We are seeing some real progress in the political establishment, at least as far as facing the truth about Bush's humiliating military defeat in Iraq.
Powell: We Are Losing In Iraq
Exclusive: Former Secretary Of State Says More Troops Are Not The Answer
This near-candor about the war in Iraq is quite refreshing.
Now, if our political establishment would finally admit something that was obvious in the spring of 2004. The Bush regime has lost its war in Iraq.
We are seeing some real progress in the political establishment, at least as far as facing the truth about Bush's humiliating military defeat in Iraq.
I will be doing a posting on this topic soon, and it seems like a good idea to seek out suggestions on who belongs on the list. Here are some nasty corporations that come to mind, in no particular order.
Various telecoms and cable companies
Please post your suggestions, along with your reasons so I'll know why you think your choices are deserving of such a dubious distinction.
Let's face it. Ann Coulter is hideous. Her hair looks like an oversized mop from a Barbie doll. Her limbs protrude outward in a way that reminds one of the legs of a deformed spider. Her facial features are similar to those of Osama bin Laden.
Ann Coutler Pics
Osama bin Laden pics
A question that might naturally pop into your mind is:
After all, corporate media pundits tend to be mirror breakers, regardless of gender or political persuasion. Why should the Queen of Mean be any different? The answer to why anyone should find her frightful appearance even remotely interesting lies in her status as a sex symbol among some rightist wingnuts.
4) She is also very pretty, sexy, and aggressive which attracts even more attention because, when combined with her intelligence, it makes for a very unusual and interesting combination.
I dont know how many of you watch Bill O'reilly, ya he's a little strong on the republican side, but hey, he's got a good show. He had on Ann Coulter, and I hadnt really seen pictures of her just heard of her, but damn. I mean...WoW, She's good looking, she knows what she's talking about, and she supports what our country is doing. I couldnt ask for much more.
However, if Ann Coulter, the sexy Queen of Conservative Mean, has one achilles heel, it's her propensity for overstated hyperbole.
The interesting thing about this is that they are being shallow, but not in the usual looks-matter-more-than-anything way that is typical for men. Her right-wing groupie-wannabes are turned on more by one silly criterion than any other:
They get woodies over being told what they want to hear from women.
So, if you are a heterosexual woman who actually wants to talk dirty to a Republican hetero boy, here's an example of how to go about it.
You're just so big.
George Bush is the best president ever.
You are so hot.
Cindy Sheehan is an Islamofascist.
I love strong men like you.
Liberals are godless traitors.
It's OK that it only lasted 47 seconds. I need to do my nails.
Thanks, Coulter-lusters! You have given us all an insight into the Republican mind.
Moderate Republicans from blue states face serious difficulties. They are tethered to a party that is increasingly unpopular where they live. In the past, they could win general elections by taking occasional moderate stands on issues. However, the defeats of Lincoln Chafee and Jim Leach show that disgust with the GOP often can trump individual political positions when voters are sufficiently angry.
Of course, electorates increasingly hostile to Republicans are not the only problems facing moderate blue state Republicans. The “Club for Growth,” a group of extremely rich Republicans from the far right of that party, routinely runs primary challenges against GOP moderates.
Politicians like Susan Collins and Christopher Shays are ideologically incompatible with the GOP and have been ever since Ronald Reagan swept the Christian Right into party control in 1980. The same is true of Gordon Smith and Arlen Specter, who really do not fit that well with the Democrats either.
There is a simple solution for them. They can switch to being independents. Over 35% of voters are independents. James Jeffords showed that being an independent makes politicians more popular in blue states than being a Republican.
Jeffords ended up caucusing with Democrats in the Senate, but was able to vote pretty much how he pleased. Such an arrangement would be very convenient for many moderate Republicans.
(Note: Olympia Snowe has been excluded from this analysis because her personal popularity trumps her GOP affiliation. She can get away with staying in the GOP as long as she wants.)
Militant Christian fundamentalists have come up with another way to try to harass women who need abortions and add more red tape for their doctors. The "Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act" (H.R. 6099) would make it legally required for doctors performing abortions to make scientifically dubious claims to women who are about to have abortions, trying to scam them into getting unnecessary fetal anesthesia, even though there is no credible medical evidence to support the procedure.
If women are bamboozled into doing this, it will raise the cost of abortions. The Christian jihadists are hoping to make abortions more costly to punish women who exercise their fundamental human right to choose on abortion.
NOW has an Action Alert to get people to contact their representatives before the House votes on this latest misogynist nonsense by the lame-duck Republican leadership.
Bigotry and discrimination against atheists has been a core value of the Republican Party. However, that should not blind anyone to the fact that discrimination against atheists sometimes comes from Democrats as well.
Every Democratic Senator who showed up to vote that day joined their Republican allies and condemned an appeals court ruling striking “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance. Tom Daschle even condemned a ruling restoring the Pledge to the pre-McCarthyist version, calling it “crazy.” As one would expect, his fundraising letters subsequently ended up going into my recycling, unopened.
The latest incident involves the Democratic Party having chosen Rev. Jim Wallis to speak during the Democratic Party's official weekly radio address. Bringing religion into politics discriminates against atheists. This kind of behavior sends a message that atheist voters and atheist money are not welcome in the Democratic party.
Having preachers meddle in politics also endangers democracy. When religion becomes the political coin of the realm, every debate ends up degenerating into a “my god can beat up your god” kind of argument. It makes rational policy nearly impossible to make.
We only need to look at Iran, the Taliban, or the Salem Witch Trials to see that every effort must be made to keep religion out of politics.
They should be ashamed of themselves.
I found out about this one listening to the Sam Seder Show. This shows some kind of B of A sales meeting where they are gloating over their MBNA credit card company takeover. A couple of sales drones are singing their own version of U2's “One” with icky, funny suck up lyrics.
Note: You Tube already took down that version, so you will need to view the Quick Time version.
WFMU page with lyrics and link to audio file.
If you think it is funny, I would save the file to your hard drive. Who knows how long this will stay up.
There is a serious side to all of this. Corporate takeovers and mergers cost jobs and reduce competition. But, it still is fun to laugh at corporate arrogance, and few companies are more arrogant than B of A.
The corporate media have a strong rightist bias, which shows in their fawning coverage of John McCain. Even though he is extremely conservative when you look at his overall record, any isolated "moderate" or "maverick" position he takes is trumpeted by his corporate media bootlickers.
Even worse, "Keating Five" McCain is extremely corrupt, having been involved in one of the most costly corruption scandals in US history. When the corporate media even talk about it, they try to spin it to make his behavior seem less reprehensible than it actually was. Here is a link to an excellent article on "Keating Five" McCain's activities and the text for a suggested "Google Bomb."
Lest you reach the conclusion that all is well now that Democrats have narrow majorities in Congress, here is a reminder of just who is illegally occupying the White House.
Too many OB-GYNs aren't able to practice their love with women all across this country.
-George W. Bush
In the midterm elections, the Democrats made enough gains to win the House and the Senate. However, there were a number of close races the Democrats lost in the House.
The queer community has been slighted and ignored by the national Democratic Party for years. The process was accelerated under Howard Dean, who got rid of lgbt liaisons and who discouraged discussion of our issues in Democratic campaigns. The last time the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress in the 1993-1994 session, no significant lgbt civil rights legislation passed. In fact, a more severe version of the military ban was passed into law, replaces a less draconian executive order.
Under these circumstances, it was hardly surprising that the queer community was not as energized or involved in 2006 as in the early 90s.
Given that one can easily expect many close races in 2008 and that control of the House and the Senate could be easily grabbed by the GOP, it would be wise for the national Democratic Party to work to repair its relationship with queer voters.
