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This is What Democracy Looks Like

Today's Note From a Madman

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

Ken "Kenny-Boy" Lay
April 15, 1942 - July 5, 2006

The warning shot fired above Jeffrey Skilling's head came in the form of a Ken "Kenny-Boy" Lay " massive coronary. Now, I'm not much on conspiracy theories, but...c'mon.

If there was any one individual who might have done real damage, and one who might have been looking for a deal rather than real jail time, it's the guy who was CEO of the corporation (Enron) that was the single biggest contributor to President "G"lobal "W"arming Bush. One wonders what, if anything, Lay could have said about the Bushites that would have caused them, at the very least, major embarrassment, and at the most, open them up to criminal conspiracy and other charges.

The world may never know.

Skilling, the other CEO who was found guilty of a bunch of stuff regarding his tenure at Enron, knew about the death of Lay but had no comment.

"it was difficult to turn off that lifestyle like a spigot."
-Lay, at his trial, defendin his extravigant lifestyle, and $100 million debt

As part of that "lifestyle", Lay purchased a $200,000 yacht for his wife Linda's birthday, while at the same time employee investors of the ill-fated energy company were losing their life savings.


One wonders if that yacht can float on a river of fire.

And if you're wondering why I have gone from a believer in the single gun theory to the obvious conspiracy theorist I am today, I say look at the "timely" deaths (for Republicans, that is) of the late Senator Paul Wellstone (D-MN) and very moderate Republican Pennsylvania Senator John Heinz. Why, they even eat their own.

My eldest brother, Michael thinks that Lay might have actually set up a double (see the movie "Fletch", from the book by John MacDonald, starring Chevy Chase); some poor slob who lived on a beach (or something,) about the same age, build and with a similar enough looking face as "Kenny-Boy" Lay to fool even the doctors, with Linda's help, of course.

In any event, I don't want to be the first one to sing "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead", so I'll close with this: Mr. Skilling, sleep with one eye open.

-Noah Greenberg

And This, from Houston

Ken Lay died of a heart attack while in Colorado.
I can't say I'm sorry to hear it. Does that make me a bad person?
I think he got of lucky. He could have died in prison.
That's what he deserved.

-Sean (Mr. Blue-Sky)

Robo Mexico

So yesterday I'm reading that the exit polls in the Mexican presidential election were showing a couple of point lead for the leftist candidate, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the Democratic Revolutionary Party. However, last night it appeared that the Conservative candidate, Felipe Calderon, the choice of current President Vincente "Coca-Cola" Fox and US President "G"lobal "W"arming Bush was in the lead, despite the exit polls.

Now why does that sound familiar?

At about 3:00PM today, with a little more than one-third of the votes re-counted (you can do that with paper), Obrador was holding a lead of about two-and-a-half points. The preliminary results from Sunday had Calderon winning by 0.6 percent. I wonder if there is an equivalent of Cuyahoga County, Ohio in Mexico. Some of you will remember that the mostly Democrat Cuyahoga County was where some 350,000 votes were misplaced, or mishandled, or thrown away. Cuyahoga County is where Cleveland is located. The voting there went about 4-to-1 in favor of John Kerry in the 2004 US presidential election (more than enough votes to have made up for the 65,000 vote loss to GW, had those votes been actually counted).

Calderon is running as Fox' National Action Party candidate. Of course, under Fox, the only action accomplished was telling we Americans that Mexicans will do their jobs and that black Americans don't want to work. As Americans, we should hope that Mr. Obrador wins this election for that reason alone. Fox has been trying to export his people to the US in droves for years and, just maybe, the leftist candidate as president will try to keep his citizens in Mexico rather than export them to the US to perform "the jobs Americans won't do".

"There is no doubt that Mexicans, filled with dignity, willingness and ability to work, are doing jobs that not even blacks want to do there in the United States,"
-Mexican President Vincente Fox, May, 2005

Nice, huh?

Both candidates claimed victory as the polls closed on Sunday night, but Obrador is unwilling to concede. Don't you wish that Kerry (2004) or Al Gore (2000) had the same gumption?

"They are trying to undermine an election without having the results to back it up,"
"We are convinced that we won and we're going to prove it,"
"Make the review thorough so all will be satisfied.,"

Any Democratic candidate for 2008, and maybe 2006 should be taking notes.

The Mexican election works on tally sheets. The votes are only hand counted when there is a problem with the tally sheets.

Like the American election, there are problems already reported in the election. For example, there were 2.6 millions votes left uncounted due to "inconsistencies", such as bad handwriting or extra marks on the tally sheets placed outside of the ballot boxes, according to Federal Electoral Institute President Luis Carlos Ugalde. Maybe they can get some Florida chad counters to help them.


By the way, how does one say "chad" in Spanish?

"They want to throw out the election because it didn't favor them. Pressure and blackmail should not prevail."
-German Martinez of Fox' National Action Party

"Pressure and blackmail" have worked pretty well for the Bushites in 2000 and 2004, so why shouldn't the "South of the Border" Republican party use it as well?

As Victoria Brownworth might say...

