Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Congrats Sen. Franken

If Gov. Pawlenty will just sign the certificate and let Sen. Al Franken get to work in Washington and allow Minnesota to have it's second senator that it has been missing since November of last year. This will be true.

h/t Lee Stranahan for the video

Stephen Colbert Takes On Teh Wacky Michelle Bachmann and the Census

Stephen Colbert gives a great rebuttal and a wrap up of teh wacky that is part of the Republican Party, about the Census.

Bachmann has been making some outrageous statements about the Census, and Stephen takes on just one of them. He also mentions Rep. King of Iowa, another who has been known to make some rather wacky remarks.

It is Stephen's WORD for the day.. NONCENSUS

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Word - Noncensus
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorMark Sanford

Jon Stewart Weighs In On Mark Sanford and King David

Jon Stewart gave his take on Mark Sanford's idea of using King David as his excuse for staying in office. He doesn't quite think Sanford is qualified to use this argument.

This is a great short piece that Jon does, and it works quite well. One thing I think we have to remind ourselves of and Sanford needs to remember, is get religion out of government. We have a separation of church of state for a reason.

Yet Republicans mostly, some Democrats seem to want to constantly insert their beliefs into government. To use this analogy as a reason to stay in office is just ignorant. Sanford and the people of South Carolina need to look at what he has done.

Has he been effective as governor? Did he break the trust of the people of his state when he left them for 5 days with no one in charge and no way of getting in touch with him? His religion and his faith have nothing to do with his governing. Keep it in church and out of the office.

That's my advice to the people of South Carolina and to the Republican Party who are involved in this mess. It would be the same advice I would give to any Democratic individual in the same circumstances.

But here is Jon Stewart's take.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Mark Sanford Consults the Old Testament
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorJason Jones in Iran

Monday, June 29, 2009

Pres. Obama Meets with LGBT Activists at White House

Today Pres. Obama met with LGBT activists at the White House and addressed their concerns about all the issues on the list including DOMA and DADT. It was a reception for LGBT Pride Month and the President and First Lady were hosting a reception for the families and individuals involved in furthering these issues.

Pres. Obama addressed several individuals who were there and recognized them for their work and their sacrifice. I can't remember the names but they are in the video which I will be attaching.

I thought it was a great talk, it seemed to be well received and I think he answered all the questions that have been asked. Pres. Obama is trying to get things done, but there is a process that has to be gone through. Help him, and keep him honest and keep Congress honest and their feet to the fire.

Call your Congress person and let them know you want this overturned by them through a law. A stop loss would be great, but if this is done, it gives Congress an excuse to not act. That's why the President doesn't want to use this method and wants Congress to be forced to act. Please help him to help the LGBT end DADT.

President Obama addresses LGBT at White House I have added the video below or you can click on that link, it will take you to the C-Span site which will allow you to watch the video of it. I think it is worth the time, and as soon as it is up I will post it.

White House Floats Story of Indefinite Detention

In a story from the Washington Post Saturday that I considered a float, was a notice that the White House was considering an Executive Order for Indefinite Detention of the detainees in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Now, according to Ben La Bolt, who is a "White House spokesman" there is NO "executive order and that the administration has not decided whether to issue one. But one administration official suggested that the White House is already trying to build support for an order." That's a direct quote from the story.

It goes on to say:

"Civil liberties groups have encouraged the administration, that if a prolonged detention system were to be sought, to do it through executive order," the official said. Such an order could be rescinded and would not block later efforts to write legislation, but civil liberties groups generally oppose long-term detention, arguing that detainees should be prosecuted or released.

This makes perfect sense to me, however to others I guess it doesn't. We have a bunch of spineless cowards in Congress. Look how they have been acting over this mess at Guantanamo Bay. They refused to give the President the money he needed to close the facility, which would be used for trials, moving the prisoners here to the mainland, for guarding, for investigations, but the cowards just wouldn't do it.

Then they started talking and moving toward passing legislation making Guantanamo Bay permanent and not closing it at all. After blocking the money by a vote in the Senate 90 to 6 and in the House 213 to 212, that speaks volumes as to the support he can count on from Congress.

When he ignored them and transferred Ahmed Ghailani, to face capital charges in the 1998 East Africa bombings it marked the first time a detainee who is not an American citizen has been brought from the prison in Cuba to the United States.

Human rights groups, which earlier expressed dismay about President Obama's announcement that some suspects would be tried in reformed military commissions, welcomed Ghailani's transfer. But Republicans and some military groups, who were cheered by the prospect of renewed military tribunals, sharply attacked the decision to hold any trials in the United States.

Mitch McConnell,(KY,R idiot) also questioned whether Obama has the authority to transfer detainees, saying, "There's an argument that existing law prohibits bringing terrorists into the United States." He declined to say whether Congress would consider further action to stop the administration from bringing other detainees here.

In his briefing to reporters, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs ignored questions about whether moving Ghailani to New York essentially bypassed Congress. He insisted the timing of the move was driven by a desire for justice in a case that dates back more than 10 years.

Some in Congress also remain vehemently opposed to resettling in the United States any detainees who have been ordered released by the courts, a stance that has complicated efforts to persuade U.S. allies to accept some inmates who cannot be sent home because of fear of torture or execution. Some European allies are reluctant to resettle detainees unless the United States does the same, forcing the administration to turn elsewhere.

That's exactly the problem. How can we expect other countries to take these people when we won't take them here. For example the 17 Chinese Uighurs cleared for release from Guantanamo Bay, are considered completely harmless, in fact 4 of them are now in the Bahamas and are living the high life we have recently seen, and no one seems to be afraid or bothered by them. Yet we had a NIMBY problem here, and no one wanted these peaceful men in their neighborhoods.

What cowards we have become. But we expect other countries to take our problems off our hands. Then we have this problem, Yasir Esam Hamdi, who was captured in Afghanistan in 2001, was detained at Guantanamo Bay until it was discovered he was a U.S. citizen. He was then moved to military facilities in the United States and then transferred to Saudi Arabia. Why was he not tried and put in prison right here in the United States? If he was a citizen it looks to me like he should have been tried for probably treason if he was fighting for the so called enemy and that would have been it. But why send him to another country?

I think it is again because we are a country of COWARDS. However we have a president that is a brave man, who is willing to take heat and take the criticism from a lot of people around him for this in order to try to get these people processed. To try to hold off Congress from passing a law tying his hands on closing Guantanamo Bay, he is willing to sign an Executive Order, putting them all, all 229 or so, left there in Indefinite Detention, so he has room to work.

The Justice Department has declined to comment on the prospects for a long-term detention system while internal reviews of Guantanamo detainees' cases are underway. One task force, which is assessing detainee policy, is expected to complete its work by July 21.

They are working on trying to figure out exactly what evidence they have against each of the detainees. Some of it is good, some not so good. When Pres. Obama first sent AG Holder to Cuba to look things over and some of the other attorneys had reported back they had made the statements the files were a mess. That's what is taking so long to review these cases.

I think that was deliberate, in order to make it harder or even more impossible to process these people, through trial and/or free them. Some of these people are just innocent and need to be freed, but if the files are not clear, or the evidence is tainted and would have to be reviewed before it could ever be used in court.

Some of these people, have been tortured and therefore maybe never can be tried. If so what to do with them. Can we just let them go? It is hard to say, it seems if they have been held for a long time, and some of them were only picked up because someone had a grudge against them and turned them in for money. Yes, there was a reward system by the Bush Administration.. remember the Deck of Cards he put out.. Well, a lot of the people in Guantanamo just might be the results of those.

Such detainees -- those at Guantanamo and those who may be captured in the future -- would also have the right to legal representation during confinement and access to some of the information that is being used to keep them behind bars. Anyone detained under this order would have a right to challenge his detention before a judge.

Officials say the plan would give detainees more rights and allow them a better chance than they have now at Guantanamo to one day end their indefinite incarceration.

This is much better than anything they had during the Bush Mis-Administration, and would be better than some say they are getting now. It would remove the stain that is Guantanamo Bay, by closing it, moving the guards, and giving the people there a chance for due process.