The Religious Right made a strategic decision after the Supreme Court's ruling legalizing sodomy to focus on same-sex marriage as their main front for attacking and scapegoating queers, trying to make us pay the price for the failure of the institution of marriage. This made sense politically, since same-sex marriage is the most unpopular lgbt issue.
The Democrats need to take the focus off of marriage and find another queer issue to draw the general public's attention to. Hate-crimes legislation would be an intelligent choice, given that it is the most popular lgbt issue.
If the Democrats in Congress want to restore lgbt confidence in the idea that supporting Democrats will result in positive differences, they need to pass a major lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender civil rights law. Passing hate crimes legislation that includes sexual orientation and gender identity would serve that purpose quite nicely. Can you imagine suburban Republicans outside of the South having to defend a vote that lets people getting away with beating and killing people because they are gay ?
Whether Bush passes the legislation or vetoes it, the Democrats would show that they got something important to queers accomplished that Republican party leaders had blocked in Congress for over a decade.
Congressional Democrats have a lot to prove to queers. Passing hate crimes legislation would be a politically expedient and morally valid way of doing so.
Although the corporate media have too strong of a pro-Republican bias to openly acknowledge it, the racist Corker/GOP ads against Harold Ford won the Tennessee Senate Seat for the GOP. However, there were three other very close Senate contents that should be considered.
The controversy over the bigoted ads certainly effected the voting behavior of several groups.
1)African Americans: They had every legitimate reason to be outraged, and voter outrage is one of the most effective GOTV motivators around. Also, some black Republicans probably voted for Democrats this time around. The racism of these commercials must have reminded some people in that community (and some other Americans) of the GOP's racist response to Hurricane Katrina.
2)Latino and Asian Americans: Although they wouldn't have been personally attacked by the commercials, discouraging attacking someone for their racial or ethnic origins certainly was in their best interests. The ads may also have reminded some immigrant communities of the racist hysteria behind some of the GOP's immigration rhetoric.
3)Whites who are offended by racism: Many whites thought our country had gotten beyond the kind of racist nonsense in the Corker commercials. They had a rude awakening.
4)People offended by the ugly tone of the campaign: The corporate media tried to act like negative campaigning was equally distributed among Republicans and Democrats. This is absolute nonsense. Democrats ran more positive ads than Republicans. Democratic negative ads tended to focus more on policy differences. Republican negative ads tended to make weird and unbelievable accusations about the characters of Democrats. Swing voters were turned off by the GOP's hateful campaign tone, at least outside of the South.
5)Partisan Democrats: These disreputable ads were tremendously powerful, but unintentional, GOTV tools for Democrats who feel that their party has been treated unfairly by the Republicans for years.
On the other hand, it is unlikely that hardly any racist whites in other states would change which white person they voted for because of anti-black ads in another state.
When you factor in the large African-American populations in Missouri and Virginia, it is obvious that Democratic victories in both of those states were the result of the Tennessee ads. It also is possible that the Corker/GOP racism cost that party Montana too, with the very thin margin of victory for the Democrat.
Desperate Republicans saved one seat in Tennessee only to throw away 2-3 Senate seats elsewhere. They almost certainly lost a few close House elections because of the wildly racist commercials as well.
How many Republicans does it take to screw in a light bulb?
The light bulb never actually gets screwed in, but hundreds of Republicans in right-wing think tanks work feverishly to find a way to blame Bill Clinton for it.
It was difficult to understand why the Bush regime dragged out its show-trial of Saddam Hussein so long. It was an embarrassing spectacle to people who care about America and its values. It also provided an example of how dysfunctional the Bush Regime's colonial governance of Iraq has been.
Now we know the reason for this delay. The Bush regime scheduled the verdict and sentencing for the weekend before the midterm elections. People who are informed about Iraq will not have their opinions influenced much by this game-playing. However, Karl Rove is trying to pick up small percentages of voters in crucial states, not all of whom will pay much attention to the news or to politics.
I was just watching MSNBC and saw how Chris Matthews and Joe Scarborough were trying to spin this like crazy, suggesting that people should all vote Republican just because of verdicts hitting at just the right time, in a joke of a trial. The corporate media are relentless in their pursuit of a rightist, pro-GOP agenda. We will have to see if this spin makes any difference.
Saddam Hussein is hardly a sympathetic figure. Yet, the Bush regime tried him on a relatively small massacre, leaving out his more enormous crimes. They have cut him a break in terms of his legacy in Iraq by not trying Hussein for his larger crimes against humanity.
Why? It is simple. Saddam Hussein got his chemical and biological weapons from the Reagan administration. Guess who were the two Reagan administration officials most famously involved.
That's right. They are Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.
The crimes that Hussein was not charged with are as fascinating as the timing of the verdict in this Stalinesque show-trial.
Site with Famous Photo of Donald Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam Hussein
"Heckler Subdued at George Allen Event"
This headline, on a story with a byline for Bob Lewis of the Associated Press, was extremely misleading. In the article, you find out that George Allen staffers put someone in a chokehold. Putting someone in a chokehold is not “subduing” someone. It is assault and battery.
The San Francisco Chronicle at least included mention of the chokehold, though some news outlets that ran the AP story conveniently edited it out.
The assault and battery victim, Mike Stark, was asking perfectly reasonable questions about claims that George Allen spat on his first wife. Court records from Allen's first divorce have been sealed, an unusual circumstance which only adds to the suspicious nature of the situation.
Mike Stark was asking the kind of questions that any mainstream reporter would be asking if not for the rampant right-wing bias in the corporate media. Yet, the AP article dismissed him as a "heckler" and downplayed the crime of assault and battery that was committed against him. Just because Stark is a centrist blogger does nothing to alter or justify the crime commited against him or the lack of real reporting from the corporate media.
If newspapers want moderate and liberal readers to take them seriously, they need to make sure their articles are accurate and not pro-GOP propaganda. Wire services need to have higher standards of accuracy or they will continue to undermine the circulations of their customers, daily newspapers.
MyDD has some excellent suggestions for Google-bombs for this election cycle. I have edited some out for the following reasons:
1)Some links had expired.
2)Wikepedia articles tend not to be that accurate on controversial matters, though it is a wonderful resource for non-contested matters such as gardening.
3)Some articles seemed only parenthetically related to the candidates in question.
4)One article actually criticized a Republican for switching a position from pro-Iraq war to anti-Iraq war.
Plenty of links remain. Even if you have no interest in influencing search engines, the remaining articles are a rich resource on the GOP Congress.
Here is what people really should be seeing in their search results when Googling GOP candidates.
The latest Republican filth in the Virginia Senate race is so disturbing. The Democrat, Webb, was writing a book about what he saw in Vietnam in a way to show some of the more disturbing aspects of what our troops experienced there.
If you are interested, the details of the custom Webb wrote about and Allen's campaign is describing are available.
Yet, the Allen campaign is calling passages in the book describing this ritual behavior in Indochina "child pornography." How could anybody come up with something so incredibly warped? I find it difficult to see how anyone but a pedophile would misinterpret Webb's writing in such a fashion. There must be a pedophile or group of pedophiles working for Allen. It is the only plausible explanation.
It also is useful to keep in mind that child molestation is rampant in the GOP, something the corporate media refuse to acknowledge because of their conservative, pro-Republican bias.
I am so sick of the constant barrage of telemarketing calls I'm getting on my land line, all of which are from Republicans. One of the worst offenders is my GOP House incumbent who thinks that harassing people and violating peoples' privacy is the way to win votes.
I was considering voting for a Green Party candidate in this race, but now I'm punishing the Republican scumbag by voting for the Democrat.
I'm still wondering how those scumbags got my unlisted number.
Just when you thought the GOP wouldn't come up with another way to make you hate them...
The corporate media and the GOP are constantly spinning about "records" in economic data. The Bush regime was fond of talking about "record home ownership," though home ownership records should be happening all the time in a country whose population is growing.
