Thursday, November 30, 2006

Just Another Day Of Iraq Situation Discouragements

Well, Thursday was certainly another day of discouraging news for any that held out hope of great breakthroughs to improve the dire situation in Iraq. Bush's conference in Jordan only turned out to be another, "You're doing a great job, Brownie" type event, similiar to his support for the much malaligned FEMA head, Michael Browne". Bush seemed to heap praise on a badly failed Iraqi leader, Nouri al-Maliki whose government is quickly failing and may not even survive for another 30 days, let alone take over Iraqi security by June as he absurdly claimed. In short this back-patting nonsense conference resolved little important issues or further shored-up Iraqi security and only resulted in the waste of jet fuel for Bush to fly to Jordan. Many gallons of jet fuel were wasted, and we can never get them back.

And the much touted soon-to-released, Baker Commission Report, while possiby leading the U.S. ever so gently from the quagmire of Iraq in words, is still likely to fall on deaf ears from the lack of deeds of President Bush who still seeks to "stay the course", and to blame the smallest group of insurgent activity, the tiny Al Qaeda presense, for the problems in Iraq.

For all the public hope for the Baker Commission to lead the U.S. out of Iraq, as though the commission is comprised of all-knowing and all-wise Moselike figures, few members are knowledgable in MidEast history or even the MidEast in general. Further few even have any military experience. Some like former Reagan Administration Attorney General Edwin Meese resigned in disgrace due to weak ethics. Meese's only real other contribution was to morally attack adult entertainment in another lengthy commission report, which was about to be expected from this mouthpiece for the Christian right wing. What Meese has to add to this commission comprised of former political has-beens is questionable. But it does illustrate that this unelected Iraq study group probably will carry far less weight with the White House than the hopes of the American public hold for it as a path out from Iraq.

In general, it's been just another frustrating day for the Iraq War, and little reason to hold out hope that a corner will soon turn.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Right Wing Bloggers' Credibility Takes A Huge Hit

Not only has the political right taken a real hit by losing control of Congress last month and only representing about 32% of American voters, but now the right is further damaging themselves by hurting any credibility or integrity standing. In the last few days some right wing journalists such as MICHELLE MALKIN and FLOPPING ACES have really left themselves out to dry by going out a crazy limb and first attempting to claim that six Sunni worshippers were not burned alive by an angry Shiite mob in response to the car bomb attacks that killed or wounded over 400 in the massive Shiite Sadr City Shiite slum area. AP quickly responded to this attack on their credibility by citing credible examples of witnesses such as a physician, grocery store owner and bookstore owners who witnessed the murders. And AP presented photographic proof that the Mustata Mosque had both the front door and a wall badly damaged by apparent bomb blast damage, and extensive interior damage to the Mosque was present as well. Instead of eating "crow", the right wing bloggers are back at with even thinner nonsense today.

Today, the right wing blogger over at FLOPPING ACES is down to questioning whether an informant to AP, an Iraqi police Captain Jamil Gholaiem Hussein even exists. And this website even uses Google Earth mapping to attempt to "prove" that this Iraqi police captain could not cover events only 5 miles away, somehow unable to believe that technology such as automobiles, telephones or computers exist in Iraq. In the last couple days, a letter from a U.S. Navy Lt. Michael Bean was paraded by right wing bloggers that questioned whether "Captain Hussein" even exists. For some reason the right wing bloggers over at FLOPPING ACES and MICHELLE MALKIN can't seem to understand that AP is likely using the name of "Captain Hussein" as an alais to protect the life and identity of an important informant to AP from being murdered by militia group death squads. This may be too deep of a concept for right wing bloggers to digest, but I'm sure most persons will clearly understand that security for important important news informants is critical in dangerous areas like Iraq. But the political right seem convinced in the their own sappy and far fetched conspiracy theory world view that because "Captain Jamil Gholaiem Hussein" could be be an alais to protect an important news informant from danger, then that means that AP makes up the news from Iraq. How the right can subscribe to such a silly premise defies common sense. But AP spokesperson, Linda Wagner already released a response to right wing bloggers citing that AP uses many sources when reporting a story.

In the last few days the right wing bloggers have gone from denying that six Sunni worshippers were burned alive to attempting to find some reason to attack the credibility of a single AP informant among many. This is simply pathetic.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Rev. Jesse Jackson Offers Up Some Continued Absurdity

I voted for Rev. Jesse Jackson in the 1988 Oregon Primary election for President. I felt that he was the best man for the office on the ballot. But I cannot support all of his words.

Today on CNN, Jackson continued attacks on comic Michael Richards after Richards appeared this weekend on Jackson's radio program. Jackson seems completely unwilling to accept that Richards has a few problems with anger and was simply not funny in his insults of customers during a controversial standup comedy performance. But Jackson didn't bother to admit that only days earlier some jokes and comments about Jews also bombed by Richards in another show. There is no reason to assume that Richards is rally a racist, just a very poor insult comic. Last night , comic Don Rickles had some hilarious racial jokes about Japanese and Hispanics and others, and today no one is after Rickles to apologize over, and over, and over again. Richards simply wasn't funny, but Jackson, Al Sharpton and a few others don't seem to get it and want to bring this up over and over on a daily basis that's absurd. Jackson once admitted that as a food service worker he would spit in the food of White people. I found it in myself to forgive these acts of racism by Jackson, andvoted for him as President. As a minister of the Gospel, Jackson should realize that to be forgiven by God for any faults requires forgiving others. Richards big sin was that he was not funny and lost his temper on stage. He's a frustrated has-been playing small comedy clubs and patrons heckle him. What could make a guy more angry than that?

Today on CNN, Jackson supported a boycott of SEINFELD. However it is Jerry Seinfeld who will get the lion's share of the DVD royalty money, much to the anger of the rest of the cast who will share very little of the royalty money. And Jackson complained that there are no late night comics that are African American, but it was very popular comic host, Arsenio Hall that decided to retire. It was also excellent comic Dave Chappelle that walked away from a $50 million dollar offer from COMEDY CENTRAL, that is twice what Jay Leno earns. It is not racism that has removed two of America's most popular comics from the airwaves. Both walked away from their popular programs for personal reasons. It was only Magic Johnson who failed in the ratings, with only one show with Howard Stern as guest that drew good ratings. Jackson needs to get his facts right. I can forgive that his facts are wrong. Jackson needs to extend forgiveness to Richards as many comics, White, Hispanic, Asian and African American tell racial jokes, but are generally funnier than the has-been Richards. Jackson needs to stop kicking a man when he's down. Richards missed good opportunities since SEINFELD including becoming the lead in MONK. He's hardly setting the world on fire playing little comedy clubs nowadays, and does not run million dollar organizations like Jackson or Sharpton. These millionaires should stop kicking a poor guy when he's down.

CNN's Michael Ware Offers Refreshing New Honesty To War Reporting

In a media world in which a certain amount of posturing often is the rule so not to offend some viewers, CNN's Australian born reporter. Michael Ware speaks from the heart and offers honest and unvarnished heartfelt opinions in his often dangerous reports from Iraq. This sets Michael Ware mile ahead of many reporters. His sheer bravery in risking his life to present important stories and his honest opinions, make this reporter one of the finest of my lifetime. He offers the warfront reporter bravery of both Ernie Pyle with the honesty that you'd expect from a great figure like Abraham Lincoln.

