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This is What Democracy Looks Like

Father's Day Weekend Madman

Friday-Sunday June 16-18, 2006

The Politics of Politics

It is now official. With really important issues like the rising costs of health care; the lack if health care for all Americans; the loss of good paying jobs to overseas sweat shops; the loss of real wages while, at the same time, CEO's make record profits (need I go on?) the Republican-led US Congress decided to vote on an amendment to the US Constitution to ban gay marriage. Then, without a mention of health care of jobs or poverty, they placed in for a vote a "non-binding" resolution that said "The United States will prevail in the war on terror."


Way to make a stand, you useless bunch of crooks!.


Then, they put together a package which, if voted for, would have put an arbitrary date on getting the troops home, while, at the same time, could be interpreted in such a way that voting "yea" means that you don't support the troops.

The Senate had a real bill for the pullout of troops from Iraq which actually made sense. It set dates to remove some troops, as long as certain conditions were met. It, too, was tabled in the name of politics. The "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople party-led Senate would rather see nothing done rather than challenge the Bushies.

The Pentagon "accidentally" leaked a 74-page memo which gave reports to GOP congressmen, GOP senators and other GOP operatives in case they were confronted with the "truth" about our nation.


I want to know why:

-I want to know why the US Department of Defense, led by Donald "We Don't Know What We Don't Know" Rumsfeld is preparing materials based on part affiliation. I thought the Department of Defense worked for all Americans, Republican AND Democrat.

-I want to know why US taxpayer money, supposedly earmarked for our troops, is instead being used for political purposes.

-I want to know why that same money, which should be going to provide armor for our troops, is going to a Defense Department political fundraising operation instead.

Nothing of value is coming to the floor of the house or the senate. Nothing of value will be discussed in the halls of congress. This is the worst legislature we have ever had, at least in my lifetime The men and women of the Republican party are more afraid of losing their Mehlman-Money than they are of the American People, and that makes for bad government.

And make no mistake about it, this is a bad government.

-Noah Greenberg

Presidential Stuff

Every time Air Force One takes off, it costs the US taxpayer (that's you and me, boys and girls) a minimum price of $60,000 USD. Now that the dollar is worth bupkus in Europe, I guess it isn't so bad, huh? But think of it like this: The upper one percent of American "earners" aren't paying for that. It's just you and me, baby.

Last week, GW took his little 60 grand a pop ride to Iraq for some unannounced face time with the new Iraqi Prime Minister, shake a few hands and tell us all what a great job he's doing.

What a (Tony) Snow job. Doesn't he know that it never Snows in Baghdad?

My brother said "This was a great week for Bush". Yes, that's the same brother who said the killing of al-Zarqawi would net the president an additional 15 points in the polls (the first poll showed a one point loss). My brother was off by just about 16 points. It's why I never ask him for gambling advice. Then, Karl "The Traitor" Rove's lawyer informed the nation that his client wouldn't be indicted. We did, however, hear that Rove would be testifying in the perjury trial of Scooter Libby. Sounds like deal-time to me.

So, after the president's "good week", I say, "Let's go to the polls!"

Fox News has the president in a surge. After months below the political Mendoza line (40 percent approval rating), Bush's numbers rose to that magical 40 percent plateau. (If you look up, you could see the curb.) However, those numbers are from Fox (or is it Faux?) News. But the other news agencies had it a little different.

CNN's latest poll dated June 14-15 had those who think the president is doing a fine job at 37 percent, up from 36 percent. for you baseball fans, that's the equivalent of your team MVP hitting at a .175 clip.

Other news agencies are still compiling their new data.

