Thursday, August 31, 2006

Bush Will See This Movie, Right After He Sees "An Inconvenient Truth"

What does it say about the state of our national reputation when British television is set to run a fictional account of the assassination of President Bush? I was a bit shocked that anyone would make this film, it just feels wrong for some reason although I can’t seem to put my finger on why exactly. Perhaps it’s just knee-jerk nationalism. As much as I dislike President Bush, I still believe in this country and I want us to achieve what our founding fathers dreamed we could when they wrote our Constitution.

While I’m curious to see the film, I’m also a bit concerned about what my reaction might be. Watching the bad guy die in a film is cathartic in a way, I imagine the same would be true while watching the fictional murder of George Bush, and in this paranoid country where illegal surveillance and intimidation are standard practice and self-censorship is encouraged, that’s dangerous territory. So is writing about it, in fact I’m more than a bit worried about who this post will attract, simply by the words I’ve used so far. Even discussing the fictional assassination of the President can bring unwanted scrutiny.

Personally, I’d prefer a real televised legal drama on C-Span in the form of an impeachment trial. Watching the truth prevail and justice served would elevate the level of discourse in this country and renew our faith in the system of government that has been sullied by the Republican party and degraded by this administration. Now that’s what I’d call great television.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

A Democracy In Its Last Throes?

Just a quick perusal of the news today gives me an uneasy feeling about the state of our democracy and the sad state of our leadership.  Bill Frist (may have) lied on his medical license renewal application, George Allen not only spews racist comments but apparently sought membership in a White Supremacist organization and Richard Armitage admits that he outed Valerie Plame.  Yeah, this is a great group of people that we have entrusted the running of our country to.

On the darker side, a judge in California has dismissed the legal challenge to the Busby/Bilbray election on jurisdictional grounds.  Apparently, if the House of Representatives rushes to swear in a member before the votes have even been counted, there’s no legal remedy for that.  I wonder if Joe Lieberman knows this, it might work for him in the Senate as well, all he’ll have to do is get his buddies to swear him in regardless of how the voters in Connecticut decide the race.  I wonder if this would work for Bush/Cheney in ’08, after all, there’s nothing in the Constitution that says the electors have to cast their ballots for the winner of the election, keeping Bush/Cheney would be a legal means to a coup.  It doesn’t seem as far fetched an idea as it would have six years ago.  Scary isn’t it?

Oh yeah, and the ballots in Ohio from the 2004 election are set to be destroyed meaning that we will never know (or at least have definitive evidence of) how that election really turned out.  If there wasn’t anything to hide, surely Ken Blackwell would want to clear the air and have all doubts about the election put to rest once and for all.  Sunlight is the best disinfectant and our government is a festering cesspool of corruption operating behind closed doors and heavily draped windows.  I keep wondering when enough will be enough, I don’t know how much more we can take before we reach the point of no return.  Maybe we have already.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Terminate Him Already!

How Californians could have elected Arnold Schwarzenegger Governor in the first place is a mystery to me, but that they appear poised to re-elect him in November is downright ridiculous.  I don’t care how uninspiring Phil Angeledes is, he’s not a Republican, he’s not going to steal money from public education, demean teachers and nurses or grope women, and most importantly, he’s not a has been action star with marginally more brain power than our current President.  In my mind, that should be enough to swear in Governor Angeledes.

Having been born and raised in California, I understand that the voting patterns of Californians can be strange.  It’s a blue state that seems to like Republican Governors, go figure.  To Schwarzenegger’s credit, he’s not a nutjob like, say, Rick Santorum and he probably couldn’t get elected as a Republican in much of the country, but that shouldn’t be enough to win him a second term.  The tide is turning and conservatism as practiced by today’s GOP has been discredited, yet California, usually ahead of the country as far as trends go, seem content with the status quo.  The Republican Party is played out.  Even Republican Lite like Schwarzenegger should be given the boot, sometimes they’re more dangerous anyway with their faux rationalism.

Governor Schwarzenegger may not be actively (publicly at least) trying to stop progress toward clean energy, universal healthcare, a strong public education system and equal rights, but remember that he is a staunch supporter of President Bush who’s policies in every single one of these areas has done significant damage, even in California.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have a Governor actively working toward solving these critical problems rather than a Governor that merely pretends to be?  I love Californians, but I just have to ask, what the hell are you thinking?  Do us all a favor and toss his slimy, botoxed, groping ass out of the Governor’s Mansion and back to his own.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Peter Goldmark In His Own Words has posted a great interview with Peter Goldmark today. Goldmark is running for Congress in Washington’s 5th district and really is all that AND a bag a chips. But don’t take my word for it, go see for yourself.

Update: More good news for Peter Goldmark, Congressional Quarterly has just changed their rating of the McMorris/Goldmark race from "safe Republican" to "Republican favored". Just a few short weeks ago no one in DC was paying attention to this race and now, thanks to grassroots support, blogger attention and Goldmark's compelling message, this is quickly becoming a race to watch. As an unpaid blogger, I don't have a lot of cash laying around, but I'm going to give to the Goldmark campaign for the third time in six weeks. If you can, please do the same because the more resources the GOP has to put into this race, the less they will be able to spend on other competitive races around the country. Help force the Republicans to spend money on what they thought was a safe seat by contributing to the Goldmark campaign now!

Elections Are So Last Century

Back in early June, the media was watching closely the results of the special election in San Diego to replace Congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham after he plead guilty to bribery. The buzz was, if Francine Busby won, it would be a clear indication that the voters were tired of Republican corruption and were ready to hand Congress over to the Democrats. Opinion polls before Election Day had Busby ahead of her opponent Brian Bilbray, but in the end, Bilbray pulled it out and traditional media was all over the story. Well, they were all over part of the story, the part that cast a rosy glow over the GOP and their chances of holding onto control of Congress in the midterms, but the bigger story was the fact that the election was contested. That story never got off the ground though. As we know, traditional media doesn’t challenge, let alone investigate fishy elections. That’s not newsworthy in this day and age.

The election in San Diego was conducted on Diebold machines that were kept in the homes of poll workers for days before the election, this breach of protocol effectively decertified the machines, but they were used anyway and when the machines spit out a win for Republican Bilbray, he was quickly sworn in back in Washington D.C., even though there were votes still being counted and the results hadn’t been certified. I guess if the GOP can’t get their hand picked SoS to certify fraudulent results ala Katherine Harris and Ken Blackwell, they can just bypass the SoS and swear in whomever they choose, I mean really, who’s going to challenge them, The Washington Post, CNN, Chris Matthews, Bob Woodward? Please.

The election was contested in late July after the California Registrar refused to conduct a hand recount (sound familiar?), and a brief was filed last week by the defendants in the case claiming that the California courts don’t have jurisdiction to decide the case and that the House of Representatives has the full authority to determine its members. In other words, the voters are merely giving a suggestion when they vote for their Congressperson, in the end, Congress can determine for itself who to swear in and accept as members. I guess we should all keep that in mind as we head to the polls in November. We’re not really deciding on representation, we’re only voicing our opinion, an opinion that can be ignored if we make the “wrong” choice. Good to know.

