Saturday, December 8, 2007

White House threatens budget veto

(Cross posted at Rants 'n Reviews)

White House threatens budget veto

"The White House on Saturday threatened to veto a massive spending bill being assembled by congressional Democrats, saying it's unacceptable to add billions of dollars to domestic programs."
But it's okay to add trillions (yes, trillions) of dollars to foreign programs. For a guy not into nation building, I guess one could say he's into nation destruction: Our own as well as Iraq's.

Merry Christmas!

Military Families Turn On Bush Republicans

Appearing at The Jaundiced Eye, the Independent Bloggers' Alliance, and My Left Wing.

"The man went into Iraq without justification, without a plan; he just decided to go in there and win, and he had no idea what was going to happen. There have been terrible deaths on our side, and it's even worse for the Iraqi population. It's another Vietnam."

-- Mary MacNeely, Mother of Air Force Reservist

Vietnam, which ruptured this country in incalculable ways. Among them, a right/left split that moved most military and military families to kneejerk Republican allegiance. Speaking as a member of one of those few left-leaning military families, let me say that I have seen this this coming; this Republican loss of its reliable military voter base.

Families with ties to the military, long a reliable source of support for wartime presidents, disapprove of President Bush and his handling of the war in Iraq, with a majority concluding the invasion was not worth it, a Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll has found.
Candle with USA Flag Behind
The views of the military community, which includes active-duty service members, veterans and their family members, mirror those of the overall adult population, a sign that the strong military endorsement that the administration often pointed to has dwindled in the war's fifth year.

The Bush Administration's obsessive pursuit of "victory" in Iraq has not only managed to destroy its own support from military culture, but that of its party.

When military families were asked which party could be trusted to do a better job of handling issues related to them, respondents divided almost evenly: 39% said Democrats and 35% chose Republicans. The general population feels similarly: 39% for Democrats and 31% for Republicans.

And, I'm sure it doesn't help when chicken-hawks like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell belittle the sacrifice of our all-volunteer military.

Unfortunately, most of our friends on the other isle are having a hard time admitting things are getting better; some days I almost think the critics of this war don't want us to win. Nobody is happy about losing lives but remember these are not draftees, these are full-time professional soldiers.

How much is wrong with that statement? For one thing... Democrats live on a island? Shouldn't that be "other side of the aisle?" Perhaps it was a transcription error and I should point the finger at the Grayson County News-Gazette. Or perhaps McConnell really does strand the Democrats of his imagination at sea, with Gilligan and the Skipper, too. It would not surprise me. The man is apparently so out of touch with reality that he has no awareness that we are losing members from every branch of the military, not just the army (soldiers), and that many of those currently risking life and limb are not full-time military professionals, but reservists who are, on top of other indignities, losing the income of their regular salaries to collect, in many cases, significantly lower military wages.

Mitch McConnell, a shining example of Republican military advocacy; lionizing our "brave troops" one minute, and displaying his near total ignorance of the realities of military life the next.

"I don't see gains for the people of Iraq . . . and, oh, my God, so many wonderful young people, and these are the ones who felt they were really doing something, that's why they signed up. I pray to God that they did not die in vain, but I don't think our president is even sensitive at all to what it's like to have a child serving over there."

-- Sue Datta, Mother of Army Staff Sergeant

Being in an active duty military family creates a certain isolation and a sense of internal community. We are, in many ways, cut off from the sense of geographical community that many Americans define by. We move a lot, so it is the military bases, commissaries, and the surround of other military families that is the most reliable constant. The result is, among, other things a conformity of viewpoint within that community. Particularly because he is an officer, my husband has long dealt with the "presumption of Republicanism." You are assumed to be Republican and conservative unless you openly state otherwise. That's been the case throughout my husband's military career, but it may not be so for much longer.

From the beginning of this push to go into Iraq, there were rumblings. I was somewhat surprised to learn that I was not the only military spouse who was pissed as hell at the idea of my husband deploying for a war that made no fucking sense. One of my husband's Marines officially changed his party affiliation from Republican to Independent the day he got his orders. And, when I went to protests in my largely military town, Marines were seen walking by giving the thumbs up to the protesters. This war has never been as popular with military culture as Bush's staged photo-ops, with their props in uniform, would have you think.

Five years later, what we are seeing is a sea change. Military families are becoming fed up with a President and a political party that does not serve their interests.

Asked about the Bush administration's handling of the needs of active-duty troops, military families and veterans, 57% of the general public disapprove. That number falls only slightly among military families -- 53% give a thumbs-down.

