Tuesday, December 4, 2007

NIE: Iran Not Pursuing The Bomb; Bush: Lying

Now it comes out that government intelligence agencies in the National Intelligence Estimate unanimously agreed that Iran had stopped trying to develop a nuclear weapon. And that this assessment has been out for some time. So when recently the President goes up there and condescendingly lectures the rest of us about WWIII and Iran getting nukes, he is doing so KNOWING that he is lying to the American public.

The intel changes yet he insists it doesn't change the policy or rhetoric. What this is is an admission that the intelligence doesn't factor into the decisions. If it did he would have to adjust at least slightly. But he doesn't.

So he is admitting that he lied and mislead leading up to the Iraq invasion both with the claims of WMD and the lie that he hadn't made his mind up about attacking in the months before the invasion.

It is also creates even more suspicion of his illegal domestic spying programs and it's purpose. He doesn't care what the intelligence has to say so this must serve some other purpose. I continue to believe that it is intended to gather information on political opponents (as well as keep the GOP in line) to be used to coerce and blackmail them.

In the end, it's simply time to impeach. He clearly has contempt for the American people's right to know ANYTHING. You will never get honesty from these guys on incredibly important issues. And the other alternative, that he walks around unaware of what is in the NIE is absolutely frightening. If that is the case there simply is no argument against impeaching him.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Frank Rich: Who's Afraid of Obama?

Frank Rich in Sunday's New York Times makes a similar point about the trap of a Hillary nomination:

The unspoken truth is that the Clinton machine is not being battle-tested at all by the Democratic primary process. When Mrs. Clinton accused John Edwards of “throwing mud” and “personally” attacking her in a sharp policy exchange in one debate, the press didn’t challenge the absurd hyperbole of her claim. In reality, neither Mr. Edwards nor any other Democratic competitor will ever hit her with the real, personal mud being stockpiled by the right. But if she’s getting a bye now, she will not from the Republican standard-bearer, whoever he may be. Clinton-bashing is the last shared article of faith (and last area of indisputable G.O.P. competence) that could yet unite the fractured and dispirited conservative electorate.

The Republicans know this and are so psychologically invested in refighting the Clinton wars that they’re giddy. Karl Rove’s first column for Newsweek last week, “How to Beat Hillary (Next) November,” proceeded from the premise that her nomination was a done deal. In the G.O.P. debates through last Thursday, the candidates mentioned the Clintons some 65 times. Barack Obama’s name has not been said once.

But much like the Clinton campaign itself, the Republicans have fallen into a trap by continuing to cling to the Hillary-is-inevitable trope. They have not allowed themselves to think the unthinkable — that they might need a Plan B to go up against a candidate who is not she. It’s far from clear that they would remotely know how to construct a Plan B to counter Mr. Obama. The repeated attempts to fan “rumors” that he is a madrassa-indoctrinated Muslim — whether on Fox News or in The Washington Post, where they resurfaced scurrilously on the front page on Thursday — are too demonstrably false to survive endless reruns even in the Swift-boating era.

He does add something interesting in the thought that the GOP could be setting themselves up by betting all their money on the Clinton horse.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Case Against Hillary

Is Hilary so much better than the next candidate that we are willing to return to this? Granted that much of this obsession and infatuation is simply due to the nature of the rightwing we now have to deal with. But it is still baggage that they bring with them in a return to the White House.

Does anyone really think that the zombie-robot halfbreed Republicans are going to behave better this time around? Really? I think they're already drawing up plans to exhume the corpse of Vince Foster and are going to skullfuck the shit out of it until they pass out in an orgy of conspiracy theories and hate radio!

These were the Glory Days of the radical right, the years in which the vaunted media and smear machine was built upon the innuendo, rumor and slander of the 90's. This awful machine is finally in decline, disgraced and defrocked, picking on 13 year-old kids, 9-11 widows and Parkies. They no longer have a thing to say and must fill their airways with any battle they think they can win. Entire media industries and companies were built by hyping up every titillating detail of the Clinton's personal relationship and by inflating and outright inventing scandal after scandal until they had built up enough of a list that the sheer number of grievances could convince the ordinary person that some of them must be true.

This is the only game they know how to play. So why on earth would we give them the ball back?

