Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Democrats Debate In Philly: Kucinich Calls For Reality in Iraq and Impeachment Of President Bush

Good God, do I wish Obama (as Prez) and Kucinich (as VP) would run together - I would commit all of my time, energy, and campaign finances to whisking them into office with the utmost speed...

Two video clips (Obama and Paul)

Obama on Net Neutrality
This is the first time I've heard a mainstream candidate speak fluently about this issue - while not as pressing as our Middle East foreign policy or the economy, it is something I'm a strong believer in.  I was impressed to see that Obama "gets it."
Ron Paul on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno 10-30-07

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Hillary, War with Iran is No Laughing Matter

Every time I count Mike Gravel out, he comes back with evidence he's still a worthy actor in this theater.  Only the first 1/3 of this video is worth watching (but it's very good), and I'd like to see what Hillary's actual response was (beyond the now-standard giggle), but Gravel's follow-up post is smack on the money...

House Probes Blackwater Immunity

Some days he gets too partisan (in favor of Democrats) than I like, but on days like today, I love Henry Waxman and his pursuit of accountability where needed.

Among the uncomfortable questions that Waxman addresses to Secretary of State Rice is: "When did you, Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte, former Assistant Secretary of State Richard Griffin, Ambassador David Satterfield (senior advisor on Iraq), and Ambassador (to Iraq) Ryan Crocker learn of the grant of immunity?" and "What consultation, if any, was conducted with the Justice Department prior to the offers of immunity?" Waxman also seeks to determine whether the State Department has conferred immunity during any other investigations of contractors in Iraq.

Ban on Net access taxes extended to 2014

Wow - Congress and Bush actually agreeing on something.  Didn't think I'd see this day (despite it being an unquestionably good move).

Watchdog groups agree: White House needs to turn over lost email records now

Not necessarily forward movement, but I'm glad someone's keeping an eye on this.  The complete "disappearance" of these emails is one of the most ludicrous explanations I've heard this year despite the lack of questioning around it, as it's practically impossible for digital communications to be permanently lost these days.

Colbert on Face The Nation with Tim Russert

To be honest, I only laughed once during this (the Sam Brownback bit) - but an odd and interesting interview (oh twice, I forgot the Bert bit). 
Despite being an active Facebook user and Colbert fan, I haven't joined his group (the fastest growing ever on Facebook) and hope that he doesn't skew the vote in South Carolina away from more serious/valid candidates.  I appreciate his wit and ability to call things more accurately that our mainstream media many times, but I don't like the idea of risking screwing things up even more just for the entertainment value.

Bush: Congress is not getting its work done

Good representation of both sides of the issue, and how both sides are doing their job poorly.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Great Larry King/Bill Clinton interview from last year

Man I miss that guy. 
KING: Is Iraq a religious war?

CLINTON: No, I don't think so. I think Iraq is primarily a -- the conflict there, you have first, as you know, the Sunni, the Shia, the Kurds. Then you have the tribal differences. Then you have sort of the philosophical differences between the Sunni and the Shia. You have some outside influences coming into that Sunni area. But I do not believe it is primarily religious. The religious differences between the Sunni and the Shia, I don't think, are what are driving this violence.

KING: Vice President Cheney said, knowing all he knows, he'd still go back. Would you?

CLINTON: Of course he would. No, I never was in favor of doing it before the U.N. inspectors finished. I had a totally different take on this. I ...

KING: Why would you say of course he would?

CLINTON: Because they didn't -- because the evidence has made clear now that he and the other proponents of the Iraq war did not care whether he had weapons of mass destruction, did not care whether he was involved with 9/11, did not care whether the evidence showed any of this or not, that they had made their mind up in advance that this was the thing to do, that it would help to make a new Middle East, it would strengthen America's leverage against Iran; it would, you know, shake up the authoritarian regimes and increase our leverage to create peace between the Israelis and the Pakistanis -- Palestinians.

And I think they thought it might clean their own skirts a little, since most of what Saddam did that was really terrible he did when he had the full support of the Republican administration of the '80s, of which Dick Cheney was a part.

Now to be fair to them, it was an example of the old adage that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. After the Ayatollah took over in Iran and events began to go the way they did in Iran, the fact that Iraq was a willing counterweight was seen as a positive thing until he invaded Kuwait.

But much of what he did in using chemical weapons and killing innocent civilians and all the terrible things he did in the 1980s he did it without a peep of criticism from some of the same people that have prosecuted this war. So for whatever reason, they wanted to do this. And I think they would do it again because that's what they thought, what they should do with their mandate.


Immunity Deals Offered to Blackwater Guards

More incompetence...
could complicate efforts to prosecute the company's employees involved in the episode, government officials said Monday.  The State Department investigators from the agency's investigative arm, the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, offered the immunity grants even though they did not have the authority to do so, the officials said. Prosecutors at the Justice Department, who do have such authority, had no advance knowledge of the arrangement, they added.

George Will: McCain is 'yesterday's maverick' compared to Ron Paul

Not like McCain needs any help hurting his own campain, but good to see Paul invading market share previously captured by his fellow Republicans.  Let's hope the added visibility helps him pull significant votes away from psychopaths Giuliani and Romney, as well.

FBI Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds Will Now Tell All - and Face Charges if Necessary - to Any Major Television Network That Will Let Her

Brave, brave woman - I truly believe she holds secrets that would absolutely dwarf Watergate.  Here's a portion of what she seems to know about, from one of the links in the article....

