Facebook Badge

Toll Free Numbers To The Washington Switchboard

1-866 338-1015
1-866 220-0044

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Miss the Sun Herald discussion Board? It moved to Delphi.

Sun Herald #1.1

I've created an online community called "Sun Herald".
Please join the discussion!

With the message board, you can view discussion folders quickly in the left-hand column and read up to 20 messages at a time. You can even attach files (such as pictures and programs) directly to messages -- just like e-mail. It's fast, easy, and efficient.

As the Forum "Host," I control the specific features of the Forum.
The best way into my Forum is at the following URL:

There are thousands of other Forums like mine. You can use the personalized "My Forums" feature at http://forums.delphiforums.com/Sun_Herald/myforums to keep track of new messages in this Forum and any others you may enjoy.

In order to provide personalized services and access control, you'll need to go through a quick registration if you've never participated in a Delphi Forums online community before. It only takes a minute and it's free!

I'm eager to hear comments and suggestions. Let's get the conversation started!

Best regards,


Who supports the religious right?

More hypocrisy from the religious right.  These dirty men can't keep it in their pants and can't keep from legislating against what they most desperately desire; sex with anyone anywhere for any price.  Just legalize this crap for Christ sake and stop being hypocrites!

A two-day prostitution sting in St. Paul netted 35 men, including a longtime Republican operator in Minnesota politics.

Peter Hong, 41, of Minneapolis, was one of 19 men picked up Wednesday afternoon after police say he responded to an ad for sex put out in newspapers and online by the St. Paul Police Department's vice squad.

He was booked into the Ramsey County Jail at about 5 p.m. the same day on suspicion of engaging in prostitution.

The Carleton grad was a campaign spokesman for Gov. Tim Pawlenty in 2002 and congressional press secretary to Sen. Rod Grams, R-Minn., for much of the 1990s. He also served as the Bush-Cheney Minnesota campaign spokesman in 2004. His most recent political stint was as presidential campaign spokesman for Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Hong is currently self-employed and "Always Searching for the Next Big Thing!" according to his profile on the business-networking Web site LinkedIn.

Sixteen more men were picked up Thursday. All 35 were arrested on suspicion of engaging in prostitution.

"That's like huge for us," said Peter Panos, police spokesman. "That's a great two day's work."

The department runs this type of sting once every six weeks, Panos said, and the arrests send out a message to potential johns:

"You want to do prostitution, look, go somewhere else, you're not going to do it in St. Paul," Panos said.

Several calls to phone numbers listed for Hong were not immediately returned today.

Hansen, an attorney for Hong, said his client hasn't been charged with any crime yet. He didn't want to comment on the police arrest, other than saying, "It's just going to be something that's handled within the judicial system."

Hong isn't the first political player picked up in a St. Paul prostitution sting.

Timothy Droogsma, who ran unsuccessfully for the Minnesota Senate in 1996 and the U.S. House in 1992, and had served as spokesman for Gov. Arne Carlson and U.S. Sen. Rudy Boschwitz, was arrested in August 2007 on suspicion of engaging in prostitution. He called the arrest "the result of a severe misunderstanding."

He pleaded guilty in January.

New Brighton City Council member David Phillips was one of nine men cited for engaging in prostitution during a sting in February. He is slated for a pretrial hearing Aug. 13.

GOP operative nabbed in prostitution sting - TwinCities.com

Letter to the Editor

During a Senate energy hearing last month, several witnesses from the oil and finance industries were asked how to get the price of oil down immediately. They all said, if there were anti speculation legislation passed, the price of oil would be reduced by 40% to 50% over night. Not one witness contradicted this conclusion. Monday July 21st, Sen. Reid introduced S.3268. On Friday the 25th Republicans voted against cloture, which killed a vote on the bill, because they were not allowed to add amendments to drill for more oil and build nuclear plants with radioactive waste to last millions of years. Drilling won't bring a drop of oil to the market for 7 and 14 years and won't reduce the price of gas one cent even then (because demand will keep increasing between now and then.) let alone today. Sens. Cochran,Wicker, and Vitter voted against proceeding to the vote on this legislation thereby stopping the Democrats from helping us with the high price of gas TODAY. Republicans claim it is a supply and demand problem. Unless demand for oil has increased 700% in the past 7 years this is not true because the price of oil has gone up 700% since 2001. that would be equivalent to the population of the earth doubling every two years or reduction of supply by half every 2 years if it were a supply and demand problem. Call your Senators this coming week at 1-800-828-0498 and tell them to pass this legislation immediately so that we can start paying less for gas this week. We will have to drill for the future, but it won't reduce the price of oil, it will just increase supply in 7 to 14 years.

Shelley Thoppil


Friday, July 25, 2008

MotherJones Blog: Former Iraqi P.M. Says Surge Not So Great

When it comes to Iraq, the surge is a great success, right? Well, according to Ayad Allawi, Iraq's former prime minister, that depends on what you mean by "success".

In a briefing before members of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs yesterday, Allawi answered questions from members of he subcommittee on international organizations, human rights, and oversight. When asked by Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), the subcommittee's ranking member, for Allawi's "assessment of of what's come of the surge," Allawi all but said, not much.

Reminding Rohrabacher that the original objective of the surge was to create a safe environment for a process of national reconciliation, Allawi said, "Now, militarily, the surge has achieved some of its goals. Politically, I don't think so."

Allawi rattled off a laundry list of perils that still confront the Iraqi people: internal displacement of large numbers of people, millions of refugees outside Iraq, security forces he described as sectarian militias dressed in national uniforms, no enforcement of the national constitution, which he described as a "divisive" document.

The former prime minister, who is now a member of the Iraqi parliament, also alleged that the process known as "deBaathification" is "being used to punish people." Originally designed to purge Saddam Hussein's loyalists from the military and security forces, Allawi said the process has become politicized and can be used against virtually anybody, since Saddam Hussein's "Baath party ruled for 35 years, and every individual had to join..."

"So, if you measure the surge from a military point of view, it has succeeded," Allawi said. "But I don't think this was the [prime] objective, because soon you will have reversals. Security has not prevailed, and the key element in security is reconciliation, and building national institutions for the country. If this does not happen, then the surge will go in vain."...