And this time Bill is going to have a whole helluva lot of time on his hands. How long will it take for him to lean back in a White House chair, stick his hand down his pants and give the rightwing everything they have been dreaming about? There is nothing that the rightwing loves more than to obsess about what Bill is doing with his Lyndon Johnson.

They have already destroyed the Clinton's reputation and legacy for political profit, leading to this modern hell of Republicans hegemon. Did the last 7 years not suck enough for you to want ANYTHING BUT THAT?

Put the Clintons back on Pennsylvania Ave and the happiest people in this country will not be Hil or Bill or Nancy or Harry. It will be Limbaugh, Coulter, Hannity and O'Reilly. It will put millions more dollars in every one of their sleazy pockets. They will fill countless hours of airtime with apocalyptic declarations, personal smears, wild speculation and a glorious return to the halcyon days of phony moral outrage. Dozens upon dozens of books will be penned by hateful smearmongers in their Kaczynski-esqe madness, documenting the conspiracies and sins against humanity and our Republic.

Just Google "Clinton scandals" and you will find pages of diatribes and sanctimonious tirades declaring an end to all decency and honesty. They won't even need to write anything new, and this time they have FOX!

I for one have had enough of the rightwing and their sadistic madness. Their fanatical dreams of a "Permanent Majority" are shattered, and it's clear now the real meaning of the phrase. Like so many other slogans, this little slice of propaganda never really meant it's literal interpretation, a party which wins year after year, an electoral dynasty. Rather, it was the vision of a one-party government, converting every department and governmental body into an arm of the Republican Party, enforced by fascist rightwing politcal thought control, reinforced by obediant media propaganda.

The Hilary as a frontrunner narrative is a trap. The rightwing still controls the media despite all that's happened and despite widespread unhappiness and animosity ordinary citizens have for it. Simply put, they literally OWN the media. The vast majority of corporate funds are pouring into Hilary's coffers, setting her up as the defacto nominee, despite all the misgivings and skepticism of the party's base. She is being fixed up as the man to beat because she is the opponent they match up the best against. And as a bonus, if their fang-bearing candidate cannot defeat her despite media control and fearmongering, then at the very least they will be able to make tons of money doing what they do best, speading hatred and divisiveness among the electorate, personally smearing and destroying any chance she would have to be reelected.

What should be clear by now from the vicious efforts of partisans such as Karl Rove, Tom Delay, Bill Frist, Dick Cheney, and the Hannity/O'Reilly/Limbaugh syndicate of media mongrels is that divisiveness is a foundational political strategy of the GOP. While it's clear to the more detached observer that Hilary's divisiveness is seriously hyped, there exists no better tool to divide the electorate and stir up partisan animosity than the Clintons.

Ultimately what I am trying to say is that while the rightwing hysteria may simply be the nature of their tactics and less the fault of the Clintons, to ignore the history and baggage that this creates while determining the nominee is utterly foolish. The first and foremost consideration when voting in the primaries should be how much a candidate reflects your views. Picking a nominee mainly on "electability" simply does not work. This is how we wound up with John Kerry who couldn't defend himself from attack, rather than the supposedly less generally electable Howard Dean, who would have CLEARLY hit back.

The rightwing establishment is setting us up once again. The trap is for the media to prop up Hilary as the nominee so that she can be torn apart all over again, limiting her to one term at most.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Feinstein's Monster

I don't want to use the word "hate" here, but the level of my contempt for Dianne Feinstein is maxed out. Glenn Greenwald sums it all up pretty nicely here for those who aren't aware of her cowardly and treacherous corruption in yielding everything that Bush could have asked for. I can't begin to explain how important it is to make sure that we rid the Democratic Party of double-agents like her. As far as I'm concerned, her and her BFF, Charles Schumer are no better than the warmongering neocon doppleganger Joe Lieberman. As Greenwald cites in his column, as a representative of the people of California and a Democrat, polling shows her party's constituency as being 90% opposed to the radical Bush regime. And yet for some inexplicable (it would seem) reason she plays along with the most unpopular and dangerous President I have ever seen. Can someone please look into this obvious case of corruption? There is no good reason other than personal profit that she would allow the lawlessness of this administration to go unchecked. NONE.

Something is rotten in the state of California, and it's the decaying corpse of Dianne Feinstein's integrity. Thankfully, some Californians are moving to censure her.

