Sunday, September 30, 2007

Dallas Oil Company With White House Ties Complicates Peace In Iraq With Oil Deal

Dallas oilman Ray L. Hunt, who is closely related to figures in the Bush White House, has made a huge new oil deal with the Kurds in Northern Iraq, complicating any efforts by the Iraqi government to establish a oil revenue sharing plan. It is also another sign that this Iraq War was always about oil, and further evidence of the Bush White House opening up Iraq with the war and loss of life to allow friends of the Bush White House to profit from the Iraq War.

It was also recently disclosed that Saddam Hussein offered to leave Iraq and go into exile if he was paid $1 billion dollars which could have prevented the 2003 war. If such a plan was actually open to discussion, then the huge loss of life could have been potentially avoided, but huge defense contractors would not have profitted from the war by selling arms.

On Friday, defense contractor stocks were up sharply on Wall Street as news of a Bush White House additional $200 billion dollars for the Iraq War were requested.

The big boys get the profits from war. The little people get the bodybags it seems.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Paul Newman Supporting New Effort To Electing A Democratic Senate

Former liberal Republican actor, Paul Newman, is sending out a new appeal letter this weekend via Email to Democratic Party supporters to help elect a majority Democratic Senate. The new appeal is on behalf of the Democratic Senatoral Campaign Committee.

Newman notes that Richard Nixon added him on to his "enemies list" because of his then support for Sen. Eugene McCarthy. Newman goes on to assert that, "I was proud to stand against an imperial president back then. And I am proud to stand with a new generation of Democrats against a president who poses what I believe to be the biggest internal threat to American democracy in my lifetime".

Newman notes that the tiny Democratic margin of just 51-49 votes is highly subject to both Republican vetoes and filibusters to prevent the Democrats from moving ahead with their policies.

When former liberal Republicans like Paul Newman no longer find themselves at home in the Republican Party, it is a sign that the party has drifted too far to the right to be inclusive like it once was. Even the support for an absurd and unqualified candidate like Fred Thompson is another sign that the party is heavily controlled by the political right only concerned with ideology and not more moderate or decent leadership.

Friday, September 28, 2007

John McCain Declines Down To Single Digit Support Level

A new daily tracking poll from the reputable Rasmussen Reports organization has the support of John McCain dclining down to single digits of just 9% support. This is not only a weak 4th place finish in this poll, but is also only two scant points better than Mike Huckabee, the leader among the second tier candidates. If anything this terrible showing in the poll should only help to depress any new financial support for the McCain campaign and signal that the McCain campaign is on life support.

McCain will likely drop out right after the first primaries, now just 13 weeks away, when he badly loses the primaries forever ending his dream of becominmg president. McCain could have become the nation's oldest president if he had been successful.

The unraveling of John McCain came in stages among many Republican voters. He was once wrongly viewed as a liberal because of his maverick positions, then lost his reputation for "straight talk" after becoming a defender of the Bush White House, and finally destroyed himself by his overhawkish views on the Iraq War, wanting even more troops for the war than the White House. Now there is no return for the steady damage to his reputation as a viable Republican candidate. His dream is effectively over.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Senate Votes For Plan For Eventual Breakup Of Iraq

Yesterday a bill from normally controversial Senator Sam Brownback passed on a vote of 75-23 that will likely lead to the eventual breakup of Iraq. The plan calls for a loosely confederated central government with three semi-autonomous states that are Kurdish, Sunni and Shiite. While this certainly seems like a step forward to resolving the difficult sectarian frictions in Iraq, sharing the oil revenues could remain a major problem as in the main Shiite state, almost all of the oil assets of Iraq remain.

In 1922, after the defeat of the Turkish Ottoman Empire, Winston Churchill called in British troops to occupy the land now know as Iraq when Britain discovered that large oil reserves existed in Iraq and three ethnic groups with nothing in common, Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis were grouped together. Britain sided with the Sunni minority at the time, but despite the destruction of entire villages by the British with bombings or mustard gas attacks, the violence continued until the 1958 rebellion in Iraq which forced the British out. The 1950's winessed the growth of the Baathist movement and Arab Socialism in Egypt, Syria and Iraq. Egyptian strongman Gamal Nasser was able to lose the Suez Canal dispute in 1956 to combined British, French and Israeli forces, yet was able to advance the Arab Socialist movement and strengthen Baathist parties all throughout the MidEast.

The history of the conflict between the Sunni and Shiite sects of Islam started soon after the death of Muhammad in 632AD. Rival groups of followers joined two different visions of Islam, with the father-in-law of Muhammad largely involved in the formation of the Shiite sect and only followers of Muhammad involved in the formation of the Sunni sect. Shiites tend to view the Sunni sect as not legitimate as it does not involve the formation by relatives of Muhammad and makes reconciliation by the two sects difficult.

Given the complexities of the sectarian riff between the Sunni and Shiite sects, it is only likely that Iraq will face a breakup only too similiar to that of Yugoslavia into several states.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Democrats Continue High Approval Numbers For Leadership On Issues

New polling data from Rasmussen as well as other sources continues to note more voter trust in the Democrats on various issues ranging from the economy to health care, and recent historic Republican advantages on isues such as dealing with the War On Terror steadily declining to a near draw. All of this is certainly a good omen for the Democrats, where low approval numbers for Congress don't seem to be translating into disapproval for their party going in to 2008.

