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August 31, 2010

EVERYONE dies eventually: My thoughts on death (and suicide)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Jane Stillwater @ 6:06 pm

Someone I know just died in her sleep. This person and I had been at loggerheads with each other on a number of political issues for the last 30 years but I still wanted to say something nice about her — and so I came up with this: “She pissed me off so much that she forced me to come up with much more interesting and creative ways to overcome our disagreements — which has made me a better person for having known her.”

She also got me started on the road to being a political blogger — because I figured that if I could survive 30 years of local political in-fighting, then taking on Cheney and Bush would be a stone cinch!

This person’s sudden passing away also got me to thinking about how none of us are immortal. None of us. Her death came as a complete surprise to me, even a shock. If this person could die, then death could come sneaking up behind any of one of us, at any moment — and it will happen to all of us eventually. EVERYONE dies. No one is immune. No one. Not even you. Not even me.

So. As long as we have been granted the magical gift of life, it seems clear to me that we should then be duty-bound to do the absolute best that we can with what we’ve been given. Fighting, killing, war, greed, lying? That’s just a stupid waste of our time. Instead of just taking the low road, let’s spend every possible living moment striving to be the best that we can — 24/7. Think of Gandhi. Think of Jesus.

And for those of us who might sometimes envy the newly-dead, who get discouraged and occasionally wish that we too had finally Gone Home and were in some nice coffin and being sung to by a nice choir — so that we would no longer have to trudge through our days under a cloud and feel so much pain, then here’s a short lecture for you (and for me too). “We are alive now. Let’s take freaking advantage of it.”

And for those of us who are committing suicide the hard way — by letting the earth get polluted and/or eating ourselves into a coma, allowing baby-killing nuclear waste to be created endlessly across the planet, allowing greedy corporatists to tear down the forests and kill the oceans that clean and filter our air, allowing bankers to steal our homes, letting Wall Street robber barons steal our jobs, drinking ourselves to death and/or spending our time in hundreds of other ways that we KNOW are unhealthy — that’s all just a stupid waste of time too.

Life is precious. Let’s stop wasting it. It’s like the bumper-sticker says. “Life is a competition. The winners are the ones who do the most good deeds.” Let’s shape up, guys. No more killing. No more hatred. No more pollution. No more greed. Sheesh.

You would think that at some point in time our self-preservation instincts might finally start to kick in — but apparently they haven’t so far. Clearly we’ve let our world fall apart — when everyone with half a brain knows that we can do better. Much, much, much better.

So I’m grateful to the person who died recently, if for no other reason than because she gave me a huge wake-up call regarding the urgency of death — and the urgency of life as well.

“Jane, you are starting to sound like one of those wild-eyed crack-pot street-corner preachers who go around shouting, ‘Repent! The end is nigh!’” Yeah, well?

PS: One of my friends was just telling me about Star Children. “They are the new babies that are being born today and they have a raised consciousness and empathy and intuition and idealism. And they are arriving right now — now when we really need them.”

“Hey, I was a Star Child once too!” I replied. Once. Long ago. Before my idealism got all stomped on. It was really hard to be a Star Child back then — when everyone around you was either fighting Adolph Hitler, working on their atom bomb chops, enforcing segregation, cheering on Joe McCarthy or trying to be June Cleaver and the Man in the Gray Flannel Suit.

“But it’s not too late,” answered my friend. “It’s never too late to become a Star Child.”

PPS: When the human race starts to die out from war and pollution in the next 20 years, the resulting scenario will probably run something like this: All those Americans who have consistently voted for unnecessary wars, against maintaining important government services and in favor of Wall Street bailouts at the expense of the rest of us will just smile in that infuriating Mona Lisa way that they have and say, “We have nothing to worry about! We are under the protection of God and Fox News!”

And God of course will be siding with us few remaining idealistic liberal-blogger patriotic clean-environment war-resister types (still hanging on here by our toenails) who, following in the tradition of Jesus, have tried to protect the downtrodden, to seek peace and clean up the freaking air.

