Thanks to floridagal for the heads-up that Howard Dean was going to be on Ring of Fire this afternoon. Below is a transcript of most of the segment.
Saturday, May 26, 2007
Friday, May 25, 2007
I was reminded today of a term I haven't thought about in a while, which is funny, because I coined the phrase: "political wushu." I introduced this concept on my blog here, and on My Left Wing here. Wushu means "Arts of War" and once described a body of serious martial arts disciplines in China. But under Mao it was stripped of any real fighting utility and became a dizzying acrobatic sport, which is, to this day, enjoyed as entertainment. Sadly, this is exactly what has happened to our representative democracy. What was once a brave experiment -- a practical application of principles rendered in the age of enlightenment -- is now an empty spectacle. The Democratic Party has put on something of a show of being an opposition party, but it is all part of a choreographed routine, in which the outcome is never in doubt. Their spears are flimsy tin. Their swords, dull.
Did we really expect Congressional Democrats to fight to the finish for timetables in Iraq? Did we honestly think they would put a stop to the madness of this Administration? No, friends. That's not how it was scripted. This week, the mighty Democrats took a dive.
Sure, opposition to this war is at an all-time high. Sure, three quarters of the country thinks the surge is a failure. The American people don't so much as pick out the music for these performances. We just stare slack-jawed from the audience and wait for the curtain to come down on yet another predictable denouement.
As David Sirota points out, Democrats are proud of their performances, and of their ability to dazzle and deceive.
And here's the worst part of it all - Democrats are now bragging about it. Not only have they sent out a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee fundraising email attempting to confuse voters by claiming with a straight face that they really stood up to President Bush. But most insulting of all, they are actually running to reporters to pat themselves on the back for engineering a procedural pirouette designed to confuse the public. Here's the [Washington] Post again:"But while protesters outside the Capitol condemned what they saw as a capitulation, Democrats inside were remarkably understanding of their speaker's contortions. Party leaders jury-rigged the votes yesterday to give all Democrats something to brag about...Democrats saw brilliance in the legerdemain. And with such contortions came more appreciation for the efforts Pelosi was making to fund the war in a fashion most palatable to angry Democrats. 'It was the responsible thing to do, and she's a responsible speaker,' said Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.)."
Sleight of hand, indeed. Here, Sirota breaks down, step-by-step, the complex choreography of the Democrat's illusion.
...Every bill comes to the House floor with what is known as a "rule" that sets the terms of the debate over the legislation in question. House members first vote to approve this parliamentary rule, and then vote on the legislation. Today, however, Democrats are planning to essentially include the Iraq blank check bill IN the rule itself, by making sure the underlying bill the rule brings to the floor includes no timelines for withdrawal, and that the rule only allows amendments that fund the war with no restrictions - blank check amendments that House Democratic leaders know Republicans will have the votes to pass.
As I said here:
Establishment Democrats have long since ceased to be an opposition party. They are tools of a statist regime giving us all a good show, but stripped of any real power to stop a political juggernaut years in the making; one that would make kings of presidents and reduce Congress to a sad spectacle.
And so we are saddled with this war for the indefinite future; one that has claimed 3437 of our troops, as of this writing, and at a rate that spirals ever upward.
Today I learned that still greater horrors may await us, as the Bush Administration prepares to make its consolidation of power complete.
President Bush, without so much as issuing a press statement, on May 9 signed a directive that granted near dictatorial powers to the office of the president in the event of a national emergency declared by the president.
What will the Democrats do? Will they stand and fight to the last for what is left of our tattered Democracy? Will they guard the gates to their dying breaths like the Spartans at Thermopylae? Or will they simply dance, dance, dance!
Crossposted from Left Toon Lane & My Left Wing
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We are in a war longer than World War 2 and the GOP candidates only speak of escalation. Kill, torture, bomb - those are supposed to equal Freedom™!
