Friday, December 19, 2008

Above Blind Loyalty

Mark Felt died yesterday. Say what you will about this man, but he placed justice and care for this Country above blind loyalty and partisan politics.

The best kept secret in this Country was that this one man, whom remained nameless for 30 years, broke his silence on the corruption within the Nixon Administration, and became an informant to two reporters with the Washington Post.

Mr. Felt believed that transparency in Government was crucial. He believed that abuses in the name of National Security by a president was wrong. He believed that executive privilege used to justify an administration's criminal acts, abuses of power and to hinder investigations of crimes, was deserving of exposure.

Thank you Mr. Felt.
Rest in Peace Sir.

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

The First Lady of Star Trek Passes

Majel Barrett-Roddenberry dies at age 76

Star Trek's creative direction moved away from Gene and Majel long ago, but Majel was one of the hearts of fandom. She and Gene kept Trek alive when it was barely nothing more than Lincoln Enterprises being run from their house in Van Nuys., the family company website, has just been slashdotted out of existence from the traffic as the news has broken.

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Additional To Do (Damn, Being a Citizen Requires a Lot of Work!)

In my email inbox today is a note from Congressman Robert Wexler. [I love Bob Wexler. He rocks.]

Anyway, the email lets us know that he supports Nadler's legislation, H.RES.1531, which calls for no "pre-emptive" pardons and demands that Bush Administration officials be held accountable for their crimes.

Currently there are 8 co-sponsors:
Rep Baldwin, Tammy [WI-2] - 12/10/2008
Rep Cohen, Steve [TN-9] - 12/10/2008
Rep Frank, Barney [MA-4] - 12/9/2008
Rep Lee, Barbara [CA-9] - 12/9/2008
Rep Lewis, John [GA-5] - 12/9/2008
Rep Maloney, Carolyn B. [NY-14] - 12/9/2008
Rep Pastor, Ed [AZ-4] - 12/9/2008
Rep Stark, Fortney Pete [CA-13] - 12/9/2008
Rep Wexler, Robert [FL-19] - 12/10/2008

You know what to do.

See the entire email below the fold.

Dear Anjha,

There is much to celebrate, as there is only 33 days until George W. Bush leaves the White House. In addition, Congressman Nadler, Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Constitution, recently introduced a resolution expressing staunch opposition to any potential preemptive pardons of members of his Administration and the need for an Independent commission or select committee to "investigate, and, where appropriate, prosecute illegal acts by senior officials of the administration of President George W. Bush."

I fully support this resolution and I have signed on as a co-sponsor.

The issue of preemptive and/or blanket pardons has been a subject of much debate and frustration. There is great concern that Bush will abuse his pardon power and further cover up wrongdoing by his Administration.

However, as citizens, we have a responsibility to reject any abuse of the presidential pardon power to shield or manipulate investigations.

Regardless of the legality of potential pardons, there needs to be a full accounting of this Administration's abuses. No doubt many of the players in the Administration will seek future positions or public office. The public deserves a full accounting of what they have done, and the law, in my opinion, requires it.

Many felt that President-elect Obama's victory might free members of Congress to move forward with Impeachment Hearings. However, the weeks since the election have been largely consumed with trying to formulate a balanced and thoughtful response to the economic crisis, which, no doubt, is affecting many of you.

The struggles of the American auto industry, and the ongoing banking and credit crisis, skyrocketing unemployment, and our exploding budget deficit have taken center stage.

Some of our most critical issues - universal healthcare, Medicare and social security funding, alternative energy investment, and education improvements are all threatened by this crisis. Although I am committed as ever to holding this Administration accountable, we are facing a historic crisis in this nation that Congress and President-elect Obama must work together to solve.

Obama's victory gives us a window to accomplish vital tasks that will have very direct impact on you and your family.

I thoroughly believe that President-elect Obama will return us to a government that respects the rights of its citizens and the rule of law. I look forward to working closely with his Administration to not only repair the damage, but bring forth a renewed sense that government is, in fact, responsible and answerable to the people.

