Monday, July 31, 2006

Dorgan Says No To Globalization

Every time I hear or read that our government is giving corporations tax breaks to outsource jobs overseas I see red. What is really disturbing, is that it is cited without outrage, or seeming awareness of how totally wrong-headed this is, how injurious to our economy, especially to our workers.

Well, someone has pointed out the Bush administration's elitist economic gouging of middle-class U. S. citizens. In his new book, "Take This Job and Ship It: How Corporate Greed and Brain Dead Politics Are Selling Out America," Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) exposes and demolishes the anti- U.S. trade and tax policies of the Bush administration, even the holiest of holies, globalization.

Finally, a lawmaker has broken ranks to stand up to the Bush Bully Boys and "just say 'No' " to their dismantling of our economy. No to drug and oil company lobbyists in their pursuit of obscene corporate profits.... no to unlimited trade deficits.... no to giveaway trade agreements.... even no to Wal Mart.

One has to ask.... what has taken the opposition party so long to recognize that King George has no clothes?

The answer is, because some Democrats, those who stood to profit, turned a blind eye, or worse, bought into Bush's flim-flam economic policy.

They need to go in November, along with their fellow GOP Congressional corporate stooges.


Sunday, July 30, 2006

Lieberman's Deserted Base

The Washington Post headlines say, "Lieberman's Eroding Base." Maybe it should have read, "Lieberman's Deserted Base." It's never a good idea not to dance with the one who "brung ya."

Many, if not most, Democrats in Connecticut are critical of Bush's foreign policy, especially the war in Iraq. Lieberman not only supports Bush, but says Bush shouldn't be criticized.....

Dems don't want school vouchers which are a thin disguise for federal support of private religious schools. Lieberman supports school vouchers....

Dems support affirmative action. Lieberman is tepid....

Dems are unhappy over the proposed GOP plan for overhauling Social Security. Lieberman found the plan interesting....

Dems opposed the GOP energy bill. Lieberman voted for it....

Dems opposed federal intervention into the Terri Schiavo right-to-die case. Lieberman supported intervention.

Meaningfully, Lieberman's friend and supporter of 40 years, former Democrat speaker of the Connecticut house, Irving Stolberg, has announced that he will support Lieberman's opponent in the primaries, Ned Lamont. Stolberg explained, "...the issues and the principles trump" the friendship.

Rushing to Lieberman's defense at recent fundraisers, were war-horse Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and thoroughbred moneyman, former president Bill Clinton.

But neither all of Lieberman's old Democrat horses, nor all of Lieberman's GOP men, can put the support of Lieberman's Connecticut Democrat base together again.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Pander or Principle

Peter Beinart, in his article, "Pander and Run," in the Washington Post accuses the Democrat party of pandering. His case....

The Democrat leadership took issue with Iraqi's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's public criticism of Israel, demanding a retraction or forfeit his addressing Congress.... Beinart's case: Democrats are pandering to the Jewish voters while undermining Maliki by making him look like an American lap-dog to his majority-Shiite Arab country. My take: Gee, I thought we did support Israel, can't Maliki find a better, and less devisive, way of pandering to his Shiite electorate.

In June the Iraqi government was considering amnesty for insurgents, even those who had killed U.S. troops. Democrats objected to this amnesty. Beinart's case: Unless Maliki gave Sunni insurgents an incentive to lay down their arms, Iraqi's violence would never end. Democrats tied his hands by making it an issue in U.S. congressional races (primaries). My take: Pleeeeeze. Our congressional races, primaries, tied Maliki's hands?! Baloney. Escalating violence tied his hands. This is a weenie way of trying to shift the blame onto the Democrats for the mess in Iraq.

That's it.... that's his case. To Beinart it "proves why the Americans think Democrats stand for nothing, that they have no principles beyond political expedience." I view his examples as just the opposite. Democrats standing up for Israel. Democrats not going along for a free ride for the worst of the worst terrorists. Remember the burned bodies of U.S. citizens being drug through the streets and hung for display, the beheadings. Amnesty sticks in the throat.

I am suspect of Maliki and his agenda.... many think he is an agent of Iran. After his visit to the White House, Bush has now extended the tour for some of our weary, over-taxed troops in Iraq to bolster Maliki's government and try to stem the mayhem, for mayhem it is. In fact, aren't we fighting Iran's war for them against Iraq? Can any foreign policy ever conceived be more disasterous for our country.

Pandering? Let's get to the guts of the issues.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

"Peter Principle" Poster Boy Chertof

The latest Homeland Security Department snafu is a perfect example of The Peter Principle: "In a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence."

