July 10, 2008 archive

AFGE Says McCain Wrong on Veterans Health Care

Union Representing VA Workers Launch Nationwide Radio Campaign, Web Site and Viral Videos for Full VA Funding

This week, the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) launched a nationwide radio ad campaign raising serious concerns about Senator McCain’s commitment to veterans’ health care. In addition to the radio ads, AFGE, which represents employees in the Department of Veterans Affairs, launched a Web site, Fund The VA, and a series of YouTube ads featuring union veterans voicing their concerns about McCain’s controversial veterans health care platform.

Docudharma Times Thursday July 10

The Fourth Amendment

Takes Its Leave

Founders Seen

Spinning In Graves

Thursday’s Headlines:

Doctors’ Group Plans Apology For Racism

Pre-Olympics security sweep nets foreigners, Chinese alike

Defiant Iran tests missiles to show strength in face of US warnings

Fewer gunmen and bribes as Iraqi students take finals

Global net closes on Mugabe’s gang

Nigerian militants end cease-fire in oil region

Symbol of Rome found to be 1,000 years too young

Frank Gehry: the Bilbao Effect is bulls**t

The old man who farms with the sea

Pakistan Is Said to Be Attracting Insurgents


Published: July 10, 2008

WASHINGTON – American military and intelligence officials say there has been an increase in recent months in the number of foreign fighters who have traveled to Pakistan’s tribal areas to join with militants there.

The flow may reflect a change that is making Pakistan, not Iraq, the preferred destination for some Sunni extremists from the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia who are seeking to take up arms against the West, these officials say.

The American officials say the influx, which could be in the dozens but could also be higher, shows a further strengthening of the position of the forces of Al Qaeda in the tribal areas, increasingly seen as an important base of support for the Taliban, whose forces in Afghanistan have become more aggressive in their campaign against American-led troops.

China’s Silencing Season

Activist Journalists and Lawyers Jailed, Harassed in Far-Reaching Pre-Olympic Operation

By Jill Drew

Washington Post Foreign Service

Thursday, July 10, 2008; Page A08

BEIJING — Outside the small restaurant where he was having dinner, Huang Qi saw men he recognized, plainclothes police officers. He got on his cellphone to alert colleagues: Something might happen tonight, he said. We were followed.

Huang, who had already served a five-year prison term for political material posted on his Web site, had just published an article about China’s latest forbidden topic: shoddy construction of school buildings in Sichuan province, where more than 9,000 children were killed when their classrooms collapsed in the May 12 earthquake.

Editors Note:

An article published in Sunday’s Guardian about this same issue was part of that mornings Docudharma Times as is another story in today’s Asian news section. It’s important that people realize just how far the Chinese government is willing to go to protect its image.


Senate Approves Bill to Broaden Wiretap Powers


Published: July 10, 2008

WASHINGTON – The Senate gave final approval on Wednesday to a major expansion of the government’s surveillance powers, handing President Bush one more victory in a series of hard-fought clashes with Democrats over national security issues.

The measure, approved by a vote of 69 to 28, is the biggest revamping of federal surveillance law in 30 years. It includes a divisive element that Mr. Bush had deemed essential: legal immunity for the phone companies that cooperated in the National Security Agency wiretapping program he approved after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Energize America: FESA not FISA!

Join us at Netroots Nation, next Friday, room 19, 9 am, for Energizing America:  Setting an Agenda for Progress.  This panel will range far and wide across our energy challenges and opportunities.  

Part of the discussion: the Freshman Energy Smart Acceleration (FESA) Act.  

FESA is a package of suggested programs that could provide a rallying point for the freshmen (and women) class of 2009, to join together for passage a set of legislative initiatives to help spark an Energy Smart renaissance across the United States.

each of us faces tough choices

we tell ourselves we’re on the brink. the world as we knew it is gone. holy shit. oh my fucking god. the polar bears are drowning. frogs are disappearing. we are beyond safe limits of CO2.


fyi: the world as we knew it has always been a fleeting construct… it’s always changing. there is nothing to hang onto. there never was… our lives keep moving forward. our lives will not stop. we, all of us, will eventually fall off cliffs into our own abyss…

in a way, i think then this frees us up. because if life is basically in chaos and out-of-control, why not use that to our advantage? why are we thinking inside the political box when the problems we confront are so outside of it??? i like this kind of thinking…

The resources of a single human cell’s “biospace” are as unbounded as the resources of outer space. Quantum microscopy opens vast new resources that fulfilll Paul Dirac’s criterion for a golden era:

“Golden eras occur when ordinary people can make extraordinary contributions”

why are we tied to barack obama, just for an example? if obama reads like a corporatist. if he voted for FISA… why? if he is the presumptive nominee because he tacked left of Clinton and now pulls right… if he can change direction, why can’t we change the course of this election? why? who determines our actions? do we? or do we allow some monolithic, decaying political system keep us in its thrall? do we have to accept this?

no. maybe it’s not the politics. we haven’t gotten it yet. it’s all temporary. it’s all just beyond our grasp. what lasts timothy? fucking nothing. oh. right. change lasts. and yet maybe that very thing gives me right now. if it’s all i have, then i want to own it.

