Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Gingrich's New Contract with America: Free Speech is Bad, Mmmm'k? Except for Political Corporate Donors...

Gingrich raises alarm at event honoring those who stand up for freedom of speech:
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich yesterday said the country will be forced to reexamine freedom of speech to meet the threat of terrorism.

Gingrich, speaking at a Manchester awards banquet, said a "different set of rules" may be needed to reduce terrorists' ability to use the Internet and free speech to recruit and get out their message.
The beautiful thing is that the awards banquet is, "The annual Nackey S. Loeb First Amendment award dinner, which fetes people and organizations that stand up for freedom of speech."

Oh dear. Did someone give Newt the wrong invitation?

But Mr. Contract with America wasn't saying that freedom of speech is bad for everyone. He's very fond of free speech where political donations are concerned:
At the same time, Gingrich advocated what he called an expansion of free speech rights by allowing people to give any campaign contribution amount to any political candidate as long as the donation is reported online within 24 hours.

"Just as tax lawyers always succeed in out-thinking the (Internal Revenue Service) because they stay after five and the IRS goes home, the private-sector lawyers will always out-think the (Federal Election Commission) because they stay after five and the FEC goes home[...]"
Oh, and separation of church and state? Also bad for freedom of speech. Again, from the Union Leader:
He also said court rulings over separation of church and state have hurt citizens' ability to express themselves and their faith.
Wow. Just...wow. My brain hurts in trying to follow that "logic."

(Keith Olbermann's got it right, yet again.)

Friday, November 10, 2006

Something Is Rotten in the County of Riverside

(crossposted to Daily Kos - ordgddss diary)

In recent months members of SoCal Grassroots traveled to Moreno Valley to work hard for the election of David Roth in the 45th Congressional District, where we hoped to oust Do-Nothing Republican and Bush-Rubber-Stamp Mary Bono. David is an inspiring and energetic man and was a perfect candidate for the Riverside/Palm Springs/Moreno Valley area.

We phoned. We precinct walked. We contacted voters of every stripe to let them know about David. Many voters were impressed by what they heard. Many Republicans, fed up with Mary Bono's disinterest in the district she was supposedly representing (the 45th CD was 57th out of 58 congressional districts in federal funds per capita, meaning only one Californian representative brought home less federal funding to the district), told the canvassers and the phone bankers that they were sick of Bono, sick of how she voted to cut benefits for soldiers and veterans, and would be voting for David Roth instead.

We were energized come Election Day, but it seemed that David was not destined to represent the 45th CD in the 110th Congress come January.

Except.

It was discovered last night that over 75,000 ballots had not yet been counted in Riverside County. Included in that staggering total? Every absentee ballot that was filed in the county.

As of this writing, this blogger is not certain that David Roth has officially conceded the race, or, if he has, whether there is something that can be done to reverse the decision, should it be determined by a recount that David is, indeed, the next representatve of the 45th Congressional District. However, I urge all readers to contact Riverside's Registrar of Voters and demand that they count all uncounted ballots:

Registrar of Voters
2724 Gateway Drive
Riverside, CA 92507

Customer Service -
ph: (951) 486-7200
fax: (951) 486-7272
tty: (951) 653-3718

Hours: 8 am - 5 pm
Mon - Fri
(No email address seems to be on the RoV website.)

In related news, Ventura County also has 71,000 votes uncounted as of yesterday. We have to remember that, in our speedy, high tech, microwave world, needing an immediate result is not always the best case scenario, especially when it comes to our democracy.

This ain't over, my friends.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Now We Can Breathe

The results of yesterday's elections are enough to make this blogger weep and dance for joy. Rumsfield's resignation just makes it that much sweeter.

It wasn't a perfect election, by any means. The Governator is still in office. Propositions 87 and 89 - the two propositions I really wanted to pass - were left in the dust. We may not know about the outcome of Virginia's Senate race for several months. Far too many "marriage acts" were voted into law yesterday, thereby ensuring second class citizenship for men and women whose choice in partners doesn't jibe with the socially backwards.

But the Dems took the House. The Senate is only one seat shy of turning Blue. California's next Secretary of State is the amazing Debra Bowen. Dirty, rotten Pombo is out and will be replaced by McNerney, a man who actually cares about the environment and knows a thing or two about alternative energy. And South Dakota's horrendous abortion ban law was rejected.

The hard work comes next. The newly Blue House has got to realize that they didn't so much win as the Repiblicans lost resoundingly. They need to draft workable policies that will bring the US back from the brink of terminal illness and set it back on the path to health. And these policies need to be implemented as much as is humanly possible, considering that Bush is still in office. If not, then we'll lose across the board in 2008.

Still, let's enjoy today. We've all worked hard for it. One day of free breathing is not too much to ask before we jump back into the fray.

After all, the 2008 Presidential Election Season is just starting.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Today is Midterm Election Day!

It's imperative that the Democrats regain control of the House and Senate. For only two reasons amongst the hundreds:




(Thanks to Ray in New Orleans for the second video.)

Polls close at 8PM. To find your polling place, go to the California Democratic Party website. Help take back America from the destructive hands of the current incarnation of the Republican party - vote today!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Bush Kills Habeas Corpus Dead

On Tuesday, George W. Bush curtailed the rights of prisoners by signing legislation which would allow terrorism suspects to be tried in from of military tribulnals. This paragraph - from the L.A. Times - is especially alarming:
The Justice Department moved swiftly to enforce one of the law's most controversial provisions. Within two hours of the signing ceremony, department lawyers notified the U.S. Appeals Court in Washington that the new law eliminated federal court jurisdiction over dozens of lawsuits filed on behalf of prisoners held at U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

And in case you think that this applies only to prisoners in Guantanamo Bay and the like, think again:
The military tribunals bill signed by President Bush on Tuesday marks the first time the right of habeas corpus has been curtailed by law for millions of people in the United States.

Although debate focused on trials at Guantanamo Bay, the new law also takes away from noncitizens in the U.S. — including more than 12 million permanent residents — the right to go to court if they are declared "unlawful enemy combatants."

"Oh, but I'm fine. I'm an American citizen!" you might say.

First of all, it's wrong and immoral, no matter the citizenship status of the human in question. Second, how much longer until it's determined that citizens of the United States - whether US born or naturalized - need to be scrutinized?

This is why it is critical that Democrats regain control of either the House or Senate (preferably both) on November 7th. We need to curtail this abomination.

Now.

(As always, Keith Olbermann says it best.)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Latest: "Staying the Course" in Iraq Until 2010

According to an MSNBC report, Army plans current Iraq troop levels until 2010:
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Army has plans to keep the current level of soldiers in Iraq through 2010, the top Army officer said Wednesday, a later date than Bush administration or Pentagon officials have mentioned thus far.
If this isn't evidence of a long-term plan to continue the US occupation of a sovreign nation, I don't know what is.

Wait a minute, yes I do.

TONIGHT - Screening of Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers, featuring a Q &A with filmmaker Robert Greenwald

A horrifying catalog of greed, corruption and incompetence among private contractors in Iraq, focusing primarily on Halliburton, Blackwater Security Consulting and CACI International.

SoCal Grassroots is hosting a screening of Iraq for Sale with Special Guest, filmmaker Robert Greenwald.

WHAT: Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers
WHEN: Wednesday, October 11 08:00 PM
WHERE: Fine Arts Theater
8556 Wilshire Blvd. (just west of LaCienega)
Beverly Hills, California 90211

HOSTED BY: SoCal Grassroots.
Tickets are $10

Pay at the door or you can still purchase tickets in advance.
the SoCal Grassroots Act Blue donation page. The requested donation is $10.00.

