November 7, 2007

Springsteen on Cowardly and Arrogant Bushies -- On the cover of the Rolling Stone is good old Bruce Springsteen, looking damn good, on the road again and with some strong words to say about Baby Bush. His new album Magic uses the boardwalk sounds of the past to put across "the uneasiness of these very uneasy times." Springsteen sees his job as "trying to make people happy, feel less lonely, but also being a conduit for a dialogue about the events of the day, the issues that impact people's lives, personal and social and political and religious." The website only runs part of the interview. In the print pub it continues. "The song 'Magic' is about living in a time when anything that is true can be made to seem like a lie, and anything that is a lie can be made to seem true," Springsteen says. "There are people that have taekn that as their credo. The classic quote was from one of the Bushies in The New York Times: 'We make our own reality. You guys report it, we make it.' I may loathe that statement -- the unbelievable stupidity and arrogance of it -- more than i loathe 'Bring it on' and 'Mission accomplished'" Referring to a line in the song about "only carrying what you fear" Springsteen says, "You can't kill your way to security, and you can't lead through scaring people. Maybe you can get people to vote for you sometimes, but it's not a tactic that's going to provide the kind of moral authority and leadership that it's going to take to communicate with the world. It's the coward's way out... That's the only card they have played, pretty much from Day One. If the 2004 election had been held six months later, they would have lost. People were still under the spell of 9/11 and the magic of Switft Boating." Then Springsteen turns and faces the press. "The bottom line is if you're a member of the press and you believe that part of your responsibility is to give people the information they need to protect their freedoms, there's an editorial responsibility. But that ball's been dropped terribly. When somebody's saying you're going to lead with Anna Nicole Smith, you've got to bve wondering if you're in the right job. I'ts become a business, and on waht's supposed to be the most credible channels, there's an endless parade of nonsense on a daily basis." The exception, Springsteen singles out, is Jon Stewart, whom he calls "such an important and lonely force on television. He's in the business of assisting people to interpret the modern media world. There's so much sheer noise. Every night he comes on and pulls the veil down, and you get a shot at what things really look like... Who would have ever thought we'd live in a country with no right to habeus corpus? That's Orwellian. That's what political hysteria is about and how effective it is. I felt it in myself. You get frightened for your family, for your home. And you realize how countries can move way off course, very far from democratic ideals. Add another terrorist attack or two and the country can turn into a pretty scary place. Philip Roth caught it in The Plot Against America: It happens in a very American way -- the flag is flying over civil liberties as they crumble."
  • Bruce Reprised -- Rolling Stone's November 15 issue is one of the big 40th anniversary commemorative issues the Stone has put out a series of this year. It has many interviews focusing on the future, including one that looks like a continuation of the interview by Joe Levy in the November 7 issue with Bruce Springsteen. Bruce has a few more choice comments to make about the current state of things. "I'm optimistic as far as people go and pessimistic as far as the government goes, for pretty clear reasons. In 2006, the American people said, 'Throw these bums out!' They would have voted Bush out at that moment if they could have. There was a clear message about the war in Iraq, and yet we sit here today with no front-running presidential candidate on either side who's going to take us out of there. What's that about? Where's the guy who's the voice of the people that voted in 2006? As you get older, you become more pessimistic about the movement of government and the way government moves. To think that the country could veer this far rightward or tha no one has addressed poverty since Lyndon Johnson -- with the exception of John Edwards, who makes it a big part of his campaign -- I find that disappointing. I don't believe you can create a great society, a real American civilization, with an enormous percentage of the people in the country suffering, left out, disempowered. And istn't that what we're trying to do? Wasn't that the idea when those guys sat down at the start? So I'm a bit skeptcial and pessimistic. But at the same time, I run into so many people that are working so hard to push the country toward that place that I feel very optimistic." Asked how these