Monday, December 11, 2006

--Ann Coulter's December 6, 2006 Article

You have to enjoy reading Ann Coulter's columns, if you enjoy reading fiction. If you're looking for facts, then you might want to look elsewhere. Take, for example, her December 6 article where she says:

Now that Democrats have won the House, they can concentrate on losing the war. Despite all the phony conservative Democrats who got elected as gun-totin' hawks, the Democrats will uniformly vote to dismantle every aspect of the war on terrorism.

Ann is actually looking at two different things here, so let's clarify them; the war in Iraq and the war on terrorism. Note that these are not the same thing. The war in Iraq is a war that was started by the Bush administration against an innocent country based on phony intelligence that Iraq was harboring Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs). It is important to state here that in over three years of the war, no such weaponry has been found.

The war on terrorism culminated on September 11, 2001 when the World Trade Center was attacked by Muslim extremists in a plot largely supported by Osama bin Laden. Since she includes this in the same paragraph as the war in Iraq, I must assume that she is referring to terrorism in that country, as opposed to terrorism here.

In Iraq, the terrorists we're fighting are ones we created by attacking their country, but are these all truly terrorists? Consider, for example, the same situation reversed. If Iraq were to attack and occupy the United States, and U.S. citizens armed themselves and began fighting back, would we be terrorists? No. We would be freedom fighters, therefore those Iraqis who are fighting against the occupying forces are not terrorists. Those Iraqis who are killing other Iraqis, however, ARE terrorists, but they are terrorists whom we created.

Now to get back to Ann's ridiculous comments. First she says that Democrats will concentrte on losing the war. This, apparently, in opposition to the Republicans who are already losing the war, they simply refuse to admit it. The Republicans had the silly idea that capturing Saddam Hussein (a deposed leader) would somehow end the war. This didn't happen, of course. Saddam was captured, but the war didn't end.

Let me take an aside here to say that Saddam's capture probably did not happen as we have been lead to believe. Long before American's heard the "We got him" speech, the following was already released in the Kurdish media:

Saddam Hussein, the former President of the Iraqi regime, was captured by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. A special intelligence unit led by Qusrat Rasul Ali, a high-ranking member of the PUK, found Saddam Hussein in the city of Tikrit, his birthplace. Qusrat's team was accompanied by a group of US soldiers. Further details of the capture will emerge during the day; but the global Kurdish party is about to begin!

So, the Democrats are not concentrating on losing the war, we're facing the reality of a war that we've already lost. We're looking at ways of getting out of this conflict with the minimum amount of damage, and possibly some shred of dignity, something the Republicans have completely stripped this country of for far too long.

The rest of her article deals with terrorism, and the idea of waterboarding terror suspects, something she is obviously in favor of, as opposed to most human beings who see that as torture and don't see a need for torture. Ann lives in a different world. She mentions September 11 five times in her article, and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed nine times, yet she never mentions Osama bin Laden at all. This seems odd in an article that deals with September 11 and terrorism against the United States, until you remember that Ann is not interested in facts. What Ann is trying to do is obfuscate the truth to further her own thwarted agenda.

So, Ann, let me put this simply so that even you can understand it. We, the American people, do not believe in torture. Period. To say that it's okay to torture those who would torture us goes against our sensibilities. As a professed Christian, I'm suprised at that hypocrisy coming from you. Jesus did not allow an eye for an eye, yet you support it. Interesting. We, the American people, do not see a need to torture anyone, even our enemies.

We, as a people, also realize that the mastermind behind 9/11 was Osama bin Laden, but you don't mention him because he's still at large, and that would be admitting to the world that the Republicans failed to get their man. Such an admission would be a show of honesty, and that's not something we've come to expect from Ann Coulter.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

--Michael Moore's Pledge to Disheartened Conservatives

I wish I had written this, but I didn't. This comes from the pen of Michael Moore, and I have to say, I agree with it, so much so that I signed it. If you agree with the petition, click the link at the end to sign it yourself, and pass it along to your progressive friends.


Tuesday, November 14th, 2006
A Liberal's Pledge to Disheartened Conservatives Michael Moore

To My Conservative Brothers and Sisters,

I know you are dismayed and disheartened at the results of last week's election. You're worried that the country is heading toward a very bad place you don't want it to go. Your 12-year Republican Revolution has ended with so much yet to do, so many promises left unfulfilled. You are in a funk, and I understand.

Well, cheer up, my friends! Do not despair. I have good news for you. I, and the millions of others who are now in charge with our Democratic Congress, have a pledge we would like to make to you, a list of promises that we offer you because we value you as our fellow Americans. You deserve to know what we plan to do with our newfound power -- and, to be specific, what we will do to you and for you.

