May 22, 2009 archive

Election News Roundup: 5/8/09 – 5/14/09

Election reform is one of the most important issues facing our country and our world right now, even if it doesn’t get the coverage of torture or abortion.  The way that we run our elections and initiative processes determines who makes policy, the type of policy made, and the tone of our political discourse.  If we ignore it or take advantage of the electoral system, we our doing ourselves and our republic a disservice.

This week:  Ballot access lawsuits, Supreme Court election law cases, why the Hell Mike Gravel is in South Korea (hint: he’s not lost), one fourth of overseas votes go uncounted, universal voter registration proposed in New York state, and more!

On Being American, Or, “A Hybrid? Not Unless It Has Tail Fins”

It’s great to see that people are starting to think about hybrid vehicles, but so far, they really haven’t been for me.

You know why?

Because for the most part, they have no…style.

The Prius?

If you look at it sideways, and squint, it looks more like a pepita than a car.

The Insight?

They say it’s stylish…but it looks like a Prius to me.

You know what I want?

I want someone to build the biggest, nastiest, most oversized hybrid the world has ever seen.

Something drenched with chrome, with seating for…many, and a convertible top; and maybe, if all my dreams come true: tail fins.

Something crazy.

Something ridiculous.


Well, guess what?

Somebody’s already gone out and had one built-and ironically, that somebody is Neil Young, Canadian.

Wild Wild Left Radio #20 Obama, Cheney, Torture, CIA, No Change at ALL!

Join Ed Encho, Gottlieb and I tonight at 6pm EDT on Wild Wild Left Radio, via BlogtalkRadio.

We are expecting special caller Nonpartisan, and hopefully Arthur Gilroy as his schedule permits.

We cannot help but discuss the topic that just will not die… Cheney’s apparent death grip on our government, and the spinelessness of those who refuse to oppose him.

Torture? Unresolved.

Truth & Reconciliation. No transparency.

Gitmo Closing. Confusing blockages (NIMBY or no to Bogrom/other CIA prisons)

Reid, Pelosi, capitulation. Is the CIA lying (as always) or is this more Kabuki theater to divert us? (like the Swine Flu?)

“New terrorist plots averted” More KABUKI? Or Cheney/CIA timed nicely for his speech?

Is the CIA evil genuis, or are we just morons? There job is to LIE, and they figured out early on, the path of least resistance was to lie to US! (wrong on, and got away with)

*Bay of pigs

*Nuclear Missiles in Cuba


*Fall of the Soviet Union

*1st Gulf War/Kuwait

*WOMD in Iraq

*Iraq/9/11 link

Is Obama morphing into Bush/Cheney?


*Allowing Military Tirbunal/kangaroo courts


*Whistleblower Protection

*Not prosecuting Chain of Command

*Refusal to release photos

*Leaving troops in Iraq

*Escalating Afghanistan

Cheney Himself. Ideologue or megalomaniac? Or maybe just Satan?

I know you have PLENTY to say on all this, so call in @ 646=929-1264 with your brief comments or questions!

Please call with any questions you may have, or respectful commentary.

The call in number is 646-929-1264

Listen to The Wild Wild Left on internet talk radio

The live chat link will be added around 5:15.

Four at Four

  1. The Washington Post reports a House panel passes a limit on greenhouse-gas emissions. The so-called ‘American Clean Energy and Security’ (ACES) “legislation would create a cap-and-trade system: Over the next decades, power plants, oil refineries and manufacturers would be required to obtain allowances for the pollution they emit.”

    The bill was weakened considerably by the Democrats to appease members of their own party from the South and Midwest and “to reassure manufacturers and utilities”.

    Adam Siegel at Get Energy Smart! has a round-up of reactions from President Obama and environmental groups to the news. Of his own reaction, Siegel writes:

    This bill is filled with good … and bad elements. It has strong provisions for improving energy efficiency in the United States, a weak renewable energy standard, and massive (MASSIVE) direct and indirect subsidies and payoffs for the fossil fuel industries.

