Friday, June 30, 2006

You, too, can Wreck The Nation!
Barbara O'Brian of Mahablog was a contributor to Glenn Greenwald's Unclaimed Territory today. Good stuff. She wrote an excellent article about our sick political culture.

Although it’s never been perfect, once upon a time American political culture supported democratic processes. But now many of our civic institutions are controlled by right-wing extremists who do not respect our traditional political culture or the values of democracy. Although they pay lip service to the ideals of democracy, what drives them is the acquisition of power and the implementation of their extremist agenda by any means necessary. If rules must be broken and democratic processes subverted to achieve their goals — so be it..

She also quotes Paul Krugman from the intro of The Great Unraveling.

… reasonable people can’t bring themselves to see that they’re actually facing a threat from a radical movement.

This has been my thought too. I've said this about my beloved, but sadly misinformed brother. He flat out doesn't want to believe the president of the United States may not be acting in the best interest of the country. He thinks what's happening is politics as usual. He thinks that the nasty, mean things that people are saying about the president are only typical, political posturings by bloviating politicians. I believe he thinks It Can't Happen Here.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Once I got past the tittering about Rush Limbaugh being detained at the airport because of his viagra, I started wondering what the hell he was thinking. Even if his bizarro story is 100% true, he's admitting he's so stupid that he would travel with improperly marked prescription bottles. That's just inviting trouble, bub.
I kept wondering what the fuss was all about w/r/t the story in the NY Times, LA Times, and Wall Street Journal, about tracking banking records.


Didn't we already know this?

TBogg confirms it.

Dateline: 2001, people!

So the moral of the story is, anyone with a good memory or the ability to use Google can undermine national security too.

Wait...that's not it. . .

The moral of the story is, the administration is afraid of the truth, so let the undermining commence.

I'm sure there are other equally plausible morals to this story.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

War's Iraq Death Toll Exceeds 50,000

This is one reason why I take exception to those who say (in effect), but we've only lost 2,500 soldiers and that's not too much of a sacrific for democracy. First, that ignores the humanity of the Iraqi people.

Not only that, but ignoring those deaths is ignoring the reality of the war in the eyes of those who are living in the midst of it. Ignore that at your peril. Ignore that, and we'll be there for a long damn time.
Well, dang. I thought I'd already linked to Neil Young's blog here. My bad. You can listen to his new album, Living With War there.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

"What I find most disturbing about these stories is the fact that some of the news media take it upon themselves to disclose vital national security programs, thereby making it more difficult for us to prevent future attacks against the American people," he said. "That offends me."

You know what offends me? That he wants the media to stop reporting on what they do. That he doesn't think those little bits of paper called warrants are necessary. That he thinks we're all stupid. Do you think the bad guys are too dumb to know that they're being watched? Do you think the NY Times told them something they didn't know? No, they told us that warrants are considered quaint and obsolete by this administration. Is that ok with you? That offends me.

"They're carried out in a manner that is fully consistent with the constitutional authority of the president of the United States."

The problem with that is pretty obvious. He doesn't care one whit about what is consistant with the constitutional authority of the president.
Last night I watched part one of what looks like it will be a very interesting show on PBS.

Faith and Reason with Bill Moyers. Last night he interviewed Salman Rushdi, and I thought it was quite good.

One of the things Rushdi said that stuck with me was in regard to the currently popular idea that you can't be moral without religion. Morality predates religion. Religion grew from an inate need for humans to create a moral framework for their lives.

The current tide of fundementalism has wrapped the world in it's frame of reference to the point of blindness. It's good to be reminded of the obvious.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Rick Santorum's press release about WMD in Iraq is pretty darn pathetic. It smells like desperation.

Not to mention his bandwagoneers. Gad...I'm not linking...all you have to do is go do a little search to see how many people are eating it up with a spoon, and screeching, I TOLD YOU SO.

If this is the I told you so moment, I'm underwhelmed.
Democracy Fest is now less than a month away: July 14-16 at the San
Diego State University campus.

