Bush Martial Law: H.R. 5122: see section 1076
Net Neutrality
1)Mission Accomplished; 2)Signing the Enabling Act; 3) What Constitution?; 4) Lies, All Lies; and 5) Habeas Corpus Dead


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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Politex News Wire: Presidential Liars, Iraq War, Israeli War Machine

...It should be clear by now that a criterion for being the President of the United States is how well you lie. Clearly, Bush, being a world class liar, is well-suited to being our President. At least unannounced presidential candidates Al Gore and Borak Obama, never supported the war. Unfortunately, Hillary, who did, is a bigger liar than those two. Speaking about liars running for President, Bill Frist says he will not run. Is he tired of telling lies? Too late.The good doctor's professional lie about Terri Schiavo will always be remembered. And talking about lies that will always be remembered, Colin Powell apologized for lying about Iraq again, this time saying that Iraq is having a civil war. Too late for Colin, too. His lie to the UN was so big it will be long-remembered....Bush asked Jim Webb, newly elected Dem Senator from Virginia, "How's your boy?" Webb, who served in Vietnam and has a son serving in Iraq, answered Bush, "That's between my boy and I, Mr. President."...Wolf on CNN: "You get a paper trail when you own a credit card, why can't you get a paper trail when you vote?"...

Judy Woodruff, PBS's Bush-era conservative interviewer, recently attempted to press ex-President Jimmy Carter on his new book in which he points out that it's the Israelis more than the Palistinians who are continuing violence in the Middle East, and that the Israelis are responsible for more Middle Eastern deaths than the Palestinians. Carter toppled Woodruff's ideology with fact:

JUDY WOODRUFF: President Carter, people would listen to what you're saying here, and they would read your book, and they would say, "He's putting the onus here on the Israelis." And many would return that by saying, "But wait a minute. It's the Palestinians who continue to fire rockets into Israeli land. It's the Palestinians who have kidnapped Israeli soldiers. It's the Palestinians that continue to perpetuate terrorist acts against the Israelis."

JIMMY CARTER: Sure, that's what you say, and that's the general consensus in the United States. The fact is that, when the Palestinians dug under the Israeli wall from Gaza and captured the Israeli soldier, one soldier, at that time, Israel was holding 9,200 Palestinians prisoner, including 300 children, almost 300, 293 children, some of them 12 years old, and holding almost 100 women prisoner. And immediately, the Palestinians who took that soldier said, "We want to swap this soldier for some of our women and children." And the Israelis rejected that proposal and refused to swap at all with the Palestinians in the West Bank. That was the key to the issue.

So it's right that the Palestinians took a soldier, which they should release. But for Israel to keep 9,000 Palestinians and not release any of them is something that you don't mention in the question, and it's generally not even known in this country.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And we want to give you the opportunity to give that side of the story...

JIMMY CARTER: That's why I wrote the book.

JUDY WOODRUFF: ... as well, and that's why we're here talking to you about it.

JIMMY CARTER [with a wry smile]: I know.


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Op-Eds: Higgs, Wokusch, Jenkins, Fisher, Weiner, Uhlmer, Mickey Z.

War Weariness: Stage III is nobody’s favorite, Robert Higgs

War weariness is the prevailing public sentiment in the third stage of a major U.S. neo-imperialist war. In this prolonged stage, most people have grown tired of the war. They have surrendered their prior illusions about the glorious outcomes it was supposed to bring. They have come to understand that for them it is worse than pointless, that its costs have been real and its benefits a chimera, and that it seems likely to damage them further as it continues. Yet the war goes on and on, with no end in sight. We are now well into this stage of the war in Iraq. I recall all too well the war weariness of the late 1960s and early 1970s. .....

Impeachment Hearings for Bush & Co.? How about War Crimes Tribunals, Heather Wokusch

While Bush administration members have made a sport of breaking the law, both domestically and internationally, their intransigence will come back to haunt - one way or another....Giving someone like Bush "unreviewable" and unlimited military powers is reckless; the man can barely construct a sentence, let alone articulate a humane and effective foreign policy....

Don't Impeach Bush: Impeach The President, W. David Jenkins III

“We are not required to impeach the president simply because he’s committed an impeachable offense……We have to decide whether it’s in the best interest of the country to go through that process.” - Sen. Russ Feingold (D) November 20, 2006

“Who will show me any Constitutional injunction which makes it the duty of the American people to surrender everything valuable in life, and even life, itself, whenever the purposes of an ambitious and mischievous government may require it?” - Daniel Webster in an address to the House of Representatives December 9, 1814

The recently empowered Democrats have begun their sprint by running in the wrong direction. The above statement by Feingold coupled with the pre and post election statements by Nancy Pelosi show that the Democrats, whether they are in the minority or the majority, are willing to shirk their responsibilities in order to maintain a good face with the American people. But what these and other Democrats fail to realize is that the American people gave them majority status in hopes of returning accountability and responsibility back into government......

Books: Former Prosecutor Imagines Bush's Judgment Day, William Fisher

The charge is conspiracy to defraud the United States. And the defendants are President George W. Bush, Vice President Richard Cheney, former Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and former Secretary of State Colin Powell....Of course, this [didn't] actually happened -- nor is it likely to happen. Rather, it is the scenario of a new book about a hypothetical case, presented to a hypothetical grand jury, with hypothetical witnesses. Only the prosecutor is real. She is Elizabeth de la Vega, a retired government lawyer with more than 20 years of experience. She served as an assistant U.S. attorney in Minneapolis, was and a member of the Organised Crime Strike Force and Branch Chief in San Jose, California. Her book is titled, simply, "U.S. v. George W. Bush et al".... Why did Ms. de la Vega write this book?....

A Fantasia: Chestnuts Roasting in an Iraqi Fire, Bernard Weiner

Bush, Rove, Cheney and Rummy lay out the roots of their Iraq war-strategy -- a year or more before the U.S. invasion. Why couldn't more folks see what was coming then? And is coming now?....

Neocon Militarist Joshua Muravchik: Stoking the Conflagration in the Middle East, Walter Uhler

Viewers of the November 15, 2006 airing of Democracy Now were given the treat of seeing Amy Goodman's interview with former Senator George McGovern, current Congressman Dennis Kucinich and the American Enterprise Institute's Joshua Muravchik. The subject under discussion was titled: "Out of Iraq or More Troops?" A "treat?" Yes, viewers (or readers of the transcript) were able to see Mr. Muravchik, an acerbic-tongued neoconservative militarist, in action.....

Conspicuous consumption: Out of the closet, Mickey Z.

My wife and I moved into a new apartment earlier this year. Just a few blocks from our old place, it's been a major quality of life improvement in almost every possible way. One unexpected adjustment, however, was closet space. This moderately sized one-bedroom apartment has only two narrow closets. (You couldn't fit a scandalous skeleton in them if you tried.) Keeping in mind that the building is more than 78 years old, how might we explain this egregious "oversight"?.....


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Op-Eds: Fisher, Mickey Z., Hirschhorn, Collins, and Rockstroh...

Dis-Appointments: Good News, Bad News, William Fisher

The best news to come out of Washington since the mid-term elections is the rumor that Robert Gates, if confirmed by the Senate to be our new Secretary of Defense, will fire all Pentagon political appointees.... If President Bush has heard this rumor, he seems to be stubbornly sticking with his sterling slate of appointments. If anyone expected a kindler, gentler, more bipartisan George Bush following his election-day disaster, they're in for a shock. W's strategy is to circumvent the Congress altogether, wherever possible. Because Dubya's first appointment since election day rises even beyond the level of Michael Brown to head the Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA....

O.J.'s Hot: Fasten your seat belts for global warming, Mickey Z.

Is O.J. Simpson more important than the greenhouse effect? Consider this: I just typed "O.J. Simpson" into a Google News search. The first page alone provided links for almost 2500 recent stories. The results for "global warming," however, totaled roughly 300. Thus, by media standards, O.J. Simpson appears to be at least eight times more significant than climate change. Obviously, media coverage doesn't always correlate to value. Douglas Futuyma, a professor of ecology and evolution at the State University of New York in Stony Brook, recently talked to CNN about global warming. "It's not just down the road somewhere," said Futuyma. "It is just hurtling toward us. Anyone who is 10 years old right now is going to be facing a very different and frightening world by the time that they are 50 or 60." And guess what? It's our fault....

No Choice: Third Parties Fight for American Democracy, Joel S. Hirschhorn

A great democracy offers citizens sharp political choices. That's what gives political freedom meaning. With two-party control of America's political system, political options and discourse are stifled. We badly need more visible third-parties that can fully participate and reach the public with information about their platforms and candidates. In a nation that so worships competition it is hypocritical that there is so little political competition. In truth, the Democratic-Republican partnership opposes competition. They have convinced Americans that votes for third party candidates are "wasted." Yet the biggest wasted vote is for a Democrat or Republican that is almost certain to win or lose, and takes your vote for granted. This year, even in the face of enormous public dissatisfaction with the two major parties, and a widespread belief that both are hopelessly corrupted by big money from corporate and other special interests, too many voters sheepishly picked from column D or R, even for sure winners or losers....

Paper for President: The Time is NOW, Michael Collins

The United States just endured another election that inspired more suspicion than confidence. Two years after the fiasco of Election 2004 in Ohio and elsewhere, four year years after the never investigated mystery of Georgia 2002, and six years after the disgrace of Florida which saw the loser of the popular vote (s)elected President by the Supreme Court; major problems pervade the US election system. The new problems created by computerized voting and tabulation merge with traditional race and class based election fraud in an assault on free, fair, transparent and inclusive elections....

America Has Left the Building: An Open Missive of Anger and Hope, Phil Rockstroh

Upon the occasion of our cultural confabulation of colonial hagiography dubbed "Thanksgiving," a tradition when we stuff our overweight bellies by devouring big, growth hormone-injected, flightless birds in order to celebrate, what in truth was, a Thanks-taking of this land by our ancestors from its original inhabitants -- (but a hearty salutation of "Happy Genocide Day" doesn't exactly stimulate the appetite, does it?) -- I will address the following missive to you -- my fellow unindicted (perhaps even unconscious) co-conspirators in the crimes of our country....


Monday, November 27, 2006

Politex News Wire: What About A Draft?

During the 2004 presidential campaign I was on the road talking about Bush and my new collection of essays by diverse hands, BIG BUSH LIES. During each stop, I always mentioned my solution to U.S. wars of choice, like Buh's Iraq war: a universal draft. History suggests that Americans are more willing to allow their President to declare war if they, their families, and their friends aren't directly involved. That's why a universal draft is needed.

But my idea of "universal draft" is not the same as what Rep. Rangel, his supporters, and his detractors mean by the term. I mean EVERYONE. Men and women, young and old, in good health or sick. EVERYONE between, say, 18-65, chosen by lottery. But not by computer. By some method as close to the old-fashioned simplicity of the lottery in Shirley Jackson's short story, "The Lottery," where everyone actively watches everyone else to be sure the lottery is fair.

And Bush's name, as wel, would go in the hat. President? Congressman? Cabinet member? So what? If their name comes up, in they go. Given Bush's history, not to mention the histories and/or character of most D.C. politicians, that rule, alone, would be a deal breaker when considering a war of choice. As for those too old, too ill, or too infirm to fight, they would perform some form of public service, but their activities would take place away from their homes, on the other end of the country, in military bases, on military pay. In short, everyone, EVERYONE needs to feel the death, pain, suffering, discomfort, and inconvenience of war to the extent their age or physical circumstances allow.

"Well over 95% of Americans, including Congress and White House staff, have no personal connection to this war--no relative or friend serving in Iraq. Over 99% of us have made no sacrifice for this war--we have not paid one more penny of taxes nor shed a drop of family blood. One of my military relatives thinks of it this way: "The American military is at war, but America is not at war. Advocating war is easier when you and your family are not endangered by it," writes Lawrence O'Donnell.

