A People Plank for the Democratic Party

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I want to share an idea that I think has real promise. It's at the "give me feedback" stage, now, and I'm patient enough to do it right, but here it is right up front: We need to make the Democratic party understand that we expect them to put forth and support a constitutional amendment defining what a "person" is, once and for all. This amendment should define a "person" as a human being regardless of where they were born. I'm not a lawyer, so I'm looking for help in the exact words to use to keep the definition in line with the 14th amendment, too, and I'm open to constructive criticism on how to make the whole thing workable. I also realize that I'm making quite a leap stating what "we" demand, but stay with me a little longer.

If done right this could end the domination of politics by corporations, as it would make it the foremost law of the land that only "persons" have civil rights. Corporations (and other special interest groups if we word it carefully), not having been "born", would have no first amendment right to free speech that allows them to spend such huge sums of money to influence politics. (You don't have to be all that astute to see what other things defining a person this way can do to bring peace to the nation, too.)

I'm under no illusion that the Democrats aren't beholden to corporations and big money. Different corporations and different big money, sure, but beholden to THEM and not to US just the same. If we're so sure we're right, that corporate money has ruined politics, why shouldn't we push this? Why shouldn't we demand that the Democratic candidates push this? Why should we support the Democrats if they prove to us that corporate money is more important to them than our opinion?

The Daily Kos and DU have raised astounding amounts of money for some candidates. Other Democratic candidates and congress-critters post on these sites and ask for feedback there. There is recognition that the upcoming election is a "base election" and "the angry left" is actively sharing ideas, strength, and money because they expect to be heard. Needless to say, this has the hateful right up in arms! The RW complains about "the angry left" bloggers out of fear because they recognize a real threat to their power!

The Democrats know what's happening, too, and how much power we still have. Just as an example, Lieberbush is in deep shit in CT, and he knows it. He's allied himself with "God's chosen President" one time too many, and the support of people like you and me are giving Lamont a *real* chance to unseat "joementum" in the primary.

We shouldn't allow the DNC to "move right." In the past year or so there's been a real awakening in America to the indisputable fact that the GOP is unable to do ANYTHING without the approval of the RW-extremist fundies (and if they've forgotten remind them about Harriet Myers.) Anyone who believes that it's not the government's province to legislate morality, that it's distinctly un-American for the government to make "value" judgements for them, isn't going to vote for God's Own Party this time around, but they may choose not to vote at all. We will never win the vote of a RW-religious extremist, but anyone else who is tired of the GOP culture of corruption is looking for something to be for. I've talked to people from all "sides" in the political debate and this is one issue all Americans (except those who vote on faith) can unite on. If you want to "reach across the aisle" and get former GOP supporters to vote Democratic getting rid of the dirty corporate money is the ticket. People are so overwhelmed by the huge sums of money dumped into politicians pockets that they feel like they no longer have any influence on our nation's politics and laws, and they're tired of it.

We shouldn't support a Democratic party that's only better than the GOP because they're free to act without consulting the Dobson's and Falwell's of the world. We should let the Democrats know what we want them to do for us, and we should expect them to do it. The religious right and the big money behind our current government aren't going to give up power meekly, but until we get the money and the religion out of politics we aren't really even in the ring, much less winning the fight. The least we can do is tell our representatives how to represent us, have their backs when the inevitable attacks begin, and be willing to do the work to make the changes necessary to restore government for, of, and by the people, not legal concepts.

04/17/06

Fun With Numbers

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United States Revenues (2005 estimate, CIA factbook):
$2,119,000,000,000.00
United States Expenditures (2005 estimate, CIA factbook):
$2,466,000,000,000,00
"Off budget" expenditures for war in Iraq (2007, Army Times):
$112,000,000,000.00

Amount spent in Iraq, so far (from costofwar.com, changes by the second):
$241,398,551,873.69

Bush net worth (estimate, Center for Public Integrity):
$9,000,000.00
Cheney net worth (2001 estimate):
$38,000,000.00

A "six-figure income":
$200,000.00

Number people in United States (CIA factbook):
295,734,134

Cost to each American, regardless of age, of Iraq war (so far, not counting interest or the "cost" to families of the dead):
$816.00

Cost of Iraq war to each American (not counting interest or the "cost" to families of the dead) by year's end:
$1195.00

Percentage of "average American's" (with a 6-figure) income going to Iraq by year's end:
0.6%

Percentage of "average American's" (with a $50,000.00/yr) income going to Iraq by year's end:
2.39%

Percentage of Bush's net worth going to Iraq by year's end:
0
OK, that's probably true, but here's the calculated number:
0.01327%

Percentage of Cheney's net worth going to Iraq by year's end:
0
OK, if it wasn't funny the first time it's probably not funny the second time, so here's the calculated number:
0.003145%

Number of members of Bush/Cheney families lost in war in Iraq/Afghanistan:
0

Total casualties in Iraq (US only, 2/16/06):
2274

Percentage of total casualties suffered by Bush/Cheney families:
0.00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000%

02/16/06

I've Seen This Before

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My son had just married so I went to spend some time with him, his new wife, and her grandparents just before Christmas. Her grandparents had met in WWII. He was "over there" fighting the forces of a man who blamed Germany's problems on Jews, Gays, and Gypsies. She was a German citizen who fell in love with the young man from America, and was none too fond of the sort of mentality that led the German people to hold garden parties and enjoy their newfound peace and prosperity while young men were sent to fight and die in wars of aggression (blitzkriegs) against other countries.

After the war ended they married and moved back to the states and they went about living their lives in the liberal United States of America, where FDR had just led the country and the world to victory over the Nazis and had just instituted social security.

I'll come back to those two nice old people in a minute, but first let me give you some FDR quotes, as inscribed in granite at the FDR memorial in Washington, DC:

"The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much, it is whether we provided enough for those who have too little."

"I never forget that I live in a house owned by all the American people and that I have been given their trust."

"We must scrupulously guard the civil rights and civil liberties of all citizens, whatever their background. We must remember that any oppression, any injustice, any hatred, is a wedge designed to attack our civilization."

"I have seen war. I have seen war on land and sea. I have seen blood running from the wounded...I have seen the dead in the mud, I have seen cities destroyed...I have seen children starving. I have seen the agony of mothers and wives. I hate war."

"They (who) seek to establish systems of government based on the regimentation of all human beings by a handful of individual rulers...call this a new order. It is not new and it is not order."

"Unless the peace that follows recognizes that the whole world is one neighborhood and does justice to the whole human race, the germs of another world war will remain as a constant threat to mankind."

"The structure of world peace cannot be the work of one man or one party, or one nation...it must be a peace which rests on the cooperative effort of the whole world."

Now, there is a large and vocal right wing echo chamber (with a stunning concentration at "Fair and Balanced" Fox News) that tells us we should move away from being a nation that "provide(s) enough for those who have too little", we need to cut taxes on corporations and the wealthy. These haters of the America our parents left us want us to move away from being a nation that "guard(s) the civil rights and civil liberties of all citizens", and to instead fear "the terrorists" (Emmanuel Goldstein) so much that we will gladly rephrase Patrick Henry's famous words: "Give me a false sense of security and I'll gladly help you shred the Bill of Rights." These "experts" who dominate a corporate media that's been enriched by war still want to blame all of our problems on muslims (jews), gays (gays), and "lazy welfare queens" (gypsies), and practice bigotry and hatred of our fellow Americans, instead. I have hope that reality has shocked us back into being a nation that has seen and hates waging unprovoked wars of aggression against nations that can't defend themselves from invasion, but like any nation that's been invaded are determined to drive out the aggressors. While the UN is still demonized along with "old Europe" the public relations battle continues to be waged by the White House and many Americans still seem to believe that there is a "victory" to be won in the midst of the Iraqi civil war that didn't exist before we "democratized" that country.

So what did this woman who had lived in nazi Germany, and this man who had fought the nazis in WWII, think of our current government? They both saw shocking parallels between the hatred, fear, paranoia, and persecution complexes that the people in power have put upon vast numbers of voters in the US today, and the means that the nazis used to rise to power in Germany in the period between the two world wars.

The folks who fought those wars are all either dead, or too old to fight any more. The lessons that they learned have been lost, along with the lessons of Viet Nam. What we're left with as a "national discourse" is years of studying how to market to that angry portion of America who blame "the liberals" for losing the war in Viet Nam, the so-called "christians" who are being misled by the pastors of megachurches and the Southern Baptists to believe that an evil America is persecuting them, and a ton of money from self-serving corporate interests who have gained control of the flow of information in America to the point that cries of "liberal media" are believable, even though they're demonstrably false. Which media outlet suggested that continuing inspections might be an effective way to determine whether or not those WMD existed without losing 10's of thousands of lives?

There is very little courage left in America, any more, but never underestimate the power of a small but determined number of concerned citizens to effect change when the country goes seriously off-track. It's the only thing that's worked in the past.

There is still hope. You might want to read this, too.

