Friday, December 12, 2008

I guess I still blog

The tide may be gradually turning in Al Franken's favor in the recount of his race against incumbent Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman.

Obama's expected choice of Energy Secretary looks like a fucking home run.
In other Obama news, RAHM EMANUEL IS GIVING ME NIGHTMARES. Or maybe it's just ABC...

Robert Mugabe's trying to say he was joking when he claimed Zimbabwe's Cholera epidemic was over. I'm sure it makes the people feel good when the permanent president brings out the supposed sarcasm as the streets of the capital are running with sewage and people push wheelbarrows full of cash up the street to buy a loaf of bread.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/dec/12/zimbabwe-cholera-crisis-mugabe

OH! Bush just bought a house in a formerly all white (It's at the bottom, read your way there.) community. Formerly like they took it out of the charter in 2000. It was one of the more tolerant of racist, charters though, as it allowed for servants of color to live there. PROGRESS!!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Shutting the window on Gaza

11 days ago Israel closed it's border crossings into Gaza in response to Palestinian rocket attacks and is denying entry to foreign journalists. Peter Lerner, the Spokesperson for the coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories has said that the decision is not tantamount to a ban on journalists, but that they do not fall into the category of humanitarian aid workers, who are the only groups allowed in at this time.

the following taken from VOAnews.com
U.N. spokesman Chris Gunness said the rocket attacks are intolerable.

"Of course Israel has legitimate security concerns and we respect that and we respect the right and indeed the obligation of Israel to take action," said Gunness.

But Gunness said that is not a justification for cutting off food supplies, and he demanded that the borders reopen immediately.

"Let's see this for what it is. Fifty-six percent of the Gaza Strip are children. Let us not cause suffering of innocent children," said Gunness.

Steven Gutkin, Foreign Press Association chairman had this to say,
"We consider it a serious problem for freedom of the press. We think that journalists have to be placed in a special category. A blanket ban on people going into Gaza should not apply to journalists,"

"We serve as the window for the world into Gaza,"

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

the curious case(s) of Governor Don Siegelman

I had never heard of Don Siegelman until I got this email. Check out the sixty minutes link first.


Dear Aaron,

I am Don Siegelman, a Democrat and I served as the Governor of Alabama until Karl Rove targeted me in a political prosecution. My story, as described in CBS’s 60 Minutes is just one example of how Karl Rove subverted our Constitution and corrupted the integrity of the Justice Department.

I was convicted of something that The New York Times said,”… has never been a crime.” A former Republican Attorney General of Arizona said on CBS’s 60 Minutes, that “they couldn’t beat Siegelman fair and square so they targeted him with this prosecution.” I was THE blue dot in a red state that became Karl Rove’s target.

My investigation was started by Karl Rove’s client, the Alabama Attorney General, and I was brought to trial one month before the election, by a U S Attorney who was the wife of my Republican opponent’s campaign manager- a thirty year friend and political associate of Rove’s. After the trial, a Republican lawyer gave sworn testimony to the House Judiciary Committee that Karl Rove was directing the DOJ to prosecute me.

My sentence was enhanced for speaking out against the political nature of the prosecution. Handcuffed and shackled, I was immediately removed from the courtroom and taken to a maximum security prison where I was put into solitary confinement.

Nine months later, I was released in an extraordinary ruling of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals saying there are “substantial questions of law and fact likely to result in reversal”.

Robert Wexler called for an investigation into my case, and has stood firm against those who prefer to run out the clock, and let those who committed the real crimes get off the hook. No one has fought harder for me or for bringing Karl Rove to justice than Robert Wexler.

But this fight is not about me, it’s about our country, restoring the law, and bringing Karl Rove to justice.

Robert Wexler has shown that strong Congressional leadership is our best insurance against the abuse of power that Karl Rove has waged against the American People.

Now it’s up to us to continue this fight for justice and to restore our democracy.

Now, we must fight for Robert Wexler. Please help me keep him in office by contributing to his campaign.

We must send a message that it is un-American to have US Attorneys targeting people because of their party affiliation. If they can bring a Governor down, they can do it to you or a member of your family.

We must also send a message to Robert Wexler's challengers: “We will not let you remove our allies in Congress who stand with us in this fight against the subversion of our democracy.”

Please help Robert Wexler push back against his self-funded challengers.

