Wednesday, July 26, 2006

9th District Congressional Race Holds Caution for Extremist Candidate: Evidence Shows Voters Aren't Buying It

Somehow every time Rick Boucher runs for reelection, Republicans manage to dig deeper into the extremist slag-heap for his opponent. This time, Boucher's opponent wishes to make America one nation -- under Jesus Christ!!!!!! The man (Del. Bill Carrico) doesn't get that one shouldn't order up and lead prayer at a public gathering while at the same time wearing a police uniform (he did that). When he was told that the government, and its representatives, can't do that constitutionally, he was Rumpelstilskin mad. Note: What CAN happen is that people can pray -- if the state doesn't make them. And there's absoultely nothing preventing Americans from praying on their own.

Carrico doesn't get that distinction. So, he decided to run for office, where he can write legislation to force his brand of fanaticism down our throats. But his dream of creating a theocratic police state, officially organized under the auspices of one religious perspective, is anathema to our multi-religious country. Most Americans are religious, but they don't, and shouldn't have to endure need his arrogant intrusion and sanctimony. But those who subscribe to other faiths, as well as those professing no faith, deserve protection from this abuse of power. What ever happened to respecting each other? Isn't that what people of faith are called upon to do?

Though unsuitable for Congressman, Carrico would, however, be most appropriate in the Bush administration, where it's no-holds barred, Rovian so-called faith-based iniatives by the dozens. So extreme are the White House efforts that one former head of Faith-based iniatives there, resigned. There, any pseudo-religious excess is A-OK, and the nation and world become pawns in Bush's war of civilizations. The good news is Southwestern Virginians recognize extremism when they see it. The latest poll presented on WBDJ7 shows only 29% (the most hard-core fanatics) supporting theocrat Carrico against Rick Boucher. Maybe the next time the GOP will grasp that voters want respectful representation, good government, sound policy, and an end to wacky candidates. Meanwhile, Carrico should spend a little time reading the Constitution.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Over-the-Top: BUSCHO and Its Ever Widening Overreach

Every time we turn around, there's another over-reach or downright excess by the Bush administration. Here's what the Countdown With Keith Olberman Newsletter says on the matter:

"The powerful American Bar Association charged president George Bush with flouting the constitution and undermining the rule of the law by assuming power to disregard selected provisions of bills he signs. An 11-member bipartisan panel of the bar association said in a report that Bush had used the provision of "signing statements" far more than his predecessors, raising constitutional objections to over 800 provisions in more than 100 laws as they infringed on his prerogatives. The panel said these uses of power by the president amounted to "veto" and deprived the Congress of the opportunity to override the veto.",1471,U.S.-bar-panel-raps-Bush-on-signing-statements.html

There's more:

"On the same subject, a top Senate Republican said on Monday he will challenge U.S. President George W. Bush's practice of claiming a right to ignore or not enforce sections of bills that he signs into law. Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter said he plans to introduce legislation this week that would give the U.S. Congress the right to bring a lawsuit against Bush's "signing statements."

Somehow, however, I am not reassured that Specter is on task. Given his previous bluster followed by total capitulation (and then some) -- on the NSA spying issue, Specter has proven he can't be trusted to be our watchdog. What we ended up with under Specter's "compromise" with the White House was worse than if he had done nothing. It was downright misleading and betrayal of the Congress and the American people. The first agenda item in reclaiming our country has to be the defeat, or replacement as chair of the Senate judiciary, of Arlen Specter. An able polkitical organization, such as Democracy for America should undertake this project, post haste.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Why A Progressive Echo?

One self-proclaimed centrist blogger, F. T. Rhea has challenged bloggers this weekend to halt the "echo chamber" for one weekend. Funny, but, if anything, more, not less, echo from the left-of-center is needed to even come close to matching the hollow noise-for-mischief emanating from the right. The echo-chamber shouldn't be the only activity of progressive bloggers, but it is a legitimate one.

For example, does anyone not believe the GOP neocon echo-chamber is fast a work trying to ramp up to full-blown world-wide conflict for its own ulterior purpose (privatizing infrastructure, usurping public assets, and ironically invading our private lives and homes at the same time). Pardadoxically, it's privatization for neocons and their corporate concerns but public control of each individual, down to the (smaller-than-the-head-of-a-pin) human embyos and our DNA.

We get insufficient information about the extent of the Middle East conflict, and America's clandestine manipulation of it. Corporate news has become our news. And "what's good" for Lockeed Martin, Raytheon, and other manufacturers of war has supplanted what's good for GM. You "gotta sell those missles and armanents." And you "gotta" have wars, they think but don't say.

With the exception of Air America Radio and Free Speech TV (which reach small numbers of voters), there's little traditional media coverage of alternative information. That is to say, information that isn't "imbedded," and thus slanted. for example, except for on Free Speech TV, there's no coverage about how selling weapons systems for the eradication of civilians is illegal under US Law.

International conflict is a tricky enterprise, but it is, unfortunately, an enterprise. It's also complicated by real concerns of citizens of the world that we are being played once again. Just scare people enough. Just make us believe that if we don't support excess, one country will cease to exist. Maybe even our own. We want our or another nation to exist, so we give in yet again. This time, however, the stakes are higher.