01/07/06

Inexpensive Halloween Costumes

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For those on a budget, you can go to your costume party as:

1) An evangelical. Tear half the pages out of the Bible that you're carrying. Never open it. Criticize everyone else's religion.
2) A Republican: Carry a Bible and a copy of the Bill of Rights. Never open either one. (If you really want to do this one right, spend twice as much money as you actually have and declare war on Canada.)
3) Saddam Hussein: Wear only your (not so) tightie-whities and stuff a sock in the crotch to represent your "weapon of mass destruction."
4) Tom DeLay: Big smile and a prison uniform.
5) Karl Rove: Bald head and a prison uniform.
6) Bill Frist: Dress like Marth Stewart. Prison uniform/ankel bracelet optional.
7) James Dobson: Carry a baby doll around. Freqently take off your belt and whip the doll with it. (A toy dachsund will work in a pinch.)
8) Harriet Miers: Lots of black eyeliner under you eyes should do it. Refuse to talk.
9) Clarence Thomas: Collar and leash, get someone to dress like Scalia and hold the leash. Ask no questions of anyone.
10) Michelle Malkin: (Asian descent only.) No costume necessary. Just twist your mouth into a hideous grimace while you proclaim your hatred toward nearly everyone.
11) Ann Coulter: (This one only works if you're a skinny guy with a big adam's apple.) Wear a blonde wig and stuff a sausage in your pants. Carry a "liberal hunting license" and a gun.
12) Rush Limbaugh: Buy some pimple cream. Excuse yourself to go to the bathroom frequently to "smear some of this on my ass." Talk about your girlfriend, Daryn Kagan and why blacks are "affirmative action cases" when they play in the NFL.
13) Chris Matthews: Blonde hair. Scream a lot. Punctuate screams with "I taught I taw a puddy tat."
14) John Hinderaker: Shove a rocket up your ass.

Later additions:

15) George W. Bush: Either dress up as a piece of toast (his legacy), or in a cowboy hat with a handful of brush and some white powder under your nose.
16) Laura Bush: A "June Cleaver dress", high heels, heavy makeup, and spend the night sweeping the porch.
17) Donald Rumsfeld: Wrap yourself in an ace bandage, tie a balloon to each foot, and go as a prick.
18) Dick Cheney: Attach some wires to your chest. Clutch at your heart a lot. Ask people if they know where your bunker is, then laugh uproariously when they say "no".
19) Bill O'Reilly: A phone, a vibrator, and a loofa/falafel, if you catch my drift.

10/10/05

9*24*05

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Pictures

Last night we were planning on being in DC between 11:30 and 12:30, in time to meet at the ellipse and join the march. It's about a 2 hour drive, plus parking/walking/metro time so we figured if we left by 9 or so we'd be in great shape. I get up between 6 and 7 every weekday, and it's hard for me to sleep past 8 any more, so I didn't bother to set the alarm.

Needless to say, when I woke up this morning and looked at the clock it read 9:30. Great start!

We decided to go anyway, but there was no longer any reason to rush. We finally left town around 11:30, headed down 301, across the Bay Bridge on 50, toward DC. Traffic picked up as we got closer and an advisory was posted that there would be a lot of congestion downtown and the Metro was suggested. I had entertained the idea of driving down closer to the mall, but that sign pretty much made up my mind for me and we pulled into the New Carrollton station. Three lots and not a place to park! We finally ended up going up around the corner to a lot that said both "Metro Parking" and "For Sale". I didn't really know if we were legal, or not, but we were late enough and there were other cars there, so I figured WTF, parked, and we walked back to the station. On the way we had to walk under a freeway overpass and the sidewalk was littered with broken bottles and empty beer cans. I wasn't looking forward to the walk back.

From the train we could see the capital building and the Washington monument before we went underground. We got off at the Smithsonian stop. If you don't know the Metro, that's an underground stop and you pop up out of the ground right by the Washington monument. we got our bearings and headed towards the ellipse. There were people everywhere, but most of the war-protesters were still on the route. It was around 2:30.

It had started to rain, lightly, so we made a side trip to the Jefferson Memorial and stopped at the gift shop. My wife bought an umbrella, and I bought a hat. I took pains to make sure the hat had "USA" and a flag on it. I'm really tired of those hateful bastards claiming our flag. This is OUR country, and we're going to set it right. Of course, by the time we got back outside the rain had stopped for the day but I wore the hat, anyway.

From there we headed back to the stage. Maxine Waters gave a GREAT speech. Joan Baez started playing while we walked around the kiosks, so I ran back and got a couple of pictures. The crowd was starting to fill in, by then.

We just sort of kicked around from then on, talking to people and reading the signs and t-shirts. There were all kinds of people there; young, middle-aged, even old people in wheelchairs proudly holding up their signs. We talked to a couple of cops along the way, and they were very courteous and helpful with directions. There WERE a lot of cops in the area, and whenever we were near the White House we'd see huge groups of them. A couple of times we saw "parades" of 10 or 20 cop cars going by with their lights and sirens on, but even though they were going fast they didn't seem to be actually going anywhere. I overheard someone asking a SWAT-team guy what was going on and he sort of laughed and said "they're probably going home." He didn't seem at all threatening, just a guy hanging out and doing his job. I relaxed, again, and if there were any problems with cops "busting heads" I didn't see it or hear about it.

As we wandered through the crowd I saw a woman holding the Bushoccio inflatable doll complete with a hole to poke a stick up his ass and asked her if I could get a picture and where she got it. I picked one up for myself, later, and got a couple of pics of the big one that was inflated next to the tent.

We wandered away from the stage to get something to eat and ended up in front of the White House. We knew George was too much of a pussy to be there, but I wondered if Laura was there behind the 3 rows of fence, looking out at all of the people who realize how much trouble he's caused this country. As we started away we saw that there were photocopies of the faces and names of every(?) soldier who's died in Bush's insane war on a string line, lying just inside the first row of barricades. A young woman was picking them up and we stopped to talk to her. She told us this wasn't allowed, and someone had started throwing them away. She picked one up and looked at it as tears welled up in her eyes. "When I look at these faces I just get so sad." Three men had found some plastic bags and they were gathering them up to take them somewhere else. These guys just "volunteered" to do it, and they already had 2 bags full.

We started to walk away and the men had stopped. They were transferring the line to a new bag and it looked like they had run into some problem with it. That's when I saw a cop yell at one of the goons behind the White House fence, something about "get them moving", and the two of them started toward the men collecting the pictures. Thankfully, they had worked out whatever problem they had and started moving again, so the two cops stopped moving in on them.

I looked again at the two rows of barricade in front of the high wrought-iron fence with the two cops swinging sticks just inside it. I looked up at the roof of the White House and saw the glass command center on the roof, two men dressed in black up there observing the crowd, and I tried to imagine what the founding father's would think of "the people's house", now. The phrase "police state" was all that would come to mind. A man in a skeleton costume had laid a flag-draped coffin down next to the barricade and I snapped a picture before we headed back to the rally.

As we approached we saw two women had set up a table and they were selling those magnetic ribbons that the creeps who claim to "support the troops" put on their cars so their "support" won't scratch their paint, but these were different. I bought three of them that read, "BRING 'EM BACK OUT OF IRAQ", "GET SAVED BY STEM CELLS", and "GOD FORGIVE GEORGE BUSH, GOD BLESS OUR TROOPS". I'll have to rotate them, I guess.

As we sat and listened to what was happening on-stage a couple of guys walked by. One was in drag and wearing a Bill Clinton head, the other carried a sign that read "Bill For First Lady (.com) 2008!" They got a great response, and people were falling all over each other trying to get pictures.

The crowd was huge, by then, and Cindy Sheehan hadn't taken the stage. All day long there hadn't been a problem, that I saw, and being around so many people, from so many walks of life, who see that continuing this insane war is a waste of lives (and money) was therapeutic. The music was good, the speeches were good, but we had a long drive home so we decided not to stick around for the end. As we walked away, back to the Metro, I saw the funniest thing I saw all day. A 10-year old kid with a sign that read "Doing My Part To Piss Off The Religious Right". way to go, kid!

When we got back to the New Carrollton station we decided to use the restrooms before getting in the car for the long drive home. The women's bathrooms were closed for cleaning, so another guy and I guarded the men's room door while about 10 women used it. As we stood there I asked him if he'd been at the rally. He replied, "I've been to a lot of these, and this was really something. There must have been a quarter of a million people. Watch. The Park Service will estimate the crowd at 100,000." I told him we'd arrived too late for the march and he said that the crowd was so big it was backed up for at least a half hour, just getting onto the route.

We walked back to our car at that distant lot, and as we passed under the dark overpass a man sat alone in the dark with a brown paper bag. I said "hello" as we went by. He didn't reply. we got in the car and drove home.

Contempt of Congress

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The White House, with John Roberts' full knowledge and consent, has engaged in EXTRAORDINARY MEASURES to hide his past. Experience should tell us that ANYONE THAT WORKS THAT HARD TO HIDE SOMETHING HAS SOMETHING TO HIDE.

John Roberts has revealed that he believes that some people are above the law. He doesn't believe that the government is accountable to the people and, as we're about to see, he believes that the Congress isn't a co-equal branch of the government. He simply doesn't believe that the people have any right to know to whom they are granting a LIFETIME APPOINTMENT to one of the most POWERFUL POSITIONS IN GOVERNMENT.

The importance of hiding the records was recognized early on.

