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Racism, Sexism, and Heterosexism at the Daily Kos

Posted by libhom Saturday, February 28, 2009 4 comments

I really should stay away from a website for partisan, conservative Democrats like the DailyKos. It's like Free Republic for people who like jackasses better than rogue elephants. However, curiosity got the better of me, and I went there for the first time in over a year tonight.

Shit, it's still really nasty!

I was upset, but not surprised at a really racist blog posting defending Obama's decision to keep slaughtering the Iraqi people.

The first words by "SusanG," the author were particularly disturbing.

Welcome words from President Barack Obama as he laid out his plan before an audience of U.S. Marines at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina this morning, according to his prepared remarks.

The announcement of Obama's decision to keep slaughtering the Iraqi people were "welcome words"????? Never mind the fact that the August 2010 date quoted from Obama earlier in the blog posting that was is a flat out lie. He plans on keeping 50,000 troops in Iraq until at least the end of 2011. All foreign troops in Iraq are combat troops, and all of them will be used to subjugate, oppress, and kill the Iraqi people.

This was indicative of the overall tone of the posting that acted as if it was perfectly OK to slaughter Arabs until 2011, or perhaps forever.

The comments didn't exactly improve my impression of the Daily Kos either. One comment that was less than subtle in its racism, was made by "57andFemale."
I've been annoyed at the left, particularly Rachel Maddow, who made the 50,000 number THE number because she was pissed about the two months' difference.

Criticism is fine. A decent debate on all issues -- great. But when we slant things to the other side, that's where I draw the line. When we make things more difficult than they need to be -- that's just childish. And dangerous. We have enough enemies out there. We can criticize and engage in debate without doing excessive damage to our president and the causes we hold dear.

Two months difference means thousands if not tens of thousands more Iraqis slaughtered. Keeping fifty thousand occupiers in Iraq will result in the deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqis, perhaps hundreds of thousands. Caring about their lives is "childish"??? Maybe it might seem that way to a particularly anti-Arab, racist pig.

Over 1.3 million Iraqis have been killed in this war, and this bigot acts like it's all one silly game.

Racist wingnuttery wasn't the only bigoted nonsense. Some of the comments went off on misogynistic and heterosexist attacks on Rachel Maddow and the entire queer community. "gwb" was particularly disgusting.
She made it a point to say ,before she had a show,that she wasnt an Obama fan.She raged for a couple weeks as I understand it, after Obama's choice of preacher for the invocation which was personal and unprofessional on her part.Her tone is nasty at times when talking about Obama and she's always trying to get Democrats from congress to critisize him.I think Claire may have finally figured her out but I dont watch anymore so she mat still come on her show.Bringing up Wright was outragous and very telling on her part.Now,I think those of you who think a pundit should tell it as they see it have a huge point but she's being devious and frankly obvious and I believe somewhat dangerous since its possible she could,in the worst case, send voters to a Nader type in 2012.

This is sickening. Rick Warren has devoted much of his life to promoting bigtory, discrimination, and violence against women and queers. His support of the Iraq war is racist genocide. There is nothing "unprofessional" about criticizing Obama's de facto endorsement of Warren's heinous actions. It should also be pointed out that Warren is a totalitarian theocrat who has ordered his flock to emulate the behavior of Hitler and Lenin.

Some commenters did defend Rachel Maddow on other grounds, but no one condemned the hateful and bigoted notion that women and queers should shut up and take it when we experience abusive behavior from Barack Obama.

You might say that the blog shouldn't be blamed for the commenters, but the DailyKos is a highly censored web community. People who speak out too much against rightist Democrats or who express liberal views too often are routinely kicked off. Anybody who is allowed to keep commenting can not stray far from the party line.

It will be a long time before I go back. If I'm sensible, I'll never visit the Daily Kos again. This posting was sadly typical of the bigotry and wingnuttery that used to irritate the heck out of me. It reminds me of the misogynistic attacks against Cindy Sheehan because she ran against Nancy Pelosi, a bloodthristy, rightist, homphobic, transphobic, pro-bankster, war mongering Republican posing as a Democrat.

The Daily Kos is as hopeless as ever. If all Democrats really were like the bigoted, rightist Phonycrats at the Daily Kos, it would be time to vote party line Green.

I am so sick of the corporate media lying and saying that Kos is a "liberal blog." Trying to put these conservatives at the left end of the political spectrum is a typical corporate effort to narrowly limit the range of political debate.

 

I just checked Google Blog Search, and my blog posting was the leading one on Obama's Iraq plan, at least for a fleeting moment. Obama's Iraq plan was the second most prominent story on the blogsearch. As is generally the case with pictures in Blogger, you can click on the image below to see this blog's temporary moment in the spotlight in its full glory.

screenshot from Google Blog Search described above

Of course, the issues in the actual blog posting are more important than this bit of self promotion.

 

Barack Obama has broken his most important campaign promise. He has pushed an even smaller withdrawal out to 20 months, instead of the larger withdrawal promised in 16. Given our economic crises, we need to get all of our troops out of the war on Iraq ASAP. We cannot afford to divert hundreds of billions of dollars to destroying another company's economy and slaughtering its people.

Instead, President Obama wants to keep 50,000 US troops there to oppress and slaughter the Iraqi people, while doing even more damage to their infrastructure and economy. That's just plain crazy. Even worse, he wants very few US troops taken out this year.

This year, our economy is in shambles. We need to boost our economy now by ending the war and getting our troops out in a few weeks. We don't need to continue the costly occupation, especially under these circumstances.

Dennis Kucinich expresses his views on the subject. He's going too easy on Obama, but at least he is saying something. The MSNBC media shill is doing everything she can to protect parent company GE's war profiteering.



We need to do more to oppose the Iraq War. We need the peace movement to get more focused on Iraq, instead of trying to win every issue on its long list in face of a hostile administration. Over 1.3 million Iraqis have been killed. There need to be massive protests.

Obama is taking a huge personal risk to support an illegal war. The facts are that the war on Iraq is a war of aggression and an act of genocide. These are war crimes under international law. If Obama doesn't get all of our troops out of Iraq ASAP, he will be subject to criminal prosecution in any country in the world for the rest of his life, just like Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Gates, and General Betray Us.

 

Obama Did Something Pro Queer Last Week

Posted by libhom Friday, February 27, 2009 1 comments

It's not Earth shattering, but it's the first pro-lgbt thing the President has done. (From the Left let me know about this, but I think the Gay People's Chronicle writeup is clearer than the UN Watch posting cited.)

The Obama administration supports a United Nations declaration seeking worldwide decriminalization of homosexuality, reversing a position taken by George W. Bush at the end of his term.

...

Homosexuality is banned by law in 80 countries and punishable by death in at least six. Sodomy laws criminalizing gay sex were considered constitutional in the U.S. until 2003.

...

The new administration, however, changed the U.S. position when the same wording was presented again by France at the Durban II Review Conference in Geneva, Switzerland on February 18. The measure condemns “all forms of discrimination and all other human rights violations based on sexual orientation.”

Last week’s meeting was preparation for a larger United Nations conference for world leaders and human rights organizations to evaluate progress on goals set in 2001 to eliminate racism and xenophobia.

United States participation in the conference is, itself, a departure from the foreign policy of the Bush administration. Conservatives in the U.S. and Israel are protesting it.

...

The effort failed, however. Opposing it were the nations that the Bush administration joined with in December, including the Vatican, China, Egypt, Nigeria, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Botswana, Iran, Algeria, Syria, and South Africa on behalf of the African Group of nations. They succeeded in keeping any reference to human rights violations on the basis of sexual orientation out of the conference.

South Africa argued that sexual orientation “goes beyond the framework of the 2001 Durban declaration.”


South Africa's position is interesting, given that there are far greater lgbt protections in its constitution than even in statute law here in the US. They must have deferred to the other members of the African group.

