Saturday, August 26, 2006

Time To Get Weird

Yes, I was listening to "Land Of The Lost" on WXPN in Philadelphia last night hosted by Robert Drake ('80s stuff), and he interviewed Lene Lovich from her home in the U.K. (didn't hear anything too out of the ordinary - you can download the interview at if you want).

This was Lovich's breakthrough song called "Lucky Number" from her debut album "Stateless" (actually a pretty cool recording - I worked with a guy who played it every day for a month until I ran screaming out of the building one day).

In Praise Of The Living Elvis

On "Real Time" when Bill Maher interviewed Elvis Costello, he noted that yesterday was Elvis's 52nd birthday, so in tribute, here's "Everyday I Write The Book" from 1983, I think (this could be the theme song for this site, actually; I believe Declan MacManus was "reading the tea leaves" a bit when it came to those zany British royals Chuck and Di as it turned out, though the divorce officially came later on).

More on Maher and "Real Time"

As a follow up to what I said below (and in the interest of fairness), I went back and watched the rest of the show to see if Bill Maher rebuked Christopher Hitchens for his "F.U." gesture that I posted about below. To my non-surprise, not a further word was said.

(Another point about Hitchens...he said last night that we should observe "a moment of silence" for the two Fox News journalists captured in Gaza. Funny, but I don't recall Hitchens making this same request when two CBS News journalists were killed and one injured in Iraq, and I don't recall him speaking up sympathetically when ABC News reporter Bob Woodruff and his cameraman was injured in Iraq.)

Update: The important thing, all snark aside, is that the two reporters are now safe (I couldn't find the story at CNN, which is apparently in "dead Diana" mode, as Molly Ivins once put it, concerning every little excruciating detail about Jill Carroll's abduction and release from her captors).

The comedy bits were genuinely funny (a spoof of the products we're supposedly no longer allowed to bring on airplanes, and a great "New Rules" and closing monologue about Pluto), though the opening bit about Hezbollah was a little weak I thought. I liked this joke in the monologue in particular: "Bush's aides tried to explain to him why Pluto was no longer considered a planet, but they got frustrated and ended up telling him that it was blown up by the Death Star."

I realize I'll probably get absolutely nowhere asking for an apology for Hitchens' behavior, but I'm going to try anyway. I guess it's kind of a funny thing to me in a way; none of these people in the spotlight would be worth anything if they didn't have an audience, and if they're going to totally and completely disrespect their audience, then they should be held accountable.

Another thing - as I watched Maher interview Markos Moulitsas, it occurred to me that Maher has absolutely no familiarity with The Daily Kos at all. With all of the time Maher has to do his reading and work on his show, is it asking too much for him to go to the site every now and then, especially if he's going to be interviewing the site's founder (I also just realized that Maher had, I believe, nothing whatsoever to say about Ned Lamont defeating Joe Lieberman in the Democratic primary in Connecticut).

This makes me wonder if Maher reads any blogs at all, aside from the vanity posts he can get on HuffPo. I think that would account partly for the fact that he was so unprepared for Hitchens last night.

(Also, I would ask that Maher no longer invite Spike Lee on the show - Lee appeared remotely last night to plug his HBO documentary on Katrina. I think Lee is great, but the problem is that every time Maher asks him a question, his responses usually come way too late, are labored and are virtually incoherent. If Maher wants to suck up to Lee and compliment him on his films, then he should do it on his own time.)

I just don't know what I'm going to do about this show at this point. Yes, Maher is funny, but if he's going to allow a guest to totally disrespect his audience, then I'd feel kind of silly watching his program, wouldn't I?

Update 8/28: Earlier today, I left a comment to Maher's post at HuffPo about impeaching Bush (great idea) and pointed out that he sat there and did nothing while Hitchens "displayed the digit" twice, and I left links to this post and my previous Hitchens post in my comment. I just checked about five minutes ago and saw that Maher's post was pulled not just from the front page of the site, but the entire site altogether (I searched for it and couldn't find it).

Friday, August 25, 2006

Right Back At You, Hitchens! (old post...)

I just finished watching about half of the season premiere of "Real Time With Bill Maher," and I'm so angry that I have to post about it now (to anyone who may be reading this, thanks for indulging me).

The panelists were former Sen. Max Cleland, author/scholar Vali Nasr, and writer and egotistical blowhard with a veddy, veddy British accent named Christopher Hitchens. I had seen Hitchens last year on "Real Time" on the same panel with British MP George Galloway, and Hitchens seemed to be on his best behavior.

To a point, I can deal with the usual bilious propaganda about Iraq in particular from Hitchens, since the war is the issue where he puts Dubya on a pedestal where no one else belongs in his mind. However, Hitchens was openly combative with the audience all night long, making gestures with his hands like "come here" when people jeered him, and also saying, among other things, that people who questioned Bush's stupidity were stupid themselves.

Though galling, I realize that all of this is "in play." However, Hitchens also extended the "middle digit raised on high" at everyone shortly before he defended Bush's stupidity (and before he insulted people who questioned whether or not Dubya had a brain, he made a smart remark along those lines himself, showing his total hypocrisy). And he did so without a word of rebuke from Bill Maher (who, though supposedly so well read about current events, was caught absolutely flatfooted by Hitchens' propagandistic non sequiturs all night long...when mentioning Iraq, somehow Ramsey Clark was brought into the discussion...and offered virtually no response to what Hitchens said).

Giving everyone the finger is what did it for me, enough so that I turned off the program (though I did manage to hear some of the good things Markos Moulitsas Zuniga of the Daily Kos said later).

In the next day or so, I plan to contact HBO and demand one of the following, for what it's worth:

1) An apology from Hitchens for the "F.U." gesture.
2) Absent that, an apology from Maher and/or a promise not to invite Hitchens back as a guest.

There were other good moments in the show - I thought Elvis Costello, speaking remotely from Vancouver, B.C. about Katrina and the aftermath affecting New Orleans, was best of all. Max was great and sincere as always, but though he made good points, I thought he was "preaching to the choir" through absolutely no fault of his own.

Update: Crooks and Liars (via Atrios) is all over this also, of course.

Update 10/12: You never know...

Let's Play Offense For A Change

The latest from Dr. Dean (the thought of “kicking Repug butt” just warms the cockles of my heart)...

Democrats have been playing defense for too long.

Over the past few months, though, something has shifted. When it comes to national security, Democrats are playing offense for a change -- and it's working.

It's not enough to respond to the daily misinformation coming out of the White House, or defend ourselves against outrageous claims from Dick Cheney. We can't let them dictate the national conversation.

We have a fundamentally different vision for our security than the Party of Bush. We want a new direction in Iraq, more competent security at home, and the restoration of America's moral leadership in the world.

And we have a plan to take that message to voters between now and Election Day with person-to-person outreach in all 50 states. We have staff on the ground ready to take a strong Democratic message to voters -- supporting candidates up and down the ballot and spreading the word that it's time for a change.

We're going to fight for the Democratic vision on national security -- will you make a contribution to help fund our plan?

