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« Liberal Outrage: June 2007 | Main | Liberal Outrage: August 2007 »

Liberal Outrage

Dems showing spine?

Harry Reid wrote a letter to the Washington Post:

On reading the July 21 editorial "The Phony Debate," it became clear why The Post's editorial writers have been such eager cheerleaders for the Bush administration's flawed Iraq policies -- the two share the same disregard for the facts en route to drawing dubious conclusions.

The editorial was an inaccurate commentary on the nature of the Senate debate, the reality in Iraq and the president's stubborn adherence to failed policies.

Your editorial wrongly asserted that "a large majority of senators from both parties favor a shift in the U.S. mission." While a majority of the Senate voted again last week for a plan that would keep U.S. forces in Iraq for counterterrorism and troop protection and launch a diplomatic effort to help stabilize the region, Democrats were joined by only a handful of courageous Republicans -- far from a majority of Republicans and not enough to break the Republican leadership's filibuster. And if the president truly supports changing course, as your editorial implied, he needs to do much more than tell us "it's a position I'd like to see us in" -- he must drop his irresponsible veto threats and tell Republican leaders to stop blocking votes on proposals to carry out this change.

Finally, it was disingenuous to assert that Democrats are using Iraq to stir voters' passions; the American people are sufficiently disappointed on their own. Three-quarters of Americans recognize that the war is going badly, three out of five support further funding only if it includes a timetable for transitioning the mission, and nearly all expect their president to work with Congress to do something to change course.

More like this please. I sent him an encouraging email.


By fnord12 | July 27, 2007, 12:46 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link



Vegans Using A Much More Effective Strategy

I've long claimed that PETA must secretly work for the meat industry. Their radical, attention getting campaigns often seem designed to widen the rift between animal rights activists and the average person - burning effigies of Colonel Sanders, handing out Unhappy Meals full of torn up and bloodied stuffed animals, writing letters to Timothy McVeigh to convert to veganism before his execution - rather than increasing awareness of the inhumane conditions farm animals are subjected to. No reasonable person would expect to do this kind of stuff and expect anyone to be in the least interested in anything they might have to say afterwards, regardless of the truth of the message.

It's either this or they're just not very good strategists and also a bunch of freaks.

However, at long last, some shred of sense has surfaced from other groups.

Farm Sanctuary and other groups still know how to make the most of gory slaughterhouse footage from hidden cameras. The animals they call "rescued" -- some abandoned, some saved from natural disasters, some left for dead at slaughterhouses -- clearly started life as someone else's property.

But in recent years they have adopted more subtle tactics, like holding stock in major food corporations, organizing nimble political campaigns and lobbying lawmakers.

...

They don't demonize meat -- with the exception of foie gras and veal -- or the people who produce it. Instead, they use softer rhetoric, focusing on a campaign even committed carnivores can get behind: better conditions for farm animals.
...

"Instead of telling it like it is, we're learning to present things in a more moderate way," Baur said. "When it comes to this vegan ideal, that's an aspiration. Would I love everyone to be vegan? Yes. But we want to be respectful and not judgmental."
...

Temple Grandin, the animal science expert from Colorado State University who first led McDonald's executives on a tour of their suppliers' slaughterhouses, believes that activists had plenty of impact on changes in how farm animals are cared for.

"Activist pressure starts it because heat softens steel," she said.

Tank goff.


By min | July 25, 2007, 1:18 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link



GE Greenwash?

GE is going to offer a credit card where instead of the 1% cash back rebate, you earmark that money for use towards greenhouse gas reducing projects. It's called the GE Money Earth Rewards Platinum MasterCard.

GE will keep a running tally of the amounts, and each Earth Day it will use the total to buy offsets of greenhouse gas emissions. The offsets will be purchased by GE AES Greenhouse Gas Services, a joint venture between GE Energy Financial Services and AES, a power company.
...
"It's ironic," said Michael Brune, executive director of the Rainforest Action Network. "GE supplies parts for coal-fired plants, so its credit card offsets emissions it helps create."

Others worry about more direct conflicts of interest. At the new card's Web site, myearthrewards.com, consumers can calculate their carbon footprint and read tips for reducing it, like buying compact fluorescent light bulbs and energy-efficient appliances, items that GE sells. GE is also a big player in carbon offset projects, both directly as an investor and indirectly as a maker of wind turbines and other alternative energy devices.

Kevin Walsh, managing director for renewable energy at GE Energy Financial Services, said GE was supporting only projects that were certified by third parties to be effective and that would not have happened without carbon offsets.

The GE joint venture will buy offsets from projects that capture methane from landfills and coal mines, adding reforestation and alternative energy projects later.

