Saturday, November 03, 2007

Screw You Schumer

Along with the conservative Dem Dianne Feinstein, my Senator Chuck Schumer has shown himself to be another spineless Democrat who apparently condones waterboarding. The debate that continues to rage in the Senate over Mukasey's confirmation as the next Attorney General is now headed to the floor for a vote, and we have Chuckie to thank for it. Schumer is the epitome of what is wrong with the current crop of Democrats in office.

From The Huffington Post:

"This is an extremely difficult decision," Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a statement, adding that Mukasey "is not my ideal choice."

In announcing her support for Mukasey, Feinstein, D-Calif., said "first and foremost, Michael Mukasey is not Alberto Gonzales," referring to the former attorney general who resigned in September after months of questions about his honesty.

True, Mukasey is not Alberto Gonzales and definitely not anyone's ideal choice on the left. Regardless, those excuses are not even close to being good enough to give this guy a pass. Feinstein and Schumer are dead wrong in their votes. Many other Democrats understand why Mukasey has no right to be the next AG, because he is unwilling to respect the rule of law. His dodging and weaving during Senate testimony makes that clear.

Mukasey will not admit that waterboarding is torture, even though it is. If he did admit it, he would have to prosecute his boss for condoning and ordering acts of torture against dozens or even hundreds of prisoners that felt as if they were drowning. When an ex-Bushie, Mark Levin underwent the procedure, he knew in an instant that he was being subjected to an act of torture. For his efforts and not toeing the Bush line, he was promptly fired.

Schumer isn't a stupid man, he clearly knows what the stakes are in this case. Why he has bowed down to the Bush Administration is a question many New Yorkers should be asking, and for that matter, Californians should be looking at Feinstein as well.

Friday, November 02, 2007

The Politics Of Parsing

John Edwards' new commercial hits the nail on the head of how Hillary operates. That brilliant campaign mind stumbled the other night and this ad shows how she can't stick to anything.

And The "Curveball" Is....

Besides being a type of pitch in a baseball game, "Curveball" is the name of a source that the U.S. government used to justify going into Iraq. The scary scenario that Colin Powell portrayed was one where Saddam Hussein had mobile biological warfare capabilities. Unfortunately, the tall tales of Rafid Ahmed Alwan were all part of an attempt to get a green card. Alwan was simply a bad student of chemical engineering who worked at the Djerf al Nadaf plant where the WMDs supposedly were...with talent that partially deceived intelligence agents in Germany and the U.S.

From CBS News:

More than a hundred summaries of his debriefings were sent to the CIA, which then became a pillar - along with the now-disproved Iraqi quest for uranium for nuclear weapons - for the U.S. decision to bomb and then invade Iraq. The CIA-director George Tenet gave Alwan’s information to Secretary of State Colin Powell to use at the U.N. in his speech justifying military action against Iraq.

Tenet gave the information to Powell despite a letter - a copy of which 60 Minutes obtained - addressed to him by the head of German intelligence stating that Alwan appeared to be believable, but there was no evidence to verify his story.

Through a spokesman, Tenet denies ever seeing the letter. "[Tenet] needs to talk to his special assistants if he didn’t see it," says Tyler Drumheller, a former CIA senior official. "I am sure they showed it to him and I am sure ... it wasn’t what they wanted to see," he tells Simon.

Of course there were also many in the intel community that did not believe him. Surprisingly, the higher-ups did not want to hear anything of the sort. Now Presidential Medal of Honor winner George Tenet can't remember anything about the letter....seems to be a common trait of people who work under George Bush.

Oh and Mr. Alwan is reported to be living in Germany, free and under a new name, just as he had wanted.

Another Conservative War....On Halloween

You might remember the ridiculousness of the right's "War on Christmas" from holidays' past. Now Fox News is trying to start a war on Halloween. How might you ask that these wingers are going about it? Well, it seems by giving out candy to little trick or treaters is just another "liberal handout."

From Crooks and Liars:

Just when you think they can’t possibly become a bigger caricature than they are, FOX News has declared a “War on Halloween.” Seriously.

First thing in the morning, FOX & Friends’ Steve Doocy went on a semi-intelligible (but still unintelligent) rant about how some school didn’t let kids come to school in costume so as to not offend a “coven of witches”.

Then on Hannity & Colmes, Field Marshall er, host Sean Hannity posited what has to be the most stupid theory to come out of his mouth since well….yesterday: Halloween teaches kids to ask for a handout, so therefore, it’s teaching them to be liberals.

It just goes to show that the insanity never ends at Faux News.

The Gender Card?

Matt Lauer asks Obama if Hillary is trying to play the gender card after being attacked by the rest of the guys on stage during this week's debate.

Let Them Have Celebrities

As Rome fell in the early centuries of the Common Era (or A.D.) the citizens of the Empire did not care too much about what was collapsing around them because they were deluded by trivialities such as the famous games. It can be argued that the same thing is happening now in America, only with a different face. Carl Bernstein recently went to the Brunswick School of Journalism in Greenwich, CT to talk about the problem that is our media.

From 1010 WINS:

GREENWICH, Conn. (AP) -- A culture coarsened by celebrity news is increasingly to blame for inadequate public affairs journalism, Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein recently told a group of students.

Newspapers are devoting fewer resources to issues of importance such as the Iraq war and potential abuses of the U.S. Constitution and more to the lifestyles of Donald Trump and Paris Hilton, he told students at Brunswick School in Greenwich on Thursday.

"The problems we have in news and journalism are about us not doing our job well enough,'' Bernstein said. "The ideal of providing the best available version of the truth is being affected by the dominance of a journalistic culture that has less and less to do with reality and context.''

Bernstein, 63, said he believes an "idiot culture'' is partly to blame for the dysfunction of political life in the United States.

"Idiot culture" sounds harsh, but the truth can often be that way. The average American is in no way affected by Britney Spears' custody battles or Lindsay Lohan's drug abuse but the war in Iraq, our worsening economy (no, the Dow Jones does not relate to even a fracture of the economic reality of a middle-class family) and the positions of the current crop of Presidential aspirants do.