I can't begin to explain to you how difficult it is to express my anger here without resorting to vulgarity.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Still Here

I will be posting a big piece about a possible Clinton nomination shortly. Until that is finished I want to give a big shout-out to my 2 new least favorite people in the world, Chuck Schumer and Dianne Feinstein, for selling not only the people out, but the very rule of law and our Constituional democracy by confirming Attorney General Mukasey. Nothing will change - there still will be torture in our names and the President will continue to operate above the law.

There is a special place in hell reserved for these two cowards.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Dodd and The Doddering Dems

I have been waiting for a candidate to ignite the Netroots' passion. I wonder if that man is Chris Dodd? Over the last week or so he has singlehandedly railed against the telecom immunity included in the FISA bill. Now, those ahead of him in the polls will ultimately try to co-opt the success he is having with standing up for this, but it needs to be acknowledged right now the job that Dodd is doing.

He has pledged to wrestle this legislation down to the mat by placing a hold on it and by ultimately using the filibuster to stop it. Not only does he need support and encouragement, but other candidates need to be pressured and told that to ignore Dodd's effort will be a grave mistake.

Please act now and encourage Senator Dodd to stand up for you and your rights against the corporations who have conspired with the Bush Administration's lawbreaking and subversion of our Constitution and Rule of Law. The public is with him.

Giving ANY lawbreaker retroactive immunity is wholly unacceptable and threatens to undermine our institutions and systems. These companies were well aware that setting up special rooms and giving Bush unfettered and unsupervised access to all the information flowing through their systems was clearly illegal. The argument that is coming from the usual rightwing opinion prostitutes is that these companies should not be punished because although they knowingly broke the law, it was patriotic in nature. Since when do giant corporations do ANYTHING which does not result in their profit or gain? The answer is that they do not. Ever. Companies are not "patriotic" or benevolent or generous. They exist to sustain and generate profit for themselves and their shareholders. PERIOD. There simply are no other motivations whatsoever and believing otherwise is either stunningly stupid or stunning dishonest.

I have long wondered if this administration had something on certain congressman who seem to have no backbone whatsoever and cave in time and time again. Given our government's history of using intelligence organizations like the CIA and FBI to blackmail political opponents (MLK), is it really so wild of an idea to think that one of the purposes of this surveillance could be to shake down the opposition as well as enforce party unity?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Irony is Dead

The same crowd who get downright militant about abortion and saving fetuses are downright militant about helping children whose parents don't have the means to afford decent healthcare!

They're now going after
the family of a 2-year old girl whose story was featured in a political ad supporting SCHIP.

So they want all these poor or unfit parents who can't handle the cost and responsibility of having a child (for whatever reason) to HAVE to carry the baby, then act like the world is coming apart when someone wants to help that child's parents afford healthcare FOR THE SAME CHILD. I've said this many times before, but this is beyond hypocrisy, this is madness.

What a sick freaking place this country is.

Glenn Greenwald has been all over the telecom/Bush administration skulduggery.
• Keith Olbermann discusses as well.

The New Three Branches

The distinctions between the corporations, the media and the government have melted away. This is mainly due to the erosion of all checks and firewalls intended to prevent the cross-pollination of corruption between the institutions. Of course those firewalls have not been simply eroded over time like limestone formations in the wind, but they have been deliberately dismantled piece by piece, primarily by the corporations. The primary goal of any corporation is to simultaneously grow and maintain profit. Over recent decades, those who lead and manage these giant corporations have become more overtly political.

This is not necessarily due to these individuals' inherent partisanship, but more likely due to the simple idea that in order to maximize profits at all costs, political considerations should be factored into any business goal. And so the mentality develops among managers and in the boardroom that Republican control will DIRECTLY result in increased revenues and profits.

The mouthpieces like Rush, Coulter, O'Reilly and Hannity are not philosophers concerned about the state of the human soul. Rather, they are simply salesmen, working to create demand for rightwing products while at the same time working to frame the competition's products as defective and harmful. The rise in demand for conservative leadership had more to do with marketing than anything else. It has long been established on Madison Avenue that marketing creates demand for products that one would never think of purchasing. This is fact.

