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YouTube Debate: Biden Lies About Iraq War Three Times

Posted by libhom Tuesday, July 24, 2007 5 comments

Part I Transcirpt

The first part of the YouTube debate among Democratic presidential contenders focussed on the Iraq War. Senator Joe Biden, whose main claim to fame is a plagiarism scandal, certainly lived down to the lowest expectations during his performance on the issue of the Iraq war.

BIDEN: Anderson, you've been there. You know we can't just pull out now. Let's get something straight. It's time to start to tell the truth. The truth of the matter is: If we started today, it would take one year, one year to get 160,000 troops physically out of Iraq, logistically.

This is laughable. It literally took a couple of weeks to occupy Iraq. The notion that it would take our troops a year to get out goes beyond being merely silly. Biden's lie insults the intelligence of anyone with an IQ over 60.
BIDEN: There's not one person in here that can say we're going to eliminate all troops...
... unless you're going to eliminate every physical person who's an American in Iraq.

Kucinich is a person, and a presidential candidate. Biden isn't just lying about the war, he's lying about the position of another candidate here. He also is showing his incapacity to think rationally. Does any sane person really believe that US aid workers will be unwelcome in Iraq once the occupation is over? Even Arab and Muslim American aid workers?
BIDEN: Number one, there is not a single military man in this audience who will tell this senator he can get those troops out in six months if the order goes today.

The only way this could possibly be true is if there were no military men in the audience. (Also notice that he acts like there are no women in the military.) Biden isn't just lying. He is insulting our military. Any even remotely competent military could succeed in that mission much sooner than in six months. Biden is accusing the US military of being the most incompetent military in the history of this Earth.

Biden is basically a bought politician who will say or do anything to keep his corporate and wealthy donors happy, even if it means killing thousands more of our troops and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. If he runs for reelection to the Senate, he definitely deserves a primary challenge.

Conservative Democrats may want impeachment "off the table," but patriotic Americans do not. It is important to let the DCCC know that failure to impeach Bush and Cheney will hurt Democratic candidates nationwide.

Contact the DCCC

Sheehan, Sexism, and the DailyKos

Posted by libhom Sunday, July 22, 2007 5 comments

I usually try to ignore the DailyKos, realizing that claims in the corporate media that it is a liberal or left blog are laughable. It is a forum for highly partisan, conservative and centrist Democrats. It really isn't much of a place for liberals like me or for people like myself who are not blindly partisan.

However, I had read about how many people there had trashed Cindy Sheehan when she tried to hold pro-war Democrats to the same standards as pro-war Republicans. Now, she is considering an independent run against Nancy Pelosi, if Pelosi does not live up to her responsibility to uphold and defend the constitution by starting impeachment hearings against Bush and Cheney.

I wanted to check out the responses. When someone challenges a pro-war Democrat, the Kos community tends to be hostile. Some have been admirable, most have been hostile, but others have been disturbing.

Rico had an excellent diary supporting Sheehan, but one of the comments who disagreed with him showed a typical bit of male-supremacist ideology when it dismisses female political views and activities as being all emotional.

And it's insulting to most of us to hold supporting Cindy's run for congress as a litmus test of the sincerity and intensity of our desire to end the war or even a remte clue to what any of us has laid on the line. In fact, I ssuspect most of us here don't think of Cindy as a traitor or anything remotely like that -- there are always a few extremists -- but rather an invaluable contributor who simply is letting her emotions rather than her brain lead her this time and won't accomplish anything useful in getting us closer to ending the war by this run.

Another commenter went directly to attacking her as a woman.
The more attention we give her the more she thrives in her lunacy. She's nothing more than an attention whore now, and that's sad. People should just ignore her, and she just might eventually go away and retire like she said she would.

Another DailyKos diarist posed a question as to whether Sheehan would be banned. A commenter went to the old “women just want attention” tactic.
I think 'sideshow' is an accurate description of Cindy's diary. As much as I admire her actions in standing up against the war and speaking her very powerful truth, I find her recent actions to be very passive-aggressive and attention-seeking.

