Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Fer Chrissake!

Bob Moser writes in Rolling Stone

It's February, and 900 of America's staunchest Christian fundamentalists have gathered in Fort Lauderdale to look back on what they accomplished in last year's election

the name of the conference: RECLAIMING AMERICA FOR CHRIST

they kick off the festivities with "Soldiers of the Cross, Arise," the bloodthirstiest tune in all of Christendom: "Seize your armor, gird it on/Now the battle will be won/Soon, your enemies all slain/Crowns of glory you shall gain."

Meet the Dominionists -- biblical literalists who believe God has called them to take over the U.S. government.

"Our job is to reclaim America for Christ, whatever the cost," Kennedy says. "As the vice regents of God, we are to exercise godly dominion and influence over our neighborhoods, our schools, our government, our literature and arts, our sports arenas, our entertainment media, our news media, our scientific endeavors -- in short, over every aspect and institution of human society."

In the conference's opening ceremony, the Dominionists recite an oath they dream of hearing in every classroom: "I pledge allegiance to the Christian flag, and to the Savior for whose kingdom it stands. One Savior, crucified, risen and coming again, with life and liberty for all who believe."

Enough Said...

Lies Need Attention

Thank goodness for John Conyers. He is making sure the continuing lies of Shrub and company aren't completely ignored by the media. He is trying to get 100,000 signatures on a letter he will present to flightsuit demanding accountability.

If true, these assertions indicate that not only had our nation secretly and perhaps illegally agreed to go to war by the summer of 2002, but that we had gone on to take specific and tangible military actions before asking Congress or the United Nations for authority.

Thus, while there is considerable doubt as to whether the U.S. had authority to invade Iraq, given, among other things, the failure of the U.N. to issue a follow-up resolution to the November 8, 2002 Resolution 1441, it would seem that the act of engaging in military action via stepped up bombing raids that were not in response to an actual or imminent threat before our government asked for military authority would be even more problematic from a legal as well as a moral perspective.

You can sign the petition here. It will only take a second.

Thanks to Jane at Firedoglake for the lead and I'm pretty sure the missing WMD are in my briefcase somewhere and not in her couch.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Lazy Holiday Weekend

Finally, a lazy weekend with nothing pressing. No little jobs, no little errands, no nothing. Just put a nice little Boston Butt, a slab of ribs and a free range chicken in the smoker and in just 6- 8 hours it will render an array of delicious BBQ. Got a couple of six packs of Anchor Steam Liberty Ale chilling in the fridge. I can't see anything wrong with the world right now(If I don't think beyond my own little world). I don't have to travel next week. Tomorrow is the annual Memorial day shindig on the square which is always pretty nice. The city and the Rotary do a nice job and a couple of thousand people turn up to eat some Slopes BBQ and listen to patiotic speeches and honor our men and women, past and present who sacrificed for our liberty. I'll get to stand up when they call out for all the Navy vets to stand and I'll get to tear up when out pipe and drums pipe in the colors with Amazing Grace and march around the grounds with Scotland the Brave.
I always have a good time even now when I am so distressed about the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan and the wasted lives. Was it last year or the year before when Paul Tibbets was the guest of honor? I got him to autograph his biography.
Everyone make sure you take time this weekend to fly the flag and stop to honor all the men and women who have served and are serving.
Right now America is sucking a lot but its heart is still there and I can only hope that this current nightmare will be over soon.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Change in the Wind?

The USA Today poll has a very interesting piece of information. It seems that 53% of Americans polled would likely vote for Madame Clinton if she elected to run in 2008.

For the first time, a majority of Americans say they are likely to vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton if she runs for president in 2008, according to a USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll taken Friday through Sunday.

I have said all along that Clinton would be a formidable candidate and while she is not as progressive as I and her liberal credentials are a little shredded by political necessities I still think it might make sense.

I am quite sure the right wing crazies are going to go ballistic of this poll and shit a brick. And frankly, just watching them foam at the mouth would be worth it.

They, of course, will try and stick every dirty Repug trick on her and paint her as a hyper-liberal witch that eats babies. If you think Kerry got whacked and jerked around just watch what they try and do to Mrs. Bubba. Hillary has already survived a lot and after what she saw them do to Bill I think she might be just strong enough to take the bastards on. Granted she has moved to the center but I actually don't think anyone more left has much of a chance in America today to be President.

