Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Bravo Senator Feingold, Bravo

Thank you Senator Feingold. It was refreshing to hear someone important, who was democratically elected say what people are saying all across this country:

I’m amazed at Democrats, cowering with this president’s numbers so low. The administration just has to raise the specter of the war and the Democrats run and hide. … Too many Democrats are going to do the same thing they did in 2000 and 2004. In the face of this, they’ll say we’d better just focus on domestic issues. … [Democrats shouldn’t] cower to the argument, that whatever you do, if you question the administration, you’re helping the terrorists.

If this is the response by Senator Allard of Colorado, we are in truly sad and pathetic times.

Since Republican Senators kowtowed to the President again, we needed someone, anyone to stand up and say what needs to be said. With numbers like Bush's approval, currently around 36%, give or take a few points, what political capital does this guy have? From what I pick up, Bush is a divider, not a uniter. One man does not make a country of laws and rules.

Why does the President of the United States believe that he is an exception to the rule of law? At this point, what exactly is the position of this administration? First they say you need a court order to tap an American citizen, and then they say the law is too old. There are rules for oversight. This 109th Congress has not done their job of oversight, just like members of the 108th Congress failed to provide leadership.

People everywhere need to understand that the Republicans have ruled with an iron fist from 2002 on. They have invoked fear and used ignorance to divide and conquer their opponents and critics. Much of what they have said has not come true. Not a crack team of people I believe can get the job done. Most of the Republicans have acted like little pantywaists and bowed to the President's agenda. Unfortunately their agenda and execution have sucked. My friend keeps reminding me that it is not any kind of conspiracy; it's just really bad ideas and even poorer execution of them. I think my friend is right.

When you have people like Rumsfeld trying to answer questions about the violence in Iraq and the ensuing civil war that has been going on for close to two months, it is simply ridiculous to receive an answer like this:

Rumsfeld: ...I think until I've had a chance to think more about it and-and-uhh-I-I will say I don't think it'll look like-ahh- the United States's civil war.

No shit, Sherlock. Thanks for the information. Wow, it is unbelievable that an administration could hold the citizens of this country in such contempt and feel as though they don't need to answer questions about where my money goes. About $5.9 Billion a month right now to fund Iraq. Throw in Afghanistan and the total per month reaches $6.9 billion a month.

From the Wall Street Journal a few days back:
Monthly expenditures are running at $5.9 billion; the U.S. commitment in Afghanistan adds roughly another $1 billion. Taken together, annual spending for the two wars will reach $117.6 billion for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30 -- 18% above funding for the prior 12 months.

To date, the war has cost nearly $400 billion ($400,000,000,000.00)

From a senate hearing a week and a half ago, Senators questioned the ever increasing costs of "the global struggle against extremism" as it is called by some, at least until people said: what!?

The Senate Budget Committee rebuked Pentagon officials Thursday for continued use of emergency spending to fund wars, and their high cost. "What you send up here for a defense budget has no relevance to the real budget because you're 15, 20 percent off on what you're actually spending every year," said Budget Committee Chairman Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H. "How do we get out of this process of budgeting by emergency, which basically means we're not budgeting at all, we're simply (giving) you an open-ended check, subject to your sending up the supplemental."

We are looking at a conflict that could cost $1-2 Trillion dollars. That's a lot of dough that can be spent on schools, infrastructure, homeland security, healthcare for the poor and disabled. Just plain good old-fashioned American prosperity. Now there's a concept for you. Politicians working for the greater good of its citizens.

With the list of the damned growing by the day (oh so many REPUBLICANS), you start to see the pattern. Some of these people are robbing our country blind. LOOK AT THE LIST OF NEARLY 30 INDICTED AND CONVICTED FELLAS, GOOD FELLAS, of the REPUBLICAN PARTY. It comes courtesy of the great folks at a site called Talking Points Memo. It's great to see folks like these and thousands upon thousands more who are working to expose the lies and deceits of people who rob from are country, REPUBLICAN or the occasional Democrat. I don't want to be partial; I want them all in jail.

The Grand Ole Docket tracks trial dates, court appearances and sentencing hearings for players in the current array of national political scandals. But not just any crook can make it on the Docket - it only tracks perps who've been named by prosecutors in indictments or plea agreements.

They even have a subdocket for the state of Ohio. I guess they are so corrupt; they got their own page!

