November 29, 2003
November 26, 2003
|"The U.S. military has had considerably more success in turning Iraq around than liberals have had in turning the ghettos around with their 40-year 'War on Poverty.' So far, fewer troops have been killed by hostile fire since the end of major combat in Iraq than civilians were murdered in Washington, DC, last year. How many years has it been since we declared the end of major U.S. combat operations against Marion Barry's regime? How long before we just give up and
pull out of that hellish quagmire known as Washington, D.C.?" ---Ann Coulter
That makes as much sense as, well, as Ann Coulter.
And then this from Mahablog:
|This gets us to the "electability" factor in the upcoming presidential elections. It is unfortunately the case that while the GOP has become the party of knee-jerk, right-wing extremist ideologues, the Democratic Party is the home of long-winded justifications. We may have truth on our side, but it won't do us a damn bit of good as long as we can't boil down truth to fit on a bumper sticker.|
Well, what about using a really small font?
Read Matt Taibbi's new piece, Clark's True Colors, currently posted on The Nation website. Snippet:
|Now Clark is presenting himself as a White Knight to the modern version of that same demographic, and he is being welcomed with open arms. He appeals to roughly the same class of people as Howard Dean, with a subtle difference. The Dean crowd self-consciously sees itself as a political force. When Dean tells supporters, "You have the power!" they holler like banshees, creating a Mike-Dukakis-teach-in-meets-Who-Let-the-Dogs-Out? kind of effect. But the chief crowd ritual in the Clark campaign is that of a group of hushed, groveling supplicants staring dewy-eyed at their savior Caesar. The vibe is all about ceding power, not empowerment.|
Actual Bumper Stickers
Excuses for Missing Work
Bizarre Album Covers
Marry Your Pet
Others' Accomplishments at Your Age
Let Them Sing It for You
The Matrix in Six Minutes
Words That Are Fun to Say
25 Most Gloriously Stupefying Moments in B-Cinema History
Some Thanksgiving Day thanks, courtesy Mark Morford:
|Be thankful that you do not have to suffer Dubya's massive crushing karmic burden, as wrought by inflicting heaps of environmental disaster and vicious unnecessary war and a stunning string of lies lies lies like a firehose of giblet gravy splattered all over the planet. For it really is all too plain: G.W. Bush is one of the most reviled and openly disrespected major world leaders in modern history. America has never been so embarrassed and reluctant to send a president abroad. We cringe when the man takes the stage. We offer humiliated apologies to our former allies, and to the 200,000 Bush/war protesters in London, just last week. In Bush's defense, it cannot be easy to be so undeservedly powerful, yet so bumbling and inarticulate and globally loathed for your abhorrent policies and hollow corporate agenda and baffled doofus manner. This Thanksgiving, be grateful you are not him.
Thanks, you might want to give, that you are not Iraqi. Be grateful you did not go from brutal scowling despot who at least kept the damn lights on to brutish occupying army no one asked for that is right now laying waste to whatever remains of your once semi-proud oil-rich nation. Give thanks, furthermore, that you are not one of the estimated 10,000 Iraqi civilians killed to date by U.S. forces, not to mention one of the untold tens of thousands of Iraqi soldiers who were hammered by our million pounds of billion-dollar ordnance in the first few days of the massacre. Be grateful you are not dead in the name of American political and petrochemical profiteering.
Give thanks you are not a member of the much-abused U.S. military. Sad but true. Be grateful you are not right now suffering that sickening sinking feeling that you are not, in fact, protecting America from any sort of marauding terrorists, or defending our honor, or our way of life, or guarding innocents from swarthy evildoers and nonexistent WMDs. But that you are, instead, a wholly disposable henchman for the BushCo corporate regime, with the odds increasing every minute that you will soon join the more than 9,000 U.S. wounded or more than 430 "necessary" dead U.S. soldiers Rumsfeld mentions when he shrugs off the latest round of guerrilla bombings that killed another batch of your friends. Support our troops. Bring them home right now.
Kneel down, right now, for free speech. Oh yes. We must. Because it is under severe duress. To exercise it now, to speak out against BushCo and war and global corporate profiteering, is a true sign that you are a traitor and an al Qaeda operative and a personal friend of Barbra Streisand. This is what they sneer at you.
November 25, 2003
Here is a rousing snippet from Paul Edwards' Weapons of Mass Hysteria:
|Bush told us Saddam had Weapons of Mass Destruction and was threatening to attack America. This was the paramount, indeed, the single solid justification for his war.
While the world implored him to give U.N. inspectors time to find the WMDs he swore were there, Bush refused on the grounds that an attack by Saddam on America was not only likely, but imminent. He implied, and led Americans to believe, that Saddam and Osama bin Laden were allies when they were, and always had been, bitter enemies.
After the bludgeoning of an already prostrate Iraq, the world waited for evidence, for the discovery that was to have justified this brutal blitzkrieg. It never came. And it never will, because there were no WMDs and never had been. Bush lied to goad Americans to a climax of fear and fury so as to launch a baseless, shameful assault for which we will answer to our consciences, our children, and the world, for as long as our country exists.
The Constitution cites "high crimes and misdemeanors" against the state as grounds for impeachment. Could there be any higher crime against the American people than to have knowingly deceived us in order to stampede us into an act of barbarism that has betrayed our finest ideals, our highest ethical standards, our national honor, and our whole history?
Now, as the web of lies that created the Iraq disaster collapses in the light of bitter, incontrovertible truth, and the unending cortege of our dead and wounded young people continues to come home to hospitals and graveyards, we are asked to forget Bush's lies. We are told by cynics and moral defectives that his monstrous lie about WMDs didn't matter. We are told that eliminating its dictator was reason enough to bludgeon Iraq and to kill, maim and brutalize its stunned and powerless people.
Facing a furiously rising national rebellion and clear evidence that we are justly blamed, hated, and seen as the enemy by the Iraqi people, we are asked to swallow the horror of this deception, to accept what has been inflicted on Iraq and on us, with all its bloody, bankrupting consequences, and to authorize, by our silence, cowardice and quiescence, the continuation of this grisly nightmare, and of our sociopathic appointed figurehead's odious misrule.
I submit that Bush has committed the vilest, most cynically depraved act of betrayal of the American people in the history of the Presidency. Nothing less than impeachment, with the conviction that must inexorably follow, can begin to address the damage and redress the harm this President and his amoral handlers have inflicted on America.
But since impeachment will never happen, the next best solution is revolution.
Should we be honoring our soldiers in Iraq? Gabriel Ash explains why that would be the wrong thing to do (snippet):
|We can choose to honor people according to relativistic, aesthetic principles. We can choose to appreciate professionalism for its own sake, without regards to consequences. Indeed, one could say this is the natural moral code of professionals. It allows us to admire the beauty of a perfectly executed murder, the logistical brilliance of the people who designed Auschwitz, the verbal dexterity of a skilled disinformer such as Ari Fleischer, the majesty of the Enola Gay bomber. It allows us to live in peace with our own participation, in countless ways, in the mayhem that our government unleashes upon others and the devastation of the planet by the corporations we work for. But we pay a steep price for this comfort -- a desiccated soul and a dying planet.
But wait, you say, our democratic government will cease to function unless people respect legitimate authority even when they disagree with the command. The soldiers risk their lives for their country, taking orders from the properly elected government. Their fulfillment of their duty is thus honorable, even if the orders they obey are not.
Putting aside the question of who elected our government, this argument shouldn't be persuasive. If the smooth functioning of the U.S. government is more valuable than the life of its victims, than we shouldn't be honoring people like Daniel Ellsberg and Phillip Berrigan, who disrupted the functioning of the government, and people like Michael Simmons, who spent two years in jail for refusing to serve in Vietnam. We cannot, unless we are confused, honor two such diametrically opposed moral choices simultaneously.
