Saturday, September 30, 2006
Friday, September 29, 2006
At Best - Fools or Sycophants and At Worst - Traitors
I'm going to try to separate the fools on either side of the aisles. All but one Republican (Chaffee of RI) voted for this abomination. Snowe of ME didn't vote for whatever reason. I won't even bother to list the Republicans who voted for it. No surprises of course.
Democrats (huh?) voting yea. Eventually there will come a reckoning if we still have a two party system then.
Betmo (see the comments) has a great breakdown of both Houses. I was relieved to see my Congressman (Cardoza - (D) 18th CA) on the list voting NO.
To my friend Worried American - Ron Paul of Texas (R) voted NO.
Our Worst Fears Realized?
They did. The bill is either on its way for signature or has been signed by now.
I know they will say it's intended to combat terrorism and the ordinary citizen has nothing to fear. Tell me, has anything that comes out of their mouths been true? I didn't think so. So I'm afraid. All they have to say is "aid and comfort" to shut us down or worse.
They've stifled most of the MSM (press and t.v.). Will we be next? Will my girls grow up waiting for the pounding on the door in the middle of the night?
With one stroke of a pen, they've wiped out well over 200 years of freedom and are doubtless gloating at our stupidity.
I went to bed last night in America. I woke up to a country I no longer recognize but not the one I grew up believing in so fiercely.
Here's William Rivers Pitt in Truthout today:
In Case I Disappear
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Friday 29 September 2006
I have been told a thousand times at least, in the years I have spent reporting on the astonishing and repugnant abuses, lies and failures of the Bush administration, to watch my back. "Be careful," people always tell me. "These people are capable of anything. Stay off small planes, make sure you aren't being followed." A running joke between my mother and me is that she has a "safe room" set up for me in her cabin in the woods, in the event I have to flee because of something I wrote or said.
I always laughed and shook my head whenever I heard this stuff. Extreme paranoia wrapped in the tinfoil of conspiracy, I thought. This is still America, and these Bush fools will soon pass into history, I thought. I am a citizen, and the First Amendment hasn't yet been red-lined, I thought.
Matters are different now.
It seems, perhaps, that the people who warned me were not so paranoid. It seems, perhaps, that I was not paranoid enough. Legislation passed by the Republican House and Senate, legislation now marching up to the Republican White House for signature, has shattered a number of bedrock legal protections for suspects, prisoners, and pretty much anyone else George W. Bush deems to be an enemy.
So much of this legislation is wretched on the surface. Habeas corpus has been suspended for detainees suspected of terrorism or of aiding terrorism, so the Magna Carta-era rule that a person can face his accusers is now gone. Once a suspect has been thrown into prison, he does not have the right to a trial by his peers. Suspects cannot even stand in representation of themselves, another ancient protection, but must accept a military lawyer as their defender.
Illegally-obtained evidence can be used against suspects, whether that illegal evidence was gathered abroad or right here at home. To my way of thinking, this pretty much eradicates our security in persons, houses, papers, and effects, as stated in the Fourth Amendment, against illegal searches and seizures.
Speaking of collecting evidence, the torture of suspects and detainees has been broadly protected by this new legislation. While it tries to delineate what is and is not acceptable treatment of detainees, in the end, it gives George W. Bush the final word on what constitutes torture. US officials who use cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment to extract information from detainees are now shielded from prosecution.
It was two Supreme Court decisions, Hamdi v. Rumsfeld and Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, that compelled the creation of this legislation. The Hamdi decision held that a prisoner has the right of habeas corpus, and can challenge his detention before an impartial judge. The Hamdan decision held that the military commissions set up to try detainees violated both the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the Geneva Conventions.
In short, the Supreme Court wiped out virtually every legal argument the Bush administration put forth to defend its extraordinary and dangerous behavior. The passage of this legislation came after a scramble by Republicans to paper over the torture and murder of a number of detainees. As columnist Molly Ivins wrote on Wednesday, "Of the over 700 prisoners sent to Gitmo, only 10 have ever been formally charged with anything. Among other things, this bill is a CYA for torture of the innocent that has already taken place."
It seems almost certain that, at some point, the Supreme Court will hear a case to challenge the legality of this legislation, but even this is questionable. If a detainee is not allowed access to a fair trial or to the evidence against him, how can he bring a legal challenge to a court? The legislation, in anticipation of court challenges like Hamdi and Hamdan, even includes severe restrictions on judicial review over the legislation itself.
The Republicans in Congress have managed, at the behest of Mr. Bush, to draft a bill that all but erases the judicial branch of the government. Time will tell whether this aspect, along with all the others, will withstand legal challenges. If such a challenge comes, it will take time, and meanwhile there is this bill. All of the above is deplorable on its face, indefensible in a nation that prides itself on Constitutional rights, protections and the rule of law.
Underneath all this, however, is where the paranoia sets in.
Underneath all this is the definition of "enemy combatant" that has been established by this legislation. An "enemy combatant" is now no longer just someone captured "during an armed conflict" against our forces. Thanks to this legislation, George W. Bush is now able to designate as an "enemy combatant" anyone who has "purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States."
Consider that language a moment. "Purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States" is in the eye of the beholder, and this administration has proven itself to be astonishingly impatient with criticism of any kind. The broad powers given to Bush by this legislation allow him to capture, indefinitely detain, and refuse a hearing to any American citizen who speaks out against Iraq or any other part of the so-called "War on Terror."
If you write a letter to the editor attacking Bush, you could be deemed as purposefully and materially supporting hostilities against the United States. If you organize or join a public demonstration against Iraq, or against the administration, the same designation could befall you. One dark-comedy aspect of the legislation is that senators or House members who publicly disagree with Bush, criticize him, or organize investigations into his dealings could be placed under the same designation. In effect, Congress just gave Bush the power to lock them up.
By writing this essay, I could be deemed an "enemy combatant." It's that simple, and very soon, it will be the law. I always laughed when people told me to be careful. I'm not laughing anymore.
In case I disappear, remember this. America is an idea, a dream, and that is all. We have borders and armies and citizens and commerce and industry, but all this merely makes us like every other nation on this Earth. What separates us is the idea, the simple idea, that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are our organizing principles. We can think as we please, speak as we please, write as we please, worship as we please, go where we please. We are protected from the kinds of tyranny that inspired our creation as a nation in the first place.
That was the idea. That was the dream. It may all be over now, but once upon a time, it existed. No good idea ever truly dies. The dream was here, and so was I, and so were you.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
National Intelligence Estimate (part of it anyhow)
They're citing the safety of the agents. Funny that wasn't a concern when they outed Valerie Plame.
From AP/MSNBC today.
I'll try to find more but my time is still pretty squished. Ray's doctor finally sent him to the e.r. today with instructions for the hospital to call the doctor who is livid. It had been almost 72 hours since he was supposed to be admitted.
Isn't the system great?
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
The In Depth Interview That Never Was
I didn't watch it - I hear them say Rice, Rumsfeld, Cheney, or any of the others and I switch over to a good crime show or turn off the t.v. You know the old saying - you can tell when they're lying; their lips are moving.
Media Matters describes it well.
Personal note: Almost 27 hours have gone by since Ray's doctor ordered a space for him in the hospital.
Still waiting. He hasn't had a stroke - yet.
It's the first I've heard of it but it sounds reasonable to me. A small step, but at least a step.
Let me know if you can't read the link. I'll send it or you can check the democrats.com home page.
Still waiting for that hospital bed - good thing no one was bleeding to death on my floor.
Monday, September 25, 2006
Article from 2000; what's it like now?