You have people from Washington DC, California, Florida, Texas, New Hampshire, Louisiana, Ohio, the country of Greece, New York and even from that little place called the White House. That's right from the house that brought you moral values. They are people like JACK ABRAMOFF, formerly a "super lobbyist", Congress people like DUKE CUNNINGHAM, convicted congressman, TOM DELAY, indicted House Majority Leader (aka the "Hammer"), MITCHELL WADE, a defense contractor, DAVID SAFAVIAN, chief of staff for the General Services Administration within the White House. The list goes on and on. Of course, in fairness to all the corrupt REPUBLICANS out there, I don't want to be unfair. There are a couple of "bad apples" as Senator Frist of Tennessee would say who are Democrats. By my count, that's about 35 REPUBLICANS and 2 or 3 Democrats. Like I've been telling people for a while. This is a REPUBLICAN scandal. I have no doubt that the percentages won't skew off the 90/10 scale that I have set as the bar for measuring the corruption across this country. That being said, I'm being generous and leaving plenty of room for error.

Ladies and gentleman, when will someone stand up and say the emperor is naked? Thanks again Senator Feingold. Your efforts are truly appreciated.

The budget deficit for the past fiscal year was $760 billion

One of the startling revelations of the 158 page report, titled “Financial Report of the United States Government 2005”, was the admission from Secretary Snow that the U.S. deficit under practical business accounting methods in 2005 was $760 billion – more than double the more widely reported $319 billion.

The national debt ceiling will need to raised again to accommodate our already $8.2 trillion dollar national debt. ($8,200,000,000,000.00)

Today, around 45 million citizens do not have access to affordable healthcare coverage.

The federal government has increased spending by nearly 40% since George Bush took office in 2001.

As of March 11, 2006, -- 2,463 U.S. soldier have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. For every day in Iraq so far, 2.1 soldiers die for everyday of this war. Every day 2.1 soldiers die.

Each individual’s share of the national debt has grown from around $21,000 before Bush took office to nearly $28,000 today. That is a nearly 33% increase in just 5 years.

Number of funerals of fallen soldiers attended by President Bush: 0 (zero).

At least 20,000 U.S. soldiers have been injured in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The President has allowed the torture of people. These are the pictures of what torture is under American occupation.

The army lied about Pat Tillman's death to make him into a hero, all for political gain to win at any cost.

Are you getting the idea yet?

Make 2006 the year of the Democrats. Bring a little sanity back to these United States of America.

Here is the Muslim version of Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity in the Middle East. In a nutshell, the man on the tape is a fucking idiot. Quite similar to some of our very own American versions who call themselves informative. They spew hate just like this guy.

Dissention on your part is complicity with the terrorists. Yeah, okay.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Lying Cheats

With all the recent scandals and more to come, why shouldn't people believe that the Republican party is the party of corruption?

Just another fine example of the Tom Delay-Jack Abramoff scandal.

They're all running for as much cover as possible. Funny how all that lobbying money keeps funneling back to the same people.

Tom Delay's appeal in a Texas court was turned down by 9 elected REPUBLICAN judges.

It's not about cheap partisan politics anymore, it's all about breaking the law and thinking you can get away with it because your above the law. You're not!

Some of these folks are about as Christian as my chances are of wiping my ass with sandpaper rather than tissue paper.

Oh, and as I side note. You would have to be mentally retarded to think George Bush doesn't know Jack Abramoff. He or his associates visited the White House some 200 times just in the first 10 months of the Bush administration.

Jack Abramoff was a Pioneer fundraiser for the Bush2004 campaign. That means he raised at least $100,000.oo. Little favors like that are hard to forget. People like that always get a handshake and a personal thank you from the President. Anything less would be insulting.

Coincidence? I doubt it. Just remember Susan Ralton's name. She worked for Jack Abramoff and then went to work at the Whitehouse for Karl Rove. She was the "gatekeeper". That's where lobbyists get access to high order officials within the Whitehouse.

The Republican Party is the party of corruption.

For 2006, the theme is set. The choices become easier by the day. Hopefully, Santa put some spines in the stockings of good little Democrats this year.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Torture is not an American value

Recently released memos from Craig Murray, the former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan.

Read the above link. This ain't "24" and Jack Baurer saving the world. This is the actual torture of other humans to gather information for "the global struggle against extremism", as it is called.

If true, it is against the Geneva Conventions.

What makes people who torture other people any better than the terrorists?

We know terrorists are scum.

What do you think of the people who condone the practice of torture? Are they really any better?

This is not an American value, nor a Christian value, nor many others for that matter. This must stop.

