Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Bernanke: 'Pushing on a String'

As cross-posted on Stock Picks Bob's Advice and Trading Goddess:

I join with other investors in disappointment of seeing a 1/4% drop in the Fed Discount Rate.

The market didn't like it and turned from about a 50 point gain in the Dow to a 220 point loss. And the market has another hour to trade.

But what can Bernanke do? Rate cuts drive the dollar down in value. And raise the risk of inflation as imported products climb in price.

The interest rate supports the value of the dollar which has plunged approximately 44% against the Euro in the past 7 years under President Bush's leadership. That means that in a global economy, the value of everything we own has been devalued by about 1/2. When we travel abroad, we can see the effect of the weak dollar when it takes $5 to buy a Coke in Italy.

Dollar/Euro price chart from Yahoo:

With the subprime mortgage mess unraveling and the derivatives and hedge funds shenanigans continuing to come to light, our economy needs a stimulus like a rate cut. But if we fail to support the dollar, the Chinese are likely to resist continuing to fund our debt instead turning to Euro-backed securities and the OPEC folks are likely to once again consider pricing oil in Euros and not dollars.

I am greatly concerned for our economic vitality and prosperity.

We have unfortunately continued to be led by politicians who subscribe to the Grover Norquist pledge of 'no new taxes'. Why taxes are bad --aren't they?

But can we continue to cut taxes and pour money and resources into military activity without paying the piper somehow? Should we really believe that tax cuts are essential to grow the economy when this endless printing of dollars in terms of an expanding budget deficit is a threat to our well-being.

Should we be concerned about the ever-growing disparity between the wealthy and the poor?
Even Henry Ford knew he needed to pay workers enough so they could buy a Model T.

We cannot depend solely on high-end retailers catering to the wealthy to sustain this economy.

Balancing the budget needs to be a national priority. Tax policy must not work to encourage the continued outsourcing of quality jobs overseas. Efforts to repeal the Estate Tax will only insure more of a continued Plutocracy in America with the wealthy getting richer and the poor poorer and out economy will suffer. Cuts to education will not help the poor rise up out of their economic morass.

This country has been headed in the wrong direction under this President and we are all paying the piper.


Saturday, November 03, 2007

Nord Must Go

As cross-posted on the Democratic Daily:

Does this President hate children?

Does the Decider think that being the “Leader” must mean he is an advocate of “Lead” in toys?

This week a large recall of lead-tainted toys was announced:

Yesterday’s toy recalls were just the latest in a long parade involving lead-tainted children’s toys. Since August, toy giant Mattel has issued 3 separate toy recalls for lead hazards and other problems. In June, the RC2 Company recalled more than 1 million lead-tainted Thomas and Friends toy trains. Children’s jewelry and character notebooks have also been recalled for the same reason. And earlier this month bookmarks, Halloween pails and children’s puppet theaters, along with toy animal figures sold at Wal-Mart have all been recalled for excessive amounts of lead. Lead can cause a wide range of health problems, including learning disabilities and brain damage, if it is ingested by small children.

And more recently:

party favorsAnd finally, just in time for Halloween, the CPSC recalled 43,000 sets of “Ugly Teeth” party favors sold at various retailers throughout the country from January 2007 through October 2007 for $2. The fake Halloween teeth, which children are supposed to put in their mouths, contain 100 times the permissible level of lead.

Lead poisoning may have very serious consequences:

There may be no noticeable symptoms of lead poisoning because the effects are subtle or may mimic other conditions. When lead poisoning levels are severe, some general symptoms can include digestive problems, fatigue, headaches, and higher rates of tooth decay.

Children with chronic lead poisoning may show slightly lower intelligence and may be smaller in size than children their age who do not have lead poisoning. Behavioral problems can include irritability or aggressiveness, hyperactivity, learning difficulties, lethargy, and loss of appetite.

In adults, behavioral symptoms can include irritability, mood and personality changes, changes in sleep patterns, difficulty concentrating, and memory loss.

At high levels, lead can affect the central nervous system, leading to poor coordination, weakness in hands and feet, headaches, and in severe cases, convulsions, paralysis, and coma.

So did our Congress fail us? Did they fail to fund the Consumer Product Safety Commission? As reported:

WASHINGTON, Oct. 30 — Over the objections of the Bush administration, a Senate committee unanimously adopted sweeping legislation on Tuesday that would extend the authority of the Consumer Product Safety Commission and sharply increase its budget and staff.