The trouble with Rangel's draft, and other draft plans as well, is it focuses on one of a number of groups of Americans who are least able to defend themselves: the young. Given human nature, I wouldn't be surprised to learn that anti-war groups grow and become more vocal when the U.S. has a draft. The lack of a draft has helped Bush weaken protests against his war in Iraq. Another move by Bush against a sub-group has helped to provide the military with bodies: poor youth who can no longer go to college because recent federal legislation has made that route more expensive....Here's how Rep. Rangel addresses this problem: "[Rangel] said having a draft would not necessarily mean everyone called to duty would have to serve in uniform. Instead, "young people (would) commit themselves to a couple of years in service to this great republic, whether it's our seaports, our airports, in schools, in hospitals," with a promise of educational benefits at the end of service. --CBS."

"Many of the world's mature democracies require every high-school graduate to serve a year or two of either military or nonprofit service, as Congressman Charlie Rangel has proposed every year for some time now. At first blush, this may seem like an oppression by government, but history shows it's actually one of the best ways to prevent a military from becoming its own insular and dangerous subculture, to prevent the lower ranks of the military from being overwhelmed by people trying to escape poverty, and to keep military actions of the government accountable to the people....By including women, and adding a very broad government-funded option of national public service, we can bring about a modern version of Jefferson's vision and create both a more egalitarian society and a less belligerent and poverty-driven military. And prevent future "adventures" like Iraq." --Thom Hartmann.

Finally, here's the Bush side of the no-draft story, told through vague generalities and chop-logic statistics: "The primary reason young people join the military today is service to their country. [Evidence for this statemen is never offered.] What we are witnessing in this time of war is a larger proportion of enlistees joining the military primarily for duty, honor and patriotism. Economic factors, while still important, are secondary for many. An all-volunteer approach, with adequate compensation levels, has provided a steady flow of quality recruits for more than 30 years. Recruiting during wartime poses additional challenges, but even after more than three years in Iraq, the spirit of volunteerism continues to fill the ranks with high-quality men and women who serve because they choose to do so." ----Russell Beland is deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for manpower analysis and assessment. Curtis Gilroy is the director of accession policy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.


Saturday, November 25, 2006

News Alert--Saturday Surprise: Dem "Mixed Minds" Helps Bush Push Wiretap Dictatorship

Saturday, November 25, 2006. New York Times. When President Bush went on national television one Saturday morning last December to acknowledge the existence of a secret wiretapping program outside the courts, the fallout was fierce and immediate.

Mr. Bush’s opponents accused him of breaking the law, with a few even calling for his impeachment. His backers demanded that he be given express legal authority to do what he had done. Law professors talked, civil rights groups sued and a federal judge in Detroit declared the wiretapping program unconstitutional.

But as Democrats prepare to take over on Capitol Hill, not much has really changed. For all the sound and fury in the last year, the National Security Agency’s wiretapping program continues uninterrupted, with no definitive action by either Congress or the courts on what, if anything, to do about it, and little chance of a breakthrough in the lame-duck Congress.

While the Democrats have vowed to press for more facts about the operation, they are of mixed minds about additional steps.

Some favor an aggressive strategy that would brand the program illegal and move to ban it even as the courts consider its legality. Others are more cautious, emphasizing the rule of law but not giving Republicans the chance to accuse them of depriving the government of important anti-terrorism tools....

“We could’ve fixed this early on,” said Senator Arlen Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a believer that the surveillance program violates the 1978 law.

“For every day that passes,” Mr. Specter said in an interview, “there’s an invasion of privacy that could be cured.”

To understand the helter-skelter nature of the debate over the wiretapping program, one need look no further than Mr. Specter.

After the program was publicly disclosed last Dec. 15, the senator called it an “inappropriate” usurpation of presidential authority that “can’t be condoned.” He signed onto a bill last summer written by Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, that would effectively ban the program as it is now operated and require a court order for all wiretapping of Americans.

Then, after a series of confidential meetings with the White House, Mr. Specter worked out a compromise to bring the program before a secret intelligence court to test its constitutionality. He was promptly pummeled by Democrats and editorial writers for giving away too much to the White House.

Mr. Specter changed course again last week and submitted yet another proposal that would require warrants for eavesdropping on communications coming out of, but not into, the United States, and would put the whole issue on a fast track to the Supreme Court. Its fate, like its predecessors’, is unclear....

The legal authority, the administration argues, rests on both the president’s inherent constitutional authorities as commander in chief as well as a Congressional resolution passed days after Sept. 11 that authorized the use of military force against Al Qaeda.

The only judge to rule directly on the question, Judge Anna Diggs Taylor of Federal District Court in Detroit, rejected the administration’s claims to broad executive authority, ruling the program illegal in August and ordering it shut down.

“There are no hereditary kings in America and no powers not created by the Constitution,” the judge wrote.

The Justice Department is appealing that decision, as well as a separate ruling in San Francisco allowing lawsuits against telecommunication companies to proceed. In that case, Judge Vaughn Walker of Federal District Court rejected the government’s assertion that the lawsuits should be quashed because they touched on “state secrets” and risked harming national security....

Even after the Democrats won control of Congress this month, Mr. Bush pushed the passage of wiretapping legislation as a priority for the lame-duck session that concludes next month. During that brief window before Democrats take power, administration officials also hope to push through related measures that would effectively insulate telecommunications and government officials from legal liability growing out of the wiretapping.

But Republicans and Democrats alike give the White House virtually no chance of moving substantive wiretapping legislation before January.

An aide to Ms. Pelosi noted that the White House has until now agreed only to limited briefings on the program.

“There is bipartisan interest in seeing whether the administration’s claims that the program can’t comply with F.I.S.A. are indeed so,” the aide said. “We were legislating on an issue where the full parameters were not known or well understood.”

Op-Eds: Jones, Uhler, Samples, Weiner...

Impeachment Pie: Thanksgiving a Time of Remembrance, John Calvin Jones

So we give thanks. I prefer to remember, and urge for the impeachment of the murderous war criminals. Recently Lawrence O’Donnell claimed that 99% of Americans have no attachment to the war in Iraq as they have not made any sacrifices, and have no relatives in the military deployed to Iraq.[4] O’Donnell concludes that we need members of Congress to push Republicans and other pro-war advocates to confront their hypocrisy and vote on Rangel’s provision for a draft. O’Donnell is wrong – we do not need more posturing and needless votes. We need impeachment – we need to show thanks to those who helped to create a system of government that empowers the elected body to correct and thwart efforts of empire....

Clowns: Giving Thanks? Yes, Thanking God that I'm Not Like Them!, Walter Uhler

"To whom much is given, much is expected."- Luke 12:48. Obviously Luke set the bar way too high for these immoral, incompetent clowns. Bush and Cheney may have received much in life, but most Americans today expect very little from them, They're in over their heads and they refuse to check the real world outside their vacuum-packed bubble. They will go down in history as fools, incompetents, and evil men, who, on a desperate whim, unleashed Saddam-like death and destruction in Iraq, destabilized the entire Middle East and earned the hatred of the world. Thus, although I envy the exalted positions they were given, I thank God today, on Thanksgiving Day, that I am not them...

Slaaughter: No Peace, No Place For Palestine, Shelia Samples

Finally. Someone has noticed what is going on in the Middle East. The UK Telegraph reports that Britain is "furious" with Israel because of the damage it is causing in Gaza. Is it because of the wholesale slaughter of innocent Palestinians -- the bombing of a Gaza beach that turned the entire family of 12-year-old Huda Ghalia into a smoking pile of human flesh and scattered body parts? No? Then, perhaps it is using innocent Palestinians as human shields, gunning down children as they scurry fearfully to school, burying the wounded alive Jenin-style...

Or maybe Britain is at long last enraged by the massacre of 19 Palestine refugees, mostly women and children, in the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun on Nov. 8. Maybe Britain was aware of the little-reported six-day seige which had ended just the day before the assault when Israeli ground forces had been withdrawn from Beit Hanoun after slaughtering 50 and injuring many more. In response to the public outcry at the Nov. 8 slaughter, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert explained that it was caused by a mere "technical error." Olmert did admit he was "uncomfortable" with the "event," but said military operations in Gaza would continue, and that further mistakes "may happen."...

Fight's Begun: The Limits of Euphoria in a Political Dogfight, Bernard Weiner

Progressives, as happy as we are at the midterm election returns, better dig in for a hard, slogging struggle for the next two years. The CheneyBush crew are not giving an inch in their extremist agenda. This is going to be a bare-knuckles political brawl....


Happy Thanksgiving: Thursday, November 23, 2006


Untouched Wash. Post photo.

Send Up The Clowns

War Makes them rich,
Aren't they a pair?
Bush here at last on the ground,
Dick full of hot air.
They are the clowns.

They serve death with their kiss,
Who would approve?
Bush who keeps tearing around,
Dick who can't move.
Iraq made them clowns.
Send up the clowns.

Just when we'd stopped opening their doors,
Knowing those two who wanted to "win"
Were war whores,
Making their entrances again with their usual lies,
Sure of their spin,
We just roll our eyes.

"Don't you love death," they ask
"There's nothing to fear."
They said that we'd want what they want.
Sorry, my dears.
You two are clowns.
Quick, impeach the clowns.
They need to feel fear.

Making friends rich,
Aren't they queer?
Losing their souls this late
In their careers?
Those two are sick clowns.
They buried us in Iraq,
Let's get out this year.

--Stephen Sondheim, with Jerry Politex


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Op-Eds: Miller, Fisher, Olson, Kall, and Cohen

Milton Friedman, Economist: Milton Lost: Can We Regain Paradise?, Jason Miller

[I dedicate this essay to the untold millions who suffered as a result of Milton Friedman’s creation of an intellectual bulwark for economic brutality. On 11/16/06, Friedman died of heart failure, an ironic cause of death for a heartless individual. --Jason Miller]

We have reached the deplorable circumstance where in large measure a very powerful few are in possession of the earth's resources, the land and its riches and all the franchises and other privileges that yield a return. These positions are maintained virtually without taxation; they are immune to the demands made on others. The very poor, who have nothing, are the object of compulsory charity. And the rest -- the workers, the middle-class, the backbone of the country -- are made to support the lot by their labor. ----Agnes George de Mille (granddaughter of Henry George), New York, 1979

Note that Ms. George de Mille penned her observations before the patron saint of the “have mores” established residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. In less than three decades, a Friedman-inspired Reagan and his successors made astounding gains for the “very powerful” de Mille described....

Big Bush Lies: Bush Vs. Science, William Fisher

More than a decade ago, former President George H.W. Bush stated that "now more than ever, on issues ranging from climate change to AIDS research . . . government relies on the impartial perspective of science for guidance." The problem is he never told his son. We know that from a multi-year series of findings that the administration of President George W. Bush has systematically manipulated science to comply with ideology and satisfy the political agenda of his right-wing base. The latest evidence of this scientific sleight-of-hand is...

Engineered Obedience: Alternative media can balance establishment's experts, Gary Olson

Although we avoid the subject, we live in a class society. Roughly 2 percent of the population owns virtually everything that matters. Below them reside about 18 percent, those whom political analyst Michael Albert calls the ''coordinator class,'' most of whom administer the daily operations of the economy. They are the agents that workers encounter on a day-to-day basis. The government, including both parties, serves this group. Finally, at the bottom, 80 percent of the population consists of working people with little or no power or influence.

The secular priesthood belongs in the second group and the target for their actions are the minds of newspapers readers like yourselves, educated people with some discretionary time and resources. The fear is that if this vast middle class knew the truth, they would demand changes that would threaten the top 20 percent. Therefore, obedience to the system must be engineered by those whose stated opinions habitually echo what Orwell once called the official truth.

Clear Evidence: 2006 Congressional Elections Hacked, Rob Kall

A major undercount of Democratic votes and an overcount of Republican votes in U.S. House and Senate races across the country is indicated by an analysis of national exit polling data, by the Election Defense Alliance (EDA), a national election integrity organization. These findings have led EDA to issue an urgent call for further investigation into the 2006 election results and a moratorium on deployment of all electronic election equipment. "We see evidence of pervasive fraud, but apparently calibrated to political conditions existing before recent developments shifted the political landscape," said attorney Jonathan Simon, co-founder of Election Defense Alliance, "so 'the fix' turned out not to be sufficient for the actual circumstances."...

