Friday, January 18, 2008

Obama Praises Reagan for being Against Civil, Women's Rights


Obama Appears to Laud Reagan for Confronting 1960-70s “Excesses”In campaign news, Senator Barack Obama is coming under criticism for appearing to slight the civil rights and feminist movements while expressing admiration for former President Ronald Reagan. In an interview with the editorial board of the Reno Gazette, Obama lauded Reagan’s challenge to what Obama called the “excesses” of the 1960s and 1970s.

Senator Barack Obama: “I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not. He put us on a fundamentally different path, because the country was ready for it. I think they felt like with all the excesses of the 1960s and 1970s and government had grown and grown, but there wasn’t much sense of accountability in terms of how it was operating. I think people—he just tapped into what people were already feeling, which was we want clarity, we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing."

Obama did not specify what he believes those “excesses” were. But Reagan is widely credited with leading a rightwing backlash against the gains of the civil rights and feminist movements that preceded his 1980 election.

John Edwards Criticizes Obama for Reagan Admiration
Obama meanwhile is coming under criticism for his comments praising former President Ronald Reagan. In an interview with the Reno Gazette-Journal this week, Obama appeared to express admiration for what he called Reagan’s ‘clarity’ and ‘optimism’ in overcoming the “excesses” of the 1960s and ‘70s. In response, rival candidate John Edwards said: “[Reagan] did extraordinary damage to the middle class and working people, created a tax structure that favored the very wealthiest Americans and caused the middle class and working people to struggle every single day… I can promise you this: [I] will never use Ronald Reagan as an example for change.”

Canada Places US and Israel on Torture Watch List

Go to Reuters original

Canada’s foreign ministry has put the United States and Israel on a watch list of countries where prisoners risk being tortured and also classifies some U.S. interrogation techniques as torture, according to a document obtained by Reuters on Thursday.


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Report: Global freedom declined in 2007

Go to Associated Press original

WASHINGTON - Freedom declined in 2007 for a second consecutive year as 36 percent of the people in the world — about half of them in China — were not living in freedom, according to a survey by a private democracy watchdog organization.


Next Season's New TV Shows, Grammys Likely Dead

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four major studios have canceled dozens of writer contracts in a possible concession that the current television season cannot be saved, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday. The move means the 2-month-old writers strike may also endanger next season's new shows, the newspaper said.

January is usually the beginning of pilot season, when networks order new scripted shows. But the strike leaves networks without a pool of comedy and drama scripts from which to choose.

CBS Paramount Network Television, 20th Century Fox Television, NBC Universal and Warner Bros. Television told the Times they have terminated development and production agreements.

Seperately, Gregg Mitchell, a spokesman for the Writers Guild of America, said Grammy organizers have not asked for a waiver allowing writers to work on the show - and that a waiver is unlikely to be granted if requested.


Did you Know?--Barack Obama... NOT a Muslim. Obama is a Christian, always was. Right-wing operatives have started a stealth campaign to peg him as a Muslim educated in a Midrasha in Indonesia. Though he his middle name is "Hussein" (which means "beautiful, little one") his Kenyan father and white-American mother raised him as a Christian, the religion he has been his entire life. And while he did attend an Indonesian school, it was a diverse, secular school with children of many races and faiths much like an American public school. And now you know...

Intel. Chief Wants to Monitor All Internet Traffic

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(from news from Washington, the head of the nation’s spy agencies has revealed the government wants the authority to read all information crossing the Internet in the United States including personal email messages. The New Yorker Magazine reports National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell is drafting a plan to rewrite the rules about online surveillance. He told the magazine the debate on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act will “be a walk in the park compared to this.”


UK Prisoners to be Micro-chipped

Go to UK Independent original

Ministers are planning to implant "machine-readable" microchips under the skin of thousands of offenders as part of an expansion of the electronic tagging scheme that would create more space in British jails.
Amid concerns about the security of existing tagging systems and prison overcrowding, the Ministry of Justice is investigating the use of satellite and radio-wave technology to monitor criminals.


