29 April 2008

today's prayer... how do you tell if george bush is lying?...

... his fucking mouth is open.

Bush misleads on ANWR

At a White House news conference Tuesday, President Bush sought to place much of the blame for the nation's economic woes on Congress. Americans are "looking to their elected leaders in Congress for action," Bush said. "Unfortunately, on many of these issues, all they're getting is delay ... I've repeatedly submitted proposals to help address these problems. Yet time after time Congress chose to block them." But at least one of the solutions Bush offered during his remarks doesn't hold the promise he suggested, and the statistics he cited to make his case were at best misleading.

"Members of Congress have been vocal about foreign governments increasing their oil production, yet Congress has been just as vocal in opposition to efforts to expand our production here at home," Bush said, referring to efforts to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, in Alaska, to oil drilling. "The Department of Energy estimates that ANWR could allow America to produce about a million additional barrels of oil every day, which translates to about 27 millions of gallons -- gallons of gasoline and diesel every day," Bush added. "That would be about a 20 percent increase of oil -- crude oil production over U.S. levels -- and it would likely mean lower gas prices."

Notice he cited U.S. levels? That's a much, much lower bar to reach, as -- according to the Energy Information Administration -- on any given day, the U.S. imports almost twice as much crude oil as it produces. And while he promised "about a million additional barrels of oil every day," he neglected to mention that, according to Energy Literacy Advocates, the U.S. uses 21 million barrels of oil a day. The additional production would account for less than five percent of our current total oil use.

Moreover, Bush discussed the opening of ANWR as a shorter-term solution than biofuels or hydrogen, and said, "Somehow if you mention ANWR it means you don't care about the environment. Well, I'm hoping now people, when they say ANWR, it means you don't care about the gasoline prices that people are paying."

If people ever do use Bush's chosen formulation, I hope they change it a little to conform with reality -- I'd suggest something like, "When they say ANWR, it means you don't care about the gasoline prices that people will be paying 20 years from now." In 2004, the EIA released a report saying that if Congress were to allow drilling in ANWR that year, the oil would not actually begin flowing until 2013 and peak production would not be reached until 2025. Even then, according to the Associated Press, oil prices would be reduced by less than 50 cents a barrel (assuming oil was at about $27 a barrel -- as of this post, even after a decline, light, sweet crude for delivery in June was at $116.44 a barrel). And "even at peak production, the EIA analysis said, the United States would still have to import two-thirds of its oil, as opposed to an expected 70 percent if the refuge's oil remained off the market."


23 April 2008

war is over! if you want it...

"who'll be the last to die for a mistake?"

--bruce springsteen, 2007.

[from the washington post...]

What the Family Would Let You See, the Pentagon Obstructs

By Dana Milbank
Thursday, April 24, 2008; A03

Lt. Col. Billy Hall, one of the most senior officers to be killed in the Iraq war, was laid to rest yesterday at Arlington National Cemetery. It's hard to escape the conclusion that the Pentagon doesn't want you to know that.

The family of 38-year-old Hall, who leaves behind two young daughters and two stepsons, gave their permission for the media to cover his Arlington burial -- a decision many grieving families make so that the nation will learn about their loved ones' sacrifice. But the military had other ideas, and they arranged the Marine's burial yesterday so that no sound, and few images, would make it into the public domain.

That's a shame, because Hall's story is a moving reminder that the war in Iraq, forgotten by much of the nation, remains real and present for some. Among those unlikely to forget the war: 6-year-old Gladys and 3-year-old Tatianna. The rest of the nation, if it remembers Hall at all, will remember him as the 4,011th American service member to die in Iraq, give or take, and the 419th to be buried at Arlington. Gladys and Tatianna will remember him as Dad.

The two girls were there in Section 60 yesterday beside grave 8,672 -- or at least it appeared that they were from a distance. Journalists were held 50 yards from the service, separated from the mourning party by six or seven rows of graves, and staring into the sun and penned in by a yellow rope. Photographers and reporters pleaded with Arlington officials.

"There will be a yellow rope in the face of the next of kin," protested one photographer with a large telephoto lens.

"This is the best shot you're going to get," a man from the cemetery replied.

"We're not going to be able to hear a thing," a reporter argued.

"Mm-hmm," an Arlington official answered.

