liberal ["liberalis" L - suitable for a freeman, generous; "eleutheros" Gk - free] (adj) generous, open-minded, not subjugated to authoritarian domination; (n) one who believes in liberty, universal suffrage and the free exchange of ideas. elite ["eslire" Fr -- to choose fr.L "eligere" -- choose] (n) the choice part; best of a class; the socially superior part of society.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

US becoming leader in human rights abuse

In his article, Guantánamo is gulag of our time, says Amnesty, published in today's Guardian, reporter Richard Norton-Taylor quotes the 2005 Annual Report of Amnesty International.
Britain and the US are betraying the cause of human rights in pursuit of their "war on terror", Amnesty International says in its annual report published yesterday.

Irene Khan, Amnesty's general secretary, launching the report, accused the two governments of condoning torture while trying to keep their consciences clear. Britain used the language of freedom and justice in the context of Iraq, yet insisted that the Human Rights Act did not apply to British soldiers operating there, she said.

Elsewhere in today's Guardian, Nick Paton Walsh sheds more light on the "double standards" of US and UK human rights policy. In an article entitled, Pipeline opens new oil route to west, Walsh covers the inaugural "turning on the tap" of an Azerbijani pipeline carrying Kazakhstani oil across Georgia and into Turkey.

Walsh reports that the US heavily supported the project to build the so-called BTC Pipeline after Vice President Cheney's 2001 Energy Report recommended creating the commercial conditions to send Kazakhstani oil to the West without having to use the Russian pipeline system. Notably, Walsh goes on to report how the US invested in the regional regimes, both commercially and militarily, in spite of their poor human rights records and undemocratic practices.
The report recommended Mr Bush to order the departments of state and energy to "establish the commercial conditions" to facilitate Kazakh exports via the BTC. Since then the US has increased its military assistance to the authoritarian Mr Aliev, while at the same time supporting a pro-western revolution in Georgia.

"This is confirmation of American double-standards - supporting regimes that are authoritarian, but part of their energy package," said the analyst Lilya Shevtsova of the Carnegie Endowment, in Moscow.
Sadly, unless they can piece together the big-picture puzzle scattered through the foreign press, most Americans will remain (willingly) oblivious to the hypocrisy and danger posed by the Bush Administration's policies toward energy and human rights. With the US now importing 54% of the petroleum it consumes, the Carter doctrine linking world petroleum supplies to US national security is more operative than ever. The so-called "War On Terror" looks more and more like a war to safeguard foreign energy and economic resources for the Americans. Clearly, global human rights are to be sacrificed in the name of "national security" wherever convenient in the new geopolitical chess game.

Today at Liberal Oasis, Bill Scher echoes the same sentiments, this time regarding NY Times coverage of the Uzbekistan massacre.

The result, according to critics, is that Uzbek officials shrug off U.S. complaints about repression.

"They don't take the State Department seriously," said Tom Malinowski of Human Rights Watch. "They think the Pentagon and CIA will protect them. So the Uzbeks are not inclined to listen to American diplomats when they get lectured on democracy."

That pattern continues today.

Scher complains that even though the Times dug up dirt on the Uzbek regime when they investigated the crackdown/massacre last week, today they are trying to make the US look like good guys in contrast to the Chinese. The US really hasn't stood up for the rights of the people and are essentially brushing off the Uzbek's refusal to submit to an investigation. The Chinese have unequivocally supported the Uzbek regime under Karimov for fighting "separatism, terrorism, and extremism."

Even more sadly, Mr. Chivers's May 25th New York Times article, China backs Uzbek, splitting with US on Crackdown contains no mention of US State Department, White House or Defense Department officials taking a moment out from their celebration of the BTC pipeline to chide Karimov on the massacre.

So we're able to fight "The War on Terror" now anywhere we want. It secures our energy (although that stuff's gettin' more and more expensive!) and we are always in the right, even when we support the bad guys... because, hell, unlike China, at least we called for an investigation (in Uzbekistan), sort of.
For further reading, see the BBC page, After the violence, fear in Andijan

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Hands off Public Broadcasting

Media Matters for America

Write a letter to your Representative in Washtington asking him to support the Dingell/Obey letter calling for an investigation of political influence in the Corporation For Public Broadcasting.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Role model

Frist teaches us how to be a successful megalomaniac. People for the American Way has the "how to" here.