Call me a fool, but I still have faith and belief in our President. Yes, we have been crapped on, lied to and pushed around for 8 years. But, we have got to believe we are on the right track, and if we don't start believing in someone now, and start having trust in our President just a little, we might as well just give up and expect the right wingers to take over everything.

That's not something I am ready to do. I am not saying, close your eyes and be blind. But, do we have to just automatically assume everything he does is as bad as what Bush did? Can't we look a little deeper and see the possibility that there maybe some good in there?

I guess I am just a bit of an optimist, or try to be, and I want there to be a good side. Let there be a bit of light in the darkness.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Today is HIV/AIDS Testing Day. Do You Know Your Status?

Three years ago a US Senator and his wife were tested for HIV/AIDS to prove a point and wanted to share that with everyone today.

Not only that but to help remind everyone that today is testing day. Do you know your status? Only by knowing your status can we be sure we aren't spreading HIV/AIDS.

Did you know that 1 in 5 people don't know they are infected. Yes, that's true. That's a lot of people who are walking around infected with the HIV/AIDS infection and not aware of it, not getting treatment and possibly passing it along to others.

This is personal to me, I lost a brother to HIV/AIDS, so I want everyone to be aware, get tested and be safe. I have been tested over the years, it is easy, takes just a matter of seconds, then you just wait for the results. Now that doesn't take long either.

But, don't take my word for it.. listen to this former Senator and watch he and his wife get tested.

Oh, you can find testing centers near you by clicking here or text KNOWIT to 566948.

And to learn more about HIV testing and what you can do to spread the message, visit cdc.gov and aids.gov.

There really is no excuse. Just do it, as they say. Be safe, stay safe, for you and for the ones you love.

The President's Weekly Address

An historic bill passed this week. Actually late yesterday afternoon, early evening. The Waxman/Markey Bill or the Energy Bill or as the President called it as Jobs, Jobs, Jobs Bill... The vote count was 219 to 212.

There were 8 republicans for it and 44 democrats against it. Believe it or not, the President actually had republican support for a bill he was for. I am sure they will be drawn and quartered by this morning, if not sooner.

This is a start, and a step toward a cleaner future. It was't a perfect bill, but it did have the support of several groups who pushed to get if passed and I am sure will be pushing the Senate when they come back after the 4th of July.

You should try to read it and then push your Senator also. It is not going to be an easy push to get it passed, as you can see by the House vote.

Here is the President.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The True Story Behind Psychology’s Role in Torture

I have thought about this for a couple of days before I posted it. This is something I have wondered about, yet had known there had to be a reason for.

How did Bush & Company find the psychologists and the know how to reverse engineer the SERE program into the Torture program they have been using? This has been bothering me. Well I stumbled onto something that answered the question and it really bothers me.

I always said that no matter where the chips fell they should be picked up and punished along with everyone. Is this possibly why there is a hesitancy on the part of Congress to move forward with hearings?

I am talking about a very senior Senator, Democratic Hawaiian who is responsible. Yes, you know who I mean, just from saying that. Daniel Inouye and his staff helped the Bush administration find the group who would set up the Torture for them.

Yes, that is a hard charge, but it comes from none other than the American Physcologicol Association. They have released a series of articles outlining their findings of internal investigations which show this.

From one which I read dated June 16th, (told you I had been thinking about this a few days) Brant Welch writes this:

A seventeen-year-old boy is locked in an interrogation cell in Guantanamo. He breaks down crying and says he wants his family. The interrogator senses the boy is psychologically vulnerable and consults with a psychologist. The psychologist has evaluated the boy prior to the questioning and says, “Tell him his family has forgotten him.” The psychologist also prescribes “linguistic isolation” (not letting him have contact with anyone who speaks his language.) The boy attempts suicide a few weeks later. On the eve of the boy’s trial, the psychologist apparently fearing her testimony will only further implicate her, indicates she will plead the Fifth Amendment if she is called to the stand. The trial is postponed, leaving the boy in further limbo.
The military psychologist is merely a foot soldier in psychology’s participation in torture. It goes much deeper. We now know that psychologists helped design and implement significant segments of George Bush’s torture program. Despite their credo, “Above all, do no harm,” two psychologists developed instruments of psychological torture. They “reversed engineered” psychological principles. They used the very therapeutic interventions psychologists use to ameliorate psychological suffering, but “reversed” their direction to create psychological distress and instability. If one’s reality sense is threatened, a good therapist validates and supports it as appropriate. In reverse engineering, the environment is deliberately made more confusing and the victim’s trust in his own perceptions is intentionally undermined. In extreme form, this can ultimately drive a person to insanity from which some never come back. These were the types of techniques that were used on the seventeen-year-old detainee and others.

That was really chilling for me, because it says the so called doctor was a woman and I really have a hard time with a woman being this cruel. But then I have a hard time with any woman being cruel, especially to a child, and a 17 year old is still a child. To knowingly try to drive a child to the brink of insanity is just beyond belief to me.

But there is more.

Military psychologists also colluded with the Justice Department to help CIA operatives circumvent the legal prohibitions against torture. Under the Justice Department definition of torture, if a detainee was sent to a psychologist for a mental health evaluation prior to interrogation it was per se evidence that the interrogator had no legal intent to torture the detainee because the referral “demonstrated concern” for the welfare of the detainee.
Most remarkably of all, this whole process occurred under a protective “ethical” seal from the American Psychological Association (APA), psychologists’ largest national organization. The APA governance repeatedly rejected calls from its membership for APA to join other health organizations in declaring participation in Bush detention center interrogations unethical.
Most psychologists are appalled at what the APA has done, and many, like me, have resigned from the APA. But the true story behind APA’s involvement with torture has not been fully told.
I have had ample opportunity to observe both the inner workings of the APA and the personalities and organizational vicissitudes that have affected it over the last two decades. For most of the twenty-year period from 1983 to 2003, I either worked inside the APA central office as the first Executive Director of the APA Practice Directorate, or I served in various governance positions, including Chair of the APA Board of Professional Affairs and member of the APA Council of Representatives. Since leaving APA I have maintained a keen interest in the organization.
The transformation of APA, in the past decade, from a historically liberal organization to an authoritarian one that actively assists in torture has been an astonishing process. As with many usurpations of democratic liberal values, the transformation was accomplished by a surprisingly small number of people. APA is an invaluable case study in the psychological manipulations that influence our governmental and non-governmental institutions.
To explain APA’s behavior two questions have to be answered. First, how did the APA develop the connections with the military that fostered the shameful role it has played in torture? Second, why did the APA governance not join other health professions in prohibiting participation in the Bush Administration’s “enhanced interrogations,” as APA’s rank and file members were demanding?

The emphasis is mine. First the italics because I thought you should see that this is important, they engineered this to try to be legal. I am not going to say it was legal because I truly don't think it was. I don't care how many attorney's they had say it was or write memo's. NO I am not an attorney either. But, just writing a memo doesn't make something legal.

The next part in bold, I wanted you to see because I think it is important to note that NOT all of the Psychologists believe in this nonsense. As you can see. These were as is the case of the so called "few bad apples" in the military. Because I don't believe that all of the members of the CIA, members of the military, or even all of the members of the Bush Administration, (choke) believed in this or participated in this.

But, lets get to the meat of the article. The APA-military connection This is a long section but it is too important to leave any of it out. This makes the connection between The Senator from Hawaii and the BushCo.

One source of APA’s military connections is obvious to anyone who has worked at APA over the last twenty-five years. Strangely, it has been overlooked by the media. Since the early 1980’s, APA has had a unique relationship with Hawaii Senator Daniel Inouye’s office. Inouye was an honored WWII veteran, a Japanese American who himself was a medical volunteer in the midst of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. He entered office in 1962. For much of the ’70s, he was Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Later he became, and is currently, the chair of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, which, of course, makes up the largest chunk of federal discretionary spending and is why economists often split discretionary government funding into defense spending versus “everything else.” This appropriations committee covers not only all of the armed forces but the CIA as well. Put succinctly, Inouye controls the military purse strings, and is very influential with military brass.
One of Inouye’s administrative assistants, psychologist Patrick Deleon, has long been active in the APA and served a term in 2000 as APA president. For significant periods of time DeLeon has literally directed APA staff on federal policy matters and has dominated the APA governance on political matters. For over twenty-five years, relationships between the APA and the Department of Defense (DOD) have been strongly encouraged and closely coordinated by DeLeon.