People trust Democrats to handle our national security. In the latest CBS News and ABC News polls, more people trust Democrats to make the right decisions on Iraq. And in the latest Newsweek poll, nearly two-thirds of Americans agree that the war in Iraq has not made us safer from terrorism.

Meanwhile, as Iraq descends into civil war and becomes a new training ground for international terrorists, cargo coming into our country still isn't being inspected.

While the Party of Bush scrambles to write its latest talking points calling anyone who opposes them "al Qaeda types", nuclear materials sit unguarded in the former Soviet Union.

While the administration organizes lawyers to try to salvage its illegal domestic spying program, Osama bin Laden continues to remain free roaming around northwest Pakistan making videotapes five years after the tragic events of September 11th.

We're strong, we're right, and the people know it. Now let's get our message our to voters in all 50 states. Can you donate to help make it happen?

Republicans have won two elections by instilling fear in people, and they're trying to do it again this year.

But it's not going to work. The President's foreign policies have failed. Iraq is sliding into civil war. Iran and North Korea are more dangerous than they were five and a half years ago. And the Taliban continues to present a threat in Afghanistan.

People have had enough. This administration cannot be trusted with our security.

Democrats are going to reclaim American leadership with a tough, smart plan to transform failed policies in Iraq, the Middle East and around the world.

We will double the size of Special Forces to destroy Osama Bin Laden and terrorist networks like al Qaeda.

We will implement the bipartisan 9/11 Commission proposal to secure America's borders and ports and screen every container.

And we will fully man, train, and equip our National Guard and our police, firefighters and other first responders.

Let's get this message out to Americans who need to hear it:

When it comes to national security, the Republicans have not led.

We will.

Governor Howard Dean, M.D.
Chairman, Democratic National Committee

P.S. -- We are spending $8 billion a month in Iraq. That's $2 billion each week, $267 million each day, or $11 million each hour. For what we spend in three weeks, we could make needed improvements in order to properly secure our public transportation systems. For what we spend in five days, we could put radiation detectors in all of our ports. And for two days in Iraq, we could screen all air cargo.

Can you donate to help make those things happen?
And if you need more evidence of the GOP's utter failure to serve and protect us, just click here.

They're Doing It Again

Part of the reason I'm passing this along, aside from trying to get the word out that Mike DeWine of Ohio has typically lowered himself into the gutter, is to let everyone know that Paul Hackett is back on our team again, which is terrific news. Welcome back!

In my home state of Ohio, Republican Ohio Senator Mike DeWine released a TV ad with slimy attacks on Democrat Sherrod Brown's record on national security. The ads are flat out false. While Sherrod (pictured) has stood up to the administration on things like the war in Iraq, he has always fought to protect our troops, to make sure our first responders have the tools they need in an emergency, to tighten our borders, and fix the problems in homeland security that Republicans have allowed to still exist five years after 9/11. But we don't have to take it lying down. We can help Sherrod Brown fight back:

Thousands of you supported my campaign for Congress last year. I saw how the DFA community can change a race when we stand together. I am writing you to ask for your support for Sherrod Brown, Democratic Candidate for US Senate in Ohio.

As an Iraq War veteran, I know what fighting for America's security means. Sherrod Brown opposed the war in Iraq from the start. Since the invasion, he's successfully lobbied to get body armor for our servicemen and women and he's held the Administration accountable for the $8 billion it spends on Iraq every month. We need leaders like Sherrod Brown who will bring real security to Ohio communities.

Republicans are going to come after Sherrod with their typical lies and false negative tactics. We need to strike fast and hard with the truth. This is a critical race that we can win, but only if we help Sherrod Brown back against Republican attacks. Can you chip in $25 to help make it happen? Click here to contribute today:

I hope you can join me in supporting Sherrod Brown so we can take back the US Senate and restore honest political leadership to Ohio.

Thanks for all you are doing.


Paul Hackett
Once again, to help make the Netroots dreams reality, click here.

The Rise Of The Netroots

This Guest Opinion appeared this morning in the Bucks County Courier Times from Richard McGovern, a 2005 poli-sci graduate of Kutztown University.

As I read this excellent column, I somehow wondered what Barry Goldwater would say or do today if he were to witness the words and actions of the phonies and pretenders who profess to be the caretakers of his blessed conservative cause.

(I also went to the NRO site - way skeevy, I know - but I was unable to find Lopez's original column. One small step for man...)

As a student of American politics, I found it irresponsible of the Courier Times to publish Kathryn Jean Lopez’s column on the current and future role of the Netroots within the Democratic Party without publishing a counterpoint.

Ms. Lopez’s willful misrepresentation of the goals of the Netroots movement, coupled with the condescending tone she directs at every potential target from Sens. Clinton and Feingold, to the “screeching” Ned Lamont, to the Kossacks, whom she demeaningly terms “Kos’ Kids,” is perhaps symptomatic of the inability of traditional right-wing pundits to grasp the nature of the force shaping the ground upon which the 2008 presidential election will be fought.

The Democratic Party is today undergoing a transformation mirroring the one which affected the Republicans in the years between Richard Nixon’s defeat in 1960 and Barry Goldwater’s candidacy in 1964, when its conservative wing seized the reins of a party that had been drifting closer and closer to the positions of its opposition. Goldwater conservatives defined themselves not necessarily by their positions in favor of issues, but rather by their opposition to the policies of a Democratic Party that controlled all three branches of government.

In the same way, the Netroots-supported Lamont victory in the recent Connecticut primary over Joseph Lieberman, a three-term incumbent and former vice-presidential nominee, marks a shift away from the politics of consensus and accommodation Lieberman has long represented, and toward the kind of clear and outspoken partisanship usually associated with the Republicans.

It is this opposition to politics-as-usual that engendered support among the Netroots for candidates such as Howard Dean in 2004, Ned Lamont in 2006 and, potentially, Russell Feingold in 2008. What is remarkable, yet conspicuously absent from Ms. Lopez’s writing, is that while the Kossacks may be the most visible members of this moment, they seem to be in agreement with, rather than on the fringe of, the American body politic.

Ms. Lopez cites “demands” made on Daily Kos for ranking Democrats to support Lamont over Lieberman as examples of the exclusionary nature of the Netroots movement. These demands were, however, in response to Lieberman’s decision to ignore the will of the voters and run as an independent.

This decision by Lieberman and the response from the Netroots speaks to what is perhaps the crux of the entire movement; disgust with the indifference shown time and again by members of government to the clearly stated will of the people. Whether a president who loses the popular vote is re-elected by the slimmest margin in history, yet claims a mandate for extremist policies, signing statements that effectively overturn legislation, or the unwillingness of the Congress to deal with the corruption and actually do anything other than run for re-election, the American people are infuriated by it, and this fury has found its expression in the Netroots movement.

The Connecticut primary that Lamont won with a clear majority had one of the highest turnout rates in Connecticut history. In primaries across the country this summer, in Montana, in Tennessee, in federal, state and local elections, turnout is up and progressive candidates are winning nomination with platforms in opposition to the failed policies of the last six years.