The distance made it impossible to hear the words of Chaplain Ron Nordan, who, an official news release said, was leading the service. Even a reporter who stood surreptitiously just behind the mourners could make out only the familiar strains of the Lord's Prayer. Whatever Chaplain Nordan had to say about Hall's valor and sacrifice were lost to the drone of airplanes leaving National Airport.

It had the feel of a throwback to Donald Rumsfeld's Pentagon, when the military cracked down on photographs of flag-draped caskets returning home from the war. Rumsfeld himself was exposed for failing to sign by hand the condolence letters he sent to the next of kin. His successor, Robert Gates, has brought some glasnost to the Pentagon, but the military funerals remain tightly controlled. Even when families approve media coverage for a funeral, the journalists are held at a distance for the pageantry -- the caisson, the band, the firing party, "Taps," the presenting of the flag -- then whisked away when the service itself begins.

Nor does the blocking of funeral coverage seem to be the work of overzealous bureaucrats. Gina Gray, Arlington's new public affairs director, pushed vigorously to allow the journalists more access to the service yesterday -- but she was apparently shot down by other cemetery officials.

Media whining? Perhaps. But the de facto ban on media at Arlington funerals fits neatly with an effort by the administration to sanitize the war in Iraq. That, in turn, has contributed to a public boredom with the war. A Pew Research Center poll earlier this month found that 14 percent of Americans considered Iraq the news story of most interest -- less than half the 32 percent hooked on the presidential campaign and barely more than the 11 percent hooked on the raid of a polygamist compound in Texas.

On March 29, a week before the raid on the polygamists' ranch, William G. Hall was riding from his quarters to the place in Fallujah where he was training Iraqi troops when his vehicle hit an improvised explosive device. He was taken into surgery, but he died from his injuries. The Marines awarded him a posthumous promotion from major to lieutenant colonel.

Newspapers in Seattle, where Hall had lived, printed an e-mail the fallen fighter had sent his family two days before his death.

"I am sure the first question in each of your minds is my safety, and I am happy to tell you that I'm safe and doing well," he wrote, giving his family a hopeful picture of events in Iraq. "I know most of what you hear on the news about Iraq is not usually good news and that so many are dying over here," the e-mail said. "That is true to an extent but it does not paint the total picture, and violence is not everywhere throughout the country. So please don't associate what you see on the news with all of Iraq.

"Love you and miss you," he wrote. "I'll write again soon."

Except, of course, that he didn't. And yesterday, his family walked slowly behind the horse-drawn caisson to section 60. In the front row of mourners, one young girl trudged along, clinging to a grown-up's hand; another child found a ride on an adult's shoulders.

It was a moving scene -- and one the Pentagon shouldn't try to hide from the American public.


22 April 2008

the low road...

[from the new york times editorial board...]

April 23, 2008

The Low Road to Victory

The Pennsylvania campaign, which produced yet another inconclusive result on Tuesday, was even meaner, more vacuous, more desperate, and more filled with pandering than the mean, vacuous, desperate, pander-filled contests that preceded it.

Voters are getting tired of it; it is demeaning the political process; and it does not work. It is past time for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to acknowledge that the negativity, for which she is mostly responsible, does nothing but harm to her, her opponent, her party and the 2008 election.

If nothing else, self interest should push her in that direction. Mrs. Clinton did not get the big win in Pennsylvania that she needed to challenge the calculus of the Democratic race. It is true that Senator Barack Obama outspent her 2-to-1. But Mrs. Clinton and her advisers should mainly blame themselves, because, as the political operatives say, they went heavily negative and ended up squandering a good part of what was once a 20-point lead.

On the eve of this crucial primary, Mrs. Clinton became the first Democratic candidate to wave the bloody shirt of 9/11. A Clinton television ad — torn right from Karl Rove’s playbook — evoked the 1929 stock market crash, Pearl Harbor, the Cuban missile crisis, the cold war and the 9/11 attacks, complete with video of Osama bin Laden. “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen,” the narrator intoned.

If that was supposed to bolster Mrs. Clinton’s argument that she is the better prepared to be president in a dangerous world, she sent the opposite message on Tuesday morning by declaring in an interview on ABC News that if Iran attacked Israel while she were president: “We would be able to totally obliterate them.”

