Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Chickenhawks

I wish I designed this brilliant piece:

Chickenhawk Database: Chickenhawks : We the few, the rich, the elite. Born to kill not serve.

It's from The Newhampshire Gazette and provides the following definition:

Chickenhawk n. A person enthusiastic about war, provided someone else fights it; particularly when that enthusiasm is undimmed by personal experience with war; most emphatically when that lack of experience came in spite of ample opportunity in that person’s youth.


The site has a whole run down of Chickenhawks broken into categories from "Chickenhawk Headquarters" to the "Chaplain Corps" to the "Propaganda Platoon." Kos, riffng off Gilliard, has a great post today on these Chickenhawks who think the war is great as long as someone else is doing the fighting and dying:

The War Preachers like Dobson and Falwell celebrate war, but refuse to urge their flock to enlist and fight. The War Pundits and Politicians hide behind tough rhetoric, so butch and manly, but refuse to beam calls for personal sacrifice. And the 101st Fighting Keyboardists cheerlead from the sidelines, but are too cowardly to urge their readers to put principles over personal safety. They claim the "Islamofascist" cause is the greatest we face, but none put words into actions. Why then, should anyone take them seriously?


Good point. Why should anyone take them seriously? If this is such a just war, they should join up. If the "war on terra" is so important, they should sign up their sons and daughters. If killing "the rag heads" is such a Christian thing to do, why aren't they recruiting from their flocks for Uncle Sam?

Because they are Chickenhawk hypocrites.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Support Our Troops?

You know, I've had it with the statement "Support Our Troops." It's a loaded, full of crap, partisan driven litmus test for separating "True Patriots" from the "Commie Liberal Scum." Yet behind the bravado, the machismo, the pissing contest, what this whole statement comes down to is do you honor or dishonor the troops. I honor the troops. They do not.

Every American supports the troops. You know why? We all pay taxes. My tax dollars, just like every American's, goes to pay for the military. Yet those in charge dishonor our troops by not supplying them with the armor and supplies they need and cutting the benefits they deserve when they return, while their friends get rich on the profits of war.

I honor the troops by working hard, playing by the rules, and gladly paying my share of taxes that go to pay for our military. I do not dishonor them by incorporating myself, setting up a PO Box in Bermuda, and asking my lawyers and accountants to figure out ways I can pay less tax.

I honor the troops by paying my fair share, and supporting politicians who demand that others pay their fair share as well. Cutting taxes in a time of war dishonors our troops. It starves our government of the resources it needs while millionaires reap the profits and Paris Hilton's inheritance supports her vices instead of the needs of the troops.

I honor the troops by understanding freedom isn't free, and neither is our country's dependence on oil. Those who would rail for war, riding around in their SUV tax write-off with a yellow magnet above the gas cap, are the first to claim "freedom isn't free." But how do they honor the service of the troops? By placing a feel-good yellow magnet on a vehicle of vanity that gets 13MPG while it feeds our habit for foreign oil and drives our foreign policy towards war and away from energy independence.

I honor our troops by trying to change our leaders to ones that will not dishonor our veterans or our country. I do not dishonor them by supporting an administration that supports torture, ignores the Geneva Conventions, weaken our military, or cedes our moral leadership through a hypocritical bullying world posture.

I honor our troops by flying the flag they die for. I do this because our troops deserve my respect, not because the flag is a political symbol I can wrap my politics in.

I honor our troops by not supporting this war based on lies. The war is the Bush administration's. Bush and his administration own it. Bush and the rest of those so willing to go to war will reap the consequences of their war in this life or the next. The troops are doing their duty to the Commander in Chief and trying to survive. Bush and his administration dishonor our them by putting them in a position where getting themselves killed is more likely than any real lasting victory.

Support our troops? I honor them.

Friday, May 27, 2005

DeLay's Diversion

Excuse me, but I think Republican House Majority Leader Tom DeLay is confused on his stance over how to deal with judges who don't rule the way he'd like:

Tom DeLay, March 31, 2005:
Mrs. Schiavo's death is a moral poverty and a legal tragedy. This loss happened because our legal system did not protect the people who need protection most, and that will change. The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior, but not today.

Tom DeLay, May 27, 2005:
"This manipulation of my name and trivialization of the sensitive issue of judicial security represents a reckless disregard for the suffering initiated by recent tragedies and a great disservice to public discourse," DeLay wrote in a letter to NBC President Jeff Zucker.


So, first DeLay is all about judges "answering for their behavior" but now he's upset about "trivialization of the sensitive issue of judicial security." Why the sudden about face? Why is Mr. "Activist Judges" suddenly so concerned about their safety? Diversionary tactics:

AUSTIN, May 26 -- A state judge ruled Thursday that the treasurer of a political fundraising committee organized by House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) violated the state's election law by failing to report $684,507 in contributions from corporations and other donors in 2002.

The civil court decision is the first to uphold a complaint by Democrats about the way DeLay and his advisers financed a 2002 political victory in Texas, which ultimately helped cement Republican control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

[...]

DeLay, asked by a reporter for CNN if the ruling had implications for him, responded: "Not for me. I'm not part of it."


Ya right. About that:

  • DeLay served as a creator, advisor, and fundraiser for TRMPAC.  Who said this? None other than Tom DeLay. In fact,  according to a report, which ran in the Austin American Statesman on March 10, 2005 - DeLay said that it was his idea to create TRMPAC.  Laylan Copelin wrote that report. 

  • When TRMPAC announced its existence it prominently publicized Tom DeLay as one its key leaders. It's own FAQ clearly indicated Tom DeLay was leading this PAC.

  • DeLay's name appeared all over on TRMPAC stationary and promotional materials. Here is a copy of that TRMPAC luncheon flyer prominently featuring the name of Tom DeLay.  Here is another sample.  Click on the image to see the entire PDF doc:



  • TRMPAC records show DeLay was on a conference call of the group's finance committee.  Here is a copy of a memo scheduling a conference call connecting DeLay with the TRMPAC finance committee.  

  • DeLay did fundraising for TRMPAC. Here is a memo from Warren RoBold, a fundraiser for TRMPAC, disucssing DeLays role in calling large donors.


  • No wonder DeLay is outraged about a TV show mentioning him in a plot line about harming judges. It's much better if people got all hot and bothered about those evil Hollywood Liberals and didn't notice that he's one step closer to indictment.

    Thursday, May 26, 2005

    Daily Kos: 3 Years Old

    Marcos' first post says it all:

    I am progressive. I am liberal. I make no apologies. I believe government has an obligation to create an even playing field for all of this country's citizens and immigrants alike. I am not a socialist. I do not seek enforced equality. However, there has to be equality of opportunity, and the private sector, left to its own devices, will never achieve this goal.