NV Polls: 3-Way Tie

Go to Reno Journal-Gazzette poll


AP: Odds Are Growing for Recession

Go to Associated Press original

WASHINGTON (AP) — The unemployment rate leaps to a two-year high, record numbers of people are forced from their homes and Wall Street nose-dives again. Such is the fallout from a housing meltdown that threatens to slingshot the country into a recession.
The big economic question these days is whether the weakening economy will survive the strains or collapse under them.


Major Corporate Layoff Plague New Year

Nokia and Sprint



Midway Games

Merrill Lynch

Warner Bros. & ABC Studios

American Woodmark

Monday, January 14, 2008

Sewage Becomes Drinking Water in OC. Is "Toilet-to-Tap" Coming to You?

Go to LA Times

As a hedge against water shortages and population growth, Orange County, Calif., has begun operating the world's largest, most modern reclamation plant — a facility that can turn 70 million gallons of treated sewage into drinking water every day.
The new purification system at the Orange County Water District headquarters cost about $490 million and comprises a labyrinth of pipes, filters, holding tanks and pumps across 20 acres.
The finished product will be injected into the county's vast groundwater basin to combat saltwater intrusion and supplement drinking-water supplies for 2.3 million people in coastal, central and northern Orange County.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Naomi Klein's "The Shock Doctrine" Part 1 (of 6)

Bill Richardson Ends Bid for Prez

Go to AP original

MERRIMACK, N.H. - New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson ended his campaign for the presidency Wednesday after twin fourth-place finishes that showed his impressive credentials could not compete with his rivals' star power.


Judge Won't inquire into CIA Tapes Tapes

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WASHINGTON - A federal judge refused on Wednesday to delve into the destruction of CIA interrogation videos, saying there was no evidence the Bush administration violated a court order and the Justice Department deserved time to conduct its own investigation.


U.S. Reconsidering Amnesty for Immigrants With Abusive Spouses


In immigration news, the U.S. government is considering doing away with a longstanding policy that allows immigrant wives to remain in the country when an abusive spouse refuses to sponsor their stay. More than 30,000 immigrant women have been granted visas under the Violence Against Women Act since 1994. Many of then have given birth to children in the U.S. Attorneys for immigrant women say green-card applications have been put on hold as immigration agencies await a decision on the policy review.

U.S. Last In Halting Preventable Death

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The U.S. today finds itself last on a new list of countries seeking to curb preventable deaths in people younger than 75.
Not only does the U.S. have the worst spot on that list, its rate of improvement is also slower than the other 18 industrialized nations included in the study.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Clinton, McCain Win NH Primary, Resurrect Their Campaigns

Polls were wrong as Democratic and Republican victories surprise the TV "experts." Obama close second for Dems, Edwaeds distant third. For GOP, Romney loses in his own backyard, Iowa winner Huckabee fades as Thompson and Guliani barely show.

FDA To Approve Sale of Cloned Meat & Milk

The Wall Street Journal is reporting the Food and Drug Administration is preparing to declare that meat and milk from cloned animals and their offspring are safe to eat. Joseph Mendelson of the Center for Food Safety warned about the dangers of cloned livestock. Mendelson said: “Once the FDA says these products are safe and that they are out there, it’s very hard to turn it back.”

Friday, January 4, 2008

The Truth About Our Food

16 States Sue EPA Over Gas Emissions

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California led 15 other states and five environmental groups into federal court Wednesday to challenge the Bush administration's refusal to let the state limit vehicle emissions of gases that contribute to global warming.
In a lawsuit filed in San Francisco, the state accused the Environmental Protection Agency of exceeding its authority when it barred California last month from enforcing limits on cars and trucks starting with the 2009 model year, the first law of its kind in the nation. The state needed the EPA's approval to implement clean-air standards that are stricter than federal rules.


