It's All About The WORDS

NY Times today, Taking the 'Victory' Out of City's Victory Parades
While Bush administration officials say they welcome the offer, they also say they worry about how such events may be perceived around the world and are urging a different kind of parade for a different kind of war fought in a very different era.

Rather than victory parades that might appear to be gloating, the Pentagon would prefer celebrations that emphasize the recognition of fighting forces' accomplishment in toppling a dictator.
The Bush administration, which has shown great discipline in preparing its public message during the campaign against terror, wants the world to see an America honoring liberation, freedom and democratic ideals, and not gloating over a fallen adversary in the Arab world.
They're not allowed to use the word "victory." And now it was about "toppling a dictator" instead of saving the United States from the imminent threat posed by Iraq's massive weapons of mass destruction programs?

It's all about the WORDS to this crowd. It's all psy-ops, here and abroad. Lean to look at what they DO, not what they say. The words are just a cloud of smoke and fog and are designed to obscure what is happening.

Since they can't use "victory" they should just use the correct word, "OIL."


Bush's Resume

tendentious found a link to Bush's resume, and it's just great!

Understand Social Security

If you want to understand the Social Security Trust Fund and the charges by Republicans that it is a sham - and how Bush's tax cuts for the rich are really paid for with your retirement money - read this over at P.L.A.

Democracy Dies Behind Closed Doors

Gary Hart's weblog has a great piece up, titled, Democracy Dies Behind Closed Doors . He asks, "Why is this administration so afraid to deal openly and honestly with the American people?"


I received an e-mail from the Democratic Party yesterday. (No this is not a big deal secret insider getting-my-instructions thing - you can sign up at their website and get the e-mails, too.) In the e-mail they have this from Sen. John Kerry:
Massachusetts Senator John Kerry
"President Bush has made it a top priority to stack the federal court with judges that represent the far right wing of his party. He will not miss an opportunity to nominate ultra-conservative judges to the nation's highest court, putting our most precious rights at grave risk. A retreat on our freedoms will affect all Americans. Everyone must get involved now in the fight to prevent Bush from stacking the Supreme Court with ideological extremists."
This is great to hear. I heard him speak on this subject at a fundraiser in December. When asked about Bush's extreme judicial appointments he said he would NOT oppose right-wing judicial appointments based on their ideology, only on their qualifications. I don't remember the exact words but I have verified this with someone else who was in the room at the time.

In yesterday's statement Kerry still does not clearly say he will personally vote against right-wing judicial nominees. (Kerry's campaign website issues page does not list this as an issue.) It's great to hear that Sen. Kerry might be coming around and I'm not criticizing him if he is changing his position. I will, however, credit Governor Howard Dean for putting on the pressure that Kerry is (sort-of) responding to.

Sen. Kerry, think about this -- How many of the Supreme Court 5 did Gore vote for? Did you vote for far-right judges Richard Leon and Karen LeCraft Henderson who today struck down campaign finance?

I was an enthusiastic Kerry supporter until I met him. I'll still support him if he is the nominee. But...

Note - I called the Kerry campaign for clarification on his position this morning but the call was not returned as promised before 5pm EST, so I assume they went home. I've had this experience of the Kerry campaign not calling back before.


In the speech last night President Bush very clearly said that the Iraq war was part of his 'pledge' to bring to justice the terrorists responsible for Sept. 11:
"The battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on September the 11th, 2001 and still goes on.

That terrible morning, 19 evil men, the shock troops of a hateful ideology, gave America and the civilized world a glimpse of their ambitions. They imagined, in the words of one terrorist, that September the 11th would be the beginning of the end of America.

In the battle of Afghanistan, we destroyed the Taliban, many terrorists and the camps where they trained. We continue to help the Afghan people lay roads, restore hospitals and educate all of their children.

Nineteen months ago I pledged that the terrorists would not escape the patient justice of the United States. And as of tonight nearly one half of Al Qaida's senior operatives have been captured or killed.

The liberation of Iraq is a crucial advance in the campaign against terror. We have removed an ally of Al Qaida and cut off a source of terrorist funding.

And this much is certain: No terrorist network will gain weapons of mass destruction from the Iraqi regime, because the regime is no more.

In these 19 months that changed the world, our actions have been focused and deliberate and proportionate to the offense. We have not forgotten the victims of September the 11th, the last phone calls, the cold murder of children, the searches in the rubble. With those attacks, the terrorists and their supporters declared war on the United States, and war is what they got.

The enemies of freedom are not idle, and neither are we. Our government has taken unprecedented measures to defend the homeland and we will continue to hunt down the enemy before he can strike. "
Tom Daschle said yesterday Bush deserved "great credit" for his leadership during the war.