For more details and to RSVP, please visit:
http://iraqforsale.bravenewtheaters.com/screening/show/6197.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

This resume deserves serious review

Resume
GEORGE W. BUSH
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington DC 20520

EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE
LAW ENFORCEMENT
• I was arrested in Kennebunkport, Maine , in 1976 for driving under the influence of alcohol. I pled guilty, paid a fine, and had my driver's license suspended for 30 days. My Texas driving record has been “lost” and is not available.

MILITARY
• I joined the Texas Air National Guard and went AWOL. I refused to take a drug test or answer any questions about my drug use. By joining the Texas Air National Guard, I was able to avoid combat duty in Vietnam

COLLEGE
• I graduated from Yale University with a low C average. I was a cheerleader.

PAST WORK EXPERIENCE
• I ran for U.S. Congress and lost. I began my career in the oil business in Midland , Texas, in 1975. I bought an oil company, but couldn't find any oil in Texas. The company went bankrupt shortly after I sold all my stock.
• I bought the Texas Rangers baseball team in a sweetheart deal that took land using taxpayer money. With the help of my father and our friends in the oil industry, including Enron CEO Ken Lay, I was elected governor of Texas.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS AS GOVERNOR OF TEXAS
• I changed Texas pollution laws to favor power and oil companies, making Texas the most polluted state in the Union.
• During my tenure, Houston replaced Los Angeles as the most smog-ridden city in America
• I cut taxes and bankrupted the Texas treasury to the tune of billions in borrowed money.
• I set the record for the most executions by any governor in American history.
• With the help of my brother, the governor of Florida , and my father's appointments to the Supreme Court, I became President after losing by over 500,000 votes.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS AS PRESIDENT
• I am the first President in U.S. history to enter office with a criminal record.
• I invaded and occupied two countries at a continuing cost of over one billion dollars per week.
• I spent the U.S. surplus and effectively bankrupted the U.S. Treasury.
• I shattered the record for the largest annual deficit in U.S. history.
• I set an economic record for most private bankruptcies filed in any 12-month period.
• I set the all-time record for most foreclosures in a 12-month period.
• I set the all-time record for the biggest drop in the history of the U.S. stock market.
• In my first year in office, over 2 million Americans lost their jobs and that trend continues every month.
• I'm proud that the members of my cabinet are the richest of any administration in U.S. history. My “poorest millionaire,” Condoleeza Rice, had a Chevron oil tanker named after her.
• I set the record for most campaign fund-raising trips by a U.S. President. I am the all-time U.S. and world record-holder for receiving the most corporate campaign donations.
• My largest lifetime campaign contributor, and one of my best friends, Kenneth Lay, presided over the largest corporate bankruptcy fraud in U.S. History, Enron.
• My political party used Enron private jets and corporate attorneys to assure my success with the U.S. Supreme Court during my election decision.
• I have protected my friends at Enron and Halliburton against investigation or prosecution.
• More time and money was spent investigating the Monica Lewinsky affair than has been spent investigating one of the biggest corporate rip- offs in history.
• I presided over the biggest energy crisis in U.S. history and refused to intervene when corruption involving the oil industry was revealed.
• I presided over the highest gasoline prices in U.S. history.
• I changed the U.S. policy to allow convicted criminals to be awarded government contracts.
• I appointed more convicted criminals to administration than any President in U.S. history.
• I created the Ministry of Homeland Security, the largest bureaucracy in the history of the United States government.
• I've broken more international treaties than any President in U.S. history.
• I am the first President in U.S. history to have the United Nations remove the U.S. from the Human Rights Commission.
• I withdrew the U.S. from the World Court of Law. I refused to allow inspectors access to U.S. “prisoners of war” detainees and thereby have refused to abide by the Geneva Convention.
• I am the first President in history to refuse United Nations election inspectors (during the 2002 U.S. election).
• I set the record for fewest numbers of press conferences of any President since the advent of television.
• I set the all-time record for most days on vacation in any one-year period. After taking off the entire month of August, I presided over the worst security failure in U.S. history.
• I garnered the most sympathy for the U.S. after the World Trade Center attacks and less than a year later made the U.S. the most hated country in the world, the largest failure of diplomacy in world history.
• I have set the all-time record for most people worldwide to simultaneously protest me in public venues (15 million people), shattering the record for protests against any person in the history of mankind.
• I am the first President in U.S. history to order an unprovoked, pre-emptive attack and the military occupation of a sovereign nation. I did so against the will of the United Nations, the majority of U.S. citizens, and the world community.
• I have cut health care benefits for war veterans and support a cut in duty benefits for active duty troops and their families-in-wartime.
• In my State of the Union Address, I lied about our reasons for attacking Iraq and then blamed the lies on our British friends.
• I am the first President in history to have a majority of Europeans (71%) view my presidency as the biggest threat to world peace and security.
• I am supporting development of a nuclear “Tactical Bunker Buster,” a WMD. I have so far failed to fulfill my pledge to bring Osama Bin Laden [sic] to justice.

RECORDS AND REFERENCES
• All records of my tenure as governor of Texas are now in my father's library, sealed and unavailable for public view.
• All records of SEC investigations into my insider trading and my bankrupt companies are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public view.
• All records or minutes from meetings that I, or my Vice-President, attended regarding public energy policy are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public review. I am a member of the Republican Party.

PLEASE CONSIDER MY EXPERIENCE WHEN VOTING IN THE 2006 MIDTERM ELECTIONS. PLEASE SEND THIS TO EVERY VOTER YOU KNOW. =

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Bad ballot design -- an ongoing story

Marketer Seth Godin on his local precinct's badly designed ballot -- and a modest proposal for fixing this situation.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Destruction of Ohio's 2004 Presidential Election Ballots Delayed by Blackwell

It's a start:
With paper ballots from the 2004 presidential election in Ohio scheduled to be destroyed next week, the secretary of state in Columbus, under pressure from critics, said yesterday that he would move to delay the destruction at least for several months.

Since the election, questions have been raised about how votes were tallied in Ohio, a battleground state that helped deliver the election to President Bush over Senator John Kerry.
I agree with, "[...] critics say the ballots should be saved pending an investigation. They also say the secretary of state’s proposal to delay the destruction does not go far enough, and they intend to sue to preserve the ballots."

This gives election activists desparately needed time to launch an investigation and lawsuit. I'm investigating action items to see if there is anything we can do to help out and will update when I get them. If any readers have ideas, please feel free to forward them to me in the comments or to socalgrassroots@gmail.com.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Ohio Preparing to Destroy 2004 Presidential Election Ballots

First heard on Stephanie Miller this morning, Ohio officials are preparing to destroy the ballots from the 2004 Presidential Election:
Ohio officials will soon begin destroying the paper ballots from the 2004 presidential election despite objections from voter rights groups.

"Soon after the 2004 presidential election, questions emerged about how votes were tallied in Ohio, a battleground state that delivered the presidency to George W. Bush," Ian Urbina writes in a story slated for the New York Times.

"Now, following a routine procedure, state officials are preparing to destroy the paper ballots from the election," writes Urbina.

"Critics say the ballots should be preserved for more study," the article continues.

If this is truly a routine procedure, put in place before the 2004 elections, I can't fault the officials for following procedure. I can, however, fault them for not making the ballots public before this year, I will definitely fault them for not making exception to procedure in this highly suspect and volatile instance - we need those ballots, as they are the only physical proof election protection activists have regarding Ohio's role in the outcome of the 2004 election, especially since none exist for the Diebold voting machines that were used.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Bush's On Notice Board

Stephen Colbert loves Bush almost as much as he loves Papa Bear Bill O'Reilly. So much so that Stephen put together an On Notice just for his beloved Commander-in-Thief:


You're On Notice!