So what, you may ask, does this all mean? No matter what, thirty percent of the American people will never see President Bush as ever doing anything wrong. No matter how they are harmed by his bad judgment and his failed policies, GW will always get their high approval rating. I assume that there is a similar percentage which would always disapprove. There are an additional ten percent who will always say that they have "no opinion" or are "unsure" as to whether  they think the president is doing a good job or not. As my nineteen-year-old daughter, Bonnie once told me, "They're just there for the cake." Then there are those whose approval ratings rest on some strange factors. If Fox news is correct (I chuckled when I wrote that), then somebody gave the "thumbs-up" to GW either because he took a trans-Atlantic plane ride to Iraq for a photo op or because Rove wasn't indicted. Scary, huh?

The news from Iraq is not good. The news on the economy is not good. The news on jobs is not good. This is not a good president, congress or Republican Party.

-Noah Greenberg

Surge? What Surge?

"The latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll had Bush "surging" 1 point -- all the way from 36% to 37%. This morning, Matt Lauer was incredulous that the numbers for Bush haven't spiked. The media is waiting for -- and pushing the narrative that there will be -- a Bush surge. The American people, who, unlike the media, grasp that Bush has lied to them about Iraq many times, aren't giving him one:

"According to the poll, 37 percent approve of Bush's job performance - an increase of one point since the last survey in April. This is the seventh straight NBC/Journal poll that has had Bush's job approval below 40 percent.

"For whatever reason, the traditional media always, always, always falls for the Bush spin. Yet, these days, the public doesn't. Bush can -- and does -- play the media. Exhibit A yesterday was CNN's John King who was literally gushing about the Bush trip to Iraq. But Bush's tricks and lies don't seem to be working on the American people -- yet anyway."
-From America's Blog

So they got Zarqawi ... that's good but no troops are coming home. The GOOPERS won't even allow a resolution to prohibit permanent bases in Iraq even though both Chambers of Congress voted for it! That tells you alot about their real plans/

Tonight, the GOOPERS fed America a diet of rhetorical rubbish:
-Stay The Course
-Freedom isn't Free
-Fight Them Over There so We won't fight them over here
-Free people don't attack free people
-Bring democracy to the world ...

These are just some of the catch phrases they are using. So, why would anyone think that Bush should get a bounce from yet another PR stunt? Is the MSM really that stupid? Perhaps the MSM finds this blunderous idiot to be entertaining but most Americans simply think he is a political hack.

-Robert Scardapane

The True Character of the GOP

ThinkProgress has obtained a "Confidential Messaging Memo" from Boehner instructing his caucus to conduct a very different kind of deliberation.
Here's a quick summary:
1. Exploit 9/11. The two page memo mentions 9/11 seven times. It describes debating Iraq in the context of 9/11 as "imperative."
2. Attack opponents ad homonym. The memo describes those who opposes President Bush's policies in Iraq as "sheepish," "weak," and "prone to waver endlessly."
3. Create a false choice. The memo says the decision is between supporting President Bush's policies and hoping terrorist threats will "fade away on their own."

I noticed at least one Rethuglican directing linking Iraq to 9/11. Now here is the prove! Boegner encouraged this debate only to turn into a partisan GOP spectacle. The GOP party is pure filth.

Is this an honest way to discuss policy that resulted in 2,500 causalities and 400 billion dollars in expenses? There was no factual discussion on the progress of the war and no exit strategy was debated. Instead, the Republican party offered an all or none amendment on the war. Their real intent was to jump start their 2006 campaign. This is not what the American public expect from representatives of either party.

-Robert Scardapane

Murtha Vs. Rove

Karl Rove attacked Rep. John Murtha during a speech last week in New Hampshire. Rove described Murtha’s Iraq plan as “cutting and running,” and suggested that the 37-year Marine combat veteran would “be with you at the first shots” but not “for the last, tough battles.”

Murtha defended himself this morning on Meet the Press:
MURTHA: He’s in New Hampshire. He’s making a political speech. He’s sitting in his air-conditioned office on his big, fat backside, saying stay the course. That’s not a plan. … We’ve got to change direction. You can’t sit there in the air-conditioned office and tell troops carrying 70 pounds on their backs, inside these armored vessels hit with IEDs every day, seeing their friends blown up, their buddies blown up — and he says stay the course? Easy to say that from Washington, DC.

