Friday, November 30, 2007

Friends and Enemies.

The "American" corporation Citigroup was bailed out by one of the Arab nations, uber rich from $90+ per barrel oil prices. A trend that has only just begun. Not to worry though, these are the "good" arab nations, our allies. You know the rich ones, like the one that Halliburton is moving to. A new report has found that 60% of the "foreign fighters" (not including us, of course) in Iraq come from some of these very same allies. The biggest of which is the same country that bin laden called home, the same country that 15 of the 19 hijackers that struck the Twin Towers and the Pentagon just before lil' napolean guiliani went running for the TV cameras, the same country where the royal family has the same lawyer as the bush family, and the same country whose oil dominance may be one of the reasons 4,000+ american soldiers have died and we've spent $500,000,000,000.00 in Iraq. You guessed it... Saudi Arabia. This week the "monkey"-in-chief extended his olive (oil) branch to some new friends. No, I'm not talking about "no nation building" george honoring the winner of the Nobel Prize, not to mention the popular vote in 2004, former vice president Al Gore. The presidential photo op for peace in the Middle East I am referring to took place in Annapolis, Maryland. The surprise was the administration meeting with Syria. Remember what the bushies, and the lacky media, thought of House Speaker Pelosi's diplomatic mission to Syria? Well, not to worry they've flipped on that, not that they have admitted their previous mistaken ideology. The criminal-in-chief actually said, after seven years of doing nothing, except pouring gasoline on the fire with the War in Iraq, "The time is right for peace in the Middle East." Pakistan just ended its "state of emergency". Lebanon is in one. Iran is more powerful than before, as is Hezbollah and Hamas. Yeah, the time is perfect. In all fairness the summit did produce some results. Israeli and Palestinian leaders, whose names junior can't even pronounce, did agree on how to talk. Who knows, maybe the Olmert/bush private meeting on Iran was the real reason hidden under the cover of the "summit".

Since I've written about the candidates for the Democratic nomination to be a candidate for the Presidency of the United States of America, I thought I should give the red contestants some type, too. You know to be "fair and balanced". Before that, it needs to be mentioned that two more red congressmen have joined the red tide leaving public service. Ex-speaker denny hastert resigned and left office last week and disgraced ex-majority leader trent lott resigned, two days before his brother-in-law and nephew were indicted on Federal bribery charges. The speculation about lott's resignation has ranged from getting out before lobbying rules kick in, to Alaska's oil money scandal, to, my favorite, he's part of a Larry Flynt investigation.

Now onto the reds' CNN/YouTube debate that took place in St. Petersburg, Florida. With questions about space exploration and rooting for the red sox, it's no wonder they ran out of time for questions on trivial topics like health care, Pakistan, or Iran. The big battle of the night was lil' napolean rudy versus mitt "the flip" romney, though old man mccain's answer on waterboarding was by far my favorite moment of the night. Mr. 9/11 questioned mitt the flip's judgement in allowing a company in his employ to use illegal immigrants (without his knowledge apparently). That must mean that the man Jimmy Breslin once called "A small man in search of a balcony" is responsible for his employee and business partner bernie kerik's actions or the actions of the sheik, connected to 9/11 mastermind khalid sheikh muhammahed, rudy did business with.

It is hard to pay attention the political circus sideshows that currently pass for "presidential" debates, when police are tasing people for not signing speeding tickets and foreclosures on people's homes are up 94% from last year, but it is more constructive entertainment than "news" about air-headed blonde celebrities. At least we're safer, right?

“I have to say this is one of the most arrogant, incompetent administrations I’ve ever seen or ever read about,” “They have failed the country.”
-Senator Hagel (Republican)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Success in Iraq.

The New York Times report "Baghdad’s Weary Start to Exhale as Security Improves" tells of a Baghdad returning to "normalcy". I guess "normalcy" means what it was like before we invaded, minus the brutal favoritism shown to one ethnic group over another by a military dictator. Introduced in the report was a new metric by which to measure military success. The article states that "at a handful of once shuttered liquor stores customers now line up outside". Huzzah! Maybe someday they'll be as many open as there were before we invaded. Many see the recent decline in violence as proof that the surge has worked. Iraqis are walking through parts of Baghdad with the strongest sense of security they have felt since Our invasion began in 2003. Great News! We can bring the troops home now, right?! Call it a successful surge. Call it the fact that Baghdad's neighborhood's are far more ethnically cleansed and divided than before we invaded. Call it whatever you want. Call it "mission accomplished". More importantly, call it a reason to start bringing Our over worked, over stretched, and under rested military home, and not just those additional troops added for "the surge" but a reduction from the pre-surge numbers. Then we can really talk about success. Of course, for that discussion to happen, we will agree upon which reason or cause for the US's unprovoked invasion of Iraq we have been victorious over. And "regime change" is not allowed under international principles and law.