    This is a challenging moment…

    Fiscal analysis of the 85% of carbon pollution permits that are to be given away results in, from 2012 through 2030, $1 trillion 61 billion dollars in direct and indirect subsidies for fossil fuels against $127.4 billion for energy efficiency and renewable energy.

    Have to wonder why “Clean Energy” is in the title. Would it be more appropriate to entitle it Coal Subsidy Act? …

    Sadly, with all due respect to Chairman Waxman and Chairman Markey, ACES doesn’t merit that description.

Four at Four continues with proposed oil and gas lease changes, the governor of Washington state executive orders to cut greenhouse gas emissions, a war update from Pakistan, and the Pentagon reward KBR for killing U.S. soldiers.

PreCrime in America’s Long War of Empire

Rachel proves that all of our efforts to get her on the teevee machine were worth it. She says it and illustrates it far better than I could.

Yes. Bush left us, as Obama said yesterday, a mess… in his panic to make up for Letting America be attacked on 9/11.

Whether it was “On Purpose” or not, lol.

But establishing a whole new dimension of law, that it is hard not to imagine will have unintended effects on our current fragile system of law, seems…..hasty.

There is another law at play here, one not invented by men, just as Jefferson maintained that the Rights of Man are not granted by men. The Law of Unintended Consequences.

Of course at this time the Precrime Division is but …ahem….a Theory. No one knows what this imaginary beast looks…or smells….like.

But…theoretically, this is…possibly, something that holds as much of not more weight than a Constitutional Amendment. We are after all talking about the antepenultimate abridgment of the Rights of Man, indefinite detention. In effect lifetime detention, if there is not, as Armando proposes, (in the comments) some form of parole.

This new dimension of law cannot be, as Obama said of the Bush policies he is (through no fault of his own it must be noted) being forced to address, entered into out of fear or panic. It cannot be ad hoc, as Cheney phrased the efforts on the American Empire’s War on a Tactic.

And of course in the meantime, the prisoners in Guantanamo and the prisoners at Bagram…..suffer. And suffer under the most un-American, un-Constitutional state of all. The Presumption of Guilt.

Bush assaulted the Constitution. President Obama please, no matter how good your intentions…. don’t kick it while it is down.

Two not to be missed videos! And Liz Holtzman speaks out on torture!

Both of these videos speak for themselves without dialogue from me!

David Swanson speaks on Real News:  “Policy Differences or Crimes?”

Rachael Maddow, with Vince Warren, Director of Center for Constitutional Rights

Rachel speaks out on Obama’s speech and indefinite detention!

Rachel Maddow

(Note:  I tried over and over to embed the video with no success.  I don’t get it.  Nightprowlkitty did it the other night — she must’ve hit a nerve I haven’t found.  Sorry, wish I could’ve done it myself!)

Liz Holtzman next!


Yes, Actually, I CAN Judge The Chemo Kid

In a bizarre post at Salon, Rahul K. Parikh, M.D. says we shouldn’t judge a family that is on the lam, so that their 13 year old son won’t have to experience the hell of chemotherapy treatments for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma:

The story of Daniel Hauser, a 13-year-old boy from Minnesota with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, became tabloid fodder overnight. The boy and his mother are on the lam because the mother refuses, because of her beliefs, to authorize chemotherapy treatments for her son. Hodgkin’s lymphoma has a 90 percent cure rate with chemotherapy, and a 95 percent chance of killing a person without it. Chemotherapy will likely save Daniel’s life, and as a pediatrician I wouldn’t hesitate for a moment to recommend it.

But I would also like to turn down the volume on the talk-radio chatter and outraged editorials. That’s because nobody seems to be talking about what it takes to beat Hodgkin’s (or any other cancer). What it takes is a grueling regimen that can indeed give even a dying person pause. In fact, the Hausers didn’t refuse chemotherapy outright. They defied doctors and a judge’s ruling only after Daniel experienced some of its violent effects following one round. If you don’t understand why, listen to my friend, Arun Ponnusamy, 36, who beat acute lymphocytic leukemia. “Surviving cancer is one thing,” he says. “Surviving chemotherapy is another thing entirely.”

