Monday, December 18, 2006

Bill Richardson Asked to Travel to Sudan

ALBUQUERQUE (AP) - Governor Richardson has been asked to travel to Sudan to help persuade the country’s government to accept a peacekeeping force in the war-torn Darfur region.
The request comes from a Washington, DC-based group, the Save Darfur Coalition.
A Richardson spokesman, Pahl Shipley, says the governor is honored by the request and would like to help.
Shipley says Richardson is consulting with the State Department, the Sudanese government and the United Nations.
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has rejected a UN Security Council resolution that provides for beefing up the poorly funded and equipped 7,000-troop African Union force to about 22,000 peacekeepers under UN leadership.

News from the Snowy Mountaintop

Yes it is snowing up here in Edgewood, already. We weren't supposed to get hit until tonight, so their estimation of up to 2 and a half feet of snow for us may be conservative. But, since I worked all weekend and didn't have access to my blog I have plenty of work to do. Thank you to Mr. LTS for posting for me on Saturday night.

So on to the political news...

Saturday brought the announcement that Evan Bayh has opted out of the race for El Jefe 2008. Bayh cited long odds and much needed work to be done in the Senate, and LTS agrees. No Senator should be running for President this time, we need your full attention on the legislative needs of our nation. (Listen to your friend LTS Hillary, you want to stay in the Senate...did you get my subliminal tapes yet???) Senator Bayh, we would love to have you come on over to Team Richardson!

Edwards In

Here is news of no surprise at all. Former North Carolina Senator John Edwards has committed to run in 2008. Edwards is my second choice in the race at this point, but probably mostly because of lust....yes he is hunkalicious. I also think he will be the candidate to beat in the primary, despite the media's current obsession with Barak Obama. (Senator Obama, did you get my subliminal tapes yet???)

Richardson Woos New Hampshirians

Or is it New Hampshirites? Somebody help me with this one. Governor Richardson embarked on an exploratory trip to New Hampshire before he makes his decision to officially enter the race. (Governor, I am working on a set of tapes for you, too. runrunrunrunrunrunrunrunrunrunrunrunrunrun)
On this trip Governor Richardson put up his dukes and took on John McCain, presumably the leader of the Republican pack, and his proposal to send more troops to Iraq. Said Richardson, at a stop at Anselm College, "It makes no sense. There is no military solution. There’s got to be a political solution.” He said that McCain's proposal would foment sectarian violence.

Richardson, with his foreign policy prowess in top form this week, proves time and again that he is the candidate (presumed candidate anyway) with the goods. We need a leader who will work for peaceful solutions to international disagreements, rather than one who will always eschew diplomacy and opt for a military solution to conflict. Bill Richardson is well respected internationally, and has the wisdom and presence of mind to return that respect.

Republicans Untenable Positions

The republican candidates for president in 08 are out there making my job easy and more amusing with their brilliant political statements. Newtie is making the case for limiting free speech, and to that I say kudos Mr. Newtie. Kudos. Keep making asinine statements like these. While you are at it, why don't you adopt some other popular ideas, like an 8 pm curfew for people, martial law, and a ban on that radical "rock and roll" business.

Meanwhile John McCain is out there promoting the idea of escalation in Iraq. Again with the populism. Go John Go!

It is a great day to be a liberal with high speed internet access and a rich appreciation for irony.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Guide helps Richardson in New Hampshire

From the Albuquerque Tribune

An experienced political guide is leading Gov. Bill Richardson on a 14-stop tour of New Hampshire this weekend as Richardson considers whether to run for president in 2008.

Dick Bouley, 68, has been greeting Democratic presidential candidates to that key primary state since he told John F. Kennedy in 1960 that he planned to be a teacher. He has worked for several, including Jimmy Carter, Bruce Babbitt, Tom Harkin and Dick Gephardt.

"If he (Richardson) runs for president, I'd be very interested," said Bouley, now a Concord, N.H., lobbyist. "He's got the best résumé and he has tremendous experience."

Bouley is the kind of activist Richardson will need to enlist in key primary and caucus states if he runs, especially in New Hampshire with its emphasis on hand-to-hand campaigning.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Rice Rejects Talks with Iran, Syria on Iraq

So this is what passes for foriegn policy with the Bush administration? More of the same seems to be the Prez's course in Iraq and in global affairs: isolate, demagogue, and failed military operations. I certainly hope that we can look forward to a Bill Richardson v. Condi Rice race in 2008...he will mop the floor with her on this...

Russell Shaw on 2008

Columnist Russell Shaw has weighed in on the 2008 race and the pop culture fascination with Senator Barak Obama. In yesterday's Huffington Post Russell opines..."Enough With Obama Already: We're Electing a President, Not A Personality" and says about Governor Bill Richardson, "I'll tell you someone the Dems could nominate who does have the experience. That would be popular New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. Valuable gubernatorial executive experience running a growing and complex state? Right where he is. Valuable national executive experience? Was Energy Department Secretary under Clinton. International diplomatic experience? Was the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. During his 14 years as a Congressperson, (as compared to Sen. Obama's two years).he garnered significant foreign policy knowledge."

Click here to read more....

Thursday, December 14, 2006

North Korea Talks Must Make `Measurable Progress,' Hill Says


Dec. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Six-nation talks on dismantling North Korea's nuclear program must make ``measurable progress'' when they resume at the weekend in Beijing, said Christopher Hill, the U.S. assistant secretary of state.
``Our purpose is to achieve denuclearization of the Korean peninsula,'' Hill, the chief U.S. negotiator, told a briefing in Washington yesterday. ``There were indications that the DPRK, the North Koreans, would be prepared to deal in specifics at the coming round.''


Tomorrow, in advance of the six party talks, Governor Bill Richardson will meet with a North Korean delegation, at the request of the North Koreans, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Says Governor Richardson, "We have an opportunity to end this crisis and bring stability to the Korean peninsula. I will press the North Koreans to start dismantling their nuclear weapons.''

Amazing. An American politician willing to engage in one-on-one talks with an adversary? This is precisely the reason why I am hopeful of a Richardson run for the White House. We need, desperately, to abandon our nation's current foriegn policy, which is isolation, demagoguery, and destabilizing regions through childish rhetoric and ill-advised, if not outright criminal, military action.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Governor Bill Richardson to Meet with North Korean Delegation in Santa Fe

Governor Bill Richardson to Meet with North Korean Delegation in Santa Fe

North Koreans request meeting with Governor to discuss upcoming six-party talksSANTA FE, NM - New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson will meet with two top North Korean officials this Friday, December 15, in Santa Fe. The North Koreans asked for the meeting with Governor Richardson to discuss the upcoming multi-lateral talks regarding the North Korean nuclear weapons program.

The so-called six-party talks include North Korea, South Korea, China, Russia, Japan, and the United States. They are scheduled to resume Monday, December 18, in Beijing, China. Two diplomats from the North Korean Mission to the United Nations, Minister Kim Myong Gil and First Secretary Song Se Il, have been granted permission by the US State Department to make the visit to Santa Fe.

“While I will not be acting as an official representative of the administration, I am pleased to do whatever I can to help increase understanding between our two countries and help move the 6-party talks forward,” said Governor Richardson. “I believe we have an opportunity to use diplomacy to end this crisis and bring stability to the Korean Peninsula. I will press the North Koreans to start dismantling their nuclear weapons.”

The North Korean delegation will arrive in New Mexico Friday morning and meet with Governor Richardson in the afternoon at the Governor’s mansion. "We have reached a critical crossroads in the effort to rid the Korean peninsula of nuclear weapons," stated Dr. K.A. Namkung, Governor Richardson's senior advisor. "The North Koreans' visit to Santa Fe this week will hopefully help move the talks forward."

Governor Richardson has dealt extensively with North Korea during his tenure as US Congressman, US Ambassador to the United Nations, and Energy Secretary. He has traveled to North Korea five times, most recently last October. This will be the second North Korean delegation to travel to Santa Fe to meet with Governor Richardson. The first visit took place shortly after he took office in January, 2003.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The 2008 Presidential Hopefuls, LTS Musings

Of course I will say up front that I support Bill Richardson, Governor of New Mexico, for the nomination, should he run (fingers crossed here!) but these are my thoughts on the contenders...

Bill Richardson (will start with him because it is my blog!) ... Smart, savvy, tremendous leadership. Great foriegn policy experience. A little on the unknown side, but that is changing daily. Four Nobel Peace Prize nominations. Great foriegn policy experience. Brilliant but with a sense of humor. Also, his hispanic heritage will help him in places that are considered pretty red, like Florida and Texas.

