Saturday, April 30, 2005

Kerry Fights Government Propaganda!

In 1949, George Orwell (1903-1950) wrote of a "dystopia" where lies were truth, war was peace, and news was manufactured by the government.

Cover of George Orwell's 1984

In an excerpt from 1984, the process of the creation of government propaganda is described:
And the Records Department, after all, was itself only a single branch of the Ministry of Truth, whose primary job was not to reconstruct the past but to supply the citizens of Oceania with newspapers, films, textbooks, telescreen programs, plays, novels-with every conceivable kind of information, instruction, or entertainment, from a statue to a slogan, from a lyric poem to a biological treatise, and from a child's spelling book to a Newspeak dictionary. And the Ministry had not only to supply the multifarious needs of the Party, but also to repeat the whole operation at a lower level for the benefit of the proletariat. There was a whole chain of separate departments dealing with proletarian literature, music, drama, and entertainment generally. Here were produced rubbishy newspapers, containing almost nothing except sport, crime, and astrology, sensational five-cent novelettes, films oozing with sex, and sentimental songs which were composed entirely by mechanical means on a special kind of kaleidoscope known as a versificator.
But with life imitating art, this President has led an Administration intent on avoiding access to the President by newspersons, denying the public information, and even manufacturing the news.

The similarities have been so amazing that Daniel Kurtzman has suggested that President Bush should be charged with plagiarism! In a very biting article, Kurtzman states:
As President Bush wages his war against terrorism and moves to create a huge homeland security apparatus, he appears to be borrowing heavily, if not ripping off ideas outright, from George Orwell. The work in question is "1984, " the prophetic novel about a government that controls the masses by spreading propaganda, cracking down on subversive thought and altering history to suit its needs. It was intended to be read as a warning about the evils of totalitarianism -- not a how-to manual.
Only now, under threat of a Freedom of Information lawsuit, have photographs of hundreds of caskets been released to the public.

It was this Administration that facilitated a phony reporter named James D. Guckert aka Jeff Gannon, in the White House Press Pool who would lob the President leading questions.

It was this Administration who paid Armstrong Williams $241,000, to write propaganda supportive of President Bush and "No Child Left Behind".

And when Jack Higgins, the Inspector General of the Department of Education, tries to investigate the Administration's funding of Armstrong, the Bush Administration blocks him and prevents him from getting the facts. As was explained:
But White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said the department's inspector general, who is investigating, lacks the authority to interview White House staff.
But perhaps the most egregious violation of the anti-propaganda laws has been the issuing of pre-packaged "video news releases" (VNR), that appear to be actual news and have been run as news in the main stream media.

Even the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has rebuked this Administration. As Comptroller General David M. Walker stated:
Within the last year, the GAO, the investigative arm of Congress, has rapped the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the Department of Health and Human Services for distributing prepackaged news stories that do not disclose within the story that the government is the source of the material.

"[T]elevision-viewing audiences did not know that stories they watched on television news programs about the government were, in fact, prepared by the government," Walker wrote. "We concluded that those prepackaged news stories violated the publicity or propaganda prohibition."

But the Bush Administration continues to spin the news. President Bush stated:
"It's deceptive to the American people if it's not disclosed," Bush told the American Society of Newspaper Editors on Thursday. "But it's incumbent upon people who use them to say, 'This news clip was produced by the federal government.'"
But in fact, the government didn't do this at all. In fact, with more phony reporters a la Jeff Gannon, they released videos that appeared to intentionally mislead the American people:
The Office of National Drug Control Policy, for example, released a series of videos in which a narrator, sometimes identified as "Karen Ryan," said she was "reporting" on the office's activities. Separately, the Health and Human Services Department's Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services produced video news releases, also narrated by "Karen Ryan," touting changes to Medicare.

The tapes were offered to local television stations for news programs. Some stations aired the videos without identifying their government origins.
At the White House, the spin continued:
The White House Office of Management and Budget on March 11 countered that the GAO report "fails to recognize the distinction between covert propaganda and purely informational video news reports."

And what about Senator Kerry? Has John Kerry had anything to say or do about this?

Senator Kerry, on his government website states:
“I am really looking forward to the hearing on our bill. The American people deserve to know that they're not just watching the administration's spin on their local newscasts -- they're paying for it, too. It’s one thing to watch Jon Stewart on television. It’s another to imitate him with Americans' hard-earned tax dollars. In a time of record-budget deficits, we need to address this abuse of the public trust and waste of money,”
As reported by the Kerry site on April 28, 2005:
Today, Senators Frank R. Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) introduced legislation to address “covert propaganda” produced by the government. The legislation would require all “prepackaged news stories,” or video news releases, produced by the Administration to contain a disclosure of the source of the material.
Thank you Senator Kerry! The Freedom of the Press guaranteed to every American generation, must be preserved. Thomas Jefferson said it best, when commenting on the corrupt governments of the past who have abused the press to advance their own political agendas. He stated:
" The most effectual engines for [pacifying a nation] are the public papers... [A despotic] government always [keeps] a kind of standing army of newswriters who, without any regard to truth or to what should be like truth, [invent] and put into the papers whatever might serve the ministers. This suffices with the mass of the people who have no means of distinguishing the false from the true paragraphs of a newspaper." --Thomas Jefferson to G. K. van Hogendorp, Oct. 13, 1785. (*) ME 5:181, Papers 8:632

America Deserves Better! Keep up the fight John! We have your back!


Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Feeling the Guillotine of an Election

Photo of Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI had the chance to speak to German Pilgrims yesterday and discussed his feelings about his election to be Pope:
"As the trend in the ballots slowly made me realize that — in a manner of speaking, the guillotine would fall on me — I started to feel quite dizzy," he said.
Some Guillotine! The blade falls and you become Pope! What a punishment.

It is ironic that Pope Benedict should be thinking about the guillotine. Especially after serving for 18 years on the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Catholic Committee the in its prior incarnation was known as the Office of the Inquisition. Heretics were not routinely beheaded during the Inquisition but suffered from the "Act of Faith":
The final scene of the Inquisitorial process was the Act of Faith (an auto-da-fé in Spain and 16th-century Italy, sermo generalis in the early days of the Papal Inquisition). Often, the accused did not hear their sentence until the day of the auto (those that were sentenced to death would be told the night before).

The Act of Faith was held in public, typically in a town square or (in Italy), inside a local church. They were often huge public spectacles. In 1660, an auto-da-fé held in Seville lasted for three days, and was attended by 100,000 people. On June 30, 1680, an auto-da-fé held in Madrid lasted for 14 hours, and had 50,000 spectators. The longest part of the auto-da-fé was the reading of sentences. With often hundreds of convicted heretics, the sentencing could take many hours.

