MSNBC host Keith Olbermann has said "The Obama administration is just flat out dead wrong about this." You can watch Olbermann and Constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley discuss Obama's use of the "state secrets" privilege to protect the Bush administration on illegal wiretapping in this YouTube video:
A ten-year plan to convert to new technologies? Let’s declare energy independence — now!
In the last elections, oil corporations pumped $17.5 million into congressional campaigns – 83 percent of it going to Bush's Republicans. In 2004, George himself got $2.6 million from Big Oil – eight-and-a-half times more than went to the Democrat.
George W. endlessly repeats — as if his Teleprompter is stuck — that his sweeping, globallistic, unrestricted, chop-a-matic, smoke-’em-out, suspend-the-Constitution, freedom-busting, antiterrorism campaign is about nothing but freedom itself. “We’ve got to be free,” he says, simply. Then he says it again. Only louder. Then once more.
Yet it is Bush, Cheney & Co. — backed by a swarm of smiling oil lobbyists and a chorus of compliant Congress critters — who are dead set against actually setting us free. Think about it. The United States has been, is now, and will be into the foreseeable future shackled to foreign oil — specifically to the crude-pumping rigs of the oiligarchies of OPEC, including the pampered, despotic royal family that rules Saudi Arabia with an iron fist, gladly keeping their oil spigots open for ExxonMobil, ChevronTexaco, and the rest.
Are you as tired as I am of being yanked up and down by oil barons abroad and here at home? If we really want freedom, we need to cut that string and sever our nation’s pathetic dependence on OPEC’s — or anyone’s — oil.
Kris Kristofferson’s song 'Me and Bobbie McGee' has a refrain that goes, Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose. Well, what if we lost the need to put the blood of our troops and billions of our taxpayer dollars into oil politics? What if we lost the need to enrage the impoverished people of the world by constantly putting our military behind the despots that repress them? What if we lost the need to have our household consumers, farmers, truck drivers, and overall economy jacked around periodically by price spikes caused by the whims of oil manipulators? What if we lost the need to surrender our sovereignty to the handful of oil profiteers who not only control the flow of energy to our families, but also control the flow of energy policy through Washington?
What that would spell is freedom, for we’d no longer have anything to lose from the monarchs, oiligarchs, globalizers and greedheads.
The beauty is, we can do this! And now is the perfect time to declare, at long last, America’s energy independence from any foreign or corporate power.
This country is in its second war in a decade to protect Persian Gulf oiligarchies. Will we put our kids into a third because we lack the gumption to put them instead into fossil-fuel-busting cars?
America might be mired in a Gulf War, but it’s golf that seems to be on the minds of the Bushites. Here's the three-part story.
First comes George W himself. A reporter, noting that Bush hasn’t been golfing recently, asked if this important presidential development was related to Iraq. “Yes,” he solemnly declared. Furrowing his brow and working up his most sincere tone, he explained: “I don’t want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the commander-in-chief playing golf... I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal.”
Well, that’s not much presidential solidarity with military families who’re having to make the ultimate sacrifice, and it’s certainly not on par with, say, having a president’s own family members enlist in Daddy’s war – but, hey, it’s a gesture.
Second, here comes Bush’s secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, shouting, “Fore!” On July 4th, Condi teed it up for 18 holes at the Congressional Country Club, and she gaily told the Golf Channel that, “I’ve been playing and playing a lot.” But wait, Condi, what about sending the wrong signal? Oh, posh, she breezily responded, “Cabinet secretaries and the president can all do exactly what they wish.” No sacrifice for her.
Third, look out, it’s George W again! Mr. Sincere just recently joined his parents and brother Jeb at the family compound in Kennebunkport for – guess what? – a golf outing. Apparently, though, this one passes Bush’s ethical test because it’s not just for play – it’s business. Indeed, for $5,000 a pop, Republican high rollers can enjoy a round of golf on Bush’s home course, with the money going to support John McCain’s presidential run.
