Igloo / This Century Sucks
- A Winning Combo
Just went over to This Century Sucks to check in and saw a great bit of news. Greg, from The Liberal Igloo, is joining up with the TCS team!
This makes me happy on so many levels.
TCS (This Century Sucks) is one of the first Blogs I ever read. I blame them for getting me into this whole blogging thing. I have been a big fan of their work for a long time. The Liberal Igloo is my more recent favorite. Greg does great work and is starting from the bottom. I have tried to send both of these great pages a few hits because they deserve it. They are very informed and funny. Just the way I like it.
So a congrats to them is in order. Well played. May your hit counters be exponentially expanded.
I had no idea they even made penis' that small...
(Link is work safe)
Lots of stuff going on.
I haven't been going into depth on the "Gannon" controversy because news was just breaking so fast and others were doing such a great job on this one. Americablog is the go to Blog for news on all the news you could possibly want in regards to certain military-stud-male-prostitute-'reporters'. I swear this stuff reads like fiction but this is the seedy underbelly of the republicans seeing the light. It happens very rarely, but when it does it tends to make noise. FOIA's have been submitted and Democratic Senators are going into attack mode on this one as they should. The election results from Iraq are coming in and it looks like the U.S. might be in for a surprise. To top it all off Greg over at the Igloo has another great smackdown for Faux 'News'.
Should keep you all busy for a second.
It's about time!
The Washington Post is reporting that two reporters might be jailed if they refuse to answer questioned in front of a grand jury in regards to the Valerie Plame case. If they know what is good for them they will just testify and stop bending over backwards to protect the very people that used them and then tossed them aside.
Reporters Must Testify in Plame Case, Court Rules
A New York Times reporter and a Time magazine reporter can be jailed if they continue to refuse to answer questions before a grand jury about their confidential conversations with government sources, a federal appeals court decided this morning.
The decision upholds a trial court judge's ruling last year that Judith Miller of the New York Times and Matthew Cooper of Time magazine should be forced to answer these questions or be sent to jail. Both reporters fought to stop a subpoena from the Special Counsel to appear before a grand jury investigating whether senior Bush administration officials knowingly leaked the identity of Valerie Plame, a covert operative, to the media in the summer of 2003.
Lawyers said both the New York Times and Time magazine will seek a stay of the decision, to avoid having their reporters go to jail, while they appeal to the full appeals court and likely to the Supreme Court. But that request for a stay would have to be granted by Chief U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan, who first held Miller and Cooper in contempt of court and ruled they must obey the subpoena.
Link Roundup 2.14.05
(A Day late)
IRAQ VIOLENCE INCREASES POST-ELECTION: Those who warned against viewing the recent elections as a cure-all for Iraq, once considered pessimists, are now, unfortunately, being proven correct. The New York Times reports that insurgent attacks have spiked upwards since the Jan. 30 election; suicide bombings are on the rise, and attacks are increasingly focused on unarmed civilians. More than one hundred Iraqis have been killed in the last week alone, attacked at a Shiite mosque, a hospital, police facilities, a bakery in a Shiite neighborhood, even in residential neighborhoods. [...]
WATCH THIRD TIME'S A FAILURE: From the government-bankrolled
corporation that brought us the failed
FBI computer upgrade and the non-existent
Iraqi security force comes another failure in a string of,
well, failures. Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) recently
informed "some of the nation's most influential former military and intelligence
officials" that they were "at
risk of identity theft" due to a robbery at the SAIC offices.
The United States credit card industry rakes in $2.5 billion a month in profits largely in fees and interest charged to the American consumer. But its thirst for additional profits is insatiable. Credit card corporations are showering Congress with cash in an attempt to squeeze every last dime out of those who can afford it least to by making it harder for them to get out of debt. The industry is pushing for a bill that would deny bankruptcy relief to "people with low or moderate incomes who have fallen on hard times because of illness, job loss or divorce." Meanwhile the bill does nothing to stop "abusive lending practices by credit card companies." (Share your thoughts on the bankruptcy bill at ThinkProgress.org.)
BUREAUCRACY: The bankruptcy bill is an attempt to prevent people from
filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy which gives people a clean slate and make
them file under Chapter 13, which requires continued payments to the credit
card companies. Already, judges
can deny Chapter 7 protection if they think the law is being abused.
The bankruptcy bill would require consumers to complete
a complex array of forms to "prove" they qualify for Chapter
7. The law would also require those seeking Chapter 7 protection to "obtain
counseling from a court-approved counseling center before filing." But according
to the American Bankruptcy Institute, a nonpartisan research organization,
percent of people who file under Chapter 7 could continue to
pay under a court-supervised plan if they filed under Chapter 13." So the
real impact of the bill would not be to prevent abuse of the system but to
filing for bankruptcy much more costly" for those who genuinely
Dean has our back.
Let's show him that we have his as well. Contribute to the DNC today:
Checking in with the Igloo Crew
is doing some good work over at the Liberal Igloo. Here are two stories that
are worth your time:
Sick of hearing right-wingers compare Truman to Dubya? Me too. Click here for a great piece on this issue.
The other piece is an in in-depth dissection of Dick Morris' lies in his piece about Condi v. Hillary in four years that appeared yesterday. Greg catches him with his pants down as it were. Check it out.
- A starter kit
For those of you who haven't heard of this scandal here is a primer.
This is another frightening example of how this administration has used propaganda like no other administration. Faked news stories, paying reporters to promote white house policies and now this. This is also a great example of how Blogs are doing the work that the main stream media should be doing. Note how once the Bloggers at Dailykos blew this story wide open the main stream media came limping in after the fact.
To get us up to date lets look at the Gannongate starter kit made by the diarists over at daily kos (This is edited. Click here for the complete version):
Prompted by a Jan. 26 report by MediaMatters.org regarding Guckert's "softball" questions to White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan and President Bush, members of DailyKos, an online community, began investigating the matter. [...]
In his Talon News profile, Guckert claimed he had a degree in Education from the "Pennsylvania State University System." His only journalistic "experience" was attendance at the Leadership Institute Broadcast Journalism School. [...]
Guckert's "training" at the Leadership Institute was a two-day seminar, tuition for which was $50.
Despite his lack of journalistic experience, Guckert used an assumed name and was granted access to the elite White House Press Corps. [...]
In a press briefing on Feb. 10th, White House Press Secretary McClellan claimed that Guckert was granted White House access because he "showed that he was representing a news organization that published regularly."
However, Talon News came into existence on March 29, 2003. It was granted White House Press Corps access just four days (approx. 96 hours) later. During that four-day time period, Talon News published a total of nine "stories." [...]
According to the Washington Post, Guckert may have had access to a leaked internal CIA memo which revealed the identity of Ambassador Joe Wilson's wife, then an undercover CIA operative. [...]
For the complete unedited version of the Gannongate primer click here.
The main stream media chimes in:
Democrats Want Investigation of Reporter Using Fake Name
Two Democrats in Congress are pressing for investigations into how a Washington reporter who used a pseudonym managed to gain access to the White House and had access to classified documents that named Valerie Plame as a C.I.A. operative.
The Democrats, Representatives John Conyers Jr. of Michigan and Louise M. Slaughter from Rochester, wrote yesterday to Patrick Fitzgerald, the independent prosecutor appointed in the Plame case, seeking an investigation into how the reporter, James D. Guckert, who used the name Jeff Gannon, had access to classified documents that revealed the identity of Ms. Plame.
those of you lookin for more here are two great video clips of news stories
concering Gannongate. One is a CNN piece and the other is from MSNBC's Countdown.
Both are very well done. The Countdown one has great video of the actual softball
questions Gannon was throwing to McClellan.
Why is this not on the front page of every paper in the country?
Reading the paper this morning I came across this story hidden on page A6 of the San Francisco Chronicle. Why this is not a front-page story God only knows.
In the months before the Sept. 11 attacks, federal aviation officials reviewed dozens of intelligence reports that warned about Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda, some of which specifically discussed airline hijackings and suicide operations, according to a previously undisclosed report from the 9/11 commission [...]
you this is aside form the many warnings Bush received including the now famous
PDB memo entitled "Bin Laden determined to attack the United States"
Rice mentioned to the 911 commission. For more information on the
many warnings Bush recieved that mention Al Queda and their plans to attack
the united states, just read chapter 8 of the 911 Commission report, whis
is aptly named "The
System Was Blinking Red". (PDF)
But I digress...
The report takes the F.A.A. to task for failing to pursue domestic security measures that could conceivably have altered the events of Sept. 11, 2001, like toughening airport screening procedures for weapons or expanding the use of on-flight air marshals. The report, completed last August, said officials appeared more concerned with reducing airline congestion, lessening delays, and easing airlines' financial woes than deterring a terrorist attack. [...]
Among other things, the report says that leaders of the F.A.A. received 52 intelligence reports from their security branch that mentioned Mr. bin Laden or Al Qaeda from April to Sept. 10, 2001. That represented half of all the intelligence summaries in that time.
52. Not a few, not a couple, but 52. This is not negligence. This is gross incompetence. This is the White House classifying, as secret, a paper that shows them for the frauds they are. The real kicker though was when I read this passage:
The Bush administration has blocked the public release of the full, classified version of the report for more than five months, officials said, much to the frustration of former commission members who said it provides a critical understanding of the failures of the civil aviation system.
the question begs being asked so I will go ahead and do the asking. Why would
Bush want to stop the release of this report? What does he have to hide from?
I think people know by now that Bush had enough warnings about a possible
attack that he should have taken some kind of action. Tightening airport security,
public posting of the faces of the Al Queda members that they knew had entered
the United States, increased armed air marshals on flights etc. Bush did none
of this. Not only did he neglect to prevent the attack but he is now trying
to hide this fact by blocking the public release of this report. If you look
at this it is almost as if Bush wanted the attacks to take place. Thats
right I said it.
Lets take a flash back to the past. Let us revisit a little paper written by a group of warhawks that included such names as Jeb Bush, Dick Cheney, Dan Quayle, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz. The paper these people wrote is called "Project For a New American Century" and the portion I will cite comes from a sectioned entitled "Rebuilding Americas Defenses". This can be found on the PNAC web page as a PDF. The PDF cites many goals including increasing a permanent military presence in the Middle East, fighting and winning multiple simultaneous wars throughout the world and increasing military spending. All very nasty stuff. But the interesting part comes on page 63 of the PDF:
"Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event like a new Pearl Harbor." (emphasis added)
Now that is interesting indeed. In order to quickly achieve their stated military goals and to maintain global super power status, they would need a Pearl Harbor type event to take place.
So lets review.
- They needed a "catalyzing event" to take place to achieve their goals quickly.
- They had received plenty of warnings about the possibility of an attack by Al Queda within the United States.
- On 911 Bush sat and did nothing to counter the attacks as they took place.
- No fighters were scrambled; no response was made until it was too late. He sat and read about goats when he could have been saving thousand of lives.
- Bush is blocking the release of the CIA report that will show his negligence.
I the only one who is seeing the big picture here?
Im just sayin...
A closer look at the administration's 2006 budget shows an economic agenda promoting the wrong choices and wrong priorities. Rolling back massive tax cuts for millionaires is off the table, but the Bush administration has no qualms about raising taxes on average Americans. The budget President Bush submitted to Congress yesterday imposes $5.3 billion in new, regressive taxes. (They are conveniently listed in table 18-3 on page 305 of the Analytic Perspectives supplement to the budget.) The administration's budget contains new taxes that will increase the price of a six pack of beer, an airline ticket and prescription drugs for veterans. Meanwhile, the budget cuts funding for education, public health and environmental protection and includes $1.4 trillion in new tax cuts for the wealthy. Welcome to Bushonomics.
THE SHELL GAME: No matter which way you slice it, the administration's budget is egregiously fiscally irresponsible by its own estimates, it will result in a $390 billion deficit in 2006. Worse, that figure is only arrived at through trickery. The budget includes over a billion dollars in revenue from drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), even though Congress hasn't authorized such drilling and has rejected President Bush's proposal to open ANWR to oil exploration for the last four years. Budget Director Josh Bolten defended the move, claiming, "the budget is the right place to present the entirety of the president's policies, so all of his proposals are reflected in there." Really? The Bush budget excludes all funding for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and the administration's $2 trillion Social Security package.
THE MEDICARE MESS: The industry-backed prescription drug bill President Bush jammed through Congress is a bad law that keeps getting worse. While the bill was pending before Congress, the administration promised the bill would cost $400 billion over 10 years and threatened to fire the Medicare actuary who knew that figure was too low. Later, the administration revised its estimated price tag to $534 billion over 10 years, largely due to excessive payments to private insurers and HMOs. Now, in the most recent budget, the Bush administration estimates the bill will cost $395 billion over five years. In the meantime, drug companies have already jacked up their prices enough to offset any discount to seniors.
FUNDING FOR ABSTINENCE-ONLY PROGRAMS INCREASED: Apparently, President Bush isn't concerned that abstinence-only programs are misleading the nation's children about sex. A study last year found that some of the most popular programs pushed lies, such as claiming that mutual masturbation can cause pregnancy and condoms fail to prevent the transmission of HIV 31 percent of the time. President Bush's budget increases funding for abstinence-only education by $39 million, to a total of $209 million.
GOP abandons King Bush and casts it's evil eye to 2008
after our so called elected president gave his Sate of the Union Speech the
phone rang. My fiance answered and it was an organization conducting a poll.
Happy to participate she began answering questions. "No..... 10. No....
Strongly, 10..." I was very curious what it was all about. I figured
it was about the presidents speech. That his minions were polling to see which
of his lies were the most palpable to the people. Nope. When she hung up she
told me it was mostly about family issues, but there were a few question that
they snuck in there that seemed off topic.
"would you support Condi Rice as a presidential candidate in 2008?"
"How strongly do you feel on this issue from 1-10, 10 being the strongest"
Oh crap here we go. With "president" Bush elected the GOP casts its eye to 2008. This is how the GOP works. They are not loyal to the president. They are loyal to the party. Already they are working to make sure they remain in power in 2008. Bush is a lame Duck president now. Already the GOP have stopping toeing the line with him. When he released his budget yesterday it was not only democrats who objected to his obscene proposal
As President Bush began promoting a 2006 budget plan that calls for reductions in an array of popular domestic programs, congressional Republicans started searching for ways Tuesday to achieve his overall deficit-reduction targets without slaying such political sacred cows as farm subsidies and aid to states.
Many of the proposals in Bush's $2.57 trillion spending plan drew fire not only from Democrats, but also from members of the president's own party who are reluctant to cut programs because they -- unlike Bush -- will face re-election in 2006 and beyond.
Concern about persistent budget deficits, as well as resistance to deep spending cuts, could make it harder for Bush to achieve other priorities, such as making his 2001 and 2003 tax cuts permanent.
Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, who provided a key vote for Bush's tax cuts, said he now opposed making them permanent because of the deficit.
Now the Republicans have to worry about 2006 and 2008. They will not blindly support the president budget which slashes education, health care and scraps 9,790 border patrol agents. They have the 2006 election to worry about and they can't be seen as weak on education andsecurity. So they question the wreckless budget Bush puts forth. A budget that will increase the deficit. All this without even adding the numbers for the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Not to mention the Trillions of dollars that will be added to the deficit when Bush tries to "Fix" Social Security Bush will find it harder now to sell his lies to the american people now that the Republican party is looking to the future. A future that does not have Bush in it. The strategy is to undermine the Democratic base and pull some of our votes away by running a black woman. They can sense that Hillary is going to run. A woman candidate would energize the Democratic party. So they are testing the waters to see how to counter that. It seems Rice is their answer.
The political fact is that a Rice candidacy would destroy the electoral chances of the Democratic Party by undermining its demographic base. John Kerry got 54 percent of his vote from three groups that, together, account for about a third of the American electorate: African-Americans, Hispanics and single white women. Rice would cut deeply into any Democrats margin among these three groups and would, most especially, deny Clinton the strong support she would otherwise receive from each of them.
So they want to run an African American woman as president to undermine Democratic votes. Once again integrity and honesty and ability are all thrown out the window in the name of strategy. They will run as a candidate the very person who lied to us about Iraq. The woman who brought us such great hits as:
Condi you devil you. So the Rethugs will once again run on incompetence. Running
the woman who was National Security Advisor during the attacks of 911. They
are running her because of the color of her skin. Not because she did a Goof
job as our NSA. Certainly not because of her integrity or competence because
she has neither. So how will Democrats respond? How can Democrats beat an
African American? A woman? Well thats no problem. We can do the same and as
a bonus we can run people who are competent and brilliant.
Deepthroat, David Kay, Richard Clarke, Iran and Social Security Oh my
Greg over at Liberal Igloo has some good stuff up. Go give this guy a bookmark. He has good information up on a variety of topics. Well worth your time.
The conservative ideological agenda on the economy has hit full stride: aggressively slash taxes on the wealthy; run up huge budget deficits; then push for massive cuts in critical domestic spending under the guise of fiscal responsibility. President Bush will introduce a budget today that is so callous Vice President Cheney felt compelled yesterday to assure viewers of Fox News that "it's not something we've done with a meat ax." Just as with its push for privatizing Social Security, the White House plans "an elaborate marketing strategy to sell the cuts to voters and lawmakers." The message: they aren't cutting government programs for the needy, they are "centralizing government services and saving tax payer money."
JOB TRAINING CUT BY $500 MILLION: At a time when overseas outsourcing has left many American workers especially in the manufacturing sector out of work, President Bush will propose cutting federal spending on job training by a half-billion dollars. Federal job training programs, including dislocated-worker training, will be cut by $200 million. Federal aid to states for job training, including funding to train veterans, will be cut by $300 million.
FUNDING FOR POLICE AND FIREFIGHTERS SLASHED: On 2/2/02, President Bush appeared at the New York Police Department Command Center and said, "Police and firefighters of New York, you have this nation's respect, and you'll have this nation's support." Three years later Bush is seeking to decimate vital funding for police officers and firefighters. The administration's budget is expected to reduce federal grants to local police forces from $600 million to $60 million. Grants to local firefighters would be cut by $215 million dollars.
BIG CUTS IN BIOTERRORISM PROTECTION: On 6/12/02, President Bush told the American people, "bioterrorism is a real threat to our country...It's important that we confront these real threats to our country and prepare for future emergencies. Protecting our citizens against bioterrorism is an urgent duty of...American governments." Now, Bush's budget will cut a "range of public health programs, including several to protect the nation against bioterrorist attacks and to respond to medical emergencies." Funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) would be reduced by 9 percent under Bush's plan. Specifically, "the public health emergency fund of the [CDC], which helps state and local agencies prepare for bioterror attacks, would be cut 12.6 percent."
LEAVING THE POOR IN THE COLD: Prices for home heating oil are skyrocketing. Nevertheless, Bush's budget proposes cutting the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance program (LIHEAP), which helps people pay their heating bills, by 8.4 percent. At last year's funding levels, only one-sixth of low-income families who qualified for the program were able to receive assistance. Last year's funding for LIHEAP was 23 percent lower than in 2001. For continually updated information on the Bush administration's budget, check out our 2006 Budget page.
And then there was one
Dean will run with no opposition. It's all done but the voting. So begins a new era of Democratic leadership.
Roemer withdraws from DNC chair race
Tim Roemer, the only remaining opponent of Howard Dean in the race to be chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said Monday he's bowing out of the race -- but he offered a warning to Democrats.
Dean, the former presidential candidate and governor of Vermont, is expected to win the DNC chairmanship at the election February 12.
Roemer, a former congressman from Indiana and a member of the September 11 commission, said Democrats must be more inclusive in their outreach to fast-growing parts of the country.
"I got into this race five weeks ago to talk about the devastating loss we experienced in November," Roemer said in an interview. "It was not about 60,000 votes in Ohio. It was about losing 97 of the 100 fastest growing counties in the country. If that's a trend in business or politics you're in trouble."
