Entries in the Category "Politics"
House Dems muzzle GOP on sensitive issues
In their zeal to protect their members from politically hazardous votes on issues such as gay marriage and gun control, Democrats running the House of Representatives are taking extraordinary steps to muzzle Republicans in this summer's debates on spending bills.
Even some Democrats are chaffing at the heavy-handed clampdown on debate. Abortion opponent Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., on Thursday lashed out at his party's leaders for denying him and others a chance to vote on restoring a long-standing directive by Congress blocking taxpayer-funded abortions in Washington, D.C.
At issue are 12 bills totaling more than $1.2 trillion in annual appropriations bills for funding most government programs—usually low-profile legislation that typically dominates the work of the House in June and July. For decades, those bills have come to the floor under an open process that allows any member to try to amend them. Often those amendments are an effort to change government policy by adding or subtracting money for carrying it out.
The tradition has often meant laborious debates. But it has allowed lawmakers with little seniority to have their say on doling out the one-third of the federal budget passed by Congress each year. It was a right the Democrats zealously defended when they were the minority party from 1995 through 2006.
A wonderful endorsement Vice-President Joe Biden
Vice President Joe Biden told people attending an AARP town hall meeting that the health care plan must become law in order to avoid bankruptcy.
Now, people when I say that look at me and say, ‘What are you talking about, Joe? You’re telling me we have to go spend money to keep from going bankrupt?’” Biden said. “The answer is yes, that's what I’m telling you.”
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Keep spending, spending into oblivion.
Why do Republicans think Palin is the one?
In the aftermath of her decision to drop out and cash in, Palin’s standing in the G.O.P. actually rose in the USA Today/Gallup poll. No less than 71 percent of Republicans said they would vote for her for president. That overwhelming majority isn’t just the “base” of the Republican Party that liberals and conservatives alike tend to ghettoize as a rump backwater minority. It is the party, or pretty much what remains of it in the Barack Obama era.
USA Today has a similar story too.
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There are probably several Republicans who are much better than Palin. Looking to Palin to save the GOP in 2010 is a serious mistake.
New Politics or the same old Chicago politics?
Can President Obama explain last week's dismissal of federal Inspector General Gerald Walpin for the crime of trying to protect taxpayer dollars?
This smells of political favoritism. I wonder how can we continue to trust Obama's promise of open transparency. In fact, President Obama, as senator, co-sponsored the Inspectors General Reform Act, which requires the President to give Congress 30 days notice, plus a reason, before firing an Inspector General.
How can the White House cite that Mr. Walpin of misconduct and having improper charges on Kevin Johnson? How can they say it was "just pure coincidence" to dismiss Mr. Walpin during the St. HOPE controversy?
Something is quite fishy here.
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Dailykos is siding with the reasoning that Walpin's investigation was politically motivated because he was a Bush appointee and he was out to get Obama support Kevin Johnson. They cited that acting U.S. Attorney Lawrence Brown (a fellow Bush appointee) questioned Walpin's conduct during the investigation and said he did not have the proper evidence to file charges against Johnson's involvement with St. HOPE. Plus since the relevant authorities determined that no crime had been committed, they allege that Walpin tried to undermine that by appealing to Congress.
Yet they failed to note that Lawrence Brown decided to cut Walpin out of the loop, and arranged a settlement with Johnson that featured a watered down financial repayment and no charges against Mr. Johnson. That was why Walpin went to Congress because he felt that the settlement between Brown and Johnson and St. HOPE did not fit the crime that was committed.
So St. HOPE had to pay back half of the $850,000 AmeriCorps grant (with a financial assist by Mr. Johnson). It also required Mr. Johnson to take an online course about bookkeeping.
And the 30-day waiting period before firing Walpin. That was taken care of when they put Walpin on 30-days paid leave, then they will fire him at the end of that.
Plus there's a Walpin allegation that there is a great deal of money that is not being properly allocated at AmeriCorps. Will this be investigated?
From the Democrat/liberal viewpoint, they think Walpin was running a politically-motivated investigation, and drumming up weak charges against Johnson, one of their Obama supporters and now San Francisco mayor.
From the Republican/conservative viewpoint, they think Walpin was fired because he was criticizing a favorite liberal program (AmeriCorps) and going after certain supporters that had the ear of the President.
Can this be solved via independent counsel?
Woman Vilified for selling pedigreed pup to Bidens
For anyone wishing to seek their "15 minutes of fame" with the Obamas and Bidens, think twice before doing so. It appears that anyone wishing to get some publicity with the President and Vice-President is risking the wrath and scorn of the opposite side. If you advocated national security, you get ridculed by the peace activists. If you are pro-choice, you get criticized by the lifers.
So in this case, if you sold a pedigreed pup to Biden's family, you are likely to incur the wrath of animal advocates, activists, and those that prefer shelter versus pedigreed.
Linda Brown sold a pedigreed pup to Biden in December. When the story got out, she faced backlash from pet lovers who thought the Bidens should have opted for a shelter over a breeder to find their new puppy.
The crazies at PETA also took the opportunity to suggest that people who buy from breeders believe that the killing of shelter animals is warranted. It even went ahead and did a "Buy One, Get One Killed" pet commercial in Delaware.
Her dog kennel got inspected repeatedly by dog wardens. She even got death threats from animal activists.
What's the deal here? How do we know Linda Brown wants shelter animals to be killed? Why should we criticized people who want to buy a pedigreed? I could suggest that PETA is in favor of throwing all pedigreed animals into the grinder.
The public should not be gullible by this. They have every right to purchase something they want. Sure, they may consider looking at a shelter animal, but they want to buy a pedigreed, that's their choice.
The Top 10 Obama Gaffes
Brought to you by the folks at Time Magazine
1) His bowling score - "The Special Olympics"
2) Giving PM Gordon Brown DVD's (of course the region was 1 as opposed to 2 in Europe)
3) Nancy Reagan's seances
4) Spread the wealth - Joe the Plumber
5) My Muslim faith
6) The presidential-looking seal
7) They get bitter
8) Borrowing words
10) The 1984 Spoof Ad
Daniel Hannan MEP puts Gordon Brown in his place
Daniel Hannan, MEP for South East England, gives a speech during Gordon Brown's visit to the European Parliament on 24th March 2009
Obama Team "unreachable"
After 51 days in office, Barack Obama has appointed only 73 people to 1,200 jobs that require Senate confirmation.
Every senior post in the US Treasury Department remains vacant, with the exception of Timothy Geithner as Treasury Secretary, who should have 17 deputies.
In this economic crisis, this is not acceptable.
Enough with the weekend parties, the poses for magazine covers, the honeymoon is over. It's time to get working.
Our allies in the United Kingdom called the Obama team "unreachable."
Sure, it was comments by Sir Gus O'Donnell, Britain's most senior civil servant, but he does point out the advantagse of a permanent civil service.
Don Surber - There is Nobody There
Independent - Cabinet Chief: Obama team 'unreachable'
Ron Paul - The end of war is not near
Ron Paul on CNN American Morning 3/2/09
NAACP trying to keep their 15 minutes of fame alive over NY Post cartoon
IMHO, if the NY Post cartoon artist put the name "Pelosi, Reid, Rangel" on the monkey or monkeys, I would say the reaction would be much more muted. Of course they would be calls for insensitivity, but on a much lower scale.
It would seem that Sharpton and the NAACP are milking their 15 minutes worth in order to prolong this outrage at the NY Post, Fox News, and basically any media publication that has been labeled as "insensitive" in their eyes.
Still, what if Bush was President or McCain? No outrage. Or if Hillary Clinton was President? Nothing.
It certainly looks like "monkeys" being used in political cartoons are non-grata for the next four years. Maybe the cartoonist should use hyenas next time.
$410 billion spending bill passes, guess how many earmarks were in it?
The Democratic-controlled House pushed through a $410 billion measure Wednesday that boosted domestic programs, bristled with earmarks and chipped away at policies left behind by the Bush administration.
Guess how many earmarks? Taypayers for Common Sense estimated that there were 8,570 earmarks (that means pork projects). Of course if you ask the Democrats how many, they refuse to answer.
Eleven states declare states' rights
At least 11 states have decided that his brand of “hope” equates to an intolerable expansion of the federal government’s authority over the states. These states -- "Washington, New Hampshire, Arizona, Montana, Michigan, Missouri, Oklahoma, California...Georgia," South Carolina, and Texas -- "have all introduced bills and resolutions" reminding Obama that the 10th Amendment protects the rights of the states, which are the rights of the people, by limting the power of the federal government. These resolutions call on Obama to “cease and desist” from his reckless government expansion and also indicate that federal laws and regulations implemented in violation of the 10th Amendment can be nullified by the states.
Nolan Chart - Are States Sovereign in America?
Did you read any part of this stimulus bill?
Love the "THUD!"
Campaign for Liberty - Ron Paul on Senate Stimulus "Compromise"
Ron Paul - 2/10/2009 Dr Paul's Walls II
Robert Reich, Obama's Economic Adviser must learn about giving the job to the most qualified
REICH: …”I am concerned, as I’m sure many of you are, that these jobs not simply go to high-skilled people who are already professionals or to white male construction workers…I have nothing against white male construction workers, I’m just saying there are other people who have needs as well.”
He prefers that infrastructure funds should go to projects that hire minorities, less skilled workers, and the unemployed. Do you want your bridge or tunnel built by these people? Honestly!
He assumes that the highly skilled and the most qualified construction workers are white male workers and they should not be hired to help rebuild our infrastructure.
Did Obama or Roberts flubbed the Oath?
We all saw that something happened during the recitation of the oath, and I guess we all thought that Obama must have misspoke or made a mistake. Of course, folks were saying that either they have to put more pauses in the oath to avoid any mistakes or use a teleprompter.
drudgereport.com stated that "Obama Flubs the Oath...", so they had a link to the YouTube video.
Now this is the actual presidential oath that is administered by the Supreme Court Chief Justice to the President-Elect:
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
While yes, Obama was starting to speak just right after Chief Justice Roberts paused between phrases, so I guess there was a bit of confusion, but Roberts misplaced the word "faithfully."
He said, "I will execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, faithfully."
So Obama stopped, hoping that Roberts can repeat it correctly, but the seconds went too long, so he started reciting what Roberts said. Of course, the rest of the oath went alright.
So settle down everyone. All the excitement, the crowd noise, and nerves, so yes, the word "faithfully" got flubbed.
The fact is that Roberts accidently spoke the wrong phrase. Obama was hoping he would correct himself, but there was no time. Just keep going and finish the oath.
The oath was both Obama and Roberts' first time. So please give both a break and focus on the future.
Al Franken running out of options
Franken entered the recount trailing Coleman by 215 votes out of 2.9 million ballots. As of Wednesday night, Coleman was up 292 votes, including results from Nov. 4 and recounted ones.
All told, 86 percent of the ballots have been recounted. However, about 4,740 ballots have been challenged by the two campaigns that could fall to the canvassing board to rule on.
But honestly, I think Franken will still fall short. Could it be that Minnesota does not want Franken to be elected senator?
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As such, it is amusing when look at the approach both sides are taking:
Democrats argues that a voter must not be disenfranchised. A vote must count because it is a citizen's right regardless of the election rules.
Republicans argues that a voter has that right to vote unless the ballot has been disqualified, found in error, or anything else that may deem the ballot as invalid.
So is Franken going to take it all the way to the state Supreme Court? Or even the US Supreme Court? Now there's also talk about the U.S. Senate getting involved.
Al Franken campaign challenging this ballot
Neil Cavuto (Fox Business News) on McCain's economic position
Ron Paul's take on bailout on Monday morning
Ron Paul Grills Bernanke
Today on CNBC (Sept 24)
Can we please import TMQ's into our Congress?
I just love this! I am so cracked up! We really should have TMQ's over here in the states.
Palin cannot even answer a softball question about national security
This may be the reason for the McCain campaign to keep Palin away from foreign policy questions and just concentrate on answering questions about being a hockey mom.
Sarah Palin made her first unscripted appearance Wednesday at a town hall meeting with John McCain.
A questioner throws up a softball about her national security credentials and she does the run-around.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Governor Palin, there has been quite a bit of discussion about your perceived lack of foreign policy experience. And I want to give you your chance. If you could please respond to that criticism and give us specific skills that you think you have to bring to the White House to rebut that or mitigate that concern.
PALIN: Well, I think because I’m a Washington outsider that opponents are going to be looking for a whole lot of things that they can criticize and they can kind of try to beat the candidates here, who chose me as his partner, to kind of tear down the ticket. But as for foreign policy, you know, I think that I am prepared and I know that on January 20th, if we are so blessed as to be sworn into office as your president and vice president, certainly we’ll be ready. I’ll be ready. I have that confidence. I have that readiness.
And if you want specifics with specific policy or countries, go ahead and you can ask me. You can even play stump the candidate if you want to. But we are ready to serve.
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You had 3,500 loyalists in that town hall meeting, and you were given a chance to say something unprepared, and Palin blows it.
Would anyone on the conservative side like to comment on this?
If McCain is satisfied with Palin's experience, he should remember this
Ron Paul and Third Party - Press Conference at National Press Club
Thank you C-SPAN!
Neo-RNC attempted to cancel Ron Paul's Rally
Are the neo-cons that much of being sore losers? According to the Minnesota Independent, the Republican National Committee (RNC) tried to get Ron Paul's Rally for the Republic event cancelled as well as the Rage Against the Machine concert at the Target Center.
Sources at City Hall and Target Center have confirmed this.
Mayor RT Rybak's office was contacted by Host Committee members who wanted his assistance in seeing to it that the events were cancelled. Fortunately, he refused.
Just another attempt for Republicans to show themselves without any discord.
McCain/Palin off base on sex ed
Perhaps conservatives can care to comment on a new McCain campaign ad that claims Obama's "one accomplishment" was a bill to teach sex ed to kindergarten kids.
The ad claims "Obama's one accomplishment" in the realm of education was "legislation to teach 'comprehensive sex education' to kindergarteners."
The truth was that Obama supported "age-appropriate" instruction for kindergartens with the focus on recognizing inappropriate touching, sexual assault, and rape.
Keep to the facts jack!
This ad actually insults our intelligence by expecting us to believe that Obama thinks kindergarteners should be taught how to use condoms before they're taught to read.
Ron Paul - Press Statement to National Press Club
The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to the doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can ‘throw the rascals out’ at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy.
Carroll Quigley – Author of Tragedy & Hope
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The coverage of the presidential election is designed to be a grand distraction. This is not new, but this year, it’s more so than ever.
Pretending that a true difference exists between the two major candidates is a charade of great proportion. Many who help to perpetuate this myth are frequently unaware of what they are doing and believe that significant differences actually do exist. Indeed, on small points there is the appearance of a difference. The real issues, however, are buried in a barrage of miscellaneous nonsense and endless pontifications by robotic pundits hired to perpetuate the myth of a campaign of substance.
The truth is that our two-party system offers no real choice. The real goal of the campaign is to distract people from considering the real issues.
Influential forces, the media, the government, the privileged corporations and moneyed interests see to it that both party’s candidates are acceptable, regardless of the outcome, since they will still be in charge. It’s been that way for a long time. George Wallace was not the first to recognize that there’s “not a dime’s worth of difference” between the two parties. There is, though, a difference between the two major candidates and the candidates on third-party tickets and those running as independents.
The two parties and their candidates have no real disagreements on foreign policy, monetary policy, privacy issues, or the welfare state. They both are willing to abuse the Rule of Law and ignore constitutional restraint on Executive Powers. Neither major party champions free markets and private-property ownership.
Those candidates who represent actual change or disagreement with the status quo are held in check by the two major parties in power, making it very difficult to compete in the pretend democratic process. This is done by making it difficult for third-party candidates to get on the ballots, enter into the debates, raise money, avoid being marginalized, or get fair or actual coverage. A rare celebrity or a wealthy individual can, to a degree, overcome these difficulties.
The system we have today allows a President to be elected by as little as 32% of the American people, with half of those merely voting for the “lesser of two evils”. Therefore, as little as 16% actually vote for a president. No wonder when things go wrong, anger explodes. A recent poll shows that 60% of the American people are not happy with the two major candidates this year.
This system is driven by the conviction that only a major party candidate can win. Voters become convinced that any other vote is a “wasted” vote. It’s time for that conclusion to be challenged and to recognize that the only way not to waste one’s vote is to reject the two establishment candidates and join the majority, once called silent, and allow the voices of the people to be heard.
We cannot expect withdrawal of troops from Iraq or the Middle East with either of the two major candidates. Expect continued involvement in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Georgia. Neither hints of a non-interventionist foreign policy. Do not expect to hear the rejection of the policy of supporting the American world empire. There will be no emphasis in protecting privacy and civil liberties and the constant surveillance of the American people. Do not expect any serious attempt to curtail the rapidly expanding national debt. And certainly, there will be no hint of addressing the Federal Reserve System and its cozy relationship with big banks and international corporations and the politicians.
There is only one way that these issues can get the attention they deserve: the silent majority must become the vocal majority.
This message can be sent to our leaders by not participating in the Great Distraction—the quadrennial campaign and election of an American President without a choice. Just think of how much of an edge a Vice President has in this process, and he or she is picked by a single person—the party’s nominee. This was never intended by the Constitution.
Since a principled non-voter sends a message, we must count them and recognize the message they are sending as well. The non-voters need to hold their own “election” by starting a “League of Non-voters” and explain their principled reasons for opting out of this charade of the presidential elective process. They just might get a bigger membership than anyone would guess.
Write-in votes should not be discouraged, but the electoral officials must be held accountable and make sure the votes are counted. But one must not be naïve and believe that under today’s circumstances one has a chance of accomplishing much by a write-in campaign.
The strongest message can be sent by rejecting the two-party system, which in reality is a one-party system with no possible chance for the changes to occur which are necessary to solve our economic and foreign policy problems. This can be accomplished by voting for one of the non-establishment principled candidates—Baldwin, Barr, McKinney, Nader, and possibly others. (listed alphabetically)
Yes, these individuals do have strong philosophic disagreements on various issues, but they all stand for challenging the status quo—those special interest who control our federal government. And because of this, on the big issues of war, civil liberties, deficits, and the Federal Reserve they have much in common. People will waste their vote in voting for the lesser of two evils. That can’t be stopped overnight, but for us to have an impact we must maximize the total votes of those rejecting the two major candidates.
For me, though, my advice—for what it’s worth—is to vote! Reject the two candidates who demand perpetuation of the status quo and pick one of the alternatives that you have the greatest affinity to, based on the other issues.
A huge vote for those running on principle will be a lot more valuable by sending a message that we’ve had enough and want real change than wasting one’s vote on a supposed lesser of two evils.
RP: Reject the two-party system
"The strongest message can be sent by rejecting the two-party system. This can be accomplished by voting for one of the non-establishment, principled candidates."
Libertarian-leaning congressman Ron Paul is urging voters to reject John McCain and Barack Obama and support one of the third-party candidates for president.
Paul, a Republican who abandoned his White House bid earlier this year, is gathering some of the candidates, independent Ralph Nader among them, on Wednesday to make his plea.
"The strongest message can be sent by rejecting the two party system," Paul said in prepared remarks obtained by The Associated Press. "This can be accomplished by voting for one of the non-establishment, principled candidates."
He recommended Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution Party, former Georgia Republican Rep. Bob Barr of the Libertarian Party, former Georgia Democratic Rep. Cynthia McKinney of the Green Party and possibly others. He invited them to his news conference Wednesday.
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We should be sick and tired of this two-party system. I am sure folks can praise this sort of "representative democracy," but the way both major parties work to limit the influence and scope of any third-party is undemocratic!
Why do we not complain about the amount of gerrymandering that is going on which guarantees that 95% of incumbents are re-elected? Why do we not complain about the government's massive deficits which includes the latest figure of $407 billion for this year? Why do we not complain when our national debt reaches past $10 trillion? Why do we always pick the lesser of two evils?
It's either the socialist Democrats or the fascist Republicans. Their core activists have driven out the moderates and the centrists and they use slick advertising and the usual slogans to convince the mainstream of America that they are the best party to lead America. We have gone through four decades of Democrats then 12 years of Republicans. Are we supposed to go along with this cycle of Democrats for another couple of years before the voters change their minds again?
It is time to "ruin" this election. There cannot be just Obama and McCain. It is time to overthrown the current establishment.
Ron Paul's Counter-Convention
Fox News Example of Lying about Ron Paul
It is very sad when Fox chooses to cut certain scenes to fit their argument (even a lying argument) about Ron Paul. Sometimes I do respect what Malkin is doing, but not for this. I hope she can look back at what she said, look at the video evidence of that debate, and take back her words.
Yep, this is way back in January, but I think people ought to have the courtesy of admitting mistakes they made in the past, and show that they are showing a fair and balanced viewpoint.
Lew Rockwell at Ron Paul's Rally for the Republic
At least it's televised on C-SPAN!
VP candidate Sarah Palin actually praised Ron Paul
In a February interview with MTV, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin lavished praise on maverick Republican contender Ron Paul.
The governor, who sported a Pat Buchanan pin at a 1999 rally for the renegade Republican presidential candidate (Pat says: "She's a great choice for the base ... She's a Buchananite"), described the anti-war, libertarian-leaning congressman from Texas as "cool."
"He's a good guy," she said of Paul. "He's so independent. He's independent of the party machine. I'm like, ‘Right on, so am I.'"
Paul supporters were delighted. In fact, they even began promoting Palin as a possible veep choice for the Texas congressman.
GOP placing restrictions on Ron Paul visiting the convention
U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas kinda told CNN that the GOP has told him he can come to the convention floor only "under very, very restricted conditions."
It would seem that Paul can go to the floor to mingle with his 260 delegates, but the GOP party did not give a green light on Paul being accompanied by a political aide. They also want to have someone watch Paul during his visit on the floor.
Just imagine if the United States went to war with the Russian Federation over the country of Georgia.
It would be quite ridiculous.
I find it amusing to see the huge amount of political spin by the Bush administration to cast this as a conflict where we are fighting for the rights of the "poor" Georgian people against Russian imperialism.
Did anyone know that Georgian President Saakashvili was elected on a "National Movement" ticket that included a goal of retaking the autonomous provinces (South Ossetia and Abhkazia)?
Some Democratic insiders miffed at Obama for not even vetting Clinton for VP
I guess some Democratic insiders and supporters of Hillary Clinton feel that she was stiffed by not being considered for Obama's shortlist for Vice-President.
One official said Clinton never met with Obama's VP team of Eric Holder and Caroline Kennedy. They weren't even asked about their 2008 financial information.
So what? I think if Clinton was picked as Obama's running mate, their chances of winning the election will decrease. Clinton is a much more polarizing figure, and it will get more opponents to come out and vote against her. I rather think Clinton has more baggage and skeletons in her closet.
Ron Paul on Georgia in 2002
Hannity and Colmes duke it out over Edwards/McCain Infidelity
Why is there a double-standard? Why do either side of the political spectrum try to excuse their candidate after he/she had committed a wrongful act?
Yes, Bill Clinton is to be ashamed for his affair with Lewinsky.
Yes, John Edwards is to be ashamed for his affair with Rielle Hunter.
So if McCain committed an act of infidelity, why is that being ignored? If Giuliani did the same thing, why is that being ignored?
How can Hannity excuse McCain's act because of his POW ordeal and that McCain "wasn't the same person when he got back, for a short period of time?"
Hannity told Powers, “You can’t possibly understand, nor can any of us, what it would be like to be in a POW camp for five and a half years, never knowing if you’re gonna get out, getting your bones broken every day and tortured and then think you’re gonna be the same person.”
Powers answered, “Sean, how can you make a case like that? ...He was dating Cindy McCain while he was married to somebody else. He had the capacity to date her but he can’t be with his wife? That if you’re a POW, you can cheat on your wife?”
Hannity said, “You know what? He wasn’t the same person when he got back, for a short period of time. And why can’t you understand and put that in context?”
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I just cannot believe that reasoning. So if I was a prisoner of war for a number of years, does that mean I can get away with anything after coming back? Does that mean I can commit an act of murder, infidelity, embezzlement, and stealing, and use the POW argument to make up for it?
Folks are not questioning McCain's patriotism, but it seems that if we bring up McCain's infidelity, then his defenders are saying we are questioning it? How can they be linked?
Do they think we are that naive and stupid?
House Dems turn out the lights but GOP keeps talking
I rather like this. Why should our nation's representatives adjourn for one month when there is so many issues that need to be addressed?
Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and other GOP leaders opposed the motion to adjourn the House, arguing that Pelosi's refusal to schedule a vote allowing offshore drilling is hurting the American economy. They have refused to leave the floor after the adjournment motion passed at 11:23 a.m. and are busy bashing Pelosi and her fellow Democrats for leaving town for the August recess.
So right now, the Republicans are talking on the House floor alone, plus the visitor's gallery, the cameras and microphones are off, but they are still there.
Hats off to them for not quitting.
Twitter - johnculberson
What you should know about FISA
What every American needs to know about the new FISA (Foreign Information and Surveillance Act) amendments.
June 11-30 Zogby poll gives Bob Barr 6%
Zogby poll taken June 11-30, 2008 show Sen. Barack Obama holding a 44% to 38% lead over Sen. John McCain, with Libertarian Bob Barr getting 6%.
By Electoral College Count, Obama would get 273, McCain 160, Undecided 105.
According to Zogby, McCain is having trouble trying to shore up his conservative base, and Bob Barr is taking some core conservatives away from him.
Bob Barr receives the support of 7% of voters who identify themselves as conservative or very conservative voters. Barr gets 43% of libertarians and 11% of independents. McCain’s support among conservatives is 74%. On the left, Ralph Nader gets less than 2% nationally.
Obama has the support of 83% of Democrats, while McCain gets 75% of Republicans.
Independents break 39% for Obama, compared with 31% who support McCain.
For white voters, race doesn’t appear to be playing a significant factor. McCain leads Obama, 43%-39%, with Barr at 6%. Among black voters, Obama wins the vast majority of support.
A Ben Franklin quote to remember
In the spirit of the Fourth of July holiday:
“Those who can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
Why are some conservative bloggers angry at WALL-E?
I find it utterly ridiculous when there are some bloggers out there believe that WALL-E is an attempt to brainwash moviegoers that the corporations are dangerous and spewing out environmental propaganda and liberal paranoia at young children.
I would bet that if you ask young kids or even young adults of what they thought about the movie, they would likely say that we should take care of our planet.
Right now, it is the only living planet that we have.
Plus I really doubt an 8-year old kid would understand the corporation-industrial complex.
GOP convention button asks, "If Obama is president...will we still call it the White House?"
Dallas Morning News reports on a booth at the Texas Republican convention selling buttons asking, "If Obama is President... Will we still call it the White House?"
Pretty tasteless. Who would even think of that?
Of course, they are buttons being sold by Republicanmarket which boasts providing "Patriotic and Republican Products." Maybe they are still behaving in the 19th century.
They had another button which featured Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY), with the phrase: "Life's a bitch, don't vote for one."
One said, "Press 1 for English. Press 2 for Deportation."
Another said, "I will hold my nose when I vote for McCain."
I wouldn't be surprised if an Asian-American was running for President, the company would substitute "Yellow" for Yellow House.
At least make it humorous or put some sort of political slogan in a positive way.
What's this deal about spoilers for the election?
In 2000, Democrats blamed Green Party candidate Ralph Nader for playing spoiler to the presidential election between former Vice President Al Gore and President Bush, and his part in siphoning votes from the Florida tally.
For the 2008 presidential election, GOP insiders are worried that former congressman Bob Barr may play the spoiler between Senator McCain and Barack Obama. Barr's Libertarian Party may be indeed a long shot for the American presidency but political experts believe that some die-hard conservatives who still feel about McCain's credentials may choose to vote for the independent candidate in protest.
Dan Schnur, GOP consultant called Bob "the Ralph Nader of 2008." Of course, Ralph Nader is running again for the presidency but as an independent.
Due to the tight race between McCain and Obama, third-party candidates may prove the difference in deciding which major party will win the election.
However, both major parties regard these third-parties as spoilers and a waste of people's votes. This is what I take offense to.
I am also displeased to see how some state Republican parties are trying to prohibit Barr's Libertarian Party from appearing on the election ballot. Of course, the Democrats have done the same thing to Ralph Nader in 2000 and 2004. Currently, the Libertarian Party is already on the ballot in 30 states, with petition drives this summer aiming at 20 others.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said voting for Barr is the same as voting for Democrat Barack Obama. I really wish I can see a campaign ad where the voter has to choose the lesser of two evils: the Democrats or the Republicans. Gingrich seems intent on brainwashing the public into ignoring third-party candidates because they have no influence, but if voters give those parties a chance, they can make a better difference than what our two major parties have done in the past several decades.
Do not blame us for voting third-party. If Obama or McCain lost the election, it is because their message and vision did not resonate with the majority of our American voters.
I really think the GOP party has lost its way. Die-hard and fiscal conservatives should vote for Bob Barr or even write-in Ron Paul just to give the party a message. Its neo-con agenda cannot be the way of the Republican Party.
Kentucky GOP stops RP supporters
Supporters of presidential candidate and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) saw all of their efforts to influence the outcome of the Kentucky Republican convention thwarted during a noisy procedural stand-off with party leadership on the floor of Saturday's event. Amid shouting and unrestrained debate, Republican Party of Kentucky Chairman Steve Robertson pushed through votes on convention rules, resolutions, and delegate slates while dissenting Paul supporters vocally argued parliamentary procedure was being bypassed.
Ron Paul at Future of Freedom Foundation
Courtesy of C-SPAN
Ron Paul upsets Neil Cavuto on Fox Business
Ron Paul plans his own convention in Minneapolis
Maverick GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul has booked an arena in Minneapolis for a "mini-convention" that could steal some of John McCain's thunder just days before he accepts the Republican nomination.
Jerry Shuster, a political communications expert at the University of Pittsburgh, said Paul's timing for the event is likely to put him in a media spotlight during at least one day of the convention.
NJ voters pick the usual suspects for U.S. Senate
As such, we decided to pick the status quo...
Frank Lautenberg, the incumbent, garnered 61 percent versus U.S. Rep. Rob Andrews who had 34 percent (with 91 percent of the vote counted).
His opponent would be former lobbyist and Representative Dick Zimmer who defeated state Sen. Joseph Pennacchio and Ramapo College professor Murray Sabrin. Zimmer had 46 percent, Pennacchio got 39 percent, and Sabrin got 15 percent (with 90 percent of the vote counted).
Obama should not pick Hillary as his VP
An Obama-Hillary ticket would not be in the best interests of the Democratic Party nor will it give them any substantial advantage in the race against McCain.
The Obama campaign has been advocating 'Change', a chance to reform the bureaucracy in Washington, D.C. Selecting Clinton as his VP would be an attack on that 'Change'.
Would it really unite the Democrats? Right now, from seeing the media clips, news articles, and what not, Hillary is not being quite gracious to bowing out of the race. True, she has been mathematically eliminated from clinching the Democratic nomination, but she has been reluctant to make any official announcement about conceding the race to Obama or suspending her campaign.
Could all of this be considered as pressure on Obama to pick her as his Vice President?
I am sure her supporters would say Clinton can help win swing states such as Pennsylvania and Ohio, but she can also bring a heavy turnout of voters who do not like her.
Also, giving Clinton a VP slot would ensure constant gossip on her attempts to grab the Presidency in 2012, depending if she can dissaude Obama from running for re-election. Obama's administratin would be mired with his staff and Clinton's over policy agendas and what not.
Example of an narrow-minded voter
Comment posted by a fellow NJ citizen:
Libratarians should scare people.
Thay want little or no Governement or taxes.
Well folks, like it or not , we need Government and have to pay taxes to support that Government and the infrastructure the Government provides.
* * * * * *
Either the person sounds like a Democrat or some Republican trying to scare folks about Libertarians.
Clinton campaign complains about Michigan deal
The Democratic National Committee's Rules and Bylaws Committee reinstated all of Florida and Michigan's delegates to its party convention, with each getting a half-vote.
For Florida: Clinton gets 105 pledged delegates, Obama gets 67. Total of 87 votes.
For Michigan: Clinton gets 69 delegates, Obama gets 59. Total of 63 votes.
However, the Clinton campaign is fighting the Michigan deal. They have argued that since Obama's name on the state ballot was not there, then Clinton would get 69 delegates, but the 59 delegates would be "uncommitted," thereby letting them choose which candidate to support. Harold Ickes demanded that the delegates be allocated in a manner that "fairly reflects" the votes cast.
Of course, they fail to mention that Obama supporters were urged to vote on "Uncommitted" during the primary election in order to show support for him.
Second, regardless of the Michigan allocation, Obama would still lead in delegates.
Stephanie Tubbs-Jones answers her own rhetorical question
"My name is Stephanie Tubbs Jones and I am the congresswoman from the great state of Ohio, and on behalf of the Clinton campaign, we don't expect that the Obama campaign could be so generous to us to give us these 19 delegates. It is in fact more generous, and more appropriate, that all the votes be counted as they were cast. And if the votes are counted as they were cast, Senator Clinton will get much more than the Obama campaign is saying will be generous."
Within minutes the congresswoman and the press had dispersed. But a heated Davis was still strolling the halls of the Marriot Hotel. Talking to a separate reporter, he acknowledged that even if Clinton were to get everything she wanted, the likelihood remained that she would still lose the nomination.
"They can give us the full 38 delegates [the net gain of counting 100 percent of the vote] and still win," he said. "So why won't they."
* * * * * *
Because Florida and Michigan were being punished for holding their primaries early. A 50 percent penalty is certainly justified. Of course, if Clinton was leading, then their campaign wouldn't even complain about it.
Don't talk about voter disenfranchisement. That's just an excuse to make up for the mistakes the Clinton campaign has made over the past several months.
New Jersey Republican: US Senate - Update
The Republican Senate primary in New Jersey will be held on Tuesday, June 3. We have three candidates vying for the nomination.
Dick Zimmer is a reserved former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and the state Legislature. He currently practices law and is a federal lobbyist.
Murray Sabrin is a former Libertarian who bills himself as a maverick Republican with experience in running statewide elections. The Ramapo College of New Jersey professor previously ran unsuccessfully to become governor and a U.S. senator.
Joseph Pennacchio presents himself as "Jersey Joe," a sort of regular guy who once shined shoes at Coney Island and now wants to trade his seat in the state Senate for a seat in the U.S. Senate.
The winner will likely face Democratic incumbent Frank Lautenberg in November.
NYT - G.O.P. candidates in NJ seek name recognition
* * * * * *
Some polls show Mr. Zimmer as the possible front-runner though Sabrin disputes that.
Over the weekend, Pennacchio campaign signs appeared around the Parisppany-Morristown area. The few Sabrin signs that I saw were gone. A bit of last-minute spending by the dentist to swap Republican primary voters?
The former Libertarian has won past Senate debates with the other two candidates, but it is unsure whether these will translate into votes for Sabrin.
Also, candidates are also waiting for the endorsement of former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan, supposedly the leader of the conservative wing of the NJ Republican Party. Both Pennacchio and Sabrin have made statements saying that Lonegan will endorse them before tomorrow's election.
Republican establishment becoming the Grand Old Power of Few Party
The old farty party bosses of the Republican Party boasted that their political organization has always been the Party of fresh ideas and new thinking. They even encourage debate on the major issues of the day, and consistently act in accord with the greatest values of our country - freedom and opportunity for all.
(This is what they state in the 2004 Platform.)
However, this would only be true if their agenda and neocon bias is the dominant force.
At various state conventions across the country, party bosses have been on the offensive against Ron Paul supporters and those that have libertarian-leanings. Even some fiscal conservatives are also targeted.
It is obvious that Ron Paul supporters are trying to show up in large numbers at the conventions, use procedural motions to suspend the rules, remove the convention leadership, and start over again with their faction in control -- ALL WITHIN THE RULES (of course).
However, the party bosses are changing the rules by executive decision.
At the Nevada State Convention in Reno, the sitting chairman adjourned the proceedings altogether when it looked obvious that the Ron Paul faction was stronger than the McCain delegation. Now it would appear that the Nevada GOP will try to stage the convention at a secret date and location in order to rubber-stamp a McCain slate.
RP supporters also managed to take over the Texas Senate District 25 delegation.
These two events have caused state party bosses to change the way conventions are run. Examples include:
1) Reducing direct input from delegates and motions from the floor
2) Measures to remove anyone who could be "against" the party platform
3) Using special credentials committees to disqualify RP delegates
4) Use scripted motions to ensure that one platform would be passed without debate
5) Use physical force to prevent non-supporting delegates from reaching the speaker's microphone/podium
6) Ruling legal motions as out-of-order without reason
Essentially, these changes would make delegates into observers without any or little participation.
If you check news articles on Maine, Hawaii, Georgia, and Nevada, you would discover draconian measures that were taken to ensure that only one faction (obviously the McCain group) would succeed.
Freedom? It does not exist.
Opportunity? Only if you support the party line.
New ideas? They are pretty much fresh out.
New thinking? Only if it preserves their power.
The GOP establishment thinks there will be no backlash. There will be. With former Republican Bob Barr confirmed as the Libertarian presidential candidate, I expect a more interesting general election. I really think the actions of the party establishment will drive away independents and moderates since they will see that the neo-conservative wing refuses to budge from their pulpit of arrogance.
It will be the beginning of the end of the Republican Party.
The neo-conservatives will form the GOP War Party.
Another faction will form the Constituional Republican Party.
I look forward to it.
Where is Ron Paul?
The MSM have been largely quiet.
Did you know Idaho held their Republican primary yesterday?
Of course McCain won, getting 70 percent of the vote.
But 24 percent (nearly 30,000) voted for Ron Paul. Six percent went to uncommitted.
Ron Paul: 15% in Oregon Primary
Even if you expect McCain to win the Oregon Republican Primary, most would expect almost 100% commitment to the frontrunner.
Instead, 15% of Republican primary voters picked Ron Paul.
In Kentucky, Paul managed 7%, 3rd place behind McCain and Huckabee (who already dropped out).
Georgia GOP pushes through McCain slate for the convention
Party convention in protest of being shut out of delegate spots to the national convention.
But the vocal Paul backers were outnumbered among the several hundred delegates on the floor of the Columbus Civic Center, and party leaders succeeded in electing a slate of delegates who are united behind the presumptive presidential nominee, U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona.
Hawaiian Republican Convention clampdown on Ron Paul supporters
McCain-backed party leaders worked to limit the rights of Ron Paul supporters from speaking during the state convention.
Party leaders allowed no room for free thought and quickly cut off debate or discussion.
(I saved a copy in case the GOP cloak-and-dagger insiders tell the Hawaii Reporter to take it off.)
RADAR article: Continuity of Governance program encompasses national emergency plans that would trigger the takeover of the country by extra-constitutional forces
SNL Election Commercial Parody
Democratic Party caught at their own lies
I remember when the Democrats promised fair voting tallies during votes on bills in the Congress. When they were in the minority, they always accused Republicans of keeping the vote open past the 15-minute window in order to ensure that the "proper" result has been made.
On August 2, 2007, Democrats were caught doing the same thing.
The Morning After the Stolen Vote
Ron Paul's forces ready to slug it out at the GOP convention
Ron Paul has not gone quietly in the night.
Even though it is pretty much impossible for him to clinch the Republican nomination since McCain already exceeded the number of delegates required, he is intent to bring change to the GOP party through his followers.
The forces of Rep. Ron Paul have been organizing across the country, appearing in great numbers at Republican state conventions with one goal: to take control of local committees, boost their delegate totals, and influence platform debates.
With hopefully enough votes, Paul's supporters will try to fight the neocons who have usurped the party's platform.
Clearly, the GOP establishment is not pleased with these folks trying to mess up the status quo. Yet, there are some who are not confident with McCain's conservative credentials.
In Nevada, the GOP state convention ended in chaos, as Paul supporters were poised to be elected to a majority of the 31 state delegate slots before party leaders abruptly adjourned the gathering without picking the national delegates. Paul supporters cried foul and shouted that the process was rigged. There are now fears that the GOP state party will hold another convention but will try to block any Paul supporters from attending.
In Utah, about 100 people have filed to run for national delegate, many of them for the first time, and many of them professed Paul supporters.
In Minnesota, Paul loyalists managed to capture seven delegate slots at congressional district meetings.
In Maine, Paul's activists managed to pick up one of the 18 delegates at stake.
In Missouri, where activists will elect at-large delegates at a state convention at the end of May, a credentials challenge to as many as 300 Paul supporters is underway after his acolytes nearly swept several big county conventions that chose delegates to the statewide gathering. On some Internet sites, Paul supporters have contended they are being discriminated against by the party's establishment.
Of course, the MSM are too busy to cover Ron Paul. They are busy reporting Barack Obama wearing jeans and talking on a cell phone on vacation. What a great use of time.
Salt Lake Tribune - Surprise GOP rule switch?
