3/31/05

Zack's Link Roundup - 3.31.05

Here's a question: Why do protesters demanding Terry Schiavo be kept alive in a vegetive state, usually only numbering in the couple of dozens get 24/7 coverage, interview after interview, yet two weeks ago, when 10's of thousands protested against our illegal occupation of Iraq and the murder of 100's of thousands of people based on lies got NO COVERAGE AT ALL, and NOT ONE INTERVIEW with a protester was seen?

Let that sink in for a minute when considering the state of our media and democracy.

Bang! This guy just did it! The way to beat the Repubs! Ask them all a simple question, "Are you with Tom Delay or against him?" Answer the question!!  Everyone on this list for very long knows i've been advocating this for two years...make Delay the face of the Republican party, force them all to defend him, and talk about him every god damn chance you get...why, because he runs their party! Here's a clip:
 
"Tom DeLay never speaks during Republican conventions, even though he is the House Majority Leader and the most powerful Republican in Congress. Do you think that's a coincidence? Of course not. They know the American people wouldn't be comfortable with DeLay's extreme views. So they hide him in the dark corners of their party. It's time to bring him out into the light. If you're with Tom DeLay, great. Stand next to him and be proud. If you don't agree with him, prove it. If you're against his policies, then vote against them. Why are Blue States tolerating so-called moderate Republicans who keep voting with their hard right wing compatriots? Make them accountable. Unless they renounce the extremists who have taken over their party, there should be no Republican left standing in the Blue States."
 
Krugman nails it on the Schiavo case...Delay was right, this is an example of what's happening in this country, he just had the problem wrong. Indeed, we are headed in the direction of Israel, where extremists will target, intimidate, and kill those that oppose them. Think of the fear already rampant among judges, doctors, and activists...America as we knew it, or thought we did, is dead.
 
Huffington on the HUGE lost opportunity that the Schiavo case gave Democrats to clearly delineate the "values" debate, and the lines that divide extremists on the right (and sadly, a few on the left on this issue) and those on the moderate and left...who care about helping the living, not those who want to be left alone and die in dignity.
 
 

CORRUPTION ­ DELAY ALLY PART OF ANOTHER INQUIRY: Already under investigation for extorting millions of dollars from Indian tribes in return for access to prominent conservative politicians, AP reports Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff "was at the center of an earlier inquiry that said his firm hadn't justified roughly $1.2 million it charged the Northern Mariana Islands." Abramoff, who has traded on his ties to President Bush and House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX), was the lead lobbyist for Seattle-based Preston Gates & Ellis when it worked on behalf of the islands to keep them free from certain federal labor and immigration laws during the last half of the 1990s. One audit concluded that about $1.2 million in government payments to Preston Gates was "not adequately supported." The charges included travel, telephone, photocopy, computer research, outside-professional fees and "$2,000 for a June 1996 golf tournament."

There is more right here

- Zack

And now back to the War on Terror, Already in Progress

Report Calls U.S. Intelligence 'Dead Wrong' on Iraq Weapons

The American intelligence community was "dead wrong" about Iraq's weapons arsenal in large part because of an outdated Cold War mentality and a vast, lumbering bureaucracy that continues to shackle dedicated and capable people, a presidential commission said today.

"The intelligence community must be transformed - a goal that would be difficult to meet even in the best of all possible worlds," the commission said in its report to President Bush. "And we do not live in the best of worlds." [...]

The report, several hundred pages long, contains portions that are classified and were not made public.

Senator Pat Roberts, the Kansas Republican who heads the Senate Intelligence Committee, said he was pleased by the report. "I don't think there should be any doubt that we have now heard it all regarding prewar intelligence," Mr. Roberts told The Associated Press.

Representative Ike Skelton of Missouri, leading Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, told The A.P. that the faults were obviously widespread. "I don't think you can blame any one person, although the buck does stop at the top of every one of these agencies," Mr. Skelton said.

Ok so they were wrong about the reason for going to war and killing thousands upon thousand of people. Ooops! But things in Iraq are improving right? ... Right?!

U.N.: Iraq kids suffer from malnutrition

Almost twice as many Iraqi children are suffering from malnutrition since the U.S.-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein, a U.N. monitor said Monday.

Four% of Iraqis under age 5 went hungry in the months after Saddam's ouster in April 2003, and the rate nearly doubled to 7.7% last year, said Jean Ziegler, the U.N. Human Rights Commission's special expert on the right to food.

The situation is "a result of the war led by coalition forces," he said.

Double ooops!

Mission accomplished?

- Jordan

Terri Schiavo: RIP

Terri Schiavo has passed away.

My heart goes out to the family and the husband of Terri Schiavo. My heart also goes out to the families of the other 30,000 Americans who goes through this same tragic situation but do so without the media circus that surrounds Terri Schiavo. Where is congress for them? Where are the Republicans when those other 29,999 people have their feeding tubes removed?

Well Terri has finally found some peace. Make no mistake, Terri is now where she should be. With her God. All the misguided folks on the religious right were so far off base on this issue. These religious folks would claim that Terri's husband is killing her. That God wants her to live.

Let me just say this. If God had a choice, Terri would have dies 15 years ago. This is very simple. Without the intervention of technology and the work of humans, Terri would have passed away 15 years ago. How can the religious right claim God wanted Terri to live, when Without science and technology she would have passed long ago?
The Republicans who were against letting Terri Pass away in peace were so far off base on this one. It pains me to see so many people so misguided. They just need to look at the facts. But the Pundits wont look the facts in the face. They never do.

Check out this great clip from Media Matters of MSNBC's Joe Scarborough getting blasted by those pesky facts:

On the March 28 edition of MSNBC's Scarborough Country, host Joe Scarborough interviewed Dr. Ronald Cranford, one of the two neurologists selected by Michael Schiavo to examine Terri Schiavo pursuant to an October 2001 appellate court mandate. As part of that duty, Cranford "reviewed her medical records and personally conducted a neurological examination of Mrs. Schiavo," according to the June 2003 Florida appeals court review of that hearing.

Lets go now to the Video:

Quicktime
Windows Media

That piece is worth passing around. There we see a Doctor, one who has actually treated Terri, with the facts on the case. Dr. Ronal Cranford tells it just like it is and calls Scarborough out for being what he is. An idiot.

If Republicans wanted Terri to live, why not actually do something constructive and fund Medicare? Why not help the Democrats when they try to build a better Medical system for everyone? Why kick and scream and fight against Democrats who want a better medical system? Why fight us when we ask for funding for medical research? Why not stand by our side as we demand better medical care for ALL Americans? Where is the Right on these issues? It was medicare that was keeping Terri alive. Yet Republicans don't seem to care one bit about the failing medicare system. Why doesn't the Right care about all this? What will they do when the autopsy is complete and supports everything Terri's husband claimed? This issue has hurt the Republicans where they hoped to use it to unify their cause. Well it bit them right in the ass. And its going to bite them again before all is said and done.

Rest in peace Terri.

- Jordan


3/30/05

Indeed

- Jordan

Too Little Too Late

Colin Polwel was used. They put him out there and fed him lies. They used him as the sacraficial lamb.

They gave him evidence of WMD that they knew was false. I do not believe for one second that they ever actually believed Saddam had the WMD they claimed that he had. Why else would the reasons for the war keep changing? Well now Colin seems a bit bitter. And Rightly so.

Not as bitter as these folks though...

Powell Says U.S. Was 'Too Loud' Over Iraq -Magazine
The United States made errors in presenting its case for war against Iraq, but Saddam Hussein had to be removed, former Secretary of State Colin Powell told a German magazine. "We were sometimes too loud, too direct, perhaps we made too much noise," Powell told Stern magazine in an interview released on Wednesday. "That certainly shocked the Europeans sometimes."


He said terms like "Old Europe," the expression coined by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to describe countries such as France and Germany which opposed the war, had not helped ease European concerns about Washington's policies. [...]

Powell said he had argued for a diplomatic solution against cabinet colleagues such as Vice President Dick Cheney, who did not believe that diplomacy would work.

"The situation with Saddam Hussein had to be resolved, either by taming him or by removing him by military means," he said. "I'm sure that the Vice President's view from the very beginning was: we'll never solve this through diplomatic means."

Powell said he was "furious and angry" that he had been misinformed about Iraq's stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction when he laid out the case for war before the United Nations Security Council in February, 2003. [...]

"Hundreds of millions followed it on television. I will always be the one who presented it. I have to live with that."

Powell got a raw deal.

- Jordan

We Get Mail

A friend sent this to me. She is correct. This is very important. Please pass the word to the left.

This is important!

I'm writing to tell you about the anti-choice movement's latest--and most insidious--attack on a woman's right to choose. Here's what's happening:

In as many as 20 states, pharmacies are able to refuse to fill women's prescriptions for contraception, including the morning-after pill. It's truly outrageous.

When a woman and her doctor decide that a prescription for contraception is in the woman's best interest, a third party has no right to override that decision. Pharmacies must ensure that patients get their doctor-prescribed medication without delay or inconvenience. Join me in taking action at NARAL Pro-Choice America to stop them. Click here to tell our nation's biggest pharmacies (Wal-Mart, CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens, and Eckerd) not to stand between a woman and her physician.

If they can refuse service based on their beliefs couldn't they be fired for not doing their job? I mean if you job is to fill prescriptions and you are refusing to do that, then you are not qualified for the position you hold. If I am your boss your fired. Not on religious grounds, rather on the grounds that you refuse to do your job. Anyway its an interesting issue.

Pharmacists' Rights at Front Of New Debate

Some pharmacists across the country are refusing to fill prescriptions for birth control and morning-after pills, saying that dispensing the medications violates their personal moral or religious beliefs.

The trend has opened a new front in the nation's battle over reproductive rights, sparking an intense debate over the competing rights of pharmacists to refuse to participate in something they consider repugnant and a woman's right to get medications her doctor has prescribed. It has also triggered pitched political battles in statehouses across the nation as politicians seek to pass laws either to protect pharmacists from being penalized -- or force them to carry out their duties. [...]

"There are pharmacists who will only give birth control pills to a woman if she's married. There are pharmacists who mistakenly believe contraception is a form of abortion and refuse to prescribe it to anyone," said Adam Sonfield of the Alan Guttmacher Institute in New York, which tracks reproductive issues. "There are even cases of pharmacists holding prescriptions hostage, where they won't even transfer it to another pharmacy when time is of the essence."

These people are in the wrong line of work.

- Jordan

Pope on feeding tube

So the pope is now on a feeding tube. I wonder if he has a living will.

Pope Being Fed Through Nasal Tube
Pope John Paul is being fed through a nasal tube to boost his strength, the Vatican said Wednesday, casting a dramatic new light on the Pontiff's struggle to recover from throat surgery.

Doctors inserted the tube after the 84-year-old Pope failed in efforts to speak in public for the second time in four days. He has not been heard in public since an emergency operation on Feb. 24 inserted a tube into his windpipe to help him breathe.

This man must be so tired by now. It will be quite sad to see this man wither away before our eyes. He seems to have no intention to step down from his post. The pope suffers from Parkinson's Disease, and has been in the hospital recovering from throat surgery. In a little side note of irony, Parkinson's Disease is one of many ailments that could possible be cured through stem cell research. The catholic Church, of course, does not condone such research.

- Jordan

Living Will

Saw this and thought it was a very spot-on rant on the whole Shiavo Issue.

Living will is the best revenge

Like many of you, I have been compelled by recent events to prepare a more detailed advance directive dealing with end-of-life issues. Here's what mine says:

* In the event I lapse into a persistent vegetative state, I want medical authorities to resort to extraordinary means to prolong my hellish semiexistence. Fifteen years wouldn't be long enough for me.

* I want my wife and my parents to compound their misery by engaging in a bitter and protracted feud that depletes their emotions and their bank accounts.

* I want my wife to ruin the rest of her life by maintaining an interminable vigil at my bedside. I'd be really jealous if she waited less than a decade to start dating again or otherwise rebuilding a semblance of a normal life.

* I want my case to be turned into a circus by losers and crackpots from around the country who hope to bring meaning to their empty lives by investing the same transient emotion in me that they once reserved for Laci Peterson, Chandra Levy and that little girl who got stuck in a well.

* I want those crackpots to spread vicious lies about my wife.

* I want to be placed in a hospice where protesters can gather to bring further grief and disruption to the lives of dozens of dying patients and families whose stories are sadder than my own.

* I want the people who attach themselves to my case because of their deep devotion to the sanctity of life to make death threats against any judges, elected officials or health care professionals who disagree with them.

* I want the medical geniuses and philosopher kings who populate the Florida Legislature to ignore me for more than a decade and then turn my case into a forum for weeks of politically calculated bloviation.

* I want total strangers - oily politicians, maudlin news anchors, ersatz friars and all other hangers-on - to start calling me "Bobby," as if they had known me since childhood.

* I'm not insisting on this as part of my directive, but it would be nice if Congress passed a "Bobby's Law" that applied only to me and ignored the medical needs of tens of millions of other Americans without adequate health coverage.

* Even if the "Bobby's Law" idea doesn't work out, I want Congress - especially all those self-described conservatives who claim to believe in "less government and more freedom" - to trample on the decisions of doctors, judges and other experts who actually know something about my case. And I want members of Congress to launch into an extended debate that gives them another excuse to avoid pesky issues such as national security and the economy.

The rest is found here

- Jordan


3/29/05

Arnold Is Breaking the Law

This report is brought to you With help from Zack kaldveer. Zack is a member of the 'Anti Arnold Media Task Force, and can be reached at kaldveer- at - yahoo.com

Last week  I mentioned the story of Erica, who encountered  an angry mob of people who she encountered as she was standing outside of a Target wearing a sign that read, "I'm a teacher against Arnold's special election. Ask me why."

However this is just the beginning of the unwrapping of this story. There is much more below the surface. What if those signature gatherers hired by Arnold were hired illegally? What if Target stores had, as part of their store policy, a policy of not allowing ANY signature gatherers outside of their store? What if we found out that Target, was a major contributer to the Arnold Campaign, and that Target had made an exception to their own anti-petition gathering policy to allow only Arnold's people to petition outside their doors. Time to do a little digging......

  Got your shovel?