Another Diarist posted on whether or not Sheehan can address local San Francisco issues. This diary posting was amusing, since most of the issues that were listed are dealt with by local government, not by Congress. Some of the commenters' statements were not so amusing.

A woman who does not follow the party line must be stupid or overly “emotional.”
Ms Sheehan never impressed me as being terribly bright. I may be wrong, it's probably elitist - but there it is.

We're where we are now because we weren't "elitist" enough to elect an intelligent President (among his many other faults).

Sheehan may or may not be a smart woman, but what bothers me is her 200-proof emotional response to every issue, every problem, every situation. She shoots off her mouth with all the accuracy of Dick Cheney in a quail field.

When men get involved in political actions, you don't read as much psuedo-psychoanalysis.

Of course, the majority of the people on the DailyKos site did not spew misogynist rhetoric. Most of them were just partisan hacks who will blindly follow any Democrat, no matter how awful. Pelosi's support of devastating corporate-controlled trade deals, her de facto and uncompromising pro-war stance, and Pelosi's fanatical opposition to impeachment mean nothing to them. For most DailyKos commenters, politics is like spectator sports. You cheer for the home team. The consequences for the country get drowned out by the cheering.

However, the misogynistic tone of some of the commenters on DailyKos reflect a tendency of a vocal minority of bloggers to use gender, sexual orientation, or race as a convenient weapon to silence those who disagree with them. If DailyKos actually were the liberal blog community the corporate media says it is, that weapon would be more likely to backfire.

The comments about Sheehan making decisions based exclusively on emotion are as absurd as they are sexist. It has been obvious for months now that independent, third party, and primary challenges are essential if progressives want to counter the right-wing agendas of Phonycrats like Nancy Pelosi. Without electoral challenges from the left, most Democrats will continue to take our votes, our time, and our money for granted, while pursuing a conservative political agenda.

It Only Takes 41 Senators to Stop the Iraq War

Posted by libhom Saturday, July 21, 2007 3 comments

A filibuster of Iraq war funding by 41 Senators is enough to stop the war. This is a fact that pro-war propagandists would like us to forget. Another fact they would like us to forget is that a simple majority of the House also can block funding for the war. Either, as a separate act, is enough to bring our troops home.

We have been bombarded with claims that it takes 60 Senators to stop the occupation of Iraq. This is nonsense. Now, some pro-war Democrats are trying to say that it takes 2/3 of both the House and Senate to stop the war, because a Bush veto would have to be overridden to stop the war. This is false. A war spending bill has to pass both the House and the Senate before Bush even gets any say in the matter.

As long as Democratic and Republican leaders in the House and Senator are committed to funding the war, they are committed to prolonging the war. No amount of spin will change that.

There is constant repetition in the corporate media of the claim that John Edwards' wealth makes it hypocritical for him to make poverty an issue in his campaign. That is senseless. Their is no "hypocrisy" in wealthy people being concerned about the less fortunate.

Empathy is not hypocrisy.

Edwards is not my first choice for the Democratic nomination. He isn't as strong in his position against the Iraq war as he should be, and his healthcare plan will not help middle class and poor Americans nearly as much as single-payer. But, that does not mean that I, or anyone else, should blindly accept ridiculous spin that undermines efforts to fight poverty.

The Washington Post has been a partisan Republican rag for years or even decades, but sometimes they take it to extreme levels. One case was today's coverage of U.S. District Judge John D. Bates' dismissal of the Plame lawsuit against corrupt members of the Bush regime.

The Post omitted critical information in order to create a false air of legitimacy to the ruling. The article acknowledged that the defendants in the case revealed Ms. Plame's then-undercover identity as a CIA agent, but conveniently neglected to mention that the identity of an undercover CIA business used to monitor weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East was revealed, in addition to the identities of agents and informants who had worked with Plame while she was under cover.

This is important given the grounds that Bates used in order to dismiss the case. Bates falsely claimed that the actions of the defendants were part of their duties as government officials.

From the Washington Post article:

"The alleged means by which defendants chose to rebut Mr. Wilson's comments and attack his credibility may have been highly unsavory," Bates wrote.