Thursday, January 3, 2008

When's Your Presidential Primary?

A complete list of dates here [click]

Iowa: Obama wins for Dems with Edwards 2nd, Huckabee wins GOP

BREAKING: Sens. Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Joe Biden (D-DE) drop out of Prez Race

96% of Iowa Precincts reporting
Obama 902 delegates 38%
Edwards 718 delegates 30%
Clinton 706 delegates 29%
Richardson 50 delegates 2%
Biden 22 delegates 1%
Uncommitted 3 delegates 0%
Dodd 1 delegate 0%
Gravel 0 delegates 0%
Kucinich 0 delegates 0%

73% of Iowa Precincts reporting
Huckabee 28,762 delegates 34%
Romney 21,213 delegates 25%
Thompson 11,522 delegates 14%
McCain 11,281 delegates 13%
Paul 8,549 delegates 10%
Giuliani 3,053 delegates 4%
Hunter 366 delegates 0%

John Edwards gets Endorsements from Nader, Moore and Unions

Michael Moore's letter supporting John Edwards:
Wednesday, January 2nd, 2008
Who Do We Vote For This Time Around? A Letter from Michael Moore


A new year has begun. And before we've had a chance to break our New Year's resolutions, we find ourselves with a little more than 24 hours before the good people of Iowa tell us whom they would like to replace the man who now occupies three countries and a white house.

Twice before, we have begun the process to stop this man, and twice we have failed. Eight years of our lives as Americans will have been lost, the world left in upheaval against us... and yet now, today, we hope against hope that our moment has finally arrived, that the amazingly powerful force of the Republican Party will somehow be halted. But we know that the Democrats are experts at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, and if there's a way to blow this election, they will find it and do it with gusto.

Do you feel the same as me? That the Democratic front-runners are a less-than-stellar group of candidates, and that none of them are the "slam dunk" we wish they were? Of course, there are wonderful things about each of them. Any one of them would be infinitely better than what we have now. Personally, Congressman Kucinich, more than any other candidate, shares the same positions that I have on the issues (although the UFO that picked ME up would only take me as far as Kalamazoo). But let's not waste time talking about Dennis. Even he is resigned to losing, with statements like the one he made yesterday to his supporters in Iowa to throw their support to Senator Obama as their "second choice."

So, it's Hillary, Obama, Edwards -- now what do we do?

Two months ago, Rolling Stone magazine asked me to do a cover story where I would ask the hard questions that no one was asking in one-on-one interviews with Senators Clinton, Obama and Edwards. "The Top Democrats Face Off with Michael Moore." The deal was that all three candidates had to agree to let me interview them or there was no story. Obama and Edwards agreed. Mrs. Clinton said no, and the cover story was thus killed.

Why would the love of my life, Hillary Clinton, not sit down to talk with me? What was she afraid of?

Those of you who are longtime readers of mine may remember that 11 years ago I wrote a chapter (in my first book) entitled, "My Forbidden Love for Hillary." I was fed up with the treatment she was getting, most of it boringly sexist, and I thought somebody should stand up for her. I later met her and she thanked me for referring to her as "one hot s***kicking feminist babe." I supported and contributed to her run for the U.S. Senate. I think she is a decent and smart person who loves this country, cares deeply about kids, and has put up with more crap than anyone I know of (other than me) from the Crazy Right. Her inauguration would be a thrilling sight, ending 218 years of white male rule in a country where 51% of its citizens are female and 64% are either female or people of color.

And yet, I am sad to say, nothing has disappointed me more than the disastrous, premeditated vote by Senator Hillary Clinton to send us to war in Iraq. I'm not only talking about her first vote that gave Mr. Bush his "authorization" to invade -- I'm talking about every single OTHER vote she then cast for the next four years, backing and funding Bush's illegal war, and doing so with verve. She never met a request from the White House for war authorization that she didn't like. Unlike the Kerrys and the Bidens who initially voted for authorization but later came to realize the folly of their decision, Mrs. Clinton continued to cast numerous votes for the war until last March -- four long years of pro-war votes, even after 70% of the American public had turned against the war. She has steadfastly refused to say that she was wrong about any of this, and she will not apologize for her culpability in America's worst-ever foreign policy disaster. All she can bring herself to say is that she was "misled" by "faulty intelligence."