times will be remembered he says, "Many parts will be remembered with the same degree of shame as the Japanese internment camps are remembered -- illegal wiretapping, rendition, the abuse of prisoners, cutting back our civil rights, no habeus corpus. I don't think most people thought they'd ever see the country move far enough to the right to see thouse things happen here. And I don't believe those are things that strengthen us. The moral authority to stand up and say, 'We are the Americans,' is invaluable. It's been deeply damaged, and it's going to take quite a while to repair that damage, if we can. This will be remembered as a low point in American history -- as simple as that. People are going to go, 'Was everybody sleeping?' But people get frightened, and when they get frightened, they get crazy. You wonder where the political hysteria can take you. I think we've tasted some of that. All I want to do is be one of the guys that says, 'When that stuff was going down, I threw my hat in the right and tired to stand on what I felt was the right side of history.' What can a poor boy to, except play in a rock and roll band?"
  • Presidential Coup -- A warning from Jim Hightower at Alternet. "Now, however, come two arrogant autocrats like we've never seen in the White House. George W and his snarling enabler, Dick Cheney, are making a power grab so unprecedented, so audacious, so broad and deep, so secretive, so stupefying, and so un-American that it has not yet been comprehended by the media, Congress, or the public. The dictionary defines "coup" not just as an armed takeover in some Third World country, but as 'a sudden and decisive action in politics, especially one affecting a change of government illegally or by force.' Constantly waving the bloody flag of 9/11 and swaggering around in commander-in-chief garb, the BushCheney duo are usurping authority from Congress, the courts, and the people, while also asserting arbitrary power that does not belong to the presidency. Their coup is changing our form of government, rewriting the genius of the founders by imposing a supreme executive that functions in secret and insists that it is above the law, unaccountable either to congressional oversight or to judicial review."
  • Waterboarding is Torture -- Now Chucky Schumer, Dianne Feinstein and other gutless wonders are preparing to kneel down to Bush and Cheney and vote into office a man not one bit better than the man they hounded out of office as attorney general. Michael Mukasey, who may be worse than Gonzales because he's smarter, but will not level with Congress when they ask him about waterboarding. Oh what a beautiful euphemism that is -- waterboarding. It sounds like soft adventure in Costa Rica. Waterboarding is torture. It's one of those many ways human ingenuity has been applied to produce suffering and fear without quite extinguishing the life of the victim. Waterboarding is bringing someone to the edge of death by drowning, then pulling back just enough to let him revive, then doing it again. In many cases the victims do die. Those who don't may wish for the peace of death. Check out French journalist Henri Alleg's descriptions of being tortured by French Forces During Algerian War" on Democracy Now. And check out Keith Olbermann's righteously outraged commentary at Truthout. See also "Chuck's Senate" by Marc Ash.
  • Drug Addict Limbaugh Wants to 'Puke' -- "On Monday, the talk radio king told listeners that Democrats were exploiting the 18-year-old Yupik Eskimo, and that her emotional testimony that day in front of a U.S. House committee on global warming made him 'really want to puke. I just want to throw up.'" McClatchy
  • Revolution Brewing Against Corporatism -- Krugman: "At just about every stop Iíve made so far on my book tour, what Iíve come to think of as The Question comes up. I talk about the origins of the long right-wing dominance of American politics, and the reasons I believe that dominance is coming to an end. Then someone asks, 'How can you be optimistic about the prospects for progressive change, when big money has so much influence on politics?' Itís a good question. The public wants change. 'If Americans have ever been angrier with the state of the country,' begins a new strategy memo from the polling organization Democracy Corps, 'we have not witnessed it.' Nor is the demand for change solely about Iraq: there has been a strong revival of economic populism. Democracy Corps asked those who believe America is on the wrong track to choose phrases that best described their views of whatís gone wrong. The most commonly chosen were 'Big businesses get whatever they want in Washington' and 'Leaders have forgotten the middle class.' New York Times
  • Yes They Would Be That Insane -- "The Secret History of the Impending War with Iran That the White House Doesn't Want You to Know"

