The Lady Speaks

Amerika

Article IV, U.S. Constitution, as amended on July 9, 2008:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Hitler didn’t not rise to power by show of force; he was elected. The rights of the German people were not first taken away at the point of a gun, but were eroded by the power of the pen.

With back-room deals and plenty of intimidation, laws contrary to the public good and in violation of the German Constitution were passed by lawmakers whipped to a frenzy by an atmosphere of fear-mongering and hysteria. The Reichstag — the elected representatives of the German people — voted to destroy their Constitution and disband themselves in order that the country be “protected” from “terrorists.”

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July 9, 2008 Posted by | America, Bush, Congress, Election '08, Government, Politics, Republicans, Senate, Terrorism, White House | 3 Comments

Fight Tyranny

Those Senators who vote to allow the government to continue spying on the communications of Americans without warrants and to immunize those telecoms which complied with illegal directives by the Executive Branch — to a degree which is still unknown — should be haunted from here on out by the words of some of our Founders and historic figures.

John Adams:

But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.

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July 9, 2008 Posted by | America, Congress, Constitution, Election '08, Government, Politics, Senate | Leave a comment

Fight the Power!

This is the full-page ad run by Blue America, Firedoglake, and Color of Change in today’s Washington Post. Click the photo to see it full-size. [pdf]

The debate on the FISA bill begins today, with the vote scheduled for tomorrow. Call your Senators today, and tell them to stand up for the Constitution.

Christy says:

We are asking Senators to vote IN FAVOR of the Dodd-Feingold-Leahy Amendment (S.A. 5064 to H.R. 6304). We’re asking for a NO vote on cloture, and a NO vote on the final bill as well. [my emphasis – Jenn]

Why do we need to oppose this deeply-flawed bill?

Because it is a violation of our Fourth Amendment rights, allowing the government to spy on Americans and their phone calls, emails, and text messages.

Because it legalizes government and corporate law-breaking.

Because it says, “If the President does it, it’s not illegal.”

Because it is a violation of all that we celebrated just four days ago.

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July 8, 2008 Posted by | America, Bush, Congress, Election '08, Government, National Security, Politics, White House | Leave a comment

Let Freedom Ring

In Congress, July 4, 1776

The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America

When, in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers form the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. –Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

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July 4, 2008 Posted by | America, Congress, Constitution, Government, Independence Day, Protest | 2 Comments

Friday Anti-War Song

Limited free time means I haven’t been able to work on the blog as often as I’d like, plus the “primary fatigue” that set in made me want to start posting recipes rather than digging in to write anything substantive. Unfortunately, this also meant I stopped posting the FAWS and updating “Counting the Cost.” I may not get to posting much else on a regular basis, but I’ll try to remember to keep these going. –Jenn

War Pigs — Black Sabbath
1970

Generals gathered in their masses
Just like witches at black masses
Evil minds that plot destruction
Sorcerers of deaths construction
In the fields the bodies burning
As the war machine keeps turning
Death and hatred to mankind
Poisoning their brainwashed minds, oh lord yeah!

Politicians hide themselves away
They only started the war
Why should they go out to fight?
They leave that role to the poor

Time will tell on their power minds
Making war just for fun
Treating people just like pawns in chess
Wait till their judgement day comes, yeah!

Now in darkness, world stops turning
As the war machine keeps burning
No more war pigs of the power
Hand of God has sturck the hour
Day of judgement, God is calling
On their knees, the war pigs crawling
Begging mercy for their sins
Satan, laughing, spreads his wings
All right now!

May 9, 2008 Posted by | Bush, Congress, Government, Iraq, Music, Politics, Protest, US Military, War, White House, World Peace | Leave a comment

Feeding America?

This is part two of my series on how the wasteful, destructive agriculture polices of the last 8-12 years — also known as “Make Money By Not Feeding America” — has affected the cost of the food we purchase. Part One is here.

In Part One, I spoke of wheat and how in the rush to grow corn for ethanol, it’s being pushed aside – which drives up prices at the mills, which then drives up the price at the retail level.

Today: Corn.

In the rush to find cleaner alternatives to fossil fuels for our vehicles, ethanol was latched onto by the Bush administration. As a result nearly a quarter of all corn grown is being diverted from human and animal food stocks and heading for ethanol plants.

