Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Tag, I'm It

I got tagged by J. Marquis over at Are We There Yet. Here's some data on me...

Your favorite band/artist:
1. The Beatles
2. Elvis Costello
3. Neil Young

Your hobbies/interests:
1. My dogs
2. Computers/TV
3. Politics

Things that scare you:
1. Death
2. The Religious Right (which is neither)
3. Centipedes

Your favorite fiction writers:
(I haven't been reading much, so I chose screenplay writers)
1. Joel & Ethan Coen
2. Tim Robbins
3. Andy & Larry Wachowski

Your three celebrity crushes:
1. Hugh Laurie
2. Constantine Maroulis
3. Sean Penn

What you are wearing right now:
1. John Kerry t-shirt
2. Cargo Shorts
3. Underwear

What you want in a relationship:
1. Love
2. Loyalty
3. Trustworthiness

Your everyday essentials:
1. My dogs
2. Computer/TV
3. Windex

Your drugs of choice:
1. Television
2. Coffee
3. Lexapro

I'm tagging Michelle/Motomama, Damien/Couch Warfare and Political Moose. You're it!

Monday, May 30, 2005

Sounds like a plan to me

Remarks by Senator Harry Reid
“The Use of Power: An Agenda for Reform”
National Press Club
Washington, DC
Thursday, May 26, 2005

This has been an important week for America. The defeat of the nuclear option was not a victory for any party, but a victory for our Constitution and our country.

As we said from the beginning of this struggle, our fight wasn’t over some obscure rule of the Senate. It was a fight for Americans’ fundamental rights and against the abuse of power.

And I'm here today to say that fight has not ended. It is only beginning.

This week threatened to be one that would undermine our democratic traditions. Instead, it marks a moment when we can finally turn away from government by polarization…and build a government for the people.

Time and again, the American people have seen George Bush and the Republican leadership choose between their partisan interests and the people’s interest. And every time, they have chosen an ideological agenda over an American agenda.

When George Bush and the Republican leadership make their decisions, the whispered wishes of a few right wing activists drown out the pleas of America’s families.

But if the Washington Republicans stopped to listen to the American people, this is what they’d hear:
Americans are sick and tired of getting caught in the crossfire of partisan sniping.

Americans want us to put the common sense center ahead of nonsense .

Americans want us to bring people together, to focus on what we owe to one another, and the responsibilities we share.

And Americans want their agenda – their jobs, their health care, their security – to get back on the front burners of the nation’s agenda.

Americans are coming to realize this Republican Congress is out of touch with the real problems of working families and that the agenda the Republicans are advancing is at odds with what people in this country really care about.

We Democrats have something better to offer. A reform agenda that will cleanse Washington…give power to the people – not special interests…and make sure that everyday Americans and their concerns get back on the Congressional calendar.

Strengthening our national defense. Rebuilding our economy. Providing families with affordable health care. Making America energy independent. Securing our retirement. That’s our agenda. That’s America’s agenda. But the Republican Congress has put all this and more on hold. I hope that now we can finally turn to the people's business.

Six moths have passed since this Republican Congress began and here’s their record:

They spent precious days trying to overturn constitutional principles.

They tried to overturn the decisions of courts and duly elected legislatures in order to insert themselves into one family’s tragedy in Florida.

They all-but disbanded the House Ethics Committee in order to protect the Republican leader from scrutiny – but then were forced to reverse themselves under public pressure.

But perhaps the greatest abuse of power is to have the ability to help but choose to do nothing.

While gas prices have shot past $2 a gallon, this Republican Congress did nothing to lower prices and give families some relief.

At a time that parents are having to tell their children that the family can’t afford to send them to college, this Republican Congress rejected a proposal to make college more affordable.

And even though we have gone eight years without an increase in the minimum wage – the second longest period ever – this Republican Congress rejected an increase that would give the hardest working Americans the chance to provide for their families.

Whether it is rejecting Democratic initiatives to provide medical care to veterans or to return to fiscal responsibility, this Republican Congress’s record is clear: when it comes to answering the call of the far right, it’s “I’ll do it ASAP.” When it comes to doing the people’s business, it’s “take a message.”

Americans deserve a Congress that will use its power to advance American values not a Congress that abuses its power to advance the agenda of a radical few.

We need a common sense reform agenda for the common good. And that starts with defending our nation and making it more secure. As of this month, more time has passed since 9-11 than the time between Pearl Harbor and the defeat of Japan. During those three years and eight months – sixty years ago – we invaded North Africa and Normandy. We freed people from the Philippines to France. Hitler lay dead and Tojo was in chains. We had defeated fascism around the world and had begun to build the new United Nations.

But today Osama bin Laden is still on the loose, our homeland is still not secure, we’re still not energy independent, and – in many ways – Americans are less safe than we were before 9-11.

Democrats are the party of national security. And we have an agenda to defend America from danger. We stand for increasing our military strength by 40,000 troops so we can wage the War on Terror on every front. We stand for securing our borders and bridges, our seaports and airports, our nuclear and chemical plants. We stand for tracking down and securing the loose nuclear weapons that threaten our people. And we will honor our troops and their families by making sure they get the benefits they have earned.

Our common sense reform agenda will take our economy from sluggishness to prosperity. A prosperity where a rising tide lifts the boat of every American who is willing to work hard.

When it comes to the economy, the Washington Republicans offer the same old answers and then try to change the subject. But the growing trade deficit and a runaway national debt that puts us into hock to China and Japan show that this Administration and this Congress have lost control over America’s economic destiny.

