Archive for the 'Cheney' Category

26
May
09

Namby-Pamby ‘Bout Gitmo Detainees

It’s perfectly acceptable for the Senate to shoot down funding for the removal of the Gitmo POWs if there is no plan in place for the aforementioned approval. I’m down with that.

All this NIMBY shite, however, regarding the detainees is right-wing/media overblown hoopla. Remember the summer of shark attacks? And then there was the media storm about steroids in baseball. The Terry Schaivo saga. And on and on and on. The media fixates on an issue, turning it into a much bigger monster than it actually is.

And the right-wingers want to ride this one all the the way to the 2010 elections. “The liberals want to let the terrorists run loose on American soil! The liberals want to let the terrorists go so they can attack us again!” God, all the needles it would take to pop all those gasbags full of hot air.

First of all, it has been quite common for the United States to hold prisoners of war inside U.S. territory. Really, peeps, it’s no big whoop. I would willingly pit any of the Gitmo POWs against the vast majority of inmates incarcerated in the U.S. in some steel cage death match with all my money on the American criminal. Damn straight.

The U.S. penal system, as well as its legal system, is well-equipped to deal with these men – ALL of them, even the real bad ones.

I challenge the media to profile each of these detainees individually. You see, grouping them together is marketing trickery to conjure images of these men far worse than they actually are. Remember, children, the best decisions are made with an over-abundance of information. So, let’s find out who these men are and then we’ll see if you’re still so scared of these rag-tag boogeymen.

Do they want to harm Americans? Yes. Are they “evil”? Sure.

But this is the freaking United States of America and if you think we can’t handle a few religious extremists caught in combat who have no access to military technology even close to many third world countries, let alone the U.S. than there is a severe plague of underestimation of U.S. fortitude.

And the Right. For fuck’s sake, they are ridiculous. All their bravado, all their gun-waving, dick-jousting, big man rhetoric, evaporates at the mere thought of some weakened, slipper-wearing men with beards being held in a super-max in Colorado. It’s pathetic.

The Right doesn’t even think the U.S. legal system – that so many Americans have died for – is capable of dispersing justice to these criminals.

Well, they may hope to win elections with this load of crap. But I, for one, am taking a stand on the side of U.S. strength and might. We can handle these guys. And any notion that we can’t is assinine politicking – from the Democrats as well as the Republicans.

20
May
09

Pelosi Schmelosi

Normally, I don’t speak on behalf of all liberals. But, today I’m going to. Because I feel like it.

Throwing Pelosi in front of the bus won’t help Republicans, but they can enjoy using her as a punching bag as long as the media thinks there’s a story in it. Whatevah. Liberals really couldn’t give a shit.

We’re not huge fans of hers in any case, numero uno. Numero dos, I’m a proponent of term limits, so anything that can knock congresspeople who have been at their post over 8 years, I’m in favor of. I feel the same way about Harry Reid.

And, in reality, the Repubs like Pelosi right where she is – with the big crosshairs on her forehead. The Right thinks attacking her boosts their numbers. And they may be right in the short term. Ergo, forcing Nancy out is not in the game plan, gnawing on her slowly decaying remains, however, is.

And, with this whole “Did she know about the occuring torture?” is such a red herring, it’s laughable.

We will not stop discussing who tortured, who ordered it and whether or not it produced actionable intelligence and who knew about it – Righties and Lefties alike. We will not stop trying to assess whether Cheney and his beasties ordered the torture of an Iraqi in an effort to prove a link between Al Qaeda and Saddam, with which to sell the Iraqi War. The discussion will not go away. This is part of our heritage and our history and these determinations will have great effect on our future.

Furthermore, we want all relevant memos released as well – we’re generally for transparency in government. All this keeping shit secret for the safety of the country is bullshit. When the government is hiding something, it’s to benefit themselves, not the people. The best decisions and opinions are made with an overabundance of information, not underabundance.

Remember Patrick Henry’s 1775 call: Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death saying? Liberty means transparency. It means the government not spying on you. It means the government abiding by the law, no matter the identity of the person with whom they are dealing. When you do not protect the freedoms and rights of another, it will be your rights the government will come after next.

Right Wing: Go throw sand and Nancy all you want – it doesn’t matter to me. But when your little schoolyard fight is through, we’ll still be marching our call for solid answers on the questions of torture.

And, for the record, the CIA does lie at times. Especially under the Bush administration, who used the organization for politically motivated purposes. That’s reality. If the Right wants to rave their hands like asylum inmates in defense of the CIA and insist that speaking of the organization in realistic terms to shade the discussion, fine. This is a topic of conversation, not a strategy. And no one said the CIA lies “all the time” or “systematically,” Giuliani, or said they were not doing their job or that they did not do a phenomenal job. But the CIA has fudged the truth in a number of instances and if certain Righties cannot tell the truth about the topic, if they cannot acknowledge reality (for political purposes), they are an irrelevant participant in the discussion and a hinderer of progress.

In other words, grow the fuck up.

15
May
09

News You Should Know 05.15.09

This Friday afternoon, there were a number of news stories that caught my attention. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time to write an entire, fleshed out blog on each of them.

  1. Pulitzer Prize winners. I know this is from last month, but I recently took a look at this year’s Pulitzer winners and found many quite worth the squiz:
    1. Alexandra Berzon of the Las Vegas Sun on higher death rates among construction workers on the Strip due to lax regulation enforcement.
    2. David Barstow of The NYT on the utilization of generals by the Pentagon to sell the Iraq War. (Pt. 1 and Pt. 2)
    3. Ryan Gabrielson and Paul Giblin of the East Valley Tribune reveal how a popular (and over-zealous) sheriff’s focus on illegal immigration resulted in the endangerment of investications of violent crimes and other areas of public safety. I still see that sheriff all over TV.
    4. St. Petersburg Times for Politifact (they completely deserve this one).
    5. Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post for his coverage of the 2008 election. This surprise me. Dont’ get me wrong, I love Eugene, but I’m not quite sure how his comentary was better than, say, E.J. Dionne’s. Eugene still rocks and congratulations to him.
    6. Steve Breen of the San Diego Union-Tribune for his editorial cartooning. Example:
    7. Damon Winter of The NYT for his photography of Obama’s presidential campaign. A great series and really worth the look.
  2. Texas and other states charging victims for rape kits. This is appalling – it reduces the number of women willing to pursue the arrest and conviction of their perpetrator. If a murder victim’s family had to pay for the evidence to be collected at the murder scene, the country would be in an uproar. Remember when I say there are areas where the U.S. needs improving? This is one of them.
  3. THIS IS BIG. The ACLU is suing to challenge a patent Myriad Genetics on two human genes linked to breast and ovarian cancers.“Knowledge about our own bodies and the ability to make decisions about our health care are some of our most personal and fundamental rights,” said ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero. “The government should not be granting private entities control over something as personal and basic to who we are as our genes.”
  4. The Texas Senate passed a bill weakening eminenet domain laws and forcing the government to operate much more transparently when attempting to seize private property. Yee-Haw!! Now, get with it, House, and let’s get this signed into law! I hope eminent domain reform is progressing in other states as well.
14
May
09

Conventional Warfare – A Misnomer

This week, in their defense of Dick Cheney’s naked parade, his minions have defended the use of “enhanced interrogation methods” by saying they were a response to the unconventional warfare posed by Islamic terrorists. (well, they don’t say Islamic terrorists, because that is no longer PC – but that’s who they are referring to).

Our short-memoried society considers “conventional warfare” battles in which all sides wear uniforms designating their loyalty, avoid injuring civilians as much as possible, behave gentlemanly during negotiations, have clear delineations between good and evil, and are only fought because one baddie decided to invade one goodie.

I’m simplifying, I realize, but only in an effort to illustrate the naiveté of isolated Americans regarding warfare. Our idea of military combat is as far from the norm – bastardized by erroneous and fantastical historical tales, the refusal of the government to provide honest details of war to keep the public’s distaste to a minimum, and the perpetuation of the myth that the U.S. government always makes good decisions for the benefit of the American public. The blatant lack of honesty of everyone from storytellers and revisionist historians to the executive administrations past and present have whitewashed Americans’ view of war. To the detriment of all involved.

How Americans Think of War

What We Americans Consider Conventional Warfare

War is ugly and gruesome and what we consider unconventional is actually much more typical combat.

The vast majority of war over the last 40,000 years has included various levels of torture, rape, the killing of women and children, the enslavement of the losing side by the victors, and no uniforms of which to speak.

During the Vietnam War, U.S. soldiers found it quite difficult to tell which “gook” was with us and which was against. That we would find warfare any different in Afghanistan or Iraq is appallingly uninformed.

Most warfare has been fought by any means necessary, yet the utilization of suicide bombers or twin engine jets surprises Americans. These tactics are much more along the norms of warfare than our Disney notions of WWI and WWII. The claiming of the U.S. territory by whites from Native Americans included genocide, rape and arbitrary killing. In “conventional war,” crops, land, and homes are put to flame and waterways poisoned. Horses and livestock are slaughtered. And on, and on, and on.

The desire to increase power is the largest motivator of war. Throughout history, chiefs and leaders of state wanted to expand their territory, causing them to take what isn’t theirs. However, to be content with what is yours and nothing else is to lay in wait for the greedy eyes of an enemy.

Now that the statehood of most territory on Earth, save for Antarctica, has been decided, war is largely launched because of irrational actors and thirst for power and results in the subjugation of weak people or a brazen offensive against a perceived enemy. Al Qaeda wants a theocratic, Muslim world and how better to achieve this result than attacking the most powerful defender of the free world? George W. Bush saw what he perceived as his father’s failings at the end of the first Iraq War, as well as the opportunity to spread democracy in the Middle East, and launched an offensive he was not prepared for and did not fully understand. In Sierre Leone, during battles for the control of diamond minds, thousands upon thousands of women and children had their arms cut off at the elbow and boys high on cocaine killed their familes and raped women with the ends of their guns.

Realities of Conventional War

Realities of Conventional War

WWI and WWII were horrific in their own right, but were as unconventional as warfare gets. During WWI, occurrences of opposing sides playing soccer games between trenches  are well-documented. WWII had a clear, easily identifiable leader with atrocious strategies and ambitions. The fact that we consider these two events “normal” clearly reveals our lack of understanding of military history. Perhaps if we grow up and can realign our perceptions closer to reality, we can have a more substantial and successful discussion of what we consider acceptable behaviors in wartime.

If Americans understood the realities of war, if they could see into the future the results of the invasion of Iraq, they would never have permitted these men – Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz, men who have never been battle-tested (a few draft-dodgers in there), never known what it felt like to kill another person or see the enemy face-to-face – to launch us into this misquided and ill-considered war.

I understand the outcry against torture, and support much of it. But the fact that the American people can be so outraged over actions against a few and then remain silent while our bombardments in Af-Pak result in the deaths of scores of civilians – mothers, babies, schoolchildren – is media-driven and reprehensible.

13
May
09

Dick Cheney: Opinion Compilation

My opinion for Dick Cheney really needs no description. He is a vile, megalomaniacal, right-wing zealot with no capability of reasonable contemplation or consideration for any other strategy than full-throttle, “Either join me or get outta my way!” This country is infinitesimally better off now that the old man is sidelined.

That said, how wonderful it is that the black-pace-makered, sinister posterboy pokes his head above the muck and mire long enough to remind everyone why Obama won on Nov. 4 before returning to his panic room to watch Fox until he perceives yet another indignity that needs addressing.

The left is like a kid in a candy store when Dick’s thin lips part to reveal his jutted lower jaw and antediluvian, borderline-schizo views. We sit aglow in front of our television screens asking, Does it get any better than this? It could, I suppose, but it most likely will not. Only Bush on his knees in tears, arms stretched to the sky, crying, “Why, oh why, Baby Jesus, am I so hated when all I did is what you tole me to do?” That would be awesome.

