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Incredible Blogging on Burma at Ten Percent

Posted by libhom Sunday, September 30, 2007 8 comments

Ten Percent always has been an important blog, but the current postings on Burma have taken it to a new level. By gathering information by a variety of international activist and media sources, this blog is giving readers far better coverage of what is going on than any corporate media outlet here in the US.

See for Yourself.

The Human Rights Campaign has put itself in a terrible position by previously inviting Nancy Pelosi to its 2007 National Dinner. In a previous post, I outlined Pelosi's heterosexist history and how she is trying to divide and conquer the queer community by kicking trans people out of ENDA.

It would shameful for the HRC to allow Pelosi to appear at any of their events under these circumstances. We need to unite as a community against homophobic bigots like Pelosi rather than allow her to turn us against each other.

Contact the HRC!

Heterosexist House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has a contact page in her capacity as House Speaker. You can go there and let her know that your are outraged by her effort to divide and weaken us queers politically by kicking trans people out of ENDA.

Contact That Bigot Now!

If you live in Barney Frank's district, you should let him know you are angry at him for selling ALL of us out.

Bigot Pelosi Uses Divide and Conquer Against Queers

Posted by libhom Saturday, September 29, 2007 4 comments

Having lived in the Bay Area when Nancy Pelosi originally ran for her House seat, I have unpleasant memories of how she gay-baited the initial frontrunner, openly gay Supervisor Harry Britt. The homophobic campaign tactics occurred when the queer community in San Francisco was most devastated by the impact of AIDS, and it got Pelosi into Congress.

Since then, that vicious bigot has pretended to support the lgbt community in public while doing absolutely nothing of substance for us. She has used her power as a major Democratic Party fundraiser to intimidate queer politicians into silence.

I was filled with dread when I heard that Pelosi was going to be the next House Speaker. I was hoping, irrationally, that she would be less hateful and bigoted against queers as House Speaker than she had been in the past.

My hopes were in vain.

Pelosi has engineered a scheme to divide queers and make it more difficult to get ENDA through a conference committee. She has maneuvered to eliminate the transgender community from ENDA.

Pelosi knew that all credible and honorable queer organizations have insisted that our trans sisters and brothers be included in ENDA. Pelosi knew that if she got trans inclusion removed from ENDA, it would pit trans queers against other queers. It also would pit partisan hacks against queers with integrity.

Worst of all, she did this knowing that Bush would veto ENDA in any form. This was gratuitous sabotage against our civil rights movement.

Pelosi's ultimate goals are:

  • to keep the queer community too divided to fight for our rights if Democrats get the White House and keep Congress

  • to keep the queer community in San Francisco so weak politically that they can't fight back against her and her homophobia. After all, they have all the power they need to get that bigot out of Congress if they work together.

We need to unite as a community against bigots like Nancy Pelosi.

A Friendly Nod Other Dot Connectors

Posted by libhom Friday, September 28, 2007 3 comments

I would like to say thanks for the kind words at Some Notes on Living. More importantly, the actual blog posting brings up a very important point about "connecting dots."

Many of us liberals and progressives can get so caught up in vital, individual issues that our analysis fails to include how the issues are connected. For instance, many on the left can get so justifiably upset about what is going on in Burma that they forget to follow the money trail.

The blog also has an excellent post about a dot connector whose fame is growing, Naomi Klein. Her book, The Shock Doctrine, Rise of Disaster Capitalism, connects a lot of seemingly unrelated events and entities to show how the far right has exploited natural and human created disasters in order to ram unpopular and unwise policies down the throats of people worldwide.

In a previous posting here, I mentioned an excellent example of dot connecting by Dennis Kucinich at the YouTube/CNN Democratic Presidential Debate.

Well, we have to understand the connection between global warring and global warming. Because when we start talking about wars for oil, we're essentially keeping the same approach to energy.

Since Kucinich's statement, Amy Goodman of Democracy Now has been asking a lot of questions about the connections between "global warring and global warming." Goodman has an excellent grasp of which ideas in our society are the most significant and how to confront people on all sides of issues with their implications.

The Burma Campaign UK has an extensive list of corporations supporting the brutal military dictatorship in Burma.

Here are some of the more familiar names to those of us who live here in the US.

Chevron
Daewoo International Corporation
Fodor's/Random House
Lonely Planet
Siemens
Suzuki

There was an excellent article on TomPaine.com, connecting the dots between the Bush regime, Halliburton, Chevron, and the Burmese regime.

A Fundamentalist Web Site That Really Sucks

Posted by libhom Thursday, September 27, 2007 1 comments

Jesus can't save his followers from bad web design.

