Experience for a Change
Chad (The Left) Shue
Bill Richardson's Record
* Raised Teachers' Salaries and Improved Teacher Standards.
Shored up New Mexico's Education Retirement Fund, which had a projected long-term shortfall of $2.4 billion.
Increased the percentage of quality teachers in New Mexico from 67% to 90%, raising the number one predictor of student performance.
* Increased Accountability. Successfully fought for a state constitutional amendment that created a Secretary of Education.
* Earned National Recognition for Education Reform Efforts. With Richardson as Governor, New Mexico earned an "A" for assessments and school accountability in Education Week's Quality Counts report. The report also showed New Mexico in the top 6 in the nation for efforts to improve teacher quality, moving the state from 30th to 17th. New Mexico also earned the 3rd-highest grade for resource equity.
* Implemented free full-day kindergarten, available to every five-year-old.
* Implemented Pre-Kindergarten. Governor Richardson launched a statewide public-private pre-kindergarten program for four-year-olds. Now in its third year, New Mexico Pre-K went from $5 million to $13 million and now serves 5,000.
* Removed junk food from New Mexico's schools.
* Increased physical education classes and doubled the number of school-based health centers.
* Increased funding for classrooms.
Invested more than $600 million to modernize New Mexico's schools and reduce class size, giving New Mexico's teachers the resources necessary to provide high-quality education.
Brought 5,000 laptops to New Mexico's 7th graders, bringing greater fluency and familiarity in technology.
* Expanded Charter Schools. Signed the Charter School District Act, giving charter school districts greater flexibility to experiment with new ideas, as well as increased funding to help charter schools get off the ground throughout the state.
* Increased access to college and expanded training for high-demand jobs.
Created the College Affordability Scholarship so that more New Mexicans can afford to continue their studies. Thousands have already been helped.
Expanded access to the state's lottery-scholarship program.
Aligned degree programs with workforce needs, such as film, natural resources, health, and nursing.
* Addressed Truancy and High School Dropouts.
Funded programs to help at-risk students stay in school and prepare for college.
Toughened the fight against truancy by stripping away driver's licenses and holding parents accountable for habitual offenders.
Going forward, Governor Richardson is also seeking to raise the legal drop-out age from 17 to 18.
Experience for a Change
Chad (The Left) Shue
In a post by John Nichols in today's The Nation Blog, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson seems to be making steady gains in both Iowa and New Hampshire as we move closer to the first caucus and primary of the 2008 presidential campaign.
The post, NH PRIMARY: KEEP AN EYE ON RICHARDSON..., begins:
"New York Senator Hillary Clinton's once-daunting lead among likely voters in the New Hampshire Democratic primary is slipping. But neither of her principle rivals, Illinois Senator Barack Obama nor former North Carolina Senator John Edwards, is gaining much.
The action is with New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson."
The post notes that, since September, Gov. Richardson has moved from 6% to 12% in New Hampshire and is at 11% in Iowa.
"That's a dramatic jump when the two CNN/WMUR polls are compared. But it appears to be the continuation of a pattern of improvement for Richardson that becomes clearer when the Boston Globe survey from earlier this month is factored in. That survey showed the New Mexico governor moving from 6 percent in September to 10 percent.
So we've got two polls tracking an uptick for Richardson from 6 percent to 10 percent to 12 percent.
If the pattern holds, the New Mexican will easily overtake Edwards and could begin closing in on Obama by the time New Hampshire holds its first in the nation primary."
What I find most satisfying in these numbers is the factor that seems to be making the most difference to the voters - Experience.
"It is worth noting that, according to the polls, Richardson is now viewed as more experienced than either Obama or Edwards by the New Hampshire voters. His numbers are dramatically up in other categories, as well, especially on measures of trust -- the New Mexican now leads Clinton in this category."
