Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm…..Now this is….Well, Barry do you and McSame want to explain this given your votes to fully fund…..

May 23, 2008

‘Lil’ George’s excellent adventure in Iraqi land?

We don’t know what we got.”

by tristero

Good morning! Are you sitting down?

In one case, according to documents displayed by Pentagon auditors at the hearing before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, a cash payment of $320.8 million in Iraqi money was authorized on the basis of a single signature and the words “Iraqi Salary Payment” on an invoice. In another, $11.1 million of taxpayer money was paid to IAP, an American contractor, on the basis of a voucher with no indication of what was delivered…

The disclosure that $1.8 billion in Iraqi assets was mishandled comes on top of an earlier finding by an independent federal oversight agency, the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, that United States occupation authorities early in the conflict could not account for the disbursement of $8.8 billion in Iraqi oil money and seized assets.

A billion here, a billion there…

And then check this out:

The mysterious payments, whose amounts had not been publicly disclosed, included $68.2 million to the United Kingdom, $45.3 million to Poland and $21.3 million to South Korea. Despite repeated requests, Pentagon auditors said they were unable to determine why the payments were made.

“It sounds like the coalition of the willing is the coalition of the paid — they’re willing to be paid,” said Mr. Waxman

And some more details:

In one instance, a United States Treasury check for $5,674,075.00 was written to pay a company called Al Kasid Specialized Vehicles Trading Company in Baghdad for items that a voucher does not even describe.

In another case, $6,268,320.07 went to the contractor Combat Support Associates with even less explanation. And a scrawl on another piece of paper says only that $8 million had been paid out as “Funds for the Benefit of the Iraqi People.”

But perhaps the masterpiece of elliptic paperwork is the document identified at the top as a “Public Voucher for Purchases and Services Other Than Personal.” It indicates that $320.8 million went for “Iraqi Salary Payment,” with no explanation of what the Iraqis were paid to do.

Whatever it was, the document suggests, each of those Iraqis was handsomely compensated. Under the “quantity” column is the number 1,000, presumably indicating the number of people who were to be paid — to the tune of $320,800 apiece — if the paperwork is to be trusted.

“…if the paperwork is to be trusted.” Now that’s funny. But the joke’s on us.

Tell ya what….
I ain’t laughing.


Congress will matter more as we now have a new branch of government: Supreme Court, Inc.

March 24, 2008

Yep, Bush the Hahvahd ‘CEO’ President, goin’ BK with the nation looks like but more about that later, has succeeded in one of the ‘conservative’ Reich Wing’s fondest dreams. He’s ‘corporatized’ the Supreme Court. Here is the opening para from the NYT:

The headquarters of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, located across from Lafayette Park in Washington, is a limestone structure that looks almost as majestic as the Supreme Court. The similarity is no coincidence: both buildings were designed by the same architect, Cass Gilbert. Lately, however, the affinities between the court and the chamber, a lavishly financed business-advocacy organization, seem to be more than just architectural. The Supreme Court term that ended last June was, by all measures, exceptionally good for American business. The chamber’s litigation center filed briefs in 15 cases and its side won in 13 of them — the highest percentage of victories in the center’s 30-year history. The current term, which ends this summer, has also been shaping up nicely for business interests.

Go on and read the whole disgusting thing. But remember one very important historical fact. The Supreme Court has been on the wrong side of the people’s’ will in the past, Slavery and the era of the railroad trusts come immediately to mind, and the nation never stopped in it’s inexorable march to being a more diverse and progressive nation.

We won’t stop now.


Once again Dear Friends! Into the Fray: GoogleBomb the ReThug Latta!

December 7, 2007


B-17 Memphis Belle in the skies over the Reich, 1944

Yes! Our very progressive pal Chris Bowers of OpenLeft has issued the call to GoogleBomb a ReThug slimeball up for re-election right now! What’s ‘Google Bombing’ you may ask? Here’s my post from pre-2006 about it. That campaign by us and associated progressive blogs shifted the CW in may close districts, clik thru on the reference links to see that, and paved the way for Victory by more than one progressive!

So…

What’s up now?

Here’s email I received from Chris today asking for our help:

‘What to conduct the easiest Googlebomb search engine optimization ever? If so, then I say we target Bob Latta, the Republican candidate in the special election for Ohio’s fifth congressional district. This really will be easy. Currently, a Google search on Bob Latta turns up his Ohio state legislature page as the first result, his campaign website as the second result, and this as the third result:

Casas Elegantes is a small, very personalized rental agency.