Once the sentences had been read, those sentenced to death were led to the place of burning (quemadero in Spanish). Those that repented after being sentenced to death would be offered the courtesy of being garroted to death before being burned. Those that refused to recant (often Cathar perfecti, Lutherans and Calvinists in Italy and Spain, etc.) were burned alive

Ratzinger became known as the "Enforcer" and his record included:
Theologians disciplined, such as Fr. Charles Curran, an American moral theologian who advocates a right to public dissent from official church teaching; Fr. Matthew Fox, an American known for his work on creation spirituality; Sr. Ivone Gebara, a Brazilian whose thinking blends liberation theology with environmental concerns; and Fr. Tissa Balasuriya, a Sri Lankan interested in how Christianity can be expressed through Eastern concepts;

Movements blocked, such as liberation theology and, more recently, religious pluralism (the drive to affirm other religions on their own terms);

Progressive bishops hobbled, including Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen of Seattle, reproached by Rome for his tolerance of ministry to homosexuals and his involvement in progressive political causes, and Bishop Dom Pedro Casaldáliga of Sao Félix, Brazil, criticized for his political engagement beyond the borders of his own diocese;

Episcopal conferences brought to heel on issues such as inclusive language and their own teaching authority;

The borders of infallibility expanded, to include such disparate points as the ban on women’s ordination and the invalidity of ordinations in the Anglican church.
But it was our own Senator John Kerry who felt the blade of the guillotine of Cardinal Ratzinger. As reported:
In a June 2004 letter to US bishops enunciating principles of worthiness for communion recipients, Ratzinger specified that strong and open supporters of abortion should be denied the Catholic sacrament, for being guilty of a "grave sin."

He specifically mentioned "the case of a Catholic politician consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws," a reference widely understood to mean Democratic candidate Kerry, a Catholic who has defended abortion rights.

The letter said a priest confronted with such a person seeking communion "must refuse to distribute it."

A footnote to the letter also condemned any Catholic who votes specifically for a candidate because the candidate holds a pro-abortion position. Such a voter "would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for holy communion," the letter read.

The letter, which was revealed in the Italian magazine L'Espresso last year, was reportedly only sent to US Catholic bishops, who discussed it in their convocation in Denver, Colorado, in mid-June.
And American Bishops toed the line.

It was reported just prior to the election how the Bishops were getting out the word on the required issues for the Catholic voter. It was related how Archbishop Chaput of Colorado lobbied for President Bush:
For Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, the highest-ranking Roman Catholic prelate in Colorado, there is only one way for a faithful Catholic to vote in this presidential election, for President Bush and against Senator John Kerry.

"The church says abortion is a foundational issue,'' the archbishop explained to a group of Catholic college students gathered in a sports bar here in this swing state on Friday night. He stopped short of telling them whom to vote for, but he reminded them of Mr. Kerry's support for abortion rights. And he pointed out the potential impact his re-election could have on Roe v. Wade.
So Thank You Pope Benedict XVI. You imagine the feel of the guillotine, and forget what your activity has done in America. You helped re-elect President Bush. A President who wages wars the Vatican doesn't approve of. Who was the leading capital punishment Governor in the United States while your Church opposed Capital Punishment. And who defiles the environment, failing to protect the trees, the water, and the air we breathe.

It was John Kerry who felt the blade of the guillotine while you just imagined it. His candidacy failed at the edges because he failed to capture the Catholic vote which should have been his.

Senator Kerry, keep on fighting for us. We have your back AND your neck!


Bush Visits Galveston to Sell Social Security Privatization

Photo of President Bush traveling with his dog Barney to Galveston
As reported by the New York Times, Bush chose the trip to Galveston:
"...because of county employees' decision 25 years ago to opt out of Social Security in favor of private retirement accounts. Two neighboring counties later adopted the same approach."
Bush stated:
''What's important here is the philosophy behind what Galveston County is doing,'' Bush said. ''You can own your own asset and watch it grow .... but also you get a better rate of return and you trust people.''
Trust? Own your "own asset"? In reality, the Galveston program, like any of the privatization programs advocated by the Republicans, is better for the wealthy and worse for the poor. In other words, those that need this protection the most will be losing the greatest benefit in the word of "reform." The only people that will not worry about "trust" will be the wealthy. Sound familiar?

As the Washington Post pointed out:
The Texas plan has proved to be a boon to most middle- and upper-income workers, who enjoy more flexibility and greater benefits than they would have under Social Security. But independent studies have concluded that low-income workers often do worse than they would have under Social Security.

In fact, a 1999 study of the Galveston Plan by the Social Security Administration showed that individuals and family of the highest income groups did fairly well with privatization, but the benefit deteriorated with time and was the worst with those of the least means. I have cut and pasted in a graph from the Galveston study that illustrates this problem clearly.

America needs a compassionate leader who cares about those with the least in their bank accounts and who doesn't sacrifice benefits for the needy to bolster the wallets of the rich. The problem is trust. We need a leader in America who restores our trust for government. Not betrays it.


'and your little dog, too'

For Tuesday morning, if your day is starting a little slow, read this. (Scroll down to those beautiful legs!) :)


Sunday, April 24, 2005

"Justice Sunday": Is there Justice in America?

For our Republican friends, Justice means getting their way.

Justice means have 100% of judicial nominees confirmed by the Senate even if you have only 55% of the vote.

Justice for them implies the "nuclear option", the elimination of filibustering by their Democrat counterparts.

Justice for Republicans means lifting the burden of the wealthy. Reducing their taxes and preventing the Government from taxing the multi-million dollar estates.

Justice for Republicans means making sure that their view of religion, Evangelical Christianity, is inserted into our schools, into our lives, and into our government. Justice for them means denying women the right to medication if the Pharmacist finds it is against his own religious framework to do so.

Justice for Republicans means limiting free speech. Penalizing newscasters and talk-show hosts who cross lines into areas that are uncomfortable for the Religious Right.

Justice for Republicans means suppressing scientific investigation. Denying the existence of Evolution because it conflicts with the Bible.

Justice for Republicans means yielding to Religious Right viewpoints that means advocating condom use in Africa should be prevented, because birth control in their view is immoral. Justice for Republicans results in the spread of HIV in Africa and the death and suffering of millions.

Justice for Republicans means holding back the Scientific investigation into disease treatments. Justice for Republicans holds the value of embryos frozen in liquid nitrogen ahead of the value of the cure to diseases that these embryos destined for the trash heap might just yield.

Justice for Republicans means ineffective abstinence education that results in kids having more sex and more unprotected sex than ever. Justice is not about education at all. Justice means punishing schools that are doing poorly by reducing their funding. Removing the support to the schools that need it the most. Leaving many children 'behind'.

Justice for Republicans means subverting our First Amendment Freedoms by publishing "video news releases", violating what the Inspector General states is propaganda laws designed to protect Americans from this abuse.

Justice for Republicans means whitewashing torture in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo. About having the Army investigate itself and then blame it all on a Woman General.

Justice for Republicans means holding American citizens and foreigners without charges in Guantanamo in horrific conditions, with no known release date, no trial, and no attorneys.