I call bullshit. First of all, every type of cancer has a different chemo regimen, and because the bulk of his post is actually about Ponnusamy’s treatments, to have any credibility, Parikh must first explain the similarities between Ponnusamy’s cancer and Hauser’s. But more directly to the point, and in direct contrast to Parikh’s absurd approach, we’re talking about saving the life of a child. Hodgkin’s treatments are brutal, but they usually “cure” the cancer. As in giving the kid a chance at a full life. Which makes enduring probably 12 cycles of chemotherapy not such a terrible prospect. I would know. I am a Hodgkin’s survivor.  

I’ll Kiss Yours If You’ll Kiss Mine ;-)

First Amendment Friday 5 – Bridges V California

Happy Friday and welcome to the 5th in the Dog’s First Amendment Friday series. This series is following the syllabus for the class called The First Amendment and taught at Yale Law School by Professor Jack M. Balkin. As with the Friday Constitutional series this is a layman’s look at the Law, specifically the Supreme Court opinions which have shaped the boundaries of our 1st Amendment Protections. This week we will look at two cases which deal with the Press’s right to report and comment on cases still before the Courts.

The cases were decided together in an opinion titled Bridges V California. If you are interested in the previous installments of this series you can find them at the links below:

“Preventive Detention” And Prisoners Of War

Glenn Greenwald writes:

In the wake of Obama’s speech yesterday, there are vast numbers of new converts who now support indefinite “preventive detention.”  It thus seems constructive to have as dispassionate and fact-based discussion as possible of the implications of “preventive detention” and Obama’s related detention proposals (military commissions).

I hope by now my ability to disagree with and criticize President Obama is not questioned. Thus, when I say that I think there may be merit in a detention regime (the military commissions proposal seems fatally flawed to me as described) that detains known combatants in a manner that is compliant with the Constitution and the Geneva Convention, I hope my argument can be addressed seriously. I do not think Glenn’s post considers the possibility that President Obama’s proposal may in fact be such a Geneva Convention compliant detention regime. More . . .


On the cycle of fear and brutality

As we all know, the fear-mongering from Republicans about the possibility of Gitmo prisoners being transferred to federal prisons in the U.S. worked to convince all but 6 Democrats (Durbin,  Harkin, Leahy, Levin, Reed, Whitehouse) to vote against funding for shutting it down. Apparently, Harry Reid was so completely terrorized at the prospect that he had trouble explaining himself clearly without the help of reporters.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) declared in a press conference today, “We will never allow terrorists to be released into the United States.” In several tense back and forths with reporters, Reid said he opposes imprisoning detainees on U.S. soil, saying flatly, “We don’t want them around the United States”:

And now, just in time to play on that fear, we get the story of four Muslims who were arrested in New York for trying to blow up synagogues and shoot down airplanes.

The men, all of whom live in Newburgh, about 60 miles north of New York City, were arrested around 9 p.m. after planting what they believed to be bombs in cars outside the Riverdale Temple and the nearby Riverdale Jewish Center, officials said. But the men did not know the bombs, obtained with the help of an informant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, were fake.<…>

The charges against the four men represent some of the most significant allegations of domestic terrorism in some time, and come months into a new presidential administration, as President Obama grapples with the question of how to handle detainees at the Guantánamo Bay camp in Cuba.

Please Ask Connecticut Governor Rell To Sign The Death Penalty Abolition Bill

Cross posted from The Dream Antilles

Early this morning the Connecticut Senate voted to abolish Connecticut’s death penalty.  The vote was 19-17.  The bill now goes to Governor Jodi Rell (R).  She sounds like she will veto the bill.  So, if you care about the value of human life and making Connecticut and America more just and ending the barbarism that is the death penalty, this is an important time to spend a few moments to call or email Governor Rell to ask her to sign the bill.  The phone is 860.566.4840.  The email: [email protected].  

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