We specialize in the finest vacation rentals in San Miguel de Allende. The business is owned and operated by retired Gringo, Bob Latta, who lives full time in San Miguel. Bob, an Arkansas native, retired after a successful 33 year career in sales for ITW/Signode Corporation and moved to San Miguel. After settling in San Miguel with his wife Carol, Bob started Casas Elegantes to bring a new dimension to the vacation home rental business.

Wow. At first, I thought it was too late for a Googlebomb search engine campaign in OH-05, but when I saw that this was the third result on Google searches for Bob Latta, I knew it was still doable. Swing State Project is the fourth result. The DCCC, blog, The Stakeholder, is the fifth. A professor of biology at the University of Toronto is the sixth. An Ohio GOP blog is seventh, Breaking Blue on MyDD is eighth, a bank manger in Palo Alto is ninth, and As Ohio Goes, another Ohio progressive blog, rounds out the top ten.

Without even trying that hard, four progressive blogs are already in the top ten for searches on Bob Latta. With a little effort over the weekend, we should have no problem pushing whatever we want on Latta not only in the top ten, but possibly even above his campaign and state legislature website. On Monday and Tuesday, that could turn into a few thousand effective voter contacts.

Here are the articles I suggest we target:

  • Bob Latta: “Ohio Elections Commission rebukes Latta for lies about foe,” from the excellent local paper the Toledo Blade. This should be the top target, although it does talk about the primary campaign instead of the general.
  • Bob Latta: “Prison doesn’t bar Noe from political controversy, Weirauch ads use ‘Coingate’ figure against rival Latta” also from the Toledo Blade. A pretty good target, too. Not to second guess myself, but maybe this should be the top target.
  • Bob Latta: “DCCC turns up heat in solidly GOP district,” from the Politco. Not bad, but the source of the article isn’t as good as the Toledo Blade. Also, I wonder if the title will help or hurt undecided voter psychology. Will voters who see this article think “oh, all my neighbors vote Republicans, so I should too,” or will they think “hmmm, people around here are turning away from Republicans, so I should too”? Hard to say, but it still might be worth a shot if you don’t like either of the first two articles.

Here is how you can participate. Whenever you write about Bob Latta, embed a hyperlink to the news article of your choice above. If you have a blog, stick your preferred Bob Latta hyperlink in the template of your blog (more info on how to do this, and why it is important, can be found here). If you don’t have a blog, embed your preferred hyperlink into your signature line. BlogPac will purchase in-district Google ads in the district to help out the campaign, and measure how many voter contacts it makes.

Why will this work? Because the most common political action people take online is to look for more information about candidates, and they look for that information on search engines. This technique is designed to direct OH-05 voters looking for information on this campaign to local news articles we want those voters to read. Effectively, it increases the reach of potentially negative press on Republican candidates.’

So, let’s give this a shot. We are already doing quite well on Google results for Bob Latta, but I think with our help Chris and the rest could do even better. If you’re not a blogger just go read all the articles about Mr. Latta and email ‘em to your friends. The more folks that look at that info about ‘Bob’ the higher they’ll rank in Google and the more exposure they’ll get.



This would be funny if this Idiot was not running for President….

September 27, 2007

Mittless the Witless shows a fine campaigning style…for a lying Republican member of the uber-rich. This slick-talking  waste of skin is the very definition of uber-rich.

And…..

He thinks Americans are dumb enough to buy this totally absurd bullshit.


Wherein Alan ‘The Maestro’ Greenspan is shown to be….Well, you tell me!

September 25, 2007

Here is the transcript of a recent interview with Mr. Greenspan by Amy Goodman:

AMY GOODMAN: We’re also joined in studio by Naomi Klein, author of the book The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. Your response to that, Naomi Klein?

NAOMI KLEIN: Well, I’m just wondering if it troubles Mr. Greenspan at all that wars over resources in other countries are actually illegal. Mr. Greenspan has praised the rule of law, the importance of the rule of law, in his book. But in his statements about the reasons why this has not been publicly discussed, he has said that it’s not politically expedient at this moment. But it’s not just that it’s not politically expedient, Mr. Greenspan. Are you aware that, according to the Hague Regulations and the Geneva Conventions, it is illegal for one country to invade another over its natural resources?

ALAN GREENSPAN: No. What I was saying is that the issue which, as you know, most people who were pressing for the war were concerned with were weapons of mass destruction. I personally believed that Saddam was behaving in a way that he probably very well had, almost certainly had, weapons of mass destruction. I was surprised, as most, that he didn’t. But what I was saying is that my reason for being pleased to see Saddam out of office had nothing to do with the weapons of mass destruction. It had to do with the potential threat that he could create to the rest of the world.

