Saturday, June 30, 2007

Sweden using human waste to fuel vehicles

By Ben Cohen: Humans produce an awful lot of waste. And most of it goes down the toilet (literally). While the two biggest polluters in the world argue over over emissions trading and the validity of global warming, Sweden is coming up with inventive ways to wean themselves off oil. Check this article out to see how the Nordic country is using human waste, alcohol and dead animals to fuel their countries transport. Read more!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

We need men like this

This is a fantastic speech written by Ted Sorensen, speech writer and special adviser to President Kennedy. It is his "dream speech" for the Democratic candidates acceptance speech. There is no politcian today, including Bill Clinton and Tony Blair, who speak with this kind of eloquence, seriousness, and honesty.

From The Washington Monthly:
My fellow Democrats: With high resolve and deep gratitude, I accept your nomination. It has been a long campaign—too long, too expensive, with too much media attention on matters irrelevant to our nation’s future. I salute each of my worthy opponents for conducting a clean fifty-state campaign focusing on the real issues facing our nation, including health care, the public debt burden, energy independence, and national security, a campaign testing not merely which of us could raise and spend the most money but who among us could best lead our country; a campaign not ignoring controversial issues like taxation, immigration, fuel conservation, and the Middle East, but conducting, in essence, a great debate—because our party, unlike our opposition, believes that a free country is strengthened by debate.

There will be more debates this fall. I hereby notify my Republican opponent that I have purchased ninety minutes of national network television time for each of the six Sunday evenings preceding the presidential election, and here and now invite and challenge him to share that time with me to debate the most serious issues facing the country, under rules to be agreed upon by our respective designees meeting this week with a neutral jointly selected statesman.

Let me assure all those who may disagree with my positions that I shall hear and respect their views, not denounce them as unpatriotic as has so often happened in recent years. I will wage a campaign that relies not on the usual fear, smear, and greed but on the hopes and pride of all our citizens in a nationwide effort to restore comity, common sense, and competence to the White House.

Read the rest here

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The Great Lewis Black

Take a look at one of the main reasons The Daily Show is a great national institution in this brutal and biting segment by Lewis Black.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Galloway Savages Blair's Legacy

By Ben Cohen: With emotions running high, it is a difficult task to look objectively at Tony Blair's true legacy for his country and party. A series of brutal wars, a disastrous alliance with George Bush and fractured relationship with his base, Blair has done far more damage than good. As always, George Galloway provides a more sober assessment of the man and his mark on history.

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WTH... A journalist with real integrity...

Watch MSNBC's (and daughter of Carter National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski) Mika Brzezinski stand up to the network and refuse to lead with Paris Hilton. At least there is one real journalist left in America...GO MIKA!

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Trying to sugar coat a very bitter pill...

By Ari Rutenberg: When I first saw this clip of Deputy White House Press Secretary Dana Perino mounting a very weak defense of Dick Cheney's latest abuse of power I thought "wow, what a pretty mouth to spew such bullshit." Now that isn't meant to be sexist and I'm sorry if it sounds that way. I reacted that way because it really struck me as I was watching this that she is really used as an instrument of propaganda. It seems like every time there is really bad news, which is quite often these days, they put her out there because they think that maybe it will be less shocking from her. I don't know... I really could be way off base here, but that is really what it seems like to me. Plus I wonder if she really believes this bs or if she is just complacent in the destruction of the American democracy?

(via YouTube and TPMtv) Read more!


By Nick Lang: I had quite an experience recently, which gave me a personal insight into just how bad the whole Islamaphobia thing really is in this here country of ours – I know what you’re thinking; how does a white-skinned, Jewish agnostic have a personal encounter of hatred towards Muslims? Let me start at the beginning…

One fine Saturday afternoon, whilst shopping in Clapham Junction for pants or something equally insignificant, I stumbled across a Muslim book stall, owned by a friendly man who was giving out free Islamic literature. I spoke to him and told him that although I was not likely to be a potential convert, I do have a keen interest in religion and religious philosophy in particular. He gave me a couple of books written about the principles of Islam, and about the main teachings and guidelines, which made for pretty interesting reading: Plus, if ever you need a decent criticism of the Bible, or more particularly Roman Catholicism, look no further. Little did I know, as I began to read one of these books, that it would show me more than the simple basics of a major, but widely misunderstood religion.

