Monday, September 19, 2005

Nat'l Voter ID Card Could Disenfranchise Millions

National Voter ID Card Could Disenfranchise Millions

At 10:35 am ET, President Bush will receive former President Carter and James Baker's election reform report. There's something contained within that report that is dismaying for any libertarian-leaning citizen to learn. Millions of Americans will likely be made ineligible to vote in elections should legislation be enacted to require national voter ID cards. It is believed that it would also inevitably disenfranchise minority voters, along with those who live in poverty and the elderly. In a shocking turn of events, Raw Story reports that a voting reform commission which has already taken heat for playing host to sham voting rights groups run by members of the Bush-Cheney campaign has now recommended the institution of a national voter ID card. What is particularly disturbing is that civil rights groups had essentially been barred from testifying about their concerns. You can the Commission on Federal Election Reform here (pdf).

UPDATE: Sens. Barack Obama (D-IL), Chris Dodd (D-CT), and Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) will hold a 2:15 pm ET press conference to voice their opposition to a recommendation made by the Carter-Baker Commission on Federal Election Reform which would require all Americans to show photo identification before voting. [Source:TheNote/ABC]

Hypocritical Times

Hypocritical Times

We're living in hypocritical times. We are aware that the US went into heavy deficits four years ago. The Bush administration has taken us to two wars - one in Afghanistan and the other in Iraq, but never saw a need to call for any personal sacrifice to carry the debtload of hundreds of millions of dollars each day. Instead of calling for sacrifice, tax breaks have been legislated for the benefit of the richest. Through our need to borrow, our own economy has come to depend on the kindness of communist nations like China to pay for our elective wars which we claim will "make the world safe for democracy." Meanwhile, the gap between rich and poor has widened. Poverty in America is on the rise while the Bush economy grows, taking on third-world characteristics. We see a staggering amount of concentrated wealth that recalls to us the memory of the pre-Depression days. Hurricane Katrina literally blew the lid off the issue of poverty and washed away the illusion that we didn't know that the problem of poverty existed. The truth is, we didn't act because we didn't want to look, as Sen John Edwards eloquently said today in his Center for American Progress speech on "Restoring the American Dream." The $3.oo per gallon we pay at the pump for our gas is a personal sacrifice - but only for the oil companies.

I want to know what happened to the America where caring citizens shared common traditional values and worked for the common good? Just about any issue you examine today leaves you with a sense that you're living as an island - in a vacuum where everything your leadership is telling you they're doing raises a distinct sense of hypocrisy when you look at the actual outcome of their actions.

Americans thirst for community - and they're becoming increasingly tired of the kind of political hypocrisy where one thing comes out of the President's lips, and another thing happens altogether.

Peter Daou: The Triangle

Peter Daou: The Triangle
Limits of Blog Power

Peter Daou of the Daou Report[]has written a piece on blogging and its political power and the limits of that power. As a Kerry advisor, he says he'd made his case as forcefully as he could on behalf of netroots organizing as a communications tour de force, but to a good extent, "the old guard" made it clear that it was too early in American political history for convincing them.

By defining "political influence" as the capacity to alter or create conventional wisdom, (conventional wisdom meaning a widely held belief on which most people act), Daou uses Hurricane Katrina and Ohio candidate-for-Congress Paul Hackett as prime examples of how a triangle of blogs, media, and the political establishment has been (and can be) an essential influence in creating a major shift of "conventional wisdom."

Daou offers his view of the confluence of the triangle construct (netroots + media + party establishment = Conventional Wisdom), and forwards the notion that, although media would get along just fine without bloggers - having a megaphone large enough to keep their corner as the gatekeepers of Conventional Wisdom - the bloggers' presence has thrown an undeniable monkey wrench in the spokes of their wheels.