Weird thing is, Stephen put this together in April 2001 - before he even had a show.

So eerie, yet explains so much...

New Stem Cell Technique May Not Be Good Enough for Bush

The main objection that critics have had regarding the pursuit of embyonic stem-cell research is that the 150 celled embryo - called a blastocyst - has been destoyed in the past, thereby destroying what is potential life, at least in the eyes of the Bush Administration and "right-to-life" (what a ridiculous phrase) critics.

So one would think that the new technique for harvesting stem-cells - in which a single cell is taken from a a two day old, eight celled blastomere - would be sufficient to silence the critics. This technique has been in use for a decade in testing in vitro embryos for potential birth defects, to no ill health for the embryos implanted in the womb, carried to term and since successfully born and raised.

Gues what? That ain't enough:

[...]Emily Lawrimore, a White House spokeswoman, suggested that the new procedure would not satisfy the objections of Mr. Bush, who vetoed legislation in July that would have expanded federally financed embryonic stem cell research. Though Ms. Lawrimore called it encouraging that scientists were moving away from destroying embryos, she said: "Any use of human embryos for research purposes raises serious ethical questions. This technique does not resolve those concerns."

How is embryonic stem-cell research supposed to happen, if human embryos are not used? By waving a magic wand?

Scientists acknowledge that more research needs to be done to make sure this is a viable method of creating new stem-cell lines. But this is the best - and least destructive - method of furthering this much needed research. Bush and his cabal really need to embrace this technique, less they be seen as obstructionist Neanderthals.

Oh, wait...

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Thank You, Bush...

...for admitting the truth - and so forcefully:

[BUSH]: [...] And so my question -- my answer to your question is, is that, imagine a world in which Saddam Hussein was there, stirring up even more trouble in a part of the world that had so much resentment and so much hatred that people came and killed 3,000 of our citizens.

You know, I've heard this theory about everything was just fine until we arrived, and kind of "we're going to stir up the hornet's nest" theory. It just doesn't hold water, as far as I'm concerned. The terrorists attacked us and killed 3,000 of our citizens before we started the freedom agenda in the Middle East.

Q What did Iraq have to do with that?

[BUSH]: What did Iraq have to do with what?

Q The attack on the World Trade Center?

[BUSH]: Nothing
--

Santorum's Got It All Wrong...

...it's not man-on-dog we have to worry about. It's dog-on-turtle:

In this photo released by Kellie Copeland-Burnup via the Post and Courier, Willy, a tortoise, belonging to Kellie, walks past the family dog Sunday, Aug. 21, 2006, in Ridgeville, S.C. After a month on the lam, the 40-pound tortoise with a 2-foot-wide, gold-colored shell is back in the wading pool at his owner's home. Kellie reported the tortoise escaped about July 1. A local emergency medical services technician spotted Willy on Sunday along a rural road about five miles away. During six weeks on the run, Willy averaged .005 mph, well short of a new land speed record. (AP Photo/Kellie Copeland-Burnup via the Post and Courier)

Maybe Ricky had better begin investigations into this unnatural union of mammal and reptile.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Marine Reservists - Not Returning Willingly

From Reuters today: Marine Corps to start involuntary troop recalls.

The most telling line from the article: "But the number of Marines volunteering outside their active-duty service requirement has been steadily declining for two years, according to Stratton, who said could not offer an explanation."

I certainly couldn't give a definite answer, as I'm not a Marine reservist, but maybe those who haven't volunteered to return aren't enamoured with the Occupation of Iraq. There is the possibility that they find it as illegal and immoral as many of us anti-war activists.

The scariest part of the article: "The Marine Corps' authority to involuntarily recall Marines for jobs in the 'Global War on Terror' -- a war whose parameters remain largely undefined -- has no expiration date.

'The authority is until GWOT is over with,' Stratton said. 'Until we're told to do otherwise, we'll use it.'"

Can the draft be far behind?

Friday, August 18, 2006

Bush Signed the Who and the What?

This morning I read something that made my head do a triple-whiplash: Bush signed into law the Federal Pension Protection Act. What made me snort Wheaties out of my nose? The provisions that allow retirement benefits to be transferred to domestic partners after one dies.

Either Bush's Fundamentalist heart softened a tiny bit towards same-sex unions or he hadn't yet had his coffee when this bill crossed his desk.

I'm betting on the latter...

Thursday, August 17, 2006

NSA Eavesdropping is Bad, MMM'K?

Bless U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor from Michigan. She has ruled that the NSA eavesdropping program is unconstitutional:
[Taylor] further declared that the program "violates the separation of powers doctrine, the Administrative Procedures Act, the First and Fourth amendments to the United States Constitution, the FISA and Title III."

She went on to say that "the president of the United States ... has undisputedly violated the Fourth in failing to procure judicial orders."
I think we need to send her a big candy heart and a bunch of flowers.

(The complete ruling can be found here.)

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Start Singing, Grandpa Joe

As y'all know by now, Ned Lamont won the Democratic nomination for Senate in Connecticut's primary yesterday. He won it fair and square, beating DINO Joe Lieberman with 52% of the vote.

But, because Grandpa Joe makes like a Carly Simon song, thinking this election is all about him, he's decided to stay in the fight and run as an independent.

Joe, Joe, Joe. You'll sit back and allow Bush and Fox News to run all over you, then lead you around by their very short leash. But when the Democratic voters - you know, the political party you claimed as yours so many years ago, the people you've sworn to serve many times over - legally and fairly decide that you no longer represent their views or best interests, you decide that a little overtime is order, even if no one else is playing the same game as you.

Stop whining, Joe. Stop stomping your feet about how it would be "irresponsible and inconsistent with my principles" to quit 'cause you don't like the outcome. Grow up, Grandpa Joe. Retire and spend the rest of your days as the Fox News buttmonkey, a position you clearly prefer to that of actually representing your state.

Oh well. At least he won't call himself a Democrat any more...

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Now is the summer of our discontent


Now is the summer of our discontent
Made ne'er glorious by this son of privilege;
And all the clouds that lour'd upon our house
In the deep wounds of a nation buried.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Freedumb

As we celebrate Independence Day 2006, as we tuck into our burgers and dogs and guzzle our tall cold ones, as we ooh and aah over fireworks displays, let us honor our forefathers who sacrificed life and limb to give us the freedoms we now enjoy. Let's remember to take a moment and give thanks for those freedoms:

The freedom to vote as many times as we want for the American Idol of our choice;

The freedom to pay upwards of $1000 a month for health insurance for us and our families;

The freedom to consume as many Cheetos, Keebler cookies, Krispy Kreme donuts, double-stuffed oreos, stuffed double-crusted pizzas, buckets of hot wings, gallons of Sprite, Whoppers with cheese, steak quesadillas, extra-large orders of fries, bags of M&Ms, vente mocha Frappuccinos, egg McMuffins, and Philly cheese steaks we want;

The freedom to contract Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, driving up the cost of health care even higher;

The freedom to sit and watch "Top Model" while our basic rights as Americans are taken away from us;

The freedom to receive a second-rate public-school education;

The freedom to ignore global warming, despite incontrovertible proof, and keep driving everywhere in bigger and bigger SUVs;

The freedom to work 50-60 hours a week in multiple dead-end jobs in order to barely support our families;

The freedom to have our phone calls listened to and our Internet activity monitored;

The freedom to have our elections sold to the highest bidder;

The freedom to be hoodwinked into a war for no reason but to line the pockets of the President's henchmen;

The freedom to be cynically manipulated by those who seek to profit from our fear;

The freedom to be lied to, over and over and over again;

And the freedom to eat burgers and dogs, guzzle tall cold ones, ooh and aah over fireworks displays, and do absolutely nothing.


