Monday, August 27, 2007

SICKO waiting for the truth about our health care crisis

On Saturday, August 25, BlueNovember.Org held a We're SICKO Waiting rally in front of Krafft 8 Theater in Port Huron for two reasons.

First, we wanted to remind our neighbors that "those in charge" of local theaters have refused to show "SICKO," an important film about our health care crisis. Incidentally, when we called to ask why they weren't going to show "SICKO," we heard the following excuses: "not enough copies to go around, unpopular, financial failure, decisions about film offerings are not made locally." One young man at the ticket counter did say one thing that was especially interesting. He said, "Management said it was too liberal."

Which brings us to the second reason for our We're SICKO Waiting rally. As for issues of great importance and relevance to all Americans, our health care crisis is right up there with the occupation of Iraq. And to make it a liberals only idea, well, somehow I find that strangely flattering. Liberals will proudly carry the mantle of "health care for all." What better issue to reach out to our biconceptual neighbors? Every single person, no matter what political persuasion, who has been screwed by the gargantuan Corporate-Political-Pharmaceutical-Triad intimately knows there must be a better way.

BlueNovember.Org intended this rally not only to ask for a film; we wanted to start a conversation that might lead to our neighbors finding some common ground.

Update: On Tuesday, August 28, BlueNovember.Org received a follow-up call from Matt Bieth, manager of Krafft 8 Theater. He stated that he had called Mr. Goodrich, Krafft 8 owner, to ask him about the status of getting SICKO. Mr. Goodrich told him SICKO was slated to go to Birchwood Mall's theater. Mr. Bieth explained that he learned from Mr. Goodrich that in smaller markets films are split by distributors between two theater chains. Mr. Bieth stated he did not know why Birchwood Mall theaters chose not to show the film.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Truth about Iraq

Is the surge working? Are things getting any better in Iraq? Is there any evidence that the continuing loss of American and Iraqi lives is accomplishing anything? If you listen to the White House or the Republicans running for President, you might think that American troops are actually gaining some ground over there, but if you read a stunning op-ed piece in today's New York Times, written by seven U. S. non-commissioned officers finishing up a 15-month tour in Iraq, you'll learn that neocon spin cannot disguise the unavoidable fact that this mess is, incredibly, deteriorating. You'll see that our "allies" are helping plant the bombs that kill Americans; that the violence on the ground is a horrifying web of factions, sectarian hostility, criminal gangs, and ancient animosities; and that the Iraqi people--insecure, economically depressed, frustrated, displaced from their homes--increasingly see American troops as an unwanted occupying army. The authors of this courageous piece conclude, "In the end, we need to recognize that our presence may have released Iraqis from the grip of a tyrant, but that it has also robbed them of their self-respect. They will soon realize that the best way to regain dignity is to call us what we are--an army of occupation--and force our withdrawal."

Friday, August 10, 2007

Should the U.S. Bomb Iran?

The bushies are starting to beat the war drums about Iran again, claiming just the other day that Iran is furnishing sophisticated explosives to Shiite factions in Iraq. Three things beg comment here.

First, should we believe anything this administrations tells us about a Muslim country in the Middle East? Were any WMDs found in Iraq? Were American troops greeted as liberators in Baghdad? Was Iraq ever a threat to the United States? Everything the Bush-Cheney thugs have told us about the Muslim world over the last six years has been either wrong or dishonest, so before we bomb Tehran, let's see some credible evidence, from a source other than the U. S. Army or its hirelings.

Second, there is something profoundly disingenuous about the bushies getting all bent out of shape with their claims about Iran "interfering" in Iraqi affairs. What the hell is our invasion and occupation of Iraq other than the most intrusive interference possible? If there were a civil war raging in Mexico or Canada, as there is now in Iraq, does anyone seriously think the United States wouldn't get deeply involved? Indeed, it's only a short time since the United States was involved--violently, overtly, illegally--in civil conflicts in Nicaragua and El Salvador, which are a lot further from our borders than Iraq is from Iran.

Third, a strike against Iran would play, yet again, into Osama's hands. It's just what he wants most, another U. S. attack on a Muslim nation, even one that has been adamantly opposed to his brand of Sunni extremism. How many Americans--let alone members of Congress--know that Iran is not an Arab nation and that Arab Sunnis and Iranian Shiites are historic enemies. Only another demonstration of Bush-Cheney incompetence could get the Shiites and Sunnis to cooperate.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Congress and the shameful vote

Hello friends,

I wanted to pass this article on by Brent Budowsky. It says it so well, I can't think of anything to add.


