Friday, May 27, 2005


Originally uploaded by cdiamico.

Is this the man you want to lead the United States at the UN as Ambassador? Vote in my Mini Poll and let's see together what people think about this nomination.

Bolton confirmation delay

The Senate again showed its wisdom by not voting for cloture and thereby continuing debate on the Bolton nomination. Senator Joe Biden of Delaware and Christopher Dodd of Connecticut are demanding that they be able to view what they perceive as pertinent documents from the Administration. Senator Frist of Tennessee seriously tried unsuccessfully to get the Administration to release the documents, according to Senator Biden. He gave credit to Senator Frist for his efforts from the Seante floor after the vote was taken and said he was wanting to vote on Bolton and will as soon as he gets the documents he has requested. I don't know the merits of seeing these particular documents, but based upon the reported facts, that many staffers of Bolton had seen the documents on intercepts, it does not appear to be just stalling by these 2 senators to at least see these documents in their oversite capacity. I am concluding that there must be damaging information to the Bolton nomination, if these documents were released. Where there is smoke there is fire. I think this must be an embarrasement to the Administration on their foreign relations policy with respect to Syria, Iraq and Cuba or they would be released. Senator Frist is framing this vote as another stall tactic and feels like a filibuster. Senator Frist, take off the Filibuster glasses you are wearing. The are clouding your judgment. You will continue to see every time you don't get what you want as a filibuster, instead of the normal process of governing in a democracy, where minority rights are protected and valued.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Spin by Senators on the group of 14 agreement

In true form, a number of US Senators are spinning the compromise agreed to by 14 courageous senators yesterday. They so much want not to look like they lost the battle on this issue. These Senators are the ones we need to remove in 2008. I don't care if they are Democrats or Republicans. Their rheotic incites others to war within the Senate. I refer specifically to Senator Jeff Sessions, of Alabama, in his opening statement this morning broadcast on C-Span. He seems to want to frame the result of the agreement that the Senators agreed to terminate the use of the filibuster and, therefore, it should not be used again. Senator, go back to Alabama if that's where you get your strength to spin like this. It works to defeat those seeking compromise.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Senate Saved By 14 Courageous Senators

Amen, Amen. Thanks to the level headedness of 14 Senators. a true disaster has been avoided. This is what compromise looks like. To some that want it their way, they will be disappointed. To others who wanted to see the fight, I say this fight had no winners but all of us as losers. I also say to those that wanted a fight on this, shame on you. The Senate is divided by 2 parties, Republicans with a 55 Senator majority , representing 144 Million Americans who live in their states, and Democrats with a 45 Senator minority, representing 148 Million Americans. It doesn't get much more divided than that. Let's try to encourage working in the middle. Write to Senators, as I will, congratulating the 14 who had the courage of putting the country ahead of politics and who will certainly receive some flack from people back home who are disappointed in them.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Changing the Rules

This piece was obtained from Chris Wood on his Blog. Click on the Link above to read this and other related information.

Hunter over at Daily Kos, along with Kevin Drum of The Washington Monthly, do a little bit of research and work to point out how Washington Republicans have essentially brought the Nuclear Option upon themselves:

"Originally, after Republicans gained control of the Senate in the 1994 elections and Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch assumed control of the Judiciary Committee, the rule regarding judicial nominees was this: If a single senator from a nominee's home state objected to (or "blue-slipped") a nomination, it was dead. This rule made it easy for Republicans to obstruct Clinton's nominees.

But in 2001, when a Republican became president, Hatch suddenly reversed course and decided that it should take objections from both home-state senators to block a nominee. That made it harder for Democrats to obstruct George W. Bush's nominees.

In early 2003 Hatch went even further: Senatorial objections were merely advisory, he said. Even if both senators objected to a nomination, it could still go to the floor for a vote.

Finally, a few weeks later, yet another barrier was torn down: Hatch did away with "Rule IV," which states that at least one member of the minority has to agree in order to end discussion about a nomination and move it out of committee."
So, they brought this upon themselves.

In his January op-ed in The Washington Post, Drum offered a simple compromise that he is (and I agree) sure Senate Democrats would agree to: Restore the old rules and the filibuster wouldn't be used.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Where are the student protests today?

