January 27, 2008

Family Values?

All this week the thought has been swirling around my brain: Is Bill Clinton trying to sabotage Hillary's run? I had been in favor of her for various reasons though I wavered for a while -- then returned to her.
Now, though, I'm concerned that he might carry an undermining strategy on into the White House in order to show the world that he was a better president than she.

We've just had 7 years of Bush trying to outshine his dad.
We don't need a former president trying to outshine his wife.
It's time to rethink -- again.
From the Berkowitz Report:
Hillary Sends Bill on Campaign Trip to Antarctica

Will Remain There Until Convention, Aides Confirm

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton has sent her husband, former President Bill Clinton, on a “special campaign trip” to Antarctica that could last “six or seven months,” Clinton aides confirmed today.

“From here on in, Bill is going to be our man in Antarctica,” said top Clinton strategist Mark Penn. “We have sent him down there with enough food and firewood to last until the Democratic convention this summer.”

The unexpected change in the former president’s itinerary happened just hours after Mrs. Clinton’s drubbing in the South Carolina primary, causing some party insiders to wonder if Mr. Clinton’s mission to Antarctica represented something of a demotion.

The decision to dispatch Mr. Clinton to the South Pole also raised eyebrows because the continent of Antarctica does not participate in the so-called “Super Tuesday” primaries on February 5 and sends no delegates to the Democratic National Convention.

Mr. Penn attempted to tamp down all such speculation, telling reporters, “This race isn’t about votes or delegates, it’s about land mass, frozen tundra and penguins.”

Mr. Clinton’s itinerary change comes on the heels of a controversial incident Saturday night in which he was discovered bound and gagged in the bathroom of Mrs. Clinton’s campaign plane, his hands tied by what appeared to be the jacket of a bright yellow pantsuit.

Speaking to reporters with a strip of duct tape still over his mouth, Mr. Clinton denied that he was being muzzled by the campaign, adding, “Mmmfff mghrmfff mmbrrfff.”

Elsewhere, the White House announced that President Bush’s State of the Union address would be simulcast in English.

January 26, 2008

You might like to check out Scattershot Thoughts for today's dose of 'Awwwwwwwwww'. :)

January 25, 2008

The Washington Post reported:
'Williams and Russert tried unsuccessfully several times to get the [Republican] candidates to engage one another. Russert observed afterward that it seemed as though the contenders had made a "nonaggression" pact.'

Well, this just says it all, doesn't it? It's easier to report on the candidates going for each others' jugulars than it is to report on the issues they support. So the anchors try to pick fights among them. I'm glad the candidates didn't take the bait -- thus forcing the 'reporters' to actually work for a living and focus on the issues.
What a novel way to conduct a debate.
If you're thinking of going to see Cloverfield this weekend, I have just one suggestion: DON'T!

Let me put it this way: Suppose you had voted for Bush -- twice. Seeing this show would've been the 3rd worst decision you'd made during the last 8 years or more. And it would've been a CLOSE 3rd.
A much better decision was getting up and leaving halfway through.
NO plot. NO coherent story line. The screen was so dark I couldn't see the action. Since a lot of the action was people being eaten alive by giant spiders [as far as I could make out], the dark screen was probably the best part of the movie

As for the BEST movie on offer, these days -- my vote is for The Bucket List. Totally awesome.
Anyone else have any nominees?

January 24, 2008

Dear Rich People

…All you wealthy Americans, stop complaining and save the economy!
By Daniel Gross -- From Slate

To: The Filthy Rich
CC: The Stinking Rich; the Pretty-Darned Rich
From: America

When the Gulfstream lands in St. Bart's, can you have your assistant set up a call? We need to talk.

Look, you've had a pretty good deal these past few years. We gave you everything you wanted. Massive reductions in the top income-tax rates? Happy to oblige. Cuts on dividends and capital gains taxes, which overwhelmingly benefit you? No problem. Going after the estate tax—excuse me, the death tax? You got it.
Click here for the complete text.

January 22, 2008

Nancy, Pay Attention!

Robert Rouse of Left of Centrist sent this out today.
Please take a listen and pass it on if you've a mind to. Thanx.

