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fist clenching cash
Photo: Muffett

Barack Bush's Cat Food Commission is being marketed as a "deficit commission." The sales strategy is to claim that slashing Social Security and Medicare are necessary to reduce deficits and are the only options.

That is absolute nonsense. Here are some of the far superior options for deficit reduction that are off the table for the Cat Food Commission, proving what a lie the whole thing is.

- Repealing corporate controlled trade agreements like NAFTA, CAFTA, and the GATT agreement that created the WTO which reduce tariff revenues (Tariffs traditionally have been major sources of revenue for governments.)

- Repealing the tax cuts for the rich that passed under Reagan, Carter, and Kennedy

- An immediate and full withdrawal from Iraq

- An immediate and full withdrawal from Afghanistan/Pakistan

- An end to covert operations in Iran

- End of all aid to Israel

- End of aid and support for the fascist dictatorship in Colombia

- Eliminating tax deductions which only rich people can take advantage of

- Closing most military bases abroad

- Legalization of Marijuana

- Sentencing crack like other cocaine

- Repealing cuts in corporate taxes that have passed in recent decades

- Taxing capital gains (other than primary home sales) like income actually earned by working

- Cut back on wasteful military spending

- Cut back on wasteful and unconstitutional homeland security spending

- Instituting a luxury tax

- Legalization of gambling

- Legalization of prostitution

Somehow, these options for deficit reduction never get considered by "deficit hawks" in DC and in the corporate media. Their beloved Cat Food Commission is all about robbing the middle class and poor and giving money to the rich.

 

Fighting Back Against Racists

Posted by libhom Friday, July 30, 2010 3 comments

racism sucks painted on a wall

Photo: blmurch

The white supremacist hate site, "Big Government," has made a dirty name of itself by running deceptively edited videos to promote its racist agenda. Finally, the fightback has begun.

Shirley Sherrod has expressed her intention to sue Andrew Breitbart, the racist behind that bigoted website. Deceptively edited video used to twist peoples' words in order to make false claims about them certainly deserves to be considered libelous. If the courts don't recognize this, then libel law desperately needs updating.

ACORN, an incredibly important organization, was almost completely wiped out by a classist and white supremacist smear campaign involving deceptively edited videos run on the same white supremacist blog. What did ACORN do to generate this attack? They fought poverty, educated people on how mortgages are supposed to work, and they registered poor people and people of color to vote.

Well, somebody decided not to just shut up and take it. A lawsuit has been filed this month by a former ACORN employee who was the target of those misleading videos.

From Alternet 7/14/27:

Juan Carlos Vera is suing James O'Keefe, the ACORN "pimp," and Hannah Giles (his "ho"), for at least $75,000 in accordance with California's Invasion of Privacy Act.

Rightwing dirty-trickster and convicted federal criminal James O'Keefe and his accomplice Hannah Giles are being sued for invasion of privacy by a San Diego ACORN worker.

Juan Carlos Vera was fired by the 4-decade old anti-poverty, pro-democracy community organization after deceptively edited and secretly recorded video tapes of a meeting Vera had with O'Keefe and Giles were released by the pair and published on Republican propagandist Andrew Breitbart's websites. The tapes were then widely aired on Fox "News", as well as non-Rightwing media outlets.

Vera is suing for at least $75,000 in accordance with California's Invasion of Privacy Act which, according to the short, four-page complaint [PDF] filed at week's end in U.S. District Court, "prohibits the recording of confidential communications without the consent of all participants where there is an objectively reasonable expectation that the conversation is not being overheard or recorded."

Now, there is a call by Velvet Revolution for the people responsible for the videos lying about ACORN to be criminally prosecuted.
Yesterday, we filed a formal request with both Maryland state and Baltimore city prosecutors for criminal charges against James O'Keefe, Hannah Giles and Andrew Breitbart for violating Maryland's Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Act. A copy of the letter is here. In short, when the accused videotaped employees of the Baltimore ACORN office without their knowledge or consent, they violated the law which requires two party consent.

The rightist bigots behind all of this are bullies who go after people they think are weak and powerless. However, not all of their victims are weak, nor are they powerless. Breitbart and his band of bigots may have thought that they could intimidate non white voters as well as people who discuss the racism that permeates the teabagger Astroturf scam, but their actions may very well have dire legal consequences.

 

The Catfood Commission's Secret Meetings

Posted by libhom Thursday, July 29, 2010 1 comments

If it really were a legitimate "deficit commission," it wouldn't be meeting in secret.



This video was put up on YouTube by Strengthen Social Security, Don't Cut it. I'm particularly pleased that the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is a member organization, which demonstrates their commitment to queer seniors issues. This disproportionately effects queers who are much less likely to have children to help us when we get older.

I'm often behind on my email, and this was no exception. I thought people should be informed about the events anyway, even though the meeting was last night.

Because of the state budget crisis, Queens Pride House has lost over $80,000 in funding, and we've been forced to lay off 5 of our 8 staff members and reduce the number of hours the center is open. If we can't recoup that funding through contributions from LGBT community members and other sources, we may well be forced to close our doors. Come to Pride House at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 27 to help us strategize on how to save the only LGBT community center serving the borough of Queens.

Queens Pride House is a noble start in efforts to provide local services to people in Queens. It has so much promise. It would be a shame to see it fade away.

One of the things that is so frustrating about this is that the "budget crisis" in New York is as fake as the budget crises in other states. If the rich were made to pay their fair share in state and local taxes, deficits throughout the country would be replaced by surpluses. We could also rescue the states by stopping the Iraq or Afghanistan wars and redirecting the money.

America is experiencing the Shock Doctrine, and queers are not exempt.

 

Open Letter to Nancy Pelosi on ENDA

Posted by libhom Tuesday, July 27, 2010 0 comments

rainbow flag made out of balloons at parade
Photo: dereckesanches

I received this in an email from Pride @ Work today. I think it is great that it includes organizations in Nancy Pelosi's district.

From San Francisco Pride at Work, One Struggle, One Fight, GetEqual, Harvey Milk Democratic Club, Transgender Law Center, National Center for Lesbian Rights, El / La, and National Pride at Work

An Open Letter to the House Speaker on ENDA

We are writing to express how extremely troubled we are that the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) has not yet been scheduled for a vote by the full House of Representatives. We believe a floor vote must be scheduled for ENDA immediately.