With great respect and admiration,

Robert Wexler

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Idiosynchronic: Rest Easy

Imitation is the greatest form of flattery. Except for copying - that is the very greatest form of flattery.

The Progressive is calling for "Shoeing Bush Out."

Last night, as I said, I received an email on a Democratic District group asking us to send Bush our shoes.

There are numerous posts out there about it.

I have even read posts of people who have already done it.

The only thing that I have not yet seen is the call to include directions to forward them to charity. I think that we should create the PDF instructions directing them to do so and then all of these other places can link to us! It is not easy always being the "Linker". I think that it is high time the L&L Pt 2 is the "Linkee".

Addendum: (by id) dday has observed that the Iraqis are getting pissed over the incarceration and probable beating of al-Zaidi. Now someone has to sit and really think of what do we put on the sheet. The earliest I may get to it is Friday morning.

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Thursday To Do's

If you do nothing else Thursday,

1. Please call Senator Carl Levin
2. Call your own Senators
3. Call your Representative

Tell them all that you support an independent commission and indictments for anyone in the Bush Administration who authorized and participated in torture.

Tell them that you support indictments and prosecution for war crimes.

Tell them that you want everyone, and we mean everyone (including any Democrats who knew and did nothing) held accountable.

Tell them that we are a nation of laws, not of men. Tell them that the Rule of Law is the only thing that keeps us free.

4. Tell everyone who you know to do the same.

The Congress must hear from us or nothing.will.happen.

5. Go to and tell Obama the same.

UPDATE: BTW, Senator Carl Levin was on The Rachel Maddow Show tonight advocating for said commission [this is why we are calling his office first.]

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A Lump of Coal from Santa Bush

By robertgreenwald

The Bush administration isn't about to let democracy or the will of the people stop them from further ruining this country before they leave office. Knowing he can't get his long list of favors to his Republican cronies through Congress, Bush is doing a last minute end-run, jamming as many rules through the executive branch as he can during his waning days in power. These so-called "midnight regulations" will allow factories to pollute more, further restrict women's access to abortion services, cut off aid to needy families in the middle of a recession, and much more -- all without Congress' oversight or approval. It's wrong, it's antidemocratic, but, sadly, it's legal.

When given the opportunity to be "naughty or nice" this holiday season, Bush has clearly opted to go down as one of the naughtiest, most sinister presidents in our nation's history. We've created a satirical spin on the famous poem, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, in order to show President Bush crafting his last-minute agenda for health care, the environment, civil liberties, and labor practices -- rules that will affect everyone and will be difficult for the next administration to overturn.

We are using humor here in the hopes that it both commands people's attention and enables us to shine a light on these all-too-serious midnight regulations.

After you've enjoyed this video, send it to friends and family (and don't forget to Digg it!). Let them know the harm President Bush's midnight regulations will bring. And stress the fact that there are far too many congressional representatives who have remained silent while Bush pushes midnight regulations that will wreak havoc on the lives of their constituents and local communities.

We must call the tacit approval of these representatives into question. Keep in mind that it's not just voters in blue states who will be affected -- these midnight regulations will hurt people in the states and districts of Bush's enablers in Congress. And remember that these last-minute policies are the outcome of Congressional Republicans' loyal support for the Bush agenda over the past eight years. We should hold them accountable for the huge lump of coal Bush is handing over to the nation this Christmas. This video is also available on YouTube.

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It's a Good Day for Women's Rights

Among the many policies and issues facing President-Elect Obama, the regulations on abortion and other reproductive-heath issues will be high on his list. More importantly, he will reverse some of the Bush measures denying the right of choice.

As Nancy Keenan, President of NARAL Pro-Choice America has said, "We have a lot of work to do to fix the damage the Bush administration has done."

President-Elect Obama has said he will address the following issues immediately:

1. The first thing will be lifting Bush's restrictions on funding for research using embryonic stem cells.

2. Removal of 'Global Gag Rule.' The gag rule has barred foreign organizations from using their own money for abortion services or advocacy if they accept U.S. aid for family planning.

