"The action I am taking is no more than a radical measure to hasten the explosion of truth and justice. I have but one passion: to enlighten those who have been kept in the dark, in the name of humanity which has suffered so much and is entitled to happiness. My fiery protest is simply the cry of my very soul. Let them dare, then, to bring me before a court of law and let the enquiry take place in broad daylight!" - Emile Zola, J'accuse! (1898) -

Thursday, September 4, 2008

This Is A Very Troubled And Confused Land, Our USA …A Political Nightmare, Old Men Past Their Prime, Young Women Out Of Their Minds, Lighter Fluid, Loaded Dice And Folks Who Won’t Think Twice About Rolling Them In A Mid East Conflagration!

Congress is about to pour lighter fluid on Iran
There’s a great deal of support for two resolutions that, if approved, would all but strike the match on war.

By WILLIAM O. BEEMANSeptember 3, 2008

The U.S. Congress may inadvertently lay the foundations for war against Iran when it reconvenes in Washington this month.

Two essentially identical nonbinding resolutions call upon President Bush to “immediately and dramatically increase the economic, political and diplomatic pressure on Iran to verifiably suspend its nuclear enrichment activities.”

The House resolution has more than 200 cosponsors, including Minnesota Reps. Michele Bachmann, John Kline and Jim Ramstad. The Senate resolution has more than 30 cosponsors, including both Minnesota senators, Norm Coleman and Amy Klobuchar.

The methods for increased pressure differ slightly in the two resolutions. The House resolution calls for “stringent inspection requirements” of all goods entering or leaving Iran. The Senate resolution does not call for the inspection of all goods but joins the House resolution in calling for an embargo of refined petroleum products to Iran, which lacks the refining capacity to meet its need for gasoline. Achieving either goal would require a naval blockade — a de facto act of war on the part of the United States, though paradoxically both resolutions explicitly exclude authorization for military action.

Other provisions call for an economic embargo of banking operations, with the House resolution adding a prohibition of international movement on the part of Iranian officials.

Both resolutions have begun to cause alarm throughout the United States, and have caused several representatives to withdraw their co- sponsorships. Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Fla., summed up the concerns in an article for the Huffington Post: “It is clear that despite carefully worded language in H. Con. Res. 362 that ‘nothing in this resolution should be construed as an authorization of the use of force against Iran’ that many Americans across the country continue to express real concerns that sections of this resolution will be interpreted by President Bush as ‘a green light’ to use force against Iran.”

According to the Jewish Daily Forward, Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., offered an apology to a representative from the antiwar group Peace Action, saying, “I regret the fact that I did not read this resolution more carefully.” He further told the Valley Advocate of Northampton, Mass., that he’s “all for stricter sanctions against Iran, but the blockade part goes too far. I’m going to call the sponsors and tell them I’m changing my vote.”

Both Wexler and Frank are assuming some risk, because they are opposing the powerful American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which had a strong hand in the drafting of both resolutions. Just days before the resolutions were introduced, AIPAC issued a memo outlining what should be done to put more pressure on Iran.

The language of the memo mirrors the language of the resolutions. The introduction of the resolutions also conveniently coincided with AIPAC’s annual policy conference during which it had more than 7,000 people on Capitol Hill to lobby. Its top legislative priority was for co-sponsorship of the resolutions. AIPAC is careful to avoid direct calls for military strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities but makes no secret that it would support such an action by the United States or Israel.

The most unfortunate aspect of the two resolutions is that they contain numerous outright falsehoods, misinformation and alarmist exaggeration about Iran and its nuclear development program. Of the 23 clauses in the Senate resolution, only five present incontrovertible statements of fact. The many legislators who have signed on as cosponsors, having subscribed to this false information, could be attacked by the Bush administration if they oppose a later request for military attack, as happened in the Iraq invasion.

Sadly, these resolutions make it clear that the battle to stop a war with Iran is not over.

William O. Beeman is a professor and chair of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Minnesota, and is president of the Middle East Section of the American Anthropological Association. He has lived and worked in the Middle East for more than 30 years. His most recent book is “The ‘Great Satan’ vs. the ‘Mad Mullahs’: How the United States and Iran Demonize Each Other.”

The National Security State Does Not Work

Campaign for Liberty (A Different Though Not Isolated View Point)

I'm all about being on the fringe. My ideas about how American govt. should look are pretty off center from either party.

Since we don't have instant-run off voting or approval voting, I'm going to have to bite the bullet and vote for the person that doesn't scare me the most.

I will say that I can't believe that the Republican or Democratic party have put up their best people.

I'm the one who would have voted for the Ron Paul-Dennis Kucinich ticket. People who want to do radical things with this government. Like make them uphold the constitution.