Executive power does not need to be extended in this country, it needs to be curtailed. 535 people are elected to make the laws of this country. When will they flex their elected power and stop the continual fear mongering that persists under this administration. It is just lie after lie after lie.

Life is inherently a risk. You are no safer in George Bush's America today than 4 years ago. In fact, we are less safe because this administration is so inept at actual diplomacy. We are more hated because of this. Inherently, we are less safe.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Electronic Voting and Diebold - Hack that vote!

Just released-- Diebold machines can be hacked pretty easily. Just how safe is our democracy?

Right in my own backyard of Florida (Leon County, FL). This really sucks since the CEO of Diebold promised to deliver the state of Ohio for President Bush in last year's presidential election. Pretty damn shady if you ask me.

What's wrong with using machines that incorporate open source code for verification? Anyone?

I can only come to one simple conclusion: voting has become a for-profit venture. Not only is this wrong, but people are just getting plain screwed over!

Wake up America. Stop letting crooks steal your tax money for their benefit.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Wikipedia, the next Google?

Back in August I had read an interesting article about Wikipedia and what it was doing to change how information is posted for people to use. It is an open environment format that allows people to continually edit and improve information.

Here is my posting from back in August.

Here's a is a little bio information on Steve Rubel who runs a PR firm in NYC.

Widely viewed as an expert on citizen's media and marketing, Rubel is often sought out as a speaker and appears frequently in the press. He has been named to several prestigious lists, including: Media Magazine's Media 100, the AlwaysOn/Technorati Open Media 100 and the CNET News.com Blog 100.

Here is Mr. Rubel's take on why Wikipedia has the ability to be the next Google.

Take it for what you want, I just think it is amazing how much technology has changed over the past decade and at that, just the past couple of years.

It's almost like tech overload, but the potential seems unlimited right now.

In my opinion, data mining will be the future. How we use it is another matter. If we are thinking forward, "idea capital" should be the driving force of what will keep the United States the continued leader of our ever growing global society. In simple terms, it should be a move from 20th century technologies to a growth into 21st century information technologies.

If it isn't, the United States will continue to fall while other countries continue to become more efficient competitors.

Just a little something to chew on for the evening.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Morals, money and the Grand Old Party, oh and Democrats too

One down and 534 more to check out in this 209th Congress. (With so many other individuals involved also!) Remember all the promises of a new America last election? The promise of solutions for health care, the promises of money for job retraining and college, the promise of a more secure future. Poof, all gone, all with the help of guns, butter and tax breaks in a time of war for the richest 1% of Americans. We were lucky enough to get our 5th tax break under George Bush last week before Thanksgiving. I bet those folks at GM couldn't have been happier. It's all about policies for growth and prosperity.

Now its rough and tumble, arm twisting, mean spirited control by one party (Actually, its been that way since 2002), -- 9/11 had that kind of affect on our nation. Our democratic legislators have been literally locked out of the process of crafting legislation. Sure, they get to see it, but usually it is only a couple of days before they vote on it. Think of all the great legislation that has come out this year and the past few.

The Executive, legislative and judicial are under one party control and if you ask them, they don't want to give up any form of power. You'll be hearing and I of course had the pleasure of listening to the #1 waterboy for the GOP, Rush himself. Of course in his world, reality seems so far away in plush Palm Beach. Yeah he bitches about all the high snafoo of the area, but I bet he doesn't bitch about the golf, it's pretty damn good. I digress, he probably likes it better for how easy it is to score Oxycotin at late night restaurants in the area.

Sure, this culture of corruption isn't all one person or party's fault. It involves people from both parties, but lets try to keep it in this decade Rush! When you break it down it seems more like a 95/5 split. 95% Republican and 5% Democrat.

With over 16,000 lobbying firms registered in the Washington area, the stakes are high. Imagine the money that goes into something like that. Think about a federal election cycle last year that had over $4,000,000,000.00 to run all the federal races for congress and the presidency. That's alot of dough. I think maybe I should get into "consulting", it seems to be a lucrative business. Who knows how much more flows in for the people's bidding and process of democracy.

The party with the culture of life, morals and all the good stuff seems to have strayed from the path of rightousness. They have been binging on the excesses of the spoils of victory; almost too drunk with power. Mean drunks at that.

Yesterday Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-CA) pleaded guilty to accepting bribes influencing votes in the people's house. How many more will follow? If I had to take a guess, one thing is for certain, I'd start with Black Jack Abramoff. Talk about networking, he sounds like the king of K Street.