Who would the Repugs run against her? Condi to counter the female vote? It is interesting to speculate. Maybe a Clinton/Edwards ticket would have a better than average chance especially when you extrapolate the current situation with Iraq, Afghanistan, Social Security, enviromental policy and the assault on the constituion that is starting to bubble up in the average person's conciousness. Hillary's 53% is a lot better that bunnypants' approval right now and I really can't see what could improve his numbers all that much.

Most of all I miss the Big Dog and would sure like to see him back in the White House even if he is the First Gentleman.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Distraction is the Game

Bill Maher posts over at Huffington in response to Congressman Bachus and his attack over Bill's frsutration and remark concerning the lack of success in the U.S. recruiting efforts recently. It points out a clear fact the we on the left don't pay attention to often enough. A common tactic of the extremist right is to shift the dialogue to some small fraction of the overall conversation and ignore the whole conversation. Focus on some bit of the dialogue that can be taken out of context and turned into a controvesial hook to distract from the overall conversation. Bill does a good job of bringing the subject back to the real issue and that is all the time we are spending wringing our hands over bullshit instead of the important stuff. We really need to pay attention and keep redirecting the dialogue to where it needs to be.

183.5 Million and Counting

While we all focus on Paris Hilton and her latest demonstration of good taste and hamburger marketing, Sean over at Preposterous Universe has some happy facts. He takes us on a merry walk through the 20th century and the shameful record of human inhumanity to itself. He details the records of the largest number of deaths attributable to human action in this century and it staggers the mind. He does neglect to produce a total so I'll correct that here. 183.5 million humans have died this century worldwide in the largest of the debacles from the 55 million in WWII to the paltry million or so in places such as Mexico during the revolution. Sobering.

Fine Lady from Texas Speaks

You just have to read Molly Ivins latest post which is quoting Senfronia Thompson rant to the Texas house over the gay marriage ammendment. It is too good to just snip out a part it must be read in its entirety.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Dodged That Bullet

Well, much to my surprise I have found a few moments to cruise around and see what is going on. I tried to go to bed and get some much needed shut eye but the watcher wouldn’t let me sleep so here I am back at the laptop.
Obviously, the big news over the last 48 hours is the filibuster compromise. I checked in at Firedoglake and Jane has a lucid comment that I agree with and so commented. As usual Kos is on it. Steve Gilliard probably comes closest to synching up with my gut reaction though.
This, on its surface, was about a few whacko judges and whether the minority has the duty under the constitution to oppose their lifetime appointment to the bench. The fundamental reality of this whole “cluster F..k” was in stopping James Dobson, which we have done for the time being.
Dobson is just the most visible manifestation of the hard Christian right and their attempt to turn this country into their vision of a theocracy. He and his ilk expected to be able to appoint the next Supreme Court justice and with the filibuster still in place cannot accomplish this. This bunch, as represented by Dobson, are the most imminent threat to the continuation of the United States as we know it. They have money and the conduit to the media that allows them to get their message out. Poison pure and simple. They want to eliminate all the rest of us and failing that would like to see that we have no representation in government at all. They do not recognize compromise, as evidenced by the reaction to the deal made in the Senate. It is all or nothing for them. If we let up one moment and let them gain the edge we are doomed. This was not a small victory but a major defeat of the forces of evil as represented by Dobson.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Absolutely Maxxed

In Minneapolis and totally committed to things other than the weblog. I haven't been this over comitted in a while. Probably the weekend before too much happens here.

Updates:Fixed my typos - comes from typing while asleep.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Well, Well, Well

Can we say DUH?
The International Committee of the Red Cross said yesterday that it repeatedly expressed concern to the U.S. government in 2002 and early 2003 about a series of credible detainee allegations that military guards at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba had mishandled and shown disrespect to the Koran.

From the WaPo

Please Not More

And why was flushing a Quran down the toilet so unbelievable? The New York Times has this this morning. This is only a small piece from a sickeing and lengthy article. I love my country and I respect the men and women who are risking their lives and while they share some blame the ultimate, final and damning responsibility lies with George W. Bush and his hell spawned minions. I will never forgive any of them for what they have done and are doing. I am also quite sure the Goddess is not pleased and will deal with them in her own juicy way.