When he served as U.S. deputy solicitor general from 1989 to 1993, John G. Roberts Jr. worked for the American people. But now that Roberts is a Supreme Court nominee, President Bush is barring the public from access to documents written by Roberts in that public service. This secrecy leaves an incomplete picture of Roberts' public service and his views. Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats are justified in requesting these papers before the confirmation hearing begins Sept. 6.

The law is clear on presidential records, or at least it used to be clear. The 1978 Presidential Records Act said such documents are to become available to the public 12 years after a president leaves office. A Supreme Court ruling gives former presidents some leeway to claim executive privilege after 12 years.

Roberts' former boss, President George H.W. Bush, left office in January 1993. But IN NOVEMBER 2001, THE CURRENT PRESIDENT BUSH SIGNED AN EXECUTIVE ORDER THAT GUTTED THIS LAW. His order essentially allows a former president to prohibit the release of any records. In this case, it gives the incumbent - and/or his own father - a way to spare his Supreme Court nominee from full scrutiny. Cozy. The order is part of the incumbent's pattern of exalting secrecy and abusing the claim of executive privilege.

Those who oppose releasing the documents point out that the public already has access to tens of thousands of pages of Roberts' writings from his tenure as a lawyer in the Reagan administration. Those memos are helpful, and they raise few red flags for the fair-minded. But they are also the product of a twenty-something lawyer in the early 1980s, not of the more mature person who helped to shape public policy in the early 1990s. People as smart as Roberts often evolve in their views. why deny the public the right to see how Roberts' framed legal arguments in this more recent service?

And we still don't know what role, if any, that John Roberts played in the cover-up of one of the greatest crimes of the second half of the last century, Iran/Contra. What we DO know is that President Bush has appointed one Iran/Contra figure after another to some of the highest positions in his administration. Men who have openly displayed their contempt of congress by defying the Boland Amendment, which prohibited the federal government from providing military support "for the purpose of overthrowing the Government of Nicaragua." Men who, like Roberts, have no regard for the separation of powers should NOT be lecturing the rest of us about "judicial activism".

Roberts Errs on Side of Secrecy as White House Counsel

Documents recently released from the Ronald Reagan library reveal that, while acting as White House associate counsel during the Reagan administration, John Roberts supported government secrecy and strenuously avoided any implication that the White House had an obligation to provide information to anyone, including Congress. On occasion, Roberts made small efforts to assist those seeking information. These, however, tended to be minor issues; and, even in these efforts, Roberts typically included disclaimers to prevent any assumption that the administration was required to respond.

In one memo, Roberts expressed aversion to government openness, recommending the removal of a reference to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) from President Reagan's radio address to avoid endorsing the law. In the original text of the radio address, which condemned the Soviet Union's handling of a 1983 incident, in which its military shot down a Korean Airline passenger plane, the president would have acknowledged that "freedom of information" is necessary to democracy. Roberts noted that the statement clashed with the administration's efforts to limit FOIA and advised replacing "freedom of information" with "free speech."

"'Freedom of information' is of course a legal term of art, and we have, quite correctly, taken several steps to limit the scope and certain abuses of the Freedom of Information Act."

That Roberts endorsed Reagan administration efforts to limit FOIA as undertaken "quite correctly" here offers a rare glimpse into Robert's personal opinions on freedom of information.

In another memo, Roberts appears willing to bend FOIA to avoid disclosure. Generally, when the White House received requests for information under FOIA, Roberts used standard response language, informing the requester that FOIA did not apply to the White House. Responses always noted that some offices of the executive branch were covered by FOIA and advised the requesters to resubmit their requests to specific offices. The White House exemption from FOIA is a fairly well established legal precedent, thus these responses reveal little of Roberts' position on FOIA.

However, on at least one occasion Roberts advised claiming the White House exemption when he did not believe it was legally justified. On March 30, 1984, Diane Powers of the White House Photo Office inquired if she could deny requests from photo collectors. Apparently, the Photo Office sought to avoid satisfying the deluge of requests under FOIA for copies of photos of the president with other world leaders and on other occasions of state. In a memo, dated April 27, 1984, to White House Counsel Fred Fielding, Roberts advised that "as an initial matter" the White House "take the position that the Photo Office is not subject to FOIA." Roberts also noted that "While I have no doubt that this is the position we should take, I must point out that it is not clear that it will withstand legal challenge."

As hard as the Bush administration has worked to cover up what must be EGREGIOUS opinions on the part of Roberts, the documents that have been reviewed tell a frightening story of racism, sexism, disdain for poor and middle class workers (Roberts is a silver spoon child of wealth), a belief in an all-powerful executive branch, contempt for the environment, fanatical support of "corporate rights" at the expense of our civil rights, and a particularly visible and aristocratic contempt for the First and Fourth Amendments to our Constitution.

Roberts had an influential hand in shaping the government's arguments, at least in the case involving a challenge to the FCC's policy of giving minorities an edge when it came to the awarding of radio and television broadcast licenses, according to documents found at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library in Texas and provided by a source opposed to his confirmation as chief justice.

The FCC's policy was adopted at the urging of Congress, and the solicitor general's office usually defends agencies such as the FCC against legal challenges. But a Jan. 9, 1990, handwritten memo found in the files of Associate White House Counsel Fred Nelson suggested that Roberts was behind the office's refusal to do so. "John Roberts at SG handling. Reluctant to defend commission's position," the memo said.

<snip>

Unlike internal documents from the solicitor general's office, the memos in the FCC case come from files outside that office that are subject to public records law. Because the solicitor general files are not subject to the same laws, Roberts' reasoning on this and many other cases remains unknown, and it is impossible to know how vigorously he pressed his own views.

A Supreme Court Justice nominee expresses his contempt for the American people and "perceived" and "so-called" rights:

As special assistant to the Attorney General in the Reagan Administration, and later as a key legal strategist in the Reagan White House counsel's office, Roberts was an aggressive participant in the administration's attempts to restrict fundamental constitutional and civil rights. In fact, Roberts often came down to the right of ultraconservative legal luminaries, including Robert Bork, William Bradford Reynolds, and Ted Olson. He supported the legality of radical proposals to strip the courts of jurisdiction over certain school desegregation remedies, abortion, and school prayer. He denigrated what he referred to as the "so-called" right to privacy, resisted attempts to fully restore the effectiveness of the Voting Rights Act, and worked against measures aimed at increasing gender equity. As the Washington Post has reported, at times he was "derisive, using words such as 'purported' and 'perceived' to describe discrimination against women."

This "so-called right to privacy" is what keeps the government out of YOUR bedroom, your bank account, off your phone line, and ensures YOUR personal freedom and rights. But, it's also the basis of Roe v. Wade and numerous court rulings that allow homosexual Americans to live together, so it sends the quasi-religious right into screaming spasms of self-righteous rage. This IS the core of the man's appeal to the most insane among us; Robertson, Falwell, and Dobson, and D. James Kennedy being the LEAST objectionable of the fundie right. Take a look at "God hates fags" dot com if you want to see extremist, then see if you can discern and delineate for the rest of us what, if any, real difference exists between the teachings of The Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) of Topeka, Kansas and the ministries of the other men that I just named.

Even the Second Amendment is under attack by this man. (Gun owners of America is hardly a "leftist" group.)

 

So far, there is little direct evidence showing how Judge Roberts would come down on Second Amendment rights. But a pile of indirect evidence has recently been unearthed that should greatly trouble gun owners.

To be sure, there are a lot of people who consider themselves supporters of the President who are VERY concerned with the Roberts' nomination.

Columnist Ann Coulter calls the President's pick a "Souter in Roberts' clothing" -- an obvious reference to the fact that Supreme Court Justice David Souter was a "stealth nominee" himself when he was nominated by President Bush in 1990, and, for most constitutionalists, has turned out to be quite a "dud."

And this is why it is imperative that President Bush hear from gun owners nationwide. There are truly OUTSTANDING candidates that could have been nominated to the Supreme Court, unfortunately, the President has already squandered an opportunity to appoint one of these candidates.

More on Roberts, a guy who claims he DOESN'T want to "legislate from the bench", contempt for Congress.

John G. Roberts Jr. has been very courteous while making the rounds on Capitol Hill in anticipation of his Supreme Court confirmation hearings next week. But he was far less respectful of lawmakers two decades ago, when he was a young lawyer in the Reagan White House.

In one case, Roberts bemoaned a proposal to ease the Supreme Court's workload that had the support of then-Chief Justice Warren E. Burger and was gaining steam in Congress. "Our only hope," Roberts wrote in an October 1983 memo, "is that Congress will continue to do what it does best -- nothing."

He also criticized the Democratic majority for voting to posthumously award Rep. Leo J. Ryan (D-Calif.) a Congressional Gold Medal after he was killed near Jonestown, Guyana, in 1978 while investigating whether cult leader Jim Jones was holding people against their will. In a Nov. 18, 1983, memo to then-White House counsel Fred Fielding, Roberts wrote: "The distinction of his service in the House is certainly subject to debate, and his actions leading to his murder can be viewed as those of a publicity hound."

Finally, in response to Roberts opening statement, today (and a tip of the hat to Armando for the idea)...

