Monday, October 31, 2005

Judge Alito, the Christian Right, and the upcoming fight

The stage is now set. The Christian right has set the stage, with the help of this weakened President, to have the fight of all fights and will polarize this country even more. With the nomination of Judge Alito by Bush, the Nuclear option is now in play. Judge Alito's record has shown in a case in Pennsylvania, where as a judge he ruled that a wife must notify her husband when seeking an abortion. He was later overruled by a Supreme Court with Sandra Day O'Connor casting the swing deciding vote.

The Conservative Christian Right wants the real fight to be on changing Senate Rules and the right to filibuster. This will change America forever. Don't support this attempt and put your Senators on notice that you want to preserve the longstanding right to filibuster in the Senate. I predict If this pro-life judge is filibustered and the Republicans choose the Nuclear option, the Republican Christian Right will have done irreparable damage to this country and to themselves and they will lose seats in 2006 and the Presidency in 2008. You heard it here!

Friday, October 28, 2005

What a mess! But there are more important issues before us!

There is lots of news today and the blame game is just getting started. Both Democrats and Republicans have crippled this country and we are responsible for electing all of them. If you want to see the state of your nation look at this chart and report on the National Debt and who has been responsible for recking the economy of this country. It is clear to me that Reagan and both Bush Administrations have done most of the economic damage to ruin this country. You can see from the chart that during the Clinton Years, although debt rose, there was a change in the slope of the curve, flattening it, and even possibly decreasing the debt. The past 5 years under Bush has shown the steepest climb ever in history. So much for being a "conservative"!

How can we bring the debt down as concerned Americans? I suggest the following. First, we need to vote all incumbents from Congress out of office in 2006 and 2008, both Democrats and Republicans alike. This will send a message to the Senate they had better get control of the finacial troubles of our country and stop the pork spending. Secondly, we need to replace them with individuals who have not been in public office before. But we need people who have demonstrated a good record of cost cutting and excellent financial results in their businesses. Thirdly, we need to change the tax system so that everyones burden is comparable. Right now the burden falls on the poorest amongst us and the rich get tax breaks and that includes big oil interests.

Speaking of Oil interests, look at this list of problems we have endured in the past 5 years and what connects them:
• High Oil, Gasoline and Natural Gas prices. Who in govenment was responsible for our Energy policy and in bed with oil companies? Dick Cheney
• Leaking of CIA person to Scootter Libby. Who gave the name to Libby? Dick Cheney
• War in Iraq and no WMD's. Who promoted the war and the fear that there were Nuclear Weapons in Iraq? Dick Cheney
• No bid contracts to Halliburton in Iraq and in New Orleans. Who was CEO of Halliburton and still has a financial interest in the company? Dick Cheney
• 9/11 Commission testimony by Bush. Who testified with Bush at 9/11 commission and not under oath? Dick Cheney
• A government of arrogance, secrecy and maximum control of information. Who has refused mostly to provide information to the public? Dick Cheney

I guess I am just sick of our government but I feel a lot better just writing it all down here.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Salman Rushdie on solving terrorist issue

Today on CNN's Lou Dobbs, guest Salman Rushdie says that Fundamental Islamic extremists have hijacked Islam from moderate Islamists and the only way this problem is going to be solved is by moderates standing up and taking back their religion. Salman Rushdie was the author who wrote the Satanic Verses, mocking Islam, and thereby prompting Iranian clerics to issue a Fatwa to kill Rushdie.

I have said here many times that this problem must be solved within the Muslim community of moderates. Read my July 8, 2005 posting titled: What to do about terrorists? It was written a day before NY Times writer Tom Friedman wrote a similar piece which I also mentioned on the following day's posting.

Many have come to the same conclusion. The problem is that most moderates are afraid of offending these extremists, and incurring their wrath. But my hats off to Salman Rushdie for having the courage to stand up and be counted.

Is it true that 2004 election was stolen by Bush? Give it up already!

