton for the business scandals, and Bush's popularity remains astronomical. That's a tree.
Let's see if we can see the forest. Look back to the 2000 election. Step back and look at the candidates. The Democrat's candidate was a well respected, well liked, extremely experienced, Vietnam vet, former seminary student, character beyond reproach, faithfully married family man, foreign policy expert, with many accomplishments including being the person in the Congress most responsible for advancing the Internet... The Republicans ran a foul-mouthed thoroughly inexperienced scandal-ridden (Harken oil, Rangers stadium, recipient of bribes directed at his father) failed businessman, continuously bailed out of jams by his father's connections, draft-dodger (worse, he got into the Nat. Guard through connections and then played hooky!), former drunk, probable drug-user, kids constantly in trouble, with a campaign entirely financed by large corporations obviously looking for favors.
But by election time the only issue was “character”, and the character in question was the Democratic candidate’s! That's the forest.
Issues like the "Love Canal story" and "I invented the Internet" were trees. The forest was how they pulled it off - the smears, the propaganda blitz, the way they spread their message and the way people hear messages these days.
With this weblog I'll be writing about this issue, seeing the forest for the trees.
July 18, 2007
I was looking around the YearlyKos Convention website and came across this: YearlyKos Netroots Convention Welcomes Pelosi, Reid, Emanuel, Schumer To Ask The Leaders Forum | YearlyKos Convention: Building a Netroots Nation
Wow! This is a big deal. Democracy! From the description:
YearlyKos Convention organizers announced today that Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel, and Sen. Charles E. “Chuck” Schumer will participate in a unique Ask the Leaders Forum to be held August 4 in Chicago.I will have some exciting panel announcements very soon.
The event—much like the YearlyKos Presidential Leadership Forum that will be held later that afternoon—empowers citizens to engage America's current Senate and House leadership in substantive discussion about hot topics such as Iraq.
How long have people been making fun of us left-coast, tree-hugging, frisbee-tossing, granola-crunching, animal-loving, tofu-eating, yoga-practicing, peacenik eco-nuts?
The thing is, people are starting to realize that all of these ridiculed things are good for us-- and for the country and the planet. They are the right choices.
Sure, everyone had a good laugh. But it's a few years later now and the consequences of years of bad choices are catching up. People who mocked tofu-eaters and Frisbee-tossers are realizing they don't want to be fat and out of shape--some are even dying of heart attacks and diabetes. Granola and tofu are good for you, especially compared to the fast food, meat and white breat that were being eaten in their stead.
And what about the eco-nuts? They aren't looking all that nutty today, are they? The people who laughed about tree-hugging econ-nuts are spending $60 to fill their gas tanks and worryng about their coastal property values declining as the water rises. Meanwhile Californians are driving hybrids in proportions greater than the rest of the country. Who is laughing now?
California used to lead the way. It used to be the "conventional wisdom" that innovative, inspiring and progressive ideas came from California and spread across the country. But unfortunately California also led a national wave of conservative-inspired tax-cutting. We ate our seed corn, and allowed our schools and legal system and highways and other crucial infrastructure to deteriorate. And rather than pay taxes we racked up debt.
But we learned from that and now California is waking up. We just tossed out a Congressman for trying to get rid of the Endangered Species Act. We are standing up to the big oil companies and demanding fuel economy and air quality standards. We are standing up to the big tobacco companies and pioneering smoking bans in restaurants and bars. California is pioneering stem cell research. And we are working on finding the way to providing universal health care!
California is beginning to lead the way again.
So the next time you hear someone laugh at people for doing something you know in your heart is the right thing to do, remind them that bad choices eventually lead to bad outcomes.
And, by the way, now that we are living with the alternative, that whole "peace and love" thing is looking a whole lot better, too. Oh yeah.
July 17, 2007
I've just self-published two books which might be of interest to a few people here. They mostly represent my literary side, Relics being a book of poems I wrote 25+ years ago. Substantific Marrow is very diverse, including pieces on Eastern European History, garbled ontology and psychoanalysis, The State, philosophy, and Americana, but mostly it's literature.
Not much overt politics in the book, just scattered glum hints. Later on I also plan to publish a collection of Dave's pieces and mine from Seeing the Forest. (If I make any money on either book, I also plan to send some to Dave, the most underrated guy in the blogosphere.)
More information here: http://www.idiocentrism.com/le%20real.htm
Books can be bought here: http://stores.lulu.com/emersonj
By Christmas I should have a third book out, about philosophy, economics, and temporality. Sometime next year my book on Inner Eurasian history should be out; this book should be of interest to many people here. I'm going to be spending the next several years gathering and finishing up stuff I've been working on since about 1985.
James Boyce says the country needs Al Gore to run for President.
Al Gore thinks he is a lousy politician, he's right. He is. We need some lousy politicians who say what they mean and mean what they say. We need some lousy politicians who can't stop themselves from rolling their eyes when a member of the press asks a moronic question. We need someone who points out how stupid the captions are on t.v. shows. We need Al Gore.
July 16, 2007
You want two heads on you body
And you've got two mirrors in your hand.
Priests are made of brick with gold crosses on a stick
and your nose is too small for this land.
