Wednesday, July 28, 2004
( 6:22 AM )
And in the News...
Two items of interest for me in the news today:
1. The new federal deficit is set to be announced at the end of the week (they're waiting till after the convention so Kerry can't use it against Bush) - and it's expected to be the biggest. deficit. ever. Well, not ever -- Reagan still holds that honor. But this is a record-breaker.
The White House will project soon that this year's federal deficit will exceed $420 billion, congressional aides said, a record figure certain to ignite partisan warfare over President Bush's handling of the economy.
But it's not all bad! It's below what Bush predicted! That MUST mean the economy is doing GREAT!!
Either way, the White House was ready to emphasize that the figure is well below the $521 billion it projected for this year last February, and tie it to improvements in the economy.
"It is hard to disregard the strong progress made on the economy and our fiscal situation," Kolton said Tuesday. [he said, as his nose grew 12 inches]
Democrats have said Bush purposely overestimated this year's budget gap so he could take credit for improvement when the real figures came in.
"The new estimate ... will set a new record of fiscal mismanagement and deficit spending," said Kerry economic adviser Gene Sperling.
The White House insists this rising deficit is nothing to worry about -- it's only 4 percent of the economy, well below Reagan's 6 percent. Well, whew. I feel better.
2. Here's another reason to feel better!! Florida has managed to lose all the electronic voting records from the 2002 election! Surprised? Shocked? I know, I can hardly believe it myself.
Almost all the electronic records from the first widespread use of touch-screen voting in Miami-Dade County have been lost, stoking concerns that the machines are unreliable as the presidential election draws near.
The records disappeared after two computer system crashes last year, county elections officials said, leaving no audit trail for the 2002 gubernatorial primary. A citizens group uncovered the loss this month after requesting all audit data from that election.
Evidently, they hadn't thought to back up their records. But they've got the problem patched - they now back up the system and oh, they're trying to make sure the batteries don't run out too. That's a relief. For a mintue there, I thought the voting in Florida might be corrupted.
( 6:15 AM )
I thought it was GREAT. I may be biased because oh, I don't know, I just happen to like strong, independent women who use their voice. My favorite line she uses (and used again last night) is that it is far time that women have earned their right to have an opinion and will be called intelligent, well-informed people, and NOT "opinionated." She is brilliant (speaks 5 languages fluently), informed, successful and she lives what she speaks. Not only would she make a fabulous first lady, she would make the best example to women, young and old, that their voices matter. I have no doubt that if the forces of evil go after her like they did Hillary, Theresa would not take it sitting down. She would turn it back on them and make them all look foolish. Most of all, I think it says a lot about John Kerry that he loves and chooses as his partner a woman like Theresa Heinz. More than anything I know about him, that tells me he's a man of character, strength and is secure enough in his own personhood that he can enjoy, exalt in and honor a woman like Theresa as his partner.
Don't let the dogs get you down Theresa, we think you're tops.
OH - and the best speech by a woman last night? Had to be Ilana Wexler. She was ADORABLE!!! She looked like Annie and she showed no fear as she touted her organizating Kids for Kerry. She was amazing and really inspiring. She was 12. This was the best:
"When our vice president had a disagreement with a Democratic senator, he used a really bad word," Ilana said. "If I said that word, I would be put in a timeout. I think he should be put in a timeout."
Nice one, Ilana.
( 5:56 AM )
If you didn't hear or see Barak Obama's speech last night at the convention, I urge you to find a replay and listen - or better yet, watch. He has the kind of potential that you see very rarely in politics, and despite the forked tongues of the Fox reporters after the speech, I think the general consensus has been: "WOW!"
He gave the perfect speech last night - centering on the theme of the week: unity. But the way Obama talks unity is the way the country wants to hear about it - not sugary sweet platitudes, but the truth:
Yet even as we speek, there are those who are preparing to divide us, the spin masters, and negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes. Well, I say to them tonight, there's not a liberal Amercan and a conservative America -- there's the United States of America. There's not a black America and a white America -- there's the United States of America. The pundits like to slice-and-dice our country into Red States and Blue States [...] but I've got news for them, too. We worship an awesome God in the Blue States and have gay friends in the Red States. There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq and patriots who supported it. We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.
While I disagree with the fact that there isn't a division between black and white America, I think someone like Obama could be the one to set that division on its way out. There is simply no quick fix to hundreds of years of institutionalized racism in this country, but an African American national leader could do what decades of fighting for equity and justice have tried to achieve.
President Obama. I like the sound of it. And I'm not the only one. I've joined the bandwagon, and I'm going to stay on it. There's no doubt he's got his Senate race in the bag. It's shameful for our country that he will be only the 3rd African American senator since Reconstruction, but perhaps Barak Obama is the new Man of the People for a new century. We can only hope.
Tuesday, July 27, 2004
( 4:45 PM )
Free Speech Overkill
Kos says it all. And check out the pics from Atrios. And a view from behind the wire from Talk Left.
Herding protesters into fenced-in corrals with razor wire and machine guns is not only overkill, it's unconstitutional and ridiculous. I wish just ONE of the main speakers this week would speak out for and advocate the freedom of protest. You can't defend against terrorism by cutting off the rights of citizens. Yet that seems to be the only response governments are capable. The entire system must be challenged and changed.
Monday, July 26, 2004
( 8:11 AM )
Loads of bloggers are blogging from the Dem Convention this week (as if you didn't know). Of course I highly recommend you keep track via Daily Kos and Atrios.