3. Restore federal funding for Family Planning to the United Nations Population Fund.

4. Get the Freedom of Choice Act, or FOCA, which would codify Roe v. Wade into federal law passed and signed into law.

5. Overturn the "Right of Conscience" regulation that Bush intends to issue this week. The new regulation would allow hospitals, doctor's offices, pharmacies and other in the health care field to refuse to provide information, such as a referral, to patients looking for an abortion. Bush hasn't signed the regulation yet, but is expected to sometime this week.

Finally, a woman's rights advocate in the White House again.

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Can We Go to the Hague Now?

On Monday, Cheney admitted he was directly involved in approving severe interrogation methods used by the CIA. It is the first time that he has acknowledged playing a central role in approving interrogation tactics, including water boarding.

"I was aware of the program, certainly, and involved in helping get the process cleared," Cheney said in an interview with ABC News. Asked whether he still believes it was appropriate to use the waterboarding method on terrorism suspects, Cheney said: "I do."

His comments come on the heels of disclosures by a Senate committee showing that high-level officials in the Bush administration were intimately involved in reviewing and approving interrogation methods that have since been explicitly outlawed and that have been condemned internationally as torture.

So the truth, which we have known for years, has been finally been admitted by Dick (waterboard 'em) Cheney.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Friends, Romans, Citizens, Give Me Your Shoes

Awww . . shucks . . . thanks guys for wanting to make up the slack.

So I guess it's obvious the major source of my disappointment is not the lack of response, but rather my own ability to do things for days at a time. I can't be the leader of this. I've been busy all day long at work until just now. And I think we've just about exhausted the news cycle window to capitalize on the Shoe-ing of the President.

The PDF is easy, especially with numerous free tools available online to make a PDF. Message and goal are what matters.

1) encourage donations of shoes.
1a) to where? A local charity makes the most sense in terms of carbon emissions unless we have a charity that that sponsors large acquisitions.
2) Problem: how do you get the message across to at least the Bush library and media outlets? Especially if they never see the shoes. While I'd love to stick the library with the costs of donating the shoes, such action is demonstrably wrongful in several belief systems of charity.
3) Write a coherent, motivating narrative of why we should donate these shoes in this manner.
3a) be clear that crap shoes or . . disgusting shoes aren't welcome.

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Let's Play

The TeeVees are all in a twitter over who Obama will appoint as Labor Secretary.

Although he is desperately needed at the UAW, I think that it would send a great message to appoint Gettelfinger.

If not Gettelfinger, I would like to see John Edwards. I know. I know. However, I think that Edwards proved that he will take on the business, corporate and monied interests in a big way.

Who would you like to see nominated?

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What I Refuse to Learn

Discouragement is the death of most good ideas. And so it is with Idiosynchronic’s shoe plan. I refuse to allow discouragement and a bunch of cranky turn the page cynics to ruin a good idea. Spplttt! Phoeey! No way.

First of all, Id, what can we do to help? Seriously. What tasks do you need help with? The answer is always “no” until you ask.

I saw over on TLC that one of the commenters had already sent a pair of size 10 shoes. It is happening organically; we will just take the organic movement and add to it. The idea is to make certain that enough people send the shoes that the media picks it up. They are still reporting on the story – we have a short period of time.

This is what I see as the steps that need to occur.

1. Do not get discouraged by the dicks. There are always dicks...we shall overcome!

2. I do not have Adobe. Does anyone here have the ability to create a PDF?

3. Let's actually get the PDF created before we proceed. Let's keep it simple. What are the things that should be included in the PDF?

a. A statement. My vote is for something like "We stand with the citizens of Iraq. We are sorry for the invasion and the destruction of your country. This is for the women and the children" [or whatever it was that the journalist will not take long to find the quote.]

b. Something to the effect of "Mr. Muntadar al-Zaidi should be released immediately and President Bush should apologize for not coming to his aid sooner. Although we do not advocate violence in any way, we understand the frustration of the Iraqi people and Mr. Muntadar al-Zaidi should be released and an envoy should be sent to hear him, to understand his concerns and to understand why he felt that he needed to take the actions that he did. The only way that healing can happen is for open dialogue to take place."