About the time our original 13 states adopted their new constitution, in 1787, Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor at the University of Edinburgh, had this to say about the fall of the Athenian Republic some 2,000 years prior:
"A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship." (Add here: the wealthy corporations always donate to the candidates that will cater to the corporate wants and needs; the candidates with the biggest war chests usually win --or steal it like you -know- who did. And what has happened to our fiscal policies since HE was re-elected? And who has benefited the most from government "benefits", like trillions of dollars in tax cuts and contracts." And don't we have a virtual dictatorship now? Gadfly)
"The average age of the worlds greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:
1. From bondage to spiritual faith; 2. From spiritual faith to great courage; 3. From courage to liberty; 4. From liberty to abundance; 5. From abundance to complacency; 6. From complacency to apathy; 7. From apathy to dependence; 8. From dependence back into bondage "
Professor Joseph Olson of Hamline University School of Law, St. Paul, Minnesota, believes the United States is now somewhere between the "complacency and apathy" phase of Professor Tyler's definition of democracy, with some 40 percent of the nation's population already having reached the "governmental dependency" phase. (And what percent has Bush knocked down since 2004 and replaced it with "welfare" to the Corporations ? We are by now deep into the apathy stage, but it's encouraging that people are starting to get mad and raise hell. Keep fanning the flames, Bloggers!!)
Pass this along to help everyone realize just how much is at stake, knowing that apathy is the greatest danger to our freedom.
No virus found in this incoming message.Checked by AVG Free Edition.
Worried is a little better. At least she can talk a little better. This viral infection - kinda like the flu - has really aggravated her asthma out of control. She's still on O2 and all sorts of breathing treatments and medications.
Crapola, Granny!! So sorry that your husband is sick again. I'm such a hellion that I don't think God hears my prayers but I'll sure offer up lots of positive thoughts for him. the Gadfly.
Doin' a Heckuva Job Rummy
Wasn't this what we were saying five years ago?
The White House is dismissing their concerns of course.
To top it off, the Army is asking for at least 60,000 new troops and $17 billion/year to repair and replace equipment. Troops are being called back with less time at home and staying longer once they're there. In addition, the Army is saying as a last resort they may summon more National Guard troops.
I haven't had time to gather as much information as I'd like. I listened to ABC news (some of it) and had time to find one Truthout article.
There's much more out there but my time is limited tonight. I'm waiting for a call from the hospital. The doctor wants to admit my husband once again; we're waiting for a bed.
I was just saying on my own blog how well he was doing lately and then added "one day at a time". I guess I was right with both statements.
While I'm waiting I'm watching the Saints on their first trip back to the Super Bowl . I'm hoping it's a symbol of something or maybe it's just another football game.
A Tribute to Our Canadian "Cousins"
Sunday, September 24, 2006
Cheers - It's Banned Books Week
I've read some of the lists of books that have been either challenged or banned over the years. If all the challenges succeeded, the libraries would have nothing but empty shelves.
I told my friend Ingrid at Blogger Round Table that I was sure Fahrenheit 451 was toward the top of the list. You can read her post here.
Breeding Like Rabbits? Update
I'd linked to the Biting Beaver post here and I'm glad she's reciving some nationwide response. (Although at last count she had over 200 responses on her original post).
I'm the first to try for common ground but there is none with these fascists. We have to fight them on every issue, no matter how unimportant it seems at the moment.
Incidentally, I read a post about a week ago about a cult (near Seattle I think) that is very scary. They're scouring the streets for members and then encouraging them to breed. Does anyone but me remember Jonestown and the mass suicides? I'd like to link to that post but can't seem to find it. I'm almost sure it was one of our fine women bloggers. If any of you remembers reading about a new "mega church for street people" in the northwest, please let me know. I'll link to it.
Update. It's the Mars Hill "church/cult" in Seattle. I googled megachurch Seattle and recognized the name once I saw it. From there it was easy to find Echidne's post
I was almost positive it was Echidne. I should have read further back in her posts and would have found it sooner. I need to start bookmarking more or link immediately. I read it once again and it still spells Jonestown.
Jim Jones (I lived in San Francisco then) was something of a folk hero when he began his "ministry". He appealed to the poor and disenfranchised. He was welcomed in the inner political circles as a champion of the people. He glittered when he walked.
We'll never know if he was insane from the beginning or what caused the disintegration and eventual tragedy in Guyana but it's a sad example of allowing one person to hold that much power.
The Seattle megachurch is headed in the same direction.
A Letter to George
If you've read this post, you're aware that my dear friend and partner on this blog, Worried American, is quite ill. Gadfly has been doing what she can on both a personal and blogging level to help.
I told her this morning that one of my regrets is the distance between CA and TX. I wish I could be there for WA. We've been friends for almost a year now (my anniversary on my other blog was yesterday and I've known her almost that long). We great-grannies find each other somehow. I value her friendship more than I can say.
Gadfly has looked through WA's notes and archives for hints of her intentions and came across Dimitri's post. We both think it should be copied here.
We'll both do what we can to keep up over here until WA is back on her feet. Meantime, I'm sure she'll appreciate your thoughts or prayers and your good wishes for her recovery.
Thanks to all of you.
P. S. I've been intending to welcome Haider Droubi, a Syrian blogger. It's always good to hear from the international community.
And a note on the comments while I'm here. I read them all (they come to my email as well as WA's). I answer what seems to call for a response either in a personal email or in the blogger's own comment box. I don't usually respond to them here only because I worry that many people don't check back through old posts. However, that's just my own modus operandi, WA has always responded in our comment box.
Thanks to all who read and comment. We need to keep spreading the word.
LOVE THE CHILDREN OF THE WORLD
This was on her memo list. You guys know she likes these ecards she posts. She is rabid about children's rights and their care and futures. Her politics center around a better world and future for the children everywhere.
You guys, if you care about Worried, have some good thoughts and prayers for her. She's on oxygen now.
Signing off; the Gadfly________________________________________________________
To view your eCard, choose from the options below.
Click on the following link.
Or copy and paste the above link into your web browser's "address" window.
For your security, if you'd prefer not to click on links within this email, please type:
http://www.msn.americangreetings.com/findit.pd?source=msne999&rr=y into your web browser
and enter the following eCard Number, 3952814487036 , on our eCard Pick Up Page.
Thanks for using AmericanGreetings.com on MSN
Friday, September 22, 2006
Thanks to Gary from Within Sight for this:
I don't do politics much; on my blog I zero in on the 9/11 stuff mostly, but I do listen to Worried's rants, agree with most of what she fusses about and help pass out flyers and stuff.
That sorry ass Bush is trying to cover his ass and escape war crimes prosecutions or crimes against humanity prosecutions, him and all his buddy criminals. We ought not let him get away with it. Ought not let the SOB steal any more power over us either. Posted by the Gadfly
Worried is really sick. I come over and feed her cat. Check out her notes and memos piled on her desk. She's got a good one on Cafe DA but I can't see where she ever posted it, not even on draft. Maybe in her archives.Granny, maybe you'd like to do that one?
Friday, September 22, 2006
Make your voice heard in America - it's a crisis...
I got this letter from Larry Cox today, from Amnesty USA. If you have a moment, read it and act. It may or may not stop the madness, but you will have voiced your dissent - they won't think you support them... or are nicely asleep, watching ET and Survivor. I know you're not.
Yesterday, President Bush and several members of the Senate struck a deal on human rights. In the process, they dealt away America's commitment to fundamental human rights principles.
Make no mistake about it, this deal is a betrayal of the America we believe in. No human rights activist can remain on the sidelines in the days ahead. Call on your Senator to oppose these dangerous provisions. We are literally days away from action in Congress on a proposal to:
Abandon the rule of law and give the President the freedom to interpret the Geneva Conventions any way he sees fit.
Provide immunity to those responsible for past human rights abuses.
Exempt from prosecution those who authorize treatment traditionally considered torture.
Strip detainees of access to US courts.
The soul of our nation is in jeopardy. Everything we believe in is on the line. That's why we're mobilizing the entire Amnesty community. We're going into action today and we won't stop until every last Senator has made it clear whether he or she is willing to stand up for the America we believe in.
Please act today. Those behind this dangerous deal are doing everything they can to quickly build momentum. We have to break that momentum and we have to do it now.
We implore you to call Congress immediately.
If America renounces the Geneva Conventions like President Bush wants to do, nations all over the world will follow. American soldiers will be placed in greater threat of torture and cruel treatment when captured, not just by one or two rogue nations, but by many nations that follow America's lead.