Umpires interpret the rules. Umpires make bad calls.

Officials apologize to Serena for bad call Umpire dismissed from Open after mistake in Williams loss to Capriati

A Bad Call Not that I couldn't have commented on this before, but since the Bruce Froemming story became a Dodger story today, I feel a little more compelled. First of all, this is a great decision by the Dodgers. There are certainly plenty of other umpires that you can hire to work a fantasy camp before you use someone who called his supervisor a "stupid Jew bitch" on the telephone. Talk about an umpire's bad call.

On July 24, 1983 George Brett took center stage in one of baseball's most controversial incidents which has been dubbed the Pine Tar Game. This highly unusual incident involved George Brett of the Kansas City Royals, Billy Martin of the New York Yankees, a home run in Yankee Stadium, a bat with pine tar on the handle, and the umpires' INTERPRETATION OF THE RULES.

Let me SCREAM that, one more time.

THE UMPIRE'S INTERPRETATION OF THE RULES.

As any baseball fan knows, umpires are not uniform in the delineation of the strike zone. Some are "hitters" umpires. Some are "pitchers" umpires. Some call the high strike. Some call the outside pitch.

We can't trust this man to serve as umpire and interpret the rules to benefit the wealthy and the powerful EVERY TIME.

If we can't "Bork: him, let's hope we can "Bolton" him. (Now that he's replacing that RW extremist Rehnquist, we can force a recess appointment.) If we can't "Bolton" him, the VERY LEAST we can do is support any Senator with the spine to express their contempt for this President and this nominee.

9/12/05

Questions Without Answers

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1) If envelopes filled with anthrax powder had been sent to Bill Frist, Tom DeLay, and the offices of Fox News 4 years ago, would we know who sent them, by now?

2) If President Clinton had taken us to war in Bosnia based on claims that they had ties to anti-American terrorism and posessed WMD, only to discover that they had neither, would anyone have cared that Monica gave him a blow job?

3) Who would go to a doctor who learned that "the stork leaves babies on your doorstep" alongside the "theory" of childbirth in medical school?

4) What constitutes "victory in Iraq"?

More, as I think of them...feel free to add your own in the comments.

8/25/05

 

Bush is Better Than God. John Roberts is Jesus Christ

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When Edith Clement's name was floated as a teaser by the Bush regime this week, before the last minute announcement of John Roberts as the nominee, it was in the obvious hope that the moderates and liberals in America would bite on the bait and criticize her. They didn't. Most of us breathed a sigh of relief. Clement would have been a good choice, but Bush chose to divide the country with a certifiable right wing nut like Roberts..

Of course, moderates not taking the bait doesn't stop the monolithic GOP from dutifully (or should that be "faithfully"?) following the latest talking point, "The (you know they're thinking "those damned") Democrats would have criticized ANYONE that our perfect President Bush put forth as a nominee!"

Listen to Orrin Hatch:

"It's (Democrats having the unmitigated gall to do their constitutionally mandated duty and question John Roberts is) a little bit like biblical Pharisees, you know, who basically are always trying to undermine Jesus Christ," (Orrin Hatch) said on Fox News. "You know, it goes on the same way. If they can catch him in something, they can then criticize and the outside groups will go berserk."

"I think senators can ask any questions they want. I've said, no matter how dumb the question may be. But the, the nominee doesn't have to answer them and he should not, under the canons of judicial ethics, he should not answer questions on any issue that possibly would come before the Supreme Court. Otherwise, he would be foretelling how he would vote on those issues and then they would hold that against him. So it's a little bit like Biblical Pharisees, you know, who basically are always trying to undermine Jesus Christ, you know, it goes on the same way." - Orrin Hatch, again.

The GOP and Falwell's followers are STILL pissed off about Bork, and they're trying to get a jump on the propaganda wars by 'Borking History'.

So, while we listen to one talking head after another extol the virtues of John Robert's "intelligence" and we wait for what looks like John Roberts inevitable ascension to the Supreme Court (normally, I would have said "elevation", but...), let's pause to reflect on what an America that's ruled by Dobson-approved judges might look like...

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Parents will be jailed when their children refuse to participate in mandatory prayer sessions at the public school, where their less independent classmates will be earnestly beseeching God to ensure the success of "Operation Missiles to Mecca". The children themselves will be sent to "deprogramming centers" where any thoughts that "God loves you" will be erased and replaced with "God loves you, unless you are a ___________. In that case, He hates you and you're going to hell." (Multiple choices to fill in the blank.) Obviously, "deprogramming" will include "liberal" corporal punishment.

Single pregnant women (who now carry the legal title "breeders") will be jailed until they can be forced to give birth. They will then be abandoned to survive without the job they lost when jailed, because, "the wages of sin are death." Any cute, white children will be put up for adoption. All others will be left to die with their mothers.

Homosexuality and speaking with a lisp will be punishable by stoning.

On the domestic front, homeowners will resort to burning wood to heat their homes due to the worldwide oil shortages caused by our continued military actions in the middle east. National forests will be cut down by a subsidiary of Halliburton to provide wood. The resulting air pollution will increase deaths due to lung cancer by 5000%, but since there will STILL be no National Health Care and Medicare will have gone bankrupt, the SS system will be tapped to pay for burial. The now 100% GOP Congress (any effort to accurately count our votes having been ruled an unjust invasion of privacy by the "strict constitutionalist" SCOTUS) will declare this "the beginning of the rapture" and proclaim that "the wages of sin are death." "Sin", in this case, being defined as "not living in the Bible belt, where righteous people live and don't need heat", in an obvious reference to the sinners of the North who forced all of those priests to molest little boys.

Catholicism will be outlawed, since "It teaches a false gospel. And the Pope himself holds a false and unbiblical office." Southern Baptism will be recognized as the only true religion.

The KKK and all "Christian Identity" terrorist groups will be given tax-exempt status as religious organizations.

President Laura Bush (since we've lost all interest in counting votes, by now) will establish a new cabinet-level position for religious oversight of science, affectionately called the "Office of Truth." When hospital mortality rates go up we will be once again reminded that "the wages of sin are death." President Jenna will think that was such a great idea that she'll establish the "Office of Truth Enhancement".

The death penalty will be expanded to allow for the execution of sinners. The "constitution restoration act" having established that no court may challenge the Bible, "sinner" will be defined by Leviticus.

BTW, "Bush is better than God" refers to the fact that Bush has NEVER made a mistake, according to his supporters. He was "chosen by God" to lead this nation.

God, however, made liberals too, and, as we should all know by now...

...the extremist Right Wing views liberalism as a sin.

It's a "funny" version of Christianity that believes that God made a mistake, but the voters didn't.

7/21/05

The Neocon Dictionary

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In attempt to decipher the meaning of the words and phrases used by war supporters, I've started to list some of them along with their apparent definition according to a neorube. Feel free to use the comments to add to the list. It's not alphabetized for reasons that may be apparent.

"Appease": Viewing foreign policy through anything other than a gun sight.

"Liberal": Anyone who disagrees with the GOP for any reason.

"Patriot": Anyone who unquestionably follows Republican politicians.

"Fair game": Anyone who is not a "patriot." Example: "If Jesus' teachings are in opposition to Lord God Bush he's fair game."

"Guilty": Any Democrat.

"Not guilty": Any Republican.

"Terrorist": Any muslim.

"Terrorism": Killing innocent people for political reasons.

"Collateral damage": Killing innocent people for political reasons.

"WMD": What anyone on earth that the President has a personal grudge against would get, if he could, so he could use them against us, if he could. Used as a justification for illegal war.

"The UN": An organization who's sole purpose is to destroy America and only America in defiance of it's own charter to promote peace.

"The axis of evil": Three countries with very little in common and no alliances with each other.

"Iraq": A country with no important oil reserves but plenty of WMD and terrorists. (See "terrorists" & "WMD.")

"Iran": A country with no important oil reserves but plenty of WMD.

"North Korea": A country with acknowledged nuclear (pronounce "nuke-ya-ler") weapons but no proven oil reserves.

7/17/05

Tony and the Hornet's Nest

(A modern parable.)

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The other day I happened to look out my front window and I saw my neighbor, Tony, looking at the rain gutter of his house. He went to the garage and got out a step ladder to climb up and take a closer look at a largish brown sac hanging from his eave. I guessed it must be a hornet's nest, and since I'd dealt with them before I decided to wander over and see if he needed any help.

Now, Tony's a Bush voter, as evidenced by the campaign signs in his yard and bumper stickers on his car. I try to stay on good terms with my neighbors so I never said anything about his flaming ignorance, or discussed politics with him at all, just kept things at a friendly, superficial level. But even knowing he was stupid and arrogant I didn't expect his reaction when I criticized his plan.

"What ya doin', Tony?"

"I'm fixin' to get a bat and knock this hornet's nest down."

"Hey, I've had to deal with those things before. That's not a very good idea. Can I help you?"

"Yeah, what did you do?"

"Well, here's what worked for me. Take a garbage bag and spray a bunch of bug spray in it. Then, hold the bag over the nest while you either pull or cut it off at the stem that's holding it to the eave. All you have to do is twist-tie the bag shut and the hornets will die in your trash can."