First, check out the actual California laws on signature gatherers. Its ILLEGAL TO HIRE OUT OF STATE PETITIONERS! Even more astounding is the fact that Target, the store  where the incident occurred just gave a huge donation to Arnold's campaign, is a big back of his,  and in their OWN RULEBOOK it says signature gatherers ARE NOT allowed.

Here is the Law in question:

Declaration of Circulator
Each section shall have attached thereto a declaration signed and dated  by the circulator of the petition setting forth, in the circulator's own hand, the following (§§ 104, 9022):
    *      The printed name of the circulator.
    *      The residence address of the circulator, giving street and number, or if no street or number exists, adequate designation of residence so that the location may be readily ascertained.
    *      A statement that the circulator is a voter or is qualified to  register to vote in the State of California.
    *     The dates between which all the signatures affixed to the petition were obtained.
  Each declaration submitted pursuant to this section shall also set forth the following (§§ 104, 9022):
    *      That the circulator circulated the petition section and witnessed the appended signatures being written.
    *      That according to the best information and belief of the circulator, each signature is the genuine signature of the person whose name it purports to be.
    *      That the declaration is true and correct under penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of California.
Petition Circulators

The proponent(s) of an initiative measure are required to ensure that any person, company, or other organization who solicits signatures to qualify the proposed initiative measure, whether they are paid or  volunteer, receives instruction on the requirements and prohibitions  imposed by state law with respect to the circulation of petitions and the gathering of signatures. Such instructions must emphasize the  prohibition of the use of signatures on an initiative petition for a  purpose other than qualification of the proposed measure for the  ballot. (§ 9607) The petition may be circulated by a number of  individuals carrying separate, identical parts of the petition called  sections. Each petition circulator who obtains signatures must complete  the attached declaration to the petition. Preprinted dates or generalized dates, other than the particular range of dates during  which the petition section was actually circulated, are not allowed  (Assembly v. Deukmejian (1982) 30 Cal.3d 638, 180 Cal.Rptr. 297). The  declaration must be signed under penalty of perjury. It need not be  sworn before a notary public or other officer authorized to administer  oaths, but must include the circulator's signature, date, and place of  signing (Code Civ. Proc. § 2015.5). Prior to allowing a person to circulate an initiative petition for signatures, the person, company  official, or other organizational officer who is in charge of signature  gathering shall execute and submit to the proponent(s) a signed statement that reads as follows (§ 9609):

  I,___________
, acknowledge that it is a misdemeanor under state law (Section 18650 of the Elections Code) to knowingly or willfully allow  the signatures on an initiative petition to be used for any purpose  other than qualification of the proposed measure for the ballot. I  certify that I will not knowingly or willfully allow the signatures for this initiative to be used for any purpose other than qualification of the measure for the ballot.
  _____________

  (Signature of Circulator)
  Dated this ____ day of ____, 20__

  So we have established that Arnold has hired petition gatherers in an illegal fashion. We know Target made an exception to its own rule to allow Petitioners working with Arnold to do so on Target's store property.

Let us dig deeper still.

Target Donates $100,000 to Support Schwarzenegger's Initiatives

As Lisa Vorderbrueggen reports in the Contra Costa Times, signature gatherers for Citizens to Save California got in a dust-up with an opposing group as they canvassed for signatures at Target.

Target? Didn't they bar the Salvation Army from collecting money for charity in the parking lots and grounds outside Target stores? Yep.

Target Bans Salvation Army Ringers
Donation collectors for the Salvation Army have been a familiar sight and sound for years outside retail outlets during the holiday season. The bell ringers, though, will be absent from some major North Texas stores this year.


Target stores have informed Salvation Army officials they no longer can set up the donation sites outside Target stores. Officials with the retail giant said they had to cancel the Salvation Army's exempt status to the retailer's no-solicitation policy.

  In fact, Target's company policy says the following :

"Target Corporation restricts the use of its parking lots and facilities to only business use. Target does not permit individuals (including political candidates and/or their campaign organizations) or nonprofit organizations to solicit donations, distribute literature, sell merchandise or hold events on our premises."

Huh. That's weird. Why would Target go against its own company policy to allow Citizens to Save California to collect signatures in support of the Governor's agenda?

 Maybe for the same reason that Target Corporation gave $100,000 to Citizens to Save California two weeks ago .

Maybe Target didn't know CSC was going to be out there collecting signatures. I doubt CSC's signature-gatherers are ringing bells after all.

Regardless, it sure strikes me as strange that a store would kick a charitable organization off its grounds but not a big-business backed ballot committee with close ties to the Governor.

If you still have room for some more information here are 2 great articles from the past that provide information on Arnold's shady dealings, conflicts of interest, and the truth behind Arnold's "man of the corporations" Governing style.

Pathological Peas in a Pod
ike most everyone in and around Hollywood, I spent part of this past weekend devouring DisneyWar, James Stewart's 572-page vivisection of Disney CEO Michael Eisner. Throughout the chilling read, I couldn't shake the feeling that Eisner reminded me of someone.

The answer came when I got to the epilogue. "Eisner's most glaring defect," writes Stewart, is "his dishonesty." Stewart goes on to describe Eisner's "tendency to distort, embellish or forget the truth" until he becomes incapable of distinguishing reality from his own fabrications.

That's when it hit me: Eisner is the Disneyland doppelganger of Arnold Schwarzenegger. It's all right there: the unremitting duplicity; the penchant for saying one thing, then doing another; the gift for irrational invective; the way both men forge personal bonds with others, then turn around and stab them in the back – often just hours later.
more

The truth about Arnold (Watch the ad for entry)
The movie star poses as a corruption-fighting moderate. But since taking office, he's pursued a blatantly right-wing agenda while raking in big bucks from special interests -- and ignoring his own financial conflicts.

Titillated by the star power of his populist coup in California, the national media has swooned in Arnold Schwarzenegger's muscular embrace for over a year. The New Yorker profiled him as "Supermoderate!" Wired found him to be "surprisingly effective." The editors of the New York Times proclaimed, "The last action hero can seemingly do no wrong." On the cover of its January 2005 issue, Vanity Fair featured the leather-jacketed Schwarzenegger posing atop a Harley with his silken spouse, Maria Shriver. The story, like so many others, portrayed the glam couple as the future of American politics: bipartisan, moderate, effective ... presidential.
More

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

 For more information: http://www.therestofus.org

ARNOLD, PLEASE PLAY BY THE RULES!
On February 7, 2005, TheRestofUs.org filed a complaint with the California Fair Political Practices Commission that asked them to investigate Arnold Schwarzenegger's illegal fundraising for his so-called Citizens to Save California ballot committee. Please add your name to the following petition  that asks Arnold to abide by the laws of California.

http://www.ContestTheVote.org/ is also quite anxious to get publicity for our petition drive: the same petition Erica was getting signed when she was assaulted by Arnold's thugs.
http://www.ContestTheVote.org/

Report Arnold Hotline
If you know of a signature gathering effort by Schwarzeneggers' backers, please report it at the following number or email address.  Dean Democratic Club of Silicon Valley will do our best to try to get local folks out there to counter these despicable efforts to destroy the Californian community.
http://www.dfasv.org/node/view/1365
Report Arnold's Signature Gatherers
Call: 1-206-666lead
reportarnold@dfasv.org

- Jordan & Zack


3/28/05

Bread and Circuses

Burger King to offer 'enormous' sandwich


That is what I saw when I went to CNN this morning to see what was going on in the 'real world'. Our media system is seriously fu*@ed up when a sandwich gets more press time than any story about how our own government lied and deceived us to start a war for profit.

I sometimes wonder how it is that such huge stories seem to break at just the right times. Both the steroids story and the Michael Jackson story came at such a time as to be very convenient for directing attention away from the failures of the Bush administration. I remember during Bush's State of the Union Address, when he started speaking about steroids. I was thinking "what the heck is he going on about. Steroids? How is that relevant?" This was of course before the steroids thing became an issue. So did Bush know this issue was about to go mainstream? Or did the story go mainstream because Bush needed a distraction? The whole Iowa vote fraud was just trying to get some legs right at that time. The 'salvador option' was just getting press. There was all kinds of bad press about the Gonzales confirmation. Etc, etc.

Then you have the issue of  documents that should be secret (in the steroids case or Gannon/Guckert having classified information regarding Valerie Plame) being leaked to blow the story open at just the right time. IIs the government releasing classified information to certain people top nudge a story to break at an appropriate moment?

Michael Rains, Bonds’s lawyer, implied that the Government had leaked the documents to smear Bonds. “My view has always been this case has been the US versus Bonds and I think the Government has moved in certain ways in a concerted effort to indict my client,” he said.

I hear ya Michael. I hear ya.

When some seemingly obscure news story is highlighted for months at a time (as in the Scot Peterson) you just have to wonder who is pulling the strings. How hard is it to pull those strings when all media is owned by 5 corporations? To put that in perspective, in 1983, about 50 corporations owned most of the media. Now it is just 5. I wonder of those 5 corporations even give huge donations to any political party? Gee I wonder....

NBC is owned by General Electric, one of the largest corporations in the entire world. GE, a major contributor to the Republican Party, has substantial financial interests in weapons manufacturing, finance, nuclear power and many other industries. ABC is owned by the Disney Corp., which produces toys and products in developing countries where they provide their workers atrocious wages and working conditions. CBS is owned by Viacom, yet another enormous media conglomerate that also owns, MTV, Showtime, Nickelodeon, VH1, TNN, CMT, 39 broadcast television stations, 184 radio stations, Paramount Pictures and Blockbuster Inc. Etc. Rinse and repeat.

Well the best way to control people is to control what they believe. Control the messenger and you control the message. This is the very reason Blogging is such a threat to them. All of a sudden people are getting their information from sources they do not control.

Its all just distraction. Bread and Circuses.

The American Heritage dictionary defines bread and circuses as “Offerings, such as benefits or entertainments, intended to placate discontent or distract attention from a policy or situation.” The term was used by the ancient Romans to describe how their rulers kept the population in the dark at politically opportune moments. [...]

The corporate media make sure that Michael Jackson’s pajama clad appearance in court was known to anyone not living under a rock. On the other hand, very few Americans know that their government is now responsible for kidnapping terror suspects and sending them to countries that routinely engage in torture. In one instance a German national was kidnapped in Europe and sent to Afghanistan where he was tortured not by vicious foreigners but by Americans. The tactics used by Chile under Pinochet or Argentina during its dirty war are now routinely used by the U.S. government. [...]

When celebrity crime or juiced up athletes don’t provide enough distraction, the corrupt government and their media side kicks return to the old standbys of fear and paranoia. [..]

What a coincidence. As the anniversary of the Iraq occupation brings annual protests and renewed questions from a skeptical public we are given new reasons to fear, keep our mouths shut, and put our faith in Dubya and his team.

More

Distractions.

Mars bitches!

- Jordan

Kos sighting

Just got back from lunch at my local cafe. Same cafe I eat at almost every day. Which is why I was so surprised to see none other than Markos Moulitas. Thats the man behind the Daily Kos for those who don't know the name. I felt bad interrupting the interview but I had to say hi. I just shook his hand and said I was a big fan and thanked him for all the work he has done. It was short and sweet.

I think the woman interviewing him was a bit surprised that I had recognized him. He doesn't seem to put his face out there too much.

He came by after the interview and asked if I was a registered user. Yes I am. he knew my handle, which was cool. (He had front posted my social security artwork a few weeks back). He was very nice and obviously was making a point of coming back to say hi to his fan after his work at the cafe was done. Anyway I thought I would share that with ya.

Wish I had had my camera with me.

- Jordan

Stop Arnold Petition

The Gropenator is naked. The emporor weares no clothes.

Zack, the man on the inside sends me this. Pass it on:

We are quite anxious to get publicity for our petition drive: the same petition Erica was getting signed when she was assaulted by Arnold's thugs.

It's accessible at www.ContestTheVote.org for on-line signing.

This STOP THE SPECIAL ELECTION petition gives folks a chance to tell the Gov, "Hey, we see the emperor has no clothes!" Californians don't want this special election; polls show they don't want to spend up to $70 million dollars on an election that could be held in seven months--in June 2006. And, once we inform them, they also prefer an election in 2006 because of security:

there will be a mandated voter verified paper audit trail in the electronic machines next year.

The average, everyday folks we talk to at the Target in Concord (and at the other stores in Contra Costa County that Arnold's petition companies have "targeted"), don't like the thought of public employees being under attack. These moms and dads tend to like the teachers at their neighborhood schools, and see firefighters and police officers as folks who protect them.

Especially hard to take is a bullying, wealthy Gov trying to take away death and disability benefits from firefighters and police.

Indeed. Sign this thing and pass the word on to the left. Here are some more links on the subject:

http://www.arnoldwatch.org (click on "Get Involved")
http://www.speakoutca.org (click on "Join Now")
http://www.calnurses.org (click on "Patient Advocacy Action Center" under "Get Involved")
http://www.cta.org/ PoliticsandLegislation/PAL.htm

Heres some recent numbers for the Gropenator:

Field Poll (PDF). 2/8-17. MoE 3.5% (September 2004)

Schwartzenegger's Job Approval ratings

Approve 54 (65)
Disapprove 35 (22)

Among Democrats

Approve 34 (46)
Disapprove 54 (34)

Among Republicans

Approve 84 (88)
Disapprove 11 (6)

After you have signed the petition think about joining some fellow Californians here:

On April 5 at 6 p.m., nurses, students, teachers, parents, firefighters and people who care about public health, education and justice will rally at the Ritz Carlton in San Francisco (600 Stockton at California) outside one of Schwarzenegger's fund raisers for fat cats. YOU ARE INVITED!

- Jordan

Behind enemy lines

Got this in an e-mail today. It is an e-mauil from Dr. Lucido who I had mentioned the other day.

Just found out this past Friday, that I am scheduled to be on Bill O'Reilly's , O'Reilly Factor on Monday 3/28/05.

Per google search of "bill o'reilly" AND "medical marijuana" and got this quote of his:

'"...i believe Montel Williams when he says , "Look, medical marijuana helps me, helps me cope with this disease, cope with my suffering. There's no reason why I should be denied it." And I agree that if this is the case, if a doctor -- a doctor -- says he needs it for his MS, he should have it." 7/7/04

So at least we have some common ground. The assistant producer, Owen Rounds, today, and they/he were impressed with my article on my practice standards for medical cannabis consultations on by MedicalBoardWatch.com website.