And all those Fox News guys like Rupert Murdoch and Glen Beck will just continue to smirk down at you from on high while you struggle to eat out of dumpsters, choke on pollution and scratch at your nuclear-waste-induced scabs. “We only needed you for cheap labor, suckers,” they’ll say — as they slam the doors of their air-purified bunkers in your faces. “And now that we have achieved our dream — more cheap labor than we will ever possibly need — there’s no longer any need for you. Sorry about that.” Not!

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August 30, 2010

Glenn Beck’s Fall in 2011

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August 29, 2010

The Tea Party Paradise

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August 28, 2010

The August 28 Beck Rally and the Way Things Ought to Be

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August 27, 2010

The Dilemma of a Fox News Blonde

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August 26, 2010

It can’t happen here . . . or can it?

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:58 pm

When we were presented with the opportunity to buy a copy of Ian Patterson’s (no relation) book, “Guernica and Total War,” we were curious about the topic and tantalized our self with the possibility that the book might spark an idea for a column. We snapped it up and started to read it in the hopes that we could finally figure out who was who in that conflict and which side was “the good guys.”

A short time later, we stumbled on a copy of Caroline Moorehead’s biography of Martha Gellhorn and since we were unaware of that resource for Hemingway fans, we quickly added it to our library and ripped into it as fast as we could.

We sensed that the Spanish Civil War could provide us with the basis for a comparison with the contemporary American political turmoil, but we still couldn’t find the handle. Many moons ago, we read George Orwell’s “Homage to Calalonia.” We trundled off to the main branch of the Berkeley Public Library and from the assortment of books on the topic, selected Daniel S. Davis’ “Spain’s Civil War: The Last Great Cause” and commenced reading that book.

The task of comprehending the turmoil is rather complicated. A coup by rebels in the Army was resisted by the legitimate government. It was the Republicans vs. the Nationalists. That causes a bit of difficulty for readers in modern America because in the USA, the Republicans have copyrighted Patriotism thus making their Party’s name synonymous with the concept of national pride. Thus the good guys can’t be both Nationalists and Republicans in a comparison with the Spanish Civil War. In the Spanish Civil War, the Fascists fought the Republicans; in the USA, the fascists are the Republicans.

The rebel faction requested aid from Germany and Italy but Germany and Italy had both agreed to abide by an international agreement to remain neutral. That agreement was just another pesky scrap of paper like the Geneva Accord and so they complied with the appeals for help. Hitler sent “volunteers,” including a group of aviators called the Condor Legion, supplies and weapons. Mussolini sent men, tanks and trucks.

Various countries sent groups of volunteers to the Nationalist side. The American volunteers chose the name “the Lincoln Brigade.”

Daniel S. Davis, on page 92 of “Spain’s Civil War,” wrote about a battle where Mussolini’s Italian legions were fighting Italians in the “Garibaldi Battallion.” Davis describes the effect produced by loudspeakers used by the Garibaldi Battallion: “Demoralized by the barrage of emotional appeals not to fight their countrymen, knots of Italian soldiers melted across the Republican lines.” (How soon will Fox News be able to provoke Americans into bloody confrontations with other Americans?)

We were struggling with the challenge of finding a way to apply the analogy with the Post Dubya American scene. Could the Carlists (who wanted Spain’s royal family to resume their role as the country’s sovereign and legitimate rulers) be compared to the Bush family as they anxiously await the restoration of the Bush dynasty via a Jeb win in 2012?

The Germans and the Italians broke the International agreements to stay out of the Spanish Civil War. Great Britain and France did not. France closed its border with Spain and caused some fleeing peasants untold grief. Stalin committed Russia to a limited amount of help which also broke the aforementioned International Agreement to back off.

Davis states that the Germans, the Italian, and the Russians all interfered but notes that for selfish reasons none of them sent a massive amount of help which would bring a quick resolution to the conflict. It seems that the Spanish Civil War provided an excellent testing ground for all three countries to measure the effectiveness of their new weapons and tactics and a prolonged test run was much more preferable than a limited tryout period.