Inside your head is your town
inside your room your jail
inside your mouth the elephants trunk and booze,
the only key to your bail
Want two heads on your body
and you've got two mirrors in your hand
Two heads can be put together.
And you can fill both your feet with sand.
Noone will know you've gutted your mind
but what will you do with your bloody hands?
Your lions are fighting with chairs,
your arms are incredibly fat;
Your women are tired of dying alive
if you've had any women at that.
Wearing your comb like an ax in your head
List'ning for signs of life;
Children are sucking on stone and lead
And chasing their hoops with a knife;
New breasts and jewels for the girl,
Keep them polished and shining;
Put a lock on her belly at night, sweet life,
For no child of mine. (Go to Coda)
I'm trying to track down whether this photo is real or created using Photoshop, and if real the circumstances of its origins. The photo has been widely circulated on the right since March, 2003, attributed to San Francisco "anti-war" marchers. Early circulation and promotion of this photo appears to have come from outlets related to propagandist David Horowitz, which by itself raises suspicions.
On a blogger call this morning (California time) Ambassador Joe Wilson endorsed Senator Hillary Clinton for President. Joe says Hillary is the best candidate to handle cleaning up the mess that Bush has made, here and internationally.
On Iraq Joe said, (as close as I can remember) that both he and Hillary agree "that troops need to be removed from harm's way, and that a political process had to be started, a process that would end the war and preserve some shred of our strategic position in the region [Middle East]." and that we need to put together a dilomatic process like we did after the first Gulf War.
He said we need to support the troops by engaging in diplomacy - that withdrawal risks plunging the region into instability.
He also said that Hillary has the best experience in fighting the right. He said she has been through the meatgrinder - one that Joe knows well now - and understands it.
(I had a great Smoking Politics BlogTalkRadio interview with Joe Wilson a couple of weeks ago.)
People say we should not impeach Bush because it will divert us from getting out of Iraq. I think that approach has things backwards. I think we can’t deal with the problems of Iraq until we deal with getting Bush out. With Bush in charge we can't have a rational debate about the best options for Iraq.
1) I believe that it’s wrong to just pull our forces out of Iraq. We invaded, we destabilized and we destroyed the existing institutions of order. We created the mess there. We created the civil war. We created the threat of regional conflict. So I think it is America's legal and moral responsibility to provide security for the people of Iraq. And that's also what international law says. Of course, providing security for the people of Iraq is not going to happen with Bush in office.
(Someone told me this idea is like being raped and then getting a ride to the hospital from the rapist. I can understand the sentiment, but the U.S. is not a person and Iraq is not a person. We and they are a bunch of people all with their own differing needs and interests. Countries have to deal with where things are on a given day, before they deal with where things were on a previous day. In other words, Bush did what he did -- but where do we go from here that is best for us and best for them NOW?)
2) It is wrong to blame the Iraqis for what we have done and it would be wrong to abandon them to the mess we made. But the way our forces are being used by Bush just makes things worse. This must change but it will not change with Bush in charge of policy decisions.
3) Suppose we do vote to withdraw with Bush in office? How do you think a Bush administration will execute that withdrawal? Will they do it in a way that makes things better -- or much worse? And will they just refuse, necessitating the impeachment I say has to happen first? In other words, we can't deal with Iraq until we deal with Bush.
4) There is also a national security component. The current situation in Iraq really is making us less safe here. Leaving might only make that worse. This needs to be debated rationally - impossible with Bush in office spouting his focus-group-tested bullshit, designed to put up a smokescreen and distract us from reality.
5) Bush's propaganda is causing us to doubt terror warnings that may be real. What if our intelligence agencies discovered that al Queda really is getting ready to use a nuke on an American city, for example? We simply can not trust our government right now to tell us the truth. The threat of a terrorist attack is too serious to allow this incompetent, lying gang of criminals to remain in office even one day longer than it takes to get them out.
6) Similarly, Bush's lies about Iraq have forced us to doubt the claims about threats presented by Iran. But Iran is not Iraq, and their theocratic rulers are not our friends. We need to be able to trust what is being said to us and we can't with ush in office.
So I think that the right path lies in a different direction from working to get the troops out. Options beyond the simplistic choice of doing what we are doing now or just leaving need to be discussed. But we are not going to be able to do what is right until we change the national leadership here. We are not even going to be able to properly debate the issues.
Finding the answers to the problems of Iraq begins with solving the problem of Bush.
July 14, 2007
Uh Oh. 'New rules for new wars'
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July 13, 2007
The one photo the GOP does not want anyone to see was snapped at yesterday's NAACP GOP Presidential Candidate Forum. The NAACP invited all 9 Republican candidates to the forum, but only one showed up: Tom Tancredo. All the Democratic Presidential hopefuls showed up for their forum.No, one does not have to wonder...
The excuses given by the Republican campaigns mostly had to do with scheduling conflicts--just too busy to make it.
... One has to wonder why this photo was not the lead on every morning show and on the front pages of every morning newspaper in America.
Except without the massive enemy war machine, the taxes to pay for it, a draft, a threat to America, an endgame...
...But have a look at what Chambliss said about how troops in World War II were deployed for much longer and how he tried to use that as a stick with which to beat Webb for being "out of step with history" in his efforts to keep military men and women home longer with their families:...