Republicans are in the strongest position they've been in since the early 20th century, Roemer said.
Let the work begin
One Down and Pass it Around - New artwork From The Free Speech Zone
To add the smaller version as an image (linked to www.thereisnocrisis.com) just add this html to your page.
continues to peddle the destruction of Social Security across the nation like
some 2 bit used cars salesman. The only difference is his suit isn't tweed.
The sell is the same. The reliance on people not being educated on the subject
is the same. Same lies. Same game.
But unlike other crisis situations Bush has warned us about, people do know something about Social Security. People were able to be fooled on Iraq because most people didn't know much about it. It was all so far away. It was "over there" and we were trusting the white house to know better.
Not this time. This is right here at home. Bush is trying to sell young people on this idea of private investment accounts but the problem is todays young people know better. We are not ignorant on this subject. Many of us already have a ROTH IRA or 401 k or a similar account. We are already owners of private investments. Social Security is to be the backup. The one that will always be there. Don't let Bush take that away.
Nowhere is the challenge facing President Bush on Social Security more apparent than here, at an open meeting held by Senator Max Baucus on Friday, the day after the White House road show rolled through Montana. [...]
The anxiety and confusion were palpable in the crowd, which was composed mostly of retirees - the very group assured by Mr. Bush, again and again, that they would not be affected. Why change the program so fundamentally, several asked. Sylvia Stugelmeyer, a retired courthouse worker, declared: "I'm against the privatization of Social Security. It was put into a trust for us many years ago, and I hope to God it stays that way."
Doris Lundin, 77, asked, "How much money has the government spent from Social Security and put in i.o.u.'s?" As the audience applauded, she added, "And why can't they pay it back?"
Mr. Baucus provided essential support to Mr. Bush on two of his most important domestic initiatives in his first term, the 2001 tax cut and the sweeping overhaul of Medicare. But not this time. "You've got to call them as you see them," Mr. Baucus says, and he seems comfortable in his opposition to the Bush plan, even in a state that Mr. Bush carried by 20 percentage points last fall. [...]
Mr. Baucus said his constituents were generally "very nervous" about private investment accounts in Social Security, and retirees, who are most likely to vote on the issue, "are quite opposed." He added, "It's new, it's radical, and it's so different from Social Security as they know it." [...]
But after the speech, when asked where he stood on the Bush plan, Mr. Burns said he was still "crunching numbers" and was worried about the deficit. Critics have asserted that the transition costs to create a system of private accounts would significantly worsen an already serious deficit.
The headline in The Tribune on Friday, right under "Bush Sells With Charm," said, "Montana's Lawmakers Still Aren't Convinced."
am going to keep this at the top through the weekend so the artwork posted
below can make the rounds. E-mail
it to everyone you know. You can download poster sized versions right below
T-shirts are in the store.
I will be posting some great "Must Read Articles" though, so check those out. They are to the right-->
Click here for an 8.5x11
Click here for an 11x14
Click Here for an 11x17
Click Here for a 16x20
Cick here for an even BIGGER version
From a great Rapid Response thread over at kos comes this:
Tonight, George W. Bush provided few new details of his Social Security privatization plan and once again failed to come clean on the three key questions that the American people continue to ask. Bush failed to acknowledge the extent to which benefits will be cut, debt will be increased and whether the Republican privatization plan will increase the long-term solvency of the program.
Diaries :: Senate Democratic Communications Center's diary ::
Bush Failed to Address Benefit Cuts: Tonight Bush said, "Your money will grow, over time, at a greater rate than anything the current system can deliver - and your account will provide money for retirement over and above the check you will receive from Social Security."
[George W. Bush, State of the Union, 2/2/05]
* But, CBO Says Bush's Plan Will Cut Benefits by 45 Percent or More for Seniors. The Bush plan will reduce benefits for all seniors, even those who choose not to invest in privatized accounts. According to the Congressional Budget Office, "benefits for the 1980s birth cohort would be...30 percent lower...and benefits for the 2000s cohort would be...45 percent lower."
[CBO, "Long-term Analysis of Plan 2 of the President's Commission to Strengthen Social Security," 7/21/2004, pp. 11 and Figure 2A]
Bush Failed to Address Increases in Debt: Tonight Bush said, "We will make sure this plan is fiscally responsible, by starting personal retirement accounts gradually, and raising the yearly limits on contributions over time, eventually permitting all workers to set aside four percentage points of their payroll taxes in their accounts."
[George W. Bush, State of the Union, 2/2/05]
* But, The President's Plan Adds Over $4.5 Trillion in Debt. "Over the first ten years that the plan actually was in effect (2009-18), it would add more than $1 trillion to the debt. Over the next ten years (2019- 28), it would add over $3.5 trillion more to the debt. All told, the plan would add more than $4.5 trillion to the debt over its first 20 years."
[Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, "New Details Indicate Administration Social Security Plan," 2/2/05]
A Sneak Preview of tonights State of the Union Address:
Thank you fellow americans.
Iraqi elections, Social Security, Liberty, History in the Making, Freedom, Iraqi elections, Freedom, Fire, Iraqi elections, Freedom and Democracy.
Liberty, Social Security crisis, Social Security personal accounts, Liberty and Freedom, Iraqi elections, September 11, Terrorism, Democracy in the Middle East, September 11, Liberty, Family Values, Iraqi elections, saving Social Security with individual investment accounts, September 11, 2001, Democracy in Iraq, Fire, Iraqi elections and Freedom.
Iran, The War on Terror, Liberty, Crisis, Iraqi Elections, Iran, September 11, Terrorism, and Democracy in the Middle East.
War on Terror, God bless America.
You saw it here first. And when I saw "here" what I mean is here.
State Of Our Union
Today is the day our "leader" tells us how our great country is fairing. How we are the beacon of light shining as an example of the world. If you ask Bush, we represent all that is good and great. If you ask any other country we represent the greatest threat to world peace that currently exists. Many people, like me, have preemptively ignored his SOTU speech. We know before he even opens his mouth that it is lies that will fall out. All politicians lie. But it has been a long time indeed since such massive and widespread death and destruction has been the price of such lies.
Does it suprise us that our country has become so feared? That when I hear Bush speak of "freedom" and "liberty" all I can think of is death and destruction? Does it surprise anyone that we are about to be lied to yet again in another address by the president? After all this is a man with a track record of absolute incompetence and deceit. Time and time again he has made errors in judgment that have cost the American people money and anguish and all too often the lost life of a loved one.
No. I will not let this fool tell me how my country is. I know all too well how it is. The rosy picture Bush will paint in his speech is much like the rosy picture he painted of how the war in Iraq would go over. We would be greeted as liberators. It was a slam dunk. They would greet us with flowers. Or like the rosy picture he painted for us when he "landed" that plane on that aircraft carrier and told the nation that the mission was accomplished. Hard to say what that mission might be since our stated goals in Iraq seem to change back and forth with each day. Republicans have a word for that.
We were there because they had WMD's. That didn't pan out so they toned it down. Now we were there because they were involved in weapons related program activities (and had significant amounts of equipment! Significant mind you!) At one time we were there because they had nukes, we were there because saddam was involved in the 911 attacks. We are there to bring democracy to the iraqi people. First we were told they found weapons, then recently we were told there were no weapons. So far nobody has paid any price for this incompetence. Instead we see the people responsible for the blunders rewarded or promoted. So many reasons given for our war with a nation that posed no threat to us and yet none of them are the real reason. Sadly enough, the real reason had very little to do with leace and prosperity.
the reasons have changed the cost remains the same. As of today 1,438
troops have died in Iraq since the war began. Not that you would hear
much about it since the White House has made it illegal for press to cover
the coffins that return from Iraq. Not that president Bush seems to care much,
as he has attended a
total of 0 funerals of the soldiers who have died
for his war. In fact Bush
seems oblivious to the pain and suffering his ignorant foreign policy
decisions has created for countless peoples lives.
Bush's plan to Bomb the Iraqi people into peace has been riddled with mistakes from day one. With the low estimated for civilian casualties in the tens of thousands and the injured civilians estimates around 40,000, we must stop and ask ourselves, is there not a better way? Can't we bring peace to a region without first bringing death and destruction? Don't the fools in power see that this reckless foreign policy is only making more terrorist? Don't they see that terrorism is now at the highest levels we have seen in 20 years? All this with no exit plan. No plan to win the peace. They throw all this money at the problem and still go in with very little equipment and preparation. The Administration took over 8 months to supply soldiers with sufficient body armor, and there is still a shortage of armored Humvees. Newsweek has estimated that as many as 25% of casualties could have been avoided if our troops had proper equipment from the start (PDF).
The Bush administration has spent over 140 Billion for this war of choice in Iraq. They have Just asked for another 80 billion. Countless Billions have disappeared and are unaccounted for. Surprisingly small fractions of this money that should go for reconstruction is being spent for that purpose. Of the $18.4 billion Congress approved last year for Iraqi reconstruction, only $1.1 billion has been spent because of violence and other problems. One might ask... who pays for all this? The estimated long-term cost of war to every U.S. household: $3,415. Your children's children will still be footing this bill.
All this reckless spending has created a record deficit. But Bush won't be mentioning that in his State of the Union speech tonight. Because then the Republicans might realize that they are supposed to be the fiscaly responsible party. Why Republicans aren't fuming over Bush's reckless spending is a mystery. When Bush became president the Budget surplus stood at $127 billion. By 2003 the surplus was gone and we had a record budget deficit of $374 Billion. The numbers are even worse today, as it climbs up at an estimated $1.58 billion a day. Let that sink in. How many schools could be funded with that money? How many children could be provided with health care for that amount? How many people could we feed in Africa with that kind of money? $1.58 a day. Of my money. Your money. Waisted. Each American citizen is asked to pay $23,920 to fix this mess. Which would be easier if we had jobs. During the first three years of the Bush administration 2.4 million Americans lost their jobs. President Bush is the first President since Herbert Hoover to have a net loss of jobs--around 800,000--over a four-year term. More than 1.5 million private-sector jobs have been lost under President Bush, compared to nearly 21 million private-sector jobs created under President Clinton. Long-term unemployment has more than doubled under Bush. The unemployment rate has gone up 1.4% since Bush took office.
The state of our union is far from strong. Bush likes to say we have a strong economy. That a recent rise in jobs has cleared him of any wrong doing in regards to his economic policies. It is a simple thing to put that in perspective. Americans know better. We remember better days. And we remember who was in charge in times when our economy was thriving.
tonight when Bush proclaims victory in Iraq do not be fooled. When he claims
social security is in crisis, do not be fooled. When he speaks of freedom
and liberty do not be fooled. When he tells us that things in Iraq
are just peachy do not be fooled. Remember the civilians tortured in the name
of America. Remember that even now Bush is rewarding the "few
bad apples" that made that torture possible. Remember what America
TRULY stands for.
And above all know that the Democratic party is stronger and growing stronger. There will be a better day. Our union will become strong in time. We will once again be respected instead of feared. Education jobs and health will become American values. Our day will come and when it does we will create in reality what Republicans dream of. We will some day bring the state of our union back to greatness.
There Is No Crisis
Not a single Senate Democrat will support President Bushs proposal to divert a portion of the Social Security payroll tax to personal investment accounts, Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Tuesday.
If he is right, Bushs plan will be dead on arrival in the Senate, where a supermajority of 60 votes will be needed to overcome a filibuster by opponents. Republicans have 55 seats.
We want to make sure that the American people understand that were not for benefit cuts and were not for privatization, Reid said. Theres no crisis in Social Security.
Another sign of a strong Democratic party.
Saying NO to torture
45 Democrats will soon vote on Alberto Gonzales for Attorney General. All 45 should vote against him. This probably will not happen but it does look like we will come close.
Momentum against Gonzales grows; Vote against Gonzales may run as high as 40 Dems
Serious concerns about Bushs Attorney General nominee Alberto Gonzales among Democrats is turning the tide of the party against him.
A senior Senate aide who spoke on condition of anonymity told RAW STORY Tuesday the vote against Gonzales is now definitively above 30 Democrats and may go as high as 40.
Reid: Most Senate Democrats Oppose Gonzales
Up to two thirds of the 45 Democrats in the Republican-led U.S. Senate prepared on Tuesday to oppose Alberto Gonzales as the next U.S. attorney general because of his role in helping craft policies they blame for contributing to the abuse of foreign detainees. [...]
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, predicted that up to 30 of the 45 Senate Democrats would oppose Gonzales, who rose from poverty to sit on the Texas Supreme Court before serving Bush at the White House.
The battle over Gonzales has focused largely on an Aug. 1, 2002, memo he approved that stated only the most severe types of torture were not permissible under U.S. and international agreements. The memo was withdrawn after a public outcry.
Gonzales has also drawn fire for writing in January 2002 that parts of the half-century-old Geneva Convention on the treatment of prisoners of war were "obsolete" and "quaint."
This is a good start. Next step is voting Dean in. This party is about to become an effective party. It's about time.
Better Late Than Never
Somebody go see if there are snowballs in hell. Check the sky for pigs while you are at it.
A report, the first of its kind, says Baghdad ended its chemical weapons program in '91
In what may be a formal acknowledgment of the obvious, the CIA has issued a classified report revising its prewar assessments on Iraq and concluding that Baghdad abandoned its chemical weapons programs in 1991, intelligence officials familiar with the document said.
Talk about re-writing history... Sheesh! Too bad the damage is done.
The report marks the first time the CIA has officially disavowed its prewar judgments and is one in a series of updated assessments the agency is producing as part of an effort to correct its record on Iraq's alleged weapons programs, officials said.
Right. Correcting the record after the fact. Reminds me of when they corrected the exit polls to match the Bush win. Man that was good times.
The CIA's decision to distribute the report titled "Iraq: No Large-Scale Chemical Warfare Efforts Since Early 1990s" in classified channels underscores the awkwardness the agency faces as it continues to reconcile its prewar reporting with postwar realities in Iraq. Before the war, the CIA asserted that Iraq had stockpiled biological weapons and was reconstituting its nuclear weapons program.
They also connected Saddam to 911, which is a flat out lie. They also mentioned mushroom clouds. These are all things they should think about as they begin the process of selling us the war in Iran.
Over the last four years, President Bush's tax schemes have made the system more complex, shifted more of the burden to the middle class and exploded the federal deficit. We can do better. Today, American Progress is releasing a plan for progressive tax reform that proves it. The American Progress plan is fiscally responsible reform that significantly simplifies the system, restores fairness and increases economic opportunity. Here are the highlights:
SIMPLICITY- REDUCE THE NUMBER OF TAX BRACKETS: President Bush has added over 10,000 pages to the federal tax code. The American Progress plan would make the system far simpler. The number of tax brackets would be reduced from six to just three 15 percent (for income up to $25K), 25 percent (for income between $25K and $120K) and 39.6 percent (for income over 120K).
SIMPLICITY - CLOSE LOOPHOLES: The plan would close loopholes in the corporate income tax code, including the "Bermuda" loophole that allows U.S. firms to avoid paying taxes by moving their operations overseas. By closing individual loopholes, the plan would also eliminate the need for the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) a special rate initially created to ensure that the very rich pay some taxes. Without reform, the AMT would impact 36 million Americans by 2010.
FAIRNESS - TAX ALL INCOME THE SAME: Under the Bush administration's tax policies, middle-class Americans are shouldering more of the burden. The American Progress plan corrects that by simplifying the rate structure and taxing each source of income the same whether it is dividends from investments or wages.
FAIRNESS - ELIMINATE REGRESSIVE SOCIAL SECURITY TAXES: One of the most regressive components of our tax system is the employee Social Security payroll tax. The flat 6.2 percent tax employees pay on their first $90K of income imposes an effective tax rate four times larger for middle-income workers than the top 1 percent. The American Progress plan would eliminate it. Social Security funding would be strengthened by eliminating the cap on employer contributions (currently there is no employer contribution for income in excess of $90K) and devoting 2.25 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from general revenues. The plan would not only preserve Social Security funding but cut the program's long-term deficit in half.
FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY - REDUCE THE DEFICIT: The federal government is on pace to rack up another $1.4 trillion over the next ten years. The American Progress plan is fiscally responsible, reducing the revenue shortfall by $478 billion compared to the administration's budget. At the same time, the American Progress plan would include a tax cut for the 70 percent of Americans who earn up to $200,000, providing an average cut of over $600.
OPPORTUNITY - INCENTIVES FOR ALL AMERICANS TO SAVE: The American Progress plan would create new opportunities for tens of millions of Americans to save and create wealth. The current deduction system is upside-down providing a greater incentive to save if you have a higher income (and pay a higher marginal tax rate). The plan would create a new across-the-board 25 percent refundable tax credit for retirement savings. This would provide the same incentives for every American whether an investment banker or a secretary to save, including the 33 million Americans who don't earn enough to have income tax liability.
is a direct link to the NEW REPORT mentioned in the Press Release.
For Immediate Release: January 31, 2005
real State of the Union
Soon Bush will tell us all what the current state of the union is. Of course he won't tell the people what it really is, rather he will paint us another rosy picture of just how wonderful things are under his joyous rule. For those of us who live in the reality based community or for those of us who take the time to open our eyes and look out a window, this pretty picture Bush paints is just another lie and a mountain of lies and deceit. For those of us with eyes open we see a country losing jobs. A deficit out of control. We see wars sold to us with lies. We see problems with underfunded education and health care. We see our 'leaders' starting a new war when the old is unfinished. We see our rights being taken away. We see a government paying 'journalists' to sell us more lies. We see all this and we know before Bush even opens his mouth that when he gives his State of the Union address, that we will be lied to.
Well Democrats are tired of it. We know the state of our country and we refuse to let Bush sell us yet another lie. Georgia10 has put together a short video on the real state of the union (7meg WMV) that is very worth your time. Also take a look at this great video made from last years state of the Union address (14 meg MOV.
One of these kids is doing his own thing
Is it too much for me to wish that our countries leaders stop making a complete fool of themselves? Do I ask too much?
Dick Cheney, Dressing Down
Parka, Ski Cap at Odds With Solemnity of Auschwitz Ceremony
Cheney stood out in a sea of black-coated world leaders because he was wearing an olive drab parka with a fur-trimmed hood. It is embroidered with his name. It reminded one of the way in which children's clothes are inscribed with their names before they are sent away to camp. And indeed, the vice president looked like an awkward boy amid the well-dressed adults.
Another Shill gets busted
One wonders, if this many shills are getting caught, just how many are there out there that have escaped detection? That is why this is so important.
Third columnist caught with hand in the Bush till
Michael McManus, conservative author of the syndicated column "Ethics & Religion," received $10,000 to promote a marriage initiative.
And three makes a trend.
One day after President Bush ordered his Cabinet secretaries to stop hiring commentators to help promote administration initiatives, and one day after the second high-profile conservative pundit was found to be on the federal payroll, a third embarrassing hire has emerged. Salon has confirmed that Michael McManus, a marriage advocate whose syndicated column, "Ethics & Religion," appears in 50 newspapers, was hired as a subcontractor by the Department of Health and Human Services to foster a Bush-approved marriage initiative. McManus championed the plan in his columns without disclosing to readers he was being paid to help it succeed.
Here a shill, there a shill, everywhere a shill shill!
Senator Kenedy Jumps Into the Fray
that this should even be necessary.
But it is, and it will of course be Democrats who get the job done. Let's hope they can get it passed.
UPDATE: Kennedy jumps in again asking for troops to come home.
THE TASK AT HAND: According to the "vast majority of international scientists and peer-reviewed reports," climate change is a "serious growing threat." Unless concrete steps are taken to mitigate the problem, "no country will be immune from the extreme weather events and rising sea levels that scientists predict will occur." The Task Force recommends 10 concrete but practical steps aimed at ensuring that global warming does not exceed 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels. If global warming exceeds that point, "the risks to human societies and ecosystems grow significantly." The recommendations of the Task Force include: taking greater advantage of existing low and zero-carbon technologies, creating a global emissions trading market and, for G8 countries, producing 25 percent of energy from renewable sources by 2025.