The bill would increase the maximum penalties for safety violations and make it easier for the government to make public reports of faulty products, protect industry whistle-blowers and prosecute executives of companies that willfully violate safety laws. It would ban lead in toys and give state prosecutors the authority to enforce federal consumer safety rules. Ms. Nord has objected to those and other provisions in the measure.



Ms. Nord, a former lawyer at Eastman Kodak and a former official at the United States Chamber of Commerce, recently sent lawmakers letters attacking the legislation as unworkable and counterproductive, mirroring concerns raised by manufacturers. Those complaints have been rebutted by the agency’s Democratic commissioner, Thomas H. Moore, who generally supports the Senate bill.

Mirroring concerns? Perhaps just maybe voicing their concerns? As their spokesman?

Maybe this Administration is concerned more about profits than protecting children. Maybe that is why they vetoed the SCHIP legislation. Especially the failure to cover minority children. After all, it is minority children that are also hardest hit by lead poisoning. Is it surprising that it was minority children that were hardest hit by Katrina as well?

Unfortunately, access to health care in the region—as in many other parts of the country—is deeply inequitable, as low-income people and communities of color face higher rates of unin-surance and highly fragmented health systems in which patients with private insurance are treated in better hospitals and health systems than those who are uninsured or have public sources of health insurance.8 Louisiana, in particular, operates a unique safety-net system, one in which a state-supported network of hospitals and clinics provides much of the uncompensated care, with the effect that health care is largely segregated along income and insurance status lines:

  • In New Orleans the Medical Center of New Orleans, which included historic Charity Hospital, provided two-thirds of the inpatient care to the uninsured in the city. Nearly three-quarters of its patients were African American, and 85% of all patients made less than $20,000 a year. By contrast, the other hospitals in the city provided only 4% of inpatient care for uninsured patients.9

But this isn’t about race. It isn’t about people of color. It is about the color of money.

Children and especially minority children are victims of greed.

The Industries she was paid to regulate paid for trips where they could lobby the former lobbyist. It wasn’t a hard sell.

But it isn’t surprising anymore.

This is a Government and an Administration with the ‘For Sale’ sign out front.

The Medicare Plan D was written by drug lobbyists to prevent the government from negotiating with Big Pharma for lower prices.

The bill passed, extending limited prescription drug coverage under Medicare to 41 million Americans. According to Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, a non-partisan healthcare watchdog group, it purposefully allows drug companies to charge more by preventing Medicare from negotiating prices. As a result, one government agency will pay more for drugs than another will. “The [Veterans Administration] does bargain and they do it successfully,” says Pollack. “Medicare could do the same thing, but Medicare is prohibited from doing that as a result of this new Medicare legislation.”

Several lawmakers who worked on the bill have since joined firms that lobby for the drug industry, including the man who steered the legislation through the House, former Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.), who also chaired the House committee that regulated the pharmaceutical industry. Tauzin retired to become the president of Pharma, the drug industry’s top lobbying group — a $2 million-a-year post.

But this is really old news.

President Bush has been hiring lobbyists as regulators for a long time.

As far back as 2004, The Denver Post reported on this cynical approach to managing the hen house with foxes.

The president’s political appointees are making or overseeing profound changes affecting drug laws, food policies, land use, clean-air regulations and other key issues.

Government watchdogs call it a disturbing trend, not adequately restrained by existing ethics laws.

Among the advocates-turned-regulators are a former meat-industry lobbyist who helps decide how meat is labeled; a former drug-company lobbyist who influences prescription-drug policies; a former energy lobbyist who, while still accepting payments for bringing clients into his old lobbying firm, helps determine how much of the West those former clients can use for oil and gas drilling.

This isn’t really new. It is even getting difficult to develop a sense of outrage over outrageous things.

Nancy Pelosi has said it best:

“Any commission chair who does not, in the face of the facts that are so clear, say we don’t need any more authority or any more resources to do our job, does not understand the gravity of the situation,” said Pelosi, who has been joined in her call for Nord’s resignation by other Democrats in the House and Senate. “I call on the president of the United States to ask for the resignation.”

Nord, in an Oct. 24 letter to the Senate Commerce Committee, said a Democratic bill doubling the agency’s funding and giving it greater authority to inspect and recall products “could have the unintended consequence of hampering, rather than furthering, consumer product safety.” She specifically complained that the additional responsibilities the bill adds will make it more difficult for the agency to do its job.

The White House also opposes the legislation passed unanimously by the Senate Commerce Committee Tuesday.