It would be devastating for LGBT workers for this Congress to not complete its work on ENDA before the end of this session. ENDA would be historic in the number of LGBT people who would benefit from its passage. During this economic crisis, it is more important than ever to prohibit the often impoverishing effects of workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Most LGBT workers have no protections from workplace discrimination. ENDA would provide legal protection against discrimination nationally. Over and over we have been promised that a vote would be scheduled on ENDA, and these promises have been repeatedly broken. In 29 states, it is still legal to fire someone solely because they are lesbian, gay or bisexual. And in 38 states it is legal to fire someone solely for being transgender. The current version of the bill would outlaw discrimination on both sexual orientation and gender identity.

A 2006 study by the San Francisco Bay Guardian and the Transgender Law Center found that 60 percent of transgender people in San Francisco earn less than $15,300 per year, only 25 percent have a full-time job and nearly 9 percent have no source of income.

Only 4 percent reported making more than $61,200, which is about the median income in the Bay Area. More than half of local transgender people live in poverty, and 96 percent earn less than the median income. Forty percent of those surveyed don't even have a bank account. What this study reveals is that even in a city that is considered a haven for the LGBT community, transgender workers face profound employment challenges and discrimination.

A 2007 meta-analysis from the Williams Institute of 50 studies of workplace discrimination against LGBT people found consistent evidence of bias in the workplace. The analysis found that up to 68 percent of LGBT people reported experiencing employment discrimination, and up to 17 percent said they had been fired or denied employment.

Public opinion polling shows that Americans are overwhelmingly in favor of making sure LGBT Americans get the same employment opportunities as everyone else. In fact, the latest surveys shows that nearly 90% of Americans support workplace fairness for LGBT workers.

As you know, in a few weeks, Congress will finish it's legislative business for the year so that they can return to their districts to run for re-election. Last month at a LGBT Pride event, Congresswoman Jackie Spier announced to the LGBT community that not only would we not get ENDA before the end of the legislative session, that she did not think we would get it for five years because we won't have enough votes in Congress again to ensure passage. It is ironic that Congress plans on leaving town and going home to campaign for their own jobs while leaving thousands of LGBT workers without protections for the next five years. When 90% of Americans support workplace fairness, it is challenging to believe that anyone fears a backlash from the voters. The time to pass ENDA is now. The American people support it, the politicians promised it. No more broken promises. We demand that a vote be scheduled now.

Sincerely,

SF Pride at Work, One Struggle, One Fight, GetEqual, Harvey Milk Democratic Club, Transgender Law Center, National Center for Lesbian Rights, El / La and national Pride at Work

The most bizarre thing about this is that passing ENDA would help the Democrats politically, especially in the midterm elections where parties need to turn out their base. Heterosexism not only is trumping human decency, but it also is trumping sound electoral strategy.

I'm not terribly surprised that a labor organization like Pride @ Work gets it in terms of the importance of ENDA. That's why having a voice from organized labor in the queer community is so critical.

 

Resist the Catfood Commission

Posted by libhom Monday, July 26, 2010 1 comments

disgusting catfood in a glass dishI has previously blogged about Nancy Pelosi's sneak attack against Social Security. In that post, I describe the Catfood Commission.

You may have been reading about Obama's "deficit commission" in DC. The name is misleading. Some people call it the "catfood commission" because its real goals are raising the Social Security retirement age to 70, cutting benefits in that program, slashing Medicare, and putting 20% of the Social Security trust fund in the stock market. Healthcare Now has been fighting hard to resist this attack on the livelihoods of the elderly and the futures of the young.

The last thing we need as a nation is to have future generations of elderly people reduced to eating catfood when meager incomes fail most of us. Alternet isn't going along with this. They have put up a petition on Change.Org against the Catfood Commission. The background information follows.
Right-Wing "Deficit Hawks" and their enablers are on a march to destroy the social safety net we built for our seniors and retirees. Shockingly, some of the most notorious advocates are actually in charge of the presidential commission that will soon determine the future of Social Security and Medicare. We need to stop them in their tracks! Join us in calling on Congress to Stop the Catfood Commission.

The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform has been dubbed by progressives the "Catfood Commission" because its goal appears to be cutting benefits so drastically that retirees will only be able to afford to eat pet food. It's hard to tell exactly what the commission is planning because its meetings are closed to the public and the press. Based on past statements and the background of its members the proposals are likely to include raising the retirement age to 70, turning large portions of Social Security over to Wall Street, and cutting Medicare benefits.

The commission's co-chairman Alan Simpson, a former Republican senator from Wyoming, has stated he believes the founders of the Social Security program never expected anyone to actually live to 65 and collect. "People just died," he has said. "Social Security was never [for] retirement." Erskine Bowles, the other co-chairman, negotiated a secret but ultimately unsuccessful deal between Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich to cut Social Security benefits. Any chances that the commission would make cuts to the US defense budget in its pursuit of fiscal responsibility seem slim owing to the fact that the CEO of Honeywell, a major defense contractor, is a member of the panel.

We can't sit back and count on a Democratic-controlled Congress to protect our social safety net. Just a day before the July 4th holiday weekend, the House of Representatives passed a measure that would guarantee an up-or-down vote on the Catfood Commission's recommendations in the current session of Congress if they pass the Senate. With this measure House Speaker Nancy Pelosi relinquished her power to prevent the vote from coming to the floor.

Your representatives need to hear from you NOW. Let's stop the Catfood Commission from raiding the Social Security trust fund and slashing medical benefits for current and future retirees.

Please Take Action to Stop This Attack on Social Security and Medicare!

Also:

Please Contact the President and Tell Him to Disband the Catfood Commission!

Photo: Sunfox

 

The Side of Linda McMahon That Isn't Funny

Posted by libhom Saturday, July 24, 2010 0 comments

Linda McMahon is spending tens of millions of dollars of WWE money to try to buy the Connecticut Senate seat this year. This is the more disturbing side of how the WWE generated that revenue when she was CEO.



The WWE is a major advertiser, which is why you read and see little mention of things like this or the simulated necrophilia the WWE put on nationwide TV. If they covered this important news story, McMahon would have trouble getting 20% in the general election.

Sorry, but there's nothing funny this time.

 

Dangerous Gun Extremism on the DailyKos

Posted by libhom Thursday, July 22, 2010 4 comments

I never know whether to laugh or cringe when some corporate media hack claims that the DailyKos is a "liberal" or "progressive" website. It's run by highly partisan, conservative Democrats who are trying to move liberals to the right at every opportunity.

Seldom has it gotten so cynical or disturbing as a posting by "angry mouse" with the misleading title "Why liberals should love the Second Amendment."

