Thursday, March 29, 2007

Dick Gephhardt Works to Undermine Al Gore

Revolving-door industry hack, Dick Gephardt (yes, that Dick Gephardt)has a new job. His law firm now represents Peabody Energy. Dick's mission: to derail Democratic attempts to curb carbon emissions. Read about it here.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

After A Decade-Long Hiatus, Hillary "Discovers" Health Care

So much for urgency. As millions have fallen into the ranks of the uninsured, Hillary's finally got religion. I mean health care. Now that it is clear, that no Dem can succeed without a solid health care proposal, Hillary joins Edwards and Kucinich, who got that all along.

Last weekend, as the Democratic candidates debated health care, Hillary found the subject. And she did so by borrowing form all the other candidates. A bit her and a bit there. Isn't there a word for this kind of cut-and-paste?

Pundits such as Roger Hickey (of Campaign for America's future) were a-ga-ga with fawning for Hill, giving her the credit for adding a "diagnosis" of the problem to her Hillary-come-lately health care position. Give me a break.

Clinton's doomed health care performance is no accomplishment, but that doesn't stop Hillary from trying to recast it as an advantage (she's learned). Yawn. There's just a slight problem. When Hillary failed in 1993, she never tried again. There were no efforts to fight back. No revised proposal. She and Bill had the bully pulpit. A master communicator (Bill) didn't try. He and she gave us nothing. For all these years.

Couric Morphs Into Ann Coulter

Katie Couric has morphed into Ann Coulter. In her 60 Minutes interview this past Sunday, Couric reached new lows in repeatedly assailing the Edwards couple for their decision to fight on for the presidency despite Elizabeth's diagnosis/prognosis. In Couric's grim-face, snot-nosed bashing, she tried to demonize what really is very selfless: The couple's putting our country's well being above their personal pain. She wasn't satisfied to raise the issue, though that would have stepped over the line as well. But she went on and on, savaging the couple as they sat there in disbelief. Couric seems to go overboard in her hostility to Democrats, but this was despicable.

Of all people on earth, though, Katie Couric is in no position to condemn the Edwards for putting their country, and their mission first. When husband Jay had cancer, Katie didn't quit her job. By all appearances, Couric placed her job at the Today show first.

The truth is that those whose family members have cancer usually need to keep working for benefits. And we should not judge them. Families must make the right decision for and within the family. However, Couric's feigned and strained high ground, when she did exactly the same thing (for lesser or no altruism,)is deplorable.

Katie spent most of her Today Show career avoiding gravitas, allowing herself flung literally and figuratively against a velcro wall. As she hoped to move into real news, she flexed her muscle by knocking Democrats and giving Republicans a free pass. The guy-gal's cute thing turned attack dog. This same "journalist" lobs softballs at George W. Bush, but treats a couple in their new-found grief in such a hostile way?

Those of us, who thought a female anchor was overdue, surely didn't have this in mind. Those who erroneously think any woman is preferable to a male, take note. Unfortunately, qualified women have been sent out to pasture because they weren't young enough, leggy enough, guy-gal enough, or perennially "cute" enough. Katie's stint at CBS has been marred by her continuing last place in the network ratings (among the big three). Katie's performance Sunday shows her failure in the ratings is richly deserved.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Could They (Members of the Admin) Be Any Dumber?

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that the notion of pairing our troops with Iraqi police, sending them on missions in inadequately armored vehicles, and garrisoning the same troops in Iraqi police departments was a huge blunder. And here we are, just after learning from wise service reports (via the Ronaoke Times) that in "the largestin a series of insurgent strikes against the American security crackdown," a police station was destroyed and 74 died.

Thanks to the admin., our troops are sitting ducks. This raises the question: Just who supports the troops?

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Mystery Solved: Creator of "Vote Different" Anti-Hillary Ad Fesses Up

Here's the scoop...

Center for American Progress Weighs In: "A Hero and a Target"

Read what CAP has to say about Al Gore and the attacks on his credibility.

Live Feed: Al Gore on CSPAN-3

Here's the link.

Unconstitutional: Modus Operandi for the AG

George W. Bush rails that Democrats are on a "fishing expedition." On the contrary, what we have in the myriad Alberto Gonzales abuses are excesses which are much worse than Watergate. Few Bush administration enablers have surpassed the overreaching of Alberto Gonzalez.  And that is saying a lot. Now many progressive bloggers are uniting to argue that Alberto Gonzalez should go. The nation's top lawyer should uphold the law of the land. He doesn't. Here are the allegations (hat tip to

--He helped authorized war crimes.
--He dismissed the Geneva Conventions.
--He helped redefine torture to include most kinds of torture.
--He helped establish the contorted legal rationale to establish military commissions that deny defendants legal rights.
--He claimed the US Constitution doesn't provide for habeas corpus.
--He defied FISA.
--He's helped enable Bush's spying on innocent Americans.
--Purged the ranks of US Attorneys because they wouldn't indict Democrats, who weren't guilty of anything, just before an election.