LA Times Blogs - Ron Paul's forces quietly plot GOP convention revolt against McCain
LA Times Blogs - Ron Paul's troops quietly take over some local GOP groups
Boston.com - Infighting rains on McCain's party
Boston Herald - Establishment outvotes Paul supporters at Maine GOP convention
Clinton rejects latest Michigan Delegate Plan
Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton on Thursday rejected a compromise plan to seat Michigan's delegates to the national convention that would give 69 delegates to Clinton and 59 to Barack Obama.
"This proposal does not honor the 600,000 votes that were cast in Michigan's January primary. Those votes must be counted," Clinton spokesman Isaac Baker said.
The Michigan Democratic Party had approved the plan and intended to submit it to the Democratic National Committee meeting on May 31. Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Mark Brewer said in a statement that the plan was a "good step toward a solution that unites Democrats and ensures that our state will not face a McCain presidency."
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) had stripped Michigan of its delegation to the Democratic National Convention because the state party scheduled its Jan. 15 primary in violation of national party rules. Several plans have been proposed to find a way to seat Michigan's delegation.
Clinton's campaign has maintained that the delegation should be allocated according to the vote in the Jan. 15 primary (73/55) but Obama's campaign had argued the delegation should be split between the two candidates (64/64) because he was not on the ballot. Clinton won that contest with 55 percent of the vote but most of the other major party candidates, including Obama, had removed their names from the ballot because the state violated national party rules.
Since any plan must be approved by all the players -- the state and national parties and both candidates -- it is unclear what will happen now.
* * * * * * * * * * *
This goes to show that the Clinton campaign is desperate. They do not really care about voters being disenfranchised. All they care about are the original results giving Clinton the win. She got 55 percent, but since she was the only candidate left on the state ballot, her supporters are demanding that she should get all the Michigan delegates.
What a pity.
Clinton / McCain: Drop the Federal Gas Tax Holiday Scheme
Stop this gas tax relief scheme! Both Senator Hillary Clinton and John McCain are offering motorists a federal "gasoline tax holiday."
The tax they are referring to is the 18.4 cents per gallon levied by the federal government as well as the 24.4 cents per gallon tax on diesel. McCain suggested the idea on April 15, and Clinton made a similar proposal on April 25.
The Clinton campaign claimed that the proposal, to last between Memorial Day and Labor Day, would save each driver $70. Of course, they could not explain how they came to that amount.
The American Association of State Highway and Transportation estimates that the total savings for the average American motorist works out to about $28; for a two-car household, $54.
But it is based on the assumption that gas prices would immediately drop by 18.4 cents. It is very likely that the price you will pay at the pump WILL NOT CHANGE! Even if you cut the price by that amount, it will stimulate demand for more gas, and eventually, that price discount would quickly disappear and we would revert to the normal supply and demand pressures.
Besides, the period they are suggesting for the holiday is during the summer where most motorists will be driving the most. Given the full capacity of our refineries converting a barrel of crude oil into gasoline, gas prices will still continue to go up.
Most economists agree that the federal gas tax scheme will not help gas prices. The Clinton campaign cannot even produce an economist who would agree with their plan.
Also, remember where that 18.4 cent per gallon tax is going to. It is being deposited directly into the Highway Trust Fund, which is used to pay for upgrades to roads and bridges. The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that the 3-month gas tax cut holiday could cost as much as $8.5 billion dollars.
Would you want the Highway Trust Fund lose $8.5 billion of needed funds to keep our bridges and roads intact and kept safe for all American motorists? Of course not.
The Clinton and McCain campaigns fail to disclose this fact.
Drop the scheme and focus on something more meaningful to the voters.
Let's change last night's ABC Democratic Debate to Guess How Many Camera Shots of Chelsea Clinton were made
The Washington Post was clearly correct when it concluded that ABC was the loser in last night's Democratic debate between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Almost half of the two-hour debate was focused on the gossip trivia that already has been hashed and rehashed. I guess they wanted the candidates to start sniping at each other over stuff that is no longer news, but it looks like ABC is still trying to beat up a dead horse.
I would also believe that ABC thinks the voters would love Barack and Hillary go at each other like little school kids, and that the real economic, social, and political issues do not matter.
Ron Paul questions the Iraq War
Both Petraeus and Crocker avoided his questions.
The Revolution: A Manifesto - Ron Paul
Jesse Ventura unloads
Pro-Wrestler-turned-Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura went on Larry King Live Tuesday and unloaded on a variety of topics, including his take on the 2008 presidential candidates, what he's looking for in a commander-in-chief, and whether he plans on running for president.
Ventura told King that he thinks it's time for a revolution in the United States, that we are a nation of "lemmings," and that the only difference between the two major political parties and street gangs are that the politicians wear Brooks Brothers suits.
Ron Paul to visit Penn State on April 11
Wanted by popular demand by Penn State students, Congressman Ron Paul will speak at the university on April 11.
He will be speaking at 5:30PM in 100 Thomas, where he will address "freedom and the Constitution," said Jesse Benton, communications director for Paul.
Members of the College Democrats, Libertarians, and Republicans are all looking forward to the event.
History Channel Satire: 2008 election future
I know I know, it's a Ron Paul production... but when you look at what's been going on, do you really think the Democrats or neo-Republicans are out there for our interests???
Hmm, the Republican Party -> the new Liberal Party
Hmm, the Democratic Party -> the new Socialist Party
Are we too late???
LA Times: Ron Paul runs a conservative campaign
Not only does Paul talk the conservative talk, it seems; he walks the conservative walk. He reported having raised $34.65 million since he launched his (get ready, Paulunteers) longshot White House bid last year. Paul reported spending about $29 million as of Feb. 29. And he reported having an impressive $5.57 million cash left in the bank.
Now, get this: The Ron Paul presidential campaign reported no debts. Not a dollar. Not even a penny. What has this country come to when half the members of Congress run for president and fully one of them campaigns within his means? This conservative revolution will not be run on funny money like the Federal Reserve system they want to abolish.
Perhaps RP can loan McCain a few million...
The Neocons are blasting the Ron Paul supporters
I find it quite amusing when the neocons and other anti-RP folks are classifying all Ron Paul supporters as bigots, racists, 9/11 Truthers, isolationists, even terrorist sympathizers.
Michael Goldfarb, The Weekly Standard has told us to "get lost."
Allahpundit on HotAir told us to go organize some terrorist-themed fundraisers.
Why would such people give Ron Paul over $33 million dollars in donation for his presidential campaign? From their viewpoint, they consider us to be nuts, a bunch of crackpots.
Not everyone would believe 9/11 was a conspiracy. I would even bet very few would even think there is a Pearl Harbor conspiracy either. A large portion of RP supporters are interested in smaller government, full personal liberties and rights, and less taxes. Of course, we would like to see us withdraw from Iraq given that it is now a black hole sucking up taxpayers' funds and the lives of our military men and women. We are not for pre-emptive war. We are not in favor of empire/nation building. We are not in favor of a Big Brother society. We are for an American republic, not an American empire.
The neocons ignore the 12 years of GOP control where power and free spending went unchecked. Now with the Democrats in control, President Bush is acting all fiscal conservative. Where was that when the GOP was in power?
The neocons want more surveillance, wiretapping, security cameras, regardless of personal liberty. Let us not forget the words of Benjamin Franklin - "Anyone who trades liberty for security deserves neither liberty nor security."
They rather want to bomb or invade Cuba instead of conducting open trade.
They want to nuke Iran and cause a systematic collapse of the Middle East region. Imminent threat to the U.S.? Do they have hundreds of missiles with ballistc capability? I would have thought China or Russia would fit in that profile.
Of course they want to cut taxes. They would just borrow more or print more money. Let me know when the national debt reaches past $10 trillion.
The neocons are the warmongers. They are the war hawks. They are the empire-building folks. They want to throw out the constitution. They are the threat, not us.
FEC: Latest figures on Ron Paul
Republican congressman from Texas' 14th District and candidate for the Republican presidential nomination.
•Has drawn 803,217 votes, or 4.55 percent of ballots cast in this year's primaries and caucuses, putting him fourth among Republicans, with more than Rudolph W. Giuliani or Fred Thompson.
•Raised $32.6 million for his campaign through the end of January, including a one-day online record for either party of $6 million on Dec. 16.
•Had his best show of support in Washington's caucuses, where his 20.8 percent was good for third place.
•Had his best showing with a second-place finish in Nevada's caucuses, with 13.7 percent of the vote.
•Claims to have secured 42 delegates to September's nominating convention, although other estimates show him with less than half that number.
•Was the Libertarian Party's candidate for president in 1988.
Sources: Federal Election Commission; www.TheGreenPapers.com; the Paul campaign
Why is McCain playing the "Fear Card"
With high oil prices, a falling dollar, turmoil in the financial and mortgage markets, economists stating that we are in a recession, and inflation, you would think that the presidential candidates would be more focused on our economy and other critical domestic issues.
Not Sen. John McCain.
For some reason, he thinks Iraq is still a number one concern for American voters.
At a town hall style forum in Pennslyvania, a questioner asked if the senator feared al-Qaida in Iraq or another group might attack in an effort to aid the Democratic nominee, because Democratic Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama both favor a withdrawal of U.S. forces.
McCain replied, "Yes, I worry about it and I know they pay attention, because of the intercepts we have of their communications."
One can easily twist that in the other way. If it were Clinton or Obama hold a town hall meeting, one questioner could have asked if they feared that al-Qaida or another group might try to step up attacks and bombings in Iraq in order to aid the Republican nominee because voters would want U.S. troops to remain there to protect Iraqi civilians and infrastructure and to combat the insurgents. And of course Clinton and Obama would respond with the same answer McCain gave to that questioner.
Economic concerns are seizing a top spot in many voters' minds. The war in Iraq and terrorism have been supplanted by falling housing prices, rising gasoline prices, health-insurance worries, job security, and taxes.
Gallup poll shows 41% of Americans believing that the economic performance of the U.S. is poor. 86% of Americans are saying the economy is "getting worse."
Another Gallup poll shows 35% of Americans think that the economy is the most important problem facing this country. The situation in Iraq has dropped to 21%. For most of the last four years, Iraq was considered more important.
McCain tells us to be wary of the Iraqi insurgents. He tells us that it's all a plan to get the Democrats elected because they want to leave Iraq. He implies that the terrorists will win if the Democrats win.
Should we believe that line of reasoning? Are we that stupid? Does it mean that we must stay in Iraq for another 5 years? 10 years? All because of them trying to influence our vote?
Frankly, I am more worried about not losing my house, not getting laid off / fired, not losing my health insurance, not paying more taxes, being able to retire with my 401k intact since my social security benefits won't be worth anything after I retire, and hopefully not seeing New York City under a couple of feet of water.
It's the economy, stupid.
Ron Paul - "The High Tide" Ad
Which is worse?
Getting caught in a federal wiretap involving high-priced call girls or committing an act of adultery and lying about it while in public office?
It is just so easy to compare this with Presidient Bill Clinton. He did in fact lied under oath and chose not to resign. The House passed acts of impeachment, but the Senate acquitted him of all charges, and despite the scandal, he still stayed in office.
Were his opinion polls that high? Or adultery is a tolerable sin?
NY Gov. Spitzer involved in prostitution ring
The one comment I have heard the most in the office was "why didn't he do a good job in making sure this highly expensive call-girl business was totally discreet and not attracting the attention of federal agents."
Unfortunately, the rising star amongst the Democrats has hit a potential career-ending roadblock. It would appear that he was a client (known as "Client No. 9") at the Emperors Club VIP which arranges really high-priced call girls with clients in New York, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Miami, London, and Paris.
"I have acted in a way that violates my obligations to my family,'and violates my, or any, sense of right and wrong,' Spitzer said just now, in a brief public statement, taking no questions. "I apologize first and most importantly to my family. I apologize to the public, whom I promised better.
"I do not believe that politcs, in the long run, is about individuals. It is about ideas, the public good and doing what is best for the state of New York,'' said the father of three, with his wife, Silda, standing at his side. "But I have disappointed, and failed to live up to the standard that I have set for myself.
"I must now dedicate some time to regain the trust of my family,''' the governor told reporters. "I will not be taking any questions... I will report back to you.''
* * * * * * * * * *
It appears that the feds are using an almost century-old legislation called the Mann Act of 1910 which makes it a crime to transport someone between states for the purpose of prostitution. Of course, during the early 20th century, prostitution and human trafficking was considered immoral in general. If Spitzer was using a NY-only call girl business, then he won't be charged with a federal crime, and may not even get charged by the state.
Isn't it time for this archaic legislation to be repealed? It is interesting to note that some of the cases involving the Mann Act and the U.S. Supreme Court tells us that "debauchery" can be considered as immoral (1913), consensual sexual liaisons going across state lines was also immoral (1917), and if your marriage is polygamous, that can be considered immoral too (1946).
Of course, everyone is asking whether Gov. Spitzer will resign. WCBS2TV is reporting that Spitzer could resign as soon as tonight, with Lt. Gov. David Paterson being sworn into office right after his announcement. However, some pundits believe he should take the time to weigh his options before stepping down.
Let's take former President Clinton for example. He initially denied having an affair with former White House intern, Monica Lewinsky. That lasted for months, and eventually he admitted in a taped grand jury testimony that he did have an "improper physical relationship" with her. Then he made a nationally televised statement admitting his relationship with Lewinsky was "not appropriate." Since he did committ perjury, he was disbarred in Arkansas and was fined $90,000.
This led to Republicans, who were in control on Congress, to file impeachment charges against President Clinton for obstruction of justice and perjury. After a 21-day trial in the Senate, Clinton was acquitted of all charges and remained in office.
If a President can survive a sex scandal in office, I believe a Governor can survive a prostitution scandal too.
Why is it a surprise? Everyone should know that Washington, D.C. is the pimping capital. It beats flying to Nevada for one of their legal brothels.
At least he admitted the truth to his family and the public. He tells us that he is not perfect. He made a mistake and regretted it. But compared to the rest of the politicians in Albany, he is still probably the least corrupted of the whole bunch.
Spitzer is still probably the only governor that can clean up one of the nation's worst state governments. I really don't think Lt. Gov. Pearson can do much and he has two big shoes that he needs to fill up pretty quickly.
The Smoking Gun - Spitzer Linked to Hooker Probe
NY Times - Spitzer is Linked to Prostitution Ring
The Florida and Michigan Debacle
Honestly, the DNC should have followed the RNC and penalized Florida and Michigan by taking half of their delegates, but still let the candidates campaign there.
But they chose to ignore the rules and decided to bring up their primaries on an earlier date, and they lost their delegates. Those were the rules.
Now Florida and Michigan are complaining about being silenced. Don't ignore the cries of over 5.1 million Americans, they said. They say it's "intolerable" that the Democratic National Committee has denied their citizens their vote.
But wait a minute, you broke the rules, so you got punished.
Florida, you lost your 241 delegates.
Michigan, you lost your 156 delegates.
All of the candidates removed their names from the ballot except for Clinton (how convenient!).
Now you are demanding the right to seat your delegations at the National Convention. You are saying that over 5.1 million voters will lose their say. Then I would say you are damaging the legitimacy of the entire nomination process by potentially deciding the winner and depriving millions of voters their say.
You are also telling the rest of the Democratic state parties that no matter what the rules, your delegates get counted in the end.
Of course the Clinton campaign wants the delegates to be seated because their candidate won both states.
Howard Wolfson states “Our position is the voters of Michigan and Florida have spoken. Those votes ought to count and the delegations ought to be seated.”
But if you ask him if seating the Michigan [and Florida] delegates would cast a pall of illegitimacy over the election because she was the only candidate on the ballot, he says, “I think not giving participation to delegates from those states would send a very unsettling signal to the people of those states.”
Answer the question! Just say yes, we want those delegates because Clinton stayed on the ballot and she knew she would get the votes and knew that by the end of the campaign, the Florida and Mchigian delegates will get counted, and she can win the nomination.
Was that hard to say? Sheesh!
Now they got all these options:
1) The DNC will let the Florida and Michigan delegates sit at Convention, and they will vote based on the current results.
2) The Florida and Michigan state democratic parties will organize a do-over primary at their expense.
3) The Florida and Michigan state democratic parties will organize a do-over primary at the national DNC expense.
4) The DNC Credentials committee can choose to recognize the Florida and Michigan delegates but they lose half of their allotment. (I would choose this)
5) The DNC Credentials committee can choose to deny both state delegations their right to sit at Convention.
I would say "abide by the rules," but I think giving both state delegations half of their delegates would be an appropriate compromise. I would bet that the Clinton campaign won't like that because they need all those pledged delegates to overtake Obama.
2008 Primary Election - Ron Paul v Chris Peden
It's the economy, stupid.
I just love that phrase. "The economy, stupid," was a phrase used during Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign against George H. W. Bush.
Remember after the end of the Cold War and the Persian Gulf War in 1991, Bush had high opinion polls and was considered unbeatable. Unfortunately, the economy went through a recession, and most voters felt Clinton was better qualified to address the economic issues.
Now Sen. McCain is using his national security credentials to get voters to side with him for the 2008 presidential contest.
However, our economy is progressing towards a recession.
Opinion polls show that voters care more about the economy rather than promoting democracy in Iraq. Americans are more worried about their money and standard of living. They are more concerned with China overtaking the U.S. as the world's leading economic power.
Sen. McCain... "It's the economy, stupid."
Ralph Nader officially enters presidential race
Ralph Nader is entering the presidential race as an independent, he announced Sunday, saying it is time for a "Jeffersonian revolution."
"In the last few years, big money and the closing down of Washington against citizen groups prevent us from trying to improve our country. And I want everybody to have the right and opportunity to improve their country," he told reporters after an appearance announcing his candidacy on NBC's "Meet the Press."
Running as an independent may prove difficult. We all know that the Democrats and Republicans will do their best to discourage or even prevent third-party candidates from appearing on state ballots throughout the country. Even if Nader can get the signatures, the election appointees, most likely appointed by a sitting Democrat or Republican will do their best to disqualify enough signatures to stop him.
Now, if Nader throwing his hat in the ring, how soon before NYC Mayor Bloomberg does the same thing?
Ross Perot's Reform Party is a former shadow of itself. Ron Paul's Libertarian-style campaign may attract voters to the Libertarian Party. The Green Party won't have Nader this time.
Perhaps most of the well-known third-parties could back Bloomberg, he could get himself on the presidential debates?
GAO Comptroller General David Walker resigns
It is with sad news to announce that Comptroller General David Walker, our nation's top accountant and head of the GAO announced his resignation effective March 12, 2008. The agency's chief operating officer, Gene Dodaro, will serve as acting head. Walker was appointed to the position in 1998.
"As Comptroller General of the United States and head of the GAO, there are real limitations on what I can do and say in connection with key public policy issues, especially issues that directly relate to GAO's client -- the Congress."
But don't count him out.
He will make a move into the private sector by becoming President and CEO of the new Peter G. Peterson Foundation. Mr. Peterson, one of the billionaire founds of the Blackstone private equity empire is committing $1 billion dollars to the foundation for the purpose of drawing attention to what he stated as “...These problems have reached tidal proportions and festered for more than two decades due to political irresponsibility -- now is the time to put politics aside and put the country first, and begin to solve these problems with courage and clarity. This is the moment in our history when we do what is necessary to remain a first class country.”
Max Stier, head of the Partnership for Public Service:
"In a town that is too often focused on short-term crises, David Walker stands out in his ability to focus on big-picture issues facing our nation and has been promoting real solutions to our country's toughest challenges."
The creation of this new foundation has been criticized by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), which fears that it could be a thinly veiled argument for the privitization of welfare.
John Rother, Director of Public Policy, AARP:
"He has a right to spend his money however he wants - there's a free marketplace of ideas. My fear is by characterizing the problem as entitlement it will focus only on the federal budget and will only shift costs onto families and individuals rather than getting costs down."
Well, of course our entitlement programs require reform. We are definitely heading towards a financial crisis down the road. The AARP will always voice opposition if there is any attempt to cut Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Basically, I call it a thin argument to tax the American worker to death so they can keep their full benefits.
In any case, the steady appearance of Walker on Capitol Hill will be no more. He has long emphasized the detrimental effects of overspending and waste by agencies and departments. Though lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have praised him, Congress as a whole has shown no indication to address the major financial problems which threaten America.
During the last few years, Walker embarked on the "Fiscal Wake-Up Tour," which was organized by budget watchdog groups. He has traveled across the country using his show-and-tell powerpoint presentation to alert the American people to the federal government's fast-approaching fiscal disaster.
He even appeared on CBS 60 Minutes on March 4, 2007, and later updated in July 2007. Walker said, “You know the American people, I tell you, they are absolutely starved for two things: the truth, and leadership.”
But Congress is under denial. They know the impending financial doom, but they refuse the face it. Apparently, all they care is filling their own pockets and their special interests, then jumping ship when the sh*t hits the fan.
Walker hopes that by joining the Peterson Foundation, he can make something happen.
"My new position will provide me with the ability and resources to more aggressively address a range of current and emerging challenges facing our country."
We are no longer a creditor nation, but a debtor nation. Today, financial intermediaries hold about 37 percent of U.S. public debt; Japan and China, along with other countries, now hold about 30 percent. The proportion of U.S. debt owned directly by Americans has fallen to less than 10 percent.
Imagine trying to promote democracy if most of your debt are owned by foreigners.
We must do something people, before it's too late. Or maybe it is too late.
* * * * *
Conservative Voice - David (Walker) vs. Goliath
Reuters - Congressional watchdog Walker to resign
Guardian UK - Blackstone founder backs apocalyptic warning with $1bn
Baltimore Sun - Goverment's only fiscal truthteller to quit
The Rutherford Institute - A Crisis in Democracy: Are we going bankrupt?
Opednews - The Real Straight-Talk Express
Puppet Chris Peden influenced by Kathy Haigler
It is always interesting to find a person like Chris Peden who thought highly of Ron Paul, then decides to stab him in the back and preach neo-con nonsense.
“On January 12, 2007, a Texas city councilman named Chris Peden told the Galveston Daily News, ‘I have an immense amount of respect for Ron Paul. Politics has a way of forcing people to go against their core principles for political gain. That has never been the case for Ron Paul.’ In case you don’t know, Chris Peden is now Ron Paul’s congressional challenger in the Republican primary in Texas’ 14th District.”
Now Chris Peden is off boasting the usual establishment rhetoric:
“I think Islamo-Fascist terrorists were responsible for the 9/11 attacks; the incumbent thinks America’s Middle East policies were responsible for the attacks. The terrorists ‘wish to destroy our way of life because they abhor freedom, democracy, and liberty.’ We should continue to encourage democracy around the world ‘even if it takes the remainder of the century.’”
“There’s also an interesting story behind Kathy Haigler, the lady that Peden quotes all over his website. Peden has gone out of his way to make it appear like she’s some sort of a constituent or representative of the 14th District. She isn’t. Kathy actually lives in neighboring Congressional District 22, an entire county removed from Ron Paul’s district. Her representative is Democrat Nick Lampson, and she is currently the campaign manager for a Republican opponent of Lampson in the CD 22 primary named Robert Talton.
“Kathy has also had a personal agenda against the libertarian wing of the Republican Party for years, which explains her strong animosity to Paul. You probably read about the Tom DeLay fiasco in 2006, when the courts prevented the Republican Party from naming a successor. The court ruling basically barred the Republican Party from putting a new nominee on the ballot after DeLay resigned, leaving them with the option of either backing Libertarian Party nominee Bob Smither or launching a certain-to-fail write-in campaign.
“In the days that followed the court ruling there was a serious discussion among Republican Party insiders about endorsing Smither if he would agree to caucus with the GOP and vote for a Republican speaker… Smither was open to the plan and immediately agreed to caucus with the GOP if elected, and to cast his votes under the
guidance of our very own Ron Paul.
“Then enter Kathy Haigler. She caught wind of the effort to recruit Smither, and for whatever reason - her hatred of libertarianism, her wish to be a ‘player,’ her own overstated sense of self-importance - she began personally working the entire State Republican Executive Committee membership list to trash Smither. She accused him of being an anti-family values social liberal (ironic because Smither is a Christian homeschooler who heads up a missing children recovery charity), she implied that he was pro-abortion (he wasn’t), she accused his Republican backers (including Patterson) of deviating from the ‘party platform’ that she herself has apparently never read.
“Needless to say, Haigler’s smear campaign against Smither worked. Smither attempted to go to the meeting of the State Republican Party [but] was barred at the door largely at Haigler’s instigation. Haigler rallied the group behind a dingbat Houston City Councilwoman named Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, whose brief congressional career as the placeholder for the last month in Tom DeLay’s term was a spectacular embarrassment to the entire state of Texas.”
The end result of Haigler’s machinations was the loss of the District in the next election to a Democrat. Woods asks, “What happened to make Peden go from an admirer to an opponent — and not just an opponent, but one who is running a vicious and dishonest smear campaign against the very man he so recently praised? I have no idea.”
* * * * *
I would say that Kathy Haigler has a vendetta against Ron Paul.
Hence, her quote:
State Republican Executive Committee Chairwoman Kathy Haigler:
"For far too long," she says, "[Congressional District] 14 Republicans have been denied the opportunity to be represented by someone who actually believes in and practices the Republican Party Platform, and now they have the opportunity to vote for a solid conservative who will go to Washington D.C. and vote Republican."
I really don't think the current Republican Party platform upholds the ideals of being a solid conservative.
So which is right? If I practiced the party platform, then I'll be a solid conservative. But if I practiced being a solid conservative, does that make me a Republican? Hmmm.
The constituents of the Texas 14th District should not follow the words of a political hack. Support Ron Paul by going to http://www.ronpaulforcongress.com to contribute.
Galveston County Daily newspaper endorses Ron Paul's primary opponent
The Galveston Daily News released an editorial endorsing Chris Peden for the Republican nomination in the Texas 14th Congressional distrcit over Ron Paul.
The newspaper chose to make its endorsement because there will be no opponent (i.e. Democrat) running against the Republican candidate in the November elections.
Strangely enough, it lists the good things about Ron Paul. They applauded his courage to oppose the war in Iraq as well as his strong defense on our civil liberties. They state his advocacy on smaller government, and his consistent views with the Libertarian Party. They say he is courageous and principled.
Yet the newspaper argues he is not an effective congressional representative.
They talk about his no votes on government spending, especially on earmarks going to Paul's district. Of course, other Congressional reps serving in neighboring districts are lavishing on their respective earmarks.
It cites that during the GOP majority in Congress, Paul was punished for saying no on earmarks. Even under the Democratic majority, Paul's district is still not getting any money.
Because of the need for federal money, the newspaper wants Peden to serve as representative of the Texas 14th District. They want someone to ask for earmark funds for the Galveston National Laboratory and NASA's mission to Mars.
* * * * * * * * * *
How can that argument make Peden a more effective representative?
As long as Peden brings more federal funds to the 14th District, the constituents should just be happy with that?
If Peden chooses to sacrifice his loyalties and principles to get more funds, are we fine with that?
If Peden supports pre-emptive war, but he gets more money for his district, should we be content with that?
If Peden wants bigger government and limits on our civil liberties, but he gets a chunk of pork funding for the laboratory, should we say nothing and stay quiet?
I don't think so.
NYT: Purple States: Ron Paul Considered
Throughout the primary season, the Purple States team returned repeatedly to the topic of Ron Paul's unconventional candidacy.
Romney to endorse McCain
Romney's endorsement would probably mean that his control of 286 delegates will go to McCain, giving the Arizona senator a total of 1,113, almost clinching the Republican nomination.
The number needed to clinch is 1,191.
It is likely that McCain will surpass that needed number by the March 4th primaries.
Ron Paul to stay in presidential race
UPDATE: The Ron Paul campaign has confirmed that the congressional representative is still in the presidential race.
At least that's good news for now.
* * * * *
The original entry was based on the FDH Lounge blog allegedly stating that Ron Paul will pull out of the race because of Peden's challenge to his congressional seat.
Here's the entry below:
According to the FDH Lounge blog, Congressman Ron Paul will be pulling out of the Republican presidential race in advance of his home state's March 4 primary. This is due to internal polls which show insurgent challenger Chris Peden having pulled ahead in the Texas 14th congressional district.
Peden's lead is extremely surprising given the vast disparity in resources between the campaigns, a divide that will only grow as Paul is able to divert funds contributed by his large base of small contributors to his presidential race back into the House of Representatives campaign.
It may prove to be an about-face when Ron Paul told supporters that he intends to stay in the presidential race past the March 4th primaries, but I guess that if the polls were correct, then he needs to defend his congressional seat so he can stay in Congress and protest against the overspending, the limitations being placed on our civil liberties, and preventing the transformation of our American Republic into an American Empire. Perhaps it's a ruse to confuse us.
By the way, who is Chris Peden, the challenger?
He is a Republican Galveston City Councilman. Supposedly he has raised more funds than Paul, but according to the latest disclosed financial records, most of his funds are coming from his family and close friends.
NOTE: I am not in support of Chris Peden. I did write an earlier blog on his fundraising where he boasted about having more money than Paul, but in actuality, most of the money came from his own family.
President Bush's notion of balancing the federal budget by 2012 is a sham
I really do not understand why fellow Republicans believe the President's words on his argument that his proposed 2009 federal budget will help bring it into balance by the year 2012. Of course, we have to understand that his proposal would not even pass Congress or even be considered since he is going out of office anyway by the end of this year.
The federal budget deficit is running at a pace that is more than double last year's imbalance through the first four months of the budget year.
Yes, you can point out that the deficit for 2007 was $162 billion, a five-year low, but the Bush administration is projecting a deficit of $410 billion for 2008, and around $400 billion for 2009. This pretty much guarantees that the next elected President will witness the U.S. national debt to surpass $10 TRILLION DOLLARS!
Of course, Bush fails to even include the supplemental spending bills on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq in his budget.
Goldman Sachs economists have boosted their deficit forecast for 2008 to $425 billion and to $440 billion in 2009, reflecting the recently passed stimulus package.
How can we still agree that President Bush is a defender of fiscal discipline?
If his proposed 2009 budget was approved, it would show that U.S. governmental spending has increased by more than $1.2 trillion since President Bill Clinton left office; adjusted for inflation, that's a 35 percent increase. His budget will be the first $3 trillion plus federal budget which would raise overall spending by 6 percent over last year and 67 percent over 2001.
Republicans still say that these deficits remains small relative to the gross domestic product, but the national debt will amount to a whopping 36.7 percent of GDP in 2009.
How about including actual figures in the budget outlook? Why do these supplemental spending packages are not factored in the administration's equations? How can Bush go in front of the American people and tell them that the deficit is much lower than what it seems?
On this $3 trillion plus budget, over $2 trillion covers Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, and the interest on the debt. That leaves about $987.6 billion. Then more than half - $515.4 billion - would go to the Pentagon, but KNOW THAT IT DOES NOT INCLUDE ANY WAR FUNDING!!! That is categorized as emergency funding, so Bush gets to hide it from the official deficit projections.
Bush can talk about getting rid of earmarks, but they are a small percentage of the federal budget. He hasn't even talked about cutting the red tape in the defense bureaucracy. Can we stop listening to these financial lies?
Oh yeah, if you look at Bush's 2009 budget outlook, he assumes the following:
1) The growth of Medicare and Medicaid will be trimmed by $195.7 billion over five years
2) The Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) is allowed to hit more taxpayers after the 2008 tax year.
3) That the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are not funded beyond 2009.
How can he assume these things? It's doubtful on one. On two, it seems he wants that tax increase to hit the poor middle class. Three, it looks like there was a withdrawal plan for the troops.
Bush better drop his "fiscal discipline" legacy from his memoirs. Not true at all!
Potomac Primary Results - 2/12/08
District of Columbia
Democratic: Obama (75%)
Republican: McCain (68%) (Ron Paul, 3rd, 8%)
Democratic: Obama (60%)
Republican: McCain (55%) (Ron Paul, 4th, 6%)
Democratic: Obama (64%)
Republican: McCain (50%) (Ron Paul, 3rd, 5%)
February 19 - Hawaii (D), Washington, and Wisconsin
Ron Paul: Going the Distance - 2/11/08
Wait for news for a march in Washington, D.C. Also, Ron Paul's congressional primary is on March 4. Donate to his congressional campaign!
So far he has raised over $285,000 this quarter.
Neocons trying to oust Ron Paul with faulty ad
Here's an ad running in Texas against Ron Paul
1) I cannot believe folks think that America is blameless. How can you say that everything was done because of America's freedom and their democratic ideals, and it wasn't the CIA overthrow or the American military bases set up in their country? Why keep this one-sided argument and not face the real truth of looking at a combination of reasons?
2) & 3) are probably from bills that were attached as a rider to important legislation that Ron Paul voted against. Again, this is a political tactic used to get voters to feel angry. Just a cheapshot.
4) We have spent several hundreds of billions of dollars to rebuild Iraq. How much should we spend? Over a trillion more? Somehow we are willing to sacrifice our own economy to help re-build another country.
Instead of "Blame America First" let's "Blame the Neocons First"
The truth behind the rebate checks
That $300-500 rebate check, part of the so-called economic stimulus package passed by Congress, is not free money!!!
It is an advance off your 2008 tax credit.
Congress implemented a one-time tax cut for income earned in 2008. Rather than delay the benefit of that cut until you file your tax returns in 2009, Congress is giving you the money now.
If you don't qualify now (either your AGI is below $3,000 or above $87,000,) but do qualify next year, you can still claim the credit when you file your returns for 2008. If you qualify this year, but not next year, congratulations, you win, enjoy your free money.
The government wants you to immediately inject your rebate into the economy by buying all those delicious consumables we love to write about. Saving or paying back student loans is not what they have in mind.
However, recent surveys showed that about 25% of Americans would spend their rebate check. The rest would put that money towards their bills.
What is a Republican?
If we look at Wikipedia and ask for a definition, being a Republican would probably mean being a fiscal conservative, social conservative, and an economic libertarian.
We would generally support lower taxes and limited government.
Former President Ronald Reagan summed up his belief in government:
"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem."
Republicans believe making law is in the province of the legislature and is against activist judges. They are also in favor of separation of powers to maintain equal power between the government branches. They believe in a robust version of federalism with greater limitations placed upon federal power and a larger role reserved for the States.
They are generally pro-life and pro-family, and would favor an amendment to define marriage exclusively between a man and a woman. They also favor a strong national defense and they tended to disapprove interventionist foreign policy actions.
So on and so forth...
* * * * * * * * * *
Of course, parts of the Republican platform has changed. It seems they now favor expanded government, the sacrifice of state rights to increase the power of the central government, a president making decisions based on the unitary executive theory where he or she can override or ignore laws passed by the legislature, limit civil liberties, unilateral military actions, and the doctrine of pre-emptive war.
Instead of supporting democratically elected government, we forge alliances with dictatorship-style governments in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Uzbekistan.
Should the Republican Party rename itself the American Empire Party? The Always at War Party? The Executive Party?
How can we still consider ourselves conservatives based on all these changes?
Youth Vote in 2008 Likely to Disrupt Political Status Quo
The 2008 presidential election may mark the turning point where the youth will contribute strongly in shaping America's future for years to come. The political establishment has long viewed the youth as being apathetic and uninterested in politics. Turnout among young voters had been consistently low in past presidential and congressional elections.
This year, that view will change.
According to CNN exit polls and tabulations from the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, young voters turned out in record numbers in more than 20 states. In practically every state holding a primary or caucus on Super Tuesday, youth turnout increased astronomically, doubling, tripling, and even quadrupling the turnout in the 2000 and 2004 electoral seasons.
CIRCLE Director Peter Levine
"Young Americans have been turning out to vote at remarkable rates in these primaries. This reflects their deep concern about the critical issues at stake and the impact of this election on our country's future. Since 2000, young people have been volunteering at high rates and are becoming more interested in news and public affairs. Now, they are ready to consider voting as a way of addressing major problems."
CBS News reported that Illinois Senator Barack Obama netted 59 percent of voters under 30 years old on Super Tuesday. Clinton only got about 38 percent. Young men supported Obama by a margin of 64 to 33 percent over Clinton, and young women supported Obama by 53 to 45 percent.
In Tennessee, young voters quadrupled their turnout from 35,000 in 2000 to nearly 140,000 on Super Tuesday. In Georgia, young voters tripled their turnout this year, with more than 280,000 individuals casting a ballot, compared to approximately 92,000 in 2000. When it came to California, more than 850,000 voters under 30 cast ballots, far surpassing 2000 and 2004 levels. Youth voter turnout tripled in Missouri. In Massachusetts, youth turnout doubled from 2000, with 231,000-plus hitting the polls this year. More than 187,000 voters under 30 participated in New Jersey's primary. New York was relatively unchanged from 2000. In Connecticut, the youth vote was doubled from 2000. In Utah, more than 66,300 youth voters voted. Oklahoma tripled their youth turnout.
While some may appreciate the involvement and participation of the youth vote in the electoral process, alarm bells are probably ringing throughout the rest of the political establishment. The youth vote can be quite unpredictable which may concern some political anaylsts. They tend to be cynical to the political process, not quite trusting the politicians in Washington, and hate being spoon-fed the same bullshit answers every year. They are also quite concerned with the war in Iraq, the economy, the bloated federal budget, jobs, social security, and their financial burden in the future.
Some analysts are still not worried and they point to low youth turnout in previous elections. Also from Super Tuesday, youth turnout in Arizona and Arkansas was 7 percent and 10 percent of eligible voters, respectively. Their over-30 counterparts chalked up rates of 23 percent in Arizona and 28 percent in Arkansas. In Massachusetts, young voters turned out a respectable 25 percent. But it was 40 percent for voters over 30.
Yes, youth numbers were low in past presidential elections, but 2008 could be different.
Director of Education at Rock the Vote, Kat Barr
"2008 is the year of the youth vote. The winner in November and the winners in these primary contests are going to be the people who reach out and successfully mobilize young people."
Presidential candidates such like Obama and Ron Paul have been getting a fair share of online buzz among young adults. They got the internet to distribute viral YouTube videos, utilizing the latest technology available, and finding ways to alert voters besides the usual mainstream media.
I would think that the young voters are getting sick of being on the sidelines and letting the middle-aged and elderly dictate policy for them. The 2008 election could mark the future direction of our country. Would they want to be part of a neverending war? Would they expect a draft? Would they face higher taxes because of our national debt? Would they face higher payroll taxes to fund a bankrupt Social Security system? Would they face limited civil liberties? Would they sacrifice freedom for security? How about job security? Social issues? Free Speech? Global warming? Pollution? Immigration?
It's time to disrupt the status quo.
February 9-10 Primary Elections
Huckabee (60%) (Ron Paul, 3rd, 11%)
Republican: Huckabee (Ron Paul, 4th, 5%)
Democratic: Obama (57%)
Republican: McCain (26%) (Ron Paul, 3rd, 21%)
Democratic: Obama (68%)
Ron Paul at Liberty U. - 2/8/08
Also, something to read:
US News & World Report - Ron Paul: Spoiler?
Ron Paul at the CPAC Convention - 2/7/08
GOP sources: Romney to suspend presidential campaign
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will suspend his Republican presidential campaign after a disappointing showing in this week's "Super Tuesday" primaries and caucuses, GOP sources said today. Romney is expected to announce his decision this afternoon at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, three Republican sources told CNN.
This basically leaves McCain, Huckabee, and Paul.
Real ID - the so-called national ID card
On May 11, about four months from now, millions of law-abiding Americans could face new hassles when traveling on commercial flights if they hold driver's licenses or ID cards issued by states that haven't agreed to comply with Real ID. Those same people will also face hassles when entering federal buildings such as the U.S. Capitol building or any federal courthouse.
Of course, everyone is asking why our lawmakers passed such a law in the first place. Well, our wonderful politicians knew that this legislation would be controversial so they decided to bypass the usual legislative process and inserted the legislation as a rider to the mammoth Iraq spending and Asian tsunami bill, the "Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Tsunami Relief, 2005." No public hearings, no public discussion, no open debate was made.
In May, you may see additional lines at airport with signs "Real ID" and "non-Real ID." Of course, the government has not ruled on whether citizens with a non-compliant Real ID would be allowed to travel on an airplane or enter a federal building.
Currently, Americans living in Maine, South Carolina, Montana, Oklahoma, New Hampshire, and up to 15 other states plus the District of Columbia that have rejected the Real ID regulations on privacy and cost grounds or have not agreed to comply will be affected.
This represents a potentially embarrassing political setback to the Bush administration, which has championed Real ID as a way to identify terrorists and criminals. But instead of what supporters hoped would be a seamless shift to a nationalized ID card, the requirements have created a confusing patchwork of state responses. In addition, the administration has been forced to scale back Real ID after an outcry from state motor vehicle administrators.
Airlines and travelers associations worry the May 11 deadline will herald chaos at airports unsurpassed by any other recent change to federal law. Travelers from non-Real ID states will have no choice but to undergo what Homeland Security delicately calls "delays" and "enhanced security screening" unless they happen to have a valid U.S. passport issued by the State Department.
