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The Green Party's Condemnation of the Stupak Amendment

Posted by libhom Thursday, November 26, 2009 5 comments

picture of a coat hanger with a no symbol over itI'm still angry at the Democratic National Committee for not condemning the anti abortion Stupak Amendment. If the Democratic Party will not even defend basic constitutional freedoms like the right to abortion, can we trust the Democratic Party to defend anything it says it stands for?

Here's part of the Green Party Press Release (11/16/09)

WASHINGTON, DC -- Green Party leaders today called the Stupak Amendment in the recently passed US House bill on health care reform a disaster for women's reproductive rights and a betrayal of the Democrats' stated support for women's rights and well-being.

Many Greens foresee growing anger among Democratic voters, especially women, and possible defections from the Democratic Party over the amendment.

The Stupak Amendment to HR 3962 states that any health care plan purchased with any federal subsidy cannot cover abortion services, even with private funds, and prohibits the public plan from covering abortion care. The amendment will make it more difficult and expensive for anyone to purchase a plan with abortion coverage and discourages insurers and employers who provide health care benefits from affording such coverage.

The Green Party has criticized the Democrats' health care proposal because it leaves the insurance and pharmaceutical industries in control of health care and fails to provide universal coverage: see "Greens urge defeat of the Democrats' 'insurance industry life-support' bill in the US Senate and call for a rally of efforts to enact Single-Payer/Medicare For All," press release, November 10 (http://www.gp.org/press/pr-national.php?ID=262).

The Green Party supports full reproductive rights, including uncompromised access to abortion services for women (www.gp.org/platform/2004/socjustice.html#998980 /
www.gp.org/platform/2004/socjustice.html#1012830).

"Michigan Greens targeted Bart Stupak's District One seat in Congress with the candidacy of Jean Treacy, who challenged his opposition to women's rights, including the freedom to choose. The Stupak Amendment is the sharpest blow against poor women and their rights since the Hyde Amendment. It was proposed by a Democrat and passed by a Democratic Congress. We challenge feminists, feminist and progressive organizations, and all Americans who support rights and equality for women to stop supporting candidates who retreat from these principles, and to vote Green instead," said Candace Caveny, Green candidate for the US House in Michigan's 10th District (http://www.candacecaveny.org) in 2010.

The Greens also make an important point about single payer being the best way to go on healthcare. Given that polls consistently show that 65-70% of Americans support Medicare for everyone, only massive political corruption in the Democratic and Republican politics have kept this from passing long ago.

The press release also illustrates a danger facing the Democrats if they continue to pander to the misogynistic and racist religious extremists who oppose abortion rights.
"I reregistered Green many years ago because Democratic Party leaders made too many compromises on reproductive rights. Greens believe reproductive rights are non-negotiable."said Marnie Glickman, member of the party's National Women's Caucus and a former national co-chair of the party. "Feminism is one of the Green Party's key values. Until Greens gain seats in Congress and state legislatures and we end two-party control, women's rights face compromise and repeal."

The Democratic politicians may think they own the votes of pro choice voters, and we don't have anywhere else we can go. They are wrong.

Photo: Leo Reynolds

 

Tell the Senate to Get Off Their Butts and Fight Global Warming

Posted by libhom Wednesday, November 25, 2009 2 comments

guys in polar bear suits with sign that says Strike Out ExxonSadly, overt Republicans in the Senate are joining covert Republicans like ultra corrupt Montana Senator Max Baucus to try to block meaningful action to fight Global Warming. While the big money flows in from Big Oil and Big Coal, the planet deteriorates. From a recent Care2 Action Alert email on behalf of the Environmental Defense Fund:

Global warming is melting glaciers in every region of the world, putting millions of people at risk from floods, droughts and lack of drinking water.

Act now to tell the Senate that we need a strong climate change bill.

Glaciers are ancient rivers of compressed snow that creep through the landscape, shaping the planet's surface. They are the Earth's largest freshwater reservoir, collectively covering an area the size of South America.

The site World View of Global Warming has some excellent Before and After photos of glaciers showing that they are getting smaller. The corporate interests and their shills try to make Global Warming seem like this distant, or even imaginary problem. We already are in the period of human made climate change, and the consequences we've already seen are frightening. Here's are two that the petitioners want you to be aware of that corporate interests do not.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and India's Energy and Resources Institute predict that much of the Himalayas could be glacier free by 2035.

Two billion people rely on meltwater from Himalayan glaciers for their fresh water.

The petition page's text does an excellent job of summarizing the politics.
The U.S. House passed a landmark bill that would for the first time set a legal limit on America's global warming pollution. Now all eyes are on the Senate where the climate legislation is expected this Fall.

But the right wing is obsessed with fighting this legislation and have pulled out all the stops. Since announcing her resignation, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has joined forces with ExxonMobil, Rush Limbaugh and other climate obstructionists and will undoubtedly resurrect the right-wing "Drill-Baby-Drill" mantra!

America has a clear choice. We can follow Palin and the extreme right or unleash a clean energy future. Now is the time to end the threat of run-away global warming. Sign the petition and urge your Senators to support the strongest possible global warming bill!

It's interesting that Palin, Limbaugh, and Excon Mobile all are notoriously homophobic. Hateful and irresponsible behavior often knows no bounds.

Please Sign the Petition!

Photo: A Siegel

Former Pro Wrestler Makes Allegations Against Linda McMahon

Posted by libhom Tuesday, November 24, 2009 4 comments

headshot of Linda McMahonThe Senate Campaign of former WWE CEO/Diva Linda McMahon is more fun than a C Street party. It's just the gift that keeps giving. In case you've missed out on the previous entertainment, here are my two past postings on her.

Questions About Linda McMahon's Senate Campaign

Linda McMahon's Senate Campaign Provides More Comedy Gold

Now, I've found out that "Superstar Billy Graham," a former pro wrestler has been making some allegations about her that add to the comedic value of her GOP Senate campaign. From the Hartford Courant 11/18/09:

"She may look like a Sunday school teacher," Graham said, but he insists nothing could be further from the truth. "Linda McMahon's hands are as bloody as her husband's because she is aware of every move in the ring," he said.

That quote is hysterical. This is the image I get of a Sunday school run by former WWE CEO Linda McMahon.

1) The little girls would all have breast implants.

2) The little boys would hit each other with garbage cans and slam each other into precut tables.

3) The baby Jesus would have his own Titantron with death metal music.

4) The image of the "Virgin" Mary would be with her in a thong.

Graham actually makes potentially legitimate criticisms, but I had to go with the snark first. (I am only human after all.)
Superstar Billy Graham is speaking out against the woman he says made millions from the violence, sexual exploitation, blood and excesses of professional wrestling. What outrages him particularly, he says, are recent attempts to sanitize the wrestling mega-enterprise whose sexy women wrestlers once performed in "lingerie matches" and were still posing nude in Playboy as recently as 2008. He views this toning down as a huge act of hypocrisy — an attempt to graft a family-friendly face onto a business that has been anything but.

This reminds me of one of the funnier WWE storylines ever: they had a long running gag about an elderly woman who was a nymphomaniac. I thought she was totally cool, but I don't think GOP primary voters would.

I have to admit that I don't think the WWE's simulated necrophilia angle is so funny. Anyway, back to the news story about Gralahm
He still accepts the adulation of rabid fans, but the praise for the wrestling legend came at a price — six hip replacements and five hip dislocations he attributes to taking massive amounts of steroids that built his body to super-human proportions and allowed him to bench-press 600 pounds. Graham is lucky to be alive after receiving a liver transplant that he needed, he said, because he contracted hepatitis C from the blood of another wrestler.