Even better, keep your eye on Tom - he's always got the REAL story...
( 8:03 AM )
The 9/11 Report seemingly didn't reach very many harsh conclusions or criticsms in its summary and recommendations - however, scattered throughout the report itself are a lot of conclusions that deserve a bit more airing. One in particular was that the Commission deemed John (holy cow) Ashcroft's public testimony was false and misleading. This was his testimony where he attempted to deflect attention from his own screw-ups by blaming Commission member and former assistant Attorney General Jamie Gorelick for the problems in the intelligence community and Justice Dept.
The commission bluntly stated that Ashcroft's public testimony did not "fairly or accurately reflect the significance of the 1995 documents and their relevance to the 2001 discussions." Specifically, "The Gorelick memorandum applied to two particular criminal cases, neither of which was involved in the summer 2001 information-sharing discussions." Any barriers between the law enforcement and intelligence communities were not created from written guidelines by internal Justice Department conflicts which "neither Attorney General [Ashcroft or Reno] acted to resolve" prior to 9/11.
Even Ashcroft himself has recently backed away from his April testimony before the commission. In a recent document released by the Justice Department, Ashcroft conceded that Gorelick's memo permitted "interaction and information sharing between prosecutors and intelligence officers" and allowed the FBI to use the fruits of an intelligence investigation "in a criminal prosecution." Ashcroft failed to mention that guidelines issued by his own deputy Attorney General, Larry Thompson, were more restrictive because they affirmed the Gorelick memo and added additional requirements.
This administration simply can't keep track of its own lies anymore. However, the worse fault lies with the media, who cannot even report these kinds of conclusions within the Report because I doubt most of them have even bothered to read it.
(thanks to maru for the heads-up)
Friday, July 23, 2004
( 11:59 AM )
Our Congress is finally calling it what it is in Darfur: genocide. Of course, it's not news here in the U.S. But at least it's been said. You have to acknowledge reality before you can transform it (thank you, Paulo Friere) - so this is the first good step.
The US Congress says the government must seek a UN resolution to authorise a multinational force to protect the displaced civilians and aid workers in Darfur.
The resolution of the US House of Representatives - adopted unanimously by 422 votes and 12 abstentions - says the Bush adminstration should call the atrocities in Darfur "by its rightful name: 'genocide'."
Up to 100 people were allegedly buried here
It urges the Bush administration to consider "multilateral or even unilateral intervention to prevent genocide should the United Nations Security Council fail to act".
Many of those who have fled their homes say Janjaweed militiamen patrol outside the camps, killing men and raping women who go in search of food or firewood.
Now, if only the president would acknowledge the truth and urge the UN to do the same so that we can begin to actually use our vast resources to save people's lives rather than destroy them.
( 11:53 AM )
Jobs, What Jobs?
So, while Bush traipses around the country campaigning this week and conservative pundits have nothing better to talk about except stupid lies about Sandy Berger, 10,000 jobs have been cut in the last three days. Big American employers are continuing to cut jobs, despite rising profits, because it's more profitable for them to hire overseas.
Capitol One, meanwhile, is “working aggressively” to send its jobs overseas, allowing them a better chance to “win in our markets.”
Capital One is shutting down its sprawling credit card call center in Tampa, eliminating 1,100 jobs and delivering a serious blow to a decadelong effort to upgrade the area’s economic base.
The Tampa job cuts, which were announced along with smaller staff reductions in Dallas and Richmond, Va., are part of Capital One’s ongoing push to outsource much of its customer relations work.
“Although this was a difficult decision, I know that it is the right decision for the U.S. Card business and for Capital One,” Catherine West, president of the company’s U.S. Card business, wrote in a memo circulated to employees Wednesday afternoon. “It enables us to achieve the cost efficiencies we need to win in our markets.”
When markets rule the world, we'll all be happier. Right? Right?
( 11:36 AM )
All the political news is so boring compared to the announcement from Stephen Hawking (the most brilliant human on earth)yesterday that he may have been completely wrong about black holes. Now, putting aside an intelligent man who is able to actually search for more answers even when it puts his original conclusion to the test, and then even to admit he was wrong when he comes to a new conclusion, this is the sort of announcement that just makes this Mama thrill with thoughts about the vastness of space.
So Dr. Hawking admitted publicly at a conference yesterday that he was conceding a bet he made with other physicists about what a black hole can do. Basically, Dr. Hawking thought that if something was sucked into a black hole, it was destroyed and lost forever. But others thought that information could come back out after being sucked in. Now, Dr. Hawking is agreeing.
This esoteric sounding debate is of great consequence to science, because if Dr. Hawking had been right, it would have violated a basic tenet of modern physics: that it is always possible to reverse time, run the proverbial film backward and reconstruct what happened in, say, the collision of two cars or the collapse of a dead star into a black hole.
Now, on the basis of a new calculation, Dr. Hawking has concluded that physics is safe and information can escape from a black hole. "I want to report that I think that I have solved a major problem in theoretical physics," he told his colleagues, according to a transcript of his remarks.
Theorists have worried about the fate of information in black holes since the 1960's. In 1974, Dr. Hawking stunned the world by showing that when the paradoxical quantum laws that describe subatomic behavior were taken into account, black holes should leak and eventually explode in a shower of particles and radiation.
The work was, and remains, hailed as a breakthrough in understanding the connection between gravity and quantum mechanics, the large and the small in the universe.
In his new calculation, Dr. Hawking said that because of quantum uncertainty, one could never be sure from a distance that a black hole had really formed. There is no way to discriminate between a real black hole and an apparent one.
