Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Obama and the Democrats Have a Problem


The Democratic Party is no longer the party that defends Civil Rights. So what is the difference between the Democrats and the Republicans when it comes to Don't Ask Don't Tell?

Meghan McCain has a legitimate point and President Obama and the Democratic Party are going to have a major setback from their progressive base if they don't honor their promise to eliminate Don't Ask Don't Tell.

President Obama needs to honor his campaign promise and put a moratorium on Don't Ask Don't Tell until the Democratic Congress can address this issue.

Otherwise no self respecting member of the LGBT community and no progressives will continue to support the Democratic Party. With no change in sight it looks like hypocrisy, not change, will be the appropriate descriptor for Obama and the Democratic party

If the status quo is going to continue in DC looks like progressives will need to start investing our resources in other arenas like the Green Party.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Another Innocent Man to be Executed?

Troy Davis faces execution for the murder of Police Officer Mark MacPhail in Georgia, despite a strong claim of innocence. 7 out of 9 witnesses have recanted or contradicted their testimony, no murder weapon was found and no physical evidence links Davis to the crime. The Georgia Board of Pardon and Paroles has voted to deny clemency, yet Governor Perdue can still exercise leadership to ensure that his death sentence is commuted. Please urge him to demonstrate respect for fairness and justice by supporting clemency for Troy Davis.

Note: This petition will not result in the release of Troy Davis from prison. He will remain behind bars. However, signing this petition may help prevent an innocent man from being executed by the state of GA.

Go Here to Sign The Petition.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Whoopie Goldberg says,"Glen Beck is a Lying Sack of Mess."

Navy Seal Tells Hannity Busheviks Did NOT Keep Us Safe....

Maybe it takes a military man (not a chicken hawk) to understand what "on my watch" really means....Accountability and Responsibility for neocons is meant to apply to "everyone else but us." Check out the common sense of Jesse Ventura!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Where's the Promised Change in Don't Ask Don't Tell?

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Obama appears to be backpeddling on a campaign promise. Is Obama a closet bigot? I think the White House needs to be called about this. I know I'll be registering my disgust with this situation.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Why we risked arrest for single-payer health care

By Margaret Flowers, M.D.
May 8, 2009

On May 5, eight health care advocates, including myself and two other physicians, stood up to Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and the Senate Finance Committee during a “public roundtable discussion” with a simple question: Will you allow an advocate for a single-payer national health plan to have a seat at the table?

The answer was a loud, “Get more police!” And we were arrested and hauled off to jail.

The fact that a national health insurance program is supported by the majority of the public, doctors and nurses apparently means nothing to Sen. Baucus. The fact that thousands of people in America are dying every year because they can’t get health care means nothing. The fact that over 1 million Americans go into bankruptcy every year due to medical debt — even though most of them had insurance when they got sick — means nothing.

And so, as the May 5 meeting approached, we prepared for another one of the highly scripted, well-protected events that are supposed to make up the “health care debate” using standard tools of advocacy. We organized call-in days and faxes to the members of the committee requesting the presence of one single-payer advocate at the table of 15. Despite thousands of calls and faxes, the only reply — received on the day before the event — was, “Sorry, but no more invitations will be issued.”

We knew that this couldn’t be correct. We had heard Sen. Baucus say on that very same day that “all options were on the table.” And so, the next day, we donned our suits and traveled to Washington. We had many knowledgeable single-payer advocates in our group. And as the meeting started, one of us, Mr. Russell Mokhiber, stood up to say that we were here and we were ready to take a seat. And he was promptly removed from the room.

In that moment, it all became so clear. We could write letters, phone staffers, and fax until the machines fell apart, but we would never get our seat at the table.

The senators understand that most people want a national health system and that an improved Medicare for All would include everybody and provide better health care at a lower cost. These facts mean nothing to most of them because they respond to only one standard tool of advocacy: money, and lots of it.

The people seated at the table represented the corporate interests: private health insurers and big business and those who support their agenda. The people whose voices were heard all represented organizations which pay huge sums of money to political campaigns. These interests profit greatly from the current health care industry and do not want changes that will hurt their large, personal pocketbooks.

And so, we have entered a new phase in the movement for health care as a human right: acts of civil disobedience. It is time to directly challenge corporate interests. History has shown that in order to gain human rights, we must be willing to speak out and risk arrest. We must engage in actions that expose corporate fraud and corruption. We must make our presence known.

And that is why the eight of us, knowledgeable health care advocates and providers, most of us parents, some of us grandparents, spoke out one-by-one at the Senate Finance Committee. And it is why we will continue to speak out and encourage others to do the same. Our voices must be strong enough to drown out the influence of corporate dollars.

