Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Call the democrats that betrayed us! Today!

The Alito Betrayal
By Bob Fertik
Created 2006-01-30 17:18
We, the voters who elect Democrats in every election, were utterly and completely betrayed today by 18 Democratic Senators that we elected, all of whom can be reached at 888-355-3588 or 888-818-6641:

Akaka (HI), Baucus (MT), Bingaman (NM), Byrd (WV), Cantwell (WA), Carper (DE), Dorgan (ND), Inouye (HI), Johnson (SD), Kohl (WI), Landrieu (LA), Lieberman (CT), Lincoln (AR), Nelson (FL), Nelson (NE), Pryor (AR), Rockefeller (WV), Salazar (CO)

There was no reason for this betrayal. We only needed 40 39 of the 45 Democrats to sustain a filibuster. We could have won even if 5 6 Democrats who were flat-out stupid enough to believe Alito's lies (like Robert Byrd and Kent Conrad) had voted against the filibuster. (1)

Every Democratic Senator knew what was at stake - both in the rulings Justice [sic] Alito will make for the rest of his life, and in the anger - even rage - that will greet their decision to betray us.

So why did these Democrats decide to stab us all in the back?

For one simple reason: because we let them.

Democratic candidates - at every level - take us, the Democratic base, completely for granted.

They ask us for money and we give it to them - with no strings attached. They ask us for votes and we give it to them - with no strings attached.

They are not accountable because we don't hold them accountable.

That must change - and with your help, I will make sure that it does change.

In the coming weeks, I will offer a plan for holding elected Democrats accountable. The plan will be based on some core principles:

We have a right to be furious at the 18 Democrats who betrayed us - and we have a right to share our fury with those Democrats (888-355-3588 or 888-818-6641), as well as the DSCC (202-224-2447) and DNC (202-863-8000).
The Democratic Party belongs to the people who vote for Democrats, not to the elected officials, party bureaucrats, and rich consultants whose power and wealth comes entirely from us.
We, the Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party, represent the majority of all Americans on every issue Americans care about, and we will win majorities in every state (almost!) if we fight as hard as Republicans do for our issues
We must find politically strategic ways to channel our anger towards constructive goals, rather than the obvious destructive ones (like electing even more Republicans to accelerate the rise of Fascism in America).
I'll say a lot more in the days and weeks to come - stay tuned!

(1) The official Roll Call shows only 53 of 55 Republicans voted (Ensign and Hagel were absent) so Frist needed 7 Democrats to reach 60 and end the filibuster.


Source URL:

Friday, January 27, 2006

Wake up America! Bush is not our king!

Madness of King George

Led by White House propaganda czar Karl Rove, the Bush Administration has launched an aggressive campaign claiming that the President's authorization of massive ongoing electronic surveillance of American citizens is the only appropriate response to "a ruthless enemy." Rove added that criticism of the President's policy comes from those who don't understand "the nature of the threat and the gravity of the moment."

The Founding Fathers anticipated debates such as the one stemming from George W. Bush's illegal spying. Well acquainted with the excesses of mad monarchs named George and the excuses for tyranny peddled by their partisans, Benjamin Franklin warned, "They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." James Madison understood how seductive the claims of national security could be, pointing out that wartime is "the true nurse of executive aggrandizement."

Contemporary experts as diverse as Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University and one of the foremost scholars of the conflict between the demands of national security and the Constitution, and Bruce Fein, a key player in Ronald Reagan's Justice Department, have identified the Bush Administration's wiretapping as a dangerous assault on our basic freedoms. Turley says, "What the President ordered in this case was a crime." Fein adds that Bush is claiming "more power than King George III had at the time of the Revolution, in asserting the theory that anything the President thinks is helpful to fighting the war against terrorism he can do." Link-The Nation

Thursday, January 26, 2006

State Of Presidential Credibility 2006

watch this and weep for our nation

King George speaks

Good Lord this man is a piece of work! This is as bad as their renaming/reframing from domestic spying to terro rist spying or whatever BS they came up with. Arrggghhh!

From CNN.com:
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush suggested Thursday he might offer resistance if Congress moves to change the law relating to his controversial program of warrantless surveillance for terrorist threats and said: "There's no doubt in my mind it is legal."
Asked if he would support efforts in Congress to give him express authorit y to continue the program, Bush cited what he said was the extreme delicacy of the operation.
"But it's important for people to understand that this program is so sensitive and so important that if information gets out to how we run it or how we operate it, it'll help the enemy," he said. "Why tell the enemy what we're doing?"
"We'll listen to ideas. But I want to make sure that people understand that if the attempt to write law makes this program -- is likely to expose the nature of the program, I'll resist it," he said.
Bush told a White House news conference that the domestic spying program "is designed to protect civil liberties" and declared that "it's necessary."