George W. Bush has, somewhat feebly, asked for restraint. He should say it more strongly -- and mean it. Restraint should be part of our mantra too. And so too should be "diplomatic solution." Wouldn't an echo of that be refreshing? We should have learned long ago that every time we meddle or divide counties up, we have perrennial problems.

No doubt, those who urge restraint, proportionality, negotiation, peace will be tarred and mislabeled. We will falsely charged with being against a people. We are not. We don't owe anyone or any country a blank check. My faith tells me I must stand with those who call for these things and not with purveyors of killing and destruction. So, let the echo begin: Restraint. Protect innocent civilians. Cease fire. Negotiation. Long-term agreements (kept). Peace. There's not a lot of time to waste.

The Imbeds are Back, But This Time It's Worse

On the same night earlier this week, TV viewers were treated to the following on the big three networks: Lara Logan gave another of her impassioned propagandistic (war) promotion pieces. Charles Gibson flew in a helicopter with the Israeli Defense Forces. And Brian Williams also flew courtesy of Israeli Defense Forces. This wasn't (isn't) right in Iraq and isn't right now. Of course, the fact that nearly half-a-million Lebanese are homeless and refugees wasn't deemed important enough to emphasize. One had to go to the foreign press, Free Speech TV (only available on satellite in my area), Air America Radio, or to experts’ blogs to get even an inkling of what was really going on.

Meanwhile, according to FAIR (, also this week, CBS's Bob Schieffer trotted out once again the myth of the frog and the scorpion, which ended, as usual with the "Because this is the Middle East" tired and bigoted conclusion. No insight into the context. No complex reporting. Not even simple reporting in any real detail, except by the breathless Lara. It's enough to make one sick.

Simultaneously, in the void of complete and honest coverage, the rabid call for World War 3 by the usual cacophony of immoral and amoral neo-cons raised its ugly head. Is there no conflict or crisis these brutal, war mongering opportunists won't savage?

In a Seattle Times Online story, Newt himself all but slipped and admitted his political motivations ( story that he wants to drive this story for its political benefits, never mind what suffering, or potential suffering, he salivates for. We have a Congressional election this fall and Newt is worried, it seems. He wants to nationalize the election around George W. Bush. If there were ever a hope that this man would grow a conscience, it is long gone. And like the lapdogs they are Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, William Kristol, and others drool their lust for expanded war. "Bring it on" was tired, bankrupt, a target-the-wrong-enemy rally cry, and evil to its core, when it reared its head before. Now the WWIII mantra is more evil still, if that is possible. Promoting world-wide cataclysm so cravenly is without precedent in the US. But here we are with the unconscionable given a daily voice via networks, talk television and radio.

The fem-bots at CNN are out in force. FOX News is predictable as ever. Only (and this is a refreshing change) MSNBC has had to shows (Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann) urging reason and thoughtful solutions instead of RAMBO. Where are the other counter-voices? We need an informed data set which includes a variety of perspectives. No blinders are appropriate. Those who truly wish for the survival of both innocent Israelis and Lebanese, surely deserve a news stream and voice. This recent round of violence, which began over a dispute about two hostages has mushroomed to imperil two nations, a region, and, perhaps (if neglected), worse. Surely, the ethical thing is to try broker an end to the hostilities.

Meanwhile, as Americans seek information, it appears, once again, we’ve all been taken kicking and screaming into the unseemly world of the imbed. But imbedded journalists’ stories are unseemly, whether at the hands of our own nation’s government or that of a valued ally.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Nations War; Bush Chimps it Up

Aping his role as Chimp-in-Chief (the website is so aptly named), George W. Bush used the G-8 summit to show the world that he:

--Chomped and slurped his food with mouth open.
--Boorishly smirked and laughed inappropriately.
--Joked repeatedly about looking forward to the pig (pork) meal he was about to have.
--Then he condescendingly used a press conference to lecture Putin on "democracy" by pointing out our installing it (or a pretense of it) in Iraq. Putin returned the favor by suggesting sarcastically that every one wants to be just like Iraq. The international press broke out in laughter. We are a laughing stock, but Bush supporters don't notice. Or, they chalk it up as one more offense, their poor boy taking it on the chin in the face of such mean, mean people.
-And if that was not bad enough, George W. Bush gave an extraordinarily inappropriate neck rub to Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, as she cringed and pushed his hands off. As political commentator, Larry Sabato, said, "Almost every male alive today knows that you don't offer uninvited messages to any female, much less the chancellor of Germany." Not, apparently our nation's CEO.

But international relations depend upon protocol, diplomacy, intelligent discussion, and real problem solving. On these aspects of his job, George W. Bush shortchanges Americans every time he shows up. At G-8, it seemed that Tony Blair was instructing George W. Bush. Perhaps we've all be wrong about Blair's relationship with Bush. It may be one-up rather than one-down.

This isn't the first, nor likely the last, time a nation and the world cringe at Bush's inappropriate behavior. It's tempting to think he doesn't "get it." But it appears that Bush just doesn't care. It's impossible to be such a boor without meaning to. We continue to be sucker-punched as Bush just keeps monkeying around with our country. And perhaps the sorry joke is on us. As the smirking chimp site says in its masthead, "Ask not for whom the chimp smirks; it smirks at you."