    Posted May 26, 2002 12:57 PM

    The guy was good right out of the gate. I don't remember when I first posted on dKos. My user ID is under 10K, so I must have joined somewhere around December 2003. At the time, I was a BFA regular, and didn't understand blogging's potential. I don't know if any of us did. I just liked being around like-minded individuals. I remember being really intimidated by the comments on dKos as everyone seemed to know so much more than I did. But I stayed around. Lurked a lot. Learned a lot. Then posted. A lot. Now I understand words like invective and I know what cloture means. But I can still be intimidated by the depth of knowledge there.

    I owe my start to Howard Dean and BFA. But I owe my understanding to Marcos and the dKos community.

    If It Quacks Like Abuse of Power

    It seems that Mr. Frist, Senate Majority Leader, is upset that President Bush's nomination of John Bolton to be ambassador to the United Nations wasn't rubber stamped today as the cloture vote failed. Frist is upset because he lost. Again.

    We got to me what looks like a filibuster. Certainly sounds like a filibuster looking at the vote today. It quacks like a filibuster. And I'm afraid shortly after we thought we had things working together again we've got another filibuster.

    Well, I think the duck we hear quacking is the lame duck President and his secretive administration:

    Two key Democratic senators -- Christopher Dodd of Connecticut and Joe Biden of Delaware -- asked their Democratic colleagues Thursday to vote against closing the debate.

    The two said they wanted more time for the Bush administration to turn over requested documents relating to Syria and to 10 instances of communications intercepted by the National Security Agency.

    The senators said Bolton had once sought those intercepts as the undersecretary of state for arms control.

    In a letter to their peers, the two Democrats said the administration's refusal to provide the documents "is a threat to the Senate's constitutional power to advise and consent."

    "The only way to protect that power is to continue to demand that the information be provided to the Senate," the senators said. "The only means of forcing the administration to cooperate is to prevent a final vote on the nomination today."

    You see, part of "advise and consent" means that the Senate advises the executive regarding its nominations. It is not a rubber stamp. Information regarding Bolton's actions has been requested of the Administration. The institution of the Senate is entitled to such information in order to do its job. The Bush administration, in its usual secretive fashion, has refused to provide this information. Information necessary for Senators to make an informed decision about Bolton. Now what are they hiding? WMD's?

    Bush, Frist, and the Republican Right want it all or nothing. They want all the power, including that of the Senate's right to advise and consent. If it looks like abuse of power, sounds like abuse of power, and quacks like abuse of power, what we have is not a filibuster, but abuse of power by the Bush administration.

    Monday, May 23, 2005

    Filibuster Deal Win for Democrats

    So a deal has been reached, and the Senate walks away from edge of the nuclear cliff. Essentially, the GOP gets three judges, the Dems reserve the right to filibuster, and no one got exactly what they want. So how is this a win? Repeat after me:

    The Republican Right, Bill Frist, and the Religious Extreme want it all, or nothing.They didn't get it all. They are pissed. They lost.

    Don't believe me? Look at what they are saying:

    Powerline:
    What a hideous deal! The Democrats have agreed to cloture on only three nominees, and they have made no commitment not to filibuster in the future, if there are "extraordinary circumstances." Of course, the Dems think any nominee who is a Republican is "extraordinary." The Dems have just wriggled off the hook on some of the nominees that, politically, some of them did not want to be seen voting against.

    Malkin:
    "Scared Monkeys puts it succinctly: Compromise reached! Republicans screwed!"


    More reaction from the Right here, here, and here.

    We won. We keep the filibuster. Their base is pissed. There will be hell to pay for Frist and the GOP because the most certainly didn't get it all. To the Religious Right, this might as well be nothing.

    Sunday, May 22, 2005

    Dean, Abortion, and Common Ground

    This is perhaps the best example I've heard yet from a Democrat on how to frame the abortion argument. Common ground, indeed. Bravo to Chairman Dean. From Meet the Press today:
    But when you talk about framing this debate the way it ought to be framed, which is "Do you want Tom DeLay and the boys to make up your mind about this, or does a woman have a right to make up her own mind about what kind of health care she gets," then that pro-life woman says "Well, now, you know, I've had people try to make up my mind for me and I don't think that's right."  This is an issue about who gets to make up their minds:  the politicians or the individual.  Democrats are for the individual.  We believe in individual rights.  We believe in personal freedom and personal responsibility.  And that debate is one that we didn't win, because we kept being forced into the idea of defending the idea of abortion.

    We'd like to make abortion rare.  You know that abortions have gone up 25 percent since George Bush was president?

    MR. RUSSERT:  But...

    DR. DEAN:  We need to reduce the number of abortions in this country.  There is common ground between us and pro-life Democrats, and we ought to find that common ground.

    [...]

    MR. RUSSERT:  Both parties have tried to use it politically.

    DR. DEAN:  I agree with that, and I think that's unfortunate.  I think it is time now for pro-life Americans and pro-choice Americans or Americans who believe in individual freedom to get together, and we have common ground.  The common ground is we'd all like to reduce the number of abortions.  But put aside the rhetoric, the difficulty and let's work to reduce the number of abortions.  That's something we can agree on.  I don't think we're going to get there with abstinence-only education.  I don't think we're going to get there if we condemn contraceptions or condom use and all that kind of thing. But let's see what common ground that we have.  There are a lot of very reasonable Americans who call themselves pro-life.  There are a lot of very reasonable Americans who believe in individual choice and personal responsibility.  I think we can work together.  There are not many of us who want to see the abortion rate continue to go up as it has under President Bush.
    Present abortion this way, and moderate Pro-Life Democrats and Republicans will listen to you. Defend abortion against the GOP's narrow and ideological "Pro-Life" position and we lose.

    McCain on the Filibuster

    When I lived in AZ I liked the guy. Didn't always agree with him. But you've got to give him some credit for being a stand up kind of politician. From an interview on Faux News via dKos:
    Look, we're talking about changing the rules of the Senate with 51 votes, which has never happened in the history of the United States Senate. The Democrats have tried to change the rules when they were in the majority. They tried to get a two-thirds vote.

    If you have 51 votes, changing the rules of the Senate, nominations of the president is next, and then legislation follows that. And we will now become an institution exactly like the House of Representatives. That's not what our founding fathers envisioned when they created a bicameral legislature.
    That's what I can't stand about Republicans today. If they don't like something, they change the rules of the game, in mid-game, to any rules that suit them, then they smile and lie through their teeth about their "moral" reasons for doing so. Hypocrites. As McCain admits, changing the rules of the Senate with less than 60 votes has never happened. Democrats played by the rules and tried to change the rules legally by following the rules of the Senate. What Frist is trying to do is unprecedented, underhanded, cheap, and changes the rules of the game just as if he paid the referee at a boxing match to only count to six instead of ten when a boxer was on the canvass. Republicans should be ashamed.