This reversal of position by the new administration is nice, though it doesn't make up for Obama's policy of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in Cabinet level appointments. It certainly doesn't come close to making up for involving a dangerous, heterosexist, misogynist, religious extremist like Rick Warren in the inauguration.

We'll have to see which is more representative of Obama's future direction. So far, he gets a C- on queer issues.

 

Cheap Chocolate Day Is April 13

Posted by libhom Thursday, February 26, 2009 1 comments

Cheap Chocolate Day happens a few times a year, but the one after the pagan holiday of Eastre is the best. The bird's nests candies usually have yummy coconut.

Isn't it funny how all the cool things about the holiday (egg hunts, chocolate bunnies, and looking forward to spring) are Pagan?

Happy Cheap Chocolate Day to all!

 

Do the Pagan Origins of Easter Affect Your Thinking About It?

Posted by libhom Wednesday, February 25, 2009 3 comments



 

Gillibrand's GOP Crony Set to Face Trial in November

Posted by libhom Tuesday, February 24, 2009 1 comments

You may or may not be aware of the legal troubles facing Joe Bruno, who once was the most powerful Gopper in Albany. (Capital News 9 2/12/09)

It appears former Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno will stand trial this fall on federal corruption charges. A U.S. District Court judge has set a trial date of Nov. 2.

Bruno was indicted last month on eight counts of fraud. The US Attorney's Office said he took advantage of his position to collect millions of dollars from private consulting firms in exchange for his influence and support.

You may not know that he is strongly tied to Sen. Kirsten "Gun Nut" Gillibrand. From TPM Muckraker 1/27/09:
What's the connection? It turns out that, though Bruno and Gillibrand are from different parties, that indictment could end up bringing some unwanted publicity to New York's new senator. That's because, though it's remained largely under the press's radar, a business deal between Bruno and Gillibrand's father, Doug Rutnik, was a partial focus of the federal probe that culminated with Friday's indictment.

Let's back up:

By most accounts, Rutnik, a well-connected Albany Republican lobbyist and power-broker, has been the prime architect and fund-raiser for Gillibrand's political career.

Rutnik is tight with just about every powerful Republican in the state, including former governor George Pataki, and former senator Al D'Amato -- in whose office Gillibrand got her start as an intern, before running for Congress as a Democrat.

Rutnik is also close with Bruno. In fact, as the Albany Times-Union (via Nexis) has reported, in the 1990s, Rutnik and another lobbyist, James Featherstonhaugh, bought hundreds of acres of isolated swampland in New York's Rensselaer County, which they planned to develop. Bruno and his brother ultimately invested in the venture, known as the First Grafton Corporation.

Tom Robbins of the Village Voice wrote an excellent expose back in January on Ms. Gillbrand's father's political machine.
Kirsten Gillibrand has all of two years in elective office. Like Kennedy, she also hails from Democratic royalty. In her case, it's the Albany branch, where self-service precedes public service. Her father is a veteran political fixer and lobbyist. His connections stem from his fabulous mother-in-law, Polly Noonan, longtime "confidante" and presumed mistress to one of the most corrupt mayors in state history. Erastus Corning 2nd ruled Albany for more than 40 years, most of the time enhancing his family's fortunes while dodging grand juries. In 1972, when the state investigation commission looked at how graft and cost-plus contracts had inflated city expenses hundreds of times over, it called Corning's Albany "the worst-run county in America."

"Rastus" Corning loved Douglas Rutnik, Gillibrand's dad, so much that when the mayor died in 1983, he left him a politician's most sentimental and precious assets: his insurance company and his shotgun. "There's no question I was like a substitute son for him," Rutnik told Paul Grondahl, Corning's biographer. The shotgun was from the hours the two spent together shooting small birds. The insurance firm was the result of a lifetime of favor collection: Its clients included all the saloon owners, contractors, and manufacturers who understood that the way to thrive in Albany was to buy your coverage from Corning. When Corning helped Nelson Rockefeller build the capitol's vast South Mall, every tradesman made sure the mayor's firm wrote his insurance. Corning's own wife and children were so outraged when he left the company to Rutnik and the Noonans that they sued to win it back. They lost.

The substitute son embraced the surrogate father's lessons: His law firm became the faithful instrument of the city's political leaders, rising to the occasion for electoral challenges, foreclosures, and any needed influence-peddling. Democrat or Republican, he did not discriminate. He grew close to the GOP's rising star, Alfonse D'Amato, and even closer to D'Amato's tough-talking aide, Zenia Mucha. After D'Amato successfully steered George Pataki into the governor's mansion, Mucha went along as part of the deal. She and Rutnik bought a lovely home together in Colonie, the Albany suburb.

His lobbying clients quickly prospered: Defense giant Lockheed Martin won a $50 million state contract, and another $95 million deal from the MTA. Morgan Stanley paid $10,000 a month for his wisdom on state bond sales. Altria—nĂ©e Philip Morris—kept him on a $100,000-a-year retainer to help ward off curbs on its cancer-spawning business.

Gillibrand isn't just a bloodthirsty, warmongering gun nut. She is part of a corrupt political machine.

 

The militant, Christian fundamentalists at the so-called "Parents Television Council" (PTC) are in a tizzy. This time, they are upset that a federal court has struck down an unconstitutional California law banning the sale of violent video games to children. From the PTC's press release:

LOS ANGELES (February 23, 2009) – In response to the Ninth Circuit Federal Court ruling that struck down a California law designed to prevent the sale of adult video games to minors, the Parents Television Council™ has called on its members to voice their support for CA State Sen. Leland Yee’s call for the decision to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Sen. Yee was the author of the legislation, which passed the California State legislature in 2005. This law was later shot down due to the video game industry’s lawyers. CA Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appealed, and the Ninth Circuit Court issued its ruling, saying that the law violates the rights of minors under the Constitution’s First and 14th amendments.

“Let’s be clear on what – exactly – is going on here: The video game industry has established a policy to ‘protect’ children from a harmful product, yet they file lawsuit after lawsuit to oppose any enforcement of that same policy. And they base their legal argument on a child’s ‘right’ to purchase the very product that they openly admit should not be purchased by a child. This is the most outrageous example of a non sequitur that I’ve ever seen, and the result is a tragic consequence on America’s children,” said PTC President Tim Winter.

It should surprise no one that the Christian Right considers constitutional rights a "non sequitur." The Christian Taliban hates the constitution and everything else America stands for. Nothing less than a totalitarian theocracy will satisfy them.

What is interesting is the contrast between the fundamentalists' objections to violent video games and their fanatical, uncompromising support of a war on Iraq that has resulted in over 1.3 million Iraqis being slaughtered and additional deaths of more than 4000 US troops. It should raise some serious questions.

It is apparent that the Christian Right doesn't object to the video games in question because they are too violent. They object to the games because they don't see them as violent enough. It's not enough for the Christian Taliban to have people pretending to shoot each other.

The Christian extremists aren't satisfied unless people are actually being shot for real, given the conditions that the slaughtered are not Christian and that they have brown skin.

Fundamentalist hypocrisy is an easy target. It's as ubiquitous as ads trying to get you to switch your cable to FIOS or Rupert Murdoch's Direct TV. Equally common is the violent fanaticism of the Christian Right. That subject has been taboo in the corporate media for far too long.

 

It's Time for Strong Antitrust Enforcement

Posted by libhom Sunday, February 22, 2009 5 comments

It's so disgusting to see that the European Union has a lot more balls/ovaries in terms of enforcing antitrust laws against Microsoft, a company that should have been broken up years ago. However, this goes way beyond keeping up with people across the Atlantic. Merger mania and too large corporations are a serious economic problem.

