Thursday, June 28, 2007

Nosferatu for President '08

Click pic to see full sized

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

My response to Carl Levin fundraising letter: Do more than just harm me less than GOP

I just got the below email from Carl Levin and it really irked me--Democrats may not be as bad as republicans on a lot of issues, but that is very far from reflecting the true wishes of the American people.

So I sent him this letter.

Feel free to do the same at his DC office or the address he wrote from "the Friends of Carl Levin" or go to his website.

Sen. Levin,

I appreciate the oversight hearings the Democrats have been doing since winning in November, but they are failing abysmally to do the two things Democrats want most: remove Bush & Cheney, and end the war in Iraq. Not only have you failed to take meaningful action on either of those two, you even failed to effectively block or even protest much their plans to invade Iran.

Frankly, you guys seem to take opinions and welfare of average Americans about as seriously as you do designating a national butterfly. You give us non-binding resolutions and empty platitudes. But when defense and oil companies come knocking, you hand out hundreds of billions of dollars and spill oceans of American and Iraqi blood.

If the Democrats want my money, they have to do more than just screw me 3% less than the GOP.


I think I'm a little impatient with him in light of a big lie he told about Iraq a few years back, that made it look like Democrats were knowingly complicit in the corporate looting of Iraq.

The Michigan senator, who is the ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee and a frequent visitor to Iraq, said that one of the few points on which the main Iraqi ethnic and sectarian political groups agree was that all want U.S. forces to remain in the country. The Bush administration should use that consensus to forge political compromise, Levin argued.

Levin also supported the benchmarks in the Iraq Appropriations bill including demanding that Iraqis pass the Hydrocarbon Law that gives up to 80% of their oil income to oil companies, was drafted by oil company lobbyists and forced on the Iraqis by Bush. That law is not only a prima facie war crime, it will incite more hatred of the US in Iraq and the Arab world. Wasn't the excuse for invading REDUCING terrorism? But people like Levin, just like the Bushies, think we won't notice.

These douchebags think that like the right we will lap up whatever symbolic gestures they make toward our priorities, and not notice that they are whoring themselves to the same interests the GOP does.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Lieberman bill backs H-1B import of slave labor

While everybody is worried about illegals coming from the south to pick our berries, clean our houses, and blow leaves off our driveways, few have noticed a more dangerous trend--corporations LEGALLY importing foreign workers for jobs like engineering and computer programming and paying them Third World wages while they work here.

The Chamber of Commerce sent a letter demanding that senators back this bill.

When Lieberman faced a primary challenger, some said we should back him because he was good on labor issues.

They were lying.


VOTE ALERT: Chamber of Commerce Pushes Lieberman Bill to Gut Sanders H-1B Bill

Here are a few excerpts of the [Chamber of Commerce] letter:
“On behalf of the United States Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation of more than three million businesses of every size, sector, and region, I urge you to oppose the Sanders-Grassley amendment ... Also, the Chamber urges you to support a side-by-side offered by Senator Lieberman. The Sanders-Grassley amendment is unnecessary…Further, this amendment sweeps too broadly, and is completely unworkable, as it would effectively bar an employer from using H-1B workers if it had a ‘mass layoff’ in the past year or anticipated one in the near future.”
It’s really unbelievable how shameless people are in Washington - it is a city where its just AOK to oppose legislation that would prevent abuse of the H-1B program by corporate executives who want to use it to lay off American workers and hire lower-paid foreign workers. And I’m still amazed (though I know I shouldn’t be) that Lieberman is carrying the bill to gut this commonsense proposal. His corruption is now just so out there for everyone to see, bringing him down to a new level of shamelessness. He’s pushing the poison pill as a pretty clear payback to the Chamber for the massive ad buy the organization did for him during his tough-fought re-election race. Here’s the New Haven Register’s details on that from 9/9/06:

“The U.S. Chamber of Commerce ran an ad from Sept. 1-7 for Lieberman, part of a $10 million national campaign to back candidates responsive to business interests who are in competitive races…Geoff O’Hara, executive director for the Eastern Region of the chamber, cited the senator’s votes on free trade legislation, transportation funding, bankruptcy reform and class-action legal reform as particularly important to them.”



Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Iraqi parliament demands vote to end occupation

The Iraqi parliament seems to understand democracy better than our congress.

They demanded the authority to approve or disapprove of extending the occupation in December, and plan not to renew it. If they did renew, it would only be in exchange for a binding timeline for withdrawal.

From the Al Jazeera article:

Iraqi politicians have passed a resolution requiring the government to seek parliamentary permission before asking the UN to extend the mandate for US-led forces in Iraq.

The measure was approved on Tuesday and reflects a growing disenchantment with the US-backed government.

The Sadrist-drafted resolution passed with a vote of 85 to 59.

The members of parliament voted along party lines, with Sunnis joining the bloc loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr, a Shia leader, and another Shia party at odds with the leadership.


...lawmakers reached in Baghdad today said that they do in fact plan on blocking the extension of the coalition's mandate when it comes up for renewal six months from now.

Reached today by phone in Baghdad, Nassar al Rubaie, the head of Al-Sadr bloc in Iraq's Council of Representatives, said, "This new binding resolution will prevent the government from renewing the U.N. mandate without the parliament's permission. They'll need to come back to us by the end of the year, and we will definitely refuse to extend the U.N. mandate without conditions." Rubaie added: "There will be no such a thing as a blank check for renewing the U.N. mandate anymore, any renewal will be attached to a timetable for a complete withdrawal."