Health care must become the civil rights movement of this decade. The opportunity is here. And we can create a single-payer national health care system.

Yes, we can.

Dr. Margaret Flowers is a pediatrician in Baltimore and co-chair of the Maryland chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP). Her statement was co-signed by Mark Dudzic, Labor Campaign for Single Payer; Russell Mokhiber, Single Payer Action; Carol Paris, M.D., PNHP; Katie Robbins, Healthcare-NOW!; Pat Salomon, M.D., PNHP; Adam Schneider, B’more Housing for All; and Kevin Zeese, ProsperityAgenda.us.

Reprinted with permission from Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP)

Contact the Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee. Ask them why they are doing business like the Republicans majority used to do--pay to play. We want the change we voted for not business as usual.

Senate Finance Commitee: 202-224-4515

Senate Democrats on the Finance Committee:
MAX BAUCUS, MT: 202-224-2651
JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER IV, WV: 202-224-6472
KENT CONRAD, ND: 202-224-2043
JEFF BINGAMAN, NM: 202-224-5521
JOHN F. KERRY, MA: 202-224-2742
BLANCHE L. LINCOLN, AR: 202-224-4843
RON WYDEN, OR : 202-224-5244
CHARLES E. SCHUMER, NY: 202-224-6542 *
DEBBIE STABENOW, MI: 202-224-4822 *
MARIA CANTWELL, WA: 202-224-3441 *
BILL NELSON, FL: 202-224-5274
ROBERT MENENDEZ, NJ: 202-224-4744
THOMAS CARPER, DE: 202-224-2441 *

H/T to the Daily Kos for this phone number list.

** I was not able to discuss the single payee issue with these Senators on Friday....no one was answering their phones when I tried to call.

NOTE: Senator Jeff Bingamon's office says that he is an advocate for single payee health insurance. You might want to ask Senator Bingamon to raise his voice louder in protest because I sure don't hear him raising much of a ruckus.

Senator Bachus Needs to be Arrested!!

Senator Bachus has NO RESPECT for the majority of doctors, nurses, and the American people who support a single payee health insurance system. By not putting ALL options on the table the Senate Finance Committee hearings on health care show that the Democratic party is feeding at the same corporate trough that the Republicans used to feed from.

The Capital Police should be locking up the Senate Finance Committee Chair and the members who are paid to go along with blocking single payee health insurance advocates from a single seat at the table. IF we lived in a country that did adhere to representing the American people a MAJORITY of the seats at the discussion table would be single payee advocates.

President Obama and the Democratic party should be prepared for a major shock in the 2010 elections if they continue to sell out the American people for the corporate special interests.

Why isn't anyone in our Congress advocating Campaign Finance Reform. All of our legislation will be used against us as long as we have a pay to play Congress.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Jesse Ventura Talks Sense

The media continues to identify the mainstream American call for justice as "leftist." Jesse Ventura is NOT a lefty liberal. His criticism of Obama for NOT prosecuting the war criminals is the call for justice that the majority of Americans want to see happen.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

US Military is the new Army of God?

The US is on a new era of crusades with the same cruel results as millions of civilians die and/or they are left homeless and on the run. The US is not acting like a family friendly country these days.

Jeremy Scahill reports the military's religious motives:

A day after the Pentagon accused Al Jazeera of being 'irresponsible and inappropriate' for broadcasting the 'hunt for Jesus' in Afghanistan footage, the network releases unedited tapes.

Like the soldier chaplain says..."Proselytizing is against the rules." These professional soldiers need to stop bending the rules to fit their personal religious agendas. Their purpose is NOT to convert the world to christianity. If a soldier believes he should heed the call then they need to be honest and become a missionary not a soldier. Al Jazeera does their homework and is speaking truth to power (even when that power has a history of attacking and killing their reporters).

Farewell to Mac McKinney

Mac McKinney has decided to move on. Mosquito Blog bids Mac a fond farewell.

You can find Mac and his writings at Op Ed News.

I have no doubt Mac will also be turning up on other famous websites. ( He has already co-written an article with Georgianne Nienabar over at the Huffington Post.