The Netroots movement is not, as Ms. Lopez prefers, some lunatic fringe, but it is rather at the head of a political realignment such as this country has not seen in more than four decades. In the early 1960s a small group of conservative activists began a movement that saw a radicals senator named Barry Goldwater become the Republican nominee for president, and changed the ideology of the Republican Party to the present day.

Ms. Lopez gets one thing right when she writes that something similar may happen in 2008 for Senator Feingold and the Democratic Party. The key difference may prove to be that Goldwater lost.
To help make the Netroots dreams reality, click here.

One Fraud Props Up Another

I apologize because this photo is a bit deceptive. Though I think it’s important to show the close ties of Rudy Giuliani and Dubya, it should really include Mike Fitzpatrick also.

So “America’s Mayor” campaigned for Mikey recently, huh? Oh, but Mikey is so independent of George W. Bush and doesn’t feel dependent upon him in any way at all, right?

And good for Patrick Murphy for sticking it to Giuliani for Rudy's disgusting comment that our troops were responsible for not securing 380 tons of missing explosives in Iraq which quite probably were used to make IEDs. How are our troops at fault if not enough of them were sent over to do the job anyway by the Bushco chickenhawks (and how is that comment "supporting them" anyway)?

This gives us an opportunity to take a closer look at Rudy, so why don’t we then, OK? Let’s start with Rudy’s bravura speech at the Repug National Hatefest in New York City in 2004 (including this excerpt).

At the time, we believed that we would be attacked many more times that day and in the days that followed. Without really thinking, based on just emotion, spontaneous, I grabbed the arm of then-Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, and I said to him, "Bernie, thank God George Bush is our president."
Ah yes, Bernard Kerik. What an astute choice for Head of Homeland Security, Rudy. I’ll bet Dubya continues to thank you every day for that one.

And this childish attack on John Kerry and John Edwards in his speech still rings as clear to me today as it did then, unfortunately.

He even, at one point, declared himself as an antiwar candidate. And now he says he's pro-war candidate. At this rate, with 64 days left, he still has time to change his position four or five more times.

My point about John Kerry being inconsistent is best described in his own words, not mine. I quote John Kerry, "I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it."

Maybe this explains John Edwards' need for two Americas.
(This is partly Kerry’s fault I’ll admit. He could have put this to rest once and for all early on but he didn’t, which is sad because he had a perfectly logical explanation for doing what he did.)

Wow, you’re really a funny guy, Rudy. Do you know that? The only thing funnier than that that I can think of is your notion that you have any chance whatsoever of winning support from the Fundies and the other Dobsonite zombies out there in “the heartland” in your hopeless quest for the ’08 Repug presidential nomination the minute they find out that you’re a divorced, pro-choice Republican (from a blue state, of course) who brought his girlfriend to the mayor’s office when your wife and kids were there (tee hee – what a “laff riot”…even funnier when you consider that such an upright Christian man and father of six kids like Mikey chose to associate himself with Giuliani anyway).

And Kenneth Turan of the L.A. Times reviews the movie “Giuliani Time,” which basically states that the events of 9/11 helped save Giuliani’s career, as it turned out.

What New York's aggressive "We Own the Night" policing policy did do was create fertile ground for several scandals involving overzealous officers. This included pumping 41 bullets into an unarmed man named Amadou Diallo and beating and sodomizing a man in custody, Abner Louima.

The mayor's other controversial programs including forcing people off welfare, which critics said created no real jobs and merely enlarged the underground economy, and a hostility to 1st Amendment rights that led to courts ruling against the Giuliani administration in 22 of 26 cases.

More than this, Giuliani consistently fell out of favor with people who had once been closely allied to him. Former New York (and now Los Angeles) Police Chief William J. Bratton says Giuliani "rules by intimidation and fear," and former city schools chancellor Rudy Crew says, "there's something very deeply pathological about Rudy's humanity. He was barren, completely emotionally barren on the issue of race."
Yes, I know he said, during the press conference after the 9/11 attacks, “we can’t let the bastards win” and thus captured how a lot of people thought and felt at that time, and not for a moment am I suggesting that he’s happy 9/11 took place for his own professional benefit (I would hope no one in existence would be ghoulish enough to suggest that).

But Giuliani, like Dubya and many others, has shamelessly milked the inconceivable tragedy of that day to his own advantage. And as far as I’m concerned, doing so in the name of partisan politics is only slightly less despicable than the actual tragedy itself.

Friday Video

A little early today because I plan to be watching "Real Time" returning tonight with guests Max Cleland, Christopher Hitchens and author/scholar Vali Nasr...this is "American Idiot" by Green Day (couldn't find it uncensored, which may be just as well).

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Classical Gas

Happy 68th to Mason Williams, who performs "Classical Gas" with other musicians (yes, they had to all be "air" playing synched with the recording, partly because the sound quality for those performances wasn't that good back then - looks to be about late '60s, possibly on The Smothers Brothers or another variety show...there were so many of them back then).

See George Read?

Bob Cesca at The Huffington Post posted today on the White House claim that Dubya has read 60 books this year.


That is absolutely impossible for me to believe unless someone translated the literary works into Bazooka Bubble Gum cartoons.

People who are at least somewhat well read learn how to present themselves to people, how to communicate and formulate an opinion, and show some measure of empathy and understanding.

They also learn how to think.

I provided these recommendations to Bush last year, but somehow I’m quite sure that he chose not to act on them.

Also, in this week’s New Yorker, writer Adam Gopnik reports that Bush has read “The Stranger” by Albert Camus about “the mysterious origins and horrific consequences of irrational acts of violence committed in the Arab world.” As Gopnik notes:

Camus’s purpose is to dramatize the psychology of pathological violence as a self-defining act, and his point, though open to debate with Tony Snow, is that violence may arise not as a result of premeditation and ideological fixation but as a sporadic and unplanned impulse, a kind of perpetual human temptation.
Hmm...maybe Dubya actually hunkered down and crammed this one after all.

The Fox Returns To The Hen House

So Frank Quattrone walks, huh?

I want to make sure I understand this.

The U.S. Attorney General’s office prosecuted Quattrone for obstruction of justice based on an Email he sent to colleagues telling them to “clean up files” because the man who made a name for himself in securing venture capital funding for startup companies in the ‘90s was being investigated, along with his employer Credit Suisse First Boston, regarding the question of whether or not they gave some clients privileged access to technology shares in return for getting other business.

If all our Justice department had as evidence in its investigation of Quattrone was the Email (and they could never prove that any files were actually destroyed, apparently), then who was the bone head who made the decision to bring this dog of a case to trial?

And the basis of the appeal that led to the charges being dismissed against Quattrone was some alleged impropriety in the instructions given to the jury in the first trial.

I understand that, based on the way Quattrone operated, by the time you heard about some hot new initial public offering coming down the road that he was managing (such as Cisco), the insiders had already dumped their shares because the stock price had already peaked. That’s dirty and lowdown, but perfectly legal in the business world, I realize.

