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Saturday, July 31, 2004
Evaluating a Society'The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.'FDR uttered these words of wisdom. I don't remember reading this before. It is an ultimate truth, a secular version of Matthew 25:31-46, the Biblical provision that conservative Christians violate with their every breath!
Lingua Franca? Yes, It's EnglishMs. Villacis ... watched her middle-class life and her son's prospects of education implode when the currency in Ecuador collapsed, taking her job and bank account with it.'The work is hard, I need you pay more!' Yes, that should be a rallying cry for millions of Americans. But still, the rich need every cent of their money, don't they?
Polling: First the Convention, Then the Inevitable Expectations Game
Concern for the Integrity of the VoteWhy are Florida election officials resisting a verifiable paper trail unless they are trying to manipulate an election?...Excerpts from three different letters point out such an obvious truth.
Jordanian Company to Quit Iraq to Save Lives of 2 HostagesOn Tuesday, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell urged the allies not to hand the hostage-takers victory by giving in to their demands.The lying Colin Powell should really be saying "Empire-building is hard. Empire-building is dangerous..."
Lost Record '02 Florida Vote Raises '04 ConcernAlmost 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.When I read this, I immediately thought "Well, the Bushians have to practice for '04, don't they?" Then I realized, it's probably Democratic officials running elections in these counties. So we don't need Bushian fraud, Democratic incompetence will do quite nicely, thank you! (PS: They later found these records.)
Triumph of the Trivial Most columns and articles have so much fluff in them, I can excerpt a paragraph or two or three in my blog and the essence of the piece is presented. What I've noticed is, it's often impossible to do that with Paul Krugman's columns. There is so little fluff you have to read every word! So why not do just that with this column of his!
9/11 Victims' Families Begin Long Walk for PeaceThis is a very powerful idea.
Activists Say There's Still a Dirty War Going On in MexicoWhile Mexico debates charges against ex-President Luis Echeverria for the deaths of demonstrators 33 years ago, human rights advocates and others say police are still waging a dirty war in Guerrero state, with little or no government effort to stop it.Multiple choice test: How long before U.S. government involvement in this dirty war will be revealed?
Business Booming for Soldiers of FortuneAlthough private military contractors, known as PMCs, were implicated in the torture scandal at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison, and are the target of congressional probes into over-billing, more than 150 U.S. companies have been awarded contracts worth up to 48.7 billion dollars for work in post-war Afghanistan and Iraq, according to research by the Washington-based Center for Public Integrity.War profiteering run amok!
An Uphill BattleA September Surprise. Well placed sources say that Bush's client government in Baghdad will put Saddam Hussein on trial, conveniently, in September. (It took years to prepare the Milosevic trial, but the efficient Iraqis will display Saddam in time for the US election.)Then Osama paraded in chains in October?
Johnnie Been Good?[S]hooting a Vietnamese teenager in the back who was defending his country doesn't make [Kerry] a hero.Complexities we must deal with maturely.
Hope Is Not On the Way, But Hopefully Bush Is On the Way OutWe can simultaneously walk, chew gum and be clear about the reality that Kerry embraces a centrist matrix of militarism and corporatism -- and, at the same time, in a world of contradictions, it's extremely important that George W. Bush lose the election on November 2All the people Bush will kill that Kerry won't, is reason enough to get rid of Bush, then start pressuring and protesting whenever Kerry doesn't do the right thing. Who do you think it would be easier for progressives to influence, Bush in a second term where he never has to run again, or Kerry in a first term when he does?
Let's Act in the the Democratic EmergencyOn next November 2nd about 30%, 35 million, of all the votes will be cast on touch-screens and then counted invisibly inside direct-recording electronic computerized voting systems with no paper ballots. This gives the programmers working for the four major voting business corporations the ability to rig the outcomes specifically among those 35 million unverified votes in ways that nobody can see, audit, or recount. There can and will be no manual recounts of those 35 million votes because there will be no paper ballots to recount. Only Congressional passage of bills by Holt in the House, or Graham-Clinton or Boxer in the Senate, early in September, could require paper-ballot trails on these systems, and while a handful of Republicans are among the Holt bill's 145 co-sponsors, not one Republican backs either of the Senate bills. The coming national election is set up to be stolen.These kinds of scenarios have to be contemplated.