Democrats stand ready to win back America’s prosperity. We’ll end the tax breaks that encourage companies to take jobs overseas. Restore fiscal responsibility. Spur innovation. Open the doors to college. And make work pay more than welfare.

And if we want our companies to be ready to compete in the world economy, we have to hold down health care costs. Today, Starbucks spends more on health care than on coffee. Today, GM spends more on health care than on steel. Today, we can’t ask our companies to go head to head with foreign competitors with this burden on their backs.

Our families will never get ahead while they are getting battered down by health care costs that total $10,000 a year.

And our country will never be what it should be as long as the color of your skin or the size of your bank account determines whether your children can see a doctor. We can do better for them. And they are expecting nothing less from us.

Many of the jobs of the future will be jobs that come from new energy saving industries. Today, Japan’s and South Korea’s head start on innovation means they are running away with those jobs. We have to get back in that race.

Americans are getting fed-up every time they go for a fill-up. They know that our reliance on Mideast oil is making America less safe. They want us to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and make this nation energy independent. We can get there – but only if we start putting America’s security and prosperity first.

And Democrats will continue to stop George Bush from privatizing Social Security while we say “yes” to shoring up Americans’ pensions and making our retirement system more secure.

This is our agenda – an agenda for reform, an agenda to do the people’s business. And for them we will continue to fight.

The lines that divide Congress should be between right and wrong, not right and left.

Our enemies should not be those in the other party, but the common threats that face the American community.

Our goal should not be winning the news cycle, but breaking the vicious cycle of political battle and winning a future where all Americans can live out their dreams.

The defeat of the nuclear option shows what is possible when people of good faith – Republicans and Democrats – join hands and put principles ahead of partisanship.

This doesn’t have to be an isolated incident – a momentary ceasefire before Washington’s trench warfare starts up again. Rather it can be a new beginning. Because on issue after issue, there is a common sense center in America that knows what it believes and can’t understand why this Republican Congress won’t get the job done.

Just as there was a bipartisan majority that could not stomach the nuclear option, there is a bipartisan consensus for action on many fronts. And all we need for progress is for President Bush and the Republican leadership to let America’s agenda get its day.

The American people are demanding it. And Democrats are going to be standing in the common sense center to make sure that we get there.

In this Congress, there is a bipartisan consensus for raising the minimum wage – but the White House and the Republican leadership stand in the way.

There is a bipartisan consensus for allowing the prescription drugs to be safely reimported – but the White House and the Republican leadership stand in the way.

And there is a bipartisan consensus for stem cell research that has the potential to help cure diseases such as diabetes and help save American lives. From Nancy Reagan to Orrin Hatch, Republicans have broken ranks to join the common sense center on this important issue.

For four years, President Bush has not vetoed a single piece of legislation. Even when this Republican Congress sent him bill after bill weighed down with pork or special interest subsidies or runaway spending, he chose to keep his veto pen in the drawer.

But now, he is threatening to veto stem cell research. Not because most Americans oppose it. They support it across party lines. President Bush is threatening to veto it because the far right is demanding he do so.

I ask President Bush to step away from the far right and join us in this common sense center, to show he will be part of this new spirit of national consensus by letting stem cell research go forward.

This week’s events mark our chance to forge a common sense center that embraces an American agenda for reform. As Democratic Leader, I will be working aggressively to advance the work the American people sent us to do. And I hope that Republicans of good faith will join with us to get this job done: To strengthen our national security. To make America energy independent. To restore economic prosperity and opportunity. To help our families and business afford their health care. To boost Americans’ retirement security and protect their Social Security.

In the coming weeks and months, I’ll have more to say on all these fronts. But I pledge today, that in everything we do, the lesson of this week – that we can build on the common sense center – will remain front and center.

The nuclear option could have been another long, sad stride down an ever more slippery slope toward partisan crossfire and abuse of power.

Instead, its defeat marks the moment we turned around and began to climb the hill toward a common politics of national purpose and a rebuilding of America's promise.

This journey is our cause – and reaching the top of that hill will mark our real victory.

Thank you.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Newsweek was right

by Ari Berman, The Nation

The Bush Administration's aggressive response to a Newsweek story alleging that US interrogators at Guantanamo Bay flushed the Koran down the toilet in front of Islamic detainees displays the height of hypocrisy. After Newsweek clumsily issued an apology, followed by a retraction, White House spokesman Scott McClellan called on the magazine to "help repair the damage that has been done, particularly in the region," by explaining "what happened and why they got it wrong." Maybe the Bush Administration should do the same, by opening up its secret facilities for inspection to the Red Cross and other third-party observers. We are printing below a letter from reader Calgacus--a pseudonym for a researcher in the national security field for the past twenty years--that shows how the desecration of the Koran became standard US interrogation practice.

Contrary to White House spin, the allegations of religious desecration at Guantanamo such as those described by Newsweek on 9 May 2005 are common among ex-prisoners and have been widely reported outside the United States. Several former detainees at the Guantanamo and Bagram airbase prisons have reported instances of their handlers sitting or standing on the Koran, throwing or kicking it in toilets, and urinating on it.