"You're nuts! First I'll get stung, then I'll have to smell bug spray until trash day! I'll just knock it off with the bat and run like hell!"

"Tony, I've done this before! Really! Try it my way. I promise, you won't get stung."

"Listen, Mr. Know-it-all, maybe I've never done this before but I know what I'm doing. I'm not going to show any mercy to these goddamned hornets. If you won't hold the ladder while I smack it, just go back in your house and you won't get hurt. Pussy."

OK, so for some reason Tony didn't want any advice. I know when to quit, and when to let people learn the hard way, so I mumbled something about "OK, but you're gonna regret doing this...and I'm sure as hell not going to get stung with you," and I went back in my house to watch.

Tony came back out of his house with the bat and climbed the ladder. He leaned back and took a tremendous swing and hit the nest, upsetting the ladder in the process. He hit the ground at the same time as the nest and before he could get up an angry swarm of hornets were covering him, stinging the hell out of him. He ran into his house, screaming and swatting at the cloud of hornets swarming around his head. The door slammed shut behind him.

Just as the door slammed, and to my horror, I saw the neighbor's young daughter come around from her back yard to see what all the commotion was. An angry swarm of hornets was quickly on her. I screamed at my wife to call 911 as I ran out the door to TRY to help that poor girl. She was screaming, too, as I picked her up and ran to my yard. I was being stung everywhere, and she was starting to go a little bit limp as I picked up the hose and began to spray water on her, trying to drive the hornets away. It seemed to be working, they were leaving her and coming after me, so I picked her up and carried her into the house to wait for the ambulance to arrive, brushing hornets off as I went. We covered her with a blanket and tried to soothe her as much as we could, but she was losing consciousness by the time the ambulance crew walked in the door.

I told the ambulance crew what happened. They went to work on her, still talking to me, and they advised me to get to a doctor, too. They offered me a ride, but I still had some things to do and declined. Soon they were carrying her out on a stretcher and cursing the still-stinging hornets who swooped down on them. They left in a hurry with the siren screaming.

I was in intense pain, and feeling a little woozy from all the stings, but I called the little girl's mother and told her what had just happened.

"Oh my GOD! Where did they take her?"

I realized then that everything happened so fast I didn't even know which hospital they took her to. All I could do was tell her to call the ambulance company, they'd know where they went. She thanked me and hung up.

The phone rang. I was feeling sick from all that venom, by now, but I answered it anyway. It was Tony's wife.

"You son of a bitch! Why didn't you hold the ladder for Tony???"

I didn't know what to say. She was FURIOUS, at ME!!! I tried to explain what happened, then quickly I asked her why she wasn't taking Tony to the doctor. She hung up, and I could see them through the front window, leaving to get medical treatment. My wife helped me to the car and we did the same.

The doctor told me that I'd be OK, but probably a little sore for a few days. He added that he'd seen things like this before and I'd better be REAL careful in the future because I might have developed an allergy due to the massive number of stings I'd received. The next sting could kill me. Great! Thanks, Tony!

We went home and I didn't sleep worth a shit, that night. I had to call in sick the next day. I'm glad I don't lose pay when I call in sick, but it still sucks to get behind for no good reason. Even though I still felt like shit, I went to work the day after that, not only in pain but way behind because of the day I'd missed.

I called the mother of the girl who had been stung. She would be fine, but she was still in the hospital. She thanked me for helping, and said something about "that son of a bitch should have known better," before she said good bye and hung up. Another neighbor stopped by a little later. He'd been talking to Tony, and he said he wanted to hear my side of the story because "He said this is all your fault."

"Jesus. All I did was offer a little bit of advice and now it's ALL MY FAULT?"

"That's what Tony says. He says if you would have held the ladder for him, none of this would have happened. He said you think you know everything, but if you'd just helped him do it his way none of this would have happened."

I told him my side of the story, and he agreed that, at the very least, Tony was over-reacting. He laughed, then, and told me that if he ever needed help taking down a hornet's nest he'd call me, not Tony.

Today, at work, I was served with a subpoena. Tony's suing me for damages he incurred because I didn't hold that ladder. Now I'm going to have to explain to a judge what happened.

This has gotten insane. The idiot who whacked the hornet's nest, against my good advice and warning that it was bound to happen, is now claiming it's all my fault he got stung doing it his way.

I think I've already mentioned that Tony voted for Bush, so he's probably too stubborn to learn from his mistakes, but did I point out that there was another hornet's nest at the other end of his house? This neighborhood could be in for a very long summer...

7/09/05

 

No Potential Soldier Left Behind

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DID YOU KNOW... that the infernal No Child Left Behind Act has a sneaky Pete section requiring high schools to turn over student information to military recruiters? OPT OUT your own child, or learn how the process works so you can tell your friends.

6/25/05

Fundraising

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I just got off the phone with a representative of Democracy for America. I didn't ask for permission to use her name, so I won't put it here.

My question was, "How can I donate to the DNC in a way that acknowledges Dr. Dean is the reason for my donation?"

The answer was, "you really can't." She promised to let me know if anything develops.

She said they've had a LOT of calls similar to mine, from people who want to get involved with their time and money to show support for a man who's not afraid to tell the truth about the GOP. They've tossed around some ideas, but they couldn't come up with anything that quite fits the situation. Because of campaign finance laws, a donation to Democracy for America is a donation to Democracy for America and won't end up at the DNC. so, if you want to donate money you have two options, that I can see.

1) A donation to the DNC can be accompanied with a letter, saying what you want to say, but it's not really tabulated in any way. This is worth consideration, because of the lies being told about Dean's "pathetic" performance as a fundraiser, but there's another interesting option.

2) You can donate to Democracy for America, here.

Democracy for America is being run by Howard Dean's brother, now. Dr. Dean is no longer involved in it, but it's "dedicated to his vision." One of those visions is identifying and helping local candidates who stand for social freedom and fiscal responsibility. I specifically asked if money went only to Democrats and the answer is "no", it can go to independents, too. The support is for candidates who believe in personal freedom for us and fiscal responsibility from the government, period.

This seems to be a worthwhile goal, to me.

Here's the official blurb from their web site:

Inspired by the presidential campaign of Howard Dean, Democracy for America (DFA) is a political action committee dedicated to supporting fiscally responsible, socially progressive candidates at all levels of government—from school board to the presidency. DFA fights against the influence of the far right-wing and their radical, divisive policies and the selfish special interests that for too long have dominated our politics.

DFA has a long-term goal that looks past November 2004. This organization will rebuild the Democratic Party from the bottom up—it will take time, but we must start building a base now for the future.

There are more details at their site.

06/09/05

 

The 4 Pillars of RW "Debate"

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The "Party of Personal Responsibility" can not admit to failure. Watch any talk show. Watch Fox. It never fails. Here's how you can easily identify the RW pundits:

1) Never, under any circumstances, EVER, for any reason, NO MATTER HOW MUCH EVIDENCE THERE IS TO THE CONTRARY, admit that what is actually being defended/promoted is wrong, EVEN IF YOU KNOW THAT IT IS. The importance of this cannot be over-emphasized.
Corollary:
1)A) At no time should you ever address the actual facts that are raised by your opponent.

2) "Liberals" and/or "Clinton" did/do it, too.

3) Shoot the messenger.

4) Use caricature to demean any and all who oppose you

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Update (from DU): How to counter-attack.

1) Keep telling your republican opponent that they never answered the question.

2) you've been in complete power for 5 years, and you're still blaming 'liberals'? Why don't you grow up and learn to take responsibility?

3) you want to gag the sources who bring corruption to light???? "I can see why".

4) counter-attack: there is no republican on earth who isn't a body-double for some malevolent cartoon character.

6/5/05

 

Buy Your Gas at Citgo: Join the BUY-cott!

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Buy Your Gas at Citgo: Join the BUY-cott!

Looking for an easy way to protest Bush foreign policy week after week? And an easy way to help alleviate global poverty? Buy your gasoline at Citgo stations.

And tell your friends.

Of the top oil producing countries in the world, only one is a democracy with a president who was elected on a platform of using his nation's oil revenue to benefit the poor. The country is Venezuela. The President is Hugo Chavez. Call him "the Anti-Bush."

Citgo is a U.S. refining and marketing firm that is a wholly owned subsidiary of Venezuela's state-owned oil company. Money you pay to Citgo goes primarily to Venezuela -- not Saudi Arabia or the Middle East. There are 14,000 Citgo gas stations in the US. (Click here to find one near you.) By buying your gasoline at Citgo, you are contributing to the billions of dollars that Venezuela's democratic government is using to provide health care, literacy and education, and subsidized food for the majority of Venezuelans.

Instead of using government to help the rich and the corporate, as Bush does, Chavez is using the resources and oil revenue of his government to help the poor in Venezuela. A country with so much oil wealth shouldn't have 60 percent of its people living in poverty, earning less than $2 per day. With a mass movement behind him, Chavez is confronting poverty in Venezuela. That's why large majorities have consistently backed him in democratic elections. And why the Bush administration supported an attempted military coup in 2002 that sought to overthrow Chavez.

So this is the opposite of a boycott. Call it a BUYcott. Spread the word.