Ron Paul has created an organization Campaign For Liberty that is looking to pull America in a completely different direction.

He had an event Rally for the Republic in Minneapolis, Minnesota during the RNC.

Kucinich is still trucking along. Still trying to impeach the Bush Administration.

I would vote libertarian, except they're not going to win and this is what I think of Bob Barr
You can catch snippets of the Libertarian National Convention on YouTube.

I'd rather Mike Gravel be the libertarian nominee; but, i don't run shit and I didn't get a say.

Then there's

Brian Moore of the socialist party

Gloria La Riva Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL)

Cynthia McKinney Green Party nominee

Ralph Nader

Frank McEnulty Apparently running by himself and as vice president of the Reform Party

Chuck Baldwin

AlanKeyes Of America's Independent Party

I just want to take the time to remember the other candidates who are running, even if they don't have a chance

Reichstag Fire By David Rovics

Who Would Jesus Bomb

Nagasaki Hiroshima - David Rovics

Saint Patrick's Battalion (David Rovics)

When Johnny Came Marching Home (David Rovics)

The Real News Network Video Updates And Police Approach Chicago ...By Ed. Dickau(Ed. Dickau) Vibrant chants of “Education, Not Occupation! Education, Not Incarceration!” echoed strongly throughout the march. On day two, the police continued their intimidation tactics and brutality. Young people on bikes were targeted. ...The Impeachment Hearing Room - http://theimpeachmenthearingroom.blogspot.com/

Massive police raids on suspected protesters in MinneapolisBy DaveC http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwa.../police_raids/ I googled and yahooed and none of the main stream media have picked this up. For you law and order types, just think, you plan on protesting something your local government is doing ...

TWT Forums - http://www.twtex.com/forums Who Is Wrecking America? There Is So Much Blame To Pass Around ...By Ed. Dickau(Ed. Dickau)
Who Is Wrecking America? There Is So Much Blame To Pass Around That People Are Shooting Blindly Into The Darkness To No Avail. Clear Your Head, Focus On Things As They Ought To Be, And Then Act Free Of The Confusion And Misdirection. ...The Impeachment Hearing Room - http://theimpeachmenthearingroom.blogspot.com/

Massive police raids on suspected protesters in MinneapolisEd. Dickau wrote an interesting post today on Here’sa quick excerpt … raid involved a meeting of a group calling itself the “RNC Welcoming Committee”, and that this morning’s raids appeared to target members of “Food Not Bombs,” which ...Stop US Wars - http://blog.stopuswars.org

Impeach for Peace Co-Founder Jodin Morey Shot With Rubber Bullet ...By Bjorn(Bjorn) Jodin Morey, co-founder of Impeach for Peace was shot in the back during a peaceful demonstration in the free speech zone in front of the RNC in Saint Paul, MN. It is easy to blame police violence on violent protesters, however, ...

Amy Goodman's perspective on being Political Prisoner of RNCBy Mikael Why We Were Falsely Arrested By Amy Goodman ST. PAUL, Minn. — Government crackdowns on journalists are a true threat to democracy. As the Republican National Convention meets in St. Paul, Minn., this week, ...Impeach Bush For Peace - http://impeachforpeace.org/impeach_bush_blog

St. Paul Mayor and Media Mum on Journalism Crackdown
In St. Paul this week, a new generation of media makers is under assault by the city's mayor and law enforcement officers. These leaders think free speech is a privilege that extends only to their closest allies in the mainstream media. For the rest of us, it's a crime. Timothy Karr, Huffington Post

Two Student Journalists and their Photo Adviser Arrested at RNC
Two University of Kentucky journalism students and their photo adviser were arrested at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn., on charges of felony rioting. They were photographing a protest of the convention. Ali Cicerchi and Jill Laster, Kentucky Kernel

PepperSpray Videographers Arrested in St. Paul
Two PepperSpray collective members, Lambert Rochfort and Joe LaSac were arrested while on assignment in St. Paul covering the protests associated with the Republican National Convention. Both are still being held without charges or an opportunity to go before a judge. Reclaim the Media

Four Arrested Covering Protest at GOP Convention
A camera crew, broadcast host, and photographer were among those arrested while covering protests at the Republican National Convention in St Paul, Minnesota. Two had their press passes for the convention confiscated by the Secret Service. Committee to Protect Journalists

ACLU Calls for Investigation into Raids and Mass Arrests at RNC
Conducting mass arrests and raiding meeting places of innocent Americans exercising their constitutional right to express political dissent are antithetical to the fundamental values of our democracy. Free speech has to be safeguarded during the Republican National Convention. American Civil Liberties Union

When Mayor, Palin Tried to Ban Books From Public LibraryBy Staff, People For the American Way FoundationTime Magazine today reports that Sarah Palin, attempted to ban books from her local library as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska. Read more »

Time Magazine today reports that Sarah Palin, attempted to ban books from her local library as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska.