Inouye himself has served as an apologist for the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp (”Gitmo”) since the inception of the War on Terror. In a press briefing at the U.S. State Department, held shortly after his trip to Gitmo in February of 2002, Inouye affirmed Rumsfeld’s propagandist vision of the site, and then remarked: “Watching our men and women treat these detainees was rather impressive. They would go out of their way to be considerate. …”
From what we know now, that is true, but not in the benevolent way Inouye implied. Inouye’s comments bore a chilling similarity to Barbara Bush’s famous comments about the alleged good fortune of Katrina victims, in the Houston Astrodome. The detainees, he said, are being treated “in some ways better than we treat our people.” (R. Burns, Associated Press, 2002). And he compared the Guantanamo climate to Hawaii’s. (It is “somewhat warmer.”)
More significantly, it was Inouye who recently stripped the funding needed for closing Gitmo from a supplemental appropriations bill. This “Inouye Amendment,” threw a stick in the spokes of any U.S. movement away from the worst of global war on terror policies. In announcing the funding cut, Inouye’s press release was a remarkable illustration of Orwellian “newspeak,” ostensibly supporting the very opposite of what he was doing:
“But let me be clear. We need to close the Guantanamo prison. Yes, it is a fine facility. I, too, have visited the site. Yes, the detainees are being well cared for. Our servicemen and servicewomen are doing great work. But the fact of the matter is Guantanamo is a symbol of the wrongdoings which have occurred, and we must eliminate that connection.” (Inouye, Press Release May 20, 2009).

DeLeon’s connection with Inouye is not by any means the only APA connection with defense interests. In 1951 the military established The Human Resource Research Organization (HumRRO) to develop techniques for “psychological warfare.” HumRRO was run by psychologist Dr. Meredith Crawford who spent ten years as APA treasurer and was deeply involved in APA activities for three decades. Crawford’s former student, Raymond Fowler, became Chief Executive Officer of APA in 1989 and stayed in that position until 2003. Today, fifty-five percent of HumRRO’s budget comes from the military.
As CEO, Fowler hired his two most important lieutenants from HumRRO, Chief Financial Officer, Charles “Jack” McKay, and in-house attorney, James McHugh. Both men have now, after lengthy APA tenures, left the APA and returned to HumRRO in very senior roles. McHugh is Chairman of the HumRRO Board of Trustees and McKay is Vice-Chairman and Treasurer. The current President of HumRRO, psychologist William Strickland, has been an outspoken supporter of APA’s policies on the torture issue. He served on the APA Council of Representatives throughout the APA deliberations on torture.
Whether and how the longstanding relationships and frequent circulation of key personnel between APA and HumRRO positions have shaped APA’s involvement with the military is unclear, but given recent events, it certainly warrants more careful scrutiny than it has received from psychologists. In fact, I do not believe many psychologists are even aware of these relationships.
Regardless of HumRRO’s role, however, as psychologists, most APA governance members have little Washington political experience. For them, Patrick DeLeon, because of his connection with Inouye, is perceived as a canny psychology politician and political force on Capitol Hill. Regardless of the accuracy of that perception, I have no reason to think DeLeon is a corrupt or evil person. Instead, from my perspective, the most interesting aspect of DeLeon has always been his apparent preoccupation with issues of status for psychologists, irrespective of the issues’ actual significance either for psychologists or the public.
DeLeon wanted to make sure a psychologist, not just physicians, for example, would be eligible to fill this or that position in the Veteran’s Administration, and he campaigned for years for VA psychologists to receive a minuscule pay increase when they became board certified. On the whole, I found these matters harmless and of at least some marginal benefit to people. Using funding from the Department of Defense he has also launched a campaign for psychologists to be given legal rights to prescribe psychiatric medications.
The torture issue is, of course, quite different. Viewed through the eyes of DeLeon’s adherents, psychology’s new found role as architects of a central component of the war on terror was a tremendous “victory” for the field of psychology. That it involved torture was peripheral, obscured by the headiness of being involved in high-level, important, clandestine government affairs. In discussions about APA’s role in the interrogations, a senior member of the APA governance described himself as “addicted” to the television show 24. Now he had his own reality TV show.
DeLeon’s influence in the APA and with many individual psychologists, especially those from Hawaii, came in very handy for Inouye in his efforts to support the Department of Defense. When the military needed a mental health professional to help implement its interrogation procedures, and the other professions subsequently refused to comply, the military had a friend in Senator Inouye’s office, one that could reap the political dividends of seeds sown by DeLeon over many years.While we are only now uncovering the names of the individuals who participated most directly in the interrogations, I think a surprising number of them will turn out to be people brought into the military through Inouye’s office, many by DeLeon himself.

Smoking gun anyone? Sure looks like it connects all the dots. It is very disturbing. This is a war veteran from WWII, someone who should have been aware of all the ramifacations of Torture and what it does to people and what happens to the people who practice it. He was alive and there for the trials after WWII, after Korea, after Viet Nam. Saw what happened to everyone who was involved and he helped in this way. I can't understand it.

There is a lot more. But, rather than post it all here I will let you go read it for yourself. The blog is called Psyche, Science, and Society and his post is called Welch: Torture, Psychology, and Daniel Inouye, there is another part of this that can be read under the title of APA board makes major statement on Torture, it is also a must read about this.

This now starts to make sense and opens my eyes about how and why the APA got involved in the Torture program. How doctors could do this, could stand by and forget their basic motto of "First Do No Harm" is beyond me. How a woman, a mother could stand by or be involved and do this is beyond me. I can't imagine inflicting pain, physical, mental to the point of death or insanity on anyone.

To me that shows that there is something really wrong with you. It is easy for some to sit here and say yeah, they could do it or they don't see anything wrong with it, but to actually be the one with the hand on the hot iron, so to speak. That is something completely different.

Let me know what you think of this. Do you think this may be why Congress isn't pushing harder on these hearings and investigations? They are really afraid of where the chips are going to fall?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Washington Post's Newest Gamble, Men in Tights

I don't know what to say about this other than YUCKY! This has to be one of the most disgusting pieces of trash I have seen in a while. Well it isn't really a piece of trash.. just disgusting and useless..


For one I can't stand Dana Milbank. He is about the most worthless writer that Washington Post has. Chris Cillizza is a little better, and his appearances on MSNBC are most tolerable.

But, you don't have to take my word for it. I am not the only one who is panning this video. Digby and Crooks & Liars are both shooting it down too.

TPM just calls it an experiment. I would say it is an experiment and it failed..lol

It is just strange, 2 grown men playing dress up and making fun of others...not sure how that is going to work out for them.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

John McCain Has No Credibility On Iran

Crooks & Liars has a piece from Democracy Now featuring Kouross Esmaeli talking about Iran and the attacks on the President.

According to him, John McCain has no credibility on this topic. Of course I don't think he has much credibility about anything, but that's another story.

Watch here, then I will put in the transcript and break it down a little.

JUAN GONZALEZ: I’d like to ask you about the statement—President Obama is now under fire from the right for not speaking out more forcefully on behalf of the Iranian protesters. He responded to this charge in an interview on CBS News Friday.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The last thing that I want to do is to have the United States be a foil for those forces inside Iran who would love nothing better than to make this an argument about the United States. That’s what they do. That’s what we’re already seeing. We shouldn’t be playing into that. There should be no distractions from the fact that the Iranian people are seeking to let their voices be heard. What we can do is bear witness and say to the world that the incredible demonstrations that we’ve seen is a testimony to, I think, what Dr. King called the “arc of the moral universe.” It’s long, but it bends towards justice.

JUAN GONZALEZ: That was President Obama on Sunday. Kouross Esmaeli, Iranian American journalist and filmmaker, your response to the criticism of President Obama from the right, in terms of his inaction on the issue of the election in Iran?

