Member of the reality-based community of progressive (not anonymous) Massachusetts blogs
Greg Page coined the phrase, Home Run Derby.
After a recent Council meeting in which there were a series of emotional speeches preceding what would clearly be a 9-0 vote, I was searching for a term for these sorts of things, and settled on “Home Run Derby.” Why?
Because everyone can get up, take their cuts for the fence in Barry Bonds-ahead-of-the-count-and-nothing-to-lose fashion, while the pitches are coming in straight to the wheelhouse and no one is playing defense.
Last night’s City Council meeting met the criteria for a ‘Home Run Derby’ and then some. Unfortunately, we need a new phrase for the ‘and then some.’ What do we call it, or should call it, when a Councilor jumps in front of a moving band wagon, in the hopes of taking credit for the soon to come achievement.
Let’s focus, now, because this is EXACTLY what C.Kennedy is doing with the motion he directed at the License Commission. (more…)
A bunch of dried up old male assholes in Virginia are passing a law that mandates transvaginal ultrasounds for women before getting an abortion:
The ultrasound legislation would constitute an unprecedented government mandate to insert vaginal ultrasonic probes into women as part of a state-ordered effort to dissuade them from terminating pregnancies, legislative opponents noted.
“We’re talking about inside a woman’s body,” Del. Charnielle Herring, a Democrat, said in an emotional floor speech. “This is the first time, if we pass this bill, that we will be dictating a medical procedure to a physician.”
Tell you what, Virginia State House (and Senate and Governor if it passes and is signed): why don’t you take this probe, lube it up nice and good (this’ll be cold for a moment), and stick it up your own most intimate orifice?
So you literally want to tell a doctor what procedure they must use on a woman? And for what? “Informed consent” my ass. Of course, everyone knows that this is a lie and it’s about controlling women, but just to spell it out, do you think women are dumb? That they are not informed about what the end result of not terminating a pregnancy is? Oh, gee, it ends with having a baby. You really must think us wee widdle women are idiots.
Except we know one thing: the instant the government mandated you get a stick up your ass or else face lifelong, dire consequences (which bringing a child to term is, for better or worse), you’d be howling and screaming about the violation of your right to privacy and to make up your own mind on the advice of your doctor about what medical procedures are necessary or needed in your own personal case.
But probing a woman with an invasive ultrasound that isn’t even medically necessary in most cases where a woman chooses to have an abortion, hey that’s not a bridge too far for you. This bill makes no sense whatsoever on its supposed merits, unless of course you believe that the poor little woman with a medical probe sticking out of her vagina, upon seeing the fetus wiggling on the screen, will so fall in love with the little tiny heartbeat and fingernails that they suddenly change their minds and hey! you’ve saved a tiny human life that houses a soul (according to YOU) from some sort of gruesome murder.
Except that is not your choice to make, or influence. You’re not only hypocritical in passing this bill that you would not ever pass about male patients, you are tormentors. Bullies. You are misogynists of the most vile kind. I have worse names for you, but I think I have made my point.
Get out of my vagina, and the vaginae of the rest of America’s women. You are not fit to govern, nevermind tell me and my doctor what procedures are or are not necessary.
One of the most common and most corrosive aspects of our political discourse is the endless assertions — based on nothing — about what “Americans believe. It is exceedingly conventional wisdom that Americans generally view the world through the prism of Jack Bauer and therefore want our government to torture, want Guantanamo kept opened, and do not want suspected Terrorists to be tried in civilian courts inside the U.S. It is even more commonly asserted that Americans do not want, and even further, would never tolerate, criminal investigations into the various crimes of Bush officials.”
Turns out that there is polling on these questions, and the American people seem to have missed the memo from the village about what they are supposed to believe. Of course the polling is phrased to try and push them toward village conformity, but alas the village is doomed to be disapointed (that is if they really cared if their claims about American opinion had any basis in truth).
Greenwald has the details but here are some hits:
By a wide margin — 58-40% — Americans say that torture should never be used, no matter the circumstances.
…a majority of Americans (50-47%) believe that the Obama administration should investigate whether the Bush administration’s treatment of detainees was illegal.
Americans would have opposed (52-42%) the issuance of pardons by Bush to those “who carried out his administration’s policy on the treatment of terrorism suspects.”
I guess it turns out that Americans get, unlike Fox, that Jack Bauer is as advertised… entertaining fiction. Of course the village will no doubt go on misunderestimating American opinion. They will claim insight into ‘conventional wisdom’ and assert that these majority views are actually only the opinion of the far left.