Our men and women in uniforms, as they are often called, are just beginning a dirty war against the Iraqi resistance. They blow up buildings and cars of "suspected targets" in the middle of a town. They now demolish homes, a practice learned from that other beacon of virtue, Israel. Without the newspeak, they lash out blindly against unknown Iraqis. The resulting slaughter of civilians is motivated less by the hope of success -- for every fighter accidentally killed in such attacks ten new recruits will join the resistance -- but by the iron demands of Bush's electoral calendar. The heavy handed attacks draw press and create the impression of forward momentum, necessary to protect the presidential swagger.
Our men and women in uniform, reduced to hired guns for the Mugger in Chief, deserve compassion and understanding of their predicament. We should wish them a safe return and we should mourn their losses, and we should mourn the people they kill. But to honor them is something altogether different. Honor is more than understanding and compassion. It is the elevation of an act to an example worth following and repeating. If we don't want this war repeated, if we want people to be thoughtful before they engage in killing, to refuse to participate in crimes, even crimes authorized by "legitimate" government, we can't honor the opposite behavior.
James Boyne has a few things on his mind (snippets):
|It’s truly amazing that once our President in seen landing on an aircraft carrier in a fighter jet, and he is on the campaign stump giving those “let’s go get the terrorists” speeches, with the gigantic American flag waving in the background, the Congress and Senate will march lockstep arm-in-arm and throw $200 billion at Iraq in 4 months time, with hundreds of billions more to follow; but $400 billion for prescription drugs for seniors gets bogged down in a 10 year debate because all the drug and health insurance companies want a piece of the action.
Like all sinister and cynical leaders, when things aren't going well at home, a nice, colorful, exciting, war with "shock and awe", shadowy, nameless terrorists that hide in caves and fight with "cloak and dagger" efficiency, use suicide car bombers and are harbored in 60 countries, is a great distraction to keep our minds off the millions of baffled, befuddled, and bewildered seniors found dead everyday clutching an empty medication bottle.
Even conservative Republicans are dismayed at the reckless, irresponsible spending spree that President Bush is on. Whatever taxpayer money left over, he throws back at the wealthy. President Bush is like a little kid playing war with an animated PC video game and is handling our economy like he is sitting on the back porch playing monopoly with the neighborhood kids. And he is the “banker”.
And this opinion about Kucinich:
|James Boyne... is a satirical, political freelance writer .... He has previously been a diehard, staunch, conservative Republican who has voted for Goldwater, Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush I and Bush II, and now has made a 180 degree turnabout and supports the candidacy of Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), who appears to have the most integrity, honesty, common sense, straightforwardness, enthusiasm, optimism, and “fire in the belly” to be possibly the best President in recent memory. He is a progressive, populist, liberal, Democrat and is a man of principal, intelligence and experience. Mr. Kucinich comes from a humble background and clearly spells out his positions on issues on his web site www.kucinich.us so there is no question where he stands on issues. He is an eloquent, articulate, inspiring, motivating, positive, optimistic and enthusiastic speaker. He writes his own speeches, which is truly refreshing.|
Disrupt the 2004 Election - By David J. Rothkopf
|Recently, I co-chaired a meeting hosted by CNBC of more than 200 senior business and government executives, many of whom are specialists in security and terrorism related issues. Almost three-quarters of them said it was likely the United States would see a major terrorist strike before the end of 2004. A similar number predicted that the assault would be greater than those of 9/11 and might well involve weapons of mass destruction. It was the sense of the group that such an attack was likely to generate additional support for President Bush. These are serious people, not prone to hysteria or panic -- military officers, policymakers, scientists, researchers and others who have studied such issues for a long time. They know that in country after country, elections have held an irresistible lure for terrorists. In Israel, Colombia, Russia, Sri Lanka, Spain, Turkey and elsewhere, recent elections have been disrupted by strikes designed to commandeer the spotlight, to derail democracy, or to discredit or perhaps inflame a political leader.
Even in this country, there is at least one notable example of a contest that was altered by anti-American radicals. When we go to the polls next November it will be 25 years after Iranian militants captured U.S. diplomats in Tehran and began the hostage crisis that dominated the 1980 election and helped bring down President Jimmy Carter.
From the perspective of the terrorist, attacking in an election year makes perfect sense. The objective of terrorism is not so much to strike a blow against a particular physical target as it is to strike a psychological blow against a target audience. That is why terrorists will often hit symbolic targets such as the World Trade Center or conduct "message" strikes on buses or sidewalk cafes to suggest that no one is safe. Elections heighten the stakes because a blow during an election is a blow against a society's political foundations. Elections also enable terrorists to lash out more directly at individual political figures and to do so in a highly visible way.
Read the entire article here.
So it looks like Bush may once again generate his own major terrorist event (with al Qaeda doing the dirty work) to scare us back into submission. With the proven connections among Bush, al Qaeda and 9-11, you could say that Osama bin Laden and Bush will be working hand-in-hand.
As Left-is-Right has been saying for a year now, there will be another catastrophic event right before the 2004 election, and Bush will get re-elected as a result of both catastrophe and the Democrat's inability to mount a cohesive opposition. The only course of action is to either accept our fate as dictated by the Neocons, or start a revolution. Nothing less will bring resolution to the rapidly deteriorating state of our nation.
Most readers refuse to accept such an extreme view, and that's understandable given our undying faith in humanity as taught in school, at church and in our homes during our childhood. Once you do accept the fact that we are entering a period of a power-hungry, elite class that is rapidly assuming control of government and business, revolution as the only course of survival makes a lot of sense. The Left so far has failed miserably at nurturing the acceptance of these facts, and time is running out.
Oh, golly gee, we temporarily stopped the Energy Bill, and filibustered judicial nominations, and threw a bone to Massachusetts gays. In the meantime, the Ultra-Right has become so blatantly successful they could care less if their "lies" are uncovered, or their illegal Medicare HR votes are dissed, or environmental bills are passed that undermine decades of reform, or that everyone and their daughters know that Halliburton et al. are getting billions funneled into their coffers with no accountability or consequences, or that the christian "god" is becoming a major player in the formulation of bills/laws, or that they violated international law by invading and occupying, for no justifiable reason, a third-world nation of good, hard-working people.
We are all so focused on the "little" things going on, like tax breaks for the rich, Iraq, the Clean Air Act, electronic voting, who lied about what, No Child Left Behind, Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, AWOL Bush and his flight suit/aircraft carrier banner, the deficit, redistricting, Halliburton, partial-birth abortions, Florida and California, that we are running around trying to put out the fires with our liberal rhetoric. Sure, these are all important issues, but has anyone stopped to notice that they all started from the same source? We're not attacking the source, we're haphazardly trying to hold onto everything. It's like grabbing an ice cube made of Neocon blood and watching it melt through our fingers. Forget the ice cubes, unplug the icemaker!
Exactly what consequences has the Bush Administration paid for their behavior over the past three years? None. We are all standing around, praying that SOMEONE will get their act together, confront evil Bush, and save us all. It isn't gonna happen because the Neocons now hold all the aces.
The only way to upset the card table and throw out the cheaters is to revolt. At least think about it.
|"Getting Democrats organized is like herding cats." ----Al Sharpton|
Must-read post of the month: Ornicus bows out of his friendships with conservatives. Snippet:
|I have heard all kinds of anecdotes about interpersonal alienation over Bush and his handling of the "war on terror." Some of these involve family members, others longtime friendships. One can only imagine what scenes will erupt from the coming Thanksgiving and holiday seasons too. For myself, it is not profound, but noticeable: invitations to traditional camping and fishing trips not issued; letters ignored; cold and brusque treatment when we do get together. A decided lack of communication and a clear sense of rejection.