...

GE is keeping everything about the card as green as possible. It is spurning paper applications, insisting that people apply online or by phone. Although by law it must send paper bills when asked, it is encouraging cardholders to receive and pay their bills online. It plans no direct mail.

While i agree with the environmentalists who are skeptical of GE's motives and methods, i also think that when companies do stuff like this, we should encourage them so that they continue to do so. If something's profitable, they will do it. That's what a corporation's all about. Making profit. Also, when a big company does something like this successfully, it can lead to others following suit. That's the whole point of targeting a company like Coca-Cola. Yeah, it's more than likely that every other soda company is doing the same awful things Coke is doing, but if you push Coke to make the change, it will influence how the smaller brands choose to operate.

I've got the cash back gas card from Discover right now. It's always a good idea when you get the company to give you money. But now i'll have to seriously consider making a switch.


By min | July 25, 2007, 10:25 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (2)| Link



Pray he does not alter them further.

Bush alters rules for interrogations.

Best line:

The White House declined to say whether the CIA currently has a detention and interrogation program, but said if it did, it must adhere to the guidelines outlined in the executive order.

Bush then goes on to offer exactly no details behind the change (i.e., is waterboarding allowed?). This is not news, people. There is nothing of substance here. This is propaganda. Stop reporting on it.


By fnord12 | July 20, 2007, 2:51 PM | Liberal Outrage & Star Wars | Link



Kids! Preserve Your Stickiness!

"You have to look at why sex was created," Eric Love, the director of the East Texas Abstinence Program, which runs Virginity Rules, said one day, the sounds of Christian contemporary music humming faintly in his Longview office. "Sex was designed to bond two people together."

To make the point, Love grabbed a tape dispenser and snapped off two fresh pieces. He slapped them to his filing cabinet and the floor; they trapped dirt, lint, a small metal bolt. "Now when it comes time for them to get married, the marriage pulls apart so easily," he said, trying to unite the grimy strips. "Why? Because they gave the stickiness away."
[emphasis mine]

Link


By min | July 19, 2007, 1:01 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (2)| Link



Ineffectual

Power of Narrative:

This past week, the United States Senate passed unanimously -- 97 to 0 -- what amounted to a declaration of war against Iran. A few weeks ago, the House passed a resolution -- 411 to 2 -- that similarly provided an alleged rationale for war against Iran. In this manner, Congress, nominally controlled by the opposition party, has granted the Bush administration advance approval for the commencement of hostilities against Iran. Since the Senate has announced, with no dissenting votes at all, that Iran is itself responsible for acts of war against the United States, and the House has stated, with only two voices in opposition, that Iran is illegally and clandestinely developing nuclear weapons, no prominent Democrat will be able to offer any principled, significant policy objection when Bush announces that the bombs have already begun to fall.
...
Several days ago, I offered some harsh words about the lack of sustained protest to these developments on the part of those who say they are deeply opposed to the current administration. The truth appears to be still worse. In looking over some of the major liberal and progressive blogs last evening and this morning, I see that several of them have not even mentioned the Senate resolution from several days ago. Are these bloggers truly so unintelligent that they fail to see the significance of this action? I don't think so. So what explains this silence? Is it simply that they refuse to criticize the Democrats on a matter of such grave significance? Is their tribal loyalty the value of greatest importance to them?
...
Perhaps people think that nothing they do at this point can alter what seems close to inevitable. It may be that even large-scale, continuing public protest would change nothing -- but we don't know that. Since it hasn't been tried, it is impossible to predict what the effects might be. And permit me to offer a recent example, an instance where activism on the part of a large number of "ordinary" Americans did in fact change an outcome of some significance.

In terms of substance, I view the example as a profoundly unfortunate one, for it has to do with the defeat of the immigration bill. I viewed that bill as a terrible one, but for reasons directly opposed to those offered by its loudest opponents...

...
I listened to a number of conservative talk radio shows during both recent periods when the immigration bill came up for consideration: Limbaugh, Hannity, Al Rantel here in Los Angeles, Mark Levin, and several others. On both occasions, all of the shows talked about the immigration bill all the time. They discussed what they viewed as its inevitable awful results, why it was "unAmerican," how it would destroy our country, and included the other standard rightwing talking points on this subject.

And they all did something else: they told their listeners to call and email people in Congress, and to call and email various Republican organizations, including the Republican National Committee, and to take all these actions repeatedly. They provided phone numbers and email addresses, and they indicated the general message that should be conveyed. They didn't do this only once in one show: they did it throughout their shows, on every show, for over a week both times. The message was unceasing and unrelenting. It was repeated over and over and over. You couldn't listen to one of the major conservative talk shows without hearing it within five minutes of tuning in. It went on all the time.