... Leave it to a Republican desperate to bail out Bush, to compare World War II and the gravity of that global conflict with Bush's war of choice about absolutely nothing.
July 12, 2007
Mortgage foreclosures in the U.S. jumped to a record in the first half as rising interest rates and falling home prices battered homeowners.
[. . .] In June, defaults surged 87 percent to 164,644 from a year ago, said RealtyTrac, a seller of foreclosure data, in the statement today. Last month's total was 7 percent lower than in May. California, Florida, Ohio and Michigan accounted for half the national total in June.
[. . .] California had the second-highest rate, with one filing per 315 households, and the most filings overall, 38,801, for the sixth month in a row. Foreclosures in California, the most populous state, increased almost three-fold over a year ago.
For people who closely follow the Valerie Plame / Scooter Libby case, this is an important story: The Next Hurrah: Why the Libby Lobby Story about Armitage Is False
And in any event, it wasn't about "the leaker" it was about a conspiracy to leak the identity of a covert CIA agent.
July 11, 2007
The Republicans filibustered, obstructed, refused to allow "an up-or-down vote," blocking a bill that "would have placed strict limits on National Guard and reserve deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan as well as mandating more downtime at home before active-duty combat troops are returned to battle." (Details of the bill are here.)
Bob Geiger has more, in Republicans Kill Webb's Troop-Protection Amendment
Update - Conservative writes that an attack on the US "wouldn't be all bad news since people would start supporting the War in Iraq again." He continues,
Another terrorist attack, terrible as that would be, would not just reverse the war's bad poll numbers, it would also help the President.
[...] But just any terrorist attack will not suffice. It's going to take a really big one.
Oops, a faux-conservative parady blog, not a real conservative. Heh.
Avedon at Eschaton writes,
Shouldn't it concern us that Republicans are constantly talking about how people will all wise up when the next terrorist attack at home comes?
I mean, they really seem to be looking forward to it, and they take great delight in the thought that, by God, people will see things differently when it happens.
They relish the thought. They hunger for that terrorist attack they need to save their Party.
I, Not Atrios, think Democrats would be wise to talk on TV about how the last thing we need is to put people in power who have such a stake in having terrorists attack Americans.
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July 10, 2007
Airplanes... no posts, maybe late afternoon.
July 9, 2007
Sen. David Vitter, R-La., apologized Monday night for "a very serious sin in my past" after his telephone number appeared among those associated with an escort service operated by the so-called "D.C. Madam.''Etc. Etc.
OK, for fun, better go check it before they take it down:
Vitter Statement on Protecting the Sanctity of Marriage,
“This is a real outrage. The Hollywood left is redefining the most basic institution in human history, and our two U.S. Senators won’t do anything about it.
We need a U.S. Senator who will stand up for Louisiana values, not Massachusetts’s values. I am the only Senate Candidate to coauthor the Federal Marriage Amendment; the only one fighting for its passage. I am the only candidate proposing changes to the senate rules to stop liberal obstructionists from preventing an up or down vote on issues like this, judges, energy, and on and on.” stated David Vitter.
More to come...
Matt Stoller, Chris Bowers and Mike Lux have launched a new website: Open Left
...the ROE [rules of engagement] at Fallujah was "liberalized" to allow fleeing Iraqis to be killed if they refused to stop. It was only the beginning. By the end of the fight the rules for killing insurgents were extremely liberal, Marines who were there agree. Fallujah gave a whole new meaning to the word, one of them said.The site says this is how this "war" has to be fought, and complains about the "political correctness" of those who are against such tactics.
Marines openly admit killing every military age male they saw at Fallujah.
... A study released by the Pentagon two months ago revealed that the majority of contemporary Marines apparently agree with the way the Iraqis at Fallujah were handled. In a survey of U.S. combat troops in Iraq less than half of Marines responding said they would report a member of their unit for killing or wounding an innocent civilian. And the closer warriors were to the pointy end of things the more enthusiastic they seem to be about killing the perceived enemy without hesitation. Only 38 percent of Marines polled said noncombatants in Iraq should be treated with dignity and respect. [emphasis added]
July 8, 2007
Organizers say Live Earth's internet audience may have been as many as two billion people*. But how is it reported today? Earth underwhelmed by environment pop extravaganza ,
They rocked the world, but as the clean-up at nine climate change gigs around the globe begins, many wonder if the galaxy of pop stars did much to change it.Murdoch's Times of London had this ready, Live Earth fails to pack large-scale punch, and Murdoch's Fox News was ready with this one, reminiscent of the energy-use smear on Al Gore that came out the day after he won the Oscar for An Inconvenient Truth (see part 2 also), 'Green' Means Money, Not Environmentalism to Madonna,
U.S. and British media were generally underwhelmed on Sunday by Live Earth, the mega-concert organized by former U.S. vice president and green campaigner Al Gore, which, though built on the model of Live Aid and Live 8, created a less positive buzz.
Madonna had better clean up her business before she starts cleaning up the world.
... Madonna, who seems to be on top of all her many business endeavors, has actually invested about $2.7 million dollars in companies that are creating the destruction that Live Earth is trying to raise awareness about. She has invested in several companies named as the biggest corporate polluters in the world.