By staying on the attack and not engaging Mr. Obama on the substance of issues like terrorism, the economy and how to organize an orderly exit from Iraq, Mrs. Clinton does more than just turn off voters who don’t like negative campaigning. She undercuts the rationale for her candidacy that led this page and others to support her: that she is more qualified, right now, to be president than Mr. Obama.

Mr. Obama is not blameless when it comes to the negative and vapid nature of this campaign. He is increasingly rising to Mrs. Clinton’s bait, undercutting his own claims that he is offering a higher more inclusive form of politics. When she criticized his comments about “bitter” voters, Mr. Obama mocked her as an Annie Oakley wannabe. All that does is remind Americans who are on the fence about his relative youth and inexperience.

No matter what the high-priced political operatives (from both camps) may think, it is not a disadvantage that Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton share many of the same essential values and sensible policy prescriptions. It is their strength, and they are doing their best to make voters forget it. And if they think that only Democrats are paying attention to this spectacle, they’re wrong.

After seven years of George W. Bush’s failed with-us-or-against-us presidency, all American voters deserve to hear a nuanced debate — right now and through the general campaign — about how each candidate will combat terrorism, protect civil liberties, address the housing crisis and end the war in Iraq.

It is getting to be time for the superdelegates to do what the Democrats had in mind when they created superdelegates: settle a bloody race that cannot be won at the ballot box. Mrs. Clinton once had a big lead among the party elders, but has been steadily losing it, in large part because of her negative campaign. If she is ever to have a hope of persuading these most loyal of Democrats to come back to her side, let alone win over the larger body of voters, she has to call off the dogs.


ps. go obama.

today's prayer... the meadow party...

some of you who know me know that i have been writing songs for the last couple of months, with recording an album in july [?] in mind.

i spend tuesdays and thursdays, and often much of the weekend, writing [mondays and wednesdays are for 826 valencia]. since i'm not one of those jump outta bed, i have to write this song right now types, i have been treating this endeavor more or less like a job, with a [though somewhat flexible] schedule, and benchmarks/ goals, etc*.

why am i telling you all this?

well i just wanted to share that this project has a name, the meadow party, and i wanted to give you sort of a backstage peek into my creative process, in a way, using this you tube clip as an illustration. i know i've posted lyrics in the past, but this is different.

yeah, that's kinda what i sound like.

go obama.


ps. very seriously i should note that i've been listening almost exclusively to sleater- kinney's "one beat" album for inspiration lately. fucking awesome.

*insert your own bush administration/ iraq war joke here.

21 April 2008

today's prayer...

[from mcsweeney's...]

J O H N M c C A I N
S T R A I G H T.


My Zit

Do we see the zit on your chin? Yes. Is it the first thing we notice? Unless we're looking at your chin, no. You're wearing a lot of eye makeup, so that is helping to draw attention to your eyes. Away from your chin. Where you have a zit. Yes, you have a zit on your chin. Of course we can see it. But it is not the end of the world. People are going to focus more heavily on your eyes, where you are wearing a ton of eyeliner and mascara. When the zit gets bigger, we might notice it more. In the meantime, stop acting like everyone is staring at your zit. They're not. But you do have one.

My New Jeans

Do you look fat in those new jeans? No. Do they look good on you? Unfortunately, not really. Why do you insist on wearing skinny jeans? I know that skinny jeans are fashionable, but they aren't for everyone. They work well for tall women with very thin legs. You have thin legs, in a way, but they are too short for skinny jeans. Does that make sense? You don't look fat in them; they just aren't flattering. Why don't you wear some low-rise flare instead? Those look good on just about everybody.

The Odds of the Subway Tunnel
Collapsing While I Am in It

This is very, very unlikely. How many people ride the subway every day, and how many people are victims of the tunnel collapsing on them? The answer is about 4 jillion, and zero. Yes, theoretically, the tunnel could collapse on you. Theoretically, we could be in Iraq for a thousand more years. The solution, however, is not to stop riding the subway but, rather, to stop worrying about things that are highly unlikely. If you are looking to worry about something, try your mortgage payment. That entire mess is your own stupid fault, so don't come crying to me.

Being Dumped

Did he break up with you? Yes. Are you a bad person? Not because of that. He just didn't want to be with you. You have no control over that. Here is something you do have control over: shopping! Let's get you some new pumps. And stop crying. He's just not worth it.