One can hope now that those who dismissed anyone that was ‘reality based’ are out of office, real reality might begin permeate the consciousness (and conscience) of the village.
Buried deep, deep under the seriously unvetted veep choice of John McCain, under Gustav, and under the formless, content-free speechmaking at the Republican convention, is the real scary story of the week - the scene outside of the RNC convention in St. Paul.
By all accounts, fascism is here, and it is us. The scenes just from that one Greenwald post alone should cause you great worry for our democracy. (more…)
Kudos to Rep. Niki Tsongas, who told us in the campaign that she wouldn’t capitulate to giving telecom companies immunity from their part in breaking the law and trampling our constitutional rights. She is in the list of 129 good souls who voted nay. Unfortunately, it still passed in the House. I beg the Senate to do everything, including filibustering our own Democrats if necessary, to stop this entire bill from going forward. This includes immunity for telcos, but also some of the other dangerous provisions.
And no, Senator Obama, “doing your best” to just strip immunity from the bill doesn’t cut it. Find someone on your staff to read the bill carefully, because it appears there’s a lot not to like about it (not that anyone read it thoroughly, having less than a day to review it). If your colleagues filibuster it, support that. Anything less isn’t leadership.
Everyone online is talking about this new NY Times report on the way the Bush administration used thinly veiled bribery to get retired military officers out on the airwaves to support Bush policies. It’s as big a news story as it sounds.
To the public, these men are members of a familiar fraternity, presented tens of thousands of times on television and radio as “military analysts” whose long service has equipped them to give authoritative and unfettered judgments about the most pressing issues of the post-Sept. 11 world.
Hidden behind that appearance of objectivity, though, is a Pentagon information apparatus that has used those analysts in a campaign to generate favorable news coverage of the administration’s wartime performance, an examination by The New York Times has found.
The effort, which began with the buildup to the Iraq war and continues to this day, has sought to exploit ideological and military allegiances, and also a powerful financial dynamic: Most of the analysts have ties to military contractors vested in the very war policies they are asked to assess on air.
In other words, those who took full advantage of the industrial military complex’s revolving door for outgoing military personnel. People who had every financial reason to support going to war and staying there, as their companies or clients were, and are, raking in millions.
This is the embodiment of what Eisenhower warned about.
[Retired military a]nalysts have been wooed in hundreds of private briefings with senior military leaders, including officials with significant influence over contracting and budget matters, records show. They have been taken on tours of Iraq and given access to classified intelligence. They have been briefed by officials from the White House, State Department and Justice Department, including Mr. Cheney, Alberto R. Gonzales and Stephen J. Hadley.
In turn, members of this group have echoed administration talking points, sometimes even when they suspected the information was false or inflated. Some analysts acknowledge they suppressed doubts because they feared jeopardizing their access.
A few expressed regret for participating in what they regarded as an effort to dupe the American public with propaganda dressed as independent military analysis.
The article is pages long, and is something every American should read. Why now? Because the information has finally come to light:
Five years into the Iraq war, most details of the architecture and execution of the Pentagon’s campaign have never been disclosed. But The Times successfully sued the Defense Department to gain access to 8,000 pages of e-mail messages, transcripts and records describing years of private briefings, trips to Iraq and Guantánamo and an extensive Pentagon talking points operation.
The documents released by the Pentagon do not show any quid pro quo between commentary and contracts. But some analysts said they had used the special access as a marketing and networking opportunity or as a window into future business possibilities.
Disgusting. Those are your kids, sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, cousins…your tax dollars…and your country, your media, which have been used, abused, and cynically manipulated for years.
Many also shared with Mr. Bush’s national security team a belief that pessimistic war coverage broke the nation’s will to win in Vietnam, and there was a mutual resolve not to let that happen with this war.
The free press won’t suit us, because they might report things that make people unhappy, so we’ll just stop that little nagging inherent right of all Americans dead cold.
It goes on. Read it.
Information is a precious and precarious commodity these days. Many “trusted” companies you do business with are selling their data on you to other companies. Junk mail and spam attack you at all angles, scams abound, and the universe is getting smaller and smaller.
Conservatives and liberals alike ought to be very, very frightened of our Big Brother culture. Because Big Brother is doing it…again:
Siobhan Gorman of The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that the National Security Agency has assembled what some intelligence officials admit is a driftnet for domestic and foreign communications.