THE HIGH PRICE OF DOING NOTHING: Addressing the climate change problem does not, in Blair's view, involve "drastic cuts in growth or standards of living." In fact, investing in low and zero-emissions technologies "provide[s] the prospect of significant business and economic opportunities." Meanwhile, the costs of doing nothing are severe. Recently, the most extensive scientific modeling on global warming ever conducted "found that global temperatures could rise by up to 11°C if emissions of carbon dioxide continue unabated." That is more than five times the increase the Task Force determined could have severe impacts in the form of flooding and extreme weather events.
KILLING TWO BIRDS WITH ONE STONE: Efforts to reduce global warming go hand in hand with enhancing oil security. Low and zero-carbon energy sources, including many biofuels, are renewable and can be produced domestically reducing our dependence on foreign oil. (Brazil, for example, already derives one-third of its transport fuel from ethanol produced from sugar cane.) The Task Force recommends that the United States and other major industrialized nations "divert their agricultural subsidies to biofuels instead of food crops."
BIG OIL TARGETS BRITAIN: While Blair is courageously leading an effort to bring the world together, big U.S. oil companies are bankrolling an effort to bring him down. The Guardian reports, "lobby groups funded by the US oil industry are targeting Britain in a bid to play down the threat of climate change and derail action to cut greenhouse gas emissions." Specifically, ExxonMobil is funneling tens of thousands of dollars to industry front groups operating in Britain that produce reports that claim to "undermine" growing scientific consensus about climate change.
Election reform: the other real crisis
News about vote tampering is still trickling in. Here is the latest:
Ohio recount volunteers allege electoral tampering, legal violations and possible fraud
Why were there stickers on ballots in Clermont County, Ohio?
Serious new election tampering allegations have emerged from an Ohio county, where witnesses allege that stickers were placed on presidential election ballots, RAW STORY has learned.
Several volunteer workers in the Ohio recount in Clermont County, Ohio have prepared affidavits alleging serious tampering, violations of state and federal law and possible fraud. They name the Republican chief of Clermonts Board of Elections Daniel Bare and the head of the Clermont Democratic Party Priscilla ODonnell as complicit in these acts.
These volunteers, observing the recount on behalf of the Greens, Libertarians and Democrats, assert that during the Dec. 14, 2004 hand recount they noticed stickers covering the Kerry/Edwards oval, whereas the Bush/Cheney oval seemed to be colored in.
Some witnesses state that beneath the stickers, the Kerry/Edwards oval was selected. The opti-scan ballots were then fed into the machines after the hand recount.
Allegations of ballot tampering in Ohio which decided the outcome of the presidential election by some 100,000 votes find particular resonance in Clermont, one of three Ohio counties which saw the biggest increases in votes for Bush from 2000 to 2004. The other counties were Butler and Warren; Warren County had a lockdown after an alleged terror threat that the FBI later denied.
These counties increased their support of Bush by only a few percentage points each, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported Monday. But in the raw numbers of votes, they made the difference.
Unless we can get Election Reform in the next few years, Dems might as well kiss '06 and '08 goodbye. Democrats need to wake up to the simple fact that Rethugs cheat on these elections. If we go into the fight thinking they are playing fair, we have already lost. Seriously, these are the same people who started an entire war based on lies and for a profit. Election tampering is like a walk in the park for these guys.
Symour Hersh on the ball
Great speech by Mr. Hersh. he was very informative on the Daily Show last night. I love the way this guy thinks. I love that he has the balls to say what most of us are thinking and he usually says it with cameras rolling. More of that please. Here is a transcript of the speech and here is a good posts on the speech.
The amazing thing is we are been taken over basically by a cult, eight or nine neo-conservatives have somehow grabbed the government. Just how and why and how they did it so efficiently, will have to wait for much later historians and better documentation than we have now, but they managed to overcome the bureaucracy and the Congress, and the press, with the greatest of ease. It does say something about how fragile our Democracy is. You do have to wonder what a Democracy is when it comes down to a few men in the Pentagon and a few men in the White House having their way.
On the heels of the Armstrong Williams scandal, the contractual obligations of another commentator cheerleader have been exposed. In 2002, syndicated columnist Maggie Gallagher staunchly defended the Bush marriage initiative in any venue that would give her space without disclosing that she was under a $20,000-plus contract with the Department of Health and Human Services to promote the proposal. She "received an additional $20,000 from the Bush Administration" for authoring a report, "titled 'Can Government Strengthen Marriage?', for a private organization." In one of her columns, Gallagher goes on to plug this same policy brief and encourages HHS to implement it, of course, without mentioning her financial connection. After the Armstrong Williams debacle, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan rebuffed questions about whether there were additional commentators on the government dole, saying, "I'm not aware of any others that are under contract.
As Atrios would say... Oy!
A Marine transport helicopter crashed during sandstorms in Iraq's western desert Wednesday, killing 31 troops, while insurgents killed five other American military personnel in the deadliest day for U.S. forces since the Iraq war began.
Militants waging a campaign to derail Sunday's election carried out at least six car bombings and a flurry of other attacks on schools to be used as polling stations, political party offices and Kurdish sites, killing or wounding more than two dozen people.
While al-Qaida warned Iraqis to stay away from the polls saying they would only have themselves to blame if they are hurt in attacks President Bush called on people to "defy the terrorists" and cast ballots in the crucial election.
- snip -
Bush expressed his condolences for the deaths. "The story today is going to be very discouraging to the American people. I understand that. It is the long-term objective that is vital that is to spread freedom," he told reporters. He said "a lot of Iraqis" were expected to participate in the elections. "Clearly, there are some who are intimidated," Bush said. "I urge people to vote. I urge people to defy these terrorists."
Spreading freedom. yeah right. Does anyone believe this crap anymore?
Senators vote NO on Rice
Well some of them did anyway. The Senate just voted 85-13 to confirm Condi Rice as Secretary of State.
Another round of applause for these Senators with spine intact:
Robert Byrd, D-W.Va.
Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.
John Kerry, D-Mass.
Carl Levin, D-Mich.
James Jeffords, I-Vt.
Jack Reed, D-R.I
Mark Dayton, D-Minn.
Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii
Evan Bayh, D-Ind.
Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J.
Tom Harkin, D-Iowa
Richard Durbin, D-Ill.
Congrats! You actualy did your job today! If your senator is not on this list feel free to let them know you expect them to do what is right next time.
Senators vote NO on Gonzales.
A big round of applause to Senators: Leahy, Kennedy, Biden, Feingold, Schumer, Feinstein, Kohl and Durbin.
Way to stand up for what is right! Of course Gonzales will be voted in any way because the Rethugs both have the votes and lack the morals to do so. But this was a good start. Democrats need to stop being pushed over and start standing up for what they know to be right.
Attorney General nominee Alberto Gonzales is the wrong man to be the nation's top law enforcement official given his participation in crafting Bush administration policies during the war on terror, Democrats said Wednesday.
But Republicans still have enough votes to push President Bush's former White House counsel through the Senate Judiciary Committee and on to the full Senate for confirmation. The committee met as President Bush urged lawmakers Wednesday to ``promptly act and confirm Judge Al Gonzales. He'll be a great attorney general.''
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., called Gonzales on Tuesday to tell him that he would voting against him.
- snip -
``His judgment is defective,'' added Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del.
Democrats complain that Gonzales was evasive with his answers to their questions about White House policies in the war on terror. They have used his nomination and that of secretary of state nominee Condoleezza Rice to criticize the Iraq war and the treatment of foreign prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, in Afghanistan and at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
``The continuing effort to pin the blame for the torture scandal on a few bad apples among our soldiers while ignoring or even rewarding Mr. Gonzales and others responsible for the policy has sent the wrong message to our nation and the world,'' said Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass. ``I cannot support a nominee who has done so much to harm America's basic interests and fundamental values.'' [Emphasis mine]
Collages of War #7
The enemies of liberty and our country should make no mistake, America remains engaged in the world, by history and by choice, shaping a balance of power that favors freedom. We will defend our allies and our interests. We will show purpose without arrogance. We will meet aggression and bad faith with resolve and strength. And to all nations, we will speak for the values that gave our nation birth.
Thursday, January 20, 2005
Senator Dianne Feinstein is Kissing Rice's Arse
I just heard California Senator Dianne Feinstein, a woman who allegedly represents me, a California Democrat, use the most ridiculous logic I've ever heard on the Senate floor:
"I never expected this President to appoint anyone who disagreed with him. The question here is whether or not Condoleeza Rice is competent enough to do the job of Secretary of State".
How could anyone whose involvement with the Iraqi quagmire occurred at the level of National Security Advisor possibly be deemed "competent" by anyone? How could anyone who refused to allow Richard Clarke one-on-one meetings with the President - only to turn to him and say "You're in charge, Dick," when the shit hit the fan - possibly be deemed competent? How could anyone who was giving a speech on the dire need for a national missile defense system on the morning of September 10th, 2001, possibly be deemed competent?
The point is, Dianne Feinstein needs to be hammered.
FLOG HER HERE and here:
Jim Molinari, State Director
One Post Street, Suite 2450
San Francisco, CA 94104
Guillermo Gonzalez, Deputy State Director
11111 Santa Monica Boulevard, Suite 915
Los Angeles, CA 90025
James Peterson, District Director
750 "B" Street, Suite 1030
San Diego, CA 92101
1130 "O" Street, Suite 2446
Fresno, CA 93721
Boxer can't do this alone. Other Democrats need to start acting like Democrats. It's put up or shut up time.
Yesterday, President Bush addressed a gathering of tens of thousands of people who want Roe v. Wade to be overturned and reaffirmed his support for criminalizing abortion. Bush told the crowd they were "making progress" toward their goal. The organizers of the rally, March for Life, favor criminalizing abortion even in cases of rape and incest. Bush's hostile views towards women's rights are of even greater concern because he could "make several Supreme Court appointments in his second term" who oppose Roe. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, at least 21 states would quickly outlaw abortion.
BUSH'S AGGRESSIVE ANTI-WOMAN AGENDA: Bush's opposition to abortion is more than just talk. The National Right to Life Committee heralded the 2003-2004 Congress as "the most successful ever for the pro-life movement." With the help of his right-wing allies in Congress, Bush signed a number of laws which erode women's rights in the United States. The new laws criminalize certain abortion procedures, define a fetus at any stage of development as a person, and make it harder for women to obtain abortions at publicly funded hospitals. Out of over 200 judges nominated to the federal bench by Bush, only two have expressed any respect for abortion rights.
THE NEXT GENERATION OF INTIMIDATION: Now "lawmakers in Congress and several states, meanwhile, are introducing the latest in a wave of measures aimed at making it more daunting to obtain an abortion." One bill would require abortion providers to read a script telling women 20 weeks or more pregnant that an abortion could cause pain to their fetus. Also under consideration: a bill that makes it a crime even for family members to take a minor to another state for a legal abortion.
PUTTING WOMEN'S HEALTH AT RISK: Criminalizing abortion won't end abortion it will just put women's health at risk. In 1930, "almost 2,700 women died from illegal abortions and that's just the number who had abortion recorded as their official cause of death." In 1962, "almost 1,600 women were treated for incomplete illegal abortions in at Harlem Hospital." Forty-three percent of all abortions worldwide are performed in countries where abortion is illegal. According to the World Health Organization, "80,000 women around the world still die each year of complications from illegal abortion." Maybe that's why Laura Bush opposes overturning Roe v. Wade.
to Congress: Bend over
Remember when the Republicans were the party of fiscal responsibility? Those were the days. Then Clinton came and actually did what the Republicans had been saying they were going to do. Boy that pissed 'em off good. Well Republicans should all be just as pissed off as the Dems on the issue of reckless spending. After all it is our children and their children who will pay for this mess. I can just imagine how these kids must feel about this burden.
Well today Bush asked for another 80 Billion (thats Billion with a "B") to spend on his war-based-on-lies-and-deceit. Add to this debt the money it will take for Bush's plan to "fix" Social Security and we are in some serious trouble.
Bush Wants $80B More for Iraq, Afghan Wars
As Congress started to digest a new Bush administration request of $80 billion to bankroll wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, its top budget analyst on Tuesday projected $855 billion in deficits for the next decade even without the costs of war and President Bush's Social Security plan.
- snip -
Amid the White House's preparations, the Congressional Budget Office predicted the government will accumulate another $855 billion in deficits over the next decade.
The projection, for the years 2006 through 2015, is almost two-thirds smaller than what congressional budget analysts predicted last fall. But the drop is due largely to quirks in budget estimates that required the agency to exclude future Iraq and Afghanistan war costs and other expenses. Last September, the 10-year deficit estimate was $2.3 trillion.
While we are at it, more of this as well!
to smile? ready to feel good? Ready to see a Fox 'News' anchor get bitch-slapped
by a Democrat? Ready to see an example of how Democrats should act when they
actually get a chance to be on TV?
I figured you might be.
More of this please
I fully Democratic expect Senators to act, well, like Democratic Senators. Re-insert your spines and do the right thing. It wont hurt.
This is a start:
MSNBC - Democrats blast Iraq policy in Rice debate
Kennedy, of Massachusetts, keyed the Democratic attack with charges that Rice, as Bushs national security adviser, provided Congress with false reasons for going to war. Had she not, he said in a speech, it might have changed the course of history.
Sen. Mark Dayton, D-Minn., following up, accused the Bush administration of lying and said he was voting against Rices confirmation as a way of trying to stop mistruths.
And Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., charged she concealed the Central Intelligence Agencys skepticism that Iraq was trying to obtain uranium for a nuclear weapons program from Africa.
Rice claimed there was a consensus within the administration on on Iraqs activity when the Department of Energy and the State Department had reservations. She exaggerated and distorted the facts, Levin said.
Collages of War #6
We are led, by events and common sense, to one conclusion: The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world.
Thursday, January 20, 2005
What if apowerful country came and attacked us on our own soil. Further more what if we had done nothing to provoke this attack.
They just came and bombed us. Sent troops in and started shooting our people.
Wouldn't you rise up?
Wouldn't you defend your family?
Would we have the right to fight back?
Would we be justified in killing the armies that came and tried to take over our cities?
Wouldn't we, as patriots©, be completely justified to defend our families and children from these armies who attacked our nation for no reason?
For defending our countries would we be labeled 'insurgents' or even 'terrorists'?
Are not the 'insurgents' of Iraq just patriots defending the country that they love?
Do we think we own the copyright on patriotism?
Great Diary over at Kos on the very real problem we face with global warming. Go check it out.
Global warming is approaching the critical point of no return, after which widespread drought, crop failure and rising sea-levels would be irreversible, an international climate change task force warned Monday.
No war On "__________"
Saw this via The Left Coaster. It looks like bad news for BushCo who seem to be itching to attack Iran. The new Zogby poll shows very little support for a war in Iran. I guess the American people can only stomach so much.
The poll, conducted before U.K. media revealed that the British government was arguing strenuously against military action in Iran, finds 76% of likely voters believe the U.S. should let Iran determine its own future and are opposed to the U.S. trying to bring about regime change in the Islamic state. Nearly seven-in-ten (68%) respondents favored using some form of diplomacy to resolve U.S. concerns about an Iranian nuclear weapons program49% favor multi-party diplomatic talks while another one-in-five (19%) respondents favor direct diplomatic talks between the U.S. and Iran.
In a related story The Left Coaster also notes that the Zogby poll also finds this interesting tid bit
The poll finds a higher percentage of Americans saying that they are ashamed that Mr. Bush is their president; three-in-ten (31%) Americans now hold that view, as compared to one-in-four (26%) a month ago.
Arabs call it like it is
President Bush's inaugural address placing the fostering of democratic freedoms around the world at the center of U.S. foreign policy drew a skeptical reaction Friday in the Arab world, where analysts questioned whether the rhetoric of the speech was consistent with the administration's actions in the Middle East.
With Arab countries mostly shuttered for a four-day Islamic holiday that marks the end of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, there was little public reaction to Bush's address. Many newspapers have not published for days, and government offices closed earlier than usual this week.
In interviews, however, a number of political analysts and commentators commended the values outlined in Bush's speech, in which he proclaimed that the United States "will persistently clarify the choice before every ruler and every nation, the moral choice between oppression, which is always wrong, and freedom, which is eternally right." But they said the words belied the fact that the United States supports several authoritarian governments in the Middle East and would ring hollow to the many Arabs who perceive U.S. policy in the oil-rich region as motivated by financial concerns and support for Israel.
We pray the Bush's words are indeed hollow. If not this world is in for some suffering.
war in Iraq may be hurting Bush's popularity.
With the second term off to a rough start and the approval numbers for Bush dropping the bad news for the white house just keeps rolling in. If troops in Iraq come back feeling the way Sean Huze and countless other veterans of teh Iraq war feel, the republicans may find strong opposition froma group of people that are hard to discredit. Because once you have seen war, you tend to come back a Democrat.
Few but Organized, Iraq Veterans Turn War Critics
Sean Huze enlisted in the Marine Corps right after the Sept. 11 attacks and was, in his own words, "red, white and blue all the way" when he deployed to Iraq 16 months later. Unquestioning in his support of the invasion, he grew irritated when his father, a former National Guardsman, expressed doubts about the war.
Today, all that has changed. Haunted by the civilian casualties he witnessed, Corporal Huze has become one of a small but increasing number of Iraq veterans who have formed or joined groups to oppose the war or to criticize the way it is being fought.
The two most visible organizations - Operation Truth, of which Corporal Huze is a member, and Iraq Veterans Against the War - were founded only last summer but are growing in membership and sophistication. The Internet has helped them spread their word and galvanize like-minded people in ways unimaginable to activist veterans of previous generations, who are also lending help.
"There's strength in numbers," Corporal Huze said. "By ourselves, we're lone voices, a whisper in a swarm of propaganda out there. Combined, we can become a roar and have an impact on the issues that we care about."
Read the rest
person who returns from Iraq is effected. As they explain to their families
and loved ones exactly what is going on over there and how little planning
and preparation there was, the number of people in the anti-war movement grows.
Spies like us
Since the troublesome CIA often wanted to do the right thing instead of blindly do what the white house said, Rummmy has decided to create his own clandestine spy agency. One that reports to him, not the congress. I guess the CIA purge wasn't enough...
New spy agency at Pentagon operating secretly in Iraq, Afghanistan: report
The Pentagon has created a new spying agency that has already been operating secretly in Iraq (news - web sites) and Afghanistan (news - web sites) for two years. AFP/File Photo
The unit, called the Strategic Support Branch, has also been in operation in other places sources would not disclose, the Washington Post said, citing documents and interviews with participants.
A early planning memorandum to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld from the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Richard Myers, said the focus of the initiative was on "emerging target countries such as Somalia, Yemen, Indonesia, Philippines and Georgia," according to the Post.
The secret spying organization is designed to provide Rumsfeld with tools to conduct so-called human intelligence tasks, such as interrogation of prisoners and recruitment of foreign spies.
Scary stuff in the hands of this administration.
Rummy and War Crimes
Rumsfeld scraps Munich visit over war probe
MUNICH - United States Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has cancelled a planned visit to Munich.
Rumsfeld has informed the German government via the US embassy he will not take part at the Munich Security Conference in February, conference head Horst Teltschik said.
The New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights filed a complaint in December with the Federal German Prosecutor's Office against Rumsfeld accusing him of war crimes and torture in connection with detainee abuses at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison.
Rumsfeld had made it known immediately after the complaint was filed that he would not attend the Munich conference unless Germany quashed the legal action.
This administration may find the world much less friendly to travels when all is said and done. Keep looking for nes online. Because you sure as hell won't see a story like this in the Main Stream news.
Collages of War #5
Inauguration Special Edition
"We have lit a fire as well - a fire in the minds of men. It warms those who feel its power, it burns those who fight its progress, and one day this untamed fire of freedom will reach the darkest corners of our world."