Now, obviously, we are still some time out and these numbers certainly are not in the 30 and 40% range we have been seeing from the "media nominees" but the fact that they reflect a continuing upward trend is quite satisfying and a testimony to the fact that there is no nominee until the voters have spoken. As Nichols concludes:
"The bottom line: Richardson is moving up. He could stall. But if he keeps going in the direction he's headed in, the governor could yet be a serious contender in the critical first tests of the Democratic race."
Chad (The Left) Shue
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Chad (The Left) Shue
Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, Bill Richardson and Dennis Kucinich have close to a hundred years of significant government experience and very significant things to say about the campaign, but have been treated in these debates like the opposition to Vladimir Putin are treated in the state-controlled Russian media.
It is a disgrace and a sham and a disrespect not only to those candidates but to the very idea of an informed citizenry choosing our next leader in a democratic election.
This CNN debate began with a lie.
Matt Drudge reported that the Clinton people were pressuring Wolf Blitzer to go easy on Hillary; Blitzer dutifully denied. Either Drudge, the Clinton people or Blitzer was lying, and obviously it was Wolf.
Why couldn’t Blitzer say the truth, that the Clinton people used Drudge to send him a message?
It gets worse. The first 20 minutes of the debate completely excluded a majority of the candidates despite Blitzer’s lame and false promises that they would all be heard.
It gets even worse. In the kind of completely unethical practice that has become all too common in this campaign, CNN had the gall to pressure a student to ask a trivial planted question of Hillary Clinton about her relative opinions of diamonds or pearls.
Never mind that in this warped and ridiculous debate format the Bidens, Dodds, Richardsons and Kuciniches are largely closed out by the dictatorship of who decides which candidates are allowed to speak.
Never mind that candidates are interrupted in the most rude and unprofessional way if they dare to take more than a few seconds to discuss World War III, or the threat to the earth from climate change, or how to help the multitudes of the homeless or those without healthcare.
To waste time on questions about diamonds and pearls when candidates do not have the time to intelligently discuss Pakistan is Kafkaesque; to force-feed a question on a student, aimed at the network’s favored candidate, on such a stupid and trivial matter is not merely Kafkaesque but Putinesque.
It gets even worse. The so-called analysis of the debate is conducted by a partisan of one of the candidates, who dutifully cites the success of his candidate. This is not merely an issue of disclosure, with the lack of disclosure yet another unethical practice of what passes for journalism. Why was James Carville chosen in the first place? Couldn’t CNN find even one objective analyst?
Folks, I don’t blame Hillary Clinton or Jim Carville. If I were advising a major candidate, and more than once I have and probably will again, if I had the chance to dominate a debate by rigging the rules: Go for it. That is the way the game is played, let’s be honest about it.
This whole affair was a shame and disgrace and the latest in a series of debates that were managed in ways that insult the very notion of an informed electorate choosing our leader in a democratic election at a dangerous time.
My advice if this happens again: Biden, Dodd, Richardson and Kucinich should agree in advance to walk off the stage together and find some place to have their own debate, for as long as it takes, to have the kind of serious discussion our country deserves.
Trust me, if they do, it will be a ratings smash."
By: Steve Benen on Friday, November 16th, 2007 at 12:45 PM - PST
"Senate Dems gave the GOP an opportunity, but they rejected it.
The Senate on Friday blocked a Democratic proposal that would have paid for the Iraq war but required that troops start coming home.
The 53-45 vote was seven votes short of the 60 needed to advance. It came minutes after the Senate rejected a Republican proposal to pay for the Iraq war with no strings attached.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said the only way to get troops the money was to approve the restrictions outlined by Democrats.
“Our troops continue to fight and die valiantly. And our Treasury continues to be depleted rapidly, for a peace that we seem far more interested in achieving than Iraq’s own political leaders,” Reid said.
John Aravosis captured the situation perfectly: “[T]he Democrats were ready to give George Bush $50 billion for Iraq today and the Republicans killed it because they don’t want to provide any oversight whatsoever. The Republicans think the war in Iraq is going great, and to prove it they just took $50 billion away from our troops.”"