Even as the young Afghan man was dying before them, his American jailers continued to torment him.

The prisoner, a slight, 22-year-old taxi driver known only as Dilawar, was hauled from his cell at the detention center in Bagram, Afghanistan, at around 2 a.m. to answer questions about a rocket attack on an American base. When he arrived in the interrogation room, an interpreter who was present said, his legs were bouncing uncontrollably in the plastic chair and his hands were numb. He had been chained by the wrists to the top of his cell for much of the previous four days.

Mr. Dilawar asked for a drink of water, and one of the two interrogators, Specialist Joshua R. Claus, 21, picked up a large plastic bottle. But first he punched a hole in the bottom, the interpreter said, so as the prisoner fumbled weakly with the cap, the water poured out over his orange prison scrubs. The soldier then grabbed the bottle back and began squirting the water forcefully into Mr. Dilawar's face.

"Come on, drink!" the interpreter said Specialist Claus had shouted, as the prisoner gagged on the spray. "Drink!"

At the interrogators' behest, a guard tried to force the young man to his knees. But his legs, which had been pummeled by guards for several days, could no longer bend. An interrogator told Mr. Dilawar that he could see a doctor after they finished with him. When he was finally sent back to his cell, though, the guards were instructed only to chain the prisoner back to the ceiling.

"Leave him up," one of the guards quoted Specialist Claus as saying.

Several hours passed before an emergency room doctor finally saw Mr. Dilawar. By then he was dead, his body beginning to stiffen. It would be many months before Army investigators learned a final horrific detail: Most of the interrogators had believed Mr. Dilawar was an innocent man who simply drove his taxi past the American base at the wrong time.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Don't Miss This One

Juan Cole's article about the leaked British Intelligence Memo is online now at Salon. Get the One Day pass and read it. Then pass on the link and tell everyone you know about it. If you think you can swing it, get your local paper to pick up the story. This information needs to be in front of every American's eyes.

The lies that led to war
A leaked British memo, and other documents, make it clear that Bush intended all along to invade Iraq -- and lied about it to the American people. The full gravity of his offense has not yet sunk in.

May 19, 2005 | When Newsweek's source admitted that he had misidentified the government document in which he had seen an account of Quran desecration at Guantánamo prison, Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita exploded, "People are dead because of what this son of a bitch said. How could he be credible now?"

Di Rita could have said the same things about his bosses in the Bush administration.

Tens of thousands of people are dead in Iraq, including more than 1,600 U.S. soldiers and Marines, because of false allegations made by President George W. Bush and Di Rita's more immediate boss, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, about Saddam Hussein's nonexistent weapons of mass destruction and equally imaginary active nuclear weapons program. Bush, Rumsfeld, Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice repeatedly made unfounded allegations that led to the continuing disaster in Iraq, much of which is now an economic and military no man's land beset by bombings, assassinations, kidnappings and political gridlock.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Plausible - You Bet

Don't miss Anne Applebaum's column on the Newsweek brouhaha. She is at the heart of it.

Now, it is possible that no interrogator at Guantanamo Bay ever flushed pages of the Koran down the toilet, as the now-retracted Newsweek story reported -- although several former Guantanamo detainees have alleged just that. It is also possible that Newsweek reporters relied too much on an uncertain source, or that the magazine confused the story with (confirmed) reports that prisoners themselves used Korans to block toilets as a form of protest.

But surely the larger point is not the story itself but that it was so eminently plausible, in Pakistan, Afghanistan and everywhere else. And it was plausible precisely because interrogation techniques designed to be offensive to Muslims were used in Iraq and Guantanamo, as administration and military officials have also confirmed.

Another One's Revealed

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has the goods on on Ralph Reed this morning. The wannabe Lt. Governor is now shown to have been up to his eyes in dirty money whilst trying to "help" the Christian Coalition in Alabama stop Indian gaming.

"Ralph Reed delivered what was expected as a consultant to two Alabama anti-gambling campaigns: victories over proposals for a state lottery and video poker, and donations totaling $1.15 million.

But Reed didn't tell the campaign organizations - and, he insists, he didn't know - that the money came from a Mississippi Indian tribe trying to protect its casinos from competition.