Owen indicated that part of what will be asked is "what a patient looks for in a medical cannabis doctor or recommendation" That is one of my fortes, but I do know he is against legalization, but in favor of decriminalization in some way. Any advice or warnings are welcome. Sounds bites to remember safe and effective medicine (again my forte or Ambush questions to anticipate "isn't this really about legalization?" "what about kids getting this stuff?"Thanks! peace and health,

Frank

Good luck with that Frank. You are a braver man than I. Just don't expect the man to play fair and you should do OK. You should also know the man has no problem with flat out lies. Heres a fun O' Reilly blast from the past:

"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

- Jordan


3/24/05

BREAKING STORY - More intimidation from the Right

Special thanks to Zack kaldveer (who you all know from his great 'Link Roundups') for this story.

UPDATE: Zack has just informed me that Phil Angelides ( California State Treasurer) & Assemblyman Mark Leno are holding a dual Press Conference on this story TODAY. More information when it becomes available.

More intimidation and scare tactic from the Right. This time it is Arnold cronies who are doing their best to make sure the opposition is stiffled. Below is the personal account of a woman engaging in her first ammendment rights when she was confronted in a rather frightening manner by those who wish her message would never be heard.

Zack kaldveer, who regular readers know from his fantastic Link Roundups, has brought to my attention this breaking story. This story is already being covered in the Contra Costa Times and on KPFA Radio. There will be a press release in the near future so stay tuned.

Here is a message straight from Zack on this breaking story:

"The question to ask is why is the "peoples' governor" hiring out of state signature gatherers, some of which are allegedly felons, to intimidate and threaten young teachers out of standing up to his attempt to reduce their job security (as if teachers don't have it bad enough in our society...why not go after Ken Lay Arnold...oh yeah....you guys are allies)? Strange that this "man of the people" picks teachers and nurses as his enemies (and calls them "special interests") as he raises record sums of money from giant corporations that depend on his anti-consumer, pro-corporate agenda (see chart of where his $$ come from here).

Could this former steroid using body builder, turned shitty actor and serial woman groper, turned two-faced poltical con-artist, not be the "People's Governor" he claims to be? I'm inclined to say "yes". This man needs to be exposed for what he is, and this is one more story that does this, now it depends on us to get the truth to the people".

- Zack

Below is the letter sent by Erica to Assemblyman Mark Leno, regarding her frightening experiences trying to have her voice heard. This story needs to get out fast as this is a shocking foul bit of play by Arnold supporters.

My name is Erica and I am a graduate student at San Francisco State. I am student teaching in Berkeley, specializing in Deaf/hard-of-hearing Education. In brief, I decided to go out alone and stand near a man who was collecting initiative signatures in front of the store. I was wearing a laminated, hand-made sign that read, "I am a teacher against Arnold's special election......ask me why".

I was shocked to encounter his immediate intimidation and threatening language. Within the first five minutes he said the following, "I'm going to call and get thirty guys down here. You won't be here long. There isn't a problem too big I can't handle. You won't last long". And from there it became completely out of control. Fifteen people arrived and attempted to surround me, hurling abrasive insults with aggressive voices. I was afraid for my safety. My husband and four other people drove down to protect me. I called the police.

The tactics were unbelievable. I stayed there four five hours in the rain under those conditions. I left with purple lips, shivering and all of us were followed to our cars. They wrote down license plate numbers. It was awful.
What is worse, they are all from Michigan!! They are paid by the signature and they have no vested interest in the welfare of California. It is ironic that Arnold claims to protect Californian's jobs, yet people are being flown in from other states to support his initiatives.

The story is much richer than I can explain in brief. I was interviewed my KPFA and the Contra Costa Times today. KPFA will air the story at 6:00pm tonight.

Please do not hesitate to discus this story with anyone. However, my husband and I would prefer to release my first name only at this time. We have reason to believe these people have criminal records. In fact one women admitted to being a felon. Feel free to contact me for more detailed information.

Thank you for you time!

This kind of intimidation is unacceptable in my opinion. The fact that the intimidation thugs used for this nonsense are not even from California is a clear indication of the kind of morals and mind set that is being used by the opposition in this matter.

The Contra Costa Times has more on the story (Registration required):

Petitioners claim foes play dirty

Dueling signature-gatherers squaring off on the sidewalks of California's shopping centers create a potentially explosive mix that has already ignited in Pleasant Hill.

Members of California for Democracy, the state arm of Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean's grass-roots political network, accuse petition workers for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's reforms of using intimidation tactics as both sides appealed to Target shoppers Tuesday night.

Two Democratic activists said their opponents made inappropriate comments and followed them to their cars, where they took pictures of or wrote down their license plate numbers.

The battle is over the governor's reform package, which would replace public pensions with private accounts, enact budget reforms, pay teachers based on performance and change how the state draws its political boundaries. [...]

A spokesman for Citizens to Save California, which hired the petition workers, said late Wednesday that he had no details of the Target incident and would investigate the allegations.

"What I do know is that union bosses have told their rank-and-file members to harass our signature-gatherers and disrupt the process," Reed Dickens said. [...]

The dust-up began when Erika arrived Tuesday afternoon at Target, wearing a sign that read, "I'm a teacher against Arnold's special election. Ask me why." [...]

A man already stationed at the store, where he was gathering signatures for the governor's petitions, accused her of interfering with his job and "told me 'I'm going to call and get 30 of my guys here. You won't last,' " Erika said.

"Slowly, people started to gather," Erika said. "They surrounded me. Some tried to pretend they were regular citizens and tried to goad me into a confrontation. They were doing everything they could to intimidate me to leave."

Erika called the police and her political activist colleagues, telling them that she feared for her safety. [...]

During the next few hours, Erika and Klein said, the signature-gatherers for the governor repeatedly positioned themselves close to their opponents, then yelled out in a theatrical manner, "Stop shoving me!"

One man pounded his fist on one petition and said, "This job, petitioning, can be very dangerous," Klein recounted.

More
(name in above article changed to "Erika", as I was told she did not want her last name involved).

Arnold, who ran on the promise of improving California is now seeing his worst nightmare come true. His promises to work for the people can only bee seen as a smoke screen with this kind of intimidation tactics being used against the very people he would claim to be protecting.

- Jordan


3/23/05

Daily Show

Great bit on the Chiavo situation on the Daily Show the other night. This whole situation is out of hand. tens of thousands of feeding tubes are pulled every year. Chiavo is being used by the Right for nothing more than political advantage and it makes me sick. Furthermore the people in congress who are making a medical diagnoses based on a video tape is utterly disgraceful, not to mention illegal. As usual the hypocrisy is in full swing. Bush has written laws that allow for hospitals to pull the plug on comatose patients who are unable to pay for care so the whole "Right to Life" argument is transparent. If they really cared they would be passing laws for better health care, for better prenatal care for infants, for things that actually help people live a better life. Instead they argue in congress about a matter that should be settled privately by those close to her.

Check out John Stewart at his best.

- Jordan


3/22/05

Link Roundup 3.22.05 - From Zack

Greg Palast releases his first groundbreaking report on the true reasons for war, the battle between big oil and the neo-cons, and the cover up of a lifetime. Get ready...listen to the interview on Democracy Now...I'll be on the phone with him tomorrow night and report to you all Wednesday. This could be big...but I've said that before, and the truth just disapears into the Matrix, never to be seen again, and not able to puncture the pubilc conciousness to the level we all hope. Nonetheless...this is unreal:

And, John Zogby, arguably the most reliable pollster in the United States, who has freely admitted he "blew" last November's elections and does not exclude the possibility that foul play was one of the factors knocking his calculations off course. "We're plowing into a brave new world here," he says, "where there are so many variables aside from out-and-out corruption that can change elections, especially in situations where the races are close. We have machines that break down, or are tampered with, or are simply misunderstood. It's a cause for great concern.

The Politicization of Terri Schiavo...this is just too sick

Just like countless other families, the family of Terri Schiavo has struggled for years with the intensely difficult decision of how to match her course of treatment to her wishes.  Now President George W. Bush, Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX) and Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN) are using the tragic case of Schiavo ­ a severely brain-damaged woman who has been incapacitated for the past 15 years ­ as an opportunity for political grandstanding. A memo, which the AP reports was distributed by Senate leadership to right-wing members, called Schiavo "a great political issue" and urged senators to talk about her because "the pro-life base will be excited." Over the weekend, DeLay and Frist held special sessions of Congress to facilitate passage of a bill that would allow a federal court to overturn years of Florida jurisprudence ­ encompassing seven courts and 19 judges ­ and intervene in the Schiavo case. (Underscoring that this was about the politics of the Schiavo case and not policy, the bill was written explicitly to apply only to Terri Schiavo.) President Bush played his part in the spectacle, flying to Washington from his ranch in Crawford to sign the bill, even though waiting a few hours for the bill to be flown to him would likely "have made no difference in whether Ms. Schiavo lives."

BUSH SIGNED LAW ALLOWING HOSPITALS TO DISCONTINUE LIFE SUPPORT: In a statement released early this morning, President Bush said he will "continue to stand on the side of those defending life for all Americans." But the facts make it hard to believe that Bush is standing on principle. In 1999, then Gov. Bush signed a law that "allows hospitals [to] discontinue life sustaining care, even if patient family members disagree." Just days ago the law permitted Texas Children's Hospital to remove the breathing tube from a 6-month-old boy named Sun Hudson. The law may soon be used to remove life support from Spiro Nikolouzos, a 68-year-old man. Bush has not commented on either case.

DELAY VOTED TO SLASH FUNDING THAT PAID FOR SCHIAVO'S CARE: At every opportunity, Tom DeLay has sanctimoniously proclaimed his concern for the well-being of Terri Schiavo, saying he is only trying to ensure she has the chance "we all deserve." Schiavo's medications are paid for by Medicaid. Just last week, DeLay marshaled a budget resolution through the House of Representatives that would cut funding for Medicaid by at least $15 billion, threatening the quality of care for people like Terri Schiavo. Because the Senate voted to restore the funding, DeLay is threatening to hold up the entire budget process if he doesn't get his way.

FRIST FIGHTING AGAINST FINANCIAL RECOVERY FOR PEOPLE LIKE SCHIAVO: Bill Frist has been positioning himself in the media as a champion for Schiavo's interests. Yet, much of Schiavo's medical care has been financed by $1,000,000 from two medical malpractice lawsuits Schiavo won after her heart attack 15 years ago. Frist has been leading the charge to limit recovery for people like Schiavo who are severely debilitated. If Frist is successful, people like Schiavo would not be able to recover any punitive damages no matter how severe their injuries.

More

- Zack


3/21/05

A Free Speech Zone Challenge

So I was reading a Diary over at Kos about a young Democrat who wanted to hear first hand what Bush had to say about Social Security, but was kicked out of the event. Imagine my surprise. He was caught blue handed committing the ultimate crime. He wore a shirt proclaiming he was a Democrat. Funny thing is, at the event, Senator McCain was quoted as saying something like:

"The door is open for the Democrats to talk to us about Social Security ... but they won't!".

Classic. No Senator, we have plenty to say, but Republicans just won't let us in the door.

So this got me thinking. This is a fantastic chance to get this kind of thing more attention. I am just sick and tired of the Bush team talking about how bipartisan they will be, and then throwing everyone out the door who wears anything resembling a Democratic T-shirt. It is as if the peace sign is like cryptonite to them. And that is how my idea was born.

Here is my challenge. Bush uses the word "peace" in his speeches liberally. Now he may not favor it as much as he does words like "freedom" and "liberty" but "peace" is always there. (Only Bush can make a sentence with the word "peace" in it seem menacing). So Bush will use "peace" as a term when it suits him politically to do so. He is always going on about peace and spreading peace throughout the world. Ok then. Bush endorses peace. Perfect. So I have designed a Tshirt (Side note: I am making no money off of the sales of this particular shirt) with the classic Free Speech Zone patriotic Peace sign, and a Bush quote below it:

" The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world ".
- President Bush 1/20/05


My challenge is this. Wear this shirt to any Bush event where they seem to be screening folks to keep anyone anyone to the left of Strom Thurmond from having a say. (In other words wear it to any Bush event). They of course will not let you in. Because you have a Peace sign on your shirt you must be a criminal or something. When you go to do this it would be best to have at the very least a camera with you. At best someone from the press. Because it is going to be a great moment when you shout out to the stern man dragging you away from the event that the shirt you are wearing is a PRO BUSH shirt! Point out the quote and make sure they see that it is their fearless leader who has inspired the peaceful shirt you now wear. Make sure the cameras zoom in for the close up as the security team is now forced to confront their own hypocrisy. Do they throw you out for wearing the vile and hated symbol of the left? Or do they kiss your ass and treat you as "one of them" since the peace sign on the shirt is referring to King Bush's own desire to spread peace in this world. If they throw you out be sure to let everyone watching the drama unfold how disillusioned you are to discover that Bush does not mean the things he said in his inspired speech.

If cameras catch this it just might expose this hypocrisy to the world. It has the effect of bringing to the forefront the idiocy of the pre-screened Bush events as well as showing Bush's use of the word peace for what it really is. A political tool. If the security guard throws you out you can tell the press, rightly so, that Bush does not believe in peace. If they let you in, then even better. You now have created a precedent for Bush actually believing the words he says when he speaks of peace.

Either way we win.

If you manage to do this let me know. I want to tell your story.

Please check the store for more shirts

- Jordan

Raich v. Ashcroft & Schiavo V. Bush

The Republicans might be shocked to find out that some of their values are out of the main stream. Since the Republicans are always saying that Democrats are so out of touch this little bit of irony is a delicious tid bit bit that I would like to point out to you. I am of course taling about the Schiavo case and the questionable role Congress has decided to play. It seems like the people disagree with some of what the GOP and Congress is doing in regards to the Schiavo case. Heres the numbers from a recent ABC poll. (PDF)

- 70% of Americans say it is inappropriate for Congress to involve itself in the Schiavo case.

- 67% of Americans “think the elected officials trying to keep Schiavo alive are doing so more for political advantage than out of concern for her or for the principles involved.”