...Nonetheless, leaders of Allawi's political party, the Iraqi National List, were among the 31 leaders in the Iraq parliament who signed a letter (PDF) presented to Congress on May 29 requesting that a timetable for withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq to be part of any future agreement between the two countries. The 31 signatories signed as representatives of their political parties, collectively speaking for a majority of Iraq's 275 members of parliament.

MotherJones Blog: Former Iraqi P.M. Says Surge Not So Great

Crooks and Liars » Vincent Bugliosi: Hearing on Limits of Executive Power and his take on Weapons of Mass Destruction

John Amato on Friday, July 25th, 2008 at 5:10 PM - PDT Heather: Vincent Bugliosi’s opening statements during the House Judiciary Committee hearing on the constitutional limits of executive power.Heather: He did one heck of a job of keeping it simple to explain the lies on the WMD’s, and why they didn’t even matter. What mattered is whether a country is an imminent threat, and the CIA said even with WMD’s, Saddam was not.
Go here to watch the testimony of Bugliosi.  It was AWESOME!
Crooks and Liars » Vincent Bugliosi: Hearing on Limits of Executive Power and his take on Weapons of Mass Destruction

Another reason Nancy Pelosi must go.

Nancy Pelosi not only gave the finger to every American who voted in 2006 to have this criminal president held responsible for his crimes by taking impeachment off the table, but now she is working with the republicans to make sure that ethics continue to be a joke in congress.  If you want ethics, might i suggest you start by firing Peolsi and Boehner?  They're clearly trying to cover their own asses for something and we need to find out what. 

Here's something no one could have predicted...

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Thursday announced joint appointments to a landmark ethics review board that for the first time will allow private citizens to review allegations against members.

Still, four out of six members of the board for the newly created Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) will be former members of Congress, including former CIA Director Porter Goss (R-Fla.), who will serve as co-chairman.

Well, golly-gee! Wow. The ex-chief spy -- in an era where insane FISA "reforms" have already made people suspicious of political spying -- being put in charge of sorting out the dirt on Members of Congress.

By the way, go read the article. It's a masterwork of news-in-context. Porter Goss, named to co-chair the ethics panel, written up in a DC insider publication, with no mention whatsoever of Dusty Foggo or Duke Cunningham.

Spies, bribes, hookers... ethics panel. Yeah, this is gonna be great.

Accountability, here we come!

Daily Kos: State of the Nation

Daily Kos: Why won't the "MSM" cover Edwards love child story????

The quality of right wing news.

Daily Kos: Why won't the "MSM" cover Edwards love child story????

Daily Kos: Americans Want More Drilling... Right?

Back in February, the Republicans knew they had a losing issue on their hands.

Even some Republicans admit that it may be hard to sell voters on the idea of continuing to provide tax incentives to oil companies earning record profits.

"It's not as sexy and easy a sound bite," said Sen. David Vitter, a Louisiana Republican who opposes the measure

What to do?  What to do?  After years of pushing multi-billion dollars tax breaks into the overflowing coffers of oil companies -- all in the name of encouraging exploration -- the Republicans had only managed to fatten company bottom lines while emptying American pockets.  

But wait!  They could just turn it around.  Blame Democrats for blocking the very thing the GOP had been funding year, after year, after year and pretend it never happened.  "Find more, use Less" became the new GOP talking point.  And boy, this idea's a three'fer.  You get to blame Democrats for a problem you caused, keep the tax breaks you've been feeding your oil buddies, and tear down the restrictions around the last protected places.  If that's not making barrels of light sweet Texas lemonade out of sour lemons, I don't know what it.

Best of all, the American people are behind it.  The GOP drank the shake and stuck Democrats with the tab.

Only... maybe not.  A poll conducted by the Wilderness Society delivers very different results from the Faster, Democrats! Drill! Drill! line that's being pushed on the 24 hour talking head-a-thons.

The American public is not buying the arguments of President Bush and the oil industry that new drilling will lower gas prices, a new poll finds. Despite a well-funded campaign to convince lawmakers to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska and the offshore waters of the Outer Continental Shelf to drilling, and to allow new oil shale projects in the Rocky Mountain West, a majority (54%) of Americans do not see more drilling as a solution to high gas prices.

George Bush, John McCain, and the Republican Chorus think that the way to turn attention from their disastrous oil policy is repeat the same thing, only more so.  But somehow, people aren't buying.

A significant majority of Americans (63%) said that the President's proposal to open up public lands to oil and gas drilling is "more likely to enrich oil companies than to lower gas prices for American consumers." A substantial majority (66%) said that "the small percentage of public lands still protected from oil drilling should remain off limits because they are valuable natural resources that cannot be replaced."

Republicans think they have a winner here.  But then, when's the last time the Republicans were right about anything?

Oh, and someone might want to talk to George Voinovich about the "use less" part of "find more, use less" motto.

Voinovich: Let's go after every single drop of oil that's available to us.

Uh, yeah.  That seems to sum up the Republican plan for our future.  No doubt after we've burned that last drop, we will use less.

Daily Kos: Americans Want More Drilling... Right?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Who is the last person you want as a summer neighbor?

A new poll put out by U.S. News and World Report asked respondents, “You just rented a vacation home on Martha’s Vineyard where the political and media elite go. Who is the last person you want as a summer neighbor?” A majority (53 percent) said right wing talker Rush Limbaugh. Fox News blowhard Bill O’Reilly came in second at 20 percent while MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann (14 percent) and Chris Matthews (13 percent) rounded out the bottom half.
Who is the last person you want as a summer neighbor?

Schwarzenegger ask for riots in CA.

Several hundred angry state workers rallied on the west steps of the Capitol today to protest Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's plans to temporarily slash the pay of most of them to $6.55 an hour because of the state's continuing budget mess.

Waving pennants and placards with the slogan "Value Us," the crowd listened to speeches by union leaders and several Democratic legislators.

"It appears to me that the governor did not know who he was messing with," said Yvonne Walker, president of Service Employees International Union Local 1000. "We're not political pawns."

"How many of you," she asked, "can pay your mortgage 'eventually?'" "How many of you can go to the grocery store and say 'hey, catch you later?'"

Another union official, Larry Perkins, suggested that if the governor's plan is enacted, workers should work for 20 minutes, then take a 40-minute break to reflect their reduced compensation.