Three commentators offered their opinions regarding the latest Dick Cheney tomfoolery and I couldn’t have put it any better than they did:

Andrew Sullivan of The Atlantic:

I don’t know how else to interpret his obviously self-destructive grandstanding this weekend. But think of the long view for a moment. Here is a former vice-president, who enjoyed unprecedented power for eight long, long years. No veep ever wielded power like he did in the long history of American government. In the months after 9/11, he swept all Congressional resistance away, exerted total executive power, wielded a military and paramilitary apparatus far mightier than all its rivals combined and mightier than any power in history, tapped any phone he wanted, claimed the right to torture any suspect he wanted (and followed through with thousands, from Bagram to Abu Ghraib) and was able to print and borrow money with impunity to finance all of it without a worry in the world. But even after all that, he cannot tolerate a few months of someone else, duly elected, having a chance to govern the country with a decent interval of grace.

Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post:

This is the crux of Cheney’s “argument,” and I put the word in quotation marks because it isn’t really a valid argument at all. After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the Bush administration approved programs and methods that previously would have been considered illegal or unacceptable: arbitrary and indefinite detention of terrorism suspects, waterboarding and other abusive interrogation methods, secret CIA prisons, unprecedented electronic surveillance. Since 2001, there have been no new attacks on what the Bush administration creepily called the “homeland.” Therefore, everything that was done in the name of preventing new attacks was justified.

The fallacy lies in the fact that it is impossible for Cheney to prove that anti-terrorism methods within the bounds of U.S. law and tradition would have failed to prevent new attacks. Nor, for that matter, can Cheney demonstrate that torture and other abuses were particularly effective.

[…]

Given a choice between a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and secretary of state who has given to his nation a lifetime of exemplary public service or an entertainer who brags about how much money he makes from bombast and bluster, Cheney would go with the gasbag. This is advice that’s supposed to help the Republican Party?

Maureen Dowd from The New York Times:

In 2002, when Bush Junior was ramping up to his war against Saddam, Al Gore made a speech trying to slow down that war resolution, pointing out that pivoting from Osama to Saddam for no reason, initiating “pre-emptive” war, and blowing off our allies would undermine the war on terror. Charles Krauthammer called Gore’s speech “a disgrace.” Michael Kelly, his fellow Washington Post columnist, called it “vile” and “contemptible.” Newt Gingrich said that the former vice president asserting that W. was making America less safe was “well outside the mark of an appropriate debate.”

[…]

The man who never talked is now the man who won’t shut up. The man who wouldn’t list his office in the federal jobs directory, who had the vice president’s residence blocked on Google Earth, who went to the Supreme Court to keep from revealing which energy executives helped him write the nation’s energy policy, is now endlessly yelping about how President Obama is holding back documents that should be made public.

Cheney, who had five deferments himself to get out of going to Vietnam, would rather follow a blowhard entertainer who has had three divorces and a drug problem (who also avoided Vietnam) than a four-star general who spent his life serving his country.

[…]

He has no coherent foreign policy viewpoint. He still doesn’t fathom that his brutish invasion of Iraq unbalanced that part of the world, empowered Iran and was a force multiplier for Muslims who hate America. He left our ports unsecured, our food supply unsafe, the Taliban rising and Osama on the loose. No matter if or when terrorists attack here — and they’re on their own timetable, not a partisan red/blue state timetable — Cheney will be deemed the primary one who made America more vulnerable.

W.’s dark surrogate father is trying to pull the G.O.P. into a black hole of zealotry, just as the sensible brother who lost his future to the scamp brother is trying to get his career back on track.

When Cheney was in the first Bush administration, he was odd man out. Poppy, James Baker, Brent Scowcroft and Colin Powell corralled Cheney’s “Genghis Khan” side, as it was known, and his “rough streak.” Cheney didn’t care for Powell even then.

Keep it coming, Dick Cheney; this is gold, I tell ya, GOLD!!

10
Apr
09

Why Bush, Cheney – and those damn Tea Partiers – Aren’t Smart

Forgive me for stating the obvious.

In the April issue of Real Simple magazine, science writer Jonah Lehrer pens an article entitled, “10 Ways to Be a Better Thinker.” It was quite interesting. My favorite was #5 – Take Long Showers, which says “moments of insight often arrive when you’re not aware that you’re thinking of the problem.” This is probably why my best blog ideas come to me right before I’m about to fall asleep and there’s no way in hell I’m getting out of bed. Suffer for my art? Please.

But #8 and #10 were the most interesting to me in terms of analyzing our political leaders, which I’m wont to do quite often. The eighth suggestion is to Study Your Mistakes, “One common trait of successful people is their willingness to focus on their fumbles.” And, on a similar note, Ten advises us to Think About Our Thinking, “Metacognition, as this is known, is a crucial skill. Many scientists argue that the best predictor of good judgment isn’t intelligence or experience; it’s the willingness to engage in introspection.”

These appear to be simple, basic concepts regarding the quality of thought. Yet, when you look at the majority of our political leaders, you will find a demographic either devoid of the capability of such improved mental activity or you find people simply unwilling to admit fault and self-analyze. So many of these dolts seem to have one speed of thought, with self-imposed blinders preventing them from the most important of decisions: how to change for the better.

We are witnesses to such blocks of immovable concrete when we see Republicans on television refusing to understand the realities and results of the decisions of the last eight years. They keep calling for lower taxation for the upper economic echelons and increased deregulation. There is absolutely no acknowledgment of fault or quality instances of introspection.

W. Bush says in Dead Certain, a great look at the man’s presidency by Robert Draper, that he HAD to believe that his decision to go into Iraq was correct. He would never allow himself to even consider the idea that perhaps the war had been a mistake. When you’re playing with thousands, perhaps over a million people’s lives, this attitude seems almost criminal for those with their fingers over the red button.

But that was the biggest criticism of Bush, wasn’t it? That the man wasn’t intellectually curious, probably due to the fact that he wasn’t introspective. His foot was on the accelerator regardless of whether there was a brick wall in his path or not (while the rest of us are in the back seat). It was only a “disappointment” that weapons of mass destruction weren’t found in Iraq. When asked what went wrong with Katrina, Bush immediately asks whether he should have landed Air Force One instead of simply flown over the area.

There is a grave, almost developmentally challenged inability by Bush to analyze situations in their totality or through the lenses of those with differing opinions. And his supporters have the same problem. Even now, many across the media’s various forms insist Iraq was a success and is now doing fine. Five soldiers died today in Mosul in a suicide truck bombing. There is widespread violence still and the region is extraordinarily unstable. Ask an Iraqi if they think the war was a success. It’s their country, after all. And these are real people! Over a million Iraqis have died since the war started and Bush talks about them like they’re little Lego men in one of his Lego forts. It’s despicable.

This lack of critical thinking skill is also what led Cheney to declare in May of 2005 that the Iraqi insurgency is in its last throes or that Obama is making us less safe because he is changing Bush’s policies. Cheney will never acknowledge that their administration’s policies allowed Iran’s influence and power to increase exponentially and caused an explosion in global hatred toward America.

People can disagree with Obama’s policies, as I do with some, all they want. But read the man’s books, look without prejudice at his decision-making process and you will see an increased capacity for deliberation, introspection, intellectual curiosity, consideration of mistakes, and appreciation for not only differing views, but everyone’s views. That’s why we elected him. Whatever you say about his policies, the man’s process is an ocean of improvement over our last commander in chief.

And all these little Tea Party shenanigans Fox seems to be orgasming over – the ones calling for the impeachment of Obama before he has even been in office 100 days – reveal how simple-minded the radical fringe of the Bush supporters are. None of them would give you a decent assessment regarding the mistake they made reelecting Bush. Nor would they be introspective enough to appreciate change or understand that the rest of us deserve a president who

This is what Im talking about. Reality has left the building.

This is what I'm talking about. Reality has left the building.

represents us as well. None of them would ever recognize that the policies they support, the ones that were instituted over the last eight years, have brought our country dishonor, ill-repute, economic woe and autocratic policies. They have committed a great harm and the rest of us have stood up and said no more.

I understand the pendulum swings politically. Right now, the Far Right Wing should have some dignity, grace and allow the rest of us – the majority of us (for now) – to institute the policies we believe will not only rescue us from this iniquitous past, but improve our now and our future. They should be a little introspective and come to grips with the fact that most of us do not agree with them, most of us support Obama at this point, and we have a right to resist the oppression they would impose.

26
Mar
09

The Problem With Ideology

Let me set the stage. During the last eight years of governance, the Republicans supported their party leader and the Democrats checked their spines at the Capitol doors whilst Bush and Cheney did their patent best to lead this country off a cliff. Almost all the Republicans I know refuse to defend Bush’s record and repeat over and over that they had no idea Bush would be such a wretched president. Disappointment knew no boundaries.

So you would think, after the last 8 years, there would at least be some shift in the Republican message – especially after the trouncing the majority of American voters gave them in the last election. But no, they are hanging on to their failed ideas and policy as though the last eight years were just a dream.

Why would they be so clueless? Why would they be so clinically in denial regarding not only the failure of their policies, but the fact that the majority of Americans wish to change course away from Right-wing lunacy? The answer: ideology, or the body of doctrine, myth, belief, etc.

The Republicans are a party of ideologues. Right-wing commentators are ideologues. Religious leaders are ideologues. Uneducated, anti-intellectuals are ideologues.

The problem with an ideologue is that they tend to focus on the theories inherent in their adopted ideology without regard given to potential or realized negative repercussions of said ideology. No matter what may occur because of the practice of that ideology, negative results are blamed on external factors and positive consequences are credited to the ideology. The ideology is never wrong.

Obviously, progress of humanity is determined by the species’ ability to learn and adapt. Actions tend to have positive or negative consequences and learning helps one to avoid negative consequences. Evidence and data are drawn upon in the decision-making process and thus, improve decisions and development.

Not with ideologues. Evidence and information are disregarded in strict adherence to the core, fundamental theory presented in the ideology. Reality has no weight, no bearing in the presence of ideology.

Here are some examples:

  • The gross misconduct of the financial sector was enabled by the freeing of the market by ideologue politicians. Despite the globalized economy, despite the proven nature of many men to serve his greed when times are ripe, despite every indicator of human behavior, free marketeers still believe that capitalism in its purest form (which is an impossibility) is the answer to all economic questions.
  • Abstinence-only education has been proven to increase teen pregnancy and abortion. Yet, pro-lifers insist that sex education, and the information such education  proffers, should be excluded from school curricula. Sex education = less abortions. Abstinence only = more abortions. Yet, their ideology prevents them from adopting the wiser of the two educational options.
  • U.S. guns laws are so lax, that 90 percent of the guns used in Mexico’s drug war, which is spilling across the southern U.S. borders, come from America. The selling of arms at gun shows is so unrestricted that even a drug cartel member could easily attend one of these conventions and purchase arms to take south. Yet, should one member of the national government even suggest limiting access to assault weapons – just assault weapons – the gun lobby goes ape shit. Obviously, the more the government limits access to arms, the fewer arms will be in the hands of criminals. But gun lobbyists are ideologues. Why the feel the need to allow every Tom, Dick and Harry to own an AK-47 is beyond me and the data that this policy endangers far more people than it protects is widespread. But ideology is strong and blinds people to the obvious effects of their decisions.
  • The legalization of marijuana would weaken drug cartels, increase the use of intensely beneficial hemp plant, help multitudes of medical patients, bolster the economy in certain geographic areas, increase efficacy of police forces and decrease prison populations. Marijuana overdoses, unlike those of alcohol, are unheard of. And the criminalization of marijuana has more to do with this country’s cotton lobby history that protecting its citizens. Yet an antiquated ideology regarding the substance prevents the majority of the population from recognizing the benefits of its legalization.

Ideology hampers progress. It hampers positive change and forms a mental prison around those comforted by stale and erroneous memories. It is a crutch for the weak-minded and those afraid to recognize reality and make painful, unfair decisions that might improve circumstances and take us beyond that which holds us back.