Graham is furious about having no pension and no continuing health care from his wrestling career, an anger that fuels his campaign against McMahon's candidacy.

This is an unusual example of a common problem: lifelong workplace injuries and a lack of universal healthcare in this country. We may not be able to relate to being a softcore bi/gay porn star pro wrestler, but we can relate to the medical concerns.

Graham also talks about some changes that were made in the WWE product before her Senate campaign started.
First, in a sport where bleeding was once commonplace, blood has been virtually banished from the ring. Graham said he cut himself with a razor blade 300 to 400 times in his decadeslong career. Said Graham: "She has had no problem with grown men — myself included — cutting their head with a razor blade. All of a sudden, why aren't these guys bleeding anymore? Because Linda is running for the Senate."

The second major change, he said, is that the attractive female wrestlers who have posed nude in Playboy magazine in the past are suddenly no longer posing.

Third, wrestling no longer features "bra and panty matches," in which female wrestlers would strip each other down to their undergarments. "You might as well put a pole in the ring and let them dance around like in a club," Graham said.

Another Republican who is a sanctimonious hypocrite? Oh my.

Photo: Linda McMahon for Senate

 

Laughable Iraq War Propaganda from the New York Times

Posted by libhom Monday, November 23, 2009 4 comments

map of IraqThe New York Times has a truly shameful history of Iraq war propaganda without even remotely adequate fact checking. Remember Judith Miller?

Sadly, little has changed at the NY Times. Check out this monstrosity from them on 11/20/09 (Hat Tip: Progressive Eruptions)

U.S. Fears Iraqis Will Not Keep Up Rebuilt Projects

BAGHDAD — In its largest reconstruction effort since the Marshall Plan, the United States government has spent $53 billion for relief and reconstruction in Iraq since the 2003 invasion, building tens of thousands of hospitals, water treatment plants, electricity substations, schools and bridges.

But there are growing concerns among American officials that Iraq will not be able to adequately maintain the facilities once the Americans have left, potentially wasting hundreds of millions of dollars and jeopardizing Iraq’s ability to provide basic services to its people.

There are lots of problems with this article that could be discussed at length. However, one just leaps out at you if you have been following the war on Iraq closely.

The vast majority of the "projects" that our government spent $53 billion for simply do not exist.

How do I know this? Most of the corporate media's coverage from Iraq has either been from the Green Zone or from Washington, DC. Yet, there is an obvious source of eye witness info on Iraq: vets.

Iraq Veterans Against the War did a huge public service in its Winter Soldier project, which included a conference, videos, and testimony before Congress. One of the most consistently reported items from their testimony in all the forums was the fact that they saw no rebuilding of Iraq actually being done. The construction they did see was for military bases, not rebuilding the country. If you want to know more about the Winter Soldier testimony and what really is going on in Iraq, I would refer you to the following YouTube playlists.

Winter Soldier 2008

Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan

Also, check out IVAW's YouTube Channel.

As for the NY Times propaganda piece, one paragraph from the article is particularly ironic, given the actual facts on the ground in Iraq.
Despite the $53 billion spent by the United States, many Iraqis have criticized the rebuilding effort as wasteful. Ali Ghalib Baban, Iraq’s minister of planning, said it had not had a discernible impact. “Maybe they spent it,” he said, “but Iraq doesn’t feel it.”

How can he feel something that is completely imaginary?

I bet the corporate media will try to use this new angle to justify an eternal occupation of Iraq. The whole thing is sick and wrong.

 

rainbow flag made out of balloons at parade
Photo: dereckesanches

United ENDA is a coalition of hundreds of lgbt organizations who support a fully inclusive Employment Non Discrimination Act (ENDA). ENDA is under consideration by both the House and Senate, and we really need to contact the people who are supposed to be representing us in DC to let them know we want it to pass ASAP. From United ENDA's Action Alert:

This Thursday, November 5, a Senate Committee will hold a hearing on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (S. 1584). Key witnesses will testify about how vital this legislation is for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workers and their families. But we know that the most important voices to these Senators are the voices of people who live back home.

We have made it easy to call or send an email. Senators and Representatives and their staffs tell us that calls and emails make all the difference!

So CALL the U.S. Capitol switchboard at: (202) 224-3121. Give your zip code and ask to be connected to your Senators, and then your Representative.

Use this message: My name is _____ and I am a proud resident of (your city, state). I am calling in support of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (H.R. 3017/S. 1584), to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from job discrimination. Please take action to pass ENDA now. I can be reached at _______ (give your phone number). Thank you.

Notes:

1) Since the Action Alert was put out, the Senate Hearings were delayed. That's all the more reason to push harder.

2) Whenever you get a phone script or default text in an email alert, you should always replace that with your own words and views. It's much more effective. The canned stuff is for people who get tongue tied or writer's block.

3) The Action Alert also has an email form.

4) The House and Senate bill numbers are H.R. 3017 and S. 1584 respectively.

5) Here's what I put in the email form, if you want another option of what to start from other than the default text that is there.
Please support an inclusive ENDA (H.R. 3017 / S. 1584) - the bill that protects lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans from losing our jobs simply because of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Also, please make sure that the final version of ENDA includes protections on the basis of disparate impact, which eliminates a huge loophole for corporate lawyers.

The Democrats should have passed employment discrimination protections at least as early as 1993. This is long, long overdue.

Please Take Action Now!

You can also join United ENDA's Facebook group.

 

The Transgender Day of Remembrance happened last Friday. This year, like every year, I have trouble writing about it. It's very painful.

One of the people who shaped my view of the world was Connie Norman. She was an AIDS activist and a queer activist. She was a force of nature. She could create a storm of activity with her bold and moving voice, coupled with her incredible intellect. She was a nurturer of activists. In fact, many people at actions called her Momma Connie which brought a knowing smile to her eyes. She even had her own radio show.

She died of AIDS years ago.

TDOR is about remembering transgender people who were killed by bigoted violence. I strongly maintain that our country's AIDS policies were and, to a large extent, a particularly effect form of violence that have killed hundreds of thousands of people in America. Connie Norman was one of those people, and I still miss her.

I know it is important to remember her and keep writing about her. It's just very difficult.

 

caviar in expensive dishHere in New York, our "Democratic" Governor is slashing government services and laying people off in the middle of a deep recession. In California, students are engaging in perfectly reasonable protests against astronomical college tuition increases (the University of California system calls its tuition "fees" in order to cloud the issue). In states all over the country, budget cutting has been the main approach to dealing with the recession.

Why?

SUV limoThe state budget gaps easily could be eliminated by making the rich pay something a little closer to their fair share in taxes. These budget cuts are completely unnecessary.

The rich's share of our nation's wealth and income keeps growing, while the middle class and poor both are losing their share compared to previous decades. The rich used to pay much higher taxes, which they deserved to pay, given how much they leech off of the rest of us.

Yet, the corporate media and politicians in both parties are treating fair taxation for the rich as a taboo topic. The corporate media are owned by the rich, and campaign contributions from the rich buy off the politicians.

Talk about horrible human consequences from blatant political corruption.

Photos: just.Luc (just.Censored)
fensterbme
nathangibbs

 

What to Do If You Are Dissatisfied with Obama and Bush

Posted by libhom Saturday, November 21, 2009 7 comments

In the previous posting where I encouraged liberals to think boldly and expansively, I quoted something I wrote on somebody else's blog:

I don't really think the only choices are to put up with Obama's crap or go back to the Bush era. The corporate media work daily to try to limit our imaginations and make us feel utterly helpless. We should not let them win.