This New Chicken Recipe

Is not very good. Did you forget to add the broth? Did you bake instead of broil? Something is wrong with it. What is it? Did you accidentally skip a step? Did you misread an ingredient? Something just isn't right. Can we order pizza instead?

The HPV Vaccine

If you don't already have HPV, you should definitely get this. I don't care how much it costs. What is more important than your health? I'll tell you what: a greater military commitment in Iraq. But directly following that important issue is your health. Now, to be honest with you, you probably already have HPV. Most people do. Hell, I probably do. It's sort of impossible not to get it. You can get it by having sex, by not having sex, by thinking about getting it, by trying on a swimsuit at H&M. Nonetheless, you should get this vaccine. Even if you do already have HPV, it can't hurt to get the vaccine. After all, we must do more to take care of ourselves, to prevent chronic diseases when possible, and do more to adhere to treatment after we are diagnosed with an illness. That last sentence was taken directly from my website.

My Taste in Music

This could really use some work. I know that you must know there is more out there than Rilo Kiley, Vampire Weekend, and Amy Winehouse. But I am searching your iTunes and I am seeing that this is just about all there is. What about some other kinds of music, like jazz, or classical? Have you heard of these things? The Beatles are also a good band. You should listen to at least some music that happened before 2007.

My Vote

Look, I can't tell you who to vote for. You have to go with what is in your heart. I'll tell you what's in my heart: bombing Iran. But I can't tell you what's in your heart. If you want a president who has actually done something with his life, who isn't a wuss, and who is much older than anyone else, then you should vote for me. If you don't vote for me, no big deal. However, in that case, you should know that I was only trying to make you feel better about your zit. It is huge.


19 April 2008

about the west memphis three..

[from www.wm3.org]

Shortly after three eight-year-old boys were found mutilated and murdered in West Memphis, Arkansas, local newspapers stated the killers had been caught. The police assured the public that the three teenagers in custody were definitely responsible for these horrible crimes. Evidence?

The same police officers coerced an error-filled "confession" from Jessie Misskelley Jr., who is mentally handicapped. They subjected him to 12 hours of questioning without counsel or parental consent, audio-taping only two fragments totaling 46 minutes. Jessie recanted it that evening, but it was too late— Misskelley, Jason Baldwin and Damien Echols were all arrested on June 3, 1993, and convicted of murder in early 1994.

Although there was no physical evidence, murder weapon, motive, or connection to the victims, the prosecution pathetically resorted to presenting black hair and clothing, heavy metal t-shirts, and Stephen King novels as proof that the boys were sacrificed in a satanic cult ritual. Unfathomably, Echols was sentenced to death, Baldwin received life without parole, and Misskelley got life plus 40.

For over 14 years, The West Memphis Three have been imprisoned for crimes they didn’t commit. Echols waits in solitary confinement for the lethal injection our tax dollars will pay for. They were all condemned by their poverty, incompetent defense, satanic panic and a rush to judgment.

But there’s still hope for them, and you can help.


18 April 2008

from the new york times...

i am heading to amoeba records tomorrow for some shopping... spin the black circle and support your local record store...

April 18, 2008

Record Stores Fight to Be Long-Playing

NOW added to the endangered species list in New York City, along with independent booksellers and shoe repair: the neighborhood record store.

The hole-in-the-wall specialty shops that have long made Lower Manhattan a destination for a particular kind of shopper have never made a great deal of money. But in recent years they have been hit hard by the usual music-industry woes — piracy, downloading — as well as rising real estate prices, leading to the sad but familiar scene of the emptied store with a note taped to the door.

Some 3,100 record stores around the country have closed since 2003, according to the Almighty Institute of Music Retail, a market research firm. And that’s not just the big boxes like the 89 Tower Records outlets that closed at the end of 2006; nearly half were independent shops. In Manhattan and Brooklyn at least 80 stores have shut down in the last five years.

But the survivors aren’t giving up just yet. Saturday is Record Store Day, presented by a consortium of independent stores and trade groups, with hundreds of retailers in the United States and some overseas cranking up the volume a bit to draw back customers and to celebrate the culture of buying, selling and debating CDs and vinyl.