Remember, if you were taught an ideology vehemently by your elders from the time you were an infant, and believe it with the entirety of your heart as an adult, without question  – it is probably wrong. And handicapping. And your insistence on holding on to this crutch, this blindfold, hurts all of us. Consider evidence, information, data, reality to the contrary.

Ideology thrives on the limiting of information and lack of education. Take North Korea, the Taliban, the FLDS, Jonestown, Bloods and Krypts, Branch Dividian, white supremacists, child-molesting priests. Strict adherence to ideology is and was the lifeblood of these cults, religions, predators.

That’s why Democracy is such a good system of government. By shining the light of information into dark corners and allowing people to think for themselves, educate themselves and separate themselves from the bounds of ideology, better discussions and debates are had and better decisions are made.

Good decisions are good simply because their results are constructive, not because they help prop up some useless ideology.

26
Jan
09

Quickfire Mpressions – Rush, Guantanamo, Govt. Spying

Rush Limbaugh: Says he hopes Obama fails. Joy Behar said on Larry King last week that anyone with a brain knows Ann Coulter is a wackjob. The same can be said of Limbaugh. He’s trying to stay relevant in a new era of reality and common sense and, to borrow the words of Obama, he’s on the wrong side of history. For Obama to fail would mean continued job losses, economic mire and an attack on the U.S. – meaning, Rush is anti-American success and progress. He’s merely a pimple on the ass of the U.S., no more. Buh-bye, you suck and thank you for not pro-creating. It’s the most American thing you’ve done.

Closing Guantanamo: It has to be done. Under the American Flag, everyone in U.S. custody is entitled to a fair trial. Period. If military authorities do not have evidence against these men, or have evidence obtained illegally (I’m talking torture, people), they must be released. If they go back to fight our military, so be it. And everyone who doesn’t want these combatants held in their backyard should sign a waiver giving up their right to a trial should they be held against their will. When you do not stand up for the rights of others, it will be your rights that are taken next. It is reprehensible that we have held these people for so long without even attempting to give them a fair shake at justice. Do unto others, people… Justice is not pretty. It is not comfortable. But it is necessary.

Cheney upset Libby didn’t get a pardon: Shut up, you fool! You helped set in motion the outing of a CIA agent. Even North Korea wouldn’t out one of their own. You should be tarred and feathered and placed in stocks in the public square so that we all might have a kick in your in the ass. You sick fuck.

Govt. spying on journalists: NSA whistleblower Russell Tice explained to Keith Oblermann’s last week that the warrantless wiretapping is being used for purposes other than listening to people talking to terrorists. Yeah. Big surprise. When you give the government the opportunity to run roughshod over the Constitution (right to privacy), you cannot be surprised at the subsequent raping and pillaging. In this instance, the government targeted journalists – so called, watch dog of the government. Here’s the interview:

What’s really interesting is that hardly any news program has covered this revelation. I guess those impartial journalists don’t want to get on the wrong side of Big Brother. We all saw what happened to Dan Rather. And you Obama lovers (I voted for him, too) need to remember that Prince O voted for FISA.

In response to the reckless and unconstitutional behavior, I resolve to use red flag words, like jihad and martyr and bomb and allah and more, during my wireless phone conversations. I urge you all to do the same.

States where presidents come from: Cool little piece by the NYTimes says states have to wait on average 70 years before one of their citizens is on a national ticket for president or vice president. This year, four first-time states contributed nominees: Hawaii (B.O.), Alaska (S.P.), Idaho (S.P.) and Delaware (J.B.). I love fun historical shit like that.

20
Jan
09

Watching the Obama Inauguration

It’s here! It’s today! I went to bed last night relishing the “last night of Bush.” We will not have to deal with any further atrocities from that man’s administration. Their reign is over.

Watching all the failed former presidential candidates (especially Gore), I wonder if they are all thinking, “This should’ve been mine.”

Damn, 41 is looking old!

If I had to sit outside during the inauguration in the cold, and remember I’m from Texas, I would get those thermal pads that heat up. And hand warmers.

Yesterday, a number of conservative Texans were grumbling to my husband about the size of the celebration for Obama. And perhaps the shindig is so large because he is the first African-American president. Would it have been so large had Jesse Jackson been elected president? Would it have been so large had Hillary been elected? It is it so large because it heralds the end of Bush? A combo of Obama/first African-American president/end of Bush? Yes, I think so. There could be no better time to celebrate.

Yay – no more Cheneys!

Wow, this thing’s really going to happen.

How are they going to get Cheney in the wheelchair down the stairs? He’ll have to be wheeled around the side? Fitting for such and out-of-touch man. haha, they did.

Some boos for McConnell, Boehner and Bush. They’re singing, “Hey, hey, hey, goodbye!” OMG! I guess I would, too. They deserve it. Though, it is bad form.

Boos for Cheney.

President Bush shaking hands and he doesn’t have that weird, uncomfortable, “I don’t want to be here” look – watch his last interview with Larry King if you want to see it.

All sorts of philosophical feelings of gladness are echoing in my head.

Obama looks cool, calm, ready.

Rep. John Lewis gives Obama a big hug. What he must be feeling…

Ugh, Diane Feinstein. I will not remember her compromise with Bush for the sake of her defense contractor husband. Californians – you should not, either. She played for play. Shameful.

Great, here comes Rick Warren. Not much clapping. Douchebag. I’m not praying with him. How is God loving to everyone he has made when he condemns kind people to Hell and murderers he invites into Heaven? Answer: Christianity is a myth. And it is waning. It’s a shame it’s given such a spotlight when our country needs reason and common sense and adult decision-making. “When we fail to give all the human beings on the earth the respect they deserve…” Could he be referring to his own treatment of gay people? Obama, this was mistake. I hope it stings. And I hope you remember it.

I wonder how many people across the world are watching this. I hope they understand that America and Americans are more compassionate and more humble than they assume. Politicians and celebrities are not reflections of us.

Biden’s oath of office. That is a big ole Bible. Wooohoooo!!!!!! I’m glad he was chosen. The Southern Louisiana in me likes that he can tell it like it is and politi-speak comes hard to him.

Robert Gibbs is sitting behind the quartet of Itzak Perlman, Yo-yo Ma, Anthony McGill and Gabriela Montero. Is that odd or is it just me?

Here come THE oath. Be proud of Hussein.

We have a new president!!!!

I won’t lie, I’m tearing up a little. A black president. It’s marvelous.

President Barak Obama.

His speech – as he lists all the problems facing the nation, I wonder if Bush feels each one is spotlight on his failure.

We chose hope over fear. Damn right! Remember that, followers of Karl Rove.

Begin the work of remaking America. I am down. Big time.

Eeeeewww, they just showed Ray Nagin the crowd. He’s a lump of worthlessness.

We reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Couldn’t have said it better. Couldn’t agree with it more.

The force of our example. The tempering qualities of humility and strength. What a wonderful thing to have a president who speaks words and messages I can support. It’s been far too long.

Yes, he mentioned non-believers. Think those words would have come from McCain? Hell no.

We will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist. Damn, he’s a good writer.

Speech is over. Bush is giving his golf clap.

I can’t wait for the De-nauguration Party tonight!!

All right, good job, America!

I checked all the international news sites and Obama’s inauguration is on the forefront of them all, except Moscow Times. Ha’aretz points out Obama’s message to Muslims and shows a picture of Clinton and Gore together. Interesting.

“Former President George W. Bush” Ahh, sounds so sweet. There he goes. Be gone. I should say Here he comes seeing as how I live an hours’ drive from his new home. The crowd is sing, “Hey,hey,hey, good bye” again. Right on.

How many times can I say I’m so glad It’s Obama? For a year now, he’s been my first choice – it was a year ago Bill Richardson dropped out. But, I’m so glad it’s Obama. Not McCain, not Giuliani, not Hillary. Obama.

haha. The crowd his chanting, “Yes, we did! Yes, we did!” Yes, we did.

Obama’s signing the cabinet nominations. I forgot he’s a lefty.

They just showed Chelsea Clinton speaking with John and Cindy McCain. That shouldn’t seem too odd to me, but it does.

Watching Bush at Andrews Air Force Base. These images make me so happy.

Okay, it’s done. We’re a go. I’d uncork some champagne if I didn’t have to drive today. A certain sobriety is appropriate at this moment, I think – at least until tonight when I’ll let loose with revelry. It’s important to remember what the people can do when the need for action is paramount.

Good judgment has returned to the American people.

The era of religious ideology dictating ruinous policy is over. Evangelicals, you can terrorize the rest of us no longer. Your leaders have brought this country to its needs. The rest of us will not allow you to destroy what we hold dear. Remember what we can do when you seek to dominate and control with your intolerant, unjust will.

The long, dark night is over.

Obama is president. The people have spoken. We must continue to do so and implore our president to listen.

I can breathe again.

I will not forget this day.

19
Jan
09

With Less Than 24 Hours to Go, I Say NEVER AGAIN

With just one day to go all I can say is I never thought this day would come. This is my long accounting of George W. Bush and that which he wrought upon our nation. It’s not a full catharsis, but merely the start so that we may say Never Again.

2000 Election – My Confessional

I can remember exactly where I was the moment the news stations called the 2000 election for Bush. On a treadmill in Perth, Australia. Everyone in the gym looked in my direction to see what the lone American thought of her next president. Mind you, this was before the news stations realized they had committed the media blunder of the century and we’d have to wait for characters like Katherine Harris and hanging chads to become famous before the Supreme Court decided who our next president was.

Having recently graduated college and, thus, deciding to party like a rock star, I was too clueless to get my act together and send in an absentee ballot to participate in the election. It’s the only one I’ve missed and will carry the shame until dementia erodes my cognitive abilities. I would have voted for Bush, though. Gore was such a lame douchebag (not to mention Lieberman) and I had yet to fully shed the Republican shackles of my youth. Hell,as a University of Texas student, Bush had been my neighbor. No one knew the gravity of the election and most people I knew were eager to see our governor succeed.

During the campaign, Bush kept saying the U.S. had to stop being the world’s policeman and scale back our military entanglements around the globe. Having recently studied the Vietnam War, international diplomacy, nuclear weapons policy and the fall of the Soviet Union – his rhetoric hit home with me. How was I to know he’d do a 180 once he had his finger over the red button?

This was before the convenient days of Google and Wikipedia. And I was clinging to the bubble of youthful ignorance with full force, which meant I did not research W’s history. I did not discover that he was an utterly failed businessman who had skated through early adulthood like many rich kids on his daddy’s name without forging a worthy identity or principle. I did not know the man was a hollow shell with only a pre-determined ideology and a daddy complex to steer decisions that would determine the fate of millions.

2004 – Was Bush Sent to Make this Nation Atone for Sins of its Past?

By 2004, it was glaringly apparent that Bush was incapable of the necessary consideration and deliberation to benefit this country or any other. In the primaries, I voted for Wes Clark, thinking him to be the only Democrat candidate who could reasonably compete with Bush for votes while the Iraq War of choice was being waged. Instead, John Kerry walked away with the nomination and I knew Bush would be reelected. Kerry was a non-starter, running on an “I’m Not Bush” platform, echoing the dismal reality that the Democrats had no voice, no testicular fortitude, no message.

Our country was to be held hostage for another four years by the evangelical, anti-intellectual far right and their moronic leader. I truly believed (living in Oklahoma, at the time) that the majority of this country were actually uneducated hicks who cared more about their guns than community service and thought it more important to have a big dick than humility. It was as though the America I thought existed was being suffocated by the intolerant and selfish and stupid.

I immediately bought a “01.20.09” bumper sticker, proudly displaying my patriotic desire to alter the direction of our nation. I wasn’t alone. Every time I saw another car sporting the same sticker – more than you’d expect here in north Texas – my heart leapt for joy. The peeps were waking up.The tide was turning, biatch.

THE WORST PRESIDENT IN HISTORY

It has been a most painful four years. Gay marriage bans, attempts at abortion redefinitions, no repentance for sending thousands to die for a war of choice – a war based on lies and deceit and salesmanship, and almost every department under the Executive Branch in ill repute for either illegal activity or preventing progress.

