Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Pick A Bigger Weapon

As I vaguely and inaccurately predicted last summer, the Coup will be releasing a new album in April with a guest appearance by Talib Kweli. Jello Biafra will also have an appearance on the album - I wonder if he'll be singing punk-style or just blah blah blahing like he does on some of his rants. I hope it's the former.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Engage In Gay Pornography

CNN reports that Army officials are investigating the possibility that members of the 82nd Airborne Division appear on a gay pornography website. Is this the site: Dink Flamingo's ACTIVE DUTY? The agreement you are supposed to read before you enter appears to be the same one referenced in the article.
Actually, We Are Saddam

Documents show that the U.S. military has been kidnapping women in Iraq, not because they've done anything wrong, but because their husbands are suspected of doing something wrong. The hope is that the men will turn themselves in. In one case a note was pinned to the door instructing the husband "to come get his wife."

Iraq’s deputy justice minister, Busho Ibrahim Ali, said hostage-holding was a tactic used under the ousted Saddam Hussein dictatorship, and "we are not Saddam."



Tyranny is tyranny I say.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Monday, January 23, 2006

Molly and I Ask Questions

In her latest column Molly Ivins calls out the Democrats and asks:
What kind of courage does it take, for mercy's sake? The majority of the American people (55 percent) think the war in Iraq is a mistake and that we should get out. The majority (65 percent) of the American people want single-payer health care and are willing to pay more taxes to get it. The majority (86 percent) of the American people favor raising the minimum wage. The majority of the American people (60 percent) favor repealing Bush's tax cuts, or at least those that go only to the rich. The majority (66 percent) wants to reduce the deficit not by cutting domestic spending, but by reducing Pentagon spending or raising taxes. The majority (77 percent) thinks we should do "whatever it takes" to protect the environment. The majority (87 percent) thinks big oil companies are gouging consumers and would support a windfall profits tax. That is the center, you fools. Who are you afraid of?
Thank Jesus someone published in the corporate media is asking these questions. My answer is in the form of more questions ...

Why would the rich politicians, Democrat or Republican, who depend on corporate money want to disappoint their donors by supporting single-payer health care, raising the minimum wage, and raising taxes on themselves and their friends? Why would they want to hurt big business - their friends and business partners - by forcing them to do what's right for the environment, their employees, or consumers? And why would the Democrats go out on a limb to end the war in Iraq when American imperialism props up their own interests as much as Dick Cheney's? Maybe just push for some other imperialist adventure (say in Iran or North Korea) or criticize the handling of the war while still voting for billions in Iraq war spending.

There are alternatives to the Republicrats, and now is the time to start supporting those alternatives.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Osama Is A MASTERMIND

Remember, Osama Bin Laden is the "mastermind" behind the bombings of September 11th and the vast, covert Al Qaeda organization that is hiding behind every dark corner and liberal University tenure policy. So now right-wingers are making comparisons between his recent audio tape and the Democrats' talking points against Bush and the war in Iraq. But, if Osama is brilliant, then it isn't surprising that he would draw rather simple conclusions about Bush's fumbled war and globally condemned foreign policy and repeat them as part of his own propoganda. And it isn't surprising that the matching rhetoric of the Dems is actually hard to find and pretty weak.

He may be evil, but he's proving that he is at least as smart as the majority of Americans and the vast majority of the world. The comparisons between the U.S. actions in Iraq and Saddam Hussein's actions is hardly new. He also described Bush's infamous "Mission Accomplished" speech as a "fake, ridiculous show aboard the aircraft carrier," but he's absolutely right. Are the right-wingers saying it wasn't? Are they prepared to defend all the folly? Of course not.

This campaign is about demonization, not substance.

These arguments reflect the flaw in Bush's argument that if we "cut and run" we are giving the terrorists a victory. But the fact is that the war on terror - as conducted by the Bush administration and more or less supported by the Democratic establishment - is a losing proposition for most Americans and most people on this planet. If we "cut and run" some terrorists may feel like winners, but who cares? It's the right thing to do.

Furthermore, if Osama is a "mastermind," then he is
A highly intelligent person, especially one who plans and directs a complex or difficult project
So, he probably is well aware that his words might hurt the opponents of war and be used by Bush and others to rally support. That is exactly what he wants. Thank you Chris Matthews and Tucker Carlson for bringing comfort to our enemies.

Finally, comparing his statements to those made by Michael Moore may be one thing, but comparing his statements to the fairly weak criticism being made by Democrats like Hillary Clinton is really reaching. On the other hand, the right-wingers know the Democrats' weaknesses well. I expect many speeches by Democrats in the coming weeks with dozens of American flags draped behind them.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Impeachment? Don't count on it.

Some blogs are buzzing this morning about Arlen Specter mentioning "impeachment" on ABC's Sunday Morning political show ("This Week"). But he really just mentioned the word - almost as if he'd been caught off guard. He made clear that he was not suggesting remotely that there’s any basis for such a thing. Why not? What would the consequences be of moving for impeachment or even suggesting that impeachment was on the table? After all, a new Zogby poll shows that a majority of Americans want Congress to consider impeachment if Bush spied on Americans without a court's approval - exactly what he admitted doing.

