The River

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Kucinich Starts New Impeachment Drive
By David M. Herszenhorn, The New York Times

Representative Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio may get excluded from Democratic presidential debates, as he has been recently, but no one can deny him the floor in the House.
And today Mr. Kucinich took to the floor to fire off his latest salvo at the Bush administration: his plans to introduce Articles of Impeachment against President Bush on Jan. 28 — the day of Mr. Bush’s State of the Union speech.
Accusing the administration of lying about the need for the war in Iraq, Mr. Kucinich said he did not need to hear the president’s
assessment. “We know the State of the Union,” he declared. “It’s a lie.”


Friday, January 18, 2008

Winger Wars, and the bloated MIC that markets them, have a price tag

Now, Bush, our Debt Junkie-in-Chief, needs another fix. The US Treasury, Citibank, Merrill-Lynch and other financial desperados need another hand-out from Abdullah’s stash. Abdullah, in turn, gets this financial juice by pumping it out of our pockets at nearly $100 a barrel for his crude.

Bush needs the Saudis to charge us big bucks for oil. The Saudis can’t lend the US Treasury and Citibank hundreds of billions of US dollars unless they first get these US dollars from the US. The high price of oil is, in effect, a tax levied by Bush but collected by the oil industry and the Gulf kingdoms to fund our multi-trillion dollar governmental and private debt-load.

-- Greg Palast

More on the Military Industrial Complex, Zionist-Israeli, neoliberal, New World Order, right-wing, left-wing, corporate-sponsored, Republican-Democrat debacle:

It's funny in a way. The Bush administration has been warned repeatedly about the disastrous effects of their supply side theories. Of course, they brushed off their critics and carried on with the plundering until they hit a roadblock. Now they're running around in circles trying to find some way to stop the bleeding. Good luck.

Remember the $2 trillion wars (Iraq and Afghanistan) that could be paid for with “unfunded” tax cuts to the rich?

Remember the cuts to capital gains and corporate taxes that were supposed to “trickle down” to working class Americans creating more jobs and making us all more prosperous?

Remember the low interest rates that were supposed to create Bush's “ownership society” that, in fact, generated the greatest speculative frenzy in real estate in American history?

Remember Dick Cheney's brusque assurance that, “deficits don't matter”?

Remember the myriad corporate giveaways, the lavish “no bid” contracts, and deregulated subprime shenanigans that were supposed to “grow the economy” and strengthen our markets?

The system is failing because it was designed to fail. The impending economic crisis is no accident, but the predictable outcome of deeply flawed policies that are thrusting the country towards a 1930s-type catastrophe.

-- Mike Whitney

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Big News

Kucinich asks for New Hampshire recount in the interest of election integrity

DETROIT, MI – Democratic Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, the most outspoken advocate in the Presidential field and in Congress for election integrity, paper-ballot elections, and campaign finance reform, has sent a letter to the New Hampshire Secretary of State asking for a recount of Tuesday’s election because of “unexplained disparities between hand-counted ballots and machine-counted ballots.”

“I am not making this request in the expectation that a recount will significantly affect the number of votes that were cast on my behalf,” Kucinich stressed in a letter to Secretary of State William M. Gardner. But, “Serious and credible reports, allegations, and rumors have surfaced in the past few days…It is imperative that these questions be addressed in the interest of public confidence in the integrity of the election process and the election machinery – not just in New Hampshire, but in every other state that conducts a primary election.”

Also, the reports, allegations, and rumors regarding possible vote-count irregularities have been further fueled by the stunning disparities between various “independent” pre-election polls and the actual election results," Kucinich wrote. "The integrity, credibility, and value of independent polling are separate issues, but they appear to be relevant in the context of New Hampshire’s votes."

He added, “Ever since the 2000 election – and even before – the American people have been losing faith in the belief that their votes were actually counted. This recount isn’t about who won 39% of 36% or even 1%. It’s about establishing whether 100% of the voters had 100% of their votes counted exactly the way they cast them.”

Kucinich, who drew about 1.4% of the New Hampshire Democratic primary vote, wrote, “This is not about my candidacy or any other individual candidacy. It is about the integrity of the election process.” No other Democratic candidate, he noted, has stepped forward to question or pursue the claims being made.

“New Hampshire is in the unique position to address – and, if so determined, rectify – these issues before they escalate into a massive, nationwide suspicion of the process by which Americans elect their President. Based on the controversies surrounding the Presidential elections in 2004 and 2000, New Hampshire is in a prime position to investigate possible irregularities and to issue findings for the benefit of the entire nation,” Kucinich wrote in his letter.