As we approach June 4th , the anniversary of Tiananmen Square, and I reflect on our own history of student protests, it got me to wonder where are today's student protesters, as certainly there are many disturbing trends in America today, threatening the very fabric of our democracy as we search for bipartisanship in Congress and a more humble America in our rhetoric abroad and at home. But we still seem very arrogant as a nation with little understanding of the very cultures we are trying to change. I am not talking about Iraq here. I am talking about the "Divided" States of America, that's right, the good ole D.S.A., one nation, (partly) under God, very divisible, with liberty (until we can change those Senate Rules), and justice for (a few).

There was once a time of idealism, of standing up and being taken seriously by society, a conscience for all of us. This was the time of Student protests. Students protested the Vietnam war, the May 4th, 1970 Kent State shootings, Tiananmen Square and support for democracy in China, the outrage at the Chinese Government’s reaction to the protests and some recent protests of the Iraq war in selective cities.

As a nation, we have a lot to be angry about with our government. First there was the misleading “intelligence” of the lead up to the Iraq invasion and then the letters of former White House General Counsel and current Attorney General, Roberto Gonzales, regarding new interpretations of what is and what is not torture. Then the pronouncements by our President that certain prisoners would not necessarily be treated in a manner consistent with the Geneva Convention. Add to this more recent assertion about additional abuse in Guantanamo and the shameless deceit to get recruits on High School campuses to enlist, and you wonder what it takes to get Student protesters engaged again. There have been some protests of the Iraq war but they fade away quickly. What captures the focus and attention of the bulk of our students today? Could it be survival, as the job market still looks bleak? Or is it just apathy? What do you think? I don’t think they care much about what the Senate is proposing in its Nuclear Option to end the filibuster and allow judicial nominations through who by the minority see as extreme in their views. Stay tuned.

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Friday, May 20, 2005

Changing Senate Rules

OK, you want to change the Rules of the Senate. go for it Senator Frist and the Republican Senators in charge of the Senate today. However, follow the Rules in changing the Rules, otherwise there are no laws that can't be broken. Think about what our country will be like with in effect, no Rules. Senate Rules currently require a supermajority to change the Rules. When the Senate breaks the Rules of the Senate next week and doesn't follow the Parliamentarian of the Senate and instead follows the Vice Presidents rulings instead, we have lost another piece of our democracy. Who didn't vote in the last election. You see it really did matter! Hope we still will have elections in 2008. There's no telling where this will lead and how much harm it will cause our democracy and fledgling democracies that watch us, like Iraq and Afghansitan.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Tom Friedman Op Ed piece today 5/18/05

Tom's insight and solutions are, as always, unique and creative. I hope many read this and offer a comment. To read this click on the Title above. Here is an excerpt:

Op-Ed Columnist
Outrage and Silence

Published: May 18, 2005
It is hard not to notice two contrasting stories that have run side by side during the past week. One is the story about the violent protests in the Muslim world triggered by a report in Newsweek (which the magazine has now retracted) that U.S. interrogators at Guantánamo Bay desecrated a Koran by throwing it into a toilet. In Afghanistan alone, at least 16 people were killed and more than 100 wounded in anti-American rioting that has been linked to that report. I certainly hope that Newsweek story is incorrect, because it would be outrageous if U.S. interrogators behaved that way.

That said, though, in the same newspapers one can read the latest reports from Iraq, where Baathist and jihadist suicide bombers have killed 400 Iraqi Muslims in the past month - most of them Shiite and Kurdish civilians shopping in markets, walking in funerals, going to mosques or volunteering to join the police.

Yet these mass murders - this desecration and dismemberment of real Muslims by other Muslims - have not prompted a single protest march anywhere in the Muslim world. And I have not read of a single fatwa issued by any Muslim cleric outside Iraq condemning these indiscriminate mass murders of Iraqi Shiites and Kurds by these jihadist suicide bombers, many of whom, according to a Washington Post report, are coming from Saudi Arabia.

