Saturday, November 29, 2003

I took a few days off for the holidays but I had some thoughts during the last debate-They do well to bring up the fact that the current administration uses fear and intimidation-they do, and it sux-But the line I was waiting to hear was-" FDR said 'The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself'. While we as Americans have long drawn strength and courage from these words, this administration seems to use them as a blueprint for manipulating democracy." The other historical refrence that I havn't heard yet is to the Cuban missle crisis. "If our nation had a policy of paranoid preemption ,as we do today, during the dark days of the Cuban missle crisis the end of the cold war would have been a nuclear winter. Diplomacy and the temperance of power in times of potential national crisis are the benchmarks of what truly does make us a great society. " Lines like these would also serve to remind the nation of FDR's Great Society-which is crucial in a time where we have an administration who has said that rolling back the great society is one of it's goals. We need to remember our history lest we are doomed to repeat it. My dad and I had a great talk on thanksgiving this year, and he told me he hates to see where the country is going right now, because, as he put it, " I've already lived through this once, it was called vietnam, and I never thought I'd have to live through it again" We shouldn't have to live through it again-we have to pay attention and do whatever we can to stop history from repeating itself. Gay marriage is just a repeat of the debate over inter-racial marriage. The Patriot act is just a rehash of the alien and sedition acts. and if we're not careful, North Korea could be our Cuban Missle Crisis-only without the sigh of relief at the end.

Monday, November 24, 2003

So Bush has begun running campaign spots in Iowa. I saw some snippets on Meet the Press yesterday. They're basically to scare people into voting for him by further politicizing the war on terror. Since this is the way they want to play so be it. But let us all remember a few things-

*They haven't caught Osama Bin Laden
*They have all our troops, national guardsmen, and reservists fighting in Iraq and not protecting us here if something should happen.
*They never gave NYC the money they promised after Sept. 11
*They have hurled state governments into fiscal crisis so our first responders in case of attack (fire, police, etc.) are now more underfunded, understaffed, and underprepared than before Sept. 11
*Clinton gave the Bush administration comprehensive inntelligence that may have prevented Sept. 11 in the first place. Bush's hatred for all things Clinton led him to ignore it until the first week of September 2001, after he returned from a 5 week vacation in Crawford.
*They have spent the past two years trying to keep us scared, while dragging us to war in Iraq, which had nothing to do with the terrorist attacks.
*They have spent the last two years trying to convince us Iraq did have something to do with the terrorist attacks.
*The war in Iraq is actually breeding sympathy for groups like Al Quiada and swelling it's ranks(ie. breeding more terrorists.)
*They have largely ignored Afghanistan (where the terrorists actually trained) allowing the taliban to regroup.
*They have refused to cooperate with the investigation into the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

So what it boils down to is this, do you think that having Bush in the White House makes us any safer than we were before 9/11? As a magic eight ball might say-"All signs point to no".

Saturday, November 22, 2003

I herard a great joke today-

On his recent trip to England George W. Bush was having Tea with the Queen, and he asked her, "How do you choose your closest advisors?" The Queen replied, "I ask them questions and choose people based on how they answer." "Well, what kind of questions do you ask?" the president wanted to know. " I'll show you.", she said, and picked up the phone and called Tony Blair. "Tony," the Queen asked," If your mother and father have a baby, and it's not your brother or sister, who is it?" Tony Blair replied, "It's me your majesty." "Very good , thank you" the Queen replied. Bush was impressed, and upon returning home he asked his top advisors, "If your mother and father have a baby and it's not your brother or sister, who is it?" Well, Rove, and Rumsfeld, and Cheney etc. got together and discussed the question, and unable to come up with an answer, they called Colin Powell and asked him, "Colin, if your mother and father had a baby, and it wasn't your brother or your sister, who is it?" "Me." Powell replied, and the president's top men called him back to give him the answer."So, have you figured it out yet," the president asked," If your mother and father had a baby and it wasn't your brother or your sister, who is it?" "We've got it sir," they replied,"It's Colin Powell!" "No you idiots!"the president replied, "It's Tony Blair!"

Hee-Hee :)

Friday, November 21, 2003

Saw this Guardian Article on Bartcop-

War critics astonished as US hawk admits invasion was illegal

Apparently Richard Perle, a key member of the defence policy board, which advises secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld, has admitted that the war was illegal!! Doesn't that constitute a confession? i wonder if there will actually be some frickin' backlash for once? Bush and co. have already begun backpeddaling away from Bush's statement that we'd be sending more troops to Iraq-sputtering the whole way while they did so-it will be interesting to see how they spin this one. Mr. Perle said, ""I think in this case international law stood in the way of doing the right thing." and went on to say, "international law ... would have required us to leave Saddam Hussein alone", and this would have been morally unacceptable.

