Peace (Today, Tomorrow, and Forever)
Chad (The Left) Shue
h/t to the great folks at Crook and Liars dot com. Notice that there is no reference to "Terrorists", “Islamo Fascists”, or “Radical Extremists.” No, this guy is convinced that Rudy is the most qualified to ‘get rid of’ the MUSLIMS.
Chad (The Left) Shue
Cornfield has a good nose for details and a pretty good supporting cast of informants when it comes to digging up the political happenings in the county. Being a big fan of David Postman’s Postman on Politics in the Seattle Times, I am looking forward to watching Cornfield’s efforts in the Blogosphere. While both men cover the Olympia scene, I am looking for Cornfield to keep his ‘Petri Dish’ focused on the Snohomish County politicians there. Of course, during the off-season, there is always something happening in county and local government to provide good reading.
Apparently the Blog has only been active since the first of December and, unfortunately as of yet, there is no link for direct commenting – emailing the author is as close as we can get. According to Cornfield, via an email exchange:
”… as far as comments, I too am disappointed. Since we just added RSS feeds like 2 months ago, maybe they'll expand to take comments in 2008. Send our new exec editor an e-mail...he's totally open to succeeding online.”
So for those who would like to lobby the Herald on the value of interactivity and the media, please feel free to contact:
Kelly Hulin, Director New Media at email@example.com
I have added a link to “The Petri Dish” on my lists of Blogs. Give Jerry a read and drop him a line to let him know what you think - firstname.lastname@example.org
[UPDATE - 12:10PM 12/27/07]
By the way, while I am please to see Jerry Cornfield join the ranks in the Blogosphere, I am sad to report that, apparently, one of my chief protagonists, "Chantel", of Chantel Tales seems to have taken her/his leave from us. I have removed the link to that defunct site from my Blog list but will be happy to bring it back should he/she/they return.
Chad (The Left) Shue
As we prepare to celebrate the New Year, my resolution is to hold George Bush and Dick Cheney accountable for their abuses of power.
In the last days, we have made real progress:
The mainstream media has awakened to this movement and to the extraordinary support you have given it. Your calls, letters, and emails have clearly made a difference. Already 140,000 people have joined us in demanding impeachment hearings for Vice President Dick Cheney by signing up at WexlerWantsHearings.com.
The power of these combined voices are already shaking up the established order on Capitol Hill and throughout the mainstream media:
This week, the Miami Herald printed an article on our efforts that was syndicated in papers across the country, including the Detroit Free Press, Philadelphia Inquirer, Fort Worth Telegram, Contra Costa Times, Sacramento Bee, Houston Chronicle, Chicago Tribune, NC News & Observer, and others. (Click HERE to read the article.)
In addition, CBS4 in Miami became the first station we know of to run a television segment about the call for hearings. Video of that can be found HERE.)
Perhaps most importantly, just this morning the Philadelphia Inquirer courageously ran the full editorial I drafted along with my fellow Judiciary Committee members Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) and Rep. Tammy Baldwin (R-WI). (View it HERE .) Congratulations to the Inquirer for their willingness to publish a viewpoint that is so widely held by Americans – yet one that other leading national newspapers refused to publish.
We have come so far in just a few weeks. No longer can the mainstream media ignore our efforts and dismiss this cause as only part of the fringe left.
Already we are seeing tangible results from our combined effort. As you already know, Congress is well behind the American people on this issue. This is an uphill battle, but it's one that has to be fought. It should not be the whole agenda, but it needs be *on* the agenda.
When Congress reconvenes in January, I plan to present a list to my Judiciary Committee colleagues of every single person that signed up at WexlerWantsHearings.com. I will go to more of my colleagues and ask them to join a letter in support of hearings. We will build on the momentum you have given us.
Last week, I spent an hour on Blog Talk Radio outlining thoughts and answering questions in regards to this work. So many people hit their site that their servers temporarily went down. If you'd like to hear the archived audio, please click HERE.
Let's do our best to further spread the message so that list will be up to a quarter million. Please continue to blog, email friends, and insist that your family and friends sign up!
Thanks for your commitment.
Congressman Robert Wexler"
Now I am pleased to have signed Rep. Wexler's petition and I sincerely hope that he is able to persuade more of his colleagues to get on board the cause of defending our Constitution. But I do have a couple of questions:
First: You will find that many of the links that Wexler provides are to his re-election website and not to his official congressional website. I wonder if he weren't running for re-election in a very liberal district if he would be the new champion of this cause.