Here’s the way the whole thing works, according to Gorman: into the NSA’s massive database goes data collected by the Justice Department, Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Treasury. This information includes data about email (recipient and sender address, subject, time sent), internet searches (sites visited and searches conducted), phone calls (incoming and outgoing numbers, length of call, location), financial information (wire transfers, credit-card use, information about bank accounts), and information from the DHS about airline passengers.
Gorman describes the NSA’s effort (elements of which have been reported before) as basically a resurrection of the Pentagon’s Total Information Awareness program, which of course was de-funded by Congress once the details became public.
OK, so the NSA figured out that naming a program Total Information Awareness sounded really Orwellian. So they changed the name and kept doing it - even after Congress said “No!”. Can someone tell me just where the due process is? Hello? Do we even have a Bill of Rights anymore?
And how important do you think it is to keep telecom immunity out of the FISA bill now?
Harry Reid should be made to step down. This was a terrible travesty of bad leadership. I can no longer support a man, one of the prominent leaders of my party, who would allow this administration, or anyone, to illegally and unconstitutionally spy on Americans without due process.
Why are we even a Democracy? It’s hard to see what our way back would be from this level of capitulation to fascism and corporate protectionism. It’s a sad day, the sort that might have caused our founding fathers to decide that this great experiment would be doomed, had they predicted it.
Let’s hope our House of Representatives stands firm on their version of the bill, against the Senate version, in conference committee. To that end, please call and plead with Rep. Niki Tsongas. (202) 225-3411 in DC or (978) 459-0101 at the Lowell office. Better yet, visit her office in person at 11 Kearney Square. You can also sign this petition at firedoglake, which will be sent to the House.
Why this particular crazy revisionist tidbit from Karl Rove, from an 11/21 interview with Charlie Rose, isn’t on every news channel and in every paper in the nation is beyond me. Rove wants to claim that Congress pushed the White House into a premature war with Iraq:
Rove: One of the untold stories, about the war, is why did the United States Congress, the United States Senate, vote on the war resolution in the fall of 2002?
Rove: This administration was opposed to it. I’m going to talk about that in my book.
CR: Well tell me, give me something…
Rove: I just did. I told you the administration was opposed to voting on it in the fall of 2002.
Rove: Because we didn’t think it belonged within the confines of the election. There was an election coming up in a matter of weeks. We thought it made it too political. We wanted it outside the confines of it. It seemed to make things move too fast. There were things that needed to be done, to bring along allies and potential allies abroad.
Incredible. It’s hard where to begin without laughing uncontrollably, or crying. But Obermann knows. (Watch the video, it’s worth it.) Keith tells us that according to a Rove website - “whitehouse.gov” - that despite Rove’s current claim that the WH opposed voting on the resolution on Iraq at the time, on the first day of fall 2002 they had a press release “urging” passage of the resolution “promptly.” A week after the resolution to authorize force was approved in the House, WH.gov said Bush was “pleased” with the House vote. What’s more, former
minority majority leader Daschle recounted his meeting with the WH in Sept 2002, asking Bush why the rush, and getting the response, “We just have to do this now.”
What appears to be happening here, is that Rove is trying to trick Americans into forgetting that the Republicans were in charge at the time of the House and virtually in charge of the Senate (since even with Jeffords’ switch, they threatened to filibuster everything, and you need 60 votes with these jokers) when this resolution was passed, in hopes that people will not vote more Dems into Congress in 2008. He wants to cast the shadow of “being rushed” to fake people into faulting someone other than the Bushies.
I mean, what the hell are these guys smoking, thinking that they can so blatantly rewrite history like this? Does anyone in their right mind think that there was any indication that the Bushies weren’t lobbying their asses off for this use of force resolution in 2002? Anyone?
Any comparisons to the book 1984 are now just simply too obvious for words. Good god.
Firedoglake has the scoop, and action you can take. Go read. We need everyone on this - and calling Kerry and Kennedy, even if they are not on the Select Intell Committee, to ask them to tell the Committee that under no terms will they vote for a new FISA bill that has immunity from prosecution for telcos that illegally turned over records of their customers over to the Bush administration. Make sure it’s clear that bill should be DOA now, before it comes out of the Senate committee and onto the floor.
Secondarily, you need to read this narrative that Kagro X has formed regarding the telco, Qwest, that refused to turn over records on the basis that it was unconstitutional without a warrant - and whose CEO since been prosecuted for insider trading for selling stock a couple months before Qwest had bad earnings…when those earning only turned bad because the federal government took contracts that Qwest expected to other contractors.
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