And most military families and others surveyed took no exception to retired officers publicly criticizing the Bush administration's execution of the war. More than half of the respondents in both groups -- 58% -- say such candor is appropriate. Families with someone who had served in the war are about equally supportive at 55%.

The Bush Administration will not be able to hide behind the military for much longer, and defend his misguided policies as supporting troops who want "to get the job done." Not when 60% of military families say "the Iraq war is not worth the cost," and 58% want the within a year.

"We support the troops; we don't support Bush. These boys have paid a terrible, terrible price."

-- Linda Ramirez, Mother of US Marine

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Wichita Police Taser deaf man who could not hear verbal commands

Wichita NAACP Holding Wichita Police Department Accountable

WPD Officer uses a Taser gun on a deaf man who could not hear verbal commands

On November 20th, a man by the name of Donnell Williams, 39, was at home alone . Mr. Williams is hearing impaired, has a glass eye, and walks with a slight limp. He was taking a shower when 4 officers responding to a call of 'shots fired' knocked on his door. Mr. Williams did not (and could not) hear them and he continued to shower.

When he exited the shower, he walked into his living room, dressed only in a towel to find 4 Wichita Police Officers, one of which was carrying a bullet proof shield. Mr. Williams saw the officers gesturing to him, but could not hear what they were saying so he motioned towards his hearing aid which was sitting on his dining room table.

When Mr. Williams turned to get his hearing aid from the table, he was shot with a taser gun by one of the officers. (remember; he was wearing only a towel, and motioning towards his hearing aid which was sitting on the table) more HERE and HERE - Hearing Impaired Man Tased by Police more HERE

These types of activities are being tracked on the blog Tasered While Black

Romney’s Secret Weapon Against Huckabee

Crossposted from Left Toon Lane, Bilerico Project & My Left Wing

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If somehow Mitt Romney can overcome Rudy's mistress/police scandal and Huckabee's religious fueled surge in the polls, he may have one thing that can help him in the general election - a lack of serious religious fundamentalism in his past.

Yeah, I know, he is not my candidate either and I abhor his policies. I know he wants to crawl up into my wife's uterus and legislate what she does with her ova and I understand he is a nutcase when it comes to foreign policy and economics. All of that aside, he doesn't hold a candle to Huckabee. Huckabee IS A ORDAINED SOUTHERN BAPTIST MINISTER!!! You can't get more cranky than that unless you are wearing a Klan hood.

Most of my issues surrounding Christianity stems from the Southern Baptists - they deny science, they generally believe the Bible is the literal word of God and are some of the most bigoted people I know. I actually know Southern Baptists who voted for Bush and STILL support him because he is God's instrument for bringing about the Rapture.

Understand I am also not a Mormon, but you must admit, they do not have THAT track record. They have had their own problems (Blacks being not fully human, etc.) but they have made great strides in correcting those problems. Kinda like when Bill Gates realized the Internet WAS going to be important after all and moved the whole of Microsoft in that direction overnight. The likes of Jim Jeffords I do not associate with the Latter Day Saints whatsoever.

To all of us secularists, Romney is much more digestible than Huckabee. He is not weighed down by that cross Huckabee drags around everywhere he goes.

As a meth addict once told me, "come down off that cross, someone else needs the wood."

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Natalie Maines: Free the West Memphis Three

Appearing at The Jaundiced Eye, the Independent Bloggers' Alliance, and My Left Wing.

The most fascinating thing about Dixie Chicks' Natalie Maines's newest cause is Fox News's spin on the story. Here's their lede:

The Dixie Chicks have a new controversy on their hands. Lead singer Natalie Maines is urging people to contribute money to a defense fund for three Arkansas men that she (and many others) believe were wrongly convicted of killing three children in 1993.

Oh that Natalie, with her outré political notions. She's so controversial. Is it time for another Dixie Chicks cd burning?

The only thing controversial about the cause Maines's has taken on is the prosecution that landed three innocent boys in jail thirteen years ago. And as the article goes on to point out, the conviction of Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley has inspired outrage and activism all across America. It has been a cause célèbre for years.

Maines writes her plea on the Dixie Chicks Web site, which has already been answered by several celebrities including, I am told, Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder, Eddie Vedder, Jack Black and Henry Rollins.

Henry Rollins? You mean the former Black Flag front man who put out an album called Rise Above: 24 Black Flag Songs to Benefit the West Memphis Three five years ago? That Henry Rollins?