CNN is easily my favorite news source. Honest personalities who are great reporters set it miles ahead of wanna-be networks like FOX that varnish up the news so as to be pleasing to conservatives who seem unwilling to accept some simple reality as truth. When conservatives aren't varnishing the truth in order to make the "facts" fit, then they spend time condemning the accuracy of the media, their second favorite pastime. The truth is that conservatives have largely grown so out of touch with reality that they not see their big November election rebuke coming from the voters, and that issues like Iraq had grown way out of hand. Honest and excellent reporters like Michael Ware will keep any viewer who bothers to listen informed about the raw truth of Iraq, with no candy-coating or varnish of the facts like you'd expect from FOX. This clearly sets aside CNN as a superior news source.

Britney Spears Chooses A Bad Time To Act Wild For Photographers

Of all the important issues in the world, including the very serious situation in the MidEast, Britney Spears should hardly rate as even a bump on the screen. But for someone involved in a growing nasty divorce with her ex, Kevin Federline, her recent behavior seems hardly wise for anyone hoping to influence a divorce judge that she is a fit mother for the couple's children. If anything, Spears is only giving Federline's attorney team a treasure trove of information that is likely to haunt Spears in divorce court. All of the money in the world cannot erase a few days of extremely bad conduct, sometimes with new gal-pal, Paris Hilton.

Recent awful behavior of Spears includes "partying" until as early as 6AM with Hilton, comprising photos of leaving clubs including lewd and apparently deliberate "flashes " of her private parts to waiting photographers who are now posting these images on the Internet. For anyone hoping to impress a divorce judge as a fit parent to gain child custody, these awful and crude acts hardly offer any more than ammunition to Kevin Federline, whom himself is often a punchline to many late night comics' jokes. Often the mere mention of the name of Kevin Federline is enough to evoke laughter.

Beyond becoming a terrible role model to all the young girls who idolize her, Britney Spears seems to be involved in everything but producing some new music to sell. Her last album was several years ago, and sales have soared down from 28 million worldwide sales of her first album to only 100, 000 U.S. unit sales of a remix album of her "classics" in recent years. Unlike some in music industry such as The Rolling Stones, of which Mick Jagger has an economics background, and has treated the band as a serious business since the 1960's, Spears feels that doing everything but recording new music and doing lucrative concert tours is the right path to success. At some point the serious media needs to decide whether Spears is even a major celebrity any longer, or just a pathetic has-been who cannot even sell CDs in decent numbers to former fans or even find new some new ones. Even Maddona at least produces some new great albums and concert tours in between any personal news. With Spears it's just mainly bad personal news with no new music or concert tours. Images of public clubbing, lewd flashes to photographers, not once, but four times in the last few days, hardly seem like a good path to a revival or comeback for the former undisputed Queen of pop of this century. Everything looks more like a trainwreck than a clear path of clear thinking to think about her actions and the consequences of them for her life and career.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Keeping Americans Living Below The Poverty Line Goes High Tech

The business of keeping many Americans living below the poverty line is big business in America. New businesses have even sprung up, solely to keep many Americans saddled with very low wages below the Federal poverty level.

Some fast food businesses in Beaverton, Oregon where the minimum wage stands at $7.35 an hour such as McDonalds are now using remote drive-through operators to save $4,888 a year in normal full time wages by using a Fargo, North Dakota computer and business "solutions" company, SGI. SGI actually sets up other businesses such as Verity, in a neighboring town of just about 800 persons in North Dakota, which employs 150 young women to operate computers and headsets part-time, for the lower wage of just $5.15 an hour. Hiring these women for part-time computer and drive through work avoids offering health insurance and other benefits as well, and keeps any single mothers below the Federal poverty level, relying on food stamps, public housing or public health programs if they cannot make ends meet.

North Dakota is already a low wage "right to work" state, and like other "right to work" states, the per capita income of persons in North Dakota suffers compared to free states where workers are freely able to unionize for better wages, job benefits and working conditions. North Dakota ranks as #32 in per capita income in the U.S.

Even though some McDonalds in Oregon raised prices about 10cents an item in order to help pay for the minimum wage increase in Oregon, using remote drive-through operators is now being used by some McDonalds to now lower wages. Using computer technology, the workers at the local McDonalds receive the order from the North Dakota operator and make up the order. Many McDonalds and other fast food operators use a work crew highly comprised of high school students, Hispanic or Russian immigrants, or slightly older workers who cannot find work, to work for low wage part-time food service jobs. For workers older than high school age, this usually means a lifestyle living below the Federal povery level, especially if children are present in the family.

There is no guarantee that many fast food businesses are satisfied solely to use lower minimum wage workers from other states such as "right to work" states to keep wages low. Remote drive-through operators who speak English from India or other areas could be used to keep wages low in the near future. Many large corporations already use cheaper Indian labor for phone operators for product customer service lines. It is unfortunate that the business of keeping many Americans living below the poverty line is big business in America.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Loophole May Allow For Wage Reductions If Minimum Wage Increases

One dirty little secret is that businesses in some American states are allowed to pay as little as $2.00 an hour wages by classifying their workers as "waiters". This loophole allows for wages as low as $2.00 based on some premise that "tips" will pay the difference in salary. But this loophole really means that many food service workers are condemned to a very low wage lifestyle with little hope of ever achieving the American dream, and instead looking to public health programs and food stamps or public assistance programs to help these persons and their families to live.

One unfortunate fact is likely that many food service businesses will undermine any Democratic efforts in Congress to increase the minimum wage unless some provisions are in place not to move many food service workers into a "waiter" classification in order to reduce wages. And among Republicans such as John McCain, some are already lining up with business to keep wages low. McCain plays himself as a "mainstream" conservative, but sides with big business, supports increasing troops to Iraq, and voted against protecting Gay American from hate crimes.

Despite a Democratic majority in Congress, it will be interesting to see whether the big money restaurant and other lobby groups will allow the wages for the working classes' wages to increase or not. Whether a clear majority in Congress will honor the public will as in a number states, voters voted to increase the minimum wage, remains to be seen. The fight to increase the minimum wage will test the politicians vs. the big business lobby organizations and big corporate contributors and the public will for a minimum wage increase. Since 1997, Congress has raised it's own salary 9 times, but not once for the working class. This issue will test the soul of the new Congress.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Iran And Syria Only Increasing MidEast Influence Over Iraq As The U.S. Stands By Helplessly

Iran stands to be the big winner in gaining influence in the MidEast, as the U.S. seems only to stand by helplessly as both Iran and Syria are approaching Iraq . With no real goals to effectively engage either Iran or Syria and force some concessions, the U.S. is only allowing these nations to pick up the pieces of the badly tattered Iraq policy. This is both dangerous for the MidEast and long range goals for any peace for Israel or any U.S. foreign policy objectives. Vice President Cheney may currently attempting to secure some Saudi Arabian help for Iraq, but Saudi Arabia is hardly aqble to offer much or to gain much compared to the what Iran may gain by solidifying the MidEast under their dominance.