c. “These shoes are a statement of our frustration. The American people have been ignored for far too long in this process. You work for us. We do not want this occupation in Iraq to continue. Bring the troops home now."

d. “These shoes should be donated to x, y, z and a... [List the charities, contact info and the recycler.]"

e. What else should we include? Trying to keep it simple - but what else do you think that we should include?
4. Include also shipping options. SoS votes UPS [are they completely US and completely Union? Let's state that.] I like the USPS, because the post office has been suffering for so long and these are government jobs and government monies so it will help the National Debt. Government jobs are Union [at least they had that right up until last week when Dubya changed some BS rule.]

5. After the PDF is created then we all need to branch out and post where ever we can. I will post at TPM, someone post again at KOS (we can all go and recommend) someone can post again at TLC (maybe we can email Erin) and someone can post at HuffPo, SoS can post at Left is Right, I will post at PAS (not that anyone goes there...but the web crawlers will pick up the words) and we should make sure that we include a link to the stories at NYT and WaPo, etc because those links bring traffic.

Let's get busy. We can do this with very little effort. Especially if we act as a team.

(Note: previously posted in the comments.)

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Something Smells Funny

If you think that U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald ordered the FBI to arrest Rod Blagojevich Tuesday in order to stop a crime from being committed, then you would be wrong in that thinking.

Fitzgerald’s office is angry that the scheme didn’t advance, at least for a little longer. Why? Because had the plot been given time to unfold, they might have had an opportunity most feds can only dream of: A chance to catch the sale of a Senate seat on tape, including the sellers and the buyers.

The precise timing of Tuesday’s dramatic, pre-dawn arrest was NOT dictated by Fitzgerald, nor was it dictated by the pace of Blagojevich’s alleged “selling of the Senate seat.” It was dictated by the Chicago Tribune, according to people close to the investigation.

In October, Fitzgerald’s had requested that the Tribune hold back the story, since a confidante of Blagojevich was cooperating with Fitzgerald's office. However, the Tribune’s editor made the decision to break the agreement with Fizgerlad's office. The editor said in a statement last week that these requests are granted in what he called isolated instances. “In each case, we strive to make the right decision as reporters and as citizens.” Publishing the story on Friday, Dec. 5, ending the Tribune’s own cooperation deal with the prosecutor's office.

Why would the Tribune expose an ongoing investigation in Fitzgerald's office?

Here's the Link.

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High School Econ

How obvious is this? (h/t to Mary)

I remember even Mr. Dick Treman in high school Econ talking at length about the topsy-turvy logic of depression economics in 1989.

And Treman was a hard-core profits-above-all Republican.

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What Have I Learned?

1) Don't get half an idea, publish it to the rest of the world, and hope that you get someone else to pick up along with you when it's half formed. With any idea, you get followers 99.9% of the time, not co-leaders.

2) Don't do it if you have to have a life doing something else. If your family expects you to be present in life, forget about it.

3) Check with fuckin' gatekeepers. Or one of their low-level acid-y minions who has no life will kneecap you.

4) Maybe the simple executions are best.

5) I am blessed with friends! Sincerely, thank you coyote, Seven, Maryscott, and all of you that either commented or wrote me.

At the end, I think I what I most rue is that Mr. al-Zaidi didn't have the opportunity to flip the shoe at Dubya at a time more fertile for actions like what I and several dozen other blog readers wanted to try. Hopefully, he will be released soon and unharmed.

There's an upsetting tendency amongst the Democratic blogerati and their readership to do what Democratic leaders are routinely castigated for: ignoring the grassroots & keeping their powder dry. In what little communication I got, I was repeatedly counseled to put such 'silliness' aside and work for the glorious tomorrow that Barack Obama and his grand administration would usher in. Or if they haven't drunk the kool-aid, they're understandably wary of anything that takes away from real life & death priorities for the world.