Perhaps much of the disapproval with Congress relates to their inability to be able to end the war in Iraq. Voters probably see the Democrats as the only party likely to do that compared to so much known public Republican support for the war.

Saturn Automobile Ads Bring Back Sad Episode Of Rock And Roll History

New ads for the Saturn automobiles are bringing back a deeply sad episode of history with a remake of a song by the ill-fated Wales group, Badfinger's COME AND GET IT. The sad history of this group is indeed heartbreaking.

Since 1959, Pete Ham and the other talented musicians who eventually formed the late 60's group, Badfinger were trying hard to break into music. By 1969, their song, COME AND GET IT, which was from the film THE MAGIC CHRISTIAN became a big hit, and the band was signed to The Beatles label, Apple Records. Badfinger was good fit for Apple with a Beatleslike sound, but a bad manager, with a questionable reputation for negotiations and possible ties to organized crime left the band in a complete mess. The contract with Apple was terminated in favor of a contract with Warner Bros. and the last Apple album by the group, ASS, was held up in legal limbo, and the newer albums by the group were poorly received by the critics.

In later years, with a sharply declined income, and deep dispair, band leader Pete Ham killed himself. Another band member killed himself some years later and another died in his sleep.

Indeed the song, COME AND GET IT, should be a joyful bit of rock and roll history. But the sad history of Badfinger casts a giant shadow over any works by this band.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Antiship Missiles Are Not Covered Under Arms Transfer Agreements

Unfortunately the transfer of antiship missiles are not covered under international arms limitations agreements, which has allowed China, North Korea and Russia to provide nations like Iran with some dangerous antiship weapons such as the Chinese and North Korean versions of C-802 and the Russian Sunburn antiship missiles. These weapons have given Iran's small navy a potent weapon to stop a far larger navy or the power to bring oil shipping out of the Gulf to a complete stop in the event of war.

Iran proved the power of the C-802 when the Israeli Saar 5-class missile ship, Spear, was badly damaged during the battle with Hezbollah in Lebanon last year, despite some very complex anticruise missile technology. During the Clinton Administration in 1996, the U.S. China to stop any further exports of the C-802 antiship cruise missiles to Iran, however North Korea has continued to aid Iran in developing better guidance systems. Iran has also become very good at reverse engineering weapons by purchasing some examples, taking them apart and building their own copies or making improvements. With GPS technology, Iran could make these antiship cruise missiles very lethal.

But even more serious is the prospect that Iran has some Russian Sunburn SS-22-N antiship cruise missiles in their small navy. These are frightening enough for oil tankers or smaller navy ships, but if Iran would develop nuclear warheads for these cruise missiles, then American aircraft carriers could be in grave danger in the event of any armed conflict with Iran.

War with Iran needs to be avoided at all costs. However, Iran must not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons. The world community must continue to pressure Iran to be transparent about the depth of it's nuclear program. However dangerous transfers of arms such as antiship cruise missiles only weaken the ability of the responsible world community to pressure Iran not to develop nuclear arms. Iran doesn't need the ability to sink oil tankers and bring the world demand for oil to it's knees or the ability to be able to damage the American Navy. Iran only is encouraged to act more recklessly with the continued transfer of dangerous antiship cruise missiles to this renegade state.

Arms sales to irresponsible states often ends up with bad consequences. Look at the Reagan Administration's efforts to arm Saddam Hussein's Iraq or Osama Bin Laden's Mujahedeen in Afghanistan during the 1980's as excellent examples. Arms transfers by Russia, China or North Korea to Iran Can only lead to more deadly consequences as well. The export or arms around the world only leads to many deaths. There are better things to export such as food or medicine.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Bush Uses "Divide And Conquer" Politics With Diversion Over Ad

Mr. Bush and his Senate Republican allies are once again using "divide and conquer" politics to attempt to rally their base in their diversionary attacks on the recent ad that attacked the testimony of General David Petraeus. The fact of the matter is that the large majority of the American electorate is so angry at the Iraq War that they don't care about the ad. The ad has no impact on their feeling about the war. And is not part of the Democratic Party or should have their patriotism questioned. Public disgust with the war fueled the ad, nothing more, nothing less. But the recent political efforts of Bush and his Republican supporters in the Senate are little more than some pathetic attempt to rally support by old fashioned "red baiting" type politics, a blow-back to the 1950's Joe McCarthyism.

Mr. Bush may hope to buy a little more time to "run out the clock" and leave the Iraq mess up to the next president. But the efforts to attack are just plain desperate., for right or wrong, had the right to question whether the testimony of General Petraeus wasn't strongly designed to put a good face on a bad policy in Iraq, much like the Bush Administration has done for the last four years.

Mr. Bush actually watched his support drop after his speech on Iraq. There is no widespread support for the Iraq War policy left among most Americans. Mr. Bush may hope to rally some support by the attack on, but where was Mr. Bush when some like Rush Limbaugh played a racist song on his show among Senator Barack Obama, or Ann Coulter suggests that some officials should die or face violence. only questioned the independence of the statements of General Patraeus, while right wing commentators sush as Rush Limbaugh or Ann Coulter suggested far worse in their material. There was no outcry from Bush back then. It's purely old fashioned "divide and conquer" politics. It's also more complete nonsense from this White House.