9/11 Related:
* Information omitted and covered-up regarding documented and confirmed case of a long-term FBI Informant & Asset who provided the FBI with specific information and warnings in April & June 2001 regarding 9/11 terrorist attacks.
* Information omitted & covered up regarding documented information in the procession of the FBI in July 2001 regarding blue prints and building composite information of Sky Scrapers being sent to certain groups in the Middle East by certain Middle-Eastern suspects in the State of Nevada.
* Information omitted & covered up regarding arrangements made between the State Department and certain countries to deport certain Middle-Eastern and Central Asian detainees from jails in New Jersey & New York off the record and without having them interrogated in November 2001. (Documents related to these suspects were forged at the FBI).
* Information omitted & covered up regarding nuclear related information illegally obtained by certain foreign entities and US persons (government officials) from several US labs being sold to a certain Middle-Eastern group in the United States in 1998-2000. The operation involved individuals with Diplomatic cover, foreign Ph.D. students, and US employees.
* Information omitted & covered up regarding money laundering & narcotics operations, some of which involved entities from the Middle East and the Balkans, in several US cities.
* Information omitted & covered up regarding certain Pakistani Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI)-related activities linked to the 9/11 attacks between August & October 2001.
* Certain terrorist related Counterintelligence/FISA information & investigations were prevented from being transferred to counterterrorism & criminal division by the Department of State and the Pentagon; "preserving sensitive diplomatic relations" and "protecting certain US foreign business relations (mainly involving weapons procurement)" were cited as reasons.
* Intentional mistranslation & blocking of foreign language intelligence of FBI counterterrorism and counterintelligence investigations.

Penetration of FBI, Department of State and Department of Defense:
* Melek Can Dickerson: FBI; formerly employed by the American Turkish Council (ATC) and American Turkish Association (ATA).
* Major Douglas Dickerson: Air Force, DIA; formerly worked with the American Turkish Council (ATC), had on going relationship with International Advisors Inc (IAI) principles who worked as lobbying arms for certain foreign nations and foreign non-state entities (some of whom were engaged in illegal activities in the United States and against US interests and national Security.)
* Cases reported by John M. Cole, Veteran FBI Counterintelligence Operations Manager, to the DOJ-IG & Congress involving Hadiya Roberts (ISI-Pakistan), and several other individuals.
* Documented cases under FBI counterintelligence surveillance between 1997 and 2002, involving US government officials from the Department of State, DOD, and certain elected officials who were recipients of regular payments made by state and non-state foreign entities, some involved in criminal operations against US interests & national security. These cases were prevented from being transferred to actionable criminal and/or counterterrorism divisions/investigations.
* A reported case of penetration of FBI New York Field Office by an Iranian rouge agent.

Corruption & illegal activities involving US persons:
* Illegal payments to several elected officials in Congress; on going (1997-2002).
* Joint illegal activities between certain foreign agents (state & non-state) and US lobbying firms, government officials (Pentagon and the Department of State) and several elected officials. These activities include obtaining and passing highly classified and sensitive DOD documents & bribery and/or coercion of US individuals.
* Nuclear black market related activities carried out by certain foreign groups/lobbying firms/businesses/individuals & US persons (former & current US government employees and officials).

Somalia: 'We have decided to take your life'

Creepy story...

D'Oh: House Panel Screw-Up Reveals 150 Whistleblower Email Addresses

Holy crikey - is there no bottom to the incompetence in our political system right now?

Nov 5th planned campaign donations to Ron Paul


UN nuclear chief attacks hostile US claims on Iran

Given our success in Iraq, maybe we should listen this time?

AT&T fire help: 1 up, 1 down

Given their spying/privacy invasions, I still consider them "not good."  But the free wireless is a nice move.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

10,000 in Boston rally against war

Zinn is renowned for an antiwar speech he gave in nearly the same spot in 1971, at the height of Vietnam War protests.

Paul and Lois Doerr, of Wayland, attended that speech and said a stronger antiwar movement packed Boston Common then.

"I'm not convinced of the value of this," Paul Doerr, 58, said, motioning around him. "The polls indicate that everyone's against the war . . . but Bush is still getting the funding he asks for."

Rudy on Torture

Is God Running for President? (blog)

A couple of good points in that - and of course, it brings to mind this always-poignant satire from the Onion:

Donald Rumsfeld "charged" (accused/complained) of torture during trip to France

Also a couple of other good articles from the site:

A Life Saver Called "Plumpynut"

Wow - outstanding news (even if it basically amounts to developing a low-cost energy bar with lack of refrigeration needed, so be it...)
Hassana, at six months old, weighs only seven pounds. While that's what a newborn should weigh, the little girl has put on a pound in just a week thanks to Plumpynut.

Democrats Plan a Shorter Workweek

FEMA's Show Biz Debut

I know I've already covered this, but thought this article was also good.

Identical twins intentionally separated at birth for scientific study, reunited after 35 years

Wow - I think this wins for the most screwed up story I've read today...

Medical marijuana advocate kills herself, by Michael Moore (not that MM)

Anecdotal, yes - but nonetheless a sad, stupid story.

New UN environmental report paints a very bleak future for humanity

I know, I'm on an environmental kick - but this report was really engaging, with good data and concepts backing it up.  I've still got to read through it all, but very good from initial flipthrough...

In Event of Moon Disaster... (history)

Interesting entry (assuming it doesn't get deleted) on Wikipedia about a piece of contingency planning around the moon landing...

Astronauts Open Up New Station Addition

I'm always glad to read and pass along positive news like this, infrequent as it may be...