Today Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman have a piece on where they quote the latest General Accounting Office (GAO) findings on the 2004 election in Ohio and the use of electronic voting machines and lost votes or miscount votes. The article cites that "The CEO of one of the most crucial suppliers of electronic voting machines, Warren O'Dell of Diebold, pledged before the 2004 campaign to deliver Ohio and thus the presidency to George W. Bush." They use the facts on the vote, like the margin of victory for Bush and the statement "some of the concerns about electronic voting machines have been realized", to imply the whole difference in the votes does therefore account for the Bush victory. They also reference, as reported by the GAO, "Falsifying election results without leaving any evidence of such an action by using altered memory cards" is possible, and "The locks protecting access to the system were easily picked and keys were simple to copy,"

Inference as a tool for determining wrong doing is indeed effective as Karl Rove can attest, but just implying something doesn't make it true either. The evidence is not conclusive to me to make the claims the article asserts and have it believable. I do find merit, however, in concerns about the use of electronic voting machines. And I would support fail-safe voting after an election, even if that meant a return to paper voting. What do you think?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Finding the enemy in Iraq

Seems to me they have looked thoroughly in Iraq for Izzat Ibrahim Al-Duri and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Yes it seems that way but remember they are looking in buildings and homes to find him. Where did we find Saddam? They found him in a hole in the ground! I remember before the war hearing that Saddam had underground shelters and that some reporters had said that their ears popped when descending in the elevators blindfolded. Well the question is why aren't we trying to find underground bunkers? Seems like a no brainer to me. Remember you heard this from me if we ever find them in a bunker.

Cheney outed by NY Times

From the NY Times we find out that VP Cheney was the source of the leak. Finally someone is saying this out loud and now in the press. Here's the direct quotes from the NY Times:

"The notes, taken by Mr. Libby during the conversation, for the first time place Mr. Cheney in the middle of an effort by the White House to learn about Ms. Wilson's husband, Joseph C. Wilson IV, who was questioning the administration's handling of intelligence about Iraq's nuclear program to justify the war.

Lawyers involved in the case, who described the notes to The New York Times, said they showed that Mr. Cheney knew that Ms. Wilson worked at the C.I.A. more than a month before her identity was made public and her undercover status was disclosed in a syndicated column by Robert D. Novak on July 14, 2003.

Mr. Libby's notes indicate that Mr. Cheney had gotten his information about Ms. Wilson from George J. Tenet, the director of central intelligence, in response to questions from the vice president about Mr. Wilson. But they contain no suggestion that either Mr. Cheney or Mr. Libby knew at the time of Ms. Wilson's undercover status or that her identity was classified. Disclosing a covert agent's identity can be a crime, but only if the person who discloses it knows the agent's undercover status.

It would not be illegal for either Mr. Cheney or Mr. Libby, both of whom are presumably cleared to know the government's deepest secrets, to discuss a C.I.A. officer or her link to a critic of the administration. But any effort by Mr. Libby to steer investigators away from his conversation with Mr. Cheney could be considered by Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the special counsel in the case, to be an illegal effort to impede the inquiry."

Monday, October 24, 2005

Senator Frist's Not-So-Blind Trust

Senator Frist's claim to have a Blind Trust and no knowledge of his HCA share transactions was misleading as reported in the Washington Post today. The stock had a major drop on July 13th with over 10 million shares traded as can be seen by reviewing both Price and Volume charts. HCA shares reached an al time high in June and then dropped from a High of $58.60 to $45.80 recently. That's a 22% drop In price that Senator Frist avoided by selling his stock near the High point.

Senator Frist ordered the trustees to sell his shares on June 13, one month before the company said second-quarter profit would miss earnings estimates. The trustees notified Frist on July 1 that the shares had been sold. When HCA announced lower- than-expected earnings July 13, the stock fell $4.86 to $50.05, the biggest decline in more than two years. During the two-week period when Frist's sale occurred, the shares averaged $57.21, reaching a 52-week high of $58.60 on June 22.