- 58% of Republicans, 61% of independents and 63% of Democrats oppose federal government intervention in the case.

- 50% of evangelicals oppose federal government intervention in the case, just 44% approve of the intervention.

To increase the irony just a bit further I remind you of a law that Bush himself passed when governor of Texas. It was called the Texas Futile Care Law. Lets go now to Digby for the details:

The Days Of Our Lives
By now most people who read liberal blogs are aware that George W. Bush signed a law in Texas that expressly gave hospitals the right to remove life support if the patient could not pay and there was no hope of revival, regardless of the patient's family's wishes. It is called the Texas Futile Care Law. Under this law, a baby was removed from life support against his mother's wishes in Texas just this week. A 68 year old man was given a temporary reprieve by the Texas courts just yesterday.

Those of us who read liberal blogs are also aware that Republicans have voted en masse to pull the plug (no pun intended) on medicaid funding that pays for the kind of care that someone like Terry Schiavo and many others who are not so severely brain damaged need all across this country.

Just when you thought this whole situation couldn't get more ironic lets take a trip down memory lane. GOPers are all caught up in a hissy because a woman in a "vegetative state" won't be kept alive by medical means. Now I withhold judgment on this one and believe this matter should be settled by the family not by congress. However it is interesting to note that Republicans I am sure would be against Another woman fight to stay alive. Angel Raich.

Frank Lucido, M.D. states, "Angel has no reasonable legal alternative to cannabis for the effective treatment or alleviation of her medical conditions or symptoms associated with the medical conditions because she has tried essentially all other legal alternatives to cannabis and the alternatives have been ineffective or result in intolerable side effects. Angel will suffer imminent harm without access to cannabis. Angel needs to medicate every two waking hours. After a certain number of medications have been tried, it would be malpractice to subject the patient to further unnecessary harm." Angel’s medical records show she runs a very real risk of malnutrition and starvation without the use of medical cannabis. (Read the Declaration of Frank Henry Lucido, M.D (PDF)

There is a lot more information on this historic and very relavant case right here:

How the Raich v. Ashcroft federal medical cannabis lawsuit born, and who is involved

Angel Wings Patient OutReach, Inc. retained attorneys Robert Raich, David Michael, and Randy Barnett who agreed to bring forth the historic lawsuit of first impression, Raich, et al. v. Ashcroft, et al.  The lawsuit was filed on October 9, 2002, by patient-activist Angel McClary Raich, Diane Monson, and Angel's two anonymous caregiver growers.  It charges Attorney General John Ashcroft and DEA Administrator Karen Tandy with violating constitutional rights under the Commerce Clause, the Fifth, Ninth, and Tenth Amendments, and medical necessity.  McClary Raich, a medical necessity patient with life-threatening illnesses, is asserting her right to fight for her own life. [...]

According to the Complaint, John Ashcroft, the Federal Justice Department, and the DEA are unconstitutionally exceeding their authority by embarking on a campaign of seizing or forfeiting privately-grown intrastate medical cannabis from California patients and caregivers, arresting or prosecuting them, mounting paramilitary raids against them, harassing them, and taking other civil or administrative actions against them.

More

Just another case of Republicans having their cake and eating it twice.

- Jordan

Igloo Time

Lets check in with Gregory Pratt, the youngest and hardest working blogger on the block. Here is a sample of what is on his mind these days. Check his blog for more.

Don't Tear Down The Big Tent
Michael Savage earns some voters for the Republicans - by soothing the stone cold right - but, if the Republican Party openly embraced the Savage wing of their party we could label them as nuts, and label them so in a very effective and vicious manner. Personally, I would love to run for President against a Republican who had Mike Savage as a special guest at his convention. In that same vein, they use Moore to label our party as the tax-happy, weak-on-defense, in-favor-of-all-abortions gun-hating party. That needs to stop if we want to win one day and, obviously, we do.

That doesn't mean Moore should go away. That means that he should not represent the Democratic Party, and who can argue with that? Why would anyone want Moore to be the image of the Democrats? Even if you love every word he's ever said, you'd be hard-pressed to say, "Well, he's a great candidate and spokesman."

As for MoveOn, I think it's a great organization, obviously. I am a fan of theirs, but they do need work with their public relations. Listen, they run ads with big, rich Hollywood celebrities and, as we all know, Hollywood can be a very naughty place. If MoveOn.org ran more ads with more normal people - not with people like Rob Reiner - they would be a much better organization. Again, it's not a knock on them, or on Reiner, but it's a basic truth that you don't appeal to those who feel that their culture and values is under attack (which is how many Conservatives feel) by running ads featuring the people who they feel are attacking them.

More

Keep an eye on this guy. At 15 years old he is already climbing his way to the top. The top of what you might ask. Who knows but whatever he reaches for I am sure he will get there. Great work Greg.

- Jordan

Tomorrow is here

Global warming is a myth. Don't believe those movies that tell you we are on the verge of dramatic climate changes that may change life as we know it. Ignore the groups of scientists who are trying to warn us that we are destroying our planet. Don't pay any attention to those crazy types who will tell you that glaciers that have been ice covered for thousands of years are melting at the alarming rate of 50 feet a year. I mean if all this were true wouldn't we be having tornados in San Francisco or something?

A 'probable tornado' rips through South San Francisco
South San Francisco got a taste of Dorothy's Kansas on Sunday when what authorities called a "probable tornado" whirled through town, ripping off roofs, pulling down power lines and breaking windows and then flinging the debris for blocks. [...]

"The floor began to shake and then all the people outside began to run indoors, yelling 'tornado,' " said Jorge Lozano, 20, who was working in the Ayar Produce store near downtown. "Then everything was blowing around in the store, pinatas, all of the stuff on the shelves. The windows blew out, and everyone was screaming. There was glass all over."

At least 40 buildings -- 20 homes and 20 businesses, including a fire station under construction -- were damaged as the swirling winds ran a wild 3-mile path across the city, from Westborough to the San Francisco Bay. The twister also uprooted towering trees, caused gas leaks and knocked out power to about 1,500 residents.

South San Francisco Fire Chief Philip White said that one home had to be evacuated because of extensive damage. [...]

"I've been with the South San Francisco Fire Department for 22 years and I've never seen anything like this," White said.

More

 
Still from "The day after tomorrow"

- Jordan


3/18/05

Got Art?

On the off chance that you live in Berkeley California and have nothing to do come check out some art. I will be at the art opening of political activist Wavy Gravy. How Berkeley of him! Wavy does collages, very minimal in his approach. I have seen them and they are stunning. The opening is at the Trout Farm.

Details:

March 18th  Art Opening
TROUT FARM - Storefront.
2179 BANCROFT WAY
BERKELEY, CA 94704
510-843-3565
5 PM - 8 PM  music etc.
See Wavy at the opening on March 17th

Map

See you there? If you can't make the opening no worries. The show is up for a while.

- Jordan

Friday Guest Blogging - Derek Zoolander

War For Oiyle

I may not be able to turn left, so I am making up for it by leaning left. I'm pretty sure there just might be more to life than being really, really good looking. And I plan on figuring that out some day.

But right now I want to talk to you about my new found brothers in the Demonstratic Party. And when I say brother, I don't mean, like, an actual brother, but I mean it like the way they use it in the hip-hop community. Which is more meaningful I think.

Anyway the party. The demo.. The people on the left over there. I think they were right about this whole war for oil thing. I mean Earth to Rebuplicans, Bush had a plan to invade Iraq long before 911. Hello? This war is about one thing. This is a war for oil. O.I.Y.L.E! You people over there in the... on the right can say all you want about how this war was to liberalate the Iraqi people but if you did say that, you would be wrong! You Neo Consivitors think that you're too cool for school, but I have a newsflash for you Walter Cronkite... you aren't.

I mean what, are you having a whack attack? How much damage will you do to this world to make money for your selves? Do you understand that the world does not revolve around you and your Neocom, do whatever it takes, ruin as many people's lives, so long as you can keep your party in power, no matter how many lives you kill or people you leave dead and bloodied along the way, just so long so you can keep your Relug... Replugica... as long as you can stay in power, no matter how many friends you lose or people you leave dead and bloodied and dying along the way?

So to simmerize what I am saying here to you people, let me read to you this piece of this particle on Bush and Iraq:

Secret US plans for Iraq's oil

The Bush administration made plans for war and for Iraq's oil before the 9/11 attacks, sparking a policy battle between neo-cons and Big Oil, BBC's Newsnight has revealed. Two years ago today - when President George Bush announced US, British and Allied forces would begin to bomb Baghdad - protesters claimed the US had a secret plan for Iraq's oil once Saddam had been conquered.

In fact there were two conflicting plans, setting off a hidden policy war between neo-conservatives at the Pentagon, on one side, versus a combination of "Big Oil" executives and US State Department "pragmatists".

"Big Oil" appears to have won. The latest plan, obtained by Newsnight from the US State Department was, we learned, drafted with the help of American oil industry consultants.

Insiders told Newsnight that planning began "within weeks" of Bush's first taking office in 2001, long before the September 11th attack on the US.

Oh snap! I told you!

- Derek Zoolander

Bush and the BOOO! Factor™

Bush uses terror alerts when he needs a bit of a boost in his ratings. I have been saying this for a long time now but this graph found over at The Left Coaster gives it to you nice and straight.

Check it out and pass it on

- Jordan

Link Roundup 3.18.05 - From Zack

No Refuge from Greed: Alaska Open For Business

"As one of his last acts in office" Republican President Dwight Eisenhower set aside the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, "the only place in the nation where the full spectrum of arctic and sub-arctic ecosystems is protected in an unbroken continuum." The 19 million-acre refuge is a land so pristine that it has been described as "a domain for any restless soul who yearns to discover the startling beauties of creation … where life exists without molestation by man." The name given to the area by the Gwich'in tribe, the indigenous people of the region, "translates to The Sacred Place Where Life Begins." But big oil has been greedily devouring the lands surrounding this virgin wilderness area, turning them into an industrial site riddled with scores of contaminated waste sites and daily pollution spills. And now, after using backdoor tactics disapproved of by the overwhelming majority of Americans, right wingers in the Senate and White House have set the stage for big oil to drill through the very "biological heart of this untamed wilderness," with the hope of drilling in other environmentally sensitive areas.

FUZZY NUMBERS…: The United States Treasury will likely never see the drilling revenues presupposed by President Bush's 2006 budget. The budgetary estimates drastically exaggerate the price per leased acre, in some cases expecting "between 66 and 120 times the historic average." Waning industry interest in the area is also a serious factor and one of President Bush's own advisors stated, "If the government gave [the oil companies] the leases for free, they wouldn't take them."

…GET EVEN FUZZIER: The administration also is relying on a 50-50 split of the revenues between Alaska and the federal government, but "current law calls for 90 percent to go to Alaska." And it is likely that Alaskans would be ready to go to court with the federal government to protect the 90-10 split. Remarkably, it is not just the revenue but the refuge's oil itself that may never reach American consumers; Alaska's congressional delegates are loudly clamoring to restart oil exportation to foreign countries.'
A DISTRACTION, NOT A SOLUTION':
Drilling in the Arctic refuge "serves neither short-term demand … nor long-term national policy." After the decade or longer it will take to begin oil production on the land, the United States Geological Service estimates the amount technically recoverable and economically profitable to recover "represents less than a year's U.S. supply." At the height of production, "the refuge would produce a paltry 1 or 2 percent of Americans' daily consumption." Tire changes and updated fuel efficiency standards could individually save more oil than is likely to be found in the refuge.


COMING SOON TO A COASTLINE NEAR YOU:
If neither big oil nor the majority of Americans wants drilling in the Arctic refuge, the environmental consequences will be permanently scarring, the activities will endanger the future of an entire people as well as scores of wildlife species, and there is no way to restrict it to just one sliver of the land, why is the right wing pushing so hard for something that will do little to nothing to cure our nation's energy dependence? Precedent. In a closed door meeting with fellow conservatives, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) spoke about the "symbolism involved in opening up the refuge to drilling" as well as the precedent the move will set. DeLay's comments reveal that drilling in ANWR is "a domino game that will lead to drilling in the Rocky Mountains, off the California coast and in the Gulf of Mexico." Watch out when the moratorium on eastern Gulf drilling expires in 2007.


- Zack


3/17/05

Lack of ethics - A Delay Update:

A defiant Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX) came out swinging yesterday, attacking the press and blaming partisan politics for reports of his recent ethics violations. "I have yet to be found breaking any House rules," he crowed. Not so fast, congressman. In the past year, DeLay was rebuked three times for ethics violations. On 9/30/04, he was admonished by the House Ethics Committee for trying to bribe a colleague into supporting the Medicare bill. On 10/6/04 he was rebuked for using the Federal Aviation Administration to track down Texas legislators during a state partisan squabble. He was also rebuked for appearing to solicit campaign contributions from corporations interested in an energy bill. Still outstanding: Lobbyists picked up the tab for expensive vacations DeLay took to Britain and Asia. He's also under new scrutiny for his involvement in funneling illegal corporate campaign funds to candidates for Texas state office. (For a list of a dozen of DeLay's dirty dealings, check out ThinkProgress.org.) Tired of DeLay's blatant disregard for basic ethics? Tell your lawmakers it's time for DeLay to go by signing this petition from the Public Campaign Action Fund. 

THE NEWEST CHARGES:

There's fresh evidence of DeLay's involvement in a criminal investigation in Texas. The political action committee Texans for a Republican Majority (TRMPAC) is currently under criminal investigation for using laundered corporate money to finance Texas campaigns (which is highly illegal under Texas law). Three political operatives with close ties to DeLay have been indicted for money laundering, although DeLay himself has tried to distance himself from the group. (As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution points out, "There is no question that DeLay was involved to some degree in that scheme. The only doubt is whether his involvement rises to a degree that makes him criminally liable.") New documents were introduced in court recently showing that "DeLay personally forwarded at least one large check" to TRMPAC and he was "in direct contact with lobbyists for some of the nation's largest companies" on TRMPAC's behalf. Also, there is new evidence that DeLay's personal leadership action committee, ARMPAC, may have been involved in illegally funneling the checks.  