Saturday, October 27, 2007

FEMA Apologizes for Fake News Conference on Wildfires

Wonderful - with the typical Bush administration combination of corruption and ineptidue...

Olympia Snowe

Huh - I happened to see Olympia Snowe's facebook profile (I've argued that she would be a much better Presidential candidate than lots of other players), and there was a lot more support than I realized:
Dear Sen. Snowe,
Please run for President!
We need you not Hillary!!!!!!!!!
i am a DIEHARD dem, but i would vote for you over ANY democrat in the race.
I am not a republican in any way, shape or form, however you are one of the few that I can support, let alone with pride. Keep up the great work!
One of few Republicans I admire. Keep up the great work Olympia!
I think you'd make a great President - go and blow the cobwebs off those dusty old men who are standing for the nomination!

Definitley - I think that Olympia Snowe might be the only Repubilcan I'd vote for for president, except for mabye Susan Collins
I think I echo the thoughts of millions across the nation when I say "RUN FOR PRESIDENT".

You are an amazing, intelligent, witty, and compassionate senator who will be an outstanding first female POTUS.







Thursday, October 25, 2007

Straitjacket Bush

I'm passing this on because I'm hoping it's tongue-in-cheek; the solution is not to take pity and get psychiatric help for Bush and Cheney.

U.S. CBO estimates $2.4 trillion long-term war costs

Terror watch list swells to more than 755,000

"It undermines the authority of the list," says Lisa Graves of the Center for National Security Studies. "There's just no rational, reasonable estimate that there's anywhere close to that many suspected terrorists."

James Watson Retires After Racial Remarks

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Calif. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger Warns Republicans To "Serve The People, Not The Party"

He's already on my "keeper" list - great to see another Republican talking sense, though...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Naming Names at Gitmo

Well into the night of Sunday, Jan. 2, 2005, lt. Cmdr. Matthew Diaz sat alone at his desk in the headquarters of the American detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, consumed with a new project.

He often worked late. From the time Diaz enlisted in the Army as a 17-year-old high-school dropout, hard work had been his ticket. He had earned his college degree while serving as an artillery sergeant and then completed law school a semester early, driving a mail truck on the weekends. In 10 years as a Navy lawyer, his performance evaluations had been outstanding. As his six-month tour at Guantanamo neared its end, his stint as the deputy legal adviser there looked like more of the same.

But the task that absorbed Diaz that night in January was taking him down a different path. Sitting at a secure desktop computer, he printed out page after page of classified information, pulling each batch from the printer in case anyone wandered by. When he was done, Diaz had assembled a document 39 pages long. In tiny type, it listed names, prison serial numbers and other information for each of the 551 men who were then being held by the United States at Guantanamo Bay.


General claims Bush gave 'marching orders' on aggressive interrogation at Guantanamo

President Bush gave "marching orders" to Gen. Michael Dunlavey, who asked the Pentagon to approve harsher interrogation methods at Guantanamo, the general claims in documents reported in the book.

The ACLU also found that an Army investigator reported Rumsfeld was "personally involved" in overseeing the interrogation of a Guantanamo prisoner Mohammed al Qahtani. The prisoner was forced to parade naked in front of female interrogators wearing women's underwear on his head and was led around on a leash while being forced to perform dog tricks.

"It is imperative that senior officials who authorized, endorsed, or tolerated the abuse and torture of prisoners be held accountable," Jaffer and Singh write, "not only as a matter of elemental justice, but to ensure that the same crimes are not perpetrated again."

Ten Reasons Gay Marriage is Un-American

This is pretty good:
Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn't be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren't full yet, and the world needs more children.

Monday, October 22, 2007

NPR: Intelligence Squared debate program

I ran across this program and liked it from the samples I listened to.

Kansas Kills Coal Plants

Wow - Kansas, who'd have thought... good on them!   
I think we're definitely at a point where less pollution is a good thing, even if it comes at a higher cost...

Continent-size toxic stew of plastic trash fouling swath of Pacific Ocean

Bush sends emergency funding request to Congress,1,108401.story?coll=la-headlines-world

Thompson, Giuliani spar over conservative records

Good general preview of Republican stances...

Ron Paul: Is He Evil?

I felt obligated to share the above video, primarily for its hilarity (and even the one intentionally-partial video clip they tried to use of him, I still agree 100% with).  The sad thing is, I wonder how many people out there this would sway away, outside of the range of UT Austin people who know what Paul's "satanic" gestures actually were...

Great clip: George Carlin - Corporations Own America

5 Disasters Coming Soon If We Don’t Rebuild U.S. Infrastructure

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Poll: Half of Americans would 'never' vote for Sen. Clinton

Interesting/concerning metrics for each of the other candidates too...

Outstanding geopolitical interview with chess master Garry Kasparov (on Bill Maher's show, with Chris Matthews as guest)

Since it's on my mind because of an email exchange earlier today - I know I'm going to ruin the conversation here, but there are only three candidates I think would have a sliver of a chance in a debate with Kasparov, and none of them are leading the polls right now... (Obama, Kucinich, and Ron Paul to spoil it).  I would pay good money to see any of those debates, though.

Gravel Out of Next Democratic Debate

Now, this has happened before until the Internet community voiced its opposition, so maybe it will change, and I know he polls low in the mainstream - but my question is, why is fundraising a requirement to participation? 
While 20% of the time he's off the wall, at least 60% of the time he's making valid points that bigger-name candidates are avoiding like the plague.  And that's in the time he's allotted, which time and again has been proven to be a fraction of the time that Clinton or Obama get. 
So much for "elections aren't bought"...

