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This is What Democracy Looks Like

Today's Note From a Madman

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

 

Correction: Dorothy Schwartz didn't write this: "The largest middle class in the world and Mom stayed home to raise the kids."
My apologies to her and to who did write it. (I wish I had that record.) -NG



"To the Best of My Ability"

As President Bush signs a bill into law, he signs an additional little thing known as a "signing statement". Using Bush-think, the purpose of this "Signing statement" is to give GW an "out" if the bill doesn't go his way. For example: If Bush signs a hypothetical bill that might actually help the elderly, but the drug companies aren't getting their fair share, he ''could use the signing statement he attached to the bill to say "Hey, wait a minute here. That's not what I thought it was when I signed it." Thanks to his newest Supreme Court Justice, Samuel Alito's advice, this statement accompanies every bill Bush signs.

Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (REPUBLICAN-IL), is using his own, verbal-type of "signing statement" while he testifies to the House Ethics Committee. It's called "To the Best of My Ability".

No matter how many congressional aides come out and say that they told Hastert about pedophile representative Mark Foley (REPUBLICAN-FL), Hastert gets to say "I don't remember." And when he gets caught, which happens to many liars, he'll get to point to his verbal signing statement and say, "Well maybe I was told, but I obviously didn't remember. After all, I did testify to the best of my ability."

It's the GOP "out".

According to "Mr. speaker", he only learned about Foley last month, or about the time the (expletive deleted) hit the fan.

The Ethics Committee "needed to move quickly to get to the bottom of this issue, including who knew about the sexually explicit messages and when they knew about it."
-Hastert, attempting a mini-cover-up

"Quickly", to Hastert and the other REPUBLICAN members of the House who previously knew about Foley, means "As soon as we're found out."

Hastert aide Ted Van Der Meid is now added to the list of congressional aides "who knew." As a matter of fact, it's beginning to appear that just about every senior Hastert aide had knowledge of it. Mike Stokke, the Speaker's deputy chief of staff was also questioned by the committee. Along with soon-to-be former Representative, and chairman of the REPUBLICAN Congressional Campaign Committee (RCCC) Tom Reynolds, (REPUBLICAN-NY) along with Van Der Meid, Stokke and Kirk Fordham, former Chief of Staff to Foley and aide to Reynolds, all warned the GOP higher-ups as early as five years ago. That includes Hastert.

To hear Hastert tell the story, if he were told at all, it was part of a group of "six or seven" things in a pile on his desk. And because it could have affected the GOP election effort, he simply put it aside.

House REPUBLICANS, of course, want House DEMOCRATS investigated by the Ethics Committee to find out if they knew about the emails and held onto them to use at a "strategic time". My question is: Wouldn't right before the 2004 presidential election have been a better strategic time?

Foley can no longer be punished by the House. He resigned already, a sort of falling-on-my-sword move, and the right move, as well. However, this investigation is necessary and Foley might be called to testify before the committee. But the truth is that this ought to be investigated by the FBI to determine: (A) If this truly was a crime and; (B) If any House GOP members, who knew about this prior to its release, should be charged with "Aiding and abetting, after the fact".

In a point-the-finger and pass-the-buck frenzy to get their names out of the news, REPUBLICAN House leaders are looking for that one guy to put this whole mess on. They no longer can use Foley. Majority Leader John "Don't call me 'boner'" Boehner (REPUBLICAN-OH) has already thrown the Speaker under the wheels of the bus. Maybe he assumed that Hastert would fall on his own sword, but that's not in his nature. I'm betting that Boehner was hoping Hastert would say something like this: "I knew and didn't react. The whole mess is my fault and, as a result, I resign as Speaker." This, of course, would probably lead to Boehner becoming the Speaker.

Fat Chance!

Remember that both Boehner and Reynolds told us all that they had told Hastert, with Reynolds even taking out a television campaign ad to explain his case. Hastert could not recall "To the best of his ability".

And GOP pollsters, pundits and advisors are all taking the Foley mess, and Hastert's part in it, lightly. Hastert has been largely unable to campaign for "needy" REPUBLICANS in tight races.

