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Archive for July 4th, 2008

Obama Considers Cutting Convention Short

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 4th, 2008 4:42 am by HL

Obama Considers Cutting Convention Short
According to the Los Angeles Times, Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee “are toying with a convention scheduling change that has been broached before in theory but never seriously considered: cutting the party’s conclave in Denver short by one day to give Obama an extra day of post-nomination bounce in the crowded August calendar.”

“Adding to the Democrats’ calculation is the growing speculation that McCain will announce his running mate in the brief intermission between the two conventions — a good way to seize the spotlight from the just-nominated Democrat.”

McCain Uses Loopholes in McCain-Feingold Law
The Wall Street Journal reports that allies of Sen. John McCain “have found new loopholes in the campaign-finance law he helped write — and they’re using them to reel in huge contributions to help him compete with Sen. Barack Obama.”


The F Word: Celebration in Colombia? Not so fast.

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 4th, 2008 4:41 am by HL

The F Word: Celebration in Colombia? Not so fast.
It reads like a Hollywood script—Colombian commandos descend into the jungle and exit with 15 hostages, including a former Colombian presidential candidate and three American Pentagon contractors who’d been held by anti-government guerillas. The hostages had been held for six long years. What a long time and what a relief. It’s always cause for celebration when hostages are released. But let’s not loose sight of what side the US has been on during Colombia’s grim, dirty conflict.

It reads like a Hollywood script—Colombian commandos descend into the jungle and exit with 15 hostages, including a former Colombian presidential candidate and three American Pentagon contractors who’d been held by anti-government guerillas. The hostages had been held for six long years. What a long time and what a relief.

The Pentagon’s been getting great press for helping in the raid that released the hostages in Colombia. The Bush Administration was involved in the planning of the rescue and provided unspecified “specific support,” according to the White House. As for John McCain, who admitted being briefed about the raid the night before it occurred — some at Fox News Fox News are giving him props for possibly influencing the hostage release: “There really might be a connection between the high-level visit of the former prisoner of war, John McCain himself, and the release now of three American prisoners here in southern Colombia,” said reporter Steve Harrigan.

John McCain, Bush and of course, Colombian president Alvaro Uribe are all too eager to cast the Uribe government in a heroic light. After all, there’s another not-so “free” trade deal’s at stake.

It’s always cause for celebration when hostages are released. But let’s not lose sight of what side the US has been on during Colombia’s grim, dirty conflict.

Although the guerillas get the coverage, it’s not just the FARC that’s up to nasty business in Colombia. Successive Colombian governments and their allies have waged brutal war on their critics — and they’ve enjoyed support from successive US administrations.

What’s Colombia got that McCain and Bush want? Resources and industry, although the place is overwhelmed with poverty. Those who’d relieve that poverty — trade unionists, for example — have been slaughtered by the score. Over 400 hundred labor organizers have been murdered under the Uribe regime alone. That’s more than in the rest of the world combined — in six long years. And for all those six years Washington has done nothing.

When it comes to blood-for-profit, six years doesn’t seem so long to DC. And hostages-to-poverty don’t get the sympathy accorded Pentagon contractors in the jungle.

The F Word is a daily commentary by Laura Flanders.


Viacom to Get You Tube Viewer Details and Habits

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 4th, 2008 4:40 am by HL

Viacom to Get You Tube Viewer Details and Habits

As a result of a copyright infringement lawsuit between Google and Viacom,

Google must divulge the viewing habits of every user who has ever watched any video on YouTube, a US court has ruled.

The viewing log, which will be handed to Viacom, contains the log-in ID of users, the computer IP address (online identifier) and video clip details.

This decision appears to affect You Tube watchers world-wide. Google raised privacy issues with the court, to no avail:

[I]t said privacy concerns expressed by Google about handing over the log were “speculative”.

Google isn't blameless in this latest threat to our privacy. [More…]

Leading privacy expert Simon Davies told BBC News that the privacy of millions of YouTube users was threatened.

“The chickens have come home to roost for Google. Their arrogance and refusal to listen to friendly advice has resulted in the privacy of tens of millions being placed under threat.”

Mr Davies said privacy campaigners had warned Google for years that IP addresses were personally identifiable information. Google pledged last year to anonymise IP addresses for search information but it has said nothing about YouTube data.