(It would be an awful lot to ask of a dead guy.)

A thought along the lines of "all fundamentalist web sites suck" may be going through your head. In terms of content, you would be absolutely right. However, I'm talking about a web site whose design is like a tutorial in how not to design for the Web:

www.jesus-is-savior.com

It is listed as one of The Worst Non/Not-for-Profit Web Sites of 2007: January through June by webpagesthatsuck.com. Here are some of the many web design mistakes this goofy fundie makes.

  • The background has an irregular variety of dark and light color, making it impossible to get enough contrast for all the text to be easily readable.

  • Said background is really ugly.

  • Much of the text is too small, making it irritating for some and unreadable for some others.

  • The link color and unlinked text colors often are too similar.

  • Headings are in a variety of fonts and sizes that confuse and disorient the user rather than communicating about the purposes of the headings.

  • There are lots of colors that clash, and the colors are arranged in a way that increases the clashing.

  • Some text is double spaced. Some text is single spaced. There is no rhyme or reason to it.

  • Some links are underlined, but some are not.

  • The site uses too much centered text.

  • Centered and left-justified text are used inconsistently.

  • There are too many links on a single page. If the content was worth looking at, finding what your are looking for would be very frustrating.

  • The page abruptly changes design part way down.

  • The page is way too long.

  • Animated gifs are thrown in for bad measure.

  • A scrolling marquee was added just because it could be added.

  • Lots of the graphics are very low in quality. Some are barely readable.

The site's author also made an amusing tactical error in putting a "Say No to Psychiatry" banner link a ways down on the site. It just gives the visitor too many ideas about the author.

Also, it probably wasn't such a good idea to start a paragraph as follows:
The world has become a large insane asylum; people are crazy and confused...

Right Wing Extremist Proves Useful

Posted by libhom Wednesday, September 26, 2007 0 comments

Scott Leland has a silly blog where he spews rightist talking points. His recent headline is quite funny.

More OpenLeft unabashed election manipulation using "Google bombs"

He seems to be more worried about a "Google Bomb" than the thefts of the last two presidential elections by the GOP. The far-right mind has a very selective view of so-called "election manipulation." Gee, what a surprise.

Anyway, the dimwit linked to page on the Open Left site with the "Google Bombs" against my city's corrupt former mayor, Rudolf Giuliani.

One of the links, Firefighters Union Letter On Rudy Giuliani, is quite important and deserves to be the first thing people think of when they think of Rudy Giuliani.

I've added the link to my right-hand column and urge you to add it to your blog. It turns out that an extremist from the right-wing fringe actually proved to be useful for once.

Jena Six Protesters Are not "Outsiders"

Posted by libhom Saturday, September 22, 2007 0 comments

"Outsiders need to stay away."
- Billy Fowler, School Board Member, Jena, Louisiana

This claim about the Jena Six protesters is one I've heard other people in the South saying when criticizing the Jena Six protesters. "Outsiders" as a code word for white supremacists has a long history in the South, and that alone makes it offensive.

However, there is another reason why it is so repugnant. I am an American. That means that I am an insider in every square inch of my country. The same goes for the vast majority of the protesters who are Americans.

The claim that Americans are "outsiders" in our own country is a legacy of a treasonous Confederacy that was created to preserve the heinous institution of slavery. It goes completely against American values.

Billy Fowler should be ashamed of himself.

I went to the WBAI book sale this week. A Pacifica station that gives people access to information and views often taboo in the corporate media, WBAI is one of New York City's greatest treasures.

Their book sale certainly did not disappoint. One of the better finds was the "Regime Change Begins at Home" playing cards. You probably remember the playing cards the Bush regime created with pictures of people Big Oil and war profiteers wanted captured or killed during the early days of the Iraq War. If you followed the alternative media at the time, you should also remember that this aspect of the occupation inspired several parody card sets. The one I bought this week is quite amusing.

The description on the box is stark, apt, and funny.

A set of playing cards to help you identify the profiteers and warmongers who have seized control of America.

Spades: Department of Imperialism
Clubs: Department of Homeland Insecurity
Diamonds: Department of War Profiteering
Hearts: Department of Propaganda


Rumsfeld is the Queen of Spades. Ariel Sharon is the Two of Spades. James A. Baker III (Senior Counselor, the Carlyle Group) gets to be the Nine of Diamonds. Dick Cheney is the Ace of Clubs. Judith Miller gets her place as the Six of Hearts.

The Jokers, Joe Lieberman and Hillary Clinton, are particularly appropriate. The quote from her spokeperson is chilling.
Senator Clinton fully supports the steps the president has taken to disarm Iraq.