    November 3, 2007

    Join the Democratic Donor Strike at "In 2006, the voters of America elected Democratic majorities to the Senate and House in order to end the occupation of Iraq and restore the Constitution of the United States. We, the Netroots, helped elect Democratic majorities with large contributions of money, time, and passion. Unfortunately Congressional Democrats have surrendered to George Bush and Dick Cheney on all of the issues we care about most: Iraq, Iran, warrantless wiretapping, torture, and habeas corpus..."
  • Kucinich to Force Impeachment Issue -- Kucinich on privatization of everything in the U.S. It's like an auction for the souls of politicians, Kucinich says. Watch him explain on video on why and how he is going to invoke a privileged motion to impeach Dick Cheney on Kucinich is that rare speciman of politician with a spine. People need to contact their congresspeople to vote against tabling the motion.
  • Republicans in Support of Impeachment -- The president ... is not a sovereign." (Dick Hastert); "No one, not even the president is above the law..." (John Boehner); "No man is above the law" (Tom Delay) ...
  • Schumer and Feinstein Join Bush -- After taking us through the whole drama of getting Gonzales removed from office as attorney general, now senators Chucky Schumer and Dianne Feinstein are supporting a smoother talking Gonzales clone, Bush's crony Mukasey, who will not give a straight answer to where he stands on torture and says the the president can break the law. Chucky and Dianne are selling out the people and the Constitution. For what? What backroom deals did they make? Schumer's hour of shame. AP.
  • Rudy Fast and Loose -- Always playing fast and loose, lying with ease, Rudy Giuliani said the chances of surviving prostate cancer in the US are 82%, only 44% in the UK under socialized medicine. But the numbers are wrong. Numbers man Paul Krugman explains.
  • Dare to Watch -- The Demolition: Leaseholder Larry Silverstein says, "They said the smartest thing to do is to pull it. They made the decision to pull and then we watched the building collapse." Actor Mark Ruffalo "said he was 'baffled' with how the twin towers and Building 7 came down, but cautioned that so much information had been put out that the truth had been 'stretched' and that too many people were being distracted by the more 'sensational' aspects of some claims made about 9/11 that were being fostered to 'discredit the movement.'" George Carlin makes some candid comments on 9/11 Bush getting his lies mixed up about seeing the first plane hit the WTC on the morning of 9/11:
  • Journalistic Balance 2007 -- Paul Krugman writes, "Yesterday I complained that news reports on Rudy Giulianiís fake facts describe his position as 'in dispute', when itís actually just false, and describe the truth as something 'Democrats say' rather than as, simply, the truth. Iíve said this before: If a presidential candidate were to declare that the earth is flat, you would be sure to see a news analysis under the headline 'Shape of the Planet: Both Sides Have a Point.'"
  • George Carlin --

    November 6, 2007

    A Grassroots Battle Against Corrupt Judiciary -- A couple of months back I received a letter from Dana Siegelman, whose father Don Siegelman has been imprisoned in one of those fascist-style Karl Rove deals exemplary of how he planned to turn the judiciary department into a hit squad for the Republican party. I recall posting some things on the site about it but they're not coming up on Google so either Google is slipping or something. I'll go from scratch here. I'll post Dana's first letter to me with a handful of links to articles about the case, and now her second letter. And now ladies and gentlemen, I give you Dana Siegelman: (applause)

    Dear Mr. Cogswell,

    I am the daughter of the former Governor of Alabama, Don Siegelman. He was indicted four years ago on corrupt charges brought forth by U.S. prosecutor Leura Canary, wife of his political opponent's campaign manager. A little history: Leura is married to Bill Canary, former partner and long-time friend of Karl Rove. There is evidence linking Karl, Bill, and current governor of Alabama, Bob Riley, to my dad's case (in addition to the obvious connection with Leura Canary). Few, other than the prosecutors and conspirators, ever thought there would be a conviction. Last month, my dad was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison. I write to you because I believe our current government has perverted democracy, and I desperately need your help in freeing my dad. He was convicted of bribery, when the evidence clearly states that he never pocketed a cent, and the man that "bribed" him wanted nothing in return. All of this is horribly wrong, worse than any nightmare I have ever had. My dad is not only innocent, but respectable in almost every way. He is the only politician in the state of Alabama to have served in all of the highest state offices. He was in office for more than 25 years without being accused of criminal activity. He reached a level that threatened the superiority of Republicans in the South. It is incredible to think that our government spends millions prosecuting political opponents for the mere hope of eliminating competition. I need your help in exposing this grave injustice, along with the many others committed by our current justice system. Those behind these injustices must be stopped. I am begging you, as a fellow activist for democracy, to help me free my dad by covering my dad's story on your site and encouraging your readers to write their representatives, call their senators, and inform their friends. With all my heart, I thank you.