Bush is so smug with pride over the fact that the U.S. has not been attacked since 9/11. “I’ve kept America safe,” he repeats. But another leader of higher caliber could have kept us safe without sacrificing our dignity, integrity and honor. A better leader would have questioned his decisions, would not started or outsourced a war designed to establish a legacy. A better leader would have known things are not so simple, not so black and white, and not easily designated “good” and “evil.”

How many Americans did Bush keep safe from Alzheimer’s and diabetes and paralysis by supporting the limitless possibilities of embryonic stem research? How many teenage girls turned to abortion because Bush decided federal funds would support abstinence-only programs proven time and time again to fail, aptly demonstrated by the 2008 Republican V.P. nominee herself? Bush’s legacy entails auctioning off national protected lands (why?) and hindering the listing of many species (including polar bears) from the endangered species list.

At every turn available, the Bush administration sold out this country and it’s citizens to the mega-corporations designed to bleed every penny we have and every penny we’re approved for from our shrinking wallets. He sold the war and soldiers’ safety to Blackwater, Halliburton and myriad of other war profiteers. He sold our energy policy to the energy companies, the EPA to business hell-bent on raping the environment. Even the FDA is a joke, a corporate gimp with a failed record for protecting the consumer.

Under Bush, our nation became a budding autocracy who spies on its citizens at home and abroad. The Justice Department was politicized, the State Department was a Yes Man, the Defense Department was the epitome of incompetence, Homeland Security is a theatrical presentation, FEMA is a mythological black hole, the CIA is a plaything of the Executive.  The FCC has multiplied its interference in our “freedom of speech” a thousand-fold.

There has been no shining light from this President. No progress. No national greatness achieved. He came to office promising to unite and instead tore our country asunder.

With less than 24 hours to go it almost doesn’t seem real. Probably because it will take a generation repair the endless damage that clouds the horizon.

Obviously, I do not believe history will smile on George W. Bush. Unlike others, I do not think that his legacy will mirror the future of Iraq. The Iraq War empowered Iran like nothing else could for centuries – and history knows. In this age of information, ALL the destruction by this administration is on record and serves as a reminder that it does matter who the President of the United States is. Their character and integrity and intellect matter. Their decision-making matter.

We must remember George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. We cannot let time sweeten the memory of the last eight years. We must record it and remember it for the sake of future generations. So that we may say with conviction: NEVER AGAIN.

Is it real? It doesn’t feel real.

17
Jan
09

Bush Needs To Fight the Law and the Law Needs to Win

I hope a lot of things.

I hope Journey gets back together.

I hope my husband develops an unusual penchant for household chores.

I hope UT dominates March Madness.

However, I’m realistic about the likely outcome of all these lofty wishes.

One of the big hopes I have saved in my hidden inner chamber of possibility is that Obama is lying as he quells calls for him to focus any attention toward the prosecution of the Bush administration for any of the multitude of crimes committed over the last eight years.

Any Constitutional Law professor (a.k.a. Obama), any two-bit ambulance chaser, could spot the illegal maneuvering of Bush cronies in the areas of warrantless wiretapping, Dept. of Justice politicization, no-bid contracts in Iraq, and torture – to name a few. And I don’t know if it was illegal to shovel billions of dollars to contractors as our military and veterans struggle grossly underfunded, but it should be.

The Bush administration hired a bunch of smarty-pants followers of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson and fall-in-line, kill-the-enemy NeoCons whose sole purpose was to lace together intricately fragile arguments claiming legality of their bold molestations of power.

It is clear in Bush’s repeated and insistent claims in his last few media appearances:

Bush’s Last Press Conference Jan. 12:

And then we start putting policy in place — legal policy in place to connect the dots.

To Brit Hume Jan. 12:

And so however I interpreted the Constitution, I kept in mind what the Constitution said, the legality of what my decisions were…

And I said, are these tools deemed to be legal. And so we got legal opinions before any decision was made…

And all I can tell the American people is we better have tools in place that are legal and that can help us protect the American people from an enemy that still exists…

Everything this administration did was — had a legal basis to it, otherwise we would not have done it.

To Larry King Jan. 13,

No. No. Everything we did was — you know, it had legal legal opinions behind it…

And I got legal opinions that said whatever we’re going to do is legal.

Doth he protest too much? Yes, I think he doth. If nothing else, his insistence makes him suspect. The last president I remember asserting incessantly that activities under his leadership were legal was Nixon. And we know how history judged him.

As I watch Obama tell Georgie-boy Stephenohcrapmynameislong,

“And obviously we’re going to be looking at past practices and I don’t believe that anybody is above the law. On the other hand I also have a belief that we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards.”

I just hope he is keeping his rhetoric bland and calm so the little Bushies don’t run around as as the clock ticks away destroying every document (which is illegal) having to do with every questionable transgression. They’d have to burn the house down and those librarians at Congress would be muy picante, if you know what I mean.

Obama will have hundreds if not thousands of employees at his disposal. I think a few should be allotted the quiet task of investigating the slanted activities of the worst commander-in-chief this country has known. Lest the next commanders-in-chief take a que that they do not have to justify their activities to the American people and their Constitution. That would be wrong.

Will he give us a few lower-level prosecutions to try and satiate the public outcry? Undoubtedly, there were so many crimes committed, that shouldn’t be too difficult. But an administration that would out a CIA agent, make the EPA a mortally hypocritical organization, and encourage the SEC to unbuckle the country’s seat belt as its economy veered over a cliff, certainly has much to answer for. Behind bars. And not in white collar, conjugal visit prison. I’m picturing a prison where you really need to keep an eye on your cornhole.

I wouldn’t call my urges for Bush administration prosecutions blood lust. I simply want justice after an 8-year period where that word was practically meaningless inside the walls of our Executive branch. I don’t believe in Bush’s lord and savior, but if he exists, I can’t imagine he would be anything but gravely disappointed by one of his most public followers and the one least like him.

One of the biggest proofs that Christianity is hooey is that its rules dictate Cheney would go to Heaven while I go to Hell. Well, that ain’t bloody happening. But please, before Cheney and his boss head anywhere, let them sit in front of a judge. And then behind bars. Lest history repeat itself.

15
Jan
09

As We Say Goodbye To Bush, No More Asinine Politicans – and that goes for you, too, Palin!

**gag, I’m watching Roland Burris being sworn in.

The recent media blitzes by outgoing #43 (thank christ) and national spokesperson for “keep your ass in school” Sarah Palin have confirmed that the Alaska governor is a spectacularly enhanced version of our ridiculous monkey of a president. Yes, yes, they share fallacious confidence, lack of introspection, intellectual impotence, devotion to ideology over reality and inability to comprehend and utilize 8th grade English language skills. In short, they are bone-heads. They just don’t “get it.”

And that’s something everyone can understand. It’s easy to spot. Bill Clinton “just didn’t get it” that you’re not supposed to stick cigars up interns’ no-no special places when you’re president.Larry Craig “just doesn’t get it” that we all know he’s a closet-gay who wanted some innocent, anonymous, illegal fudge-packing. We get it. They don’t.

That Bush and Palin just don’t get “it” is as obvious as the fact that Dick Cheney’s soul has already departed to the nether-regions of the after-life.

A few examples:

During the Jan. 13 interview with Larry King, our president – yes, it’s hard to believe he is – said, “And they say, well, why didn’t the Bush administration connect the dots? And then we started putting tools in place within the law to connect the dots. And then after we got far enough away from September the 11th, they said why are you connecting the dots, you know?”

What?? Are you a fucking idiot?! Oh, yes, that’s right. You are. It’s widely accepted as fact. You just don’t get it.

No one, not one pinky of any person ever questioned why Bush’s administration was “connecting the dots” after 9/11. No one. Perhaps they were wondering why Bush was lying about the dots. Or using the dots to justify a war of choice. Sure, many of us questioned his abandonment of the Geneva Conventions in areas such as torture and prisoners of war. But connecting the dots? Nope. Nuhuh.

The statement is one of the most asinine statements the man has uttered recently, and that’s saying a lot.

And then there’s Palin. Pah-fucking Palin. Who has been running her mouth far and wide while her constituents freeze and starve and need some damn birth control. This governor, who couldn’t make it through a Katie Couric interview, yet somehow thinks she’s capable of being president of the United States, complaining of her media treatment, said, “Even hard news sources, credible news sources — the comment about, you can see Russia from Alaska. You can! You can see Russia from Alaska. Something like that — a factual statement that was taken out of context and mocked — what you have to do is let that go.”

She doesn’t get it. No one was disputing the views from Alaska’s shores. The “credible news sources” were questioning Palin’s use of Russia’s vicinity to Alaska as foreign policy credentials. And her inability to consistently speak in complete sentences.

All I am saying, good people of America, is that as we say good-bye to one bastion of imbecility, let’s not let another one – a worse one – in the door. Even you ladies in Florida who were spotlighted on one of the news channels during your coffee and prayer group get-together saying that Palin would fit right in with you. I don’t want you as president or senator or in any elected office for that matter. You shouldn’t want you either.

Let’s let go of wanting politicians who are like us and demand politicians who are better than us. No more foolish, evolution-questioning cusses who would score lower than most of us on standardized tests. Please. Alaska, are you in?

Thank you,

An anonynmous, pathetic, bored blogger who is grateful as hell that there’s only 5 days to go before this nightmare is over.

and P.S. To Laura Bush who said to Larry King that she was upset some of the ridicule of her husbans was personal, I say, that the people who died in the Superdome after Katrina took it personally. And the soldiers who have died for your husbands war of choice have taken it personally. Your husband mistook this country for an autocracy and has wrought havoc that will last generations. You sit by him with your blind confidence in the righteousness of his leadership as I suppose you have to. But your penance is to listen to the heartache he as caused America and you will have to listen to it the rest of your days. I don’t pity you an ounce.

06
Jan
09

On The Blogging Road Again

I’m back, kids! My fingers must have been itching, because they readily retained the memorization of my WordPress password  – a good omen I suppose for my return to the ubiquitous blogosphere, my favorite cranny being the neighborhood of dark, naughty angry liberals. Yes, yes, I’ve been gone a while and most of those who know me personally and scanned my writings from time to time have asked, “When are you going to blog again??” Now.

For reals, yo – I was suffering from major blog fatigue. Last year’s election placed us in a historical battle to reclaim the good that The States once were. The stakes could not have been higher and we were literally at the brink of a national, knife-edged decision between a hopeless, abysmal rejection of progress and simple possibility. Every blog, every comment, every opinion and assertion felt not just like sharing my voice – but helping to wage an effort bigger than all of us to help put our country and the world right. Shut up, you cynics – you felt it, too!!

And we triumphed. We whooped some old white man, religioner, anti-intellectual ass! To me, it wasn’t sooooo much that we elected Obama (indeed there will be blogs a-plenty de moi criticizing, constructively, many of Obama’s decisions) – my savored elation had more to do with the rejection of McCain and his joke of a running mate, Palin. To have elected them would have wrought irreparable damage at home and abroad to the pursuit of an improved, tolerant and beneficial community most of us glass-half-fullers choose to foresee.

In those months and moments leading up to Obama taking Pennsylvania and claiming victory, I wrote blog after blog – read innumerable others, gorged on news sites of every persuasion and sought every uncaptured sprinkle of information in a quest to comfort my nervous inner prognosticator. Certainly, I was quite confident from 2007 the Democrats would take the election. The multiple stellar Democratic candidates had the edge on the best the Republicans had to offer – none of whom could satisfactorily unite the anti-intellectual evangelicals with the small government, fiscal conservatives.

But fear of the unknown resonated in my bones and it seemed the only way to quell my anxiety was to participate – to blog.

The blog, however, consumed me. No doubt this government major loves to produce political analysis. But I found myself bound to the blog in ways I had not imagined. Visitors to the site became like crack to me and I counstantly found myself refreshing my page to scan visitor numbers, what searched terms pointed visitors my direction and if any other bloggers linked to my site. The computer had become my pipe.