Here are some other great articles oput right now:

Bush even more AWOL than we thought
According to USNews, Bush's violation of the rules was EVEN WORSE THAN WE THOUGHT. This is a BIG honking story. At this point, I'll give the GOP the CBS memos if they want 'em - who cares if they're real now. USNews, known to be a conservative-leaning magazine, has just come up with indepdendent evidence showing Bush shirked EVEN MORE of his National Guard duty than we thought, that the White House lied about it, and that there is no explanation for how Bush could reasonably get an honorable discharge.

Framing The GOP
How can a party containing such principle-challenged people as Tom DeLay and Bill O'Reilly dominate the moral values discussion? How are Democrats castigated as "outside the mainstream" when President Bush is leading the charge to dismantle a hugely popular government program? It's all due to Republicans successfully and consistently framing their opposition. Communications expert

- Zack

Diebold Facts - From a Dkos Diary

This is a fantastic chunk of information on Diebold and E-voting. I have edited this for length so be sure to CHECK OUT THE FULL VERSION. There is a LOT more There is more on my VOTE FRAUD page as well.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

* ES&S and Diebold count 80% of all votes in America.

* Diebold also makes ATM machines. Their ATM machines, unlike their electronic voting machines during the 2004 election, provide paper receipts.

* Diebold has its corporate headquarters in Ohio.

* The vice president of E.S.&S. and the president of Diebold are brothers.

* Diebold and ES&S's other major "competitor", Sequoia, is owned by a partner member of the Carlyle Group, which has substantial ties to the Bush family and friends.

* In 2003, a cadre of computer scientists showed that the software running Diebold's new machines can be hacked with relative ease.

* More than 35 Ohio counties used electronic voting machines made by Diebold and up to 50,000 Diebold touch-screen machines and 20,000 scanners of paper ballots were used in 38 states during the November 2004 election.

* In Montgomery County, two precincts recorded a combined undervote of almost 6,000. An "undervote" means the voter made selections for lesser offices, but did not vote for President.  In these two precincts alone, that number represents an undervote of 25%, in a county where undervoting averages out at just 2%. Democratic precincts had 75% more undervotes than Republican ones.

* In Precinct lB of Gahanna, in Franklin County, a computerized voting machine recorded a total of 4,258 votes for Bush and 260 votes for Kerry. In that precinct, however, there are only 800 registered voters, of whom 638 showed up.

* In Miami County, the Concord Southwest and Concord South precincts boasted incredibly high 98.5% and 94.27% turnouts, respectively, both of them registering overwhelming majorities for Bush.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

There is a lot more. CHECK OUT THE FULL VERSION

- Jordan


3/16/05

Don't believe the hype

As the popularity of Bush's plan... er... theory on how to "fix" Social Security continues to plummet, Bush himself admits "I have not laid out a plan yet". Which is odd because the Republicans are always going on about how Democrats should quit whining and put forward a plan of their own. To which we say there is no need for a plan when small adjustments can create long term solvency. If it is not broken don't fix it.

Make no mistake, Republicans are not out to fix Social Security, they are out to destroy it. They are out to widen the gap between the rich and the poor. If you needed any more proof of that just look at the bankruptcy bill.

But I digress. Americans know that the Social Security problem bush has invented is false. Just like the WMD crisis was false. Americans have caught on to how Bush has used fear tactics to force his policies through. But with only 35% of Americans believing this hype Bush is fighting a losing battle. It seems Bush will go down kicking though, as he has hauled Greenspan out to cry doom and gloom like the hack that he is. Same old tricks. When things aren't going his way, he simply drags his trained shills out to scare the people into submission.

Fed chief: Expect Social Security cuts
Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan told Congress that the mounting financial pressure of a wave of retiring baby boomers is so great that cuts in future government retirement benefits are all but inevitable.

The Fed chairman told the Senate Special Committee on Aging that the nation has about three years to work out a fix. "In 2008, the leading edge of what must surely be the largest shift from retirement in our nation's history will become evident as some baby boomers become eligible for Social Security," he said in his prepared remarks. [...]

Greenspan said most leading economists at the time had expected budget surpluses to stretch into the future, citing forecasts by the Office of Management and Budget as well as by the bipartisan Congressional Budget Office. And he said that he had also pushed for tight rules on Congressional spending and more fiscal discipline.

"I don't think that the issue is a question of taking a wholly different view... It turns out we were all wrong," he said, referring to the prevailing budget surplus forecasts. He also said that he would take the same position again if he was faced with the same circumstances.

Senator Clinton finished her questioning with a quick parting shot: "Just for the record, we were not all wrong, but many people were wrong."

Oh snap! Way to get in the last shot Hillary! True, Democrats were right back then and are still correct to this day.
So Bush continues to lie to us about Social Security being in crisis. Interesting to note that Bush just this morning admitted that his own ideas on Social Security do not even fix the solvency issue at all.

"Personal accounts do not solve this issue."
--Bush, this morning at his press conference

So he invents a crisis, then proposes a plan and claims it will fix this problem that doesn't even exist, and then admits his plan does not even address the crisis he said existed. If Bush really wanted to solve a problem he could look to the huge deficits his policies have created. Even better he could fix the REAL problem of Medicare deficits. Medicare's deficit is 7 times that of Social Security. Why isn't he interested in solving that problem?

Oh yeah, because that would actually help the American people. Can't have that.


- Jordan


3/15/05
Halliburton rips off tax payers. Nobody cares.

Just a month ago Halliburton was awarded a 9.4 million dollar bonus for doing such fantastic work out there in Iraq. Thats right, receiving no bid contracts is hard work! But they do so much more than that. They also charge $100 for 1 bag of laundry per soldier. So if every soldier in Iraq washes his draws only 1 time during his/her deployment, then Halliburton gets 15 million. Good times. On top of that they have abandoned dozens of expensive army vehicles because they lacked intelligence to supply extra spare tires and gas filters. These vehicles cost $85k. How about some soda? Its hot out there and troops need to drink right? Ok that will cost 'em $45 for a case of pop. The Halliburton Company also appears to have charged the US government $27 million to deliver $84,000 worth of fuel to Iraq. Everywhere you look there is gross negligence.

For the rest of this story lets go now live to The New York Times:

Pentagon Sees $108 Million in Overcharges by Halliburton

Overbilling for postwar fuel imports to Iraq by Halliburton totaled more than $108 million, according to a report by Pentagon auditors that was completed last fall but has not been officially released to the public or to Congress.

In one case, according to the auditing report, the company claimed that it had paid more than $27 million to transport liquified petroleum gas it had purchased in Kuwait for just $82,000, a charge the auditors dismissed as "illogical." [...]

In a letter sent to President Bush today, Mr. Waxman and Representative John D. Dingell of Michigan, minority leader of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, asked for an explanation of why the reports had not been made public and demanded stronger efforts to reclaim money from Halliburton.

Allegations of overcharging for the fuel imports have swirled from the initial days of the occupation, but this latest audit suggests that that the scale of disputed charges was higher than previously known.

In December 2003, the same Pentagon auditing agency announced that a preliminary study had discovered $61 million in unreasonable fuel bills up to that point. [...]

Officials of that company have asserted that Halliburton executives demanded kickbacks for the awarding of the fuels contract. The company denies the charges...

More

Think the main stream news should cover this? Me too. Let CNN know they are slacking. Fill out the news tip form and ask them why they aren't providing greater coverage to this story.

- Jordan

BREAKING: Kerry/Edwards File More Ohio Election Motions

You would think this might get some media attention but it won't. They are too busy crawling up Shrubs arse and drooling over Michael Jackson coverage. So I will fill you in:

Kerry/Edwards File More Ohio Election Motions

Kerry-Edwards 2004 has just made two filings in the Ohio recount case currently pending before Federal Judge Edmund Sargus in Columbus, Ohio. Kerry-Edwards 2004 has been relatively quiet in this case for the past several weeks and its filings today indicate its continued interest and involvement in this litigation.

In December 2004, presidential candidates David Cobb and Michael Badnarik filed extensive documentation with the court demonstrating that the recount they had requested in Ohio of the 2004 presidential vote had been conducted with inconsistent standards throughout the state, in violation of the equal protection and due process guarantees under the US Constitution (see Bush v. Gore).

Cobb and Badnarik filed amended counterclaims seeking a new recount to be conducted with uniform standards, in accordance with the US Constitution. (As an example, 97% of the ballots have yet to be counted by hand in Ohio and, more than often, the 3% of the vote that each county counted by hand was not randomly selected, as required by Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell's own guidelines) To access the amended counterclaims, see this document (Adobe required).

Read more

Pass it on.....

- Jordan

Link Roundup 3.15.05 - From Zack

Liberal bloggers reaching out to mainstream media? You bet, and the New York Times covered the story. And guess what, I have been asked to participate in these "national blogger" teleconferences in which we will plan a more coordinated and strategical effort to get the mainstream media the facts they need to adquately cover the stories they need to cover...essentially helping them do a better job. Exciting stuff:

 
And here's some commentary from Brad Friedman of the Brad Blog on the story, as well as new dirt on Delay, the electoral reform movement and updates on the whole Curtis/Feeney hacking program story (it isn't over). Brad is one of the founders of the coordinated blogger campaign concept, a trendsetter in the blogger movement with his amazing investigative work, and the one who contacted me.

Ted Rall cartoon on the outsourcing of torture (its funny)...you can see why the Washington Post recently fired him as one of their cartoonists (a longtime veteran too)...just too much truth for today's "mainstream" media.
 

Kerry and Edwards file more suits in Ohio...but of course, this isn't news, well, what's the importance of democracy and widespread election fraud compared to 24/7 coverage of the Nichols murders and the Michael Jackson trial? C'mon, I need to know those details, particularly the life story of every person involved in these drama's, with dozens of pundits telling me what to think about it, and analyzing every minute detail, hour after hour. Just because the candidate FOR PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES is still filing charges saying there were election law violations, corporate crimes, and collusion doesn't make it a story! We're talking about Michael Jackson molesting kids for God's sakes! That's news!

CORRUPTION: Delay's in Real Trouble
 
I've been following this, as you all know, for about two years, and finally, it looks as if we may have this criminal where we want him. What a blow this would be to the radical right wing. If Delay wasn't a congressman he'd probably be a mobster...and of course a bug exterminator. Its unfathomable how his Republican counterparts are ensuring he won't get busted, and preventing a real investigation with penalties...how do they sleep at night? They spent 8 years trying to bury Clinton on sex and they work just as hard covering up for the most corrupt elected official perhaps in US History.

An Indian tribe and a gambling services company each paid $25,000 to finance an "educational" trip to Britain for House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, his wife, two aides and two lobbyists in mid-2000. The trip reportedly included a stay worth more than $13,000 at the Four Seasons in London and a visit to Scotland's legendary St. Andrews golf course. Two months later, in July 2000, DeLay helped kill the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act, which "would have made it a federal crime to place certain bets over the Internet and was opposed by eLottery and the Choctaws." DeLay's European vacation is just the latest of the House leader's activities to draw scrutiny ­ DeLay faces accusations concerning his travel, his fundraising practices and his connections to lobbyists. The Washington Post reports, "At least six Republicans expressed concern over the weekend about DeLay's situation ... they said that the volume of the revelations about his operation is becoming alarming and that they do not see how it will abate."

DELAY'S CORPORATE DEFENSE FUND: Since the indictment last fall of two his closest political operatives in Texas, DeLay has raised $250,000 for his legal defense fund, upping the total to nearly $1 million since 2000. But the New York Times reports the fund itself has become an object of scrutiny. The list of recent donors includes two lawmakers who were placed on the House Ethics Committee this year (they replaced conservatives who were purged for being critical of DeLay). Among the corporate donors to the defense fund are Bacardi U.S.A., the rum maker which has also been indicted in the Texas investigation, and Reliant Energy, "another major contributor to a Texas political action committee formed by Mr. DeLay that is the focus of the criminal inquiry." In December, DeLay was forced to return funds from registered lobbyists because those contributions violated House ethics rules.

UNETHICAL CONNECTIONS: In a particularly blatant example of conflict of interest, one of the Ethics Committee's new appointees, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), was "co-host of a 2002 fundraising breakfast to benefit the DeLay-founded political action committee that is now the subject of a grand jury investigation in Texas. The grand jury is looking into whether the PAC improperly used corporate funds to influence the outcome of state legislative races." Smith also donated $10,000 to DeLay's legal defense fund. Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) also gave the fund $5,000 before winning a seat on the Ethics Committee. The deck is apparently now well stacked.

VACATIONS FROM HOUSE RULES: DeLay "could face new legal bills over a swirl of allegations" made against him and other House members that they "accepted foreign trips from lobbyists and registered foreign agents." In addition to his European vacation, DeLay accepted an expense-paid trip to South Korea which, in direct violation of House rules, was paid for by a South Korean lobbying group. The cost to send DeLay, his wife and three of his lawmaker friends to Seoul for three days was $106,921. The group that funded the trip, Korea-U.S. Exchange Council, shares a Georgetown address with former DeLay aide and current lobbyist Ed Buckham.

NO ETHICS IN HOUSE: Don't expect an investigation into DeLay's transgressions any time soon. Rather than coming clean about his various ethical violations, DeLay and his allies in the House have sought to cripple the House Ethics Committee. The committee, which rebuked DeLay three times last year, was purged of its most "responsible" members last month and is currently "paralyzed" by a proposed rule change that "would prevent the committee from launching any investigation without the support of at least one Republican—a restriction designed to protect the majority leader." House leaders proposed the change only after abandoning their proposal to repeal a rule forcing the House Majority leader to retire from his post if indicted. The measure was dropped after rank-and-file lawmakers complained "the party was sending the wrong message."

This is a big one. Lots more right here

- Zack

3/14/05

PA politics - Santorum lives where?

  Article 1: Section 3: Clause 3 of the of the United States Constitution:

Clause 3: No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.

Shorter, more appropriate version:  If you are not a resident of the state, you aren't allowed to run for the U.S. Senate. Cross-posted from the Pennacchio for Pennsylvania campaign blog.

A lot has been made of Rick Santorum's residency in the past few months.

1.) Penn Hills (PA) school district paying $38,000 a year for his children's cyber schooling.