    Saturday, May 21, 2005

    Fox "News" Downward Spiral

    This is good news:
    According to TV Newser, the number of people watching Fox during prime time in the 25 to 54 age bracket dropped in April for the sixth straight month.

    TV Newser cited a CNN press release which gave these totals for Fox's primetime audience in the 25 to 54 age bracket: Oct. 04: 1,074,000; Nov. 04: 891,000; Dec. 04: 568,000; Jan. 05: 564,000; Feb. 05: 520,000; March 05: 498,000; April 05: 445,000. That amounts to a decline of 58 percent, with no sign of leveling off.
    Advertisers like that 25-54 bracket. Hopefully this will hurt their pocketbook as more people wise up to the Fox propaganda channel.

    Friday, May 20, 2005

    Stem Cells, Bush, and Hypocrisy

    So South Korean scientists have figured out a new and better way to speed the creation of stem cells. But back here in America, where the Bush Administration places a higher value on its view of moral values rather than science, Bush is set to veto any stem cell research bill:
    "I made [it] very clear to the Congress that the use of federal money, taxpayers' money, to promote science which destroys life in order to save life, I'm against that," Bush told reporters. "Therefore if the bill does that, I will veto it."
    So Bush is against any use of taxpayers' money to promote science that destroys life in order to save life, huh? Then why is the Bush administration pursuing the development of nuclear weapons:
    The Bush administration is seeking $8.5 million to resume a study by the Energy and Defense departments on the feasibility of a nuclear "bunker buster" warhead, but the proposal is generating opposition in Congress and some leaders are pushing for a broader review of the nation's multibillion-dollar nuclear weapons programs.
    $8.5 million for a study of how to build new and better nuclear bombs. Last time I checked, didn't nukes destroy life? But that's peanuts compared to the Joint Strike Fighter program:
    The fighter was designed to be a low-cost replacement to the Air Force's F-16, with different versions being developed for the Navy, Marine Corps and British forces. But it is now expected to cost $244.8 billion to produce a planned 2,400 planes. Development will cost $44.8 billion, including a $10 billion increase identified last year, the report said.

    [...]

    Spending on the program will eventually increase to $1 billion a month from $100 million a month as the Defense Department invests in tools, facilities and workers, according to the report.
    Now last time I checked, the objective of a Joint Strike Fighter program was not to engineer an aircraft that would awe people at their local air shows. The pure and simple reason for this program, and the taxpayer funded science behind it, was to build a weapons platform for bombs like the bunker busting nuke, so that lives can be destroyed so that other lives can be saved. But the JSF is just one of many such uses of American taxpayer funded science and technology, in a trillion dollar Pentagon budget:
    As Congress moves ahead with a huge new defense bill, lawmakers are making only modest changes in the Pentagon's plans to spend well over $1 trillion in the next decade on an arsenal of futuristic planes, ships and weapons with little direct connection to the Iraq war or the global war on terrorism.

    House and Senate versions of the 2005 defense authorization measure contain a record $68 billion for research and development -- 20 percent above the peak levels of President Ronald Reagan's historic defense buildup. Tens of billions more out of a proposed $76 billion hardware account will go for big-ticket weapons systems to combat some as-yet-unknown adversary comparable to the former Soviet Union.

    On the Pentagon's wish list are such revolutionary weapons as a fighter plane that can land on an aircraft carrier or descend vertically to the ground; a radar-evading destroyer that can wallow low in the waves like a submarine while aiming precise rounds at enemy targets 200 miles inland; and a compact "isomer" weapon that could tap the metallic chemical element hafnium to release 10,000 times as much energy per gram as TNT.
    Research and development for stem cells? Veto it. Research and develop of weapons systems designed to destroy life so that other lives might be saved. Cha-ching to the tune of $68 billion.

    Once again Bush demonstrates his hypocritical "culture of life" means that killing embryos is bad, but killing any adult deemed a threat, along with any innocent man, woman, or child who happens to be in the vicinity at the time, is perfectly alright.

    Hypocrite.

    Santorum's Nazi Comparison Habit

    Yesterday, Senator Rick Santorum took to the floor of the United States Senate and compared the Democrats use of the filibuster to that of Adolph Hitler's invasion of France. It seems he likes to compare anything he finds having a 'secular' influence to the Nazis:
    I just want to remind people of societies over the last couple of centuries that have been secular in nature, and see what, what the results of that. Starting with the French Revolution; moving on to the last century to the Fascists, and yes the Nazis, and then the Communists and the Baathists. All of those purely sects. Hated religion. Tried to crush religion. That's the kind of peaceful public square that the New York Times would advocate for.
    So not only is Santorum comparing the New York Times to Nazis, but also to the French, the Communists, and Sadam's regime. Why? Because being "secular" is bad! Santorum, and all the rest of the Right Wing Religious Extremists want a theocracy, not a Democracy. In his mind, this is a country founded not on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and based on the rule of law. To Santorum this is a country based on the word of God. And not just any word of God. His God. His Bible. His interpretation. He presumes to know the mind of the founders, even though many of whom were Masons!

    I believe in one God. But I'll be damned if I'll push my beliefs on anyone else, let alone to try to presume to determine which set of beliefs are right and which are wrong. Santorum has no such qualms, and that is what makes him dangerous.

    Link to Video

    Thursday, May 19, 2005

    Support the Troops: Join Up

    Lately I've been seeing a lot of those yellow ribbon "we support our troops" stickers. With all the reports lately of the military failing to meet recruitment quotas, it's dawned on me and many others that if these GOP "patriots" really believed in Bush's war, they should back up their little yellow magnets by joining the military themselves, or encouraging their sons and daughters to join up. Well, to put this into direct action, below I give you part of this must read diary from dKos written by a person who ought to know what it's like. You see, the author, Soonergrunt, has been to Iraq, and his friend Ritchie is in mid-tour of duty over there. It seems they ran into some brave Wingnut Republicans shooting their mouths off while waiting to see Star Wars:
    One conversation in particular caught our attention, and we listened to it intently.  A gentleman of about mid-twenties or so was holding forth on the 'war on terror,' democrats, Jane Fonda, and so on.  His listeners appeared to be the same age range as he.  "We need to kick these raghead murderers out of the country...kill them wherever we find them...expand Israel all the way to the persian gulf and make Saudi Arabia a subsidiary of Exxon..." His listeners, two of whom were wearing 'OU Young Republicans' t-shirts, were nodding their heads and making generally approving comments.