We were just about to scrap the analogy column when “the Rosetta stone” inspiration appeared (like the Lady of Fatima?). Rebels got an amount of help from the Germans and the Italians that was limited but ultimately sufficient enough to tip the balance in favor of the rebel troops under the command of Francisco Franco. Fasten your seatbelts, boys, here it comes: could the electronic voting machines give America’s Republicans the extra bit of slightly unfair advantage similar to the help that the Condor Legion gave to the rebel troops?

Think about it. With just a slight push in some carefully chosen election contests, the electronic voting machines could deliver an undetectable edge and thus provide the Republicans with a few choice swing victories in enough contests to deliver a “veto-proof” majority in the House. Maybe even the Senate.

The fools in the lapdog press are following the Fox News’ lead and are already crippling the possibility of an intransient public’s refusal to accept the results as genuine with a constant stream of stories subtly suggesting that American citizens should expect a Republican takeover of the House. The stories carefully include words like “possible,” “likely,” and “expected” and are appearing in a stream of increasing frequency. What part of “you’re being set-up,” do American voters not understand?

If Fox News pushes religious intolerance what’s to stop them from including propaganda that will dissolve all skepticism about phony election results? Religious intolerance is an integral part of the Nazi philosophy. Does anyone want to seriously deny that assertion?

Does anyone seriously think that an unscrupulous news organization would promote religious bigotry and then balk at endorsing rigged elections?

Haven’t some Republicans already hinted that Obama should be impeached? If the Republicans get a majority in the House of Representatives what’s to stop them from immediately starting impeachment proceedings? Did someone in the back row seriously suggest that good sportsmanship will stop them? Get ******* serious. Ask Bill Clinton how many nanoseconds it will take for the Impeachment movement to get going.

When Guernica got bombed, it was obvious to most of the Americans journalists who were covering the carnage, that the deck was stacked in favor of the Rebels and fascism. That indicated to an assortment of American Journalists that Hitler would not be intimidated by the British and French into abandoning his plans for further aggressions. The amount of reading material for folks who wish to fact check the pre-war premonitions and warnings that ran through the community of American foreign news correspondents like a virus is contained in a considerable amount of books. Even Ernie Pyle covered the Battle of Britain. The journalists saw what was coming and tried to warn the American public.

In the November of 1935 issue of Esquire magazine Hemingway warned (By-Line Ernest Hemingway Scribners paperback page 212): “Europe has always fought, the intervals of peace are only armistices. We were fools to be sucked in once on a European war and we should never be sucked in again.”

Wouldn’t it be incredibly sad, if on some future day, Americans were to lament the fact that the big names in American Journalism ignored prescient warnings from the bloggers who tried to raise an effective amount of righteous indignation about the electronic voting machines? With Fox as America’s point man in the realm of journalism, it seems as if worrying about honest elections is just about as serious a topic as wondering if wrestling matches have predetermined winners.

On the one side you had the workers and a legitimately elected government and on the opposing side were capitalists, nobles, clergy, police, and the military. The fascists condoned torture, murder, disregard for international agreements, and bombings with extensive collateral damage to civilians. Sounds just like what’s happening in America, to this columnist. Do you think Rush Limbaugh will spend any time refuting this column?

Daniel S. Davis, on page 10 of “Spain’s Civil War,” says: “An old proverb describes the situation: ‘In Spain there are two Spains: one that works and does not eat, and the other that eats but does not work.’” Which side do you suppose would support the continuation of the Bush tax cuts?

Now the disk jockey will play “Four Dead in Ohio,” “Kung Fu Fighting,” and “Dixie.” We gotta go get something to eat. Have a “true gen” type week.