The money's path to the Christian Coalition of Alabama and another anti-lottery group echoes Reed's entanglement in a scandal surrounding Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff and Indian casino money in Texas.

In that case, Abramoff hired Reed in 1999 to build public support for closing the Tigua tribe's casino in El Paso. The casino closed in 2002. Immediately afterward, Abramoff, who had kept his role secret, offered to help the Tiguas reopen the casino - for $4 million, according to Senate testimony.

Reed has said he was unaware that he was being paid with money from rival tribes.

In Alabama, leaders of the anti-gambling groups said Reed was the conduit for contributions from a group headed by anti-tax activist Grover Norquist, who has said the money originated with the Mississippi tribe. The Alabama organizations said Reed had repeatedly told them the money was not tainted by ties to gambling interests."

Notice also that Grover Norquist is mentioned in the article. Seems like Americans for Tax Reform is also a money laundering operation.

Jeebus what a bunch of slime dogs. The scary thing is that Ralph Reed will probably wind up being the Lt. Governor of Georgia because this story will get buried and all the whackos in this state will vote for him because "He's such a nice Christian boy".

Democrats: A New Standard

Nancy Pelosi and George Miller had a news conference discussing Congressional ethics...here are the highlights:
The American people want, they expect, and indeed they deserve, Congress to function in a way that meets a high ethical standard. I do not believe that that is the case now.

"Democrats are setting forth the new ethical standard containing these six principles:

* Ban Members from accepting any gifts from lobbyists.

* Ban Members from secretly working with corporate lobbyists to write legislation.

* Ban lobbying by Members of Congress and high level staff for two years after leaving Congress.

* Enforce the ban on Members and staff soliciting privately-funded travel.

* Ban lobbyists from arranging and financing travel.

* End the 'K Street Project' - ban Members and staff from threatening lobbyists with official actions.

The Stakeholder has more

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Stupid Newsweek

Let me see how stupid Newsweek is and how stupid anyone who believes that the retraction of the Koran in the toilet story wasn't a Rovian setup. It has been in the news for a long time and anyone who believes that the story damaged the image of the United States any more than it is already damaged is a fool.
I stole all of these links from Corrente
and they have even more.

Yorkshire Post, November 1, 2004 | Tipton Three turn on the trauma for £22m... injected with "unknown substances", and had their Korans thrown into the toilets.

DAILY MAIL (London), October 28, 2004, ED_3RD; Pg. 1; Pg. 2, TIPTON THREE SUE FOR Pounds 22M, DUNCAN GARDHAM... guards threw prisoners' Korans into toilets

DAILY MAIL (London), October 28, 2004, ED_3RD; Pg. 1; Pg. 2, TIPTON THREE SUE FOR Pounds 22M, DUNCAN GARDHAM... guards threw prisoners' Korans into toilets

The Express, October 28, 2004, U.K. 3rd Edition; NEWS; Pg. 4, GUANTANAMO BRITONS WILL SUE US FOR £22M, By Lianne Kolirin... guards threw prisoners' Korans into toilets

Irish News, October 28, 2004, Pg. 26, British men detained at Guantanamo sue US government for rights abuses;... guards threw prisoners' Korans into toilets

Press Association, October 27, 2004, Wednesday, HOME NEWS, GUANTANAMO BRITONS SUE US GOVERNMENT, Mark Sage, PA News, in New York... guards threw prisoners' Korans into toilets

Belfast Telegraph,
August 5, 2004, Father demands release of his British son after claims
of torture at Guantanamo Bay, By Andrew Buncombe in Washington... allegedly threw prisoners' Korans into toilets, while others were injected with ...

Birmingham Post,
August 5, 2004, Thursday, First Edition; NEWS; Pg. 2, TIPTON TRIO CLAIM
THEY WERE TORTURED BY ALLIES, EMMA PINCH A detainee is led by military
police to be interrogated by military officials at Camp X-Ray at the US
Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; Asif Iqbal, Rhuhel Ahmed and Shafiq
Rasul... Guards would throw prisoners' Korans into the toilet 'as part of their clear policy to ...

Federal News Service,
2004)... guards would throw detainees' Korans down the toilet and shave them, to try to get them to ...