"But there can be no serious dispute that the act of rebutting public criticism, such as that levied by Mr. Wilson against the Bush administration's handling of prewar foreign intelligence, by speaking with members of the press is within the scope of defendants' duties as high-level Executive Branch officials," Bates said.

This is a flat-out lie.

Bates is perfectly aware of the fact that illegally revealing the identities of CIA agents and covert operations could not ever possibly be “within the scope of defendants' duties as high-level Executive Branch officials.” Bates also knows that the purposes of the actions against Ms. Plame were not to rebut criticism, but to punish her husband and to intimidate other potential whistle-blowers in the government.

Why did Bates lie?

The Post omitted essential facts which make the reasons painfully obvious. The facts are not difficult to find. Two are easily found in Bates' official bio, which I readily obtained running a single Google search.
Judge Bates was appointed United States District Judge in December 2001.

He was appointed by the same administration whose highest political operatives were defendants in the lawsuit.

Judge Bates was on detail as Deputy Independent Counsel for the Whitewater investigation from 1995 to mid-1997.

Anyone involved with Ken Starr's partisan hackery is a GOP crony of the worst kind, putting partisan politics ahead of the rule of law.

Another damning fact can be found by doing just a bit more Googling.

Bates' illegally dimissed a lawsuit by the General Accounting Office to get access to records from Dick Cheney's illegal secret meetings with energy company donors on energy policy. Bates used false jurisdictional claims in that case which were somewhat similar to the false jurisdictional claims made in the Plame case.

The Post ignored this past breach of judicial trust by Bates' in pursuit of a partisan, GOP agenda, just as it ignored Bates' conflict of interest and his involvement with the highly disreputable Ken Starr. Readers of the article were led to believe that this was a perfectly normal ruling by a disinterested jurist.

Bates' actions have seriously undermined the credibility of the federal judiciary. The Post long ago sacrificed any sliver of credibility it had on the altar of partisan, Republican politics.

Kucinich Supports Best Healthcare Plan

Posted by libhom Wednesday, July 18, 2007 1 comments

Here is an excellent video on Kucinich's stand on healthcare. The other candidates should follow his lead.

Congress is pandering to the Religious Right by trying to increase funding for “abstinence only” scams, which distort sex education and have the effect of promoting the spread of HIV and promoting teen pregnancies. Funding for these efforts by militant, Christian fundamentalists should be cut off, not expanded.

From an American Humanist Association Action Alert email:

Send a letter to your Representative telling her or him to vote no on a bill that would actually increase funding for abstinence-only sexuality education programs in public schools. Despite the fact that these programs are ineffective, medically inaccurate and often theologically based, the House Appropriations Committee voted last week to continue them and even boost their funding! This matter is expected to reach House floor this week: Wednesday July 18 or Thursday July 19.

So the time to act is now!

Let's clear the way for a real solution. The best way to protect kids from engaging in risky sexual behavior is to provide a comprehensive and medically accurate program that enables them to make smart decisions.

Contact Your Representatives!

Wikipedia can be quite useful as a resource when it comes to relatively non-controversial subjects such as gardening. However, their editing processes and policies do tend to have a corporate slant, though it does not seem to be intentional. Corporations have so much power over national and international culture that much of actual corporate bias and influence can seem as natural as a mountain stream.

I got a rather blatant example of this recently. A couple of months ago, I had seen a percussion performance along with the film, Zeitgeist the Movie, in a small theater in Manhattan.

The film addresses its creators' views of the pagan origins of Christianity, focusing largely on connections between deities, planetary movements, and astrological charts. The film also addresses the makers' questioning of the official explanation of the 911 attacks. Then, the film addresses their explanation as to why central bank policies tend to favor bankers over the general public.

The films overarching frame is that we are fed a religious and cultural world view, a Zeitgeist, which blinds us to what is being done to ourselves and our society. The film gets some of its details wrong, but it raises important issues and questions that are largely taboo in our society. Atheists will probably find some of its New Age ideology a bit silly at times, but the extensive research and its questioning narrative make it worth the time to see it. Some films are more important for the questions they raise than the answers they attempt to provide.

Someone who saw the film decided to do a Wikipedia article on it. The discussion on the deletion of that article says a lot about Wikipedia and its sometimes problematic nature.