    Dana Siegelman

    For more information, these are helpful sites:

    Headblast link Headblast

    Dear David, Please consider posting my letter on your site! Thank you, Dana

    Dear Friends,

    For those of you who have been concerned about my dad, I am writing to update you on his condition and to ask for your help again.

    After visiting my dad in prison, I have observed this: They do not feed him nearly enough. He has no privacy. He works as a janitor everyday from 7-4. He is allowed few personal belongings, and he lives with real criminals (duh). However, despite the negative conditions he is under, his spirit remains positive, and he retains his hope in coming justice.

    My goal in writing this letter is to incite your frustration toward our current political state. Politics has adopted the Mafia's modus operandi. It thrives on power, money, and loyalty (i.e. being loyal to one's own, versus the client), and aborting those who refuse to comply. Contrarily, we have a judiciary committee in the House of Representatives that cares and wants partisan prosecution to end. The conspirators, (for this is what they truly are), have been doing everything they can to crush the investigation in Congress before it reveals the truth. Our role is to petition these representatives to persevere and fight for justice.

    "Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable... Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals." Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Having my dad in prison has sharply awakened me to the many brutalities alive in this world. For years I tried to hide from politics and salvage my naiveness. This was a futile attempt. Hiding from and denying the injustices served to our people and the world is anything but empowering. We have the ability to face these problems and do something productive to stop them. Please join me in encouraging this committee to fight for the truth, to seek justice with all its power, and to rekindle the hope that we ought to have in our government.

    With all my heart I thank you for your incredible help, prayers, and love.


    Dana Siegelman
    "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. " MLK Jr.

    Your letter may be as short or long as you like. My advice is to shoot for one or two strong paragraphs. Do not worry about making each letter personal. Just send the same letter to each representative. Keep in mind, they want to know why the issue is important to you. A few examples may be: I knew Don Siegelman as an honorable man, I believe our justice system has been corrupted, someone needs to hold this administration accountable, or I'm friends with the Siegelmans so I feel inclined to write. Speak from the heart. We are working for the betterment of all, not the punishment of a few, so keep your letters positive! If you don't want to send a letter to each representative, then I suggest at least mailing to the first four listed. You also have the option of sending them emails on their personal websites. Thank you again for everything you have done and are doing to help!

    Congressman Artur Davis (D)
    208 Cannon H.O.B.
    Washington, D.C. 20515
    (202) 225-2665 (phone)
    (202) 226-9567 (fax)

    Congresswoman Linda Sanchez (D)
    1222 Longworth Building
    Washington, DC 20515

    Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D)
    102 Cannon HOB
    Washington, D.C. 20515
    Telephone (202) 225-3072
    Fax (202) 225-3336

    Congressman Bobby Scott (D)
    1201 Longworth HOB
    Washington, DC 20515
    (202) 225-8351 Phone
    (202) 225-8354 Fax

    Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D)
    2344 Rayburn House Office Building
    Washington, DC 20515
    Phone: (202) 225-2201
    Fax: (202) 225-7854

    Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D)
    2435 Rayburn Building
    Washington, DC 20515
    (202) 225-3816
    (202) 225-3317 Fax

    Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D)
    2446 Rayburn Building
    Washington DC 20515
    (202) 225-2906
    (202) 225-6942 Fax

    Congressman Dan Lungren (R)
    2448 Rayburn House Office Building
    Washington, DC 20515

    Congressman Chris Cannon (R)
    2436 Rayburn House Office Building
    Washington, DC 20515
    Phone: (202) 225-7751
    Fax: (202) 225-5629

    Congressman Tom Feeney (R)
    323 Cannon House Office Building
    Washington, DC 20515
    (202) 225-2706 (202) 226-6299 fax

    Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R)
    2449 Rayburn House Office Building
    Washington, D.C. 20515-4905
    Telephone: (202) 225-5101

    Congressman Howard Coble (R)
    2468 Rayburn House Office Building
    Washington, DC 20515-3306
    Phone: (202) 225-3065