So, what will Viacom learn? Apparently, IP addresses contain identifying information. The logs to be turned over include IP addresses of people who posted videos as well as those who watch.

The court also ruled that Google disclose to Viacom the details of all videos that have been removed from the site for any reason.

I wonder what Viacom intends to do with the information. Will it hire legions of techies to sort through the info and then bring lawsuits?


The Republican Establishment

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 4th, 2008 4:39 am by HL

The Republican Establishment
It’s difficult to know precisely how The Villagers decided the rampant presidential lawbreaking was just peachy and started going about defending it in utterly dishonest ways. My only theory is that the Republicans have held the executive for so much of the post 40 years that the Washington Establishment is almost indistinguishable from the Republican Establishment. They’re practically one and the same, and its members protect their own. It isn’t entirely new, of course, as the Iran-Contra situation was quite similar.

It’s difficult to fathom that warrantless wiretapping with no oversight whatsoever is condoned by the leading members of our elite press, and that it’s a dirty fucking hippie position to think otherwise, but that’s where we are.

Evening Thread
Do the patriotic thing and run over a baby seal with your hummer.


Google: Good or Evil When It Comes to the Environment?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 4th, 2008 4:38 am by HL

Google: Good or Evil When It Comes to the Environment?
Google’s motto is “Don’t be evil.” But when it comes to its environmental impact, some think the company can’t live up to its own hype.


Vulnerable GOP Senator Recites Bogus China-Cuba Oil Myth

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 4th, 2008 4:37 am by HL

Vulnerable GOP Senator Recites Bogus China-Cuba Oil Myth
We now have our eleventh big-name Republican spreading the China-Cuba Oil Myth — the idea that we need to drill offshore because the Chinese are already grabbing our oil in concert with Cuba. Even Dick Cheney retracted this claim three…


TPMtv: Golden Fleece Award: BMW Direct

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 4th, 2008 4:36 am by HL

TPMtv: Golden Fleece Award: BMW Direct
The late Sen. William Proxmire saved his Golden Fleece Award for federal government boondoggles but he might have made an exception for GOP direct mail firm BMW Direct — which takes obscure Republican candidates and turns them into money-making machines…


“The America We Love”

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 4th, 2008 4:35 am by HL

“The America We Love”

On Independence Day, it’s always worth reflecting on what it means to be an American.

Watching Sen. Barack Obama’s Monday speech on patriotism below is not a bad way to start. You don’t have to agree with every line to appreciate and ponder its larger meaning.

Issues are more important than rhetoric of course. But a speech like this does make you think about how his presidency can connect us to our government again, and deepen our love of country.

Have a happy Fourth.


Dems mull shorter convention

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 4th, 2008 4:34 am by HL

Dems mull shorter convention
Dems mull shorter convention

Report: Bush to close Gitmo?
President Bush will soon decide whether to close Guantanamo Bay as a prison for al-Qaeda suspects, sources tell ABC News. High-level discussions among top advisers have escalated in the past week, with the most senior administration officials in continuous talks about the future of the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay–and how it will be dramatically changed and/or closed in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling that gave detainees there access to federal courts. Sources have confirmed that President Bush is expected to be briefed on these pressing GTMO issues–and may reach a decision on the future of the naval base as a prison for al Qaeda suspects–before he leaves for the G8 on Saturday. An announcement, however, is not expected before he leaves the country.


White House deputy chief of staff resigning.

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 4th, 2008 4:33 am by HL

White House deputy chief of staff resigning.
The White House announced this morning that Deputy Chief of Staff Joe Hagin will be leaving his job this month. “The President said that he thanks Joe for his service to the White House, that Joe’s been a loyal friend, and that he is excited about the next chapter in Joe’s life,” said Press Secretary […]

hagin.gifThe White House announced this morning that Deputy Chief of Staff Joe Hagin will be leaving his job this month. “The President said that he thanks Joe for his service to the White House, that Joe’s been a loyal friend, and that he is excited about the next chapter in Joe’s life,” said Press Secretary Dana Perino. “Hagin sent an email to friends this morning, announcing he is leaving to take a private sector job.”