From whence doth netroots power cometh? I'll use Peter Daou's words:
Reporters, pundits, and politicians read blogs, and, more importantly, they care what bloggers say about them because they know other reporters, pundits, and politicians are reading the same blogs. It’s a virtuous circle for the netroots and a source of political power.
I found agreement with Daou's view of the right blogosphere in that their primary strategic aim seems to be preventing the left from forming its own triangle, as they have done with Drudge-Fox News and the RNC (top-down strategy). Desperation shows when an unvarnished truth (such as that exposed by Katrina) appears, rendering their "conventional wisdom" as little more than a smoke screen - a "triangle-emperor with no clothing."

As far as the left is concerned, Daou says :
...left-leaning bloggers face the challenge of a mass media consumed by the shop-worn narrative of Bush the popular, plain-spoken leader, and a Democratic Party incapacitated (for the most part) by the focus-grouped fear of turning off "swing voters" by attacking Bush. For the progressive netroots, the past half-decade has been a Sisyphean loop of scandal after scandal melting away as the media and party establishment remain disengaged.
and he offers some advice:
It would seem reasonable to conclude, then, that the best strategy for the progressive netroots is to go after the media and Democratic Party leaders and spend less time and energy attacking the Bush administration. If the netroots alone can’t change the political landscape without the participation of the media and Democratic establishment, then there’s no point wasting precious online space blasting away at Republicans while the other sides of the triangle stand idly by.
If I were to throw in any additional advice, it would be for left-bloggers to continue to contribute and forward constructive ideas about respective issues, because someone is definitely listening and may be interested or influenced by those ideas.

When Karl Rove Speaks

When Karl Rove Speaks...

...people listen to (and tell about) what the influential gasbag is saying.

Middle Class Taxpayers Will Lose American Dream

Paying for Katrina:
Middle Class Taxpayers Will Lose American Dream

On Katrina rebuilding:
"It's going to cost whatever it costs," [President] Bush said [last Friday.] Allan Hubbard, Bush's economic adviser, was equally blunt when asked who will pay: "The money ... is going to come from the federal taxpayer." [USA Today]
Do the math, whiz kids. Unless Bush tax cuts are rolled back now, you middle-class taxpayers are going to bear the brunt of this thing - and so will your children. Bush says he's confident that "we" can handle it - meaning you, the taxpayer. Are you so sure? Tom Delay admits there's no more federal spending to cut. "No appreciable fat", he says, as if he's talking about Kate Moss instead of your government.

This is where the rubber meets the road - and Karl Rove is drunk with power at the wheel. I can see us going off the road, Middle Class taxpayers, and what will be derailed, by the undue burden put upon you, is your American dream.

Call for Bush tax rollbacks now - before it's too late. Demand a realistic and transparent plan to rebuild New Orleans and end the poverty that pervaded the city before the Hurrican ever came close.

John Edwards to Give Speech on Poverty

John Edwards to Give Speech on Poverty

Today at 1:15 pm ET at the Center for American Progress, Sen. John Edwards will discuss the structural poverty that was exposed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and how the country needs to seize this opportunity to take the steps necessary to fight poverty and expand opportunities for everyone in our country. For more information, click here. [from-OneAmerica]

Watch the One America website for my summary of and thoughts on John Edwards' speech.

CYA on WMD Tied Military's Hands in Iraq

CYA on WMD Tied Military's
Hands in Iraq

"I was in meetings where (General John) Abizaid was pounding on the table trying to get some help," says a senior military officer.
This is just one of the sad and shocking facts revealed in the most recent Time magazine [The Secret History of How the U.S. Misjudged the Enemy in Iraq], showing that the Bush administration was trying so hard to cover their asses on WMD that our military was barred from obtaining important intelligence to help them fight the insurgency because it wasn't "the priority."

I'm furious - and if you're not, then you are not paying attention.

Iraq's missing $1billion

Iraq's missing $1billion
One of the largest thefts in history
One billion dollars has been plundered from Iraq's defence ministry in one of the largest thefts in history, The Independent can reveal, leaving the country's army to fight a savage insurgency with museum-piece weapons. [Independent]