I have something to say to the Democratic leadership. What Bush is doing is dishonest, immoral, illegal and extremely dangerous. Please take a step back and look at what has been happening to our country and the world. Bush has made WAR on another country without provocation of any kind, using lies like those in this speech to redirect America's anger to serve his own financial and political purposes. There is no greater crime than making unprovoked war on another country. Their fog of propaganda and lies has obscured your vision. You must get past the words and look at what they did -- I'll say it again, the United States has illegally invaded another country! There is no way to get around that. All the words about liberty and freedom and our mission and good and evil are just talk. Read the transcript of the speech and look at what is really being said -- reading the words will help you get past the sophisticated psy-ops tricks that are being used. Compare what is being said to what has really occurred. If you let Bush get away with this you are allowing this precedent to stand, abdicating your responsibility to all of the people of the United States and the world. This must be about more than just your re-election.

Thom Hartmann

I hope everyone listens to Thom Hartmann's radio show, available over the internet.

Update - Now Peter Werbe's show is on. I hope everyone listens to Peter Werbe's radio show, available over the internet.

Update - Now Mike Malloy is on. I hope everyone listens to Peter Werbe's radio show, available over the internet. (Scroll to "Live Program Stream" and click.)

Okay, Okay

Okay, okay, I know you're probably already seen this, but I think it is such an important piece that I'm going to point to it, too. William Greider has a piece in The Nation titled, Rolling Back the 20th Century. Greider details the goals of the right, and I think it is worth reading the whole thing. I read it a few days ago and have been thinking about it a lot. Here's just a little bit.
The movement's grand ambition--one can no longer say grandiose--is to roll back the twentieth century, quite literally. That is, defenestrate the federal government and reduce its scale and powers to a level well below what it was before the New Deal's centralization. With that accomplished, movement conservatives envision a restored society in which the prevailing values and power relationships resemble the America that existed around 1900, when William McKinley was President. Governing authority and resources are dispersed from Washington, returned to local levels and also to individuals and private institutions, most notably corporations and religious organizations. The primacy of private property rights is re-established over the shared public priorities expressed in government regulation. Above all, private wealth--both enterprises and individuals with higher incomes--are permanently insulated from the progressive claims of the graduated income tax.
Please read this important piece. I think Greider is right-on with his analysis.

Who Will Be The First?

Quaker in a Basement asks the question, "Who Will Be First? (and When?)" As I read the posts on this site, this blogger sounds a lot like me! Must be brilliant! (You have to scroll down to that entry because blogspot links aren't working today - as usual...)


What's The Number?

The official unemployment rate measures people who are actively looking for work (about 8.5 million?). But we are in an unusual situation because so many people have been out of work for so long that they have given up (1.6 million), taken part-time jobs (another 4.7 million?), or are "underemployed" -- working at a lower level or for less pay than before -- former execs working at Wal-Mart, etc. I haven't seen a good statistic for how many people are really out of work or underemployed. And I would usually know where to look for a number like this. I think I read somewhere that 75 million people are not working now. That includes students, stay-at-home wives, elderly, etc. Plus we have 2 million in prison now. Does anyone know where to look for the real unemployment number?

More Lies?

As well as not finding and weapons of mass destruction in Iraq - or anything else except oil to justify our invasion - the Times of India asks where are all the Saddam "doubles?" The whole story is good, and funny.


OK, That's Over, So Where Were We?

A while back the press was closing in on a number of issues of corruption involving both the President and Vice President and it started looking like Bush and Cheney were in some real legal trouble. But suddenly there were a lot of great big terror alerts, everyone look over there, everyone get scared, there's a big scary dragon, glorious leader will slay the dragon that is making you all scared, run around, run around, kill Iraq, frenzy, frenzy, kill Hitler, war, war, glorious leader HOORAY, HOORAY -- whatever.

So tonite Bush is going to tell us that He has led us to Glorious Victory and the "threat to the United States from Baghdad has ended." OK. Well that's out of the way, then.

So where were we? Oh yeah, Bush and Cheney and Harken and Haliburton and conflicts of interest and SEC investigations and insider trading and tax evasion and corporate corruption, and a whole bunch of other things were starting to hit the news.

Take a look at BuzzFlash's Bush Harken insider trading collection.

Remember the stories about Harvard bailing out Bush at Harken? There's more here from The Nation.

What about Cheney's business dealings and the SEC investigation of his dealings at Haliburton?

Remember hearing about Bush and Harken setting up offshore subsidiaries to dodge paying their taxes?

I remember I had several questions.

Does it all just go away? Is that how the American system of justice works now? Or is it time to start looking at this again, pick up where we left off?

It's Privacy They Have A Problem With

Read this story in today's NY Times, Republican Lawmakers Back Senator in Gay Dispute. This is a story about Republicans standing behind Sen. Santorum's bigoted comments about gays. But toward the end is this:
Mr. Santorum, who did not speak in public today, has refused to apologize and said that his remarks were more directed at the right to privacy rather than homosexuality. He said his position was shared by a majority of the Supreme Court in upholding a Georgia antisodomy law in 1986.
Got that? They justify this by saying that they don't just have a problem with gays, they have a problem with PRIVACY! So if you thought you were safe from the Republican jihad against gays because you aren't gay, (or perhaps you're one of those right-wing gays who is well hidden in the closet), you're wrong. It's PRIVACY that Republicans have a problem with. YOUR privacy.