The HSD, the bloated bureaucracy that ate 22 agencies, has been criticized in a new bipartisan congressional report for "extensive waste and misspent funds" in its multibillion-dollar federal contracting operations.

Headed by Secretary Michael Chertof, HSD spent money like Shriners at a Las Vegas convention on no-bid deals. The Washington Post, quoting the report, relates that 32 Homeland Security Department contracts, worth a total of $34 BILLION, have "experienced significant overcharges, wasteful spending, or mismanagement."

"Among the contracts that went awry were deals for hiring airport screeners, inspecting airport luggage, detecting radiation at the nation's ports, securing the borders and housing Hurricane Katrina evacuees.... whole security systems needed to be scrapped." Contractors billed for luxury hotel rooms, and HSD officials bought personal items with government credit cards.

The next big HSD spending spree will be the "multibillion-dollar contract for border security that has only the vaguest of requirements."

It is Chertof who is in charge of this out-of-control department that has "overall problems.... including contracting, poor planning, a dependence on no-bid contracts and inadequate oversight." And, our national security.

So he will be fired, right? Wrong.

The Bush administration and Congress are planning to put Chertof in charge of processing at least 11 million illegal aliens for amnesty programs. This is much worse than the Peter Principle.... this is criminal abuse of taxpayer money and a guarantee that the illegal alien fiasco is about to become much worse.

Perhaps the real problem is that the Peter Principle starts at the top with Bush the Unready, who has promoted not only Chertof to his level of incompetence and beyond.... but frighteningly, also our Secretary of Defense "Less is More" Rumsfeld, and Secretary of State Condi "I Leaned My Job in School" Rice.

Voter outrage will be felt in November!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Missing Ashcroft

It would have seemed impossible a few short years ago, but I must agree with Ruth Marcus. I also look back on the tenure of attorney general John Ashcroft with nostalgia.

Many of Ashcroft's principles weren't mine, but at least he had some.

What we now have with Alberto Gonzales as attorney general is worse than a Bush lackey, he's an enabler. He's enabling "The Decider" to dismantle our country, blunt our freedoms, and muddy our national moral compass.

Gonzales authored the infamous torture-legalizing memo. When he was White House Counsel, he was turned away by Ashcroft "when Gonzales came to his hospital room asking that he sign papers" extending the warrantless surveillance program.

It seems Ashcroft had some idea he was the attorney general of the United States. Gonzales still views the job as the bulldozing counsel for the Bush White House. It is the law, the country itself, that he is helping to level and reshape into Bush's vision of a globalist, North American Union future, with an all-powerful "President as Decider."

In November we must remove the legislative Bush-enablers. It may be our last chance to save our country as we know it.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The GOP Bridge to November

The GOP wants to make nice on immigration legislation. Two Republicans, Sen. Kay Bailey (TX) and Rep. Mike Pence (IN) will try to bridge the GOP divide on immigration reform by unveiling "a plan today that would allow most of the 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States a chance to work here legally, but only after the government certifies that U.S. borders have been sufficiently secured."

Just what does "the government certifies" mean? According to the report in the Washington Post, the "president certifies that the borders are secure."

Excuse me while I guffaw!

Oh well, then every thing will be fine.... the same president who can't find 6,000 unarmed National Guard to shore up border operations, or follow through on promises to border state governors, and year after year underfunds border security efforts.

Recently Bush whined, "We can't kick people out who have been here for awhile."

Despite Bush's "bleeding heart" approach to illegal alien lawbreakers, we're getting rid of a few of the criminals "who have been here awhile." As N.C. Aizenman, reports in "A Long Flight of No Return," illegal alien convicted criminals are being deported to their native countries, even if they have lived in the U.S. a long time.

Of course, all illegal aliens are lawbreakers.... besides illegally entering the country, most use forged documents to break numerous other U.S. laws. The illegal alien-enabling Bush administration doesn't enforce those laws, however, even though U.S. citizens couldn't get away with such flagrant violations.

The Republicans are trying to build a bridge between the Senate and House on immigration legislation.... the voters are looking for the bridge between their concerns over border security and their government's actions. Certification from Bush isn't that bridge.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Battle of the Immigration Bulge

The Bush immigration plan is so typical of how the current White House and the legislative operate. President Bush calls for a path to citizenship for somewhere around 10 million illegal aliens living in the U.S., Congress bows to his mandate and legislates by appeasement of Hispanic illegal aliens they view as their future voting strength.... oops, they forgot someone has to enforce and administer these policies and programs.

