Monday, August 29, 2005

War Profiteers

The stench of the Bush Administration will linger in the collective nose of the American people for unimagineable years to come. There are so many areas in which this group of Pooter Pirates and Butt Buccaneers have failed us, but none so glaringly obvious as the debacle in Iraq.

With the voice of Paul Wolfowitz still murmuring sweet nothings about how the oil proceeds will more than cover the costs of Iraqi Reconstruction, it is way past time to revisit War Profiteering.

This website begins, continues, and will someday end the discussion.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

This is much better than sticking your finger down your throat

The following is from the Mother Jones Blog:

Iraq's Forgotten War

Iraq’s second war is continuing to play out. The first war is open, public, and has bitterly divided the United States. The second war is private, unheard and unseen by the West, and has received scant media attention by the corporate owned press. The first war is the one that the U.S. military is now conducting against the insurgency. The second war is the one being carried out against Iraq’s trade unions.

The opening move in this second war was made by former CPA head Paul Bremer in 2003 when he reinstated Saddam’s repressive law banning all strikes. This law came amidst a flurry of neoliberal changes designed to quickly open Iraq’s economy for privatization and foreign ownership of nearly every industry from banking to oil.

Despite this attempt to prevent organized labor from taking a foothold in the newly “liberated” Iraq, Iraq’s repressed unions quickly reorganized following Saddam’s fall. The three largest being the Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions, the Federation of Workers Councils and Unions of Iraq, and the General Union of Oil Employees in Basra. With their new found strength and their commitment to a secular, democratic Iraq, many had hoped that the trade union movement would provide a foundation on which to build a free and pluralistic society.

Round two of this covert war moved from legal options to violent suppression. In December 2003, U.S. troops raided IFTU offices in Baghdad, arresting several of their leaders and then proceeded to shut the office down. By the end of 2004, a systematic attempt to intimidate and threaten trade union workers was being carried out. Railroad workers were kidnapped and mutilated. The offices of the Transportation and Communication Workers in Baghdad was bombed. Other workers were simply beaten.

In January 2005, much to the dismay of the international labor community, the International Secretary of IFTU Hadi Salih was kidnapped in his home, his hands and feet bound, and then tortured and assassinated. The war against Iraq’s trade union movement continued in the following months as several more union leaders were kidnapped and assassinated.

Yet despite the laws attempting to repress them and despite the violence trying to eliminate them, the Iraqi trade union movement has been pushing ahead strong. IFTU now has over 200,000 members and half of the member unions have held conferences in which they democratically elected their leadership. As it currently stands, IFTU is the only union to be recognized by the Iraqi government.

And the union movement won a huge victory in December when the GUOE in Basra with its 23,000 members threatened to shut down oil production, leading to a doubling of their wages. They again held a 24-hour strike in July, asking for higher wages and a larger investment of oil profits in the impoverished region.

Now further efforts are being undertaken to break the unions’ strength. The Iraqi Oil Ministry announced plans to begin privatizing portions of the southern oil fields. And earlier this month the new Iraqi government overturned an agreement allowing the trade unions to operate without state interference. Not only will the government release new regulation telling the unions how they will operate and organize, but they have also decreed that all money collected by Iraq’s trade unions may be confiscated by the authorities.

And so Iraq’s second war continues, unreported and unnoticed by the West, as the transnational capitalist class vies for control of Iraq’s oil wealth and as the workers struggle for a democratic and just independence.

Posted by Charles Norman Todd on 08/25/05 at 10:23 AM

Friday, August 26, 2005

And nothing but the Truth, so help me God.

The following piece of writing (via Easy Bake Coven) does not deserve to be excerpted, but it does deserve to be shared.

Here is the link…share it often.

“My Son Died for Nothing”
by Mike Whitney
August 22, 2005

“I know you can't bring Casey back. But it's time to admit mistakes and bring our troops home now.”
-- Cindy Sheehan, Camp Casey, Texas

The anti-war movement has finally found a pair of shoulders big enough to carry the load: Cindy Sheehan. Sheehan has single-handedly energized the “Bring the Troops Home” campaign and put the Washington warmongers on notice.