So, children, what have we learned here? The lesson is that golfing by the commander in chief is disrespectful to our troops – unless its done for purposes of political fundraising.
George W is good at preaching democracy around the world – its the practice of democracy here in the homeland that gives him trouble.
At a White House ceremony with China's president, Hu Jintao, Bush piously said he was hoping to get the Chinese to grasp "the importance of respecting human rights." This from a president who asserts that he has unilateral executive authority to spy on, imprison, and even torture anyone he wants. Mr. Democracy then added that the thuggish Chinese regime should be "allowing the Chinese people the freedom to assemble, to speak freely...."
But only seconds after George unleashed his cry for Chinese democracy, one of the people assembled on the south lawn for this ceremony dared to try speaking freely. Wen Yi Wang, a naturalized U.S. Citizen, disrupted George's tightly-scripted media show by shouting out that both presidents were allowing intolerable repression in China.
She was simply a heckler, which you'd think two experienced politicians could handle without police repression. But, no – Bush's secret service agents rushed Wang, arrested her, and dragged her away. Her crime? "She was yelling at the president," said an outraged federal prosecutor, who charged Wang with "harassing" a foreign official. "You can't walk into a theater and yell 'Fire!'" said the overwrought prosecutor.
First, it wasn't a theater, it was an outdoor public space. Second, she didn't yell "Fire" – she yelled out a political protest, in the finest American tradition of free speech.
Yet, rather than embrace Wang's outcry as a good example of legitimate, harmless, political expression in a healthy democracy – Bush actually apologized to President Hu and vividly demonstrated to him that anyone who speaks freely here will be hauled off to face federal charges and a six-month prison term. Didn't George's mom ever tell him that actions speak louder than words?
Sources: "Bush Apologizes to Hu for Protester," www.cnn.com, April 21, 2006. "Protester Charged With Harassing Chinese Leader," www.cnn.com, April 21, 2006. "Falun Gong Activist Defiant After Arrest," The Washington Post, April 22, 2006.
Holy founding fathers! What is it about the First Amendment that confuses today’s political elite and their police agents?
Amendment Number One is a pretty straightforward declaration of the people’s fundamental political rights: freedom to speak out publicly, to assemble, to confront officials with our grievances. It does not say that these freedoms can be eliminated anytime they might pose an inconvenience or embarrassment to those in charge. Yet it’s become commonplace for the secret service and police to exclude even the mildest protest from presidential campaign events.
This year, only three days after July 4th – when America loudly celebrated its freedom from autocracy – a 60-year-old librarian named Carol Kreck attended a John McCain “town hall meeting” in Denver. Held at a city-owned hall, the event was billed as open to the public. But it was not open to Ms. Kreck. She stood quietly in the public plaza outside the hall holding a handmade sign that simply said: "McCain = Bush.”
Her silent (and polite) exercise of First Amendment rights, however, so offended Republican officials that McCain’s secret service detail had her arrested for “trespassing” and escorted off the public premises. Democracy was morphed into autocracy.
Democrats are doing it too. Just before July 4th, it was learned that those arranging the party’s summer convention in Denver would restrict citizen demonstrations to a fenced-off enclosure. These “freedom cages,” as they’ve been dubbed, will be out of sight and out of earshot of the Democratic delegates and dignitaries – so as not to muss up their reverie with any, you know, democracy.
When the parties and police can limit our “freedoms” to protest that can’t be seen or heard we no longer have those freedoms – and it’s time for a little rebellion, just as Thomas Jefferson said would be necessary every now and then.
Our Bushified National Forest Service has ever-so-quietly issued a permit allowing a British mining company to explore for uranium adjacent to Grand Canyon National Park. Vane Minerals Corporation will be allowed to drill seven exploratory shafts in the Kaibab National Forest, which abuts the canyon.
