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This is What Democracy Looks Like

Weekend Madman

Friday-Sunday, June 30 - July1, 2006

Ron Suskind, George W. Bush and the Aug. 6, 2001, PDB

Ron Suskind's "The One Percent Doctrine" is out this week, and the Washington Post's Barton Gellman says it's full of "jaw-dropping stories" about the Bush administration's war on terror.

Or lack thereof.

We've known for years now that George W. Bush received a presidential daily briefing on Aug. 6, 2001, in which he was warned: "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S." We've known for almost as long that Bush went fishing afterward.

What we didn't know is what happened in between the briefing and the fishing, and now Suskind is here to tell us. Bush listened to the briefing, Suskind says, then told the CIA briefer: "All right. You've covered your ass, now."

-submitted by Victoria Brownworth, with thanks Tim Grieve

Defending Hillary

Just what has Hillary Clinton done to make her so hated by the Right wing, and many on the left wing? Just what has been her crime?

Well, the "further-left-than-me" believe that Mrs. Clinton, like her husband, former President Bill Clinton, will be too moderate, or too close to the right for their liking. And it is a real fear. Mrs. Clinton, by words, deeds and the confessions of many "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople party senators is the one person that a Republican Senator can speak to in regard to many issue that other Democrats simply don't want to hear. I actually find it refreshing when one senator from the Blue side will sit down and discuss an issue with another senator from the Red side. Don't you?

Others on the left point to a specific issue, in this case the war in Iraq. It appears that Mrs. Clinton doesn't want our troops home now. So I decided to go to her website to find out if that is what she really means or if her words were taken out of context.

"I do not believe that we should allow this to be an open-ended commitment without limits or end. Nor do I believe that we can or should pull out of Iraq immediately. I believe we are at a critical point with the December 15th elections that should, if successful, allow us to start bringing home our troops in the coming year, while leaving behind a smaller contingent in safer areas with greater intelligence and quick strike capabilities. This will advance our interests, help fight terrorism and protect the interests of the Iraqi people. "
-Sen. Clinton, in a November, 2005 letter to her constituents

Well, December 15 has come and gone and there's really no end to the insurgency in sight. So I wondered if certain conditions could be met, does the statement still hold true? after all, Mrs. Clinton hasn't taken the letter off her web site. I decided to call the senator's Washington office.

"The statement she made in 2005 still goes,"
"Fairly quick troop withdrawal, if we can"
-A spokesman in the Washington DC office of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), referring to a swift troop withdrawal if certain conditions are met

Hillary Clinton is considered too moderate (or too far to the Right) for many liberal Democrats. To many Liberal Democrats, as I have seen here on Note from a Madman, the majority of the Democratic Party is way too moderate. Many on the far left look towards voting for alternative candidates with no chance of winning to give their vote to. The Republicans don't have that problem. For example, the Democrats have the Green Party as their main "alternative" choice. There is little doubt that those people on the far left who vote Green would otherwise vote Democrat. The reason is simple: Liberals tend to be more educated and feel as if the right to vote is a civic duty. Those on the Right who vote for their "alternative party, the Libertarians, are usually Libertarian in the first place or wouldn't vote at all.

Those on the Left who choose not to vote because they don't like either candidate inevitably yell and scream that they aren't being represented when the GOP candidate wins. To them I say "Duh." Why do you think that the GOP is always trying to suppress the vote? The GOP is even now attempting to portray the Democrats as the same as Republicans (GOP-Lite?) demonstrating to their constituents that they had better get out and vote while, at the same time, telling "we-vote-Democrat-if-and-when-we-vote-at-all" voters to stay home because their vote simply doesn't make a difference.

The Right sees Hillary Clinton as a candidate with a conscience, something that they, as a party, lack. Sure, I know that many of you who read this newsletter think that Mrs. Clinton is just a slightly toned-down version of a Republican. I don't look at her that way.

And somehow, it became Hillary Clinton's fault that her husband cheated on her. The Right tries to portray her as dishonest because her husband cheated on her. Somehow she is less moral than a Republican official who is married to his third wife while "interviewing" his fourth. Just as a reminder: Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton managed to stay together and work out their marriage to their own satisfaction. Mrs. Clinton has done nothing wrong.

And if we want to talk about First Children, I'll take the latest batch of Democratic First Kids against any of the latest Republican First Kids any day and anytime. Neil Bush? There's a reason he isn't in politics. George W. Bush: As a child of the president he decided his "youth" lasted until the age of thirty-eight, disregarding drunk driving charges and who knows what else. The Reagan kids? Where do you want to begin? Both Amy Carter and Chelsea Clinton have shown to themselves to be remarkable and outstanding citizens. Like her father, Chelsea Clinton is a Rhodes Scholar. The Bush girls, who, if not for their names, might be known as exotic dancers Tiffany and Jewel, haven't shown themselves that well following in their father's footsteps of partying and under-aged drinking and who knows what else.