To sum up-we broke the law, we're above the law, what're you gonna do about it? Nice-Richard Perle-way to win hearts and minds!

Josh of TPM pointed out this site.

Campaign for America's Future

Anyone who's pissed off at the AARP might wanna check it out-and if you're not pissed at them over the medicare reform support read the peice I wrote earlier on Social Security reform-They support that too. Or to be precise-Bill Novelli supports it.

Bid to Change Social Security Is Back
Bush Aides Resurrect Plan for Personal Retirement Accounts

The Democrats are chomping at the bit for Bush to try and revive his 2000 campaign plan to privitize social security as a reelection platform. I'd be wary if I were them. On one hand it is a terrible idea. Bush wants to divert individual social security contributions into private investment. The infamous instability of recent markets and the newly uncovered corruption of the mutual fund industry doesn't really lend this idea much credibility. But we're dealing with the Bush White House-They spin an issue like rumplestiltskin spinning straw into gold-and they will do whatever thay can to make this reform not just palettable, but appealling-From the post-

'Bush aides said he will make the longtime conservative goal more palatable by discussing changes to Social Security as part of a set of plans encouraging what he calls an "ownership society" in which minorities receive help buying homes, seniors have a choice of health care, and employees control part of their retirement savings.'

This is all a bunch of crap-first he's lumping a bunch of appealing ideas like health care and home ownership under the umbrella of social security. (What he's actually saying is "You can take your social security money and buy private health insurance or a house with it") these issues are separate. But they do look good to someone having social security taken out of their check while having trouble paying immediate bills. Also, alot of younger people don't worry about their retirement yet-and the republicans are going to exploit that-

'The public groundwork for Bush's new campaign on the issue began this week. After consulting the White House and the Social Security Administration, Graham on Tuesday proposed a Social Security Solvency and Modernization Act that would keep people 55 and older in Social Security with no changes but would allow workers 54 and younger to contribute as much as 4 percent of their payroll taxes, up to $1,300 a year, into a personal account they would own and control.'

So they're offering the younger generation the chance to get more money now. Money they can use in the immediate. But remember-it's invested money-far from a stable or steadfast way to plan for the future. It's also easily accessible. With this plan if someone wanted to take their social security and buy lotto tickets with it they could easily do just that. The point of social security is just what it says-a social program to guarentee citizens future security once their earning power is gone. Not a superfund to give people a little money when they need it right now-a truly progressive government would address these issues elsewhere-like raising minimum wage, or lowering middle class taxes.

This is designed to appeal to two mindsets that could easily support it-The first is this guy, "I don't know why I gotta pay into social security when it's not even gonna exist when I retire" That is a widely held belief among the younger generation-(so you know-I'm not a geezer looking down on gen x-I'm 28) Alot of us think the fund will be empty when we hit retirement-guess what -it will if we vote for programs like this. A program of fiscal responsibility and social security protection, like Al Gore's famous "lock box" would insure it was still there when we need it so calm down.

The second mind set this new plan will appeal to is the "college fund" syndrome. When I was growing up I thought that my parents had a college fund for me. They had been putting money into it since I was a baby and it was accruing interest, waiting for me to go off to college. Alot of my friends thought they had these-guess what-it never existed-What did exist was a ton of Stafford and other loans. That's the reality. But I never had any doubt that as far as college went, I was covered, no problem. I was covered-but not by a magic security blanket-by a government program of college loans. Social Security produces a similar mindset-it's always there. Everyone knows someday they get to retire and relax after a life of toil. Studies have already shown that companies offering retirement plans are dwindling, so without a stable, funded system of Social Security the options become eat cat food or work yourself into the grave. Fun golden years huh?

The Democrats have to remember these schools of thought-they have to counter this BS plan for Social Security with the truth in plain language, coupled with plans to raise the minimum wage and offer universal healthcare (that last one especially since rising medical insurance costs take a way bigger chunk of the paycheck than social security does). But don't take it for granted as an obvious failure as a platform. Karl Rove thinks it's a great idea to run on-that alone should tell you not to blow it off-they have a plan to sell it. The dems just have to pay attention and make damn sure nobody's buying.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

This all sounds too familliar-

"Dr. ElBaradei angered Bush administration officials last week when he issued a report that described in great detail Iran's deceptions, including its attempt to use an exotic laser technology to enrich uranium, but concluded there was not sufficient evidence to prove that the country was seeking a nuclear weapon. Mr. Powell said he believed the evidence inevitably led to the conclusion that Iran intended to build a weapon, even if it had not yet succeeded. "

Pay attention to anything you hear about Iran in comming weeks.And look at what Bush has been saying in recent speeches about spreading democracy in the Middle East. Any of you familliar with the Project for a New American Century will see where I'm going with this-If you're not, well, it's scary. PNAC is a neo-conservative think tank which has long advocated war with Iraq and democratization of it's government. It's founders include Dick Cheney,
Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard L. Armitage, William J. Bennett- alot of administration names huh? So they got the Iraq war-but that's not why I bring it up-after Iraq they want to do the same thing in Iran, Syria, Jordan etc. Increase in troop strength, murmurs about the draft, and trying to get the goods on Iran all look like they lead up to following these plans. And you thought we looked Imperialist before...