A week or so later, on another slightly less fine Friday evening, on the joy-filled rush hour train to Staines, I was reading the book entitled ‘A simple call to one God’ (by Dr. Asra Rasheed) when I realised that the guy across the gangway from me was looking in my direction… A lot. I ignored him for a few minutes, as for all I knew he was just looking passed me, and seeing as I think it’s rude to stare I refrained. But after some time I got curious enough to look at him and see what he was staring at, and to my surprise it really was me. He had been staring at me for no less that 3 or 4 minutes, and with a ridiculously disgusted look on his face, as though I’d just taken his girlfriend by the hand and promptly spun her around and rogered her senseless right in front of him whilst screaming aloud that his mother was next. So I gave him that, “erm, can I help you mate?” look, to which he shook his head, and almost snarling, turned to face the other way. Needless to say I was quite shocked.

Now I’m not generally one to jump to conclusions, but I refuse to believe that my appearance is so grotesque as to warrant such a reaction. I was coming from work so I wasn’t wearing offensive clothes, my walkman wasn’t on loud enough to be bothering anyone, and I don’t have “I’m Jewish, feel free to hate me” tattooed on my forehead, so what else could it have been? Surely the only explanation, other than it being a sign of such immense ignorance that you can’t even read about Islam without people thinking you're about to strap a bomb to yourself, is of course that I bear an uncanny resemblence to a guy who did actually once take his girlfriend by the hand and promptly spin her around and roger her senseless right in front of him whilst screaming aloud that his mother was next. Read more!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Another step in the wrong direction for free speech in America

Heres an excellent article from HuffPost on the todays Supreme Court ruling against the "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" kid. Thanks to Tony Papa for the tip.

Students Free Speech Rights Go Up In Smoke

On June 25th student free speech joined the panoply of endangered fundamental rights ready to be stripped away from us due to the tragedy of the drug war. Kenneth Starr, former solicitor general, who reached broad fame by highlighting a presidential sex scandal in the Clinton years, was ecstatic to learn his argument prevailed before the land's highest court in the "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" case.

It all started innocently enough when 18-year-old Joe Frederick sought his "15 minutes of fame" by pulling a harmless prank. In 2002, in front of his high school, during a procession of the Olympic torch relay brigade, Joe unrolled a 14-foot banner bearing the words "Bong Hits 4 Jesus." Soon after the cameras caught the act, his high school principal suspended him for ten days for displaying the banner, in apparent violation of school policy limiting speech that promotes illegal drug use. Frederick soon brought a lawsuit against his school principal in which the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in his favor, finding that the principal had violated Frederick's First Amendment rights.

Read the rest here

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When the MSM does its job...

The results can be genuinely shocking. This article is the first in a series of four by The Washington Post on Cheney's unprecedented power grab. Though in recent years the MSM has failed the people miserably in their reporting, articles like this one remind us of why they were once such as trusted and feared group. This is a truly shocking portrait of a man who I already though very little of, and it only reaffirms our worst suspicions. Read more!

Why Hilary Clinton should scare you....

A fantastic and eloquent post from my man former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel. Everyone should check this guy out at Read more!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

How to Spot a Neo Con

By Ben Cohen: Responsible for the majority of the World's problems these days, it would be a good idea to know how to spot a Neo-Conservative. Here are some of his major characteristics:

1. White, un-athletic.

2. Obsessed with weapons, powerful leaders and military might.

3. No actual experience in the military, or of real fighting (may have been bullied physically by older boys at school though).

4. Smug, self-satisfied. Convinced of own moral clarity.

5. Proponent of ‘Exceptionalism’- the belief that their country is morally superior to everyone else, and incapable of malicious intent.

6. Unable to draw meaningful historical analogies- make frequent comparisons between tin pot dictators of third world countries (Saddam Hussein, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) and Adolf Hitler, the maniacal leader of the most technologically and industrially advanced country of its time.

7. Believe strongly in welfare for corporations through tax breaks, huge budget increases in the military industrial complex, and government interventions when Fortune 500 companies cannot survive the market.

8. Believe strongly in no welfare for the poor, and harsh market discipline for the majority of the working population.

9. Obsessed with the ‘purity’ of the market, but not willing to subject the rich or their own country to it.

10. Unwilling to sacrifice themselves or their family for their ideals, but very aggressive in sacrificing other people. Read more!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

From their perspective

The latest debacle between Britain and the Islamic world was, in my opinion, entirely avoidable. Awarding Salman Rushdie a knighthood at this particular time was one of the worst possible things we could have done, and has incensed an already angry Muslim population.

I support Salman Rushdie's right to express himself freely, and the portray Islam in any way he likes. I find the death warrant placed on his head for many years outrageous, and I have no time for Muslims who wish him harm because of 'The Satanic Verses'. I also support the British Governments right to award anyone they feel worthy of Knighthood with the title, and do not believe any other country or group has the right to stop it.

However, let us put this in perspective.

Imagine, if you will, that Ireland had been invaded by Iran and was now occupied by it's government. Imagine Iran had killed hundreds of thousands of people, and was siphoning off Ireland's natural resources to bankroll Iranian corporations. Imagine if Britain's attempts to fund rebellions in its neighbouring country were denounced as 'acts of terror', and discussions about nuking Britain were common in Iranian politics.