"The DHS proposal that individuals who do not have a passport and happen to live in states that do not seek an extension to comply before May of this year will not be allowed to board a domestic flight is extremely concerning," said Kevin Maguire, president and CEO of the National Business Travel Association, which represents corporate travel managers and travel service providers.
Currently, less than 30 percent of Americans have U.S. passports, and it takes about 4-6 weeks for processing.
Expect a lot of political brinksmanship between the federal government and the states in the coming months. Recently, the nation's most populous states, including Florida, Texas, Virginia, and Georgia, have not agreed to comply with Real ID. On the other hand, California has publicly applauded Real ID. (What are they drinking over there?)
* * * * *
OHIO - The state has requested an extension and was approved. (link) - Initial deadline for compliance with Real ID is Dec 31, 2009.
NEW JERSEY - It has not decided whether to comply, reject it, or request an extension. The state government is unsure of the fiscal requirements due to their weak budget.
NEW YORK - It has already received an "unsolicited extension" from DHS as part of a recent agreement to change its driver's license policies.
McCain misses economic stimulus vote
The weird part of this is that Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican from South Carolina was traveling with McCain, and the both of them arrived in Washington-Dulles Airport just before the proceedings opening on the Senate floor on whether to expand the economic stimulus plan to include 20 million seniors and 250,000 disabled veterans.
Senator Graham managed to get to the Senate to cast his vote against the expanded plan. McCain never made it.
The vote was 58-41 in favor, but the measure was rejected because the Democrats needed 60 votes to break the Republican filibuster. It was actually 59 votes, but Majority Leader Sen. Reid changed his vote to "no" so he can bring up the measure again in the near future.
99 votes, McCain was the lone senator who missed it. Altogether, McCain has missed all eight roll call votes since the beginning of this year.
Asked Wednesday morning to comment on the pending vote, McCain talked about the need to pass a stimulus measure quickly. Later, on his plane, he said he was not sure he would make the vote.
"I haven't had a chance to talk about it at all, have not had the opportunity to, even," McCain said. "We've just been too busy, focused on other stuff. I don't know if I'm doing that. We've got a couple of meetings scheduled."
* * * * *
McCain, you are the so-called Republican front-runner. You were supposed to woo other members of your party to support the expanded package or maybe your plan was to go against it in favor of the House-passed version. You were in a Catch-22. Vote "no" to not give Social Security recipients and disabled veterans rebate checks. Vote "yes" and you offend Bush, GOP leaders, and conservatives who are already suspicious of your political leanings. Of course, you missed the vote. I really don't know if it was just a plan to avoid being on record.
Regardless, it gives a bit of PR ammo to Clinton and Obama.
Ron Paul campaign - National Delegate Count is 42 or more
With the results of many of the “Super Tuesday” primaries and caucuses now finalized, the Ron Paul campaign is now projecting that it has at least 42 delegates to the national convention secured.
According to campaign projections, a minimum of 24 delegates were won in yesterday’s contests. When added to projected delegates coming from strong showings in Iowa (4), Nevada (8), Louisiana (3) and Maine (3), that brings the total delegate count to 42 delegates or more.
The Aftermath of Super Tuesday
I voted in the New Jersey Republican primary one hour before the polls closed and placed my checkmark next to Ron Paul. Getting home, I managed to persuade my parents to also go down to the polling station, but alas, they both voted for McCain.
In any case, McCain carried the state by a landslide (given Giuliani's endorsement) winning 55% of the vote and all 52 state delegates. Romney was 2nd with 28%, Huckabee with 8%, and Ron Paul with 5%. Giuliani's name was still on the ballot and still managed to get 3%.
Living in Morris County, McCain won with 55%, Romney got 31%, Huckabee 7%, Paul 4%, and Giuliani 3%.
In nearby New York, McCain won the state with 51%. Romney got 28%, Huckabee 11%, Paul 7%, and Giuliani 3%. It does feel strange that Paul did not do better. You would think New York would give Paul a greater turnout because of his anti-war position. Paul did hit double-digits in the Bronx, Fulton, Greene, and Hamilton counties.
As such, I would like to thank the corporate state media for their blackout of Ron Paul. I figured McCain got most of the anti-war vote in New York because many voters have never heard of Ron Paul's platform. Most folks do agree there is a mainstream bias against Paul. They certainly cannot ignore the fact that he raised the most cash in the last quarter of 2007. Of course, he started getting publicity when the Republican field was narrowing and especially with Thompson and Giuliani leaving the race. Still, we saw examples of major state newspapers ignoring Ron Paul. They would list McCain, Romney, and Huckabee and their platform, but nothing on Paul. In California, the Los Angeles Times made their tepid endorsement of John McCain, but discussed every remaining GOP candidate except for Paul.
Despite a huge presence on the Internet, voters still rely quite a lot on the mainstream media. It is with hope that this will change in the near future. Then candidates such like Ron Paul can defeat the media establishment.
If we looked at the plus side for Paul, he came in second in the Montana Republican caucuses right behind former governor Mitt Romney winning eleven counties outright. In North Dakota, Paul was third with 21%, behind Romney's 36% and McCain's 23%. In Alaska, he was also third with 17%, Romney got 44%, and Huckabee got 22%. By the end of the night, Paul has a total of 16 delegates to the Republican Convention. Add three more if you count the West Virginia deal with Huckabee.
Compared with the rest of the candidates, Paul has virtually lost the nomination. McCain is leading with 615 delegates, Romney 268, and Huckabee 169. Most folks knew it was a long shot anyway.
But will he drop out of the race? Probably not.
He still does have a substantial amount of cash left in his campaign.
On February 9th, Kansas, Louisiana and Washington (caucus) will vote. Note that in Louisiana, Paul has garnered a majority of alternate delegates to the state convention.
February 12th has District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia.
February 19th has Washington (primary) and Wisconsin.
March 4th is Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas, and Vermont.
March 11th has Mississippi.
April 22nd has Pennsylvania.
May 6th has Indiana and North Carolina.
May 13th is Nebraska.
May 18th is Hawaii.
May 20th has Kentucky and Oregon.
May 27th is Idaho.
June 3rd gives us New Mexico and South Dakota.
At this point, the Ron Paul campaign is looking to stay in the race until March 4th or perhaps way past it. It is possible that by that date, a Republican candidate would nearly clinch the nomination. Out of the remaining states, Paul could do well in Oregon and Idaho. Of course, it will not be enough. It is clear by now that Ron Paul is trying to get his message out to the Republican base and to all the voters.
But I don't think the media will let him. After Super Tuesday, the chances for him to get into future debates will be slim. If he won at least one state, there should be no problem. There is supposed to be a Republican debate on the 28th of February sponsored by MSNBC and Ron Paul was invited. Will he be dis-invited?
Super Tuesday results
Refresh to get latest results as they come in
Projected winners called by CNN
As of 6:15AM EST
Democratic: Obama (56%)
Republican: Huckabee (41%) (Ron Paul, 4th, 3%)
Democratic: Obama (75%)
Republican: Romney (44%) (Ron Paul, 3rd, 17%)
Democratic: Clinton (51%)
Republican: McCain (48%) (Ron Paul, 4th, 4%)
Democratic: Clinton (69%)
Republican: Huckabee (60%) (Ron Paul, 4th, 5%)
Democratic: Clinton (52%)
Republican: McCain (42%) (Ron Paul, 5th, 4%)
Democratic: Obama (67%)
Republican: Romney (60%) (Ron Paul, 4th, 8%)
Democratic: Obama (51%)
Republican: McCain (52%) (Ron Paul, 4th, 4%)
Democratic: Obama (53%)
Republican: McCain (45%) (Ron Paul, 4th, 4%)
Democratic: Obama (67%)
Republican: Huckabee (34%) (Ron Paul, 4th, 3%)
Democratic: Obama (79%)
Democratic: Obama (65%)
Republican: McCain (47%) (Ron Paul, 4th, 5%)
Democratic: Obama (74%)
Republican: Romney (52%) (Ron Paul, 3rd, 19%)
Democratic: Clinton (56%)
Republican: Romney (51%) (Ron Paul, 4th, 3%)
Democratic: Obama (67%)
Republican: Romney (42$) (Ron Paul, 4th, 15%)
Democratic: Obama (49%)
Republican: McCain (33%) (Ron Paul, 4th, 4%)
Republican: Romney (38%) (Ron Paul, 2nd, 25%)
Democratic: Clinton (54%)
Republican: McCain (55%) (Ron Paul, 4th, 5%)
New Mexico (D)
Democratic: ? (Obama leading at this time - 92% reporting)
Democratic: Clinton (57%)
Republican: McCain (51%) (Ron Paul, 4th, 7%)
Democratic: Obama (61%)
Republican: Romney (36%) (Ron Paul, 3rd, 21%)
Democratic: Clinton (55%)
Republican: McCain (37%) (Ron Paul, 4th, 3%)
Democratic: Clinton (54%)
Republican: Huckabee (34%) (Ron Paul, 4th, 6%)
Democratic: Obama (57%)
Republican: Romney (90%) (Ron Paul, 3rd, 3%)
West Virginia (R)
Republican: Huckabee (52%)
Huckabee / Ron Paul deal in WV
The media is reporting that Huckabee won all 18 delegates at the West Virginia state Republican convention, but...
After Ron Paul's 10% showing on the first convention ballot, his name was dropped out of the running for ballot #2. The Ron Paul people went to Huckabee and made a deal to get 3 of the 18 national delegates in exchange for throwing their votes to Huckabee. On the second ballot, Huckabee got 52%, and Ron Paul gets 3 of his national delegates. Not a bad trade for 10%.
Fox News reports Huckabee wins West Virginia
Fox News reporting that Huckabee has won the poll at the West Virginia GOP convention.
In the first round, it was Romney 41%, Huckabee 33%, McCain 15%, and Ron Paul 10%. Paul was eliminated.
In the second round, Huckabee garnered a majority of the votes thereby winning the 18 delegates the state will send to the national convention.
Note: CNN also projects Huckabee win.
Ron Paul re-election battle
Apart from his presidential campaign, Ron Paul is also running for re-election for his Texas 14th congressional district seat.
But it looks like he has a Republican rival gunning for his seat.
Chris Peden is running on a pro-family, pro-life Christian conservative. He is attacking Ron Paul for being a libertarian, and not being a true conservative. Of course, he's for the constitution, abolishing the IRS, protecting life, but he is trying to get voters to see that Ron Paul is not really part of the party.
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Note that the Lone Star Times and the Chronicle reported that Peden has raised twice as much funds as Paul, but they failed to report that most of the money came from Peden's family.
Ron Paul displayed on top of NY Ballot
Nice omen. Voters are seeing Ron Paul displayed at the top of the NY primary ballot. The next two spots below are blank, then Rudy is next.
Rumor: Romney/Paul ticket
That's what I have heard. Just think about it.
The Tennessean excludes Ron Paul from their Super Tuesday Election article
Apparently, on their Election Voters Guide article on Super Tuesday, they listed the Democratic and Republican candidates still in the race. Of course, for the Republicans, they decided not to include Ron Paul. Only Huckabee, McCain, and Romney were listed.
On the next page, they listed all the major issues and the candidates' positions. Of course, Ron Paul was not listed.
The Editor refuses to put out a correction.
MTV Debate: Ron Paul Highlights
YouTube Part 1 - Link
YouTube Part 2 - Link
YouTube Part 3 - Link
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Short Part 1 - Link
Short Part 2 - Link
Also, Boston Meet-Up groups took out a full-page ad in the Boston Globe, pointing out that only Ron, of all the candidates, has opposed the monstrous Iraq War.
Montana Endorsements for Ron Paul
Yesterday, the Ron Paul campaign announced the endorsement by seven members of the Montana State Legislature.
State Senator Aubyn Curtiss of Fortine
State Senator Jerry O' Neil of Columbia Falls
State Representative Rick Jore of Ronan
State Representative Roger Koopman of Bozeman
State Representative Tom McGillvray of Billings
State Representative Diane Rice of Harrison
State Representative of Jack Wells of Bozeman
He was also endorsed by Montana Public Service Commissioner Brad Molnar.
Ron Paul campaign collects more than $5 million in 1Q 2008
Despite calls from fellow Republicans to Ron Paul supporters to re-direct their support to either McCain or Romney, the Ron Paul campaign continues to receive financial support. As such, it succeeded in reaching $5 million in donations by Super Tuesday (Feb 5th). (Currently $5.22 million as of 8:11AM EST)
Most supporters understand the long-shot odds for Ron Paul to clinch the nomination, but how can we change our minds when the other Republican candidate do not agree with Ron Paul's position? He promises to bring back smaller government, reduce government spending, and pull out of Iraq. He will also work to protect the US dollar. He is consistent with his voting record based on his principles. He is not a "flip-flopper." He does not believe in pre-emptive war. All of these are well-thought ideas. Yet, folks say he is a lunatic.
Polls suggest that Ron Paul will do well in Alaska, Colorado, Minnesota, and North Dakota. Yet, he is still stuck in the single-digits in the big delegate states.
Of course, after Super Tuesday, the media will undoubtedly ask Paul if he will drop out since they preferred to see the Republican race drop down to two major contenders.
So then he ends up with a hefty campaign war chest that will help him get re-elected to Congress, but that long-shot idea of an independent run is still dangling there. Ron Paul still says he won't do it, but most of his supporters still want him to run.
Let's see what the results say tonight.
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If you are also interested, here is Ron Paul's speech on September 19, 1984 where he served in Congress for four terms and was not running for re-election.
Military Donors Back Ron Paul & Obama
The Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks campaign cash, looks at the 2007 money-raising and finds the following:
In 2007, the 2008 presidential candidates raised $582.5 million and spent $481.2 million.
In the 4th quarter of 2007, individuals in the Army, Navy and Air Force made those branches of the armed services the No. 13, No. 18 and No. 21, contributing industries, respectively. War opponent Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, received the most from donors in the military, collecting at least $212,000 from them. Another war opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, was second with about $94,000.
Soldiers love Ron and Barack, and lobbyists love Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, the No. 1 recipient of lobbyist cash, receiving $823,000 in 2007 from the lobbying industry, which gave about $2.7 million overall.
Ron Paul Beats McCain in Maine Caucus, Primed to Win Over 1/3 of State Delegates
While most reports about this past weekend’s Maine Caucus focused on the purely symbolic presidential preference poll, in the meaningful race to secure delegates to the state convention Ron Paul is primed to finish second with likely 35 percent of the total delegates.
Delegates to the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis are elected by the state delegates. Internal results from 10 of 16 counties, including the largest cities of Portland, South Portland, Lewiston, Auburn, Augusta, Waterville, Bangor, and Brewer, show Ron Paul picking up 215 of 608 State Convention delegates so far reported, or 35%.
“Ron Paul’s strong second place finish in Maine, in which he beat John McCain, is proof that this race is far from over,” said Ron Paul campaign manager Lew Moore. “We’ll continue to battle for every delegate in this wide-open race for the Republican nomination.”
In the presidential preference poll, with 70 percent reporting, Ron Paul is in third place just two percentage points behind John McCain. However, the Maine preference poll is purely a beauty contest, and in the actual election of state delegates the so-called “frontrunner” McCain is far behind Ron Paul.
Q4 2007 Fundraising Figures
As you can see, Ron Paul has almost $8 million in cash by the end of the year, compared for McCain who is in debt.
McCain changes story on tax cut stance
Republican John McCain says he opposed President Bush's tax cuts because they didn't come with spending cuts. That is not what he said at the time.
In a presidential debate on Wednesday, McCain said he voted against the Bush tax cuts because he wanted to rein in spending.
"I disagreed when we had tax cuts without spending restraint," the Arizona senator said.
The explanation fits with his history of railing against wasteful federal spending. But it does not fit with McCain's comments when he opposed the Bush tax cuts in 2001 and 2003.
In 2001, McCain said the tax cuts favored the wealthy at the expense of the middle class. In 2003, he said there should be no tax cuts until the Iraq war costs were known.
His aversion to the Bush tax cuts is just another reason McCain gives heartburn to many in the conservative GOP base. Besides taxes, there is also his more forgiving attitude toward illegal immigration, his effort to limit money in politics and his long-running feuds with leaders of the Christian right.
The debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., came on the heels of Tuesday's Florida primary, when McCain defeated former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, gaining an advantage going into next week's Super Tuesday primary.
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Also remember McCain's claim about Republicans losing the 2006 election because of spending, it was actually a combination of the economy, Iraq, terrorism, and scandals and corruption in government.
McCain really needs to do actual "straight-talking."
Colorado Springs Independent Endorses Ron Paul
Paul, who has generated grassroots support in Western states, pledges to quickly extract us from Iraq. He has been a vocal critic of the Patriot Act as well as America's misguided War on Drugs.
Perhaps most significantly, he's a legitimate fiscal conservative. Funny, but fiscal restraint used to be a Republican hallmark. After years of runaway spending and unchecked government growth, supporting Paul is a clarion call for the GOP to rediscover its roots.
CNN Post-Interview with Ron Paul - 1/30/08
Newsweek praises Ron Paul
Newsweek blogger Andrew Romano gives kudos to Ron Paul
My favorite moment of the night? When Paul tsk-tsked Romney and McCain for sniping over Iraq strategy--an area where their positions are largely indistinguishable. "I find it rather silly, because they're arguing technicalities of a policy they both agree with," he said. "They agreed with going in; they agreed for staying, agreed for staying how many years? And these are technicalities. We should be debating foreign policy." The other candidates--not to mention reporters--often dismiss the Good Doctor, but as the field narrows, I have to say: it's fun to watch him give them a hard time. He was certainly talking sense tonight.
California Republican Debate - 1/30/08
As such, we are down to four Republican contenders for the nomination though CNN's Anderson and the panel make it sound like there are actually two candidates for the job, both McCain and Romney.
Much of the debate question and answer was on these two. The sharpest and ridiculous moment in the debate came when Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, was asked about the McCain campaign's charge that he once said he favored a strict timetable for removing troops from Iraq.
Romney has consistently denied ever having backed a timetable and said McCain was taking a small portion of a quote out of context.
"It's simply wrong," Romney said. "By the way, raising it a few days before the Florida primary, when there was very little time for me to correct the record, falls in the kind of dirty tricks that Ronald Reagan would have found reprehensible."
Kudos to Ron Paul for calling them out on arguing about timetable "technicalities."
"...They agreed with going in; they agreed for staying, agreed for staying how many years? And these are technicalities. We should be debating foreign policy, whether we should have interventionism or non-interventionism, whether we should be defending this country or whether we should be the policemen of the world, whether we should be running our empire or not, and how are going to have guns and butter?
And we have these silly arguments going on about who said what when. I think it's time to debate foreign policy and why we don't follow the Constitution and only go to war with a declaration of war."
This is true. This is more than dealing with Iraq. We would want to know the ultimate foreign policy agenda with each candidate. How would they treat Iran? Or a future aggressor, or another mess like Iraq?
McCain loves to keep on stating that he is putting his career and political fortunes on the line. Don't we know that already? If a politican is staking his whole entire career, does that give us a guaranteed reason to trust that person? Of course, he expands upon that by including his military career and his time as a POW.
Anderson Cooper really kept a tight leash on Paul as compared with the other candidates.
Paul, who has not won any of the early primary contests but still has raised millions of dollars from supporters, was not able to detail his credentials. “I would like to take one minute, since I didn’t get a chance to answer this discussion on conservative versus liberal,” he said.
Moderator Anderson Cooper promised him he would have an opportunity later. But it never came.
He also did not give Ron Paul a chance to expand about cutting government spending, only Huckabee mentioned about the same thing.
Of course, it's was amusing when Ron Paul was speaking, the camera would turn to McCain and Romney, and both of them would be smirking, almost like there were two girls giggling. It seems to me they think Paul is just a clown and his words have no meaning.
Paul should have mentioned about government spending and being endorsed by the Taxpayers Union.
McCain touted his military credentials, Romney showcased his business credentials. Perhaps we should merge their DNA together and get both.
Anyways, I think Huckabee and Paul did well enough despite their limited airtime. Clearly, McCain needs to do better in debate. I think some of his answers were clearly rehearsed, and he was acting like a robot during the whole argument about timetables with Romney. Honestly, I don't think he really cared. He knows he got Giuliani's endorsement and Arnold's. Pretty much, he thinks it's all a slam dunk and he will represent the GOP against Hillary or Obama.
What's going to hurt is that McCain may not get a huge turnout by fellow Republicans in the general election.
CNN's Cafferty: Why won't we vote for REAL change?
FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
The two apparent front-runners are now Hillary Clinton and John McCain. If nothing changes, this is the choice we will have for president of the United States.
Hillary is part of the monopoly on the White House between the Clintons and the Bushes that goes back 28 years. Her husband is a two-term president, she's a former first lady and current member of the Senate. She's a poster girl for the Washington establishment.
McCain has been a part of Washington for 26 years. A two-term congressman, he's been a senator since 1986. He's been running for president for the last eight years. Another Washington insider.
Ask anyone what they think of our government and most people will be happy to tell you. They are angry. I get thousands of letters a week from people angry about health care, immigration, the war, the economy, you name it. The consensus is our government is broken and our country is in trouble.
The problems they complain about exist solely because of the actions of the Democrats and Republicans in Washington. The political establishment, if you will, that is in bed with the lobbyists and the corporations and, quite frankly, couldn't care less about you.
Except now, at election time, when they need you.
Giuliani endorses McCain; Nader considers run
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is dropping out of the Republican presidential race for president and endorsing Arizona Sen. John McCain. That leaves McCain, Romney, Huckabee, and Paul.
Republicans will be debate tonight on CNN at 8PM.
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Ralph Nader has launched an official exploratory committee Web site, and said he will formally make a decision in about a month. He said he is certain to get in the race if he can demonstrate the ability to raise $10 million and recruit enough lawyers to deal with ballot access issues. He has yet to formally file paperwork with the Federal Elections Commission, though he does not need to until he officially becomes a candidate, according to the FEC.
Nader said he finds Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama both unacceptable candidates, and he said whichever wins the party's presidential nomination will not have an impact on his decision to run.
"They are both enthralled to the corporate powers," Nader said of the two leading Democrats. "They've completely ignored the presidential pattern of illegality and accountability, they've ignored the out of control waste-fruad military expenditures, they hardly ever mention the diversion of hundreds of billions of dollars to corporate subsidies, handouts, and giveaways, and they don't talk about a living wage."
National Taxpayers Union: Only Ron Paul Would Cut Spending
According to a report released Tuesday by the National Taxpayers Union, Texas Congressman Ron Paul is the only remaining presidential candidate who proposes net spending cuts.
According to the report, Congressman Paul’s proposals would cut government spending by over $150 billion, a conservative estimate of the spending reductions Dr. Paul has proposed. The report concludes that the other remaining Republican candidates, Mitt Romney, John McCain and Mike Huckabee, have proposed spending increases of $19.5 billion, $6.9 billion and $54 billion respectively.
“It should come as no surprise that when you crunch the numbers Ron Paul is the only Republican who would actually shrink the size and cost of the federal government,” said Ron Paul campaign economic advisor Don Luskin. “Romney, McCain and Huckabee don’t hold a candle to Ron Paul – the only true fiscal conservative running for President.”
In ten terms in Congress, Ron Paul has never voted for a tax increase or for an unbalanced budget.
The National Taxpayers Union study can be found at www.ntu.org.
Should Ron Paul be included in the Republican debates after Super Tuesday?
The National Review brings up the question of including Republican candidate Ron Paul in the debates after Super Tuesday (Feb 5).
...I can imagine the tide of angry e-mails from Ron Paul folks as I write this, but if he hasn’t broken out in the first 20 debates (I’m not exaggerating, tonight is the twentieth Republican debate) then I don’t think it’s going to happen for him in the 21st. Depending on whether you prefer CNN or RCP’s count, Paul has either six or four delegates. To his credit, he finished second in Nevada. But he’s gotten ten percent in Iowa, eight percent in New Hampshire, six percent in Michigan, four percent in South Carolina, and three percent in Florida...
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The question does make sense. We all know there comes a time where the candidate field must be narrowed down to two or perhaps three individuals so Republican party members can finally decide on who is to lead their party for the presidency in November.
But when you compare McCain and Romney, there's really not much difference there. Both have been accusing each other of being "more liberal" than the other. I don't know if Huckabee would help, he's more of the faith and religious type but he may choose to drop out if he does not do well in the southern states on Super Tuesday.
Sure, there are rational arguments calling for McCain and Romney to go nose-to-nose but it seems we are stuck with picking the candidate who is less evil, not good versus bad.
Ron Paul injects more civility and intelligence in the debates than the combination of the two top-tier candidates. Ron Paul is more truthful than them, had a more consistent record than them, and even much more conservative than them.
Plus if Ron Paul is excluded, except viewership to drop substantially.
Giuliani pays tribute to Ron Paul
Tuesday night as he was preparing to bow out, as first reported on the Ticket Monday noon, Giuliani gave a gracious concession speech in which he listed all of his Republican competitors and called them good men.
He added Ron Paul on the end, smiling, and said after all the debates he'd go back to his hotel room and watch television and how every time, according to the texted tallies, Ron Paul won all the debates, much, he did not say, thanks to the determined voting of his many busy-fingered followers. "Ron Paul won every debate!" Giuliani said.
Romney / McCain campaigns to prevent Ron Paul win in Maine
Could it be possible? Ron Paul has a very good chance to win in Maine this weekend, but the McCain / Romney campaigns are rallying the troops asking them to take a few hours to show up at the weekend caucuses.
According to state Republican Party Executive Director Julie O'Brien, Ron Paul supporters have been the most active in Maine.
Sunday's Republican caucus schedule is scant and organizers plan to announce all-but-final results on Saturday as the bulk of votes are reported.
Maine Republicans said they are close to their goal of having party members from 80 percent of the state's towns participate in this weekend's presidential preference caucuses. Julie O'Brien said GOP activists in more than 370 towns report local caucuses are scheduled, and more towns are setting up gatherings as the weekend draws closer.
In the end, rules do not matter for the Democratic Party
The Democratic primary that was held on Tuesday in Florida was largely "symbolic."
The Democratic National Committee punished Florida for moving up its primary before February 5th by stripping the state of all 210 delegates it expected to send to the party's nominating convention this summer. Michigan also lost its 156 delegates for similar reasons.
However, observers expect both states to be represented at the convention. Of course, if a candidate is able to collect enough delegates in the remaining primaries to secure the party's nomination, the delegates' vote at the convention will be a formality.
Since Hillary won the "contest" in Florida, she promises the voters there that she will do her best to get their 210 delegates re-instated at convention. Same goes for Michigan where she "won" that poll as well (even though her name was the only one official on the ballot).
Political pandering. If Obama or Edwards won Michigan or Florida, then Clinton would be complaining about the need to respect party rules.
Then it does not help when the head of the Florida Democratic state party has ensured the support of Pelosi and other Democratic leaders that their delegates will be seated at convention with full voting rights.
So in the end, the rules will be bent, and Michigan and Florida will get their delegates counted.
Ron Paul: Louisiana GOP caucus (1/22) craziness
The results are still unconfirmed but it looks like Ron Paul has scored at least 46 of 95 alternates selected.
The delegates and alternates chosen yesterday will pick 24 of the National Convention delegates are and are slated to pick 20 more delegates later. The only way that can change is if some candidate gets a majority of the primary vote on Feb. 9th- an unlikely prospect at this point.
Of course, you won't see any of this stuff mentioned in the corporate media.
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It would seem that the Huck, Romney, Benito, McCain, and Thompson campaigns have pooled together to form the Pro-Life/Pro-Family ticket in order to defeat Ron Paul. Also, as a new low in advertising, the slate used a handout featuring Ron and Nancy Reagan which says "win one for the gipper."
Remember, this also happened in Wyoming. The various neocon candidates pooled their support in order to defeat Ron Paul in one of the counties.
The coalition delegate slate will be split 4 ways at the state convention, and Paul may have more than any one candidate.
Paul supposedly has most of the alternate delegate slots, most of which were uncontested. So if somebody doesn't show up or is ruled ineligible, a Paul delegate can step up.
Ron Paul: Money Bomb Result - $1.85 million
On MLK, Ron Paul supporters donated approximately $1.85 million to the campaign.
Also, Ron Paul has received three endorsements:
Former New Mexico Governor Gary "Veto" Johnson announced that he is supporting Dr. Paul for president. Governor Johnson is an icon to small-government conservatives and libertarians for his long-standing commitment to the principles of the Founders. You can read our press release here.
This morning, Ron Paul also received the glowing endorsement of Donald L. Luskin, a prominent financial commentator on CNBC and Chief Investment Officer for Trend Macrolytics LLC. You can read Don's editorial in National Review about why Ron Paul is right for America here.
Finally, Dr. Paul hosted a press conference this morning with well-known pro-life activist Norma McCorvey, better known as 'Jane Roe' from the infamous Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade.
Ron Paul places 2nd in Nevada, 5th in S.C.
The Ron Paul campaign is celebrating the silver medal in the Nevada caucuses. With all precincts reporting, Ron Paul garnered 14 percent of the vote and earning 4 delegates. While most of you will point out that Mitt Romney won the caucuses with 51 percent, the importance is that Paul actually took second place.
This means he barely beat out McCain and even Huckabee, Thompson, and Giuliani. I really doubt we should concede the point that only Romney and Paul campaigned in Nevada and that's why Paul got higher numbers. McCain, Huckabee, Thompson, and Giuliani relied on name-recognition but that did not work.
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In South Carolina, Ron Paul did not do well. He placed fifth with four percent (about 15,773 votes). But he did beat Giuliani again (he got 2 percent, 9,112 votes). Of course, the evangelicals would side with Huckabee, but it seems McCain still got a nice percentage from them. Plus more moderates picked McCain. Based on electability, most folks believe McCain can beat the Democrats in November.
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We are still in there to keep the message of Ron Paul alive. Remember the money bomb on January 21 (MLK)!!!
Fox News - Ron Paul has 4 percent, Rudy has 2
As far as I can see on CNN and MSNBC, Ron Paul has 4 percent of the primary vote, and Rudy has 2 percent. Why does Fox News is showing that in reverse?
Fox News finally fixed it.
MONEY BOMB ALERT: RON PAUL - JANUARY 21
As we honor Dr. Martin Luther King on January 21, please join us together to support Dr. Ron Paul, a new hero who fights for the same American principles of liberty and justice for all.
Ron Paul Highlights at the South Carolina Republican debate - 1/10/08
Note that the focus group poll on Fox News did say that Ron Paul won the debate hands down.
If we are supposed to be economically sensitive, should we take a second look at that expensive embassy rising in Iraq?
If we are so concerned about the economy and the state and well-being of our federal budget, we should re-visit the budget of that super-embassy building rising in Baghdad.
Back in 1995, there was an emergency supplemental appropriation bill which included $592 million for embassy construction. Due to cost overruns, construction problems, and alleged illegal practices committed by contractors, the completion date has been delayed into 2008. It was originally scheduled to be completed last fall.
Do we have some sort of size inferiority complex? This super-embassy or superbunker or maybe superfortress will be the largest and most expensive, containing 21 reinforced buildings on a 104-acre site along the Tigris River. Even with the $600 million price tag to build it, it will also cost $1.2 BILLION just to maintain it each year. The structure would be bigger than anything Saddam Hussein had built. It is larger than Vatican City and big enough to accomodate four Millennium Domes.
There will be about 1,000 regular employees, plus up to 3,000 additional staff members, which may consist of security personnel or perhaps a couple of mercs. I guess it would be enough to stage a quick coup if the Iraqi government does not fit within the U.S.' plans.
It is essentially a city within a city. It has six apartment buildings for employees, water and waste treatment facilities, a power station, two "major diplomatic office buildings," recreation gym, cinema, and the largest swimming pool in Iraq. The best part is restaurant row filled with delicacies from our favorite food chains.
I would think that when completed, our taxpayer funds have provided the best isolated environment for the people stationed there. There is no need for our folks to mingle with the Iraqi people. Plus our embassy cannot be ignored by citizens living in their capital city. The Prime Minister of Iraq would get up and just see it in his bedroom window every morning.
Plus with 104 acres, insurgents would have no problem lobbing a couple of mortars and rockets since they got a huge target area to deal with. Honestly.
Vanity Fair - The Mega-Bunker of Baghdad
Wikipedia - US Iraqi Embassy
No GOP frontrunner until Super Tuesday is concluded
Huckabee wins Iowa
McCain wins New Hampshire
Romney wins Michigan
Latest polls shows Huckabee leading in South Carolina; Romney and McCain neck-to-neck in Nevada; Giuliani leading in California and New Jersey.
At this point there is really no clear front-runner until the Super Tuesday primaries where over 40% of the delegates will be chosen.
Republican primaries on Tuesday, February 5:
Ron Paul: Fourth in Michigan GOP Primary, beats Giuliani and Thompson
If Dr. Ron Paul is a no-body, then how come he has beaten Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson in the Michigan GOP Primary last night?
Paul ended up in fourth place behind Romney, McCain, and Huckabee.
Ron Paul (6.3%) 54,434
Fred Thompson (3.7%) 32,135
Rudy Giuliani (2.8%) 24,706
It's understandable that Thompson and Giuliani did not campaign strongly in Michigan, or New Hampshire, or even Iowa. Thompson has been concentrating in South Carolina while Giuliani has been hanging quite a lot in Florida.
But if anyone can recall recently, Giuliani was considered the GOP frontrunner in the national polls a while ago. Remember? He ran quite strongly against everybody in his party. He was the hero of 9/11. He was predicted to be the candidate to beat Clinton.
Things can quickly change in the last several months.
Yes, it is true that Ron Paul has not won anything yet. But his appearance and platform continues to attract followers and even got one or two of the candidates to sing his tune on a few of his ideas. He got two national TV appearances on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" plus a full hour on "Meet the Press."
So far it looks like Paul gets around 6-10% each time there's a vote. Remember Paul beat Giuliani in Iowa, and got pretty close to him in New Hampshire, but he did beat Thompson there.
The Ron Paul campaign has quietly organized more than 7,800 precinct captains around the country. Meanwhile, Giuliani's top staff are going unpaid this month to save dwindling funds.
Ron Paul on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (1/7/08)
His second appearance on the show
Link - Transcript of Interview
New Hampshire early results
Residents of two tiny towns stayed up late to cast their votes in today's primary. The two towns are Hart and Dixville Notch.
Ron Paul 4
Rudy Giuliani 1
Ron Paul Town Hall Meeting (1/6/08)
McCain being a bit of a smartass
In the ABC New Hampshire debate, John McCain jeered at Paul, "We're going to miss you tomorrow night, Ron." He was probably referring to Ron's absence from the Fox News Roundtable debate.
After Joe Lieberman's endorsement, is McCain getting a bit cocky? The polls suggest he will win the New Hampshire primary, but can he win the nomination?
I actually wanted McCain to win back in 2000 and 2004. But now, it seems he has lost his way.
In this YouTube video, he insists that the U.S. should maintain a presence in Iraq for the next 100 years. Now you and me both hope that he meant it in an emissary capacity, but it is hard to say that when the U.S. is building the largest and most expensive embassy in Iraq.
But has McCain change his foreign policy tune. In this CNN YouTube video, McCain responded to Ron Paul's criticism of the Vietnam War stating, "we never lost a battle in Vietnam, it was American public opinion forced us to lose that conflict."
Would that suggest that McCain was determined to keep the U.S. in a never-ending war in Vietnam? Over 58,000 soldiers were dead. Being a Vietnam prisoner-of-war and hero may do him justice, but I don't think he understands the nature of guerilla warfare that the North was using. That type of military tactics are designed to wear the enemy down until fighting is no longer cost-effective for him. The U.S. used over 15 million tons of munitions, and we still lost.
I don't know if voters feel that McCain would be the candidate to bring out troops home in an organized and effective way. I think because of Vietnam, he is not willing to admit defeat a second time. He is willing to sacrifice countless lives just to win and save face. This may turn out to be a liability during the campaign.
You can find out more here.
I think McCain has lost his "maverick" status and has become just like the other Republican candidates. Promising change, but really keeping the status quo.
Except for RP.
Fox News excuse to keep out Ron Paul / Duncan Hunter...rubbish
While watching the Fox News Republican forum in New Hampshire which featured candidates Rudolph Giuliani, John McCain, Romney, Huckabee, and Fred Thomson, their excuse in saying that the studio could not fit in Ron Paul and Duncan Hunter is absolutely ridiculous.
I bet you can get a bigger roundtable to fit Paul and Hunter with the other candidates. That studio is quite large enough to accomodate the both of them. Make a better excuse, Faux News.
Fox News' reasoning in selecting candidates that have double-digit numbers in the opinion polls is flawed when you look at Giuliani and Thompson. It must be selective polling they are taking into account.
Kudos to the New Hampshire GOP for withdrawing their sponsorship of the forum.
But Ron Paul did not go away quietly.
The congressman staged his own televised town hall meeting today in Manchester where he fielded questions from undecided voters two days before the key primary election there. He faced a range of questions from the audience of 100 people in the public access television station several miles from where four other presidential contenders were to later participate in the Fox debate.
"They are scared of me and don't want my message to get out, but it will," Paul said at an event in the Granite State. "They are propagandists for this war and I challenge them on the notion that they are conservative."
Iowa Caucus: Ron Paul (10%, 5th)
Paul actually won one county in Iowa (Jefferson) beating out Huckabee 36-31%. Also, Washington Post shows Paul winning 1st place in one county, 2nd place in four counties, and 3rd place in 12 counties.
I thought Thompson did not do much campaigning in Iowa. Of course, Huckabee got the evangelical vote.
For New Hampshire, it may prove favorable for Paul to get a third or fourth place showing.
Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby poll - Jan 3
Obama (31%), Edwards (27%), Clinton (24%)
Huckabee (31%), Romney (25%), Thompson (11%), McCain (10%), Paul (10%)
Should we let the media choose which candidates we should vote for?
Honestly, should we let the media decide which candidates we should be voting for in the 2008 Election? Recently, ABC and the Fox News Channel are narrowing the field of presidential candidates invited to debates this weekend just before the New Hampshire primary.
They have decided that after the Iowa caucus, they would know which candidates should be continued to be invited based on national polls and their placing in today's (Jan 3rd) vote.
For Fox News, they decided to invite five of the seven remaining Republican candidates to a forum with Chris Wallace scheduled for Sunday in the Granite State -- only two days before the nation's first presidential primary. Although Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, John McCain, Mitt Romney and even the barely breathing Fred Thompson were all invited, two current candidates, both current Members of Congress, were not -- Duncan Hunter and Ron Paul.
The news channel offered the obvious excuse that "space is limited" in the "souped-up bus" that is serving as a mobile studio. Their criteria was those candidates that have received double-digit support in recent polls. Of course, it seems Fox News was using the Dec 14-20 poll by the AP/Yahoo which gave Fred Thompson 11 percent of GOP voters, and Paul was at 3 percent. In the LA Times/Bloomberg polls, Fred Thompson was behind Ron Paul (4 to 6 percent). I guess Fox News was being selective in getting Fred Thompson into their debate because "they like him."
Whether they choose to abide by their "balanced" news motto, it is clear to most people that they do not like Ron Paul's positions on the war, on terrorism, on big government spending, and not interfering with other countries' affairs.
Jesse Benton, Paul's spokesman, said "There very well might be some bias. Ron brings up some topics that aren't very popular with Fox News, as in fiscal responsibility and withdrawing from the war in Iraq ... that does leave us scratching our heads a little bit about whether it was deliberate. Based on metrics, I don't see how you can possibly exclude Dr. Paul."
For ABC News, their criteria for this Saturday's night debate was that a Republican and Democratic candidate must meet at least one of three benchmarks: place first through fourth in Iowa, poll 5 percent or higher in one of the last four major New Hampshire surveys, or poll 5 percent or higher in one of the last four major national surveys.
While it's understandable that after so many debates, the media can be justified in determining which candidates are now viable for the presidency. But how can the media ignore Ron Paul's fundraising success? In the past, the media used fundraising as a factor in determining a candidate's viability to seek out the presidential nomination. Now with Paul collecting more than $19.5 million in the last three months of 2007, with a year-end total of more than $25 million, the media has decided that fundraising is no longer a major factor, or perhaps they decided that in Ron Paul's case, it does not apply.
How can you ignore a person who raised over $19.5 million dollars in the fourth quarter? Clearly, Paul has outpaced his Republican rivals, and it seems he has placed second in overall Q4 fundraising behind Hillary Clinton, who raised at least $20 million.
But ABC/Fox News believe that after the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries, that lone presidential contender will be found. I don't think it got decided that early in recent years. Why all of a sudden, Iowa (about 250,000 voters will turn out) and New Hampshire (somewhere less than 700,000 registered voters will turn out) will decide the 2008 outcome? Why are they telling us that if Ron Paul does not win Iowa and New Hampshire, it's all but over?