Justice for Republicans means relaxing pollution laws, swapping mercury pollution "rights" back and forth, and appointing lobbyists to regulator positions.

Justice for Republicans means starting wars on false pretenses and then changing your rationale when your original reason is found meaningless.

Justice for Republicans means dropping out of International treaties on Justice, Global Warming, and Missile Proliferation.

Justice for Republicans means undermining Social Security, pitting young against old, and lying about how privatizing which removes funds from this program will help in its protection.

So nothing really surprised me today about "Justice Sunday". We know what Republicans think of Justice.

It is time for the Republicans in power to learn that America understands Justice better than they do! That America yearns for a Justice that protects the young, educates the ignorant, heals the sick, protects the environment, loves our neighbor, seeks to end war and not shock and awe, and support the cure of disease with the full force of our government supporting and not hindering scientific investigation.

John Kerry, Justice calls out to you! It will be Justice to have you elected in 2008! Keep up the good fight! We have your back.


Saturday, April 23, 2005

"Humpty-Dumpty" Sunday!

Humpty Dumpty from "Foundations" Website

Lewis Carroll had it right when in Through the Looking Glass he had Humpty Dumpty explain his "control" of words:
`I don't know what you mean by "glory,"' Alice said.

Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. `Of course you don't -- till I tell you. I meant "there's a nice knock-down argument for you!"'

`But "glory" doesn't mean "a nice knock-down argument,"' Alice objected.

`When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less.'

`The question is,' said Alice, `whether you can make words mean so many different things.'

`The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, `which is to be master - - that's all.'
Republicans in this country have been good at putting things backwards and inside out. Orwellian Rhetoric becomes the norm.

No child left behind becomes every public school undermined.

Social Security reform means the destruction of Social Security.

Clean Air Act becomes more polluted air.

Healthy Forests means cutting down trees.

And now "Justice" Sunday means more intolerance. Means less justice for this nation.

Hey John Kerry, Our nation has President Humpty Dumpty! Our freedom is teetering on that wall and who shall be able to put it all back together again!


Friday, April 22, 2005

A Great Sadness On Earth Day 2005

Photo of President Bush

President Bush was prevented from celebrating Earth Day in the Smokies by the mighty forces of nature which threated lightning and hail. Was God speaking to the President once again?

Bush claims to want to be "responsible steward", stating at a White House ceremony:
“One of the greatest responsibilities in a free society is responsible stewardship of our natural environment,” Bush said at the White House ceremony. “All of you have taken that duty seriously. You have set a clear and strong example, and you’re inspiring others to do their part.”
On Earth Day, April 22, 2002, President Bush had this to say:
Americans have reached a great consensus about the protection on the environment, we've come to understand the success of a generation is not defined by wealth alone. We want to be remembered for our material progress, no question about it, but we also want to be remembered for the respect we give to our natural world.
And yet what is the record of this Administration on the Environment?

As reviewed:

There is ample data affirming that the Bush administration's destructive policies have had a significant negative effect on our nation's environment. The facts are clear. The figures above and below, largely drawn from the administration's own data, show that environmental protection declining precipitously.

Toxic Releases Are Up

After years of consistent decline, the most recent annual inventory of industrial toxic releases shows an increase of 5 percent in the release of toxic substances into our air, water, and land. Data released in June 2004 document toxic releases from industrial facilities of nearly 4.8 billion pounds.

Environmental Enforcement Is Down

EPA data documents a 75 percent decline in the number of federal lawsuits filed against companies violating national environmental laws in the first three years of the Bush administration as compared to the last three years of the Clinton administration. Civil citations for polluters are down 57 percent since 2001, and criminal prosecutions have fallen 17 percent.

Pollution-Related Beach Closings Are Up

The EPA reports a 36 percent increase in annual beach closings due to unsafe water quality since 2001. Sewage contamination is an important and growing part of the problem.

Mercury Contamination Warnings Are Up

A total of 2,348 fish consumption advisories for mercury contamination were issued in 45 states in 2003. Seventy-six percent of fish samples from U.S. lakes were found to contain mercury levels unsafe for children 3 years old and younger to eat twice a week, according to the EPA. Every year more than 600,000 newborns may have been exposed to levels of mercury exceeding EPA health standards while still in the womb.

Hazardous Waste Cleanups Are Down

The pace of completed cleanups of Superfund hazardous waste sites, which increased dramatically in the later years of the Clinton era, has declined 52 percent since 2001, according to the EPA's own estimates. The Bush administration has refused to seek renewal of the Superfund clean-up tax on polluting industries, allowing the fund effectively to go bankrupt. The EPA reported 34 unfunded Superfund cleanups in 19 states in 2004.

Perchlorate Contamination Is Widespread

Perchlorate, a toxic rocket fuel additive, is leaching out from military dumps and contaminating the drinking water of more than 20 million Americans. More than 90 percent of lettuce and milk sampled nationwide showed levels of perchlorate that may be unsafe for children. Despite recommendations from scientific experts at the EPA to severely reduce perchlorate contamination, the Bush administration has refused to take action.

Dirtier Air, Longer

In September 2004, EPA's inspector general concluded that the agency was not making sufficient progress in reducing the pollutants that cause ozone smog in the nation's population centers. According to EPA data, 159 million Americans (55 percent of our population) now live in areas with hazardous smog levels and 100 million people live in areas that violate the EPA's new pollution standards for harmful soot.

Less Oversight of Refineries

There has been a 52 percent decrease in EPA clean air inspections at refinerie since 2001, and a 68 percent reduction in the number of notices of violations issued to refineries over the same period.

Until recently, our environmental laws and the infrastructure for their enforcement were a model for the world and a tremendous success in improving our quality of life and protecting our health. But today, with its foundations under assault from within, our system for environmental protection is becoming less effective and less credible with each passing day. As evidenced by the statistics above, our environment, our quality of life, and our health are suffering as a result.

But how could this have happened? What is going on in America?

One of the main instruments of this environmental destruction has been the appointment of business lobbyists to regulate the very industries they were previously representing. One cannot have the fox watching the chicken house for too long without consequences.

As a story from Newsday last year reported:
The Bush administration has given key regulatory jobs to executives like Henshaw, representatives of the same companies that face regulation, Newsday found. At the Agriculture Department, which manages the national forest system, a former lobbyist for the timber industry is now an undersecretary and at the Food and Drug Administration a former tobacco and drug company lawyer is the general counsel.

Those appointments raise the question of whether public authority ought to be dominated by private interests, said Harvard University ethics professor Kenneth Winston.

Yet experts agree that the appointments violate no laws and breach no ethics guidelines, which are narrowly drawn to address specific personal gain at the expense of the public.

Instead, the experts say, the appointments cast in sharp relief the priorities of a presidential administration, because personnel is policy.In rolling back a wide variety of new or proposed rules, Bush appointees are achieving what they view as an important goal of eliminating burdensome regulation and freeing companies to grow.