Virtual March May 22

Please go read the latest about the May 22 Virtual March and tell others about this!

Actually, I'll help you read it:

Those of us on the left got accused of not supporting the troops when we questioned or opposed the war in Iraq. Now it's time we show that we support the troops.

The budget proposed by President Bush, as augmented by the Senate proposes:
"...to cut VA spending by $15 billion over 10 years, starting with $463 million slashed from next year’s budget. Legislators claim they’re cutting fraud, waste, and abuse. But Joe Fox Sr., head of Paralyzed Veterans of America, who calls the cuts “an in-your-face insult to the veterans of this country,” says the reduction will slam the poorest disabled veterans and cut GI Bill benefits for soldiers who are currently serving in Iraq. The plan could also mean the loss of 9,000 VA physicians in a shorthanded VA system, he says...

"[Bush's budget] includes a $150 million aid cut to schools attended by military dependents and support for billions in VA reductions..."
The cuts already enacted in VA funding have delayed enrollment of certain veterans in their promised health coverage. The government said last year that it would not make good on pension promises made to veterans of past wars who have now reached retirement age. And the families of the children whose education funding will be cut often make less than $10,000 per year.

On May 22nd, the last real business day for Congress before the Memorial Day weekend, an unofficial, loosely-knit "Coalition of the Worried" is encouraging a "Virtual March to Support the Troops."

We need to let our military know, to let our representatives know, that we care about the troops all the time. Whether they are on the battlefield or lying sick in a hospital. Whether they are planning for their children's future, or retiring after a long, full life.

On May 22nd, please call your representatives in Congress to repeal this cut in support for our troops. Call in favor of fully funding the VA, schooling for military kids, and fulfilling retirement promises made to veterans of past wars. If you can't get through the first time, try again later. Our goal is to flood the phonelines with polite and respectful advocates who support our troops even when we are at peace.

If you are only able to take part via fax or email, congress.org will help you find and contact your representatives and send a message either way. They will also have the phone numbers of your representatives' local offices if you can't get through to the DC office lines.

To leave a message with the DC office of your representatives, you can call the Capitol Switchboard: (202) 224-3121

Let's keep those Capitol Hill phones busy that Thursday.


Dancin to Dean

The Dean techno mix. No kidding. And it's good.

Click here to download directly.

Corporate Personhood and Silencing of Dissent

Lisa over at Ruminate This is going off about corporate personhood, and the consequences when big corporations decide they want to silence dissent, like what has happened to the Dixie Chicks. And she has some suggestions on what to do about it. Go read, and thanks to tendentious for pointing this out.

The Right's Goals

William Greider has a great piece in The Nation, Rolling Back the 20th Century talking about the goals of the right, and how they are doing in their drive to reach them.

Voting Machines in International Herald Tribune

Britain to Launch Electronic Voting Systems. From the story:
The basic problem in current electronic voting systems, the security experts say, is the lack of an audit trail that would enable all voters to verify for themselves in real time that their vote was recorded as they intended and was counted as they intended.

In addition, they say, there needs to be a publicly available electronic ballot box that can verify that the announced vote total is an accurate tabulation of all the votes cast. This must all be done in a way that maintains the secrecy of each individual's ballot.

About 500 computer technologists in the United States have signed a resolution put forward by Dr. Dill warning that no electronic voting system should be adopted that does not have these protections. A list of the signers and their affiliations is at verify.stanford.edu/EVOTE/endorsements.html.

None of the voting systems that are being used in Britain or elsewhere meet these requirements, Dr. Dill said, though it is technically possible to have such a system using advanced cryptographic techniques.

Jim Adler, the president of VoteHere, a company in Seattle that has provided the software for six of the local elections now under way in Britain, acknowledged that the security protections did not meet the highest standards. "Governments often make usability-security tradeoffs," he said, "and you can see that in the U.K."

In a separate e-mail, he elaborated: "There is no requirement for voters to be able to verify that their vote was `cast as intended' or for election observers to verify that all ballots were `counted as cast.' The technology exists, but the U.K., so far, has not required it."

Mr. Adler, who is in the business of selling electronic voting systems, said: "I applaud the Avi Rubins and Rebecca Mercuris." He said their critiques of current voting systems were correct.


Howard Dean House Parties

I attended two Howard Dean house parties yesterday. Both included conference calls with Gov. Dean. Take a look at The Dean Speech and you'll understand why people are excited about Dean's candidacy for President. He would be a great President AND he can win. I'm heading out for the day so I'll write more later.

The Disappeared

Does anyone know what's up with DailyKos?

Update - They're back.