.. The companies include Alcoa, Ingersoll Rand, Weyerhaeuser, and several others associated with oil exploration, digging, and refining including British Petroleum, Schlumberger (a chief competitor of Halliburton), Devon Energy, Peabody Energy, Emerson Electric, Kimberly Clark and Weatherford International.
... one has to wonder why Madonna has put even a penny into the company if she has any feeling for environmental causes. But that's an inconvenient question for the material girl as she prepares to close the Live Earth show live from London.
Nice try, but people do understand the problem and are going to continue to pressure the government for action.
*P.S. MSN reports 9 million streaming, AOL reports 5 million. AND,
Control Room, producer of Live Earth and Live 8, said it found that the on-demand streams in the days after the Live 8 had the most impact, especially after clips were passed around by e-mail.So two billion seems high, but one heck of a lot of people did and will tune in for sure.
Live 8 was streamed by users more than 100 million times in the six weeks following the shows.
Live Earth is predicted to be three times bigger with organizers expecting more than 80 percent of the viewership will be on-demand in the days after the event.
July 7, 2007
... the carbon critics cry footprint foul and run up staggering numbers about the actual damage that these so called do-gooders are doing in the name of good.
... However, as I sit here in the press bubble at LiveEarth in New Jersey, waiting for the festivities to start, it occurs to me that in their rush to cry hypocrite, the carbon critics actually prove Al Gore's point.
The issue is that too many people living on the planet produce too much carbon dioxide when they go about their daily activities. The concert that will take place here in New Jersey will fill the Meadowlands, just like every Giants and Jets game this fall.
... Right now, Al Gore is on the train from D.C. to New York. Yes, the train will emit carbon. Just like it will when it runs tomorrow and the next day and just like every train in the world will, and that is the point that LiveEarth is going to make today, carbon critics be dammed. [emphasis added]
Yesterday I said the lie-attack would begin this fall, but it only took a day. Yesterday I wrote,
This fall President Bush will veto a number of spending bills, saying that they spend too much money. This will be accompanied by a huge, orchestrated media campaign blasting out the message: "We told you so. Now that Democrats are in charge they have gone wild with spending."
... There will also be an orchestrated campaign to convince the public that Democrats are making their taxes go up - because of the spending.
Escalating a budget battle with Democrats who control Congress, President George W. Bush accused them on Saturday of pushing tax-and-spend policies and renewed his veto threat.Let's hope my other prediction - political prosecutors indicting Democrats - does not come true.
"They are working to bring back the failed tax-and-spend policies of the past," he said in his weekly radio address. "Democrats are failing in their responsibility to make tough decisions and spend the people's money wisely."
... Bush accused Democrats of proposing in the next five years the "biggest tax increase in history" though he gave no details how he reached that conclusion. "I have made clear that I will veto any attempt to take America down this road," he said.
I left out one thing from my prediction: Republicans will block every piece of legislation and then say that the Democrats aren't passing any legislation.
Update - News media plays along, check this headline: Bush rips Democratic lawmakers' failures,
President Bush accused Democratic lawmakers on Saturday of being unable to live up to their duties, citing Congress' inability to pass legislation to fund the federal government.
July 6, 2007
Just for fun, a short walk into the wild world of wingnuttery. These people really are nuts.
Today at TownHall:
Hillary Clinton denies that she’s a Marxist, but she sure talks like one.
..listening to the wailing and keening by Democrats and their donor-base - The National Press Corps - you would have thought President Bush had not just commuted Libby's sentence but had pardoned him and presented him with the Medal of Freedom.
If you look back through American history and find a black American being enslaved, lynched, railroaded, or persecuted, 99 times out of a hundred, you'll find a Democrat behind it. The hated and feared KKK? Throughout most of its history, it was little more than a hooded, thuggish arm of the Democratic Party.
... Democrats cooked up the great society, welfare, food stamps, and all other manner of government goodies because they said they wanted to "help" people. What was the result of that "help?" The Democrats did something that they hadn't managed to do when they enslaved black Americans, persecuted them with Jim Crow laws, or terrorized them with the Ku Klux Klan: they managed to nearly destroy the black family.
... part of the reason why Democrats are so rabidly pro-abortion is because they believe it helps lower the number of black Americans.
Lately, I’ve been hearing rumors that prominent liberal politicians, the very same people who are always proclaiming themselves passionate advocates for free speech, are looking into ways to muzzle conservative radio talk show hosts.
[. . .] While on the subject of fairness, I’d like to go on record as stating there’s nothing fair about American taxpayers being made to foot the bill for illegal aliens.
... What’s more, I think it’s high time we not only stopped funding the U.N., as corrupt an organization as exists anywhere in the world, but cut off foreign aid altogether.
As many parents know, most sex-ed classes are already candid enough, thank you very much. The last thing we need is for anyone to spice them up or further complicate what should be a pretty simple subject. But that’s what schools in Montgomery County, Maryland plan to do by introducing lessons on homosexuality to 8th and 10th graders -- lessons that serve to further the radical homosexual activist agenda.
