Al Qaeda's heinous and cowardly attack on NYC's Twin Towers and its concomitant murder of over three thousand victims, due to its convergence with the rule of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, John Ashcroft, Alberto Gonzales, John Bolton, and a Neo-con cast of chickenhawks, achieved successes far beyond Osama's wildest dreams in terms of disrupting, derailing, and discombobulating American Constitutional guarantees, democratic institutions, international prestige, and international trust, AND provided the excuse for the right to carry out its long held dream to "starve the beast" in order to undo a century of American social progress.
Will the real lawyer, Senator Lieberman, stand up please?
Joe wants to pass a bill to empower the President of the US to strip a citizen of his citizenship just by levelling charges against the citizen--no abuses possible in that are there? The problem is that we already have some things enshrined in the U.S. Constitution: for example the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution states: "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district where in the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence." This ensures fair trials for all citizen orNOT.
Furthermore, section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment states: "1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within itsjurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."
Looks like Joe needs to rewrite the Constitution not just pass a bill with his dumb bunny co-sponsor, Scott Brown, or his he just demogoguing?
All this from patriotic Joe Lieberman? In 1994 patriot Lieberman received an educational deferment from the Vietnam War draft when he was an undergraduate and again as a law student from 1960 to 1967. Upon graduating from law school at age 25, Lieberman got a family deferment because he was already married and had one child.
Conservative Virginia governor Bob McDonnell and his ideologue AG, Ken Cuccinelli, seem already to have veered into troubled waters, blinded by their own ideology? Or is it just all about big bucks and power?
I, a life-long Democrat, swear never to contribute money, work in a campaign, or vote for another Democrat or Republican for election to the United States Senate if the Senate fails to pass health care reform which includes either the "public option" or "medicare buy in"!
I urge every American to look for and support third party candidates at all levels to break the power of the corrupt and arrogant Senators on both sides of the aisle!!!!!!!!!
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee gave clemency to suspected Seattle cop-killer Maurice Clemmons! Arkansas also quashed outstanding warrants for Clemmons when Pierce County, Washington police picked him up on their warrants. Arkansas saving a little money by shifting their responsibilities to another jurisdiction? Red State justice strikes again!
K Street Project, Delay's "Pay to Play," Abramoff's influence peddling machine, Cheney's no-bid contracts for Halliburton (KBR), and most recently Rod Blagojevich's dreams of lucre and/or influence from naming a successor to Obama's Senate seat, are all part of the disgusting, but pervasive culture of money and influence in American politics (of all stripes) and indicative of the unease that Obama's fund-raising methods may have engendered in the traditional influence-peddling/lobbyist-buying circles in DC.
$290 billion of an authorized $700 billion bailout spent without a Verdammte single step to put the required oversight into place. Paulson, furthermore, is not using the money as billed!
Reportedly Bernanke, moreover, has loaned out $2,000,000,000,000.00 through the offices of the Fed, not only without oversight, but has refused even to disclose to whom the money went. Where is Congress?
The Emperor Greenspan, the little tin god with feet of clay, whose Congressional testimony was cited by Think Progress today, claimed he was “shocked” because his model “was working exceptionally well” for 40 years, adding that the crisis is “broader than anything I could have imagined”
The imaginationless Greenspan sold his soul, lock, stock, and barrel, to George Bush for reappointment to his post as Fed Chair and embraced Dubya's budget busting tax cuts for the rich while casting his silent, asssenting grace upon Dubya's "ownership society" that hurtled the economy down the slippery subprime slope. He helped, through his lack of vision, to strangle the Dot.com revolution by choking off the money supply imagining that there might be inflation around the corner without a thought to the consequences.
The Republican party lies en thrall of a band of small-minded, imaginationless, visionless leadership characterized by Dubya, McCain, Palin, Norquist, Wolfowitz, and many more who can imagine nothing but their rights to riches and power by dint of their birth and unschooled ignorance.
"Drill, Drill, Drill!" Has been the Republican mantra as gasoline and oil prices skyrocketed. The Republicans ridiculed the Democrats who asserted that a major factor in the rise of oil prices, cheap money, was the culprit.
As the current financial crisis has unfolded, easily borrowed money has disappeared from the market place and oil prices have plummeted. The Republican have delivered some additional drilling grounds to their backers, BIG OIL, but B.O. is not satisfied with what it's gotten. Nevertheless, the market crisis has clearly demonstrated that most of the force of the price rise has been unbridled, UNREGULATED speculation!
