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Wednesday, March 31, 2004

If you've had an abortion, AssKkkroft wants to know.



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Today, at Eschaton, Athenae writes that in addition to everything else that Democrats and liberals are to blame for, and the list is extremely long, "we would have conquered the SHIT outta Pluto, if not for those Senate Democrats."

heh.


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From Atrios, Neil Conan of NPR has no idea that Dick Cheney was appointed head of a terrorism task force that never met! With media friends like these, who needs Fox?

Don't forget, Air America begins today! Unfortunately, there is nothing on their website yet, but stay tuned. They say they'll begin streaming today sometime.

As soon as I have info, I'll find out how to listen, and how to invest.

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Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Mondo's statement, which I bloggged below, is something I could have written. The hard right have been playing us for years, playing all of us except for the lapsed protestants who grew up in fundamentalist environments. I remember when I was buying a used car and I called my dad, who knows the scripture backward and forward and loves to quote it for lefty purposes, for advice. I told him I'd found a car that I thought might be a good buy, and the guy who was selling it was even a pastor. My good dad proceeded to tell me that some of the best liars are preachers and not to take it as a sign that the guy was on the up and up. I went back to test drive the car, and sure enough there seemed to be something catastrophically wrong with it, like it had been in a bad accident and taped back together just for the time being.

Faith is a flower, a source of comfort and joy. Worship takes a person away from the cruel limitations of the material world, if only for a moment. There is peace in the promise of a spiritual realm where everyone truly is free and equal, where no one is bound by privilege or oppression. There is no obligation to kowtow to another person, there is no need to demand it.

Where the material world fails, faith can provide the vision of what it would be like to be freed of the will to power, what it would be like to love unconditionally, infinitely, without judgement, to be close to god.

It is appealing to give up on a material world that causes so much pain. A woman I knew who had been abused in childhood, who had been abused in adulthood, who had sold herself to criminals at truck stops in the basest conditions, who had degraded herself, who had lost her beloved children, and who was imprisoned in a Texas penitentiary for years to come, told me that she had to believe there was something better waiting on the other side, because this world had been so terrible. For this woman, who has no hope of this life ever getting better, a focus on heaven makes sense. She has left this world, and lives only for the promise of heaven.

Like this poor woman, I think right wing extremists in this country also have given up on the material world. The powerful have succumbed to their insatiable will, and the lowly suffer, utterly powerless. They are all trapped. They no longer take personal responsibility for themselves, they no longer hope to create the conditions of heaven on earth, they see no potential for pleasure in this life. Rather, they are hurrying us all toward the conditions they think will bring about their own transcendence into heaven.

I disagree with their philosophy, of course. More later...



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Sunday, March 28, 2004


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Sounds like something I might have written.

From mondo dentro, a call to action written in the comments in Eschaton:
We see the horrible truth of the Extremist Right--the one to which it has taken us so long to catch on: everything they accuse the left of, is in fact a centerpiece of their agenda. The arguments that they advance are themselves a form of deception.

We on the left have been very slow to catch on, because we have actually believed that their words were, at least, presented in good faith--were meant to reflect their true beliefs. We thought we really were arguing over socialism vs. capitalism, or absolute values vs. moral relativism, or traditional values vs. decadence, modern secularism vs. neovictorian (or earlier) religiosity, reportorial objectivity vs. media bias. BZZZZZZ. Wrong! All of these debates have been red herrings advanced by the right to confuse the people--and it's even worked on us.

They don't give a damn about any of this stuff--they just care about POWER. They are, in fact, the real post modern relativists among us. For them, there is no Truth except their WILL TO POWER. All other truths must be distorted, bent and ignored to fit--whether they be the truths of the marketplace, the truths of geopolitics, the truths of science and philosophy, or even the truths of their supposed savior, Jesus. None of it matters if it interferes with their agenda. They are utterly amoral Machiavellians.

The louder they attack us for something, the more we can be sure that they are doing it as secretly as they possibly can. They are waging a Cold Civil War based almost entirely on deception and dishonesty. And we have let them get away with it several decades now.

In fact, objectivity is a liberal value. The reactionaries belittle actual objectivity as "relativism". But what they have done over the years is used our own values against us. By complaining that we weren't objective, they have given us pause. We have taken it to heart. We have hesitated to speak the truth. We have fretted and been introspective. And into the cultural vaccuum created by that hesitation, they have moved. They have moved with their "fair and balanced" networks, their media monopolies, their phoney "think tanks", and now, we see, their religious "professional groups" that are really nothing more than propaganda schools.

Their perfidy knows no bounds.


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For a while now, I have been warming up to the idea of polygamy, say, a marriage between 3 or 4 people. But it mostly has to do with economics. If the economy weren't such a kick in the ass, it would never have occurred to me.


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Saturday, March 27, 2004

In case you haven't had your daily dose of outrage yet.

But Clarke did receive a huge if unspoken acknowledgment on the morning of Sept. 11: National security adviser Condoleezza Rice declined to run the so-called principals meeting in the White House Situation Room, choosing Clarke instead to coordinate the urgent information-gathering and to formulate the security responses to put before the president. Rice repaired, with Dick Cheney, to the White House basement's bomb shelter. A hijacked plane over Pennsylvania was headed toward Washington, and the rest of the White House evacuated at full sprint -- with the exception of Clarke and a handful of security professionals, who remained in the West Wing to continue their work.