Some might accurately point out that, on most matters of substantive policy, Obama has kept us in the Bush era. Given the reality that Obama is a political opponent of liberals most of the time, and the Republicans are political opponents of liberals all the time, what do we do?

Become Swing Voters Between the Democrats and the Greens
One of the reasons Democrats tend to provide lip service but little else to liberals is that they can take most of our votes for granted. Swing voters get disproportional attention. Does this mean we should vote GOP sometimes? Setting aside the moral concerns, there is a strong practical reason why no liberal should ever, ever vote Republican, no matter how frustrating the Democratic opponent might be. When you vote Gopper, the message the Democrat running against the Gopper gets is that they are too far to the left, which is precisely the opposite of the reason you don't want to vote for the Phonycrat.

Voting Green in cases where the Democrat isn't actually a Democrat is much more productive. It sends a message to that Democrat that they have gone too far to the right need to move left to regain your vote. Being a swing voter between the Democrats and the Greens also gives the Republicans a reason to move towards the center. They are better off if you vote Green. So, it is in their best interest to minimize the differences between the Democrat just as it is in the best interest of the Democrat to maximize the difference. In other words, voting Green part of the time nudges both major parties to the left.

We tend to think of voting exclusively in terms of who wins and loses that specific election. It is so easy to forget the use of the vote as a behavior modification tool.

I should also mention the long term benefit of voting Green, since voting behavior affects the distant future in addition to the immediate present. Voting Green helps build an institution that may one day be a major party challenger. Our country hasn't always had a two party system, and the second party within the more common two party system haven't always been the GOP.

Stay a Registered Democrat
From a practical perspective, the only significance of partisan registration is the ability to vote in primaries. Even if you end up voting Green in the general election, it still is useful to push the Democrats towards the left, especially in contested primaries. Being an independent just minimizes your political importance, no matter how emotionally satisfying it is, given how rotten the vast majority of Democratic and Republican politicians are. Green Party primaries are usually uncontested, and the candidates almost never win in the general, so Green registration isn't terribly productive, yet.

Note: if you are in a state with open primaries, then you might as well disregard this point since your partisan registration has absolutely no practical significance whatsoever.

Support Liberal Primary Challengers
I'm not just talking about voting. I also mean giving money and volunteering if you can. Blog in favor of them too, while you are at it. The Democratic Party desperately needs improvement at the moment, and supporting primary challengers sometimes brings in new people. It usually pushes the Phonycrat away from obsessively following the GOP party line too.

Support Independent Social Movements
This is critical. We can't rely on politicians to push our agendas. We need to get out there and push for things ourselves. Social movements played enormous roles in pushing presidents like FDR, Truman, Johnson, and Nixon to the left. We need to be the people who continually piss off all political parties. In the bizarre area of human interaction known as politics, you get a lot more with vinegar than honey.

When the Republicans Are Reprehensible, Attack Them For It
Being understandably pissed at the majority of Democratic politicians doesn't mean that you should let the Republicans off the hook for their behavior. When the Republicans support corrupt or bigoted policies, condemn them for it. When they make up nonsense to stoke racist, misogynistic, or heterosexist fears, condemn this behavior in the strongest terms. This isn't spectator sports. You are under no obligation to pick teams between the Republicans and the Democrats. Give the birthers and the religious extremists heck.

When the Democrats Are Reprehensible, Attack Them For It
Hateful, corrupt, and bigoted behavior are wrong regardless of who is involved. When Phonycrats act like the most brain dead of Goppers, don't let them get away with it.

When the Democrats Do Something Worthwhile, Praise Them For It
It can be easy to forget to do this when you are pissed off at the Democrats, and most of the time you don't have the opportunity. However, it is important. There is one catch, though. When Reid, Pelosi, Obama or any other conservative Democrat appears to be doing something good, there often is something nasty in the fine print. Be careful. Don't trust. Verify.

Fortunately, we do have Dennis Kucinich and a few other Democrats that we can hold up as models of what we actually want Democrats to do. We should publicize their views and their behavior. Liberals need to be bold enough to say to the Democratic Party that we deserve entire caucuses of Democrats as compassionate and incorruptible as Kucinich.

The Upshot
The overarching point of this all is that we liberals need to think of ourselves as bold, independent agents, not tied to any party and tied to very few politicians. No matter how hard the corporate media try to marginalize us, we need to get out there and champion our values as passionately as the right does theirs.

 

This posting is part 1 of a response to a discussion that has jumped between the blogs of Writer at This And That and myself. You may find the background helpful for putting this in context. If not, skip to the main posting.

Writer was discussing a posting on the Daily Kos, which I freely admit is a blog I generally try to avoid, because I find it so annoying. The gist of the posting Writer was discussing was that we are somehow obligated to support President Obama in a way that reminds me of sports fan for fill in the blank local team. The arguments for doing so were (stripped down to the actual substance):

1) Look at the nice symbolic gestures President Obama makes.

2) Obama inherited difficult issues which justify his generally conservative approach to policy.

3) The right's attacks are so reprehensible that we must support this president.

The posting, as is usually the case on the Daily Kos, reflected a lack of liberal values and very low standards. Here was my comment (on Writer's blog):

I don't really think the only choices are to put up with Obama's crap or go back to the Bush era. The corporate media work daily to try to limit our imaginations and make us feel utterly helpless. We should not let them win.

Writer asked in response:
...you mention there are alternatives, and I agree that there are, but what are they? We have this dicotomous government and we've had it for so long that other options (practical, doable, not having to change the very basis of society options) are hard to see. I then I have friends (you among them) who say there are options, but typically don't say what they are.

One of the reasons that liberals and progressives haven't gotten very far since the 1970s is that the only people who have taken seriously the notion of making structural changes in our society have been on the right. One question that you might want to ask is:

Is it possible to dramatically change the structure of our society?

It is easy to see one area of human endeavor that has changed the very basis of society: technology. Twenty five years ago, the Internet was pretty much limited to email and USENET in universities, the military, and other institutions that did research. Most people never had used a computer to do anything. Penmanship was a very important skill, one that I admittedly wasn't terribly good at. Most people still watched broadcast TV instead of cable. Remember what it was like before cell phones?

Technology may seem too impersonal and apolitical to sufficiently address the point. What about something that has made major changes in the world of politics? Well, corporate/wealthy interests and their pawns on the right side of the political spectrum have dramatically restructured our economy. In the name of the mythical "free market" and "free trade," tens of millions of jobs have been exported to other countries; the rich have seized a far greater share of our nation's wealth and income from the middle class and the poor; major media have become much more concentrated and propagandistic; civil liberties have been sacrificed to corporate interests; and officials in both political parties are trying to keep us locked in a perpetual state of war that reminds one of the endless wars described in Orwell's 1984.

We have been fed pablum from the media avoiding these issues or discussing them as if they are the results of impersonal forces of nature when they actually have been the result of a relentless jihad by far right pundits, academics, and organizers, all very well paid by rich people whose investment in this political machine has more than been paid off in enormous, unearned wealth. (Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine provides a coherent and compelling roadmap through much of this.) This professional far right elite also has been supported strongly by easily manipulated drooling knucklewalkers on the fringe right as well as by some more ordinary middle class conservatives who live in a fantasy world where they subconsciously identify themselves with the people who are screwing them over by blindly doing their bidding.