The editors who argued successfully to delete the article on Zeitgeist the Movie based their view on Wikipedia's notability guidelines for films. The introduction is long, but it needs to be seen in its entirety to understand why Zeitgeist did not meet the criteria.

General Principles

As with all subjects, a film should satisfy the general notability guideline:

The general guideline for notability shared by most of the subject-specific notability guidelines and Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not, is that:

A topic is presumed to be notable if it has received significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the subject.

This guideline includes published works such as books, television documentaries, full-length featured newspaper articles from large circulation newspapers, full-length magazine reviews and criticism excluding the following:

* Media reprints of press releases, trailers, and advertising for the film.[1]
* Trivial coverage, such as newspaper listings of screening times and venues, "capsule reviews," plot summaries without critical commentary, or listings in comprehensive film guides such as "Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide," "Time Out Film Guide," or the Internet Movie Database[2]

The following are attributes that generally indicate, when supported with attribution in reliable sources, that the required sources are likely to exist:

1. The film is widely distributed and has received full length reviews by two or more nationally known critics.
2. The film is historically notable, as evidenced by one or more of the following:
* Publication of at least two non-trivial articles, at least five years after the film's initial release.
* The film was deemed notable by a broad survey of film critics, academics, or movie professionals, when such a poll was conducted at least five years after the film's release.[3]
* The film was given a commercial re-release, or screened in a festival, at least five years after initial release.
* The film was featured as part of a documentary, program, or retrospective on the history of cinema.
3. The film has received a major award for excellence in some aspect of filmmaking.[4]
4. The film was selected for preservation in a national archive.[5]
5.The film is "taught" as a subject at an accredited university or college with a notable film program.

These guidelines rely on directly on corporate sources, government sources, and sources which get funding from corporations and/or governments. Can you imagine how difficult a film to qualify which challenges economic and political power and practices in such basic ways? The guideline being used by Wikipedia has an inherent bias in favor of information that corporate interests and the governments they influence find acceptable.

The mere existence and marketing of a film that so strongly challenges the ideologies behind Christian supremacy and corporate oligarchy is notable in and of itself, regardless of how effectively corporate interests suppress it.

Wikipedia bases part of the reliability of its articles on what it calls a “Neutral point of view (NPOV).” Even in the best of situations, such a thing as a "neutral point of view" simply does not exist. Any time an individual human or a group of humans writes something in prose form, that writing reflects the biases and values of the authors.

However, the problem is not just the nature of NPOV. The general definition that Wikipedia uses for NPOV has a corporate bias as well, though again apparently unintentional.
Articles and other encyclopedic content must be written from a neutral point of view (NPOV), representing fairly and without bias all significant views (that have been published by reliable sources). For guidance on how to make an article conform to the neutral point of view, see the NPOV tutorial; For examples and explanations that illustrate key aspects of this policy, see Wikipedia:Neutral point of view/FAQ.

What is considered “significant views” is filtered through dominant cultural views and corporate media sources. What are considered “reliable sources” are filtered in a corporate and government fashion as well. Keep in mind that university research is primarily dependent upon corporate and government funding. It is equally important to remember that the right-wing, corporate bias of “mainstream newspapers” is legendary.
In general, the most reliable sources are peer-reviewed journals and books published in university presses; university-level textbooks; magazines, journals, and books published by respected publishing houses; and mainstream newspapers. As a rule of thumb, the greater the degree of scrutiny involved in checking facts, analyzing legal issues, and scrutinizing the evidence and arguments of a particular work, the more reliable it is.

When one keeps a sense of perspective, the problems with the way that Wikipedia does sourcing is more important than the particular film that brought up the issues. The Wiki format is excellent for the presentation of information provided by a voluntary shared community. However, it would be worthwhile for people who are concerned with corporate influence and power over access to information to come up with an alternative to Wikipedia that takes some of the power over information away from established, and quite often unreliable sources.

The Results of a Silly Web Quiz

Posted by libhom Wednesday, July 11, 2007 3 comments

Yes, it's silly, but it is entertaining.