And it's too plain why: I and my fellow "Saddam-loving" liberals are all traitors. They know, because Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter and everyone else out there has told them so. Indeed, these right-wing "transmitters" have been pounding it into their heads for years now, and it's reaching fruition. I don't really blame my friends for this, though of course I deeply resent their willingness to adopt such beliefs. It is a very hurtful thing, and it may take years to recover, if at all. But I'm trying to be patient, knowing that eventually they will come around. Mostly I blame the Limbaughs and the Coulters, as well as the so-called "intellectual conservatives" who have given the meme cover by, if nothing else, refusing to denounce it, and in many cases actively furthering it (see, e.g., Instapundit's reference to antiwar liberals as "objectively pro-Saddam").
But I no longer much trust in the moral strength of my conservative friends. Whereas once I believed that the basic decency of average, mainstream conservatives was more than an adequate bulwark against the possibility of right-wing fascism from ever manifesting itself, I have been forced to conclude that, when swept along by the combination of a movement and the fearmongering of public officials, they are as susceptible to doing the wrong thing as their ancestors were in 1942, when they shipped off 110,000 Japanese Americans to concentration camps.
As the Leftcoaster says:
|We’ll see fiscal restraint return after the 2004 election, when Bush, if he survives election through the help of Diebold and Sequoia, will savagely go after nondefense discretionary spending, using his own deficits as a pretext for slashing spending, once the election is behind him and no more votes need to be bought. By then though, the structural imbalance between revenues and expenses will be so large that Bush will be leaving his successor with a nearly unsolvable problem, thereby doing exactly what he said he wouldn’t do: passing responsibility on to his successor to fix his mess.|
Well, yeah, would you expect anything
From Counterspin (emphasis added):
|WHO SOLD OUT OUR SENIORS?: Here's the list of the spineless Democrats from yesterday's Medicare vote.
Baucus, Mont.; Breaux, La.; Carper, Del.; Conrad, N.D.; Dorgan, N.D.; Feinstein, Calif.; Landrieu, La.; Lincoln, Ark.; Miller, Ga.; Nelson, Neb.; Wyden, Ore. The usual suspects, mixed with some surprises. Particularly Di Fi, Carper and Ron Wyden.
Who were the Republicans that voted against the bill? John McCain and Chuck Hagel.
Jim Jeffords voted FOR it.
Groperzenneger's initial, proposed budget cuts were released today. As an employee at a major hospital, Left is Right is particularly dismayed with these:
|It would impose a 10 percent reduction on the rates paid to physicians and others who treat Medi-Cal patients, the state's version of Medicaid. That's on top of a 5 percent cut in this year's budget. The Legislature last summer rejected the deeper cut. The provider rate cut would save $152 million this year, and $443 million in the fiscal year that starts next July. Schwarzenegger also would cut state payments to long-term care facilities that increased the salaries and benefits of caregivers.
His proposal calls for elimination of a number of services offered to developmentally disabled people through regional centers. These include camping, social and recreational activities, and non-medical therapy such as music, art and equestrian programs.
In what's likely to be one of the more controversial proposals, the governor would put a cap on caseloads in various health and social service programs and establish waiting lists. Healthy Families, a fast-growing health care program for children in low-income families, drug assistance for AIDS patients, the regional centers and several other programs would be subject to the caseload limit. This action would require the Legislature to suspend the Lanterman Act, which entitles developmentally disabled people to services.
Lawmakers said Monday that they have seen many of the elements before. "This past year, the Legislature had an extensive debate about Medi-Cal and developmental services and decided in a bipartisan manner not to make those reductions," said Assemblyman Keith Richman, R-Northridge. "I don't see a lot of new stuff in here," said Assemblywoman Jenny Oropeza, D-Long Beach, chair of the Assembly Budget Committee. "It's ugly stuff. ... I sure don't see the waste, fraud and abuse they said they'd root out." California already has the lowest Medi-Cal provider rates in the nation, which has made it difficult for some recipients to find doctors.
These days it just doesn't pay to be poor. Plus, today's proposed cuts are only one-seventh of what's needed. Time for a revolution, yes?
From the Center on American Progress:
|Speaking about the concept of free speech in London last week, President Bush declared, "They now have that right in Baghdad , as well."|
And here's the proof:
|That may come as a surprise to journalists in Iraq , however, especially those at the Arab-language television network al Arabiya, which was shut down by the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council yesterday with U.S. Civil Administrator Paul Bremer's blessing. The move, which was "sharply criticized by media watchdog groups," was just the latest in a long line of censorship of the Iraqi press. A "recent State Department poll in Iraq found the two Arabic-language networks [al Arabiya and al-Jazeera] were far more trusted than the U.S. channel" that the government has set up in Iraq . The governing council also warned any other media from "incitement," saying the council would go after any media outlet, including the BBC and CNN. In September, the American Prospect reported that, "as criticism of his authority appeared in Iraqi media...Bremer placed controls on [Iraqi Media Network] content and clamped down on the independent media in Iraq , closing down some Iraqi-run newspapers and radio and television stations."|
The NY Times rails against Bush's unleashing of Congressional spending:
|Congress nearly always engages in pork-barrel spending as it leaves town for the holidays, usually to feather the nests of special interest groups responsible for the perpetuation of careers on Capitol Hill. But this year's end-of-session binge has gone way beyond pork, saddling the country with long-term obligations of mammoth proportions and inviting censure not only from the usual good-government types but also from economists who genuinely fear for the future of the economy. The Wall Street investment bank Goldman Sachs, not given to hyperbole, warned in its most recent newsletter that the "U.S. budget is out of control." This sentiment was echoed by the bipartisan Concord Coalition, which monitors federal spending, and which called 2003 "the most irresponsible year ever" in terms of fiscal discipline.
This spending comes courtesy of a Republican Congress and White House. Though the Republicans are historically the party of budget restraint and smaller government, these Republicans have presided over an orgy of tax cuts and benefit increases that, according to the Concord group, will not only boost this year's projected deficit but also add as much as $800 billion to the national debt over the next 10 years. The damage will be even greater in the following decade. Among the more prominent items are $400 billion for Medicare (this page supported the new prescription drug benefit), $300 billion in tax cuts and $22 billion in new veterans' benefits. If the energy bill had passed, which fortunately did not happen, that would have added another $23 billion to $30 billion in tax cuts, plus perhaps twice that much in newly authorized programs. And all of this comes on top of three consecutive tax cuts totaling more than $1.7 trillion over the next decade.
President Bush must share responsibility. He speaks of fiscal restraint when he is on the road, but back home in Washington he seems content to let Congress do its thing. So far he has not threatened to veto a single bill because of its cost. Warren Rudman, a former senator and moderate Republican who helped found the Concord group, noted that the word "tomorrow" — as in "there is no tomorrow" — no longer exists in the Congressional vocabulary. That goes for the White House as well.
November 24, 2003
We couldn't let this gem from Eric Alterman pass unseen:
|GEORGE BUSH’S MORASS
The budget is out of control, we are causing a trade war with Europe, the world is united in hating us, and militants in Afghanistan and Iraq are murdering our soldiers while cheering crowds mutilate their bodies.
Was this all part of a plan or are Bush and Cheney making it up as they go along? And who ever would have thought we would have so soon reached the point that suicide bombers could murder 14 people in Baghdad and two more via a missile launch, and the Washington Post would think it worthy only p. A23?
Sacramento Bee Columnist Daniel Weintraub, who writes California Insider explains...
|A bond is not a tax
A number of readers have written me suggesting that the Schwarzenegger deficit bond amounts to a tax increase. Aside from whether the bond is a good idea or a bad idea, it is simply not accurate to call it a tax increase. The bond represents a spending commitment locked in over the term of repayment. If the debt service is $1 billion a year for 30 years, that's $1 billion each year that won't be available to spend on current programs and services. Taxpayers wouldn't be paying more. They just wouldn't be getting as much in return for what they are paying. Some of the confusion may stem from the fact that local school bonds do come with tax increases attached. When you vote for a local school bond, you are voting to raise your property taxes by the amount needed to retire the bond over time. The same does not apply to state general obligation bonds. They are spending commitments, not tax increases.