The failure of the Bush administration to effectively engage in any dialogue with potential adversary states strongly contrasts with past administrations that maintained a dialogue with the Soviet Union during the Cold war years and peace agreements that limited arm and the worldwide balance of nuclear weapons. This is yet another major area of Bush administration ineptness, when foreign policy professionalism is really needed to force concessions from Iran and Syria and to at least attempt to achieve something instead of allowing Iran and Syria a free hand to benefit from our loss of money and money in Iraq .

Friday, November 24, 2006

Will The Iraqi Government Collapse Soon?

With renewed sectarian violence in Iraq at an all-time high, and threats from the faction of nearly 40 parliament members associated with the radical cleric Sadr to withdraw from the government if Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki meets with President Bush next week in Jordan, it may signal that the government in Iraq is nearing collapse very soon. This will leave the U.S. in a deep problem of how to replace this government since it decided to pursue the failed path of democratic elections for a nation not at all ready for democracy. Normally an ineffective government could simply be replaced by the U.S. with another puppet government, bendable to U.S. foreign policy goals. With the increased violence in Iraq, and the government not seeming to be shored up no matter what the U.S. does, the U.S. is no doubt considering legal options to bring a reliable ally such as Dr. Ayad Allawi into power, while holdong out only a faint hope for the success of the al-Maliki government. With no militia group to truly call his own, al-Maliki's hold on power in Iraq has always been very weak to say the least, only borrowing some support from Shiite militia groups.

Buying Locally Keeps $45 In Your Local Community

Some economic studies have concluded that when buyers buy locally, they are keeping $45 in their local community compared to buyers who buy at big national chains such as Wal-Mart in which only $14 stays in the local community. In this coming holiday season, this speaks highly for buying at smaller shops and dealers in order to keep more money in your community for jobs and schools. Even worse, large retailers seem to depend more and more on goods that imported from nations such as China that sends much of the money out of the country. In fact the purchase of any larger imported goods such as sutomobiles, electronics, etc. sends a significant amount of cash flow out of the U.S., and with a very bad trade deficit, it is deeply difficult for the U.S. to get much of this money back through trade as the U.S. exports except for agriculture lag badly behind most other importers volume.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Have A Vegan Thanksgiving

I'm happy to say that no animals will be harmed for my Thanksgiving today, where I'll be having some Tofurky or oher vegan food products. No animals will be cooked for my benefit, as I'll eat only vegetables today and show respect for God's creation. The following is a list of celebrities who are also vegans and will no doubt be celebrating with a vegan feast today that respects the life of animals:

Casey Afleck, Gillian Anderson, Fiona Apple, Elizabeth Berkley, Jessica Biel, Brandy, Linda Blair, James Cromwell, Daryl Hannah, Woody Harrelson, Samuel L. Jackson, Congressman Dennis Kucinch, Carl Lewis, Natalie Merchant, Moby, Joaquin Phoenix, Pink, Prince, Alicia Silverstone, Grace Slick, Lindsay Wagner and many, many others.

Have a happy and meatless Thanksgiving, and give the turkeys a break today. There's plenty of other healthy things to eat. Your food doesn't need to have a face and feelings to be healthy for you. Plenty of healthy vegan food alternatives exist. The very best to you and all animals today! God bless.

Weird Al Discusses Michael Richards' "Zone".

In a quick little on-street interview, Weird Al Yankovic discussed how Michael Richards used to go "into a zone" during the UHF film they worked together on a few years ago, a spout out outrageous comedy without even thinking. In reality, probably many comics such as Robin William also get "into this zone" as well. Off the top of their head, a creative process of telling jokes just flows. But in the case of Michael Richards, the jokes just were not funny and bombed terribly, and he is no doubt heartbroken at the results. The public needs to be understanding of Richards, that he has missed some major opportunities since SEINFELD, such as the lead character in MONK, and now has ruined his opportunity at stand-up comedy, which is hardly setting the world on fire. Mr. Richards is a very good comic, who has been the victim of many unfortunate bad career decisions since SEINFELD and deserves some level of pity and forgiveness. Don Rickles and others have handled insult comedy far better than Richards did a few nights ago. Rickles, Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock, Carlos Mencia and Jay Leno would use racial, ethnic and other comedy insults, but in a far funnier matter than the horriby failed effort of Richards which came across as simply insulting and mean, and much of the audience simply got up and left. It's hard to pick up the pieces after such a bad act, but that's about all that Richards can do. Some would like Richards to stop performing after this, but that's too cruel for someone whose jokes horriby failed when he went "into a zone" a few nights ago, and the "zone" simply was not funny like usual.

Actor Kevin Nealon And Others Donating Time To Feed Less Fortunate Today

One great thing about today is that some well known persons are offering their time today to help feed the less fortunate such as actor Kevin Nealon. And many others will drop in at missions and other locations before the day is over to offer help to the poor or less fortunate. It's very impressive how many wonderful persons such as Kevin Nealon take time out for charity work and offer their time to make the lives of others better. God bless them for their good works to the poor.

A Wasted "Black Friday" Opportunity?

Some stores are running huge ads in print or electronic media for fantastic deals on the Friday morning after Thanksgiving big sales event known as "Black Friday". But Kroger Corporation which acquired Fred Meyer stores a few years back is using the opportunity to promote an ad that is a TWILGHT ZONE parody about missing socks and a half price sock sale with little else promoted in the ad. A clever bit of advertising, or a grand wasted opportunity? Black Friday morning sales will only tell. My best guess is that few customers will be knocking down the doors at 5 in morning for a half price pair of socks when they could be scooping up far better specials elsewhere.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

SEINFELD Star, Michael Richards, Hits A Rough Personal Patch

Former beloved SEINFELD star, Michael Richards hit a really rough personal patch this week when his Los Angeles standup comedy performance didn't go very well and he went into a racist tirade after he was heckled by some disappointed club customers who felt that Richards simply was not funny. Last night, in a obvious state of dispair, Richards gave a rambling apology on a satellite feed on DAVID LETTERMAN that almost raised more questions than it really resolved.

Michael Richards is a serious actor who puts up his very best effort in anything that he does. He is also an avid reader as well. But since SEINFELD, success just hasn't come as easy.

One of the big breaks for Richards after SEINFELD was a new comedy program for NBC. But the pilot was a very disappointing mystery/sitcom that test audiences simply did not like at all, and after being rewritten as a more typical sitcom, the larger NBC viewing public also did not like THE MICHAEL RICHARDS SHOW either. In another sad twist, some debate exist whether Michael Richards opted out of the opportunity to play MONK, as even the character was written for him, and Tony Shaloub went on to win Emmy awards in this big cable hit comedy detective show.

Michael Richards simply has not had that had that big break since SEINFELD that has gone his way. Before SEINFELD, Richards was first known as the lovable big loaf who was childlike in ABC's s answer to SNL, FRIDAYS, who played with army men in a sandbox with an army helmut and his t-shirt, setting fire to his toys. A few years later in Weird Al's UHF, Richards was excellent as janitor Standley Spadowski, and one of his very best roles ever.