Bernstein also blames the public for having an appetite for celebrity news though this is somewhat unfair. If the masses were told about what was truly going on in their country, quite a few people would start to get mad, get loud and finally start to do something to effect change in America.

Being Bi-Polar Isn't The Problem For Wisecup

Bi-polar disorder is a fact of life for 5.7 million Americans and apparently including Rep. Knollenberg's Chief of Staff Trent Wisecup. Yet that does not mean what phrases Trent screamed at activist Bruce Fealk was the sole cause. There are plenty of people with the mental disorder that vote and think all over the political divide. Still, it is good to see that Trent is now seeking help.

From The Detroit News:

In an an e-mail to reporters, aide Trent Wisecup said he recently checked himself into Beaumont Hospital in Oakland after sending out "weird and flat out kooky" e-mails.

He added that on Oct. 13 he got "fired up" in what became a tense verbal skirmish with a camera-wielding activist challenging Knollenberg, R-Bloomfield Hills, over the Iraq war and children's health care.

A video of the incident at a Rochester drugstore, titled "Trent Wisecup goes crazy in Rochester," is up on, where it has been viewed more than 35,600 times.

I wish Trent well in his recovery and dealing with his bi-polar disorder, but as for keeping the job with Rep. Knollenberg, the Republican Congressman might not have a job after next year so perhaps he should look elsewhere.

Colbert Gets On The Stump, But Dems Kick Him Off

Stephen Colbert's candidacy came to a quick halt yesterday as the Democrats denied him from running on their ticket in South Carolina. His certification failed to pass the Democratic committee because he wasn't seen as a viable candidate, despite the fact that those that voted against him still love his show. So I guess we won't see too many of these public gatherings, as funny as this one is:

Japan Says Sayonara To Bush

Bush's vaunted coalition of the willing lost another member today. This time Japan is ordering its ships back home instead of helping to refuel coalition warships. Various news outlets are beginning to report the news, though you won't see it here in America unless you read that terribly liberal New York Times. We wouldn't want to hear the truth or anything like that, now would we?

So here it is from the Japan Times:

Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba ordered ships operating in the Indian Ocean in support of U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan to return home Thursday after opposition lawmakers refused to support an extension of the mission, saying it violated the Constitution.

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda meanwhile issued a statement stressing that the Maritime Self-Defense Force activities in the Indian Ocean have been highly praised by other countries.

Resuming the supply of fuel and water to multinational naval ships in the Indian Ocean is necessary, Fukuda said in the statement, and promised to do everything in his power to restart the mission as soon as possible.

Violating the constitution eh? Don't we have one of those documents here somewhere?

Giuliani Lies About His Cancer, Relied On Public Health After All

Republicans generally get their facts wrong when trying to make a point that the "free" market works better than anything the government can put together. They use conservative think (I use this word loosely) tanks to cite numbers, figures and charts to show that they are right and Democrats are wrong. Too bad that the think tanks are wrong to begin with, such as when Rudy claimed that people survive prostate cancer in higher numbers here as opposed to Britain where they use socialized medicine.

Now that can be chalked up as a simple mistake by Rudy for not having the good sense to read publications that actually deal with reality. Simple men, get the message. Yet if you yourself had prostate cancer, dealt with the repercussions and survived I would think that a survivor would know their own personal medical history (I certainly do with regards to my knee surgery) better than anyone else. Well, that isn't true either.

From Salon:

The Giuliani ad's problems go well beyond a pair of phony numbers. Among the blogging wonks scrutinizing the relevant health data is Ezra Klein, who asked a separate but penetrating question: "Wouldn't it be interesting to find out if the gold-standard care Giuliani got during his prostate cancer came while he was on government-provided health insurance?"

As Klein surmised, Giuliani was serving as mayor and participating in a city of New York health plan when his doctor informed him that his prostate biopsy had come up positive. The coverage he enjoyed -- which resembles the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan -- permits all city employees, from trash haulers and subway clerks up to the mayor himself, to select from a variety of insurance providers, and it is not much different from the reform proposals adopted by his nemesis Hillary Clinton.

In the spring of 2000, when Giuliani learned that he had cancer and abruptly dropped out of the Senate race against Sen. Clinton, he was enrolled as a member of GHI, one of the two gigantic HMO groups that provide care for most city workers (the other is known as HIP). He underwent surgery and radiation at Mount Sinai Hospital, a prestigious institution that participates in the GHI plan, which means that his costs were largely underwritten by city taxpayers.

Now wait a second, isn't that similar to "socialized medicine" that Rudy frequently decries? GHI and HIP help hundreds of thousands of city workers here in New York, as it did for the man that now slams programs like it. If this is how he treats those that help saved his life, I wonder how nice he'll be to the rest of us?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Councilman Gioia Endorse The Real Rudy's Efforts

He may only be a Councilman from Queens, but this elected official of food stamp fame is engaging himself in an important effort to expose the real Rudy Giuliani. Kudos to you Eric!

Thank You Senator Dodd

I've already expressed my displeasure about how the "debate" was setup by MSNBC to follow the media's narrative and that for the most part, the entire two hours was a pathetic show that seemed more like "Presidential Idol" than a real debate. Well Chris Dodd is expressing the same opinion more or less over at Huffington Post and I think it is about time that we actually get to hear important questions and the answers we need to hear to pick an able 44th President.

Here are some of his desired questions and the answers to them as well:

1. Less than two weeks ago, Senator Dodd, you announced you would filibuster any FISA legislation that included retroactive immunity. Why are you opposed to amnesty?

Quite simply: you can't defend America if you don't defend the Constitution.

The Bush administration came to the telecom companies, some even before 9/11, and asked them to eavesdrop on Americans. They didn't produce court orders or warrants to justify their surveillance. And the telecoms went along with it.