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Go ahead, make my day.

Kerry challenges the Legion of Doom to prosecute Richard Clarke for perjury.

(Thanks to Kyle at Eschaton for the LoD term)

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Friday, March 26, 2004

He must have drawn the short straw.

Bill Frist wants Clarke's head!

[Frist] also accused [Clarke] of making a ``theatrical apology'' to the families of the terrorist victims at the outset of his appearance on Wednesday, saying it was not ``his right, his privilege or his responsibility'' to do so.


Well, somebody had to do it, Cat-killer! May as well be Clarke, since the rest of you bozos are too busy counting your money and trying to figure out a way to make it last, despite your nearly supernatural powers of incompetence. Please, declassify everything!


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Well, holy crap. Rice wants a chance to patch up her rapidly unraveling tapestry of lies.
Democratic commission member Richard Ben-Veniste disclosed this week that Rice had asked, in her private meetings with the commission, to revise a statement she made publicly that "I don't think anybody could have predicted that those people could have taken an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center ... that they would try to use an airplane as a missile." Rice told the commission that she had misspoken; the commission has received information that prior to Sept. 11, U.S. intelligence agencies, and Clarke, had talked about terrorists using airplanes as missiles.

She misspoke? Hello!!! Mis-speaking is when you say the unemployment rate is around 6% when it's really 6 and a half. It is not telling anyone who will listen the same falsehood over and over again! And in a tone of high dudgeon.


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Today, I try to figure out what I believe and what I don't believe, and let me tell ya, it ain't easy:

More thoughts later...


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Thursday, March 25, 2004

Must not get hopes up.

Looks like even the Washington frickin Times is troubled by El Presidente.

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It's conceivable that this administration will slink away next year, because of the amazing amount of scandal surrounding just about everything they do and say. But I want more than simply a Democrat in office. In my lifetime, the democrats became increasingly weak, and the thugs became increasingly criminal. Both parties need to change. Both parties can in principle, stand unapologetically for democracy.

At the same time, democracy cannot be applied in each and every case. There will be moments where true democracy must be sacrificed for security, where equality must be sacrificed in the face of a catastrophe calling for utilitarian calculation. These moments are decided by women and men.

The problem with the Democrats is that they often are paralyzed to act, because they take each moment too seriously. They treat each moment as if it were one of great import, where a word or deed out of place will lead to disaster. The Democrats must act more in the furtherance of their democratic principles; and stop treating each political decision as if it were one of human life and death.

The problem with the Republicans is that they act too recklessly, counter to their democratic principles, because they don't take any moment seriously enough. They treat each moment as if it were insignificant in the face of a future transcendent state that must be achieved at all costs. Republicans must act less at odds with their democratic principles, and stop treating each political decision as if it were simply a drop in the bucket.

Democracy is a living process that consists of the actions of women and men. It is both the means and the ends. Democrats think about the means, often to the exclusion of the ends; and Republicans think about the ends, often to the exclusion of the means. Both must be attended to.





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Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Karl Rove writes in Atrios comment area:
I am glad that the unwashed simple-minded Democrats are at last waking up to the fact that Clinton's inactivity was a primary cause of bin Ladin's attack on 911.

Timeline of Clinton's inactivity:

January - Clinton is private citizen
February - Clinton still private citizen
March - Clinton still private citizen
April - Clinton still private citizen
May - Clinton still private citizen
June - Clinton still private citizen
July - Clinton still private citizen
August - Clinton still private citizen

September 1 - Clinton still private citizen
September 2 - Clinton still private citizen
September 3 - Clinton still private citizen
September 4 - Clinton still private citizen
September 5 - Clinton still private citizen
September 6 - Clinton still private citizen
September 7 - Clinton still private citizen
September 8 - Clinton still private citizen
September 9 - Clinton still private citizen
September 10 - Clinton still private citizen

AMERICA WAS INVADED BY FOREIGN COMBATANTS AND 3,400 PEOPLE DIED ON 911 ON AMERICAN SOIL while Clinton remained a private citizen - DURING BUSH'S WATCH.

NO RECORD OF Clinton or PRESIDENT BUSH BEING IN THE SITUATION ROOM ON SEPTEMBER 12, 2001 (after) Holden Caulfield)

September 13............


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As Liberal Oasis points out, the discussion about terrorism and what the government has and should do, has for once transcended politics. The lede in the New York times said just that.
For a Day, Terrorism Transcends Politics as Panel Reviews Failures

I don't expect the media to be astute enough to point out that in fact the Clinton administration did a pretty good job of counterterrorism, while the Bush White House has been a miserable failure. But I guess it doesn't matter. As long as they notice that Bush and his incompetent cronies suck at this, they've taken away the last little bit of advantage he had with respect to public perception. All he has left now is incumbency:

My opponent, while not a bad sort of fellow, has never been president of the United States, while I have for four years. He's never even delivered a State of the Union address, and I'm about to deliver my fourth. And, as Rummy pointed out, it takes a long time to get a new staff running. You have to fill out all those clearance forms, and it takes months. And then, they tell ya you gotta take a drug test! (Do you know how hard it was to find someone to pee in a cup and then agree to be sold on the open slave market in Ukraine?) Frankly, this whole four year business is kind of silly if you ask me.



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Tuesday, March 23, 2004

I wish I were stunned.

This is like listening to the Watergate hearings except now it's about mass murder and not petty burglary.