Thursday, January 20, 2005
(Note I have archived all these collages as well as some of my other works on the Political Art page)
Fear More Years. Term2 Day1.
A news roundup:
Here is a Link to Bush's inauguration speech transcript
draw up speaking list for debate on Condoleezza Rices confirmation
The Democratic leadership in the Senate has drawn up an agreement with the Republican leadership for the speaking time of Democratic senators, RAW STORY has learned.
Kill at Least 21 at Iraq Wedding
BAGHDAD, Iraq - A car bomb exploded outside a Shiite mosque packed with worshippers celebrating a major Muslim holiday Friday, and a suicide driver blew up an ambulance at the wedding of a Shiite couple south of the capital. At least 21 people died and dozens were wounded including the bride and groom.
chairman Powell to step down
WASHINGTON Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell plans to resign today, ending whats often been a controversial tenure as he tried to push the telecom and media industries into an increasingly deregulated world that some lawmakers, companies and consumer groups didnt like.
Signs of Civil War in Iraq?
Two Car Bombs Target Iraqi Shiites
Mosque Attack Kills 15, Explosive-Packed Ambulance Leaves 7 Wedding Guests Dead. A car bomb exploded outside a Shiite Muslim mosque and a suicide bomber blew up an explosive-packed ambulance at a Shiite wedding party, killing at least 22 people Friday as worshipers celebrated one of the year's most important Muslim holidays.
Inauguration Free From Specifics
The Progress Report. Posted January 21, 2005.
While liberally dosing the crowd with 'freedom' and 'liberty,' Bush's speech remarkably did not mention Iraq, the war, terrorism or al Qaeda.
Greg over at the Liberal Igloo...
Has been thinking about Iran. Is he correct in guessing that Iran is next in line to experience our special brand of Democracy?
Go check him out. He's worth a read...
Collages of War #4
am going back to defend the Iraqi people; to defend the old women of Iraq;
the old men of Iraq; the land of Iraq. Do you allow someone to enter your
home and force you out of it? They have put up the American flag in Umm Qasr,
this is not liberation, this is occupation."
- Quote from an anymous 33 year old Iraqi man, 2004
Well once again it is time to reward stupidity.
Bush will serve another gruesome four years as the Commander in Chief of our great nation. He does so with one of the lowest approval rates of a second term president. He does so having lead our country to war preemptively against an unarmed country that had no capability to harm us, killing over a thousand Americans in the process. On top of this he opted against serving in war when his country called. He does so after presiding over one of the worst attacks on American soil in our history. He does so after letting Osama Bin Laden escape. He does so having turned a record deficit into an unbelievably irresponsible National Debt. When President Bush took office, we were on track for a 10-year surplus of over $5 trillion. Now, because of his policies, were headed toward a 10-year deficit of over $3 trillion. He does so with one of the worst economic records in history. He does so having made unprecedented cuts to education and the arts.
His plans for the future seem to be more of the same. More americans dead. More cuts to valuable social programs, more economic strife for the middle class, more reckless spending. Undoubtedly more wars.
Jobs are down. Unemplyment is up. Poverty is up. The Dollar is down. The Euro is up. The war in Iraq has cost us $150.8 billion. More than 1.5 million private-sector jobs have been lost under President Bush. The best month for job growth during the Bush Administration would not even rank in the top 10 months of job growth during the Clinton Administration. 8 million Americans are unemployed, 33% more than when President Bush took office. Terrorism is at the highest levels in 20 years. No WMD were found in Iraq. All the reasons he gave to go to war were lies.
So what is next? Will he set his sights on Iran? Syria? North Korea? Will he actually have a war plan and exit strategy this time? Has he learned from his many mistakes? Is he even aware that he has made any mistakes? Will he use the tactics of fear and misinformation to create a false crisis with Social Security, like he created a false crisis in Iraq? Will the lies end? Will he be honest with the people he serves? Will he ever be held accountable?
Only time will tell......
(Remember I post just a tiny portion of what Zack has in his roundup. Be sure to read the entire thing)
STILL NO PLAN: Refusing "to set any timetable for the withdrawal of American troops," Rice made it painfully clear that the Bush administration has no long term strategy for Iraq. Citing concern among Iraqi and American officials that the U.S. plans to cut and run in Iraq, Sen. Biden (D-DE) asked Rice if there was any "reasonable possibility that the United States would withdraw the bulk of its forces before the end of 2005." Rice replied, "I can't judge that," adding lamely, "I will say that we're going to try to help the Iraqis get this done." As Slate's Fred Kaplan pointed out, "This wasn't even a 'non-denial denial.' It wasn't a denial. [Rice] declined to assure the Iraqis or anyone else that the United States is firmly committed…The question that Biden said everyone is asking in Iraq—are we staying, or are we plotting to cut and run?—remains, remarkably, unanswered."
THE TRAINING GAME: On Tuesday, Rice once again exaggerated the progress of programs to train Iraqi soldiers. As recently as last September, Rice and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld promised there would be 145,000 Iraqis "sufficiently trained and equipped" by the time of the elections. On Tuesday, Rice estimated the number was "somewhere over 120,000." Biden, who was recently in Iraq, sharply contradicted her: "I think you'll find, if you speak to the folks on the ground, they don't think there's more than 4,000 actually trained Iraqi forces." According to figures released last week, about 53,000 police officers, 40,000 national guard members and 4,000 soldiers are 'trained and on hand.'" But "Mass defections of Iraqi troops are still frequent," with some guard brigades recording losses of up to 50 percent of their personnel. Committee Chairman Dick Lugar (R-IN) appealed to Rice to "come up with 'some measurement' to gauge progress on the issue."
CLUELESS IN IRAN: According to an article by Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker, President Bush's "next strategic target" is Iran, where U.S. forces have for months been carrying out secret reconnaissance missions in preparation for possible air strikes. Questioned about the article by John Kerry (D-MA), Rice said it was "inaccurate." Kerry asked, "About Iran?" Rice replied, "It is inaccurate." This exchange was repeated a few times. "Finally, Rice said that hitting Iran with airstrikes was not U.S. policy. Kerry let it go. But it's worth pointing out that Hersh didn't claim it was policy, only that the top civilians in the Pentagon were pushing for it to be policy." Otherwise, Rice "broke no new ground in how the administration plans to deal with the nuclear threats posed by North Korea and Iran
Collages of war #3
there's a lot of talk of making peace
But I have to admit I don't understand
How we expect anyone to believe
When we're standing at the door with a gun in our hand"
From Chorus of New Song:
"Let Peace On Earth Finally Come" by Ian Rhett (c) 2004
1. Set-up: What did the media say about manly-man President Bush wasting money by riding around in a fighter jet? Punch line: Nothing! The media are a bunch of cowardly lightweights who are afraid to challenge this administration.
2. Whats the difference between George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush? Im not sure, but have you seen my oil wells???
3. Whats the difference between George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush? Quite a bit, I suppose. I don't really want to get into it, right now. Sigh.
4. Hey, have you seen my forest? I think somebody just cut it down. The whole thing. It was there yesterday and now it's gone. Strange. I suppose there won't be any forest fires, at least.
Only two Senators had the balls to not vote for Condi, who lied over and over again to the american people. All the other Senators decided that honesty must not be needed in the position of Secretary of State.
Guess who the two were that did the right thing?
Senator Boxer and Senator Kerry
will we learn
Yesterday an amazing thing happened. The main stream media was covering, over and over again, Rice defending herself against her lies. All day and all night on these news stations we see the message of the Right crammed down our collective throats. Non stop. We hear of people on our side, good, if not a bit misguided, Democrats talking about how we need to go to the middle so our message is heard. This is so wrong. Nothing could be more further from the truth. Yesterday was a great example. All evening I watched as Rice's testimony before the senators was played on the news. Rice backtracking, defending herself, looking the fool, all because Boxer had the cajones to say it like it is.
There were many other Senators who spoke. Many of them were very kind and apologetic. Thanking Rice for her service and kissing her ass as best they could in order to gather a few scraps of good favor from the Bush cabinet. But were those the clips that played on TV? NO. Were those polite ass-kissing sessions the front cover story in my paper today? NO. It was Boxer slamming the gauntlet down on rice that got the media into a frenzy.
Sen. Barbara Boxer: I just feel you quote President Bush when it suits you, but you contradicted him when he said, "Yes, Saddam could have a nuclear weapon in less than a year." You go on television nine months later and said, "Nobody ever said it was. ..." Condoleezza Rice, nominated as secretary of state: Senator, that was just a question of pointing out to people that there was an uncertainty. No one was saying that he would have to have a weapon within a year for it to be worth it to go to war.
Sen. Barbara Boxer: Well, if you can't admit to this mistake, I hope that you'll. ...
Rice: Senator, we can have this discussion in any way that you would like. But I really hope that you will refrain from impugning my integrity. Thank you very much.
Sen. Barbara Boxer: I'm not. I'm just quoting what you said. You contradicted the president, and you contradicted yourself.
Rice: Senator, I'm happy to continue the discussion, but I really hope that you will not imply that I take the truth lightly.
see the media loves a good story. Senator after Senator crawling up into the
confines of the rear end of a member of Bush's cabinet is not a juicy story.
Boxer handing Rice her own ass with a side of mash potatoes, now that is a
You see Democrats? We can own our party, we can own our issues, we can be ourselves and stop whimpering in the middle and it wont hurt us. It will HELP us. The sooner we learn this the better. Say what we feel. Be controversial. Throw the lies of the Bush administration back in their faces and watch as the media jumps on it and gives it airplay. John stewart will bring it home for us.
So if we play our card right we can indeed get media attention, while at the same time getting our message out. This is all thanks to Senator Boxer. Now go show her some love.
Senator Boxer Contact Information
1700 Montgomery Street, Suite 240
San Francisco, CA 94111
(415) 956-6701 fax
501 I Street, Suite 7-600
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 448-2563 fax
112 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
My Senator kicks ass
You may be sitting there and asking yourself "why does Senator Boxer kick so much ass?" Is it because she was one of the few Senators to vote AGAINST the war? Is it because she was the ONLY Senator to object to the vote in Ohio? Yes, it is both of those things, but it is also the tough questions she put to Condi Rice during her confirmation hearings today. Let me give you a little sample of the can-o-asswhup she opened up on Rice this afternoon:
(Edited for length)
"Now, it took you to page three of your testimony to mention the word "Iraq." [...] Perhaps you agree with President Bush, who said all that's been resolved. I'm quoting today's Post: "Bush said in an interview last week with the Washington Post that the '04 election was a moment of accountability for the decisions he made in Iraq." But today's Washington Post/ABC poll found that 58 percent disapprove of his handling of the situation, to 40 percent who approve -- and only 44 percent said the war was worth fighting.
[...] you never even mention indirectly the 1,366 American troops that have died, or the 10,372 who have been wounded. [...] And 25 percent of those dead are from my home state. And this from a war that was based on what everyone now says, including your own administration, were falsehoods about WMDs, weapons of mass destruction. And I've had tens of thousands of people from all over the country say that they disagree that this administration and the people in it shouldn't be held accountable. [...]
... Now, since 9/11 we've been engaged in a just fight against terror. And I, like Senator Feingold and everyone here who was in the Senate at the time, voted to go after Osama bin Laden and to go after the Taliban, and to defeat al Qaeda. And you say they have left territory -- that's not true. Your own documents show that al Qaeda has expanded from 45 countries in '01 to more than 60 countries today.
Well, with you in the lead role, Dr. Rice, we went into Iraq. I want to read you a paragraph that best expresses my views [...] It was written by one of the world's experts on terrorism, Peter Bergen, five months ago. He wrote: "What we have done in Iraq is what bin Laden could not have hoped for in his wildest dreams: We invaded an oil-rich Muslim nation in the heart of the Middle East, the very type of imperial adventure bin Laden has long predicted was the U.S.'s long-term goal in the region. We deposed the secular socialist Saddam, whom bin Laden has long despised, ignited Sunni and Shi'a fundamentalist fervor in Iraq, and have now provoked a defensive jihad that has galvanized jihad- minded Muslims around the world. It's hard to imagine a set of policies better designed to sabotage the war on terror." [...]
That's your own administration's CIA. NIC chairman Robert Hutchings said Iraq is, quote, "a magnet for international terrorist activity."
And this was not the case in '01. And I have great proof of it, including a State Department document that lists every country in which al Qaeda operated prior to 9/11. And you can see the countries; no mention of Iraq. And this booklet was signed off on by the president of the United States, George W. Bush. It was put out by George Bush's State Department, and he signed it. There was no al Qaeda activity there -- no cells.
Now, the war was sold to the American people, as Chief of Staff to President Bush Andy Card said, like a "new product." Those were his words. Remember, he said, "You don't roll out a new product in the summer." Now, you rolled out the idea and then you had to convince the people, as you made your case with the president."
Now THAT is what I expect from my Senator!
Collages of war #2
stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction."
- Dick Cheney, Vice President
Speech to VFW National Convention
Is Bush fooling anyone with this Social Security crisis?
Nice to see this in the main stream press:
"First step," Bush told TIME last month, "is to make sure everybody understands we have a problem." The President last week surrounded himself with citizens ranging from children to an 80-year-old and warned that the Social Security system will be "flat bust, bankrupt" by the time workers in their 20s retire. . . At another appearance. . . Bush went off script to warn a group of teenagers, "The system will be bankrupt by the year 2040."
That sounds pretty scary--except that it's not true. What will actually happen in 2018, according to the Social Security trustees who oversee the program, is that the money paid out in benefits will begin to exceed the amount collected in taxes. And since Social Security will run a surplus until then (and has been running one for some time), it has billions available that it can tap to fill the gap. Even under conservative estimates, the system as it stands will have enough money to pay all its promised benefits until 2042 and most of its obligations for decades after.
What's more, even if you take the President at his word--that a crisis and bankruptcy are fast approaching--the introduction of private accounts does nothing to slow that process. On the contrary, it makes things worse, by diverting payroll taxes from current retiree benefits and bringing the end of surpluses that much closer.
(Doing a little google-bombing... sorry)
Here we go again. Maybe this time the media won't give the White House a free ride (hint hint).
President Bush said on Monday he would not rule out military action against Iran if that country was not more forthcoming about its suspected nuclear weapons program.
Iranian officials said they were unconcerned about the threats of military action, which seemed to suggest Washington was eager to tackle Iran in Bush's second term.
I sure hope Bush has learned from the mistakes in Iraq, and is ready to admit some fault...
President Bush said the public's decision to reelect him was a ratification of his approach toward Iraq and that there was no reason to hold any administration officials accountable for mistakes or misjudgments in prewar planning or managing the violent aftermath.
"We had an accountability moment, and that's called the 2004 elections," Bush said in an interview with The Washington Post. "The American people listened to different assessments made about what was taking place in Iraq, and they looked at the two candidates, and chose me."
Greg over at the Liberal Igloo has some great information on this scary subject.
"I've Warned Of War Before, And I'm Not Alone
In an entry a few weeks back I wrote about how liberals must be very vigilant in the next few months, because it's clear that The Bush Corporation is starting to plan for an attack on Iran, and they've started to publicly put the heat on them as of late."
1. George W. Bush and a nun were riding together, in an airplane. The nun looked over at Bush and just shook her head in utter disdain and embarrassment. George W. Bush didnt notice. He was busy eating a pretzel.
2. Setup: How many young George W. Bushes does it take to change a light bulb? Punch line: That depends. Are any of them drunk or stoned, at the time? In that case, it would take more George W. Bushes, because their already-limited coordination would be diminished by artificial substances. In the rare case that they were neither stoned, nor drunk, it wouldnt take as many George Bushes. Probably more than one, though. I really cant give you an exact answer.
3. I think I just found George W. Bush. He was listening in on my private phone call, trying to win the war on terror. He accidentally started coughing and I was like, Mr. President? Is that you? And he was like, No. But the accent was very Texan. I would say Im 98-percent sure that it was him. When I caught him, I wasnt sure what to do, next. I didnt want to keep talking to my friend, knowing that the president was just sitting there, listening. It was just very, very awkward. So I hung up. Im thinking about changing my phone number.
4. Question: What rhymes with corporate campaign donation? Answer: George W. Bushdoes! (Sub-answer: Dick Cheney does!)
5. Question: What happened to the economy? Answer: George W. Bush took office! Apparently, he forgot to check himself, before he wrecked Americas economic prosperity.
Martin Luther King Remembered: More than just a civil rights leader
Over the objections of Vice President Cheney, Americans will celebrate the life of Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday. King will be honored for many things, as "prime mover of the Montgomery bus boycott, keynote speaker at the March on Washington, [and America's] youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate." But it is important to recognize all the progressive challenges King laid out for America. Providing an inspiring example of how faith can be translated into the public realm, Dr. King used his pulpit to confront besides racial inequality poverty, war, civil liberties, hunger and global justice, among other things. "God has commanded us to be concerned about the slums down here," King said, "and his children who can't eat three square meals a day…This is what we have to do." King challenged Americans to surmount the "apathy of conformist thought," and stand up for a series of specific and connected progressive causes.
ECONOMIC JUSTICE: In the months immediately preceding his death on April 4, 1968, King turned his attention almost exclusively to the problem of poverty. He called for a guaranteed family income, threatened national boycotts, and spoke of disrupting entire cities by nonviolent "camp-ins." King was interested in more than charity; he wanted to effect structural changes that would guarantee a better chance for America's poor. "True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar," he said, "it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring." Thirty-seven years after King's death, the "edifice" still needs work. In the last four years, our supposedly "compassionate" president has rammed through three separate tax cuts for the wealthy, greatly increasing the burden on low- and middle-income Americans. The result? Under President Bush, poverty rates have risen for three straight years and the number of people without health insurance has grown to 45 million.
A CARING COMMUNITY: King worked to create an America where inequality whether racial or economic was seen as a moral issue. "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere," King said. "Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly." The Bush administration's position? Portray the poor as mentally unsound: "I do not believe being poor is a condition," said Housing Secretary Alphonso Jackson, "it is a state of mind. Perhaps it is with this theory in mind that President Bush has failed to support programs benefiting America's least fortunate, like Section 8 housing and Medicaid. In addition, his administration has undermined programs designed to improve economic development in low-income areas, like the Community Reinvestment Act, and today announced it would "drastically shrink" the Department of Housing's $8 billion community branch.
GLOBAL JUSTICE: King was outspoken on the issue of global justice. He was worried about those with great wealth but little conscience, who invested huge sums of money in the world's poor nations "only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries." It's good thing King didn't get a look at Halliburton, the vice president's former company, now being investigated for bribing, overcharging and defrauding foreign governments from which it has hauled in huge profits. Today, the U.S. has made it easier for multinational companies to profit with "no concern for the social betterment" of their own country either, reducing corporate taxes and refusing to close the so-called "Bermuda loophole" that allows companies to move their offices offshore to avoid U.S. taxes.
FOREIGN POLICY: King vehemently opposed the Vietnam War, not just because he was against violence, but because he saw how the war could undermine America's credibility abroad. King could have been speaking of the quandary in Iraq when he warned, "The judgment of God is upon us today...We have alienated ourselves from other nations so we end up morally and politically isolated in the world." Polls show that since the Iraq invasion, America's reputation has plummeted worldwide. According to the report by the Defense Science Board published in November, the Bush administration's disdain for international bodies and treaties, its unilateralism and failure to communicate with other nations, has left America, precisely as King predicted it would, "morally and politically isolated in the world."
Collages of war #1
Iraq, a dictator is building and hiding weapons that could enable him to dominate
the Middle East and intimidate the civilized world -- and we will not allow
- George W. Bush, President
Speech to the American Enterprise Institute
5,500 soldiers have deserted
US deserters flee to Canada to avoid service in Iraq
American Army soldiers are deserting and fleeing to Canada rather than fight in Iraq, rekindling memories of the thousands of draft-dodgers who flooded north to avoid service in Vietnam.