I still run into Democrats that are active in Party politics who refuse to acknowledge the ugly reality of how broken our election systems are. We watched as Al Gore tried to eek out enough votes to best George Bush instead of demanding that every vote in Florida be counted, we watched as John Kerry folded and refused to fight, we have watched Democrats in the House and Senate run as fast as they can away from any discussion involving fraudulent elections, manipulated results and hackable voting machines. There are a great many people diligently working through legal channels to secure free and fair elections (and BradBlog is doing an excellent job of covering these efforts), but the opposition has more money, more lawyers and more access.

Where are our Democratic leaders on this issue? How can they continue to provide cover for the GOP and even worse, a false sense of security to rank and file Democrats who honestly believe that if there was a real problem, surely prominent Democrats would be making more noise? For whatever reason (they’re feeding at the corporate trough?), that isn’t going to happen and voters need to recognize that we are on our own. If our election system is to be fixed, we must first acknowledge just how bad things are and then we must stop helping the enemy by demeaning the efforts of those working so hard to save our democracy. It’s time we worried less about their tin foil hats and more about our own steel blinders.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

From The Mailbag

I’ve been meaning to start posting some of the letters and emails that I receive. This one was too good to pass up.

A Modest Proposal

Yep, today for the first time, I agreed with George Will, with some minor changes.

George believes that we can get New Orleans re-built if bureaucratic rules can be set aside. Unfortunately, if rules are set aside, oversight is set aside and I guaran-damn-tee you that builders and homeowners will take advantage of that lack of oversight. When building codes are ignored, public safety is compromised. Obviously, this is why we have codes, rules and ordinances. Republicans still can't understand that.

Look at what happened to $8.5 Billion dollars that was delivered in brown paper bags to Paul Bremer and the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad. It disappeared because there were no accounting rules to be followed. Most of the reconstruction money that has been sent to Iraq has been spent......for what? There is no evidence that the money has been used properly, but no Congressional oversight is happening. Why? Because they are afraid to find the truth.

Back to New Orleans. If a WPA-like program (yes a Rooseveltian program), were to be instituted with qualified professionals (professors and practitioners of architecture) placed in charge of work groups consisting of thousands of architectural students, augmented by trades people who are under-employed, then N.O. can be back on it's feet in no time. Additionally, what is constructed could have more than a little individual design flair, effectively putting N.O. on the map again as a cultural center.

Emptying the architecture schools for a couple of years will be more beneficial than you can imagine, without a downside, especially if bookwork can occur concurrently. To get an architecture license in any State, one must have a combination of a 5-year degree and 3-years of practical experience. What difference does it make to mix up the normal order of academics and experience? At the end of the 8-year process that I am proposing, we will have better qualified young architects and New Orleans will be fixed.

There will be a large number of people who believe that public money should not be flushed down the New Orleans toilet, given the relative location to sea level and I would agree in principle, but my primary point is that New Orleans should not cease to exist.

If it is more rational to move or raise the City, then rational decisions should be made. It is not rational to throw money at a bad idea, but it is my understanding that not ALL of New Orleans is beyond remediation.

New Orleans, like New York is part of our culture and deserves our attempt to preserve it.

John Crawley
Austin, Texas

Wouldn’t it be great if we lived in a country where this sort of creative solution could actually be implemented? For all of the problems that I had with President Clinton, I can’t help but think that if he were still in charge, this sort of rebuilding program would have already been put in motion. We all know that Bush isn’t busy trying to rebuild New Orleans, he’s busy trying to figure out how to funnel reconstruction money to his cronies. It’s sad the amount of damage one bad President can do. Let’s hope that one good one can make some serious progress toward repairing the damage that’s been done.

Let me know when you decide to run for office Mr. Crawley, I’ll surely vote for you, even if I have to move to Austin to do it.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

On The Road Again

Guest Post by Man of American Dissent

While LGND is on the road for one more day (eager to return civilization and its' wi-fi hotspots, fabulous coffee etc.), I think it's worth noting that we're seeing an inversion in fuel prices here in the Pacific Northwest. One gallon of biodiesel (produced from Washington State grown soybeans) is going for $3.11 while an equivalent measure of petro diesel is commanding up to $3.65 in "this part of the world". It's very encouraging to see a hippiefreak/alternative/boutique/clean/renewable/domestic/no war required energy source in an economically competitive (if not downright advantageous) position. Hopefully this is not just a temporary condition. The more we can encourage and implement alternative energy usage the more cost effective and sustainable the technologies and businesses around it will be.

Progress Vs. Bush Administration

Science can work around the obstacles of religion, but religion always seems to catch up just in time to place more roadblocks to progress.  President Bush’s stance on stem cell research, that any procedure that destroys an embryo is murder, has hindered the progress of this very promising line of research.  Scientists have now found a way to create stem cells without destroying the embryo, but the White House says this does not resolve the issue.  I guess they have to wait until after Karl Rove has a sit down with religious leaders before they can come out with specifics of their new objections.  This administration always comes at issues from the most regressive position possible.

At the same time that the administration is doing everything possible to put up roadblocks to embryonic stem cell research, the FDA has finally approved the over the counter sale of Plan B, the “morning after” pill.  This is great news for women in this country and an end to a long fight with the Bush administration over the use of emergency contraception.  Women have the right to seek medical treatment for any condition, even unwanted pregnancy.  Choosing to prevent a pregnancy is a personal choice and the government has no business getting involved in the decision, and the approval of Plan B gives women more options in preventing unwanted pregnancy, a great thing for women’s health and our right to choose our own path.

The fact that the Bush administration has taken positions on these two issues that are at odds with one another, is irritating yet expected.  Holding back progress is a difficult task, especially when you have a job approval rating hovering in the low 30s.  In order to implement the regressive policies his religious right friends are hoping for, Bush would have to be wildly popular.  As it is, he seems to be trying to do just enough to keep his last 30% happy, even if it means his positions on different issues are not easily reconciled.  Won’t it be great when we don’t have to deal with an administration constantly pandering to the Religious Right anymore?  I, for one, can hardly wait.


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Smoke And Mirrors Economy

You know things are bad when even Walmart can’t make money. While the Bush administration (and their allies in the media) continue to talk up the economy, Walmart experiences a decline in profits for the first time in ten years and poll after poll shows that the American people aren’t buying the hard sell of a strong economy. Now that the facts are starting to come out that refute the rosy outlook, the reality of just how bad things are will likely further damage the GOP as people come to recognize Republicans as the architects of our new failing economy.

Foreclosures are up, bankruptcies are up (despite the horrific new bankruptcy law) and housing sales are down, not exactly signs of a strong and vibrant economy. There is no way to have a successful economy based on consumption and debt, yet that is exactly the economy the GOP and the Bush administration have built. It has enriched a few, but the rest of us may drop through the floor at any moment, either individually or as a result of a steep economic decline or even hyperinflation leading to a depression. Those at the top don’t have to worry about their own welfare and they certainly aren’t concerned with ours, but the government is supposed to and it hasn’t since Bush took office.

What good is a government that doesn’t look after the interests of the people? That is the question more and more people seem to be asking themselves and that should scare the hell out of the GOP. It’s still the economy stupid, and they have failed.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Loose Lips Sink Ships

Truth Out is still sticking to the story that Karl Rove was indicted several months back. Jason Leopold and Marc Ash have continued to work their sources and have uncovered more details about the sealed indictment handed up in mid May filed under “sealed vs. sealed” a very unusual event on its own that is compounded by the fact that it’s been kept under seal for over three months. I would be shocked if this turns out not to be related to the CIA leak case.