They try similar nonsense with "record tax revenues." We would have to be in a depression, not just our current economic stagnation, in order for that not to be the case. As usual, the ordinary is lionized as some sign of spectacular success.
Now, the GOP and the corporate media are doing the same thing with "record Dow numbers." These should be happening fairly often, since stock markets increase in value over time. Yet, late 2006 is the first time it has happened under the Bush regime.
People are more used to hearing "records" discussed in the context of sports, where they are true achievements. In economic data, beware of “records” that are quite ordinary.
The Yahoo! message boards are primarily a venting arena, but every once in a while, an excellent idea is brought up there. In this case, the idea is to seize the assets of Halliburton, Bechtel, Blackwater, Big Oil, the Bush Family, the Cheney Family and other Bush regime cronies to help pay for the Iraq war.
It was be justice, both poetic and literal. Besides, why should the taxpayers foot all the bill for an illegal and unAmerican war in Iraq? It's not like we elected any of these people.
James Hagedorn, CEO of Scott's Miracle-Gro, is pushing hard for a homophobic hate-group, the Republican Party. At a recent GOP fundraiser, Hagedorn said:
"It may be unpalatable to push the button or pull the lever for a Republican this year, but the choice is not to flush the party of business down the toilet," Hagedorn told about 50 fellow businessmen and (Republican Rep. Deb) Pryce at the breakfast. "As bad as the Republican Party has gotten itself, what's the choice?"
It would be shameful under any circumstances for Hagedorn to support a viciously homophobic organization like the GOP under any circumstances. To support such a hate-group when it also is in political trouble for massive corruption adds insult to injury.
The Republican he was raising funds for, Pryce, has engaged in viciously homophobic spin derived from the Christian Right. After her opponent ran an ad criticizing Pryce and the GOP leadership for protecting Mark Foley, Pryce accused her opponent of “gay baiting.”
This was a reprehensible use of the Christian Right's talking point, that Foley is in trouble for being gay, not for sexually harassing minor employees. It is a devious effort by Pryce to equate homosexuality with pedophilia and sexual abuse. It is hardly new for Republicans like Pryce to smear us by associating us with child rapists, but it still is just as morally repugnant when it happens.
I refuse to buy any more Miracle-Gro products until the company has another CEO. By supporting the GOP, Hagedorn is endangering me in terms of possible physical assault or loss of employment. The fact that he is raising money for a particularly despicable homophobe like Pryce only makes things worse.
You can express your outrage at Hagedorn's behavior by filling out the online form at:
The corporate media keeps going on about “record stock markets,” but that pro-GOP spin is misleading. Stock markets generally go up in the long run. Record stock markets should be a fairly common occurrence.
But, that is hardly the biggest economic concern facing middle-class and poor families in our country. The job market still is weak. Salaries are stagnant. People still are having their jobs outsourced and losing jobs in corporate mergers that violate anti-trust laws. Americans are mounting up record debt just to try to keep up with their previous standard of living.
Most middle-class people in this country have counted on one cushion, rising housing prices. Now, real estate prices are falling, endangering far too many people financially.
While this is happening, the rich are getting richer. The overall economic indicators show mild economic growth, but the benefits are going to a small minority of people at the top. The tax and spending policies of the Bush regime are turning a mediocre economy overall to a trauma for the middle class and a desperate situation for the poor.
The corporate media avoid this subject whenever possible. Yet, this will play a major role in the midterm elections. This is a major source of discontent among independent and even some GOP voters.
Too many OB/GYNs aren't able to practice their love with their patients.
- George W. Bush
David Kuo has stirred up a bit of controversy with his book, Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction. Kuo was the deputy director of the Bush regime's hate-based initiatives office, which was responsible for diverting government grants from inclusive non-profits to ones that discriminate on the basis of religion.
Kuo had too complaints, according to the Time magazine article. First, he was greedy, never being satisfied with the amount of money diverted to his office. In this, Bush was on his side, and Rove his nemesis.
Kuo's other complaint is getting more attention. Senior Bush regime officials routinely referred to the Christian Taliban and its followers derogatory names. The online report from 60 Minutes was quite entertaining.
Specifically, Kuo says people in the White House political affairs office referred to Pat Robertson as "insane," Jerry Falwell as "ridiculous," and that James Dobson "had to be controlled."
All of these criticisms are quite valid, but they are offending militant, Christian fundamentalists. This is creating quite a stir, but the media are missing out on the most interesting aspect of the story. George W. Bush is a Christian extremist, just like Falwell, Robertson, Dobson, and Kuo.
When White House political officials mock the Christian Right, they are expressing contempt for George W. Bush's religious beliefs. When Bush was Governor of Texas, the corporate media covered his religious fundamentalism in an unvarnished fashion. When Bush was selected by the GOP establishment for the party's presidential nomination, he was lionized by the corporate press for being part of both the big money and Christian Right wings of the party.
However, once the 2000 campaign was in swing, the media acted as if Bush and the Christian Taliban were separate from each other. This obligatory forgetfulness served the GOP's agenda, but it gave people the mistaken perception that Bush is faking his religious fervor.
Bush's inability to string together coherent sentences without a teleprompter is enough for anyone to look down on him. However, his own staff members apparently also think that people like Bush are religious wackos. If so, they are correct.
Another Republican has been fired in a corruption scandal.
Karl Rove aide Susan Ralston is out. The House Government Reform Committee has accused Rove aide Susan Ralston inside info from the Bush Regime to GOP activist and confessed criminal Jack Abramoff. She partied on Abramoff's generosity, receiving tickets to sports and entertainment events while being oh-so-helpful.
Karl Rove, who was involved in revealing the identity of an under cover CIA agent working on WMDs, still has a job. Bush said he would fire anyone involved with this. Bush lied, which hardly is surprising.
Remember how Hastert protected the reputation of an old Turkish regime that committed genocide against Armenians? There were bribery allegations involved. Yet, the pro-GOP corporate media leave out this important context for Hastert's latest cover-up scandal.
Of course, the corporate media are still ignoring the Downing Street Memo, which proves that the Bush regime faked intelligence on WMDs in Iraq. This may be an older scandal than the Page Turner, but it still is relevant. Our troops are dying, and so are the Iraqis. Yet, the corporate media are still helping to cover up how they got put there.
There are two ways that the media need to connect the dots in the Republican Page Scandal. The first is obvious. Foley is hardly the only predator of children in the GOP. Pedophilia is rampant among Republican politicians, activists, and prominent Christian Right supporters. Reporters should do the real reporting on GOP pedophilia, rather than inaccurately treating the latest scandal as in isolated incident.
But, there are somewhat less obvious ways that the media should connect the dots on the GOP. The failures in this scandal are directly related to broader failings in the Republican Party. Here are some of these connections.
A party that did not respond appropriately to Hurricane Katrina refused to respond accordingly to its own prominent sexual predators.
A party that has repeatedly lied to us about Iraq had no problem lying about a pedophilia investigation.
A party that legislated torture had no moral problem with torturing little kids sexually.
A party that illegally suspended Habeas Corpus had no problem committing obstruction of justice.
A party that often commits massive election fraud had no problem protecting a pedophile to save a House seat and get money from a PAC.
A party that condones illegal spying on Americans and then legislates it has no problem with other extreme violations of peoples' rights.
The Republican Party has tried to scapegoat queers for pedophilia for years. It turns out to be a classic case of projection.
Learn more about rampant GOP pedophilia.
Here are some other explanations for the acronym “GOP” floating around the Internet:
GANG OF PEDOPHILES
GOD'S OWN PEDOPHILES
GREEDY OPPRESSIVE PEDOPHILES
GROTESQUE OLD PERVERTS
Doug Ireland has done an excellent job of reporting human rights abuses by the Muslim Right government in Iran and efforts by queer activists in the US and abroad to try to prevent the torture and killings that occur based on peoples' sexual orientations.