In the latter case an event horizon, the putative point of last return, could appear to form and then unravel; in that case the so-called Hawking radiation that came back out would not be completely random but would have subtle correlations and thus could carry information about what was inside.
According to quantum theory, both possibilities - a real black hole and an apparent one - coexist and contribute to the final answer. The contribution of the no-black-hole possibilities is great enough to suffice to allow information to escape, Dr. Hawking argued.
Another consequence of his new calculations, Dr. Hawking said, is that there is no baby universe branching off from our own inside the black hole, as some theorists, including himself, have speculated.
So quantum physics is rescued. Of course the scientists will continue to debate, and some aren't yet willing to concede Hawking's new position. But the idea that information can escape a black hole seems to confirm recent experiments in string theory - where scientists are trying to come to a Theory of Everything to explain all the forces of nature together.
Crazy quantum physicists. Yet very, very cool.
Wednesday, July 21, 2004
( 7:21 AM )
Kos and Morning Sedition are already on this, but it bears repeating.
President Bush, 2/8/04:
"I'm a war president. I make decisions here in the Oval Office in foreign policy matters with war on my mind."
President Bush, 7/20/04:
"I want to be the peace president."
Stay the course.
( 7:09 AM )
Shhhhhh....Don't Say a Word, or You Might be Arrested...
In this recent wave of censorship and Farenheit 425 efforts by the government, after Whoopi loses her job, Linda Rondstadt loses hers, a couple gets arrested for their t-shirts -- now Doonsebury has been banned from 38 newspapers. One of the papers isn't taking it sitting down:
All of my editors met with me this morning and to a man, and woman, we objected to a newspaper organization censoring opinion by plebiscite. I am in thorough agreement with my editors, and strongly object to an obviously political effort to silence a minority point of view. For years, my New Deal father bore the opposition views of Orphan Annie and Daddy Warbucks, and I believe he would have fought an effort to silence them by a simple majority vote. This is wrong, offensive to First Amendment freedoms.
H. Brandt Ayers
The Anniston Star
Americans need to start fighting back - especially when business and corporate interests are the ones making the decisions about free speech and our civil liberties. Oligarchy is not the future of this country if we don't let it, but if we remain silent and do nothing, corporations and business interests will soon enjoy all the rights that humans used to, and humans will be reduced to robotic servants of the system. It's a long road back, but we've got to start walking now, or soon it will be too late.
Monday, July 19, 2004
( 9:08 AM )
The new blogger keeps adding bizarre codes to my template, which screws up how my blog looks and where my sidebar ends up. So if the blog looks weird, it's not my fault! I will try to catch the weird things as soon as possible when I can. Meanwhile, Blogger, get your act together! (That's about as much as I can justifiably complain, since it is, after all, free).
( 8:53 AM )
Bye Bye Oregonians
100 More Oregonians have been called up for service in Iraq this week. They will be gone (supposedly) no longer than 18 months.
Oregon has lost an inordinate amount of troops this year, in comparison to our population. Of course, most of these Oregon National Guard troops are coming from rural areas - places without established support services for their families, places where their families will struggle financially without their spouse's income, and places where it's easy to ignore (of course till more coffins come home). Oregon's governor has been one of the only to attend every single funeral of a killed Oregonian in Iraq - and he's been busy the last few months. These additional call-ups further thin our police, fireman and other first responders - the people who are most often in the Guard and Reserve.
The deployment is part of the Pentagon's efforts to rotate fresh troops into Iraq, Braibish said. Tasks the soldiers will undertake include providing security for convoys, conducting weapons sweeps and looking for improvised explosive devices.
"It is very dangerous duty they are facing," he said.
The latest deployment, combined with previously announced deployments of G Troop, 82nd Cavalry and the 3rd Battalion, 116th Cavalry, will increase the total number of Oregon National Guard soldiers serving in Iraq to more than 1,300 by late fall or early winter.
In fact, Gov. Kulongoski has called attention to the fact that the further depletion of our Guard troops will make it very dangerous for our state during forest fire season. If other disasters or calamities happen, we are strapped for Guard and Reserve help. The modern purpose of the Guard has been usurped to fill in the gaps for troops in Iraq because of Bush's poor planning and bad ideas. It is the rural and sparsely populated states like Oregon who will suffer most because of Bush's war.
( 8:29 AM )
Under The Headlines
If you don't get the SPLC Report, at least check out the website and as much as you can monetarily support the Southern Poverty Law Center. It's doing the work that the government, that the media, and that most of the rest of us can't or won't do. Case in point. Not one mention in the mainstream national media about this, but the major leaders of all the White Supremacist groups got together for a convention last month in New Orleans. In addition to celebrating David Duke's release from prison, the leaders from three countries got together to create what they are affectionately calling the "New Orleans Protocol" in which they blame Jews and people of color for all the ills in the world. Shocker, I know. But this is no laughing matter. Here's a brief list of who was in attendance and who signed the Protocol:
Duke, former Klansman and now leader of European-American Unity and Rights Organization (EURO);And here's a little of what they are up to:
Don Black, a former Klan leader and the creator of Stormfront, the Internet's first and most influential hate website;
Willis Carto, a primary architect of the Holocaust denial movement in this country;
Kevin Strom and David Pringle of the neo-Nazi National Alliance, the organization whose founder inspired the Oklahoma City bombing;
Paul Fromm, head of the Canadian Association of Free Expression, a vehemently anti-immigrant organization;
Attorney Sam G. Dickson of the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC); and
John Tyndall, founder of the racist British National Party.