Happy Birthday, America. Happy Independence Day, you poor sorry bastards. You've got the country you deserve.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Impeachment Resolutions - It's Not Just For Legislative Bodies Anymore

There has been much discussion about the ability of state legislative bodies to bring impeachment resolutions to the House of Representatives for consideration, thanks to a clause in the Jefferson manual, section 603 of the House Rules of the United States Constitution. Such resolutions are currently being looked at by California, Illinois and Vermont. Many cities across the country have also passed impeachment resolutions, using Clause 3, Rule XII, Section 819, of the Rules of the House of Representatives.

Well, cities aren't the only bodies that are using Clause 3 to pass resolutions. The librarians of Seattle are taking matters into their own hands:
These are not the stereotypical librarians of the olden days, the ones who were a bit reserved but ready with a glare for anyone talking too loudly.

Instead, the employees of the Seattle Public Library have passed a resolution through their local union calling for President Bush to resign or be impeached because of the USA Patriot Act, the Iraq war and a host of other issues.

It's a resolution that doesn't mince words, and it will be introduced at the annual conference of the American Library Association that begins today in New Orleans.

"We're always concerned about patron privacy and protecting that," said Lynn Lorenz, 38, a librarian at the Madrona-Sally Goldmark Branch who helped draft the resolution.
This is an excellent move. While it's true, as ImpeachBush.tv writes, that resolutions coming from individuals and groups tend to carry less weight with the House, if enough impeachment resolutions are brought to the floor, it could become an issue they can no longer ignore or dance around.

For more information regarding the "How To" of impeachments, go to ImpeachBush.tv. And for more information regarding impeachment actions and events in California, see ImpeachCA.com.

You'll be glad you did.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

AJR 39: Still Alive and Well, But Kicking and Screaming All The Way

By Paul Koretz, Assemblyman, 42nd District, California

Hello out there in Blog-Land,

I’m delighted to report that Assembly Joint Resolution 39 (AJR 39 -- my Resolution in the state legislature calling for the investigation and impeachment of Bush and Cheney) is alive.

One of the great things that is keeping this bill alive is the phenomenal input and proactive emails, faxes, phone calls and letters of support my colleagues and I have received from so many of you. They have been eloquent, personal and brave. The constant theme has been a deeply held belief that we need to reclaim our nation’s government from the hands of the lawless – if it’s not already too late.

None of this reaction is due to “corporate media” coverage, which has indeed been minimal. Instead, this is a great testimonial to the blogosphere and the power of your grass-roots activism, which reverberates every time you tell a friend, repost an announcement, or contact an elected official asking for their support.

We now have a Joint Author on the bill, Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), and six terrific co-authors: Jackie Goldberg (D-Los Angeles), Mark Ridley-Thomas (D-Los Angeles), Jerome Horton (D-Los Angeles), Rudy Bermudez (D-Los Angeles), Ron Calderon (D-Los Angeles), and Loni Hancock (D-Alameda County).

I believe it is my duty as a representative of the people, and the duty of all elected officials to help promote a public dialogue about things going on in the country that are just wrong, such as the dubious activities and errant judgment of the President and Vice President, because we can’t afford to turn a blind eye toward their ineptitude. For one reason or another, Congress has not sought to investigate these allegations. This is a matter that transcends partisan politics, and these are allegations that must not be ignored or swept under the rug any longer.

President Bush and Vice President Cheney must be held accountable before they undertake even deadlier misdeeds, such as the use of nuclear weapons. We have all seen that there are no bounds to their willingness to ignore the Constitution and world opinion, that the unthinkable is routine in this Administration.

People have been contacting me with great enthusiasm about the fact that we are finally standing up to this President and Vice President who consistently trample on the Constitution and believe they are above the law. Rather than fearing a backlash in the November elections, I feel that this will energize Democrats and others who have been frustrated by the lack of pushback to a President who has violated the Constitution and the checks and balances of our system with such impunity.

In the State Assembly, however, there is still much to be done. A bit of progress has been made since I first submitted the amendments to AJR 39. Although I can’t say that Assembly leadership is overly enthusiastic about moving the bill, it has been put into print. They have been particularly concerned about bi-partisan issues on the table in California, like the recently-passed infrastructure bond and the pending budget negotiations, and feel that impeachment is perceived as too partisan an issue to raise at this time. However, once our budget is passed, no impossible barrier remains in our way. The Resolution is now in the Rules Committee waiting for referral, hopefully to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

Pressure from constituents like you on Democratic Assemblymembers to not only support the bill, but also to become co-authors of the bill will be key to its success. We also need to push the Democratic leadership in the Assembly to refer the bill to committee and give it a hearing before the end of this legislative session in August.

It’s also important to let your representatives know that resolutions have also been introduced in Illinois and Vermont. Karen Yarbrough’s resolution in Illinois is done for the year as they are out of session. In Vermont, Dave Zuckerman’s Resolution has been referred to their Legislature’s Judiciary Committee, but its unclear whether the committee has heard the bill. Movement of my Resolution here in California could provide the impetus to not only moving Illinois’ and Vermont’s resolutions, but to also convince other states that introducing their own Resolutions would greatly enhance the cause.

It will not be easy, but we can do it. Impeachment charges have never before been brought by a State legislature against a President and Vice-President, and our work will require the best efforts of a progressive grassroots movement to be successful.

WE NEED YOUR HELP. For more information on how you can get involved, go to WWW.IMPEACHCA.COM.

Thank you!


Paul Koretz
Assemblyman, 42nd District

Monday, June 19, 2006

Berman Blows It

From LA Daily News - Berman with GOP on Iraq:
Capping two days of rancorous partisan debate, Rep. Howard Berman, D-Van Nuys, broke with most of his party Friday and voted to approve a Republican-backed resolution to reject a timetable for U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq.
So many Democrats wag their fingers at progressive activists, saying that we're more concerned with the shade of blue our Democratic representatives are, instead of worrying about gaining a Democratic majority in Congress. But do we really want the sort of "Democrat" in Congress who will vote along GOP lines? One who says:
"I voted for today's resolution on Iraq because I agree with what it calls for: success in the 'mission to create a sovereign, free and united Iraq.' I still have hope that we can accomplish that mission," Berman said in a statement.
Some have said that the Iraq War is not the only issue that liberals have to worry about, so we shouldn't "use it as a litmus test" in the support of political candidates. But when the Iraq War is siphoning off so many resources that it horrifically impacts the majority of issues liberals care about and causes the deaths of our soldiers and Iraqis, it becomes the main issue we should act upon. And it becomes the main issue for which we should hold our electeds - as well as prospective electeds - accountable.

Personally, I want my Democratic representatives to be as blue as blue can be, not bright magenta. I know I'm not the only progressive Democrat who thinks so.

Friday, June 16, 2006

A Profile in Courage

John Kennedy while recuperating from his back injury wrote; his greatest was of course "Profiles In Courage". In this he detailed acts of moral and political courage by members of congress. While I claim no literate connection; I will do what I can to detail a modern profile in courage.

As an Irish Catholic, I remember the tale of the boxer and the Blessed Virgin; and an Irish- American, I am proud of the tale of the Boxer as his strives for peace. As a native Californian I am equally proud of our own Boxer; Senator Barbara Boxer.