A listing of his Iran-related Articles from Google
As strange as it sounds, an organization that has led a smear campaign against the queer activists is the so-called “Human Rights Watch” (HRW). Scott Long, director of their alleged “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Program,” has led the efforts to deny what the Iranian government is doing, dismissing what Iranian gay activists are saying and smearing anyone who protests these outrages. The supposed “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Human Rights” page on their web site barely mentions the human rights violations made on the basis of Iranians' sexual orientations. It completely neglects to condemn the infamous murder of two young Iranians because they were gay by the Iranian government.
The efforts by HRW have had serious consequences for lgbt Iranians seeking asylum in Sweden. Islamophobes in that country's government have re-started denying refuge status to Iranian queers. When so-called human rights organizations deny the fact that the Iranian government routinely tortures and kills people for being queer, it makes it so much easier for Western Islamophobes to deny refuge status to queers trying to save their lives. Legitimate human rights organizations publicly speak out against these crimes, rather than engaging in misleading revisionism.
The hateful and bigotted people at HRW should be ashamed of themselves. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender people should find genuine human rights organizations to support.
Think Progress has pointed out that Republican Speaker Dennis Hastert may have known about Mark Foley's sexual harassment of a minor page as early as this spring. AmericaBlog traces it back at least a year.
Paul Rosenberg in a MyLeftWing diary has called on Hastert to resign. LGBT World Daily News is demanding Hastert's resignation as well. Crooks and Liars is asking if Hastert will be investigated.
Did Hastert protect a House Republican engaged in this kind of behavior? This would hardly be surprising. A political party that thinks it is perfectly OK to torture and rape Muslims picked up at random in Iraq would have no qualms about protecting a Republican who was sexually harassing underage employees.
If there is no immediate House Ethics Committee investigation into Hastert and other senior House Republicans, it will be a sure sign that the GOP does not take ethics even the slightest bit seriously.
One wonders how those fundamentalist “values voters” will feel about all of this.
It also should be noted that this is not the only Hastert scandal out there. There are credible allegations that Hastert took brides from Turkish nationalists to help them cover up the genocide of Armenians in Turkey.
The Bush regime is far from alone in its spying controversies. Like the GOP's leader occupying the White House, Jeanine Pirro's New York Attorney General Campaign has been hurt by revelations that she discussed with former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik wiretapping her husband's conversations.
Pirro is trying to deflect attention from the real issues by demanding an investigation of the whistleblower.
Pirro even had the nerve to demand a Special Prosecutor investigate the whistleblowing, instead of where a Special Prosecutor should be investigating: who in this highly partisan, Republican US Justice Department may have committed obstruction of justice by covering up the evidence of the Pirro-Kerik meeting. Pirro's behavior is disturbingly similar to that of Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, who has threatened to prosecute newspapers that publish information about crimes committed by the Bush regime.
Ms. Pirro herself should be the subject of an immediate criminal investigation to determine if she followed through on wiretapping her spouse's conversations. Her denials are not sufficient to eliminate the need for such a probe. The inquiry must also determine whether or not her meeting with Kerik violated any laws.
Jeanine Pirro should not be treated as above the law merely because she is a Republican. This GOP obsession with wiretapping has to stop.
Information from the National Intelligence Estimate has confirmed what has been known for some time now: the Bush Regime's war in Iraq has aided and abetted Al Qaida's terrorist recruitment and training efforts.
A previous posting on this blog mentioned some of the correct liberal predictions about an Iraq war. The realization that this war was bound to create more terrorism is yet another correct aspect of liberal views on Iraq, another one that was ridiculed by the corporate media and by other conservatives.
It was not a difficult prediction to make. Invading and colonizing a country that was governed by a mortal enemy of Al Qaida in the name of 911 was bound to create a sense that the US was on an insane crusade against Muslims.
Bush himself is a militant, Christian fundamentalist, as are many in his administration and his political base. Their anti-Islamic bloodlust certainly played a role in getting us into this nutty war. However, political corruption involving corporate cronies such as Halliburton, Big Oil, Blackwater, and Bechtel played at least as great of a role as religious fanaticism.
Despite being proven correct repeatedly, liberals still have not received any apology from the rightists who attacked anyone who thought rationally and critically about the war.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi has sunk to a new low, launching an irrational attack on Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, whose only “offense” was to mockingly criticize George W. Bush. It was bad enough that she pandered to the Bush regime, but she even resorted to a racial slur, calling Chavez a “thug.”
Pelosi's race-baiting is disgusting enough, but it becomes even more reprehensible when it is done in the context of pandering to a brutal autocrat like George W. Bush. Pelosi would rather grovel to an unelected politician like Bush, rather than support, or merely leave alone, a democratically elected and widely popular leader like Hugo Chavez. While Chavez respects human rights, Bush has people arrested without charge and tortured, both at home and abroad. While Chavez has respected press freedom in Venezuela, Bush has bombed Al Jazeera and his administration has threatened to prosecute US journalists who reported on illegal NSA spying on Americans.
Democrats continually promise us that so much will change if we throw the Republicans out in the Congressional elections. But, in so many cases (e.g., Terri Schiavo, the Alito filibuster, the Roberts nomination, Bush's illegal and unAmerican war in Iraq), far too many Democrats offered the Bush regime critical support to carry out its hateful and unAmerican agenda.
The Green Party looks better and better with each passing day. It is not enough for the Democrats to be somewhat different than the Republicans. Democrats need to provide vigorous and fearless opposition to what is being done to America and the rest of the world.
Here are some entertaining video clips at the expense of Resident Bush.
I hate bush!
Stupid Bush (This one includes my favorite Bushim.)
We fuck the world
Stand Up Comic Impersonates Bush
Is Bush and Idiot? (From Scarborough Country of all places. Once the talking heads start going, it gets boring.)
Letterman Top Ten List of Favorite Bush Moments
George W. Bush "Fundamentalist Prick"
Bush Drinking Game Standup Comedy Travis Simmons
Bush Threatens America in Verbal miscue
So are Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and Osama bin Laden.
Everyone is godless. There is no god (or goddess for that matter).
If you want a quick laugh at the Queen of Mean's expense, check out this Crooks and Liars blog posting about Adam Carolla hanging up on her.
“Hi, this is Susan Sarandon. Hillary Clinton voted for George Bush’s war. She supports the continued occupation of Iraq . Jonathan Tasini opposed the Iraq War and is calling for the immediate safe withdrawal of our troops. Jonathan is a true progressive Democrat who is calling for Medicare for All and a New Deal for New York workers. On September 12th, please vote for Jonathan Tasini for U.S. Senate.”
- Message recorded by Susan Sarandon for the Tasini Campaign
I couldn't agree more.
There is a lot of talk about Christian Zionists these days, but most of it is devoid of a discussion of the motivation of Israel's alleged friends.
The vast majority of Christian Zionists are on the Christian Right. This should be of concern when one considers that Christian fundamentalists in this country despise anyone who does not subscribe to their particular variety of Christianity, much less other views on the subject of religion.
For some, support for the Israeli government's policies is a temporary alliance, based on realpolitik. The followers are understandably outraged by terrorist acts carried out by Muslim religious extremists and foolishly think that all Muslims are responsible. The leaders are more concerned with the growth of Islam, which is resulting from population growth in Muslim countries, many Christians converting to Islam in Africa, and limited successes in conversion to Islam in Europe and the United States. For these supporters of Israel, they are limited in their interest to using Israel as a proxy in their conflict with Islam. Should Islam ever be conquered or even contained, they will revert to their old hostilities toward Jews.