Associated Press story on vote
(insulting to Iraqis)

Monday, June 04, 2007

Hillary's Iraq War vote: she didn't bother to read intel report that showed how thin evidence was

This focuses on Hillary because she said she would still vote the same way with the same information though it brings up that Dodd, Biden, and Edwards are only in slightly better shape since they also had access to the NIE that cast doubts on whether Saddam had WMD. The most damning line though is that then intel committee chair Bob Graham went as far as to have CIA director George Tenet declassify part of his behind closed door testimony and give it to the press, and he urged other Democratic senators to read the NIE that had the grave reservations about whether Saddam had WMD, but few bothered to read it before they voted.

As some one old enough to remember the Cold War but still younger than all the candidates, even if the only info on WMD they had was what we all heard on TV, they would know exactly what Tenet was forced to say in what he released to the press: even if Saddam had nukes, he would only use them as a last resort while being attacked. He may have been an evil man, but he was not retarded. He knew full well like every other world leader that if a nuke went off here and we had a return address (or even if we didn't) the country that launched or smuggled it would be burned off the map and we would still have plenty of nukes left to do the same to every other country on earth four or five times.

Everyone who voted for the war resolution is old enough to remember that, and if they pretend they thought Saddam was a threat, they are lying. They may be telling nicer lies than the Bushies, and may not step on our civil rights as badly if they become president, but if they lie about something so important, they are likely still susceptible to doing the real decision making behind closed doors and making up fairy tales to tell us in public so that democracy is as effectively neutered on foreign policy as it is under Bush.


posted June 1, 2007 (web only)

Hillary's Political Horror Story

Nicholas von Hoffman

Slowly, very slowly, Hillary Clinton's vote to invade Iraq is turning into a political horror story. It is the moldering hand of a murder victim coming out of the grave to grab her by the ankle.


She may be concerned that a retraction will make her look weak. So her line of defense has been, "My vote was a sincere vote based on the facts and assurances that I had at the time." She says it over and over again.

The facts she had and the facts she could have had before she cast her vote for the war are two different things. We learn that from an article in The New York Times Magazine by Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta Jr.

These two, who have made a career out of investigating Hillary, have dug up a couple of facts the Senator is going to have a hard time ignoring. The big fact is that she had access at the time to a highly classified report, the National Intelligence Estimate, which contained authoritative doubts that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

Gerth and Van Natta have established that she did not read this report. Because it was classified, senators wishing to read it had to sign in, and Hillary did not. Although one of her Democratic colleagues, Bob Graham, then chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, urged Hillary and all the other Democratic senators to read it, few did. Graham, however, read the ninety-page document and was so shaken by the questionable evidence for the existence of WMDs that he voted against going to war.


Iraqis come to US to protest Bush oil theft law

The Iraqis are coming all the way to the US to protest not outside Congress but outside Bearingpoint, the firm Bush hired to write the Hydrocarbon Law that will rob their country's oil income, the source of most of their wealth.

The Iraqis are fighting a Bush war crime, and most Democrats in Congress are looking the other way. In fact, the Democrats included a benchmark in the Iraq Appropriation bill that requires Iraqis to pass the law.

If the Iraqis wanted to, they could do more than protest Bearingpoint--they could sue them using the Alien Tort Statute that allows people to sue American companies for human rights violations in other countries. Aiding an economic war crime might count.

If Bush succeeds in getting this Hydrocarbon Law passed, it will not only prove to Iraqis and the Arab world that we went there to steal their oil and earn decades more hatred, it will also mean that our troops have to stay to enforce the law, which is what Bush meant when he said stay for decades.


June 3, 2007, 6:59PM

Oily Law

Protesters from Iraq draw attention to a law they fear will give control of their oil to foreign investors.

On Tuesday Iraqi oil union leaders will protest in Washington outside the offices of a consulting firm called BearingPoint. A contingent from the 26,000-member union of oil workers is on a 14-city tour to bring to the American people a heartfelt plea: Please separate U.S. withdrawal from Iraq from the passage of an oil law by the Iraqi Parliament.

With Congress pushing for benchmarks, the Bush administration has been pressing Parliament to pass the oil law. Administration and media focus has been on the provision that states that oil and gas in Iraq are owned by all its people in all regions and governorates. Unfortunately, the law does not stipulate how to fairly distribute oil revenues. Distribution of the nation's vast oil reserves is vastly unequal, and there is no system of mineral rights, which weren't needed under Iraq's national oil company.

This familiar controversy is not the source of outrage for the visiting union members. Their fear centers around the provisions in the 33-page law that have received little scrutiny in the media. They say the law forces privatization of the Iraqi oil industry, an industry that is responsible for almost 70 percent of the gross domestic product.

The nation's five trade unions, representing hundreds of thousands of workers, issued a statement that the law would amount to handing control over oil to foreign companies and undermining the sovereignty of the state and the dignity of the Iraqi people.


The union protesters pose an important question: To what degree will foreign investment be coerced, and to what degree will Iraq share in the wealth created by that investment? If oil profits wind up in the pockets of foreign investors, there might be little of the trillions in oil wealth for Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds to share.


Iraqis fighting to keep their oil

OIL motive for IRAQ WAR resources