Credit Default Swaps! The trillion dollar shell game! They are secret, of unknown magnitude, and do not require any reserves to back them up! Totally unregulated because, we were told, because the huge financial institutions that would swap them and sell them and make huge profits off of them had brilliant people who wouldn't let anything bad happen.
These insane instruments allow many people, not directly involved, to buy and sell insurance all riding on whether or not some huge financial giant will default. It took a trillion dollars in liabilities and had them insured for nearly 60 trillion dollars. So when the first domino (default) happened, when a money market broke the buck, trillions came due and nobody could pay up and the dominoes all fell.
Now one of the engineers of this situation, Paulson, snookers us into an emergency bailout of $700 billion to help shield some of these speculators from the bitter fruit of their greed! And our idiot representatives in Congress with a few exceptions voted for this shell game bail out WHICH WILL NOT WORK!
John McCain harps on "winning" and "victory" in Iraq. He says we ought not to withdraw from Iraq until these are achieved. He never, however, defines what "winning" or "victory" in Iraq are. The irony is that the excuse to launch Bush's war of aggression against Iraq was WMD--they're not there! Victory?
One of Bush's real goals was the death of Saddam for trying to kill Bush I. Saddam is dead. Bush wins? Let's go home?
No, the next excuse was nation-building and democracy-building which Bush previously on the campain trail had wont to ridicule regularly before he invaded Iraq.
But the real reason is oil--Bush-Cheney and their oil partners want to take it from Iraq at fire sale prices. Oil greed is the cause of untold deaths and horrendous maimings of Americans, allies, Iraqis, and others. When we will win? When will there be victory?
After his retirement, Medal of Honor winner and former Commandant of the Marine Corps, General David Shoup a native son of Battleground, Indiana, stated the following in regards to the American misadventure in Southeast Asia: "I believe if we had, and would, keep our dirty, bloody, dollar-crooked fingers out of the business of these nations so full of depressed, exploited people, they will arrive at a solution of their own. That they design and want. That they fight and work for...and not the American style, which they don't want. Not one crammed down their throats by the Americans."
I think we could have profitably added Southwest Asia to that observation. I'd add the old line revived in the "Princess Bride": "Never get involved in a ground war in Asia!"
Let me preface my remarks with the disclaimer that I am and have been against a bailout of Wall Street--more trickle down economics.
Nevertheless, how suspicious that there is a bipartisan agreement coming out of the Banking Committees and the White House, but when the players get to the White House, the House Republicans blow it up? Suspicious, because Straight Talkin', white knight, Senator John McCon gallops into DC and goes straight to a meeting with House Republicans! Then they go to the Republican-held White House and blow the deal up! Is this a set up to raise McCon's slipping brand by having him put Humpty Dumpty together again?
When I was studying Russian at Rutgers in 1959 we had to attend a Russian language film series which included a film titled "Skanderbeg, Hero of Albania." It was about the battles of Skanderbeg who held the Ottoman Turks out of Albania for over 20 years in the 15th century.
At the end of the Russian movie, in a scene after the victorious battles led by Skanderbeg against the Turks, Skanderbeg overhears a warrior who played some minor role in a battle, bragging about how heroic he was and Skanderbeg says of him, "He is like the mouse who pissed in the ocean and then roared he helped to make it."
I wonder what he might have said today about McCain in an interview on, say, "The Daily Show" tonight if he'd seen McCon's latest grandstanding?
The grandstanding was for naught, though, as McCain's party killed the agreement because they want welfare for the Wall Street tycoons, but no help for those losing their homes.
The Congressional Budget Office sounded a claxon horn warning today cautioning that the bailout rather than helping could exacerbate the current crisis, forcing a series of additional collapses in the financial markets as inflated values carried on the books had to be clarified and shown for their real value (or lack thereof).
The Bush team failed to clean things up when Enron, et al., went under and have continued with their trickle down, unregulated Reagonomics. Their proposed bailout is the hugest trickle down ploy yet.
The melamine poisoned milk scandal in the Peoples Republic of China is only the latest in a long series of food exports from China to other parts of the world that are having negative health impacts and causing economic and diplomatic problems across the globe. We are learning that the milk problems have been known since 2007, but were covered up to keep out of the Beijing Olympics picture. Not only were babies and adults inChina harmed, but in Taiwan as well where PRC milk products are used in a variety of products such as baked goods, ice cream, etc.
Remember the serious problems with dog foods poisoned with melamine popping up all over Canada and the United States with a number of pets being killed or seriously disabled and huge veterinary expenses incurred?