The prosecutors were being pressured to indict without sufficient evidence to cast a cloud over Democrats' candidacies. Some were punished for indicting Republicans. Tampering with the judicial process is the very essence of abuse of power. The issue is NOT that they serve at the "pleasure" of the president. The issue is that there were apparent executive and legislative branch efforts to meddle in investigations, indictments and trials for political purposes.

So profligate is this administration that Deputy Defense Dept Sec. Charles Stimson argued that those law firms representing the accused should be boycotted.  Given the few actual convictions of detainees, and the record of apprehending the innocent, this behavior is breathtaking in both scope and gravity. Gonzales and Rove must testify under oath. If they don't, the Senate should withdraw its endorsement of Alberto Gonzales as AG.

NY Times' Adam Cohen: "It Wasn’t Just a Bad Idea. It May Have Been Against the Law."

Read the comment here.

Al Gore Goes to Capitol Hill

Read about it here.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Media Watch: Go-To-Guy

[Update: Yesterday, Tuesday March 6, 2007, after I posted this comment, Brian Williams went on the air at 6:30 PM Eastern and admitted that Monday, March 6th was a very violent day in Iraq. He didn't outright say he had been wrong, but...]

NBC's Brian Williams had long been considered the right-wing's go-to guy. But something happened to Brian Williams as he filmed the aftermath of Katrina. Brian Williams was, albeit temporarily, reborn as a journalist. He'd ask tough questions, even to power. He did one story after another finally asking where we are headed, why, and to what good? He'd run reality checks to refute false claims. Brian Williams, it seemed, was a changed man. Not any more.

Recently, around the time fluff and good-news hack, Katie Couric, took the anchor over at CBS, Williams began ending broadcasts with fluff. More fluff encroached. And last, night the old Brain Williams fully emerged, fawningly touring Iraq on the Bush good-news tour. Williams made sure to point out that he was doing so without flack jacket. "Good news" must be reported. And Williams is just in time for Americans to buy-into a new war product roll-out in Iran. The implication is: "Isn't forcing 'democracy' at gunpoint swell? Let's do it again."

Reporting only, or especially "good news" is not news, but propaganda. That's unfortunately what the Bush administration gives us. We do not need the media doing it too. Yet the media ditto-heads the propaganda, like the robot chorus they are.

So, here we are. The one network which halfway tried to report is packing it in and jumping on the Bush train-ride to hell. And US citizens will flunk more current events quizzes, and on and on...

PS: Instead, why not watch Democracy Now with Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzales. Find a means of getting it by going to Get it from the web, satellite TV, Progressive Radio, and some cable outlets.

Same Old, Same Old: The Unbearable Lightness of Being (Hillary or Some Other Current Candidates)

As the nation recoils at the Bush legacy, and ponders the drawbacks of dynastic government control, its useful to consider just what we'd say if the shoe were on the other foot. Are we honest enough to denounce "legacies" whether from the other , or our own side of the aisle?

If we condone such familial "right" to succeed, can we honestly admit to ourselves the real legacy of their predecessors? And, are we going to demand candidates who say and do what needs to be said and done, rather than what's safe and temporarily expedient (for them, but not the nation)? Will we tell those who care more about running for president than doing the right thing, to take a hike?

Three worthy columns emerge for our consideration: Commentaries by Scott Ritter, David Michael Green, and Robert Borsage.

Ritter's is here.

Green's is here.

Green said:
You know what? I’m not interested in Ms. Clinton’s apology. I wouldn’t even be interested in it if it was half-way sincere. What kind of people can sacrifice the lives of so many others in order to fulfill their personal dream? It’s no more OK to forfeit thousands of people’s lives to become president than it is to burn down villages to become a rock star, if that is your dream, or to poison people on the way to becoming a famous chef. And, anyhow, why in the world would we choose such a person – even after a legitimate apology, let alone before – as the one among 300 million of us to carry our standard? Can’t we do much, much better than that?

Robert Borsage weights in here.


The Ghost of Dan Quayle Rides Again

Those of us who know how to spell potato, and also knew how to spell "pathetic," were relieved when we didn't have Dan Quayle to contend with any more. Never was the bar set so low for a Vice President. On second thought, it was second lowest for Dan Quayle.

But it turns out Dan Quayle never went away. Like many of other sycophants of the Reagan and Bush administrations, they reinvented themselves and found new ways to enrich themselves at our expense.