If you are angry at what this administration has done to America and if you share my disappointment at the passiveness of some Members of our Democratic Congress, then we must reward and defend those, like Robert Wexler, who has never quit fighting on our behalf.

Click here to show the rest of Congress we will support those who support our ideals.

The tough work is left to be done. We must continue to fight until Karl Rove and others have been held accountable. It is now time for Rove and the others who abused power and used the DOJ as a political weapon to be brought to justice.

With your help, we can be certain Robert Wexler will be standing with us when we win our victory and return America to its best ideals.

Now it’s time for us to take action. We have to ensure that Robert Wexler has the money to win re-election.

Please join me in donating now.

With every best wish, I am sincerely,

Don Siegelman

P.S. For more information on my case, go to www.donsiegelman.org

Friday, November 7, 2008

you can't fuck with the kids!

Photobucket

We got us the lesser of two evils and I've been genuinely moved. If so much crazy shit wasn't going on in my life I'd be able to enjoy this a lot more euphorically but that's neither here nor there.

Now that he is safely in office, I feel as if it's my duty to commence the shit-talk. But give me a little while.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

"Just permit these men one shred of human dignity."

17 Chinese men being held at Quantanamo Bay will very likely never be released even though no charges are being brought and Lutheran's in the US have pledged to take them in.

Monday, October 27, 2008

White House Moves to Undermine Supreme Court In Ohio Voting Dispute

Justice Department Pressed by Bush to Contest 200,000 Ohio Voters

The White House is intervening in an election dispute in the state of Ohio. The White House has asked the Department of Justice to look into whether 200,000 new Ohio voters must reconfirm their registration information before the Nov. 4 election because their records don’t precisely match other government databases. Last week, the US Supreme Court dismissed a case brought by the Ohio Republican Party over the issue.

read Democracy Now! everyday already!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

things have changed

Robert Greenwald & Brave New Films present: ACORN & The Fight Against Voter Supression



Colin Powell makes the point no one else will.



Hate speech and McCarthyism roundly condemned in Minnesota

and a little NORTHCOM to help you sleep better

Sunday, October 12, 2008

LaVena Johnson

http://lavenajohnson.com/

taken from democracy now!

" Suicide or Murder? Three Years After the Death of Pfc. LaVena Johnson in Iraq, Her Parents Continue Their Call for a Congressional Investigation

Three years ago, on July 19, 2005, Army Private First Class LaVena Johnson was found dead in Balad, Iraq. Her body was found in a tent belonging to the private military contractor KBR. She had abrasions all over her body, a broken nose, a black eye, burned hands, loose teeth, acid burns on her genitals, and a bullet hole in her head. The Army labeled Johnson’s death a suicide. But her parents never believed that story. They think she was raped and murdered and are now demanding a full congressional investigation into their daughter’s death. "



(From the second part of the Democracy Now segment, embedded below) Ann Wright (army colonel retired in opposition to the Iraq war)- " We have found through investigations of other.. uh.. deaths you know there have been 98 women, military women who have died in Kuwait, Iraq, and Bahrain. 40 of them died of non-combat incidents, as the military terms it. 19 of those 40 are under suspicious circumstances. 13 of them have now been termed "suicides" by the military. We know the military has misinformed, um, many military families, to include the Tillman family, Karen Meredith whose son Ken was killed by Iraqi trainees, Kamisha Block who was killed in her barracks and the family told that she was killed by friendly fire: one shot, it turned out she was killed by five shots and her killer, which was one member of her unit, committed suicide right in her barracks and yet the family was not told this for over 8 months. So there's a lot of misinformation that's going on with the families and I firmly believe that if we can get the Congress to hold hearings and require people to come forward under oath, then indeed we can get to the bottom of what happened to LaVena Johnson. "





another KBR rape case... and another... and another...

Monday, September 29, 2008

gas sprayed into packed Ohio mosque

damn.

update: Dayton police say no hate crime. What a fucking relief right?
www.democracynow.org

Today

bailout = epic fail

Congressman Dennis Kucinich voted against the bailout. Here he is on C-SPAN yesterday alluding to the conflict of interest regarding our Treasury Secretary, Henry Paulson.



a few excerpts from the rush transcript of Dennis Kucinich's interview today with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now:

" This is a copy of the bill which will provide for a $700 billion bailout of Wall Street. It has provisions in it where it talks about helping homeowners, but when you read the fine print, you see it has language like “may” instead of “shall” and “encouraging” instead of “mandating” help for the millions of homeowners who are worried right now about whether they’re going to lose their home. There’s no help for them in this. "