During the last Republican debate in South Carolina, in an effort to outdo the last asshole to speak, Mitt Romney blurts out "I want to double Gitmo!" Isn't that nice. Not only are we becoming the laughing stock of the world, our current crop of GOP candidates have no fear of making the situation worse. I will say John McCain was the stark exception who was unwilling to use torture on the Yellow Brick Road to the Apocalypse.
I guess that is something.
CLICK IMAGE FOR MORE
Left 'Toon Lane is holding a cartoon contest as part of PZ Myers', of Pharyngula fame, Creation Museum Carnival. In other words, a blogswarm set for Saturday, to be hosted at Pharyngula.
This is my second 'toon for the contest. Other people have done some too, so come to Left 'Toon Lane later today to see them all, and tell us which ones you like best. Most important, pick up a pen, or a crayon, or doodle with your mouse, and send one in yourself. The key is never artistry, it's concept- scratch a stick figure with brilliant copy, and voila! you're a cartoonist. Draw like da Vinci but write poorly, and you're not a cartoonist, just an artist.
Posted by dhonig at 4:13 AM
Thursday, May 24, 2007
“The American public voted Democrats into power for one simple reason - they trusted us to act boldly to hold this President accountable and to bring our troops home. So far we are failing the very trust that they have placed in us. But more importantly, every day that we allow this occupation to continue we are failing our brave young men and women who are serving honorably and professionally in Iraq. And we are failing their families here at home, who, while struggling to keep their lives and families together, are forced to worry whether their loved ones will come home alive, and if so in what condition.
A tip of the hat to Nicole Belle at Crooks and Liars.
You may have heard around the tubes that today is the opening of the Creation "Museum". May 25 is also Towel Day, in honor of Douglas Adams, so this seems like a fitting time to repost this excerpt from a Douglas Adams lecture:
I mean, there's no other conclusion you can come to. And it's rather like a puddle waking up one morning--I know they don't normally do this, but allow me, I'm a science fiction writer (laughter). A puddle wakes up one morning and thinks "Well, this is a very interesting world I find myself in. It fits me very neatly. In fact, it fits me *so* neatly, I mean, *really* precise, isn't it? (Laughter) It *must* have been made to have me in it!" And the sun rises, and he's continuing to narrate the story about this hole being made to have him in it. The sun rises, and gradually the puddle is shrinking and shrinking and shrinking, and by the time the puddle ceases to exist, it's still thinking, it's still trapped in this idea, that the hole was there *for* it. And if we think that the world is here *for us*, we will continue to destroy it in the way in which we have been destroying it, because we think we can do no harm.
Posted by dhonig at 7:17 AM
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A House committee launched an inquiry Tuesday over a former museum administrator's claim that the Smithsonian Institution toned down a climate change exhibit for fear of angering Congress and the Bush administration.
It's not just a "tragedy", it's suicidal.
As Kurt Vonnegut observed, "Science is magic that works." To believe otherwise wastes valuable time, makes us dumber, and drags the United States culturally and economically to the status of a third-rate country.
Do you think Bush is still pissed off about that C- he got in biology?
Crossposted from Left Toon Lane & My Left Wing
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Keith Olbermann's Special Comment last night pretty much summed up my feelings on the Democrats idiotic move to continue to fund the war.
We worked our fingers to the bone to get Dems into Congress for one MAJOR thing - to bring our troops home. Immigration, the national debt, the spotted owl all took a back seat to this most pressing issue.
The Dems held all the cards, the President they are facing is the WORST IN HISTORY and wildly unpopular. Plus the Dems had the support of the people - a huge swath of We The People in fact.
So what do they do? Cave.
They threw the troops under the bus. God knows, the Dems in Congress don't want to be made to feel uncomfortable.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Yes, I said challenging post, because she challenges all of us.
This challenge is about America's war on Iraq and the lack of conversation on black blogs about the disguised hypocrisy of America on this critical issue. Jill recently wrote that she is frustrated like most African Americans on the continuing failure to set a timetable on Iraq. She feels that members of Congress and the political blogs are ignoring African-Americans, in part I think because we have not blogged as much about Iraq as other issues.