    My friend just shook his head and muttered, loud enough for them to hear "fucking ignorant assholes."

    [...]

    "They're attacking mainly Iraqis now," said one.  "They're afraid to come out and fight us" she said.

    "Three things," said Richie, "one, attacking Iraqis is a great way to start a civil war-that's a lovely thought-a three-way civil war with us in the middle, and two," he said, "they're attacking us more than enough as it is, thank you, and three," he asked, "are you in the military?"

    "No, but I support the troops and our Commander in Chief," she replied.  

    "Then what's this 'WE' shit?  It's not your ass over there getting IED'ed and RPG'ed and shot at and mortared, so who the fuck are you to talk about 'we'?"  

    "Come on, I'm sure the young republicans here all have yellow ribbon magnets on the SUVs their daddies bought them-go easy, man.  They support us," I said.

    [...]

    "Well, with attitudes like yours, we won't win," one of them said.

    "Then why don't you join up so you can go over there and show us how it's done?" asked Richie.  They looked away.  "That's what I thought," he said, "so why don't you all shut your fucking yaps since you don't even believe in your own shit enough to stand up for it?"
    Brave fighting Wingnuts. "We support our troops!" Right. As long as someone else is doing the fighting and they are safe to drive their big ass SUV's between their McMansion and the gas station.

    Hypocrites.

    Santorum: Senate Democrats = Hitler

    You just can't make this stuff up:
    I mean, imagine, the rule has been in place for 214 years that this is the way we confirm judges. Broken by the other side two years ago, and the audacity of some members to stand up and say, how dare you break this rule. It's the equivalent of Adolph Hitler in 1942 "I'm in Paris. How dare you invade me. How dare you bomb my city? It's Mine." This is no more the rule of the Senate than it was the rule of the Senate before not to filibuster.
    That's right, boys and girls. The Right got it's undies in a bunch when one person submitted a commercial to a MoveOn contest comparing Bush to Hitler. Even though the Republicans cried about that for months, Senator Rick Santorum, himself a Right Wing religious extremist, finds it appropriate to compare Senate Democrats to Hitler on the floor of the the United States Senate.

    Hypocrites:
    In 1996 Clinton nominated Judge Richard Paez to the 9th Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals. Conservatives in Congress held up Paez's nomination for more than four years, culminating in an attempted filibuster on March 8, 2000. Bill Frist was among those who voted to filibuster Paez. [2]

    [...]

    On March 9, 2000, Former Senator Bob Smith (R-NH) issued a press release describing the intent of the Paez filibuster vote the day before. The release says Senator Smith "built a coalition of several moderate and conservative Senators in an effort to block" Paez's nomination. [4] Frist was a part of that coalition. Smith did not organize the filibuster to get more information on Paez (after all his nomination had been pending for four years). He organized the filibuster because he had already decided Paez was "out of the mainstream of political though and...should [not] be on the court"
    Let's get this straight: This is a power grab by the religious extremists in control of the Republican party, fueled and supported by it's leader's political aspirations, like Frist's desire for the White House. These GOP leaders would rather destroy the Senate as a deliberative body and rewrite the Constitution in their all of nothing quest for power, rather than do what is in the best interest of the people of this nation.

    These are dangerous times, and the rhetoric of hate coming from the Republican noise machine illustrates just how serious this fight is.

    Wednesday, May 18, 2005

    Kill Em' All

    Boy, the wingnuts are just on a hate fest. First we had Republican Senator Cornyn's defense of people getting violent and taking justice into their own hands by using violence against judges. Then there was Republican Majority Leader DeLay's remarks claiming retribution would be directed toward judges in the Shiavo case. Today, we've got Republican Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist describing the Democratic use of the filibuster as "assassinating" nominees. Then there's this one from Media Matters:
    Clear Channel radio host Glenn Beck said he was "thinking about killing [filmmaker] Michael Moore" and pondered whether "I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it," before concluding: "No, I think I could. I think he could be looking me in the eye, you know, and I could just be choking the life out -- is this wrong?"
    Howard Stern gets in trouble for sexually oriented programming, but this conservative talk show host is wondering whether contemplating murder on air is wrong where all his millions of listeners, some of whom may just be a nuts, might take him up on it. Boy now that's entertainment! I love those God-fearing conservatives. They are the salt of the earth. They are what makes America great. But they might want to review their bibles, as I think killing was specifically prohibited by God. I don't think he would look fondly on suggesting killing to others either.

    The Republican Party's new slogan: No man, no problem.

    Up is down. Right is wrong. Violence is approriate.

    Frist is Out of Control

    I missed this in all the coverage today of the pre-game build up to Bill Frist and the GOP's nuclear build up:
    On the same day that a federal judge whose family was assassinated testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee about courthouse safety, Sen. Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) described Democratic efforts opposing some of President Bush’s judicial nominees as “leadership-led use of Cloture vote to kill, to defeat, to assassinate these nominees.”
    This is nuts. Frist is now using the language of violence to describe what the Democrats are doing? This after the Republican Senator Cornyn's defense of, and Republican Majority Leader DeLay's remarks about retribution toward judges and made the same day as a judge who understands what real nut-jobs are capable of is testifying about violence toward judges? Frist and the GOP are out of control. Religious extremists are puling the strings and the GOP is over reaching in a grab for power. Thankfully Senator Durbin, who makes this IL resident proud, provides the smackdown:
    On the same day that a federal judge whose family was assassinated testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee about courthouse safety, Sen. Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) described Democratic efforts opposing some of President Bush’s judicial nominees as “leadership-led use of Cloture vote to kill, to defeat, to assassinate these nominees.”
    Thanks to Swing State Project for turning me on to this.

    The Will of the People?

    So I'm watching ABC World News tonight, and they run this story on the "controversy" over violence directed at judges. I now remember why I stopped watching network news, as I know more about the subject than the "reporter" who seemed to be covering it. But what caught my attention and really pissed me off was a sound byte from one of the "woman on the street" shots of random idiots giving their opinions on things they really don't know squat about. I'm paraphrasing from memory as ABC doesn't have it up on their site, but it went something like this:
    "How arrogant are those judges to think that they can interpret laws as they do in direct opposition to the will of the people!"
    I have only one statement for this person (besides you're an idiot): Judges are there to interpret LAWS to PROTECT the minority from THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE. It's called the RULE OF LAW as opposed to MOB RULE. If judges who, I might point out, are experts in the constitution and the application of law, followed the rule of of the people then we wouldn't need the courts. Vigilante justice would suffice. Lynching would still be in effect. Segregated schools would still be in effect. Women and minorities would still be second class citizens. Corporations would get away with anything they wanted. Corruption would run rampant. And the 'good ol' boy' society would dictate who could do what to whom.