This whole dirty deal was a sneak attack on local residents, environmental groups, tribal officials, and park supporters – all of whom oppose the effort to dot the public lands with uranium mines. In addition to the sheer inappropriateness of this commercialization, locals recall the cancers suffered by those who worked in previous uranium mines on area reservations. They also have concerns about uranium trucks high-balling through the area, and about contamination of the region’s scarce water supplies.
The Forest Service, however, ignored these realities and gave the corporation a green light without conducting an environmental review and, worse yet, without even holding a public hearing. The agency arbitrarily ruled that Vane could be “categorically excluded” from the normal review process because its exploratory drilling would take less than a year. Never mind that mining companies can do some serious damage in a year.
Meanwhile, Congress has been dilly-dallying with an overdue reform of the 1872 mining law that let’s corporations run roughshod over our public land, putting their profiteering interests above the public interest. To learn more about this reform, and to see a report on the impacts of uranium mining in this unique region, connect with the Environmental Working Group at www.ewg.org.
George W has now submitted his budget to Congress, and it can be summed up by this lopsided score: Domestic needs, zero. The Pentagon, $515 billion.
Bush's budget slashes health care programs, from Medicare to the medical needs of 9-11 rescue workers. He also makes drastic cuts in such other crucial efforts as the centers for disease control, low-income energy assistance, and family literacy. But he piles half-a-trillion bucks in the Pentagon’s vaults – and that does not include the money he's throwing down the hell-hole of Iraq. Under Bush accounting rules, war costs are off budget, charged to the credit card of our children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren… and beyond.
Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize-winning economist, has calculated the total cost of just the first four years of George’s Iraq misadventure. Counting such deferred costs as interest on the war debt and long-term care for the wounded, the tab is $720 million per day.
The American Friends Service Committee has analyzed what else besides this misbegotten war America could buy with only one-day’s worth of the money we’re spending there. For $720 million we could:
• Provide health coverage for 424,000 children. • Build 84 brand new schools. • Buy school lunches for 1.2 million needy kids. • Provide 6,482 units of affordable housing. • Pay for renewable-energy electricity in 1.3 million homes. • Pay the annual salaries of 12,500 new classroom teachers. • Put 35,000 students through a 4-year state college.
Any of these could be had for just one day of war funding. This great country has the money to do what needs to be done – if only our “leaders” stop frittering it away on their ideological crusades.
Yesterday, the Senate passed a bill that would grant immunity to telecom companies that helped the government illegally spy on American citizens.1 And while this is a definite setback, there's still hope. The debate now moves to the House where there are currently much stronger versions of the bill. Tell your Representative not to vote for any bill that provides immunity for telecom companies that broke the law.
It's impossible to justify undermining the very essence of our constitution in order to protect it. As the White House continues to use fear to drum up support, more people in Washington need to get the courage to stand up. Senator Dodd has already promised that he will filibuster any final version of the bill that includes telecom immunity. The House can make sure it doesn't come to that.
On Monday, February 4, 2008 at 8:30AM, actor Andrew Koenig will attend his scheduled arraignment in Department N on the first floor of the Pasadena Courthouse located at 300 East Walnut Street, Pasadena, CA 91101. He will be represented in Court by Pasadena’s former Mayor Bill Paparian.
On January 1, 2008 during the Pasadena Rose Parade, Andrew Koenig walked into the Parade, stood directly in front of the Beijing float, and held up a sign declaring: “China - Free Burma” - in both English and Chinese. In a matter of seconds, he was arrested and removed from the parade.
"The elected president of Burma and Nobel Peace Laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi, - who has never been allowed to assume authority and remains under house arrest by the military government - was once asked what people outside of Burma could do to help their cause," said humanitarian Andrew Koenig, who has visited refugees in Burma. "Her response was 'Use your freedom to promote ours'. So that's what I did."