Friday, July 30, 2004
The Rich Gang up on the Poor at Trade TalksIn an eerie rerun of the breakdown on negotiations in Cancun last year, the European Union and the United States have already started blaming developing countries for failure. African governments have been roundly condemned for making 'unrealistic' demands on cotton (and how naughty it is of them to call on the U.S. to apply free market trade principles). Latin America and India have been castigated for demanding better access to industrial country markets. And the entire developing world has been denounced for failing to fall into line with demands for rapid liberalization.The world economic system wasn't set up to serve the "wider public interest." It was set up to make the rich richer, and the poor poorer.
Capitol Hill Blue: Sullen, Depressed President Retreats Into Private, Paranoid World
Democratic FuturesThis keynote speech cemented Obama's standing as the fastest-rising leader of the Democratic Party. Hillary Clinton and John Edwards must have noticed. Karl Rove would have been negligent in his duties if, after watching the speech, he did not say to an aide, 'get me something on this guy and let's try to stop him early.' Obama's speech suggested that should he be elected to the Senate--and he is close to a sure thing at this point--he will quickly become the progressive voice of that body, the successor to Paul Wellstone. And it is not hard to imagine Obama going further. If the United States is not a minority-majority country in, say, 2012, it will be close by then, and perhaps the electorate will be open to a candidate with a blended racial heritage. (After Ron Reagan delivered his own powerful speech at the Democratic convention blasting Republicans for not supporting funding of stem cell research, I wondered if an Obama-Reagan ticket might be possible eight years from now. )Here's another scenario: Kerry-Edwards 2005-2012, Edwards-Obama 2013-2020, Obama-? 2021-2028.
The Story of No-Story - A Day at the Kerry ConventionCall me starry-eyed, or simply punchy as a day inside the Fleet Center ended, but there's always something about genuine enthusiasts that just does get to you. I thought to myself when Obama was finished and the place was truly rocking, maybe, just maybe, I listened to a speech by a future president of the United States.Same thing I was thinking, provided there's no scandal along the way.
Two excerpts from O'Reilly-Moore on the ultimate question:MOORE: Say ‘I Bill O’Reilly would sacrifice my child to secure Fallujah’And later:
Details of Condomskeezer Lice's Lie #1:'I don't think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center,' Condoleezza Rice, Mr. Bush's national security adviser, said in May 2002. As recently as this April, in testimony to the Sept. 11 commission, Mr. Freeh said that he 'never was aware of a plan that contemplated commercial airliners being used as weapons.'If she knew these things she was lying and should be fired. If she didn't know these things, she was massively incompetent and should be fired for that.
More smear tactics by O'Reilly, comparing someone to Goebbels. This item is from the mediamatters.org:On his July 28 FOX News Channel show, O'Reilly said filmmaker Michael Moore "has more power than probably anybody else other than Kerry and Edwards. It's scary. It's scary. You know this happened in Nazi Germany. ... Who was the most powerful person in Nazi Germany other than Hitler and Himmler and Goering, who? You guys know? ... Goebbels. The propaganda minister."
Thursday, July 29, 2004
Fear of FraudIt's election night, and early returns suggest trouble for the incumbent. Then, mysteriously, the vote count stops and observers from the challenger's campaign see employees of a voting-machine company, one wearing a badge that identifies him as a county official, typing instructions at computers with access to the vote-tabulating software.Scary stuff. I usually vote by absentee ballot, but would probably do so anyway if the alternative was a non-secure touchscreen ballot.
Look at this excerpt from the poll linked to in this article:
My Millionaire is Better than Your MillionaireWe live in an era of ostentatious religiosity. Most presidents after Gerald Ford have been openly devout Christians, thus America, as a society, expects that the charity that Christ emphasized and upon which the Gospels themselves are built will be reflected in their words and deeds. Christianity, as I understand it, is not just faith but good works, charity, and kindness. The proof of the man, however, is not in his conspicuous Sunday churchgoing but in the policies they have enacted that affect the poorest, the weakest, the oldest of us, and in the genuine devotion to good works that only a few practice.I am quite sure a special fate awaits those conservative Christians who mock the teachings of Jesus.
The Real Reasons Bush Went to WarEyes-wide-open people know this.
The 800lb Gorilla in American Foreign PolicyTorture is illegal in the US. Facilitating torture elsewhere is also illegal under the convention against torture, to which the US is a signatory. 'I think it's time,' said Jamie Fellner of Human Rights Watch, 'that we began to recognize that ghost prisoners are the new disappeared. And disappearance is almost invariably associated with mistreatment and torture.'The world is quite aware of our hypocrisy, hence our abysmally low ratings in polls in virtually every country of the world.