One such incident (during which the Koran was thrown into a pile and stepped on) prompted a hunger strike among Guantanamo detainees in March 2002. Regarding this, the New York Times in a 1 May 2005, article interviewed a former detainee, Nasser Nijer Naser al-Mutairi, who said the protest ended with a senior officer delivering an apology to the entire camp. And the Times reports: "A former interrogator at Guantanamo, in an interview with the Times, confirmed the accounts of the hunger strikes, including the public expression of regret over the treatment of the Korans." (Neil A. Lewis and Eric Schmitt, "Inquiry Finds Abuses at Guantanamo Bay," New York Times, May 1, 2005, p. 35

The hunger strike and apology story is also confirmed by another former detainee, Shafiq Rasul, interviewed by the UK Guardian in 2003 (James Meek, "The People the Law Forgot," The Guardian, December 3, 2003, p. 1.) It was also confirmed by former prisoner Jamal al-Harith in an interview with the Daily Mirror (Rosa Prince and Gary Jones, "My Hell in Camp X-ray World Exclusive," Daily Mirror, March 12, 2004

The toilet incident was reported in the Washington Post in a 2003 interview with a former detainee from Afghanistan: Ehsannullah, 29, said American soldiers who initially questioned him in Kandahar before shipping him to Guantanamo hit him and taunted him by dumping the Koran in a toilet. It was a very bad situation for us, said Ehsannullah, who comes from the home region of the Taliban leader, Mohammad Omar. We cried so much and shouted, Please do not do that to the Holy Koran. (Marc Kaufman and April Witt, "Out of Legal Limbo, Some Tell of Mistreatment," Washington Post, March 26, 2003

Also citing the toilet incident is testimony by Asif Iqbal, a former Guantanamo detainee who was released to British custody in March 2004 and subsequently freed without charge:

"The behaviour of the guards towards our religious practices as well as the Koran was also, in my view, designed to cause us as much distress as possible. They would kick the Koran, throw it into the toilet and generally disrespect it." (Center for Constitution Rights, Detention in Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, August 4, 2004

The claim that US troops at Bagram airbase prison in Afghanistan urinated on the Koran was made by former detainee Mohamed Mazouz, a Moroccan, as reported in the Moroccan newspaper, La Gazette du Maroc. (Abdelhak Najib, "Les Americains pissaient sur le Coran et abusaient de nous sexuellement", April 11, 2005). An English translation is available on the Cage Prisoners web site.

Tarek Derghoul, another of the British detainees, similarly cites instances of Koran desecration in an interview with Cageprisoners.com Desecration of the Koran was also mentioned by former Guantanamo detainee Abdul Rahim Muslim Dost and reported by the BBC in early May 2005.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

The New Lizzy


Well, here I am. I went from long & brown to short & blonde. They cut between 10-12 inches and said that I had enough hair to make a couple of wigs. My Mom lost her hair when she had chemo, so it made me feel good to donate the hair to Locks of Love.

Although it took over 4 hours, I am pleased with the result. What do you think?

Friday, May 27, 2005

Quick update

The haircut turned out great. I will post a pic tomorrow. Yay!

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Hair today, gone tomorrow



I've been threatening to do it for months, if not years, but tomorrow is the day. I am finally getting my hair cut. Short.

I've been growing it long for 15+ years, and it's time. I do feel scared, but excited at the same time. Sometimes you just have to make a change...sometimes you have to shake things up.

I'll let you know how it goes. It could go either way - I will either be very sad, or very happy (nothing in between.)

For me, this is about as big as it gets.


PS. Like the good liberal that I am, my hair will be donated to Locks of Love.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

A New Hope?

From Barbara Boxer's PAC For a Change:

If you were wondering if we won or lost the debate on judicial filibusters, look no further than the following statement from James Dobson, founder of "Focus on the Family" and a key architect of the right-wing extremist movement:

"This Senate agreement represents a complete bailout and betrayal by a cabal of Republicans and a great victory for united Democrats. The rules that blocked conservative nominees remain in effect, and nothing of significance has changed."

For more evidence, check out the headline from today's Washington Times, a key mouthpiece of the right-wing:

"7 Republicans abandon GOP on filibuster"

I am so pleased that senators from both sides of the aisle have walked the Senate back from the brink and defeated this terrible abuse of power. You can read my full statement about last night's agreement here.

Thanks for your continued support in this fight for America's future. I'll keep you posted on the many battles that lie ahead.


In Friendship,

Barbara Boxer

Monday, May 23, 2005

Attack of the Bush, I mean, Sith




I took my nephew to see the new Star Wars movie today (actually it was his idea.) I saw the original in the theater back in '77, but hadn't seen any of the other ones, although I did see Episode 1 in '99. So, needless to say, for a geek, I was never a big Star Wars fan.

That being said, this movie was great. The story, special effects, and underlying (more like, overlying) message was awesome. George Lucas is a master.

My favorite lines from the film...I'm sure you'll know why:

Anakin Skywalker: If you're not with me, you're my enemy.
Obi-Wan: Only a Sith deals in absolutes. I will do what I must.


Anakin Skywalker: You hesitate... the flaw of compassion.
Obi-Wan: It's not compassion. It's reverence for all life, including yours


Senator Amidala: What if the democracy we thought we were serving no longer exists, and the Republic has become the very evil we have been fighting to destroy?


The Emperor: [to the Senate] We shall change into the first Galactic Empire for a safe and secure society. [Senate fills with enormous applause]
Senator Amidala: [to Bail] This is how liberty dies. With thunderous applause.


For more parallels, here's a good article from USA Today:
Politics creates a disturbance in the Force

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Dr. Dean



I Tivo'd Howard Dean on Meet the Press this morning and just got finished watching it. Dr. Dean was very impressive. He gave real answers to Tim Russert's questions and didn't back down on things he's said in the past - in fact, he embraced them. His intelligence and frankness was extremely refreshing to watch.