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As bad as you think they are, they're worse.
- David Ehrenstein, at Eschaton.

There is an article by John Gorenfeld in Salon about pseudo-reporter Jack Kelley, recently fired by USA Today for making up shit. I was particularly shocked to learn that Jack Kelley is the source of the commonly held belief that the Arabs use ambulances and hospitals as cover:


Which brings up another explosive Kelley story -- and the question of whether it will still stand after USA Today's investigation. In it ("Street Clashes Now Deliberate Warfare," Oct. 23, 2000) Kelley saw -- he claims -- a street battle in Ramallah where an Arab rescue vehicle, a Red Crescent ambulance, dropped off "two buckets of rocks and a crate of bottles to be used as molotov cocktails." That's no casual observation, because it weighs in on long-standing debate between Israelis and Palestinians. While Arabs say Israelis are hindering ambulances without evidence of past abuses, IDF leaders contend that, on a few occasions, they've been shot at by gunmen in ambulances, or found explosives aboard the vehicles.


I don't read USA Today, usually, so obviously this story spread elsewhere. I would say that it's become rather legendary, and plays into popular stereotypes about bloodthirsty Arabs who don't fight fair. This particular story hasn't been debunked yet but I'm already suspicious. Maybe it's because I also believe Christian fundies like Jack Kelley will sink to the lowest human levels to have their way.




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Thursday, March 18, 2004

Ashcroft wants the red carpet treatment to crash the Internet. He wants to "regulate the design of internet communications services to make them easy to wiretap." What an assface. I'm a peaceful person, but I wouldn't mind if Asskkkroft got hit by a truck.


Lord I beseech you to get rid of the homos, put the women back in their place, and tell the black folk to shut up. And while you're at it, please, help me with my addiction to internet porn. Thank you and AMEN.



From the ACLU action network:

Not satisfied with the new snooping powers granted by the PATRIOT Act,
the Department of Justice is now asking the Federal Communications
Commission to allow law enforcement the power to regulate the design of
Internet communications services to make them easy to wiretap.

If implemented, the new request by Attorney General John Ashcroft would
dramatically increase the government's surveillance powers and set a
precedent for opening the entire Internet to law enforcement. By
forcing technology companies to build "backdoors" in their systems for
wiretapping, the Ashcroft plan would also create weaknesses that
hackers and thieves could use to invade your privacy and steal personal
information like credit card numbers.

The government already has more than enough power to spy on individuals
suspected of wrongdoing. This measure is the equivalent of requiring
all new homes be built with a peephole for law enforcement agents to
look through.

Take Action! Tell the FCC and Congress that you oppose these new
wiretapping requirements.



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Wednesday, March 17, 2004

I knew this was coming. Al qaeda endorses Bush.

The statement said it supported President Bush (news - web sites) in his reelection campaign, and would prefer him to win in November rather than the Democratic candidate John Kerry (news - web sites), as it was not possible to find a leader "more foolish than you (Bush), who deals with matters by force rather than with wisdom."

In comments addressed to Bush, the group said:

"Kerry will kill our nation while it sleeps because he and the Democrats have the cunning to embellish blasphemy and present it to the Arab and Muslim nation as civilization."

"Because of this we desire you (Bush) to be elected."



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Why do I have to pay for the 'thugs' campaign?

This is the question I asked the House Resources Committee the other day. I also copied fraudnet@gao.gov. Here is the email I sent, which conveniently quotes the entire content (still available from their news archives) of the 'thugs attacks of John Kerry on the taxpayer's dime:
To whom it may concern:

I wanted to call your attention to some of the questionable content on your website, specifically the "headline news" feature. As far as I can tell, this is a tax-payer supported website, and it seems inappropriate at least, to use it for partisan purposes. I refer to the text:

Washington, DC – Democrat presidential candidate John Kerry is quoted in today’s edition of Greenwire as saying, “that black stuff is hurting us,” with regard to oil. Members of the House Committee on Resources found the Senator’s comment absurd.

“John Kerry is dead wrong,” Chairman Richard W. Pombo (R-CA) said. “Oil doesn’t hurt Americans; John Kerry’s anti-energy policies hurt Americans. In fact, this is exactly the kind of rhetoric and bad policy that has led to the outsourcing of good American energy jobs. Last year alone, the United States outsourced more than $100 billion worth of American jobs, economic growth, and national security to foreign countries for our energy needs. Americans are left with a supply and demand imbalance that creates higher prices at the pump and longer waits on the unemployment line.”

At a time when economists cite jobs and rising energy prices as the only threats to an otherwise burgeoning economy, Senator Kerry’s comments appear completely out of touch with basic economics. It is widely held that energy is the lifeblood of the economy, yet this Senator seems opposed to cheaper, more abundant supplies of energy to strengthen the economy.

"If John Kerry spent as much time at the job he was elected to do as he does on the campaign trail, he might have noticed the recent Resources Committee hearing on the loss of American jobs due to our reliance on foreign energy,” said Rep. Barbara Cubin, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy and Minerals. “The American people deserve a president who isn't a hostage to the radical environmental community and who knows that what's hurting us is red tape and frivolous environmental litigation - not American oil."

In Greenwire, a Kerry spokesman stated that the Senator voted against more energy production in ANWR seven times “because it was a joke” and would not have cut dependency on foreign nations. However, a 2003 study by the National Defense Council Foundation found that ANWR’s 10.3 billion barrels of oil would create more than 2.2 million jobs across all 50 states - roughly 10,000 of those in Kerry’s home state of Massachusetts.