    The Rule of Law is what this idiot, and every other idiot crying about "activist judges" doesn't seem to understand. Judges are there to enforce the Rule of Law, not public opinion. They are there, unaccountable, so they can rule on law independently of public opinion. We are a country founded on the Rule of Law, with many barriers put in place by the Founders to make certain that idiots like this lady, who's half baked opinion hatched on probably a whole 30 seconds of reflection and based on no actual knowledge of the law, let alone the Constitution, can't undermine, adulterate, influence, bastardize, compromise, re-write, or sway the courts to the will of the mob.

    Since we all know the joke about opinions, I might as well offer mine in response: The real cause of violence against judges to me stems from people's fundamental ignorance their responsibility as a member of a Democracy, and the utter stupidity of people to be so willing to be led by the nose like sheep to the slaughter as they unquestioningly parrot the GOP talking points they hear from people like Frist, DeLay, Hannity or Limbaugh as they merrily drive their big ass SUV home from their job so they can hurry up and sit in front of the TV in their huge McMansion and watch mindless sit-coms all night long, yet dare to complain about "activist judges" whose cases and rulings they know squat about.

    Tuesday, May 17, 2005

    Mr. President's Ownership Society

    It seems the White House has managed to once again stifle the free press, and forced Newsweek to retract it's report of reports regarding the mishandling of the Qur'an, including being tossed into buckets used for toilets. The White House and Administration's reasoning for outrage over the story? It was based on a single anonymous source. Because of that story, they claim, people are being killed! The outrage. The injustice. How could Newsweek do such an irresponsible thing!

    Probably by following the president's lead.

    From Think Progress:
    Remember when we learned that the evidence for Iraq’s supposed mobile biological weapons labs came from an unreliable source? What was McClellan’s response then?
    QUESTION: Does it concern the President that the primary source for the intelligence on the mobile biological weapons labs was a guy that U.S. intelligence never even interviewed?

    MCCLELLAN: Well, again, all these issues will be looked at as part of a broad review by the independent commission that the President appointed… But it’s important that we look at what we learn on the ground and compare that with what we believed prior to going into Iraq.
    [White House Press Gaggle, 4/5/04]
    There you have it. When confronted with an anonymous source who provided faulty intelligence that the President relied upon to go to war, McClellan chose not to talk about standards of accountability that should be met. Instead, the White House passed the buck to an independent commission and suggested that it didn’t matter what subsequent information they learned about Iraq’s intelligence because they didn’t know it when they went to war. Newsweek has taken responsibility by retracting its story. Will President Bush take responsibility for his own errors?
    QUESTION: He’s the president of the United States. This thing he told the country on the verge of taking the nation to war has turned out to be, by your own account, not reliable. That’s his fault, isn’t it?

    MCCLELLAN: No.
    [White House Press Briefing, 7/17/03]
    So what does Bush's mouthpiece, Mr. McClellan have to say about the Newsweek article? Surely he'll give as wide a margin to the press as he does to the President. Or not:
    MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I find it puzzling that Newsweek now acknowledges that the facts were wrong, and they refuse to offer a retraction. There is a certain journalistic standard that should be met, and in this case it was not met. The report was not accurate, and it was based on a single anonymous source who cannot personally substantiate the report, so the -- so they cannot verify the accuracy of the report.

    Q Scott, is the White House demanding a retraction --

    MR. McCLELLAN: No, I'm just saying --

    Q -- or are you satisfied with the statement Newsweek has made --

    MR. McCLELLAN: No, I'm just saying that I find it puzzling that the reporter got it wrong, yet said they're not retracting the story.
    Boy oh boy. Where do I start with this one? How about with the facts, which Mr. McClellan naturally gets wrong. From Guantanamo detainee accounts via Human Rights Watch:
    72.They were never given prayer mats and initially they didn't get a Koran. When the Korans were provided, they were kicked and thrown about by the guards and on occasion thrown in the buckets used for the toilets. This kept happening. When it happened it was always said to be an accident but it was a recurrent theme
    Then there's this part: Since Newsweek reported documented allegations that were over two years old, yet McClellan and the Administration claim are false because they are based on one anonymous source, McClellan finds it disturbing that the reporter is not retracting the story? Gee, get the facts wrong and don't retract a story. Who does that remind me of? Pot meet kettle:
    "The dictator of Iraq and his weapons of mass destruction are a threat to the security of free nations."
    • President Bush, 3/16/03

    Iraq poses "terrible threats to the civilized world."
    • Vice President Dick Cheney, 1/30/03

    "Iraq poses a serious and mounting threat to our country. His regime has the design for a nuclear weapon, was working on several different methods of enriching uranium, and recently was discovered seeking significant quantities of uranium from Africa."
    • Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, 1/29/03

    "This is about imminent threat."
    • White House spokesman Scott McClellan, 2/10/03

    "Absolutely."
    • White House spokesman Ari Fleischer answering whether Iraq was an "imminent threat," 5/7/03
    In Bush's ownership society, everyone is liable for their mistakes - except the administration. Even when some mistakes are more "mistaken" than others.

    Tuesday, May 10, 2005

    Reid Calls Frist's Bluff

    Now this is what I'm talking about:
    This fight is not about seven radical nominees; it's about clearing the way for a Supreme Court nominee who only needs 51 votes, instead of 60 votes. They want a Clarence Thomas, not a Sandra Day O'Connor or Anthony Kennedy or David Souter.  George Bush wants to turn the Senate into a second House of Representatives, a rubberstamp for his right wing agenda and radical judges.   That's not how America works.

    I believe there are two options for avoiding the nuclear showdown, which so many of us believe is bad for the Senate, and bad for America.

    But I want to be clear: we are prepared for a vote on the nuclear option. Democrats will join responsible Republicans in a vote to uphold the constitutional principle of checks and balances.
    Now that's a minority leader with some guts. Harry Reid is essentially calling Frist out. This is what you do to a bully. Frist has been waving his finger and threatening to pull the nuclear trigger for weeks. It's getting old. So Reid did what I've been waiting for some Democrat to do to the GOP leadership since Howard Dean called out Bush on the war. As I wrote yesterday, if Frist had the votes, he'd have pulled the trigger. Popular opinion is against him. He's backed into a corner by his fundie base. Moderate Republicans are balking. And the facts don't support the GOP's claims. So what does Reid do?

    He dares him to pull the trigger!

    I love fighting Democrats. The nuclear option is a lose-lose for Frist. If he backs down, his fundies will get their undies in a bunch. If he pulls the trigger and loses the vote, his political aspirations are over and the GOP is dealt a nasty blow. If he pulls the trigger and wins the vote, look for the GOP to be swept out of office in 2006 as not even rigged Diebolt machines are going to save them. And now, Reid has upped the ante by publicly calling his bluff!