NAOMI KLEIN: Yes, I realize that, but he was not simply deposed. The US invaded Iraq, occupied it and took control over its resources. And under international law, that it is illegal to wage wars to gain access to other countries’, sovereign countries’, natural resources.

ALAN GREENSPAN: Yes. No, I’m fully aware of the fact that that is a highly, terribly important issue. And as I said in other commentaries, I have always thought the issue of what essentially amounts to what is often called pre-emptive, preventive action on the part of some countries to secure resources or something else like that, it’s an issue that goes back to the Cold War, when we had the very difficult moral dilemma of what do you do when you think a missile is coming in our direction and you’re not sure whether it’s an accident or not an accident. And that is a problem which I think is a deep moral problem in civilized society. And the issue is one which I don’t think we’re going to resolve very easily. And as you point out, yes, I am a believer in the rule of law, and I think it is a critical issue, not only for domestic economies, but for the world economy as a whole.

Read the rest of this entry »


First impeachment is off the table, now filibuster too?

September 22, 2007

Do you call this governing? First impeachment is off the table, now filibuster too? From a recent New York Times editorial, In Search of a Congress:

“We support the filibuster as the only way to ensure a minority in the Senate can be heard. When the cloture votes failed this week, the Democrats should have let the Republicans filibuster. Democratic leaders think that’s too risky, since Congress could look like it’s not doing anything. But it’s not doing a lot now.”

It’s not like they actually brought a piece of legislation to a vote. I totally agree with the Times that the Democrats should call the Republican bluff. I would love a filibuster on the subject of this so-called war on terror. I’ll bet it wouldn’t last a week. The majority is against this war, the people are against this war.

Can you really imagine all the bushdog Democrats and all the lapdog Republicans spouting their lame support for the war, for days on end. Only four votes out of fortyfour need to switch to force a vote and really start to wind down this war. If the Democratic leadership in the Senate does not allow filibuster, then logically they plan to allow this war to continue without end, and they plan to ignore/defy the will of the people.

This so-called leadership will say that filibuster is too risky, a waste of time, there will be a veto anyway. What they’re really saying, is that they would rather defy the will of the people then defy this poor excuse for a president and his corrupt administration.

Democrats in Congress are so risk averse, they can’t even see the possibility of real rewards. A bit of wishful thinking perhaps. Can you imagine if these Democrats actually helped bring a war to an end, restore Habeus Corpus, restore the rule of law, restore the balance of power, restore the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Can you imagine the goodwill of the people towards the Congress? Well, maybe not, but it would be a hell of a good start.


‘Disaster Capitalism’ the Monstrous Offspring of Military Keynsianism.

September 22, 2007

These beefy dudes are here to protect you. They are the proud, the few, the high-paid chumps who do the dirty work for the Bushists, the Xtian Dominionists and Fascistii everywhere on planet earth. Oh…did I say they were gonna protect you? Well if your rich enough to afford to book on Help Jet they will be your buddies. If you are poor, black and live or lived in New Orleans?

Not so fukin’ much.

BlackWater, whom those ‘roided up freaks above work for is a big player in the new boom. The economic engine the Bushists put in place to take the place of the Clintion dot.com bubble. This locus of money, military force and free-market cannibalism has a name. Naomi Klein christened the monster ‘Disaster Capitalism’ in her new book Shock Doctrine. Here’s a quote from her Guardian Article:

….the effect was the creation of the disaster capitalism complex – a fully fledged new economy in homeland security, privatized war and disaster reconstruction tasked with nothing less than building and running a privatized security state, both at home and abroad. The economic stimulus of this sweeping initiative proved enough to pick up the slack where globalization and the dotcom booms had left off. Just as the Internet had launched the dotcom bubble, 9/11 launched the disaster capitalism bubble. "When the IT industry shut down, post-bubble, guess who had all the money? The government," said Roger Novak of Novak Biddle Venture Partners, a venture capitalism firm that invests in homeland security companies. Now, he says, "Every fund is seeing how big the trough is and asking, ‘How do I get a piece of that action?’"

The answer to that question was simple all ya had to do was ask. And the money rolled in. Billions of it in fact. From Katrina to The MeatGrinder to the I-34W bridge collapse the opportunities are not only there for tremendous profits with government in the hands of the MI Complex and Bush’s Republican party are in the perfect position to create these opportunities for their friends.