What Happens Now? Who really won this month's election?, Dan Cohen

look at right-wing godfather Richard Viguerie's answer to John Stewart (some months ago on The Daily Show) when asked what the right still wanted given that they controlled both Congress and the White House. Viguerie (who has since written a book Conservatives Betrayed: How George W. Bush and Other Big Government Republicans Hijacked the Conservative Cause.) said that they didn't control Congress and the White House, the Republicans did. And until they were actually in control they had to depend on the Republicans. And that's what we have to understand. We don't control Congress, the Democrats do. So, whose Democratic party is it?...


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Note From Canada: A Lifetime Won't Be Enough, Tarri Hall

Tomorrow we are going to the funeral of our close friend's daughter Emily who died of leukemia this week at age 19. My grandmother told me that never a day passes a parent doesn't think about a child who has passed away - my Uncle died in the Korean War at age 19. My grandmother lived to be 87 - she had 22,000 days to think about her lost son. Emily will be missed every day for decades to come. Tonight I can't help but think about all the parents who have lost their children in the Iraq war - both American and Iraqi - all because a few men wanted power and revenge and were willing to lie to get both. I don't know how the families bear it - knowing they've been used and they bleed for such reasons. I don't know how any of us can or will. As Congress contemplates bringing back the draft, increasing troop levels in Iraq and debates next steps, I sit in my home and wonder how this can be stopped and how any of us are ever going to heal. According to my Grandma, a lifetime won't be enough.

Politex News Wire

...A Lesson In Democracy: Michael Richards, who played Kramer on Seinfield, played the Laugh Factor Friday, a stand-up for $98, and, taking umbridge at comments by a party of Afro-Americans and Hispanics, broke out into a racist tirade in front of a stunned audience. He promised management to come back Sunday nite and apologize. He never apologized. Called "a rauchus 25 minutes of television," CNN televised yesterday's press conference live. The management apologized for Richards' behavior. Speaking for the Laugh Factory, comic Paul Rodgriguez defended comics' right to use whatever language they wished, but said they needed to take responsibility for their comments. ("The audience came for Kramer, but they got Mark Ferman.") Since Richards never apologized, the Laugh Factory banned him for life. However, to some Afro-Americans at the press conference, banning Richards was not enough; they demanded that the word "nigger" be banned from use by all comics. Both Rodriguez and the Laugh Factory management disagreed. Rodriguez said such a move would attack his Amendment rights. CNN performed an important service by screening the entire press conference....In other relevant news, the publisher of the O.J. book, in which he "describes" how he would have murdered his wife, reports that it will not publish the book, and the Fox network reports that the O.J. doc based on the book will not be screened...This Sunday The New York Times Book Review featured 50's, Beat, and other books that deal with aspects of that bygone era; if you don't have the supplement, it's worth getting.


Monday, November 20, 2006

Politex News Wire

...Some Americans think justice was not served in the "innocent" verdicts given to O.J., Robert Blake, and Michael Jackson, notes Eugene Robinson in the WP...Don't worry, Mr. R., the American justice system balances those off by convicting poor, minority victims of crimes they did not commit...Robinson suggests we neither buy the O.J. book nor watch the O.J. show on FOX TV ...BW reader notes framing Wolf at CNN..."Republicans are debating leaders"..."Dems are feuding over leaders"...Reality: Trent Lott was elected Senate miniroty whip by only one vote, Hoyer's House landslide was 149-86...Dowd Claims Pelosi "thorws like a girl": "Madame Speaker made the mistake of speaking out [of loyality] before she had counted her troops."...That's hard to believe; could Pelosi be that much of an amateur? We doubt it....John Edwards on Wolf, gave a "resounding maybe" re running for President. He's demstrated his wide experience in talking to leaders throughout the world. Sees one major role of the next American President as restoring credibility and respect throughout the world. Unlike you know who, he's spent a lot of time traveling the world as a potential Presidential candidate, knows many of the world's problems first hand, and, unlike you-know-who, knows the names of the world's leaders and (gasp) how to pronounce them...On the domestic side, Facing South, a progressive blog, reports: "Former North Carolina Senator, Presidential primary candidate, and Vice Presidential nominee John Edwards underscored the issue of poverty with his "two Americas" theme during the 2004 presidential elections. Since then, he has been a champion in the fight against poverty through his work as the Director of the Center on Poverty, Work, and Opportunity at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and his One America Committee....Hopefully, the corporations that run this country won't see Edwards' interest in helping the poor as being too great a negative with respect to his Presidential aspirations...Meanwhile, corporation favorite John McCain is revving up his presidential machine, reports Wolf. Johnny-Mac was recently on the losing side of Arizona voters' support of gay marriage....

Dem Program: The Twentieth Task, Jerry Politex

In our recent list of the first twenty tasks the Dems should do, when they have control of Congress in January, we left the twentieth task blank and asked for suggestions. Here are your responses, in no particular order. Thanks for participating, either in suggesting the first nineteen or the twentieth.

Repeal the Real ID Act; make the U.S. Attorney General an elected position, similar to many of our states; protect the Internet, stop the Telecom bill, maintain Internet neutrality; beef up port security; legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana; clean up campaign financing and lobbying, and beef up ethics rules; stop privatizing the military; [re #19] implement a universal single-payer health care system; leave Social Security alone; get rid of "No Child Left Behind"; rip the roof off government secercy: restore accountability via some Sen. Frank Church type hearings into govenment secrecy abuse; open the books, declassify the files going back to at least the Kennedy assaination, let the sunshine in and the chips fall where they may; restart the middle east peace process; end the blockade of Cuba: stop illega NSA spying; make voting day a national holiday...pass a bill that mandates 30mpg for all cars sold in America by 2012...did Bush Watch readers miss any major task for the new Dem Congress?

Cut and Run: O.J.'s Blood Money, Eugene Robinson
O.J. Simpson's forthcoming book, "If I Did It," could launch a profitable new series for publisher Judith Regan and her parent company, Rupert Murdoch's media empire. Let me suggest that she follow up with another snuff book, maybe "If I Shot My Wife in the Head," by Robert Blake, and then diversify into non-capital crimes with "If I Molested All Those Kids," by Michael Jackson. Anyone who thinks I'm kidding probably clings to the illusion that Regan and the Fox television network have a morsel, a crumb, a mote, an iota of residual shame in what's left of their souls. Sorry, but the evidence shows otherwise....


Weekend Edition: Friday, November 17, 2006

Politex News Wire

Lou Dobbs: "Half the people in the United States make less than $30,000. Half!...I'm an economic populist."...[So are we.]...Pelosi backs Murtha, her 2001 manager in her House leadership victory over Hoyer, who was running this time for the #2 leadership slot, House majority leader. But the Dem caucus votes Hoyer in big numbers. To Murtha: "Why did you lose?" Murtha: "I got fewer votes." Pelosi has lost control in a "bitter battle that left [her] bruised" (Tucker)? The Dems in chaos? Nonsense. We think Pelosi knew her friend and anti-Iraq war House spokesman Murtha was going to lose, but wanted to give him her support for leading the Dem charge against the Bush war. After all, the vote wasn't even close, and Hoyer, less anti-Iraq war than Murtha, was building support for the job of majority leader for years. Pelosi can count. She knew what was going to happen. But she proved her loyalty to her friend, Murtha, while congraulating her rival, Hoyer, her minority whip for years, over his victory, underlining the story line of happy, bottom-up, big tent Dems.

Op-Eds: Ireland, Freeman, Wokusch, Rall, Floyd (2), Brasch, Lower

San Francisco Treat: The Real Skinny on Nancy Pelosi, Doug Ireland

Today's Democratic Congressional Caucus vote electing Steny Hoyer of Maryland as House Majority leader was, as The Hill (the Washington weekly newspaper covering Congress) put it in a special bulletin, " stunning rebuke to incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi." ...The caucus bitch-slapped Pelosi with a lopsided vote today that wasn't even close -- 149 for Hoyer to 86 for Murtha. As one veteran Congressional insider told me on the phone today, "the caucus simply wasn't going to vote for an old sleaze-bag like Murtha" -- who, just the day before the vote on Majority Leader, in speaking to the conservative Blue Dog Democrats, called the Democratic ethics package "total crap." Notorious as a water-carrier for the military-industrial complex and a battler for obsolete or badly-performing weapons system the arms-and-aviation lobbyists love (especially those made by firms represented by his brother, a hired-gun lobbyist), Murtha was also caught up in Abscam, the famous FBI sting operation that targeted corrupt congressmen 26 years ago....[Pelosi's] background helps explain why we shouldn't expect very much from the first woman Speaker...

What Now? A Republican Defeat, Not a Democratic Victory, Samuel Freeman

Having won both houses of Congress, Democrats are almost giddy. It is amazing what an unpopular war and an unpopular president can do for an opposition party that is so amorphous and spineless it doesn't stand for anything beyond "we're not Republicans." In the spring of 2006, I told my students that as unpopular as Bush and the war were, if Democrats didn't get their act together and develop positive programs to run on, we very well could see a Republican victory in November. I was wrong. Democrats ran on nothing and still won; and, relatively speaking, won big. The question now is whether Democrats will accomplish anything with their control of Congress. My friends say I'm overly cynical; perhaps so, for I'm not particularly optimistic about the new Congress. In many respects, Democrats are sending "mixed messages."...

A Set Up? How the Republicans Could Win It All Back in 2008 , Heather Wokusch

As much as I enjoyed the midterm rout, I just can't shake the feeling that it might be a set up. A number of bloggers have noted the perfect storm which helped drive the GOP out of power: Bob Woodward's book on the administration's mishandling of Iraq, intelligence estimates that Iraq had become a recruitment vehicle for terrorists, the steady stream of corruption scandals culminating in Mark Foley's timely resignation over the Congressional page scandal. Too good to be true usually is. Curious that the Republicans failed to use its army of attorneys to challenge the election results. Curious also that Rumsfeld's inevitable departure came after the elections. The obvious fear is that six years of Bush & Co.'s gross mismanagement will be pinned on the Democrats in 2008. ...

Dumb Dems: How To Give The Country Back To The GOP In 2008, Ted Rall

The New New Democrats need to study the calendar. Two years from now, they may well end up back in the minority, reading passionate speeches no one will ever hear to an empty chamber for the benefit of C-SPAN. Rather than triangulate or moderate their views, Democrats should take that two-year time limit seriously and go gangbusters, emulating Cheney and Bush's balls-to-the-wall style to pass as much legislation as they can before 2008. That means unraveling as many GOP accomplishments as possible. Cancel the tax cuts, close the torture camps, restore habeas corpus, get the NSA out of our email, yank our troops out of Afghanistan and Iraq.

It's high time for vengeance. Impeachment is essential, to cleanse our national soul, as a downpayment of good will toward the rest of the world, and because they did it to Clinton for far, far less. And we need investigations--lots of them. Special prosecutors ought to track down everyone, up to and including Bush, who lied about WMDs in Iraq, chose not to pursue Osama in Pakistan after 9/11, deliberately withheld help that could have saved lives during the Hurricane Katrina, and signed off on warrantless wiretapping of American citizens. Law and order starts at the top. At the same time, Dems ought to ram through such long overdue (and popular) liberal agenda items as national health insurance, pulling out of the failed NAFTA accord and a big hike in the minimum wage. If any Republicans object, do what they'd do: call them terrorists or traitors or some other smear that forces them to sit down, shut up, and vote yes....