Israeli Attack On Syrian Weapons Site May Signal An Imminent Attack On Iran

Israel's recent attack on a suspected North Korean weapons site in Syria could signal that an attack on the Iranian nuclear program by Israel is imminent. This could become the biggest news story for late 2007 or 2008.

The attack by Israel seems to prove that they will not tolerate a serious military threat to their nations's security, which seems to strongly suggest that by under the same line of reasoning, Iran could well be next.

Oil is currently at all time record levels. This week it peaked at at over $83.50 in one day of international trading and is now resulting record home heating oil prices with gasoline likely to soon follow. It is estimated that it may cost up to 20% more to heat their homes this year.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Thompson Is Quickly Rallying Republican Party Conservatives

Fred Thompson appears to be quickly rallying the support from Republican Party conservatives who make up the majority of Republican Party members according to evidence found in a new Rasmussen Poll out just today. Thompson now commands 28% support in the preference poll, followed by Giuliani at 19%, McCain at 13%, and Romney at just 11%. It appears that both Giuliani and Romney seem to be suffering the most in this latest polling, with Giuliani losing support as the previous front-runner and Romney losing his conservatuve base of support to Fred Thompson, who many Republican voters now views as either a conservative or the most conservative candidate among the 2008 GOP hopefuls.

Hillary Clinton also continues to improve her strengths as the leading Democratic candidate and is leaning polls in critical early primary states such as New Hampshire as well proves important general election strengths in some normally GOP leaning states such as Florida, Virginia and Arkansas in possible 2008 matchups.

Thompson tends to run a weaker race than Giuliani which has to be good news for the Hillary Clinton campaign and enhances her prospects for winning the 2008 election. Hillary Clinton appears to be eroding her negative rating among many Democratic voters as well. This also has to be a good sign for her campaign that she could win the general election by constantly improving her image as an extremely intelligent and competant leader. It also appears that the Norman Hsu scandal has had little impact on the Clinton campaign so far as well, as evidenced from polling data from various outlets.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Hypocrite Mitt Romney Attacks Hillary Clinton For Her Health Care Proposal, Nearly Identical To The One He Supported In Massachusetts

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is one big hypocrite. He is now attacking the health care proposal from Hillary Clinton that would help to bring uninsured persons health insurance. There is virtualy no difference between the health care proposal that Romney supported as Governor for Massachusetts or the Clinton plan. Both plans require uninsured persons to get health insurance or provides a path such as tax breaks to fund insuring uninsured persons. The only diffrence is that because Romney is running for President, then he must take an opportunity to attack the Clinton plan.

Just like the abortion issue, Gay rights, and many other issues, Romney is on all sides of many issues. This continued hypocrite status as being on all sides of many issues has been one factor that has really hurt Romney. And Romney leaves himself open to more critical attacks with his latest hypocrisy on the health care issue.

Romney looks presidential and is a successful businessman. However his continued issue hypocrisy is indeed hurtful to his image and definately a huge negative to his 2008 presidential efforts.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Global Satellite Company That Broadcasts From Israel Carries Hateful AntiIsrael Programming Throughout The Arab World

Business makes for strange bedfellows, and no business arrangement can be much more strange than an Israeli based global communications company, RRST GLOBAL COMMUNICATIONS, which has a quarterly income of $14.7 milion, which accepts all sorts of hateful antiIsraeli programming from Arab networks and broadcasts these programs all throughout the MidEast via satellite.

As many as 48 communications satellites receive programming from RRST, which even includes translation services among the the products it markets. Some Arab networks such al Jazeera purchase services from the Israeli based company as well.

Many in Israel would be deeply surprised that one of their own companies provides many hateful Arab world programs broadcasting space on their satellite network system, and equally many in the Arab world be unhappy to find that an Israeli network is carrying their signal of their favorite antiIsraeli program. Strange world, heh?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

This Feature Can Save You Hundreds Of Dollars!

While telemarketers and other businesses such as satellite TV and credit card companies full well know the power of the telephone to both annoy and profit from the public, consumers can use the full power of the telephone to put hundreds of dollars in their pockets in the next year.

The power of the telephone could well be your greatest money saving power tool if used correctly. Here's how:

Buying A Used Car: One of the worst ways to buy a used car is to put yourself at the mercy of the car dealership, and have them wear you down by holding your keys, deposit money, or wasting hours in some waiting room while supposed negotiations with the "manager" are supposedly going on. Put the car dealership at your mercy instead. Walk around a lot and offer a very low price offer on a car you want and give the salesman your home phone number and go home. In most cases the car dealership will call you within an hour and tell you that the car is yours for your low offer. In many cases keeping a trade-in out of the negotiations is better to do and only complicates the "horse-trading". Sell your old car from your home or donate it to charity instead if it isn't worth much. Your home telephone just saved you hundreds on the price of a used car.

Better Credit Card Interest Rates: So many companies are offering credit deals these days that you can call your own credit card companies and tell them about some better offer you can get from another company and ask them to match the deal or you will transfer your account to this other card. Call your credit card companies and do this and you are likely to save big on interest rate cuts to your existing credit cards. You just put hundreds of dollars in your pocket.