And so what has happened over time is that the giant corporations realized that acquiring news companies was worth far more in terms of overall market value than in whatever profits they could wring out of dead industries like radio and newspapers. Combine that with the infiltration of the government by pro-corporate forces or outright agents and you have domination of political opinion and promotion of the rightwing agenda.

Privatization is simply the attempt to substitute corporations for the government. And the media companies, whose duties used to be to provide a check on the government are now owned and operated by the same corporations who are attempting to seize permanent control of the government.

Which brings us to FISA. The Democrats are trying to pass RESTORE, an attempt to restore some of our legal protections against domestic spying. People seem to be missing the forest for the trees here. Bush is seeking to protect his corporate conspirators in illegally spying on U.S. citizens by pushing for immunity for those telecommunications companies who cooperated with him in handing over the phone and internet records of the entire country. I haven't seen any proof just yet, but I think it doesn't take much connecting the dots to realize that this is the government outsourcing the job of spying on the American citizens to the corporations. And the one thing I know about corporations is that they have some very sophisticated tools for data mining. It's not the mere fact that every single bit of digital information about you is being stored and archived, but how is that information being used. The government has used information in the past to blackmail it's political enemies. Do you think the Bush Administration would hesitate to use the advantage of knowing everything about you?

The internal politics of a corporation do not contain a shred of democracy in them - they are dicatorships. So when these same companies execute a takeover of the government, they're going to institute the methods and practices that keep the cash flowing.

The eradication of checks and balances, the control of information, the dissemination of propaganda and misinformation, the domestic spying and blinding loyalty to an all-powerful leader constitute the primordial ooze from which fascism evolves. But in the end, it's just business. And all three players in the dynamic - corporations, government and the media - seek to protect each other's interests and jobs as they are really three separate, but equal branches of the same ruling body: Finance (Corporations), Administrative (U.S. Government) and Public Relations/Marketing (Media).

Friday, October 5, 2007

Personality Crisis

Apparently we on the left are Stalinists today. A few weeks ago, according to Bill O'Reilly, we were the KKK and the Nazis. And after that, FOX's Tammy Bruce said we are the Gestapo. I'm not sure what we'll be tomorrow but I'm sure it's bad. Let's see, most of the 20th Century Villans have been mined, so where will this go next?

Maybe science fiction? I would love it if we were the Cylons from Battlestar Galactica. No, that's probably too obscure. Let's see... I know - we're the orcs from Lord of the Rings! Ah crap, we can't be orcs, because we like trees. OK, scratch that. Let's just hear from the chickenhawk himself (full transcript here):

RUSH: In fact, folks, I'm going to say something that might surprise you a bit. I'm beginning to consider the possibility that the Democrats have just moved beyond ideology, in terms of what propels them. And by that I mean, I don't think that it's just liberalism that's propelling them. There is something further and more disastrous and more dangerous going on, and I think they've become Stalinist-like. What we're seeing here from Wesley Clark, Media Matters for America, all the Democrats on the floor of the House and Senate, denouncing me, a private citizen, this is not just liberalism. It's Stalinist, using the power of the state to intimidate citizens. I have mentioned to you I don't know how many times, and I've asked you to conduct this experiment: When you are with a group of people at a party, I don't care where, even your friends and maybe some in the group you don't know but most of the people you do -- notice how scared everybody is to say anything for fear of making others uncomfortable, or for fear of offending somebody, or for fear of being ripped to shreds for making somebody uncomfortable, or offending them.

They rail against Political Correctness because they don't want to ever be ashamed of what they have to say. They want to be proud of their bigotry and selfishness. They want to be proud of their greed and their cruelty. One of the main spearheads of Bushism is to break down all barriers to their conduct. To subvert the law, to undermine any institution which provides oversight, to generally attack any body which would seek to impose any kind of accountability or regulation on their activities.

But the dirty little secret here (of many) is that they have their own version of Political Correctness, on display for all the world just last week in the form of the MoveOn ad "controversy". Clearly, it was deemed a bad thing to use language that supposedly questioned the loyalty of a sitting general. The rightwing version of "patriotism" is merely a tool to enforce their own restrictions on speech. Look at the labels applied to war critics - Anti-American, America Haters, Unpatriotic and Traitors. This is clearly intended to shame the opposition into silence. You can't call an Asian an Oriental and you can't call Petraeus Betrayus.