There are so many disturbing things about this. She goes along with NRA terrorist propaganda about the Second Amendment, claiming it is about personal ownership of handguns while ignoring what the 2nd Amendment actually says.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

As you can clearly see from the text, the 2nd Amendment only applies to government sponsored militias that are well regulated. Claims that the 2nd Amendment applies to private gun ownership are deceptive NRA terrorist propaganda that cost the lives of almost 30,000 Americans every year, and which results in far more frequent rapes and robberies. That's right. Having guns legal causes the equivalent of ten 911s every year, from murders, other homicides, suicides, and accidental shootings.

Angry mouse also makes the following nonsensical and dangerous claim about the constitution:
No. 1: The Bill of Rights protects individual rights.

Claims that the first ten amendments of the Constitution only protect "individual rights" involve a specious distinction that originates from the minds of rabid segregationists and has nothing to do with the text of the Bill of Rights. This farcical claim has been used venomously by white supremacists and misogynists to attack Affirmative Action and civil rights in general.

It's also willfully ignorant of who and what human beings are. Human beings are individuals, but we also are social organisms who belong to groups. Parsing out "individual rights" (which also is a rightist code phrase) has the effect of creating numerous civil and human rights violations against individuals who belong to groups in society that face discrmination.

It really should be astonishing that the author actually makes the claim that gun ownership is a "civil liberty." This is fatuous nonsense. Taking away peoples' guns is merely a minor inconvenience. Let's look at the main reasons why people own guns.

1) Misuguided attempts at self protection that actually do far more to endanger the gun owners and the people who live around them.

2) The commission of robbery, rape, murder, and other serious crimes.

3) Killing animals. This is often referred to as "sport hunting," despite the fact that it is too one sided to honestly be referred to as a sport. If people want to hunt for sport, they should be using spears or clubs, not guns.

There simply is no basis for thinking that any of these remotely resembles a "civil liberty." This nonsense comes from the Tom Delay brand of "civil liberties" that considers the ability to put toxic pesticides on food a "civil liberty."

The author turns the civil liberties issue on its head. Gun owners are the ones who are violating the civil liberties of gun crime victims like myself. Present and future gun crime victims have an inalienable right to live in gun free societies. There is no greater violation of civil liberties than living as a gun crime victim in a society where you are surrounded by guns.

How many more people are going to have to get robbed, raped, and murdered before the gun extremists care?

The gun nut who wrote the rant then went on to make the most dangerous claim of all.
No. 3: It doesn't matter that it's not 1776 anymore.

When the Founders drafted the Bill of Rights, they could not have imagined machine guns. Or armor-piercing bullets (which are not available to the public anyway, and are actually less lethal than conventional ammunition). Or handguns that hold 18 rounds. A drive-by shooting, back in 1776, would have been a guy on a horse with a musket.

Of course, they couldn't have imagined the internet, either. Or 24-hour cable news networks. Or talk radio. When they drafted the First Amendment, did they really mean to protect the rights of Bill O'Reilly to make incredibly stupid, and frequently inaccurate, statements for an entire hour, five nights a week?

Actually, yes. They did. Bill O'Reilly bilious ravings, and Keith Olbermann's Special Comments, and the insipid chatter of the entire cast of the Today show are, and were intended to be, protected by the First Amendment.

By this "logic," everyone would have a Constitutional right to nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons, all of which are "arms." This is just plain nuts.

There is an entire industry of death merchants who profit off of this dangerous and irresponsible propaganda. Claims that the 2nd Amendment protects private ownership of guns or that gun ownership is a "civil liberty" are as deceptive as Big Oil and Big Coal's propaganda about Global Warming. Meanwhile, the resulting rapes, robberies, and murders continue.

This is dangerous Rand Paul/Sarah Palin wingnuttery at its most extreme. If I wasn't already aware that the DailyKos is a rightist website, I would be shocked. I have to say, though, if there were truth in advertising laws for politics, the DailyKos would be legally required to stop referring to itself as "progressive" and refer to itself as "rightist" or "corporatist."

 

Michael Steele Defends Linda McMahon

Posted by libhom Wednesday, July 21, 2010 2 comments

Michael Steele and Linda McMahon in the same news story? All it would have taken for a comedy trifecta would be if Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, somebody from Jersey Shore, Chuck Norris, or Octomom was part of the story.

Here's the video of Steele defending Linda McMahon and her tenure as WWE CEO.



Michael is so macho, using WWE lingo like that. What a stud.

 

Yet Another Sarah Palin Parody Video

Posted by libhom Tuesday, July 20, 2010 1 comments

I can't get enough of Osama bin Palin, though I do wish Xtranormal.com had other politicians that I could do parodies of.

protest sign with rainbow that says The Gay Agenda: 1. Equality 2. See Item 1As usual, the homophobic Democratic Party leadership in DC is determined to act in an exploitative and abusive fashion against queers. (From the Keen News Service 7/14/10 - Hat Tip: Queerty)

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is not on the agenda for Senate floor action for the next few weeks, prior to the August 9 recess.

A spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the Senate will take up work on as many as nine matters during the next month, but none of those are ENDA.

The nine include the Defense authorization bill, which incorporates language aimed at repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell; and the nomination of Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court. They also include Wall Street reform, energy (including oil spills), and the extension of unemployment benefits.

Let's look at two of the volcanoes that queers are being sacrificed on. The Wall St. "reform" is so incredibly weak that it primarily serves to show how much influence bankers and brokesters have over Congress and the White House. The energy bill was originally supposed to be a global warming bill, but efforts to limit CO2 have largely been replaced by massive government subsidies of the polluting corporations that were supposed to be clamped down on.

Even the repeal of Bill Clinton's draconian version of the military ban isn't all that great either. It puts the repeal off until after the November elections and puts it in the hands of ultra homophobic Bush regime holdover, Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Even worse, Gates is rigging the whole thing against ending the military ban by running a survey of military personnel that is intentionally biased against repeal and which could be used to discharge queer troops if they answer it honestly.

There is no excuse for this. ENDA already should have passed in 2009. Legislation against employment discrimination should have passed when Democrats at the White House and Congress in 1993-04 and 1977-80. ENDA is the most important and least controversial LGBT civil rights bill in existence, and vicious bigots like Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Barack Obama keep screwing with it.

The Democrats keep hounding me with phone calls and junk mail asking me for money. Those bigoted asswipes are not getting a penny from me, much less a vote. I am so sick of being treated as less than human by the same people who demand I support them out of some unthinking loyalty that only goes in one direction.