What gets me is that the massive expansion of this bubble by Quattrone and others like him made the bursting of it so much worse and more detrimental to others in the industry who lost their jobs as a result (of course, those people are basically anonymous in this story).

This paragraph in the BBC story made me shake my head in disgust.

The decision is a major blow to prosecutors who sought to prove that Mr. Quattrone manipulated access to information about newly floated companies, leading investors to subsequently lose money.

"After a thorough investigation it has been determined that the interest of the US and your own interest will best be served by deferring prosecution," the US Attorney General's Office said in a statement.

Under the terms of the agreement, Mr. Quattrone must report to officials before traveling abroad and must "associate only with law-abiding persons".
Whose interest is being served again in this? How much of our tax dollars were spent on this case that was ultimately lost by our Justice department?

Here’s another passage that made me want to scream.

One legal expert said the agreement meant Mr. Quattrone would escape the "stigma of conviction".

"Quattrone has received the same punishment as someone who smuggled a few Cuban cigars into the US," said Timothy Coleman, co-chairman of the law firm Dewey Ballantine's.
And according to Wikipedia, “Mr. Quattrone will receive $100 million to $120 million in overdue compensation, so long as he abides by an agreement and does not break the law for a year. Credit Suisse already paid for Quattrone’s legal costs.”

And as things stand now, it is distinctly possible that Quattrone will never serve a day in jail.

End Genocide in Darfur

The latest from John Edwards...

Dear Friend,

Many times I have asked for your help, and you've come through every time. Never before have I asked for your help on a matter of life and death. Before one more child is tortured, before one more woman is raped, we must urge President Bush to lead the effort to create a NATO force to stop the genocide in Darfur.

Sudan began a genocide against tribes of small farmers in its Darfur region three years ago. Militia groups backed by the Sudanese government have slaughtered an estimated 400,000 people and driven 2.5 million people from their homes. U.N. troops are on their way, but will take at least five more months to arrive in Darfur. NATO forces -- if the U.S. stepped up to moral leadership -- could end the conflict immediately.

Tell George Bush to lead the effort to create a NATO force for Darfur NOW.

America was once trusted and respected around the world. People around the globe expected us to provide moral leadership and inspiration to make their lives better. It's no secret that our reputation has been tarnished over the past six years. The Bush Administration put our country's military strength and vast resources behind a reckless war in Iraq and turned a blind eye to people around the world that desperately needed our help. The U.S. military's unique assets -- our airlift capabilities, logistical support and intelligence operations -- can and must be used to assist NATO peacekeeping in Darfur.

The Save Darfur Coalition, an alliance of over 100 faith-based, humanitarian and human rights organizations, has already sent one million postcards to President Bush asking for the immediate deployment of a robust peacekeeping mission. Clearly, many, many more voices are needed to get his attention -- we cannot allow the Bush Administration to stand by for five more months while thousands of civilians are dying in Darfur every month.

In May, Nobel Peace Prize winner and Holocaust survivor Elie Weisel called Darfur "the capital of suffering." He called on all of us to "tell the victims they are not alone." And just last week a senior United Nations official alerted the Security Council that Sudan seems to be preparing a significant military operation in the Darfur region that will leave aid workers increasingly in danger and hundreds of thousands of lives at risk.

Please speak up for them and urge President Bush to take quick and decisive action.

Tell George Bush to lead the effort to create a NATO force for Darfur NOW.

The people of Darfur cannot wait five more months for U.N. troops to arrive. At the current rate of violence and destruction, another 30,000 civilians will die and another 300,000 people will become refugees over the next five months. In addition, as the international community stands by, violence and chaos is spreading to neighboring Chad and the Central African Republic. More than 100 Chadians were hacked to death in a single incident earlier this year.

I admire the African Union troops stationed in Darfur. They have done their jobs courageously and deserve the world's gratitude. But they need help. The African Union peacekeeping troops, which number just 7,000, have been unable to protect civilians or enforce a 2004 ceasefire. In the meantime, security has deteriorated dramatically.

At a time when the world is questioning U.S. sincerity and motives, what better way for the Bush Administration to show that we still believe in human rights and still have the moral authority to lead, than to step up and do our part to stop the genocide in Darfur? Tens of thousands of lives hang in the balance. So does our nation's moral credibility.

The time to act is now.

Thank you,

John Edwards

P.S. We need to raise every voice possible against the genocide in Darfur. Please
forward this message to friends and family and urge them to contact President Bush immediately.
I thought this was an interesting post on John Edwards, by the way (hat tip to Atrios).

No "Labor Pain" For Joe

This appeared in yesterday’s Inquirer…

The Aug. 14 article "Local AFL-CIO splits with state on Weldon" incorrectly implies that labor is badly divided in the race between Joe Sestak and Curt Weldon for the U.S. House of Representatives. This is not true.

First, the Delaware County Central Labor Council (CLC) has no authority to endorse candidates. It can make recommendations to the state AFL-CIO, but in this case the AFL-CIO agreed with recommendations from the Montgomery County CLC and the Chester County CLC - also part of the Seventh Congressional District - and voted by more than a two-thirds majority to endorse Joe Sestak.

As a resident of the Seventh District, I was proud that the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1776 led the debate that secured the endorsement for Sestak. He is clear on his intent to address the national health-care crisis, to stand for fiscal responsibility, and to use his seat in the Congress to fight for working families. The longer Weldon has been in office, the more he has supported the failed domestic and international policies of the Bush administration and Republican House leadership.

Working men and women need a change in Washington. Joe Sestak will apply his experience serving our country and his longstanding ties to the Seventh District to make us proud that he is our congressman.

Wendell W. Young IV
UFCW Local 1776
Plymouth Meeting, PA
To help Admiral Joe, click here.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

He Died Before He Got Old

In honor of what would have the 60th birthday of Keith Moon, here is The Who performing "The Seeker" on "Beatclub" in 1970.

Arlen Still Hates The Constitution

I haven't said anything about this for a little while, but it's too important to ignore (from Working Assets).

A Victory Against Illegal Wiretapping - For Now

Last week, a district court in Michigan delivered a stunning rebuke to the Bush Administration and National Security Agency by striking down their warrantless wiretapping program. In response to a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the judge found that the program violates both the First and Fourth Amendments to our U.S. Constitution, as well as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

Read about the decision

Working Assets is proud to have joined in this fight by filing an amicus brief in support of the ACLU's suit. We believe that the warrantless monitoring of phone conversations ordered by the Bush administration is illegal and unacceptable.

However, this fight is far from over. Despite the fact that the judge found the wiretapping program clearly unconstitutional, Senator Specter and Vice President Cheney are still pushing legislation that would -- after the fact -- make the entire warrantless wiretapping program legal.

Click here to tell your Senators to reject the Cheney-Specter bill.