Hillary Clinton...My whole life I have waited to support a woman for the presidency. I just don't know that this time is it. I think she is brilliant, and I love her husband, but the CW says she is pretty polarizing. Not so crazy about the company she has been keeping lately, as in Newt and Rupert, and sure don't like the way she jumped on the "Bomb Baghdad Bandwagon".

John Edwards...What is not to like? Charming, easy on the peepers. Smart, great bio. He is probably my second choice.

Tom Vilsack...Vilsack rhymes with Dukakis. So does Kucinich.

Evan Bayh...who? wha?

Al Gore...I love you Al. I really do. You have done more to raise awareness about the growing environmental crises than anyone else has even tried to, and we all owe you a debt. But I am not sure I can forgive you for not fighting the coup of 2000. Of course if you are nominated I promise to love you again.

John Kerry...If anyone was ever wronged by American politics it is John Kerry. Kerry should be hailed as a hero and a noble man, but people who were too cowardly to ever have served in combat on their own painted him as a coward. I hate that. I am proud that I supported him in 2004, and I am angry that he has been so ill-defined. That said, I wish he had come back swinging against those swiftboaters. I don't see him running this time.

Barak Obama...what is not to love about this guy? Well, not much, but I would like to see him get a little more experience. I think that if he runs and gets the nomination he will be nailed for his lack fo experience. But I would love to see a Richardson/Obama ticket!

Those are my thoughts for the morning!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Governor Richardson's Speech on Immigration

Thank you all very much. Gracias, Lisa. Muy bien hecho! Foreign service- a student after my own heart.

I am very sure you will continue to make New Mexico Proud. And by the way, the answer is “Christmas”. For those who don’t speak “chile”, that means both red and green chile.

Thank you also Professor Lotrionte. I am very familiar with your distinguished career and I am grateful that your organization sponsored my appearance here today.I come here today as a border state Governor, and a Hispanic-American who knows that our nation can no longer afford to ignore the issue of illegal immigration. I come here as a Democrat who believes my party has an obligation as the new majority party to pass comprehensive legislation to reform our immigration laws. And I come here as someone who believes it’s time for our leaders to tell the simple truth about this – and every other – issue. Today, there are over 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States. Most are law abiding, except for the fact that they have entered this country illegally. And almost all have come here to work -- to build a better life for themselves and their families, just as previous generations of immigrants have done.

Eleven million people living in the shadows is a huge problem, and we need to address it intelligently and thoughtfully -- and urgently. If Congress fails to do so, it will only get worse, and the demagoguery about it which we have heard so much of recently will only get louder.

As the California-born son of an American father and a Mexican mother, I have known immigrants all my life and I know why they come to America. And as Governor of New Mexico I have known the problem of illegal immigration all too well – we live with this issue every day in my state. Like it or not, these people have become part of the fabric of our economy and our culture. They have broken the law to enter our country, but they are here -- there are millions of them building and cleaning our homes and offices, picking and cooking our food, caring for our children. These men and women are here illegally, but they work hard, pay taxes, and contribute to the communities they live in.

Eleven million people living in the shadows is a huge problem, and we need to address it intelligently and thoughtfully -- and urgently. If Congress fails to do so, it will only get worse, and the demagoguery about it which we have heard so much of recently will only get louder. America needs to SOLVE this problem, not tear itself apart over it.

I believe the American people are better than the demagogues think we are, and that the voters proved it on November 7th. The most extreme candidates lost across the country. Seventy percent of Hispanic citizens voted Democratic, and most non-Hispanics also rejected the divisive politics of the anti-immigrant extremists. I hope that the Republican right-wing learned its lesson and that sensible Senators and Congressmen from both parties can now come together and address this real problem with real solutions. I also hope that President Bush, whose rhetoric has been moderate on this issue, will now step up and lead a bipartisan comprehensive reform effort.

Think for a moment about the quality of life for an undocumented worker. No protection from unscrupulous employers. No job benefits. No health care, no pension, no Social Security, no workers compensation, no Medicare or disability insurance. Yet – despite what some people would have you think -- almost all of these workers pay taxes, including Social Security and Medicare taxes. Because in order to find work they must either use someone else’s Social Security number or make one up. Since they will never collect benefits, these illegal workers are subsidizing our Social Security and Medicare trust funds with their payroll taxes. And those who are not paying into Social Security and Medicare are working under the table, and are at even greater risk of being exploited. No minimum wage, no safety standards, no over-time, no protection against sexual harassment or even sexual abuse.

Many workers change jobs every few months because their employer finds out that their Social Security number is invalid or belongs to someone else. Most undocumented immigrants come to the United States to work low-wage jobs which few Americans want, such as picking crops or cleaning toilets. Our economy creates demand for at least 400,000 new low-skill illegal immigrants per year, but only about 140,000 are allowed to enter legally. When demand and legal supply are so out of line, the pressures for illegal immigration are enormous. And let’s not forget what kind of lives the vast majority of illegal immigrants were living in their home countries – what propels them to come here in the first place.

Economic opportunity and upward mobility in Mexico and Central American countries are limited, and half of all Mexicans live in poverty and a fifth live in extreme poverty. When there are hundreds of thousands of relatively good paying new jobs available every year a few hundred miles to the north the result is completely predictable.

Yes, we are talking about people who knowingly have broken the law. And they should be held accountable, like all lawbreakers. But we also are talking about people who are economic refugees, and who contribute significantly to America’s economic success and to the economic and political stability of their home countries – with the billions in remittances they send home to their families every year.

If we’re going to tell the truth we’ll admit that entire sectors of our economy rely on these laborers – construction, restaurants, and agriculture, for example. Without them, many American businesses simply could not continue to function. By some estimates, undocumented workers account for fully 2% of our national economy.

11 million lawbreakers is a daunting number – and more arrive every day. Such widespread disregard for the law is corrosive of our civic culture, and must not be allowed to continue. A nation of laws cannot allow millions of undocumented immigrants to live in the shadows and hundreds of thousands more to enter the country illegally every year. For decades politicians have passed laws on immigration with a wink and a nudge, with no intent of following through and making sure those laws were enforced. For far too long, the immigration debate has been about electoral politics, not about policy. We need more honest leadership than that. We need to stop exploiting the immigration problem, and start solving it. We need to pass realistic laws and then enforce them rigorously.

Despite the campaign rhetoric, I refuse to believe that most House Republicans really favor trying to round up 11 million people, separating them from their children who are citizens, and deporting them en masse. But that’s what the bill they passed in the House of Representatives on December 16, 2005 would require. Americans don’t want that and I believe the results of the 2006 elections prove it.

Only in a few races for local office in communities that have been dramatically transformed in recent years by illegal immigration was anybody defeated for public office because they supported a moderate approach to the problem. Certainly no congressional or gubernatorial candidate was defeated for that reason. I got almost 70 percent of the vote for Governor this year in New Mexico – 15 percent more than in 2002 when I was first elected, and New Mexico is a swing state. This is after I implemented a policy to grant drivers licenses without regard to legal residency. As a result of this policy we got the percentage of uninsured drivers down from 31 percent to 12 percent.

New Mexicans want our roads to be safe and the driver who rear-ends them to be insured. We want our highway cops to focus on catching drunk drivers, not illegal immigrants. The Federal government has failed to deal with illegal immigration, forcing state governors to deal with the consequences of this failure. Governors must promote public safety and ensure that all residents of the state -- welcome or unwelcome, legally here or not -- are productive, self-supporting, and law abiding contributors to our community.

But treating illegal immigrants like human beings won’t make the problem go away. We also need to face up to the problem, and that begins with better border security. Last year I declared a State of Emergency along our border with Mexico because the situation there had gotten out of hand. Nobody was addressing the issue in Washington, D.C., and crime, drugs and lawlessness were out of control. I also was the first Governor to meet President Bush’s request to send National Guard troops to the border, because the situation is a national security concern as well.

Al Qaeda took decades to find a way to hit America hard and terrorists are still out there, probing, plotting, and preparing for their next attack. I know that full well from my diplomatic experience. If there’s a way for them to get into this country and attack us again they will find it. We need to stop them, and border security is essential to doing so.

I believe in recognizing the reality of the immigration problem and addressing it head-on. I reject both the cheap rhetoric we heard in this year’s campaign, AND I reject the fears of some Democrats that taking action will cause our party political harm. We should seek a bipartisan solution to the problem of illegal immigration, and I believe such a solution is at hand. We have a unique opportunity to deal with this issue in 2007 and if we let it pass we might not get another opportunity for years to come.

Illegal immigration has doubled in the past ten years and if it is not addressed it could double again in the next ten years. Think of the demagoguery we will hear then! So I am calling on the Democratic Congress to act swiftly to work with the President and solve this problem. And it can be solved by taking four realistic steps -- securing the border, increasing legal immigration, preventing employers from hiring illegal workers, and providing a path to legalization for most of the 11 million illegal immigrants already here.