This year is the year I'm going all Green.

Any and all efforts that might have gone to helping Democrats should go to pressuring the party to change its position and pass ENDA. Why should we passively go along with this viciously bigoted betrayal? We are human beings and should insist on being treated as such.

Contact the White House!

Contact Speaker Pelosi!

You can also sign Change.org's petition for ENDA. Change.org is definitely in Obama's pocket, but it is good for people to visibly support ENDA there too.

Photo: afagen

 

See part 1 for all the caveats and disclaimers and to check out some great blogs.

Here's the rest of the list.

With the advent of relatively affordable graphics software and more easily portable cameras, including cell phone cameras, and Internet distribution systems using graphic design and illustration for political protest has entered a new golden age. One example has been the way people have used British Petroleum's misleading logo and deceptive "Beyond Petroleum" ad campaign as launching points for parody. Here are some excellent examples.

oil barrel with BP on it pouring petroleum over the Earth
Illustration: Bonard

oil leaking from letters bp into rest of logo
Illustration: Amy Phetamine

mock ad saying catastrophe is such a strong word.  Call it a whoospie daisy. An oil leaking logo also is featured.
Graphic: didbygraham


abstracted image of BP logo in flames
Graphic: ssoosay

bee with green dollar sign eyes urinating petroleum on the Earth with corporate name morphed to black plague
Illustration: Poster Boy NYC

What do you think?

Update: Hrrrrmmmmm should I refudiate this posting?

 

This is just repugnant. (From the Deccan Herald 7/18/10)

Popular social networking site Facebook is facing a major controversy, including allegations of promoting racism, for introducing an application for Indian users that draws on the country’s infatuation for fair skin.

The “Vaseline Men BE PREPARED” application, which promotes the company’s “whitening body lotion” for men, shows users how their skin will get fairer if they use the lotion, by digitally lightening their profile pictures and removing dark spots. The lotion has actor Shahid Kapoor as its brand ambassador.

The campaign has evoked a big outcry on the network, with people posting angry messages on the Facebook page of the campaign.

I know I won't be buying Vaseline products after this. There's absolutely no excuse for it.

 

gold coins

Photo: trader_john

I'm sorry, but gold is not worth anywhere near $1200 per ounce.

Yet, despite a drop on Friday, gold was trading at the astronomical level of $1194. This is just plain crazy.

For decades, gold has been marketed to the gullible as a safe haven for currencies when paper (and now electronic) money fluctuate. However, if you remember the history, gold fluctuates much more wildly than currencies do.

That's what is making the current speculative gold rush so tragic and comic. Seeing the volatility of economies and stocks, many speculators have been buying up gold as a "safe haven." In the process, they have created another bubble which will inevitably burst. Yet, it won't just be rich people who lose some money before they get out. Some middle class economic survivalists will see significant portions of their savings wiped out far worse than people experienced during the last stock market crash. Stocks are less risky than gold. Of course, CDs and Treasury Notes are much safer still.

People who have bought the rightist gold mania garbage will pay a huge price for their ideological foolishness. It's only a matter of time.

These days, all gold is fool's gold.

 

What Are Economic Hitmen?

Posted by libhom Friday, July 16, 2010 3 comments

One of the most influential books critiquing US foreign policy and globalization is Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins. Hard Boiled Dreams of the World ran this animation from Perkins which briefly explains Perkins' views.



The book is definitely worth the time to read.

 

cake with WTF written on itAccording to his blog, Greg Zotta is a Republican Candidate for Missouri Senate seat 22. He won the GOP nomination, and it appears that he ran unopposed for that.

In a 7/14/10 blog posting, he actually wrote this:

Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels said, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” Now, the NAACP is calling the patriotic Tea-Party protesters RACISTS. They are trying to silence anyone who opposes Obama’s policies by demonizing them.

In Washington D.C. several black Democrat representatives claimed they were called the N-word while walking through the crowd prior to the healthcare vote. They purposely walked through the crowd hoping something would happen. When nothing happened, they made the false claim of being called the N-word. They are LIARS! Because they taped the whole walk. If they had anyone on the tape calling them the N-word it would be looped over and over again by the so-call Main-Stream Media. Instead, the lies are being perpetuated by the media.

This is as absurd as it is disgusting, but it is sadly typical of the racist fanaticism that the teabagger Astroturf scam has generated in this country. The GOP has no shame, and neither do its candidates.

Photo: SanFranAnnie

 

Yes, I know it's late, but the room rates are much cheaper during the offseason, and I always forget to do it when I'm supposed to. Anyway, I should say I'm cheating in two respects.

1) Some of the links are not to blogs. They are worthwhile pages anyway, so nyah, nyah.

2) Some of the blogs obviously have much larger traffic than this one, and others have levels of traffic that I don't have any way of determining. Oh well.


Have a fabulous day, and do check out some of these blogs and regular websites.

 

used teabagFlorida's teabagger Senate candidate Marco Rubio really is willing to go the extra Lipton for Big Oil donors. Check out this quote from his campaign website.

“We all agree that the Gulf oil spill is a tremendous tragedy that must never be repeated. But drilling is going to happen off our coast whether it’s done by America, China and Cuba, which just last week announced plans to drill 60 miles off the Florida Keys. We still need safer and smarter offshore energy exploration to end our addiction to foreign oil.”

There are significant logistical problems for Cuba drilling oil that Rubio ignores. Without the US lifting its trade embargo, Cuba can't refine the oil. The only potential drilling deal is between a Spanish oil company, not a Chinese company.

Also, even if other countries can drill oil in the Gulf, they cannot drill in our territorial waters unless they get permission from the US, like British Petroleum did. Keeping oil drilling off of our coastlines reduces the risk by reducing the total amount of drilling that is possible and by keeping what remains farther away from our country.

Rubio also conveniently neglects to mention that America would do just fine with phasing out offshore drilling. As I pointed out in a previous posting, all it would take is a comprehensive, green energy policy. Our addiction is to oil, not just foreign oil. We can and should ween ourselves off of petroleum.

You would think that a politician running for the Senate from Florida would be smart enough to oppose offshore drilling, which is doing terrible damage to Florida's tourism industry as it is. However, like the rest of the teabaggers, Rubio is a pawn for corporate interests and doesn't give a damn about his state. I still am amazed that so many people haven't figured out the the teabagger "movement" is corporate Astroturf.

This is nothing short of brazen political panhandling.