Call 1 800 AMNESTY and our operators will connect you to your official or call the Congressional switch board directly at 202-224-3121. Let the person on the phone know that you are a constituent, and tell them that the deal President Bush has struck is a betrayal of the America you believe in. Ask your Senators and Representative to stand firm in defense of human rights.
After you've made your call, report back on how it went.
Amnesty International USA
// posted by Gary @ 2:58 PM 1 comments links to this post
Why Mommy is a Democrat. - X Rated - Not for Children
I suppose he thinks we ought to do away with civics class. My oldest great-granddaughter and I memorized the Preamble to the Constitution together the other evening for her class. She was letter perfect the next day. I probably shouldn't have done that. Worst of all, I've taken them along to peace vigils, moveon.org, and PFLAG (loosely political - we're activists among other things) meetings. Oh, and a couple of City Council and Board of Supervisors meetings as well. Someone call Child Protective Services - quickly.
Until I began voting permanent absentee a few years ago, they went with us to the polls and got their own I Voted stickers.
Shame on me.
On the other hand, remember "Mommy, There's a Democrat Under My Bed"? Tucker thought it was cleverly written and hoped it sold.
Can you spell hypocrite? How about two faced?
From Media Matters today.
Welcome to Ohio
It's one of the worst examples of extremism and so called "morality" I've read so far.
I wanted to weep for Biting Beaver, the woman who wrote the original post. It deals with her attempt to obtain Plan B on a weekend in Ohio. Bottom line - she failed. Read her post for the religous right at its worst. Update - she finally found a clinic and was hurrying out her door and driving some distance. I hope she was successful.
I suppose these medical personnel who let her down so badly consider themselves heroes in the fight for "Family Values". As Worried American often says, fie and shame on them. As I say, may they all rot in whatever hell exists.
Thordora is glad she's Canadian. If this were a personal concern for me these days, I'd rejoice I live in California although I bet some communities have problems here as well, in spite of our laws.
Blogger is a rat fink
Does anyone out there in Blog Land that knows the secret to making Blogger add a team member's blog title to your dashboard?
Our Religious Freedoms are Under Attack
Granny, that Bush (censored -I'd say it on my blog but Worried would have my hide if I said it here) has no religious loyalty or true beliefs at all. All he cares about is establishing a tyrannical theocractic fascist state. As Worried rants to me, Bush's god is Mammon - whatever the hell that is but I think it means money.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Religious freedom under attack
WA: The Religious Right is always claiming that their religious freedom is under attack, but in truth, it is OUR religious freedom that THEY attack ( or our freedom to profess to no religion). Step by step these people gain more and more control in government to establish a theocracy based on their religious beliefs.
Our forefathers recognized the dangers of a theocracy and knew the importance of the separation of church and state. In our homes and churches, temples, synagogues, groves or where ever we congregate to worship we should be free to worship or not worship as we please, but there should be NO interference nor marriage of church and state.
We already have a fascist state, re: the marriage of corporatism and the state; a marriage of church and state would give us a theocratic fascist state.Campaign to Defend the Constitution
Date: Tue, 19 Sep 2006 21:45:46 GMTFrom: "Campaign to Defend the Constitution"
At the urging of the religious right, the House of Representatives is poised to vote on a bill that would weaken our nations commitment to the separation of church and state. Take action now and demand your Representative put the Constitution above the religious right and vote NO on this bill.
Urgent: Religious Freedom Under Attack Take action now!
Dear (deleted),At the urging of the religious right, the House of Representatives is poised to vote on the Public Expression of Religion Act (PERA) this week; a bill that would weaken our nations commitment to the separation of church and state.Take action now and demand your Representative put the Constitution above the religious right and vote NO on this bill.The Constitution ensures that there is no establishment of a state-sponsored religion something the religious right has long sought to overturn. Currently, citizens who win lawsuits challenging infringements of this clause such as Ten Commandment displays on government property and prayer in public schools are able to receive reimbursement for the legal fees they collect in the process.This ensures that all Americans are free to challenge legitimate threats to the freedoms promised in the Constitution and that this fundamental right will be extended to all Americans, not just those with the financial means to fund a legal challenge.
If this bill passes, our Representatives would deal a huge blow to our commitment to the separation of church and state, and put the religious right one step closer to imposing their religious ideology on all Americans.Take action now and demand that your Representatives vote NO on PERA and this affront to the separation of church and state.Be sure to stay updated at the DefConBlog.Sincerely,Clark, Jessica, and the rest of the DefCon team
© 2006 DefCon: Campaign to Defend the Constitutioninfo@defconamerica.org
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Bush Helps Attack His Own Church
However, I'm not writing to brag about my tie to our fearless leaders or my own faith except indirectly as it applies to the assault on our Bishops by one of their own.
Here is an excerpt from Ingrid's latest post on Blogger Round Table:
When President George W. Bush met with religious journalists in May of 2004, the religious authority he cited most often was not a fellow United Methodist or even another Protestant. It was a man the president affectionately calls "Father Richard." He is Catholic priest Richard John Neuhaus, who, the President explained, "helps me articulate these [religious] things" (Time, 2005). A senior administration official confirmed to Time magazine that Neuhaus "‘does have a fair amount of under-the-radar influence' on such policies as abortion, stem-cell research, cloning and the defense-of-marriage amendment" (Time, 2005).
Our Bishops came out against the war in Iraq before it ever started. In spite of a couple of bad decisions, we're fairly progressive; more so in some parts of the country than others.
I won't attempt to paraphrase all that Father Neuhas had to say about our Bishops. You can read it in all its ugliness from the link. And here is George Bush, hand in hand once again with a neo-con religious fanatic.
I don't know how he can say the word Christian (referring to himself) with a straight face but then lying through his teeth doesn't seem to bother him much.
I think I got that right.
If we're suddenly indundated by comments from the other side of the fence, we'll have a pretty good idea where they came from.
Speaking of elections, the Republicans in CA are putting out some nasty t.v. spots about the Attorney General's race. Our former governor, Jerry Brown, is running and they're referring to him as "liberal" as others might refer to someone as a no good son of a b****. Ugly and will probably get much worse.
The campaign against our Governator is funny though. They are playing his own words back to him: "Elect George W. Bush" with a list of what's happened under the Bush watch.
Act now to save right to challenge detentions and to stop legalization of warrantless domestic wiret
Patrice McDermott <email@example.com> wrote:
Date: Wed, 20 Sep 2006 15:33:59 GMT
From: "Patrice McDermott" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Act now to save right to challenge detentions and to stop legalization of warrantless domestic wiret
Greetings,An important Action Alert from The Bill of Rights Defense Committee:The White House is pushing Congress to pass its version of bills on warrantless domestic surveillance and military commissions before the end-of-September adjournment. Elements in each bill could enduringly change fundamental rights. All of us must stop Congress from rushing these bills through in the days ahead!Telephone your representative and your senators right away to stop these rights abuses! Call even if you called last week, and tell them that Congress must not rush to pass legislation on wiretapping or military commissions. In fact, in our view no legislation is better than any of the bills under consideration.Dial the Capitol Switchboard at 202 224-3121 (24 hours) and ask the operator to connect you, or Click here to look up your senators' and representative's direct numbers.Message for Your Senators: Tell the person who answers the phone that you have problems with bills to address the President's warrantless domestic wiretapping program and detainee policy. Ask that the Senator:OPPOSE Senator Specter's S. 2453, Senator DeWine's S. 2455, and any legislation that would give the executive branch new surveillance powers that are immune to oversight.CLOSE LOOPHOLES within Senator Feinstein's S. 3001 (cosponsored with Senator Specter last March and recently amended), such as the ability of the Attorney General to designate FBI and NSA supervisors to surveil without warrants in some cases.OPPOSE S. 3901 (Senators Warner, McCain and Graham) in its current form, because it would deny U.S. detainees worldwide the writ of habeas corpus. SUPPORT the Specter-Levin amendment to S. 3901, which would allow all detainees the fundamental habeas corpus right to have some objective review of their detention.OPPOSE S. 3861 (the White House's military commissions bill), which would allow secret evidence and evidence obtained using torture. Message for Your House Rep: Tell the person who answers the phone that you want your Representative to OPPOSE Rep. Wilson's H.R. 5825. The bill would allow warrantless surveillance of all international calls and emails of Americans and businesses in the U.S. without any evidence they're involved with any terrorist organization. We need to reinforce Fourth Amendment protections of Americans' rights, not erase them.Contact Your Senators and Representatives By Phone in D.C. and Back at Home In addition to calling your senators and representative, please ask your representative to meet with you on one of these upcoming weekends, if she or he is back in the district. Take along a city council member or other civic leader, and demand that they vote against all of these hastily crafted bills that would strip basic rights and endow the executive with an abundance of power with no accountability.Click here for more BORDC talking points and helpful links on warrantless wiretappingClick here for BORDC talking points and links on military commissions.Thank you for all you do!The Bill of Rights Defense Committee
Nancy Talanian, Director
Chip Pitts, President
Hope Marston, Organizer
Linda Stone, Organizer
Meredith Gray, Administrator
How low will we go? Check out Yahoo! Messengers low PC-to-Phone call rates.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
The Moral High Ground - What's That?