Everyday, I felt the need to blog. The call was constant and the obligation heavy – akin to laundry, if you will. If we want to change the world, we have to participate and this was my clarion call for the 2008 election. I am a creature of freedom, however, and the obligation to the blogoslavedriver made my enjoyment level wear thin. My ass was sore and my eyes stung from sitting in front of the computer for ungodly amounts of time. I looked at myself on Nov. 5 with jail pale from lack of sunlight. Oh – and finding out I had a hormone deficiency.

So, when the knockout punch was delivered Nov. 4 – the call to blog slackened and I turned to the freedom of days not being psycho, not checking every single one of my bookmarks, not commenting, not needing to find solace in reading blogs espousing views similar to my own, not having anything else to talk about but the election and painfully pretending to be interested in other topics of conversation when interacting with fans of McCain.

I understand I am not alone. Television news ratings are down, talk radio has lost listeners, blog readership has slackened. We all needed to take a collective sigh and wallow in the release of tension built by a two-year presidential election season and the possibility of Sarah “You Betcha” Palin being a heartbeat away from the 3 am phone call. We needed to lick the wounds inflicted by the hypocritical masses of religioners oppressing homosexuals and tarnishing the good name of our country.

While away, I have enjoyed my respite – full of Festivus poles, delicious holiday meals, ungodly amounts of alcohol consumption and a crazy-ass college bowl game series (wtf, Texas Tech and Alabama?!! At least my Longhorns squeezed out a victory against Ohio State. I almost had a MFing heart attack!! We seriously need a college football playoff system).

It’s time to get back on the horse. Riiiide the pony. We only have two weeks left of mistake-of-the-century Bush II – which is amazing and unbelievable and fanfuckingtastic. It’s going to be hard for Obama – he has a monumental task ahead of him and choices to make for which there are no right answers. He will make mistakes, already has actually, and we must respond by voicing our opinion. This is our country, too (remember that, gay-haters).

Bush and Cheney thought the presidency belonged to them and they were wrong and now leave their posts in shame. The presidency belongs to us and we must remind Obama of this as the bubble engulfs him and his position on the pedestal skews his perspective.

Needless to say, I’ve never been afraid to say what I think. Bottom line: I’m back, baby!

And now I’m going to log out so I don’t constantly check viewership numbers. What the hell was wrong with me??

19
Nov
08

Leakers Feel Good About Leaking

Jonathan Alter of Newsweek is one of my faves and tonight, on Rachel Maddow, he told guest host Allison Stewart that leakers feel all fuzzy inside after reading their revealed secrets in publications (or hearing them on TV, I presume). I suppose always I thought of leakers as fearful they would be illuminated as the smelly Swiss cheese and tread lightly. It does make sense, however, that the “diva” and “rogue” Palin leakers felt some ejaculatory pleasure as their unassociated slams consumed the shallows of mainstream media.

Leakers are always all the rage – from Watergate’s Deepthroat in the 1970’s to today’s Obama transition team permeables. Leakers, however, are not homogeneous. Some are lying bastard lowlifes while others are courageous whistleblower demigods.

The public’s right to know and our cherished democratic transparency are protected by leaks – understandably, dictatorships have quite a different relationship with them. The Bush administration has run a notoriously vacuum-sealed presidency and look where that has gotten us: rendition, torture, massive tax breaks for banks, the Iraq War, warrent-less wiretapping, attacks on women’s reproductive rights, etc., etc. No leaks = no good. Silence is deadly. You get the picture.

The majority of leaks, however, are undoubtedly generated by ulterior motives, weakening their credibility at the start. Others are potentially mortally truthful. Unfortunately, the worst leak in recent history had our executive administration outing a CIA agent and endangering international intelligence networks carefully crafted by America’s best and brightest.

But other leaks are just palin – I mean plain fun:

With the tidal wave of anonymous comments from insiders knowledgeable about the goings-on inside the Palin half of the McCain campaign, I figured the truth was somewhere in between the VP candidate talking to Salter & Schmidt in naught but a towel/didn’t know Africa was a continent and the McCain camp (ahem, Nicole Wallace) mishandling her, dooming her performance from the word “you betcha.” Either way, I’m glad I won’t have to give her anymore serious thought and bulging forehead veins for a while.

The final verdict on leaks: you just never know. Grain of sand and all that. Even if they’re lies, I appreciate being on the receiving end of the majority of them – especially when they’re of the sort that makes Dick Cheney’s pacemaker work a little bit harder.

08
Nov
08

Obama Critics Need Back The Hell Up – For Now

With the election over, hapless McCain supporters are coming through the woodwork with their preconceived fears of an Obama administration. Already, they’re criticizing his future administrative decisions, claiming they’re “terrified” of the coming president.

I have four words for you imbeciles: Shut. The. Fuck. Up.

Let me spell it out as clearly as I can: your president has utterly ravaged this country during his tenure. Oh, you don’t think it’s all his fault? Let me give you a small reminder of his activities over the last eight years:

  • Convincing our country and neighbors to support the invasion of a sovereign country with lies and false intelligence. Severely mishandling the war for years, lying to the American people about the progress of the war and causing hundreds of thousands of deaths and handing more power to Iran than the country has enjoyed in centuries.
  • Appointing unqualified loyalists to positions that would result in the mishandling of Hurricane Katrina and subsequent deaths of a multitude of people.
  • After claiming to be called to spread democracy, attacking liberty and freedom in the U.S. by, among other things, erasing one of the foundations of democracy: habeas corpus.
  • Establishing a Justice Department that sought to subvert the law rather than uphold the Constitution, leading to the illegal politicization of the department and illegal warrantless surveillance of Americans at home and abroad.
  • Allowing the SEC to enact deregulations that would contribute to the destruction of the economy.
  • Giving tax cuts to the wealthy while the country was at war.
  • Compromising the war on terror by abandoning the military situation in Afghanistan.
  • Failing to enact necessary and obvious energy policies that would benefit future generations, refusing to abide by the Kyoto Protocol, and coddling energy companies that would discourage the development of alternative energy sources and tools, such as electric cars.
  • Supporting unConstitutional bans against gay marriage.
  • Operating with a lack of intellectual curiosity, a certitude and an isolationist arrogance that has grossly reduced U.S. credibility abroad.
  • Attempting to privatize social security – which would have decimated the program had it succeeded

George W. Bush has relentlessly damaged this country politically, economically and militarily year after year after year. He has been the most incompetent president the country has ever experienced. Ever.

And you Republicans feel you have any right to open your fat mouths and issue criticisms of a man who has yet to take the oath of office?! The gall, the stupidity, the ignorance!

I am absolutely unopposed to critiquing Obama’s efforts as president. We must certainly pay attention to the developments and decisions of our government. It is our responsibility and duty as American citizens to ensure our government operates with accountability and proficiency at all levels at all times. Feel free to raise your voices – when it is time.

But give Obama a chance to lead. Take a step back, take a breath, take responsibility for your vote for Bush and Cheney in 2004. Shut your mouths and study the actions of Obama before you unleash your predetermined accusations of a man who will undoubtedly make mistakes, but will undoubtedly perform better than the leader you delivered to us.

I don’t like to dispense with advice, but allow me – just this once, Republicans – to issue a few words you’d be well-served to heed: Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

06
Nov
08

Top Ten Favorite Moments of the 2008 Campaign

The post-primary general election campaign was a smorgasbord of hoot and holler-inducing excitement and incredulity. The country was on a five-month long adrenaline high; change was in the air! But there were a few special moments that either made me laugh my ass off or bolstered my slowly-dawning realization that Americans are taking our hijacked country back. Common sense, logic, reason, competence and simply “doing the right thing” have returned to the U.S. on a national scale (gay marriage will soon follow – it’s only a matter of time).

Here are the highlights that stick out to me as either funny as hell or monumentally encouraging. FYI, they are not in chronological order, but rather the order in which they popped into my head.

10. Carly Fiorina exclaiming Sarah Palin does not have the experience to run a major company like HP:

It was soon leaked from the McCain campaign that Carly would disappear. And she did. They wouldn’t even let her participate in a technology policy debate against Obama-supporter and Former FCC chair Reed Hundt. Sure, I felt sorry for Carly getting canned for telling the truth. But after months and months of watching her defend McCain and Palin with a flood of lies, it was nice to see karma come home to roost. Buh-bye.

9. Robert Gibbs bitch-slaps King Douchebag Sean Hannity over Hannity’s unwarranted, illegitimate, guilt by associate attacks on Obama.

This video was such a catharsis at the time for many of us who have Hannity’s picture taped to our dart boards.

8. The warning John Lewis issued on Politico to the McCain campaign as they inched ever-closer to a campaign entirely made of “othering” Barack Obama and stoking fear among their ignorant supporters. Lewis’ statement:

As one who was a victim of violence and hate during the height of the Civil Rights Movement, I am deeply disturbed by the negative tone of the McCain-Palin campaign. What I am seeing reminds me too much of another destructive period in American history. Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin are sowing the seeds of hatred and division, and there is no need for this hostility in our political discourse.

During another period, in the not too distant past, there was a governor of the state of Alabama named George Wallace who also became a presidential candidate. George Wallace never threw a bomb. He never fired a gun, but he created the climate and the conditions that encouraged vicious attacks against innocent Americans who were simply trying to exercise their constitutional rights. Because of this atmosphere of hate, four little girls were killed on Sunday morning when a church was bombed in Birmingham, Alabama.

As public figures with the power to influence and persuade, Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin are playing with fire, and if they are not careful, that fire will consume us all. They are playing a very dangerous game that disregards the value of the political process and cheapens our entire democracy. We can do better. The American people deserve better.

The statement shocked and upset McCain, but was a necessary step toward shaming the campaign into increased appropriateness. While McCain insisted his campaign was completely honorable, Newsweek offered this recent insight: The Secret Service reported a sharp increase in threats to Obama at the same time the Palin rallies became more “frenzied.” I think there will be long-lasting, deserved resentments toward McCain and I salute John Lewis for articulating just how dangerous the territory was that the McCain campaign was entering.mccain-supermarket

7. As Obama embarked on a global tour, increasing his world-leader credibility, McCain’s genius campaign thought it would be appropriate to position their candidate in a supermarket to illustrate his relation to “regular people.”

For some reason, McCain in the dairy aisle failed to cause voters to forget he owns eight houses, a fleet of vehicles and his wife is worth over 100 million big ones. Pity.

It was at this point that I decided to write McCain ’08 Campaign Obituary. And what a contrast to Obama speaking in Berlin.

6. My next favorite moment came in before the Democratic Primary was even over – so maybe it doesn’t count as a favorite general election moment; but it’s so golden, I had to include it. This video is of George W. awaiting his lunch date with newly named Republican Presidential Nominee John McCain:

I don’t know about you, but I always tap dance while waiting. And if I were leader of the free world, I would dance horrifically in front of cameras all the time, publicizing my buffoonery for all those already under the impression that I am an extraordinary ass’s behind.

5. Clearly, McCain’s pick of Palin was a golden egg for me. In my immediate reaction of the announcement, I said,

This is PROOF McCain’s judgment is deeply flawed. Poor Republicans. This is a major malfunction on their part. It’s like Christmas for Democrats – or more like Hanukkah because Palin is going to be the gift that keeps on giving.

And she was. DailyKos provided one of the best encapsulations of one of Palin’s “special” gifts to the Democrats:

Please, please, Republicans – nominate her in 2012! I’m begging you!

4. By far, one of the best, most transcendent and inspiring moments of the campaign was when Colin Powell endorsed Obama. Despite Powell’s unfortunate position on the Iraq War, he is a man deserving of respect and admiration and I basked in front of the television that Sunday morning as he explained that it shouldn’t matter if Obama was Muslim.

But the icing on the cake was the following Sunday when McCain responded to Powell’s endorsement of Obama by expressing his gratitude for support from five secretaries of state, but could only name four of them. D’Oh!

Poor, McGrampa.