"It's not that he's toxic. It's just that the situation is,"
-Rich Galen, a GOP consultant

Still, I believe that most House REPUBLICANS don't want Hastert "helping them" at this point, much in the same way they have been shying away from President Bush's himself.

"The speaker is working to help get our message out,"
-Hastert spokesman Ron Bonjean, the original Hastert excuse-maker

Rep. Ron Lewis (REPUBLICAN-KY) and Rep. Don Sherwood ((REPUBLICAN-PA) have already asked Hastert not-to-help with their re-election bids.

"To the best of my knowledge" is an insult to our nation and the American people. It needs to be dealt with.

-Noah Greenberg



Exit Polls Allowed... Again

Jeb Bush's "No Exit Polling" law was sent to the showers today by US District Judge Paul Huck. Huck's reason was that the law violated the First Amendment Right of Freedom of the Press. The law, "102.031 Maintenance of good order at polls; authorities; persons allowed in polling rooms and early voting areas; unlawful solicitation of voters," states that pollsters (and others) are forbidden to perform exit polls on election day within 100 feet of the polls.

"No person, political committee, committee of continuous existence, or other group or organization may solicit voters inside the polling place or within 100 feet of the entrance to any polling place..."
-Section (4)(a) of Jeb's law

Section (b) partly defines "solicit voters" as "seeking or attempting to seek any vote, fact, opinion."

In other words, the GOP may need to steal another election real soon (Is November 7th, 2006 soon enough?) and they don't want to answer those nasty questions such as: "How could the exit polls and the actual vote be so wrong in Florida, but be so right elsewhere?

Section (2) states that there will be a Sheriff's Deputy at each polling place who will obey the lawful commands of the clerk. The Deputy cold "summon assistance" from "bystanders" to help "maintain peace" at the polling place.

I like to call Section (2) a way to close down the polls so no one else gets to vote. And who might those bystanders be, anyway? GOP Poll watchers perhaps?

Additionally, Section (5) states "No photography is permitted in the polling room or early voting area."

I guess they don't want any visual evidence of their thievery.

By the way, if Section (5) was still viable, would that mean we couldn't watch Jeb vote, then wave to the cameras?

Similarly, in Ohio, the candidacy of J. Kenneth Blackwell (REPUBLICAN-OH), Ohio's present Secretary of State and would-be Governor is also at jeopardy. Besides being down in the polls to DEMOCRATIC challenger, current congressman, psychologist and ordained minister, Ted Strickland, a directive sent out by Secretary Blackwell which said, in part: "No person... is permitted to... in any manner hinder, or delay an elector in reaching or LEAVING the place fixed for casting the elector's ballot,". The distance in defined by "Two or more flags of the United States... placed 100 feet from the polling place..."

The "Blackwell Election Directive" (not even a law!) has the same intent of the Florida law: To eliminate exit polls and pollsters. The difference here is that Blackwell's Directive was issued AFTER US District Judge Michael Watson struck down a previous Blackwell order prohibiting exit polling 100 feet from the polls. It appears the difference are the "flags".

Shouldn't the Secretary of State be held to account for breaking a judge's order? One would think so.

Oversight makes theft "harder work", and the GOP knows it.

In light of the past two presidential elections, these rulings are very bad news for the GOP.

-Noah Greenberg



Idaho

How well are the Health Care and Benefit systems working nationwide? Well, since the Bushies took over, they have made it a priority to "fix" the health care system by using a market based system, which would require Americans to choose from saving for their latter years health care and not eating a meal or two a day, today.

And as for retirement benefits, they want to allow you to spend or invest (whatever you want) you Social Security benefits as you wish. As they say, "It's your money." Of course they forget that if someone can't save or they invest poorly, taxpayer American will have to pick up the slack, one way or another.

So today's announcement by the University of Idaho, a public institution, that they are going to cut back on health care and retirement benefits for their retirees should come as no surprise. After all, in this day and age of the REPUBLICAN philosophy of every man for himself, the ultimate GOP state should look to save money by taking it from their retirees. They plan to save $100 million while making their citizens pay more when they can least afford it.

No wonder why more and more Americans work until they die.

By the way, Idaho is one of those REPUBLICAN states that never vote Democrat. In his last election (2004) Senator Mike Crapo (yeah, that's his real name), a REPUBLICAN ran unopposed for his seat!