It sounds like the media wants us to believe that Iowa and New Hampshire are the barometer for a presidential candidate for the whole country. It is not always true.
I rather see the media wait until Super Tuesday on February 5. I heard Ron Paul could win Montana and their 25 state delegates.
It ain't over yet!
Alternet.org - Should Big Media Choose Our Candidates?
Opednews: Smearing of Dr. Ron Paul
Here's an interesting article by Anthony Wade (opednews.com)
“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they attack you, then you win.” - Gandhi
Ron Paul on Meet the Press - 12/23/07
MSNBC talks about Ron Paul's blimp
In today's news: CNN - Paul 'pleasantly surprised' at $6 million fundraising haul
Ron Paul - Fundraising surpasses $18 million in Q4
Ok, the liberal bloggers and anti-RP folks are basing that Ron Paul is a racist because he refuses to return donations coming from white supremacists. In this Yahoo AP article, Don Black contributed $500 to Ron Paul's campaign. If you check his background, he runs a web site called Stormfront with the motto, "White Pride World Wide." So yes, he is a white supremacist.
Ron Paul's campaign is not going to give his $500 back. In fact, They will take his money and use it for the better good of the country, and that is to spread the message of freedom.
If folks think they can easily persuade Ron Paul to become a racist with thousands of dollars are sadly mistaken.
What if folks donating to Hillary Clinton are found out to have pro-life or anti-illegal immigration links? Will her campaign return the money? Or what if they found the person's political affiliation to be "Republican?"
Take the money and put it to better use.
Anti-RP's, try again.
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In primary news, the Ron Paul 2008 campaign has turned in 20,000 signatures to guarantee a place on the Virginia state GOP primary ballot on February 12.
Well, it's hard for folks to label Ron Paul as a fringe candidate when his campaign has raised over $18 million in the fourth quarter. This is more than the $12 million that was set as a goal by his campaign. Over $6 million was raised on Dec. 16th, another record.
More Americans are going over to Ron Paul's side as we try to change the current political establishment.
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Nolanchat.com - How Ron Paul Has Already Won
Boston.com - Ron Paul's tea party for dollars
Theconservativevoice.com - Reasons for Republicans to Vote Paul
TheAtlantic.com - Paul's $16M Haul... Impressive. No Buts.
LA Times - Ron Paul campaign donors set new record
Ron Paul - censored from telephone polls
Ron Paul hits back at CNN and other candidates
Read this - "Please Ignore Ron Paul" (title is misleading :P)
CNN airs Ron Paul-supporter video
Interesting way to describe the Modern Democratic Party
Ron Paul: Tea Party Time
Get ready for Dec. 16, the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, the day to bring another fundraising record for presidential candidate Ron Paul.
Larry Lepard, a venture capitalist and Ron Paul supporter from Massachusetts, has shelled out about $85,000 of his own money to throw what he told U.S. News is a "small hard rock at a good target": a full-page ad supporting Paul that will run in tomorrow's edition of USA Today—the nation's largest circulation daily newspaper—on the busiest travel day of the year.
Also, GQ Magazine has named Ron Paul the "dark horse of the year" for 2007.
Washington Times - Unlikely allies unite for Paul's quixotic bid (11.19.07)
Las Vegas Review Journal - Las Vegas Crowd roars for Ron Paul (11.20.07)
We're up to $8.767 million raised.
A Brief Kucinich Moment
You cannot ignore Ron Paul
The fundraising campaign has surpassed $8.1 million.
The Boston Globe and University of New Hampshire Survey Center released a CBS/NYT poll showing Paul polling around 8 percent, surpassing former GOP front-runner Fred Thomson, and is now tied with John McCain in Iowa.
Ron Paul campaign reports $4.2 million in one day
The Los Angeles Times says while Ron Paul has been pushed to the edge of the stage, literally and figuratively, when the candidates debate, he is getting his moment in the sun for his long-shot bid for the Republican presidential nomination after this week's formidable online fundraising. In one day, his campaign has raised $4.2 million, one of the best single-day fundraising totals in presidential campaign history.
Of course mainstream political commentators continued to regard Paul as a little blip, a nobody, a candidate who has no chance of winning the nomination.
But other bloggers and political critics believe that Paul was catching on with the people. Salon.com commentator Glenn Greenwald say people are "hungry for a political movement which operates outside of our rotted political establishment and which fearlessly rejects its pieties, even if they disagree with some or even many of its particulars."
Paul's call for a reduction of the federal government and a reliance on the principles of the Constitution meets a particularly receptive audience online, said Michael Cornfield, an associate research professor at George Washington University.
"This idea of 'Don't Tread on Us,' we can fix things, we do just great on our own, creating wealth and knowledge for the world is very much part of the Silicon Valley, Internet ethic," Cornfield said. "And Ron Paul's philosophy jibes with that better than any other candidates."
Well, Ron Paul is well on his way to raising $12 million for his campaign by the end of the year. As long as folks pass his word of truth to the people through the Internet and word of mouth, the other candidates must respond to his concerns and proposals to help make a great America.
Over $7.6 million has been raised so far (as of 11/8/07). If you wish to donate to the Ron Paul campaign, visit:
Ron Paul appears on Jay Leno
People argue he's not in the top tier, but the amount of fundraising he has done puts him in the top 3.
Hillary Clinton bombed!!!
As a presidential candidate, you can always rely on your rehearsed answers, but if you cannot improvise and use focused answers against the moderator and your other opponents, then how can you display leadership and tact in a debate?
Hillary Clinton learned that the hard way.
Despite her denial as the perennial frontrunner, she still leads in most opinion polls and has raised the most cash. She would have to realized that the rest of the candidates will attack her head on.
She avoided direct answers to dealing with Social Security, Iran's nuclear ambitions, and Spitzer's plan to give driver's licenses to illegal immigrants.
On Social Security, moderator Tim Russert of NBC News asked Clinton why she told an Iowa voter, in an offstage comment overheard by an Associated Press reporter, that she was open to raising the cap on payroll taxes when the proposal is not part of her platform.
Clinton said she did not have a "private position" on Social Security. She would convene a bipartisan commission to recommend ways to strengthen the program, she said, and all the well-known suggestions "would be considered."
Bush did that too. How about taking a step forward and give us your ideas face to face? We are not going to wait until next year. Most folks would like to know what can be done to help strengthen Social Security. At least Huckabee presented an idea for personal accounts and letting younger workers choose to opt out of Social Security.
Asked whether she still agrees with New York Governor Eliot Spitzer’s plan to give drivers licenses to illegal immigrants, Clinton launched into a long, complicated defense of it.
But when Chris Dodd attacked the idea a moment later, Clinton quickly said: “I did not say that it should be done.”
NBC’s Tim Russert, one of the debate moderators, jumped in and said to her: “You told (a) New Hampshire paper that it made a lot of sense. Do you support his plan?”
”You know, Tim,” Clinton replied, “this is where everybody plays ‘gotcha.’ ”
As for Clinton's campaign team, they blame Tim Russert for being 'unfair.' Nice cheapshot.
Ron Paul ads for New Hampshire
Ron Paul introduces American Freedom Agenda Act
On October 15, 2007, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) introduced the American Freedom Agenda Act of 2007 (H.R. 3835). This important piece of legislation would reverse many of the Constitutional abuses that have occurred over the past six years.
The American Freedom Agenda Act would bar the use of evidence obtained through torture; require that federal intelligence gathering is conducted in accordance with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA); create a mechanism for challenging presidential signing statements; repeal the Military Commissions Act, which, among other things, denies habeas corpus to certain detainees; prohibit kidnapping, detentions, and torture abroad; protect journalists who publish information received from the executive branch; and ensure that secret evidence is not used to designate individuals or organizations with a presence in the U.S. as foreign terrorists.
Military voters like Ron Paul
I find the lack of political griping by Case Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, and communists to be quite disturbing.
The Houston Chronicle has reported that Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul has gotten more contributions than any other White House contender from donors indentified as affiliated with the military.
From January through September, Paul received $63,440 in donations from current military employees and several retired military personnel.
Democrat Barack Obama, another war critic, was second in military giving. The Illinois senator got $53,968 during the nine months.
Ron Paul's America
Patrick Ruffini's Inside Ron Paul Nation took the state-by-state donor breakdown and plugged it into an Excel sheet, using it to produce donor-per-capita numbers for each states. The result is above.
It would seem that he is doing quite well in the West/Mountain West regions, with some of the Northeast thrown in. He is also doing well in most of the smaller states. The weak areas are Ohio, New York, and the Deep South.
Remember that the Ron Paul campaign has set a public goal of $12 million for the 4th quarter.
You can also get an explicit detail of Ron Paul's numbers at http://www.ronpaulgraphs.com/.
Washington Post Interviews Ron Paul
In an interview with Washingtonpost.com's PostTalk program, the Texas congressman said he could see "no reason" to justify military action if he were elected president. He compared the United States to a schoolyard bully and said the country has no reason to flex its muscles overseas.
"There's nobody in this world that could possibly attack us today," he said in the interview. "I mean, we could defend this country with a few good submarines. If anybody dared touch us we could wipe any country off of the face of the earth within hours. And here we are, so intimidated and so insecure and we're acting like such bullies that we have to attack third-world nations that have no military and have no weapon."
As for the idea for Ron Paul to run as a third-party candidate, he has no plans to do so because the current system is undemocratic and so biased against third-parties, so Paul would need a Ross Perot infusion of cash, and enough volunteers to get his name on the ballot in all 50 states. Hmm, I wonder if Perot, Bloomberg, and others are interested in helping him out...
National Review also does a take on Ron Paul too.
Interested in buying the Ron Paul Revolution T-Shirt, visit cafepress.com.
Carl Cameron of Fox News Interviews Ron Paul
By the way, Ron Paul won the online poll vote after the Republican debate, but it seems the poll results page off the CNBC web site has been removed. At last snapshot, Ron Paul was hitting around 80% of the votes cast.
He attacked agricultural subsidies and our over-inflated defense budget, two things which the rest of the GOP candidates did not mention.
USA Today - Paul campaign fueled by Web cash and savvy
baltimoresun.com - Ron Paul draws more liberal praise
reason.com - How the GOP became safe for Ron Paul's trade and monetary views
OpEdnews.com - Ron Paul Considers Me an Exception!
USADaily.com - Ron Paul Defying the Odds
Political Quote of the Day
"People are more comfortable believing in pretty lies than facing the ugly truth."
- Overheard in "ConservativesUnited" - Yahoo Group
Ron Paul Strikes Back at Union Leader Editorial
Having his views described as "unrealistic and dangerous" in an editorial by the New Hampshire Union Leader didn't sit well with Republican presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul.
"If I understand the editors' concerns," Paul writes, "I have not been accused of deviating from the Founders' logic; if anything I have been accused of adhering to it too strictly. The question, therefore, before readers -- and soon voters -- is the same question I have asked for almost 20 years in Congress: by what superior wisdom have we now declared Jefferson, Washington, and Madison to be 'unrealistic and dangerous'? Why do we insist on throwing away their most considered warnings?"
The crux of the Union Leader's argument was this:
Paul's repeated insistence that "There would be no risk of somebody invading us" is just what the isolationist Republicans of the 1930s believed -- right up until Pearl Harbor. Paul's idea that we can maintain peace by halting our projection of military strength has been proven wrong by history. But Rep. Paul is not about to let historical reality get in the way of his ideologically pure position.
To which the congressman replies:
It is not we non-interventionists who are isolationists. The real isolationists are those who impose sanctions and embargoes on countries and peoples across the globe because they disagree with the internal and foreign policies of their leaders. The real isolationists are those who choose to use force overseas to promote democracy, rather than seek change through diplomacy, engagement, and by setting a positive example. ...
A Paul administration would see Americans engaged overseas like never before, in business and cultural activities. But a Paul administration would never attempt to export democracy or other values at the barrel of a gun, as we have seen over and over again that this is a counterproductive approach that actually leads the United States to be resented and more isolated in the world.
Sen. Barbara Boxer meddling with census count of illegal immigrants and immigration enforcement
You know, with the way the Iraq War is going on, the state of our economy, scandals, and what not, the current polls show the Democrats gaining more seats in Congress and winning the presidency in 2008.
Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer of California has attached an amendment to the current spending bill on the Senate floor. The amendment includes a Sense of the Senate clause which reads:
"It is the sense of the Senate that as part of the effort to count all persons physically in the United States during the 2010 Census, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Bureau of the Department of Homeland Security should limit aggressive enforcement of federal immigration laws to promote full participation by non-citizens in the census."
In the past, illegal aliens have been included in the census. Now why would Boxer attempt to limit the actions of the ICE/DHS? Perhaps the proximity of the 2010 Census because it would change the number of Congressional seats allocated to the states. According to a U. Conn study, states such as Arizona, Texas, and Florida could see their House delegation increase due to rising populations that include sizable numbers of illegal immigrants. California and New Jersey would see no loss of seats, but New York, Illinois, and Ohio may lose a seat or two.
It is pretty weird since illegals cannot vote in our state and federal elections. The population census is generally used for Congressional seat allocation, federal funding, and other purposes.
How can this really help the Democrats? Even if you get a seat added to Arizona, Florida, and Texas, the rearrangement will still need to go through that particular state legislature, approved by the courts, then you would need to find the right candidate that can win that extra seat for your party.
Question: Is Boxer really afraid of California losing a seat? I would bet that California would get another one in the next census.
Is this an attempt to get those states with Democratic legislatures to enact a more perfect gerrymandering scheme to guarantee seats for the liberals?
One of the most expensive earmarks
Ha ha ha, the opening has been delayed indefinitely due to numerous construction flaws. The cost of this monster is already approaching $750 million.
Is there any reason why we chose Iraq to house the largest U.S. embassy on the planet? Are we building some sort of second capital in the Middle East? Maybe a secret facility beneath it?
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The mammoth $600 million U.S. embassy in Baghdad
It was supposed to be completed last month, but due to construction and logistical problems, it's delayed until next year.
The Radical U.S. Constitution
George Orwell made a very interesting observation when he stated, “During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” This is the very quote Aaron Russo chose to be the beginning frame in his eye-opening documentary America: from Freedom to Fascism.
There was a time when the U.S. Constitution was considered a radical document. That time was when 55 representatives of the 13 colonies gathered to improve on the Articles of Confederation. The document allow the control of the Federal government to rest ultimately in the hands of the people, the whole of the people.
Gary Wood, the writer goes on to say that the people, being citizens of their respective States, were given the stewardship over the quality of the Federal government. There were of course extreme checks and balances placed within the blueprint to limit the size and scope of Federal control with the States and the people remaining more powerful in setting the direction for the development of the country and in controlling their own lives.
Yet, why does the New York Times label Ron Paul as the most radical congressman in America for calling for a return back to our constitutionalist ideals?
Why do Republican candidates such as Giuliani to McCain call Ron Paul a traitor to our country?
They are afraid. They are afraid of the people deciding that individual rights and liberty is more important than the overbearing control and authority of the Federal government.
By the way, how many of you have even read through the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights? Do you actually believe what your politicians are saying to you? Or do you actually turn to the library book or the Internet to find the truth?
Ron Paul raises $5 million
Texas Congressman Ron Paul, an anti-war libertarian making his second run at the White House, will report having raised $5.08 million in the third quarter. The number, which rivals those of John McCain and Bill Richardson, was boosted thanks to last-minute online fundraising that brought in more than $1.2 million in the last week of the quarter alone.
PajamasMedia moves to remove Ron Paul from their online straw poll
Pajamas Media editors decided to remove the second-tier presidential candidates from their online straw poll due to vote-swarming by visitors for second-tier candidates, or so they say.
On the 2007-09-16 poll results and before, the online straw poll showed Ron Paul leading the Republican candidates and Dennis Kucinich leading the Democrats.
Then they allegedly received complaints from readers about vote-stuffing by second-tier candidates, thereby diluting the poll results. So based on their reasoning that the presidential campaign is narrowing its focus on front-running candidates, they made the decision to remove all second-tier candidate from both party lists.
As you can see, we see the front-runners as listed by Pajamas Media. They are now relying on Real Clear Politics data on which candidates they should focus on.
As a result, the number of people casting votes on their straw poll have dropped considerably.
Remember during the Fox News debate last month where they set up a text page poll so that one vote per cell phone could be tallied, and yet even though Ron Paul got the most votes, Sean Hannity accused his viewers of cheating.
Ron Paul speaks at USC
Yesterday, Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul addressed a crowd of students and supporters in front of the Tommy Trojan. The event was sponsored by the university's Program Board, and attracted students and adults from throughout the Los Angeles area. (attendance was 700-900 according to campus police)
"He is a libertarian who has found his place in the Republican Party," said Jeffrey Hubbard, organizer of the event and a senior majoring political science and philosophy. "He is trying to bring the party back to a purer form of Republicanism."
Hubbard said his support for Paul draws from a lack of faith in the current Republican administration.
"I voted for Bush in 2004, but now feel betrayed by him. I understood Afghanistan, and was still under the rah-rah-rah when Iraq started," Hubbard said. "A lot of people are sharing this feeling."
"The first time I saw Ron Paul was on a YouTube video," said Leslie Mood, a senior majoring in business administration. "I was an Independent, but I switched to the Republican Party to vote in this primary."
By the way, Ron Paul sells out three fundraisers while in LA. The one in Pasadena at the Ritz Carlton was $500 per person. The fundraising reception on campus was $500 per person. The third was a fundraising dinner at the home of Bill Johnson. That was $2,000 per person.
The Freedom Index runs a congressional scorecard based on the U.S. constitution. The average House score is 40%. Ron Paul scores 100%.
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Actually, I never heard of Ron Paul until I checked YouTube and found a video of Rudy Giuliani chastising Paul about the US being at fault for causing 9/11. After hearing what Ron Paul said before and Rudy's response, I realised Paul was clearly right, and Rudy used 9/11 to confuse the audience.
Ron Paul got Bill Maher's Support
Ron Paul and Bill O'Reilly go at it each other
MoveOn launches betrayal ad for General Petraeus
MoveOn.org is definitely anti-military regardless of their so-called patriotism. As such, it chooses to stab General David Petraeus in the back with this negative ad. As the General gives his Iraq Report to Congress, MoveOn.org ran this ad as a full-page advertisement in the New York Times under the headline: "General Petraeus or General Betray Us? Cooking the books for the White House."
General Petraeus has served this country for over 35 years with honor, distinction, and integrity. He is regarded as a respected, resolute, and responsible leader. He was unanimously confirmed by the Senate (81-0).
This clearly shows MoveOn.org's lack of respect for the military regardless of their repeated "patriotic" statements. If the general was indeed "cooking the books," then it is not only the general, but the entire military chain of command in Baghdad, and all the staff, military and civilian are complicit. In the eyes of the anti-war group, all of them are betraying us, therefore they are traitors. Therefore, MoveOn.org is essentially telling us that the U.S. military is the enemy and is in league with the evil Bush administration.
Besides, the latest NY Times/CBS News poll shows that 68% of Americans trust U.S. military commanders to bring the war in Iraq to an end. It was 21% for Congress, and 5% for the administration.
Presented with three possible plans, the poll found that Americans favored a measured approach, with 56 percent supporting reducing troops in Iraq, but leaving some in place to train Iraqi forces, fight terrorists and protect American diplomats.
Twenty-two percent favored a complete withdrawal in the next year, and 20 percent favored keeping the same number of troops “until there is a stable democracy in Iraq.”
Is MoveOn.org just desperate?
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Woohoo! Cindy Sheehan gets arrested again.
Forbes predicts Clinton, Giuliani, and Bloomberg matchup
US publisher Steve Forbes predicted that Democrat Hillary Clinton will be one of three candidates vying to be the next US president.
Her rivals would be New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and his predecessor Rudolph Giuliani.
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It would seem that could be a remake of the 1992 election with George Bush Sr., Bill Clinton, and Ross Perot.
It is pretty likely that Bloomberg could siphon off discouraged Republicans from Giuliani as well as independents, and moderate Democrats. With the Republican base disillusioned, it would mean that Clinton would win the election.
However, Bloomberg still denies he is planning to enter the race. That could leave Ralph Nader, who would likely represent the Green Party, and maybe Ron Paul for the Libertarian Party, though he has said he won't run if he does not win the Republican nomination.
I would still like Nader and Paul run, just to tighten the election between Clinton and Giuliani. Still, who knows if it would be Obama versus Giuliani or Edwards, or perhaps Richardson.
I still laugh at the College Democrat who was on CNN, and when asked who was the best democratic candidate, she replied "Just any Democrat." At least find the "best" candidate that can do the job. Would she prefer Kucinich over Edwards, or over Clinton? Make a choice! Can that girl make a decision for herself?
For Chris Lawton, here's the embed for Ron Paul:
Taiwan - Why do we continue to ignore it?
Every year, Taiwan and its diplomatic allies, now numbering 24 countries, have tried to secure a bid for a seat in the United Nations. Every year, China vetoes it, and the world body moves on.
Taiwan's African allies issued a declaration of support (Swaziland, Burkina Faso, Sao Tome and Principe, Malawi, and Gambia):
"As a sovereign country, Taiwan should not be deprived of its right to participate in the United Nations, the World Health Organisation, and other international organisations."
Setting aside politics and all, does Taiwan count itself as a sovereign country? There are eight different criteria used to determine whether this is so.
1) Has space or territory that has internationally recognised boundaries
Somewhat. Due to China pressure, the US and most other nations recognise one China and thus included the boundaries of Taiwan as being part of the boundaries of China.
2) Has people who live there on an ongoing basis
Taiwan is home to almost 23 million people.
3) Has economic activity and an organised economy. A country regulates foreign and domestic trade and issues money.
Taiwan is one of the four economic tigers of Southeast Asia. Its GDP is in the top 30 of the world. It has its own currency, the new Taiwan dollar.
4) Has the power of social engineering, such as education.
Education is compulsory and Taiwan has more than 150 institutions of higher learning.
5) Has a transportation system for moving goods and people.
Taiwan has an extensive internal and external transportation network that consists of roads, highways, pipelines, airports, and sea ports.
6) Has a government that provides public services and police power.
Taiwan has multiple branches of military -- Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Armed Forces Reserve, Combined Service Forces, and Armed Forces Police. It has almost 400,000 active duty members and the country spends 15-16% of its budget on defense.
7) Has sovereignty. No other State should have power over the country's territory.
Mostly. Taiwan has maintained its own control over the island from Taipei since 1949.
8) Has external recognition. A country has been "voted into the club" by other countries.
Somewhat. Due to China pressure, it is not a member of the UN. Only 24 countries recognise Taiwan as an independent country. Taiwan does not have an official embassy in the US. However, many countries have set up unofficial organisations to carry out commercial and other relations with it. Taiwan is represented in 122 countries unofficially. For the US, it is through the American Institute in Taiwan, and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in DC.
Taiwan issues globally recognised passports that allow its citizens to travel internationally. It is also a member of the International Olympic Committee and they do send their own team to the Olympic Games.
For the eight criteria, Taiwan meets five of them fully. The other three are in dispute due to China's stance on the issue. But regardless, it should be considered a de facto independent country of the world.
Yet, the United States does not want Taiwan to be independent. Recently, Presidents George W. Bush and Hu Jintao warned Taipei that its proposed vote on whether to apply for United Nations membership under the name "Taiwan" was provocative and could propel the region into a "possibly dangerous period." Both of them were attending the annual Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum summit in Sydney, Australia.
Bush, whose country has for decades supplied Taiwan with weaponry to defend itself from any possible attack from China, told Hu he too is worried about the move.
Worried? Bush was pressing for Kosovo independence as well as regime change in Iraq and Iran. But he's willing to back down over Taiwan just to keep China placated.
"Republic of" Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian responded back:
"Due to China's ruthless boycott and suppression, Taiwan cannot become a member of the UN. The People's Republic of China does not represent the 23 million Taiwanese people who deserve proper representation at the UN, who deserve to apply for membership with equal status."
* * * * *
It is strange that we ignore Taiwan's democratic freedoms. They hold multi-party elections versus China's one-party system. They have freedom of religion, the press, the right to assemble, and so on. More people in Taiwan considered themselves to be "Taiwanese" not Chinese.
We should not ignore the fact there are more than 700 missile batteries stationed along the China coastline opposite of Taiwan.
Taiwan is a vigorous democracy. We send troops to Afghanistan and Iraq to implant democracy in those countries. Clearly, we should not shun emerging democracies such as Taiwan because China claims them.
China's suggestion of a "one country, two systems" will not work with Taiwan. Macau and Hong Kong were not independent states but were terrtories administered by Portgual and United Kingdom respectively. Deng Xiaoping had suggested that Taiwan be allowed to keep its own military, but the current leadership and the PLA could be quite opposed to that idea. Polls in Taiwan show approx 80% percent against China's idea.
Eventually, the Taiwan question must be answered. Will China use military force against the democratic island if it declares independence? It has been suggested that failure to do will result in a military coup in China by aggressive leaders who do not want to lose face. In fact, some may believe that China is willing to give up the 2008 Olympics and pretty much everything else to put Taiwan under Chinese control.
Is the US obligated to come to Taiwan's defense? No, not really. There is no mutual defense treaty in place. The Taiwan Relations Act of 1979 calls upon the US to supply Taiwan with military arms and equipment to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability. The US may choose to intervene militarily if it believes that military action against Taiwan violates the political, security, and economic interests of the United States.
But if war does break out, will the US step in? Will it back its words with action? President Bill Clinton did it in 1996, when he sent two aircraft carriers into the Taiwan Strait in reaction to China's firing missiles near the island.
Some Chinese may feel that the US is casualty averse and would back down from a fight over a distant island -- especially a fight against another nuclear-armed state. They also believe that the Taiwan Relations Act can give the US an excuse not to get involved if it were argued that Taiwan's declaration of independence is considered to be an act of provocation against China. Third, China's economic influence with much of the Asia-Pacific region and Europe could result in the US being isolated in any future conflict.
US forces in Japan are the closest military assets to Taiwan, but would Japan allow any military action? China could threaten to bomb Japanese sea ports and bases, thereby escalating the military conflict in the region. Same with South Korea. US could be limited to staging in Australia and its own territory in Guam. The military stakes can be quite high, and trying to carry out a limited war could prove very difficult.
It is with hope that war will not happen over Taiwan. Since the Chinese and Taiwanese are patient, this thing could last into the next several years or decades. Perhaps by that time, China would develop into a democratic country? Or maybe there would be real UN reform and the idea of permanent members be able to veto new applicants ought to be eliminated. Who knows...
Ron Paul at New Hampshire Debate 9/5/07
Hannity and Colmes still do not appreciate him.
But Ron Paul won the debate: 33% according to the Debate Poll. Rudy was 15%.
Another good video compilation
Clinton promises not to cut Social Security
Instead of telling the truth to the AARP, the New York senator promised retirees that if elected president she will not cut Social Security benefits, raise the retirement age or privatize the taxpayer-funded system.
Clinton uses the obvious: "This is the most successful domestic program in the history of the United States."
Well, it was back in the 1960's, 1970's, and 1980's.
What's her solution? Practice fiscal responsiblity. What about Medicare and Medicaid? They are projected to be much more expensive than Social Security.
Is she going to have the government re-calculcate the cost-of-living index (COL)? She did not mention it.
Is she going to increase payroll taxes? Did not mention it.
Is she going to eliminate the wage cap on social security taxes? Nope, did not mention that one either.
How about addressing the worker to retiree ratio? Nope.
What about social security for the next generation? Nada.
How about the issue of borrowing money from the Social Security Trust Fund to finance the US budget? Yea, nothing.
* * * * *
In terms of politics, I am sure the elderly won't mind taxing the young up the wazoo to keep their lifestyle the same.
Private contractors in Iraq are guaranteed huge profits no matter how badly they screw things up
The US government mailed 360 tons of cash to Iraq. 360 tons!!! and they could not account for $8.8 billion of the $12 billion sent.
Suddenly, being a private contractor seems to be quite a lucrative profession.
* * * * *
I love these things...
When Custer Battles was caught delivering broken trucks to the Army, a military official says the company told him, "We were only told we had to deliver the trucks. The contract doesn't say they had to work."
* * * * *
The companies that are not to be trusted:
Obama tells folks what they do not want to hear
damn the preconceptions!!!
Democrat Barack Obama has a habit of telling interest groups what they don't want to hear, even at the risk of alienating audiences critical to the prospects of a presidential candidate. ... For example:
a) Obama told the National Education Association that performance-based merit pay ought to be considered in public schools.
What's wrong? If the teacher's class ace the final exams, then the teacher ought to be proud and happy to get a check based on that.
b) Cuban exiles are considered one of the keys to winning Florida, but he disagreed with leaders who want a full embargo against Fidel Castro's government and instead called for allowing travel and money to the island.
Has an embargo really worked all these years? It's time for a new plan and engage Cuba....and those Havana cigars.
c) Michigan voters play an important role in national politics, but Obama visited Detroit to lecture the state's biggest industry for failing to improve automobile fuel efficiency.
Honestly, how can you still keep a vehicle running with less than 20 mpg in 2007?
Pro-Iraq Ads refused by MSNBC, CNBC
Honestly, these pro-Iraq television commercials are just a drop in the bucket. They are probably outnumbered several times by commericals that are against the war. So why refuse to air them?
This commercial is produced by Freedom's Watch. It basically supports the current effort in Iraq, and urging Congress not to pull the plug on our troops. They have been aired on Fox News and CNN.
ABC News attacks Freedom Watch as some sort of shadow White House shop to advocate for the war.
But CNBC and MSNBC have run issue ads on other controversial topics so why no to Freedom Watch's?
Kucinich calls for more 9/11 hearings
How many more hearings should we go through? Now it's like the 9/11 commission did not do enough, and Kucinich wants another round of interviews, reports, and hearings. The 9/11 truthers won't shut up. They believe everything is a government conspiracy. They're the one-issue folks and they are pretty much outnumbered by the rest of the good-minded folks.
It is pretty much ridiculous for people to say they won't vote for Ron Paul because he won't re-open the 9/11 investigation. How about getting the government to re-open the Kennedy assassination?
Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich are opposites trying to show the truth, but I really doubt you can put them together as a presidential team.
Ron Paul would do a better job with fiscal responsibility.
"College Week" - CNN's American Morning
The hosts pick a Democrat and Republican student for the show.
First surprise was the Republican student going for Ron Paul. The hosts instead asked which "top-tier" candidate she would pick.
Second surprise was the Democrat student preferring any Democrat candidate because no one wants Bush. It doesn't matter who it is as long it is a Democrat.
* * * * *
Democrat Rachel Moore weighs in for her side: "It doesn't really matter who gets the ticket because anybody could be a better president than President Bush at this point, and let's focus on just a Democrat winning in 2008, and put aside everything pre-primary politics."
"That's not the question," interjects Sanchez. "If you had to pick somebody, who would you pick?"
"I'd pick a Democrat," responds Moore, to the hosts' amazement. "Let's face it..."
"You're going to make a great senator one day," quips Sanchez.
Sanchz follows up: "If it was Porky Pig, would you vote for him just because he's a Democrat?"
"Now, that's taking it a little far," says Moore.
Sanchez: "So you do consider who the person is, right?"
"I didn't say that, sir," says Moore.
"It's time for a Democrat to win. Let's focus on that first."
President Bush uses Vietnam as an excuse to stay in Iraq
President Bush plans to give a speech today (Wednesday) in Kansas City on why he plans to keep the United States mired in Iraq, and he will claim he is doing this because of the "lessons" of Vietnam.
He also plans to make a shock argument that withdrawing from Vietnam has helped "emboldened" today's terrorists by compromising U.S. credibility. Obviously, he cites a quote from al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden saying the American people would rise against the Iraq war the same way they rose against the war in Vietnam, according to the excerpts. I would not even be surprised if bin Laden used Korea as an example, Bush would use that as a further excuse to stay in Iraq.
The White House has done this in order "to broaden" our excuse to maintain or perhaps increase U.S. involvement. President Bush also plans to use other historical comparisons such as the U.S. defeat and occupation of Japan after World War II and the Korean War in the 1950s.
First, it seems strange enough for Bush to blame former President Richard Milhouse Nixon for his decision to withdraw American troops from South Vietnam. I guess because he is now dead, Bush does not have to worry about the former President taking a potshot back at him. It also shows the President using historical precedent only when it favors his arguments. But come on here, why blame Nixon for your failures? I kinda figure that Bush could blame his father for not finishing the job in Iraq during the first Gulf War.
In this case, leave the dead out for Bush's sorry excuses.
By the way, Vietnam did implement market reforms after the collapse of the Soviet Union. In 1994, the U.S. ended its embargo and the two countries finally established normal diplomatic and trade relations in 1995. It is now the third-largest oil producer in Southeast Asia, and its two-way trade is larger than China and India. It is one of the world's most fastest growing economies. It is predicted that Vietnam will become a developed country by 2020 and become the 16th richest in the world by 2050.
For Korea, it was to stop the Communist invasion not terrorists. For Japan, it was a defeated nation, not a bunch of terrorists. Besides, the U.S. occupation forces did not have to deal with multiple factions, religious fanatics, IEDs, suicide bombings, and what not.
What's next? Start blaming the American people for electing the Democrats to take over Congress because it has "embolden" the terrorists to increase their attacks? Start blaming the tax cut opponents for bin Laden's ability to escape capture?
Please stop using fear to scare the American people.
Come to think of it, if Bush was President during the Vietnam conflict, he would have heralded the transformation of the United States into a dictatorship and spark a new war with China and the Soviet Union.
The Blue Angels still under attack in SanFran
The anti-Blue Angels resolution has been tabled 2-1 in committee.
Resolution supporter: "The Blue Angels are totally unnecessary. I believe they are sent here to terrorize this town because we are an anti-war city."
It reminds me of a scene in Band of Brothers where a private remarked that the Captain hated the company. The XO (Lt. Winters) responded that the Captain just hated him.
So to this particular resolution supporter, I am sure the Blue Angels are just gunning for you only, not the city. Besides, if you can check your records, they have been flying air shows over the city for quite a long time.
* * * * *
A while back, I wrote a post on San Francisco Supervisor Chris Daly's attempt to shut down The Blue Angels, a team of Navy fighter pilots, and their flying performance during Fleet Week. During the week, the flashy blue planes would perform their maneuvers which includes vertical rolls and soaring through the sky with speeds up to 700 miles per hour.
Under the guise of plane safety, Chris Daly introduced a non-binding resolution in the Board of Supervisors Government Audit and Oversight Committee that would call on San Francisco's congressional representatives, including Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, to "use all resources at their disposal to bring a permanent halt to unnecessary flyovers by military aircraft."
If sent out of committee, the full board will vote on it Tuesday (8/14).
With no surprise, his resolution is backed by three peace advocacy groups - CodePink, Global Exchange, and Veterans for Peace, Chapter 69. The primary reasoning alleges that the flyovers pose a public safety threat. They cite that in a 60-year period, there have been 26 fatalities during Blue Angel air shows including a recent one in April where a pilot was killed and 8 people injured in Beaufort County, SC. They also argue that veterans of war "are at risk of being traumatized," that the loud roars from the jets "terrorize small children, seniors, pets, and local wildlife," and that the jet fuel used harms the environment. (cue vomiting sounds)
Fortunately for us, there are only three members on this Committee including Daly. The other two, Supervisor Sean Elsbernd and Michela Alioto-Pier are not supporting the resolution. (cue applause) "[The Blue Angels] are just fantastic. I look forward them every October and I certainly do not support in any way Chris' resolution," Elsbernd said. "There is no way I am going to send this forward," Alioto-Pier said. "We should be proud of our American forces, particularly when we have soldiers fighting in Iraq. I think it's insulting to them and everything that they've done for us."
Well said. In essence, both supervisors essentially said "BITE ME" to Daly and his three peacenik groups.
Fleet Week is a great attraction for all. According to the city, it brings about 1 million people and approx $4 million in revenue. When the Blue Angels did not fly in 2004, attendance and revenue dropped by more than 50 percent.
So right now, it will die in committee, but it probably won't be buried. I am thinking Daly may try to force it on the full Board agenda where he may have more support. In the meantime, peacenik group Global Exchange are collecting signatures petitioning San Fran Mayor Gavin Newsom to stop The Blue Angels.
If you don't want the Blue Angels, I am sure another city would gladly take your place. Harming wildlife? How about shutting down the noisy highways instead? Noise pollution? How about the long hours of cars/trucks honking in the streets? If veterans are that traumatized, I guess we need to ban anything military in the city, take down our American flags, and introduce sensitivity training by Barney.
* * * * *
Lucy Morrow Caldwell: Distorted Journalist
A spokeswoman for Caroline Hanover gave an explanation: "Before the presidential campaign got underway, Caroline added herself to a list on Facebook as an expression of interest in certain principles. It was not intended as an indication of support in a presidential campaign and she has removed it. Caroline is not commenting on the 2008 election."
The semester is about to start at Harvard and I wonder if the Crimson staff are planning to give their take on the Caroline Giuliani story in their first semester issue.
* * * * *
First things first, nothing is safe on the internet. If you post a blog entry, picture, comment, or any document, anyone can see it and use it. For most college students, the fun idea of posting photos and videos on Facebook, MySpace, or College Humor comes with possible but likely consequences.
With that said, we often say that public figures such as government leaders, celebrities, and sport athletes are fair game to the media and everyone else. You got private detectives, paparazzi, bloggers, celeb sites, and even regular fans trying to find any information that can be used for either good publicity or "dirt."
Yet, there was a recent media blitz on the life of Caroline Giuliani, a 18-year-old student who will be attending Harvard in the fall, and is the estranged daughter of Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani. She was born when Rudy was married with his second wife, Donna Hanover. Rudy and Donna divorced in 2002. He is currently married with his third wife, Judith Nathan.
Now why haven't we heard about Caroline before? Well, Rudy hasn't really kept in touch with his children from his second wife. We learned that Caroline now uses her mother's surname, Hanover. She also got into Havard University, but Rudy did not know that.
This is where Lucy Morrow Caldwell enters the fray. She is also a fellow student at Harvard, and is a columnist for the Harvard Crimson. On Monday, August 6, she posted an article on Slate.com called "Daddy Dearest: Rudy Giuliani's Daughter is Supporting Barack Obama" alleging that Caroline was a supporter of Democratic presidential candidate. What was her source for this information? Facebook.
How was Ms. Caldwell able to view her facebook profile? Since Caroline listed herself as a member of the Harvard network, she was able to view it. (Note that anyone who is a member of Harvard and Trinity School networks would be able to find Caroline's profile.)
I would assume that through some investigative work, Caldwell managed to find Caroline's relation with Rudy. In her article, she stated that "the future Harvard freshman and recent graduate of Trinity School in Manhattan uses a slight variation of her name" to avoid detection. How slight was it? There is a graphic copy of Caroline's Facebook profile on the story web site with Caroline and the rest of her username blurred out. The actual username was Caroline Rose G. I think that is more than slight. I believe that the columnist had to dig deeper to draw out the connection between Caroline and the presidential candidate. The blurring was done intentionally by Lucy to cause deception.
Next is that we are basing everything on her support for Barack Obama on the fact that she was a member of the group Barack Obama (One Million Strong for Barack). After Slate.com sent Caroline an inquiry on that, she removed herself from the group. Of course Lucy chooses to hype it up by saying that Rudy's daughter was "proclaiming" about her membership in that liberal group. Yet we do not know whether she joined the group to keep track of what's going on. We do not even know if she really is a die-hard supporter for Barack Obama. It seems we are only interested in just the membership itself, and not the reasons behind it.
Of course Lucy ends the article by saying that the girl "does not reveal why she doesn't want her father to win the White House. She has not responded to e-mail questions from Slate." First, there is nothing in her profile that states that she does not want Rudy to win. I would bet that she tried to ask those questions to Caroline, but she refused to answer them. So Ms. Caldwell chose to draw her own distorted facts.
This was a cheapshot to get the quickest headline, especially on a national level. By choosing to write a sensationalist and speculative article and breaking privacy rules, she is unfit to be a journalist. I wonder if she tried to submit it to the campus newspaper but I guess she needed a place to maximize the impact and publicity so she chose Slate.com, and the rest is history.
Here's another thing: payback's a bitch.
You may not post, transmit, or share User Content on the Site or Service that you did not create or that you do not have permission to post.
As a result of violating Facebook's privacy rules, Ms. Caldwell's account was suspended. Of course, she says she has no regrets violating her own agreement with Facebook and invading the privacy of this girl.
She also violated the Journalistic Code of Ethics:
Recognize that private people have a greater right to control information about themselves than do public officials and others who seek power, influence, or attention. Only an overriding public need can justify intrusion into anyone's privacy. Show good taste. Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity.