One of my earliest speculations back in October when I started this blog, was that Rove would roll over on Cheney eventually. Bush needs Rove a lot more than he needs Cheney, who at this point is a drag on his Presidency and quite possibly the architect of much (if not all) of the bad policy that will earn Bush the title (if he hasn’t already) of Worst President Ever. If Rove has copped a plea and is cooperating with Fitzgerald’s investigation, then we may never know what evidence is in that sealed indictment, but if in the end, Fitzgerald can get Cheney, I guess that’s a small price to pay. Seeing Rove frog-marched out of the White House would be great, but seeing Cheney in an orange jumpsuit would be even better and would cause far more damage to the Bush presidency anyway.

I imagine that if Rove is cooperating in the investigation, his main concern at this point is stalling until after the midterm elections. The GOP may have already lost the ability to hold onto control of Congress, but a Cheney indictment for a crime the President said he had no knowledge of would be the end of all hope for them. Too bad the people’s right to know is now routinely trumped by the political needs of this administration. Either Cheney is in his last throes, or our republic is. I guess we’ll find out soon enough which is stronger. It’s hard to bet against Cheney though when evil is so hard to destroy, and cockroaches can survive in the most inhospitable of environments.

Update: I know, there are a lot of "ifs" in this post, but you can't blame a gal for speculating (or hoping).

Monday, August 21, 2006

A Little Beauty Really Can Restore Optimism

I’m back in California for the week and I’m sitting on the deck looking out over this beautiful lake and the rolling hills in the distance and I’ve realized that I often blog from a place of outrage. I read the news in the morning, get mad by what I read and head straight to my laptop to vent. Today, in this warm weather, with the sun reflecting off of the water, I can’t seem to muster up any anger. I guess we should all take more time away from our busy lives, it really does allow for a new perspective.

I’ve come to realize that I simply do not believe that terrorism is a major threat to this country. Putting it into its proper perspective, we should be spending much more time worrying about driving around in our cars, than hijacked airplanes and suicide bombers. My bleak outlook for this country stems not from instability in the world, radical religious nutjobs (of any stripe) or from the hyped clash of civilizations, but from the Bush administration itself. The greatest threat to this country and the world is the regime we have right here in our White House. It’s not a coincidence that the world has started falling apart since these thugs took over. The instability that we feel now is by design and it benefits those it was meant to benefit. If you have any doubt, just look at who has prospered while the rest of us stew in fear and watch our resources dwindle.

My first reaction to the recent foiled terrorist attacks in London was disbelief, much the way I felt about the men arrested in Florida last month that were supposedly an immediate threat to Chicago’s skyline. We have seen the Bush administration, over and over, use terrorism as a tool of fear, so like the little boy who cried wolf, it’s just so hard to believe anything they say. They don’t spend much time trying to thwart terrorism, but they will use any opportunity to remind people that we should be afraid and that we should be relieved to have their strong arms protecting us.

Even if stamping out terrorism was a high level priority for the Bush administration, I have a feeling that we would then be in some serious danger. Incompetent doesn’t even begin to adequately describe the disastrous leadership they provide. They could start a fire making cereal in the morning. If they were actively trying to root out terrorism, then surely we’d have shit blowing up in this country every day. The real dangers we face aren’t suicide bombers and hijacked airplanes, they’re the more subtle attacks of economic terrorism and the plague of social conservatism, and that is by design.

Bush claimed today that the Iraq war is straining the American psyche. How absurd. I can see how it would be damaging to his psyche considering that he has no idea how to turn his disastrous war of choice into a political win. For a man that came into office intending to prove he is better than his father, Bush will walk out of office as the worst President in the history of this country, quite a feat really considering some of the losers we've had in the past (his father included). If the American psyche has been strained, it has not been the result of the Iraq war, but rather the realization that we allowed this ideological idiot to lead us there.

The fear that this administration has used as a means of holding onto power, is starting to wear thin and more and more Americans, conservatives included, are beginning to realize that the only thing we have to fear, is Bush himself. The good news is, the remedy really is as simple as it seems. Kick the bums out of the People’s House and the White House, and we can start moving back toward normal.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Wouldn’t It Be Great If The Law Really Mattered?

A judge has ruled in favor of journalists, lawyers and scholars (you know, left fringe types) being represented by the ACLU in a suit challenging the NSA domestic wiretapping program. How quaint, using the legal process to halt the Bush administration’s power grab, does anyone really think that Bush/Cheney give a shit what some district court judge in Detroit has to say? Of course not, judges are “activists” overstepping their authority, that is unless their rulings help spread the virus of intelligent design, halt critical scientific research on stem cells or further expand Rumsfeld’s torture program. This administration has no respect for judges that use existing law to make legal decisions, only rulings that validate their criminal behavior are worth complying with, everything else falls under “executive privilege”.

The upcoming elections have given us hope that there might be a light at the end of this tunnel, that if the Democrats can take over at least one chamber of Congress, there will finally be some real investigations into the lies that led us to war, the unconstitutional usurpation of executive power, the illegal surveillance and detention of American citizens and the corruption that runs rampant in the GOP controlled halls of power. But what happens if the scales of power are not tipped come November?

There isn’t any reason to believe that the Republicans will be able to hold onto power, but there also wasn’t any reason to believe Bush would be “re-elected” in 2004. One thing we have learned over the last six years is that reason is irrelevant. This band of criminals make up their own reality and all they have to do is sell their particular brand of crazy to just enough people to make any outcome seem plausible. I’m afraid that elections have become something altogether new. The winner doesn’t have to get the most votes, it just has to appear possible that they could have, however remote. Until we address that, I will continue to hope for positive results in the midterms, but I’m not exactly counting on it. Our best bet at this point is working diligently to make Republican wins implausible. The good news is, that's still possible.

A Few Announcements

I will be on the road all day tomorrow (Friday), so I won’t be blogging and will not have Internet access over the weekend, but I will be back at it on Monday!

If you’re a little heavy in the wallet and want to help a great candidate take back Congress for the Democrats, contribute to Peter Goldmark’s campaign (more about Goldmark here and more about his opponent here).  As you can see on my sidebar, he’s really starting to catch fire amongst blog readers.  Help him keep it up!

Also check out this post at Washblog that includes a message from Peter Goldmark.

And last but not least, if you live in the Seattle area and don’t have plans for this Sunday (August 20th), consider attending The Uncaged Cabaret, a benefit for Jim McDermott.  The legal bills he’s racked up defending our right to know what our government is up to aren’t going to pay themselves.  The event looks like a lot of fun.  Check it out.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

And The (dead)Beat Goes On

From The Hill, “Democrats are worried that Lieberman may be giving Republicans a golden opportunity to undermine their message.” Well finally, Democratic Senators understand what we on the left have been saying for a very long time. Joe Lieberman is an albatross around the neck of the Party, the sooner we cut him loose, the better. He knows that in order to win in the general election, he will need strong Republican support in Connecticut, so expect to hear more GOP talking points come out of Lieberman’s mouth over the next few months.