They have plenty of reason to worry, too.

The big guns on the Right, Limbaugh, Hannity, Drudge and O’ Reilly, have been pounding away hour by hour, day by day, wielding every vicious slander they can muster, but without affect. The right wing, mudslinging machine simply hasn’t matched the grit of the unyielding Sheehan.

Who could have guessed that a middle-aged mother from Vacaville, CA could be so dogged?

“My son died for nothing,” Sheehan raged, “He was sent to fight in a war that had no basis in reality and was killed for it….I say my son died for lies. George Bush LIED to us and he knew he was LYING.

Why are our young people fighting and dying in Iraq? What is this Noble Cause you are sending our young people to die for?...Why did you lie to us? Why did you lie to the American people? Why did you lie to the world? Why are our nation’s children still in harms way and dying every day when we know you lied?”

Sheehan is untouchable. The Bush propagandists haven’t laid a glove on her and they’ve savaged their own credibility in the process.

The media has tried to connect Sheehan to the mythical “American Left” suggesting she’s a pawn of Michael Moore.

Ridiculous. It only shows their frustration.

Attacking the mother of a dead soldier is like putting out a campfire with your hands.

It can’t be done and it’s crazy to try.

The dissolute Bill O’ Reilly, a man who was sued for harassing an employee with sexually explicit phone calls, has the gall to challenge Sheehan’s patriotism?!!

What a joke.

O’Reilly never served a day in uniform in his life and quivers whenever a car backfires too close to his padded LA studio.

What a miserable excuse for a human being.

Everyone from Wolf Blitzer to Rush Limbaugh has tried to take Sheehan down, but nothing has worked. The Forth Estate has lost its thunder by wasting its energy on petty diversions, fabrications, and personal attacks. Now, Sheehan’s image is growing larger and the media looks more and more like the wretched, hectoring bullhorn it really is.

Meanwhile, Bush is planning another five day “Mission Accomplished” tour around America to promote his wilting Iraq policy. He announced his trip on his weekly radio address where he reiterated the same fictions that drove the nation to war.

“Our troops know that they're fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere to protect their fellow Americans from a savage enemy,” Bush boomed.

No one’s buying Bush’s palavering anymore.

The last time the Crawford chickenhawk appeared in a crowd of Americans who weren’t “handpicked” by Republican staffers was 9-11.

Think about that.

No president in the history of this country has been so widely reviled that he couldn’t show his face in front of the American people. That is, not until the deserter-in-chief took office.

Come out, come out, George Bush.

Come out from behind the concertina wire and your phalanx of security thugs.

You ran away from the Texas National Guard and now you’re running away from a wretched 48-year-old woman.

Come out of your bubble world and see the misery you’ve caused, you chicken-hearted phony.

Sheehan has tapped into the bottomless ocean of rage that seethes just below the surface of American life. That rage is appearing everywhere and cracking the citadels of power.

“I have been known for some time as a person who speaks the truth and speaks it strongly,” Sheehan said. “I have always called a liar a liar and a hypocrite a hypocrite.”

Ka-boom! A direct hit!

This is why Bush won’t face her. He knows he’d wither if he heard the truth. He knows he’d have to slink back into his spider hole and wait for his handlers to re-inflate his ego before he could play president again.

Sheehan occupies rarified ground; she’s the mother of a dead Marine and the nation’s heart is with her. She is completely above the fray, impervious to any of the “slings and arrows” aimed at her.

Since she began her crusade, America’s political dynamic has changed dramatically with the country leaning more and more heavily towards withdrawal. It would take a miracle for Bush to regain the momentum for the war.

Sheehan took on the world’s most powerful man and left him running for cover.

Bush has been beaten and he knows it.

Now, he should do the right thing and bring the troops home.

Mike Whitney lives in Washington State, and can be reached at:

Thursday, August 25, 2005

American Legion Blowback

A comment from One Pissed off Veteran to American Legion’s Thomas Cadmus:

Hey, motherfucker, you DO NOT speak for me and you do not speak for the millions of other veterans who are actively opposed to this illegal and immoral war. What WE say is that we should never let happen again the foolish and needless squandering of American lives for a business deal. Our men and women in uniform are there to protect us; they are not there to be venture capital for the corrupt and evil Bush Crime Family.