I've added a new item for My Economic Recovery Plan:

5) Start busting the trusts: There needs to be far greater enforcement of our antitrust laws and legislation closing loopholes sleazy corporate lawyers and conservative judges have created. Legislation should also give consumer groups and unions standing in court to sue to block mergers. The number of lawyers involved in antitrust work at the Dept. of Justice should be expanded dramatically. Mergers inevitably lead to job losses, job losses our economy cannot afford. Also, when any company is "too big to fail," it is just plain too big and needs to be broken up.

There is another reason for supporting antitrust reform. The original trust busters weren't merely concerned with the lack of consumer and employer choices that monopolies (then known as "trusts") bring. They also had seen a deterioration of our nation's democratic character as a small number of wealthy owners of a smaller number of huge corporations had hugely disproportionate power over our political and cultural life.

Sound familiar?

Good old fashioned trust busting will strengthen our economy while helping to restore our nation's civic life.

Side note: My economic recovery plan also has been altered to include unions taking over management of the automakers. It was an idea I had previously promoted on this blog, but forgot about. Thanks to Tengrain for reminding me about that idea.

 

Another Goldman Sachs / Bank of America Taxpayer Ripoff

Posted by libhom Saturday, February 21, 2009 0 comments

It's also a ripoff of working Americans.

From an SEIU press release 2/17/09:

WASHINGTON - February 17 - As Congress and the Obama administration look to hold major banks that have received billions in federal bailout funds better accountable for their corporate practices, a report released today by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) on Goldman Sachs and its holdings in Burger King finds that the true total of taxpayer subsidies some of the banks are enjoying extends well beyond the monies they've taken through the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP).

The report finds that one of Goldman Sachs' major investments, Burger King, costs taxpayers more than a quarter billion dollars a year as Burger King employees are forced to rely on public health and income support programs as a result of the lack of affordable employer health coverage and sub-poverty wage levels at Burger King.

Meanwhile, Burger King chief executive John Chidsey took home $5.4 million in 2008 and Goldman Sachs accepted $10 billion in taxpayer bailout money ¾ then paid out $6.5 billion in bonuses. Goldman paid the highest per employee bonus average among top banks reporting so far, and the firm's bonuses were nearly double the average bonus on Wall Street. If Goldman Sachs had used the $6.5 billion it paid in corporate bonuses to help Burger King's 360,000 workers instead, each worker would have received $18,000.

"The misuse of tax dollars we're seeing now by some of the bailed-out banks is no one-shot deal," said SEIU President Andy Stern. "Year in and year out companies that can easily afford to improve health care and wages for workers simply aren't doing so and are making taxpayers pick up the public assistance tab instead. It's drain on our economy we can't afford ignore any longer."

A previous SEIU report on another bailout recipient, Bank of America, found similar evidence of employment costs being shifted to taxpayers ¾ up to $50 million a year because Bank of America workers lack affordable employer health benefits.

Service workers held a protest today outside Burger King headquarters in Miami to call on Burger King and Goldman Sachs to stop opposing efforts to rebuild the economy through improvements for workers while taking billions of dollars from taxpayers and rewarding CEOs and corporate staff. Additional public outreach on the issue will take place throughout the week this week at Burger King restaurants in other cities around the country.

While costing taxpayers billions, both Burger King and Goldman Sachs are fighting legislation in the U.S. Congress that could help all workers and the overall economy by broadly increasing consumer purchasing power. Between 2006 and 2008 Burger King has spent $319,648 on lobbying, including lobbying against the Employee Free Choice Act, a measure that would ensure workers the freedom to form a union for a voice for improved wages, benefits, and working conditions. Burger King also spent $180,000 to hire lobbyists to fight pro-worker legislation, including an increase in the minimum wage in 2006 and 2007.

Goldman Sachs is involved in lobbying against workers' interests as a member of the Business Roundtable, which spent $15,849,000 on lobbying in 2008 according to the Center for Responsive Politics, including lobbying against the Employee Free Choice Act in the third and fourth quarters last year.

With the food service industry, including fast food, expected to add one million new jobs to the economy between 2006 and 2016, the SEIU report "King Size Combo: What Burger King and Goldman Sachs Are Costing Our Country" looks at a wide range of worker and consumer issues at Burger King to gain perspective on the potential import of the growing fast food sector for the broader U.S. economy.

The SEIU report concludes that in addition to assuring sound banking practices on Wall St., Goldman Sachs must take responsibility for its important economic holdings on Main St., such as Burger King. The report recommends that regulators should demand that bailout recipients stimulate the economy by increasing lending and by committing to living wages, affordable health benefits, freedom for workers to choose to form unions (the Employee Free Choice Act), and other consumer and worker protections.

For a copy of the report, please visit http://action.seiu.org/bk. To see Brave New Films' newly released video about business practices at Burger King and the Goldman Sachs connection, please visit http://www.warongreed.org/ .

The more you know about the banksters, the more you realize that our country needs to crack down on them.

 

In my comments on a post on Mock Paper Scissors, I suggested some positive ideas for helping to get us out of the mess we are in. I thought I would elaborate on them here. So many people are in panic mode, when what we need to be in is action mode. I encourage other liberal and progressive bloggers to make their own proposals on how to get us out of this mess.

1) Raise taxes on the rich and use the money for jobs programs, especially ones which would provide long term benefits for the economy. The Stimulus Plan had some public works spending, but nowhere near enough. Two examples include:

- A massive expansion of our nation's public transport systems: Even NYC is underserved by its subway system, and we have it better than most. Expanding mass transit nationwide, especially fuel efficient rail transit, would prevent future economic problems by reducing Global Warming, cutting back on trade deficits, and reducing obesity . (Public transit encourages more physical activity than car culture.)

- The Gulf Coast Civil Works Project: Due to corruption, racism, and incompetence, the Gulf Coast region still hasn't even come close to recovering from Katrina and Rita. The GCCW would fund the reconstruction of this region and employ displaced people to do it. This is the kind of common sense approach that is long overdue. Here's an Action Alert to support it.

2) Pass legislation to fire all the CEOs at the struggling banks and automakers. The legislation also should nullify the golden parachutes. A major reason why these companies are failing is bad management. The CEOs need to be removed in order to improve the idiotic directions they have taken their companies in. In the auto industry, the unions should be put in charge. They have pushed for fuel efficient vehicles for decades and they have more incentive to promote long term sustainability over short term profits.

3) Freeze interest rates on Adjustable Rate Mortgages. Given that interest rates have been low, there is no excuse for the interest rates of so many Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs) to be jumping so astronomically. These predatory lending practices are making people homeless, destroying home equity, and bankrupting the banks led by the idiot banksters responsible for them.

4) Withdraw all troops from Iraq ASAP, ending a diversion of US resources to the destruction of another country’s economy.

5) Start busting the trusts: There needs to be far greater enforcement of our antitrust laws and legislation closing loopholes sleazy corporate lawyers and conservative judges have created. Legislation should also give consumer groups and unions standing in court to sue to block mergers. The number of lawyers involved in antitrust work at the Dept. of Justice should be expanded dramatically. Mergers inevitably lead to job losses, job losses our economy cannot afford. Also, when any company is "too big to fail," it is just plain too big and needs to be broken up.

This also applies to breaking up Microsoft. If not for the corruption of the Bush regime, the Redmond blue screen of death generators would have been broken up into several companies under our antitrust laws. This still needs to happen. Our economy is damaged by Microsoft's use of anticompetitive tactics to make its low quality products market dominant. Our economic productivity is too important to allow Microsoft to get away with this.

I'll be updating this post when I read about other good proposals or think up ones of my own.

 

I'm on the fence when it comes to bank nationalization. However, when I keep seeing the ethical misconduct of the banksters, I wonder if we will need to take over the big banks just to keep the rest of us from being completely screwed over by these slime.

Just when I thought the banksters had sunk as far low as they dared in the current political climate, I read this on the Consumerist.

The Associate Press says that 30 states have cut deals with bailed out banks like JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, and Bank of America to distribute unemployment benefits on debit cards instead of paper checks. The catch? All of these programs have fees — and in some states the cards are mandatory.