Let's assume that's true. Do you want a President who is so easily misled? I wasn't "misled," and millions of others who took to the streets in February of 2003 weren't "misled" either. It was simply amazing that we knew the war was wrong when none of us had been briefed by the CIA, none of us were national security experts, and none of us had gone on a weapons inspection tour of Iraq. And yet... we knew we were being lied to! Let me ask those of you reading this letter: Were YOU "misled" -- or did you figure it out sometime between October of 2002 and March of 2007 that George W. Bush was up to something rotten? Twenty-three other senators were smart enough to figure it out and vote against the war from the get-go. Why wasn't Senator Clinton?

I have a theory: Hillary knows the sexist country we still live in and that one of the reasons the public, in the past, would never consider a woman as president is because she would also be commander in chief. The majority of Americans were concerned that a woman would not be as likely to go to war as a man (horror of horrors!). So, in order to placate that mindset, perhaps she believed she had to be as "tough" as a man, she had to be willing to push The Button if necessary, and give the generals whatever they wanted. If this is, in fact, what has motivated her pro-war votes, then this would truly make her a scary first-term president. If the U.S. is faced with some unforeseen threat in her first years, she knows that in order to get re-elected she'd better be ready to go all Maggie Thatcher on whoever sneezes in our direction. Do we want to risk this, hoping the world makes it in one piece to her second term?

I have not even touched on her other numerous -- and horrendous -- votes in the Senate, especially those that have made the middle class suffer even more (she voted for Bush's first bankruptcy bill, and she is now the leading recipient of payoff money -- I mean campaign contributions -- from the health care industry). I know a lot of you want to see her elected, and there is a very good chance that will happen. There will be plenty of time to vote for her in the general election if all the pollsters are correct. But in the primaries and caucuses, isn't this the time to vote for the person who most reflects the values and politics you hold dear? Can you, in good conscience, vote for someone who so energetically voted over and over and over again for the war in Iraq? Please give this serious consideration.

Now, on to the two candidates who did agree to do the interview with me...

Barack Obama is a good and inspiring man. What a breath of fresh air! There's no doubting his sincerity or his commitment to trying to straighten things out in this country. But who is he? I mean, other than a guy who gives a great speech? How much do any of us really know about him? I know he was against the war. How do I know that? He gave a speech before the war started. But since he joined the senate, he has voted for the funds for the war, while at the same time saying we should get out. He says he's for the little guy, but then he votes for a corporate-backed bill to make it harder for the little guy to file a class action suit when his kid swallows lead paint from a Chinese-made toy. In fact, Obama doesn't think Wall Street is a bad place. He wants the insurance companies to help us develop a new health care plan -- the same companies who have created the mess in the first place. He's such a feel-good kinda guy, I get the sense that, if elected, the Republicans will eat him for breakfast. He won't even have time to make a good speech about it.

But this may be a bit harsh. Senator Obama has a big heart, and that heart is in the right place. Is he electable? Will more than 50% of America vote for him? We'd like to believe they would. We'd like to believe America has changed, wouldn't we? Obama lets us feel better about ourselves -- and as we look out the window at the guy snowplowing his driveway across the street, we want to believe he's changed, too. But are we dreaming?

And then there's John Edwards.