Lower Cable TV Rates: There is so much competition from satellite TV these days that you can call your local cable TV provider and tell them about the better deal you can get from them and you will switch unless they reduce your cable TV rates. These companies charge all sorts of different rates for the same service to different customers all the time including free premotions to some. Likely you can cut your cable TV bill from about $60-70 a month down to just about $39 for the very same service that you're now getting. You just saved yorself big money on your cable TV bill.

Your telephone is not only a device to call your friends, but it's also a money saving device when used correctly. It may even be possible to cut your mortgage rates or rent or other savings by using similiar methods as I described above. Your possibility to save big money by using your telephone is nearly limitless.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Big Tobacco Seeks To Topple Republican Lawmakers Who Don't Vote Their Way

While Philip Morris was forced to fund educational ads meant to curb smoking, the same company is also now targeting Republican lawmakers who don't vote their way for the 2008 election in some new attack ads sent by mail to select voters. Senator Gordon Smith(R-OR) has proven a flexible record in the U.S. Senate, voting with a small group of Republican Party moderates to rescue the Food Stamp Program from a $40 million dollar cut package and displayed some opposition to the Iraq War. Smith may be facing a difficult re-election in 2008. Now even more so now that Philip Morris is targeting him in their outrageous mailing campaign meant to weaken him and set him up for defeat in 2008.

Senator Smith voted to support an increase in federal taxes on cigarettes that would help to cut demand for cigarettes as well as to help fund children's health care programs at the federal level.

The fact of the matter is that Senator Smith has made a really decent effort to honorably represent Oregon and vote his conscience on issues. He's much more a true statesman than a politician. His vote against big tobacco was a clear vote for the health of America and the right vote. Many of the largest tobacco companies were named in a racketeering lawsuit before and cannot really be considered as concerned with anything more than their profits and selling more and more of their poisonous cigarettes. Big tobacco is concerned that increased taxes will cut into demand and hurt their product sales. That's their bottom line, not the welfare of America or a Senate comprised of independent minded Republicans like Gordon Smith who often supports the right sort of things.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Bicycles Continue To Top Single Vehicle Accident Rates

Most bicyclists seem to be unaware that single vehicle accidents involving bicyclists are the most common from of accidents for these vehicles. By comparison motorcycle single accident rates are about 25% and automobile less yet.

Many bicylists fail to wear safety helmets, fail to use lights or reflectors for night driving, or run stop signs or red lights, or drive excessively fast with racing type bikes, sometimes capable of speeds exceeding 40mph.

There is a myth among many bicyle riders that automobiles represent the greatest road danger to bicyclists, but it is often the bicycle rider themselves who acount for 67% of all bicycle accidents in which no motor vehicle was involved. In only 33% of all bicycle accidents was a motor vehicle involved.

Better skills riding bicycles are needed by many of the riders including obeying stop signs and red lights, not riding at night, not riding in a dangerous manner where control or balance can be lost.

Bicycles are unlicensed vehicles with no insurance or skills testing required for operation compared to any motorized vehicles which require both testing and insurance. However drivers must carefully follow all the rules of the road to prevent becoming the greatest danger to themselves on the road.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The End Of The Conventional Light Bulb May Be In Sight

A new bill introduced into Congress this week may help to spell the eventual end of the old Thomas Edison designed conventional light Bulb, and require the use of the energy saving compact fluorescent models. The new bill proposes to phase-out the use of the conventional light Bulb by the year 2020 in the U.S.

While the compact fluorescent is not the favorite of all users, partly because it puts out slightly different light than conventional light bulbs, still the advantages of these advanced light bulbs cannot be ignored, including sharply reduced energy costs and much longer life. Sometimes they can be found on sale for as little as 99cents each at some dealers.

With much of the electricity produced by coal fired means, Congress may have finally seen the light to the advantages of the compact fluorescent light bulbs. They have my vote.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Laura Ingraham's Latest Money Making Crusade

Self-righteous and self appointed right wing moral crusader, Laura Ingraham has a new cause and a new book, POWER TO THE PEOPLE, now claiming to see "pornography" all over American culture, citing laughable figures such as Britney Spears or Paris Hilton to somehow prove her convoluted point. Now Laura, come on. Britney Spears and Paris Hilton are both laughable figures, popular only because both are such "trainwrecks". Few in the public really admire either figure. Britney Spears Cds hardly even sell any longer. She hasn't had a new Cd out in years because she refuses to get into the studio and actually record some new songs. An original November 2006 release date for a new Cd keeps getting pushed back farther, due to Britney Spears' nonstop string of personal newsworthy nonsense rather than recording. Britney Spears is unlike other washed up music performers in that she's absurdly funny only because her antics are so awful as well as funny. It's like trailor park trash gone wild watching her. Other one-hit washed up music acts are hardly half as much fun to watch. Britney Spears is hardly the mainstream of American culture, but a major unintentional comedy figure. Her overweight, out of shape, out of sync, lip sync MTV event this past week gave the public a fresh new truckload of laughs and the comics new jokes. It was probably more funny than comic performance that evening, and certainly more talked about by the public.