Securing the border must come first – but we must understand that building a fence will not in any way accomplish that objective. No fence ever built has stopped history and this one wouldn’t either. The Congress should abandon the fence, lock, stock, and barrel. It flies in the face of America as a symbol of freedom.

This is what we should do: immediately put enough National Guard troops at the border to keep it covered until we can secure it with Border Patrol officers. That should take no longer than three years. If it takes another year, let’s do it.

Second, we must hire and train enough Border Guards to actually cover the entire border. I have spent a lot of time at the border and I know we cannot secure it with a fence, but we can secure it with enough trained Border Patrol officers. I propose doubling the number of Border Patrol agents from approximately 12-thousand to 24-thousand. That would secure the border. And you could more than pay for it with the funding for the first segment of that ill-advised fence between, Mexico and the United States. Real security, real results, at a fraction of the financial or political cost.

Third, we should give the Border Patrol the benefit of the best surveillance equipment available to our military. And, as suggested by Texas Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, a leader on immigration issues, we should implement a system of “informant visas” and cash rewards for aliens who provide law enforcement with information on human traffickers and document forgers. We should establish a “fraudulent documents task force” to constantly update law enforcement and border officials on the latest fraudulent documents being marketed for entry into the United States.

Finally, we have to work closely with the Mexican government. Illegal immigration is, at its root, primarily an economic problem: Mexicans need jobs and incomes, and Mexico benefits greatly from illegal immigration to the United States. It is a safety valve for their unemployed, and a major source of revenue in their economy, from the money illegal workers here send home.
Under present conditions, the Mexicans just don’t have enough incentive to give us the help we need at the border. Mexico needs to do more to stem the flow.

But if we create a reasonable guest worker program and provide a path to legalization for illegal immigrants already here – as I will discuss in a moment -- there is every reason to expect Mexico to do its part to create more jobs in Mexico and to help us with border security. The Mexicans, after all, also suffer great harm from the lawlessness at the border, from drug smuggling and the simple misery of people trying again and again to get into the United States illegally. But don’t expect the Mexican government to do anything if we’re going to talk about building a Berlin-style wall and deporting millions of Latinos.

Two weeks ago I met with Mexican President Calderon and he told me he is willing to do work with us to stop illegal immigration – if the United States is willing to address the crisis honestly and realistically along with him. If we refrain from building the fence (which, as I have said, is a waste of money anyway), I believe that the Mexicans would to step in with real efforts to help us patrol the border more effectively. We need to build a special relationship with our neighbor to the south, so that we can jointly patrol the border, and work together on creating more jobs for Mexicans at home in Mexico.

President Bush needs to address this issue with Mexico aggressively and realistically. He needs to use his last two years to turn President Calderon’s good intentions into good efforts. One of the reasons for my meeting with President Calderon was to pitch a plan to develop border infrastructure to move goods through the free-trade zones along the border, revitalizing communities on both sides of the border and creating much-needed jobs.

This kind of action takes face-to-face diplomacy- something this country has been far too reluctant to engage in lately. I believe many problems can be solved by facing them head-on, face-to-face. My entire career has been based largely on that principle.Earlier today, I was very proud to stand with Secretary General Insulza of the organization of American States, who has appointed me as a Special Envoy to the OAS for Hemispheric Relations.

I will work on special assignments in Latin America at the request of the Secretary, with a special focus on economic development and immigration. It would be my goal to demonstrate to OAS member states that they have an equal responsibility to solve the immigration problem, and work together on many important issues.

Once the border is secure we must make it possible for employers to meet legally their unskilled labor needs. Raising the minimum wage to $7.50 dollars an hour will motivate more Americans to fill some of these jobs, but most low-wage jobs will still need to be filled by immigrants – because there simply are not enough Americans who want them. If the US economy needs these workers, it is in our national interest to let more of them come legally, by increasing combined legal quotas for temporary and permanent taxpaying immigrants to 400,000 workers per year. To keep families together, we also should double the number of family member visas, from 480,000 to 960,000.

We also need to improve the efficiency and transparency of our legal immigration machinery, which is plagued by long delays and huge backlogs. We need clearer procedures and more rapid and efficient processing of immigration petitions, so that fewer people will seek to evade the legal process, and more can be admitted legally. The McCain-Kennedy legislation passed by the Senate this year provided an excellent framework for a guest worker program: pay an application fee, undergo a medical examination and a background check, the initial work period would be three years and it could be extended for up to three more years, if you’re out of work for more than 45 days you must return to your home country or last country of residence, you can change employers, but if you break the law you must leave.

Those are realistic and sustainable requirements. The number of guest workers allowed at any one time must be based upon the needs of the US economy. The goal must be to meet demand for jobs that go unfilled by American citizens, and no more. Increasing the minimum wage will help, but we must make certain that no American loses a job because of a guest worker program. Enforcement of our minimum wage laws also must improve: any employer who pays less than the minimum wage to any worker must face both high fines and a high probability of getting caught. We also must expand employment-training for low-wage American workers.

We also need a national system to reliably and instantaneously verify the legal status of every job applicant and worker. We cannot stop illegal immigration if we continue to look the other way on illegal employment. We need a national, non-duplicable electronic worker identification document to be used exclusively for employment purposes. Such a system must come with legal protections against it being used to discriminate in hiring practices, as well as privacy safeguards. After the institution of such an ID system, employers will have no excuses: those who knowingly hire undocumented workers must face serious and certain penalties. Those who hire illegal immigrants are law-breakers too, and like illegal immigrants themselves, they must be held to account for breaking the law.

Finally, there is the question of the status of the 11 million illegal immigrants who are here today. The legislation passed last December by the Republican House of Representatives was a monument to demagoguery. It actually proposed making felons of 11 million people and rounding them up for deportation. Clearly, this would be impossible to do. The number of illegal immigrants is five times the number of inmates in all American prisons combined. Our economy could not stand the shock of losing all these workers, and our national conscience would not countenance arresting millions of men, women and children. We did this to Japanese Americans in 1942, and we rightfully regret that abandonment of basic American decency.

So the choice is clear: either we leave 11 million people in limbo and let them be joined by millions more, or we devise a path to earned legalization. You certainly can’t enact a guest worker program without dealing with the millions already here, and the economic reality is that the demand for workers will be met with immigrants one way or another. Providing a path to earned legalization is not amnesty, albeit some will call it that. Let them:

Fear mongers spent hundreds of millions of dollars trying to call it amnesty -- and the American people saw through it. Polls show that large majorities of Americans favor providing illegal immigrants a path to legalization Still, the path to legalization should recognize that laws have been broken. The presence of most of them benefits this country, but there must be accountability.

Almost all illegal workers pay into the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds. By legalizing them, they all will. And to be legalized, they should be required to pay any other back taxes they owe. They also should pay a fine for breaking the law. And they must learn English and have a clean record. If they meet all of these requirements, we should say, “Welcome to America. You’re now a legal worker. Just remember, you’re our guests and you must continue to follow these rules, and those that don’t will face the consequences. And with instantaneous worker verification in place, we’ll be able to do it.

Finally, let me return to the subject of family. Our Constitution states unambiguously that if you are born in the United States you are a citizen of this country and you are guaranteed equal protection under all of our laws. It’s estimated that more than 50% of all illegal immigrants have children who thus are citizens of the United States. If we required their parents to leave what would become of the minor children? Would they be made wards of the state somehow? They cannot be required to leave along with their parents. This is one of the reasons why I believe the legislation was passed in the House without any intent of it ever becoming law – which is transparently dishonest leadership. And I believe the proponents of immigration reform have nothing to fear from those who have resorted to such tactics.

The voters are fed up with that kind of politics and they are fed up with the failure to address pressing problems like illegal immigration. Most Democrats in the House of Representatives voted against the Republican bill to criminalize illegal immigration and Democrats are now in charge of the House. A bipartisan majority in the Senate passed the McCain-Kennedy bill. That majority grew larger on Election Day. And President Bush supports a guest worker program and a path to legalization. The new political lineup in Washington means that Congress has the numbers to pass a comprehensive immigration reform law next year which the President will sign. We have a historic opportunity to solve a problem that is tearing our country apart. We must not miss this chance.

The Democratic Agenda for the next Congress is an excellent one – raise the minimum wage, get lobbyists out of the business of writing legislation, allow Medicare to negotiate for the lowest possible prescription drug legislation, enact all of the 9/11 Commission recommendations, and change the course of our Iraq policy. Immigration reform must be added to the top of that list. The Democrats won the election and the price of leadership is doing what’s right for America.