January 21, 2008

Tonight, I received a disturbing email. It came from a liberal media source and it proposed having us vote in a pre-Feb 5 straw poll-- in essence telling the organization how we plan to vote in the primaries.
To my mind, this is going too far. I wrote them an email of my own explaining why I choose not to participate in their hype-the-vote process. My message to the organization follows:
I'm sorry, there is much I agree with that your organization is doing but this isn't one.
I believe the media, the churches, polls, etc. etc. etc. are getting too much involved in how we are voting, these days.

While I don't want to see a muzzle put on the press by those outside it [or else, what is a free press for?] I wish it would curb its own excesses. I believe predicting who will win the election before the primaries are even well under way is not the best way to handle a democratic republic.

While I do believe educating people about the stands candidates are taking on important issues is a good and proper place for the media, I don't think making a circus of the voting process helps the country. Granted, creating a circus IS easier to do than thoughtfully educating the public is. It's probably sexier, as well. But, which one actually helps the country vote the best candidate into office?

Thank you for taking the time to read this ms and I hope you will take it to heart in deciding future undertakings.
I think it is 1] in our own and the country's best interests to tell the media and other institutions [like churches, for instance] that they are overstepping some serious boundaries these days. 2] up to us to do so and 3] important to refuse to participate in the circus the media and others are building one big-top at a time. Otherwise, the process will continue spiraling out of control.

I, for one, don't wish to live in a country in which people have been told in advance who's going to win in November. That will skew the vote as those who believe their chosen candidate doesn't stand a chance will simply stay home. To my way of thinking, a vote should remain the property of the voter right up to the moment it is cast -- not be used by a 3rd party as a leverage or propaganda tool beforehand -- no matter who that vote might be cast for.
Just sayin.
Swimming in Rosa Parks' Footsteps: Workers for the Wealthiest Still Struggle for Dignity
Posted by Eliseo Medina, AlterNet

For the minority workers shipped into America's richest enclave, the fight for basic human dignity continues.
Wisly [Jonatas] had just taken his seat in the ferry’s segregated employee lounge when the ferry captain summoned and reprimanded him for not following a newly-instituted rule that prohibits workers from walking past island residents’ parked cars on the ferry to get to the employee lounge. For his insubordination, Wisly was forced to get off the ferry and wait for the next one. Five days later, he was fired from his job on the island…
No, this didn't happen before Rosa Parks' historic ride of December 1, 1955. It occurred on August 31, 2007.
Click here for the complete text.

January 20, 2008

This was over on Robert Rouse's Left of Centrist and I just HAD to steal it and make it my own. Enjoy.

January 19, 2008

Florida's Attempt to Double-Count the Votes Backfired!

Conservative efforts to amend the Florida constitution with an anti-gay marriage law stalled this week. The amendment's backers have fallen 22,000 signatures short of the 611,000 necessary to place it on the ballot this coming November.
Supporters now have only until Feb. 1 to collect additional signatures. With such a tight deadline, the proposal seems near impossible for 2008, the Miami Herald reported today. The proposal would need 60% of the vote to become law.

Florida4marriage.org, the conservative PAC pushing the initiative, hoped the proposed amendment would lure conservative-leaning voters to the polls during the general election.

Computer glitches are being blamed for the signature shortfall. State officials and election officials in the Miami area are both blaming each other for the glitch which apparently was "over-counting" or counting each vote twice.
Click here for the complete text.
Hoist by their own petard! First, these folks push for handing the voting process over to untested technology. Then, that same technology turns around and bites em on the ass. My assessment? It couldn't have happened to more deserving people. :)

The nasty fact is: the far right wants to use a segment of the population who just want to be let alone to live their own lives to galvanize those folks who won't let the rest of us have our own lives and manipulate the meddlers to get to the polls so they'll vote in a presidential race. HUH?

If this is any way to run a democratic republic, can someone please explain to me how it helps our country?

January 17, 2008

The polls are becoming ridiculous. We have the power to tell them, 'Eough, already!'
The Huffington Post is urging us to simply refuse to answer their questions when they call--then quietly hang up. So, had enough?
Sign the Petitino
If you click on the link, you can get the icon to add to your
blog or site.
Help to stop an endless occupation in Iraq
President Bush is negotiating a deal with Iraq to keep our troops there indefinitely--it could include permanent bases and a massive military presence for years! BushCo is trying to tie the hands of the next president.