Wel, now, that's so comforting to know. When the bond payments come due, Californians can either suck it up and accept fewer government services, or.... RAISE TAXES. Six of one....
One more reason why revolution is in order:
|The conservative leadership in Congress now also routinely excludes members of the minority, and even moderates in their own party, from conference committees. For example the conference committee on the energy bill, to which 58 members of Congress were formally appointed, actually consisted of private negotiations between just four members: Senator Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) and Congressman Billy Tauzin (R-La.), and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Representative Bill Thomas (R-Calif.) on the tax portions of the bill. When the Senate passed a version of the energy legislation that was not to the liking of Senator Domenici, he bluntly declared, “I will rewrite the bill.” While a couple of members of the minority party were permitted to participate in committee negotiations over the Medicare legislation, those who did not see eye to eye with conservative leaders – including Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) – were excluded. The product of these secret conference negotiations – typically hundreds, if not thousands of pages long – is then sent to each chamber, often with 24-hours or less to review, for a straight up-or-down vote without prospect of amendments. Instead of providing meaningful time for amendments and debate on either bill, conservatives spent 40-hours demogaguing the issue of judicial confirmations – even though President Bush has had 98 percent of his nominees approved. The result has been not just the effective exclusion of the minority party (and the millions of citizens they represent) from any role in the legislation but also a series of poorly crafted, incoherent bills that are packed with provisions geared toward special interests at the expense of the public good.
Beyond being excluded from legislative negotiations, members of the minority party face punitive retribution for taking opposing positions. In a dramatic departure from the bipartisan tradition of the appropriations committee, members of the House who voted against the education and health spending bill this summer saw funding for roads, clinics and other important projects for their home districts removed from subsequent versions of the legislation. The decision will especially hurt the poor because members opposing the bill came from 42 of the 50 poorest congressional districts. Opponents of the bill believed that the measure would have given short shrift to schools and other key priorities at a time when billions are being squandered on tax cuts for the very wealthy. It used to be that voting your conscience was praised in Congress – now it is punished.
To make matters worse, the White House recently announced that it will no longer answer basic information requests from the minority party– even requests that relate to understanding how taxpayer money is spent.
From the LA Times:
|Teamsters to Stop Work at Grocery Distribution Centers
November 24, 2003 - From Associated Press
The Teamsters union said today it will stop delivering groceries to three Southern California grocery chains after striking grocery clerks moved to expand their picket lines to at least nine regional distribution centers. The move effectively shuts off supplies to Vons, Ralphs and Albertsons stores during the critical Thanksgiving shopping week. The measure was called a "silver bullet" by Jim Santangelo, president of the Teamsters Joint Council 42 in El Monte.
"If this doesn't end it nothing will," Santangelo said of the labor dispute involving grocery clerks at area Vons, Albertsons and Ralphs stores that began on Oct. 11. Pickets had previously been set up at three distribution centers and Teamsters have refused to cross picket lines at individual stores, forcing management and non-striking workers to unload trucks. Grocery clerks called a strike Oct. 11 against Vons stores and were immediately locked out of their jobs at Alberstons and Ralphs locations as well. Clerks and the three supermarket chains resumed talks Saturday as a busload of supporters distributed coupons for free Thanksgiving turkeys to boost morale on the picket lines.
A federal negotiator was overseeing the talks, but there were no indications of an agreement. Union and supermarket officials were barred from commenting about the negotiations.
This should do it. Expect the strike to end VERY soon. In the meantime, continue supporting all those fringe grocery stores, like Trader Joe's, Stater Bros., or any local ones that really try to provide a service that's good for the customers and the employees.
LA Weekly analyzed Kucinich's campaign. Snippet:
|A lot of mainstream commentators — particularly TV’s chattering heads — have made fun of Kucinich for proposing the creation of a federal Department of Peace. Well, the first president to do so was John F. Kennedy, who created the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (abolished under Bill Clinton) to fight weapons proliferation and serve as a counterweight think tank to the Pentagon’s expansionist-policy propagandists. As more American men and women come home from Iraq in body bags, the notion of once again having a federal agency to seek nonviolent ways of resolving the mushrooming number of international and regional conflicts — like those between nuke powers India and Pakistan, not to mention North Korea — doesn’t seem so silly.
Kucinich is, in fact, an ambulant index of the progressive agenda. He’s the only presidential candidate to have voted against the civil-liberties-shredding PATRIOT Act, which he would like to see repealed. In fact, he offers the strongest defense of constitutionally protected rights of any candidate, proclaiming: “We cannot justify widespread wiretaps and Internet surveillance without judicial supervision, let alone with it. We cannot justify secret searches without a warrant. We cannot justify giving the attorney general the ability to designate domestic terror groups. We cannot justify giving the FBI total access to any type of data that may exist in any system anywhere, such as medical records and financial records. We cannot justify giving the CIA the ability to target people in this country for intelligence surveillance. We cannot justify a government that takes from the people our right to privacy and then assumes for its own operations a right to total secrecy.”
The Des Moines Register also has a nice article about Dennis.
Der Spiegel has a fascinating cover story: "Operation Holy Tuesday - The two chief planners of September 11th have confessed, and the records of their interrogations can now be used to paint a precise picture of the events leading up to the terrorist attack. Their statements also reveal how Osama Bin Laden personally selected the suicide pilots from Hamburg." Snippet:
|To the investigators, it is now apparent that the apocalypse in New York only became possible because three threads gradually converged in the mountains of Kandahar. The first thread was the obsession of Sheik Mohammed's clan, the members of which deeply detest the United States. The second was the power that fanatic Osama Bin Laden held over an entire army of religious fanatics with paramilitary training. The third and final thread was the blind willingness to become martyrs within a group of Muslims from Hamburg-Harburg, men who wanted nothing more fervently than to die in the war against the infidels.
The history of September 11th began as a private war on a gray Friday in the spring of 1993 - with the first bombing attack on the World Trade Center. On February 26, 1993, Ramsi Ahmed Yussuf, a nephew of Sheik Mohammed, detonated a powerful bomb in the underground parking garage of the WTC. The bomb contained about 600 kilograms of highly explosive nitroglycerin hidden in a white delivery van parked on the B 2 parking level. The explosion ripped a 200-by-100-foot crater into the building's foundation, killing six people. The towers shook. But they did not fall.
When he was arrested years later, Yussuf, a bearded, brooding, introverted man with enormous ears, was still enthralled by the brilliant design of his bomb. In 1995, investigators transported him by helicopter to the New York FBI office, and when the twin towers came into view, Yussuf said: "If I had had more money and time to build a bigger bomb, the towers would no longer be standing."
And as if he were practically yearning for the paradise he had been promised, Yussuf asked the FBI officials whether his execution would be carried out without delay once he had been sentenced to death.
Again and again, it became apparent just how deeply entrenched the hate was within the clan of the Mohammeds. Sheik Mohammed's older brother Sahid also became a member of Al Qaeda, and another brother lost his life fighting alongside the Mujaheddin in their battle with the Soviets. And according to the FBI, "KSM," US investigators' internal abbreviation for the name of Sheik Mohammed, was already involved in the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993, acting as one of the masterminds who raised the money to buy the explosives.
November 23, 2003
|"Numerous politicians have seized absolute power and muzzled the press. Never in history has the press seized absolute power and muzzled the politicians."
Bush will be re-elected in 2004. Mark my words.
LeftCoaster nicely summarizes the horrendous failures of the Democratic Leadership, the latest one being the Medicare bill. Snippets:
|....the White House and Rove have been working quietly behind the scenes to fashion success at any cost on both the drug and energy bills, with lobbyists and members of Congress. For those of us, myself included, who believe that intraparty problems within the GOP in getting individual bills passed will cause problems for Bush, we must realize that when push comes to shove, Rove and Bush will do whatever is necessary to get legislation through at the end of the session to deliver an outcome that can be packaged as a victory, so it can be used in the upcoming election. In this White House, that can mean giving carte blanche to businesses and industries in exchange for large campaign contributions for measures that will do nothing to curb drug costs or reduce our reliance on foreign energy. It even means that congressional rules can be stretched or broken when necessary to get the votes that are needed.