KOUROSS ESMAELI: What is interesting about the criticisms that are coming from the right is that it’s been coming primarily from Senator John McCain. The Iranians know Senator John McCain as the man who sang “Bomb, bomb Iran” during the elections of last year. The man holds no credibility as far as supporting Iranians or seeming like he’s got the best interests of the Iranians at heart. And that, for Iranians and for this issue, that discredits him altogether and discredits this whole attack on President Obama.

President Obama’s stand, I think, has been the most sensible, and it’s amazing that the President of the United States is taking such a sensible stand. And that—everyone I’ve talked to in Iran has said the same thing, that we do not need any symbol of Western, especially American, interference in Iran’s internal politics. And the fact that America does not have diplomatic relations with Iran really ties its hand, as far as how far he can go in really supporting Iran. So the only thing they can do is to just scream as loud as they can, which will be immediately used by the Iranian authorities.

AMY GOODMAN: Kouross Esmaeli, give us a brief history lesson. Talk about why especially the sensitivity to the United States interfering with Iran.

KOUROSS ESMAELI: The Western presence in Iran has been there for about 200 years, from the British and the Russian, who took parts of Iran under control up to World War II. And after World War II, it was the US that stepped in and started supporting the Shah of Iran as their favorite dictator in the Middle East. There was a coup d’├ętat against a popularly elected prime minister that had come in to nationalize Iranian oil. And that has really remained within the Iranian consciousness ever since, ever since 1953, and Iranians harbor deep mistrust for the US, that was seen as orchestrating a coup against their popularly elected leadership. And in 1979, when the Islamic Revolution took place, the biggest sort of fear of the Iranian people was a repeat of the coup d’├ętat. And that’s why the—that’s a large reason why the hostage crisis took place. They took hostages to make sure that the US does not come in, invade, orchestrate another coup again. And that has remained the dynamic within the Iran-US relations: mistrust on both sides.

And at this point that the US does not have diplomatic relations, it really makes no sense for any administration to get political points for seeming like they’re standing up with some demonstrators somewhere in order to score points with their constituents here. Over the weekend—and what’s amazing is the way the media in the US has been really helping spin this for the Republican right wing. I mean, there were images on CNN and Fox over the weekend of President Obama, I think, buying ice cream for his daughters while the demonstrators in Iran were fighting for their democracy. And they were likening that to President Bush when he was playing golf right after he invaded Iraq and equating the two. It was like, how heartless could Obama be, when he could be—I don’t know what he could be doing in order to support Iranians. I think he did the best thing he could do in order to support the Iranians.

The emphasis is their's, but I think it is great. I have been calling him Bomber McCain ever since he has been on TeeVee asking for the president to say more and get stronger. What he expects the president to say, I am not sure. No one bothers to ask him that.

And for the last part, the media has been so complicit in this attack on the president. Asking him if he should be playing golf, going out for dinner, going out for ice cream with his daughters. What do they think he should be doing? The man has to be able to relax and have a life once in a while. He does have a family and he needs to be able to be with them.

Most of the so called smart people think he has handled the Iran situation just fine. It's just the saber rattlers who are saying he hasn't handled this in the correct manner. That and the rethuglicans who are trying to score political points.

For another take on this check out K's blog, he has a post up where he says the President has it just right.

That's my take on it anyway. These people just want to go against the president on anything they can, and so if he says green, they say blue. That's what is happening.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The AMA Weighs in on Health Care

I got this from a friend of mine as a joke..but I think it really fits the game plan we have been seeing and so I thought I would post it. I got a good laugh out of it and hope you all do too.

The American Medical Association has Weighed in on the Health Care Reform

The Allergists voted to scratch it, but the Dermatologists advised not to make any rash moves.

The Gastroenterologists had sort of a gut feeling about it, but the Neurologists thought the Administration had a lot of nerve.

The Obstetricians felt they were all laboring under a misconception.

Ophthalmologists considered the idea shortsighted.

Pathologists yelled, "Over my dead body!" while the Pediatricians said, 'Oh, Grow up!'

The Psychiatrists thought the whole idea was madness, while the Radiologists could see right through it.

Surgeons decided to wash their hands of the whole thing.

The Internists thought it was a bitter pill to swallow, and the Plastic Surgeons said, "This puts a whole new face on the matter."

The Podiatrists thought it was a step forward, but the Urologists were pissed off at the whole idea.

The Anesthesiologists thought the whole idea was a gas, and the Cardiologists didn't have the heart to say no.

In the end, the Proctologists won out, leaving the entire decision up to the assholes in Washington .

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Gays and Marriage, Bill Maher, New Rules, 06-19-09,

Last nights New Rules were pretty good. Bill had some very valid points about our members of Congress and the members of the Democratic party.

We knew who Barack Obama was when we voted him into office, or we should have. Anyone who thought he was any different than a centrist or a pragmatist really didn't know Barack Obama. If they thought he was a bleeding heart liberal, they hadn't been paying attention.

The Republicans and McCain did everything they could to try to paint him that way, calling him the most liberal, the farthest left of anyone, and it went on and on. The scare factor of the Republicans is always high, and to a certain extent it worked. People still think that, and believe he is betraying them, because he isn't doing what they believe he stood for. Well he didn't stand for a lot of the things they think he did, he never said he was for same sex marriage, he has always said he was for civil unions, but he always wanted the same civil rights for all, no matter the sexual orientation.

I may disagree with him, and so may lots of others, but he isn't saying you can't get married, he is just saying that is his belief, and he says that shouldn't be a federal law. Which is why he wants DOMA struck down by legislation through Congress, which it has to be done. He can't just do an Executive Order, which everyone needs to realize.

DADT is another one. This is NOT something that can be changed by Executive Order. Oh, I know people think it can, but they are naive, and need to educate themselves. This has to be done by law, through Congress. That is the only way it can be changed. That is because it is a law, not just a policy. If it had been enacted through an Executive Order, then the president could just overturn it with the stroke of his pen, but Bill Clinton signed it into law, with an act of Congress, therefore it takes an Act of Congress to overturn it or the Supreme Court.

UPDATE Here is the relevant article you need to look at, Only congress or the SCOTUS can do anything about DADT. Congress must repeal or supersede 10 U.S.C. § 654.

So, rail against the president all you want, protest in the street, yell, scream say he is breaking a promise, but you look like a fool unless you know what you are talking about. And you don't.


I think it is time to ask yourselves that question. Listen to what Bill Maher has to say, he is really spot on with his statements here..

Pres. Obama's Weekly Address

This week the president introduced his plan to re-regulate the financial industry. This is needed due to the breakdown of the banking system last year. After the last 30 years of De-Regulation following Reaganomics we need to get back to some common sense rules of the road.

Less government has hurt us in so many ways. I don't have to list the ways. We all know what it has cost us, if we just look around.

Listen to what our president says, he knows what we voted for, he really gets it. In this talk this morning, he reminds us and himself that we sent him there, because we wanted the change he promised us, more government, more regulation, more of what he is doing.

So, tell me why is anyone surprised at anything that he has done? Isn't he doing just exactly what we sent him there to do? What we asked him to do? Yet, he is the one that got the shitty end of the deal, he ended up having the worst financial disaster since the Great Depression dumped on him, because of Reaganomics and De-Regulations.

We have to stand behind him and support him. He needs our help in this and in the health care reform. I can't believe the way people are walking back from him, just because they think they aren't getting enough attention. What the heck do you think want from this man?

Each of us would love for him to drop all of the things he is doing and just focus on our issue, but he can't. He has to focus on all of them.

Here is our President, FIRED UP, Ready to go..

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Pres. Obama has Not Betrayed LGBT, But Congress Has

This is another take on the story from a gay attorney on the issue of Pres. Obama and how he has "sold out" the LGBT on the issues. I have maintained and posted and argued that just isn't true. But, here is someone with maybe a little more authority than me.

Obama hasn't left us

Then, this past Friday, I awoke to word at AmericaBlog, the Web site of gay activist blogger John Aravosis, that "Obama defends DOMA in federal court" and "invokes incest and marrying children." I was appalled. Aravosis also wrote in another post that the DOJ was "lying" when it said that Justice "generally ... defend[s] the law on the books in court." Then I looked at the brief. I agreed with Aravosis that the brief went too far in some of the language it used in its defense of the statute. But, looking at the law and past cases, I disagreed that the Obama administration had a real choice about whether it would defend DOMA in court and that DOJ's brief "compared us" to incest and pedophilia. And, because some in the community have kept pushing those stories -- despite contrary opinions from Laurence Tribe, Nan Hunter, Robert Raben and others -- I've spent the past week attempting to dispute those claims..