"I don't know about you," Perkins said, "but I'm not working for $6.55."

The Democratic lawmakers seized the opportunity to rip into their Republican counterparts, who have been emphatic in opposing a proposed Democratic budget that includes about $8 billion in tax increases, mostly on the wealthy.

"It's unfair and outrageous," said Assemblyman Dave Jones, D-Sacramento. "The budget can't be balanced on the backs of state workers."

Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, D-Oakland, said after the rally that Schwarzenegger's proposal caught Democrats by surprise.

"I was with the governor twice yesterday," Perata said. "He didn't even bring this up. So if he wanted to leverage me, you know, it's like you put a gun to your head and say hey, I want your attention now."

Perata also said he didn't have a clue as to the governor's motives, but whatever they were, the move was a mistake.

"I don't know why he did it. It was certainly unnecessary. It's incendiary. You know, he is really trying to incite the wrong people. But if he wants a fight, he's going to have a fight ... this is an act of war. It's a declaration. He is doing war on the people of this state who make California run. So whoever advised him ought to be in an unemployment line right now. If he thought of it himself, shame on him."

Perata's sentiments were echoed often and loudly in the crowd.

"I can't imagine what the governor is thinking when he says we're not worth more than the minimum wage when the economy has so many issues, like cost of gas and mortgage payments," said Nancy Lyerla, a registered nurse who works for the state.

Others were frustrated by both Schwarzenegger and the Legislature.

"It's ridiculous that the governor and Legislature can't get a budget on time," said Jim Hard, the SEIU's immediate past president and an Employment Development Department worker. "We're very angry and frustrated that they disrespect the services that we provide to the people of California, otherwise they would pass a budget that funds it and end the ideological game playing."

But a few in the crowd were less than empathetic with the state employees' potential plight.

"This is what state workers do," said Mike Hammond, who said he owns a Rancho Cordova electrical firm that sometimes does business with the state, and who interrupted one speaker by booing and shouting "go back to work" before being escorted away from the steps by security.

"They make a big production of everything when it hasn't even happened yet. Has a single state worker missed a paycheck yet? Arnold is going to do what he wants to do ... if they don't like working for the state, go get another job."

Top Stories - Workers rally against Schwarzenegger pay plan - sacbee.com

Guantanamo testimony: U.S. let bin Laden's bodyguard go

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVY BASE, Cuba — Soon after Osama bin Laden's driver got here in 2002, he told interrogators the identity of the al Qaeda chief's most senior bodyguard — then a fellow prison camp detainee.

But, inexplicably, the U.S. let the bodyguard go.

This startling information was revealed in the fourth day of the war crimes trial of Salim Hamdan, 37, facing conspiracy and material support for terror charges as an alleged member of bin Laden's inner circle.

Michael St. Ours, an agent with the Naval Criminal Intelligence Service, NCIS, provided the first tidbit. He testified for the prosecution that his job as a prison camps interrogator in May 2002 was to find and focus on the bodyguards among the detainees.

And Hamdan helped identify 30 of them — 10 percent of the roughly 300 detainees then held here. They had just been transferred to Camp Delta from the crude compound called Camp X-Ray, and U.S. intelligence was still trying to unmask them.

Chief among them was Casablanca-born Abdallah Tabarak, then 47, described by St. Ours as ''a hard individual,'' and, thanks to Hamdan, ``the head bodyguard of all the bodyguards.''

St. Ours said he was eager to speak with Tabarak. But the Moroccan was ''uncooperative,'' and St. Ours moved on to other intelligence jobs — and never learned afterward what became of him.

Then, on cross-examination, Hamdan defense attorney Harry Schneider dropped a bombshell:

''Would it surprise you to learn he was released without ever being charged?'' St. Ours looked stunned.

''Yeah,'' he said.

Prison camp and Pentagon spokesmen did not reply Thursday to a request for an explanation. Tabarak's name was gone from an official prison camp roster drawn up by the Defense Department in September 2004, after some 200 captives had been sent away. A month before, Morocco's state news agency said all five of its nationals had been repatriated from the camps, for investigation.

For two days, FBI and other federal agents have testified about the extent -- and limits -- of Hamdan's cooperation in a string of interrogations since his November 2001 capture by U.S.-allied Afghan forces at a checkpoint in southern Afghanistan.

Defense lawyers have sought to portray the father of two with a fourth-grade education as ultimately helpful to the Americans — after he initially covered up his relationship with bin Laden.

Prosecutors have called him truculent, a loyal and trusted member of bin Laden's inner circle who grudgingly spoke with interrogators — and never came clean on why there were two surface-to-air missiles in his car when he was captured.

Hamdan said at his Nov. 25, 2001, battlefield interrogation that he borrowed the car, and the missiles happened to be inside it.

McClatchy Washington Bureau | 07/24/2008 | Guantanamo testimony: U.S. let bin Laden's bodyguard go

Diesel Spill Closes Mississippi River

A 12-mile stretch of the Mississippi River is closed this morning after a tugboat collided with an tanker, causing thousands of barrels of diesel oil on a barge to spill into the waterway.

View Original Article

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Green house gasses were degrading our atmosphere until the oil industry said it wasn't.

“Bush administration officials agreed that greenhouse gases could endanger the public and should be regulated under clean-air laws, but later reversed course amid opposition from Vice President Dick Cheney’s office and the oil industry, a congressional report said. The “report is inaccurate to the point of being laughable,” said White House spokesman Tony Fratto.
Think Progress » ThinkFast: July 21, 2008

McClatchy Washington Bureau | 07/22/2008 | Angry at Bush, Russia considers closer Venezuela, Cuba ties

Russia has already said that an attack on Iran would equate an attack on Russia.  They've also said that they will not allow this missile defense shield that will run along their southern border.  With that as a preface we have this:

MOSCOW — Amid talks about a billion-dollar arms purchase from Russia, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Tuesday that he wanted the two nations to become strategic partners to ensure "Venezuela's sovereignty, which is currently being threatened by the United States."

Chavez's remarks, reported by the Russian state news wire RIA Novosti, came a day after a Russian newspaper reported that Russia's military is considering whether its nuclear weapons-capable bombers could land in Cuba.

The rhetoric is the latest notch up in tensions between the United States and Russia, which are embroiled in a dispute over American plans to build a missile-defense shield in the Czech Republic and Poland.