3. As a non-believer, I should be offended by my next favorite moment. But it’s not in me to be offended ever, really – so this moment left me more gratified than anything. A desperate Elizabeth Dole allowed the National Republican Senatorial Committee to run a despicable attack ad against Democrat Kay Hagan calling her an FOA – Friend of Atheists. Here’s the long version:

Kay Hagan’s response was incredibly effective. 357,404 victorious votes effective.

Now, it is a sad commentary that atheists and agnostics are vilified in our society and largely unwelcome in politics. This, however, is a dying tradition – which allows me to feel satisfaction, rather than anger, in Kay Hagan’s response to Dole. Hope that big plate O’ Suck It is savory, Liddy.

2. No matter how many times The Daily Show or the news networks or the late night programs play this next clip, it will never get old for me. NEVER! This is my absolute favorite McCain gaffe – of which there were tons from which to choose. It is truly, truly magnificent and utterly to be deserving near the top of my favorite campaign moments list.

I don’t think Cindy actually understood what was happening. After her introductory speech, she probably just stood behind Johnny Boy and zoned out. Having to stand at a 45 degree angle behind your husband whilst he delivers campaign speech after campaign speech has probably got to be one of the worst fates imaginable. Still, this whopper of McDementia makes my eyes water and ribs hurt. Brilliant.

1. I had a hard time coming up with my top pick of the election – there are so many nuggets of awesomeness, but The New Gay helped me out in their Top Ten Best Moments of the Campaign:

After Tim Russert’s death, my mind replayed this moment again and again. It was a monumental snapshot for the ages that fed the souls of those of us willing to believe our country had the fortitude to improve. After the tortuous slog of the Democratic primary, Tim delivered the elixir vitae with which we prepared ourselves for the general election.

Conclusion:

We made it. We did it. Today is the first day of the rest of our lives. And, for one of the first times in my adult life, I am proud of America. I came of age during the Clinton impeachment, Columbine shooting, Dot Bomb and beginning of the disastrous Bush years. It will feel odd not to be embarrassed of my Executive administration – almost alien. My disappointment in Bush and Cheney and the people who supported them in 2004 has been an almost constant companion of mine, which I will soon part with forever. I can once again stand tall under our flag and be optimistic about America and her place in this world. Obama will not be the only one undergoing a huge transition. Soon, we’ll all feel the sun on our faces again and know once more what it is like to be the champions of good and right and noble. Obama ’08.

14
Oct
08

Why “Drill, Baby, Drill” Chanters are Idiots

I’m sure most of you who watched the Republican National Convention saw the goobers in hardhats and safety vests which said, “Drill, baby, drill!” Their captain, Rush Limbaugh said June 18,

They’re (Democrats) going to oppose the economic growth of the country. They’re going to oppose your prosperity. They’re going to oppose all of that by standing in the way of this.

They’ve (Democrats) got their talking points and they’re lying through their teeth about it.

Bill Nelson of Florida, one of, ahem, my senators, is out there saying that, (paraphrasing) “Hey, the federal government’s already leased a whole bunch of land to the big oil companies; they’re not even using it.”  It’s such a smoke screen, the number of years left on these leases is very few, and the whole thing is a lie anyway.  I have the figures to prove it.

Entrepreneurs of all stripes, all sizes, create business of all sizes. They’re a wide range. And who is it that always sets out to punish them and destroy them?  Liberals, the American left! Absolutely right, Brian. I could read your lips in there.  Good going.  What does Obama want?  Barack Obama wants you to suffer.  Barack Obama wants higher prices on fuel. right now.  Barack Obama wants a windfall profits tax. right now.  Barack Obama wants to raise your income taxes, by the way, right now.  He wants to raise capital gains taxes, right now.  He wants to raise Social Security taxes, right now.  Obama wants you to suffer.  The Democrat Party wants you in pain.  They want you angry, and they are willing to block any remedy to this problem in order to keep you suffering and in pain and angry.  Obama wants prices up, he wants your income down, and he wants taxes up, ladies and gentlemen.

I know, he’s a crackpot. I recommend reading the whole transcript because it’s incredibly laughable. Let me continue. Here’s Sarah Palin during the VP Debate,

The chant is “drill, baby, drill.” And that’s what we hear all across this country in our rallies because people are so hungry for those domestic sources of energy to be tapped into.

Barack Obama and Senator Biden, you’ve said no to everything in trying to find a domestic solution to the energy crisis that we’re in.

If that’s not enough to make you want to sprinkle cyanide on your cheerios, country singer Aaron Tippin has a new hit, “Drill here, drill now,” you can listen to here. I’m posting the second verse:

Every time a foreign tanker pulls up to our shore
They got us over a barrel while they bleed us a little more
And think how much it costs just to bring it all that way
And how many American jobs that’d make if we were drillin’ in the USA
Oh and God forbid if our oily friends should decide to cut us off
We’d be standin’ around with our britches down now listen to me ya’ll

Perhaps Aaron’s legendary tight pants have seized up blood flow to his brain.

What I’m trying to say is that all these calls for offshore drilling and energy independence have made it clear there’s a drought of information on the Right. I’ve decided to rectify the situation by gathering what we informed people call FACTS to help explain the error in this argument – which many Democrats are perpetuating as well. It’s almost criminal.

So, I beg of you – educate yourself. Even if you don’t want to read my lengthy presentation of reality and possibility, conduct your own research of the effects of increased offshore drilling, the possibility it will lower gas prices, and the addition to jobs and U.S. prominence alternative energy technology will provide.

Here’s my crack at it. It’s long, but it’s worth it. Jesuschrist, it’s worth it.

The clamors for energy independence only surfaced following the rise in gasoline/petrol prices. Because gas prices are largely determined by the decision made by OPEC regarding production levels, Americans are under the incorrect impression that drilling for more hydrocarbon off our shores will provide energy independence and lower gas prices.

OFFSHORE DRILLING ≠ ENERGY INDEPENDENCE ≠ LOW GASOLINE/PETROL PRICES

The American people are uninformed, which is nothing new, and their politicians are doing nothing to correct this problem because they are whores for campaign contributions, which lead them to feed the corporatocracy that is pimping America by trading money for favorable legislation. The oil & gas lobby is one of the biggest john of them all. According to the Federal Election Commission Sept. 2, 2008, and reported by the Center for Responsive Politics, campaign contributions for the 2008 election cycle totalled $22,543,340. Republicans were the most successful streetwalkers, receiving 75 percent of these contributions, while Democrats only garnered 25. Apparently, it’s hard out here for a pimp Democrat.

Because Americans don’t understand the realities of domestic hydrocarbon production, 67 percent answered in the affirmative to the RasmussenReports poll question, “In order to reduce the price of gas, should drilling be allowed in offshore oil wells off the coasts of California, Florida, and other states?” According to the survey, the results of which were released June 17, 64 percent of voters “believe it is at least somewhat likely that gas prices will go down if offshore oil drilling is allowed.” Now, I’m sure you know embittered former pollster for the Clintons, Dick Morris runs RasmussenReports and is now a sweetheart of the Right – which is why they quoted this survey endlessly.

The false assumption is that offshore drilling will lead to energy independence which will lead to lower gasoline prices.

Wrong.

U.S. WOULDN’T OWN OFFSHORE OIL AND GAS ONCE IT IS DRILLED

As Cenk Uygur correctly pointed out of the Huffpo, the United States government does not own all the hydrocarbon that is produced within its borders. The company that is awarded the contract to drill owns the oil or gas and may decide to sell their unrefined product to whomever they like and will likely do so to whoever is the highest bidder, be they India, China, etc. Simply because the U.S. government decides to open leases off Florida, California and ANWR does not automatically assume the U.S. markets will be the recipient of those energy resources.

Secondly, the U.S. refineries are operating near capacity. According to the latest numbers provided by U.S. Department of Energy for July 2008, U.S. refining operable capacity was 17,610,000 barrels per day. Of that capacity, U.S. refineries produced 17,464,000 barrels per day. The last major refinery built in the U.S. began operations in 1976. This is partially due to strict standards set by the EPA and the high cost of such an endeavor, but also NIMBY (Not in My Back Yard), an acronym describing a residential opposition to nearby industrial building. People want to use the oil and gas, they just don’t want to be near the production of their precious energy. With my family from in and around Lake Charles, I can see why.

The point is that politicians – Dems and Repubs alike – encourage the drill, baby, drillers; they just forget to mention that even if we increase offshore drilling, we do not have the refining capacity to ensure those energy reserves serve the American market. Sure, we can loosen environmental standards and attempt to rush the establishment of some refining infrastructure before oil companies bring that offshore hydrocarbon online. But visit Lake Charles for a weekend and decide if you want those big daddies in your backyard or if you would rather just drive less, switch to fluorescent light bulbs and inflate your tires.

U.S. ENERGY COMPANIES WILL CONTINUE TO KEEP PRICES AS HIGH AS THEY CAN

Americans are also assuming that oil and gas companies, in all their benevolence, would flood the American market with hydrocarbon to allow gasoline prices to decrease. Not gonna happen. FOR EXAMPLE, PLS’ ProspectCentre reported Oct. 1, 2008 that Chesapeake Energy, the largest producer of natural gas in the U.S., will “reduce it drilling capex (17%) through year-end 2010 by ~$3.2 billion in response to recent price collapse that has driven gas prices down (~50% since July 1)…Of the capex reduction through 2010, $1.9 billion is associated with reduced drilling activity.” WHAT??? you ask. Gas prices are over $1 more than when Hurricane Katrina hit. My car cost $12.50 to fill up eight years ago and now requires $40. And Chesapeake Energy is reducing drilling because energy prices are falling. Yes, Chesapeake produces natural gas, which is different than gasoline – but prices of energy originating from hydrocarbon sources are closely related.

Translation: Chesapeake Energy is decreasing their drilling of natural gas in order to reduce supply, despite typical ravenous demand of Americans for energy, which will help keep prices high. Politicians have given Americans the idea that American oil and gas (natural gas) companies are operating at capacity and we need to open more leases to bring more energy online in American markets. False. Major companies in the United States are right now decreasing domestic energy production because prices have fallen, causing these companies what they see as budgetary constraints.

The interesting tidbit about Chesapeake’s maneuver is that they’ve done it before. BNET Sept. 27, 2006: “Effective October 1, 2006, the company plans to temporarily shut-in approximately 100 million cubic feet (mmcf) per day of net natural gas production (approximately 125-150 mmcf per day gross) in various areas of operations in the southwestern U.S. until natural gas prices recover from recently depressed levels.” What has happened since the end of 2006? Prices have risen! How surprising! Of course, I’m not suggesting Chesapeake’s activities alone have caused gasoline prices to increase, but I’m giving you an idea of how the oil and gas industry responds to any decrease in gasoline prices.

You see – and this is very important – even if oil and gas were produced as much as possible within American borders and even if refineries were built to handle the capacity of oil and gas sucked out of the ground, oil companies would keep production low. Why? Why? you ask. I will tell you.

The oil companies have discovered that Americans have a high pain tolerance when it comes to energy prices. Americans will let gasoline reach $4.00 a gallon before really pulling back. They will never allow gasoline prices – profits – to fall back to the yesteryear of cheap gas and easy energy. No matter how available or plentiful that energy is domestically, the companies will manipulate the market to keep prices high. Oh, they’ll give us a load of “reduced supply” mishegoss, but make no mistake – they only have eyes for profits. Right now, according to PLS, XTO, EOG and Petrohawk “may watch Chesapeake’s stock to determine if they should follow the same plan.”

The main point is that even if all our hydrocarbon energy supply originates within U.S. borders, prices will remain in the nose-bleeds. Them’s the brakes. Yes, we are currently experiencing a reduction in prices, but it won’t last.

DON’T FORGET ABOUT REFINING

Now let’s assume that we do open all our oil and natural gas reserves to quell demands for more resources. We throw open every lease available off various coasts and in protected wildlife preserves and give them to the exploration and production companies like letting a fat kid loose in a candy store. We would have to assume that demand would remain the same or decrease in order to bring gasoline prices down.