Abramoff is at the center of both a Justice Department-led investigation and a probe by the Senate Indian Affairs Committee into his dealings with Indian tribes and other lobbying clients. The Senate panel is looking into more than $80 million the casino-owning tribes paid Abramoff and partner Michael Scanlon.
Scanlon, 35, pleaded guilty on Nov. 21 to one count of conspiracy and agreed to cooperate with a Justice Department probe of Abramoff's alleged efforts to buy off public officials.
Abramoff and another former business partner were indicted earlier this year for wire fraud in a case involving their purchase of a Florida casino boat company.

Oh, and don't forget about one dead former owner of Sun Cruz Casinos, Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis. He mysterously was gunned down in Ft. Lauderdale after things went sour between Abramoff, Kidan and Boulis in 2001.

Boulis agreed in principle to sell SunCruz to Abramoff and Kidan for $147.5 million. The deal closed in the fall. But Abramoff and Kidan failed to make good on a $23 million payment owed to Boulis, court records show.

Three people have been charged in the killing.

Will have to see where things go with Congressman Ney (R-OH) . (He was kind enough to give remarks on the House floor, extolling the many virtues of Mr. Abramoff and his purchase of Sun Cruz Casinos.) My guess and hope is the same as it's going for some of his other colleagues in Congress, like good old Bug Man, Tom Delay. Not the Terminator, no, no, the exterminator. He's under indictment right now too.

A Texas grand jury indicted House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) yesterday on a charge of criminally conspiring with two political associates to inject illegal corporate contributions into 2002 state elections that helped the Republican Party reorder the congressional map in Texas and cement its control of the House in Washington.

Commonly known as the "Hammer" for his tactics, he's they guy who holds votes in Congress open until he twists enough arms to pass his brand of legislation. Think Medicare, the program about to overwhelm seniors when it comes to helping them select the "best" health care options. Apparantly the experts don't know how it exactly works, but hey, what the hell. The insurance, health and pharmacuetical companies should do great. That's what matters most right?

The antics of right-wingers on the House floor today mirrored their previous strong-arm tactics in passing CAFTA and prescription drug legislation – bills that, like today’s, favored large corporations. In July 2005, the House passed CAFTA with a slim two-vote margin after holding the vote open for an hour and 45 minutes.

In November 2003, in the dead of night, the House leadership passed the Medicare prescription drug vote by five votes after holding the vote open for three hours.

Medicare, CAFTA and the energy bills all held open, breaking the rules to get the desired result.

CBS News correspondent Bob Fuss reports there was chaos on the Hour floor as Republican leaders passed the bill by holding a five-minute vote open for almost 50 minutes until they could convince two Republicans to change their votes. They buttonholed lawmakers for last-minute lobbying as Democrats complained loudly that the vote should be closed. Finally two GOP lawmakers switched from "no" to "yes," giving the bill's supporters the margin of victory. "Is this the House of a Banana Republic?" Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., shouted at one point, expressing his frustration about the GOP holdup of the final tally.

Who next? There's just so many right now. Oh wait, lets go back to the current Governor of Ohio, with a stellar 6.5% approval rating. He might be the only elected person in America who has a lower approval rating than Dick Cheney.

Taft, who cooperated with investigators, issued a public apology after being convicted on four misdemeanor counts for failing to report 52 golf outings, dinners and other entertainment gifts. He was fined $4,000, the maximum. Taft, who by law cannot run again, said he will not resign.

Have they no shame at all? At least Mr. Cunningham had a shred of dignity left and resigned. Hopefully people in Ohio will wake up and demand the same.

Man, muckraking is hard work, especially when it is how our current government operates under Republican control.

I haven't even delved into Katherine Harris (R-FL). Yes she's the lady at the heart of the 2000 election, but that's water under the bridge. I'd rather we get into her involvlement with "magic water". Maybe this is just the boost she needs to win a senate seat in Florida.

Think about all the possibilities when it comes to people in and around our government and what the line is when it comes to ethics. Just think about all the people that have not even been mentioned. -- Tom Noe of Ohio, think Coingate. Congressman Doolittle (R-CA), Scooter Libby, Karl Rove, Jeff Gannon (everybody's favorite manwhore/white house reporter), Grover Norquist, Ralph Reed. The list just seems to go on and on. It's really very sad.