ha… then i don’t have to vote for obama (or clinton) as the lesser of two evils. i can write to the delegates of New York and urge them to cast their ballots for Dennis or John… I can tell the Super Delegates what I think. And promise them a course of action that will leave them all realizing just how much the world as they knew it has moved way past them…

so… it’s another call to form another party. another call for a systematic campaign of filling school boards, town boards, state houses, and congressional seats with different points-of-view: we can tell the old ones, still stuck in the world as they knew it, that the Real Life Party is here. the Resistance Party is here. the Green Party is here. the Common Good party, here!!! and i have to ask myself, what is really progressive? voting for the lesser of two evils or abandoning that path? even when that path takes us further to the brink? or do we, at some point, have to risk being pulled over the brink? and how do we know that is really the worst thing? how do we really know what the brink is? and maybe that changes all the time too… or, and i’m not sure who first said it but: who the fuck really knows

we have in us the power for drama and daring and doing great things. this is the time. we have, in front of us, another wild west to explore. uncharted ocean to cross. this trek is to reclaim the territory of our minds. our souls.

we are still fighting to be free. we will always have to fight for our freedom. because the world as we know it will always change, will often fall into the wrong hands… and yeah, life as we know it will always leave us with tough choices.

Muse in the Morning

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Muse in the Morning

State of the Onion XXVI

Art Link
Fool’s Gold

Living on Lies

Such small minds

in fear they cower

preferring deceit

over truths

which they cannot

fully comprehend

My God

how their souls

must be shrivelled

stained by

false bravado



as they pollute

our mutual


–Robyn Elaine Serven

–March 28, 2006

Win ’08: Then withdraw unless changes are made.

Rasmussen reported that 9% in a poll said that Congress is doing a good to excellent job.

That’s down from a 15% high of this year. Merely 3% of the all-important independents approve.

Further, only 12% of voters feel Congress has passed important legislation in the last six months. 62% say NO important legislation has been passed. We keep hearing from the Democratic leadership that they should make no serious attempt to protect the Republic. This would, apparently, displease the public. Instead, they tell us, they are focused on important legislation.

Add this together and here is the answer to the question:

“Is it that Congress thinks the people are stupid; or is it that Congressionals are actually the stupid ones?”…

Well the answer can only be a resounding “YES”.

It’s not just the liberals held hostage to the Democratic leadership that understands big changes are needed. America wants it, and wants it big time. If you think politicians will volunteer to make the changes we need, you might consider quitting dope.

Practically speaking, here’s one thing we might do:

Sneers and Gloating at the FISA Hearings

So apparently some people missed the FISA vote protest. Well…shucks. You snooze, you lose. Not me, though. I was there, and it was AWESOME. 100,000 bloggers stormed the Capitol, dressed in preppie business suits, carrying pocket Constitutions, and wielding their laptops like deadly maces. People trampled each other to kick Harry Reid in the balls. The old coot put up a hell of a fight, but in the end the numbers were against him, and he submitted meekly, like we knew he would.

Former (Thank the Gods) Constitutional Lawyer votes to gut 4th Amendment.

Here’s a link for the FISA vote: http://www.senate.gov/legislat…

Gesture Painting

This is the painting, that is Stan’s converted bus and then there is my mess in the foreground.  At this point the painting was about 2/3rds done.  A few others had worked on it as well.  In the comments I’ll post a picture of the Happy Winner.  Click on the image to see it full size.  There will be some better photos coming from some friends shortly.  But at least now you get to see a bit of my style.

Normally I work on a flat surface so it was a challenge working on the vertical surface again.  I used natural charcoal, acrylic paint and iridescent inks.  The canvas is lightweight, I prefer linen but linen is very expensive.  

I learned:

1. to bring a stool to hold my pallet so there isn’t as much bending over involved.

2. bring some acrylic extender to increase the workability of the paints.

3. set up in the shade next time.

4. letting go of ownership can be a wonderful thing.


Progressives Face Tough Truths and Tougher Choices

Things are looking bleak for the Progressive Movement.  We’ve been saddled once again with a corporate-conservative Democrat whose willingness to drop popular policy positions to placate the far right will likely cost his political party — and, by extension, the rest of the country — the presidency; we’ve been threatened and bullied by increasingly uncritical sycophants from within the Democratic Party who refuse to acknowledge that their candidate isn’t what far too many Americans have pretended he is; and we’ve been denied by the corporate establishment any and all presidential candidates truly representative of the Progressive Movement.

Our options are few and dwindling by the day.  On one side we have Republican John McCain, who represents plainly and simply an extension of the Bush regime.  He is unacceptable.  On another we have Barack Obama, who has tacked so far to the right from the mythical “center” that his policies now show little or no practical difference from his opponent’s — or, for that matter, Bill and Hillary Clinton’s.  On yet another side, we have independent and third party candidates running for president: Ralph Nader, Cynthia McKinney (on the Green Party ticket), and Bob Barr (for the Libertarians).