I agree we Jill. Black bloggers should get more vocal about the war. We need to do what Malcolm and Martin taught us, become more international in our conversation. We need to comment of the Iraq war as they did about the War in Vietnam and the war against our people. I just finished taking another look at my blog(s). At African American Opinion we have posted on issue of the war many times see below:
I'm reminded of what Martin Luther King said during his Christmas Sermon back in December of 1967, which reminds me of 2007, just change the name President Johnson to Bush, Just change the country North Vietnam to Iraq:
"And the leaders of the world today talk eloquently about peace. Every time we drop our bombs in North Vietnam, President Johnson talks eloquently about peace. What is the problem? They are talking about peace as a distant goal, as an end we seek, but one day we must come to see that peace is not merely a distant goal we seek, but that it is a means by which we arrive at that goal. We must pursue peaceful ends through peaceful means. All of this is saying that, in the final analysis, means and ends must cohere because the end is preexistent in the means, and ultimately destructive means cannot bring about constructive ends."
--Martin Luther King, Jr., "A CHRISTMAS SERMON" 24 December 1967
Read more of Jill's thoughts below:
What's interesting is that you don't see a lot of discussion about the Iraq War among black bloggers. That's because we all agree on it and solutions seem obvious. If other bloggers are like me, I am just so sick of talking about it. The difference among black folks is that we were largely against the war before it started and have quietly been protesting it ever since.
Most African-Americans can point to someone they know personally who has been impacted in some way -- negatively -- by this war. Could be a neighbor, relative, classmate, co-worker, relative of a relative. You nah mean. Me -- I've had 2 cousins go over to Iraq. And my cousin's half-sister's husband. This colors our view of those who believe in a wait-and-see or worse yet, a "surge" approach.
Discussions in the black community tend to focus on Osama bin Laden -- isn't he still at large? -- and on the Money -- it sure seems like a lot of money is being spent over there in Iraq. How is it that none of that money was seen fit to spend on helping the victims of Katrina or re-building New Orleans? Or on better healthcare, education, poverty, our cities, the environment for folks living right here in the United States?
Still it's critical to talk about it because Democratic candidates looking for black votes will need to speak to us on those terms to be heard. And it also impacts the current national security. Quietly, the military has been dependent for generations on regular enlistment by young black soldiers. Why do you think that the educational and career opportunities are always touted. That's been the lure for young men and women eager to join (or stay in) the middle class. More HERE
While the Bush Administration is so concerned about Terrorist from abroad it's forgetting about people who would create terror here on American soil. ABC News is reporting about a Bomb Plot that was thwarted at get this Falwell's Funeral.
Virginia authorities arrested Liberty University student Mark D. Uhl after officials discovered several homemade bombs in the trunk of his car. (AP Photo/Hand Out)The student, 19-year-old Mark D. Uhl of Amissville, Va., reportedly told authorities that he was making the bombs to stop protesters from disrupting the funeral service. The devices were made of a combination of gasoline and detergent, a law enforcement official told ABC News' Pierre Thomas. They were "slow burn," according to the official, and would not have been very destructive.
"There were indications that there were others involved in the manufacturing of these devices and we are still investigating these individuals with the assistance of ATF [Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms], Virginia State Police and FBI. At this time it is not believed that these devices were going to be used to interrupt the funeral services at Liberty University," the Campbell County Sheriff's Office said in a release.
Three other suspects are being sought, one of whom is a soldier from Fort Benning, Ga., and another is a high school student. No information was available on the third suspect.
Authorities were alerted to the potential bomb plot after relative of Uhl called to say that he had homemade bombs in his possession. Officials searched Uhl's car where they found five incendiary devices in the trunk.