Harry Reid has indicated that there will not be any further funding bills until 2008. According to the Pentagon the military will not run out of money until mid February.
Harry Reid has done what we have been demanding since January. Now it is up to us to "cover his back." The attacks will be fierce over the next two months as Bush and his henchmen throw everything they have at the Senate Democrats. We must continue to shout from the roof tops:
Senate Republicans block funding for U.S. troops!
Chad (The Left) Shue
Not One More Dime - Not One More Life
Chad (The Left) Shue
From the Associated Press:
Richardson Nominated for Nobel Prize
"WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrat Bill Richardson often touts his four Nobel Peace Prize nominations on the presidential campaign trail.
Now he has a fifth.
Democratic Rep. Bart Gordon of Tennessee said he has sent a nomination packet to the Nobel Committee in honor of Richardson's diplomatic efforts with countries like Sudan and North Korea.
"He's well deserving," said Gordon, who got to know Richardson when they served in Congress together. "It's just a continuation of his willingness to continue to go around the world, whether it's a matter of hostages or other tense situations, and work with all parties.""
And before some suggest that the nominations are simply late rewards for his work as US Ambassador to the UN, the story goes on to note:
"Between campaign stops this year and his job as governor of New Mexico, Richardson went to North Korea to recover the remains of missing U.S. troops from the Korean War and to Sudan to encourage a cease-fire in the Darfur conflict. Richardson often undertakes these efforts on his own, without an official imprimatur from the U.S. government, and he has negotiated with some of the world's most notorious dictators, from Iraq's Saddam Hussein to Cuba's Fidel Castro."
Oh, and for those who would simply chalk this up as some kind of campaign "gimmick":
"Eubank said 11 of Gordon's congressional colleagues signed the nomination letter, including one Republican — Jim Ramstad of Minnesota. Gordon said he's still staying out of the Democratic presidential primary, though....
Others who signed on to the nomination were Texas Democratic Reps. Charles Gonzalez, Solomon Ortiz, Silvestre Reyes and Ciro Rodriguez; California Democratic Reps. Joe Baca, Xavier Becerra, Bob Filner and Grace Napolitano; and Reps. Eliot Engel of New York, and John Tanner of Tennessee."
The more I listen to Clinton, Obama, and yes even Edwards, talk a tough line when it comes to American foreign policy - Clinton labels would be negotiating partners "terrorists" before they even sit down to the table; Obama talks of unilateral invasions of Pakistan; and all three continue to cast Iran in the role of "greatest threat to stability" in the Middle East, the more I long for a president who will lead with diplomacy and has a track record accomplishment in that arena.
It is a fact that any international negotiation entered into by any of the so-called front runners will be their first. We have already seen where OJT gets us. Gov. Richardson has more foreign policy experience than Clinton, Obama, and Edwards combined! It is time for Experience for a Change.
By the way, on a different note; today is Governor Richardson's birthday. I just received this nice note from his wife Barbara:
You may not know this, but today is my husband's birthday.
It's not surprising if you don't know it. In the 35 years I've been married to Bill Richardson, I have never known him to want to make a fuss over it. In fact, this year he told me he didn't want to pay attention to it at all, since it comes on the same day as the CNN debate in Nevada.
Well, tough luck, Bill! Somebody has to make a fuss over you even if you're too busy to make a fuss over yourself!
So I asked Dave Contarino if I could e-mail you and the rest of Bill's supporters and ask that you all send him some birthday wishes online today.
Just write a little note or a joke or anything at all you think he might enjoy. Dave is going to have some of the folks on the campaign compile them all for me to surprise Bill after the debate tonight. I thought they would be fun to read to each other on the way home. You can do it by clicking here.
Knowing Bill as we do, and believing in what he has done and what he can accomplish for our country, I want to take this special occasion to let him know how much we stand behind his enormous effort.
Thank you for being there for my husband. And if you happen to be at that debate tonight, don't say anything to him about getting this from me!"
Hopefully next year Bill will be celebrating his birthday with his Whitehouse Transition Team.