August 8, 2007
‘Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death’ (Brent Budowsky)
@ 2:12 pm
In today’s edition of The Hill newspaper I wrote an op-ed with the hope of initiating a serious discussion about how much freedom we should give in, in return for how much safety.
In recent days Congress passed and the president signed a new law that significantly increases the scope of domestic eavesdropping without any serious debate considering the magnitude of the issue.
It was done, yet again, in an atmosphere of fear, which in my view is unworthy of the people and Congress of our nation. I am reposting the op-ed here and if others are interested, hope we can begin a serious discussion, and I would be glad to respond to comments, questions and thoughts.
Personally, living and working near the World Bank and White House, I would rather risk the dangers of a terrorist attack than surrender any freedoms. I do not feel one drop of fear and even if I did, it would not matter one whit.
With many years of intelligence experience, I know more than most that some information must be kept secret. But what is happening now is wrong, extreme, out of control and against traditions of American history that have until now been accepted from the left to the right and by leaders in both parties.
Do people understand that terrorists want us to be afraid, and those who promote fear, or suffer from fear, are furthering a major goal of terrorists?
What do you think? My op-ed from today’s paper follows:
‘Give me liberty, or give me death’
By Brent Budowsky
Patrick Henry’s words ring hollow after Congress passed, and the president signed, a law of enormous constitutional and security importance in an atmosphere of fear, without any semblance of serious debate. Again.
While many members of the House and Senate and leading legal scholars did not fully understand this as the roll was called, this law expands the reach of surveillance of American citizens, on American soil, communicating with those “reasonably” targeted while abroad, without protections that have long existed.
How abusive the implementation of this law will be depends largely on the good faith of an attorney general with little remaining credibility.
America deserves the serious debate that has not been initiated from the original passage of the Patriot Act until today, which is this: How much risk to our security should we accept rather than trammeling time-honored constitutional protections that until now have been supported by a near consensus from left to right and all presidents from either party?
Was Patrick Henry right, that our freedoms are so precious that we should not surrender them lightly? Or was he wrong, and we will casually surrender them with every terror scare, before every congressional recess, during every election cycle?
Should these constitutional protections be surrendered so easily and so timidly with procedures more appropriate for an earmark enacted at midnight by members looking at their watches (in the hope of catching a plane home) and at their poll numbers?
Anyone with experience in intelligence knows: Terrorists are aware they will be eavesdropped upon.
While there certainly must be secrecy to protect sources and methods, there is much kept secret today, not from terrorists but from Americans, that challenge first principles of freedom in an age of executive abuse, congressional submission, and fear politics.
We are told we cannot know the number of terror cells, the level of serious training of terror suspects, how many or how few terror cells have been destroyed through these policies.
We are not permitted to know the true gravity or lack of gravity of the threat. We cannot know what actions were taken to alleviate the threat, what previous actions have been deemed illegal in secret judicial rulings, or why high-level officials objected, while our attorney general testified there was no serious dissent and no previous abuse of rights.
The American people don’t know the truth, and most members of Congress don’t know it either. Nor does the free press. Whole swaths of American life on the most important issues of our safety have been aggressively removed from our democratic system by those with a poor history of telling the truth and a clear history of fomenting fear for political ends.
Our security is undermined by treating the American people and Congress like sheep who should not be told secrets that terrorists already know.
Shame on Democratic leaders for lacking the courage to make a fight worthy of the occasion. Shame on Republican leaders for being co-conspirators in the destruction of the people’s House and the great deliberative body as a co-equal branch of government.
Shame on politicians who pander to fear, and politicians who succumb to it. Shame on the media that hype it, and highest level officials who oppose this but still lack the courage to speak out clearly. Shame on all who let this happen in the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Shame on Reid and Pelosi, shame on Boehner and McConnell. Shame on those who act like Soviet Politburo members and try to bully a sedated attorney general, and shame on everyone who knows that leading officials of American justice were prepared to resign en masse, in protest, and do not demand to know exactly why.
When Congress returns and the presidential campaign begins in earnest, the question of the hour should be: Are you for Patrick Henry, or against him?
Budowsky serves on the Advisory Council of the Intelligence Summit and is a contributing editor to Fighting Dems News Service. He handled intelligence issues for Sen. Lloyd Bentsen when the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was originally passed, and was legislative director to Bill Alexander, then the chief deputy whip of the House.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

The voting scams are starting now in California

Tonight I heard an alarming discovery by one of the folks attending the yearly kos convention. It involves an election being held in California next June 08.

A ballot initiative is being held by the law firm that represents the replublican party in California to disburse the electorial votes in a very interesting way that would allow republicans to get a good portion of the electorates even if they did not win the popular vote.

An attempt is being made to keep this quiet and "sneak" it into law. If the word gets out however, they will more than likely let it die as it would not pass and would be costly for them.

Please pass the word, right letters, email, make phone calls. Click on the following link to see the whole article.