If the right can dramatically reshape our society, why can't the left? By giving up on this entirely, Americans to the left of center have ceded the life affirming initiative and sense of hope that the right so readily provides its morons and fantasizers. Given the fact that the policies we support are in the interests of the overwhelming majority of the people in our country, our fearful and reticent approach to politics is something can only be maintained by relentless brainwashing by corporate media.

We need to stop them from getting away with this.

Going outside of economics, think about the huge social impact of the queer civil rights movement. Two areas which we have made a huge impact during my adult lifetime are the vastly improved self esteem and confidence in many lgbt people and the distinctly improved treatment of queers in our society, though I would be the first to admit that both are areas where the is a whole lot more progress must be made.

The other area that gets less attention is that the queer movement has asserted and institutionalized the pursuit of happiness and fulfillment as political goals worth fighting for. This assertion obviously has its roots in the social movements of the sixties, but the queer movement is the only one which, to date, has persisted in making this structural claim in our society in a sustained fashion. Other civil rights movements have made tremendous contributions to the notions of equality and justice which are nothing to sneeze at, but the queer one has made meaningful happiness something that is considered worth fighting for rather than frivolous.

This also is part of why lgbt civil rights find their most rabid opposition among people who are unhappy and unfulfilled and among religious groups that promote misery among their flocks in order to keep them desperate for relief in afterlives that don't even exist. Make no mistake, many of our heterosexual supporters are pushing for us in order to assert their own rights to the pursuit of happiness. I say, more power to them.

Seen in this context of people being able to modify our social structure in important ways, the notion that all we can do is to strongly support center-right politicians who are in conflict with far right politicians is not consistent with the historical record we have seen in many of our own lifetimes. If you go farther back in time to the union and civil rights movements before the sixties, you again can see that the ability to reshape society can be found among the sufficiently motivated and dedicated.

We need to use tactics in the here and now to try to achieve that vision, no doubt. I'll talk about tactics in the next post.

 

A Profound Comment on My Blog

Posted by libhom Thursday, November 19, 2009 0 comments

fireworks
Photo: foxypar4

It's not often that someone says something in blog comments that is beautiful and profound. Yet, it happened on my blog. I'm delighted to do a posting featuring it in order to give it the attention it deserves. It was a response to my post on the Deceptive Nature of Appearances. I'm giddy to have gotten such an amazing response.

One of the things I love about the internet is that someone's physical appearance has nothing to do with my opinion of them. Most folks that I admire or downright love I have never seen a picture of.

- Dusty (of It's My Right to Be Left of Center)

What the Rightists Believe

Posted by libhom Wednesday, November 18, 2009 5 comments

It is utterly amazing what the US right believes:

Katie Couric was persecuting Sarah Palin during the famous interview when Ms. Couric was desperately trying to help Palin answer the questions but Palin still screwed it up.

Japan's Emperor Akihito, who has no governing powers, is a "despot."

Anyone who stands up to a rightist bully is just plain mean.

Abortion is "murder," but letting people starve without food stamps is just fine.

Global Warming is a "myth" but supply side economics is not.

Governments ration healthcare, but insurance companies do not.

Rudy Giuliani is the "hero of 911" despite the fact that he put NYC's terrorism response center in the World Trade Center after it had already been bombed by terrorists.

It is intolerant to speak out against intolerance.

"Free trade" creates more jobs for Americans.

It doesn't matter if you make the correct decisions, as long as you make them quickly.

Their marriages are miserable due to same sex couples.

Women shouldn't vote, but they should be pundits.

Science is an evil, liberal plot.

It is intolerant to speak out against the rape of children by Roman Catholic priests.

David Broder Should Retire

Posted by libhom Tuesday, November 17, 2009 5 comments

cake with WTF written on itWashington Post propagandist David Broder actually wrote this (bolding mine):

The more President Obama examines our options in Afghanistan, the less he likes the choices he sees. But, as the old saying goes, to govern is to choose -- and he has stretched the internal debate to the breaking point.

It is evident from the length of this deliberative process and from the flood of leaks that have emerged from Kabul and Washington that the perfect course of action does not exist. Given that reality, the urgent necessity is to make a decision -- whether or not it is right.

That is a really dumb thing to write. It's as if he doesn't even read over his columns before submitting them for publication.

People are already speculating that Broder might be senile. The quality of his column has been gradually declining for at least a decade. Whether the problem is senile dementia, burnout, or just a general malaise at not having his beloved George W. Bush illegally occupying the White House, Broder should give it up. He's just self parody at this point.

Photo: SanFranAnnie

 

picture of a coat hanger with a no symbol over itBy now, you know that the loony religious extremist, Bart Stupak, got his misogynistic amendment through the House to discriminate against women by not allowing abortion coverage in private insurance eligible under the fairly weak healthcare plan that was passed by the House.

Once again, we have been betrayed by a far right Phonycrat who acts like a Bush/Cheney/Limbaugh/Palin/Duke Republican. You'd think that people would learn from what is happening in Iran that religious extremism brings nothing but misery. Yet, the Bart Stupaks of the world think that's just fine. There is so little real difference between someone like him and Ahmadinejad, it's not even funny.

Please Join the Primary Stupak Facebook Group!

How much more of this hateful religious extremism are we going to have to put up with in America?

Photo: Leo Reynolds

 

When Is Obama Going to Put an End to the War on Iraq?

Posted by libhom Monday, November 16, 2009 1 comments

Updated: I had intended to use this fancy widget on the costs of the war, but it doesn't work on my computer. You will have to check the right menu of It's My Right to be Left of Center to check it out.

In any case, we have spent well over $600 billion on the Iraq War.

Iraq Deaths Estimator

I'm amazed that unemployed Americans are willing to tolerate this colossal waste of money on a senseless foreign war based on lies.

Hat tip: Ten Percent

 

More Fabulous Hits From Billionaires for Wealthcare

Posted by libhom Sunday, November 15, 2009 4 comments

Let them eat Advil.  www.billionairesforwealthcare.comThese emblems of the upper crust, Billionaires for Wealthcare, just keep the hits coming. The SF group performed "We Shall Overcharge" at a protest against Blue Cross, a formerly nonprofit group that was transformed in a sleazy deal to a for profit corporation a while back, causing rates to skyrocket. I share the protesters' goal of single payer healthcare.

This hit is so smokin' hot that it already has been covered by somebody else on YouTube. But, only the original version is good enough here on Godless Liberal Homo.


The Billionaires also serenaded the teabaggers in DC. I love the CIGNA Palin 2012 sign.


Another chart climber: Save the Status Quo

Reid looking weak and patheticOne of the biggest signs of the intellectual and moral decay of the Democratic Party is that no one in Nevada has stepped forward to challenge Harry Reid in the primary. Reid is a racist, misogynistic, heterosexist Mormon extremist who has failed to govern as a Democrat in any meaningful way.

Let's look at healthcare. Reid continues to lie and say that he needs 60 votes to pass healthcare as an excuse to try to block a strong public option. He hopes that Democrats won't know that he can easily pass it through budget reconciliation. Yes, the Goppers will whine, but they will attack, attack, attack everything the Democrats do anyway. It would be smarter politics to help boost 2010 turnout among understandably disillusioned Democrats and Democratic leaning independents by actually getting something done than worrying about the tantrums of Republicans. But, Reid is bought and paid for by the HMOs, so he doesn't care.

More on Budget Reconciliation from Think Progress:

...Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH), who said any use of budget reconciliation by President Obama would be “regarded as an act of violence” against Republicans, and likened it to “running over the minority, putting them in cement and throwing them in the Chicago River.” Other GOP senators have chimed in against reconciliation, with Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) calling it a “purely partisan exercise” and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) saying it “would be a mess.”