On that note, I wonder what Dennis Kucinich thinks about Wexler moving this issue so quickly into national view. I mean Kucinich has been pushing his impeachmnet resolution for over a year and most of the coverage has been via activist blogs. Wexler has only been talking about hearings for a few weeks and already he is getting coverage in the MSM. I'm just curious about what this says about Kucinich's effectiveness in moving a well intentioned issue forward.
Well, whatever the answers to those questions, I ceratinly hope that if you haven't signed the petition yet that you will do so now. And, more importantly, if you are an elected official (especially if you are up for re-election) I hope that you are paying attention to this.
Chad (The Left) Shue
Gov. Richardson discusses his chances in Iowa and beyond as well as his qualifications for the Whitehouse. He also dispells any thoughts about his running for VP.
Chad (The Left) Shue
In 2003 I supported Gov. Howard Dean for President; not simply because of his outspoken criticism of our “bipartisan approved” invasion of Iraq but, just as importantly, his resume of accomplishment as a state legislator and governor. Unlike any of the other candidates who were running for the Democratic nomination at that time, Gov. Dean not only talked the talk on the issues, he actually had a record of accomplishment to match the rhetoric in his speeches.
Today I am supporting Gov. Bill Richardson for the same reason. Of all the candidates currently seeking the Democratic nomination, Gov. Richardson is the only one with a record of accomplishment to match up to the issues our country must address in the coming decades; Iraq/Foreign Policy, Healthcare, Education, Energy/Environment, and the all-encompassing issue of Economic Fairness for all of our citizens. What follows is a recent speech that Gov. Richardson gave in Iowa. It is almost painful to acknowledge that, after almost five years (including the most recent one in which the Democrats reclaimed the majority in Congress), he must spend so much of his address on Iraq and its impact on our domestic policy.
The thing that stands out about this and every other speech he delivers is that, in addition to the goals and visions he lays out, he can then point to a specific accomplishment of his to match the plan. While all of the other candidates speak of their plans and hopes for our country, none of them can show quantitative results. For instance:
How many jobs has Barrack Obama created during his one year in the US Senate?
How many foreign heads of state has Hillary Clinton negotiated with in her time in that body?
How many children has John Edwards added to the healthcare rolls in his time as an attorney and one term senator?
I would ask the same questions of Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, Mike Gravel, and yes even Dennis Kucinich.
Where is the executive experience of any of these other candidates? Where is the evidence that any of the other candidates is capable of bringing people of opposing views together to achieve results?
For those who would suggest that “electability is the key”, I would simply ask, how’s ‘President Kerry’ working out for you?
Experience for a Change
Chad (The Left) Shue
Sent: Wednesday, December 19, 2007 2:38 PM
Subject: Legislative Update Vol. 1 No. 6
"Congress has finished its work for the year and was expected to go home Wednesday night. During the past week, Congress passed an omnibus appropriations bill, an energy bill, an S-Chip extension and a tax bill.
Omnibus appropriations - House and Senate Democrats gave in to WhiteHouse demands that the omnibus appropriations bill (combining 11 of the 12 annual spending bills) not exceed Bush's spending ceiling or include any policy riders that the White House found objectionable. After failing to override Bush's veto of the massive Labor, Health and Human Services and Education funding bill earlier in the month, congressional Democrats feared that a veto confrontation over the omnibus would lead to a stalemate though the end of fiscal year 2008, resulting in even more drastic cuts in domestic programs.
Consequently, in addition to cutting Labor Department funding by over $5 billion, Democrats were forced to abandon their plan to use the omnibus bill to block the implementation of the Labor Department's new LM-30 reporting rule. Democrats plan to hold hearings on the LM-30 rule next year and to block funding for the regulation in the fiscal year 2009 bill.
Energy bill - The energy bill contains the first required increase in automobile mileage standards in over 2 decades. The UAW supported the compromise, which would boost the CAFE standard from a combined 25 miles per gallon to 35 miles per gallon by 2020. The bill would also require the additional use of bio-fuels and energy efficient appliances. Senate Republicans blocked a $21 billion increase in oil and gas taxes to pay for the development of alternative energy sources.