These companies have some of the best legal counsel money can buy. They know the law through and through. And they broke it anyway. That is inexcusable and I'm not about to let Congress step in and stop lawsuits against them for violating the privacy of ordinary Americans.

2. Do you think waterboarding is torture?

Absolutely, according to both US law and international conventions. And in my view, the Bush Administration knows full well it is.

He also stated why he opposes Mukasey's nomination (and for good reason), just click on the Huffington Post link above. Even though Dodd was never my first choice, nor sadly does it seem like he has much of a chance, he is showing himself to be a true leader in his campaign and when he gets up on the debating stage. America desperately needs a leader, and not one that will lead us off the cliff and into the abyss of authoritarianism such as Bush has been doing for nearly seven years now.

Rumsfeld's Scary Snowflakes

Halloween is over and it isn't cold enough for snow yet, but a WaPo article on Donald Rumsfeld's snowflakes are showing exactly how he operated inside the Defense Department. It is a scary display of the man's opinions and how he directed a propaganda campaign against the American people. All sorts on internal communique are now being given light for the public to gasp at.

From The Washington Post:

In a series of internal musings and memos to his staff, then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld argued that Muslims avoid "physical labor" and wrote of the need to "keep elevating the threat," "link Iraq to Iran" and develop "bumper sticker statements" to rally public support for an increasingly unpopular war.

The memos, often referred to as "snowflakes," shed light on Rumsfeld's brusque management style and on his efforts to address key challenges during his tenure as Pentagon chief. Spanning from 2002 to shortly after his resignation following the 2006 congressional elections, a sampling of his trademark missives obtained yesterday reveals a defense secretary disdainful of media criticism and driven to reshape public opinion of the Iraq war.

Rumsfeld, whose sometimes abrasive approach often alienated other Cabinet members and White House staff members, produced 20 to 60 snowflakes a day and regularly poured out his thoughts in writing as the basis for developing policy, aides said. The memos are not classified but are marked "for official use only."

These documents proved that the color-coded terror alert system was nothing more than a sham meant to stoke Americans' fear of another attack. Rumsfeld did whatever he thought it would take to start a war with Iran even after Iraq had fallen to pieces and the armed forces he directed were stretched to the breaking point.

Donald got off easily by resigning, he should have been found guilty of numerous crimes by our own judicial system, not necessitating a lawsuit in either Germany or France. The man is a war criminal and he must pay for his crimes against humanity.

Maryland Jury Finds Against Crazy Phelps And His Westboro Church

These people make me sick, I'm glad to see someone hit them where it hurts the most for these so-called "godly" people. So much for love thy neighbor, instead they destroy the safety and sanctity of over a hundred families that have lost someone in Iraq.

NYPD Blows Off Arab-American Applicant

Another story is about to rock the NYPD for its discriminatory conduct. Being sued by Critical Mass bike riders and a stinging Internal Affairs report apparently wasn't enough for their sagging reputation. Now it seems that an officer related to the hiring process for new recruits denied Said Hajem a position solely based on his ethnicity, despite having an exemplary application and prior review.

From OnNYTurf:

According to court documents, plaintiff, Said Hajem came to the US in 2000, and was studying and working at the same time. He supported himself while learning English, and continued his education. He received a degree in Accounting and a certificate of proficiency in English. Two years later he completed a degree in Business Management. The NYPD requires an applicant have 60 college credits and a GPA of 2.2. Hajim has a Bachelor's degree in Economics and two Associates Degrees with a GPA of 3.33.

Following 9/11 and after seeing a 60 Minutes special on recruiting problems with the NYPD and the need for Arabic speakers on the force, Hajem decided to pursue a career with the Police Department. He took the police academy entrance exam in February of 2006, and scored an 85.9. He also underwent a written and oral psychological examination and was told at the time he was passed and was clear to continue to the Police Academy. He also passed the Academy physical exam and received a congratulatory letter from Police Commissioner Kelly.

Hajim was then contacted by Officer Ramkissoon who wanted Hajim to come in for an interview and provide three references. When Hajim met with Ramkissoon he was told in substance "these are Middle Eastern names and I want American names. You may be a terrorist and they may say good things about you." He added "I am against people who come from other countries and want to be police officers here."

That is what we are dealing with in the NYPD. Even though this is about one applicant and one officer, the problem with our police force does not stop with Officer Ramkissoon. Thanks to people like Rudy Giuliani and those like him, the police force that is meant to protect us is becoming increasingly militarized and rife with racial stereotypes despite what seems to be an ethnically diverse workforce.

Foreign Service Officers Hit Back Against Bush

In an act of defiance, diplomats that serve in the State Department are taking issue with the Bush Administration for forcing them to work in Iraq or be fired. Enough is enough for our nation's diplomats. These skilled men and women are great at what they do, but being stationed in Iraq is as one diplomat calls it, "a death sentence."

From The Washington Post:

Uneasy U.S. diplomats yesterday challenged senior State Department officials in unusually blunt terms over a decision to order some of them to serve at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad or risk losing their jobs.

At a town hall meeting in the department's main auditorium attended by hundreds of Foreign Service officers, some of them criticized fundamental aspects of State's personnel policies in Iraq. They took issue with the size of the embassy -- the biggest in U.S. history -- and the inadequate training they received before being sent to serve in a war zone. One woman said she returned from a tour in Basra with post-traumatic stress disorder only to find that the State Department would not authorize medical treatment.

Yesterday's internal dissension came amid rising public doubts about diplomatic progress in Iraq and congressional inquiries into the department's spending on the embassy and its management of private security contractors. Some participants asked how diplomacy could be practiced when the embassy itself, inside the fortified Green Zone, is under frequent fire and officials can travel outside only under heavy guard.

Those that have been suckered into the military and forced to go to Iraq are defenseless against their superior's orders. Yet the State Department officials are not legally obligated to be shipped off to Iraq. For Bush Administration officials to play this card can potentially be a disaster. I'm sure these people love their jobs, but one's life is usually more important.