" And frankly, Wall Street is—has put itself on a trajectory with now we have almost a quadrillion—half a quadrillion dollars of derivatives that are out there, floating out there. People have said that if this is intended to be a fix, it’s a joke, on one hand. On the other hand, who’s paying for it? Why are we rushing this? I don’t—you know, and everything about this, I think, is unacceptable. "

" I said we’re the Congress of the United States; we’re not the board of Goldman Sachs. Goldman Sachs is struggling to survive. And, you know, their former chief is now the head of the US Treasury. He’s in a position to be able to direct assets in a way that would help enhance his own financial standing. I mean, that’s a clear conflict of interest. And, you know, that’s something that needs to be said. You know, why are we permitting the person who has essentially been in a position where he’s managed assets that—you know, many of which are now in trouble, and he can come back and help clear the books for a lot of his friends? This is wrong. It’s fundamentally wrong. And, you know, it’s one of the things that adds a degree of stench to this. "

putting a fire under the gravy train, Henry Paulson
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Last week

So last week I was and continue to be in too much shock to know where to begin, but my good pal Zach Scott summed it up pretty well, I thought. I'm gonna go ask him if I can use this now.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The past few days have been pretty eventful.

1. Financial system on the brink of collapse (again)
2. John McCain decides that the nation needs a hero, "suspends" his campaign, asks Obama to postpone debate, pisses off David Letterman:



3. McCain campaign suggests that it will continue to be suspended until a bailout deal is reached (it turns out he doesn't actually suspend his campaign, because for the remainder of Wednesday evening and Thursday, his ads continue to run across the country, and his talking heads continue to make appearances on all of the networks).

4. Meanwhile, Sarah Palin gives an interview so bad that it actually becomes national news:



5. Obama campaign: Uh...why is the debate canceled? Isn't this the sort of time when people should really find out what the next President thinks about important issues? His campaign says that they'll be in Mississippi for the debate, even if McCain will not. The prospect of Obama being alone on the debate stage for 1 1/2 hours on primetime television actually becomes possible for a brief time.

6. McCain, arriving in DC for crucial negotiations on the financial bailout,twiddles his thumbs for an hour, then mutters something about a House Republican proposal that he can barely defend or understand. Read all about it! McCain suspends campaign to rush back to Washington and destroy consensus! With Senate Republicans, Senate Democrats, and House Democrats all strongly behind the bill, McCain decides to support an entirely different bill proposed by half of the House Republicans, and things get heated.


Politico:
After a wild meeting at the White House, House Financial Service Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) was asked whether the Congress and the president were close to a deal.

“Yes and no,” he said. "We're closer to a deal between House Democrats, Senate Democrats, Senate Republicans and the administration. I cannot tell you, but we seem further away with the House Republicans because we thought we might have some differences of opinion over the president's approach. They're now talking about a very different approach."

Frank bashed McCain for becoming involved in the bailout talks, suggesting he was doing it only for political gain in the presidential race.

"I think Sen. McCain was hurting politically on the economic issue," Frank just told reporters. "I think this was a campaign ploy for Sen. McCain. I think they then had this problem that there might not have been enough of a deadlock for him to resolve. I don't know what motivated what, but the next thing we know, he's in a position, frankly, where he's making it harder to get things done rather than negotiate differences.

"He's slowed it down, I don't know whether he caused it or what," Frank said. "We are trying to put it back together."

NYT:
In the Roosevelt Room after the session, the Treasury secretary, Henry M. Paulson Jr., literally bent down on one knee as he pleaded with Ms. Pelosi not to “blow it up” by withdrawing her party’s support for the package over what Ms. Pelosi derided as a Republican betrayal.

“I didn’t know you were Catholic,” Ms. Pelosi said, a wry reference to Mr. Paulson’s kneeling, according to someone who observed the exchange. She went on: “It’s not me blowing this up, it’s the Republicans.”

Mr. Paulson sighed. “I know. I know.”

It was the very outcome the White House had said it intended to avoid, with partisan presidential politics appearing to trample what had been exceedingly delicate Congressional negotiations.

Later that night, McCain high-fives the Prince of Darkness in his Mid-Manhattan hotel suite as he lights a cigar from the smoldering ashes of dead babies and sweet grandmothers who died as they were preparing pumpkin pies for 4th of July picnics.