“Without an official recount, the voters of New Hampshire and the rest of the nation will never know whether there are flaws in our electoral system that need to be identified and addressed at this relatively early point in the Presidential nominating process,” said Kucinich, who is campaigning in Michigan this week in advance of next Tuesday’s Presidential primary in that state.

This is why Kucinich puts his hat in the ring for President. He knows the media will never give him a fair shot, but he is a smart politician, and his career has been about playing the game with integrity, despite the odds. What better stage to show what that looks like than the Presidential contest?

Kucinich for President.

[thanks to Marc Lord for the heads up]

The Must-Have War

by Michael Rivero


The years before WW2 were in many ways very similar to those prior to WW1. Again, there was labor unrest, a new depression even worse than the previous one, and the Communist movement in Europe and Russia was apreading to the United States, fueled by the anger of the working classes; threatening to end the lives of wealth and privilege of the nation's elite families.

Then Pearl Harbor happened. And in this case, there is little doubt that President Roosevelt MADE it happen, for the purpose of getting the United States into the war against Hitler.

As had happened in WW1, the American people rallied behind the war effort. What was unacceptable levels of hardship during peace was suddenly acceptable. Complaints only aided Hitler, Mussolini, and Hirohito, or so the conventional wisdom said. and again, by the time WW2 was over, the memories of the Depression were decades old, and fading.

So, here we are today. We are not yet in a Depression just yet, and we don't need to be. The American people see what is coming and they do not think that the loss of their high paying jobs, and worse, their homes, is acceptable under the circumstances. Once again we have been seeing a massive transfer of wealth from the working classes to the ultra-rich.

History is repeating itself, and because history does repeat, no doubt Bush and his advisers are thinking that if they can start a major war, they will be off the hook. Once more the American people will silently endure their hardships for the war effort, silence their complaints, and accept with dignity yet another enforced decline in their standard of living.

For this, to save themselves, Bush and his advisers are willing to risk turning a regional war with Israel's enemies into a wider war, possibly a global war with Russia, possibly with China, possibly with the rest of the entire world as the globe realizes that the United States has become this century's embodiment of the Nazi empire.

It is for this reason that President Bush scarcely missed a step when the National Intelligence Estimate proved Iran innocent of Bush 'a accusations, before trying to stage a new "Gulf of Tonkin" provocation in the Straight of Hormuz. Bush doesn't want this war. Bush NEEDS this war. The entire US Government needs it. Indeed, having already depleted the nation's resources to fund the current invasions, the US Government probably will not be able to survive without a new world war.

Which is why they will do anything, and I stress ANYTHING, to start one.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

If it walks like a duck...

The numbers speak for themselves on the New Hampshire primary:

Head to head comparison - corrected numbers
Clinton: statewide optical scan tally
95,843 52.73%

Obama: statewide optical scan tally
85,910 47.27%

Clinton: statewide hand-count tally
16,767 46.75%

Obama: hand count
19,097 53.25%

1/5 - 1/7 Real Clear Politics seven poll average (head-to-head pairing)
Clinton 43.9%
Obama 56.1%.

The closeness of the match of the two candidates hand-count with the Real
Clear Politics seven-poll average (1/5 - 1/7/08) - and the divergence of
the optical scan tally - remains under investigation.

-- via Mark Crispin Miller's News From Underground

Greg Brown / Hey, Baby, Hey

The Empty Spectacle Rolls On

The Nevada Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that MSNBC is not required to include candidate Dennis Kucinich in its scheduled Democratic presidential debate.

The seven-member court overturned Monday’s ruling by a Nevada district court judge.

The decision, which came one hour before the debate was scheduled to begin in Las Vegas, meant that Mr. Kucinich would not share the stage with the party’s three leading contenders, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards. The debate is expected to begin at 9 p.m. Eastern on MSNBC.

MSNBC had no immediate comment on the ruling. It will likely be described as a First Amendment victory by the news organization, as lawyers for NBC had argued that it had a right, as a privately owned network, to determine whom to invite to the debate. The network changed the criteria for participation in the debate after other candidates dropped out of the Democratic race for president last week.

NBC Wins Battle Over Debate
By Brian Stelter, The New York Times

Another sham election brought to you by corporate America.

"It will likely be described as a First Amendment victory." Of course it will, in this completely controlled, Orwellian country where everyone is too chickenshit to stand by the principles of democracy.