Another state news service, Interfax, quoted a defense industry source as saying that Chavez was in Russia on a two-day trip partly to negotiate the purchase of more than $1 billion worth of weapons systems — adding to earlier contracts worth about $4 billion — including up to 20 surface-to-air missile systems and three diesel submarines.

Interfax also quoted the source as saying that Venezuela plans to buy six more submarines in the future. Previous purchases by Venezuela from Russia have included two dozen fighter jets and 100,000 Kalashnikov rifles.

"A number of arms contracts have already been agreed upon and could be signed during Chavez's visit to Moscow," Interfax quoted the source as saying.

Although the Cuba proposal — reported in the newspaper Izvestiya — may be a trial balloon intended mainly to antagonize Washington, Soviet strategic bombers once routinely refueled in Cuba during flights up and down the U.S. East Coast.

Alexander Drobyshevsky of the Defense Ministry's press service told McClatchy on Tuesday that "I cannot tell you if such a decision was taken or might be taken" and added that the refueling could be done just as easily with air tankers.

Drobyshevsky referred McClatchy to the Foreign Ministry on the question of whether such a move is under consideration. The Foreign Ministry had no comment.

At the White House, spokeswoman Dana Perino said the discussion of refueling in Cuba was "just speculation and hypotheticals right now."

The State Department played down the reports from Russia on basing bombers in Cuba, noting that no senior Russian official has echoed them publicly, at least not yet.

"We've seen these quotes in the press. However, we haven't seen them officially confirmed by the Russian government," spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos said. "We continue to work with the Russians on this (missile defense) issue. We've consistently made it clear to them that our proposed deployment of a limited missile-defense system in Europe poses no threat to them or to their nuclear deterrent."

On Russian arms sales to Venezuela, Gallegos said "we've repeatedly communicated concerns to Russia about Chavez's arms buildup in the past, and we're going to continue to do so. We continue to question . . . whether such acquisitions are in line with Venezuela's legitimate defense needs."

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev didn't match Chavez's anti-American sentiment Tuesday but voiced strong support for the Venezuelan leader.

"We think that it is our common task to achieve a more democratic, just and secure world," Medvedev said, according to Interfax. "We are ready to work on this, together with the Venezuelan president."

In addition to arms deals, Chavez and his aides discussed oil and natural-gas issues with Russian leaders.

State news media quoted an unnamed official of the Russian Energy Ministry as saying that a charter for a group of gas-exporting countries — a proposed natural-gas OPEC — could be finalized in Venezuela in October.

Also on Tuesday, Venezuela's energy and oil minister, Rafael Ramirez, signed deals with Russian oil company Lukoil and joint UK-Russia company TNK-BP to explore the Orinoco oil belt in eastern Venezuela, the site of vast reserves of "heavy oil," which is denser and harder to refine than light oil. Such oil reserves are gaining increased attention with recent high oil prices and concerns about worldwide supply.

McClatchy Washington Bureau | 07/22/2008 | Angry at Bush, Russia considers closer Venezuela, Cuba ties

The Bush administration agrees with big business. Surprise!

Before the end of his term he wants to lift regulations stating how much of any particular toxin should be allowed to be ingested or imposed upon workers.  He wants to soften the rules so that workers will be susceptable to higher concentrations of toxins.  Surprise!  Now that the value of a human life is a million dollars less than it was when he came into office, I guess it works out ok.  He should just make it official and say that a human life is worth nothing, then he and his corporate donors can just kill us all and not have to pay a cent for it.

Political appointees at the Department of Labor are moving with unusual speed to push through in the final months of the Bush administration a rule making it tougher to regulate workers' on-the-job exposure to chemicals and toxins. The agency did not disclose the proposal, as required, in public notices of regulatory plans that it filed in December and May. Instead, Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao's intention to push for the rule first surfaced on July 7, when the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) posted on its Web site that it was reviewing the proposal, identified only by its nine-word title. The text of the proposed rule has not been made public, but according to sources briefed on the change and to an early draft obtained by The Washington Post, it would call for reexamining the methods used to measure risks posed by workplace exposure to toxins. The change would address long-standing complaints from businesses that the government overestimates the risk posed by job exposure to chemicals.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Daily Kos: State of the Nation

Bob Herbert looks at "The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals," by the New Yorker’s Jane Mayer. While the focus of the book is on the shredding of the Constitution during the Bush administration, this should give every American pause:

After reviewing 517 of the Guantánamo detainees’ cases in depth," she said, "they concluded that only 8 percent were alleged to have associated with Al Qaeda. Fifty-five percent were not alleged to have engaged in any hostile act against the United States at all, and the remainder were charged with dubious wrongdoing, including having tried to flee U.S. bombs. The overwhelming majority — all but 5 percent — had been captured by non-U.S. players, many of whom were bounty hunters.

Daily Kos: State of the Nation

Torture doesn't work and...it is inadmissable as evidence.

As Americans, it should turn our stomachs to know that methods used during the Spanish Inquisition are being used against the human flesh of men in our custody today.  But there is another argument against torture other than the moral one, the legal one.  The evidence derived from this detainee under duress looks like it is not going to be allowed as evidence against him.  That means that this man got tortured to insanity for nothing.  Torture doesn't work and it makes prisoners lie and say anything to stop it.  It doesn't stop terrorists attacks.  It doesn't make us stronger.  It weakens us and turns us into blood thirsty beasts, like those we say we are fighting against. 
Evidence against terrorism suspect barred at Guantanamo trial - Los Angeles Times

The military judge overseeing the first war crimes trial against a terrorism suspect at Guantanamo Bay agreed Monday to bar some evidence against Osama bin Laden's former driver because it was obtained in "highly coercive environments and conditions." On the trial's opening day, Navy Capt. Keith J. Allred denied defense appeals to exclude other statements Salim Ahmed Hamdan made during interrogation by U.S. agents in Afghanistan as well as during his more than six years' imprisonment at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The judge said he would withhold judgment on a May 2003 interrogation until the defense had time to review 600 pages of detention records, which the government did not turn over until Sunday -- the night before trial. The exclusion of evidence Allred considered coerced could set a standard for admissibility in other war crimes cases due before the tribunal in the coming months, including that of the self-proclaimed Sept. 11 mastermind.