S-Chip - Unable to reach agreement with Bush, who twice vetoed bi-partisan bills that would have expanded the children's health program to cover an additional 4 million kids, Congress finally gave up and voted to extend the current S-Chip program until March 2009. Democratic leaders, however, said they would not wait until 2009 to revisit the issue and would make a third attempt next year to expand the program.
Alternative Minimum Tax - Congress passed a one-year AMT "patch" without an offset, preventing 21 million taxpayers from being hit by the alternative minimum tax on their 2007 income. The Senate had blocked two House-passed bills that would have paid for AMT relief by closing tax loopholes that benefit a small number of billionaire hedge fund managers.
NLRB - The House and Senate labor committees met in an unusual joint session on December 13th to focus on 61 board decisions issued in September that, among other things, make it harder for unions to organize workers and harder for illegally fired employees to collect back pay. NLRB Board Member Wilma Liebman, appointed by President Clinton, issued a broad indictment against the Republican majority on the board: "Something different is going on--more 'sea change' than 'see saw.' The current Board, it seems to me, is divorced from the National Labor Relations Act, its values, and its goals," said Liebman. "Virtually every recent policy choice by the board impedes collective bargaining, creates obstacles to union representation or favors employer interests." AFL-CIO General Counsel Jon Hiatt also testified.
By January, 2008, there will be three vacancies on the five-member board. The AFL-CIO has urged Senate Democrats to stay in pro-forma session to prevent Bush from filling the vacancies with recess appointments.
Peru Free Trade Agreement - On December 4, the Senate approved the Peru FTA by a vote of 77-18. (ONLY) Seventeen Democrats voted against the agreement. House Trade Subcommittee Chairman Sandy Levin (D-MI) said that Democrats have no plans to bring up either the Colombia or S. Korea FTAs next year, but will focus instead on legislation that would force China to live up to global trade and currency rules."
Makes you feel good to be a Democrat don't it?
Chad (The Left) Shue
According to “The Hill” ”The Senate on Tuesday night handed President Bush a critical victory in the Iraq debate, approving billions of dollars for war operations and backing down from a months-long threat of withholding funding until the White House commits to a drawdown of troops. “ And, as if to polish the lump of coal in the Christmas stockings of Democratic voters, the article goes on to remind us of what we thought we might be receiving this Christmas…
”The approval of the measure marks a sharp turn from the hard-line positions Democrats took in November. At the time, they warned that Republicans and the White House would have to accept a funding bill with a provision calling for a complete troop withdrawal from Iraq by next December, or face the prospect of funding the war through the Pentagon’s fiscal 2008 spending bill.
But Republicans refused to capitulate, and the White House warned that failing to pass a portion of the president’s $196 billion Iraq war supplemental funding bill would result in hundreds of thousands of Pentagon employees losing their jobs just before Christmas.
Democrats appeared unmoved by the threats, saying they refused to give Bush a “blank check” for the war.
“If the president is not willing to take that with some conditions on it . . . then the president won’t get his $50 billion,” Senate Majority Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said last month of a Democratic plan in November to tie $50 billion in interim war funding with a timetable for troop withdrawal. “That’s pretty clear.””
While I am pleased to note that both of my US Senators voted against this latest “gift”, it cannot be stressed enough that Reid, in his role as “Leader,” was under no obligation to put this amendment on the floor for a vote. Oh, and while I am talking about who acted in what way, it would be irresponsible of me not to acknowledge the “leadership” of our Democratic “Senators who would be President” on this matter. On this vote, senators not voting: Biden, Clinton, Dodd, Feinstein, and Obama.
So there it is. The House will now tie the bow on this latest gift to George Bush before they head home to enjoy the holiday season. And for those who are concerned about the little “set back” I mentioned before; rumor has it that Harry is all prepared to bring the same FISA bill back for a new vote sometime in January.
[UPDATE 12/19/07 1500PST]
House adds war funds to omnibus bill
By Klaus Marre |
Posted: 12/19/07 5:28 PM [ET]
December 19, 2007
"The House Wednesday afternoon wrapped up its work for the year, putting the finishing touches on a massive omnibus spending bill that includes funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In its last vote of the session, the House backed an amendment that was passed earlier this week in the Senate. The measure adds $70 billion in funds for the Iraq war. It is attached to the omnibus spending bill that funds many government operations. The measure cleared the House by a vote of 272-142."