On CNN's American Morning (see video), it shows Caldwell "bragging" that her time on Facebook "really paid off." If you watch the video, you will see that when asked if Giuliani's daughter endorsed Obama, as her own article stated, she can't actually say she did. It goes to show that she did not have any more conclusive evidence.
It is also sad to see every other media jumping on the bandwagon creating sensational headlines.
Chicago Sun-Times: "Giuliani's daughter jumps onto Obama bandwagon"
Boston Herald: "Sorry, Dad, I Like Obama"
NY Times: "Is Giuliani's Daughter an Obama Supporter?"
Gothamist: "Giuliani's Daughter Must Really Hate Him"
* * * * * * * * * *
By gaining the national spotlight for a few days by dragging Caroline with her, we should take a look at Ms. Caldwell's information.
She currently lives in Adams House C-42 and her email is email@example.com. Since she sent questions to Caroline, so surely it is fine for people to send questions to her. Note that this information is public without restriction.
At least I acknowledge my mistakes rather than for others that choose to ignore it. According to this link, Caroline was born July 22, 1989, so yes you are correct that she is 18 years old.
Response to Anonymous comment #2:
Fine, I shall act decent and remove her phone number, but her e-mail is public knowledge so anyone can choose to protest and share their feelings over her actions. Also, Ms. Caldwell is a '09 graduate so that would make her 2 years older, but her journalistic experience requires much more improvement. If she wants to present a well thought-out analysis on why Caroline wants to support Obama, get the facts and sources to substantiate it. Don't do a one-sided piece.
Also, Ms. Caldwell should know the consequences. She put her own neck out there. She does not get a free pass. The point is that she presented a piece of gossip news as a good journalistic article which is utter crap. Then she goes on CNN and brags about it. She was even happy that she broke Facebook rules to do this. Who's more ignorant? Also, bare in mind that many online news outlets do publicize their e-mail addresses and contact information. I would be happy to publicize the Crimson newspaper main line so visitors can voice their discontent.
Another thought on privacy violation:
Yes, Caroline's profile was not exactly private. Only those that went to Trinity High School, Harvard University, friends, and members of the Obama group can see it. Caldwell went beyond and somehow found a connection to Rudy Giuliani. She probably checked other sites and found photos matching both, or she confirmed her suspicions by trying to ask Caroline and got no answers, and assumed that this was Rudy's daughter. The way Facebook verifies user information is not that perfect. Also, the violation is copying the entire Facebook profile over to another network. Not really a huge no-no, but Facebook did not want to take any chances.
Do we really know Rudy's daughter?
Some blogs have applauded Caroline for speaking her mind. A well independent-minded daughter they cry. But did they talk to Caroline? Nope. Then how do they know? They don't, it's all speculation. Just by listing as a member of Barack's group, she must possess the qualities of a Democrat, so that's it. Quite a stupid way of finding out the truth.
The lawless House of Representatives
Over the last few years, Republicans in Congress were criticized for keeping votes open as long as possible, vote switching at the very last minute, and other ways to stifle the Democratic minority. When the Democrats were elected to control Congress, they promised that such acts would not happen. They gave us an image of an ethical, open, trustworthy party, aiming to break the lying impression that most voters have of the government.
On Friday, August 3, this did not happen.
The House was voting on a Republican procedural motion designed to make sure illegal immigrants would not get certain benefits from an agriculture spending bill. The electronic tally showed a 215-213 tally in favor of this, but when Rep. Michael McNulty, D-NY, gaveled the vote to a close, he said the GOP measure failed on a 214-214 tie.
215-213 electronic vote in favor. McNulty concluded 214-214 tie. The usual process was that clerk would hand McNulty the final tally, but he did not follow that.
Then he re-opened the vote so Democratic arm-twisters managed to convince a few of their members to switch their votes. The end result was a 216-212 against. So from a +2 in favor to a -4 against... quite an outrage.
Republicans cried, "shame, shame, shame," and they walked out in protest. Of course, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-MD, moved for a revote (I guess to settle his own conscience). There was no surprise when the motion failed.
Later, both McNulty and Hoyer apologized to the House for what had happened. Hoyer said "The minority was understandably angry."
Of course they were. The Democrats were being hypocritical. Because of Republicans keeping votes longer, the Democrats changed House rules in January to disallow the practice of holding votes open to affect the outcome. Also, House Republicans refuse to take up further new business (except for two legislative bills) until the matter has been thoroughly investigated.
Democrats whined that the motion was aimed chiefly at forcing swing-district Democrats into a politically bad vote.
Why is it bad? The motion was to prevent illegal immigrants from receiving welfare benefits. It is easy to understand. If I pay taxes, then I should be entitled to some sort of government benefit. If an illegal citizen gets welfare, then he or she gets a "freebie" while we get the bill. How can that be so complicated?
Before adjourning for the wknd, the House agreed to create a special committee to investigate Republican allegations that Democratic leaders stole a victory from the House GOP on a parliamentary vote.
* * * * * * *
Now, the details nearing the end of voting time has been disputed by either side. On most votes that I have watched on C-SPAN, usually there is a flurry of last-minute votes, changes, or what not when time is 00:00 (expired). I really doubt I have seen a 15-minute vote end in exactly 15 minutes.
From the Republicans' viewpoint, they say as time expired, they persuaded three Latino Republicans to change their vote so the motion would pass. Two of them managed to change their vote before McNulty gaveled the vote shut saying it failed 214-214. But the clerk had three of them recorded, so the public tally was 215-213, so therefore the Republicans should have won. They also said that there were no Democrats scrambling to change their votes as time ended.
From the Democrats' viewpoint, as time expired, they stated they had five Democratic lawmakers who wanted to change their votes but could not make it to the clerk. So when McNulty re-opened the vote, the five lawmakers switched their votes. So the official result became 216-212 against the motion.
If I based the vote count on what the Democrats changed back in January, the Republican motion should have passed. McNulty jumped the ball in closing the vote without confirming the final tally with the House clerk. Therefore his 214-214 announcement was in error, and the correct tally was 215-213. He should not have re-opened the vote which would have violated the rules that were implemented in January.
Now I am also not convinced by McNulty's excuse:
"I was the presiding officer and when I was satisfied everyone voted, I called in the vote," said McNulty. "They (minority) made the case that I should have called the vote the split second it went their way, but I had to wait until everyone changed their vote to what they wanted."
How can this be true or false? You saw that the vote was quite close, and people can reasoned that you kept it open until certain votes can be switched to ensure the motion's defeat. I really think we ought to put in an impartial chair overseeing the House session. Plus time did expired, so how can you gavel the vote shut early?
Forbes.com - Republicans Angry Over House Vote
Rawstory.com - Republicans cry 'shame, shame, shame' on disputed vote (contains video of Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO)
Republican Candidate Ron Paul
Currently, Ron Paul has been in the lead on Drudge Report and ABC News after the latest Republican debate (after being dropped off the poll before protests forced both sites to put his name back on).
Clearly, my favorite candidate on the Republican side.
If you want to donate to him: http://www.ronpaul2008.com/
US Treasury Secretary Paulson asks for debt limit increase
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has asked lawmakers to increase the government's borrowing authority or the United States may be unable to pay its bills this fall. It is currently capped at $8.965 trillion.
Paulson, in a letter to lawmakers:
"Accordingly, I am writing to request that Congress raise the statutory debt limit as soon as possible." He said the government may bump into statutory default in early October if nothing is done.
Note the fact that the statutory debt limit has been raised several times during President Bush's tenure. The last increase was in March 2006 when the debt ceiling was increased by $781 billion.
What can the Democratic-controlled Congress could do? Basically nothing. No lawmaker wants to see a federal default occur. It would rattle bond markets, force interest rates to go higher and cause an adverse impact on the economy.
But it is a shame that the populace thinks that the country can keep on borrowing money. For fiscal year 2006, the government paid $405 BILLION IN INTEREST PAYMENTS ALONE! For 2007, the government is budgeting $500 billion towards the interest on the national debt.
The Bush administration has defended the increases as essential to pay for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and to cover other costs to keep the United States secure.
But Mr. President, I thought that if the economy was doing pretty well and government revenues are up, why do we still have a deficit? What if military action is taken against Iran? How much more can we borrow? It seems we can never stop the thirst of spending more than what we take in.
Is it possible that the high borrowing is causing some countries to consider buying euros and pounds instead of the U.S. dollar?
In addition, the administration wants to end Congressional action on expanding its borrowing authority. In essence, it wants a "blank check." Congress must not allow this to happen. This is needed to focus attention on the country's fiscal mismanagement. How can we explain to future generations why we have a $20 or $30 trillion national debt? How can we explain that the country is now owned by Japan and China because they are holding most of the debt?
Seriously, we may think we are looking at the good old times for the next 5-10 years. But in 20-30 years, the fiscal climate will be drastically different. By that time, 75 per cent of the federal budget will be devoted to Social Security. Add the national interest, you got pretty much nothing for domestic programs.
Yahoo News - Paulson: US should boost debt limit
Will we ever solve Social Security?
For those that have already graduated in recent years as well as those that are still in school, we will face the likely prospect of a "bankrupt" Social Security system (if current trends are maintained). Technically, this is not completely true. The Social Security Trust Fund will be bankrupt, but the government will still continue to pay out benefits, but the funds would only come from payroll taxes. Thus, by 2042 (estimated projection), the government will only manage to provide 73% benefits. In 2078, it will drop down to 68%.
At this stage, you may not realize that our 2008 presidential candidates - both Republican and Democratic - have not addressed the issue of Social Security and Medicare. The first time someone asked about Social Security was during the CNN/YouTube debate when New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson deflected a question about handling the increasing costs of an aging boomer generation.
He said, "The best solution is a bipartisan effort to fix it." It is probably one of the best political answers I have ever heard. Of course, my other favorite was when presidential candidate George W. Bush Sr. responded with "Read my lips, no new taxes" slogan during his campaign.
So what is this bipartisan effort? Well, just do nothing. After President Bush's failed attempt to partially privatize this huge entitlement program, none of the candidates want to bring up the painful idea of cutting retirement benefits or raising taxes. Clearly, our politicians have abdicated their responsiblity in dealing with this problem. Perhaps they are just scared of the elderly vote.
Consider this as suggested by Newsweek:
From 2005 to 2030, the 65-and-over population will nearly double to 71 million; its share of the population will rise 20 percent from 12 percent. Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid -- programs that serve older people -- already exceed 40 percent of the $2.7 trillion federal budget. By 2030, their share could hit 75 percent of the present budget (projected by CBO). Also, you may consider the fact that there are 3.3 workers per beneficiary today. By 2031, it will drop down to 2.1 per beneficiary.
Throw in the national interest, there will be very little left for the government to spend. If the federal government wants to maintain benefits to the elderly, then we would need to eliminate all defense spending, research, homeland security, the environment, etc. We would probably have to outsource our nation's security to Canada and Mexico.
So what are the solutions? President's Bush idea of partial privatization was one step to offer Social Security participants a chance to broaden their investments, so to speak. It was clearly not mandatory but Democrats played the fear card that the diversion of funds would hurt the program overall. Bush's lack of information on what funds would be used to replace the diverted funds also lead to the idea being discarded.
It would seem to me that Democrats just wants everyone to trust their government to provide all benefits. If you want to "choose" to change the way your benefits are set up, you are labeled as a conservative.
What else is there? Increase payroll taxes (FICA, Social Security) and eliminate the cap. Reduce retirement benefits. Change the cost of living adjustment calculation. Raise the retirement age.
Unfortunately, no one wants to consider these ideas. Besides all that, we must also consider the fundamental question of whether the current focus of Social Security and Medicare must be changed. Frankly, our country is not a retirement home. How can we function if three-fourths of what we take in goes to supporting the older population?
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Various think tanks concluded the following:
Liberals need to concede the idea of letting government growing too large and benefit cuts are needed.
Conservatives need to concede that tomorrow's government would be bigger than today's.
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The immense entitlement program could become a rift between the young to middle-aged worker population and the elderly. If it becomes a fact that we are being used to keep the old folks happy, expect a political revolt. It may bring about a strong young voter turnout that can make battle with the AARP and other lobbyist groups. It is inevitable. You got the elderly trying to enjoy their final years or decades and you got the young taking care of them plus their own children.
As for the current workers, we know that Social Security won't be "all there" when we retire. This is our best shot to having 401k's, IRA's, and other funds to minimize our burden.
The worse option would be implementing some of the ideas of Logan's Run.
I need a President that can answer a simple question
Politicians have perfected the way to get around the questions that everyone wants answered. In my ideal world, I want to vote for a President that can answer it directly, but I guess the given field of candidates for 2008 would fail that test.
MoveOn, DailyKos Pressure advertisers on Fox News
According to AmericaBlog, Home Depot has stated that they will not advertise on the O'Reilly show. They also stated that their advertising is a "run of network" so their commericals are generally played throughout any show on Fox News.
Of course, AmericaBlog is pressing for full suspension of ads which I believe Home Depot won't agree to.
It would seem comments and calls to Lowe's about their advertising during the O'Reilly show on Fox News were enough to intimidate the warehouse chain to remove them. Yet, they did not say if they were going to remove all their ads from the Fox News channel.
Yet, is there a significant impact on ads that are shown on controversial or offensive shows? If Walgreens was doing an ad during Big Brother, would they see a drop in sales if a bad incident occurred on the show?
News Hounds actually has compiled a list of advertisers that show their ads during the O'Reilly show. What's the difference if other folks start listing advertisers being shown on the Rosie O'Donnell show, or during MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews?
I even bet these will the same folks that would protest against the Simpsons Movie because the arnold-accented President mocks foreign citizens and Homer being fat is offensive to obese people.
I bet there will no impact on BMW, Dell, Lincon-Mercury, Chevrolet, OnStar. They can just set up a comment rule and forward all those complaint crap to the rubbish bin.
On the Democrats.com web site, they drawn up a nice and sweet msg for those Fox advertisers:
Dear FOX News Advertiser,
I am writing to inform you that I will not purchase your products as long as you advertise on FOX News.
FOX News does not broadcast news, it broadcasts Republican Party and conservative propaganda.
If you want my business, you need to advertise in the media I rely on, especially the Liberal Blog Advertising Network.
Obviously, a liberal response.
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It just never stops. Inspired by their success in pressuring all the Democratic presidential candidates not to appear at any debate sponsored by Fox, they are now focusing on advertisers that are shown on the conservative news channel.
The liberal groups, MoveOn.org, the Campaign for America's Future, DailyKos.com, and others are asking supporters to monitor who is advertising on the network. Click here to see MoveOn.org's Civic Action on Fox's alleged anti-environment position by robertgreenwald. Their plan would be to organize a phone-calling campaign after they get enough data. They will first concentrate on businesses running local ads, but it seems they got a national target, Home Depot.
The home improvement chain will not change its advertising strategy. Its reasoning is that it needs to reach their customer base through all available mediums.
One of the group's reasoning is that Fox News' statement of being a fair news network contradicts its conservative-leaning point of view. How about the liberal-leaning New York Times? LA Times? MSNBC? NPR?
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In any case, this smells like discreet censorship. How can these groups truly prove that businesses that sponsor ads on the Fox News Channel are conservative? They are trying to tell everyone that if a business is sponsoring an advertisement on Fox News, they are considered to be racist, warmongering, against immigrants, against minorities, against civil rights, and so on and so forth.
I would think they are hoping that their phone calls would intimidate these businesses into dropping their ads from the network. I hope that these businesses would thumb their noses at them. Clearly, they have every right to protest, but these businesses have the right to advertise on any medium that gets to their customer base.
Democratic presidential field ignores its own moderates
The centrist Democratic Leadership Council's summer meeting is being snubbed by the Democratic presidential field. Not even one candidate will attend the meeting, but Bill Clinton will be there. So will 300 officeholders from more than 45 states.
The purpose of the meeting is how can Democrats appeal to moderate, independent voters.
I guess Hillary, Obama, Edwards, and the rest just care about the far left, the peaceniks, the NAACP, and the rest of the discriminated.
DLC founder Al From: "They have tunnel vision."
But he also makes a good point which the candidates must listen to.
"Presidents are elected in the middle and they are elected by being bigger than their party. Neither parties' activists alone can elect somebody president. Democrats have a long history of nominating people, including people who have lost badly. The challenge for Democrats is to nominate somebody who can win the election."
It is possible that the current candidates feel the low popularity of President Bush would give Democrats an advantage for the 2008 presidential election. However, despite the strong participation by the left-sided base, the political middle is still quite significant and voters in that bloc can easily swing their votes to the other side. They have to know that they are frustrated with both major parties.
I won't be surprised when the Democratic presidential candidate is chosen, he or she will pander to the DLC in order to get the moderate vote.
But where are the candidates? Instead of being at the DLC summer meeting, they will be in Chicago attending a convention of liberal bloggers. Figures.
Yahoo News - Democratic hopefuls snub party moderates
Democrats blocking John Doe Amendment in the 9/11 security bill
After a week of behind-the-scenes wrangling, congressional negotiators agreed to include the John Doe amendment in the pending Sept. 11 homeland security conference bill. Thanks goes to Senator Joe Lieberman (I-Conn), chairman of the conference committee knitting together the House and Senate bills designed to implement unfulfilled security recommendations of the Sept. 11 commission.
House Democrats did try to water down the immunity language but were overwhelmed by the Lieberman-GOP coalition on the conference committee.
It is expected to pass easily by both houses. Bush has stated that he will sign the Sept. 11 bill into law.
Republicans continue to demand that lawsuit protections be added in a conference committee to reconcile the House and Senate versions of what has been dubbed the "9/11 bill." 64 House Republicans distributed a letter saying "No American should fear lawsuits for doing the right thing."
CAIR's spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said the group "has no particular problem" with properly drawn immunity legislation. "Our concern has never been with reports made in good faith by ordinary people. Our concern is with malicious reports based on bigoted views or which are just meant to harass people based on their ethnicity."
Yet CAIR still supports the imam's lawsuit against the airline and the "John Doe" passengers who reported their suspicious behavior. The evidence clearly showed that the imam's actions led to their removal from the plane and that their behavior was clearly intentional.
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The Washington Times has reported that the congressional democrats failed to include a provision in homeland security legislation that would protect the public from being used for reporting suspicious behavior that may lead to a terrorist attack. This protection was needed because of an incident in November 2006 as mentioned by the National Review.
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In November 2006, six Islamic leaders were removed from a U.S. Airways flight in Minneapolis after they were observed acting suspiciously-including not sitting in their assigned seats, asking for seatbelt extenders although not needing them, and making anti-American statements. The men were questioned by authorities and then cleared. However, in March 2007, with the help of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the imams filed suit — not only against the airline but against the heroic "John Doe" passengers who reported their suspicious behavior.
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I reported on these imams a few times. Essentially, these imams got on the plane and acted suspicious on purpose. Then they decided to sue the airline and the passengers who "snitched" on them.
Congressman Peter King (R-NY), ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee, introduced an amendment to protect passengers and commuters against friviolous lawsuits. Please note this language was adopted 304-121 in March, as an amendment to H.R. 1401, the Rail and Public Transportation Security Act of 2007.
The amendment ensures that any person who voluntarily reports suspicious activity in good faith (anything that could "threaten" transportation security) will be granted immunity from civil liability for the disclosure. It covers threats to transportation systems, passenger safety or security, or possible acts of terrorism, and also shields transportation systems and employees that take reasonable actions to mitigate perceived threats. It is retroactive to activities on or after November 20, 2006.
Peacenik democrats are working to remove this amendment from the homeland security bill based on a technicality. It is reported that Nancy Pelosi and her lieutenants are using the fact that the amendment was to a railroad security bill, not the 9/11 bill so it should not be allowed in the conference report.
While it is true this "John Doe" amendment was approved as part of the railroad bill, Republicans wanted the provision in the homeland security conference bill, that will implement final recommendations from the September 11 commission.
“Democrats are trying to find any technical excuse to keep immunity out of the language of the bill to protect citizens, who in good faith, report suspicious activity to police or law enforcement,” Mr. King said in an interview last night. “This is a slap in the face of good citizens who do their patriotic duty and come forward, and it caves in to radical Islamists. I don’t see how you can have a homeland security bill without protecting people who come forward to report suspicious activity.”
It would seem that Homeland Security Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson feared that the "John Doe" protection would lead to racial profiling.
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To ensure no one was blamed, democrats scuttled the amendment in committee.
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In the Senate, Democrats attempted to stop Republicans from including the "John Doe" amendment to the education bill because it was not germane. However, the Senate Parliamentarian ruled that the protections are within the scope of the legislation and can be included by amendment.
But the amendment was rejected (57 for and 39 against). Note that the vote involved a Senate procedural rule that required a three-fifths majority for approval. 38 Democrats and Senator Bernard Sanders (I-Vermont) voted no. 48 Republicans, 8 Democrats, and Senator Joe Lieberman (I-Conn) voted yes. (Roll Call Vote Details)
Not yet defeated, Republicans will work to include the "John Doe" amendment in the 9/11 conference report which has not yet been written. Mr. King noted that he will continue discussions with Sen. Joe Lieberman, who is chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
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There is a reason why many companies allow their employees to submit anonymous messages regarding unethical or illegal activities. There is a reason why we have protections in place for whistleblowers. It makes obvious sense why protections should be implemented for citizens who report on suspicious activities. We have seen events in the past where Good Samaritans decided to speak up in order to save lives or to stop a potential tragedy from happening. Yet, when they are taking a risk like that, they can be subject to civil and/or criminal litigation.
Reporting strange and suscipious behavior to authorities is common sense. We must be vigilant in order to improve safety. Relying on the police and security to watch us is not enough. Everyone must be proactive. I am fearful of a day where a fellow brave American citizen who decided not to report a suspicious person because he or she was afraid of being sued, and the result was the death of hundreds, if not thousands of people. That should sit quite nicely with those peaceniks.
We cannot succumb to political correctness. It will cause us to second guess ourselves and look the other way.
Congress switchboard: 202-224-3121
Nancy Pelosi’s office: 202-225-4965
Reid’s office: 202-224-3542
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Video of Peter King
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What is the Center for Instrumented Critical Infrastructure?
The Department of Energy is denying Murtha's claim that it supports his $1 million earmark request to fund this Center. DoE spokeswoman Anne Kolton said that the earmark is not a program that meets the department's "mission-critical" threshold, noting it was "inconsistent" with the department's 2008 budget.
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A million bucks paid by you is small change compared to debating the entire federal budget of $2.8 trillion, but what it goes to is pretty shady.
Just what is the Center for Instrumented Critical Infrastructure? A long-winded corporate term for some project designed to make citizens think that this thing is about safety or security? A search through Yahoo or Google does not turn up anything substantial.
On the House floor Tuesday, Republican Rep. Jeff Flake of Arizona questioned Democratic Rep. Peter J. Visclosky of Indiana who is Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee about this Center. Visclosky admitted that he didn't have a clue.
After a lengthy back-and-forth, Flake, complaining that his staff couldn't find a website for the center, asked Visclosky, "Does the center currently exist?"
"At this time, I do not know," the Indiana Democrat replied. "But if it does not exist, the monies could not go to it."
Perhaps he should ask Pennsylvania Democrat John P. Murtha. He's the sponsor for this earmark. He also did not show up to defend this so-called Center. Supposedly, the Center is part of a corporation called Concurrent Technologies (link to their web site), which is based in Johnstown, PA.
Yet Flake's attempt to get rid of that earmark failed 98 to 326. Even though Visclosky admitted he did not know what the Center is about, the Democrats still chose to support the earmark.
Here is where it gets interesting. Concurrent Technologies Corporation (CTC) is actually a Section 501(c)(3) entity. Their 2005 Form 990 reports no direct support from the public (charitable contributions), yet it has received over $116 million in government grants in that year.
It would seem that back in 1988, Murtha asked the University of Pittsburgh to form a non-profit entity that would focus on excellence in metalworking. This entity would receive funding from the Navy. Over the years, this non-profit became CTC. It would seem that this "corporation" is totally funded by earmarks. The New York Times believe that CTC has been paid almost $1 billion in grants and contracts. From 2002, it would seem that most of the members of the CTC board and directors have contributed to Murtha's campaign.
Daniel DeVos, president of CTC is part of the PMA Group, one of Murtha's largest overall campaign-funders.
Note also that Murtha slipped in a few earmarks for Concurrent back in May for the Intelligence Authorization bill. It contained $5.5 million for CTC for a mobile missile monitoring system and intelligence training. Of course it got cut in half during the House-Senate conference of the bill.
Also interesting is a June 2007 press release by Murtha about Concurrent Technologies being listed by Washington Technology magazine in their top 100 government contractors as well as being nominated for the 2007 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award for its continuing support of employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserve.
Redstate - This is a problem
Crypt's Blog - What's in your wallet?
Ralph Nader May Run in 2008
USA TODAY reports that consumer Ralph Nader told the Green Party's national convention that he is considering a 2008 presidential run and accused Democrats of trying to shut smaller parties out of the political process.
"No other country comes close to providing voters with such a small number of choices and making third party candidates hurdle an almost insuperable number of obstacles just to get on the ballot," Nader, the Green Party's 2000 presidential nominee, said Saturday.
In 2000, Nader got 2.7% of the votes in the general election. Democrats say he siphoned votes from the party's nominee, Al Gore, in Florida, New Hampshire and elsewhere, giving the election to Republican George W. Bush. In 2004, Nader was much less of a factor.
He ran as an independent in 2004 but was removed from the ballot in Pennsylvania and other large states after Democrats challenged his nominating petitions.
Nader said before jumping into the 2008 presidential race he would have to put together an organization of thousands of volunteers and pro bono lawyers to defend him against the "Democratic quadrennial assault."
"We're going to be ready for them. We will confront them on every level," Nader told a news conference. "They better have clean hands."
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Honestly, Democrats should stop blaming Ralph Nader for Gore's loss in 2000. I would have thought Republicans would be using interesting ways to stop third-parties from getting on the ballot, but Democrats? The party that wants to give access to all voters. Perish the thought. In fact, they should also blame the voters that voted for the Reform, Libertarian, Natural Law, and Constitution candidates on the 2000 Florida state ballot. All those votes could have given Gore the win.
Yet, the Democrats are sore losers. In 2004, Democratic activists took steps to keep Nader off the ballot especially in Pennsylvania and in other large states keeping his percentage to less than 1 percent. It was 2.7 percent in 2000.
I am sure Democrats would step up efforts again to deny Nader, but there's a chance of Bloomberg running too. How much are the Democrats and Republicans willing to spend to keep the third-parties under lock and key?
Dennis Kucinich Whines again...
The candidate running on the "Hey, let's impeach Dick Cheney" platform has been taking to the airwaves criticizing a conversation overheard between Hillary Rodham Clinton and John Edwards, in which the two spoke of limiting the number of candidates invited to participate in presidential forums.
While both Clinton and Edwards insist their comments were taken out of context, Kucinich was still not happy. "Candidates, no matter how important or influential they preceive themselves to be, do not have and should not have the power to determine who is allowed to speak to the American public and who is not," Kucinich said in a statement released by his campaign.
He promises to stop any effort to limit participation. "Imperial candidates are as repugnant to the American people and to our democracy as an imperial president," he said.
So even if he continues to poll in the single digits, he will undoubtedly try to get his face into the forums. In the previous presidential contest, he continued to campaign to the day before the Democratic Convention and despite the fact that Senator John Kerry had the necessary votes to claim the presidential nomination. I wonder if he will do the same this time. Obviously, everyone knows he is a long shot for the nomination, so his primary goal is to just get his lovable, peacenik, impeach Cheney platform heard.
He's definitely way too liberal. Of course, he still advocates the creation of a "Department of Peace and Non-Violence." Kucinich even tried to introduce a bill for it back in September 2005 and again this year back in February. It currently has 65 co-peaceniks.
Yes, he is for full withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq as well as membership in the WTO and NAFTA. He wants universal health care and education (he must have been watching Sicko non-stop. Plus a plan to have the Kennedy school of government in every college). He wants to keep full Social Security benefits at age 65 (what's his plan to stop it from going bankrupt?). Pro-choice even though he was pro-life before.
After the massacre at Virginia Tech, Kucinich proposed legislation that would ban the purchase, sale, transfer, or possession of handguns by civilians. In response, the NRA has changed its name to the National (Knives, Baseball Bats, Spoons, Pikes, Swords, Lancers) Association.
He wants to bring back the Fairness Doctrine so he can force radio stations to give liberal and conservative points of view with equal time. I am sure his next step is to create the Blogging Doctrine where liberal blogs shall be classified as the freedom, peace-loving, big brother government that helps you while conservative blogs shall be classifed as racist, warmongering, anti-social, evil Darth Vader empire, and dictators.
This is the same person who voted against a June 20 resolution denouncing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for a long string of threats against Israel. The resolution called for the United Nations Security Council to censure Ahmadinejad for his remarks and to consider measures to prevent Iran from obtaining the nuclear weapons that might give his bluster some deadly teeth. It also reaffirmed America's long partnership with Israel.
Kucinich and one other representative (dear god, Ron Paul) voted no on this. Democrat Stephanie Tubbs Jones of Cleveland voted yes and was a co-sponsor.
Why did he voted no? He felt the resolution would be used as ammo to justify military action against Iran. Total rubbish. He is afraid of getting Iran angry. Even the Plain Dealer is worried that his anti-Iraq, anti-war stance is blinding him from reality.
Why do we put up with him? He can boast about being the youngest mayor of Cleveland in 1977 (age 31), but he is rated to have been one of the worst big-city mayors all time. Despite refusing to sell Muny Light to CEI, how can you let a city go into default?
So far his latest presidential financial report showed $757,000 in contributions for the 2nd quarter and $213,000 cash on hand. Kucinich has raised $1.1 million since January. Way too far behind. Can he just go away? At all the forums and speeches, he is just busy talking about impeaching Cheney, getting out of Iraq, and having universal health care. Enough already.
I would rather listen to Ron Paul then Kucinich. At least he has more sense despite his constitutionalist position.
Oh, and if Case does change their policy towards sponsoring or hosting political events on campus, please do not bring Kucinich. Tubbs-Jones is absolutely fine, but no Kucinich. If he talks about his Department of Peace crap, I want to hoist a banner saying "Create a Department of 'Up Yours' and more." Hell, let's bring Ron Paul. He wants to abolish the IRS. That's good enough for me. No more taxes. =)
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I just love it when a politician answers a voter's question with something entirely different. A woman asked about how candidates would promote equal opportunity and integration among America's schools. Then the candidates must answer with a minute allocated. What can you say? Easy, just your soundbites and usual slogan phrases and the audience would forget the original question! With Kucinich, always end your answer with "time to impeach Dick Cheney." I wonder if the woman was satisfied with the answers.
Also reminds me a Family Guy episode where Lois and Mayor West were in a mayoral debate and she responded with "9/11" to every voter's question, and she got a standing ovation every time.
Porkbusters: Earmark Reform Index
The Earmark Reform Index is a joint project of The Examiner Newspapers and Porkbusters.org. The Index will show whether your senator is a friend or foe of earmark reform.
The Index contains data on Senators serving in the Senate from 2005 to 2007 and voting on 12 key opportunities to say "yes" or "no" to genuine earmark reforms when the Senate clerk called their names. Unfortunately, about two-thirds of the senators are adamantly opposed to reforming their appropriations perks.
Earmarks are spending measures anonymously inserted by lawmakers in appropriations bills, with no accountability to prevent the funds from going to a senator or congressman's campaign donors, favored special interests, family members, or present or former staff members.
So if we check our Ohio senators:
George V. Voinovich (Republican) = Score 41.66
Former R. Michael DeWine (Republican) = Score 16.66
Sherrod Brown (Democrat) = Score 0.00
John S. Koppel: Bush Justice is a national disgrace
John S. Koppel has been a civil appellate attorney with the Department of Justice since 1981.
As a longtime attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice, I can honestly say that I have never been as ashamed of the department and government that I serve as I am at this time.
The public record now plainly demonstrates that both the DOJ and the government as a whole have been thoroughly politicized in a manner that is inappropriate, unethical and indeed unlawful. The unconscionable commutation of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby's sentence, the misuse of warrantless investigative powers under the Patriot Act and the deplorable treatment of U.S. attorneys all point to an unmistakable pattern of abuse.
(The rest is available in the link)
Bush's First Surgeon General was marginalized
Richard Carmona served as Surgeon General from 2002-2006. He spoke in front of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
He spoke about political appointees in the Bush administration muzzled him on key issues such as "stem cell research, contraceptives, and his misgivings about the administration's embrace of 'abstinence-only' sex education."
[A]lthough most Americans believe that their Surgeon General has the ability to impact the course of public health as “the nation’s doctor,” the reality is that the nation’s doctor has been marginalized and relegated to a position with no independent budget, and with supervisors who are political appointees with partisan agendas. Anything that doesn’t fit into the political appointees’ ideological, theological, or political agenda is ignored, marginalized, or simply buried.
Mayor Bloomberg: A Third-Party Factor
Jeffrey Bell, longtime Republican activist:
"We have a pretty active two-party system now that will produce two candidates with real differences."
Bill Carrick, Democratic Political Strategist:
"There is no big need for an alternative. Independent presidential candidates are just spoilers."
Our two main political parties know full well the effect of a third-party candidate. Ross Perot in 1992. Ralph Nader in 2000. Yet, they continue to remind the general public that third-party candidates do not have the resources or expertise for elected office, and that their "established" party (whether it is Democrat or Republican) can do a better job.
How can that statement stay truthful today? From the International Herald Tribune article about Bloomberg, it noted a CNN survey from June where one-third of responding voters would consider backing an independent candidate. It was better than 21 percent from seven years ago. Almost half of all Americans supported such a question back in 1992.
We have seen a Republican Congress in control for 12 years. I know that a good majority of Americans wanted a change after the Democrats were in charge for four decades, and they had their problems which resulted in their ouster. Now we are back to a Democratic Congress and it seems that things have not really changed. The political rancor continues on and we are stuck with a "do-nothing" Congress. Yes, I am sure some accomplishments have been made, but overall, it's not that good. Strange enough, some do appreciate a do-nothing government.
Unfortunately, a Bloomberg presidential run in 2008 may not bode well.
It is true that independent voters make up almost 30 percent of the electorate, but that CNN survey showed that one-third of them would not support Bloomberg next year. Plus since the mayor was a bit pro-Iraq, that's not a favorable position to have right now. In addition, you got Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
After 43 presidents who are white and male, the public may have a chance to elect the first African-American or first woman president in 231 years.
Yes, the cards are all stacked against him in winning the presidential election, but he can play a deciding "spoiler" if he throws his hat in the ring. It will force the Democratic and Republican candidates to recalibrate. It will bring up focus on education, environment, and gun control.
You have to give credit to Bloomberg. He is definitely qualified to run. He has held public office and he has more money than Perot. Certainly, it will cause a lot of headaches for the two major candidates in states such as California and New York.
Bring it on.
Kucinich, Feinstein, Kerry: Get off the Fairness Doctrine
At least we have one sensible newspaper who is against the Fairness Doctrine. The Courier Post is based in Cherry Hill, NJ. Their Op-Ed board states succinctly that "there's enough broadcasting space via the airwaves and Internet to ensure all viewpoints can be heard."
Of course talk radio is dominated by conservative voices, but come on, the market supports it, not liberal radio.
Any such move to implement the Fairness Doctrine, you are trying to abrogate the citizens' First Amendment rights.
Congress has much better things to do with their time, so break off this pointless effort.
CNN tries to get senators to provide their 2008 earmarks
CNN attempted to ask all 100 U.S. senators about their 2008 earmarks.
For my two senators in New Jersey, both Lautenberg and Menendez did not return CNN's call.
For the two senators in Ohio, Sherrod Brown refused to release his list and George Voinovich did not answer.
PETA complains about Mitt Romney's 1983 dog abuse
Why is this in the news? It would seem that The Boston Globe discovered that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney transported his dog in a rooftop carrier. But it did not happen yesterday or last week. This thing occurred back in 1983 when he drove his family from Boston to Ontario.
That was 24 years ago! But I guess it did not stop PETA from openly criticizing Romney for doing such a thing.
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Ingrid Newkirk, president of PETA:
“If you wouldn’t strap your child to the roof of your car, you have no business doing that to the family dog. I don’t know who would find that acceptable.”
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Strap your child to the roof? You have to be quite an imbecile to do such a thing. Actually, I wouldn't mind doing that to my kid if he was misbehaving. Note that was a sarcastic comment, but I guess PETA would probably think I would do such a thing given their overzealous nature.
But honestly, would something that happened 24 years ago deter dog-lovers from voting for Romney? At least Romney's Irish Setter loved going on the roof.
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“PETA has not been my fan over the years. PETA was after me for having a rodeo at the Olympics. PETA was unhappy when I went quail hunting in Georgia, and they’re not happy that my dog likes fresh air.”
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Like PETA is going to play a major factor in the primary or general election...ha ha ha.
Maybe should embark on a campaign stopping drivers from letting their dogs stick their heads out of the car window. It's such a danger!!!
Was The Boston Globe bored?
CNN.com - Romney: Dog ‘enjoyed’ riding on car roof
Fairness Doctrine takes a back seat for now
Senators Durbin, Feinstein, and Kerry. Take a seat. No Fairness Doctrine for you!
By a vote of 309-115, the House amended the Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill to bar the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from requiring broadcasters to balance conservative content with liberal programming such as Air America.
Unless there is another bill to change that, the FCC won't be implementing the "Unnecessarily Fair" Doctrine for the next year or so. The vote count was a bit surprising. I expected a closer vote than that but it seems that the talk show radio hosts have a stronger influence on our congressional representatives.
It is quite a stinging rebuke against those Democratic senators and policy experts who wanted to regulate talk radio.
Democrats pointed out that the FCC won't do anything because President Bush is in power and that the Commission's membership is tilted to Republicans. The Republicans are concerned that if a Democrat wins the White House in 2008, he or she may try to get the FCC to institute the Doctrine.
Sponsor Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) took a shot at the Senate saying: “This House will say what some in the other body are not saying, that we believe in freedom on the airwaves. We reject the doctrines of the past that would have this federal government manage political speech on the public airwaves.”
House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said yesterday that listeners should be able to decide if they want to hear different political arguments.
“The best way is to let the judgment of the American people decide, and they can decide with their finger,” Boehner said.
“[People] can turn it off or they can turn it on. They can go to their computer and read it on the Internet.”
TheHill.com - House votes to ban FCC on ‘fairness’
Fairness Doctrine is just plain censorship
U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) wants to bring back the Fairness Doctrine. So does Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA). Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) also jumped on the bandwagon. Their reasoning? A recent report by the Center for American Progress that says 91 percent of talk radio is conservative, with the liberal view taking up just 9 percent of air time.
The Center's report, "The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio" is now used as ammunition by Democrats to work out a plan to change ownership rules and reinstate the Fairness Doctrine.
On Fox News Sunday, Feinstein said that "talk radio is one-sided and 'explosive.' She said it 'pushes people, I think, to extreme views without a lot of information."
Suggesting that talk-radio hosts are not informed is pretty much an uninformed assumption. It seems to me that they are more knowledgeable of the legislation's contents than our representatives and senators in Congress.
But what is the Fairness Doctrine? Why are some Democrats so interested in bringing this back? It was adopted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 1949 to make sure broadcasters devote time to public interest issues and to make sure they present opposing viewpoints when they did. It was based on the fact that during the 1920's, as radio was being born, Congress declared that the airwaves were public property and wanted to make sure it was regulated.
Having a broadcast license was a public trust that carried with it a public trust to serve all shades of public opinion. When the Doctrine was formulated in 1949, TV was essentially nonexistent, and even in the late 1950's, major cities might have half a dozen stations and small cities were lucky to have two. The explosion of radio and TV came during the 1970's, then came cable, and now the internet where you can find all viewpoints.
It was not surprising that in 1987, the government dropped the Fairness Doctrine. It was unnecessary. Yes, the Democrat-controlled Congress tried to bring it back twice and it was vetoed by President Reagan and George H. W. Bush. It was not a law but a regulation of the FCC.
The need for such a doctrine changed. In 1949, the FCC took the view that station licensees were "public trustees," and as such had an obligation to afford reasonable opportunity for discussion of contrasting points of view on controversial issues of public importance.
Later on, it modified its stance to having an obligation to "actively seek out issues of importance to their community and air programming that addressed those issues."
But Democrats are not happy with that. They prefer that if a radio station wants to air Rush Limbaugh, a talk show host with an opposing viewpoint must be given the same amount of time.
Air America did poorly. Is this their way of using the government to force their way into every talk show on the radio?
Yes, there are a finite number of broadcast licenses. It is also true that there are hundreds of cable and satellite channels and XM/Sirius so there is no shortage of choices for Americans.
Fairness Doctrine? Don't need it.
CNS News - Unfairness Doctrine
WorldNetDaily - The 'Shareness Doctrine': Because fair is fair
Here's Senator Kerry for the Fairness Doctrine:
Learn how to do redistricting
As a mapmaker, you can make a difference on Election Day!