An estimated 5,500 men and women have deserted since the invasion of Iraq, reflecting Washington's growing problems with troop morale [...]
The Pentagon says that the level of desertion is no higher than usual and denies that it is having difficulty persuading troops to fight. The flight to Canada is, however, an embarrassment for the military, which is suffering from a recruiting shortfall for the National Guard and the Army Reserves.
The deaths of 18 American soldiers in a suicide bomb attack in Mosul, northern Iraq, last month, was a further blow to morale. Soon after, the number of American soldiers killed since President Bush declared that large-scale combat operations were at an end passed the 1,000 mark.
Lt Col Joe Richard, a Pentagon spokesman, said that the US government wanted the deserters to be returned from Canada. "If you don't want to fight, don't join," he said.
"The men in Canada have an obligation to fulfil their military contracts and do their duty. If and when they return to this country, they will be prosecuted."
I can't imagine why todays youth wouldn't want to help spread freedom in Iraq.
What they said. When they said it. A list of lies.
So with the recent news that the search for WMD's is over and there werent any, I am reminded of the things the key players said leading up to the war. Billimon has compiled an amazing list of these lies. Heres a sample:
Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.
- Dick Cheney, Vice President
Speech to VFW National Convention
Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons.
- George W. Bush, President
Speech to UN General Assembly
Iraq has stockpiled biological and chemical weapons, and is rebuilding the facilities used to make more of those weapons. We have sources that tell us that Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi field commanders to use chemical weapons -- the very weapons the dictator tells us he does not have
- George W. Bush, President
We know that Saddam Hussein is determined to keep his weapons of mass destruction, is determined to make more.
- Colin Powell, Secretary of State
Remarks to UN Security Council
are plenty more here.
Wouldn't it be cool if it was Democrats who had said these things. Because then they would have to pay a price for lying to their country to start a war, killing tens of thousand of people, all based on lies. That would kick ass.
Oh, and now that we know that we attacked Iraq without any justification whatsoever, this quote from Bill O'Reilly comes to mind:
"I said on my program, if, if the Americans go in and overthrow Saddam Hussein and it's clean, he has nothing, I will apologize to the nation, and I will not trust the Bush administration again."
- Bill O'Reilly, on ABC's Good Morning America, 03-18-03
Time to get Bill to put down the falafel and apologize to the nation.
Time for round 2 of jokes
1. Why did George W. Bush cross the road? You guessed it! To attack a sovereign nation!
2. Why did George W. Bush cross the road? Thats right! To give some more money and tax cuts to rich people!
3. Why did George W. Bush cross the road? You guessed it! To get to the other side! And, when he got there, to attack a sovereign nation!
Link Roundup 1.13.04 - From Zack
This from Will Pitt on the shocking turn of events in Iraq:
me more exited that introducing a new feature. Well thats not true. Introducing
the introduction of a new feature is even better!
Introducing a new feature
Writing about politics can be rather depressing at times. I can only imagine how painful the reading of it must be. It is with this in mind that I introduce the new feature "Jokes by Jory John." You see by adding the occasional funny bits to my political soup de jour, I am making my blog stand out, and dare I say it, rise above, the countless other blogs who never use sarcastic humor and wit to liven up their posts.... Oh wait... Never mind.
Alas I digress.
Jory John is a friend of mine and owner of the fabulous web site JoryJohn.com.
He will send the jokes to me. I will post them now and again. It will be therapeutic,
you just watch.
Free Speech Zone readers! Get ready for a bunch absolutely original, absolutely
hilarious jokes about President Bush and his wacky administration!
Yes! Get ready! To laugh! Get your laughing-pants on. Ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!
And here we go:
1. Hey, did you hear the one about George W. Bush methodically removing Americas constitutionally guaranteed civil liberties? Gosh, it seems like pretty soon, were going to be living in a harsh dictatorship!
2. George W. Bush walks into a bar. He gets drunk. Then he drives home before the alcohol wears off.
3. Question: What does George W. Bush have trouble with? Answer: Judging by his television appearances, I would be inclined to say that he has trouble with English.
4. Question: When he was governor of Texas, why did Bush help make Houston the most polluted city in the nation? Answer: So he could leave a lasting legacy of contamination.
5. Hey, did you hear the one about President Bush trying to win the war on terror? Wait, did I say war on terror? I meant war on liberal Hollywood celebrities!
6. Question: How many Americans does it take to create a 6-percent unemployment rate during the Bush presidency? Answer: About 2 million, give or take a few people who dont matter much to Bush, anyway.
7. Set-up: How many war-protesters does it take to change Bushs mind about something? Punch line: War protesters? More like un-showered communist bastards!
Rathergate Vs. WMDgate
Zack is back
Zack was the person who got me involved in the video the vote films that are on this web page. He got caught up in the storm and was swept away to Ohio and D.C. He was able to witness first hand the Senate debate on the Ohio objection. What I wouldn't give to have been there! Well he has returned from his trip and has a lot to share with us. Lets see what he has to say....
I'm back from my journey which began in Columbus for a 4 hour rally with Jesse Jackson, leading to a 6 hour bus trip from there to DC (in which I documented the individual experiences of the disenfranchised riders), then went on to lobbying Senators to stand up, then moved on to rallies and protests outside the Senate, then I got tickets to the live debate inside the Senate to watch the whole show, and finally culminated in getting drunk with my favorite journalist in the country, William Rivers Pitt (among others, like lawyer Susan Truitt, one of the key lawyers working on the case against the usurpers).
So, how do we make sense of it all? What does the final tally of 31 house Democrats and 1 courageous Democratic Senator mean?
The Democratic Party's performance:
It's worth noting that also participating in the debate on the Senate floor with solid speeches detailing what happened in Ohio, demanding election reform, and praising Boxer's challenge were Senators Chris Dodd, Hillary Clinton, Harry Reid, Barak Obama, Debbie Stabenow, Edward Kennedy, Ron Wyden, Frank Lautenberg, Dick Durbin, and Tom Harkin. And in the House, numerous members spoke, one after another, until the time was up. But on the other hand, those same Senators ended up upstaining from the final vote rather than joining Boxer's challenge. That was deeply disappointing, the old Democratic Party special of having it both ways. With that said, I'm not going to waste precious energy and venom on those Democrats, who at least took a first step to defend us, and this was without Kerry and without ANY media coverage. All I can say is Conyers, Boxer and Tubbs are heroes in my book.
Welcome back Zack!
File this one under 'ooops'. Two years after we went to war with Iraq because of the imminent threat they posed to our once great nation, what many of us knew from the get go is finally being reported as fact. There are no WMD in Iraq. We were lied to by our leaders. There never were any WMD.
This from CNN:
Official: U.S. ends search for WMD in Iraq
U.S. inspectors have ended their search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in recent weeks, a U.S. intelligence official told CNN.
The search ended almost two years after President Bush ordered the invasion of Iraq, citing concerns that Saddam Hussein was building weapons of mass destruction and may have hidden weapons stockpiles.
- snip -
Charles A. Duelfer, who headed the Iraq Survey Group's search for WMD in Iraq, has returned to Iraq and is working on his final report, the official said.
In October, Duelfer released a preliminary report finding that in March 2003 -- the United States invaded Iraq on March 19 of that year -- Saddam did not have any WMD stockpiles and had not started any program to produce them.
The Iraq Survey Group report said that Iraq's WMD program was essentially destroyed in 1991 and Saddam ended the country's nuclear program after the 1991 Gulf War.
All of them lied.
Bush lied: "Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons."
Cheney Lied: Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.
Powel lied: On the left is a close-up of one of the four chemical bunkers. The two arrows indicate the presence of sure signs that the bunkers are storing chemical munitions.
Rumsfeld lied: We know that he has an active program for the development of nuclear weapons.
Lies lies lies!
Civilian casualty rates in Iraq may be as high as 100,000. If you combine the casualties of both Iraq wars, and include all the deaths from the aftermath, the lack of water and sanitation, you will see that America has caused more death in Iraq than Saddam ever did. The old torture chamberswere simply replaced with our own. The old rape rooms replaced with new ones with the American seal of approval.
How many have to die before the fools in the White House admit fault?
Do you have to lie about sex to be held accountable?
Which group was right about Iraq? Which group would you trust next time?
Do they really care about Homeland Security?
When I read this one it made me sick. Get a barf bag and read on:
U.S. Tells D.C. to Pay Inaugural Expenses
Other Security Projects Would Lose $11.9 Million
D.C. officials said yesterday that the Bush administration is refusing to reimburse the District for most of the costs associated with next week's inauguration, breaking with precedent and forcing the city to divert $11.9 million from homeland security projects.
Federal officials have told the District that it should cover the expenses by using some of the $240 million in federal homeland security grants it has received in the past three years -- money awarded to the city because it is among the places at highest risk of a terrorist attack.
But that grant money is earmarked for other security needs, Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) said in a Dec. 27 letter to Office of Management and Budget Director Joshua B. Bolten and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge. Williams's office released the letter yesterday.
Williams estimated that the city's costs for the inauguration will total $17.3 million, most of it related to security. City officials said they can use an unspent $5.4 million from an annual federal fund that reimburses the District for costs incurred because of its status as the capital. But that leaves $11.9 million not covered, they said.
"We want to make this the best possible event, but not at the expense of D.C. taxpayers and other homeland security priorities," said Gregory M. McCarthy, the mayor's deputy chief of staff. "This is the first time there hasn't been a direct appropriation for the inauguration."
A spokesman for Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.), chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, which oversees the District, agreed with the mayor's stance. He called the Bush administration's position "simply not acceptable."
"It's an unfunded mandate of the most odious kind. How can the District be asked to take funds from important homeland security projects to pay for this instead?" said Davis spokesman David Marin.
I am going to go out on a limb here and venture to say that if you actually have to promise to the people that you wont use torture, you might not be the man for the job. But that's just me.
Gonzales Promises Non-Torture Policy
Attorney General nominee Alberto Gonzales plans to promise to abide by the government's non-torture policies and international treaties if he is confirmed by the Senate, The Associated Press learned Wednesday.
Gonzales, who had a hand in much of the White House's post-9/11 terrorism policies as President Bush's top lawyer, faces condemnation from Democrats at a hearing Thursday over his January 2002 memo arguing that the war on terrorism "renders obsolete" the Geneva Convention's strict prohibitions against torture.
A month later, Bush signed an order declaring he has the authority to circumvent the Geneva accords and reserving the right to do so "in this or future conflicts." The order also says the Geneva treaty's treatment of prisoners of war do not apply to al-Qaida or "unlawful combatants" from the Taliban.
Gonzales' critics say that decision and Gonzales' memo justifying it led to the torture scandal at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison and prisoner abuses in Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
- snip -
Bush already has made clear that the government will defend Americans from terrorists "in a manner consistent with our nation's values and applicable law, including our treaty obligations," Gonzales says in his prepared testimony. "I pledge that, if I am confirmed as attorney general, I will abide by those commitments."
Right. They promised there were WMD in Iraq too.
If it's not
broken, fix it till' it breaks
Social security. Now that the election is truely over, progressives should concentrate on the issue of the social security "crisis." Notice the quotes. That's to let you know that there is no crisis.
Bush, once again is lying to the people he serves. Social security, with only minor changes is viable for another 40 years. Social security is in good shape. So what is the bill deal? Well Republicans have long had wet dreams of getting rid of Social Security. After all it goes against everything they believe. Republicans would like to see a world where there is no system in place to take care of people in need. You should be readin Lakoff's book "Don't think of an Elephant." In the book Lakoff explains that the Rethugs have tried for years to attack every liberal program that nurtures people in need. This is a tough fight because there are so many directions they need to go in order to attack all the liberal programs that are in place. But they have learned there is a way to attack them all at once. By running up the defecit to unprecidented heights, like they currently are, they effectivly are able to cut all such programs at once.
With the defecit so high there is no extra cash for programs that liberals would like to see funded. So education for the poor, welfare, teaching arts in schools, all these programs become under funded. The rich are fine, no problem there, but the poor get poorer. The devide widens. Which is the point. Look at the language Bush is using here. Social security is in crisis, a crisis that we must fix now. From Bush's radio adress:
"A crisis in Social Security can be averted, if we in government take our responsibilities seriously, and work together today. I came to Washington to solve problems, not to pass them on to future Presidents and future generations. I campaigned on a promise to reform and preserve Social Security, and I intend to keep that promise. "
Fear. All fear, all the time. Same thing he used to sell us the war in Iraq. To sweeten the deal Bush is painting himself as the savior. Once again Read Lakkof for more on this. But despite all of this fear mongering, Social Security is fine. Bush will find it harder than he thought to sell us this lie. Even Republicans are doubting what Bush has to say on Social Security.
Many Republicans are expressing reservations about the political wisdom of President Bush's vision for restructuring Social Security, as the White House today intensifies its campaign to restructure the entitlement program for the retired and disabled.
Bush, who relishes challenging the conventional wisdoms of Washington, has privately counseled Republicans that partially privatizing Social Security will be a boon for the GOP and has urged skeptics to hold fire until he builds a public case for change. But several influential Republicans are warning that Bush's plan could backfire on the party in next year's elections, especially if the plan includes cuts in benefits.
It is nice to
know there are a few Wingers out there who still have the huevos to stand
up to Bushco. Lets take a look at what some others have to say shall we?
From Dwan Baker:
The new analysis finds the program will be able to pay full scheduled benefits until 2053 - nearly fifty years into the future - with no changes whatsoever. This means Social Security is far sounder today than it has been through most of its existence. In the past, shortfalls in every decade from the forties to the eighties required frequent tax increases, with the last series of increases ending in 1990.
The new assessment is substantially more optimistic than the Social Security trustees report issued in March. This report projected the program would only be able to pay full benefits until 2042. The size of the shortfall over the seventy-five year planning horizon is also considerably lower in the CBO report. While the trustees report had projected the shortfall as being equal to 0.73 percent of GDP over this period, the new CBO report implies the shortfall will be equal to only approximately 0.37 percent of GDP. By comparison, the recent increase in annual defense spending associated with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq is equal to 1.0 percent of GDP.
Ten years ago Social Security trustees predicted that the system would become insolvent in 35 years, meaning 2029. Five years later they were still predicting that insolvency was 35 years away -- doomsday had been postponed to 2034. Today, they're predicting that insolvency is 38 years away, in 2042.
What happened? Why does the insolvency date keep getting further away? How could the trustees have been so continually wrong?
For years, the Social Security Trustees have used very conservative assumptions about future rates of economic growth, productivity growth, and growth of the labor force. These assumptions, in turn, affect the projected payroll tax collections that will fund Social Security payouts.
Five years ago, in the late 1990s, they estimated the long-term economic growth rate at just 1.7 percent. The reality has been well over 3 percent.
Most economists now believe the economy can do a lot better than 1.7 percent annual growth. In its 1997 report, the trustees projected that the system would no longer be able to meet all its obligations by 2029. Just six years later in 2003, based on their acknowledgement of stronger economic growth, the trustees moved the crisis date back to 2042. So if the system can gain 13 years of life in six years, there's not much of a crisis.
But that's just the beginning. In June, the bipartisan Congressional Budget office used more realistic assumptions about economic growth. CBO puts the first shortfall year at 2052, not 2042, and it projects Social Security's 75-year shortfall at only about four-10ths of one percent of gross domestic product. Currently, that's about $40 billion a year, or one-fifth of the revenues that the Bush administration gave up in tax cuts for the wealthy.
Simply restoring pre-Bush tax rates on the richest one percent of Americans could bring the Social Security system into balance indefinitely, without reducing promised payouts by one penny.
So Social security is fine. Bush is inventing this crisis in order to flat out do away with this great program. There is however a crisin that Bush could be spending his 'capital' on. Its Iraq.
you Barbara Boxer
Barbara Boxer listened to the voice of the people and stood up to challenge the Ohio vote. This is a very important move on her part and I hope she knows how much all us progressives appreciate the risk she took. This was important to do for many reasons. It forced the senate and House to face this issue head on. Hopefully it is the first step in the process of election reform. It also did another important thing. It forced the media to pay attention to this issue at last. The day after the objection, in my local paper, right there on the front page was the story that should have been there for months.
Thank you Barbara Boxer! In case you missed it on CSPAN here is the video of the objection.
Three weeks before the election in Iraq, conversation has started bubbling up in Congress, in the Pentagon and some days even in the White House about when and how American forces might begin to disengage in Iraq.
So far it is mostly talk, not planning. The only thing resembling a formal map to the exit door are a series of Pentagon contingency plans for events after the Jan. 30 elections. But one senior administration official warned over the weekend against reading too much into that, saying "the Pentagonhas plans for everything," from a new Korean war to relief missions in Africa.
The rumblings about disengagement have grown distinctly louder as members of Congress return from their districts, and as military officers try to game out how Sunni Arabs and Shiites might react to the election results. The annual drafting of the budget is a reminder that the American presence in Iraq is costing $4.5 billion a month and putting huge strains on the military. And, of course, White House officials contemplate the political costs of a second term dominated by a nightly accounting of continuing casualties.
By all accounts, President Bush has not joined the conversation about disengagement so far, though a few senior members of his national security team have.
Which is a shame because it cuold help get the people a decent election.
Iraq's most influential Sunni group will abandon its call for a boycott of Jan. 30 elections if the United States gives a timetable for withdrawing multinational forces, a spokesman for the group said Sunday. Members of the powerful Association of Muslim Scholars relayed their request to a senior U.S. embassy official at a meeting Saturday, the Sunni official said on condition of anonymity. The meeting was confirmed Saturday by U.S. Embassy spokesman Bob Callahan, who said an unnamed senior embassy official in Iraq met with leading association members in an effort to persuade them to participate in the landmark election for a constitutional assembly.
Not going to happen ...
BREAKING NEWS (insert siren animation here)
From Keith Olberman
Nothing is in writing and daybreak is a long way away, but it appeared all but certain in early evening Wednesday that House Democrats had secured the support of up to half a dozen Senators to formally challenge the Electoral College slate from Ohio, when the votes are opened before a joint session of Congress tomorrow.
Go give Keith some love
And so it begins... Thursday will be historic. In the end it will go to a vote, and we will lose, but this is a huge step forward from this same point in the 2000 election debacle.
When it rains it pours
Lots of interesting tid bits to sort through today. Via the folks over at Raw Story I came accross these interesting bits of election news:
Ohio Republican Secretary of State brags about delivering Ohio for Bush in gubernatorial fundraising letter
Ohios Republican Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell boasted of helping deliver Ohio for President Bush and said he was truly pleased to announce Bush had won Ohio even before all of the states votes had been counted in his own fundraising letter, RAW STORY has discovered.
"Preserving Democracy: What went wrong in Ohio."
We have found numerous, serious election irregularities in the Ohio presidential election, which resulted in a significant disenfranchisement of voters," Conyers' staff writes in their executive summary.
Kerry won't back electoral challenge; Issues letter on "every vote being counted"
The following letter was issued from Senator Kerry to Democratic supporters:
No American citizen should wake up the morning after the election and worry their vote wasn't counted. No citizen should be denied at the polls if they are eligible to vote. And, as the greatest, wealthiest nation on earth, our citizens should never be forced to vote on old, unaccountable and non transparent voting machines from companies controlled by partisan activists.
Sen. Boxers office wont confirm MSNBC, Hill claim that she will challenge electoral result
The San Francisco office of Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) denied claims that a final decision had been made on whether she would challenge the electoral college result on the floor of the Senate Thursday. Boxers Washington press office has not returned RAW STORY calls for comment over the last several days.
"Kenneth Blackwell gives his take on the Ohio election"
Ohio's Secretary of State, Kenneth Blackwell, has finally spoken out about the election in Ohio.
As many of you are no doubt aware, Blackwell has come under tremendous scrutiny over the last few months due to issues concerning the election in Ohio. Below the fold, I review some of the things he's been criticized for, summarize some questions that were asked of him by the dems on the Judiciary Committee, then turn to some statements he came forward with in the last week about the election in Ohio.