“It’s the do-nothing attitude that’s hurting us,” Rep. Jim Gibbons, Vice Chairman of the House Resources Committee added. “Our energy demands continue to grow, yet we are more dependent on foreign oil than ever before. We have tremendous energy production capability right here in the United States that remains untapped. The do-nothing attitude promoted by special interests groups prohibits us from domestic energy production and from creating new jobs. That’s what is really hurting America.”

There is a lot of American Life in a barrel of the “black stuff.”

Contrary to a popular misconception, less than half of every barrel of oil we use in the United States is turned into gasoline. The majority becomes the key ingredient in thousands of products Americans use everyday. Here are just a few:
Antihistamines
Antiseptics
Artificial hearts
Aspirin
Bandages
Cameras
Candles
CD players
Clothing
Computers
Dentures
Deodorant
Diapers
Digital Clocks
Fertilizers
Food preservatives
Food storage bags
Glue
Golf Balls
House paint
Insecticides
Lipstick
Medical equipment
Pacemakers
Pantyhose
Perfumes

Photo film
Safety glass
Shampoo
Shaving cream
Contact Lenses
Surgical equipment
Syringes
Telephones
Toothpaste
Vitamins

* Massachusetts consumes 14 million gallons of oil per day for these needs and others.

Environmental, Economic, and National Security Benefits

Even the Clinton Administration would find fault with Senator Kerry’s comments. In its 1999 report, Environmental Benefits of Advanced Oil and Gas Exploration and Production Technology, the Clinton Administration asserts that for the 21st century, energy production, environmental progress, and economic vitality must all go hand-in hand. However…

1. Public awareness of significant and impressive environmental benefits from energy technology advances remains limited. (Page 1)

2. Myths that are perpetuated about oil (read: Kerry) “threaten to block progress on important environmental issues…it is vital that we debunk these myths so that the public can most effectively address the environmental needs of today.” (Page 22)

3. U.S. dependence on foreign oil has increased to record levels. As that dependence increases, “Americans lose jobs, tax revenues, royalty income…changes that also hurt our environment – reducing the capability of industry to meet demand in the U.S., increasing tanker traffic and the possibility of spills, and reducing capacity to deploy new technologies for environmental performance.” (Page 69)

But is this just another flip-flop?

Transcript from CNN’s Inside Politics with Judy Woodruff…

Woodruff: Senator, questions are already being raised about what you said to some of these labor leaders in order to get their endorsement. James Hoffa of the Teamsters said in an interview just this week, he said you told him that while you opposed drilling in ANWR -- the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge -- that you are, quote, he said, going to put that pipeline in and drill like never before, drill all over the United States to create more jobs.

Kerry: I think he -- I said exactly what my policy has been all my life. Which is I'm for the natural gas pipeline. Absolutely. I voted for the natural gas pipeline. I think it's important to build it. And so do most Americans. I'm also for the drilling in the 95 percent of the Alaska oil shelf that's up for leasing now. In fact, President Clinton put out the biggest lease in American history in that part of the shelf. I'm not for drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge and I haven't changed and I won't change.

Woodruff: You're saying there's no contradiction here?

Kerry: Absolutely none whatsoever.

Looks like it…

" He has time and time again voted against increased oil exploration," Bush campaign spokesman Steve Schmidt said. "He opposed the energy bill [and] didn't even show up to vote on the final passage of the bill" (Greenwire-03/10/04).


As a citizen taxpayer, I resent my hard earned money being used in this manner. Please remove the partisan attacks immediately.

Sincerely,


The Washington Post's Al Kamen wrote in his "In the Loop" column on 3/14 that such activities are fair play:

But now House Republicans have found a way to make the government work for them by campaigning against Kerry on House committee Web sites. After all, it's free and pretty much unrestricted.


Today, he takes it back.

Indict the Site?

Turns out the use of government Web sites for political purposes, contrary to Monday's report on the House Resources Committee's blasts at Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), does appear to be against House rules that prohibit using official resources for campaign or political purposes. "The misuse of the funds and other resources" for members "is a very serious matter," the rules say, and "such conduct may result in not only disciplinary action by the House, but also in criminal prosecution."

Do say? Criminal prosecution? Well, that may change everyone's behavior.


What I'd like to know is why anyone would question for one second that this behavior is wrong. Jeez, the 'thugs spent weeks worrying about whether or not Al Gore made a campaign phone call from his office, and now they are just rubbing taxpayers' noses in their smear campaign that we have to pay for. El Presidente flies around the country coupling his fundraising trips with official visits to people who don't want to visit with him, and we pay for it.

I have been saying for the last 8 years or so to anyone who will listen that democracy requires a vigilant citizenry. I didn't realize until this year just how exhausting effective vigilance can be.


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Tuesday, March 16, 2004


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A self-propelled propaganda machine

There is something brewing between the White House and talk radio that is difficult to discern when you’re hanging around the internet. It’s understandable that progressive people on the left haven’t noticed this development, because the right wing tone of most commercial talk radio is so offensive that we just can’t stand to listen.