John Kerry and Earth Day are inseparable. John Kerry spoke and helped organize the original Earth Day Celebration in 1970. Twenty years later he chaired Earth Day New England. John Kerry received a '96' score in the League of Conservation Voters rating. No other candidate has ever been ranked as highly in terms of defense of the environment.

America needs new leadership! Our Air and Water demand our attention and care. Stewardship is not about exploitation of resources. Conservation is about conserving the trees, the water, the land and the air we breathe for all generations to come! Keep fighting for us Senator Kerry! Keep fighting for Earth Day and real stewardship coming from Washington D.C.! America deserves better!


Thursday, April 21, 2005

John Kerry Video for America: Defend America's Values!

Click here to get to the video just released by for all interested Americans!

Thank you Senator Kerry! You have heard our call for leadership for America and have stepped up to the plate. Now it is time for all of the rest of us to join with Kerry in defending America from those that would dismantle our judges and blur the lines of religion and government. America deserves better!


Wednesday, April 20, 2005

DeLay DeNies DeTruth!

Tom DeLay Photo

Tom DeLay is going on the offensive. That is he is acting offensive.

He is now going after Justice Anthony Kennedy, an appointee to the United States Supreme Court by President Reagan in 1988.

Delay has stated:
"We've got Justice Kennedy writing decisions based upon international law, not the Constitution of the United States. That's just outrageous, and not only that, he said in session that he does his own research on the Internet. That is just incredibly outrageous,"
Tom DeLay is outrageous.

Justice Kennedy's majority opinion did not depend on International Law to make the decision. International Law was just used as a confirmation that the Court had reached an appropriate decision on the question of "cruel and unusual" punishment:
In saying that this strong expression of international sentiment "provide[s] respected and significant confirmation for our own conclusions," Kennedy lengthened the recent string of decisions in which the court has incorporated foreign views -- and decisively rejected the arguments of those on the court, led by Scalia, who say it should consider U.S. law exclusively.

Americans have a history of using Europe as a guide for our own Government. In a United States government website, the basis of our own government, and the role that the Magna Carta (1215) and other European traditions played in our own traditions and laws is described:
After independence, as they set about creating union and government, they relied on two sources of thought -- classic English political theory, and their own experiences. In the Articles of Confederation, the United States' first constitution, the framers relied more on theory, and aimed at creating a federal government that would avoid the problems associated with a strong central government, the very problem that had led to their revolt from Great Britain.
Americans have drawn upon England, Greece and Rome in understanding laws and government. Why should our Justices today be discouraged or even prohibited at considering international law when interpreting our own Constitution today?

DeLay continued his threats against the Judiciary:

"We've already passed six bills limiting the jurisdiction of the court in the last two years. They haven't gotten through the Senate but we're starting this body of thought. We have the opportunity to set up courts, we can also dismantle courts and re-organize them. We passed an amendment in September breaking up that leftist court in San Francisco, the 9th Circuit. We have plenty of opportunities and ways to hold the judiciary accountable,"
Dismantle courts? Re-organize courts? Maybe Majority Leader Tom DeLay is thinking about his successful "re-organization" of the Congressional Districts in Texas that already has gotten him into hot water!

Alexander Hamilton, in Federalist Papers 78 and 79, explained the importance of an independent judiciary in protecting against the dangers of legislative powers (had he foreseen Delay?):
If then the courts of justice are to be considered as the bulwarks of a limited constitution against legislative encroachments, this consideration will afford a strong argument for the permanent tenure of judicial offices, since nothing will contribute so much as this to that independent spirit of judges, which must be essential to the faithful performance of so arduous a duty.
Tom Delay's threats against the Judiciary must be stopped! Since 1803, in Marbury v. Madison, the Judiciary has been the final arbiter of the Constitutionality of Congressional Acts and actions. As pointed out again the United States website:
The critical importance of Marbury is the assumption of several powers by the Supreme Court. One was the authority to declare acts of Congress, and by implication acts of the president, unconstitutional if they exceeded the powers granted by the Constitution. But even more important, the Court became the arbiter of the Constitution, the final authority on what the document meant. As such, the Supreme Court became in fact as well as in theory an equal partner in government, and it has played that role ever since.

The Court would not declare another act of Congress unconstitutional until 1857, and it has used that power sparingly. But through its role as arbiter of the Constitution, it has, especially in the twentieth century, been the chief agency for the expansion of individual rights.
Tom DeLay and those who support him are dangerous to the very freedoms we cherish in this nation. He seeks to "dumb-down" our courts, preventing them from using the wisdom of the greatest legal minds around the world if they are not located in this country. He attacks the independence of the Judiciary and threatens to dismantle the courts or reorganize them.

Senator Kerry! America is calling out for your leadership today! America needs a President who respects all three branches of our Government. Who does not provide cover for DeMagogues like Mr. DeLay. The future of America is at risk. Our very freedom is being threatened! America is calling!


White House: "Trumped" by Democrats?

The White House is not happy with the Senate dragging its feet on the Bolton Nomination to be the Ambassador to the United Nations.

As reported today, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan had this to say:
I think what you have are Democratic members of the committee who continue to bring up unsubstantiated accusations. These allegations are unfounded..."

Oh really?

What about the testimony of a former Assistant Secretary of State in your Administration, Carl Ford, Jr., who described Mr. Bolton as:
"a serial abuser" and "a quintessential kiss-up, kick-down sort of guy."
This conservative Republican testified that:
...a red-faced, finger-waving tirade that Bolton launched against a State Department biological weapons analyst who disagreed with him left the analyst in fear of losing his job and sent a chill through the State Department's intelligence branch. Ford said he fended off efforts by Bolton to dismiss the analyst and that the episode so concerned the department's analysts that then-Secretary of State Colin Powell made a visit to the intelligence shop to bolster morale.
This was not testimony of a Democrat. This was the testimony of a former Assistant Secretary of State in the President Bush Administration. A Republican.

America deserves better. America needs a President who believes in working with our allies and the United Nations and not belittling that Institution by sending a John Bolton to be our Ambassador. America needs a Press Secretary who doesn't attack politicians when one of their own Senators, Voinovich of Ohio, balks at going along with the game plan because of the profoundly disturbing testimony.

Thank you Senator Kerry for your work on our behalf! Keep up the good fight. We have your back.


A "Letter to the Editor" on Kerry

For this post, I would like to share with you a letter to the editor written by Joshua Birkenhauer, published April 18, 2005, in the Palladium-Item, of Richmond, Indiana:
John Kerry lost the election to a wartime incumbent president who unfairly portrayed him as an unpatriotic ultra-liberal veteran. He was smeared by swift boat veterans who were later discredited on every major news outlet. The majority of the public did not know the real John Kerry because of these false accusations.