Who got the contracts to build the camps to imprison house the refugees from Katrina? Yeah that would be KBR. A subsidiary of the company Cheney still works for as I remember. Who guards the prisoners in these camps secures the camps? Blackwater of course.

The really big money has taken notice and this is one of the reasons ‘we’ can’t get out of Iraq. It’s just too profitable. If a few Americans, an perhaps a million Iraqis, die, hey, that’s the price of doing business.

And as we all know the business of America is business.

Don’t wanna hear this? Well the situation can be changed but it’s gonna take a lot of time, work and money. But the alternative is a lot worse. We are headed for a dark future if we don’t start now.

You can read more of Klein’s thoughts in the latest Harper’s online (this is a pay to view site). Or ask me I’ve got a copy. And….

It’s not as if people, well people in England, haven’t been concerned about this emerging cancer for quite some time. It’s just that the corporatist press don’t feel you need to know about this stuff. It’s got to be a good idea because it’s in line with the Kool-Aid Jim Jones the ‘free market’ advocates say is the way to go.

What they don’t tell you is that your destination may look a lot like this………….

So pick up the phone and call Rep. Henry Waxman and tell him to spike Blackwater’s guns, as a start, or one day soon you may look out your window and see those guys in my picture…

At your front door.


Homework for you to study along the lines of ‘Know the Enemy’…And it’s important that you do.

September 8, 2007

Because the people who oppose we progressives on the Reich, no that’s not a mistake, are not like you and me. Do yourself a favor and read:

The Authoritarians by Bob Altemeyer

It’s all online so you can read if for free. Please do so.

Here’s a quote:

For example, take the following statement: “Once our government leaders and the authorities condemn the dangerous elements in our society, it will be the duty of every patriotic citizen to help stomp out the rot that is poisoning our country from within.” Sounds like something Hitler would say, right? Want to guess how many politicians, how many lawmakers in the United States agreed with it? Want to guess what they had in common?

Or how about a government program that persecutes political parties, or minorities, or journalists the authorities do not like, by putting them in jail, even torturing and killing them. Nobody would approve of that, right? Guess again.

Sound familiar? Read this.


If Only This Did Happen….

September 2, 2007


But if you know yer NeoCon Fascistii you know it’s not going to happen.

So..

Get active and visit our ‘For a Blue Majority Now!’ page and help elect people who use their brain for something besides propaganda and getting drunk.


YearlyKos Panel: The Future of the Media

August 2, 2007


From ‘malcontent’ in Chicago…

Panel: The Future of the Media
(co-hosted by
SaveTheInternet.org and FreePress.net)

Michael Copps (D) FCC Commissioner since 2001 // Craig Aaron (FreePress.net), moderator // Matt Stoller (OpenLeft) // Art Broadsky (Public Knowledge (Washington DC) & Talking Points Memo)

Introduction:

Commissioner Copps is one of the sole dissenting voices in the FCC, who is fighting against the Chairman Michael Powell’s policies at the FCC. He recently spoke out against the recent effort by the News Corp. (Murdoch) effort to purchase the parent of the Wall St. Journal. Robert McChesney, a co-founder of FreePress.net, says Commissioner Copps is the most progressive member of the FCC.

FCC Commissioner Michael Copps’ remarks:

The FCC is playing Russian Roulette with the future of broadband and all of the media. The newspaper industry is the going around crying “the sky is falling,” which is a veiled cry for more media consolidation. If all of us really care about an open internet, we must also care about open communication [across] all of the media.

Commissioner Copps came to the YearlyKos Convention to ask for our help to fight for the [winnable] battle to save media. The FCC recently re-designated the broadband internet as Title 1 communications/information ( instead of Title 2). Consumer protections no longer apply. An FCC committee recently decided to only uphold half of the protections, which were originally reserved for broadband internet technology. Those Commissioners and staffers have opened the door to an internet filled with toll booths and various traffic management mechanisms.

Copps’ understanding of American history tells him that if someone has the technology and a business interest to do so…they will. We have to find a way to get the public and industry to work together. He hearkened back to the effort to build the transcontinental railroad. That is the way to grow industry in a healthy manner. All this business about deregulation is complete nonsense.

The OECD recently rank the USA at 15th in broadband penetration, down from 12th. (This is preposterous.) We should study the successful policies of the14 countries which are ahead of us. Generally, all of them have a national broadband strategy. The USA does not!! There must be some over-arching strategy, in order for us to establish a framework to build this out for everyone, in all communities.