In 2003-2004, President Bill Clinton decided that Health Care was an important enough issue to be one of the first things to be tackled by his administration. Seemingly in charge of, and probably spearheaded by his wife, Hillary Clinton, it was a bold try at an attempt to tackle the biggest rip-off of the American people - the Health Care industry. The attempt failed and, as a result, the House of Representatives was lost to the GOP. This led to a hostile House of Representative, the emergence of Newt Gingrich, Tom DeLay, Grover Norquist, Jack Abramoff and the "K" Street Project, all of whom (or all of which) have attacked the very fabric of America - the Middle Class.

The Clintons of the 1990's made the emerging neo-cons eat their collective hearts out. After the election of Ronald Reagan, and the ensuing continuation of his presidency by George H.W. Bush, they felt that they were on the "Right" track of taking over America and reshaping it in their own view: We were to become a tool for their version of a Global World economy that benefited the fiscally strong (or those lucky enough to be born with the correct last name), even at the expense of the poor or weakening the middle class. And even though the Clintons played a part in that (can anyone say NAFTA?), they weren't going along with throwing out those Americans in need and those Americans who made up most of the population: the Middle Class.

The Right hated the Clintons so much that they used names like "Clinton-istas" to portray the first family as a rebel force out to destroy America. They call any American who believes in a woman's right to choose a "baby-killer", even though the abortion rate fell drastically under the Clinton administration My personal favorite was one coined by Rush Limbaugh who called then First-Lady Hillary Clinton a "Femin-Nazi", basically comparing all women who didn't think in his own, distorted way to Adolf Hitler.

The Clintons failed at gaining health care for all in 1994. Imagine if their Democratic majority in both the House and the Senate were as easily manipulated as the one now enjoyed by George "I'll-Never-Veto-Anything" Bush. Imagine if there was a Democratic version of Fox News that would have come out and said, "Health care for all was a great idea and the president is really looking our for all of us. Those who oppose t should be run out of office."

My belief is we'd all have health care right now. Employers would hire more people because they wouldn't be concerned about how they were going to pay for the added expense. Workers would turn into entrepreneurs who took a chance to go out on their own, open a business and started creating new jobs rather than staying in jobs they hate but cannot leave.

In closing let me say that we shouldn't become a mirror image of the GOP. Too many on the Right decide their vote on a single issue like the right to choose or gay marriage. Although the war in Iraq, and when our troops are going to come home is an important issue, we have to realize that there are other issues as well.


Just ask yourself one question: Do you think that a Republican president after GW Bush will get our troops home faster than a Democratic President Hillary Clinton or a Joe Biden-type? Think of that, and what Ralph Nader did to Al Gore in 2000 as you place your finger on that Green Party switch.

-Noah Greenberg

From James Webb for Senate Campaign

On Thursday, after Gov. Mark Warner and Webb remarked to reporters that the devastation in New Orleans was inexcusable ten months after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city, Wadhams, campaign manager for George Allen, issued a statement mocking Webb for standing up for the city.

"We want to congratulate Hollywood movie producer James H. Webb Jr. for finally taking a stand on the issue. We now know that he is opposed to the devastation in New Orleans," Wadhams said.

The Webb campaign responded:
Jarding, Webb's campaign manager, also took issue with Wadhams' attempt to attack Webb as a "Hollywood movie producer" for Webb's role in the film "Rules of Engagement."
"What part of `Rules of Engagement' did George Felix Allen Jr. and his insensitive mouthpiece Dick Wadhams not respect - military service? Patriotism? Honor? Valor? We know that George Felix Allen Jr. spent much of the Vietnam War years on a dude ranch in Nevada and chose not to serve, but his continued silence as his key staff dismiss military personnel and their patriotism is beginning to shine a very unfavorable light on Senator Dude Ranch," Jarding said.


Senator Dude Ranch - now this is going to be an interesting campaign to watch. Chickenhawk Allen versus a bonafide military hero. They'll try to get Webb on the Swift Boats and it won't work! Webb is in favor of bringing the troops home quickly and has criticized the Iraq war from the start.

Allen is just another Bush rubber-stamp.

-Forwarded and Commented by Robert Scardapane

Who a Girl Can Vote For - An Average Jane, Such as Myself?