The AP talked to one recently laid off worker who paid $6 in fees to access $80 of her unemployment money.

"It's a racket. It's a scam," Rachel Davis, a 38-year-old dental technician from St. Louis who was laid off in October, told the AP.

In another posting, they list some of the fees that the unemployed are getting stuck with in Pennsylvania.
The Comerica Bank MasterCard debit card used by the unemployment benefit program has fees like: $1.50 every time you make a withdrawal, after one freebie at Wachovia or PNC, $1.50 each time you transfer $ from the debit card to a checking account, $.40 to check your balance, $.50 every time your card is denied after one freebie, $4-$12 for replacement cards after losing your card twice, and $1 fee every month if you go without using the card too long.

Replacing checks with debit cards saved the state $2 million in processing and postage. Recipients can bypass all the fees by filling out additional paperwork and opting for direct deposit. Only 54% of Pennsylvanians have done that. Perhaps that number would be higher if someone told them about all the fees upfront.

Pennsylvania's Gov. Rendell is such a scumbag. $2 million won't make jack difference in the state's fiscal troubles, but the fees will make a big difference in the lives of the unemployed. I can't say that I'm surprised by Rendell's slimy behavior. He is the scumbag who violated PA's election laws to help Hillary Clinton's campaign last year.

This story of bankster cruelty and greed should have been the lead story on nightly newscasts and on banner headlines on front pages of newspapers. Yet, the story was buried or not even mentioned at all. Is it any wonder people aren't buying as many newspapers? Why pay for corporate propaganda? A lot of us would buy newspapers if they had more news and more honest reporting.

 

Economic Crises Starting to Kindle Campus Unrest in the US

Posted by libhom Thursday, February 19, 2009 4 comments

Decades of conservative economic policies and military adventurism have left our country in the most serious economic situation since the Great Depression. Young people in our country have every right to doubt whether they have much of a future at this point. I think I'll quote Janis Joplin.

Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose.

People often say that the lack of a draft is why students haven't been opposing the war on Iraq as strongly as their Sixties counterparts opposed the slaughter in Vietnam. That must be part of it, but there is another factor. College students are now tended to be deluged in student loans and potential employers can easily Google their life histories. Jobs that are desperately needed to pay off enormous debt are potentially jeopardized by political activity. The post 911 era created a surveillance state that coexists with growing corporate surveillance that may or may not be limited to marketing purposes.

No wonder some people have been intimidated.

Now, the economic crises have created a situation where young people have legitimate reasons to doubt that they will have any kind of future at all. Those young people have nothing to lose.

Here are a couple of examples:

New York Times 2/18/09
Several dozen students occupied a cafeteria at New York University on Wednesday night, barricading themselves inside with tables and chairs and chanting a list of demands.

...

The students pushed tables and chairs against the doors, and a woman with a megaphone outlined the group’s demands.

They included a full and annual reporting of the university’s operating budget, expenditures and endowment. The students also demanded that N.Y.U. provide 13 scholarships annually to students from the Gaza Strip and give surplus supplies to the Islamic University of Gaza. On the group’s Web site, it also asked that all participants in the protest be granted amnesty from punishment.

You can learn more from the protesters' points of view at Take Back NYU's website.

From the Chronicle of Higher Education Blog 12/19/08
New School Protesters Claim Victory and End Campus Occupation

Student protesters at the New School claimed to have won a decisive victory last night in their battle with university officials and ended their occupation of a campus cafeteria at around 3:30 a.m., The New York Times’s City Room blog reported today.

The students had presented university officials with a list of demands, including the resignation of the New School’s president, Bob Kerrey, and had threatened to continue their occupation of campus buildings for a second full night.


If things get much worse in the US, we may very well see protests as large or larger than have been taking place in other parts of the world over the economic plunge. People rendered homeless by predatory subprime mortgages have even less to lose than typical college students. An army of the unemployed is the worst fear of corporations and their wealthy owners.

It's no wonder that our wealthy elites are willing to tolerate a bit of Keynesian economics for the moment.

 

People are in denial about what the gun extremists are doing by arming our country to the teeth. In a news story on the Boston Herald website 6/30/08, 31,000 deaths resulted from guns in 2005 alone.

Just under 3000 people were killed in the 911 attacks. It's not even close.

When are people going to realize that gun extremists like Kirstin Gillibrand pose an even greater threat to our country than Islamic religious extremists?

Opposing gun control is terrorism.

 

Original Lyrics for "This Land Is Your Land"

Posted by libhom Wednesday, February 18, 2009 8 comments

Here are the original lyrics in their entirety. Portions that are usually censored are in red.

This land is your land This land is my land
From California to the New York island;
From the red wood forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and Me.

As I was walking that ribbon of highway,
I saw above me that endless skyway:
I saw below me that golden valley:
This land was made for you and me.

I've roamed and rambled and I followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts;
And all around me a voice was sounding:
This land was made for you and me.

When the sun came shining, and I was strolling,
And the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling,
As the fog was lifting a voice was chanting:
This land was made for you and me.

As I went walking I saw a sign there
And on the sign it said "No Trespassing."
But on the other side it didn't say nothing,
That side was made for you and me.

In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people,
By the relief office I seen my people;
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking
Is this land made for you and me?

Nobody living can ever stop me,
As I go walking that freedom highway;
Nobody living can ever make me turn back
This land was made for you and me.

So much of our nation's history has been censored by corporate and wealthy interests.

 

Blue Gal has put up a notice asking for logos for the next Blog Against Theocracy. I thought it would good to put up a Save the Date notice here. I ask that you do the same if you have a blog.

photo of Osama bin Warren with a red X spray painted on it
Photo (before spray paint effect was added): jurvetson

No, this isn't an entry. But, it was fun throwing it together.

 

After finding out on From the Left that Kirsten Gillibrand keeps two guns in her home, a home with children, I realized that more must be done to stop this monster. So, I've sent an email to various Democratic Party organizations making my uncompromising opposition to this dangerous gun extremist clear. Here is the text of that email.

As a victim of gun crimes, I find Kirsten Gillibrand's opposition to gun control to be personally insulting and to personally endanger me. Like all opponents of gun control, she shares in personal responsibility for every crime committed by the guns she supports, including the three times I was robbed at gunpoint.

Our political and legal systems are so corrupted by the gun lobby that I cannot have Ms. Gillbrand prosecuted for what she has done to me in a criminal court. I cannot even successfully sue her in civil court due to that same corruption.

The only recourse I have to punish Gillibrand for her actions is to work in the political system to stop her political career. I will do just that. I will vote against that gun nut every chance I get. I will be giving campaign contributions to her opponents. I will vote against Phonycrats who support her in the 2010 primary. A politician who works to arm muggers, gay bashers, rapists, and murderers is unfit to hold public office.

The Democratic Party has been shitting on gun crime victims for far too long. I'm not going to passively take it any more. If you want me to loyally support the Democratic Party then you damn well better start showing some loyalty in return.

 

The Boy Scouts of America already have a terrible reputation for their ridiculous discrimination against atheists and gays. Now, they are getting a reputation for bad environmental policies. From a Care2 petition:

A nation-wide review has found that some Boy Scouts of America administrators have significantly damaged tens of thousands of acres of forestland through clearcutting or other means of high-impact logging.

The Boy Scouts have a long-standing reputation of positively interacting with the environment and teaching members to connect with and respect nature. But an ongoing investigation has shown that some council leaders have betrayed their environmental values in the interest of increasing profits.

The investigation, conducted by five Hearst newspapers, found that at least 26 councils have logged across 34,000 acres or more. Some of the destroyed areas are delicate ecosystems inhabited by protected species like salmon, timber wolves, bald eagles and spotted owls.

According to the report in the San Francisco Chronicle, the Boy Scouts were engaging in other bad practices which contribute to soil erosion as well.