The FCC is currently looking at “ownership” of media. Under Powell, the Commission passed radically new rules in the area of media consolidation. Copps refers to “net neutrality” as “internet freedom.” The internet is headed down the same road as the traditional media. There is an attempt to fuse content with conduit. This threatens the quality of information we are offered across all of our media.

In the last couple of days, Copps smells “something fishy” at the Commission. There are more and more hearings and an increase in attention paid to this in their office. He fears this is an effort to push media consolidation, sooner instead of later. There is likely a very short window for public comment on this issue. His advice is to be prepared. We have to be prepared to fight like our future depends on it, because it does.

The way to win is to take this story, not just to capital Hill, but all across America. Talk about it, write about it, blog about it.”

Copps closed with, “[if] we fight this battle well, we will be able to celebrate media of, by and for the people.” And don’t forget that there is a “Future of the Media” hearing” in Chicago on September 20, 2007. There are only going to be a couple more other these across the country, before the Commission will vote on this issue. Anyone who can

Panel Discussion:

(Q: Rupert Murdoch and ownership consolidation) Copps mentioned that some are arguing that the FCC should not involve itself in “regulation” of this open industry. This is both national and a local issue, since it affects the ownership of newpapers in New York. Nationally, the implications are obvious. The FCC has to get a handle on what its legal authority is in this area. If we only relied on precedent, we would still have “separate but equal” policy in place.

(Q: the 700mHz spectrum) This is the beach-front property of the public spectrum, which will be abandoned by the big broadcasters, as they move to digital format(s).
On February 18th, 2009, the FCC will auction this off. He addressed that in addition to the market implications, the FCC also needs to address the public safety needs of the nation. The FCC has proposed to repurpose They did not open up any of it for “open access,” which is what many of the other countries who are ahead of us have done to build their spectrum outreach.

(Q: impact of public outreach) “Citizen action works, it can make an impact.” There are more than 3 million who are likely to chime in this time around. These people need to be mobilized. There’s lots of lobbying power on the other side, but if we get the word out, and we can find creative ways, we can make a difference.

Craig Aaron: we can boil down the  FCC Chairman Michael Powell

(Q: how can the FCC reverse the affects of Chairman Powell) Copps: there’s a surprising amount of latitude that the Commission has to reverse the affects of the Powell era. Some of the rest of this will require a true, comprehensive national policy.

(Q: how is the public interest served by violent rhetoric / KSFO: Brian Sussman, et al.) Copps: there needs to be some legislative change to allow the FCC to weigh in here. “Hate crime” language language is another story. You’ve identified a real problem.

(Q: media democracy / women and diversity in ownership) Copps: this essential to the media debate. People of color own 4.6%, women 5%, while they make up roughly 35% and 51% of the population, respectively. Media is not a problem to be overcome, it is an opportunity. The current condition of ownership diversity is a national shame.

(Q: isn’t this a non-partisan issue?) The (Powell-run) FCC is proposing to change the rules of the game. Folks on both sides of the political aisle are talking about solutions, so we shouldn’t presume there can be no rational debate among citizens on this issue.

(Q: media consolidation, as compared to the days of the “robber barons”) there is anti-trust regulation which address this, but the FCC has a different authority

Craig Aaron: mentioned a book about “How to Talk Back to your Television Set,” which is about

(Q: how do we get a more progressive FCC?) Craig Aaron reminded us that the FCC Chairman and Commissioners are all appointed by the President.

(Q: what can we do online) Matt Stoller also indicated that “net neutrality” is a nonpartisan issue. Senator Durbin (D) promised to write one of his future bills completely online. Durbin went on Red State (yikes) to engage that community on how to treat them. Remarkably, the conversation was quite open and civilized.

(Q: should we just concentrate on new media) “No! These two areas are not mutually exclusive.” These misgiuded policies can be reversed.

(Q: how do we break up these (real or virtual) monopolies) There is some hope for the cynics in an unlikely ally in the device makers (Motorola, Nokia, etcetera). They realize they are currently relying on customers, such as AT&T, Verizon, Sprint etcetera. These cell phone manufacturers are chicken, and we need to turn up the pressure on them. We should work with them to give them a backbone transplant, because they should be working with us to put pressure on the various networks.

(Q: who sets the FCC policy) Stoller: We do! Why don’t we hear more about this from the Democratic Presidential candidates?! They need to address this issue publicly and clearly. We have the opportunity to steer the debate on this by pressuring the candidates to answer our questions in this area. They have limited information presented to them by the advisors, so we have to advise them, directly.

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