It is clear that the brief defending DOMA, despite whatever legal and political realities might underlie its filing, struck a nerve with the LGBT community. It was an old nerve -- Clinton's DOMA signing -- scraped raw once again. People have felt genuinely, personally injured by the very fact that the brief was filed, and their defenses have led them to fight. But the brief is not reason enough for a rupture between President Obama and the gay community. For those who believe in full equality for LGBT people in our country, it's time to move the discussion beyond the fight over that DOMA brief.

Wednesday night, President Obama -- sitting in the Oval Office with Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solomonese and out gay Reps. Tammy Baldwin and Barney Frank, among others, behind him -- took the first step toward moving the discussion forward. He signed a memorandum ordering agency and department heads to, among other steps, "extend the benefits they have respectively identified to qualified same-sex domestic partners of Federal employees" where possible under current law. Even Michelangelo Signorile, the longtime LGBT activist who once outed then-closeted Pentagon spokesman Pete Williams to point out the first Bush administration's hypocrisy, agreed that these actions have shown that "we have made our point."

I think we have made our point. Fair, consistent, vocal criticism leveled against those who do not help advance LGBT equality works. Whether spread on the Internet or across statehouses or at a march, we have shown -- and they have shown -- that our voices send a strong message to this White House. Rep. John McHugh, the Army secretary nominee, himself has issued a statement affirming his desire to change the law that doesn't allow gay people to serve openly in the military.

Wednesday's events made it clear once again that the Obama administration has heard us. The administration has taken a step forward, and so should we. Demonizing Obama or openly gay leaders like Frank, Baldwin or Solomonese (which is not the same as fairly criticizing them when we disagree with their actions) is not the way to move the ball forward.

Despite criticisms of Obama's memorandum issued Wednesday, it was a solid, if small, step forward in which he shared with the nation his desire to see DOMA repealed and, before that even, the Domestic Partner Benefits and Obligations Act passed in Congress. As Rep. Baldwin explained Wednesday evening on "The Rachel Maddow Show," Obama's voiced support for the bill sends a strong signal to Congress -- one that she believes will help propel the bill forward.

I am not saying we don't have to hold his feet to the fire, but as I have pointed out before, Pres. Obama is just ONE part of this chain. He can't do this alone. It is very easy for people to say, "oh, he can just sign an executive order and fix it", well, no he can't. DADT and DOMA are LAWS, and they have to be overturned by LAWS, and that takes action by Congress, so as I have pointed out before, call your congress person.

We have 2 openly gay people in Congress, Reps. Tammy Baldwin and Barney Frank, and yet neither of them are pushing any kind of legislation through for either of these laws to get them overturned.

If you are gay, and you feel betrayed, why don't you contact them? They are betraying you much more than Pres. Obama is. How long are you going to wait for them to act in your behalf? Pres. Obama, once again, stated he would sign the legislation when it got to him, that's what he is supposed to do. Now, the ball is back in Congresses lap. Get him a bill.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Urgent All Hands: Daschle/Dole compromise

This post from DailyKos is what I have been talking about. Read it and then tell me I am crazy. This is what we have to do. It goes right along with what I have posted below and what I have posted before.

If we don't stay after this we won't have health care for all this year, and we can't let this happen. We have to stay after our Congressional leaders.

Thanks all.

Urgent All Hands: Daschle/Dole compromise & HELP Comm. needs spine & calls [Update]

Posted using ShareThis

New Poll Shows Tremendous Support for Public Option Health Care

There has been a lot of talk about how people don't really want a Public Option Health Care. Well this poll, EBRI, shows that is wrong.

According to this poll, which was sponsored by several businesses which you wouldn't think of as being the ones doing the study, finds that 83% want a public option.

The list of businesses are a diverse group including insurance companies, telecommunication companies, oil companies and others. Here is the list from the site.

This survey was made possible with support from AARP, American Express, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Buck Consultants, Chevron, Deere & Company, IBM, Mercer, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, Principal Financial Group, Schering-Plough Corp., Shell Oil Company, The Commonwealth Fund, and Towers Perrin.

Not exactly who you would think of when you think of someone supporting the option the President wants for all Americans now is it. And not exactly what I would call a "Liberal" group.

Here are the numbers for your perusal:

Do you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose, or strongly oppose the following:
Creating a new public health insurance plan that anyone can purchase:
• Strongly support—53 percent
• Somewhat support—30 percent
• Somewhat oppose—5 percent
• Strongly oppose—9 percent
Having national rules requiring insurance companies to cover all people, regardless of their health problems:
• Strongly support—55 percent
• Somewhat support—25 percent
• Somewhat oppose—9 percent
• Strongly oppose—9 percent
Expanding government programs, such as Medicare or Medicaid:
• Strongly support—45 percent
• Somewhat support—30 percent
• Somewhat oppose—9 percent
• Strongly oppose—12 percent
Requiring all employers to pay toward subsidized health insurance for employees:
• Strongly support—42 percent
• Somewhat support—33 percent
• Somewhat oppose—10 percent
• Strongly oppose—12 percent
Requiring everyone to participate in some kind of health insurance plan:
• Strongly support—38 percent
• Somewhat support—30 percent
• Somewhat oppose—13 percent
• Strongly oppose—16 percent

Once again, it is amazing to me how our representatives in Congress can ignore the will and the voices of the people. Yet they are. But, with the amount of money that flows from the insurance companies to our representatives it is not really a surprise, because they don't want anything that might interrupt that cash flow.

So it is up to you, you have to let your voices be heard. Remind your Congress person who they work for.. not the insurance company, but you, you pay their salary, you vote them into office and you can vote them out.

Most of us want this and we need to remind them we do. It is time to let Congress know where we stand.

h/t Bob Cesca

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Remember When the Republicans said the Democrats Hated the Military? UPDATED! UPDATE II

Yeah, I know.. it's supposed to be the proper thing now to say we aren't funding this war effort.. well sorry, you will never hear me say that. We have military in harms way. We have troops who need funding. This needs to be done. I don't want to hear your crap.

I remember this mess from Cindy McCain during the campaign and it made me so angry when she pulled this 2 faced nonsense. John McCain as Senator didn't vote for the GI Bill, and didn't vote for most of the supplementals during his time in the senate. His record on Veteran affairs was terrible. Yet, this is what she said about then Sen. Obama, when he voted against a supplemental bill, because there was no deadline for withdrawl in it.

Cindy McCain today joined in the stepped-up attacks on Democrat Barack Obama.

"I'm proud of my sons, but let me tell you, the day that Senator Obama decided to cast a vote to not fund my son when he was serving sent a cold chill through my body," she said, drawing a chorus of boos.

"Let me tell you: I would suggest that Senator Obama change shoes with me for just one day, and see what it means, and see what it means to have a loved one serving in the armed forces, and more importantly, serving in harm's way."

McCain, who said Tuesday that Obama has "waged the dirtiest campaign in American history," is referring to a vote that Obama cast last year against a defense funding bill because it did not include a timeline for pulling out of Iraq. He subsequently voted for a version that included a timetable.

Jimmy McCain, then 18, served with the Marines in Iraq last year before returning in February.

Now, lets see what happens when the new bill comes up for vote tonight or tomorrow in the house and the senate. Will Sen. McCain vote for the new supplemental bill? Or will he stand in lock step with the rest of the hypocritical republicans and let his sons stand on the battlefield with no money?

UPDATE As of 5:43 PM CDT, June 16, 2009 the bill had passed the House 226 to 202. Now it is on to the Senate to see what they will do.

UPDATE II Around 5:00 PM CDT June 19,2009 the bill passed the Senate with a vote 91-5, voting against the bill were Sens. Tom Coburn, R-Okla.; Jim DeMint, R-S.C.; Mike Enzi, R-Wyo.; Russ Feingold, D-Wis.; and Bernard Sanders, I-Vt.