7. McCain resumes campaign, the debate is back on. Now his campaign says that since a "framework" for negotiations has been established, thanks to McCain of course, the debate can go on as planned.

Sarah Palin is still a moron.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Country First or the Pig & the Lipstick

Ever heard of The Keating Five, one of whom is a presidential candidate? This pertains to " judgement " regarding the economy.
Did you notice the part of that article where they mentioned the Savings & Loan Crisis? Good.

Let's begin with Phil Gramm and the Glass-Steagell Act

" In 1999, former Senator Phil Gramm (who is, incidentally, Senator John McCain's economic adviser and cochairs his presidential campaign) set out to completely gut the Glass-Steagall Act, and did so successfully, replacing most of its components with the new Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act: allowing commercial banks, investment banks, and insurers to merge (which would have violated antitrust laws under Glass-Steagall). Sen. Gramm was the driving force behind the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, as he had received over $4.6 million from the FIRE sector (Finance, Insurance and Real Estate donations) over the previous decade, and once the Act passed, an influx of "megamergers" took place among banks and insurance and securities companies, as if they had been eagerly awaiting the passage of Gramm's Act. "

Another good article in the same vein.

" Undoubtedly Gramm is promoting the agenda of those who subsidize him, as he has done ever since he entered politics as a servant of oil interests in his home state. He took hundreds of thousands of dollars from energy and financial interests as a congressman and then as a senator, rising to the chairmanship of the Senate Banking Committee, where he could really perform major favors. He is famed for slipping in an amendment desired by Enron Corp. back when his wife was on that doomed company's board. His employment by UBS, a company that recently warned some of its executives to avoid entering the United States for fear of criminal prosecution, demands fresh scrutiny of him as well as McCain. "

Also, here's an article from the NY Times which offers some historical perspective on John McCain's attempts ( highly successful in certain circles ) to be seen as a crusader against special interests.

( from page 2 )
" For years, Mr. McCain complied. At Mr. Keating’s request, he wrote several letters to regulators, introduced legislation and helped secure the nomination of a Keating associate to a banking regulatory board.

By early 1987, though, the thrift was careering toward disaster. Mr. McCain agreed to join several senators, eventually known as the Keating Five, for two private meetings with regulators to urge them to ease up. “Why didn’t I fully grasp the unusual appearance of such a meeting?” Mr. McCain later lamented in his memoir.

When Lincoln went bankrupt in 1989 — one of the biggest collapses of the savings and loan crisis, costing taxpayers $3.4 billion — the Keating Five became infamous. The scandal sent Mr. Keating to prison and ended the careers of three senators, who were rebuked by the Senate Ethics Committee in 1991 for intervening. Mr. McCain, who had been a less aggressive advocate for Mr. Keating than the others, was reprimanded only for “poor judgment” and was re-elected the next year.

Some people involved think Mr. McCain got off too lightly. William Black, one of the banking regulators the senator met with, argued that Mrs. McCain’s investment with Mr. Keating created an obvious conflict of interest for her husband. (Mr. McCain had said a prenuptial agreement divided the couple’s assets.) He should not be able to “put this behind him,” Mr. Black said. “It sullied his integrity.” "

and here's a funny ad that says it's approved by Barack Obama, but I remain dubious. I like it anyway:

Friday, September 12, 2008

Olbermann & Matthews/Palin & Ensler

Under Great Political Pressure MSNBC Removes Matthews' and Olberman's Anchor Status (about four fifths of the way down the page)

In media news, MSNBC has announced Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews will no longer anchor any of the network’s live political coverage for the rest of the presidential campaign season. NBC News’ White House correspondent David Gregory will become the primary host of the network’s coverage of the upcoming debates and on election night. In May, White House Counselor Ed Gillespie sent a letter to NBC News accusing Matthews and Olbermann of being “blatantly partisan.”

another take on it

Oh yeah! This is pretty moving:



Eve Ensler, the American playwright, performer, feminist and
activist best known for "The Vagina Monologues", wrote the
following about Sarah Palin:

Drill, Drill, Drill

I am having Sarah Palin nightmares.

I dreamt last night thatshe was a member of a club where they rode snowmobiles and wore the claws of drowned and starved polar bears around
their necks. I have a particular thing for Polar Bears.

Maybe it's their snowy whiteness or their bigness or the fact that they live in the arctic or that I have never seen one in person or touched one. Maybe it is the fact that they live so comfortably on ice.