Paul Waldman writing in TomPaine today, spells it out for us.
Here's part of what he said. The rest is worth your time as well.
And when progressives (and the occasional conservative) question whether such actions betray our values, the answer from Bush and his supporters is that we should be measured not by our principles—or by any principles at all—but by the actions of our enemies. The moral high ground is to be found no more than one step above the worst thing terrorists have done lately. The president may order the use of sleep deprivation and “stress positions” to induce mental and physical agony in prisoners—but hey, he hasn’t personally chopped anyone’s head off, so you know he’s on the side of the angels.
But it is moral poison to measure yourself by the worst acts of your enemies. This is what conservatives have brought to America; the time since 9/11 has seen a moral descent—if not an outright moral deadening—on the part of the right.
Defend America - Fire the Republicans
If the link doesn't work, just go to the Move on home page. Or email me. I'll forward it to you.
THEY'VE RUN OUT OF STICKERS - AT LEAST FOR NOW. A VERY GOOD SIGN!!
Their home page is still interesting though.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Discrimination in the Workplace
They're getting away with asking women about their marital status, number of children, whether they plan a family, and other personal information. They've refused to hire women based on the answers to these questions. As far as I know, the same questions aren't asked of men. Well of course they aren't!!
The last time I looked, the states were allowed to go beyond Federal requirements. They weren't allowed to do less than Federal law allowed. How is Pennsylvania getting away with this?
On a related issue, A friend of mine applied for a position at a national motel chain and received an employement application asking questions about her religious beliefs. I told her she should have reported them on the spot.
The link is to a Moms' Rising petition to bring a stop to these practices. A more complete story is here in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. I believe at least one of the links will take you a table of the laws state by state and how they affect women and minorities. I looked at it yesterday and was pleased to see my state of California was not only in compliance across the board but was ahead of the Federal government in some areas.
I'd appreciate your help dragging Pennsylvania and the other reluctant states into at least the 20th Century if not this one.
Sunday, September 17, 2006
Test Weapons on American Citizens to see if they are safe for the enemy!!!
Test weapons on American citizens to make sure they are safe to use on the enemy? In crowd control situations? What kind of crowds are they expecting that require the use of weapons against citizens? And why?
I don't know about you folks but I do NOT like the sound of this at all. This is the sleaziest excuse I've ever heard from anyone except the Unholy Three. Considering the horrific weapons that have been used in wars, I scarcely think being villified in the press if it injures an enemy is a valid excuse for guinea pigging American citizens. If it injures us they'll resolve the safety issues. Excuse me??
This is darn well suspicious. Are we so stupid that we'll believe this excuse?
Air Force chief: Test weapons on Americans
By LOLITA C. BALDOR
WASHINGTON - Nonlethal weapons such as high-power microwave devices
should be used on American citizens in crowd-control situations before
they are used on the battlefield, the Air Force secretary said Tuesday.
Domestic use would make it easier to avoid questions in the
international community over any possible safety concerns, said Air
Force Secretary Michael Wynne.
"If we're not willing to use it here against our fellow citizens, then
we should not be willing to use it in a wartime situation," said Wynne.
"(Because) if I hit somebody with a nonlethal weapon and they claim
that it injured them in a way that was not intended, I think that I
would be vilified in the world press."
The Air Force has funded research into nonlethal weapons, but he said
the service isn't likely to spend more money on development until
injury issues are reviewed by medical experts and resolved. [!!! Try out on us! Then review injury issues?]
Nonlethal weapons can weaken people if they are hit with the beam.*
Some of the weapons can emit short, intense energy pulses that also
disable some electronic devices.**
Brought to you by the HoustonChronicle.com
[* "weaken people" - short term? long term? weaken how? ]
[**"disable some electronic devices" - what kind? heart implants? just in the open or do they penetrate buildings? What about hospitals, nursing homes, business places?]
What the heck ARE these things? High power microwave devices? So I am ignorant but all I know about microwaves is that they are used in beams of some kinds and they cook stuff. Will they cook people?
Saturday, September 16, 2006
Your Real American Values
Date: Thu, 07 Sep 2006 17:59:58 GMT
From: "Campaign to Defend the Constitution" <email@example.com>
Subject: Your Real American Values
Put your values into action! Pledge to defend the Constitution and Real American Values from the religious right.
Pledge to defend the Constitution and Real American Values from the religious right.
While the religious right pushes their divisive Values Agenda, were fighting for health, freedom, and science!
On September 22nd, the who's who of the religious right is gathering in Washington, D.C. for a massive "Values Voter" summit. This event comes on the heels of the hollow "Values Agenda" that dominated Congress this summer and through which the religious right forced votes on a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, an all-out assault on stem cell research, and floated legislation attacking a woman's right to choose. It's no secret that these issues have nothing to do with the values that most Americans hold dear.
Were fighting back. Over the last month, 22,304 of you took part in our survey, helping us define the Real American Values agenda. The Real American Values agenda YOU created is focused on:
Now were going to put your values into action! Today, were announcing our Real American Values Campaign! Over the next month, we are going to take the real values that you helped draft to cities, schools, and neighborhoods across the country, encouraging the millions of Americans who share our vision to join our fight. But we need your help! Here are three things that you can do right now to help grow our army:
- Stopping the religious right's assault on a woman's freedom to make her own medical decisions
- Protecting the civil rights of gay and lesbian Americans from the religious right's bigoted assault on their personal freedom
- Fighting the religious right's war on stem cell research, defending health and hope
Over the next few weeks, you can track our progress here and see how many Americans have signed the petition that you helped craft.
- Pledge to defend the Constitution and Real American Values from the religious right.
- Spread the word to 5 friends about how to be a DefCon Defender and get a DefCon bumper sticker! Our Real American Values Campaign is about drafting the millions of Americans who share our vision to join our fight. We need you to help lead this effort. When you send messages to 5 friends, you'll receive a free DefCon bumper sticker in return.
- Download and print our Defender sign-up form and sign up as many Defenders as you can - in your office, in your school, or on the street. Print out a copy of our "Constitution: Sign it. Defend it!" petition and hit the streets. The person who signs up the most Defenders will win a $100 gift certificate to Amazon.com!
Thank you for all you do,
Clark, Jessica, and the rest of the DefCon team.
P.S. Be sure to stay informed at the DefCon Blog.
© 2006 DefCon: Campaign to Defend the Constitution
The Christian Right Lunatics: More on their methods and agendas
Recent post on Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council email news letter, an organization founded by the infamous James Dobson and of which Tony Perkins is now president. See how he subtly shapes the thinking of the Christian Right congregants:
Not a Happy Valley for All
A Penn State University English professor, Mel Seesholtz, launched an online *attack against the Capitol Resource Institute, a pro-family group from Sacramento, California; Focus on the Family; Joseph Farah (WorldNetDaily); D. James Kennedy; and others. All stand accused of making false claims about California's recently vetoed SB 1437, "The Bias Free Curriculum Act."
