Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Fate of Thomas White

Thomas White, a 13 year old seventh grader at Memorial Middle School in Joplin, came to school on Oct. 9th of this year with an semi-automatic rifle. He fired a shot into the ceiling and attempted to continue firing at Principal Stephen Gilbreth as Gilbreth escorted him out of the building. Due to the brave intervention of the Principal, and the jamming of the rifle, a tragedy was narrowly averted.

Gregory White, 44, father of Thomas is a convicted felon, and has pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition. From a report in the Joplin Globe:

"The boy is believed to have obtained the gun from a locked gun cabinet in his parents' bedroom and to have carried it to school, possibly concealed under a trench coat. Joplin police found four more rifles, two shotguns, a pistol and various ammunition in the home of Greg and Norma White after the shooting incident.

The boy was charged with first-degree assault, armed criminal action and making a terrorist threat, and he remains in the custody of juvenile authorities. He also was charged with an escape attempt in the first week of his detention."

Reporter Michelle Pippin,, interviewed Thomas White's mother in the 11/17/06 edition.

Norma White, mother of the seventh-grade boy accused of entering Memorial Middle School on Oct. 9 with a rifle, said she wishes now she had done more to help her son when he came home with complaints, and even injuries from other students. She said her son's complaints of bullying began when he entered the sixth grade, and continued - in fact, escalated - into his seventh-grade year."He came home once limping; he had been kicked by an older kid in the halls," she recalled. "He came home once with a huge welt on his head from someone slamming his locker door on his head when they passed him in the hall. His hand was injured once too."He did suffer from bullying. He would come home crying, begging us not to send him back to school."

White spoke to his teachers about the problem only a couple of times - during parent-teacher conferences - but never made a formal complaint to the administration. She said she advised her son to tell his teachers, but he often insisted nothing would be done about it.

Norma White offered the same advice to students and parents."If an adult was bullied this way when they went to work every day - with people throwing things at them, hitting them - how long would they deal with it before they quit or snapped?" she asked. "There are a lot of kids under this kind of pressure, and I wonder how many parents don't know it. We have to ask ourselves, 'Is my kid being bullied? Is my kid a bully?

"It could be your kid."

I've been following this story in
The Turner Report, and spent a couple of hours during the middle of a sleepless night contemplating the fate of this boy following his certification to stand trial as an adult. He has pleaded not guilty, but if convicted he will serve a lengthy sentence in prison. He will grow up and come to maturity in the company of hardened criminals. The abuse he suffered at the hands of school yard bullies will seem insignificant in comparison to what he will be subjected to in prison. Young prisoners are usually subjected to repeated rape and sexual abuse; and if they snitch on their abusers they suffer violent retribution.

Thomas White will emerge from prison, if that is his fate, in a few years to reclaim his place in society. What kind of man will he become in the time period of his imprisonment? Will we have exacted the proper amount of retribution for his trangression?

If this seventh grader had been sentenced as a juvenile, he could be held until his eighteenth birthday, and hopefully would finish his high school education and receive counseling to turn his life around. The punishment of spending those teen years removed from society seems suitably harsh, and if he were transformed at the end of such a sentence, we would all be benefited.

As it stands, I fear for his future and ours, as they are intertwined and cannot be separated.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Four More Years of Aunt Norma

In todays Turner Report, the incompetence of Norma Champion is once again highlighted in her failure to consider legislation submitted in 2006 by Democratic Senator Tim Green, that would have addressed problems with privately owned mental health facilities. Aunt Norma is head of the Senate's Committee on Aging, Families, Mental and Public Health.

Why does it take a tragedy, such as the one that just occurred in Anderson, MO to remind our state government that they have been remiss in protecting those citizens who cannot fend for themselves?

I would like to ask the Republicans who recently re-elected Aunt Norma how they feel about her today. Many of the voters at the polling place where I vote are elderly. Several were on walkers on the last voting day. Do they think Aunt Norma is going to be watching out for them if they or a beloved family member have to enter a managed care facility?

It seems to me that the kindly Aunt Norma is just another wolf in sheep's clothing who passes legislation only if it pleases and/or lines the pocket of a fat cat Republican campaign contributor.

Please write a letter to Aunt Norma, and tell her how you feel about her performance in the Senate. She is yours (and mine) for four more years, like it or not.

Friday, November 17, 2006

U.S. Consumers Finance China's Military Expansion

If there were ever a good reason to rethink the U.S. free trade policy with China, which sends our middle class manufacturing jobs to workers in China who labor under inhumane conditions for 30 cents an hour, this should be our wake up call.

The trade imbalance has given China's treasury billions of surplus dollars to spend on building up their military might. Our closets and knick-knack shelves are overflowing with cheap goods from China. It's becoming difficult to find much of anything produced elsewhere. It's time to change our spending habits.

Even Condi is beginning to have her doubts.

By ANNE GEARAN, AP Diplomatic Writer

Rice: US Concerned about Rising China

The United States has some concerns about a rising China, including a military expansion that may be excessive,
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Friday.

Beijing has spent heavily in recent years on adding submarines, missiles, fighter planes and other high-tech weapons to its arsenal and extending the reach of the 2.3 million-member People's Liberation Army, the world's largest fighting force.

Its reported military budget rose more than 14 percent this year to $35.3 billion, but outside estimates of China's true spending are up to three times that level.

"There are concerns about China's military buildup," Rice told a television interviewer. "It's sometimes seemed outsized for China's regional role." ...

Read the entire article at

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Unfair, Unbalanced and Slanted Hard Right

FOX News has been under increased scrutiny since reports surfaced that a $2 million ransom was paid for the release of two kidnapped Fox news employees. Details are still sketchy about who paid the ransom, but it's probable there is now increased risk of abduction for all media personnel working abroad.

Huffington Post published an internal memo from the Fox Vice President in charge of news, who's looking to put just the right spin on the Democratic victory on November 7:

"And let's be on the lookout for any statements from the Iraqi insurgents, who must be thrilled at the prospect of a Dem-controlled Congress."...

If this is their idea of "fair and balanced," it leaves me a bit perplexed.

35 Million Americans Have Food Insecurity

The USDA is removing the word hunger from official reports this year, substituting the phrase "food insecurity" for the 35 million among us who require assistance in putting food on the table at least part of the year.

Of those, 11 million report going hungry at times, so they will now be described as having "very low food insecurity."

"In 1999, Texas Gov. George W. Bush, then running for president, said he thought the annual USDA report -- which consistently finds his home state one of the hungriest in the nation -- was fabricated."

This year the annual USDA report did not appear in October, as usual, but instead was released after the election cycle. How convenient.

Source: Washington Post

Bush Plans to Increase Troop Level by 20,000

From today's Guardian:

The Iraq study group is expected to issue it's recommendations centered around the fact that Bush has said no to withdrawal.

Four-point strategy
· Increase US troop levels by up to 20,000 to secure Baghdad and allow redeployments elsewhere in Iraq
· Focus on regional cooperation with international conference and/or direct diplomatic involvement of countries such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia
· Revive reconciliation process between Sunni, Shia and others
· Increased resources from Congress to fund training and equipment of Iraqi security forces

Monday, November 13, 2006

Thom Hartmann on Air America Radio

Ron Davis posted an interesting comment this morning at Chatter about Clear Channel pulling Air America from the airwaves of liberal Madison, WI despite the gain of significant market share there. I received this email from Thom Hartmann in October during the election frenzy, and thought it appropriate to post it today, for your consideration.

I have read Thom's latest book, Screwed: The Undeclared War on the Middle Class and What We Can Do About It, and highly recommend it.