Oh the spin we're in for on Our "victory". The neo-con, "bush doctrined", "pre-emptive", invasion of Iraq that has cost 4,310 American soldiers their lives and the American taxpayer $470,000,000,000.00 has accomplished a lot. There are more (proven) members of al qaeda in Iraq now than before we invaded. Iraqi streets are less secure than before we invaded Iraq. Iraqis citizens have less electricity and clean water than before we invaded. Iraq, especially Baghdad, is more ethnic segregated than before we invaded Iraq. Iraqi oil production is down 1 million barrels a day from what it was before we invaded. Since invading Iraq, less of the world population, not to mention official foreign governments, admire Us, look up to Us, or want to emulate Us. We are no longer an authority in the World on Human Rights. But at least after 4 and 3/4 years there, we seem to have turned the corner on lowering the violence in a capital city. Victory sure is sweet.

In other (non-Nation at War) news, the failure-in-chief pardoned his thirteenth (including scooter libby) turkey in the Rose Garden, an Atlanta "Mega-Church" is in the midst of another holier than though sex scandal, and New Orleans was rejected as a site for a Presidential Debate because "the city has not sufficiently recovered from Hurricane Katrina to handle such a major event" (another bush success story).

Oh and here's a sweet little piece of pumpkin pie from scott "lil' bush's former mouth piece" mcclellan's new book
"The most powerful leader in the world had called upon me to speak on his behalf and help restore credibility he lost amid the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. So I stood at the White house briefing room podium in front of the glare of the klieg lights for the better part of two weeks and publicly exonerated two of the senior-most aides in the White House: Karl Rove and Scooter Libby.

There was one problem. It was not true.

I had unknowingly passed along false information. And five of the highest ranking officials in the administration were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the vice President, the President's chief of staff, and the president himself."

Surprise! The president lied to Us about outing a CIA operative working for Our National Defense, with a specific emphasis on Iran of all things. Can we start the impeachment hearings now, or should we wait to see what he does "domestically" with a cigar?

Have a Happy Turkey Day!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Workers, writers, and Mailer

In modern day America, we're taught that being rich is the universal dream and that dream is attainable for everyone. It's not a new idea to think that the latter part of that sentence is the reason the American public doesn't take to the streets when we hear about CEOs making over 500 times as much as their counterparts in the mail room, not to mention getting taxed on that salary at a lower rate. With the right lottery ticket the mail clerk could be right there with him. So why would they want the CEO taxed more on his income. Oh yeah, and taxes are bad. We don't demand that gasoline companies cut into their Monstrous profits to lower the price at the pump. Our current economic philosophy cares more about a company's bottom line going up than getting affordable gas and heating oil to Americans that Need it. The "needs" of the top outweigh the needs of those at the bottom, even though there are far more Americans at the bottom than are at the top. Oil company profits aren't driving the price of oil, that's more about demand (with places like China coming on), production, and the falling US dollar that its value is calculated in. "Big Oil" could share the economic hit with their consumers, but why would they care about people.

Speaking of people versus huge corporations, the Writers Guild of America strike is still going on, denying a satire craving public of programs like the Daily Show and the Colbert Report (links to their videos on the strike). You see, the studios put episodes and "webisodes" written by writers on the internet. Millions of viewers watch the episodes and web exclusive webisodes. The studio takes the viewership and uses its numbers to sell advertising, which the studios make a bundle on. The problem the Writers Guild of America has is that those who write the material presented in these internet productions, and episodes rerun, receive zero royalties, zero residuals,
ZERO compensation for the work they did in helping to create what is now being used by the studio to sell advertising, like they are in another medium called television. The worker, in this case the writer, is totally undervalued by the boss, in this case the studio. Writers, and late night viewers, aren't the only ones being hurt by the strike. The cast and crew of the effected television shows, films, etc. are really feeling it. People are starting to step up to help. David Letterman is paying his crew out of his pocket while the strike continues. 30 Rock and Saturday Night Live have held one night stage performances to raise money for those effected by the strike. And the studios have started suspending the actors. The Writers Guild may sit down as early as the November 26th with the studios to hammer out a contract. The Broadway stage hands and France's transit workers are also currently on strike.

I would be completely remiss not to mention that, on November 10th, America and the world lost a great writer with the death of Norman Mailer. Mailer was a self confident to a fault proponent of pugilism, a new journalist, a political activist, the sworn enemy of Gore Vidal, and a Real Man. Along with his huge ego, Mailer had the balls to tell truth to power and to the public, in all its irreverence. His guts set him apart from other authors of his time, and are something that is sorely missed in Our current dialogue.

"America is a hurricane," said Mailer, "and the only people who do not hear the sound are those fortunate if incredibly stupid and smug White Protestants who live in the center, in the serene eye of the big wind.”

Friday, November 16, 2007

Let's Talk Politics.