That is all
Remember the opening scene of F911? All they needed was one Senator to sign on....
Senator Boxer's Offices:------ Forwarded Message
From : Lydia F
Just came from a group which gathered at Senator Barbara Boxer's Office here in Fresno. There were about 20 of us representing Fresno, Visalia, Porterville and Springville. It was awesome since they had to come to Fresno through the rain... We were told that Senator Boxer was willing to be the Senator who will ask for the re-election in Ohio provided she sees numbers. This is a grassroots effort and it depends on each of us to pass this information on. (see below for offices and phone numbers)
501 I Street, Suite 7-600
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 448-2563 fax
1700 Montgomery Street, Suite 240
San Francisco, CA 94111
(415) 956-6701 fax
312 N. Spring Street, Suite 1748
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 894-5042 fax
1130 O Street, Suite 2450
Fresno, CA 93721
(559) 497-5111 fax
600 B Street, Suite 2240
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 239-5719 fax
201 North E Street, Suite 210
San Bernardino, CA 92401
(909) 888-8613 fax
112 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
The GOP can't seem to make up their minds on the ethics issue
House Republicans suddenly reversed course Monday, deciding to retain a tough standard for lawmaker discipline and reinstate a rule that would force Majority Leader Tom DeLay to step aside if indicted by a Texas grand jury.
The surprise dual decisions were made by Speaker Dennis Hastert and by DeLay who asked GOP colleagues to undo the extreme act of loyalty they handed him in November. Then, Republicans changed a party rule so DeLay could retain his leadership post if indicted by the grand jury in Austin that charged three of the Texas Republican's associates.
When Republicans began their closed-door meeting Monday night, leaders were considering a rules change that would have made it tougher to rebuke a House member for misconduct. The proposal would have required a more specific finding of ethical violations.
Republicans gave no indication before the meeting that the indictment rule would be changed. Even more surprising was DeLay's decision to make the proposal himself.
Jonathan Grella, a DeLay spokesman, said DeLay still believed it was legitimate to allow a leader to retain his post while under indictment. But Grella said that by reinstating the rule that he step aside, DeLay was "denying the Democrats their lone issue. Anything that could undermine our agenda needs to be nipped in the bud."
Moral values and all that....
Bush Asks Judge to Toss Ohio Election Suit
President Bush re-election campaign asked the chief justice of the Ohio Supreme Court on Monday to throw out a challenge of the election in this swing state, saying the case resembles "a poorly drafted script for a late night conspiracy-theory movie."
The court filing was made as the Rev. Jesse Jackson held a rally before hundreds of people in Columbus to support the challenge and urge the U.S. Senate to debate Ohio's results on Thursday when Congress is in joint session for the official tally of the electoral votes.
- snip -
"In 2000, if Al Gore had just held on and fought to the bitter end, he would have been president," said Mark Lomax, a black Columbus musician challenging the vote. "I kind of have the same feeling now whether or not you like John Kerry, that's not the issue. It's just that your vote counts."
Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell said there's no reason to prolong the election. "Jesse Jackson can complain, grandstand, whine, stamp his feet all he wants," said Blackwell spokesman Carlo LoParo. "It's not going to change the results of Ohio's election or how voters cast their ballots on Nov. 2."
It is going to be an interesting week indeed
over at The
Liberal Igloo turned me on to this bit of news:
Kerry Preparing Grounds to Unconcede
Election Challenge likely on Jan 6th
Kerry Files Motion to Protect Ohio Vote Evidence
MSNBC has released the full Dec. 24th statement by Kerry lawyer, Daniel Hoffheimer:
" Kerry-Edwards will support the third-party candidates in asking the Federal Court in the Ohio recount lawsuit to order the preservation of the evidence obtained during the recount and to expedite discovery of the facts. Various problems and errors have occurred in a number of Ohio's 88 county boards of elections during the recount, which will conclude next week. The most publicized of these problems was the machine manipulation in Hocking County but developing evidence will reveal other problems as well. Senators Kerry and Edwards are very concerned that the law for conducting the recount should be uniformly followed. They want to be sure that all circumstances involved in the Ohio election, including the recount, should be put before the Court and disclosed to the American people. Only then, can the integrity of the entire electoral process and the election of Bush-Cheney warrant the public trust."If you haven't been following John Kerry closely, get ready to hear of surprising developments. The vote-defrauded, potential president-in-waiting has just indicated through his lawyer that the validity of George Bush's reelection is no longer a given.
On 23 December, 2004 Kerry's lawyer confirmed to MSNBC's 'Countdown' that John Kerry will be seeking (likely on Monday 27 Dec.) to expedite court proceedings and secure evidence in an ongoing recount suit by the Green and Libertarian parties. That might sound like just another "count every vote" exercise by the Kerry campaign, were it not for two important details.
Kerry's court filing will conjoin him to existing allegations that Triad GSI, a Republican-linked supplier of voting machines to around half of Ohio counties --"orchestrated" a covert campaign to thwart a legitimate recount in Ohio. If the allegation proves well founded, it could invalidate the Ohio recount and eventually even hand the presidency to John Kerry.
Which probably explains the second critical detail: a quiet, on the record bombshell statement to 'Countdown' by Daniel Hoffheimer, the Cincinnati lawyer representing the Kerry campaign in Ohio.
Previously, the Kerry Campaign's intent in Ohio seemed to be merely an exercise of American civic spiritedness.
Two weeks ago, when Kerry wrote to Ohio's 88 county boards of election asking to visually inspect some ballots, Donald McTigue, the lawyer handling the recount for the Kerry campaign said: "We're trying to increase the transparency of the election process."
In early December, when the Kerry Campaign joined a suit by Green and Libertarian party candidates seeking a recount in Delaware County, Daniel Hoffheimer said Kerry wasn't disputing President Bush's victory in Ohio. The aim was to make sure any recount was "done accurately and completely," Hoffheimer said.
Welcome to 2005
you all had a great Holiday. I have returned from a much needed week of
rest and relaxation and the postings will now resume. Linda Byrket's 25
minute film showing the gross imjustices done to African Americans in Ohio
is below. You can click here to jump right to
I have a lot of catching up to do and obviously a lot has happened. I will do my best to get back up to date.
If you are in San Francisco or Boston and are looking for a place to do some good you might want to check this out:
RALLY FOR THE REPUBLIC : A Bicoastal Town Hall on Contesting the Election
David Lytel, founder of ReDefeat Bush (www.redefeatbush.com) has booked Fanheuil Hall in Boston, Monday Jan. 3, and Herbst Theater in San Francisco, Tuesday Jan. 4, for coast-to-coast "Rallies for the Republic" to build public support, media coverage, and political momentum leading up to a mass Rally for Democracy in Washington DC on January 6 and the contesting of the Electoral College votes of Ohio, Florida, and other compromised state electors in Congress on Thursday, January 6.
For details, see: http://www.rallyfortherepublic.org
Zack passed this link on to me. It is a great read. Jessie Jackson talking voter supression in Ohio
We Will Not Faint
Jesse Jackson on why he thinks John Kerry really won the election
Dec. 30 - Ohio officials concluded their recount of the presidential vote last Tuesdayreaffirming President George W. Bushs victory. But the states election woes arent over yet. As bloggers continue to spin conspiracy theories about a victory stolen from Democratic candidate John Kerry, the Rev. Jesse Jackson plans to lead a Monday rally in Columbus to protest alleged voting irregularities. He warmed up with NEWSWEEKs Susannah Meadows.
NEWSWEEK:Whats the matter with Ohio?
Rev. Jesse Jackson: In Columbus, Cincinnati, Akron, Youngstown, Cleveland, where I was, you had blacks standing in line for six hours in the rain. Thats a form of voter suppression.
Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell says that machines were allotted based on turnout in past years, and that he didnt realize theyd need more machines until it was too late.
He had to know it because registration was up. Blackwell may have had to deliver for Bush and [Vice President Dick] Cheney and he got a lighter rap than [former Florida Secretary of State Katherine] Harris got. But Ohio may have been more stacked than Florida was.
So you think Blackwell stole the election for Bush?
It was under his domain to have enough machines; the machine calibration, tabulation issue. You could rig the machines. We have reason to believe it was rigged.
What is your evidence?
Based on distrusting the system, lack of paper trails, the anomaly of the exit polls. In Ukraine, theres an exit poll gap, they say, Lets have another election.
Video Footage of African American voter suppression in Ohio
(I am leaving this post at the top through the holiday vacation. I will be back in 2005)
(Video links are at bottom. Please read this first)
The Free Speech Zone is honored to have been asked to help spread this important story to the world, along with "We Do Not Concede" and Greens For Kerry.
This video footage is a must see for everyone who feels a concern regarding the gross injustices that took place in African American precincts in Ohio on election day. We have done the civil rights movement in this country already. Heck we have had to do it a few times. Yet, if you feel that everyone is indeed equal, then you are not paying attention. Through deceitful manipulation of information and equipment, the citizens of Ohio were often turned away from voting booths. This footage, which is in 2 parts, is a documentation of what took place on Nov 2nd. It is only a small part of the larger story.
A press release was sent out today to the press and public this morning.
The video footage provides a first hand glimpse of what transpired in Franklin County on Election Day, only in heavily leaning Democratic precincts, including unexplained voting machine shortages, organized campaigns directing voters to the wrong polling places, malfunctioning voter tabulation equipment, election worker confusion and incompetence, and a host of other problems. However, as detailed in an official affidavit by Richard Hayes Phillips, a geomorphology Ph.D. from University of Oregon, the extent of voter disenfranchisement was systematic and widespread in African American precincts throughout the state. Dr. Phillips sworn testimony read:
"For the second Presidential election in a row African American voters have been subjugated to second class citizens through systematic efforts by Republicans to suppress, intimidate, and disenfranchise our vote," said Rev. Bill Moss, the original Plaintiff in Ohio, and founder of the Center for Freedom and Justice. "Whether its Katherine Harris or Kenneth Blackwell, the purpose is the same: do everything in their power to ensure George W. Bush becomes President. If those in power are willing and able to thwart democracy and abuse the civil rights of American voters, right in the face of the press and public, what wont they do? I am contesting this election because tyranny, particularly in the guise of democracy, is our civic duty to fight."
Read the rest
is how you can help:
Watch the video and e-mail everyone you know
E-mail or call the main stream news media outlets and demand that they cover this story. (Contact information below)
If you have a web page please download the footage and post it on your site. Then e-mail me and let me know what your web address is and I will add a link to your site. I want as many viewing locations as I can get. Links back to http://www.thefreespeechzone.net are greatly appreciated.
If you have such knowledge I need someone to convert this to a non-windows only format such as quicktime. A lower res. version would also be helpful. If you have done this e-mail me so I can link to these versions.
Kerry to Enter Ohio Recount
2004 Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry will file today, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, papers in support of the Green Party/Libertarian Party recount effort. Specifically, Kerry will be filing a request for expedited discovery regarding Triad Systems voting machines, as well as a motion for a preservation order to protect any and all discovery and preserve any evidence on this matter. Triad Systems has come under scrutiny recently after Sherole Eaton, deputy director of elections for Hocking County, swore out an affidavit in which she described her witnessing the tampering of electronic voting equipment by a Triad representative. Rep. John Conyers, the ranking minority member of the House Judiciary Committee, has requested an investigation into this matter by the FBI and the Hocking County prosecutor.
- snip -
Kerry's entry into this recount effort changes the math on this matter dramatically. He can likewise show irreperable harm, and unlike the Green and Libertarian candidates, he can also prove a substantial chance for success on the merits because he lost the Ohio vote by a statistical whisker.
- snip -Perhaps the most significant aspect of all this, from the activist point of view, has been the effectiveness of the telephone calls and letters to Kerry. The activist push to get him involved had a very significant effect on his decision to enter this effort. Likewise, calls to other Senators in order to convince them to join House members in challenging the election have likewise had significant effect. If such an effort continues, the activists involved will very likely see the desired result unfold.
Watch and download the footage here
If you have uploaded the video contact me and I will add your link to this list:
In .mpg format:
In Quicktime format
In .WMV format:
as one long clip:
Clips are named:
you have seen this please let the world know!
Click here for contact information for Government employees
Click here for media contact information.
19 dead in deadliest attack since the start of the war
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - An explosion ripped through a mess tent at a military base near Mosul where hundreds of U.S. troops had just sat down to lunch Tuesday, and officials said more than 20 people were killed and at least 57 were wounded.
A military spokesman said 19 of the dead were American soldiers, which would make the attack the deadliest single strike against U.S. troops since the start of the Iraq war.
A radical Muslim group, the Ansar al-Sunnah Army, claimed responsibility.
- snip -
The attack came the same day that British Prime Minister Tony Blair made a surprise visit to Baghdad and described the ongoing violence in Iraq as a "battle between democracy and terror."
Lt. Col. Steven Boylan, spokesman for the Coalition Press Information Center, said 19 U.S. troops were killed, along with three other soldiers of unknown nationality.
- snip -
Bill Nemitz, a columnist with the Portland Press Herald embedded with the Maine National Guard's 133rd Engineer Battalion, told CNN there was a concrete dining hall under construction that was supposed to be finished by Christmas. He said he heard "a lot of discussion" among the troops about the vulnerability of the tent.Hastings told CNN that "there is a level of vulnerability when you go in there and you don't feel like there's a hard - hard roof over your head, and when there's mortar attacks and explosions that happen, there is a level of vulnerability."
The force knocked soldiers off their feet and out of their seats as a fireball enveloped the top of the tent and shrapnel sprayed into the area, Redmon said.
Amid the screams and smoke in the tent, soldiers turned their tables upside down and used them as makeshift stretchers, Redmon said.
Scores of troops crammed into concrete bomb shelters, while others wandered around in a daze and collapsed, he said.
"I can't hear! I can't hear!" one female soldier cried as a friend hugged her.
A huge hole was blown in the roof of the tent, and puddles of blood, lunch trays and overturned tables and chairs covered the floor, Redmon reported.
Near the front entrance, troops tended a soldier with a serious head wound, but within minutes, they zipped him into a black body bag, he said. Three more bodies were in the parking lot.
"It is indeed a very, very sad day," Ham said.
All for nothing.... Each single death a travesty that never had to be. Never forget that.
Just in time for Xmass
So much for our attempt to remain on the moral high ground......
FBI E-Mail Refers to Presidential Order Authorizing Inhumane Interrogation Techniques
December 20, 2004
Newly Obtained FBI Records Call Defense Departments Methods "Torture," Express Concerns Over "Cover-Up" That May Leave FBI "Holding the Bag" for Abuses
NEW YORK -- A document released for the first time today by the American Civil Liberties Union suggests that President Bush issued an Executive Order authorizing the use of inhumane interrogation methods against detainees in Iraq. Also released by the ACLU today are a slew of other records including a December 2003 FBI e-mail that characterizes methods used by the Defense Department as "torture" and a June 2004 "Urgent Report" to the Director of the FBI that raises concerns that abuse of detainees is being covered up.
- snip -
The two-page e-mail that references an Executive Order states that the President directly authorized interrogation techniques including sleep deprivation, stress positions, the use of military dogs, and "sensory deprivation through the use of hoods, etc." The ACLU is urging the White House to confirm or deny the existence of such an order and immediately to release the order if it exists. The FBI e-mail, which was sent in May 2004 from "On Scene Commander--Baghdad" to a handful of senior FBI officials, notes that the FBI has prohibited its agents from employing the techniques that the President is said to have authorized.
- snip -
The June 2004 "Urgent Report" addressed to the FBI Director is heavily redacted. The legible portions of the document appear to describe an account given to the FBIs Sacramento Field Office by an FBI agent who had "observed numerous physical abuse incidents of Iraqi civilian detainees," including "strangulation, beatings, [and] placement of lit cigarettes into the detainees ear openings." The document states that "[redacted] was providing this account to the FBI based on his knowledge that [redacted] were engaged in a cover-up of these abuses."
Thanks to Joel for the link
Republican members of Congress threaten to do their job
Seems even Rethugs can only take so much of Bush's foolish policies...
President Bush (news - web sites)'s second-term plans to reshape Social Security (news - web sites), immigration laws and other domestic programs are facing a stiff challenge from a group that was reliably accommodating in the president's first four years: congressional Republicans.
After essentially rubber-stamping much of Bush's first-term agenda, many House and Senate Republicans plan to assert themselves more forcefully to put their mark on domestic policy in the new year, according to several lawmakers. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (Tex.) has privately criticized White House handling of the recent intelligence bill and Bush's plan to postpone tax reform until 2006 or later. Rep. Thomas M. Davis (news, bio, voting record) III (Va.) and others have publicly complained about the political and fiscal hazards of overhauling Social Security. Several senators, including a few 2008 presidential contenders, are rushing to promote their own Social Security plans to compete with Bush's.
This is a good sign. Let us hope it lasts...
Weve posted the slide show about potential election fraud at http://www.ElectionFraud2004.org
This is an easy way to get up to speed on concerns about election irregularities.
We have until January 6 (when Congress counts the electoral college votes) to demand a thorough investigation of the election. Please help restore confidence in our democracy by taking the following actions:
1) Spread the word about http://www.ElectionFraud2004.org, and encourage other groups to link to the site.
2) Call your Representatives and Senators and encourage them to support a thorough investigation of the election. Capital Hotline - 1-800-839-5276.
3) Send an email to the House Judiciary Committee encouraging them to hold full hearings on election irregularities.
4) Participate in the Americas Calling campaign. Visit http://www.usvip.org/article.asp?id=42
you would like to receive more information about potential election fraud,
please send an email to info@ElectionFraud2004.org
Thanks for helping defend our democracy!
Now THAT is dedication!
Gary Web, who I wrote about last week, is just as dedicated in his last act as he was as a journalist. I was reading a report on his 'suicide' and saw this interesting tid bit:
Reporter's suicide confirmed by coroner
Facing a barrage of calls from the media and the public, the Sacramento County Coroner's Office issued a statement Tuesday confirming that former investigative reporter Gary Webb committed suicide with two gunshots to the head.
"The cause of death was determined to be self-inflicted gunshot wounds to the head".
I'm just sayin'....
The Free Speech Zone hits 100,000
I was just looking at my page stats and I notice that we hit the 100,000 visitor mark today. The counter has only been up for 8 months so that is preety good! Thanks to every single one fo you who return to this page for a daily dose of free speech.
Increase the peace
it is not broken, don't fix it
The Republicans are well under way with "Operation-Screw-Up-Every-Good-Thing-In-Our-Country." They have launched an effort to "fix" Social Security. Now that Bush has his "mandate" he will go about doing what Rethugs have wanted to do for years. Destroy one of the most successful Democratic policies ever created. They hate Social Security. It flies in the face of everything they stand for.
Josh Marshall has this to say:
The Social Security "crisis" is manufactured; there is no crisis. To the extent there are long-term financing problems, the president's plan will gravely worsen them. The problem we face isn't over Social Security, which continues to run up huge surpluses (just as it was intended to under the early-80s reform), but that our non-Social Security budget continues to run massive structural deficits. Or rather, it has returned to running massive structural deficits after getting into the black in the late 1990s through the combined exertions of a Democratic president and a Republican congress. Social Security isn't the problem, but rather George W. Bush's reckless fiscal policy.
Kevin Drum over at the Washington Monthly has lots
of great information on this issue. Go check it out.
As anyone who has read "Don't Think of an Elephant" will tell you, the Rethugs are using language here. They are carefully framing the issue to make it sound like a problem. Then they can look like the hero who fixed 'the problem' when what they are really doing is destroying a perfectly functioning Social Service.
Note the language used by the right to describe Social Security:
Social Security is in crisis
Social Security is an investment
They need to "fix" social Security
language is used to convince Americans that Social Security is at risk. When
the opposite is true. Social Security is one of the most successful social
programs in our history. Social security will work fine for decades and decades
in a healthy economy. Only minor adjustments are required.