Hepkitty’s Wacky Leftist Conspiracy Theory of the Day!

Today’s crackpot theory is brought to you by Michael Jackson. He claimed that the charges brought against him over the past two days were timed to ruin his album release. Talk about paranoid egotism!! That is totally crazy!! But it got me thinking about something-The Santa Barbra PD said they sat on the charges for two weeks or so because they were busy dealing with “Halloween pranksters”. That does sound weird. So do I think they were trying to mess with Jacko’s album launch? Hell no-that really is crazy. Does the breaking of a major scandalous Michael Jackson story distract the media of the entire world from any protests of President Bush’s visit to Britain-Yes Yes Yes. It also distracts people from this little bit of news- Bush Hints at Troop Increase. In a time when the public opinion of the war is increasingly negative the planned deployment of more troops would not go over well-especially with those protesters. But if it is announced in a policy speech during a trip to Britain where it’s not the focus, against the backdrop of a huge piece of celebrity gossip, it gets all but lost in the shuffle .So there you have it-Michael Jackson is being offered up as a sacrifice on the alter of world media coverage to cover for the President. Do I think Jackson is an innocent victim of propaganda? No (I really do think he’s a pedophilic freak who deserves to be locked up.) But is the timing suspect? I believe it is. Stay tuned as I think this will become a regular feature - if not every day at least once a week....

The Post has a story today that goes into more detail about the surprise AARP endorsement of the new Medicare reform bill. It basically states that the endorsement came after three years of courting by the GOP. The endorsement is expected to give the bill a big boost towards passage even though a poll shows that only 18 percent of the powerful lobby's members actually support the proposed legislation. Yesterday about two dozen AARP members gathered on the steps of the capitol and protested the endorsement, cutting up and burning their membership cards. The rift between the group's leadership and members is expected to have a serious, if yet unknown, impact on the race for the White House next year. The votes of Americans over fifty, who make up the group's membership, are widely sought by both parties, especially next year as the baby boomers are hitting that mark in huge numbers every day.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

William D. Novelli, AARP Executive Director and CEO
"Whatever your views and your state of health, you will find Saving Lives & Saving Money bold, enlightening and provocative."

The above is a review on the book jacket of Newt Gingrich's book on medicare reform, "Saving Lives, Saving Money". Mr. Novelli also wrote the book's forward. Now I understand why the frick the AARP is supporting the new medicare bill. The question now is are the AARP's members supporting it as well? From what I've heard, no. Another question is how did a right winger who agrees with Newt Gingrich's radical plans to dismantle medicare become head of the AARP in the first place?

I was delighted to hear the ruling from the Massachusetts supreme court yesterday striking down a ban on same sex marriage as unconstitutional. I was less than delighted however to hear recent polls that support of gay marriage is eroding where it was once viewed by a majority as not a big deal. What's up people? I will never ever understand what the big freakin' brouhaha is. How does it personally effect anyone who's not directly involved if two people who are in love and happen to be of the same sex get married? Besides having to maybe buy one or two more wedding gifts here and there, how does it threaten your family, marriage, or life in any way? The thing is- I do understand the spiritual aspect of being "married" in a church getting some peoples' dander up concerning this issue. But I will once again remind everyone that we live in a country that is supposed to keep separate church and state. In other words, the court can't force your church to recognize or perform gay marriages, so it's no threat to you there either. Gay couples want the right to marry for a few reasons, which if you look at your own straight marriages, make perfect sense. If your spouse gets sick, you want to be there in the hospital to take care of them, visiting hours be damned, you want the authority to authorize life saving surgery for them, to handle your joint financial affairs while they're sick, and, should the worst happen, the right to collect social security benefits, so you won't lose your house and mutual possesions. These are rights that we can often take for granted. These are rights that gay couples are denied when you deny them the right to marry. Also, the conservative crowd should realize that a good gateleg for their pro life platforms is the fact that gay couples can't procreate with each other. Sure some go the route of surrogacy or sperm banks, but many wish to adopt. You can't push people towards giving their babies up for adoption instead of having an abortion and at the same time deny a huge segment of prospective parents the right to adopt those children. (Well, I guess you CAN if you wanna be a dick.)
Lastly. I'll say this, this country has a long and storied history of denying certain people rights for whatever reason. Women couldn't vote until the 19th amandement passed in 1920. African American citizens weren't fully given all their civil rights until the 1960's. Now we have another group of citizens, who pay taxes, and in some cases defend this country in the armed services, teach our children in school, and do surgery on your heart, who are being denied very basic civil rights afforded to all Americans under the equal protection amendment to the constitution (it's the14th amendment btw). and people are freaking out. All I ask is why? And all I ask of anyone with a problem is to ask yourself, "why?". Then think back on history where we denied rights to other groups of Americans, and how silly and backwards that seems now.Change is hard, but nessecary for the evolution of a society. But if this uproar is rooted only in a fear of change itself, it too will go down as a silly, backwards, historical marker.