The people of Burma have been imprisoned, tortured, raped,blown up and killed by their own government. Despite this, China, a trading partner of weapons with Burma's (Myanmar’s) military regime, sits in on the United Nations Security Council and refuses to take a stand with the rest of the world against these atrocities and condemn Burma. China continues to prepare for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing that is set to open on August 8, 2008, which falls exactly 20 years after the infamous day Burmese military forces massacred more than 1,000 civilians who were demonstrating for democratic rule.
Following his court appointment, Andrew Koenig, the actor best known for his role on Growing Pains will be holding a press conference to answer questions from the media.
For further information, please contact Bill Paparian at 626/795-1750.
I attended the one day only, but I was impressed by two things in particular (okay, three things):
It brought people from all walks together informally because of something tremendously important, i.e., EV's. I think most people came away with a positive experience in mind. People were friendly, no war, just peace, love and groovy.
We were up in the hills, away from the 'valley villains', and with clean air and wide-open spaces, it was a great location where everyone could unwind and have some fun.
The EVent gave opportunity for EV enthusiasts and 'newbies' alike, to participate in an EVent where they could learn about electric vehicles, see them perform, and talk to one another about everything in between. Very positive. (Laughter and happiness provided much welcomed relief from the sometimes overwhelming bad news we are all so used to hearing about lately). Good News Travels Far
I'm certainly looking forward to day 2 in May (31st),2008, when attendance figures should improve, (500 people turning up over two days, hey, nothing too shabby there).
Finally, I'm all in favor of getting the message out so people begin to understand that even one of their 'several' cars could be a candidate for EV conversion, and this is an environmental issue more need to learn about. An EVent like Electric Dragin, so let us not underestimate the impact value of what it represented.
Co-op is such a great idea I think for getting enthusiasts involved with each others projects, and in so doing, demonstrating how things can be done. The point is, whatever a persons background, regardless of race, creed, religious beliefs, you wouldn't be reminded of that if you were all involved together making EV's, ...and EVen electric boxes have their place. Look at the smiles it brought!
Unfortunately, the co-op idea is almost 'foreign' in concept to a lot of people I think, due to how society has become so divided up, individualized, disjointed and unfamiliar with a co-op's simple but purposeful design and beauty. Much too much emphasis always seems to go into making everyone think it's 'normal' to do everything on their own, solo, and this is the unfortunate results of just what the industrial revolution has done to separate members of society from one another, and break up the cohesiveness that is necessary to make America great.
Before the industrial age, an agrarian way of life was more about families, friends and neighbors working together to plant, tend and harvest food for crops. They tended to socialize more back then than now, and wasn't life quite a bit slower than it's become in recent years as the rat-race became a term people would joke about, but look at 'em now going endlessly back and forth on the streets and freeways at reckless, wasteful, dangerous speeds, and so, where is everyone going in such a hurry??!!
The Electric Dragin EVent slowed everyone down long enough to just get together and relax a little and unwind. I can't tell you how valuably theraputic that is, just for people to get out of the cities long enough to breathe fresh air again.
Electric Dragin was I think the almost perfect venue for all sorts of environmentally based causes, but in the case of promoting what should be everyone's cause, that is to get the message across to others that we don't have to wait for the latest and greatest (and most expensive) new electric car to come along, when what can be done now to RE-CYCLE what we already have is crucial to Survival, so why not cooperate to facilitate?
I have always thought your idea, Q, to mobilize and organize the co-operative is a good one.
I'll end where I began ...A co-op would bring people together rebuilding EVs, and that's a good thing (just like the work shops, comradarie, pooling our interests, supporting one another, etc., etc. The fact that EVeryone wins when a new electric car is reborn, is of tremendous worth, because it steers us all away from becoming idle do nothing nobodies that just sit around waiting for someone to tell us what to do.
Dare to be different, I say.
We're certainly not fighting dirty perpetual wars when we're all busy agitating for peace and teaching others, (to teach others), how to revolt against the madness.
The politics of such a movement cross all boundaries and divisions, and create an alternative I firmly support and believe in.
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