Whatever it is, I need the
polar bears.

I don't like raging at women.

I am a Feminist and have spent
my life trying to build community, help empower women and stop violence against them. It is hard to write about Sarah Palin. This is why the Sarah Palin choice was all the more insidious and cynical. The people who made this choice count on the goodness and solidarity of Feminists.

But everything Sarah Palin believes in and practices is
antithetical to Feminism which for me is part of one story
-- connected to saving the earth, ending racism, empowering
women, giving young girls options, opening our minds,
deepening tolerance, and ending violence and war.

I believe that the McCain/Palin ticket is one of the most
dangerous choices of my lifetime, and should this country
chose those candidates the fall-out may be so great, the
destruction so vast in so many areas that America may never
recover. But what is equally disturbing is the impact that duo would have on the rest of the world. Unfortunately, this is not a joke.

In my lifetime I have seen the clownish, the inept, the bizarre be elected to the
presidency with regularity.

Sarah Palin does not believe in evolution. I take this as a metaphor.

In her world and the world of Fundamentalists nothing changes or gets better or evolves. She does not believe in global warming. The melting of the arctic, the storms that are destroying our cities, the pollution and rise of cancers, are all part of God's plan. She is fighting to take the polar bears off the endangered species list.

The earth, in Palin's view, is here to be taken and
plundered. The wolves and the bears are here to be shot and plundered. The oil is here to be taken and plundered. Iraq is here to be taken and plundered.

As she said herself of the Iraqi war, "It was a task from God.

Sarah Palin does not believe in abortion. She does not believe women who are raped and incested and ripped open against their will should have a right to determine whether they have their rapist's baby or not.

She obviously does not believe in sex education or birth
control.

I imagine her daughter was practicing abstinence
and we know how many babies that makes.

Sarah Palin does not much believe in thinking.

From what I gather she has tried to ban books from the library, has a
tendency to dispense with people who think independently. She cannot tolerate an environment of ambiguity and difference.

This is a woman who could and might very well be the next president of the United States. She would govern one of the most diverse populations on the earth.

Sarah believes in guns. She has her own custom Austrian hunting rifle.

She has been known to kill 40 caribou at a clip. She has shot hundreds of wolves from the air.

Sarah believes in God. That is of course her right, her private right.

But when God and Guns come together in the public sector, when war is declared in God's name, when the rights of women are denied in his name, that is the end of separation of church and state and the undoing of everything
America has ever tried to be.

I write to my sisters. I write because I believe we hold this election in our hands. This vote is a vote that will determine the future not just of the U.S.

but of the planet.

It will determine whether we create policies to save
the earth or make it forever uninhabitable for humans. It will determine whether we move towards dialogue and diplomacy in the world or whether we escalate violence through invasion, undermining and attack.

It will determine whether we go for oil, strip mining, coal burning or invest
our money in alternatives that will free us from dependency and destruction. It will determine if money gets spent on education and healthcare or whether we build more and more methods of killing.

It will determine whether America is a
free open tolerant society or a closed place of fear, fundamentalism and aggression.

If the Polar Bears don't move you to go and do everything in your power to get Obama elected then consider the chant that filled the hall after Palin spoke at the RNC, "Drill Drill Drill." I think of teeth when I think of drills.

I think of
rape. I think of destruction. I think of domination. I think of military exercises that force mindless repetition, emptying the brain of analysis, doubt, ambiguity or dissent. I think of pain.

Do we want a future of drilling? More holes in the ozone, in
the floor of the sea, more holes in our thinking, in the
trust between nations and peoples, more holes in the fabric
of this precious thing we call life?