And they are also doing it at the expense of our wounded servicemen and women. IAP Worldwide Services has the contract for Walter Reed Medical Center. The company was founded by a former Halliburton executive. Sitting on the board of directors is former VP Dan Quayle. Incidentally, they have a cost-plus contract. It's hard to determine where the real work has come in. And, so it's also hard to understand where the plus-work is in the cost-plus. Read more here.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

A Long Time Coming: NY Times Constitutional Must-Do List

Here's the belated Civil Liberties To-Do List by the NY Times. Read the article here.

And here's the short version of the list:

1. Restore Habeus Corpus
2. Stop Illegal Spying
3. Ban Secret Evidence
4. Better Define "Classified" Evidence
5. Respect Right to Counsel
6. Tighten Definition of "Combatant."
7. Screen Prisoners Fairly and Effectively
8. Ban Tainted Evidence
9. Ban torture, really
10. Close the CIA Prisons
11. Account for "Ghost" Prisoners
12. Ban Extraordinary Rendition


Saturday, March 03, 2007

Startling Wes Clark Interview: Seven Countries in Five Years

In a live-audience interview at the 92nd Street Y Cultural Center New York City, Amy Goodman interviewed Four Star General (Ret.) Wes Clark for Democracy Now. They talked about his presidential aspirations, courageous effort to stop an iran war, and collaborative effort with Stop Iran War and Vote Vets.

Although I am not currently a Clark supporter, I strongly believe Wes Clark is making a powerful contribution to America and the Democratic Party. 

Clark confirmed what many of us have feared, that the Bush administration does have a plan for war without end, a plan to pick off one country after another.  Americans have a right to know what this administration is up to.  And Wes Clark is on a pretty short list of real heroes.  Amazingly, Clark said this:

So I came back to see him a few weeks later, and by that time we were bombing in Afghanistan. I said, "Are we still going to war with Iraq?" And he said, "Oh, it's worse than that." He reached over on his desk. He picked up a piece of paper. And he said, "I just got this down from upstairs" -- meaning the Secretary of Defense's office -- "today." And he said, "This is a memo that describes how we're going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran." I said, "Is it classified?" He said, "Yes, sir." I said, "Well, don't show it to me." And I saw him a year or so ago, and I said, "You remember that?" He said, "Sir, I didn't show you that memo! I didn't show it to you!"

Here's what Clark has said previously about the notion of war as the Bush-preferred method of solving problems:

"... surely we have learned by now that, particularly in this region, force and the threats of force should be the last, last, last resort. ... It is past time to ask our elected officials in the White House and Congress to exercise leadership: recognize the real strategic challenge we face, and start to work now to avoid an escalation and widening of conflict in the Mideast."

Message to the Democratic Congress:  Hello!  Is anyone (besides Jim Webb) out there?" Let the investigations, and resolutions preventing a run-away, perpetual war begin.  NOW!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Worth a Read: Seymour Hersh's Articles on Iran.

Over the last year or so, Seymour Hersh has done some reporting that has at first sounded prophetic and ultimately turned out to be accurate. Here is a short list of some of his articles. They are worth the read. The articles are in the order of publication, so the last on this list his latest, "The Redirection," concerning how the administration is redirecting its energies toward Iran. I've included one on Lebanon as well.

"Up in the Air: Whare is the Iraq War Heading Next?"

"The Iran Plans."

"Watching Lebanon."

"The Next Act."

"The Last Stand."

"The Redirection."

Let's Go For it: Let's Draft Al Gore!

As Al Gore prepared to attend the Oscars this past Sunday, the radical "right" began its attack on Al Gore?  Why?  Because they know if Al Gore runs, they are in trouble.  With Democrats positioned to take our country back in 2008, Al Gore has both the best resume, a previous popular vote victory, and a post-veep evolution so compelling, that he stands head and shoulders above the remaining possibilities.

As the Draft Al Gore website says:

At a time when politicians have lost the art of inspiring and leading, Al Gore speaks the truth and speaks it from the heart. His message is born out of conviction and is often decades ahead of its time. And he never gives in to politics as usual.

Sign the petition here

Al Gore strenuously opposed the war before it happened, the "Patriot Act," and NSA spying on innocent Americans.  His recent (last three years) speeches have been spectacular.  And he's been a dogged supporting of work to prevent global warming.  As others have reminded, he's an environmental hero.  Celebrated all over the world for his heroic work on global warming, Al Gore is the one to heal relations with our allies and the world. An experienced diplomat, he's negotiated treaties for President Clinton, and is widely heralded as the most successful Vice President in the history of the US.  He has both the strength and courage to do the right things to really keep us safe.

Moreover, Al Gore symbolizes what might --and should-- have been.  He's both the candidate and the cause by which Democrats and Americans can rally with one voice to Take Our Country Back.  It's long past time for Al Gore to lead this country.  Draft Al Gore! 

Sign the petition here