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Posted by farmbo in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Tue Feb 09th 2010, 07:37 PM
Do you feel powerless?

Do you feel your rights are being trampled upon?

Are you frustrated by the corruption and arrogance of the power elite in Washington?

Are you ready to do something/anything to make your feelings known?

But alas... aren't the Tea Partiers just about the most self-absorbed, reactionary and downright scary group of malcontents since the John Birch Society?

Fret not! Relief is at hand: Come join the First Monday Movement.

We need to organize a wide-scale progressive march on Washington for the First Monday in October-- the traditional start of the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) term. We'll call it...humm... the "First Monday Movement"! After all, you can not get more arrogant and elitist than five, uber-privileged, lifetime appointments in black robes who are brazenly eroding our democracy and turning the constitution on its head. (Just ask Sister Sarah and the Tea Partiers where in the constitution it says that "corporations" are "people". Hint: It Ain't in there!!!!!)

The march should commence on Saturday Oct 2nd, climax with speeches on the mall on Sunday the 3rd, and culminate on the 4th on the steps of the SCOTUS, with the President addressing the progressive marchers by phone (see:e.g. Roe vs Wade marches).

The main thrust of the demonstration will be to protest the brazen stupidity of the Citizens United case (corporate funding of campaigns), and to more generally point out the pro-Big Business, anti- Middle Class leanings of the SCOTUS majority -- and the congressional Republicans across the street who support that hideous ruling.

In addition to a good old fashioned march on Washington for progressive causes, the agenda should also include:

1) Congressional visits on Capitol Hill
2) Training sessions for GOTV efforts in the 50 states
3) Organizational classes for leaders down to precinct level for the '10 elections,
4) Bands, displays and charity events throughout the mall.
5) And most important: resoundingly calling out the SCOTUS "Fatuous Five" for the corporatist scoundrels they really are.

I know we can get 100s of thousands of progressives down there-- far more than even the most feverish Fox news crowd estimates.

And, let's face it-- this would really buck up morale for the election cycle.

After all, SCOTUS lunacy is something that ALL DEMOCRATS can agree on.

(If you like this idea, it's yours. Let's just bounce it around the internet until it takes off).

See you in Washington!

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Posted by farmbo in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Sat Jan 16th 2010, 12:15 AM
Fade in:
Back Bay homeowner is putting out his American flag on a sunny winter's day...sound of Rush Limbaugh's anti- Haitian radio rant is heard from inside the house... the homeowner listens and winces... pauses putting out the flag

Voice Over: "In the upcoming Senate Race...which party do you think should represent Massachusetts in Washington?...

Break to: 10 seconds of Pat Robertson's "pact with the devil" TV clip...

Break to: GOP candidate Brown's anti-government statement before the Massachusetts Tea Party convention...fade out

Fade in (music swells) : Coakley is working a crowd with a broad smile... American flag is gently unfurling in the background...

Voice over: Inspiring remarks from President Obama over picture of Coakley with Obama

Copy over: "Vote Coakley, Democrat for Senate, on January 19...Because America needs to stand for something"

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Posted by farmbo in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Sun May 10th 2009, 03:52 PM
Let's face it. Wanda Sykes killed at last night's correspondent's dinner-- a well-deserved triumph.

For those among us who are unfamiliar with Wanda's unique brand of humor, here's a hilarious bit of Wanda's "bathroom humor" circa 1995:
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Posted by farmbo in The DU Lounge
Fri Sep 19th 2008, 05:16 PM /

Welcome to the one and only, official, accept-no-substitutes Talk Like A Pirate Day Web site.

In the seven years since Dave Barry mentioned us in his nationally syndicated newspaper column, what once was a goofy idea celebrated by a handful of friends has turned into an international phenomenon that shows no sign of letting up. Maybe you read about us on line.. Maybe you caught one of our radio or TV interviews. Or maybe you just stumbled on to our site while googling around for sites your mother probably wouldn't approve of. Or perhaps you're one of the millions of people from South Africa to the South Pole, from New York to the Pacific Northwest, who've made it your own personal excuse to party like pirates every September 19th (and sometimes for days after)!

However you got here, stick around an' learn all about September 19 - International Talk Like A Pirate Day!

Talk Like A Pirate Day 2008
September 19th falls on a Friday this year, so some folks are partyin' all Talk Like A Pirate weekend. Let us know what you're plannin' - or what you did!

How folks celebrated TLAPD 2007

Photos of Talk Like A Pirate Day past and present
Send us yours - but read this first!!!