But the more sexually raunchy the entertainment, the less appeal it also has. There is a point where something goes beyond sexy to being just obnoxious or offensive and the sales drop to all but just fringe markets of buyers. Laura Imgraham claims that Larry Flynt must be pleased with modern entertainment. But isn't Larry Flynt part of an old 1980's controversy and hardly very relevant these days with Hustler Magaine long replaced by internet websites and DVDs featuring adult entertainment.

Rather than actually understanding popular culture, Ingraham only really displays her major ignorance of it. Raunchy entertainment is not the mainstream of popular entertainment as Ingraham seems to claim, but still only just a fringe portion of the market. Most popular culture is really pretty mainstream in nature.

It is also ironic that Ingraham chooses to hijack the title of John Lennon's radical POWER TO THE PEOPLE song for her book. Lennon and Ingraham could not be more different. Lennon was a left wing progressive and a near revolutionary who recorded songs with the radical if not openly Marxist Elephant's Memory Band for example. Ingraham is as establishment as you can get, a former speech writer for Ronald Reagan, and a lawyer who defended white collar criminals. Ingraham didn't attempt to keep the public safe from bad people, but worked hard to keep them out of jail for screwing people. Ingraham condemns "liberal elitism" in entertainment and academia, yet has represented nothing other than the elites in business and power for her part. And while being a journalist of sorts, she also condemns the profession and attacks the Iraq War coverage.

While Ingraham is at least less caustic than some like Ann Coulter or Michelle Malkin, her absurd attacks on culture and journalism are no less wrong.

The bottom line is that Laura Ingraham empire is all about the almighty dollar; selling books, selling $49.95 subscriptions to website services, earing big money with a talk show on 306 U.S. radio stations. Creating a phony crisis in order to get a little attention is always good for bottom line. It's as establishment and white collar as you can possiby get. There's no people power to be found here.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Clinton Has Surprising Strength In Some Southern States

One surprising feature of some reliable early state polls is that Hillary Clinton has an excellent chance at being able to capture the electoral votes of some Southern states which is sure to confound the conventional GOP plans to win the presidency by capturing the solid electoral votes from the South as they have done since the 2000 election.

Clinton currently holds a wide double digit lead in Arkansas, a small but healthy lead in Florida, and a narrow lead in the border state of Missouri. On the other hand, Clinton is having a little difficulty nailing down the electoral votes of normally "blue" Oregon,Pennsylvania and Wisconsin due to high voter negative ratings.

And Clinton is lagging behind slightly in Ohio, which has pretty much determined the winner of every election in recent times.

On one hand, Clinton seems poised to knock out her opponents like Barack Obama and John Edwards in an esy fashion, however her strategy to win the November election is a little shaky due to uneven levels of support in some normally Democratic strongholds as well as her high negative ratings. However with her support in some Southern states, Clinton could also be in a good position to win the national election over Fred Thompson who is the current leading GOP candidate despite the failure to participate in even one single debate so far. Thompson currently leads Giuliani by a 28-21% margin in a new Rasmussen poll out just this week. The polls from Rasmussen and Election Projection tend to be the most accurate available anywhere and offer the best possible snapshots of the mood of the electorate at any given point.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Right Wing Organization Awarded Huge DOJ Grants For Zero Achievement

Even though the religious right wing political organization, Morality In Media, promotes a purely political agenda of imposing it's self-righteous "Talibanlike" values and will on the general public, under the Department Of Justice this screwball political organization has received huge government cash grants in 2005 and 2006 of $150,000 to operate a website,, where right wing cranks can make complaints about a display of Cosmopolitan Magazine at the local grocery store and other wacky issues. Out of 67,000 so-called "obscenity crime" complaints made to this DOJ funded right wing organization, not a single federal conviction for any obscenity offense has resulted so far as of August 2007 from this organization's work.

There are many issues to consider here. This right wing organization has been attacked in scathing features in both THE NEW YORK TIMES and WASHINGTON POST in more recent times, and the organization's head, Robert W. Peters forced to defend the organization that collects funds from the Department Of Justice, despite zero achievement for much of anything other than setting up a couple of poorly maintained websites and getting government checks from the Ashcroft/Gonzales DOJ. But organizations collecting government funds who accomplish nothing is nothing new for government. Massive spending bills in Congress are often loaded with huge pork spending measures that send money to worthless causes all the time. Far right Republican Representative Frank Wolf(R-VA) added the funding for Morality In Media to various bills over the years. So far Wolf has proposed at least 70 bills since 1997, but so many were so far out of the political mainstream that 46 failed to even make it out of committee and only 12 of the more general bills ever became law. Wolf features a "grant" link on his website, making it far easier for anyone who wants money from government to get it with Wolf's help.

Morality In Media just about summed up their political philosophy when in a recent interview a spokesman for the organization proclaimed that this is a "Christian Nation" in a radio interview. Meanwhile this organization gets big funds from government to worry about banning the latest cover of Cosmopolitan from the local grocery store or some salty language on TV thanks to friends in Congress like Representative Wolf only too willing to fund such a wacky organization of right wing screwballs looking for a government handout.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

More Cities Competing With Internet And Cable TV Providers, But Serious Civil Liberty Concerns Exist

The cities of Seattle and San Francisco have both stepped into providing high speed internet service, competing with big private providers such as Comcast. Now the city of Portland Oregon could enter into a huge $500 million dollar project in the near future to provide both high speed internet service and well cable TV that directly competes against the largest local provider, Comcast.