Photo: naama

 

I am so sick and tired of religious extremism and religion in general.



There is no excuse for stoning as a punishment. None.

Criminal punishments for "adultery" are reprehensible. Selectively punishing women is sickening.

 

Rush Limbaugh
Illustration: Rex Lameray

In titanic news, Rush Limbaugh finally has sold his huge Manhattan apartment. (Visit the link to see some of the most comically tacky decor north of the Mason Dixon line.) Limbaugh committed the first act of public service in his life after throwing gargantuan tantrums at the mere thought of paying slightly closer to his fair share in taxes.

Locals are relieved to longer experience his gravitational field. Lines at all you can eat buffets should get shorter as well. The moving van won't need to handle loads as wide as the taxicab dumping Mount Limbaugh at the airport.

Now that the poster child (landscape not portrait) of the obesity epidemic is heading elsewhere, it will be an enormous relief to New Yorkers and will have a huge impact of improving morale here. We will be delighted that he will bounce his man boobs all the way out of our fair city.

Mayor Bloomberg should declare a city wide day of celebration, but his dishonor is too much of a far right Republican at heart to do it.

Now, can Rush leave the USA entirely? Antarctica would be good. I think there would be enough room for him. He certainly has a sufficiently weighty layer of protective blubber.

 

used teabagThe NAACP just passed a rather modest resolution asking the teabaggers to repudiate racist elements in their movement.

This has resulted in a flurry of tantrums among the teabaggers. A typical example appeared on the far right, white supremacist blog, "Big Government." I won't dignify the fanatical bigotry displayed by repeating it, but I will say that I found seven examples of fanatical white supremacist hate in that one blog posting. I'm not even talking about subtle racism either.

The comments section was a mess of racist hatred, paranoia, and calls for press censorship, none of which I counted in my previous tally.

The teabaggers are determined to prove the NAACP's point instead of repudiating the white supremacist hate that permeates that corporate Astroturf movement. If anything, the corporate lobbyists and PR people behind the teabagger scam are responding to the NAACP resolution by sending out talking points trying to incite racist hatred of the kind expressed in that blog posting.

Bigots like the sheeple who are exploited by the teabagger scam want to be viciously racist, but they want to stifle any discussion of that racism. The NAACP refused to be stifled, and we should follow their example.

Photo: naama

 

Press censorship is a rather heavy handed way of dealing with bad press, but it was precisely the tactic used by British Petroleum and the Obama administration after so much attention has been drawn to their lack of action to stop the oil spill and clean it up. If anything, the restrictions added to criticism and public distrust of the efforts (lack of efforts?).

So, the Coast Guard is revising the censorship somewhat. From their 7/12/10 Press Release:

National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen today announced new procedures to allow media free travel within the 20-meter boom safety zones if they have followed simple procedures for credentialing, and provided they follow certain rules and guidelines.

"I have put out a direction that the press are to have clear, unfettered access to this event, with two exceptions -- if there is a safety or security concern," said Allen. “This boom is critical to the defense of the marshes and the beaches.”

"We need to discriminate between media, which have a reason to be there and somebody who's hanging around when we know that we've had equipment vital to this region damaged," Allen said.

Previously, media were required to contact local authorities each time they wished to access booming operations. The 20-meter safety zone was created to prevent boats from going over the top of booms; it is not intended to limit media access.

This step will further expand media access to frontlines of the BP oil spill response, and ensure that media representatives have the access they need to report this historic response-while maintaining the effectiveness of more than 560 miles of protective boom currently deployed to protect sensitive shorelines along the Gulf Coast.

A credential will be issued for media representatives to carry and display as needed for the duration of the response. Media representatives can obtain credentials by providing their name, media affiliation, and contact information to the Unified Area Command Joint Information Center at UACNOLAJIC@gmail.com.

There are still some serious problems. Limiting the permits to credentialed media will restrict the free press rights of private individuals. Given rightist bias, advertiser pressure, and cutbacks in corporate media outlets, limiting access to those who are part of that system will also restrict the public's right to know significantly.

Our government still disrespects and hampers citizen media because it isn't subservient to the same corporations that the corporate media are owned by and which own our elected officials. Partial restrictions on access protected by the First Amendment is still unconstitutional and still intended to reduce the amount of public awareness of how little is being done about the spill.

Today's Democracy Now coverage summarizes the point quite well.
Under the revised rules, credentialed journalists will have unfettered access but members of the general public and uncredentialed media must still abide by the 65-foot rule.

 

1) Tell Sec. of Interior Salazar to Keep ANWR Off Limits for Oil Drilling

Care2 is hosting an Action Alert from the Wilderness Society which follows:

Say No to Sarah Palin and Her Big Oil Allies

Target: Interior Secretary Salazar
Sponsored by: The Wilderness Society
Sarah Palin has a solution to the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico: drill more and drill now in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

Apparently Palin is missing something. ANWR is an international treasure. Caribou, moose, wolves and millions of migratory birds live in this wild place. If it were in the lower 48 states, a landscape as magnificent as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge would be as revered as Yellowstone or Yosemite. It's up to us to keep this wilderness free of oil rigs and oil spills.

Say no to Sarah Palin and keep drilling rigs out of the Arctic Refuge. Send a letter to Secretary Salazar letting him know that there is no fail safe way to drill for oil, offshore or on land.

We could replace the small percentage of US oil consumption that ANWR drilling represents with green energy policies, policies which also would reduce our impact on global warming.

Please Take Action Now!




2) Tell President Obama to Move Beyond Oil in 20 Years

Here is an Action Alert from the Sierra Club's Beyond Oil website:
President Obama: Let's Move Beyond Oil!

The BP oil disaster in the Gulf is a wake up call. Now is our chance to turn the tides and create a clean energy future that moves us off oil.

Send a message to President Obama and urge him to create a plan that moves us off oil in the next 20 years.

Please Sign the Petition Now!




3) Publicize and Support the Campaigns to Seize British Petroleum Or Revoke It's Corporate Charter

Offshore oil drilling always is incredibly negligent, carrying huge and unnecessary risks of spills. British Petroleum has been especially reckless in its conduct, resulting in over 8000 spill reports in the US alone. British Petroleum must be destroyed if we want to stop the cycle of offshore oil drilling, corporate greed, and spills.