You want to talk about "whatever means necessary"? We know what that means. You are skirting the issue, but everyone knows that you are talking about violence. Remember Malcolm X? Any means necessary? Remember that? Don't try to backpedal and give me any shit about not meaning "violence" when you know exactly what you mean.

Let it be known from this point forward that the American Legion is officially a Stalinist/Fascist organization, and if any of their jackbooted Nazi thug motherfuckers want to start something, we will be more than ready.

Mister Cadmus, how dare you try to take away my freedom to protest, my freedom to speak out against my government and its abysmal international terrorist foreign policy, its criminal acts against its own wounded veterans?

How dare you attempt to abrogate my constitutionally-protected right to peaceably assemble and petition my government for a redress of grievances?

You are so fucking stupid that you probably don't even recognize that, do you? It's in a quaint little document called The Constitution of the United States of America. You ought to try reading it sometime. Asshole.

How dare you, sir?! How fucking dare you??!!

(My Comment)

I might not have said it quite the same way, but it definitely reflects my feelings. My fourteen continuous years of membership in this organization will not extend to fifteen or beyond. I am sure I can show support for my fellow Veterans without continuing to support those who would abuse their position of trust.

Outrage Round-up

Cindy highlights BS on right and lack of leaders on left

That smelly ooze on the bottom of your shoe is Pat Robertson

A CIA Cover Blown, a White House Exposed

The Hype Over Voter Fraud

Not fit to haul water for Wilson

21 Administration Officials Involved In Plame Leak

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

What (protect Karl) noble (9/11 truths) cause, (clean Gannon’s dress) George?

(Excerpt from Seattle Weekly) Read the entire article

Out of nowhere, Sheehan is being touted as the leader the antiwar movement has supposedly been lacking. There is no question that Sheehan has galvanized the opposition. Her loss of a son gives her legitimacy the antiwar movement doesn't have in the eyes of some. Her refusal to back down in the face of the elements, hostile locals, and possible arrest has elevated her further.

The simplest measure of her effectiveness is the zeal with which the right wing is tearing into her—calling her a disgrace to her son's memory and a dupe of the radical antiwar left. She is neither of these, of course, in the eyes of the public—which is precisely why the right is attacking.

Seventy percent of Americans polled last week thought Bush should meet with Sheehan. He won't, of course. He'll finish his vacation in the comfort of his ranch and then go back to Washington. Three miles away, Sheehan will get arrested, or not, and then doubtless follow him back to Washington, her life transformed by the remarkable success of her simple protest.

But in the process, we will have learned a little more about Bush. We will have learned, again, that he is a man comfortable among acolytes and big donors but deeply uncomfortable when confronted with a skeptic, in or out of his inner circle. We will have learned that a man who has yet to attend the funeral service of a single fallen Iraq soldier can't make time for their families, either, unless it's on his terms. And we will have learned that he lacks the simple gift of empathy, which Clinton had in spades, and which would have allowed him to defuse the protest with a minimum of fuss or time.

(My Comments)

I have a great deal of interest in the fact that nothing has changed (except the media coverage) since the media drumbeat began the build-up toward invading Iraq. Those opposed to war are still opposed, and those supportive of the Bush regime are still supportive. Those with character and integrity haven’t changed, and those with a penchant toward lying, cheating, and stealing are still inking the line-up card and sending our best players on assignment when we most need them here at home.

What do you suppose has triggered the media coverage of Cindy Sheehan and her legion of supporters? What could possibly be taking place under our noses that the Bush cartel is more concerned about keeping from public scrutiny than the story of Cindy Sheehan and the simple question that can not possibly be answered without drawing even more attention to the fact that we were duped into this unethical act of naked aggression?