What's new?
The Day is here!... the Pirate Guys are in Philadelphia, Mad Sally is battening the hatches in the Caribbean - and the Webwench is bailin' as fast as she can to keep the Web site afloat. We're tryin' to get all the TLAPD events onto the site before they actually happen, but don't expect us to answer yer e-mail until sometime after the dust settles and the hangovers wear off. Last-minute interview requests may not be possible this year - see our contact page for information.

A plea from the Webwench: The party photos are already startin' to roll in, and we're glad to have 'em for our photo gallery - but before ye send yours, PLEASE read the guidelines.

Big news for the Pirate Guys:

Pirates in the Caribbean: Mad Sally and Ol' Chumbucket
enjoy a spectacular St. Croix sunset
(click the photo for more pictures)
It's bon voyage to the Chumbucket clan as Ol' Chumbucket, Mad Sally and all the little Chumbuckets - plus one cat and one mother-in-law - hoist anchor and set sail for a move from Oregon the U.S. Virgin Islands. Read all about it in Issue No. 51 of The Poopdeck, and follow the adventures in their new blog, Island Time. Don't worry - Team Pirate and Talk Like A Pirate Day are alive and well, thanks to the miracle of the Internet.

New for 2008
The Pirate Guys and associated wenches have been busy getting ready for Talk Like A Pirate Day 2008. Th' lads have a new book out, there's travel in the air and this year'sa version of 'International Talk Like A Pirate Day is shapin' up to be bigger and better than ever! Watch this space, or sign up for The Poopdeck for news as it happens.

Cap'n Slappy and Ol' Chumbucket are spending Talk Like A Pirate Day 2008 in Philadelphia as guests of The Franklin, which is presenting National Geographic's fantastic Real Pirates exhibit. Details here.

Swashbuckling for a good cause: Takin' a nod from the Marie Curie Cancer Cure and other fine folks who've used International Talk Like A Pirate to raise money for good causes, Cap'n Slappy an' Ol' Chumbucket are encouragin' folks to make 2008 The Year o' th' Philanthropic Pirate and pass the pirate hat for the cause o' yer choice. Read more ...

By popular demand, Team Pirate is now on MySpace. (We were briefly on Facebook, but they deleted Cap'n Slappy's page because they contend he's "not a real person." Clearly, they've never met Cap'n Slappy).

But you'll still find the best, most complete news about Talk Like A Pirate Day right here on our Web site, including:

A Li'l Pirate's ABSeas - a piratical primer
for junior pirates!
Talk Like Blackbeard - or Talk Like Anne Bonney!
Pirate video!

Cap'n Slappy, Ol' Chumbucket
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Posted by farmbo in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Sun Sep 07th 2008, 10:37 PM
Ariel hunting-- the odious practice of shooting wildlife with high-powered rifles from 500 feet in the heated comfort of an aircraft-- is one of the more controversial "conservation" measures promoted by Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

Just watch:

Now, any one who calls this cowardly practice "hunting" or "sport" renders an insult to the ethics of real hunters and sportsmen everywhere. First, where I hunt, we would never consider taking an animal in a manner where, if the animal is wounded, it could not be tracked and, if necessary, quickly dispatched to alleviate the animal's pain. It's simply part of the Hunter's Ethic.

Ariel hunting makes this well-neigh impossible. Since aircraft can seldom land in the Alaskan wilderness, most wounded animals die in unspeakable pain.

Second, let's call a spade a spade here. These people hunt bear and wolves from the air because, in a fair ground hunt, the bears could theoretically fight back. They hunt from the air because they're bed-wetting cowards.

It's no surprise then that a politician who would advocate ariel hunting would start off her campaign with a barn-burning speech smearing her political opponents, then announce to the world that she is no longer speaking to the media or the American People outside of the environment of scripted, tele-prompted GOP political events.

Ain't life grand...Squeeze off a few rounds at the majestic animals down below then peal on back to the airport for a steak and a beer, all the while patting yourself on the back for your intrepid hunting skills.

In the alternate universe of Republican campaign spin, this is what passes for courage.

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Posted by farmbo in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Sat Aug 30th 2008, 01:50 PM
In Alaska, apparently many real estate records are posted on the website of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources (don't ask)... and a name search finds lots of activity including a notice of lien and some sort of shoreline setback exception deal which she seems to have got from the city while she was mayor of Wasilla.