Family Feud: Little Bush Hits Back at Daddy, Chris Floyd

Bush's reaction to the Newsweek cover –and the whole gamut of high-profile media stories pushing the line that Daddy's men are moving in to take over the government and rescue Junior from the mess he's made – was not long in coming: just a week after the election. The Washington Post nailed it – then very curiously buried it on page 16, perhaps because it contradicts the new conventional wisdom about the return of Bush I (the ditheringly incompetent, deeply corrupt, sinister covert operator suddenly transformed into a wise, moderate, accomplished elder statesman) and the Baker-Gates salvage operation. What we are seeing today with Bush II's petulant pushback against the Baker Commission is part of what was earlier described here as a "war in Heaven" – an ongoing move by parts of the American Establishment to rein in the worst excesses of the Bush Faction before they kill the golden goose that keeps the elite ensconced in power and privilege...

Rummy Dum Dum: Yo Ho Ho, and an Embottled Rummy, Walter Brasch

George H.W. Bush had distrusted both Rumsfeld and Cheney; that was not the case with Bush the Younger who understood a political reality-with Dick Cheney came Donald Rumsfeld; they had worked together, understood each other, and would be a formidable presence for the newly-elected and untested president. They, along with some of Bush the Elder's confidantes, would have power, while the new president was in presidential day care for much of his first term....

Blair's Career: Bush-Blair Iraq Death Cult Spells Tony's End, Chris Floyd

They say the fountain in London's Trafalgar Square turned the color of blood on Armistice Day last weekend, as Britons in the hundreds of thousands trudged out in the November gloom to commemorate the end of the First World War, and lament the dead in all the wars thereafter. But the turning of the water was no miracle, no divine judgment on the leader whose fateful partnership with George W. Bush is producing - week after week, month after month, year after year - fresh cause for future mourning. The color came from the thousands of fake poppies tossed into the fountain in what The Observer called "a spontaneous act of remembrance": an offering of the ubiquitous charity emblems worn by most of the population in the week leading up to the memorials.

In any case, Tony Blair never saw the vision of blood in the Square; he was in Hyde Park, with the Queen and other worthies, conducting formal ceremonies where no free action or unscripted word from the public was allowed to intrude. These offices of the dead were a fitting end to a week which saw Blair and his ministers launch a massive new fearmongering campaign, promising a "generation" of terror, war and tyrannical security measures in a "long and deep struggle" against his own nation's Muslim minority. In a season already notable for the official demonization of British Muslims, the new assault twisted the screws even tighter. It is obvious that Blair has been badly stung by his American partner's rejection at the polls, which makes his own fanatical devotion to Bush and the bloodsoaked folly in Iraq look even more absurd. His frenzied waving of the terror flag is, in part, Blair's panicked response to the political diminishment of the Washington regime that has been a mainstay of his own power....

Ancient Debate: "God vs. Science" in Time Magazine, Gerry Lower

The conflict between religion and science is "a debate that long predates Darwin, but the anti-religion position is being promoted with increasing insistence by scientists angered by intelligent design and excited, perhaps intoxicated, by their disciplines' increasing ability to map, quantify and change the nature of human experience"(1). Actually, the conflict is a debate that predates even formal Old Testament Roman religion by nearly a millennium. In historical and evolutionary terms, the "anti-religion" position of science is actually an anti-supernatural (i.e., anti-magic) position. Magic is not real and that truth is as old as science itself. Anti-supernaturalism has always been virtually a prerequisite for entry into the realm of creative thought in science. If a magical god causes everything, then there is no need to look around for earthly causes, there is only the need to start praying...
Thursday, November 16, 2006

O.J. Simpson: Black Icon Explains How He Would Have Murdered His Wife, WP

Fox will slaughter the competition the final week of the November ratings sweeps when it airs a two-hour interview in which O.J. Simpson details how he would have murdered his wife, Nicole, and Ronald Goldman more than 10 years ago....

Politex News Wire

Foxe's Neil Cuvoto interviewed Dem Vice-Presiodent candidate John Edwards (2004), and reminded us why we think that Edwards is the best choice for a progressive presidential candidate in 2008...Don't get us wrong, we like Gore, but the Dem money men don't, or he would have run again in 2004...Cavuto bemoaned San Francisco's Board of Education's decision to kick the ROTC off campus. To gain support, he had Christian Conservative Gary Bauer stop by and agree with him. Cool, you invite a Christian leader to support your desire to suck grade school kids into being cannon fodder for U.S. corporate wars...On MSNBC Joe Scarborough asks whatever happened to Bill Maher's pre-election threat to out gay Republican leaders, only to stop at just one, GOP party leader Ken Melhman, after he stepped down the morning after the election....Joe calls it sexual McCarthyism...A Huffington Post writer asked, isn't it all about Republican hypocrisy: gay Republican's running on anti-gay agendas..."The people who really run the underpinings of the Republican Party are gay," Maher told Larry King...Scarborough quotes Mehlman as telling the NY Daily News that he isn't gay...The writer told Scarborough that gay Republicans shouldn't run anti-gay campaigns: "It goes against credibility and accountabililty"...A GOP spokesman called Maher "a crass and tiny human being."...A media pundit saw no problem with a gay Republican against gay marriage, and Scarborough agreed: "Even if I were a gay politician, I could be against gay marriage and be a practicing gay."..."But please don't say you're the party of personal rights," the media pundit told the GOP spokesman, "your party has gone against all kinds of people in public with respect to their private lives."..."This outing thing in public is an assault," says the GOP spokesman..."There's a real problem with a party that institutionalizes the closet," points out the HP writer...Scarborough said everyone has a right to stay in the closet...The majority (1 GOP, 1 DEM, 1 MOD GOP, 1 MOD DEM) conclusion was a gay Republican politician has a right to be against gay marriage, but it's not a right for a gay politician to say gays are going to hell...Scarborough becomes flusterd and further concludes, if a gay politician is living a gay life and is involved in anti-gay politics, he should be outed...er...uh...er..."I can't wait to read the transcript of this," concludes Joe...--Jerry Politex


Tuesday-Wednesday, November 14-15

Op-Eds: Floyd, Miller, Weiner (2), Velvel (2), Lendmon, Ross, Uhler, Partridge, and Mickey Z.

No Exit: The Baker Commission and the Trap of Reality, Chris Floyd

As Washington waits with bated bipartisan breath to unwrap the shiny Christmas present known as "the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group," it becomes more and more obvious that the newly empowered Democrats are walking into a trap. But it's not an artful contrivance prepared for their demise by the infinitely devious Karl Rove -- the "political genius" who, since his appearance on the national stage, has managed to lose two elections (2000 and 2004) and eke out very narrow, dubious victories in two others. (And it wasn't Rove who cheated Bush into office in 2000, so that doesn't count even as a technical KO for him. The post-election coup d'etat was directed by Bush family fixer James Baker -- now chairman of the, er, Iraq Study Group.) No, the trap awaiting the Democrats has been laid by reality itself....

Perfect Storm: Voter Revulsion, Bernard Weiner

Ten findings on the clean-sweep GOP defeat in the midterm:...

To the Victors Belongs Impunity: Of Incorrigible Transgressors, Tacit Complicity, and Lady Justice’s Conspicuous Absence, Jason Miller

So, despite the stark reality that the Democratic Party is simply another vehicle of corporate interests which has spawned as many malefactors as the Republicans:
1. A Democratic Congress is going to right the wrongs of the Bush Regime and make the world “safe for democracy” once again?
2. Nancy Pelosi is going to oversee the restoration of a semblance of ethical conduct by the US government without even attempting to impeach men guilty of virtually innumerable crimes against our Constitution and against humanity?
3. Our “savior Dems” are going to bring the troops home from Iraq when they insist on framing the mistakes of the Bush Regime in strategic rather than moral terms?

Business As Usual? New Faces, Same Agenda, Stephen Lendman

The political firmament shook briefly post-November 7 raising hopes change would follow the Republican's drubbing at the polls and the Democrats regaining control of both houses of Congress for the first time since the GOP sweep in 1994. Presumed new House speaker Nancy Pelosi stopped the tremors making it clear no substantive change will be on the table when the 110th Congress convenes on January 3. Instead, she announced to those paying attention it'll be business as usual (as it always is) as she intends to work with the president in a spirit of bipartisanship and not be "obstructionist" even though Republicans for past 12 years never returned that courtesy or even made a pretense of doing it.

Democracy Won? Direct Democracy Lost in Florida and Colorado, Joel Hirschhorn

The passion among voters to move power from one major party to the other should be expanded to restore American democracy, something that neither mainstream politicians nor the mainstream corporate press want to discuss or what you to discuss. We need is to expand, not shrink, opportunities for direct democracy. Better than being bipartisan, direct democracy is non-partisan or perhaps anti-partisan. That corporate interests are working so hard to curb direct democracy should be all that is necessary to motivate Americans to expand it. It is a vital way to give power to the people. [Some examples of the problem: ...]

Lame Duck: Bush's Post-Election Session With His Shrink, Bernard Weiner

Bush visits his psychiatrist and reveals a tormented soul. He's torn between staying-the-course in his political-policy decisions and making accommodations with the Democrats. Watch him squirm.

Election Fraud: And Now What?, Ernest Partridge

Why, if the Rove gang could have fixed this election, didn’t they do it? Because this time it was just too risky. One can pull a scam only a few times before the “marks” (i.e. the public) get suspicious, then angry. That’s why confidence men move on from town to town. Perhaps Rove, et all, were beginning to smell the tar and see some feathers floating by. For this time, despite the blackout of election fraud coverage in the mainstream media, the public was getting suspicious.

Big Bush Lies: Throwing Rumsfield Under the Bus, Lawrence R. Velvel

having said until a few days ago that Rumsfeld will remain, no sooner were the election results in, then Bush decided that Don must go. Don would be thrown under the bus for what Bush himself allowed and stridently supported. For Bush to throw Rumsfeld under the bus was very dishonorable. Dishonorable -- there is no other word for it. It was also typical of Bush...

Big Bush Lies: Honesty, History, And A College Of History And Law, Lawrence R. Velvel

"The worst form of cheating in American democracy today is intellectual dishonesty. The conversation in our democracy is dominated by disingenuousness. Candidates and partisan commentators strike poses of outrage that they don’t really feel, take positions that they would not take if the shoe was on the other foot (e.g., criticizing Bush when you gave Clinton a pass, or vice versa), feel no obligation toward logical consistency."

Unaccountable Elitism: The Real Insult to Our Troops, Walter C. Uhler

In this topsy-turvy "Bizarro" United States under the regime of Bush and Cheney, nothing is as it seems. Thanks to the American genius for advertising, the lazy and obsequious stenographers in the mainstream news media and the abysmally poor education of so many Americans, a cowardly Vietnam era draft-dodging alcoholic son of privilege became "born again" President of the United States and, in the name of "moral clarity," sent other parents' children - but not his own -- to kill and be killed in support of the most egregiously illegal and immoral war ever to besmirch America's world reputation.

Assault Against Freedom: Visa Of Muslim Scholar Revoked, Sherwood Ross

Revoking the visa of Swiss-Egyptian scholar Tariq Ramadan is emblematic of President Bush’s efforts to chill intellectual freedom and deny Americans their First Amendment right to freedom of speech. It is one aspect of a broader campaign orchestrated by the White House that has also slashed the numbers both of foreign students and political refugees seeking to enter America.

All you need is love... (...and a small, well-trained army), Mickey Z.

In his most recent book, a two-volume set called “Endgame,” author Derrick Jensen tells of a discussion he had with a longtime activist. "She told me of a campaign she participated in a few years ago to try to stop the government and transnational timber corporations from spraying Agent Orange, a potent defoliant and teratogen, in the forests of Oregon," Jensen writes....


Monday, November 13

Politex News Wire

...On Thursday Bill Maher told Larry King that Ken Mehlman was gay. Mehlman, who led the Republican Nation Committee and it's anti-gay policies, announced today that he was stepping down from the RNC leadership. If you believe there is no connection, you probably believe that Bush would have fired Rummy if the Republicans had won the House and Senate...The Power Issue website goes on to report that "Lt. Governor Michael Steele of Maryland, an opponent of gay-marriage, has been asked to replace Mehlman." Yesterday, Editor and Publisher reported that "the exchange between King and Maher had been edited [by CNN] to delete the outing in the re-broadcast of the King show, and also in CNN's online video." Sound like the time Larry Flynt called for an investigation of the George Bush abortion story on CNN, CNN scrubbed it from the tape, Bush Watch printed the original transcript excerpts, and we became the darlings of the Mike Malloy Show.

