Friday, March 23, 2007

Bill or Hillary: Who is Running this Race?

Originally posted by Nadir at Reformed Leftist & Friends

Slick Willie is defending his wife's pro-war vote by saying that she voted for "coercive inspections", not that she wanted war.

What could that phrase possibly mean except, we're going to hold you at gunpoint while we look for (nonexistant) weapons? Hogwash!

No matter what she thought she was voting for, she and other congressional Dems who voted "yes" to the Iraqi invasion are as culpable as the madmen who invaded because they enabled the war mongering maniacs.

And don't be fooled. The Dems are beholden to the same corporate entities that have been advocating this war from the jump.

Who is running for president anyway? I don't have a problem with a husband defending his wife, but if she is strong enough to be president, Hillary shouldn't need her prospective First Husband to explain her position.

Should she?

Check out the article from The Hill linked HERE and above.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Bolton 'Proud' US Blocked Lebanon/Israeli Truce

We've got another item to add to the list of Bush administration crimes. (As if we needed more, right?)

John Bolton admitted in a BBC interview that the US blocked truce negotiations during the 2006 Israeli attacks on Lebanon. The goal was to eliminate Hezbollah's military capabilities first.

Over 1000 Lebanese and nearly 200 Israelis are reported to have died during the conflict. Mr. Bolton told the interviewer he was "damned proud of what we did."

As a US citizen, I'm damned ashamed.

BBC News

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Catwalk to Perp Walk

Of course.

From The New York Times:

Ms. Campbell pleaded guilty in January to a misdemeanor charge, acknowledging that she had lobbed a cellphone and hit her maid, Ana Scolavino, on the head. Ms. Campbell was ordered to pay Ms. Scolavino’s medical expenses, $363, attend a two-day anger-management seminar and do five days of community service, of which yesterday was Day 1.

The 36 year-old supermodel has some infamous anger issues, but was making her a laughing stock really the best way to teach her a lesson? Why not have her talk to groups of girls or find some other more productive outlet for her?

Broom and mop detail is meaningless. Compared to standing in the snow in next to nothing or dealing with fashion nazis, cleanup is a cakewalk. Naomi is a smart business woman. She will milk this free publicity for years to come.

New York Times

Monday, March 19, 2007

According to U.S. Military Theory, We Can't Win in Iraq

Originally posted by Nadir at Reformed Leftist & Friends

From Alternet, linked HERE and above:

A soldier in Baghdad, in town for the "surge" and wondering whether things really are as bad as they seem, might want to read FM 3-24, the U.S. military's Counterinsurgency Field Manual, released last December. On Page 1-29, our soldier will find a handy table -- "Successful and unsuccessful counterinsurgency operational practices" -- that outlines the Dos and the Don'ts.

In which column would one place the major decisions of the Bush administration? The dissolution of the Iraqi army, the de-Baathification of the civil service, the failure to guard important historic and cultural sites, the granting of reconstruction contracts to American firms, and the long-term neglect of legal due process -- all correspond to the advice on the "Don't" side of the chart. And that's not accounting for atrocities like those in Falluja, Haditha or Abu Ghraib. The "Dos" column, on the other hand, reads like a list of what the United States has failed to do: meeting the population's needs, expanding secure areas, politically isolating the insurgents, training and equipping Iraqi forces, securing the borders and so on.

If this table serves as a pocket-sized score card, the 280-page manual is a full-bodied treatise on the subject. This is the first new counterinsurgency field manual to appear in 20 years, and as such, it serves as a tacit admission that the American strategy in Iraq is simply not working. The manual's perspective takes on additional significance since its chief author, Gen. David Petraeus, has just taken over as the top commander in the war.

The guy who literally wrote the book on US counterinsurgency tactics goes against his own teachings when he claims the war in Iraq is "winnable".

So which time were you lying, General? When you told the American people that you could win an unwinnable war because doing so might help your career or when you wrote the manual that our troops must use when they go into battle?

If we don't get this administration out of office and stop this war, the US and the Iraqi people are in for more bloodshed and more looting of their treasuries by Bush stockholders.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Slaveowning Ancestors and The American Way

Originally posted by Nadir at

As Black History Month came to a close, two news items prove that the legacy of slavery in America is far from over.

The first was former presidential candidate, the Rev. Al Sharpton’s, revelation that one of his ancestors was owned by a relative of late South Carolina Senator and segregationist Strom Thurmond.