It is time for Nord to go. It is time for our leaders to protect our children, work to prevent the importation of unsafe toys laced with lead, provide our children with the insurance that they need to keep them healthy, work to prevent the continued trends in pollution that lead to global warming, and bring about fiscal responsibility that will prevent our children and grandchildren from having to bear unbelievable financial burdens from irresponsible tax cuts and deficit spending.

For a President who claims to be a values leader, why so much hate of our children?

Friday, September 21, 2007

Does Congress Have Anything Better to Do?

As cross-posted on The Democratic Daily:

Time for Congress to ‘Move-On’!

Posted by Robert Freedland
September 20th, 2007 @ 8:19 pm

Something really awful happened in the Senate today.

The 1st Amendment was symbolically sacrificed to the alter of the Military and the War Machine.

On December 15, 1791, the 1st Amendment to the Constitution was ratified. It stated:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Yet today, the Senate took the time to pass a symbolic resolution defending the honor and criticizing the MoveOn.org ad on General Petraeus and stated that Petraeus

“deserves the full support of the Senate” and the Senate “strongly condemn(s) personal attacks on the honor and integrity of General Petraeus and all members of the United States Armed Forces.”

However, moments earlier Senators failed to condemn the same kind of political activity, failing to support the ‘Boxer Amendment’, which also included condemnation against attacks on politicians and Veterans like Max Cleland, the Vietnam Veteran who lost both legs and an arm in Vietnam who lost to Republican Saxby Chambliss who compared him to Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. Or Senator John Kerry, the multiple-decorated Vietnam Veteran whose reputation was slimed by the Swift Boaters.

But criticism of the so-called apolitical General Petraeus, who found time in the weeks before the 2004 election to write and submit a very political and misleading column about the success of the Iraq effort helped turn the tide for President Bush against Senator Kerry–that kind of criticism is simply unacceptable in America according to these America-love-it-or-leave-it Senators.

On September 26, 2004, just weeks before the Presidential Election, Petreus took the time to write about how well things were going in Iraq. He stated:

“Nonetheless, there are reasons for optimism. Today approximately 164,000 Iraqi police and soldiers (of which about 100,000 are trained and equipped) and an additional 74,000 facility protection forces are performing a wide variety of security missions. Equipment is being delivered. Training is on track and increasing in capacity. Infrastructure is being repaired. Command and control structures and institutions are being reestablished.”

And yet even Petraeus has a spotty record in Iraq.
As the Washington Post reported on August 6, 2007:

“The author of the report from the Government Accountability Office says U.S. military officials do not know what happened to 30 percent of the weapons the United States distributed to Iraqi forces from 2004 through early this year as part of an effort to train and equip the troops. The highest previous estimate of unaccounted-for weapons was 14,000, in a report issued last year by the inspector general for Iraq reconstruction.

The United States has spent $19.2 billion trying to develop Iraqi security forces since 2003, the GAO said, including at least $2.8 billion to buy and deliver equipment. But the GAO said weapons distribution was haphazard and rushed and failed to follow established procedures, particularly from 2004 to 2005, when security training was led by Gen. David H. Petraeus, who now commands all U.S. forces in Iraq.”

Oh, but there I go again being critical of Petraeus when it is Move-On.Org that is our nation’s biggest problem.

Our fearless President understands that if we criticize Petraeus, then it is the criticism of him that is treason. As was reported:

” Bush told reporters at a White House news conference that MoveOn.org’s ad in The New York Times about Gen. David Petraeus was a “sorry deal.” The September 10 full-page ad was titled “General Petraeus or General Betray Us?”

“I felt like the ad was an attack, not only on Gen. Petraeus, but on the U.S. military,” Bush said. “And I was disappointed that not more leaders in the Democratic Party spoke out strongly against that kind of ad.”

The Vice-President, even though he is not really part of the Executive Branch, felt compelled to jump in on the pile-on. Cheney stated:

“The attacks on him by MoveOn.org in ad space provided at subsidized rates in The New York Times last week were an outrage.”

But that is pure Cheney. The outrage is that somehow they got a good rate to make the attack. Maybe if they had paid a higher rate at the Times, Cheney wouldn’t have had any comment. Or maybe he would have been busy hunting and shooting somebody in the face instead.

Even though Giuliani ran an ad in the same paper the same day at the same rate, better to talk about the liberal media. The same blog in the NYTimes points out:

“Rudolph W. Giuliani, a Republican presidential candidate who is among those who criticized the MoveOn ad, paid the same rate for his own advocacy ad that ran in the Friday editions of The Times.”