The question comes down to the same one we ask at every cross point in a scandal with this government and past ones, "What did he know and when did he know it?" Mr. Frist should remember from recent events, it is the coverup that can get you in more trouble than the event itself. He should take heed at this advice or will go the way of other politicians trying the same shenanigans.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Former Chief of Staff to Colin Powell on Cheney

The Financial Times has an article which sheds some light in the workings of Cheney and Rumsfeld in the buildup to the Iraq war. Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff to Mr Powell until last January, comes clean in an expose of this relationship and the implications for America. Among Wilkerson's pronoucements:

■ The detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere was “a concrete example” of the decision-making problem, with the president and other top officials in effect giving the green light to soldiers to abuse detainees. “You don't have this kind of pervasive attitude out there unless you've condoned it.”

■ Condoleezza Rice, the former national security adviser and now secretary of state, was “part of the problem”. Instead of ensuring that Mr Bush received the best possible advice, “she would side with the president to build her intimacy with the president”.

■ The military, particularly the army and marine corps, is overstretched and demoralised. Officers, Mr Wilkerson claimed, “start voting with their feet, as they did in Vietnam. . . and all of a sudden your military begins to unravel”.

Read the entire article here

Monday, October 17, 2005

Did Cheney launch the attack on Joe Wilson including the leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame?

There is much speculation as to where the investigation of the CIA leak of Valerie Plame is headed. The Democrats are excited that maybe VP Dick Cheney is the source of the leak and a deliberate plot to go after Joe Wilson, former US Ambassador and husband of Valerie Plame. The US Attorney's latest interviews of former Cheney assistants may shed some light on his involvement. The Republicans are hoping it is all going to go away and that even if there are indictments, there is a long road to haul to get a conviction. Sounds to me the Republicans believe there will be indictments or they wouldn't be postulating "a long way to conviction.".

The speculation has reached a fever pitch. We will all find out soon, won't we.

UPDATE: Tuesday Oct. 18, 2005

Back on July 24th I wote, 'It doesn't make sense that Novak is free and Miller is in jail. In this one case, I wish Miller revealed her source to the media, so we could get clearer, as to what really happened. But I can understand her reasons for not divulging sources. I've come to the conclusion that the media is afraid of this Bush Administration. It's the only explanation of why there's a free pass on most things."

It turns out now that maybe Miller was working on discrediting Joseph Wilson at the behest of Cheney and his hatchet man, Scooter Libby. Can't wait to see if U.S Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald does a good job on this investigation. The country needs to believe it was done properly and that the truth has been made clear.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Sen. Biden on Face the Nation again

Senator Joe Biden will be on Face the Nation tomorrow and as one of the most scholarly of the Senators when it comes to the Constitution, he will be asked about Harriet Miers expected testimony before the Judiciary Committee and whether he sees her as qualified for the job. I am interested to see how the Senator honestly answers these questions put before him. Since he has shown interest in running for President in 2008, I will be looking at the decisiveness of his answers and the merits of his positions, just as he will certainly be looking at Harriett Miers answers before the Senate. I have been a supporter of Biden's views over the past few years but now I must look at him as a Presidential hopeful and the bar must certainly be raised to examine him from a fresh perspective. Tomorrow will be a help.

Sen. Biden can at times be arrogant and egotistical. These are his two main problems to overcome if he wants to be seriously considered in 2008. His wit is brilliant and he makes good common sense most of the time. He has really tried to help this President in Iraq. He ideas have been sound and not the typical grenade launching many Democrats have done to Bush and his team's Iraq policy.

The only thing that I would love to see Senator Biden do is to get a personal coach that could help him with his two personality problems. Heck, I might even be willing to do the job since I coached many a CEO of Fortune 500 companies before retiring a few years ago. He is going to need someone.

UPDATE: Sunday Oct. 16, 2005

There were no real difficult questions for Senator Biden to answer this morning, but he and Senator Chuck Hagel agreed on most everything on Iraq. Regarding Supreme Court nominee Harriett Miers, Biden thought the President was groping for something to give the Repuiblicans that oppose Miers and that is why the President focused on Miers religious convictions. Not much news here.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Louis Freeh and the Blame Game