David Pratt: The role of heroin in sustaining the Afghan “war”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — Jane Stillwater @ 11:19 am

I just got an e-mail from Scottish journalist David Pratt, asking me to please let people know about the insidious effects of heroin on Afghanistan — and on Scotland. Of course I will. The two articles that Pratt wrote on this subject offer huge new insights into why the Bush-Obama “war” in Afghanistan is still going on after nine long bloody years of both physical pain and financial disaster for both Afghanistan and the United States (not to mention Scotland).

I first met Pratt when we were both embedded in the Green Zone in Iraq in 2007, and it was love at first sight — I immediately fell in love with his writing style, his knowledge and his willingness to go WAY out on a limb in order to get an accurate story. He has spent the last 30 years as a war correspondent for Glasgow’s Sunday Herald, and his book “Intifada: The Long Day of Rage” is the ultimate eye-witness report on “The Troubles” in Palestine. http://www.amazon.com/INTIFADA-Palestine-Israel-Long-Rage/dp/1932033637

Pratt is a fabulous reporter and if he says that poppy cultivation and heroin sales are not only financing the Taliban’s weapon supply in Afghanistan right now but also has become its current favorite way of screwing up the U.S. occupation by destabilizing the government in Kabul, then I know that information is spot-on.

According to Pratt, one American drug-control adviser in Kabul stated categorically that, “Once the Taliban realized that narcotic control was a major goal of the international coalition and Afghan government, they OK’d it to the farmers to grow poppy because they know it destabilizes the government. That’s also the reason why we’re seeing even more opium and heroin production.”

These are the kind of insightful articles that make other journalists (including myself) drool with envy. I wish that I could have written that!

According to another Pratt source, Dr. Zemoray Amin of Doctors of the World, “cheapness and easy availability of drugs, joblessness, displacement and, above all, the effects of the war are the main reasons for heroin’s escalating impact in Afghanistan. But …there is another, even more worrying root cause. It stems from the widespread corruption among those within the top tier of the Afghan establishment, and complicity by the international community in ignoring that crookedness in exchange for political allegiance and strategical leverage in the fight against the Taliban.”

Gen. Petraeus might be better off spending his time fighting poppy growing rather than fighting small-time villagers who are caught between a rock and a hard place regarding the Taliban.

Here’s the rest of Pratt’s article, entitled “Trail of Destruction”: http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/the-trail-of-destruction-1.1048309

Next, Pratt takes on the other end of the poppy chain — heroin in Scotland. Entitled “Made in Kabul — shot up in Glasgow,” This report is also grim. Drug addicts are now dying in Scotland in large numbers, thanks to Scottish soldiers who die in Afghanistan so that the drug trade there can continue to grow and prosper.

Here’s a quote: “Jawad was left for dead in a ditch. Stephen was found overdosed in a doorway. Though more than 3000 miles separate Kabul’s Karte Seh district and Glasgow’s Gorbals, the lives of these two men are inextricably linked by one thing: heroin. In the space of little over a month on opposite sides of the world, I listened to both tell of a hellish journey each had taken while trapped in the grip of a powerful and terrifying addiction.

“Jawad is no stranger to pain – in Kabul’s drug institutions, the methods used to detox heroin addicts come from the Middle Ages. Head shaved and stripped naked, on numerous occasions he has been locked in a cell and hosed down with freezing water. But it was the night when some policemen started beating Jawad that the agony became so great he found himself begging them to stop.”

Read the rest of this article at http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/made-in-kabul-shot-up-in-glasgow-1.1049730

If I don’t have the talent, insights, opportunity and/or knowledge to write important articles like these two, at least I’m glad to know that someone like Pratt is out there writing them for us — and it my pleasure to pass them on even though it makes me sad to know that the information they contain is verifiablely true.

The Black Republican’s Burden

Filed under: Opinion,Toon — Tags: , , , , , , , , — RS Janes @ 5:22 am

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August 24, 2010

What’s happening to The Four Freedoms?

