Friday, June 26, 2009

If only conservatives really cared about conservation

Liz Peek demonstrates in her diatribe "Can the Climate Control Zealots In Congress Be Stopped?" Republicans and Conservatives in America are still acting as if we have a choice in the climate-change arena. As if we can just close our eyes, block our ears and put clothespins on our noses and everything will be ok.

What they all miss whenever they talk about how much all of these programs aimed at curtailing our use of fossil fuels, breaking our dependence on foreign oil, and creating jobs and whole industries for America is the hidden figure: what it will cost us if we do nothing.

You cannot fix this massive problem of climate change, energy overuse and America's crumbling industrial sector without a healthy infusion of spending and planning. We need for America to get back on her feet with innovative new industrial sectors that will create jobs, here in America. We also need to curtail the wasteful use of fuel in this country, that has stemmed from the relatively low prices Americans pay at the pump (compared to other industrialized nations).

To do this, we need to make sure there are provisions so that the most vulnerable among us will still be able to get to work and afford the necessities in spite of much needed raises in fuel prices. They can call these tax credits, to appease the Republicans, or they can call these fuel stipends or they can call them fairy godmother gas checks, so long as people at or below a certain level (probably 3-4 times the poverty level would suffice) can receive government money to cover the increase in prices at the pump and for groceries by taking part of the tax revenue generated through carbon caps.

Liz Peek and her friends at FoxNews have tried for years to feed Americans the same lie over and over again that climate change isn't real, or that it's not as bad as people say, or that it's inevitable. Hopefully Americans are waking up to the fact that it is real, it is here now, and unless we do something about it, we will pay a far bigger price that what President Obama has so far proposed.

If there is anything to criticize in this Energy Bill it is that it does not go far enough and that industry has already meddled too much in its formulation and drafting, to the point where it will not be as effective as a truly transformational energy bill should be, but I don't think Liz has any problem with that.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Michael Jackson and Ahmedinejad

A friend of mine has already written the next episode of South Park. Here's how it goes down:

Kyle and Stan uncover a secret plot by Iranian President Ahmedinejad to distract America from the Iranian election protests by injecting Michael Jackson with toxins that induce a heart attack, knowing that if someone as iconic as the King of pop were to die suddenly America will be wrapped up in news coverage of Jackson and his life for the next week and won't spend so much time talking about the protests and the suppression of the protesters in Tehran.

Also, Cartman tries to blame the jews for Jackson's death.

Iran Election Pt 3

I have been a bit cautious with regards to jumping into the Iranian election debate for fear of overreacting as the rest of the Western media seems to have. In the words of an Iranian who did vote for Ahmedinejad "there has been no fraud at all." While I still profess that I do not know if there was or wasn't fraud committed, and if there was fraud committed by whom was it committed or attempted, but I think that as things calm down we will see that there are more and more people like Mustafa who voted with their conscience and hope that their candidate prevails.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

It's official! No hot dogs and fireworks for Iran!

After seeing David Axelrod deservedly make Wolf Blitzer look like the moron that he is for asking "given the events in Iran, will the Iran ambassadors still be invited to US Embassies for July 4th festivities?" I was surprised to see Bill O'Reilly feature what he believed to be the high light of a Presidential press briefing in which Major Garrett asked the exact same question.

How pathetic and small minded of a journalist do you have to be to ask such a stupid questions as to whether or not Iran officials will still be invited to July 4th parties? Well, thanks to Wolf Blitzer and Major Garrett we now know.

Even sadder than their wasting of precious question time with the President and a senior advisor we now have confirmation from the Associated Free Press that in fact, they have been disinvited.

Take that Iran! Crack down on your people and we won't let you have hot dogs, cheese burgers. Worst of all, you're going to miss out on hearing Taylor Swift or Carrie Underwood's newest album.

Victory in Iraq

For the past week I have been seeing death tolls related to bombing attacks in Iraq. Throughout all the hubbub being made over the Iranian election have we forgotten about that country with almost the same spelling to the west that we invaded? With all of the media reports a few months ago to the tune of "victory at hand" have we really started to believe it?