She was one of five Democratic Senators who joined in supporting John Kerry's call for a Senate Resolution to withdraw from Iraq by the end of the year! She joined Senators Harkin, Byrd, Kennedy, Feingold, and of course Kerry in voting yes. The silence of the other Senators was anything but courageous. When she stood in the well of the Senate with members of the House Congressional Black Caucus to force a congressional response she stood alone with no other senate colleagues - that was an act of courage. Time, time and again; this diminutive power house of senatorial courage has stood by her principles and made us in California very proud. She is criticized as being too liberal; that is impossible. In the 2004 election the third highest vote getter after Bush and Kerry was Boxer. The highest vote for any Senator in the history of our republic.

I hope to spend some blog time over the next months in revisiting Barbara Boxer and her courage, committment to California, our nation and our world! This will be between more strident words on the fallacies of our national administration. For now be warmed and proud of our Senator and call, write or e-mail a thank you for her continued courage.

From Brad Friedman: No Confidence in the Busby/Bilbray Election

In today's Huffington Post - No Confidence in the Busby/Bilbray Election:
I don't know how else to put it, but every voting machine used in last week's special election run-off for the U.S. House seat vacated by the disgraced Randy "Duke" Cunningham in California's 50th congressional district was illegal. By federal standards, rules and provisions and by California state rules, laws and provisions.

And now, by the San Diego County Registrar of Voters own admission.

TO REVIEW: The election was run on highly hackable Diebold voting machines that were sent home overnight and unsecurely with poll workers for days prior to the election which rendered the machines both illegal and uncertified for use in the election under both federal and state laws, requirements and statutes. The GOP has since rushed to swear-in Bilbray before the votes were counted, or the election even certified by the state of California.

See any of the links above for corroborated, sourced and detailed information.
Regarding recently discovered massive security flaws, David Jefferson - a member of MacPherson's own team of independent analysts - was quoted as saying:
"[This] is the most serious vulnerability that we've ever seen in a voting system. This particular vulnerability is serious enough that you can affect multiple machines from a single attack. That's what makes it so dangerous.
PDA has also voted No Confidence in the 50th CD results and is calling for a handcount. Please sign the Velvet Revolution petition to help it to happen.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

ACTION ALERT: Net Neutrality in Danger - Contact Your Representative!

I know this is old news by now, but it's still all too important - we've got to keep Net Neutrality alive!

Telecommunications companies may already be blocking content when they so desire, according to SaveTheInternet.com:
There’s a pervasive myth that there has been no Internet content discrimination by the large phone and cable companies. “That is simply untrue, ” writes Matt Stoller of BlogPAC.

Stoller points to Cox Cable, which for three months has blocked their customers from accessing the online classifieds super-site, Craigslist. (Disclosure: the company’s founder, Craig Newmark, is a charter member of this coalition).

Go to SaveTheInternet.com and sign the petition - send your representatives the message that you know the COPE Act is meaningless and offers no real protection for Net Neutrality.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

The silver lining in the 50th

So Busby went bust.

Maybe Democrats will finally learn two things:

1. Local races are local. Voters are angry about Washington, but they're voting on Main Street. Running against "Washington" just doesn't win neighborhoods.

2. Don't turn non-referendums into referendums. It was Busby who spun her candidacy as the foamline on a forthcoming tidal wave. Smart for her, but the national party shouldn't have allowed it. Immediately after the primary, it became clear she was the underdog -- and that was the initial reporting. But now it looks like Democrats lost on their own referendum. Babe Ruth never called a home run only to whiff.

The Silver Lining:

1. Going into November, Dems won't be complacent.

2. There's still time to run local.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Boy, I'll bet he and his log cabin feel stupid now

As Mark Evanier points out, Andrew Sullivan was just recently writing about the new, kinder gentler Bush, a good man who loves the gays in his heart. That is, when he's not attacking them in a desperate ploy to motivate his base prior to a disastrous mid-term election.

A Divider, Not a Uniter

'Cause, y'know, if you can't catch Osama bin Laden, or manage to figure out if FEMA is actually getting supplies to homeless drowning people, or balance the budget, or win the war on terrrrrr, at least you can keep gays apart.

Monday, May 15, 2006

A tale of two Generals

As we look to a Senate confirmation and we debate the power of the military and the rule of law I am reminded of an earlier General who was President. We have had many General/Presidents since the founding of the country.

President and former five star General Dwight Eisenhower upon his leaving office warned of the acculmulated power of the Military Industrial Complex! His words seem more prophetic today as we view the blurred lines of Intelligence gathering, the DOD [Department of Defense] and a world back on the brink!

The second General is General Hayden, former head of the National Security Agency and proposed DCI [Director of Central Intelligence] to head the civilian agency of the CIA! It isn't his military rank but the fact he is one of the prime architects of the NSA wiretap programs, and also that he took to the press circuit and defended this violation of law and the administration. He is both a political cypher and a man who demonstrates the amoral face of government that leads to our abridgement of basic freedoms by our own government.


Monday, April 24, 2006

Beautiful Blossoming

Last week Illinois took the first step in trend-setting: its legislature is looking at a resolution calling for the impeachment of Bush:
State Rep. Karen Yarbrough (D-Maywood) has sponsored a resolution calling on the General Assembly to submit charges to the U.S. House so its lawmakers could begin impeachment proceedings.
How do I know it's a trend? Because California is doing the same thing. Better yet, it's going one step further, bring Cheney in on the impeachment:
California Assemblyman Paul Koretz of Los Angeles (where the LA Times has now called for Cheney's resignation) has submitted amendments to Assembly Joint Resolution No. 39, calling for the impeachment of President George W. Bush and Vice President Richard Cheney. The amendments reference Section 603 of Jefferson's Manual of the Rules of the United States House of Representatives, which allows federal impeachment proceedings to be initiated by joint resolution of a state legislature.
This is an beautiful idea which shows promise of blossoming across the country. Granted, the chances of success in a Republican controlled Congress is slim to none, but if enough state legislatures hop on board, it would send a very powerful message to our electeds. Hopefully one that could not be ignored.

Even prouder for this humble contributor is that my birth state is Illinois and Paul Koretz is my assemblymember, at least until he terms out this year.

I believe my heart swelled with pride three sizes today...

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Incumbency - isn't sacred

There seems to be a raging discussion, dare we say argument, between progressives and more tradition bound democrats and even a few independents over the question of primary contests between seated Democratic Members of Congress and their challengers. Let's rid ourselves of the first fallacy; the one that says that allowing a challenge to a seated Congressman/woman in a Blue District is not consistent with this election cycles committment to turn the House Blue! Whether you agree with or are opposed to the convenient reapportionment; it did almost assuredly guarantee that Blue districts remain Blue. So if a qualified opponent to a seated incumbent wins in the Primary; then he or she will be the next elected MC [Member of Congress] for that district.

The second fallacy is that the incumbent might have high or even 100% ratings on key Democratic progressive issues; not withstanding that they might be a bit of a Yellow Dog Democrat with a DLC centrists affection for many of the White House policies that facilitate moderate centrist protection of power in the timid hands of Democratic MC's that won't support Jack Murtha, Russ Feingold, or Barbara Boxer when she confronts the whole Senate as she did when standing up in solidarity with the Black Caucus!