All of this raises some interesting questions. Is government competing with private industry intended to offer better prices for a needed public service or is it overreaching the normal bounds of business? Could government control of both the internet and cable TV possiby lead to some form of government censorship of the content or of the newsreporting itself at some point.

Government competition in both high speed intenet service and cable TV could pressure big private providers like Comcast to improve variable quality of their services such as cable TV, where the quality is often spotty, as well as to push these private providers to offer improved prices that are more competitive. But the question is still raised whether the proper role of government should be in control of so much of the flow of information. And could so much government control of the flow of information such as the internet lead to more easy government examinations of what websites that individual surf or government or police investigations into either critics of the government or who are politically involved in ways not popularly pleasing.

Government control of so much of the media could easily be a dangerous thing as well. Look at the history of many countries with government control of TV, newspapers or other media for example.

Citizens will need some serious limits to the power of government to delve into their private lives or use information about web use to collect data on customers if government becomes involved in so many areas. Serious concerns about civil liberties should lead to some serious protections for citizens who use such government controlled services with the possibility to reveal so much about the perivate lives of the users to government data collection banks.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Reynolds Tobacco Bankrolling Campaign Against Children's Health Care

In Oregon, Reynolds American, the big tobacco company that produces as much as 1/3 of all cigarettes sold in the U.S., is bankrolling an effort to prevent voters from passing a constitutional change ballot measure intended to increase cigarette taxes to make companies like Reynolds pay for part of the huge public health crisis and costs that they create with their secondhand cigarette smoke.

Medical documentation clearly implicates cigarettes as responsible for causing Sudden Infant Death in small infants, Otitis Media(middle ear infection) in children, often resulting in ear tube surgery, and epidemic of childhood asthma. or even cancer and emphysema. Yet Reynolds American doesn't believe that they should pay the bill for any of this public health problem that they create.

In their propaganda TV ads, Reynolds claims that HMOs will profit from any increase in cigarette taxes meant to pay for some of the medical problems that they creaste. Wait a minute. Because children require a doctor's visit or a trip to the hospital emergency room due to a potentially fatal asthma attack caused by the secondhand smoke from from a Reynolds American produced cigarette, then Reynolds should not pay the bill? That makes a lot of sense, doesn't it. Reynolds fails to post any warning on their cigarettes about the threat of secondhand smoke to children including death to infants by SIDS. Isn't this pure product negligence and grounds for injury and wrongful death suits by nonsmokers?

Cigarette makers have been accused for years of manipulating the nicotine levels and adding products into their cigaretes to make them more addictive so that people would find it very difficult to stop smoking. Nicotine is just as addictive as heroin according to medical experts. Reynolds does everything possible to create a demand for their product by selling something with a highly addictive drug in it.

The executives at Reynolds also profit by preying on some vulnerable persons to make profits. An estimated 80% of persons with diagnosed mental illness are smokers according to some experts. And among alcohol or other drug addicts, cigarette smoking is very high. Smoking becomes a chain around some of poorest of Americans, trapping them into further poverty and serious health related issues and costs. An estimated 50% of all smokers will eventually die from their drug addiction. And many nonsmokers have their quality of life destroyed from secondhand smoke as well.

While toymakers withdraw toys from the marketplace because of some lead content in the paint, Reynolds and other cigarette manufacturers continue to market cigarettes that put lead into the bodies of smokers and nonusers alike through secondhand smoke air pollution. Secondhand cigarette smoke involves as many as 4,000 pollutants including heavy metals such as lead, nickel and cadmium.

Reynolds is also concerned that any increase in cigarette taxes will cut their sales and demand for their deadly products. Good, it should. Any way to discourage persons from becoming nicotine drug addicts is good for society.

Reynolds needs to be held reponsible for at least part of outrageous medical costs to health insurance and society from the deadly products that they produce. These death merchants need to pay part of the huge cost to society that they create. And children are some of the most victimized by these drug pushers from big tobacco.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Dr. D. James Kennedy Dead At 76

Far right televangelist, Dr. D. James Kennedy has died at his home from the complications from his December heart attack. Certainly any right thinking person feels for his family at this time out of respect, however the future impact on his ministry which made extensive political use of religion is not known.

A son of an alcoholic mother, and a former college dropout who admitted to living a life of sin in the early 50's, Kennedy turned his life around while working as a dance instructor for Arthur Murray studios in 1953 and became influenced with God after hearing a radio broadcast.

But his heavy use of politics in his radio and TV programs such as THE CORAL RIDGE HOUR and attacks on the Gay community and the ACLU made him the subject of much distain in the progressive community. Kennedy seemed to abuse his gifts as a great communicator and preacher to promote his own brand of politics when he could have been more effective as a genuine preacher of the Gospel.

At one time, Kennedy was known for always talking to other passengers on his airline flights about God. But his witness was often hampered by his heavy handed use of right wing politics. His real promise as a great preacher was never really realized for this reason, and he will never be considered as a great like Billy Graham for this reason. Kennedy often used religion as a bait to lure viewers, but then switched the conversation quickly to promotion of his personal ultraconservative and usually highly partisan Republican Party politics. Kennedy's influence never seemed to extend far in his own community. Broward County, Florida tended to vote Democratic and Gay owned businesses flourish in the community. But part of the Kennedy myth was to bait gullible persons to donate millions to his organization with the claims from Kennedy that he could make some difference on issues of concern to social conservatives.