Call and voice your opinion

Here is a l list of the phone numbers for the members of the Judiciary committee:
(some have answering machines and you can leave a message)

Leahy: 202-224-4242
Kennedy: 202-224-4543
Biden: 202-224-5042
Kohl: 202-224-5653
Feinstein: 202-224-3841
Feingold: 202-224-5323
Schumer: 202-224-6542
Durbin: 202-224-2152

And Byrd: 202-224-3954


Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Love that William Rivers Pitt!

Democrats: Get Up and Walk Out
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Sunday 22 January 2006

To: Congressional Democrats
From: William Rivers Pitt
RE: A bold maneuver
- - - -

I have a wild and crazy idea.

George W. Bush's delivery of the State of the Union address will take place on Tuesday, January 31, a little more than a week from now. It is my strong belief that every single Democrat present in the House chamber for the speech should, at a predetermined moment, stand up and walk out. No yelling. No heated words. Every Democrat should simply stand silently and leave.

Crazy, I know. Crazy, and possibly the best idea ever put before a body of Democrats since the New Deal.

Understand this, congressional Democrats, and understand it well: you are not dealing merely with a body of political opponents in the GOP. You are dealing with a group of people that want you exterminated politically. The days of walking the halls of the Rayburn Building, sharing a bourbon with a colleague from the other side of the aisle, and hammering out a compromise are as dead as Julius Caesar. Collegiality is out. Mutual respect is out. They want you gone for good. Erased. Destroyed.

And you have been far too polite about this.

Buzzflash editorial...Demos asleep at the wheel again

The Power of One


Of all the bullying insults to democracy, George W. Bush, a man who has shown utter contempt for the rule of law and civilized governance, is about to pack the Supreme Court with a majority who will grant him the powers of a king.

The Democrats in the Senate, as we predicted in multiple editorials, will not filibuster Samuel Alito, short of some miraculous epiphany and spinal transplant.

(See "Sam Alito and the End of Constitutional Checks and Balances: The Senate Dems are About to Hang Themselves," which includes links to most of the pertinent BuzzFlash commentaries.)

Those chronically timid and cautious Democratic Senators who find comfort in passivity and enabling the dismantling of our Democracy should take note that times have changed.

The revolution to restore the gift of the American Revolution -- our Constitution -- is moving from a simmer to a boil, by the power of one exponentially multiplied into an army of patriots.

Check it out a buzzflash.com

Rarely is the sequel to a movie released so early

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Gore's response to administration criticism of his speech

WASHINGTON, Jan. 17 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Following is a statement by former Vice President Al Gore:

"The Administration's response to my speech illustrates perfectly the need for a special counsel to review the legality of the NSA wiretapping program. The Attorney General is making a political defense of the President without even addressing the substantive legal questions that have so troubled millions of Americans in both political parties.

"There are two problems with the Attorney General's effort to focus attention on the past instead of the present Administration's behavior. First, as others have thoroughly documented, his charges are factually wrong. Both before and after the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was amended in 1995, the Clinton/Gore Administration complied fully and completely with the terms of the law.

"Second, the Attorney General's attempt to cite a previous administration's activity as precedent for theirs -- even though factually wrong -- ironically demonstrates another reason why we must be so vigilant about their brazen disregard for the law. If unchecked, their behavior would serve as a precedent to encourage future presidents to claim these same powers, which many legal experts in both parties believe are clearly illegal.

"The issue, simply put, is that for more than four years, the executive branch has been wiretapping many thousands of American citizens without warrants in direct contradiction of American law. It is clearly wrong and disrespectful to the American people to allow a close political associate of the president to be in charge of reviewing serious charges against him.

"The country needs a full and independent investigation into the facts and legality of the present Administration's program."


Video synopsis of Al Gore's speech

Can be found here

Army Orders Soldiers to Shed Dragon Skin or Lose SGLI Death Benefits

By Nathaniel R. Helms

Two deploying soldiers and a concerned mother reported Friday afternoon that the U.S. Army appears to be singling out soldiers who have purchased Pinnacle's Dragon Skin Body Armor for special treatment. The soldiers, who are currently staging for combat operations from a secret location, reported that their commander told them if they were wearing Pinnacle Dragon Skin and were killed their beneficiaries might not receive the death benefits from their $400,000 SGLI life insurance policies. The soldiers were ordered to leave their privately purchased body armor at home or face the possibility of both losing their life insurance benefit and facing disciplinary action.

The soldiers asked for anonymity because they are concerned they will face retaliation for going public with the Army's apparently new directive. At the sources' requests DefenseWatch has also agreed not to reveal the unit at which the incident occured for operational security reasons.