Before seeing this interview, I had some concerns about where Dean would take our party. I don't anymore. Democrats across the country should not be afraid of this man. He's the right man for the right job. As Chairman of the Democratic Party, he is going to be great...and we need it.

Read the full transcript here: Meet The Press - May 22

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Hey, elected Democrats - Be like HIM!

From TimesOnline.co.uk:




Galloway wins on points rather than knockout, says US
From James Bone in New York


THE new darling of the American antiwar movement emerged yesterday as George Galloway after what the US press described as a victory before Congress.

Video clips of Mr Galloway’s scathing testimony to a Senate panel were posted on antiwar internet blogs as activists suggested that the Respect Party MP should join their campaign.

“I actually think that Americans would be interested to hear his views,” said Bill Dobbs, a spokesman for United for Peace and Justice, the umbrella organisation of 1,000 antiwar groups. “To the extent that Bush and Blair are joined at the hip, we certainly value people from across the pond.”

Amy Quinn, the peace movement co-ordinator at the Institute for Policy Studies, a left-leaning Washington think-tank, praised Mr Galloway’s defiant antiwar testimony. “It was certainly refreshing to see someone speaking the truth on Capitol Hill,” she said. “I think Galloway should be commended for both defending his name and highlighting the hypocrisy on the Hill on the war and the Oil-for-Food programme.

“This hearing is by far the most important development in the ongoing debate over the USA’s involvement in Iraq for a long time,” declared a blogger who identified himself only as Brian. “Unfortunately, I question the American public’s willingness to pay attention to what was said or even react with any degree of outrage to the McCarthy-like atmosphere that Coleman and his cohorts are fostering in these hearings.”

Andrew Dempster wrote:
“Inviting Galloway to testify was the worst thing that the committee could have done. Galloway is a pugnacious politician with the instincts of a street fighter, and he’s at his best when under enemy fire.”


The press awarded a win to Mr Galloway, although it was a decision on points rather than a knockout. “Brit fries senators in oil,” the New York Post’s headline screamed. The newspaper reported that Norm Coleman, the committee’s Republican chairman, and other senators “were caught flat-footed by the ferocity of Galloway’s counter-offensive”.

The New York Times said that Mr Galloway appeared to catch the Senate panel off guard and his “aggressive posture and tone seemed to flummox Senator Coleman”. It added: “Mr Galloway, accustomed to the rancorous debate of the House of Commons, more than held his own before the committee.” It noted that the panel had produced no documents showing that he had received any Iraqi money.

The Washington Post called Mr Galloway a formidable debater who launched a “fiery attack on three decades of US policy towards Iraq”. It said, however, that he “repeatedly evaded questions” about Fawaz Zureikat, the former chairman of his Mariam Appeal, who did oil and other business with Iraq.

The Wall Street Journal said that the MP had exasperated the senators by using the hearing to criticise the Iraq war.

Charles Pasqua, a former French Interior Minister, was offered millions of barrels of oil for being helpful towards Iraq but turned it down, according to his former adviser. Officials had made the offer to Bernard Guillet, the adviser, on behalf of Saddam Hussein. M Guillet told an examining judge that M Pasqua refused to accept the oil because it would have created a scandal, Le Monde reported.


See the full testimony here: BBC NEWS UK Edition

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

The Biggest Story of Our Lives

From The Huffington Post:

The Biggest Story of Our Lives
by Jim Lampley 05/10/2005

At 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on Election Day, I checked the sportsbook odds in Las Vegas and via the offshore bookmakers to see the odds as of that moment on the Presidential election. John Kerry was a two-to-one favorite. You can look it up.

People who have lived in the sports world as I have, bettors in particular, have a feel for what I am about to say about this: these people are extremely scientific in their assessments. These people understand which information to trust and which indicators to consult in determining where to place a dividing line to influence bets, and they are not in the business of being completely wrong. Oddsmakers consulted exit polling and knew what it meant and acknowledged in their oddsmaking at that moment that John Kerry was winning the election.

And he most certainly was, at least if the votes had been fairly and legally counted. What happened instead was the biggest crime in the history of the nation, and the collective media silence which has followed is the greatest fourth-estate failure ever on our soil.

Many of the participants in this blog have graduate school educations. It is damned near impossible to go to graduate school in any but the most artistic disciplines without having to learn about the basics of social research and its uncanny accuracy and validity. We know that professionally conceived samples simply do not yield results which vary six, eight, ten points from eventual data returns, thaty's why there are identifiable margins for error. We know that margins for error are valid, and that results have fallen within the error range for every Presidential election for the past fifty years prior to last fall. NEVER have exit polls varied by beyond-error margins in a single state, not since 1948 when this kind of polling began. In this past election it happened in ten states, all of them swing states, all of them in Bush's favor. Coincidence? Of course not.

Karl Rove isn't capable of conceiving and executing such a grandiose crime? Wake up. They did it. The silence of traditional media on this subject is enough to establish their newfound bankruptcy. The revolution will have to start here. I challenge every other thinker at the Huffington Post: is there any greater imperative than to reverse this crime and reestablish democracy in America? Why the mass silence? Let's go to work with the circumstantial evidence, begin to narrow from the outside in, and find some witnesses who will turn. That's how they cracked Watergate. This is bigger, and I never dreamed I would say that in my baby boomer lifetime.




He's gotta go first.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Rise


I'm sure most of you are feeling the same thing as I am. Our anger is rising against TPTB and something has to change before we are at the point of no return. My question right now is, when it comes to our blogs, what is free speech? Can we really say what is boiling within us?