Not to worry, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff tells Congress, don't micromanage eligibility rules.... "The more documents you have... the more fraud you have."

He must mean like the fraud we have NOW because illegals are using forged documents for everything from building a Social Security record to overwhelming our medical, education and social net programs. Homeland Insecurity Chertoff just wants us to trust him.

As the Washington Post points out today in "Huge Backlogs, Delays Feared Under Senate Immigration Plan," the registration of 10 million (or more, who knows) illegal aliens "could overwhelm the U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services, which last year granted permanent residency to 1.1 million people" .... and, they can't adequately handle the workload now.

If any of these citizenship measures are enacted before the borders are secured, the stampede of illegal aliens for their share of the great give-away of our country, coupled with the lack of will by the Bush administration to enforce the legitimacy of citizenship applications, will unravel the country with as yet unimagined consequences.

Secure the borders first.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Pander, Ports and Punjab

You probably heard glowing, Tony Snow-inspired, reports of President Bush's speech before the NAACP this week. Yet, according to Colbert King of WaPo, Bush fell short. He spoke on "black" issues, thus putting members in a racial box.... speaking not as the President to U.S. citizens, but speaking to black U.S. citizens.

As NAACP President Bruce Gordon said, instead of appearing as our President and commander-in-chief, he assumed the role of "panderer." That's Bush, "panderer-in-chief," when he's not the "decider."

Others have been deciding things lately too, but they haven't received much media coverage since the flareup in the Middle East.

Did you know that the House "joined the Senate in approving a free trade agreement with Oman, adding the Arabian Gulf state to a list of Middle Eastern countries that have lowered barriers to U.S. exports." Sounds good doesn't it..... but the devil is in the details, as they say.

The vote was fairly close, 221- 205, with most Democrats opposing, their argument being the agreement "posed a security risk because it gives Oman-based companies the right to operate U.S. ports, subjecting the United States to international arbitration if it tried to block a deal similar to the since-canceled plan by a Dubai company to take over management of several U.S. ports."

That's right.... a ports deal that was slipped by us when our attention was focused elsewhere. As Rep. Michael Michaud (D-Maine) argued... "Do you want a company in Oman managing this flow of who-knows-what into our borders? Would you let any company that operates in Oman run our airport security? The Oman free trade agreement hands over the keys to any company that operates in Oman."

Check here for how the voting went for this security-threatening agreement. Click on the Republican or Democrat area to bring up the full list of Representative names.

And last, just an interesting note from our "democratic" friend, India. It ordered blog sites blocked in the country. Why? It was "prompted by the discovery of a Web site that contained 'two impertinent pages' rife with material containing 'extremely derogatory references to Islam.' " Indian bloggers "have accused the government of censorship and demanded to know why their sites have been jammed." The Indian government seems to be backing off, calling the action a "technical error."

Could this censorship happen in the U.S.?

Not if we, the electorate, stay vigilant, and throw out the liars, Luddites, malingerers and lobbyist-loving lawmakers in November.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Abuse of IRS Power?

It isn't news that the wealthy Health and Human Services Secretary and former Utah governor Mike Leavitt is using a "charitable foundation" as a tax dodge to shelter his clan's millions. The hapless electorate are used to seeing the powerful at the trough.

It is news when the IRS Commissioner Mark Everson goes after a Bush Cabinet member over what he views as a "personal piggy banks for the rich" scam, as reported in WaPo's "HHS Secretary's Fund Gave Little to Charity."

As the headline points out, while "Mike Leavitt alone has claimed about $1.2 million in tax write-offs since 2000, the foundation gave away only $49,000 in 2002 and $52,000 the next year." But the Leavitt family can afford good "loophole" attorneys. And they are hard at work.

Commissioner Everson made more headlines recently in the Los Angles Times, "IRS Warns Churches to Stay Neutral on Politics." "While the vast majority of charities and churches do not engage in politicking, an increasing number did take part in prohibited activities in the 2004 election cycle," Everson said in a statement. "We are stepping up our efforts" to enforce the rule against political campaign intervention by churches and charities.

It is still to be seen if this "crackdown" on tax-exempt institutions will be sweeping or selective. The only cases cited in the article was a liberal church that criticized the war in Iraq before the 2004 election, and the NAACP after "chairman Julian Bond, criticized the Bush administration's politics on civil rights."

The status of these cases is unknown. So far only three tax-exempt entities have lost their nonprofit designation since 2004, none are churches. Not a very impressive track record.