"The New Orleans Protocol," written by Duke, is a pledge by groups to work together to support the hate movement. It requires groups to aim their hate at their real targets, not at each other, and to advance in unity their vision: a nation for white people.
Some of the tactics discussed during a strategy session at the gathering included volunteering as Little League coaches, providing access to impressionable young children, and joining the Red Cross to gain credibility for their ideas.
If you think that White Supremacism is a marginalized idea and that those promoting it are outside the mainstream culture, think again. Hate groups flourish in this country and they can because White Supremacy as a norm of our culture continues to corrupt our entire society. Why do you think there is such push-back against multicultural teaching - and I'm not talking about the "holidays and heroes" token looks at leaders in different cultures, I'm talking about true multicultural teaching, where the cultures of all students are valued and shared equally, where each child's first language is honored and used to help them advance in their learning, where white teachers take into account the vast knowledge and resources that exist with their immigrant students and students of color as well as those students' families. The entire platform of the GOP wreaks of white supremacism. But the Democrats aren't innocent either. The New Democrats of the last few decades have moved closer and closer to the GOP in all their economic tactics and their response to the problems in education - what's the difference anymore, some might ask? Ignoring the economic disparities, the vast amount of poverty and hunger in this country, the abuse and discrimination of immigrants, workers, people of color, women and other non-white status holders has become the modus operani of the US government, no matter who is in power.
Hate groups are the outward expression of a deep, abiding problem in this country. 600 years of institutionalized racism and lack of compassion and true action to alleviate the burdents of the most vulnerable among us only makes the fomenting of hate and discriminatory laws more possible. We need to stop ignoring the undercurrent of white privilege that guides this country and the constant oppression of those who deserve justice and truth. We need to turn the white privilege on its head and start making this country into one of not only tolerance and refuge, but of the advancement of progressive ideas and a culture where true justice and equality determine the fate of all our citizens.
| -- permanent link
( 7:16 AM )
Okay, I admit it. The grad school thing has me spinning a bit, trying to catch my bearings - thus the irregular posting (I added a class last week). But I am still here and still paying attention - and I hope you are too!
Thursday, July 15, 2004
( 5:31 PM )
Ethics? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Ethics
So there is this Congressman Tom DeLay - formerly known as The Hammer - who is the powerful
Four of the five House ethics committee Republicans investigating Majority Leader Tom DeLay have accepted money in the past from the fund-raising operation involved in the complaint against him.Experts are now saying that the issue won't be adequately resolved without an independent counsel due to the conflict of interest. Not only do these Republicans have to sit in judgment against the man who can cripple them politically, but the also accepted money from his corrupt PAC! But DeLay is fighting back. Through his spokesman, he says that he's fully confident the Committee can deal with the issues. And besides, this is just another Democratic tactic:
While leaders in both parties maintain organizations to raise money for candidates, the appearance of a conflict in DeLay's case is enough alone to warrant hiring an independent counsel of the type that investigated dethroned former speakers Jim Wright and Newt Gingrich, watchdog groups said Thursday.
"Mr. DeLay's stature as one of the most powerful members of Congress — with the capacity to extract retribution from anyone — makes it especially difficult for his peers to sit in judgment of him," said Common Cause president Chellie Pingree.
"It's worth noting that we're in the summer of the election year and this is the Democrats' strategy. They don't have any policy or accomplishments or agenda to speak of, so they are going to stick to politics of personal destruction," Grella [DeLay's aide] said.Yeah. Because Democrats have nothing better to do. And Republicans have accomplished SO much and have a really great agenda ... oh and they never engage in "politics of personal destruction."
It's time to clean House. You can start by helping this guy.
Monday, July 12, 2004
( 10:29 AM )
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. I believe.
( 10:07 AM )
So what if the Constitution says specifically that national elections MUST take place on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November? Who cares if one of the most embedded and basic tenants of the Constitution is to keep the state separate from the church? These things are merely details that can be overcome. So says this administration.
The debate about gay marriage is a total red herring. The Congress can't debate anything else that is an issue for Americans - I don't know, like revising that horrible health care bill, or perhaps discussing computer voting machines, creating jobs or maybe getting rid of those tax cuts for the rich that have blown up our deficits? Nope, we have to debate the idea of whether the Constitution should be overthrown for one of its basic tenants: separation of church and state (not to mention equal protection). Well, if the GOP wants to focus on trying to "sanctify" marriage itself, fine. But the rest of us have better things to focus on. Their total denial of the Constitution is no longer shocking. It's almost tiring to think about how ludicrous these things are. It's time to get rid of this farce of an administration.
But even WORSE... Tom Ridge is looking into how our national elections can be postponed if there is a terrorist attack. That's right folks. They're not even TRYING to hide their hubris anymore - they're not even trying to fake that they are going to do everything they can to either steal the election or at least make sure it never happens.
As a result, sources tell NEWSWEEK, Ridge's department last week asked the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel to analyze what legal steps would be needed to permit the postponement of the election were an attack to take place. Justice was specifically asked to review a recent letter to Ridge from DeForest B. Soaries Jr., chairman of the newly created U.S. Election Assistance Commission. Soaries noted that, while a primary election in New York on September 11, 2001, was quickly suspended by that state's Board of Elections after the attacks that morning, "the federal government has no agency that has the statutory authority to cancel and reschedule a federal election." Soaries, a Bush appointee who two years ago was an unsuccessful GOP candidate for Congress, wants Ridge to seek emergency legislation from Congress empowering his agency to make such a call. Homeland officials say that as drastic as such proposals sound, they are taking them seriously—along with other possible contingency plans in the event of an election-eve or Election Day attack. "We are reviewing the issue to determine what steps need to be taken to secure the election," says Brian Roehrkasse, a Homeland spokesman.