Richards is actually a sensitive man who cares very much about his work. He is no doubt frustrated that success is simply not coming very easy like during the SEINFELD years. But for most of the cast, lightning has not struck twice either. About all Richards can do is to hope for a new big break, but his latest outburst only pulls him further from that goal. Life after a major sitcom success can indeed be very frustrating. We only wish Richards the very best.

Russian Steel Giant, Evraz, To Buy Oregon Steel For $2.3 Billion Dollars

Russian steel giant, Evraz Group, has made an offer to buy Portland, Oregon based Oregon Steel for $2.3 in stock value, or about 22% higher than the current value of Oregon Steel stock to gain an important Russian entry into the U.S. market. Given the massive financial strength of Evraz group which is also a major producer of coal, ore and vanadium, which was thought to be valued at around a $5.15 billion equity after floating some 8% of London stock issues in 2005, it proves an agressive plan for this Russian steel giant to gain an important foothold in the weakened U.S. steel industry, where most of the Pennsylvania based American steel mills are either in bankruptcy or in very soft financial condition.

As the American steel industry, like other American manufacturing continues to erode, foreign companies from Japan, China and now even Russia, find these companies to be prime take-over targets. This only furthers the trend of the decline of American industry and the piece by piece take-over of the American economy by powerful foreign industries.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Not Is All Smiles Among Nations That Attended Conference In Vietnam

A recent Pew Global Attitudes Survey has well proved that not all is really smiles among many of the nations that attended the Asian summit in Vietnam this weekend. While 95% of Chinese feel that both their economic and military buildups are a positive thing, half of those in India don't feel that the economic boom in China is a positive thing, and three out of five are fearful of the military buildup. Back in 1962, India and China were involved in a border war, and bad feelings still run deep.

Even worse are the relations between China and Japan. While 8 out of ten in China feel that the Japanse apology for WWII has not been adequate, current conservative JapanesePrime Minister Shinzo Abe endorses a revisionist view of Japanese WWII history that supports Japanese student pride in their nation, ignoring the horrible war crimes such as the Rape Of Nanking that continues to create conflict between China and Japan.

India and Pakistan continue to hold unfavorable views of each other as a whole. And among Russians, China is still viewed somewhat unfavorably due to some border tensions along the Amur River during the Cold War era.

The conference in Vietnam, including what looked like an "all smiles" class picture was little more than a posed event for the cameras, masking some deep divisions in Asia.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Doors Release Their Greatest Ever Boxed Set

The surviving members of The Doors have set aside their differences long enough to work together to release their greatest ever boxed set and a new book. The feuding betwern former drummer John Densmore and Ray Manzerek and Robbie Kreiger started a few years ago when Densmore led the families of Jim Morrison and his common law wife, Pamela Courson, into a lawsuit which prevented Manzerek and Kreiger from licensing Doors songs such as BREAK ON THROUGH to Cadillac for TV advertising purposes. About all this did was to cut some people out of sharing some royalty money that they could probably benefit from. The Who and others had no problem licensing their songs to TV such as CSI, and it keeps their name out there.

Densmore's lawsuit made no real sense, and only led to a feud with Manzerek and Kreiger, whose attempt at creating a new Doors revival band was quickly ruined by Densmore's lawsuit. But now it seems like all is set aside for the release of a great new boxed set release.

PERCEPTION is a 12 disc boxed set that sells for over $100, that features 6 cds of the original six Doors studio albums with extra unreleased tracks that have all been beautifully remastered by longtime Doors engineer, Bruce Botnick. Some of these items are very interesting, although nearly all fall far below the excellent quality of the final released Doors classics. The Doors would often kick around a song for many years before it was finely crafted into an experted done rock classic. Some Doors songs existed for nearly as long as 1967 before making it onto the final 1971 LA WOMAN album for example. Many of the songs seem a little more blues oriented than many of the final Doors classic from their studio albums as well. The Doors certainly were not a blues outfit like Canned Heat, but certainly had a very tradition steeped in the blues as the bonus tracks more than indicate.

But what really makes PERCEPTION really stand out is the six DVDs that come with each studio cd, with each album remastered into Dolby 5.1 surround sound, an great video footage from concerts and other Doors historic landmarks. It is these six DVDs in the beautiful Dolby 5.1 surround sound and the video footage that is a real prize and really makes this box set far away the best Doors box set ever released. This is must have for Doors fans and the definitive collection of their fantastic and haunting classics which only seem to grow better and better with age. Jim Morrison was only a backing vocalist in the early version of The Doors before the release of their 1967 album, but is now seen as one of the greatest rock performers ever. PERCEPTION is a powerful statement to prove the greatness of The Doors.

Become A Progressive Values Feature Writer

I like to avoid personal items here and be able to stick to vital commentary on issues, culture and entertainment features, but I've been having some serious health issues for about six weeks now. Without any established team of co-writers, it makes it very hard to post features when I'm simply too ill and tied down with medical appointments. I'm certainly very open to anyone who shares the progressive ideology of this website, and certainly does not to have to agree with me on every item to also post features here.

This is your opportunity to offer more posts on this website without all the work of having to build your own website, and help to grow the viewership.

Email me at if you're interested in joining Progressive Values. Even some guest with opinions far different than my own will be welcome as well. Writers with interests in politics, religion, culture, books, movies, TV, etc. are needed. This can become a great community with more writers. Give it a try.

U.S. May Seek Some Way To Get Dr. Ayad Allawi Back Into Power In Iraq

There appears to be a widespread view held in Washington that there is little way that Iraqi Prime Minister's Nouri al-Maliki's government can ever succeed in Iraq. This government is increasingly seen as ineffective at home in Iraq, and is seen by Washington as too deeply involved with corruption and dominated by Shia militia groups. More and more the name of Ayad Allawi is coming up as a viable and capable alternative. The only problem is how to corcumvent the failed experiment at Iraqi democracy and get Dr. Allawi into power. A short time aho I discusssed the possibility of a coup in Iraq. From behind the scenes, no doubt Washington is rethinking some scenarios by which Dr. Allawi can be brought into power, with or without the benefit of an election.

America's key to an exit of troops from Iraq is a stable government. A stable government can mean some relative peace to this sectarian strife torn state created by Winston Churchill shortly after WWI from three Muslim ethnic groups with nothing in common after oil was discovered in Iraq. With up to 220 billion barrels of undiscovered oil in Iraq, Iraq remains the most oil rich state in the world if peace and stability can be achieved there. The British effort after WWI and the latest American/British efforts are little more than old fashioned examples of colonialism, based on a search for oil assets in a backward part of the world. It would still serve every major purpose for someone who is seen as generally reliable and trustworthy such as former Baathist, Dr. Ayad Allawi to take up the leadership role in Iraq.