The one overarching thing this impresses on me is that mainstream Democrats are going to do what every change in administration has done before - they're going to sweep in and sweep out the old ASAP. Investigation into the prior and holding the guilty accountable will be inconvenient and distracting. It might ruin the chances for future coalitions! That it protects the guilty is just a damn shame.

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Monday, December 15, 2008

If the Shoe Fits

Originally posted at the author's home base of Low & Left Part Deux

How often is it that we not only get to tell someone what's on our mind and do the right thing? Not to mention channel a little holiday giving?

We don't get to throw our shoes at the President. It's illegal, both in terms of assault as well as god-knows what laws in the post 9/11 world. As has been joked about the guy in Iraq, we'd be risking GitMo or an extended stay with "outsourced detention" in Syria. And if you used foot powder that morning . . may God have mercy on your soul.

That doesn't mean we can't send him our shoes to make sure he gets the point.

The plan: gather up your old shoes, box 'em and then send them to the President. Include a message that gets the point across. That message should also tell the President what charities will take your shoes - There's a bunch out there, not including the local Goodwill or Catholic Charities. Go buy new shoes if you want to make a better donation.

- - - -

This project is at the idea stage - I believe we should create printable PDF that donators can use to include in their care packages to make it as easy as possible. Other than that, we/I am looking for improvements to this idea, where you think the best destination address is (The White House or The Ranch?), or a better tone to the message to encourage donations for the right reasons, just not mere cynicism.

Post your comments and ideas to the thread at this blog or at Low and Left, or email your comments to the author, idiosynchronic, at Gmail.

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

“This Is A Farewell Kiss, You Dog...”

Update by Anjha: MSNBC has the video, Bush has never reacted so quickly to anything...:

Now this is funny! When bu$h made a surprise visit to Baghdad today, during a press conference, an Iraqi journalist threw his shoes at him! CNN's Michael Ware reports: just sailed past his head and while the man was dragged out of the room, President Bush is said to have remarked that, “This was a size 10 shoe he threw at me you may want to know,” even as the man was heard screaming in the hallway.
More at the Think Progress link:
McClatchy identified the man as Iraqi television journalist Muthathar al Zaidi and reports he threw both of his shoes at Bush just after he finished prepared remarks. The New York Times notes that the first shoe “narrowly missed” and the second shoe also missed. “This is a farewell kiss, you dog,” the Zaidi shouted.
Video should be out soon Ware said!

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Myths and Fairytales

MTP is pretty interesting this morning. Gregory is actually having a discussion with Fiorina, Romney, Granholm, Eric Schmidt (CEO of Google,) and the CEO of Wal-Mart Lee Scott.

The myths and fairytales are flying out of the mouths of the liars.

(Yep, there is more. Note: edited to use the there's more feature.)

1. The UAW workers do not make $73 per hour.

This was a myth started by a WSJ reporter, who took all of the wages, all of the retirement health care costs, all of the pension costs, all of the current workers health care costs, all of the current workers vacation, sick leave, etc costs plus the wages of the CEOs and then divided it by the hours worked by the current employees. That is how that number was arrived at.

The same result would happen if you took all government employees and added in all pensions, etc and then divided it by the current hours worked by current employees. It is a BS number.

If Bill Gates walked into a bar with 5 people, the average net worth of the people in the bar would be many millions of dollars. Think people, think.

2. The talks in the Senate did not break down over the UAW not agreeing to cut their wages in 2009.

Gettelfinger had an agreement with Corker. Corker did not have the clout in his Caucus to bring it about (or his Caucus sent him out there as a sacrifice.) They had an agreement. It fell apart with the Republicans when Corker brought it back. The GOP had no intention of negotiating. From the beginning they had no intention. It was all political theatre.

The UAW never should have even tried to negotiate with those lying fucks. They did so in good faith, and they have learned their lesson.

3. We do not have the "second highest business tax rate in the world."

Bullshit. We have more tax loopholes than any other country in the world. The larger that you are the more loopholes that you can take advantage of. There is a building in the Cayman Islands that holds almost 20,000 corporations that should be US businesses. They have a PO Box in the Caymans to avoid paying US taxes.