Democrat Supports Suppressing the Minority Vote
The issue is controversial, but I would always assume that Democrats would always champion the rights of the minority to have their voices heard and allow a playing field between both sides. Quite frequently, Democrats would always accuse Republicans of doing those things, but this time, it is a Democrat.
In Massachusetts, there was a proposed state constitutional amendment that would have let voters decide whether to ban gay marriage in the only state that allows it. Now, a constitutional amendment is quite serious and we have scenarios where the state legislature would approve its passage or allow the voters the right to support an amendment proposal. Sometimes the proposal could be quite controversial so the politicians in charge may choose to push it through the government rather than through the people. It is pretty much similar to countries in Europe that were debating on whether to approve the European constitution through the elected governing bodies or a full vote by the voters.
For Massachusetts, the authors of the state constitution made it easier for a proposed constitutional amendment to be placed on the statewide ballot by getting 50 votes in the Legislature. This would ensure that a significant minority can still get a proposal on the ballot despite majority opposition.
In this case, the vote failed. It only got 45 votes. The measure needed at least 50 votes in two consecutive legislative sessions to advance to the ballot. In the first session, it got 62 votes in January. It would seem there was a lot of pressure on the other 17 reps to change their minds.
But it is interesting to note that House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi, a Democrat from Boston, argued that the rights of a minority group should not be put to a popular vote. I am not concerned with the aim of the amendment proposal. I am concerned that in this situation, the Speaker chooses to ignore the vocal minority. If there was a proposal to legalise pot, I am sure the Speaker would approve the measure. If it was to introduce universal health care, he would gladly support the measure. A hypocrite who believes in the constitutional amendment process only if it supports his political agenda.
Perhaps pro-gay marriage advocates were worried that the overall state population was against them. Maybe they were concerned that in a full vote by the state voters, it is a secret ballot and they cannot specifically blame anyone (except for the Democratic Party). Since the state reps will be on record for the proposed amendment, it is their best chance to derail it because they know who to pile the pressure on. If they failed, all they could do was to spend a lot on media advertising, flyers, and rallies, and just hope the voters will follow their way.
Ron Paul on Colbert Report 6/13/07
The Bloomberg-Schwarzenegger Ticket
Imagine if it were President Bloomberg and Vice-President Schwarzenegger. The constitution forbades Schwarzenegger because he's not a native citizen, but that should not be a problem in the near future.
Immigration: Cornyn Amendment Fails; Kennedy Alternative Passes
Two amendments to the "bi-partisan" comprehensive immigration bill took center stage today.
Senator John Cornyn (R-Tex) offered SA-1184 to the bill which expands the list of crimes making illegal aliens ineligible for legalisation. To summarise quickly, it would bar admission into the United States and denies immigration benefits for the following:
(1) absconders (i.e., aliens already ordered deported);
(2) aliens deemed inadmissible or deportable as security risks (e.g., terrorists);
(3) aliens who fail to register as sex offenders;
(4) aliens convicted of certain firearms offenses;
(5) aliens convicted of domestic violence, stalking, crimes against children, or violation of protection orders;
(6) alien gang members; and
(7) aliens convicted of at least three DUIs.
The amendment would not apply to an individual who entered or re-entered the country illegally. It would only affect those that have been arrested, charged, convicted, and sentenced by a court of law to one year or more in jail. So if you are a felon under the current law, you are not eligible.
In opposition, Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Mass) offered SA-1333, a "side-by-side" amendment as an alternative to Cornyn's. Now the amendment was said to expand the list of crimes making illegal aliens ineligible for legalisation, but no details have been released. Some believe it is more likely that the amendment will be less effective than Cornyn's.
Kennedy counters that Cornyn's would cost more than $250 billion dollars to round up the illegal aliens that have been tried and convicted under his amendment. He said it would not be practical. He feels that individuals that ignore deportation orders should still be eligible. He also states that those that attempt to use fake ID's should still be eligible. He promised that his amendment would still ban gang members, drunk drivers, sexual offenders, perjurers, and frauds. He also feels that Cornyn's amendment would hurt "legitimate refugees" that were forced to provide material support for terrorists and oppressor groups.
The result: Cornyn's Amendment failed 46-51. Kennedy's Amendment adopted 66-32.
I would think that if Cornyn dropped the fake ID rule then I think it would have been adopted. The act of entering and re-entering the country illegally makes sense. If you managed to get through the first time, why should they keep on exploiting it a second, third, or fourth time?
As noted by michellemalkin.com, Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Al) puts it succinctly:
"No one has a right to come to America. We get to decide...we allow on our terms and conditions... our immigration system is set up to serve the national interest...No one has a constitutional legal right to demand entry into America. It amazes me the lack of comprehension shown...We set the standards. Se have the most generous set of laws in the world. Se're not going to end immigration or act irrationally. To set reasonable standards, as Cornyn is attempting to do, only makes common sense."
Interesting to note that Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) criticises Cornyn for making an illegal alien's third drunk driving conviction a crime of violence. Also, a NY Times op-ed deplored Cornyn's expansion on the definition of an "aggravated felony." Come on here, don't we want respectable and responsible people entering this country? We got enough drunk drivers in this country already, now you want me accept the fact that the next drunk driver could be an illegal?
That's pretty much the highlight for today. This whole immigration thing is quite complex and there still more amendments to be debated and voted on. There are definitely pluses and minuses on the comprehensive legislation. Of course, no one is completely happy. But I think what Sen. Sessions said was clearly right. The United States' standards are somewhat generous as compared with other countries. It seems people want us to open our borders 100 percent, but I think 80-90 percent is quite enough.
Democrats tout "smart earmarks"
I find it discouraging that on this campus you got folks trying to revise the political policy guidelines concerning campaign visits and rallies, but their online activities are almost non-existent. Where are the Case Democrats, Libertarians, and Republicans blogs?
Anyways, back to the victorious congressional Democrats who promised us a one-year moratorium on all earmarks. The incoming appropriations chairman Senator Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) and Rep. David Obey (D-Wis) issued a joint statement stating that "there will be no congressional earmarks" until 2008.
Yet in an interview with the Maryland Examiner, Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Md) said she would continue to support "smart earmarks." So somehow "smart earmarks" are a more ethical form of earmarks?
If you look at the Lower Rio Grande Valley Water Resources Conversation and Improvement Act of 2007, it was loaded with 14 earmarks for water projects throughout Texas. Yet there were no names of the earmark sponsors. Why? Because the bill was considered under a suspension of the rules, so the House reforms adopted in January DID NOT APPLY.
Peacenik Dennis Kucinich
So the Democrats held their second presidential debate in New Hampshire on Sunday night, and one of the questions posed by CNN's Wolf Blitzer dealt with Osama bin Laden.
He asked Rep. Dennis Kucinich if he would give the order to kill Osama bin Laden if the chance arose.
Being a peacenik, he said the president should not attempt any assassinations, and that Osama should instead be captured and tried in an international court for his actions.
Why should Osama bin Laden be tried in an international court? He is not a leader of any country. His organisation is recognised as a terrorist entity causing death and destruction to any country who opposed his radical views.
Frankly, if I knew Osama was living in a cave somewhere in the Afghan desert. Nuke it. Just nuke the place.
And if Dennis Kucinich wants to hold people accountable for violating international law, how about North Korea's Kim Jong-Il or Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? Since both would refuse any attempt to be tried in an international court, will Kucinich just back down in order to keep the peace appeasement alive? Or actually take action? But then again, I would not expect military action from him. I would imagine him sending an envoy and say "Go to court or else!" They will call his bluff and he will back down.
Please get off the milk crate.
The Second Vermont Republic
boston.com reports on a secession movement in Vermont.
One of these movements is headed by the Second Vermont Republic association committed to returning Vermont back to an independent republic as was the case from 1777 to 1791.
One of its architects, Thomas Naylor, stated:
"People would obviously relish coming to the Republic of Vermont, the Switzerland of North America," he said. "Christ, you couldn't keep them away."
Hey Hillary, how do you spell "Tomorrow?"
Of course, the other politician with a spelling mistake was Former Vice-President Dan Quayle for misspelling "potato."
$516,348 per US household
If we use current corporate modern accounting, our US federal government would owe a record $59.1 TRILLION in liabilities. This include unfunded promises for Medicare, Social Security, and federal retirement programs which account for 85% of taxpayer liabilities.
Anyway, if we just count for the 2006-07 fiscal period for our wonderous central government, we would have recorded a loss of $1.3 trillion dollars, not the official $248 billion deficit.
Togetherism, not Individualism
Yes, Presidential Hillary Rodham Clinton wants to replace the so-called "on your own" society with one based on shared responsiblity and prosperity. No more "ownership society" as touted by President Bush. Clinton wants a "we're all in it together" society.
Yes, we can grow in this country, but we must do it fairly. Then she uses the great opportunity slogan combined with special privileges for none. So if you do a better job with yourself than everyone else, you will get penalised.
Then she calls for free markets but includes that we must promote our values, protect the workers, and give all people a chance to succeed. But aren't we doing that right now? You want to give the less fortunate a better chance, but for the ones that do good, they don't get anything?
Sam Waterson of Law and Order Joins Unity 08
DNC not using Fox News for their debates
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) has officially announced the dates for their six sanctioned debates. CNN and NBC get two, ABC and CBS get one each. Fox News gets nada.
July 23, 2007: YouTube/Google and CNN in Charleston, SC
August 19, 2007: ABC in Des Moines, IA
September 26, 2007: NBC News/MSNBC in Hanover, NH
October 30, 2007: NBC News/MSNBC in Philadelphia, PA
November 15, 2007: CNN in Las Vegas, NV
December 10, 2007: CBS in Los Angeles, CA
Interesting to see they're not trying any of the southern states. C'mon I want to see an actual debate, not pandering to just one side.
Democrats to change House rules to suit majority
Apparently, due to suffering embarassing defeats on their Iraq legislation, the Democratic leadership are looking into changing the current House Rules to shut out the Republican minority.
They are threatening to change the House Rules regarding the Republican right to the Motion to Recommit or the test of germaneness on the motion to recommit. This motion would return a bill to committee, thereby killing it. A motion to recommit with instructions is a last opportunity to amend the bill.
The minority usually receive priority of recognition for offering motions to recommit. The Democrats did this when the Republicans were in the majority.
I guess Pelosi's promise of treating Republicans with an equal say on the floor was pretty much a lie. I would thought that Democrats would change the cycle of the political parties stabbing each other when one takes control from the other. This rule change to the germaneness clause would be the first since 1822.
Republicans are staging a protest by calling procedural motions every half hour.
Bring it on. We all love a do-nothing House of Representatives.
Oh yea, remember what they said in December 2006...
“[W]e promised the American people that we would have the most honest and most open government and we will.” (Nancy Pelosi press stakeout, December 6, 2006)
“We intend to have a Rules Committee ... that gives opposition voices and alternative proposals the ability to be heard and considered on the floor of the House.” (Steny Hoyer in CongressDaily PM, December 5, 2006)
Could Mayor Bloomberg's Possible Presidential Run Change Our Political Landscape?
Reports have shown that New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is prepared to spend about $1 billion of his own $5.5 billion personal fortune for a third-party presidential campaign. The mayor has told close personal friends and associates that he will make a third-party run if he thinks he can influence the national debate.
Former Federal Election Commission Chairman Michael Toner:
"Bloomberg is H. Ross Perot on steroids."
Republicans are worried that Bloomberg could split the Republican vote and allow the Democratic presidential candidate win the election.
But could a substantial percentage of the voting populace choose to vote for a third-party candidate? Such a thing would shock the two-major political party landscape. With more money than either Democratic or Republican candidate, Bloomberg would not have any problem getting his name on the ballot in all 50 states.
Imagine voting for a third-party candidate that takes the "best" from each side. Hmm, curious... Perhaps the Unity 08 campaign may have found a banner leader.
Washington Times - Bloomberg poised for third-party campaign
Barack Obama's Campaign bullies a fellow MySpace supporter
Joe Anthony has been a fervent Obama supporter and helped established the Barack Obama MySpace Blog. For two and a half years, it run by this one dedicated individual. When Barack Obama's campaign started to go into full swing, they worked out an arragement where Joe and the campaign team would coordinate the content.
As the site grew in popularity, the Obama campaign became concerned about an outsider having control of the content and responses going out under Obama's name and told Anthony to turn it over.
Because of Joe's hard work, there were over 160,000 friends connected with the MySpace blog. It is probably true not all 160,000 are fanatical supporters, but at least they are there to support his candidacy. The Obama campaign refused to even consider paying for taking over Joe's site, and asked MySpace to turn the page over to them.
MySpace reluctantly stepped in to settle the dispute and decided that Obama should have the rights to control http://www.myspace.com/barackobama as of Monday night, while Anthony had the right to take the contact information for all the friends who signed up while he was in control. That includes the right to tell them exactly how he feels about the Obama campaign.
So instead of 160,000 friends, Obama's campaign had to start back from scratch and has amassed about 19,000 by today.
As for Joe Anthony, he felt he was "bullied" in giving up his Obama profile. He accuses the campaign of seizing control of his profile without his consent.
Because of all of this, Barack Obama has lost Joe Anthony's vote.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Actually, it would have been better to have an unofficial fan site for Barack Obama because you have real people out there who do support the candidate and they want to help out. Making it all official tends to lessen the "truth" that can be displayed out there. I think the campaign team did a poor job in resolving the problem, resorting to using other means to take control of Joe's MySpace profile. Seeking monetary compensation is not extortion. Joe has been working on that page for 2 1/2 years and probably did a heck of a job given his efforts. C'mon, who else can garner over 160,000 friends. Yes, he was a supporter and a volunteer, but the way he was treated by the campaign staff was rude. Asking for money was a test to see what would be their reaction. Besides, they did ask Joe how much he wanted for it. We would at least expect a bit of a compromise but instead the campaign went directly to MySpace and implicitly stated that Joe may "damage" Obama's name with his myspace profile.
The Obama campaign team gave conflicting answers and I think they were trying to screw Joe over and convince MySpace that he was the bad guy, not them.
What a shame!
Bush actually demanded a timetable for Kosovo in 1999
Then Governor Bush of Texas criticized President Clinton for not having a exit strategy for leaving Kosovo
“I would strongly urge that if there are U.S. troops involved, they be under U.S. command or NATO command,” Bush said Thursday. “I think it’s also important for the president to lay out a timetable as to how long they will be involved and when they will be withdrawn. If there needs to be a residual force, it is important that over time U.S. troops are withdrawn and our European allies carry the majority of the load.”
Jon Stewart knows it
Too bad we do not have more Jon Stewart's in this country
Using Impeachment to force compromise
Congressman John P. Murtha of Pennsylvania "suggested" that impeachment should be used to "influence" the President or should I say force the President to compromise on the Iraq & Afghanistan war funding bill.
A President vetoing a bill does not merit impeachment. In fact, Congress can override the veto with a two-thirds majority, but ALAS, the Democrats do not have the votes to sustain that.
Excerpted Transcript of Murtha with Bob Schieffer on Face the Nation:
BOB SCHIEFFER: Are you seriously talking about contemplating an impeachment of this President?
MURTHA: What I’m saying is there are four ways to influence a President.
SCHIEFFER: — and that’s one of them?
MURTHA: [unintelligible] and the fourth one is –
SCHIEFFER: — that’s an option that’s on the table?
MURTHA: I’m just saying that’s one way to influence the President
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
First, impeachment over a veto bill is groundless and would not even survive in the Senate.
Second, the American people are not in the mood to watch an impeachment proceeding.
Third, there is a lot of other pressing legislation that needs to be passed. If the Democrats continue to clash with Bush on the war funding bill for months, they will lose support.
The Defeatocrats by MM
Getting Al Sharpton's blessing
The Sharpton primary has become a must-see stop for most, if not all Democratic presidential contenders.
So far this week, John Edwards, Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, and Chairman Howard Dean will be attending.
As far as we can tell, Sharpton is well known for glorifying racial tensions. While in some cases, he may have been helpful, but three events showed that he may have done too much.
1) 1988 Tawana Brawley - Sharpton was a spokesman for Brawley, a black teenager whose claim of kidnapping and rape at the hands of six white police officers was dismissed after a grand jury determined their was no evidence to support it. No apology from Sharpton.
2) 2006 Duke Lacrosse case - Turns out the three Duke players were innocent after all. No apology from Sharpton.
3) Imus - A lynching attack by Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and other groups for something that hip-hop and rap artists love to say everyday.
And guess what... to avoid being labelled a hypocrite, Al Sharpton has "suspended" plans to honor the head of Island Def Jam Music Group.
A lot of great and controversial things we are going to get from this person.
A change of plan for Kerry, I hope not
Flip-flop Senator John Kerry may change his mind in running for the 2008 presidential campaign. He left the door open during a book signing in Denver and in an interview with a local NBC news station.
Even if he tries, he will fail again.
Again, he will tout his military experience in Vietnam, but his foreign policy and defense issues showed he voted against US defensive and offensive measures in the Cold War, against fighting in the first Gulf war, and against funding the second Gulf War.
He accused his fellow Vietnam veterans of widespread atrocities. Thus many vets -- Democrats, Republicans, and Independents would be quite infuriated by his political hyperbole.
So how can Kerry run a second time and convince the American people that he would make a good President.
Besides all of that, how can we forget his infamous quote:
“I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it.”
Obama & Edwards withdraw from FoxNews debate
On Friday, John Edwards announced that he would skip the debate, sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus and Fox News.
Today, Barack Obama announced he will not attend the September presidential primary debate. This basically dooms the event.
Of course, the Obama campaign will participate in the six officially-sanctioned Democratic National Committee debates, whose existence provided candidates a measure of cover to drop out of the Fox-sponsored debate.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
It's strange enough to see both candidates drop out of an event that has been sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus!!! Alright, the Democrats and liberal grassroots point out that Fox News has a right-wing bias. All right, I can sorta agreed with that, but I can also argue that CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times have a liberal bent. Or are you telling me that they are "balanced and viewpoint-neutral?"
The continuing reasoning that Fox News is not a "legitmate" news service just tells me that they are too chicken to face hard and thought-provoking questions.
The Democratic candidates want a controlled debate environment where they get asked the easy questions. A town hall meeting with real people... get real...it's a bunch of political operatives holding approved question cards.
Are Edwards and Obama afraid?
Update Apr 10
Hillary dropped out too. How bout her, Edwards, and Obama skipped all the debates and just get ready for the primaries?
Bush more likely to issue recess appointments
On Wednesday, President Bush took advantage of the congressional recess to appoint Andrew Biggs, an advocate of private accounts for social security, to serve as deputy commissioner of the Social Security Administration.
His nomination to the post stalled in the Senate Finance Committee. Chairman Max Baucus (D-Montana) questioned it because of his involvement in Bush's 2005 proposal to carve out a portion of workers' Social Security payroll taxes to private investment accounts.
* * * * * * * * * *
Bush also appointed Republican fundraiser Sam Fox as U.S. Ambassador to Belgium. His nomination to the post stalled in the Senate because of his alleged connection to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. Knowing that Fox did not have the votes for Senate confirmation, Bush withdrew his nomination last month. Yet on Wednesday, with Congress out on holiday, the president used his recess appointment privilege to appoint Fox.
* * * * * * * * * *
Bush did a third one by appointing Susan E. Dudley as administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), a powerful position that involves review of regulations from major federal agencies.
* * * * * * * * * *
Last, he appointed Carol Waller Pope, a Democrat, to be a member of the Federal Labor Relations Authority. She was actually appointed to the board back in 2000 and served until her term expired last year. Her appointment was sorely needed since it would leave only two members, both Republican.
* * * * * * * * * *
As such, all these people will remain in those positions until the end of the next session of Congress, basically till the end of the Bush presidency.
Remember Ross Perot?
One of his answers in the 1992 presidential debate, back when his Reform Party was actually doing well in the polls, allowing him to participate.
New York Passes Barely Read Budget
It must have been an April Fools' joke. New York lawmakers passed an estimated $120.9 billion state budget Sunday morning. How many of them knew the summary details of the budget? Maybe less than half. How many have a good knowledge of the state budget that was passed? Very few.
How long was the debate? Pretty short. Was it basically a "smoking pipe" meeting between Spitzer, Sheldon, and Bruno? Yep.
Ignoring the federal debt cannot continue
The Comptroller General of the United States, David M. Walker, has been embarking on a campaign across the country, educating the public on the dangers of increasing federal debt.
Walker heads the General Accountability Office (GAO), and has visited college campuses, spoken to lawmakers in Washington, and toured 19 states in the last year and a half.
"If [the candidates] don't make [the debt] one of their top three priorities, in my opinion, they don't deserve to be president and we can't afford for them to be president," he told CNN.
The federal debt has soared during the last two decades -- from $2.13 trillion in 1986 to $5.22 trillion in 1996 and $8.51 trillion in 2006.
The federal debt now stands near $9 trillion.
He has also warned that if Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare are not reformed, expect an additional debt of $50 trillion during the next 20 years. Thus, a balanced budget would cease to exist for the considerable future.
Why is no one worried? Because interest rates are low. According to Christian Weller, senior economist at the Center for American Progress, "The budget deficit brought in all of this foreign cash, and that foreign cash basically washed into the credit market, [making] it easier for homeowners and for others to borrow money."
Alright, that's good, but can this last forever? Of course not. Would we expect countries like China and Japan to continue to buy up U.S. Treasury bills and bonds? Some may believe so because they do not want to see a U.S. economic collapse which would also severely hurt the international economy. Yet, some countries may not care about that. Both China and Japan hold vast reserves of foreign currency. Some would like to see a third-rate U.S. instead.
In any case, we cannot continue to have massive federal deficits. Everytime the national debt goes up, so does the interest on it. Over $400 billion of our federal budget was for the interest last year. Reform must be done on the three entitlement programs now to avoid financial disaster. Once that has been accomplished, we must focus on eliminating pork projects, inefficient programs, and better tax enforcement.
So far Democrats and Republicans have no concrete plans to offer for reforming our entitlement programs. The AARP refuses to consider any changes and are "willing" to let our children live in a bankruptcy world. Massive tax cuts are a thing of the past. So goes for massive tax increases. I am sure that substantial amounts of political capital must be spent to help keep our financial future intact.
EdmondSun.com - A trillion here, a trillion there
Sun-Sentinel.com - National Debt
Daily Reckoning - National Debt? It's Just 450 Billion Twenties
Salt Lake Tribune - Government needs to clean closets
The Conservative Voice - Goliath Debt Strangling U.S. Future
Again, Senate Democrats Insert Pork into War Emergency Bill
What is the best way to force the President to sign a bill he so desperately wants, but cannot veto it because it will upset American voters? Attach some pork!
Again, in the Senate, the political party in charge, using the same tactics, have attached more than $20 BILLION in pork-related projects to the "emergency" war spending bill. It was supposed to be $102 billion for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, but Democrats have added $14 billion for Hurricane Katrina aid and more than $4 billion for "emergency farm relief."
This compares with the House Democrats putting at least $21 billion for spinach growers, peanut storage, and citrus farmers, and other pork-related projects.
Republican Senator Coburn
"Maybe this is what Democrats mean by ‘phased redeployment."
Senate Appropriations Chairman Robert Byrd, D-W.Va.,
It is "common sense and good economics. Funding for the war is not the only critical need worthy of the supplemental spending." The war "must not obliterate every other concern."
If these are really critical projects that needed "emergency" funding, why include $100 MILLION for the Democratic and Republican party conventions? Of course, people would realised that this line item can be found under the section, "Katrina recovery, veterans' care, and for other purposes." Hmm, I guess conventions fall under "for other purposes."
And for some reason, the Capitol's guided-tour program needed $3.5 million in emergency funds, and somehow Nevada needed $20 million for infestation control. Are cockroaches invading Las Vegas? Ask Senator Harry Reid.
Better yet, there's a line item giving emergency funds for Christmas trees. Are they becoming extinct???
How can Democrats equate $24 million for sugar beets growers and $95 million for dairy producers with providing troops with needed ammo and body armour?
Oh wait... it's an emergency. Seems to me that the word "emergency" should be re-defined as "essential pork."
Hillary Clinton makes up excuses
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton dismissed any comparison between the firing last fall of eight U.S. attorneys with the replacement of 93 U.S. attorneys when her husband became president in 1993.
Her response: "That's a traditional prerogative of an incoming president."
But she said: "They should be given broad latitude to enforce the law as they see fit."
She also said: "I think one of the hallmarks of our democracy is we have a devotion to the rule of law."
So then we should expect all the Supreme Court justices to step down when a new President is sworn in. Or how about dismissing all 180+ ambassadors? Certainly, the President-elect wants to appoint his/her own people to those positions to maintain stability and loyalty.
Of course, she did concede the fact that she may likely dismiss all U.S. attorneys appointed by President Bush if she is elected to the presidency in 2008. Her excuse for that? She falls upon the usual reason that it is a traditional step in which presidents appoint prosecutors of their own party. She goes on to argue that Bush's dismissal of eight U.S. attorneys was an attempt to shift the balance of power towards the executive branch.
Any attempt to appoint political loyalists to federal positions of prosecutoral power is not promoting the enforcement of just law and due process. Such an attempt should be considered a step to enforcing the law based on the political party's interpretation.
I cannot deny the fact the president can dismiss an appointee at will, but when Mrs. Clinton talks about tradition, it should be known that Attorney General Janet Reno under former President Bill Clinton moved away from that tradition to dismiss all 93 attorney generals when they took office. Before this, Bush Sr., Ronald Reagan, and Jimmy Carter, for example, never took such an action.
By dismissing all attorney generals, it causes a shakeup in the current federal investigations, and causes unnecessary suspicion when such investigations are covering politicians or influential people.
How can we resolve this? Such a position should be similar to the Comptroller General. Such a person is appointed to a 15-year term which guaranteees the person's protection against a change in administration and/or political party. The current appointee, David M. Walker, was selected by Bill Clinton, and he has continued to serve in that position under President Bush. His term ends in 2013.
I could wonder if Hillary wins the presidency, would she fire Walker?
In any case, her reasons are purely political, and I think making up excuses for her husband's actions does not cut it.
No hotline between Beijing and Washington
It would be nice to have a red phone to Beijing. Just in case if you want to smooth out any misunderstandings.
Baghdad "As Safe" as Detroit
Republican congressman Tim Walberg of Tipton was quoted:
The returning troops he has talked with "indicate to me that 80 to 85 percent, in a conservative fashion, of (Iraq) is reasonably under control, at least as well as Detroit or Chicago or any of our other big cities. That's an encouraging sign."
In that case, I should expect a few suicide attacks, some public mall bombings, a couple of craters along the highway. Maybe one of the skyscrapers on fire.
Maybe he was watching too much Robocop.
Different Party, Same Tactics
When Democrats were in the minority, they criticised Republican tactics on the House floor especially on the way the GOP like to hold vote longer than the alloted time in order to round up enough support for victory.
Now in the majority and facing their first close vote with the $124 billion wartime spending bill, House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) is leaving open the possibility that Democrats might extend the vote beyond the usual 15 minutes.
So Hoyer should remember his press release on July 8, 2004:
He railed against GOP leaders for extending a 15-minute vote to 38 minutes in order to defeat a spending amendment offered by former Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
"House Republican leaders proved once again today that they will stop at virtually nothing to win a vote, even if that means running roughshod over the most basic principles of democracy such as letting members vote their conscience and calling the vote after the allotted time has elapsed," Hoyer said.
"They ought to be ashamed of themselves, but when it comes to holding votes open and twisting the arms of their own members they clearly have no shame,’’ he went on. “These back-alley tactics have no place in the greatest deliberative body in the world. They might be the lifeblood of the tin-horn dictator, but not a world leader. It's an embarrassment.”
Cowardly vandals hit Congressman's office because of war stance
Republican Congressman Mike Rogers of Michigan's 8th District got a scare last night when his Lansing office was severely vandalised.
Two security cameras were destroyed, the building was spray painted.
WXYS 7 Station reported that the vandals also spread red paint all over the 8th congressional district sign in front of the building, as well as on a sign that says "We Support Our Troops."
They also put a sign on one of the buildings windows that says Congressman Rogers has "blood on his hands."
Pictures of the vandalised office
Chief of Staff Andy Keiser Statement
"It is unfortunate that a few criminals decided to attack the 8th District Congressional office in the middle of the night. This is an office which provides mid-Michigan citizens with assistance regarding Social Security, Medicare, the IRS, Veterans Affairs and other federal agencies."
"The aggressive destruction of federal property and vandalism was a callous attempt to intimidate Congressman Rogers and his staff."
"We all are entitled to our own opinion on the situation in Iraq but we are not entitled to destruction of taxpayer property and intimidation of federal officials. With an office in Lansing, regular office hours throughout the district, rapid response to constituent concerns and a 24-hour online office, Congressman Rogers prides himself on his constituent service and ensuring all voices are heard. Despite this vicious attack last night, the office continues to serve constituents today and we encourage folks to continue calling the Congressman for assistance, appointments and other information they may need."
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We all have the right to protest decisions, but violence does not solve the problem. These actions committed by these vandals were cowardly acts and I hope they are found, arrested, and punished to the full extent of the law.
These acts are to intimidate and instill fear into Mike Rogers and his staff. If people are willing to tolerate this, it could lead to acts of violence against Mike Rogers and his family. Already, his home is under police guard.
Should protests reach a personal level? Is it right for protestors to camp outside of the politician's home, and harass him/her and the family wherever they go? Why have we brought ourselves to that level?
The case is being handled by the FBI, the US Capitol Police, and Lansing Police.
Despite progress, Iraq misses target dates
In his remarks from the White House yesterday, Bush credited Iraqis with deploying 10 army brigades and nine national police brigades to the capital, and al-Maliki's Shiite-led government for allowing U.S. troops to go after Shiite militias as well as Sunni insurgents. He said the security push had already uncovered large caches of weapons and destroyed two major car bomb factories on the outskirts of Baghdad.
He also praised al-Maliki's government for making progress on a law establishing how oil revenue would be shared among the Iraqi people and on a promise of $10 billion in Iraqi money spent on reconstruction.
What he didn't say was that Iraq missed the Dec. 31 target dates to enact the oil law, as well as laws establishing provincial elections and reversing measures that have excluded many Sunnis from jobs and government positions because they belonged to Saddam's Baath party. The U.S. is also pushing for constitutional amendments to remove articles that the Sunnis believe discriminate in favor of the Shiites and Kurds.
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So how much flexibility are we going to give to al-Maliki's government? If they continue to miss deadline after deadline, it hurts our credibility.
Democrats resort to bribery in emergency funding bill
I do not care whether it's essential relief or assistance, it's an attempt to bribe our elected representatives to vote for a war funding bill.
House Democratic leaders knew it will be difficult to pass the $124 billion war funding bill, so they decided to attach numerous riders consisting of billions in federal funds for drought relief, agriculture assistance, levee reinforcement, and other pork projects.
At least a few Republicans and conservative Democrats who otherwise would vote "no" remain undecided, as they ponder whether they can leave on the table millions of dollars for constituents by opposing the $124 billion war funding bill due for a vote on Thursday.
Domestic spending in the bill reflects the pent-up demand from lawmakers who last year could not win funding for programs that had bipartisan support such as disaster assistance.
Can people say bullsh*t? What a lame excuse. If these domestic spending allocations are that important, why attach it as a rider to the emergency war funding legislation? Why can't it be introduced as a separate bill?
White House Response:
Denounced what it called "excessive and extraneous non-emergency spending." The statement dismissed provisions of the bill as "unconscionable," and said it "would place freedom and democracy in Iraq at grave risk" and "embolden our enemies."
Some examples of bribery:
For Rep. Sam Farr (D-Calif.), there is $25 million for spinach growers hurt by last year's E. coli scare.
For three conservative Democrats in Georgia, there is $75 million for peanut storage.
For lawmakers from the bone-dry West, there is $500 million for wildfire suppression.
An additional $120 million is earmarked for shrimp and Atlantic menhaden fishermen.
For more than a year, Rep. Charles Boustany Jr. (R) has tried unsuccessfully to secure federal funds to prevent salt water from intruding on rice fields in his lowland Louisiana district. So it came as a surprise last week when Boustany found $15 million in the House's huge war spending bill for his rice farmers. He hadn't even asked that the bill include it.
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Please, tell me this isn't vote-buying. It puts every elected representative in a difficult position because if they vote no on the war funding bill, they will be voting against drought relief and food assistance. Kinda reminds me of the movie "Smith goes to Washington."
Do I smell pork in that emergency bill?
What's the best way to spend wasteful money? Attach them as a rider to President Bush's request for "emergency" spending on Iraq and Afghanistan. Bush requested $105 billion. Congress is going to pass $124 billion. So what's the extra $19-20 billion in the bill?
Some examples... $74 million for peanut storage, $25 million for spinach growers, $100 million for citrus growers, $16 million to convert an old FDA building into more office space.
I thought Democrats were supposed to submit these projects through the normal appropriation process. Are these expenditures really critical?
Democratic House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer:
"We have provided all of the money the president requested- and more."
In response to Republican critics:
"They are a strange group to talk about buying votes," Hoyer chuckled. "This is the crowd that took pork barrel spending to new levels of irresponsibility."
So he's saying that Democrats are less worse?
I am guessing Democrats are not counting the money as part of their projected 2008 budget plans. Hey, if we do not count the emergency bills, the deficit is decreasing! Rubbish!
Different party, same face.
Ralph Nader to run if Hillary wins Democratic nomination
Former presidential candidate Ralph Nader may consider jumping into the 2008 race if Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) wins the Democratic Party nomination.
According to Nader, Hillary has "no political fortitude."
"Flatters, panders, coasting, front-runner, looking for a coronation, not taking on the huge waste in the military budget as a member of the armed services commission, never going after the corporate crimes against pensions, against workers. ... She has no political fortitude.''
FOX News Poll indicates 76 percent voters said they would never vote for Nader, while 44 percent said they would never cast a vote for Clinton.
Nader made an unsuccessful bid for president as the Green Party candidate in 2000, gaining more than 2.7 percent of the national popular vote. He gained less than one-half of 1 percent during a second run in 2004.
Also, in a CNN interview with Wolf Blitzer:
“I'm committed to trying to give more voices and choices to the American people on the ballot. That means more third parties, independent candidates and to break up this two-party elected dictatorship that is becoming more and more like a dial for the same corporate dollars.”
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I say bring it on. Democrats have always accused Nader of their loss in the presidential election in 2000. A third-party is only helpful if it causes the loss of the other major party in our electoral process. Democrats will say Gore lost because of Nader (a pretty much whining excuse). Republicans would blame Perot for Bush Sr. losing to Clinton back in 1992.
Also, it is time for people to understand there are more options available besides the Democrats and Republicans. The presidential debates will be even more interesting if at least one third-party candidate can garner more than 10 percent of the opinion polls like Perot.
I do not know if Nader can do it again if he runs in 2008. But you cannot doubt that he will win votes because he is an anti-establishment candidate. If the Green and Reform parties are allied with each other for the next election, expect some fun!
Jan Schaefer - Failed Audition in being a victim
Chaos at a Tuesday night City Council meeting in Carson, California, was caught on videotape. The tape shows Vera Robles Dewitt, a former councilmember leading an effort to recall Mayor Jim Dear, hitting Commissioner Jan Schaefer on the head with some papers. After being struck, "Schaefer waited a beat or two, then let out a blood-curdling shriek and rolled onto the floor in apparent agony," according to Daily Breeze newspaper.
Number 1 - 2.5
Number 2 - 3.0
Number 3 - 1.5
Number 4 - 8.0, I liked it, it was almost like the commerical "I've fallen, and I can't get up"
Al Franken running for Senate
Election 2008 is over!
Yes, Republican presidential nominee Rudy Guiliani defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton for the 2008 election. The win was guaranteed after California and Florida declared their electoral votes for Guilani yesterday pushing his electoral vote total past 270.
It has been announced by the FEC that the 2012 election will be held three years earlier. Better yet, the Ohio State legislature has announced that the results for the next 10 years will be decided next week.
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On Tuesday, the California Senate voted to move the state's presidential primary from June to February. It is expected to be heard in the Assembly next week and to pass easily. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has said he will sign it. Legislation similar to California's is pending in Illinois, Texas, Florida, and New Jersey.
It seems the traditional starting race of face-to-face persuasion in New Hampshire and Iowa are no longer important to other states who are determined to become more influential in the primary elections and caucuses.
For California, they do not want the state to be a cash machine for presidential candidates who raise money here but don't stick around to discuss issues of keen concern. According to the sponsor, state Sen. Ron Calderon (D-Montebello), he said, "California is the biggest, most influential state in the nation, yet its current June presidential primary virtually ensures that the major party nominees will be determined before our votes are cast."
Is California jealous? The state has 55 electoral votes, followed by Texas with 34, New York with 31, and Florida with 27. It does play an important part in the main presidential election in 2008, but it seems it wants to grab a bigger piece of the decision pie on electing the final candidates themselves.
Perhaps it would be nice for the rest of us. Let's get the final candidates decided by March. All of us will get sick and tired of hearing the many candidates from each political party trying to convince us that he or she is the right person for the job.
Different Party, Same Tactics
House Republicans assailed Democrats Tuesday for barring them from offering their own Iraq resolution during this week's landmark war debate, accusing them of stifling votes on a vital issue.
Determined to send an unambiguous and bipartisan message of disapproval for President Bush's troop surge, Democrats moved Monday night to block Republicans from proposing any alternative, including one that would have guaranteed funding for U.S. forces in Iraq.
All I can say is that the anti-war group is hijacking the Democratic party platform.
Of course, how can I trust Democrats if they are not willing to let the minority offer alternative legislation? You can say that the Republicans were bad during their 12-year stint in charge, but a party needs to change to show the American people that this time it's different.
Suddenly, the need for a third-party is more urgent.
Senator Boxer Attacks Sec State Rice
Sen. Barbara Boxer verbally attacked Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Capitol Hill yesterday during a heated line of questioning with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee looking into Iraq policies.
"Who pays the price? I'm not going to pay a personal price. My kids are too old and my grandchild is too young," Boxer said. "You're not going to pay a particular price, as I understand it, with an immediate family. So who pays the price? The American military and their families."
Apparently, it was to suggest that since Rice did not have any kids or a husband, she did not understand the concerns of military families that do have them.
White House Press Secretary Tony Snow:
"I don't know if she was intentionally that tacky, but I do think it's outrageous. Here you got a professional woman, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and Barbara Boxer is sort of throwing little jabs because Condi doesn't have children, as if that means that she doesn't understand the concerns of parents. Great leap backward for feminism."
Boxer released a statement:
"I spoke the truth at the committee hearing, which is that neither Secretary Rice nor I have family members that will pay the price for this escalation. My point was to focus attention on our military families who continue to sacrifice because this Administration has not developed a political solution to the situation in Iraq."
Secretary Rice kept her cool during questioning:
"And let me just say, I fully understand the sacrifice that the American people are making, and especially the sacrifice that our soldiers are making, men and women in uniform. I visit them. I know what they're going through. I talk to their families. I see it," Rice said.
Boxer shot back:
"Madam Secretary, please, I know you feel terrible about it. "That's not the point. I was making the case as to who pays the price for your decisions."
Should we pay for war instead of borrowing for it?
Believe it or not, winning the war in Iraq was never the Bush administration's highest priority. Saving its tax cuts was more important. That was once spoken of as a moral problem. Now it's a practical barrier to a successful outcome.
Until recently President Bush's refusal to scale back any of his tax cuts was discussed as the question of shared sacrifice: How could we ask so much from a courageous group of Americans fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan but not ask even the wealthiest of their fellow citizens to part with a few extra dollars to support an endeavor supposedly central to our nation's security? On the contrary, even after we committed to war in Iraq, the administration pushed for yet more tax cuts in dividends and capital gains.
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I still find the reasoning that cutting taxes and increasing military spending lacking. Bush wants to spend another $100 billion in special war funding for Afghanistan and Iraq. This is another $100 billion that we need to borrow, and no politician wants to raise taxes to pay for it. Is there something wrong with us? If we want to go to war, we have to bloody pay for it, not borrow!!! So basically, we have spent over $400 billion on credit for the war on terror. Can we still afford to keep on doing this?
Corrupt Jefferson to be kept off Ways and Means
House Democrats, insistent that they will hold lawmakers to higher standards, decided Tuesday that Rep. William Jefferson will not return to an influential committee until a federal corruption investigation involving him is completed.
The Democratic Steering Committee has decided that Jefferson, who won his runoff election on Saturday, will not be given back his spot on the Ways and Means Committee, the panel that determines tax and trade policies.
Of course, the whole Democratic Caucus must vote on the decision of the Steering Committee. Obviously, I would expect most of the Black Congressional Caucus to vote against it.
It's unsure whether Jefferson would still hold his other committee seat on the House Budget Committee.