NY Times article on Newsweek error

Newsweek has made a terrible error in falsely reporting desecration of the Koran. They have rescinded the article and admitted their error. However, it is worth reading the article by the NY Times today on the Administration's reaction and lack of accountability for its part in prisoner abuse scandals in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Opinion article's title is, "A Sudden Taste For Openness" and can be accessed at

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Filibustering in the Senate

Yesterday, Lou Dobbs on CNN took a very relevant survey of viewers. The question and results are as follows:

Is the Filibuster an archaic device to thwart majority rule or is it an important historical safeguard for minority rights in the Senate?
• Archaic Device 7%
• Important safeguard 93%

Do you believe Senator Frist will push the issue for a vote in the next few days? If he does, what does it say about his political wisdom and skills, as a future candidate for President? I say it will be his downfall on the Presidential front. For more moderate candidates within the Republican party, it may actually give those few Republicans that vote against a change in rules, a boost in their presidential bid for 2008.

Friday, May 13, 2005

The Bolton nomination

I don't know what all the fuss is about. There is a saying a friend of mine used worth quoting here. "When we get what we want or we get what we don't want, we get what we deserve!" This is a result of the November 2004 election in which the country, (well less than 50% of us) decided where we wanted to go as a nation. Well here's where we are going!

If you don't like it, maybe you'll start voting again. And don't blame the election process when less than 50% of the population that could vote, actually vote in any election and WeThePeople elect our President and Congress with about 26% of us approving. And here we are trying to promote democracy across the world. Maybe we should try to get it right here before we export it abroad. Just think of this, we are encouraging Iraqi's to protect minority rights there, while we are trying to eliminate them right here in the good old USA by trying to eliminate the Senate's right to filibuster. One Senator has captured Bolton's polarizing effect. Read Senator Dianne Feinstein's latest comments on the Bolton nomination.

United Airlines vs. you or me in bankruptcy?

Yesterday United Airlines was granted permission from a Federal Judge to stop its Pension Fund obligations and to have the Government pick up the obligations by taxpayers like you and me through the Pension Guarantee arm of the government. The trouble with this is that our Congress and President recently passed bankruptcy legislation which requires average citizens to pay back obligations even though they too filed for bankruptcy. Am I the only one here who thinks this stinks? What's proper for WeThePeople should be good for business too. Or is this just another payback to patrons for those Credit Card companies that can't shuffle the debt from poor credit loans to the government. Where's the outrage? And what do the Government representatives say that manage the Pension Guarantee? They say they are going bankrupt too! And who do WeThePeople blame for this? You're right, the government that has been in power now for 5 years. Oh don't worry. Next year you will be able to reelect more of them to promote business and special interest legislation. The rest of us better wake up soon and look for some candidates with backbone that will restore equity in bankruptcy and a sense of fairness, real decency, real morality and courage in government rather than the arrogance and gaul we see today.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

JUDICIAL NOMINATIONS: Do common people care?

I am amazed that most people are too busy to know what is going on in the Senate currently regarding the issue of ending the filibuster for Judicial nominations. I am more amazed at how both Republican and Democratic Senators are so entrenched in their positions. It is apparent to me that when Senators can no longer work together from both sides of the aisle, it is time to consider voting out all incumbents, Republican and Democrats alike and return the Senate back to caring about the people's business rather than pursuing zealous ideological positions that separate and divide us, rather than bring us together. The President and Vice President contribute to this divisiveness in spite of the President claiming to work to bring us together. All this when we are in a war, where our young men and women are constantly in harms way, attempting to help foster a democracy in Afghanistan and Iraq, based upon our notion of democracy. I am ashamed as a citizen and angry at the lack of compromise in the Senate. However, I don't believe in compromise when the stakes are as high as they are now. Ending the filibuster will affect lifetime appointments of Judges with a more extreme viewpoint of a minority and harm this democracy. We need more centrists in governing our republic. Someone must heal this division before it is too late. Even if the Republicans are successful in suspending the Rules on filibustering for Judicial nominations, it is a slippery slope. When the Democrats regain the majority, as they certainly will again, when the shoe is on the other foot for Republicans, they won't be so happy they are on the receiving end of this action.

The real question is, do common people care enough to voice their views in a voice that can be heard around the world? I think not and that is most troubling to me. If we lose this true democracy, it will be all our fault, those for ending the filibuster, those against it, and those indifferent or too busy to act. Whether you are for this or against it, get involved and email or phone your Senators and let them know how you feel about this.
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