For other Christian Zionists, supporting the expansionist policies of the Israeli government is more about trying to jump-start apocalypse. They think that an enormous war between Isreal and the world's Arabs and Muslims is predicted by the Bible. These militant, Christian fundamentalists think this will bring the rapture they are so excited about.
However, the Christian Taliban who are supporting aggressive Israeli policies are Jew-haters who see Jewish people as “Christ-killers.” The least militant of these people, such as George W. Bush, merely think that Jews will all go to hell. Others among them would prefer to take violent actions in this world against Jewish people. Their willingness to support right-wing Israeli policies is based entirely on a desperate desire to see the End of the World.
The Jewish community of the US and the Israeli government should seriously reconsider their alliance with these extremists. Yes, Israeli leaders would like more land and would like a larger water supply, but do they really want to politically empower people who despise them?
The Israeli public might also want to reconsider the policies that are attracting the support of militant, Christian fundamentalists. Is an enormous war with over a billion of the world's Muslims really in Israel's best interests? Can Israel contain the ambitions for such a war among its Christian extremist “supporters”?
For years, Disney-owned ABC News has had a pervasive right-wing bias. But, that has failed to satisfied Disney. Now they are imposing their extremely right-wing ideology on ABC's entertainment division, spending tens of millions of dollars on the mocku/crocku/propagandadrama, “The Path to 9/11.” They use massive historical distortions and omissions to try to distract attention from the Bush administration's failure to even make a serious effort to prevent the 911 attacks, despite numerous warnings.
This has gotten me to thinking, what would happen if Disney's upper-management people imposed their fringe-right politics on their cartoon universe.
THE NEW DISNEY CARTOON PANTHEON:
ANN COULTER MOUSE:
Forget the charming and cute Mickey, this new mouse has an attitude. When "Mouskateers" dare to express moderate or liberal points of view, Ann Coulter Mouse calls them harpies and accuses them of wanting their parents dead. This new Disney icon also prides herself on calling moderate and liberal children Islamofascists and telling them that their parents would like to put them up for adoption, but can't find anyone who wants them.
Minnie's replacement, like all believers in Islam, is a villain in the Brave New Disney World. Muslim Mouse refuses to accept Jesus Christ as the Son of God and One True Savior. Muslim Mouse also refuses to make falafels for Bill O'Reilly (documentation).
Disney will keep the name, but change her costume into white robes and a dunce cap, KKK style. Her dialog will be adapted to primarily include slurs involving other cartoon characters' ethnicities, sexual orientations, and gender identities.
Once again, the name remains the same. However, Cinderella now is a conniving, social-climber who doesn't know that she shouldn't socialize with her betters. The good Prince has her beheaded after accusing her of stealing a rich girl's slippers.
Tasti will replace the cloying Bambi. Tasti will mock politically-correct people who object to hunting. Tasti then will be shot. Disney was considering incorporating Tasti Shooting Ranges into its theme parks, but their legal department nixed the plan on the grounds of liability concerns. Damned Lawyers!
Who needs a cartoon duck when you have an animated version of Donald Rumsfeld? The new Donald is even more bellicose than the old, and what he says is even less intelligible.
THE GHOST OF VINCE FOSTER:
The Fantasia Ghosts will be replaced by an ethereal fictionalization of Vince Foster. This ghost will tell the kiddies all the bad, bad things the Clintons have done.
THE PERFECT KING:
The Lion King will be replaced by the Perfect King, W the First. The Perfect King will never admit to mistakes and will call anyone who misunderestimates him a terrorist.
Dumbo will keep the name, but will morph into a donkey. He will keep repeating things conservatives wish Democrats would say (e.g. “I want to give welfare to terrorists.”). Republicans may not be able to win arguments with actual Democrats, but they always will have the intellectual upper-hand with Dumbo.
The pooch will be replaced by an aging chickenhawk who will tell other people they are cowards if they don't support the war in Iraq. The chickenhawk will be safely past draft age.
Newspapers generally blame television, radio, and the Internet for their declining circulations. These forms of competition may be playing a role, but there is a deeper problem driving away many readers: pervasive right-wing bias.
The press coverage of George W. Bush's confession in front of television cameras that he sent people to illegal secret prisons, where they have been routinely tortured in violation of US and international law, is a blatant example. This is being reported as either a policy story or a political story, when it should be reported as a crime story. The same media that will sensationalize crimes committed by middle-class people often refuses to report on crimes by the wealthy, the powerful, and the Republicans as crimes.
Of course, this is one of many examples of slanting the news to the right. Very few US papers even covered the Downing Street Memo which proves that the Bush regime provided fraudulent “intelligence” in order to lie us into their Iraq war. The corporate media still refuse to report on the theft of the 2000 and 2004 elections. I could go on for far too many paragraphs with more examples, but most people should already know that they are being propagandized to follow the right-wing line.
And, that is precisely the problem. Liberals tend to be more interested in reading newspapers, yet these same newspapers have abandoned their professionalism in order to act as corporate/GOP propagandists.
At a certain point, it just makes no sense to pay people to lie to you.
Steve Jobs, CEO
Apple Computer, Inc.
1 Infinite Loop
Cupertino, CA 95014
Dear Mr. Jobs:
I am requesting that you resign your position on the Board of Directors of Disney/ABC in response to their decision to broadcast “The Path to 9/11” a dishonest propaganda piece which makes a mockery of the deaths of Americans and others killed in the 911 terrorist attacks.
Disney/ABC has shown itself desperate to try to deflect attention from the fact that the Bush Administration had more than enough warnings, tools, and resources to prevent the 911 attacks. Instead, Disney is distorting the facts or making them up entirely in an unpaid political ad for the GOP which is worth millions of dollars.
If you remain on the Board of Directors of such an incredibly unpatriotic company as Disney, you will severely damage Apple's corporate image, proving that Apple can be at least as evil as Microsoft.
“The Path to 9/11,” a phony “docudrama” developed by a notorious right-wing extremist, Cyrus Nowrasteh, is creating quite a stir. ABC/Disney seems determined to broadcast this unpaid GOP political advertisement, despite an outcry over its numerous inaccuracies.
The main purpose is to try to let the Bush regime off the hook for its failure to prevent the 911 attacks. The main tactics are to make the Cowardly Lion in the White House look courageous and blame to Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton was responsible for some nasty conservative policies (e.g. NAFTA, supporting price gouging on AIDS drugs, welfare "reform," etc.), but his administration took its responsibility to protect the country from terrorism seriously, something the Bush regime still refuses to do.
Here is a smattering of reactions to the ABC/Disney/GOP propaganda film:
Commentary by William Rivers Pitt
Down with Tyranny
Open Letter to ABC
Rep. Louise M. Slaughter (D-NY-28)
Critical Press Release
Center for American Progress
The Federal Elections Commission really should launch an investigation into this unpaid GOP political ad worth millions.
Everything we said about the war beforehand has turned out to be true.
We are waiting.
This is a rallying cry of so many Republicans posting on Internet message boards. Setting aside enormous ethical considerations, there is an obvious practical problem with this. Muslims belong to all racial and ethnic groups. Most Muslims are not even from the Middle East. There just is not any possible way to profile for Muslims.
The stupidity and ignorance of the political base of the Republican Party is astonishing and dangerous. Remember, that party controls both houses of Congress and illegally occupies the White House.
A posting on Liberal Serving references New York Times photos that are amazingly disturbing. I'm still trying to figure out why these photos make such a powerful statement on the destruction of Lebanon by Isreal's out-of-control war machine.
Maybe I have become desensitized by typical war coverage. I would like to believe that is not the case.
As much as the Christian Right and Hizbollah hate each other, they have quite a lot in common.
- Both hate separation of church and state.