But maybe all of the Congress is betraying us. They haven’t stopped the war that was started on false pretenses. The mission isn’t accomplished. And as a report in the Guardian today (9/21/07) noted:

The latest identifications reported by the military:

- Army Sgt. Edmund J. Jeffers, 23, Daleville, Ala.; died Wednesday in Taqqadum of injuries from a non-combat related accident; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.

- Army Pfc. Christian M. Neff, 19, Lima, Ohio; died Wednesday in Baghdad of wounds from an explosive; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.

- Army Spc. Aaron J. Walker, 23, Harker Heights, Texas; died Tuesday in Baghdad of wounds from small-arms fire; assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armored Division, Vilseck, Germany.

- Three Army soldiers died Tuesday in Muqdadiyah of wounds from an explosion. All were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division (Stryker Brigade Combat Team), Fort Lewis, Wash.

Killed were Spc. Joseph N. Landry III, 23, Pensacola, Fla.; Spc. Nicholas P. Olson, 22, Novato, Calif.; and Spc. Donald E. Valentine III, 21, Orange Park, Fla.

None of these young men and women died because somebody protested a war.

But 3,791 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March, 2003.

And Congress, including some intimidated Democrats, is now busy passing resolutions condemning those who protest this needless war as being somehow not supporting our troops. For them, it is necessary to send soldiers into harm’s way without honest justification as the only true way to show your support.

And please be quiet if you disagree, or you shall be labeled a traitor. Forget about the 1st Amendment. Forget about our freedoms. We are at war now. And those need to be saved for some future reference.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Taser Controversy and Senator Kerry!

Watch HERE for the Video.

As reported:
"Meyer refused to leave the microphone after his allotted time was up, police said. He had asked Kerry about impeaching President Bush, why he didn't challenge the 2004 election results and whether he and Bush were members of the secret society Skull and Bones at Yale University.

After Meyer repeatedly and loudly refused to walk away, two officers took him by the arms. Kerry can be heard saying, "That's all right, let me answer his question."

Audience members applauded, though it was difficult to tell whether it was for the officers' action or Kerry's remark. The audience for the most part sat quietly and watched the fracas.

Meyer struggled for several seconds as up to four officers tried to remove him from the room. He screamed for help and tried to break away from officers with his arms flailing, then was forced to the ground and ordered to stop resisting.

As Kerry told the audience he will answer the student's "very important question," Meyer yelled at the officers to release him, crying out, "Don't Tase me, bro," just before he was shocked. He was led from the room, screaming, "What did I do?"

An officer, however, said in the police report that Meyer's "demeanor completely changed once the cameras were not in sight" and that he was "laughing" and "lighthearted" on the way to jail.

Kerry, D-Mass., said Tuesday he regretted that a healthy discussion was interrupted, and said he never had a dialogue end that way in 37 years of public appearances.

"Whatever happened, the police had a reason, had made their decision that there was something they needed to do. Then it's a law enforcement issue, not mine," he told The Associated Press in Washington.

Senator Kerry went further to explain the situation:
"In 37 years of public appearances, through wars, protests and highly emotional events, I have never had a dialogue end this way.

I believe I could have handled the situation without interruption, but again I do not know what warnings or other exchanges transpired between the young man and the police prior to his barging to the front of the line and their intervention.

I asked the police to allow me to answer the question and was in the process of answering him when he was taken into custody.

I was not aware that a taser was used until after I left the building. I hope that neither the student nor any of the police were injured.

I regret enormously that a good healthy discussion was interrupted."

I even received an email from Greg Palast who I greatly respect.

Palast wrote:
"We warned you: 'Armed Madhouse' is a dangerous book. Yesterday, Andrew Meyers, a University of Florida student was attacked by five cops, zapped with tasers and arrested after demanding that Senator John Kerry answer the question.

Meyers, just released from jail and now facing five years in prison for resisting arrest, held up a copy of the book and began,

Student to John Kerry: "I want to recommend a book to you. It's called 'Armed Madhouse by Greg Palast.' He's the top investigative journalist in America."

Kerry: "I have the book. I've already read it."

Student: "... In this book, it says there were 5 million votes and you won the election. ... How could you concede the election on the day?"

Meyers, a telecommunications student at the Gainesville campus, asked related questions including a query as to why Kerry refused to vote for impeachment. When he passed his alloted one minute mic time, five cops jumped him, threw him to the ground, shot him with taser shockers.

Kerry, true to character, stood immobile.

Now, I've given many talks. And some questioners have taken too long at the mic. But I've never done the Stalin thing of cops and electronic beating to limit the discussion. (Yes, it's true that Randi Rhodes recently threatened me with a taser when I've monopolized the mic in her studio.)"