One part of the message deserves particular note, and all of the shows I heard made the same point: they condemned those Republicans, including Bush, who supported the bill without mercy. They told people to inform the RNC and all the appropriate Congressmen and Senators that they would receive no further support of any kind, including financial support, unless the bill was defeated. In their view, support of the bill was a betrayal of core conservative principles. They therefore maintained that any such alleged "conservatives" did not deserve to be in office. As one, they said that these betrayers of the conservative faith should not hold power any longer -- and that the principles they believed were imperiled were more important than the continuation in power by the Republican party.

As a result of all these shows hammering the identical theme without interruption, in every hour of every show on multiple shows for days at a time, Congress was inundated with calls and messages from deeply angry Republicans. And here is the point to take home: it worked.

...
I also listen to a number of liberal talk shows. Over the last few years, I have never heard anything similar on the liberal shows. Never. Not about the Military Commissions Act, not about the Roberts, Alito or Gonzales nominations, not about ending the immoral and criminal occupation of Iraq -- and not about preventing an attack on Iran.

Not on any of these issues. Never. Nor have I ever seen a similar kind of effort on the liberal and progressive blogs. Never. Every once in a while, the liberal blogs will urge action on perhaps on a single day, maybe two -- and then the issue vanishes until some new development (not brought about by the bloggers themselves) might catapult it into public consciousness again. Such tactics are sporadic, severely limited in time and scope, very infrequent, and completely ineffective.

I hesitate to say that the conservatives who worked so hard to defeat the immigration bill are "serious" about their ideas. That word grants them a stature that is entirely undeserved, particularly since the reasons for their opposition are so viciously ignorant. But I will acknowledge that they care about their ideas and that they are committed to them, in a way that it appears liberals and progressives are not.

With the exception of Kucinich's proposal to defund the Iraq catastrophe entirely, not one of the Democrats' proposed plans for "redeployment" will end the occupation of Iraq: all of them allow for the presence of tens of thousands of American troops into the indefinite future. Do the liberals and progressives have any serious, sustained objection to that? Apparently not.

But much more significantly: do the liberals and progressives seriously object to an attack on Iran? The Congressional Democrats obviously don't. Do the liberal writers and bloggers? To judge from their actions, it doesn't appear they do either -- and certainly not when compared to the recent sustained assault mounted by conservatives.

I can only conclude that most liberals and progressives care only about maintaining and expanding their control and power, and that they are determined not to "rock the boat" too much before 2008.

He may be on the dramatic side, and he's probably discounting the difference in power between the right and left's propaganda machines (and who is behind them) a lot more than he ought to, but i think he's more right than wrong.


By fnord12 | July 17, 2007, 1:45 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link



Pope Ratzinger Making Friends

It's good that the new Pope is all about openess and acceptance of others.

Pope Benedict XVI reasserted the primacy of the Roman Catholic Church, approving a document released Tuesday that says other Christian communities are either defective or not true churches and Catholicism provides the only true path to salvation.
...
The new document restates key sections of a 2000 text the pope wrote when he was prefect of the congregation, "Dominus Iesus," which riled Protestant and other Christian denominations because it said they were not true churches but merely ecclesial communities and therefore did not have the "means of salvation."
...
The other communities "cannot be called 'churches' in the proper sense" because they do not have apostolic succession -- the ability to trace their bishops back to Christ's original apostles -- and therefore their priestly ordinations are not valid, it said.

The document said Orthodox churches were indeed "churches" because they have apostolic succession and enjoyed "many elements of sanctification and of truth." But it said they do not recognize the primacy of the pope, a defect, or a "wound" that harmed them, it said.

Link

He's also reinstated Latin masses which certainly makes it all much more ceremonial, but much less comprehensible. Although, i don't know how many people actually are awake during mass anyway.

From 1962-1965, the Roman Catholic Church held a Second Vatican Council (Vatican II) commonly held to be a big step towards building bridges between the Christian religions. Ratzinger was present at the time as a theological consultant. Why in a council full of religious heads you need a theological consultant is beyond me, but there it is.

Now the Pope is saying that people have been completely misinterpreting what Vatican II was really saying. That's completely possible. Most of the speeches were in Latin, ferchrissakes. Who the hell knows what they decided. This is what happens when you don't have a summary of the bulletpoints at the end of every meeting. Everybody starts interpreting the results in their own way.

This has totally peeved off....well, every Christian who isn't Catholic, basically. He's saying they're not real churches and can't really offer anyone salvation. Besides all the religious stuff they're doing "wrong," they don't recognize the power of the Pope. It's lines like that that make me wonder if he and Cheney are related.