Why Air America Matters
by Thom Hartmann

There are times when doing the profitable thing is also doing the right thing.

That's certainly what Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch thought when they lost an average of $90 million a year for about five years before the Fox News Channel became profitable. It's what Reverend Moon believes, as his Washington Times newspaper lost hundreds of millions of dollars and, according to some reports, even today continues to lose money. And its what the people who have made Air America Radio possible - names you probably wouldn't recognize because they've invested millions of their own money but don't seek the limelight - believe.

Each of these endeavors hit nail-biting times.

In Murdoch's early days building News Corp. (which then helped fund Fox News), as The Hollywood Reporter noted in a 2005 article:

"[C]orporate expansion and the stock market crash of 1987 conspired to create a financial crisis for Murdoch in 1990, when News Corp. reported revenue of $6.7 billion and saw more than $7 billion in debt come due. With News Corp. shares plummeting from $24 to $8 as a result of the Black Monday crash and Murdoch's buying sprees continuing unabated, creditors became nervous. A refinancing plan was put in place, but at the last minute, one small bank in Pittsburgh refused to go along with the scheme, demanding repayment of a $10 million loan.

"That $10 million loan nearly caused the entire collapse of News Corp.: An extraordinary race against time ensued in which Murdoch and his financial advisers struggled to convince the company's 100-plus creditors to agree to a deal by which they would all be paid at the same time. Only at the eleventh hour did the Pittsburgh bank capitulate, to Murdoch's great relief.

"The mogul managed to get through the ordeal without parting with substantial blocks of stock, which likely would have forced him to lose control of the company he created (a fate that befell his rival, Turner). At one point, though, Murdoch reportedly did have to sign over as security personal assets, including his New York penthouse."

There was, however, a happy ending (for Murdoch), which helped fund the money-losing Fox News Network:

"Today, the studio and the Fox owned-and-operated stations are News Corp.'s cash machines."

Brit Hume noted, in a 1999 interview with PBS:

"This operation loses money. It doesn't lose nearly as much as it did at first, and it's -- well, it's hit all its projections in terms of, you know, turning a profit, but it's - it will lose money now, and we expect for a couple more years. I think it's losing about $80 million to $90 million a year."

This is not, of course, to celebrate losing money. It's just a demonstration of the old truism that sometimes "it takes money to make money." And sometimes it takes money to make a difference in the world, as well.

While Fox News and The Washington Times have devoted themselves to promoting the interests of America's most wealthy, most of the programming of Air America Radio has been committed to discussions of labor, the middle class, and holding up the founding ideals of this nation. These were best expressed by America's first liberal president, George Washington, when he said: "As Mankind becomes more liberal, they will be more apt to allow that all those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community are equally entitled to the protections of civil government. I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations of justice and liberality."

Liberal or conservative, the nation has often moved as its media has moved.

Rupert Murdoch's investment in Fox News not only produced profits for him, it changed America. As Richard Morin noted in The Washington Post on May 4, 2006, in an article titled "The Fox News Effect":

"'Fox News convinced 3 to 8 percent of its audience to shift its voting behavior towards the Republican Party, a sizable media persuasion effect,' said Stefano DellaVigna of the University of California at Berkely and Ethan Kaplan of Stockholm University.

"In Florida alone, they estimate, the Fox effect may have produced more than 10,000 additional votes for Bush -- clearly a decisive factor in a state he carried by fewer than 600 votes."

Similarly, Air America Radio may have had a significant effect in awakening people across the United States to positive liberal alternatives to the conservative vision of Fox and Bush. In a democracy, which depends on a vital and ongoing exchange of free ideas for its survival, this is essential.

It's a tragedy that for the lack of an investor the size of Rupert Murdoch Air America is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy. But its existence and ongoing presence in the marketplace is an essential part of the dialogue that is known as democracy.

In a letter about Shay's Rebellion, which some argued was incited by newspapers, Thomas Jefferson wrote:

"The people are the only censors of their governors; and even their errors will tend to keep them to the true principles of their institution. To punish these errors too severely would be to suppress the only safeguard of the public liberty. The way to prevent these irregular interpositions of the people is to give them full information of their affairs, through the channel of public papers, and to contrive that those papers should penetrate the whole mass of the people.

"The basis of our government being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide, whether we should have a government without newspapers, ore newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers, and be capable of reading them."

Had radio existed in 1783, Jefferson would have probably expressed similar sentiments about it.

As Jefferson wrote in 1786 to his close friend Dr. James Currie, "Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost."

But ever since Ronald Reagan stopped enforcing the Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1881, leading to an explosion of acquisitions and mergers, and Bill Clinton signed the Telecommunications Act of 1996, leading to an even more startling concentration of media in a very few hands, freedom of the press in America has become as much a economic as a political issue. This is problematic, because no democracy can survive with only one voice in the media.

Back in the years when I often visited Russia, the well-work joke that everybody knew had to do with the names of the two biggest newspapers, Pravda and Ivestia. "Pravda" is a Russian word that translates as "truth" and "Ivestia" means "news." The joke every Russian can recite from memory is: "There�s no news in Pravda, and no truth in Izvestia."

As Russians well learned, single-party-news is corrosive to democracy. Jefferson made his comment about newspapers being vital to America just at the time he was being most viciously attacked in the newspapers. The core requisite of democracy is debate. When there's only a single predominant voice in the media, American democracy itself is at greatest risk.

Losing the voices of Air America would harm this nation, just as much as would losing the voices of conservative talk radio.

We need them all to really be America.

Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times bestselling author of 17 books, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk show carried on the Air America Radio network. His most recent book is "Screwed: The Undeclared War on the Middle Class and What We Can Do About It."

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Were Robo-Calls Rove's Plan B?

I'm wondering if the glut of robo-calls were supposed to be Rove's ace in the hole for 2006. Hopefully we can get some legislation going to ban these intrusive and obnoxious calls.

Several of my friends reported their phones ringing several times a day in the last two weeks of the campaign. If they didn't answer, the robot kept calling until they picked up.

My phone number is unlisted, and I received only one call from a real person, a pro Talent-Stem Cell caller. She asked me what I thought about Michael J. Fox "attacking" Jim Talent, and asked if I was pro-life. By the end of the phone call, I think I had convinced her to vote Democratic. That worked out well.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Hallelujah - Now for 2008

Congratulations to Claire McCaskill and Susan Montee.

Stem Cell looks like it will make it.

Cheap smokes are in. Under 21 drinkers are out.

Minimum wage by a landslide. Thank You.

Nancy Hagan and Doug Harpool ran good races. I had high hopes for both. Would more money have made the difference?

I'm already thinking forward to 2008, and to influencing legislation between now and then.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Where Is The Outrage?

Today's post from Blue Gal, Red State has a succinct listing of the reasons why the Republicans need to be relieved of their stranglehold on the congress.

To summarize, it comes down to just one word. Iraq.

We may never know the details of the Republican deceit that landed us there, but we should all feel the outrage of their incompetent implementation of this conflict, and their failure to properly equip and care for our troops.

Jim Talent serves on the Sentate Armed Services Committee, yet he has missed 65 of 95 scheduled hearings. Jim--hello--troops are dying in Iraq... Meanwhile, you have something more deserving of your attention?

I really can't say it better than Blue Girl, Red State. But I can say it repeatedly.

Wake up, Missouri voters. This man does not deserve to be re-elected to the Senate. Please vote for Claire McCaskill, and give us a voice in Washington who will attend to business.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Talent Does Not Support Our Troops - Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Why would anyone vote for a senator who can't be bothered to show up for his armed services committee meetings and votes against the interests of the troops and military families during a time of war.