If so, this is what Victory looks like.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Iran's election Pt 2 - Just because I'm paranoid...

While I do not condone the violence being committed in the streets of Tehran, I cannot help but question what role Western intelligence agencies and their proxies are playing in the protests and chaos that has erupted since the election results were first announced. Obviously the United States and the British have said that they have nothing to do with the protests in Tehran but lying about clandestine activities would really be par for the course at this point.

If we summon the courage to look back at America's clandestine activities over the past century destabilizing and supplanting governments around the world (many of them democratically elected) I'm sure that at the time spokespeople said the same thing and pretended that the activities that were taking place in foreign capitals were organic movements with no help or direction from CIA agents and assets.

Sadly, violence in Iran is exactly what the CIA and the Western governments would love to see, and if it can look like angry students calling for democracy then all the better. Therefore it is completely understandable, while not pardonable, that the Iranian authorities would see the present demonstrations and protests as simply an arm of the American intelligence machine, seeking to destabilize their government in ways outlined by leaked memos over a year ago.

So while Ahmedinejad's government may be paranoid, that doesn't mean MI6 and the CIA aren't out to get him.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Iran Election Pt 1

I'm going to write something about this non-stop manufactured consent that is taking place in America at this moment with regards to the recent Iranian election. For those of you who have been bombarded by the relentless screeches of "fraud" and "stolen election" here are some articles that might help immunize you to the coercive journalism that is filling the air.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Give us Single Payer now!

President Obama, ladies and gentlemen of Congress, I impore you, give the American people a single payer health care plan now! How can anyone honestly frame an argument that a system run for people by the people, without a need to earn profit, can possibly cost the tax payers more than a system that is driven to maximize profits at the expense of health care services?

I laugh every time I see one of those "we have government health care and it's bad" ads on television because for every person that organization can find that talks about being denied treatment or long wait times, I'm sure Michael Moore could find 100, or even 1000 who were denied necessary treatments due to decisions made by unaccountable bureaucrats working for the big health insurance companies and HMOs. Have Americans really already forgotten their own experiences with privately run health insurance? Are Americans really so foolish as to believe those scary recordings by Ronald Reagan about the government shipping your doctor to another town?

Take a look at Canada, the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Scandanavia, or any other developed nation and you will see a health care system that not only provides excellent coverage for the people, but does so for far less per person than our broken system. I will always give the GOP and the conservative lie-machine a tremendous amount of credit for consistently tricking the masses of this country into supporting policies that negatively affect them, while propping up the big, corrupt, corporations that those "ordinary joe" politicians pretend to oppose.

Don't get me wrong, the democrats are not perfect on this issue and have caved in to so much of the conservative pressure that the result is a center/right of center initiative that will likely be labelled by the stars at Fox News as "the most socialist and/or liberal proposal ever put before the American people." When you hear Karl Rove and Newt Gingrich say these words, and they will, it's not because they've analyzed the plan and researched previous initiatives and came to that conclusion. It is solely because they believe that using that language will once again trick the American public to oppose something that is demonstrably in their best interest.

Another Computer Hazard: Not knowing what the hell you're talking about

Another Computer Hazard: Dropping It On Your Foot

Of the many dangers listed that stem from computer usage, the ignorant author states "...lacerations from the sharp corners of a CPU...". Really? From the sharp corners of a CPU? Does the author, who could not be more appropriately named (her name is Tiffany), even know what a CPU is? For her information, the CPU is the Central Processing Unit, which is one of those tiny little components tucked into the motherboard and unlikely to lacerate someone unless they are taking the computer apart and then stabbing themselves, forcefully, with the processor. What she is referring to, of course, is the computer case. Sadly, the case is often mistakenly referred to as the "CPU" by people who think that's an abbreviation for "computer", or the "hard drive" by people who have learned over time that their hard drive is inside of the case.