I watched the interview of former FBI director, Louis Freeh, on 60 Minutes last night. Freeh was being interviewed based upon his upcoming book titled, "MY FBI" which will be released next week. It was apparent that Freeh took no accountability nor responsibility for his time at the FBI and used the blame game to blame everyone from Clinton to Congress to special Whitewater investigator Ken Starr. Not once during the 20 minute piece did Freeh take any responsibility for what was wrong at the FBI. He blamed Congress for the allocation of his personnel, for the computer systems that were in bad shape and, former President Clinton, for all the investigations he felt compeled to investigate. He blamed Clinton for not asking the Saudi's to allow the FBI to talk to suspects and then said one call to former President Bush 41 got them in. None of this story seems to make Freeh look good. To the contrary, he looked diminished as a former FBI director and I would like to know when Freeh is going to get it. He could have quit his job/resigned, spoken out and told everyone he needed help or other avenues could have been pursued if he felt something was wrong. Instead, he acted like a little boy scout who sounded like he was led by his nose. The only accountability or ownership this man seems to want to claim is in the book title, "MY FBI". It is the only place he takes any accountability and responsibility for his time in charge of the FBI. The truth is he was in charge and failed miserably in his job. Looks like he is going to push this blame thing around for a while. Anyone who wants the real story on Freeh should read the 9/11 Commission report and his managing or lack thereof of the FBI! Maybe Freeh should have named the book, "THEIR FBI!"

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Republican Moral dilemma- Rollback the Tax cuts or take away from less fortunate?

The Republican party is at a crossroads. Americans worse fears that Republicans don't care about the poor are about to become a reality. The real question is how the party can claim the moral high ground on issues like Abortion, same sex marriages and tax cuts for the wealthiest, and Terry Shiavo They have lost the moral high ground! We are in times of significant spending on the war in Iraq, no- bid contracts to companies like Halliburton in Iraq (and now in Louisiana), and run away Pork barrel spending, as witnessed in the Transportation Bill passed only a month ago. It is an indefensible position and is bankrupting the America we knew and loved. This President has not vetoed any Bill before him in all his years as President. Not since President Garfield in the 1800's has a President not exercised restraint of Congress by the veto. But this Republican party has no excuses as it controls all branches of Government and some would say now the Supreme Court. I don't care what your political party but I can tell you this, I am very angry and I'll bet the American public is too. With Delay facing money laundering charges, investigations into Sen. Frist on selling his heathcare stock just before the company stock dropped significantly, I can tell you that the balance of power will shift significantly in the 2006 election in favor of the Democrats and this will continue to 2008. Why, you ask? Because the incompetence of this Administration is not going away anytime soon. From Michael Brown, former head of FEMA, to Harriet Miers nomination to Supreme Court vacancy, inflation on the rise due to increases in gasoline and home heating oil as well as gas, people vote their conscience and their pocketbook.

Bankruptcy filings are up significantly because the new laws going into effect soon, will not allow people to write off their debt. So individuals will have to schedule paying back their debt. It's too bad the same isn't true for all these corporate crooks like Kozlowski and Stewart and Ken Lay. They don't have to pay back most of what they screwed their investors from and their employees lost jobs and their pension funds too. So I ask you, have you forgotten these facts? I doubt it and I'll bet it makes you mad too? When is that election next? Oh yes, in one short year to change the Senate and Congress and then 2 more after that to get rid of this incompetence! I can't wait. And beware both Republicans and Democrats alike. If you continue this free tax ride for the weathiest when our country is going broke, you all will face the rath of voters like me. If you think you are getting away with your pork additions to the Transportation bill, think again. We will hound you for this vote for a long time to come.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers

I'm back just in time to comment on the President's nomination of Harriet Miers, White House Counsel, to fill the vacant seat on the Supreme Court of Judge Sandra Day O'Connor. This may be another example of an inexperienced, unqualified appointment of a friend of the president, similar to that of former FEMA director Michael Brown, who was also unqualified and incompetent for his job with no experience in Emergency Management. Harriet Miers has no experience as a judge. I would rather have a judge nominated who is known to be a conservative and showed competence than someone who had never been a judge. Heck, I could be a Supreme Court Judge too with that criteria, as I don't have any experience judging anything but the taste of a good apple pie. Hmmm, makes my mouth water just thinking about it.
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