Actions speak louder than words. We need a change in Washington.

Jim Talent receives a D+ score on from the IAVA. The IAVA Rating is based on this legislator's voting history on issues that affect US troops, Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans, and military families. Please go to the IAVA/Talent page to see for yourself. (Kit Bond sinks even lower to a D score).

Let's revisit the Fired Up! Missouri site from 8/23/06. Roy Temple points out that Jim Talent can't be bothered to show up for his SASC meetings, at this crucial time when we have soldiers dying in Iraq and/or coming home with disabling conditions by the thousands

For example, Senator Jim Talent, in his role on the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) not only doesn't ask tough questions of the Bush administration but most of the time doesn't bother showing up at all. Talent has missed 65 of the 95 SASC hearings since he arrived in the Senate.

Meanwhile, our men and women in uniform are left without the equipment they need to defend our country. Bush says we are "fighting them over there" so we don't have to fight them here. What he doesn't make clear, is that by his actions, he has left the our military in such a condition that they'd be too ill-equipped to fight them here.

Had enough? Vote Democratic.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Limbaugh, Michael Fox & Stem Cell Research

The Mother of one of my friends died recently from Parkinson's. The last few years of her life were consumed by a never-ending quest to balance a number of medications that were keeping her alive. If stem cell research could help find better treatments or a cure for Parkinson's and other diseases, what a blessing that would be.

If Rush Limbaugh, who reaches a reported 13 million listeners weekly, wants to shop for OxyContin, or medicate his erection with a phony Viagra prescription on an overnight vacation to the Domincan Republic, it's A-OK. His characterization of the Michael Fox ad is repugnant.

Nancy Reagan came out in favor of stem cell research, as has John Danforth and even our own Blunt, Jr.

Please, speak out to your friends and relative who vote about the real stakes in this issue, and vote yes for lifesaving cures.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Kevin Tillman: After Pat's Birthday

Thanks to Strannix for prompting me to post this letter. Please follow the link to see the photo of Kevin and Pat Tillman. These guys remind me a lot of some of my friends who fought in Vietnam.

I found this in a couple of places - I am not sure which site I lifted this from. I'll be safe and hat-tip both Crooks and Liars and Truthdig. Pat Tillman and his brother Kevin joined the Army together after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Pat was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan on April 22, 2004. In this photo of the brothers from early 2002, Pat is on the left. Where ever I lifted this from, I got the distinct impression that Kevin Tillman, who was discharged in 2005, wants every blog in America to run this full text. I am happy to oblige.

It is Pat’s birthday on November 6, and elections are the day after. It gets me thinking about a conversation I had with Pat before we joined the military. He spoke about the risks with signing the papers. How once we committed, we were at the mercy of the American leadership and the American people. How we could be thrown in a direction not of our volition. How fighting as a soldier would leave us without a voice… until we got out.

Much has happened since we handed over our voice: Somehow we were sent to invade a nation because it was a direct threat to the American people, or to the world, or harbored terrorists, or was involved in the September 11 attacks, or received weapons-grade uranium from Niger, or had mobile weapons labs, or WMD, or had a need to be liberated, or we needed to establish a democracy, or stop an insurgency, or stop a civil war we created that can’t be called a civil war even though it is. Something like that.

Somehow our elected leaders were subverting international law and humanity by setting up secret prisons around the world, secretly kidnapping people, secretly holding them indefinitely, secretly not charging them with anything, secretly torturing them.

Somehow that overt policy of torture became the fault of a few “bad apples” in the military.

Somehow back at home, support for the soldiers meant having a five-year-old kindergartener scribble a picture with crayons and send it overseas, or slapping stickers on cars, or lobbying Congress for an extra pad in a helmet. It’s interesting that a soldier on his third or fourth tour should care about a drawing from a five-year-old; or a faded sticker on a car as his friends die around him; or an extra pad in a helmet, as if it will protect him when an IED throws his vehicle 50 feet into the air as his body comes apart and his skin melts to the seat.

Somehow the more soldiers that die, the more legitimate the illegal invasion becomes.

Somehow American leadership, whose only credit is lying to its people and illegally invading a nation, has been allowed to steal the courage, virtue and honor of its soldiers on the ground.

Somehow those afraid to fight an illegal invasion decades ago are allowed to send soldiers to die for an illegal invasion they started.

Somehow faking character, virtue and strength is tolerated.

Somehow profiting from tragedy and horror is tolerated.

Somehow the death of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people is tolerated.

Somehow subversion of the Bill of Rights and The Constitution is tolerated.

Somehow suspension of Habeas Corpus is supposed to keep this country safe.

Somehow torture is tolerated.

Somehow lying is tolerated.Somehow reason is being discarded for faith, dogma, and nonsense.

Somehow American leadership managed to create a more dangerous world.

Somehow a narrative is more important than reality.

Somehow America has become a country that projects everything that it is not and condemns everything that it is.

Somehow the most reasonable, trusted and respected country in the world has become one of the most irrational, belligerent, feared, and distrusted countries in the world.

Somehow being politically informed, diligent, and skeptical has been replaced by apathy through active ignorance.

Somehow the same incompetent, narcissistic, virtueless, vacuous, malicious criminals are still in charge of this country.

Somehow this is tolerated.

Somehow nobody is accountable for this.

In a democracy, the policy of the leaders is the policy of the people. So don’t be shocked when our grandkids bury much of this generation as traitors to the nation, to the world and to humanity. Most likely, they will come to know that “somehow” was nurtured by fear, insecurity and indifference, leaving the country vulnerable to unchecked, unchallenged parasites.

Luckily this country is still a democracy. People still have a voice. People still can take action.

It can start after Pat’s birthday.

Brother and Friend of Pat Tillman,
Kevin Tillman

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Governor Blunt, JR and the MOHELA Scandal

We need to send a few Democrats to Jefferson City to help reign in this junior idiot.

With all the noise about the November election, this story has not been given the attention it deserves.

Fired Up Missouri has a reference to the 10/15/06 article in the Columbia Daily Tribune.

From Tony Messenger at the News-Leader, reader pf has this comment:

Posted: Wed Oct 18, 2006 9:04 pm Post subject: MOHELA

This whole thing started with the Governor attempting to push through the MOHELA sale without an open meeting, using phone calls to set up a vote to sell the assets off (purportedly to Sallie Mae, one of the most profitable companies in the U.S.). Someone on Blunt's staff (or maybe Blunt was approached by Sallie Mae) estimated the loan portfolio was worth approx $350 million. That is, it would be worth that to Sallie Mae, who would finance the deal based on the increased income they could reap on future loans to Missouri students in need from not having to compete in this market with MOHELA.

Attorney General Jay Nixon, who was one of the original sponsors of the MOHELA bill back in the '80's, threatened to sue based on the Open Meetings act. Mike Cummins, the chair of the MOHELA board, and who opposed the sale, was removed from the board. Terry Ganey's article says more about this (see Tony's link). Terry and the Trib have done a great job of following this story.

$350 million for new construction is great, but this money is not coming out of thin air. It belongs, by legislation, to the people of the State of Missouri. If we want to dissolve or sell MOHELA and build buildings with it, that's up to us. But Governor Blunt's approach reveals that he believes he can do with this money as he sees fit, as if it were his own money. It is NOT. That money was placed there BY STUDENTS IN NEED THAT GOT A LOAN, GOT A DEGREE, GOT A JOB, AND PAID THEIR LOANS OFF.