Senate Bill 2453 would not only legalize the wiretapping program; it would also transfer all lawsuits pending against the program into the secretive FISA court -- where they could be dismissed for no reason at all. Simply put, if we care about our privacy and the Fourth Amendment to our Constitution, this legislation must be stopped.

Click here to tell your Senators to vote NO on S. 2453.
Here's some more background on this.

Musings From Mikey’s Press Service

The Bucks County Courier Times weighed in on the U.S. House 8th district race between Patrick Murphy and Michael Fitzpatrick today on a couple of different fronts. The first was in this news article by reporter Brian Scheid, who covered the news conference with Murphy and Virginia Governor Mark Warner, who is supporting Democratic candidates for Congress; it took place in Philadelphia yesterday.

I want to highlight this excerpt from Scheid’s story.

In his first term on Capitol Hill, Fitzpatrick has voted against billions of dollars in funding for Homeland Security efforts while voting for “pork barrel” projects, Murphy charged. Those projects included: $231 million for the “Bridge to Nowhere” in Alaska; $550,000 for a glass museum in Tacoma, Wash.; $1 million for the Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut; and $500,000 for a teapot museum in North Carolina.
I had that number at about $320 million below in the Inhofe post – either way, it’s too damn much money.

“I have nothing against teapots,” Murphy said. “What I do have a problem with is the irresponsible and reckless spending of my opponent.”

Fitzpatrick never specifically voted for any of those “pork barrel” projects. They were included as part of multi-billion dollar federal bills that few in Congress voted against.
What does “never specifically voted for” mean (and isn’t that an editorial comment anyway)? If you voted for the bill, then you voted for everything in it, right? I will admit, though, that the trick of “omnibus bills” that cover everything in the world, including a bunch of stuff that is not relevant but stuck into the bill for partisan purposes, is practiced on both sides and should be stopped.

I also want to highlight this (a paragraph missing from the online version of the story).

The Bridge To Nowhere is a $223 million federal appropriation approved by Congress last year to build a bridge connecting a town in Alaska with a sparsely populated island. That funding was part of a $300 billion transportation bill approved in the house by a vote of 412 to 8. Not one Democrat voted against the bill.
Why is it necessary for Scheid to point out how the Democrats voted on this? I, for one, don’t care. I only care about how Fitzpatrick voted. That’s the issue here.

And the newspaper’s editorial page chimed in with their take on the first Murphy/Fitzpatrick debate, and they basically slapped both of them on the wrist, calling it “an uninformative verbal slugfest” (see, if Fitzpatrick had been taking all of the shots, then that would have been OK, but the Dems are never supposed to stand up for themselves, or else that’s reeeaaally bad). This was one of their complaints.

…Murphy should knock off the murky and unfair stereotypes. Campaign-speak such as “We need leaders in Washington, not career politicians,” lacks substance.
Apparently this is news for the Courier Times, but according to Fitzpatrick’s campaign web site, he served as a Bucks County Commissioner for 10 years before he was elected to Congress in 2004. So there’s a reason why Patrick refers to Fitzpatrick as a career politician; it’s because he is a career politician.

(Fitzpatrick’s web site doesn’t mention that he served on the Delaware River Basin Commission, though - it's not in his bio anyway...curious.)

There have been other moments when the newspaper has fawned over every little thing Mikey has ever said or done more egregiously than this, I should point out, such as their applause for Mikey intervening in the matter of the Boy Scouts and the city of Philadelphia, which shows the truly puritanical side of this paper for what it is.

A Result Of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

I will never understand why the first issue that Bill Clinton addressed after he was inaugurated as president was that of gays in the military; the fact that he had not served (he did register but drew a high number) strained his relationship with the services, and trying to address the culture of something he really didn’t completely understand right away was a big misstep (I’m not saying Clinton was wrong; I’m just saying he didn’t choose the time and place for the battle very well, so to speak). However, I believe Clinton rebounded from that as well as we could have hoped.

I’m mentioning this because President “Pull My Finger” (hat tips to Atrios and Tbogg…Dubya somehow finds a way to sink lower and lower every day) has just brought back the “backdoor draft” for our marines, and this would have been mitigated somewhat if gays and lesbians could serve in our military in greater numbers.

As noted in this story...

As military and political leaders struggle to address critical troop shortages in the Middle East, they should consider the results of a data analysis just released by the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military, of the University of California at Santa Barbara. Our report, which analyzed data obtained from the Defense Manpower Data Center through a Freedom of Information Act request, revealed that the military is losing mission-critical combat and support specialists because of the ban on openly gay soldiers. What is particularly troubling about the results is that the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which requires the discharge of known gays and lesbians, is ousting troops in the very same occupational specialties as service members who are being involuntarily recalled from civilian life.
And E.J. Dionne notes here the reflexive hostility on the part of the Repugs and most Democrats to allowing gays and lesbians to serve our country (I mean, if Colin Powell wasn’t “on board” with it in 1993, did anyone seriously think that Rummy would be now?).

“Our Ol’ Buddy Jim” Is (Partly) Right!

(The quote in the title refers to the greeting he receives whenever he appears on Faux News.)

I bet you thought you’d never see the day when I actually give Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma credit for anything, right?

Well, he gave a ranting speech the other day saying that U.N. peacekeepers “have been teaching young girls to be prostitutes.”

(And by the way, I love his defense of the $320 million "Bridge to Nowhere" in Alaska - which even the other senator from that notorious red state, Tom Coburn, opposed - saying the money would have still gone to Alaska anyway instead of to Louisiana or a Gulf state for reconstruction because of damage related to Katrina. Do we need more of a testimonal for the Repugs' horrible fiscal mismanagement?)

Unfortunately, he’s right to a point about the prostitution (and believe me when I tell you that I don’t like to admit that).

However, far be it for Inhofe to mention that the U.N. and UNICEF have set up a commission to investigate child exploitation, right? After all, that would mean actually giving the U.N. credit for something, and we simply cannot have that, now can we?

As noted in the story…

To highlight the existence of the most egregious violations of international human rights law and encourage Governments to investigate particular cases, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights has appointed a Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. The Special Rapporteur, an expert in the field, works to gather and analyse facts for the Commission.

The condition most common to children who suffer, or are deprived of, opportunity is the poverty resulting from economic injustice. "The most perverse form of denial of child rights is poverty, because poverty makes it impossible to satisfy those needs that are basic rights", says Tereza Albenez, Special Advisor to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) on the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

But the more direct injustices perpetrated largely by adults -- and manifested in the large numbers of children exploited as labourers and prostitutes or maimed by war -- require further public exposure and protective laws that are actually enforced.

In the last decade, an estimated two million children have been killed in armed conflict, many of them by some of the 100 million landmines thought to be concealed in 62 countries. A total of perhaps four to five million more have been disabled as a result of their experience in war, and more than 12 million have been made homeless.

