Friday, May 13, 2005

Republican Governor Speaks Against Grassroots Political Activity

Republican Governor Speaks Against Grassroots Political Activity

Attack on House Parties
From: DFA Blog
Vermont Governor James Douglas
has come out against Democracy for America's House Parties for Health Care, saying these community-driven gatherings, "raise the level of partisan discourse" and are "unconstructive." Funny, we happen to think raising the level of discourse in general is a good thing.
What will the GOP do next? Move to stop Americans from assembling?

He should talk

He should talk

Democrats blow clumps of snot from their noses that are bigger (and far more interesting) than this little guy.

We should be heartfully ashamed of having this sort of person being able to call himself one of the most powerful "statesmen"(?) in the nation. Anyone who could use these words about his colleagues is surely not a leader we can trust to get the work of the nation accomplished in the spirit of compromise or unity.

While his partisan cronies celebrate in a glitzy room with tuxedos and ballgowns and dine on their filet mignon and salmon, Joe Sixpack down on Main Street USA works harder (if he can find a job) and becomes poorer because of the policies shoved down his throat by the glitzy greedy Goobers.

John Edwards To Receive Award for Mission to Alleviate Poverty

John Edwards To Receive Award for His Mission to Alleviate Poverty

I have learned, from traya at the One America blog, that in conjunction with the One Table, Many Voices Conference (Jim Wallis' Call to Renewal) in early June, John Edwards will be this year's recipient of the Joseph Award, which honors individuals who faithfully use their positions of influence to benefit those in poverty.

A list of conference speakers is HERE.

The conference looks like a very educational one. See the agenda and sign up for the conference HERE if you're interested.

Bart Campolo will be one of the speakers at the conference. Bart's work is with Mission Year, which recruits young adults from around the country to live and work together as full-time Christian servants in poor inner-city neighborhoods.

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War We Wage in Iraq is Medicine For Illness Without Cure

War We Wage in Iraq is Medicine For Illness Without Cure

If a person is receiving strong chemotherapy for an agressive cancer, and while they are receiving the strongest drugs available, the cancer becomes more vicious and invasive, do you believe the medicine is working? Do you consider it a successful treatment? Hope is reduced to a prayer, and in the face of bitter reality, inevitable death arrives to meet the faith that lies within the terminally ill person's prayer.

How is this any different? I guess it depends on how you view the chances that a civil war in Iraq, which has surely broken out and has been fueled by hatred for our occupation, will destroy the chances for a united, inclusive Iraq with a successful and healthy democracy. Inevitable death of the dream of democracy for Iraq may be a reality if our medicine cannot provide the cure.

photo: Globe and Mail/Canada

Is the "illness" terminal? How will Sunni minds be changed while we destroy their infrastructure and tear their families apart with killing? Have we sabotaged our troops with the wrong policy? Have we gone about this in a way that will destroy our own (and Iraq's) chance for success? Are we hurting the Iraqi people more than we're helping?

Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, indicated yeterday that the insurgency could last for many more years - three to nine years. If there's one thing history can tell us, it's that the American public will not stand for a prolonged loss of troops and treasure over this.

I do not see that we are winning the minds of the Sunnis with our brand of 'medicine', and the war we are making upon their homes and persons is likened to the chemotherapy holding off the vicious inevitable.

How do we get out? How do we explain to the mothers and fathers / husbands and wives of soldiers who've sacrificed their lives that the war must have an endgame and that their sacrifice meant something of value? I really want to know.

I want our country to succeed while acting as a respectable and benevolent supporter of human rights and freedom. I have no trust left for the Bush team who planned this war. They have breached my trust by misleading us citizens (and our Representatives) all the way from the lead-up to the Iraq war to the present day.

What is the endgame?

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Quote of the Day - Thomas Jefferson

"History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government.

This marks the lowest grade of ignorance, of which their political as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purpose

- Thomas Jefferson



Whistleblower Group Wants Legal Protection For Whistleblowers

Led by Sibel Edmonds and joined by Daniel Ellsberg and Colleen Rowley, a new group calling themselves the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC)wants Congress to take action to enable whistleblowers to sue government retaliators in their personal and official capacities. They also wish to be able to bring suit against agencies for failure to follow up and rectify wrongdoing by employees after the whistle's been blown. The group is also asking for sufficient safeguards against whistleblower retaliation. Ms. Edmonds has said: "In recent years the number of national security whistleblowers has grown exponentially, so has the level of retaliation and harassment against these whistleblowers by the government." Edward Markey of Massachusetts, a senior Democratic member of the House of Representatives committee on homeland security, said he plans to introduce a bill to protect national security whistleblowers.

John Conyers Says Byron York Sidesteps Issue of 2004 Ohio Exit Polls

John Conyers has written an eye-opening column for Arianna Huffington about the 2004 Ohio election. Only those who do not wish to open their own eyes and hope no one else decides to open theirs will ignore this column (and they hope you will, too). He compares the Ohio exit poll realities to the strangely disparate Ohio election results and 'wonders' why National Review's White House correspondent Byron York has sidestepped the issue in his writings, as Conyers believes it's the "canary in the coal mine", sure as you're born.

'Give 'Em the Finger', Say Conservative Christian Political Coalitions
(Note: This is satire)

The Coalition for Traditional Values and other conservative Christian advocacy groups are encouraging concerned citizens to send wacky foam rubber fingers to their U.S. Senators, asking them to support President Bush’s nominees and to stop the unconstitutional filibustering of judges. LINK - The Swift Report

33 Major Military Insatllations Are Going Bye-Bye. 775 Smaller Locations Are Going, Too

Someone has to pay for the billions we've sunk into the ill-conceived and poorly planned Iraq War. The towns and cities who have received economic benefit from these military bases will suffer greatly.