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Forcing our hand?



Is the right-wing trying to start a new civil war between the red states and the blue states? Maybe they just like playing chicken with our chemical plants, unchecked cargo containers, unscanned airplane luggage, etc. Are they attempting to fast-track the end of days? Could they actually think that their lord & savior is going to save them?

What is the motivation here?

Friday, May 13, 2005

Senator Franken



I just finished watching the last Real Time with Bill Maher of the season. I haven't laughed that hard in a long time. After these last few months (or should I say, years) of repeated republican assaults on our country, I think we all needed a good laugh. Thank you, Bill, Gore Vidal, and especially my homeboy, Al Franken, for picking up this weary liberal's spirits.

Speaking of Al, he will be our next great Senator of Minnesota. I can't wait until he hands the Bush-ass-kissin' Norm Coleman his hat.

Grounds for Impeachment

This story is finally getting some attention in the mainstream media. And why shouldn't it? It's only the proof (or the smoking gun, as it were) that Bush LIED about the reason for going to war with Iraq. But, somehow I have a feeling that the Bush admin will remain unscathed.

If America was still a real democracy, this memo would be enough to impeach them all.


Bush asked to explain UK war memo

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Eighty-nine Democratic members of the U.S. Congress last week sent President George W. Bush a letter asking for explanation of a secret British memo that said "intelligence and facts were being fixed" to support the Iraq war in mid-2002.

The timing of the memo was well before the president brought the issue to Congress for approval.

The Times of London newspaper published the memo -- actually minutes of a high-level meeting on Iraq held July 23, 2002 -- on May 1.

British officials did not dispute the document's authenticity, and Michael Boyce, then Britain's Chief of Defense Staff, told the paper that Britain had not then made a decision to follow the United States to war, but it would have been "irresponsible" not to prepare for the possibility.

The White House has not yet responded to queries about the congressional letter, which was released on May 6.


The letter, initiated by Rep. John Conyers, ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, said the memo "raises troubling new questions regarding the legal justifications for the war as well as the integrity of your own administration..."

"While various individuals have asserted this to be the case before, including Paul O'Neill, former U.S. Treasury Secretary, and Richard Clarke, a former National Security Council official, they have been previously dismissed by your administration," the letter said.

But, the letter said, when the document was leaked Prime Minister Tony Blair's spokesman called it "nothing new."


In addition to Blair, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon, Attorney General Peter Goldsmith, MI6 chief Richard Dearlove and others attended the meeting.

A British official identified as "C" said that he had returned from a meeting in Washington and that "military action was now seen as inevitable" by U.S. officials.


"Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.

"The NSC had no patience with the U.N. route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action."


The memo further discussed the military options under consideration by the United States, along with Britain's possible role.

It quoted Hoon as saying the United States had not finalized a timeline, but that it would likely begin "30 days before the U.S. congressional elections," culminating with the actual attack in January 2003.

"It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided," the memo said.

"But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbors, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran."

The British officials determined to push for an ultimatum for Saddam to allow U.N. weapons inspectors back into Iraq to "help with the legal justification for the use of force ... despite U.S. resistance."

Britain's attorney general, Peter Goldsmith, advised the group that "the desire for regime change was not a legal base for military action" and two of three possible legal bases -- self-defense and humanitarian intervention -- could not be used.

The third was a U.N. Security Council resolution, which Goldsmith said "would be difficult."

Blair thought that "it would make a big difference politically and legally if Saddam refused to allow in the U.N. inspectors."


"If the political context were right, people would support regime change," the memo said.

Later, the memo said, Blair would work to convince Bush that they should pursue the ultimatum with Saddam even though "many in the U.S. did not think it worth going down the ultimatum route."

Thursday, May 12, 2005

At least his puppetmasters knew

I love how the mainstream media is feigning surprise about this story:


On a Bicycle in Beltsville, Blissfully Unaware

By Dana Milbank
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, May 12, 2005; Page A13

When the state of red alert was declared yesterday, the vice president was evacuated from the White House and the first lady was whisked to a secure location. But no precautions were needed for President Bush....





Um, could it be, that, um, he's just a puppet? Hummm, I wonder....

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Gimme Some Truth




I’m sick and tired of hearing things
From uptight, short-sighted, narrow-minded hypocritics
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth
I’ve had enough of reading things
By neurotic, psychotic, pig-headed politicians
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth

No short-haired, yellow-bellied, son of tricky dicky
Is gonna mother hubbard soft soap me
With just a pocketful of hope
Money for dope
Money for rope

No short-haired, yellow-bellied, son of tricky dicky
Is gonna mother hubbard soft soap me
With just a pocketful of soap
Money for dope
Money for rope

I’m sick to death of seeing things
From tight-lipped, condescending, mama’s little chauvinists
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth now

I’ve had enough of watching scenes
Of schizophrenic, ego-centric, paranoiac, prima-donnas
All I want is the truth now
Just gimme some truth

No short-haired, yellow-bellied, son of tricky dicky
Is gonna mother hubbard soft soap me
With just a pocketful of soap
It’s money for dope
Money for rope

Ah, I’m sick and tired of hearing things
From uptight, short-sighted, narrow-minded hypocrites
All I want is the truth now
Just gimme some truth now

I’ve had enough of reading things
By neurotic, psychotic, pig-headed politicians
All I want is the truth now
Just gimme some truth now

All I want is the truth now
Just gimme some truth now
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth


John Lennon / From Imagine 1971

Monday, May 09, 2005

It'll never happen, but...