What do you think we'll be next week?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Centrism vs. Radicalism

David Brooks is at it again, pissing me off to start my day. According to Brooks:

"the netroots candidates are losing"
"Clinton has established this lead by repudiating the netroots theory of politics."
"the netroots are losing the policy battles."

Glenn Greenwald has the perfect analysis which I'd like to add something to if I can.

This argument is moldier than the block of swiss my grandmother keeps in her freezer. I would call it rhetorical jujitsu, but that's giving it far too much credit. Let's call it political reverse psychology. Brooks plays the Concern Troll, supposedly advising all those radical, nutjob bloggers that they really need to stop being so rude, because they're hurting their chances to win elections. They should soften their stance and come to the "center". The evidence of this is supposedly Hilary Clinton's lead. But the concerned advice he's dishing is just a trap.

Ultimately, the Right has lurched so radically far out on the wing that when the pundits and demagogues are herding and frightening people back into the "middle" politically, they are really landing firmly in the CENTER-RIGHT, not in the old center. They expanded the limits of rightwing politics while dividing the country, thus keeping the middle or center from naturally evening out at the true halfway point.

Imagine it's a football game with the regular guy voter sitting in the stands watching the game. While Joe Sixpack is consuming beers and copious amounts of nitrates and sugars, he's being distracted by the cheerleaders (Paris), halftime show (American Idol), obnoxious announcers (O'Reilly/Rush/Hannity) and O.J. running the ball to the other end zone. Meanwhile, one of the teams is gradually moving their defensive goalposts five yards back at a time. So when Joe Nascar begins to sober up from his Budweisers, he doesn't realize that one end zone is now 20-30 yards deeper than the other. All the while the announcers ignore or cover up the fact that the field has changed.

In the end this is yet another example of the rightwing using it's old media marketing and propaganda machine to rebrand the definitions of terms associated with liberals (as the word "liberal" itself has been rebranded by conservatives as practically a slur). Take the word "radical" - here is the Websters definition as applied to politics:

"of, relating to, or constituting a political group associated with views, practices, and policies of extreme change"

Is that the first image that comes to mind, or is it the street-fighting, unwashed, unshaven, stoned hippies turning main street into bedlam? While the latter was once true there are two problems with it. Firstly, those Sixties Radicals are (lamentably) GONE. Yet the rightwing keeps on digging up the bones of those hippies and skullfucking them to scare the pants off of the ignorant and close-minded, despite their having melted away decades ago. Secondly, it's a favorite technique in which the rightwing negatively labels and brands the opposition so that they themselves cannot be accused of being the actual radicals (see my previous post on the term "fascist").

Thankfully, "Tightey Whitey" Brooks has been so consistently and spectacularly wrong about so many hugely important subjects that it's quite reassuring. You really have to wonder about these pundits who have gotten it so consistently wrong each and every time over the past half-decade. Don't you think once in a while, some of these NostraDumbAsses would get it right just out of sheer luck? You could make a mint betting against these guys' predictions and my money's on the Netroots.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Out of Town

Hey all - I'll be out of town this weekend in Vegas so there won't be any new posts until Tuesday. Thanks for visiting and there will be much more here in the coming weeks.

– Lefty

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The F-Bomb

Here's something that caught my eye and has been drowned out since the media's old flame OJ is back in town.

John Kerry (link) was answering questions from the audience at a college in Florida when a young man stepped up to the mike to ask the senator a question or two. He got a bit worked up and loud and wound up causing a scene, culminating in his being tasered while defenseless on the ground.

Chris Matthews (link) had Joe Conason on with a woman from Code Pink, a leftwing activist/protest organization to talk about the video. My jaw almost hit the floor when Tweety (that's Matthews' pet name in the leftwing blogosphere) actually dropped the F-bomb...


Now, this is NOT a term that you normally hear on corporate cable news, and certainly not one I'm accustomed to hearing come from lips that were crazy-glued to Bush's behind for 5 long years. A few gems from Matthews from the Bush Years:

"Sometimes it glimmers with this man, our President, that kind of sunny nobility."

"Everybody sort of likes the president, except for the real whack-jobs ..."

"And that's the president looking very much like a jet, you know, a high-flying jet star."