I'm sure as far as Catholic law goes, he's completely right. But they're not Catholic. So bugger off.

On the other hand (as pointed out by fnord12), there's all this hoopla by the Protestants over the Pope taking a step backwards from Christian unity, but are they equally outspoken against Pat Robertson and the 700 Club which contantly talks about Catholicism not being a true Christian religion?


By min | July 13, 2007, 8:10 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (9)| Link



Contempt for democracy

Carl Levin has proposed legislation that will remove some or most of the troops from Iraq by April 30th, 2008, leaving plenty of the troops still in Iraq to get shot at in a hopeless situation. By absolute standards, this is wimpy legislation, but it's the strongest we've seen so far so i guess i should be glad to see it.

But look at Bush's response:

Rebuffing all such talk, President Bush said he won't succumb to political pressure. During a visit to Parma, Ohio on Tuesday, he reiterated that troop levels in Iraq "will be decided by our commanders on the ground, not by political figures in Washington, D.C."

"I fully understand that this is a difficult war. It's hard on the American people but I will once again explain the consequences of failure," he said.

Two points (and i know none of this is new; just bear with me and let me rant):

  • In a democratic republic, all decisions are made by political "figures", also knows as "representatives", not military leaders. When military leaders make the decisions, that is called a military dictatorship.
  • '*Sigh*. Once again, i will explain to you ignorant peasants the consequences of failure.' This from the dumb stooge who got us into this mess in the first place. The man who doesn't know a Shia from a Sunni is going to lecture me on the consequences of actions in the Middle East?

By fnord12 | July 10, 2007, 1:40 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link



Taking over

Cindy Sheehan is threatening to run against Nancy Pelosi. This is what we need. More challenges from the left. I think she'd have a very good chance.

Update: Don't expect Daily "we support people who call themselves Democrats no matter their views or effectiveness" Kos to support Sheehan if she runs.


By fnord12 | July 10, 2007, 11:57 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link



Sinkholes

"Sinkholes" have always been a problem in the reclaimed swampland of Florida. Now they're opening up in places like Portland, where one swallowed a sewer-repair truck, Brooklyn, N.Y., where firefighters rescued a grandmother who fell into a hole that opened up as she walked down the sidewalk with her groceries and an SUV plunged nose-first into the abyss, and in Hershey, Pa., where a 6-foot-deep hole nearly caused the cancellation of the local New Year's Eve celebration. An 11-foot-deep one is dominating the intersection of Cherry and Franklin Streets in Palmyra, Pa., as I write.

These all were entirely preventable. They happen when century-old sewage pipes and mains spring leaks and erode. The ground above them collapses.

It used to be that when a new national problem became impossible to ignore, the federal government galvanized resources to fix it. But there isn't even a nationwide tally of how many sinkholes there are. The Environmental Protection Agency has projected that half the water pipes in the nation will be in either poor, very poor, or "life elapsed" status within 13 years. The EPA has sprung to the rescue this way - by telling municipalities to spend more money, like it's not a national problem at all. Like Howard Dean said in 2004: that means they'll have to raise taxes.

But conservatives keep telling us: Taxes are evil.

You know what's more evil? Last summer, in a suburb near Dallas, a 2-year-old boy, Elian Majano, disappeared. A bloodhound traced his scent to a sinkhole in a public park caused by a broken sewage pipeline.

The American Society of Civil Engineers tells us the situation hasn't been healthy for some decades; their first "Report Card for America's Infrastructure" gave wastewater pipes a "C." That was 1988. Now that George Bush's tax cuts have been added to Reagan's, their latest grade is "D-minus." You would think a great nation would be able to afford, you know, to keep children from drowning in crap. It would cost, the civil engineers tell us, about $390 billion.

These are the basics, people. When your government can't handle the basics, you are a third world country.


By fnord12 | July 10, 2007, 11:52 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link



Ozzy Involved in Foreign Politics

After 14 failed attempts at joining the United Nations using media campaigns and presidential appeals, Taiwan is turning to a local goth-style rock band backed by Ozzy Osbourne in its quest for membership to the world body.

The band, named ChthoniC, will travel to at least 80 cities in four countries by the end of the year, supported in part by the Taiwan government, which is providing pro-U.N. literature and a slogan-painted truck.

The band will visit Canada, Germany, Britain and the United States.

Link

All i have to say is "Not enough DIO".


By min | July 5, 2007, 1:16 PM | Liberal Outrage & Music | Link



Save Us From the Immigrants!!

Clearly, it's just "cleanliness" we're concerned with here. You understand.