Enjoy it quickly:

I doubt if they'll be up much longer.
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Posted by farmbo in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Fri Aug 15th 2008, 06:39 AM
Newsweek runs a provocative article this week on the fledgling effort by Georgia democrats in 2002 to curtail and regulate predatory lending practices in the state-- a move which would have spared that state the grievous losses now being experienced as a consequence of un-controlled mortgage lending. The effort was led by then democratic governor Roy Barnes, and was opposed by armies of lobbyists sent in by the usual NeoCon free-marketeers-- and by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

(snip)So when Barnes was elected governor of Georgia in 1998, he decided to push through the toughest antipredatory lending law in the country. The 2002 law made everyone up the line, including investment banks on distant Wall Street and rating agencies like Standard & Poor's, legally liable if the loans they sold, securitized or rated were deemed unfair. "There has to be accountability," Barnes told NEWSWEEK. "In the end you have to be able to say, do I really want to make this loan? Because I may have to eat it." "A victory for Georgia consumers," the Atlanta Journal-Constitution called the new law, which was also hailed by AARP and the NAACP.

It was when Roy Barnes started talking about accountability that the Feds began marching into Georgia. Barnes found himself besieged by lobbyists from major banks and national regulators—as well as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored mortgage issuers whose mandate is to help people obtain affordable homes at fair prices; today, Fannie and Freddie are so financially fragile that the government has agreed to bail them out if necessary.

The major mortgage issuers hinted that they would turn Georgia into a financial pariah if the state made them liable. They let Barnes know in no uncertain terms that he was something of a "country bumpkin" when it came to banking, says his legislative aide, Chris Carpenter. As Barnes recalls, "They would say—and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were part of it—'This is a complex global market. If you start interfering with the free flow of money, then Georgia will become an island that has no credit'. I kept telling them, 'You're in for a crash here'."

Ultimately, the Georgia Legislature, under Barnes's successor, gutted his law in early 2003 after a dramatic eleventh-hour vote in which a Republican senator warned that Freddie Mac was about to cut off most of its business with the state. "It broke my heart," Barnes says. (Fannie and Freddie declined to comment specifically on any efforts against Georgia's liability law, but in general they say they have "always supported efforts to fight predatory lending," says Fannie spokesman Brian Faith.)(snip)

What they couldn't turn back at the legislature, they could-- and did-- turn back at the ballot box; and in rather dramatic fashion:

Barnes, Cleland and Their Stunning "Losses"

Robert Kennedy Jr. tells the compelling story of the 2002 Georgia election where two popular incumbents, with solid leads four days before the election, lost in stunning reversals.

How could two popular incumbents, in the same state, with leads like these, both experience rarely seen reversals?

Under pressure due to uncounted votes in the 2000 election, the Georgia Secretary of State virtually turned over the election to the state's touch screen e-voting vendor, Diebold. Chris Hood was a Diebold technical consultant who bravely reported that he and others applied a software "patch" to Diebold voting machines just before the election.

This patch was so important that the president of Diebold, Bob Urosevich delivered it in person to Diebold technical personnel in Georgia. State law required that any changes to e-voting machines be cleared by the state. This was not done. When questions were raised after these highly improbable election results, Urosevich claimed the patch simply changed the clock on the voting machines, a claim deemed not serious by whistle blower Hood. The state failed to mount a thorough investigation and the Democrats were largely silent.(snip)

The bill to taxpayers for the bailout of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae is fast approaching $5 Billion, according to Newsweek.

Many election fraud experts insist that the Georgia 2002 election was the shake-down cruise for wide-scale election fraud using source code "patches" in high democratic districts. Computer experts throughout the country have opined with confidence that source code patches can be used for a variety purposes-- including the "flipping" of the votes being cast, in largely non-detectable ways.

Experts have long suggested that those with knowledge and access to the proprietary source codes would have the means and opportunity to steal an election.

The Newsweek analysis of Roy Barnes' Anti-Predatory Lending bill-- and its opponents' need to have it overturned at all costs-- seems to suggest a motive.

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Posted by farmbo in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Fri Aug 01st 2008, 11:19 PM
Ohio has kicked off our Barack's Barns project:

These two girls are heading up the Buckeye Bovines for, Obaaama, Obaaama!

This is how we'll win this thing folks!

(Cross posted at Daily Kos)
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Posted by farmbo in Editorials & Other Articles
Sun Aug 26th 2007, 09:33 AM

The Presidents's crass comparison between Iraq and war in south east Asia was the most ludicrous misreading of history

Christopher Hitchens
Sunday August 26, 2007
The Observer

How do I dislike President George Bush? Let me count the ways. Most of them have to do with his contented assumption that 'faith' is, in and of itself, a virtue. This self-satisfied mentality helps explain almost everything, from the smug expression on his face to the way in which, as governor of Texas, he signed all those death warrants without losing a second's composure.<snip>

In this real-world argument, there is a very strong temptation for opponents of the war to invoke the lessons of Vietnam. I must have written thousands of words attempting to show that there is absolutely no analogy between the two conflicts.