The equal-time rule specifies that U.S. radio and television broadcast stations must provide an equivalent opportunity to any opposing political candidates who might request it. This means, for example that if a station gives one free minute to a candidate on the prime time, it must do the same to another.


The rule was created because FCC thought the stations could easily manipulate the outcome of the elections.

-- Wikipedia

Dennis has opposed the Iraq war from the start. Dennis voted against the Patriot Act. Millions of Americans wondering what's wrong with this country would be interested in what he has to say, IF he were given the chance. But he can't be allowed to get up on the media stage and answer questions like "you voted against the Patriot Act. Why?"


"I read it."

As he did in an earlier debate.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The prophetic Mr. Dylan

The New Hampshire primary juxtaposed with "It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)." A must-read by Chris Floyd at Empire Burlesque.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Clusterf*ck to the Whitehouse

As for Hillary; she won nothing. The results are completely bogus. Her weepy performance before the balloting was orchestrated to create a credible narrative to explain the fraudulent shifting of votes away from Obama.


Clinton's tearful antics were right out of Karl Rove's “Dirty Tricks Playbook”. Chapter one: Invent a believable storyline, run it through the Propaganda Ministry (the media) and stick with it no matter how ridiculous it sounds.

-- Mike Whitney, Information Clearinghouse

“81% of New Hampshire ballots are counted in secret by a private corporation named Diebold Election Systems," according to activist Nancy Tobi, quoted in this article.

Obama is still hoping for change on the campaign trail, but his moment is over. This has been offically marked by his endorsement from John "fall guy" Kerry. The fix is in.


View larger

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

HR 1955 passes House, expected to pass Senate

The assault on the US Constitution by the Democratic Party is as determined as the assault by the Republicans. On October 23, 2007, the House passed a bill sponsored by California Democratic congresswoman Jane Harman, chairwoman of a Homeland Security subcommittee, that overturns the constitutionally guaranteed rights to free expression, association, and assembly.

The bill [HR 1955] passed the House on a vote of 404-6. In the Senate the bill is sponsored by Maine Republican Susan Collins and apparently faces no meaningful opposition.

-- Paul Craig Roberts, Information Clearinghouse

Hypocrisy? You're soaking in it

PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR: Do you distinguish between the three leading candidates coming out of Iowa and going into New Hampshire, in terms of the polling? You know, Obama and Edwards and Clinton. Do you distinguish between them in any way?

MIKE GRAVEL: No. I think that they're the product of the celebrity nature of American communication. And that's the sadness of it all. You know. They have the same level of celebrity attention as Britney Spears has.

JAY: When you get down to the policy level, there are some differences between them. Are they significant differences?

GRAVEL: No, not at all. They're not significant. All three of them want the health care paid for through business enterprise, which cripples business enterprise. What's the difference? And as far as education, they're all three endorsed by the NEA [National Education Association]. You're not going to see any changes in our educational system. What else? Education, health care. Two vital ones. The rest is just rinky-dinking around.

JAY: Edwards has certainly been talking more aggressively about taking on corporate America.

GRAVEL: Oh, yeah. Tell me how you're going to do that. No. I mean, how do you do that? I don't know how to do that. I know, if I can empower the American people, that they can sustain some policies, that I would do that.

JAY: Certainly there are laws Congress could pass. I mean, a president working with Congress—.

GRAVEL: Oh, Congress could do a good job, theoretically, but it can't. Why? Its owned lock, stock, and barrel by corporate America. So you think you're going to become president and you're going to turn to the Congress and say, “Let's really straighten out corporate America.” This is foolishness. It's fantasy. But it sounds good on the stump. I could make that kind of speech. Oh, man. Just listen to me. What am I going to do to corporate America? You can't believe. And I know a lot about corporate personhood and POCLAD and all of that. But so what?

JAY: But in a campaign like this, if someone has the potential of winning and makes some kind of promises, in theory they can mean something.

GRAVEL: In theory what it means is you're a hypocrite. That's what it means in theory, because if you're smart enough to know you can't deliver, and you tell them you can deliver, what are you doing? You're raising expectations and you're lying to the people. Or you're too dumb to know you're lying to the people.

-- Mike Gravel interview, The Real News

But the lying is so slick. And don't you love the way it's such a concerted effort across the media landscape, all the way from CNN to NPR?

Today's lie du jour is called "change." The oldest political ploy in the book. Change! After seven years of the Chimperor, people want change. Yathink?

Maybe it's so interesting because for a change (heh), a black man is talking about it with such eloquence. Get out there and put lipstick on this pig of an election, young man. And Barak does it, which doesn't exactly earn my respect.