The real John Kerry is a patriotic veteran who lives and breathes for his country. He is not the most liberal senator or dishonorably fought for the country. The crewmates Kerry put his life on the line for witnessed with their very own eyes his heroic move to save his fellow solider. The veterans who never fought with Kerry made libel accusations against him. People believed he was only one voice testifying in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in reality he was a passionate voice for over a thousand veterans who could not fight for themselves. In the Senate, he continued the fight by helping out those in need. He was for the hardworking citizens of America, peace and prosperity. He fought to make sure every child has healthcare and the opportunity for a great education.

The nation did not realize these things, but it did not stop him. Recently, he proposed a bill to help out the military by increasing benefits and strengthening the military force. He battled hard to help the environment. He fulfilled his promises and will continue to fight for America.

Thank you Joshua! I couldn't have said it any better. But those of the Swift Boat ilk don't really know Senator Kerry do they? Senator Kerry is back on his feet and fighting for all of us! America is fortunate to have leaders like Kerry in these difficult times. And John Kerry is lucky to have supporters like you who write letters on his behalf!


Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Thank you Senator Voinovich!

Senator George Voinovich (R-OH)

Thank you Senator Voinovich! It takes an act of courage to stand on principle in the face of partisan politics.

Voinovich today backed off of the Republican Party line on Bolton. Even he became sickened by the continued testimony of the inappropriate behavior.

According to the news story:
"I've heard enough today that I don't feel comfortable about voting for Mr. Bolton," Ohio Sen. George Voinovich (news, bio, voting record) said, stunning fellow Republicans who were set to push the contentious nomination through the committee on a party-line vote.
Contact Senator Voinovich and let him know that America stands with him!

As a result of Senator Voinovich's action, Senator Lugar has delayed the vote on John Bolton until after the Senate returns from a one week recess in early May.

We live in difficult times and America needs courageous politicians from all of its political parties!


George W. Bush has a Lincoln 'Problem'

New Lincoln Museum opens in Springfield.

President Bush attended the opening of the new Abraham Lincoln Museum today. He had this to say about his admiration for President Lincoln:
"When his life was taken, Abraham Lincoln assumed a greater role in the story of America than man or president," he said. "Every generation has looked up to him as the Great Emancipator, the hero of unity and martyr of freedom."

He added: "To understand the life and the sacrifice of Abraham Lincoln is to understand the meaning and promise of America."
In fact, in dealing with Iraq, President Bush has made some explanations that are diametrically opposed to what President Lincoln had to say about pre-emptive war! President Bush, during the 2004 campaign, explained why attacking Iraq was necessary:
"After September 11, our object in the war on terror is not to wait for the next attack and respond, but to prevent attacks by taking the fight to the enemy," he said.

"Tyrants and terrorists will not give us polite notice before they launch an attack on our country. I refuse to stand by while dangers gather."
But what would Lincoln have to say about President George W. Bush? Mario Cuomo wrote about President Lincoln and his views on pre-emptive war. In a recent story, Cuomo quoted Lincoln:
Allow the President to invade a neighboring nation, whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so, whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such purpose - and you allow him to make war at pleasure. Study to see if you can fix any limit to his power in this respect, after you have given him so much as you propose. If, to-day, he should choose to say he thinks it necessary to invade Canada, to prevent the British from invading us, how could you stop him? You may say to him, "I see no probability of the British invading us" but he will say to you "be silent; I see it, if you don't."
Cuomo, a Lincoln scholar doesn't think that Lincoln would approve of the Bush Administration. He stated:

"He would have fought the war in Afghanistan" rather than diverting the Afghan resources into Iraq. He would have urged President Bush to continue, at least for a while longer, the diplomacy needed to create a coalition with the United Nations to convince Saddam to remove himself from power. And he would never agree with a domestic tax cut that benefits only the top 2 percent of Americans.
But this isn't the first time that this President has tried to tie his name to our nations's 16th President.

Picture of President Bush on the deck of the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln in front of the "Mission Accomplished" banner.

On May 1st 2003, President Bush made his now famous landing on the deck of the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln to announce the "end of hostilities". He stated:
Thank you. Thank you all very much.

Admiral Kelly, Captain Card (ph), officers and sailors of the USS Abraham Lincoln, my fellow Americans, major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.


We all know that was another of his blunders. In fact at that time only 137 American deaths had been reported in Iraq.

Since the "Mission Accomplished" travesty, as of April 18, 2005, there have been 1,422 American deaths. Major combat operations are not over.

And, in fact, the Iraq conflict is degenerating into a Civil War. A war between Sunni, Shiite, and Kurds. This Civil War that we are involving ourselves in is tearing our nation apart as well.

Portrait of President Lincoln.

Once again, the words of Lincoln are pertinent: As Lincoln stated, in his now famous Gettysburg Address:
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure.
That is the challenge for America! We truly are involved in a Civil Iraq! and it isn't our own! We start pre-emptive war on false pretenses, as the President first explained:
The threat comes from Iraq. It arises directly from the Iraqi regime's own actions -- its history of aggression, and its drive toward an arsenal of terror. Eleven years ago, as a condition for ending the Persian Gulf War, the Iraqi regime was required to destroy its weapons of mass destruction, to cease all development of such weapons, and to stop all support for terrorist groups. The Iraqi regime has violated all of those obligations. It possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons. It is seeking nuclear weapons. It has given shelter and support to terrorism, and practices terror against its own people. The entire world has witnessed Iraq's eleven-year history of defiance, deception and bad faith.
But no WMD's were found! Instead this Administration's explanation continued to evolve and spin our foreign policy into one of expanding the "March of Freedom".

Can we endure? President Bush fails to understand the 'meaning and promise of America!'

John Kerry, America is calling to you! Help us restore honesty, decency, respect, and wisdom in our Nation! We can do better together!


Ratzinger Named Pope: Another Red State Candidate?

I suspect that Ratzinger is from a "red-state". Read this.

Unfortunately, unlike President Bush who didn't show up for his National Guard Duty in Alabama, Ratzinger showed up for duty at least for awhile.


Sunday, April 17, 2005

Do "Moral Voters" Support Ethics Shenanigans?

Photo of Speaker Hastert

Dennis Hastert tried to rush through changes in the Ethics Rules in the U.S. House of Representatives. Only a 10-10 split in the Committee, the ONLY Committee with an even number of Republicans and Democrats, has allowed Democrats the ability to prevent the watering-down of ethics in the United States House of Representatives.

Read here about changes:

1) Allow the dismissal of a complaint if the panel cannot agree after 45 days. This is a change because previously, a failure to come to an agreement led to an automatic investigation. Now if this passes, the onus will be on dragging one's feet to force dismissal instead of forcing investigation.

2) Allow lawyers to represent multiple parties to an investigation. This sounds just fine but allows multiple parties to coordinate their "story" and may hinder adequate investigations.

3) Allow lawmakers to respond if they are named in reports. This is probably the most benign of the three changes.