Filed under: Guest Comment — Bob Patterson @ 6:24 pm

Why would Fox News stir its audience up against the proposed new Muslim facility in lower Manhattan, if a large Fox News shareholder is a member of the Saudi Royal family? On his radio show for Monday, August 23, 2010, Mike Malloy slowly and methodically dealt out facts to validate and explain that apparent contradiction. Any member of the Party of Teabaggers who happened to listen would have been left no grounds for refuting Malloy’s conclusion that stirring up Muslim resentment of America is part of that news organization’s (hidden) agenda.

The argument, which took Malloy an hour to develop, can be summarized thus: The Saudi makes his money from oil. If Muslims perceive America as a group of hate filled infidels who are stealing oil from the Middle East, the various resistance groups will continue to need money to fund their attempts to use guerilla warfare to halt the Americans. As long as petroleum is in high demand, the Saudis will have an unlimited amount of cash available and will be able to maintain control of the resistance efforts in the Middle East.

Malloy pointed out that Fox’s mocking of efforts to encourage means of transportation that are not fueled by petroleum is a part of the overall pro-Arab Royal Family strategy.

By fomenting religious bigotry, Fox News can insure that journalism documenting the anti-Muslim sentiments in America is available to propagandists throughout the world to prove to Muslims that America, despite the fact that one of the Four Freedoms promoted as the motivation for fighting World War II, is hypocritical when they say they believe in Freedom of Warship.

Images of anti-Masque demonstrators in lower Manhattan will not need any complex philosophical/psychological explanations for poor uneducated Muslims around the globe. The propagandists will show the news videos and ask “What part of hate your guts” don’t you understand?”

By prolonging the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the rich Saudis and Fox News will insure the continuation of the political status quo in Saudi Arabia for a long time. War has continually proven its value to news media as a way to post large gains in the total audience numbers. Isn’t resistance to change the essence of the conservative philosophy?

Malloy pointed out to his audience, the political advantages Republicans would accrue if they advocated religious intolerance rather than continuing the American tradition of Freedom of Warship; they would get the “incumbent” advantage in future elections.

Malloy also read excerpts from Frank Rich’s New York Times column that pointed out that the Mosque issue would add increased difficulty to General Petraeus’ assignment for his troops to promote good will among the local citizens in Afghanistan.

Mike Malloy did a marvelous job of outlining his thesis in a way that should be understood by anyone who has the intelligence required to use a deck of cards to play a game of solitaire.

This columnist seconds the motion for Malloy’s point and now will add this columnist’s own original insights and obtuse associations to the topic.

Back when President George W. Bush ordered American troops to go to Afghanistan and Iraq, Republicans stoutly maintained that any dissenting point of view by the Democrats was tantamount to acts of sedition, but when the Fox News Agit-prop Machine spews religious prejudice which will increase the resistance efforts aimed at the members of the American Military fighting in Afghanistan, Fox, magically, is exempted from any assertions about acts of sedition. The reasons leading to that conclusion are rather vague and nebulous.

Wouldn’t it be very poignant if the footage of the animosity in lower Manhattan, causes some very old, unindicted German fugitives to suffer sever pangs of nostalgia?

That, in turn, brings up this question: Wasn’t the oil which would be shipped to market through a pipeline in Afghanistan, the very same natural resource which was also coveted by the German Army when they reached as far into Russia as Stalingrad? Wouldn’t you think that source would have been depleted by now?

During World War II, the American Military fought for the Four Freedoms, as enunciated by President Roosevelt in the Atlantic Charter. One of them was Freedom of Worship; can you name the other three?

Does the large number of foreclosed homes in America, add a dash of irony to the deaths, in WWII, of Americans fighting for the Freedom from Want? Did American military in WWII fight for the bankers or for the people whose homes are now being foreclosed? How would Glen Beck answer that question?

Does opposition to a Muslim Community Center mock both the principle of Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Worship?

The Forth Freedom was “Freedom from Fear.” Where would the Republican Party platform be without fear and images of evidence in the form a mushroom cloud?

If Freedom of Religion doesn’t sit well in lower Manhattan, how long will it be until there is a massive Bund rally at Madison Square Garden? Would Glen Beck be the keynote speaker?