Severed Head in the Freezer, Favorability Ratings in the Toilet'Why do they hate us?' the president asked in his address to the nation on Sept. 11, 2001. 'They hate our freedoms - our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other.'Good debunking of a particularly stupid tenet of Bushism.
Transcript: Out of Many, One This speech by Barack Obama may become historically significant if he wins the Presidency some day.
Put The Speakers In A Cage If you want to read the ravings of a disturbed woman, check out this column by Ann Coulter that got her fired by USA Today.
I loved this message from a like-minded soul who read my piece about wishing the red and blue states could form separate nations:I'm from Kentucky, a beautiful state where you will find warm, friendly, charming people. If you visit us we will feed you, show you our beautiful horses and our lovely scenery and make you feel very welcome. The people here are basically decent and hardworking. They are also dumber than rocks. They love:
Tuesday, July 27, 2004
A Bur Under the Saddle: Michael Moore in TexasA poll released last week by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found that Moore is 'preaching to the choir,' with those who had seen the movie breaking down as 57 percent Democrat, 33 percent independent and 9 percent Republican. A Los Angeles Times poll last week concluded that the movie -- which the White House and Bush-Cheney campaign decided to ignore or brush off when officials were asked about it -- was wielding less influence among potential voters than Moore had hoped.Stupid analysis. 42% of the people seeing the film are non-Democrats and that's preaching to the choir? Even of the 9% Republicans, if only 1 in 10 changes their mind, that could cost Bush the election. And, who knows what the breakdown will be when the film is, hopefully, released on DVD before the election.
Gaining Ground: At Last, a Company Takes PETA SeriouslyPETA released videotapes from a hidden camera planted by a member who worked undercover in a West Virginia slaughterhouse for eight months. Instead of recording the normal unpleasantries of factory farming, like chickens with their beaks burned off or unwanted male chicks ground up alive into fertilizer, it recorded wanton cruelty: workers stomping on live chickens, and flinging dozens into a wall. The investigator said his co-workers tore the head off a chicken to write graffiti, strangled a chicken with a latex glove, squeezed birds till they exploded and committed "hundreds" of other acts of cruelty...May all those kidders be reborn 1000 times as one of those tortured chickens.
Proposed Marriage Ban Splits Washington's GaysThe election-year fight over gay marriage has altered the gay scene here in ways that have left some in the community - most notably gay Republicans - stunned and even fearful. Under intense pressure to separate their gay consciousness from their broader political identity, gay and lesbian conservatives are facing stinging ridicule in the very neighborhoods, bars and restaurants that were once unquestioned safe zones.Out the hypocritical bastards, I agree whole-heartedly!!
Brazil Carries the War on Drugs to the AirAfter hesitating for six years, in large part because of pressure from the United States, Brazil has announced that it will begin shooting down aircraft used in trafficking illegal drugs in its airspace.I've never understood this tactic. Why not follow the plane, and when it lands, as it eventually must, arrest the people and gain info on their higher-ups?
War of IdeologyLast week I met with a leading military officer stationed in Afghanistan and Iraq, whose observations dovetailed remarkably with the 9/11 commissioners. He said the experience of the last few years is misleading; only 10 percent of our efforts from now on will be military. The rest will be ideological. He observed that we are in the fight against Islamic extremism now where we were in the fight against communism in 1880.Very interesting point.
O'Reilly vs. Michael Moore Transcript I reprint,you decide.
Monday, July 26, 2004
Shining, Happy People: The Dems Hit BostonI doubt more than a few of the hundreds of people present even thought for a moment about the incongruence of this event. The worst of the Democratic Party (corporate backers looking for--and gaining--access and influence) and the best of the Democratic Party (civil rights heroes) were literally side by side, in collaboration. Talk about coalition building. But in this week of unprecedented unity, it might be impolite for anyone to question that. It would be off message.Not impolite. STUPID! If you need something (a vote) from someone (2004 undecideds), and you know asking for it one way (harshly criticizing Bush and the Republicrat nature of the two parties) will express your true feelings but make the person refuse your request, while on the other hand, asking for it a different way (campaigning affirmatively) will mask your feelings but produce an affirmative response (a Kerry victory over Bush), which do you choose? If what you want is important enough, you choose the second method. There's always time after Bush is out of office to bring up unresolved issues.