The Secret History of the Impending War with Iran That the White House Doesn't Want You to Know

This is exactly Bob Woodward's style too (I'm trudging through "State of Denial" right now), if you found this worthy reading.  Woodward backs it up with tons of footnotes from in-person interviews with the key players like Rumsfeld etc.

UK: The sinister truth about what they do with our children's fingerprints

Whew, someone's sliding down the slope faster than US...?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

CBS confirms 2006 Raw Story scoop: Plame's job was to keep nukes from Iran

Phwhew - just the subject alone almost knocks the wind out of you.  I had forgotten about her role in counter-proliferation, but it comes back into sharp relevance when viewed in the context of recent Iran-related news items.   I don't know if the connection counts as incredible irony, or just extreme evidence of more sacrificing of our forward-facing programs to instead satisfy purely political motivations.  And yet most of America continues to favor waiting for real leadership to arrive in 2008 instead of initiating corrective action.
On a related note, it also reminds me of part of one of Bill Maher's extended speeches in his HBO special that I sent out a while back - transcript below:
And finally, New Rule: Traitors don't get to question my patriotism. What could be less patriotic than constantly screwing things up for America? You know, it's literally hard to keep up with the sheer volume of scandals in the Bush Administration. Which is why I like to download the latest scandal right onto my iPod. That way, I can catch up on this week's giant fuck-up on my drive in to work.
In fact, Bush has so many scandals, he could open a chain of "Bush Scandal and Fuck-up" theme restaurants. "Ooh, should I get the Harriet Miers meatloaf or the Katrina crab cakes?

You know, not to generalize, but the 29% of people who still support President Bush are the ones who love to pronounce themselves more patriotic than the rest of us. But just saying you're patriotic is like saying you have a big cock. If you have to say it, chances are it's not true.

LEGEND: I have to tell you.

MAHER: And, indeed, the party that flatters itself that they protect America better is the party that has exhausted the military, left the ports wide open and purposefully outed a CIA agent, Valerie Plame.

That's not treason anymore? Outing a spy? Did I mention it was one of our spies? And how despicable that Bush's lackeys attempted to diminish this crime by belittling her service, like she was just some chick who hung around the CIA. "An intern, really. Groupie, if you want to be mean about it."

No. Big lie. Valerie Plame was the CIA's operational officer in charge of counter-proliferation. Which means she tracked loose nukes. So, when Bush said, as he once did, that his absolute, number-one priority was preventing terrorists from getting loose nukes, okay, that's what she worked on. That's what she devoted her life to, staying undercover for 20 years, maintaining two identities every goddamn day. This is extraordinary service to your country.

Valerie Plame was the kind of real-life secret agent George Bush dreams of being when he's not too busy pretending to be a cowboy or a fighter pilot.

CIA agents are troops. This was a military assassination of one of our own, done through the press, ordered by Karl Rove. He said, of Valerie Plame, quote, "She's fair game." And then Cheney shot her.

George Bush likes to claim that he doesn't question his critics' patriotism, just their judgment. Well, let me be the first of your critics, Mr. President, to question your judgment and your patriotism. Because, let's not forget why they did it to her. Because Valerie Plame was married to this guy, Joe Wilson, who the Bush people hated because he busted them on one of their bullshit reasons for invading Iraq.

He was sent to the African country of Niger to see if Niger was selling nuclear fuel to Iraq. They weren't. It was bullshit, and he said so. In fact, his report was called, "Niger, Please!"

Valerie Plame's husband told the truth about their lie, so they were willing to jeopardize an entire network of spies to ruin her life. Wow, even the mob doesn't go after your family.

Mark Twain said, "Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it." And I say Valerie Plame is a patriot because she spent her life serving her country. Scooter Libby is not, because he spent his life serving Dick Cheney.

Re: Mukasey (new AG nominee) news

Follow up video of Mukasey:

Groups Ask Senate To Remove Earmark Promoting Creationism From Spending Bill

While this is a biased website, I like a decent portion of its content (like the above) enough to check in once in a while...

No more electric bills?


Visualizations: Gonzales testimony

This is a funny/sad/outdated tool related to Alberto Gonzales' testimony.  Some gems of branches in there!

Boy Scouts’ rent hiked $199,999 for gay ban

Philadelphia says it can't legally offer reduced rent to discriminatory group
Love it!  Fighting wrongs where it hurts - in the pocketbook.

Dodd will filibuster the FISA bill if his Hold is ignored

Senate majority leader Harry Reid plans to disregard Senator Dodd's intention to place a hold on a FISA bill that includes amnesty for telecommunications companies. In this video, Dodd says he will go to the Senate floor and filibuster this bill if necessary. This is what real leadership looks like!
"This false dichotomy, that we're only going to be safer if we give up our rights, is something I cannot stand for any longer."