IPR Strategic Business Information Database, June 28, 2004, THEY ALLEGE ABUSE BY U.S. CAPTORS... at Guantanamo. "They tore the Koran to pieces in front of us, threw it into the toilet," Vakhitov said.

BBC Monitoring International Reports,
bucket instead of a toilet. People were in cells, ... ... floor.
(Vahitov) They tore the Koran to pieces in front of us, threw it into the toilet.

The Observer,
March 14, 2004, Observer News Pages, Pg. 5, 5420 words, World
Exclusive: Inside Guantanamo: How we survived jail hell: For two years
the Tipton Three have been silent prisoners in Guantanamo Bay. Now, in
this remarkable interview with David Rose, they describe for the first
time the extraordinary story of their journey from the West Midlands to
Camp Delta, David Rose... ... sleeping tents, copies of the Koran would be trampled on by ... ... occasion, thrown into a toilet bucket.

Monday, May 16, 2005

A Sunday Truth

James Wolcott has a Sunday Sermonette quoting Robert Ingersoll. Here is a snippet but go read the whole thing.

"To Paine, Jefferson and Franklin, we are indebted more than to all the others, for a human government, and for a Constitution in which no God is recognized superior to the legally expressed will of the people. they knew that to put God in the Constitution was to put man out. They knew that the recognition of a Deity would be seized upon by fanatics and zealots as a pretext for destroying liberty of thought."

Pardon my French but AMEN!

Keep it Alive

Paul Krugman has bitten the bullet and decided to push the Downing St. Memo. All I can say is thank goodness! The MSM is not on this story and it should be. This is one of the most blatant examples we have had that Bush and Company cooked the books on Iraq. If this memo had concerned Bill Clinton or any other Democrat there would be blood in the streets.
I believe it is vitally important for the blogosphere to not let this story die. There is hope now that it is on the NYT editorial page it might get some legs but Rove and company are very good at killing messengers. If you need proof just watch the poisoning of the well over at Newsweek on the Quran story. As I commented over at Firedoglake this morning...it would not surprise me one bit to see that this whole fiasco was planted in order to take the heat off somewhere else or to punish Newsweek or Kristoff for some unknown slight to Bush or Rove. Never underestimate how low they will go to forward their own agenda. Everyone should be linking and supporting Krugman on keeping this alive and in front of the noise that Rove will be generating to try and bury it. Come to think of it, what better way to move the Downing St memo out of the main stream than a few riots and deaths in Afghanistan.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Then Again

Now on a slightly different note. Try this on for scary. Via Corrente and Tiny Revolution

Not Anti Christian

Several people have noted that I seem to be pretty strongly anti Christian and I think I need to correct that idea immediately. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am a firm believer in the positive potential in following the wisdom and teachings attributed to Jesus. It is a philosophy of trust, caring and love that can produce wonderful effects in a world sorely in need of positives. I am, however, vehemently opposed to those on the so-called Christian Right or Fundamentalist Christian Right who have turned the teaching 180 degrees into a religion of hate and intolerance and I will fight them every chance I get. They are the antithesis of everything thing Jesus taught.
I personally can't call myself a Christian today but I was raised and baptised a Christian. Through my life, study of other beliefs and experience I have grown beyond the need to restrict myself to a single belief structure. That doesn't mean I discount it or any other.
Please be aware that there are many liberal or progressive Christians that are not pleased with how the radical right and fundamenatlist crowd have usurped their religion and are beginning to fight back. Once such group is the Christian Alliance for Progress that started in Florida and is organizing the fight to reclaim their churches from the crazies. Below is part of their statement from there website and it wraps up their mission pretty well.
The success of the Religious Right in appropriating the language of Christianity has led many people to become generally wary of religion in the public sphere and of Christianity in particular. The Religious Right has used the language of Christianity to promote an extreme and divisive political agenda that has helped polarize our nation. But foundational Christian values like compassion, justice and peace are largely absent from our political discussion. And there are millions of Christian Americans who share progressive views, or, at a minimum, are increasingly turned off by the extreme rhetoric and political agenda of the Religious Right.

