My fellow Americans

We’ve been had. Plain and simple… or not so simple. The scheme has been complex and on a scale so large it’s difficult to fathom, but fathom it we must or face the consequences of a fallen republic.

You are hereby assigned to read this article: The Big Takeover – The global economic crisis isn’t about money – it’s about power. How Wall Street insiders are using the bailout to stage a revolution by Matt Taibbi. It may take some effort to get through if you’ve not neen following the economic meltdown, but time is short, and this article will catch you up on what’s happened to date.

After you’ve read the article, and you’re as concerned as I am about the future, and concerned about Matt’s heavy use of the past tense in the article (implying turning points already passed), come back here and let’s confer about what action we can take as citizens (not consumers) of the once greatest country ever known to humanity.

Can we right the ship?

Red and Blue have spoken; White would love some airtime.

Passing on this excellent opinion piece by Chris Trulock.

Red and Blue have spoken, White would love some airtime…

Can we not conduct our political discourse with any dignity and self-respect anymore?

I am really unbelievably sick and tired of ‘right-wing nutjob fascist conservatives’ and ‘bleeding heart communist/socialist/nazi liberals.’
Grow a pair. You disagree with someone about politics? Fine.
That doesn’t give you the unalienable right to slap them into some sweeping generalization and dismiss all of their arguments. Can you spell a-d h-o-m-i-n-e-m?

Let’s play the comparison game, shall we?
I consider myself from the south. This means that everyone in the rest of the country, on any given issue, is wrong. They don’t understand what life is like here in the south, they haven’t lived it. I am right about the nature of war and honor and valor and political efficacy simply because I am Southern. Everyone else who calls themselves Southern agrees with me, and those dumb Northern City-folk have no idea what hard work really is…

Do you see the parallel? Look closer.
I’m German. Those American idiots have no idea how democracy actually works. Look at them, getting all worked up because a candidate doesn’t salute the flag the same way everyone else does. Do they even know the political policies of the people they vote for? Probably not, poor uneducated bastards.

Still not getting it?
Let me spell it out.

Politics do not consist of left and right, conservative and liberal, right and wrong. They consist of an obscene number of varying policies and standpoints on issues that may, or may not, even effect us.
I have a view on abortion. I’ll never have one, and in some minds I don’t have the right to make a judgment because of that. Is that correct? No. I have a functioning brain, so I’m entitled to my opinion.

That doesn’t mean my opinion is entitled to force its truth on others. What is right for me does not have to be right for Jane Smith.

In other news? The election is over.

Mccain lost. He conceded graciously. I respect him a great deal for that, despite his pathetic excuse for human-being audience that treated his concession more like a football game, to be booed and cheered inappropriately.

Obama won. By a large margin. By a *very* large margin. The election was not close, at all.
He gave Senator McCain a great deal of respect in his speech. He cited the great contributions McCain had made, both as a senator and as a soldier, and as a human being. I respect him for acknowledging that *before* he said a single word of thanks to anyone else. The people lording the victory over everyone else? No better than the booing crowd McCain had to silence.

Now, here’s the deal. We are not a loose collection of conservatives and liberals. Hell, most of the Founders hated the very thought of a party system. They felt it would divide and destroy the country.
I don’t know if any of you blind idiots have been paying attention for the last fifty years, but they were right.

Partisanship has given us great things. A deadlock in Congress, an inability to discuss politics like adults, an entire generation making judgments about other human beings based only on a political label (smack of racism/sexism to anyone else? It’s the same shit.)
We, as a country, will get nowhere if elections continue to remain as polar as this one.

Let it be an example that most, if not all of you, could not name either candidates major voting records or policy stances if you had to do so. You never asked.

But by all means, you have the right to vote based on your beliefs.
You can vote straight party tickets, as often as you like.
Perhaps you simply always agree with what the X party says, and the candidates they choose.

Or perhaps I could slap the label Conservative or Liberal on a pile of dog shit and you’d vote for it because you don’t know any better anymore.

Decide that for yourself.

As for me? I’m fucking ecstatic that voter turnout was so huge. We broke 60% of the electorate for the first time in the last…oh….50 years or more? Why is no one talking about THAT?

One step closer to a representative system. I don’t give a shit who won. Stop being children about it. The election is over. We, as a people, should demonstrate some support to the men and women that we, as a PEOPLE, elected to office.

I don’t care who you voted for, or why. We have a new president-elect, and a fair number of new congressmen/congresswomen. Support them, because they won fairly.