Among the highlights: Metallica will be greeting fans at Rasputin Music in Mountain View, Calif., and Regina Spektor is to perform at Sound Fix, a four-year-old shop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, that like many has learned to get creative, regularly offering free performances. At Other Music, a capital of underground music on East Fourth Street in Manhattan that faces a shuttered Tower Records, a roster of indie-rock stars will be playing D.J. all afternoon, including members of Tapes ’n Tapes, Grizzly Bear and Deerhunter.

One-day-only record releases will also be part of the event. Vinyl singles by R.E.M., Death Cab for Cutie, Vampire Weekend, Stephen Malkmus and others are being sold on Saturday, and labels big and small are contributing sampler discs and other goodies. (Schedule and information: recordstoreday.com.)

“Record stores as we know them are dying,” said Josh Madell of Other Music. “On the other hand, there is still a space in the culture for what a record store does, being a hub of the music community and a place to find out about new music.”

Some retailers are hoping that the effort is not too late. Jammyland and the Downtown Music Gallery, two East Village institutions — Jammyland, on Third Street, specializes in rare reggae, and Downtown, on the Bowery, in avant-garde jazz and new music — are facing untenable rent increases and are looking for new homes.

Jammyland is “the model of what a great record store can be,” said Vivien Goldman, the author of “The Book of Exodus: The Making and Meaning of Bob Marley and the Wailers’ Album of the Century” and other books. “D.J.’s congregate there from all over and exchange ideas. It’s a crucible of music knowledge.”

For a local music shopper with a memory of even just a few years, the East Village and the Lower East Side are quickly becoming a record-store graveyard. Across from Jammyland is the former home of Dance Tracks, a premier dance and electronic outlet, which closed late last year, as did Finyl Vinyl, on Sixth Street. Stooz on Seventh Street, Sonic Groove on Avenue B, Accidental on Avenue A, Wowsville on Second Avenue and Bate, an essential Latin store on Delancey Street — all gone, to say nothing of stores in other neighborhoods, like Midnight Records in Chelsea and NYCD on the Upper West Side.

“Rent is up, and sales are down,” Malcolm Allen of Jammyland said as he sold a few Jamaican-made 45s to a customer last weekend. “Not a good combination.”

Like many longtime clerks, Mr. Allen is frighteningly knowledgeable. Testing out a random single on the store turntable, he discerned in a few seconds that it had the wrong label: it wasn’t “Good Morning Dub,” he said, but rather U-Roy’s “Music Addict,” from around 1987, itself a response to Horace Ferguson’s “Sensi Addict.” That earned him a quick sale, and later research confirmed that he was right on the money.

Casually dispensed expert knowledge like that is exactly what Record Store Day is looking to celebrate. Ms. Spektor, who started off selling homemade CDs and is now signed to a major label, Sire, said that independent stores had been the first to carry her music, and that their support helped her career take off. And though she said she now feels contrite that for years her music collection was made up mainly of items copied from friends — “I just had no money” — she is supporting the stores out of gratitude.

“I’m the record label-slash-store nightmare,” Ms. Spektor said. “Everything I had was a mixtape or a burned CD. But I don’t like the idea of all the record stores where people actually know what they’re talking about going out of business. They have their own art form.”

Every year consumers buy less of their music in stores. According to Nielsen SoundScan, retail outlets accounted for 42 percent of album sales last year, down from 68 percent in 2001.

To adapt, many stores are devoting more space to DVDs, clothes and electronics. That’s the case even with the biggest retailers, including Virgin Megastore, which has 10 outlets in the United States. (It has closed 17 since 1999.) The company reported that last year its sales were up 11.5 percent. But nonmusic purchases accounted for the jump; music sales were flat. Simon Wright, chief executive of the Virgin Entertainment Group North America, said that over the last four or five years music sales had gone from being 70 percent of the stores’ total to less than 40 percent.

“The sheer drop-off in the physical music market is going to inevitably cause the space allotted to music to come down,” Mr. Wright said. “That will obviously contribute to further decline.” He added that the future of Virgin’s Union Square location was up in the air; though profitable, he said, the store is just too big for the current market.

Whatever people buy there, the store is doing a brisk business. It buzzed with shoppers on Sunday afternoon. Some of them, like Kim Zeller, a 37-year-old clothing designer pushing a baby carriage, said that buying music on the Internet just can’t compare to the experience of browsing in a store — and getting out of the house.