Eve Ensler

September 5, 2008

~~~this is also very moving:

Monday, September 1, 2008

Punk Rock Regains it's Relevance Through Global Migration! Oi!

http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/music/2008/09/punks_not_dead_it_just_emigrat.html

"punk is kept alive in places like Cuba where simply criticising the communist regime can get your ass thrown in jail. As has been reported, that's what has happened to Gorki Ɓguila Carrasco, leader singer of Porno para Ricardo, currently facing four years in prison for "peligrosidad" - literally meaning the dangerousness of his music - specifically for dismissing the ruling Castro brothers as "geriatrics". It's hardly GG Allin is it? Maybe it was their vaguely wacky song 'El Comandante' that upset, um, El Comandante.

Elsewhere the appetite for punk rock grows unabated. Readers of Marjane Satrapi's graphic novel Persepolis or its film adaptation will know the type of trouble faced when caught with contraband punk music under the theocratic tyranny of Islamist fundamentalists in post-revolution Iran. And indeed, how that hunger for anti-social sounds merely grows when challenged. The Sex Pistols might be a joke today, but for millions of oppressed youth they still represent a signpost to freedom."

Friday, August 29, 2008

Listen now...



OH! pensions before parachutes! OH! OH!

THAT'S not the judgement we need. BAM! BAM!



I love it when he debunks jingoism and the part where he finds common sense/ground on every fucking devisive issue known to man... more-or-less.



We can not turn back! Shit... I'm a little phaclempt. Talk amongst ya'selves.

Also:

I guess the inexperience argument wasn't polling well.

http://www.thenation.com/blogs/notion/350759

McCain's Hail Mary Pass
posted by William Greider on 08/29/2008 @ 3:06pm

The news was so stunning I refused to believe it until I saw John McCain on the TV screen announcing his pick for Vice President. There's no need to disparage Sarah Palin. She's seems like a smart, serious person. But what the choice reveals about McCain is devastating with a capital D for Desperation.

Within forty-eight hours, all America will be talking about her. What people will say is, "You mean, if John McCain croaks, she becomes our president?" Gasp, yes. That is what McCain has decided. So much for "experience" and wise judgment as a campaign issue.

The Senator was widely thought to be on the fifty-yard line, nose to nose with Barack Obama. But this selection reveals the Republican campaign strategists knew better. Picking the obscure and under-experienced governor from Alaska for veep means McCain and his people recognize they are in a very weak position for the fall campaign. So weak they decided to throw a forty-year Hail Mary pass and hope audaciously for a lucky catch.

It won't succeed. In fact, I expect this gambit is going to drive far more voters to Obama's column than it does for McCain.

Choosing Palin kills the "experience" argument. Republicans must have recognized from their own market research that it wasn't working for them. For two months or more, McCain and his handlers have smeared and slandered Obama, mocked his star quality talents, belittled his lack of tenure in Washington back rooms and accused him of unpatriotic egotism. Clearly, their internal polling told them this line of character attack wasn't grabbing the public. Playing the wise old man was not going to be enough to overcome McCain's other significant handicaps, his somewhat doddering style and memory lapses, his deadly embrace of right-wing cant and G.W. Bush.

So, what the hell, let's take a wild shot and see what happens. The other veep possibilities are dull guys in good suits. Let's go with the young gal from Alaska. She's not only a woman--she's a mother! You want history-making? We Republicans can do history-making.

Their internal logic was obvious, it was also pathetic. Putting a woman on the ticket is supposed to draw away those discontented Clinton voters in the Democratic party. Not going to happen, I think. First, that group has dwindled considerably in the last few days--thanks to Hillary Clinton's straight-shooting endorsement of Obama and especially to Bill Clinton's brilliant blessing. The former President went the full mile in defending Obama as ready to be President by reminding everyone that he too had been dogged for a youthful lack of experience. Any remaining bitterness among Clinton voters will not be salved by supporting a hardcore right-winger on feminist issues.

The early returns I am hearing from people suggest that McCain's gambit may prove to be a home run (mixing my sports metaphors) for Obama. One young friend first heard the news from his mother who called to say, okay, she was switching to Obama. For months, she had rooted for Hillary and insisted Obama was too wet behind the ears. "You can stop arguing with your mother," she said.

Palin's previous political experience was as mayor in a town of 6,000. Did they mention this to John McCain? Or did he perhaps forget? Senator McCain says he has seasoned judgment, but he may have been over-cooked.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Blackwater

Investigative journalist and correspondent for The Nation and Democracy Now! Jeremy Scahill is the author of “Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army.”

This is a massive collection of Blackwater related articles:

http://www.democracynow.org/features/blackwater_usa

Here's a few examples of the headlines:

June 02, 2008: Blackwater: From the Nisour Square Massacre to the Future of the Mercenary Industry