-Robert Scardapane

They Want to Forgive the Killing of Our American Troops

"(Iraqi) Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Wednesday proposed a limited amnesty to help end the Sunni Arab insurgency as part of a national reconciliation plan that Maliki said would be released within days. The plan is likely to include pardons for those who had attacked only U.S. troops, a top adviser said.

"Maliki's declaration of openness to talks with some members of Sunni armed factions, and the prospect of pardons, are concessions that previous, interim governments had avoided. The statements marked the first time a leader from Iraq's governing Shiite religious parties has publicly embraced national reconciliation, welcomed dialogue with armed groups and proposed a limited amnesty.

"Reconciliation could include an amnesty for those "who weren't involved in the shedding of Iraqi blood," Maliki told reporters at a Baghdad news conference."
-Ellen Knickmeyer and Jonathan Finer, The Washington Post, from their article "Iraq Amnesty Plan May Cover Attacks On U.S. Military"

Bush’s new boyfriend, Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, shows how much he loves the American occupation by proposing an amnesty plan for prisoners that will likely include pardons for Iraqis that only attacked/killed US troops...this while our troops are still there!

From the Randi Rhodes show. Betcha THIS never gets on American TV--certainly not on Faux News!

This situation can be summed up in a good old (originally Yiddish) proverb: "With friends like these, who needs enemies?"

-Forwarded and Commented by Jenny Hanniver

Are Religious Leaders Starting to Get It?

A group of high-profile religious leaders are taking on a real moral crisis of our time.

"Twenty-seven religious leaders, including megachurch pastor Rick Warren, Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel and Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick of Washington, have signed a statement urging the United States to 'abolish torture now — without exceptions.'

"The statement, being published in newspaper advertisements starting today, is the opening salvo of a new organization called the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, which has formed in response to allegations of human rights abuse at U.S. detention centers in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

"Titled 'Torture is a Moral Issue,' the statement says that torture 'violates the basic dignity of the human person' and 'contradicts our nation's most cherished values.' 'Nothing less is at stake in the torture abuse crisis than the soul of our nation. What does it signify if torture is condemned in word but allowed in deed?' it asks.

"The signers come from a broad range of denominations and include notable religious conservatives, such as the Rev. Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelicals; Archbishop Demetrios, primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America; and the Rev. William J. Byron, former president of Catholic University."

Good for them. The next time the president wants to talk about "faith-based initiatives," maybe he'll address these concerns and the vast constituency/congregations they represent. Does no one remember that Christ was tortured? Or is that just not part of the New Right's evangelical message?

-submitted and commented on by Victoria Brownworth

Freedom of Religion... Until Further Notice

"Army Sgt. Patrick D. Stewart was killed in Afghanistan on Sept. 25, 2005, when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter was shot down by enemy fire. A member of Nevada's Army National Guard, Stewart was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.

"Oddly enough, however, there is one honor the Department of Veterans Affairs will not extend to this gutsy fallen warrior: respect for his religious liberty.

"Stewart was a Wiccan. His widow, Roberta Stewart, wants to place a Wiccan symbol, the pentacle, on his memorial plaque. For some reason, the VA has a problem with this..."
-The Carpetbagger Report (http://www.thecarpetbaggerreport.com/archives/7710.html)

I don't care if a religion has 40 members or 40 million. If a soldier followed a certain faith, and his or her family wants that faith's symbol on a headstone or marker, they should be able to get it. End of story.

U.S. Sen. Harry Reid is working to push the VA to approve Stewart's request, and civil liberties groups have joined the cause. Here's hoping the Department comes to its senses soon, but if it does not, I say it's high time for a lawsuit. Where does any government agency get off keeping a list of "approved" religions?

There is a great irony here: Sgt. Stewart died in service of his country. One of the values of that country is religious freedom. The Veterans Affairs Department has denied that to him and his family. It is time to honor the memory of this brave man by respecting his religious choice.