... Stay tuned.

-Noah Greenberg

In response to part of The Declaration of Independence, Robert Chapman writes (with a couple of side comments by Madman):

Reading these articles, I cannot find it within me to disagree with John Wesley's assessment that the American grievances against King George III were severe enough to constitute grounds for war.

Call me a “Pinko”, but I think it time we took stock and examined our claims and our role as agents for justice in the world.

THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE: For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
ROBERT CHAPMAN: John Adams himself represented the British soldiers acquitted of murdering civilians in the Boston Massacre.
MADMAN: Everyone deserves representation

THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE: For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
ROBERT CHAPMAN: We teach about the triangular trade between America, the west Indies and Britain. In 1776, we had access to the world. After the revolution were our terms of trade really improved by Jefferson's embargo?
MADMAN: Trial and error. I’d like to think that Thomas Jefferson made up for it... somehow.

THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE: For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
ROBERT CHAPMAN: Read the Virginia resolutions and Patrick Henry's speech in which the American case in this matter is laid out. The American side never made an appeal for legal or political redress of this grievance within the contemporary legal system.

THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE: For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
ROBERT CHAPMAN: A lot like we, the current Imperial Power, are doing with the Guantanamo detainees.

THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE: For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
ROBERT CHAPMAN: See above and add in our policy of rendition to third countries.

THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE: For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighboring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
ROBERT CHAPMAN: Both in the revolutionary times and in the current world this is a whopper.
One can make a strong legal and even stronger moral case for a sovereign King stepping in to reassert his authority in a recalcitrant colony, but if this article has any validity at all, it is as an early affirmation of the sovereign right of people to choose their own governments; a concept the Bush Administration has decided is less valid than their own doctrine of regime change imposed by military force.

And Monique Frugier writes:

Because of The history of the present "Leader" of the United States is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States, WE, people of Philadelphia have signed a declaration of Peace which is a campaign to end the war in Iraq.

We made the commitment to take nonviolent steps for the immediate withdrawal of our troops and to engage in nonviolent direct actions if a comprehensive plan to end this illegal war is not established by Congress by September 21, 2006, International Peace Day. We will go to the offices of our Senators who allow Bush to continue to lie with their support of the funding of this illegal war which is nothing but a massacre. For a visual

Report of our public declaration, go to: DECLARATION OF PEACE

Eddie Konczal adds:

Isn't it amazing how many ways the actions of George Bush resemble those of King George III?

In response to "I don't want to see the summer season on the shore, or the taxes collected from Atlantic City's casinos lost, but Governor Corzine needs to make this happen. If I were Speaker Roberts, I would make this deal with the governor. Agree to the sales tax increase with the provision that it has a sunset provision (one that would bring the sales tax back down to six percent again in a few years, assuming a budget surplus)," Robert Scardapane writes:

On this situation we are in 100% agreement. In fact, I contacted Upendra Chivukula, my Assembly representative, to suggest the same idea.

I am furious at the NJ Democrats. I expect idiocy from Republicans but I am disgusted that our own are stabbing the new Governor in the back. Did you get a glimpse at Roberts so called alternative? It full of gimmicks. There is even a tax increase in it that is inapplicable to state workers and hence to politicians - something to do with disability insurance.

The NJ Democrats are giving the Republicans ammunition. I am sick and tired of slugging uphill for these guys. Last year, we had to overcome McGreevey's foolishness and now the government closing due to the budget.

Hey NJ Democrats, how about helping the activists win the US Congress back and stop throwing roadblocks in our way!

And in response to Hillary Clinton, Robert Scardapane write:

It's not a matter of being skeptical - what she says amounts to next to no position at all. Take the Iraq example - she really is taking no stand at all. She is saying that troops will come home as soon as possible but won't define what that means NOR any set of conditions where she would say enough is enough! That is where the American people are at - fed up with the Iraq occupation, I refuse to call it a war, and want troops to come home irrespective of what happens.

I wouldn't vote against Hillary but I definitely do not want to see her run for President ... big mistake.

And Pat Thompson adds:

Politicians who are too far left are marginalized in this country. Senator Wellstone was one of a kind -- and look what happened to him. Kucinich is and was very popular with a very small percentage of the people. In order to actually get elected, people whose heart may be in the right place, have to move toward the center. Clinton did it, and it worked for him, and he sure wasn't perfect (and I am not begrudging him any tokens of affection from interns) but rather the welfare bill, and who he did or didn't pardon at the end, and why he didn't work harder to ratify Kyoto during the first two years when the Dems still controlled Congress. Clinton was a popular president whom the people didn't dislike even after he was impeached by Congress -- his poll numbers were almost double what Bush's are right now! He did some good, and he tried to get some things done, but the right wing attack machine was in full gear. What does Senator Clinton think they will do to her? I fear it will be burning at the stake.

And Robert Chapman writes:

Hillary Clinton is a Leader

Reactions to Senator Clinton seem to show that as is so often the case in a democracy, our interpretations of the information we read can be seen as a Rorschach of our political leanings.