As much as I'm concerned about the endangered species, I'm more concerned about logging posing another problem: it promotes Global Warming. Instead of logging, the Boy Scouts should be raising money through more recycling, not by getting rid of tree.

The Boy Scouts always have marketed themselves on promoting good citizenship, something their heterosexist and anti atheist discrimination severely undercuts. Now, they are further eroding their credibility on the citizenship front by teaching boys to promote dangerous changes in the climate of our planet.

Please Sign Care2's Petition to Stop the Logging

 

Navy Recruiters Exploited Market Crash

Posted by libhom Monday, February 16, 2009 2 comments

The Iraq War has cut way back on military recruiting while increasing the number of troops needed to carry out the imperial agenda of the Bush Regime. When the stock market crashed last October, there was an opportunity for military recruiters. Navy Recruiters were right there.

They were pushing cards at Grand Central Station promoting a website, Navy For Moms. It's a combined brainwashing and support for women whose sons and daughters are in the Navy or who are thinking of being in the Navy. It leaves no room for Navy mothers who are against the war, and it only considers the notion that every mother should support decisions to enlist and reenlist.

It would be interesting to know if the military was aware of the impending market crash before it happened or if they just jumped efficiently on a situation that was advantageous to him.

Mayor Bloomberg also seemed to anticipate the crash with his budget projections. He predicted enormous deficits that couldn't be justified on the normal business cycle.

Many on the left were saying that our economy was facing deep crises based on concepts of fictitious capital and various financial bubbles. The public face of the right was one of exuberance and dismissal of anyone who said that their policies endangered us. Yet, a far right politician on economic and military issues like Michael Bloomberg acted as if he knew that the economy was facing a huge crash.

One has to wonder how many rightist economic figures knew the crash was on the way, but said nothing. I wonder how many of them made money off the crash.

 

Cleve Jones, famous queer activist from San Francisco, is unhappy with Bill Clinton. From his Huffington Post article:

This Sunday, President Clinton is scheduled to give a paid speech at the Manchester Hyatt in San Diego to the annual convention of a major political action committee, the International Franchise Association.

To give this speech, President Clinton will have to violate a union boycott and labor dispute - the workers at the hotel lack job security and the housekeepers face onerous workloads. He will also offend gay and lesbian Americans, including myself - the owner of the hotel, Doug Manchester, contributed $125,000 in early seed money to the Proposition 8 campaign. President Clinton should move this speech.

Pride @ Work is understandably frustrated. They are asking people to take action about the speech which will take place tomorrow. (From their Email Alert.)
You can make a difference, and it only takes a minute. Take a moment and visit the Clinton Foundation and ask President Clinton to move his speech to another hotel, preferably one that doesn't have a record of virulent anti-gay and anti-union organizing. President Clinton's speech is this Sunday! Please email the foundation today and let them know you expect more out of President Clinton.

http://www.clintonfoundation.org/contact-form

Bill Clinton always was a vicious homophobe. He is the anti-labor extremist who brought us NAFTA and the WTO. Hillary Clinton worked for a union busting law firm. This latest offense doesn't shock me, but there is another aspect of this that is the third repulsive one.

Bill Clinton has made millions from "speaking fees," following in the sleazy footsteps of Ronald Reagan. These supposed "speaking fees" far exceed the monetary value of the speakers, in terms of the money they can draw for the companies and trade associations making the hires.

These fees are rewards for policies that benefit the interests of the people who are paying the fees. The whole thing is rotten to the core and should be illegal.

 

The GOP Is Committing Political Suicide

Posted by libhom Friday, February 13, 2009 5 comments

The GOP seems to be doing everything it can to help elect Democrats in 2010. The reality is that northeastern Republicans in the Senate (as a matter of personal political survival) are going to have to let some kind of stimulus plan through. Yet, the rest of the GOP is playing every political game to sabotage the Obama administration during a time when most Americans are afraid everything is going to fall apart. The latest comes from rightist nutjob Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire. (New York Times via the San Jose Mercury 2/12/09)

Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire abruptly withdrew Thursday as the nominee to be commerce secretary, saying he had "irresolvable conflicts" with President Barack Obama over his economic stimulus plan and a concern over what many fellow Republicans believe is the politicization of the 2010 census.

The departure of Gregg is the latest setback to a White House that has struggled to fill several top positions and fulfill the president's pledge to build a bipartisan administration. He is the third prospective Cabinet secretary — the second at the Commerce Department — to remove his name from consideration.

"I'm a fiscal conservative, as everybody knows, a fairly strong one," Gregg, a Republican, told reporters at an afternoon news conference in the Capitol. "And it just became clear to me that it would be very difficult, day in and day out, to serve in this Cabinet or any Cabinet."

"It was my mistake, obviously, to say yes," he added.

Barack Obama is doing everything he can to work with Republicans, even trying to appoint a GOP Senator Commerce Secretary and getting New Hampshire's governor to agree to appoint a Republican. What does that GOP Senator do? Judd Gregg breaks the agreement.

The macro picture is that Gregg and his GOP partisans are creating a politically expedient situation for the Democrats. Enough of a stimulus plan will get through so that if the economy doesn't completely tank, the party with the donkey mascot will take and get credit from the overwhelming majority of the American people. If the stimulus plan isn't enough, then Democrats can easily and credibly point out that GOP obstructionism prevented the Democrats from doing much more.

On the micro level, Gregg will have made his race very personal for partisan Democrats, which should set off an enormous flood of small to mid size donations from the grassroots. This isn't good in a state where Republican elected officials are becoming an endangered species.

The future outlook for the GOP gets worse too. If the economy starts getting worse, it will be easy for Democrats to turn public anger against the party that just keeps saying NO to any kind of action. The average American will be ready to tar and feather these fools.

No matter what the GOP does, the corporate media will try to spin it in the Republicans' favor. The Times article does just that if you read the whole thing. It won't work.

 

Photo of John ConyersProgressive Democrats of America (PDA) and the Leadership Conference for Healthcare are promoting a national call in day this Thursday for HR676, Rep. Conyers' single payer healthcare bill. If the bill number sounds cryptic, it is often called "Medicare for All" by the general public. They are seeking co-sponsors for this vitally important legislation.

What Is HR676?

Michael Moore's Action Alert for HR676 has an excellent brief description:

Under H.R. 676 [Text of Bill], Medicare would be extended and improved so that all individuals residing in the United States would receive high quality and affordable health care services. They would receive all medically necessary services by the physicians of their choice, with no restrictions on what providers they could visit. If implemented, the United States National Health Insurance Act would cover primary care, dental, mental health, prescription drugs, and long term care.

What Do I Do Thursday?

First, find out if your member of the House is a co-sponsor. (Library of Congress website)

Then, from a PDA Email:
February 12, 2009: Call Congress, and the President
Congressional switchboard: 202-225-3121
(ask for your representative’s office)

If your member is a current co-sponsor, thank your rep. and ask him or her to stand firm for HR 676 and actively seek additional co-sponsors.

If your congressmember is not a current co-sponsor, ask that representative to represent you by co-sponsoring the legislation this session.

White House contact info:
(Ask President Obama to support HR676)

Web: Contact Form
Phone: 202-456-1111

What If I Read This After Thursday or Think I Will Be Busy On Thursday?

Go ahead and call now. The most important thing is to maximize the number of people supporting the legislation. The exact day is icing on the proverbial cake.

How Do I Learn More?

Healthcare-Now's Description

Ten Reasons to Support HR676 (Leadership Conference for Healthcare - scroll down)

Conyers' Statement on Philly City Council Endorsement (including list of other endorsing city councils)

Dennis Kucinch Explains HR676:

News Corp, Rupert Murdoch's loony rightist propaganda empire is in trouble. Let's play our tiniest violins for this one. (Thanks to Pirate Satellite for calling this to my attention.) From Adweek 2/6/09:

NEW YORK News Corp. has reported a loss of $6.42 billion in the final three months of 2008, as the media conglomerate was forced to take an $8.4 billion write-down on its TV and newspaper assets.