Time Magazine today reports that Alaska Governor, and Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin, attempted to ban books from her local library as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, and then threatened to fire the librarian who stood up to her for not giving "full support" to the mayor. People For the American Way president Kathryn Kolbert issued the following statement:
People can disagree about a lot of things, but censorship is completely beyond the pale. Our democracy was founded on the belief that government shouldn’t tell people what kinds of books to read or what kind of beliefs to hold. No one with that kind of history should be anywhere near the White House. Sarah Palin needs to clarify her stance on freedom of speech immediately, and John McCain needs to explain why he chose a running mate with so little regard for the Constitution.

Gov. Palin had a good applause line last night about hockey moms and lipstick on pitbulls. Well, we have an expression here, too: Dress it up any way you like, but the McCain-Palin rhetoric about women’s freedom and privacy is nothing more than lipstick on a pig!

John McCain and Sarah Palin would leave American women with no choice and no privacy. And we can’t let voters be deceived. Not when reproductive health is on the line. And make no mistake, it is!

When you take away the rhetoric, chants, signs, and spin -- the McCain-Palin ticket is one of the MOST anti-choice campaigns we’ve seen and the platform on which they are running is the most anti-choice ever put forward.

Congressman Sees Obamas as Part of a Class 'That Thinks They're Uppity'
The Harvard-educated couple that the Democrats want to install in the White House are part of an elitist, "uppity" class, a Republican congressman said Thursday. Read More

A year of female pols and punditsBy admin Komakai,. I am starting to think of Sarah Palin as Ann Coulter or Michelle Malkin. The latter two are both femmes of the GOP with common traits: Unhinge and vicious. On the left, countering them is Hillary Clinton, Erica Jong and ...Vox Populi - http://vox.96mm.com/

Dems Had Better Re-Think Their StrategyBy ralphlopez House Judiciary Committee phone numbers, where impeachment can happen. Your congressman. Conyers has said if we can get 40 congressmen to get onboard, he will start impeachment hearings. Tags: impeach bush cheney miers (all tags)MyDD - http://www.mydd.com/section/Diary

Over half of U.S. voters (51%) think reporters are trying to hurt Sarah Palin with their news coverage, and 24% say those stories make them more likely to vote for Republican presidential candidate John McCain in November.

Thirty-nine percent (39%) also believe the GOP vice presidential nominee has better experience to be president of the United States than Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.

But 49% give Obama the edge on experience, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey – taken before Palin’s historic speech Wednesday night to the Republican National Convention.

While Republicans and Democrats predictably favor their party’s candidate by overwhelming margins, the experience gap among voters unaffiliated with either party is even narrower than the national totals. Forty-two percent (42%) say Obama has better experience to be president, but 37% say Palin does.

The potential problem for Democrats is that Obama, the junior U.S. senator from Illinois and a former state legislator, is the party’s standard-bearer, while Palin, an ex-mayor and now governor of Alaska, is number two on her party’s ticket.

Palin’s highly successful debut on the national stage Wednesday night at the GOP convention is sure to impact these numbers, too. Her speech repeatedly highlighted her experience versus Obama’s, something she is expected to focus on from now until Election Day.

(Want a free daily e-mail update on our latest results? Sign up now. If it's in the news, it's in our polls. Get our daily update and we’ll let you know what voters really think.)

Just a week ago 67% of voters told Rasmussen Reports they didn’t know enough about Palin, only the second woman ever to be on a national political ticket, to comment on her. Heading into last night’s speech, however, 52% had a favorable opinion of Alaska’s Governor.

In the new survey, while 24% are more likely to vote for Palin due to recent news coverage, 19% say the opposite and 54% say the stories have no impact on their votes.

Nationally, the Rasmussen daily Presidential Tracking Poll showed Obama with a modest but expected bounce following the close of his convention last week, but that is already being offset by the bounce McCain is beginning to get from his party’s gathering.

Since McCain announced Palin as his running mate on Friday, she has been subjected to an unprecedented wave of negative media stories, many focused on her personal life and especially the pregnancy of her unmarried 17-year-old daughter. The focus of the coverage, especially in the blogosphere, has even prompted Obama to distance himself from it.

Republicans have responded angrily, and the media was the target of numerous negative comments over the first two nights of the GOP convention. Several aides to Hillary Clinton, who Obama defeated for the Democratic presidential nomination, also have criticized the media coverage for its sexist tone.