Unfortunately majority opinions do little to move the minority party these days. Remember a majority of Americans said in November that they wanted all the troops out of Iraq within 12 months (so we're down to about 10 months now, right?). Yet Nancy Pelosi, who is elected in a part of California that probably overwhelmingly support this troops out proposition, refuses to vote against billions more for war. She was heckled by some of her constituents this weekend at a town hall meeting in San Francisco. She claims that voting against those funds would deny equipment and other stuff (bullets, missiles, propoganda campaigns) for our troops. But of course if the funds were denied it would simply mean a pullout of troops would be a more urgent matter. Not that the Pentagon wouldn't stoop to such lows, but I doubt that we would send our troops into a war zone armed with sharpened sticks and wearing trash bags.

Then there's Senator Dianne Feinstein who this morning said there should be no filibuster of Samuel Alito and added: "I was impressed with his ability to maintain a very even demeanor ... I think there is an additional weight you must give to his background, his qualifications and his ability." A majority of Americans identify as pro-choice and believe abortion should be kept legal in all or most cases, yet Samuel Alito has written that he strongly believes that the Constitution does not protect the right to an abortion. But I suppose the thousands of women who will be adversely affected (who will frankly suffer) by an enormous shift to the right on the Supreme Court will just have to deal with the consequences of Bush's nominee because he does have a "very even demeanor."

There is no democratic (little "d") reason why the Democrats (big "D") have anything to lose by filibustering Alito, voting against money for war, and impeaching Bush for domestic spying. They won't take a stand because they (the politicians in Washington) are a disconnected elite in a corporate party that isn't that different from the other corporate party. Feinstein herself isn't worried about the consequences of unwanted pregnancy. Pelosi is more concerned with her big money contributors than the rabble holding signs at her town hall meeting. And most of the Democrats in Congress care more about maintaining faith in our government and it's noble, patriotic intentions than shaking that faith through a divisive impeachment battle that will expose Washington as the rotten empire command-center that it is.

The Democrats are really proving their uselessness to Americans as a political party. I'm not saying that filibuster, impeachment, or an immediate pullout of troops is impossible. Just don't count on the Democrats to be motivated on their own, or even by a majority of American opinion.

Will there be an alternative at the ballot box?

Friday, January 13, 2006

The Chronicle Published An Edited Version of My Letter

Find it here (scroll down-2nd to last letter).

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Alito and Border Fences

Unfortunately I haven't taken the time to connect the two, but I did write this out in case I was asked to speak at a press conference this Monday outside Dianne Feinstein's office ...

It is no surprise that the Lawyers Guild is opposed to the nomination of Samuel Alito, but more than mere opposition, we are gravely concerned that his confirmation would do enormous damage to our privacy rights and to racial, ethnic and gender equality for decades to come. We are barely fighting off the Bush administration’s attacks on privacy rights, and Alito’s confirmation could be the death blow. This is the most important fight that most Senators and Representatives will face while in office, because this is an appointment for life. Bush is a failed, unpopular President, but he may yet have a significant legacy by obliterating the Bill of Rights through his federal court nominations. What will the legacy of Diane Feinstein be?

The government is already interfering too much in the private decisions made by women and their doctors. The government is already interfering too much in the private communications and associations of Americans, particularly with Bush, Cheney and Attorney General Gonzales driving executive power beyond all checks and balances. Alito’s confirmation will mean that all the legislative battles over these issues in the future will be for not because an activist Supreme Court with a right-wing agenda will always have the last word.

People have said that we should not oppose a qualified court nominee based on purely ideological grounds. But there are hundreds of qualified judges. The reasons Bush chose Alito are purely ideological. Bush wants to put someone on the High Court who will carry out his political agenda, and that is why politics and ideology are at the center of this debate, because of Bush not because of us.

I am hopeful that Americans will understand how important this nomination is as the hearings move forward this week and they will let their representatives know they want to see a fight.

And I sent this to the Editors of the San Francisco Chronicle ...

Proposals about building fences or walls along our border with Mexico are inspired by racist and xenophobic forces who would have such barriers be permanent and impenetrable if they thought they could convince the public of such lunacy. Surely the rest of us understand that at some point borders will become irrelevant or at least only as significant as the border between California and Nevada. The question we should be debating is whether this process will take 10 years or 100. I would argue that it should happen before 2015 and the reason is one you missed in your Editorial "Border Madness."

You attempt to argue that the kind of enforcement proposed by some in Congress may counterintuitively lead to more illegal immigrants in the U.S. So you agree with the underlying assumption of those in Congress that illegal immigration is a problem and reducing the number immigrants is highly desirable. In fact many well-researched and respected studies show that the influx of immigrants into this country in recent decades has helped more than hurt our economy. There simply is no border emergency. The solution to the "problem" of illegal immigration is to legalize many more immigrants and begin minimizing other immigration restrictions. It is unfortunate that right-wing hysteria has pushed this solution out of the mainstream.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Der Fuhrer Will Keep Us Safe

O.K. maybe that's a bit hyperbolic, but check out this quote from Senator John Cornyn defending Bush's domestic spying: "None of your civil liberties matter much after you're dead."

As long as our glorious leader says he is ignoring the 4th Amendment because he must do so in order to keep us safe, not just safe but alive, then we should not complain. Remember the horror of September 11th? Do you want to experience that a million times greater, right in your backyard? Then let's just forget about the Bill of Rights until the War on Terrorism is won.