Barney Frank, of Massachusetts said it best:

"Hey, look, let me be very straightforward here. I, 15 years ago, had a problem because I behaved inappropriately. The ethics committee stepped in. Newt Gingrich had a problem. He was reprimanded; the ethics committee stepped in. The difference between us and Mr. DeLay is, I think, we changed our behavior. Mr. DeLay changed the ethics committee."
It just makes me sick. The Republicans running around talking about "morality" when they are led by some very shady politicians that deserve to be tossed out of office.

This problem is so glaring that recently 10 former Republican lawmakers joined in a letter to the House leadership saying they believe that ethics rules were reviesed this year in an
"obvious effort to protect Majority Leader Tom DeLay" from investigation and that the changes needed to be reversed "to restore confidence in the People's House."
Who were these brave Republicans? As reported:
Apart from Andrews, the other former House members who signed the letter were: John H. Buchanan of Alabama, M. Caldwell Butler of Virginia, Paul Findley of Illinois, Bud Hillis of Indiana, James Johnson of Colorado, Richard W. Mallary of Vermont, Wiley Mayne of Iowa, Pete McCloskey of California, and G. William Whitehurst of Virginia.

They left Congress before the late 1980s
Senator Kerry keep on fighting for decency in government! The Republicans do not want to allow dissent as they try to stifle the fillibuster, they do not act ethically when are in control! Let's pick up a couple of House seats in 2006! We need to bring America home to the values that made her great! America deserves better than these scoundrels.


Frist "Malpractice": Mixing Politics, Medicine, and God!

Senator Bill Frist has agreed to a major role in a national telecast with Christian conservatives.

This telecast, will originate from the Highview Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky. Along with Frist, will be noted religious right activists: James Dobson, Chuck Colson, and Tony Perkins, the President of the Family Research Council, the sponsor of the event.

Perkins explained the position being advanced on the Family Research Council website:
A day of decision is upon us. Whether it was the legalization of abortion, the banning of school prayer, the expulsion of the 10 Commandments from public spaces, or the starvation of Terri Schiavo, decisions by the courts have not only changed our nation's course, but even led to the taking of human lives. As the liberal, anti-Christian dogma of the left has been repudiated in almost every recent election, the courts have become the last great bastion for liberalism.

For years activist courts, aided by liberal interest groups like the ACLU, have been quietly working under the veil of the judiciary, like thieves in the night, to rob us of our Christian heritage and our religious freedoms. Federal judges have systematically grabbed power, usurping the constitutional authority that resides in the other two branches of government and, ultimately, in the American people.
"Anti-Christian?" " rob us of our Christian heritage?" What is this garbage? Senator Frist does not need to demean the United States Senate with such hostile and distorting rhetoric.

And the best that the Frist staff can come up with is 'Kerry did it too.' In fact, as explained by Bob Stevenson, the Communications Director to Senator Frist on his official government website:

“Last October, the Washington Post reported that Senator John Kerry `used a Baptist pulpit to speak of eternal life and denounce President Bush’ during a program at a Florida church sharply critical of the president’s policies.

“Senate Democrats said nothing in response.

“Now, as they prepare to continue their unprecedented filibuster against the president’s judicial nominations, they criticize the leader for agreeing to deliver a similar address pressing for fair treatment of the president’s judicial nominees.

“That’s a clear double standard.”
Yes. That is the entire explanation from Senator Frist. Since John Kerry spoke at a church, he is entitled to share the Church podium with religious right extremists that believe if the Democrats challenge a Bush appointee that they are somehow 'anti-Christ'. If somehow you don't go along with President Bush you are probably going to Hell.

And what did Senator Kerry actually say at that church? Did he call his opponents anti-Christian? Did he exploit the fears and prejudice and call upon Christians to defend themselves against Bush?

Reuters photo
of Kerry speaking at Shiloh Baptist Church

He stated:
"We are taught to walk by faith, not by sight," he said, drawing shouted responses of "Amen!" and "Teach it!" Kerry went on to speak of "the great gap today in America," and to quote from the New Testament book of James that "faith without works is dead."

"When I look around me in this country, I see a whole bunch of people who talk about faith, I see a whole bunch of people who put it out there, but I see an awful lot of deeds undone, I see a lot of work to be done in this country," he said. Without specifically mentioning Bush, Kerry said he thinks of "these folks from Jeremiah who, we are reminded, they have eyes but they don't see and they have ears but they don't hear."

He spoke of work that needed to be done. About wrongs in society that needed to be righted. About Love. Not Hate. That's the difference!

As Kerry continued:
Kerry told of the teacher who asked Jesus "what do I have do to gain eternal life?"

"I can tell you, it's in Luke 10," Kerry said, referring to the commandment, "Love your neighbor as yourself."

Republicans like Frist are teaching about distrust of your neighbor. Kerry spoke of Love. That's the difference.

Meanwhile Frist is getting into his own hot water, when he was making pronouncements of a medical matter by viewing video tape, pointing out that Florida doctors had erred:
"I question it based on a review of the video footage which I spent an hour or so looking at last night in my office," he said in a lengthy speech in which he quoted medical texts and standards. "She certainly seems to respond to visual stimuli."
According to Newsweek Magazine, this haphazard medical diagnosis by Frist in a political setting borders on malpractice:
In a private letter to Frist, NEWSWEEK has learned, 31 of the 165 members of his medical-school class accused him of using his medical degree improperly. Frist's office declined to comment; according to public records, at least 13 of the 31 had donated money to Democrats in the last five years. Still, Dr. Lewis Rose, an oncologist who said he voted for Bush last year, insisted Frist had overstepped. "He had no right to use the cloak of the Hippocratic oath, no matter who was right," Rose told NEWSWEEK. "He's got medical training and a medical perspective, but he is not a practicing physician and has no business using that in politics. Period. If he does, he won't get any of his classmates' votes who signed this."
America needs leadership that doesn't exploit religious differences for its own advantages. Senator Kerry has drawn upon his Christian heritage to speak of the need of works to better the world! Senator Kerry speaks of loving our neighbor. Senator Frist abuses his medical degree to advance his own political agenda and exploits our insecurities about our own religious faith to suppress Democrat Senate interests.

America deserves better!


Kerry Stumps for Healthcare for Children in Austin

John Kerry is on the move!

Senator Kerry
at the University of Texas yesterday.

As reported: under Kerry's "Kids First Act", 11 million uninsured children would receive assistance for preventative medicine for such conditions as Asthma and Obesity.

Speaking Saturday alongside Congressman Lloyd Doggett (D-Austin), Kerry discussed legislation that has been introduced in the Senate which has also being introduced by Doggett in the House of Representatives to have the federal government paying "...all Medicaid costs for anyone under 21 in a family at or below poverty = an annual income of about $16,000 for a family of four. In exchange, states would have to expand Medicaid or the state Children's Health Insurance Program to include any child in the same age group whose family earns the equivalent of $47,000 or less for a family of four."

Healthcare for children is the true "family value" that Kerry has supported.

It is the "culture of health" that drives this Democrat.