Furthermore, with tuition to all Missouri state universities increasing faster than inflation (the result of the failure of the State Legislature to provide funding in lieu of the loss of Federal funds) MOHELA represents the EXACT remedy that we most need right now. Even though we're 47th out of 50 states in spending for higher education, at least we can say we have MOHELA, which is one of the largest, best, and lowest-cost sources of loans in the US, and the envy of many other States.

Governor Blunt wants this to be the man who "provided X millions to higher education" in the next election. But he's giving away OUR money. And it shoudl be our (i.e., the Legislature's) decision to do what we want with it. The Governor's now making the state turn administrative backflips just to bypass the State Leglislature, and Jay Nixon is threatening yet another lawsuit.

I suggest that all Springfieldians do the following:

1. Get up to date on this issue. Educate yourself about how the Governor is trying to sell MOHELA. Ask yourself WHY he's so interested in selling MOHELA.

2. Write your State Representative and let them know how you feel about this. Ed Robb, Judy Baker, and other representatives from Columbia are loath to oppose the Governor's plan, because it means money for the University of Missouri, money whose source seems invisible, but which is actually coming out of the pockets of STUDENTS IN NEED. By the legislation that established MOHELA, this is NOT a legal use of these funds. And I don't like STUDENTS IN NEED being used to fund construction at the University of Missouri.

3. Write Jay Nixon and tell him "thanks" for looking out for your interests. No, I'm not a Democrat, I'm not campaigning for Jay Nixon. I just appreciate what he's doing here. If he's doing this just to get elected Governor, I say that's Democracy in action.


Talent Voted Against Body Armor For Troops

Jim Talent voted against effective body armor for our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. He attended only 30 of 95 meetings of the Armed Services Committee.

This is inexcusable and unfathomable.

A group called Vote Vets is running an ad pointing out the results of that life or death decision.

Go to
Fired Up Missouri to view the ad. There you will also find a form to send them a donation to help with the cost of the ad.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Does Rove Have A Plan B?

Today's Washington Post describes an eerily optimistic Rove/Bush forecast concerning the November elections.

This despite the Foley scandal, reports of the Republicans disrespect of their conservative religious allies, and tanking polls for a remarkable number of GOP candidates. Not to mention the deplorable situation in Iraq and Afghanistan, and North Korea's recent nuclear test scare.

This leads me to ask--what else does Karl Rove have in his Halloween bag of tricks?

Stephen Hawking, Center Stage

From Yahoo News, Physicist Stephen Hawking will star in a new movie titled "Beyond the Horizon."

The film, "Beyond the Horizon," aims to explain some of the complicated theories backed by Hawking and his fellow physicists, including the idea that space has up to 11 dimensions and the cause of the big bang.

The 64-year-old Hawking, famous for his 1988 international best-seller "A Brief History of Time," will also narrate a soundtrack which explains cosmological concepts.

I've been fascinated with Stephen Hawking for years. When I get the blues about my own little problems, I think of all that he has accomplished despite having been diagnosed with ALS at age 22, and it puts everything into perspective.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Bush Refers to Christian Right as "Wackos"

The Architect: Karl Rove and the Master Plan For Absolute Power by James Moore and Wayne Slater is a fascinating look inside the political maneuvering of Karl Rove in his quest to bring the Republicans to power in every level of government.

From Chapter 15, p. 229:

Karl Rove was on the phone, working the wackos. That's what George W. Bush sometimes called the Christian conservatives, the wackos, and the term had wide currency among Rove's circle of Republican allies. Lobbyist Michael Scanlon told partner Jack Abramoff they had to "bring out the wackos" to help fleece Indian casino operators. Economic conservatives, having little in common, were equally condescending toward the religious Right. But the Christians were a potent political constituency, and Rove recognized their value as a reliable army that could be movivated time and again on behalf of a candidate or an issue.

Moore and Slater portray Rove, a professed agnostic, as a user of the religious Right in his Machiavellian quest for GOP dominance. Bush is a sort of born again Methodist, a religious epiphany sparked by the impending breakdown of his marriage, and was the perfect puppet to "talk the talk" with the religious wackos. Without their vote, in a polarized political climate, Dubuh would have decisively lost.

The newly released book, Tempting Faith by David Kuo, an aide in the office of faith based initiatives, adds fuel to the fire. He describes how the faith based agenda was a thinly veiled effort to mobilize Christian voters.

If current dominance of government by the Republicans, from school
boards to state legislature, congress and the White House, can be held up as a shining example, the Rovian tactic of "the ends justify the means" has worked well. Up to now...

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Why Don't People Vote?

Tonight's local news predicts voter turnout for the November election at 50-55%. That's pathetic.

Several of the people I work with don't vote.

I don't think they're even registered.

They say "I don't read the paper" or "I don't watch the news" or "They're all crooks, anyway." Or they just look at me like I'm a little off the beam when I talk politics.

What the hell.

They are all above average in intelligence, and liberal in philosophy.

What else can I say that I have not already said.

They can consider their butts kicked.

Iraq - 655,000 Commas and Counting...

In the past, upon hearing this kind of news report, I might have been one of millions of people who would have been boarding a bus and heading to Washington D.C. to stage the largest protest ever in the U.S. I'm a little long in the tooth for such an arduous journey, but I'm still up for it.

The least I can do is take this blog and pay it forward. Please do the same.

From Blue Girl, Red State:

Appalling Statistics out of Iraq

A team of researchers have conducted a statistical study on the far-reaching mortality effects of the war in Iraq, and the news is sickening.

According to the epidemiological study conducted by researchers from Johns Hopkins and The Lancet, 655,000 Iraqis have died as a result of the war. These numbers encompas not only those who died as a result of hostile action, but those who perished because they were unable to secure adequate care for chronic and accute health problems. The figure of excess deaths is interpolated from an increase in deaths per 1000 polulation from 5.5 before the invasion to 13.3 since.

That's a whole lot of "commas."

The Washington Post has more details.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

U.S. Naval Forces Heading to Iran

A menacing array of U.S. Naval forces are heading toward the coast of Iran, with an expected convergence around October 21. Could this be the next October Surprise?

So far, the Democrats have had no comment on the imminent threat of yet another Bush military fiasco. Please, somebody, speak up!

This from

by Dave Lindorff, co-author of "The Case for Impeachment"

BREAKING NEWS: Eisenhower Carrier Group Sails for Iran Theater

The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Eisenhower and its accompanying strike force of cruiser, destroyer and attack submarine slipped their moorings and headed off for the Persian Gulf region on Oct. 2, as I had predicted in a piece in The Nation magazine a few weeks back.

The Eisenhower strike force, according to my sources, is scheduled to arrive in the vicinity of Iran around October 21, at the same time as a second flotilla of minesweepers and other ships.

This build-up of naval power around the coast of Iran, according to some military sources, is in preparation for an air attack on Iran that would target not just Iran's nuclear enrichment facilities, but its entire military command and control system.

While such an attack could be expected to unleash a wave of military violence all over Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and elsewhere against American forces and interests and against oil wells, pipelines and loading vacilities, as well as a mining of the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, with a resulting skyrocketing of global oil prices, the real goal of this new war by the U.S. would be ensuring Republican control of the House and Senate.

It seems increasingly clear that the Republican Party is going to lose its grip on the House of Representatives, and that it may even lose control of the Senate, barring some dramatic October Surprise by the president. So far, the surprises have been working against Republicans, with the Foley sex scandal, the evidence that Abramoff's bribery reached right into the inner sanctum of the White House, and the deteriorating U.S. position in Iraq.

With the number of House seats reportedly "in play" now rising from 15 to 30 and now 50, President Bush is looking at the possibility of a blow out Nov. 7 that could see him facing a Democratic Congress bent on revenge for five six years of systematic abuse.