Yes, Lieberman is undermining the Democrat’s message, he sounds like a Republican and is using the same tactics to smear Democrats, but this is nothing new. He’s been undermining Democrats for years. His little “gang of 14” ensured that the Supreme Court made a sharp right turn with the addition of John Roberts and Samuel Alito. He has continually helped sell the occupation of Iraq, an occupation that is destroying our country and theirs. As long as he continues to fight for his Senate seat against the Democratic nominee, we should follow David Sirota’s lead and refer to him as the de facto GOP candidate, Joe Lieberman. That’s exactly what he is, hell even the White House and Ken Mehlman are on his side, and why not? Lieberman may be one of the few Republican Senators that has a chance of holding onto his seat come November and a win for Holy Joe is a win for the GOP. That’s not smear, that’s the truth.

Multi-Media Liberal Girl

Last night I did back to back podcasts. First I was a guest on Subject 2 Discussion, a political talk radio show out of Las Vegas, where host Shaun and I discussed the Lamont victory in Connecticut and what that means to the Democratic Party. We also touched on Cheney’s compulsive lying and fear mongering, the Democrat’s new spine and Bush’s fascist tendencies. You can listen to the show here (August 15th edition). I’m on in the second half of the first hour.

After finishing up with Shaun, I headed over to my local Drinking Liberally meet-up where we recorded our weekly podcast. This week, me, Goldy, Will and Carl sat back and listened to Geov Parrish, formerly of the Seattle Weekly and Sandeep Kaushik, formerly of The Stranger, discuss the potential demise of the Weekly and what that means to political coverage in the Emerald City. We also touched on the Iraq occupation and Joe Lieberman’s new career as spoiler and GOP hack. Visit Podcasting Liberally to download the show.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Lies, Paper Tigers And Blogs, Oh My!

Did you know that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadenijad has a blog (competition is coming from every angle now)? Well, he does and he’s apparently using it to spread not just information (propoganda?) but also a virus to anyone with an Israeli IP address that visits his blog. One more reason to nuke Iran! There has to be something in the newly ratified Cybercrime treaty that allows for that. If there is, Bush will find it and no doubt use it. At least that way, an attack on Iran would be based on law, more than can be said for our invasion of Iraq.

The only problem is that this story sounds a little too fishy to me. Much like the story the young woman (the daughter of Kuwait’s Ambassador to the US) peddled to Congress about Iraqi soldiers dumping babies out of incubators in the lead up to the Gulf War. That tipped the scales in favor of invading Iraq in 1991, too bad it wasn’t true. Another doozy was the recent story that claimed the Iranian parliament had passed a law requiring religious minorities to wear color-coded clothing? That one turned out to be untrue as well. Ahmadenijad playing cyber-terrorist doesn’t carry quite the same punch as the “incubator babies” or the “religious dress code” PR stunts, but the Bush administration seems to be building the case slowly that Iran is in the hands of a menace. This could just be part of the pile on (don't forget that Iran is responsible for Hezbollah), or it could be true, so hard to know these days. One thing I do know though, this Cybercrime treaty is bad news.

This is another in a long line of transgressions on personal freedoms in this country that we can thank this administration and our GOP Congress for. We know the Bush administration has and will continue to ignore our own constitution and laws when spying, investigation and locking up American citizens, but thanks to this treaty, they can now use other countries laws as a basis for doing so. Apparently, under this treaty if I violate Chinese law, our FBI can investigate me. I’m pretty sure I’ve done that at least a few times already. I guess I should watch my step.

Yes, we should work in concert with other countries to root out cybercrime and help in the prosecution of criminals, but at a time when we are losing personal freedoms at a rapid pace in this country, it’s difficult not to see the dark side of every single bill, law, treaty and policy of our GOP (corporate) controlled (police state) government. I keep wondering when enough will be enough, but there seems to be less outrage with each new infringement on our rights. It’s our job as citizens to question the implications of legislation, treaties and policies being pushed through Congress. If we don’t, who will?

Monday, August 14, 2006

Mood Swings

There seems to be a shift underway in the way US citizens are viewing terrorism. Bush’s failed efforts to address the threat of terrorism in any real way and the continued occupation in Iraq have contributed to the instability of both that country and our own and the American people are beginning to see it. Bush’s poll numbers have again reached an all time low and the politicizing of the thwarted attacks in London and the attempt to equate Lamont’s win in the Connecticut primary to a win for Al Qaeda, have not given him the political bounce he was hoping for. The times, they may be a changin’ and not in the way the Bushies anticipated.

The economy is failing and ordinary working Americans are feeling the pain. On paper, the economy may look fine (if you consider out of control debt, a growing trade deficit and an economy based on spending rather than production, fine), but out here in the real world it sure doesn’t feel that way. We are being squeezed from every direction, too much debt, high gas prices and stagnant wages. This economy may be working for the investor class, but the billions of dollars a day being spent on the Iraq occupation are draining our treasury and the American people are starting to notice where that money is going. On the surface it appears as if it’s going into the sinkhole of Iraq, but we are starting to understand that the deep pockets of the Halliburtons of the world look an awful lot like sinkholes until they start filling up. The economy may be working for Dick Cheney, but not so much for the rest of us. Perhaps if we could write US energy policy and war policy to our best financial advantage, we might feel differently. We might even sport the same shit-eating grin that Cheney does when talking about the economy.

I worry about what will happen to people when the housing bubble bursts. Far too many Americans have leveraged their homes in order to continue spending the money necessary to keep this economy afloat. I receive offers every day encouraging me to take equity out of my house to spend on whatever I want. The only problem is, I know the appraisals I’ve received the last few years are more smoke and mirrors than an actual assessment of what my house is worth. The Bushies keep telling us to worry about terrorism but not about the economy, “Just spend, spend, spend, it’s the patriotic thing to do.” I wonder how people are going to keep their families warm and fed when all they have left are their American flags.

While the shifting mood of the country as reflected in current polls is encouraging, I’m still a little nervous about what the GOP and the Bush administration will do in order to shift public opinion back their way. If color-coded terror threat levels and potential plots against American airliners aren’t enough to boost their numbers anymore, I hate to think of what they will pull out of their hat next. The only thing we can be assured of is, it won’t be good for us.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Trolls Being Trolls

In my last comment thread, someone claiming to be enigma4ever from Watergate Summer, left a nasty comment.  I knew it didn’t sound like her, so I emailed her.  She of course confirmed that it wasn’t and now I find out that she’s been receiving comments with my name that are even nastier.  It could be someone doing it just for fun, or it could be an attempt to divide us from one another.  Either way, it’s a sneaky tactic that I will now have to be on the lookout for.

So if you see a comment from me (or some other blogger you read and like) on another blog that just doesn’t look right, it probably isn’t.  One way to tell is to click on the link.  If it directs you to my Blogger profile, it’s likely me, but if it directs you directly to my blog, it might be a fake.  The best way to tell is the tone though.  We liberal bloggers don’t tend to call each other names or make personal attacks.  We may disagree, but we usually do so in a respectful way.

There are little tiny Karl Roves in training all over the place, I guess it makes sense for them to use the liberal blogisphere as a training ground for their future evil deeds.  They may be meaner, but we’re smarter and in the end, their tactics won’t work.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Liars And Fear Mongers On Parade

(I apologize upfront for the snark you are about to read, but listening to Republicans talk brings it out in me.)

The uptick in support for Democrats across the country is in part helped by the abject failure that is today’s Republican Party, but it is also a result of Democrats acting like Democrats again.  If there is one thing that the blogs have done, it’s give voice to the principles we used to all share as Democrats, but that our representatives in DC abandoned long ago.  More Americans say they would trust Democrats on national security and most would vote for a Democrat for Congress if the election were held today.  Again, the Republican failures have helped, but look at the Democrats that have been in the news lately.  Democrats that sound like Democrats.