Sunday, July 25, 2004
Richard Ney, Financial Adviser, Popular Author and Actor, 87, DiesHe campaigned to change the markets, which he considered cornerstones of free enterprise that were manipulated to benefit insiders and specialists rather than individual investors. In a 1965 interview with The New York Times he called the prevalent system 'incredible mechanisms for legalized larceny.'Such is still the case. As I never tire of saying, economic structures set up by the rich are designed to make them even richer, at the expense of everyone else. It's only human nature, or at least the human nature of those who aggrandize unto themselves enough wealth for a thousand lifetimes.
Editorial Observer: Nicaragua, 25 Years After the Revolution, Is Still Struggling It is inaccurate and appalling to equate the Sandinistas with Somoza, and the conservative governments that came after the Sandinistas, as this bizarre and self-contradictory editorial does.
A Former President of Mexico Charged With 1971 KillingsA special prosecutor filed charges on Friday against a former president and other officials in the killings of student protesters 33 years ago, reopening a dark and divisive episode that was a turning point in Mexico's struggle for democracy.I'm sure no American-trained Falcons took part in the killings. Yet one more example of the U.S. training killers working for dictators (if not the dictators themselves!).
Sudan Memo: In Darfur, Appalling Atrocity, but Is That Genocide?Appalling, gut-wrenching and vicious are just some of the terms that can reasonably be used to describe the mass killing and displacement of villagers in the Darfur region of Sudan. But does what has occurred there - and continues to unfold - amount to genocide?This entire discussion gets me sick. There is no debate that tens of thousands of innocent people are being murdered. If it's genocide, we'll stop it. If it's not genocide, but plain old mass murder of innocents, well then, let the killing continue!
House Rules Out Postponing Elections Because Of TerrorismThe House overwhelmingly approved a resolution that says it will not support any efforts to postpone this year's presidential election because of terrorist threats or attacks. The resolution, by Representative Bob Ney, Republican of Ohio, also said that no agency or individual should be given the authority to postpone the date of a national election. The election this year is on Nov. 2. The House action comes after the chairman of a federal commission on voting suggested to Congressional leaders last week that there should be a process for canceling or rescheduling an election interrupted by terrorism. Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser, has said the administration is not considering such a plan. Tom Ridge, the homeland security secretary, recently warned that intelligence indicated that the Qaeda terrorist network wanted to disrupt the coming election. (AP)This is a good step, although the fact that a Republican sponsored the resolution makes me wonder a bit...
Train More NursesTo the Editor:This letter-writer points out yet one more way the rich rip off the poor.
Sales of Investments to G.I.'s Under Scrutiny in WashingtonThe inquiries, the people close to them said, focus on the sales practices of First Command Financial Planning in Fort Worth, which sells mutual funds, insurance and banking services to officers on military bases around the world.Wouldn't you know, it's a Texas company ripping off the soldiers. I wonder if they're a big Bush contributor.
Provision in Bill Bars Pentagon From Revising Investment RulesThe Pentagon will be barred from taking any action to tighten its rules on the sale of insurance and other financial products on military bases until sometime next spring as a result of a small rider to the defense appropriations bill that was passed by Congress last night.Protecting the crooks.
Judge Fines Philip Morris for E-Mail LossThe judge overseeing the federal government's lawsuit against the tobacco industry levied a fine of $2.75 million on Wednesday against Philip Morris USA and its parent company, the Altria Group, for destroying more than two years' worth of e-mail messages related to the case.The parent group of Philip Morris had $11 billion in profit in 2002. This fine is a joke, pocket change that the company is quite willing to spend for the ability to destroy incriminating documents.
House Backs Bill to Limit Power of Judges'If this bill becomes law, it will represent the first time in our history that Congress has enacted legislation that completely bars any federal court, including the United States Supreme Court, from considering the constitutionality of federal legislation,' said Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 Democrat in the House.Truly, should anyone have any doubts, a step on the road to dictatorship.
Among Troops, Growing Doubts About Mission, Leaders Who Sent ThemStaff Sgt. A.J. Dean was on the same stretch of road a couple of nights later, and his tone was similar to Tilley’s.I wonder how widespread this sentiment is?
Democrats Bar Nader from ConventionIndependent presidential candidate Ralph Nader was rejected Friday in his bid to try to attend next week's Democratic National Convention.Good! I hate that Nader moron more and more each day. What the hell does he think he's doing??!!
Rock Royalty to Join Voices Against Bush With Fall Concerts It's about time. And they should also write some hit songs about the need for change.
Fox News' Roger Ailes: 'CNN Hates America'As for CNN, he asks: Why do they hate America? 'CNN International, Al-Jazeera and BBC are the same in how they report mostly that America is wrong and bad.'Oi vey, what is wrong with these right-wing imbeciles?!
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