2.) His wife won a $350,000 civil suit against a chiropractor.  The claim was filed and the judgement was awarded in Virginia. (Umm, yeah, Santorum is trying to limit these types of judgements to $250,000 -- she filed for $500,000 and Rick Santorum testified on her behalf)

3.) The Pittsburgh Post Gazette wants to know if Senator Santorum (R-VA/PA) is behind the recent push-polling done against members of the Penn Hills School District.


4.) Then there are the actual home that Rick Santorum owns in Pennsylvania.  The home that supposedly houses his wife, six children, and the two people that he rents it to in Pennsylvania.

That's a total of 10 people that live in this place:

You got it -- Ten people sharing:

Stories: 1.5
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 2
Sq. Feet: 2071
Full Market Value: ~ $106,000

And we are supposed to believe that his family lives here instead of their $757,000 home in Leesburg, Virginia?  Come now.

But here is the ironic twist in the story:

In his initial House race against Rep. Doug Walgren in 1990, challenger Santorum attacked the incumbent from Mt. Lebanon for buying a house and raising his children in McLean, Va. Now Rick Santorum of Leesburg, Va., is saying that he is and he isn't a resident of Pennsylvania.

Rick Santorum needs to convince the voters of Pennsylvania that he lives among them and not just an out-of-towner who used to live here when he was first elected.

Distribute.  Liberally.  Please Link to:

http://www.chuck2006.com/blogDetail.asp?id=99

Tim

Wow

This is a bit off topic but I can't resist. This looks like something I will have to see within my lifetime.

The Harbin snow and ice festivals

Everything is made of either snow or ice. Check out these 2 pages of amazing photos:

Page 1 - Page 2

 

Does it get any cooler than that?

- Jordan

The Boo! Factor™

I will come right out and say it. Bush uses fear and terror to control the population of the United States. By keeping the constant fear of another attack hovering over our heads Bush can garner support and finances for all his military endeavors and make sure all his friends in big business get the big bucks and no bid contracts. He can use this fear to make people believe that only he, or people who think like him can keep the world safe. Further more every time Bush needs a boost in the polls all he has to do is put out a terror warning. Always these warning come when bad news for bush is making the rounds or when his numbers are slipping. All you have to do is pay attention to when the terror alerts are put out and then look for a correlation with his approval numbers. It is an easy connection to make.

But is there really a threat?

Secret FBI report doubts al-Qa'ida can stage 9/11-type strikes in US

A secret FBI report has cast doubt on al-Qa'ida's ability to stage another "spectacular" attack in the US, three and a half years after the 9/11 suicide hijackings and a year after the Madrid bombings, the network's only other major strike in the West.

While the desire of the al-Qa'ida leadership to attack the US was "not in question", the report said, "their capability to do so is unclear, particularly in regard to 'spectacular' operations". Contrary to statements by prosecutors and the FBI's own chief, Robert Mueller, the February report, obtained last week by ABC News, says the agency knows of no al-Qa'ida "sleeper" agents in the US.

The leaked report emphasises that it is not only Britain which is having difficulty measuring the potential threat from international terrorism. Recently President George W Bush said Osama bin Laden had contacted Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, al-Qa'ida's chief associate in Iraq, to seek his help in planning attacks on the US.
Although some analysts saw this as a sign of weakness on the al-Qa'ida leader's part, Mr Bush said: "Bin Laden's message is a telling reminder that al-Qa'ida still hopes to attack us on our own soil. Stopping him is the greatest challenge of our day."

More

Well I am sure that won't stop them from keeping us feeling we are about to be attacked.

 

- Jordan

Feel good story of the day

Remember back in the day when we were invading Iraq because it had WMD? That didn't pan out so we tried a few other reasons (24 to be exact). The WMD was the one that got the whole ball rolling. So if we were invading the country for WMD it would have made sense to make that a priority right? One would assume that we would head right for the weapons caches to protect them from looting right? Right? I mean Rummy said we know right where they are!

"We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat." Right Rummy, sure.

Instead of going to protect the weapons, they went and protected the oil fields. True colors shining through.

Let us now go to the New York Times for unfortunate punch line to this story:

Looting at Weapons Plants Was Systematic, Iraqi Says

In the weeks after Baghdad fell in April 2003, looters systematically dismantled and removed tons of machinery from Saddam Hussein's most important weapons installations, including some with high-precision equipment capable of making parts for nuclear arms, a senior Iraqi official said this week in the government's first extensive comments on the looting.

The Iraqi official, Sami al-Araji, the deputy minister of industry, said it appeared that a highly organized operation had pinpointed specific plants in search of valuable equipment, some of which could be used for both military and civilian applications, and carted the machinery away. [...]

The threat posed by these types of facilities was cited by the Bush administration as a reason for invading Iraq, but the installations were left largely unguarded by allied forces in the chaotic months after the invasion. (Emphasis mine)

The rest

Oh the irony. If Bush really wanted to take out the biggest threat this planet faces from WMD all he needs to do is eat more pretzels.

- Jordan

Fake news - Not just for John Stewart anymore

2 interesting reads about the new trend of our government creating fake news to gather support for its plan to destroy America.

Under Bush, a New Age of Prepackaged TV News

"Thank you, Bush. Thank you, U.S.A.," a jubilant Iraqi-American told a camera crew in Kansas City for a segment about reaction to the fall of Baghdad. A second report told of "another success" in the Bush administration's "drive to strengthen aviation security"; the reporter called it "one of the most remarkable campaigns in aviation history." A third segment, broadcast in January, described the administration's determination to open markets for American farmers.

To a viewer, each report looked like any other 90-second segment on the local news. In fact, the federal government produced all three. [...]

... In all, at least 20 federal agencies, including the Defense Department and the Census Bureau, have made and distributed hundreds of television news segments in the past four years, records and interviews show. Many were subsequently broadcast on local stations across the country without any acknowledgement of the government's role in their production.

This winter, Washington has been roiled by revelations that a handful of columnists wrote in support of administration policies without disclosing they had accepted payments from the government.

More

Yes it is sad that our government does not have support for its policies and thusly has to create fake support. But it is even more pathetic that our Media organizations run these falsehoods without question. Hey big media, whose yer daddy?
Sadly this practice is spreading. Propaganda, its not just for dinner anymore.


Calif. Gov. 'News' Videos Cause a Stir

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's administration has acknowledged making several videos masquerading as news stories to promote its agenda, creating an uproar from Democrats and labor leaders in a controversy parallel to one ignited by the Bush administration.

``When the governor produces official government propaganda and tries to fake it to look like news it's very, very corrosive to democratic values,'' said Barry Broad, a labor lobbyist who compared it to efforts by totalitarian regimes.

Criticism initially focused on a video promoting labor regulations altering workers' meal breaks. But the administration later said it made videos on Schwarzenegger's efforts to reshape state government, stall rules that would increase nurse staffing at hospitals and alter teacher pay and tenure requirements, said aides to Sen. Gloria Romero, D-Los Angeles.

More

Gee I wonder why our own government feels the need to lie to us in order to gather support for an idea that is supposed to be for our own good? Could it be that they don't have our best interest at heart? Why don't Bush and Schwarzenegger just leave the fake news to the Daily Show?


- Jordan



3/11/05

Friday Guest Blogging - Ali G

Dead On Arrival

Respect. Some wickid news on dis Friday. Checkit. All da pimpin mista Bush as done to bone up social security was all fa nothin. Da ard work Democrats 'ave done in da past months towards savin' Social Security just might ave paid off. Massive innit'?. Let dis be a lesson to all yous Democrats out there dat it pays off to stick togetha as a party. Big up yourselves wif a massive dose of unity. Yous geezers learn from dis one. Togetha yous can overcome da conservavites who is all up in your turf. Now if only yous all had da bollocks to stand firm on da bankruptcy bill as well. I guess it's one step at a time innit?

But I digest...

For da 411 on dis chillin story we go now to da Washington Times.

Checkit:

Senators May Block Social Security Vote

President Bush's bid to add individual accounts to Social Security faces such formidable opposition in the Senate that its supporters may be unable to bring it to a vote, according to a Washington Post survey of senators.

An overwhelming majority of Democratic senators said they will oppose, under any circumstances, Bush's plan to allow younger workers to divert a portion of their Social Security payroll taxes into individual investment accounts that would follow them into retirement. A few others said they will not support such accounts if they require substantial government borrowing. Even many Republicans say that is inevitable because the alternative involves unacceptably large cuts in benefits or tax increases to replace the diverted taxes or both.

More

So rememba kids stand firm wiv your boys and we can get work done. One party. One people. One chronic. Now is da time to rebuild our foundation and big up against da Rethuglicans who seem intent on bringing ruin to da US of A. Booyakasha!

- Ali G

Coalition to Defend Social Security

Via Atrios I notice that the Coalition to Defend Social Security is having a funeral march to Sen. Santorum's office on Tuesday the 22nd. Wish I was able to be there. If you are in PA you should check this out. Nothing like a bit of marching in the streets to get the spirits up.

Details here


- Jordan

 


3/10/05

Pennachio for Pennsylvania - US Senate

I do not Blog much about my personal life. Most folks who read this Blog don't know much about me (I know you read here mom. I am talking about the others. Both of them). I currently live in California. I am soon to move to Pennsylvania though. Thats right. I am leaving this wonderful secluded liberal bubble of a reality and moving to a swing state! PA here I come. Home of Rick Santorum (that frothy mixture of ... oh nevermind...).

I was so happy to see PA go blue during the last election. But it saddens me knowing Mr. Santorum will be my senator. This is where Chuck comes in. Chuck Pennachio is about as decent and honest as politicians come. He is a family man with a great sense of where this country should be heading. He also embraces like few politicians do, the concept of net roots in politics. Chuck, you had me at go.

So I encourage people to support his candidacy for US Senate. If you live in PA be sure to get involved or contribute if you can.

Lets get him elected shall we?

- Jordan

Captain Obvious to the Rescue!

What would we do without this guy?

Greenspan: Budget Deficits Pose Big Threat

 In a wide-ranging speech, Greenspan said he believed the United States' flexible economy would be able to deal with current concerns over trade and savings. "The resolution of our current account deficit and household debt burdens does not strike me as overly worrisome, but that is certainly not the case for our fiscal deficit," Greenspan said in prepared remarks to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. [...]

"Our fiscal prospects are, in my judgment, a significant obstacle to long-term stability," Greenspan said.

More obvious things

 

- Jordan

Collages of War #10

Wish of an Iraqi Child

When I look
at the purple-blue sky
at night,
I want to see stars,
not bombers,
circling in the moonlight.

I want to watch shooting stars
or comets
instead of the flare
of the crashing bombs
on the streets
out there.

Stars are the angel-bridges
of comfort - nothing should block
their light.

Avalyn Mathis, Grade 6

- Jordan


3/9/05

Saw this over at TCS. Sent a chill down my spine

... Gary Webb was an investigative reporter who linked the CIA to crack cocaine trafficking in Los Angels. He died of self-inflicted gunshot wounds to the head. Yes he shot himself in the head more than once.

  • Mark Lombardi drew pictures demonstrating the links between Bush, James Bath, and the bin Laden family and many other favorites of the conspiracy crowd. He committed suicide.

  • We already mentioned Hatfield who committed suicide in a hotel room. He wrote the book "Fortunate Son" which alleged that the reason Bush "volunteered" for community service in the early seventies was to erase a cocaine bust from his records.

  • Investigative reporter Danny Casolaro committed suicide in a Hotel room in 1991. He was working in a conspiracy "theory of everything" called "The Octopus" that linked the CIA, October Surprise, BCCI, and pretty much everything else.

  • Margie Schoedinger was suing Bush for sexual assault. She committed suicide on September 22, 2003.

  • Raymond Lemme was an investigator for the Florida Department of Transportation who was investigating claims of voter fraud (the article explains why FDOT would be involved). He committed suicide in a hotel.Nothing to add really. There are troubled people in the world and the troubles of the world can be too hard to bare. That said, that's quite a list.

    More

Yes strange, and often tragic, things happen to people who stand in Bush's way. To this list I would add David Kelly, a UN weapons inspector who came back from Iraq to report that there were no WMD. He predicted he would be "found dead in the woods" and he was correct. Police called it a suicide but paramedics questioned that.

Then there is the strange story of death of perhaps America’s most influential advocate of a verified voting paper trail, Athan Gibbs, in the era of touch screen computer voting. Gibbs, an accountant for more than 30 years and the inventor of the TruVote system, died when his vehicle collided with an 18-wheeled truck which rolled his Chevy Blazer several times and forced it over the highway retaining wall where it came to rest on its roof.

UPDATE:

How could I foget this one:

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. 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.

I'm Just sayin'....

- Jordan

Zack's Link Roundup 3/9/05

BANKRUPTCY: Amending Economic Justice

A bipartisan coalition in the Senate is determined to help the credit card industry, which took in $30 billion in profits last year. That's why many senators are supporting a bill (S. 256) that would make it harder for average people to recover from financial misfortune by declaring bankruptcy. And they refuse to let anyone ­ not victims of identity theft, not those suffering from debilitating illness, not the military ­ get in their way.  Last week the Senate rejected a series of amendments to the bankruptcy bill that would have, among other things, closed loopholes for the wealthy, cracked down on predatory lending practices and protected the homes of those who were facing bankruptcy from medical bills. (For more on the bill, check out this memo by American Progress CEO John Podesta).There is no more time to waste ­ a final vote on this bill is scheduled for tomorrow. Write your senators now and demand that they oppose the bankruptcy bill.

REJECTED ­ CLOSING LOOPHOLES FOR MILLIONAIRES: Under the bill, the very wealthy would be able to shield millions in assets after declaring bankruptcy by setting up "asset protection trusts." Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) introduced an amendment that "would have limited the use of the trusts to shield assets only up to $125,000." The amendment failed 39-56. Schumer lamented, "now we have a bill that says a family won't be protected if it has $50,000, but it will if it has $5 million."

REJECTED ­ PROTECTIONS FOR THE ELDERLY: The bill will be especially hard on elderly Americans, who are bankrupted by medical bills with increasing frequency. Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) introduced an amendment that would have shielded their homes (up to a modest $75,000) from seizure after declaring bankruptcy. The amendment failed 40-59.