This past February China-produced and exported frozen dumplings (potstickers) to Japan that were contaminated with two different nasty organophosphate pesticides, dichlorvos and methamphidos. Specialist determined that eating as few as two of the dumplings could result in negative health results.
In October, 2005 China-produced kimchi was found to be contaminated with parasitic round worm eggs. When the Republic of Korea halted imports of the contaminated product China threatened trade retaliation!
Counterfeited brands of toxic toothpaste spiked with diethylene glycol found its way from China to Panama and the US in May 2007.
Fish from China contaminated with the carcinogen malachite green was found in fish exported to the Republic of Korea.
In April 2005 of the 107 Chinese exports to the US which inspectors stopped at US ports there were included frozen catfish banned antibiotics, scallops and sardines with putrefying bacteria, mushrooms tainted with illegal pesticides, frozen breaded shrimp coated with the carcinogen nutrafura as an anti-bacterial. There have been toxic cosmetics, counterfeit Chinese herbs. The list goes on and on.
Yet, the Cheney-Bush administration has resisted all calls for tightening restrictions on Chinese imports. US businesses have become addicted to cheap Chinese products. For example, China now produces 80% of the world's ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and sells it cheaper than we can produce it for (dumping). Although relevant government agencies have propsed hundreds of regulations aimed at improving product safety for imports, almost all of these have been killed by the administration either at agency level or when the proposed rules come to the OMB.
Face it--they don't care about our health and well-being, just business--unregulated. Now has that caused problems elsewhere in our economy, too?
Now the other shoe: McCain wants to scratch the VP debate, scared to death that Biden will wipe up the floor with Palin?? To quote Letterman, on McCain's skipping his show to run to Couric for softballs, "This doesn't smell right." Is it the stench of fear? Or just the reek of rampant mendacity? Or maybe a lot of both? What a pantload!
President Bush tells us that the current economic problems developed over a long time. That these dire economic problems we are experiencing stem from huge foreign investments in our economy making cheap credit available.
The Bush solution, in a nutshell: borrow $700,000,000,000 from foreigners and inject it in our markets. [That will give him just about enough time to pack his carpet bag and catch a jet to a South American refuge from extradition.] Are we supposed to buy this?
So many people have asked me about what I know about Sarah Palin in the last 2 days that I decided to write something up . . .
Basically, Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton have only 2 things in common: their gender and their good looks. :)
You have my permission to forward this to your friends/email contacts with my name and email address attached, but please do not post it on any websites, as there are too many kooks out there . . .
[ This was already posted on Washington Independent comments area, with a controllable hotmail account, and was obviously meant by the author to be read. ]
ABOUT SARAH PALIN
I am a resident of Wasilla, Alaska. I have known Sarah since 1992. Everyone here knows Sarah, so it is nothing special to say we are on a first-name basis. Our children have attended the same schools. Her father was my child's favorite substitute teacher. I also am on a first name basis with her parents and mother-in-law. I attended more City Council meetings during her administration than about 99% of the residents of the city.
She is enormously popular; in every way she’s like the most popular girl in middle school. Even men who think she is a poor choice and won't vote for her can't quit smiling when talking about her because she is a "babe".
It is astonishing and almost scary how well she can keep a secret. She kept her most recent pregnancy a secret from her children and parents for seven months.
She is "pro-life". She recently gave birth to a Down's syndrome baby. There is no cover-up involved, here; Trig is her baby.
She is energetic and hardworking. She regularly worked out at the gym.
She is savvy. She doesn't take positions; she just "puts things out there" and if they prove to be popular, then she takes credit.
Her husband works a union job on the North Slope for BP and is a champion snowmobile racer. Todd Palin’s kind of job is highly sought-after because of the schedule and high pay. He arranges his work schedule so he can fish for salmon in Bristol Bay for a month or so in summer, but by no stretch of the imagination is fishing their major source of income. Nor has her life-style ever been anything like that of native Alaskans. Sarah and her whole family are avid hunters.
Her experience is as mayor of a city with a population of about 5,000 (at the time), and less than 2 years as governor of a state with about 670,000 residents.
During her mayoral administration most of the actual work of running this small city was turned over to an administrator. She had been pushed to hire this administrator by party power-brokers after she had gotten herself into some trouble over precipitous firings which had given rise to a recall campaign.
Sarah campaigned in Wasilla as a “fiscal conservative”. During her 6 years as Mayor, she increased general government expenditures by over 33%. During those same 6 years the amount of taxes collected by the City increased by 38%. This was during a period of low inflation (1996-2002). She reduced progressive property taxes and increased a regressive sales tax which taxed even food. The tax cuts that she promoted benefited large corporate property owners way more than they benefited residents.