That's fabulous! It couldn't happen to a more deserving corporation. For years, Murdoch has subsidized the sleazy rightist tabloid the New York Post with profits from the rest of his brainwashing ventures. Does this mean he will have to sell the Post or close it down? One can only hope.

 

Why I Personally Resent Meg Whitman

Posted by libhom Monday, February 09, 2009 3 comments

Former Dictator of a corporate Evil Empire Meg Whitman may be running for California Governor. Yuck!

From the San Jose Mercury 2/9/09.

Former eBay chief Meg Whitman on Monday edged toward an almost certain run for California governor in 2010, setting up a likely clash for the Republican nomination between two wealthy Silicon Valley entrepreneurs.

In case you've ever wondered why I link to EBay Sucks, it's because I had a really rotten experience with Meg Whitman's company. (She was in charge at the time.)

This seller was running a scam. I refused to go along with it. I reported the scam to EBay. I dutifully gave the seller negative feedback, sticking to EBay's guidelines about being factual. The scam artist retaliated by libeling me. I tried to get EBay to remove the libelous content. They refused.

They said that they ran an investigation, but wouldn't tell me the outcome out of alleged privacy concerns for the seller. So, I checked the seller's auctions, and the seller continued to run the same scam.

I tried eight or nine times before EBay was willing to cancel my account.

I hate EBay! I hate Meg Whitman! I hope she suffers a humiliating defeat and that her former company goes bankrupt!

There. I feel better now.

Christopher at From the Left is discussing the politics of it all, including Whitman's heterosexism.

 

If you have been on YouTube lately, you have noticed that audio has been turned off by Google on a lot of non-commercial videos on that website. It turns out that Warner Brothers Music is abusing copyright and DCMA powers to stifle personal expression that costs the company nothing and promotes its products.

Media Crashers is making some noise.



Crap like this is why we should crack down on corporations. They have way too much power over our lives.

 

Barack Obama refused to appoint even one openly lesbian, gay, bi, or trans person to his cabinet. But, homophobes are perfectly OK to this administration. Having Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State is bad enough. But, now President Obama has appointed rabid heterosexist Judd Gregg as Commerce Secretary. From Pink News 2/6/09:

Senator Gregg has a poor voting record on gay rights.

He opposed expanding hate crimes to include sexual orientation and prohibiting job discrimination by sexual orientation and voted in favour of a ban on same-sex marriage.

"Once again our efforts for equality are being set aside for political gain," said David Mixner, a prominent gay rights activist, public affairs adviser and fundraiser.

"Just look at Senator Gregg's record and you will see that over the last three sessions of Congress he has been with us only 28% of the time.

"In the 108th Congress (2003 to 2005), his voting record was only 13%! It is one of the lower rankings in Congress.

"That is totally unacceptable. Surely the rights and freedoms of an entire group of people under attack around the country should be enough to disqualify someone from a key position in the Obama Cabinet.

It should be noted that these are Human Rights Campaign ratings, and the HRC is notorious for warping their ratings to make politicians look more favorable towards our issues than they actually are. (It makes the HRC look like it is accomplishing far more than they actually are.) The real record of Senator Gregg is even worse than the ratings would indicate.

The Obama administration just keeps getting worse on lgbt issues. I'm so glad I voted for Cynthia McKinney in the general election. I just wish I voted for Kucinich rather than Obama in the Democratic primary.

You can read Mixner's blog posting on the subject too.

 

The New York Observer is an obscure weekly newspaper here in the Big Mango that those of us live here should pay more attention to. If you are middle class, you will notice that the paper is definitely not written for you.

That doesn't mean you should ignore it. The Observer tells you what the wealthy elites of our city are thinking and what they plan to do to us. It's like spying on the enemy.

The Editorials practically drool over Michael Bloomberg, the worst NYC Mayor since Jimmy Walker (Tammany man from the early 20th Century). But, they don't always wax foolishly on behalf of the jerk who bought our mayor's office. Sometimes, they pander to other rich scumbags.

Their 2/3/09 Editorial, "Don't Blame the Bonuses," is a hoot. These people have no shame in showing how completely out of touch they are with the overwhelming majority of people in NYC. They also show how completely out of touch the New York Observer is with reality.

One can’t blame President Obama and Vice President Biden for taking target practice at that $18.4 billion. It’s probably a relief to unload some ammo, as a distraction from the gut-wrenching business of administering a $900 billion (why can’t we just admit it’s going to be a trillion?) taxpayer-funded stimulus package. But both Obama and Biden know, better than most, that compensation on Wall Street is structured so that banks pay low base salaries and that bonuses are generally considered part of one’s “true” salary, so the $18 billion number is overstated anyway. Moreover, the 2008 bonus figure represents a drop of 44 percent from 2007, and thus can be said to accurately reflect the wider economy. And the top executives of several banks—most notably Goldman Sachs—did in fact forgo bonuses to serve as an example, despite having proven their worth by navigating their firms through treacherous waters.

After you stop howling, examine some of this comedy gold.

1) Get this: "compensation on Wall Street is structured so that banks pay low base salaries." Compared to what ordinary Americans make, these base salaries are astronomical. The average American's job performance also is far superior to that of the banksters.

2) "Moreover, the 2008 bonus figure represents a drop of 44 percent from 2007, and thus can be said to accurately reflect the wider economy." This is more comedy gold. These figures accurately reflect that they were even more shockingly overpaid before.

3) "Despite having proven their worth by navigating their firms through treacherous waters"??? Considering that they have done so by bilking the taxpayers for hundreds of billions of dollars, the notion that the banksters have "proven their worth" is so loopy that you can't help but laugh. Every Wall St. bankster and broker executive deserves to be fired. Those companies have been horribly mismanaged for decades.

The Editorial gets even sillier.
One wishes, therefore, that Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden had not gone for the easy political points. Already they are facing a Congress whose members have floated the idea of punishing bankers by taking back money they’ve already been paid. Fairness—such as putting a cap on future compensation of executives at firms that receive government assistance—is one thing; punishment is juvenile and counterproductive.

When muggers and shoplifters steal, you won't read the Observer saying that "punishment is juvenile and counterproductive." Yet, the banksters have robbed and looted our Treasury out of trillions of dollars (when you count the amount of money they are getting from the Federal Reserve which dwarfs the congressional bankster bailout). In the minds of the Observer, punishment is for the little people.

Is it any wonder that the Observer has a paid circulation of only 51,000 in a city of over 8 million people (not counting suburbs)?

 

More Action for Real Change

Posted by libhom Saturday, February 07, 2009 3 comments

We need to act on our responsibility to fight for real change. We cannot trust or rely on politicians and pundits to fight for us. We need to fight for ourselves.

Tell President Obama to Start Withdrawing US Troops from Iraq:
Ending the war in Iraq was the most important campaign promise Barack Obama made. Ending that war is urgent in terms of the loss of lives and the devastating effects it is having on the US and Iraqi economies. There is no excuse for any further delays. If Obama is serious about dealing with our economic crises, he must take immediate steps to end a war that is diverting hundreds of billions of dollars from building the US economy to destroying the Iraqi economy. Stopping the war in Iraq would do far more to help the US economy than the stimulus plan, which includes far too many economy slowing tax cuts.

Tell the President to Start Troop Withdrawals Without Any Further Delay

You also can contact the White House comments line: 202-456-1111




Support the Inclusion of LGBT People in the Civil Rights Act:
Hat tip to Queers United.

There is an online petition requesting that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid do the following:
Expand the Civil Rights Act to declare it the public policy of the United States that discrimination based on LGBT status is prohibited.

The organizers plan on delivering the petitions on June 1, 2009.