Congress can stop him from setting up permanent bases in Iraq and block an indefinite occupation--but they need to hear a groundswell of pressure from us immediately and loudly so they act on this quickly.

I just signed a petition demanding that Congress stop the president from committing to a massive military presence in Iraq for decades. Please follow the link and sign on, too.

January 16, 2008

Check out this video that would be funny if it weren't true: http://blip.tv/file/520347
I imagine you've heard, by now, of Congressman Wexler's courageous stand to push for impeachment of Cheney. Given the wimp-out factor among the rest of the Democratic Party, I fear the fall-out could be tremendous.
So, I'm doing what I can to be sure his coffers don't run dry during his run this fall. Since he's up for reelection every TWO years, he's risking more than a senator would who might have several years for the furor to die down.
So, if you're interested, please go here, click on the 'donate' tab and give whatever you can to promote his cause.
Last year, I picked this up on Mary Ellen's Divine Democrat:
When addressing your holiday cards this year, send one (or more) to:
A Recovering American soldier
c/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center
6900 Georgia Avenue,NW
Washington,D.C. 20307-5001

So, I did it. I sent some cards to Walter Reed addressed exactly as you see here.
And they've all been trickling back to me one by one by one. They were marked, 'Return to sender. Undeliverable as addressed.'
This is how our government supports our troops who answered its call to go, to fight, to be maimed and to watch their friends die.
However much they may have been [imo] duped and betrayed by the claims of the administration, however much they were [imo] mistaken, I tried to let them know they're not forgotten by the citizens of this country.

Obviously, however, they are forgotten and betrayed yet again by their government which would not even allow them to receive Christmas cards from their fellow citizens.
Once again, they were betrayed. As are we all by this callous government.

January 14, 2008

Please Demand That Kucnich Be Allowed to Debate!

Rep. Dennis Kucinich won't be involved in MSNBC's debate in Las Vegas tomorrow. It's not the first time Kucinich has been excluded from a debate. But this time, Kucinich was initially invited, and had met the criteria for the debate. Then, MSNBC changed the rules and told Kucinich he was uninvited.

I went to the MSNBC website and hunted for a 'contact us' link. Didn't find one. Then, I found a link that invited us to submit questions for the debate. I logged onto it and left this question for MSNBC itself.
This is not a debate question but a question for MSNBC:
WHY did you uninvite Kucinich from your lineup?
Why do YOU get to choose what the American people see at our national debates?

I, for one, will boycott NBC and MSNBC and their affiliates until you allow us to see ALL available candidates so we can make educated choices. Furthermore, I will urge everyone I know to do the same. Perhaps, if we refuse to watch your networks and read your magazines, etc., you will finally begin to listen to us.
We don't want Brittney. We are asking to hear all our candidates for the Presidency speak on the issues. This is not too much to ask in an ostensible democratic republic.
Please go over there and leave a question of your own telling them we do not wish to be spoon-fed what the MSM want us to receive. Tell them we deserve and DEMAND to see all candidates who meet the criteria to be included in the debates and we will boycott them unless and until they include all eligible candidates.
I just read a news article from the AP that stated that District Court Judge Charles Thompson ruled that Kucinich must be included in the debate. MSNBC is appealing the ruling and there is talk of canceling the debate if MSNBC is forced to include him.

Sounds like a tantrum to me: 'If I can't have my way, I'll take my marbles and go home.'
Does THAT sound familiar? Has MSNBC been taking lessons from the Master?

January 13, 2008

Directing Traffic -- Check It Out

Some time ago I downloaded a documentary and, today, I finally got around to watching it.
All I can say is this: If you have the capability to download movies, please go here, find ‘Why We Fight’, choose the 2006 documentary—not the propaganda film of 1945—and watch it.

It explains the Military/Industrial Complex Eisenhower warned us against in a way that even I can understand: That everything from the food and laundry services to the munitions and weapons systems provided to the troops in the field are directly involved in our [yes, it’s true] corrupt political system which, though it wasn't entirely created by BushCo is being brilliantly used by this administration to benefit itself and its friends.