Just look at how Republican loudmouths are responding to the Lieberman loss.  They are going nuts and it’s not because they care about the health of the Democratic Party, it’s because they know that they have lost control of the message and Democrats standing up for the American people on principle, is the beginning of the end of what they have built.  Sean Hannity said to “Democratic Strategist” (I love those labels) Bob Beckel on his television show, “Your Party has lost its soul.”  Really Sean?  I think Democrats in DC have just had their “come to Jesus” moment and it scares the hell out of people like you.  Are we to believe that the GOP surrogates and the White House are out in full force trying to sell the idea that the Democrats have just shot themselves in the foot by getting rid of Lieberman, because they are only trying to help?  Sorry, but we’re not that stupid.  It’s clear that the Sean Hannities of the world are frightened that the Democrats have finally made a smart move that will definitely hurt the Republicans’ chances of holding onto power in November.

Bob Beckel assured Hannity that the Democrats will win in November to which Hannity replied, “Maybe you will win Bob, but I gotta tell you somethin’…blah…blah…Islamic fascists are comin’ to kill us…blah…they wanna destroy us...blah…blah…blah…and you guys…You guys are weak, profoundly pathetically weak on national defense and homeland security.”  Thanks for the lecture Sean, but I think we’ll pass on taking your advice on how best to run our Party.  I just don’t think your concern is all that believable.

Funny how President Bush used the same term, Islamic fascists, when he staggered off the plane to give his prepared remarks to the press yesterday regarding the foiled London plane bombings.  It’s almost as if there is a coordinated effort underway to hype the terrorist threat and convince the American public that if Democrats take control of Congress, we will be taken over by fascists (yes, you can read that as sarcasm).  Again, whatever they say, the opposite is likely true.  If we don’t make sweeping changes in Congress, the fascists in this country will retain their control and we will continue to become less and less American every single day.  

Bush seemed drunker than usual too as he thanked “the government of Tony Blair.”  Interesting that Tony Blair is now a country unto himself, Bush must be jealous.  Maybe Tony should give Joe Lieberman a call and see if Holy Joe, Party of One, would like to represent Tony Blair, Country of One, as ambassador to the United States, One Nation under Bush.  Sure would make problem solving easier and this trio has done such a fabulous job so far of making the world a safer place don’t ya think?  

Bush also declared that we are safer now than we were on 9/11.  Really?  You could’ve fooled me.  I wake up each morning shocked to all hell that shit isn’t blowing up outside my window.  But he did add that we’re still not completely safe, “It is a mistake to think that there is no threat to America.”  It must be hard trying to make opposite assertions all the time.  We’re safer because I’m protecting you, but we’re not safe enough.  I’m sure that we all feel much better knowing that Bush is on the case.  In fact, we should simply hand over the rest of our civil rights to make it easier for him to protect us.  But without the rule of law and respect for our founding documents, the real question is, who’s going to protect us from him?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Is Cathy McMorris A Nutjob?

If you live in Washington’s 5th district, you have to read this great diary post over at Daily Kos.  I like Peter Goldmark even more than before, now that I know Cathy McMorris is a Fundamentalist rapturite that holds extremist religious views including my future of burning in a literal lake of fire.  Don’t we have enough trouble with radical religious fundamentalism as it is?  Help Cathy spend more time in her church, vote for (and contribute to) Peter Goldmark for Congress.

Fear, Fear And More Fear

While Dick Cheney goes around telling anyone who will listen that Ned Lamont’s win in Connecticut is a win for Al Qaeda, the rest of us have to suffer the effects of his delusional foreign policy, civil war in Iraq, Islamic extremism on the rise and a widening of the resource wars. I love how information comes out in a trickle with this administration and usually proves the speculation about their bad intentions true in the end. Sure, it’s confirmed long after the information is useful, but at least this President and Vice President are on track to be ravaged by history. It’s a small consolation, but hey, it’s something.

Insight is reporting on the “rift” between Condoleeza Rice and George Bush that has developed over the Israel/Lebanon conflict. It appears that she has far less clout than even she previously thought (time to get those boots out Condi). But even more interesting is the indication that Cheney was in favor of widening the Iraq war from the very beginning (much as many of us suspected):

Aides for Mr. Cheney have argued that the United States should have targeted Hezbollah and Syria during the war against Iraq in 2003. They said despite U.S. intelligence warnings Hezbollah was allowed to dominate Lebanon and build a formidable force along the Israeli border.

"There was talk of taking care of Hezbollah and Syria, but Condi and [then-Secretary of State Colin] Powell said 'no way. We don't need another front,'" an official said.

The psychology of how this White House works is fascinating when boiled down to personality. Georgie’s desire for attention from an overbearing mother type is apparently dwarfed by his need to please his chosen father figure. I have a feeling that Cheney plays his role perfectly by praising Bush (when he does exactly what Cheney wants of course) and acting as a salvo to all the criticism he received (and continues to receive) from Bush Sr. “You’re a smart boy George, you know what to do, you can figure this out.” I also imagine there’s a lot of, “What a great idea, I wish I’d thought of it,” from Cheney as well after feeding him the information that can only lead to one right choice. I think Cheney is the master of getting Bush to believe he’s making his own decisions when we all know that can’t possibly be true. As big of a mess as Bush has made of the world since taking office, I have a sinking feeling it could be worse, but who knows? I can’t ever decide if evil does more damage than incompetence. Too bad there’s no price to pay for either at this point, well, not by the administration anyway.

The excising of Joe Lieberman from the Democratic Party really might be a watershed moment. Lamont’s win over an incumbent Senator is the clearest indication yet that the American people are done with occupying Iraq much less invading more countries in the Middle East. Polls are showing that 60% of Americans are now against this occupation of Iraq and the Democrats have gotten the message (I hope) that they can’t run from the war and that they better get on the side of the voters or suffer the same fate as Lieberman. Congressional Republicans have also heard the message, and that scares the crap out of this White House, prompting Press Secretary Tony Snow to use his podium to spout GOP political talking points at yesterday’s briefing and Dick Cheney to say:

“The thing that’s partly disturbing about it is the fact that, the standpoint of our adversaries, if you will, in this conflict, and the al Qaeda types, they clearly are betting on the proposition that ultimately they can break the will of the American people in terms of our ability to stay in the fight and complete the task.”

I know, nothing new there, the Democrats are on the side of al Qaeda and the American people are stupid. Same old Cheney line, but the thing is, when he says it now, fewer people are buying it and because this administration hasn’t come up with a new way to scare the American people (yet), the same old tired rhetoric has lost it’s punch but they still can’t seem to stop themselves from returning to the well anyway.

I’m sure we’ll hear some doozies while they talk about the foiled attacks in London today. I’ve already heard CNN and MSNBC early this morning singing the praises of surveillance of citizen’s movements, phone calls and financial transactions. Apparently privacy is a liability now rather than a constitutionally guaranteed right critical to maintaining a democratic republic. Expect to hear Dick Cheney say something like, “This is exactly why we need more eavesdropping and greater leeway in surveillance, to protect the American people the way Tony Blair protected the British people this week.” Perhaps Blair will test it out first and report back on just how scared the people have to be before they willingly give up the last of their rights. I’m hoping that card has been played out too, but I’m not quite as hopeful on that score.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Ex-Democrat Excised From Party

If Democrats ever needed a clear sign that Joe Lieberman hasn’t been one of us for a very long time, his decision to run as an Independent candidate for Senate is it.  Now, at least, he won’t be an embarrassment to the Party and he can be a weight around his own neck from now on.