- Both hate lesbians, gays, bisexuals,and transgender people.
- Both hate women.
- Both reject evolution.
- Both oppose abortion rights.
- Both are fanatical in their nationalism.
- Both hate freedom.
- Both hate democracy.
- Both have a murderous rage against anyone who does not live according to their religious beliefs.
Of course, there is a lot of irony involved. Neither group would admit how similar they are to their counterparts.
Also, the Christian fundamentalists also are supporting Israel in its fight against Hizbollah, even though they hate Jewish people as “Christ-killers.” The Christers think that supporting aggressive and militaristic policies by the Isreali government will lead to the apocolypse and rapture they are salivating over.
Yet, people still wonder why atheists think religion is so nutty.
Halliburton is famous as a military contractor tied to former CEO, Dick Cheney. Many folks may not know that they also have their own Political Action Committee.
The FEC Disclosure Report Search Results provide interesting information on who Halliburton Company PAC wants in the House and Senate.
HALLIBURTON COMPANY PAC's Friends
|Candidate||Party||State||Office||Net Contributions 2005-2006*|
|Joe L. Barton||Rep.||TX||House||$3000|
|Brian P. Bilbray||Rep.||CA||House||$1000|
|John A. Boehner||Rep.||OH||House||$1000|
|Charles W. Boustany, Jr.||Rep.||LA||House||$1000|
|Lincoln D. Chafee||Rep.||RI||Senate||$1000|
|Michael K. Conaway||Rep.||TX||House||$2000|
|Barbara L. Cubin||Rep.||WY||House||$1000|
|Henry R. Cuellar||Dem.||TX||House||$2000|
|Geoffrey C. Davis||Rep.||KY||House||$1000|
|Thomas M. Davis III||Rep.||VA||House||$3000|
|Richard Michael DeWine||Rep.||OH||Senate||$2000|
|John Eric Ensign||Rep.||NV||Senate||$2000|
|Raymond E. “Gene” Green||Dem.||TX||House||$2000|
|Charles T. Hagel||Rep.||NE||Senate||$1500|
|Samuel Robert Johnson||Rep.||TX||House||$2000|
|John Heddens Kingston||Rep.||GA||House||$1000|
|Jon L. Kyl||Rep.||AZ||Senate||$1000|
|James Otis McCrery III||Rep.||LA||House||$2000|
|Charlie Melancon Jr.||Dem.||LA||House||$1000|
|E. Benjamin Nelson||Dem.||NE||Senate||$1000|
|Solomon P. Ortiz||Dem.||TX||House||$1000|
|Richard J. Santorum||Rep.||PA||Senate||$2500|
|Olympia J. Snowe||Rep.||ME||Senate||$1000|
|James Matthew Talent||Rep.||OK||House||$2000|
|John William Warner||Rep.||VA||Senate||$1000|
|Roger F. Wicker||Rep.||MI||House||$1000|
|Heather A. Wilson||Rep.||NM||House||$1000|
*When negative contributions were listed, the money was subtracted out to get net contributions for the time period in question.
As you can see, Halliburton Company PAC has a particular fondness for Republicans and Texas Democrats.
During the same time period, the National Republican Congressional Committee received $6500 from Halliburton Co PAC. The National Republican Senatorial Committee received $2500.
Time constraints have kept me from responding to this as quickly as I would like, but I think it is still important to comment on a bigoted ad from the Lieberman Senate Campaign. Queerty.com has extensive coverage of the issue, including screen shots and video.
The technique used in the ad was to make Lieberman's opponent, Ned Lamont, look subservient and dependent on former Connecticut Governor Lowell Weicker by putting a pink shirt on his cartoon caricature and giving the Lamont cartoon a high pitched voice. Attacking men by associating female and queer traits with them is reprehensible. It is a personal insult to all queers and to all women.
There is an element of irony. Women like Cindy Sheehan and queers like Harvey Milk have shown more courage and independence than Lieberman is capable of doing.
Lieberman's defenders might point out the Champaign Fund's 100% rating for the incumbent on lgbt issues. However, two terribly important votes on lgbt issues show that such a rating is either outdated or inaccurate. Lieberman cast a viciously homophobic, sexist, and racist vote in favor of confirming John Roberts to the Supreme Court. Joe-mentum cast an equally homophobic, sexist, and racist vote on Alito filibuster, the only Alito vote that affected the outcome of his nomination.
It is no secret that Alito and Roberts have devoted their adult lives to attacking all civil rights and to subverting and undermining the U.S. Constitution. Lieberman didn't just betray the queer community with those votes, he violated his oath of office to uphold and defend the Constitution.
Hopefully, the HRC will put aside the pressure of rich, right-wing donors who love Ann Coulter's endorsee, Joseph Lieberman, and endorse Ned Lamont who is better on queer issues.
The following is an email I sent out to express my frustration about The Al Franken Show's lack of proper coverage of liberal views on trade and Bush's war in Iraq.
On two major issues, liberal perspectives are being ignored.
Your panel discussion on trade was interesting, but why not have a liberal on it? The liberal position on trade is to repeal NAFTA, withdraw from the World Trade Organization, and put limits on corporate policies that pit workers against each other worldwide.
Even more strange was that you and all your guests acted as if "free trade" agreements relieve poverty in the developing world. That view has been rejected in the experiences and election results throughout most of Latin America, where democracy is most prevalent in the developing countries. In fact, the Zapatista revolt was deliberately started on the day NAFTA went into effect because everyone in Mexico knew that NAFTA would devastate everyone except the wealthy elites.
As for the war, liberal views are largely ignored. In State Department polls (which have a strong pro-occupation bias), over 80% of the Iraqis want an immediate withdrawal of US troops, not the phased withdrawal you said that they want. In independent polling, the percentage of Iraqis wanting an immediate withdrawal is around 98%.
Even though most Democrats want an immediate withdrawal from Iraq, you are ignoring or belittling our point of view, often using the GOP buzz-phrase "cut and run."
The irony is that the true cowards are people without the guts to oppose the Bush regime and its corrupt cronies like Halliburton, the Religious Right, Big Oil, Bechtel, etc.
You try to have it both ways by criticizing the Bush regime while actively promoting its Iraq agenda. Saying Bush is bad is not enough, you need to support the responsible alternative to dragging on this illegal and unAmerican war: immediate withdrawal.
Lest you try to spit out GOP talking points, I will point out the following facts.
- The Civil War in Iraq has been going on ever since the invasion.
- The Bush regime's occupation of Iraq is aiding and abetting Al Queda's recruitment efforts, as the CIA and Army have admitted. (When will you report the fact that Zarqawi refused to join Al Queda in 2000, wanting to focus on his opposition to Arab regimes. He only joined Al Queda after the invasion and colonization of Iraq?)
- The Bush Regime already has lost the war in Iraq.
- US troops stuck in Iraq are powerless to go after bin Laden and senior Al Queda leadership figures in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
- The war in Iraq makes bin Laden much more popular in the Muslim world.
- Iraq already is in a state of complete chaos.
Considerable protest has targetted New School President Bob Kerry and his decision to invite John "Keating Five" McCain to speak at the university's commencement address.
The criticism has been focused on issues such as McCain's support of the illegal and unAmerican war in Iraq. McCain also has been criticized for his misogyny, homophobia, and contempt towards the legitimacy of the political views of young adults.
However, there is another important aspect of the issue that has largely been overlooked. The decision by Kerry to invite McCain to speak at commencement shows a lack of concern about ethical education in the University.
McCain is a corrupt politician. His actions and those of the rest of the Keating Five cost people their retirement savings and who helped his corporate cronies carry forward schemes that cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars in the Savings and Loan Bailout. Universities should invite commencement speakers of the highest ethical standards, not sleaze like John "Keating Five" McCain.