It's hard to get past the hair, isn't it? But once you do -- and recently I have chosen to try -- you find a man who is out to take on the wealthy and powerful who have made life so miserable for so many. A candidate who says things like this: "I absolutely believe to my soul that this corporate greed and corporate power has an ironclad hold on our democracy." Whoa. We haven't heard anyone talk like that in a while, at least not anyone who is near the top of the polls. I suspect this is why Edwards is doing so well in Iowa, even though he has nowhere near the stash of cash the other two have. He won't take the big checks from the corporate PACs, and he is alone among the top three candidates in agreeing to limit his spending and be publicly funded. He has said, point-blank, that he's going after the drug companies and the oil companies and anyone else who is messing with the American worker. The media clearly find him to be a threat, probably because he will go after their monopolistic power, too. This is Roosevelt/Truman kind of talk. That's why it's resonating with people in Iowa, even though he doesn't get the attention Obama and Hillary get -- and that lack of coverage may cost him the first place spot tomorrow night. After all, he is one of those white guys who's been running things for far too long.

And he voted for the war. But unlike Senator Clinton, he has stated quite forcefully that he was wrong. And he has remorse. Should he be forgiven? Did he learn his lesson? Like Hillary and Obama, he refused to promise in a September debate that there will be no U.S. troops in Iraq by the end of his first term in 2013. But this week in Iowa, he changed his mind. He went further than Clinton and Obama and said he'd have all the troops home in less than a year.

Edwards is the only one of the three front-runners who has a universal health care plan that will lead to the single-payer kind all other civilized countries have. His plan doesn't go as fast as I would like, but he is the only one who has correctly pointed out that the health insurance companies are the enemy and should not have a seat at the table.

I am not endorsing anyone at this point. This is simply how I feel in the first week of the process to replace George W. Bush. For months I've been wanting to ask the question, "Where are you, Al Gore?" You can only polish that Oscar for so long. And the Nobel was decided by Scandinavians! I don't blame you for not wanting to enter the viper pit again after you already won. But getting us to change out our incandescent light bulbs for some irritating fluorescent ones isn't going to save the world. All it's going to do is make us more agitated and jumpy and feeling like once we get home we haven't really left the office.

On second thought, would you even be willing to utter the words, "I absolutely believe to my soul that this corporate greed and corporate power has an ironclad hold on our democracy?" 'Cause the candidate who understands that, and who sees it as the root of all evil -- including the root of global warming -- is the President who may lead us to a place of sanity, justice and peace.


Michael Moore (not an Iowa voter, but appreciative of any state that has a town named after a sofa)

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The Battle Over New Orleans Public Housing

US Has Become "Endemic Surveillance Society"

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In a report released by Privacy International, the United States has dropped from an "extensive surveillance society" to an "endemic surveillance society," joining the ranks of Singapore, China, Russia, the UK, Malaysia, Thailand, and Taiwan.


Report: Bhutto Was Preparing to Accuse Musharraf of Rigging Election

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McClatchey newspapers has revealed that on the day of her death, Bhutto was planning to give two visiting U.S. lawmakers a 160-page document accusing the Musharraf government and Pakistan’s intelligence agencies of preparing to rig the Jan. 8 vote. Bhutto was scheduled to meet with Sen. Arlen Specter and Congressman Patrick Kennedy just hours after she was shot.

300 Die in Kenya in Post-Election Fighting

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In Kenya, at least 300 people have died in ethnic fighting following last week’s disputed presidential election. At least 30 people were burned alive on Tuesday when a church was set on fire. Police estimated that 75,000 Kenyans have fled their homes due to what has been described as the worst violence in Kenya since 1982. On Sunday, Kenya’s election commission declared president Mwai Kibaki the winner of Thursday’s election but immediately questions were raised about the fairness of the vote. Early results showed opposition leader Raila Odinga well ahead. In some areas, there were more votes for the president than registered voters. The European Union said that there was clear evidence of ballot rigging.

Texas: Background Checks Before Evacuation

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During the next hurricane in Texas, evacuees may be subject to criminal background checks. The Houston Chronicle reports Texans seeking to escape the next hurricane or state emergency by evacuation bus will first be submitted to criminal background checks, the state's emergency management director says.