Now imagine Iran held a big national award ceremony in the midst of all this and honoured a holocaust denier for his contributions to Iranian culture.

Do you think anyone in the West would mind?

I think so. Let us not forget that Britain has helped illegally invade two Muslim countries, and is funding an unnecessary and violent occupations in both. It has helped kill hundreds and thousands of innocent people, and has aided the outright robbery of its natural resources. Consequently, awarding a writer whom most Muslims find deeply offensive with a prestigious national award was probably not the brightest thing to do.

It is too easy to use the argument that they are angry because 'they hate our freedom'. They hate us because we have arrogantly abused their lands for the best part of a century, and fail to see what benefits we have brought to them. Once we leave and pay reparations for the massive damage we have done, handing out Knighthoods to controversial writers might then be a little more palatable. For now, it might be an idea to be a little more sensitive. Read more!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A great response to the Salman Rushdie controversy..

This is from Acid Test. It captures my sentiments perfectly. I posted an excerpt below.

"If Rushdie’s knighthood is a huge insult that demands an apology and a retraction of the offending knighthood, then there a few other insults that need to be addressed.

I am deeply offended by the treatment of women in many countries. A heartfelt apology is certainly in order, but even more, I want a retraction. Get rid of all those laws that deprive women of freedom of movement, of the right to vote, of something so damn basic as the right to choose their own clothing.

I am terribly offended that there are still governments who censor political speech. I want to see those practices stopped now, thank you."

Full Article here

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

So I was wrong about Bloomberg...

Hes not a REPUBLICAN anymore! That explains the sanity... Read more!

An Open Letter to Brian Lamb, CEO of CSPAN

Last week CSPAN chose not to air the DVD speech Michael Savage, the conservative radio talk show host, sent in to the Talker's Magazine when the awarded him their Freedom of Speech award. CSPAN did not cover the speech because it was not delivered live and they only show live events. Since then Savage has had his listeners inundate CSPAN with calls and emails condemning CSPAN for not showing it and accusing them of left-wing bias. In addition, apparently Savage told his listeners that CSPAN is taxpayer funded, which is not true. In response I wrote a letter of support to Brian Lamb, the CEO of CSPAN, and a letter to Mr. Savage asking that he not try to make this network part ofo his political agenda. Both are posted in full below.

Letter to Brian Lamb, CEO of CSPAN
Dear Mr. Lamb,
Unlike so many of your recent emails, this one is in support of you and your network. What you do is a much needed and underutilized public service. It is the only source of original information about the workings of our government unless you read the Congressional Record. As a concerned citizen and aspiring commentator I find your programming invaluable when trying to understand specific policies or members of congress. In regards to the Michael Savage issue it is really too bad that he has decided that his recorded speech deserves to be treated like a live one and that he has sicked his attack dogs on you. It seems clear that what was done in this instance is consistent with your general programming policies. It saddens me to see this man try and paint you as part of some great liberal media conspiracy when in fact you are simply applying the same rules to everyone across the board. Of all the channels on TV, yours is the best exemplar of the true values of this nation: consistent, reliable, honest, fair, and most importantly, always working to advance the cause of democracy (not Democrats) and the commonwealth of this nation. You should be immensely proud of what you have accomplished these last 30 years and know that those of us who take seriously this nation and its democratic process cannot measure the value you have added to our society. Thank you and please don't change a thing.

Ari Rutenberg
Letter to Michael Savage
Dear Mr. Savage,
My name is Ari Rutenberg and I am writing to ask that you stop sending people after CSPAN. Though I do not agree with you politically, I believe you have a right speak your mind at all times under any circumstances. But your right to do so does not mean it must be covered by CSPAN or any other network. The fact is that you sent a dvd of your speech to be played before the audience. CSPAN only covers live events. So it is consistent with their normal policies not to show a taped speech. Indeed when CSPAN won that same award a few years ago they did not cover the event. Please do not make this network part of your political agenda. They have no political agenda, they only attempt to give the average American a window on the true operations of our government which is a valuable service for all Americans who want to participate in the political process. In addition, please do not continue to tell you listeners that CSPAN is taxpayer funded. It is not. It is funded by the cable and satellite operators using a small fee that every subscriber pays, about 5 cents a month per person. Again let me reiterate both my political disagreement with you, and my belief that you have right to say anything you want whether I like it or not. Please stop the assault on CSPAN before it really becomes damaged. The fact that you feel that you have been personally slighted by them is not a justification for the damage this could do to our democracy. Sir, if you truly love this country you will stop trying to make political targets out of those engaged in honest business and again focus your efforts in places where you can make a difference for the good of the commonwealth.