I shudder to consider the possibilities.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Precious right-wing quotes

(From kos by way of One Pissed Off Veteran)

Quotes from when Clinton committed troops to Bosnia:

"You can support the troops but not the president." --Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)

"Well, I just think it's a bad idea. What's going to happen is they're going to be over there for 10, 15, maybe 20 years." --Joe Scarborough (R-FL)

"Explain to the mothers and fathers of American servicemen that may come home in body bags why their son or daughter have to give up their life?" --Sean Hannity, Fox News, 4/6/99

"[The] President . . . is once again releasing American military might on a foreign country with an ill-defined objective and no exit strategy. He has yet to tell the Congress how much this operation will cost. And he has not informed our nation's armed forces about how long they will be away from home. These strikes do not make for a sound foreign policy." --Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA)

"American foreign policy is now one huge big mystery. Simply put, the administration is trying to lead the world with a feel-good foreign policy." --Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)

"If we are going to commit American troops, we must be certain they have a clear mission, an achievable goal and an exit strategy." --Karen Hughes, speaking on behalf of George W Bush

"I had doubts about the bombing campaign from the beginning . . I didn't think we had done enough in the diplomatic area." --Senator Trent Lott (R-MS)

"I cannot support a failed foreign policy. History teaches us that it is often easier to make war than peace. This administration is just learning that lesson right now. The President began this mission with very vague objectives and lots of unanswered questions. A month later, these questions are still unanswered. There are no clarified rules of engagement. There is no timetable. There is no legitimate definition of victory. There is no contingency plan for mission creep. There is no clear funding program. There is no agenda to bolster our over-extended military. There is no explanation defining what vital national interests are at stake. There was no strategic plan for war when the President started this thing, and there still is no plan today" --Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)

"Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is." --Governor George W. Bush (R-TX)

Be sure to read the comments at kos...they are the meat of this post.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Cindy: A Rose by any other name…

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet". Romeo and Juliet (Quote Act II, Sc. II).

I’m not sure where I first encountered the concept (probably in an English Composition class), but the more something is described or defined, the more bounded and enclosed it becomes. I am thinking more about labels here than anything else, because that seems to be where media communication is currently hanging its hat.

Cindy Sheehan, in my view, is a grieving Mother who, having lost her son in a military action initiated by his own Commander–in-Chief for dubious and unclear reasons, is justifiably pissed off about the reluctance of said Commander-in-Chief to explain to her and the other grieving parents of our fighting men and women lost in action why he believes this war is the noble cause he professes it to be, and why it can’t begin to end…now.

In the view of some media members, Cindy Sheehan is traitorous; a media whore, giving aid and comfort to the enemy… and the labels abound about how far LEFT supporting she has become.

This piece better expresses my thoughts:

A grieving mother, looking for answers as to why her son was killed in Iraq, came to Crawford, Texas and holds vigil to find them. Since then...

The commander-in-chief who sent our troops into Iraq refuses to spend one minute with her, deciding instead to "get on with my life."

The same man "answers" her via his Saturday morning radio address, hiding behind his listeners.

And again, his motorcade speeds past her post, not even slowing down to wave.

A radio host with zero military experience (and four sons of military age NOT serving) brings almost a busload of his listeners to yell "We don't care!" at her before retreating back to Dallas. One after another, other "clever" radio hosts follow suit.

She gets relentlessly smeared and slimed by right-wing major media pundit after right-wing major media pundit, accusing her NOT of sitting in the hot Texas sun because of a calling from her conscience, but of being a left-wing nut and a media whore.

A local lunatic fires a gun several times, saying he's practicing for "hunting doves."

Another lunatic plows his truck over roadside markers honoring the war dead.

The National Review says she's auditioning for her own Air America show.

Her character and her motives have been twisted, assassinated and put through the meat grinder by people who consider themselves "patriots."

Her reputation has been shot through the mud by people who don't even know her or the pain she feels.

Her divorce is now gossip fodder.

All because this woman traveled over the miles to a desolate Texas farmland to ask her president one simple question about her dead son.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Promise them anything, but give them a betrayal of trust

A Soldier Speaks: Zechariah
By Celina R. De Leon, AlterNet. Posted August 4, 2005.