Uhl is currently being held under no bond at the Campbell County Adult Detention Center. More HERE
Crossposted from Left Toon Lane & My Left Wing
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I am pissed off and go to send an email to Virginia Foxx expressing my displeasure over the war. I know, a pointless endeavor, but I might as well pile on. I fill out all the required info to send her an email, including looking up my damn ZIP+4 and then I go try to select a topic, but of all the things she has as a topic for - animals, health, pension, the Iraq War is not on her list. War On Terror? Nope. Afghanistan? No, no one remembers Afghanistan any more.
How in the world can you be a sitting member of Congress and LEAVE OFF Iraq as a subject as an email topic? It is the biggest foreign policy goof this nation has ever committed, it is on the news CONSTANTLY, it is a subject debated in Congress every single day and it is the ONLY thing candidates are talking about in their campaigns.
For Virginia Foxx, it is just a miscellaneous item. If your husband just got killed in combat in Iraq and you need your Congresswoman's help in receiving the remains, you will need to select "miscellaneous" on her web form. This is just what Foxx thinks this war is - miscellaneous. You know, she supports the troops by avoiding talking about them.
As a member of a family with loved ones who served in Bush's war, it is incredibly disingenuous of Foxx to leave off the most important topic in the nation to contact her about. I guess we never should have looked to Congress for dignity.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
At the end of the work day, I do a brief scan of blog headlines to try to get up to speed on what's happening out there in the wide, wide world (channeling the Poky Little Puppy). This evening, a predominant theme is that the Democrats "caved" on Iraq. Quite honestly, I'm not sure what I think about that. The thing is--I just don't have the time or interest to follow this story (and others like it) closely enough to have a genuinely informed opinion on what constitutes necessary political courage versus wisely playing the cards you've been dealt. So, guess I'm not cut out to be a political pundit.
His name is Davis Mac-Iyalla, and he is the founder of Changing Attitude-Nigeria, a support group for Gay and Lesbian Anglicans, and he is visiting the United States to call attention to the persecution of LGBTs in his country. Even attending a GLBT-affirmative event--something I didn't have to think twice about here in central Ohio would subject me to tremendous risk if I lived in Nigeria. If a draconian "Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act" were to pass, the penalty for being openly "straight but not narrow" would be a five year prison term.
From time to time, I have wondered, if Demetrius and I were born at a different time...if we had met in 1964 rather than 1984...would I have had the courage to follow my heart and marry outside my "race". It's not an easy question to answer. Mind you, part of the difficulty is my tendency to ask pesky, practical questions, such as, "Where would we have met?" and "How likely is it that we could have spent those long, casual hour together with our mutual friends?" But the basic question I ask myself is, "Would I have the courage to be that kind of pioneer? Could I really be that brave?"
Last night, I was faced with a new question: "Would I have the courage to risk my personal safety--possibly my life--in order to make hostile religious and political authorities acknowledge that I exist?
That's an easy one, and I can answer it right now.
No. Freaking. Way.
So I couldn't help but be awed, humbled, and impressed to hear Davis tell his story. From a statement on the first anniversary of Changing Attitudes-Nigeria,
In the first year, we have many achievements to be proud of, including our impact on the life of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, which had previously denied that lesbian and gay people are members of the church. The Church was so disturbed by our visible presence that it attempted to discredit the organisation, at the same time falsely claiming to be open to gays.At last night's meeting, Davis Mac-Iyalla described being arrested after one of the early meetings of his organization. He and his fellow members were beaten, and were held for three days without food or water (and without charges), before finally being able to get the bribe money so that his jailers would release him. And not long after that experience, he led the first national meeting of CAN, which was attended by over 1000 GLBT Anglican Nigerians.
I encourage you to read more about Davis Mac-Iyalla and Changing Attitudes-Nigeria. This is not an Anglican issue, or a GLBT issue, or a Nigerian issue--it is, quite plainly, a human rights issue.