By the way, Idahoans, how's this all working for you?

-Noah Greenberg



The Mark Foley Collection

You haven't truly made a pop cultural impact until you start showing up on eBay.
Mark Foley, come on down! You have achieved eBay status.
Looks like the Mark Foley action figure is drawing some bids.

What's next? A Rush Limbaugh doll that pulls chairs out from under the disabled and slaps people with Parkinson's disease? Oh, right, we already HAVE that.

-Submitted with comments by Victoria A. Brownworth, with thanks to talkingpointsmemo.com



Please Watch

Many of you have already seen Keith Olbermann's eloquent, passionate commentary on Bush and the Military Commissions Act of 2006. If not, here it is:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=dwXopJXaHjU

I hope you can take a few minutes to watch this video, and forward it on accordingly.


-Eddie Konczal

One thought came to my mind after watching Olbermann's video, as recommended by Eddie Konczal:

There can no longer be any doubt that President George W. Bush has done much more harm than good in his tenure as president.
There can no longer be any doubt that what President George W. Bush has done has aided and abetted the enemies of the United States.
There can no longer be any doubt that President George W. Bush needs congressional oversight more than probably any other president in our history, and he always has.

-Noah Greenberg



Dean Answers Bush's "Stay the Course" Sham

"Unfortunately, the President made it clear that he intends to stay the course with his permanent commitment to a failed strategy in Iraq. What the President doesn't seem to understand is that this is not a political crisis. This is a foreign policy crisis that requires more than adapting his rhetoric in response to falling poll numbers as Election Day nears. Our troops, their families and the American people deserve better. We want to defeat the enemy in Iraq and keep America safe. But, the Bush Administration's failed Iraq policy is feeding terrorism, not fighting it. Democrats offer a new direction in Iraq that acknowledges the facts on the ground and includes a phased redeployment of our troops so we can better fight and win the war on terror."
-Dr. Howard Dean

So, Bush says he will drop the phrase "stay thew course" but there will be no major policy changes! Okay, so what's the catch phrase now? Follow the course? Keep the course? It's the same old, same old.

-Robert Scardapane



Michael J. Fox

I never watched Michael J. Fox's 1970s TV show, can't even recall what its title was. It was so blatantly untrue. How many 60s liberal families have spawned conservative kids? None that I know.

But Michael has proven to be a brave spokesman and his foundation does wonderful campaigning for stem cell research.

It may be somewhat late. So many top-notch biological scientists have departed the US for other lands, just as geneticists fled the Soviet Union and physicists ran from Nazi Germany. Scientists don't like repression.

-Jenny Hanniver



A Gandhi Quote
(We need more of them)

Seven blunders of the world that lead to violence:
wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, worship without sacrifice, politics without principle.
-Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)


I would say that Gandhi, prescient man that he was, had George Bush's number when he was born.....


-Victoria Brownworth


As Sent:

Quest for Human Unity
And the politics of separation
Where is the Common Good?
by Robert W. Barker  •  Eureka CA USA  •  October 18, 2006  
Send thanks & comments to:
    BDozer1947@aol.com   
 

The race of Homo Erectus stands at a cross roads as the possible destroyers or redeemers of their own fate, depending on our attitudes.
Our highest most lofty goal is to be at "one" and peace with our fellow human beings.

I contend there is but one race that counts, the Human race. Not the Kentucky Derby, nor Indianapolis 500 not even the Olympic races or the ethnic races determined by genetics or creed. Our all inclusive human race is the most important race in the universe as we know it.

Beleaguered and abandoned we feel, riddled with guilt and shame at our human inadequacies, striving to become something of value and significance.

Faith, love and hatred dichotomies of the same emotional phenomena that traps us in poignant weighty ties, yet these same burdens give our lives meaning and value, thus the dichotomy of existence.

Selfish motivations tend to limit our scope yet aid in survival, when do we become the transformation to the unity?

Or is it possible to influence and modify our destinies for the betterment of all, as our founders and a few Saints seemed to believe, today their sacred idealism or the Separatist radical imperialism may be our choices.