Thank you very much.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Danny on the View

It is the story that is getting all sorts of attention. Danny DeVito, appearing on The View this past week, arrived on the set still intoxicated from his evening out with George Clooney (and who among us wouldn't be?)

I was reluctant to chime in on this silliness, but I am sick of hearing comparisons in the news to Mel Gibson, George Allen and the like...I don't think DeVito was anything but charming and adorable on The he was a little stewed...he wasn't insulting (well unless you are George Bush, and even then not so much). He was just goofy Danny DeVito, business as usual.

You go Danny, you know you are as cute as a man can be, and next time you are out with George drinking Lemoncellos please include Ms. Liberaltruthsayer. I would be delighted to join you gents!

The Supremes to Hear "Bong Hits 4 Jesus!"

And this before my morning coffee...

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A high school student's controversial banner with the words "Bong Hits 4 Jesus," which led to his suspension, will be argued before the Supreme Court, in an unusual free speech dispute.

The justices Friday accepted an appeal from Juneau, Alaska, school board officials, after a federal appeals court allowed a lawsuit filed by the family of Joseph Frederick to proceed.

He was suspended in 2002 after he unfurled the sign -- a reference to marijuana use -- just outside school grounds when the Olympic torch relay was moving through the Alaskan capital, headed for the Salt Lake City Winter Games.

"Bong," as noted in the appeal filed with the justices, "is a slang term for drug paraphernalia."
We must ask ourselves, what would Jesus do?

Friday, December 01, 2006

Army Scammed Into Buying Golf Balls

Of course, it goes without saying (but who could resist???) these guys have balls...

On paper, the U.S. Army was supposed to be getting "a ball bearing assortment" for $1,409. It was bad enough that the order form marked up the price from $682.50. But there was something about the order that was way out of bounds: It was for 420 golf balls for a civilian employee at the Army's Aberdeen Proving Ground.

Douglas Atwell is now facing up to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty in federal court Wednesday to bribery in a scam to defraud the government.

Atwell, 51, placed orders from 2003 to 2004 with co-defendant Wayne Silbersack, a salesman for Lawson Products. The orders were for more than $429,500 in equipment that was paid for by the Army, federal prosecutors said."It is disgraceful that a company salesman conspired with a government employee to engage in this scheme to defraud the taxpayers and line their own pockets," U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein said in a statement.

Silbersack, 65, who pleaded guilty on Monday, also faces up to 15 years in prison on a bribery charge.

Silbersack, of Forest Hill, issued invoices that inflated prices and falsely described the items ordered by Atwell, prosecutors said. The scam concealed the use of government money to get items for personal use of Atwell and other government employees, prosecutors said.Atwell, of Port Deposit, managed a "tool crib" at one of the Aberdeen Test Center buildings. He charged the items to his government purchase card.By processing the invoices, Atwell received a Dell computer, which was falsely described in an invoice as "electrical assortment parts LP 5002." It was marked up from $1,973 to $2,485.

He also received a shed, disguised on invoices as a "large hardware assortment." It was marked up from $2,840 to $6,521.

Silbersack received more than $78,000 in commissions for sales to Atwell's government credit card.More than $288,000 worth of merchandise was delivered to Silbersack's house or picked up outside the base, prosecutors said.U.S. District Judge William Quarles scheduled sentencing for Feb. 5 for Silbersack and Feb. 6 for Atwell at U.S. District Court in Baltimore.

Two other civilian employees who have been charged in the case have court dates scheduled for next week.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Good Morning From My Snowy Mountain Top

Yes, the flakes are flying here in chilly Edgewood, NM, and we are right now at our high temperature for the day, and will be heading down hill fast. I hear the school bus outside, picking up 75% of my children, the other 25% snoozing in the bedroom, so I think blogging is in order...

Judge Strikes Down Bush on Terror Groups What? Bush is breaking the law? Violating The Constitution? Color me shocked!
Iraq Making Vietnam Look Like Huge Success Yeah, you don't really have to click on that link, anywhere you go for news is going to tell you the same thing, unless you go to Fox News, and you will learn about how Halliburton is building schools and the troops are giving chocolate bars to children. Yes, over on Fox News this is World War 2 all over again, and the news bunnies are singing, "I'll Be Home For Christmas." If only! (In their dreams.)
Wow, all of a sudden the sun came out and the snow has stopped. Now that is more like it. If only it weren't going to become unbearably cold today and tomorrow. I am not a winter person, can you tell?
And it is snowing and gray again, if you don't like the weather here, wait five minutes.
Borat apparently broke up Kid Rock and Pamela Anderson. If the world is too cold a place for those sweet kids to make it, what hope is there for the rest of us?
Child Put Up On Craigslist It wasn't me, honest.
Snoop Dogg Arrested Again Another shocker from CNN. They also have a nice "Rap Sheet" timeline/pictorial. I, for one, am horrified to know that Dogg likes guns, weed and blow. He seems like such a nice young man.
Ok, I am off to make coffee. Back with more highlights and lowlights later!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Liberaltruthsayer Returns

Did anything happen while I was gone?

There is no good excuse, really, for me to have let the old blog go for the past several days, especially given the escalation of violence in Iraq and Bush and Friends going on their "Denial Tour 2006" through the Middle East, but I had stuff to do. Thanksgiving we hosted dinner for 22, and while I felt we had so much to be thankful for already our wonderful guests made us feel even thankfuller. It was a wonderful day. For more about that, be sure to read about it later on "Why My Husband Hates Me" (but give me a few hours to get to that blog!)

So, I am back. I still feel a little sluggish mentally from the wine and pie. I am taking more frequent naps. In between naps I have been scanning the news...

Bush Denies Civil War in Iraq Yes, the Naked Emperor continues to shake his head in denial, when the rest of the world has already come to the obvious conclusion, Iraq is in the throes of a bitter civil war between tribes of people who do not want to live under one another's rules, which we created when we invaded their country. It is time for Bush to face some reality here, we knocked down the hive and peed on the wasps. In this situation there are only two options, kill all the wasps or get the hell out of there. The first is unspeakable, the second the only way to go.

Russia: World Leaders in Political Poisoning There ain't no denying it folks, Russia takes its politics seriously, and while we Americans prefer to ruin our opponents reputations, our political bloodbaths are usually metaphorical. Not in Russia! If you are running for public office against a particularly ruthless foe, or are a former spy critical of perhaps that same ruthless politician, you are likely to suffer greatly before succumbing to the cocktail du jour. There is something brutally Shakespearean about that, though. Personally I would rather be Swiftboated.

More to come...

Friday, November 10, 2006

Happy Veterans' Day!

This morning my husband and I attended a Veterans' Day celebration and program at my children's elementary school. I should preface this with the statement that I live in rural New Mexico, in one of the reddest parts of the state. This program included beautiful children singing patriotic songs about America, a nation of faith (giant gulp) and equality (when I whispered "unless you are gay" to my husband he became very afraid the old man behind me was going to hit me with his cane.) They had the obligatory song choreographed with sign language, " I love my country!" which looks a lot like "I love my elbow!"

A very long speech was given by an active duty Army Chaplain about how America has lost its values and encouraged young people to be selfish, as photos of old and dead heroes were shown next to keywords like Faith and Honor and Duty. He carefully couched his words as best he could, but his utter contempt for the state of the country, no doubt exacerbated by the events of the week, was radiating off of him.

Every veteran in the group was called upon to rise, along with the student that had invited them. We even had a surviving member of the crew of the Anola Gay, if you can believe any of those guys are still around. I have seen younger dirt. It was, to be blunt, a very long program, but not an entirely bad one. It occurred to me, however, that had the election gone any differently I may have been a very dangerous woman in that crowd this morning, especially with all the talk of faith. The election has worked like a very powerful antidepressant for me.

I have always considered myself to be patriotic, to love America, and to have pride in my nation and a willingness to defend what I perceived to be its core principles. I believe that America was founded by immigrants (never mind those pesky native Americans, they may have been here first, but we brought the whiskey and the muskets.) I believe that America is about equality, opportunity, and freedom. For the past six years, being so far removed from the dominant paradigm, though, I have come to question if America had left me or if I had just left America. After all, I have heard the president say that the constitution is "just a piece of paper" and many conservatives argue that the French should take back their damned statue and we should seal our borders. It is hard to reconcile inclusion in THAT group.

The election results of this week and the resulting cannibalism of the right wing have indeed restored my faith in democracy, my hope for the nation, and my sense of duty about participation. I have heard other liberals say, "It is, FINALLY morning in America again!" Yes, that feels right, but it also feels like spring to me. After a very long miserable winter the bare branches are sporting shiny, hard little buds. It looks hopeful. It feels like the end of a claustrophobic winter of deep snows and blinding winds and unshakable cold. I feel like I am shaking off the cabin fever and stepping out into the warm sunshine for the first time in a very long time.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

National Groups to Announce Movement for Impeachment

On Saturday, November 11, at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, just across from Independence Hall, where theU.S. Constitution was written and signed, a coalition of national organizations will announce plans to mobilize amovement to impeach President Bush and Vice President Cheney.