There IS no legal way to postpone elections. It would not be unreasonable to have a contingency plan if the elections are LITERALLY interrupted by a terrorist attack. But if some sort of event happens before the election or something else occurs that doesn't directly keep people from voting, then this is a moot point. They would have to change the Constitution to make this happen, which of course is impossible.
If people are willing to let THIS go by, then it will be obvious we have finally become a nation of unthinking sheep. I hope this is not the case.
UPDATE: Kos has a good review of this issue, and there are great comments too.
( 9:56 AM )
So, due to the financial precipice we're balancing on because of my entrance into grad school this summer, my dashing husband has been trying to find work. He was hired last week and started this morning at work he is incredibly skilled at. But now he has to leave the house by 6am and isn't home till 5 - 6 days a week. Getting a job here in Portland is hard these days, so we're happy he found something. Especially since it means we can keep our house and eat more than macaroni and tuna. But it also brings a lot of loss - he's been home with Martin for the last 2 years. I have really mixed feelings. We REALLY need the money, but I am very sad that Martin won't get to be with his dad anymore during the day. So big changes for all three of us. Now Martin will spend 4 days at his beloved in-home day care (he previously went 2 days a week) and one day with his grandma and grandpa. And now I will be the one who has to drop him off, pick him up and also return to taking care of house, errands, chores, etc. in addition to grad school.
So this morning was my first drop off. Martin goes there, he's familiar with all the kids and Ms. Ruby of course. But he clung to me and wept and wouldn't let me go (reports are that he just runs off and starts playing when his dad drops him off). So then I started crying. And we were both standing there sobbing - for no reason, really. I think he was having basic 2 yr old separation anxiety which would disappear the moment I was out of sight. But for me, it was more. I have been the wage earner in the family since he was 5 months old. It was horrible getting used to not being around, not being the preferred parent that first year. It was hard to wave goodbye as I went to work (or more recently, school) - but not that hard, since he was happy at home with Dad. But now things are different. I have to say I don't really like it. But that's life, right?
Saturday, July 10, 2004
( 10:52 AM )
I was a Nader voter in 2000 and I don't regret it. I think a strong message needed to be sent to the Democratic party - it has gone so far into the corporate arena that if you're voting on anything OTHER than "values" you're screwed because both parties have done the same things to screw America in the past decade: NAFTA, WTO, deregulation, etc. The Clinton/DLC takeover of the party led to Republican power in Congress for the last 10 years and no real advocacy of any of the historical causes of the Democratic Party. Anyway, I think Nader ran a great campaign in 2000 and I think he was shafted by not being allowed in on the debate. I have long maintained that election was Gore's to lose, and though he DID technically win, he betrayed his own populist roots and convention speech and let the DLC ruin him. That was in 2000.
Nader has lost my respect now. When he first decided to enter this race, I respected his right to run as an independent. Our system is corrupt to the core and any challenge to it, I believe, is valid. But he has now compromised his own political values by the way he is running his "campaign." Last night, Howard Dean, in an NPR debate with Nader, tried to point out the hypocritical turn Nader has taken.
“Ralph, I think you’re being disingenuous about your candidacy this year, and let me tell you why,” Dean began at start of the debate. “Forty-six percent of all your signatures to get you on the Arizona ballot turned out to be Republican supporters. You accepted the support of a right-wing fanatic Republican group that’s anti-gay in order to help you get on the ballot in Oregon.”
It was obvious from the massive momentum and support that Dean got from people across this country who were mobilized to become politically active for the first time in their lives that the Dem party is taking a new turn. Kerry is virtually the last stronghold of the old guard, and the influence of Dean's anti-corporate stance and Edwards' focus on real issues like race and class signal that the DLC and its failed tactics are no longer valid players in the game.
Nader pushing against this momentum to return progressives to the platform of the Democratic Party is no longer an issue of fairness. It's about Ralph Nader now, not about the issues he espoused in 2000. He even endorsed Edwards in 2002! There will always be time to fight against the system, but if we are to keep our ultimate goal in mind: saving this country from a hellhole we can't get out of - then we have to choose our battles right now. And choosing to join with Republicans to thwart the Dem ticket is not the battle that will gain Nader's cause any support.
It sucks. We shouldn't have to be controlled by this two-fisted corporate system we have allowed to infest our entire political process. We've got to deal with it. But not this year. This year, we've got to preserve our CHANCE to deal with it. It's about survival right now. When we have achieved that, THEN it will be about liberation.
Friday, July 09, 2004
( 9:44 AM )
...and that's only the physically dead coalition troops. How many more dead Iraqis? How many more thousands have returned with dead hearts, dead minds, dead hope?
( 9:39 AM )
(thanks to TPM for the link)
( 9:28 AM )
Cabal of Gangsters
While the Senate Intelligence Committee members argue about their "unanimous" report and whether the White House pressured the intelligence community to come up with certain conclusions or whether it was just pleasant prodding (as the GOP members claim); the GOP House Leadership in collusion with the White House once again pulled a fast one on the American people.