Well done Tiffany, taking another courageous step away from disproving stereotypes about women and technology.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Pro-Life...unless that life differs politcally

I've been wanting to write about the death of Doctor George Tiller for some time now, and I've probably missed the boat as far as saying something that hasn't already been said given how fast our news cycles move these days, but I still feel it is important for as many voices as possible to denounce this heinous killing of, as Jeremy Scahill said on Real Time with Bill Maher, "a provider of women's health care." Despite having always been of the belief that women must have the right to choose whether or not to terminate a pregnancy without any pre-conditions or constraints, it was really upon reading John Irving's The Cider House Rules that cemented that belief that for this country to truly be considered free, women need to have full control of their own bodies and there need to be doctors able to perform these operations in modern, safe, and hygenic environments.

The fallacy of the pro-life movement is that even if abortion is banned outright throughout the 50 states, that does not mean that abortion will end as a practice. What will happen instead, is that abortion will be pushed underground and performed by people without the training, or the professional conduct of today's ob-gyns who perform these procedures. Anyone who claims to care about life should be appalled at the possibility of America's return to the days of back-alley abortion clinics and other horrors of our oh so glorious past.

As has been reported by any journalist worth their paycheck (of which there are fewer and fewer every day) no providers of women's health care are taking women who are 9 months pregnant and giving them a late-term abortion. In the United States less than 2% of all abortions were conducted after the 21st week of gestation, and an estimated figure from 1997 suggests that less than 1% were done after the 27th week. For those bothering to listen to the doctors who perform these abortions, it becomes clear that these are done not because the patient suddenly feels like taking a trip to Europe and doesn't want a baby along, but are done because of some very serious health problems with the fetus or a potential danger to the mother.

The "right-to-life" movement has been sickeningly been pretending to denounce the death of Dr. Tiller while in the same breath excusing it because of his willingness to perform abortions. This deceptive double-speak is mostly to blame for the crazies like Scott Roeder who actually go out and commit these atrocities. And while I believe that we need the inalienable rights of free speech in this country, I think it is false, and disingenuous for those spewing the most hateful and uncompromising vitriol to pretend that the death Dr. Tiller, and the terror it spreads among women seeking abortions or doctors providing health care to women, isn't exactly what they want to see happen.

While I disagree with many of the terror statutes being used to hold prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, Bagram Air Base, or any of the other black sites the CIA has, Mr. Roeder is the textbook definition of a terrorist and should be shipped out to one of those facilities. In his Falwell/Robertson/Limbaugh/O'Reilly motivated killing of Dr. Tiller, he has killed more Americans than many of the detainees in Gitmo over did and he has terrorized more people than Omar Khadr, the last remaining westerner still held at Camp X-ray.

Americans need to stop being fooled by monikers. Focus on the Family and the American Family Association don't give a shit about families. The Patriot Act isn't patriotic. Pro-lifers do not care about life or they would work harder at making things better for the lives that are already here on this earth rather than focusing all of their energies on the lives that do not yet exist.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Peace in the Middle East Part 1 - Stopping Israeli Settlement Construction

There has been a lot of talk lately, of the Obama administration's conflict with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the issue of settle construction in the West Bank. The most irritating thing about this entire discussion is the ease with which the Obama administration could put an end to settlement construction if they really wanted to. It is cases like this that prove that America is not some independent arbitrator between the Israeli and Palestinian people. America has so much leverage over the Israeli government that it is blatantly disingenuous for an American President to ever claim that despite trying everything possible Israel will not relent on some issue, whether that issue is bombing civilians in the Gaza strip, or building illegal settlements in the West Bank.

In 2007 alone, America gave Israel more than two and a half billion (with 9 zeros) dollars, most of which was in the form of military aid. If President Obama really wants the settlement construction halted, all he would need to do is tell Mr. Netanyahu that America will not give another penny in military aid until the settlement construction stops completely. In fact, this tactic could be used, if the President truly wanted peace, to finally establish a two state solution to the Israeli debacle. The fact that no President has ever threatened to stop the copious amounts of American tax payer dollars that go to Israel, every single year, shows the lack of will in America for peace in the middle east.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Ugly, inside and out

Maggie Gallagher of the National Organization for Marriage - a nasty group opposed to gay marriage (but apparently fine with being really ugly).