Of course, if you can take mass transit or bike or walk to your job, you should do so. And we should all work for political changes that move our country toward a cleaner environment based on renewable energy. The BUYcott is for those of us who don't have a practical alternative to filling up our cars.

So get your gas at Citgo. And help fuel a democratic revolution in Venezuela.

Courtesy of Common Dreams.

5/17/05

Bush Admin Retracts WMD Clains!

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World Calls on "Giggling Butcher of Crawford" to Do More to Repair Damage From Retracted Accusations

Numerous media outlets say the White House took a "good first step" by retracting its story that U.N. investigators would find evidence of WMD or WMD prgrams in Iraq, but massive crowds taking the streets want the administration to do more to repair damage caused by the claims.

Scott McClellan on Monday formally retracted the claims made by virtually every official in the White House, the Pentagon and the State Department and criticized their publication and their use of Ahmed Chalabi as a source. Protests in America, where more than a dozen people died and scores were injured in rioting, and demonstrations elsewhere in the world were blamed on the deception.

Meanwhile, banner headlines and 24/7 coverage of the "smoking gun" memo recently published in Britain, a memo that proves beyond any doubt that Blair and Bush conspired to "cook" the intelligence to justify a prior decision to go to war in Iraq no matter what have a White House that has lost the confidence of the American people under siege.

"These reports had real consequences," White House press secretary Scott McClellan said Monday. "1700 Americans and 10's of thousands of Iraqis have lost their lives. Our image abroad has been damaged. There are some who are opposed to the United States and what we stand for who are successfully exploiting this egregious error to recruit anti-American terrorists who will strike again on our soil. It will take work to undo what can be undone."

McClellan said a retraction was only "a good first step" and said that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales will appoint a special prosecutor to set the record straight by "clearly explaining what happened and how they got it wrong, particularly to the Muslim world, and by prosecuting those who conspired to spread this deception to the fullest extent of the law."

http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=I'vegotabridge4sale

5/17/05

 

Nuke the Senate Switchboard!

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"Nuclear Option" Mass Immediate Response

With the Nuclear Option’s timing in Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist’s hands, there won’t be enough warning to send out an email alert the moment he drops the bomb on the Senate. But we can deliver a text message straight to your mobile that embeds a Senate phone number based on your state.

So please take a moment to fill out the short form below to sign up for our "Nuclear Option" Mass Immediate Response. By giving us your cell phone number, we will text message you as soon as Senate Republicans trigger the "nuclear option." Embedded in that text message will be a link to the Senate switchboard. With the push of a couple buttons, your call – along with thousands of others – goes right through to the corridors of power demanding preservation of the filibuster.

This is a brand new technology, and this is the first time it is being used on a large scale. (Don’t worry: we will NEVER send you spam or disclose your number to anyone else; in fact, we won’t even send you any more text messages without first sending you an e-mail like this one, asking you to opt in.)

Register here: https://www.pfaw.org/pfaw/general/default.aspx?oid=18708

5/13/05

Where's the media?

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The Grenade was a dud.

Secretary of the Georgian Security Council Gela Bezhuashvili said on Wednesday, “an RDG-5 hand grenade of Soviet make was found 50 metres from the rostrum from which U.S. President George W. Bush was delivering his speech” on Freedom Square in the Georgian capital on Tuesday.

Bezhuashvili pointed out, “It was a non-combat, so-called engineer grenade and it would not have exploded as it was non-operational.”

CNN says, "The device was placed in the crowd about 200 feet from where Bush was speaking. It was not thrown, as was previously believed, Donadze said.

It never posed a danger to Bush and was apparently placed by someone who wanted to scare people in the crowd and attract media attention, Donadze said."

It made me think of this:

We'll start with the facts and work back: it may make it all the easier to understand how World War One actually happened. The events of July and early August 1914 are a classic case of "one thing led to another" - otherwise known as the treaty alliance system.

The explosive that was World War One had been long in the stockpiling; the spark was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914. (Click here to view film footage of Ferdinand arriving at Sarajevo's Town Hall on 28 June 1914.)

Ferdinand's death at the hands of the Black Hand, a Serbian nationalist secret society, set in train a mindlessly mechanical series of events that culminated in the world's first global war.

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Of course, things are quite a bit different, now. We have nuclear weapons, and our military is already overstretched. I have doubts that NATO would support an invasion of Georgia based on a nut with a grenade (although we have proof that Bush and his supporters will launch wars based on LESS evidence.)

It seems like the cable news services would be more interested in this...

But then, Michael Jackson is still on trial, and there's that whole "runaway bride" thing.

5/11/05

Chandler Resigns

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A Baptist preacher accused of running out nine congregants who disagreed with his Republican politics resigned Tuesday, two days after calling the issue "a great misunderstanding."

<snip>

He said the dispute inside the church had nothing to do with politics, a contention echoed Tuesday by Chandler's supporters.

"I don't believe he preached politics," church member Rhonda Trantham said. "I don't believe anyone should tell a preacher not to preach what's in the Bible."

But some congregants of the 100-member church in western North Carolina have said Chandler endorsed President Bush from the pulpit during last year's presidential campaign and said that anyone who planned to vote for Democratic nominee Sen. John Kerry needed to "repent or resign."

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If you didn't vote for Bush you are a sinner and must repent. Understand?

Humans can lie. Preachers are human. Therefore...

5/11/05

Constitutional Crisis

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Filibuster ban gets White House nudge

Bush, Gonzales call for Senate to vote on all judicial nominees

Turning up the pressure on Republican leaders, President Bush and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales yesterday called on the Senate to allow yes-or-no votes on all judicial nominees, a request that could help force a move to outlaw filibusters of judges.

The White House, marking the fourth anniversary of Bush's nominations of Priscilla Owen and Terrence Boyle to positions on the federal bench, issued the statement from Bush yesterday. Democrats, using the filibuster tactic, have sidetracked both Owen's and Boyle's nominations; while Bush has nominated them again, Democrats have promised to block them again.

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Shall we remove the last protection for the rights of the minority, just to ensure that Bush can pack the courts with radical judges who will legislate morality from the bench? Or, shall we recognize that a 3% plurality is hardly an excuse to rule the country with an iron fist and ignore the will of nearly half the voting population?

This is a constitutional crisis. Millions of Americans (ending the filibuster does not have support in polls) are being told their opinion doesn't matter to this party and it's leaders. "Love it or leave it" in action.

5/10/05

 

EXHIBIT A

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Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, behold EXHIBIT A:
the cover of AC/DC's classic album "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap":

And now peruse EXHIBIT B:
700 photos of flag-drapped coffins from Iraq, released Thursday by the Pentagon. With the faces of all living soldiers hidden as in shame:

 

The Best Schiavo Post You'll Ever Read

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In 1945, a farmer cut the head off a chicken; but the chicken lived. He started feeding it with an eyedropper. It gained weight & acted like a chicken. For 18 months it lived; and toured America coast-to-coast, as a profitable sideshow attraction:

The story of Mike The Headless Chicken has all the elements of the Schiavo case: the same moral dilemmas & divisions. The same hype. Mike even has a cult. Clearly America should turn it's attentions to the plight & glory of Mike; with all the fervor that ShiavoMania has been forcefed to us.

Jesus Christ Almighty.

 

The GOP Express Card

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Tax cuts heavily weighted to favor the wealthiest Americans? $1,000,000,000,000.00

War to ferret out WMD punish those who attacked us on 911 stop Hussein from developing "nuke-ya-ler" weapons fight the terrorists there instead of here allow the Iraqis to vote for an Islamic democracy based on the Sharia? $1,000,000,000,000.00

Siphoning off the Social Security trust fund to enrich your largest contributors and ensure plenty of campaign money for the next election? $1,000,000,000,000.00

Passing the bill off on future generations? Priceless!

The GOP Express Card.

Don't spread democracy without it.

War in Iran?  (Part 2.)

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Yesterday I wrote about some of the more ominous signs that the Bush administration is aiming for another "regime change" project in Iran, and some of the more obvious repercussions we can expect if they go ahead with it. Today, I thought I'd try to fill in a few more details...

Iran's leaders have begun to make gestures of cooperation with the United States - which is not at all surprising given the presence of American forces in the surrounding countries of Iraq and Afghanistan and the rapidly declining legitimacy of the regime with the Iranian people. Given the Bush administration's goals for stemming the WMD proliferation and reigning in terrorist groups, it may be tempting to pursue closer ties with the powerful clerics. However, as McFaul and Milani note, there is little reason to believe that a commitment made by the Iranian government on these issues would be anything but an expedient retreat or, indeed, that it would be honored at all. In the meantime, by engaging the regime, the administration would "send a demoralizing signal to Iran's democratic forces," who over the long-term could actually provide the U.S. with "more lasting gains." From a PNAC memorandum, February 24, 2004, Subject: Regime Change for Iran.

First, let me make the obvious comparisons between Iran and another country we believed would "rise up against" their oppressive government and greet us as liberators, Iraq. (From the CIA factbook.)