By a 210 to 210 tie vote that GOP leaders prolonged for 23 tumultuous minutes while they corralled dissident members, the House rejected a proposed change to the USA Patriot Act that would have barred the Justice Department from searching bookstore and library records. White House officials, citing the nearly three-year-old law's importance as an anti-terrorism tool, warned that an attempt to weaken it would be vetoed.
But the victory came only after GOP tactics infuriated Democrats and a number of Republicans. The vote, scheduled to last 15 minutes, dragged on for 38 minutes despite outraged shouts and a unified chant of "shame, shame, shame" from Democrats across the aisle.
In other words, the Republicans once again harangued and muscled their dissenting members into obedience so that the compromising of civil liberties could be maintained. These disgusting tactics continue.
"The Republican leadership is out of control," said Rep. Martin T. Meehan (D-Mass.). "Today's vote on the Freedom to Read Protection Act is just the latest example of a growing trend towards abusive, closed-fist partisanship on the part of Republican House leadership."
Rep. C.L. Butch Otter (R-Idaho), a conservative and an advocate of the defeated provision, told reporters after the vote: "You win some, and some get stolen."
Good God. This is shameful. Is ANYBODY paying attention??
( 9:18 AM )
Dirty, DIRTY Money
Well, we're all glad that Ken Lay has finally been indicted (not that he'll ever see the inside of a prison cell - or a life sentence of hard labor, which is what he deserves). But Greg Palast points out what no one else will. It wasn't just Lay who benefitted from stealing millions from unsuspecting, hard working retirees. Nope, those nifty millions found their way to the pockets of the very people who are now demanding those same retirees sacrifice their own sons and daughters in a desert of lie-based warfare.
Ken Lay and his Enron team are the Number One political career donors to George W. Bush. Mr. Lay and his Mrs., with no money to pay back bilked creditors, still managed to personally put up $100,000 for George's inaugural Ball plus $793,110 for personal donations to Republicans. Lay's Enron team dropped $4.2 million into the party that let Enron party.
OK now, Mr. President, give it back - the millions stuffed in the pockets of the Republican campaign kitty stolen from his Enron retirees.
And what else did Ken Lay buy with the money stolen from California electricity customers? Answer: the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Just before George Bush moved to Washington, Kenny-Boy handed his hand-picked president-to-be the name of the man Ken wanted as Chairman of the commission charged with investigating Enron's thievery. In a heartbeat, George Bush appointed Ken's boy, Pat Wood.
Think about that: the criminal gets to pick the police chief. Well, George, give it back. Dump Wood and end the "de-criminalization" of electricity price-gouging that you and Cheney and Wood laughably call "de-regulation." Give us back the government Lay bought with crime cash.
When I worked as a racketeering investigator for government, nothing was spared, including houses bought with purloined loot. Let there be no exception here. It's time to tape up the White House gate and hang the sign: "Crime Scene: Property to be Confiscated. Vacate Premises Immediately."
Have we ever had such a criminal administration? And we thought Nixon was bad...
( 9:10 AM )
The Dog Ate My Homework!
Okay, this is just a little too stupid for words, but here it is: the Pentagon now reports that George W. Bush's service records for the important years that have been left out (that everyone keeps trying to find) were destroyed in 1996 and 1997. Oooops!
Military records that could help establish President Bush's whereabouts during his disputed service in the Texas Air National Guard more than 30 years ago have been inadvertently destroyed, according to the Pentagon.
It said the payroll records of "numerous service members," including former First Lt. Bush, had been ruined in 1996 and 1997 by the Defense Finance and Accounting Service during a project to salvage deteriorating microfilm. No back-up paper copies could be found, it added in notices dated June 25.
The destroyed records cover three months of a period in 1972 and 1973 when Mr. Bush's claims of service in Alabama are in question.
The disclosure appeared to catch some experts, both pro-Bush and con, by surprise. Even the retired lieutenant colonel who studied Mr. Bush's records for the White House, Albert C. Lloyd of Austin, said it came as news to him.
On June 22, The Associated Press filed suit in federal court in New York against the Pentagon and the Air Force to gain access to all the president's military records.
The lost payroll records stored in Denver might have answered some questions about whether he fulfilled his legal commitment, critics who have written about the subject said in interviews.
"Those are records we've all been interested in," said James Moore, author of a recent book, "Bush's War for Re-election," which takes a critical view of Mr. Bush's service record. "I think it's curious that the microfiche could resolve what days Mr. Bush worked and what days he was paid, and suddenly that is gone."
How convenient. And how sudden.
( 8:53 AM )
Blah Blah Blog
Our local Weekly - the Willamette Week - featured an article on local blogs in Oregon this week. Of course yours truly was NOT mentioned. I don't have high enough of a profile, I guess. The phenomenon of blogging is sensational and I think it deserves a lot more recognition in the mainstream press, so I was glad to see the article. But I did notice that out of the 17 blogs the writers chose to highlight, none of the ones named as polticial or current event topical included women bloggers. Sigh. Well, we'll just keep plugging along and hope that more women start blogging and more newspaper writers notice them.
