Thursday, March 30, 2006

The A.F.A.(and Friends) is at it Again...

The American(?)Family Association is again calling for a boycott of Ford. I try to freep their e-mail bombs, but this one is uneditable. Anyway here's a list of organizations that are suppose to be supporting their boycott.
  • American Family Association
  • Center for Reclaiming America
  • Citizens for Community Values
  • Vision America
  • Free Market Foundation
  • WIN Family Services
  • Liberty Counsel
  • Point of View Radio
  • Coalitions for America
  • Mayday for Marriage
  • Judeo-Christian Council
  • Constituent Vote
  • Faith2Action
  • Coalition for Marriage and Family
  • Tradition, Family, Property, Inc.
  • National Association of Marriage Enhancement
  • VCY America Radio Network
  • Illinois Family Institute
  • Renew America
  • Christian Coalition International (Canada), Inc

  • Enlightened group isn't it

    Tom Delay Indicted For Being a Christian...

    at least according to Rick Scarborough. At a conference he organized called "The War on Christians and The Values Voters 2006" Scarborough said that " the most damaging thing that Tom DeLay has done in his life is take his faith seriously into public office, which made him a target for all those who despise the cause of Christ," never mind the money laundering or the violations of campaign finance law, it's really about poor Tom the new poster child for persecuted Christians in America, this in a country where 85% of the population self-identify as Christians.
    But wait it gets better. Former presidential candidate Gary Bauer posits that the "War on Christians" helps to motivate Al Quiada "They believe they can win, because they believe you and I are decadent; they think our civilization is fat and lazy," he said. "I believe they're wrong, but I understand why they're confused."

    Who is behind this so called war? The "liberal elites" of course, who, according to Bauer, think America is "a country of unbridled liberty, different strokes for different folks." I think throwing around the word elites as some sort of perjorative is, at the very least, misleading. Now I don't know about you, but to me conference participants like Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) and Sens. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) and Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) as well as conservative Christian leaders Phyllis Schlafly, Rod Parsley, Gary Bauer, Janet Parshall and Alan Keyes, along with James Dobson(Focus on the Family), Jerry Falwell, Pat (the assassin) Robertson, and Donald Wildmon(American Family Association)
    can be labeled the "conservative Christian elite" who are engaged in "The War on Everyone Who Doesn't Embrace Our Beliefs", an American Taliban, if you will.

    One of the most telling quotes from the conference came from Bill Fancher, an American Family Radio journalist(?), "The media doesn't understand [conservative Christians'] inability to compromise on principles," he said, adding: "I don't apologize for being narrow-minded." and that seems to sum up what this conference was all about.

    There is no "War on Christianity" - Tom Delay is being prosecuted for breaking the law, not persecuted for his religious beliefs.

    There Is no "War on Christianity" - There is disagreement among Chistians. As one of the 15% of non-Christian Americans, I say work it out amongst yourselves, it's not my problem.

    There is no "War on Christianity" - Only a cynical exploitation of sincere people of faith by those in power and who wish to remain in and expand that power with the ultimate goal of establihing a Fundementalist Christian Theocracy.

    Some voices of sanity from the Christian community

    "Certainly religious persecution existed in our history, but to claim that these
    examples amount to religious persecution disrespects the experiences of people
    who have been jailed and died because of their faith," said K. Hollyn Hollman,
    general counsel of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty.

    "This is a skirmish over religious pluralism, and the inclination to see it as a war
    against Christianity strikes me as a spoiled-brat response by Christians who
    have always enjoyed the privileges of a majority position," said the Rev. Robert
    M. Franklin, a minister in the Church of God in Christ and professor of social
    ethics at Emory University.

    CNN reporting Jill Carroll Released
    I just woke up to this, there aren't many details yet.