The Christian Alliance for Progress is a national movement that started in Jacksonville, Florida among ordinary Americans who want to reclaim Christianity and change this current political picture. Members in the movement want to restore core values of Christianity while honoring diverse views about religion and Christian life. Many Americans, especially people of faith, are ready to hear from Christians who are tolerant, and who understand the many ways that our faiths impact our views of public life. The Christian Alliance advances a renewed, progressive vision of Gospel values and seeks to help Americans express this moral vision in our lives and in our politics.

I wholly support these people and their efforts and wish them all success. The Christian Right is using their distorted religion to try and create a theocracy in this country that rejects all other beliefs and is violently intolerant. If you don't sing from their song book they want you dead. They are a poisonous and virulent infection on mankind and I want to see them relegated to where they belong and that is not part of the mainstream.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Excellent Idea

Via Jackie at Airing of Grievances and Corrente and originally from IndyBay

Police in Germany are hunting pranksters who have been sticking
miniature flag portraits of US President George W. Bush into piles of
dog poo in public parks. Josef Oettl, parks administrator for Bayreuth,
said: "This has been going on for about a year now, and there must be
2,000 to 3,000 piles of excrement that have been claimed during that

TA DA! I Love it!

No Quarter!

Jane over at Firedoglake has a post up disagreeing with Matthew Yglesias and Kevin Drum's argument that we should give in a little on the First Amendment issue around not allowing the Ten Commandments to be posted in Government buildings. I am repeating what I posted to her comment section here because I think it is horribly important that we not lose sight of the fact that this is a fight over life and death and not just something as simple as to whether you can or should be able to post the Ten Commandments in a public place. Here is my comment to her post:
I agree. Both Matt and Kevin are obviously smart and well read but both are suffering from the delulsion that there is some tolerance on the other side and that letting them have their way on the small battles will strengthen our position on the bigger ones. The root of the delusion is the assumption that we are dealing with rational people and that is not true. We are dealing with, for all intents and purposes, insane whackos who are absolutely convinced that they are 100% right. They are not prepared to reconcile or negotiate their position and it is foolish for us to approach them thinking otherwise. If we give in to them on anything, regardless of its apparent importance, we will only encourage them and justify their intolerance. Remember folks, if they weren't concerned that there are still laws against murder and judges that will enforce them they would kill you in cold blood and leave you bleeding in the street. If you don't agree with them completely and without question they do not consider you human. Always remember this and you may survive. Never forget that Hitler was, for lack of a better term, "Fundamentalist Christian" and he used his beliefs to justify the execution of millions of Jews on the basis that their beliefs conflicted with his own. These people have taken the tolerant and loving teachings of Jesus and turned them into an intolerant, hating and poisonous cult they do not respect any other belief or religion and if you let them turn our country into their idea of a theocracy we and the rest of the world are in for a "world of shit" I kid you not. Don't give an inch.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Bull Shit Alert

Catching up on the paper last night after getting in from the airport and I happened upon an article in the AJC by one Thomas Sowell on why you shouldn't be bad mouthing Wal-Mart for low wages and employment practices. Evidently he is also published on Townhall and if you want to read the whole article you can find it yourself as I won't lower myself to link to those kinds of sites. I've quoted a chunk below so that you can get the drift of his so-called argument. It is the biggest piece of crap I have read in many a moon. He talks about market driven wages but fails to mention that a recent study by the Bureau of Labor shows that Wal-Mart pays on average much less than the average retail worker gets in this country. The average retail hourly wage is $12.28 and Wal-Mart's is $9.68. Don't miss also that competitor CostCo's average wage is $16.00 per hour. He also fails to mention that only about half of Wal-Mart's employees are covered by health insurance and that a great majority rely on Medicaid for healthcare. He also skips over the predatory pricing and the union busting as well. I wonder how often Sowell even shops at Wal-Mart? Do you think he wheels his SUV or maybe his Lexus into the parking lot a couple of times a week to refresh his supply of Cheetohs and RC? Then maybe he just goes by savor the soul numbing, life force sucking ambience.
If perchance you are stupid enough to believe the Wal-Mart myth about always low prices you might be surprised if you would do some actual comparisons with Target or Costco. With the exception of what are known as "loss leaders" you will find the prices at both of the other stores competitive if not cheaper on name brands. The quality of the sore brands at the other stores is much better as well and also competitively priced. Not only that, you will find that shopping at someplace that actually pays a living wage a whole lot more rewarding when you realize that the person stocking the shelves and checking you out is probably able to to afford health insurance and food for their family.