Bush has committed a long string of impeachable crimes against the Constitution, the Republic and the American people -- everything from lying to the Congress and the 9-11 Commission, obstructing an investigation into the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame, abuse of power, violation of federal laws like the Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Act, dereliction of duty and criminal negligence, and war crimes. He can expect a Democratic Congress to call him to account for at least some of these crimes, whatever House minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) may say today.

This means that the worse things look for Republican chances in November, the greater the likelihood that a desperate President Bush will order a disastrous attack on Iran -- one that would have the country enter into a third, even worse, war even as it is currently busy losing two others. But Bush and his gang of cronies don't care about initiating a disaster. They're focussed on the disaster that will hit them if they don't turn around the November election. Sacrificing the country or its young men and women in uniform, or the lives of innocent Iranians, is not a concern, any more than it was when Bush ordered the invasion of Iraq.

Clearly such a war would be an act of madness, and yet we know that the plans, already drawn up, are being updated and fine-tuned now by generals and admirals whose twisted sense of patriotism has them giving primary loyalty to a demented commander in chief instead of to the Constitutional and the people of the United States, to both of which they swore an oath to protect.

I hope I am wrong about all this, but the sailing of the Eisenhower, which had been pushed forward recently by about a month by the Pentagon for clearly political reasons, makes me think I'm right. A key will be what happens with the Enterprise carrier strike force, which has already been on station in the Arabian Sea for six months, where it has been launching air strikes against Afghanistan and Iraq targets. Ordinarily, such deployments last six months and then the carrier group returns to base for resupply and for R&R for the crew. If the Enterprise is held over for a longer deployment, after the arrival of the Eisenhower, we will know that something serious is planned.

What is deeply troubling here is the total silence on the part of the Democratic Party opposition. Not one Democrat in Congress, and as far as I know, not one Democratic candidate for Congress -- not even anti-war insurgent Ned Lamont in Connecticut -- has demanded an answer from Bush and the Pentagon for the obvious military buildup around Iran, or about published reports that the U.S. already has special forces in side Iran backing the terrorist organization MEK, and selecting targets for U.S. bombardment.

If and when the U.S. attacks Iran, leading to a predicable -- if temporary -- rallying around the flag by the American public, and to an upset win by incumbent Republican congressional candidates, Democrats will have only themselves to blame for the debacle.

But it will be the American people -- and especially the people of Iran -- who will be the victims of this treacherous deed and this treasonous failure of will.

MO Senate Race Targeted By Republicans

If you feel a little overwhelmed by the number of anti-Claire commericials, this could be the reason why. The RNC, along with the NRSC, has chosen Missouri as one of three states in which to unleash an avalanche of ads, hoping to hang on to their majority in the Senate.


Republicans Target 3 Senate Races
Oct 09 5:13 PM US/Eastern

By DAVID ESPOAP Special Correspondent

In an unusual move, the Republican National Committee is investing heavily in television advertising in Senate races in Ohio, Tennessee and Missouri in what officials describe as a firewall strategy designed to limit Democratic gains in the Nov. 7 elections and maintain the GOP majority.
The move reflects a desire on the part of Ken Mehlman, the Republican Party chairman, and other strategists to exercise more control over the drive to retain a majority, according to several Republican officials. They said the decision has caused friction with officials at the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which historically has been the only party entity to run commercials on behalf of its candidates.

The NRSC, chaired by Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C., has also invested heavily in advertising and related expenses in those races, spending about $2.4 million so far in Missouri, $3 million in Ohio and $1.5 million in Tennessee.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Is Carville A Rat ?

I've always wondered how James Carville and Mary Matalin could balance a marriage and work for opposite sides of the aisle.

The Daily Kos picks out an interesting tidbit from Woodward's new offering, State of Denial:

Did Carville tip off Bush?
Mon Oct 09, 2006 at 08:51:51 AM PDT

True or Not? Carville needs to speak up.

On page 344, Woodward describes the doings at the White House in the early morning hours of Wednesday, the day after the '04 election.

Apparently, Kerry had decided not to concede. There were 250,000 outstanding ballots in Ohio.

So Kerry decides to fight. In fact, he considers going to Ohio to camp out with his voters until there is a recount. This is the last thing the White House needs, especially after Florida 2000.

So what happened?

James Carville gets on the phone with his wife, Mary Matalin, who is at the White House with Bush.

"Carville told her he had some inside news. The Kerry campaign was going to challenge the provisional ballots in Ohio -- perhaps up to 250,000 of them. 'I don't agree with it, Carville said. I'm just telling you that's what they're talking about.'

"Matalin went to Cheney to report...You better tell the President Cheney told her."

Matalin does, advising Bush that "somebody in authority needed to get in touch with J. Kenneth Blackwell, the Republican Secretary of State in Ohio who would be in charge of any challenge to the provisional votes." An SOS goes out to Blackwell.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Eschew Obfuscation

I recently read The Architect: Karl Rove And The Master Plan For Absolute Power by James Moore and Wayne Slater. It describes Karl Rove's road to stardom as a campaign strategist.

Rove's success in electing Bush governor of Texas was, according to Moore and Slater, accomplished by starting a whisper campaign that Ann Richards was gay. She had surrounded herself with a diverse administration, including some who were openly gay. Then, the Sunday before the election, thousands of flyers were placed under windshields in church parking lots in conservative East Texas. The flyers depicted "two men stripped from the waist, kissing... One of them was black; the other was white. Under the picture were the words "This is what Ann Richards Wants to Teach Your Children in Public Schools." The double whammy, homophobia and racism. East Texas voted for a Republican governor for the first time in over a century, and Ann Richards lost.

Let's get clear about this. Rove is not homophobic, nor is Bush. It is just a strategy that works for them. Rove's stepfather had divorced his mother to live as a gay man, but Rove did not ostracize him, and remained close to him until his death. Bush had been a bit resistant to the tactic, but grew to embrace it as he realized that it was the ticket to winning.

Gay Republicans have long been a part of the fabric of the party, as long as they did not flaunt the lifestyle. What are they thinking? This is a party that will use their dedication and talent, and then if it suits their purposes, they will throw the homos under the train.

They may have played the gay card one too many time. As FoleyGate unfolds, closeted gay Republican congressmen and staffers will most likely be outed. The Architect refers to several gay staffers including Ken Mehlman, head of the Rebublican National Committee, as the Velvet Mafia of the GOP. But apparently it is not confined to staffers.

Glenn Greenwald has some interesting comments:

All of this is, of course, designed to distract from the ongoing revelations not only of past GOP knowledge of Mark Foley's activities, but also -- more importantly, in my view -- current and continuing deceit about what happened, all in order to conceal what they knew.

This new article in this morning's Washington Post really is nothing short of a true bombshell, as it reports that a high-ranking GOP staffer is confirming Kirk Fordham's claims that he repeatedly alerted Hastert's top aide, Chief of Staff Scott Palmer, about Foley's behavior with pages, and that Palmer even met with Foley about it long before any prior reports suggested.That means that (a) Palmer lied when he categorically, even angrily, denied that Fordham told him anything about Foley; (b) Hastert's chief of staff had much more information about Foley's behavior with pages than just a handful of "naughty e-mails"; and (c) Hastert's office had information about Foley at the highest levels even long before Hastert learned of the 2005 e-mails.

Palmer is not just some aide to Hastert.As the Post explains:

Palmer, who shares a townhouse with Hastert when they are in town, is more powerful than all but a few House members. Members know that he speaks for Hastert.