I want a guy who will not use federal funds to wage a 'war on drugs', pay for abortions or send money to foreigners who hate us, who will fund alternative energy research, who will deport all illegals and secure borders, who will build programs based on academics in public schools. I want a guy who will have nothing to do with torture, who will keep a strong military but wage no wars based on lies. I want a guy who can recognize an international criminal when one commits a crime, like flying planes into very tall buildings in the US, resulting the deaths of over 3.000 people, (although I am convinced that the Saudi's were hired by high eschelon globalists to pave the Congressional roads for Bush)

I want a guy who will respect the privacy of Americans, fight aliens no matter what technology they offer, conduct a transparent government, pass laws that no one but American citizens can buy US land or own US corporations.

I want a guy who has a IQ higher than room temperature. Maybe two room temperatures added together, fearless in the face of threats from . . . .anyone.

I want a guy who will build the South Seaway like Roosevelt built dams. I want a happy guy. A competent guy.
I want a guy who is happy with his wife, and she happy with him. You know. A sort of fun couple. I want Superman and Princess Di with kids. I want a family who prays (to God, not Satan) in private and endorses with positive reinforcement, the good people do.

I want a guy who is not a closet gay, nor a former male stripper/porn entertainer, nor has a criminal record.

I want a guy who cannot be bought. Or sold. I want a guy who really cares about kids who cannot afford to go to a doctor for antibiotics for strep throat, and make that possible with good doctors, with real clinics, not hacks who are hunting for cases they can retire on.

I would want a girl, but I am the only one I know of who does not obsessively have to stay between the lines, fill out all blanks on a form, and deal with red tape one inch at a time no matter what catrastophe is unfolding at her feet.

I want a guy who would have sympathy for monsters like Cheney and Rice, and Rumsfeld and Gonzales but would never give them jobs.

I want a David. (as in Psalm writing David), a George Washington, a Mel Gibson/Bruce Willis combo type.

Who is this? Where is he? I really, really want to vote for this guy.


In response to "Getting Heated About Global Warming", Jason Rosenfeld writes:


Buying energy credits is all well and good -- but wasted energy is a bad thing, even when it comes from renewables because it adds to our total energy demands.

For instance, improper home insulation, failure to turn off the lights, wasting hot water, cold water, not recycling, not buying local produce, the use of disposable packaging and products, driving a Humvee, all require moderation and offsets.

I don't necessarily trust for-profit companies that sell green energy credits -- I know there are some that are accredited -- i guess time will tell if these are not just little Enrons in green clothing touting deals that never occurred.

I haven't seen the movie yet, mostly because it's not showing nearby, but I do find it kind of unsettling that the president refuses to even watch it. I don't see the environment as a political issue, and as a libertarian, damaging the environment harms the rights of individuals.

I'm not in favor of legal control, but I do think that if energy providers could be sued for the damage they cause, they would have no choice but to regulate themselves.

We just bought a hybrid car. It's going to be delivered in a few weeks.
There's a kit to increase the efficiency by relying on the electric motor a bit more (comes standard in Japan)-- and there is an killer hack that helps the car achieve 100 mpg thru the addition of more batteries (the car has to be plugged in at night) I'll check into this energy credit thing -- we use PSEG for gas, but our town has its own electric company. Might be cool to get them to offer some kind of accredited offsets.

The Clean Energy Program charges are in addition to your normal electric rates. So for example, we will be paying .009 EXTRA per KWH, so the $5.76 will be on top of our usual electric bill. It's a few dollars extra - but definitely worth it in my opinion!

One of the next things I want to do is to add a solar water heater to our house-- since we use baseboard heat, this would be used for hot water and to assist our heating system. Might go for photovoltaics in the future, as we have a decent sized roof with good exposure.

Oh yeah, I also use a push mower ever since the cancer -- don't feel like breathing in all of that poison.

And Eddie Konczal writes:

This week, I finally saw "An Inconvenient Truth." It was astounding, brilliant, heartbreaking, and even funny at times. I urge everyone who cares about the future of the planet to go and see it - it's still in theatres. See: http://www.climatecrisis.net/ (the server is experiencing heavy traffic - keep trying!)

As a result of seeing the movie, my wife & I enrolled in New Jersey's Clean Energy Program. Starting in about 6 weeks, our house will get electricity from wind and hydro power (50% of each). This is costing us .009 per KWH (that's 9/10 of 1) or about $5.76 per month. My only regret is not doing this sooner - I thank Al Gore for giving me the final push in the right direction.

If any of you are PSE&G or JCP&L customers in NJ, you can enroll by visiting: http://www.njcleanpower.com/html/sign-up.html (we signed up for Green Mountain Energy, also located at http://www.greenmountain.com/nj/ ).

Let's all make the switch to clean power - the future of our planet may very well depend on it.