Jefferson’s allies are concerned that he might not be appointed to any committee or that he could be isolated from working on issues related to Hurricane Katrina if he were to be appointed to the International Relations, Government Reform, Veterans Affairs or Judiciary committees.
Well, first, he can rely on his other colleagues on the Ways and Means Committee to further his goals of helping his constituents on issues related with Katrina. He is still under investigation and should not be involved until the process has been completed.
The Hill - Jefferson kept off ways and means seat
Outgoing McKinney introduces Bush impeachment bill
It would seem that Georgia Rep. Cynthia McKinney wants to milk her "15 minutes of fame" by introducing a bill to impeach President Bush. We all remember her as the Democratic congresswoman who struck a Capitol police officer in March and used her race as an excuse for the fracas. She continually voiced her position that Bush was not legitimately elected and that he violated his constitutional oath.
First, she would not be returning back to Congress in January, having lost in the primary race. Second, the legislation has no chance of passing, but is used as a parting shot at the incoming Democratic leadership since they do not want to entertain any motion that would sanction Bush and cause further distraction.
Obviously, the few numbers that would support such a bill would be the most liberal members of the Democratic Party, namely the peaceniks and socialists that want to register their continued opposition to the President. In the bill, it accuses Bush for misleading Congress on the Iraq War and violating privacy laws with his domestic spying program.
Will she disappear quietly? Probably not. She has longed given September 11 conspiracy theorists ammunition by suggesting that the Bush administration had prior knowledge of the terrorist attacks as well as involvement in the murder of rapper Tupac Shakur. She would probably be on a couple of talk shows or maybe head up some sort of peace think-tank group.
McKinney's efforts are a waste of time for everyone.
Good bye and don't come back!
They're not hungry, they have "Low Food Security"
The U.S. government has the audacity to tweak its own terminology and declare that all Americans in our country are not "hungry" anymore. Instead of referring nearly 11 million Americans who face a constant struggle with hunger, the government has classifed them as people with "very low food security."
This month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that 35 million Americans had difficulty feed themselves in 2005 and of those some 10.8 million went hungry.
Last year's report labeled families who don't get enough to eat as having "food insecurity with hunger."
This year's report has now labeled those same families as having "very low food security."
Supposedly the National Academies, which advises the government on science and medical issues, recommended the change.
Shame on them! Shame on the people who are trying to re-word or trying to skew phrases with different semantics.
Democrat Rangel to Pursue Draft
(Thanks to Stubborn Facts - Photoshop Image)
Before 2004, he introduced a bill to reinstate the draft. Even though the legislation was already doomed at the start, Rangel wanted to point out that President Bush would try to do this after the election. Of course there was no relevant proof that this was actually considered by the administration.
Of course, he would suggest it was a "double-secret" plan to draft poor people for Bush's war.
Now, in a Washington Post article, Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) will introduce a military draft when the Democrats take over the Congress in January. His reasoning? To deter politicians from launching wars and to bolster U.S. troop levels insufficient to cover potential future action in Iran, North Korea, and Iraq.
"There's no question in my mind that this president and this administration would never have invaded Iraq, especially on the flimsy evidence that was presented to the Congress, if indeed we had a draft and members of Congress and the administration thought that their kids from their communities would be placed in harm's way."
So if we had a draft, we won't go to war??? We had the draft before and went to war in Korea and Vietnam.
Do we really have a manpower crisis? Recruiting levels have been ok so far this year. The active duty Army have met its retention goal for 2006. Check the figures available from the DoD.
Our active military forces is around 1.4 million troops, plus another 1.25 million in reserve. We are talking a bit under 3 million troops. Does this show we have a manpower issue? I would have thought it is more with logistics and equipment, not men.
Rangel says the draft will have "young people commit themselves to a couple of years in service to this great republic, whether it's our seaports, our airports, in schools, in hospitals," with a promise of educational benefits at the end of service.
Yet Michelle Malkin counters with organisations such as National Health Service Corps, AmeriCorps, National Civilian Community Corps, VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America), and Citizen Corps Councils/Fire Corps/Medical Reserve Corps.
The Democrats have made all of us fearful that Bush would reinstate the draft and send us to Iraq. Yet, Rangel, a Democrat and incoming chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee is pushing for this draft.
So who is playing the fear-monger?
This draft bill is unnecessary and accomplishes nothing for the American people.
The Democrat House leadership has stated that the "draft bill" is not on their agenda come January.
Harman should be House Intelligence Chair not Hastings
It should be obvious to the American people that California Rep. Jane Harman should be chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. Yet because he sided with House Republicans, Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi does not want to give him the job.
Her pick is not-so-ethical Florida Rep. Alcee Hastings. Even though he was guilty of impeachable offenses as a federal judge in Florida, he won a seat in the House from Florida's 23rd District in 1992.
Regardless of his past impeachment charges, he is backed by the Black Congressional Caucus to be chair of the Intelligence Committee.
Yet his past misconduct as a judge indicates he is not very good in keeping certain confidential information secret.
Are we truly safe in having this representative as Intelligence Chair? Yet the CBC wants him on it.
Will Pelosi give in just to keep her support among the black Democrats? Or will she reverse herself, and keep Harman? Unfortunately, it will be the former.
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TIME is also concerned about appointing Hastings to chair the Intelligence Committee.
In the wake of the downfall of intelligence committee Republican Randy "Duke" Cunningham — who is in prison after being convicted for his role in a very different scandal, involving alleged seven-figure payoffs by defense contractors — the way Congress handles the Hastings saga should shine still more light on problems with how the two parties appoint and reappoint rank-and-file members of such a sensitive committee.
Harman would ideally be chair if only he did not offend Pelosi. It is unfortunate to pick Hastings just to carry favor with the Black Congressional Caucus. I understand he did a good job as a committee member, but he's got impeached as a federal job. I consider that a black spot on his record.
Hastings sent a five-page letter out to all House Democrats detailing why the charges against him are false. He rails against journalists and pundits who've covered the allegations against him as ill-informed and too keen to attribute the House's impeachment and Senate's conviction of him as proof enough.
Let's re-focused here. Hastings was impeached as a federal judge. He was found guilty of betraying his oath and duty that went with that position. Off the Thomas database, transcripts showed that Hastings agreed that the proceedings against him were fair.
He is corrupted. Therefore, he does not deserve to be nominated to chair the House Intelligence Committee.
Congressional Quarterly reports that Pelosi will not go ahead with naming Hastings as the House Intelligence Chair. She is supposed to shut down his bid late today. But Pelosi still has not decided who will get the chairmanship job.
Good job, but that position needs to be filled awfully fast. She should reverse herself and put Harman in charge.
Oh well, Pelosi won't appoint neither of them. She is looking for a compromise candidate, probably Rep. Silvestre Reyes (Tex.), but possibly Rep. Norman D. Dicks (Wash.), a hawkish member of the Appropriations defense subcommittee, or Rep. Sanford Bishop (Ga.), a conservative African American with experience on the intelligence committee.
Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus voiced disappointment (Rep. Melvin Watt of North Carolina): Hastings "would have made an outstanding Intelligence Chairman."
Pelosi tries to make amends: "Alcee Hastings has always placed national security as his highest priority," she said. "He has served our country well, and I have full confidence that he will continue to do so."
Oh please... he [Alcee] was removed from the bench. Therefore, he is disqualified from serving such a sensitive post as Intelligence Chair.
No matter if Alcee showed hundreds of pages that he was ill-treated during questioning or his subsequent acquittal by a Miami jury in 1983, let's look at the bottom line.
An investigating committee of five eminent federal judges, each with strong civil rights credentials. Those judges, and later more than three dozen others, concluded that Hastings lied to the Miami jury as many as 15 times to win acquittal. That's 15 times!
Washington Post - Hastings, Harman Rejected for Chairmanship
United States Concerned about Rising China's Military
Administration officials are worried about China become a second superpower to the United States. They cite Beijing's efforts to add submarines, missiles, fighter planes, and other high-tech weapons to its arsenal. Its People's Liberation Army (PLA) is the world's largest fighting force with 2.3 million soldiers.
Its reported military budget has increased 14 percent this year to $35.3 billion dollars, but analysts believe that China's true spending is three times that.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said "there are concerns about China's military buildup. It's sometimes seemed outsized for China's regional role."
Regional role? Has the U.S. started defining what should be the range of influence for other nations? Military planners at the Pentagon are worried that China can challenge their pre-eminence in the Pacific. Rightly so. It is quite obvious that Beijing frowns upon the American presence in South Korea and Japan, as well as their efforts to supply Taiwan with military supplies. It also does not help the fact the Australia and New Zealand are U.S. allies too.
Rice refuses to directly answer questions of whether U.S. foreign policy toward China consists of containing its military power. Instead, she praises their efforts to develop and expand their economy.
A congressional advisory panel is a bit more blunt calling for China to be a more responsible international player and that it should abandon its single-minded pursuit of its "own narrow national interests."
The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission calls on the United States to impede Chinese efforts to isolate Taiwan. It also criticised the intelligence community for not setting up an effective program to gather more detailed information about China's military buildup and development.
Some analysts have predicted that by 2025, China's navy could rule the waves of the Pacific. Chinese submarines could outnumber their U.S. counterparts by as much as five to one.
Back in March, Admiral Gary Roughead, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, commented:
I’m always asked about the Chinese threat and I say, ‘It’s not a threat,’ because you have to have two things to have a threat, and that’s capability and intent. There is no question that the PLA navy is modernizing and building its capability and is moving very quickly, but what is the intent?
Why is this a difficult question to answer? From time to time, every nation's military needs to upgrade their ships and weapon systems to make them more effective and efficient. China believes that it needs to modernise its military to counter the technology gap with the U.S. and its allies. It does not want to regard itself as a second-rate power anymore. With a $1 trillion foreign cash reserve, it has the ability to expand itself militarily.
A larger Chinese submarine fleet is ideal to counter the U.S. aircraft carrier. This will happen soon. China has already increased production to 2.5 boats per year of their Song-class diesel-electric sub. For the U.S., it hopes to return to producing two submarine boats per year no later than 2012, but it could be too late. Already, the U.S. sub fleet is in decline, and the per-unit cost of producing a sub is surpassing $2 billion dollars, impelling further cuts in the fleet.
When was the last time Representative Kucinich made headlines?
In an interview with Democracy Now's Amy Goodman, he has called for cutting all funding for the Iraq war. He said:
"We have to determine that the time has come to cut off funds. There’s enough money in the pipeline to achieve the orderly withdrawal that Senator McGovern is talking about. But cut off funds, we must. That's the ultimate power of the Congress, the power of the purse. That's how we'll end this war, and that’s the only way we’re going to end this war."
"We have to take a whole new approach. We’re spending over $400 billion a year, money that's also needed for healthcare, for education, for job creation, for seniors. We have to take a new look at this. We need to be a strong country, but strength isn't only military. Strength is also the economic strength of the people, their chance to have good neighborhoods. We spend more money than all the countries of the world put together for the military."
It is true that $400 billion is a lot, but most of it is money that the government does not have, so using it for healthcare, education, jobs, and seniors are empty promises.
Oh wait, we can solve that! A tax increase!
Earmarks: Democrats, we are watching
While it is true that earmarks cannot be completely eliminated from the federal budget, its abuse must be stopped. Yes, earmarks are responsible for groundbreaking medical, science, energy, and defense projects, but they should be set to a high standard. If an earmark is to be funded, it must be absolutely essential and fits within the federal government's limited responsibilities.
A bridge to nowhere or a project to improve bird migration is not essential and it is a example of bad fiscal ethics.
In 1991, according to the fiscal watchdog group, Citizens Against Government Waste, Congress made fewer than 600 earmarks. In 2005, the number grown to almost 14,000 - many of them inserted in bills at teh last minute, immune to review or challenge.
Most members will say that their earmarks are being justly spent, then why do they refuse to allow sponsors' names be attached to them? It would be impossible to know who authored a provision or whom it's intended to benefit.
So Speaker-to-be Pelosi plans to ask Democrats in January to approve new rules that would require every earmark to have a publicly named sponsor, require sponsors to disclose any financial interest in the earmark, and bar using earmarks to influence votes. An ethics bill she has backed would require a delay before votes on spending bills to allow time to scrutinize earmarks.
So let's hope that when the CAGW reviews the spending bills in 2007, the number of friviolous earmarks should drop drastically.
It would be nice to know what earmarks are being sponsored by Representative Stephanie T. Jones and Dennis Kucinich for their districts.
Opinion - Earmarks are efficient (USA Today)
John Kerry left out
The Senate Democrats selected Harry Reid (D-NV) as their senate majority leader for the 110th Congress that will convene in January. Charles Schumer (D-NY) will be the Vice Chair of the Conference, Patty Murray (D-WA) will be Secretary of the Conference, and Dick Durbin (D-IL) is the assistant majority leader.
Where is John Kerry? Should he have expected a leadership position because of his campaign efforts? Or is he somewhat a liability? Could this predict a lower chance of success for him to try to run for President in 2008? Clearly, Hillary Clinton (D-NY) is expected to throw her hat in the presidential race, and most would probably favor her over Kerry.
Regardless if Kerry made a bad joke in trying to link Bush with Iraq, and instead saying that uneducated people are sent over there, he has made too many mistakes. If you look over his past policy statements on the military, he is more anti than pro. He is just betting that people have a deficit attention span and just focus on what he has done recently, then what he has done in the past.
If you want to make an anti-Bush conspiracy video, make sure it is true
The one thing that annoys me is people trying to suggest there is a government conspiracy and there is evidence debunking it. How can people believe you if your conspiracy theory is proven to be a lie?
Below is a YouTube video posted by Mike McIntee alleging that the White House cropped out the "Mission Accomplished" banner when President Bush was announced an end to combat operations in Iraq. He tells everyone about the black bar at the bottom of the video and believes that the video has been doctored.
Yet another YouTube user, pudgenet, decided to check out McIntee's story. It would appear that every other video on the whitehouse.gov web site also has a black bar at the bottom of the video screeen.
Oh look! That black bar could have been a CNN, MSNBC, or FoxNews rolling banner. It would have caused some legal issues if the White House were to post those videos without permission. You can go ahead and check out the videos at the May 2003 page. Besides, I found one photo of a wide-angle view of Bush having his speech, and you can see "Mission Accomplished" banner on the tower.
It is quite interesting to note that McIntee's video has been viewed almost 200,000 times, likely due to word of mouth, and his video links posted on major blog and news sites. Yet, the video that is refuting his claim has been viewed over 21,000 times. I would not be surprised if those bloggers that have linked McIntee's video to their site, have not updated their sites with this new information.
According to Michelle Malkin, Mike McIntee is a liberal blogger from Minnesota. So it would appear that he was bored in his office, and decided to find something within the White House archives that could reveal a conspiracy of some "serious" nature.
Frankly, the "Mission Accomplished" doctored conspiracy is so weak. It does not even compare with the conspiracy theorists about the government being behind 9/11 or the missing "W" button from the computer keyboards when Bush's presidential staff were moving into the White House. At least the latter was a bit humorous.
So for Mr. McIntee, you should really update your video to respond to the evidence that your theory is false. If you are too busy removing comments from your YouTube video that suggest your theory was wrong, then your story is quite, quite, quite false.
Off the Political Wire...
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, may not see himself debating the country's position in the Security Council next year. After been given a recess appointment by Bush when the Senate was out of session, his prospects for official confirmation took a blow when outgoing Rhode Island Sen. Lincoln Chafee announced his opposition to the nomination.
Speaking for outgoing Sen. Chafee, he may consider switching parties when seeking future office. Some Republicans would not mind that.
Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman will leave his position in January. Outgoing Maryland Lt. Gov Michael S. Steele has been offered the party chief job.
Apparently, Republicans are angry at Bush for sacrificing Rumsfeld.
DNC Chair Howard Dean promises there won't be attempts to impeach President Bush.
Lieberman should act as a true independent
Sen. Joe Lieberman, who won re-election as an independent, has a message for his Senate colleagues in the next Congress: Call me a Democrat.
I really believe he should keep his "independent" credentials. Since it is obvious he will side with the Democrats to give them a 51-49 edge over the Republicans, he should use his leverage to force a more civil Senate.
Joe could be worried about not getting his seat as Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. I would rather think the Democrats would give him the chairmanship just to curry favor with him.
I do hope he will use his "independent" status to become a bipartisan senator to bridge the gap between the two political parties.
Sen. Joe Liberman has refused to slam the door on possibly moving to the Republican side of the aisle.
"I'm not ruling it out but I hope I don't get to that point," he said. "And I must say -- and with all respect to the Republicans who supported me in Connecticut -- nobody ever said, 'We're doing this because we want you to switch over. We want you to do what you think is right and good for our state and country,' and I appreciate that."
Boston.com - Lieberman refuses to close door on switching parties
I really think he should not switch but don't expect him to vote 100% with the Democrats. Even with a 51-49 majority (assuming Lieberman and the other independent, Bernard Sanders (Vermont) side with the Democrats), bipartisan issues will be the only way for legislation to get through. House Democrats should take care to recognise that.
Should Democrats Impeach the President?
With both houses of Congress now in Democratic control, will the new leaders carry out their pledge to attempt to remove President Bush from office?
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi stated in the New York Times:
“I have said it before and I will say it again: Impeachment is off the table,” Pelosi, D-Calif., said during a news conference.
Pelosi also said Democrats, despite complaining about years of unfair treatment by the majority GOP, “are not about getting even” with Republicans.
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Now, Democrats should know that before 1994, they controlled the House for 40 years. They lost 54 seats due to a series of scandals and the public's perception that the House leadership at the time was corrupt, and general dissatisfaction with Congress. During that time, they did not treat the Republican minority that well either. This year, it was the Republicans turn to suffer the same fate.
Even though most are probably pleased that the Democrats are back in control, they should know that voters wanted a change of leadership and direction, not for total revenge. Kicking the Republicans out of power was enough for that.
But the voters certainly do not want to see months of hearings on the President's conduct during the war in Iraq, torture of prisoners, and the federal response to Hurricane Katrina. Of course, we would like to have some type of investigation started, but a prolonged "witch hunt" will cast Democrats in a negative light.
We want solutions to illegal immigration, border and domestic security, the national debt and deficit, Social Security, the prescription drug bill overhaul, terrorism, and foreign leadership.
I do not want to see on CNN 24-hour coverage of hearing after hearing on why Bush sucks or what he did wrong. We have seen that already, in some degree or another. The American people are giving the Democrats a chance to do something different, and I hope that Pelosi and her close allies will temper their impeachment and hearing threats and focus on the issues.
If they fail to do so, the voters will respond in kind in 2008.
Former Brooklyn Rep. Liz Holtzman's book: "The Impeachment of George W. Bush: A Practical Guide for Concerned Citizens" is definitely unnecessary in today's political climate. Voters do not want to deal with a 2-year impeachment fiasco. Bush is not running again. People just have to deal with a lame-duck president for another 26 months.
Holtzman has said "Impeachment has to have the support of the American people."
Absolutely correct. Right now, there is no overwhelming support for it.
Allen to concede
Incumbent Virginia Senator GF Allen will concede the election at approximately 3PM EST.
With over half of the canvass votes counted, Democrat candidate JH Webb Jr has maintained a 7300 vote lead. It seems very unlikely for the totals to change to the other side.
Over the wire.... Defense Secretary Rumsfeld has resigned from his position.
Reports that Ex-CIA Chief Robert Gates will become next Defense Secretary
Congress: Democrats Sweep!
After twelve years of Republican rule in the House, Democrats have taken back control, picking up 33 GOP seats. This will give them a majority of +16. (Republicans 201, Democrats 234, Independent 0)
In the Senate, Democrats have taken control. It will be 49 Republicans and 51 Democrats.
The two remaining decided races:
Jon Tester (DEM) 198,302 49% Declared Winner
Conrad Burns (REP)* 195,455 48% (incumbent)
100% of precincts reporting
Margin of victory is about 2800 votes in favor of Tester
J H Webb Jr (DEM) 1,173,809 49.55% Projected Winner
G F Allen (REP)* 1,166,493 49.24% (incumbent)
G G Parker (IND-Green) 26,231 1.11%
Write Ins 2,364 0.10%
Total: 2,368,897 (99.88% of precincts reporting)
Margin of victory is about 7300 votes in favor of Webb
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The +16 majority projection is by MSNBC.
Fox News has so far projected a Democratic majority of +5.
CNN currently has Democrats with a +9, with 14 races still undecided.
US Midterm Elections 2006
Today, Nov 7th, is the day where the voters will decide to stay with a one-party in control of the federal government or a divided government (not necessarily a bad thing) for the next two years.
As such, election coverage of today's vote will be quite detailed, massive, and perhaps up to the point of overload. Here are some recommended links:
Pajamas Media - Election '06 Video Coverage
Rasmussen Reports - Bush's Job Approval at 45%, Disapprove at 52%
The Club for Growth - Election Predictions
TCS Daily - Election Predictions by the staff
Election Projection.com (Currently predicting a 3-seat majority for Democrats in the House and a 2-seat majority for Republicans in the Senate)
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Running News Wire
Voter turnout in Buffalo, NY abnormally high
Indiana: Judge in Delaware County has ruled that polls will stay open until 8:40PM b/c of earlier computer glitches
Missouri: Despite voter ID requirement being struck down in that state, top election official Democrat Robin Carnahan was asked for his ID.
Indiana: Apparently in Marion County, about 175 of 914 precincts turned to paper because poll workers did not know how to run the machines. No training???
Redstate Blog: In wards 7, 19, 51 in Philly, PA, the crowds are going wild. Inside several voting locations, individuals have poured white out onto the polling books and the poll workers are allowing voters to go into the polls and vote without first registering. Several individuals are on hand demanding that voters vote straight Democrat.
RNC lawyers have headed to the scene of the incidents, which are occurring in mostly hispanic precinct locations. The District Attorney has also been contacted.
More from the ground: Reports of voter intimidation by son-in-law of Philadelphia City Commissioner in 19th Ward. Carlos Mantos is not allowing Republican poll watchers with valid poll-watching certificates monitor polling places.
Why I don't like partisan secretary of state people oversee elections
At Bernalillo County precinct 603 in Albququerque's NE Heights - where there are over 2400 registered voters, [Mary] Herrera (who is also running for Secretary of State) only sent over 150 ballots. They ran out. A long time ago.
Is it possible that the Republicans' turnout machine in Ohio could backfire? Voters have given Republicans statewide control for about 10 years and it has resulted in scandals, an unpopular war, a defensive President, and where the current governor (Taft) has a microscopic approval rating.
Will Republicans choose to vote for the GOP based only on the reason that they do not want Democrats to be in control of Congress? Are they willing to "overlook" the scandals and the ethics violations and keep with the current party?
It could be likely that Democrats will make a sweep of all statewide offices barring judicial positions. Will that affect the federal races?
Strickland (D) is predicted a landslide victory over Blackwell.
Brown (D) is also predicted a landslide victory over DeWine.
Republican Voter Drive is really persistent
When I first registered to vote, I listed my affiliation as a Republican. I haven't changed it in a while, but my voting record has been pretty much straight through the middle. I tend to vote Republican for the local and county elections, and state/federal are just mixed.
The last several days, the Republican voter drive campaign has been going non-stop. I think I received about 6-7 flyers from various Republican groups, and two recorded phone calls on Saturday and Sunday about voting "to stay the course."
Kerry: If you are not smart, you go to Iraq
Poor John Kerry. Honestly, he should just apologise for his "botched" up joke, no matter how much he says he was actually referring to Bush, not the troops.
Here's a banner from the troops "stuck in Iraq."
So what did he say?
At a campaign event in California, John Kerry said:
“You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.”
If he was referring to President Bush, then the words he spoke did not make sense. I do not see how those words would be linked to the President, so therefore, he really mangled his words.
Here's the video:
Bad part to his quote is that the U.S. military is the most educated force in the world (click here for demographics)
Imus responds to Kerry
Update: Kerry Makes Apology
Democratic Sen. John Kerry apologized directly to U.S. troops on Wednesday for comments about Iraq that had prompted a firestorm of criticism from Republicans and President George W. Bush.
"I sincerely regret that my words were misinterpreted to wrongly imply anything negative about those in uniform and I personally apologize to any service member, family member or American who was offended," Kerry said in a statement.
New York Times Lying?
So it looks the New York newspaper decided to show some bias for Kerry by headlining a news piece called "Flubbed Joke Makes Kerry a Political Punching Bag, Again."
If you read the article, the author, Kate Zernike, chooses to mention Kerry's quote in the 18th paragraph! Was this the goal of the writer to hope that the reader would just zone out by that point?
She claims that Kerry actually said:
Mr. Kerry’s prepared remarks to California students on Monday called for him to say, “Do you know where you end up if you don’t study, if you aren’t smart, if you’re intellectually lazy? You end up getting us stuck in a war in Iraq. Just ask President Bush.” In his delivery, he dropped the word “us.”
If you look at the video, he never said "Just ask President Bush."
Again, let's go back to his actual words:
"You know, education — if you make the most of it, you study hard and you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq."
Zernike is theorising that the rest of his words were cut off or that we should look at his notes, rather than what he actually said.
A thumbs down for the NY Times.
CNN's Lou Dobbs: U.S. is best democracy money can buy
While the name of the party in charge may change from Republican to Democrat, it's really only a branding issue. And just as my friend James Mtume says, it's still the same bird, just a different wing. And believe me, middle-class America will still be getting the bird.
Corporate America long ago quit talking about corporate citizenship and corporate responsibility, and with both the Democratic and Republican Parties as its tools, corporate America wants you and me to forget that we are first citizens, and that America is first a nation.
Most Americans understand that all the major decisions have already been made. It is now clear to all but those who will not see that both political parties and their corporate masters have placed our middle class in direct competition with the world's cheapest labor, leaving it only a tenuous and failing grip on the American Dream.
* * * * * * * * * * *
Isn't it true? The middle class is being ripped off by both Democrats and Republicans.
Taxes, Terrorism, and now Gay Marriage
For the past several months, President Bush has been boasting about how his tax cuts improved the U.S. economy and how people are enjoying having more money to spend from their pockets. He also defended his administration's policies against terrorsm and protecting national security.
But with fiscal conservatives unhappy with the increase in federal spending and the size of the government and military hawks becoming more nervous about rising losses in American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, Bush has decided to bring up gay marriage to portray Democrats as being out of the mainsteam or against traditional family values.
By twisting the results given by the New Jersey Supreme Court ruling that same-sex couples must be given all the benefits of married couples, Bush suggested that this "activist court" was trying to destroy the institution of marriage. Yet, he fails to mention that the court has referred the final decision to the state Legislature to decide whether civil unions or gay marriage should be approved. Plus, Bush does support civil unions, but he chooses not to mention that fact to social and religious conservatives.
The President and Republicans are hoping that social and religious conservatives, their most faithful and loyal followers, will turn out in large numbers to vote to keep their party in control of Congress. Yet, should these voters be confident? Bush did fail to bring about a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman. Or push for a total ban on abortion and suppressing obscenity.
But are moral issues under threat? Bush seems to want voters to see Democrats as being immoral and unethical, and unworthy. It seems to me that he wants people to see them as the party of sin versus Republicans, who are the party of the righteous.
I find it unfortunate that Bush is trying to use moral and social issues as our most major problems facing this country. Instead, it should be national security, terrorism, and economic security. He still fails to tell the people how he is going to help alleviate our $8.5 trillion national debt. At this point, he is giving so much praise to his administration for cutting the national deficit in half, and fails to mention that voters are paying over $400 billion in interest payments towards the national debt.
Another way to distract voters. sigh!
NYS announce surplus at least $1 billion
Quite interesting for a state government that is so complex that even a newly elected state rep or senator would have trouble handling.
According to the govt, New York is on track for an over $1 billion surplus for the 2006-07 fiscal year. They got better than expected economic growth and lower spending levels for the surplus.
When anyone mentions the word "surplus", two things happened:
1) Republicans would call for a tax-cut, to return unnecessary money back to the residents
2) Democrats would call for additional spending to "shore" up needed projects to benefit residents
Even more likely, both parties would love to add more local projects to keep their voters happy.
Instead, the surplus money will go to several funds, including the state's Rainy Day Reserve Fund. The Governor's office reports so far that there is over $3 billion in total reserves.
For a state such as New York, it's not enough.
Gosh, if only the federal govt can produce a surplus...
WROCTV - NYS Budget
Democrats & Republicans Ignore Fiscal Responsibility
David M. Walker is in one of the safest jobs in the federal government. He is the comptroller general and heads the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the investigative arm of Congress that audits and evaluates the performance of the federal government. He is currently serving a 15-year term that runs through 2013.
He is basically the nation's accountant-in-chief and possibly the most ignored person by both political parties.
He is talking about the country's dirty little secret - impending financial ruin.
It is a problem that most voters do not take seriously since tackling the defict and the national debt do not break the top ten issues facing voters each election season.
Their basic message is this: If the United States government conducts business as usual over the next few decades, a national debt that is already $8.5 trillion could reach $46 trillion or more, adjusted for inflation. That's almost as much as the total net worth of every person in America - Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and those Google guys included.
Why is America so fiscally unprepared for the next century? Like many of its citizens, the United States has spent the last few years racking up debt instead of saving for the future. Foreign lenders - primarily the central banks of China, Japan and other big U.S. trading partners - have been eager to lend the government money at low interest rates, making the current $8.5-trillion deficit about as painful as a big balance on a zero-percent credit card.
Yep the government is sending interest payments overseas to foreign banks. Thus, the country is at the mercy of foreign lenders who may lose their enthusiasm to financing the U.S. debt.
What can we do? Sacrifices must be made. Our politicians continue to focus on the war in Iraq, social issues, and cutting taxes, but federal spending continues to go up. Certain taxes must be raised, benefits need to be re-figured in order to avoid macroeconomic meltdown.
All of us are basically giving our children and grandchildren a bankrupt country to live in, or perhaps a country that may no longer exist.
The last six years of Republican rule have produced tax cuts, record spending increases, and a Medicare prescription drug plan that has been declared fiscally unsound. Nice job!
Usually, fiscal responsibility is good when one party controls Congress and the other controls the WHite House. When President Clinton handled a Republican Congress during the 1990s, spending limits and other legislative tools helped produce a surplus.
No matter how high the national debt has become, Walker is not optimistic.
"Realistically what we hope to accomplish through the fiscal wake-up tour is ensure that any serious candidate for the presidency in 2008 will be forced to deal with the issue," he says. "The best we're going to get in the next couple of years is to slow the bleeding."
Slow the bleeding. This is very scary to know that our federal government will not be able to reduce its debt by a significant margin to help its finances.
I hope that in any Q&A with 2008 presidential candidate, they MUST be asked how they will handle a $8.5 trillion national debt. I would not be surprised when Bush steps down, our national debt is hitting $10 TRILLION!
Poll: Less Government please
CNN poll finds most Americans still agree with the bedrock conservative premise that, as the Gipper put it, "government is not the answer to our problems -- government is the problem."
2001 - Discretionary spending was $649 billion
2005 - Spending is at $968 billion
Data: Congressional Budget Office (CBO)
72 percent said the size of the federal government has increased in the past four years
86 percent said federal spending has gone up during the same period
54 percent said govt is trying to do too many things
Quote from Rep. Mike Pence, R-Indiana, Chairman of the House Republican Study Committee, a 110-member caucus that supports limited government and lower taxes - "I believe that as a movement, we have veered off course into the dangerous and uncharted waters of big government Republicanism."
Quote from Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona - "Conservatives came to office to reduce the size of government and enlarge the sphere of free and private initiative. But lately, we have increased government in order to stay in office."
Is There Progress Through Loss?
A good editorial by Peggy Noonan on the OpinionJournal (WSJ). She talks about why some conservatives may want a Congressional loss this November in order to further the conservative agenda, not Bush's conservative agenda, but the "real" conservative agenda.
I really like this sentence:
First thing you do when you get power is move to keep power. And after a while you don't have any move but that move.
But is this true... [voters] want to fire Congress because they can't fire President Bush?
Just less than two weeks to see how it plays out.
US Foreign Policy: example of double-standard
While the U.S. has been pursuing economic sanctions against Iran and North Korea through the United Nations Security Council, there is one detail left out that most people did not know.
Back in the day when India and Pakistan conducted their nuclear test, the United States BLOCKED enforcement of Security Council Resolution 1172, which calls on India and Pakistan to eliminate their nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. Instead, President George W. Bush signed a nuclear cooperation agreement with India and has announced the sale of nuclear-capable fighter-bombers to Pakistan.
The U.S. has also BLOCKED enforcement of Security Council Resolution 487, which calls on Israel to place its nuclear facilities under the trusteeship of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and continues its close strategic cooperation with Israel.
Since the U.S. loves to snub Security Council resolutions at will, other member nations are asking "Hey if the U.S. tells the UNSC to f*ck off, then so can we!"
Jihad Watch: Abdul Rahman
Remember Afghan citizen Abdul Rahman. He made international news last spring when he converted from Islam to Christianity. He was arrested by the government and put on trial for apostasy. He was then spirited away to safety in Italy.
Jihadists in Afghanistan then went and kidnapped Italian journalist, Gabriele Torsello, and demanded that Abdul Rahman be returned to their country to be tried for his crimes.
Yet, it is quite obvious that if Rahman returns to Afghanistan, he will either be killed by extremists or be sentenced to death since that is the punishment for apostasy.
Moderate Muslims have maintained that Islam contained no provision against apostasy. M. Cherif Bassiouni, Professor of Law at DePaul University said "Leaving Islam is not a capital crime."
I guess Prof. Bassiouni needs to check IslamOnline which explains that “if a sane person who has reached puberty voluntarily apostatizes from Islam, he deserves to be punished. In such a case, it is obligatory for the caliph (or his representative) to ask him to repent and return to Islam. If he does, it is accepted from him, but if he refuses, he is immediately killed.”
To be killed over religious conversion is not civilised.
The Italian government should refuse to extradite Abdul Rahman back to Afghanistan. The Afghan government must control its ability to maintain freedom of conscience and religion if it hopes to continue the support of the United States.
I am about this close...
Honestly, would it be great to see both Democrats and Republicans thrown out of Congress? Instead of voters being anti-incumbent, how about anti-establishment?
How about electing a new national party that does not have establishment ties with multi-national corporations or special interest groups?
How about a party where it does not always have to answer to the unions, think tanks, lobbyists, and other so-called "political" elements?
Perot's Reform Party was an excellent example but its presence was mostly concentrated on the national election, not the state or local levels.
I really hate it when Democrats and Republicans accuse independent candidates of being politically inexperienced. Obviously, they're experienced because they got the money from their lobbyists and special interests and biased pollsters.
Who knows if the media and polling organisations are downplaying third-parties from becoming more powerful?
Would it require a billionaire like Ross Perot to jump start a third national party?
Would people stopping thinking of third-parties as being the "contributing" factor to the defeat of a major party candidate?
If voters are sick of a scandal plaguing one major political party, why choose the other major party as the saviour and not a third-party?
Should the Federal Elections Commission reduce the percentage needed to qualify for the presidential debates?
UK wants global warming tax on holidaymakers
In a thisislondon.co.uk article, Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett said holidaymakers should be charged a "global warming tax" of up to 50 quid under plans aimed at forcing airlines to reduce gas emissions.
In her keynote speech, she urged Brussels to encourage airlines to fly more fuel-efficient planes and deter people from travelling by air.
Experts say it would put 50 quid more on a flight from London to California, 35 quid to New York, and between 5 and 10 quid for inter-Europe travel.
However, her comments seem to have been contradicted by the Department of Transport document - said: "In some circumstances, air transport may be a viable alternative and cannot be ruled out from the onset."
Shadow Transport Secretary Chris Grayling (opposition) branded the plans "ridiculous" and accused the Government of having "no idea" on how to tackle global warming.
Now, even though it's a European issue, I am concerned about Alantic travel. Flying is perhaps the best viable method between our two continents where it would take about 7-8 hours. Being encouraged to travel by cruise ship will take days to complete. Thus, Beckett's reasoning would make no logical sense in this type of situation.
Travelling by train in Europe is quite ideal because of its extensive rail network, on-time schedule, and reliability. I cannot say the same for Amtrak at this point.
David Zucker's new political ad
Remember filmmaker David Zucker (Airplane) made a naughty political ad about Madeleine Albright and North Korea? Well, he made a new advertisement, this time, it's about the taxman.
If Democrats want to roll back tax cuts, just do it to the really wealthy ones. But what defines rich? If a person was making $100,000, is that considered to be too rich? In some places it may be true, but in other places, people earning $100,000 barely keeps them going.
Both Democrats and Republicans say they want to protect the middle class, so what is the income range for that group? According to various sources, it could be as low as $35,000 to about $52,800. However, some data mentioned that it could go as high as $100,000.
Middle class can be defined as consisting of all those who are neither "poor" nor "rich" or one may define the middle class as being a relative elite of professionals and managers, defined by lifestyle and influence.
So if a rollback of tax cuts is being considered, politicians should know who they are hurting. By all means, I am sure you can tax up the wazoo on Donald Trump and Bill Gates, but do not assume a person earning $100,000 is that well off. A lot of factors are involved so keep that in mind.
Tennessee Republicans Question Ford's Playboy Party
Republicans are criticising Tennessee Democratic Senate candidate Harold Ford Jr. for partying with Playboy playmates at a Super Bowl Party last year.
Even though the Ford camp has been giving varied answers on whether he had attended such a party, Republicans have been advertising two commercials questioning his moral values because of his partying lifestyle.
Ok so everyone... attending a Playboy-sponsored event or mansion party is taboo to running for elective office.
Let's add liquor-sponsored events too since they always include beautiful babes.
Let's throw out Spring Break out too.
If you want to run for office, you MUST be morally perfect. So no drinking, partying, having sex before marriage, drugs, skinny-dipping, and eating red meat.
Why not dump all of the candidates and create genetically perfect humans instead?
A Republican Loss in November would be a good wake-up call
The Republicans should lose power. When the GOP first took over Congress in 1994 with their Contract on America, the voters looked at this party having a set of ideas and principles that they trusted. Most of us probably felt that was the time for a change in power. We got tired of decades of Democratic control and the usual politician answers. Even though Republicans have been in control, more or less, for about 12 years, they had done quite enough, and they cannot blame the Democrats for all their troubles.
Today, only 16 percent of Americans approve of its performance.
The economy has been doing well, but take a look at the Republican principle on smaller government. According to the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think-tank, federal spending has increased by 45 percent during Bush's presidency, three times as fast as it did under Bill Clinton.
Don't blame Osama. Non-military spending has gone up by 44 percent. So far, GOP's grade on fiscal management is pretty much an F.
How about free trade? Republicans passed steel tariffs. It surrendered its leadership during the Doha round of the world trade talks. Passing a trade agreement with Jordan does not seem to be a significant example.
How about defense? This would have been the Republican's strongpoint, but progress in Iraq has been floundering. There are issues with its contracting procedures and the way they award deals to certain companies. Why military purchases now cost more and takes longer to build? It would seem that Republicans have not been doing well in supporting military veterans.
Instead of accepting blame or being proactive in combating corruption and special interest influence, they have blamed Democrats, liberal organisations, and conspiracy theorists. To most people, they represent a group more absorbed with staying in power than doing something effective with it.
Perhaps giving the Democrats a chance to control one or both chambers of Congress will give a good wake-up call to the Republicans. We certainly do need it. At this stage, voting Democrat seem to be the lesser evil this year. Of course, voting third-party would be great but there is no strong independent party out there yet. Both parties are pretty much the same. Both lack concrete ideas to solve Social Security, immigration, and a plan to fix Iraq.
So for the next two years, seeing a break in Republican control of our entire federal government would be nice to have.
Hey media folks - this politician said "injun time"!
Remember everyone critcising Republican Senator George Allen (Virginia) for using the word "macaca" to a person of Indian descent. Now people are saying he lost the chance to run for President because he has made racist and insensitive remarks.
Here's one for you. Democrat Steve Kagen, candidate for Wisconsin's 8th Congressional District, used the phrase "injun time" at an Aurora Healthcare forum.
According to a recording of the remarks, Kagen opened by introducing a staff member.
"I want to thank you for driving me around the district this morning. I really appreciate you getting me here almost on time," he says to laughter. "Our excuse, uh, in Oneida was, well we are on injun time. They don't tell time by the clock. Our excuse here is I'm a doctor and we're never on time."
So he said "injun time". Isn't that demeaning to American Indians?
So far I haven't seen this plastered on every national newspaper.
Oh wait, he kinda apologised for his "unfortunate" remark.
"I did not mean any harm by my words, and I humbly apologize if I offended anyone. That was not my intent. Instead of words, however, let's talk about actions. I have been a great supporter of Native American issues during this campaign and am proud of the strong relations I have with Native American communities in the 8th Congressional District. John Gard, meanwhile, has repeatedly taken aim at Wisconsin's Native Americans, working to dismantle tribal sovereignty, targeting Indian economic development, and shamelessly using the tribes as a political pawn against the Governor." -Dr. Steve Kagen
So should we just drop it? Or got absolutely nuts?