Unfortunately there are far too many relying only on the mainstream media for news from Iraq who would be incredibly surprised to learn there is any news from there other than complete disaster and despair. Bad news captures most of the headlines. The public deserves the whole story from Iraq – including the good news.
At Human Events:
I am proud of Guantanamo, as every American should be.
[. . .] Closing Guantanamo buys President Bush nothing. American and global Leftists still will hate his guts, and enemy Islamofascists still will want him and his 300 million constituents dead. So, Bush might as well expand Guantanamo so he can padlock more Muslim fanatics -- even if liberals scream.
Why don't liberals just put on brown shirts and arm bands and march around bonfires, consigning radios to the flames, to the rousing strains of "Hillary Uber Alles"?
Since the Left can't compete in the marketplace of ideas, it wants to shut it down.
The aborted push to revive the misnamed Fairness Doctrine, and apply it to talk radio, is but the latest example of liberalism's drive to gag the opposition.
[. . .] With honorable exceptions, the Left controls all of society's idea transmission belts, except talk radio. But being the monopolists that they are, any competition terrifies them.
An appeals court dismissed the ACLU lawsuit to stop illegal NSA spying on Americans - writing that even though the spying is illegal they can't sue because:
1) They can't prove they are being spied on personally, and
2) They aren't allowed to find out if they are being spied on.
The appeals court ruled that the plaintiffs could not sue because they can't prove they were affected by the program, and at the same time, ruled that details about the program, including who was targeted, are state secrets.
But according to a Reuters report,
The ACLU plaintiffs included lawyers who said they could not defend clients accused of terrorism because the government, under the wiretapping program, could listen into attorney-client conversations.And, of course, the ruling is another product of Republican politicization of the judicial system,
But the two judges in the majority opinion said the plaintiffs had failed to prove they were under surveillance.
The two judges in the majority, Julia Smith Gibbons and Batchelder, are Republican appointees, named by Bush and his father, respectively.
Judge Ronald Lee Gilman, appointed by President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, dissented. Gilman said he would uphold the ruling last year on the grounds that the program violated the 1978 law.
Here is my prediction for the national political environment, once summer ends.
This fall President Bush will veto a number of spending bills, saying that they spend too much money. This will be accompanied by a huge, orchestrated media campaign blasting out the message: "We told you so. Now that Democrats are in charge they have gone wild with spending."
It simply will not matter what is actually in those bills. Everywhere you go, every radio station you tune in to, every op-ed page you look at, every cable-TV channel you watch, you will hear over and over again that “The Democrats loaded up all the spending bills with billions and billions of dollars of pork.”
There will also be an orchestrated campaign to convince the public that Democrats are making their taxes go up - because of the spending.
By the way, I also expect that through 2008 there will be many highly-publicized indictments of Democrats in key voting regions. We know that the Justice Department has been politicized, and so far for all the noise and complaints nothing has been done about that. There is a reason the Republicans wanted "their people" in the prosecutor jobs, and that is so they can act in ways that influence the voters.
And there's Iraq. How many ways will the coming fiasco be blamed on Democrats?
Question: We know it is coming. What can be done to counter this?
July 5, 2007
I have been saying here for some time that we are at a turning point for democracy. The corporatist authoritarians, disguised as an ideological movement, have been waging a propaganda war for decades. They want to convince us that "markets" and "market solutions" are superior to self-governance and a common-good, watch-out-for-each-other society. The result is that we are increasingly a one-dollar-one-vote instead of a one-person-one-vote country. Pay-or-die health care is just one example. Stopping government inspection of food-processing plants is another.
Today the "dean" of the Washington pundits weighs in - against democracy. David S. Broder - A Mob-Rule Moment
A particularly virulent strain of populism has made official Washington altogether too responsive to public opinion.Broder complains about Congress "caving" to public insistence on adding labor and environmental minimum requirements to trade deals, writing, "But the action by the House means that any further deals are unlikely as long as Bush is president." And that's the public's fault, for wanting a living wage and a clean environment, not Bush's for being against those.
Broder ends by writing, "In today's Washington, the "wants" of people count far more heavily than the nation's needs." His prescription to remedy this?
You can win elections by promising people what they want. But you win your place in history by doing what the country needs done.And by this he means pro-corporate and cheap-labor trade and immigration deals.
Are you for democracy or are you for corporate rule? It is time to choose.
July 4, 2007
Last week I asked Speaker Pelosi this question:
Dave Johnson (of Seeing the Forest): We seem to be at a historic time right now with an administration that is starting to frankly assert that they are above the rule of law, and I’m wondering if you as Speaker can give us a short statement on this issue and what Congress is prepared to do to re-assert the rule of law of the people of the country.(Follow the links to read her response.) Then Mike Stark asked about impeachment. In the response she said,
I made a decision a few years ago, or at least one year ago, that impeachment was something that we could not be successful with and that would take up the time we needed to do some positive things to establish a record of our priorities and their short-comings, and the President is... ya know what I say? The President isn’t worth it... he’s not worth impeaching. We’ve got important work to do... If he were at the beginning of his term, people may think of it differently, but he’s at the end of his terms. The first two years of his term, if we came in as the majority, there might be time to do it all...Mike, of course, responded,
Mike Stark: Respectfully, that’s not the question. Respectfully, the question is whether or not the Constitution is worth it.