What about the overtly political Christian right organizations who constantly meddle in elections?.... or does Bush's "faith-based initiative" program protect them, and the IRS turn a blind eye.

Just who is this IRS "crusader" Everson. He's been commissioner since 2003. Before that he had lots of Office of Management and Budget experience. During the Reagan administration he was deputy commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service and oversaw implementation of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 that granted amnesty to millions of illegal aliens.

So are these real IRS campaigns.... or the Bush administration, through the power of the IRS, trying to quiet dissenting voices, and keep the fat cats in line, by rattling their "decider" saber at their critics before the November elections.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

King George Brags

It's strange the things President Bush brags about. Like the deficit. The childhood riddle goes...."What is bigger than a breadbox but smaller than a house?"..... answer, not the U.S. deficit. The riddle for the deficit would be.... "What is bigger than a battle ship but smaller than the midnight sky."

Funny, huh. Well, Bush would laugh. After all, he is proud that the projected deficit for fiscal 2007 will be an estimated $339 BILLION! Good job, Bush and Congress.

As Robert Samuelson points out in "No Shame, No Sense and a $296 Billion Bill," the Bush and GOP "orgy of self-approval amounts to a campaign of public disinformation." And it's even more deadly than that.

Breaking the U.S. bank is one way for the Republicans to get rid of their long-despised federal Social Security and Medicare-Medicaid programs. While literally throwing billions of dollars away through graft and corruption on pork barrel spending, and the war in Iraq, to name just a couple of the costly hog-wallows, Washington continues a handwringing lament about the coming "baby boomer " disaster.

The GOP agenda seems obvious.... spend until you bankrupt the system and then remake it into the longed for feudal kingdom. Then King George would really brag.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Wheels Coming Off The Bush Bus?

Former GOP House Speaker, Newt Gingrich, never one to understate an opinion, says of the new, Condi-led Bush foreign policy: "We have accepted the lawyer-diplomatic fantasy that talking while North Korea builds bombs and missiles and talking while the Iranians build bombs and missiles is progress," as reported by WaPo Michael Abramowitz. "Is the next stage for Condi to go dancing with Kin Jong Il?" he asked?

Yes, things are in disarray in the Republican party. GOP conservatives have hurled the ultimate insult at their once adored warrior-president....Bush's foreign policy is "the triumph of Kerryism."

But wait, there's more.

Yesterday the GOP-controlled Senate voted 63 to 37 for federally funded stem cell research even though Bush "The Decider" has threatened to veto the bill....his FIRST ever veto in six years. Instead of using stem cells for potential medical advances and treatments.... diabetes, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, Lou Gehrig's disease, some cancers, spinal cord injuries and other maladies.... Bush has "decided" it is better to destroy them and cater to the edict of his party's far-right religious conservatives.

But there are some powerful players in the GOP who oppose Bush and support the stem cell legislation.... Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (TN), Sen. Orrin Hatch (UT), Sen. Arlen Specter (PA) and former First Lady Nancy Reagan.

The winds of GOP unrest have also blown into Georgia. Former religious conservative "Wonder Boy" Ralph Reed of Christian Coalition fame during the 1990s, failed in his bid for the party's nomination for a paltry lieutenant governor's post. The putrid whiff of ties to the disgraced Jack Abramoff didn't help. There was a time when Pat Robertson's anointed Reed would have been a shoo-in.... hmmmm.

And, the latest sign that Bush is desperately looking for friends.... after a six-year snub, Bush has agreed to address the annual national convention of the NAACP, choosing to overlook the "names they've called me," as Bush complained in 2004. Maybe he was referring to the comment by NAACP Chairman Julian Bond when he called the far-right members of the Republican party "the Taliban wing." Sounds right to me.

Hopefully, these are small but hopeful signs that the wheels may at last be coming off of the Bush administration's political bus to hell.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Bunkroom Boys: Bush and Blair

One head of state is standing, leaning over to talk with the other head of state, who with a mouth full of food sneers that the U. N. needs to have Syria "to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit and it's over."

Shortly after this, British Prime Minister Tony Blair notices and turns off the open mike, but only after a conversation that included this latest pearl of wisdom uttered by President Bush. An unscripted moment, and one that captures perfectly Georgie.... the crude, arrogant bully-boy.

This scene unfolded at a luncheon with the other leaders of the Group of Eight summit meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia on Monday, and Bush was unloading on cohort Blair about his impatience with U. N. Secretary General Kofi Annan and the latest conflict in the Middle East. Strange isn't it, Bush went into Iraq because the U. N. was worthless to get things done.... now he expects Annan to just snap his fingers and presto, fixed.