Despite their howls against Obama, Republicans employed the same procedure to pass major Bush agenda items (which were supported by all four aforementioned Senators):

– The 2001 Bush Tax Cuts [HR 1836, 3/26/01]
– The 2003 Bush Tax Cuts [HR 2, 3/23/03]
– Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005 [HR 4297, 5/11/06]
– The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 [H. Con Res. 95, 12/21/05]

As ThinkProgress has noted, Gregg defended using the reconciliation procedure to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for domestic drilling in 2005, arguing, “The president asked for it, and we’re trying to do what the president asked for.” Evidently, Gregg has lost the same sense of patriotic duty.

Reid has been acting like a Bush Republican for some time now. In the last Congress, Reid blocked efforts to defund the Iraq War, and he still won't support cutting funds off now. Reid even supported the efforts of Hillary Clinton, Joseph Lieberbush,and Dick Cheney to get us into a war with Iran. While Bush was in office, Reid offered only token opposition to any of Bush's initiatives.

Returning to this Congress, Reid, an anti choice misogynist, has refused to push for any legislation to curb the terrorist activities of his fellow abortion opponents. He's done nothing to crack down on the banksters. The antitrust division of the Justice Department is still horribly understaffed, which is just how Reid would like to keep it. ENDA and legislation to lift the military ban are going nowhere. Reid has done nothing to block the Hate Based initiatives that were started under Bush and have been expanded under Obama.

The least the Democrats could do would be to remove this de facto Republican as Senate Majority leader. His sniveling and dishonest behavior puts a terrible public face on the Democratic Party in the Senate. Yet, no public calls have been made by Democratic Senators to remove him from this position.

The fact that Reid is Senate Majority Leader and the fact that he has yet to face a primary challenger show how weak, corrupt, and spineless the Democratic Party has become.

Photo: talkradionews

 

Join Tasini in Defending Abortion Rights

Posted by libhom Saturday, November 14, 2009 1 comments

flyer defending abortion rights featuring no symbol across a coat hangerJonathon Tasini is running a primary challenge against gun nut Phonycrat Kirsten Gillibrand. In addition to giving us a Real Democrat to vote for in the primary, he also is using his candidacy as a platform to support a lot of important issues, including abortion rights.

As you may know, the House passed a misogynist amendment forbidding abortion coverage in healthcare available from employers and through private insurance companies covered in the healthcare plan. Although Viagra and Cialis are covered, abortion is not covered even though it is a perfectly legitimate medical procedure. This sex discrimination is unacceptable.

Tasini is doing something about it. Please sign his petition to Harry Reid demanding that this hate be stripped out of the final healthcare bill. From the petition text:

The health care legislation passed by the House of Representatives contains an unacceptable and immoral attack on the rights of women. We, the undersigned, call on Democrats in the U.S. Senate to block any attempt to include language that undermines a woman’s right to privacy and a right to health coverage. We also call on Senate Democrats to commit to removing the Stupak-Pitts amendment in any conference committee negotiations over the final health care legislation.

I couldn't agree more.

Please Sign the Petition!

 

The Deceptive Nature of Appearances

Posted by libhom Friday, November 13, 2009 7 comments

Biases based on appearance are something I hadn't given much deep thought to until recently. Two things sparked it. I heard Susan Boyle sing for the first time not long ago. We usually are marketed at in a way which suggest that singers have to be beautiful, sexy, fashionable, or rebellious in the way they look. None of that has jack to do with singing ability, yet I have to admit to being surprised at how great of a singer she is. Now, I wish she could be sent back in a time machine to do vocals for Heaven 17 or Culture Club. The results would have been absolutely amazing.

Morrisey singing looking really hotThe second thing that sparked this line of thought was an unconscious bias I had about men. I knew that I always have found big sideburns on men to be very sexy. There was no revelation there. But, after meeting this guy who had nice sideburns and was gorgeous in lots of other ways, I started realizing that I had other completely silly associations with long sideburns that I wasn't even aware of. For some reason, I have had this unconscious belief system where men with big sideburns are more intelligent, cooler, more fun, appreciate the arts more, and lead more interesting lives. Now that I examine this, I can't help but think, WTF? I can't help but think that part of this is a reaction to Morrissey and other musicians with long sideburns, but I'm sure it goes deeper than that. Sideburns are definitely part of why I think James Callis is cute, though there are a lot of things about him that are hot.

(Note to the Mos Reading This: The sideburns reference is completely literal. It is not a euphemism for penis size.)

I wonder how much of evaluating people based on their appearance is innate and how much of it is the result of marketing techniques. I'm not just talking about good looks vs bad looks. We get bombarded with messages saying that certain clothes and styles will make us more like this, that, and the other thing.

Social justice activists often talk of unconscious racism, sexism, and heterosexism. When you think about your own appearance based perceptions that are politically and socially neutral to the larger culture, it helps make it obvious that such activist claims are not just smoke and mirrors.

Photo: Brocco Lee

Bite Me, Lou Dobbs

Posted by libhom Thursday, November 12, 2009 6 comments

Illustration of hand giving someone the fingerBy the time you read this, I'm sure you will have heard that Lou Dobbs has left CNN. I have a personal reason for being glad that Osama bin Dobbs no longer will be on the Corporate News Network. They have CNN on at my gym right above the mats where I do abs. Being a captive audience for that piece of filth was really annoying.

There are lots of reasons to hate Lou Dobbs. He is horribly racist and homophobic. He is a cheesy, partisan Republican hack. All that gets a lot of attention. Dobbs is irritating for other reasons, which get less attention.

- He is incredibly vain.

- He has this annoying habit of resting his head on his chin to try to look intelligent while he babbles.

- Dobbs and his cronies made shit up all the time.

- He pretends he cares about middle class people like me when he is a total shill for the wealthy and corporations.

- His smile is incredibly sinister.

- He brags more than one of Linda McMahon's WWE superstars.

It was such a pain trying to avert my eyes from looking forward while doing abs. I did a little happy dance when I read he was leaving CNN. If that network really wants to improve their ratings, they should continue their winning streak by having Anderson Cooper do the newsreading in a pair of Speedos.

Illustration: ddogbreath

This fabulous Ted Rall video points out what Bush and his cronies have gotten away with.



Meanwhile, people are routinely arrested for victimless crimes like pot smoking, prostitution, gambling, and public sex.

 

The Justice Dept. Should Break Up Goldman Sachs

Posted by libhom Wednesday, November 11, 2009 1 comments

I found this fabulous video on Spocko's Brain, the blog that has been challenging rightist hate radio with their own words for years. This time, he is pointing out a real villain people should be angry at, instead of scapegoating minority groups. That villain is Goldman Sachs.

I hadn't heard of Max Keiser before this, but his analysis is dead on. It's funny listening to the shill for the banksters parrot deceptive talking points instead of providing any kind of actual analysis, his or anyone else's.



Now that GS has driven Bear Stearns, its biggest competitior, out of business by misusing its power over the Dept. of Treasury and the Federal Reserve, GS has reached the stage where it is a dangerous monopoly under our nation's antitrust law. The Justice Dept. is legally obligated to take these banksters to court in order to break up this monstrosity for once and for all.

People forget all of the reasons why antitrust laws were originally passed. Our school history books usually focus only on the important aspects of protecting consumers from having only one or a few options and the harm to businesses and their employees when companies use unfair tactics to drive competitors out of business.