    Congressman Steve Chabot (R)
    129 Cannon House Office Building
    Washington, D.C. 20515
    (202) 225-2216
    (202) 225-3012 (fax)

    November 8, 2007

    Half Mast -- Another dark day in America. Democrats elected to reverse the slide into barbaric authoritarianism have once again betrayed their people. Brent Budowsky: Democrats Surrender on Torture. Let Schumer and Feinstein take their rightful places alongside the Republicans as the supporters of policy of torture, the enablers of the crude Bush administration as it drags us down to Hell. Also let the Satanic honors go to senators Caper of Delaware, Bayh of Indiana, Nelson of Nebraska and Landrieu of Louisiana. Shame shame shame. Sign a petition against torture at
  • How Bush Ticks -- Mike Malloy interviews Justin Frank, psychoanalyst and author of Bush on the Couch. My letter to my congressman:

    Dear Congressman Sires,

    Please support the move toward impeachment of Dick Cheney. I hear a standard slogan coming from many House Democrats saying, "We have many important things on our agenda, therefore we can't get caught up with this." Mark my words, the Democratic agenda will be shot down piece by piece just as it has been so far this year. Once Bush and Cheney launch another war, this time on Iran, all your domestic priorities will be rolled over by the juggernaut. Like the Democratic senators who supported Bush's initial drive to war, they can now say, "We meant well. If the administration had played straight with us, they would have lived up to our requirements to exhaust diplomatic efforts first," and so forth. But the administration is never going to play straight. They will lie at ever juncture to get what they want. And they are set on defeating your agenda. So get serious. If you don't want us at war with Iran in a matter of months, you'd better support an inquiry into impeachment.

    Thank you,

  • Doublespeak -- I always find it so strange when Bush and the Bushies talk about things like "democracy", "justice", "human rights"... I think I know what they mean when they say "freedom". They mean the freedom to do what they are doing in Iraq and Afghanistan, hope to soon be doing in Iran, are threatening to do in Cuba, Venezuela, what his predecessors have historically done by proxy in Colombia, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Chile, Brazil, etc. etc. etc. Freedom for our corporations to rob other countries. But the other terms are more a stretch to understand. When General Pervez Musharraf took over Pakistan by a military coup in 1999 during the U.S. election season, George Bush was delighted by it. He said he thought it would bring "stability" to the region. He expressed no concern about the fact that it was a military takeover of a supposedly democratic country. As president, Bush always treated "President" Musharraf as legitimate and the compliant corporate media always referred to him as president and rarely drew attention to how he got that way. Now he's losing his grip on power. He had a suspicious election that the supreme court was considering declaring null, so he put them in jail and declared martial law to keep things in order. Now it gets really strange when Bush tries to put on that thin mask of democracy after his history of suppressing it, thwarting it, ignoring it, thumbing his nose at it. When a reporter recently asked White House Spokesbabe Dana Perino, "Is it ever reasonable to restrict constitutional freedoms in the name of fighting terrorism?" She said, "In our opinion, no." At least not in Pakistan. In the U.S. we've gone back to medieval times with torture, the elimination of habeus corpus, the right of the president to be above the law, to in fact be the law. On paper and in practice we have all the pieces in place for a dictatorship, for authoritarian government. All that is lacking are people in the street raising hell in protest. Perhaps Americans don't care as much as Pakistanis about things like constitutional government, human rights, democracy. Hearing the Pakistani ambassador on the Lehrer News Hour, he eagerly employed the language of the Bush administration (like "war on terror") to justify his government's actions, and show he's in league with the Bushies. In fact, his justification of his imprisoning of judges and lawyers for their "judicial activism" was also a Bush tactic using the same words. Bush, who loves to call himself the Commander in Chief and donned a military outfit to declare "Mission Accomplished", told a press conference that he told Musharraf by telephone to "take off his uniform." For more on how Bush as gutted the Constitution, see
  • A Dragnet on Everyone -- An AT&T whistleblower told the Senate, "What I figured out when I got there [AT&ís secret room at 611 Folsom Street, San Francisco] is that they were copying everything flowing across the Internet cables, and the major Internet links between AT&Tís network and other companyís networks, and it struck me at the time that this is a massively unconstitutional, illegal operation. It affects not only AT&Tís customers, but everybody, Ďcause these links went to places like Sprint, Qwest, a whole bunch of other companies, and so theyíre basicallly tapping into the entire Internet.... To perform what they say they want to do, which is look at international traffic, none of this makes any sense. These installations only make sense if theyíre doing a huge, massive domestic dragnet on everybody, in the United States." Corrente.
  • Worse than Nixon -- According to Editor and Publisher, "For almost two years, President Bush has been threatening to unseat Richard M. Nixon as the most unpopular president in the history of the Gallup poll, and it finally happened this week. The latest USA TODAY/Gallup survey finds Bush with a 31% approval rating -- and for the first time ever in the polling history, 50% say they 'strongly disapprove' of a president. The previous high (or low?) was a 48% strong disapproval rating for Nixon at the worst moments of Watergate in 1974."
  • Six Lost Nukes, Six Dead People -- Dave Lindorff did a penetrating analysis of what we know and what we are left to speculate about regarding the six misplaced nukes that were transported "by mistake" from Minott, North Dakota, to Barksdale AFB in Louisiana, of course for no reason, we are told. There were six to eight deaths surrounding this incident as well, who were never mentioned in the Air Force report on the incident. What really happened? According to Lindorff in Counterpunch, "There is something deeply disturbing about the Air Force's official report on the Aug-29-30 "bent spear" incident that saw six nuclear warheads get mounted on six Advanced Cruise Missiles and improperly removed from a nuclear weapons storage bunker at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota, then get improperly loaded on a B-52, and then get improperly flown to Barksdale AFB in Louisiana-a report that attributed the whole thing to a "mistake.""