Back when the earliest Americans were trying to figure out how to keep the infantile US together and shape it's government during it's most formative of years, there were two parties. They were the Federalists and the Republicans. Republicans, like Thomas Jefferson, were for more power at the state and local level. The Federalists wanted a powerful, centralized government. Some thought the Federalist idea of the power of the Executive Branch was too much like that of the English monarchy that the Revolution was fought to free us from. President bush jr. is set to give the (modern day) Federalist Society's keynote address this year. The strong central government movement has certainly gained a lot during the failure-in-chief's tenure, especially when it comes to the power of the Executive. With his refusals to answer for his actions or his statements under oath, his signing statements on laws that he reserves the right to deem below him, and his unilateral war without a Congressional Declaration of War are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how this little prince has taken the president's power to new levels. I wonder if his minions will have a problem with this power when a Democrat is sitting in the Oval Office.

Speaking of a Democratic president, the Iowa primary is less than 50 days away, and the Democratic field (at least the top of it) is "deadlocked". And at this point in the discussion it seems as though the gloves have finally come off, both when it comes to hitting the reds and hitting the Democratic front runner, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. My favorite line so far has to be Senator Biden's shot at rudy, saying "there's only three things he mentions in a sentence, a noun, a verb, and 9/11" Though Congressman Kucinich's answer to tim russert's question on the important issue of UFOs was pretty good too. In redville, the desperation and splintering has become even more apparent, with pat "9/11 was the gay abortionists of America's fault" robertson endorsing rudy "there Must be public funding of abortion" guiliani. To be fair, that's not an exact quote from robertson. What front runner robertson probably didn't expect was the "right to life" endorsement of fred "hollywood knows best" thompson (alternative nicknames for Thompson: that old guy or the savings and loan lobbyist). The former "laziest Senator in the room" is running as reagan. Problem is he's more like old bewildered reagan, than young, republican party leading, governor of California gipper.

It's starting to get interesting. As most of you already know, I'm an Obama man (see left column). Best case scenario for me, and in my opinion the Country, would be an Obama/Biden ticket. That being said, all of the Candidates for the Democratic nomination to be a Candidate for the President of the United States have their red counterparts beat on everything, except maybe fear. Though a Hillary Clinton versus Ron Paul contest in 2008 might see me vote for my first red. His social views are the opposite of mine, but his policy making and government philosophies may make that fact irrelevant. And wouldn't it be better to elect the monkey wrench to the machine than another cog? It is Country before party, isn't it?

Who knows? Maybe bushco. is watching coup d'etat general/"coalition" ally musharaff's "state of emergency" in Pakistan delaying elections, silencing dissent and jailing opposition. I can almost hear cheney asking bush to ask his new "it depends on what your definition of torture is" attorney general "how can we make this legal enough to do here?" Ah the march to freedom and democracy...

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Impeachment of Vice President Richard Bruce Cheney

Holding hearings is not a waste of time or a distraction from important issues. It is essentially important that those in the highest levels of Our Government be held to the highest legal and ethical standards. Vice president Cheney, along with others, lead us into war, and must be held accountable for statements that were not congruent with facts that came to light after we "broke it" and had to "fix it" in Iraq.

The vice president said August of 2002 "Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt that he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us. And there is no doubt that his aggressive regional ambitions will lead him into future confrontations with his neighbors -- confrontations that will involve both the weapons he has today, and the ones he will continue to develop with his oil wealth."

This elected official has yet to be put under oath, by himself, before Congress or the American people. If an adulterous affair is call for impeachment hearings, urging an unnecessary, and quite possibly illegal, invasion of a country who posed no actual immediate treat to Our Nation certainly should be.

Unless you'd rather investigate the vice president's involvement in:
The outing of a covert CIA Officer
The ignoring of the Geneva Conventions on torture and imprisonment
The spying on American Citizens without legal warrant
The unConstitutional leaps in Executive power made the past 6 years

I am calling on you and your colleagues to Please discuss and debate H Res 333.

Thank you for your time, and your service.

David Calamoneri
Hoboken, NJ

This message was sent to the Democratic members
(and the ranking republican) of the House Judiciary Committee.

"Vice President Dick Cheney and the Bush Administration have demonstrated a consistent pattern of abusing the law and misleading Congress and the American people. We see the consequences of these actions abroad in Iraq and at home through the violations of our civil liberties. The American people are served well with a legitimate and thorough impeachment inquiry. I will urge the Judiciary Committee to schedule impeachment hearings immediately and not let this issue languish as it has over the last six months. Only through hearings can we bring begin to correct the abuses of Dick Cheney and the Bush Administration; and, if it is determined in these hearings that Vice President Cheney has committed High Crimes and Misdemeanors, he should be impeached and removed from office. It is time for Congress to expose the multitude of misdeeds of the Administration, and I am hopeful that the Judiciary Committee will expeditiously begin an investigation of this matter."

Congressman Robert Wexler, (Fla. - D) urging the House Judiciary Committee, on which he sits, to move forward with impeachment hearings.