How to Win a Fight With a Conservative is the ultimate survival guide for political arguments

My Liberal Identity:

You are a Reality-Based Intellectualist, also known as the liberal elite. You are a proud member of what’s known as the reality-based community, where science, reason, and non-Jesus-based thought reign supreme.

Let's All Laugh at Tucker Carlson

Posted by libhom Tuesday, July 10, 2007 2 comments

Last Friday, I saw some pretty funny stuff on the close captioning at my gym, thanks to good old Tucker Carlson, one of the true intellectual giants of the right. He was trying to do corporatist spin in favor of Wal-Mart, and ended up sounding foolish. I had to wait until today to get the transcript, but it was more than worth the wait.

Here is the setup, which has some unintentional humor of its own:

CARLSON: Can we just—I don‘t—Since we‘re talking about the destruction of western civilization, I want to touch briefly on the Edwards for president campaign, which has had something of a shakeup.

MAY: Great segue.

CARLSON: It is great segue. You know in your heart it is true. I like John Edwards and I feel sorry for him, never more than now.

WOLFFE: He is a man with great hair.

But, it gets better:
CARLSON: Thank you. In the final days of his campaign, he has brought in really his base. That is kind of fervid haters online. He has brought in two guys from the anti-Wal-Mart effort, wake-up Wal-Mart. Now, let me ask a macro question here. Wal-Mart is one of the biggest employers in the United States. It‘s the biggest store in the world. Why hate Wal-Mart? It almost seems like Wal-Mart is hated because it‘s a symbol of America. I guess I don‘t get that.

I laughed for so long after seeing this and again after reading it. The whole quote is a hoot. The part claiming Wal-Mart as “a symbol of America” is hysterical on its face, but gets even more loopy when one remembers that Wal-Mart mostly sells foreign goods. Oops!

“WOLFFE,” the guy doing the corporate media's talking point on John Edwards' hair, is identified as “Newsweek‘s Senior White House Correspondent Richard Wolffe.” Wolffe sucks up to Wal-Mart as well, but not in as amusing of a fashion.
WOLFFE: It‘s a pure play for the labor vote, which is just about the only piece of his constituency that he has left. But what the Clintons understood, not just because they were from Arkansas, was that if you‘re going to go for those rural, traditionally Democratic communities, which John Edwards previously was going for, you don‘t just take the labor side of it. They love Wal-Mart because of the cheap prices.

The part about rural people loving Wal-Mart because of the prices sounds almost like a commercial for the ultra-corporation. However, it is insulting and inaccurate. Rural people shop at Wal-Mart in part because that company drove so many of its competitors out of business by using monopolistic practices. Many rural people (and other people) are stuck with shopping at Wal-Mart because they cannot afford to shop at other stores.

Some of the ways that Wal-Mart contributes to keeping people too poor to shop elsewhere:

1) Driving small businesses out of business.
2) Keeping its employees' wages horribly low. This not only limits their shopping options, it also hinders economic development in the communities surrounding Wal-Marts.
3) Exporting US manufacturing jobs abroad.

This incident of shameless butt-kissing of Wal-Mart (They were basically panhandling Wal-Mart to advertise in Newsweek and on Tucker's show.) demonstrates that media bias isn't just due to concentration of ownership, though that certainly is a serious issue. Advertiser pressure also leads networks to inundate us with right-wing, corporate propaganda in the guise of news.

Wolffe, like most Wal-Mart defenders, is seriously awful. But, at least silly, little Tucker provides us with some comic relief.

Faux News is in trouble for its lies on the environment form the Sierra Club, MoveOn.org, and Robert Greenwald of Brave New Films. Faux News is extremely homophobic as well.

There is a petition asking Home Depot to stop running ads on that network.

Sign the Petition

See the video from Brave New Films:

A Preemptive Endorsement of Cindy Sheehan

Posted by libhom Sunday, July 08, 2007 3 comments

While preemptive wars are a bad thing, there is nothing wrong with making a political endorsement in advance.

That is exactly what I intend to do. I am endorsing Cindy Sheehan if she decides to go ahead with a primary challenge she is considering against Nancy Pelosi.

Pelosi has been acting like an unpaid political advertisement for the Green Party for some time now. She resorted to making racists comments in an attack on Hugo Chavez. The attack itself was desperate pandering to an unelected and unAmerican Bush regime.