    Saturday, March 25, 2006

    Senator Russ Feingold (Congressional Record 10/11/01):

    There is no doubt that if we lived in a police state, it would be
    easier to catch terrorists. If we lived in a country where the police
    were allowed to search your home at any time for any reason; if we
    lived in a country where the government was entitled to open your mail,
    eavesdrop on your phone conversations, or intercept your email
    communications; if we lived in a country where people could be held in
    jail indefinitely based on what they write or think, or based on mere
    suspicion that they were up to no good, the government would probably
    discover and arrest more terrorists, or would be terrorists, just as it
    would find more lawbreakers generally. But that would not be a country
    in which we would want to live, and it would not be a country for which
    we could, in good conscience, ask our young people to fight and die. In
    short, that country would not be America.

    ~He tried to warn us~

    Friday, March 24, 2006

    I'd like to know if any body reads this...
    I'm a guitar player...anybody else?

    I'm a dog person (used to breed boxers-brindles-hence the name).

    I'm a boomer-grew up with the cold war, Kennedy, Viet-Nam, LBJ, Mutually Assured Destruction, Nixon...

    My wife and I have been together for 30 years (time flies when your having fun). She's my best friend.

    I'm more afraid of Bush than I am of terrorists.

    The last book I read was Crashing The Gate by Markos Moulitsas Zuniga and Jerome Armstrong. The next book I'm Planning to read is American Theocracy by Kevin Phillips.

    Movies I've seen recently: Walk the Line, Crash. Good Night And Good Luck

    I drive old cars ('87 S-10 Blazer, '93 Mazda PU) and live in the country.

    I believe in the separation of church and state, if you don't then your church should pay taxes. If you keep your church out of government, we'll keep government out of your church. "If you expect expressions of religious faith from politicians then you must be prepared to be lied to." [Sen, Arnie Vinnick(West Wing).]

    " George Bush is an alien, sent to destroy the Earth" Bill Maher (on global warming).

    Once again using the "signing statement" to place himself above the law and immune to congressional oversight, Bush said that he will not abide by requirements in the re-authorized unPATRIOT ACT that call for the Justice Department to provide Congress with information about the F.B.I.'s use of their expanded powers to search homes and sieze documents.

    According to the Boston Globe:
    Bush said he did not consider himself bound to tell Congress how the Patriot Act powers were being used and that, despite the law's requirements, he could withhold the information if he decided that disclosure would "impair foreign relations, national security, the deliberative process of the executive, or the performance of the executive's constitutional duties." and that "The executive branch shall construe the provisions...that call for furnishing information to entities outside the executive branch... in a manner consistent with the president's constitutional authority to supervise the unitary executive branch and to withhold information..."
    So once again Bush has given himself the power to determine which rules, regulations, and laws he will choose to obey. Sen. Pat Leahy of Vermont said Bush's assertion represented " nothing short of a radical effort to manipulate the constitutional separation of powers and evade accountability and responsibility for following the law."
    The statement, apparently issued after the press left the March 9 signing ceremony, went virtually unnoticed as there seemed to be no mention in the media about it . I wasn't aware of it until today (my wife came home from work cursing Bush worse than usual) and I read Josh Marshal's post at "Talking Points Memo".

    "Uphold and defend the constitution" indeed.

    note: I had originally planned to write something a little more personal today, but this somehow seemed more important, at least to me.

    Thursday, March 23, 2006

    Phelp's fools coming to Maine

    Fred Phelps' Westboro Whackos are coming to Maine to picket the funeral of Sgt. Cory Dan of Norway Saturday. Now I am a staunch believer in Free Speech but these people really piss me off. If it was possible I would attend the funeral myself, but since I can't may I offer suggestion for those of like mind. I think the best way to fight these fools is with laughter and ridicule, no taunts, no jeers (they want confrontation) just a line of folks pointing fingers and laughing at them. Of course I understand that this might be inappropriate due to the solemn nature of the day, however, according to the Police Chief they will be resticted to the other side of the school (where the service will be held) perhaps a "laugh brigade" could pull it off.
    This tactic worked several years ago when some self-styled Klansmen from Connecticut (of all places) tried to hold a rally in Rumford: they were laughed out of town, never to return again.
    (my link didn't work but the article is in the Portland Press Herald.)