    Billy "playground bully" Frist is in a hard patch to be certain now. Pass the popcorn!

    Repent or Resign: Part II

    A couple of days ago I wrote about the Reverend Chan Chandler of Haywood County Baptist church and his insistence that if one of his flock didn't vote for Bush, they were a sinner and should repent or resign from the church. Well, guess who resigned today:
    WAYNESVILLE, N.C. (AP) -- A Baptist preacher accused of running out nine congregants who refused to support President Bush resigned Tuesday.

    ''I am resigning with gratitude in my heart for all of you, particularly those of you who love me and my family,'' the Rev. Chan Chandler said during a meeting at East Waynesville Baptist Church.
    At least he did the right thing... eventually. But he did need a bit of persuasion:
    Chandler's resignation came a day after a national group that lobbies for church-state separation urged the Internal Revenue Service to investigate the tax-exempt status of the East Waynesville Baptist Church.

    IRS rules bar clear-cut politicking by tax-exempt groups. Last October, days before Bush won a second term, the IRS said it was investigating about 60 charities and other tax-exempt groups -- about a third of them churches -- for potentially breaking rules that bar them from participating in political activity.


    I said the guy was poster boy material a couple days ago. I'm glad to see someone else had the same idea.

    Monday, May 09, 2005

    Playing Not to Lose

    Republican Majority Leader and all around good guy, Senator Bill Frist, has been threatening to pull the nuclear trigger in the Senate for weeks now, effectively changing the rules of the Senate and thereby eliminating the minority's ability to filibuster.

    So for all the saber rattling, why hasn't he pulled the trigger yet? Could it be the majority of Americans from both parties are against his use of nuclear arms tactics? Could it be prominent republican senators, like Senator Hagel (R-NE), have publicly called the GOP's tactics false? Could it have anything to do with the fact that at a 96.6% confirmation rate, Bush has the best record of judicial nominee of any modern president?

    Let's recap the situation the Democrats are faced with here: The public is against Frist's nuclear build up, many Republicans are fearful of pulling the trigger, and the facts (gasp of surprise) favor the the Democrats. Faced with these odds what's a Democrat to do?

    Why, offer a lopsided "bipartisan" compromise, of course!

    It seems those wacky Democrats just can't stand not being friends, and just like any abused spouse, want to make up so badly that they are willing to undermine their own party to avoid confrontation. It's enough to make me want to pick on Democrats myself. From The Hill, via Political Wire:
    The deal "would involve at least a half-dozen Senators from each party signing a letter or memorandum of understanding that signals how they would proceed to vote on all matters related to judicial nominations."

    "The agreement would not require a single vote to be cast for it to be executed. As long as each side has at least six Senators willing to uphold it, Senate Republicans would be unable to carry out the nuclear option and Senate Democrats would be unable to execute a successful filibuster."
    So much for party unity. What type of deal is this? Further info from the Hill article in the comments at dKos:
    The six Senate Republicans would commit to opposing the so-called nuclear option to end judicial filibusters, which would leave GOP leaders short of the 50 votes they need to execute the parliamentary move to abolish the procedure.

    In exchange, the six Senate Democrats would pledge to allow votes on four of the seven circuit court nominees who were already filibustered in the 108th Congress and have been re-nominated.

    Perhaps more importantly, the six Democrats would pledge to vote for cloture to end filibuster attempts on all other judicial nominees named by President Bush, including Supreme Court picks, except in "extreme circumstances," according to a senior aide familiar with the discussions.
    So let's see if I'm reading this deal correctly: In exchange for the GOP not pulling the nuclear trigger - essentially publicly changing the rules of the game, something that they many not have the votes to do, something that the public is firmly against, something that could be used as a political weapon against them in 2006, and something that could cost the majority leader his political aspirations - Democrats agree to undermine their party's unity every time their colleagues try to use the filibuster to offset the majority's advantage related to any and all judicial nominees - supreme court nominees included. But the Democrats still reserve the right to filibuster for "really really" bad nominees. Wow. Way to stand strong!

    I don't get it. Could be I'm just ignorant. Could be I'm short sighted. But why all the joy in Mudville about blocking three of the seven nominees so we can reserve the filibuster for the really bad ones? I thought these were the really bad ones?

    If we block 3 of 7 nominees, that means the GOP get 4 of 7. Four nominees that Democrats thought were bad enough not to allow through the first time. Four more judges hand picked by Bush who will advance the Right's agenda. Four more judges Democrats were solidly against.

    But even though they were bad enough to block before, now it's a good deal?

    Frist is playing a game of nuclear chicken and once again the Democrats, worried about losing or looking bad, blink first. I thought this was something worth fighting for? Democrats have a golden opportunity here with Frist backed into a corner, his fundie base pulling him one way, the moderate GOPers pulling him the other. Something on their side has got to give. It's a lose-lose for the GOP. Yet the Democrats are bailing them out again with another "bipartisan compromise."

    I don't get it. We give them 4 of the 7 and stop the "really bad ones." Then the next time, why shouldn't they just nominate 10 really bad ones. Will we then compromise on the "really really bad ones."

    Once again the Democrats snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

    UPDATE:
    Coldblue Steele at dKos points out that Sen. Lott says there is no deal:

    Press Statements:
    May 9, 2005
    Statement from Susan Irby, communications director for Senator Lott:

    "For some time now, Senator Lott and Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska have been trying to see if there is common ground that could forge a resolution on both sides of the judicial nominations issue. But Senator Lott has not agreed to this deal reported today. In fact, he did not even speak with Senator Nelson last week or this weekend. He has not changed his contention that all judicial nominees should have an up or down vote on the Senate floor."

    Friday, May 06, 2005

    Repent or Resign

    So the American Taliban is at it again. It seems that if you didn't vote for Bush, you're a sinner and should repent. At least that's what the Reverend Chan Chandler of Haywood County Baptist church is saying. You just can't make this stuff up:
    Already, the Reverend Chan Chandler has ex-communicated nine members of East Waynesville Baptist Church. Another 40 members have left in protest.

    [...]