Surfing through the outer-fringes of the 'net, I came across this interesting column. While what the author suggests will/would never happen, it is still an engaging read:

The Republican Party Offers A Choice: Fascism Or Anarchy?
by Chris M. Fick


The Republican Party is offering the American people a choice; either accept their brand of fascism, or there will be anarchy. This is less of a choice and more of a threat, and it is less of an offer and more of a disguised subversion of our democracy. But the GOP has made it clear that they are serious and they are proceeding with a high level of brazen arrogance and ruthless unaccountability.

When you combine this veiled threat with their history of ruthless, shameless, and vindictive politics it becomes clear that we should all take the Republican Party very seriously. As a result, we should begin to prepare ourselves for a tough battle to protect our democracy from a handful of wealthy fascist who limitless greed seeks to overcome our Constitution.

I believe that a small group of very wealthy fascist have successfully sold their criminal ideology to the GOP based on the looming dangers to all humanity from global warming. Global warming is real and the dangers to humanity are real but I believe the solution the GOP is pursuing is the wrong one. Based on the actions of the GOP it has become clear that the first casualty in their war on global warming will be America's democracy. Such a solution is treasonous at best and Nazi fascism at it's worst.

It appears that for the past fifty years the Republican Party, and some of their key supporters, have been waging a long-term "total war" effort against the Democratic Party, the Democrat's main financial backers, the American people, and the U.S. Constitution. Unfortunately most of the American people are unaware of the nature and goals of this war and, as a result, the GOP has been winning. It is time for a "Great Awakening" so that the American people will not experience the Republican's "Rude Awakening" that they have planned for us.

During the past fifty years the Republican's main supporters (giant corporations and mega wealthy individuals) have gotten much richer and the Democrat's main supporters (labor unions, trial lawyers, and middle class workers) have gotten poorer. This fact is reflected in each party's fundraising totals and in who is giving them money. This situation has forced the Democrats to seek funds from many of the same people who support the GOP, and as a result the Democrat's ideology has shifted to the right, and the Republican Party's ideology has shifted to the extreme right, fascism.

The vast majority of the American people (99%) now find themselves with two political parties, neither of who represent their interest. The current reality is that the Democrats represent the very rich and believe in a conservative ideology and the Republicans represent the mega-super rich and believe in a fascist ideology. As a result of both parties shifting to the ideological right their tax legislation has shifted the tax burden away from the rich and down to the middle class. Also, social programs and social legislation are being re-designed to benefit corporations more than the people they were intended to benefit, as is evident by the recently passed pork filled Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit bill, and welfare reform, privatization, corporate welfare, tort reforms, etc.

Now, since the extreme right-wing powers have been winning all these "total war" battles against the Democrats and the American people, they want to lock-in their concentrations of wealth and they want to eliminate their competition, both political and business, and free themselves from any form of accountability or legal liability. These efforts are clearly visible in the legislation the Republicans have been passing, the legislation they want to pass, the judges they have been nominating, and the distraction based obstructionism they have been exercising.

It's beginning to look like we might be entering the final stage in the GOP's "total war" strategy and it may be the last chance the American people have to take back their government from these ruthless lying fascist criminals.

So if our only choices are either allowing the GOP to turn our democracy into a fascism aristocracy, or anarchy, than I say "let their be anarchy!". We might not win but we can certainly make the GOP's victory bitter-sweet.

The key to defeating the GOP's "total war" strategy is education, or a "Great Awakening". The America people must be educated about who the GOP really represent (a few extremely rich families), what they are trying to accomplish (fascist aristocracy and total control), how they are trying to accomplish these objectives (lies, government bankruptcy, corporate welfare, wealth concentration, and treason), and why it is necessary to defeat the GOP (to save our democracy and secure our freedoms and opportunities). Once enough people are aware of the fact that the GOP only represents the interest of a few multi-billionaires, and that they are trying to turn America into a fascist aristocracy using any means necessary, it will be easy to defeat the Republican Party at the voting booth.

However, if we fail to defeat the GOP at the voting booth then our only hope of preserving, or reclaiming, our democracy will be "total anarchy" and I am calling on the elected members of Democratic Party to help us with this new strategy of "total anarchy".

The Democrats in the U.S. Congress can help the American people fight for our democracy with one action, resignation. If all the Democrats in the U.S. Congress resigned from their elected offices in unison, and at a key moment in the GOP's "total war" efforts, the GOP's efforts will collapse. The reason their plan would collapse is because a mass resignation would send a loud clear message to the American people, and to the entire world, that our democracy is on the verge of collapse and the GOP is responsible for the collapse and the Democratic Party cannot stop it through conventional means using political techniques.

This mass resignation will act as a way to rapidly educate the American people, and world leaders, and this education will ignite them into a unified group of angry, armed, and extremely concerned individuals who will then exercise their rights, purse strings, and bully-pulpits to stop the GOP sinister fascist plan dead in it's tracks. Without a "Great Awakening" effort it may be impossible to educate enough people in time to stop the GOP's efforts.

If the Democrats in Congress do not resign and just sit by in their minority positions of power while the Republicans commit this "total war" treason against America, then they will be just as guilty as the GOP and they should be held accountable as co-conspirators to treason.

If, on the other hand, the Democrats take the preemptive actions I just recommended and resign from their elected offices and tell the American people why they have taken this extreme action we can begin a "total anarchy" strategy designed to take back America. This new strategy is very similar to the Republican's "total war" strategy except this time the American people will have the upper hand and the Republican Party and their supporters will be on the run.