Whether you think that Senator Joseph Lieberman should be challenged as a new type of Democrat, which many of us know means he is a closet republican, or think he should be defended; the dialogue is necessary to keep the democratic spirit alive. There are no wrong questions; just failing to engage in a meaningful exchange of opinion. We find this is also the case in the challenge that Marcy Winograd has mounted to Congresswoman Jane Harman. It is amazing how Congresswoman Jane is now a born again grassroots activist who always was so concerned about the concerns of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party! That this doesn't match up with her prior, if not current, membership in the Centrist, Corporate, Democratic Leadership Conference or in one of it's subsidiary organs for electeds should come as no surprise. When an entranched incumbent is challenged by a fresh new opponent in the primary they start to remember the principles of the Democratic Party that they had abandoned so recently. At the end of the Day Incumbency is not sacred!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Ya Think?

A few months ago this space featured an article regarding the importance of obtaining accurate rally counts, as a way to foster legitimacy, amongst others. Well, seems like the Los Angeles Times has taken notice of the need for accurate numbers:
There is no question that last Saturday's immigration march in downtown Los Angeles was massive.

But were there 500,000 protesters?

No one knows for sure.

The Los Angeles Police Department estimated the crowd at about half a million at its high point, after officers in a helicopter made a guess about the density of the crowd.

"It's not an exact science," said LAPD Lt. Paul Vernon. "They didn't use any kind of grid system. It's just an estimate."

Organizers, meanwhile, insist that 1.3 million people attended, and they vowed to prove it.

Engineers volunteering their time have obtained aerial photographs of the march from Spanish-language television networks and are studying them, said Nativo Lopez, president of the Mexican American Political Assn. They should have results in a couple of weeks, he said.

It all underscores the fact that measuring the turnout at protests and other organized public events has become a controversial issue in recent years. Experts say there are scientific ways to gauge crowd size using complex grids, aerial photos, density ratios and flow analysis.
I'm tellin' ya, people, we've gotta start employing counting methods that are effective. The grid/video method mentioned in our previous article (two-thirds down the page) is an easy and excellent way to count march participants.

My friends, we've got to start counting NOW.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Oh dear! What's a lemming to do?


This is both hilarious and scary. Watch the new GOP web-based video ad. Catch it here at Crooks & Liars in case it gets taken down from GOP.com.

CA-50


This is an unlikely scenario, but fun to consider.

While Francine Busby has a huge lead on her Republican rivals in the latest polling for the April 11th CA-50 special election -- 45% to 14% for the second place challenger -- it will still be a difficult task to get to 50% by Election Day to avoid a June runoff. Howard Kaloogian, who's shown himself to be a complete doofus this week over so many things that came to light -- the "Baghdad" photo that was actually taken in Turkey, ridiculous explanations and followup, falsified endorsements, etc -- is polling in third place with 12%. (For the best place to follow the comedy of errors this week, go to Talking Points Memo.)

As I originally suggested, Kaloogian's support may fall apart, and other Republicans (and Independents and somewhat indifferent Democratics) may see one more reason not to trust Republican candidates this time around, period. That could transform the election into a Busby win outright.

On the other hand, Kaloogian's outlandish claims of being victimized by liberals and the media, as he only made an honest mistake and then owned up to it, may earn him brownie -- gotta love than term now -- points and sympathy votes with the brain-dead from the far right.

If Francine doesn't get the necessary 50%, then I'd love to see KaLULUgian end up second, because she'll be able to absolutely mop the floor with this creep one-on-one.

Francine needs your help to get over the top:

Color Me Shocked

Frist's Senate Leadership Faulted as Self-Serving:
As he prepares to leave the Senate and position himself for a presidential bid, Bill Frist faces mounting criticism that he has proved an ineffectual majority leader whose legislative agenda increasingly is dictated by his White House ambitions.

Complaints about the patrician Tennessean by fellow Republicans intensified this week, sparked by his decision to force Senate debate on illegal immigration. Some GOP lawmakers say his move spotlighted a squabble within the party over a hot-button issue in an election year.

Frist? Ineffective? Self-serving?

Next thing ya know, you're gonna tell me that this whole war thing in Iraq is just a big mess.

Oh. Right.

My Kind of Town...

According to The Chicago Sun Times, that august city may decide not to enforce criminalization of illegal immigrants:
If the great immigration debate now raging in Congress is decided in a way that turns illegal immigrants into criminals, Chicago Police officers and other city employees would not enforce it, the City Council decided Wednesday.

Three weeks after a massive rally in Chicago demanding better treatment of immigrants, Chicago aldermen blazed another trail on the red-hot issue.

They turned a 1989 executive order on immigration into law.
I was born in Chicago nearly 40 years ago, but was a mere babe when my family moved away and have not been back since. I've always wanted to check out the city of my birth. Now I have an additional reason to do so.

I hope Los Angeles follows the same path.

Hear me Rohr--abacher


From AP: "I say let the prisoners pick the fruits," said Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California, one of more than a dozen Republicans who took turns condemning a Senate bill that offers an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants an opportunity for citizenship.

Little Brother

Click through and enjoy. Buy a shirt. (I bought two.) Wear it everywhere, so people know that somebody else is watching, too.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Go Busby!


In the latest Survey USA poll, Francine Busby is up to 45% (+/- 5% margin of error) in CA-50. 50% +1 vote needed to avoid a runoff. With Kaloogian's (12%) latest flap, that might throw a few more percent from his column up for grabs and also raise additional disdain for any Republican.

Our efforts are paying off. Almost there.... keep it up!

Oh, brother! CA-50

Updates at bottom....

Howard Kaloogian, Bush apologist extraordinaire, is one of the handful of Republicans chasing frontrunner Democrat Francine Busby in the April 11th special election to fill the 50th Congressional District seat.

The graphic above, borrowed from Jesus' General, is a wonderful parody on a photo that Kaloogian posted on his site. Seems that Kaloogian was in Iraq recently, and in order to demonstrate how peaceful and normal things are in Baghdad he posted this photo:

with this caption: Downtown Baghdad We took this photo of dowtown [sic] Baghdad while we were in Iraq. Iraq (including Baghdad) is much more calm and stable than what many people believe it to be. But, each day the news media finds any violence occurring in the country and screams and shouts about it - in part because many journalists are opposed to the U.S. effort to fight terrorism.

Something not look right about this photo of "Downtown Baghdad"? Seems that a large consensus has developed that this photo was not taken in Baghdad or even at another location in Iraq, but most likely in Turkey. Follow the details under anthonyLA's diary at Kos or at Democratic Underground.

Kaloogian's site has been funky today and who knows how long before the photo is possibly taken down, but you can check it out here.

Kaloogian: Bush apologist.... and apparently he has the same ethics as well.

Support Francine Busby here.


Update! Proof that Howie's photo was taken in the Istanbul suburb of Bakirkoy.

Is Howard a liar? Check here.... and more at TPM Muckraker.

Update 2! Oh, brother. Is that guy a bad/sad joke or what??? See here...

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Nothing up my sleeve.... Presto!


Republican Senators Kyl (AZ) and Graham (SC), along with a cameo by Brownback (KS), seem to think that there's nothing wrong with submitting fabricated evidence to the U.S. Supreme Court.


From The Anonymous Liberal:

Today the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case of Hamdan v. Rumsfeld. The Court will be called upon to determine--among other things--whether a provision in last year's Detainee Treatment Act ("DTA") effectively strips the Court of jurisdiction to hear Hamdan's case. The Government contends that it does and in support of this position, Republican Senators Lindsey Graham and John Kyl have filed an amicus brief with the Court.

This amicus brief argues that the legislative history of the DTA supports the Government's position. Specifically, the brief cites a lengthy colloquy between Senators Kyl and Graham themselves which purportly took place during a Senate floor debate just prior to passage of the bill. In the exchange, both Kyl and Graham suggest that the bill will strip the courts of jurisdiction over pending detainee cases such as Hamdan. But here's where the story gets interesting.