Allawi would have been the very best choice for Iraqi citizens to make in their first election, but with no tradition in democracy ever, and a widespread lack of literacy and education, it was the religious groups and militias that quickly were able to gain wide winning political strength over the far more capable and secular oriented Allawi. There is likely that a consensus is starting to build that in Washington as well as London that Allawi is the best way out for the military mess in Iraq, and the best shot at relative stability, reconstruction and the eventual oil industry of the U.S. and Britain to gain some control over Iraqi oil development. The oil industry would love to get back on this track by someone like Allawi providing stability to Ira, which means that democracy in Iraq may soon be pushed aside for at least some time to achieve this goal. This would mean that Iraq was simply not ready yet for democracy, with the failed election one prime reason why the Iraq situation has failed so badly.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Iraqi Prime Minister Hopes To Arrange The Deck Chairs On The Titantic

Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri Al-Maliki, now claims that adjusting some cabinet positions is somehow the key to improved security in Iraq. This is hardly the answer to the declining security situation in Iraq.

Just last week, Maliki made statements that accused both Jews and Israel for the sectarian violence problems in Iraq, although not a single shred of evidence supports this outrageous and absurd view. The Iraqi parliament is dominated by many Shiite militia groups such as the one associated with radical antiAmerican cleric al-Sadr, and Nouri Al-Maliki draws his political power from these radical militia groups. Al-Maliki steadfastly refuses to clamp down on these milita groups or their death squad supporters. As much as 70% of the Iraqi police mat be aligned with Shiite militias that routinely abduct and kill Sunni citizans who hold only weak power in the Iraqi parliament.

Al Qaeda is simply too weak to ever control Iraq, as only about 500 Iraqi and 500 foreign fighters belong to this terrorist organization, but the total of Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish militia members run into the hundreds of thousands, and far all intents have established a terrorist government, mainly of Shiite militia groups. American soliers have even been put under restrictions by the current Iraqi government, and told which militia groups they are even allowed to fight or attempt to disarm.

There is really no way for American soldiers to secure such a situation because of the problems the current government in Iraq causes and how this government actively promotes sectarian violence. Al-Maliki may think that blaming Jews for the violence or some minor cabinet post changes are what is needed in Iraq. But a whole new government, free of militia groups and massive corruption and inclusive of Sunni, Kurdish as well as Shiite members to promote a geniune peace and a real commitment to Iraqi security is really what's needed, not just some meaningless deck chair change on the Titantic.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

60 MINUTES Will Celebrate The Life Of The Great Ed Bradley Tonight

Tonight, 60 MINUTES will be mostly a tribute to their great friend, Ed Bradley. Bradley was a very great man and will be greatly missed from the series. Despite losing his hair to chemotherapy from his cancer, Bradley continued to offer some great late interviews including one with Howard Stern that was a lot of fun. But it was his many years of work that really defined the greatness of Bradley.

Starting out as a teacher, who also spun jazz records as a disc jockey, Bradley evolved into a reporter covering the Vietnam War and was wounded in a mortar attack. Later while reporting on the Vietnamese boat people, Bradley helped to rescue these people rather than merely report the story, and won a journalism award and quickly became a beloved journalist to many Americans. Bradley added a great deal to the reporting on 60 MINUTES, known for being a cool guy when interviewing musicians or singers like Mick Jagger, or being tough with business weasels who cheat the poor.

Bradley was a real class act, a very great man, and of great character and ability. 60 MINUTES just will not be he same without him. I strongly recommend that you set your VCRs or DVD recorders to record tonight's tribute to Bradley. You'll want to save this program .

CASINO ROYALE Drawing Excellent Reviews In The U.K.

The new James Bond franchise film, CASINO ROYALE, is drawing excellent reviews from reviewers. mainly from the U.K. so far despite many reports of production related problems during the filming. Daniel Craig at first drew great concern among many loyal fans of the franchise after some reports that seemed to indicate that he was ill-suited to the role of James Bond. Instead, reviewers are now praising Craig as bringing an intensity to role, and being perhaps the most serious actor ever chosen for the role. Most reviewers now claim that Craig is either the best James Bond since Sean Connery or even better suited to the role than even Sean Connery. That's a very high regard.

In the past few years, despite good box office sales, Pierce Brosnan just hasn't seemed able to carry the role as well as one would have hoped. Brosnan certainly looked like James Bond, but something in his acting seemed to just miss with audiences. Brosnan certainly had the ability to carry the role with a little self-parody and humor, much like Rodger Moore had succeeded in doing, but even that seemed to miss with audiences. Instead, Bronan appeared to be barely adequate for the role, and the series began to grow tired. The last film seemed to be especially lacking in many areas, and was almost enough to end the flagging franchise. But actor Daniel Craig has taken an excellent script based loosely on the Ian Fleming novel, CASINO ROYALE, and produced a stripped down, prequel style of a James Bond film that critics are saying really works.

Craig has once again redefined the James Bond character with the no nonsense toughness of Sean Connery, but with more edge yet. With a basic storyline that avoids many of the gadgets of the later films, this prequel now stands as one of the best of the Bond franchise films and a real jolt to reinvent the franchise for the coming years. There will be great temptation to grow the franchise back into the overblown classics of absurdly outrageous villans, huge sets, silly gadgets and a parade of Bond girls. But with this new basic re-invention of the series working so well, any tinkering with this new formula must be carefully done. The film seems a little like the basicness of the early FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE, but achieved with far better skill and yielding great results. Overall a very good addition to the series, breathing new life into the franchise with a film that really works on many levels, including the excellent acting of Daniel Craig, a surprisingly good choice as the new James Bond.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Tower Records & The Decline Of The Record Store

Tower Records is much like other record stores, caught in a declining demand market for brick and mortar record stores that sell CDs where in 1992 roughly 5,000 record stores existed in the U.S., but now less than 1,700 remain in business today. Too much competition from online music sources such as downloads or low cost retailers such as have really taken the wind out of the sales of the traditional record store.

Tower Records will now close all retail stores in the U.S., but is keeping it's online website open. Part of the problem is that by keeping a massive catalog of slow selling back copy CDs, in high rent locations. It has always been a financial recipe for financial disaster, as most large retailers look for a good return per square foot of retail space as the rent is usually determined by square foot. Large big inventory record stores never do well in a declining market for records, where the large and slow selling back catalog becomes a prime reason for financial strangulation and tight cash flow problems. Smaller stores that deal with a specialty market or carry an inventory closer to the top sellers can sometimes better insulate itself against market contractions. For larger stores, the big inventory is impressive to browers, but makes little good financial sense.

It is deeply sad that Tower Records is disappearing from the scene. I bought some of my Doors albums from the Sunset Strip Tower Records, and many of my T.Rex import albums from another Portland location. A large inventory of imports and back copies of older records was always a Tower Records plus. For years, their collection of 45's was very impressive as well. It is deeply sad as a record fan to see such a great 1960's business like Tower Records fade into the Sunset. However, the website remains one of the most fun websites to spend time checking out and listening to the short music samples. Some retailers of records in Portland, Oregon are now edging into buying used merchandise to sell along side their new merchandise to offer better prices. Retailers are having to find new ways to compete in a market where CDs are selling for about $16, with only two or three great songs, and buyers looking elsewhere like the internet to purchase single songs for ipods, etc.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Democrats Gained Some Vital Leverage In Ohio For 2008

Of all the states in the union, Ohio has become the kingmaker in all modern presidential elections. No modern president has been elected without winning Ohio. Democrats like Carter and Clinton won Ohio and the White House, as have all modern Republicans who have won the presidency. As Ohio goes, then so goes the nation. It is the best political barometer of all.

