Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Political Parties May Change

But as long as we have corporations willing to pay, and politicians who are willing to take their money, the game will remain unchanged.

Executives at the two biggest phone companies contributed more than $42,000 in political donations to Senator John D. Rockefeller IV this year while seeking his support for legal immunity for businesses participating in National Security Agency eavesdropping.

There is nothing wrong and nothing new here, right? A politician needs money to get elected, and private citizens have to be allowed to contribute to these politicians, right?

Well, there are a few details that make the story a little more interesting.

It appears that all these politically minded folks from AT and T and Version came upon their passion for the political efforts of Sen. Rockefeller (D-WV) of late. From 2002 to 2006 the total contribution from the executives of these firms came to a bit less than $5,000.00. Then, like a rampaging infection of political activism and altruism, more than 50 senior executives independently decided in a period of about 3 months to fork over big money to Sen. Rockefeller (D-WV).

One is left to wonder what may have motivated this spontaneous generosity, and if there may have been any coordination of the efforts these phone company executives.

Naaa, a corporation would never do anything like compel political contributions from their staff.

I do have to admire this efforts as spin on behalf of AT and T.

“Many AT and T executives work with the leaders of both the House and Senate Commerce Committees on a daily basis and have come to know them over the years,” Ms. Jones said.

She added that although industry executives and politicians might not always agree, it is “commonplace for AT and T employees to regularly and voluntarily participate in the political process with their own funds.”

Of course, this participation, that has been totally lacking for years, may eventually come in massive torrents of cash but only when a Senator is in a position to do the company a huge favor.

And people still wonder what is wrong in DC. Only when we have a politicians who are not so eager to prostitute themselves to corporate interest can we hope to see improved governance.

Sadly, I have grown expect this type of behavior from both parties. While it is an obvious and historic principal of the republicans to protect business interest over everything else, it is also a trait that many Democrats embrace. One of they keys to long term improvement in Government, reducing corruption, development of a more equatable economic policy, improvement of heath care and countless other issues, is radically reducing the amount on influence that big business has in DC. Unfortunately, I see no path that will lead to this.

Monday, October 22, 2007

I Hate To Say I Told You So

well, not normally, but in this case being on the cusp of proven right is rather alarming.

One of the biggest reasons I gave for not invading Iraq was the potential to trigger a series of event that cascaded beyond any control and resulted in open warfare region wide. A few of the conflicts that were easy to spot were the Turks and Kurds, the Shiite and Sunni, the Shiite and Shiite, the Kurds and Iran, Iran and the Sunni and Syria.

Well, this last weekend clearly indicated that to many of these conflicts were warming up.

In the south of Iraq as the British draw down, the Shiite factions are making their moves.

Rival Shiite militias are engaged in grabs for power in the oil-rich south of the country, as British forces are drawing down.

What is interesting is we make it clear that we have taken sides in this conflict and are assisting one faction against the other.

In the north the Kurds are still pressing the Turkish forces. To date Turkey has displayed great restraint. This restraint will likely fade when Turkey finds a target inside Iraq that is juicy enough to warrant attack.

As an aside: One justification for attacking Iraq was Saddam's sheltering of terrorist. Since we now have effective responsibility for the lands that compose the nations of Iraq, and since the Kurdish 'terrorist' attacking Turkey are sheltering in Iraq; Are we now guilty of shelter terrorist, and if we are what punishment is appropriate for our leaders?

and in Syria the welcome mat has been pulled up.

Long the only welcoming country in the region for Iraqi refugees, Syria has closed its borders to all but a small group of Iraqis and imposed new visa rules that will legally require the 1.5 million Iraqis currently in Syria to return to Iraq.

The potential for an explosive response in the attempt to relocate 1,500,000 people who have no place it relocate is imposable to understate. If Syria follows through with this both Syria and Iraq will be at risk for massive unrest.

Of course, we also have the other areas of conflict that have existed for 4 years, but it is ominously clear that the effects of this unilateral attack by the US have not been contained, and the risk of a much wider conflict is as great as I feared.

Monday, October 15, 2007

We Are Winning In Iraq

Yes, we are winning. That is obvious because the Pentagon or the Pentagon on behalf of the Bush administration are leaking hints that we have 'crippled' Al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Of course they fail to mention that Al-Qaeda in Iraq represents a total membership
from 850 – about 3 to 5 percent of the Sunni insurgency – to several thousand

Of course, when you read Pentagon press releases, or listen to the US media, just about everything that happens and everything we do involves Al-Qaeda in Iraq. Now we are expected to believe that in an insurgency of upwards of 100,000, weakening a single group that represents a few single percentage points of the total revolt, is a success.

Just more absurd spin from a desperate and dysfunctional administration and it's overly compliant military.

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Biggest Social Problem In The US

Is laid clear by this Wall Street Journal report.

The wealthiest 1% of Americans earned 21.2% of all income in 2005, according to new data from the Internal Revenue Service.


The bottom 50% earned 12.8% of all income

So if we had 100 people, representing the various income class groups, and they had to split up 1 million dollars.

Paris Hilton would get $212,000.00

The unknown people who work for a living, running day care centers, working at Target, putting out fires etc, well, they get 2,560 each.

Yet, Paris and her friends are the ones who need all the tax breaks, welcome to Bush land, where the rich get richer, and the poor are expendable.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Rush Linbaugh Lies

This should surprise no one (except an anonymous commenter in the last post), but it is funny just how often how blatantly and how badly he does this. How his followers can avoid noticing this constantly amazes me.

Ed Brayton at Dispatches From the Culture Wars exposes Rush's stupidity and takes apart a recent Rush lie about Thomas Jefferson and religious liberty.