Finally Torture Architects and Psychologists are Fired

According to ABC news blotter post the two psychologists and architects who helped develop the program of torture for the CIA, and were paid very well for their time doing it, were fired finally.

I say what took so long. If the program of torture stopped in 2004 or so, why were we still paying these guys up till 2009? And at the stunning rate of $1,000 a day. EACH. Yes, that's right, I didn't stutter on that one.

According to the story, the phone number has been disconnected and the address listed for the offices of these guys is now empty. They have also refused to be interviewed and have issued no statements.

Their names are Dr. James Mitchell and Dr. Bruce Jessen, and also according to the "Blotter":

Their firings came during a purge by CIA Director Leon Panetta of all contractors involved in the interrogation program. In early April, Panetta told CIA employees that contractors involved in the interrogation program and secret prisons were being "promptly terminated."


The company had at least 120 employees as of 2007, according to a recent Senate investigation. One former military psychologist tells ABC News that Mitchell & Jessen charged the CIA roughly $500,000 a year for their services. It was this source's understanding that the money was largely tax-free and did not include expenses, which the agency also paid for.

This is just part of the legacy of the Bush/Cheney Mis-Administration. So lets see, $500,000 a year for 8 years, let me do some math here.. That looks like $4,000,000 tax free. Plus expenses, of which I am sure there were many. Look at that again.. That is 4 MILLION Dollars.. But, for what they did, which was stand around and tell people what to do, how to torture people. I would say that was good money. Especially when you take into consideration that they didn't even know what they were doing.

In April, ABC News reported that neither Mitchell nor Jessen, both former military psychologists, who were part of a military training program that taught U.S. soldiers how to withstand harsh interrogation techniques, had any experience in conducting actual interrogations before they were hired by the CIA. The two, and later with additional employees, however, recommended so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques."

Air Force Colonel Steve Kleinman, a former colleague of both Mitchell and Jessen and an expert interrogator, told ABC News that the two knew virtually nothing about conducting interrogations.

"They went to two individuals who had no interrogation experience," said Col. Kleinman. "They are not interrogators."

I, for one am glad these two are off the government payroll, but I have to ask one question.

What the hell took so damn long?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Support David Letterman

Support David Letterman against the lies of Sarah Palin.

Here is a link to the David Letterman support group on FaceBook against the lies of Sarah Palin.

This all started last week when Dave made some questionable jokes about Palin and her daughter. Yes, the jokes were of questionable taste, and yes they were out of line. But the response of Palin was also out of line and in questionable taste.

Dave has walked it back, said he was talking about the 18 year old daughter, who gave birth to a child, and has been in the public eye recently talking about of all things abstinence.

This makes a lot of sense when you have just given birth to a child, out of wedlock, and have no plans at this time to marry the father of your child. Yet, Palin didn't let it drop there, she had to take it one step farther and say that Letterman was talking about her 14 year old daughter.

Then she makes an innuendo of pedophilia toward Letterman, saying she couldn't trust her daughter with him so she wouldn't be able to accept his invitation to appear on his show to accept the apology he was giving.

Then, one of the groups that seem to rabidly follow her attacked Dave and called for his firing and formed a group on Facebook. Already it seems one advertiser has withdrawn.

We have to make sure Dave is supported and can't let Palin win in her vile attempt to bash Dave. He has issued another full apology which will air tonight on his show. It is a gracious and kindly worded apology and should end it all here, if she will let it. Time will tell.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Bill Maher, 1st Panel Discussion

This is the 1st discussion group panel, from Bill Maher's show last night. Tweety, Fran Townshend, former DHS (clueless) under shrub, and the President of the NAACP, Benjamin Todd Jealous, are the panel and finally, FINALLY, someone calls out and speaks the truth, that right wing hate talk radio is generating some of the violence we are seeing.

I may post more later, if they are worthy, Bob Cesca said last night some of these weren't worth watching.


President's Weekly Address June 13, 2009

Weekly Address: Health Care Reform as the Key to Our Fiscal Future

The President has a plan to pay for Health Care and he would like to explain it to you.

Part of the plan is to cut costs and over payments from Medicaid and Medicare and driving down costs contributing to government's health care expenditures across the board.

Read a full fact sheet on the details

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Was Ronald Reagan an Even Worse President Than George W. Bush?

Listening to Morning Joe hawk his book, hearing Newt Gingrich sound bites from last night, Sarah Palin from her introduction speech which borrowed copiously from the Newtster, (and of course the introduction was of none other than the son of Ronald Reagan, Michael,) you would think Ronnie was still alive and running for President again.

The myth that is Ronald Reagan is one that drives me crazy. I lived through the years of Reagan and I truly don't remember him being all that wonderful. There were tax increases, inflation, poverty, higher defense spending, and lots of shady dealings.

Robert Parry has a great piece up at AlterNet about this very thing. I was reading it yesterday and was struck by how he systematically destroys the myth that is Ronald Reagan.

I tried to listen to the President Friday in Germany when he went to Buchenwald and everyone kept wanting to compare him to Reagan. I wanted to throw something at the TeeVee or something. What is it that makes these idiots want to compare Pres. Obama to a former occupant of the White House?

But, getting back to Parry's article. It is pretty lengthy, but it is worth the read I think. Some of the highlights are:

When it came to cutting back on America's energy use, Reagan's message could be boiled down to the old reggae lyric, "Don't worry, be happy." Rather than pressing Detroit to build smaller, fuel-efficient cars, Reagan made clear that the auto industry could manufacture gas-guzzlers without much nagging from Washington.

The same with the environment. Reagan intentionally staffed the Environmental Protection Agency and the Interior Department with officials who were hostile toward regulation aimed at protecting the environment. George W. Bush didn't invent Republican hostility toward scientific warnings of environmental calamities; he was just picking up where Reagan left off.

Reagan pushed for deregulation of industries, including banking; he slashed income taxes for the wealthiest Americans in an experiment known as "supply side" economics, which held falsely that cutting rates for the rich would increase revenues and eliminate the federal deficit.

Over the years, "supply side" would evolve into a secular religion for many on the Right, but Reagan's budget director David Stockman once blurted out the truth, that it would lead to red ink "as far as the eye could see."

Then he takes on the "cold war" myth and the role Reagan played in it.

However, a strong case can be made that the Cold War was won well before Reagan arrived in the White House. Indeed, in the 1970s, it was a common perception in the U.S. intelligence community that the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union was winding down, in large part because the Soviet economic model had failed in the technological race with the West.


Though the Afghan covert operation originated with Cold Warriors in the Carter administration, especially national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, the war was dramatically ramped up under Reagan, who traded U.S. acquiescence toward Pakistan's nuclear bomb for its help in shipping sophisticated weapons to the Afghan jihadists (including a young Saudi named Osama bin Laden).

While Reagan's acolytes cite the Soviet defeat in Afghanistan as decisive in "winning the Cold War," the counter-argument is that Moscow was already in disarray – and while failure in Afghanistan may have sped the Soviet Union's final collapse – it also created twin dangers for the future of the world: the rise of al-Qaeda terrorism and the nuclear bomb in the hands of Pakistan's unstable Islamic Republic.

Trade-offs elsewhere in the world also damaged long-term U.S. interests. In Latin America, for instance, Reagan's brutal strategy of arming right-wing militaries to crush peasant, student and labor uprisings left the region with a legacy of anti-Americanism that is now resurfacing in the emergence of populist leftist governments.

In Nicaragua, for instance, Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega (whom Reagan once denounced as a "dictator in designer glasses") is now back in power. In El Salvador, the leftist FMLN won the latest elections. Indeed, across the region, hostility to Washington is now the rule, creating openings for China, Iran, Cuba and other American rivals.

And now comes the neo-cons and the "librul media" creation we all hear so much about. Yes, Reagan had a hand in that too.

In the early 1980s, Reagan also credentialed a young generation of neocon intellectuals, who pioneered a concept called "perception management," the shaping of how Americans saw, understood and were frightened by threats from abroad.

Many honest reporters saw their careers damaged when they resisted the lies and distortions of the Reagan administration. Likewise, U.S. intelligence analysts were purged when they refused to bend to the propaganda demands from above.