Monday, November 17, 2003

What the frick is AARP doing supporting the Bush Medicare reform? Let me break this down- As far as I can see this is NOT even a step in the direction of universal health insurance. This is politics as usual-worse than that it's another Bush bait and switch. Everyone is hearing about this "prescription drug benefit" for low income seniors. sounds great right? So does "no child left behind", and the "healthy forests" initiative. The prescription drug benefit is not really that great-

From the Post-

The most popular aspect of the legislation would offer federal help to elderly and disabled people in paying for prescription drugs. Next year, the government would coordinate a network of private drug discount cards that Medicare patients could buy. In three years, the federal drug coverage would begin.

So seniors who can't afford their drugs can BUY a DISCOUNT CARD. The discount?


Interim drug card
In 2004 and 2005, older Americans would be eligible to purchase a discount card that the Bush administration estimates would yield savings of 15 percent or higher off the cost of drugs. Low-income seniors would receive an annual subsidy of $600 to defray drug costs further.

So you get a discount card, and $600.oo a year through 2005. And that's not all. The bill will also encourage seniors to buy their own private insurance by making the prices competitive. Now there's where they lose me-and I will find out more about this-I see no indication that the republicans are going to ask private drug or insurance companies to do any sacrificing. In fact alot of this plan seems tailored to those groups interests. So when they say "make prices competitive" with private insurers, do they mean force private firms to lower prices, Or raise the price of medicare? This passage from the Post article gives me some idea-

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas (R-Calif.), the lead negotiator and a longtime proponent of redesigning Medicare, said the agreement sought to provide better benefits while preventing the financially fragile system from running out of money through what he called "a fairer sharing of costs."

Specifically, Medicare would abandon its tradition of providing everyone in the program the same benefits for the same price. People with incomes of more than $80,000 would be charged higher premiums for the part of the program that covers doctor visits and other outpatient services. And regardless of income, the yearly deductible that patients pay for that outpatient care, fixed at $100 for years, would increase annually starting in 2005.

Catch that last bit-"regardless of income" the yearly deductable would increase annually. Mark my words-just because they put a big shiny bow on it and call it reform, it doesn't change the fact that they're phasing out medicare and moving towards fully privitized, expensive health insurance for all. And the politics as usual-well that's obvious-as long as it's supporters can spin this as a great reformation of prescription drug benefits anyone who opposes it looks like an a-hole. sigh.........

Well, our president continues his legacy of unconventional press coverage. First we had the one on one with Brit Hume he gave a few months back, where we all learned that the leader of the free world doesn't read the paper, now we have his hard hitting interview with the British tabloid "The Sun". A paper noted for it's page 3 (topless) girls, has scored an interview with our fearless leader while he's in London this week. Here's a Post article that highlights it in a bit more detail. I for one say it's about time, since most of the B.S. that comes out of that man's mouth is more than tabloid worthy-most of it, in fact, is about as believable as the "journalism" one sees in the Weekly World News.

PS-Another notable piece of information on The Sun-it's owner-Rupert Murdoch.

Friday, November 14, 2003

Well, this explains alot....

Powell's Chemical Equation

Powell described his killer schedule in an interview Thursday with Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed, a reporter for a London-based Saudi newspaper. "So do you use sleeping tablets to organize yourself?" Al-Rashed asked.

"Yes. Well, I wouldn't call them that," Powell said. "They're a wonderful medication -- not medication. How would you call it? They're called Ambien, which is very good. You don't use Ambien? Everybody here uses Ambien."

Everybody? (Thanks to Bob Harris posting on Tom Tomorrow's site for pointing me to this, to blah3.com for pointing him to it, and the post for writing it) Here's blah3's link to a site on Ambien addiction and it's effects so you can see what our leaders are apparently on.

Deal on 9/11 Briefings Lets White House Edit Papers
What are they hiding?

Alright-I'm posting a link to Paul Krugman's latest column because it does something very important-it breaks down in layman's terms exactly what the Bush administration's proposed Medicare policy is. This is the plan they're trying to get pushed through the senate now. They're masking it politically as a prescription drug plan, which everyone largely wants. But what blew my mind was that it's the opposite of what the republicans largely want, so why are they pushing for it? They're not. The plan they're proposing will pretty much just undermine Medicare, and eventually cause a crisis that could destroy the program completely. By saying it's a presciption drug plan it makes anyone who votes against it look like an asshole who's against sick people getting medicine, during an election cycle. Just so you know-that's crap. Read the piece and see what they're really voting on. Trust me, it's not good medicine.