The story of the West Memphis Three came into broad public awareness when HBO aired a documentary on the case; Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills. Its film makers became interested in the sensational story of what was reported to be a Satanic ritual murder, carried out by 3 teenage boys. Instead their cameras exposed a town in the grip of "Satanic panic" and the prosecution/perseuction of three boys for wearing black, reading about Wicca, and listening to Metallica. Their follow up documentary Paradise Lost: Revelations focused largely on the burgeoning movement to "Free the West Memphis Three." Thirteen years after their conviction, they remain in prison; Damien Echols on death row. They were convicted with absolutely no physical evidence, and on the basis of hearsay, a prison informant of questionable character, and the coerced confession of the mentally retarded Jessie Misskelley. This, even though he recanted the same evening, his confession was riddled with inconsistencies, and he did not testify in court.

The end of this nightmare may now be in sight. New evidence and advances in DNA technology go a long way to clearing these three boys. Some months ago, it was reported that no DNA found at the murder scene belongs to Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, or Jessie Misskelley. There is DNA that does not exclude the step-father of one of the murdered children, Terry Hobbs, and an associate of his, however. While that evidence would probably not be enough to bring new charges, it most certainly makes the two far more credible as suspects than the three young men currently sitting in prison. More disturbing, Hobbs's ex-wife, Pamela, has come forward with more evidence implicating him. A knife belonging to her late son, and missing since the murders, was found amongst her ex-husband's effects.

What follows is video of the recent press conference of with the West Memphis Three defense attorneys and forensics experts. I watched both sequences last night, in their entirety. They are poorly shot and recorded, but I couldn't peel myself away.

All information in this diary comes from repeated viewing of "Paradise Lost," parts I&II, and from the website dedicated to release of the wrongly convicted Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley, Also of interest, read Natalie Maines's statement regarding her interest in the West Memphis Three here or here.

John McCain, Name That Tune!

Crossposted from Left Toon Lane, Bilerico Project & My Left Wing

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The only other "opps" that has been bigger than the recent NIE for Iran was going to war with Iraq for no damn reason. That was the Mack Daddy of "oppses."

On some fronts, (the fronts here in the US) the backpedaling and massaging of previous statements is in high gear. On other fronts, especially those of Conservative bent, have themselves gone ballistic. Morning Joe Scarborough and even one of the few remaining Nixon tools, Pat Buchanan, have actually stood up, donned their best Thomas Jefferson costume and called bullshit on the Bush Administration. Hell, now even Pat Buchanan is waving around the Downing Street Memo for crying out loud. PAT!

The alleged Liberal MSM has been going round the clock on this story with an eye-opener approach. Most shocking to me was Chris Matthews last night who damn near knocked the NeoCon poser silly.

When we as a nation screw-up our foreign policy so bad that is makes the likes of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad look like King of Morality, it shows our government is truly adrift.

I swear to God, if Joe starts using The Dixie Chicks as bumper music on his show, it could signal the death rattle of the Neo Conservative movement.

The real question is what will be the next song John McCain starts singing now that "Bomb Iran" is out of vogue? The Yellowcake of Texas?


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Is Hillary Clinton digging her own grave or somebody else's?

(Cross posted at Rants 'n Reviews, my blog)

Hillary Clinton has taken off the gloves, calling Barack Obama naive, inexperienced, and striving for the Presidency since birth (her campaign sleuths have dug up a paper from Obama's long-ago past: An essay little Barack wrote in kindergarten entitled "I Want to Be President").

Silly former First Lady.

The question I have is how does Hillary say with a straight face that she's experienced? Number one, how is she materially more experienced than John Edwards or Barack Obama? She's been a Senator, what, 7 years? Obama 4? Big difference. Woopty-doo.

Name an accomplishment she's made while Senator from New York...any of her bills signed into law, any leadership positions of committees where something -- hell, anything -- substantial has arisen?

And what did she do in the White House? Stand by her man? Try to socialize health care and failing miserably so?

Let's get one thing straight: Intellectually, I am sure she's smarter than the average bear, even smarter than really smart bears. She can probably go toe-to-toe with her genius husband, Bill. I'd love to sit in on some of their conversations. I'd probably have to just sit there and act like I got it when I clearly didn't get it.

Her new strategy of attacking her opponents, coupled with her old strategy of fabricating her credentials, is going to backfire on her.

When is somebody going to ask her the simple question: What makes you more qualified than anybody else?

Additionally, she's going to have to choose -- most likely -- one of her opponents that she's beat up as her running mate if she wins the Dem's nomination.

Are we then to forget how stupid and inexperienced they are?

Will Clinton's Obama Attacks Backfire? - TIME
Hillary Attacks

Does Larry Craig have a problem with skin chafing?