The huge increases in tax revenues during her mayoral administration weren’t enough to fund everything on her wish list though, borrowed money was needed, too. She inherited a city with zero debt, but left it with indebtedness of over $22 million. What did Mayor Palin encourage the voters to borrow money for? Was it the infrastructure that she said she supported? The sewage treatment plant that the city lacked? or a new library? No. $1m for a park. $15m-plus for construction of a multi-use sports complex which she rushed through to build on a piece of property that the City didn’t even have clear title to, that was still in litigation 7 yrs later--to the delight of the lawyers involved! The sports complex itself is a nice addition to the community but a huge money pit, not the profit-generator she claimed it would be. She also supported bonds for $5.5m for road projects that could have been done in 5-7 yrs without any borrowing.
While Mayor, City Hall was extensively remodeled and her office redecorated more than once.
These are small numbers, but Wasilla is a very small city.
As an oil producer, the high price of oil has created a budget surplus in Alaska. Rather than invest this surplus in technology that will make us energy independent and increase efficiency, as Governor she proposed distribution of this surplus to every individual in the state.
In this time of record state revenues and budget surpluses, she recommended that the state borrow/bond for road projects, even while she proposed distribution of surplus state revenues: spend today's surplus, borrow for needs.
She’s not very tolerant of divergent opinions or open to outside ideas or compromise. As Mayor, she fought ideas that weren’t generated by her or her staff. Ideas weren’t evaluated on their merits, but on the basis of who proposed them.
While Sarah was Mayor of Wasilla she tried to fire our highly respected City Librarian because the Librarian refused to consider removing from the library some books that Sarah wanted removed. City residents rallied to the defense of the City Librarian and against Palin's attempt at out-and-out censorship, so Palin backed down and withdrew her termination letter. People who fought her attempt to oust the Librarian are on her enemies list to this day.
Sarah complained about the “old boy’s club” when she first ran for Mayor, so what did she bring Wasilla? A new set of "old boys". Palin fired most of the experienced staff she inherited. At the City and as Governor she hired or elevated new, inexperienced, obscure people, creating a staff totally dependent on her for their jobs and eternally grateful and fiercely loyal--loyal to the point of abusing their power to further her personal agenda, as she has acknowledged happened in the case of pressuring the State’s top cop (see below).
As Mayor, Sarah fired Wasilla’s Police Chief because he “intimidated” her, she told the press. As Governor, her recent firing of Alaska's top cop has the ring of familiarity about it. He served at her pleasure and she had every legal right to fire him, but it's pretty clear that an important factor in her decision to fire him was because he wouldn't fire her sister's ex-husband, a State Trooper. Under investigation for abuse of power, she has had to admit that more than 2 dozen contacts were made between her staff and family to the person that she later fired, pressuring him to fire her ex-brother-in-law. She tried to replace the man she fired with a man who she knew had been reprimanded for sexual harassment; when this caused a public furor, she withdrew her support.
She has bitten the hand of every person who extended theirs to her in help. The City Council person who personally escorted her around town introducing her to voters when she first ran for Wasilla City Council became one of her first targets when she was later elected Mayor. She abruptly fired her loyal City Administrator; even people who didn’t like the guy were stunned by this ruthlessness.
Fear of retribution has kept all of these people from saying anything publicly about her.
When then-Governor Murkowski was handing out political plums, Sarah got the best, Chair of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission: one of the few jobs not in Juneau and one of the best paid. She had no background in oil & gas issues. Within months of scoring this great job which paid $122,400/yr, she was complaining in the press about the high salary. I was told that she hated that job: the commute, the structured hours, the work. Sarah became aware that a member of this Commission (who was also the State Chair of the Republican Party) engaged in unethical behavior on the job. In a gutsy move which some undoubtedly cautioned her could be political suicide, Sarah solved all her problems in one fell swoop: got out of the job she hated and garnered gobs of media attention as the patron saint of ethics and as a gutsy fighter against the “old boys’ club” when she dramatically quit, exposing this man’s ethics violations (for which he was fined).
As Mayor, she had her hand stuck out as far as anyone for pork from Senator Ted Stevens. Lately, she has castigated his pork-barrel politics and publicly humiliated him. She only opposed the “bridge to nowhere” after it became clear that it would be unwise not to.
As Governor, she gave the Legislature no direction and budget guidelines, then made a big grandstand display of line-item vetoing projects, calling them pork. Public outcry and further legislative action restored most of these projects--which had been vetoed simply because she was not aware of their importance--but with the unobservant she had gained a reputation as “anti-pork”.