Iran is sandwiched between Iraq to the West, and Afghanistan and Pakistan to the East. In other words, Iran is surrounded by US occupied/allied states. With a population of 25,374,691 (July 2004 est) and occupying an area of 437,072 sq km, Iraq is slightly more than twice the size of Idaho. On the other hand, Iran, with a population of 69,018,924 (July 2004 est.) and a land area of 1.648 million sq km, is slightly larger than Alaska and has nearly 3 times the population of Iraq. The number of males age 15-49 that are fit for military service was estimated in 2004 to be 3,654,947. US economic sanctions and export controls have been in effect against Iran since it was designated a "state sponsor of terrorism" in 1988, but they have not had nearly the effect that the UN sanctions against Iraq following Operation Desert Storm have had, and Iran retains major gas contracts with eastern Europe, Russia, and China. Their two biggest export partners are Japan and China, something that's all the more notable because the big commercial banks in Japan and China have been financing America’s huge appetite for borrowed money. If China or Japan were to decide to stop buying US T-bills they could bring all of our borrowing to a halt virtually overnight.

OK, so taking all of this into the context of "will the Bush administration attack, or use it's proxy Israel to attack Iran?" any sane world leader would see the downside to the whole thing, right?

If you didn't pick up on it, the key word there was "sane". Are these guys sane? I have my doubts. We're talking about the crew that predicted rose parades after our Iraqi invasion. But there is a possibility, raised today in the Christian Science Monitor, that they may be playing a game of "liar's poker". Let me quote a bit of it.

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January 27, 2005 The diplomatic equivalent of good cop-bad cop continues with Britain, Germany, and France on one side and the US and Israel on the other. Both camps strive to keep Iran from becoming a nuclear power.

Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, speaking in London on Wednesday before a meeting with Tony Blair, warned that Iran will reach "the point of no return" within the next 12 months in its "covert attempt to secure a nuclear weapons capability," reports the Guardian.

Following recent statements by US Vice President Dick Cheney, that Israel might launch a pre-emptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, as it did against Iraq's nuclear reactor at Osirak in 1981, Gen. Mofaz said Iran was "the main long-term threat to the world." He stressed that "it would not be permitted to build a nuclear bomb," reports the Guardian.

'None of the Western countries can live with Iran having a nuclear capability,' he said. General Mofaz, who has said in the past that Israel has operational plans in place for a strike against Iranian nuclear facilities, refused to rule out military action.

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So where are we, today? Iran has a strong "hand" in this game of liars poker (and I didn't even mention the threat to "middle east peace" between Israel and Palestine, and the repercussions of a war between Iran and Israel.) Obviously, "the world's sole remaining superpower" has a pretty strong hand, too. If you've ever played poker, you know that when you try to bluff a strong hand based on your own strong hand one thing you can count on is a big pot. IOW, the stakes are raised.

We also know, because "none of the Western countries can live with Iran having a nuclear capability", that the US' side isn't going to fold unless THEY are bluffing. I don't think they are, but what does Iran think?

We know (from yesterday) that the Israelis have what they need to strike and suspected Iranian nuclear enrichment facility. (And, we know that these facilities are HUGE, so they're easy to spot.

We know that Israel has struck a nuclear facility in the past, and publicly states that they'll do so, again, if they believe it's necessary.

And finally, we have a timetable. Less than 12 months.

We have a "wild card" in the game, too. Pakistan has "the Islamic bomb", but Musharraf is currently an ally, curiously enough an ally who is a strongman and siezed power in a coup. Can Musharraf hold onto power if his Muslim "constituents" are enraged by an attack on their neighbor, Iran?

Is Iran "buying time" by negotiating with our former European allies, or are they telling the truth about wanting to enrich the nuclear fuel only to the point of utility in a nuclear reactor for power generation? Are the US, Israel, or our former European allies prepared for the consequences of a pre-emptive strike on a nation that claims to have peaceful intent? Can anyone "prove" that Iran has the intention to build a nuclear weapon, before OR after a strike?

I don't have the answers, yet, but I'll keep digging. Right now all I can say for sure is, the possibility of full scale war in the middle east scares the shit out of me, but not the boys from PNAC. (Remember them from yesterday? Bush's cabinet?) PNAC has already publicly stated that "...it is time for the Bush administration to demonstrate that its commitment to democracy in the Middle East extends to U. S. policy toward Iran."

"The rulers of outlaw regimes can know that...(t)hose who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves, and, under the rule of a just God, cannot long retain it." - George W. "Look at me! I'm a christian who doesn't go to church!" Bush's Inaugural Address, 1/20/05.

1/27/05

 

War in Iran? 

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We could be well down the slippery slope toward World War III.

We may never know what the energy industry executives who met in Dick Cheney's secret "energy advisory" meetings asked him to use our government's resources to do for them, but we do know their plans included maps of middle east oil fields.

We also know that Bush's advisors and cabinet are members of a very public but little known group called "The Project For The New American Century" (Scroll down and take a gander at the signatures.) These men are zealots who view themselves as "revolutionary thinkers" seeking a "Pax Americana". Temporary setbacks and minor "mistakes" like underestimating the resistance in Iraq won't dissuade them from their belief that they are remaking the world into a better place by bombing the shit out of anyone who won't submit to the will of "the world's lone remaining superpower", all in the name of "peace."

But with our military already stretched to the limit in Iraq and Afghanistan and our home shores woefully unprotected by the overfunded and ineffective "Department of Homeland Security" (aka, "The Ministry of Fear") could they possibly believe that another war in Iran is winnable?

Well, according to Seymour Hersh, the Bush administration has been carrying out secret reconnaissance missions to learn about nuclear, chemical and missile sites in Iran in preparation for possible airstrikes there. US commandos are operating inside Iran selecting sites for future air strikes, he says, and intelligence officials have revealed that Iran is the Bush administration's "next strategic target". Hersh says that American special forces have conducted reconnaissance missions inside Iran for six months. In a recent appearance on Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show", Hersh pointed out that all of his facts are checked by fellow staffers who also know his anonymous contacts inside the halls of power. Given his record, Hersh and the New Yorker are credible. But the White House has described his article as "riddled with inaccuracies".

Is Hersh lying, or is the White House lying? You'll have to decide for yourself, but remember, according to the 911 commission Iraq and al Qaida had no "collaborative relationship", the search for WMDs in Iraq has ended after finding nothing, and the war has cost "just a bit more than" the $1-2 billion that Paul Wolfowitz told congress it would cost. Yet all of these things were stated as indisputable facts by the White House and were used as justification for ignoring the will of the world and invading Iraq. Just for starters.

Read what else the White House has to say about all of this.

"All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: The United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you. Democratic reformers facing repression, prison, or exile can know: America sees you for who you are, the future leaders of your free country. The rulers of outlaw regimes can know that we still believe as Abraham Lincoln did: "Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves, and, under the rule of a just God, cannot long retain it." - George W. Bush's Inaugural Address, 1/20/05

"Given the fact that Iran has a stated policy that their objective is the destruction of Israel, the Israelis might well decide to act first, and let the rest of the world worry about cleaning up the diplomatic mess afterwards. We don't want a war in the Middle East, if we can avoid it." - Bunker Dick Cheney on Imus in the Morning, 1/20/05 (Ummm...Dick? We already HAVE a war in the middle east. Actually, TWO of them!)

Israel refuses to rule out an attack on Iran, so let's go ahead with Cheney's idea that we'll have Israel take care of the air strikes for us, counting on the absurd PNAC inspired idea that the Iranian people will rise up against the Mullahs who control their government and install a democracy in Iran.

How many Americans know that we armed the Israeli's with the weapons they'd need to strike Iran? Not many, I'd guess, since the main stream media stopped covering the Bush regime's atrocities right about the time he "hit the trifecta" with the deaths of nearly 3000 people. According to the Christian Science Monitor, Israel bought 500 2000-lb "bunker-buster" bombs from the United States just a few months ago. A senior Israeli security source who confirmed the Haaretz story told Reuters: "This is not the sort of ordnance needed for the Palestinian front. Bunker busters could serve Israel against Iran, or possibly Syria." Haaretz quoted Israeli government sources as saying the sale, including 4,500 other guided munitions, was not expected to go through until after the U.S. elections in November. Earlier this month, Haaretz said Israel sought to obtain the U.S.-made, one-ton "bunker buster" bombs for a possible future strike against arch-foe Iran's atomic development program, which the Jewish state considers a strategic threat.

Would Iran fight back, perhaps striking Israel? They say they will.

How many countries would come to Iran's aid? We can only guess, but Iran has allies in the region, not to mention billions in oil and gas contracts. For example:

Malaysia says the United States will stand alone if it attacks Iran. If you're not up on things like this, Malaysia is right in the middle of the biggest muslim territory in the world, lending al Qaida even more credibility in their claim that Bush, the self-professed "christian", is waging a holy war against Islam.

A mere two months ago, the news of a China-Kazakhstan pipeline agreement, worth US$3.5 billion, raised some eyebrows in the world press, some hinting that China's economic foreign policy may be on the verge of a new leap forward. A clue to the fact that such anticipation may have totally understated the case was last week's signing of a mega-gas deal between Beijing and Tehran worth $100 billion. December 02, 2004

Indian public energy companies have followed China’s lead and tried to reach to other suppliers and in doing so they have lined contracts to ensure steady supplies. The most recent one was signed on January 7 of this year and involves liquefied gas purchases with Iran worth US$ 40 billion over 25 years.