After 16 years of Republican governors, Democrat Ted Strickland was elected governor. Some analysts believe that a governor can move about three points of voters to their party during a presidential election. Democrat Sherrod Brown also defeated two term Republican Senator Mike Dewine. Democrats gained in the congressional delegation as well. And Democrats gained in statewide offices such as attorney general, secretary of state and treasurer, and while gaining seats in both the statew House and Senate, did fall short of taking over these chambers of government.

Ohio is unlike other big industrial states which are pretty much "blue" states. It is a swing state. But if Democrats can rule effectively in Congress and achieve goals that benefit the average citizen, then their chances in 2008 look pretty good in Ohio based on the 2006 election returns. In the grand scheme of things, Ohio is indeed the kingmaker of all the 49 states. So goes Ohio, so goes the nation.

Al Qaeda Offers Another Video That Speaks Volumes About Their Weakness

Al Qaeda in Iraq offered up another video today that speaks far more about the weakness of the organization that it's strengths. There was an absurd claim that of 12,000 members, when all of the best intelligence estimates believe that no more than 500 Iraqi members and 500 foreign fighters are aligned with Al Qaeda in Iraq. That puts the Al Qaeda claim pretty far from accepted reality. It is the Shiite and Suuni militia groups that have members that can run into the tens of thousands per organization that are the real cause of most Iraqi violence, mainly of a sectarian nature in Iraq. Al Qaeda in Iraq now seems down to accepting responsibility for violence it has no part in. That's pretty pathetic.

And as another sign of weakness, senior Al Qaeda members are leaving Afghanistan for their native lands. While NATO has their hands tied up with a serious struggle, likely Al Qaeda is losing enough senior members with some real skills so they are better needed in other areas to recruit, rather than face eventual death at the hands of NATO forces. This also doesn't speak well for this organization.

But at the same time American and European intelligence should be concerned that this organization could attempt to pull off something dramatic to prove that they are still relevant as far as terrorist organizations go. There is little doubt that as many as 800 million of the world's 1.3 billion Muslims are antiU.S. or antiwestern to some degree, but there is great doubt that Al Qaeda represents very many of these Muslims.

Al Qaeda seems stuck in supporting low budget attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan, sometimes using the same old weapons caputured from the Soviets in the war with them in Afghanistan in the 1980's, using old fighters from this war. Sending out a VHS to the media is a really low budget way to prove that they are still around, when Shiite and Sunni miltia organization violence is getting all the attention in Iraq, and Al Qaeda in Iraq is increasingly only a very minor player in Iraqi violence. When Al Qaeda hits the skids, VHS videos always seem to follow. It's down to that for this organization, which certainly proves that some progress has been made against this ruthless organization of cold blooded killers and disregard for life.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Well, That Certainly Turned Out Much Better Than Expected

It was indeed surprising just how strong of a reaction by American voters to reform their government towards the better despite all of the constraints of gerrymandering of districts and corporate dominance of the political system. Given all of these constraints, voters largely displayed some real discernment, understanding of issues and wisdom. Yesterday, I was locked in watching the tight struggle for Senate control. With both the Senate and the House control, working people may get a far better shake from the new Congress.

The resignation of Donald Rumsfeld was another important bonus today. Clearly the Iraq policy is not working. As a "peace mission" to stabilize the country, the policy is a complete failure. If a new policy results that demands that the Iraqi government clean up the corruption, disarm the militia groups and seperate the militia groups from the Iraqi government and police, then yesterday's election was indeed worthwhile.

And Congress is dominated by big lobby efforts, where 66 lobbyists exist for every member of Congress. If all of the "culture of corruption" that goes hand in hand with this is curtailed in some way with "lobby reform" of some type, then this election also proved worthwhile for this.

Here's to a hope that some real constructive steps to rid the country of the cycle of lobbyist and politician corruption will result from this election. Generally women office holders have proven themselves more honest than men, and there is fond hope that Nancy Pelosi will bring in a new era of more honest government in Washington. Pelosi has come from a good Italian Roman Catholic background of values, ethics and hard work. This background is a good basis to expect a better government from her.

There is at least some reason to be optimistic after this election compared to some other recent ones which only seemed to rubber stamp what's wrong with system and embrace it.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Nicaragua's Voters Show No Better Sense Than Many Americans

Voters in Nicaragua have decided to do the most stupid thing possible and give disgraced former leader Daniel Ortega a second chance. Daniel Ortega last misruled Nicaragua 16 years ago when even the Communist Party joined a coalition to support a reasonable candidate to oust this terrible leader from power. Unlike Communists who often support pragmatic and cooperative economic relations with the world community, such as Vietnam and China, Daniel Ortega a former convicted bank robber and urban guerilla, represents very irresponsible leftism. He managed to drive Nicaragua's economy into the ground once before during the 1980's and set Nicaragua on a dangerous and confrontational path with the Reagan Administration. Why voters would choose to return this irresponsible leftist to power is way beyond normal explanation.

Ortega corruptly ruled Nicaragua as the strongman of extremist Sandinista National Liberation Front. In 1998, his step daughter, Zoilamerica Naveraez accused Ortega of sexual abusing her. Besides the dangerous and revolutionary frictions Ortega had with the Reagan Administration which led to covert CIA supported warfare against Ortega, PNAC member Jeb Bush has run ads in Nicaragua accusing Ortega of supporting terrorism. Ortega's return to power could lead the Bush Administration to seeking a new front to stage a new war.

Voters sometimes just display no good sense at all. Voters in Nicaragua have apparently returned revolutionary Ortega to power despite his history of violence and confrontation, that may soon renew with the current Bush Administration. But many voters in the U.S. are no wiser, many want to return Bush's party to power as well. Stupidity crosses all boundaries it seems with the U.S. sometimes no wiser than the most illiterate and backward of nations.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Meet The New Boss, Same As The Old Boss

It will still be very surprising to me if Democrats really are able to make any great sea change to the political landscape on November 7. Wealthy and powerful business interests simply will not give up much political power that easily. The Bush White House and the Republican control of Congress are little more than an oligarchy form of big business interests who rule over Americans as this form of government. They don't really believe in free elections in which their power is at stake.

Republicans still have plenty of advantages to blunt any strong Democratic gains on Tuesday. New polls suggest a late surge by Republicans where now the Senate control looks far out of the question for the Democrats, and even the House could be threatened as well. Republicans have far better "get out the vote" efforts, spent more corporate money on ads than Democrats, and a full 91% of their ads were character assasination attempts on Democrats or other negative attacks.

Big corporations such as General Electric which own NBC created the phony John Kerry incident last week by deliberately taking the White House line that Kerry attacked the intelligence of U.S. troops instead of George Bush which Kerry obviously intended. Big corporate owned news doesn't want to pay increased taxes or lose tax breaks, so has a huge financial stake in driving down any Democratic hopes.

And many Republicans are misguided folks, self -convinced while waving their "made-in-China", American flags that Democrats are antiAmerican or traitors of some sort, blind to all their own lies or absurd greedy self-serving probig business hypocrisy. Many Republicans still don't seem to realize that Bush's speeches are little more than dirt ignorant lies and falsehoods about Iraq, the War On Terror or taxes.