4. Businesses do not "create jobs." This is the greatest myth perpetuated by the Right.

Demand creates jobs. Employees offer their services to companies. Employees create wealth for business owners. (Good luck Lee Scott, CEO of Walmart - try selling your cheap crap without your thousands of underpaid employees. I'd like to see you in that blue vest.)

Please use this thread to list other BS myths perpetuated by the Right Wing. I know that it could go on forever, so, maybe just stick to the ones being thrown out today, on the morning shows. Even those will take up a ton of bandwidth.

5. Just because Obama is from Chicago does not mean that he is responsible for every friggin' thing that happens in Illinois. This is a molehill not a mountain. The media needs to quit hyperventilating about this crap and start focusing on the actual crimes being performed by the Bush Administration.

Oh, and PS: That gawddamned commercial about "the faces of lawsuit abuse" commercial is crap. There is not really a "lawsuit abuse" problem. This is one more BS meme put forward by the Right. The same old crap that blames trial lawyers for everything.

The law is there to protect the people from the government and the corporations and the powerful - not the other way around. Unfortunately, the law is not always used as it was intended - to save us from them, but that is only because enough people do not understand the history of our founding and why our laws and Constitution were written as such.

We need civics education and we need it badly.

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Troll bait - UAW edition cont'd

Step right up, trolls, here's your chance to shine!

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The Media and Misinformation

Where is the media with this $70-an-hour meme, actively promoted by the anti-union people? The press, on such a central issue facing our country, fails to clearly state the facts and instead perpetuates misinformation with their poor reporting. They sure as hell have held blue-collar workers to a different standard than the white-collar worker.

The media might want to stop echoing the conservative misinformation and the myth about the $70.00 an hour, and review the facts. They also might want to mention that the big three autoworkers recently made significant concessions to management?

The falsehood about auto workers is being spread at a crucial time, especially while a public debate is taking place. The media is willingly and intentionally misleading the American people.

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UAW Makes Inroads in Kentucky

The worse possible scenaro for the Toyota Plant in Georgetown, Kentucky, would be for the workers to Unionize, yet it appears that their greatest fear may become their reality.

For the past two decades, the United Auto Workers union has been a constant, but largely neutralized presence Kentucky. But, emboldened by Toyota's plans to cut labor costs at its U.S. factories, the UAW is making its most concerted push yet to organize workers at the Japanese automaker's largest American plant. In a departure from previous efforts, the movement is drawing attention to issues like wage stability and workplace safety, rather than focusing on gathering workers' signatures on union cards.

Organizers have seized on leaked Toyota internal documents that show the company wants to cut $300 million in labor costs in North America by 2011. They have joined forces with community activists, local politicians and workers' rights advocates to make their case for Unionizing the Georgetown plant. This would be an enormous victory for the UAW, as it would be the first time it had organized a factory wholly owned by a Japanese automaker.

The UAW needs a foothold in the company that is on track to displace General Motors as the world's largest automaker. Unless they can organize it, the union's power will inevitably be flushed away. Organizing Toyota promises to be difficult, and it remains unclear how much real progress will result from the latest push in Georgetown.

While Union organizers said they had seen an increase in attendance at their regular meetings, the UAW will not say how many Toyota workers are actively supporting the new effort.
In interviews, pro-union workers at the Georgetown plant said they were fighting the perception that unions were irrelevant, even dangerous to Toyota's future. Recently, the company has taken a harder line on wages and labor costs, giving union organizers what they perceive as an opening. Just last week, Toyota told workers in Kentucky they would have to start paying a premium for health insurance for family members.

And over the last few months, Toyota management has summoned small groups of workers to attend a presentation described by executives as a routine update for workers. While no Toyota executive explicitly says it, the theme of the presentation is that Toyota will end up in the same troubled waters as GM if something does not change. "That doesn't sit well," said Charles Hite, who works on the loading dock at the Georgetown plant and has been with Toyota for 15 years. "They want people to fear losing their jobs."

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