-submitted by Victoria A. Brownworth, reported by Morbo

Knock-Knock Big Brother is There

The Supreme Idiots just ruled that no-knock searches are OK. So now government storm troopers can just break down our doors....this is getting SPOOOOKY! Anybody remember a pastor by the name of Niemoller? Well, these days, for a right winger, it would be...
-First they came for the terrorists, but I was not a terrorist so I didn't say anything.
-Then they came for the Arabs, but I was not an Arab so I didn't say anything.
-Then they came for the French, but I was not French so I didn't say anything.
-Then they came for the Mexicans, but I was not Mexican, so I didn't say anything.
-Then they came for the rest of the immigrants, but I was not an immigrant so I didn't say anything.
-Then they came for the antiwar marchers, but I was not an antiwar marcher, so I didn't say anything.
-Then they came for the Democrats, but I wasn't a Democrat so I didn't say anything....
-Then they came for me, but there was nobody to speak up for me....

Sigh....for whom that bell is tolling...it is for US (as in U.S.)....and we have not learned from history so we are condemned to repeat it...and all that is necessary for evil to prosper is for good people to do nothing....I think my brain is fried...it's all full of quotes from the past. The present is just too scary to face although it must be done.

-Billie M. Spaight

More About the Evil Empire (Medical-Industrial Complex)

Keep it up with the healthcare essays! We can never, ever get enough of these! That doughnut hole stinks rotten. I've said it before and I'll say it again--my husband and I would be personally affected by it. We would fall right into that rotten gap.

Until we eliminate the insurance companies and pass H.R. 676, Expanded Medicare for All, we are going to be wasting millions of dollars on parasites, which is exactly what medical insurance companies are. And until we get serious campaign finance reform so as to disallow pharmaceutical and insurance lobbies to underwrite campaigns none of those lily-livers in Congress are going to rein in their power. The Medical-Industrial Complex is truly the Evil Empire in the United States.

More and more information is coming out that people in countries where there are universal, single-payor systems are healthier than we are.

And, we MUST ditch the blame-the-victim mentality that is sweeping this country.

-Billie M. Spaight

In response to "Mountain Thrust" vs. "Mount and Thrust", Dorothy Schwartz writes:

When I heard this moniker on Rachel Maddow's show this AM I couldn't believe it. How phallic can you get? Do they realize it when they settle on these names?

In response to the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, Dorothy Schwartz writes:

I am totally opposed to the Medicare drug plan, and of course congress sold out to the drug companies. But I have to say that my 96 y.o. mom, who had been spending a bundle on her meds, is saving quite a bit with her prescription coverage. She will reach the donut hole no doubt, and fortunately for her, she'll be able to cover her meds, which I know is not true of many, many senior citizens. Incidentally, the sr. citizens in New Jersey, as well as disabled and those on SSI, who receive Medicaid, or who used to get the PAAD state drug benefit (they had to pay only $5 per prescription) are still covered. New Jersey has picked up the co-pay and any other out of pocket expenses for these folks who could have least afforded any expenditures. All states have not done that, and for a while it looked as if New Jersey would not, but fortunately compassion and good sense won out.

In response to "All of us who care by now already know that there is no convincing Bush and his 'base' of 'haves and have-mores' to take real health care reform seriously. After all, they got theirs, right?" Robert Scardapane writes:

They are taking health care "reform" seriously. But, when Rethuglicans use the word "reform", they really mean destroy. The real objective of the "have and have mores" is to destroy corporate sponsored health care, throw us all to the health care industry wolves. That way, corporations won't be on the hook for the cost and the corporatist health care industry cronies can rip off the American people as much as they want.

What good does an HSA do when the costs are so extravagant that the HSA is quickly bankrupted? What good does a health care policy with a 2000-3000 deductible do for a person that can't pay that amount of money? The answer is plain - this is just another Rethuglican lie! Patients are not going to gain control over health care prices instead they will be gouged similar to gas prices.

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-Noah Greenberg