The mobilization will be called ImpeachForChange.

Speakers will include Elizabeth Holtzman, former Member ofCongress, served on the House panel that voted to impeach President Nixon, and author of "The Impeachment of George W.Bush: A Practical Guide for Concerned Citizens"; CindySheehan, Co-Founder of Gold Star Families for Peace; David Swanson, Co-Founder of and WashingtonDirector of; Tim Carpenter, Director ofProgressive Democrats of America; Jodie Evans, Co-Founder of CODE PINK Women for Peace; Bill Perry, Veterans for Peace; and Bob Fertik, President of and Representatives of other participating organizations will be present. Participating organizations include the National Organization for Women, the Hip Hop Caucus, Constitution Summer, and many of the 200 plus organizations in the After Downing Street Coalition.The speakers will be followed by a discussion of impeachment by prominent bloggers, including Sally Hemings (Sally Hemingsin Paris), Rob Kall (, Dave Lindorff(, Martin Longman (,Susie Madrik (Suburban Guerilla), Liza Sabater (CultureKitchen), Glen Ford (Black Agenda Report), and Bob Fertik( October 21, the Newsweek poll found 51% of Americans supporting impeachment. On October 25, the USA Today/Gallup poll found 51% of Americans supporting "major investigations" by Democrats. Much of that support comes from books, internet journalism and organizing by the speakers who will participate.

WHEN:Saturday, November 11, 2006
1 - 2 p.m. Announcement of a Movement for Impeachment
2 -- 3 p.m. Bloggers forum
WHERE: Kirby Auditorium in the National Constitution Center on Independence Mall (across from Independence Hall),Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The event is open to the media. A mult box will be available along with free wireless internet. Press/blog seats will bereserved in the front row. Please contact David Swanson 202-329-7847. The event is open to the public, but tickets are required(except for press/bloggers). Tickets can be purchased for $10 at This event will be followed by a Veterans Day Rally from 3:00- 5:30 p.m. sponsored by Delaware Valley Veterans for America. Participating will be the gold star parents of Sgt. Sherwood Baker, Lt. Seth Dvorin, and Casey Sheehan, all KIA 2004. Therally will take place outside Independence Hall, at 5th andMarket Streets.A private, nonprofit, and nonpartisan organization, theNational Constitution Center welcomes a broad diversity ofopinion and allows -- without endorsement -- press conferences by advocacy and political organizations as well as other types of groups.

Truth IS Stranger Than Fiction

This little gem may be urban legend. It may be true. I am hoping it is true. Either way it is a VERY funny story!

A news article from a Florida newspaper (the Sun Sentinel) read ...

"When Nathan Radlich's house was burgled, thieves left his TV, his VCR, and even left his watch. What they did take was "... generic white cardboard box filled with grayish-white powder." (That, at least, is the way the police described it.)

A spokesman for the Fort Lauderdale police said that "it looked similar to cocaine and they probably thought they'd hit the big time."

Then Nathan stood in front of the TV cameras and pleaded with the burglars: "Please return the cremated remains of my sister, Gertrude. She died three years ago.

"Well, the next morning, the bullet-riddled corpse of a drug dealer known as Hoochie Pevens was found on Nathan's doorstep. The cardboard box was there, too; about half of Gertrude's ashes remained. And there was this note. It said, "Hoochie sold us the bogus blow, so we wasted Hoochie. Sorry we snorted your sister. No hard feelings. Have a nice day."

Thank You Bartcop

More excellent with each passing day...

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Happy Happy, Joy Joy!!

Donald Rumsfeld resigns.
Tester declared winner in Montana.
Bush looks like he has been crying.
Where is Cheney?

Republicans Take a Much Needed BATH

Well it's about time!

The dirty, dirty Republican Party took a much needed bath last night. Democrats are now firmly in control of the US House of Representatives, the Governorships, and looking pretty promising still is the Senate, where things are still up in the air.

A few things of note...
I am particularily proud that my Governor, Bill Richardson, won by almost 70% of the vote. He is trusted, he is loved. He is also probably going to run for the presidency and I say "GO BILL GO!" We need someone of his quality in the White House. I am also proud that Tom Udall (NM 03) won by such a huge margin, and Senator Jeff Bingaman won so resoundingly his reelection bid, not that any of those races were even close.

That said I am not surprised that NM 01 is still undecided, but I will say that had Madrid had better debate skills and was more prepared and hadn't said some of the STUPID STUPID STUPID things she said on live TV, and those STUPID STUPID STUPID things hadn't made it into two very effective ads for Heather Wilson that played ad nauseum (believe me it was sickening) then it wouldn't even be close. Madrid could have taken it handily, yet she has about as good a grip on her lips as George Bush, without a Karl Rove in the background whispering into her ear and fixing the votes.

I am sad that Harold Ford lost, I believe he was the better candidate. That said, I think certainly he has a bright future in the democratic party.

I am thrilled beyond all reason about Claire McCaskill. All you Missouri democrats who worked so hard to get her elected deserve a nice big box of goodies from Harry and David, but I am broke or I would send them on! Claire is a great lady, and good on you for getting her elected.
I am also pretty hopeful that Tester will prove out in Montana. That is HUGE.

I have immensely enjoyed, probably more than the actual vote returns, seeing the thunderstruck sadness in the faces of Republicans. On Faux News all of the bunnies are no longer perky. Tom Delay, I swear to God, said "The difference between the republicans and the democrats is the republicans get rid of their corrupt members." I think at the end of that he sort of saw the irony, he looked like he had been crying. Last night on MSNBC they had Dick Armey, and his jowls had lost all their spring from their step, hanging there limply as he shook his head slowly in stunned denial.

Talk about Shock and Awe!
Share your happiness here...

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Updates 9:30 EST, 7:30 Local

Dick Armey on MSNBC and he is close to tears...

Latest AP projections

Bob Casey-D elected in Pennsylvania
Bernie Sanders-I elected in Vermont
Richard Lugar-R elected in Indiana
Robert Byrd-D elected in West Virginia
Olympia Snowe-R elected in Maine
Bill Nelson-D elected in Florida
Edward Kennedy-D elected in Massachusetts

Ted Strickland-D elected in Ohio
Deval Patrick-D elected in Massachusetts
M. Jodi Rell-R elected in Connecticut
Ed Rendell-D elected in Pennsylvania
Phil Bredesen-D elected in Tennessee
John Lynch-D elected in New Hampshire
Rod Blagojevich-D elected in Illinois

8 pm Eastern, 6 local time

The children are eating the cake of democracy I made for election night, a red velvet cake with blue icing and red, white and blue jimmies. I used a supermajority of blue jimmies, for obvious reasons.

6:11 Local time (Mountain) The live blogging was interrupted by a code brown situation involving my son and a pair of pull ups. It has been resolved. There was also a bludgeoning offense, and that has been tried and a conviction and sentencing meted out. I bet they aren't having THIS much fun at Hotel Albuquerque!

Patrick wins Governor of Massachusettes, one for the Dems.

Webb is up with 43% but not by much.

Menendez wins in NJ.

Casey wins in Penn.

Pennsylvania is looking like a major bloodbath for the republicans, and exit polls are giving the senate to the democrats.

Evangelicals polled are stating in large margin that corruption is their key issue, and those that cited corruption said they voted democrat. There goes the base!

7 PM Eastern Time (5 local)

Projected winners...

according to CNN and MSNBC Republican Richard Lugar of Indiana and Independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont are set to win their perspective elections. Sanders, a self-proclaimed Socialist, will caucus with the democrats.

I am watching the early returns and seeing a whole lotta blue!

7:16 EST Update

Olbermann just said that overwhelmingly white evangelicals polled said that corruption was very important to them and they turned to the democrats...

What a night!


Vistit LTS for all the latest information on the elections tonight, with live blogging...

Monday, November 06, 2006

A Message from Michael Moore


Tomorrow night, those who sent 2,800 of our soldiers to their deaths -- all because of a lie the president concocted -- will find out if America chooses to reward them -- or remove them. As good as things look for the Democrats, do not pop the corks and start the partying yet. Do not believe for a second that the Republicans plan on losing. They will fight like dogs for the next 24 hours -- relentless, unforgiving, nonstop action to squeeze every last conservative voter out of the house on election day.