A university is not just supposed to provide rote memorization and a degree that helps with future career and income. Part of a university's responsibility is to teach ethical behavior. One of the most influential ways of educating people is by example. What a terrible example Bob Kerry has provided in John “Keating Five” McCain.
Wikipedia has a lengthy article on the movement to impeach Bush. This provides an excellent background and provides evidence to the extent of the movement's support. The crimes of the Bush regime are starting to catch up with them.
San Francisco's Board of Supervisors passed an impeachment resolution a couple of months ago. A resolution has been proposed for the California Legislature. Similar proposals are on the table for Illinois and Vermont.
Several Vermont towns have passed Impeachment Resolutions. The most interesting part of this is that they were passed in town meetings, showing that considered, direct democracy often works better than representative democracy.
The Green Party of the US has taken a particularly thoughtful approach, calling for the impeachment of both Bush and Cheney. Cheney is at least as guilty of Bush, and having him follow Bush in the White House would solve nothing.
Veterans for Peace's early support for impeachment played a vital role, and they have some excellent arguments for impeachment. (PDF)
There now are pro-impeachment House and Senate Candidates. Here are some examples:
Jean Hay Bright - Maine Senate
Jeeni Criscenzo - CA-49
Chris Owens - NY-11
Tony Trupiano - MI-11
The impeachment movement has an enormous online component.
ImpeachPac.org is the most comprehensive. It is worth going through the site for all the resources.
AfterDowningStreet.org is hosting Public Service Announcements for impeachment and have instructions people can use to try to get them on the radio. Some of the people making the announcements include Cindy Sheehan, Ed Asner, Howard Zinn, and Noam Chomsky.
www.impeachbush.org was one of the first impeachment sites. As often is the case, the left takes the lead on issues that the rest of the country is not ready to acknowledge yet.
Another impeachment Web Site
There's an impeachment blog.
Michael Moore is hosting impeachment resolution language on his web site for states, city councils, and political party committees.
There also are online impeachment petitions.
Veterans for Peace
The Petition Site
It is so frustrating that 4 out of 7 Democrats voted to confirm Michael Hayden, an Air Force General, to run the CIA. It was sadly typical of a party sadly lacking in integrity and backbone.
There were serious concerns about putting a general in charge of the CIA, a civilian intelligence agency. However, far more important was that fact that Hayden has been in charge of the NSA while it has illegally spied on Americans, illegal spying that Hayden has not only defended, but bragged about.
All of the Republicans on the committee voted to confirm Hayden. They should be ashamed of themselves. But, four Democrats, Levin (MI), Feinstein (CA), Mikulski (MD), and Rockefeller (WV), joined in betraying our nation's freedoms and the rule of law.
The three Democrats on the panel who voted against the nomination were Evan Bayh (IN), Russell Feingold (WI) and Ron Wyden (OR). They certainly deserve credit for doing so, but why only three? Democrats should be leading a fillibuster against Hayden, not sucking up to him.
Some people say we really need a second political party. At times like these, it isn't difficult to identify with that point of view.
The following advertisers placed half-page or larger ads in Saturday's (5/20/06) New York Post, Rupert Murdoch's fascist propaganda rag.
p.14: Sprint (full page)
p.29: Warner Brothers Pictures (half page)
p.45: Star Toyota (half page)
p.47: Used Car Mega Center (half page)
p.49: Able Ford (half page)
p.49: Victory Toyota (half page)
p.51: Hempstead Mitsubishi (full page)
My original intent of posting this was to shame advertisers, which still is perfectly valid. However, I cannot help but notice how few large ads were sold. This lends credibility to claims by the New York Daily News that the Post loses a lot of money.
OK, "Net Neutrality" has to be the most boring catch phrase since the dawn of political slogans. The geeks who invented this term think in terms of Network Administration.
Until now, the Internet has worked so that you get to go to any web site, and your ISP will accept the data you download the same way, regardless of who the data comes from. This is called "Net Neutrality," meaning that your ISP is neutral in terms of where on the Internet the data comes from.
Unfortunately, the phone and cable companies have been doing a good job lobbying Congress and the FCC to get rid of this, while pro-Internet lobbyists are trying to get it put back into effect. The broadband providers have two goals with this.
1) They want to charge premium prices to data providers, even though all the costs already are covered in your monthly service charge.
2) Some cable providers are owned by Time Warner, a leading media conglomerate. Other broadband providers would like to make deals with other media conglomerates. In both cases, the idea is to push people away from content that they don't control.
If you want to go to WBAI's web site, you eventually will get slower access or none at all. (Substitute your favorite non-profit web site for WBAI.) Listener funded radio can't afford to pay for faster access, even if the cable and phone companies would be willing to allow access to a media outlet that often criticizes them and other corporate interests.
In this faux Internet world, most broadband customers would have access to a limited number of viewpoints in a manner similar to that of cable TV. That mean, it would be harder to keep up with news and views from:
- Atheists and Humanists
Some of the activists trying to defend the Internet experience for Americans are referring to it as "Save the Internet." In a sense, this slogan is not overblown. Also, it's a lot more interesting than "Net Neutrality."
Pundits have bemoaned the increased divisions in our nation's political discourse during recent years, though usually neglecting to mention that the GOP and the Bush regime have been the driving factors behind it. Yet, there is another way that the Bush regime has damaged the nature of American political debate: the increasing religiosity.
Religion should be a private matter. Religious considerations have no legitimate role to play in politics, and injecting religion into politics discriminates against atheists. Until recently, such behavior had been abandoned by the left, staying primarily in the fundamentalist right and with obnoxious Dixiecrats like Bill Clinton.
Yet, with the ascension of George W. Bush, religiosity has started to permeate political debate throughout the political spectrum. Although I admire Cindy Sheehan very much, I was dismayed to find out that she was dragging a cross around at Camp Casey II.
The Bush regime has done everything it can to use the power of the state to promote religion. In its “faith-based initiatives,” which would be more accurately referred to as hate-based initiatives, Bush and his band of religious extremists have transferred federal grants to charities that discriminate on the basis of religion. Bush has been on political jihads against the right to choose on abortion and against the civil rights of the queer community. Bush looks for every excuse to unconstitutionally declare Days of Prayer.
Even more damaging has been Bush's efforts to inject his non-existent deity into political debate. His brutal and murderous war in Iraq has been justified in Christian religious terms. This has created a backlash among liberal Christians, who think that the war is “unChristian.” This latter claim is bizarre given the murderous history of Christianity.
Too much of the debate on Iraq is couched in a Christians vs. Muslims context or in a “who would Jesus bomb?” context. Life-and-death national issues are being lowered to the level of a “my god can beat up your god” type of debate.
Air America even has a show devoted to injecting religion into politics and thereby advocating discrimination against atheists, State of Belief.
People of all political persuasions need to recognize the lunacy of believing that a supernatural being is taking their side in political debates. We need only to look at Afghanistan under the Taliban to see the risks involved in mixing religion and politics.
Every nation that has expanded its economy since the industrial revolution has done so using protectionism. This is especially true of the US and Japan in the past and equally applies to China's present situation, which is booming due to protectionist practices.
Corporate interests despise protectionism because it interferes with their efforts to pit workers in different countries against each other, lowering wages and benefits for all workers in the process.
Here in the US, thoughtful observers realize that living standards for the overwhelming majority of Americans continued to improve as long as our country practiced protectionism.
Ever since our government started to abandon protectionism in the 60s and 70s, living standards for all but the wealthy few have gone down. This is hardly surprising because replacing protectionism had its intended effect, making it easier for corporations to export jobs, lower wages, cut benefits, attack unions, ravage the environment, and reduce worker and consumer safety.