Jeffrey Feldman's diary over at DailyKos goes into a great discussion on how to reframe this debate. There is great information in the comments of this thread as well. Such as this list of phrases Dems can use to start rephrasing this issue:
included in the diaries the great a suggestion to start e-mailing people in
the media to get them to start discussing this issue honestly. They include
a sample letter and this list of media contacts:
NPR Morning Edition: email@example.com
Randi Rhodes: firstname.lastname@example.org
Air America radio: (online form)
Aaron Brown: NewsNight@cnn.com
Hon. Nancy Pelosi: email@example.com
Senator Harry Reid: (online form)
Email Any House Rep
Email Any Senator
Meet the Press: firstname.lastname@example.org
LA Times: email@example.com
Get to work!
They get letters
A brief update on my post a few days ago about all the letter writing going on between Blackwell and various Democrats. Well for the second time, John Kerry has written a letter asks Blackwell require hand counts in any county where machines have been compromised, or have an independent expert inspect the machines. Hocking County elections official Sherole Eaton alleged that a Triad Election Systems representative disabled a machine and tried to plant unverified information into the recount at the House Judiciary Committee's election hearing Monday. The last letter Kerry wrote , asked Blackwell to address 11 points. Included in the list were the 93,000 spoiled ballots and the various different standards on provisional ballots used across Ohio.
Link Roundup 12.17.04 - From Zack
ought to be fair." ??????
George W. Bush, December 2004
First, Bill Moyers signs off as host of NOW with a report on the Republican media machine (demontrates how serious an issue he believes this to be). TONIGHT! at 9PM on PBS (check local listings). He's the best there ever was (in my opinion)
going out telling the story that I think is the biggest story of our time: how
the right-wing media has become a partisan propaganda arm of the Republican
National Committee. We have an ideological press that's interested in the election
of Republicans, and a mainstream press that's interested in the bottom line.
Therefore, we don't have a vigilant, independent press whose interest is the
"Our nation can no more survive as half democracy and half oligarchy than it could survive 'half slave and half free."
from Moyerson America
Tomorrow marks one hundred days since Secretary of State Colin Powell acknowledged that abuses being committed in Darfur constitute genocide. As a signatory to the Genocide Convention, the United States is obligated both to prevent acts of genocide and to punish perpetrators. Yet, with the death toll having surpassed 70,000 and more than two million people in urgent need of humanitarian aid, the United States is failing every day in its responsibility to protect the innocent victims of Darfur. The United States must do more to end the genocide; but we must also act now on our responsibility to hold the perpetrators accountable. There are a several courses of action available: the United States can agree to act immediately on the recommendations of the UN Commission of Inquiry that is charged with investigating human rights violations in Sudan; it can set aside funding to establish a truth commission or war crimes tribunal; it can vote to refer the case from the UN Security Council to the International Criminal Court. What the Unites States cannot afford to do is nothing.
Hannity Vs. Cliff Arnebeck - Video
Arnebeck takes on Hannity on Faux News. Needless to say, Arnebeck is hardly able to get a word in. He does a great job of trying though.
"You're a sore loser... you lost.... get over it " is as high brow as Hannity seems to get.
Link Roundup 12.16.04 - From Zack
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Introducing a new regular feature. Zack, who I mentioned yesterday, (Greens for Kerry) sends out this very thorough compilation of links covering many of the stories you have been hearing about. More importantly, there will be some you haven't heard about at all.
I will post these lists here on my site as they come in.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
writes an epic expose of this criminal war, the sickening treatment
of our troops by this "War President", and the galling silence by
the Democrats in not attacking this administration and its handling
of Iraq everyday, all day.
Read this one
The Bush administration's rush to deploy a costly, unproven national missile defense system "suffered an embarrassing setback yesterday when an interceptor missile failed to launch during the first flight test of the system in two years." Pentagon officials could not immediately explain the reason for the failure, which cast fresh doubt on the feasibility of a system that "by some accounts has cost $130 billion and is scheduled to tally $50 billion more over the next five years." The previous test, in December 2002, "also flopped when the kill vehicle failed to separate from the booster." The most recent failure comes as reports surface indicating there are questions about another "major acquisition program" being pushed by the Bush administration. That classified program, the details of which are unclear, is believed to involve a "$9.5 billion spy satellite system that could take photographs only in daylight hours and in clear weather." (For more on this issue, read this new report, "The Road To Nuclear Security," by American Progress's Lawrence Korb.)
For Kerry - Press Release
Greens for Kerry did some great work leading up to the election and have continued to do so to this day. They are doing us all a great service by helping get the word out about the current voting fraud situation in Ohio and other states.
Visit their web site and pass it to a friend. From their web site:
We are proud members of the Green Party, guided by its ten key values, including social justice, protection of the environment, civil rights, women's rights and sustainability. To protect our nation and preserve a healthy future - economically, socially, environmentally and morally, we must defeat George W. Bush. We urge all Greens and Nader voters in swing states to vote strategically and join with people of all political stripes, united in our concern for America's future, and support John Kerry for President.
Zack over at GFK passed on to me this Press Release that is being distributed Nationwide. It will bring you up to date on the shenanegins currently under way in Ohio:
For Immediate Release: December 15, 2004 Contact: Zack Kaldveer, 510-444-4710 e. 316
GREENS FOR KERRY CITES NEW VOTER FRAUD REVELATIONS, URGES SUPPORTERS TO DEMAND ELECTED OFFICIALS SUPPORT FBI INVESTIGATION IN OHIO, ACROSS COUNTRY
Group denounces Republican efforts to suppress, manipulate, and disenfranchise voters, urges supporters to demand FBI investigation, Kerry to rescind concession, and media to cover issue
"Greens for Kerry" (GFK), a national, grassroots campaign founded in the spring of 2004 sent an alert to thousands of supporters on Monday questioning the legitimacy of the presidential election. The group urged supporters to contact their elected representatives and support Democratic Congressman John Conyers request for an FBI investigation into widespread accusations of Republican fraud, intimidation, and voter suppression, particularly in the state of Ohio, and particularly in the case of Triad Systems. Adding to the controversy is the fact that Ohios Secretary of State, Kenneth Blackwell, whos been stifling the investigation at every turn, also served as President Bushs Ohio Campaign Co-Chair.
"The sworn testimonies being submitted to the Congressional Judiciary Committee are astounding and strike at the heart of the credibility of our democracy. We urge Republicans, Democrats, Independents and Greens alike to look at the evidence for themselves," said Sarah Newman, Founder of Greens for Kerry. "The Republican efforts to steal another election dwarf those made in 2000 in Florida. Information coming out today regarding Triad Systems is truly remarkable. Unfortunately, the mainstream press and the Democratic Party remain largely silent. We want to help change that."
also sent out a newsletter
(as a word document here)dealing
with this same information. Greens For Kerry has my upmost respect for charging
ahead on this story when the Main Stream Media seems mostly silent. Vote fraud
it seems is not newsworthy here. Unless of course it is in the Ukraine. Greens
For Kerry and the left wing blogs are hoping to change all that......
Forward this information Liberally
Conyers and other Democrats wrote a letter a while back asking Blackwell to
respond to 34 questions
regarding irregularities in the vote in Ohio. Read the entire
Blackwell has responded to the letter responded and you can read it here. The short version is "screw you, you're only a congressman I don't have to do anything you say, go way and we will call you if we need you".
Conyers hit right back with a letter that basically said "Stop being such a thick headed prick and cough up the answers to the questions we asked".
Conyers then, knowing the chances of Blackwell actually answering the questions are about as good as the chances of Sean Hannity letting a Democrats speak for more than 2 seconds, decided to raise the bar on the whole letter writing thing and wrote directly to the FBI. His letter to the FBI is here.
The letter goes into some deatail about the alleged tampering of vote counting equipment by a representative of Triad. Triad equptment was used throughout the state of Ohio to tabulate the votes.Heres a snippet of the letter:
On December 13, my staff met with Ms. Eaton who explained to them that last Friday, December 10, Michael Barbian, Jr., a representative of Triad GSI unilaterally sought and obtained access to the voting machinery and records in Hocking County, Ohio, modified the computer tabulator, learned which precinct was planned to be the subject of the initial test recount and made further alterations based on that information, and advised the election officials how to manipulate the machinery so that the preliminary hand recount matched the machine count. Ms. Eaton first relayed this information to Green Party representatives, and then completed, signed and notarized an affidavit describing this course of events, a copy of which is attached.
The Triad official sought access to the voting machinery based on the apparent pretext that he wanted to review some legal questions the officials might receive as part of the recount process. At several times during this visit, Mr. Barbian telephoned into Triads offices to obtain programming information relating to the machinery and the precinct in question. I have subsequently learned that Triad officials have been, or are in the process of intervening in several other counties in Ohio - Greene and Monroe, and perhaps others.
Triad Systems, just like Diebold, are major supporters of the republican party. Triad is owned by a man named Tod Rapp, who has donated money to both the Republican Party and the election campaign of George W. Bush. Triad manufactures punch-card voting systems, and also wrote the computer program that tallied the punch-card votes cast in 41 Ohio counties last November...
The Main Stream Media chimes in:
Lawmaker Seeks Inquiry Into Ohio Vote
The ranking Democratic member of the House Judiciary Committee, Representative John Conyers Jr. of Michigan, plans to ask the Federal Bureau of Investigation and a county prosecutor in Ohio today to explore "inappropriate and likely illegal election tampering" in at least one and perhaps several Ohio counties.
The request for an investigation, made in a letter that was also provided to The New York Times, includes accounts from at least two county employees, but is based largely on a sworn affidavit provided by the Hocking County deputy director of elections, Sherole Eaton.
Among other things, Ms. Eaton says in her affidavit that a representative of Triad Governmental Systems, the Ohio firm that created and maintains the vote-counting software in dozens of Ohio counties, made several adjustments to the Hocking County tabulator last Friday, in advance of the state's recount, which is taking place this week.
The Washington Post
Ohio offers lessons for 2008
Several factors contributed to 'lost' voters.
Tanya Thivener's is a tale of two voting precincts in Franklin County. In her city neighborhood, which is vastly Democratic and majority black, the 38-year-old mortgage broker found a line snaking out of the precinct door.
advertisementShe stood in line for four hours -- one hour in the rain -- and watched dozens of potential voters mutter in disgust and walk away without casting a ballot. Afterward, Thivener hopped in her car and drove to her mother's house, in the vastly Republican and majority white suburb of Harrisburg. How long, she asked, did it take her to vote?
Fifteen minutes, her mother replied.
20 voting facts you need to know....
1. 80% of all votes in America are counted by only two companies: Diebold and ES&S.
2. There is no federal agency with regulatory authority or oversight of the U.S. voting machine industry.
3. The vice-president of Diebold and the president of ES&S are brothers.
4. The chairman and CEO of Diebold is a major Bush campaign organizer and donor who wrote in 2003 that he was "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year."
5. Republican Senator Chuck Hagel used to be chairman of ES&S. He became Senator based on votes counted by ES&S machines.
6. Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, long-connected with the Bush family, was recently caught lying about his ownership of ES&S by the Senate Ethics Committee.
7. Senator Chuck Hagel was on a short list of George W. Bush's vice-presidential candidates.
8. ES&S is the largest voting machine manufacturer in the U.S. and counts almost 60% of all U.S. votes.
9. Diebold's new touch screen voting machines have no paper trail of any votes. In other words, there is no way to verify that the data coming out of the machine is the same as what was legitimately put in by voters.
10. Diebold also makes ATMs, checkout scanners, and ticket machines, all of which log each transaction and can generate a paper trail.
11. Diebold is based in Ohio.
12. Diebold employed 5 convicted felons as senior managers and developers to help write the central compiler computer code that counted 50% of the votes in 30 states.
13. Jeff Dean, Diebold's Senior Vice-President and senior programmer on Diebold's central compiler code, was convicted of 23 counts of felony theft in the first degree.
14. Diebold Senior Vice-President Jeff Dean was convicted of planting back doors in his software and using a "high degree of sophistication" to evade detection over a period of 2 years.
15. None of the international election observers were allowed in the polls in Ohio.
16. California banned the use of Diebold machines because the security was so bad. Despite Diebold's claims that the audit logs could not be hacked, a chimpanzee was able to do it! (See the movie here )
17. 30% of all U.S. votes are carried out on unverifiable touch screen voting machines with no paper trail.
18. All -- not some -- but all the voting machine errors detected and reported in Florida went in favor of Bush or Republican candidates.
19. The governor of the state of Florida, Jeb Bush, is the President's brother.
20. Serious voting anomalies in Florida -- again always favoring Bush -- have been mathematically demonstrated and experts are recommending further investigation.
are not robots, we are not mindless"
"some of us are willing to stand up"
Michael Moore has two great film clips on Pablo Paredes on his web page.
On December 6, 2004, Navy Petty Officer Third Class Pablo Paredes, 23, refused to board a San Diego ship taking 3,000 Marines to Iraq. Instead, he wore a T-shirt stating "LIKE A CABINET MEMBER, I RESIGN" and did just that.
The military is calling him a deserter and a fugitive.
Moore also links to this site:
Pablo Paredes has chosen to present a conscientious objection to serving in war. On Monday of this week, he chose not to join his ship in San Diego that was headed to the Persian Gulf. We would like your help in drawing national attention to his cause and message. The objections soldiers voiced directly to Rumsfeld, the resignation of the Secretary of Veteran Affairs and the overall conscientious objections of various military members is proof positive that he is not alone.
has given a voice to many veterans who are not happy with the way our 'leaders'
have handled the war in Iraq. His new book "Will
They Ever Trust Us Again?" is full of letters from troops speaking
out about about the situation in Iraq. There are many more letters to read on
Hopefully we have reached a turning point. More and more we see troops speaking out against the war. Fewer and fewer volunteers are enlisting, more desertions every day.
How many have to die before we say enough?
Its high tide in the blog world. All kinds of stories to ride. Came upon this nice observation by Greg over at 'The Liberal Igloo'
Bill O'Reilly, on his show today, devoted half an hour to the Laci Peterson verdict. (Psst, Scott's guilty)
Then he spent time on the now-infamous Mark Rich Pardon by President Clinton.
Now, I know Bill O'Reilly's looking out for you. For all of us, really. But how about he look out for the present, rather than harp on former President Clinton?
For example, do you know how many Reagan administration officials were convicted (and not indicted, I mean convicted) of crimes for their misdealings while they were in office? Thirty. Do you know how many Clinton Administration officials were convicted? One. And that was the Secretary of Agriculture's Chief of Staff, and that was a case that involved football tickets.
There is more. This guy is doing good work. Go give him some love....
Government wants to manipulate you
Yes our leaders are considering using PsyOps on you. While this comes as no surprise to me, I was a bit surprised to see it in the paper. They have used psychological operations to influence public opinion for a long time. This is nothing new. The whole lead up to the war, with the media spewing forth the garbage the white house gave them is a good example. Another example is when the Pentagon used CNN to try and trick the insurgents in Fallujah that an attack was underway, so that the US military could observe what happened. Just remember this article when you start seeing media reports that everything in Iraq is peaches and cream.
Military debates how to win war of words
Propaganda critics say proposal could shatter credibility
The Pentagon is engaged in bitter, high-level debate over how far it can and should go in managing or manipulating information to influence opinion abroad, senior Defense Department civilians and military officers say.
Such missions, if approved, could take the deceptive techniques endorsed for use on the battlefield to confuse an adversary and adopt them for covert propaganda campaigns aimed at neutral and even allied nations.
Critics of the proposals say such deceptive missions could shatter the Pentagon's credibility, leaving the American public and a world audience skeptical of anything the Defense Department and military say - a repeat of the credibility gap that roiled America during the Vietnam War.
The efforts under consideration risk blurring the traditional lines between public affairs programs in the Pentagon and military branches - whose charters call for giving truthful information to the media and the public - and the world of combat information campaigns or psychological operations.
back to the show already in progress...
the CIA is bad for your health
Mr. web was found in his apartment with a gun shot wound to the head. The authorities are calling it a suicide. Gary was best known for his articles criticizing the CIA
Mr. Webb wrote in The San Jose Mercury News in 1996 that Nicaraguan drug traffickers had sold crack cocaine in black neighborhoods and used the profits to finance the operations of the contras, the C.I.A.-supported guerrillas who were fighting the leftist government in Nicaragua.
say crack kills. Well acusing the CIA of selling crack, also can kill.
in Ohio Recount
David Cobb, Green Party presidential candidate, had shocking things to say at the Democratic House Judiciary Committees Columbus hearings Monday. Cobb alleged that a voting company representative tampered with voting equipment in Columbus last Friday and attempted to plant false information into the Ohio recount.
Cobb says that a witness, who had requested not to be named, watched as a representative of Triad Systems entered the Columbus Board of Elections building unannounced and tampered with a vote tabulator which then lost all data. Ooops.
Cobb then said that the representative tried to convince employees to post false information so that it would appear as if the data was valid and had never been lost.
This following is a transcript Cobbs speech as recorded by Inside Track News broadcast. You can also listen to this portion as an MP3 file
A representative from Triad Systems came into this countys Board of Elections office unannounced, that is on this Friday. He said he was just stopping by to see if they had any questions about the upcoming recount.
He then headed into the back room where Triad supplies tabulators, that is the machine that counts the ballots, is kept. This Triad representative told them that there was problem with the system, that the system had a bad battery and it had lost all its data.
He then took the computer apart and started swapping parts in and out of it. And in another [incomprehensible] in the room. And he had spare parts in his coat, as one of the people moved in [sic] remarked how very heavy it was.
He finally reassembled everything and said it was working but not to turn it off. He then asked which precinct would be counted in the 3 percent recount test and that one which had been selected as if it had the right number of votes was relayed to him he then went back and did something else to the tabulator.
The Triad Systems representative suggested that since the hand recount had to match the machine count exactly and since it would hard to memorize the several numbers which would be needed to get the count exactly right, that they should post this series of numbers on the wall where they would not be noticed by observers such as to make them look like employee information or something similar.
The people doing the hand count could then he said just report those numbers no matter what the actually counted in the ballot. This would then match the tabulator report for this precinct exactly.
Minority leader of the House Judiciary Committee Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) replied, David Cobb, I need to you to arrange a meeting with our staff immediately.
Cobb asserted that such practices were going on across the state.
The more I hear about this election the sicker I become.
Check out the Blue Lemur for more details.
Video of Ohio Hearing.
Thanks to the folks over at DU who have uploaded this video. I believe it is footage of the Arnebeck Ohio Hearing. Check it out"
Election Debacle Roundup
In one exit poll affidavit, Jonathan David Simon, an expert witness, notes that at 12:53 a.m. the exit polls altered the projected winner even though the same number of votes had been cast. "Although each update reports the same number of respondents (872), the reported results differ significantly, with the latter (12:53 a.m.) exit poll results apparently having been brought into congruence with the tabulated vote results." In other words, the exit polls were made to conform to a political decision to declare Bush the victor.
Another exit poll affidavit, filed by Ron Paul Baiman, an economist and statistician at the University of Illinois and University of Chicago, said the swing in national exit poll results, recorded at 12:33 a.m., when Kerry was winning with 50.8 percent of the vote, to Bush winning with 51.2 percent, was, "in lay terms, impossible."
"This is more than a 100 percent swing in the other direction of the exit poll margin, he said. "There is less than a one in 25,000,000 (1/25,507,308) chance of this occurring."
Another affidavit by Richard Hayes Phillips, a geomorphology Ph.D. from University of Oregon with a special expertise in spotting anomalous data, found dramatic examples of erroneous voting patterns with votes taken away from Kerry - that can only be explained by computer manipulation.
back in Ohio....