Just one thing. Remember that last refinery that was built in 1976? Yeah, American consumption of energy has increased 25 percent since it was built. If prices are cheap, our consumption will not decrease unless there is a national mandate Americans understand is necessary to preserve our environment and the health of our children. With demand high, prices will remain so as well.

Because American oil and gas demand will always rise above domestic supply – especially with cheap prices – we will never be energy independent as long as our main source of energy is hydrocarbon. Our demand will always outpace domestic supply. Can’t say it enough.

If we do throw open all the leases possible and build refineries to service the American market as much as possible, we will end up polluting the shit out this country. Perhaps this wouldn’t be such a big deal if the only pollution we had to deal with was only that which we create ourselves. It’s not. Pollution from China has already started having worldwide effects – especially in California, where emissions regulations for local industries will have to be sharply curbed to deal with the fallout from China’s production boom.

“GREEN REFINERIES”? SURELY, YOU JEST.

No, I don’t, Willis. There have been recent movements toward establishing “green refineries” – if there is such a thing. Arizona Clean Fuels Yuma fought for seven years and finally received a permit to build a 150,000 barrels-per-day refinery that it says will operate within strict environmental regulations. Hyperion Resources, based in Dallas, is planning an environmentally sound refinery that will turn Canadian crude into low-sulfur gasoline and diesel at a rate of 400,000 barrels per day. According to a Reuters article describing the project, it often takes five years before companies receive the required permits for construction, which can often lead to investors jumping ship.

And if that wasn’t enough to whet your appetite for green gas, Hunton Energy of Houston has proposed the first green refinery on the Texas coast, shooting for a 340,000 barrels-per-day facility to convert Canadian bitumen crude into clean-burning jet fuel and diesel. According to the Houston Chronicle, “Its defining feature is the integration of a gasification facility, which would capture most of the plant’s carbon emissions before they reach the atmosphere.” It will be interesting to see whether this refinery – in ten years, if the project succeeds – will live up to its “green” claims.

There is, however, no definition for “green” and its subjectiveness has allowed it to be used as a major selling tool by energy companies who tend to be colorblind when it comes to the environment. In this case, “green” refers to reduced emissions by the refineries. It does not mean “zero emissions” as such as thing is currently impossible.

Obviously, the greenest refinery will likely do more detriment than wind and solar combined. Although one has to take into account the energy needed to produce a wind turbine, transport it and set up the massive thing (I see them in parts on 18-wheelers all over the highways here in north Texas). How long would a windmill have to generate energy before justifying its very existence? Just a question.

CLEAN COAL, JUMBO SHRIMP, PRETTY UGLY

Still, the term “green refinery” calls to mind another potential oxymoron: “clean coal.” Politicians say it all the time and the term even enjoyed a bit of attention during the recent Vice Presidential Debates. Jeff Biggers of The Washington Post has taken notice as well. He writes in a scathing opinion piece of the coal industry and its treatment by the Bush administration, “Clean coal: Never was there an oxymoron more insidious, or more dangerous to our public health. Invoked as often by the Democratic presidential candidates as by the Republicans and by liberals and conservatives alike, this slogan has blindsided any meaningful progress toward a sustainable energy policy.”

“Clean coal” is referring to reduced emissions from coal-firing plants and efforts are underway around the world to find the means to reduce the environmentally detrimental affects of this energy source. The release of carbon dioxide into the air is one of the biggest offenses of coal use and scientists are trying to discover new means to deal with this greenhouse gas, included rerouting it under ground. Capturing the CO2 is a top priority in “clean coal” technology. According to National Geographic News, however, technologist Gordon Couch, with the International Energy Agency’s Clean Coal Centre in London, says zero-emissions coal power is a realistic goal – though years away.

“NUKULAR” ENERGY

John McCain likes to repeat that nuclear energy is just fine because he served on a Navy ship powered by nuclear energy and all Senator Obama needs to do is talk to one of our sailors serving a nuclear-powered vessel (yeah, because they’re experts) to learn the benefits of this energy. But nuclear plants are some of the most dangerous sources of energy – the fact that Chernobyl and Three Mile Island are household terms is a large indicator of public concern regarding this energy option.

Nuclear waste is an even larger concern. And since no real long-term solution has been found regarding the storage of nuclear waste, it is irresponsible for politicians to tout this as an option for energy independence. Nuclear waste is also tremendously costly to store – the Department of Energy has said the controversial proposed storage facility at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain would cost $96.2 billion to build and operate. France is repeatedly used as a positive example of the use of nuclear energy. However, France reprocesses its nuclear waste – which is banned in the United States due to proliferation risks – and still has leftovers, which it stocks in hopes that, perhaps in 100 years scientists will have found away to eliminate the toxicity of the waste. Bonne chance.

SUSTAINABLE ENERGY…HEAD OUT OF THE ASS

Geothermal Plant in California

Even with the environmental benefits of nuclear energy, the question still looming is the cost-benefit ratio of investing such an enormous amount of funds into a technology that is detrimental in the long-term, rather than positive alternatives: biomass, geothermal, wind, solar, tidal, hydrogen.

Powerful lobbyists, greedy politicians and corporate executives have convinced the more uninformed Americans, including Palin – who chanted, “Drill, baby drill. Mine, baby, mine,” on the stump – that we must turn to domestic oil, gas and coal to increase energy independence, which will bring down gas prices.

I don’t just disagree with them, I have shown that they are wrong. They are incorrect. And almost every source I have provided in this blog is available on the internet.

So, why does the truth not out? Why do Democrats participate in this charade as well? Bucks, dollars, contributions. The building of the United Corporatocracy of America. The oil and gas industry has been the 12th largest campaign contributor to John McCain’s quest for the presidency, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Had we focused our surplus budget and American acumen for technological development on alternative energy sources back in the 1990’s instead of cheap housing developments, we might already be energy independent. Perhaps Detroit wouldn’t be in the economic doldrums. Perhaps we might not be transferring all of our wealth to “countries who do not have our best interests at heart.” But, then ExxonMobil and ConocoPhilips and many other oil & gas companies wouldn’t be receiving record profits this year. Without their political involvement, Halliburton probably wouldn’t have received a number of sweet, no-bid contracts in Iraq from the Bush administration.

Instead, we’re left with “shoulda, woulda, couldas” dangling in front of our rose-colored glasses to the past.

To make matters almost unpalatable, the Right continues to dupe many of its followers – legendary anti-intellectuals, consistent swallowers of Fox News Propaganda who disdain facts, truth, research, reality and education – into believing offshore drilling will produce energy independence and lower gas prices. It won’t. It will only make the same white men richer year after year and worsen our environmental contributions.

RENEWABLE ENERGY IS BEST CHANCE FOR U.S. TO RETAIN GLOBAL PROMINENCE

Renewable alternative energy is our chance to regain and retain our primary position on the world stage. Global citizens are hungry and demanding alternative power and the U.S. has every opportunity to develop it, deliver it, and benefit from it. Like Obama said, renewable resources can give the U.S. the same economic positioning as the computer. Renewable energy technologies could be a major cultivator of domestic jobs and prop the U.S. up again as a major supplier to global market demands.

U.S. domination is subsiding, our economy is not growing as fast as other countries and we are losing our hegemonic status. Instead of tackling this development head on through education and technology, the idiotic dipshits of the Right are attacking our science classes, trying to shrink budgets for math education and calling for the same failed energy policies that will cripple our best chance to retain American greatness.

Republicans are selling our future to win elections now and their mindless followers are not only heading toward that cliff, they want to drag us over the edge with them. It is shameful and embarrassing and hopefully only a footnote in our country’s history. “Drill, baby, drill” is not the answer. It is “Dead Man Walking” for the U.S. economy and perhaps if these people knew exactly what they were proposing, they wouldn’t be trying to doom our country’s attempts to lead the world into the next technological era.

Let me be clear. I am not opposed to increased offshore drilling or increasing refining capacity. I am opposed to presenting it as a method for attaining energy independence and lowering gasoline prices. Such an assertion is untrue and only increase the falsehoods with which many voters make their decisions at the polls. It is harmful to democracy and it is harmful to the economic future and sustainability of this country. We must refocus our priorities to renewable and sustainable energy sources.

UPDATE 10.15.08. FYI, beeyotches, Time (as I spotted on Think Progress) is reporting that despite Sarah Palin’s calls for energy independence, she herself has supported efforts to send domestic hydrocarbon to more-profitable foreign markets.

According to Time, “Palin personally intervened in April, 2007, but her concerns were strictly local. She asked DOE to condition its approval on guarantees that gas needed in Alaska not be diverted to the better-paying foreign venues — a position she held until this past January, when the producers reached separate agreement with the state to meet its needs.

At no time did Palin or her government cite the desire to preserve Alaskan gas for the lower 48 states. The Sempra terminal began operations just four months after Palin announced unconditional support for the Marathon and ConocoPhillips request and a month before DOE approved their plans to export gas to Asia.”

Will the hypocrisy never end???

24
Sep
08

Release of Intelligence Report on Afghanistan Postponed Until After Election

In the ongoing campaign of secrecy an politicization of our troops and military activities by the Bush administration, the latest NIE on Afghanistan will not be made public until after the presidential election, according to Brian Ross of ABC News.

US intelligence analysts are putting the final touches on a secret National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Afghanistan that reportedly describes the situation as “grim”, but there are “no plans to declassify” any of it before the election, according to one US official familiar with the process.

Apparently, the NIE will report that the situation in Afghanistan is grim. Shocker.

Seth Jones, an expert on Afghanistan at the Rand Corporation think tank, called the situation in Afghanistan “dire.”

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“We are now at a tipping point, with about half of the country now penetrated by a range of Sunni militant groups including the Taliban and al Queida,” Jones said. Jones said there is growing concern that Dutch and Canadian forces in Afghanistan would “call it quits.”

“The US military would then need six, eight, maybe ten brigades but we just don’t have that many,” Jones said.

Last week, Admiral Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Congress “we’re running out of time” in Afghanistan. “I’m not convinced we’re winning it in Afghanistan,” Adm. Mullen testified.

I’m sure Afghanistan will be part of the dialogue during the debate Friday night. But McCain has yet to present a concise plan for a reduction in our troop levels in Iraq – despite every other major player from Obama to Bush to Maliki expressing their strategies.

The troops are overloaded with tours in quantity and in length. We’re losing major ground in the verifiable terrorist bullseye. So, I ask you, how is John McCain putting country first? All he gives is over-bloated threats about gates to hell and no substantive policy presentations on refocusing efforts toward Afghanistan.

Of course, now the Bush administration is helping him by keeping this NIE under wraps until after the election. Releasing the report would give the situation in Afghanistan the searing light of attention it deserves.

Republican leadership has not been good for the country, nor has it been good for the troops. Obviously.

10
Sep
08

Saving U.S. Dominance and the Environment

Hegemony [hejuh-moh-nee] – leadership or predominant influence exercised by one nation over others, as in a confederation.

The Washington Post reported on the upcoming report “Global Trends 2025” by Thomas Fingar, “the U.S. intelligence community’s top analyst,” in which Fingar predicts U.S. dominance will decline in the coming decades. Fingar goes on to say that U.S. military strength “will ‘be the least significant’ asset in the increasingly competitive world of the future, because ‘nobody is going to attack us with massive conventional force.'”

“The U.S. will remain the preeminent power, but that American dominance will be much diminished,” Fingar said, according to a transcript of the Thursday speech. He saw U.S. leadership eroding “at an accelerating pace” in “political, economic and arguably, cultural arenas.”

In the years ahead, Washington will no longer be in a position to dictate what new global structures will look like. Nor will any other country, Fingar said. “There is no nobody in a position . . . to take the lead and institute the changes that almost certainly must be made in the international system,” he said.

The predicted shift toward a less U.S.-centric world will come at a time when the planet is facing a growing environmental crisis, caused largely by climate change, Fingar said. By 2025, droughts, food shortages and scarcity of fresh water will plague large swaths of the globe, from northern China to the Horn of Africa.