While the rest of us go about our day today, tens of thousands of Republican volunteers are knocking on doors, making phone calls, and lining up rides to the polls. They're not sleeping, they're not eating, they're not even watching Fox News. A day without Fox News? That's right, that's how insanely dedicated they are. But the reason they have to work so hard is that, before they can get the vote out, they first have to completely turn around the massive public opinion against them.

Almost 60% disapprove of Bush. Over 60% are opposed to the war. Those are landslide numbers. And the American people are not going to turn pro-war or into Bush-lovers by tomorrow morning. So it should be easy for us, right? Yup. Just like it was when we won the popular vote in 2000 and when we were ahead in the exit polls all day long in 2004. You know the deal -- the other side takes no prisoners. And just when it seems like things are going our way, the Republicans suddenly, mysteriously win the election. Well, it's not really that mysterious. They're out there busting their asses this very minute, right down the street from you. What are YOU doing? You're on a computer reading my cranky letter! Stop reading this!

We have only a few hours left to wrestle control of the Congress away from these "representatives" who, if returned, will continue shipping our young men and women over there to die. Here's what I'm imploring you to do right now:

1. Go through your address book on your cell phone and computer and call/e-mail everyone you know. Tell them how much it would mean to you if they vote on Tuesday. If they don't know where to vote, help them find their polling place.

2. Contact ASAP. They will connect you to the folks who need you to make calls.

3. Contact your local Democratic Party headquarters. There are close races in nearly every state. They'll put you to work -- on the ground or on the phones. Or go to the local HQ for the Dem candidate running for the House of Representatives or the U.S. Senate and say, "Put me to work!"

OK, turn off the computer -- and I will, too. There's serious work to do. The good news? There's more of us than there are of them. Let's prove that, once and for all. Is there anything more important that you have to do today? Nothing less than the rest of the world is depending on us.


Michael Moore

Governor Richardson/Senator Bingaman Statement on Election Fraud

After receiving sworn affidavits from voters who were deliberately and repeatedly given incorrect information on voting locations in Albuquerque by the Republican Party and related organizations, District Judge Vanzi is considering a temporary restraining order which would ban the Republican Party from contacting voters who are not registered Republicans. The evidence suggests an active strategy aimed at confusing and disenfranchising minority, Green, and Democratic voters. A hearing will be scheduled tomorrow in response to a Democratic complaint.
"If the Republican Party is seeking to make voting more difficult for the people of this state, they must immediately stop this action,' said Senator Jeff Bingaman.
"Americans cherish their right to vote, and this attempt to disenfranchise New Mexican voters is an affront to our Democracy. This political dirty trick violates the spirit of the American system as well as state and federal laws," said Governor Bill Richardson.
Senator Jeff Bingaman said, "Governor Richardson and I call on the U.S. Attorney to investigate these incidents to determine whether there has been a violation of federal election laws."
All voters should be warned that false information is being spread in an apparent desperate attempt to win the election through confusing and potentially illegal actions. There are other reports of similar calls to Democrats throughout Albuquerque.

Election Shenanigans

You know, I grew up political. My father was a conservative, my mother a liberal independent. I remember watching political conventions as a little girl. I was taught that the process was uniquely American, that we lived in the greatest country on earth. My father died in 1989 and I am grateful that he never had to see what his party and his country have become.

He would be horrifed by the latest tack the Republican party has taken. Here in New Mexico allegations are surfacing of Republican party calls (with caller ID verification and answering machine recordings) to democrats giving false polling information, telling democrats that they vote at polling places several miles from their actual polling place. This attempt at deception and disenfranchisment is pretty damn galling. In Tennessee republicans are calling black voters and telling them that if they voted for Harold Ford in the primary they don't have to vote a second time. Lies, damned lies.

Does anyone really believe that the manufacturers of electronic voting machines are incapable of producing a hacker-proof, reliable, extremely accurate voting machine that produces a paper trail? If Diebold couldn't do it there isn't a bank in the land that would use their ATM machines. And why in the world would we stick these poorly managed machines into polling places manned by octogenarians whose only computer experience in the real world was an abacus?

How long will Americans continue to blindly accept the outcomes of elections that are so staggeringly mismagaged? How far are they going to have to push the people before the people push back?

Share your election stories, mismanagement or fraud experiences here...

New Rules

He's smart, he's sexy, he's Bill of HBO's Real Time With Bill Maher. For those of you unfamiliar with the show it is the equivalent of Face the Nation on steroids. Uncensored and irrepressible, Bill hits it out of the park with this one (oh it is too late in the fall for a baseball cliche?)


New Rule: Controlling Congress is for closers.

Listen up, Democrats, it's as simple as ABC: Always Be Closing. First prize? Controlling congressional committees, with subpoena power. Second prize: set of steak knives. Third prize? You're fired.

The election is four days away, and I'm through dicking around with you. Here are your talking points:

1) When they say, "Democrats will raise taxes," you say, "We have to, because some asshole spent all the money in the world cutting Paris Hilton's taxes and not killing Osama bin Laden." In just six years the national debt has doubled. You can't keep spending money you don't take in, that's not even elementary economics, that's just called "Don't be Michael Jackson."

2) When they say, "The terrorists want the Democrats to win," you say, "Are you insane? George Bush has been a terrorist's wet dream, and nonpartisan commissions have confirmed that he's a recruiter's dream: theirs, not ours. And, he has exhausted our military without coming away with a win, the worst of both worlds." Bush inflames radical hatred against America and then runs on offering to protect us from it. It's like a guy throwing shit on you and then selling you relief from the flies.

3) When they say, "Cut and Run" or "Defeatocrat," you say, "Bush lost the war -- period." All this nonsense about "the violence is getting worse because they're trying to influence our election." No, it's getting worse because you drew up the postwar plans on the back of a cocktail napkin at Applebee's. And of course Democrats want to win, but that's impossible now that you've ethnically cleansed the place by making it unlivable, just like you did with New Orleans.

4) When they say that actual combat veterans like John Kerry are "denigrating" the troops, you say, "You're completely full of shit." Remember when Al Gore caught all that flak for sighing and moaning during that debate? Yeah, don't do that. Just say, "You're full of shit."

If I was a troop, the support I would want back home would mainly come in the form of people pressuring Washington to get me out of this pointless nightmare. That's how I would feel supported.

So when they say, "Democrats are obstructionists," you say, "You're welcome." Because with a bad administration that has bad ideas, obstruction is a good thing, just as it's a good thing to obstruct a drunk from getting his car keys. I would be happy to frame the debate as a fight between the Obstructionists and the Enablers. There's your talking point: "Vote Republican, and you vote to enable George Bush to keep ruling as an emperor." A retarded, child emperor, but an emperor.

Democrats, you've got two days to get out there and close. It's not about slogans this time. Although when it comes to slogans, accept no other from your opponent except this one: "The Republican Party: We're Sorry."

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Great Keith Olbermann

I don't like to just cut and paste other people's thoughts, words, or work. First it is lazy. Second it is someone else's. In this case, the great Keith Olbermann. But these words are worth reading by everyone. So I cut, and paste, with apologies and appreciation to Mr. Olbermann...

On the 22nd of May, 1856, as the deteriorating American political system veered toward the edge of the cliff, U.S. Rep. Preston Brooks of South Carolina shuffled into the Senate of this nation, his leg stiff from an old dueling injury, supported by a cane. And he looked for the familiar figure of the prominent senator from Massachusetts, Charles Sumner.

Brooks found Sumner at his desk, mailing out copies of a speech he had delivered three days earlier - a speech against slavery.

The congressman matter-of-factly raised his walking stick in midair and smashed its metal point across the senator's head.

Congressman Brooks hit his victim repeatedly. Sen. Sumner somehow got to his feet and tried to flee. Brooks chased him and delivered untold blows to Sumner's head. Even though Sumner lay unconscious and bleeding on the Senate floor, Brooks finally stopped beating him only because his cane finally broke.

Others will cite John Brown's attack on the arsenal at Harper's Ferry as the exact point after which the Civil War became inevitable.

In point of fact, it might have been the moment, not when Brooks broke his cane over the prostrate body of Sen. Sumner - but when voters in Brooks' district started sending him new canes.

Tonight, we almost wonder to whom President Bush will send the next new cane.

There is tonight no political division in this country that he and his party will not exploit, nor have not exploited; no anxiety that he and his party will not inflame.

There is no line this president has not crossed - nor will not cross - to keep one political party in power.

He has spread any and every fear among us in a desperate effort to avoid that which he most fears - some check, some balance against what has become not an imperial, but a unilateral presidency.

And now it is evident that it no longer matters to him whether that effort to avoid the judgment of the people is subtle and nuanced or laughably transparent.

Sen. John Kerry called him out Monday.

He did it two years too late.

He had been too cordial - just as Vice President Gore had been too cordial in 2000, just as millions of us have been too cordial ever since.