Ken Blackwell, the Ohio Secretary of the State AND Head of the Bush/Cheney Election campaign in Ohio, will notify Bush's Ohio electors to cast their deciding votes for Bush on Dec. 13. But attorney John Bonifaz says Blackwell's premature certification "must be stopped," according to the Toledo Blade:
"Those people have not been chosen until the recount process has been completed," said John Bonifaz, founder and general counsel of the National Voting Rights Institute in Boston.
Mr. Bonifaz charged that Republican Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, associate chairman of President Bush's re-election campaign in Ohio, has "actively engaged in thwarting the recount law" by delaying certification of the official statewide results until tomorrow...
"Mr. Blackwell is doing everything he can to push through a slate of electors based on an untested initial count of the vote. He must be stopped," Mr. Bonifaz told 500 people at a rally organized by a coalition of liberal activist groups. A recount is expected to take 5 to 11 days and probably won't be finished before Dec. 13, Mr. LoParo said...
If a recount shows a Kerry win, a different set of electors would vote, Mr. Bonifaz said. "If that happens, the United States Congress will receive the votes of two competing sets of electors from the state of Ohio when it convenes on Jan. 6 to formally receive the Electoral College vote," he said.
can stand by while our democracy erodes around us, or we can stand up and fight,
For the dignity of our nation; and for the dignity of ourselves; and for the
memory of those who struggled before us, we must choose to fight."
.......- John Bonifaz
the challenge begin
Today is a big news day for the ongoing election debacle story. Many of us have followed this story for weeks, but now it seems the story is breaking wide open. Kerry came out of hiding and publicly asked for a recount. The letter addresses eleven points. Here is a taste of the things being requested:
1) 93,000 spoiled ballots.
2) Judge Connelly getting more votes than Kerry in Southern Ohio on optical scanner machines.
3) Different standards on provisional ballots used across Ohio.
4) a NONPARTISAN audit of the electronic voting machines, having independent analysis of the software.
5) Allow the Kerry team to visually inspect the 92,000 ballots cast in Ohio in which no vote for president was recorded, a Kerry lawyer said Sunday night.
Kerry, it seems, was waiting around for the right time to jump in. Well today was that day. It appears he was waiting for Arnebeck to file his lawsuit challenging the election results, and for enough evidence to be gathered before he came out publicly. Meanwhile this letter from Conyers, and others was to Ohio state legislators asking for a delay of today's deadline for the electoral vote.
"Secretary Blackwell gave county boards of election until December 1 to certify their returns, and then waited to declare his own results on December 6. As a consequence, recounts may be sought at least until December 11 and must begin by December 16. It is impossible, therefore, for the December 6 results to be the official certification of the State of Ohio. The law providing a right to a recount would be an empty right in this scenario."
Apparently, this investigation will involve enough votes "to possibly change the outcome" of the presidential election.
Challengers Request Delay In Electoral College Vote
Congressional Democrats and challengers of Ohio's presidential election results asked state officials Monday to delay the Electoral College vote until the challenge is decided and a recount completed.
- snip -
Hours before the Ohio delegation's meeting Monday, the challengers asked the Ohio Supreme Court to review the election outcome. If the court decides to hear the challenge, it can declare a new winner or throw out the results.
The story is being covered on many major networks. It seems this has reached a point where it can no longer be ignored. ABC news has this:
Kerry Lawyer Seeks Ohio Ballot Inspection
Democrat John Kerry is asking county elections officials to allow his witnesses to inspect the 92,000 ballots cast in Ohio in which no vote for president was recorded, a Kerry lawyer said Sunday night.
- snip -
"We're trying to increase the transparency of the election process," said Donald McTigue, the lawyer handling the recount for the Kerry campaign. But he added that several requests such as using independent experts to check election equipment, "are trying to push the edge of envelope."
- snip -
McTigue said the visual inspection is allowed under state law. The goal is to look for potential votes that were not registered by the tabulating equipment.
Boston.com ads this:
Election challenge filed hours before Electoral College vote in Ohio
Dissident groups asked the Ohio Supreme Court on Monday to review the outcome of the state's presidential race, hours before the Ohio delegation to the Electoral College was to cast ballots for president and vice president.
The groups question whether President Bush won the key swing state by 119,000 votes, guaranteeing his victory over Democrat John Kerry.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson and attorney Cliff Arnebeck of the Massachusetts-based Alliance for Democracy accused President Bush's campaign of ''high-tech vote stealing.''
Jackson said the challengers noticed Bush generally received more votes in counties that use optical-scan voting machines and questioned whether the machines were calibrated to record votes for Bush.
The dissidents claim there were disparities in vote totals for Democrats, too few voting machines in Democrat-leaning precincts, organized campaigns directing voters to the wrong polling place and confusion over the counting of provisional ballots by voters whose names did not appear in the records at polling places.
I will be updating this information as more news becomes available.
yesterday Rummy claimed the army was doing everything it could to get armor on Humvees in Iraq. Needless to say that was BS.
Armor Holdings Inc., the sole supplier of protective plates for the Humvee military vehicles used in Iraq, said it could increase output by as much as 22 percent per month with no investment and is awaiting an order from the Army.
U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said yesterday the Army was working as fast as it can and supply is dictated by a matter of physics, not a matter of money.'
Jacksonville, Florida-based Armor Holdings last month told the Army it could add armor to as many as 550 of the trucks a month, up from 450 vehicles now, Robert Mecredy, president of the companys aerospace and defense group said in a telephone interview today.
Were prepared to build 50 to 100 vehicles more per month,' Mecredy said in the interview. Ive told the customer that and I stand ready to do that.'
The Catch-22 of Voting
During yesterday's hearing in DC, the all-encompassing point was delivered by Jonathan Simon, Political Survey Research Analyst and the person who downloaded the pure exit polling data CNN before it was altered to match end results. This is the same data analyzed by Stephen Freeman that determined that Bush had more of a chance of winning THREE jackpot lotteries on the night of 11/2 than enjoying the late swinging of the votes so drastically (odds 250 million to one). Please note that all aberrations favor the same candidate.
Mr. Simon astutely points out that we all face a Catch-22 scenario when the majority party will not change a rigged voting system that put them there and will keep them in power.
To paraphrase Jonathan: "We have lost the bedrock of our society."
For more on the statistical information on what happened on Nov. 2nd please look here.
Enemy of the White House
I was reading this article on bogs from CBS and noticed this small paragraph near the nottom:
Beginning next year, the F.E.C. will institute new rules on the restricted uses of the Internet as it relates to political speech.
the White House controls most of the media, it does not surprise me at all that
the will soon attempt restrict political blogging. Any weapon we have to use
against them is being taken away.
Who wants to make a bet that Right wing blogs are protected and Left wing blogs are attacked?
"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."
- "Mahatma" Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The number of Americans filing initial claims for jobless pay grew unexpectedly last week to 357,000, Labor Department data showed on Thursday, but an official said an increase in the week after a public holiday was typical.
A Reuters poll of analysts had forecast first-time claims for state unemployment benefits would fall to 335,000 in the week ended Dec. 4 from 349,000 the previous week, which had been shortened by Thanksgiving Day.
But rising claims for two consecutive weeks has returned them to the highest level since late September, the Labor Department said.
The four-week moving average of filings, which smoothes weekly fluctuations to provide a better picture of underlying trends, advanced 4,750 to 341,250, also marking its second straight weekly increase.
Thursday's release comes after some disappointing news on U.S. employment. Only 112,000 new jobs were created in November - much less than expected -- and U.S. firms reported a rise in the number of planned job cuts last month.
The number of unemployed on the benefit rolls after claiming an initial week of aid grew 91,000 to 2.796 million in the week ended Nov. 27, the latest for which figures are available.
Anyone who is surprised by this, is in serious denile. The Bush economy is bad news for America.
at the Conyers hearing with Cliff Arnebeck, Chair of Common Cause Ohio and attorney
with The Alliance for Democracy.
WP: What did you think of the hearing today?
CA: The best part about it was that it happened. If you look at who was here, you had leaders from the generally white political reform movement, and leaders from the black civil rights movement. This is a powerful coalition. Normally, what has happened it the blacks have fought their civil rights struggle, with their numbers being the predominant part of it. Whites have been fighting for political reform, and talk about it as affecting everyone, but don't have the black roots participating. What Reverend Jackson has done, has said, is, you know, you look foolish talking about your civil rights being abused. We are going to be there with you.
We have formed a coalition, and are building the infrastructure, not just to address this election, but to continue to address the legislation and litigation issues that arise. We have joined together, and this is a new and powerful coalition. We are not talking about one group having dominance over the other, but a real partnership of the traditional political reform community with the traditional civil rights community, and Reverend Jackson is the one that proposed it, has initiated the organization of it.
Bill Moss, who was here and testified, has been designated to be the leader of this new coalition for Ohio. He had leading black ministers from all over the state in the room, and was in the office of Common Cause Ohio when this happened. Bill Moss will be the lead plaintiff or contester on the complaint that is going to be filed tomorrow. We are working together, and it's a powerful coalition that will make things happen.
WP: You are working with Jon Bonifaz on the lawsuit.
CA: I am working with Mr. Bonifaz in the capacity of a client. I am chair of the legal committee for Common Cause Ohio, and in that capacity I authorized Jon Bonifaz to represent our group. With national approval, he's representing Common Cause in aspects of the recount litigation. Jon Bonifaz is also a professional friend and colleague of mine for many, many years in the political reform movement, so I would have been seeking his counsel and advice, and working with him, even if we didn't have that connection. He is a superb lawyer.
I have tremendous respect for Jon. As you probably know, Jon is the lawyer that stepped out of the National Voting Rights Institute to file litigation on behalf of Dennis Kucinich and others challenging the constitutionality of the Iraq War Resolution. That was a tremendous job, and I told him that my children and my grandchildren will thank him for having done that.
WP: What specific information will you be bringing to the lawsuit? You mentioned earlier some data that suggested that the so-called margin of victory for Bush stands to be erased by the information being presented in this suit. Can you elaborate?
CA: First of all, from a jurisdictional standpoint, an election contest is not simply a proceeding where you say, "Hey, there were these problems. The long lines resulted in at least 15,000 people not voting."
WP: You're talking about specificity?
CA: Let's assume you could prove it statistically. You say 15,000 did not vote and the likelihood of their voting would have been 75% for Kerry. That's not enough to contest an election. Unless you have enough in the way of votes so that it actually goes to the question of what was the true outcome, the true result, who was the winner, you can be thrown out for not having proper evidence for an election contest.
We believe, based upon these multiple levels of statistical analysis, the statistical anomalies, that in that area alone there is a basis to say the result of the election was statistically opposite of what has been reported. That's without even going into the horrendous civil rights violations and saying, "Here's the evidence to show that these people, had they been able to vote, would have voted the other way."
In the challenge, we will also be...People for the American Way has a separate suit in the court of appeals in Cuyahuga County in Ohio which is designed to readdress this question of the provisional ballots, that they should be counted if they were cast in the right county. We want to raise that, we want to have that counted as part of the proper count.
WP: When will your suit be filed?
CA: What I said originally was, "As soon as possible." We were even going to file it before certification. We are certainly hoping, and feeling very pressed, to file it tomorrow, because the meeting of the Electoral College is supposed to occur on the 13th, and we want to be filed and discussing that issue in court sufficiently in advance to affect that situation.
WP: What can people do to help?
CA:: Get involved. It is really important that the public be aware of this. make it clear to anyone exercising authority in this matter that we are aware of this, so that when the Supreme Court is thinking about it, or Congress is thinking about it, or Bush is thinking about it, or Kerry is thinking about it, they know the public is aroused, the public values its right to vote, the public insists upon honesty in our elections and the rule of law, and we will not tolerate fraud in this important matter.
Jesse Jackson, as you could see today, is giving tremendous moral leadership to this. He has tremendous credibility. This is a man who walked with Dr. Martin Luther King in the long civil rights struggle that we honor so much in our history now. This is the man who was holding Dr. King when he died.
WP: Jackson summoned the memory of Selma today while describing this issue.
CA: I was sitting right next to him when he talked about the fact that there aren't members of Congress with children dying in Iraq, and tears were in his eyes. This is a man who feels this stuff deeply, and when he talks about what is at stake, he means it in the deepest part of his being. It shows, and people respect that, and I feel privileged to be associated with him in this struggle. It is a struggle for democracy, and we can't let anyone get away with treating our elections as though it is too late to change things, as though they got away with it and there is nothing to be done about it.
Rumsfeld still incompetent and other stories form Iraq
Mr. Rumsfeld showed a complete lack of sensitive towards the troops in a question and answer portion of his recent visit to kuwait. As the battle for the hearts and minds (hearts in this pile minds in that pile) continues in Iraq, the soldiers grow increasingly frustrated by the lack of support they get, both on the field and back at home (that is if they are lucky enough to be let to return home). Rumsfeld was asked a few tough question and showed very little sympathy in his answers:
"Why do we soldiers have to dig through local landfills for pieces of scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass to uparmor our vehicles?" Wilson asked. A big cheer arose from the approximately 2,300 soldiers in the cavernous hangar who assembled to see and hear the secretary of defense.
Rumsfeld hesitated and asked Wilson to repeat his question.
Rumsfeld replied that, "You go to war with the Army you have," ...
And, the defense chief added, armor is not always a savior in the kind of combat U.S. troops face in Iraq, where the insurgents' weapon of choice is the roadside bomb, or improvised explosive device that has killed and maimed hundreds, if not thousands, of American troops since the summer of 2003.
"You can have all the armor in the world on a tank and it can (still) be blown up," Rumsfeld said.
insensitive bastard! These people are willingly going into a war started for
lies and profit and when asked why the army won't spend the money to protect
them, he replies that even if they did you might die anyway? Well that just
makes me feel so warm inside! I think Ill go roast some chestnuts over a burning
humvee. Could he be more incompetent? Can we afford another 4 years of this
Heres some audio of the question and answer period. Worth a listen to hear the troops roar with approval when the tough questions are asked.
Rumsfeld says in the audio clip that they are armoring vehicles as fast as they can. Which provides me with a nice segue to this next story.
The Army has acknowledged that it miscalculated the intensity of the guerrilla war in Iraq and subsequently goofed on the number of armored Humvees it needed. "We do not have as many armored Humvees as we would like," the Army's vice chief of staff testified before Congress in late September.
So how is the White House proposing to deal with this? By underfunding the program to armor Humvees.
Well as if that wasn't enough there is another story coming out of Iraq today. We went in to Iraq for many reasons. One was to close the torture prisons Saddam had set up in his country. Granted we, the American 'liberators' simply re-opened them under new leadership, but one would think, that since we are there to end such atrocities, that troops who come forward with information that the army is torturing detainees in an unjust manner, would be rewarded. Or at least such complaints would be heard taken seriously. Well, it seems that that is not the case. (note the salon story requires a subscription or you need to watch the advertisement)
A veteran sergeant who told his commanding officers that he witnessed his colleagues torturing Iraqi detainees was strapped to a gurney and flown out of Iraq -- even though there was nothing wrong with him.
On June 15, 2003, Sgt. Frank "Greg" Ford, a counterintelligence agent in the California National Guard's 223rd Military Intelligence (M.I.) Battalion stationed in Samarra, Iraq, told his commanding officer, Capt. Victor Artiga, that he had witnessed five incidents of torture and abuse of Iraqi detainees at his base, and requested a formal investigation. Thirty-six hours later, Ford, a 49-year-old with over 30 years of military service in the Coast Guard, Army and Navy, was ordered by U.S. Army medical personnel to lie down on a gurney, was then strapped down, loaded onto a military plane and medevac'd to a military medical center outside the country.
Col. C. Tsai, a military doctor who examined Ford in Germany and found nothing wrong with him, told a film crew for Spiegel Television that he was "not surprised" at Ford's diagnosis. Tsai told Spiegel that he had treated "three or four" other U.S. soldiers from Iraq that were also sent to Landstuhl for psychological evaluations or "combat stress counseling" after they reported incidents of detainee abuse or other wrongdoing by American soldiers.
again the Bush rewards loyalty instead of honesty.
Democratic Undergound has the new "Top 10 Conservative Idiots" up
Number 5 caught my eye
5) Dig Your Own Hole
Moral Values Watch: The far-right fringe is on the march! Flushed with success after being told repeatedly by the media that they were responsible for George W. Bush's recent election victory, the "moral majority" is already starting to over-reach.
Take Alabama's Rep. Gerald Allen, (R-Cottondale), for example. First he tried to ban gay marriage - but that wasn't enough. Now he's filed a bill to ban public libraries from stocking novels featuring gay characters. "Our culture, how we know it today, is under attack from every angle," he said last week during a press conference to promote his bill - and obviously banning books is the answer. You know, that kinda rings a bell...
Anyway, the good news is that Rep. Allen doesn't actually want to burn the books. When asked what he planned to do with them, he said, "I guess we dig a big hole and dump them in and bury them." Good thinking, Gerald - that ought to put an end to the sin of homosexuality once and for all!
You would think a man of such high moral standard would find a more important cause to fight.
was a time when these things used to surprise me
Not so much any more. When I see a headline like "Bush sets out plan to dismantle 30 years of environmental laws" I think of it as business as usually for this administration. Calling Al Gore! Anyone seen Gore?
George Bush's new administration, and its supporters controlling Congress, are setting out to dismantle three decades of US environmental protection.
In little over a month since his re-election, they have announced that they will comprehensively rewrite three of the country's most important environmental laws, open up vast new areas for oil and gas drilling, and reshape the official Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
They say that the election gave them a mandate for the measures - which, ironically, will overturn a legislative system originally established by the Republican Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford - even though Mr Bush went out of his way to avoid emphasizing his environmental plans during his campaign.
"The election was a validation of the philosophy and the agenda," said Mike Leavitt, the Bush-appointed head of the EPA. He points out that over a third of the agency's staff will become eligible for retirement over the President's four-year term, enabling him to fill it with people lenient to polluters.
If that didn't make you just want to cry they end the article on this high note:
"We will now see an assault on the law which will set the US in the direction of becoming a Third World country in terms of environmental protection."
joy. That just makes me all happy inside.
This article goes into even more depth:
In over thirty years of practicing environmental law, I have not seen anything like this. Not even the historic battles with the likes of Interior Secretary James Watt and EPA Administrator Anne Burford Gorsuch in the Reagan Administration can compare. The current administration is far more clever, disciplined, and deceptive in what it says and does than its predecessors. It has also been more effective, due to a Republican-controlled Congress, an enfeebled Democratic Party, a distracted public, and an ambivalent media. Because of this environment, there has not been an open debate on the future of environmental policy. Rather, the Bush Administration has been able to make sweeping environmental changes through a stealth campaign, masquerading under sly euphemisms like "Healthy Forests," "Clear Skies," "No Net Loss," "Stewardship Contracts," and "Sound Science."
For good information on how this stealth campaign of Black is White works you should be reading George Lakoff.
While the American public has been preoccupied with the issues of jobs, health care, and the "War on Terrorism," the Bush Administration has enjoyed a rare window of opportunity to roll back environmental policies and regulations. These changes were made possible because there was no coherent opposition party in Congress and little public knowledge about what these changes actually meant for the protection of public health and the environment.
had done such great things for our environment. It is hard to watch all that
be dismantled. The Clinton had a "can do' approach. Bush has a "can't
do" approach. That approach is bad for millions of Americans, its
bad for all the companies that want to do the right thing and invest in cleaner
technologies, its bad for our economy, and its bad for our standing
in the world.
Instead of fighting pollution, the Bush Administration has undermined critical environmental protections by:
So before the Inaugural, you might want update your "to do" list
1) Drink a nice clean glass of water.
2) Get that gas mask you've been putting off buying.
3) Take a walk in Yosemite, without being hit by a snowmobile or a base-jumper.
4) Take photographs of animals on the endangered species list.
5) Visit Florida before the polar ice caps melt.
6) Visit Nevada before it becomes radioactive.
7) Visit Alaska before "The Big Spill."