Add this interesting tidbit to the revelations in the Wayne Madsen Report on Hastert's lifestyle, and it appears we may have the reason for the obfuscation of facts surrounding Foley's behavior by Palmer and Hastert.

It's time for Hastert to tell the truth about his knowledge of the Foley affair. And it's time for him and the other Republicans who looked the other way regarding Foley's page lust, to resign.

Washington Times Promotes Rev. Moon's Agenda

The Washington Times is often quoted by media outlets seeking to illuminate the conservative viewpoint. When the host on C-Span's morning program quotes from the Washington Post or the New York Times, a caller usually asks why he/she didn't read from the Washington Times or other conservative paper.

I suspect that the majority of those callers do not realize the paper is owned and subsidized by the Unification Church, and supports the Rev. Moon's agenda of world domination. Moon, who has proclaimed himself the messiah, started the Washington Times in 1982 purportedly to "combat communism and be a conservative alternative what he perceived as the liberal bias of the Washington Post.

In an article by the Washington Post on the W. Time's 20th anniversary party in 2002, it is reported that Moon's media holding company has "plowed about $1.7 billion into subsidizing the W. Times say current and former employees. The rise of the influence the paper may also have been helped by inflated circulation numbers fueled in the early years by the regular discarding of "thousand upon thousands of papers each day at recycling drop-offs in Alexandria".

The influence of the Washington Times should not be underestimated. The W. Post reports that "A 2001 survey conducted for The Post by Alexandria's QS&A Research and Strategy, polling government "decision-makers" such as congressional staffers and presidential appointees, found that 85 percent of those polled read The Post at least three out of every four days. Eighteen percent read the Times. Six years earlier the same survey had the Times' readership among decision-makers at 35 percent, with The Post's at 91 percent. "

The far-reaching Moon empire owns several newpapers in Latin America and also owns UPI. From a report in

In May 2000, the media arm of Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church bought itself electronic fingers. News World Communications, Moon's media company, purchased United Press International (UPI), a once venerable news wire service. UPI, which provided news for media worldwide, could offer a legitimizing platform for Moon's dogma...

The source of funding for the Rev. Moon's extensive holdings is difficult to trace. Some are profitable, but many are non-profit foundations, or are subsidized, as in the case of most of his media empire. An extensive list of businesses and organizations under the control of the Unification Church entitled Moon Front Groups is posted at The Unification Church in the U.S. has an estimated membership of 50,000 and a worldwide following of around 3 million.

From "Moon founded the Unification Church in Seoul, Korea, in 1954 and moved it to the United States in the 1970s. In 1982, he received an 18-month prison sentence for tax fraud and conspiracy to obstruct justice. He has been derided as a megalomaniac cult leader and is most famous for mass weddings at which he marries thousands of couples simultaneously."

Moon followers were prevalent in years past, even here in the midwest, as they fanned out across the country hawking flowers at traffic lights, and going door to door to raise money for "orphanages". They often appeared to be vacant-eyed, smiling and totally under the spell of Unifcation Church dogma. Those fund raising efforts may have provided seed money for Moon's enterprises, but it is widely held that his organization has received infusions of cash from individuals in Korea and Japan who are interested in influencing U.S. governmental affairs.

The connection between Moon, the Reagan-Bush adminstration and connections to Korea and Japan have been written about extensively by Robert Parry at and several other reporters.
Parry is an investigative journalist who first exposed the Iran-Contra affair.

Often, those who attempt to expose Rev. Moon's connections and web of influence, both in the U.S. and abroad, are dismissed as paranoid conspiracy theorists. I think its time to take another look and to consider the source of much current conservative disinformation.

Talent Can't Call Bush A Great President

Even though he has voted with him 94% of the time.

In today's debate, when asked if he considered Bush to be a great President, Talent just stuttered and stammered, saying that time would tell.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

More Allegations in Fallout From FoleyGate

Several years ago I was given a copy of The Franklin Cover-up: Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska by John DeCamp, attorney and former Nebraska State Senator. I read a couple of chapters, and tossed it aside. The horrors described within were beyond comprehension and I could not believe they were true. Although tempted to throw the book away, it has languished on my bookshelf. I leafed through it a bit, and refreshed my memory about the sexual abuse of children that reached from GOP operatives in Nebraska, allegedly to members of the Reagan-Bush White House.

Several of those either involved in or investigating the Franklin case wound up dead under very strange circumstances, including William Colby, former director of the CIA.

The current scandal may be but a continuation of a long-standing ring of pedophiles operating within the GOP.

Wayne Madsen Report today claims inside sources alleging Denny Hastert shielded Foley for personal reasons:

October 7/8, 2006 -- The rumors about another top GOP member of the House being involved in sexual encounters with young "men for hire" are confirmed to WMR by well-placed sources in Washington's gay community. The member in question is House Speaker Dennis Hastert, whose "alternate" life style is the primary reason for him and his staff covering up the scandal involving ex-Florida GOP Rep. Mark Foley and his lewd messages sent to underage male congressional pages....

Madsen also reported that Hastert has been under scrutiny in the past, concerning alleged inappropriate behavior with high school boys during his former career as a high school wrestling coach.

Wonkette has labeled the fall of Foley and bumbling cover-up the "Cocktober Surprise," and the blogosphere is predicting more revelations to come.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Bush Brother Selling the (Holy) COW

From a report in Business Week Online, Neil Bush, the President's brother is marketing a computer program called Curriculum on Wheels or COW to schools. COW is a classroom aid to help students prepare for the tests they must take in the No Child Left Behind program, the cornerstone of the president's education reform.

The programs have been in development for five years with backing from "investors like Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal and onetime junk-bond king Michael R. Milken". Each COW program costs $3800, and Bush expects revenues of $5 million in 2006.

According to Business Week, "a foundation linked to the controversial Reverend Sun Myung Moon has donated $1 million for a COWs research project in Washington (D.C.)-area schools".

There are perplexing links between Reverend Moon and both Bush adminstrations, including current support for the appointment of Moon follower General Ban Ki-moon of Korea to the post of Secretary General of the United Nations.

Holy COW.

Git Yer Machine Guns Here

Heard a commercial on Savage Nation on the way home tonight for machine guns and ammo.

That might be just the ticket for a senior citizen with a bit of palsy. Wouldn't have to worry so much about marksmanship.

Moonies Set To Take Leadership Of UN

From the Wayne Madsen Report, " The Unification Church, the global enterprise of South Korean Rev. Sun Myung Moon (born Yong Myung Moon), may be attempting to take control of the United Nations through the all-but-certain election of South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon as UN Secretary General. Foreign Minister Moon is slated to be formally elected Secretary General on October 9 by the UN Security Council. Moon has already won four straw polls by the UN Security Council and is now considered a shoo-in to replace Kofi Annan."

The Bush administration has close ties to Moon's organization which now own's the conservative Washington Times newspaper as part of it's vast international business investments. "Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and UN ambassador John Bolton are attempting to have former Washington Times editor Josette Sheeran Shiner become the next Executive Director of the World Food Program. Sheeran Shiner is a member of Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church. "

The Rev. Moon was excommunicated from the Korean Presbyterian Church for preaching heresy, but maintains close ties with the Korean government. Rev. Moon "claims he is the Messiah and intends to take control of the world". Moon and his organization have financially and politically supported the Bush family in their quest for political domination and establishing a New World Order (a term often used by Bush senior).

The Korean nominee is not related to Moon, but refers to his religious affiliation as "non-denominational Christian," often used as a code word by Unification Church members.

Supporters of General Ban Ki-moon have protested the allegation that his nomination has been engineered by Rev. Moon.