To marginalize dissent, Reagan and his subordinates stoked anger toward anyone who challenged the era's feel-good optimism. Skeptics were not just honorable critics, they were un-American defeatists or – in Jeane Kirkpatrick's memorable attack line – they would "blame America first."

Under Reagan, a right-wing infrastructure also took shape, linking media outlets (magazines, newspapers, books, etc.) with well-financed think tanks that churned out endless op-eds and research papers. Plus, there were attack groups that went after mainstream journalists who dared disclose information that poked holes in Reagan's propaganda themes.

As you can see, Parry pulls no punches and he is literally destroying the myth that is Reagan.. But, it needs to be done. This has gone on so long, people have believed this and bought into this for the last 20 years and it is so wrong.

Now we are going to talk about the economy under Reagan. This is another issue that we hear a lot about. How wonderful it was. Well, I guess that depends on which side of the spectrum you were on.

While he played the role of the nation's kindly grandfather, his operatives divided the American people, using "wedge issues" to deepen grievances especially of white men who were encouraged to see themselves as victims of "reverse discrimination" and "political correctness."

Yet even as working-class white men were rallying to the Republican banner (as so-called "Reagan Democrats"), their economic interests were being savaged. Unions were broken and marginalized; "free trade" policies shipped manufacturing jobs abroad; old neighborhoods were decaying; drug use among the young was soaring.

Meanwhile, unprecedented greed was unleashed on Wall Street, fraying old-fashioned bonds between company owners and employees.

Before Reagan, corporate CEOs earned less than 50 times the salary of an average worker. By the end of the Reagan-Bush-I administrations in 1993, the average CEO salary was more than 100 times that of a typical worker. (At the end of the Bush-II administration, that CEO-salary figure was more than 250 times that of an average worker.)

Many other trends set during the Reagan era continued to corrode the U.S. political process in the years after Reagan left office. After 9/11, for instance, the neocons reemerged as a dominant force, reprising their "perception management" tactics, depicting the "war on terror" – like the last days of the Cold War – as a terrifying conflict between good and evil.

The hyping of the Islamic threat mirrored the neocons' exaggerated depiction of the Soviet menace in the 1980s – and again the propaganda strategy worked. Many Americans let their emotions run wild, from the hunger for revenge after 9/11 to the war fever over invading Iraq.

Arguably, the descent into this dark fantasyland – that Ronald Reagan began in the early 1980s – reached its nadir in the flag-waving early days of the Iraq War. Only gradually did reality begin to reassert itself as the death toll mounted in Iraq and the Katrina disaster reminded Americans why they needed an effective government.

Still, the disasters – set in motion by Ronald Reagan – continued to roll in. Bush's Reagan-esque tax cuts for the rich blew another huge hole in the federal budget and the Reagan-esque anti-regulatory fervor led to a massive financial meltdown that threw the nation into economic chaos.

Love Reagan; Hate Bush

Ironically, George W. Bush has come in for savage criticism, but the Republican leader who inspired Bush's presidency – Ronald Reagan – remained an honored figure, his name attached to scores of national landmarks including Washington's National Airport.

Even leading Democrats genuflect to Reagan. Early in Campaign 2008, when Barack Obama was positioning himself as a bipartisan political figure who could appeal to Republicans, he bowed to the Reagan mystique, hailing the GOP icon as a leader who "changed the trajectory of America."

Though Obama's chief point was that Reagan in 1980 "put us on a fundamentally different path" – a point which may be historically undeniable – Obama went further, justifying Reagan's course correction because of "all the excesses of the 1960s and 1970s, and government had grown and grown, but there wasn't much sense of accountability."

While Obama later clarified his point to say he didn't mean to endorse Reagan's conservative policies Obama seemed to suggest that Reagan's 1980 election administered a needed dose of accountability to the United States when Reagan actually did the opposite. Reagan's presidency represented a dangerous escape from accountability – and reality.

As I said this is a long but great story. I tried to get the biggest and best points out here. However you can read the rest I didn't put in if you want. I didn't leave out much.

Robert Parry is a great writer. He writes at Consortium News and I have mentioned the site before. I think it was Broadway Carl who pointed me in their direction first. He makes no apologies and calls it like he sees it.

I would love to see your responses and hear your opinions. Let me know what you think.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Operation Iraqi Stephen: Going Commando

Yes, the location has now been revealed. Stephen Colbert is in Iraq and will be there all this week. The first of 4 shows will be on tonight.

The NY Times and USA Today both have articles about the show and reveal some details.

From USA Today, comes this:

Apparently, all it took for victory in Iraq was a visit by late-night funnyman Stephen Colbert.
"By the power vested in me by basic cable, I officially declare we have won the Iraq war!" the mock pundit joked before a cheering crowd of about 300 U.S. servicemembers who gathered here on Sunday for a taping of his TV show, The Colbert Report.

Colbert, who has been raising money for charitable organizations that support U.S. troops, had been trumpeting his plan to tape his show before U.S. servicemembers in an undisclosed location. Taking heed of Defense Department security precautions, Colbert would only say in recent shows that, where he was going, "there will be sand and people that wish we would leave."

Before the show, some soldiers wondered whether Colbert, whose TV persona pokes fun at conservative punditry, would dial it down for a military audience.

No way. "He went totally all out," said 1st Lt. Virginia Brickner, 29, of Van Wert, Ohio.

The man who invented the word "truthiness" joked that Iraq must be a pretty nice place, considering many of the servicemembers in the audience "keep coming again, again and again."

"The good news is you have enough frequent flier miles for a trip to Afghanistan," Colbert told the troops, who responded with hearty laughter.

He has been talking this up for weeks, and until clueless Palin said she had taped a message for him to deliver no one really had a clue where he might be going.

Then NY Times also brings up some points and has this to say about the show that were quite funny and interesting:

It was Sunday night in Baghdad, and President Obama was ordering Gen. Ray Odierno, the commander of the American troops here, to shave Stephen Colbert’s head. (Not to give everything away, but the general is not as brutal with an electric razor as one would expect a bald man to be; Mr. Colbert’s hairdresser, on the other hand, has a merciless streak.)

Into this comes Mr. Colbert. He is taping four episodes of “The Colbert Report,” the Comedy Central show featuring his egotistical, fake-macho, nationalist blowhard alter ego, in Baghdad this week. It’s the first time in the history of the U.S.O. that a full-length nonnews show has been filmed, edited and broadcast from a combat zone.

The week of shows, taped a day or two before they are broadcast, is called “Operation Iraqi Stephen: Going Commando,” and it has a pretty fancy guest list (in addition to General Odierno, and the president, whose appearance was taped ahead) that includes Iraq’s deputy prime minister. But there is also something kind of meta about the whole thing. Mr. Colbert’s entire career is based on being gleefully insincere, a man who literally wraps himself in the flag to the screaming of majestic computer-generated eagles.


So it was easy to wonder if, given the setting, he would be a little less mock Bill O’Reilly and a bit more risk-free Rich Little.

Any doubt was dispersed the minute Mr. Colbert ran out onstage wearing a business suit made of Army camouflage and, shortly afterward, declared himself the only person man enough finally to declare victory in Iraq. (General Odierno, whom Mr. Colbert compared to Shrek, diplomatically talked that declaration down.)


“Think of certain reporters who lose themselves in their own self-importance and accidentally give away troop movements and get kicked out of the country,” he said in a not particularly oblique reference to Geraldo Rivera.

“The best way I can show gratitude is to do my show the best I can and make them laugh,” he said. “If I tried to tailor my material to people in the Army, there’d be two things. A, that’d be patronizing. And B, I’d be wrong.”

But then I think this is the most important part of the article and it should shame every reporter, every pundit, and even most of us.

Shortly after the inauguration, though, he began talking to a fellow board member at Donorschoose about the troops in Iraq.

There was a general feeling among soldiers there, the board member said, that Americans had largely tuned the war out, that the economy had vacuumed up all the attention even though there are around 135,000 troops still here and still doing dangerous work.