Good Luck to you Mac.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

PR Spin Costs USACE Big in New Orleans

By: Georgianne Nienaber

There is a big difference between a government cover up and news spin. The former is a strategic plan to prevent a scandal from going public. Think about Watergate, which concerned hundreds of illegal actions on the part of the Nixon administration to cover up a burglary which involved government espionage. Public Relations spin, on the other hand, is what politicians, corporations, and the government do on a daily basis to convince you, the public, to see the world through their interpretive lens. Spin may be disingenuous, it may be manipulative, and it may shade the moral truth, but it is not illegal. Something happened in New Orleans yesterday that certainly involves spin. When Sandy Rosenthal of the citizen and watchdog group Levees.org discovered that the New Orleans U.S. Army Corps of Engineers hired consultant PR firm Outreach Process Partners (OPP) to fine tune its public image to the tune of $1 million and posted a link to their campaign, the OPP website morphed to a new version within four hours. They basically "spun" their own credentials to look, well, less manipulative of public opinion.


Image: Sandy Rosenthal

Here is a look at the information presented on the original web page at 3:30 pm CST:

US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) - Media Support Services

As part of a three-year public relations support contract (October 2007 to September 2010), OPP is providing on-site media relations (both local and national media), public meeting support, a complete overhaul of the Corps' Web site, communications strategy development and video support services.

The Corps of Engineers has endured intense scrutiny in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. In the face of adversity, OPP has worked arduously alongside the exceptional team of government personnel to deliver the Corps' message of rebuilding the Southeast Louisiana system quickly, safely and to a higher standard.

Media Support: OPP provides media support for print, broadcast and Internet media on local, national and international levels including outlets such as the Times-Picayune, WWL-TV CBS New Orleans, Associated Press, USA Today, The Weather Channel, The Today Show, French TV Channel 5, and Engineering News Record on issues such as Hurricane Gustav, "paper in the floodwalls" and other investigative responses, seepage, peer review and the state of the hurricane and storm damage risk reduction system. As part of this cause, OPP fosters strategic relationships with media outlets that result in more accurate and balanced stories.

Disaster Assistance: OPP provides round-the-clock staffing to handle media queries for the New Orleans USACE - with staff evacuating to Division headquarters in Vicksburg, MS, with blackberries, laptops and Internet air cards in a disaster.

Interviews: OPP has facilitated a myriad of interviews about the rebuilding of hurricane system levees and interim risk reduction structures. Our team members have facilitated in-depth interviews with producers and hosts of The History Channel and MTV.


Results: OPP's media support has been a fundamental part of the transition from typically negative news coverage to more neutral and positive news coverage. This effort has also resulted in multiple awards including: The Corps of Engineers was selected for a 2009 Blue Pencil and Gold Screen Award for their work on the Bonnet Carre Spillway Opening OPP was selected for a New Orleans Chapter PRSA 2008 Award of Merit

Here is the web page at 7:00 PM CST after the criticism from levees.org:

US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) - Media Support Services

As part of a three-year public relations support contract (October 2007 to September 2010), OPP is providing on-site media relations (both local and national media), public meeting support, making the Corps' Web site more user-friendly, communications strategy development and video support services.

The Corps of Engineers has endured intense scrutiny in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. In the face of adversity, OPP has worked arduously alongside the exceptional team of government personnel to deliver the Corps' message of rebuilding the Southeast Louisiana system quickly, safely and to a higher standard. OPP's assistance is geared toward helping the Corps answer stakeholder and media queries that involve technical information in a format that is available and accessible to a non-technical audience.

Results: OPP's media support has resulted in multiple awards including:
The Corps of Engineers was selected for a 2009 Blue Pencil and Gold Screen Award for their work on the Bonnet Carre Spillway Opening

OPP was selected for a New Orleans Chapter PRSA 2008 Award of Merit - Borrow Strategic Communications

Anytime the media goes to bed with a firm that "fosters strategic relationships with media outlets that result in more accurate and balanced stories," you just have to wonder. Fair media does not require a "strategic relationship" with a PR firm to accurately cover a story. It takes legwork, some phone calls at the minimum, and sometimes days or weeks of research. Unfortunately for the taxpayers and the citizens of New Orleans, government agencies are forbidden by law to lobby the government, but there is no restriction on hiring public relations firms. This puts the onus squarely on the backs of media to really do their job and find the truth.

Researchers at the Center For Public Integrity have compiled a database that demonstrates the amount of traffic going through the door to the Army Corps of Engineers, and the potential for abuse of power these lobbyists wield over the U.S. Government.

According to the Center, between 1998 and 2004, 598 companies lobbied the USACE. In 2004 alone, the number was 234. The Center's electronic database includes the amount of money paid by lobbyists, specific issues, the agencies they lobbied, and who paid them to do so. The USACE list can be found here.