The development, which has not been given a great deal of attention by progressives, is Radio Day. This is an event described by Trey Bohn, White House Director of Radio Media, as:
… an opportunity to reach out to members of the radio community, who do not normally cover White House events. Many Americans get their news from talk radio and this was an excellent way for members of the President's team to take his message directly to them.

Radio Day has been held twice during El Presidente’s term, but is not exactly a regularly scheduled event. It is held at opportune times, and as a few have noticed, as a get-out-the-vote effort. For example, the first Bush Radio Day was held just 6 days before the 2002 elections. The second was held January, 2004, perhaps to rehabilitate El Presidente’s image and reinforce his message with his base by giving access to right wing talk radio.

There is a local ‘thug on the radio in Central Iowa named Jan Mickelson. His show regularly involves bashing homosexuals and the so-called “homosexual agenda,” (see, for instance, food for thought’s e-mail exchange with Mickelson) in addition to addressing other social issues from a rightwing perspective. In January, Mickelson was invited to take part in Radio Day. Today, I learned from tuning in that Mickelson is broadcasting from the Pentagon. The Des Moines Register gives a brief mention:
At the request of the federal government, Jan Mickelson is doing his show from the Pentagon this Tuesday. But WHO radio is picking up the tab.
WHO radio is a Clear Channel station.

Indeed, the White House does not pay for these radio personalities to go to Washington. Mikelson told his listening audience that he was sponsored by Bankers Trust. The CEO of Bankers’ Trust is John Ruan III, who is a rather generous contributor to republican candidates, to the Republican Party, and to his own PAC, The Political Action Committee for Effective Government (PACEG), which gave $15,000 to the Iowa Republican Party in 2003.

While I was listening, Mickelson was doing an interview with some undersecretary who was saying that the terrorists won because Spanish people rolled over, and that the terrorists wanted us to elect John Kerry, so it was likely they’d try something right before our election. That’s quite the partisan statement, don’t you think?

This investigation took me a couple of hours to verify that in this one instance, the money comes from ‘thugs and ends up with free propaganda for the local airwaves, disguised as news. As far as I can tell, Mickelson’s day at the Pentagon is not a regularly scheduled event, and I’ll bet we can expect many more such visits by radio hosts all over the country between now and the election. As we all know, the 'thugs are pretty wily, and this is yet one more way they are strengthening their position without spending a dime of their own.

Hannity and Rush are the obvious purveyors of El Presidente's talking points, but using these local and regional guys is sneakier and possibly more effective, since they don't always appear to fall in line right behind the administration the way that the others do. For instance, Mickelson presents himself as a libertarian and often disagrees with some of the wacky domestic legislation that has been passed during El Presidente's term. He argues with some of his nuttier callers and sounds almost reasonable (except when he's talking about homosexuals, that is). So, when he conveys the administration's lies and misrepresentation about the war and terrorism generally, his listeners probably trust his word even more than those of the national personalities.

This self-propelled propaganda machine is one explanation for the burning question: Why does anyone support El Presidente?


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Monday, March 15, 2004

Hesiod has an interesting suggestion for John Kerry. He writes:
[Kerry] must make a public statement about the Spanish elections, in which asks Prime Minister Zapatero to hold off on pulling Spain's troops out of Iraq.

He must say to the new Prime Minister that once he is President, he will get that UN mandate, and that he wants Spain to be an important part of the coalition to stabilize Iraq, and make sure freedom takes root there.

I think the new Prime Minister will favorably respond to this request by Kerry. And, I think it will make Kerry look both Presidential, AND much more effective in dealing with our allies than Bush.

It will reinforce the whole point of his campaign, and completely undercut Bush's argument that he is better on national security, without also undermining U.S. national interests.

In other words, Kerry gets Spain to keep their troops in Iraq, while Bush and his team look weak and ineffective.

That would absolutely blow the minds of the warfloggers.



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On Saturday, I attended my Democratic county convention in Iowa. There were quite a few people; apparently the turnout was greater than usual. A lot of us were new to the process, and the leaders were thrilled to see the new faces. The party platform was actually somewhat interesting to me, as we haggled over debatable planks. The closest to my heart for me was the debate over whether to support civil marriage or civil unions. I gave an impassioned statement about why I support civil marriage for all, but it probably could have been better. I was pretty nervous in front of all those people. I was disappointed that civil unions prevailed, and kind of annoyed because the speakers in favor of it were all these whiny "let's be practical, folks," kind of guys. But, after a couple of days to chew on it, I think the fact the vote was close (~275 to ~250) had to do with my speech, so I feel kind of proud. Maybe I'll figure out Iowans after all. Here's approximately what I said:
I am grateful for laws and economic policies that help my husband and me to raise our children and strengthen our family. I only wish they were available to everyone. Separate but equal is not enough!

I am reminded of the wonderful Statement of Principles we supported this morning, including: "Whenever the rights of any of our citizens are threatened the rights of all are endangered. We take seriously the obligation to preserve, protect and secure basic constitutional and civil rights. We believe in a government which consistently and fairly serves and protects ALL people. We believe in a government that protects ALL individuals and assures equal opportunities for all."

My state representative is a co-sponsor of that horrible Hate Amendment -- the Marriage Amendment for the state. We must stand together against that legislation. We must stand united, and we must stand firm. The time is now!"