Harry Reid works to ensure telecom amnesty, warrantless surveillance

It can't be overstated how starved people are for real leadership on these issues. From Time's Karen Tumulty:
Senator Dodd's campaign communications director Hari Sevugan tells me that $150,000 in small contributions have poured into Dodd's campaign in the past 24 hours . . . . Dodd has raised more small-dollar contributions in the last 24 hours than he did in the previous month. Sevugan also says the number of visits to his website is up tenfold, as is the number of people registering their e-mail addresses there.
All that, from a single announcement to place a "hold" on this bill. Consider the passion that could be generated, the energy that could be harnessed, from sustained and principled leadership.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Democratic Lawmaker Pushing Immunity Is Newly Flush With Telco Cash

Ladies and gentlemen, more news today on one of the comparatively-few Democratic political figures on my "replace" list.  It's neat (albeit sad) to check my list and not need to be adding another name, because there's already plenty of evidence that they're corrupt (and in Rockefeller's case, in an important position where forward progress might otherwise be being made in the opposite direction)...
On Thursday evening, the Rockefeller-led Senate Intelligence Committee is marking up a bill to re-amend the nation's spy laws. While the text of the bill has not yet been released, the bill reportedly includes a way for the telecoms to escape the litigation against them .


Voters unhappy with Bush and Congress

Bush's job approval rating fell to 24 percent from last month's record low for a Zogby poll of 29 percent. A paltry 11 percent gave Congress a positive grade, tying last month's record low.

Mukasey (new AG nominee) news


U.S. sanctions' limited effect on Burma

Re: 'Race row' Nobel winner James Watson suspended

Yeesh - how quickly the pedestal crumbles...

U.S. trio win Nobel in economics

'Race row' Nobel winner James Watson suspended

Wow - James Watson and Francis Crick were on a pedestal for most of my adolescence/young adulthood - sad to see this.
It reminds me of Larry King admitting he has never used the Internet - I have come much farther because of the ability to anonymously express ideas and get feedback on those ideas without being vilified (though I'm a no-name anyway :-).  Wish Watson had had the same ability and taken advantage to hone what he was saying, instead of coming off as a bigot...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Keep/replacement list for elections

This is my rough beginning of a spreadsheet I've been meaning to put together for months, of political figures who I think should be supported, or who I think should be replaced.  I haven't included all the details for each person, but I do have it easily referencable to defend my proposals.

Exclusive: Senator Chris Dodd Will Put A Hold On Telecom Immunity Bill

Wow - from out of nowhere, Dodd brings additional hope.

The Military Commissions Act.  Warrantless wiretapping.  Shredding of Habeas Corpus.  Torture.  Extraordinary Rendition.  Secret Prisons. 

No more.
I have decided to place a "hold" on the latest FISA bill that would have included amnesty for telecommunications companies that enabled the President's assault on the Constitution by illegally providing personal information on their customers without judicial authorization. 

I said that I would do everything I could to stop this bill from passing, and I have.  
It's about delivering results -- and as I've said before, the FIRST thing I will do after being sworn into office is restore the Constitution.  But we shouldn't have to wait until then to prevent the further erosion of our country's most treasured document.  That's why I am stopping this bill today.

Why Are We Paying $89 A Barrel for Oil? (Answer: It's Not What You Think)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Dennis Kucinich empties his pockets on the Colbert Report

I have no idea if that could be constituted as a good interview or not, but entertaining at least...

Americans Deeply Dissatisfied With Nation's Governance



That's it - I'm done...
(...Prescott Bush supported the Nazis two generations ago, and America didn't hold it against curious (or not) George - so I'm not really going to hold this against Obama, but what a sad, sad conincidence if true.)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Beating the impeachment horse once again

I'd pretty much sworn off RawStory as having low quality stories, until they came out with this shiner...

In Swanson's view, top Democrats have quietly committed to an electoral strategy that seeks to hang the albatross of an unpopular but still-serving President Bush around the necks of 2008 GOP contenders -- both the eventual Republican presidential nominee as well as the party's House and Senate candidates down ticket.

"And there's a view of history that says that isn't only morally disgusting, it's also wrong politically," he continued, adding that not only did Democrats have a responsibility to prosecute what he considers impeachable offenses, but also that impeachment itself wasn't inherently detrimental politically.

"Never has a party suffered for bringing impeachment," Swanson said, going on to mention that impeachment measures led by Democrats against former President Richard Nixon actually preceded a landslide victory for congressional Democrats in the 1974 mid-term elections.

Even after impeachment against President Bill Clinton, a very unpopular impeachment Swanson points out, Republicans lost fewer seats in the 2000 election than historical norms for a six-term congressional majority.



Qwest's Nacchio: NSA pushed long before 9/11

It's almost as if the Bush gang, almost immediately after taking office, began a legally-dubious power grab that included warrantless-domestic spying.

I suppose some of the president's allies might be tempted to spin this as encouraging. If the administration was pressuring telecoms as far back as Feb. 2001, the president and his team were taking the terrorist threat seriously long before 9/11.

This might be more persuasive if, six months after the NSA allegedly leaned on Qwest, the president didn't blow off a certain Presidential Daily Briefing, telling his CIA briefer, "All right. You've covered your ass, now."

The source of half of Bush's worst ideas: the Surge, the War, Bombing Iran, Bush's successive Tax Cuts...the American Enterprise Institute

The First Baby Boomer Collects Social Security

Couple this with the cost of the Iraq war, and I think the biggest economic challenge we will see this century is already underway...

Should Armenian Allies Bomb the United States? Washington's Holocaust Deniers

Interesting perspective piece.  The moral of the story to me is, don't go rushing into a land war in Asia.

Crushed Hopes (Hurricane Katrina and ego's)

I just ran across this Snopes entry - stunning.

A Mock Columnist, Amok

Fah - this thing had me grinning like a fool while commuting on the BART train, so I no longer got to feel like the only sane one there.  Colbert will go down in history as one of the comedic greats.

Spies, Lies and FISA

Great opinion piece that pretty much sums up this angle in its entirety...