Chad (The Left) Shue
A couple of weeks ago the folks at FEMA got caught “staging” a press conference at which they planted some of their staffers to pose as news reporters in a hastily called press briefing. The staffer/reporters asked pre-determined questions designed to highlight the rapid response and brilliant effectiveness of the organization in response to the California wildfires.
How does this tie in to the Clinton campaign? Well a couple of days ago you might have thought that Hillary’s staff had borrowed that page from the FEMA play book when it was revealed that the senator’s staff was found to have planted a question at a recent campaign stop in Iowa. Of course, if you had thought that, you would be wrong. According to ABC News (and despite the campaign’s statement that, ”… This is not standard policy and will not be repeated again.”) this is not the first time that the Clinton campaign has attempted to “salt the crowd.”
"Another Question Planted by Clinton Campaign"
Illinois Minister Tells ABC News That Clinton Staffer Asked Him to Pose a War Question
By ELOISE HARPER
Nov. 10, 2007
”One day after Democratic Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign confirmed that a staffer planted a question for the presidential candidate at a recent campaign stop, another person has come forward with a similar story.
Geoff Mitchell, a minister who recently moved to Hamilton, Ill., from Iowa, told ABC News that he was approached this spring by Clinton's Iowa political director Chris Haylor to ask Clinton a question about war funding.” – “…Before the campaign event, Haylor asked Mitchell if he would pose a specific question about Iraq. The question was about how Clinton would be tough on President Bush about funding the Iraq war, Mitchell said.”
So, as you can see, the whole notion of “staging news” was being executed by the Clinton camp long before the FEMA folks took their stab at it. But, lest we believe that the irony stops here, we should remember back not too long ago to Senator Clinton’s exchange with Randall Rolph at another event in Iowa. You remember, the exchange that had Hillary accusing Rolph of being a “plant.”
Chad (The Left) Shue
"It is shocking that four U.S. Senators running for the Democratic Presidential nomination failed to show up and vote against Judge Mukasey or speak against him during the debate to persuade their fellow Senators that torture is a no-compromise issue.
"Judge Mukasey disqualified himself by refusing to acknowledge what the world has known for centuries: that waterboarding is torture and torture of any kind violates U.S. and international law. Alarmingly, Judge Mukasey already has shown a startling willingness to allow politics to influence his opinion regarding one of the most basic American principles -- human rights.
"The Attorney General is responsible for steadfastly defending the Constitution and implementing the laws of the land, without exception or equivocation. What should have been an easy question to answer-- waterboarding is torture, and torture is illegal-- was not easy for Judge Mukasey, who chose instead to dodge. His actions speak volumes. His answer was unacceptable, and he is unacceptable as the Attorney General of the United States. The Senate could have rejected this nomination with a filibuster. By showing up and speaking out, Senators Biden, Clinton, Dodd, and Obama might well have stopped his confirmation. Instead, they chose to sit on the sidelines and watch history pass them by.
"Last night, we witnessed a devastating failure of leadership in the fight to take back America, enforce the Constitution, and restore the principles on which this nation was founded.
"This is not what our country needs in its next President.
"Let me be clear: As President, I will ensure that any form of torture, including waterboarding, will never be used. Furthermore, I will direct the Department of Justice to vigorously investigate and prosecute any individual responsible for the use of torture. No one is above the law. No one."
On October 19th, Governor Richardson released the following statement regarding Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey's refusal to say whether waterboarding is torture:
"Waterboarding is torture, and anyone who is unwilling to identify it as such is not qualified to be the chief legal officer of the United States of America. If I were in the U.S. Senate, I would vote against Mukasey unless he denounces such specific forms of torture.
"Torture does not work. Mistreatment backfires and destroys our international leadership, as we saw with Abu Ghraib. Torture also endangers our own troops. The standards we adopt may well be what our own troops are subjected to.
"Anytime one makes a person think he or she is being executed, the very nature of waterboarding, it obviously is a violation of the U.S. Constitution, international law, and basic human decency.