I thought Senator Clinton's first Senate campaign was a masterpiece of new politics:
-She had huge name recognition and massive negatives.
-She did not run a media campaign, instead she came upstate and went IN PERSON to every senior citizen center, Lions meeting, PTO meeting or whatever that would have her.
-She talked to the voters face to face and saw their homes, their worries, their joys and what they were proud of. She shook hands and asked for support.

Six years later, in spite of her brutal speaking schedule on behalf of Democrats across the nation, she is still highly visible and present upstate.

Sadly, she and Chuck Schumer are the only politicians at the state or national level speaking up for us.

She has learned a lot and has improved as a politician and as governing agent. I think she is still growing and her growth will not stop until she has achieved historic proportions.

Mrs. Clinton is vulnerable and open in personal ways that I have never seen in any other politician. Her physical persona in face to face conversation is more engaging, more connected, more real than that of most of the teachers, preachers, business leaders and politicos I have met. This is not to disparage any of the other wonderful people that have met, it only speaks to Senator Clinton's amazing ability to connect with people.

Senator Clinton has never struck me as one who leads from on high; she is right down here in the trenches with the troops.

And in response to Hillary Clinton and the health care industry, Pat Thompson adds this, as well:

A very powerful industry to take on.....We should all be grateful that a sizeable percentage of our health care funds go to CEO's of insurance companies, rather than to hospitals and doctors. And also glad that they keep us from getting all those "unnecessary" tests and treatments.

Madman responds about Hillary:

The Clintons took a chance on a health care plan for everyone. It failed and it cost the Democrats. I dare say that a 2009 Hillary Clinton, an older and wiser and more politically aware Hillary Clinton (as in DC politics) could get more done on the health care front than did First Lady Clinton in 1993-1994.

In response to Rhian's "What I want", Billie M. Spaight closes out the thread with:

I want a PERSON who can do some of those things Rhian asks for. I don't care if it's a male or a female or gay or straight or transgender. But I have no problem with abortions. Most people don't want them and grieve when they have them but there are reasons why and we should not have the government inside our bodies and our bedrooms.

I don't care if the person is an atheist but I don't want a Satanist either. Satanists don't like human beings. Some atheists do and some don't just like their religious counterparts. I just want a person who cares about other human beings and is smart enough to make things happen that help human beings.

I want an Eleanor Roosevelt or an FDR. Or a Russ Feingold or a Dennis Kucinich or a John Conyers, Jr. Somebody who will fight to restore the safety net. A Martin Luther King or a Nelson Mandela. A Betty Friedan.

I want somebody who will legalize and regulate drugs and sell them to adults and use the taxes on them for constructive purposes instead of letting the drug dealers sell them to little kids.

And I want somebody who isn't afraid of foreigners and who welcomes them but doesn't take any crap from terrorists.

And Robert S, yes, you are right-on about healthcare. I want somebody to realize that we are at critical mass with healthcare and make it for all with H.R. 676.

I want somebody who cares about our environment.

I don't want Killary (no that's not a typo) Clinton and her elitist, right-wing, triangulating agenda. I don't want her stupid policies that always end up hurting the people that need relief the most.

And I want somebody who will not kowtow to corporate interests.

In response to "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," Pat Thompson writes:

Please don't forget Kerry's daughters who showed themselves to be mature and hard working, intelligent women. Both worked hard for their father. One is a promising film maker, the other is becoming a physician, I believe. Al and Tipper Gore (he is actually our rightful President as he was elected in 2000) raised four wonderful children. One is an attorney, with two children, one is a writer with an excellent book which gives an inside view of Washington from the eyes of young staffers. They all adore their father, and worked hard for him. The difference between Kerry, Gore and Clinton and Bush, in the marriage department is that Kerry and Gore married very young, their college sweethearts. The Gore's are still together after about 37 years, and Kerry's marriage lasted through his two tours in Vietnam, his anti-war protests, and several Congressional terms. John Kerry then raised his daughters, at least part of the time. Bush didn't keep a relationship together until he was over 30, and then when he was running for Congress, he met the perfect Stepford Wife, the stoned, death-by-auto Laura, and married her within three months of meeting her -- he needed a wife for his congressional run -- and he lost anyway. The difference being that Kerry and Gore spent their 20's in a committed relationship, raising children -- and Bush spent his 20's bed hopping and drunk. And his daughters are likely to do the same. While Kerry and Gore's daughters have started promising careers. Buy "Sammy's Hill" by Kristin Gore!

In response to "Think of that, and what Ralph Nader did to Al Gore in 2000 as you place your finger on that Green Party switch," Pat Thompson writes:

I spent 2000 and 2004 begging my friends and acquaintances not to vote for Ralph Nader.
But when I'd find a Nader campaign speech on C-Span, I'd listen and agree with everything he said, except for the fact that he was running for President and couldn't win. Nader could cover 30 topics, all very pertinent, in one speech. He was right on about everything, except why he thought he should stay in the race. Gore is a very Green candidate, but how much did we hear about that in 2000? Sadly, not much.

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-Noah Greenberg