It's Education by Day, Celebration by Night as progressive grassroots
activists come together for a summer event to remember. The DemocracyFest team has put together an awesome program of information, training, and ... entertainment. All work and no play is hardly a "fest!". This year's theme is Cultivating Democracy by Rediscovering Our Roots -- Equality, Liberty, Community.

Don't miss out! Purchase your tickets now at

Panelists and speakers include DNC Chair Howard Dean, Reps. Maxine
Waters and Bob Filner, Paul Hackett, David Sirota, Brad Friedman, Col.
Ann Wright, Robert Greenwald, David Swanson and more. Just added is Al
Franken, who will broadcast his Air America program live from
DemocracyFest. You can get detailed information by visiting

Also, volunteers are needed! There are many aspects that need to come
together in organizing national event like this. Your help is welcome
and appreciated. If you have 4 or more hours to volunteer between now
and July 16th, please email Martha Sullivan at:

We look forward to seeing you at the 3rd Annual DemocracyFest!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

So the congresscritters deserve a raise, but people making minimum wage don't. Interesting. They won't even let the minimum wage amendment get to the floor for a vote. It's been TEN YEARS since the federal government raised the minimum wage. A full time worker on minimum wage makes about 10K a year. Way less than poverty level for a one child family.

So congress has given itself about $40,000 in raises over that same period of time. What's wrong with this picture, family values voters?
In their increasingly successful effort to be fools about everything, the House Republican's have put a bump in the road over the Voting Rights Act...which should be renewed without amendment.

I guess Georgia thinks it's not fair (wahwahwah) because they behave now. Never mind that just a couple years ago they tried to implement what was basically a poll tax by requiring a $20 ID card be purchased in order to vote. God forbid we should have FREE AND FAIR elections.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

But I don't know what to doooooooo......

Find a local peace and social justice organization and support them.
Read read and then read some more....arm yourself with the truth
Talk to your friends and neighbors
Take to the streets. March. Protest. Hold vigils.
Get a couple friends together, make some signs. Stand at a busy intersection for an hour with your sign.
Hold a peace festival. Incorporate it with a march, an art festival and speakers.
Organize book signings and speaking engagements by progressives.
Attend activist training sessions.
Root Camp. Camp Wellstone

PDA periodically holds excellent citizen lobbyist training that provides great information on how to talk to your representatives.

Freeway blog

Call your representative
Write to your representative
Visit your representative.

Support peace candidates.
Participate in GOTV efforts.
Register voters.
Be a poll worker.
Become an election observer.
Run for office.
Work for election reform (the one reform that makes other reforms possible)

Join Progressive Democrats for America Don't have a local chapter? Start one
Hook up with your local Move On folks. Meet up!
March in a parade. I made a big ol' peace sign out of a hula hoop and marched with the local social justice org in the Pride Parade last year. It cost me $5, took four hours of a Saturday, and 50,000 people saw me.
Table. You can table at concerts, community events, churches, at the park, in front of a friendly business.
Seek out the peace group at a local church. There are a lot of progressive churches doing good work. Find them.
Provide a rational, progressive voice to talk radio. Support Air America.

Surround yourself with like-minded people. Empower yourself by realizing the strength in numbers and that there are MANY people who agree with your position.
Support the activities.of like-minded groups and ask them to support yours. Network!
Put a bumpersticker on your car, your bulletin board, your office door. Wear a peace button.
Join CodePink actions.
Join a United for Peace and Justice mailing list. If you don't find a local group that's part of the UPJ coalition, start one.
When Bush or Cheney are in your town, organize a protest. We got nearly a thousand people to line the sidewalk outside the hotel where Bush was staying when he was in town.
Plan your vacation around a large anti-war event. Last September I got to see Washington DC for the first time with half a million of my closest friends! While I was there I stopped in to see both my senators and my representative to tell them what I think about the war.

Call the White House and give them your opinion. Repeat.

Be visible for peace. Be the voice of peace. Be outrageous for peace. Don't ever think your voice doesn't matter. Don't ever think your individual effort won't be enough. Every effort matters.