One such as I, loom as no more an expert of the right path then any idiot on the corner, no matter how voluptuous my volumes of digested empirical material, I am a slave to my environment and genetics, and as opinionated as anyone else.
An informed opinion is not necessarily a better opinion.
Yet without proper information no opinion is truly valid, and information today is harnessed controlled and covered in deformations that leave us blind.

My very wise yet uneducated father used to say:
“Opinions are like Asses son everyone has one.”

His back-country wisdom is increasingly Socratic to me, I realize with time that education does no more to bring true wisdom then fasting does to gain weight. There are misguided PhD’s all over the world, and uneducated people with deep insight into the political world.
I met Camposito's in Mexico with third grade eductions that understood the "
Politics of fear" far better then the average Bachelor Of Science degree American today.

Wisdom and insight are acquired through life experience and your sensitivity and reactions to it. Well-grounded love of all aspects of existence and an ability to discern the oneness and harmonic connection to all existence are the measure that seems authentic, in my less then humble perspective.

Breath and physical awareness are a gift and burden simultaneously symbiotic, the Yen and the Yang the balance that is so hard to achieve and perceive. So life is an experience of suffering and joy and the key is to realize there is no difference except in our perceptions.

Oh of course the path is always to seek joy in all we do, Epicures was right in this. At some point one must realize the anguish, pain and sorrow are all part of the great joy of life and while never sought out, but accepted as inevitable so therefore lovingly embraced when necessary.

Denial is a great sin in the universe and mankind is guilty of this sin of omission, this illusion of separation this inability to see the dharma as part of the path to enlightenment. Undetected by many is our fate and its wrapped up in the destiny of all human kind.

Christ understood this and tried to warn us of this sad denial of our own powers and unity as well as purpose in life.
St. Matthew 5-22 explains this, never be angry at your brother, for turning away from him is the greatest of sins according to JC. Turning the other cheek, loving all people no matter their faults or creed affiliations, or beliefs, are fine examples of his emphases on our unity as all people.

Selfish me or we social paradigms that manifest separation, deters or even slaughters our quest for unity, and unfortunately it is deeply imbedded in our souls. Planted there from millenniums of conditioning through dread, spewed forth by the separation masters that control our lives, from caves dwelling times to modern leaders.

They work on their well-honed craft today, keeping us in suspicion and separation is the goal of all separatist that are known as Strausians at the moment.
Here in Strauss Philosophy is the well thought out plans to control the free world through fear and trepidation, feigned religion and subtle slow death to Unions of all kinds, all laid out by the guru of the far right Leo Strauss.

They may claim democratic ideas but beneath the surface they disdain its inclusive tenants and push for its death in America and the globe.

They separate us by sexual orientation, racial and economic stratification's, voting districts, and locations. Division by religion, Race, creed, political affiliations and economic viability, age, education, even lifestyle preferences.

Promoting disdain for the homosexual unions, denying equal rights to Gay married couples even the ones legally married under State laws, is one method of separation. Jumping on the Gay rights issues, even suggesting a Constitutional amendment to limit Gay marriage rights, is a tactic of the Straussian separatist to divide us further.

Those of us that are fair minded or understand a level playing field is necessary to a Republic are scorned for defending gay rights, when all human beings are our concern. We are forced to pick and choose to prioritize or be squashed in the weight of the mounting death of freedoms and attacks on liberty.

Using the religious rights fear of certain lifestyles is a forceful manipulation they employ with a satirists gleam in their eyes. Now the death of the Fourth Amendment and even Habeas Corpus guaranteed by the Magna Carta are now weakened or dead and the Lady Liberty weeps.  

Curtailing votes from minorities and ignoring catastrophes that affect predominantly Democratic voters such as Katrina victims proves the point of their one sided divide and conquer attitude.

Voting irregularities ignored, Supreme Ct appealed to, and voting machines that are questionable, all ways to curtail democracy or unity. Few efforts for the "
Common Good” Ever undertaken, a limited few citizens benefit from the exclusive clubs and policy these separatist pursue.

Fear and trepidation such as constant terror warnings in times of the electoral process that cease when the election is over. Every opportunity is used to appeal to the 9\11 catastrophe as if being the ones that could not prevent it make them a great American hero somehow.