On Saturday morning a soldier affected by the order reported to DefenseWatch that the directive specified that "all" commercially available body armor was prohibited. The soldier said the order came down Friday morning from Headquarters, United States Special Operations Command (HQ, USSOCOM), located at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. It arrived unexpectedly while his unit was preparing to deploy on combat operations. The soldier said the order was deeply disturbiing to many of the men who had used their own money to purchase Dragon Skin because it will affect both their mobility and ballistic protection.

"We have to be able to move. It (Dragon Skin) is heavy, but it is made so we have mobility and the best ballistic protection out there. This is crazy. And they are threatening us with our benefits if we don't comply." he said.

The soldier reiterated Friday's reports that any soldier who refused to comply with the order and was subsequently killed in action "could" be denied the $400,000 death benefit provided by their SGLI life insurance policy as well as face disciplinary action.

As of this report Saturday morning the Army has not yet responded to a DefenseWatch inquiry.

Recently Dragon Skin became an item of contention between proponents of the Interceptor OTV body armor generally issued to all service members deploying in combat theaters and its growing legion of critics. Critics of the Interceptor OTV system say it is ineffective and inferior to Dragon Skin, as well as several other commercially available body armor systems on the market. Last week DefenseWatch released a secret Marine Corps report that determined that 80% of the 401 Marines killed in Iraq between April 2004 and June 2005 might have been saved if the Interceptor OTV body armor they were wearing was more effective. The Army has declined to comment on the report because doing so could aid the enemy, an Army spokesman has repeatedly said.

A U.S. Army spokesman was not available for comment at the time DW's original report (Friday - 1700 CST) was published. DefenseWatch continues to seek a response from the Army and will post one as soon as it becomes available. Yesterday the DoD released a news story through the Armed Forces News Service that quoted Maj. Gen. Steven Speaks, the Army's director of force development, who countered critical media reports by denying that the U.S. military is behind the curve in providing appropriate force protection gear for troops deployed to Iraq and elsewhere in the global war against terrorism. The New York Tiimes and Washington Post led the bandwagon of mainstream media that capitalized on DefenseWatch's release of the Marine Corps study. Both newspapers released the forensic information the Army and Marines are unwilling to discuss.

"Those headlines entirely miss the point," Speaks said.

The effort to improve body armor "has been a programmatic effort in the case of the Army that has gone on with great intensity for the last five months," he noted.

Speaks' assessment contradicts earlier Army, Marine and DoD statements that indicated as late as last week that the Army was certain there was nothing wrong with Interceptor OTV body armor and that it was and remains the "best body armor in the world."

One of the soldiers who lost his coveted Dragon Skin is a veteran operator. He reported that his commander expressed deep regret upon issuing his orders directing him to leave his Dragon Skin body armor behind. The commander reportedly told his subordinates that he "had no choice because the orders came from very high up" and had to be enforced, the soldier said. Another soldier's story was corroborated by his mother, who helped defray the $6,000 cost of buying the Dragon Skin, she said.

The mother of the soldier, who hails from the Providence, Rhode Island area, said she helped pay for the Dragon Skin as a Christmas present because her son told her it was "so much better" than the Interceptor OTV they expected to be issued when arriving in country for a combat tour.

"He didn't want to use that other stuff," she said. "He told me that if anything happened to him I am supposed to raise hell."

At the time the orders were issued the two soldiers had already loaded their Dragon Skin body armor onto the pallets being used to air freight their gear into the operational theater, the soldiers said. They subsequently removed it pursuant to their orders.

Currently nine U.S. generals stationed in Afghanistan are reportedly wearing Pinnacle Dragon Skin body armor, according to company spokesman Paul Chopra. Chopra, a retired Army chief warrant officer and 20+-year pilot in the famed 160th "Nightstalkers" Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), said his company was merely told the generals wanted to "evaluate" the body armor in a combat environment. Chopra said he did not know the names of the general officers wearing the Dragon Skin.

Last year the DoD, under severe pressure from Congress, authorized a one-time $1,000 reimbursement to soldiers who had purchased civilian equipment to supplement either inadequate or unavailable equipment they needed for combat operations. At the time there was no restriction on what the soldiers could buy as long as it was specifically intended to offer personal protection or further their mission capabilities while in theater.

Nathaniel R. Helms is the editor of DefenseWatch Magazine. He can be reached at natshouse1@chater.net. Please send all inquiries and comments to dwfeedback@yahoo.com .

Al Gore speaks out

In a riveting and passionate speech, Al Gore spoke out against the Bush regime. Granted, the Repubs are spinning this mightly but it's like that Iowa farmer's invention that spins the water out of manure, the manure is still left behind. They can spin all they want, but some of us know that fascism is growing in DC, and what Bush wants is to be king. The unitary presidency idea sure allows him to believe, wrongly of course, that the law does not apply to him.