    November 9, 2007

    Back to Start -- At least Mukasey is not a lifetime appointment like those ironically titled "justices". Watching Dianne Feinstein trying to justify her decision to confirm Bush's latest lying, squirming crony was pathetic. There was some pleasure in watching her difficulty in trying to find words to justify the absurdly unjustifiable, the utterly illogical. "He couldn't be more different than Gonzales," she said, as if to calm concerns that the whole exercise was for nothing, a big circuitous route dropping us off right where we started. But, no, he actually could be more different from Gonzales. He could uphold the law, tell the truth, answer questions honestly and renounce torture unequivocably. He could make clear that he holds the Constitution the supreme law of the land, not the Bush doctrine. She complained that those who were holding out were doing so just because of that one thing! Similar logic to how Bush's lies about weapons of mass destruction to Congress were just 17 words! or how ever many they were. Feinstein looked ill, barely living, eyelids drooping as if she could barely order her body to carry out the ugly orders she was giving it. If we don't confirm Mukasey, she said, we'll have to settle for an interim head of the "justice" department for the rest of Bush's term. Better to have a nazi doubletalking torturer than no one, I guess she is trying to say. It was so very pathetic. It was a pleasure, however, to hear the truth tellers, like Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy. How easy it is to speak when you tell the simple truth. He speaks with a hint of a smile most of the time. How much lighter his load was than the corpse-like Feinstein. And then our local boy New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez, also speaking the truth. Good to hear that.
  • Fox Smut and Hypocrisy -- Besides misleading the public with lies and bias, Fox uses gratuitous sex to pull people in and then pretends to take a moralistic stance toward the images it flutters provocatively before viewers. Fox knows exactly what it's doing. It's a classic and very effective form of manipulation. But Fox has a special franchise on my cable system, which is given a charter by my community and thereby given the market without competition. This is not an acceptable situation. I want choices. I don't want Fox. You can sign a petition against Fox at this site, and you can see a video presentation by filmmaker Robert Greenwald that makes clear how Fox uses gratuitous sex to manipulate, hypnotize its audience, to attract them with good old-fashioned sex, while pretending to be a "family values" station. Same old right wing hypocrisy. Check it out here.
  • Stop Corporate Media Consolidation -- According to, "Senators Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) and Trent Lott (R-Miss.) have introduced groundbreaking bipartisan legislation that would hold the FCC accountable and put the people ahead of Big Media." Sign the petition at

    -- David Cogswell

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