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Secret U.S. Endorsement of Severe Interrogations

Catching up on hardcopy articles I had around - this was one of the most notable, about the Justice Department putting out one public stance and then submitting a secret stance to the opposite goal.  Also shines the spotlight well on snake-in-the-grass Steven G. Bradbury (who hasn't gotten his own Wikipedia page yet).

Bush 'planted fake news stories on American TV'

The report, by the non-profit group Centre for Media and Democracy, found that over a 10-month period at least 77 television stations were making use of the faux news broadcasts, known as Video News Releases (VNRs). Not one told viewers who had produced the items.

The FCC was urged to act by a lobbying campaign organised by Free Press, another non-profit group that focuses on media policy. Spokesman Craig Aaron said more than 25,000 people had written to the FCC about the VNRs. "Essentially it's corporate advertising or propaganda masquerading as news," he said. "The public obviously expects their news reports are going to be based on real reporting and real information. If they are watching an advertisement for a company or a government policy, they need to be told."

The controversy over the use of VNRs by television stations first erupted last spring. At the time the FCC issued a public notice warning broadcasters that they were obliged to inform viewers if items were sponsored. The maximum fine for each violation is $32,500 (£17,500).

Let's hope action is taken by the FCC soon (this is also now on my Action/Watch list, which I might get to distributing sometime before November 2008. :-P)


Despite showing up in person, Romney loses Nevada straw poll

Hmm, this event is notable for two reasons:
Romney said during his speech the next day to the group, "I'm from the Republican wing of the Republican Party," eliciting a negative response from some rival campaigns and the Democratic National Committee. The DNC jumped and noted that he stole Chairman Howard Dean's line from the previous election when he told voters he was "from the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party" before losing to John Kerry.
Who didn't even show up in person, but still won with 32%?  Less than 1/4 of this article is about him (the other 3/4's being devoted to Romney), despite the result being notable since he's typically portayed as being the longest of long shots.


Interesting to now have a name to put to the other side of the global warming debate, and an alternative belief


USA Gone Wrong: CIA Investigating Own Inspector General for Investigating CIA

Decent forum post responding to a statement that Dem/Repub both have scandals (though I disagree with his posit that all Republicans are authoritarians, I agree with his statements about this administration):
This has nothing to do with "scandals". This isnt someone sleeping with the wrong person.

The USA has gone off the rails -- they have literally become a Criminal Nation. The Justice Department is being used as a tool to undermine opposition parties and groups. The Judiciary isnt following the rules of law (constitution) and whistleblowers (this investigator) is being persecuted by the loyal partisans INSIDE the CIA!

This kind of thing is exactly what leads to fascist states. The radical elements unchecked the safeguards and use the machinery of government to give themselves extra-legal authority.

Do you remember Iran-Contra? This is *MORE* of that kind of corruption, but now, it is every day we hear about it. More and more and more.

Dont try even REMOTELY suggest that this a Democratic problem. The Republicans are authoritarians down to the very core of their being, they have been growing more and more radical by the decade. This isnt a "new" or mild thing, it is a truly serious threat to the USA (and to the world frankly).

These people are out. of. their. minds. The People of the USA have to rise up, throw them from office, then DEMAND that they be charged for their crimes. If you allow this kind of criminal corruption and war crimes to go unpunished, there is no hope of preventing it in the future.

You must prosecute these people.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Paul Envisions Smaller Government, Less Global Intervention

A private mercenary army pulling guns on real American soldiers? Disarming American troops in a war zone is definitely aiding the enemy

Hillary Eavesdropped On Phone Calls Of Critics

From a conservative blog, but still a good point (including the NYT/PP author source). 
This is the same behavior that is currently so concerning about GW Bush's warrantless wiretap program, except that Bush's is for a better reason (can't believe I'm ranking Bush's behavior on a particular topic higher than anyone else).  Not good to know that it would likely continue under Hillary Clinton, and potentially for even worse reasons than the purported "national security" that Bush justifies it with.

Police Review Commission Looks at Protecting Protesters

(from 6 months ago, but I just now saw it)


This clip I just found is great (it's also related to a topic I've
been known to rant about).

How Did a 12-Year-Old Become No. 1 Enemy of Conservatives?

Friday, October 12, 2007

Liberal Base Proves Trying to Democrats

Dizzying schedule

Wow, look at how jam-packed the candidates' schedules are, even over a year before the elections...

Muslim scholars call for peace with Christians

EcoSpeak: Part 2 of an interview with climate scientist Sir John Houghton

Not much new, but still an interesting interview from an IPCC player.
We all consume far more than we need to; we buy things we don't really need; we replace things we don't need to replace; we don't buy things that will last us a long time etc. The market tells us to 'buy, buy, buy'. This is a problem! It's not just about climate change, it's about having a sustainable future – to achieve this, our modern consumerist mentality will have to change.
The media are too fond of putting over confrontation rather than genuine information. They have an enormous responsibility to tell people the facts and explain to people what its all about so that people are truly informed. Instead the media creates confrontation between people who are for and against a topic, including scraping up people who are sceptical about man-made climate change. The media doesn't do this about flat earth theory!
I wish he had further emphasized the impact this news structure has not just on environmental issues.  Plus once you get past man-made climate change acceptance, there are still plenty of issues within the topic that should be discussed (CO2's specific role, etc.) that are instead stymied.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

I wish I worked in the Bush Administration

Great forum post re: voting and Bush versus Kerry (from 3 months ago)

For the record: I wasted my vote by casting it for Kerry. I was rewarded by watching him surrender the next day without a fight.