These days, Clinton is criticizing Bush, but she still supports the US occupation of Iraq. She says she wants to continue the war, but with fewer troops (at least when she is talking to the New York Times).

The New Press still offers the cards for sale.

The gun terrorists at the NRA (National Rifle Association) often use the catch-phrase "sport hunting" and no one calls them on this nonsense.

Those of us who have played actual sports know that hunting with guns is too one sided to be honestly called a sport. The animal has no chance of fighting back against a hunter a large distance away.

"Sport hunting" is an oxymoron used by the NRA terrorists to keep guns in the hands of murderers, rapists, muggers, organized crime, and street gangs.

The corporate media should start accurately reporting this fact rather than pander to the interests of the gun manufacturers.

Rightist bias in these two publications gets more rabid with each passing day. A really twisted example of this occurred in the Washington Post's ironically named "fact-checker" column. The column consisted of highly deceptive spin and factual errors intended to falsely claim that MoveOn.org's "Betray Us" ad was inaccurate. The Post was propagandizing for the GOP and the corporate interests that profit from the Iraq War in the guise of "fact-checking."

True income for middle class and poor Americans has been declining for years. Many Americans are up to their earlobes in debt. Why should any of us pay to get a bunch of corporate propaganda when we can get actual news over the Internet for free? How much longer will so many people be willing to pay to have their intelligence insulted?

People should stop buying these corporate propaganda rags on the newsstand. Subscriptions should be canceled with explanations as to why those two papers are not worth paying for. We the people have power over corporate interests. We just need to educate ourselves to that fact.

My One Sentence Summary of Objectivism

Posted by libhom Tuesday, September 18, 2007 3 comments

"Objectivism is a cult whose followers selflessly toil to convince the world that altruism is bad."

Feel free to get apoplectic, Randroids.


Robert Greenwald has posted this video plus text commentary on the Fox Attacks web site. They summed up the Faux News coverage of the "Betray Us" hearings as follows:

To laugh at the ridiculousness, to scream at the outrageous or to... Well fox went to new lows in their analysis of Petraeus' testimony last week. When our friends at Media Matters let us know that they had 7 to 1 analysts in favor of escalation, it was hard to believe, even for FOX! 22 minutes supporting the escalation and only 3 and half against it. They went to such great lengths, they even cut away to Ann Coulter when Democrats questioned Petraeus!

Faux News is hardly alone in pro-war bias. All of the corporate news broadcasts propagandize for the war on a consistent basis. The main difference is that Faux News beats you over the head with it, leaving any subtlety to its competitors.

The most repugnant aspect of the video to me is that Faux used fanatical homophobe and white-supremacist, Ann Coulter, supposedly as an analyst. (I've yet to see the Coultergeist actually analyze anything.) She claimed that people who don't want our troops to die for a bunch of crooked corporations and Christian religious extremists "hate our troops."

Of course, Coulter gave us some unintentional humor when she said that people who disagree with the war "want us to lose." The fact is that the Bush regime already has lost the Iraq war. It doesn't matter whether anyone wants the Bush regime to win or lose. The outcome already has been decided. Yet, it is taboo throughout the corporate media to actually acknowledge this fact.

Ian Brown and Sinead O'Connor have a new song, “Illegal Attacks,” out to oppose the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran. (The latter is going in an unofficial capacity with special ops attacks.)



Full lyrics are available at Ten Percent, which pointed out the song to me.

Americans often see butt-kissing politicians like Tony Blair and Gordon Brown and think that the British are OK with the war in Iraq. But, the British public is less inclined to pander to the Bush regime. The Iraq war has created so much understandable hostility that even the Afghanistan war is being seriously called into question.

The Afghanistan war could serve a worthwhile purpose: going after the Taliban and Al Qaeda. However, the Bush regime has understaffed the war, even with allied help, and is resorting to near random bombing in the country. Some people in that country are starting to think they would be safer under the Taliban, which is a huge indication of the failure of the Bush regime's prosecution of the war.

The Iraq War is diverting troops away from going after Al Qaeda while alienating the allies who are taking up some of the slack in Afghanistan. With the possibility of large-scale air attack on Iran looming, the Bush regime seems determined to drive a deeper wedge between us and the few allies our country still has left.

Customer Data Tracking Should Be a Felony

Posted by libhom Sunday, September 16, 2007 0 comments

Corporations constantly come up with ways to screw consumers over. One of their favorites is tracking customer information in databases. These databases serve no beneficial purpose for consumers, but do drive up corporate profits in a disreputable fashion. This has some obvious consequences such as loss of privacy and far more identity theft.