But, of course, there's a new story now, even as "change" is flogged a bit longer. The new story is a simple and heartwarming tale staring Hillary Clinton. Since Obama's Iowa victory, the media got behind poor Hil and her , "I, too, am a human being!" moment in New Hampshire. "Change" took a backseat to this new spectacle.

Did emotion help Hillary win in New Hampshire? Just found this headline on Google News. Top story at 11 a.m. on January 9. Just shooting fish in a barrel here. I've got the echo chamber figured out. And Hillary is so bad, you can easily see it straining to prop her up when she gets in trouble.

Gravel, Kucinich, Paul and The Real News can see it too. It's easy when you are on the outside looking in.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Star Wars as a silent movie

Monday, January 07, 2008

Star Wars memories

There are a million reasons I love "Star Wars," and to relate them all would take forever, so I'll just relate my first viewing of this movie on the date it opened to the world, May 25, 1977, and what the effect was in the theater on the audience seeing it for the first time (Hicksville, NY). I was very skeptical about the movie, I expected a silly sci-fi romp without anything to care or be excited about. The opening, with the space cruiser entering the frame from above, was stunning, and the music, sound effects, and visuals were all thrilling. As the movie continued, it was obvious there was a palpable feeling around me that we were seeing the movie of the year, and that it would be an enormous box office success. These were characters that were funny, lovable, heroic, and passionate, and the story was a mixture of all the archetypes and myths of legends and motion picture history and literature. The music was stirring, brilliant, exciting, mysterious, and instantly recognizable as a homage to the past masters of symphonic film music. The acting wasn't uniformly great, but seeing Alec Guinness, Peter Cushing, and hearing James Earl Jones' voice, and enjoying Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill for the first time, and how well they were cast together, it all came together beautifully. By the time the movie had reached it's climax, and the attack on the Death Star was in full swing, well, I was in a state of pure movie euphoria, the type I haven't experienced since then. When the credits popped on the screen, the audience applauded wildly, and I left the theater feeling like I could jump the Moon on the way home. It was the best movie-going experience of my life.

-- JRs movies, Netflix post

I love this comment, not least because it's so true to my experience. But I suspect the writer's feeling that he or she was watching the "movie the of year" and a "box office success" is more industry-influenced hindsight than original experience. I hope so. Such thoughts couldn't have been further from my mind. However, "I left the theater feeling like I could jump the Moon on the way home" says it all.

It pains me that so many of my kids' friends (ages 6-8) have seen the original Star Wars. This is a "coming of age" movie, a first step into a larger world, as Obi Wan Kenobi says. These young kids can't possibly understand the movie except on the most superficial level. Empire? Man/machine conflicts? Struggle with evil? Whatever.

And, unlike my wife, they probably won't look back and say, "I can't believe I had a crush on Luke, with Harrison Ford right there!" And when they are old enough to appreciate it, it will just be another action movie, its magic stripped away through familiarity.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Matt Taibbi on Holy Huckabee

As president, Huck would support a constitutional amendment banning abortion and would give science a back seat to religion. "Science changes with every generation and with new discoveries, and God doesn't," he says. "So I'll stick with God if the two are in conflict." Huckabee's well-documented ­disdain for science was reflected in the performance of the Arkansas school system when he was governor; one independent survey gave the state an F for its science standards in schools, a grade that among other things reflected Huckabee's hostility toward the teaching of evolution.

Huckabee at most times is gentle and self-deprecating in his public address, but when he talks about religion, he gets weirdly combative and obnoxious, often drifting into outright offensiveness. At one appearance, Huckabee — who's been known to make fart jokes in front of the state legislature — said he would oppose gay marriage "until Moses comes down with two stone tablets from Brokeback Mountain saying he's changed the rules." And he recently scored a rare offend trifecta, simultaneously pissing off immigrants, Jews and the pro-choice crowd when he ludicrously claimed that a "holocaust" of abortions had ­artificially created a demand for Mexican labor.

-- Matt Taibi, Rolling Stone, Nov. 14, 2007

Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Andrew Cash Music Store

Andrew is half of the excellent pop rock group The Cash Brothers.

You can download four free songs from this fine singer/songwriter, and throw some monetary support his way too by buying a few tracks, if you feel so moved.

You can also add 12 songs from several Cash Brothers CDs for a nice sampler CD.

That's what I plan to do when I get home. Then I can drive around listening to "Nebraska," a great Cash Brothers song about driving around listening to "Nebraska."