But it really wasn't quite like that when you watch the video.

Andrew Meyers did raise important points and important questions.

But he certainly wasn't civil and orderly in his demeanor.

He didn't state a question, he attempted to make a speech. Senator Kerry was prepared to answer. But didn't have a chance.

Senator Kerry didn't order any tasering.

He didn't regulate what the police did.

But he is the whipping boy of the left. He refused to take the election to the streets when the 2004 results were announced. He chose to preserve the Republic rather than start a revolution.

I do not disagree with Palast's findings. John Kerry should have won in 2004 and would have won if all the votes were properly counted and allowed. And that the removal of voters and the caging of voters and the improper procedures hadn't occurred, we know the result.

Senator Kerry continues to work within the system at reform.

He is not the problem. He is part of the solution. We need to stop beating up on our own. We don't need more tasering of demonstrators. But we do need civility in our discussions.

I stand both with Greg Palast and with Senator John Kerry! There are so many things wrong that need to be made right in America! But let us not descend into the internal bickering and self-destruction that we seen to be heading into. Senator Kerry and Greg Palast as well as Andrew Meyers are part of the solution and not part of the problem. Let us all join together to work to confront those that have threatened our Constitution, challenged our system of government and have led us with lies and deceit. And let us not attack each other.


Sunday, May 06, 2007

Protecting the "Sanctity of Hate"!

As cross-posted in The Democratic Daily Blog

The House of Representatives has passed H.R. 1592, an act to extend hate crimes protection to individuals who are victims of crimes based on the "perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of the victim".

What is new about this legislation is the extension of protection to individuals based on sexual orientation, or gender identity. What is not new is the response of the White House which is threatening a veto.

It is not enough to deny homosexuals the same rights as others by denying them the right to marriage or even the opportunity to enter into civil unions that the rest of us enjoy. It is also necessary for the Republicans who lead this nation to make sure that they are not receiving the needed protection that Matthew Shepard, the 21 year old gay college student failed to get after being beaten to death after being tied to a fence and left to die. That kind of special protection would be excessive.

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council commented

"Criminalizing thoughts as well as actions, and creating special categories of victims is unconstitutional. The actions of a majority of the House today undermine the promise of equal protection under the law guaranteed by the 14th Amendment.

This legislation creates second-class victims and a legal system of 'separate and unequal.' "There has been no proof that violent crimes perpetrated against any of the groups listed in the bill have not been prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, yet now Congress is asking the federal government to get
involved in issues that are, and should remain, local concerns.

"By far the most disturbing threat we face by this legislation -- is
the threat it poses to free speech and our religious liberties. In some jurisdictions that have adopted similar laws, 'hate crimes' have been defined to include not just physical acts of violence but merely verbal ones as well. When 'thought crimes' laws are interpreted this way, they pose a serious threat to freedom of speech and religious liberty.

"I strongly encourage people to let their Senators know to vote against this unconstitutional legislation and encourage President Bush to follow through with the White House statement issued today and veto any such measure should it reach his desk."

And yet this legislation clearly provides for protection of all First Amendment activity that is protected in the Constitution. This is about violent crimes not thought. This is not about religious freedom being impinged upon; this is about individuals suffering from society's neglect while organized hate groups act against them.

Focus on the Family's James Dobson also has jumped in to the discussion:

"We applaud the president's courage in standing up for the Constitution and the principle of equal protection under the law. The American justice system should never create second-class victims, and it is a first-class act of wisdom and fairness for the president to pledge to veto this unnecessary bill."

Courage? To exercise his third veto of his term to stand tall on the side of hate against those who seek to end persecution of minorities? Equal protection under the law? Is Dobson prepared to fight for the right of gay couples to get married? Or is that part of the 14th Amendment that he doesn't like? Remember it was the 14th Amendment that was turned topsy-turvy in the Bush v. Gore decision that resulted in this President being coronated by the Supreme Court in 2000.

And what was the White House response to this Bill? As reported:

"The White House, in a statement warning of a veto, said state and local criminal laws already cover the new crimes defined under the bill, and there was "no persuasive demonstration of any need to federalize such a potentially large range of violent crime enforcement."

It also noted that the bill leaves other classes, such as the elderly, the military and police officers, without similar special status."

Huh? Are the military and elderly or police officers victims of hate crimes? Do they represent some sort of minority that we haven't realized before?