Henry A. Wallace is quoted as having said: “A fascist is one whose lust for money or power is combined with such an intensity of intolerance toward those of other races, parties, classes, religions, cultures, regions or nations as to make him ruthless in his use of deceit or violence to attain his ends.” Now ask yourself: “Does Fox use deceit and foster violence”?

Now the disk jockey will play Johnny Cash’s “Were You There . . .?,” “Strange Fruit,” and the “Triumph of the Will” soundtrack album. We have to go and continue reading up on the Spanish Civil War for a future column. Have a “sin novedad” type week.

Corporatist America: The revolution has already been televised…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Jane Stillwater @ 11:52 am

“It’s the government that’s to blame for everything!” right-wingers cry. “We need to have less government!” But exactly which government are these people talking about? Is it the government that Americans used to have back when George Washington was president? Or has a new form of government stealthily replaced that old-school government we used to know and love — sort of like a take-over by body-snatchers, happening while our backs were turned and we were happily off watching TV.

Let’s face it, guys. The U.S. government IS to blame for everything nowadays. But it is not the same government that we used to have — as recently as 60 years ago. It’s our former government’s evil twin that is screwing everything up!

Just exactly which government is getting blamed by the right-wingers these days? Are they blaming a government that is run according to the Constitution, was elected by people who knew that their votes were being counted honestly and which is designed to work for the benefit of us American voters? Yep, that’s the very one that the wingers are blaming — even though that fantasy government has been moribund for decades.

And are the wingers blaming this new doppelganger government too — the one that was bought and paid for by lobbyists, that is owned lock, stock and barrel by corporatists and corporations, and that is turning Americans into just another source of cheap labor for the new oligarchs? Nope. THAT government is escaping Scot-free from the right wing’s wrath. That government is not being blamed for anything.

America’s current “government” right now appears to resemble one of the multiple personalities from that old movie, “The Three Faces of Eve” — in the scene where Eve Black jokes about how she used to do bad things when she was a kid and then escape her body and let poor sweet Eve White take their irate mother’s punishments.

What wingers think of as government these days — and most other Americans do the same thing too — isn’t really America’s real government at all. Our real government is more like a monster growing out of some poor schmuck’s stomach in “Alien”.

Wingers seem to be all about blaming “Government” for all of our woes — and yet they sing the praises and kiss the [bottoms] of large global corporations. But guess what guys. Global corporations and America’s government are now almost exactly the same thing.

Right now, there is almost nothing on this planet more “privatized” than the American government. All the fruits of our labor, and perhaps even our very souls, are government property now — a government taken over by oligarchs. And the government of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and the Boston Tea Party — the one that right wingers seem to hate so much — no longer exists.

And this oligarchs’ revolution has already been televised.

The Adventures of Cowboy GOP or Have Dumb, Will Travel

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August 22, 2010

Christopublican Science Facts with Dr. I.M. Wrightman

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Conflicts of interest: Secret Qi Gong self-massage techniques, babysitting & blogging

By the time I get done trying to entertain my two-year-old granddaughter all day, I don’t have much energy left for blogging. Sure, I write a lot of stuff down — but when I read back what I just wrote, it all seems like dookie. But even if I could somehow manage to write meaningful prose of Shakespearean quality, so what? Most Americans are too busy getting fleeced by the Republican noise machine to even have time to read any of my humble stuff anyway.

Screw it. At least two-year-olds give you an occasional smile.

However, today I really would like to write about some secret Qi Gong massage techniques that I learned 32 years ago, from a wandering Tibetan Buddhist monk. “I learned these in a secret cave in China,” he told me back then, “and if I teach them to you, you can’t tell ANYONE about them. Not anyone. Okay?” Sure.

But 32 years later, with the world going to hell in a hand-basket and 1% of the rich owning 83% of the stock market and almost all of our taxpayer money being vacuumed off to kill orphans in Afghanistan, why bother even trying to keep secrets any more? So here’s the story on secret Qi Gong self-massage techniques from hidden caves in China: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYrpsXXKPQo. Please watch it now, while we still have Net neutrality and you still have access to the internet.