Dem Program: Top Twenty Actions Dems Should Take, Jerry Politex

Now that both the Senate and the House are in the hands of the Democratic Party, it's time to kick Republican butt. What are the top twenty actions the Dems should take in the next two years? Send your top, one-sentence action here. Thanks.

1. Rescind that part of the Bush Martial Law: HR 5122, section 1076, that makes Bush and future Presidents dictators. --Jerry Politex

2. Rescind the Bush Public Law 109-364, or the "John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007" (H.R.5122), that allows the President to declare a "public emergency" and station troops anywhere in America and take control of state-based National Guard units without the consent of the governor or local authorities, in order to "suppress public disorder," making Bush and future Presidents dictators. --Jerry Politex

3. Force Bush to follow the perfectly adequate FISA law and stop illegal NSA spying on innocent american citizens. --Kim Anderson

4. Begin oversight hearings on 9/11, Iraq, Afghanistan, Katrina, Energy meetings, Valerie Plame, Pentagon money contracts, congressional ethics, and insert horrible event here. Pass the entire 9/11 commission recommendations and point out how it took 6 years for it to be done. --Randall Roberson, Reba Peters, R. O'Connor

5. Impeach Bush and Cheney, or at least make an attempt, to win back a little of our once good name in the world. --Ben Seni, Thomas Roy

6. Figure out some way to outlaw or curtail "signing statements," which [are being used by Bush to] effectivly circumvent the constitution and make the exective the all-powerful branch (dictator) in the US. --Karl Scott

7. Hire new inspectors and enforcement officials to replace those laid off under Bush at the FDA and other agencies. --Bob Mawn

8. Get out of Iraq as fast as possible, and restart the middle east peace process, where we should have been concentrating our efforts all along. --Cherie

9. Congress really needs to push for reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine and encourage the FCC to use its oversight to limit (if not reverse) the mass media consolidation of the last 10-25 years. --Bob Hunter

10. Ensure on a national basis that voting can be verified with paper receipts; just because Dems won - doesn't mean the voting isn't fixed. --George Lacy

11. Appoint Jimmy Carter or Al Gore as chairman of a group to clean up the environment, create an energy policy that's not a boondoggle to the corporations, and rescind all portions of relevant bills to do so.

12. Call a halt to all earmarks --REPEAT: ALL EARMARKS-- until the national debt is zero, and do likewise with whatever loopholes the bloodsucking members of Congress come up with. --Jerry Politex 13. Halt all tax cuts that are in the various Bush bills but have yet to be instituted. --Jerry Politex

14. Raise the minimum wage by a substantial amount, allow federal employees to freely unionize, and cut the interest rate on student loans. --Jerry Politex

15. Create a fair immigration policy that does not penalize the American worker, nor creates a guest worker programk, but provides greater oversight and penalties with teeth for those who hire illegal immigrants.. --Jerry Politex

16. Voting machines: get open-source code & a paper trail and whatever else the nonpartisan experts say. Put the whole process in public, not private, hands. --Gib

17. 1st thing Democrats need to do is to get rid of "No Child Left Behind", [because it's generally unfunded it does just the opposite. In fact, let's do away with all bills, like Bush's illegal immigration fence bill, that is not unfunded.] --Sahib Khalsa [and Jerry Politex]

18. The strongest support, 92 percent, was for lowering drug prices for retirees on Medicare by allowing the government to negotiate directly with drug companies. --Newsweek Poll after elections

19. Draw up and pass some sort of a bill that will put us on the road to universal health care and take health care out of the control of for-profit corporations. --Jerry Politex

20. What has been missed?


Weekend Edition: Friday, November 10

Incision 2006: On The Election Results, Floyd, Wokusch, and Mickey Z.

Dems Win? Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me, Chris Floyd

Ordinarily, the elevation of a gaggle of corporate bagmen, spine-free time-servers and craven accomplices of tyranny and aggression to the control of Congress would not be a cause for rejoicing. With a few notable exceptions, the Democratic Party has displayed nothing but cowardice and cluelessness over the past five years, betraying the interests of the American people at every single gut-check point in the long march to the self-proclaimed "Unitary Executive" dictatorship of George W. Bush. Whenever it really counted – Supreme Court nominations, tax cuts for the rich, the class-warfare nuclear bomb of the Bankruptcy Bill, the appointment of sleazy, third-rate officials such as torture-enabler and Constitution-gutter Alberto Gonzales to high office, and of course, the eager goose-stepping into the war crime of Iraq (which was, let us remember, approved by a Democratic-controlled Senate) – the Democrats folded, would not even go down fighting...If anyone thinks the horrors of the Bush Imperium are somehow at an end – or will even be seriously impaired – by the results of yesterday's election, they have a harsh and bitter awakening to come....

Dems Win? Mid-Term Election Post Mortem, Mickey Z.

So, the Democrats have a majority in Congress. The bad times are over. The evil ones have been vanquished. Let's go ahead and declare world peace, an end to global warming, and—while we're at it—the cancellation of The O'Reilly Factor. I mean, what could be better, right? Hmm, we could also have a Democratic president to go along with a Democratic Senate and Democratic House....Well, if you want a good idea of how things may go under the above scenario, you might want to reflect back upon the years of 1993 and 1994 because that's when President William Jefferson Clinton was enjoying the "advantage" of a Democratically-controlled Congress....There is one primary difference between the Democrats and Republicans: They tell different lies to get elected....

Dems Win: Europe Applauds the US Midterm Election Results, Heather Wokusch

As a Californian based transatlantically, I can tell you that the across the board, editorials in Europe are celebrating the results of the US midterm elections. Here in Vienna, people are still irate from Bush's mid-June visit that caused an unprecedented security lockdown with huge sections of the city cordoned off so Bush didn't have to face the hordes of angry protestors. At American taxpayer expense, special limousines were flown in from the US to drive Bush and his entourage from the airport to their five-star hotel (a 30-minute ride, max), and Bush's "waste matter" was flown back to the US, just in case some evildoer wanted to chemically test it. You can imagine the subsequent jokes, with punch lines like: "too bad Bush doesn't eliminate the rest of his shit too." Today, over 200 Socialist European Parliament members issued a joint statement calling the US midterm elections "the beginning of the end of a six-year nightmare for the world." Sums it up beautifully....

Politex News Wire

In his concession speech announcing the Virginia Senate winner, Jim Webb, "Macaca" Allen told his followers that they will "live to fight another day," throwing his hat into the ring for the 2008 Presidential election or looking towards a future Senate run...The concession speech was staged for television in such a way (the formal outdoor setting and the introduction by fellow-Virginian Senator Warner) that left little doubt that politics is still in Allen's future...Reporters on the scene pointed to the mean-spirited evolution of American politics, where one politician has to declare victory before the other eventually concedes..


Thursday, November 9


Politex News Wire

Dems projected to take Virginia, Senate (nbc)...Dean: Dems won 1/3 of the white Christian evangelical vote...Who won the Senate for the Dems? Some say Rush Limbaugh, who mocked the Michael J. Fox pro-stem cell political ad and helped sway Missouri voters into the Dem camp...Bill Maher claims that Ken Mehlman, head of the Republican National Committee and ani-gay politician, is gay...Promises more names Friday nite...Larry King: Why would gay Republicans take anti-gay positions in public? Bill Maher: Because hating yourself is the greatest love of all....The difference between Democrats and Republicans is Dems want gays to get married, Repubs want congressmen free to play the field, reports Maher...Donald Rumsfeld has stepped down...Avoids growing drum beat from both sides of the aisle...Bush claims he's proved he can work with Democrats. Points to his time as Texas gov. Reporter: Does Nancy Pelosi look like [conservative Texas Dem leader] Bob Bullock to you? [No answer.]...Bush: "Obviously I worked harder on this campaign than he [Karl Rove] did."...Dem Tester takes Montana Senate seat, gives Dems 50 seats for tie...Virginia recount looms, Dem leads...Press Question: When will Cheney go? Bush: He won't...How will you work with Pelosi, who calls you a liar? Bush: That's just politics...Bush says he's disappointed that he hasn't been able to change the tone in D.C....Actualy he has, from tense to vicious...Bush says he'll be looking for cooperation between the White House and the Dems...To Bush, that means the Dems need to agree with what he wants to do...Ex-CIA Head and presently Prez of Texas A&M is the Bush nominee for Sec. of Defense...A long-time mover on daddy's team and buddy of consigliari Baker...Bush says Gates was going to get nominated, win or lose...His answer to the press was not convincing...Bush says he didn't want to tell the country he was getting rid of Rummy and affect the campaign...That's a first!...All of his actions are geared to win elections...So much for Bush's pre-election support of Rummy last week...When does Dick go?...Montana's Dem Tester and Virginia's Dem Webb have both declared victory, although projections have not been made on either Senate race...Look for Bush to try to slip some really bad bills through the GOP lame duck Congress before the session ends.


Wednesday, November 8

...Breaking News: Dems Win Virginia, Take Senate 51-49, AP (Wednesday ,8:45 pm)

...The Senate had teetered at 50 Democrats, 49 Republicans for most of Wednesday, with Virginia hanging in the balance. Webb's victory [,later projected by NBC News,] ended Republican hopes of eking out a 50-50 split, with Vice President Dick Cheney wielding tie-breaking authority.

The Associated Press contacted election officials in all 134 localities where voting occurred, obtaining updated numbers Wednesday. About half the localities said they had completed their postelection canvassing and nearly all had counted outstanding absentees. Most were expected to be finished by Friday. The new AP count showed Webb with 1,172,538 votes and Allen with 1,165,302, a difference of 7,236. Virginia has had two statewide vote recounts in modern history, but both resulted in vote changes of no more than a few hundred votes.

An adviser to Allen, speaking on condition of anonymity because his boss had not formally decided to end the campaign, said the senator wanted to wait until most of canvassing was completed before announcing his decision, possibly as early as Thursday evening. The adviser said that Allen was disinclined to request a recount if the final vote spread was similar to that of election night....


Virginia: Repeat of Florida 2000?

Now that the Dems only need one more seat to take control of the Senate and, with the Dem House, make things very hot for Bush and his mob for the next two years, look for the GOP to get its lawyers, politicians, and thugs into Virginia in a move to imtimidate Virginia recount officials in an attempt to overturn the election in favor of "Macaca" Allen, the GOP candidate.

What are the Dems doing about it? Are they alert to a repeat of the Florida scenario? Will they sit back, as they did in 2000 and watched the unfolding events on TV, as GOP lawyers, politicians, and thugs overran Florida.

Timeline: Nov. 15, end vote canvass...Nov. 26, request recount if winner has less than a 24,000 vote lead after canvas. Webb presently leads by 7,000, and it would be difficult for Allen to gain 7,000+ votes, particularly since there are no paper ballots, so there's very little to count.

--Jerry Politex

PROJECTED: SENATE CONTROL HANGS ON VIRGINIA, DEMS TAKE MONTANA

"The fate of the Senate [,presently 50-49, Dems,] remained in doubt this morning, as the race for the Republican-held seats in Virginia remained too close to call as Election Day turned into the day after. Democrats would need the seat to win control of the Senate as well.

The race in Virginia — between another Republican incumbent, Senator George Allen, and Jim Webb, his Democratic challenger — was so close that some officials said it would have to be resolved by a recount. [CNN has Webb leading by 7,000 votes.]

That prospect could mean prolonged uncertainty over control of the Senate, since a recount can be requested only after the results are officially certified on Nov. 27th, according to the state board of elections. Last year a recount in the race for Attorney General was not resolved until Dec. 21. (nyt-politex)

Progressives Lost: What Happened Last Night?, Jerry Politex

Last night's big story is that the nation repudiated Bush's war in Iraq and, to an extent, Bush's policies, both foreign and domestic. In the exit polls, voters reported that they voted as they did based on three key issues: the economy, the war in Iraq, and Congressional corruption.