Sen. Kerry, as you well know, spoke at a college in Southern California. With bitter humor he told the students that he had been in Texas the day before, that President Bush used to live in that state, but that now he lives in the state of denial.

He said the trip had reminded him about the value of education - that "if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you can get stuck in Iraq."

The senator, in essence, called Mr. Bush stupid.

The context was unmistakable: Texas; the state of denial; stuck in Iraq. No interpretation required.

And Mr. Bush and his minions responded by appearing to be too stupid to realize that they had been called stupid.

They demanded Kerry apologize to the troops in Iraq.

And so he now has.

That phrase - "appearing to be too stupid" - is used deliberately, Mr. Bush.

Because there are only three possibilities here.

One, sir, is that you are far more stupid than the worst of your critics have suggested; that you could not follow the construction of a simple sentence; that you could not recognize your own life story when it was deftly summarized; that you could not perceive it was the sad ledger of your presidency that was being recounted.

This, of course, compliments you, Mr. Bush, because even those who do not "make the most of it," who do not "study hard," who do not "do their homework," and who do not "make an effort to be smart" might still just be stupid, but honest.

No, the first option, sir, is, at best, improbable. You are not honest.

The second option is that you and those who work for you deliberately twisted what Sen. Kerry said to fit your political template; that you decided to take advantage of it, to once again pretend that the attacks, solely about your own incompetence, were in fact attacks on the troops or even on the nation itself.

The third possibility is, obviously, the nightmare scenario: that the first two options are in some way conflated.

That it is both politically convenient for you and personally satisfying to you, to confuse yourself with the country for which, sir, you work.

A brief reminder, Mr. Bush: You are not the United States of America.

You are merely a politician whose entire legacy will have been a willingness to make anything political; to have, in this case, refused to acknowledge that the insult wasn't about the troops, and that the insult was not even truly about you either, that the insult, in fact, is you.

So now John Kerry has apologized to the troops; apologized for the Republicans' deliberate distortions.

Thus, the president will now begin the apologies he owes our troops, right?

This president must apologize to the troops for having suggested, six weeks ago, that the chaos in Iraq, the death and the carnage, the slaughtered Iraqi civilians and the dead American service personnel, will, to history, "look like just a comma."

This president must apologize to the troops because the intelligence he claims led us into Iraq proved to be undeniably and irredeemably wrong.

This president must apologize to the troops for having laughed about the failure of that intelligence at a banquet while our troops were in harm's way.

This president must apologize to the troops because the streets of Iraq were not strewn with flowers and its residents did not greet them as liberators.

This president must apologize to the troops because his administration ran out of "plan" after barely two months.

This president must apologize to the troops for getting 2,815 of them killed.

This president must apologize to the troops for getting this country into a war without a clue.

And Mr. Bush owes us an apology for this destructive and omnivorous presidency.

We will not receive them, of course.

This president never apologizes.

Not to the troops.

Not to the people.

Nor will those henchmen who have echoed him.

In calling him a "stuffed suit," Sen. Kerry was wrong about the press secretary.

Mr. Snow's words and conduct, falsely earnest and earnestly false, suggest he is not "stuffed," he is inflated.

And in leaving him out of the equation, Sen. Kerry gave an unwarranted pass to his old friend Sen. John McCain, who should be ashamed of himself tonight.

He rolled over and pretended Kerry had said what he obviously had not.

Only, the symbolic stick he broke over Kerry's head came in a context even more disturbing.

Mr. McCain demanded the apology while electioneering for a Republican congressional candidate in Illinois.

He was speaking of how often he had been to Walter Reed Hospital to see the wounded Iraq veterans, of how "many of them have lost limbs."

He said all this while demanding that the voters of Illinois reject a candidate who is not only a wounded Iraq veteran, but who lost two limbs there, Tammy Duckworth.

Support some of the wounded veterans. But bad-mouth the Democratic one.

And exploit all the veterans and all the still-serving personnel in a cheap and tawdry political trick to try to bury the truth: that John Kerry said the president had been stupid.

And to continue this slander as late as this morning - as biased or gullible or lazy newscasters nodded in sleep-walking assent.

Sen. McCain became a front man in a collective lie to break sticks over the heads of Democrats - one of them his friend, another his fellow veteran, legless, for whom he should weep and applaud or at minimum about whom he should stay quiet.

That was beneath the senator from Arizona.

And it was all because of an imaginary insult to the troops that his party cynically manufactured out of a desperation and a futility as deep as that of Congressman Brooks, when he went hunting for Sen. Sumner.

This is our beloved country now as you have redefined it, Mr. Bush.

Get a tortured Vietnam veteran to attack a decorated Vietnam veteran in defense of military personnel whom that decorated veteran did not insult.

Or, get your henchmen to take advantage of the evil lingering dregs of the fear of miscegenation in Tennessee, in your party's advertisements against Harold Ford.

Or, get the satellites who orbit around you, like Rush Limbaugh, to exploit the illness - and the bipartisanship - of Michael J. Fox. Yes, get someone to make fun of the cripple.

Oh, and sir, don't forget to drag your own wife into it.

"It's always easy," she said of Mr. Fox's commercials - and she used this phrase twice - "to manipulate people's feelings."

Where on earth might the first lady have gotten that idea, Mr. President?

From your endless manipulation of people's feelings about terrorism?

"However they put it," you said Monday of the Democrats, on the subject of Iraq, "their approach comes down to this: The terrorists win, and America loses."

No manipulation of feelings there.

No manipulation of the charlatans of your administration into the only truth-tellers.

No shocked outrage at the Kerry insult that wasn't; no subtle smile as the first lady silently sticks the knife in Michael J. Fox's back; no attempt on the campaign trail to bury the reality that you have already assured that the terrorists are winning.

Winning in Iraq, sir.

Winning in America, sir.

There we have chaos - joint U.S.-Iraqi checkpoints at Sadr City, the base of the radical Shiite militias, and the Americans have been ordered out by the prime minister of Iraq … and our secretary of defense doesn't even know about it!

And here we have deliberate, systematic, institutionalized lying and smearing and terrorizing - a code of deceit that somehow permits a president to say, "If you listen carefully for a Democrat plan for success, they don't have one."

Permits him to say this while his plan in Iraq has amounted to a twisted version of the advice once offered to Lyndon Johnson about his Iraq, called Vietnam.

Instead of "declare victory and get out" we now have "declare victory and stay indefinitely."

And also here - we have institutionalized the terrorizing of the opposition.

True domestic terror:

Critics of your administration in the media receive letters filled with fake anthrax.

Braying newspapers applaud or laugh or reveal details the FBI wished kept quiet, and thus impede or ruin the investigation.

A series of reactionary columnists encourages treason charges against a newspaper that published "national security information" that was openly available on the Internet.

One radio critic receives a letter threatening the revelation of as much personal information about her as can be obtained and expressing the hope that someone will then shoot her with an AK-47 machine gun.

And finally, a critic of an incumbent Republican senator, a critic armed with nothing but words, is attacked by the senator's supporters and thrown to the floor in full view of television cameras as if someone really did want to re-enact the intent - and the rage - of the day Preston Brooks found Sen. Charles Sumner.

Of course, Mr. President, you did none of these things.

You instructed no one to mail the fake anthrax, nor undermine the FBI's case, nor call for the execution of the editors of the New York Times, nor threaten to assassinate Stephanie Miller, nor beat up a man yelling at Sen. George Allen, nor have the first lady knife Michael J. Fox, nor tell John McCain to lie about John Kerry.

No, you did not.

And the genius of the thing is the same as in King Henry's rhetorical question about Archbishop Thomas Becket: "Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?"

All you have to do sir, is hand out enough new canes.

I'm Keith Olbermann. Good night, and good luck.

"Hands" Coulter Could Face Criminal Charges

An investigation has begun into the voting activities of Ann Coulter, to determine if she knowingly voted in the wrong pricinct. Coulter is refusing to comply with the investigation. It is said she could get 5 years in prison if convicted. It seems a stretch, but who among us wouldn't welcome the silence?
Also, could she be faced with solitary confinement? I would think being forced to be her cellmate could constitute cruel and inhuman punishment. Of course, if we sent her to one of Cheney's secret prisons it might slide under the torture rules.
On second thought, that is just going too hard on Al-Qaeda.

The Macaca Mafia

The George Allen v. Jim Webb celebrity grudgematch has already generated more interest than a Paris Hilton sex tape. This week's highlights...

George Allen has highlighted passages from Jim Webb's fictional novels in an attempt to portray Webb as a moral degenerate. This is silly. It is like assuming Stephen King is a murderer, Anne Rice a vampire, or Lynn Cheney a lesbian.