Should people be paid according to what they "need" instead of according to what their work is worth? Should they decide how big a family they want and then put the cost of paying to support that family on somebody else?

If their work is not worth enough to pay for what they want, is it up to others to make up the difference, rather than up to them to upgrade their skills in order to earn what they want?

Are they supposed to be subsidized by Wal-Mart's customers through higher prices or subsidized by Wal-Mart's stockholders through lower earnings? After all, much of the stock in even a rich company is often owned by pension funds belonging to teachers, policemen and others who are far from rich.

Why should other people have to retire on less money, in order that Wal-Mart employees can be paid what the New York Times wants them paid, instead of what their labor is worth in the marketplace? After all, they wouldn't be working for Wal-Mart if someone else valued their labor more.

Nor are they confined to Wal-Mart for life. For many, entry-level jobs are a stepping-stone, whether within a given company or as experience that gets them a better job with another company.

Working, Working

Once again making a living is getting in the way of blogging. Back from Boston and looks like a week of no travel coming up. Maybe we will have a chance to catch up on what's going on.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Get a Life

I really need to get a life. Here I am in Boston for a couple of days...its 10:15 and I have just gotten into the hotel from the airport. Thursday and Friday last week Minneapolis and the previous two weeks in Lyon, France. It's only May and I have 60,000 miles on Delta/Air France/KLM. TSA totally turned my bag upside down. A very careful packing job was to no avail and I unpacked a jumble of shirts, socks and underwear a few moments ago. Atlanta was gorgeous over the weekend and I just zombied. Called Mom and that is about all. This is no life for a 55 year old fart.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Speaking of Hell

Continuing from the last two posts...Jane over at Firedoglake is making note of one of the prime contributors to our current walk through hell. Jack Welch. As usual she does a thorough job.

Can I Start Crying Yet?

As the mother closed her tear drained eyes she squeezed the tiny hand one last time. Never again would that little face bring bright sunshine and the glow of unbridled love into her life. If only her two jobs had brought in enough money for some health insurance maybe the cancer would have been discovered soon enough to treat.

Today in the NY Times:
After spending more than $4.5 billion on screening devices to monitor the nation's ports, borders, airports, mail and air, the federal government is moving to replace or alter much of the antiterrorism equipment, concluding that it is ineffective, unreliable or too expensive to operate.

Change the details and repeat this scene how many thousands of times? The impact of this administration will echo across the centuries. The negative karma and bad juju generated by Bush and his cronies will stain humankind forever.

More Mother's Sons

Another tragic milestone greeted the mothers of the United States today. Seven American mothers learned that their child had been sacrificed for George Bush's arrogance and stupidity. Today after seven U.S. troops were murdered in Iraq in the last 48 hours the U.S. death toll in Iraq crossed the 1600 mark and now rests at 1602.

Sneak Attack

Just in case you are not aware of it...the fascists in charge of our country are about to take another big bite out of your personal liberty. Hidden away as an added bonus in the Supplemental Appropriations Bill for Iraq and Afghanistan is a nifty little thing called the The RealID Act and there are some charming little details.
One section of the bill prohibits the federal government from accepting state driver's licenses or other ID cards that don't meet certain "minimum document requirements." These include a digital photo, machine-readable technology, and "physical security features designed to prevent tampering, counterfeiting or duplication." States will also be required to demand certain documents from applications, including "evidence of lawful status" in the United States. And states will be required to retain paper copies of those documents for seven years, or digital copies for 10 years.
What does this mean you may ask? If your state isn't ready within three years to issue this compliant ID you won't be able to board a flight, take a train, enter a federal courthouse or any other Federal building if you use your state-issued driver's license as identification.
Use a little imagination and you will begin to see that even though it may be issued by the states this is in reality a national id and all states and the government will have access to the data. This means your every movement and action will be available for anyone who wants to know it. If you think that this data will be safe because it is in the government's hands you are forgeting ChoicePoint, LexisNexis and the fact that CitiBank, MNBA, etc. are the government for all intents and purposes.
"The simple answer is that it gives the government greater ability to control the actions of private individuals. It has generally been the view in this country that one of the core aspects of personal freedom is to be free of government control."
"Identification is a form of coercion. It's a way someone says you can't do what you want to do unless you prove who you are." The Village Voice