Yet even though the GOP had been meeting with the AARP for months to see what could be done to get their support for the final bill, it seemed to catch the Democrats off guard when the AARP capitulated and supported the bill. And the Democrats’ response to the bill has been to oppose the bill outright for its long-term damage to Medicare. The GOP concedes that this approach will fail because voters aren’t able to grasp such complex reasons why the bill will damage Medicare.
In case you still have your head in the Fox/CNN/ABC/NBC/CBS sandbox, please note that the Democratic Leadership is supporting the best interests of big business, not its constituents.
It's time for a revolution.
Left I found this gem of an Arnold quote:
|"The Republicans have a choice: It is the recovery bonds, or it is raising taxes. That's a choice. It's up to them. I am only going to make cuts to a certain point. I'm not going to cut dog food for blind people."|
It's brief, simple quotes like this that speak volumes about how the Ultra-Right fails in respecting the basic rights of those financially less fortunate. It hasn't taken long to figure out that Perle and the Neocons have their hand up Groperzenegger's ass all the way to his mouth. Arnold, the action, action, action neocon.
On the bright side, blind Calfornians are ecstatic that they will be able to continue with their Alpo diets. And I guess so is Purina/Nestle, maker of Alpo. Someone should research into how much $ Nestle contributed to the recall election. I would, but I'm busy waiting for Arnold's next action action action.
Calpundit reprinted a letter from Barbara Maynard, the chief spokesperson for UFCW Locals 770 and 1442, the grocery workers unions in the Los Angeles area, regarding the grocery workers on strike. Snippet:
|If this was about "contributing a little to their healthcare" there would be no strike. The employer proposal that led to this strike put so little money on the table that, in addition to the premium pickup of $5 to $15 a week, workers’ health benefits under their insurance plan would have to be cut 50% (which means that health care costs would be shifted onto the workers outside their insurance plan, meaning out of their own pocket). If the workers want to get the same insurance plan, it would cost them $95 a week or nearly $5,000 a year. THAT IS 25% OF THE AVERAGE WORKER'S SALARY. Is that what "everybody " pays out of pocket on a percentage basis? Hardly....
The fact is that most of these workers — at an average annual gross income of $20,000 — live paycheck to paycheck and earn their healthcare. If the cost to the worker is too high, experience has shown that workers "opt out" of insurance and roll the dice by becoming uninsured.
The bottom line regarding health care is that when a worker lives paycheck to paycheck she can only get her healthcare one of two ways: earn it or get it from the taxpayer. The answer as a taxpayer is clear to me: I would rather people earn their healthcare than get it from me as a taxpayer. What about you?
The companies have proposed to pay all new hires — and the stores have about 1/3 turnover each year, which means that there are a lot of new hires — $3 to $4 an hour less than the current employees. What does this mean? This means that new hires will be making Wal-Mart wages, which means that anybody with kids will be eligible for food stamps and taxpayer subsidized health care...
I hear a lot about these employees being “overpaid.” Did you know that the average hourly wage in the stores is $12.97? Did you know that 70% of the workforce is part time with the average number of hours worked per week just 30? That’s slightly more than $20k a year...hardly a big wage.
This from the Washington Post, and brought to our attention by Abstract Dynamics:
|Powell's Chemical Equation
Powell described his killer schedule in an interview Thursday with Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed, a reporter for a London-based Saudi newspaper. "So do you use sleeping tablets to organize yourself?" Al-Rashed asked.
"Yes. Well, I wouldn't call them that," Powell said. "They're a wonderful medication -- not medication. How would you call it? They're called Ambien, which is very good. You don't use Ambien? Everybody here uses Ambien."
Really? Some folks across the river may conclude that explains a lot.
From American Samizdat:
|There is a history of the government in power misleading the people for the governments ends. Project Northwoods, never acted on, is frightening for its open contempt of Democracy and human life. is one many people are unaware of. The Tonkin Gulf incident is more widely known but not widely enough. Do you here its treachery debated when our less aware friends talk about the necessity of the Viet Nam war? The USS Liberty, had it been sunk after its 2 hour multi-pronged attack by Israeli forces would have had the US embroiled in the Middle east conflict of 1967; who could believe our allies the Israelis did it, of course the Egyptians would wear the blame. With many prior warnings ignored, regular air defense procedures ignored, a president seemingly unfazed by the news- well you get the 9/11 picture. Judge for yourself. The present administration sure isn't cooperating with the current investigation. Do you remember the Bush "trifecta" joke? He may have won his trifecta on an inside bet. Think for yourself. Search out truth.|
November 21, 2003
It's time to grow up and get real about drug laws (intro):
|Abandoning the 'Drug-Free America' Myth By Glenn Backes, Drug Policy Alliance
November 19, 2003
Rush Limbaugh is addicted to OxyContin. Arnold Schwarzenegger smoked pot and consumed anabolic steroids. Most Americans enjoy a daily cup of coffee. The fact is, this country is filled with drugs – prescription, over-the-counter, illegal and otherwise. The drug warriors have been promising for decades to make America drug-free. Billions of dollars have been spent and hundreds of thousands of people are locked up. Yet drugs are as prevalent and easy-to-get as ever.
It's time for a new approach. First off, let's abandon the "drug-free" myth. Clinging to this impossible goal clouds our common sense and perverts our policy priorities. Instead, we should focus on implementing new drug policies that are fiscally responsible and have the goal of keeping Americans safe and healthy.
Drug treatment, for example, works better than prison in helping to stop the cycle of addiction. Just ask Rush. Or Noelle Bush. Or Cindy McCain (John's wife). Unfortunately, half of Americans who need treatment cannot get it. Instead they are taken away from their families and locked in a jail cell for crimes committed primarily against themselves. Those who struggle every day with addiction need help, not a drug charge on their record that could ruin their future chances for jobs, school loans, or public housing.
If cats can have catnip, then...
This is for the loving and lovely Mrs. Left is Right, who seems more understanding and tolerant of S.P. than I can ever be.
|The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity, by Carlo M. Cipolla:
Always and inevitably everyone underestimates the number of stupid individuals in circulation.
The probability that a certain person will be stupid is independent of any other characteristic of that person.
A stupid person is a person who causes losses to another person or to a group of persons while himself deriving no gain and even possibly incurring losses.
Non-stupid people always underestimate the damaging power of stupid individuals. In particular non-stupid people constantly forget that at all times and places and under any circumstances to deal and/or associate with stupid people always turns out to be a costly mistake.
A stupid person is the most dangerous type of person. (Corrolary: A stupid person is more dangerous than a bandit.)
HERE is the source.
Left is Right turned the big five-oh this year. As one reminder of the approaching inevitibility of the hereafter, L is R received several invitations from AARP to become a member. Thinking that it would help in the denial of the inevitible, the membership forms were fed into the shredder (using the trashcan just wouldn't act as sufficient denial).
But now, as the cozy relationship bteween AARP management and the GOP suddenly becomes a public revelation, L is R has a legitimate reason to tell AARP where to put its membership offers. Apparently many other potential and current members have done the same. You can, too, HERE.
In "AN APOLOGY TO YOUNGER AMERICANS", Sam Smith lists many of the customs and behaviors developed by the bay boom generation, or the "generation as consisting of anyone who reached 40 after Watergate and who was at least 40 on September 11, 2001". Here are a few of his apologies:
|I apologize for Bopal and Three Mile Island and, in advance, for all the biological, chemical or nuclear disasters that will occur thanks to economic rapaciousness and without the slightest help from a terrorist.
I am profoundly embarrassed by the way we destroyed the public school system of our country.
I regret that we got the Muslim world so mad at us and that we couldn't come up with any better solution than to get it madder.