The documentary answers a lot of questions including the one we were all asking on September 12, 2001, as the initial shock was wearing off: 'Why do they hate us?'

January 11, 2008

BTW-- Maxine's got something for you over at Scattershot Thoughts. :)

A Fitting Response -- IMNSHO

A couple of nights ago, I brought in the mail and found a letter from Ted Kennedy's office requesting a donation toward securing a Democratic Congress. Now, ordinarily such a letter would bring a Pavlovian response from me and a donation would be on its way by return mail. Not this time, though. Instead, I sent the letter below and the dems can go whistle for their money.

I'm burned out and don't know who to trust. It certainly doesn't seem as if the dems have earned my trust or respect; the reps never had them, and a viable 3rd party doesn't seem to be galloping to the rescue either.

Anyhow, here's the letter. The dems can limp along without my donation for the present.
To Whom It May Concern:

I am thoroughly offended by this request.
Ms. Pelosi very unwisely let it be known as her first act as Speaker of the House that impeachment was ‘off the table’ thereby rendering the Constitution toothless and telling the Bush administration that it had free rein to do whatever it pleased.

Since then, I have repeatedly asked that Congress fulfill its Constitutional duty to impeach first, Dick Cheney and then, George W. Bush. I have been told by my Democratic Senator that to do so would be inconvenient at this time.

Now, to add insult to injury, I received this request for a donation to the party that has abandoned those of us who voted for 1] an exit from Iraq and 2] impeachment of Cheney and Bush. Neither of those issues has been pursued.

I will resume donating money to the Democratic Party when it shows me that it has discontinued its policy of deserting the people who voted it into office.

I will say this much, though:
I did feel completely safe including my name and address in the letter. That's more than I could say if I had sent such a notice to the current Republican party. That's something, anyway.

January 9, 2008

This from Congressman Wexler our one and only ally:

Many thousands of you have asked to learn more about my position on the Iraq war and related funding. As you may know, a few weeks ago I voted again to deny funding without a timetable.

I am bothered by the recent movement to repackage the Surge as a success. Today, I released an editorial (below and also published on the Daily Kos) regarding my view of the Surge's so-called "success." If you have a moment, please read it when you get a chance.

Thank you again for your support.
Congressman Robert Wexler


A Surge of More Lies
by Congressman Robert Wexler

A new troubling myth has taken hold in Washington and it is critical that the record is set straight. According to the mainstream media, Republicans, and unfortunately even some Democrats, the President's surge in Iraq has been a resounding success.
In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

This assertion is disingenuous, factually incorrect, and negatively impacts America's national security. The Surge had a clear and defined objective - to create stability and security - enabling the Iraqi government to enact lasting political solutions and foster genuine reconciliation and cooperation between Sunnis, Shias, and Kurds.

This has not happened.

There has been negligible political progress in Iraq, and we are no closer to solving the complex problems - including a power sharing government, oil revenue agreement and new constitution - than we were before the Administration upped the ante and sent 30,000 more troops to Iraq.

Too many Democrats in Congress are again surrendering to General Petraeus and have failed to challenge the Bush Administration's claims that the surge has been successful. In fact -- it is just the opposite.

The reduction in violence in Iraq has exposed the continuing failure of Iraqi officials to solve their substantial political rifts. By President Bush's own stated goal of political progress, the Surge has failed.

Of course raising troop levels has increased security - a strategy the Bush administration ignored when presented by General Shinseki before the war in Iraq began - but the fundamental internal Iraqi problems remain and the factors that were accelerating the civil war in 2007 have simply been put on hold.

The military progress is a testament to the patience and dedication of our brave troops - even in the face of 15 month-long deployments followed by insufficient Veteran's health services when they return home. They have performed brilliantly - despite the insult of having President Bush recently veto a military spending bill that enhanced funding and benefits, and increased care.

Despite the efforts of American soldiers, the surge alone cannot bring about the political solutions needed to end centuries of sectarian divide.