This is about the 14th Amendment. This is about the 1st Amendment. This is about all of the Amendments and all of the Articles and every last letter and punctuation mark in the Constitution. We have a sickness in this land. A sickness of hate and intolerance of those who are different than us. Those that worship God in a different fashion, those that have different colors to their face, a different language in which they speak and yes, even have a different approach to sex.

And there are people who wish to hurt other people in this nation. And this Government must act to protect the Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness of every American! That is what we have government for and that is why we have a Constitution.

So yes Mr. President. You need to sign this Bill. You need to stand up and tell the rest of the world that hate has no home in this nation. That you don't necessarily accept, don't necessarily approve of, don't necessarily agree with everything that is practiced in America. That's your right.

But it is your duty as President to protect the rights that every American is promised in this nation. That was part of your oath and yes part of your job. So make the right decison Mr. Decider. You still have the chance to show us you can.


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Is it Time to Impeach the President?

As reported today, President Bush has full confidence in Attorney General Alberto Gonzales:
"April 24 (Bloomberg) -- President George W. Bush said he's confident that U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales did ``nothing wrong'' in the firings of eight federal prosecutors and said Iraq's leader is meeting U.S. expectations.

``Al could've done a better job and his department could've done a better job of just explaining why we did what we did,'' Bush said in an interview in New York today on PBS television's ``Charlie Rose'' show. ``Instead we've got hearings and testimonies based on something that was perfectly legal.''

Gonzales testified April 19 before the Senate Judiciary Committee to explain the circumstances behind the firing of the federal prosecutors. Bush has brushed aside calls from Democrats and some Republicans for Gonzales to resign over the dismissals, a stance he reasserted today.

``I've got confidence in Al,'' Bush said. ``He's caught up in Washington right now; it's what happens in that town a lot -- there's a lot of politics.'"

But this wasn't just "a lot of politics". This was lying. It is often not the act that gets the criminal--it is the lies and obfuscation that catches felons.
As Adam Cohen reported in the New York Times last week, some of the crimes that may have been committed include:
1. Misrepresentations to Congress. The relevant provision, 18 U.S.C. 3/5sctmark1 4/5 1505, is very broad. It is illegal to lie to Congress, and also to ''impede'' it in getting information. Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty indicated to Congress that the White House's involvement in firing the United States attorneys was minimal, something that Justice Department e-mail messages suggest to be untrue.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales made his own dubious assertion to Congress: ''I would never, ever make a change in a United States attorney position for political reasons.''

The administration appears to be trying to place all of the blame on Mr. Gonzales's chief of staff, Kyle Sampson, who resigned after reportedly failing to inform top Justice Department officials about the White House's role in the firings. If Mr. Sampson withheld the information from Mr. McNulty, who then misled Congress, Mr. Sampson may have violated 3/5sctmark1 4/5 1505.

But Mr. Sampson's lawyer now says other top Justice Department officials knew of the White House's role. Senator Charles Schumer, Democrat of New York, said last week that ''Kyle Sampson will not be the next Scooter Libby, the next fall guy.'' Congress will be looking for evidence that Mr. Gonzales and Mr. McNulty knew that what they told Congress was false or misleading.

Convictions of this kind are not common, but they happen. Just ask former White House aide David Safavian, who was convicted last year of making false statements to a Senate committee.

How does this affect President Bush?

It was James Madison himself who argued about the basis of impeaching the President:

As noted in this 1974 Judiciary Committee Report on the heels of the Watergate fiasco:

"Madison argued during the debate that the president would be subject to impeachment for "the wanton removal of meritorious officers."71 He also contended that the power of the President unilaterally to remove subordinates was "absolutely necessary" because "it will make him in a peculiar manner, responsible for [the] conduct" of executive officers. It would, Madison said,

subject him to impeachment himself, if he suffers them to perpetrate with impunity high crimes or misdemeanors against the United States, or neglects to superintend their conduct, so as to check their excesses.72"
In another comment in the report, the political firing of the U.S. Attorneys also is brought to mind:
"If, said Baldwin, the President "in a fit of passion" removed" all the good officers of the Government" and the Senate were unable to choose qualified successors, the consequence would be that the President "would be obliged to do the duties himself; or, if he did not, we would impeach him, and turn him out of office, as he had done others."75
Whether Gonzales had the right to let the U.S. Attorneys go or not is no longer the only question this President needs to answer. It is his attempt to protect and shelter an Attorney General who has lied to Congress, denied knowledge of events, and has obstructed the very Justice he was sworn to protect.

Nothing surprises me anymore.


Monday, April 16, 2007

John Kerry for President in 2008!

It has been reported that Senator Kerry is still leaving the door open for 2008.