I apologize for any inconvenience, such as prison time, that may have occurred as a result of criminalizing the use of marijuana while keeping legal the far more dangerous drugs we enjoyed such as vodka and Marlboros.
I would like to say how sad I am about your increased likelihood of getting skin cancer because of the environmental changes we created in the atmosphere.
I apologize for managerial revolutions, mission statements, synergy, cutting edges, proactive and world class entrepreneurs, strategic planning, bottom lines, and exit interviews.
I am truly sorry we could make no greater contribution to philosophy than the justification of greed in the guise of free market economics, the sanctification of imperialism in the name of nation building, and the notion that it takes only 12 steps to solve all your problems.
I regret that you are now regarded as a potential terrorist, addict, or sexual predator more often than you are considered a valued citizen.
I am truly sorry for what we have done to childhood, including over-scheduling it, replacing Kermit with Barney, teaching children excessive fear and absurd competitiveness, diagnosing them into drug dependency, and punishing them for drawing 'inappropriate' pictures in the margins of their textbooks.
Thanks to ddjango for the lead.
Mr Smith also tells us how the candidates should be handling the hateful rhetoric spewing from the Neocon Right.
|$50/hour for Elvis Impersonator but $42,400 for Terminator
by:Jamie Court, author of Corporateering and Doug Heller
We’ve seen all kinds of celebrity impersonators show up at car dealerships for a grand opening or end-of-year sale. But to get the real deal, you need to do something special. And guess what: the car dealership where Arnold celebrated his car tax repeal today just happens to be owned by H.F. and Jane Boeckmann, who contributed $52,400 to Arnold. Of course, $52K for Arnold’s appearance is a great deal considering the advertising that Galpin Motors will get on drive time radio and the evening news.
The auto dealer lobby - the fourth biggest contributor to TeamArnold - is also angling for a big celebrity endorsement of their proposed November ballot initiative, which guts the law against deceptive marketing. The Unfair Competition Law in dealers’ sights is the consumer’s best safeguard against predatory financing and bait and switches that are all too common on car lots. Talk about a car tax!
Damn. I bought a car once from Galpin Motors.
Charley Cropley, ND, wonders why people think Dennis Kucinich is "unelectable". Read his essay. Snippet:
|Dennis Kucinich is the leading political spokesperson for the movements for global peace, environmental protection, economic justice, social justice, living wages, universal health care and education. Any other democratic candidate would be more acceptable to corporate America than Dennis Kucinich. In comparison to Dennis, all the other "electable" candidates pale in the scope of reform they offer. The business of global war, environmental destruction and economic terrorism will carry on undisturbed under their presidencies.
His exclusion from coverage by major media is precisely because he is supremely electable. Dennis Kucinich is the single greatest threat to George Bush. He is the one candidate who -- when he is heard -- appeals to the intelligence, compassion and goodness of America. There is no one else even in his league. Listen to him and judge for yourself. You cannot understand who this man is through the media. Get a video and watch him. He will stir your heart to believe again in the possibility that our nation can change -- profoundly. You will feel the opportunity to make a difference in our government that had previously seemed impossible to you. You will want to get involved, and you would, except for one thing: you know he's "not electable."
View Any Location from Above (see your house from space)
Cures for Hiccups
"Doctor Who" Animated Episodes
Dr. Zebra (a lighter side of medicine)
Truth of Fiction
Drums (play them online)
Tornado Safe Beds
Panda Cam (live from the San Diego Zoo)
Living La Vida Sumo (short video)
100 Scariest Movie Scenes of All Time
History of Michael Jackson's Face
November 20, 2003
From the NY Times:
|WASHINGTON, Nov. 19 — Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld ordered an additional 15,000 Reserve and National Guard troops on Wednesday to prepare for the possibility of yearlong duty in Iraq or Kuwait, rounding out a plan to rotate American forces in the region by next spring. Combined with alert warnings and deployment orders approved two weeks ago, Mr. Rumsfeld's decision brings to 58,000 the total number of Reserve and National Guard troops who have been alerted for possible service in the Persian Gulf region early next year.|
Would someone PLEASE explain to me why we are using National Guard troops overseas?
Posted by Mike at 11/20/2003
November 19, 2003
Some snippets from Molly Ivin's most recent (11/13/03) column:
|Here's the problem in a nutshell: Just a few weeks ago, the Bush administration set out to persuade us all that the glass in Iraq is not half-empty, it is half-full. And indeed, this may be so, but that's a conclusion that depends on one's point of view. But the one thing we do know without regard to point of view, politics, spin or public relations is that the number of attacks against American troops have been steadily increasing from 20 to 25 to 30 a day.
Here's what I think is the real problem. It's not so much that the number of attacks on Americans per day in Iraq has been creeping up. It's that after these successful attacks on convoys, choppers or patrols, hundreds of Iraqis gather around the smoking results and cheer. Call me alarmist, but I think that's a bad sign. I suspect they do not like being occupied by a foreign power. They do not seem to think our intentions are benevolent.
So, here's the Bush administration with this sudden new emphasis on us getting the hell out of there. If you think I am going to disagree or make fun of them for doing such a 180, you are sadly mistaken. We have seen the 180 many times before with Bush, usually when reality intrudes on ideology.
Bug out before the election next year, that's fine by me. I don't like seeing Americans killed by people we thought we had gone to help. I suspect this is the ultimate no-win situation -- the sooner we're out, the better. I do hold a grudge against all those folks in the administration who convinced most Americans that his war was a dandy idea. There was no nuclear weapons program. There were no weapons of mass destruction. Saddam Hussein had no ties to Al Qaeda, and if anyone sees an outbreak of peace and democracy in Middle East, let me know.
I don't think the Bush administration lied to us about Iraq. I think it's worse than that. I think they fooled themselves. I think they were conned by Ahmad Chalabi. I think they indulged in wishful thinking to a point of near criminality. I think they decided anyone who didn't agree with them was an enemy, anti-American, disloyal. In other words, I think they're criminally stupid.
Criminals, yes. Stupid, definitely not, Molly.
California DMV chief Steve Gourley was fired yesterday by Governor Groperzenegger. Why? ArnoldWatch has the reason:
|...Gourley gained a reputation for policing and cracking down on car dealerships – including the nation’s largest, AutoNation, Inc. Guess what: the car dealers were among the largest contributors to Arnold.
Insiders say that the firing of Gourley was handed down in a less than friendly manner from Arnold appointee Sunne McPeak, the new Secretary of Business, Transportation and Housing. Apparently, the DMV director, who was known as an enforcer by the auto industry, was told to clear out by the end of the day. Not even a thank-you from McPeak, who, like Gourley, was herself a Davis appointee (to the power authority). So after surviving Arnold’s Ax, it was handed to her to whack Gourley.
So when you go to buy that new car just remember that Arnold has kicked the enforcer off the beat.
The other 49 states are soon going to get very jealous that California has its own Bush in sheep's clothing.
Concerned Women for America give ten reasons "Why Homosexual 'Marriage' is Wrong":
|Homosexuals are seeking a special right. They already have the same right to marry the rest of us have-the right to marry a person of the opposite sex. Limiting marriage to one man and one woman doesn't discriminate on the basis of sex or sexual orientation.
It denies the self-evident truth of nature that male and female bodies are designed for and complement each other. Opposite-sex marriage is the natural means by which the human race reproduces.
Granting same-sex couples a license to marry will not create true marriage. Neither two men nor two women can become one flesh. Licensing the unnatural does not make it natural. It would be a state-sanctioned counterfeit, a sham and a fraud. A licensed electrician cannot produce power by taping two same-sex plugs together. Homosexual sex is dangerous and destructive to the human body and powerless for human reproduction.
Homosexual marriage will always be an abomination to God regardless of whether a clergyman performs the ceremony. When God calls something unholy, man cannot make it holy or bless it.