Another revealing moment from Bush and Blair, the Bunkroom Boys...... well, that's a little over the top and unfair.... to guys in the bunkroom.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Big Bang Fizzles

The piece by E. J. Dionne, Jr. in today's WaPo on his "Big Bang Theory" for the Middle East and the Iraq war is a must read. As he points out, the focus of how to proceed in Iraq shouldn't be on whether those supporting or condemning President's Bush's policy are "tough" or "soft," but the focus should be on the Bush administration "who set a failed policy in motion and keep promising, despite the evidence, that it will somehow pay off if only we 'stay the course.' "

Amen!

One other thing to contemplate, by removing Saddam from power, we took away Iran's long-standing enemy and enabled them, and radical Islam, to get their foothold in Iraq.... and reinforced Iran's position as terrorism central. And, limited our options and ability to respond to new threats like latest Middle East eruption.

The question has become, should we stay to try to clean up the mess we have made of Iraq. With the history of the region, that could take centuries and countless lives and treasure.

That will be the Bush legacy.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Billary Burnout

More navel gazing today by Lois Romano in WaPo.... who will, or won't, vote for Hillary. Are her favorable poll numbers meaningful, or are her negatives too fixed? Does she need a "warm and fuzzy" personality transplant?

Why so much ink, such ambivalence?

Perhaps it is because the country is suffering from a Hillary hangover.... Billary burnout.... Clinton fatigue. Enough already!

The country wants to move on.... no more Clintons, Bushes and their ilk.

No dynasties, or a globalist or New World Orderist... but someone who understands how to govern and will put the best interests of the middle-class in the U.S. first.

It would be a landslide.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Lieberman and Bush

Harold Meyerson points out in WaPo that support of the Iraq war and "trade, Social Security and other key issues" are why Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT) is in the race for his political life against primary challenger Ned Lamont... and agree as far as he goes.

But it is much more than that, something deeply visceral.

The disastrous direction President Bush has taken the country is not just opposed by many Democrats, and Republicans, it makes them heartsick. Those heartsick people see Lieberman beaming at Bush during signing ceremonies, embracing (kissing?) him at State of the Union speeches.... the proud father look at Bush on public occasions. That's also the problem.

While some describe Lieberman as a "kind-hearted and well-intentioned" man, many others see this as a highly polished veneer, beneath which beats the heart of a hard-bitten, calculating politician. With his own agenda.

It's not just the Iraq war, Lieberman is also in trouble because this will be the year of "gut" votes. And the voters' gut tells them Lieberman is too cozy with Bush and his wrecking ball.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Silly Hillary Season

While the Democrats are having a silly Hillary "can she or can't she win" primary season, the GOP is fielding strong, interesting and diverse candidates..... Sen. John McCain of Arizona; former NY mayor, Rudy Giuliana; Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts; and former House speaker, Newt Gingrich.

As E. J. Dionne, Jr. of WaPo points out, the GOP primary battle may be "potentially more divisive, but it may be more interesting."

The Dems are fiddling while their base yearns.... for options.

Hillary should be viewed as just a part of a strong, interesting and diverse Democrat field that includes former governor of Virginia, Mark Warner; Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware; and Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana.

Pandering Sweepstakes

Shhhhh.... not so loud.

Conservative Felipe Calderon, the contested winner of the presidential election in Mexico, said last Friday that he "would continue Fox's drive to ease immigration restrictions for millions of Mexicans living illegally in the United States, and he chided Washington for some of its border enforcement efforts." WaPo by Reuters Greg Brosnan

"His comments drew a chilly response on Monday." White House Press Secretary, Tony Snow, sniffed in response.... "Last time I checked, Calderon did not have any official authority over the activities of the United States Government."

Jaded voter translation: Cool it until after November!

A better barometer of the true stance of our political leaders and the U.S. government on the issue of Mexican influence in, and over, the United States, would be the list of speakers at the annual conference in Los Angeles of the National Council of La Raza.... La Raza is the largest Hispanic organization in the U.S. They advocate mass immigration and full amnesty.

La Raza's goals are just fine and dandy with former president Bill Clinton. Speaking like a true son of President Bush the Elder, Clinton praised George the Lesser for his policy of amnesty for the millions of illegal immigrants already in the U.S. And he scolded those nasty House Republicans for their get tough illegal alien legislation.