Apparently this entire 8 page colloquy--which is scripted to read as if it were delivered live on the floor of the Senate, complete with random interruptions from other Senators--never took place. It was inserted into the Congressional Record in written form just prior to passage of the bill.

Continued....

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Timidity is an outrage - track your representative

First off, my apologies for being off the grid for awhile. So let's discuss the failure of many incumbent democrats in both houses of Congress. What is this failure you ask? It is the failure to be both courageous and take advantage of legislation introduced by more stalwart members of either house.

In discussing this type of behavior; let's just look at two bills. First we have the Jack Murtha resolution to establish a time to leave Iraq, build no permanent bases in Iraq, and disengage in an orderly fashion. This bill came from a Democratic Hawk, and his House Resolution should have brought democrats of all stripes out in massive support.
Liberal house members could stand up in support unabashedly; and moderates could use this bill as cover to avoid being called to liberal! If one supports a decorated hero and house member like Murtha; you can argue it is the responsible thing to do. The timidity with which the democrats came on board is embarrassing. Is it the every two years to run for election.

Well then, let's look to the US Senate where two thirds are not running in this coming midterm elections. Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin introduces his bill to Censure the current White House occupant for illegal wiretapping in contravention of the law! Senators rushed to support this timely and appropriate action. Not so,
again the democratic timidity of our nation's democratic legislators was very apparent.

In my next blog we will discuss the myth of incumbency as something sacred!

Friday, March 24, 2006

Fighting back in South Dakota


Ah, the further consequences of passing the draconian anti-abortion bill:

1 . Untouchable planned parenthood clinic. From the blog "Bitch Ph.D.":

Cecilia Fire Thunder, the President of the Oglala Sioux in South Dakota, speaks truth to the white boys who think they run things in her country.
“I will personally establish a Planned Parenthood clinic on my own land which is within the boundaries of the Pine Ridge Reservation where the State of South Dakota has absolutely no jurisdiction.”
If you want to support this effort, follow the link...


2. Petition drive to overturn the law has started. From Reuters:

Abortion-rights supporters planned to launch an attack on Friday on a new South Dakota abortion law designed as a direct challenge to the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion 33 years ago.

An abortion-rights coalition, South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families, said it would lay out its strategy to take down the law in mid-morning news conferences in Sioux Falls and Rapid City.

The Sioux Falls local newspaper [ed. Argus Leader] reported that the group would announce a petition drive to overturn the law through a referendum in November. The group has not publicly detailed its strategy, but participants in the campaign have said that a referendum had advantages over a lawsuit.

"When you take things to the courts you don't have the opportunity to engage the public in the process. You don't have the ability to build a movement," said Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Kate Looby.
.
.
.
A petition drive would fly in the face of the expectations of abortion opponents, who have been counting on a legal challenge to the law in the hopes that the case would eventually make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

With two conservative justices recently appointed to the high court, abortion opponents believe they have an improving chance of overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that established the right to abortion.

Reuters link.....

Thursday, March 23, 2006

A license to do something or other

I've mentioned my car before in this blog: a 1991 Acura Integra LS, 232,000 miles.... Not too many of those fine cars still around -- at least once a year somebody leaves a note on the car asking whether I want to sell it -- so I took notice upon spotting one (same deep red color too) in the Sherman Oaks Trader Joe's parking lot this afternoon. But I had to do a doubletake when I saw the license plate:


Perhaps a dancer, but could be a life-long Democrat too.

So while I was staring at the car, a woman noticed my sorta peculiar behavior and we started talking..... and I ended up recruiting another grassroots volunteer.

Remember to always keep your salesperson hat on!

License plate image created at ACME license maker.

Nancy Pelosi's Grassroots Campaign Fund 2006


I just got this email from Nancy Pelosi, via the DCCC. Did you?
Dear randy,

In the next few days we cannot win the 2006 elections, but we can lose them.

And, what you do in the next few minutes will be a critical factor in determining which outcome will occur.

You can simply hit the "delete" button and read the rest of your emails. Or, you can stand up and say enough is enough! America cannot take three more years of one-party Republican rule in Washington, D.C. Join with millions of Democrats across American in our 2006 Grassroots Campaign Plan for victory.

And, in eight days the all important end-of-quarter fundraising deadline will be upon us. Political pundits and the media will assess our strength and commitment by how much money we raise. We know you have stood [sic] on many campaigns, such as us [sic] when we battled the Republicans and demanded oversight, accountability, an end to the culture of corruption and I would like to thank you. But today, I am asking you to take the next step with us and consider making a contribution.

blah, blah, blah....
(emphasis in original)

But aha! I came up with a third option that Nancy didn't consider. I replied with the following:
Grasssroots campaign.... funny!

When you start listening to the grassroots, then you can ask for money from the grassroots.

Supporting censure -- right now

Nothing is driving me crazier this week than the cowardice of some Democrats on censure. (And given everything the Bush administration is up to, that's saying something.) So I was delighted when moveon.org emailed me about their electronic letter-writing campaign to national, regional, and local newspapers. It's simplicity in itself to get moveon's wonderful letter-writing campaign

It took me, I guess, three minutes to write and email the following to three newspapers. If you haven't done so yet, please take action now. And I've got to tell you, I had to choke hard to type "President Bush." First time yet that I've done it.


Dear Sirs:

President Bush's recent response to Senator Russell Feingold's effort to censure him sounds suspiciously like more "bring it on": braggadocio laced with ignorance.

Feingold's attempt to censure Bush for illegal wiretapping isn't about terrorism -- although the Bush administration would like to make it so. It's about not flouting the law. The Bush administration would like to believe it is above the law -- that it can subvert the law -- even when the administration could legally seek the wiretapping authority it desires.

The administration's actions are unconstitutional and illegal, and its wiretapping to date is probably far more widespread than it admits. If no one is willing to stand up to them then clearly we do live under an imperial presidency. We should all support Feingold on censure, and shame on his fellow Senators -- especially Democrats -- who don't.

Gay marriage becoming more accepted


Though more than half of Americans still oppose gay and lesbian marriage, opposition is dropping noticeably.

In the latest Pew Research national poll: 39% support, 51% oppose. In the comparable Pew poll from February, 2004: 30% support, 63% oppose.

In the California Field Poll, 43% support, up from 39% in 1997. (Statistically non-significant, but at least hinting in the right direction.)

More from Pew....

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

All idiots in Wisconsin, please raise your hand...


... but be careful not to knock your blinders off in the process.

The RNC has started running radio ads in Wisconsin attacking Russ Feingold over his call for censure. Here's the text. (If I come across a link to the audio, I'll update.)
September eleventh changed our country.

And it changed how America responds to terrorists.

President Bush is working to keep American families safe.

Passing the Patriot Act which has disrupted over one hundred and fifty terrorist threats and cells and making sure the US is monitoring terrorist communications.

But some Democrats are working against these efforts to secure our country, opposing the Patriot Act and terrorist surveillance program.

Their leader is Russ Feingold.

Now Feingold and other Democrats want to censure the President. Publicly reprimanding President Bush for pursuing suspected members of al Qaeda.

Some Democrats are even calling for President Bush’s impeachment.

Is this how Democrats plan to win the War on Terror?

Call Russ Feingold and ask him why he’s more interested in censuring the President than protecting our freedom.

Glenn Greenwald tears a big one in both Democratic and Republican arguments: "Myth-making and excuse-making on the Feingold Resolution". Well worth reading.