REJECTED ­ PROTECTIONS FOR THE SICK: More than half of all bankruptcies result from families who are unable to pay medical bills. Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) introduced an amendment to exempt those who became bankrupt because of illness from the new restrictions. The amendment failed 39-58.

More

- Zack

Main Stream Media Will Never Touch This

As if we needed more proof that this administration has fully embraced manipulating the media and using propaganda to influence public opinion. They used the toppling of the statue of Saddam to create a PR spectacle. They glorified the death of Pat Tillman turning his story into a heroic event when in reality he was killed by friendly fire. They turned the Jessica Lynch story, literally into a made for TV propaganda piece. They get caught paying commentators illegaly to put Bush policies in a positive light. Twice.

Don't even get me started on Gannongate.....

And now this:

Ex-Marine Says Public Version of Saddam Capture Fiction

A former U.S. Marine who participated in capturing ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein said the public version of his capture was fabricated.
Ex-Sgt. Nadim Abou Rabeh, of Lebanese descent, was quoted in the Saudi daily al-Medina Wednesday as saying Saddam was actually captured Friday, Dec. 12, 2003, and not the day after, as announced by the U.S. Army.

"I was among the 20-man unit, including eight of Arab descent, who searched for Saddam for three days in the area of Dour near Tikrit, and we found him in a modest home in a small village and not in a hole as announced," Abou Rabeh said.

"We captured him after fierce resistance during which a Marine of Sudanese origin was killed," he said.

He said Saddam himself fired at them with a gun from the window of a room on the second floor. Then they shouted at him in Arabic: "You have to surrender. ... There is no point in resisting."

"Later on, a military production team fabricated the film of Saddam's capture in a hole, which was in fact a deserted well," Abou Rabeh said.

Here is another link on this same story

- Jordan


3/7/05

Collages of war #9

Although President Bush's uncompromising second inaugural address does not so much as mention the words Iraq, Afghanistan and the war on terror, he and his supporters continue to engage in a planned reordering of the world. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are but one part of a supposedly universal effort to create world order by "spreading democracy". This idea is not merely quixotic - it is dangerous. The rhetoric implies that democracy is applicable in a standardized (western) form, that it can succeed everywhere, that it can remedy today's transnational dilemmas, and that it can bring peace, rather than sow disorder. It cannot.

The Dangers of Exporting Democracy
Bush's Crusade is Based on a Dangerous Illusion and Will Fail
by Eric Hobsbawm

- Jordan

With friends like these....

Italian hostage Giuliana Sgrena thought her worst days were behind her when she learned that she was to be freed from her captivity in Iraq. She had been a captive for over a month. The 56-year-old reporter from the left-wing Italian newspaper Il Manifesto was taken by her captors to the Baghdad airport. But before she could be freed her trip turned tragic. The car she was traveling in was sprayed with machine gun fire and the special forces agent who had helped negotiate her release was killed as he protected Giuliana Sgrena from harms way. Italy mourns the loss of this life even as it rejoices that Giuliana is out of harms way. The political ramifications of this friendly fire killing are just being felt.

The incident has strengthened Italian opposition to the continuing military presence in Iraq.
Six in 10 Italians now think the war was wrong.

Hundreds of Italians lining the streets applauded as the cortege approached the packed church.

Italy, who has already been critical of the war is now hoping for an apology from the United States. The tragic loss felt by Italy will likely make stronger their criticism of the war. The coalition of the "willing" continues to dwindle.

Giuliana Sgrena has since told her version of events. She has hinted that it may have been no accident that her car was shot at.

In several interviews to Italian and foreign media outlets, Ms Sgrena said she believes US troops might have deliberately opened fire on the car.

Ms Sgrena, who works for communist paper Il Manifesto and has always been an outspoken critic of the war, argues that US authorities strongly oppose the kind of negotiations conducted to free her.

"I cannot rule out that I was the real target," she told Rome-based daily La Repubblica.

She has given a detailed account of her days in captivity and of the final hours after she was released only to be shot at my American forces:

The car proceeded on its way, through an underpass full of puddles, almost skidding to avoid them. [...] Nicola Calipari sat by my side. The driver had notified the embassy and Italy twice that we were heading to the airport, which I knew was controlled by the American troops. It was less than one kilometre, they told me . . . when. . . . I remember only fire. At that point a rain of fire and bullets came at us, forever silencing the happy voices from a few minutes earlier.

The driver started shouting we were Italians, "We are Italians! We are Italians . . ." Nicola Calipari dove on top of me to protect me and immediately, and I mean immediately, I felt his last breath as he died on me. I must have felt physical pain, I didn't know why. But I had a sudden thought: I recalled my abductors' words. They said they were deeply committed to releasing me, but that I had to be careful because "the Americans don't want you to return."

The U.S. of course immediately rejected the notion that troops fired on the car if a foreign liberal reporter on purpose even though her captors had warned her that Coalition troops may not want her to make it out of Iraq alive.

The White House on Monday said it was "absurd" for a former hostage in Iraq to charge that U.S. military forces may have deliberately targeted her car as she was being rushed to freedom.

White House press secretary Scott McClellan said the car carrying Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena was traveling on one of the most dangerous roads in Iraq, to the Baghdad airport, when it was fired upon. An Italian intelligence officer in the car was shot and killed.

Responding to Sgrena's statement that the car may have been deliberately targeted, McClellan said. "It's absurd to make any such suggestion, that our men and women in uniform would deliberately target innocent civilians.

Sadly the notion that journalists, who tend to be critical of the Iraq war, are being targeted by friendly troops is hardly a new one. Journalists covering the war in Iraq have been killed on many occasion, sometimes in questionable circumstances.

To top it all off another friendly fire story is hitting the wires today as Bulgaria claims one of it's troops was killed by American forces in Iraq.

U.S. forces in Iraq, already implicated in the killing of an Italian secret agent, faced more "friendly fire" embarrassment on Monday when Bulgaria said they had probably shot dead one of its soldiers.

The controversy raised questions over whether U.S. troops are over-zealous in their efforts to crack down on insurgents, who killed at least 25 people in fresh attacks on Monday. [...]

Bulgarian Defense Minister Nikolai Svinarov said an investigation into the death of the Bulgarian soldier showed he was probably accidentally killed by American troops.

Just another day in the quagmire...

- Jordan


3/4/05

Gunner Palace

This is going to be a good movie. It is not showing in many theaters so check the web site to see if it is playing in your area. The movie documents the lives of 400 soldiers, who carry out their mission from a bombed-out pleasure palace once owned by Saddam Hussein.

It is made my the soldiers themselves and promises to show a side of the war that we will never see on the news. Support the people who made this thing and take some friends to go see it. Support the troops in more ways than a sticker on your car. They are trying to tell us their side of this unfolding story. Let's listen to them.

Feel free to send me a review if you get a chance to see it and I will post it on this page.

View the trailers

Go to the web page

Check for play times and locations

- Jordan

Zack's Link Roundup 3.4.05

Got a bit backed up with the site redesign so this Roundup is a 2-fer. More links per square inch! There is a lot more in the full page version so be sure to check it out.

HEALTH CARE
'Pulling Feeding Tubes'

President Bush is proposing slashing health care funding for the poorest Americans, leaving cash-strapped states to pick up the pieces. The administration's budget proposes reducing the federal share of funding for Medicaid ­ the joint federal/state program that provides health insurance for more than 50 million low-income Americans ­ by $60 billion over ten years. At the winter meeting of the National Governors Association, which ended Tuesday, the Bush administration tried to convince state leaders to accept the cuts in exchange for "flexibility." Democratic and Republican governors aren't buying it. Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D-KS) said, "If flexibility comes with $60 billion worth of cuts, that will give us the flexibility to cut off people from health care that they desperately need." Sebelius echoes the sentiments of Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR), who said previously, "people need to remember that to balance the federal budget on the backs of the poorest people in the country is simply unacceptable. You don't pull feeding tubes from people. You don't pull the wheelchair out from under the child with muscular dystrophy." Write to your members of Congress and tell them not to let President Bush cut Medicaid.

IT'S ABOUT PRIORITIES, STUPID: President Bush has no problem spending $2.1 trillion over 10 years to extend his tax cuts for the wealthy, but calls $60 billion in federal Medicaid spending unaffordable. The administration suggests states could make up for the funding shortfall by requiring "low-income people to make a co-payment before receiving Medicaid benefits." Secretary of Health and Human Services Mike Leavitt tried this as governor of Utah and ended up reducing hospital admissions, clinic visits and access to prescription drugs for the state's poorest residents. In other words, the plan would "price the neediest people out of basic medical treatment and drive up the number of uninsured people."

THE FAKE CONSENSUS: Nevertheless, Leavitt claimed that "he has support among the nation's governors" for the proposal. That's not true. Interviews conducted by the New York Times "with numerous governors suggest that the consensus described by Mr. Leavitt does not exist."

THE FRAUD FALLACY: Leavitt claims that much of the shortfall can be made up by closing loopholes that supposedly allow "many older Americans...to become eligible for Medicaid by giving away assets to their children." Governors are skeptical of the claim that "millionaires were exploiting Medicaid to gain coverage of nursing home care." Gov. James E. Doyle (D-WI) said, "To suggest that there is widespread abuse and that we can get big savings ­ really question that." Doyle noted that in most cases "these are hard-working people who have put aside a small amount and desperately want to leave it to their children."

THE REAL IMPACT: While Leavitt and Bush present the cuts as a "streamlining" of the program, the size of the cuts will inevitably mean real consequences for the poor. Some perspective: the cuts Bush is proposing, just in the fifth year of the plan, are "the equivalent of providing health coverage for over 345,000 seniors or almost 1.8 million children."

MEDICAID'S BIG SECRET ­ IT'S EFFICIENT: Leavitt also is trying to convince governors that the $60 billion can be made up through improving inefficiencies in the system. That's unlikely, since Medicaid is actually quite efficient now. Physician Mark Johnson noted in the Seattle Inquirer, "Medicaid is one of the most cost-effective sources of health coverage among both private and public plans." Johnson points out that "spending growth in Medicaid and in private coverage is comparable ­ even though Medicaid disproportionately provides services to individuals who require more and costlier care."

check it out, there is more

- Zack

Dino Ironbody - The New Reporter

The Daily Show did a seriously funny bit last night with Rob Cordey, or should I say "Dino Hardbody". He poked fun at Gannon/Guckert as well as bloggers. It was pretty classic. If you missed it, be sure to check it out now. It would be great if the Ironbody character becomes a regular on The daily Show. Watch out Colbert! Cordey is climbin that ladder!

Windows Media - Quicktime - Thanks to Crooks and Liars for the video.

Prediction: John Stewart and The Daily Show will be censored. The Right will smear him and bring him down. He has become too powerful a tool for Democrats to make fun of the Right and get our talking points out. You just wait and see.

- Jordan

Lloyd Axworthy: 1 -- Condoleezza Rice: 0

Lloyd Axworthy is president of the University of Winnipeg and a former Canadian foreign minister of Canada. Lloyd handed a serious smack-down to Condi in the form of this letter. Get out the popcorn and try not to blow chunks out your nose when you read the verbal pimp-slap he handed to Condi:

Dear Condi, I'm glad you've decided to get over your fit of pique and venture north to visit your closest neighbour. It's a chance to learn a thing or two. Maybe more.

    I know it seems improbable to your divinely guided master in the White House that mere mortals might disagree with participating in a missile-defence system that has failed in its last three tests, even though the tests themselves were carefully rigged to show results.

    But, gosh, we folks above the 49th parallel are somewhat cautious types who can't quite see laying down billions of dollars in a three-dud poker game.

    As our erstwhile Prairie-born and bred (and therefore prudent) finance minister pointed out in presenting his recent budget, we've had eight years of balanced or surplus financial accounts. If we're going to spend money, Mr. Goodale added, it will be on day-care and health programs, and even on more foreign aid and improved defence.

    Sure, that doesn't match the gargantuan, multi-billion-dollar deficits that your government blithely runs up fighting a "liberation war" in Iraq, laying out more than half of all weapons expenditures in the world, and giving massive tax breaks to the top one per cent of your population while cutting food programs for poor children.

    Just chalk that up to a different sense of priorities about what a national government's role should be when there isn't a prevailing mood of manifest destiny. Coming to Ottawa might also expose you to a parliamentary system that has a thing called question period every day, where those in the executive are held accountable by an opposition for their actions, and where demands for public debate on important topics such a missile defence can be made openly. [...]

    Your boss did not avail himself of a similar opportunity to visit our House of Commons during his visit, fearing, it seems, that there might be some signs of dissent. He preferred to issue his diktat on missile defence in front of a highly controlled, pre-selected audience.

    Such control-freak antics may work in the virtual one-party state that now prevails in Washington. But in Canada we have a residual belief that politicians should be subject to a few checks and balances, an idea that your country once espoused before the days of empire.

He is just warming up. Read the rest of this timely smackdown.

- Jordan

Republican refuse to walk the plank for Bush

It looks as if Bush's plans to privatize Social Security have hit the wall. Democrats are united as they very rarely are and Bush has been running around the country pimping for the destruction of Social Security. His attempt to get just one Democratic Senator on his side finally came to an end when Sen. Leiberman, who was on the fence on the issue signed a letter with 41 other Democrats making their collective stance on Social Security very clear:

While Secretary Snow's suggestion was initially encouraging, subsequent reports indicate that you remain committed to your privatization plan and his public comments were little more than a tactical maneuver. According to a story in today's Washington Post, "White House officials are privately telling Republicans that Bush is opposed to the idea [of accounts outside of Social Security], but does not want to say so because it would appear he is not willing to compromise."

Given the conflicting and ambiguous reports on such a critical issue, we urge you to publicly and unambiguously announce that you reject privatized accounts funded with Social Security dollars or otherwise linked to the provision of guaranteed Social Security benefits. Such a statement would eliminate a serious obstacle to the kind of bipartisan process that Democrats are seeking to deal with Social Security's long-term challenges and to improve the retirement security of all Americans.