Wednesday, July 07, 2004
( 8:46 PM )
I am so sick and tired of the vapid way that liberal educators discuss the need for multiculturalism in this country and yet their own academic establishment is filled only with white faces. I'm so sick of the way this country acts like we somehow have a moral superiority to the rest of the world and that we are not destroying mankind with our consumption of the earth's resources and our exportation of hollow values. What, do we think we are not racist because we do not wear swastikas on our coats? Then why do we not name the genocide in Sudan? Why are there not constant screams about the thousands of names of African Americans already on lists that will keep them from their rightful vote this November? Why is it called "standard English" and not "upper class white power English," which is what it really is? Why isn't your automatic response to my question of whether you think there should be reparations to the African Americans, the First Nations, the Hispanic descendents of what was once Mexico, not a resounding and immediate YES! What is a "family value" that values living children less than embryos? How is it possible that in this richest nation on earth, ANY of our children (much less 1/4th of our population) live in abject poverty and go hungry? What is it that makes a six week vacation "laziness" but a 90-hour work week "virtuous?" Why, when in only a few decades, the majority population of this country will be Latino, is there not an equal representation in our government? Why is it a tragedy when a middle class white boy is excluded from a college due to Affirmative Action - how come no one tells him, "well, you'll just have to try harder, pull yourself up by your boot straps, anyone can make it if they try." Where do we think an endless supply of energy will come from while we allow the SUVs and Hummers to destroy our air and our roads? Why do millions go without health insurance or retirement security while the rich whine about their children not inheriting their millions? Why are there thousands of young black men in prison for non-violent, petty crimes while Ken Lay sits comfortably at home for three years after screwing thousands of people's lives? Why is it acceptable that pharmaceutical companies spend millions of dollars advertising pills that give men four-hour erections and supplements that make their penises bigger, but there are children dying because they cannot get medication, people with AIDS begging for just one more day, breast cancer patients and alzheimer suffers hanging on with the last bit of hope? How is it that a white media can endlessly discuss a very real conflict in the African American community as if it had a say in the matter at all? Why do we believe that teachers should be limited in their pay and their benefits, but millionaire athletes and movie stars should get free gifts at their awards shows? When did NOT wanting soldiers to die in a needless war become "anti-American?" When did we give up our power as citizens? Why is it easier to be self-righteous than to do what is right? When will we learn?
( 9:19 AM )
So the nasty label the GOP wants to rope John Edwards with is "trial lawyer." We all knew that would happen. But we also knew that it would signal their last, gasping breath of air. His cases have been vetted from here to Kalamazoo and not only would he not have attempted a run for the Presidency, but Kerry's campaign never would have picked him had there been any room for questioning his legal career as a defender of the people against big, powerful corporations. So when someone spits out the dirty words to you, remind them of one of the prime examples of his career (provided to us by Atrios):
The defining case in Edwards' legal career wrapped up that same year. In 1993, a five-year-old girl named Valerie Lakey had been playing in a Wake County, N.C., wading pool when she became caught in an uncovered drain so forcefully that the suction pulled out most of her intestines. She survived but for the rest of her life will need to be hooked up to feeding tubes for 12 hours each night. Edwards filed suit on the Lakeys' behalf against Sta-Rite Industries, the Wisconsin corporation that manufactured the drain. Attorneys describe his handling of the case as a virtuoso example of a trial layer bringing a negligent corporation to heel. Sta-Rite offered the Lakeys $100,000 to settle the case. Edwards passed. Before trial, he discovered that 12 other children had suffered similar injuries from Sta-Rite drains. The company raised its offer to $1.25 million. Two weeks into the trial, they upped the figure to $8.5 million. Edwards declined the offer and asked for their insurance policy limit of $22.5 million. The day before the trial resumed from Christmas break, Sta-Rite countered with $17.5 million. Again, Edwards said no. On January 10, 1997, lawyers from across the state packed the courtroom to hear Edwards' closing argument, "the most impressive legal performance I have ever seen," recalls Dayton. Three days later, the jury found Sta-Rite guilty and liable for $25 million in economic damages (by state law, punitive damages could have tripled that amount). The company immediately settled for $25 million, the largest verdict in state history. For their part, Edwards and Kirby earned the Association of Trial Lawyers of America's national award for public service.
Tuesday, July 06, 2004
( 7:00 AM )
John Kerry must have been listening to the Mama's advice. He made the best choice for VP. I think Edwards is going to make this ticket the vibrant, visionary and he will add the touch of being young enough to represent the coming new wave in the Democratic party. Kos made some good arguments yesterday for Gephardt (though he didn't support that choice), but among them was that a Kerry/Gephardt ticket would be the last gasp of the old guard in the party - and let them have their moment. But my argument to that is that we can't just wait around for our turn to make the party move in the direction it needs to. Edwards is a good bridge to the new attitude. While he is still a rich, white man and he voted for things like NAFTA trade bills and the Patriot Act - on the other hand, be has a relatively progressive voting record in the Senate, he speaks boldly about poverty, class and race - real issues that need real airing in this country. He's not afraid to talk to white people about racism, something that is desperately needed by bold leaders because it is the white power class that needs to do the work to equalize this nation and create justice. His history as a trial lawyer has already been deeply vetted and no one can show that he represented any frivolous cases - and his ability to last the longest in the primary race shows his endurance over issues like this that might come up.
The point is that Kerry made a smart choice because Edwards was the people's choice. This is what the voters wanted, and Kerry knew it. Hopefully they will have good chemistry and work well together. Edwards will appeal to a lot of different groups of voters, and I think they make a great team.
So now, on to the Big Win. I think we're on a roll now.
Update: Pretty Picture.