DeLay Inc.

A couple of journalists over at the the New York Times, Kate Zernike and Anne E. Kornblut, wrote a story supposedly linking Grover Norquist to Jack Abramoff's and Tom DeLay's influence-buying schemes, specifically in the Marianas. The story is entitled, Link to Lobbyist Brings Scrutiny to G.O.P. Figure.

I saw very little news reporting in the story, aside from the fact that Senator McCain's Committee on Indian Affairs
investigating whether Mr. Abramoff defrauded Indian tribes has subpoenaed records from Mr. Norquist's group, Americans For Tax Reform, after he refuled for six months to turn them over voluntarily.

Norquist has operated with an air of being "untouchable" in the last decade or so. He had close ties to Newt Gingrich, as he does to Tom DeLay, but Norquist himself is not a politician. He stays out of the public eye and out of the press. Instead, he is one of the behind the scenes players in the rise of the tax reform movement, the movement which provided the groundswell for GOP resurgence in the 80s and 90s. Today, Norquist's group is riding the crest of the high GOP tide.

Accoring to Zernike and Kornblut,
... Norquist has had a hand in nearly every conservative cause in Washington for nearly two decades ... largely through his Wednesday meetings, weekly beat-the-drum sessions attended by lobbysists, think tank employees and politicians that command such influence that the Bush administration routinely sends an envoy.

This looks to me like what could once have passed as honest, investigative reporting in the mainstream media, and many educated people will read this article and find its contents relevant to the DeLay story.

However, this story is a bold attempt to stand up to Norquist's minions and their politics of media monopolization, influence-buying and intimidation of journalists. This is baiting Norquist. It will be interesting to see who gets sent to retaliate against the Times for daring to drag Norquist into the public DeLay, Abramoff quagmire.

Also, is there another player on the liberal side positioned to follow-up or build upon the bad publicity and potential information leaks involving Norquist? We will be watching carefully.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

houston independent media

Political Typology 2005

The Pew Research Center offers a poll to figure out what "type" of political American you are, Where Do You Fit? Beyond Red & Blue

My results -- of course -- were liberal.

Based on your answers to the questionnaire, you most closely resemble survey respondents within the Liberal typology group. This does not mean that you necessarily fit every group characteristic or agree with the group on all issues.

Liberals represent 17 percent of the American public, and 19 percent of registered voters.

Basic Description
This group has nearly doubled in proportion since 1999, Liberals now comprise the largest share of Democrats and is the single largest of the nine Typology groups. They are the most opposed to an assertive foreign policy, the most secular, and take the most liberal views on social issues such as homosexuality, abortion, and censorship. They differ from other Democratic groups in that they are strongly pro-environment and pro-immigration, issues which are more controversial among Conservative and Disadvantaged Democrats.

Defining Values
Strongest preference for diplomacy over use of military force. Pro-choice, supportive of gay marriage and strongly favor environmental protection. Low participation in religious activities. Most sympathetic of any group to immigrants as well as labor unions, and most opposed to the anti-terrorism Patriot Act.

Who They Are
Most (62%) identify themselves as liberal. Predominantly white (83%), most highly educated group (49% have a college degree or more), and youngest group after Bystanders. Least religious group in typology: 43% report they seldom or never attend religious services; nearly a quarter (22%) are seculars. More than one-third never married (36%). Largest group residing in urban areas (42%) and in the western half the country (34%). Wealthiest Democratic group (41% earn at least $75,000).

Lifestyle Notes
Largest group to have been born (or whose parents were born) outside of the U.S. or Canada (20%). Least likely to report having a gun at home (23%) or attending bible study or prayer group meetings (13%).

2004 Election
Bush 2%, Kerry 81%

Party ID
59% Democrat; 40% Independent/No Preference, 1% Republican (92% Dem/Lean Dem)

Media Use
Liberals are second only to Enterprisers in following news about government and public affairs most of the time (60%). Liberals’ use of the internet to get news is the highest among all groups (37%).