Anyway, the part that I should have included, which I kinda forgot in my nervousness, had to do with my kids. I don't know what they are going to grow up to be. Will they be gay? I don't have any idea. So I feel as though I'm fighting for their rights. The thing I should have included goes like this:

Dick Cheney has a gay daughter. He doesn't love her enough to give her equal rights under the law.
Phyllis Schafly has a gay son. She doesn't love him enough to support his equal rights under the law.
Paul Knight, co-sponsor of the Federal Marriage Amendment, has a gay son. He doesn't love him enought to give him equal rights under the law.
My kids are too little for me to know what they are going to grow up to be. I love my children. I love them enough to fight for their rights. Now."


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Sunday, March 14, 2004

Okay, where are the fucking cameras???!!!

A guy slaughters NINE of his children in one day.

Where are the media 'hos? Or is it only news when MOMMY does it?

Edit: apparently so.

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Yay, war!

Bush does what he does best, holds a pep rally.

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Hell no, we won’t go!
The draft is becoming more a possibility.

Didn't Rummy practically call it slavery?
My guess is that if one looks over a span of time, the history of our country, we'll see that we have tended, during the periods that we had a draft, we tended to pay people about 40, 50, 60 percent of what they could have made in the civilian manpower market and use compulsion to have them serve.

Once that ended, we then were forced -- properly in my view -- to go to incentives that can attract out of the public sector the people we need and reward them properly so that they will in fact stay and serve and develop the kind of educational background and the kinds of skills and the kinds of time in position so that they can perform well for the country.

Not to worry. All those out of work computer programmers aren't making anything! They'll jump at the chance to make 40, 50, 60 percent of that!
And it's 1 2 3 what are we fighting for?
Don't ask me I don't give a damn!
Next stop another Viet Nam.
And it's 5 6 7 open up the pearly gates.
There ain't no time to wonder why
Whoopee! We're all gonna die.

Makes me want to listen to anti-war music.

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I guess the "terrorists" have won.

In the NY Times this morning, it's reported that Secretary Rod Paige is looking at ways to make NCLB more flexible, without changing the language of the law.

"In the last few months, there have been audible cries from some states and districts," Dr. Paige told state legislators on Thursday in Washington at a meeting of the National Conference of State Legislatures. "Believe me, we've heard you. I hear you."


Given this administration's inclination to lie just for the hell of it, It's probably a paltry concession if any at all.


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Friday, March 12, 2004

Just a cool website. Make your own church sign!

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The war on women is ramping up.

A woman has been arrested and charged with murder for refusing to have a c-section. Body and soul has a good analysis of the situation and the coverage. Everyone is covering this as if it's all about vanity, but this woman is not the poster child for the vain, selfish, irresponsible whore the thugs want you to think is the kind of woman who seeks out an abortion. She has a long history of documented mental illness and needs help.


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For most of yesterday, I felt like a new age was dawning in America, that El Presidente had brought us low enough that the golden age of coalescence was right around the corner if they just don't blow us up. Then the fucken Congress voted overwhelmingly in favor of some creepy decency act, and I came back down to the earth I live on. The same fuckers who would take their own little babies to see a guy get flayed, would turn around and scream piteously at a 20 year old radio program that surely is boring to kids and turnoffable to adults

Beating up on Howard Stern is easy. I have not heard one case of a child listening to this and running off to slap a hooker's ass. But my little babies come home from preschool every day pretending to shoot machine guns at anything that moves. I wonder where they get that. Prime time presidential advertising? The 6 o'clock news? Other kids' daddies who are weekend paintball warriors?


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Thursday, March 11, 2004

I think Kerry should apologize. Here are some suggestions:

I'm sorry you're a liar and a crook. Really really sorry.

I'm sorry I said you were a liar and a crook. I meant to be more precise.

I'm sorry you heard me say you're a liar and a crook. I was saving that one for the debate.



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Support a healthcare amendment. Why the hell not?

Every coupla weeks or so, an issue so moves me that I must act. Here is the letter I wrote today, to Tom Harkin (who represents me), Ted Kennedy, and John Kerry:

Dear Senator ...

Today, I had an opportunity to read the new Iraqi constitution under the transitional authority. I was surprised to see health care among the basic rights afforded to Iraqi citizens by that document. The facts of accelerating health care costs and the 43 million Americans without health care coverage stand in stark contrast to the philosophical foundations of human rights our own leaders are assisting the Iraqis to build.

I am writing to encourage you to sponsor a Health Care Amendment to our own constitution. In contrast to the dark prospect of a marriage amendment that threatens the freedoms we hold dear, a health care amendment would appear as a shining exemplar of democracy and community. Democracy rests on the capacity of citizens to exercise their rights and participate in the democratic process. Unhealthy citizens or citizens who must live every day with the great fear of ruination should they need health care they cannot possibly afford, are by definition incapable of fully exercising their rights and participating in the democratic process.

I imagine this would be a courageous, though largely symbolic act. There are significant benefits, nonetheless. An amendment that expands citizens’ rights in the Constitution, rather than limiting them would spur our reflections about our relationship to and expectations for this venerable document. Furthermore, this act would provide a beginning for a serious, action-oriented national dialogue about health care.

I hope you will consider my proposal. I am writing this to four senators: Senator Harkin who represents me in the state of Iowa, and Senators Kennedy, Kerry, and Edwards, for the obvious reasons.


Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,


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Holy shit. The Iraqis are going to have more rights than we do.
The federal system shall be based upon geographic and historical realities and the separation of powers, and not upon origin, race, ethnicity, nationality, or confession.