As for child labour, while experts agree that there are few accurate statistics available, the best estimates from the ILO are that there are nearly 80 million children under 15 working as labourers. It is also estimated that the number of children under 18 involved in prostitution exceeds two million, one million of whom are in Asia and 300,000 in the United States.
I have an idea, Jim. Why don’t you try investigating family and child protection service agencies in Oklahoma (assuming you have any) and make sure these agencies are staffed and funded properly so that your own constituents are provided for instead of shooting off your big mouth and attacking something about which you know very little, thus showing yourself to the whole world as the idiot that you truly are?

Check Out “The Good Joe” On CNN

Today, Admiral Joe Sestak will be featured on CNN; this is the latest in a flurry of activity for the Sestak campaign. On Monday, Senator Christopher Dodd came into town for a rally on children's issues, attended by approximately 150 people.

In its write-up of the event, the Delaware County Daily Times reported:

"If Monday was any indication, Sestak's campaign against U.S. Rep. Curt Weldon, R-7, of Thornbury seemed to be gaining momentum, as the crowd applauded after nearly every statement by Sestak or Dodd. A group of enthusiastic supporters in the back of the room also broke out numerous times with chants of 'Joe, Joe, Joe!'"
CNN's National Correspondent Bob Franken arrived in town today, following Joe to a health care rally and an address on national security that Joe gave to veterans and other supporters.

While the exact times of the segment are still to be determined, Joe is currently slotted to appear on CNN's American Morning, which airs between 6AM and 10AM (sorry). He is also scheduled to appear later in the day, on the Situation Room between 4PM and 5PM. Unfortunately, both times may be subject to change depending on CNN's coverage of late breaking news.

Make sure to tune in, and don't forget to tell friends and family!

This campaign is building momentum every day. Keep Charging!

To Kick Start Our Day

This is "Remedy" live by the Black Crowes (runs a bit long, but still good stuff)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

More "Mo" For Joe

I know that, between Lieberman and Pitts, there’s an abundance of news on the bad Joes out there, but here’s some on the good Joe (and I had to laugh when I read that Lieberman called for Rumsfeld’s resignation...gee, do you think it’s occurred to the Republicrat formerly of Connecticut that getting the Defense Secretary gig would save him from having to compete in that nasty election against Ned Lamont?).

The comments to this post on the Daily Kos from Sestak for Congress were highly enthusiastic, which was appropriate I thought, in particular for the line “for the cost of two days in Iraq we could screen 100% of the cargo on all passenger planes.”

Also, as this Washington Post story noted…

Sestak is getting support from traditional sources such as labor unions and newer ones such as the "Net roots" -- online activists who are channeling significant sums to antiwar Democrats. He has raised $230,000 online this cycle, including thousands through blogs.

"We really hit a vein," he said.
Here’s more from Joe’s speech…

Incredibly, ten years after al Qaeda plotted to bring liquid explosives onto planes, our airports are still not equipped to detect them.

With what we spend in 5 days in Iraq, we could ensure that all of the cargo entering our ports is screened for dangerous radioactive weapons.
“In a time of universal deceit, the simple act of telling the truth is revolutionary”--George Orwell (thanks to Kos commenter Circle for that one).

Make Herr Yours (In US PA District 16)

Some weeks ago, I pleaded for someone to tell me who was running against U.S. House Repug Joe Pitts so I could do all that I could to support this person, in light of the fact that Pitts’ voting record is so awful, and I am glad to say that my plea was answered. I will provide more details below.

But first, let's look more at Joe Pitts.

From here…

Gasoline prices. The House passed, 389-34, and sent to the Senate a bill (HR 5253) directing the Federal Trade Commission to investigate and prosecute price-gouging by sellers of gasoline and other fuels.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Voting yes: Andrews, Brady, Castle, Dent, Fattah, Fitzpatrick, Gerlach, Holden, LoBiondo, Saxton, Schwartz, Smith and Weldon.

Voting no: Pitts.
What the hell was Joe Pitts thinking on this one? Even Crazy Curt Weldon voted for this bill!

From here…

Arctic drilling. The House passed, 225-201, and sent to the Senate a bill (HR 5429) to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling. The bill would set aside 1.5 million of the refuge's 19 million acres for energy extraction, with 2,000 acres directly affected by drilling activity.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Voting yes: Brady, Dent, Pitts and Weldon.

Voting no: Andrews, Castle, Fattah, Fitzpatrick, Gerlach, Holden, LoBiondo, Saxton, Schwartz and Smith
If it were up to Joe, the ANWR would be full of oil wells at this point.

From here…

Sanctuary policies. Members voted, 218-179, to deny Department of Homeland Security funds to states or cities with a "sanctuary policy" under which illegal immigrants can report crimes without fear of being turned in to the U.S. government. The vote occurred during debate on HR 5441 (above).

A yes vote backed the denial of funds. (HR 5441)

Voting yes: Dent, Fitzpatrick, Gerlach, Holden, LoBiondo, Pitts, Saxton and Smith.

Voting no: Andrews, Brady, Castle, Fattah and Schwartz.

Not voting: Weldon.
So, like the other Repugs, Joe wanted to disallow illegal/undocumented workers from having the right to report crimes against them. What a guy.

From here (this was a really bad week for Pitts)…

Iraq war. The House passed, 256-153, a measure (H Res 861) ruling out any deadline for removing U.S. troops from Iraq and promising U.S. staying power to help Iraq stabilize itself.

A yes vote was to adopt the resolution.

Voting yes: Michael N. Castle (R., Del.), Charles W. Dent (R., Pa.), Michael G. Fitzpatrick (R., Pa.), Jim Gerlach (R., Pa.), Tim Holden (D., Pa.), Frank A. LoBiondo (R., N.J.), Joseph R. Pitts (R., Pa.), H. James Saxton (R., N.J.), Christopher H. Smith (R., N.J.) and Curt Weldon (R., Pa.).

Voting no: Robert E. Andrews (D., N.J.), Robert A. Brady (D., Pa.), Chaka Fattah (D., Pa.) and Allyson Schwartz (D., Pa.).
Joe opposes bringing our people home from Iraq and prefers to have them remain there indefinitely.

Airline ownership. Members voted, 291-137, to block a Department of Transportation rule that would enable European airlines to buy into and help manage U.S. airlines. The vote amended HR 5576 (above).

A yes vote was to block the Transportation Department proposal.

Voting yes: Andrews, Brady, Castle, Dent, Fattah, Fitzpatrick, Gerlach, Holden, LoBiondo, Saxton, Schwartz, Smith and Weldon.

Voting no: Pitts.
So Joe wants to allow European airlines to manage U.S. airlines?

Amtrak. Members voted, 266-158, to increase Amtrak's fiscal 2007 budget in HR 5576 (above) from $900 million to $1.14 billion.

A yes vote was to raise Amtrak funding.

Voting yes: Andrews, Brady, Castle, Dent, Fattah, Fitzpatrick, Gerlach, Holden, LoBiondo, Saxton, Schwartz, Smith and Weldon.

Voting no: Pitts.
Joe doesn’t want to increase Amtrak funding.

Fuel efficiency. Members approved, 234-190, an increase from $1.3 million to $8 million in funds in HR 5576 (above) for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration office in charge of vehicle fuel efficiency.