Besides, how are they expected to make any progress in a country that is clearly on a different path than what Foreign Service officials can walk on? This internal town hall was clearly a testament to the agency's disapproval of Bush's policies and especially for endangering their lives.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Biden Obliterates Giuliani

Joe might not have much of an impact on the Democratic primary, but his line on Rudy Giuliani was definitely one of the most memorable moments from last night:

"Helping The Terrorists" Meme Does Not Work Anymore

Someone should tell Assistant Attorney General Ken Wainstein that certain GOP talking points do not hold weight anymore. The whole, "you're either with us or against us" and "releasing information that regards the Bush Administration will help the terrorists" does faze most Americans and certainly none that can think clearly. Any shred of trust that the people had in the Bush White House has been gone for a long time now. So Wainstein really should just can it. Instead, he couldn't resist but opine anyways.

From RawStory:

Defending the Bush administration's efforts to immunize telecommunications companies from any responsibility for their assistance in the likely illegal surveillance of Americans after 9/11, a top national security official said any discussion of US surveillance efforts aids terrorists.

"Every nugget of information that comes out in the course of these investigations helps our enemies," Assistant Attorney General Kenneth L. Wainstein, who oversees the Justice Department's national security division, said Wednesday on Capitol Hill. Wainstein was testifying to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is considering legislation to update a foreign surveillance law.

A key sticking point in the debate over the government's surveillance authority is whether the updated law will provide legal immunity to telecommunications companies that facilitated the National Security Agency's warrantless eavesdropping on Americans' phone calls. President Bush authorized the emergency surveillance, which proceeded without court oversight, immediately after Sept. 11, but many of the program's details remain unknown.

Now lets translate all that garbage. The "enemies" we are talking about are the Congress and the American people that want to hear the truth and serve justice to the telecommunication companies that went along with Bush's illegal wiretapping program. The actual terrorists couldn't give a damn if records were disclosed that showed anti-war protesters and political opponents of the President were wiretapped. As many people already know, this is just a pathetic way for the Administration to deflect embarrassing and incriminating information from getting out.

Pigeons Going On The Pill?

Do pigeons agree that they should wait to have sex until after marriage, make sure their young be schooled on abstinence programs or even go so far as China in its population control law? Well Councilman James Oddo wants to enrage the Christian right instead and give birth control to the so-called "rats with wings" in the city. Will we hear from James Dobson or Pat Robertson on this issue?

From AM New York:

Borrowing an idea from Hollywood, City Councilman James Oddo says contraception may help to reduce the proliferation of pigeons at the St. George terminal on Staten Island.

He says the use of a product called OvoControl P in rooftop bird feeders is supported by animal protection groups and has been proposed to the city departments of environmental protection and transportation. State environmental experts have it under study.

Oddo says it appears OvoControl P "might be a tool we can use long-term to eliminate this problem in a humane fashion."

Well it is better than capture and killing flocks of pigeons, but where does it end? Can this be done to rats and mice too? Oh and what if other birds eat the food and being infertile as well? Shall we trade a pigeon problem for a bird-free New York? Oddo claims that animal protection groups do not have an issue with using OvoControl P but I'd like to hear them say it for themselves, remember which Councilman we are dealing with here.

Blumenthal Exposes "Value Voters"

There are so many misnomers in politics, but the phrase "value voters" has to take the proverbial cake. Everyone votes using their values, not just these whacked out Christian fundamentalists. Max Blumenthal goes to their summit with camera in hand to show these people for who they truly are...and the candidates that pander to them.

King George Is A Petulant Little Child

It really is a scary thought reality that our country is being run by a five year old. Now that Bush has lost his rubber stamp Congress and been replaced by the semi-spineless Democratic one, his panties are all up in a bunch. Georgie does not like that the Democrats do not cave to all of his legislative lunacies so he is going another route. No, this isn't about his signing statements, he is just going to pen more executive orders.

From RawStory:

"White House aides say the only way Bush seems to be able to influence the process is by vetoing legislation or by issuing administrative orders, as he has in recent weeks on veterans' health care, air-traffic congestion, protecting endangered fish and immigration," the Post authors write. "They say they expect Bush to issue more of such orders in the next several months, even as he speaks out on the need to limit spending and resist any tax increases."

House Democrats disagree with Bush's assessments.

The article gave little information about Bush's plans for administrative orders, focusing mostly on Congressional infighting and legislative disagreements between the White House and Congress.

Is Congress not doing their job? Well, that is a tricky question. To Pelosi and friends' credit, they have passed many beneficial laws such as dealing with the minimum wage and what not, yet they still haven't done anything about the war. The 110th Congress has certainly done more than the 109th or any previous sessions since the Republicans took control in 1994. It isn't Congressional activity that pisses George off, its what they are denying him.

Markthshark, a DailyKos diarist nails it on the head:

"Given Bush’s dubious track record over the past seven-years, I get the distinct and ominous feeling this has more to do with Congress’ hesitation to green light a preemptive attack on Iran than it does with the amount of work Congress is doing overall," the Kos diarist remarks.

Bush wants it his way or no way, so he'll do whatever it takes to thwart the will of Congress and the American people.

Halloween Politics

I've heard the saying often that everything is political. From campaigning for elected office, to office politics, to arguing with your parents as a kid for that extra trick-or-treating time on the last night in October and now as an adult to keep their respective distance. Hold on to that trick-or-treating meme, because the politics of that extends farther than the debate between parent and child.

From The NYT City Room:

City Room was convinced that the story that Halloween was a critical part of the Congressional debate to extend Daylight Saving Time was one of those questionable Halloween myths, like razors in apples or pins in candy.

Not so. City Room should learn never underestimate the weirdness of the city to our south. Turns out, senators were truly concerned about that extra hour of daylight and its impact on children’s pedestrian safety, going so far as to propose a Halloween Safety Act (various studies show that kids are significantly more likely to hit and killed on Halloween than any other day).