"ABC News has described waterboarding as follows: 'The prisoner is bound to an inclined board, feet raised and head slightly below the feet. Cellophane is wrapped over the prisoner's face, and water is poured over him. Unavoidably, the gag reflex kicks in, and a terrifying fear of drowning leads to almost instant pleas to bring the treatment to a halt.'
"If another nation engaged in waterboarding against American citizens, we would denounce that country and call the practice barbaric, and rightly so.
"We must stand against torture without equivocation, without compromise, and without exception. Torture is a violation of everything we stand for as Americans and as human beings."
It is unacceptable for anyone who would ask to lead this country to miss such a critical vote and take a stand - in fact LEAD - on such an issue of American values.
Chad (The Left) Shue
2:35 P.M. -
Considered as privileged matter.
2:54 P.M. -
Mr. Hoyer moved to table the measure.
On motion to table the measure Failed by the Yeas and Nays: 162 - 251 (Roll no. 1037).
4:02 P.M. -
Mr. Hoyer moved to refer to Judiciary.
4:03 P.M. -
MOTION TO REFER PRIVILEGED RESOLUTION - Mr. Hoyer moved to refer the privileged resolution to the Committee on the Judiciary. Subsequently, Mr. Hoyer moved the previous question on the motion to refer and by voice vote, the Chair announced the ayes had prevailed. Mr. Kucinich demanded recorded vote on ordering the previous question on the motion to refer.
The previous question on the motion to refer was Agreed to Agreed to by recorded vote: 218 - 194 (Roll no. 1038).
On motion to refer Agreed to by recorded vote: 218 - 194 (Roll no. 1039).
In effect what happened to day was that Dennis Kucinich kept his word to bring impeachment to the floor of the US House and Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrats ran away. With recent polls reflecting some 45% of Americans in favor of impeaching George W. Bush and 54% favoring the impeachment of "Dead Eye" Dick, it's good to see that the Democrats continue to keep their finger on the pulse of the country.
Lest there be any confusion, the vote to refer this resolution back to Judiciary is essentially the same as the vote to table. HR 333 has been sitting in Judiciary since May of this year with no action taken.
It will be interesting to hear the Republicans play this as a chance to say, "Today the House Democrats stood solidly in support of Vice President Dick Cheney as they resoundingly defeated a measure (supported by an overwhelming majority of Republicans) to bring impeachment charges against him."
Thanks for trying Dennis.
[UPDATE - 11:00am 11/07/07]
From "The Hill"
Republicans keep Cheney impeachment bill alive
By Jonathan E. Kaplan | Posted: 11/6/07 4:35 p.m. [ET]
November 06, 2007
"House Republicans on Tuesday prevented Democratic leaders from blocking a resolution to impeach Vice President Dick Cheney.
The vote to table the privileged resolution, offered by Ohio Democrat Dennis Kucinch, began as a largely party-line vote to kill the measure, but Republicans developed a strategy to force Democrats to debate the resolution by supporting Kucinich. GOP leaders felt as though it was in their interest to debate the measure because it would make Democrats look bad.
After more than an hour of waiting for the vote to close, the motion to table the resolution failed by a vote of 162-251 after Democratic leaders failed to convince a group of liberal caucus members to side with them.
Republican lawmakers and aides credited Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz.) for coming up with the idea."
Oh it is just so hard to be a Democrat these days....
[FURTHER UPDATE - 8:20am 11/08/07] - From Brad Blog via my good friend and Candidate for Congress in New Mexico, Jason Call:
The following is from a letter sent to constituents today by Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL), a member of the House Judiciary Committee, where the matter has been sent again. Wexler is calling for the committee "to schedule impeachment hearings immediately and not let this issue languish as it has over the last six months."...