Crossposted from Left Toon Lane, Bilerico Project & My Left Wing

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Seriously, with all the tail Larry Craig is getting, ya gotta wonder how he controls the chafing?

Tis the season for Gay revelations it seems. With the months being named by Wonkette, Cocktober eased into Blowvember (that sounded bad) and now we have kicked off Dickcember with the new Larry Craig Gay sex allegations.

From ABC News:

Craig's list of accusers is getting longer.

Two men, including a former male escort, have confirmed to ABC News the allegations that they've had sexual encounters with Idaho's embattled Sen. Larry Craig.

Mike Jones, 50, told ABC News that Craig paid him $200 for sex during the winter of 2004-2005.

A second man, a 50-year old former Army captain, also told ABC News that Craig made sexual advances toward him in the men's room of a Republican gathering in Washington state in 1981.

The men were two of eight new people who claimed encounters with Craig in an article published Sunday by the Idaho Statesman newspaper.

Eight more guys and one of them is a former officer in the US Army? Does Idaho have an out-of-control public bathhouse in Larry's basement?

Oh, and the Idaho Statesman has AUDIO TAPES!

With this trend in place, I can pretty much predict we will NEVER hear of Larry Craig having an illegitimate child... you need to have sex with a woman for one of those.

Monday, December 3, 2007

It is Happy Surge Day!

Crossposted from Left Toon Lane, Bilerico Project & My Left Wing

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Every so often, as appropriate, we list the recent fallen American soldiers that have died in Bush's war. From the list, we can see the surge didn't work.

Sgt. 1st Class John J. Tobiason, 42, of Bloomington, Minn., died Nov. 28 in Baghdad, Iraq, of injuries suffered from an incident that is currently under investigation. He was assigned to the 847th Adjutant General Battalion, 89th Regional Readiness Command, Wichita, Kan.

Cpl. Allen C. Roberts, 21, of Arcola, Ill., died Nov. 28 from a vehicle accident near Al Asad, Iraq. He was assigned to Marine Attack Squadron 214, Marine Aircraft Group 13, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz.

Pvt. Isaac T. Cortes, 26, of Bronx, N.Y. died Nov. 27 in Amerli, Iraq, of wounds suffered when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device. He were assigned to the 1st Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Drum, N.Y.

Spc. Benjamin J. Garrison, 25, of Houston, Texas. died Nov. 27 in Amerli, Iraq, of wounds suffered when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Drum, N.Y.

Staff Sgt. Jonathon L. Martin, 33, of Bellevue, Ohio, died Nov. 22 in Regensburg, Germany, of wounds suffered on Nov. 9 in Jisr Naft, Iraq, when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 32nd Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

Spc. Melvin L. Henley Jr., 26, of Jackson, Miss., died at Camp Striker in Baghdad on Nov. 21 of injuries suffered from non-combat related incident. He was assigned to the 603rd Aviation Support Battalion, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.

Sgt. Alfred G. Paredez Jr., 32, of Las Vegas, Nev., died Nov. 20 in Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds suffered when his vehicle struck an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.

Pfc. Marius L. Ferrero, 23, of Miami, Fla. died Nov. 18 when an improvised explosive device detonated during a mounted patrol in Baquabah, Iraq. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Wash.

Cpl. Jason T. Lee, 26, of Fruitport, Mich. died Nov. 18 when an improvised explosive device detonated during a mounted patrol in Baquabah, Iraq. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Wash.

Cpl. Christopher J. Nelson, 22, Rochester, Wash. died Nov. 18 when an improvised explosive device detonated during a mounted patrol in Baquabah, Iraq. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Wash.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

An Interview With Talk Radio's Code Breaker Thom Hartmann

The topic below was originally posted on my blog, the Intrepid Liberal Journal, as well as The Wild Wild Left, Independent Bloggers Alliance, the Peace Tree and Worldwide Sawdust.

From 1968 to 2004, conservatives utilized the art of communication to persuade voters into supporting policies against the interests of peace and their personal prosperity. While liberals advocated obscure abstractions and responded with cerebral nuance, conservatives prevailed by hitting people in their gut. Law and order, welfare Cadillac Queens, Willie Horton, death tax, permissiveness, the flag and God were all exploited to define liberals as weak elitist traitors and conservatives as upstanding guardians of American values.

Even the presidencies of Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton did little to prevent the center of political gravity from shifting to the right. Consequently, a corporate plutocracy plundered the American economy at the expense of working people and small business owners, our civil liberties were systematically eroded and the neo-conservative empire culture shamefully eroded America’s moral authority and geopolitical position.