Homosexual marriage is as wrong as giving a man a license to marry his mother or daughter or sister or a group.
Homosexual marriage will harm children by denying them the love and nurture of a mom and dad. The only "procreation" homosexuals can engage in requires that a third party must be brought into the relationship.
Granting a marriage license to homosexuals because they engage in sex is as illogical as granting a medical license to a barber because he wears a white coat or a law license to a salesman because he carries a briefcase. Real doctors, lawyers and the public would suffer as a result of licensing the unqualified and granting them rights, benefits and responsibilities as if they were qualified.
Homosexual marriage will devalue your marriage. A license to marry is a legal document by which government will treat same-sex marriage as if it were equal to the real thing. A license speaks for the government and will tell society that government says the marriages are equal. Any time a lesser thing is made equal to a greater, the greater is devalued. For example:
If the Smithsonian Museum displays a hunk of polished blue glass next to the Hope Diamond with a sign that says, "These are of equal value," and treats them as if they were, the Hope Diamond is devalued in the public's eye. The government says it's just expensive blue glass. The history and mystery are lost too.
If an employer uses a robot as an employee and treats the robot the same way it treats human employees, human employees are devalued. By doing so, the employer says, "A robot can do your job, you're no better." What will you and the public think of your job and you?
If the government issues a license to babysitters that grants them the same rights, protections and responsibilities as a child's parents, parenthood is devalued. The government says parents are just babysitters.
If government grants professional licenses to just anybody, every profession and qualified professional is devalued. The government says an uneducated panhandler can do brain surgery.
The assumption by many is that marriage is just two people with a license who have sex and wear rings. Homosexuals do that?why not give them the license? Engaging in sex doesn't equal marriage. Adults involved in incest have sex too; should government call it marriage and license them? Certainly not.
The biggest problem we have in getting people, especially younger ones, to understand why marriage is devalued by the existence of a counterfeit is that much of the public does not value marriage at all. Adultery is no big deal. No- fault divorce is tolerated. Absentee fathers and mothers devalue marriage. Unmarried pregnancies are common. Fornication is "normal." When we make the case against homosexual marriage, we need to speak against these other problems that devalue marriage too. As we acknowledge these problems we can emphasize that legalizing homosexual marriage will compound the problems, not solve or lessen them.
So... homosexuals are unnatural, incestuous barbers with an M.D., salesmen with a law degree, robots made out of blue glass, babysitters who beg and do brain surgery, and unmarried, pregnant, conterfeit, aldulterous fornicators. Wow. I surely don't want one of those living next door.
It's difficult to even begin to comment on this hideous defamation of a significant portion of our population, so I won't.
It's time for revolution.
A big puzzle this week was why the AARP endorsed the Medicare bill currently in Congress. Center for American Progress solves part of the mystery:
|AARP'S MOTIVATIONS: The American Association of Retired Persons this week endorsed the Medicare bill, raising questions about why the organization would ignore its previous conditions. A look into the organization's business practices, though, offers some perspective. As reported by many news organizations, AARP receives about $100 million annually in health insurance sales – something sure to be enriched with the new bill. In a 2/19/02 Newsday article, critics even suggested that "AARP's substantial profits from the sales of Medigap and other insurance policies, drug company advertising in its magazines and investment schemes conflict with its interests on behalf of seniors." At that time, AARP President William Novelli, who also wrote the laudatory preface to Newt Gingrich's book on health care, "acknowledged complaints from members that AARP had been too timid in the political battles to defend Medicare." Having embraced the bill, the group will use some of that health insurance/drug industry revenue to finance a $7 million ad campaign to support the Medicare legislation.|
Yes, even to the detriment of its own membership, AARP succumbs to the big buck. Time for a revolution.
Here is a well-written, simple and effective letter to the Juneau Times in support of Kucinich's candidacy:
|Web posted Wednesday, November 19, 2003
My Turn: Why I support Kucinich for president
By CAROL ANDERSON
I 'm working on the Dennis Kucinich for President campaign because he is the only candidate who has a broad and generous enough vision to bring the United States back on track. Under both Republican and Democratic administrations we have become a nation bent on dominating the world militarily and economically, with diminishing regard for the health, education and prosperity of our own citizens. A Kucinich presidency would end excessive military spending and use the money to provide for the domestic needs of our people. Under Kucinich we would rejoin the world community as a peaceful partner by turning the reconstruction of Iraq over to the U.N., by joining the International Criminal Court, and by ratifying treaties that eliminate land mines and biological, chemical and nuclear weapons.
What drew me to Kucinich in the first place was his unwavering opposition to the war in Iraq. He is the only presidential candidate who voted against the Patriot Act and against the Iraq war. While other Democratic candidates say they regretfully voted for $87 million to continue funding the war, Kucinich voted against the appropriation in keeping with his conviction that we must turn away from military thinking and spending. He has promised to repeal the Patriot Act and to create a Department of Peace and Nonviolence once he is elected. Our country and the world desperately need him as a leader.
Last week I read with horror an article of international importance buried on the third page of our newspaper. It revealed that the Senate has passed a $401.3 billion defense bill that eliminates a long-standing ban on low-yield nuclear weapons research and authorizes $15 million more for research into the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator. As president, Kucinich would not tolerate this. He has pledged to reduce nuclear proliferation, decrease the risk of nuclear war and renew the ABM treaty that Bush opted out of. Kucinich has already introduced legislation to ban weapons from space. I think the world will be a safer and more stable place once he is elected president.
The more that I learn about Kucinich and his beliefs, the more I admire him and the stronger my support for his candidacy grows. Kucinich believes that a person's access to higher education should not be based on their parents' economic situation. He will use money diverted from the military to fund free education from preschool through college level for all.
Kucinich wants to do what's good for the U.S. and what's good for the rest of the world at the same time. He will repeal NAFTA and withdraw from the World Trade Organization to end the excessive power of multinational corporations with their focus on profit over workers' rights and environmental protections. I respect him greatly for working to keep and create jobs with a living wage in our country and for deploring the practice of moving U.S. factories to countries with cheap labor, no unions, and lax environmental and safety regulations.
Everything Kucinich stands for makes such good sense for our country. He will ratify the Kyoto protocol on global warming, require the labeling of genetically engineered food, protect a woman's right to choose, secure equal rights for gays and lesbians, prevent the privatization of Social Security, make Social Security benefits begin at 65, strengthen environmental laws, promote the development of alternative energy, and develop a progressive tax structure that eliminates tax breaks for the wealthy.
He has a great vision for the United States and will make us into a country we can all once again be proud of. You can learn more about Dennis Kucinich at www.kucinich.us.
• Carol Anderson is a member of Juneau Kucinich for President campaign.
All you Kucinich supporters out there, let's start e-mailing the editors of our local papers with these types of letters. As Bush has proven, if you repeat something often enough, people start believing (and in the case of Dennis K., it's believing the truth).
November 18, 2003
To paraphrase Eric Alterman... "8% of Americans Give Up Being Morons"
|A new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll of 1,004 adults finds that 52% ''never respected'' Limbaugh and still don't, while 26% respected him and still do, despite drug abuse. Eight percent said they lost respect; 13% had no opinion.|
Apparently Bush plans to reactivate the draft after his re-election. (See "Strategic Goals") Lots of comments about this HERE.
And if you haven't seen THIS yet, stop eveything and watch it. It's a 6-minute interview of Wesley Clark on, of all things, Fox News. Watch Clark hold his own.
Finally, Bush still living in Middle Ages.
So, the first thing Arnold want to do is repeal the car tax, thus reducing funding to special education and health care by $4 billion. He's beeen playing governor for almost two days now and has already started the "screw the lower class" program with a bang. I think we've waited far, far too long: let's begin the recall process. Paulo has more...