Arabs feel hopeless with U.S. governments.

Mideast Sees More of the Same if Obama Is Elected - NYTimes.com

From the religious center of Jerusalem to the rolling hills of Amman to the crowded streets of Cairo, dozens of interviews revealed a similar sentiment: the United States will ultimately support Israel over the Palestinians, no matter who the president is. That presumption promoted a degree of relief in Israel and resignation here in Jordan and in Israel's other Arab neighbors. "What we know is American presidents all support Israel," said Muhammad Ibrahim, 23, a university student who works part time selling watermelons on the street in the southern part of this city. "It is hopeless. This one is like the other one. They are all the same. Nothing will change. Don't expect change." Across the border, in Israel, Moshe Cohen could not have agreed more. "Jews there have influence," Mr. Cohen said, as he sold lottery tickets along Jaffa Road in Jerusalem. "He'll have to be good to Israel. If not, he won't be re-elected to a second term."

What we are up against with these lying Repugnants

Yesterday debate on anti-speculation legislation began in the senate. here is an example of the arguments between repukes and democrats. Republicans are such liars. Everything I've commented on is documented and proven. You show me one lie from Dick Durbin, the democrat, on the other hand and I'll buy you an ice cream.

Pete Dominici (R. N.M.)
[Page: S6955]  GPO's PDF

Now, before I talk about my prepared remarks, I am going to say it is common knowledge in the oil and gas industry of America and the world that offshore--off the shores of the United States--be it California or Georgia, there exist large quantities of natural gas and crude oil, (80% of which is already leased to the oil and gas companies to drill for and they are not. shell) and that there are ways today to discover precisely where that oil is and to build platforms that are impregnable, (not true. I just watched an expert geologist who works on oil platforms with the newest technology at his command and he could only estimate probabilities, not certainties. he said the only way to really find out is to drill. shell) onto which the apparatus is moved for the drilling of oil, and that from one such platform 10 or 12 major wells can be drilled underground--way down, many feet, in fact miles below the surface--to produce oil and gas for the American people.

As we begin this debate, it is interesting to note that it has been 26, almost 27 years that these offshore oil and gas reserves owned by the American people have been locked up in a moratorium (he's only talking about 20% of the sea that is not leased already he's trying to fool the american people with this statement), either congressional or Executive. We note the other day the President lifted his moratoria, wherever they were around the United States (yes drill in the grand canyon and all our national parks! right off the shore of san diego! come on let's get drillin!). He lifted them. So what is left is the congressionally imposed, 1 year at a time--and we have imposed it for 26 years--moratorium on using this valuable resource because we were frightened and scared about the damage it might cause, the harm that might be caused by going out and drilling in the deep waters off the coasts of our country (that's because it has happened before and we know the consequences. the republicans think we just forgot the damage caused by oil spills in california and after katrina and alaska).

We have since found out, without question--during this 27 years of getting oil elsewhere and expecting oil to be cheap--we found out during that period of time that we can indeed locate and find and drill for and produce and deliver oil and gas from the bottom, way down deep from the bottom of the coastal waters of America (in 7 to 15 years). Huge quantities of oil and gas can be removed (3% of the world store, total.), can be piped out, with no damage and no danger to anyone (lie). That was proven with Katrina. When Katrina happened, America had a number of platforms, deep-water platforms in existence, because some parts of the offshore were open and yielded large quantities of oil and gas. None of them was disrupted (lie. the spills caused by katrina spilled almost as much as the exxon Valdez. millions of gallons of oil spilled from the destroyed platforms and broken under water pipelines.). None of them was broken (lie). None of the pipes were broken (lie), and no environmental damage occurred from one of the most severe problems that came with Katrina and the hurricane that followed (lie and i can prove all of these lies with the government's own data and maps.), as we all know (no we all don't know pete because you are ether lying or you are totally incompetent to be speaking on the issue.)


.Dick Durbin (D. Illinois) you find a lie for me in this and i'll buy you a Popsicle.

[Page: S6957]  GPO's PDF

Mr. DURBIN. Madam President, this is an interesting debate because it is really coming down to some different points of view. As both sides present their cases, I am sure the American people will listen carefully because there is hardly an issue we can discuss that hits each and every family and each and every person so personally. This is the sign that you see in front of the gas station every morning when you drive to work, every weekend when you start to fill up. This is what you face when you go to fill up that car or truck and reach into your wallet for your credit card or cash and realize this is the most you have ever paid for gasoline in your life.

This is real. This isn't some theoretical possibility that it may affect your life. This debate is about reality. So it is important that the people who are following this debate understand there are two very different points of view.

The view expressed by the Senator from New Mexico is one that I think most Republicans now espouse. It is this: if we could just drill more oil, we would have a larger supply, and it would bring down the cost. If the cost goes down, then the price of gasoline goes down and, thank goodness, we will get some relief at the gasoline pump.

It is a good theory, and it is their starting point, but it has some weaknesses. The first weakness is, if you take a look at all of the oil the United States has within its boundaries and offshore, all of this, the estimate of all the oil we could reach at any given time in the United

States represents 3 percent of the world's supply of oil. Most of our oil comes from other places--Canada, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia. Our oil, U.S. oil, is 3 percent of the world's total. How much oil do we consume in the United States? We consume 25 percent of the world's production. We cannot drill our way out if we drill every drop of oil available to us anywhere, onshore and offshore. We could not meet the clear demand of the largest economy in the world.

Simply, drilling does not answer the challenge. It ignores the reality that China, India, and many other countries which, for the longest time, didn't use as much oil as the United States, now are starting to use more--more cars, more trucks, more industry. Their demand for that same world oil supply is putting a strain on the market. There is no question about it.

The second question, obviously, is, is there a place, someplace in the United States--either onshore or offshore--where there is the answer to our prayers immediately, where we could say: For goodness sake, clear the decks, stop the regulators, get the derricks out, and let's drill. Bring out that oil and, for goodness sake, bring down the price of gasoline. Is there such a place?

The answer is no, honestly, because those who are involved in the industry tell us anytime we decide to drill on another acre of land, it is a decision which will lead to production of oil anywhere from 8 to 14 years from now--8 to 14 years. Why? They have to go in and map the land. They have to figure out where the oil might be. They have to do some testing. They have to find some equipment.