    Wednesday, March 22, 2006

    Bush on the Road(again)...
    It's W. Viginia today, another fake "town hall" meeting. I 'm sure the theme today wil be the media coverage of the war. Old strategies never die, they just get put in a closet to be taken out, dusted off and reused. I expect Cheney to begin talking about the "nattering nabobs of negativism" any day now. (Spiro Agnew wasn't much good for anything, but he did have way with words). I guess Helen Thomas really got to him.

    From the "Dept. of Be Very Afraid"
    So far we've had a suspicious package at the NW gate of the White House (random object thrown over the fence by a known random object thrower), a suspicious package somewhere on the S.F. BART system, an evacuation at the Ft. Lauderdale airport (fire alarm), and a man in "camoflage with an automatic weapon" on a roof in Pittsburgh (guy with pellet gun shooting pigeons) and it's not even 4 p.m. here yet.

    Congatulations Tammy Duckworth

    Iraq veteran Tammy Duckworth won the Democratic primary for a Congressional seat in Illinois.

    Friday, March 17, 2006

    Snowe, Hagel, DeWine, and Graham Hate America
    Republican Senators Olympia Snowe, Chuck Hagel, Mike DeWine, and Lindsey Graham have introduced the "Terrorist Surveillance Act of 2006" allowing the government to engage in electronic surveillance for 45 days, at which time they will have three options: cease the activity altogether (fat chance), ask for a court order under FISA,or inform the Intelligence (it's ok by us) Sub-Committee.
    Now I don't know about you, but to me this seems like a direct violation of of their Oath of Office (to protect and defend the Constitution) by basically wiping out the 4th ammendment, and a further erosion of the separation of powers (the third option looks like a CYA move to counter that argument.)
    Now I'm a "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" kind of a guy and nothing the Bush administration or their cohorts in in congress have said has convinced me that there was anything wrong with FISA. The government never had a problem obtaining warrents from them, which leaves me to believe that either the Bush administration thought (knew?) that what they were doing was of questionable legality and they were afraid of how the court would rule or they are just fundementally lazy and find the FISA process inconvenient. Whatever the reasoning, it still does not justify an end run around the Constitution. In addition,
    I understand the true impetus behind this legislation is to shield the administration from any investigation of their previous activities and allow the Repugs in the congress to say that the issue is settled and there is no need to pursue it any further, however just changing the law won't do that, they can't make the law retroactive. In addition, Bush's actions would still be illegal under the new law. Sadly, there will never be any meaningful investigation because the Repuglicans simply won't allow it.
    I wrote to Olympia Snowe after she caved on the idea of an investigation and told her that I hoped an invitation to the coronation of W the 1st would make it worthwhile for her to sell out the Constitution and the people of the United States and the state of Maine (I haven't received reply).

    For those of us in Maine I suppose there is an upside to this as it pretty much puts to rest the myth of moderation that has protected Olympia all these years and could provide us with another issue to use against her this fall.

    (Georgia10 over at Daily Kos has a really good diary post on this issue. Be sure to go check it out.)

    Thursday, March 16, 2006

    Feingold Update
    It seems that some of Russ's fellow Dems have decided to grow a little bit of spine. Senators Harkin and Boxer are onboard with some others moving in that direction(yay.)
    I've been following the discussions about the censure proposal on some other sites (primarly Kos, but some others as well) and there seem to be some who are saying that they see it as political positioning on the part of Feingold as a potential candidate in '08. I disagree with this view and see it as a principled stand. I would like to remind those who feel that way that Sen. Feingold was the only Senator to vote against the (un)PATRIOT Act. The other discussions have centered around concerns that this will hurt the Dems politically. Sure, it'll never pass in the Repuglican controlled congress, but it seems to me that by showing some willingness to stand up to the administration and the ever popular(33%) Preznit can only be a plus. As long as the Dems keep allowing themselves to be kicked around and allowing the Reps do define issues the more irrelevant they make themselves appear. The right learned long ago that sometimes your going to lose but you get your message out there, get the media to pay attention and gain some influence with the voters. The midterms are getting closer and this not the time to be playing it safe. Come on, what have they got to lose, especially those in the safe seats like Clinton, Shumer, Kennedy, Kerrey, etc. .
    It's time to start reminding them about all of that "rule of law" rhetoric that was used against Bill Clinton. Blow-job or the dismantling of the constitution, one of these seems a lot more serious than the other, but then I might be wrong.