Progressives shouldn't really expect too much on November 7, and they won't be disappointed. Millions have been spent by big corporations to continue to get their way in Congress and favortism from the Bush White House. These people just don't give up power very easily. Americans are not very class concious, and this is no real electoral revolt of the masses to greatly change the government, but a tightly controlled environment in which big corporations are able to spent enough money to get their desired results. They have no doubt been able to get a pretty favorable final outcome based on the volume of false and misleading character attack ads that they purchased this year. The system is so rigged and biased towards big corporate dominance, and only an illusion of a real democracy. Tuesday's results will very likely mirror my concerns.

On Wednesday, political pundits will likely blame John Kerry, Democratic turnout or some other Democratic factor for their weaker than anticipated showing on Tuesday. But the truth is that they never really had a real chance on a truly fair playing field.

Class Justice In Arnold Schwarzenegger's California

It is an unfortunate fact that some Hollywood liberals such as Steven Spielberg have been taken in by a few "moderate" or "reasonable" postitions of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, but have failed to see many hard right postions that are very regressive if not openly racist.

In California it has become a popular sport to blame illegal aliens for all of the state's budget woes and to use these poor persons merely seeking a better life as economic refugees from their own lands for political gain by the far right. But a large part of California's budget problems can be blamed on a hige and bloated criminal justice system with the nation's most unfair and racist "three strikes" laws.

Gov. Schwarzenegger opposed efforts to make California's "three strikes" laws only apply to violent criminals, unlike the other 24 states in the U.S. that have such laws. So in California you have a "three strikes" law that is used to round up poor, homeless, mentally ill and drug problem plagued Black citizens to a far higher level that any state in the U.S. Only around 313 of the 7,000 Californians serving 25 years to life under Calirornia's "three strikes" laws are serving time for murder as a "third strike". Many are serving anywhere up to life for relatively minor crimes that have outrageous "intent " abuses applied to them.

Burglary for example is defined by a very broad "intent" standard under California law. One Black woman who was convicted under the "three strikes" law actually only opened up a 99 cent bottle of soda in a supermarket and took a few sips before before charged with "burglary" as her "third strike". Because she had no money , this served as "intent" to commit to a crime under California 's absurdly far fetched open ended definition of "burglary". There was no breaking and entering standard as there is under most accepted versions of burglary under other state's standards. In fact the first person convicted under California's "three strikes" laws was a Black with a history of homelessness, mental illness and drugs who merely snatched a piece of pizza from a child at a mall. This was claimed to be "robbery" by the prosecution. 65% of all persons convicted under the "three strikes" law are Blacks. Some states would merely prosecute such small time thefts with a $100 fine as minor offenses with no jail time.

It costs up to $85,000 to $100,000 a year to house elderly in California's prisons due to increased medical costs as prisoners age. Creating a huge drag on California's budget. "Three strikes" laws also call into question "double jeopardy " laws, where a person already convicted and having served a sentence is again tried and forced to serve time for the same crimes when a third crime is brought before a court. The third crime is not prosecuted under the normal standards for that particular crime, and instead the person is retried and reconvicted and resentenced for two previous crimes already brought before a court. There is no question that that "three strikes" laws violate "double jeopardy" standards for a retrial for the same crimes as once before that time has already been served for.

This what Gov. Schwarzenegger allows in California; the warehousing of many Blacks for relatively minor third offenses that is a huge drag on the state's budget, and unfairly racist. Some liberals like Steven Spielberg should really examine what Schwarzenegger really stands for. Schwarzenegger is hardly as progressive as some liberals really wish him to be.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Larger Spiritual Message Of The Rev. Ted Haggard Scandal

The Rev. Ted Haggard scandal is far deeper than just the spiritual failure of just one failed church leader. It is yet another example that the Bush White House has surrounded itself with spirtually flawed leaders who have very defective walks with God, who misuse their church leadership positions for preaching a false Gospel of politics and self financial enrichment.

From cover to cover, not a single word of the Bible encourages Christians to set up political governments here on earth. Quite the opposite, the Good News of the Bible is literally that God's Kingdom on earth is coming in the future. When a church leader is so flawed like Ted Haggaert, then they have no legitimate walk with God, and they do not really hear his voice. And worse yet, almost everything that followers of Haggart know about god, comes from this flawed church leader with no real ear to God. It is a loud warning from God that the church thet beling to is preaching a false religion. If these church members had a legitimate walk with God, then they should have realized this long before the Haggart scandal became public.

Ted Haggart and many politicians who preach a false Gospel to the public are undergoing a spiritual "shaking" by God. God is clearing out many false proponents of his faith who are liars, hypocrites, immoral or frauds who have actually taken many on a false spiritual path.

It is a very good thing that the Christuan right will likely take a huge hit in this election. This was always a false religious movement of some men, and a not a legitimate move of God himself. God would never call on men to set up a false political and spiritually counterfeit kingdom here on earth when the overwelming message of the New Testament of Jesus was to look forward to his future kingdom on earth. This spiritual shaking is an important effort by God to send a serious message to those who claim to be real followers of God to belong to better churches and to stop using God's name to justify a false message of politics or self-enrichment and to follow a legitimate walk with God.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Tony's "Snow" Job

When Tony Snow took on the role of White House spokesman the public had high expectations that Snow would continue to act as the credible and honest journalist that he had built his reputation on. It sure didn't take Tony Snow very long to discard any ethics or a good journalistic reputation to become a Bush Administration "yesman" that promotes any absurd lie of this corrupt and ethicly challenged administration.

This week it was pretty obvious that John Kerry badly botched up a slam on George Bush, and Tony Snow was one of the most visible White House figures to deliberately lie about this flub and twist it into some sort of slam about the intelligence of U.S. servicepersons. Snow can't possiby be so dim that he couldn't have misunderstood what Kerry actually meant. Snow simply lied to the American public about what Kerry said for partisan political purposes.

Unfortunately Snow's decline from honest journalist to lying political White House hack hasn't just stopped with lying about Kerry's flub to the American public. Snow continually lies about the U.S. mission in Iraq, falsely echoing the White House nonsense that we are fighting for a democratic government against terrorism in Iraq. The real truth is that many Sunnis did not vote because they realized how hopeless it was to prevent a Shiite dominated government with Shia militia groups such as the one associated radical antiAmerican cleric Sadr from gaining control on Iraq. Sadr's supporters hold 40 seats in the Iraqi parliament, and basicly hand chose Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Other militia groups such as the Badr Brigade and other radical grouips hold many seats in the Iraqi government as well. Up to 70% of policemen in Iraq are associated with militia groups, where a common joke is "Here comes the Iraqi police, the greatest threat to peace in Iraq".

Tony Snow may claim that the U.S. is fighting for some sort of honorable government in Iraq, but the truth is that we have lost over 2,800 lives and had over 20,000 wounded solely to fight for a corrupt terrorist government that runs police that terrorize Sunni citizens and kidnap, torture and behead them. There is no substantial difference between the torture and killings of Saddam Hussein and this new government that we support. And there is no substantial improvement in honesty or lack of corruption compared to Saddam Hussein either. Al Qaeda is one of the smallest terrorist groups within Iraq, and absolutely unable to wrest control in Iraq, but the terrorist Shiite militias are already firmly in control of the Iraqi government and whether Americsans should continue to lose their lives for such a corrupt terrorist dominated government is an important question.