Clinton and Murray Seek HHS Investigation into W. David Hager's Professional Conduct

W. David Hager's job has been to evaluate data and make recommendations on the safety and effectiveness of drugs for use in obstetrics. Before he was appointed to the reproductive drugs advisory panel by President Bush, Hager wrote books advocating reading Scripture as an appropriate treatment for PMS. (He'd not likely remain conscious for long if he were to suggest that to ME while in the throes of PMS, as I'd likely smash my big ol' Bible over his fat Punkin' Head.) He denied contraceptives to his patients unless they were married. He endorsed an assertion that the birth control pill is an abortifacient. It has recently been discovered that there was a videotaped sermon in which Hager admits he was asked to submit a memo to the FDA commissioner on why the agency should ignore the 23-to-4 committee vote in favor of approval of 'Plan B' and reject the application altogether. Sure enough, the official rejection that followed was for the reasons that Hager had suggested in the video. Yesterday, Hillary Clinton and Patty Murray asked HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt for an investigation into Hager's involvement with the Plan B decision. "We are concerned that the FDA's decision-making process is placing personal beliefs over science," they said. The Carpetbagger Report comments that, "true to form in Bush’s America, [Hager] will be promoted".

More Chan Chandlers? 'Parish' the Thought!

The carpetbagger Report has more on the removal of Chan Chandler from the Wakefield Baptist Church in East Waynesville, NC. It is suggested that religious conservatives hope to clear the way for a legally perfect path to enable them to harbor many more Chan Chandlers in their churches. Plenty of conservatives (sometimes called American Taliban by wry pundits) want to change existing tax law to allow pastors like Chan Chandler to engage in equally partisan behavior and generate similar controversies across the country. Carpetbagger Report says:
"..there’s a bill called the “Houses of Worship Free Speech Restoration Act” (H.R. 235) that would change the law to allow tax-exempt houses of worship to engage in blatantly partisan campaign activities. In fact, the bill was introduced by North Carolinian Walter Jones (R) and has received support from Rep. Charles Taylor (R), who happens to represent the district in which the East Waynesville Baptist Church resides. The funny thing is, the Chan Chandler controversy was so outrageous, no one’s defending it. It’s the kind of incident that might kill off the “Houses of Worship Free Speech Restoration Act” once and for all."

"You Da One"

Dave Johnson would like to remind you that YOU are the leaders you may be waiting around for.

Nuclear Option Will Probably Come Up Soon

Read Steve Benen's take on why we can expect the nuclear option to come up next week.

Senfronia, I Salute You

At Pam's House Blend, there is a statement from Texas House Representative Senfronia Thompson that is refreshingly honest. Speaking about a resolution which was sponsored by Rep. Warren Chisum, R-Pampa(TX), which would let Texas voters decide whether the constitution should be amended to say that marriage should be between a man and a woman, she says:
"I got second-hand textbooks even worse than the kind you're trying to pass off on every public school student next year. I had to ride to school on the back of the bus. I had to quench my thirst from filthy coloreds-only drinking fountains. I had to enter restaurants from the kitchen door. I was banned from entering most public accommodations, even from serving on a jury. I had to live with the fear that getting too uppity could get you killed --- or worse. I know what third-class citizenship feels like. In my first term, one of my colleagues walked up and down this aisle muttering about how Nigras should be back in the field picking cotton instead of picking out committees. So, I have to wonder about Rep. Chisum's "3/5 of a person" amendment. Some of you folks hid behind your Bible then, too, to justify your cultural prejudices, your denial of liberty, and your gunpoint robbery of human dignity."
Wow. I'm impressed. Senfronia is so bluntly honest. President Bush is blunt, too, so it's no political novelty. The difference, for me, is that Senfronia is blunt AND ideologically recognizable to my sense of reality, social justice, and truth. I'd love to see more like her in public service today. This is what grassroots politics is all about - keeping it real and watching out for the rights of citizens who are all too often made invisible and kept weak by the hidden discrimination and irrational public fear enabled by the conduct of politics-as-usual. I wrote to the Congresswoman today. You can write her, too - GO HERE.

Bernie Sanders on The Media

Bernie Sanders on The Media

"...let me tell you some of the concerns that I have with what's going on in the media today. Am I concerned that when I am asked to speak about an issue like Iraq, I get six seconds to respond? Yep. I'm concerned. Because I can't, and you can’t, and our panelists can't, and nobody can discuss an issue intelligently in a six-second sound bite, which is what dominates television, which is the most important medium in our country.

Am I concerned that, by definition, corporately-owned media is pro-corporate? Yeah, I am very concerned about that. We see the manifestations of that all over the place. We saw the difference between how the corporate media treated a moderate Democrat like Bill Clinton, as opposed to a conservative Republican like George Bush. We saw how they covered the lead up and the war in Iraq so that millions of Americans, in order to get unbiased news, had to go to the CBC in Canada or the BBC.

Am I concerned about that? I sure am. Am I concerned that the media seems to think that one of the major issues facing civilization today is the Michael Jackson case? Or maybe -- break it to you: Britney Spears is pregnant! It's true. And we'll have many months of discussion about that or the local trials or the horrible crimes. Am I concerned about that? I sure am.

But of all those concerns and many more, let me tell you what my deeper concern is. My concern is not just what the media reports or discusses and the slants that it has on the issues -- that's important -- but the deeper concern is what the media does not talk about.."

- Congressman Bernie Sanders (I-VT)

Transcript found at Democracy Now