John Kerry did keep his sense of humor and told the crowd:
``I kind of expected to be in Washington and that Bush would be back here in Texas,'' Kerry said. ``I feel energized to go out and keep fighting... As far as I'm concerned, things didn't stop on November 2.''
Thank you Senator Kerry! We didn't stop on November 2nd either. Keep on fighting John! We have got your back!


Thursday, April 14, 2005

House Votes to End Estate Tax: "Death Tax" Repeal or Plutocracy in America?

The House of Representatives voted yesterday to permanently repeal the estate tax.

Why should we want to tax dead people?

George Lakoff has written about how "framing" affects our visceral response to issues.

Of course nobody wants to tax a dead person. That would be like "squeezing blood from a turnip." Dead people should be respected. They should receive proper burials and memorials and get flowers for their graves and we should remember them and venerate them.

But this isn't about taxing dead people. The whole "death tax" is a misnomer. It is another Republican Lie.

The Estate Tax is about taxing heirs and heiresses. About not installing a plutocracy in America.

William H. Gates and Chuck Collins have written about the problems of generations of inherited wealthy controlling America. As they wrote:
When Alexis de Tocqueville visited the United States in the mid-nineteenth century, he noted that equality of condition permeated the American spirit: "The American experiment presupposes a rejection of inherited privilege." In the words of novelist John Dos Passos, "rejection of Europe is what America is all about."
And this is the father of the richest man in America. The father of Bill Gates who writes who understands the issues of family wealth better than any of us!

Gates goes on to quote Thomas Jefferson:
The descent of property of every kind therefore to all children, or to all the brothers and sisters, or other relations in equal degree, is a politic measure and a practicable one. Another means of silently lessening the inequality of property is to exempt all from taxation below a certain point, and to tax the higher portions of property in geometrical progression as they rise.
On top of all of this, repeal of the Estate Tax will again cause a loss of a significant amount of revenue for the Federal Government.

As was reported:

Last year, the estate tax generated $24 billion, accounting for about 1 percent of total federal tax collections.
And with the federal deficit growing, where is this lost revenue to be found?

With this President, we have an Administration that pushes cuts for the poor, the disabled, and the disadvantaged. While the rich get richer and generations can pass wealth on to their descendants untaxed.

Is this the America we want or need? America deserves better!


Monday, April 11, 2005

John Bolton Unacceptable: "I don't do Carrots"

John Bolton doesn't "do carrots".

A nice carrot photo.

These carrots are for you Mr. Bolton.

Good for you. Vitamin A. Help you with your eyes.

John Bolton, talked about carrots when discussing the European Union's attempt to offer Iran incentives in regards to their nuclear program. He stated:
"I don't do carrots."
My mother always told me to eat my carrots. She said they would help my eyes. Said I could see better in the night.

John Bolton needs to see better. All he sees is darkness.

He has stated:

“There's no such thing as the United Nations.” (Global Structures Convocation, Feb. 3, 1994)

Hey Mr. Bolton, eat those carrots. Check out this picture of the United Nations.

It's real!

And Mr. Bolton, if you eat your carrots, you will be able to see better. You get confused sometimes about the United Nations building. And also the Twin Towers.

But that's right, it was back in 1994 when you stated:

“If the U.N. secretary building in New York lost 10 stories, it wouldn't make a bit of difference.” (Global Structures Convocation, Feb. 3, 1994)

Maybe that was pretty funny in 1994. I don't think that it is funny today. I don't know if carrots will help you on that. Maybe you need some turnips.

Oh and those carrots. Will you send some to President Bush. He is having a hard time seeing also. He doesn't see what he is doing to America. He doesn't see what making a mockery of the United Nations does to world peace. He doesn't see the danger in tearing down institutions that haven't been very helpful to him.

It is the vision thing.

So please do Carrots Mr. Bolton. Maybe they will help your eyes. Couldn't hurt you know.

Meanwhile, I hope the rest of the United States Senate will have the vision to see a better way for America and reject the Bolton nomination for Ambassador to the United Nations. This joke isn't very funny.

International relations isn't a joke. America deserves better!


Kerry Advocates Voting Reform

As we look to the "March of Democracy" overseas, we must not fail to ignore the problems of Democracy here at home.

Senator John Kerry is now beginning the fight for Electoral Reform in the United States. As he recently stated:
"Last year, too many people were denied their right to vote. ...too many people who tried to vote were intimidated," the Massachusetts Democrat said. "There is no magic wand. No one person is going to stand up and suddenly say it's going to change tomorrow. You have to do that."
As the article notes, John Kerry is doing something about this voting problem in America:
Earlier this year, Kerry joined Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., in filing voting reform legislation. Their Count Every Vote Act would create a federal holiday for voting, require paper receipts for votes and authorize $500 million to help states upgrade voting systems and equipment.

Of course, Republicans have been quick to deny that there were any problems. As was noted:
"While President Bush and members of Congress are working to move our country forward, it's disappointing that some Democrats are focused on rehashing baseless allegations more than five months after the election," RNC spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt said.

But I am not here to argue about what happened in 2004. John Kerry is moving ahead with Election Reforms that should be embraced by both parties. Paper receipts after voting, extended hours for voters, and money to assist in the modernization of this process. Åmerica deserves no less. America deserves John Kerry for President in 2008.


Sunday, April 10, 2005

Social Security Campaign: Violation of Propaganda Laws?

Read this article about President Bush's Social Security campaign.

Visit the website put up by the President and his staff to advance the Social Security solutions they see as necessary. All paid for by tax dollars.

See the Map of the President's lobbying journey.

Read here about how three Americans were denied admission to President Bush's "discussion" even though they had valid tickets because of their bumper stickers on their cars. Also read here about how six of Colorado's nine Congressman have decried this blatant censorship of even participation of those who might disagree with the President. Read here to see what Press Secretary McClellan had to say at the White House News Conference.

Read here to see the actual law that is being broken. The anti-propaganda law that was written in 1913.

Read here about how this President has a record of using domestic propaganda to advance his political causes.

Read here about how the Treasury Department has hired three full time professionals to staff a "Social Security War-Room" to advance the President's agenda.

I think you probably get the idea.

These are very difficult times for America. We have elected a President who sells legislation like Philip Morris sells Cigarettes. But isn't that we should expect from a President who depends on a former cigarette lobbyist to determine national policy?

America deserves better. America needs a President who informs and does not use the office of the President to dispense Propaganda to Americans who are hungry for the truth.

This is a government that cancels a Social Security discussion about preserving this program at the FDR Site because it is "slanted" even though Republican Congressmen were invited to offer alternative views.

Senator Kerry, America needs your leadership. Help save Social Security and help save our Democracy!


Tuesday, April 05, 2005

President Bush Defies Constitution: Questions Federal Debt!

A photo of President Bush from Reuters.

When will this President ever learn? When will America wake up? When will new leadership be found to lead this country that respects the good faith and credit of the United States Government.