Thus, here is our Liberal's Pledge to Disheartened Conservatives:

Dear Conservatives and Republicans,

I, and my fellow signatories, hereby make these promises to you:

1. We will always respect you for your conservative beliefs. We will never, ever, call you "unpatriotic" simply because you disagree with us. In fact, we encourage you to dissent and disagree with us.

2. We will let you marry whomever you want, even when some of us consider your behavior to be "different" or "immoral." Who you marry is none of our business. Love and be in love -- it's a wonderful gift.

3. We will not spend your grandchildren's money on our personal whims or to enrich our friends. It's your checkbook, too, and we will balance it for you.

4. When we soon bring our sons and daughters home from Iraq, we will bring your sons and daughters home, too. They deserve to live. We promise never to send your kids off to war based on either a mistake or a lie.

5. When we make America the last Western democracy to have universal health coverage, and all Americans are able to get help when they fall ill, we promise that you, too, will be able to see a doctor, regardless of your ability to pay. And when stem cell research delivers treatments and cures for diseases that affect you and your loved ones, we'll make sure those advances are available to you and your family, too.

6. Even though you have opposed environmental regulation, when we clean up our air and water, we, the Democratic majority, will let you, too, breathe the cleaner air and drink the purer water.

7. Should a mass murderer ever kill 3,000 people on our soil, we will devote every single resource to tracking him down and bringing him to justice. Immediately. We will protect you.

8. We will never stick our nose in your bedroom or your womb. What you do there as consenting adults is your business. We will continue to count your age from the moment you were born, not the moment you were conceived.

9. We will not take away your hunting guns. If you need an automatic weapon or a handgun to kill a bird or a deer, then you really aren't much of a hunter and you should, perhaps, pick up another sport. We will make our streets and schools as free as we can from these weapons and we will protect your children just as we would protect ours.

10. When we raise the minimum wage, we will pay you -- and your employees -- that new wage, too. When women are finally paid what men make, we will pay conservative women that wage, too.

11. We will respect your religious beliefs, even when you don't put those beliefs into practice. In fact, we will actively seek to promote your most radical religious beliefs ("Blessed are the poor," "Blessed are the peacemakers," "Love your enemies," "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God," and "Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."). We will let people in other countries know that God doesn't just bless America, he blesses everyone. We will discourage religious intolerance and fanaticism -- starting with the fanaticism here at home, thus setting a good example for the rest of the world.

12. We will not tolerate politicians who are corrupt and who are bought and paid for by the rich. We will go after any elected leader who puts him or herself ahead of the people. And we promise you we will go after the corrupt politicians on our side FIRST. If we fail to do this, we need you to call us on it. Simply because we are in power does not give us the right to turn our heads the other way when our party goes astray. Please perform this important duty as the loyal opposition.

I promise all of the above to you because this is your country, too. You are every bit as American as we are. We are all in this together. We sink or swim as one. Thank you for your years of service to this country and for giving us the opportunity to see if we can make things a bit better for our 300 million fellow Americans -- and for the rest of the world.

Michael Moore
(Click here to sign the pledge)

P.S. Please feel free to pass this on.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

-- Wal-Mart; Not a Friend of Progressives

I just finished watching a very good documentary on Wal-Mart titled, Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price. It's from 2005 and most of the data is from 2004, but I haven't seen anything in the news that would lead me to believe that anything at Wal-Mart's corporate culture has changed.

The documentary has created a website that houses much of the information from the video, which can be viewed here According to the site, the taxpayers wind up paying much for Wal-Mart's employees:

In 2004, a study released the UC Berkeley Labor Center (sic) found that "reliance by Wal-Mart workers on public assistance programs in California comes at a cost to taxpayers of an estimated $86 million annually; this is comprised of $32 million in health related expenses and $54 million in other assistance."

Why are Wal-Mart workers signing up for public assistance? Simply put, the wages that Wal-Mart pays to its employees are too low, and the cost of premiums for insurance that it offers is too high.

In 2001, sales associates, the most common job in Wal-Mart, earned on average $8.23 an hour for annual wages of $13,861. The 2001 poverty line for a family of three was $14,630. [“Is Wal-Mart Too Powerful?”, Business Week, 10/6/03, US Dept of Health and Human Services 2001 Poverty Guidelines, 2001]

A 2003 wage analysis reported that cashiers, the second most common job, earn approximately $7.92 per hour and work 29 hours a week. This brings in annual wages of only $11,948. [“Statistical Analysis of Gender Patterns in Wal-Mart’s Workforce”, Dr. Richard Drogin 2003]

Since the average full-time Wal-Mart employee earned $17,114 in 2005, he or she would have to spend between 7 and 25 percent of his or her income just to cover the premiums and medical deductibles, if electing for single coverage. [Wal-Mart 2006 Associate Guide and UFCW analysis]

The average full-time employee electing for family coverage would have to spend between 22 and 40 percent of his or her income just to cover the premiums and medical deductibles. These costs do not include other health-related expenses such as medical co-pays, prescription coverage, emergency room deductibles, and ambulance deductibles. [Wal-Mart 2006 Associate Guide and UFCW Analysis].