To quote a portion of Al Gore's speech:
"As we begin this new year, the Executive Branch of our government has been caught eavesdropping on huge numbers of American citizens and has brazenly declared that it has the unilateral right to continue without regard to the established law enacted by Congress to prevent such abuses.

It is imperative that respect for the rule of law be restored."

If you have not heard it, go to cspan.org; if you want to read it, go here

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Report Rebuts Bush on Spying
Domestic Action's Legality Challenged

A report by Congress's research arm concluded yesterday that the administration's justification for the warrantless eavesdropping authorized by President Bush conflicts with existing law and hinges on weak legal arguments. link

Vietnam Veterans Association on federal cuts

November/December 2005

With the number of American soldiers killed in Iraq having topped 2,000, those fortunate enough to return face the task of putting the war behind them and resuming their lives. Some are getting reacquainted with wives and children they left behind a year or more ago. Many face the task of catching up on bills or fixing homes that have gone in need of repair. Some lost jobs or had their businesses falter while they were gone. More than a few have found they have returned home with their war anxieties.

“They are witnessing far more traumatic experiences than they did in the first Gulf war,” said Terri Tanielian, a senior military health policy analyst for the Rand Corporation. Longer deployments, fiercer engagements, and more casualties have left Iraq war veterans more vulnerable to psychological trauma than Gulf War veterans, Tanielian said. She said many veterans may be shunning counseling services offered by the military out of a misplaced sense of honor. “Their training is to go on with the mission and put on the brave face,” Tanielian said.

A recent article in USA Today noted that more than one in four American troops have come home from Iraq with health problems that require medical or mental health treatment. According to the Pentagon’s first detailed screening of service members leaving the war zone, almost 1,700 returning this year said they harbored thoughts of hurting themselves or that they would be better off dead. More than 250 said they had such thoughts “a lot.” Nearly 20,000 reported nightmares or unwanted war recollections; more than 3,700 said they had concerns that they might “hurt or lose control” with someone else. link

interesting discussion at the Boerne Daily Grind

We went over there to test my daughter's WiFi connection as the Boerne Daily Grind has free WiFi, and ran into a gray haired man who started a conversation with us. It all started when he saw my Quaker shirt that states "war is costly." The conversation covered many issues, but the most outstanding issue was healthcare. When I stated that I felt it was a moral imperative to offer healthcare for everyone in this country, his return arguement was shocking to me. He felt, as a physician, he should not be required to give away his intellectual property, his skills as a physician that he spent thousands of dollars for, and should not be forced to take care of people who could not pay for his services. That entire argument astounds me. I think his Merlot went to his brain.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Scary news

The Bush administration is preparing its NATO allies for a possible military strike against suspected nuclear sites in Iran in the New Year, according to German media reports, reinforcing similar earlier suggestions in the Turkish media.

The Berlin daily Der Tagesspiegel this week quoted "NATO intelligence sources" who claimed that the NATO allies had been informed that the United States is currently investigating all possibilities of bringing the mullah-led regime into line, including military options. This "all options are open" line has been President George W Bush's publicly stated policy throughout the past 18 months. link

Monday, January 02, 2006

Jan 1 protest against Bush

A few brave souls got up really, really early to meet outside BAMC to protest as Bush arrived to visit the troops. We got to speak with the SAPD detectives, SAPD, Secret Service, and a wave from Ft. Sam Houston police. The law enforcement personnel were very polite and considerate. One even gave a ride to a group member who moved a car to a far off location where we parked.
Sadly only 7 people showed up. We were first allowed to stand outside the fence by the helipad, but then we were moved across the access road very far from the helipad. We could see the Bush motorcade arrive, but I am positive we could not be seen by anybody unless pointed out. Ah well, we at least exercised our constitutional right to protest.

Then to hear the next day that Bush talked about his "combat" with a cedar tree, in front of real combats Vets, just wound me right up. What kind of insenstive idiocy is that? These men and women have lost arms and legs, had real serious wounds, and he talks about a stupid cut from a cedar tree? I am so embarrassed that this is the President! Good grief!

Wire tapping without a warrant is illegal ... Doh!

The most relevant precedent is United States v. United States District Court (Keith). Decided in 1972, Kieth involved a prosecution for conspiracy to blow-up a CIA office. The Executive argued that in order “to gather intelligence information” that was “necessary to protect the nation from attempts . . . to attack and subvert the existing structure of the Government,” it was constitutionally entitled to engage in electronic surveillance of American citizens without complying with the requirements of the Fourth Amendment. In Kieth, the Supreme Court unanimously and unequivocally held that, even in national security investigations, the President had no constitutional authority to conduct electronic surveillance of American citizens on American soil without a judicially issued search warrant based on a finding of probable cause. link