Perhaps the single biggest limitation on our options is the elimination and marginalization of candidates whose records and rhetoric go against the status quo.  The establishment, from the corporate masters to their propagandists in the media to a large portion of the very electorate itself, actively discourages the voicing of that dissent which is expressed in the form of votes.  We are threatened with another Republican regime if we dare “waste” our ballots, if we dare presume to think that voting our beliefs might truly make a difference.  After all, the brainwashing campaign dictates, Democrats are better than Republicans by far.  By what standard, though?

Of the two major political party presidential candidates, McCain and Obama, which one has moved to the right of the shrub — let me repeat and emphasize that for you: to the right of the shrub — on Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel?  Obama, that’s which one.  Not even McCain or the boys holding his leash have guts enough to state that position publicly.  On this issue, is Obama better than McCain or worse?  The answer, of course, is “worse.”

On a host of other issues, an Obama administration offers the following:

No health care reform,

Publicly subsidized slums,

No end to the occupation of Iraq on his watch,

Continuation of NAFTA and other disastrous trade deals,

All hope for a return of the Fairness Doctrine dead, and

Continuing erosion of civil liberties.

In what way is Obama fundamentally different from, or better than, his Republican counterpart?  From where I’m sitting he is absolutely no better, and in some respects he is much worse.  Why, then, should progressives throw away their ballots on him?

Desperate times require desperate and drastic measures.  Democrats blew their chance to hold Barack Obama accountable during the primaries, but it’s not too late to force him to run to the political left and stay there, lest he cost us the election like John Kerry and Al Gore before him.

A couple of weeks ago I received junk mail from the Obama campaign in the form of a contribution request.  Instead of enclosing money (which I don’t have anyway), I instead inserted a note stating that until Obama met certain requirements, he would receive no money or vote from me.  Those requirements were:

– Immediately demand that Pelosi allow impeachment proceedings against the shrub and his gargoyle to proceed,

– Stand up to the shrub on FISA, filibuster the amnesty bill, and filubuster all of the shrub’s nominees,

– Push for single-payer health care, and

– Push for cutting off funds for the occupation of Iraq and bringing our troops home.

You might share my positions on these and other issues.  I declared my intention to vote for Dennis Kucinich as a write-in if Obama does not get his act together.  You may wish to vote for Nader, McKinney, or the write-in of your choice.  The point is not to try to win the election for these independent and third party candidates, but to send a message to Obama that his cynical political games will not be tolerated by progressives.  This is the last, best chance we have of holding him accountable.

Democrats will only take their party’s progressive base seriously if they know in their hearts that alienating it shall only cost them more and more elections.  If they choose not to learn their lesson, then we progressives must break from the Democratic Party, abandoning it to its Republican masters, and start anew.  Either way, unless we act, Obama will surely blow it for us — and America — in November.

I Hope I Never Do This Again

But just for this once, I hope anyway, I’m going to post a straight quote from RedState today… because it’s the only thing I think I’ve ever seen from them that I agree with.

Posted at 3:05pm on Jul. 9, 2008 – RedState.com

They’re winding up FISA now in the Senate. Took ’em long enough.

By Moe Lane

There were two Senators who were serious Democratic Presidential candidates, and they both voted on FISA. One of them voted against telecom immunity – a matter of extreme importance to the netroots – all the way down the line (and despite the fact that Democrats in Congress have assessed the public mood, and have clearly decided that the bill must be passed). The other voted against it… except for the final vote, which is the only one that the population will actually care about. In other words, we have a case of actual integrity versus equivocation.

The funny part is that the netroots went with the equivocator. Barack Obama brazenly lied to them about his intent to filibuster FISA, and they support him anyway. And now they have to go give him some more money, so that he can lie to them some more. Funny, I don’t recall Hillary Clinton being nearly as bad in that regard this election cycle.

Have a nice day.


…And Reid is recessing, in order to let the GOP go have its (delayed by the Helms funeral) lunch. Isn’t he just the best, most biddable Democratic Senate Majority Leader that the GOP could wish for?

I could use a drink.

Anyone else?

Pony Party: WBD

Weapons of Blog Destruction!

h/t   Net Disaster

Docudharma attacked by Ants!

Watch this for a little while and notice what the ants are carrying around.    I have no idea how this works!

How about a good old fashioned Daily Kos Pie Fight!

Here’s something I’ve always wanted to do… Tomatoes!

The bloggers are getting restless. Taking it to the streets – Protest!

OMG!  This is even cooler than the ants.  Check out the signs!!!

Here’s a fun one too:   God Almighty strikes RedState.  Use your mouse to point the finger and click to launch fire balls.  

Want to launch a WBD at your favorite (or least favorite) sites?  Go to the Net Disaster home page linked above.  Or, from any of the pages that I linked above, you’ll notice a tool bar at the top of the web page.  You can enter any URL  you want and select a disaster.  Choose from Floods, Chainsaws, Dinosaurs, Spilled Coffee and lots more.  There are sounds that go with it too.  Have fun!  

Load more