In the new survey, although 85% say they are following news stories about Palin at least somewhat closely, just five percent (5%) think reporters are trying to help her with their coverage, while 35% believe reporters are providing unbiased coverage.

Eighty percent (80%) of Republicans say reporters are trying to hurt the GOP vice presidential nominee, and 28% of Democrats agree. Only six percent (6%) of Republicans – and even fewer Democrats (4%)– think the reporting is intended to help her. Most Democrats (57%) think the reporters are being unbiased, but just nine percent (9%) of Republicans concur.

Among unaffiliated voters, 49% say reporters are trying to hurt Palin, while 32% say their coverage is unbiased. Only five percent (5%) say reporters are trying to help her.

Voters are more ambivalent about whether the media coverage of Palin and her family reflects a double standard that treats women worse than men. Forty-six percent (46%) say it does, but 35% disagree. Most Republicans and unaffiliated voters say the stories show the media’s double standard against women, but a majority of Democrats disagree.

The findings, nevertheless, are troublesome for the embattled news industry and parallel what voters said in surveys earlier this summer. Sixty-eight percent (68%) of voters now believe most reporters try to help the candidate they want to win, and 49% believe reporters are trying to help Obama this year. Only 14% think they are trying to help McCain. In another survey, 55% said media bias is a bigger problem for the electoral process than large campaign donations.

Although women voters by a 48% to 35% margin believe the coverage of Palin reveals a double standard in the media, they continue to support Obama more than men. Palin in her comments already has made clear that one of her key missions is to lure women voters disaffected by Clinton’s defeat in the Democratic primaries to the McCain column.

Steelworkers President Slams Palin: 'Stop Using Your Husband's Membership in the USW as a Prop'By Ali, Think ProgressThe head of the United Steelworkers union (USW) isn't pleased. Read more »

-Jon Stewart Thrashes Rove, O'Reilly For Palin Hypocrisy By Staff, Huffington PostHow do you spell 'double standard?' Read more »

- -McCain is Gambling to Win the Religious Right, Will it Work?By Digby, HullabalooIt's very difficult to know how the Jerry Springer stuff is going to play out. Read more »

Palin's Christian Heritage Week These Guys quoted here had a few other things to say that would have Mrs. Palin lock them up for heresy and treason!

- -Palin Was for Highly Controversial "Bridge to Nowhere"By ZP Heller, The Real News NetworkDetails of Palin's flip-flop on this pork barrel project. Read more »

- -Caught on Tape: Top GOP Pundits Call Palin "Political Bullsh*t"By ZP Heller, Talking Points MemoListen as they disparage McCain's VP pick. Read more »

- -Palin's Idea of Foreign Policy Experience: Airport Diplomacy By General JC Christian, Jesus' GeneralA layover does not constitute experience, Governor. Read more »

Palin: The Latest GOP Distraction the Dems Shouldn't BuyBy Bob Herbert, The New York TimesSarah Palin may look like an easy target, but the Democrats should be cautious of how far they push. Read more »

Palin E-Mails Show Intense Interest in Trooper's Penalty
EAGLE RIVER, Alaska, Sept. 3 -- Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the running mate for GOP presidential candidate John McCain, wrote e-mails that harshly criticized Alaska state troopers for failing to fire her former brother-in-law and ridiculed an internal affairs investigation into his conduct.

The e-mails were shown to The Washington Post by a former public safety commissioner, Walter Monegan, who was fired by Palin in July. Monegan has given copies of the e-mails to state ethics investigators to support his contention that he was dismissed for failing to fire Trooper Mike Wooten, who at the time was feuding with Palin's family.

"This trooper is still out on the street, in fact he's been promoted," said a Feb. 7, 2007, e-mail sent from Palin's personal Yahoo account and written to give Monegan permission to speak on a violent-crime bill before the state legislature.

"It was a joke, the whole year long 'investigation' of him," the e-mail said. "This is the same trooper who's out there today telling people the new administration is going to destroy the trooper organization, and that he'd 'never work for that b****', Palin'.)"

Readers Write: What the Palin Pick Means for AmericaBy Tana Ganeva, Isaac Fitzgerald, AlterNetAlterNet readers weigh in on McCain's pick of Gov. Sarah Palin, the many skeletons in her closet, and what it all means for the country. Read more »

-Main Message of the RNC? The GOP Loathes Itself By Steve Benen, Washington MonthlyThe former mayor of New York City railed against "cosmopolitans." The Harvard-trained, former governor of Massachusetts railed against eastern elites. Read more »

- -Media Silent, But Activist Groups Loud About RNC Police BrutalityBy Lindsay Beyerstein, Firedoglake"I observed a lot of instigation and escalation of violence [on the part of the police]," Flemming said. Read more »

My family moved to Wasilla when I was eleven years old. The road I lived on was still gravel, and the town then was still on its first of three successive Wal-Marts. It was 1996, and that year Sarah Palin was first elected mayor.