She is solidly Republican: no political maverick. The State party leaders hate her because she has bit them in the back and humiliated them. Other members of the party object to her self-description as a fiscal conservative.
Around Wasilla there are people who went to high school with Sarah. They call her “Sarah Barracuda” because of her unbridled ambition and predatory ruthlessness. Before she became so powerful, very ugly stories circulated around town about shenanigans she pulled to be made point guard on the high school basketball team. When Sarah's mother-in-law, a highly respected member of the community and experienced manager, ran for Mayor, Sarah refused to endorse her.
As Governor, she stepped outside of the box and put together of package of legislation known as “AGIA” that forced the oil companies to march to the beat of her drum.
Like most Alaskans, she favors drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. She has questioned if the loss of sea ice is linked to global warming. She campaigned “as a private citizen” against a state initiaitive that would have either a) protected salmon streams from pollution from mines, or b) tied up in the courts all mining in the state (depending on who you listen to). She has pushed the State’s lawsuit against the Dept. of the Interior’s decision to list polar bears as threatened species.
McCain is the oldest person to ever run for President; Sarah will be a heartbeat away from being President.
There has to be literally millions of Americans who are more knowledgeable and experienced than she.
However, there’s a lot of people who have underestimated her and are regretting it.
CLAIM VS FACT •“Hockey mom”: true for a few years •“PTA mom”: true years ago when her first-born was in elementary school, not since •“NRA supporter”: absolutely true •social conservative: mixed. Opposes gay marriage, BUT vetoed a bill that would have denied benefits to employees in same-sex relationships (said she did this because it was unconsitutional). •pro-creationism: mixed. Supports it, BUT did nothing as Governor to promote it. •“Pro-life”: mixed. Knowingly gave birth to a Down’s syndrome baby BUT declined to call a special legislative session on some pro-life legislation •“Experienced”: Some high schools have more students than Wasilla has residents. Many cities have more residents than the state of Alaska. No legislative experience other than City Council. Little hands-on supervisory or managerial experience; needed help of a city administrator to run town of about 5,000. •political maverick: not at all •gutsy: absolutely! •open & transparent: ??? Good at keeping secrets. Not good at explaining actions. •has a developed philosophy of public policy: no •”a Greenie”: no. Turned Wasilla into a wasteland of big box stores and disconnected parking lots. Is pro-drilling off-shore and in ANWR. •fiscal conservative: not by my definition! •pro-infrastructure: No. Promoted a sports complex and park in a city without a sewage treatment plant or storm drainage system. Built streets to early 20th century standards. •pro-tax relief: Lowered taxes for businesses, increased tax burden on residents •pro-small government: No. Oversaw greatest expansion of city government in Wasilla’s history. •pro-labor/pro-union. No. Just because her husband works union doesn’t make her pro-labor. I have seen nothing to support any claim that she is pro-labor/pro-union.
WHY AM I WRITING THIS?
First, I have long believed in the importance of being an informed voter. I am a voter registrar. For 10 years I put on student voting programs in the schools. If you google my name (Anne Kilkenny + Alaska), you will find references to my participation in local government, education, and PTA/parent organizations.
Secondly, I've always operated in the belief that "Bad things happen when good people stay silent". Few people know as much as I do because few have gone to as many City Council meetings.
Third, I am just a housewife. I don't have a job she can bump me out of. I don't belong to any organization that she can hurt. But, I am no fool; she is immensely popular here, and it is likely that this will cost me somehow in the future: that’s life.
Fourth, she has hated me since back in 1996, when I was one of the 100 or so people who rallied to support the City Librarian against Sarah's attempt at censorship.
Fifth, I looked around and realized that everybody else was afraid to say anything because they were somehow vulnerable.
CAVEATS I am not a statistician. I developed the numbers for the increase in spending & taxation 2 years ago (when Palin was running for Governor) from information supplied to me by the Finance Director of the City of Wasilla, and I can't recall exactly what I adjusted for: did I adjust for inflation? for population increases? Right now, it is impossible for a private person to get any info out of City Hall--they are swamped. So I can't verify my numbers.
You may have noticed that there are various numbers circulating for the population of Wasilla, ranging from my "about 5,000", up to 9,000. The day Palin’s selection was announced a city official told me that the current population is about 7,000. The official 2000 census count was 5,460. I have used about 5,000 because Palin was Mayor from 1996 to 2002, and the city was growing rapidly in the mid-90’s.