Many argue that impeachment will distract the Congress from passing a progressive agenda. That is a pipe dream. The Republicans in the Senate are blocking everything. The President will veto anything that passes. And if something somehow manages to become law the Republicans and the President will just ignore it anyway.
And now there is yet another action against the Rule of Law. Not long after that conversation the President used his power to keep a convicted and sentenced crony out of jail - also removing any incentive to testify against the President and Vice President.
And here we are. We are at a moment in our history where we can choose to restore ourselves as a nation of laws, or we can let yet another incident pass without taking action.
Is the Constitution worth it or not?
If Bush and the Republicans can support the absolute politicization of our system of law and justice - and our Department of Justice - what won't they do? What aren't they capable of? The key question that this behavior brings up for me is: what about 2008? Will they let the people vote them out? Will they leave office or will they just put an official stamp on what has already occurred?
I don't know of a country that has gone as far down the path to authoritarianism as we have already gone and recovered. Can anyone come up with an example?
P.S. I think that yesterday's "Special Comment" by Keith Olbermann should be remembered in history as an important speech at a perilous time. I ask all of my readers to watch it, ask others to watch it, and print the transcript to leave in coffee shops, etc. Crooks and Liars has the video and the transcript.
July 3, 2007
Cursor is a pretty good summary.
Suggestion, try clicking the "Sphere: Related Content" link at the bottom of all the posts here.
Except, apparently, the top one... Got to figure that out...
Here is more reaction from the authoritarian right.
According to their [liberal media]] logic President Bush should have looked away at what he saw as an injustice because Libby worked in the White House. Because Bush hasn’t commuted others that means Libby should be denied this action? How is that fair to Libby?
The two most important factors are Libby's public service and the fact that, at the time Libby made the false statements in question, the prosecutor already knew the answer to the question he had come to Washington to investigate. Indeed, it seems likely that but for the high profile and political context of the investigation, the prosecutor would not have asked Libby these questions.
Not only was no crime committed, but Joe Wilson comes out looking even worse than he already looks. ... And the whole incident started because Joe Wilson was more than willing to lie in an effort to get the Bush administration.
The case against "Scooter" Libby was a total fraud. Completely bogus. The publicity-mad demoness Valerie Plame was not a covert overseas agent at the time the whole megillah about her erupted. So there was no, none, nada, law breaking by reporting that she was a CIA employee.
Second, there was no reason for the special prosecutor, the full on publicity hound Mr. Fitzgerald, to have even gone on with the investigation for a week or even a day.
July 2, 2007
The authoritarian right is starting to weigh in. (Note - Read the comments at these blogs at your own risk.)
Libby was tried by an abusive prosecutor out for fame and name who knew Libby had nothing to do with the exposure of Valerie Plame’s identity to the media, but all the same caught Libby in misrecollections of events. [...] At least he did not do what Clinton did which was pardon drug dealers and tax evaders.
President Bush’s poll numbers can go any lower so he’s not hurt politically. The Bush bashers will pile on, but they’d do it no matter what. In fact, Bush ends up giving something to conservatives who feel the Plame investigation was a joke and Libby got a raw deal.
...This was a witch trial. America should be ashamed that it allowed this “special” prosecutor to ignore his mission — finding out who blabbed to Bob Novak that Joe Wilson’s wife was CIA — and instead the prosecutor went after Karl Rove and Scooter Libby.
The Nutroots who were out for Rovian blood in the pLamegate case (but settled for Libby’s instead after it was announced that Rove wouldn’t be indicted) won’t be too pleased to hear about this - nor, I’m sure, will Pat Fitzgerald and that liar Joe Wilson. Expect the usual foaming at the mouth and howls of outrage any second now.
Sandy Pantsbergler couldn’t be reached for comment. Just shut up, upChuck, shut the fuck up and go suck on the tailpipe of a Chevy ‘57, will you? There is no possible way that you could serve your country any better than by doing that.
Oh, and Harry Screed was bloviating something about the Bush Administration “not facing justice for silencing critics.” Because heaven knows, once Dickhead Armitage had mentioned non-covert agent Valerie Plame’s name, we never heard a single word from her or her lying sack of shit husband ever again!
This is just outstanding. Lets recap, a case about the outing of a CIA deskjockey who sent her husband off with the sole purpose of harming the President's policy became a perjury case against a Cheney aide. Perjury not even related to the outing mind you since everyone now knows who did in fact out her....cough Armitage cough....but no matter. Libby gets some dates wrong and BAM! Lets send him to prison for 3 years. This case was a political railroad job from the beginning so why shouldn't more politics be brought into it?
It is fundamental to the rule of law that all citizens stand before the bar of justice as equals.
Firedoglake has a statement from Patrick Fitzgerald, Scooter Libby's prosecutor:
We fully recognize that the Constitution provides that commutation decisions are a matter of presidential prerogative and we do not comment on the exercise of that prerogative.
* We comment only on the statement in which the President termed the sentence imposed by the judge as “excessive.” The sentence in this case was imposed pursuant to the laws governing sentencings which occur every day throughout this country. In this case, an experienced federal judge considered extensive argument from the parties and then imposed a sentence consistent with the applicable laws. It is fundamental to the rule of law that all citizens stand before the bar of justice as equals. That principle guided the judge during both the trial and the sentencing.