A yes vote was to raise funding for fuel efficiency.

Voting yes: Andrews, Brady, Castle, Dent, Fattah, Fitzpatrick, Gerlach, Holden, LoBiondo, Saxton, Schwartz, Smith and Weldon.

Voting no: Pitts.
He doesn’t want to raise fuel efficiency standards either.

From here…

Domestic spying. The House defeated, 219-207, an effort to require the administration to conduct its program of domestic electronic surveillance within the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Under FISA, spying on American citizens suspected of terrorist connections must be authorized by a special court of federal judges, although surveillance seen as urgent can be conducted without warrants for up to 72 hours. The amendment was offered to HR 5631 (above).

A yes vote backed the amendment.

Voting yes: Robert E. Andrews (D., N.J.), Robert A. Brady (D., Pa.), Chaka Fattah (D., Pa.), Tim Holden (D., Pa.) and Allyson Schwartz (D., Pa.).

Voting no: Michael N. Castle (R., Del.), Charles W. Dent (R., Pa.), Michael G. Fitzpatrick (R., Pa.), Jim Gerlach (R., Pa.), Frank A. LoBiondo (R., N.J.), Joseph R. Pitts (R., Pa.), H. James Saxton (R., N.J.), Christopher H. Smith (R., N.J.) and Curt Weldon (R., Pa.).
Joe, along with the other Repugs, likes domestic spying also.

From here…

Voting rights. The House rejected, 254-167, a proposal to strip the 1965 Voting Rights Act of a requirement that voting officials provide ballot information in multiple languages. The vote occurred during debate on the Justice Department's 2007 budget (HR 5672).

A yes vote was to adopt the amendment.

Voting yes: Joseph R. Pitts (R., Pa.) and Curt Weldon (R., Pa.).

Voting no: Robert E. Andrews (D., N.J.), Robert A. Brady (D., Pa.), Michael N. Castle (R., Del.), Charles W. Dent (R., Pa.), Chaka Fattah (D., Pa.), Michael G. Fitzpatrick (R., Pa.), Frank A. LoBiondo (R., N.J.), H. James Saxton (R., N.J.), Allyson Schwartz (D., Pa.) and Christopher H. Smith (R., N.J.)
Joe doesn’t want you to be able to vote if you can’t communicate in English.

From here…

Pre-clearance of voting changes. Voting 96-318, the House on Thursday defeated an amendment to HR 9 (above) making it easier for certain states and localities, mostly in the South, to be freed of the pre-clearance requirements of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

A yes vote backed the amendment.

Voting yes: Pitts.

Voting no: Andrews, Brady, Castle, Dent, Fattah, Fitzpatrick, Gerlach, Holden, LoBiondo, Saxton, Schwartz, Smith and Weldon.
Joe doesn’t support the 1965 Voting Rights Act either.

And on and on and on…

As I said, my plea was answered by the article in this link (I will reprint below)…

Republicans have had a lot of success over the last few years transforming the estate tax into the death tax and then arguing that this tax should die a permanent death.

Now comes the birth tax.

Democrats these days are arguing that thanks to the soaring deficit under the Bush administration, each newborn baby starts off life owing the government $36,000.

"Every newborn child inherits a share of the public debt," said Greg Paulson, manager of Lois Herr's campaign for Congress in the 16th District. "That's the true cost that faces people when they come into the world."

He raised the issue of the birth tax at the recent opening of Herr's campaign headquarters in Lancaster. She is challenging Republican Rep. Joe Pitts. The district covers the southern half of Chester County, including West Chester, all of Lancaster County, and parts of Berks County.

"The deficit is a centerpiece of her campaign and this is how you measure it," Paulson said. "People are upset about spending money you don't have."
The “birth tax,” huh? That’s brilliant!

To find out more about Lois and lend her a hand, click here (and if you live in her district, please volunteer if you can).

A Question Of Loyalty

The Bucks County Courier Times reported this morning that Dubya was “steadfast” on Iraq.

Not stubborn, clueless, living in a fantasy world consumed with his own delusions, or hopelessly out of touch.

“Steadfast.” defines “steadfast” as “1) Fixed or unchanging, steady or 2) Firmly loyal or constant, unswerving.”

“Fixed or unchanging” is something that is debatable based on administration reports that are leaked about troop draw-downs versus troop increases. “Steady” is also highly subjective as far as I’m concerned.

But “Firmly loyal”? To who, I would ask?

Not the people of this country, who now want us out of Iraq in greater numbers than ever before.

Not the people of Iraq themselves who feel the same way.

Then who would be the benefactors of Dubya’s “loyalty,” I wonder?

Could it be these individuals?

If so, then I would like to point out as strongly as I can the need to act on Rep. Louise Slaughter’s call for a modern-day Truman Commission to look into contractor fraud in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is because, by swearing to uphold his oath of office as President, Dubya made a public declaration twice that he would honor and abide by the Constitution of the United States, which firmly dictates that his loyalty lies with the American people.

But though I believe the Courier Times is correct in assessing Dubya’s sense of loyalty, they did not expressly state where his loyalties truly lie. And since they lie not with the American people, that to me qualifies as grounds for impeachment (though I readily admit that I am not a constitutional scholar).

So let us be steadfast in our own right by continuing the call for his removal from office. Our duty as citizens requires nothing less at this point.

Monday, August 21, 2006

A '60s Guilty Pleasure

Jackie DeShannon bebops to number 62 today on the birthday chart ("When You Walk In The Room" from something called "Shivaree")...I was looking for "What The World Needs Now," but this was too Austin Powers-ish to pass up.

The Clash - Train In Vain

A tribute to Joe Strummer of The Clash (8/21/52 to 12/22/02)...this is from another "Fridays" episode in April 1980 (again, kind of a goofy show, but they knew how to film some great rock performances).

Bushco’s Façade Continues To Crack

So the terror-related charge against overall creep and bad actor Jose Padilla has been thrown out.

Wasn’t it only yesterday when he was considered to be such a threat to Truth, Justice and the American Way that it was decided by Bushco that he should be held as an enemy combatant ( was last year, actually).

So it turns out that Dubya can’t deny due process to an American citizen after all (this comes on the heels of the Hamdan v. Rumsfeld decision against Bush’s military commissions, which even Antonin Scalia thought was founded on a shaky ruling by The Supremes).

Hmmm...maybe this guy isn’t such a legal genius after all.

But Bodily Fractures Are OK?

I’m sorry, but I have to say something about this.

I’m opposed to smoking also, and I’m glad that it will be edited out of the cartoons in question, but please allow me to point something out.

“Tom and Jerry” was easily the most violent cartoon I ever remember watching when I was growing up. If I were to sit down and watch many of them all over again (which probably would numb my brain in much the same way as trying to endure a George W. Bush press conference), I could probably assemble a catalog of ways in which torture could be inflicted on one of God’s creations.