The key goal of "total anarchy" is to make the leadership of the Republican Party, and their supporters, so uncomfortable that they will run off and hide in fear for their bank accounts and their lives. This level of discomfort will make the GOP's key supporters want to stop supporting the Republican's fascist ideology and they will want to seek a new democratic ideology that can offer them a much more stable, secure, and friendly form of government.

Following are the steps that may be necessary to take America back:

The first step is to bring world wide attention to our cause. This can be done through mass resignations by the Democrats in Congress, mass education efforts, by boycotting of all businesses and real estate owned by the GOP's key supporters, by lobbying local law enforcement to join the fight, and by staging mass protest and demonstrations. If this step is successful no other steps will be necessary.

Step two is to hold mass protest in public and at the private homes of the GOP's members and the private homes of their key financial backers. If they leave follow them. If they run run after them. And if they fight then fight back even harder. The key is to make them extremely uncomfortable until they realize that their cause is no longer winnable because their risk/reward ratio has turned negative. If this step is successful no other steps will be necessary.

Step three is to forcible take control of key roads, businesses, homes, and government buildings. The purpose is not necessarily to destroy but to take control and being to organize a new government, new businesses, and a new social structure. If this step is successful no other steps will be necessary.

If these three steps fail then it will be time for the final step and last hope of our democracy, REVOLUTION. Load your guns, dig in, and fight for your life and the lives of your family.

Our founding fathers warned us that we would have to fight in order to preserve our democracy and our freedoms, and they were right. The time has come to stand up and fight for the life styles we enjoy and the opportunities we desire. We should honor the suffering and death so many of our ancestors endured to preserve our freedoms and democracy.

Many America citizens will not agree with our cause and they will never understand our motivations, and that is ok. Throughout history there have been people who fear change, or are ignorant of the facts, or who are just incapable of justifying such extreme actions based on personal and religious convictions. A good example is the Tories during the Revolutionary War. The Tories were a group of American colonist who did not support the idea of independence from Britain during the Revolutionary War and many of them fled to Canada. In the end the Tories lost and America's democracy won. This future war against the GOP and their mega wealthy supporters will be no different. Every person on the side of democracy will help make the difference. So good luck my fellow gun owners and freedom loving citizens.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Stopping the religious reich

When will the never-ending news stories about how the religious Reich is taking over this country wake people up?

As liberals we see what is happening because our eyes & ears are open. Last week, the insane Pat Robertson called the judiciary "the most serious threat America has faced in nearly 400 years of history, more serious than Al Qaeda, more serious than Nazi Germany and Japan, more serious than the Civil War."

Robertson, you are the Nazi.

We cannot let him, and all of those in his camp, get away with what they are doing, and trying to do.

If our spineless Democrats in office won't stand up to the right-wingers, it's going to be up to us. I don't know what that battle is going to look like, but it has to happen.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Goes with my last post...


Minister ex-communicates members for not backing Bush
Associated Press

WAYNESVILLE, N.C. - The minister of a Haywood County Baptist church is telling members of his congregation that if they're Democrats, they either need to find another place of worship or support President Bush.

Already, the Reverend Chan Chandler has ex-communicated nine members of East Waynesville Baptist Church. Another 40 members have left in protest.

During last Sunday's sermon, he acknowledged that church members were upset because he named people, and he says he'll do it again because he has to according to the word of God.

Chandler could not be reached for comment today, but says his actions weren't politically motivated.

One former church member says Chandler told some of the members that if they didn't support George Bush, they needed to resign their positions and get out of the church, or go to the altar, repent and agree to vote for Bush.

A former church treasurer says she's at church to worship God and not the preacher.

(Russ Bowen, WLOS)



We gotta nip this thing in the bud, people.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005



Yesterday and Today: Nazis and the Righteous Right
by Donna Glee Williams


History is tapping us on the shoulder and pointing. The sixtieth anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz followed so closely by the popification of an ex-member of the Hitler Youth combine to force our attention back to the Nazi catastrophe. We study World War II and the Holocaust and ask ourselves “How could it happen? How could civilized people let it come to this? How could they consent to let their flag become the registered trademark for collective evil and let their country walk into history with the blood of millions on its conscience?” We shake our heads and turn away from the questions because our historical gaze is dazzled by the enormity of what happened in the 1940’s. “Never again!” we say with tears in our eyes.

But if we truly want some calamity to happen Never Again, we won’t just study that calamity. We’ll study what went before. We’ll study its precursors. What allowed, invited, or caused it to happen? Who were catastrophe’s midwives? If we learn to recognize them, there is hope that we can turn them away when they again show up, smiley-faced, at our door. Before World War II and the Holocaust, there was Germany of the 1920’s and ‘30’s. That’s where we need to focus our cross-generational telescopes.

If we take a look at pre-WWII Germany, we notice it has some things in common with the United States now. Start with the concept of exceptionality. Nazi ideology grew out of Germans’ belief that their country was uniquely privileged because it was uniquely valuable. This made them an exception to rules and norms. The average “Proud to Be an American” bumper-sticker-buyer believes the same thing. (I’m still waiting for some churchgoing patriot to notice that being born American is a gift of grace and to begin marketing “Humble to be an American” decals.) A belief in your country’s exceptionality takes you way out beyond the warm self-appreciation of patriotism; in naming your heritage “exceptional,” you cut your ties to the family of nations and set yourself above the rules. Our belief in our own exceptionality erodes the walls that hold back human greed, fear of otherness, and violence. Exceptionality makes the unthinkable possible, even reasonable.