A second big story, but underreported, is that the Dems won a number of key races by fielding conservative candidates, moving the Democratic Party further to the right. Example: Casey in Pennsylavnia and Webb in Virginia. The classic campaign strategy is to capture the center. Is the U.S. center conservative, or are the Dems so desperate for victory that they'll sell out their principles to win?

This excerpt from a NYT story last week sums up the problem:

In their push to win back control of the House, Democrats have turned to conservative and moderate candidates who fit the profiles of their districts more closely than the profile of the national party. One such candidate, Heath Shuler, was courted by Republicans to run for office in 2001. Mr. Shuler, 34, is a retired National Football League quarterback who is running in the 11th Congressional District in North Carolina. He is an evangelical Christian and holds fast to many conservative social views, like opposition to abortion rights.

''My guess is that if Democrats are in the majority, it's going to be because of these New Democrat, Blue Dog candidates out there winning in these competitive swing districts,'' Representative Ron Kind of Wisconsin, co-chairman of a caucus of centrist House Democrats, said in an interview. But if candidates like Mr. Shuler do help the Democrats gain majority control of Congress, it could come at a political price, which may include tensions in the party between its new centrists and its more liberal political base. While Democratic leaders have gone to great lengths to promote the views of these candidates, some, like Mr. Shuler, have views on issues like gun control and abortion that are far out of step with the prevailing views of the Democrats who control the party. On some issues, they may even be expected to side with Republicans and the Bush White House.

Democratic officials said they did not set out with the intention of finding moderates to run. Instead, as they searched for candidates with the greatest possibility of winning against Republicans, they said, they wound up with a number who reflected more moderate views. That was especially true in suburban areas and some rural districts, said Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. ''As a group, they are moderate in temperament and reformers in spirit,'' Mr. Emanuel said. Instead, party veterans would remain in chairmanships and House leadership posts; several officials said they did not expect a moderate revolution to erupt or to threaten the position of Representative Nancy Pelosi of California as the Democratic leader in the House.

''But will they have an impact? Absolutely,'' Mr. Emanuel said. ''They're going to have an impact on the Congress and the caucus.'' A prime example is Mr. Shuler, who addresses environmental conservation from the viewpoint of an avid hunter and speaks of health care for the poor as a moral responsibility. Collectively, the group could tilt the balance of power within the party, which has been struggling to define itself in recent elections. The candidates cover the spectrum on political issues; some are fiscally conservative and moderate or liberal on social issues, some are the reverse. They could influence negotiations with Republicans on a variety of issues, including Social Security and stem cell research....

...Asked if he could envision a Democratic Party with, say, an anti-abortion platform, Mr. Shuler did not hesitate. ''I'm pro-life and I'm part of the Democratic Party, so I hope it's part of the platform,'' he said. ''Someone needs to lead.'' In this election cycle, the Democrats' desire for a victory in Congress has overridden concerns that candidates like Mr. Shuler are too far right for the party base. But there are questions about what will happen down the line. ''I don't think people like Shuler will be the core of the Democratic Party,'' said Mark Bloom, a writer who is a volunteer for MoveOn.org, the liberal advocacy group, at its storefront office in downtown Asheville. ''If people like Shuler turn out to not be progressive enough for my tastes, I'll work to replace him.''

In the view of Don Yelton, a Jupiter, N.C., resident, a decisive nationwide realignment is playing out in conservative districts like this one. Although the majority of registered voters are Democrats, President Bush won here by a comfortable margin. Mr. Yelton, 59 and a lifelong Democrat, said he recently changed parties, in part because he believed that the Democrats had suppressed anti-abortion viewpoints. He is running as a Republican for clerk of court in Buncombe County. ''There's going to be a moderate party for Joe Blow, and whether that party is the Republican Party or the Democratic Party, that's the battle we're seeing,'' Mr. Yelton said. ''I expect to see Hillary Clinton quoting Scripture before it's over with.''

Senate Hangs: Will Karl Rove Prove Country Stupid With GOP Win In Senate?, Thomas Friedman

"Let Karl know that you think this is a critical election, because you know as a citizen that if the Bush team can behave with the level of deadly incompetence it has exhibited in Iraq — and then get away with it by holding on to the House and the Senate — it means our country has become a banana republic. It means our democracy is in tatters because it is so gerrymandered, so polluted by money, and so divided by professional political hacks that we can no longer hold the ruling party to account. It means we’re as stupid as Karl thinks we are."

INCISION 2006
(as of noon, ct, Wednesday)

PROJECTED: DEMS WIN CONTROL OF THE HOUSE

Dems lead 226-191 with 18 seats undecided.

PROJECTED: DEMS WIN AT LEAST TIE IN SENATE

Virginia: With 99% of the precincts in, Dem Webb leads Allen by 7,000 . Recount looms.

DEM: Montana, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Maryland

GOP: Arizona, Tennessee.

PROJECTED: Dems Win Gubernatorial Majority

Election Guides:...CNN (most complete...will update vote)...NYT...... WP......EV...



Tuesday, November 7

THE POLITEX CAMPAIGN WIRE...Friday through Tuesday......[TUESDAY] GOP Illegality in Maryland: "Inaccurate sample ballots describing Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and Senate candidate Michael S. Steele as Democrats were handed out to voters in at least four polling sites in Prince George's County this morning. The ballots were distributed by people who said they arrived by buses this morning from Pennsylvania and Delaware. [One] said he was recruited at a homeless shelter in Philadelphia." (wp)...In Missouri voters are being turned away for not having picture ID's although there is no rule to that effect...Dem spokesperson in Virginia reports widespread illegal dirty tricks phone calls to Dem districts warning people not to vote....State officials responded by calling in the FBI...State officials say the calls are coming from both in-State and out-of-State...(msnbc)...Programming errors and inexperience dealing with electronic voting machines frustrated poll workers in hundreds of precincts early Tuesday, delaying voters in Indiana, Ohio and Florida and leaving some with little choice but to use paper ballots instead....With a third of Americans voting on new equipment and voters navigating new registration databases and changing ID rules, election watchdogs worried about polling problems even before the voting began." (ap)..."On election eve, the rough consensus among officials in both parties was that the Democrats would win the House but come just short of capturing the six seats they needed in the Senate. There was wide disagreement, though, about how many House seats Democrats might win." (nyt)..."The key races in Congress are concentrated in the Eastern and Central time zones, so we ought to have a good sense of the trend relatively early in the evening," said Amy Walter of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. (wp)

Note: The following by Michael Collins contains the prediction that "Democrats Should Take Up To 40 House Seats And 6 In The Senate." Here at Bush Watch we disagree: reports suggest the Dems may take the House by 20, but lose the Senate by 2. In the Senate Dems need 6. They probably have 3, and they need to take Virginia, Missouri, and Montana to gain the other 3. While all 3 are too clse to call, given the history of federal elections during the Bush era, chances are a combination of voter eligibility manipulation, intimidation, fraud, and electronic manipulation could gain the GOP a Senate win. This scenario is widely suspected to be true; hence, the numerous essays on how to stop the GOP from cheating. We've seen it in Florida and we've seen it in Ohio. When it comes to elections, the rest of the world sees our voting practices as encouraging corruption. And they're right.--Jerry Politex

Election 2006: A Formula for Catching Election Fraud, Michael Collins

November 7, 2006 promises to be a watershed event in the political history of the United States of America. After six long years of the Bush Administration the public is poised to clean house and throw the bums out. These colloquial phrases represent the fervently held hopes of the 55% to 60% of the people who consistently disapprove of the Bush presidency. However, a darker horizon beckons due to the inevitable temptations to deliver the vote in ways that deny the public will.....

Election 2006: Why Voting for Dems Is Required: Pre-Election Scenarios, Bernard Weiner

Bush&Co. are staying-the-course in Iraq -- with scapegoats being prepared -- and moving on the attack-Iran front. Plus, how Rove could pull off yet another stolen election. Antidote to all this? A landslide defeat [today] for the GOP....

Election 2006: Bush Is A Bully, Vote Dem To Stop Him, Paul Krugman

At this point, nobody should have any illusions about Mr. Bush’s character. To put it bluntly, he’s an insecure bully who believes that owning up to a mistake, any mistake, would undermine his manhood — and who therefore lives in a dream world in which all of his policies are succeeding and all of his officials are doing a heckuva job. Just last week he declared himself “pleased with the progress we’re making” in Iraq. In other words, he’s the sort of man who should never have been put in a position of authority, let alone been given the kind of unquestioned power, free from normal checks and balances, that he was granted after 9/11. But he was, alas, given that power, as well as a prolonged free ride from much of the news media.

The results have been predictably disastrous. The nightmare in Iraq is only part of the story. In time, the degradation of the federal government by rampant cronyism — almost every part of the executive branch I know anything about, from the Environmental Protection Agency to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has been FEMAfied — may come to be seen as an equally serious blow to America’s future. And it should be a matter of intense national shame that Mr. Bush has quietly abandoned his fine promises to New Orleans and the rest of the Gulf Coast.

The public, which rallied around Mr. Bush after 9/11 and was still prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt two years ago, seems to have figured most of this out. It’s too late to vote Mr. Bush out of office, but most Americans seem prepared to punish Mr. Bush’s party for his personal failings. This is in spite of a vicious campaign in which Mr. Bush has gone further than any previous president — even Richard Nixon — in attacking the patriotism of anyone who criticizes him or his policies. That said, it’s still possible that the Republicans will hold on to both houses of Congress. The feeding frenzy over John Kerry’s botched joke showed that many people in the news media are still willing to be played like a fiddle. And if you think the timing of the Saddam verdict was coincidental, I’ve got a terrorist plot against the Brooklyn Bridge to sell you.

Moreover, the potential for vote suppression and/or outright electoral fraud remains substantial. And it will be very hard for the Democrats to take the Senate for the very simple reason that only one-third of Senate seats are on this ballot....No matter how hard the Bush administration may try to ignore the constitutional division of power, Mr. Bush’s ability to make deadly mistakes has rested in part on G.O.P. control of Congress. That’s why many Americans, myself included, will breathe a lot easier if one-party rule ends tomorrow.


Monday, November 6

THE POLITEX CAMPAIGN WIRE...Friday through Tuesday......[MONDAY]...Drugs, gay massages, it's getting so you can't tell the protestant clergy from the Catholic priests." (Bill Maher)...Bush appeared in Florida today to boost GOP chances, but Republican Gov. candidate Crist, running for Jeb's seat, choose to stiff Bush and meet in another part of Florida with John McCain...Senate: Virginia, Missouri too close to call...Dem Tester pulls ahead in Montana...Tennessee tightening up as Ford comes back (lou dobbs)...Dems need three of four...Texas: "Big Hair" Perry (R) will beat "Unrung" Bell (D) handily, but the story is the race between Strayhorn (I--running for Gov. and spliting the R vote) and Dewhurst (R-Lt. Gov., the power in Texas, not the Gov.) in 2012, as their ads swamp all others. Kinky (I and running for Gov.) has become a sleeping dog bore for Texas libertarians..."A majority of Americans said issues such as the Iraq war, the economy and terrorism would head in the right direction if the Democrats won control of Congress on Tuesday, according to a CNN poll released Monday....A majority, 58 percent, said that a Democratic Congress would move the economy in the right direction, compared to 43 percent who said a Republican Congress would help the economy, according to the telephone poll of 1,008 adult Americans, which was carried out Friday through Sunday by Opinion Research Corp. Fifty-four percent of respondents said a Democratic Congress would move the Iraq war in the right direction, compared to 34 percent who said a Republican Congress would do the same.... Fifty-five percent said a Democratic Congress would move the country in the right direction on the issue of terrorism, compared to 47 percent who said that a GOP Congress would do the right thing on terrorism. On the question of taxes, Democrats bested Republicans 49 percent to 37 percent when those surveyed were asked who would do a better job." (cnn)..."On Tuesday, when this page runs the list of people it has endorsed for election, we will include no Republican Congressional candidates for the first time in our memory...This election is indeed about George W. Bush — and the Congressional majority’s insistence on protecting him from the consequences of his mistakes and misdeeds. Mr. Bush lost the popular vote in 2000 and proceeded to govern as if he had an enormous mandate. After he actually beat his opponent in 2004, he announced he now had real political capital and intended to spend it. We have seen the results. It is frightening to contemplate the new excesses he could concoct if he woke up next Wednesday and found that his party had maintained its hold on the House and Senate." (nyt ed)...