What remains unclear at this point, is what will happen in Connecticut with a three-way race for Senate and what a Lieberman campaign will look like.  While it’s true that there are more registered Independents in Connecticut than registered Democrats, Lieberman has already received money from many Independents for the primary, and they can’t give more now.  Without support from the Democratic Party, the logistics of running a campaign will be difficult for Lieberman.  He’ll virtually be starting from scratch while Ned Lamont will now receive the benefits of the Party apparatus.  Even if the votes are there on paper for Lieberman, it’s hard to see how he makes it across the finish line as an Independent candidate.  He’d be better off making a clean break and becoming a Republican.  Too bad that’s not an option for him at this point.

It will also be interesting to see whether or not Joe accepts the help being offered by Karl Rove and the White House.  I guess it will depend on how desperate Joe is feeling right now.  If he’s going to continue on with his, “I have stood up to the White House” and “I am a Democrat with a long history” campaign strategy, accepting campaign help from Rove and Bush probably isn’t the best idea.  But of course, Lieberman can always change his tune.  If he really supports this war and the Presidents policies and tactics in fighting “the war on terra”, then he should embrace that and see how many voters will bite.  My guess is, not enough to win.

The Republican spin machine is out in full force trying to paint Lamont’s win and Lieberman’s swift kick out of the Party as a disaster for the Democrats, but we all know that whatever they say, the opposite is likely true.  This is a good thing for the Party and it is a good thing for democracy.  Ordinary people are getting involved in the political process and writers and readers of blogs are defining the message and the debate.  The only ones more afraid of actual citizen participation in politics than the Republicans, is the Democratic establishment in DC.  Now they must come to terms with the fact that they have a new constituency to deal with, and we’re not easily classified making it all the more troubling to them.  The answer, of course, is to be honest, authentic and principled and to be able to articulate a vision for the country, and not the fake triangulated positions that they’re used to spewing.  

The candidates that are winning around the country are those that take a firm position on the important issues, and not just a firm position, but the right position.  We the people want out of Iraq, we want oversight, checks and balances, competence and integrity.  Republicans can’t offer any of those things and neither can (ex)Democrats like Joe Lieberman.  Too many suburban voters see too little difference between the two Parties.  Excising Joe Lieberman, scaring other right leaning Democrats back towards the left and redefining what the Democratic Party stands for, will help solve that problem.  I don’t expect the Democratic establishment to thank us just yet, but someday they will, even if they have to do so while enjoying an early retirement in their home states, rather than from the power center of DC.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Go Ahead, You Know You Want To

Now that we have seen what grassroots activism and regular people getting involved in local politics can do (an incumbent Senator failing to get the nomination of his Party!  That’s pretty big!), let’s keep going and prove that we are willing to put our money where our mouth is in order to get things done.  Go ahead and send some money to Peter Goldmark, candidate for Congress in Washington’s 5th district, a district that can and should be blue.  He can win and we should help him.  More about Goldmark here, and contribute through my ActBlue page here.  Yes, I am going to keep asking because it matters and it’s critical that we step up and do what far too few are willing to.

Joe Dives Into The Shallow End

Joe Lieberman’s paranoia has reached its peak as he today blames the Lamont campaign for sabotaging him website. It could be those evil bloggers….or, maybe it’s that his $15 a month web hosting service isn’t capable of handling a statewide GOTV effort. But if Holy Joe can’t figure out that making out with President Bush on national TV might cause him some problems in the primary, this little truth might prove too logical for him to grasp as well.

In other Lieberman news, Chris Matthews just reported on Hardball that Lieberman will in fact run as an independent if he loses to Lamont today. See, he’s not really a Democrat, he’s an incumbent hell bent on keeping his job. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out Joe.

Update: Early returns have it at 60%-40% Lamont. Could be a blowout, but then again, those machines can always "self correct" at any moment.

Update II: I'm heading down to Drinking Liberally, but wanted one last update. With 35% of precincts reporting, it's 54% to 46% Lamont. Still, there is always the less sinister (than vote switching that is) fact that urban areas will likely report last and some seem to think that that's where Lieberman will get much of his support. I don't see it, but I'm still only cautiously optimistic.

Uncaged Cabaret

If you live in the Seattle area, are a liberal, care about protecting our first amendment rights and would like to help Jim McDermott in his legal battle against government secrecy, then I’ve got the fundraiser for you.  Dina Lydia, local activist (and beautiful woman) has organized the Uncaged Cabaret, proceeds of which will go to help pay the legal bills that Congressman McDermott has racked up defending himself against political retribution in the form of Boehner v McDermott.  

Sunday, August 20th will be an evening of music, food, bellydancers and an auction.  I have even donated an interview and blog post for anyone willing to pay for the priviledge.  I can do one hell of a puff piece for the right price.  

For a liberal Congressman that has not used his position to enrich himself (like so many others), $700k is a lot of money in legal bills and penalties incurred by simply telling the truth and defending the peoples right to know what our government is up to.  For an explanation of why it is so important that we help support McDermott, read this post from Huffington Post’s Dal Lamagna and to buy a ticket to this fantastic event, visit the Uncaged Cabaret website.  The poster alone should get you in the door, the principle behind it should put a smile on your face while you pay for the ticket.  Don’t wait too long, it might sell out!

Retail Politics And Chance Encounters

On the national level, campaigns and elections can be frustrating for liberals. There is the occasional race, like Lamont/Lieberman that will be decided today, where grass roots activists and ordinary people feel the power they have as voters and take the opportunity to make sweeping changes. But most of the time, liberals are stuck deciding between the lesser of two evils and rarely get to cast a positive vote for a candidate they really support. I’m lucky enough to live in Seattle, where the choices are somewhat better, but it’s local politics that provide the most joy, and I live in the best district for that.

In the 43rd legislative district in Seattle, we have a high-class problem. The state legislative races are not a Republican versus Democrat race, but rather a primary contest between six liberals, one of whom will get the job. As great as that is for a liberal like me, it’s still very difficult to choose. If we could send them all to Olympia, our state would be better for it, but alas, each district only gets one. It’s taken me a while, but I’ve figured it out and will happily be voting for and supporting Bill Sherman.

Since I started going to the Drinking Liberally gathering every Tuesday evening (at the Montlake Ale House at 7:30 if you’re in the area and so inclined), I have had the opportunity to meet several of the candidates for the 43rd LD seat, I even had the pleasure of doing the weekly podcast with Lynne Dodson a few months back. Local politics are great because there’s a certain sense of intimacy involved when candidates can realistically meet a large number of their constituents and are actually helped by making themselves accessible. Retail politics is only really doable on the local level, or every four years during Primary season if you live in Iowa or New Hampshire.

I had read up on the candidates, visited their websites and tracked down news articles that gave a bit of history on each, and talked to a few of them when they visited Drinking Liberally, but I still hadn’t made up my mind. That is, until I was cleaning my bathtub and the doorbell rang. I ran downstairs, ponytails askew and a little sweaty from all that scrubbing, and found on my doorstep, a candidate for the 43rd legislative district seat. Not my best moment, but hey, I take my opportunities where they come. Besides, I was bummed that my husband answered the door when Jaime Peterson stopped by the week before, now it was my turn.