Finally, just for fun, the bill includes another cheery little fascist measure granting the Secretary of Homeland Security “the authority to waive…all laws such Secretary, in such Secretary’s sole discretion, determines necessary to ensure expeditious construction of the barriers and roads” claimed to be vital to national security. No courts are allowed “to hear any cause or claim arising from any action undertaken, or any decision made, by the Secretary of Homeland Security” in this process, nor to order any relief for damages incurred by the exercise of the Secretary’s authority.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Watch the Other Hand

Just like a magician distracts you with one hand while doing the trick with the other the Bush gang is doing the same with Social Security. This has been dawning on me for a couple of weeks but something that Big Media Matt said yesterday while guest hosting TPM distilled the vague uneasiness I have been feeling

Once a program becomes the narrow concern of a minority of the population -- and not just any minority, but a minority that can't afford lobbysists, doesn't enjoy access to the media, is socially isolated from the American elite, etc. -- it gets squeezed out in favor of programs whose constituents do enjoy those things. There's no flailing here.
-- Matthew Yglesias

If you believe Bush and company are trying to save Social Security you are a fool. They are trying to set it up to be dismantled, not necessarily by them, but by some future administration. This latest shift to indexing is basically an attempt to turn it into a welfare program where only the lowest income folks get full benefits. This is very subtle but today Social Security is recognized and accepted as a social insurance program where you pay in expecting to reap the benefit in your retirement. There is no stigma of welfare or of a "dole". If they succeed in changing it into a welfare like program it will be set for some later administration to present the old "welfare queen and Cadillac" argument and down it goes. The people depending on it will not have the power or resources to fight back. The GOP will have finally succeeded in destroying FDR's greatest legacy, which they have been trying to do ever since it was created. No one seems to be focusing on the fact that by reducing the benefit of the less needy you reduce their overall concern for the program as it means less to their overall retirement security. They aren't going to be nearly as upset if just a small percentage of their potential retirement is threatened. It is only the small, powerless and voiceless minority for whom Social Security will be their only source of income when they retire that will suffer. It is a very subtle but vilely cruel game they play and if we let them get away with it we should all be ashamed. If you think I am mistaken reflect a moment on the outrage you have heard surrounding the giant cuts in Medicaid and food stamps in the latest Federal Budget.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Christian Reform

The Farmer over at Corrente has a timely post and extensive piece of a an article by Robert Parsons A Call for Reformation and Revival. It adds some context to the discussion Jane at Firedoglake and I have had on introducing the Bible as a text for study in literature and how it is just a ploy to get the Bible in schools and there is absolutely no intent to actually study the Bible. The intent is to cherry pick the parts that support Christian reform and advocate bringing down the wall between church and state. It's a lengthy post but worth reading if this subject interests you. I find something at the end of the post quite revelaing and worth quoting and that is a quote from The American Covenant by Marshall Foster.

The Bolding/highlighting is mine
If you see God as ruling the earth:
1. Your commission is to subdue the earth and build Christian nations through evangelizing and discipleship.
2. You see Christian culture to be the only acceptable culture and you see all others as aberrations.
3. All of God's world is holy and every activity in life is a religious activity to be seen as a spiritual work for God.
4. Reformation is expected.

If you see Satan as ruling the earth:
1. You must just concentrate on saving souls from this evil world.
2. You see Christian culture as a counter-culture, a persecuted minority in an evil world.
3. Church activity is primary and spiritual, while worldly pursuits are secular and to be dealt with only as a necessity.
4. Reformation is impossible and suspect, since things must get worse before Christ returns.

Think carefully about the implications of the above statements. There is no compromise and no recognition of other cultures and beliefs. If you don't believe as they believe you are evil and deserve nothing.
Be warned that the latest talk about activist judges and how not allowing the conservative judges Bush has selected to be confirmed are an attack on Christians is just the beginning. There are legal briefs in front of the Supreme Court arguing against the separation of church and state. This is deadly serious folks. The theocrats think this is their time and that with a sympathetic president and a majority in congress they can finally push the country back towards a theocracy.