As it stands, little on the ground supports the assertion that Iraqis are ready to stand up and govern themselves. Too few Iraqi troops are trained, equipped and combat ready, and they cannot yet provide adequate security. Loyalty is also an issue in the Iraqi army as Al Queda and Sunni insurgents infliltrate their defense forces. The consequences turned deadly just recently when an Iraqi soldier purposely killed two U.S. troops.

On the streets of Baghdad and Mosul, the Sunni and Shia factions have paused their fighting, awaiting guarantees and protections that have not yet been delivered. As Iraqi refugees return, there is no mechanism to help them rebuild their lives, nor recover their now-occupied homes. Neighborhoods once mixed are now segregated.

In Northern Iraq, Kurdish terrorists conducting nefarious operations across the border into Turkey have compelled our NATO ally to strike at bases, inflaming tensions between Baghdad and Ankara.

The surge is working? We suffered more U.S. casualties in 2007 than in any other year of the war.
We can't afford any more of this type of success.

How can we create the situation that is most likely to deliver political progress in Iraq? Not by continuing the surge and occupation. Our best chance (there is no guarantee) is by putting real pressure on the Iraqi government to force action. Telling the national and local Iraqi leaders that we are withdrawing our troops can help accomplish this goal. Today, the majority Iraqi Shia government led by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has little incentive to act when American troops remain in the country to provide security and stability.

Based on the Administration's plan, John McCain's proposal of a 100-year US occupation could be a reality!

The Democratic Congress must act aggressively to first cut off funding for the surge and then the entire war. Many of my colleagues avoided a showdown with the administration because they mistakenly believed such a fight would endanger the safety of the troops.

In fact, we must accept that every soldier killed or injured in the coming months should have already been home. Every billion dollars of war-appropriations we spend from here on should have been spent on genuine priorities here at home such as children's heath care.

Enough is enough: While the Administration over-commits American forces in Iraq, we see Al Qaeda-regrouping and Osama Bin Laden still at large. We remain seriously bogged down in Afghanistan, and are witnessing a crisis in Pakistan that has left a nuclear country on the brink of a meltdown. America's resources and attention are desperately needed elsewhere and our soldiers must no longer be needlessly sacrificed as we wait for Iraqis to stand up.
The Surge has failed. If my colleagues gullibly accept the moving rationale for the Surge, just as so many have for the war itself, we will have failed as well.
All this and impeachment too. Day-ummm, I wish I could vote for this guy!

January 8, 2008

Please go here to sign MoveOn.org's petition to tell Congress to enact a bill requiring a paper trail in November's election. They're considering the measure this week so time is of the essence.

January 7, 2008

The First Amendment and Respect

Recently, a former colleague sent me an email that went on and on about how wonderful it is to live in a country where we wouldn’t even think about burning the flag in protest. How ‘True Americans’ are proud of being Christians. How respect is something we bestow on our elders because they’re older than we are—not because they’ve earned it. How placing your hand over your heart when the flag passes by is a Virtuous Act. And, so is bowing your head when someone prays. How putting the Ten Commandments up on public property is a Good Thing. And how saying ‘Happy Holidays’ is bad while saying, ‘Merry Christmas’ is good. And on and on.

The email said, in essence, that we should do away with the First Amendment. That Christianity is the only valid way of looking at the universe and that it’s all right to enforce that view on others.

Now, I thought this woman knew me better than that. Not only was I offended by her message, I was frightened by it.
Our forefathers set up the Constitution for very good reasons.
They added the First Amendment so we could worship as we choose, or not; so we could educate ourselves; so we could agree to disagree with each other without fear of persecution.

They did that, in my opinion, because they'd had classical educations and knew the history of Europe very, very well.
They knew that people had been tortured, impaled and burned at the stake for disagreeing with their respective monarchs' views on religion.
They knew the printed word had been first controlled and, later, manipulated by those in power in order to control the masses.
They knew that people had been persecuted for disagreeing with the ruling classes and saying so.
And they wanted to be sure those things couldn't happen here.