Yet, there was another motive behind the Trust Busters, one which is just as valid today. They saw that a small number of super rich people and their companies were accumulating enormous power and using that power to corrupt the government and society as a whole. Breaking up monopoly businesses was correctly seen as an important means to protect liberty in this country. Libertarians may pretend that government intervention in the economy is this huge threat to liberty, but actual experience in this country has shown us that corporations and the rich are far greater threats to liberty than the government. Even when government does deprive Americans of our liberties, it is almost always the result of corporate and plutocratic control of politicians.

sign that says left lane must turn leftThe corporate media are spinning last week's off year elections like crazy. This commentary in the 11/8/09 Philadelphia Inquirer reflected the dominant narrative being pushed.

Even before voters went to the polls last week, moderate congressional Democrats were anxious. Would the swing voters who coalesced around Barack Obama almost exactly one year ago stay with the Democrats or defect to the Republicans?

The answer came Tuesday night as Republican gubernatorial candidates swept to power in New Jersey and Virginia, with the help of large packs of self-described independents.

Exit polls circulating on the House floor Wednesday were even more unnerving to Democrats. The Republican candidates, the polls indicated, had received the votes of two-thirds of independent voters.

There is an underlying assumption with this analysis, that the independent voters in the two years' elections were demographically comparable. One obvious problem with such analysis is that independent voters are not a cohesive, uniform group. There consist several major categories of independents.

1) Independents with who are equally supportive or hostile to Democrats and Republicans over time: The corporate media pretend that this group represents all independents.

2) Republican leaning independents

3) Democratic leaning independents

4) Independents who are to the left of the Democrats

In last week's elections, turnout was quite low. The only category of independents that turned out much at all was category 2. Let's talk about why the other independents showed little interest in these elections.

1) Neither party has performed very well in Congress or in the state houses in terms of actual governing. That gives neutral independents very little positive reason to show up. Since off year elections aren't Earth shatteringly important, there wasn't much reason for this group to be afraid of not showing up.

3) and 4) The Democrats in Congress and the White House have governed more like Republicans than Democrats. They can't seem to get even a strong public option through, even though that is a compromise from what the overwhelming majority of Americans want, Medicare for All (the dominant single payer proposal in the US).

sinister clownWhen you take Democratic oriented independents, left independents, and registered Democrats, you have some people who have been seriously demoralized by the behavior of the White House, the Congressional leadership, and corrupt Phonycrats like Max Baucus whose elective offices have been treated as if they were up for auction on EBay. Look at the core Democratic/liberal constituencies that have been ignored or screwed over big time.

- The Peace Movement

- Abortion Rights Supporters

- Liberal Activists

- Organized Labor

- Human Rights Activists

- Marijuana Legalization Advocates

- The Poor

- The Middle Class

- Supporters of State/Church Separation

- Advocates of Economic Justice

Queers have done a bit better, getting passage of hate crimes legislation. But, we had to mount a national march, protest an HRC dinner where Obama was speaking, and go ballistic on the blogs to even get the Democrats to acknowledge that we exist.

Under these circumstances, it isn't shocking that many voters who turned out in 2008 stayed home in 2009. The pools of independent voters in the two years were in no way comparable.

Yet, the corporate media make an apples to orgasms comparison in order to justify their claim that the Democrats actually need to move to the right. Of course, the corporate media always tell the Democrats to move to the right regardless of election results, while never telling the Goppers to move to the left. But, what is bizarre is that the post election shift in the House healthcare debate indicates that the Democrats are actually following this crazy advice.

The GOP style governing by the "Democratic" leadership is causing other problems for the jackasses. People who are frustrated and demoralized are not volunteering for campaigns. Also, liberal donors have had to put resources into ads against corrupt Phonycrats like the appalling Max Baucus, money that could have gone to helping Democratic candidates. Many of us are refusing all DNC, DCCC, and DSCC donation requests as a matter of basic ethics.

If the Democrats don't get their heads out of their posteriors and move to the left, many of their voters will stay home in 2010. Much of the donor well will run dry for the Democrats in 2010 unless things get better. This will put the GOP in a position to pick up seats, in spite of that party's many weaknesses. Democrats need to govern in a way that brings real, positive change.

A lot of this goes back to the corporate shills' distortion of the 1994 GOP election results. Bill Clinton, a rightist Dixiecrat pushed through a more draconian version of the military ban and corrupt trade deals like NAFTA while taking very little positive action on issues Democrats care about. Core Democratic constituencies stayed home in response, and the corporate media spun it as the nation shifting to the right and embracing the values of the GOP.

photo of a deranged looking Bill Clinton

Many Democrats are stupid enough to believe that spin to this very day. If they don't wake up and listen to their own voters, history may very well repeat itself.

Photos: See-ming Lee 李思明 SML
phatman
veni markovski

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops (a racist, misogynistic, and heterosexist hate group as evil as the Ku Klux Klan) issued a statement demanding that abortion coverage be taken out of healthcare legislation in the House last weekend.

Abortion is a perfectly legitimate medical procedure and a basic right of women. No one can honestly argue otherwise. Opposition to abortion rights is based largely on a venomous and fanatical hatred of women and a desire to keep women down. The decision by an organization which bans women from being members to attack women may not be surprising, but it is reprehensible.

Of course, racism has always played role in Roman Catholic opposition to abortion too. Lay leaders like Adolph Hitler and Pat Buchanan have openly opposed abortion in order to force white women to have more white babies. Current RCC Pope, Joseph Ratzinger may not express such views openly, but obsessive racism plays a role in everything he does, especially his genocidal campaign against condom use in Africa.

Obviously, any meddling in politics by a church or by church leaders is a violation of the legal commitment made when any religious group accepts tax exempt status. The fact that the RCC and the Mormon church/hate group still are tax exempt shows our government's utter disdain for the rule of law.

Even if one were to accept the anti American meddling by clerics in general, the action of these RCC bishops is specifically repugnant. They should be using all of this time and energy on stopping the rampant rape of children within their priesthood. Instead, the vast majority of their energy on the subject of child molestation is to try to cover up their denomination's involvement in it.

A church that prefers attacking women to stopping their own child molesters is beneath contempt. In fact, this mentality is beneath the comprehension of any moral, civilized human being.

 

My Email to Maine Tourism

Posted by libhom Sunday, November 08, 2009 4 comments

Illustration of hand giving someone the fingerPersonally, I don't have any interest in the failed, oppressive, and violent hetero institution of marriage. However, I am sick of the bigoted mentality of the Christian Right nutjobs who use same sex marriage as an excuse to lash out at queers. So, I'm letting my money do my talking. Here's the text of an email I sent to Maine Tourism.

I was planning on taking a vacation in New England next summer. I really enjoyed going to Massachusetts, and I planned on exploring more of the region. I had even looked into museums and galleries in your state.

However, now that Maine voters have embraced vicious homophobic bigotry, I'm leaving Maine off of that trip. I don't want any of my gay dollars in the pockets of those crazy bigots who voted that way.

You Can Send an Email to Maine Tourism Too

Illustration at top: ddogbreath

memo to Maine: eat shit

By the way, when I was looking for a photo or illustration for this post, I considered putting the words "Fuck Maine" in one of those online sign making sites. I got some
humorous results when I accidentally put them into a site that sells actual neon signs.

Enjoy!

 

Warning! Keep your kids away from scumbag molesting priests.

The rampant rape of children in the Roman Catholic priesthood just won't stop. Coverage of alleged molestation by Ratzi's beloved priests doesn't stop either, despite efforts by the RCC hierarchy to intimidate the press into silence.