If I were a democrat running for office, I'd always carry a handy list of all the ethically challenged people in Washington, democrats too. Republicans say Democrats don't have any ideas. Here's one real simple idea:

Voting out lying, cheating and stealing Republicans out of office will be beneficial to the health of our country and our democracy. It will help to ensure that your tax dollars are not given away and stolen from your communities. The concept shouldn't be that hard to wrap around some of the mentally challenged people who purport to represent the true values of America.

All it takes is just a little spine to call a spade a spade.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Federal Reserve Policy

An interesting article from Investor's Business Daily today from their editorial page:

Like an automaton that can do only one thing, the Fed nudged interest rates up another quarter-point Tuesday. We still think this is a mistake.

In the market meltdown that started in early 2000, the economy took a $6 trillion hit. It took another megahit after 9-11, which plunged us into a global war on terror. Now we're reeling from the worst hurricane disaster in at least a century and an unprecedented run-up in the price of oil.

Why Greenspan & Co. feel obligated to make things worse is beyond us. The Fed itself reckons that 100 basis points of tightening reduces economic growth by 1.1% after two years. By that rule of thumb, expect the 275 basis points that the Fed has cranked in to result in a 3% hit to GDP next year. Add in oil and Katrina, and the economy is facing, in Fed jargon, significant head winds.

How much can our engine of economics sustain? Hurricane Rita has strengthened to a category four and is barreling towards the Texas and Gulfport Coast. The fear of an oil shortage and run up is very real.

Crude oil prices rose again on concern that Rita would smash into key oil facilities in Texas and the Gulf of Mexico. Hundreds of workers were evacuated from offshore oil rigs, less than a month after Katrina damaged some installations. Texas, the heart of U.S. crude production, accounts for 25 percent of the nation's total oil output.

I am not old enough to remember the stagflation of the 1970s, but I do worry about the key economic indicators of today. We are simply on an unsustainable path that can and will cripple this country for years and decades to come.

Here is a good article from Fareed Zakaria of Newsweek.

This would be funny if it weren't so depressing. What is happening in Washington today is business as usual in the face of a national catastrophe. The scariest part is that we've been here before. After 9/11 we have created a new government agency, massively increased domestic spending and fought two wars. And the president did all this without rolling back any of his tax cuts—in fact, he expanded them—and refused to veto a single congressional spending bill. This was possible because Bush inherited a huge budget surplus in 2000. But that's all gone. The cupboard is now bare.

Whatever his other accomplishments, Bush will go down in history as the most fiscally irresponsible chief executive in American history. Since 2001, government spending has gone up from $1.86 trillion to $2.48 trillion, a 33 percent rise in four years! Defense and Homeland Security are not the only culprits. Domestic spending is actually up 36 percent in the same period. These figures come from the libertarian Cato Institute's excellent report "The Grand Old Spending Party," which explains that "throughout the past 40 years, most presidents have cut or restrained lower-priority spending to make room for higher-priority spending. What is driving George W. Bush's budget bloat is a reversal of that trend." To govern is to choose. And Bush has decided not to choose. He wants guns and butter and tax cuts.

People wonder whether we can afford Iraq and Katrina. The answer is, easily. What we can't afford simultaneously is $1.4 trillion in tax cuts and more than $1 trillion in new entitlement spending over the next 10 years. To take one example, if Congress did not make permanent just one of its tax cuts, the repeal of estate taxes, it would generate $290 billion over the next decade. That itself pays for most of Katrina and Iraq.

Of course, you would hardly think anything is wrong when you listen to the words of the Bug Man, Tom Delay, House Majority Leader of the United States Congress.

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay said yesterday that Republicans have done so well in cutting spending that he declared an "ongoing victory," and said there is simply no fat left to cut in the federal budget . . . Asked if that meant the government was running at peak efficiency, Mr. DeLay said, "Yes, after 11 years of Republican majority we've pared it down pretty good."

Even if you are not a big fan of those damn Democrats, at least ask yourself this question:

What fucking planet is this guy from? Is being born in Texas a requirement for having such hubris towards the American people? American citizens deserve better than these dishonest liars. That is what they are. It should not be suger coated and watered down. These people represent one thing and that is big tax cut favors for wealthy friends.

Our Republic is in big trouble. America as we know it has taken a turn for the worst. Now is the time and the place to make real change to save our Union. The idea of serfdom doesn't rub me the right way.

When will hard working folks in this country wake up and see the shenanigans for what they are? This is not compassionate conservatism, more like highway robbery!

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