Then, addressing the convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars last week, the President came thundering down the pike to announce that a defeat in Iraq would be - guess what? - another Vietnam. As my hand smacks my brow, and as I ask myself not for the first time if Mr Bush suffers from some sort of political death wish, I quickly restate the reasons why he is wrong to join with his most venomous and ignorant critics in making this case.<snip>

Ouch! And from one of Bush's Best Butt Buddies who cheerled us into Iraq.
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Posted by farmbo in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Fri May 11th 2007, 11:02 PM
The UPI is reporting that the 26,000 member Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions is set to strike if the Iraqi Parliament buckles under to US pressure and passes the so-called hydrocarbon law pending before Parliament. /

BAGHDAD, May. 8 (UPI) -- Most of Iraq's oil production and all of its exports are likely to stop Thursday as its oil union threatens to strike in protest of the draft oil law.
"The central government must be in total ownership and complete control of production and the export of oil," said Imad Abdul-Hussain, federation deputy chair of the Iraq Federation of Oil Unions, in a statement released Tuesday. The union represents more than 26,000 workers.

The law governing investment and development of Iraq's 115 billion barrels of proven oil reserves and 110 trillion cubic feet of natural gas is still stalled in negotiations between the central government and the Kurdistan Regional Government.

While only a small portion has even passed through the Council of Ministers, let alone through the full Parliament, one of the possible types of contracts to be signed with foreign investors is production-sharing agreements. This is the type of deal the unions have come out against, fearing too much foreign ownership in a sector that has been nationalized for more than 30 years.<snip>

Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs), as envisioned in the proposed hydrocarbon legislation would throw open virtually all of Iraq's oil reserves to development by multinational oil companies--in sharp contrast to the state-owned oil programs common throughout the Middle East and elsewhere. Under the PSAs, the foreign owned companies would be guaranteed full cost recovery and a substantial profit from exploitation of Iraqi oil fields. The Iraqi government would only be entitled to residual profits, if any, after the oil companies' profits have been realized.

Many have speculated that Vice President Cheney's recent trip to the Green Zone was a last ditch attempt to jump start passage of the PSA legislation, which has long been a prime goal of his secretive 2001 Energy Task Force.

The resurgence of the Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions, and their vocal opposition to the hydrocarbons law, must come as a severe shock to Bush Administration officials who had considered the passage of the PSA legislation to be "in the bag" until the Iraqi Parliament abruptly left Baghdad this week for a two month summer recess.

OP's note: One can't help but compare these brave voices in the Iraqi IFOU with rebellious workers in the shipyards of Gdansk Poland thirty years ago who, under the leadership of Lech Walesa, began the process of unraveling the Soviet Union.


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Posted by farmbo in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Thu Mar 22nd 2007, 01:01 PM
Remember that spate of stories in January on John & Elizabeth Edwards' new $6 million home in the North Carolina hills? Edwards, it seems, was guilty of the most heinous form of hypocrisy since, while John spoke on the campaign trail of "two Americas" separated by a growing economic wall, he and his wife had just moved into a $6 million "mansion".You remember the drill:

Hell, many of us in the left wing blogosphere even jumped onto the bandwagon to a degree, disparaging the Edwards camp for showing such a tin ear to the political implications of his family's move. We bitched about their timing and swore-- some of us at least-- that we'd no longer support him. The Right wing echo chamber, of course, spun into a week-long, full-throated gloat-fest.

Now we know why he did it. He did it for Elizabeth.

Its HER HOME as well, damn it. And if she is determined to spend the last years of her all-too-brief life in a beautiful, new, rambling home in the North Carolina hills surrounded by family, then God bless her for it.

Shall we hold our breaths and wait for the MSM to revise their highly slanted coverage of the "mansion" story?

God speed Elizabeth Edwards.

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Posted by farmbo in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Tue Mar 06th 2007, 03:01 PM
We do not know-- and may never know-- what the CIA damage assessment says about the damage caused by the roll up on Valerie Plame's Brewster Jennings CIA front company in the aftermath of her outing by the Bush administration.

But we do know that the Brewster Jennings operation had deceived some very disagreeable individuals and foreign governments: Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and possibly North Korea. For Brewster Jennings employees and paid informants in those countries, the Novak article was nothing less than a death sentence.

The Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security, the Pakistani Intelligence Service, and international arms merchants in general, have always-- always-- struck back against outed spy networks with summary executions, or, more likely, with slow, torturous interrogations followed by more arrests and executions.

As Americans, we were lucky today. A jury listened to the evidence and send a strong message to the Bush Administration that our covert operations are no longer to be toyed with on a political whim.