Tulsa, OK
From Tulsa World 11/4/09:

An unidentified plaintiff has filed a lawsuit against a former priest and the Catholic Diocese of Tulsa, alleging sexual molestation of a minor and failure to warn of past accusations.

Ken Lewis was "laicized," or dismissed from the clerical state, in 2007 after a history of sexual-abuse allegations. He is the only priest to be defrocked in the Tulsa diocese's history.

Bishop Edward Slattery is also named as a defendant in the suit, which seeks more than $10,000 in damages.

North Dakota
From Chicago Tribune 10/22/09:
In a lawsuit filed Tuesday in North Dakota, David Gaffaney, 47, of Minnesota, accuses Charles Anthony "Raimond" Rose, now 76, of fondling him at a Ramada Inn in Orlando, Fla., while Gaffaney was sleeping. The two were on a field trip sponsored by Shanley High School, a Roman Catholic School in Fargo, N.D.

Gaffaney came forward when he learned about five other lawsuits filed against Rose last summer. Rose faces multiple suits for allegedly abusing students at two schools run by the Christian Brothers in Minnesota.

Dominican Republic

From Montreal Gazette 10/24/09
A former Canadian priest sitting in a Dominican Republic jail cell awaiting extradition to Canada on multiple sexual molestation charges was working as a scuba diving instructor at a hotel before local authorities arrested him this week.

Joao Jose Correira Duarte, a former Windsor, Ont., priest also known as John Duarte, faces nine counts of sexually exploiting 12-to-17-year-old boys in Haiti over a 10-year span.

He was arrested Tuesday by Dominican immigration and counter-narcotics agents in a joint operation, local authorities said.

Wilmington, DE
From Reuters 11/2/09:
Victims of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests in Delaware will be "egregiously" harmed if they are unable to tell their stories in court, a lawyer for the alleged victims told a federal bankruptcy hearing on Monday.

The Catholic Diocese of Wilmington filed for bankruptcy last month, temporarily delaying eight civil trials that were about to start in sex-abuse lawsuits involving priests.

Bishop W. Francis Malooly has said bankruptcy, the seventh by a U.S. diocese, is the quickest way to resolve the 142 claims that stem from allegations of abuse beginning as far back as 1954.

While the diocese is bankrupt, its 58 parishes are not, and abuse victims want to pursue their lawsuits against them.

The child molestation and the cover ups continue unabated. Yet, the Justice Department continues to avoid prosecuting Roman Catholic clergy under RICO. This is a bipartisan scandal that undermines the rule of law and any notion of human decency.

Note to Commenters:
In a previous posting, I laid out a policy about defending clerical child molestation or any other kind of child abuse. That policy is permanent and will be enforced.
Any and all efforts to defend Ratzi and the Catholic clergy function as enabling Catholic priests to go on raping kids. There are some really sick things on the Internet, but that is going to far, at least on this blog. Anyone who engages in this sickening viciousness will discover that the following three things will happen.

1) Those comments will no longer be published.

2) All future comments by that poster will be rejected.

3) Links to any blogs written by those commenters will disappear.

This goes double for trolls who pretend to be concerned about child abuse while defending the pro molestation policies of the Catholic Church or denying that they exist.

Remember the War on Iraq?

Posted by libhom Saturday, November 07, 2009 2 comments

map of IraqCurrently, there are almost 120,000 US Troops occupying Iraq along with well over 100,000 expensive and unaccountable mercenaries.

US law now says that all of our troops must be out of Iraq, but not until all the way to the end of 2011. Who knows if even this will happen? Some government officials are using political disputes in Iraq to try to justify putting off the partial withdrawals that are supposed to lead up to all of our troops taken out of that country.

Meanwhile, more US troops will be killed and wounded, a lot more Iraqis will be slaughtered, and hundreds of billions of dollars in US government funds will be wasted on this corrupt and senseless venture. Yet, the corporate media, many bloggers, and even much of the peace movement are ignoring Iraq. I urge you to join me in resisting this trend. Here are a couple of important news items on Iraq that are too important to let go.

Big Oil Gets Big Contract in Iraq
From Democracy Now! 11/05/09:

In Iraq, the oil giants Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell have been awarded a contract to develop a southern Iraqi oil field. It’s first major deal for an American-led bid since the US invasion of 2003 and the latest in a series of deals awarded by the Iraqi government.

This is a reminder of why we went to war in Iraq. It also is interesting to note that the Dutch government sent troops to Iraq despite popular opposition. British involvement in the war had been rewarded with a big contract for British Petroleum a couple of days before.

Parents of Iraq War Soldier Who Committed Suicide Speak Out
Soldier suicides have gone up dramatically since the Iraq War started as have suicides of veterans after people started coming home from the Iraqtastrophe.
From Democracy Now! 10/27/09:
SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: We turn now to a Democracy Now! national broadcast exclusive. Gregg and Jannett Keesling are the parents of Chancellor Keesling, a US soldier who took his own life on June 19th of this year. Chancellor was on his second [tour of duty] in Iraq. During his first deployment, he suffered mental health issues so severe he was placed on suicide watch. After getting back to the United States, Chancellor had turned down a bonus offer to return to Iraq in the hopes he wouldn’t be redeployed. But he was called back in May. One month later, he took his own life.

AMY GOODMAN: Since Chancellor’s death, Gregg and Jannett Keesling have yet to receive a letter of condolence from President Obama. After making inquiries, they discovered this was not because of an oversight. Instead, it’s because of a longstanding US policy to deny presidential condolence letters to the families of soldiers who have committed suicide.

Gregg and Jannett Keesling join us now from Indianapolis, where they live. This is the first time they’re sharing their story in a national broadcast.

We welcome you both to Democracy Now! Gregg, let me go first to Jannett. Tell us about your son. Tell us about Chancellor. Tell us why he joined the military, his first tour of duty, and then ultimately deciding to go back, or being called back.

Read what they have to say or watch below.

Kucinich Fights to Protect Credit Scores from the Banksters

Posted by libhom Thursday, November 05, 2009 3 comments

photo of KucinichFrom Rep. Dennich Kucinich's 10/30/09 press release: (Hat Tip to Dandelion Salad)

Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) sent a letter Comptroller of the Currency, Mr. John Dugan, requesting an investigation of the effect on consumer credit scores of some bank practices in advance of the enactment of the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act.

Consumer credit scores, originally developed to measure a consumer’s creditworthiness, have become much more influential in a consumer’s life. Credit scores are now used in writing insurance policies and even in determining employability. Kucinich is concerned that some practices, such as charging “inactivity fees” for unused credit, have the potential to damage consumer credit scores.

“Consumers who have worked hard to maintain a healthy credit score will be faced with an unfair choice: they can either pay a new annual fee to maintain available credit levels and the healthy credit score that comes along with it, or cancel unused cards, lose their creditworthiness, and pay higher interest rates on loans,” writes Kucinich in the letter.

“It is simply outrageous that at a time when the American people are being encouraged to increase their savings and spend more responsibly, some credit card companies are preparing to punish their customers for doing precisely that.”

Full Press Release Including Letter

The banksters have been going crazy with ripoffs so they can keep paying their upper management enormous salaries and bonuses in spite of those executives mismanaging the banks. Sadly, Congress and the Obama administration are doing too little to protect consumers from this thievery.

"Profits Before People"

Posted by libhom Wednesday, November 04, 2009 1 comments

Billionaires for Wealthcare has a new song that they released at a recent Glendale, CA protest against the health insurance company Cigna.