Ashcroft Is An Embarrassment

Ashcroft has released his memoir Never Again: Securing America and Restoring Justice in which he launches an attack on findings of the 9/11 Commission. He is the only member of the Bush cabinet to do so.

During the hearings he selectively declassified top secret memos in an attempt to embarrass a member of the commission and lay blame for intelligence failures at the feet of the Democrats.

From, " The day prior to Ashcroft's testimony, the man who had been acting FBI director throughout the summer of 2001, Thomas Pickard, told the commission that Ashcroft had told him during a briefing covering counter-terrorism that "he did not want to hear about this anymore," and had refused a request for additional funding for FBI counter-terrorist activities. "

Ashcroft's tactics were described as "unprincipled", and President Bush "personally repudiated Ashcroft's tactics in his sparring with the commission."

Shaun Waterman has the story at

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Ashcroft Implicated in Foley Scandal

As the Foley scandal unfolds, it appears that his recently exposed misdeeds are just the tip of the iceberg. The cover-up apparently goes back several years, and involves GOP staffers in both houses who were involved in inappropriate sexual conduct with male pages. The leaks to ABC News may have come from individuals in the Justice Department and FBI who were frustrated by failure of both Ashcroft and Gonzales to address the matter.

From Wayne Madsen, " The Pagegate scandal also involves senior officials of the Republican National Committee, located near the House Office Buildings, according to our Capitol Hill sources." The head of the RNC, Ken Mehlman, has been confronted about his status as a closeted homosexual, but he has never officially confirmed his sexual orientation. Mehlman served as the campaign manager for Bush in 2004. The Washington Blade has more.

The Wayne Madsen Report also speaks to the involvement of Jeb Bush, who has known about Foley's misdeeds for quite some time, but has been sitting on the information to protect Charlie Crist, who is the GOP candidate for governor. Crist has reportedly attended gay parties with Foley, but positions himself as a consertive Christian who is anti-gay.

What a bunch of hypocrites.

From the Wayne Madsen Report:

October 3, 2006 -- WMR has learned from informed sources in the Justice Department that the salacious e-mails from Rep. Mark Foley were leaked to ABC News by career Justice Department prosecutors and FBI agents who are incensed that Attorneys General John Ashcroft and Alberto Gonzales covered up the House page scandal for political reasons. The back story of Pagegate is that there was a criminal conspiracy by the top political leadership of the Justice Department to cover up the predatory activities of Foley and other GOP members of Congress since at least 2003 and, likely, as early as 2001.

Other informed sources in the nation's capital report that Pagegate will soon implicate a number of GOP staffers in both the House and the Senate who intimidated and pressured male pages into inappropriate sexual relationships. One source confided that the staff members' contact with pages was "more egregious" than Foley's behavior.

The Pagegate scandal also involves senior officials of the Republican National Committee, located near the House Office Buildings, according to our Capitol Hill sources.
The bottom line is that the GOP is facing its worst political scandal since Watergate and the White House, already under assault from the revelations in Bob Woodward's insider account of the Bush presidency and the Iraq war, has told GOP members of Congress that they are on their own as far as Pagegate damage control is concerned

Monday, October 02, 2006

Sheryl Crow On Breast Cancer Detection

October is breast cancer awareness month. Sheryl Crow tells her story here.

There are eight women in this generation of my extended family (sisters and first cousins). Seven of the eight of us have had breast, ovarian or thyroid cancer. The youngest age at diagnosis was 32, the oldest 53.
None of our mothers were ever diagnosed with cancer.

Please stay current with your check-ups.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

God's Own Party Shields Pervert Congressman

The party of family values has failed to protect teenage pages serving in Congress by covering up inappropriate and criminal behavior by disgraced Congressman Foley (R-FL), who resigned his post last week.

Strangely enough, the legal age of consent in Washington D.C. is 16. Foley will likely be snared by the law that he co-sponsored, the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006.

Think Progress has the timline of events.

ABC News has the explicit and incriminating IM's between Foley and an unnamed page.

The "Just Stay And Let American Kids Die" Plan

Media Matters reports that NBC alone noted the Democratic response to the President's September 28th attack on the Democrats as "the party of cut and run."

ABC, CBS and CNN all aired the president's remarks with no reference to the response of Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid.

As recounted on, one Republican congressman who chose to remain anonymous in talking to a group of reporters, called President Bush's strategy in Iraq the "just stay and let American kids die" plan. The anonymous source said he and other GOP congressmen have expressed to the President their misgivings about the current state of affairs in Iraq, and have suggested a new course of action there. They are not speaking out publicly at this time because "they don't want to hurt the GOP's election chances by appearing to criticize the president."

Below you can read Senator Reid's response and link to the Democrat's Real Security Act of 2006.

Press Release of Senator Reid


Thursday, September 28, 2006

Washington, DC — Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid issued the following statement on comments today by President Bush. A fact sheet on President Bush’s failed Iraq strategy is below.

“If George Bush is so confident that his national security policies are working, he should release the entire National Intelligence Estimate on terrorism and let the American people decide for themselves. The fact that he won't speaks volumes about how the failure of his policies has made the American people less safe.

“George Bush has no credibility left on national security. No matter how many stump speeches he gives on the campaign trail, the American people can see the damage his tough talk has done to America's safety. It's time to be tough and smart so we can change course and give Americans the real security they deserve.”
Bush Is Alone In Clinging to a Failed Iraq Strategy

Real Security Act of 2006 Offers Vision for Changing Course from Bush’s Failed Iraq Policies. The Real Security Act would:
Change course to a strategy for success in Iraq and refocus our resources on destroying Al Qaeda and tracking, hunting and killing terrorists like Osama bin Laden.
Increase the size of the military, double the Special Forces and properly fund equipment.
Screen 100% of containers and cargo bound for the U.S. in ships or airplanes at the point of origin and safeguard America's nuclear and chemical plants, and food and water supplies.
By 2010, secure loose nuclear materials that terrorists could use to build nuclear weapons or "dirty bombs."
Implement all the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission.


A Congressional Analysis Tallies the Cost of Bush’s Failed Policies. U.S Taxpayers Pay $2 Billion per Week. “A new congressional analysis shows the Iraq war is now costing taxpayers almost $2 billion a week -- nearly twice as much as in the first year of the conflict three years ago and 20 percent more than last year -- as the Pentagon spends more on establishing regional bases to support the extended deployment and scrambles to fix or replace equipment damaged in combat.” [Boston Globe,

The Intelligence Community Rejects Bush’s Failed Iraq Policy. N.I.E. Concludes Iraq is the “Cause Celebre” for Jihadists. “The Iraq conflict has become the ‘cause celebre’ for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of US involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement.” [National Intelligence Estimate,