Support them, because no one will ever respect America until we demonstrate willingness to work with our system. You know, the one we all fairly firmly believe is the best in the world.

Support them, and criticize them, because you as a voter have the RIGHT to argue with them, to discuss policies with them; most of all, to COMMUNICATE with them. Your government should represent you. When it does not, you change the members of it, or force them to listen. You pay them for it.

If you have a problem with lobbying? If you have a problem with the liberal/conservative/moderate slant? If you just didn’t like that last bill that was up for debate? Try talking to a member of congress, instead of bitching about it to a group of sycophants.

The country will not survive on partisanship any more than without food or water.
As often as we quote, “United We Stand,” on our bumper stickers…we tend to neglect the outstanding warning that follows.

United We Stand. Divided, We Fall.

I’m not asking that everyone agree. That defeats the point.
I am asking that we all stop being nothing better than a group of bickering children.
Politics can advance this country, if they are done correctly. That is, without the use of sweeping generalizations and unfair labels. That is with the use of intelligent discourse and debate, that is with a spirit of cooperation.

Do you have something to say? Say it. That’s how our government is different, how it is better, how it works.

But then…do you actually have something constructive to say at all?

If not…please…for all of our sakes’…keep it to yourself for awhile. I, for one, am sick of the same old bullshit.

– C

When the left wing fell over the edge

What I’d like to know is what kind of a liberal nutmeat in New York thought it was a good idea to publish this:

The cover art, depicting Senator Obama in a turban, while wife Michelle, packing an assault rifle, shares a “fist bump” with him, is described by the New Yorker as artist’s Barry Blitt’s lampooning of “scare tactics and misinformation in the Presidential election to derail Barack Obama’s campaign.”

“The New Yorker may think, as one of their staff explained to us, that their cover is a satirical lampoon of the caricature Senator Obama’s right-wing critics have tried to create,” countered Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton. “But most readers will see it as tasteless and offensive. And we agree.”

“This is as offensive a caricature as any magazine could publish,” one high-profile Obama backer told ABC News, “and I suspect that other Obama supporters like me are also thinking about not subscribing to or buying a magazine that trafficks (sic) in such trash.”

“We completely agree with the Obama campaign,” McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds added. “It’s tasteless and offensive.”

Raw Story

Are they so insulated in the towers in New York City that they don’t know that the rest of us out here in fly-over country are scared shitless that the knuckle-draggers are just going to see that as an affirmation of their (ignorant) opinions. Seriously WTF New Yorker.

There’s at least one patriot in Congress

And his name is Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio.

“Even if you think the words aren’t going to lead to anything say the words anyway simply to get them on the record for history and simply because nothing has ever changed form bad to good in this country without somebody first saying this is bad.” – Keith Olbemann, June 10, 2008


Should the US re-institute the draft?

Sharing the Tragedy of War
by Aileen Mory
Weekend Edition Sunday, April 13, 2008

I believe that democracy is a shared responsibility. The problem with any core belief is that life has a way of testing it. My most recent test came in the form of the Iraq war. I failed.

I was against the war from the start, although my opposition never translated into a protest march in Washington or a letter to my congressman. It remained no more than a quietly held belief. Today, there’s talk of leaving Iraq, but I don’t know what to think. I want our soldiers to come home, but can we really abandon the Iraqi people to what is essentially a civil war of our own making?

I don’t have a solution, but I think I may have figured out what’s missing from my perspective on democracy: pain — universal, democratic pain. In terms of the Iraq war, this country’s burden is being shouldered by a select few. Some families and communities have been devastated by the war. Others, like mine, have been far too insulated. We can’t truly share the responsibility for our democracy until we all share in its suffering.

And so, in the name of shared pain, I support the reinstitution of the draft.

Don’t get me wrong. I have two children, ages 13 and 17. I don’t want them to be drafted. I’m frightened at the idea of having them serve in the military, just as I would be at the prospect of having a cop or fireman in the family. But guess what? If I’m mugged, I’m going to turn to my local police department. If there’s a fire in my house, I’ll want to hug the man or woman who saves my home. And if my way of life is threatened by outside forces, I’ll be forever grateful to that soldier guarding the wall. Unfortunately, that soldier is invisible to me. I know he’s out there, but he doesn’t have a face — certainly not the face of my child.