Expect to hear more about the possibility of a draft in the not to distant future. Remember that old song and dance about Iraq building nuclear weapons that was all the rage last year? Well now the remix is coming out.

U.S. questions Iran nuclear report

What makes the IAEA think we're going to believe them if they refuse to follow the script and say what we want to hear? Look for a new dance hall mix of "Those evildoers pose an imminemt threat" coming soon to a UN security council, or speech near you!

I am getting a bit sick and tired of our president paying lip service to things like free speech and decent health care. Especially since he does so almost exclusively in deference to other countries. The decent health care will go to the Iraqis, and the free speech? Well.....

Bush unfazed by UK protests

"I can understand people not liking war, if that's what they're there to protest," Bush said. "I fully understand not everybody is going to agree with the decisions I've made. I don't expect everybody to agree."

He added: "I admire a country which welcomes people to express their opinion. I'm proud of Great Britain's tradition of free speech."

Another nice gesture the president is willing to make in another country and not, apparently, at home, is to meet with the families of British soldiers killed in Iraq...

"I am going to meet some. There's two messages. One, the prayers of the American people and the prayers of the president are with them, as they suffer," [Bush] added.

"Secondly, that I will tell them that their loved ones did not die vain. The actions we have taken will make the world more secure and the world more peaceful in the long run."

It's great that he's willing to reach out to people like that. It's also unbelievable that he's unwilling to do it at home. But what's really unbelievable is the fact that so many people in this country still support him on the basis that they think he's a caring, down home, normal guy who'd attend their family barbecues. Let's all remember people, this is a man who seems to be shielded from the public at all costs, only appearing in public at carefully orchestrated events. This is also a man who has yet to attend the funeral service for one fallen soldier, and refers to any swath of the populace who disagrees with him as a meaningless "focus group".
Sorry sir, I thought we were called citizens. Oops-silly me. I'll be watching his Sate Visit to Britain very closely to see what unfolds. Mainly to see if his handlers will be able to once more shield Bush from what would be the first protesters he's seen since his innauguration.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

So, Chief Justice Roy Moore of Alabama is no longer Chief Justice of anything. I don't dare to think this is the last we'll hear from him, however. In fact, I'd be willing to wager a substantial amount that we'll be hearing "Moore for Governor" in the wind in the not to distant future...

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Saw this link on Bartcop. I stongly recommend you take a look at what this President calls "supporting the troops".

I was curious how the president's handlers were going to handle his scheduled state visit to the UK, and the planned demonstrations that have been widely reported in the British, as well as the American media. As any readers I may have well know, our president never sees any protesters thanx to the "free speech zones", i.e. "protester pens" that dissenters are shuffled off to during his visits to, well, everywhere. A few days ago, Tony Blair addressed the issue the way the leader of a free country should, by saying, "Protest if you will, that is your democratic right,''. However, it looks like the long standing policy of keeping president bush away from dissent is going to be recognized after all.
Using the threat of possible terrorist attacks the UK has banned all peace protests during Bush's visit. The threat may be real enough, but considering the fact that there have been pleas and attempts to quell or ban the protests by the American administration for some time, it is a bit suspect. I mean, isn't every large gathering a possible terrorist threat? Aren't these the same people who told us not to live in fear, and carry out our regular activities? Isn't the president properly protected to handle state visits? And, really, isn't it a seriously chickenshit statement about our leader that he can't drive through some protesters, especially while he sends regular citizens into harms way with cowboy reteric like, "Bring em' on!"? It just sounds more and more like another abuse of a very real global threat to quell dissent, and strip american, and now international, citizens, of their civil liberties.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Support the Troops

The Things They Wrote

If we get Bush out of the White House next year we can work to undo his tax cuts, his failing education reform, his starving of the social programs that people of the country rely on in their pursuit of happiness, and try to repair the shattered bonds with our international allies. What we can't undo is far more staggering. We can't bring back the nearly 400 soldiers who have so far been killed in Iraq. Remember them today, and if you pray, pray for their families. As for the ones still fighting, send a care package, give blood to the red cross, attend a memorial service or donate to your local VA. And rest assured that even though in matters of life and death we are somewhat helpless, one thing we can do is vote Bush out next year and give the soldiers back their benefits, pay increases, and medical care.