However, this is not the only problem. Corporations misuse personal data they should not even have to try to get people to buy more than they planned and to pay more than they should for products. Also, this kind of customer data is done to increase sales instead of using reputable tactics like improving products, improving services, and charging fair prices.

The prominent cases of identity theft are of no concern to the corporations that illegitimately track the personal data of you and me. If you lose your good credit and thousands of dollars, it does not effect them. They keep making bigger and bigger profits at the expense of identity theft victims.

Even worse, corporations routinely sell your and my personal customer data to other corporations, creating security holes and a loss of privacy involving companies that we have not chosen to do business with and may not even have heard of.

We need strong criminal law to ban this disreputable and dangerous practice.

  • E-commerce sites should not be allowed to keep accounts for customers. All purchases should be separate events, and all customer data destroyed after the products are delivered and the credit card transactions are complete. Brick and mortar establishments should have the same rules barring permanent customer records.
    Keeping records past this point should be a felony with a minimum 10 year prison sentence.

  • Selling any customer data should be an even more serious felony, with a minimum 20 year prison sentence.

  • Grocery stores should face similar prohibitions against the so-called “discount cards” which are used to hold manufacturer discounts hostage to a loss of customer privacy. The criminal penalties in this case should be at least 10 years.

  • Credit card companies should be required to delete all purchase records as soon as those purchases are paid for by the customer. Failure to do so should result in at least a 15 year prison sentence.

The criminal penalties for the executives responsible for this and the other employees are not enough. There need to be devastating civil penalties for the corporate entities too. All the corporations that break these laws should also lose their corporate charters and have their assets liquidated if they are based in the US. All foreign corporations engaging in this behavior should be barred permanently from doing business in the US.

We need to stop coddling corporations and crack down on their misconduct.

Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) made some excellent points on the options in front of Democrats regarding the second Iraq war in their 9/13/07 Media Advisory.

Media Misrepresent Dems' Options on Iraq War
Confusing 'can't' and 'won't'


FAIR summarized the propaganda in the corporate media as follows:

The point made by these media outlets again and again is that the Democrats have little power to affect policy in Iraq because it would be difficult to pass legislation over a potential Republican filibuster, and even harder to pass a bill over a presidential veto. This sentiment is also voiced by many Democratic politicians, many of whom consider themselves opponents of the war. But passing a filibuster- or veto-proof bill is not their only option.

FAIR stated the actual facts later:
The problem with all these accounts is that Congress does not have to pass legislation to bring an end to the war in Iraq--it simply has to block passage of any bill that would continue to fund the war. This requires not 67 or 60 Senate votes, or even 51, but just 41--the number of senators needed to maintain a filibuster and prevent a bill from coming up for a vote. In other words, the Democrats have more than enough votes to end the Iraq War--if they choose to do so.

The truth needs to get out in order to put pressure on pro-war Democrats like Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi to listen to the people and stop the war.

Pro-War Bias on MSNBC Web Site

Posted by libhom Saturday, September 15, 2007 1 comments

Their article on today's massive anti-war protests in DC had the following headline:

War protesters, supporters converge in D.C.
Demonstrators calling for impeachment meet counterprotesters in rallies

Inside the article, MSNBC admitted that "there appeared to be tens of thousands of people in attendance" at the anti-war rally, while there were only "nearly 1,000 counterprotesters."

Yet, both got equal billing in the headline. Someone who sees the headline and does not read the entire article will get the impression that pro-war sentiments were expressed in a comparable fashion to anti-war sentiments. This is typical of how the corporate media overplays support for the war in Iraq.

Corporate interests and ideology trump accuracy most of the time these days.

My Response to a Carl Levin Fundraising Letter I Received

Posted by libhom Thursday, September 06, 2007 1 comments

Phonycrats like Carl Levin are particularly galling. They pretend to be against the war of occupation in Iraq, especially in their fundraising letters, yet they do everything in their power to make sure our tax money goes to fund it. They insult our intelligence, betray our country, and then demand campaign contributions.

Here is what I wrote on the donation sheet of a recent fundraising letter I received from "Friends of Senator Carl Levin."

Take me off your mailing list. I don't support politicians that fund the war in Iraq.

I even used the business reply mail envelope to make sure his campaign pays the postage.

What a jerk.

Hypocrisy and Crimes Far Worse Than Restroom Play

Posted by libhom Wednesday, September 05, 2007 3 comments

Taboo violation alert:
If you are offended by someone telling the truth when society is deeply in denial, skip the rest of this post.