Not to be out-pandered for the Hispanic vote, conservative GOP presidential wanna-be, Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas, spoke to the La Raza conference, lacing his remarks with lots of full-pander Spanish. Today Karl Rove, the White House political mouthpiece and pander director, will grovel before the conference.

The Hispanic vote.... two powerful LA Latino radio DJ's said they will work with La Raza and other organizations (read Catholic Church) to push "Latino immigrants living in the United States to become U.S. citizens and register to vote in time to cast ballots in 2008."

Really, no more needs to be said.

The agenda is clear. And the panderers are dutifully lined up in full pucker. The citizens of the United States, even the United States itself, no longer matters to them.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Religious Bedrock Crumbling

Legal overriding of family medical and end-of-life decisions. Needless suffering because medical research is thwarted. Women publicly harassed without protection of the law. Governmental discrimination against minorities. Promotion of one faith over all others, even in public schools.

This is a glimpse of the world the Christian conservative Alliance Defense Fund envisions if it succeeds in its drive to tear down the protective wall of separation between church and state.

As Peter Slevin points out in WaPo today, the ADF, along with evangelist Pat Robertson's American Center for Law and Justice, and the Liberty Counsel backed by the Rev. Jerry "Tinky Winky is Gay" Falwell, aim to "bring law and society into alignment with conservative Christianity."

Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, sums it up this way, "They're not for some form of generic religious freedom. They're for Christian superiority, that Christians take over the courts."

Thanks to President George Bush's unmonitored funding of faith-based initiatives to untaxed churches, and his scary crusading messianic vision of the world, the Christian religious ayatollahs have been emboldened to bring their prejudices into our courts... sadly with some success.

Our country was founded on the bedrock of religious freedom, without government sanction of any religion. The Christian conservative right is chipping away this bedrock.... piece by piece.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Obrador: We Were Robbed!

While the outcome of Mexico's presidential election is still hotly disputed, what did our court-appointed, Diebold-anointed President Bush rush to do..... call Vicente Fox's party successor, Felipe Calderon, to congratulate him on his win.

Bush knows all about how to bully the outcome of an election. Don't wait for the special elections court, declare victory and defy anyone to prove you wrong. Fox and Calderon learned from a pro.

Ronald Klain, who was general counsel for the Gore-Lieberman Recount Committee in 2000, obviously learned the hard way. He observes that the narrowly declared loser, Lopez Obrador, should not take the high road as Gore did in the presidential elections of 2000, and John Kerry in 2004.

Presidential politics isn't a gentleman's match with Marquis of Queensberry rules... it is an eye-gouging, bare-fisted, no-holds-barred barroom fight. Those unwilling to wade in "with a scorched-earth approach" to demand a fair election will lose.

And, the voters and the country lose.

Obrador looks like he is ready for a fight. The 280,000 who gathered in Mexico City's center to hear him speak Saturday are ready for a fight. Obrador wants a vote-by-vote recount. For good reason. After opening just 2,600 of the vote packets from the 130,000 polling stations last week, Calderon's lead dwindled from 400,000 to 230,000.

Admittedly, the deck is stacked against Obrador. Calderon can use the power of the Fox administration to stifle recounts. But, without clean, undisputed election results, like Bush, Calderon will "suffer bitter domestic opposition." The stench of corruption will follow him around like dust on a dirt road.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Turncoat Lieberman

Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT) is showing his true colors. Not because of his servile embrace, literally, of President Bush, and his uncritical support of Bush's costly Iraq war policy, but because if he doesn't get his way.... win the upcoming Connecticut Democratic primary.... he is going to take his political ball elsewhere.

He'll run as an Independent.

This would make the election for the Connecticut senate seat a three-way race in November and almost assures the Republican candidate a win.

At a time when the GOP monopoly of the executive and legislative branches of government are squeezing the life out of our "checks and balances" safeguards, and allowing Bush to bulldoze his destructive agenda into law, Lieberman puts his ego, his personal pique, before the good of his party and the country.

Hillary was right to tell Lieberman, if you run as an Independent, don't count on me. Good for her.

Now, Democratic voters of Connecticut, soundly defeat Lieberman in the primary, show him his threat doesn't work. After all, if he runs and wins you just have a Republican-wanna-be Senator anyway.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Honest Elections an Oxymoron?

Regardless of whether conservative free-trader Felipe Calderon or populist Lopez Obrador win the see-saw vote count, the next president of Mexico faces a skeptical, deeply divided, difficult-to-govern populace.