“It kind of gets boring when you’re trapped inside listening to music from your computer,” said Ms. Zeller, who had bought new CDs by Erykah Badu and the Black Keys. “I still like coming to the store.”

Although many have been shuttered, more than 2,400 independent shops still exist around the country. And even in the most gentrified parts of Manhattan, some are carrying on the same as ever. A-1 Records, on East Sixth Street, which has Polaroids out front of the D.J.’s who shop there, is still a popular trove of rare vinyl, as are the Academy outlet on East 12th Street, Record Runner and Strider on Jones Street, and the venerable House of Oldies on Carmine Street. The Academy store on West 18th Street has one of the most picked-over CD inventories in the city.

Products that aren’t fundamentally made up of ones and zeros — vinyl records, for instance, which have a habit of turning casual fans into collectors — have proved a salvation for many retailers. Eric Levin, the owner of Criminal Records in Atlanta and one of the organizers of Record Store Day, said vinyl accounted for a quarter of his music sales.

“That may only be a niche as we go forward,” Mr. Levin said, “but it’ll be a giant niche you can make a lot of money on.”

For many New York shops, however, the real estate crunch is making survival difficult. The Downtown Music Gallery, which sells about $60,000 in CDs, DVDs and other items every month, has been searching for a new home for six months, said Bruce Lee Gallanter, its founder. So far it hasn’t been able to find anything affordable in its namesake area in Lower Manhattan and is considering moving to Queens, Brooklyn or Washington Heights.

“We would love to stay downtown,” Mr. Gallanter said. “That’s what we’re all about. But we have to be realistic.”


08 April 2008

A Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq...

A Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq

Executive Summary

The United States invaded Iraq in March 2003. Since then, nearly 4,000 American troops have lost their lives and nearly thirty thousand more have suffered serious injuries, while as many as a million Iraqis may be dead. The financial costs of the war to the U.S. economy will ultimately exceed $3 trillion. More than a year ago, the American public demanded a new direction in Iraq by electing a new Congress, and the bipartisan Iraq Study Group (the Baker-Hamilton Commission) presented a set of recommendations for just such a new direction. President Bush rejected the majority of those recommendations and proceeded - largely unchecked by Congress - on a course explicitly contrary to them.

Since that time, the current administration and its congressional allies have continued to use shifting rationales for extending our military involvement in Iraq with no end in sight. The American public has been presented with a set of false choices: a semi-permanent military occupation of Iraq versus a precipitous and destabilizing withdrawal. There is a deepening public desire for a new path forward and a cohesive military, diplomatic, and economic strategy that will end the war in Iraq while protecting American interests.

There are two strategic questions raised by our current dilemma:

  1. How do we bring American military engagement in Iraq to a responsible end?

    There is no military solution to the problems faced in Iraq: the real progress that can be made requires diplomatic, political, and economic means. We must stop counter-productive military operations by U.S. occupation forces and end our military presence in Iraq.

  2. How do we prevent a repeat of the mistakes we've made?

    The breakdown of checks and balances in our government led to bad decision-making which damaged America's national security. Ending this war and preventing future situations like it requires that we restore these Constitutional checks and balances and fix the ways in which our governmental, military, and civil institutions have failed us.

Discussions of Iraq in the media have focused almost entirely on military operations and issues, but any real solution will require us to look at a broader set of problems. Beyond redeploying our troops, we must place equal importance on applying the full arsenal of non-military tools at our disposal. The American public must also re-engage in the discussions and decision-making about how to proceed.

What follows is a series of objectives that, taken together, refocus our current military involvement in the region while repairing damage to the U.S. to prevent a repeat of our mistakes. We have included some sample legislation currently in Congress to show that these objectives have been identified and can be addressed given sufficient political will. We have also included recommendations that the Baker-Hamilton Commission published in the Iraq Study Group Report. In some cases, no existing legislation or clear recommendations exist and new authorizing legislation plus careful planning would be required.

Supporters of this document have committed to these objectives. The American people do not need to wait for a new Congress and new administration to pursue this agenda: public pressure on our current elected officials to act can help us move in the right direction even before January 2009, when we hope a new presidential administration and a new Congress will avail themselves of the opportunity to address the great challenges we face as a nation. We are aware that facts on the ground will change moving forward, and the legislation is included just to show that a responsible end to the war is possible given the political will.