"I share your belief that Vice President Cheney must answer for his deceptive actions in office, particularly with regard to the preparations for the Iraq war and the revelation of the identity of covert agent Valerie Plame Wilson as part of political retribution against her husband. That is why I voted against the motion to table debate on H.Res. 333. Along with only 85 other Democrats, I opposed tabling the measure and supported beginning immediate debate and a vote on the Cheney impeachment resolution. The vote on tabling the Kucinich resolution was rejected, and the House subsequently voted to refer the matter to the Judiciary Committee.
The American people are served well with a legitimate and thorough impeachment inquiry. I will urge the Judiciary Committee to schedule impeachment hearings immediately and not let this issue languish as it has over the last six months. Only through hearings can we bring begin to correct the abuses of Dick Cheney and the Bush Administration; and, if it is determined in these hearings that Vice President Cheney has committed High Crimes and Misdemeanors, he should be impeached and removed from office."
Hmmm - I wonder if Rep. Shadegg's clever scheme might come back to haunt him. More importantly, I wonder if Judiciary Chair, John Conyers, will respect the "will of the majority" who wish this resolution to be acted upon. After all, it wasn't too long ago that he told folks that if a few more Democrats signed on to HR 333 he would bring it before the full committee. Well, as noted, all but 5 Democrats just voted to send this resolution to the committee......
Chad (The Left) Shue
The event to be held on Saturday, November 10th will run from 9am to 4pm at the First Congregational Church (209 S J St
Tacoma, WA 98405). The NW Progressive Convention, co-sponsored by AM 1090, offers to be a great chance to meet fellow progressives, share ideas and get involved. The itinerary includes:
* Keynote Speaker Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey
* Retired General Paul Eaton speaking about Iraq and what we should do there
* Congressional candidate Darcy Burner speaking about our loss of civil liberties
* Congressman Adam Smith in a Q & A about recent developments in the Middle East
* Two of the leading NW trade experts talking about our trade policies affect on working families
* A panel about clean elections and campaign finance reform
* Great workshops on immigration and affordable health care
* Presentations by each of the presidential campaigns with a chance for you to weigh in on our straw poll
Admission (to offset the costs of venue, promotion, etc.) is $20. Oh yeah, that covers your lunch as well. Tickets may be obtained by sending a check to:
America in Solidarity
3049 S. 36th St #205
Tacoma, WA 98409
I am looking forward to catching up with many folks I haven't seen in a couple of years as well as continuing to expand the Progressive network with new friends I will meet there. I hope that you will come enjoy the NW Progressive Convention.
Chad (The Left) Shue
”Americans are wondering, with the lassitude of uninvolved spectators, whether the president will initiate a war with Iran. Some Democratic presidential candidates worry, or purport to, that he might claim an authorization for war in a Senate resolution labeling an Iranian Revolutionary Guard unit a terrorist organization. Some Democratic representatives oppose the president's request for $88 million to equip B-2 stealth bombers to carry huge "bunker-buster" bombs, hoping to thereby impede a presidential decision to attack Iran's hardened nuclear facilities.
While legislators try to leash a president by tinkering with a weapon, a sufficient leash -- the Constitution -- is being ignored by them. They are derelict in their sworn duty to uphold it.* Regarding the most momentous thing government does, make war, the constitutional system of checks and balances is broken.” *(Emphasis TLS)
Gee, it seems that I (and so many of my friends and fellow patriots) have been saying this for over five years now. What’s changed? What is George doing on this bandwagon? Perhaps Mr. Will and some of the other “real conservatives” (as opposed to these neo-con criminals who are in charge of the asylum today) are starting to realize that these “new and improved” Commander in Chief powers might soon be falling in to the hands of another Democrat. And, for those who believe that Democrats are above the concept of expanding presidential war power, Will reminds us,
”Congress' powers were most dramatically abandoned and ignored regarding Korea. Although President Truman came from a Congress controlled by his party and friends, he never sought congressional authorization to send troops into massive and sustained conflict. Instead, he asserted broad authority to "execute" treaties such as the U.N. Charter.