Before the Nazi rise to power, German society bloomed with cultural, artistic, and social openness, as did the United States in the last third of the twentieth century. The dominant culture enriched itself by cross-pollinating with other groups. Creativity, innovation, and freedom held sway in art, music, drama, and dance. In lifestyle choices, openness and experimentation were possible.


A part of this bubbling cultural ferment was caused by physics. We think of physics as an esoteric branch of science that is of interest only to the The Few, The Proud, The Geeks whose quirky neuroanatomy makes them able to emote in equations. But where physics goes, culture follows. The big metaphors in all areas are based on the physics of our time. And both Nazi Germany and the American Whatever-the-Hell-You-Call-What-We-Are-Becoming were preceded by advances in physics that announced reality to be much different from what we’d always assumed it to be. In the early part of the twentieth century, Einstein’s and Heisenberg’s physics of relativity and uncertainty—largely centered in German universities—proclaimed that some of our most fundamental understandings about the universe were Wrong, Wrong, Wrong. As quantum mechanics and the new cosmology developed in the later part of the twentieth century—largely centered in U.S. universities—their outrageous paradoxical observations once again taught the lesson that common sense isn’t always right. Things aren’t always—or ever—the way they seem.

In physics as in lifestyle and the arts, Germany and the United States both saw a great questioning of old values, limits, and presuppositions of all kinds—followed by an iron backswing of the pendulum rushing to shut down all the openness, answer all the questions, replace uncertainty with certainty, and relativism with absolutes. Does our anxiety in the face of uncertainty and relativity drive us to cook up fake certainties, like which language is better, who is going to Hell, who must live, and who should die? Did Germany, and will the United States, overcompensate for being uncertain like Napoleon did for being short?

Another family resemblance between Germany of the ‘20’s and ‘30’s and the Righteous Right of today is the feeling that somebody done us wrong. For Germany, the sense of being aggrieved was related to the famously vindictive Treaty of Versailles that settled the overt hostilities of World War I but left Germans with smoldering bitterness against what they saw as injustice and injury. The core resentment that energizes the swing toward right-wing “Christian” totalitarianism is the confusing, painful panic at seeing The Way and The Truth become one of many ways and many truths. As one pulpiteer expressed it, “having our culture become a subculture” is felt as a wound, an assault. On September 11th, the cultural assault on our inner landscape then manifested as a physical attack on our outer landscape, echoing the unsolved burning of the Reichstag building in 1933. Then, as now, terrorism coupled with an effective propaganda machine helped those in power to bring the country together while separating it from its civil rights. Once we feel ourselves to be under attack, are there any limits to what we will permit in the name of “self-defense?”

The backlash against openness and uncertainty, together with perceived national victimization, led Germany to begin to pick off voices of dissent in its own house. Some of these were political. Some were religious. German Christian churches were systematically nazified. The governing boards of seminaries were taken over seat by seat. Seminary faculties were pruned of opposition, guaranteeing that the pulpits of Germany would spout preaching that supported the Nazi agenda. The prophetic voice of the church was silenced. The systematic right-wing takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention, board by board, professor by professor, pulpit by pulpit, is so eerily similar that it could be an echo of the same shout.

And then there were the Jews. For historical reasons, the Nazi party had, ready to hand, a tiny subgroup of people that they could call “evil” and have that name stick. Once the “evil” was identified, people projected onto the Jews every disowned trait they hated in themselves. Enormous energy was mobilized to oppress, exile, and destroy the theoretically contagious corruption of Jewishness. The righteousness of the cause was “proved” by the visceral disgust the oppressors felt towards the oppressed. Hatred kept the dominant group bonded, energized, focused, and easy to manipulate. Today, similar rhetoric is mobilizing hatred for another tiny minority, homosexuals, who are similarly represented as undermining the entire fabric of American life and values. In the same way, appeals to disgust as a moral arbiter “prove” the validity of the argument. Incidents of violence against gays remind us of the spotty street violence against Jews that came before the systematic, state-sponsored violence of the Holocaust.

They say that those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat trite sayings. But when history lands a big one-two punch like “Happy Birthday, Auschwitz Survivors, Now Guess Who’s Pope?” the teacher gets our attention. And what we notice are a lot of parallels between the Nazi rise to power 80 years ago and the “Christian” right-wing rise to power today. Do we keep our wide-eyed mystification—“How could they have done those things?”—or do we do what Germans failed to do, what we revile them for not doing: Do we recognize the road we’re on, wrestle the steering wheel away from the mad bus-driver, and stop the bus before we get to the last stop, the town of Ultimate Consequences, Pop. 11 Million?


Published on Monday, May 2, 2005 by CommonDreams.org

Monday, May 02, 2005

Obsession



Yeah, sure, I'm an elitist liberal...but that doesn't mean I can't watch American Idol...right?

When Bill Maher said this about Constantine, I was right there with him:

Rejected "American Idol" contestant, Constantine Maroulis must be destroyed. Because he kept trying to fuck me through my television set. I don't know why you singled me out, Constantine Maroulis, but I didn't fall for it. Sure, you may have the smoky, sexy voice of a rock-and-roll bad boy, the lean stature of a Greek god and a sultry gaze that makes my loins stir, but that doesn't make me gay!

Ok, maybe not gay in my case, but he did bring me back to my Leif Garrett days.