As circumstances on the ground change, what is required of our response may change as well; consequently, we will be updating information on this and other legislation at www.responsibleplan.com.

End U.S. military action in Iraq:

There is no military solution in Iraq. Our current course unacceptably holds U.S. strategic fortunes hostage to events in Iraq that are beyond our control; we must change course. Using diplomatic, political, and economic power, we can responsibly end the war and remove all of our troops from Iraq.

Using U.S. diplomatic power:

Much of the remaining work to be completed in Iraq requires the effective use of diplomatic power. Many of Iraq's neighbors are currently contributing to instability and need to be persuaded to assist instead in stabilization.

Addressing humanitarian concerns:

The humanitarian crisis caused by Iraq's situation is destabilizing to the region and damaging to America's moral credibility. We must both take responsibility for the Iraqis who are now endangered because of their assistance to the U.S. and begin to address the regional problems of displaced Iraqis.

Restoring our Constitution:

Many mistakes were made in the course of this war, and our systems of checks and balances have failed us at critical moments. To prevent repeating those mistakes, we must repair the underlying Constitutional framework of our republic and provide checks to executive authority. Balance must be restored between the executive and the judicial branch (for instance through the restoration of habeas corpus), between the executive and the legislative branch (for instance through clarifying that the President does not have the Constitutional authority to unilaterally alter legislation through signing statements), and between the executive and the people of the United States (for instance by clarifying that the Fourth Amendment requires probable cause and a warrant for the government to spy on Americans).

Restoring our military:

Repairing the damage done to our military will require reforms in contracting procedures, restoring benefits for members of the military and veterans, and investment in repairing or replacing damaged military equipment.

The need for contracting reform is substantial. Private militias have direct incentives to prolong the conflict rather than resolve it; their use needs to be phased out. Contractors must be legally accountable for their actions. War profiteering must be stopped, and those who have engaged in it need to answer for their actions.

The safety of our men and women in uniform requires that we adhere to international standards with respect to treatment of prisoners. We must also make it clear that the United States does not torture, and that we do not send people to other places to be tortured, either.

The military is having substantial difficulty with recruiting and retention; we could begin to help by delivering on more of the promises the original Montgomery G.I. Bill made and by delivering on our promises regarding healthcare for veterans.

Restoring independence to the media:

The consolidation of our news media into the control of a relatively few corporate entities stifled a full and fair discussion and debate around Iraq. A more robust debate could be encouraged by expanding access to media.

Creating a new, U.S.-centered energy policy:

Finally, we are clearly tied to Iraq through our dependence on oil, which makes us vulnerable. Moving away from that dependence is necessary for strategic, economic, and environmental reasons.

Having trouble dowloading the plan? Try this link. Thanks!

06 April 2008

from moveon.org...

10 things you should know about John McCain (but probably don't):

1. John McCain voted against establishing a national holiday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Now he says his position has "evolved," yet he's continued to oppose key civil rights laws.

2. According to Bloomberg News, McCain is more hawkish than Bush on Iraq, Russia and China. Conservative columnist Pat Buchanan says McCain "will make Cheney look like Gandhi."

3. His reputation is built on his opposition to torture, but McCain voted against a bill to ban waterboarding, and then applauded President Bush for vetoing that ban.

4. McCain opposes a woman's right to choose. He said, "I do not support Roe versus Wade. It should be overturned."

5. The Children's Defense Fund rated McCain as the worst senator in Congress for children. He voted against the children's health care bill last year, then defended Bush's veto of the bill.

6. He's one of the richest people in a Senate filled with millionaires. The Associated Press reports he and his wife own at least eight homes! Yet McCain says the solution to the housing crisis is for people facing foreclosure to get a "second job" and skip their vacations.

7. Many of McCain's fellow Republican senators say he's too reckless to be commander in chief. One Republican senator said: "The thought of his being president sends a cold chill down my spine. He's erratic. He's hotheaded. He loses his temper and he worries me."

8. McCain talks a lot about taking on special interests, but his campaign manager and top advisers are actually lobbyists. The government watchdog group Public Citizen says McCain has 59 lobbyists raising money for his campaign, more than any of the other presidential candidates.