Some political fundraising news-

On the democrats side-
Billionaire Soros takes on Bush Ousting president ‘central focus of my life,’ he says
     “America, under Bush, is a danger to the world,” Soros said. Then he smiled: “And I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is.”
       Soros believes a “supremacist ideology” guides this White House. He hears echoes in its rhetoric of his childhood in occupied Hungary. “When I hear Bush say, ‘You’re either with us or against us,’ it reminds me of the Germans.” It conjures up memories, he said, of Nazi slogans on the walls, Der Feind Hort mit (“The enemy is listening”): “My experiences under Nazi and Soviet rule have sensitized me,”

And on the republicans' side-

Politician or telemarketer? Majority Leader DeLay
uses offer of honor in pitch for funds

... First there was a recorded message: “This is Congressman Tom DeLay. I’m asking you to serve as an honorary chairman on our business advisory council, and you will be recognized with our national leadership award.”
       Then, a telemarketer came on the line: “You’d be invited to private dinners with congressmen and quarterly strategy sessions in Washington.”
       In the call, Helton was also promised an exclusive black-tie president’s dinner and his name in a newspaper ad....
... Past awardees include a convicted sex offender and a maker of drug paraphernalia — both awards were later rescinded.
       The award also is proudly displayed in the office of an adult film promoter, Harry Weiss, who sent Republicans a check from his company — “Nefarious Films.”
       “They cashed the check, so I guess they’re happy to have me aboard,” Weiss said.

Now, both of these could be used as arguements for campaign finance reform, and, that's one of the first bills I want to cross the president's desk, whoever he may be, in January of 2005. We need to get our country back before it officially becomes "America-a subsidiary of Monsanto!" But the Soros story was kinda funny, just cuz it's nice to see billionaires with concience, and the DeLay story really cracked me up. Somebody outta send him a copy of the "do not call" list if he's really selling awards-which is exactly what it sounds like he's doing.

Monday, November 10, 2003

Ok, I heard a snippet of something on saturday that gave me pause. first things first is the story of the free elections in the country of Georgia. Apparently there have been protests surrounding the results which point to a victory by sitting president, Edward Shevardnadze. There were reports of widespread ballot stuffing, and voters names not showing up in the books in areas of the country thought to be strong supporters of the opposition party. Now, we're all familliar with this scenario thanks to our own 2000 presidential election. The interesting thing was that this election and our last election have more in common than just controversial results. According to a report by Natalia Antelava to NPR news they also have a U.S. official who was very interested in the results in common-former Secretary of State, James Baker. Now this was interesting since Baker was the same person who sat in Florida for the Republicans in 2000 to oversee the recount. Now he's allegedly reviving that role in a former Soviet republic. Why does the US care about Georgia's elections you may ask? The same reason we were interested in Afghanistan's-no, not the taliban, the Caspian Sea oil pipeline. Apparently, Shevardnadze isn't as sympathetic to the pet projects of the oilmen in washington as the opposition party is, so the Republicans are doing what they do best and stacking the deck.

Saturday, November 08, 2003

Wow-that was fast.

As reported yesterday, the senate democrats have to get a note from the teacher in order to ask questions of the White House. And as predicted, the GOP didn't waste any time using this new found abuse of power to put the kaibash on the senate intelligence committee's investigation into pre war intelligence.

Angry about a leaked Democratic memo, the Republican leadership of the Senate
yesterday took the unusual step of canceling all business of the committee
investigating prewar intelligence on Iraq....

A committee meeting scheduled for yesterday was canceled, and none has been
scheduled for next week, according to a senior committee staff member.

Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (W.Va.), the committee's ranking Democrat, said he
was "really disappointed" with the Republican action. "Whose advantage is it to derail
asking the tough questions on prewar intelligence and the use and misuse of it?" he asked.

To whose advantage indeed......

Friday, November 07, 2003

A protester who was arrested when he refused to move to one of the administrations "free speech zones" has subpoenaed John Ashcroft, and Karl Rove to testify in his trial next week. He wants to use his proceedings to bring to light the fact that protesters are kept away from the president. He rules and I'm going to send him a Cookiepuss!!

now they've gone to far

In a memo emailed to majority and minority staff on the House and Senate appropriations committees, the Director of the White House Office of Administration baisically told the Democrats on Capitol Hill that they should shut up. Not quite in those terms, but that's what his actions amount to. Saying that there needed to be a more organized way of getting questions to the White House, the email told committee members that all future questions had to be screened first by the GOP committee chairman before being submitted to the executive branch. So now the Democrats can't ask how our tax dollars are being spent unless a republican says it's ok. This is an abuse of power on a level I can't even phathom. Especially if this extends beyond the appropriations committees and keeps the intelligence committee from furthering their investigation of what the white house knew in the lead up to the war.

Since I feel it's too important to let slide down the page and out of sight, here's a link to the Salon article alleging the moves being made to bring back the draft. Canada's looking pretty sweet right now for some people I know. C'mon everybody-don't knock draft dodging here-if weaseling out of fighting an unpopular war in a hostile country is good enough for the president it should be good enough for everyone!!( For anyone unfamilliar with salon the page has an option to read the whole article if you watch an ad or something-it's worth the 2 seconds of your life to stay informed.)