It only seems when Bush leaves office, by impeachment or in Jan 2009, will the Tony "Snow" job stop. Truth has become the first victim of this administration, then the lives of many Americans fighting for the wrong type of government in Iraq.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

White House Planned War Games Near Iran To Provoke A MidEast Security Situation Before The Election

In a highly questionable move that smells of political manipulation, the Bush White House and the Pentagon planned war games near Iran with Bahrain that concluded two days ago that have now resulted in Iran test firing 14 nuclear weapons capable Shahab-3 missiles. Right before the election, it appeared that the White House hoped to provoke a MidEast security situation that the White House could capitalize over right before the election.

The long range prospects of MidEast paece are indeed threatened by a nuclaer aremed Iran and nuclear proliferation to smaller irresponsible world states such as North Korea. However, for purely political reasons it is a dangerous game to provoke a wild regime like the radical religious government of Iran into some dangerous show of force in response to political games by the White House. This is a dangerous way to scare up "security" oriented voters for next week's election that can result in dangerous problems for MidEast peace long after the election.

No doubt the White House is also looking forward to the high likelyhood of another late last minute message from Osama Bin Laden. Bin Laden actually needs George Bush to villanize to radicalize more Muslims and build membership for his organization which has actually taken a huge beating after 9/11. It is often new terrorist organizations not at all associated with Al Qaeda responsible for so many of the world's terrorist incidents since 9/11. Much like both the Soviets and the U.S. were able to do during the Cold War, the mutual "villanization" of eacj other serves important domestic political purposes. Both George Bush and Osama Bin Laden inflate their worth politically by the mutual use of each other to further their power bases.

Even the White House which pretended to misintrepret the meaning of John Kerry's joke about the Bush Administration not doing their homework and leaving America stuck in Iraq, this government perpetuates their power by cheap use of semantical arguments worthless of any real value, and playng dangerous games of fear to "scare up " voters. The game playing that has provoked Iran to launch 14 missiles is just another example of this ruling by fear. In the 1950's far right Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy built up a power base for himself by raising fears about Communism far beyond any genuine Soviet military threats. Building a power base by ruling out of fear is a dangerous game that avoids direct talks with potential adversaries to garner the necessary peace agreements and endangers the lives of many for a short term political gain. This White House has simply engaged in too much of this "crying wolf" for their own benefit while avoiding genuine opportunities to engage potential adversaries in peace terms. Whether most voters will fall for this again on next Tuesday, remains to be seen.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

PRICE IS RIGHT, TV Legend, Bob Barker To Retire This Year

eOne of TV's most beloved legends is going to retire this year, Bob Barker, who will turn 83 this December. This enduring game show host has taped 6,482 episodes of THE PRICE IS RIGHT, a game show that has outlived so many other morning game shows. For 35 years, THE PRICE IS RIGHT has had top notch morning TV ratings, an amazing feat.

Bob Barker was not only a great game show host, but a great friend of animals. In 1987, he quit as host of the Miss USA and Universe beauty pageant when they refused to stop giving away the fur of innocent animals as prizes. Mr. Barker was willing to put principles above his work for the sake of the life of animals, and such a selfless nature endures him as a decent man of great conviction. Bob Barker is a vegetarian, and his diet speaks well for his enduring nature despite some health episodes a few years ago.

Bob Barker is a real legend on morning TV game shows. He'll be greatly missed.

The New "Jimmy Carter" Party

By the 1980 election, President Jimmy Carter was politically ruined by the 444 day Iranian hostage crisis, where each painful day only served to remind voters that his government was ineffective at being at being able to control this crisis. This year the war in Iraq, and each painful death of A,erican servocepersons has only served to highlight that Bush and the Republicans have become the new "Jimmy Carter" party.

Nothing better illustrates the weakness and ineffectiveness of George Bush and the Republicans as the pathetic desperate grab yerterday to to distort the bungled joke about George Bush's failed leadership by John Kerry, on the same day in which the antiAmerican Shiite militia controlled by radical cleric Sadr was able to force the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to order American troops removed from the giant Shiite slum of Sadr City. Sadr City comprises about 60 square miles and 2.6 million, mainly radical and antiAmerican Shiites, who are responsible for the killings of many American troops and were patrolling the city with checkpoints after the kidnapping of an American soldier last week.

To hear Mr. Bush use his line of domestic content political propaganda reasoning, American troops are fighting in Iraq to prevent terrorism from taking over. In reality, yesterday only proves that the Shiite terrorists control so many seats in the Iraqi government, that American troops are being ordered how and when they are allowed to police Iraq. The terrorists control the government of Iraq. The militia associated with radical cleric Sadr control 40 seats in the Iraqi parliament, and many other mainly Shiite militia groups such as the Badr Brigafe control other seats. American troops are used by these Shiite militia groups to fight the mainly Sunni militia groups and some minor "illegal" Shia militia groups not part of the government such as criminal gangs.

This sort of radicalism is not just particular to Iraq. Radical schools of Islam are all the world including the U.S. and the U.K., churning out fresh antiWestern radicals each and every day. It is estimated that of the 1.3 billion Muslims in the world, that as many as 800 million follow some form of radical Islam. This week, Pakistan destroyed a school run by Al Qaeda, although Al Qaeda hardly represents anywhere near the majority of Muslim radicalism in the world. Most Muslims are antiAmerican and antiWestern and willing to support violence against the U.S. , Israel and the Western world, but very few have any connection to the tiny Al Qaeda organization. Even in Iraq, Al Qaeda probably numbers only about 1,000 persons, about half foreign fighters, while domestic Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish militia groups run into hundreds of thousands of members and millions of followers.

Yesterday, the Bush White House thought it was very important to knock the fact that the cleric Sadr's militia organization was able to force American troops to stop the checkpoints of he huge 2.6 million popilation Shiiite slum that he controls. Terrorist militia groups are so powerful in Iraq, that they dictate how the U.S. is allowed to police Iraq, and Mr. Bush only cowers to their demands.

This is the face of new "Jimmy Carter" party; tough-guy nonsense political trash talk at home for domestic political consumption to a shrinking audience of gullible listeners, while terrorist militia groups are already in firm political control in Iraq, dictating how, when and where George Bush is allowed to police Iraq. Of recent arms shipments to the Iraqi army, 14,000 guns and arms were recently reported stolen or missing. Within the last couple of weeks, 3,000 corrupt Iraqi government officials and police officers were forced to resign from the government. Mr. Bush continues to politically claim "progress" in Iraq, when all objective measurements are that a militia group terrorist dominated government leads Iraq, and limits how, when and where American troops are allowed to police the country. It is pretty obvious that George Bush has lost the war in Iraq to just the same sort of people he claims to be in the process of victory over. George Bush has become the new "Jimmy Carter" of 2006, where every lost American life only reminds voters of his failures, and his unCarterlike lies of claimed progress in Iraq, against the truth and reality only serve to disgust many voters.