Rosenthal asks the reasonable question: "Shouldn't the Corps focus on repairing levees instead of their reputation?" She also is concerned that OPP provides support for print, broadcast and Internet media including the Times-Picayune, WWL-TV CBS New Orleans, Associated Press, USA Today, The Weather Channel and The Today Show. These media outlets provide much if not all of the coverage of the USACE in New Orleans. The Times Picayune and WWL represent local print and broadcast capabilities that national media often rely upon, especially in the event of disasters such as Hurricane Katrina.

We took a look at this issue last year when disinformation played out in mainstream newspapers, radio networks, and internet sites as spin doctors acted as apologists for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) during the devastating Midwest floods. S&C Advertising was caught red handed on its own website with a testimonial from Kevin Quinn, Chief Public Affairs Office, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Omaha District.

"How these [public relations] professionals can transform masters of techno-babble into credible spokespersons so quickly and smoothly is an amazing thing to behold," Quinn said in remarks which have since vanished from the link we supplied in last year's post.

It is hard to believe that the USACE would make the same PR mistake twice, but the speed in which the OPP website was changed makes one wonder. Whatever happened to just telling the truth? If OPP made a PR blunder, just say so and don't begin a process of deleting content from webpages. This begins to look, smell and feel like a cover-up.

We called the national office of OPP for a statement-- twice--and were directed to two numbers in New Orleans. The spokeswomen were not available or were not in to take any calls. We left messages.

Ken Holder, Chief of Public Affairs for the NOLA USACE, was easy to reach--twice--and immediately returned our phone calls. Holder has been on the job for a little over two weeks. He told us he was going to check out how much of that $1 million is actually coming out of NOLA USACE coffers, and is in the process of "reviewing" any and all mentions of USACE on the OPP website.

Holder knows this could morph into a public relations nightmare for the Corps. He did not say that, but he is good at his job and handled questions like he is paid to do. Obviously Holder inherited this problem and wants to fix it.

"We use OPP get public input through public meetings. We have a message we want to get out to local residents and we need a way to compile their feedback," Holder said.

What about the media ties?

"Basically there has to be a way for a government agency to interact with media."

Last year the USACE said it utilized PR firms to "turn babblers" into spokespersons. It might be easier and more cost effective to engage the citizens of New Orleans in honest, open and candid dialogue without media filter and spin provided by public relations firms.

Holder is new. He's a PR guy, but he is also a member of the USACE. He's walking a fine line, but it could be the time to get to the bottom of the OPP matter and wipe the public relations' slate clean. New Orleans has been through too much, too often, and deserves some honest answers.

Naomi Klein on Rachel Maddow

My dream came true. If you haven't read The Shock Doctrine you should. It's riveting and full of sound common sense.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Nassau County Uses Dead Man to Make Money

New York, Nassau County sidestepped the process of compensating the family of the man who died on Black Friday last year when rabid Walmart shoppers trampled him to death for cheap products made by foreign slave labor.

The County made out big time with $1.5 million for itself, while forcing the family to accept a portion of $400,000. If the family accepts this paltry sum, the county agreed that the family will not be able to file a civil suit against Walmart.

So, I guess the real question here is, how much did the Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice pocket for herself from Walmart for this clearly corporate-friendly agreement?


Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Truthdig - Buying Brand Obama

Truthdig - Buying Brand Obama

Posted using ShareThis

Chris Hedges from his "Buying Brand Obama":

Barack Obama is a brand. And the Obama brand is designed to make us feel good about our government while corporate overlords loot the Treasury, our elected officials continue to have their palms greased by armies of corporate lobbyists, our corporate media diverts us with gossip and trivia and our imperial wars expand in the Middle East. Brand Obama is about being happy consumers. We are entertained. We feel hopeful. We like our president. We believe he is like us. But like all branded products spun out from the manipulative world of corporate advertising, we are being duped into doing and supporting a lot of things that are not in our interest....

Monday, May 04, 2009

Crazy Michael Steele

When are these right wing extremists Republicans going to grow up and realize that ADULTS PREPARE for future occurrences. No one knows when a pandemic disease is going to happen. But we need to pay the necessary funding for a public health structure that can assist us in a variety of health problems and issues.

We need to pay taxes for good government programs--transportation, a social safety net, etc etc. One reason Germany was balking at contributing to a world stimulus package is because Germany has invested in a strong social safety net that will take care of it's citizens in times of financial crisis. They already have a sound infrastructure in place so they don't need to bail out rich powerful elitist bankers.

Michael Steele you need to realize that the American people voted to get rid of the mindset of reducing taxes for the rich, the powerful, and the large corporations as the end all be all answer to everything.

But keep on talking Michael. The people are turning their back on you and the media that continues to promote the corporate agenda of don't raise our taxes just give us our tax breaks and subsidy mindset.