The idea that our troops are risking their lives thousands of miles from home, while my life is essentially unchanged, is chilling. I’m not saying that I don’t care. I’m saying I don’t care enough. When soldiers are dying to support our nation’s decision to go to war, “we the people” should not have a choice about our level of involvement. We should be drawn into the fray, kicking and screaming if need be, but fully engaged.

So draft my kids. Force them — and me — to be part of this democracy. Make no mistake: If I believe the country is waging the wrong battle, I’ll fight you tooth and nail. I don’t want my children going to war.

If every parent does not have to fear losing a son or daughter — if every politician does not have to face that fear in his constituents — decisions to go to war will continue to be too easy. I believe that a true democracy comes from shared responsibility for our collective choices. If that choice is war, we must all share in its tragedy.

I heard this on my NPR podcast a few weeks ago commuting home from work, and I was seriously taken aback. I’ve got three boys of my own, I do not support the Iraq war, but the last damned thing I think we should do is re-institute the draft.

I’m no logician, but isn’t her argument essentially cutting off the nose to spite the face?

Instead of offering up her (and my!) sons to the slaughter, shouldn’t she be focusing on less destructive means to accomplish the goal of stopping the wrongs we’ve wrought as a country in the Middle East? If she hasn’t felt enough pain on a personal level, maybe she can spend a day at the nearest national cemetery and witness the grief of families first hand.

The more you know….

Thursday, April 17, 2008, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
SENATOR HILLARY CLINTON: … I think that we should be looking to create an umbrella of deterrence that goes much further than just Israel. Of course I would make it clear to the Iranians that an attack on Israel would incur massive retaliation from the United States, but I would do the same with other countries in the region.

You know, we are at a very dangerous point with Iran. The Bush policy has failed.Iran has not been deterred. They continue to try to not only obtain the fissile material for nuclear weapons but they are intent upon and using their efforts to intimidate the region and to have their way when it comes to the support of terrorism in Lebanon and elsewhere.

And I think that this is an opportunity, with skillful diplomacy, for the United States to go to the region and enlist the region in a security agreement vis-a-vis Iran. It would give us three tools we don’t now have.

Number one, we’ve got to begin diplomatic engagement with Iran, and we want the region and the world to understand how serious we are about it. And I would begin those discussions at a low level. I certainly would not meet with Ahmadinejad, because even again today he made light of 9/11 and said he’s not even sure it happened and that people actually died. He’s not someone who would have an opportunity to meet with me in the White House. But I would have a diplomatic process that would engage him.

And secondly, we’ve got to deter other countries from feeling that they have to acquire nuclear weapons. You can’t go to the Saudis or the Kuwaitis or UAE and others who have a legitimate concern about Iran and say: Well, don’t acquire these weapons to defend yourself unless you’re also willing to say we will provide a deterrent backup and we will let the Iranians know that, yes, an attack on Israel would trigger massive retaliation, but so would an attack on those countries that are willing to go under this security umbrella and forswear their own nuclear ambitions.

And finally we cannot permit Iran to become a nuclear weapons power. And this administration has failed in our efforts to convince the rest of the world that that is a danger, not only to us and not just to Israel but to the region and beyond.

Therefore we have got to have this process that reaches out, beyond even who we would put under the security umbrella, to get the rest of the world on our side to try to impose the kind of sanctions and diplomatic efforts that might prevent this from occurring.

(emphasis added)

It’s shameful that a United States Senator running for President should be so fast and loose with the facts. It practically sounds like she’s reading from MC Rove’s play book. Let’s find some facts shall we?

November 2007 National Intelligence Estimate – Iran: Nuclear Intentions and

Key Judgments

A. We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program1; we also assess with moderate-to-high confidence that Tehran at a minimum is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons. We judge with high confidence that the halt, and Tehran’s announcement of its decision to suspend its declared uranium enrichment program and sign an Additional Protocol to its Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Safeguards Agreement, was directed primarily in response to increasing international scrutiny and pressure resulting from exposure of Iran’s previously undeclared nuclear work.

• We assess with high confidence that until fall 2003, Iranian military entities were working under government direction to develop nuclear weapons.

• We judge with high confidence that the halt lasted at least several years. (Because of intelligence gaps discussed elsewhere in this Estimate, however, DOE and the NIC assess with only moderate confidence that the halt to those activities represents a halt to Iran’s entire nuclear weapons program.)

• We assess with moderate confidence Tehran had not restarted its nuclear weapons program as of mid-2007, but we do not know whether it currently intends to develop nuclear weapons.

• We continue to assess with moderate-to-high confidence that Iran does not currently have a nuclear weapon.