    It's Time (this one's for the home folks)
    I remember when Olympia was my congress critter, I even voted for her a couple of times since she seemed to do a pretty good job representing the 2nd District and had shown a willingness to cross party lines when it was in the best interests of her constituencey (remember the notorious "black fly coalition"?). I wasn't even too upset when she was elected to the senate, even though having two Repuglican senators was a little hard to take. I felt that the independent streak she had shown in the house would continue. I was wrong (ok , I was right, too. I didn't vote for her) but, sadly this has just not been the case. Most recently she joined with several of her colleagues in a call for an investigation into W's illegal wiretapping activity (which of course he's admitted to) then after a few days of "consultations" she decides tha an investigation isn't needed, just change the law and make Bush's actions legal, oh yeah, we'll set up a subcommittee for oversight of the program (the administration will tell us what they want to do and we'll say okey-doke). So much for that independent streak.
    Now I know that the cw is that she can't be defeated and that may be so, but we can't just sit back and let it happen without a fight. It's all about the separation of powers, people. So lets get busy.

    Tuesday, March 14, 2006

    The Dems in the Senate Do It Again
    Russ Feingold introduces his censure resolution and what do his fellow Democrats do? Run to the right as usual. What the hell are they afraid of? Will the mean old Repugs call them nasty names? My guess is that when you attack the ever popular W (36% approval) you'll find yourself on the outside, unable to work effectively in a bipartisan manner to approve those things that "real Americans" are really clamoring for, more tax cuts for the rich, more corporate welfare, the destruction of all social safety nets, flag burning ammendments, you know, all those really progressive ideas that their "esteemed colleagues" keep coming up with.
    What is wrong with these people? Is Feingold the only Democratic Senator with any principles? Apparently we're stuck with the Biden, Hillary, Kerry, Reid DLC crew forever. Damnit its time for the party to show some backbone (and stick to it). Will the Repugs call us angry? Of course they will, but what's wrong with that, we have every reason to be angry, no not angry, screaming bloody murder, torches and pitchforks pissed off.
    We have country controlled by a party that knows how to get elected but doesn't have clue as to how to govern, an administration that shoots itself in the foot at every oppertunity, and how does the "loyal opposition" respond? Plenty of "loyalty" to be sure, "opposition" not so much.
    While I would really like to concentrate my anger and rage at the Repuglicans, when my party pulls shit like this I just cannot keep quiet.

    Monday, March 13, 2006

    Put it right next to your duct tape and plastic

    "When you go to the store and buy three cans of tuna fish, buy a fourth can and put it under the bed," Health and Human Services Secratary Mike Leavitt said. "When you go to the store to to buy some milk, pick up a box of powdered milk, put it under the bed. When you do that for a period of four to six months you are going to have a couple of weeks of food. And that's what we're talking about."

    Sunday, March 12, 2006

    They say "all politics is local" so I finally decided to really get involved. I have always considered myself an informed voter: familiar with the issues and candidates and voting accordingly. The events of the past few years, however, made it plain to me that that was not enough. As a Democrat I have watched with dismay as the party has fallen into disaray. The DNC has shown increasingly an inability to adapt to change in the political climate that has occured in this country, embracing a centrist position even as the so called center has been moving to the right. As a liberal I am tired of the DC DEMs considering my views to be far left and (to borrow a Republican phrase) "out of the mainstream. I believe that it is time for the grassroots of the party to rise up and let the DNC know that "we're mad as hell and we're not going to take it any more" and the era of "Republican light" is over.