It has become a common feeling, I believe, as we have watched our heroes falling over the years, that our own small stone of activism, which might not seem to measure up to the rugged boulders of heroism we have so admired, is a paltry offering toward the building of an edifice of hope. Many who believe this choose to withhold their offerings out of shame. This is the tragedy of the world.

For we can do nothing substantial toward changing our course on the planet, a destructive one, without rousing ourselves, individual by individual, and bringing our small, imperfect stones to the pile. -Alice Walker

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Have you signed the peace pledge?

Frankly, it's easy to sign, but sometimes hard to do. Susan Davis is my representative, and I must admit to liking her well enough in other areas that I really WANT to vote for her, but her stance on Iraq makes it difficult. I've not given up on her yet, for some reason. I guess because I still hear her asking questions rather than just blindly accepting, but I wish she'd just stand up and say ENOUGH!

It's less difficult with Senator Feinstein, because I'm so thoroughly annoyed with her on other issues these days.
What's up with this, Take Back America?

Fearing that CODEPINK would openly confront Clinton on her pro-war policy, the organizers of Take Back America entered into negotiations with CODEPINK a few days before the conference. “We had lengthy discussions where they pleaded with us not to protest during her keynote breakfast address,” explained Gael Murphy, one of the cofounders of CODEPINK. “Instead, we were told that we could distribute flyers explaining Hillary’s pro-war position to the crowd inside and outside the hotel, and we would be called on to ask her the first question after the speech. We agreed.”

However, when CODEPINK showed up on Tuesday morning in advance of Clinton’s speech, the security guards refused to allow them to pass out flyers, even outside the hotel. “Take Back America violated the agreement from the moment we arrived,” said Ms. Murphy. “Even though we had a table inside the conference, burly security guards blocked us and informed us that it was a private event, that we were not welcome, and they escorted us out of the building. We telephoned the conference staff who then told us that we couldn’t enter the hotel, couldn’t leaflet the event, the hallways—anywhere. They went back on their word and tried to quash even peaceful, respectful dissent.”

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Maxine Waters on today's non-debate on Iraq.

The president's decisions leading up to and during the war have failed our men and women in uniform and the American people, and Congressional Republicans have endorsed every single decision by using its majority status to pass legislation perpetuating these mistakes. Republicans have turned a blind eye to the administration's failure to adequately plan for the invasion, failure to properly equip our troops with body armor and adequately armored Humvees and to Halliburton's excessive waste and fraud. While at the same time, year after year, they have passed divisive resolutions that commend the administration and give the White House a blank check to fund its bungled efforts.

A true debate on Iraq would address these issues and the dozens of others surrounding the invasion. Instead, Americans, especially the brave men and women who have paid the ultimate price-the 2,500 U.S. soldiers who have died and the more than 18,400 injured-are being denied their right to a thoughtful, pointed discussion of efforts to continue to bring them home.
Velvet Revolution has a petition demanding a hand count of ballots in CA-50 in light of the revelations that the Diebold voting equipment was not secured for weeks before the election. Poll workers had the equipment in their homes, garages, and cars for days and weeks ahead of the election.

Bradblog has been covering the story extensively.

PDA is also watching closely and is asking everyone to sign the petition demanding a hand count of ballots.

I was wondering why they were swearing Bilbray into office before they'd even finished counting the votes and there was only a 3% margin. The election hasn't been certified. They couldn't wait until the votes were counted? What's the big rush, kids?

I sent a letter to the Secretary of State too. I'll let you know what (and if) I hear back from them.
I added Last Left Turn Before Hooterville to the blog roll because Alicia's got a very nice little blog over there, and she's got excellent taste in men (drat! I'll have to share Greg Palast AND Neil Young with her!)

Check out her post and link regarding the L Curve and income distribution. Good stuff. Graphics can help you see something in a whole different way.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

I think this column about the Busby/Bilbray race by Amy Walter at the Cook Political Report is a great summary of what it all means.