Election 2006: ELECTIONS or ELECTRONS: What If Anything Will Count Your Vote, Dom Stasi

Well, Dems, it is time to become vertebrate! Because, on Tuesday, November 7th, those same voters who’ve supported you and many of those who traditionally haven’t, will cast ballots that could, if they are counted, regain both houses of congress for your party. A boatload of the loftiest Republicans should then prepare to face indictments, impeachment proceedings, and both international and domestic war crimes tribunals, the latter being a hideous thing that they, themselves, have resurrected. But the instigation of such justice will take backbone – loyal opposition backbone.Somehow, though, the incumbents remain outwardly rather blithe about it all.Perhaps – just perhaps – that’s because they know something about...Electronic voting.


Sunday, November 5

THE POLITEX CAMPAIGN WIRE...Friday through Tuesday......[SUNDAY]..."Saddam Hussein Is Sentenced to Death," reports the New York Times...It's about time the Iraqi puppet government did something positive for Bush and his Republicans campaign...The question: What did it cost Bush and who will eventually pay? More American troops? More U.S. occupation months? More money?...Webb has pulled into a 1% lead over Macaca Man in Virginia...Looks like the DEMs need to take that one, Montana (tied), and Missouri (tied) to take the Senate. An uphill battle..."Polls see Republicans keeping Senate control," reports msnbc, races tighten in Montana, Missouri, Rhode Island and Virginia"..."In all, these key Senate races show the following: Two Republican incumbents in serious trouble: Santorum and DeWine. Democrats could gain two seats. Four Republican incumbents essentially tied with their challengers: Allen [Virginia], Burns [Montana], Chafee [Rhode Island] and Talent [Missouri]. Four toss-ups that could turn into Democratic gains. Three Democratic incumbents with leads: Cantwell [Wash.], Menendez [N.J.], and Stabenow [Michigan]. One Republican incumbent ahead of his challenger: Kyl [Arizona]. One Republican open seat with the Republican [pulling away], Tennessee. One open Democratic seat virtually tied: Maryland. The results show that the Democrats have a good chance of gaining at least 2 seats in the Senate. As of now, they must win 4 of the toss-up seats, while holding on to Maryland in order to gain control of the Senate." (msnbc]..."In the battle for the House, Democrats appear almost certain to pick up more than the 15 seats needed to regain the majority. Republicans virtually concede 10 seats, and a split of the 30 tossup races would add an additional 15 to the Democratic column....The Senate poses a tougher challenge for Democrats, who need to gain six seats to take control of that chamber. A three-seat gain is almost assured, but they would have to find the other three seats from four states considered to have tossup races -- Virginia, Tennessee, Missouri and Montana. (wp)...The present score in this group appears to be one DEM, one GOP, and two tied...Looks like Republicans have taken the Tenessee U.S. Senate seat, as DEM Ford's gap is now 12%. Observers point to the racist GOP anti-Ford ad as the turning point...The contested Montana Senate seats in Missouri and Montana are ties...the Republican has been closing the gap in Montana....Virginia's GOP "Macaca" Allen is failing...November Surprise: "Evangelical pastor Ted Haggard confessed on Sunday to a "lifelong" sexual problem, and said he was "a deceiver and a liar," in a letter read to his New Life Church." (cnn)..."I am guilty of sexual immorality," says Rev. Ted Haggard, the evangelical leader and Bush advisor wrote in a letter to his congregation. "My accuser [a gay prostitute]...has revealed the sins and sensuality in my life," he wrote, and admitted to lies he told reporters in the last few days. Nothing specific, mind you...


Saturday, November 4

THE POLITEX CAMPAIGN WIRE...Friday through Tuesday......{SATURDAY]"Researchers at Harvard have looked at the youth vote (18-24) and written a short report on their findings. Briefly summarized, expected turnout, although pitiful (32%), will be better than usual, and highly Democratic. The young voters give President Bush a D+ grade on Iraq and a C- overall and think it is time for a change." (electoral-vote.com)....."Republicans seized on a drop in the unemployment rate to assert on Friday that tax cuts were invigorating the economy, highlighting just four days before the election an issue that party strategists are counting on to offset bad news about the war. (nyt)...Right, let's all cheer for the good news that in the Bush economy the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, and the middle class gets eliminated..."Several days from what Republican and Democratic campaign strategists expect to be a close election, the legal machinery of a messy fight is shifting into high gear. Democrats say they are most concerned that voters will be prevented from voting by long lines or poll workers’ demanding unnecessary forms of identification. Republicans say they are guarding against ineligible people trying to vote. The parties are sending their largest concentrations of lawyers to states with the tightest races like Maryland, Missouri, Ohio and Tennessee. Most of them are unpaid volunteers, though many from large firms are working pro bono to meet their firms’ expectation for hours of public service. On Saturday and Sunday, hundreds of the 7,000 lawyers who are working on the election for the Democratic National Committee will board planes for Arizona, Florida, Maryland, Missouri, Ohio and 13 other states....A team of lawyers for the Democratic Party has been arguing with postal officials in Columbus, Ohio, trying to persuade them to process thousands of absentee ballots that have arrived with insufficient postage." (nyt)..."The Justice Department plans to dispatch more than 800 federal observers and monitors to 20 states to protect voting rights in potentially troubled polling locations, officials announced Tuesday. That is a record number of federal officials watching polling stations in an off-year election....Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Wan Kim...said he would not identify until Monday the more than 65 cities and counties to which the observers will be sent. (cnn)...At the moment, looks like the Dems can take the Senate if Dem McCaskill wins in Missouri..."Republicans entered the campaign's final weekend yesterday desperately trying to keep control of the Senate, with three or four tossup races likely to determine whether the GOP can cling to power there even as it sees its hold on the House eroding....analysts in both parties agreed that Missouri [neck and neck], Virginia [GOP "Macaca" Allen failing] and Tennessee [GOP racist ad working] are the keys to controlling the 100-member Senate, where Democrats need to gain six seats to claim the majority...With Democrats slightly favored to knock off Republican senators in Rhode Island and Montana -- and more solidly favored in Pennsylvania and Ohio -- the party that wins two of the three tossup states should prevail, the analysts said. Maryland and Michigan are conceivable Republican upsets, and Arizona possibly could fall to Democrats, but most handicappers consider such results unlikely...."The bottom just fell out," said Amy Walter, a House analyst at the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. Her publication predicted yesterday that Republicans will lose 20 to 35 seats. [Elsewhere, analyst Stuart] Rothenberg predicted a 34-to-40-seat Democratic gain. "The House is gone," he said."(wp)...


Friday, November 3

THE POLITEX CAMPAIGN WIRE...Friday through Tuesday......[FRIDAY]...In a Florida House seat battle, Dem Mahoney is leading the Foley-sex sub, a Bush rubber-stamp, by 7%...Florida's Katherine Harris, who's looking like a heavier Michael Jackson these days, is down by 24% in her Senate seat run. She needs a news slogan; how about, "She's the woman who brought you Bush"?....Ohio Republican Sen. DeWine is down by 7%...What will he do? Keep disgruntled Ohio minorities standing in line for hour after hour again?...Dem Claire McKaskill leads Republican Talent by 3% for the Mo. Senate seat..."Mary G. Wilson, national president of the League of Women Voters, said identification laws, particularly ones requiring photo IDs [,genererally backed by Republicans and opposed by Democrats], are 'odious'"...According to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll , only 26 percent of Americans think Bush has "developed a clear plan for dealing with the situation in Iraq." A resounding 69 percent don't believe he has a clear plan at all (not to mention a good one.)" [Dan Froomkin, WP]...Eugene Robinson (WP): "If Democrats win Tuesday, it will be because voters were not adequately roused into a state of heart-pounding, knee-knocking fear."...NYT update: "The Rev. Ted Haggard, the former president of the National Association of Evangelicals [an advisor to Bush] and one of the nation’s most influential Christian leaders, admitted today, with his wife and children nearby (CNN video), that he had purchased the illegal drug methamphetamine through a gay escort in Denver, but denied that he ever had sex with the man."...Everyone knows that if you want to buy some meth in this country, you look up a gay prostitute, right?...MSNBC is running all election news, all the time...Dems need 15 seats for House, 6 for Senate...So it's Allen vs. Webb in Virginia...Two Republicans running for Senate, but Webb's turned Democrat...Count on him to join the Lieberman-Hillary Republican-lite crowd if he wins...No wonder half the Dems in the Senate don't have passing grades...Webb used to be anti-women when he was a Republican..."Macaca" Allen has a record of racisim right up to the present...And he's a Bush-class liar about it, to boot...Talking about republican racisim, there's the race in Tennessee, where Black Dem Ford is back in the race, thanks to a Republican racist attack ad...More breaking news on Rev. Ted Haggard, leader of one of the largest (30 million) evangelical groups in the country and a regular Bush advisor...He resigned his post after being accused of engaging in paid sex by a male prostitute...Reportedly, he has admitted to "some guilt"...That's not very helpful to the gay-hating Republican politicians presently running for office...Apres Foley, le deluge...pardon my French...


Weekend Edition: Friday, November 3

Election 2006: Karl Rove Wants To Sell You A Bush Cancer Stick, Thomas Friedman

...Everyone says that Karl Rove is a genius. Yeah, right. So are cigarette companies. They get you to buy cigarettes even though we know they cause cancer. That is the kind of genius Karl Rove is. He is not a man who has designed a strategy to reunite our country around an agenda of renewal for the 21st century — to bring out the best in us. His “genius” is taking some irrelevant aside by John Kerry and twisting it to bring out the worst in us, so you will ignore the mess that the Bush team has visited on this country.

And Karl Rove has succeeded at that in the past because he was sure that he could sell just enough Bush cigarettes, even though people knew they caused cancer. Please, please, for our country’s health, prove him wrong this time. Let Karl know that you’re not stupid. Let him know that you know that the most patriotic thing to do in this election is to vote against an administration that has — through sheer incompetence — brought us to a point in Iraq that was not inevitable but is now unwinnable.

Let Karl know that you think this is a critical election, because you know as a citizen that if the Bush team can behave with the level of deadly incompetence it has exhibited in Iraq — and then get away with it by holding on to the House and the Senate — it means our country has become a banana republic. It means our democracy is in tatters because it is so gerrymandered, so polluted by money, and so divided by professional political hacks that we can no longer hold the ruling party to account.

It means we’re as stupid as Karl thinks we are. I, for one, don’t think we’re that stupid. Next Tuesday we’ll see.

Dictator Bush: Gore Vidal Slams Bush administration coup de 'tat of American freedom, Paul Joseph Watson

...Author, political commentator and essayist Gore Vidal is assured that the military's growing revulsion at the Bush junta's policies would ensure they would try and prevent any false flag staged terror attack, while slamming the end of Habeas Corpus and the administration's coup de 'tat of America on a nationally syndicated radio broadcast. Speaking with the Alex Jones Show, Vidal decried the end of the foundational bedrock of "due process of law," and expressed his astonishment at the recent loss of Habeas Corpus with the passage of the Military Commissions Act, the most egregious assault on the Constitution since the USA Patriot Act of 2001.

"Wow - I didn't think I'd live as long to see that one go, that's Magna Carta - the spirit of Runnymede runs no longer in our republic," said Vidal. Vidal stressed that the framework for the USA Patriot Act was erected with Bill Clinton's Omnibus Crime Bill, a massive expansion of offenses that would mandate the death penalty, passed in the immediate aftermath of the Oklahoma City Bombing. Vidal predicted within the next two years, "the bankruptcy of the United States of America," citing vast unchecked payments to corporations like Halliburton and spiraling inflation.