First in 2003, we had Secretary Snow talking down the dollar. This has not solved the problem of balance of trade. It made it worse. It did not attract tourists to America. But it did make our travel to foreign countries more expensive and contributed to the soaring price of oil. It most likely has contributed to the inflationary pressures affecting our nation right now and has forced the Fed's hand in raising interest rates. Who wants to hold our bonds when the dollar is sliding in value?

So now, once again, we have the President questioning the Federal Debt. Not just the President of some third world nation. But the President of our own United States of America.

Maybe he didn't study the Constitution in his stay at Yale. Section 4 of the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution states:
Section. 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.
That's right, let me repeat, "The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned." This was written after the Civil War. But it did NOT limit prohibitions JUST for insurrection. It said INCLUDING DEBTS... You get my point?

So what did President George W. Bush say today??? Talking about the Social Security Trust fund he managed to question the federal debt once again.

Try this:

"A lot of people in America think there's a trust," Bush told a forum here, shortly after he stopped off at the Bureau of Public Debt, the agency that keeps records on the nation's debt.

"But that's not the way it works," he said. "There is no trust fund -- just IOUs."
O.K., I am just a blogger. What could I know about these big issues. Well, let's see what OUR OWN FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAS TO SAY....So looking at the Social Security Administration website, I found this:
As stated in the answer to "What happens to the taxes that go into the trust funds?", most of the money flowing into the trust funds is invested in U. S. Government securities. Because the government spends this borrowed cash, some people see the current increase in the trust fund assets as an accumulation of securities that the government will be unable to make good on in the future. Without legislation to restore long-range solvency of the trust funds, redemption of long-term securities prior to maturity would be necessary.

Far from being "worthless IOUs," the investments held by the trust funds are backed by the full faith and credit of the U. S. Government. The government has always repaid Social Security, with interest. The special-issue securities are, therefore, just as safe as U.S. Savings Bonds or other financial instruments of the Federal government.

I am so tired of phony patriots who tear down this country to advance their own agenda. I believe in America. I love America. I trust Savings Bonds, Federal Treasury Notes, Treasury Bills and I believe in the full faith and credit of the United States Government.

Isn't it time we had a President who understood this as well?


Sunday, April 03, 2005

Republicans Attack American System of Checks and Balances

Portrait of Chief Justice John Marshall

In response to the Courts' perceived failure to intervene on behalf of Terri Schiavo, Tom DeLay, the Republican majority leader of the United States House of Representatives angrily attacked the judiciary. As has been reported about Mr. Delay:
The courts "had thumbed their nose at Congress and the President," the Texan said. More astounding still, he appeared to threaten vengeance against those who had defied his wishes. "The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behaviour," he thundered, implying that impeachment of the errant judges was not out of the question.
James Dobson, the conservative evangelist went further:
"It's time that the congress fulfill its constitutional responsibility to rein in the courts, the Constitution, Article 3, Section 1, gives the congress responsibility for all courts below the Supreme Court level. They can end the franchise, if you will, of a particular court. They can bring judges who make off-the-wall decisions to congress to explain what they've done." The "court is arrogantly thumbing its nose at every other form of authority."
The role of the courts in America has been established for over 200 years. In 1803, in Marbury v. Madison, Chief Justice John Marshall established the principle of judicial review by the courts and the need to keep them independent. As has been noted:
The fact remains, however, that participants in the ratification debates for the most part assumed that the Constitution empowered the judiciary to invalidate unconstitutional laws. What makes Marbury a landmark decision, is that it was the first case in which the judiciary's power to review and void the acts of another branch of the federal government was asserted.
In fact, criticism of the judiciary is not a new phenomenon. In the same article, it is pointed out:
Although Marbury set precedent for the proposition that the federal courts could and should serve as a check on the political branches and majoritarian whim without jeopardizing their independence, such a proposition has never implied immunity from criticism. To the contrary, criticism of the judiciary - including countermajoritarian criticism - has come and gone in cycles, beginning with the founding generation. Throughout that time, unpopular decisions have subjected individual judges to personal attacks and occasional calls for impeachment and removal. Never, however, has a judge been removed from office because of an unpopular decision alone.
However, the importance of an independent judiciary cannot be overestimated. As noted:
Whether judges use written constitutions, elaborate legal codes, a common law tradition, or religious texts, their decisions must be based on some generally recognized and approved standard if they are to endure. By removing courts from the daily political pressures and rapidly changing social forces confronted by other government leaders, societies can best preserve the element of judicial independence so vital to stable political systems.
A "stable political system." An independent judiciary not subject to the political whims of the day. Rule by law. Isn't that what we want for America?

The political party in power abuses its position by harassing the judiciary, voiding international agreements, evading responsibilities in justice questions as basic as the Geneva Conventions. We cannot afford to lose any of our last protections that shield us from a government intent on imposing its own view of morality and behavior upon us all.

America deserves better. America needs new leadership in Washington. Keep that door open for 2008 Senator Kerry! We have your back.


"Stop Drive-Through Mastectomies"

Marie has been a very big supporter of putting a halt to "drive-through" mastectomies, in which women are often forced within hours to depart the hospital after surgery.

Visit Lifetime, Television for Women where you will find out how you can add your voice to this issue.


Democrats Support "Quality of Life", not just "Culture"

We have a new slogan to deal with. The "Culture of Life".

With the passing of Terri Schiavo, President Bush has urged supporters:
"to continue to work to build a culture of life, where all Americans are welcomed and valued and protected, especially those who live at the mercy of others. The essence of civilization is that the strong have a duty to protect the weak. ... In cases where there are serious doubts and questions, the presumption should be in the favor of life."
But what are they talking about? What is this so-called "culture of life"?

As has been reported, this term is a code word. As reported:
To many analysts, the resistance to Washington's role illustrated the challenges Bush and other social conservatives face in forging consensus for a "culture of life" agenda that includes issues such as abortion, embryonic stem cell research and end-of-life cases.

So basically, the Republcans are most concerned about those brief moments when people are formed during sex and before birth, and the moments prior to death. These are the religious moments, periods of time when the soul is deposited into each individual, and times when the soul departs for heaven or elsewhere at the end of life. Mystical moments one might say.

But Republicans have failed to spend any attention on the 70 or so years between these times. They haven't made our youth a priority. They haven't concerned themselves with healthcare. They aren't worried about our Seniors. They ignore poverty and instead dwell on rewarding the wealthy. They shock and awe their way to international domination and scoff at others who wish to consult our allies. They abuse the environment with relaxed regulations for polluters and cynical laws about healthy forests. They threaten our very civil liberties and cover-up abuse of prisoners of war.

America needs to know. Republicans are hung-up on the moments of birth, sex, and death. Democrats care about that and everything in between. You make the call.

We need new leadership in America that is in touch with reality. That supports the culture of all Americans. Not just those being conceived and those passing away. Living in America is more than just a series of "precious moments."