Thursday, November 06, 2003

I could go off on his for a long time, but why bother when I can sum it all up so succinctly. Yes, the media seems like it's showing the war in a negative light. Why? Because, and pay attention now-war, is NOT a POSITIVE thing. Thank you for your time.

Tom Tomorrow had this link to a page on whitehouse.gov. Who's the new guy hanging around the white house? Must be a lobbyist for the lumber interests, or maybe he's grooming to be the new head of the coalition provisional government...

Don't you just looooove corporations? Me too, that's why I'm ever so happy that the big sexy polluting ones are getting off the hook thanx to that kick ass "clear skies" initiative our awesome president signed!! (does the sarcasm come off in print?) Yay!! the acid rain is going to give my clothes that cool vintage look!! My hair too!

I was listening to Bush's speech on democracy in the Middle East today, and first I was thinking how giddy the PNAC must be, but then I was thinking-damn this is hilarious, as i heard Bush say how important it was to provide the Iraqi's with decent health care. Quick, someone call Karl Rove and tell him his boy forgot which country he's running for president of!

"At least they could have talked to them,"

The above link is to an extremely interesting article in today's New York times alleging that in the run up to war the Iraqi regime pursued a deal with the us through backchannel communications. According to the sources in the article the Iraqi leadership was willing to concede to just about all of our requests, if only we had been bothered to try and meet with them to discuss it-someone explain that to every family missing someone around the thanksgiving table this year. According to the article the Iraqis were willing to give American inspectors full access to hunt for wmd's, generous oil rights, and was even willing to hold free elections in the next two years. Kinda shits all over any pretense for military action huh? This information had better be on the table when the senate intelligence committee reviews what got us here.

It would seem that the gop are shocked that an investigation into white house impropriety could somehow have political ramifications!! the tamarity of those democrats! the republicans would never do such a thing!! oh, wait yes they would-one difference tho-gop investigations in the past have uncovered such politically charged yet irrelevent allegations as executive blow jobs, while the senate intelligence comittee, while they may benefit politically from uncovering white house intelligence failures during an election year, are actually investigating something that directly effects the american public-why we're at war in iraq.in the first case, the republicans seem to have been brought about charges specifically to give them political advantage, since blow jobs, while they can be pleasent, don't effect policy -or at least not in this case. while lying about the reasons for a war we're mired down in is a huge deal. it effects every facet of american life, from families with loved ones in the field to the huge deficit our grandchildren will inherit. any political advantage the democrats gain in this instance is purely a side effect. and a significant side effect from a voting standpoint-since the first good press for the dems stems from the fact that they're doing their jobs defending the interests of their constituents, and the second reason they look good is in comparison to the republicans who may be guilty of breaking several serious federal laws. i've said before that there is an enormous difference between lying about getting your jimmy waxed and lying our nation into a war. in this case any political gain the democrats reap is actually earned-they're just doing what we elected them to do. this time it's not a witch hunt, it's what this system of checks and balances was set into place for-to hold public officials up to the light of accountability.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

okay-more on the voice vote held in the senate to pass bush's $87billion iraq reconstruction funding. it was a chickenshit move on all fronts. let me elaborate, for those who don't realize what a voice vote is all about, it's basically a way to vote anonymously, ie-there is no record of which senators voted which way. the official reason given for this course of action is that those who voted yes on the $$ don't want it held against them politically if the war should remain unpopular, and those who voted no don't want to look unpatriotic. chickenshit. plain and simple. the votes i'm concerned about are of those senators who are running for president. if you voted yes and believe in your vote why not stand up and say so? and if you voted no, stand for that too. what probably happened is that most if not all of the contenders voted yes, and didn't want it to bite them in the ass in the debates, and in polls. the biggest reason that sucks is that these were the same guys calling for serious questions about what the money was specifically earmarked for before they would vote for it, and at last check they didn't get those answers. there was also pushing for some portion of the money to come in the form of loans, and that didn't happen either. what the frick!! i mean, let's look at the president for a second here-they voted for the loan thing and bush said he'd veto it. he'd veto his own funding request!!! and he was the one who assured us that iraq's oil meant the war would pay for itself in the first place!!!! why didn't anyone take that opportunity to ask some questions? i for one really want to know what the administration has against loans for a country that sits atop such an enormous oil reserve. and also, how come after the president's threatened veto did they just pass it. if he can hold out to get what he wants why didn't the opposing senators hold out until they got some answers. i understand that that money is badly needed to resupply the existing troops in country, but alot of the stuff that money was specifically needed for was really dodgy and way overpriced-where's the demand for accounting? don't the taxpayers deserve a receipt? i just think this issue was too contetious and important to let go unchallenged. it's doubtful that the president would have held up funding for troop supplies if the senate insisted on their initial request to break up the bill into troop cost and rebuilding cost. that would've made bush look like an a-hole during an election year. but instead of taking the white house to task they just let it slide. it's like if you were say 13 years old and went to your parents and asked them for $1000.oo, and when they asked what you needed it for you refused to say so they said ,"ok-here ya' go!" that scenario is completely unthinkable-yet it just happened on a much larger scale, and it's our wallets that were being opened to foot the bill.