Oops. Gotta go. Sesame Street is on and Mena and I gotta go watch it.

PS: Here’s a video segment of Senator Al Franken’s speech on Net neutrality, FYI: http://www.alfranken.com/index.php/splash/netneutrality_vid/.

I also took notes on this speech at the Netroots Nation convention in July, so here are my fairly-raw notes on that speech — wherein Sen. Franken actually encourages us blogger types to hang in there. “We march forward because the future belongs to those who are passionate and work hard. And that has to be us. We can’t give up. And we have to take pride when we make progress. This country is a better place because of us.”

Hey, tell that to Mena next time she gets all chatty at 2 am!

Sen. Franken in Vegas: Lies, lies & access to truth

Five years ago, GWB and the right wing echo chamber and the wealthy had built what seemed like an unstoppable machine. But all over the country, progressives were incubating a movement to raise money and back progressive candidates. And they became senators. Five years ago was a pretty exciting time after all. In 2006, we felt a little giddy, like we had pulled off the upset of the century.

In 2008, the energy of the netroots and people-powered activism developed a grassroots movement that was inspiring. More than 200,000 people made an online contribution to my campaign. Thanks. My campaign was based on the help of the conversation online. When the MSM was announcing that my candidacy was dead, it was the citizen bloggers that were showing the world that Minnesota was not Florida.

Now everyone believes that the internet is important. But it is not the whole story. It is only a tool. It depends on what you have to say, not how big a megaphone you have. Our story can and has changed the country.

Paul Wellstone says the future belongs to those who are passionate and work hard. And now we can’t afford to stand around and admire what we have done. Conservatives are now motivated too, and they want to prove that our wins are just a fluke of history. They are just as motivated to stop our movement. You can tell they are motivated because they have boatloads of money. One oilman gave Karl Rove one million dollars for attack ads. Citizens United allows them to spend unlimited funds.

Congress would be a very different place without Barbara Boxer and Nancy Pelosi. VERY different.

We need to prove that 2008 was not a fluke. We have to support great candidates like Joe Sustak and Tarryl Clark [she's running against Michelle Bachmann -- donate here: http://tarrylclark.com/.]

I know that some of you who have elected Democrats haven’t gotten your money’s worth. Immigration reform, the public option. But don’t think for a second that you are not being heard. I go to a lunch every Tuesday with all the Senate Democrats and, believe me, they hear you.

We didn’t get everything we wanted but we did get a lot. These bills were better because you made us make them better. We have a lot of democratic votes but we need more progressive votes. We need to send us more senators like Bernie Sanders. You can’t back out now!

I can’t tell you to be patient because that would be hypocritical. Because I’m not patient. But the Republicans want to take back even what we did get. We have seen what Republicans do when they take control of congress and it ain’t pretty. Plus they are talking like the deficit took place on the day Obama was inaugurated.

They want to cut things that are not government handouts. They want to go back to the dark days of the Bush administration. And this time it may not be so easy for us to regroup. And the corporations have even darker plans — an America where no individual’s rights are so important as to take precedence over America’s corporations.

There are great corporations that aren’t inherently evil, but they are powerful and can be evil if they want ot — or feel that they have to. And our rights are disappearing one right at a time. Your right to a jury trial, to clean water, to privacy. Used to be only the government could threaten you rights — but now corporations can threaten them too. And Net neutrality threats are the biggest danger to your rights.

They want to sell premium access to internet access. When the same company owns both the pipes and the programs we may be in trouble. And as the only senator who has been in show business, I know how communications networks work. Mergers and consolidations mean that they can both control the programs and the means of delivering them.

If Citizens United is allowed to stand, how long do you think it will take before four or five mega-corporations control all access to media? How long do you think it will take before the Fox News network loads five times faster than the Daily Kos.