Incidentally, all the oil equipment for offshore drilling right now is in use. There is nothing like an inventory waiting to be dragged out and put in just the right spot. It is not there. It takes years to get in the queue, to bring these oil exploration operations on line. Once they are on line, production starts slowly and builds. And that is the reality that explains the 8 to 14 years.

So we do not have any oil in the United States to take care of ourselves indefinitely, and we don't have this mother lode of oil somewhere that if we could just tap it tomorrow, it is going to answer our prayers.

Then there is the third issue. The third issue is the Federal Government, which controls a lot of land within the United States and off our shores, continually offers to the oil and gas companies the opportunity to lease that land and explore it for gas and oil. If you listen to the other side, you would think we are squandering--holding back all of these oil and gas assets from oil and gas companies and daring and defying them to go forward with exploration and production. That is not the case.

President Bush and the Republicans and the oil companies want to greatly expand the available areas for drilling. But is it responsible? The Federal Government already offers tracts of land in offshore regions for oil and natural gas development. In fact, nearly 94 million acres of U.S. territory--that is a larger landmass than the size of the State of Utah--is currently under lease to the oil and gas companies who believe there is oil and gas to be found. That is twice the size of the State of Pennsylvania currently under lease.

It is not as if access has been restricted. The Government leases millions of new acres every year. An additional 4.6 million acres of Federal land was leased in 2007. The Bureau of Land Management has held 21 onshore lease sales already this year. Last week a sale was held for nearly 63,000 acres. BLM has 18 more lease sales scheduled through this year. Offshore lease sales have proceeded at an even faster pace.

Since the beginning of 2007, the Minerals Management Service has held six lease sales for open areas off the Outer Continental Shelf in the Gulf of Mexico and in Alaska's Chukchi Sea.

How much offshore oil land has been offered? It is 115 million acres that has been offered to the oil and gas companies for a lease on which to drill. How big a territory is 115 million acres?

Most people, certainly in my State and around the country, know Interstate 80.

It starts over here in New Jersey and ends in California. If you were to take a 628-mile swath along Interstate 80 from New Jersey to California, that would represent 115 million acres. That is what we have offered to the oil and gas companies to lease; land they can look at and explore and find oil and gas and produce it.

The oil companies, that said they do not have enough land to look at for future oil and gas, have responded by saying they would like to have 12 million acres, that is the amount of seabed the oil companies put bids on, barely 10 percent of what we offered them.

In my I-80 comparison, that would take you from New Jersey to Pennsylvania, about 310 miles. Look at the big stretch they are not interested in bidding on. We hear from the Republicans: There is no place for them to turn. But when we offered them the land, they turned it down. They are not using the leased land they currently have either. This next chart shows there are 68 million acres of Federal land currently leased to the oil and gas companies. What you see is kind of a shot of the Western part of the United States. The leased land that is under production is the dark areas, the black areas.

The red areas represent leased land by the Federal Government to the oil companies that they pay for--they do not force them to take it, they pay for it, they pay an annual lease for the right for oil and gas production. The red areas represent areas they lease and are currently not exploring or producing on.

So you see the argument that there is not enough land out there for them to look at defies explanation. When we open it for bid, they will not bid on it. When they do lease it, they do not explore it and use it. Does that sound like there is a lack of supply here of land that they can turn to? That is the Republican argument.

They do argue that there is one little spot, one spot in the United States of America where they can find oil, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, 1.56 million acres. Now how much is there? I do not know. But I will tell you that next door to the ANWR is the National Petroleum Reserve of Alaska, which has been established specifically for oil and gas development.

[Page: S6958]  GPO's PDF

There are 23 million acres of land there available. We have held four lease sales in that area since 1999. So far they have leased 3.6 million acres out of the 23 million. We are going to try to lease some more there to see if there is any interest. All this talk about Alaska being the answer to our prayers, they do not explain as well that it is 10 or 12 years away, if there is any production, and when, if it ever came in, even at the wildest estimates, it would not have any impact of more than pennies or nickels on the actual cost of oil and the price of gasoline.

I joined with Senators Dodd and Menendez to charge oil companies a fee for every acre they lease but do not use for production. I have heard critics on the other side say that is unfair to the oil companies. Why should they be able to tie up the land if they are not going to use it? Should not we make it available to oil companies that might explore and might produce on that land? Is that not what we need? Even the Republicans would have to agree with that argument.

When it comes to offshore drilling, I mentioned the 68 million acres. The red areas are Federal offshore land leased to oil companies which they are currently not exploring or producing on. The dark acres, they are. There is a lot of land available.

I wish to say a word about speculation too. We have offered to the Republicans the following. We have a bill, a bill which I was at least partially responsible for writing, which says we need more regulators to keep an eye on speculation when it comes to oil and its prices.

I think that is something that is eminently reasonable. This is a good indication. In the year 2000, 37 percent of the oil futures market was for speculators. These are basically investment companies, investment banks. And 63 percent represented companies that were actually hedging the price of oil, because they used oil, such as airlines.

Look how that has changed in the last 8 years. Seventy-one percent of the oil futures market is in the hands of speculators who literally never take control of the oil they are bidding on, and only 29 percent represent companies that use it for the purpose that most of us would agree it should be intended.

So we know speculation is growing when it comes to oil, and we know the transactions have gone up 600 percent in the last 8 or 10 years. The size of the agency that regulates it has not; in fact, it has declined. We want to put 100 more regulators, overseers, in this agency to keep an eye on this energy futures market to see if there is excessive speculation or even manipulation and do something about it.

Where Have All the Leaders Gone? - CommonDreams.org

Had Enough?

Am I the only guy in this country who’s fed up with what’s happening? Where the hell is our outrage? We should be screaming bloody murder. We’ve got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff, we’ve got corporate gangsters stealing us blind, and we can’t even clean up after a hurricane much less build a hybrid car. But instead of getting mad, everyone sits around and nods their heads when the politicians say, “Stay the course.”

Stay the course? You’ve got to be kidding. This is America, not the damned Titanic. I’ll give you a sound bite: Throw the bums out!