* Although the President’s decision eliminates Mr. Libby’s sentence of imprisonment, Mr. Libby remains convicted by a jury of serious felonies, and we will continue to seek to preserve those convictions through the appeals process. [emphasis added]
Bush says Scooter Libby doesn't have to serve a day in prison. And his rich friends will pay his fine.
How will the public react to this one? Even Paris Hilton served SOME of her time, before her connections got her out!
The Democrats in Congress have been trying to avoid having to face what we are dealing with in this country at this time.
We have a President asserting that he is above the law. He is backed by an authoritarian political movement that feels that laws should not apply to them, either. They have been and are working to destroy the agencies of government and fracture each and every one of the institutions of civil society. They have politicized the system of justice in the country to the point where we don't just wonder, we know that people are prosecuted or left alone based on their political affiliations.
They have launched aggressive war.
The pendulum is not swinging back. This is not a normal time. This is not business as usual. We can't think that impeachment will get in the way of "getting things done."
This is about principles and the Constitution. This is about Rule of Law and democracy. This can no longer be avoided.
Watch your backs.
By Dave Johnson and James Boyce of Smoking Politics
What could be more important than dealing with the threat of global warming? Exposing the companies and groups that continue to try and distort the issue for financial gain and holding the media accountable for their role and complicity in the continuing distortion of the truth.
Let's be perfectly clear. Global warming is a scientific fact - it is not a political issue. But a few corporations are bringing in incredibly high profit margins from the status quo. These profits depend on Americans and people worldwide burning more and more oil instead of working to put less carbon into the air. So they pollute the "marketplace of ideas," deceiving people by spreading the lie of doubt that global warming is a real problem.
Just as Big Tobacco was willing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars denying for decades that cigarettes caused cancer while hundreds of thousands died from their product each year -- spreading the same lie that the science was not clear -- so too is Big Oil willing to invest heavily in the global warming deniers.
"Doubt is our product" said the tobacco companies, and citizens continued to die. Now doubt is the product again - and the planet continues to grow hotter.
Global Warming Deniers are nothing more than paid political operatives who are willing to profit, greatly, by placing our future at risk. It is as simple as that. Doubt is their product.
This past weekend, we saw a clear example of how this strategy plays out. Just as Al Gore was attacked the day after winning the Oscar for "An Inconvenient Truth," just as Al Gore was attacked when his book was released, so now has the Vice President opened himself up again to further attack with the coming LiveEarth concerts.
Last Saturday, The Drudge Report linked to Alarmist global warming claims melt under scientific scrutiny :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES. This is an op-ed by James M. Taylor, a senior fellow at the Heartland Institute. The Heartland Institute is one of the core organizations of the so-called "conservative movement," and the Drudge Report is one of the movement's primary communication outlets.
The strategy of creating a false op-ed that is linked to by Drudge is a cornerstone of the right. The Chicago Sun-Times either was duped or is a party to the crime. Either way, they should be ashamed.
Let's track the Heartland Institute a bit.
In a May 1991 document prepared for PM [Phillip Morris], Marden listed Heartland's "rapid response network" as a "potential spokesperson" among the "portfolio of organizations" that the company had cultivated to support its interests.SourceWatch traces the tobacco ties of other "conservative movement" organizations as well, writing
The Heartland Institute was one of the contacts they [Philip Morris] had "leveraged," along with the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty, the Alexis de Tocqueville Institute, Americans for Tax Reform, Capital Research Center, Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy, Consumer Alert, Mackinac Center for Public Policy, and the National Center for Policy Analysis.
The Heartland Institute created a website in the Spring of 2007, www.globalwarmingheartland.org, which asserts there is no scientific consensus on global warming and features a list of experts and a list of like-minded think tanks, many of whom have received funding from ExxonMobil and other polluters.And when you scroll down that page, you will see the funding that Heartland receives from Exxon.
[. . .] Walter F. Buchholtz, an ExxonMobil executive, serves as Heartland's Government Relations Advisor, according to Heartland's 2005 IRS Form 990, pg. 15.
The author of the Drudge-linked op-ed, James M Taylor, is not just a professional global warming denier. ExxonSecrets writes,
In the past, Taylor has served as a legal analyst for Defenders of Property Rights, an intern at the Cato Institute, and a member of the Federalist Society.All of these are conservative movement organizations.
Taylor previously served as managing editor of CCH Incorporated's disability law publications, where he became a nationally known expert and frequent speaker on a variety of employment law topics. Prior to that he was a legal analyst for Defenders of Property Rights. While at Syracuse University College of Law, he was president of the local chapter of the Federalist Society and founder and editor-in-chief of the Federalist Voice.