This trend metastasized in 2004 as Republican propagandists profiled John Kerry, a candidate with three purple hearts into a modern day Benedict Arnold and a flip-flopper. Following that election, liberals began absorbing the work of intellectuals such as George Lakoff and Michael Tomasky to better “frame” issues. Progress was made as Democrats captured congress in 2006 and the Republican brand is currently sucking wind.

Yet, it is quite apparent that more work needs to be done to advance the liberal cause. The Democratic congress has struggled to stand up for civil liberties, oppose our disastrous policies in Iraq and even prevent the confirmation of a pro-torture attorney general. Hence, liberals like myself still have much to learn about how to persuade people why progressive policies merit broad support.

Thom Hartmann, the premiere voice for progressive talk radio, breaks down the art and science of communication with his new book, Cracking The Code: How To Win Hearts, Change Minds, and Restore America’s Original Vision (Berrett-Kohler). Drawing on his extensive experience as a psychotherapist, advertising executive, and host of a national talk radio show, Hartmann shares the tools to become conscious about the ways people think, sort and understand the world. More importantly, Hartmann illustrates how to successfully communicate progressive values.

Hartmann’s daily progressive radio talk show, has been going strong for five years and replaced Al Franken on the Air America Radio Network. It is also distributed to radio stations nationwide on the Jones Satellite system, and boasts more live daily listeners than any other progressive talk radio show.

Hartmann agreed to a telephone interview with me about his latest book and the art of political communication. Our conversation is just over forty-four minutes. Please refer to the media player below. This interview can also be accessed for free via the Itunes Store by searching for “Intrepid Liberal Journal.”

This interview is Hartmann’s second appearance on Intrepid Liberal Journal podcasts. Last year he spoke to readers/listeners of the Intrepid Liberal Journal about his book, Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class.

Can Black Americans Trust Hillary? Or is she just sly as a fox?

Is Hillary Clinton getting shaky, on an issue important to black Americans. has she ever heard of the word - Justice? Is she getting as shaky as she was by supporting bush's war, and refusing to say i was wrong? Is she wrong again? Or is she a skillful politican looking beyond the primaries to the general election?

Are the Republican's ready with Willie Horton Ads against any democratic nominee who supports a federal recommendation for shorter sentences for some people caught and convicted with crack cocaine and a currently serving Federal prison time? Many feel the shorter sentences should be retroactive. Including many black leaders and afrospear members.

The question is, will the Republicans use scare tactics to make the democrats look like they want to provide an early release to over 20,000 people (mostly black and Latino) convicted on drug charges into black and brown communities across America? I think the Republicans would run anyone into the ground who supports that plan. Candidly I have some issues about the plan myself. It should be done on a case by case basis. Maybe get the black and Latino legal community, through their bar associations involved, or black police organizations involved in the review process. Speaking of running, I think the National Republican Party is run by some
Evil GOP Bastards who will now use his support of the program against him in the general election.

I think Hillary Clinton
may be on to something.I wonder if Obama advisors would have been wise to take the same temporary position. Is it not about winning the electon? The old, getting the foot in the white house door, then make policy decisions. Well that's my thoughts. Check out another report on what happened in Iowa below:

Check out what has happened in DES MOINES, Iowa — (Hat Tip Rikyrah at Jack and Jill Politics)

As reported by Politico The Democratic candidates for president were pressed from the left in two events in Iowa Saturday and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton emerged slightly, but noticeably, as the most conservative in the field.

On issues ranging from drug crimes to immigration to relations with Cuba, Clinton took heat from liberal audiences for refusing — on emotionally charged issues — to tell them what they wanted to hear.

Her stances could be read as a mark that she, like her husband, is the centrist of the race; or as an attempt to protect herself from Republican attacks in a general election.

One of the Democrats’ rare moments of policy disagreement came at the beginning of the Black and Brown forum Saturday night, the traditional venue for minority issues in Iowa where only 9 percent of citizens are members of minority groups.

Clinton, who said she supports a federal recommendation for shorter sentences for some people caught with crack cocaine, opposed making those shorter sentences retroactive — which could eventually result in the early release of 20,000 people convicted on drug charges.

“In principle I have problems with retroactivity," she said. "It’s something a lot of communities will be concerned about as well."

In an interview after the debate, Clinton’s pollster, Mark Penn, pointed out that the Republican front-runner has already signaled that he will attack Democrats on releasing people convicted of drug crimes -
More HERE.

AAPP: As I said, I think Hillary Clinton may be on to something.
Rikyrah and a few other commentators see it a little different at Jack and Jill Politics. Rikyrah feels Black Folk are being thrown under the bus. read her comments here.

What do you think?