SB 1437 was an *Orwellian bill mandating that schoolchildren be *brainwashed about homosexuality, transsexuality, and bisexuality *without parental consent. Even California's newest political *"girlie man" - Governor Schwarzenegger - thought this was too much and vetoed the bill. This sent poor Professor Seesholtz into orbit. Most troubling about his *diatribe is its conclusion: "A very wise woman recently asked me 'Who will rid us of the evil lunatics?' We will. We must. Public education and a civil, civilized society depend upon it."
"Rid" doesn't sound particularly peaceful or tolerant to us. Looking at his website one learns of his new course: "Religion in American Life and Thought." Must reading will probably be his recent article, "Out of Focus on the Family: A Response to Arguments against Same-Sex Marriage" or "America's New McCarthyism: Homosexual Stereotypes, Myths, and the Politics of Fear."
If Seesholtz wants to attack Christians, let him get a soapbox not paid for by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He might also investigate whether or not his taxpayer funded benefits include anger management therapy. Additional Resources Kill the Christians Order Your Copy Now Homosexuality In Your Child's School
[ WA:college professors are not allowed to voice opinions re: curricula?]
Before we go on to "Kill the Christians", let's see what Professor Mel Seesholtz said and if he truly advocated killing the Christians or "getting rid" of the theocratic Religious Rightists who dominate the Republican Party:
Schwarznegger Caves to Bullies and Bigots in Vetoing Bias Free Curriculum Act
I am a Christian, although NOT a RR, CC, nor CR. I do not advocate "killing" Christians of any sect (nor other religious or non-religious peoples), but I DO advocate getting these extremists OUT of our government.
Now, on to the "Killing Christians" deceitful, brainwashing techniques of these people phrased to lead the faithful astray:
Kill the Christians
If you read Professor Seesholtz's article, did you interpret his remarks to mean "kill" the Christians? What bunch of so-called Christians are advocating killing people, even Christians who disagree with them? It isn't the professor.
More information on the "Christian" Taliban:
Theocrats or Theofascists?
Some are long articles but good sources for those who want to "know thine enemy", and understand how they garner millions of followers (read that "voters", also). They accuse dissenters of many of the same offenses and methods they use.
The Last Defenders of Marriage
Jesus Camps: Brainwashing the Children
Thanks to Marty on the Homefront for this Link:
Educating or brainwashing the children?
Jesus Camp; Sneak Peek
Texas Governor Ann Richards 1933 - 2006
Friday, September 15, 2006
WHAT NOT TO BUY FOR KIDDIE'S CHRISTMAS, Or BRAINWASHING THE CHILDREN
A link to Talk To Action!
One Way the fundies brainwash children
Imagine: you are a foot soldier in a paramilitary group whose purpose is to remake America as a Christian *theocracy, and establish *its* worldly vision of the dominion of Christ over all aspects of life. You are issued high-tech military weaponry, and instructed to engage the infidel on the streets of New York City.
You are on a mission - both a religious mission and a military mission -- to convert or kill *Catholics, *Jews, *Muslims, *Buddhists, *gays, and *anyone who advocates the separation of church and state - especially ***moderate, mainstream Christians. [Well, there goes me and Granny !!]
Your mission is "to conduct physical and spiritual warfare"; all who resist must be taken out with* extreme prejudice. [We know what that means -death] You have never felt so powerful, so driven by a purpose: you are 13 years old. You are playing a real-time strategy video game whose creators are linked to the **empire of mega-church pastor Rick Warren, best selling author of The Purpose Driven Life.
The game, slated for release by October 2006 in advance of the Christmas shopping rush, has been previewed at video game exhibitions, and reviewed by major newspapers and magazines. But until now, no fan or critic has pointed out the controversial game's *connection to Mr. Warren or his ***dominionist agenda.
To read the complete story, click here.Link: http://www.talk2action.org/story/2006/5/29/195855/959
I strongly recommend clicking on the link and reading the entire article, even if it is long. Get an inside view of this dominionist tyrant, his methods, and his goals - not just nation wide but world wide. Check out the comments made by people who have experienced involvement with the dominionists (AKA Christian Right, Christian Coalition, and Christian Reconstructionists - all affiliates with similar agenda) and see samples of the game (scroll down for several posts).
See how they suck in the pastors, churches and congregants. And now brainwashing the children to be "Christ's Warriors" of tomorrow. The extremist Muslim terrorists have nothing on these extremist Christian terrorists, with their common "death to the infidel" warcry. Just as the Muslim terrorists violate much of Mohammed's teachings, so do these so-called Christians violate the teachings of Christ. They twist certain cherry-picked passages to fit their own personal agendas and beliefs and claim to be followers of Christ.
Learn all you can about these people. They are dangerous and are consorts of many of our politicians, including our president.
I also recommend reading the links to other articles in this series.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
By Sheila Samples
We have been insulted and deceived, our courts dismantled, our Congress neutered, our children murdered in an illegal, genocidal war, our elections stolen, our tax dollars wasted. Today, we are stranded on our own rooftops, pleading for a November 2006 rescue. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article14926.htm
Following: excerpts from article. To read full article, click on above url (recommended)
Which brings us back to FEMA. Bush said FEMA had learned its lesson and would be "ready" for the next disaster. No doubt. The next time Bush declares martial law, Halliburton's KBR should have the detention facilities, for which it received a $385 million contract in January, ready and waiting. According to a KBR release, the camps call for preparing for "an emergency influx of immigrants or to support the rapid development of new programs" in the event of other emergencies, such as "a national disaster." Under emergency plans already in existence, the power exists to ***suspend the Constitution and**** turn over the reins of government to FEMA. State and local governments will be ***under military control.
Is there hope for American citizens like those in New Orleans whose lives have been, continue to be, destroyed by cruel indifference? Yes, of course, but it will take citizens like you and me to **stand up for what we know is right, to **repair our shredded Constitution, and breathe new life into our **comatose Bill of Rights.
We were warned every step of the way. We have been insulted and deceived, our courts dismantled, our Congress neutered, our children murdered in an illegal, genocidal war, our elections stolen, our tax dollars wasted. Today, we are stranded on our own rooftops, pleading for a November 2006 rescue.Well, help is* not on the way. It is *up to us.
We must ***check the voting records of every single Congressperson and of every single Senator -- Republican and Democrat. Those who violated their oath to protect the U.S. Constitution from enemies within must be shown no mercy. They are devoid of character and of virtue. In concert with the man in the blue photo-op shirt with the sleeves rolled up, they maliciously turn the other way while sending American citizens to their deaths. They are disloyal -- treasonous. Together, they have disgraced this great nation.
They must go.Only then will the wounds inflicted from New York to New Orleans to Iraq begin to heal.
Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma writer and a former civilian US Army Public Information Officer. She is a regular contributor for a variety of Internet sites. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday, September 11, 2006
Dems on a Roll for Congress
Dems on a roll for control of congress but the fight will be fierce and we cannot slack up in our efforts._
Democrats on a roll in battle for U.S. Congress
By John Whitesides, Political Correspondent Sun Sep 3, 9:50 AM
ETWASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrats enter the fall campaign with a clear edge in the high-stakes fight for control of the U.S. Congress, riding a wave of momentum that has them positioned to retake the U.S. House of Representatives and make significant gains in the Senate.President George W. Bush's low approval ratings and public dissatisfaction with the Iraq' (SEARCHNews News Photos Images Web' Iraq) war, gas prices and the country's direction threaten Republican leadership in Congress and put Democrats within reach of victory on November 7, analysts said.
"I don't think the question any longer is can Democrats win control of Congress, it's can Republicans do anything to stop it?" said Amy Walter, House analyst for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report newsletter. "All the factors and issues are pushing so strongly against Republicans."
All 435 House seats, 34 of 100 Senate seats and 36 governorships are at stake in November's election, with Democrats needing to pick up 15 House seats and six Senate seats to reclaim majorities.Strategists in both parties say the glum public mood has created a strong desire for change and given Democrats a big advantage at the traditional opening of the campaign season on Monday's Labor Day holiday.