At the moment I opened my front door for this chance encounter, I had narrowed the field down to two candidates, Dick Kelly, whom several of my fellow bloggers have decided to support, and Bill Sherman, a prosecutor and former assistant to Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt during the Clinton administration. Besides the cleaning products smeared on my forearms and the disheveled hair, it was a perfect time for Bill Sherman to knock on my door. After he introduced himself, I knew this was my opportunity to ask my questions, listen and make up my mind.

One of the most striking things about Bill Sherman is his obvious ease with being a candidate. He didn’t give me a canned spiel, but instead, asked me questions and tried to engage me in conversation. I asked him what he thought about the state of public education in Seattle and he gave me an earful, including a promise to be a workhorse for public education. Not a sexy issue, but one that needs a strong advocate that is able to work through the numbers and with all levels of government to find a real solution that will make our schools financially sound while actually improving the quality of the education our children receive. Because he has two small children in public schools, I’m inclined to believe that he will do just that. I asked him about campaign finance reform and what he thought about publicly financed elections and he gave me an answer I didn’t expect. He explained that while he strongly supports publicly financed elections, he doesn’t think that it will solve all of the problems, especially when it comes to the access and influence political contributions too often buy. There may not be a constitutionally sound legal solution to that problem, but that he was willing to say so instead of hyping what might not be the end all solution simply because it’s what I wanted to hear, was refreshing.

After my front porch discussion with Bill Sherman, I had pretty much made up my mind to support him, but I had a few more questions. I sent him an email the next day, asking for clarification on some of the things he said and he happily indulged me and sent me a reply. It really was a great experience. Having a candidate take the time to explain his positions on the issues and even discuss the complicated details of each was more than I expected. He certainly didn’t have to, but that he did goes a long way with me.

Since then, I have run into Bill Sherman several times at Drinking Liberally. He clearly understands the importance of being seen and engaging with politically minded citizens and bloggers, but I also get the feeling that he just likes it. Whether he stays as the 43rd LD Rep for years to come or chooses to use this post as a stepping stone to higher office, our district and our state will be better for having Bill Sherman represent us. All of the candidates are great on progressive issues and we can hardly go wrong with any one of them. But what makes Bill Sherman stand out is that, while each candidate has one issue that they emphasize, Bill has made a point of highlighting them all. In my opinion, that makes him the best all around candidate and why I will cast an enthusiastic vote for him in the primary. Go Bill!

(Also running for this seat are Stephanie Pure and Jim Street. I couldn’t work them into the post, but they deserve links nonetheless.)

Monday, August 07, 2006

If You Can’t Educate Them, Drug Them

Maybe this is the answer to Republican voters continually voting against their own best interests (and dragging the country down with them).  Now if we can just find a way to slip it into their Kool-Aid, we might have a shot at turning this thing around.

Republican Loser Update

Joe Lieberman’s fate will be determined today in Connecticut. If Ned Lamont wins, there will be some serious rethinking of the Democratic strategy. If Holy Joe can manage to pull it out, the activists in the Party will just have to redouble our efforts. Joe’s situational integrity is not helping the Party or this country.

Rick “man on dog” Santorum is in trouble too. According to the latest poll, Santorum is trailing Bob Casey by 6 percentage points. A statistical tie yes, but not a good sign for an incumbent, no matter how the GOP tries to spin it. How nice would it be not to have to hear from Sanctimonious Rick anymore? I hope the people of Pennsylvania send his Bible thumping, bestiality obsessed, regressive ass back to the nice suburbs from which he came. Now that is what I call a public service.

Bob “I’d sell my mother for some Abramoff money” Ney has finally dropped his bid for re-election. The only thing that has kept him in the race this long has been his amazing aptitude for denial. Even with his friends’ hands on the voting levers of Ohio, a Ney win would have been impossible to explain. The only way to beat Republicans in the midterms is to crush them. Close isn’t going to do it.

This is the trend all across the country, but the question remains, will this dissatisfaction with Republican leadership hold if the administration decides to start World War III? The October surprise will surely involve terrorists, fear, war and instability. I just hope the Democrats have a surprise of their own lined up (Some honesty about the very dire outlook regarding energy availability and our unstable economy would be good. It won’t happen of course, but it’s what the people of this country need to hear).

Taking Ownership Of The Results Of War

The pictures alone are enough to make you cry. The video, shot by the BBC, is even worse. Watching people as they are in the midst of having their world ripped apart is heartbreaking. Knowing that the devastation is caused by weapons made in this country, fired by a country with our full support, and that the reality of what is happening in Lebanon is being whitewashed by our own media, is sickening.

I’m sure that many will see my mere mention of this as a clear indication of my anti-Semitism, but I really don’t care. I have nothing against Israelis, just like I have nothing against Americans, but I do have a problem with countries that carry out acts of aggression against innocent civilians and the people that support such policies. How is it that Bush and Olmert can make that same statement replacing “countries” with “terrorists” and “Israelis/Americans” with “Muslims” and receive applauds, and those clapping never think twice? If Bush wants to spout on about creating an “ownership society” then he and his supporters better step up and own their part in this mess.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

A Fundraising Push For A Progressive Candidate That Will Do Us Proud

It is becoming clear that Peter Goldmark, Democratic candidate for Washington’s 5th district, can beat Cathy McMorris, a Bush rubber stamp on the GOP leadership track, if he can reach the people of his district. A poll out today has Goldmark running neck and neck with McMorris. That's pretty stunning for a first time candidate with little name recognition and zero press. Just imagine what those numbers would look like if the papers in Eastern Washington bothered to cover the race. Not only has the traditional media in Eastern Washington ignored him so far, they seem to be doing so deliberately.

One way to deal with a local press attempting to play gatekeeper, is to go directly to the people. That is why I have given more money to the Goldmark campaign and why I hope you will do the same. Following is the plea on my new ActBlue fundraising page. I hope it’s at least persuasive enough to get you guys to toss a bit (or a lot, the more the better) of money his way. Even if you don’t live in Washington, contribute to Peter Goldmark and know that he will be a solid progressive voice for all of us.

Peter Goldmark is not only a great progressive candidate with a plan to address global warming, achieve energy independence and make family farms profitable again in one fell swoop, but he is also a natural candidate that can charm the voters of Washington's 5th district. They just need the chance to get to know him, and that’s where you come in.

Peter Goldmark has a positive message, solid credentials and being a third generation rancher in Okanogan, he's got the rural cred necessary to win this race. The biggest obstacle he faces is one that can be solved with your help. He needs the money to show that he is a serious contender and the faster the money comes in and the more people that contribute, the more buzz his campaign will create. Once that starts happening, the local press won't be able to ignore Peter Goldmark or the reality that he can be the next Congressman from Washington’s 5th district.

Help turn another district from red to blue. Contribute now and let’s send Peter Goldmark to Congress, where he will work for all of us.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Lieberman’s Last Gasp

Next Tuesday, Democratic voters in Connecticut will decide on their candidate for Senate and things don’t look good for Joe Lieberman.  The primary race between Lieberman and Ned Lamont has drawn national attention and has become a proxy battle for the heart (if one still beats) and soul (even if it’s black) of the Democratic Party.