As we see with wheat, prices are going up. In this case, the price rise is first seen as the price-per-bushel – the amount the corn farmer is paid. That drives up costs at the farm and farm-factory level – where it’s used as feedstock cattle and poultry. Then prices rise again at the retail level. We’ve seen a huge rise in the cost of eggs, meat, and milk and other dairy products as a result.

Meanwhile…back at the farm, it’s difficult to turn away from devoting your corn to ethanol production with prices per bushel on the rise.

From the Washington Post, via MSNBC: [my emphasis throughout]

Across the country, ethanol plants are swallowing more and more of the nation’s corn crop. This year, about a quarter of U.S. corn will go to feeding ethanol plants instead of poultry or livestock. That has helped farmers like Johnson, but it has boosted demand — and prices — for corn at the same time global grain demand is growing.

And it has linked food and fuel prices just as oil is rising to new records, pulling up the price of anything that can be poured into a gasoline tank. “The price of grain is now directly tied to the price of oil,” says Lester Brown, president of Earth Policy Institute, a Washington research group. “We used to have a grain economy and a fuel economy. But now they’re beginning to fuse.”

Oh, and thank your Democratic Congress too.

Rising food prices have given Congress and the White House a sudden case of legislative indigestion. In 2005, the Republican-led Congress and President Bush backed a bill that required widespread ethanol use in motor fuels. Just four months ago, the Democratic-led Congress passed and Bush signed energy legislation that boosted the mandate for minimum corn-based ethanol use to 15 billion gallons, about 10 percent of motor fuel, by 2015. It was one of the most popular parts of the bill, appealing to farm-state lawmakers and to those worried about energy security and eager to substitute a home-grown energy source for a portion of U.S. petroleum imports. To help things along, motor-fuel blenders receive a 51 cent subsidy for every gallon of corn-based ethanol used through the end of 2010; this year, production could reach 8 billion gallons.

There’s just one problem…well, several problems:

Although ethanol was once promoted as a way to slow climate change, a study published in Science magazine Feb. 29 concluded that greenhouse-gas emissions from corn and even cellulosic ethanol “exceed or match those from fossil fuels and therefore produce no greenhouse benefits.” By encouraging an expansion of acreage, the study added, the use of U.S. cropland for ethanol could make climate conditions dramatically worse. And the runoff from increased use of fertilizers on expanded acreage would compound damage to waterways all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.

Development specialists have also joined the fray. “While many are worrying about filling their gas tanks, many others around the world are struggling to fill their stomachs, and it is getting more and more difficult every day,” World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick said in a recent speech.

And, the future for food prices isn’t looking too good:

Two leading oil pipeline companies are exploring the feasibility of building a $3 billion ethanol pipeline, the first of its kind, to link Iowa and other parts of the Midwest with motor-fuel markets in the East. It would carry 3.65 billion gallons a year and give another industry a vested interest in maintaining high ethanol output. Because of this domestic demand, Iowa’s exports of corn are expected to shrink to less than half of current levels in the next couple of years. Nationwide, corn stockpiles are dwindling.

[snip]

… Iowa produces more eggs, 13.5 billion, than any other state. And chickens, like capons, mostly eat corn feed. The Charles City ethanol plant alone consumes three-quarters as much corn as the entire Iowa egg industry.

[snip]

“We don’t have to make fuel out of corn and soybeans, but we do have to feed animals,” says Kevin Vinchattle, executive director of the Iowa Egg Council. “We’re going to be right there bidding for feedstocks and making sure that we have the highest-quality feed available. We just don’t have an alternative.”

What we really need in this country is a responsible, sustainable, non-destructive, non-wasteful agriculture policy. We absolutely do need to support our family farmers. But, we should only support those family farmers who are contributing to the feeding of America.

It is time to end the subsidies to corporate entities that run factory farms, the owners of said corporate entities, and those whose product is going for any use other than feed or food.

What we also need is a responsible energy plan, because — thanks to the ethanol boom – the two are intertwined.

April 30, 2008 Posted by | America, Business, Congress, Farming, Global Warming, Government, Life, Made in the USA, Planet Earth | 3 Comments

What I Learned from Petraeus

In Part II of the Dog and Pony show held at the House Armed Services Committee, we learned that freedom and democracy are pretty hard to force down the throats of an occupied people.

September 2007 – Violence is up; we must stay.

April 2008 – Violence was down, but it seems to be going up again; we must stay.

September 2007 – There have been improvements, but we must stay to see the surge through.