"It's too late to fix the national mood -- it's not going to be fixed," said Republican pollster Frank Luntz. "The major issues are not playing well for Republicans this year, and Republicans are not playing well with America this year."History is also with Democrats -- the party holding the White House traditionally loses seats in a president's sixth year.
The modern exception was 1998, when public unhappiness over the Republican-led impeachment of President Bill Clinton' (SEARCHNews News Photos Images Web' Bill Clinton )helped Democrats gain five House seats."This looks like a classic sixth-year election," said University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato, who called the president's low approval ratings, hovering at about 40 percent, "the single best indicator for any mid-term election."
A Democratic majority in even one chamber of Congress would slam the brakes on what is left of Bush's second-term legislative agenda and hasten his descent into lame-duck status in the final two years of his presidency.It also would give Democrats an opportunity to hold hearings and investigate many of the administration's more controversial foreign, military and energy policy decisions.
Candidates around the country will spend Monday's Labor Day holiday marching in parades, shaking hands at fairs and laying the groundwork for the final two-month push to the November 7 election.
About 40 House districts and a dozen Senate seats will be the key battlegrounds, and they will be flooded in the next two months with campaign cash and appearances by party big shots.Democrats are in the strongest position in the House, analysts said, where nearly every endangered incumbent is Republican.
Independent analyst Stuart Rothenberg projects a Democratic gain of 15-20 seats, while the Cook Report lists 17 House seats as toss-ups -- all Republican.But Republican House campaign spokesman Carl Forti shrugged off predictions of a takeover. "We're nowhere near as bad off as the experts would have you believe," he said, adding Bush's low ratings and public dissatisfaction with the Republican-led Congress would not determine House races.
In the Senate, Democrats are expected to pick up seats. But to win control they will need to bump off at least five Republican incumbents -- difficult but not impossible even under favorable conditions. In recent polls, Democratic challengers led Republican incumbents Rick Santorum in Pennsylvania, Conrad Burns in Montana and Mike DeWine in Ohio. Jim Talent in Missouri, Lincoln Chafee in Rhode Island and George Allen in Virginia also face re-election struggles.
The open Tennessee seat of retiring Republican Senate Leader Bill Frist is also on the endangered list for Republicans.Democratic incumbents Maria Cantwell in Washington, Debbie Stabenow in Michigan and Bob Menendez in New Jersey face potentially tough races, and Democrats must defend open seats in Minnesota and Maryland.
Many voters do not start paying attention until late in the campaign and many candidates only start spending heavily in September, giving the races plenty of chances to shift before the election.Unexpected events, like the capture of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden' ( SEARCHNews Osama bin Laden) or a **** major terrorist strike, could quickly shift the political landscape.
"I'm a political realist. Can we win? Yes, but this is 10 weeks out and a lot can happen in 10 weeks," said House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California.
» Recommended StoriesFull Coverage: Midterm Elections 2006Hopefuls see Fla. race as '08 bellwether AP, Democratic Congress no longer a long shot at San Francisco Chronicle, Sep 03
Dems see support for anti-Rumsfield vote.
By Susan Cornwell Sun Sep 3, 5:13 PM
ETWASHINGTON (Reuters) - A resolution demanding the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld after he compared Iraq war critics to Nazi appeasers has strong support among U.S. Senate Democrats, a senior Democrat said on Sunday.A resolution against Rumsfeld, long a lightning rod for criticism of the Iraq war, would struggle to be passed by the Republican-controlled Senate and would anyway not be binding on the administration of President George W. Bush( SEARCHNews News Photos Images Web' President George W. Bush).
But Democrats, who have a strong chance to win back control of at least one chamber of Congress in November mid-term elections, will use it to send a message that the administration's policies in Iraq are failing, New York Sen. Charles Schumer (news, bio, voting record) said."It says that our policies are not going well," Schumer, chairman of the Senate Democrats' campaign committee for the November elections, told Fox News Sunday."And the reason is not that we shouldn't fight a strong war on terror, but Rumsfeld's not doing a very good job of it."
Schumer said there was a "a lot of sentiment" among Senate Democrats to push for a resolution, and noted that it was not just Democrats that have called for Rumsfeld to step down -- a Republican candidate for the Senate from New Jersey, Thomas H. Kean Jr., did so on Saturday.California Democrat Sen. Barbara Boxer (news, bio, voting record) has vowed to offer a resolution calling on Bush to name a new defense secretary, saying she was outraged by Rumsfeld's comments that appeared to compare Iraq war critics to appeasers of Nazi Germany.
A similar resolution against the defense secretary is being considered by House Democrats.Rumsfeld says his remarks in a speech last week were misrepresented. Bush has rejected previous calls for Rumsfeld to quit.Another senior Democrat, Delaware Sen. Joe Biden, told ABC's "This Week" he would probably support a no-confidence resolution against Rumsfeld.The administration has begun a new push to bolster sagging public support for the war ahead of the elections, with Bush framing the debate as a choice between staying the course or giving in to terrorists.
Republicans argue that Democrats are weak on security issues and would "cut and run" in Iraq."I think Secretary Rumsfeld has done an excellent job. He'll be remembered as one of the great secretaries of defense," Senate Majority Whip Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, told CBS's "Face the Nation."McConnell said Democrats wanted to "wave the white flag" on the Iraq war. He said the Republican-run Senate would dwell on** national security issues all through September.
Democratic National Committee' ( SEARCHNews News Photos Images Web' Democratic National Committee) ChairmanHoward Dean ( SEARCHNews News Photos Images Web' Howard Dean ) said on "Face the Nation" that "of course" Rumsfeld should resign, adding that it was not smart to attack the majority of Americans who thought the war in Iraq was a mistake."Secretary Rumsfeld and Vice President (Dick) Cheney have gone on television saying people who disagree with the president are essentially like Nazi appeasers. When you start attacking voters out of your frustration, that is not a good thing for winning elections," Dean said .
Sunday, September 10, 2006
More On The Path to 9/11
She has several posts on The Path to 9/11. One is a CNN report from 1996 quoting the Republican response to Clinton proposals to combat terrorism.
Orrin Hatch seems to have been the ringleader. Is anyone surprised?
It's a Hallmark Holiday Today
Happy Grandparents' Day to all who qualify. I know you're out there, starting with Worried American and me.
Saturday, September 09, 2006
From John Kerry Today
It fits in with what Shea had to say. We can't keep criticizing without a plan of our own. This at least is the beginning of a plan.
Real Security for All Americans
As prepared for delivery.
September 9, 2006
Faneuil Hall, Boston
The war on terror that was brought home to the Casey family on a sunny autumn morning that suddenly turned into midnight five years ago, also brought home for all of humanity the stark reality that we are in a fateful contest between forces of evil and hate and the defenders of progress and hope.
The outcome will determine whether our children live in freedom or fear. This is a clash between humanity's best ideals and the darkness of superstition and oppression. And this is not a clash of faiths: the true Islam is a faith to live by, not a call to terrorize and kill.
In this war, the war against terrorism, there is no substitute for victory. I don't know a single American who needs a politician to remind them that we have to win this fight.
On Monday, we will commemorate our largest loss of civilian life on a single day in American history. As we remember the horror, the unforgettable shock, and the pride in those who rushed to the rescue, it is our duty to take account as a nation of where we have come since that terrible moment and where we must go if we are to keep America safe in these perilous times.
Since the beginning, at critical moments in our nation's history, Americans have gathered here at Faneuil Hall to find a better way forward. This is where Americans first agreed on our nation's promise and where they have gathered ever since to help our country keep it.
That is why you and I have convened here four times so far this year -- to chart a new course, for a nation that has been misled on global climate change, misled on health care, misled on fundamental constitutional values, and misled into a war that was based on a lie, a war that can and must be brought to a close.
Donald Rumsfeld -- the man who should have been fired as Secretary of Defense long ago -- Donald Rumsfeld recently gave a low and ugly speech in which he smeared those who dissent from a catastrophic policy, and then spoke of "moral confusion."
Well, there certainly is a lot of moral confusion around these days.
It is immoral for old men to send young Americans to fight and die in a conflict without a strategy that can work -- on a mission that has not weakened terrorism but worsened it.