Currently, Calderon is ahead 35.6 to 35.59 percent with 98 percent of the polling places counted. If Calderon is declared the winner, Obrador will undoubtedly challenge the results to the special election court, which has until September 6 to certify the winner.

According to WaPo reporter, Manuel Roig-Franzia, one charge already alleged by Obrador is that 18,600 polling places "ended up with more votes than the number of ballots given to the polling place." Whoops.

Is this just a preview of our U.S. elections in November? Will it again be a time for GOP political "dirty tricks" at polling places, and manipulated electronic voting machines, some with no paper trail?

The bedrock of democracy is an incorruptible voting process.

How can the United States expect to export the lofty ideals of democracy to the world while dragging its own election skirts through the mud.

The democratic voting process must be transparently honest. Everything depends on it.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Dog Ate the Ballots

The election margin between the candidates is less than one percent or about 257,000 votes. There is a demand for a recount. There are accusations of millions of votes being "lost" and "shaved."

Is this Florida in 2000, or Ohio in 2004? No, it is Mexico.... now.

And the situation is tense.

The supposed losing presidential candidate of the July 2 election in Mexico, Lopez Obrador, has demanded a ballot-by-ballot recount. The supposed winner, Felipe Calderon, heir to President Vicente Fox's administrative agenda, is confident the vote totals will hold up.

In Mexico, the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) conducts the recount. Obrador's campaign alleges that 3 million of the more than 40 million votes cast were lost by the IFE. The institute's head, Luis Carlos Ugalde, makes the excuse "that 3 million votes were not counted because of problems such as duplicate ballots." Maybe Ugalde's dog ate the ballots....

In 2004, the Fox administration tried to eliminate Obrador's presidential candidacy by attempting to impeach him. Obrador called on tens of thousands of supporters to protest, fought off the impeachment and became the front-runner in opinion polls.

Will "Obrador unleash the fury of the streets" again, and the fledgling Mexican democracy demand the fair elections that are becoming a fading memory in the U.S.?

Obador's supporters are suspicious of the IFE, and impassioned..... "If it's necessary, we'll revolt" .... says a handwritten sign.

Orbador represents hope to Mexico's poor with his FDR-type of "New Deal" agenda. He wants to stem the flood of migration to the U.S.

Under Fox, Mexico has dutifully followed the U.S. scripted free trade pacts that have brought Mexico a financial crisis, small farmers to the brink of ruin, caused a national lurch leftward and encouraged illegal migration to the U.S. It has become obvious, "The much ballyhooed free trade pact for the Americas is dead in the water." Globalization isn't working.

Muddied elections, secretive North American Union agenda, globalization.... Presidents Fox and Bush, it's time to get off the stage!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Dissenting Patriots... Happy 4th!

Conservative talk radio is having a hissy fit over the editorial in the Washington Post yesterday by our 39th President of the United States, Jimmy Carter.

Carter, in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the Freedom of Information Act today, talks about how important transparency is to democracy and points out how events like.... "war, civil rights violations, spiraling energy costs, campaign finance and lobbyist scandals.... dictate the growing need and citizens' desire for access to public documents."

Ignoring the theme of the article, one particularly obnoxious talk show ranter said Carter should just stick to hammering (referring to Carter's highly useful and successful Habitat for Humanity program).

He called Carter's comments unpatriotic and linked the editorial to the New York Times piece about the Bush administration program of monitoring international banking operations.

For shame.

Carter never comes close to the subject of the NYT banking article. What Carter is doing is pointing out that as good as the FOIA act was when enacted, it can, and should, be improved upon.

After all, as E. J. Dionne, Jr. points out today in "A Dissident's Holiday," democracy should be an ever evolving process, which is "not a philosophy for the stand-patter nor a recipe for living in the past. And it emphatically rejects any definition of true patriotism that cedes to a current ruling group the right to declare what is or is not Americanism."

So today, on the Fourth of July, as we celebrate the founding of our great nation, also celebrate all of those who endeavored, fought and even died to make the ideals of our "by the people and for the people" democracy continually better.....

Those unafraid to challenge the ruling elite, we salute you!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Virginia Makes Amends?

The conservatives sure know how to get out the vote.

Take Virginia for example, as Chris Jenkins reports today in the Washington Post, "Virginia voters will decide on Nov. 7 whether the state constitution should be amended to define marriage solely as a union between a man and a woman."

The amendment supporters said they don't feel fundraising pressure because "they were confident door-to-door activism and church networks would be effective." In other words, they'll get out the vote with this base-activating marriage amendment.