Most would say "he's sorry, all is forgiven"
Why do I see this reaction only for Democrats, but not for Republicans?
Oneida Tribal Chairman Gerald Danforth said "Indian time" was "one of those cliches for why you might be late for an event."
Ok, so "Indian time" is ok to use? Alright, you gave me permission.
Another example of hypocrisy.
And better yet, let's stop with the "racism" excuses and accusations. Have we gone off the deep end with politically correct phrases? Honestly, have any of us heard the word "macaca" before? So if I mentioned it while talking, would you call me a racist?
One way to handle a heckler
During the Connecticut Senator debate between Joe Lieberman (I), Ned Lamont (D), and Alan Schlesinger (R), a heckler was interrupting Lieberman's closing statement.
Schlesinger had enough with the heckler, stood up, and yelled "Show some respect for Senator Lieberman, leave this audience now."
Barron's: Republican Majority
Barron's Online article stating that the Republicans will barely maintain their majorities in both houses of Congress.
Their method: the campaign finances
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, House races back to 1972 showed that the candidate with the most money has won about 93% of the time. In recent years, it was closer to 98%.
Obviously, I am sure everyone will disagree with the author since this year is no ordinary year where the stakes are much greater than how much cash is in your campaign chest.
The author did note that in 1958, 1974, and 1994, the wave of anti-incumbent sentiment was so strong that money did not trump voter outrage.
Should "Terror" Political Ads scare us?
Above is a GOP ad set to air this weekend called "The Stakes," which prominently features al Qaeda leaders threatening to kill Americans.
It is available on the Republican National Committee web site. The ad is pretty much reminiscent of Johnson's 1964 "Daisy" ad, where a small girl counts to 10 as she picks petals from a flower. When she reaches 10, the camera zooms in on her eye and an ominous voice counts backward from 10 to zero. When the countdown reaches zero, a nuclear bomb explodes, followed by Johnson speaking.
"These are the stakes to make a world in which all God's children can live or to go into the dark," Johnson says on the ad. "We must either love each other or we must die."
Reagan's campaign used a bear to symbolise the threat of the former Soviet Union.
Democratic National Committee Communications Director Karen Finney statement:
"Once again we see that the GOP will truly do and say anything regardless of whether or not it's true, they are so desperate to hold onto power. Clearly Republicans are so afraid of their abysmal record they can't offer one example of what they've done to keep America safe."
Republican National Committee statement:
The ad "underscores the high stakes America faces in the global war on terror by using the words of the terrorists themselves as they describe their intention towards the United States."
Space is U.S. Territory?
Since when did space become U.S. territory? President George W. Bush has signed a new National Space Policy that rejects future arms-control agreements that might limit U.S. flexibility in space and asserts a right to deny access to space to anyone "hostile to U.S. interests."
Does this mean that Bush has withdrawn the United States from the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, a multilateral treaty governing space arms control? Here is a list of all space treaties listed under the UN. It would seem that Bush has taken upon himself to make the U.S. the sole regulator of space.
How would this affect the Moon Treaty of 1979, the Convention on the Registration of Space Objects Launched into Outer Space of 1976, and the Convention on International Liability for Damage Caused by Space Objects of 1972?
The revised National Space Policy placed its emphasis on security issues, private enterprise in space, and defining the role of the U.S. space diplomacy to basically persuading other nations that the U.S. position is right, and they are wrong.
The introduction summarises the U.S. posture: "Freedom of action in space is as important to the United States as air power and sea power." One senior administration official remarked unofficially that "this policy is not about developing or deploying weapons in space. Period."
Yet, one think tank, the Henry L. Stimson Center, believes that the policy change would just reinforce international suspicions that the U.S. may seek to develop, test, and deploy space weapons. It would make logical sense since Bush does not want to revise or negotiate any new arms-control agreements regarding space and the Moon. Also, by asserting that it has the "authoritative" right to deny other nations access to space, it would make nations think that the U.S. can try to bomb or sabotage a nation's space launch capability, or if a nation manages to reach space and start deploying satellites and space stations, the U.S. would need to deploy satellite weapons or other space-related weapons to disable or destroy such installations.
The Center for Defense Information states that the new policy "kicks the door a little more open to a space-war fighting strategy" and has a "very unilateral tone to it."
The Bush administration denies this saying the policy will help encourage international diplomacy and cooperation. I wonder if involves facing a loaded gun in the face and being asked to cooperate or face the consequences. One official even said that no new arms-control agreements are needed because there is no space arms race.
I should sit down and laugh about this. Of course we do not want any new arms-control agreements. The U.S. wants to be more flexibility and who knows, they can launch a secret project to deploy certain space weapons that are not covered by the space treaties, so they can just say "Oops" when the whole plot is uncovered! Bush wants to adopt a reactive position, not a proactive position. Who knows if Bush would just call Russia, China, and the UN and say the U.S. is going to withdraw from the space treaties because they do not apply anymore.
Under Clinton, the goals were to "enhance knowledge of the Earth, the solar system and the universe through human and robotic exploration" and to "strengthen and maintain the national security of the United States."
Under Bush, the revised goals are to "strengthen the nation's space leadership and ensure that space capabilities are available in time to further U.S. national security, homeland security, and foreign policy objectives" and to "enable unhindered U.S. operations in and through space to defend our interests there."
A more militaristic tone, don't you think?
Another recent example is the United States being the lone country to vote "no" against a UN call for negotiations on a ban on space weapons. The other 160 countries voted "yes."
The Heritage Foundation applauded the new policy. One defense analyst supported the policy's rejection of international agreements or treaties, and the need to protect military assets and place missile defense components in space. He even suggested that with private enterprise being developed for space use, they would need U.S. "protection."
It would seem justified when China recently "painted" a U.S. satellite (spy or reconnassance?) when it flew over their territory. There has been suggestion that China was trying to blind or perhaps, disrupt the satellite.
The United States wants to be the dominant space power above the planet. It's plain obvious. Of course I am sure some space military hawks would like the whole space surrounding the planet covered with U.S. space weapons, but I do not want to know what would the reaction be from China and Russia if they are forced into a corner.
No wonder the U.S. was opposed to the deployment of the Galileo GPS system (developed by the European Union). Even though their official reasoning is based on the fact that Galileo will provide an unnecessary backup to the U.S.' GPS system, there are military concerns that enemy nations may be able to access Galileo's precisioning to launch coordinated attacks. Galileo is supposed to be operational by 2010.
As for Russia, they have their own system called GLONASS (Global Navigation Satellite System), with about 12 active satellites as of 2004. They hope to reach full operational capability of 24 satellites, with assistance from India, by 2008.
Would the U.S. even try to stop China from deploying a space station or a manned mission to the moon? Currently, the U.S. would be a few years behind in sending a manned mission to our celestial neighbor, but think of how the hawks in the military and in the government would feel to see a Chinese presence on the Moon. Who knows what secret weapons or projects they are setting up there? Gotta love paranoia!
How about a bit of common sense? We should develop a defensive capability space-to-space, not space-to-ground, and with emphasis on stopping an asteroid from hitting the planet. Earth is our only home, and currently, we are quite vulnerable out there.
If we want a space arms race, let's think outward instead of each other.
Washington Post - Bush Sets Defense As Space Priority
Online Gambling Officially Banned
President Bush signed a bill Friday to help prevent terrorists from sneaking a nuclear, chemical, or germ weapon into the United States inside one of the 11 million shipping containers that enter the nation each year - many without inspection.
The article states the president used the bill-signing ceremony to assert that Republicans were tough on terror.
Of course he failed to even mention that within the SAFE Port Act that was signed into law, it contained the online gambling ban legislation.
So just for everyone's information, most forms of online gambling are now banned as of Friday, October 13, 2006.
Please thank our government for not informing us.
* * * * *
The effects of the online ban on US gambling:
World Gaming has entered administration.
Sportingbet has sold its US operations for ONE US DOLLAR.
Leisure & Gaming also sold its US operations for ONE US DOLLAR.
Air America Radio files Chapter 11
CNN.com - Air America Radio files Chapter 11
Ha Ha Ha Ha! Honestly, how can it run out of money? Where are all the supporters? Quite embarassing, don't you think?
Assets: $4.3 million dollars
Liabilities: $20.2 million dollars
Sorry Cindy Sheehan, you did not win
At a book fair in Austin, Texas, anti-war protestor Cindy Sheehan announced she was a finalist for the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize.
She said, "What I really hope to do with it is to inspire people to do what they can to make the world a better place and to let them know that one person really can make a difference."
I don't think so. So who did the Nobel Peace Prize committee pick?
Today, the Nobel Peace Prize committee announced that Bangladeshi economist Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank he founded was the receipient of this prestigious award for pioneering use of tiny, seemingly insignificant loans -- microcredit -- to lift millions out of poverty.
Through Yunus' efforts, poor people around the world were able to buy cows, a few chickens, or the cell phone they desperately needed to get ahead. The 65-year old economist will use part of his share of the $1.4 million award money to create a company to make low-cost, high-nutrition food for the poor. The rest would go toward setting up an eye hospital for the poor in Bangladesh.
"Lasting peace cannot be achieved unless large population groups find ways in which to break out of poverty," the Nobel Committee said in its citation. "Microcredit is one such means. Development from below also serves to advance democracy and human rights."
Sorry, Sheehan. Protesting the war, staging disruptions, and slapping politicians has been done before. Why would that makes you "worthy" of the Peace Prize?
Also, how did you know you were a finalist? The Nobel committee has not revealed the list of nominees, and has stated only that it had received 191 names by the February 1 deadline.
Trying to get some publicity? Shame!
Newsmax.com - Nobel Peace Prize for Cindy Sheehan?
Washington Post - Bangladeshi Economist, Grameen Bank Win Nobel Peace Prize
Wikipedia - Nobel Peace Prize
Is it possible that Republicans decided to forgo their anti-pork crusade and used the last several days of the Congressional session to insert hidden earmarks totaling $11 billion into the FY2006 Defense Department appropriations bill? Was this because of the potential possibility that they will lose control of Congress come November?
According to Robert Novak's Pork for Defense, he mentions about Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska "dressing down" leading anti-pork Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma charging that his crusade against earmarks was hurting the party.
Then the Alaskan pork advocate went ahead and removed Coburn's "report card" clause from the final version of the Defense bill requiring the Pentagon to grade earmarks. The House passed, 394 to 22, the bill, stripped of this reform and containing some 2,800 earmarks worth $11 billion. This pretty much made a mockery of a "transparency" rule passed by the House earlier this year, supposedly intended to discourage earmarks.
Steve Ellis of the non-partisan Taxpayers for Common Sense stated "You would think that with a war and all the controversy surrounding earmarks that the appropriators would hold back a little." Ellis said it was very difficult to find earmarks in the legislation, not because there wasn't any, they were just carefully hidden.
It was quite easy for Stevens since he was the leading Senate conferee on the final Defense bill. Also surprising was page 336 of the bill that stated that there were "ZERO" earmarks in this year's legislation.
Clearly, this is a sham. A disgrace to the American taxpayer.
The so-called "transparency rule" restricts earmarks to "non-federal" spending, so what did the authors do? They defined all Defense expenditures to be "federal." Thus, one earmark for $4.6 million for the Army Center of Excellence in Acoustics at the Jamie Whitten Center at the University of Mississippi gets funded.
President Bush could not veto the defense bill. The overall spending was actually within his administration's figures so why disagree with it.
So will the earmark abuse continue? Definitely.
Senator Coburn is not giving up. He will introduce his Defense report card as a freestanding bill in the lame-duck session after the election. No matter who controls the Senate next year, Coburn will not grant unanimous consent on spending measures and thus require 60 votes to end debate. The question is whether Republican leaders, perhaps chastened by election returns, will join him.
Earmarks for Ohio, Cleveland in particular
It is always difficult to eliminate an earmark (aka pork barrel project) once it has been put in place. One example is the Advanced Technology Program (ATP). According to the Taxpayers for Common Sense, the administration has proposed for the third year in a row to terminate this program. Yet, Congress keeps on restoring the funding for it every year.
ATP funds corporate research and development grants that would easily survive without government support. The bipartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that almost half of ATP grant winners "continued their research and development projects despite a lack of ATP funding." Likewise, a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found that three completed ATP projects duplicated private sector research.
Many of the corporate welfare recipients are mega corporations such as General Electric, Xerox, and Dupont.
Let us focus on earmarks designated for around Cleveland, Ohio. Unfortunately, the data comes from the FY2005 Transportation bill. There were about 245 earmarks totaling $665 million for the state of Ohio.
$1,712,000 to construct a pedestrian bridge from east of Dock 32 to Voinovich Park southwest corner in Cleveland
$4,640,000 to construct the Cleveland Towpath Trail. 6-mile extension towards downtown Cleveland
$400,000 to construct Eagle Avenue Viaduct-Demolition bridge, realignment of roadway to replace bridge and reconstruction of two other bridges in Cleveland
$400,000 to construct an Intermodal Facility at University Circle in Cleveland
$800,000 to construct road with access to memorial Shoreway in Cleveland
$2,500,000 to design and constuct road enhancements for Cleveland Port Authority
$21,970,000 to reconstruct Cleveland Inner Belt and rehabilitation of the Central Viaduct Bridge
$3,300,000 to construct pedestrian bridge from east of Dock 32 to park in Cleveland
$1,280,000 to construct 1,100 foot bulkhead/riverwalk connecting Front and Maine Ave. public right of way in Cleveland.
$1,800,000 to design and construct Towpath Trail from southern Cuyahoga County through downtown Cleveland to Lake Erie
$1,000,000 to establish a Trans-Erie Ferry line from Cleveland, Ohio to Port Stanley, Ontario
$85,000,000 to reconstruct Cleveland Inner Belt and replacement of Central Viaduct Bridge in Cleveland
$6,000,000 to construct, including design and engineering, of 30,000 sq ft terminal building to accommodate the Trans-Erie ferry service
$7,106,000 to the University Circle intermodal facility
$836,000 for acquisition of buses by the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority
$718,960 to construct passenger inter-modal center near Dock 32 in Cleveland
$3,762,000 to the Euclid Avenue University Hospital intermodal facility
$418,000 to the Fare Collection System Project in Cleveland
$7,106,000 to the Euclid Avenue and East 93rd Street intermodal facility
$125,400 to the Cuyahoga County for transit improvements
$2,508,000 to construct the Cleveland East Side Transit Center
$3,553,000 to the Eastlake Stadium transit intermodal facility
$836,000 to the construction of an inter-modal facility and related improvements at UH facility on Euclid Avenue
Kerry in '08?
It would seem that Massachusetts senator John Kerry may run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008. I do not know if trying for a second time would be better for him, but let's look at history. Since Adlai Stevenson in 1956, Democrats have not renominated a past losing presidential nominee.
Kerry would enter a crowded field that would include Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, former North Carolina Senator John Edwards, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, or former Vice-President Al Gore.
But the war veteran senator is pretty much intellectually boring. Even though he may have outfought President Bush in the presidential debates back in 2004, his long-winded answers and his campaign mistakes (remember his quote - "I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it.") just made people feel very small, and comparing him to Bush, voters picked the lesser of two evils.
I really do not see it. The last sitting senator to even win the presidency was John F. Kennedy in 1960. He lacks passion and I don't really think he would be able to rouse up interest in the electorate to consider voting him into the White House. Of course, he has potent connections in the Democratic Party, but he has his chance.
John Kerry, step back and let someone else go for it. You are yesterday's news.
US envoy gives "manly" threat to North Korea
Good morning everyone. Over the wire, North Korea has announced that it will stage a nuclear test in order to show defiance against US aggression.
In response, Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill stated, "We are not going to live with a nuclear North Korea." He also stated, "If they think that by exploding a weapon, that somehow we will come to terms with it, we won't."
Hill said, "We would have no choice but to act and act resolutely to make sure (North Korea) understood, and make sure every other country in the world understands, that this is a very bad mistake."
However, he would not exactly said what actions will be taken if North Korea conducts a nuclear test.
Of course, no "resolute" action was taken when North Korea announced that it had manufactured up-to-date nuclear weapons.
Yet, what actions would be considered "resolute?"
Both Japan and the United States promise to levy international sanctions on the North Koreans if a nuclear test occurs. Yet this tool has pretty become ineffective in recent years and it's more of a quick-fix than an obvious solution of international diplomacy.
Japan, China, and South Korea have announced a series of joint summit meetings during the next week to repair damaged ties and coordinate a strategy for dealing with North Korea. Do you mean to tell me that this was not thought of before? We have had six-nation talks, three-nation talks, summits, joint conferences, and the usual political rhetoric.
Shall the US continue the course for a diplomatic solution or military strikes? I am assuming that neo-con factions within the White House, probably lead by Cheney and Rumsfeld are lobbying the President to send the USS John C. Stennis task force to the Sea of Japan as a show of force and perhaps, a staging ground for missile attacks on suspected North Korean nuclear sites. The carrier task force is currently in the Pacific Ocean.
The question on everyone's minds is whether the US will conduct a pre-emptive strike on North Korea. What would be the reaction of the DPRK? Of South Korea? China? Russia?
The answer is a Catch-22. Either action would affect the entire Pacific region.
Non-Allegiance will get you arrested
According to informationliberation.com, the new torture legislation that passed 65-34 in the Senate contains information that damages the fabric of our civil liberties. This clearly reminds me about the Articles of Allegiance mentioned in the movie, V for Vendetta.
Now informationliberation is a well known liberal site, so some may feel they could be exaggerating about the legislation, but I do need to note the following to you.
This 80-page legislation, known as the Military Commissions Act of 2006, passed the House 253-168 on the 27th of September, and was introduced to the Senate on the same day. It suffered a setback when several senators led by John McCain opposed the legislation regarding the definition of Article III of the Geneva Conventions. Eventually, a compromise was reached and was heralded by the opposing senators and the administration as a "breakthrough" for human rights.
Yet, our politicians failed to mention about other aspects of this legislation.
In section 950J, it would criminalise any challenge to the legislation's legality by the Supreme Court or any US court.
"No court, justice, or judge shall have jurisdiction to hear or consider any claim or cause of action whatsoever, including any action pending on or filed after the date of the enactment of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, relating to the prosecution, trial, or judgment of a military commission under this chapter, including challenges to the lawfulness of procedures of military commissions under this chapter."
Sub-section 27 of Section 950V states:
"Any person subject to this chapter who with intent or reason to believe that it is to be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of a foreign power, collects or attempts to collect information by clandestine means or while acting under false pretenses, for the purpose of conveying such information to an enemy of the United States, or one of the co-belligerents of the enemy, shall be punished by death or such other punishment as a military commission under this chapter may direct."
Subsection 4(b) (26) of Section 950V includes the following definition:
"Any person subject to this chapter who, in breach of an allegiance or duty to the United States, knowingly and intentionally aids an enemy of the United States, or one of the co-belligerents of the enemy, shall be punished as a military commission under this chapter may direct."
As for the Geneva Conventions, the legislation states:
"No person may invoke the Geneva Conventions or any protocols thereto in any habeas corpus or other civil action or proceeding to which the United States, or a current or former officer, employee, member of the Armed Forces, or other agent of the United States is a party as a source of rights in any court of the United States or its States or territories."
It has been alleged that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has been threatening federal judges not to try to stop the legislation through lawsuit or injunction.
These sections of this legislation are clearly open to interpretation but if abused, can be used to declare open season on US citizens who are not in "perfect" allegiance to Bush and the USA.
It could be even possible for the government to declare a citizen of the US to be an "enemy combatant" without due process and protections guaranteed under the Bill of Rights. What we thought could happen only to foreign citizens / detainees can now happen to US citizens and legal residents.
Can it be true that we now need to pledge allegiance to the President instead of the flag or the freedoms for which it stands? Is it true that any diversion from our allegiance will result in arrest, torture, and conviction in a military tribunal, not in a court of law?
Bush recently cited the National Strategy for Combating Terrorism, which even labels conspiracy theorists as terrorist recruiters.
One last thing, the definition of being a terrorist now includes destruction of any property, violent activity near a designated "protected" building, illegal occupation of property and theft.
It's pretty scary. I even wonder if making this information public is indirectly helping the enemy. Could any of the conservative folks take a look at the sections above in the legislation and make the same conclusion?
It's time to ask questions, and it's time to ask them now. It is our duty to probe any piece of legislation that is being considered by this administration and this Congress. Who knows what other things are buried in the hundreds or thousands of pages of red tape our politicans have passed over the years.
Since the bill was different in the Senate than in the House, the latter will vote on accepting the Senate version of the legislation, and pass it to President Bush for his signature.
NAACP Accuses NY Jewish Clinic of Discrimination
For crying out loud! JTA.org reports that NAACP has filed a complaint accusing a New York dental clinic of religious discimination because it is closed on Shabbat.
It was filed September 6th with the NY State Division of Human Rights (wow, I did not realise there was such a divison) accusing the Ben Gilman Medical and Dental Clinic in Spring Valley, NY of "imposing" its religious beliefs on others by remaining closed on Saturdays.
Score 1 for idiocy at the NAACP.
All Barberton High students should stage a WALKOUT!
As mentioned in Quick and the Dead blog about Homeland Security at Barberton High, 20 students were suspended for trying to plan a walkout in support of teachers.
The article states that the students wanted to express their displeasure at the labor dispute between the district and teachers. They were planning to distribute a flier calling for a demonstration on October 9 @ 10am at their school gym.
Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli argued that the students could have done a "passive protest" by wearing buttons or making posters or speaking their mind, but no walkout or promotion of said walkout. She even tried to play down the punishments by saying that the suspended students could have been penalised up to 10 days instead of the one to two days that were given.
I am actually quite skeptical about the passive protest idea. Who knows what "dress code" could be enacted to prevent students from stating their position on the labor dispute, regardless if it was passive or active. Just by using the excuse of overzealous school safety and the light punishments, suggesting that the students use passive protesting is pretty much bollux. I would not be surprised if students were suspended for putting up posters or wearing t-shirts in support of the teachers.
Just imagine: Barberton students suspended over posters - school's excuse: they did not follow procedure or the posters did not meet the required measurements. Or getting suspended over the buttons - school's excuse: the pin attached to the button could be used as a "dangerous weapon" or it did not fit with the school's dress code.
We now live in a world where you need to file paperwork and follow extraneous procedures just to stage a protest. The amount of red tape actively discourages official planned demonstrations. Certainly, these are rules are justified for cities or large towns, but they require flexibility and a bit of common sense for these types of gatherings.
Or is it that administrators are just too worried about their young "pupils" being active in politics occurring at the "adult" level?
In any case, I find it unnerving that the school chose to enact swift action to punish these "active" students. If they so concerned about student safety, then how about every Barberton student choose not to go to school for one day? Honestly, all Barberton students should just stage a "sick day".
What can Superintendent Lolli do? Suspend everyone?
$448 Billion for Defense
Since everyone does not want to be seen as being anti-military, the defense spending bill passed with a large bi-partisan majority (394-22) in the House. It will authorise $448 billion, the largest ever so far.
* Will include $70 billion for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan (running total so far is $507 billion). It is expected that another $40 billion will be needed later this year. It costs about $8 billion a month in Iraq.
* Includes $86 billion to support 482,000 Army soldiers and 175,000 Marines. Military pay increase of 2.2 percent.
* $120 billion covers operations and maintenance
* $81 billion to buy new weapons
* $76 billion for R&D
New equipment is falling on the wayside as Congress continues to cut the number of new purchases, thereby increasing the manufacturing cost per unit. There is only enough money to build two DD(X) next-generation Navy destroyers, and two Lockheed Martin's F-35 Joint Strike Fighters next year.
I was under the notion that the F-22 and F-35 were supposed to replace the F-15, and eventually the F-16 jets. If this keeps up, it will take a decade to replace only a small percentage of our current active Air Force.
F-14, entered service in 1972. Retired from Navy on Sept 22 2006. Did you know that the Iranian Air Force is the only military force outside of the US that still has F-14A jets in their inventory?
F-15, entered service in 1972, the E version was introduced in 1988.
F-16, entered service in 1978. Over 4,000 of these jets have been built.
F-17, prototype lightweight aircraft
F/A-18, entered service in 1983.
Republicans - Scaremongers
Gosh, I am still a registered (centrist) Republican in my county in Jersey. Given that I am living in a "red" county in North Jersey, I am confident of the performance of the local government. However, that changes with regards with the national and state positions.
I find it quite ridiculous that with seven weeks until the midterm elections in November, Republicans are concentrating on scaring the public about terrorism and the need to fight them in Iraq and Afghanistan, and soon enough, Iran. They think that scaring the public to keep them in power is more important than domestic issues such as balancing the budget, reform entitlements, lower energy costs, and immigration.
While it is important to maintain democracy in Iraq and combating terrorism, we, as voters, find it also important to see a government balanced budget, better health care, lower taxes and energy costs. Yes, Republicans were successful in scaring the public in 2002 and 2004. But not in 2006.
Stop with the scare tactics. We got Social Security going bankrupt, failing dikes surrounding New Orleans, unnecessary pork barrel projects, corruptive lobbyists, and a overstressed military.
The Geneva Conventions: A Bush Annoyance
President Bush on the need to re-interpret Article III of the Geneva Conventions:
"It is very important for the American people to understand that in order to protect this country, we must be able to interrogate people who have information about future attacks," Bush said. "I will resist any bill that does not enable this program to go forward with legal clarity. If there's not clarity, if there's ambiguity, if there's any doubt in our professionals' mind if they can conduct their operation in a legal way, with support of the Congress, the program won't go forward and the American people will be in danger," Bush said.
However, the other 192 countries do not see any need to re-define this convention document.
We ought to thank Republican Senator John McCain (Arizona), Senator Lindsey Graham (South Carolina), Senator John Warner (Virginia), and Senator Susan Collins (Maine) for approving alternative legislation that would protect US troops and maintain the standard for treating war prisoners and detainees.
Yes, terrorism must be eliminated. This should not mean we should re-define a treaty which the US has ratified to support our own agenda. We are expected to abide with the rules of the Geneva Conventions. If we wish to change something, then it must be done within the framework of the Convention, not through unilateral action.
Bush has countered that "active duty personnel in the Pentagon, the [Judge Advocates Generals], supported the concept that I have just outlined to you." However, the military lawyers to whom the president referred had initially supported the McCain version of the anti-terror legislation.
Yahoo News (Reuters) - Bush argues terrorism case after Republican revolt
Should Pelosi be Speaker?
Based on the hypothetical scenario if Democrats won control of the House, would the party push forward and nominate California Rep. Nancy Pelosi as the next Speaker of the House?
Pelosi would then be third person in succession after Bush and Cheney for the Presidency. It's pretty much traditional for the minority leader be chosen if her party regains control of the House, but is she the right person for the Democratic Party? Could she be too liberal, and would it result in a brief tenure as Speaker if the Democrats return control back to the Republicans in 2008?
For one thing, she's from San Francisco, a city which is really up the wazoo about "tolerance" and loves to dictate what is "good" for the public. This is the same city that rejected having the retired battleship U.S.S. Iowa berthed in their harbor.
Honestly, the moment Pelosi becomes Speaker, she will act just like the Republicans did when they took control. Same person, just different party.
Shutting down debate
It is necessary to preserve the integrity of having a sensible debate on important policy issues. I always find it ridculous that instead of responding against an allegation or a rebuttal on issues, individuals and groups choose to discredit the other side by finding any skeletons in their closet, use falsified facts, and other dangerous means. Both political groups on either side are to blame, and they are responsible for the lack of intellectual knowledge in our society.
In 22 years as head of a public policy research organization, I have never before seen a more concerted effort to shut down debate on important public policy issues. That this effort is coming from the liberal end of the political spectrum, which historically has defended unfettered intellectual inquiry and free speech, is both surprising and disturbing.
During the past year, prominent conservative and libertarian writers and activists, including Doug Bandow, Peter Ferrara, Michael Fumento, Steven Milloy, Grover Norquist, and Armstrong Williams, were accused of failing to report possible financial conflicts of interest. In each case, liberal advocacy groups used sympathetic reporters to “out” their more conservative opponents.
In some instances there may have been actual conflicts that should have been reported in bylines, but most of the allegations relied on guilt by association or accounts of fundraising tactics widely used by groups on both the left and the right. Several people had their careers adversely affected by the attacks.
Fast Food Fiction
Eric Schlosser, the anti-fast food crusader who wrote Fast Food Nation, has a new “children’s book” out on the same subject, titled Chew on This. I put “children’s book” in quotation marks because while this book has pictures and simplifies complicated issues, it delivers a mostly grown-up message about how evil big corporations exploit farmers, hide the harmful health effects of their products, pay their employees too little, put profits before people ... well, you know the litany.
Heartland Science Director Jay Lehr wrote a review of Chew on This pointing out its flaws and chastising Schlosser for trying to change public policy by targeting kids. A few years ago, Schlosser might have responded by answering Lehr’s charges in writing or in interviews. But times have changed.
Houghton Mifflin, Schlosser’s publisher and one of the largest book publishers in the world, hired an outside public relations firm to investigate Heartland’s history and funding and to warn editors against publishing or reporting what we might say.
Unbelievable, you say? In an interview with Bloomberg LLC, Schlosser accused Heartland of being an “Astroturf” organization and a “fake grassroots organization.” (Heartland was founded by a group of small business owners 22 years ago and has 1,400 donors. What’s “fake” about that?) He even claimed Heartland was “originally created with money from the tobacco industry.” That statement is patently false and obviously intended to defame us. It was retracted by Bloomberg after we threatened legal action for libel.
Gore: The Debate Is Over
Al Gore has been trying to shut down debate on global warming since at least 1988. More recently, in a June interview with ABC News host and fellow Clinton administration alum George Stephanopoulos, Gore said, “the debate in the scientific community is over.”
Actually, the debate is just starting. Most climatologists disagree with the alarmist perspective Gore presents in his movie, “An Inconvenient Truth,” and Gore’s lies and exaggerations are getting more attention thanks to a widely circulated essay by Dr. Richard Lindzen, one of the world’s most respected astrophysicists.
But Gore and his allies no longer want to argue about the facts. Global warming, Gore says, is a “moral issue.” In his movie and in interviews, Gore repeatedly compares people who disagree with him to people who denied that smoking causes cancer, and he claims they are all stooges of the oil industry.
Gore’s allies orchestrate daily, weekly, and monthly media events to create the appearance of a scientific consensus and an urgent need for immediate action to “stop global warming pollution.” Every day we read about “new research” proving global warming is imminent, though often the research is not new or not about global warming. Once a week or so we read about politicians and sometimes business leaders calling for expensive (but largely symbolic) government programs.
Gore’s people are also paying an outside public relations firm, this time to place phone calls to thousands of households urging them to attend his movie. Can you imagine? Automated phone calls urging people to attend a movie?
Carmona: The Debate Is Over
On June 27, U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona said, “The debate is over. The science is clear: Secondhand smoke is not a mere annoyance, but a serious health hazard.”
Most people can be forgiven for having thought the truth lay somewhere in between: Working in a smoke-filled bar for 20 years seems likely to pose a risk to your health, but our bodies can probably tolerate occasional exposure to cigarette smoke.
Science writer Michael Fumento reminds us that secondhand smoke is a dramatically diluted substance compared to what active smokers breathe in. Spending an hour in a typical bar back in the 1970s was the equivalent of smoking only .004 cigarettes. The level of smoke contaminants in today’s bars is much lower, and several orders of magnitude less than OSHA indoor air quality standards.
Proof that exposure to secondhand smoke is dropping rapidly can be found in the amount of cotinine in the blood of nonsmokers. It fell 68 percent for kids and 75 percent for adults from 1988 to 1991 ... before nonsmoking sections in restaurants were the rule instead of the exception, and before the recent rush to ban smoking in public places and massive tax hikes.
I won’t recite the litany of fallacies behind the secondhand smoke scare, partly because I’ve described them before in this space, and partly because, according to General Carmona, they no longer matter. Carmona, like Schlosser and Gore, is annoyed by critics who keep poking holes in the public health crisis that pays the mortgage on his home.
Is defending smokers as important as defending modern agriculture and fossil fuels? Absolutely. What’s happening to smokers and their still-legal product could happen to all of us and our favorite-but-slightly-risky products or activities. Small hypothetical health threats are being used to justify bans and tax levels that vastly exceed any reasonable computation of the costs smokers impose on the rest of society.
Why Is This Happening?
Name-calling and ad hominem attacks have always been used in debates over public policy, but in my memory they have never before risen to the heights to which they’ve been employed by today’s left. They are no longer just tactics. They constitute a carefully chosen and massively funded strategy of the left: Inundate the public with the message that “the debate is over” and demonize anyone who dares to say otherwise.
The left’s sudden intolerance for debate reflects the movement’s intellectual bankruptcy. The American public doesn’t support bigger government and higher taxes. It doesn’t trust elected officials or unelected bureaucrats to “manage” the economy or tell them which schools their kids must attend. Yet these unpopular policies form the core of what liberals have to offer.
No wonder they want to stop debate. They always lose.
What We Can Do
It is critically important that we use every opportunity to explain and demonstrate that debates over the important issues of the day are not over. The moment debate ends, dogma and propaganda start, and they are poor guides to good public policy.
We can’t “take a vacation” from the debate and expect it to be the same as when we left it. We need to reject and disprove every claim that the debate is over, because otherwise there will be no debate when we return.
We also need to defend the free-market organizations the left is seeking to demonize. When you see a free-market group or one of its spokespersons being attacked in the press, I urge you to take a moment to write a letter, send an email, or place a phone call to the publisher or broadcaster and defend that victim. Tell them it isn’t fair to attack people’s motives or to make allegations about “who funds them.” Such rhetoric does more to mislead than inform the audience.
The left has changed the rules of engagement. We have no choice but to change our own tactics.
Scenario: House and Senate in Democratic Control?
The most telling generic poll was sponsored by National Public Radio, and conducted jointly by Democratic and Republican pollsters. In a survey of the 50 most competitive districts in the country, as determined by the Cook Political Report and others, the poll (done in late July) gave Democrats a plus of about six points. In 2004, the total vote in those districts went Republican by some 12 points.
Will the Democrats take control of Congress?
The Democrats need a net gain of only 15 seats to take over the House, where the balance is currently 231 Republicans to 201 Democrats, with one independent and two vacancies. In the Senate, Democrats must win a net gain of six seats take control.
Polls do show a climate that favors a change in control. The electorate is largely unhappy with the direction of the nation and President Bush and Congress have been chronically unpopular. Democratic insiders have become far more optimistic now than months ago. James Carville, who ran Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign, said "We have to go back to 1974 (during Watergate) to find such a favorable environment. If we can't win in this environment, we have to question the whole premise of the party." (Bloomberg, Democrats See Victory in U.S. House Races, Senate Within Reach, 28-Aug)
In the same article, even some Republicans agree. "The issue matrix and political dynamics are not good for us," says Representative Tom Davis, a Virginia Republican. "Only some big national or international event before the election can change that." Republican pollster, Bill McInturff, stated that "people are angry about Iraq, about gas prices, about health care."
In fact, congressional leaders are prepared to look at a loss of 20 to 30 House seats!!! In the Senate, they will barely hold on to their majority. This is quite a negative outlook. Is it possible that national sentiment is clearly against the GOP?
Still, Election Day is still about two months away. Could anti-Republican opinion maintain its intensity? Will voters be interested in voting in a midterm election and how likely they are to turn out to vote? One factor that will play a part in the election are state and local issues that could create waves against incumbents.
Pennsylvania: Climate against the GOP is negative due to recent actions of the state legislature. Top Republican members lost their jobs in the party primary back in May.
Ohio: Local "climate" problems. Rep. Bob Ney scandal with former lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Coingate scandal has damaged the reputation of the GOP party. Outgoing Governor Taft became first governor to be charged with a crime while in office, pleading no contest to four criminal misdeameanors.
Indiana: Anti-incumbent climate. One Republican congressman embarassed for being delinquent in paying property taxes.
I would figure that if Ohio and Pennsylvania end up fully Democratic, it will spell doom on Republican chances for maintaining federal control. However, even though Democrats will likely make gains in the Northeast and Midwest, we may end up with a return to political normalcy: divided government.
If Democrats took control of both houses, you still got Bush in the White House. It is basically the reverse when Republicans took control in 1994 when Bill Clinton was President.
Honestly, the GOP base will also come out in huge numbers because they would not want to see the Democrats take full control of Congress. Perhaps Republican turnout will be slightly lower. The reason? High spending, lack of a solution or progress in dealing with illegal immigration, the government handling of Hurricane Katrina when it heavily damaged the Gulf region and New Orleans, mistakes in handling post-war Iraq and the Israel/Hezbollah conflict, underestimating the cost of the passed Medicare legislation, and a largely bloated government bureaucracy.
We can also look at some historical facts. Besides the upset of 1994, neither party has made a net gain of more than 10 House seats over the last twenty years. Maybe 2006 will be another exception.
It can also be alleged that media polls purporting to show low approval ratings for Bush are overpolling Democrats and underpolling Republicans. USA Today tends to lean Democratic, but I think Rasmussen offers a better picture.
USA TODAY/Gallup - Latest figures: 42% Approve, 54% Disapprove (Aug 18-20)
Rasmussen Reports - Latest figures: 40% Approve, 57% Disapprove
Rasmussen's outlook for the Senate: 50 Republicans, 47 Democrats, 3 Toss-Up. As for the House, Rasmussen has a generic ballot set up where Democrats are leading 46% to Republicans 38%.
House - Democrats take control
Senate - Republicans maintain control with Cheney's Tie-Breaking Vote
The Last Word
Republicans have been in control of the White House and Congress for mostly six years. The national debt has risen from $5.8 trillion to $8.5 trillion. Government bureaucracy is the largest ever. Iraq is in the midst of a civil war. We have sacrificed our international leadership during the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict. Honestly, Republicans have become more interested in staying in power than meeting the needs of the people. Yet, I don't think the Democrats have a better plan. I would really prefer a divided government than having one party being in control of everything. Stuff may get done slower but at least there is more compromise and more sensible legislation.
Lieberman Loss: Anti-War Win?
US Senator Joe Lieberman, former vice presidential candidate and three-term incumbent lost to Ned Lamont, a wealthy businessman who used a good portion of his personal wealth and voters' frustration with the current elected politician. In yesterday's Democratic primary, Lamont won with 52 percent of the vote, with 99% precincts reporting.
Liberman vowed to run as an independent, stating that "for the sake of our state, our country and my party, I cannot and will not let that result stand."
Mr. Lamont spent at least $4 million of his own money on hard-edged television commericals. One example was Mr. Lieberman's face changed into President Bush's as an announcer said the senator "talks like George W. Bush and acts like George W. Bush."
Lieberman's dependency on his traditional Democratic interest groups should have resulted in victory, not defeat. He had a good standing among environmentalists, abortion rights groups, and labor unions. Foreign policy usually does not emerge as a top vote factor among the populace. We could be more worried about taxes, Social Security, health care, inflation, and public services than about war.
Generally, for a Democratic or Republican member of Congress, you would earn a primary challenger if you were to oppose a powerful local group on an issue it deemed critical (NY Times). Example: If you represented a Rust Belt district, you could all but count on winning your party's nomination every two years as long you voted with the local union on trade legislation.
However, this was not the norm this time. MoveOn.org and Democracy for America (Howard Dean's incarnation) bascially concentrated on the most liberal position of their platform: anti-war. They do not care if you brought more jobs to the state, help fight polluting corporations, preserve the ANWR region from drilling, and saving Social Security. If you sided with Bush on Iraq, you're not the candidate for them. The main goal of these two advocacy groups is to denounce Republicans whenever possible and to block the administration's agenda whenever possible. Bipartisanship is essentially a no-no in their book.
For Connecticut, a Lieberman loss will likely not result in a loss of a Democratic Senate seat. The GOP has a weak candidate, Alan Schlesinger, and the Party is considering whether they should continue to back their candidate, try to find a replacement to take advantage of a possible scenario with Lieberman running as an independent (though Schlesinger refuses to step down), or help finance a Lieberman's independent campaign. However, I think Bush showing up to help support an Independent Lieberman may not bring out a positive result. :) As for the state, it is pretty much a Democratic win in November. Now if this were to happen in Ohio, Michigian, or Illnois, or a swing-state then the effects would be on a much larger scale.
However, I do not see this win for Lamont, a win for the anti-war groups. The national effect will not be that substantial. I am sure other Democratic leaders that voted to authorise the Iraq war would certainly consider the opinions of the "peace" liberals, but Lieberman was probably more vulnerable during his primary loss. The public does have a short-attention span, and domestic issues could rise to the forefront of voters' minds. It is just timing. Fortunately for MoveOn.org and Democracy for America, they got it right on for Connecticut.