It is immoral to lie about progress in that war to get through a news cycle or an election.
It is immoral to treat 9/11 as a political pawn -- and to continue to excuse the invasion of Iraq by exploiting the 3,000 mothers and fathers, sons and daughters who were lost that day. They were attacked and killed not by Saddam Hussein but by Osama bin Laden.
And it is deeply immoral to compare a majority of Americans who oppose a failing policy and seek a winning one to appeasers of Fascism and Naziism.
The leaders of this administration have shown in recent days that they will say anything, do anything, twist any truth, and endanger our nation's character as one America in a desperate ploy to survive a mid term election.
But Americans now see through this charade. They know the truth. We have a Katrina foreign policy -- a succession of blunders and failures that have betrayed our ideals, killed and maimed our soldiers, and widened the terrorist threat instead of defeating it.
Every time the administration is down in the polls, every time their political opponents at home appear to gain, they trot out of the fear card, instead of reinforcing in Americans "there is nothing to fear but fear itself," they have nothing to offer but fear itself.
The President wants Americans to believe only one party wants to fight terror. That's a cynical game to try to win an election. I believe we need a game plan to capture and kill Osama Bin Laden, not capture a few Congressional seats.
I believe we need national leadership capable of raising hopes and inspiring trust, not raising fears and demanding blind faith. We need to marshal all our resources -- military, diplomatic, economic, and moral -- and first and foremost always tell the truth to the American people.
That is why on the eve of this midterm election, we Democrats have a unique responsibility to carry our cause into every corner of the nation -- not just to oppose what has failed but to propose a new direction that can restore a bipartisan foreign policy and that can defeat jihadist terrorism once and for all.
In order to change course, we must level with the American people about the magnitude of the challenge: we must face reality so we can change it.
This starts by leveling with the American people about Iraq's true position in the overall fight against jihadism. The President pretends Iraq is the central front on the war on terror. It is not now, and never has been. The truth is, his disastrous decisions have made Iraq a fuel depot for terror -- fanning the flames of conflict around the world.
There is simply no way to overstate how Iraq has subverted our efforts to free the world from global terror. It has overstretched our military. It has served as an essential recruitment tool for terrorists. It has divided and pushed away our traditional allies. It has diverted critical billions of dollars from the real front lines against terrorism and from homeland security. It has unleashed dangerous, pent-up forces of radical religious extremism. It has weakened moderate leaders in the Middle East. It has strengthened and played into Iran's hand. It has diminished our moral authority in the world.
The demagogic drumbeat about fighting terrorists over there instead of here -- even though they weren't in Iraq until we went in, and it's now a civil war we're fighting -- has compromised America's real interests and made us less safe than we ought to be five years after 9/11. The true measure of that is the stark fact that worldwide terrorist attacks are at an all-time high and there are now more terrorists in the world who want to kill Americans than there were at the time of 9/11.
After all the tough talk of "Wanted Dead or Alive," after the Administration bragged and boasted -- they meekly backed off in the mountains of Tora Bora. Osama bin Laden escaped because the administration held back the best military in the world -- our's -- and outsourced the job to local militias. Since then Al Qaeda has spawned a vast and decentralized network operating in 65 countries. Only Dick Cheney could call this a success.
The situation in Afghanistan deteriorates steadily, squandering the sacrifices of our troops and allies in the military campaign of 2002. The Taliban now controls entire portions of southern Afghanistan, and just across the border Pakistan is just one coup away from becoming a radical jihadist state with a full compliment of nuclear weapons. Only Don Rumsfeld could proclaim this a victory.
The Middle East is more unstable than it has been in decades. Our stalwart ally Israel is surrounded by emboldened enemies who talk of wiping it off the face of the earth. Hezbollah flags fly from rooftops in Shiia slums of Sadr City and Iran is rebuilding Southern Lebanon. Only an Administration trapped in its own falsehoods could say we are making progress in creating a new Middle East.
North Korea has quadrupled its nuclear weapons capability, and is defiantly testing missiles that could reach our shores. Iran is moving steadily towards membership in the nuclear club; has expanded its terrorist clientele from Hezbollah to Hamas; maintains thousands of agents in Iraq; and is governed by a fanatic who almost daily calls for Israel's destruction. Only George W Bush could declare this 'mission accomplished.'
The Bush-Cheney policies have limited our power to act decisively and the regime in Tehran knows it. We have over 130,000 American troops in Iraq in the middle of a seething Shiite population that would explode if we moved against Iran. Our troops and our foreign policy are held hostage by the neocon catastrophe in Iraq. Only this White House could name this a plan for victory.
And be forewarned : don't be surprised if they hype the Iranian nuclear crisis come October if all other appeals to fear are failing as the mid-term election approaches.
We have an Iraqi Prime Minister sustained in power by our forces, who will not speak against the Hezbollah terrorists, who will not say that Israel has a right to exist, and who will not condemn the Iranian nuclear program. No American soldier should be asked to stand up for an Iraqi government that won't stand up for freedom and against fear
Here at home, too many things have not changed in the last five years. We learned on 9/11 painful lessons about the costs of a dysfunctional intelligence system marred by bureaucratic infighting, inadequate resources, and faulty analysis. Yet the 9/11 commission recently gave our own government a failing grade on implementing intelligence reforms. Today, our ability to intercept terrorist communications remains in a legal and constitutional limbo.
The Dubai port deal reminded us only a small percentage of cargoes entering U.S. ports are even inspected. Surely if we can inspect cargoes at the Baghdad airport, we can inspect cargoes at the airports in Los Angeles, New York, and right here in Boston.
This is the reality of the world today -- a world more dangerous because of the Bush blunders and a challenge far more complicated than the gruff Cheney sound bites. America deserves -- our safety depends -- on a winning strategy to reverse this dangerous course and make our country more secure.
There are five principal priorities that demand immediate action: (1) redeploy from Iraq, (2) re-commit to Afghanistan, (3) reduce our dependence on foreign oil, (4) reinforce our homeland defense, and (5) restore America's moral leadership in the world. These "5 R's" -- if you want to call them that-- are bold steps Democrats will take to strengthen our national security, and that the Republicans who have set the agenda today resist to our national peril.
We must refocus our military efforts from the failed occupation of Iraq to what we should have been doing all along: tracking down and killing members of al Qaeda and their clones wherever they are. We must redeploy troops from Iraq -- maintain enough residual force to complete the training and deter foreign intervention, so we can free up resources to fight the global war on terror.
Republicans want to wrap this strategy in slogans because they're afraid to debate what it really is: a redeploy-to-succeed strategy -- to succeed in defeating world wide terror, and to succeed in making Iraqis themselves responsible for Iraq.
This is the opposite of the administration's stand-still-and-lose strategy - -a clear alternative from a broken policy of "more of the same." Every time President Bush tells the Iraqis we will "stay as long as it takes," he is giving squabbling politicians there an excuse to take as long as they want. All of us want democracy in Iraq but Iraqis must want it for themselves as much as we want it for them. It's long overdue for the president to realize that no American soldier should be sacrificed because Iraqi factions refuse to resolve their ethnic rivalries and their competing grasp for oil revenues.
At each step along the way, the Iraqi leaders have responded only to deadlines-a deadline to transfer authority to a provisional government, a deadline to write a Constitution, a deadline to hold three elections. So we must set another deadline to extricate our troops and get Iraq up on its own two feet-- a clear deadline of July, 2007 to redeploy our combat troops. Make Iraqis stand up for Iraq -- and bring our heroes home.
We also desperately need something else this administration disdains: diplomacy. Real diplomacy -- a Dayton-like summit of Iraq and the countries bordering it, the Arab League, NATO, and the Permanent Members of the United Nations Security Council. Our own generals have said Iraq can not be solved militarily. Only through negotiation and diplomacy can you stem the growing civil war, and only by setting a deadline to get out can we force Iraq and its neighbors to take diplomacy seriously.
"Staying the course" isn't far-sighted; it's blind. Leaving our troops in the middle of a civil war isn't resolute; it's reckless. Half of the service members listed on the Vietnam Memorial Wall died after America's leaders knew our strategy would not work. It was immoral then and it would be immoral now to engage in the same delusion.