Want to vomit yet? For this power-slut to wonder aloud, on air, that this might be the beginnings of fascism, to me speaks volumes. First, he wouldn't dare say it if he thought he would be reamed by the corporate higher-ups (in my opinion one of the main sources of American Fascism). Second, when the idea that there is a fascistic streak coursing through the country is even approached by a pro-establishment, mainstream media whore like Tweety, you can bet this thought is creeping into the national consciousness. This guy is a follower, not some idealistic leftwing rabblerouser.

The main problem with bringing the term into our dialogue is the implication that a fascist is a Nazi. The world has seen many different types of fascism, and most of the others don't include the hideous inclination to slaughter Jews. But the one group who are not true fascists are the Islamic Jihadists. The freshly minted term Islamo-Fascist as applied to terrorists and other arab people by the FOX radicals is really a psychological tool to position themselves as the opposite of fascist. The Bad People are fascist and we are of course the Good Guys so naturally we can't be fascist too. It's pretty brainless.

As Joe Conason aptly quoted Sinclair Lewis in his excellent book, It Can Happen Here, "When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in the flag carrying a cross."

Are we there yet?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Law school dean fired for liberal ‘political views.’

Just as I was explaining how powerful a tool email is for expressing ourselves, this happens. From thinkprogress.org:

Law school dean fired for liberal ‘political views.’
About a week ago, the new law school at the University of California at Irvine hired Erwin Chemerinsky, a well-known constitutional scholar, as the school’s inaugural Dean. But yesterday, Michael V. Drake, Irvine’s chancellor, fired him, “saying that he had not been aware of how Chemerinsky’s political views would make him a target for criticism from conservatives.” Chemerinsky confirmed his firing to the Wall Street Journal today:
The chancellor “said he hadn’t expected that I would be such a target for conservatives, a lightning rod. It’s clear that significant opposition developed,” though the chancellor didn’t specify where it was coming from. […]
“Obviously I’m sad because it’s something I was excit[ed] about. I’m angry because I don’t believe anyone liberal or conservative should be denied a position like this because of political views.”

(HT: Atrios)
UPDATE: The LA Times notes that April 2005, Chemerinsky “was named one of ‘the top 20 legal thinkers in America’ by Legal Affairs magazine.” 3:57 pm

If you're reading this and fuming, email the Chancellor at chancellor@uci.edu and let him know it's unacceptable to fire someone who is qualified simply because they are a liberal and some people wouldn't like that. I hate to even bring this up, but the Chancellor is a person of color. And HE fired someone for a reason other than their qualifications. Maybe someone can send me an example of a conservative being fired for his political views. I'm sure the silence will be deafening.

Petraeus, Betrayus, Schmetrayus. Whatever.

Whatever. I think that kind of sums it up. For months the GOP has been stalling real decisions in Iraq by building up a report on the status and progress (?) in Iraq by General Petraeus. Then as we near the actual report, word leaks out that the "Petraeus Report" would be written by the White House. You know, that fountain of impartiality and honesty. All the while the usual media elites are building up Petraeus as some kind of saint. He's been claiming progress in Iraq for four years, including one curiously timed Op-Ed just before the 2004 election.

So Petraeus gives his little report to a joint session of Congress and guess what he said? We're making progress! Woohoo! Meanwhile, MoveOn.org places a full page ad in the NY Times with the headline "General Petraeus or General Betray Us?", the purpose of which is to call into question the data he was presenting. Of course, the rightwing media machine responds with fake fainting spells and hyperventilation, frequently claiming that MoveOn is calling him a "traitor". Yes, the ad calls into question where his loyalty lies (Bush vs Everyone Else), but nowhere does the actual word "traitor" appear in the ad.

When the rightwing puts words in our mouths, we really need to spit them back out in their faces as Markos Moulitsas does so eloquently here.

Following the "report", Saint Petraeus goes on FOXaganda to give a "Briefing for America". Not an interview, a briefing. FOX has officially Jumped the Shark.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Stop the DC Establishment

Glenn Greenwald is teaming up with FireDogLake (another fine blog) for an online petition to tell the Democratic leadership to stand firm against capitulating and prolonging the war.