For today's Democrats, resistance to unilateral presidential warmaking reflects not principled constitutionalism but petulance about the current president. Democrats were supine when President Clinton launched a sustained air war against Serbia without congressional authorization. Instead, he cited NATO's authorization -- as though that were an adequate substitute for the collective judgment that the Constitution mandates.”
Of course, in probably the most egregious example of presidential warmongering, there is the example of Johnson-Nixon Southeast Asia war game.
Regardless of where you stand on the righteousness of the military actions undertaken by any one president, the bottom line is this: (if we are to honor and respect our Constitution) Any military action, short of self defense from a real and ongoing attack against our country, MUST be sanctioned and authorized by our duly elected Congress.
To this end, Will informs us (why have I not heard this on Air America or some other Progressive outlet?) of H.J Res 53 from North Carolina Republican, Walter Jones and Massachusetts Democrat, William Delahunt.
”Introduced last week by Rep. Walter Jones, a North Carolina Republican, it technically amends, but essentially would supplant, the existing War Powers Resolution, which has been a nullity ever since it was passed in 1973 over President Nixon's veto.
Jones' measure is designed to ensure that deciding to go to war is, as the Founders insisted it be, a "collective judgment." It would prohibit presidents from initiating military actions except to repel or retaliate for sudden attacks on America or American troops abroad, or to protect and evacuate U.S. citizens abroad. It would provide for expedited judicial review to enforce compliance with the resolution, and permit the use of federal funds only for military actions taken in compliance with the resolution.”
What a concept! Yet, as of this writing, although there is real bi-partisan support, there are only 6 co-sponsors of this resolution (including Libertarian/Republican, presidential candidate Ron Paul).
It would seem to me that, if we are serious about stopping this madness of never-ending war that continues in presidential politics, perhaps this is an effort that deserves our attention. I mean, if you listen to any of the ongoing presidential debates and hear the Republicans (minus Ron Paul) seeing who can thump their chest harder when it comes to attacking Iran or the Democrats (minus Kucinich, Richardson, and Gravel) declaring that “all options are on the table” or that they could entertain ‘a unilateral invasion of Pakistan’ I think we should be expediting our efforts to get our members of congress to sign onto HJ Res 53 and get it enacted into law before January of 2009. As George Will concludes,
”Unless and until Congress stops prattling about presidential "usurpation" of power and asserts its own, it will remain derelict regarding its duty of mutual participation in warmaking. And it will merit its current marginalization.”
I would only add that if “we the people” don’t keep the fire lit under these folks, we will continue to receive the representation we deserve,
Chad (The Left) Shue
Following in the foot steps of recently departed Attorney General Alberto (‘Torture is a quaint notion’) Gonzales, Mukasey testified before the Judiciary Committee on such issues as presidential power and the lawfulness of torture. According to the Washington Post
”Mukasey aroused Democrats' concerns by testifying that there may be occasions when the president's powers as commander in chief could trump a federal law* requiring that a special court approve intelligence-related wiretaps. That answer jibes with one of the legal rationales used by the Bush administration in defense of its controversial Terrorist Surveillance Program, under which the National Security Agency eavesdropped on calls between persons in the United States and those overseas without first securing a court warrant. - (*Emphasis TLS)
Mukasey also repeatedly demurred when asked whether an interrogation technique that involves simulated drowning, known as waterboarding, constitutes torture and is therefore illegal. "I don't know what's involved in the technique," Mukasey said. "If waterboarding is torture, torture is not constitutional."
Waterboarding generally involves strapping the prisoner to a hard surface, covering his face or mouth with a cloth, and pouring water over his face to create the sensation of drowning, according to human rights groups. The practice has been prosecuted as torture in U.S. military courts since the Spanish-American War.
In the face of such testimony, Feinstein issued a statement yesterday that said that while ”…serious questions have been raised about Judge Mukasey’s views on torture and on separation of powers.” she, none the less, believes that ”…he will be a strong Attorney General and will represent the best interests of the American people.“
Likewise, Schumer, who introduced Mukasey to the Senate as a fellow New Yorker, while allowing ”This is an extremely difficult decision…”…adding Mukasey”…“is not my ideal choice.” also announced his intention to vote for Mukasey's confirmation.