Still, both sides of the issue are aggressively raising campaign funds. Democrat governor Timothy Kaine, who opposes the amendment, feels the amendment is too broad and "in my view disenfranchises..... unmarried people, both same-sex or heterosexual couples" and was discriminatory.

But is the amendment, which is basically already a law on the Virginia books, really the issue? Or, is the Republican get-out-the base machine just throwing "red meat" toward the election booth to drive the November vote into their column?

I think we all know the answer.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Hillary Hope or Hype?

Along with "toe sucking" Dick Morris and White House political guru Karl Rove, there probably are no better political strategists around than James Carville and Mark Penn who are making the case, " We don't know whether Hillary will run. But we do know that if she runs, she can win" the presidency in 2008.

Maybe. With the presidential election of 2008, it will be over 15 years since the masterful 1992 "It's the economy stupid" Carville campaign for Bill Clinton. But the country has changed..... "Big time!"

People are less invested in party, in fact parties are getting harder and harder to define.

Which party would you say is for less government, a balanced budget, no nation building, upholding the law and U.S. first. Ahhh, yes. That used to be the Republican party, now thanks to "hidden-agenda" Bush, it's the Republican party in name only.

And, which party is going after the religious vote, is blurring the solid line between church and state, supports the Iraq war, and turns a blind eye to the assault on the middle class by the corporate-favoring and wage-suppressing illegal alien invasion. Sadly, both parties although the Democrats by doing so are abandoning much of their base in the pursuit of "values" and Hispanic voters.

It is getting increasingly harder for voters to identify with a party.... and all things being basically equal, they will support the 2008 presidential candidate they perceive is genuine. Whether or not they are genuine is beside the point, it is how they are perceived that counts...and the aura of "it" that is so hard to define. Bill had "it." George has (had?) "it." Carville and Penn think Hillary has "it."

In today's editorial in the Washington Post, they say of a possible Hillary run for president in 2008, "with the pathbreaking possibility of this country's first female president, we could see an explosion of women voting -- and voting Democratic."

Certainly many, if not most, women won't vote for Hillary just because she is a woman. Anymore than men will vote only for a man. There are vote-driving issues like.....

The Iraq war, most women and Dems don't want it, Hillary supports it.... Immigration, perhaps the real king-maker issue. The majority of the U.S. electorate don't want a flood of illegal aliens crowding into the citizenship line and changing the face of the nation, Hillary supports amnesty.... And, it's also still "the economy stupid." With a sea of deficits and unvetoed out-of-control Congressional spending, this is a major GOP Achilles heel.

Back to "it".... Hillary, you need a voice coach. Get rid of the shrill. Stop the obvious "Jesus" pandering. Show you aren't a socialist lefty by voting for closing our southern border, stopping wage-lowering illegal alien hiring, and nix paying Social Security on illegally-earned wages.

And, if you run, make "Ragin' Cajun" Carville your campaign manager. You can't buy that kind of loyalty.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Wrong Fireworks

On the eve of our great national celebration on July 4, we are seeing a fireworks display that is truly shameful.

July 4 is the founding of our great country, our Revolution against the imposed tyranny of Kings. A day to reaffirm we are a nation of laws, a day to celebrate our freedoms.

The verbal fireworks are coming from the GOP. They want to use the Supreme Court ruling striking down the Bush military commissions as a weapon to fire at Democrats if they don't back President Bush's unconstitutional, anti-Geneva Convention-handling of terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay. Anyone not backing King George, they threaten, they will brand as weak on terrorism.

As the Washington Post points out, conservative talk radio is already in full assault. Rush "Glass House" Limbaugh labeled as "deranged" the comment made by House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), that the court decision "affirms the American ideal that all are entitled to the basic guarantees of our justice system." House Majority Leader, John A. Boehner (R-OH) labeled her comment as advocating "special privileges for terrorists."

It's an old GOP ploy... take a negative event and whip up the base with verbally loaded charges and labels to divert the heat to "liberals," Democrats, or the media. Is the Republican base really so craven that they'll agree that limiting the power of the Executive by insisting he hold to the "basic guarantees of our justice system" is a BAD thing? Are the Democrats so weak that they will cave in to this type of political intimidation?

How much better to take to heart Sen. Lindsey Graham's (R-SC) reasoned approach on how Congress should respond to the Supreme Court.... "This should not be a party fight. I'm a proud Republican senator, but my nation needs both parties working in collaboration with the executive branch to solve the military commission problem, and both parties will be rewarded by the public if we're seen as working for the common good."

Amen!