Neither can the Administration pretend that the war in Afghanistan is over or that the peace has been secured. On Thursday the president said we're on the offensive against terrorists in Afghanistan, even as the American NATO commander on the ground showed the opposite is true by making an urgent plea for more troops.
The truth is -- the Bush-Cheney Administration has engaged in a policy of cut and run in that country. This Administration has cut and run while the Taliban-led insurgency is running amok across entire regions of the country. The Administration has cut and run while Osama bin Laden and his henchmen hide and plot in a lawless no-man's land. They cut and run even as we learn from Pakistani intelligence that the mastermind of the most recent attempt to blow up American airliners was an al Qaeda leader operating from Afghanistan -- yes, from Afghanistan. That's right -- the same killers who attacked us on 9/11 are still plotting attacks against America and they're still holed up in Afghanistan.
To avoid repeating the terrible mistakes of the past, we need to send significant reinforcements to Afghanistan: Start with at least five thousand additional American troops --more elite Special Forces troops, the best counter-insurgency units in the world; more civil affairs forces; and more experienced intelligence units. More predator drones to find the enemy, more helicopters to allow rapid deployments to confront them, and more heavy combat equipment to make sure we can crush the terrorists. And more reconstruction money so that the elected government in Kabul, helped by the United States, not the Taliban, helped by al Qaeda, rebuilds the new Afghanistan.
That's how you win the hearts and minds of the local population, that's how you win a war on terror, that's how you show the world the true face of America.
America needs a national policy that understands we are threatened not just by gun barrels, but by oil barrels. The great treasury of jihadist terrorism is mideast oil. We fund both sides in the war on terror every time we fill up our gas tanks. We know how dependent we are on oil, but it's not just us. We must liberate the Middle East itself from the tyranny of dependence on petroleum so that the region no longer feeds restive and rising populations of unemployed young people a diet of illusions and rationalizations paid for by our oil money.
Nothing will change if autocratic regimes keep pumping prosperity out of the ground to pay off a new generation with petrodollar welfare checks. We cannot change this if our oil money is sustaining the status quo. We must end the Empire of Oil.
We can't allow Energy independence to be used as a mere slogan, it has to be a solution. We need a revolutionary set of new policies to promote alternative fuels on a crash basis. This is essential if we are to reverse the tide towards catastrophic global climate change; it is essential to making the United States a leader in vast new opportunities to develop and market clean energy technologies -- but most importantly, energy independence is essential to defeating jihadist terrorism and liberating our country from our bondage to tyrannical, hostile, and unstable regimes.
In June -- here at Faneuil Hall -- I unveiled a comprehensive strategy to break our oil addiction. It begins with an aggressive goal: reduce U.S. oil consumption by 2.5 million barrels of oil a day by 2015.
I envision an aggressive timeline to immediately expand the availability and production of renewable fuels and a new fleet of energy-efficient cars, trucks and SUVs. This strategy invests heavily in renewable energy and efficiency. By clearing the pathways to innovation, investing in our workers and infrastructure, and providing American consumers with broader choices, my energy plan will provide the tools to help move America forward, toward real energy security for the 21st Century.
And to really make America safe, it is imperative that we reinforce our homeland defense-- starting by doing what should have begun two years ago, and fully implementing the 9/11 Commission's recommendations. President Bush this week said that Osama bin Laden and the terrorists plan to target America's 'weak points.' Our weak points -- our borders, our chemical plants, our railways-- are weak because this administration has the wrong priorities. The President's tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans are not only unfair and unaffordable: they are taking from homeland security. What we have today from this White House is a pretense of national security on the cheap -- and it must end.
We must rearm ourselves at home. Hurricane Katrina showed us in the most tragic way that the Department of Homeland Security is woefully unprepared to handle a natural disaster we know is coming a week in advance, let alone a catastrophic terrorist attack that takes America by surprise. In 2004, the 9/11 Commission concluded that the Bush Administration should distribute homeland security funding to cities and states based on risk. Yet the Commission's most recent report card gives the government an "F" because this Administration has cut homeland security funding for the states that need it most -- which happen to be blue states -- while distributing funds disproportionately to the red states that need it least. What should count here is the terrorist target list, not the Republican National Committees' political target list.
To make America safe we must ensure the rapid development and deployment of reliable technologies to detect the secret transport of deadly materials. For $1.5 billion dollars -- less than is spent in a week in Iraq -- we could purchase the equipment to scan every cargo container bound for U.S. ports to ensure that it does not contain any weapons of mass destruction.
At the same time, we must secure the most dangerous of all weapons at their source -- especially in the former Soviet Union -- where far too much nuclear material remains dangerously unprotected. We must enhance FBI counterterrorism capabilities at home-- an effort that is moving far too slowly because of a lack of urgency from this Administration.
And we must put an end to Washington's continued inaction to secure our border. Border security backed by immigration reform is actually one area where sensible Democrats and Republicans have come together to forge a compromise. Unfortunately, this proposal has been held hostage to narrow right-wing political interests while our security hangs in the balance.
We must -- and let me tell you no matter what the White House wants, the Congress will -- reconstitute the Bin Laden unit at the CIA, which the Administration inexplicably disbanded. Maybe they thought that if they weren't looking for Bin Laden, no one would notice that they weren't finding him.
So these are four specific steps that will start us on the right path -- but they alone will not win the war on terror.
Most important, we need to make America be America again. We must restore our moral authority and global leadership by deploying the full arsenal of our national power with smarter diplomacy, stronger alliances, more effective international institutions -- and fidelity to the values we have always stood for as a nation.
We must remember the great lesson of the Cold War when we led the world to confront a common threat. Genuine global leadership is a strategic imperative for America, not a favor we do for other countries. Leading the world's most advanced democracies isn't mushy multilateralism -- it amplifies America's voice, it extends our reach. Working through global institutions doesn't tie our hands -- it gives greater strength and legitimacy to our purposes and dampens the fear and resentment that our overwhelming power sometimes triggers in others.
We need to strengthen international institutions, build alliances that amplify our power and extend the reach of our influence, and remember that even the most powerful nation on the face of the earth needs to make some friends on this planet.
Leadership means talking with countries who aren't our friends. It means engaging directly when our vital national security interests are at stake -- even with countries that we strongly disagree with -- because treating dialogue as a means rather than an end can help us achieve our goals. As John Kennedy once said, "we must never negotiate out of fear but we must never fear to negotiate." If Richard Nixon could send Henry Kissinger to China, surely George Bush can send a real negotiating team to North Korea. If Ronald Reagan could talk to the evil empire, surely we can talk with Iran or Syria.
We must start treating our moral authority as a precious national asset that does not limit our power but magnifies our influence. Only this week did the Administration finally recognize that the protections of the Geneva Convention had to be applied to prisoners in order to comply with the law, restore our moral authority, and best protect American troops. Let me say it plainly: No American president should be for torture before he's against it.
Anyone who understood the conflict we face could never shrug off the imperative of winning the hearts and minds of Muslim moderates.
We must start leading by example. We should never engage in or excuse violations of basic human rights. We must uphold the rule of law in our own conduct. And we should never accept official lying by our leaders. No White House should ever bully the Director of the CIA to make a case he knows isn't true -- and no White House should reward it with the Medal of Freedom.
To restore our credibility with moderates in the Muslim world and to safeguard Israel's place in the world, we must renew the search for a lasting peace in the Middle East. We know from the hard lessons of the past that it won't be easy. But we know from the disasters of the present that it is essential.
I've outlined five specific steps to make our nation safer which I believe stand in stark contrast to the Republicans' failed policies.
So let's have a real debate. Let's give all of us -- Republicans and Democrats alike -- a real "accountability moment" this November.
Let's stand up for what we believe. It is the only way to win. And it is the only way we will be worthy of winning.
Let the President give his speeches attacking the patriotism of his fellow Americans. Let him play the politics of fear. As Democrats, we choose to offer a real plan to attack the terrorists and free Americans from fear.
And then let the people decide.