C'mon New York - be better than California

I couldn't decide whether to write about the gay marriage storm that's brewing in New York at the moment, or the tragic death of Dr. George Tiller, a brave man who provided professional medical services to women in need. As you may have guessed by the title of this post, I'll take a stab at the gay marriage issue in New York first, and maybe later post about Dr. Tiller's untimely death.

Both subjects, however, show the need for us, as humans, to divorce ourselves from these cave dwelling superstitions we call religion. If not for the primitive "need" of so many people to believe in physics defying feats, whether they be burning bushes that produce no heat, or people walking on top of water, then Dr. George Tiller would likely still be alive today, and the gay marriage opposition would have died long ago.

The more the issue is discussed in the media, the more we are shown the faces of opposition like that of New York's Maggie Gallagher and her "National Organization for Marriage." Like all innocent sounding political action groups, this is not a pro-marriage organization since it seeks to limit marriage and does nothing to protect marriages that exist today. While it would be easy to rest of the fact that she is an objectively ugly person who holds ugly ideas, what needs to be focused on are those ugly ideas.

In their most recent television ad NOM once again employs the tried and trusted tactic of trying to scare heterosexual couples, particularly parents, about what their kids might learn in school. This is a truly repulsive message disguised as protecting a parent's rights with regards to their children's education. The notion that it is wrong to teach children to accept homosexuals or same-sex marriage is no better than complaining if they are taught racial tolerance in school. If a teacher takes the time to show students that there are people of many different races and cultures, it doesn't mean that they are advocating their students to change their race or culture. So why do these people think that if their children are taught to tolerate homosexuals it's going to magically make them all run out and become gay?

The most obvious answer might lie in the types of people who are most adamantly opposed to same-sex marriage or homosexuality to begin with. Since so many prominent opponents to the rights of gays have themselves been shown to be closeted homosexuals, like Senator Larry Craig, perhaps the anger towards same-sex marriage, and fear of its toleration stem from those "family values" organizations' members uncertainty with regards to their own orientation. It seems to me that whenever you see the spokespeople for these groups on CNN or FoxNews, they're always speaking about same-sex marriage or homosexuality as if the only thing keeping them from running off to an airport bathroom stall or taking up permanent residence in San Francisco is their devotion to Christianity.

I really hope that the New York State legislature, aided by Governor Patterson's realization that he's not getting another term, will allow this initiative to succeed and New York can be the 6th state to legalize same-sex marriage and the 2nd to do so through the legislature and not just the courts. What the opponents of same-sex marriage legislation don't seem to understand, or don't care to think about, is that the same arguments they are using today to oppose the marriage between two men or two women, is so similar to the language used to prevent blacks from entering certain restaurants, or bi-racial couples to marry. The fact that they cannot see the line of history they are on is sad, not only for them, but I would imagine it will be a point of shame for their descendants since being the children or grandchildren of bigots cannot be a pleasant experience.

Finally, I am grossly dissappointed with President Obama for maintaining his view that he is ok with civil unions but not same-sex marriage. As a lawyer, he should know that the two terms carry a different status with regards to federal and state benefits for couples. While a same-sex domestic partnership may grant you the same benefits as married people in one particular state, that may not carry over to another state, nor will federal benefits be awarded to couples with civil unions.

The answer seems obvious. Make all state and federal unions between two people, whether they be same or opposite sex, into civil unions, and allow the churches, synagogues, mosques or house of superstition safeguard the word "marriage." Until we can all get past this attachment to believing in things no more ridiculous than a spaghetti monster, these archaic teachings will continue to divide us based on the ridiculous principles dreamed up over 2000 years ago.
Copyright © by All rights reserved.