While a loss would have been disastrous for the Republicans, a win does not suggest that they are going to have an easy time this fall. In more marginal districts with stronger Democratic candidates and/or weakened Republican candidates, the political environment is certainly enough of a factor to take a toll. It's clear that Bilbray was unable to get the "soft" Republican voters that have traditionally broken for Republicans in the past, but in this heavily Republican district, he could afford to lose these voters. Republican incumbents who sit in more marginal districts do not have that luxury. For them, even a two or three point dip in turn-out could be politically fatal.


There's a lot of news coverage on Yearly Kos. I wanted to go, but I couldn't. Boohoo. Maybe next year. It was that or Democracyfest, and since I couldn't do both and Democracyfest is local, I decided to do that instead. I think that's better for me anyway, since they will have sessions on grassroots activism and organizing.

Speaking of Daily Kos, I saw Markos and Jerome Armstrong of MyDD on Tim Russert's show on CNBC last weekend and they sounded great. Really sharp and interesting. Now I want to read Crashing the Gate.

I started Armed Madhouse last night, and I have Deliver the Vote on my desk at work. I only have a bazillion books on My List...what's one more.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Back to Greg Palast...

He's good. Entertaining and informative. As I told my hubby, Palast is really good at pointing out the intersections between greed, power and the War on Terror. Not to mention the role of the mainstream media.

He's kind of a cutie too, in a middle aged, intelligent, funny, fedora wearing sort of way. But I digress. . .

One of the things that I'm always glad to hear him talk about is the fact that the war in Iraq isn't really about getting the oil. It's more about control of the oil. Controlling large reserves gives us power to affect the market, through basic law of supply and demand. If we suppress oil production, the price goes up, and big freaking profits are made.

Not by me, of course. But I digress. . .

terryfaceplacce recommended reading: Armed Madhouse
Just between you and me, I have a crush on Greg Palast. He spoke at the UU Church of San Diego today, and I bought his book. More later. It's dinnertime.
From New Scientist:

New Scientist has discovered that Pentagon's National Security Agency, which specialises in eavesdropping and code-breaking, is funding research into the mass harvesting of the information that people post about themselves on social networks. And it could harness advances in internet technology - specifically the forthcoming "semantic web" championed by the web standards organisation W3C - to combine data from social networking websites with details such as banking, retail and property records, allowing the NSA to build extensive, all-embracing personal profiles of individuals.

The NSA wants to be on your buddy list. Isn't that special!?
I didn't post anything about the election this past week yet because I've been mulling it over. Regarding the Busby/Bilbray race, of course I was disappointed at Busby's loss, but I'm still happy with her showing. The Republican party had to spend a lot of money to keep a complete unknown from beating someone who's been active in politics here for many years. And she'll run again in November. This race was a special election just to fill Cunningham's spot until the regular election, so it's not over.

My other thought about this race was that it didn't help her when the Dems started running negative ads in response to the Republican sponsored negative ad. The Republican ads were so disgusting that she shouldn't have jumped into that pool with them. I think she should have let them sink in the muck by themselves. Is it just impossible to rise above that once it begins? Her ads showed she was different, UNTIL the Democratic party started running them. Those ads, unfortunately, narrowed the difference between the two candidates, and made them look more alike than they really are. That was a big disappointment to me.

That's probably the only thing that frustrates me though. Otherwise, I think she ran a great campaign. She built up a lot of support on the ground, and she'll continue to do that. That's a necessary thing since the Republicans have built up enough infrastructure that they can send workers/doorknockers/rioters/etc to where ever they need them.

Even though she didn't win, I still see a silver lining. We're in this for the long run. It's a good sign for November. The absentee ballots hadn't been counted yet, last I looked, but without them there was only 4 percentage points between them. A couple thousand votes, at the most. He didn't kick her butt, and in the past that race has been lost by at least 20 percentage points. She got a very respectable and competitive number of votes. This is still do-able in November.

Friday, June 09, 2006

I'm so mad I could spit.