Seize BP Petition button Revoke BP's Corporate Charter http://bit.ly/revokebpscharter

 

Revoke BP's Corporate Charter http://bit.ly/revokebpscharterDahr Jamail has done excellent reporting on Iraq, reporting which contradicts the official narrative which is parroted by corporate media outlets. Now, he is doing the same with British Petroleum's oil spill in his 7/7/10 blog posting, Mitigating Annihilation.

From the air, the area north of Grand Isle, Louisiana, much of it around Barataria Bay, looks like scorched earth. This area has been and is heavily afflicted by BP’s oil. The so-called clean up efforts, including laying out booms to supposedly prevent oil from destroying more marsh and killing more wildlife, are a farce.

Opaque multi-color sheen stains much of the bay, and is visible in countless inlets that snake their way into the marsh. The contrast between the green marsh area yet to be soiled and the marsh already blackened by the oil and the sheen covered Gulf water is stark. The afflicted water appears as a lifeless, dull, silvery fluid.

While BP has put forth great effort in securing tax benefits acquired from leasing rigs like the sunken Deepwater Horizon, it has also saved money by choosing not to pursue better clean-up methods and technologies. We live in a corporate world where profit is god. Profit rules. Showing a profit on the next quarterly earnings statement is everything. This is how a multi-billion dollar oil giant like BP (yes-we can include the others as well-Exxon/Mobile, ConocoPhillips, Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron, Total S.A.) spends vast troughs of money on developing the latest oil exploration and drilling technologies. But when it comes to cleaning up their toxic mess when disaster strikes, every expense is spared.

Many people across varying industries working in the so-called clean-up effort understand that laying out boom to contain oil is largely an act designed primarily to impress politicians and un-informed media. The so-called clean up work BP is engaged in on the soiled Gulf coast has been shoddy, at best, including allegations that BP has been dumping sand atop oil on beaches to cover it up. Controlled oil burns in the Gulf are also, needless to say, coming under criticism for their devastating impact on the environment, in addition to negatively impacting human health of residents on Louisiana’s coast.

The photos by Erika Blumenfeld are particularly damaging to the propaganda campaigns of British Petroleum as well as their enablers in the Coast Guard, the Obama Administration, and the corporate media. It should be noted that the photos are taken from the air. Efforts to photograph and investigate on the ground are fraudulently being treated as criminal by this corrupt administration.

This is definitely a case where the entire news story is worth seeing.

Knowing what is going on isn't enough. We also need to take action. Tell President Obama you want British Petroleum to do a full cleanup, not a cosmetic farce meant to fool the gullible. Contact the White House now!

 

Seize BP Petition buttonCharges from a former cleanup worker that the supposed cleanup of British Petroleum has been merely cosmetic, complaints about the lack of cleanup efforts by local Gulf residents, and negative media coverage have elicited an interesting response from British Petroleum and its enablers in government. They are trying to hound the press away or even criminalize attempts to cover the story.

The efforts to criminalize news coverage by the Obama Administration have gotten so bad that a Freedom of Information Act request has been made on the subject on behalf of Seize BP. (From Seize BPs 7/8/10 press release sent via email)

The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, on behalf of SeizeBP.org, has filed a Freedom of Information Act request demanding the underlying documents that purport to substantiate the Coast Guard’s new ban on media access to areas affected by BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil catastrophe.

“This attempt to muzzle the press on behalf of BP is just the latest in a series of actions that indicate collusion between the federal government and a giant corporate entity that has created an environmental disaster due to criminal negligence,” stated Carl Messineo, a spokesperson for Seize BP and public interest attorney who filed the records demand.

In a July 1, 2010 news conference, Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, the national incident commander for the oil spill, explained that the new restrictions were initiated on the basis of his receipt of complaints from county commissioners that, absent access restrictions, damage could theoretically occur. Allen did not identify the sources of such complaints or the unnamed commissioners.

The penalty for reporters or journalists who may enter the new exclusion zones without permission is up to a $40,000 fine and potentially a class D felony conviction.

This Freedom of Information Act request demands: “disclosure of copies of all complaints or requests that formed the basis for, or which prompted, the new exclusion zones. To the extent that such complaints were made verbally, the request seeks disclosure of any documents memorializing or summarizing or logging or otherwise recording such complaints.”

This request also demands “disclosure of all communications with BP and its agents regarding restrictions or limitations upon media access.”

A lot of us on the left give Anderson Cooper for his usual lack of substantive news reporting, but he deserves a lot of credit for covering this press censorship when many in the corporate media have kept silent on the subject.



The press harassment and censorship extends to the local level to another British Petroleum catastrophe in Texas. (From Democracy Now! 7/9/10)
JUAN GONZALEZ: We now turn to look at a story about the oil giant BP that has received nearly no national attention. Just over three months ago, thousands of pounds of toxic chemicals began spewing into the skies from BP’s massive oil refinery in Texas City. The release began on April 6, two weeks before the explosion on the deepwater horizon oil rig, but it took BP weeks to even realize there was a problem. BP now estimates 538,000 pounds of chemicals and escaped from the refinery over 40-day period.

...

AMY GOODMAN: Well I wanted to go to the issue of the difficulty of reporting this. I want to bring in Lance Rosenfield, the freelance photographer hired by ProPublica to take pictures of BP’s Texas City refinery. While on assignment, he was followed by BP security, then detained by local police. He joins us now from Austin, Texas. Lance Rosenfield, welcome to "DEMOCRACY NOW!" Describe what happened to you.

LANCE ROSENFIELD: Simply put, I was hired by ProPublica to augment the story that’s Ryan Knutson is speaking of, and I was taking photographs. It was a two-day assignment so I had various parts to cover, including, basically giving a portrait of the town itself. So I’d found a decorative ‘Welcome to Texas City’ sign on a public highway south of town near the refinery. And, simply put, I was taking pictures of that sign. I pulled off the shoulder like I would normally do, of the public street, walked over to the median, took the pictures, and then walked back to my car. And I was going to go back to my hotel to file the pictures and I noticed I was being followed by security truck.

So I needed gas anyway. I did not feel like going—letting this guy, you know, follow me to my hotel. So I pulled into the gas station. He continued on, so I thought really nothing of it. Then police pulled in and essentially, you know, blocked me in as if I was gonna to try to go anywhere. And, got out, asked who I was. They had got reports that I was taking photographs. And I said, ‘Yes, I’m a photojournalist.’ And they said, ‘We need to see your pictures.’ I said, well, you know, ‘Without a warrant, I don’t feel like I need to show you the pictures.’ And he said, ‘Well, we can, we can – you can show ‘em to us now or we can do this later with Homeland Security.’ It seemed to me like a, some sort of additional threat.