CNN’s Farheed Zakaria makes a very good point, WaPo points out, in his book, “The Post-American World,” in which he claims that the decline in U.S. dominance is due more to the rise of other economies (China, India) than an actual slide by the U.S.

The world is in fluctuation and always will be. What this means for Republicans – especially Old School

Republicans – who follow the “Might Makes Right” theory is that their views are growing antiquated and useless. The United States, especially under George W. Bush, has engaged in an arrogant, isolationist foreign policy that does not take into account global geopolitical currents or world opinion. McCain is obviously of the same fabric and same blind mindset. The United States must interact with and seek cooperation with foreign countries rather than spouting our view and vilifying those who disagree with us. It’s petty and unproductive.

Now we face a declining economy – which will result in a weakened military. And instead of working on new technologies, as Americans have always done, to progress our country and kick start our economy again, the Republicans are stupidly chanting “drill now, drill now.” By burying their heads in the sand and refusing to acknowledge the importance of alternative energy development, they are attempting to forfeit our future – and not just environmentally.

Alternative and clean energy development could be our next Dot BOOM, it could be our next technological breakthrough and economic stronghold. Americans have long dominated innovation and technological progress. Of the 4,222,954 patents in the world, 2,460,775 have come from the U.S. We are creatures of development – the discovery of electricity, the light bulb, the steam engine, the telephone, the television, the car, the computer – you name major technological advances in the last 200 years and the U.S. almost always has its stamp on it.

And its time we did again.

Let’s discuss our oil industry. Gas prices have risen so steeply largely due to growing global demand for oil – especially from China and India. Now that prices have slid a bit and the oil industry is learning where America’s pain threshold is in regard to oil prices – at least when we’re in an economic downturn – they will not allow prices to return to the days of cheap fuel.

Just today, OPEC decided to reduce overall output by 500,000 barrels a day to offset the recent decrease in prices – even though Ike is barreling toward the Texas coast. You see, even when prices are “outrageously” high, OPEC will still make sure that profits are maximized. So what’s the answer? Well, you saw what Republicans wanted to do.

The problem? First of all, drilling now solves nothing because we do not have the refining infrastructure to handle the increase in fuels – largely due to inattention by Washington and the whole Not In My Backyard argument. About a month ago, when a McCain spokesman (can’t remember his name, but he had ring-around-the-head and a goatee) was asked about the infrastructure issue, he said, “One problem at a time!” So, he was basically saying drill first, ask questions later. Not smart policy.

Secondly, oil companies are given leases – areas of land upon which they may drill – for around 10 years. There is plenty of hydrocarbon-rich land available to the oil companies now, but these lengthy leases reduce the competition by the oil companies and many hang on to the available land without ever drilling.

Our domestic oil companies like high prices as well and as soon as prices begin to slide because “we’re not dependent on foreign oil,” they will slow production enough to drive demand and squeeze more money from the consumer.

So, Americans are not just held hostage by oil-rich foreign countries, Americans are also held hostage by our own domestic oil companies.

But no one wants to tell you this – not Barack Obama and certainly not John McCain because they enjoy corporate donations.

What’s the answer?

Alternative, reusable, natural and clean energy. Not only does it lessen the grip oil companies have on our wallets and our economy, the entire world is in desperate need and want of alternative fuels. If we develop the technology that our global partners are clamoring for, we can not only save the environment, we can save our standing in the world.

We must not let the Right Wing – with their Big Oil cohorts – kill the most viable option we have for America’s future by closing the door to new clean energy. Furthermore, the dumbing-down of our children by the Religioners and their assault on our science classes has got to stop. We have a major fight brewing in the Texas Board of Education regarding the introduction of Creationism or at least the doubting of Evolution into our schools and I’m sure this is occuring in many other states. This will hurt America – culturally, economically and globally. Ensuring the best and brightest and most-prepared students emerge from our educational institutes should be a major priority because their actions will dictate whether our nation progresses or withers.

You want to protect America? Protect science classes, encourage serious scientific education, and support the development of clean energy.

08
Sep
08

Finally, Honesty About the Surge

Sunday was a good day for those of us wishing our politicians and media were a bit more candid about the success of the troop surge.

First off, Biden was on Meet The Press. Hopefully, when Palin is finished in political boot camp and learns where she stands on all the issues, she’ll go on there as well and we can see how well she regurgitates all her new policy stances. Like Biden said,

Well, in, in the sense I know Mitt Romney and know his positions, and I know Tom Ridge and I really respect them. And–but you know, I, I’ve debated an awful lot of tough, smart women. A woman who’s a judge here in our superior court was one of my toughest opponents ever for the Senate. And there’s a lot of very tough, smart women in the United States Senate I debate every day. So in that sense it’s not new. But what is new is I have no idea what her policies are. I assume they’re the same as John’s. I just don’t know.

The most important comments he made to Tom Brokaw, however, were in reference to the Iraq War, during this exchange:

MR. BROKAW: But it’s a process, and it’s beginning, and the surge made that possible, did it not?

SEN. BIDEN: No. The surge helped make that–what made is possible in Anbar province is they did what I’d suggested two and a half years ago: gave local control. They turned over and they said to the Sunnis in Anbar province, “We promise you, don’t worry, you’re not going to have any Shia in here. There’s going to be no national forces in here. We’re going to train your forces to help you fight al-Qaeda.” And that you–what you had was the awakening. The awakening was not an awakening by us, it was an awakening of the Sunnis in Anbar province willing to fight.

MR. BROKAW: Cooperating with the Shia.

SEN. BIDEN: Willing to fight. Cooperating with–no, they weren’t cooperating with Shiite. They didn’t cooperate with the Shiites.

MR. BROKAW: Once the awakening got under way.

SEN. BIDEN: No, no, no. No, they didn’t cooperate with the Shiites. It’s still–it’s a big problem, Tom. You got–we’re paying 300 bucks a month to each of those guys. Now the problem has been and the, and the promise was made by Maliki that they would be integrated into the overall military. That’s a process that is beginning in fits and starts now, but it’s far from over. Far from–look, the bottom line here is that it’s–let’s–the surge is over. Here’s the real point. Whether or not the surge worked is almost irrelevant now. We’re in a new deal. What is the administration doing? They’re doing what Barack Obama has suggested over 14 months ago, turn responsibility over and draw down our troops. We’re about to get a deal from the president of the United States and Maliki, the head of the Iraqi government, that’s going to land on my desk as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee saying we’re going to set a timeline to draw down our forces. The only guy in America out of step is John McCain. John McCain’s saying no timeline. They’ve signed on to Barack Obama’s proposal.

Finally, a politician mentions the payoffs we’re giving the Sunnis – and it’s more than just 300 bucks here and there. The continued payoffs and ability for the Shia government to modify their behavior toward the Sunni militias will have a big impact on the success, or lack thereof, of our troop withdrawal – which is why it is so important for our government and military leaders to publicly acknowledge this strategy. All the lefties demanding troop withdrawals need to understand the U.S. government’s pouring of cash into the region as well as the hundreds of thousands of refugees waiting to return. The Iraqi government must stand up and decide if they want peace and progress or simply cultural domination.

On to our next revelation of the Iraq War, this time brought to us by Bob Woodward on 60 Minutes regarding and the new information he has of the development of the surge as a strategy and its success.

Asked what the generals at the Pentagon thought when presented with the idea of a surge, Woodward told Pelley, “They think that it won’t work. And the president actually at one point goes and meets with them. And the Army chief of staff, General [Peter] Schoomaker, says ‘You can’t add five brigades, it will take many more,’ ‘What about another crisis?’ ‘We don’t have troops for this,’ ‘What about the damage your doing to the force, the young kids who see nothing but endless rotations?'”

“What does General Casey, sitting in Baghdad, think of having additional troops?” Pelley asked.

“He thinks that Baghdad is a troop sump-a place you can put endless numbers of troops in. And he does not want to add force,” Woodward said.

“The president, who has said in public, endless times, that he relies on his generals to tell him what they need, is actually going his own way here,” Pelley remarked.

“That’s right,” Woodward agreed. “The records of the joint chiefs show that the idea of five brigades came from the White House, not from anybody except the White House.”

(Later, Woodward says about General Casey) “Casey told one colleague privately that the president’s view is almost reflective of ‘Kill the bastards. Kill the bastards,’ and that way we’ll succeed.”

Alright, so what we have here is Bush wanting to add troops to Iraq and the generals disagreeing with him. I’m not sure if McCain, at this point, was supporting a surge – but if he was, he was also disagreeing with the top generals. Bush and Rumsfeld and Cheney have said repeatedly that they aren’t taking into account public opinion (polls) or political ramifications – they listen to the men on the ground, the generals, before making their decisions. Obviously, this is not the case. And none of those men fought in a war. Now, we are considering whether to appoint McCain Commander-in-chief. It seems, at least when it came to the surge, he was not listening to the men on the ground – the generals – either. If McCain didn’t listen then, he certainly won’t if he’s president. Dangerous decisions when you’re playing with the lives of thousands.

Bob Woodward also reveals a new strategy, comparing its influence to the addition of the aircraft or tank to warfare,

But beyond all of that, Woodward reports, for the first time, that there is a secret behind the success of the surge: a sophisticated and lethal special operations program.

“This is very sensitive and very top secret, but there are secret operational capabilities that have been developed by the military to locate, target, and kill leaders of al Qaeda in Iraq, insurgent leaders, renegade militia leaders. That is one of the true breakthroughs,” Woodward told Pelley.

“But what are we talking about here? It’s some kind of surveillance? Some kind of targeted way of taking out just the people that you’re looking for? The leadership of the enemy?” Pelley asked.

“I’d love to go through the details, but I’m not going to,” Woodward replied.

The details, Woodward says, would compromise the program.

“For a reporter, you don’t allow much,” Pelley remarked.

“Well no, it’s with reluctance. From what I know about it, it’s one of those things that go back to any war, World War I, World War II, the role of the tank, and the airplane. And it is the stuff of which military novels are written,” Woodward said.

“Do you mean to say that this special capability is such an advance in military technique and technology that it reminds you of the advent of the tank and the airplane?” Pelley asked.

“Yeah,” Woodward said. “If you were an al Qaeda leader or part of the insurgency in Iraq, or one of these renegade militias, and you knew about what they were able to do, you’d get your ass outta town.”

What an interesting revelation. It reminds me of a quotation I recently read in A History of Iran by Michael Axworthy,

Successful high command has little or nothing to do with masculine attributes like brute force, bravado, machismo, arrogance, or even courage, except insofar as it may be necessary to advertise these from time to time to inspire the troops. Rather, it has to do with what one might regard as more feminine characteristics — sensitivity, subtlety, intuition, timing, an indirect approach, an ability quietly to assess strength and weakness (based perhaps on an intuitive grasp for the opponent’s likely behavior as much as factual information) to avoid and baffle strength, to flow around it, to absorb its force and strike unexpectedly at the weak spot at precisely the right moment.

Basically, in President Bush, we have extremely unsuccessful high command. Only through the military’s development of ground-changing “feminine characteristics” of warfare was the surge able to succeed. Not through the simple addition of men on the ground. McCain continues to pressure Obama to acknowledge the success of the surge – so much so, that Senators Graham and Lieberman are trying to bring legislation to the Senate floor demanding a vote acknowledging the success of the surge – yet will McCain acknowledge that there where other, possibly bigger elements at play than the simple addition of brigades to Iraq? Especially at a time when our military is far over-extended, rotations have grown protracted and numerable, and the war in Afghanistan is faltering severely?

I hear over and over that Obama is not ready. But he will listen. He will listen to our military leaders and allow them to help him make the best decisions in his foreign policy. McCain is not ready, either – nor will he ever be. He did not listen to the generals on the ground when calling for the surge and does not recognize the entire complex situation when chanting about the success of the surge.

By the way, Bob Woodward will be on Larry King tonight and Meet the Press next weekend.




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