Senator Kerry has always been ready to serve his country. As the news story reports:

The 2004 Democratic nominee told a crowd of more than 250 at the Tattered Cover bookstore in lower downtown Denver that he had no desire to endorse any candidate for the office right now, choosing to wait to see how they addressed the issue of global warming.

Kerry and his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, are finishing up a nationwide tour to promote their book, "This Moment on Earth," which highlights successful efforts at the local level to better the environment.

Afterwards, while answering a question from a viewer on the program YOUR SHOW about why he chose not to run, Kerry said he had decided it wasn't the right time.

"Could that change?" Kerry said. "It might. It may change over years. It may change over months. I can't tell you, but I've said very clearly I don't consider myself out of it forever."

Our nation desperately needs new leadership. And Senator Kerry is up to the challenge. He is right on the Environment. He is right on Iraq. He is right on Education, Veterans Benefits, and simply the need to restore this nation to the path our Founding Fathers intended. A nation based on laws, that respects International Treaties, works with our Allies, and does not start wars based on lies and distortions.

We have your back Senator!


Friday, April 13, 2007

Republicans Live in a Parallel Universe

Cross-Posted on The Democratic Daily:

Why is it not surprising that the White House is now embroiled in an email controversy over an entirely different set of email accounts run by the Republican National Committee for members of this Administration? A parallel email system to the authorized White House email system.

The Republicans live in a Parallel Universe.

They live in a world where they won the 2000 and 2004 elections. Where election fraud means people voting more than once rather than the thousands of voters suppressed in Florida, Ohio and elsewhere.

They live in a world where the insurgents are in their “last throes” and it is moral to rewrite global warming data to show that there is not a threat to our planet.

Freedom of Speech means not being able to say “Polar Bears” at international conferences.

For them torture is just a “little dip” instead of the horror the rest of us see.

The President lives in a world where Congress doesn’t really matter; signing statements can over-ride anything they pass anyhow.

The Geneva Conventions don’t really matter in their world; they are “quaint”.

To lower the deficit in their world you cut taxes and raise spending. Their new math only works in Washington.

To bring the soldiers home it is necessary to send more to war.

No child left behind means cutting funds for Public Education.

Regulating industry means appointing lobbyists to responsible positions.

Supporting the troops means not providing them with body honor or adequate veteran’s benefits, research for traumatic brain syndrome, or even paying for adequate maintenance at Walter Reed.

“Doing a Great Job” means Katrina.

Pharmacy benefits means not negotiating for drug discounts for Seniors.

Free trade means not allowing re-importation of drugs from Canada.

Addressing the Social Security Fund short-fall means diverting funds to private accounts.

National Security means revealing CIA Agents.

Reducing our dependence on imported oil means not raising mileage standards on automobiles.

So why am I not surprised that they should have their own email accounts at the White House? Our laws don’t apply to them…they are in a parallel universe not connected to our reality. But then, we are just reality-based Americans after all.


Sunday, March 04, 2007

Draft John Kerry Petition Online!

In order to facilitate the expression of a 'Draft John Kerry for President in 2008' list of supporters, I have started at online petition here. (http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/johnkerry2008draft/)

If you wish to add your name to the petition, click on the link and we shall start developing a list of supporters. I do not wish to diminish the efforts of any other supporters who are also working to establish a 'draft John Kerry' movement. I do not know where this goes and the magnitude of that support, but I have worked hard the past 2 1/2 years on this blog advocating his candidacy and defending his name against the smears of Swift Boaters.

I am prepared to Kerry On!


Draft John Kerry for President?

As cross-posted on the Democratic Daily:

Inspired by a column by Kapil Komireddi on The Lone Star Iconoclast, discussion followed on the John Kerry blog, about whether a ‘draft’ of Senator Kerry for 2008 would be possible. As the author of the John Kerry for President 2008 blog, where I have been advocating for a Kerry candidacy in 2008 since November, 2004, I feel a special responsibiity to participate in this discussion.

This is what I wrote this morning:

Draft John Kerry for President?

Those of us who still find little solace in the remaining field of candidates for President, still wonder if a John Kerry 2008 campaign is still a possibility.

I remember another Senator from Massachusetts who spoke about the assassination of his brother, Robert Kennedy, and eulogized:

“Some believe there is nothing one man or one woman can do against the enormous array of the world’s ills. Yet many of the world’s great movements, of thought and action, have flowed from the work of a single man. A young monk began the Protestant reformation, a young general extended an empire from Macedonia to the borders of the earth, and a young woman reclaimed the territory of France. It was a young Italian explorer who discovered the New World, and the thirty-two-year-old Thomas Jefferson who proclaimed that all men are created equal.