In more ways than not, Kennedy was merely a political huckster who found that using God was a path to promotion of his personal politics and gaining a personal fortune and living the high life. But he was also a uptight and angry man at many times, bragging about walking out of PG rated movie one time in disgust over some language used.

Kennedy also made some wild undocumented claims such as claiming that as many as 10,000 American university professors were Communists for example. And he claimed that the U.S. was a "Christian nation" and strongly opposed the accepted legal standards for seperation of church and state. Kennedy leaves behind a wife, adopted daughter and a $24.5 million dollar a year televangelist empire.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Despite Being An Awful Candidate, Thompson Is Surging Again

As incredible as it sounds, Fred Thompson is again surging amony many GOP voters and is now within one point of threatening the national lead of Rudolph Giuliani, who is now barely ahead. If anything, this proves that Republican Party conservatives are beginning to gravitate to Thompson despite his late entry into the race and his avoidance of every single Republican debate so far. NEWSWEEK even described this lazy style of Thompson as "Lazy Like A Fox" in this week's issue.

For Rudolph Giuliani, it may also prove that so few moderates now exist in his party that it may be difficult to capture the nomination when the conservatives rally around a single candidate like Thompson.

But it also proves a type of deep shallowness among some voters in the Republican Party, when a flimsy candidate like Thompson who has so far not bothered to put up any real effort could be rewarded with the party nomination. While it still seems likely that Thompson's real lack of effort will fall short to win the GOP nomination, it sill should send shudders up the Giuliani campaign that his position in the party is so weak that he barely has a good grasp on a true frontrunner status.

At one time moderate conservatives such as Dwight Eisenhower or Richard Nixon could win the GOP nomination. But since the election of Ronald Reagan, the party seems to have drifted farther to the right, where a tradional centist like Giuliani finds it more difficult to win than ever. Many conservatives even refer to such candidates as a RINO(Republican in name only) to describe such party moderates to represent their distain.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

John Edwards Hopes For A Second Look After Gaining Two Big Labor Endorsements

After Democratic candidate for president John Edwards gained two big endorsements from the United Steelworkers Union and from the United Mine Workers Union, his campaign which has been largely listing recently, is hoping for a second look by voters. Edwards is still counting on voter's concerns about Hillary Clinton's ability to win the general election as being accepted as the traditional candidate for Democrats. But so far this has not happened.

Edwards comes the closest to a traditional nominee. However his campaign has failed to really rally that many voters. But the labor backing should help somewhat, however Rep. Richard Gephardt which had strong labor backing fell far short in 2004 and quickly exited the race after a poor showing in the early primary states. Whether Edwards really gets the second look that he wants remains to be seen.

Bush Surprise Visit To Iraq Proves Weakening Support For Iraqi Government

If anything, the surprise visit to Iraq by President Bush has only illustrated the weakening of American support for the Iraqi government. The surprise meeting made only incidental contact with the main government officials in Iraq, and instead spent much of the time with American soldiers or more moderate Sunni leaders in the Anbar Providence who have only formed a temporary "marriage of convenience" with the Americans to oppose their more radical Sunni Al Qaeda political rivals.

This weakening of support for the Iraqi government only proves that the important job of political change and reconciliation is unlikely to result from the current Shiite dominated government of Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Just like the British withdrawal from Basra, which is little more than Britain declaring a political victory in the face of ongoing problems, and has only led to fighting by rival Shiite militias who are jockeying for power, the U.S. is likely to claim some sort of "political victory" in Iraq and then largely leave at some point, only to allow some fighting between rival armed radicals and militias.

So far, neither the U.S. or Britain seem to display the real will to install a government in Iraq that is required to make the real difficult political choices needed, or to really put the nation back together in the condition it once was in, with far less violence and more social order. We broke it, but we haven't fixed it as of yet.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Right To Work Laws Crush The American Dream For Working People

More than anything, right to work laws which have spread like a deadly cancer throughout many states in the United States have crushed the American dream for many working people and condemned workers to a low living wage basement with hard work and little to show for their efforts. Many nonunion workers will never be able to afford a home, while some union workers may own more than one home by comparison.

Nothing better illustrates this the huge wage gap between those who work in free states where workers are free to join a labor union if they wish and the low wages of the right to work states. Mississippi, a right to work state is #49 in median income with just $33,659 compared to a free state like Maryland where the median income is $65,144 by comparison. The only nonright to work state with a very low median income is West Virginia because of the severe poverty in many areas and the fact that not every worker is a unionized member of the United Mine Workers Union for example.

The fact of the matter is when workers only earn half of the wages of their counterparts in more wealthy unionized states, then it is much harder to pay for housing, health care, or provide for their family. For the many union workers, union dues, usually around $20-30 a month include pension plans with as much as $1,700 or more in monthly retirement payments, health care programs, the ability to borrow money at very low interest rates from the credit union, job security and increased worker safety protections against injury or loss of life on the job in addiition to wages often 27% or more higher than their nonunionized counterparts. There is no better bargain for the mere $20-30 a month in union dues than this for the American working class.