In response to, "'Illegal' immigrants, few of whom are any more illegal than most of our ancestors were," Pat Thompson writes:

In the late 1800's and early 1900's, the boats full of people from Ireland, Italy, Poland, etc. sailed across the Atlantic, and when they arrived here, the people were inspected for disease, to be sure they were able bodied, ready to work, and not bringing in contagious disease. Most were allowed to enter the country, and citizenship came later.

In response to, "We should all be so grateful that Bush has no sex drive due to his alcoholic past," Rhian writes:

HEHEHE, From all appearances, Bush has a yen for foreign men. 'Specially Saudi Princes and Japanese leaders.

In response to, Robert Chapman's comments of her "The Clinton welfare reform was an atrocity," Billie M. Spaight closes the subject (for now) with:

I have nothing against learning job skills. I did learn them from a CETA program and have been working ever since then--and I am paying double taxes now as a self-employed person. But when I tried to find a similar program for my (then to be) husband, there was no such program available. I could not get him into anything at all although he was out of work, disabled, and was living almost like a homeless person (he had a roof and cold running water at the time I met him). I basically had to take him in and then he had to start life all over again as a messenger at the bottom of the barrel. If real skills were taught to people and they were ALSO taught how to navigate in the work environment and how to seek jobs, this would be totally wonderful. And, my goodness, if child care subsidies actually were given and were enough to purchase child care, and if, my goodness, such people were actually available, this would be wonderful too. (Talk about Utopia?)

But if one is not pretty or handsome or tall and if one is disabled or older, almost nothing can help get a person a job! The market is too tight and too competitive. Employers don't want to boost their healthcare premiums any higher by taking people who might need medical care. And there is a lot of prejudice against people who are not necessarily pretty or handsome or tall.

I think moving the people with good, well-targeted programs would have been great. But that's not how it was set up. It was just a mandate that came down and left everyone scrambling. So many mothers went to welfare offices and begged for names of people to watch their children and were given outdated information or information about people that didn't even exist.

And I still think it is morally, totally WRONG to set limits on time. The reason they called it a safety net is that nobody should have to ever worry about being thrown on the street to survive. My sister is out of work for almost a year now. She is nearly 60 and disabled. She WANTS to work but she cannot find a job. There is no safety net for people in California without children under 18 living at home. I have another friend in her mid-50s here in NYC and she can't find anything either for nearly 2 years. These are both responsible, hard working people. And they are going to fall right into the cracks if they don't get help.

Utopia? No, I think not. Just basic human decency. And let us remember this: One of Hitler's plans in the Nazi era was to rid Germany of whom he called "useless eaters." This welfare plan reminded me much too starkly of that. It seems that everything today is designed to kill off people who cannot meet the Social Darwinist agenda extant today. My sister and my friend do not want to be useless eaters. They volunteer to help other people all the time when they are not trying to find work. But life dealt them bad hands and that's got to be respected.

I am totally against anything that blames the victims.

It's 11:17 PM. Just about time to get back to work here to keep up with the demands of my job. This so-called idealist knows that the work has to get done and the bills have to get paid. But she also knows that not everybody is as fortunate as she is to HAVE a job. If my main client were not so understanding about my various disabilities, I would be very unfortunate indeed.

Until one realizes that "there but for the grace of G-d, go I," no sympathy will help. It is EMPATHY we need. We have to be able to see ourselves as potential victims in order to understand the far-reaching consequences of heartless policies. Never mind that some or even most people may have been helped. (Were they? Or did they end up working in Wal-Mart off the clock with no healthcare? Or were they shoved into some other low-level form of slavery with no compensation and making just enough to deny them any healthcare, making them actually better off on welfare?)

The point is that NOT ONE SINGLE, SOLITARY HUMAN BEING should ever fall between the cracks. I've lived between the cracks. I've stared down the cracks and known what that was like. I've counted the weeks till my survival was doomed. And, you know what? I didn't even figure on getting welfare. We "made too much" (In NYC anything over $800.oo a MONTH is "too much"--so you would have to live in a broom closet in a crack-infested neighborhood, eat one meal a day, and never wash up or use a bathroom or put any lights on. Medicine? What's that? Not on $800.oo for a family of two. Not gonna happen--it goes all for rent!) It could be you. It could be me. We never know.

So, I stand by my original statement--the "welfare reform" was an atrocity. I never had a welfare check in my life and I felt personally threatened by that incredibly heartless legislation and I bear the Clintons an undying hatred as a result of it. (That and the fact that they considered hearing aids not medically necessary or appropriate for coverage--which would have left people like me to live without ever talking to another human being. Fortunately I had the $3,000 to buy my own!)

Today's Quote

"The Republican party has become masters of cut and run, cutting from the issues so that they can run for re-election in November,"
-Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)

-Forwarded by Robert Scardapane

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-Noah Greenberg