For anyone who's interested, there is a presidential candidates forum on women's issues tonight, sponsered by planned parenthood. they will be broadcasting at 7:00 via webcast from their site. it might be ok just by virtue of the facts that they will be focused on an issue, and there will only be 5 of the candidates participating.

For a diffferent view on our campaign season check out the guardian's new weblog on the 2004 american presidential race. whenever i see the international perspective on our political system, it makes me think, "if only everyone in the world could cast their vote, bush would lose by a landslide..." maybe i'll see about getting an international online ballot going, just to satisfy my own curiosity ...could be an interesting study of global perspective on our country's own three ring circus.

leave it to the gop to be the ones who generate the proper outrage over an issue. according to the post this morning the republicans are up in arms over election results generated by touch screen voting machines. well, if nothing else at least it landed the issue on the home page of the post...

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

ok-back to reality- i can't say that i didn't see this coming, but it's coming faster than i would have imagined. what am i talking about? i almost can't bring myself to write it- the draft - tom tomorrow has more on his blog- i recommend you look and see what's been going on. this is seriously scary stuff. not unexpected though. look at the facts. he's screwing the enlisted who volunteered and droves of them have already said there's no way they're reenlisting so with no end in sight in iraq what should we expect? - unless they start building fucking robots. no wonder they don't care if they're screwing the soldiers out of benefits-they won't need to offer incentives if they can force people to fight. i just can't believe they're making moves during an election year. if the mountains of bullshit he's already peddling don't cost bush the election, if this gets out, it surely will. support for this war is already seriously deteriorating. hell- no one even knows why we really started it. if people are told they have to send their kids to war they're not gonna shrug and say "ok!"

so far clark's 30 second spot is the best :)

i can't believe it but joe lieberman actually said something new-he called bush on pulling out of the kyoto accords-that is his issue this week tho...dean, however isn't saying much if anything new. i mean c'mon-this is supposed to be generation dean right? why's he sticking to the stump? that flag thing may have f-ed him a bit. another point for lieberman-he actually engaged the audience by acknowledging that it's mostly our generation fighting the war. i mean aside from the "mac or pc" question, these have been very engaging questions. well, there was that red sox query, but i think it was supposed to have subtext-i just can't figure out what it was-but then again i don't watch baseball...

Holy crap- I kinda knew that confederate flag remark would bite dean in the ass tonight, but WOW-i thought their was gonna be a fight. (plus edwards and kerry are mac guys)

watching the town hall-how embarassing-clark and kucinich are wearing the same outfit!

Paul krugman's latest is a must read. follow that up with this piece by fareed zakaria and consider yourself better informed. then read this, and consider yourself amused.

slog, 2, 3, 4...slog, 2, 3, 4...

Just in case you don't feel like doing all that difficult clicking (your loss) Baisically, the three will lead you down this path. 1.) there's no way we can keep going like we're going in iraq, and the hand off of security to iraqis would have to happen much more quickly to sustain our resources, 2.) handing off that power the way we plan to is a pretty bad idea to begin with and doing it faster makes it a worse idea, 3.) well, just read #3-you'll thank yourself later.

Paul krugman's latest is a must read. follow that up with this piece by fareed zakaria and consider yourself better informed. then read this, and consider yourself amused.

slog, 2, 3, 4...slog, 2, 3, 4...

What a load of crap!! they put the $87billion to a voice vote!! a voice vote!!!more on this later as it's shaping up to be a rant of global proportions on my part.....

mumble mumble...

BTW-for anyone who's interested, the washington post is hosting live web q&a with the democratic candidates. the page is here . gephardt and lieberman went yesterday, kucinich is on now, and the rest of the schedule is posted. if you have a truly burning question, like, "what's your favorite band?" there's a rock the vote candidate forum on cnn tonight at 7:00. hosted by anderson cooper, or as i call him, lil' bill maher. i kid around, but rock the vote is actually a very important organization, and this forum will probably be way more interesting than the recent debates have been. plus we'll get to find out if any of the candidates have ever inhaled, and maybe why lieberman looks like he's never exhaled.

Monday, November 03, 2003

Thanx to tom tomorrow for pointing me in the direction of this article on black box voting.

All The President's Votes?

scary stuff to be sure but serious. the link he had to the original is a pay to read, but common dreams had the whole thing for free. It is definately a must read for anyone who wants their vote to count.

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