Both the House and Senate had an amendment on the "emergency supplemental" spending bill that stated none of the money could be spent to build permanent bases in Iraq. But as usual, since the bills aren't identical they go to conference to reconcile difference. The conference committee stripped that amendment out this week! The amendment had passed on a voice vote in BOTH the House and Senate with no opposition, but once it's in committe they just remove it.

I figure the reason it made it this far so easily was because no one wanted to say "we want a permanent presence in Iraq" out loud, and they figured they could just strip it out and no one would know since the media doesn't cover things like IMPORTANT NEWS anymore.

From the SF Chronicle:

When Lee gets her turn during the debate, she is sure to raise the issue of blocking the U.S. military from establishing permanent bases in Iraq. She introduced an amendment to the latest emergency war spending bill prohibiting the use of funds to build such bases. The House accepted it, and the Senate included the same wording in its version.

However, the provision was dropped by House and Senate conferees reconciling the two versions of the bill.

More from David Swanson at

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

From Jonathan Freedland at The Guardian:

Where does that leave Democrats? It suggests that in November, and again in 2008, they should train their sights on the real enemy. It does not pay to get into a fight with "values voters". More important is to make a values case of their own, putting the moral, even religious, arguments against poverty, environmental despoliation and a greed culture. That could even work as a wedge issue - splitting "values" Republicans from boardroom ones. As for the rest of us, we shouldn't be distracted by a stunt on gay marriage. We should know exactly what it is we are up against.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Elections are this coming Tuesday and there's really a dearth of sexy campaigns here in my little district. For one, I'm annoyed that my only choice in the primary for senator is DiFi. Ugh. I've had it with her. I'd rather vote for no one in that race, especially since this is a primary. Yes, over the years I believe she's been on my side of many issues, but what have you done for me lately? Iraq? Flag burning amendments? CAFTA? I feel pretty much the same way about voting for Susan Davis. I like her overall, but think she's been wrong w/r/t Iraq. That makes it hard for me to vote for them at this point.

I do plan to vote for Debra Bowen for Secretary of State. Like I said, unsexy race...but really important. We really need someone in that position who'll stand up for clean, fair elections and I think Bowen's that person.
Farhood Manjoo at Salon re: the RFK, Jr. article in Rolling Stone. (Note:Salon requires a membership or a daypass)

Manjoo's article, in summary, says that Kennedy's facts and interpretation are flawed to the point where you can't say the election was "stolen". He's got some good points about how some of Kennedy's facts don't necessarily add up to "stolen" but, hmmmm...ok....but still. I don't think that addresses the bigger picture, which is that people are working overtime to manipulate the election process. That in itself is what should shock people, even if it's true that Kennedy's facts don't quite add up to his thesis. Even if you agree 100% with Manjoo, it's still pretty darn clear that Kennedy's article outlines a significant and shocking problem in our democracy. The fact that ANY political party would attempt to keep The Wrong People from voting should disgust anyone who believes in a fair and open political process.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Saturday, June 24, 2006

This annual event, organized like a walk-a-thon or bike-a-thon, raises money for the Peace Resource Center of San Diego and Project on Youth and Non-Military Opportunities.

This year's project: For the third year in a row, volunteers will donate a day of labor to help construct the new Friends Center, an energy-efficient building that will be a center for peace and social justice activity in San Diego. The work on June 24 will include installing landscape irrigation lines, preparing components for wall framing, weeding and adding new plants to the permaculture landscape. Check-in time is 9-9:30 a.m., work will continue until around mid-afternoon.

Please register in advance to participate. For a downloadable flyer (legal size), including signup form, visit either group's Web site. Or, ask for us to mail one to you.

For more information, contact: Work-a-thon 2006, c/o PRC, 3850 Westgate Place, San Diego, CA 92105; phone 619-263-9301 or 760-634-3604; email PRC or Project YANO.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Rolling Stone has an excellent article by Robert F Kennedy, Jr about the 2004 presidential election. It's long, but should be required reading. It's the best summary I've read so far about the irregularities of the election...specifically what happened in Ohio.