To see us heading back in that direction today terrifies me.
I want to go on record here:
Yes, I bow my head when someone prays [if they bow theirs]—no matter what God, Goddess or natural phenomenon they may be praying to. I do it because it is good manners to do so and out of respect for their views—whether or not I share them.
I also keep in mind that bowing one’s head is a medieval custom begun when monarchs descended from their thrones and walked among their subjects. It was a sign of forced respect from one human being by another.
I do not believe that any deity requires it. If I believed it did, I would have to conclude that that deity was a paranoid being who was so afraid I would get uppity it had to constantly remind itself that it is ‘better’ than me. And I don’t believe that.

I practice good manners out of respect for myself. as well as respect for others.

I reserve the feeling of respect for individuals—not objects.
Pieces of fabric are things; and flags are pieces of fabric. Thus, they do not inherently deserve respect. They can stand for other things such as nations; and nations, being clusters of people, can't earn respect. Only individuals can do that—by their individual actions.

I hold respect for those individuals who have earned my respect. Not to do so would, in my opinion, cheapen respect itself. To show it toward people simply because they have lived longer than I have suggests I shouldn’t have respect for those who are younger than I am—no matter what they may have done to actually earn my respect. That makes no sense to me, at all.

I don’t demand your respect if I haven't done anything to earn it—no matter what our respective ages may be.

And people who wrap themselves in the flag and attempt to force their views on me are, imo, treating me with contempt while demanding my respect. And, no, I won’t go along with them.
Oh, and that email message that started this diatribe? Yes, I wrote back airing my concerns. It was the respectful thing to do—and my right under the First Amendment.

January 2, 2008

Pollin', Pollin', Pollin'

Hey, folks--
I just want to give you all a heads-up: MoveOn.org has been polling for a year asking who people favor for the White House come November. [Ooooooh, that sends shivers up my spine! The election is THIS year finally! Assuming Cheney doesn't come up with some excuse to suspend the Constitution.]
Anyhow, galloping back to the point, here -- here's a link to the poll results thus far.

January 1, 2008

Fundamentalist Pastor/Hypocrite

This from the Washington Post:
Huckabee Unveils Ad Only to Disavow It -- By Michael D. Shear and Perry Bacon Jr.

Flanked by posters his campaign produced to question Romney's credibility, Huckabee decried gutter politics in America but then directed the attention of scores of reporters and television cameras to a movie screen, where he played the 30-second hit piece on Romney's honesty and record.

"I pulled the ad. I do not want it to be run at all," he said. But within minutes, the ad was being played on national television and had been posted on blogs and other Web sites -- without costing his campaign a penny.

Click here to view the entire text.
Oh, isn't this just the cutest, cuddliest little maneuver you've ever seen?
This from the Huffington Post: Reason, Religion and Fear -- by Bill Curry

In 1960 John Kennedy went to Texas to talk to some Protestant pastors about what it means to be a Catholic. They were mostly Democrats but the reception was not a warm one. . . .

Recently Mitt Romney went to Texas to talk to some Protestant politicians about what it means to be a Mormon, or so we thought. His speech mirrored Kennedy's in many particulars, but not in its purpose.
Kennedy reassured evangelicals that though his faith was different from theirs he'd never impose it. Romney told them his faith wasn't so different and that in any event he'd be happy to help impose theirs.

Kennedy bet on progress, reason and the constitution, in part because he had to. These ideals were overthrown by his death, by war and racial unease and by the inevitable dislocations of progress, among other things.

We've lived ever since in the chokehold of a backward politics that subverts democracy and religion and turns us against science and the world. There are signs everywhere that we're leaving this politics behind, in part because we have to. But Romney doesn't see them.

Kennedy couldn't know that the future he ceaselessly pondered would be lost to the atavism and fear he met in Houston. A half century later Romney mimics Kennedy's style but Mitt Romney, it turns out, is no Jack Kennedy. He peddles fear in the guise of reason, pretending to take refuge in the Constitution as he goes about his real business of subverting it. His pandering speech was but the bookend of an era.
Click here for the complete text.
Like Curry, I've recently begun seeing signs that the country may be turning back from the abyss of the joining of Church and State. We may be beginning to, again, give some credence to the Constitution and its first amendment after ignoring it for over two decades.

As with global warming, though, I'm afraid there may be a tipping point beyond which we will have ventured too far and our own momentum may continue to carry us forward. May this not be true. I'm holding my breath and hoping that we haven't left this move until it's too late for it to do any good.