Iran's leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei met Azeri President Ilham Aliyev in Teheran. During the meeting, which was also attended by President Mohammad Khatami, Khamenei praised the expansion of ties between Iran and Azerbaijan, referred to the ethnic ties between the Iranian and Azeri people. Khamenei called for the expansion of Tehran-Baku ties in the political, security, economic, commercial, and cultural spheres, adding that the United States cannot be trusted and that that Iran and Azerbaijan should never allow their warm ties to be influenced by the policies of foreigners.

If war breaks out between Iran and Israel, can we come to Israel's aid? In a well-researched op-ed piece, Gordon Adams says that "The Pentagon's new budget proposal reveals that there is not enough money to pay for the multitude of missions facing defense forces." The violence in Iraq escalates by the day, and Afghanistan is far from stable.

And don't forget, Israel has nukes. If they're facing certain annihilation, or even substantial casualties, who thinks that they'd refuse to use them?

Are you starting to see how this could get out of hand quickly?

Bush's "shoot first and try diplomacy later" policies have never worked. Not for him, not for anyone who has gone before him. It's time to demand transparency from the White House in what their plans in Iran are, and what they are doing to avoid armed conflict.

"Transparency and accountability" from THIS White House? Who am I kidding? It may be true that "59 million Americans can be this stupid", but it's beginning to look like we have also gone insane.

1-26-05

 

1/24/05 What the heck, I've decided to start blogging. I have no idea how long I'll last, or how often I'll post, but I'm guessing that I'll be updating more on weekends than weekdays. We'll just have to see how it goes. Please note that you're welcome to leave comments on individual entries. Feel free to debate anything in the comments.

Maybe the best place to start is at the beginning...this is an email that I sent out to all of my friends with the subject line "C'mon now, you're not really going to elect that idiot, are you?" on October 27, 2000.

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The Beginning (10/27/00)

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This is way too long. I hope you'll read it, anyway. And please pass it on if you find it worthwhile. One vote may not matter, but this is the 21st century. If email can spread viruses fast, it can spread the truth fast.

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I'm not prepared to argue that Gore is such a great choice. But, unless you're REALLY bad at statistics, you can't possibly believe any of the "third party" candidates have a snowball's chance in hell of winning, and this election is CLOSE. There are a few things we'll all have to watch out if Gore DOES eke out a win. But, in a presidential election in which the Republican is seen as dumber than a bag of rocks while the Democrat is a weird hall monitor with a long list of rules, the Shrub truly scares me. As best as I can explain it in a million words or less, here is why:

"I will look at each piece of legislation when it makes it to my desk," and "I will review that when it makes it to my desk." — Bush, refusing to comment on anything before it's absolutely unavoidable.

Probably the main thing that scares me about the guy is this: The old joke about how to tell if a politician is lying (his lips are moving) just doesn't apply to this guy. Sure, when he DOES take a position on anything he's lying. But most of the time he just REFUSES TO ANSWER DIRECT QUESTIONS! Don't voters deserve to know what he would do in a "hypothetical" situation? He wouldn't tell Letterman, even though he was asked the same question 3 times in a row. He just got irritated. To my knowledge, it's always been fair to question what a candidate would do in office, until this guy. ("Son, I love your strategy: Don't let them get to know you." — Barbara Bush)

Probably the stupidest thing the Shrub's supporters say is, "I'm tired of the immoral Clinton administration." Please! We've had 8 years to dig into Gore. What has been found? NOTHING! Meanwhile, the shrub admits to being a drunk until he was about 40. Now, trust me, in my book that doesn't disqualify him from office as long as he's honest about it. But he's not. There are films of him drinking SIX YEARS AFTER HE "QUIT", yet it's too late for him to change his story so he sticks with it. Now I ask you, what are the odds there's something ELSE in his past that we'll have to listen to, ad nauseum, if he's elected? How many of you are aware that the shrub sold $848,560 worth of Harken Energy stock on June 22, 1990, just one week before the company posted spectacular losses and the stock plunged sharply. When the losses were reported to the public on August 20, 1990, the stock plummeted. (Do you trust this guy's budgeting prowess? Still tired of "immorality in the white house"?) According to documents from a two year investigation by the SEC, the shrub served on the board of directors of Harken Energy Corporation and his position on a special Harken committee gave him detailed knowledge of the company's deteriorating financial condition. The SEC received word of the shrub's trade ten months late. I won't even go into the way he ripped off taxpayers to make money on the Texas Rangers. If this idiot wins, there WILL be investigations into his past.

It's the stupidity, stupid. By now most of us have figured out that Reagan was a figure head. Let me clue you, so is the Shrub. His "constant gaffes and mental lapses reflect the luxurious laziness of a (man) who's never had to work hard at anything." But we don't know BUPKISS about the people who are pulling THIS puppet's strings. All we know is he's raised more money, by a large margin, than any presidential candidate, ever. How many favors will he owe, and how will he pay them?

Let's go back to the lying, for a minute. Just about everything the shrub actually says IS a lie.
1) He contends in an ad running in California right now that Gore will spend 3 times what he (the shrub) will. In small print at the bottom of the ad it says that this statement is based on a budget proposed by CLINTON in 1992! Excuse me? Isn't Gore proposing a budget NOW? Why doesn't the shrub pick on THAT budget? (Please, you must know the answer to THAT one.) Yet, nobody seems to notice this shit.
2) "Just look at the record in Texas" on schools: Teacher pay during the first Bush term fell from 36th to 38th in national rankings. Overall teachers compensation fell to 51st. The one "score" that he can point to is a specially designed test that was taken at the end of the school year, and classes were specifically designed to help students pass THAT TEST. On ALL NATIONAL test scores, Texas ranks at or near the bottom. Look at the attached document. It's all referenced, all of the references are believable, and it DOESN'T look good for the shrub.
3) Texas law prohibits a sitting governor from taking campaign contributions during the legislative session in order to prevent corruption. But that is precisely what Bush did. He accepted $300,000 in two months from Texas chemical and utility interests who brought legislation to Bush to be passed. How could he accept this money? Because they gave to his presidential exploration committee instead. Bush then pressed for "voluntary compliance" to pollution laws on their behalf. (But, I thought you were TIRED of an "immoral white house"?)
4) "I saw the report that children in Texas are going hungry. Where? You'd think the governor would have heard if there are pockets of hunger in Texas."
— George W. Bush, whose state ranks 2nd in total number of children living in poverty according to the Austin American Statesman, 12/18/99 (Why does he keep saying, "Look at the record in Texas"? It doesn't help his case.)
5) " Please," Bush whimpers, his lips pursed in mock desperation, "don't kill me."
— Bush mocking what Karla Faye Tucker said on Larry King when asked, "What would you say to Governor Bush?" prior to her execution by lethal injection as reported by Talk magazine, September 1999. (I don't care what your opinion is on the death penalty, this is sick.)
6) "An atmosphere of adolescence, a lack of gravitas - a carelessness, even a recklessness, perhaps born of things having gone a bit too easily so far."
— George Will, August 11, 1999, referring to Talk magazine's interview with Bush. (But that's what everyone LIKES about him, unless his finger is on the nuclear trigger...?)
7) "Sitting down and reading a 500-page book on public policy or philosophy or something."
— Bush was asked to name something he isn't good at by Talk magazine, September 1999 issue. (Why bother to read when someone else is buying the election for you?)
8) "You crammed it down my throat" said Bush to Representative Glen Maxey. Maxey forced Bush to accept 228,000 children to the federal/state Children's Health Insurance Program - the CHIP. Why did Bush balk at a program enthusiastically joined by fellow Republican Governors including his brother Jeb Bush in Florida, Engler in Michigan, and Christine Whitman in New Jersey? Bush needed money for his politically motivated tax cut and those children were in his way.

At least you have to give this to Gore. He's been in public life for more than just his 8 years as VP. He was in congress from 1976 to 1985, and the senate from 1985 to 1992, and he's ACTUALLY DONE SOME OF THE THINGS HE SAID HE WOULD DO! The shrub's entire resume is 4 years as governor of pmr the largest stated in the union, and he only worked part time at that. (I'm citing an Austin newspaper, here. His hours were: 9 to noon, 2 hour lunch, leaves by 5 daily. And that was BEFORE running for President. Now, he's just not there.)

On social security: Ask a senior citizen. Social security doesn't cover all their needs as it is. Where is the money to invest privately coming from? We still have to write the checks to the seniors, and it's not there, yet. What will happen to the people who don't know how to invest, and lose it? Not everyone is a financial wizard. Will we let them go homeless, or will they live off welfare and county money?

On taxes: To put it simply, this isn't up to the president. He can make suggestions, veto bills, and outline a PROPOSED budget, but congress passes the tax laws. And BTW, the current congress is spending the surplus (which was built up AFTER Clinton took office) right now. Where is that tax cut coming from, again?

On abortion: It's not up to the president. The supreme court has ruled on abortion. Of course, there are several supreme court seats that will be open sometime soon, but if you look at the current court you'll see that some of the appointees were surprises, indeed. The most "liberal" justice was appointed by a conservative republican.

Think about it.

1-24-05