Wal-Mart trumps the affordability of its new health care plan. According to Wal-Mart, “In January [2006], …Coverage will be available for as little as $22 per month for individuals” []

What Wal-Mart’s website leaves out: Coverage is affordable, but using it will bankrupt many employees. Wal-Mart’s most affordable plan for 2006 includes a $1,000 deductible for single coverage and a $3,000 deductible for family coverage ($1,000 deductible per person covered up to $3,000). [Wal-Mart 2006 Associate Guide]
So, Wal-Mart pays too little and charges too much, resulting in huge profits. And what does it do with those profits? One of the things it does is support Republican candidates. According to Open Secrets, a website that tracks political contributions, during the 2006 cycle Wal-Mart's PAC donated $944,350 to political campaigns. Of that, $641,000 went to Republicans ($556,500 for House races, $84,500 for Senate) while only $303,350 went to Democrats ($275,800 for House and $27,550 for Senate). 68% of the political contributions from Wal-Mart's PAC went to Republican candidates, while only 32% went to Democrats.

What can be done? First, letters need to be sent to Wal-Mart's corporate headquarters demanding more equitable distribution of campaign funds, as well as higher wages and better healthcare for its employees. Their mailing address is:

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
702 SW 8th St.
Bentonville, AR 72716

Second, until policies change, stop shopping at Wal-Mart and encourage your friends, family and associates to do likewise. This can be done by sending out an email, or by simply sending a copy of the letter you send to Wal-Mart to your local paper's editor for publication. Boycotts work, but only if they are followed by a large number of people. As Wal-Mart's profits shrink, they will be forced to change their policies.

Lastly, divest your investments of any Wal-Mart stock. It doesn't help any progressive causes to continue investing in a company that is against us. With any and all of these moves, it is imperative that Wal-Mart's corporate office understand what you're doing and why, which is why sending them a letter is a must.

Corporations can and do change, but only if they can see that such change is for their benefit. Working together, we can make that change.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

-- Ann Coulter's November 22, 2006 Article

Ann Coulter is at it again. In her November 22 article she starts off with,

Six imams removed from a US Airways flight from Minneapolis to Phoenix are calling on Muslims to boycott the airline. If only we could get Muslims to boycott all airlines, we could dispense with airport security altogether.

Notice she doesn't say anything about terrorists, only about Muslims. She uses the terms interchangeably, as if all Muslims are terrorists, and all terrorists are Muslims. Apparently, the Timothy McVeigh incident escaped Ann's attention. Hint, Ann, he was neither Muslim nor Arab.

Whether or not the Imams should have been removed from the flight I can't say as I wasn't there and I don't know exactly what they did. Some of the actions described certainly sound a bit odd, but I haven't seen anything that made them look threatening. Not according to Ann, however:

Witnesses said the imams stood to do their evening prayers in the terminal before boarding, chanting "Allah, Allah, Allah" — coincidentally, the last words heard by hundreds of airline passengers on 9/11 before they died. Witnesses also said that the imams were talking about Saddam Hussein, and denouncing America and the war in Iraq. About the only scary preflight ritual the imams didn't perform was the signing of last wills and testaments. After boarding, the imams did not sit together and some asked for seat belt extensions, although none were morbidly obese. Three of the men had one-way tickets and no checked baggage.

Also they were Muslims.

So, they were praying, which makes them suspect. Would they have been suspect if they had been praying the Our Father? Probably not, but because they were praying a Muslim prayer, they must be terrorists. They were denouncing the war in Iraq. I guess that makes me a terrorist as well, because I've been denouncing the war since before we attacked an innocent country. And oh yes, as Ann points out, they were Muslim.

When will we stop allowing hate speech in this country? There are millions of Muslims in the world who do not support the actions of the terrorists on 9/11, yet people like Ann Coulter would have us believe that all Muslims are hate-filled people whose only goal is the eradication of the United States. This is simply not true.

I would like to know how many mosques Ann has visited since 9/11. How many times have you gone to the Muslims who live in this country and talked to them? How many have you interviewed? How many have you sat and broken bread with? And lest Ann feel that I'm giving her instructions that I wouldn't do myself, I'd like to point out that I've done all of these things. I know a good number of Muslims who are beautiful, loving AMERICANS. They don't want to see people die any more than I do, but they do see that there are problems in this nation and that someone needs to work to change them.

Something Ann might notice if she'd get the hate out of her eyes.