Guy Andrew Hall at Rooks Rant has posted his views for why "I'm Still Not Anti-War". Snippet:
|I have believed, and still believe, that invading Iraq was a requirement for the war on terror. Why? Because of our troops in Saudi Arabia. Their presence there to protect our interests in the region was the impetus for the creation of Al Qaeda in the first place. As long as Saddam was in power in Iraq, we were going to have troops in Saudi Arabia. Therefore, Al Qaeda was going to have recruitment propaganda at their disposal. The only way to rectify this situation was by removing Saddam. It was (and still is) a fundamental requirement for the war on terrorism to be successful.|
I disagree with Guy's most basic rationales, but he brings up good points for debate. Join the discussion HERE.
November 17, 2003
Bill Connolly found THIS article on Fast Company. If you still cannot decide whether or not Wal-Mart is the store where Satan shops, this will most assuredly convince you. If you still shop there after reading this article, then you have no soul and will be doomed to eternal damnation (which shouldn't matter since you have no soul, I guess). Snippet:
|Wal-Mart has also lulled shoppers into ignoring the difference between the price of something and the cost. Its unending focus on price underscores something that Americans are only starting to realize about globalization: Ever-cheaper prices have consequences. Says Steve Dobbins, president of thread maker Carolina Mills: "We want clean air, clear water, good living conditions, the best health care in the world--yet we aren't willing to pay for anything manufactured under those restrictions."|
Warning: It's a looooooong article.
UPDATE (11/18/03): This e-mail was sent in response:
|Founded criticism of Wal-Mart (of which there is plenty) is certainly fair and deserves wide dissemination. Ham-handed criticism of those who shop there (as sarcastic or ironic as you intended your words to be) is *not* fair to most folks who shop there.
I shop at Wal-Mart quite simply because I can't afford to shop anywhere else for many things Wal-Mart carries (yes, I live in a small town). I can't afford to shop anywhere else because I haven't got a raise in two years, and I haven't got a raise because my boss knows I can't quit. I can't quit simply because the only places hiring these days are Wal-Mart and nearby casino, both of which pay only slightly less than my current salary. The 'take-it-or-leave-it because we know you can't find better' attitude is shared among most employers near my home, because Wal-Mart has set the (low) standard for employee salaries and benefits.
I agree, if I had choices about where to shop (for starters, by earning more than $18K a year for a family of three), I would be due some needling for choosing Wal-Mart. But as I pointed out, for many of us, Wal-Mart isn't a matter of choice. And we certainly don't deserve the derision you're too comfortable doling out.
Furthermore, shame on you for reprinting the transparent blame-shifting quoted in Fast Company. "We want clean air, clear water, good living conditions, the best health care in the world--yet we aren't willing to pay for anything manufactured under those restrictions," says a corporate honcho. Well, when half of the country earns less than $30K a year, we simply can't afford things manufactured under those conditions. It's a circuitous chicken-and-egg argument that the majority of Americans simply don't have the means to rectify.
Those who do have the means and choose to shift blame are the real culprits here, not poor people who barely earn enough to keep the power on and food on the table.
Thanks for your time.
Jeff Z. [last name edited out]
Sylva, North Carolina
Here's a concise letter-to-the-editor of a small-town newspaper in Kentucky:
|Monday November 17, 2003
Dennis Kucinich deserves consideration
I am writing to express my concern with the media's lack of equal coverage of the candidates for the 2004 presidential race. It seems that Dean, Lieberman, and Clark are the only candidates getting any attention. However, I have found that Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich has the most poignant and thorough platform of the bunch.
It is unfortunate that a public servant of his magnitude (he was the mayor of Cleveland at age 31) does not receive more press. His Web site, www.kucinich.us, clearly states his views on nearly every possible topic of current debate. His administration will support family farms and small business, universal health care, full social security benefits at 65, and the repeal of the Bill of Rights-violating Patriot Act.
Dennis Kucinich is a real American hero and derserves our consideration as the next president of the United States.
Copyright The Advocate-Messenger 2003
Is this what we should be doing with our time instead of blogging??
Bill, who runs Thoughts on the Eve of the Apocalypse, sent in this response to Left is Right's recent post, Altruism is Out of Focus:
I had trouble using your commenting system (it kept cutting me off at 1000 characters), so I figured I'd email you my brief, unorganized response to your post:
I'm a little late on commenting here, but I wanted to thank you for the post. You articulate well the thoughts and frustrations I've been grappling with recently, as well.
Obviously, blogs are not going to change the world on their own. First of all, this is a medium dominated by privilege, and blog voices only reach a fraction of the populace, be they in the US or elsewhere.
What I ultimately desire from my meager effort at blogging is for my readers to feel encouraged to investigate stuff on their own and do something about it, either by speaking up, sharing what they've found with others, or by doing something requiring more of a commitment. My goal is to share a sort of critical spirit that I hope others find contagious.
The world is not going to change over night. As much as I'd like to see some sort of revolution, we should not give up doing what we're doing. Victories are probably not going to come with some swift blow to the system, but rather with the continued efforts of people that can draw out new strategies for confronting the injustices they see everyday. For
this process to have any chance of succeeding, networking is crucial. And blogging is a great way of accomplishing this.
Could we and should we take things beyond the blogs? Of course. But above all, we need to keep our eye on the ball, criticize ourselves and others where it’s warranted, and work to change the things that we find wrong with the world, however we can. There’s no science to this.
Thanks again for the post.
November 14, 2003
Bill O'Reilly on his possible future run for the Presidency (emphasis mine)
|The prize would be the White House, but "the country's not interested in an independent candidacy. Maybe in 10 years they will be, but right now, you have 50 percent of Americans who don't know anything - they're totally disengaged from the process, the 'Mall People.' They don't know anything, don't watch the news or listen to radio or read the newspapers. The other 50 percent - and there was a recent poll on this - are a third crazy left and third crazy right and third in the middle. So the pie you're going for is a very narrow pie." Yeah, maybe he "could mobilize a certain number of independent thinkers who think, 'This guy could be a ... Teddy Roosevelt kind of guy, who could come in and clean up the garbage...'" but "I'm not a vanity player, I'm not gonna go out like Al Sharpton, to get on 'Saturday Night Live' to run for president, so unless I'm convinced I could pull it off, I wouldn't do it."|
As insulting as that statement is, I can't disagree with it (although I wouldn't be caught saying it in the press). Why? How else do you explain 50% of the people still supporting Bush's Iraq policies, and 70% or so believing Sadam H. orchestrated 9-11? You tell me.
Posted by Mike at 11/14/2003
Ultimate List of Stupid Names
Grover's Dark Side
Worst Album Covers Ever
Bossholes (yep, just like it sounds)
Rubber Faces (How artistic are you?)
40 Headaches (This site gives them to you)
Dreems (click different parts of the picture)
Moovl (what a blast!)
Faeriewars (sick, hilarious game; be sure to use those kittens!)
November 13, 2003
This is not good (snippets):
|NOVEMBER 13, 2003 - U.S. Troops Said to Be More Hostile With Reporters
Military Works to Cut Down on Incidents in Iraq
By Slobodan Lekic, Associated Press Writer
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- (AP) With casualties mounting in Iraq, jumpy U.S. soldiers are becoming more aggressive in their treatment of journalists covering the conflict. Media people have been detained, news equipment has been confiscated, and some journalists have suffered verbal and physical abuse while trying to report on events. Although the number of incidents involving soldiers and journalists is difficult to gauge, anecdotal evidence suggests it has risen sharply the past two months.
In October, the Belgium-based International Federation of Journalists, which includes unions representing 500,000 journalists in more than 100 countries, complained of increased harassment of reporters, including beatings of some, since the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime.
But as coalition forces come under increasing pressure from guerrilla attacks -- 37 American soldiers have died so far in November -- signs of stress are evident. A number of journalists, particularly Iraqis and other Arabs working for foreign media organizations, say they are now routinely threatened at gunpoint if they try to film the aftermath of guerrilla attacks. Some have been arrested and held for short periods.
Source: Editor & Publisher Online