(Excerpt) Read the entire interview

Did your beliefs change once you were participating in the war?
I think my beliefs had changed once we were on the ground. Within days we had seized all of the oil fields in northern Iraq and our primary mission was to protect them. Bush had said this war wasn't about oil, but there I was defending oil fields at all costs in the middle of Iraq. A lot of the piping and workings of the fields had been destroyed by the fleeing army and before we even started to help the people by fixing the power or water supplies, they had construction crews trying to get everything up and running on the oil fields.

They say this war isn't about oil. How about they go and trade places with one of the soldiers that would love to come home, and see what's going on around the oil refineries and see how much work is being put into them and how little is being put into restoring power and water. My brother just got back [from Iraq] and said they still only have power and water for maybe five to six hours out of the day.

I also worked with a lot of the local hospitals. The whole time we were there, the hospitals kept getting worse and worse. They never had any supplies or new machines installed. Even some of the more simple machinery, like X-ray machines, were never replaced. Every time I went into one of the hospitals I almost emptied my aid bag so they could have sterile catheters and needles. I couldn't believe my eyes to see that they were having to reuse these supplies because they couldn't get replacement equipment. They didn't even have soap.

All of this helped me to see where the priorities in this war were. Obviously, not in the people.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

How accurate are polls?

In the Daily Read household, we have been listening to the argumentative discussion regarding the accuracy of political issue polls since approximately the end of 2000 when it was discovered that some segments of society actually use poll data to determine the truth of an issue.

I find it very confusing indeed that the Liberal side of most issues chooses to use an antiquated method of fact-based argument coupled with a huge amount of common sense against a much superior graphic and sound-bite method employed by the Conservative side. It is patently obvious which method is more effective, regardless of accuracy.

As this country was preparing to chase the WMD waving Dictator out of Iraq to eliminate the threat of a mushroom cloud smoking gun, the issue of public support in this country, the UN, and around the world became the issue of the day. Had it not been for the multitude of opinion charts and graphs graciously brought to us by Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, and every major newspaper and magazine barely fit to wrap dead fish, we would have been deluded (by the images on Indy Media of millions and millions of protesters taking to the global streets) into thinking that public opinion was against this ramp-up to war. Fortunately, the Indy Media images moments were largely superseded by hours and hours of polling data charts and graphs, and even though our distinguished Commander-In-Chief swore not to give credence to polls or focus groups, the war machine rumbled forward.

Now that the issue of confidence in the Commander-In-Chief is being addressed on a daily basis, and the selective murmuring has risen in volume about the possible bias in every poll showing the public losing favor with the C-I-C, we have decided to conduct our own poll, and regardless of how closely it follows the media’s offering, we will live by the results. Remember, even though a poll has exhibited impeccable usefulness over a long period of time, a well orchestrated slash and burn campaign can easily render it worthless (as was the case with exit polling in Florida and Ohio).

The results of the Daily Read Poll are as follows:


George W. Bush is doing the best job he possibly can.
Agree: 50% Disagree: 0% Vehemently Disagree: 50%

It is comforting to know that GW Bush spends a lot of time on his knees.
Agree: 0% Disagree: 0% Vehemently Disagree: 100%

God would be angry about abortion, but not about using war as a method of population control (and economic stimulation).
Agree: 0% Disagree: 0% Vehemently Disagree: 100%

General Richard Meyers was wrong when he said we should not refer to the conflict against extremism as a war because the solution is clearly not one of military action.
Agree: 0% Disagree: 0% Vehemently Disagree: 100%

The GOP (unlike the Democrats who merely incorporate them) is a party that clearly celebrates the differences, and their variety of Congressional Caucuses proves it.
Agree: 0% Disagree: 0% Vehemently Disagree: 100%

The War against Terror can more easily be won than the War against Drugs.
Agree: 0% Disagree: 0% Vehemently Disagree: 100%

The War against Drugs can more easily be won than the War against Terror.
Agree: 0% Disagree: 0% Vehemently Disagree: 100%

Valerie Plame was clearly not undercover.
Agree: 0% Disagree: 0% Vehemently Disagree: 100%

Sean Hannity is a great American.
Agree: 0% Disagree: 0% Vehemently Disagree: 100%

Note: Starr indicated her choice through the selection of the number of Kibble and Bits she consumed after each question. One indicated agreement, two indicated non-agreement, and all three indicated vehement non-agreement.