Webb is responding by reading reviews of his novels at campaign stumps. This is an interesting way of staying on message. Vote for me, critics LOVE my work.

Oh and Allen's staff, responding to a heckler asking, "Why did you spit on your first wife?" politely showed him the door. The poor man must have been quite drunk, because he kept falling down, and these gentlemen had a heck of a time holding him up. I think it must be hard to support a staggering body with a chokehold. Luckily cameras caught the whole thing...

To watch the video click HERE

This is a particularily nasty race, and as we come down to the final few days it will be one to watch closely, because you never know when one of them gets fed up and just sends his goons to take the other out.

My money is on Webb to win the race, but in a fight on Allen, because he has thugs to do the work for him.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

RED HERRING ALERT: Six days to go...

...and we have another controversy. This time the White House is demonizing John Kerry again. Some democrats say this guy is the gift that keeps on giving. Others are rooting him on.

First Kerry, speaking to college students, made a gaffe when he said something to the effect of "stay in school, work hard, get good grades or you end up in Iraq." He has since said he botched a joke, that he was going to say "you end up like Bush and get us into Iraq." Frankly neither version is particularly funny or relevant, after all there is no draft. When Kerry was a young man it was true that if you didn't get good grades and into college you were probably headed for a jungle in Vietnam or a mad dash over the Canadian border. Today, not so much. But granted, an argument could be made that if you get good grades, get scholarships, and get into a good college then the merciless recruiters won't look so tempting when they come to buy your soul for the whopping sum of $20,000. Also, Bush DID go to college, and achieved a level of mediocrity rarely seen in the transcripts of future presidents.

That notwithstanding, Kerry blew a joke. Bush is blowing a war, and I was pleased that Kerry came back swinging, refusing to apologize to the right, making no excuses, and demanding an apology for the troops from Bush and Cheney. John Kerry is no more responsible for the failure of this war than you or I am, that blame rests squarely on the shoulders of this chickenhawkish administration.

What the republicans are trying to do is spin this to their advantage (I know! I was shocked too!) by making it look like WORDS are the reason we are failing in Iraq. They want us to believe that John Kerry, like John Murtha and Max Cleland before him, is a coward and hates America. They want you to forget that John Kerry, like John Murtha and Max Cleland before him, is a war HERO, who served his country voluntarily in a time of war, saw combat and was injured. They want you to forget that this brave man came home and fought again, this time for the truth, to end a war and save American lives. They want you to forget that George Bush, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Trent Lott, Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, P.J. O'Rourke, John Ashcroft, Alan Keyes, Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, Pat Buchanan, George Will, Bill Bennett, Dan Quayle, Phil Gramm, Tom Delay, Dick Armey, and Dennis Hastert are just a few of the notable republicans who shirked their patriotic duty to go over to Vietnam and fight the bad fight. They want you to forget that on that list are several people who gleefully got us into this war, they want us to forget that they are unwilling to send their kids to fight it, they want us to forget that OUR kids are the ones going over, and dying, this month 100 of them.

They want you to remember that John Kerry, and by extension all liberals, HATE America, hate our troops, and want to give in to Al Qaeda. They want you to repeat this mantra all the way to the polls. They want to hold onto power, because they have too much at stake to lose.

Don't let them fool you, and don't let them fool anyone you know. It is critical that the democrats win this one, not for the party, but for America.

Monday, October 30, 2006

The Jerk Factor: What To Do When Your Candidate is a Nimrod

A friend of mine came to me recently, in a quandry about how to vote in her congressional race. She is an avowed liberal, just like me, and is desperate to see the house return to the hands of the democrats, but really emphatically dislikes the candidate the party has nominated on many levels. The race is a close one. She has asked me for some advice. Does she vote for this person she feels is terribly unqualified and ruthless? Or does she vote for the republican, who just rubber stamps whatever Bush puts forth? She is really disinclined to skip over that race, and would never miss an election, believe me. I have seen her get out of the hospital earlier than her doctors would have liked just to get to the polls...she is no shirker of civic duty. I could tell she was pretty troubled, and wanted to help her make a choice and feel better about it. I hope this helps!

Sometimes we are faced with a choice in politics that is pretty unsavory either way you go. I think this is a problem more often for republicans than democrats, because I have heard them over the years talk about voting for the lesser of two evils a lot more frequently than democrats, and, let's face some facts here, republicans have less appealing personalities, are more likely to be at the least jerks, and many times outright criminals. It has to be hard to be faced with the choices conservatives face in the voting booth. We on the left have much to be grateful for. Occasionally, however, we find a jerk in our midst. Normally the vetting process prevents them from making it onto a general election ballot, but every now in then one inexplicably comes through and we are forced to make a choice. Here is where I think we can learn a few lessons from our friends on the right.

Republicans have learned that sometimes issues are greater than personalities, and that to further their own agendas they must vote for people that they would much rather not. Just look at the re-election of Bush, whether there was vote tampering or not, Republicans toed the line, despite some pretty pathetic approval ratings, because they believed that the issues were more important than the personality. Republicans nail us time and again on the issues because they know how to push their agenda despite their jerk handicap.

This has to be true for us, too. Truthfully, on the issues, Americans tend to identify more closely with democrats, especially domestic issues. We need to be vigilant, vote the issues and overlook the personality, at least in the general election. It is just too important. So, my friend, vote democrat in this race, and know that there will be another primary election in 18 months.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Limbaugh's Pitiful Attempt to Backpeddle

Yesterday I called my conservative Mother-in-Law to give her a little trouble about her hero and his meanspirited at best, cruel is more like it, attack on Michael J. Fox. Of course, she defended Rush, after all he is a cuddly, lovable, sweet prankster. Predictably she said that his remarks were taken out of context, that she had listened to the whole show and he wasn't attacking Fox but rather praising him for his courage (yeah, this woman has had some advanced spin and denial training).

The conversation degenerated, I said something to the effect of Rush being a hillbilly heroin addict and criminal picking on a man with a terrible disease. Gwen defended him again saying he had a medical problem and those were prescription drugs. I never had to use my housekeeper to purchase my prescription drugs on the street, but then I don't have a housekeeper or a need for oxycontin. When she said he wasn't a criminal I told her that innocent people don't cop a plea, and she said he didn't! Oh the lies! I told her he plead guilty to charges, she said that he did that to protect himself from the expense of defending himself against the charges and that he was innocent, and the DA couldn't make the case. She said that pleading guity doesn't mean a conviction. Ok, she is a nice lady but not exactly Matlock.

So I decided to go to Rush Limbaugh's website and get his story on the scandal and this is what I found:

Not exactly a stirring mea culpa. More like a "You people just twist my words, and attack my character, you whining liberal pinkos! Get over it!"

Poor Rush.

Nevada Governor's Race Gets Fugly

Republican Congressman (why is it that this label is now associated with the lowest in conduct and behavior?) and gubernatorial candidate Jim Gibbons can't seem to make it to the finish line without tripping over his own feet.

Last week he was accused of assaulting a woman in a parking lot.

This week THIS hit the news....

Best of luck in the private sector Mr. Gibbons.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Headlines and Commentary

Ok I have been up for three hours and I am finally getting to the business of reading the morning headlines and drinking my first cup of coffee. The coffee is very delicious, a bold "Thunderbolt" blend from Rio Grande Roasters, in my great big GOOD MORNING mug with three yellow packets and some milk. MMMMM. As usual the headlines range from pretty hilarious to pretty sad. Let's get going!


White House Denies Dramatic Iraq Policy Shift Yeah right, Bush is denying using the "Stay the Course" line, and relabelling "Cut and Run" to "Walk and Talk." This wonk wonders if Bush has picked up some writers from The Daily Show. Seriously, though, it has got to be hard to be selling this disaster of a war to the public...and this is just putting a different shade of lipstick on the same old pig. I don't envy them. I do laugh at them.

Opponent Denies Knocking Sen. Clinton's Looks This guy has a lot of nerve. True, the 70's were not Hillary's best decade, truth be told they weren't kind to many. I would kill to see a picture of this old coot in 70's fashion. I will say though that Hillary's current look, while not bad at all, looks a little like Shirley Jones from the Partridge Family, but it works for her.


Officer struck by Bush's cousin dies Yep, ole Johnny Walker (I promise I didn't make that one up!) hits a cop and the cop dies, but he didn't get tested for DUI. I wonder how many other people could get away with that.

New York Times:

General May Increase U.S. Troop Levels in Baghdad See, this is where the electorate gets confused. Stay the course, timed withdrawl, more troops, less troops, cut and run, walk and talk...who knows what is real anymore?

PC problems have slowed down the blog process today, plus one sick kid and one just making a mess, but I will be back with the "Naptime Report".