Military Experts Reject Bush’s Failed Iraq Policy. Major General John Batiste Says the U.S. Is Less Safe Now than It Was on 9/11. Batiste: “I believe that Rumsfeld and others in the administration did not tell the American people the truth for fear of losing support for the war in Iraq. Rumsfeld failed to address the full range of requirements for this effort and the result is one percent of the population shouldering the burdens, continued hemorrhaging of our national treasure in terms of blood and dollars, an Army and Marine Corps which will require tens of billions of dollars to reset after we withdraw from Iraq, the majority of our National Guard brigades no longer combat ready, a Veterans Administration which is under funded by over $3 billion, and America arguably less safe now than it was on 9/11. If we had seriously laid out and considered the full range of requirements for the war in Iraq, we would likely have taken a different course of action which would have maintained a clear focus on our main effort in Afghanistan, not fueled Islamic fundamentalism across the globe, and not created more enemies than there were insurgents.” [Democratic Policy Committee Testimony, 9/25/06]
Anonymous Republicans Reject Bush’s Failed Iraq Policy. When granted anonymity, Republican Congressman Calls Bush’s Iraq policy the “Just Stay and Let American Kids Die” Strategy. “Yesterday, I was one of a small group of reporters who ate lunch with a Republican congressman. He was thoughtful and blunt about the problems that face his party in the coming election—which is why I can't name him. He has criticized the conduct of the war in Iraq in public and to the president in private. He believes that if there is not a change in strategy soon, Americans will not support a war strategy that he characterized as "just stay and let American kids die." This member says many of his GOP colleagues have a similar view and privately articulate sharp criticisms and suggestions for new action. But they're not going to say anything in public now. Why? They don't want to hurt the GOP's election chances by appearing to criticize the president. "Reality has been suspended for a moment," says the member. "Republicans cannot speak out publicly on this issue right now." [Slate,

Iraqis Resent Bush’s Failed Iraq Policy. Disturbingly, Iraqis Approve of Attacks on U.S. Troops. “A majority of Iraqis -- 61 percent -- say they approve of attacks on U.S. forces and 71 percent want their government to ask U.S. troops to leave within a year, according to a University of Maryland poll.” [Baltimore Sun,

Friday, September 29, 2006

House Leadership Sits on Foley Info 10-11 Months

Another Republican pervert bites the dust.

According to the AP report, House leadership knew as long as 10-11 months ago of inappropriate e-mail exchanges between Foley and a 16 year old page, and did NOTHING.

From Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo:

Here's the key passage from the AP article ...

"The page worked for Rep. Rodney Alexander, R-La., who said Friday that when he learned of the e-mail exchanges 10 to 11 months ago, he called the teen's parents. Alexander told the Ruston Daily Leader, "We also notified the House leadership that there might be a potential problem," a reference to the House's Republican leaders."

I assume that passage doesn't need much unpacking. But let's do it anyway.
So Rep. Alexander knew about this 10 or 11 months ago. And he says he notified the House leadership. That means Hastert and (at the time) either Tom DeLay or Rep. Blunt (R-MO). We don't know it was either of those three men yet. But that's what Alexander means when he says he "notified the House leadership." They're the House leadership.

If I'm understanding this correctly, that means that the leaders of the House Republican caucus have known for almost a year that a member of their caucus was having cybersex with an underage congressional page. And apparently they did nothing about it.

I think this story is about to get a lot bigger.

Their inaction is criminal and downright pathetic. Foley was the chairman of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children.

Wal-Mart Voter Education May Backfire

Wal-Mart has begun a voter education program that is a thinly disguised attempt to steer employees to vote Republican. Many feel pressured and may vote Democratic instead. From Lisa Featherstone at The Nation:

In other Wal-Mart news, the company is trying to counter its political troubles -- from site fights to "Fair Share" laws to living wage ordinances -- through "voter education" within its own workforce. Of course the company insists that the information it's giving workers is nonpartisan, but in fact, very few of the politicians that publicly criticize the company are Republican, and the company is clearly responding to recent attacks by Democrats hoping to rally their base. A Wal-Mart department manager -- who wished to remain anonymous -- told me the other day that it might backfire. "Oh, of course they want us to vote Republican," she explains, "but you know, I have been talking to some associates and just the mere fact that Wal-Mart is trying to coerce them... is making them vote the other way."

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

N.Y. Post Jests About Terrorist Threat

Keith Olbermann was the recipient of a letter containing a white powder yesterday. The incident, which is still under investigation by the FBI, was flippantly reported in an account riddled with error in today's New York Post:


September 27, 2006 -- MSNBC loudmouth Keith Olbermann flipped out when he opened his home mail yesterday. The acerbic host of "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" was terrified when he opened a suspicious-looking letter with a California postmark and a batch of white powder poured out. A note inside warned Olbermann, who's a frequent critic of President Bush's policies, that it was payback for some of his on-air shtick. The caustic commentator panicked and frantically called 911 at about 12:30 a.m., sources told The Post's Philip Messing. An NYPD HazMat unit rushed to Olbermann's pad on Central Park South, but preliminary tests indicated the substance was harmless soap powder. However, that wasn't enough to satisfy Olbermann, who insisted on a checkup. He asked to be taken to St. Luke's Hospital, where doctors looked him over and sent him home. Whether they gave him a lollipop on the way out isn't known. Olbermann had no comment.

On tonight's Countdown broadcast Olbermann disputes this telling of the event, and questions how the N.Y. Post was able to learn of the incident.

"It's interesting too that Murdoch's paper was able to get a jump on this story so quickly -- nearly as quickly, as if they'd known it was coming."

The FBI has asked that details of the threat to Olbermann not be revealed pending investigation.

Olbermann reminds us in his comments this evening, that NBC along with other news outlets, had complied with a request from Fox News to downplay the recent kidnapping of a Fox reporter and photographer. Their safe return may have been partly the result of the kidnappers not realizing that their targets had face recognition.

N.Y. Post and Fox Network are both owned by Rupert Murdoch, whose media outlets are slanted and biased to present the agenda of the Republican Reich.

Minimum Wage and the Caste System

The conservative fight against increasing the minimum wage shows their disdain for the working class, as evidenced by this study from the Employment Policies Institute. Part of their rationale for not raising the minimum wage says:

-- 86% of employees that will benefit from the hike either live with their parents, are part of a dual earning household, or don’t have a family to support...

This does not take into account that:

  • A student living at home, and trying to finance a college degree is facing huge increases in tuition, books and transportation expenses during the last ten years.
  • A dual earning household of low wage earners is still struggling just to put food on the table, a roof over the head and other basic expenses which increase each year.
  • Single people who earn the minimum wage cannot support themselves on $206 per week.

If the conservatives are against a living wage, they should give back their own gains in salary and perks from the last ten years, and it should go to homeless shelters to help the dispossessed.

The Forbes list of the 400 richest people in the U.S. was released recently. " This year, for the first time, everyone on The Forbes 400 has at least $1 billion. The collective net worth of the nation’s wealthiest climbed $120 billion, to $1.25 trillion." From the MSNBC report:

1. William Henry Gates III: $53 billion

2. Warren Edward Buffett: $46 billion

3. Sheldon Adelson: $20.5 billion

4. Lawrence Joseph Ellison: $19.5 billion

5. Paul Gardner Allen: $16 billion

6. Jim C Walton: $15.7 billion

7. Christy Walton & family: $15.6 billion

7. S Robson Walton: $15.6 billion

9. Michael Dell: $15.5 billion

9. Alice L Walton: $15.5 billion

The Walton family alone are sitting on a pot of gold totaling more than $60 billion dollars, while they systematically dismantle the fabric of the small business community in every town where they are allowed to do business. They thwart their employees attempts to unionize and pay them low wages and benefits. Wal-Mart is now the largest employer in the state of Missouri. Most of their employees make more than the minimum wage, but many do not have full-time positions and do not have benefits.

We are creating a caste system of workers who must take jobs with low wages and no benefits. This caste system is being fueled by the millions of economic refugees flooding across our southern borders who are willing to work for a low wage, with no shortage of businesses willing to hire them to improve their bottom line. Our manufacturing jobs have been sent to China, and now we buy low wage goods produced by people who make 10-30 cents per hour and labor 12-14 hours a day as virtual slaves.

We need to raise the minimum wage now, and restore the esteem for the working class. A system where the rich get richer while standing on the backs of the poor should not be tolerated.