It’s not just about politics. The internet is an incredible source of innovation. Its value comes from it being open to everyone. YouTube and Twitter started small. How many people are Tweeting right now. The internet has changed our lives. Imagine how an independent producer couldn’t get a show on a network-controlled television. The internet will become like that — major corporation controlled.

I can’t imagine what life in America will be like if this kind of innovation can’t take place. The government can pass rules to protect Net neutrality. And congress is hearing more than enough from the corporations on the other side of this issue and not enough from you. You have to help us fight this.

We are at the worst moment in our history. More unemployment than ever. Climate change. We have to resist and rise to this challenge. If we don’t, no one else will. Even if you only started blogging because you can’t stand President [sic] Bush or wanted single-payer healthcare, you still have to keep at it. We have to fight these battles because we are right and our country is worth it.

We march forward because the future belongs to those who are passionate and work hard. And that has to be us. We can’t give up. And we have to take pride when we make progress. This country is a better place because of us.

In the Obama administration, we have seen progress. These are things that are worth celebrating. And I am confident that we will have even more to celebrate at next year’s Netroots Nation convention.

The Netroots Nation gang has given me the honor of announcing the official location of next years Netroots Nation convention. It’s not as glitzy but it’s a great place for fishing. And if it gets a little to crowded at Marcos’s party you can always come over and hang out at my house. The next Netroots Nation convention will be in Minneapolis!

August 20, 2010

Dr. Laura’s New Book: ‘Proud to Be a Redneck Piece of White Trash’

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August 19, 2010

Scales of Justice: Blagojevich Edition

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August 17, 2010

Saving Afghan women: Just give them all M-16s!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Jane Stillwater @ 11:47 am

Did anyone see that horrible photo on the cover of Time magazine this week? The one of the young Afghan girl with her nose cut off by the Taliban? I saw it yesterday while standing in the check-out line at the Berkeley Bowl, and it gave me horrible nightmares last night. How could anyone do such a horrible thing to a young girl? What kind of monster could do such a thing?

Well, the message on the cover of Time magazine was perfectly clear — Islamic monsters could do that. And, therefore, “we” are justified in killing Muslims by the millions, right?

Wrong.

That kind of insane brutality in Afghanistan was not produced by Islam. It was produced by the mental instability and psychosis that has resulted from hundreds of years of colonial warfare against Afghans — just as the torture and bombing and killing of untold numbers of Afghan women by Americans is a result of America’s insane “war” priorities, not Christianity.

But I digress.

If Americans were truly worried about the status of women in Afghanistan, “we” wouldn’t have made that country our plaything and pawn in the CIA’s recent stupid and wasteful Great Game with the USSR. “We” wouldn’t have armed and created the Taliban. “We” would have supported RAWA, an Afghan women’s organization that promotes reading and self-respect, instead of wasting billions on arming and empowering brutal and corrupt Afghan drug lords and warlords. “We” would have provided schools and hospitals instead of bombs and more bombs after “our” brutal and unnecessary 2001 occupation of that country. And we would never have let our war-lobby-toady lawmakers pour billions of tax dollars into the coffers of weapons manufacturers, those slimy merchants of death, so that they could make insane profit margins on manufacturing the deaths of innocent Afghan women and children who had NOTHING to do with 9-11.

But. If weapons manufacturers are truly dead-set on making their greedy and outlandish profits on the spilled blood of innocents, then how about having THEM go to Afghanistan and personally cut off the noses of Afghan women instead of just doing it from a distance with their drones? Come on guys, quit just sitting around your posh mansions in Loudoun County and actually earn your money. Get some actual blood on your hands.

Or how about this idea? Let’s make the weapons manufacturers happy yet once again by developing a whole new weapons market for them. How about giving every woman in Afghanistan over the age of eight years old an M-16 of her very own? And the training and the bullets to use it too?

I’d like to see who would be willing to cut off any women’s noses when said women were holding one of those babies in their hands.

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Here’s the URL for the nightmarish Time cover photo:
http://www.getreligion.org/wp-content/photos/2010/07/a_time_cover_0809.jpg