Note: All descriptions and percentages are based on the national sample of adults surveyed by telephone in December. Based on your answers to the survey questions, you most closely resemble survey respondents within this group, even though you may differ significantly on one or more issues or traits.

In the overall typology there is a ninth group called “Bystanders” who are defined as adults who are not registered, who do not follow news about government and public affairs, and who say they rarely or never vote.

The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press
1615 L Street, NW Suite 700 Washington, DC 20036
p 202.419.4350 f 202.419.4399 e

The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press is one of six projects that make up the The Pew Research Center. The Center is supported by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

I took the poll. Guess what? Liberal.
Even though I answered "Strongly Agree" to the statement, "Religion is extremely important in my daily life," they lumped me with the atheists and the agnostics.

Why? Because I'm against war and in favor of helping the poor.

I don't care whether I'm called liberal or something else, or who they group me with.

What I see is a skewed electorate. Religious people, especially Christians, must be ripe for the "liberal label stamp." There is no way a Christian, or any Abrahamic religious person, or a religious person of ANY stripe, to my knowledge, including Buddhist, Hindu, Zoroastrian, whatever -- can be in favor of a war-dominated foreign policy.

But until we stress conservation -- especially of oil and especially by developing renewable energy at home -- we will need to emphasize military-driven foreign policy and economics. Duh!

So it becomes obvious that Christians, Jews and Muslims (plead "the 6th" [Commandment]} favor environmentalism just to defuse the oil war and to help the poor. This goes without saying that the obvious reason religious people are environmentalists is stated in the Book of Genesis 2:15.

So, where does this leave the Pews? It looks like the Pew poll is saying that people of conscience -- whom they identify as liberals -- are currently politically divided from people with strong religious beliefs.

The Republicans have supplanted conscience (helping, conserving, protecting) with control (preventing, threatening). There is no way they can keep the majority, because religious people are ultimately not interested in coercing anybody to be virtuous. They are interested in virtue based on conscience.

So, the harvest is great but the laborers are few. John 3:35

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


Susan Hu and BooMan publish a piece in Mydd about the Newsweek retraction.

Aside from the problem of a new sub-Orwellian depth of inhumanity and hypocrisy has been plumbed by the Administration and the corporate media, our correspondents have cared enough to try to help us all deal with it.

Most of us, myself included, shrug, hang our heads, pray, cry, get really sad or angry, and then go on with our lives.

What people like me can be grateful for now are people like these bloggers who take a more proactive approach. They carefully and painstakingly point out the truth, document it, refute its opponents, and publish their words in a way that will enlighten those of us who care about truth, and enrage those of us who care about hating the truth.

It's courageous now to speak the truth about our government, our society, our country. Look what's happening in our "democracy." The journalists are now the new leaders, freedom fighters and heros. Our military is not defending us from our enemies any more. They are making enemies for us.

It is the people willing to risk their name, their careers, their freedom or their lives by speaking out against the military dictatorship, who are the real defenders of freedom. Because freedom today in the U.S. is only a hope, it is not a reality. They are heros for having the courage to speak out in hope for freedom and humanity.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Take back Kyoto with Greenpeace

This may smack of divided loyalties to some Americans
Project Thin Ice 2005.

The People's Ratification of the Kyoto Global Warming Treaty web page is putting the internet to the proper use -- removing obstacles to democracy, such as representative governments owned by corporations.
The People’s Ratification is a nationwide petition drive designed to give thousands of citizens a chance to respond in a way that we now cannot. We are telling our local officials, our nation’s leaders and the international community that we do not go along with the Washington party line. We want to set a good example and be responsible stewards. We care deeply about the future viability of the planet. And, we are ready to commit ourselves to a clean energy future.