Today, under Sarah Palin's leadership, Wasilla has become the picture of exurban sprawl: an explosion in the housing stock, tons of new highway expansion, tons of new big box stores and fast food franchises, and absolutely 0 sustainability. Combined with a lack of zoning, and a predilection for building open-pit gravel mines all over the place, and Wasilla could be the poster-town for bad municipal leadership.

Wasilla, like a lot of Alaska, is defined by its remoteness. It is a 45 mile drive from Anchorage, yet functions primarily as a bedroom community. The city limits are confined mostly to a narrow strip along the Parks Highway (a major route from Anchorage to Fairbanks), but Wasillans can live dozens of miles away from the town center. An official population of roughly 6,000 balloons to dozens of thousands in the greater Wasilla area. Despite their small size, Wasilla and Palmer form the major social and political axis of the Mat-Su borough, a county equivalent the size of West Virginia.

Demographically, the town is almost exclusively white. I didn't realize this, until I left and went to university in New Jersey. There is, or at least was, a stunning lack of diversity, even for Alaska. It is is extremely religious, primarily baptist judging from the many churches, tucked away into every nook and cranny. It is also extremely politically conservative, and is consistently a republican stronghold. Characteristically, it is also economically depressed, and is dependent on low-quality resource extraction, and the service industry, for the vast majority of local jobs.

Wasilla was essentially a giant gravel mine. There was a gravel mine behind my middle school. There was a gravel mine across the highway. There were gravel mines in residential neighborhoods. There were gravel mines all over the place.

A gravel mine is exactly what it sounds like: someone buys a block of land, and more or less completely converts it into gravel, like mountain-top removal done at ground level. The mine itself is an open pit which sits in production for years, and then, more often than not, is abandoned in situ, oftentimes sprinkled with abandoned extraction equipment. The pit behind the middle school, for instance, had a few rusted hulks that remained for years, and which may still be there today.

If there wasn't a gravel mine somewhere, then there was a strip mall. Wasilla love their gravel, and they love their strip malls.

Growing up, my father used to take me to a barber shop in one of our many strip malls to get my hair cut. I call it a barbershop, and the sign said it was a barber shop, but it was more of a combination barber shop, guitar repair shop, ammo store, and local NRA headquarters. That barber shop was a microcosm of Wasilla: an odd mix of country friendliness and can-do work ethic, and hardcore, reactionary conservatism.

When I graduated from Wasilla High School, Sarah Palin's alma mater, there were 1200 students, some fantastic teachers, and a strong Advanced Placement program. When Sarah Palin graduated, I doubt there were less than half that many students. Unfortunately, the last several years' budget cuts have hit WHS rather hard, and it's been shedding good teachers and AP classes, with no end in sight. Last I heard, the coordinated advanced learning program had been disbanded, for lack of funds. Wasilla High School used to turn out some amazing students, many of whom were friends of mine who went onto MIT, Harvard, Colgate, Tufts, and many other top universities.

Now, WHS is a school in decline, even amidst an explosion in the local housing stock, and record state revenues from oil extraction. This decline began under Mayor Palin's watch as mayor, and is coming to its inevitable conclusion under her watch as governor.

Beyond gravel mines and strip malls, there is one thing that defines Wasilla more than anything else:


Wasilla has always had a Walmart, for as long as I can remember. A few years after I arrived, they built a new, much larger store across the street from the original. Just recently, the Wasilla Walmart was converted into a super center, not long after the neighboring town of Palmer was successful in defeating plans to open a Walmart in their town. Mayor Palin officiated:

Wasilla’s own Gov. Sarah Palin cut the red duct-tape ribbon early this morning with a really big pair of scissors and a slug of local pride.

Palin heaped praise on the store’s hard-working employees, the company’s community spirit and the hometown atmosphere that keeps the parking lot full just about any time of day.

“There’s something about Wal-Mart in the Valley that is always an event,” Palin said.

I don't know why people in Wasilla love Walmart so much. Perhaps its because every few years Walmart makes a big deal out of their Wasilla store selling more duct tape than any other store in the country. It might seem odd to those of you from Outside, and today it seems odd to me too, but Duct Tape sales once became a major point of local pride in Wasilla.

And that might be all you need to know about Wasilla, Alaska.