And the Heartland Institute is also not just a tobacco/oil front froup. It is one of literally hundreds of "conservative movement" tax-deductible organizations created by the same core group of wealthy funders. Media Transparency shows extensive funding the for core funders of the conservative movement - the Bradley, Walton, Olin, Scaife and the rest. Many, if not most of these organizations have missions statements that contain a variation of the same words. From the Heartland Institute website's "About" page,
Heartland's mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. Such solutions include parental choice in education, choice and personal responsibility in health care, market-based approaches to environmental protection, privatization of public services, and deregulation in areas where property rights and markets do a better job than government bureaucracies.Heartland also serves as a Telecom front. They publish the Information Technology Update. They work for insurance, manufacturing and other corporate interests to promote "tort reform," publishing the "Lawsuit Abuse Fortnightly." And they promote getting rid of public schools. And here is what Heartland writes about health care:
Advocates of free-market health care believe too much reliance on government regulations and subsidies is the cause of many current problems, and that solutions can be found in returning to sound market principles.In other words - if you need health care you're on your own.
The Heartland Institute is nothing more than a charitable fraud. A foundation that works to distort the facts, and create doubt about issues where none should exist.
What should have happened is the Chicago Sun Times should have reported to their readers who is behind this group and what their interests are. Instead, they set forth in motion another lie that is now spreading around the world.
Our future is in peril.
Our world is in danger. And we have a responsibility to tell the truth.
And the media has the responsibility to inform the public so everyone clearly knows what is a piece of opinion and what is a pack of lies.
In today's Washington Post - A President Besieged and Isolated, Yet at Ease,
"I don't know how he copes with it," said Donald Burnham Ensenat, a friend for 43 years ... Rep. K. Michael Conaway (R-Tex.), another longtime friend who once worked for Bush, said he looks worn down. "It's a marked difference in his physical appearance," Conaway said. "It's an incredibly heavy load. When you ask men and women to take risks, to send them into war knowing they might not come home, that's got to be an incredible burden to have on your shoulders."Oh, please. We're talking about this guy:
"'Please,'" Bush whimpers, his lips pursed in mock desperation, "'don't kill me.'" I must look shocked — ridiculing the pleas of a condemned prisoner who has since been executed seems odd and cruel — because he immediately stops smirking.
Far-far-right wingnut outlet NewsMax writes about last week's blogger conversation with Speaker Pelosi about impeachment. Being newsMax of course they got it wrong, and didn't provide links sl readers can check for themselves...
ePluribus Media bloggers Mike Stark and Dave Johnson had a June 28th conference call with the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi on the subject of impeachment.
... Stark followed up with, "Respectfully, the question is whether or not the Constitution is worth it.
July 1, 2007
The other day the Drudge Report linked to Seeing the Forest, which prompted this e-mail:
Subject line: the fairness doctringNow the "bunch dumbass" comments are rolling in - and it is becoming poetic.
you liberal are such hypocrits, you can't win the debate so you have to make laws to stop it. i guees Hugo Chaves would be proud. you liberals all pieces of shit who should be hung for treason. thank God we have republicans that love this country. you bunch dumbasses.
I received an e-mail asking if I really do "bunch dumbasses?"
So I propose a "bunch dumbasses" poetry/haiku contest. Entrants so far:
Time flies like an arrow, then bunch dumbasses.
There once was a wingnut named DumbassAnyone care to join in?
whose nickname was probably "Thumb-ass."
He couldn't read right
and the comments he'd write
show his reasoning skills were a morass.
This is a call to action. The Republicans in the Senate have blocked pretty much every single piece of legislation since the Democrats took over. How long can this go on? As long as the public lets them.
You can help bring this to the public's attention. There is a petition asking Senator Reid to force a real filibuster. This is a dramatic gesture that the public will love, and will bring attention to the fact that the Republicans are blocking everything. See Expose The Obstructionists | Campaign for America's Future,
Americans elected a new Congress to get things done. But the conservative minority has chosen a strategy of obstruction in the Senate. They have used the threat of a filibuster to delay or block virtually every major initiative.
... In its first 40 hours, the new majority of the House of Representatives kept their promise to voters and passed legislation—increasing the minimum wage for the first time in a decade, empowering Medicare to negotiate lower prices on drugs, cutting interest rates on student loans in half, revoking big oil subsidies and using the money to invest in renewable energy—that provided a down payment for a new direction for this country.
These bills are overwhelmingly popular, and are simply common sense reforms. Yet every one of them—and many more—got held up in the U.S. Senate.
Conservatives boast about the “success” of their strategy in discrediting the new majority. As Senate Minority Whip Trent Lott, R-Miss., put it, “the strategy of being obstructionist can work or fail. So far it’s working for us.”
... It’s time to take the gloves off.
The first step is to expose the obstruction to the American people. Let’s urge Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to force a real filibuster. Keep the bills on the floor and force vote after vote, exposing the obstructionists. We’ll organize in states across the country to insure that their constituents know exactly who is standing in the way of progress.
Campaign for America’s Future is creating a petition to Reid, urging him to expose the obstructionists. Please join the petition. Let’s insure that Americans are clear on who is pushing for change and who is standing in the way.
Here's a big "Duh!" Key to a good marriage? Share housework.:
The percentage of Americans who consider children "very important" to a successful marriage has dropped sharply since 1990, and more now cite the sharing of household chores as pivotal, according to a sweeping new survey.
[. . .] The survey also found that, by a margin of nearly 3-to-1, Americans say the main purpose of marriage is the "mutual happiness and fulfillment" of adults rather than the "bearing and raising of children."