    One former church member says Chandler told some of the members that if they didn't support George Bush, they needed to resign their positions and get out of the church, or go to the altar, repent and agree to vote for Bush.
    What is scary to me is that only 40 others resigned in protest. Don't these people see how nuts this is? If you're a Democrat and didn't vote for Bush, you're a sinner and should repent your sin or resign? Voting Democratic is a sin? I guess I missed that one in the Bible. Oh wait, here it is:
    "And the Lord said unto them: thou shalt not cast thy lot with the donkey, for doing so is a sin before thy God."
    Politicus 2:14
    You guys buying that? Didn't think so. Here's the North Carolina Democratic Party Chair, Jerry Meek's, response:
    "One of the Bible's most repeated commands is to 'Love your neighbor.' If these reports are true, this minister is not only acting extremely inappropriately by injecting partisan politics into a house of worship, but he is also potentially breaking the law and threatening the church's 501 (c) (3) non-profit status."
    I think it's poster child time. I think Mr. Chan Chandler (you just can't make this stuff up) should learn all about the laws that govern his tax exempt status and how one goes about losing said status. Because if one wishes to impose one's political beliefs by extolling the virtues of Bush while condemning voting Democratic as sinful, one has no business keeping the title of "Reverend."

    Hmmm. Excommunicating parishioners for voting against one's political beliefs. I wonder what God thinks of that.

    UPDATE: This appears to have made it to the MSM thanks of course to Keith Olberman. Here's a link to him discussing on his show.

    Tuesday, May 03, 2005

    When the President Talks to God

    I'm not a big folk music fan. Not into Dylan much. Call it a lack of taste or the results of my metal head youth. Whatever. I just found this over at dKos, and apparently the censors missed it last night on Leno. Folk-rocker Conor Oberst (aka Bright Eyes) actually performed the song "When the President Talks to God" on national television last night. I'm amazed. Here are the lyrics:
    When the president talks to God
    Are the conversations brief or long?
    Does he ask to rape our women's' rights
    And send poor farm kids off to die?
    Does God suggest an oil hike
    When the president talks to God?

    When the president talks to God
    Are the consonants all hard or soft?
    Is he resolute all down the line?
    Is every issue black or white?
    Does what God say ever change his mind
    When the president talks to God?

    When the president talks to God
    Does he fake that drawl or merely nod?
    Agree which convicts should be killed?
    Where prisons should be built and filled?
    Which voter fraud must be concealed
    When the president talks to God?

    When the president talks to God
    I wonder which one plays the better cop
    We should find some jobs. the ghetto's broke
    No, they're lazy, George, I say we don't
    Just give 'em more liquor stores and dirty coke
    That's what God recommends

    When the president talks to God
    Do they drink near beer and go play golf
    While they pick which countries to invade
    Which Muslim souls still can be saved?
    I guess god just calls a spade a spade
    When the president talks to God

    When the president talks to God
    Does he ever think that maybe he's not?
    That that voice is just inside his head
    When he kneels next to the presidential bed
    Does he ever smell his own bullshit
    When the president talks to God?

    I doubt it
    I doubt it
    Wow. The guy's obviously a Commie Liberal Scum. But the morality police at the networks missed this one. Score one for our side. Here's the diary this came from.

    Frist & The GOP: All or Nothing

    I have a 4-year old daughter. She's generally very good, but like any 4-year old sometimes she gets cranky and throws a temper tantrum. The underlying constant of each one of these tantrums is that she wants something, and there will be no alternative. Either she gets what she wants, or she's throwing a tantrum. It's her nuclear option, and thankfully, as she grows up, she uses it less and less.

    The same can't be said of the Republican leadership. It's not good enough that 205 of 215 of Bush's judicial nominations were confirmed. They want all of them. And if the Democrats want to block a few of the really whack job nominees, then by god the Republicans will throw a tantrum and nuke 'em.

    How very 4-year old of them. I recognize the tactics they are using to support their position of all or nothing, My daughter uses them as well.

    First up, is the "it's not fair" whine, as the GOP calls preventing nominees from coming up for a vote unfair. I love it when they piously go on the political talk shows and decry that they just want to give every nominee an up or down vote. How convenient for the majority to just want a vote on something they want. I wonder how that might turn out with more Republicans voting than Democrats. Sorry guys, I don't see the fairness in abusing your majority to ram through some extreme nominees.

    The fairness whine also ties directly into the good old Bart Simpson defense "I didn't do it!" Republicans would never stop judicial nominees from being given their up or down vote (he says dripping with sarcasm). Why that wouldn't be fair. So instead, they just never allow nominees to get to the Senate to receive that up or down vote. They just block them in Republican controlled committee! That's much more fair. So if a nominee doesn't get to the Senate to get an up or down vote, is that candidate really denied an up or down vote? Sorry guys, but "the committee did it" just isn't cutting it as a defense.

    Next we have the "you're just picking on me" excuse for why those nasty ill-mannered Democrats are blocking these nice nominees. "It's unprecedented" the Republicans cry! The filibuster has never been used to block judicial nominees until these obstructionist Democrats! Well, about that: You see, once again the Republicans are playing a bit loose with the facts. Actually in this case, they are just plain ignoring them. From Geoffrey R. Stone, a law professor at the University of Chicago via the Chicago Tribune:
    The Senate filibuster is a classic example of such a procedure. The filibuster has been recognized by the Senate at least since 1790. Although it has been used most often to force compromise on proposed legislation, it has also been used to encourage compromise on executive and judicial nominations. The filibuster was first used to block a judicial nominee in 1881, when it was invoked against Rutherford B. Hayes' nomination of Stanley Matthews to the U.S. Supreme Court. (Matthews was eventually confirmed.) From 1950 to 2000, the filibuster was used at least 17 times in the context of judicial nominations, most famously in the successful effort of Republicans to derail President Lyndon B. Johnson's nomination of Abe Fortas as chief justice in 1968.
    What?! Republicans have filibustered judicial nominees before! Mr. Frist, has someone's been fibbing.

    Finally we have the 4-year old's line of last defense: the "compromise" approach. Of course to a 4-year old, compromise means you give me what I want and I'll give you something you had anyway. Case in point, Mr. Frist's latest "compromise." From the NY Times:
    He said he would let Democrats block lower court nominees if they gave up the power to block nominees to the appeals courts and the Supreme Court. That would mean ceding control of the courts to the far right because lower court judges are bound to follow the higher courts. He also offered to guarantee up to 100 hours of debate on appeals court and Supreme Court nominees, but that would merely delay the point at which Democrats were cut out.
    I think even my daughter would get this "compromise." To sum up what "playground bully" Billy Frist is saying: "You silly Democrats stay off the slide and we'll let you play in the corner of the sandbox. But we'll let you tell us all about how you should be able to play on the slides for a whole recess... before we send you back to the corner of the sandbox.

    All or nothing. That's all the Republicans want.

    Monday, May 02, 2005

    A Conversation with Christine

    Yesterday, I posted some of the prepared remarks from Christine Cegelis' Arbor Day event I attended at the Morton Arboretum at the south end of IL-06. I didn't have a lot of time to reflect on the event, or any of the conversations I had while at it, so I just stuck to what I felt was important: Christine's speech. One of the comments on the this post at dKos noted her willingness to meet the people she wanted to represent:
    She worked incredibly hard in the last race.  I had thrown a small fundraiser for Kerry and other Democratic candidates, just a bake sale type thing in my driveway.  Christine showed up and spoke to people stopping by for over an hour.  My 80 year old father, one of the first Dems in his suburb [...] had actual hope that the district might go blue in his lifetime.  