May 23, 2008: ‘War, Inc.’: John Cusack’s New Film Satirizes the Corruption, Profiteering and Hubris Behind the Iraq War

May 02, 2008: Southern California Residents Gear Up for New Fight to Stop Secretive Expansion by Military Firm Blackwater

April 07, 2008: State Dept. Renews Blackwater Contract in Iraq Despite Pentagon Labeling Sept. Baghdad Killing of 17 Civilians ‘A Criminal Event’

December 19, 2007: EXCLUSIVE…Blackwater Sued Again For Sept. 9th Attack, Five Iraqis Dead, Ten Wounded

December 19, 2007: TV BROADCAST EXCLUSIVE: Iraqi Witnesses, Victims Describe Blackwater Shooting in Harrowing Detail

December 10, 2007: What is Blackwater’s Role in the 2008 Presidential Race?

November 09, 2007 An Act of Terrorism? Blackwater Sniper Shot Dead Three Iraqi Guards At Iraqi Media Center in February

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The end of water privatization?

The city of Paris, France has ended a hundred years of private water, putting the essential resource back in the public trust.

" "That France, once known as the heartland of water privatisation, is embracing a return to public management of water services, is a strong signal in this new pattern," Olivier Hoedeman of the Water Remunicipalisation Tracker told IPS. The group, a sub-division of the Amsterdam-based Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) and the Transnational Institute, documents the decline of water privatisation."

http://www.alternet.org/water/89982/


" In the 1990s many countries privatised their water and sanitation services, particularly in Africa, Asia and Latin America, under strong pressure from neo-liberal governments, particularly in the European Union (EU), and from international financial institutions such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to 'open up' national services. "

A memorable segment from a documentary called The Corporation, chronicling the first days of the global struggle for water. The Bechtel corporation and an army of police v.s. the people of Cochabamba. Hundreds of young people were maimed and injured by the police serving and protecting the state allocated contract to annex and sell back the citizens their water.


"Bechtel, Bolivia resolve dispute

San Francisco-based Bechtel Corp. has dropped a $25 million dispute against the Bolivian government for canceling a water contract, after major street demonstrations forced a Bechtel-owned subsidiary to withdraw from Bolivia’s third-largest city."

http://www.bilaterals.org/article.php3?id_article=3612

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Nelson Mandela to be removed from " Terror Watch List "

http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/africa/07/01/mandela.watch/index.html
Photobucket( Nelson Mandela displays his Nobel Peace Prize. )
Photobucket( Nelson Mandela looking out a barred window in the Prison on Robin Island where he spent most of his 27 year sentence. )

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Elephant in the Meteorology Room

Photobucket
(Cedar Rapids, Iowa {the downtown area is still off limits})

As a hundred year flood wreaks havoc in the mid-west, a new report from the U.S. Climate Change Science Program (comprised of thirteen federal agencies and overseen by the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Council on Environmental Quality, the National Economic Council and the Office of Management and Budget) asserts what any idiot could have inferred by now: Global Warming is making extreme weather increasingly commonplace in America.


Boston.com has a few arresting pics of the flood, one of which I included at the top of the post.



Iowa faced with a potential crop loss of $3,000,000,000.

http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/weather/06/21/iowa.flood/index.html

Friday, June 13, 2008

Hectic Iraq/US Security Agreement as UN Mandate Expires Before Next American President Takes Office

http://www.democracynow.org/2008/6/12/iraq_correspondent_patrick_cockburn_on_the

I hope you elect to read the whole article at the above link, but here's an excerpt of Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez's interview with Patrick Cockburn, Mid-East Correspondant for The London Indenpendant. They discuss the extortive efforts of the Bush Administration to force an Iraqi security agreement on their terms in exchange for 50 billion in Iraqi national funds being held in the federal reserve.


"AMY GOODMAN:
Patrick Cockburn, if this is pushed through before this president leaves office, how does it bind a future president? And what is your assessment of what these presidential candidates in the United States are suggesting for the end of war in Iraq?


PATRICK COCKBURN:
Well, you know, they’re describing it as a security agreement and saying, well, we have such agreements with eighty countries. But, I mean, this is frankly baloney. I mean, the other countries do not have an American army present which is under continual armed attack. It’s a very different type of agreement. And of course the reason they’re saying this is that they don’t want to submit it to Congress, and they also don’t want to submit it to a referendum in Iraq. In both cases, it might go down.

I think that the candidates—I mean, what strikes me, being in Washington, is the degree to which America is absorbed in the presidential election, and Iraq has been far too much on the margins of the news, as if nothing new was developing there or the situation might be bad but it’s not getting much worse, while these enormously important developments are taking place, which are laying the basis for future violence, for future wars, not exactly going through on the nod, but they’re being smuggled through. Their significance is being downplayed by the US ambassador in Baghdad, by the administration here in Washington. And this is taking place while the whole focus is on the presidential election here."