9. McCain has sought closer ties to the extreme religious right in recent years. The pastor McCain calls his "spiritual guide," Rod Parsley, believes America's founding mission is to destroy Islam, which he calls a "false religion." McCain sought the political support of right-wing preacher John Hagee, who believes Hurricane Katrina was God's punishment for gay rights and called the Catholic Church "the Antichrist" and a "false cult."

10. He positions himself as pro-environment, but he scored a 0—yes, zero—from the League of Conservation Voters last year.

John McCain is not who the Washington press corps make him out to be.

1. "The Complicated History of John McCain and MLK Day," ABC News, April 3, 2008

"McCain Facts," ColorOfChange.org, April 4, 2008

2. "McCain More Hawkish Than Bush on Russia, China, Iraq," Bloomberg News, March 12, 2008

"Buchanan: John McCain 'Will Make Cheney Look Like Gandhi,'" ThinkProgress, February 6, 2008

3. "McCain Sides With Bush On Torture Again, Supports Veto Of Anti-Waterboarding Bill," ThinkProgress, February 20, 2008

4. "McCain says Roe v. Wade should be overturned," MSNBC, February 18, 2007

5. "2007 Children's Defense Fund Action Council® Nonpartisan Congressional Scorecard," February 2008

"McCain: Bush right to veto kids health insurance expansion," CNN, October 3, 2007

6. "Beer Executive Could Be Next First Lady," Associated Press, April 3, 2008

"McCain Says Bank Bailout Should End `Systemic Risk,'" Bloomberg News, March 25, 2008

7. "Will McCain's Temper Be a Liability?," Associated Press, February 16, 2008

"Famed McCain temper is tamed," Boston Globe, January 27, 2008

8. "Black Claims McCain's Campaign Is Above Lobbyist Influence: 'I Don't Know What The Criticism Is,'" ThinkProgress, April 2, 2008

"McCain's Lobbyist Friends Rally 'Round Their Man," ABC News, January 29, 2008

9. "McCain's Spiritual Guide: Destroy Islam," Mother Jones Magazine, March 12, 2008

"Will McCain Specifically 'Repudiate' Hagee's Anti-Gay Comments?," ThinkProgress, March 12, 2008

"McCain 'Very Honored' By Support Of Pastor Preaching 'End-Time Confrontation With Iran,'" ThinkProgress, February 28, 2008

10. "John McCain Gets a Zero Rating for His Environmental Record," Sierra Club, February 28, 2008

i respect senator mccain, and believe he's an american hero. the same way i love and respect my father, and believe he is an american hero.

but i wouldn't vote for my father, his politics are far too conservative.

i think people who herald john mccain as a moderate or worse, a maverick, are fucking fooling themselves. john mccain is a pro- war/ pro- tax cut/ business first/ anti- enviornment/ anti- choice conservative republican. bottom line.

and now the choir can consider itself preached to, i'm sure.


02 April 2008

regarding the john yoo torture memo thing...

from glenn greenwald's blog in salon...

...[S]uper tough guy/war cheerleader Michael Goldfarb of the The Weekly Standard labeled my post from earlier this morning on John Yoo's Torture Memo "self-righteous lefty demagoguery" (people who oppose torture are leftists, of course) and swaggered up and said this:
I haven't really been following this issue, mostly because I'm pretty sure that whatever the government is doing to these terrorists wouldn't "shock my conscience." Like my man Scalia says, sometimes you're going to have to take these terrorists and "smack them in the face." But, some folks are more easily shocked than I am, and they are in full moral outrage mode this morning with the release of a 2003 memo by John Yoo (now a professor at Berkeley!) approving "harsh interrogation techniques." Oh, the humanity!
The Churchillian toughness oozes off the page. Harper's Scott Horton today posted a photograph of the casual, civilized, mild "face-smacking" that Yoo's memo led to at Abu Grahib:

But warriors like Goldfarb could endure such treatment easily, without batting an eye, so they don't see what all the fuss is about. It's just some manly playfulness that would never upset real warriors like him and his boss, Bill Kristol. They're far too tough and hardened to the gritty realities of Civilization Wars (which they watch with Churchillian relentlessness on the TV) to get upset by a little "face-slapping" and "torture." Let's get back to the fun, invigorating war cheerleading...


ps. it's like i heard one reasonable man once say: "it's not about who they are, it's about who we are." that reasonable man? john mccain. of course he said that a long time ago...