Since Katrina, the population of immigrant Hispanic laborers has increased significantly in New Orleans. As a result of that, lunch trucks run by Mexican and Central Americans have also appeared in numbers. As you might expect, this is not exactly a welcome turn of events to some.

Still, the Jefferson Parish councilman who restricted the trucks characterized them as unwanted residue from the hurricane.

"We've been trying to handle blighted housing, FEMA trailers, abandoned housing," said Louis Congemi, whose zoning ordinance takes effect this weekend and is expected to clear the parish of taco trucks. "This is just one more thing we're trying to get under control to make sure we bring our parish back to normalcy."

Congemi added: "You have to be concerned about the cleanliness of these vehicles."

Ahhhh.....normalcy and cleanliness. How wonderful. We just need a quote from him about "those people" to make it complete.

They were banned for being "eyesores" and "health hazards". There's no picture of the trucks in the article or of how much space they take or anything, so i can't speak to them being eyesores. However, as far as being health hazards,

Louisiana state records show licenses for about 40 taco trucks in Jefferson and Orleans parishes. They are inspected annually, like all street vendors.

"They're up to speed with their licensing," department spokesman Bob Johannessen said. "We haven't received any sort of complaint about food quality, anything that would indicate a public health concern."

And also

"It's better than Taco Bell. I can tell you that," said Michael Gould, 53, who lined up at Fuentes' truck during a recent lunch hour.

Ok, if you've got a Taco Bell or a McDonalds open in the area, you cannot seriously be making the "health hazard" claim for banning the trucks. That dog won't hunt.

Anybody who has ever worked in any type of food service industry can attest to how disgusting the kitchen of any restaurant is and they're inspected regularly, too. So, if these trucks are up-to-date on their inspections and licensing, i don't see how they should be categorized as health hazards over any other restaurant.

The mayor had previously made a bit of a snafu when he commented that businesses were concerned about making sure they weren't overrun by Mexican workers and had to back-track on that during his re-election campaign. So, trying to steer clear of controversy, Nagin's spokesperson had this to say:

"I'm more than sure it is welcome in the city," said David Robinson-Morris, a spokesman for Mayor Ray Nagin. "It is providing a service, and it is a part of our sales tax revenue."

As one lunch truck owner is quoted as saying, "I'm looking for an opportunity. That's why I left my country, and that's what led me here...That's what they call the American Dream, isn't it?".

That is what they call it. However, i'm not sure if they meant that to include everyone.


By min | July 3, 2007, 1:28 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (4)| Link



Gay Leader Quits Homosexuality

I have no idea who this guy is. I got the link from gmac. Apparently, he was an influential proponent of gay rights. He was the founder and editor of Young Gay America magazine, received the National Role Model Award (where the hell is my award, dammit!), and was often quoted in the media.

Well, no more! He got better. Now he's straight, and he wants to get the word out that you, too, can be saved from your sin.

Homosexuality came easy to me, because I was already weak.
...
Homosexuality, delivered to young minds, is by its very nature pornographic. It destroys impressionable minds and confuses their developing sexuality...
...
I'd developed a growing relationship with God, thanks to a debilitating bout with intestinal cramps caused by the upset stomach-inducing behaviors I'd been engaged in.

Soon, I began to understand things I'd never known could possibly be real, such as the fact that I was leading a movement of sin and corruption -- which is not to sound as though my discovery was based on dogma, because decidedly it was not.

I came to the conclusions on my own.

It became clear to me, as I really thought about it -- and really prayed about it -- that homosexuality prevents us from finding our true self within. We cannot see the truth when we're blinded by homosexuality.

...

God came to me when I was confused and lost, alone, afraid and upset. He told me -- through prayer -- that I had nothing at all to be afraid of, and that I was home; I just needed to do a little house cleaning in my mind.

I believe that all people, intrinsically, know the truth. I believe that is why Christianity scares people so much.

I think that what scares us about Christianity is that some guy calling himself "God" keeps coming around whispering in my ear and telling me shit. I don't know about you, but i consider that stalking.

How come when people hear voices and say it was God, it's ok? I mean, really, if someone told me that they heard a voice speaking to them in their head, i'd tell them to get help.

I'm uncertain just based on his article what it was that made him go from a gay rights activist to "if it ain't about making babies, it's just plain wrong". Every sperm is sacred, afterall.

Can we go back to making Logic and Reasoning required curriculum? If crazy people want to present an argument, i'm all for it. I just wish it would at least make sense and follow a logical progression. Is that really so much to ask?

Who wants to lay odds on hearing a story sometime in the future about him being arrested at a rest stop?


By min | July 3, 2007, 11:38 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link



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