So because I was on deadline, I made the decision to show them the pictures. I just wanted to get this over with, I knew I had nothing, you know, threatening on my photographs. I showed them the pictures and he took my information. At this time the, the security guard that was following me had turned back around, pulled into the parking lot. He was a BP security guard. And the BP security guard asked for my information as well. And I, I declined because he’s a corporate security guard. So he turned to the police officer who had just taken my information, including my Social Security Number, and gave—I’m not sure exactly what of the information that the police officer took—what of that he gave to the BP officer, but he gave him whatever he needed.

And, so I protested. I said I didn’t understand why that was happening. I didn’t – I was never on BP property. And, and so I asked, ‘Under what, what grounds he was able to share my information with a private corporation?’ And basically, I didn’t get a straight answer. I just got, ‘Well, this is Homeland Security procedure. We can call Homeland Security agent Tom Robison down here, you know, if you have a problem with it.’ And I said, ‘Well, I’m just trying to understand what legal grounds you have to do this, because I was never on BP property.’ So he said, ‘Well, I’ll just call Tom Robison.’

So he called Tom Robison, who at time I didn’t know who he was, of course. I’ve found out since that he’s, he’s a local police corporal who is a liaison to the FBI and Homeland Security. So—and he heads the local joint terrorism task force there in Texas City, and I guess, maybe the region. So, but at that time I did not know who he was—they just referred to him as FBI and Homeland Security.

They called Tom Robison. He actually gave me the phone, which I thought was a little unusual, but my natural reaction is to take the phone. Tom Robison got on the phone and asked what my problem was. And I said, ‘I’m just kind understand why this is happening with BP getting my information.’ He said, ‘You’re staying there. Don’t go anywhere until I get there.’ So I gave the phone back to the police officer. He said, you know, ‘You need to stay.’

And at that point, I felt like, you know, the police officer had looked at my photographs on my camera, he had determined that there was no threat. And at this point, why was I being detained? It wasn’t clear to me, other than the fact that Tom Robison wanted to come down. So he showed up and basically approached me in a very antagonistic and aggressive manner. Um, he was shaking, he was worked up, he was loud, he was boisterous, he asked what my problem was. He said his main concern was my attitude. And, you know, all I was trying to do was find out why BP was getting my information. And, you know, it was his antagonistic behavior that I had a problem with. I felt like he was harassing me. The BP security guard stepped in and they both, you know, were trying to relate my activity as a photojournalist to terrorist activity—


The Obama administration and corrupt local officials in the South are covering up British Petroleum's crimes against this country. This is absolutely disgusting and unpatriotic. This is inexcusable. Barack Bush is absolutely heinous.

Meanwhile, British Petroleum's incredibly evil CEO Tony Hayward is building an expensive villa in Spain to get away from the problem.

 

No ENDA For Five Years?

Posted by libhom Friday, July 09, 2010 5 comments

protest sign with rainbow that says The Gay Agenda: 1. Equality 2. See Item 1The Employment Non Discrimination Act (ENDA) is by far the most important queer issue in Congress today. It would have the largest effect on the lives of the broadest segment of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. ENDA also has broader support in the general public than most queer issues.

Yet, the Democrats have refused to even vote on it in this Congress. Well, it may be even worse than we thought, according to Jackie Speier. (Bay Area Reporter 7/1/10)

Addressing the crowd of gay and straight political and community leaders at Sunday's Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club Pride breakfast, Speier said, "Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi is doing all she can to ensure a majority for next year so we can pass ENDA."

Asked later in a brief interview if that meant the House would not vote on ENDA this year, Speier told the B.A.R. , "The rest of the year is in question."

"There's no question 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' will be history this year," she said. "ENDA, we will have that law for sure within the next five years."

The Democrats are holding ENDA hostage until after the next election (and the next, and the next). Yet, if they don't do much better on queer issues, many queers will stay home this year and some others will vote Green. Homophobic policy turns out to be incredibly bad political strategy. Remember what happened in 1994 after Bill Clinton and the Democrats went out of their way to be homophobic?

Equality California's Executive Director Geoff Kors pointed out:
"I'm worried LGBT people won't vote in the midterms" if Pelosi's promise is not kept, he said. "That would be disastrous for LGBT rights but it's understandable. People felt they did work, gave money, and lobbied members only to see once again being pushed to the back of the line."

The general strategy among Democrats has been to provide the minimal level of support for queers to keep us quiet. ENDA also has specific obstacles that other queer issues do not. Laws against employment discrimination regulate the behavior of corporations, and the Democrats are incredibly financially dependent on corporations, their owners, and their executives. Democrats have been studiously avoiding doing anything that even slightly offends these big money donors. That's why they have done precious little to stop Global Warming and Wall St. corruption. It's also why they passed a wealthcare bill for corporations instead of an actual healthcare reform bill.

Also, don't forget that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is a vicious homophobe who gay baited her way into Congress in 1986. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid belongs to the notorously racist, misogynist, and heterosexist hate group: the Mormon Church.

We are getting screwed over big time and have every right to be furious.

Photo: afagen

 

It doesn't happen often, so I might as well say WooHoo to myself a few times because the Obama administration did something I strongly agree with. They finally sued Arizona to block its unconstitutional, scapegoating, and racist immigration law. (This doesn't effect Arizona's racist law banning ethnic studies in the public schools, by the way.) On those rare occasions when President Obama acts like a Democrat, a glimmer of hope comes through that he will do it more often. So far, those hopes have been mercilessly squashed.

cake with WTF written on itAnyway, an Arizona Democrat in Congress has shown that her state's Republicans don't have a monopoly on racism or blatant dishonesty. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-KKK) really went off the deep end in attacking the perfectly legitimate and reasonable lawsuit. (USA Today 7/6/10)

This lawsuit is a sideshow, distracting us from the real task at hand. A court battle between the federal government and Arizona will not move us closer to securing the border or fixing America's broken immigration system. The legal fights and boycotts are drawing focus and attention away from what has to be a policy-driven, substantive debate.

Washington failed us on this issue again today, and Arizonans have had enough. The White House and Congress need to start developing a better approach to border security and immigration reform, working with us instead of against us. Our law enforcement and communities are at risk right now -- this is a time for solutions, not new obstacles.

Let's unpack this filthy suitcase. As Dusty at It's My Right to Be Left of Center points out, crime in the Hate State is down 15% since 2006, violent crime by 22%. In May, a delegation of police chiefs said that the Arizona law would cause problems for law enforcement.