But it gets even stranger than that. The candy lobby also played a significant role into pushing Halloween into daylight saving time, believing that extra hour of trick-or-treating in daylight would spur more candy sales but arguing it would decrease deaths, according to Michael Downing, the author of the Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time, an amusing book at the myths and realities behind Daylight Saving Time. (One of the historical points he makes that it was Wall Street, and not farmers, that were the primarily advocates for the clock-tinkering at the start of the last century, as they wanted to eliminate an hour overlap with the London markets’ trading day).

Ah, history and politics go together so well. The candy industry used the safety issue to give some sort of ethical purpose to try and push their profits up at the expense of children's teeth and sugar dependence problems. As the article points out a little further down, the candy industry has been lobbying Congress for some time, going so far as to "put pumpkins filled with candy on the seat of every senator in America.”

Sometimes a little sugary sweetness can pay off!

Hillary Flip-Flops On Stage

Edwards and Dodd help point out to the audience that Hillary effectively flip-flopped on supporting Spitzer's plan to give drivers licenses to illegal immigrants. If she can do an about face in front of the cameras in such bold fashion, how are we going to trust her anywhere else?

Spitzer Calls Out Venomous Lou Dobbs

Lou Dobbs is an interesting figure on CNN to say the least. Every couple of months he goes on a particular crusade of some sort (kinda like Bill O) that generally involves illegal immigrants. He masks his thoughts with clever slogans like "protecting our borders" and other isolationist crap. He denies that he hates brown people, but you know when it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and is covered in's generally a duck.

His latest jihad has been about our Governor Eliot Spitzer and his highly controversial attempt to give those immigrants drivers licenses. To Spitzer's detriment, he has been going about convincing New York and the nation about the program. Nevertheless, on the face of it, I'd rather have someone that can drive safely after learning how to drive properly than just getting in a car without a license.

Lou doesn't give a flying ____ about the safety of our roads, just keeping people out of the country that come from south of the border. Spitzer was asked about Lou, and gave him an appropriate New York response.

From Crooks and Liars:

Download (1077) | Play (1384) video_mov Download (829) | Play (706)

SPITZER: Look, I’m not going to demean myself by getting into a back and forth with somebody who on TV spews venom, hate and fundamental misinformation. Of course not. He knows it.

As I said, it’s beneath me, it’s beneath my office, to, in any way, involve myself with Lou Dobbs. And I think his knowing spread of venom is beneath CNN as well.

Good for Spitzer, now if he could only communicate as effectively with New York and its legislators as he did with Lou.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

You Call This A Debate?

First of all, shame on MSNBC for this pathetic format. Lincoln and Douglas would roll over in their graves if they knew what the media calls "debate" these days. Seriously, why is there a lightening round? What's next, starting a show called "Who wants to be our next President Idol"?
And of course Hillary was placed in the middle with Edwards and Obama at her side. I'd rather see Dodd or Kucinich placed in that center spot...and where the hell is Gravel, if he wants to make a fool of himself on Primetime then let him.

Basically these two hours of my life spent watching this debate theater was nothing more than getting some amusement. I particularly liked Joe Biden's highlight about Giuliani:

Biden: Rudy Giuliani is probably the most underqualified person since George Bush to run for president. He can only say 3 things in a sentence: a noun, a verb, and 9/11. "This man is truly not qualified to be president. I'm looking forward to running against Rudy Giuliani."

Hell yeah! Thats the spirit I want to hear in all of seven of these people. I don't know who won this thing, but I must say that Richardson completely blew it. Mr. "We need a diplomat and I am a you-know-what" should bow out quickly and look to run for Senate next year. We need a strong candidate in New Mexico for that open race and he'd be perfect for that.

One candidate I did like was Kucinich. I know he doesn't have a shot in hell at winning (though at least he wasn't placed all the way on the side by MSNBC) but he has the money answers. Not-for-profit health care, consistent stand against the war in Iraq and pointing out that it was all about oil are exactly the things they all should be saying. I still have a problem with his anti-choice record, but you can't always get everything you want in a candidate. Still, he doesn't have a shot in hell.

So what dramatic change will happen in the polls and the media narrative tomorrow?

Absolutely zip, zilch, zero.

Why Do We Vote On Tuesday?

Bill Richardson has a good point here, why do we have to vote on Tuesday? Is it simply for tradition's sake? Well traditions can be broken, and moving the election to the weekend or simply by mail would enable Americans to take part in the political process with far more ease.

The Frivolity Of Ralph Nader

I have found that when Ralph Nader makes the news (since 2000) my opinion of him is directly correlated to his actions. I used to think of Nader as one of true working class heroes. He fought for workers' rights and safety regulations that irked corporations and promoted the general welfare of America.

Now he is hardly more than a has-been and known as the man that robbed Gore of the Presidency.

Even though Nader's votes did take away from a win, it was the way Gore ran his campaign that made him lose. Nevertheless, Nader has remained to be a thorn in the side of the Democratic party and all that oppose the current administration. Whatever he does now has a negative effect on the only party that has a chance to do some good for the country. Ideally, I'd love a third or even multi-party system here in the U.S. The problem is that that scenario is far away from the reality of today.

Furthermore, suing the Democratic party three years after the 2004 election and in the pre-dawn of the primary season is nothing but pure malice. His complaints against the Dems may have some credibility when confronted by a teacher in the elementary school playground, but this is Presidential politics. If the Democrats could see justice for the coup d'etat that the Supreme Court enabled, then we can take a look at this bullshit.

From Yahoo News:

Among other things, the lawsuit alleges that the DNC tried to bankrupt Nader's campaign by suing to keep him off the ballot in 18 states. It also suggests the DNC sent Kerry supporters to crash a Nader petition drive in Portland, Ore., in June 2004, preventing him from collecting enough signatures to get on the ballot.

The lawsuit seeks "compensatory damages, punitive damages and injunctive relief to enjoin the defendants from ongoing and future violations of the law."

Nader's attorney, Bruce Afran, argued that the DNC would be terrified of having the case come to trial. He said he hoped the committee would choose to settle the case and apologize.