The term "free trade" is a misnomer. A more accurate term would be "corporate-controlled trade." Corporate-controlled trade limits the freedom of workers, environmentalists, and consumers to participate in a democratic society and to have any say over their lives.
Support for corporate-controlled trade might be rational for extremely wealthy people who think they can shield themselves from the instability caused by the poverty, debt, war, and desperation that corporate-controlled trade generates. For everyone else, support of corporate-controlled trade is absolutely foolish. Trade barriers protect the vast majority of people on both sides of borders. Unfortunately, those people do not own media outlets and cannot afford major donations to economics departments at universities.
David Broder's column on the Dubai ports deal includes a common mistake in the media, attributing some of the opposition to the deal to “nativism.”
However, nativism is based on resentment against immigrants and a notion that people who arrived in this country first are somehow better than the people who got here later.
This really has nothing to do with the opposition to the ports deal. One might be able to claim that some of the opposition to the deal is based on religious, ethnic, or racial prejudice, but nativism is unrelated to the very nature of the controversy, which has nothing to do with immigration.
However, there also are plenty of legitimate reasons to be opposed to the ports deal which have nothing to do with prejudice.
The United Arab Emirates, which includes Dubai, has been very friendly to terrorists, despite the claims to the contrary by the Bush regime.
- The UAE was one of only three countries to recognize the Taliban's government, which included most of Afghanistan. The others, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, have been quite friendly to terrorist causes as well.
- Two of the 911 hijackers were from the UAE.
- Terrorist financiers, among other financial criminals, commonly operate out of Dubai and the rest of the UAE.
- The UAE's royal family vacationed with Osama bin Laden and maintained friendly ties to Al Queda, at least until the 911 attacks. When President Clinton asked them to leave the vacation area so that the US could bomb bin Laden, the UAE royal family refused. The UAE claims that the ties have been cut, but we are expected to rely on their word in the matter.
Then, there also is the problem of the growing fanaticism among Muslims. The literally insane reaction by many Muslims to a few cartoons in a Danish newspaper raises a perfectly legitimate question:
How do we keep a bunch of those nutcases from becoming employees of the company that would be running US ports?
It is true that many Muslims reject the lunacy, but ports are so vital to our national security that we cannot have significant numbers of people working in our ports with the same mentality as the terrorists who have made bomb threats, staged and participated in riots, launched military operations against embassies, and shot a man working in Russia merely for being from Denmark.
It would be highly irrational and irresponsible for anyone to suggest that we should compromise the security of our ports under these circumstances. But, that is hardly the only problem with the ports deal. It is in our economic interest to ban foreign ownership of our ports and to restrict foreign ownership of other resources and enterprises. With foreign ownership, the profits of these enterprises are exported abroad, hurting our economy. Level-headed analysis of our economic well-being should overshadow right-wing economic ideology just as level-headed analysis of our security interests should overshadow the ideology of corporate-controlled trade.
One current talking point in the corporate media's coverage of the situation in Iraq talks about Iraq supposedly being near civil war.
Report finds Iraq teetering toward civil war (U.S. News and World Report)
Civil War Looms With 66 Killed in Baghdad (ABC)
More attacks take Iraq to brink of Sunni, Shiite holy civil war (The Tennessean)
Similar headlines and statements have claimed that Iraq is on the verge of chaos. Of course, in the real world, rather than GOP/corporate Spinland, a civil war has been going on in Iraq ever since the Bush regime's invasion. The Bush regime's bungling has forced our troops to fight on the side of Iranian-aligned Shi'ite religious extremists, who are doing more than their share of killing as well.
The situation has been one of worsening chaos since the occupation began, bringing a firestorm of undeterred looting. Even before the Shi'ite mosque was blown up, Iraq was so dangerous that most reporters remaining in Iraq are under orders from their employers to stay in or near their hotels. Electricity is a fleeting thing. In addition to the tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians being killed by the Bush regime, countless others are being slaughtered by other Iraqis.
Finding humor in the absurd, even surreal, headlines may be gallows humor, but one cannot help but laugh at how hard the corporate media tries to manipulate the gullible.
While the pundits and public debate the merits of keeping the detention centers at Guantanamo Bay open, no such debate is taking place in the Bush regime. Why?
You don't have to dig far to find out why. Last year, Halliburton received another construction contract for work on yet another prison facility there. This $30 million contract was not the first for a company that was Dick Cheney's former employer and where Cheney continues to have incredibly valuable stock options in the company. It is extremely unlikely that this will be the last Halliburton contract at Gitmo.
Throughout the War on Terror, protecting the country has been of little or no concern to the Bush regime, which is far more interested in justifying bilking the taxpayers than fighting terrorism. If Bush cronies could make money by handing bombs to bin Laden, the Bush regime would do everything possible to facilitate the transaction.
People for the American Way has started an online campaign calling for a Special Prosecutor to investigate the Bush Administration's domestic spying program.
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' public statements have made clear that he is unwilling or unable to conduct the independent, objective, criminal investigation that is needed to resolve the legal issues involving warrantless NSA spying. Gonzales' efforts to spin the massive spying on Americans eliminate any credibility he would have to address the issue.
A special prosecutor is desperately needed to independently investigate the Bush Regime's domestic spying activities, bring criminal charges, and make sure that nobody is above the law.
When were the local police informed?
Was a police report filed?
If so, will that police report be made public?
Have the Secret Service agents present at the time been deposed?
Will those Secret Service agents be deposed later?
Was the shooting victim wearing the bright orange clothing hunters usually wear?
The latest news about Dick Cheney's alleged hunting accident raises some serious questions.
Why was there a one-day delay between the time of the shooting and the reports of it in the media?
Has Dick Cheney been tested to find out if he was under the influence of alcohol, prescription drugs, or illegal drugs at the time of the shooting?
Has there been a medical exam to determine if Cheney is suffering from Alzheimer's or some other kind of senile dementia, which might have contributed to or caused the shooting?
Were there any personal disagreements or hostilities that Cheney might have harbored towards the man he shot, hostilities which the man who was shot had no knowledge of?
Would an ordinary person have been arrested under the same circumstances?
Will Cheney be placed under arrest?
Will the corporate media ask any of these questions, or will they assume their typical role as propagandists for the GOP?
Much has been made of the twelve famous cartoons mocking Islam and its founder, Mohammad. However, there is a thirteenth cartoon which deserves considerable attention.
It appeared in the satirical French publication, Charlie-Hebdo, along with the twelve more famous cartoons.
View the Cartoons
The cartoon, at the upper left of the gallery, shows a saddened and angry Mohammad saying, "C'est dur d'être aimé par des cons" ( It's tough to be loved by morons). This cartoon deserves far more attention than the original ones that have caused the wave of anger, protest, and terrorism.
I wonder how many of the Muslim fundamentalists have realized that their wave of hysteria has resulted in millions of people seeing cartoons that otherwise would have been unknown to all but a few readers of an obscure Danish publication.
Ayaan Hirsi, a Somali-Dutch member of Holland's parliament, has backed the decision of Jyllands Posten to publish the cartoons which have depicted the founder of Islam in an unfavorable light and the decisions of other papers to republish them.
Today the open society is challenged by Islamism.
Note: I think the BBC could have done a better job of translating the quote.
Ms. Hirsi describes herself as a "dissident of Islam." She has praised some of Mohammad's teachings, while condemning the founder of Islam's decree that gays and apostates should be killed.
Even the commentary of Ahmed M. Rehab, director of communications for the Council on American-Islamic Relations-Chicago, offers some hope. Although the author does not adequately defend the free speech rights of the publishers, there is a recognition that the response is inappropriate.
Muslims would do well to consider angry and destructive mobs as a personal insult to the Prophet, who preached that "the best amongst you are those who can reign themselves in when angered."
One can only hope that the feeding frenzy of religious extremism will subside.