Also, it's Arizona's hateful and ridiculous law which is obstructing "a policy-driven, substantive debate" on immigration. The boycotts and lawsuits that this racist jackass is complaining about are bringing the issue back to what it is really about: racism and scapegoating.

Kirkpatrick also creates a sense of false urgency on the whole issue of immigration, which is one of the least important issues facing the country. Congress and the White House have much bigger issues to address than a minor problem which is being exaggerated wildly in order to scapegoat illegal aliens who can't vote instead of holding wealthy and corporate interests accountable for the enormous real pain they are causing middle class and poor Americans.

Of course, John "Keating Five" McCain and Jon Kyl were desperate to prove that Arizona Republicans could join in on this racist feeding frenzy too. This is exactly what you would expect. A kept man like John McCain whose multimillionaire wife has multiple houses would like nothing more to distract people from even thinking about reversing decades of tax cuts for his rich wife and the rest of her ilk.

A state where Democrats like Kirkpatrick are as over the top racist as the Republicans? Is that supposed to make me want to take a vacation or go to a conference there? Being surrounded by that kind of hatred and bigotry isn't even slightly inviting to me.

Photo: SanFranAnnie

 

Cindy Sheehan Asks: Where Have All The Peaceniks Gone

Posted by libhom Wednesday, July 07, 2010 5 comments

Cindy Sheehan sitting in front of museumThe corporate media never thought much of Cindy Sheehan. And, when she started criticizing pro war Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid in 2007 and 2008, partisan Democrats on the blogs often either attacked her or ignored her for holding the same opinions and values they praised her for when Republicans controlled all three branches of government.

It's really an embarrassment. Sheehan is still one of the brightest and most committed activists for peace and social justice issues. She should be a leader in liberal thought and action, yet liberals too tethered to the Democrats are ignoring her or resenting her for speaking out against politicians like President Obama who go against the values and policies supported by grassroots Democrats.

In a recent blog posting of hers, Sheehan makes numerous points. Here are some of the most telling.

To some of us, the problem is not so much that Obama has proven to be a dismal failure—because we know that he has been a huge success to the ruling class and corporations--but that partisan politics always overshadows common sense and true peace. We lost a lot of time giving Obama a “chance,” and thousands have lost their lives and their ways of life.

I was outraged when, after three days in office, Obama authorized a drone strike into Northern Pakistan that killed dozens of civilians, but I was excoriated for being outraged. I was devastated when he announced an increase in troops (3 times so far) to Afghanistan, and attacked for not caring about Afghan women (the ones our Empire are “protecting” by killing them and their children). I was laughed out of town when I was infuriated that Obama had declared himself “Judge, jury and executioner” of American citizens. People who formerly supported me told me to “shut up and go away, you have had your 15 minutes of fame.”

In some ways, its similar to the way that Jane Hamsher of Firedog Lake has been the target of a smear campaign by the HMOs, the health insurers, and their Democratic enablers. She has been attacked by the notoriously misogynistic, racist, homophobic, and rightist DailyKos and by other "A List" Democratic bloggers for sticking to the same positions that they advocated on healthcare before Obama, Pelosi, and Reid demanded that everyone go along with a wealthcare bill that robs the vast majority of the country and hands the booty over to the super rich. Some blogs featured wild and unsubstantiated headlines claiming that Hamsher was part of the teabagger movement even though the position of the Democratic politicians on healthcare was far closer to those of the teabaggers than Hamsher's. The body of the postings didn't live up to the salacious headlines, but it created a partisan feeding frenzy among naive left bloggers who wanted so much to believe in a party apparatus that had abandoned them.

Meanwhile, the brunt of suffering under the healthcare system and the crap economy is being inflicted on the middle class and the poor. The rich are doing fabulously well. The Democratic politicians are doing precious little change this.

It's worse abroad. Things for the Iraqi and Afghan people keep deteriorating. The reconstruction still isn't being done, but more destruction piles up. Obama hasn't been withdrawing from Iraq. He's been replacing regular troops with mercenaries who commit more atrocities while costing the US Treasury far more money. He's been hugely ramping up the US presence in Afghanistan, using a strategy of killing civilians because our troops are so overburdened and burnt out by far too many deployments in south and southwest Asia they can do little else at this point.

Really, where are the peaceniks? Where are the liberals with enough common sense and human decency to fight back against "Democrats" like Obama, Reid, and Pelosi who keep treating us like shit?

Photo: D.C.Atty

 

Action Against Oil Spills Tuesdays

Posted by libhom Tuesday, July 06, 2010 0 comments



Photo: Fibonacci Blue

This feature continues with a familiar theme: fighting global warming often also prevents oil spills. Cutting back on petroleum consumption is one really effective way to reduce the number of oil spills while reducing CO2 in the atmosphere. The Union of Concerned Scientists has a really interesting action alert on this issue.

Clean Car Rule Makes History—But Auto Dealers Try to Turn Back the Clock

Recently, more than a decade of work by UCS analysts, advocates, and activists paid off when the Obama administration unveiled a strong final rule for national fuel economy standards for vehicles, which will cut global warming pollution, reduce America's oil consumption, and save consumers billions of dollars at the gas pump.

Despite the fact that many automakers support these regulations, the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) is still trying to keep cleaner cars off our roads. In a response to thousands of UCS activist letters to NADA state directors protesting their regressive lobbying and legal efforts, NADA actually makes the claim that “all of our cars are very clean” despite the fact that passenger vehicles in the United States are alone responsible for emitting more global warming emissions than the entire economies of all but three other countries in the world.

It’s time to tell NADA that consumers aren’t buying their lemon of a lawsuit. Send a message to Edward Tonkin, the 2010 chairman of NADA and vice president of Ron Tonkin Dealerships, and say that the customer is always right—American drivers want cleaner cars, not more lobbyists and lawsuits.

Please Take Action!

Considering how much most people hate car dealerships, why would their trade association cause further damage to the reputation of its members? This is just like the idiot automaker executives who kept making low mileage pieces of junk while the unions tried to get them to make fuel efficient vehicles people actually wanted.

The action alert is particularly interesting because it focuses on a trade association. Trade associations often play a leading role in the corruption in DC, yet they are only beginning to get some of the attention they deserve from liberals and progressives. Efforts by the Chamber of Commerce to block climate change legislation are another example of unethical behavior by these associations. The Chamber was involved in the lawsuit, though this action alert focuses on the car dealers.

 

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