Also, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki has been quoted saying in regards to the negotiations, “We have reached an impasse, because when we opened these negotiations we did not realize that the US demands would so deeply affect Iraqi sovereignty, and this is something we can never accept.”
another Democracy Now! article here:
http://www.democracynow.org/2008/6/13/headlines#7

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Footnotes on Some Shiite

Obama's Iraq team appeared to be in a bit of disarray yesterday as they publicly differed on potential strategies while appearing at the second annual meeting of the Center for a New American Security. Here's an article from The Nation on this slightly disconcerting development:
http://www.thenation.com/blogs/dreyfuss/328987

As the U.S. and Iraq attempt to reach a bilateral agreement on the duration and capacity of the U.S. military's continued occupation, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki assured Iranians that his country will not serve as a proxy for a U.S. invasion into their country.
http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/meast/06/08/iraq.iran/index.html

Oh yeah! Maliki and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad totally made out too! Wolf Blitzer spins it as more awkward for John McCain than those two.
http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2008/06/11/blitzer-awkward-iraq-news-for-mccain-campaign/

David Davis Resigns Over 48 Day Detention Agreement

Photobucket

"The name of my constituency is Haltemprice and Howden - Haltemprice is derived from a medieval proverb meaning noble endeavour.

Up until yesterday I took a view that what we did in the House of Commons representing our constituents was a noble endeavour because for centuries of forebears we defended the freedom of people. Well, we did, up until yesterday.

This Sunday is the anniversary of Magna Carta, a document that guarantees the fundamental element of British freedom, habeas corpus. The right not to be imprisoned by the state without charge or reason.

But yesterday this house allowed the state to lock up potentially innocent citizens for up to six weeks without charge.

The counter-terrorism bill will, in all probability, be rejected by the House of Lords very firmly. After all, what should they be there for, if not to protect Magna Carta?

But because this is defined as political, not security, the government will be tempted to use the Parliament Act to overrule the Lords.

It has no democratic mandate to do this since 42 days was not in its manifesto. Its legal basis is uncertain to say the least but, purely for political reasons, this government is going to do that.

Because the generic security argument relied on will never go away - technology, development complexity, and so on - we'll next see 56 days, 70 days, then 90 days.

But in truth perhaps 42 days is the one most salient example of the insidious, surreptitious and relentless erosion of fundamental British freedom.

And we will have shortly the most intrusive identity card system in the world. A CCTV camera for every 14 citizens, a DNA database bigger than any dictatorship has, with thousands of innocent children and millions of innocent citizens on it.

We have witnessed an assault on jury trials, a bolt against bad law and its arbitrary use by the state.

And shortcuts with our justice system, which will make our system neither firm nor fair and a creation of a database state opening up our private lives to the prying eyes of official snoopers and exposing our personal data to careless civil servants and criminal hackers.

The state has security powers to clamp down on peaceful protest and so-called hate laws to stifle legitimate debate, whilst those who incite violence get off scot-free.

This cannot go on, it must be stopped, and for that reason today I feel it is incumbent on me to take a stand.

I will be resigning my membership of this House and I intend to force a byelection in Haltemprice and Howden.

Now I will not fight it on the government's general record. There's no point repeating Crewe and Nantwich.

I won't fight it on my personal record - I am just a piece in this great chess game.

I will fight it, I will argue this byelection against the slow strangulation of fundamental British freedoms by this government.

Now, that may mean I have made my last speech to the House. It's possible. And of course that would be a cause of deep regret to me. But at least my electorate and the nation, as a whole, would have had the opportunity to debate and consider one of the most fundamental issues of our day.

The ever-intrusive power of the state on our lives, the loss of privacy, the loss of freedom and a steady attrition undermining the rule of law. And if they do send me back here, it will be with a single, simple message - that the monstrosity of a law that we passed yesterday will not stand. "

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/jun/12/speeches

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Here's the first ten minutes of a solid peak oil documentary titled A Crude Awakening: The Coming Oil Crash, which ( for those of you with netflix ) is available in their instant ( online viewing ) section in it's entirety. Netflix has a few other oil documentary's as well. I'd also recommend reading The Party's Over by Richard Heinberg.

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