“These men moved the world, and so can we all. Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.

“Few are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change a world that yields most painfully to change. And I believe that in this generation those with the courage to enter the moral conflict will find themselves with companions in every corner of the globe.

“For the fortunate among us, there is the temptation to follow the easy and familiar paths of personal ambition and financial success so grandly spread before those who enjoy the privilege of education. But that is not the road history has marked out for us. Like it or not, we live in times of danger and uncertainty. But they are also more open to the creative energy of men than any other time in history. All of us will ultimately be judged and as the years pass we will surely judge ourselves, on the effort we have contributed to building a new world society and the extent to which our ideals and goals have shaped that effort.

“The future does not belong to those who are content with today, apathetic toward common problems and their fellow man alike, timid and fearful in the face of new ideas and bold projects. Rather it will belong to those who can blend vision, reason and courage in a personal commitment to the ideals and great enterprises of American Society.

We know that Senator Kerry has the courage, the wisdom, and the strength to accomplish much for America!

We know that America needs Senator Kerry at the helm far more than the junior Senator from Massachusetts desires to have that responsibility. But these times demand greatness from our leaders. And when our leaders have failed us, it demands that other leaders come forward who are willing to provide the vision that these times require.

Whether it is the health of our needy, the care of those afflicted by natural disasters, the stewardship of our very planet, the protection of our civil liberties, or the wisdom of our foreign policy, there has never been another time in history that challenged this nation to stay on its course as defined by our earliest patriots. There can be no satisfaction in watching wrongs remain un-righted. There can be no joy watching the Constitution of the United States trashed, the Katrina disaster unheeded, the very ice-caps of our planet being melted, and our special bond to even our allies across the globe being threatened.

It will not be an easy course for Senator Kerry to become the Democratic nominee. But nothing worth having is ever easy to reach. And our nation once more raises that call to leaders to come forth willing to lead and make those difficult decisions needed.

Senator Kerry we still have your back. America needs you to take charge.

If you are interested in Senator Kerry running for President 2008, and would like to encourage him to be a candidate, you can click HERE for a link that will open a form that goes directly to his United States Senate Office and you can fill in a message.

You can also click HERE for a link to the "Draft John Kerry for President in 2008" website which is also working to draft Senator Kerry. I am not affiliated with nor do I know who the operator to the Draft Kerry website is. But these are currently two venues for expressing your opinion on this matter.


Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Wasting of American Common Sense!

As cross-posted on The Democratic Daily.

It is time to play the apology game.

First you say something truthful then somebody figures you ought to apologize because it might be somehow construed as unpatriotic.

Obama had to apologize when he told a crowd in Iowa:

“We now have spent $400 billion and have seen over 3,000 lives of the bravest young Americans wasted.”

Somebody felt it would be hurtful to each of those soldier’s families to say that their lives had been lost for no particular good reason. Better to repeat the lie than deal with reality.

So Obama apologized.

And now Senator John McCain, another real war hero, has been caught saying the same thing.

On the David Letterman Show, Senator McCain said:

“We’ve wasted a lot of our most precious treasure, which is American lives.”

So McCain apologized.

Shame on McCain and Obama for apologizing!

America has not been made safer due to our invasion of Iraq! Al Quaeda isn’t running for cover because Americans have died. Americans haven’t unearthed Weapons of Mass Destruction that Saddam was aiming at us. The Taliban isn’t on the run. And just saying that Americans died for a reason doesn’t make it so.

It does not demean Americans who have died to say that their lives were wasted. It demeans them and all of us to continue a lie because we do not have the courage to face the truth.

The death of Americans in unnecessary wars is not made more meaningful by playing games of rhetoric. The mothers and fathers of soldiers who have lost their loved ones are not made whole by continuing a lie. If their lives have been lost and that loss brings us to realize our mistakes then their lives will not have been in vain.

But if we fail to realize the real waste of a generation of young and brave and patriotic Americans, then we shall have failed those very same young people. If we hide under illusions of rhetoric and the comfort of denial, we haven’t helped anyone anywhere.

As Senator Kerry himself once famously said, ‘How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?’ In other words, how do we sit by and do nothing when American lives are being wasted? When we can’t even say it?

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Senator Kerry delivers the Democratic Radio Address!

Listen HERE for the John Kerry radio address!

John Kerry understands Iraq. He understands America! He serves America and the state of Massachusetts! Keep on Coming John! We have your back!