Email works. For example, FOX "News" was slated to host a Democratic presidential debate in Nevada. For some reason the Nevada State Democratic Party went along with this. The netroots was fired up, wondering why in the world would they allow this Republican propaganda network to host a Democratic debate. So they sprung into action petitioning and emailing the Nevada State Party Chairman, among others. The Chairman must have gotten the message loud and clear as they backed out. You would too if you came in to work and checked your email to find what I have to imagine is thousands of email complaints and petitions.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Morning Brew

Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone on the coming electoral slaughter in 2008 for the Republicans. It's a good thing for them they will still be able to steal a race here and there.

The Nation explains how right I am about the left dominating the online political arena. (Insert smug emoticon here)

And of course all week I'll be linking to coverage of the upcoming "Petraeus Report" which will be written and edited by the White House and then credited to Petraeus.

Keep an eye on the TV coverage and watch as the big media outlets pretend as though this is not a politcal document/report. As though the military is somehow the only major institution that the Republicans haven't co-opted and abused for their own partisan profit.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Joe Conason Double Post

Joe Conason, who writes for Salon.com and the NY Observer, tackles George Bush's Magic Benchmarks and says Don't Believe The Hype.

And finally...

Support the Troops! ALL the troops.

Alive Day Memories: Home From Iraq
HBO, Sunday night, 10:30 p.m.

The REAL Rudy

Robert Greenwald has a new video up for Brave New Films. Greenwald is an independent filmmaker who has produced documentaries on Iraq, Wal-Mart, and FOX "News". More recently, in what I think is a terrific move, he is producing video shorts at Fox Attacks and Brave New Films.

His latest video addresses Rudy Guiliani and his fateful decision to place the emergency command center at Ground Zero (before it was called Ground Zero). Were you under the impression that Rudy knows how to handle terrorism? Or that he was some kind of hero in the days after the attacks? Here is what he said about the days following 9-11:
“I was at ground zero as often, if not more, than most of the workers. I was there working with them. I was there guiding things. I was there bringing people there. But I was exposed to exactly the same things they were exposed to. So in that sense, I’m one of them.”

"Using his mayoral archives, the NY Times found he spent 29 hours between September 17 and December 16, 2001."

Keith Olbermann also reported that he spent more time at Yankee Stadium taking in ballgames than at Ground Zero. I haven't found any examples of the so-called "liberal media" taking him to the woodshed for shameless duplicity like this. The media image of Rudy is every bit as mythological as the image of George Bush was before Katrina washed it all away. WHO is telling you that Rudy knows so much about handling terrorism and terrorist attacks?

Glenn Greenwald has some thoughts and analysis on The Real Rudy...

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Rick Rubin

The NY Times Magazine ran a great piece on music producer Rick Rubin and the new realities of the music business. Rubin helped start Def Jam Records and produced some of the landmark rap albums of the 80's. He has also produced all kinds of albums by a diverse group of artists such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Johnny Cash, Audioslave, Neil Diamond and the Dixie Chicks. He's now co-head of Columbia records and is trying to help steer Columbia and the music industry in general through panic and uncertainty.

Blog Roundup

A few articles worth reading:

Sidney Blumenthal with a Salon exclusive: Two former CIA officers say the president squelched top-secret intelligence, and a briefing by George Tenet, months before invading Iraq.

Matt Taibbi on the The Great Iraq Swindle: How Bush Allowed an Army of For-Profit Contractors to Invade the U.S. Treasury.

Vanity Fair: Al Gore speaks about press attacks, misquotes and distortions in the 2000 Presidential Campaign.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Overthrow The Punditocracy!

I can't say it enough. Please read Glenn Greenwald. Every day.

He is tirelessly chopping away at what I think is the biggest obstacle in the road back to rational thought and progressive change - The Punditocracy and the Elite Washington Media Establishment. Not so much the politicians or the servile and hacktastic staffers (although he does). He is dead-on in targeting the beltway media stars and think-tank "scholars". The man is easily the most prolific blogger around and is so well-researched, and flat out nails so many arguments, it's actually scary.

Glenn deciphers the language that passes for political argument in Washington and the establishment media. Maybe the best thing about his work is the fact that he eagerly interacts with the subjects of his frank critiques and gleefully tears down their flimsy justifications - with evidence. He will go back and provide context and examples of things which they have said in the past and use them to expose not only biases but stunning intellectual laziness and dishonesty (which seem to walk down the street hand in hand).

And boy does it piss them off. Yeah I'm talking to you, Joe "Serious" Klein.
Please read Glenn's work - every day.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Welcome to Leftopia!