Labeling the Bush administration's legacy as a "coup de 'tat in which we lost the republic," the literary giant slammed Bush's claim that he is a "wartime President" and thus has a blank check to run roughshod over the constitution. "You have to have a country to have a war and you cannot have a war unless declared by Congress - which they will not do."

"They've got a mantra now which is totally incredible - 'if we don't fight them over there, we'll have to fight them over here' - well how the hell are they going to get here and to what end? These are questions which you could shut these people up if there was any media to attack or if there was a Congress capable of oversight," said Vidal, comparing the mantra to the same scare tactics used by Herman Goering to frighten the Germans into submission under the pretext of an impending Soviet invasion.

Vidal blamed the media for abandoning its duty as the fifth estate and watchdog of power monopolies. "Our greatest difficulty at the moment is that our media is totally corrupted - starting with the New York Times - the media belongs to our rulers." "In the old days when something ghastly went wrong you could count on journalists writing something about it....there are no voices expressing disagreement, " said Vidal....

Dictator Bush: To: Mr. Nagourney and Ms. Thee, New York Times, From: Lawrence R. Velvel, Dean, Massachusetts School of Law

I have read your article in today’s New York Times (November 2, 2006) and Robert Mann’s letter to you. I believe Bob Mann has been tactful about what appears to be a colossal mistake, which hundreds of thousands of readers will read, believe, and, quite possibly, mistakenly carry around in their heads as supposedly the truth.

It simply is not true that, under the American Constitution, the President, as Commander-in-Chief, is to have the final say with regard to military policy, including military policy in Iraq. The founders of this country dreaded the prospect of such power residing in the President, and put the Commander-in-Chief power into the Constitution to insure civilian control of the military, not to enable the President to make the decision on when and where we should fight wars. That the President supposedly has the power to make the latter decision is simply a Cold War-spawned, latter day invention used by Truman, Johnson, Nixon, Clinton, the two Bushes (and perhaps Kennedy) in order to enable those Presidents to usurp Congressional power when they might think war desirable or necessary but Congress does not. The declaration of war clause, whose fundamental purpose all these Presidents and their governmental and academic apologists choose to ignore, was specifically put into the Constitution so that Congress would make the decision on war. As well, as Professor Mann pointed out, Congress was given the power to cut off appropriations for war by a majority vote in each house and, after a veto, by a two-thirds vote in each house. Cutting off appropriations was, indeed, how Congress finally terminated American participation in the Indo China War in 1973.

As did Professor Mann, I would suggest you consult with experts who can set you straight on the subject. In addition to Louis Fisher, who was recommended by Professor Mann, you might also talk to such leading experts as, for example, Professor Rick Waterman of the University of Kentucky and professor David Adler of Idaho State about the limits of the Commander-in-Chief power -- the true limits intended by the framers, that is, and not the gross cold war-spawned distortion adopted by Presidents who have wished to evade Congressional direction. You might also consult DVDs of, or ultimately the transcripts of or a book detailing the proceedings of a recent conference on presidential powers at which these and many other experts spoke.

It is almost immoral, you know, or maybe it positively is immoral, for The New York Times, the nation’s most influential newspaper, with a large influential readership and a total readership numbering in the hundreds of thousands or millions, to be spreading such arrant untruth, such unvarnished Executive Branch propaganda, as that the Commander-in-Chief power gives the President the ultimate constitutional authority to decide that we shall fight a war. It was a major goal of the framers to prevent this, not to authorize it via the Commander-in-Chief power.


Thursday, November 2

GOP Thug Violence During Campaigns, 2000-2006

GOP Thug Violence 2006: Student Attacked By Senator Allen's Thugs For Asking Questions at Campaign Stop, Mike Stark

The following is a letter to NBC29 from Mike Stark, the man who was tackled for a comment he made at Senator Allen's campaign stop in Charlottesville on Tuesday.

My name is Mike Stark. I am a law student at the University of Virginia, a marine, and a citizen journalist. Earlier today at a public event, I was attempting to ask Senator Allen a question about his sealed divorce record and his arrest in the 1970s, both of which are in the public domain. His people assaulted me, put me in a headlock, and wrestled me to the ground. Video footage is available here, from an NBC affiliate.

I demand that Senator Allen fire the staffers who beat up a constituent attempting to use his constitutional right to petition his government. I also want to know why Senator Allen would want his staffers to assault someone asking questions about matters of public record in the heat of a political campaign. Why are his divorce records sealed? Why was he arrested in the 1970s? And why did his campaign batter me when I asked him about these questions.

George Allen defends his support of the Iraq war by saying that our troops are defending the ideals America stands for. Indeed, he says our troops are defending our very freedom. What kind of country is it when a Senator's constituent is assaulted for asking difficult and uncomfortable questions? What freedoms do we have left? Maybe we need to bring the troops home so that they can fight for freedom at George Allen's campaign events. Demanding accountability should not be an offense worthy of assault.

I will be pressing charges against George Allen and his surrogates later today. George Allen, at any time, could have stopped the fray. All he had to do was say, "This is not how my campaign is run. Take your hands off that man." He could have ignored my questions. Instead he and his thugs chose violence. I spent four years in the Marine Corps. I'll be damned if I'll let my country be taken from me by thugs that are afraid of taking responsibility for themselves.

It just isn't the America I know and love. Somebody needs to take a stand against those that would bully and intimidate their fellow citizens. That stand begins right here, right now.

GOP Thug Violence 2000: Miami 'Riot' Squad: Where Are They Now? (Jan. 24, 2005), Al Kamen

No. 1. Tom Pyle, who had worked for Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), went private sector a few months later, getting a job as director of federal affairs for Koch Industries.

No. 2. Garry Malphrus, No. 2 in the photo, a former staff director of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on criminal justice, is now deputy director of the White House Domestic Policy Council.

No. 3. Rory Cooper, who was at the National Republican Congressional Committee, later worked at the White House Homeland Security Council and was seen last week working for the Presidential Inaugural Committee.

No. 4. Kevin Smith, a former GOP House aide later worked with Voter.com.

No. 5. Steven Brophy, a former GOP Senate aide and then at consulting firm KPMG.

No. 6. Matt Schlapp,a former House aide and then a Bush campaign aide, has risen to be White House political director.

No. 7. Roger Morse, another House aide, moved on to the law and lobbying firm Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds. "I was also privileged to lead a team of Republicans to Florida to help in the recount fight," he told a legal trade magazine in a 2003 interview.

No. 8. Duane Gibson, an aide on the House Resources Committee, was a solo lobbyist and formerly with the Greenberg Traurig lobby operation. He is now with the Livingston Group as a consultant.

No. 9. Chuck Royal was and still is a legislative assistant to Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), a former House member.

No. 10. Layna McConkey Peltier, who had been a Senate and House aide and was at Steelman Health Strategies during the effort, is now at Capital Health Group.


Wednesday, November 1

Op-Eds: Floyd, Hinds, Ross, Mickey Z., Ostroy, Ireland, and Kane

Postcards of the Hanging: Race and Sex in Tennessee, Chris Floyd

...Tennessee congressman Harold Ford Jr. stands within reach of becoming the first African-American senator from the old Confederacy since Reconstruction (or as some still like to call it, "the Yankee Occupation"). Ford's surprisingly strong campaign has exposed fault lines long buried beneath Tennessee's creeping – or rather, galloping – suburbanization, where old ways, both good and bad, are rapidly being submerged in the undifferentiated glop of modern American franchise culture. But when money and power are on the line, atavism is the order of the day: ancient fears and hatreds re-emerge – or are mightily encouraged to re-emerge, with all the subtle and not-so-subtle arts of high-tech mass persuasion stoking the flames. For the stakes in the battle for Tennessee's Senate seat – once considered a lock for the Republicans – have suddenly grown exceedingly high....

Thoreau, Unjust Wars, Voting, and Impeachment, Sherwood Ross

Thoreau famously spent one night in jail for refusing to pay his poll tax, but millions of our citizens who oppose the aggression against Iraq are paying taxes. Moreover, they are sitting on their hands, waiting until the next election in the hope of voting for a candidate who will not spill the blood of children, cousins, parents, and relatives in a dishonest war....The least every American can do is to work to get out the vote in the upcoming election, hoping for the seating of a progressive, Democratic Congress whose members will change the governing culture from one that serves capital to one that looks out of the needs of the least of us and the most of us. We need a new Congress that will investigate the crimes of the Bush White House and begin impeachment proceedings for the multitude of crimes that the Bush administration has committed openly and brazenly. These include domestic spying without warrants, opening mail, lying to Congress, authorizing torture including waterboarding, authorizing renditions – (take the example of Khalidal-Masri for one), and the supreme human rights crime, waging aggressive war. When will you stand up?...

A Fool For Bush: An Apology, Richard Hinds

Bluntly, this is an open letter of apology to the citizens of the Rio Grande Valley, of Texas, of this nation, and all inhabitants of this world with whom I share. For the record, if my actions, in any way, have assisted or brought forth the tragedy that has befallen this nation, and by default, the rest of the world, I am very sorry, completely, utterly sorry. What did I do that has burdened me so? I voted for George W. Bush. Twice. And I am beside myself. I do not take to self-flagellation often, yet I feel I have no choice. What else can I do but apologize? When something is as totally and completely off the mark as this administration has been, all I can do is admit that I was wrong for ever supporting Bush, and try to atone....

From WWII to Bush's War, We've Been Telling Lies, Mickey Z.

...Before, during, and after [WWII], the American business class traded with the enemy. Among the U.S. corporations that invested in the Nazis were Ford, GE, Standard Oil, Texaco, ITT, IBM, and GM (top man William Knudsen called Nazi Germany "the miracle of the 20th century"). And while the U.S. regularly turned away Jewish refugees to face certain death in Europe, another group of refugees was welcomed with open arms after the war: fleeing Nazi war criminals who were used to help create the CIA and advance America's nuclear program. The enduring Good War fable goes well beyond Memorial Day barbecues and flickering black-and-white movies on late night TV....

Have You No Shame, Sir? Bush Attacks Gays To Get Campaign Traction, Andy Ostroy

Following the New Jersey Supreme Court's ruling on gay marriage, President Bush and the GOP hate-mongers were out in full force gay-bashing as aggressively as ever. Campaigning [last week] in Iowa for House candidate Jeff Lamberti, Bush said, "Yesterday in New Jersey, we had another activist court issue a ruling that raises doubts about the institution of marriage," adding that marriage was "a union between a man and a woman....I believe it's a sacred institution that is critical to the health of our society and the well-being of families, and it must be defended." Oh really George? How come you didn't feel so strongly about the great institution of marriage last week when you took to the stage in Pennsylvania, embraced Rep. Don Sherwood--who recently admitted to having an extramarital affair, in which his mistress accused him of beating her--and declared: "I'm pleased to be here with Don Sherwood: he is the right man to represent the people of the 10th Congressional District from the state of Pennsylvania." The hypocrisy here is enough to make you sick....

HALF A LOAF: THE NEW JERSEY RULING ON GAY MARRIAGE, Doug Ireloand

The New Jersey Supreme Court’s long-awaited decision on same-sex marriage today, October 25, was a Solomon-like decision that cut the baby in half, so to speak—giving a partial victory to gay and lesbian couples and a potential victory to marriage equality opponents. While the majority ruling held that the Garden State’s constitution requires that "committed same-sex couples must be afforded on equal terms the same rights and benefits enjoyed by opposite-sex couples under the civil marriage statutes," it gave the state legislature 180 days to decide whether to call it a "statutory scheme" to achieve that equality "marriage," "civil unions," or something else. Three of the seven justices voted to end marriage discrimination immediately—leaving gay couples just one vote short of a complete victory...

Virginia Election: On Lynn Cheney's Attack of Dem Jim Webb, Mad Kane

The author of "Sisters," named Lynne,
Thinks her party at all costs must win.
She denies that her book
Has a lesbian hook,
And blasts Dems for their fictional sin.

Catch Mad Kane on the radio.


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