And a Happy New Year to "Our Democratic Congress."
Chad (The Left) Shue
Today (h/t Nicole Belle @ Crooks and Liars dot com) comes this from the Washington Post:
Hill Briefed on Waterboarding in 2002
In Meetings, Spy Panels' Chiefs Did Not Protest, Officials Say
By Joby Warrick and Dan Eggen
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, December 9, 2007; Page A01
(Staff writers Josh White and Walter Pincus and staff researcher Julie Tate contributed to this report.)
In September 2002, four members of Congress met in secret for a first look at a unique CIA program designed to wring vital information from reticent terrorism suspects in U.S. custody. For more than an hour, the bipartisan group, which included current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), was given a virtual tour of the CIA's overseas detention sites and the harsh techniques interrogators had devised to try to make their prisoners talk.
Among the techniques described, said two officials present, was waterboarding, (Emphasis TLS) a practice that years later would be condemned as torture by Democrats and some Republicans on Capitol Hill. But on that day, no objections were raised. Instead, at least two lawmakers in the room asked the CIA to push harder, two U.S. officials said.”
The article goes on to identify other members of Congress and the attitude of the moment:
”With one known exception, no formal objections were raised by the lawmakers briefed about the harsh methods during the two years in which waterboarding was employed, from 2002 to 2003, said Democrats and Republicans with direct knowledge of the matter. The lawmakers who held oversight roles during the period included Pelosi and Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) and Sens. Bob Graham (D-Fla.) and John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), as well as Rep. Porter J. Goss (R-Fla.) and Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan)
Individual lawmakers' recollections of the early briefings varied dramatically, but officials present during the meetings described the reaction as mostly quiet acquiescence, if not outright support. "Among those being briefed, there was a pretty full understanding of what the CIA was doing," said Goss, who chaired the House intelligence committee from 1997 to 2004 and then served as CIA director from 2004 to 2006. "And the reaction in the room was not just approval, but encouragement."”
If this report is true, and thus far there have been no denials issued, I am left again to wonder if the Democrats have any more moral authority than the Republicans when it comes to defending the values of the United States. While it is important to safe guard classified information designed to protect our country from attack, I have to question whether remaining silent when you know that our country is being intentionally mislead into war or when agents of our government are engaged in illegal activities (regardless of the righteous intent) does not stand in marked opposition to the obligation these representatives have to do the right thing as our fellow citizens.
Chad (The Left) Shue
While I went into the forum a Richardson supporter, I left even more convinced than before that we need experience in the oval office. While there were many good ideas and plans laid out before us at this forum, the one thing that kept running through my mind was the truism, “Actions speak louder than words.” Having served at every level of government, Bill Richardson is the only person running for president this year who has actually produced results in the areas that impact our country the most at this time in history.
As a congressman, Richardson introduced successful legislation to expand national park lands in his home state of New Mexico. At the behest of a constituent, he traveled to hostile territory in Sudan to successfully negotiate the release of US hostages being held there. During the Clinton administration he served as this country’s Ambassador to the United Nations and as Secretary of Energy, serving with distinction in each of those areas. Currently in his second term as Governor of New Mexico (an arguably “deep red” state), Richardson has brought differing sides together to establish New Mexico as a model for other states in the areas of energy, education and healthcare.
Being bi-cultural (having spent the first 15 years of his life living in Mexico) Richardson is uniquely qualified to address the issues of immigration and trade with our neighbors to the south and elsewhere. In fact, Gov. Richardson has been successful in convincing the government of Mexico to do more to enforce security on their side of the border and to start cracking down on the make-shift villages that crop up to serve as the staging areas for illegal drugs and human trafficking into New Mexico. A skilled negotiator, Richardson has traveled the world to help negotiate the release of Americans held captive in Saddam’s Iraq, to secure the release of the remains of American Korean War casualties from North Korea, to secure a cease fire in the hostilities in the Dafur region of Sudan, and was instrumental in negotiating a halt to the nuclear weapons program in North Korea. In fact, this year, Gov. Bill Richardson was nominated for the fifth time for the Nobel Peace Prize. Try as I might, I am unable to find anything close to the level of accomplishment of Gov. Richardson in any of the other candidates. As much as I might love the “ideas” and “plans” that many of them have, I simply do not see results that convince me that they will be able to step into the role of President of the United States on the first day and begin to pull the country together to move forward on the important issues.