If the dumbasses on the right get their way with a marriage amendment, pretty soon our system is going to be based on religious beliefs.
Islam is the official religion of the State and is to be considered a source of legislation. No law that contradicts the universally agreed tenets of Islam, the principles of democracy, or the rights cited in Chapter Two of this Law may be enacted during the transitional period. This Law respects the Islamic identity of the majority of the Iraqi people and guarantees the full religious rights of all individuals to freedom of religious belief and practice.

Okay, this one's a little tricky, especially since depending on whom you listen to, women's rights under Islam are at least different from men's.
Gender-specific language shall apply equally to male and female....
All Iraqis are equal in their rights without regard to gender, sect, opinion, belief, nationality, religion, or origin, and they are equal before the law. Discrimination against an Iraqi citizen on the basis of his gender, nationality, religion, or origin is prohibited. Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and the security of his person. No one may be deprived of his life or liberty, except in accordance with legal procedures. All are equal before the courts.

And we still don't have an ERA.
The individual has the right to security, education, health care, and social security. The Iraqi State and its governmental units, including the federal government, the regions, governorates, municipalities, and local administrations, within the limits of their resources and with due regard to other vital needs, shall strive to provide prosperity and employment opportunities to the people.

Education! Health care! Social Security! Quel suprise! Who wrote this profane document, anyway? Admittedly, it's a little vague. If our constitution included the right to health care, republicans would be arguing things like children might be allowed a polio vaccine, but they'll just have to live with chicken pox.
The right to a fair, speedy, and open trial shall be guaranteed.

HAHAHAH! tell that to the detainees in Guantanamo Bay or Jose Padilla, an American citizen, for that matter.
It shall not be permitted to possess, bear, buy, or sell arms except on licensure issued in accordance with the law.

I want to know how come they get to have gun control without question, and we are still arguing over the fucking gun show loophole.
The enumeration of the foregoing rights must not be interpreted to mean that they are the only rights enjoyed by the Iraqi people. They enjoy all the rights that befit a free people possessed of their human dignity, including the rights stipulated in international treaties and agreements, other instruments of international law that Iraq has signed and to which it has acceded, and others that are deemed binding upon it, and in the law of nations. Non-Iraqis within Iraq shall enjoy all human rights not inconsistent with their status as non-citizens.

Fat fucking chance. Remember who's in charge here.

Okay, I'm just a little pissed.


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Tuesday, March 09, 2004

This evening, I had the opportunity to listen to Walter Cronkite's essay on how Edward Murrow took on Senator Joseph McCarthy 50 years ago, and possibly caused his downfall. Cronkite recalled how members of the press, including himself, had been frightened into paralysis by McCarthy, and did not provide the full picture of McCarthy's tactics.

Cronkite recalled how McCarthy had reduced a global conflict into a partison domestic distinction between "patriots and traitors." As he became more powerful, McCarthy placed his paranoid picture of the internal menace "squarely in the middle of the political process." This was problematic for members of the press, and Murrow was unable to subdue his contempt: "Because a report on Senator McCarthy is by definition controversial, we want to say exactly what we mean to say..."

Although Murrow and print reporters were openly criticizing McCarthy, television newspeople remained timid, beholden to sponsors and networks. Cronkite also pointed to "unofficial vigilantes" who kept track of what aired, and informed sponsors and networks whenever they noticed anything the least bit controversial. "The result was an epidemic of blacklisting." Cronkite said CBS was especially vulnerable; many of their staff and personalities had been blacklisted.

Ed Murrow decided to take on McCarthy himself, using his program, "See it Now," which had a deal with the sponsor and the network not to intervene. But to do it, he had to "say it within the context of a story." In other words, he had to show, not tell, and "the moral will follow." They did a story of an Air Force lieutenant who was facing the loss of his commission, because his father and sister were suspected but not proven of engaging in subversive activities.

Meanwhile, Murrow had been filming McCarthy and his activities for a full year because, "the wound could not come from Murrow; it had to be self-inflicted." The night before the program was to air, the staff got together to talk about what the consequences might be. With everyone fretting about what might be held against them, Murrow said, "The terror is right here in the room. We do the program Tuesday night. Let's do it." They aired the segment in early March 1954.

In the segment, Murrow said that the working thesis for the show was that "if this fight against communism is made a fight between America's two great political parties, the American people know that one of these parties will be destroyed and the republic cannot endure very long as a one party system." This was a quote from McCarthy, himself. But eventually McCarthy accused the Democrats of treason. The rest of the program demonstrated how McCarthy accomplished his work by manipulation and intimidation, using film of McCarthy himself.

After the program, people "saluted him" and "stood up, some offering polite applause." Eventually, McCarthy came back to respond. First, Cronkite said, McCarthy claimed to be the victim of the "jackal pack," thus putting himself in a position of moral authority. Then he continued to argue how Murrow was himself a communist and traitor.

Two weeks later, the beginning of the end occurred for McCarthy. Many believe that the "See it Now" program began that process.

Listening to this wonderful program, it is not difficult to compare today's America with the America of the McCarthy era. We have been accused of being unpatriotic for criticizing the president and his policies. Arthur Schlesinger wrote that many of our greatest political leaders, including Republicans like Theodore Roosevelt, found such accusations reprehensible in their time.