The Daily Office (Sponsor of Davis Mac-Iyalla's U.S. tour)
Changing Attitude UK (The director of this organization was instrumental in helping Davis get Changing Attitude Nigeria up and running)
Walking With Integrity (the blog of IntegrityUSA)
Also at My Left Wing, Street Prophets, Booman Tribune, and ePluribus Media
Update with regard to funding:
The people who wish to silence Davis and others like him are very well funded.
Changing Attitudes Nigeria is not. Josh Thomas, who arranged Davis Mac-Iyalla's U.S. tour, and who operates the Daily Office web site, is helping him raise the money needed to continue his work in educating the rest of the world about the plight of GLBT people in Nigeria. Donations are being accepted here.
Crossposted from Left Toon Lane & My Left Wing
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More than four years into this, the Pentagon still can’t get the body armor right. First they didn’t have enough to go around and now what has been issued, isn’t the best and of course women have no real options.
I was talking recently with a military contractor about the issue of body armor and his take on it was that what the troops had was rubbish, specifically for women. The current Army-issued Interceptor armor was made for men, the armor is essentially a flat plate and when worn over female breasts, the armor creates a gap at the top of the armor and it is pushed farther from the rib cage on the top leaving a large gap big enough to drive a grenade through. The problem with side entry wounds is even worse for women as the Interceptor model of armor leaves them more vulnerable.
The new Dragon Skin model of armor WRAPS the body and provides 360 degree protection - in some areas better protection than the Interceptor and in some areas worse. But if you are a woman, you are ordered to wear the faulty fitting Interceptor model.
Monday, May 21, 2007
Crossposted from Left Toon Lane & My Left Wing
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Once every few weeks, we stop and list the recent war dead in Bush's illegal war. These people are all victims of murder and Bush is an accessory. At least read their names aloud once, then go to Books For Soldiers and lend a hand for the living.
Pfc. Jonathan V. Hamm, 20, of Baltimore, Md., died May 17 in Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds sustained when his forward operating base received indirect enemy fire. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Wash.
Sgt. Steven M. Packer, 23, of Clovis, Calif., died May 17 in Rushdi Mullah, Iraq, of wounds suffered when his dismounted patrol encountered an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y.
Pfc. Aaron D. Gautier, 19, of Hampton, Va., died May 17 in Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds suffered when his mounted patrol came in contact with enemy forces using small arms fire and an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Wash.
Staff Sgt. Joshua R. Whitaker, 23, of Long Beach, Calif., died May 15 in Qalat, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered from enemy small arms fire. Whitaker was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group, Fort Bragg, N.C.
Sgt. Allen J. Dunckley, 25, of Yardley, Pa. died May 14 in Salman Pak, Iraq, of wounds suffered when their unit came in contact with enemy forces using an improvised explosive device and small arms fire. They were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Benning, Ga.
Sgt. Christopher N. Gonzalez, 25, of Winslow, Ariz. died May 14 in Salman Pak, Iraq, of wounds suffered when their unit came in contact with enemy forces using an improvised explosive device and small arms fire. They were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Benning, Ga.
Sgt. Thomas G. Wright, 38, of Holly, Mich., died May 14 enroute to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Landstuhl, Germany, from a non-combat related illness while serving at Balad, Iraq. Wright was assigned to the 46th Military Police Company, 210th Military Police Battalion, Kingsford, Mich.
Lance Cpl. Jeffrey D. Walker, 21, of Macon, Ga., died May 14 while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar province, Iraq. He was assigned to Combat Logistics Regiment 2, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Originally posted at Howard-Empowered People. I don't know why I'm having trouble with the links to Ryan's web page, but if you Google for "Food Stamp Challenge", you will find a number of stories about it. And this is definitely worthy of wider attention...
(Washington, DC) Congressman Tim Ryan (OH-17) will participate in the Food Stamp Challenge, an effort aimed to raise awareness of the hunger problem faced by 38 million Americans nationwide, including 13 million children. The Food Stamp Program provides over 25 million people living at or below the poverty line with a means to afford basic foodstuffs.Click here to read a Washington Post article about the challenge, and here to see Tim Ryan's blog entries about his experience living on $3 of food per day this past week.