You know what, I'll take care of this right now and apologize on their behalf. I am sorry that Nader is a crybaby. I am sorry that for all the talk of wanting a third party candidate, Nader could only muster a fraction of a percent of the electorate. I am sorry that he has made himself into a has-been and I am terribly sorry that President Gore isn't about to finish up his second term.

George Orwell Predicted The Wingnuts

The more you read George Orwell's 1984 masterpiece, the scarier it becomes especially as we live in the year 2007. What he predicted in 1948 is coming true by leaps and bounds in George Bush's America. Bush couldn't do it alone, neo-con think tanks, Fox News and the right wing blogosphere help him to try and move that Overton Window further and further over the precipice of sanity. Well, Orwell even predicted Michelle Malkin and the rest of her horde.

From A Tiny Revolution:

The Scott Beauchamp affair is reminding me of this, from 1984:

A Party supposed to live in a continuous frenzy of hatred of foreign enemies and internal traitors, triumph over victories, and self-abasement before the power and wisdom of the Party. The discontents produced by his bare, unsatisfying life are deliberately turned outwards and dissipated by such devices as the Two Minutes Hate, and the speculations which might possibly induce a sceptical or rebellious attitude are killed in advance by his early acquired inner discipline...called, in Newspeak, crimestop. Crimestop means the faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought. It includes the power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments if they are inimical to Ingsoc, and of being bored or repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction. Crimestop, in short, means protective stupidity.

At first it seems amazing that Orwell could have precisely described today's right-wing blurgh world sixty years ago. But the right-wing blurghs are just an outgrowth of human nature, which never changes. (In particular I'm always been struck by the consistency with which such people are unable to understand analogies.)

No further analysis needed, Orwell covered them in one paragraph. Protective stupidity for George Bush is what they do best.

Worse, Worser And Worst

What Tony Snow And I Have Learned From Fox News

I got to admit, Tony Snow is right when he said that we have a lot to learn from his former workplace, Fox News. That is where it ends though for agreement's sake. Watching Fox News (occasionally) and hearing about them through various websites has taught me that the cable news channel is a behemoth of right wing propaganda. For Tony, they taught him to be an expert liar when he left to go work at the White House. So when he gave an interview with Condé Nast, he was spot on.

From Condé Nast:

On his alma mater, Fox News: "There's perceived bias on the part of Fox because they don't treat conservatives as knuckle-dragging morons....I think the rap on Fox having a bias is an unfair one. My sense is rather than grousing with a winning formula, people ought to learn from them."

Well Tony, I still believe that conservatives by and large are still knuckle-dragging morons though there are some exceptions I presume. Studies show that people that get their news from Fox are actually dumber than the rest of us when it comes to current events. Even Rupert Murdoch thinks so.

As for Tony's knowledge of the facts, well it seems he doesn't know much either. I think I'll stick with my slew of blogs and newspapers, thanks anyway.

Critical Mass Bicyclists Want Their Day In Court

Well it is about time that the NYPD get some justice of their own. Bicyclists that have participated in the Critical Mass rides have been mentally tortured by cops on scooters and many individual crimes against the riders that have serious implications if they can win over judge and jury. The damages they are seeking are hefty as well, $5 million each for fifteen cyclists. The only times that the judiciary has been involved was when the city tried to go after the riders, only to fail every single time. Now it is time to turn those proverbial tables around.

From OnNYTurf:

After years of on the street and legal harassment by the City of New York, Critical Mass cyclists are fighting back. Several cyclists who participated in the September, October, and November 2004 Critical Mass bike rides are back suing the city. 15 plaintiffs are seeking compensatory and punitive damages in excess of $5 Million Dollars EACH for violations of several constitutional rights including denial of free speech, false arrest, and denial of due process. The briefing filed with the court today contains bizzarro play by plays of slow speed chases between cyclists and impish cops on scooters. But make no mistake, the charges against the NYPD are serious and if proven damning:

Defendants created false information against plaintiffs.

Defendants forwarded false information to prosecutors in the Office of the District Attorney of New York County.

Defendants misled the prosecutors and/or the Court by providing false information and/or testimony in initiating and throughout the criminal proceedings.

Defendants failed to turn over exculpatory evidence and other materials to the prosecutor despite proper demands and/or requests for the same.

Defendants lacked probable cause to continue criminal proceedings against plaintiffs.

Defendants acted with malice in continuing criminal proceedings against plaintiffs.

Defendants’ selective enforcement of the parade permitting scheme, the New York State disorderly conduct statute, VTL § 1234, and/or their powers to retain plaintiffs’ bicycles against plaintiffs violated plaintiffs’ constitutional rights under the Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.

And here is the PDF of their lawsuit.

The bikers deserve their day in court. The harassment endured from the NYPD has gone on long enough. Now it is the cops' turn to sweat it out.

What Do You Stand For?

Very powerful 30 seconds, definitely a must watch:

What Does Bloomberg Know About Being A Hero?

The Mayor has some nerve determining who was and wasn't a hero on the pile at Ground Zero. During September 11th he was far from the death and destruction that was wrought down in the Financial District. The man isolated by his money tries to be like one of the people by riding the subway (after being driven to the express stop by his police detail) but in reality he is no hero, just a rich media tycoon that was anointed by Rudy Giuliani right after the attacks.

For him to call a man who spent 450 hours working and trying to rescue people in the smoking inferno nothing more than a drug addict is nothing short of atrocious. Bloomberg made those comments while accepting an award at Harvard, well Detective James Zadroga didn't have a chance to make it up to Cambridge, he died from scarred lungs as have many other workers on the pile.

From The Daily News:

"Our chief medical examiner believes that the deceased was using some of his drugs in a manner for recreational drugs," Bloomberg said.

Bloomberg said that instead of taking his medications orally, Zadroga "was injecting them into his veins - a common practice, I gather."

"Nobody wanted to hear that," Bloomberg said. "We wanted to have a hero. There are plenty of heroes. It's just in this case, the science says this was not a hero."