As they get tired of losing ground on this issue republicans seem to be backtracking. Not used to being on the losing side of such battles, they are regrouping and rethinking how wise it is to toe the line on this issue. Cracks are beginning to form. Lets check in with RAW STORY:

Democrats and Republicans in Congress are respectively signaling either a death knell or a long haul for Social Security reform, reflecting eroding support for President Bush’s privatization plans, RAW STORY has learned.
The issue is so grave, says one senior Democratic aide, that some Republican members have begun to see joining the Bush team as “walking the plank.” [...]

Norm Ornstein, a longtime CBS News election analyst and fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, says any legislation is contingent upon Republicans reaching an agreement with themselves. At this point, he says, no Democrat would sign on.

“The problem that the president has starts with his own party,” Ornstein told RAW STORY. There’s “no consensus at all among House and Senate Republicans, and you’re certainly not going to see Democrats negotiating until Republicans can [agree].” [...]

“With Republicans in complete disarray, there’s no political benefit for Democrats to work with them,” the aide said. “At this point, there’s no substantive reason we would work with them because we don’t believe in draining money from Social Security and putting it into private accounts. Politically, they’re getting beaten about the head with this issue; the longer it’s out there, the better it is for Democrats.”

It is not just Republicans who can see this battle is all bust lost. Bush himself has recently changed his stance on the issue as well, signaling that he knows the issue is all but lost

President Bush said on Thursday he would focus for now on the financial problems facing Social Security, signaling a shift in tactics amid a slide in support for his private account plan. [...]

The emphasis on the financial problems facing the retirement system as the huge baby-boom generation begins to retire comes as opinion polls show declining support for Bush's plan to carve private investment accounts out of the program. Despite such polls, Bush said he felt the administration was making headway in explaining to the public that Social Security's future was troubled. "People are beginning to say, we have a problem," Bush told reporters. "The next phase, when people say we have a problem, is going to be, what are you going to do about it?

No Bush the question isn't "what are we going to do about it?", rather the question all Democrats should be shouting out from the rooftops is "WHERE IS THE MONEY!?". Thats right. Lets think this through. If Bush is claiming that the population spike that is the baby boomers will throw Social Security finances into a tailspin then he is obviously skipping one vital tidbit of information. That same population spike should have put a huge surplus into the system. They will all have paid into the system before their collective retirements giving a financial boost that should take care of the problem.

So Bush, where is the money? Why isn't this money there? I will tell you why. It is missing because our so called elected president RAIDED the Social Security surplus to pay for his tax cuts for the rich and other programs. This after promising in 2001 not to touch the surplus.

"We're going to keep the promise of Social Security and keep the government from raiding the Social Security surplus."  [Bush, 3/3/01]

Yeah right. Shortly after that The New York Times reported that "the president's new budget uses Social Security surpluses to pay for other programs every year through 2013, ultimately diverting more than $1.4 trillion in Social Security funds to other purposes."

Ooops.

Show me the money!

- Jordan


3/2/05
Where will it end?

Republicans seem intent on ruining the entertainment industry. Already the FCC has been handing out fines as they see fit to radio personalities that they deem to be of a foul nature. Never mind for the moment that people, like howard stern, who are getting fined by the FCC have also been extremely outspoken against Bush. The fines they throw down are so extremely over the top, as to make it impossible not to comply with the wishes of the FCC. So personalities like stern go to satellite radio where, for a time at least, they are safe.

But this mess seems to be spreading. Now they want to apply these same restrictions to cable television. They want to restrict what can be shown on a medium that we pay for. That is the difference here. Not the free airwaves but cable TV which we pay a fee to watch. Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) and Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) are behind the push to regulate cable television. Once again the republicans want to force the desires of the few onto the backs of the nation. What is next? All movies need to be vetted by the white house? Where will it end?

Just think of it. Sex on the city. Gone. Do they think the nation really would stand for that? Do they think no Republicans watch these shows? What about Real Time with Bill Maher? What about The Daily Show?

Take away my daily show and I am going to be seriously pissed.

Reuters has the story:

Lawmakers Press for Decency Limits on Pay TV, Radio

Two top U.S. Republican lawmakers on Tuesday said they want to apply broadcast decency standards to cable television and satellite television and radio to protect children from explicit content.

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Ted Stevens said he would push legislation this year to accomplish that goal and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Joe Barton said he would back it if it does not violate free speech rights.

"Cable is a much greater violator in the indecency area," Stevens, from Alaska, told the National Association of Broadcasters, which represents hundreds of local television and radio affiliates. "I think we have the same power to deal with cable as over-the-air" broadcasters.
"There has to be some standard of decency," he said, but noted that "no one wants censorship."

Stevens cited the discussion of masturbation and sex toys during prime time television as one example of content that bothered him. He told reporters he would extend the restrictions to premium channels like HBO as well.

The rest

The Right seems to be in serious denial in regards to what the American people want to view in the privacy of their own homes. This needs to be stopped before it is out of control. Republicans want's to pretend sex does not exist. That it is not a healthy part of our society. Yet at the same time divorce rates and teen pregnancies are skyrocketing in the red states. Taking censorship to cable television will not fix these problems. Teaching abstinence will not fix these problems.
Talking openly and honestly with teens about sexual issues will solve these problems.

- Jordan

 

3/1/05

Boxer and Clinton Lead the Way

Man these two make me proud. They are taking on the most important issue we face. Election Reform.

On February 18th, Senator Hillary Clinton and I introduced the "Count Every Vote Act" - critical legislation that will bring overdue reform to our election system and restore the faith of all Americans in their most basic, fundamental right.

Every citizen of this country should be guaranteed that their vote matters, that their vote is counted, and that in the voting booth, their vote has a much weight as that of any CEO, any member of Congress, or any President. Our democracy is the centerpiece of who we are as a nation, and we must take action now to ensure that the American people have full confidence in our electoral system.

- snip -

Among many other important facets of this legislation, the “Count Every Vote Act” will:

• Provide voter-verified paper ballots for every vote cast on electronic machines

• Set uniform standards for provisional ballots

• Ensure equal access to voting machines and election personnel in every community

• Designate Election Day as a federal holiday

• Reduce wait times for voters at polling places

• Make deceptive voter suppression activities a federal crime

• Restrict the political activities of state elections officials and voting machine manufacturers

You can show your support by joining up with their PAC or by donating today and of course sign this and pass it on.

- Jordan

Run Away Run Away!

Republicans seem to be abandoning the sinking ship of Social Security reform. The initial sales pitch by the Rethugs seems to have come to nil. Support for reform has dropped from 43% to just 35%. People seem to be waking up to the fact that maybe, just maybe, Bush does not have our best interests at heart.

Social Security plan support drops
Poll: 35% approve of Bush's record on issue

Only one in three Americans approve of President Bush's handling of Social Security, his lowest rating on the issue since he took office.

A USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll conducted Friday-Sunday found that 35% approved of Bush's Social Security record, 56% disapproved and 9% had no opinion. That was down from three weeks ago, when 43% approved. In March 2001, just after he took office, 49% approved.

The poll included several pieces of bad news for Bush on the issue, which he has made his top priority this year. The president traveled to eight states in February to make the case for an overhaul. [...]

To date, Bush has no support among Democrats in Congress. Many Republicans such as Florida's Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, who represents a quarter-million Social Security recipients, are on the fence.

The poll showed that Democrats have made headway in their opposition to Bush. In early January, Americans divided evenly when asked whether Social Security needs major changes in the next year or two. Now 59% say it doesn't need to be changed right away. [...]

The rest

 

The Democrats are doing a great job of getting this message out there. Keep on truckin'.

In a related story, Bush's approval ratings are once again falling. Must be time to start frightening the populace again.

- Jordan

Supreme Court Dose the Right Thing

Every now and then the Supreme Court makes a decision that doesn't make me sad to be an American. Thats right the United States can now join the rest of the civilized world in the decision not to kill children.

High Court Ends Death Penalty for Youths

A closely divided Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that it's unconstitutional to execute juvenile killers, ending a practice in 19 states that has been roundly condemned by many of America's closest allies.
 
The 5-4 decision throws out the death sentences of 72 murderers who were under 18 when they committed their crimes and bars states from seeking to execute minors for future crimes. The executions, the court said, violate the Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

"The age of 18 is the point where society draws the line for many purposes between childhood and adulthood. It is, we conclude, the age at which the line for death eligibility ought to rest," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote.

The ruling continues the court's practice of narrowing the scope of the death penalty, which justices reinstated in 1976. Executions for those 15 and younger when they committed their crimes were outlawed in 1988. Three years ago justices banned death sentences for the mentally retarded.

More

Nice to be on the right side every now and again.

- Jordan

 

 


Store
Political Art
The Lies
Vote Fraud
War On Terror
The Economy

 There Is No Crisis: Protecting the Integrity of
Social Security

The Daily KOS
Atrios
MyDD
Talking Points Memo
The Liberal Igloo
This Century Sucks
Talkleft
Bloggerman
Boffa
The Blue Lemur
The Raw Story
Ad Nausea
Greens for Kerry
Michael Moore
Polling Report
Inflamed Comment
Digby
Burnt Orange Report
No More Mister Nice Blog
BOP News
No More mister Nice Blog
Bob Harris
Democratic Underground
Premise Premise
Battleground States
The Kicking Ass
Alternet
Billimon
AmericaBlog
The Left Coaster
Truthout
Guerrilla News Network
Bush Watch
Take back the media
Too Stupid to be President
Get your War On
The Smudge Report
The Center for American Progress
A Searchable Database of White House Lies
Bartcop!

who's the terrorist
United States Senate Democrats
Craigslist Political Forum

March 2005
Febuary 2005

Older posts:

12/6/04 -2/15/05
10/18/04 -- 12/6/04
8/12/04 -- 10/15/04
6/24/04 -- 8/11/04
4/29/04 -- 6/23/04

 

"If I truly wanted to match Bush's accomplishments, I would max out my credit card, take out a second mortgage and steal my mother's Social Security. Instead, I'll just spend it with my five kids and, in the spirit of the second Bush administration, we're going to rent 'Titanic.'"
- Terry McAuliffe

"It's all over but the counting. And we'll take care of the counting."
- Peter King

"What you fight about is not as important as how you settle it."
- Crash N.

"The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything." - Joseph Stalin

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." - "Mahatma" Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

There is no way to peace. Peace is the way.
- A. J. Muste

Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding.
- Albert Einstein

Returning violence for violence only multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

While you are proclaiming peace with your lips, be careful to have it even more fully in your heart.
- St. Francis of Assisi

"An evil exists that threatens every man, woman and child of this great nation. We must take steps to insure our domestic security and protect our homeland. "
- Adolph Hitler, 1932

"Our first priority must always be the security of our nation… We will win this war; we'll protect our homeland"
- George Bush, 1/29/2002

"Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to greater danger. It works the same in any country."
- Hermann Goering, The second in command of the Third Reich.

"These [terrorist] attacks are not inevitable. They are, however, possible, and this very fact underscores the reason we cannot live under the threat of blackmail…The terrorist threat to America and the world will be diminished the moment that Saddam Hussein is disarmed."
- George W Bush

"The government has issued an orange alert, which once again, means nothing."
- Kent Brockman (The Simpsons)

"We are asked to accept Saddam decided to destroy those weapons. I say that such a claim is palpably absurd"
- Tony Blair 28 April, 2003

"Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction."
- Donald Rumsfeld, US Defense Secretary 28 May, 2003

"Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons."
- Dick Cheney August 26, 2002

"We know for a fact that there are weapons there."
- Ari Fleischer
December 2, 2002

"I have no doubt we're going to find big stores of weapons of mass destruction."
- Gen. Tommy Franks Press Conference

"The whole earth is in jail and we're plotting this incredible jailbreak."
- Wavy Gravy

"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."
- Theodore Roosevelt

"We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist."
- Dwight Eisenhower

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
- Benjamin Franklin

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
- John F. Kennedy

“Who is more foolish, the fool or the fool who follows him?”
- Obi Wan Kenobi in Star Wars

"Americans have different ways of saying things. They say 'elevator', we say 'lift'...they say 'president', we say 'stupid psychopathic git'...."
- Alexi Sayle

"Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition."
- Tim Leary

"If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal."
- Anonymous

"Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force. Like a fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master."
- attributed to George Washington

"The problem with America is stupidity. I'm not saying there should be a capital punishment for stupidity, but why don't we just take the safety labels off of everything and let the problem solve itself?"
- Anonymous

"If they could just pass a few more laws, then we could all be criminals"
- Vinnie Moscaritolo

"Most rock journalism is people who can't write interviewing people who can't talk for people who can't read."
- Frank Zappa

"The end move in politics is always to pick up a gun."
- Buckminster Fuller

"Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it."
- Mahatma Gandhi

"If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure."
- George W. Bush, Jr.

"Republicans understand the importance of bondage between a mother and child."
- Governor George W. Bush, Jr.

"One word sums up probably the responsibility of any Governor, and that one word is 'to be prepared'."
- George W. Bush, Jr., 12/6/93

"I have made good judgments in the past. I have made good judgments in the future."
- George W. Bush, Jr.

"We're going to have the best educated American people in the world."
- George W. Bush, Jr., 9/21/97

"We're all capable of mistakes, but I do not care to enlighten you on the mistakes we may or may not have made."
- George W. Bush, Jr.

"It isn't pollution that's harming the environment. It's the impurities in our air and water that are doing it."
- George W. Bush, Jr.

"I believe we are on an irreversible trend toward more freedom and democracy - but that could change."
- George W. Bush, Jr., 5/22/98

"The future will be better tomorrow."
- Governor George W. Bush, Jr.

"Public speaking is very easy."
- George W. Bush, Jr. to reporters in 10/9

"You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the great struggle for independence."
- Charles Austin Beard

"Never believe anything until it's officially denied."
- Margaret Atwood

"Rarely is the question asked, is our children learning?"
- George Bush, 2000

"I know how hard it is to put food on your family"
- George Bush 2000

"It's clearly a budget, its got a lot of numbers in it"
- George Bush 5/5/02

"I understand small business growth, I was one"
- George Bush 2000

"Clinton lied. A man might forget where he parks or where he lives,
but he never forgets oral sex, no matter how bad it is."
- Barbara Bush

"Ah, yes, divorce, from the Latin word meaning
to rip out a man's genitals through his wallet."
- Robin Williams

"There are only two things that are infinite, stupidity and the universe, and I'm not sure about the latter."
- Albert Einstein long ago