The results of the previous poll can only lead one to conclude the following:
George W. Bush will go down in history as one of the greatest Commander-In-Chiefs to ever be elected to the highest office in our land. The War against Terror obviously requires a military solution. The definition of a great American is forever indisputable. Opinion polls always reflect the true thoughts of the American public.
Agree: 0% Disagree: 0% Vehemently Disagree: 100%

Oh, what a tangled web we weave……
***Agree: 100% Disagree: 0% Vehemently Disagree: 0%

*** Ran out of Kibbles and Bits.

Why War Sucks

Mr, Natural over at Left Edge North has posted a link that engages the heart-rending video of Cindy Sheehan put together at Information Clearing House. Mr. Natural credits Old American Century for pointing him toward this video.

After you have viewed the video, visit After Downing Street for more information on Cindy. You can also remind yourself why this war should result in the indictment and incarceration of the perpetrators.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Dead Man Walking II

In my younger days, I had occasion to frequent the Clallam County jail for a few days. I had the unique, if not joyful, experience of sharing a community cell block with a large tribal member named Irving.
Irving might have been a really nice guy in another setting, or another life, but in the community cell block, he was the definitive alpha male, hell bent on keeping everyone else on their toes, nervous, and looking forward to their release date.

It is my fervent prayer that there is another community cell block full of tribal brothers exactly like Irving (hopefully much worse) waiting to receive Jack Abramoff , Tom DeLay, and all their cohorts with a part (however minor) in defrauding the tribal casinos when their day of judgment finally arrives.

I would like to thank Irving for being part of the reason I became the upstanding citizen that I am today.

Dead Man Walking

Jack Abramoff: Under investigation by the Justice Department, the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, the IRS, the Department of the Interior, and the FBI.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

We don’t have enough rope for the Bush Gang

Whether you are Liberal, Conservative, or Independent, you can be certain that the election process is stacked against you somewhere in this country.

My previous post tells a story about people who have made a decision to take control of their local Government, and turn it back into an instrument of representation for the people. It is a wonderful story, full of hope and promise that the system is not always going to be broken and corrupt.

I firmly believe that a voting process that is conducted openly and honestly, as it was intended, will eventually make party loyalty a mute point. Once the system begins to properly respond to the true correlation between votes cast and votes counted, we will discover that there is really only one party, and that is the people.

The people understand that money spent wisely on the societal problems that have consistently been fodder for campaign promises (and nothing more) will elevate the quality of life for every citizen, smooth out the bumps and chuckholes in our National Transportation System, and allow us to rebuild the manufacturing base of America in a way that is responsible to the seventh generation to come.

The era of George W. Bush is chock full of lessons learned should we choose to recognize them publicly, and discuss them openly and honestly. This will probably require the FCC to be de-politicized and overhauled so we can re-build the worthiness of media outlets, but that just happens to be one of the lessons to be learned.

In any case, it all begins with the voting process, and your voice is needed to fill out the choir. If you post on a blog, include a weekly article from or mention of Black Box Voting (dot ORG), and if you are simply a reader, do what you can to keep the voting issue in the public discussion.

Arcata, California has given the issue of voter confidence some legs, and they deserve our respect, support, and willingness to step up in our own local communities. You’ll like the way it feels to speak out against political corruption and cronyism, I guarantee it.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Voter Confidence Resolution

8-8-2005: Arcata, (CA) seeks to wrest election control from corporations


Black Box Voting is often asked to tell people what to do. We don't give marching orders.

When you depend on your government, "experts," or any organization to tell you what to do, you buy into the idea that you should depend on someone else for solutions -- yet, the founders of the U.S. envisioned that you would actively participate in decision making. They trusted your common sense, and knew that the true peril to our republic would come from complacency, rather than lack of wisdom.