Zadroga's father was shocked.

"For Bloomberg to say that he's not a hero, that is a disgrace," Joseph Zadroga said. "Why is he trying to malign my son and deny that Jimmy is a hero."

Bloomberg made those shocking comments based on a second autopsy done on Zadroga. Before the family wanted their son's name added to the official list of 9/11 victims the autopsy showed he had in fact succumbed to the toxic air of Lower Manhattan.

Only after there was something at stake for the city did the results change. Michael Palladino, president of the Detectives' Endowment Association is now accusing the Chief Medical Examiner that his results were politically motivated. Serious charges for a serious case of degrading treatment of a hero by a callous and insensitive Mayor.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Hello Jack, Chalabi Is Back!

Watching the Chuckie movies as a kid I must admit I got scared, but nearly as frightened as seeing Ahmed Chalabi's face around again. Not only is he back on the Iraqi government's stage as a lobbyist for failed reconstruction efforts, he is being praised by our top General in Iraq, none other than General David Petraeus. Now why would anyone object to this guy?

From RawStory:

Before the US invasion of Iraq in March 2003, Chalabi was a primary merchant of bogus intelligence that inflated the country's weapons capabilities and ties to terrorists. His top customers were the White House, Pentagon and American journalists.

Most surprising, perhaps is his alleged associations with Iran. According to a 2004 report in the UK Guardian, US intelligence has "hard evidence" that Chalabi passed US secrets to Iran.

"Some intelligence officials now believe that Iran used the hawks in the Pentagon and the White House to get rid of a hostile neighbor, and pave the way for a Shia-ruled Iraq," the paper said.

Chalabi is also has been sentenced to 22 years in jail in Jordan for embezzling $300 million at a bank he created.

Not a bad record I must say! He'll fit in perfectly with the rest of the cronies in Iraq, heck, he'd be pretty much at home in Washington too, that must be why Bush's in-country stooge loves him so much...despite all that flawed intelligence and passing U.S. secrets to Iran stuff.

I'd Go Kicking, Screaming And Crying Too

Please Mommy noooooooo!

From the AP

Whats This? Bipartisan Legislation To Endorse The Constitution?

Hold the presses! Something good might come out of the Congress concerning our Constitution. Not only that, the main sponsor of a bill to curtail the 1973 War Powers Act is a.....Republican (gasp!). Not just any Republican of course, we are talking about Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) who was made famous by changing French Fries to Freedom Fries in the Congressional lunchroom. Of course now he is one of the few Republicans on the Hill that wants to end the war, so it isn't too surprising. Nevertheless, his statements on the bipartisan bill are music to my ears.

From The Sun Journal:

Jones submitted the bill Sept. 25 and announced it Thursday at a press conference with three of five co-sponsors. One of them, Rep. Bill Delahunt of Massachusetts, a Democrat, is a member of the House subcommittee on foreign affairs which will first hear the bill. Also present were Rep. Ron Paul of Texas and Rep. Wayne Gilchrest of Maryland, both Republicans. The other co-sponsors are Rep. Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii and and Rep. Robert Brady of Pennsylvania, both Democrats.

The bill would prevent U.S. involvement in another long war without congressional approval. But Jones said it was not drafted in response to last week’s “World War III” comment by President George Bush or to new numbers released this week by the Congressional Budget Office putting the cost of the Iraq War through 2008 at $610 billion and predicting a cost through 2017 of as much as $2.4 trillion.

“This has nothing to do with Iraq,” said Jones, who sits on the House Armed Services Committee and was one of the first Republican congressmen to oppose the war in Iraq.

Well, it does and it doesn't Mr. Jones. The reason it is being brought up has a lot to do with Iraq, and how the President took us to war over there. Also true, it does have to deal with the Constitution and how the Congress gave away much of their war powers with that 1973 legislation. It is about time that Congress become a co-equal branch in this government as the Founding Fathers had set it to be originally.

George Reaches Out Of The Toilet For Laura

With his approval ratings in the low to mid 20s, George is having trouble communicating with the American people. S-CHIP is a losing battle for him and especially conservatives in the coming election. While he doesn't have to run for re-election, a lot of Republicans are going to have to face their constituents with the fact that they voted against children. Obviously, many of them have probably tried to reach out to their leader to throw them a bone....instead he is giving them his wife.

From The Hill:

Calling the state children’s health insurance program (SCHIP) “a perfect issue” for Democrats to demagogue on, Bush waded into largely uncharted public territory for her by taking exception to the party that opposes the president.

The first lady appeared genuinely upset about the Democrats’ tactics on the issue.

“It’s really easy to blame people for so-called voting against children,” Bush said in an interview on Fox News Sunday. The first lady went on to say that the bill would cover children who are not poor and added that the program is often used to cover adults.

“The president is very anxious to work with Congress and to come up with something that both he and they can be proud of,” she said.

Of course that is just a line of pure, unadulterated bullshit. She can spin just as well as any other conservative. The reason they think she can be effective is that she doesn't open her mouth too often, so the reasoning is that she is a good pawn in the game. The fact is Laura and many wives are merely pawns in the political game, because that is what it is all about to them, playing politics.

The children, the Constitution and our country do not mean shit as long as they win votes and retain power.

Reason Versus Madness On Iran

When will the media stop feeding into right wing hype on Iran?

Subprime Criminals

Coming back to how Corporate America royally screws ordinary citizens, one of the lowest "professions" in recent memory is the practice of giving subprime mortgages to people in lower income brackets. Recently Senator Schumer (D-NY) has come out to decry the practice, although not until the market started to feel the effects of tens of thousands of foreclosures. Now State Senator Jeff Klein is highlighting the worst of the worst banks that swooped into New York to entice homeowners with their predatory lending practices.

From The Daily News:

State Sen. Jeffrey Klein released a list of the 10 lending institutions with the highest number of foreclosures in the city and Westchester Sunday, costing thousands of homeowners their savings, their homes and their hopes for the future.