    She marched in every local parade, had tables at every summer fest, showed up wherever two or more Democrats came together in her district.
    This comment got me thinking about a conversation I had with her at the event. We talked about her run for congress and what it has done for the local Democratic groundswell in the area. She really became a focal point to rally around in the area, and through her campaign mobilized more ground troops of the blue variety than I've seen in a long time. Cegelis volunteers canvassed every weekend for her, and took along not only Cegelis literature, but literature for every other Democratic candidate running for office in the specific neighborhoods they canvassed. Everyone was supporting Christine because she and her volunteers were supporting everyone else.

    As we talked more, the conversation focused on what I think sets her apart: a candidate's campaigning style. I wondered if the way a candidate campaigned might be an important indicator of how they'd govern - if they would represent their constituents or their backers. We discussed how some candidates are able to campaign without really getting to know the people they were to represent - buying media spots to run on TV or radio, posting ads in papers, only showing up at large structured events where the crowds where kept at arms length. To her, the most positive aspect from her running for office was all the people she's met and friends she's made. Hearing how many of her volunteers note the same thing - that they've made life long friends through volunteering for her campaign - gave her a great deal of satisfaction.

    She quit her job so she could campaign full time. To her, this meant going to not only major large Democratic events or marching in parades, but also going to small volunteer "bake sales" people were doing on their own. Still today, If you host a house party and contact the campaign in advance, she will do her best to show up for at least part of the event. You see, to Christine, meeting the people she would represent in Washington was something she viewed as valuable. She wants to know her constituents, not just represent them.

    She told me a story of a volunteer who held a small house party and sheepishly requested Christine's attendance. Arrangements were made for Christine to show up at the event, and this volunteer was given her cell phone number so she could contact Christine should there be any changes related to the event. As if unworthy, the volunteer assured Christine at the event that she would never use Christine's cell number after the event, especially if she made it to Washington. Christine's response: "You better use it! If I'm in DC, I need to know what's going on back home and I want to hear it from people like you who live here!"

    This story it typical of Christine and the reason for her appeal among the grassroots here. Just like Howard Dean, people relate to her and see her for the genuine person she is. And just like Howard, everyone calls her "Christine."

    Someone during the Q&A yesterday asked her if it was realistic to think she might achieve all the goals on her agenda should she be elected. Her response was that it may not be realistic to think all these goals will be achieved overnight, and certainly not without a great deal of help. But she would be a very loud and squeaky wheel on our behalf to give voice to our concerns.

    That's the type of representation I want in Washington.

    Sunday, May 01, 2005

    Blogging the Cegelis Arbor Day Speech

    Christine Cegelis held an Arbor Day event today at the Thornhill Education Center at Morton Arboretum, located at the southern end of IL-06 between Glen Ellyn and Downers Grove and Lisle. A neighbor went along to the event with me, helping me overcome my introverted nature, so I could be a part of the event. After Cegelis was done with her speech, I was able to get a copy and wanted to post parts of it here in the Blogosphere. Since it was her event, it was well received by a supportive crowd, but I still felt it exemplifies why she deserves our support. In short: she gets it.

    The text below is from the prepared comments at the event today. She began with laying out the costs of energy dependence:
    ...Our reliance on foreign oil increases our security risks in the world. As the prices for our reliance on fossil fuels rise, the opportunities they represent are diminishing--along with viable supplies of these non-renewable fuels.

    We can wait for independent researchers to find solutions. For corporations or foreign markets to lead the way. Or we can rely on commodities that have never been in short supply in America--ingenuity and leadership. We can ask our government to lead, to set a bold vision toward a future of renewable energy and of independence from foreign oil. To give our children a dream they can build on and participate in.

    We will not achieve energy independence by paying lip service to renewable energy while giving record subsidies to fossil fuel industries. Or by building new oil refineries on old military bases as President Bush has proposed. Even oil companies call that an inefficient way to meet supply demands.

    We will not do it with the special-interest giveaways the House Energy Bill provides. Industry lobbyists spent hundreds of millions to get provisions in this bill that will eliminate energy regulations designed to prevent market manipulation and consumer gouging on energy rates.

    Even analysts with the conservative Heritage Foundation are critical of the House Energy Bill, saying, "The bottom line is, it's not going to provide the power that's needed for the economy so people can turn on their lights. It's such a farce."

    But there are real solutions to the problems we face. Many of them will not only save money on energy and decrease our dependence on foreign oil, they’ll also create good jobs and grow the economy. Smart government policies and investments can drive the energy revolution, if only we had the leadership to make it happen.
    At this point, she went on to name a lengthy list of environmentally friendly and green options such as promoting hybrid cars, revising building codes, higher energy standards and energy efficient appliances, investment in new durable goods and U.S. factories to manufacture them, renewable energy development and the economic opportunity it brings, alternative energy technologies like wind and solar, and finally transportation improvements and public transportation options to support job growth. All of these options were related directly to job growth:
    The Apollo Alliance estimates changes like these would generate an additional 10.6 billion dollars of economic activity in Illinois alone. It would create 158,980 jobs in the state including 30,920 new manufacturing jobs and 22,061 new construction jobs. Because of strong wind and bio-energy resources, the Union of Concerned Scientists estimates that Illinois has the potential to generate nearly eight times its current electricity needs from renewable energy. With only 20 percent of the state’s electricity from renewable energy, total consumer savings in Illinois from lower energy prices would be more than $2.3 billion by the year 2020.

    These are all changes we could be making now. They are changes we should be making now. And they’re changes I’ll fight for if you elect me to Congress. But these changes are only a start.

    In the past, our federal government has led and funded dreams for the future. We embraced space exploration. We put our best minds and hearts into the effort to put men on the moon. And that inspired children to study math and physics, to dream beyond the limits of man’s knowledge. This is the essence of American innovation--making the imagined real, creating a future that others can’t even dream of. We cannot do this if we’re stuck in the past. If our definition of exploration is looking for oil in ANWAR.
    The ANWAR line brought a raucous amount of laughter from the crowd. Her close:
    Our government needs the will and commitment to take the steps we can today, and to fuel the science and innovation that will lead to unknown advances for the future. In this way we will fulfill Morton’s vision and be good trustees of the earth, the future, and the American dream.

    I ask you to join me in that fight. Please contribute today and work with me to reclaim the American dream.
    Learn more about Christine Cegelis here.