Today, Ann Coulter gets a bestseller out of accusing liberals of "Treason, and actually reviving McCarthyism, as if anyone cares to see it for anything other than what it was. She writes, "The portrayal of Senator Joe McCarthy as a wild-eyed demagogue destroying innocent lives is sheer liberal hobgoblinism. Liberals weren't cowering in fear during the McCarthy era. They were systematically undermining the nation's ability to defend itself while waging a bellicose campaign of lies to blacken McCarthy's name. Everything you think you know about McCarthy is a hegemonic lie. Liberals denounced McCarthy because they were afraid of getting caught, so they fought back like animals to hide their own collaboration with a regime as evil as the Nazis" (p. 10). If you can stomach any more of this, read on. Sean Hannity wrote "Deliver us from evil" which describes how we can challenge the three evil isms: terrorism, despotism, and you guessed it, liberalism.

Coulter and Hannity are simple hyenas, but they do someone's dirty work. I think we can thank Murrow and even McCarthy himself for showing us how bad it can be. Even though it was 50 years ago, it has had an enduring effect on our society.




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Monday, March 08, 2004

A long while back I used to listen to Howard Stern. The only part of his show I really enjoyed was when he and Robin reviewed the news. They would riff on current events for about a half hour and they were really funny. Then he would go on to issues like baba booey and dwarf sex and stuff like that, and I would pop in some music.

Haven't listened to Stern in a while, but lately I hear he's been really funny riffing on El Presidente's utter incompetence. Check out the latest clip.

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Sunday, March 07, 2004

The same people who, under the guise of "tort reform" want to leave consumers vulnerable and unable to protect themselves from corporate fraud, negligence, and reckless indifference, sure do seem rather litigious. The RNC has sent a letter to major media outlets warning them that airing moveon.org's anti-Bush advertisements may be illegal. They say the money is "soft money" that can't be used for the ads, but of course in reality, it's a few bucks collected from each of hundreds of thousands of citizens that want the corrupt bum tossed out, and of course it can and should be used for this purpose. Especially for this purpose. Moveon is a good group to donate to. I've been very pleased at how they used my contribution.


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Saturday, March 06, 2004

It sure is nice to hear democratic leaders actually speak up once in a while. Ted Kennedy gave a very informative speech about the buildup to war; it's worth a read. Kennedy lays out several facts, points us to the timeline of statements and events made, and finally after building up this obvious case, calls on voters to do the right thing. He even suggests that a little more should happen to El Presidente, for the good of the country:

The most important decision any president makes is the decision on war or peace. No president who misleads the country on the need for war deserves to be reelected. A president who does so must be held accountable. The last thing our nation needs is a sign on the desk in the Oval Office in the White House that says, "The buck doesn't stop here anymore." Thank you very much.


Is it absolutely beyond imagining that this president would be prosecuted for his actions? Al Gore thought it would be best for the country if we simply let the selection go. I thought it would be best to just try and trust Bush and his cronies immediately following 9/11. What else could we do, right? But now, with the democratic leaders finally showing some courage, maybe we don't have to take it anymore. Maybe it's better for the country if we actually prosecute Bush, Cheney and all the rest.




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Thursday, March 04, 2004

Exploit 9/11? Who me?

The rather short press briefing today:


Q Some of the families of the 9/11 victims have criticized the President for using these -- using 9/11 footage in those ads. Are you exploiting the situation, and what do you say to that?

MR. McCLELLAN: Actually, September 11th was a defining moment for our nation. It was an experience that all Americans shared. It is the reason we are still at war on terrorism. And all of us, as Americans, shared in the experience of that tragic day. And it is vital to our future that we learn what September 11th taught us. September 11th changed the equation in our public policy. It forever changed our world. And the President's steady leadership is vital to how we wage the war on terrorism.

Q Shouldn't that be off-limits to politics, Scott, that tragedy?

MR. McCLELLAN: September 11th? September 11th, as I said, it taught us that we must confront dangers before it's too late, and that we must continue to take the fight to the enemy. There's a clear choice for Americans in how we confront the threats of terrorism.

Q But the President -- the party is using it for political purposes. I mean, it's pretty clear now --

MR. McCLELLAN: Look, these are threats that didn't happen overnight; that September 11th taught us that we must confront these threats by taking the fight to the enemy.

All right, thanks, sorry.


If he hadn't cut it off so soon, the next question might have been:

"I can see why we'd want to learn from what happened leading up to September 11th. So why is the president so reluctant to cooperate with the 9/11 commission?"


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As it happens, I have a retirement fund that hardly has the kind of dough I need to get through my twilight years. Now Bush wants to raid social security, which may be the only thing that stands between me and the street when the time comes. Gack.


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Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Nobody loves me!!!


Who loves Bush anymore? Do the Jews love him? Apparently not.
Do firefighters love him? NO! How about teachers? Not so much. Gay people? Do I even need a link?

I keep hearing that the country is split right down the middle. And Bush sure has raised a bunch of cash from somewhere. But who loves him? Who even likes him?




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Monday, March 01, 2004

Habits of the heart

We probably had something to do with Aristide's downfall. Worse, the rumor is that we kidnapped Aristide to put the final fluorish on regime change.

On Atrios, a couple of people found some humor in all this.

Zoot wrote, "they're going to have to change the meaning of 'con' in neocon to something other than 'conservative.'"
Cosmic grappler responded, "How about neoconquistador?"
Brooklyn Rob added, "I'm hoping for neoconvict."



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