If American workers would all like to share in the American dream, then getting rid of the oppressive right to work laws in every state is an important starting point. Right to work laws are wage and worker oppression. They must all go if all American workers want any hope to eventually share in the American dream.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Motor Scooters Are Great Fun And Good For The Environment As Well

Although gas prices have declined as of late, motor scooters offer a great form of alternatve transportation that has no equal for fun as well as environmental reasons. My Coolster F5 gets 94 miles a gallon. Your average hybrid automobile can do no better than barely half than that. And because of the light weight of scooters, smaller engines can keep right up with traffic with no struggle without the waste of hauling around 3,000 pounds of metal down the street with a much larger engine, often for only one person in the car. For most normal commuting to the grocery store, a motor scooter can carry back two big bags of groceries in the two trunks and with a field pack by the driver.

Motor scooters make a lot of sense in efforts to limit greenhouse gases and improving the environment. The only way to cut down on our own carbon profile is find ways such as motor scooters to cut down on pollution. Motor scooters offer an alternative to automobiles and SUVs which should only be used for longer commutes, or bicycles, which are limited by slow speed and limited by the amount of cargo they can carry.

In Asia, Europe, and many parts of the world, the motor scooter is an important form of transportation, saving both gas and the environment. Many newer scooters feature highly advanced four stroke engines with very little air pollution compared to the old two stroke models which burn a lot of oil with the gas due to this less advanced engine design.

The Coolster F5 is a good example of great Chinese mechanical engineering. This company located in Taizhou City, China builds around 37 models of motorcycles, motor scooters and ATVs, producing around 300,000 units each year. Their products sell for extremely reasonable prices, yet are a durable product and a great value. The fact of the matter is that China builds some very good products for a low price, and the motor scooters they produce often rate as a fantastic bargain when compared against the much higher priced models from Italy or other places.

I'm glad to limit my automobile use and use the motor scooter as much as I can. I put over 600km on this bike since this summer, and find it a very enjoyable form of transportation to run daily errands with. If you feel so inclined, then I invite every motorist to consider giving motor scooters a try. They're not for everyone. But they're great for fuel economy, the environment, and just plain way cool.

Clinton Leads Giuliani By 25 Points In New York State Poll

The choice of New York voters among the two most likely party nominees is Hillary Clinton over Rudolph Giuliani by a wide 25 point margin. The huge lead was noted in a new Rasmussen poll that shows support for Senator Clinton at a landslide 58 to 33% margin.

The good news in this is that once voters get to know Clinton, her negative rating falls and voters feel better about her. But the news seems to run just the oppposite for Giuliani, who appears to wear less well when voters know more about him. In national polls, Giuliani holds a narrow lead over Clinton by about 3 points. And the high negative rating by many voters towards Clinton seems a drag on her support currently. However, the New York results seem to indicate that Clinton might well be able to reverse this problem.

The heavy odds so far seem to indicate a highly likely Giuliani-Clinton race in 2008, with the main work for Clinton established to improve her image with voters and make herself marketable enough to win. However last week's small scandal involving a fugitive donor to the Clinton campaign only reminded some voters of the type of problems that plagued her husband while in office. Clinton may be able to weather this single event, however if any drip-drip of new donor scandals develops, then Clinton could well become damaged. However, so far neither Obama or Edwards have convinced most Democratic voters that they represent a viable alternative should Clinton falter.

In the general election campaign, Clinton will likely face a tough "Swift Boats_ type campaign that will attempt to derail her. She certainly has the toughness to beat back on such attacks. However, if too many new scandals involving donors develop, then the Clinton campaign could certainly falter. And Giuliani is hardly without his shortcomings as well, leaving him wide open to similiar character attacks on his personal life or his leadership and priorities as mayor, including his strongarm tactics as mayor. Both candidates have the real possibility to be rerailed by their own problems with character and the voters problems with both of them. But in the end, Clinton likely still wins. But her administration will likely be under some scrutiny, something like Richard Nixon was. You knew that he was smart enough and competant enough to do the job, but his character was his undoing. And Clinton could be similiarly plagued.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Republican Candidates And Lawmakers Largely Ignoring Working People On Labor Day

On the Rudolph Giuliani website, which is down for repairs, there is merely a generic "Happy Labor Day" posted. On the Fred Thompson website, Labor Day is not even mentioned by name, only that Thompson may enter the race after "Thursday" is noted. By contrast, Labor Day is important to John Edwards and others. And in labor publications all over America, messages from Republicans to working people and labor unions are nearly completely missing, while Democratic lawmakers all over the country took out paid ads to offer their best wishes to the working people of America on Labor Day.

Who do the Republicans count on to vote for them if they choose to ignore working people on an important day like Labor Day?

At one time, Republican candidates would nearly always accept an invitation to speak to labor and made a decent attempt to compete for votes among working people and seek endorsements from labor unions. But as the party has drifted farther to the right, and more and more Republican lawmakers fight against minimum wage increases and other legislation for the working people of America, it has become clear that many Republicans running for office are not interested in the votes of working people and do not represent the interests of working people when elected. This is ahame. There should be a broad consensus of support for working people among both parties, and it is a huge mistake for Republicans to turn their back on the working people of America and ignore their best interests.

It seems that not everyone really offers their best wishes to working people on Labor Day. But they really should.