Far from an ideal choice, Mukasey represents yet another dangerous afront to our civil liberties and our form of democracy. While Feinstein and Schumer have reputations for inflexibility once they have made public announcements, here is their contact information:
Judiciary Chair, Patrick Leahy has said that the vote in the committee could come as Monday or Tuesday. These senators need to know that we are counting on them to act in the best interest of our country and the rule of law.
Chad (The Left) Shue
Well, he's back
Lee Iacocca Endorses Bill Richardson for President
"Bill Richardson is my guy.
From the beginning, my intention has been to get people actively involved in this election and get them thinking about the candidates for themselves. While that hasn't changed, I've come to the conclusion that this race is too important for me not to publicly endorse the candidate I feel is best qualified for the job of President. And whether I'm examining their priorities, using my 9C's Scorecard or simply listening to my gut, Bill Richardson is the one who always comes out on top.
Richardson's been a successful Governor. He's been a successful CEO. He's demonstrated that he knows how to negotiate with foreign leaders and lead on issues like global warming. Unlike others on the stump, he’s offering bold plans, not just pandering talk. I like his job plan, his health care plan, his energy plan, his education plan and his plan to get us out of Iraq. I also just plain like the guy.
While I believe every citizen should vote their own mind and conscience, I'd encourage you to take a long hard look at Bill Richardson for yourself. With his experience, character and vision, I believe he's the President we need right now."
”The Chair of the 36th District Democrats, Peter House, recently received what he described as a "chilling" phone call from the director of the state Clinton campaign. James Kainber wanted the help of Democrats who would do grassroots organizing on behalf of the Senator's presidential campaign. Peter House replied that he knows the grassroots Democrats in his district and that most of them don't support Sen. Clinton.
Using one of the oldest tactics around--what amounts to the "bandwagon" argument--Mr. Kainber claimed that 30 LD chairs had already signed on to support Sen. Clinton. Kainber said that the activist contingent of the Party isn't lining up behind Clinton, but it really doesn't matter. After February 5th, she'll have the nomination sewn up. Our February 9th caucuses will, in effect, be irrelevant.”
Now while some might think that this is about Clinton bashing but, in fact, it has much more to do with the potential threat that our State Party imposed February 9th caucuses might actually pose to other races in our state.
The post goes on to share a letter that Peter House sent out to his fellow LD and County Chairs. In the letter he asks that his fellow chairs refrain from making ”an early endorsement of a presidential candidate.” His request was not about restricting support for any candidate but rather about preserving the integrity of our caucuses. He details the phone conversation that he had with Kainber and then explained his concern:
”February 5th is the day of a slew of state primaries...what Dwight Pelz calls Stupid Tuesday. On Tuesday February 5th, the field will be substantially narrowed. It may even be that one candidate gets enough votes to effectively end the nominating process.
Our caucuses are a few days later, of course, on February 9.
A done-deal nomination would be bad for party activists because it would let the air out of the excitement around the caucuses. All of us will by then have put in hours of planning and spent lots of money preparing for the caucuses. If we get low turnout, we will miss the chance to recruit new folks into the party. We will miss the chance to meet the "Challenge from the Chair" of getting an increase in voter turnout. I also shudder to think of the money we might lose.
Now, maybe you have a candidate that you have endorsed and you are not willing to withdraw your support, but I ask you please to refrain from talk of inevitability of the nomination of any candidate. Resistance is not futile. Our party depends on it.”
My question is: Do you think that the continued rhetoric of “the inevitable nominee” will have the impact on our caucuses that House is predicting and, if so, will that low turnout have a lingering effect on November, 2008 turnout?
Now, while the idea of having your own blog is to create comments on your topic, in this case I would direct you to the original post at Washblog where your thoughts will have a much broader audience.
Chad (The Left) Shue