(Note on "some Democrats": Is the mainstream media finally getting wise to the Bush/Republican/Fox News, etc. straw man argument?)


Update: The audio is at the RNC web site. What a load of crap.

Unions vs. Arnold (redux)


Unions Protest Gov's Fundraising
Labor groups say Schwarzenegger is seeking
special-interest cash for his reelection.

LATimes:
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's drive to raise tens of millions of dollars for his reelection has set off a backlash by organized labor, with unions trying to ensure that his hunt for money remains a prime source of political trouble.

In Beverly Hills on Monday, unions held their first major protest of the year against the Republican governor's collection of campaign money. About 200 nurses, bus drivers, school clerks and other union members marched outside a private Schwarzenegger reception and dinner for donors, who paid up to $100,000 for seats near the governor and his guest speaker, U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

As Schwarzenegger was ensconced with top supporters inside the Beverly Hilton, sign-waving protesters shouted from the sidewalks outside at rush-hour traffic on Wilshire and Santa Monica boulevards.

"Money in, favors out, that's what Arnold's all about!" they yelled.

Just before the dinner, police ejected several dozen nurses from the hotel lobby as they shouted "Shame on Arnold!" and "Stop the corruption!"

The scenes were similar to the dozens of protests that organized labor held last year during its successful battle to kill Schwarzenegger's November ballot initiatives. This year, of course, the target is his reelection.

The unions' core message on Monday — that Schwarzenegger broke his campaign pledge to shun special-interest money — is part of a broader effort by labor and its Democratic allies to cast the governor as a standard politician who fails to keep his word.

Continued....

Eeny Meeny Chili Beany


Making predictions. Oh, so difficult. Especially when they're about the future.

But our prescient president has the perfect workaround: let the other guy worry about all the messes that he creates. (OMG, he slipped up and admitted the truth!)
Asked if there would come a day when there would be no more U.S. forces in Iraq, Bush said, "That, of course, is an objective. And that will be decided by future presidents and future governments of Iraq."

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

On terrestrial and extraterrestrial oaths

For the most part, I don't have anything against anyone else's religion unless it's about, say, blowing up other people.

If your religion tells you that there's an alien creature secretly controling you from inside, that's fine with me. At least it explains some of your behavior.

If you believe the Earth is an egg laid by the turtle god, I'll disagree. I may even laugh. But I won't get all worked up.

If you think it's God's will that you are president, clearly I can't talk you out of it, so that doesn't bother me either. Well, it bothers me because it says an awful lot about you, but there's nothing I can do about it.

It's when you put your religion before your sworn Constitutional duty that I get bothered. I don't put the Constitution above "God" -- whatever your notion of that is. But I do prize duty and truth, and when you swear to uphold an oath, you should do it. People whose religion demands that they countermand an oath of office shouldn't take that oath.

It's that simple.

And every once in a while, someone cuts to the truth of that matter, as with this recent anecdote, provided by a friend:

On Wednesday, March 1st, 2006, in Annapolis at a hearing on the proposed
Constitutional Amendment to prohibit gay marriage, Jamie Raskin,
professor of law at AU, was requested to testify.

At the end of his testimony, Republican State Senator Nancy Jacobs said: "Mr.
Raskin, my Bible says marriage is only between a man and a woman. What
do you have to say about that?"

Raskin replied: "Senator, when you took your oath of office, you placed
your hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution. You did not
place your hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible."

The room erupted into applause.

That old time religion (money)

Here's the headline from MSNBC.com:

Grants flow to Bush allies on social issues
Federal programs direct at least $157 million to conservative groups

CA-50

Update on the 50th CD special election by mcjoan at Kos:
The special election for Cunningham's seat is coming right up, April 11. This race could very well end up being a preview of the depth of both Bush fatigue and dismay with Republican corruption come November. Today's San Francisco Chronicle has an article on how California's GOP heartland is starting to tinge purple.
While many conservative voters who spoke with The Chronicle remain supportive of America's military men and women, an increasing number are disillusioned with the nation's leader. And from the VFW halls to the local cafes, an increasing number in the region are expressing a profound concern about the human and financial costs of the continued Iraq conflict.

...

The Iraq war "did not protect us after 9/11. (Bush) was supposed to get bin Laden,'' said Marilyn Joy Shephard, 62, of Escondido, who has been a registered Republican since the Reagan era.
...

Tellingly, Shephard was one of a handful of Republicans in Escondido attending a house party for a Democrat, Francine Busby, a school board member from Cardiff-by-the-Sea who hopes to win the solidly Republican 50th congressional district seat vacated by GOP Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham after his conviction on corruption charges. A special election is scheduled for April 11.
Busby is polling very well against a massive array of Republicans. With a ticket this large, it's unlikely that she'll come out of the special election with better than 50%, and will face a run-off during California's primary in June. But a very strong showing by Busby in this very Republican district will put some juice will have a tremendous nation-wide impact.

You know what to do!

mcjoan at Kos....

South Dakota as a microcosm of the nation

The previous post dealt with some initial fallout resulting from the draconian anit-abortion bill recently signed into law in South Dakota.

This issue may very well be the tipping point to raise the consciousness of the rest of America about the undue and dangerous influence of the religious right on public policy in this nation.

In his Cleveland appearance on Monday at the City Club Dubya was asked outright:
QUESTION: Thank you for coming to Cleveland, Mr. President, and to the City Club.

My question is that author and former Nixon administration official Kevin Phillips in his latest book, "American Theocracy," discusses what has been called radical Christianity and its growing involvement into government and politics. He makes the point that members of your administration have reached out to prophetic Christians who see the war in Iraq and the rise of terrorism as signs of the Apocalypse. Do you believe this, that the war in Iraq and the rise of terrorism are signs of the Apocalypse? And if not, why not?
Dubya stumbled and mumbled for 5 minutes -- no kidding -- and still didn't/couldn't/wouldn't answer the question. Crooks & Liars has the amazing video.

Crooks & Liars also has video of Kevin Phillips discussing his new book with Lou Dobbs. Don't miss it.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Remaking the Rounds in South Dakota

South Dakota governor Mike Rounds has had a remarkably consistent approval rating ranging from 70 to 75% in the Survey USA monthly state polls between May, 2005 and February, 2006. In the March, 2006 poll -- conducted after Rounds signed the most draconian anti-abortion bill in the nation -- his approval droppped to 58%.

It's imperative that we deal in a rational manner with the difficult details, but the goal of "safe, legal and rare" abortion works for me. I'm clearly not as pro-choice, in all its iterations and ramifications, as most of my associates, but the South Dakota approach was undeniably wrong. The Bible thumpers who would go further to deny contraception, deny a safe morning after pill, deny the plain facts of science and biology that prove inconvenient for their religion represent nothing short of -- let's use a biblical term -- an abomination on our nation if left unchecked.

Apparently the South Dakota plan was the wrong thing to do politically too, even in a rather conservative state.

Take note.

The Unstated Truth


One of the toughest anti-smoking laws in the nation took effect Friday in the upscale Los Angeles suburb of Calabasas. The smoking ordinance, which was unanimously passed by the five-member Calabasas City Council last month, prohibits smoking in all public places, indoor or outdoor, where anyone might be exposed to secondhand smoke.

Truth.

The LaLa Times, an online satire magazine, follows up on this story with the unstated truth:
"When we told the truth of how we lied to people about the potential effects of smoking, we assumed that you people would cut us some slack. But [this] just makes us want to lie all over again."
Jim Druthers, Tobacco industry spokesman

(Disclosure: I am a contributor to The LaLa Times, but had no part in this particular story.)