Here is a story of citizens who chose not to be complacent: In Arcata, California, the local citizenry created a "Resolution of Voter Confidence." (led by Dave Berman, whose actions show that one person can truly make a difference!) The full text of the Resolution is posted below this story.

"The Voter Confidence Resolution is a common sense statement saying privatized election machines and secret vote counting ensure inconclusive outcomes. Under these conditions we will never have unanimous agreement about election results," says Dave Berman, co-founder of the Voter Confidence Committee of Humboldt County, Calif.

(See also: Berman's blog:; also, plan to participate here: THINK OUTSIDE THE BLACK BOX Online Think Tank, any time Aug. 27-Sep. 5 to brainstorm more real solutions.)

"The Arcata City Council has demonstrated that our local government does hear the voice of the people, even when the federal government has stopped listening."

The Voter Confidence Resolution passed by a margin of 3 to 2 after 15 months of community lobbying and ultimately just 35 minutes of official public comment and discussion.

Councilmember Dave Meserve voted with the majority and said, "Adopting the Voter Confidence Resolution is an important step in establishing the legitimacy of our federal elections. I'm pleased that Arcata was the first City to pass the Voter Confidence Resolution and hope that many other cities will follow."

Read The Entire Article

I am, therefore....

Ralph Nader, Al Gore and George W. Bush go to a fitness spa for some fun. After a stimulating, healthy lunch, all three decide to visit the men's room and they find a strange-looking gent sitting at the entrance who says,

"Welcome to the gentlemen's room. Be sure to check out our newest feature: a mirror that, if you look into it and say something truthful, you will be rewarded with your wish. But, be warned, if you say something false, you will be sucked into the mirror to live in a void of nothingness for all eternity!"
The men quickly entered, and upon finding the mirror, Ralph Nader steps up and says, "I think I'm the most truthful of us three," and he suddenly finds the keys to a brand new Bentley in his hands.

Al Gore steps up and says "I think I'm the most ambitious of us three," and in an instant, he was surrounded by a pile of money to fund his next Presidential Campaign.

Excited over the possibility of having a wish come true, George W. Bush looks into the mirror and says,"I think...", and is promptly sucked into the mirror.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Let us give credit where it is due

Cheney's Nuclear Drumbeat
Commentary: How the vice-president fits into the Plame case.
By Jim Lobe
August 1, 2005

In a recent piece, The Media's Roving Eye, trying to establish a timeline that would offer context for the Plame case, I wrote the following:

"Vice President Cheney started the administration's atomic drumbeat to war in Iraq with a series of speeches on Saddam's supposed nuclear capabilities and desires beginning in August of 2002. (The crucial role of Cheney, whose eye was first caught by a Defense Intelligence Agency report on the Niger uranium documents back in February 2002, in the events that would become the Plame case, has been poorly covered...)"

As I soon found out, I did not stand apart from most others in poor coverage of Cheney's role. Jim Lobe, whose pieces for Inter Press Service I've quoted from, linked to, and recommended endlessly over the last years, sent a few lines my way to tell me that I, too, was off in my Cheney timeline, that the Vice President had started in on the subject of Saddam Hussein's supposed nuclear program significantly earlier than I realized, and that this mattered greatly in understanding the nature of the events to follow. I asked him for a bit of clarification and the next thing I knew I had a piece in hand -- Lobe's first appearance at Tomdispatch -- an exercise, as he put it, in the sorts of connections that begin to appear when you pull a single string in the tangled ball of yarn that is the history of the Plame case. It's a reminder, as he points out below, of how a powerful web of neocon insiders and outsiders (and their allies) set the U.S. on the path to war in Iraq.
What follows then, from the man who has, in my opinion, done better reportorial work on the neoconservatives and the Bush administration than any other reporter around, is a disquisition on timing -- on Vice President Cheney's behaviour immediately before and after former ambassador Joseph Wilson's report on Saddam's supposed search for Niger yellowcake.