Monday, July 05, 2004
( 4:10 PM )
Light Up The Sky
There are a ton of actions being planned for NYC around the GOP Convention in late August. But one of the best ideas I've seen so far is LightuptheSky.org. It's a simple, no-nonsense protest that gets the point across:
AN ALTERNATIVE RESPONSE THAT REQUIRES NO PERMIT On August 30, from dusk to dawn, all citizens who wish to end the Bush presidency can use light as our metaphor. We can gather informally all over the city with candles, flashlights and plastic wands to silently express our sorrow over all the innocent deaths the war has caused. We can gather in groups or march in silence. No confrontation and above all, no violence, which will only convince the undecided electorate to vote for Bush. Not a word needs to be spoken. The entire world will understand our message. Those of us who live here in rooms with windows on the street can keep our lights on through the night. Imagine, it's 2 or 3 in the morning and our city is ablaze with a silent and overwhelming rebuke... Light transforms darkness.
I don't know about you, but I'm itching for a good protest - it's been too long since we've taken to the streets to say what matters: the people, not the money.
( 3:44 PM )
Busy bees are buzzing. Who will Kerry pick? The annoucement supposedly will be made at the close of the July 4 weekend (Tuesday morning). Kos makes a good argument for why we should support Gep if he is the pick, among other reasons:
Is Gephardt my favorite choice? Nope. But neither was Kerry. I consider Kerry the "last gasp of the old establishment", and who better to close out the current chapter of our party's history than another stalwarth of that old establishment? Gephardt.
This mama's personal opinion has always been that Edwards is the better choice simply because Kerry still has a "vision deficit," in my opinion. As much as he is trying to fight the negatives of the Bush war machine, he has so far been unable to articulate a clear vision or even a catch slogan that inspires hope. Edwards' campaign showed that his positive message and his ability to speak with such passion about the tough issues like poverty and race really appealed to people. While politically, Edwards may seem a risk to some of the Dem old guard because of his own aspirations, I think Kerry doesn't have many better choices.
Edwards has the name recognition, the young spirit and energy the campaign needs. He is the absolute contrast to Cheney, which in most dem voters' estimation is an excellent quality. Being a trail attorney, he will do well in any debate or press conference situation. While some people don't like the "trial attorney" label, that is merely another outcropping of the Repbulican Wurlitzer, like "liberal media" - a phrase that connotes evil despite reality.
In any event, while Kos' final estimation is that this election is the last gasp of the Democratic "old guard" and that we will have our progressive candidate next time, I do not agree that it's okay just to "let them have it" this time. The entire point of government is to maintain the status quo, and if we don't fight hard NOW for a progressive voice and a new face in the Democratic party, we can't guarantee that a neo-Democrat will be the candidate next time around. In my estimation, Edwards bridges the gap very well. He is still rich and white and voted for things like NAFTA and the Patriot Act. At the same time, he is young, went against the DLC and was endorsed by Nader early on for his progressive votes in the Senate and his willingness to discuss issues of poverty and race.
I guess the mystery will be put to rest tomorrow. But my vote is in. Of course I went down in the last round too. Sigh.
Thursday, July 01, 2004
( 9:44 PM )
Leaving on a jet plane Friday morning for a semi-obligatory family reunion in So. Cal. Hmm, just where I want to be on the Fourth of July weekend: the hottest place on the coast. Yay! But I am looking forward to the change of scenery, and of course traveling with a 2-yr old is always its own mini-adventure. I will have the computer with me, so I may post. But I may not. Either way, I would just like to say, in celebration of this Sunday: Down with the Brits! Up the Revolution!
( 9:38 PM )
Krugman scores again - this time with a keen review of F/911. It's probably the best I've read on the film so far.
Mr. Moore's greatest strength is a real empathy with working-class Americans that most journalists lack. Having stripped away Mr. Bush's common-man mask, he uses his film to make the case, in a way statistics never could, that Mr. Bush's policies favor a narrow elite at the expense of less fortunate Americans — sometimes, indeed, at the cost of their lives.
In a nation where the affluent rarely serve in the military, Mr. Moore follows Marine recruiters as they trawl the malls of depressed communities, where enlistment is the only way for young men and women to escape poverty. He shows corporate executives at a lavish conference on Iraq, nibbling on canapés and exulting over the profit opportunities, then shows the terrible price paid by the soldiers creating those opportunities.
Krugman names some of the movie's flaws but notes that the point is that is important to get American into this dialogue because the media has not done its job. Whatever the politics of Moore, the one thing he has always been consistent on is his advocacy for the working people of this country. Because it's the working people who are paying the heaviest price for the decisions of the elite.
( 9:32 PM )
Cassini reached Saturn on Wednesday and is now settled between two of its rings to orbit the planet and send back the first ever pictures of Saturn to earth. We haven't even begun to imagine what it means to be human when we think of ourselves on a scale that includes this.
( 9:28 PM )
Rumors and Whispers of Rumors
Well, Bill Richardson is officially out. Of course he said he was out six months ago, but this makes it FINAL. So there! While I personally think Richardson would have been a great pick for many reasons, I also admire his commitment to his state (which could really use a committed Dem governor). We could be gearing up for the ANNOUNCEMENT this weekend. What do you think? I think all signs point to Edwards (please, God) - even the state of Missouri has asked Kerry not to pick Gephardt. So hopefully Kerry won't go with the Lieberman Plan (picking someone more boring than himself to pump up his own charisma) and will pick the best choice for bringing in some inspiration and energy to the campaign - John Edwards. Here's hoping.
( 9:18 PM )
My God. What was Saddam thinking, showing up to a show trial without a tie? Where are his fashion advisors? Geez. You'd think with all the planning that has gone into this, there'd at least have been a red carpet for the paparazzi.