common cause

Until I can get a .gif to fit in my sidebar

Senate Rules

In the article, Democrats, GOP End Talks On Filibusters, on May 17, 2005, Washington Post staff writers Shailagh Murray and Dan Balz write:
It usually takes 60 votes to shut off debate in the Senate, but the change contemplated by the Republicans would allow a simple majority to stop a filibuster on judicial nominations.
They fail to mention, as do most corporate media reporting on this issue, not to mention the Republican party spokespersons informing the public, that 60 votes is the requirement to end debate on a motion, but 66 votes are required to change the rules. Such a "supermajority" of "Senators present and voting" would be required to effect the Cloture rule change contemplated by Frist and his cabal. The rules explicitly state that the President of the Senate must ask:
"Is it the sense of the Senate that the debate shall be brought to a close?" And if that question shall be decided in the affirmative by three-fifths of the Senators duly chosen and sworn -- except on a measure or motion to amend the Senate rules, in which case the necessary affirmative vote shall be two-thirds of the Senators present and voting -- then said measure, motion, or other matter pending before the Senate, or the unfinished business, shall be the unfinished business to the exclusion of all other business until disposed of.
See Standing Rules of Senate, Rule XXII, Precedence of Motions Sec. 2

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Maybe Ike wasn't such a jerk after all

David Sirota has a blog post including a quotation by Eisenhower on November 8, 1954 -- 2 years to the day before I was born. Sirota says Ike is "predict[ing] the demise of the GOP over Social Security."

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Apocalyptic headlines

I love a good sensationalized scare as much as the next American. I even listened to the rebroadcast of Welles's famous War of the Worlds reading.

Today's headlines, though, are scarier than fiction. As a group taken together, they catalogue catastrophes that will further destabilize the world and societies whose weakening they signify.

Four Suicide Attacks Kill at Least 71. This brings the total casualties -- mostly innocent civilians -- for the last 10 days to around 400+, in Iraq.

North Korea says Completes Nuclear Fuel Extraction. Is this a deliberate ploy by Bushco to fabricate another international security crisis?

Six Dead in California Possible Murder-Suicide & Father of Slain Girl Charged With Double Murder. The "human interest" stories.

Satan Unleashes Evil Energy But God Will Win -Pope. This is right out of Ghostbusters.

Afghans Riot Over Koran Report, 4 Dead. In case you hadn't heard:
JALALABAD, Afghanistan (Reuters) - Afghan police opened fire on protesters on Wednesday killing four and wounding dozens after violent demonstrations over a report that U.S. interrogators had desecrated the Koran.

Rights Report Cites U.S. and Egypt on Torture. This is referring to a recently published report by Human Rights Watch, Black Hole: The Fate of Islamists Rendered to Egypt. The report contains information along the lines of these two relevant tidbits:
The report cites estimates by Egyptian analysts, lawyers and Islamist activists who believe 150 to 200 detainees have been transferred since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
"The person sent back to Egypt under these circumstances is almost surely going to be tortured," said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director for Human Rights Watch.

This country will never be the same. We are never going to be able to go back to our innocence. This is the President, the Cabinet, and the Congress on record as voluntarily promoting the torture and murder, along with deprivation of rights, of "suspected terrorists."

Last night I was talking to my friend, Bruce, and I told him,

"I think there's going to be a military coup in this country."

He said, "There already has been a military coup. It's just secret."

Then, today another one of these blogs comes out. Isn't Jim Lampley a football player who used to do Saturday afternoon color commentary? Why is he publishing this stuff on Kos, when our Senate, Congress, DOJ, GAO, and DOHS aren't even winking at it?

What kind of a conspiracy are we dealing with here? I think "vast right wing" is an understatement.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Biden blocked on Bolton

Throw them all out.

Pontificator daily Kos diary on Lugar obstruction.

For some reason Lugar is determined to get this clown into the UN spot and wants to force the vote when he has his team in hand. Otherwise he's going to look like a granny. Is there really anything more the Democrats can do to delay the vote besides declaring that the discovery requests weren't honored?

Tuesday, May 03, 2005


Monday, May 02, 2005

big weekend

According to Newsday and NY1, thirty-four people were arrested for "riding in a bicycle procession without a permit" on Friday night. It was the twelfth anniversary of the critical mass bicycle ride to promote alternative forms of transportation.

This writer was present at Union Square about 7:15 PM. The cops were gathered around the north section of the Square, where they distributed their fliers, played their recorded warning and showed a strong presence. There were so few riders there that I knew they had to be riding somewhere else.

I went over to the south end of the Square, where the protest against curbing freedom of speech had occurred earlier. There were a lot of people with bicycles waiting there, the drum corps played, and others carried signs and milled around.