Lieberman campaign hacks have been all over the television this week, selling Lieberman’s liberal bona fides, “he votes 90% of the time with his Party” and “he stands up to the President on healthcare and tax cuts” but that is hardly the point.  He supports Bush’s perpetual war plan and he ensured that Bush’s handpicked, right wing ideologues made it onto the Supreme Court.  Voting against tax cuts for the rich and believing in Global warming can’t negate that.  There is a reason that Lieberman is more popular amongst Republicans than he is with voters of his own Party, and it’s not because we Democrats don’t “understand” what he has done for us, it’s because we know exactly what he’s done to us.  

Activists, bloggers and blog readers have joined the fight to unseat Lieberman because he is the perfect example of what is wrong with the Democratic Party.  Holy Joe is content to defend the status quo, no matter how bad it is for the country.  This, at a time when what this country needs most is robust opposition to the disaster that is the Bush Presidency, and an opposition Party that will move the country forward, not enable its stagnancy.

Pointing out that Lieberman votes with his Party 90% of the time is hardly a positive.  Half of the votes cast by the Democrats since Bush took office have been horrible votes that were cast out of fear and some misguided attempt at bipartisanship.  When the Party is power is breaking laws, lying to the public, manufacturing evidence to support unjust wars, spying on its citizens with no apology, and shredding the constitution they all took an oath to defend, there is no common ground, there is only opposition or complicity and far too many Democrats have chosen the latter.   Getting rid of Joe Lieberman will not save the Party, but it will be a good first step.

Whether or not Ned Lamont is the perfect candidate, at this point, doesn’t really matter.  There are many benefits of a Lamont win beyond him holding the seat.  First is the fear that it will instill in all of the other Democrats in office that have betrayed the people of this country.  Second is that it shows the power of average people getting involved in the political process, and make no mistake, that scares them even more.  Our Senators and Congressmen of both Parties have enjoyed a cushy job that, once won, is very hard to lose.  The system is set up to protect them from the voters, and this race proves that the voters can, when sufficiently fed up, buck the odds and unseat anyone they choose.  That is good for democracy and good for the country.  The question now is, who’s next?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Tin Foil Hats And Tiaras For Everyone!

I’ve written before about why I think conspiracy theories abound with this administration in power. Because the Bush administration is so secretive in the way they do business, it is easy to believe that they may have been involved in a concerted effort to perpetrate fraud in the last election as well as had a hand in 9/11. Neither prospect is good and it hurts to even contemplate that such things could be true, but we know they don’t tell the truth, we know they distort the facts and we know they have classified more documents than any administration in history. That they could be capable of doing evil isn’t much of a stretch and that they could keep their evil deeds hidden from public view with a press that doesn’t care to investigate, seems downright likely.

I find it interesting that a new Scripps poll shows that a third of Americans think that 9/11 was an “inside job”. That is staggering. One out of three people think the Bush administration could very well have organized the deaths of 3,000 innocent Americans for the sole purpose of furthering their foreign policy objectives. In other words, a third of this country’s citizens believe that the Bush administration is a terrorist organization. How is it possible that impeachment isn’t even on the table if that many Americans think he’s a killer? Yes, it’s a rhetorical question and we can all say in unison, “it’s possible with the help of a lapdog press.”

Just imagine how that one third would swell to two thirds if there were actual investigative reporting by traditional media on the omissions and outright lies contained in the 9/11 Commission Report, not to mention a serious look into the 2004 election “anomalies” and “glitches” that defy logic. The skepticism is only contained with the help of a press receiving paychecks signed by defense contractors, right wing ideologues and mega media conglomerates, nothing scary about that at all. This is a problem not only when it comes to the lack of oversight of the Bush administration, but will continue to be a problem once there is a Democrat in the White House that will be over investigated the way Clinton was. Like the bumper sticker says, “The media are only as liberal as the conservative businesses that own them” and if their interests align with the Republican Party, expecting a fair and honest assessment of the facts, much less truth from the press is silly.

But a combination of alternative online news sources, the blogisphere and a handful of great thinkers, writers and citizen journalists with some access to traditional media, are catapulting the propaganda and getting the truth to more people every day. Robert Kennedy Jr. and Mike Papantonio have proudly put on their tin foil hats and have filed qui tam cases against the electronic voting machine companies (check out the interview with Papantonio on BradBlog). It will be interesting to see how these cases progress, the hope is that they will lead to discovery of more evidence of wrongdoing by the voting machine companies and maybe even a whistleblower or two willing to come forward. It’s not completely out of the question and it’s a process that can only be good for democracy, whether or not it resolves the issue on its own.

Any legal remedy to having organized criminals running the country will take time, even impeachment is a lengthy process, but it has to start somewhere (or preferably in multiple places at the same time). Bush may be able to hide the truth during his time in office, but I have to believe that all (or most) will eventually be revealed. Too many people in this country don’t trust him or his cabal of neo-con lunatics anymore. That won’t stop them from waging more war or from instilling fear in as much of the population as they can, but it will make it easier to get the facts out. The American public is much more receptive to the idea that this administration will do anything, legal or illegal, moral or immoral, right or wrong, to further their ideological goal of concentrating wealth and power. That’s a damn sight further down the road to recovery than we were a few years back. It’s not ideal, but at least what we’re doing is working. Now if we can just get the Democratic Party on track, we could really get this country moving. Once Lieberman is gone, we will likely pick up some speed on that front too, one less DINO to torpedo our progress and it will scare the hell out of the rest of them to boot. It's a start anyway.

Podcasting Liberally, The Mayhem Edition

Here’s the link to the latest edition of the Drinking Liberally podcast. Richard’s description of the show says it all. I didn’t technically exceed my three drink limit, but those margaritas were lethal (which explains why no blogging yesterday)! I won’t make that mistake again any time soon.

If you want reasoned discussion, I suggest you download the Boomer edition of the show from a few weeks back instead. They were pleasant, smart, they let each other talk and no one was loaded. More NPR than Smackdown as ours turned out to be.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Bill Does Seattle

I saw Bill Clinton last night at a fundraiser for my Congressman Jim McDermott.  As always, he was charming, extemporaneous and the best partisan speaker the Democrats have.  He knows how to rally the troops to the cause and refocus our attention on the broad strokes of the Party platform and the inherent differences between the philosophy of the Left and the ideology of the Right.  And like he said last night, “There are no ideological solutions to the problems we face.”  We must first analyze the facts before we can chart the proper course.  This is the value of having a thinking person in the White House.

His main message as he travels around helping Democrats raise money is that there is a big difference between Republicans and Democrats.  Even if we disagree on the details of the issue, he says, we all agree that the greatness of our country is found in its working people, and not in industry and those made rich by ownership of it, as the Republicans do.  There certainly is truth in that.

I read Bill Clinton’s book when it came out a few years back, have seen him speak twice and I have to say, I like the man.  Whatever problems I have with some of the choices he made in his effort to build a strong economy that would benefit all working people, I always felt that his heart was in the right place.  There have been few Presidents with the kind of working class background that Clinton had, and growing up watching your parents struggle has a profound affect on how you view the world.  Justice and equity are important to Clinton.  If you doubt that there is a difference between Republicans and Democrats, just take a comparative look at the last two residents of the White House.  They and their philosophy of the purpose of government and how it should function couldn’t be more different.