0508 06You might think I’m getting senile, that I’ve gone off my rocker, and maybe I have. But someone has to speak up. I hardly recognize this country anymore. The President of the United States is given a free pass to ignore the Constitution, tap our phones, and lead us to war on a pack of lies. Congress responds to record deficits by passing a huge tax cut for the wealthy (thanks, but I don’t need it). The most famous business leaders are not the innovators but the guys in handcuffs. While we’re fiddling in Iraq, the Middle East is burning and nobody seems to know what to do. And the press is waving pom-poms instead of asking hard questions. That’s not the promise of America my parents and yours traveled across the ocean for. I’ve had enough. How about you?

I’ll go a step further. You can’t call yourself a patriot if you’re not outraged. This is a fight I’m ready and willing to have.

My friends tell me to calm down. They say, “Lee, you’re eighty-two years old. Leave the rage to the young people.” I’d love to—as soon as I can pry them away from their iPods for five seconds and get them to pay attention. I’m going to speak up because it’s my patriotic duty. I think people will listen to me. They say I have a reputation as a straight shooter. So I’ll tell you how I see it, and it’s not pretty, but at least it’s real. I’m hoping to strike a nerve in those young folks who say they don’t vote because they don’t trust politicians to represent their interests. Hey, America, wake up. These guys work for us.

Who Are These Guys, Anyway?

Why are we in this mess? How did we end up with this crowd in Washington? Well, we voted for them—or at least some of us did. But I’ll tell you what we didn’t do. We didn’t agree to suspend the Constitution. We didn’t agree to stop asking questions or demanding answers. Some of us are sick and tired of people who call free speech treason. Where I come from that’s a dictatorship, not a democracy.

And don’t tell me it’s all the fault of right-wing Republicans or liberal Democrats. That’s an intellectually lazy argument, and it’s part of the reason we’re in this stew. We’re not just a nation of factions. We’re a people. We share common principles and ideals. And we rise and fall together.

Where are the voices of leaders who can inspire us to action and make us stand taller? What happened to the strong and resolute party of Lincoln? What happened to the courageous, populist party of FDR and Truman? There was a time in this country when the voices of great leaders lifted us up and made us want to do better. Where have all the leaders gone?

The Test of a Leader

I’ve never been Commander in Chief, but I’ve been a CEO. I understand a few things about leadership at the top. I’ve figured out nine points—not ten (I don’t want people accusing me of thinking I’m Moses). I call them the “Nine Cs of Leadership.” They’re not fancy or complicated. Just clear, obvious qualities that every true leader should have. We should look at how the current administration stacks up. Like it or not, this crew is going to be around until January 2009. Maybe we can learn something before we go to the polls in 2008. Then let’s be sure we use the leadership test to screen the candidates who say they want to run the country. It’s up to us to choose wisely.

So, here’s my C list:

A leader has to show CURIOSITY. He has to listen to people outside of the “Yes, sir” crowd in his inner circle. He has to read voraciously, because the world is a big, complicated place. George W. Bush brags about never reading a newspaper. “I just scan the headlines,” he says. Am I hearing this right? He’s the President of the United States and he never reads a newspaper? Thomas Jefferson once said, “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate for a moment to prefer the latter.” Bush disagrees. As long as he gets his daily hour in the gym, with Fox News piped through the sound system, he’s ready to go.

If a leader never steps outside his comfort zone to hear different ideas, he grows stale. If he doesn’t put his beliefs to the test, how does he know he’s right? The inability to listen is a form of arrogance. It means either you think you already know it all, or you just don’t care. Before the 2006 election, George Bush made a big point of saying he didn’t listen to the polls. Yeah, that’s what they all say when the polls stink. But maybe he should have listened, because 70 percent of the people were saying he was on the wrong track. It took a “thumping” on election day to wake him up, but even then you got the feeling he wasn’t listening so much as he was calculating how to do a better job of convincing everyone he was right.

A leader has to be CREATIVE, go out on a limb, be willing to try something different. You know, think outside the box. George Bush prides himself on never changing, even as the world around him is spinning out of control. God forbid someone should accuse him of flip-flopping. There’s a disturbingly messianic fervor to his certainty. Senator Joe Biden recalled a conversation he had with Bush a few months after our troops marched into Baghdad. Joe was in the Oval Office outlining his concerns to the President—the explosive mix of Shiite and Sunni, the disbanded Iraqi army, the problems securing the oil fields. “The President was serene,” Joe recalled. “He told me he was sure that we were on the right course and that all would be well. ‘Mr. President,’ I finally said, ‘how can you be so sure when you don’t yet know all the facts?’” Bush then reached over and put a steadying hand on Joe’s shoulder. “My instincts,” he said. “My instincts.” Joe was flabbergasted. He told Bush, “Mr. President, your instincts aren’t good enough.” Joe Biden sure didn’t think the matter was settled. And, as we all know now, it wasn’t.

Leadership is all about managing change—whether you’re leading a company or leading a country. Things change, and you get creative. You adapt. Maybe Bush was absent the day they covered that at Harvard Business School.

A leader has to COMMUNICATE. I’m not talking about running off at the mouth or spouting sound bites. I’m talking about facing reality and telling the truth. Nobody in the current administration seems to know how to talk straight anymore. Instead, they spend most of their time trying to convince us that things are not really as bad as they seem. I don’t know if it’s denial or dishonesty, but it can start to drive you crazy after a while. Communication has to start with telling the truth, even when it’s painful. The war in Iraq has been, among other things, a grand failure of communication. Bush is like the boy who didn’t cry wolf when the wolf was at the door. After years of being told that all is well, even as the casualties and chaos mount, we’ve stopped listening to him.

A leader has to be a person of CHARACTER. That means knowing the difference between right and wrong and having the guts to do the right thing. Abraham Lincoln once said, “If you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” George Bush has a lot of power. What does it say about his character? Bush has shown a willingness to take bold action on the world stage because he has the power, but he shows little regard for the grievous consequences. He has sent our troops (not to mention hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi citizens) to their deaths—for what? To build our oil reserves? To avenge his daddy because Saddam Hussein once tried to have him killed? To show his daddy he’s tougher? The motivations behind the war in Iraq are questionable, and the execution of the war has been a disaster. A man of character does not ask a single soldier to die for a failed policy.