Pelosi has been more interested in short-term political laziness than her Oath of Office to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America by insisting that impeachment is “off the table.” She has shown her contempt for our troops and the results of the 2006 elections by insisting that ending funding for the Iraq War is “off the table.”

Pelosi regularly insults the intelligence of Democrats by saying that she is opposing the war while doing everything in her power to keep funding it. She even lies and says that it takes 60 votes in the Senate to stop the war. Here are two ways to stop the war that don't involve 60 senate votes;

1) A simple majority of House members vote against war funding appropriations.
2) 41 Senators filibuster war funding.

Either, by itself, is sufficient to stop the war.

Pelosi has a nasty history in San Francisco politics. She originally got her house seat by queer-baiting openly gay frontrunner, Supervisor Harry Britt. She also would not have won without the support of the now-defunct Waxman/Berman/Feinstein political machine, which was determined to keep any openly gay or lesbian people elected to congress from California.

It's too bad Harry Reid is not up for reelection in 2008. He deserves a primary challenge at least as much as Pelosi does.

MoveOn.org Almost Supports Impeaching Cheney

Posted by libhom Saturday, July 07, 2007 1 comments

MoveOn.org has been pretty wimpy about impeaching Bush and Cheney, but now they have taken a step in the correct direction. Here is the text of their new petition:

"Congress must force Vice President Cheney to respond to its subpoenas. If he continues to obstruct justice and disregard the rule of law, Congress has no choice but to begin impeachment proceedings against him."

Of course, Dick Cheney defrauded Congress and the public in order to bring us into a war in Iraq which violates international law. Impeachment should start immediately. But, at least MoveOn.org is moving towards where they should be.

Now, if only they would demand that Congress halt all funding for the US/Iraq war.

Link to Petition

New Short Film Supporting Cheney Impeachment

Posted by libhom Friday, July 06, 2007 0 comments

Brave New Films has a new short supporting impeaching the man who is occupying the Vice President's office.



You can learn more about the film and find ways to support impeaching Cheney at ImpeachCheney.org.

Robert Greenwald's Brave New Films is the outfit behind full length documentaries such as “Iraq for Sale” and “Outfoxed.”

3,000 March for Impeachment in Maine

Posted by libhom Wednesday, July 04, 2007 2 comments

This is from a recent Democrats.com email on the July 1 march in Kennebunkport, Maine:

Yesterday in Kennebunkport, Maine, 3,000 citizens marched for impeachment through the narrow streets of this little coastal town and delivered a message to Bush and to the international media that Americans are demanding impeachment. Video, photos, news reports, and information on the August 25th march planned for Kennebunkport are here: http://afterdowningstreet.org/me

The link takes you to in-depth coverage of the effort in Maine to support impeachment and to video from speeches at the rally.

This important story received very little coverage from the same corporate media that buries or censors coverage the issue of impeaching Bush and Cheney, the most important issue facing the nation. This is an extreme example of the right-wing bias that permeates the corporate media.

Video of protesters challenging unconstitutional "free speech" zones:


More video from the protest:

Democrats.com also has actions you can take to support impeachment.
Call your Representative to impeach Cheney and Bush:
1 (800) 828 - 0498
1 (800) 459 - 1887
1 (800) 614 - 2803
1 (866) 340 - 9281
1 (866) 338 - 1015
1 (877) 851 - 6437

Email your Representatives to Impeach Cheney: http://www.democrats.com/peoplesemailnetwork/73

Email your Representatives to Impeach Bush:
http://www.democrats.com/peoplesemailnetwork/88

Email the House Judiciary Committee to Start Hearings on H.Res. 333, Articles of Impeachment for Vice President Cheney
http://www.democrats.com/topelosiandjudiciary

When Greens sometimes say there is no difference or no significant difference between Republicans and Democrats, they are engaging in hyperbole that undermines their case. This is unfortunate, because the Greens are bring up a serious issue: the vast similarities between conservative Democrats and the Republicans.

