Thoughts from a Yellow Dog Democrat living in Olympia, in the great BLUE state of Washington

I am a liberal because it is the political philosophy of freedom and equality. And I am a progressive because it is the political path to a better future. And I am a Democrat because it is the political party that believes in freedom, equality and progress. -- Digby

Friday, March 30, 2007

Business Week "Hearts" Gore

Business Week says in their 4-2-07 issue that they can read the signs that Al Gore is running. Their evidence:
Looking for a sign that Al Gore may be a Presidential candidate after all?
Here’s one: He recently bought two Mercury Mariner gas-electric hybrid SUVs. Gore had been publicly warned by UAW President Ron Gettelfinger that his three Toyotas (two Priuses and a Lexus, all hybrids) would be a problem with the union if he mounted a White House run.

Hmmmm. . .


What the Heck ?? !!


The House Judiciary Committee has worked out an agreement to have transcribed interviews with at least eight current and former employees of the Justice Department behind closed doors. The committee said that the deal followed a series of phone and written negotiations.
. . .
Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) and the other leaders have agreed that "investigators would keep the content of the interviews confidential pending consultation with Department officials." It's not clear when or if such a release might come, or if the interviews will be followed by open hearings.

WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?? Why was this deal made?? There's not even any claim of Executive Privilege!!

Monday, March 26, 2007

I Hate Katie Couric

She's an idiot and her questions last night to John and Elizabeth Edwards were inane.

Were you terrified you might lose your wife?

That must have been hard once again to have to face your kids . . . That is tough. What did you say?

And I think some people wondered if you were in denial, if you were being
realistic about what you were going to be facing here.

Your decision to stay in this race has been analyzed, and quite frankly
judged by a lot of people. And some say, what you're doing is courageous, others
say it's callous

Here you're staring at possible death...

Some have suggested that you're capitalizing on this.

Even those who may be very empathetic to what you all are facing might question your ability to run the country at the same time you're dealing with a major health crisis in your family.

Can you understand their concern, though, Senator Edwards, that gosh, at a time when we're living in a world that is so complicated and so dangerous that the president cannot be distracted by, rightly so, caring about his wife's situation?

And it went on and on. How would she have reacted if someone treated Jay Monahan's cancer as a career killer and obsessed with his death? She defined them entirely by Elizabeth's illness.

What a bitch. Here's a taste:
I guess some people would say that there's some middle ground. You don't
have to necessarily stay at home and feel sorry for yourself, and do
nothing. But, if given a finite – a possibly finite period of time on the
planet – being on the campaign trail, away from my children, a lot of time,
and sort of pursuing this goal, is not, necessarily, what I'd
First of all -- it WAS exactly what she did. She worked after Jay Monahan's diagnosis and before his death -- even taking out of Country assignments.

But of course it's not HER saying these things! Nooo. It's that elusive evil strawman saying those awful things. GAWD I'm tired of that technique. "Some people . . " "A lot of people . . ." "Those who . . ."

She manipulated the interview so the Edwards' were completely defined by Elizabeth's illness. What a waste of air time.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Voter Rights Are The Real Reason

The dirty secret behind the US Attorney firings is election manipulation.

Since 2005, Bush has appointed at least three U.S. attorneys who had worked in the Justice Department's civil rights division when it was rolling back longstanding voting-rights policies aimed at protecting predominantly poor, minority voters.

Another newly installed U.S. attorney, Tim Griffin in Little Rock, Ark., was accused of participating in efforts to suppress Democratic votes in Florida during the 2004 presidential election while he was a research director for the Republican National Committee.

The replacement of the U.S. attorneys and the so-called voter-fraud campaign indicates that the Bush administration is using its law enforcement powers for partisan political purposes.

Bush said he's heard complaints from Republicans about some U.S. attorneys' "lack of vigorous prosecution of election fraud cases," and administration e-mails have shown that Rove and other White House officials were involved in the dismissals and in selecting a Rove aide to replace one of the U.S. attorneys.

Last April, Rove gave a speech in Washington to the Republican National Lawyers Association. He ticked off 11 states that he said could be pivotal in the 2008 elections. Bush has appointed new U.S. attorneys in ten of them since 2005: here in Washington, but also in Florida, Colorado, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Arkansas, Michigan, Nevada and New Mexico. Surprise, surprise.

Rove thanked the audience for "all that you are doing in those hot spots around the country to ensure that the integrity of the ballot is protected." He added, "A lot in American politics is up for grabs."

The Justice Department's civil rights division supported a Georgia voter identification law that a court later said discriminated against poor, minority voters. It also declined to oppose an unusual Texas redistricting plan that helped expand the Republican majority in the House of Representatives. That plan was partially reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court. Bradley Schlozman, who was the civil rights division's deputy chief, agreed in 2005 to reverse the career staff's recommendations to challenge a Georgia law that would have required voters to pay $20 for photo IDs and in some cases travel as far as 30 miles to obtain the ID card. A federal judge threw out the Georgia law, calling it an unconstitutional, Jim Crow-era poll tax.

Former voting rights section chief Joseph Rich, in testimony to a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing this week, described the gutting of the voting rights enforcement division. He said that 20 of the 35 attorneys in the voting rights section have been transferred to other jobs or have left their jobs since April 2005 and a staff of 26 civil rights analysts who reviewed state laws for discrimination has been slashed to 10.

During the tenure of Alex Acosta, who served as the division chief from the fall of 2003 until he was named interim U.S. attorney in Miami in the summer of 2005, the department didn't file a single suit protecting the votes of African-Americans. In a similar time period, the Clinton administration filed six such cases. The Justice Department has only tried 35 Title VII employment discrimination cases since 2001, in contrast to the 92 cases brought during the Clinton administration. The Housing and Civil Enforcement section's cases dropped from 53 in 2001 to 31 in 2006, he added, with a 60% dip in the number of race-related cases.

During this week's House judiciary subcommittee hearing, we heard testimony recounting lapses in the division's enforcement. A Citizens Commission on Civil Rights report found that "the enforcement record of the voting section during the Bush administration indicates this traditional priority has been downgraded significantly, if not effectively ignored."

Congressman Jerry Nadler, D-NY, stated, "The more stringent requirements you put on voting in order to get rid of alleged voter fraud, the more you're cutting down on legitimate people voting."

Bush administration officials have said that no single reason led to the firings of the eight U.S. attorneys. But two of those ousted have a different viewpoint:

Former U.S. Attorney David Iglesias of New Mexico has said he thought that "the
voter fraud issue was the foundation" for his firing and complaints about his
failure to pursue Democrats was "the icing on the cake."

John McKay, the
ousted U.S. attorney for western Washington State, looked into allegations of
voter fraud against Democrats during our governor's race in 2004. He said that
later, when top Bush aides interviewed him for a federal judgeship, he was asked
to respond to criticism of his inquiry in which no charges were brought. He
didn't get the judgeship.

Bud Cummins, the U.S. attorney in Arkansas who was fired, said he had "serious doubts" that any U.S. attorney was failing to aggressively pursue voter fraud.

"What they're responding to is party chairmen and activists who from the beginning of time go around paranoid that the other party is stealing the election," Cummins said. "It sounds like to me that they were merely responding to a lot of general carping from the party, who had higher expectations once the Republican appointees filled these posts that there would be a lot of voting fraud investigations. Their expectations were unrealistic."

Tim Griffin, Cummins replacement, was a Rove protégé and a former Republican National Committee research director. He was accused of being part of an attempt to wipe likely Democratic voters off the rolls in Florida in 2004 if they were homeless or military personnel.

Our voter rights are the real underlying cause of the USA purge. They won't need the Supreme Court next time.

UPDATE 3-26:

Brad Blog has a great post on this same subject.

UPDATE 3-30:

LA Times has a great piece written by Joseph Rich on this topic. Rich was formerly the cielf of the voting section of the the Justice Department's civil rights division. He reports from his personal experience that voter suppression is the real agenda.

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Sweet Dreams Are Made of This

Thanks to Down With Tyranny

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Newsweek Article on Al Gore Potentially Running

Click above to get a preview of their 3/27 issue.

But here's the rub -- their evidence is his waistline and his plan NOT to attend an upcoming Earth Day event.
He is not taking any overt steps toward running, and that may be the cleverest strategy of all.

Well, weak as the article is, at least it's chatter.


Saturday, March 17, 2007

Chris Rock "Hearts" Gore

Last night on Real Time, Bill Mahar asked Chris Rock who he supported for president. Chris hemmed and hawed and said Obama but then said he wished Al Gore would run since he's the most qualified.


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Murtha "Hearts" Gore

In a interview about Iraq to Melinda Henneberger at Huffington Post, Congressman John Murtha said:

As we get closer to '08, however, Murtha expects more and more lawmakers and candidates in both parties to get religion on redeployment: "The public will have their say, and the public was well ahead of me" on the war.

"Our candidates haven't been the strongest," in recent presidential races, he noted, "worrying more about earth tones. But Al Gore has learned it's not the color of your shirt, and Al Gore now I think has the best shot" of taking the White House in '08, ahead of all of the announced candidates.

"And Hillary, I don't know where she is" on Iraq, even now.

The support builds!


Chris Vance Admits He Contacted AG McKay on Governor's Race

According to the Seattle Times Washington Sate GOP Chair Chris Vance acknowledged that he had contacted AG John McKay about the status of the investigation into the governor's race in 2004.

"I said 'You know, John, we're getting a lot of complaints from activists about this,' " Vance said.

"[McKay] said, 'Stop right there, I can't talk about this. If we are doing any kind of investigation or not, I can't comment,' " Vance recalled, "so I dropped it

But here's the money quote:
"Republican activists were furious because they felt that you had a Republican secretary of state [Sam Reed], a Republican county prosecutor in Norm Maleng and a Republican U.S. attorney, but still they saw the governorship slipping away, and they were just angry," Vance said.

All those loyal Republicans and they couldn't figure out a way to steal an election without coercing an Federal Attorney General at the Justice Department. Poor Chris!

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Monday, March 12, 2007

2 Unrelated Stories Tell a Sad Tale

First Story
All week Bush is travelling around South America bragging about how much aid we are providing. However accoring to the Latin America Working Group says "nearly half of U.S. assistance to Latin America is military aid and hardside counternarcotics assistance" and shows how aid is really declining: the Bush Administration has slashed economic aid Brazil and Mexico in the FY08 request. Brazil for example, received $6.5 million in FY 06-07 while Bush is requesting only $2 million in FY 08.

Second Story
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has awarded CEO H. Lee Scott a stock bonus worth $22 million for reaching revenue targets in fiscal year 2007.

That proves where our Country's priorities are.

Senator Eagleton

When Senator Eagleton died last Sunday, most news articles and talking heads mentioned the 1972 election. Eagleton was nominated as vice-president and then forced off the ticket by McGovern when it was disclosed that Eagleton had undergone treatment for depression.

However we shouldn't forget that Eagleton was central to the passage of the Clean Water Act and sponsored legislation that halted the bombing of Cambodia.

At his memorial Mass the announcer said that Senator Eagleton had written a note. In the note, he instructed us to "...go forth in peace and love, be kind to dogs and vote Democratic."

What a great mantra and a great way to remember a great American.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Congressman Smith Call For Investigation of Doc Hastings

Lookie here:

Dem Rep: Hastings Should "Absolutely" Be Investigated
By Paul Kiel - March 10, 2007, 12:03 PM
Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), speaking on a Washington NPR affiliate, KUOW, said yesterday that he "absolutely" supports an ethics investigation of Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA), the ranking member of the House ethics committee. "I think that whole situation is just incredibly troubling," he said, "the line was clearly crossed."

Smith was referring, of course, to Hastings' former chief of staff Ed Cassidy's call to then-U.S. Attorney John McKay shortly after the 2004 election. McKay testifed last Tuesday that he was "concerned and dismayed" by the call, during which Cassidy asked him whether his office was investigating allegations of Democratic voter fraud in the gubernatorial election, which the Democrat had very narrowly won.

Good job!!


Darcy is IN!!

She lost by an average of only 5 votes per precinct in 2006 and broke many of our hearts. But Darcy Burner just filed to run again! Yippie!

She says:
Over the last several months, many of you have come to me and asked me to finish what we began in 2006. Recently Congressman Reichert has made clear once again how out-of-touch he is by supporting President Bush's plan to put more American troops into harm's way in Iraq, by voting against basic fiscal responsibility for our federal government, and by opposing worker's rights. In the face of his actions, I have realized that you are right.

We need a member of Congress who will work to build the country and the future we deserve. We need someone who will fight to ensure that we keep our promises to the young, to the old, and to all who contribute to making our county great. Thanks to all that you taught me and all you helped me build, there is nobody in a better position to win this seat than me.

So I am in.

Go to her site and send her some love to get her off a on strong footing.


Tuesday, March 06, 2007

When Cheney Resigns -- PANIC!!

Bloggers are speculating that Cheney will resign soon. This scares me. Not that I'm any fan of Cheney. I think the blood clot will be used as an excuse but we all know that Scooter's quilty findings are the real reason.

Now here's the important question -- what piece of &%!t will be named to replace him? Whoever it is gets a big boost towards the next election -- McCain? If so, when was this deal cut? Back in the 2000 race? How about Gingrich? ARGH! You know it won't be "America"s Mayor Rudy Giuliani. What about Lieberman? What a boost to Joe's ego and Bush gets a GOP Senate in the deal!

The 25th Amendment (as if this matters to this administration!) says:
Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.

That will be a debate to tape and treasure!


Monday, March 05, 2007

David Neiwert Calls it Right (Again)

Per Orcinus:

Ho hum. Another year, another CPAC conference, another contrived Ann Coulter Controversy, just like last year. Once again, we get a kabuki dance from movement conservatives who denounce the remarks themselves but neglect to go any farther.
. . .

He also quotes Glenn Greenwald:

Anyone who went to this event -- and that includes Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, and Dick Cheney -- knew exactly what they would be getting. Coulter's face was prominently plastered on the promotional material. The right-wing political candidates who accepted the invitations to speak there knew exactly the type of people would be there -- namely, the type who continously cheer on Ann Coulter's bigoted and nakedly hateful screeds. Anyone who makes themselves a part of that event is purposely associating themselves with those sentiments. That is what this Conference is for.

But he really gets it when he connects the dots:
The "edgy" hate talk that she has been pushing for some time now especially appeals to the frat-boy level of sophistication that is her intended audience, and this latest iteration is all about justifying the new bigotry. Coulter's underlying logic is simple: Bigots are just people with different ideas, not hateful misanthropes whose beliefs are innately poisonous.

Expect to hear a lot of iterations of this. Already you can see it having an effect on the campus level, where right-wing acolytes of the Coulter School of Pseudo Fascism have been holding "Find the Illegal Immigrant" games or "South of the Border" parties, and mock MLK Day parties, and the like. Bigotry, with this crowd, is "edgy."

She is bad for America. I have written several e-mails to her advertisers asking if this is the face and attitude they want to have represent them. No responses yet.

Talking Up Gore as President

A friend wrote:

If Obama wasn’t in the race I could see Gore entering even though he’d be up against the Clintons but unless Obama has a melt down I think he’ll probably get the nomination. I’ve said all along that Hillary won’t do well in the primaries though now that they’re trying to accelerate and clump the primaries closer, California could be a key for her if she can survive the first primaries . . . On SIXTY MINUTES last night the Comptroller said we’re on a course of self-destruction. The prescription drug plan added 40% more to entitlements of the Medicare program, a program already bleeding the economy. He said the politicians, all of them know this + Social Security & the Baby Boomers. No politician is willing to restructure SS or increase revenues; i.e. taxes, because they know they won’t get elected. To be honest I don’t know WHY anyone would ant to be President; it’s almost an inevitable losing proposition. Having said all this, I would vote for Gore if he got the nomination but I don’t think he’ll run but kudos to you for being so informed & proactive. GOOD LUCK !

My response:

I agree that Obama is appealing and has charisma but when I listen to him I don't hear anything -- he talks that politco speak of platitudes but no substance. Maybe the specifics are coming later but I can't get behind him until it does.

I wish Hillary would just sit this one out. I just don't want to go down that Rose Law firm, Stephen Foster, Monica, travel-gate, blah, blah, blah road again. She's too polarizing. I'm glad to see Obama competing and getting some of the big money away from her. We have a weak Senator out here who squeeked back in office by getting all the big money tied up, buying out her competitors, and steamrolling her way through the primary. I was afraid Hillary was going to do the same thing.

Let Hillary self destruct, folks figure out Obama is personality but no substance, and Edwards limp along -- 6 to 8 months from now Gore can step over their bloody exhausted bodies and announce. As long as he keeps that passion he showed in his speach before the Iraq war and he's shown with global warming, he'll be a winner! He's fearless when he's not being managed and that's what we'll need to undo all the damage from this past administration.

I also saw 60 Minutes last night but I believe, with courage, those problems are fixable. Get rid of the salary cap for contributions into social security and the problem is solved -- it will have enough funds to pay as promised. Go to a single payer, universal healthcare system and healthcare will be cheaper for everyone, including medicare receipients. Companies like GM are already promoting this idea and seem to have the data to support it. But those iniatives need someone with courage and leadership to achieve them -- Hillary will never be able to get people together to do it. Obama hasn't demonstrated that he even recognizes the problems yet. Edwards -- maybe but I'm not completely convinced. But the Gore I saw giving that speach to sure could!

It's going to be an interesting 2 years! Good luck to us ALL!

Another fiend said how can Gore use all that electric energy in his home?!

My response: Click this link

MSNBC's investigation of this story


Thursday, March 01, 2007

Inherited Powers

Where does the president get his power? Well, there's Article 2 of the Constitution and then there's "inherited powers". Inherited powers are those powers other presidents have used before them and we've let them get away with.

Signing statements, preparing and itching for a war not declared by Congress, falsely calling it "a time of war" when Congress didn't authorize it (to gather more powers) wire tapping without warrants, mail inspections also without warrants, holding people, even citizens!, without due process, ghost planes, torture -- the list goes on and on -- he's stacked the Court with his supporters that are willing to twist the law to protect him. The torture bill the Republican Congress passed last year limits liability for this President (some say even sets him up for a pardon if somehow the Court grew some balls).

We can't rely on the courts to protect us. If we, don't impeach him all of these powers become inherited powers. If we don't impeach him we'd better be very careful about selecting all subsequent Presidents because they'll inherit all these powers and have precedence to grab even more.