Soliciting for sex in a bathroom should not be illegal or a big deal.


I know this is heresy in our homophobic and sexphobic society, but it is time people start saying it. The sexual envy that drives people to demonize and criminalize consensual sex is fueled by the very same demonization and criminalization. It is a vicious circle that makes everyone involved miserable. If you really are offended by Larry Craig subtly hitting on an undercover cop, you need to get laid, and you need to make getting laid a top priority.

Larry Craig deserves zero sympathy from the queer community.

Not only did Craig have a viciously homophobic voting record, he also made immoral statements condemning homosexuality. (And, yes, it is overdue for people to point out that heterosexist bigotry is immoral, not homosexuality.) Craig promoted discrimination and violence against other queers so he could stay in the closet. That is completely disloyal as well as hypocritical. Craig was an instigator deeply involved in the forces that appear to have brought him down.

There is far worse hypocrisy and criminality in Washington, DC.

Look at how Bush, Cheney, and other members of that unelected regime defrauded Congress and the public in order to win support for the Iraq war. Fraud is a crime, yet it has yet to be prosecuted. And, the GOP overlords who demanded Craig's resignation have yet to demand the resignation of Bush or Cheney.

Of course, the criminality involving Iraq is hardly limited to the lies before the war. The war in Iraq itself is a war of aggression, a crime against humanity under international law. That war also is an act of genocide, the most heinous of war crimes. All the politicians that pushed the war and all the politicians that have voted to fund it are literally guilty of crimes against humanity. That makes them subject to criminal prosecution in any country in the world for the rest of their lives.

Think of all the politicians who run on anti-crime platforms only to commit crimes that overshadow those of the worst street gangs. Where are the pundits decrying that hypocrisy?

I'm not waiting for the wave of mass resignations in Washington over these crimes.

Iraq War Vets Stand Up for the Truth

Posted by libhom Monday, September 03, 2007 2 comments

Our military is permeated with people who either were mislead or outright lied to by military recruiters. Anyone who has seen military recruiting commercials cannot help but notice how deceptive the ads are. Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) are doing something about it.

They are launching their Truth in Recruiting campaign on September 17. They make some important points.

As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan continue to rage on with ever-increasing violence and destruction, the U.S. military is at its breaking point. Our troops are being deployed repeatedly in combat zones for longer and longer periods of time. Most troops in Iraq are there for at least their second tour, some are there for a third or fourth time. Thousands of soldiers have been involuntarily held beyond their "voluntary" service obligation by the stop-loss policy. Many more thousands have been recalled to active duty as part of the Individual Ready Reserve. Our veterans are returning with unprecedented levels of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and life-changing physical injuries. While the burden of this misbegotten, shameful war continues to fall on the same troops and military families, recruiters are finding it more and more difficult to find eager military recruits.

In order to meet their recruiting quotas, many recruiters use deceptive tactics that don’t tell the whole truth. As Adam Kokesh, former Marine Corps sergeant and Iraq vet, says, “For many of those who enter the military today, their enlistments are based on lies. There are those who join hoping to go to Iraq for a variety of personal reasons, not knowing the truth about the occupation. But there are many more that are promised by recruiters that they will never go to Iraq, that they will get plenty of money for college, that they will receive adequate health care, and that the military will honor the time limit of their contracts without using the stop-loss or involuntarily extending them.”

IVAW already launched a small protest in St. Louis at the time of their annual meeting. The Army actually had a video game they use for recruiting at the Missouri Black Expo. The vets responded to this by standing in formation and shouting three times in unison, “War is not a game!” The protest received lengthy coverage in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Kelly Dougherty, 29, is executive director and served in the Army National Guard as a medic and military police officer in Iraq in 2003 to 2004. She said recruiters often stress the opportunities the military offers to low-income and minority groups.

"We want people to know the truth about military service and that it's not always what they say," she said.

Dougherty said many potential recruits may not realize the consequences the prolonged war in Iraq may have on their service — increased chances of repeated deployment, extended tours of duty, a call back into war even after a contract expires and difficulty accessing benefits upon return.

Video of the action also is available.


One of IVAW's members also has launched a one week vigil to protest the stop-loss policy, where the military breaks their promises made in recruiting by sending our troops to fight in Iraq after the time periods in their contracts are over.

Evan Knappenberger explained, “I spent a year in Iraq. I pulled 97 nights on tower guard. Many of the friends I served with have completed their active duty contracts. Now, they’re being sent back to Iraq for their third or fourth tours. Some soldiers are getting called up after living years of civilian life. Stop-loss is an unethical policy.”

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