It was the 3rd parties (Green & Libertarian) that demanded every vote be counted, and not wasted.

So don't lecture me on how to waste a vote.

I'm done voting from a space of fear. I'm going to vote for who I like, not against someone you are scared of.

Fuck fear mongering party hacks who say: "You're gonna help elect an eeeeevil Republican. Democrats are so much better. Why go anywhere else?"

How's that been working out so far?

Dems are now in charge of both houses. Iraq is still funded, universal healthcare has as much chance as a snowball in hell passing anytime soon, impeachment is off the table, Bush officials ignore subpoenas, and corporations give just as much money as ever.

Maybe you are too cowardly to vote your conscience, but at least I'm trying something new rather than continue investing in the same failed strategy.

(Necessary disclaimer?: I think Kerry was the 2nd place weak guy where Bush was the 1st place worse guy - but I still totally agree with the above sentiment.)

San Francisco Successfully Uses Ranked Choice Voting for Citywide Elections, Nov. 2005

Catching up on old news - but this is the first move in the right direction I've seen in a while...
It's not the whole solution (in that there's still a huge uneducated mass that this doesn't address), but it's an important part.

House Panel Says Rice Is Hindering Its Work: Blackwater, Corruption in Iraq at Issue

Jimmy Carter calls Cheney a "disaster" for U.S

Monday, October 08, 2007

US appears guilty of torture: Pelosi

Wow, finally an admission from one of THE key people in power who should be doing something about it (beyond the ones actively justifying their own crimes).    Welcome to the Bush administration's tactics, Nancy, glad you're finally starting to catch on!  Hope letting things fall to shit in order to win 2008 is working out for you politically.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Blackwater guard 'turned gun on colleagues and told them to stop shooting'

Somebody with integrity and bravery within Blackwater - hope he doesn't get fired or accidentally killed. 
I think the lack of safeguards in controlling the bad employees is the real problem, and it was one of many questions that came up about the wisdom of outsourcing our military.  It's something that I'd guess the chain of command within the military has likely addressed in prior situations (when a superior officer says "Cease fire," there's not so much room for differing opinions).  Hopefully the reviews that are being initiated are serious efforts toward reining these guys in, and not just more window dressing.  This guy should be given a medal - at least, if he were a soldier instead of a mercenary. 
Oh, and on a separate note, it's funny how the picture just shows the car instead of any of the dead - best not to turn public opinion farther away from the war with visuals...

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Senate passes mammoth 648 billion defense bill;_ylt=A9G_R3emkQFHcS0A0wVX6GMA

Dems Propose Tax to Pay for War

Whoa whoa whoa - signs of intelligent thought AND action coming from the Democrats all at once!  Shot down by their parties leaders, but I like the thought.  Especially if you make it time-based so it doesn't end up that the wealthy are burdened with the cost of the war all the way until it's paid for ( i.e., the tax only stays in effect until our troops are redeployed etc., so it's a motivator to get out)...

Pelosi Throws in The Towel

God I wish that title meant what I thought it did when I first read it - it would be the first strong positive Democratic step in recovering control of our country.  Anyway...
Forum posts I agree with...
This shouldn't be any surprise to anybody. Nancy (one of our California traitors) could have gone down as one of the most important women in history by impeaching Bush/Cheney when she took the Speaker position. Instead she took the coward's way out. She should be ashamed to call herself an American.
Why would the democrats impeach when they have a man in power who is ruining his party's name for them? This is the best thing that ever could have happened to them, no way are they going to ruin that!   ...
I agree. And that's pretty much why Pelosi is behaving the way that she is. She doesn't give a damn about ending the Iraq War, because she realizes that if it continues to be the miserable foreign policy blunder that it is, her party will pretty much own Congress in 2008. If you ask me, she's just as crooked as Bush.
Yeah, because, screwing up the country for the sake of your party is a good and noble thing to do.
BLITZER: Let's talk about the war in Iraq. When you became speaker, you said, "Bringing the war to an end is my highest priority as speaker."


BLITZER: You've been speaker now for nine months.

PELOSI: Right.

BLITZER: The war, if anything, is not only continuing, but it's expanding. There's more troops now in Iraq than there were when you became the speaker. What are you going to do about that?

PELOSI: Well, we did, when we took office, we took the majority here. We changed the debate on the war. We put a bill on the president's desk that said that we wanted the redeployment of troops out of Iraq to begin in a timely fashion and to end within a year. The president vetoed that bill.

He got quite a response to that veto, and the Republicans in the Senate then decided he was never going to get a bill on his desk again. So we have a barrier and it's important for the American people to know that while I can bring a bill to the floor in the House, it cannot be brought up in the Senate unless there's a 60 vote, now 60 votes.

BLITZER: But you could in the House of Representatives use your power of the purse, the money, to stop funding the war if you really wanted to.

PELOSI: I wish the speaker had all the power you just describe. I certainly could do that. That doesn't bar the minority from bringing up a funding resolution. They have their parliamentary prerogative as well.

So what we have done is to send bills that limit the mission, to limit the time there, to redeploy the troops. And last week, I believe, was a turning point in the congressional debate on Iraq. I think we changed it going in by putting a bill on the president's desk.

Since May until now, we haven't been able to put something on the president's desk.

BLITZER: Because of the Senate. That's what you're saying.

PELOSI: Because of the Senate. The 60 votes.

But last week we were really optimistic that the Senate would at least support the readiness of our troops. The Webb resolution, Webb amendment to the defense bill was a resolution that said the guidelines of the Defense Department, the same amount of time in war, you have the same amount of time at home to regroup, to retrain, to recover, to be with your family.