Ari Rutenberg

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A Few Words on the Recent Pew Survey of Muslims in America

The recent Pew survey of Muslims in America has the news media up in arms over what was said about suicide bombings. I personally think it’s a bunch of hot air, and let me explain why.

It seems clear to me that the problem is that when asked if there were ever circumstances under which they would support suicide bombing in defense of Islam, 26% of Muslin youth said yes. Now all the talk shows are talking about this “problem” and how we can “fix it”.

Before I discuss the merits of the answer, I would like to talk about the question itself and the problems it poses. The real problem with this question is that it is loaded. It asks specifically about suicide bombings, a tactic associated with Islamic extremists, or as I will refer to them… them. This is specifically to contrast with our notion of acceptable versus unacceptable violence. In America, due to the phenomenon known as American exceptionalism (we’re better than them, what we do is moral, what they do is not, etc.) we assume that there is something fundamentally wrong when a suicide bombing happens, but ok when it is dropping bombs or launching missiles from afar. But the facts are that we have the most advanced and far reaching military strike capability of any nation in history. We can target anyone we want, anywhere on Earth, and attack them within an hour or so. From our Tomahawk cruise missile, to our aircraft carriers to our long range bombers, we have the ability to engage any target we deem necessary. In stark contrast to that, the people we are so afraid of have virtually no long range military strike capability except for suicide bombings.

Just to be clear I am not justifying them, but I am saying that they are no different from our way of killing people in that the intention and result is the same, even if the methodologies are not identical. So really what we are saying is that our way of violence is fine, and theirs is in some way immoral and to be feared more than ours. This is a laughable sentiment when you ask all the countries we have devastated which is worse. They will all say ours because the difference is between one isolated incident of violence or a sustained long-term campaign meant to cripple a nation.

Now what is my point here? Well if we want to be accurate the question should have been are there any circumstances under which you would support the use of violence to defend Islam? Now I don’t know what the answer would have been from Muslims, but I do know that it probably would not be much different from the answers you would receive from Americans (remember, if you will, how many supported our use of force in Iraq and they hadn’t done anything to us) or Jews, of whom I am one, and many of whom support Israel’s use of violence against Palestinians and the use of suicide bombings by Jews in their attempt to get the state of Israel. Indeed there has been much violence in the name of Jesus, and even Hindus engage in violence and sometimes suicide bombings in India and Pakistan. So really the answer you get is not so different among different demographic groups. Everyone thinks its ok when they do it and thinks that they are justified in their violence because it supports their beliefs.

The fact of the matter is that it is only because they are doing the suicide bombings that we are afraid and think it’s a problem very different from our violence. But it isn’t. It’s exactly the same. We believe in violence, at least as a culture, so why are we so surprised when another culture believes they have the right to do the same thing?

So to get back to the point, the real problem here isn’t the answer, it’s the question. The answer really needs very little analysis if we simply replace the words suicide bombing with the word violence because, fundamentally, what this is about is us being better than them and our violence being better and more acceptable than their violence. That is wrong, and indicative of the bravado and arrogance that have defined us these past few decades and especially during the Bush administration. We are the same; our violence is the same, and to pretend anything else is simply foolish.

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Our Misunderstanding of Fear

Americans like watching Jack Bauer torture people because they feel it represents their helplessness and anger, according to Howard Gordon, the executive producer of “24”. Imagine what people who are genuinely in danger (the Iraqis) feel about us who can bomb them anytime we want night or day. We are only in perceived danger. That is to say that we were attacked once and everyone is still afraid because of the uncertain nature of the attacks we face. But imagine the uncertainty when you know that a country owns you and can bomb or shoot you anywhere, anytime without reason or provocation. That is the terror we create when we destroy countries indiscriminately in order to justify our massive military-industrial complex to the American taxpayer.

Apparently, 24 also represents a solid interpretation of the U.S. Constitution, according to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

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Ok one more candidate for the sanest Republican title

Michael Bloomberg calls himself a Republican, but after his stance on the environment and this article, I'm beginning to think hes a closet liberal Read more!

Monday, June 18, 2007

No...This is the sanest Republican on the planet

I must respectfully disagree with my friend Ben that Ron Paul is the sanest Republican ever....Read this HuffPost article by Phillip Giraldi. Its absolutely fantastic.
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Israel to demolish more Palestinian Homes

This really is unbelievable. It's no wonder the situation with Israel is compared to South Africa under apartheid. Read more!

First Post

Hi everyone, so this is the first post on the new website! Very exciting. The Daily Banter is here to stay, and we will dedicate ourselves to becoming a real force in political opinion. Oh, and check this interview with the sanest Republican I have ever seen. Read more!