Unfortunately, I believe that the Democrats are on the verge of repeating the self-defeating strategy of the 2004 election cycle. Rewarding style over substance, rhetoric over results, it seems that, just as with Gov. Howard Dean before him, the experience of Gov. Richardson risks being overshadowed by the glitz and glamour of celebrity. Being fed by the media’s desire to report on a “horse race”, polling numbers are broadcast almost hourly reflecting a set of “front runners” while in fact almost half of the voters questioned signify that they have no preference at all. Rather than enabling people to know what any candidate has “done” the political “reporters” dwell on vital issues of “grooming” and “celebrity endorsement.” At media sponsored “debates” the time for candidate responses (indeed, even the opportunity to give a response) is based upon the “horse race” mentality, thus denying the voters to right to make a real choice based on direct comparison between all of the candidates. And, perhaps most harmful to our democracy, the nightly news (the place where most American still receive their news) seem to only be capable (or willing) to acknowledge that there are more than the two or three candidates they view as “viable.”
With just 4 weeks to go until the first caucus goers in Iowa cast a real vote, I can only hope that the voters there will stop for a moment before caucus day and reflect on our shared experience of the last seven years and how “inexperience at the helm” has steered the ship of state so dangerously into the rocks. I hope they look closely at the people who are seeking this office and the opportunity to serve the nation – examine closely the qualifications of each. I hope they will measure actions against words. We can’t afford four more years of On the Job Training.
Bill Richardson - Experience for a Change.
Chad (The Left) Shue
In 2002 and 2003 George W. Bush and Dick Cheney almost certainly mislead the congress and the American people into an invasion of Iraq by manipulating intelligence that suggested Iraq had WMD. You seemingly have determined that this was not impeachable.
In 2005 George W. Bush stood before the American people and confessed to violating the 4th Amendment of the US Constitution by illegally wiretapping the phone and internet conversations of American citizens. Again, you apparently determined that this did not reach the level of high crimes or misdemeanors required to trigger impeachment.
In 2003 Dick Cheney almost certainly played a role in revealing the name of a CIA covert operator (in fact his own Chief of Staff has been found guilty of crimes relating to that treasonous act) and yet your lack of action indicates that you still do not believe crimes warranting impeachment have been committed.
The list of crimes and abuses of power continue to mount. Today we have discovered (thanks to some dedicated patriots in our country’s Intelligence community) that the Bush Administration has been intent on repeating their successful efforts at leading this country into military conflict by withholding and twisting the intelligence on Iran’s nuclear weapons program; a program that we now know was discontinued over 4 years ago.
The fact that the recently released National Intelligence Estimate directly contradicts the rhetoric of George Bush and Dick Cheney must rouse even the most reluctant of you as to the constitutional imperative for impeachment. There can be no higher crime committed by our government than to knowingly mislead our American forces into combat and potentially their deaths. The blatant abuse of power exhibited by both Dick Cheney and George W. Bush MUST NOT GO UNCHECKED!
Again, I call upon you members of the US House of Representatives to fulfill your duty under the Constitution to defend that sacred document and our own Democracy. You must rise up to impose the remedy of impeachment to cure our national infection which has been the Bush Administration.
Chad (The Left) Shue
As most folks know the CIA has just released a National Intelligence Estimate that announces Iran suspended it nuclear weapons program in 2003. While there are many interesting aspects to this revelation, the responses by George W. Bush and Hillary Rodham Clinton just blow me away.
At a televised news conference today, after stating that he only just found out about this important piece of intelligence, Bush said that the news actually vindicated his wild rhetoric about the urgency of defending against a nuclear Iran and imposing the threat of World War III. Meanwhile, at a debate in Iowa, “media front runner” Hillary suggested that her recent “yes” vote on the Kyl-LIEberman amendment (declaring Iran’s Revolutionary Guard to be a “terrorist organization”) was beginning to pay dividends.
The bottom line is this: We owe a sincere debt of gratitude to the dedicated folks who released this National Intelligence Estimate BEFORE George Bush and Dick Cheney could convince one more person that it was in anyone’s interest to invade or bomb Iran.
Too bad Senator Clinton would rather continue to listen to George Bush rather than some of her own Democratic colleagues.
Chad (The Left) Shue
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Chad (The Left) Shue