"These, in many cases, are the originators of these subprime loans ... which got people into all the problems," Klein (D-Bronx, Westchester) said at a news conference on Wall St.

Topping Klein's list is Fremont Bank, a California-based company that saw 330 foreclosure filings on loans it approved in the city and Westchester between July 1, 2006, and July 31, 2007.

During that 13-month period, 14,561 foreclosures related to the subprime crisis have been filed in the city, Klein said.

It is great to see local politicians shine light on the worst offenders. These banks should be at minimum fined and bank officers definitely prosecuted to the full extent of the law for their deceptive practices. Of course, we need to see federal laws that would make an impact on these crooks and perhaps Schumer can start to make that happen.

Paper, Not Plastic

If anyone knows the slightest difference between paper and plastic bags (besides that they look and feel different) from an environmental perspective, it is that paper is far better. Ideally a cloth bag that one can reuse is the best option, but if you without a carrying device and the choice is paper or plastic, go with the former.

Now, this being New York City and that we are represented by a City Council that likes to pass mostly meaningless legislation for legislation's sake, our representatives are seeking to put their two cents in on the problem of plastic bags. Frankly, there are too many of them in the trash and something needs to be done, but their proposal seems a bit ludicrous.

From The Daily News:

Speaker Christine Quinn and City Councilman Peter Vallone (D-Queens) are co-sponsors of the legislation aimed at reducing the flow of plastic bags that end up in the city's trash.

The bill targets any retail or wholesale store larger than 5,000 square feet that provides plastic carryout bags to its customers.

Under the terms of the legislation, each bag would have to display the message: "Please return this bag to a participating store for recycling" in letters at least 3 inches tall.

If it becomes law, stores would have six months to use their existing supply of unlabeled bags, and must provide bins where customers can deposit used bags.

The plastic bags could either be reused by shoppers or recycled by the business. Store owners risk fines of up to $2,000 a day if they fail to comply.

There are so many problems with this I don't even know where to begin. First of all, plenty of bodegas have less than 5,000 (or even 500) feet of floor space yet they use plenty of plastic bags, so why not include them? Also, so what if they label their bags and at an added cost to the market? Do you think people are really going to heed the message in a significant manner?

If Quinn and the rest of the council really wanted to make a difference, they would force every market to use paper bags and encourage New Yorkers to take re-usable cloth bags when they shop. Of course, this is the NYC City Council we are talking about, so I won't even try to get my hopes up.

Krugman Talks To Cenk About The Economy

Krugman went on Air America this morning to talk about his new book and the American economy, from FDR to now. It is a lengthy interview, but a great way to hear about the truth of economy concerning welfare, corporations, what made America great and movement Conservatism that has brought us down so much over the last few decades:

And be sure to check out his latest Op-Ed on fearing fear itself.

Government Does It Better When You Let It

Call me a socialist, but the fact is when it comes to utilities (and other things) government-run agencies work better and more efficiently than private companies. Neo-con ideology be damned, Bill Kristol can argue til he's blue in the face but the facts are the facts. Californians would be the best opponents of deregulation if only most of them knew why. The most recent example was highlighted in the conservative NY Post of all places, showing that New Yorkers lost billions of dollars due to electricity deregulation.

From The NY Post:

October 29, 2007 -- State rules aimed at curbing electric rates are instead shocking New Yorkers' wallets, sending the price of power surging by 18 percent, a new study says.

Electric deregulation cost New Yorkers $3.4 billion in the 12 months that ended June 30 - as if each of the state's 19 million residents forked over an extra $176 to power companies, according to data in the report from Power in the Public Interest.

And since deregulation took effect seven years ago, New Yorkers have overpaid a whopping $14.3 billion, the data shows.

Albany is taking note of the study by Marilyn Showalter, the group's executive director and a past president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners.

Albany doesn't need to take note, they need to take action. Corporations are greedy bastards and in the case of electricity, they need to be shut down and the power (pun intended I guess) must be handed back to the people. I'm glad the NY Post saw this and reported on the story when it actually affected them personally.

Now corporations aren't all bad, sometimes they do something good (because they did something bad) for the people. So maybe I'm not a socialist or even a pinko commie bastard, but one thing is for sure, we need re-regulation.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Vice President Webb?

Senator Jim Webb is quite green politically speaking, but that might just thrust him into a very important role. His name is one of a few being floated already for the Vice Presidential nomination on the Democratic side. There are plenty of politicians that are looking at that second billing with wanting eyes, but Webb has many advantages that others do not have. Not only that, but party leaders are seeing that and probably gave him this gift as a strong signal to the Senator.

From The Washington Post:

The freshman senator from Virginia delivered the keynote address to the New Hampshire Democratic Party at its annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner a week ago, a role that in recent years has been played by current and former White House candidates John Edwards and John F. Kerry. Two years ago the speech was delivered by Sen. Evan Bayh (Ind.), who is viewed as a potential vice presidential pick next year.

Webb's role in the debate over Iraq and Iran has helped raise his profile far beyond that of the typical Senate newcomer. Webb is the only freshman Democrat to regularly attend Iraq strategy sessions in Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid's office, and his proposal to extend home leaves for U.S. troops came closer to forcing a change in administration war policy than any other Democratic bill.

His upset of Sen. George Allen (R) last year and the prominent part he has taken in the congressional debate over Iraq have led to his being mentioned as a potential ticket-mate for the party's nominee in 2008. But he has made no effort to advance that cause with the leading Democratic contender in recent weeks.

Webb really does not have to move much of a muscle to have his name mentioned for the VP bid. Frankly, his record speaks for him. Except for a few things here and there, he is a strong supporter of what the base wants to see in the party as a whole. As a military man that has not been scarred by politics in Washington that won a state that is increasingly turning from red to blue at least a nice shade of purple, Webb is a hot commodity indeed.

RedState Bans Ron Paul

Tucker "bowtie" Carlson has a discussion on Ron Paul and his supporters being banned on right wing blogs: