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

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

U-N-F-U-C-K-E-N Believable!

AP reports (found in the International Herald Tribune -- why is the rest of the MSM ignoring this??!!) that the Bush administration in trying to BLOCK a meat processor from testing all its beef for mad cow. No -- I didn't see this in The Onion. Here's the reason:

The Bush administration said Tuesday it will fight to keep meatpackers from testing all their animals for mad cow disease.

The Agriculture Department tests fewer than 1 percent of slaughtered cows for the disease, which can be fatal to humans who eat tainted beef. A beef producer in the western state of Kansas, Creekstone Farms Premium Beef, wants to test all of its cows.

Larger meat companies feared that move because, if Creekstone should test its meat and advertised it as safe, they might have to perform the expensive tests on their larger herds as well.

The Agriculture Department regulates the test and argued that widespread testing could lead to a false positive that would harm the meat industry.

A federal judge ruled in March that such tests must be allowed. U.S. District Judge James Robertson noted that Creekstone sought to use the same test the government relies on and said the government didn't have the authority to restrict it. - A federal judge ruled in March that such tests must be allowed. The ruling was scheduled to take effect June 1, but the Agriculture Department said Tuesday it would appeal, effectively delaying the testing until the court challenge has played out.

So profits again trump food safety.

I hope he chokes on a pretzel.


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

We Lost a Great Leader Yesterday

Cindy Sheehan has been beaten down until she has quit the peace movement. What is wrong with people that they have to smear and spew hatred when faced with a message they don't like. Al Gore is so right when he writes that reason and honest debate is missing in our society now. The last straw appears to be when so called liberals joined in the chorus.

Here's the heart breaker quote:
. . . no one paid attention to me when I said that the issue of peace and people dying for no reason is not a matter of “right or left”, but “right and wrong.”

We lost a great leader yesterday.

When I've participated in peace demonstrations here in my hometown, I've noticed an aggressiveness in comments from people who don't agree but I thought the number of them had decreased. A friend who participated in this last weekend's "Women in Black" demonstration said that the aggressiveness has reached new depths -- aggressive cursing, yelling of their death, being called crude words -- that she's thinking of staying home. One man had a sign that said "God Bless Bulldozers". How does someone muster that much hatred?

The radical in me says "If we go home, they win" but I understand the intimidation. These aggressive comments come almost exclusively from men. Women are raised and learn to be on alert and avoid aggressive people, especially men. It takes tremendous courage to stand up to aggressive men. I'm going to miss Cindy Sheehan. She is an inspiration.

The other side doesn't win when Cindy Sheehan and the Women in Black stay home -- we all lose. We lose honest civil dialog. We lose the possibility of growth and peace. We become a community of bullies and the bullied.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Why Al Gore?

I’m about half way through The Assault on Reason and it has already brought me to tears. It breaks my heart that this man is not our President. We’ve gone through six years of waste – wasted lives, both American and Iraqi – wasted treasure – and wasted respect and standing, both within and without this great Nation. Where is our Constitution? Where is our due process? When did the Geneva Convention get quaint? Why is it impossible to make good on our promise to each other in terms of social security when we can spend billions for war profiteers and contractors? Why was it a crime for Nixon to eavesdrop on a Democratic political office but Bush can eavesdrop on everyone of us with impunity? How can we stand idly by and allow New Orleans to still be in the condition it is today? Karl Rove has inhabited the persona of Winston Smith and his Ministry of Truth has begat “Clear Skies Initiative”, “Healthy Forests”, “Leave No Child Behind.”

Are we going to allow big media and big business buy our next President? Are we going to be fooled by political and poll-driven image consultants who create a false package for us to vote for? We can take back our democracy and Constitution. We can demand we get the President we want – not the one we’re being sold.

Read Al Gore’s book. Watch An Inconvenient Truth. Read his speeches like the one he made in 2002 on Iraq and the War, in 2003 on Freedom and Security, 2004 on Fear and its Political Uses and Abuses, also in 2004 on Democracy in Grave Danger where he comments on institutionalized dishonesty in this current administration, 2005 on Breaking the Rules to Destroy Our Courts and later that same year The Treat to American Democracy: The Media and Political Discourse, and 2006 on the Limits of Executive Power: Restoring the Rule of Law. None of these speeches got wide media coverage but they are all available on the Internet.

Don’t we deserve a smart, principled leader? Don’t we desperately need a leader who respects the law, our Constitution, our future? Someone who loves our Country, not power? Someone who understands and has experience making our Government work efficiently and effective for all of us?

Would Al Gore allow FEMA to jerk off New Orleans and allow it to be forgotten? Allow the FDA to be neutered in the name of “free trade” profits and let China poison food supply without adequate inspections or quarantines? Would he authorize torture in our names? Would he support an Attorney General that either has the most extensive case of amnesia I’ve even seen or is a liar? Would we be wasting our troops and treasure in a endless pantomime?

Please join me in asking, begging if necessary, Al Gore to run for President. I fear our future if we settle again.


Monday, May 21, 2007

I Love Paul Krugman

IF George Bush read anything, I like to fantasize that he opens the NY Times and is face to face with Paul Krugman's column. I bet big money it was one of his columns rather than a basketball game that made Bush choke.

Krugman calls it great this week in his column titled "Fear of Eating" -- his conclusions on the cause for the FDA failures:
This isn’t simply a matter of caving in to industry pressure. The Bush administration won’t issue food safety regulations even when the private sector wants them. The president of the United Fresh Produce Association says that the industry’s problems “can’t be solved without strong mandatory federal regulations”: without such regulations, scrupulous growers and processors risk being undercut by competitors more willing to cut corners on food safety. Yet the administration refuses to do more than issue nonbinding guidelines.

Why would the administration refuse to regulate an industry that actually wants to be regulated? Officials may fear that they would create a precedent for public-interest regulation of other industries. But they are also influenced by an ideology that says business should never be regulated, no matter what.

I love that guy! Sigh . . .

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Sunday, May 20, 2007

44% of Iowa Caucus Want Gore to Run

The Des Moines Register reorts on a poll of likely Democratic Iowa caucus-goers next January 2008 and found that 44% want Al Gore to run.
Forty-four percent of likely Democratic caucus participants say they’d like to see the race include Gore, the former vice president who lost by a whisker to George W. Bush in the 2000 presidential election.

Gore said last week he has “fallen out of love with politics” but has not completely ruled out running again.



Saturday, May 19, 2007

Latest on Al Gore's Appearances

Al Gore will make a May 21 appearance on Good Morning America and World News Tonight, and on Nightline and Larry King on May 22. On May 24 he will be interviewed by Charlie Rose.

Set your Tivo's!


Time article on Gore

Al Gore graces the cover of "Time" magazine this week. The article is a review of his new book "Assault on Reason" but the article starts with:
Let's say you were dreaming up the perfect stealth candidate for 2008, a Democrat who could step into the presidential race when the party confronts its inevitable doubts about the front-runners. You would want a candidate with the grassroots appeal of Barack Obama—someone with a message that transcends politics, someone who spoke out loud and clear and early against the war in Iraq. But you would also want a candidate with the operational toughness of Hillary Clinton—someone with experience and credibility on the world stage. In other words, you would want someone like Al Gore—the improbably charismatic, Academy Award–winning, Nobel Prize–nominated environmental prophet with an army of followers and huge reserves of political and cultural capital at his command.

Yes, Yes, Yes!


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Good Article on FDA Failure

"beobjective" over at Daily Kos has an excellent article on the tainted food from China and FDA's lack of response. He reminds us of the Bioterrorism Act passed after 9/11 and how it ws suppose to give increased authority and resources to the FDA to detect adulteration of the food supply -- but instead a Canadian pet food company responsibily gave the first alert.

The money quote:
The FDA has the authority to cut off food shipments and raw material shipments that could end up in food or medicine. After the story of diethylene glycol contamination in Panamanian medicine appeared, the FDA warned drug manufacturers to be especially cautious. Wow, now that's reassuring. Apparently the FDA could care less? I don’t think so. Someone (want to bet it’s a Republican?) has a vested interest in keeping the flow of food products and raw materials from China uninterrupted and public health interests are a secondary concern. The fact that clear cut regulatory action beyond simple monitoring hasn’t occurred is frightening and tells you that the administration, once again, is behaving as an arm of the Republican party not the US government. The health of its citizens are being sacrificed to the financial well being of someone.

USDA shut off imported beef for a couple years after BSE was found in a single cow in Canada -- what is going on with the FDA?


Saturday, May 12, 2007

Townhall with Congressman Adam Smith

I attended Congressman Adam Smith’s (D-WA) Townhall today. He started with some general comments about how the Democratic majority and Bush are learning to work together and commented that they don’t have a history of cooperation so this has been a difficult process.

The topics he introduced and gave us an update on included: (1) Funding for veterans (2) Energy reform (3) Immigration reform (4) The deficit (5) Defense (6) No child left behind (7) Iraq.

Some of his best lines and ideas included:
o He wants a service wide re-entry program for all returning veterans which includes health care.
o He indicated that he thinks we need to ignore (my words not his) the issue of the 15-20 million illegals in this country before we can reform immigration. He admits that we cannot round them up and deport them but sees this issue as holding up meaningful discussion.
o Adam Smith talked about the confusing an convoluted tax code and said this was primarily due to all the special tax laws that are constantly being phased in and phased out.
o He’s not for single payer healthcare because he sees cost containment as a major problem in our health care system. He also said that incentives are paid for certain medical procedures that may not be necessary such as certain prescriptions and surgeries and by making this more efficient we could divert these wasted funds into better and more financially efficient procedures.
o George Bush is delaying the political situation in Iraq that needs to happen and propping up a Prime Minister that will never let that happen.
o Bush’s capacity to believe things that fit his view of the world cannot be underestimated.
o Access by everyone to the civil justice system is the greatest democraticizer.
o Sovereignty is ours. We negotiate what sovereignty to let go of and we should never give up something unless we get something of value for it.
o We shouldn’t call Congress people who fail our way as not having courae. Courage shows up on the battlefield and very rarely by pushing a button on the House floor.
o They will vote to restore habeas corpus next week.

When he opened the floor to questions he got MANY questions regarding why we’re not impeaching Bush. You could tell he’d gotten these questions many times before. He gave unsatisfying answers about bitterly divide the Country, need 67 Senate votes, not up to his standards of impeachment, blah, blah, blah.

I didn’t challenge him because I was saving my question to talk about toxic food imports. He agreed that FDA needs to be strengthened and promised they would discuss it at next weeks Trade Policy Caucus meeting.
We thanked him for his “yea” votes on the McGovern and Schiff amendments.

He took many great questions about our returning vets and promised to look into the use of the nursing home at American Lake, consider a traumatic brain injury trauma center at Madigan, increase case workers at the VA and change their mission to be advocates for the vets, and got other information about our vets. (He’s GREAT on these issues!)

He wants GitMo closed (yeah!), greater oversight on past contracts (Yippie!), and alternative fuels and raising the CAFÉ standards (OK!).

All in all, I left there feeling pretty good.


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Proudly Blocked in China

This site is blocked in China!

Could it be my comments about tainted pet food?

Friday, May 04, 2007

It IS 1984!

The "Country Reports on Terrorism" released 4/30/07 by the Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism in OUR STATE DEPARTMENT states in Chapter 3:

Sudan continued to take significant steps to cooperate in the War on Terror. . .

Calling Winston Smith? This is Doubleungood! I think the OCC should report immediately the the Ministry of Love for reprogramming.


Thursday, May 03, 2007

Gore is so Funny in This Video

With the same humor and humanity he exuded in An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore spells out 15 ways we can address climate change, from buying a hybrid car to inventing a hotter brand name for global warming. First, though, comes a hilarious set of stories from The New Gore, who turns out to be a stand-up comedian. The former Vice President has plenty of joke material, and he's funnier than you've ever seen him. Then he gets down to grittier matters with a list of actions ordinary people can take to stem the tide of global warming. His message: Doing something is easier than you think.

Click Here


Bill Mitchell Calls It!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Seattle Times Piece on Gore

This is cool!
In spite of the late great Molly Ivins' admonition that only fools predict presidential elections, I cannot resist: Al Gore will run for the presidency in 2008, and he will win.

As a psychotherapist who spends his days wondering what motivates people, I believe the case for a Gore candidacy is compelling. To have been victorious in the 2000 election (both The New York Times and The Washington Post concluded, ultimately, that Gore won the Florida vote) and yet to have lost that office would have been at first devastating, then infuriating and, finally, maddening.

For anyone to have won the presidency and then to be denied his prize would be motivating beyond measure.

In his film "An Inconvenient Truth," Gore speaks movingly of "the moral imperative" to deal with global warming. There is no more powerful place on Earth from which to address the planet's woes than the Oval Office.

He cannot help but feel some "moral imperative" to seek the U.S. presidency again. Neither can one overstate the less-altruistic drive in all of us to triumph over those (people or events) who have defeated us in the past — especially if the defeat was undeserved.

Gore reportedly wanted to run in 2004 but was discouraged to do so by the Democratic Party. Since 2004, he has grown into an extremely effective and potent figure, explaining the environmental catastrophe we are facing. Although many argue that he could more-effectively fight global warming as a citizen activist, rather than president, the state of the planet has been dear to him since the early 1990s, and he sought high office all through that decade. Why not run in 2008?

Gore is so well-known that he would not have to enter the race until very late, perhaps in the fall of 2007. He'd then be a fresh voice for voters tired of persistent campaigning by the frontrunners in both major political parties. Entering late, with pervasive name familiarity and a campaign message of uncommon urgency, Gore could reduce the need for campaigning, reduce costs and swing directly into the top tier of candidates.

The former VP's platform ("first and foremost, we must save the Earth") will make him the most-attractive of contenders: one who actually leads. He could tell Americans, "I realize that global warming is fifth or sixth on the list of what is most important to you. But it should be No. 1. Nothing — not health-care costs, not taxes, and not the disaster in Iraq — can be more important to our future than the health of our planet."

Americans are aware that Gore was an early and unflinching critic of George Bush's Iraq adventure, and he could speak powerfully during the campaign about what more than half a trillion dollars spent on that conflict could have done to address global warming — a problem that the Pentagon reported three years ago was far more serious than terrorism. Already, "An Inconvenient Truth" has won the Academy Award for Best Documentary. If, as many predict, he wins a Nobel Peace Prize, the compelling force that is Al Gore could become a political juggernaut.

With a healthy showing in the primaries next spring, Gore could then spend six months until the Democratic convention talking up global warming in his eloquent, non-alarmist way, reminding Americans that it is in their interests and the interests of their children and grandchildren to join him in his cause.

Meanwhile, scientific evidence will continue to pile up in Gore's favor. In February, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of the United Nations stated there was 90 percent certainty human activity was contributing to global warming. In April, the panel outlined looming catastrophes linked to higher temperatures.

After the divisiveness and dishonesty of today's Bush presidency, Gore's call to arms — his exhortation to change and sacrifice a little for the greater good of protecting our planet's future — could be irresistible. He'd be saying, in effect, "The house is on fire, we must put it out," while his opponents would look as if they were debating whether to remodel the kitchen.

The White House has been won before by men with far less foresight.

Trip Quillman is a psychotherapist practicing in Everett.


Dog Food, Spinach, Peanut Butter, Pork & Chickens

I'm not a big fan of Free Trade -- I lived for years in Detroit and Free Trade was the final nail in the coffin for Detroit. But we CANNOT treat imported food like we treat food coming from our local farmer. There has to be a fundamental change made in how FDA and USDA inspect food coming in from other countries. They also absolutely need to have the power to issue recalls and be held harmless for publicizing critical information we need for our health. It's dangerous and irresponsible (or at a minimum embarrassing) for the FDA to admit that they know tainted grain went to several companies but can't tell us who or force them to do a recall.

This latest food scandal looks like it was caused by greed and cheating -- getting a better price by pretending the gluten is higher in protein than it really is -- but we just let every terrorist know where we are most vulnerable. I can't get on a plane to go from Seattle to Spokane without taking off my shoes and jacket and be inspected. It doesn't make any sense that strawberries grown in human waste or grain 'juiced' with a plastic comes into this country from wherever and poisons us without inspection or disclosure.

Congress needs to recognize where the risks really are and enhance and empower the FDA and USDA to effectively do their mission of protecting us.

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