A good example of this can be found by noting some of the similarities between the positions of Hillary Clinton and George W. Bush, especially since Ms. Clinton often is portrayed as a “liberal” by the corporate media. Here are some instances:

Repealing NAFTA
Bush: Opposes
Clinton: Opposes

Withdrawing from the World Trade Organization
Bush: Opposes
Clinton: Opposes

The impeachment of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney
Bush: Opposes
Clinton: Opposes

Wal-Mart
Bush: Pro
Clinton: Pro and was on board of directors for six years

Single-Payer Healthcare (or any other national healthcare plan that gets HMOs and insurance companies out of the healthcare busines)
Bush: Opposes
Clinton: Opposes

Withdrawing all US troops from Iraq
Bush: Opposes
Clinton: Opposes

Repealing the Unpatriotic Act
Bush: Opposes
Clinton: Opposes

Increasing the number of H-1b visas
Bush: Supports
Clinton: Supports

Attacking Iran
Bush: Supports
Clinton: Supports

Living Wage
Bush: Opposes
Clinton: Opposes

Law Cracking Down on Personal, not Corporate Bankruptcies
Bush: Supported
Clinton: Supported

“Three Strikes” Laws
Bush: Supports
Clinton: Supports

Death Penalty
Bush: Supports
Clinton: Supports

“No Child Left Behind” Law
Bush: Supports
Clinton: Supports

Admitting that Support of Iraq War a Mistake
Bush: Refuses
Clinton: Refuses

It was amazingly easy to put together this list of important similarities between the early Democratic frontrunner and a wildly unpopular Republican who currently is occupying the White House. In today's political context, Democrats should be able to be part of an opposition party, not a watered-down version of the Republicans. Ms. Clinton having many similar positions to those of Bush is as much an indictment of our political system as it is an indictment of how awful Hillary Clinton is.

In keeping with Mayor Bloomberg's authoritarian attacks on free speech and assembly, his NYPD arrested a man for reciting the First Amendment last weekend.

No amount of campaign ads or corporate media bias will ever keep me from seeing who Bloomberg really is: a right-wing extremist who is obsessed with attacks on civil liberties and on middle class and poor people in New York.

Grow Corn in a Solidarity Garden

Posted by libhom Sunday, July 01, 2007 0 comments

Bill Boyne has an excellent commentary on the devastating effects that converting corn to ethanol production can have on the poor. The problem already is bad in Mexico, where increasing corn flower prices have led to suffering and political instability.

There also are questions as to whether corn-based ethanol production contributes to global warming. This might seem counter-intuitive at first. However, US agriculture is largely based on using fertilizers that are petroleum based or which use a lot of energy to convert Nitrogen in the atmosphere into a form that plants can use.

Currently, fertilizing and processing corn into ethanol uses almost as much fossil fuel as it saves. Brazilian cane ethanol is far more efficient, but it might lose that edge due to the expense and energy spent in being shipped overseas in fuel-guzzling tankers.
- Reuters Article: “Ethanol May Not Ease Global Warming, UN Says” 3/6/07

There is a concrete step you can take to show your support of poor people who are paying the price for ethanol to corn. If you have a yard and the the only agricultural product you are generating is grass clippings, you should convert part of that yard to a Solidarity Garden and grow corn. If enough Americans take some of the energy and land that we devote to lawns and covert it over to corn production, that will reduce price pressure on a commodity that is a major part of household budgets in Mexico.

There are other general advantages to converting some lawn real estate into food real estate. The food tastes better. Vitamins and other organic nutrients will not have had time to decompose while the crops sit on trucks and on grocery shelves.

Growing corn and other food at home fights Global Warming as well. It gets rid of shipping and the fuel costs involved. Switching over lawn grass to food production means that some of the petroleum based and the energy consuming fertilizers used to make lawns pretty ends up replacing the compounds used in large scale agribusiness.

Talking about your Solidarity Garden is a way to educate others about the problems with corn-based ethanol production. You also can use your Solidarity Garden to educate people that the Bush regime is pushing for increasing ethanol subsidies that already are over $3 billion a year, when the money would be better used to subsidize geothermal, wind, and solar power, all of which do more to fight global warming.

Besides, seeing the corn grow is fun.

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