April 2008 – The surge brought improvements, and some troops have left, but we must “pause” the draw-downs – which will leave more troops in Iraq than there was before the surge – and stay to see it through.

Hmmm…. Anyone else reminded of the theme song from the Shari Lewis/Lambchop show?

This is the song that never ends
Yes, it goes on and on, my friends
Some people started singing it
Not knowing what it was
And they’ll continue singing it
Forever just because
This the song that never ends …”

I also learned that “victory” in Iraq will consist of a country “at peace with itself and its neighbors”, able to defend itself, with a “reasonably representative” government that can care for its citizens.

Yeah, mull that over for a bit. Not one country in the Middle East could meet those standards, and neither could the US. Canada, maybe.

So the shorter Petraeus: We’re never leaving.

In other news: El Pollo Loco will announce a reduction in combat tour lengths, to twelve months.

This change will not go into effect until August, and will not apply to troops currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

April 10, 2008 Posted by | Bush, Congress, Iraq, Middle East, Pentagon, US Military, War, White House, World Peace | 1 Comment

Counting the Cost

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December 31, 2007 Posted by | America, Bush, Cheney, Condoleeza Rice, Congress, Government, Iraq, Media, Middle East, Pentagon, Rumsfeld, US Military, Veterans, War, White House | 20 Comments

Democratic Leadership and Other Oxymorons

Oh holy fucking shit.

No wonder.

No wonder neither Reid nor Pelosi has shown enough spine to investigate, why impeachment has been pulled off the table, why they’ve allowed Republicans to continue obstructing and subverting.

They knew we – as in our country – was using torture.

They knew we were torturing suspected terrorists – in 2002.

From the Washington Post:

In September 2002, four members of Congress met in secret for a first look at a unique CIA program designed to wring vital information from reticent terrorism suspects in U.S. custody. For more than an hour, the bipartisan group, which included current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), was given a virtual tour of the CIA’s overseas detention sites and the harsh techniques interrogators had devised to try to make their prisoners talk.

Among the techniques described, said two officials present, was waterboarding, a practice that years later would be condemned as torture by Democrats and some Republicans on Capitol Hill. But on that day, no objections were raised. Instead, at least two lawmakers in the room asked the CIA to push harder, two U.S. officials said. [my emphasis] Continue reading

December 9, 2007 Posted by | America, Bush, Congress, Democrats, Government, Human Rights, Politics, Republicans, War, White House | 5 Comments

Friday Anti-War Song

It’s very simple to understand now. Children of lower-income families whose parents can’t afford insurance for them are not important to Republicans or to the White House. It’s okay to ask for $190 billion to continue a lost cause, but it is not okay to ask for $35 billion over 5 years in order to provide healthcare to children.

It’s okay for a Republican to stand up and deride “socialized medicine” and “government healthcare” while they and their families receive free, taxpayer-funded, government healthcare, but it is not okay to ensure millions of children have access to preventive care and early intervention services.

We learned something about the Republican Party, thanks to the furor over SCHIP:

War = good. Providing lower-income kids with access to healthcare = bad.

Rep. Pete Stark (D-Ca) expressed it well:

Woot. Go Pete!!

Now, maybe you’re wondering what SCHIP has to do with the Friday Anti-War Song. Or maybe you’re a smart, involved, Democratic voter, and you already know. But I’ll lay it out anyway:

40 Days’ Worth of Funding for the Iraq War Would Pay
for Health Insurance for 10 Million American Children.

And, with that, here’s today’s song, from New Songs for Peace:

How Long?

How long will children have to wait
‘Til we stop teaching how to hate
How soon we learn we demonstrate what we believe

How long will children have to wait
‘Til we stop teaching how to hate
How soon we learn we demonstrate what we believe

We drop our bombs we let them go
They fall on people we don’t know
So will we reap just what we sow and too will grieve

How long will children have to wait
‘Til we stop teaching how to hate
How soon we learn we demonstrate what we believe

We cause our terror in the night
To make it easier to fight
I hope our research is all right
How will we know if it ever is

How long will children have to wait
‘Til we stop teaching how to hate
How soon we learn we demonstrate what we believe

How long will children have to wait
‘Til we stop teaching how to hate
How soon we learn we demonstrate what we believe

Written by Martin Thomas & Art Goodtimes
Performed by Joey Lindly

October 19, 2007 Posted by | America, Children, Congress, Family, Government, Human Rights, Music, Politics, Protest, SCHIP, US Military, War, White House, World Peace | 5 Comments