“There’s a thesis statement there, which is something for my character to hang on to,” he said. “My character thinks the war is over because he doesn’t hear about it anymore. He’s like a child. A ball rolls behind the couch and he thinks it’s gone forever.”
Soldiers here are all too aware of America’s attention span about this war, several of them at the taping said. So the visit of Mr. Colbert, postmodern or not, was an unexpectedly high-caliber event among the recent string of retired baseball managers (Tommy Lasorda actually), wrestlers, cheerleaders and actors whose names require a little Googling.

“I’m surprised that anybody comes here,” said 27-year-old Lt. Travis Klempan of the Navy, from Lafayette, Colo. “I mean we had the guy from the Allstate commercial. It’s like: that’s nice.”


For all of Mr. Colbert’s exaggerations, there are extremes to life in Baghdad that are difficult to caricature. The set of the show here, with a desk made of sandbags painted as an American flag and a backdrop depicting soaring jets, rolling tanks and the ubiquitous porta-potties, pales in tackiness compared to the ceiling it is sitting under: the palace’s blinding pastel gaudiness is unmatched.

The troops didn’t seem to care much about the meta-ness of Mr. Colbert’s visit, nor were they uneasy about his political shtick as they laughed at the gags about clearing Iraq of weapons of mass destruction and last year’s shoe-throwing incident involving the man who was then their commander in chief as much as at Mr. Colbert’s self-deprecating jokes about his lack of fortitude.

“I know his persona is all pro-American,” Lieutenant Klempan said, trying to explain the math of Stephen Colbert and “Stephen Colbert” and which one of them had come for what reason. Finally he gave up.

“I’m glad either one of them showed up,” he said.

I can't wait to see it.. I think this will be the best shows Colbert will ever do and I for one think the historical nature of it is also something we have to think about.

We have forgotten this war. We have forgotten the men and women who are fighting, not we, so much as the press, the media, you seldom hear about it. Unless it is something terribly bad. Something the right can do to try to slam Pres. Obama, or something the left can use to slam former Pres. Bush.

Other than that, no one talks about the war in Iraq. We still have a large military presence in Iraq, yes, Pres. Obama is bringing them home, just as he promised, maybe it is a little slower than some wanted, but he did say he would listen to the commanders and do it as they thought was the best.

It has to be that way, he has always said he, Pres. Obama, wanted to be as careful coming out as we were careless going in. That's the key phrase right there. Because we, as a country, were careless going in.

Watch, Colbert this week, remember the troops, remember we still have a war in Iraq.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

America, Christian Nation? Yes or No?

We have been told for years that America is a Christian Nation, that we were established as such and will always be one. This last week, the wing nuts went crazy because they twisted the words of President Obama and said he called us a Muslim Country.

That's not what he said. He actually said we were a nation of many different religions, including Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, and many others including no religion.

We have always been based and were founded due to the Freedom of Religion, not because of Religion. The so called Founding Fathers, and Mothers, came here trying to get away from oppressive religious restrictions and settled here with the freedom to seek the way to the God of their choice, not the God of the King of England.

Here is a blog posting I found this morning that shows the history of this far better than I could ever say it. It is by Eric Grant and he does an excellent job laying it out.

Eric Grant
JUN 06
America Has Never Been a Christian Nation
Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh and Randall Terry would all like you to believe the United States was founded as, and continues to be, a Christian nation. They would like you to believe the rights we enjoy as Americans were granted by their god and only their god. These radical neoconservatives forget that freedom from religious oppression is one of the founding principles which led to the formation of the United States of America. And there are a few key moments in history they would rather you forget:

In 1657 a group of early Americans signed a petition requesting the lifting of a ban on Quaker worship. The Flushing Remonstrance, as it is known, was the basis for the Constitution’s provision on freedom from religion in the Bill of Rights.

In 1788, James Madison writes in Federalist No. 51: “In a free government, the security for civil rights must be the same as for religious rights.”

Article Six of the Constitution states that “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

The First Amenedment to the Constitution states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;”

The Treaty of Tripoli, ratified by the Senate and signed by President John Adams in 1797, states in Article 11: “…the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion;”

The doctrine of separation of church state, which can be attributed to Thomas Jefferson in a letter to the Danbury Baptists in 1802, has been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court numerous times in favor of this principle.
Those radical conservatives who follow a “you’re with us or against us” mentality are no different than those radical Islamists who flew jets into buildings and murdered 2,974 people on September 11, 2001. Those same so-called patriots who claim to cherish the Constitution and our founding principles are the same ones who want to destroy everything America stands for: freedom, diversity and equality under the law. If the folks who worship Fox News had their way, we’d be living in the dark ages and reduced to nothing more than mindless subjects of a Christian theocracy. Thankfully a renewed sense of real patriotism in America will prevent that nightmare from becoming reality.

As you see, he has a great post about it. Again, America was founded on the principle of Freedom FROM Religion, not on the Christianity of Newt, Sarah, Huckabee, Reagan or anyone else who tries to tell us how to believe or what to believe.

The Religious Right would like to make people think they have the privilege to run the country as they see fit. I beg to differ, and History, when you know it, backs me up, not them.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Bill Maher June 5, 2009

I normally post the New Rules.. but tonight I am posting the Opening and the first segment. I know, different.. the New Rules were okay, but these were far better in my opinion.

Here is the opening segment.. He really takes on a lot from the criticisms leveled at the President and the First Lady to the President's Speech in Cairo. From the Republican's to Rush Limbaugh. Watch and see:

Then he welcomes his first guest tonight via satellite, Richard Haass, Council of Foreign Relations. I really like Richard. He has great insight into the Middle East and Asia and usually has some positive things to say. He has always been knowledgeable about World Affairs and isn't a NeoCon as so many are who usually speak on these matters.

He also had Matt Miller, who worked in the Clinton White House who spoke very positively about the Health Care and reassured everyone that it is going to happen, and said that the "Public Option" that Pres. Obama keeps talking about is the same thing as Single Payer it is just a different name, because Single Payer was getting a bad name.

Jeremy Scahill, who really had a lot to say about Dr. Tiller's assassination and the complicity of the hate speech from the right wingers, including radio and tee vee hosts. Bill didn't like that...lol However D.L. Hughley came on and said Jeremy was correct and that people did need to watch what they said, even though they had Freedom of Speech they did need to remember their words had weight behind them.

And there was, Paula Froelich, New York Post writer, and author of the book, Mercury in Retrograde . All in all it was a good show. Well worth looking for if you can't watch it on the tee vee machine.

There were lots of things talked about. Jeremy had lots of information to impart. Of course some of his info was disputed, but that's normal.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I did.

President's Weekly Address

Our President may be overseas and he may be visiting the pyramids and seeing the sites in Paris and Germany, but he hasn't forgotten us here and the health care struggle we are facing.

That is the focus of his address this week. Trying to fix our crisis in health care. And it is a crisis. We have nearly 50 million people without insurance in this country. That's the best guess of anyone. But that's not the worst problem. There was a new study that stated 62% of all Bankruptcy's from medical expenses are for people who HAVE insurance.

Yes, you read that correctly. It is people who HAVE insurance. That's a sad thought, that people who have insurance are the ones are struggling more than the ones without.

I think this was what the President said that was the most important to me. We have to make sure WE stay involved. Again, this goes back to what I have said before. If we don't stay involved with our Representatives they don't know what we want. You have to call, write or email them.

They can't read your mind. Get in touch with them. Let them know what you want for health care. If you don't let you Senator or Representative know then you can't be upset if you don't get what you want, or if you don't get anything this year.

I also made it very clear to Congress that we must develop a plan that doesn’t add to our budget deficit. My budget included an historic down payment on reform, and we’ll work with Congress to fully cover the costs through rigorous spending reductions and appropriate additional revenues. We’ll eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse in our health care system, but we’ll also take on key causes of rising costs – saving billions while providing better care to the American people.

All across America, our families are making hard choices when it comes to health care. Now, it’s time for Washington to make the right ones. It’s time to deliver. And I am absolutely convinced that if we keep working together and living up to our mutual responsibilities; if we place the American people’s interests above the special interests; we will seize this historic opportunity to finally fix what ails our broken health care system, and strengthen our economy and our country now and for decades to come.

Here is the President. Help him help us, call, write, or email your elected representative and let them know what you want. Let's get health care for all this year.