Please Read and Sign the Petition

You also can publicize the issue by Digging the Queers United blog posting.




Support the Confirmation of Rep. Hilda Solis as Secretary of Labor:
As you know, the Goppers are trying to block the confirmation of Rep. Hilda Solis. The excuse they are using is a small amount of taxes that her husband got behind on, but which were paid before Ms. Solis' was nominated. The real reasons the Greedy Oily Pedophiles are going after her are as follows.

1) Ms. Solis is a strong supporter of the Employee Free Choice Act, and bought Republican politicians are doing the bidding of their corporate masters who don't want a level playing field for union organizing.

2) This is a chance to appeal to the GOP's anti-Latino base, which hates people of color and which hates Catholics (even though they are happy to work with rightist Catholics to oppress women, atheists, and queers).

The United Farm Workers is supporting her nomination, and you should too.
Hilda Solis would be a Labor Secretary who understands the struggles of the working people. She embodies President Obama's promise to make the government work for all Americans.

The UFW feels strongly about this issue as Congresswoman Solis has worked in collaboration with us for years. She has helped bring basic protections and dignity to one of the most vulnerable segments of our society.

As a life-long supporter of union representation and as an advocate of workers' rights, we believe Ms. Solis will help restore what was the initial mission of the Labor Department. We cannot think of a more qualified representative.

Tell Your Senators You Want Ms. Solis Confirmed ASAP




Tell Lou Dobbs to Stop Attacking the Middle Class:
Rightist gas bag Lou Dobbs is waging war against the middle class by spreading misinformation about the Employee Free Choice Act. From a Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) Action Alert 2/6/09:
CNN host Lou Dobbs falsely suggested that the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) would "end a secret ballot" on his February 4 show.

At the conclusion of a report by CNN correspondent Drew Tucker about the Service Employees International Union's mobilization in support of the legislation, Dobbs said, "The American people voted for lots of things, but I don't know a lot of people voted to end a secret ballot."

Dobbs' claim that EFCA would eliminate the "secret ballot" in union authorization elections, which has been a centerpiece in a U.S. Chamber of Commerce-funded anti-union PR campaign (see Nation, 1/26/09), is completely false. As the text of the act (H.R. 800, 3/2/07) reveals, EFCA contains no language about eliminating the "secret ballot" enshrined in the National Labor Relations Act under Section 9 e.

Under EFCA, workers would still have the right to vote in a National Labor Review Board (NLRB) "secret ballot" election if 30 percent of the workforce signs cards, just as they do now. EFCA would change the process of union formation by giving workers seeking to join a union an additional option of winning union representation after a majority of the workforce signs cards, through a new provision to the act (section 9 c 6).

As American Rights at Work points out, this method of union sign-up, known as "majority sign-up" or "card check," is already recognized under current labor law, but only when the employer approves it. EFCA would represent a change in such union drives by removing the ability of employers to withhold recognition and to insist on an NLRB election.

For generations, Unions have played a crucial role in bringing Americans into the middle class and helping them stay there. Lou Dobbs wants to help corporations lower wages and benefits so they can make even bigger profits at the expense of treating their employees fairly. Tell Lou Dobbs to retract his statements and to tell the truth about the Employee Free Choice Act.

Lou Dobbs
Email:lou.dobbs@turner.com

CNN:
212-275-7800

 

I'm Boycotting Kellogg's

Posted by libhom Friday, February 06, 2009 8 comments

From the LA Times Blogs 2/5/09.

Cereal and snack manufacturer Kellogg's has announced that it will not renew its sponsorship contract with Olympic champion swimmer Michael Phelps

The reason? According to AP, because Phelps acknowledged smoking marijuana in a bong pipe. Duh.

The company claims that Phelps's behavior — caught on camera and published last Sunday in Britain's News of the World — was "not consistent with the image of [Kellogg's]."

What image? Are they talking about their image as a bunch of asswipes?

I can't smoke pot myself, but I have no animus towards people who can. People who object to pot have no pleasure in their lives and are filled with envy towards anyone who actually is enjoying herself or himself.

So much money and so many lives are wasted on marijuana laws that serve no legitimate purpose. Those laws would have been repealed years ago if not for childish people like the ones who run Kellogg's.

There's also the issue of hypocrisy. Considering how much Kellogg's does to get children addicted to sugar, they are in no position to judge anyone on smoking pot.

I never thought much either way about Michael Phelps before this. (Sorry mos, I prefer guys closer to my own middle age.) But, Kellogg's corporate behavior is so irresponsible. As Laura Penny, author of the brilliant book Your Call Is Important to Us: The Truth About Bullshit has pointed out, the "War on Drugs" is really a War on Some Drugs.

Drug companies are constantly pushing mind altering and mood altering pharmaceuticals such as Prozac. Kellogg's itself is pushing sugar as a mood altering drug. Fast food companies use sugar and other food ingredients as mood altering drugs too. The only thing that determines the legality of a drug is the power of the corporate interests behind it or the lack thereof.

I'm boycotting Kellogg's products (including Carr's, Cheez-It, Keebler, Famous Amos, and Morningstar Farms) until the following conditions are met.

1) Kellogg's reverses its decision.

2) Kellogg's publicly apologizes.

3) Kellogg's runs commercials on all the major broadcast and cable news networks calling for the legalization of marijuana.

Can we have just a little corporate responsibility please?

 

First Openly Queer Head of State

Posted by libhom Thursday, February 05, 2009 2 comments

Good for Iceland!

Here's some wonderful news I first found out about by reading Letters from the Sanitarium.

From the BBC's coverage of this momentous event:

Johanna Sigurdardottir, a former flight attendant and union organiser, was sworn in as Iceland's first female prime minister - and the world first openly gay leader - on Sunday.

The 66-year-old former social affairs minister is one of Iceland's most popular politicians.

Her appeal has held up even as confidence in the government itself has plummeted, amid an economic crash, soaring unemployment and street protests.

In our national egotism, we tend to think of America as being more advanced than the rest of the world. This definitely needs reconsideration on queer issues. LGBT issues have made more progress in South Africa, Canada, most of Europe, and much of South America than they have in here in the good old USA.

While President Obama has imposed the same pink ceiling on cabinet level positions as his predecessors, a lesbian is the head of state in Iceland. Makes you think, doesn't it?

Ms. Sigurdardottir and the rest of Iceland is pretty nonchalant about the whole thing (again BBC)
According to Ingo Sigfusson of Iceland's public broadcaster, RUV, Ms Sigurdardottir's emergence as the world's first openly gay leader has barely rated a mention among his countrymen and women.

"It's by no means a big deal. It's been reported, but it's not something the public is focusing on," he told the BBC.

"On the one hand, Iceland is a fairly liberal, tolerant country when it comes to homosexuality. On the other hand, she's never been particularly public about her private life, even though her partner is listed on the parliament's website."


 

So far in the early days of the Obama administration, things have been decidedly mixed. Here are some important examples.

Good News: Obama Takes First Step Towards Limiting Pay for Banking Bailout CEOs

Here's a quote that sounds pretty good (Wall St. Journal 2/4/09)

"We're going to be demanding some restraint in exchange for federal aid -- so that when firms seek new federal dollars, we won't find them up to the same old tricks," Obama said in announcing the new limits at the White House.

This sounds good, but there's waffling in the fine print.
Under the new rules, expected to be adopted shortly, executives at large banks receiving so-called "exceptional assistance" and other financial institutions applying for capital are having their salaries limited to $500,000. However, one key provision would allow shareholders to vote to waive the $500,000 executive-pay limitation.

According to the WSJ, the CEO's of Bank of America, AIG, and Citigroup would be subject to potential pay restrictions, though others would not. This is a good first step in the right direction, but the loopholes need to be closed, and there needs to be a broader effort to cap all CEO pay.