• Tehran’s decision to halt its nuclear weapons program suggests it is less determined to develop nuclear weapons than we have been judging since 2005. Our assessment that the program probably was halted primarily in response to international pressure suggests Iran may be more vulnerable to influence on the issue than we judged previously.

1 For the purposes of this Estimate, by “nuclear weapons program” we mean Iran’s nuclear weapon design and weaponization work and covert uranium conversion-related and uranium enrichment-related work; we do not mean Iran’s declared civil work related to uranium conversion and enrichment.

(emphasis added)

If Mr. Ahmadinejad is, in fact, a dangerous idiot, not meeting with him will not make him less so. Is this the kind of administration we need next?

To hell with the Democratic process, right?

“He’s winning the Democratic process, but that is virtually irrelevant to the general election.” – Harold Ickes, a senior adviser to Hillary Clinton, speaking about Barack Obama’s success in the democratic party primary season.

Is this the kind of democratic nominee that the nation deserves? To obtain the nomination in contravention of “the Democratic process”! Sounds a bit like the current administration doesn’t it?

Thank about that for awhile.

Joe Lieberman is a seditious fuckwit

Lieberman says some waterboarding OK


Article Last Updated: 02/15/2008 01:39:42 AM EST

WASHINGTON — Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman reluctantly acknowledged Thursday that he does not believe waterboarding is torture, but believes the interrogation technique should be available only under the most extreme circumstances. Lieberman was one of 45 senators who voted Wednesday in opposition to a bill that would limit the CIA to the 19 interrogation techniques outlined in the Army field manual. That manual prohibits waterboarding, a method where detainees typically are strapped to a bench and have water poured into their mouth and nose making them feel as if they will drown.

The Senate passed the measure.

“We are at war,” Lieberman said. “I know enough from public statements made by Osama bin Laden and others as well as classified information I see to know the terrorists are actively planning, plotting to attack us again. I want our government to be able to gather information again within both the law and Geneva Convention.”

In the worst case scenario — when there is an imminent threat of a nuclear attack on American soil — Lieberman said that the president should be able to certify the use of waterboarding on a detainee suspected of knowing vital details of the plot.

“You want to be able to use emergency tech to try to get the information out of that person,” Lieberman said. Of course, Lieberman believes such authority has limits. He does not believe the president could authorize having hot coals pressed on someone’s flesh to obtain that information.

The difference, he said, is that waterboarding is mostly psychological and there is no permanent physical damage. “It is not like putting burning coals on people’s bodies. The person is in no real danger. The impact is psychological,” Lieberman said. Lieberman said that his position on waterboarding differs from that of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who he has endorsed as a presidential candidate. As a prisoner-of-war in Vietnam, McCain was tortured. McCain, he said, believes waterboarding is torture.

Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., who voted for the ban, also introduced legislation Wednesday to reform the Military Commissions Act of 2006 to restore habeus corpus rights for detainees and ban torture. This month, Dodd bluntly described waterboarding as torture. “Let me be clear: there is no such thing as simulated drowning. When a person is strapped to a board and water is poured into their mouth and nose with no way to get air, that is drowning; that is torture,” he said.

CIA Director Michael Hayden recently acknowledged that the CIA has used waterboarding against three prisoners. He prohibited its use in CIA interrogations in 2006; it has not been used since 2003, he said.

On Thursday, Steven G. Bradbury, acting head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, told the House subcommittee on the Constitution that laws and other limits enacted since three terrorism suspects were waterboarded have eliminated the technique from what is now legally allowed.

Vice President Dick Cheney defended the use of tougher interrogation methods last week during a speech before the Conservative Political Action Convention and the Pennsylvania State Victory Committee. “It’s a tougher program for a very few tougher customers,” Cheney said. “The program is run by highly trained professionals who understand their obligations under the law. And the program has uncovered a wealth of information that has foiled attacks against the United States.”

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., who supported the waterboarding prohibition, said Wednesday that the nightmare scenario threat was a specious argument because the Constitution grants the president the right to act when the country is in immediate peril.

“If he so chooses, as commander in chief, to authorize activities other than what the Army Field Manual allows, then the president would be accountable directly to the American people under the circumstances with which he invoked that article II authority,” Nelson said.

Emphasis added.

For the purposes of this Convention, the term “torture” means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity.

Emphasis added.

In other news, MSNBC commentator Keith Olbermann declaims president Bush a fascist guilty of terrorism.