Mankind's greatest sin is not seeing the, “I in you” and the, “we in each other.” This is the root of all-evil this us against them, this me and you against the others, and our group is better then theirs.
This ancient practice of separation without justification, this denial of our human unity is the cause of practically all-human friction.

Most of man’s creeds religions, beliefs, dogma and cultural rules enable this separation, encourage this lack of unity, this death to the human sprit that connects us all.

Some so-called religious beliefs include this quest for unity yet they often differentiate as to theological or dogmatic realities within the framework of their beliefs and life styles.

Bridging the gap of misunderstanding and bigotry is possibly the single most important act of humanity.


This unity was and is the goal of all heroes of humanity from, Buddha, Christ, Gandhi, to Martin Luther King.

These heroes of mans quest for unity, are each one martyrs of the struggle for a unity and understanding. Not necessarily unison of culture but a unity of tolerance an understanding of the connections we all share as members of the only race that counts; the
Human Race.
   
Our tendency to ethnocentric behavior causes us to disdain and suspect the differences in our world. We have recently learned to live with many cultural and sociological variations especially in our urban and even suburban settings.

Yet the ethnocentric monster lies in wait just below the skin of most human beings in all cultures.
Cultural bigotry exist in every culture across the globe, yet we need to get past it.

When a Catholic meets a Protestant they have differences, but they share a faith in Christ yet they differentiate in small ways that are magnified through ethnocentric lenses and that separates them.

When a Western Christian mind meets a follower of Islam the dynamic grows even more convoluted and difficult.

With this encounter we now have a deeper wider and more discernible gap of mistrust therefore far harder to bridge, between completely different faiths.

This clash of cultures that occurs daily all over the globe demands a more balanced less ethnocentric stance, school yard bully confrontational tactics do not sufficiently handle today's problems. Understanding awareness and tolerance are needed to cope with the confrontation to our cultural bias.

Nor did separation tactics ever really work for the long term.

That separatist position of my god's better then your God, or our nation superior to their nation, that is the gas or fuel, which increases the heat of the ever volatile hatred inferno.
Mistrust lies slumbering in our ancient primordial cave dwelling hearts, awakened by the hate promoting separatist.

Our world’s ever changing and increasing technology, forces us to shed this old skin of
xenophobic behavioral attributes, for a more open and tolerant stance, and we cannot afford the hate

Nevertheless we resist the change and cling to our own, and this is manifest as our greatest downfall.

Leaders that disdain our unity that refuse to communicate with those they view as different or contrary to their values and beliefs are dangerous and counter productive. Those powerful people that draw lines in the sand, drive us further from out goals of understanding. We ignore North Korea Iran and they become increasingly hostile isolated and dangerous.

Current leaders in America practice the politics of separation, the fear of the “Others,” and control through division of the one race that brings trepidation to their separatist minds; the Human Race.

Tactics well honed by those that hate unity, they know how to keep us at each other throats and wanting this ongoing bellum to justify the existence of a huge war machine and its corporate interest.

Manipulators of power plant the seeds of fear, fertilize it with warnings of dire consequences, then harvest a bumper crop of
easily manipulated subjects.

The enemies of mankind are clothed in political clerical and corporate garbs and they all have one common goal to keep us in a state of fear and constant bellum.
Perhaps it is time we searched for and promoted leadership that takes this race of fellow beings seriously and respectfully and forget disdainfully.

As the greatest military power on the globe {USA} why cant we promote the
unity, and calm the beast of extremism instead of adding fuel to the flames.

Rhetorical questions are natural in this environment of fear and separation.

Why are “we” the ones planting the seeds of hate along with the extremist we point out as the problem, where is the logic in ratcheting up the rhetoric in a tense world?

It is time we take our reasonability for the entire human race and not just one ethnic group, neither national nor cultural entity?

This fantastic
blue ball called Earth is floating in the vast open space and it is home to the entire human race. Not just cultures or nations, but people, we are ALL on the same team.

Our lives and future generations depend on how well we comprehend these lessons. This is the age of one touch destruction and the clock is ticking on our only important race, the Human race.

-R. W. Barker


Send your comments to: NationalView@aol.com or comments@nationalview.org

-Noah Greenberg