When CIGNA representatives refused to speak with protesters at their offices in Glendale, CA yesterday morning, the Billionaires for Wealthcare came to their defense. We serenaded these meddlesome masses with a new song we like to call “Profits Before People.” See the lyrics here.

More “Billionaires” music!



Personally, I would love to hear this kind of music on pop radio stations, but somehow, I doubt Clear Channel would go along with it.

Mayor for Life Bloomberg

Posted by libhom Tuesday, November 03, 2009 5 comments

Ugh.

The only good news for NYC tonight is that Michael Bloomberg is 67 years old.

Bill Thompson speaking at rally of EMTs supporting himI've admired John Liu for some time now. He has done a lot of oversight of the MTA and stood up for transit riders on the City Council. Mayor Bloomberg and his appointees to the MTA board have done little but use the MTA as a cash cow for Bloomberg's rich friends. Here's the text of the email.

Election Day is Tuesday.

Do you know where your polling site is located?

Click here to find out.

Nearly a year ago, Republican Mike Bloomberg disregarded the will of the people when he overturned the term limits law we voted for twice.

Meanwhile, our City continues to become more unaffordable because of sky-high rents, taxes, fines, fares, and fees.

We can do better.

I have known Bill Thompson for many years. He has the vision and the experience we need to make our City more affordable for working families.

On Election Day -- Tuesday, November 3rd -- come out and vote for Bill Thompson. Together, we can shape a new direction for New York City and tell Mike Bloomberg that eight is enough.

Click the link below to find out where your poll site is and do your civic duty: vote!

http://www.thompson2009.com/pollsite

Thank you.

Sincerely,

John Liu
Democratic Nominee for New York City Comptroller

If you wonder why I think Michael Bloomberg is such a terrible mayor, my previous postings on him should give you many of the reasons.

Michael Bloomberg has run NYC like a failed bank or brokerage firm. The Thompson campaign is fond of saying "Eight Is Enough" referring to Bloomberg's broken promises on term limits. I say, "Eight is way, way, too many."

Photo: Edwin Martinez1

Bloggers Supporting Bill Thompson, Other Endorsements

Posted by libhom Sunday, November 01, 2009 2 comments

EMTs at Bill Thompson Rally
EMTs at Bill Thompson Rally
Photo: Edwin Martinez1

City Comptroller is running a courageous campaign against NYC's abysmal Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Here are some blogs of people supporting Thompson. (If you know of more, please do mention them in the comments.)

Blabbeando

Bloomberg Watch

Education Notes Online

Fed Up New Yorkers

Justice Not Change

Lost in the Ozone
- lists in detail the disastrous shape our city is in

Mole's Progressive Democrat

No Th3rd T3rm for Micha3l Bloomb3rg!

Pauline Park




Some Other Endorsements:

Gay City News

Civic Center Residents Association NYC

DC 37

El Diario

Jonathan Tasini

Lambda Independent Democrats

Manhattan Young Democrats

NYC Kids PAC

Out People of Color Political Action Club

Stonewall Democratic Club

Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York
(It must really be awful for them to see people dying in front of them because Bloomberg closed fire houses.)

Working Families Party




Full List of Union Endorsements:

Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU, UFCW), Allied International Union, Amalgamated Transit Union Locals 1056 & 891, International Union of Operating Engineers, District Council 37, New York Metro Area Postal Union (APWU), Public Employees Federation (PEF), Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 1180, UAW Region 9A, Fire Alarm Dispatchers Union, District Council 1707, BCTGM Local 50, Uniformed Firefighters Association (UFA), National Association of Letter Carriers: Branch 36, National Association of Social Workers, Local 2507, Uniformed EMT's and Paramedics, Local 3621, Uniformed EMS Officers Union, Local Union No. 3, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association (COBA), Local 74, USWU, Teamsters National Black Caucus, New York State Chapter, Professional Staff Congress (PSC), Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) Local 1000, Communications Workers of America (CWA) District 1, International Association of Machinists District 15, International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 808, Local 94 of the International Union of Operating Engineers, The Associated Musicians of Greater New York Local 802 AFM, Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 100




Elected Officials:

President Barack Obama

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

Senator Chuck Schumer

NY State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo

Governor David Paterson

City Council: Charles Barron, Gale Brewer, Leroy Comrie, Elizabeth Crowley, Bill de Blasio, Inez Dickens, Erik Martin Dilan, Mathieu Eugene, Julissa Ferreras, Lewis A. Fidler, Helen D. Foster, Daniel Garodnick, Vincent J. Gentile, Eric Gioia, Sara Gonzalez, Robert Jackson, Melinda Katz, Letitia James, John Liu, Melissa Mark-Vivento, Darlene Mealy, Rosie Mendez, Annabel Palma, Christine Quinn, Joel Rivera, Lawrence Seabrook, James Vacca, Albert Vann, David Weprin, Thomas White

US House of Representatives: Yvette Clarke, Joseph Crowley, Gregory Meeks, Charles B. Rangel, Jose Serrano, Kendall B. Stewart, Ed Towns, Nydia M. Velazquez, Anthony Weiner, David Yassky

State Legislature: Assembly Member Peter J. Abbate, Senator Eric Adams, Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Assembly Member Jeffrion Aubry, Assembly Member Inez Barron, Assembly Member Michael Benedetto, Assembly Member Michael Benjamin, Assembly Member Jonathan Bing, Assembly Member William F. Boyland, Assembly Member James F. Brennan, Assembly Member Alec Brook-Krasny, Assembly Member Karim Camara, Assembly Member Vivian E. Cook, Assembly Member Marcos Crespo, Assembly Member Michael DenDekker, Senator Martin Dilan, Assembly Member Jeffery Dinowitz, Senator Thomas Duane, Assembly Member Adriano Espaillat, Assembly Member Herman Farrell, Jr., Assembly Member Michael N. Gianaris, Assembly Member Vanessa Gibson, Deborah J. Glick, Assembly Member Richard Gottfried, Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson, Assembly Member Carl E. Heastie, Assembly Member Andrew Hevesi, Assembly Member Dov Hikind, Senator Shirley Huntley, Assembly Member Janele Hyer-Spencer, Assembly Member Hakeem Jeffries, Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh, Assembly Member Micah Kellner, Senator Jeffrey Klein, Senator Liz Krueger, Assembly Member Rory Lancman, Councilmember Jessica Lappin, Assembly Member Joseph R. Lentol, Assembly Member Alan Maisel, Assembly Member Margaret M. Markey, Assembly Member Nettie Mayersohn, Assembly Member Grace Meng, Assembly Member Joan L. Millman, Senator Velmanette Montgomery, Assembly Member Catherine T. Nolan, Assembly Member Daniel O'Donnell, Assembly Member Felix W. Ortiz, Assembly Member Jose Peralta, Senator Bill Perkins, Assembly Member Nick Perry, Assembly Member Audrey I. Pheffer, Assembly Member Adam Clayton Powell, IV, Assembly Member Peter M. Rivera, Assembly Member Naomi Rivera, Assembly Member Jose Rivera, Assembly Member Anette M. Robinson, Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal, Senator John L. Sampson, Senator Diane Savino, Assembly Member William Scarborough, Senator Eric T. Schneiderman, State Senator Jose M. Serrano, Senator Malcolm Smith, Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, Assembly Member Matthew Titone, Assembly Member Michele R. Titus, Assembly Member Darryl C. Towns, Assembly Member Helene E. Weinstein, Assembly Member Mark Weprin, Assembly Member Keith L. T. Wright

Please Vote for Bill Thompson on Tuesday!

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