BLITZER: It didn't have enough votes.

PELOSI: When they rejected that -- it had enough votes to pass and in a bipartisan...

BLITZER: But not to beat a filibuster.

PELOSI: But it did not have enough votes to be heard, to be heard so that a majority, a bipartisan majority of the Senate could have sent this to the president's desk. We have been trying to reach out, as the American people want us to do, in a bipartisan way, to build a bipartisan consensus to redeploy the troops out of Iraq safely and soon.

BLITZER: You know your base is really frustrated. Really angry...

PELOSI: I'm frustrated myself.

BLITZER: ... that this war continues. And they say you should be doing more, and that's reflected in what former Senator John Edwards, the Democratic presidential candidate, repeatedly says.

He says this. He says, "Congress must stand up to President Bush and pass a funding bill with a timetable for withdrawal. If the president vetoes that bill, Congress must send it back again and again, as many times as it takes for the president to finally get the message that he can't defy the American people."

Why didn't you do that?

PELOSI: I completely concur. But I just said to you we did that, we sent it to the president, he vetoed it. Any further attempts to do that have been met by the 60-vote barrier in the United States Senate.

Now, I'll be the last person to give you a civics lesson about what that means. But what it does mean is that the Republicans in the Senate have now taken ownership of the war in Iraq. It was President Bush's war. And now it is the Republicans' in Congress war.

And that marks a big turning point for us because we had hoped to have bipartisanship in redeploying the troops out of Iraq, to do so in a timely fashion. Now we have a loss of life that continues, a loss of readiness to our military, which harms our ability to protect America wherever our interests are threatened. We have lost money...

BLITZER: So, are you telling your angry base out there in the Democratic Party that wants to see this war over with, wants to see the U.S. troops home, that you, as speaker, there's nothing you can do, you have to just throw your hands up and say...

PELOSI: No. I didn't say that at all.

BLITZER: ... given the legislative problems in the Senate and the president's stubborn refusal to back down, that there's nothing that you can do?

PELOSI: How could you have ever gotten that impression?

BLITZER: All right, well, tell us... PELOSI: What I have said, for those who pay attention, is that we will hold this administration accountable time and time again for the conduct of this war in Iraq. I have to discuss how we went in on a false premise. That's well-known to the American people. What we do have to do is to show them every step of the way how the president is taking us farther down a path in which it is going to be harder to redeploy out of Iraq, and so whether it is...

BLITZER: But holding the president accountable, I just want you to explain, what does that mean? Besides just complaining and holding hearings? Specifically, is there anything else you can do?

PELOSI: Well, holding hearings and the oversight that we have on the corruption in contracting in Iraq, the hearings that we're holding and the harm to the readiness of our troops that the president is causing with his obstinance in this war in Iraq.

The retired generals tell us about if we want to talk about stability in the region -- and that's what we're talking abut here. How do we bring -- how do we have a vision of stability in the region?

Democrats are saying our vision for stability in the region begins with the redeployment of troops out of Iraq, and the generals say you cannot have stability in the region until you deploy the troops out of Iraq.

And the generals say you cannot have stability in the region until you redeploy the troops out of Iraq.

So what we're saying is now, with what happened in the past two weeks with General Petraeus' presentation and what happened on the Webb resolution in the Senate, that the Republicans are committed to a 10-year war in Iraq with the highest level of troop presence there, with permanent bases.

The Democrats are proposing a redeployment out of Iraq, a greatly diminished mission there, out of the civil war, protect our diplomats and protect our troops who are there, fight the Al Qaida.

And if we have to train the troops -- if we have to continue to train the Iraqi security forces, we can do -- it doesn't have to be in country and it doesn't have to be all-American. That can be done out of country.

So we're talking about a greatly diminished force there and a redeployment that's safe and responsible within the next year. The president is talking about 10 years and then after that, a Korea-like presence in perpetuity. That's the choice.

BLITZER: And I just want to be precise. Impeachment -- that whole notion which some of the base clearly would like -- that's off the table.

PELOSI: I've always said that impeachment is off the table. This is President Bush's war. It's Vice President Cheney's war and now it's become the war of the Republicans in Congress.



Humor: In a sign of confidence, Hillary has begun airing vicious political advertisements … targeting herself.

Spot on: Congressional Democrats failed to block a Republican measure that requires them to eat poo

In Surprise, Oilman Admits Iraq Kickbacks

Notable to some extent because he's donated to Democrats in about 70% of his contributions - and also of course because this is probably just one indication of widespread corruption we'll continue to hear about.

Rep. Kingston Introduces Resolution ‘Commending’ Rush Limbaugh

It's a good thing we don't have a war to put successful strategy behind, an upcoming disastrous economic situation, or any other higher priorities...

Bill Clinton: "Torture Like on 24 Is OK"

Monday, October 01, 2007

We're outsourcing our investigations of Blackwater to Blackwater.

Blackwater by The Numbers

A single Blackwater security contractor costs the government $1,222 every day to guard U.S. civilian personnel, or $445,000 per year. That's six times the cost of getting a U.S. Army soldier to perform the same function.

Christian Conservatives Consider Third-Party Effort

This would be awesome - a move that would finally guarantee that none of the many psychopathic Republicans would win the Oval Office...

More government corruption...

My favorite true-but-entertaining comment:
"Governmental corruption is going to destroy this republic. But only if the teachers unions don't do it first."