Bad News: No Troop Withdrawals from Iraq Announced

So far, more of Obama's appointees to high level positions have withdrawn from consideration than US troops have withdrawn from Iraq. The main reason so many of us voted for Obama in the primaries was to bring our troops home. So far, all Obama has done is to hold meetings. The Iraqi people are still being slaughtered wholesale by the US military; their economy is still being obliterated; and our fragile economy is being damaged by a senseless and illegal war.

Good News: Bush Regime's Utah Wilderness Selloff Canceled for Now

From Democracy Now 2/5/09:
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has canceled a controversial last-minute Bush administration attempt to auction off nearly 150,000 acres of wilderness in southern Utah.

DN provided some of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's statement.
In its last weeks in office, the Bush administration rushed ahead to sell oil and gas leases at the doorstep of some of our nation’s icons, some of our nation’s most treasured landscapes, and did so particularly in Utah. In a December 19, 2008 lease sale, they offered 130 parcels for oil and gas development, seventy-seven parcels of which are close in proximity to Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, Dinosaur National Monument and Nine Mile Canyon. The seventy-seven parcels in total contain about 130,000 acres. President Obama and I believe strongly that we need to responsibly develop our oil and gas supplies to help reduce our dependence on foreign oil, but we must do so in a thoughtful and balanced way.

Amy Goodman did mention that people shouldn't relax and assume that the issue is resolved for the foreseeable future.
During the same conference call, Salazar refused to declare the public land in Utah to be permanently off-limits to drilling.

Liberals need to push Obama to spend much more than he plans on public transportation so we can do better in the fight against Global Warming and reduce our dependency on destroying our wilderness heritage.

Bad News: Obama Creates His Own Version of Bush's Hate-Based Initiatives

Living up to the threat candidate Obama made during his campaign, President Obama has created his own office to run his version of the hate based initiatives started by the Bush regime to divert government funding from inclusive charities to religious ones. The policy, which is based on the bigoted and laughable notion that religious belief makes people more moral and responsible, is a direct attack on the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the US Constitution.

Obama is trying to reduce constitutional oversight and accountability by including inclusive charities in the same office's purview as those of religious charities. This will make it more difficult for advocates for the Constitution to account for how much money is being given out in illegal funding.

Some of the goals of this hate based initiative, as laid out by the White Hosue, are truly disturbing (LA Times 2/5/09):
* Making community groups an integral part of the nation's economic recovery and making poverty "a burden fewer have to bear when recovery is complete."

* Offering advice on supporting women and children, addressing teenage pregnancy and reducing the need for abortion.

* Supporting fathers "who stand by their families," helping young men find well-paying jobs and promoting "responsible fatherhood."

* Working with the National Security Council to foster interfaith dialogue with leaders and scholars around the world.

Religious leaders are the last people on the planet who should be "offering advice on supporting women and children," and the number of abortions in this country are none of the government's business. Abortion is a perfectly legitimate medical procedure, and no one has any legitimate reason to object to it. This is another example of Barack Obama's sexism that we have seen in two other recent incidents. The third item also is blatant sex discrimination. Young women need help finding decent jobs too. Hopefully, the office will face legal challenges on both sex discrimination and state/church separation grounds.

Involving the National Security Council in "interfaith dialgoue" is blatantly unconstitutional as well.

Misogyny, anti-atheist bigotry, and pandering to dangerous religious extremists are three areas where President Obama certainly does not represent a sufficient degree of change from George W. Bush.

 

Merkel Stands Up to Ratzi

Posted by libhom Tuesday, February 03, 2009 4 comments

You know something big is happening when a conservative German politician stands up to the first German Pope. From the BBC 2/3/09:

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said the Vatican's clarifications over the readmission of a bishop who queries the Holocaust do not go far enough.

"In my opinion these clarifications are not yet sufficient," Mrs Merkel said.

Chancellor Merkel's stand regarding Ratzinger (papal play name "Benedict") is an even bigger deal than an American politician standing up to Rick Warren, which never happens. Obviously, democracy in Germany is not anywhere near as dysfunctional as it is here in the US.

Chancellor Merkel also said:
"This should not be allowed to pass without consequences," Mrs Merkel said at a news conference in Berlin.

"This is not just a matter, in my opinion, for the Christian, Catholic and Jewish communities in Germany but the Pope and the Vatican should clarify unambiguously that there can be no denial," she said.

 

Bold Beast Bites Bloomberg

Posted by libhom Monday, February 02, 2009 3 comments

Staten Island Chuck is a hero for all New Yorkers.

In addition to being a lousy mayor and one of the people most responsible for our nation's financial crises, Michael Bloomberg oozes with the arrogance that so often is found in someone with far more money than any human being could possibly earn. Bloomberg got what was coming to him this time when he taunted and pushed around Staten Island Chuck, the Forgotten Borough's weather predicting groundhog.

The grand groundhog bit Bloomberg.

From the Staten Island Advance 2/2/09:

Perhaps lashing out against budget cuts for local zoos, or perhaps just because he wasn't ready to be awakened from his winter nap, Staten Island Chuck took a nibble out of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's hand during this morning's Groundhog Day festivities at the Staten Island Zoo.

"His hand was nicked," a Bloomberg spokesman said. The mayor is up to date on his Tetanus shot, so he simply washed his wounded finger and put on a bandage.

Here's the video, also from the Advance.

Disclaimer: Godless Liberal Homo does not condone the mistreatment of the animal in this video. It's just great to see the poor little fella fight back.

Groundhog Day


In case it isn't obvious, taunting and pushing around wild animals is a very stupid thing to do.

I would encourage you to read the comments at the bottom of the story. Most of them are really funny. Here are a couple of gems:
poor chuck,
he'll probably have to receive rabies shots

...

So whats the big deal Chuck eats Kosher.....

...

He was just doing what most Islanders want to do -only he actually acted on it. Go Chuck!

I remember when Staten Island was Bloomberg's political base. Now that he is getting rid of city employees, there are a lot of pissed of people. (Staten Island has gotten to be the last place many people can afford on government salaries.)

Staten Island Chuck has managed what local politicians have failed to do in decades of efforts. This intrepid groundhog has put the southernmost Borough on the map.

 

From the Boston Globe 2/1/09: (Hat tip to Suburban Guerrilla)

The Obama administration is telling the Pentagon and gay-rights advocates that it will have to study the implications for national security and enlist more support in Congress before trying to overturn the so-called "don't ask, don't tell" law and allow gays to serve openly in the military, according to people involved in the discussions.

They said Obama, who pledged during the campaign to overturn the law, does not want to ask lawmakers to do so until the military has completed a comprehensive assessment of the impact that such a move would have on military discipline. Then, the president hopes to be able to make a case to members of both parties that overturning the 1993 law would be in the best interest of national security.

If you have worked in government or have been involved in activism, you know that ordering studies is a common bureaucratic tactic to avoid action while looking like you are doing something. The time frame is uncertain, but it is sounding ominous.
At the Pentagon, officials say they have been told not to expect the administration to seek to lift the ban quickly. One senior officer, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the press, said staff officers for Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have been told it will be several months at the earliest - possibly not even this year - until the top brass will be formally asked to weigh in on a change in policy.The top brass may not be asked to state their views until 2010 or later???

This sounds like postponing an actual repeal of DADT indefinitely. Given Obama's invitation of the dangerous homophobe, Rick Warren, to play a prominent role in the inauguration and Obama's complete discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in Cabinet appointments, this should really raise alarm bells. Considering how Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Barney Frank betrayed us on ENDA during the last Congress, things are looking dismal on lgbt issues. The Democratic Party is really starting to look like a lost cause for us queers.

If this heterosexist oppression from the Democrats continues, this only sensible thing for queers to do is vote party line Green in November 2010. We cannot reasonably be expected to passively endure the viciously bigoted behavior we experienced during the eight long years of Bill Clinton's administration indefinitely.

 

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