Professional genealogists working for found that Sharpton’s great-grandfather, Coleman Sharpton, was a slave owned by Julia Thurmond, whose grandfather was Strom Thurmond’s great-great-grandfather. Coleman Sharpton was later freed.

In the second report, a geneaologist claims that an ancestor of current presidential hopeful Barack Obama’s white mother owned slaves.

According to the research, one of Obama’s great-great-great-great grandfathers, George Washington Overall, owned two slaves who were recorded in the 1850 Census in Nelson County, Ky. The same records show that one of Obama’s great-great-great-great-great-grandmothers, Mary Duvall, also owned two slaves.

None of this should be a surprise to anyone. If your ancestors were in the United States before 1860, then it is highly likely that their lives were touched by the peculiar institution in one way or another. So why is this such a big deal?

Slavery was an integral part of American life for over 200 years. Southern businessmen owned slaves. Northern insurance companies insured that human property. Slave labor and the capital derived from it made this country what it is today.

For example, I don’t know the exact details of my own heritage, but from oral histories handed down through the family, I understand that I have African, Cherokee, Blackfoot, Irish, German and who knows what other shade of blood in my veins. The same is true of most Americans - white and black - who have at least one parent whose family has been on the continent for a while.

It will be most interesting to watch how this history is wielded on the political battlefield. Obama is already facing criticism that he isn’t Black. Does the fact that his mother’s family was holding the whip rather than suffering the lash provide ammunition for critics who deny Obama his part in the Black American experience?

How will the Sharpton/Thurmond connection affect the Reverend Al’s decision to make another run at the White House?

The media is reporting these incidents as if there should be some embarrassment for either Obama or Sharpton over this. If anything America as a whole should be embarrassed by its own history. From the newspapers that supported the institution to the companies that profited from its unpaid labor force.

And if the United States is truly humiliated by its mistreatment of our African ancestors, then it should pay reparations to the Black folks who still have to deal with the nation’s racist past and present.

And that, of course, brings up another question for Barack Obama:

His mother’s family profited in its ownership of Africans, but his Black skin is the primary issue he will face in his presidential bid. Is he a beneficiary or a victim of slavery’s legacy? Or is he both?

Payola Scamola

Big radio and the FCC are still giving independent music artists the shaft.

The announced payola settlement between the Federal Communications Commission and four of the nation's largest media groups won't help the cause of indies and it won't undo any of the damage caused by payola in radio. Just like the dog and pony show agreements signed by major record labels in recent years, this deal is a pile of manure.

In the proposed settlement Clear Channel, CBS Radio, Entercom Communications and Citadel Broadcasting agree to pay $12.5 million to the FCC and to provide 8400 half-hour segments for the play of independent music on their stations. The music will be chosen by the American Association of Independent Music. No details about how formats will be split up have been mentioned.

First of all, $12.5 million doesn't even begin to approach the amount of money radio stations have received in payola over the years. And the nature of the game is no longer just a few disc jockeys receiving bags of coke in record jackets or hookers in the broadcast booth. The new payola is corporate policy.

Radio stations make a mint in payola by charging major labels to play their music or to provide gifts and promotion dollars. Major labels use these payments to shut indie labels out of the game by upping the ante at radio. If indies are willing/able to pay the same price, they can get major radio play as well... sometimes.

Paul Porter of music industry watchdog group Industry Ears says, “Payola is no longer just the little guy getting a few bucks for a few spins on the radio-- the “new” payola is corporately overseen and driven-- a multi-million dollar business. The reported payola consent decree does nothing to slow radio and records commitment for the pay for play system."

Secondly, the allocation of 4200 hours of broadcast time is completely insignificant, especially if those hours are relegated to half hour segments. Scott Borchetta of Big Machine Records, a Nashville indie that is distributed by Universal told The Tennessean newspaper, "That may sound like a big number, but when you put that up against all the radio stations that you're talking about and the amount of time that represents, 8,400 half-hour segments is not that much."

Why shouldn't independent music be spun in rotation with major label fare? And why not spin those tracks all the time?

Advances in recording technology have eliminated many of the barriers of expense and quality that once faced indie artists. Now the last hurdle is marketing dollars. Indies already have less capital to work with than their corporate counterparts. Payola is an illegal system that creates an additional hardship.

Collusion between big radio, big labels and big government closes markets, stifles creativity and ultimately limits the variety of music that consumers can hear. This proposed deal by radio conglomerates just like the settlements signed between corporate music and New York are public relations stunts.

Don't be fooled. Turn off the radio.