Welcome to Leftopia!
This blog is meant to teach people how to participate in online politics - how the blogs work, what bloggers to read, where to voice your opinion and generally fight back!

Make no mistake, liberals are winning the fight online! That is why this blog is sorely needed - liberals who are not tech, internet or blog savvy need to be brought into the blogosphere. Blogs are truly the future of the progressive movement and there are still many on the left who are not involved but who care deeply about these same issues and are political activists outside of the internet. It is critical that they get on the bus and further strengthen this movement.

Comments Sections

Most blogs will have entries or posts which consist of news, opinions or both. They generally don't run much longer than your average op-ed column. The great part about blogs is that YOU can respond back. And you can respond to the responses and so on. Thus begins an organic discussion (or fight) about the topic and assertions made in the post.

It is recommeded that you try to keep some anonymity in your online name as you might want to be as candid as possible. You don't want anyone to follow you home so to speak.

The right-wing media likes to cherry pick particularly ugly or incendiary comments posted by users to score cheap political points and generally smear and frame blogs as being some kind of uncivil haven for radicals. Don't be fooled. While some blogs do moderate the comments sections, most are very open discussions in which anyone can post anything anonymously. There is a major difference between what is posted by those who run the blogs and write for the blogs and what users comment in reaction to those entries. The media tries to blur that distinction and attribute user comments to the bloggers themselves. Right-wingers have also been known to masquerade as liberals and then post bigoted, stereotypical or even threatening comments in order to use them as "examples" of the danger and incivility of blogs. Ultimately they simply don't want more people to participate in online political discussion. Why do you think that is?

Take Action!

Now we come to the most critical part. DOING SOMETHING!

I used to wonder about exactly what effect blogging, emailing and posting comments online would have in the real world. Turns out, a ton!

Firstly, arguing with political opponents online is not only fun but very effective. This is not TV, where the house always wins. Online, conservatives do not have any advantage whatsoever. They must convince people using actual arguments and logic. They cannot coerce or cut off anyone's mic. They cannot parade imposters posing as liberals or Democrats. They cannot reinforce their frames and narratives by only inviting weak representatives of Democrats and liberals to the fistfight that is cable television politics (see Alan Colmes). And those who would stand up to their talking points and propaganda always can.

Amateur Reporting and Investigation

These days, anyone can break a story. Newsrooms are constantly trimming their staff and this the amount of time that reporters who actually want to do some investigative reporting can. In addition, as the blogs often work, someone will spot something that the mainstream media have overlooked either negligently or deliberately (they do - wake up). Then other blogs will link to that story in their blogs and next thing you know it's flying all across the blogosphere.


On to the good stuff, where to go, what to see. These are my personal favorites with a brief blurb about each.

News and opinion site. Headlines of mainstream news stories are linked to and op-ed style opinion pieces are published. Comment pages for most stories and opinion posts are lively and well-monitored.

Video clips from television and internet are provided for viewing and/or download in several formats.

Original reporting and muckraking site which has broken many big stories and focused in-depth reporting where mainstream media outlets have not. Quite often well ahead of the curve in investigative stories.

An online spinoff from the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank. Provides a forum for online progressive discussion.

Sober media watchdog which posts viewable and downloadable clips of mainstream media with criticisms and rebuttals. Particularly draws the scorn of Bill O'Reilly as they have the nerve to quote him directly and refute his claims.

More of an online magazine, but Glenn Greenwald posts every day and is a must-read. Also posting weekly articles are Joe Conason and Sidney Blumenthal who are well worth the time.

The Godfather of liberal blogs. Was instrumental in putting liberal blogs on the map and establishing the format of entries and comments. Truly cultivated a community based around the site which has inspired many members to start their own blogs themselves.


The community of blogs, bloggers and users who discuss and comment.

Someone who intentionally posts controversial or contrary messages in an online community with the intention of baiting users into an argumentative response.

Concern Troll
Someone who posts messages which claim to share the same viewpoint as the others but having some "concerns". Merely intended to sow fear, uncertainty and doubt within the group. Example: Those who are "concerned" that Democrats' investigations of the most unpopular President in modern times will hurt them.

Contraction of “iPod” and “broadcasting” (but not for iPods only). Posting audio and video material on a blog and its RSS feed, for digital players.