We were much more concerned with the young one imitating the violent behavior of any program he watched in his earliest years than we were about whether or not he chose to try and smoke a cigarette after Tom tried to hit Jerry with a plank tipped with a nail in the end and accidentally clubbed himself in the head instead (or after Tom inadvertently gave himself a dynamite suppository).

I mean, I managed to watch these shows while I was growing up and I turned out to be reasonably normal (a judgment call, I’ll admit). I’m just glad I didn’t have one of these holier-than-thou types worrying too much about bad influences and trying to get programs banned from the air instead.

As I said, though, I’ll cut them a bit of slack on the smoking. But if someone tries to edit anything from “The Three Stooges,” I’ll have an eye-gouge ready for them (nyuk, nyuk).

Mikey The "Zig Zag Man"

Two more prospective voters for Patrick Murphy were published in the Bucks County Courier Times this morning.

I wasn’t really surprised to see Congressman Fitzpatrick flip his position on the war in Iraq.

He is running against Patrick Murphy, a veteran of the Iraq War. The death toll is climbing and every day sees more Americans seriously injured.

Most Americans oppose the war and politicians who walked arm in arm with President Bush on Iraq are being defeated in their own elections.

With the election less than three months away it is no wonder that he decided to come out against the war.

What was even less surprising was the Courier Times quickly jumping to congratulate Fitzpatrick on his flip-flopping.

At least your paper did acknowledge that Patrick Murphy has had a plan for ending our involvement in Iraq since last year.

Too bad you didn’t ask Fitzpatrick why it took him so long to come to the same conclusion most Americans reached long ago; that the current administration has no plan for getting us out of Iraq and no idea how to stop the constant fighting that kills people every day.

Andrea Harvie
Bristol, PA

The political circus has begun with the barkers trying to sell us on their candidate. Most likely, apologists for Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick will try to defend the Republican Party’s record under George W. Bush as the best thing that has ever happened to us.

Mike will bark loudly that he is “independent.” He claims a 60 percent environmental record isn’t a failure.

He will even claim that he is in favor of Social Security. He voted to extend the tax breaks for the rich, which he claims is good for the economy. He visited Iraq and told us the press had it wrong; the people are happy.

The national debt doesn’t require controlling spending or new taxes, it requires tax cuts for the rich and corporations coupled with the elimination or reduction of federal programs for the average American.

Mike is a “Zig Zag Man.” You don’t know where he stands. What he says isn’t what he does.

By September he will have spent thousands of dollars selling us a front row seat for the circus.

As a senior who has never missed voting for 46 years, I am not going to vote for the clever, self-serving politicians enslaved and seduced by the power and wealth of his master.

Jim Mannion
Falls Township, PA
By the way, from what I can determine (didn’t see the webcast), it sounds like Patrick presented himself well in the first debate (I'm kicking myself actually because I want to find out what Mikey said about attacking Iran).

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

With typical hubris, Dubya is now telling the U.N. that he wants peacekeepers sent to Lebanon “quickly.”

Gee, where was all of this interest in a peaceful resolution to the Israel-Hezbollah war when hostilities first broke out a few weeks ago? As Sy Hersh reported...

In the days after Hezbollah crossed from Lebanon into Israel, on July 12th, to kidnap two soldiers, triggering an Israeli air attack on Lebanon and a full-scale war (again, Len Hart has something different on that), the Bush Administration seemed strangely passive. "It's a moment of clarification," President George W. Bush said at the G-8 summit, in St. Petersburg, on July 16th. "It's now become clear why we don't have peace in the Middle East."
Yes, partly because you had decided to help Israel blow the crap out of Hezbollah instead of trying to mediate between the two sides in keeping with the precedent of past administrations; I know Hezbollah was “armed to the teeth” as Hersh reports, which as far as I’m concerned is all the more reason to pursue a diplomatic solution, but it was more important for Dubya to have a trial run at attacking Iran than do all he could to pursue peace and maintain whatever democracy existed in Lebanon, which surely is now endangered because of the war’s destruction (look for a Nasrallah/Hezbollah ascendancy now along with implementation of something like the Shia nutsiness that “governs” Iran).

This quote from Hersh’s story (and I’m still making my way through it) caught my eye also…

"The Israelis told us it would be a cheap war with many benefits," a U.S. government consultant with close ties to Israel said. "Why oppose it? We'll be able to hunt down and bomb missiles, tunnels, and bunkers from the air. It would be a demo for Iran."
“A cheap war with many benefits,” huh? I wonder where I’ve heard that one before (maybe from Bush economic advisor Glen Hubbard)?

As I thought about Dubya’s call for U.N. peacekeepers in Lebanon, I wondered what was going on with the “peacekeepers” (I guess that’s what the role is now pretty much) in the war that Bushco doesn’t want us to think about right now, and of course that would be Iraq.

(By the way, the CNN Quick Vote question earlier today was “Who do you support for President, Hillary Clinton or John McCain? The vote was 53 percent McCain and 47 percent Clinton when I checked. I’m mentioning this because, though I think HRC needs to join “the reality-based community” on the war, I think McCain does also, as Atrios noted yesterday.)

Concerning Iraq, this story from the Christian Science Monitor states the following...

In terms of military operations on the ground, the withdrawals (of forces from other countries, including the phased withdrawal of Italian forces) mean little, analysts say. Only Britain has a substantial security role, and so far it has remained steadfast. Yet each country's commitment to Iraq - however small - is a significant token to an administration that has long sought global support for the conflict.
And of course, Bushco would never stoop so low as to make it sound like countries are participating when they’re really not, right?

Also, here is an article on how Bushco is laying the groundwork for the attack on Iran (though you would think they would reconsider this for a number of reasons, one of which is the fact that Israel has been roundly condemned as a result of the war with Hezbollah and, as stated earlier, Nasrallah’s “stature” has been enhanced as a result). As you can read from Dr. Gordon Prather’s article, Bushco is criticizing Iran for noncompliance with the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) treaty. Considering this excerpt from Prather’s article, Bushco’s bald-faced hypocrisy is breathtaking…

Although supported by Clinton, two action steps on that agenda (of the 2000 Review Conference of the NPT Treaty) – early entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and negotiation of a multilateral and internationally and "effectively verifiable" Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty (FMCT) – have not been supported by his successor.
So, instead of an attempt at diplomacy between Israel and Hezbollah (a hugely difficult task because of fault on both sides, I’ll admit), we take sides with the Israelis to try and use Lebanon as a test ground for invading Iran (under the flimsy diplomatic cover of noncompliance with the NPT, which this administration isn’t seriously supporting anyway).

“A cheap war with many benefits,” huh?


Update: If he were a child, you could force him to make admissions like this at long last by withholding a privilege or taking away a prized toy or something, but unfortunately, this waste of space is an adult (chronologically, anyway, and how nice for him to say this when we're just about at the five-year anniversary).

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Sunday Video

As the Philadelphia Folk Festival winds down (probably over now), I'd like to bring back this performance for the ages from another outdoor concert held 37 years ago this month in August 1969, and that of course would be Woodstock; Jimi Hendrix performs "Red House."