Note: I spent 20 minutes this morning trying to fix the link to Tim Ryan's web page, and no matter what link I used, once I pasted it into Blogger, I got a page not found message. The link I use at the beginning of this post is a link to a Wikipedia article about Ryan. At the bottom of that page, there is a link to his home page, which works when I click it. Or copy and paste http://timryan.house.gov into your browser window. Thank you, Jessica, for pointing out the "page not found" error message. Wish I could figure out what I'm doing wrong with the link. I mean, I *do* know how to make links--why can't I get this one to work?
Sunday, May 20, 2007
The topic below was originally posted in my blog, the Intrepid Liberal Journal.
“We stopped truth squading every sort of press conference, or truth squading. And we left it then-- to the democrats. In other words, it's up to the democrats to catch people, not us.”And there was this classic exchange between Moyers and Tim Russert from Meet the Press:
BILL MOYERS: What do you make of the fact that of the 414 Iraq stories broadcast on NBC, ABC and CBS nightly news, from September 2002 until February 2003, almost all the stories could be traced back to sources from the White House, the Pentagon, and the State Department?How the hell does any reporter justify allowing a political party to interpret the truth? Political parties are not about truth. Political parties are self-serving entities dedicated to obtaining and maintaining power. Since the Democrats were spineless and didn’t provide an alternative dialogue, Pincus and Russert believe they should be excused from doing their jobs? Ridiculous. Yes, Republicans were feculent and irresponsible while Democrats were feckless and cowardly. All the more reason for the press to do their job and relentlessly pursue the truth.
I’m a loyal Democrat and support my party as a means to advance progressive causes I believe in. And Democrats such as Henry Waxman are doing a splendid job of investigating the Bush Administration’s malfeasance now that they have the majority. It was also oversight by the Democratic controlled Senate Judiciary Committee that resulted in former Deputy Attorney General James Comey’s dramatic testimony.
Nevertheless, I don’t want the press to solely cede ground to Democrats about holding the Bush White House accountable. Nor do I want the press to curry favor with powerful Democrats and refrain from reporting on their transgressions.
Of course reporters such as Pincus and Russert merely reflect the will of their corporate bosses who curry favor from the powerful. Some reporters remain dedicated to their craft. James Risen of the New York Times, who first reported about the Bush Administration’s domestic surveillance program in violation of the FISA framework is a fine example. However, the New York Times management didn’t allow the story to surface prior to the 2004 election.
As I see it, the real gate being crashed is what people like Josh Marshall are doing at Talking Points Memo. It was reporting done for that blog that broke the bough on how the dismissal of US Attorney’s were covered and exposed Attorney General Gonazales as a liar. And citizen contributors to Firedoglake were so effective as information repositories for the Scooter Libby trial that even mainstream press reporters relied on them for real time facts. Epluribus Media has also become an effective vehicle for citizen journalism.
Another example on a smaller scale is a good friend of mine who used to work for Kaiser Permanente, a health organization that claims to be a non-profit. She was a whistle blower and they responded by personally trying to destroy her. So she transformed her Corporate Ethics blog into a repository of information regarding Kaiser’s harmful activities against their patients. Kaiser Thrive Permanente Exposed is another weblog devoted to serving the public by exhaustively covering Kaiser in a manner that the corporate media has resisted.
As the blogosphere continues to mature, it is the gate crashing of citizen journalists that has me the most excited. Hopefully citizen journalism from the “reality based community” will become more adept at keeping the corporate media, corporations and politicians honest.
My optimism however is tempered by two concerns. One is that the powerful elites among the corporations, mainstream press and politicians will pass laws that undermine the effectiveness of online citizen journalism. My second fear is that citizen journalists will at some point resemble Farmer Jones.