But for the former employees and informants of Brewster Jennings... their luck has run out.
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Posted by farmbo in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Sat Feb 10th 2007, 11:57 AM
If your son or daughter returned from Iraq with their life shattered by permanent debilitating injuries, or, God Forbid, if they did not return from Iraq at all, you must be reading with growing angst of the actions of one Douglas Feith: the Neocon Likudite who --knowingly and intentionally it appears-- seeded patently false information into intelligence reports which induced Congress to support Bush's splendid little war in Iraq.

Qui tam is a provision under the False Claims Act (31 U.S.C. § 3729 et seq.), which allows for a private individual, or whistleblower with knowledge of past or present fraud on the United States federal government to bring suit on behalf of the government. Its name is an abbreviation of the Latin phrase “qui tam pro domino rege quam pro se ipso in hoc parte sequitur,” meaning “he who for the king as well as for himself." This provision allows a private person, known as a “relator,” to bring a lawsuit on behalf of the United States, where the private person has information that the named defendant has knowingly submitted or caused the submission of false or fraudulent claims to the United States. The relator need not have been personally harmed by the defendant’s conduct.

Unlike Wolfowitz, Libby and even Cheney, who generally provided the blustery rhetorical framing for the war, Feith appears to have deliberately sown false information into the Congressional reports, according to the Pentagon's Inspector General:

Granted, bankrupting Douglas Feith will not begin to compensate you or your family for your losses, but it may, in the fullness of time, convince future public officials to avoid lying to Congress and sending our troops into harm's way to advance their petty, arrogant, and wrongheaded political fantasies.
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Posted by farmbo in General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007)
Sun Dec 31st 2006, 03:42 PM

Saddam's swinging corpse invites a comparison with another infamous, newly- deceased, sociopathic strongman: Chile's General Augusto Pinochet. Both owed their acension to power to the CIA and Friends in the Highest Places in the US. Each owed their tenuous control over their people to the liberal use of murder, torture and mayhem. Both were stridently anti-communist and turned to the US frequently for military assistance; requests which Washington fell all over itself to fufill, albiet covertly.

Sure they were Sonofabitches...but they were OUR Sonofabitches, after all!

But history, as they say, is written by the winners. And the putative winners have applied their own curious brand of moral relativism to the Dastardly Duo.

As the Rightwing pundit community trades hi-fives over Saddam's execution, its interesting to observe how they've sent out the story of Chile's General Pinochet for a full re-write. Jonah Goldberg even waxes nostalgic for the erstwhile strongman in his misty-eyed LA Times puff piece, "Iraq Needs a Pinochet" /...

But as Barry Lando recently observed at /... when it comes to Rightwing punditry...irony can be pretty...ironic:

<snip>Pinochet and Saddam also had friends in common. During some of their most repressive periods, both tyrants were strongly backed by the U.S. government. Pinochet was seen as a staunch ally by the U.S. in the 1970’s ,during what the Nixon White House regarded as a life or death struggle against International Communism.

After first failing to block the election of Marxist Salvador Allende in Chile, under Nixon and Henry Kissinger’s direction, the CIA then spent millions to destabilize the new Chilean government. When the Chilean army under Pinochet finally overthrew and murdered Allende, they launched a wave of brutal repression. As thousands of bodies piled up in Santiago’s Central Morgue, Secretary of State Kissinger battled all attempts by the U.S. Congress to enact sanctions against Pinochet’s regime.

When Kissinger finally met with Pinochet on June 7, 1976, the Secretary of State had just received a report saying that mass arrests, torture, and disappearances continued in Chile. "Numerous political prisoners have been killed arbitrarily or have died from torture received or from lack of medical treatment," the report said. An OAS report detailed those tortures: women beaten, gang raped, and forced to endure electric current applied to their bodies; men subjected to electric current, especially to their genitals, burned with cigarettes, hanged by the wrists or ankles.<snip>

Rape rooms and torture chambers and mass graves...Oh my!

So...lemme see...

Both men were tyrants, guilty of irredeemable sins against humanity.

One is overthrown-- at a terrible cost in terms of our blood and treasure--and hanged in a dank prison cell after a farcical show trial.

The other dies in bed at a ripe old age and is granted a funeral with full military honors in his home country...with a litany of eulogies from the rightwing chattering classes.

So in the end, what distinguished these two tyrants in the admittedly skewed minds of America's rightwing power brokers?

The General, it seems, was 'good for business'. His ruthlessness opened Chile up to American corporatism.

Saddam, not so much.

Pinochet and Saddam... may they both burn in hell...and may they drag their rightwing, morally relativist crowd of enablers down with them!
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