Dating Cheney's Nuclear Drumbeat:
Framing the Plame Case
By Jim Lobe

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Picture for previous post

This doesn't give you a sense of the river, but you can see that the dogs have no fear of plopping down right in the middle of the road. The gravel bar is a couple miles long, and would easily accommodate hundreds of campers. I have heard that there are wild dancing girls in that area, but I have always missed seeing them due to my age and inability to last into the night. On that note, I am off to dream of pocket pairs and river flushes.

Time for the Annual Road Trip

The time has come to take a step back, and look at this political world from an entirely different perspective. I certainly can’t continue to look at it from the front end of a television set displaying CNN, MSNBC, or FOX NEWS and expect a different outcome…so; I will try looking at it through the bottom of a beer bottle or whiskey glass for a few days. Hopefully, that will clear things up.

Coincidentally, it is time for the annual road trip back into the wilderness with a caravan of hard working (and hard playing) friends. I have been looking forward to it for approximately a year now, so it is about time…

Most of today (Thursday) will be spent packing and loading for the trip with a few evening hours spent trying to make the final table in a satellite hold ‘em tournament. I am going to be a passenger on this trip, so all I have to worry about is getting enough sleep before we head out on Friday morning.

Our destination is a desolate gravel bar on the bank of a river that dumps into the Pacific Ocean somewhere along the upper coast of Washington State. It is an awesome place to gather for a week end with about twenty or thirty of your closest and most distant friends. There are enough trees surrounding this intimate setting to assure even the most jaded naturist that the Bush Administration is not yet aware of its existence.

I have the deepest admiration for those of you forced to stay behind to monitor the political goings on while I am on holiday. Perhaps you will get lucky and pResident Bush will also go on vacation. God knows the man has a tendency to overwork… especially some of the words and phrases he is forced to use by his dough-boy looking handler. In any case, you have my gratitude.

I shall return with a renewed sense of vigilance…smoke ‘em if you got ‘em!

Monday, August 01, 2005

Bush family Moons the world

Is there a connection between the photo and the following story? We report, you decide....

(Excerpt courtesy of mahablog via buzzflash)

How to Fake News: A Primer

It's fun to check in with Memeorandum now and then to see what the righties are linking to. Yesterday they were gathering like flies to a carcass to a story that appears to be phony.

I say "appears"; maybe it isn't. It's hard to tell, for reasons that I hope become apparent as you read this post. The point of this post is not to prove or disprove certain allegations, but to illustrate how, shall we say, uncritical reading and writing can create a lot of smoke without there necessarily being a fire.

So, here we go:

An editorial in the Washington Times (link above) claimed that Radio is stealing money from poor children and sick old people.
Did Al Franken's liberal radio network Air America divert city money for the elderly and inner-city children to itself? That's the question people should be asking this week after the revelation that the New York Department of Investigation is looking into whether hundreds of thousands of dollars were illegally transferred from a Bronx community center to Air America.

Now, this may be true, but it can't be verified through the Department of Investigation web site. And as I examined various other stories it seems no one has verified this claim with the D of I directly. So how does the Washington Times know about this outrage? From "sources quoted anonymously by the Bronx News," it says.

I live about a ten minutes' drive from the Bronx and wasn't aware there is a Bronx News. Nor can I find mention of a Bronx News through Google. There is a Bronx Times, and the Bronx Times recently carried a story about the legal difficulties of this same community center, the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club, but there was no mention in that story of Air America.

Read the rest of this story so you can understand the true value of media ownership and biased reporting.

Bolton or strapon…this is really going to hurt

Bush is giving the world a Bolton, which has a lifetime more staying power than a strapon…but Bolton or strapon, the overall event will be very painful for all of us. I am going to have a lot of difficulty getting past this insult to my sensibilities, which is Bush’s way of letting us know that he is not pleased with the heat his administration has been getting over the outing of Valerie Plame.

I fully expect to see the formation of a Congressional Postal Caucus in the coming days. Of course, that will require the discovery of a large box of Congressional Cajones in the Democrat washroom… here’s hoping.

In the meantime, I believe I will be spending a lot more time at the poker table, catching up on household chores, and keeping my back to the proverbial wall while my blood has a chance to cool down to the point that I won’t do something really stupid without thinking.

And God Bless America.