A leader must have COURAGE. I’m talking about balls. (That even goes for female leaders.) Swagger isn’t courage. Tough talk isn’t courage. George Bush comes from a blue-blooded Connecticut family, but he likes to talk like a cowboy. You know, My gun is bigger than your gun. Courage in the twenty-first century doesn’t mean posturing and bravado. Courage is a commitment to sit down at the negotiating table and talk.

If you’re a politician, courage means taking a position even when you know it will cost you votes. Bush can’t even make a public appearance unless the audience has been handpicked and sanitized. He did a series of so-called town hall meetings last year, in auditoriums packed with his most devoted fans. The questions were all softballs.

To be a leader you’ve got to have CONVICTION—a fire in your belly. You’ve got to have passion. You’ve got to really want to get something done. How do you measure fire in the belly? Bush has set the all-time record for number of vacation days taken by a U.S. President—four hundred and counting. He’d rather clear brush on his ranch than immerse himself in the business of governing. He even told an interviewer that the high point of his presidency so far was catching a seven-and-a-half-pound perch in his hand-stocked lake.

It’s no better on Capitol Hill. Congress was in session only ninety-seven days in 2006. That’s eleven days less than the record set in 1948, when President Harry Truman coined the term do-nothing Congress. Most people would expect to be fired if they worked so little and had nothing to show for it. But Congress managed to find the time to vote itself a raise. Now, that’s not leadership.

A leader should have CHARISMA. I’m not talking about being flashy. Charisma is the quality that makes people want to follow you. It’s the ability to inspire. People follow a leader because they trust him. That’s my definition of charisma. Maybe George Bush is a great guy to hang out with at a barbecue or a ball game. But put him at a global summit where the future of our planet is at stake, and he doesn’t look very presidential. Those frat-boy pranks and the kidding around he enjoys so much don’t go over that well with world leaders. Just ask German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who received an unwelcome shoulder massage from our President at a G-8 Summit. When he came up behind her and started squeezing, I thought she was going to go right through the roof.

A leader has to be COMPETENT. That seems obvious, doesn’t it? You’ve got to know what you’re doing. More important than that, you’ve got to surround yourself with people who know what they’re doing. Bush brags about being our first MBA President. Does that make him competent? Well, let’s see. Thanks to our first MBA President, we’ve got the largest deficit in history, Social Security is on life support, and we’ve run up a half-a-trillion-dollar price tag (so far) in Iraq. And that’s just for starters. A leader has to be a problem solver, and the biggest problems we face as a nation seem to be on the back burner.

You can’t be a leader if you don’t have COMMON SENSE. I call this Charlie Beacham’s rule. When I was a young guy just starting out in the car business, one of my first jobs was as Ford’s zone manager in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. My boss was a guy named Charlie Beacham, who was the East Coast regional manager. Charlie was a big Southerner, with a warm drawl, a huge smile, and a core of steel. Charlie used to tell me, “Remember, Lee, the only thing you’ve got going for you as a human being is your ability to reason and your common sense. If you don’t know a dip of horseshit from a dip of vanilla ice cream, you’ll never make it.” George Bush doesn’t have common sense. He just has a lot of sound bites. You know—Mr.they’ll-welcome-us-as-liberators-no-child-left-behind-heck-of-a-job-Brownie-mission-accomplished Bush.

Former President Bill Clinton once said, “I grew up in an alcoholic home. I spent half my childhood trying to get into the reality-based world—and I like it here.”

I think our current President should visit the real world once in a while.

The Biggest C is Crisis

Leaders are made, not born. Leadership is forged in times of crisis. It’s easy to sit there with your feet up on the desk and talk theory. Or send someone else’s kids off to war when you’ve never seen a battlefield yourself. It’s another thing to lead when your world comes tumbling down.

On September 11, 2001, we needed a strong leader more than any other time in our history. We needed a steady hand to guide us out of the ashes. Where was George Bush? He was reading a story about a pet goat to kids in Florida when he heard about the attacks. He kept sitting there for twenty minutes with a baffled look on his face. It’s all on tape. You can see it for yourself. Then, instead of taking the quickest route back to Washington and immediately going on the air to reassure the panicked people of this country, he decided it wasn’t safe to return to the White House. He basically went into hiding for the day—and he told Vice President Dick Cheney to stay put in his bunker. We were all frozen in front of our TVs, scared out of our wits, waiting for our leaders to tell us that we were going to be okay, and there was nobody home. It took Bush a couple of days to get his bearings and devise the right photo op at Ground Zero.

That was George Bush’s moment of truth, and he was paralyzed. And what did he do when he’d regained his composure? He led us down the road to Iraq—a road his own father had considered disastrous when he was President. But Bush didn’t listen to Daddy. He listened to a higher father. He prides himself on being faith based, not reality based. If that doesn’t scare the crap out of you, I don’t know what will.

A Hell of a Mess

So here’s where we stand. We’re immersed in a bloody war with no plan for winning and no plan for leaving. We’re running the biggest deficit in the history of the country. We’re losing the manufacturing edge to Asia, while our once-great companies are getting slaughtered by health care costs. Gas prices are skyrocketing, and nobody in power has a coherent energy policy. Our schools are in trouble. Our borders are like sieves. The middle class is being squeezed every which way. These are times that cry out for leadership.

But when you look around, you’ve got to ask: “Where have all the leaders gone?” Where are the curious, creative communicators? Where are the people of character, courage, conviction, competence, and common sense? I may be a sucker for alliteration, but I think you get the point.

Name me a leader who has a better idea for homeland security than making us take off our shoes in airports and throw away our shampoo? We’ve spent billions of dollars building a huge new bureaucracy, and all we know how to do is react to things that have already happened.

Name me one leader who emerged from the crisis of Hurricane Katrina. Congress has yet to spend a single day evaluating the response to the hurricane, or demanding accountability for the decisions that were made in the crucial hours after the storm. Everyone’s hunkering down, fingers crossed, hoping it doesn’t happen again. Now, that’s just crazy. Storms happen. Deal with it. Make a plan. Figure out what you’re going to do the next time.

Name me an industry leader who is thinking creatively about how we can restore our competitive edge in manufacturing. Who would have believed that there could ever be a time when “the Big Three” referred to Japanese car companies? How did this happen—and more important, what are we going to do about it?

Name me a government leader who can articulate a plan for paying down the debt, or solving the energy crisis, or managing the health care problem. The silence is deafening. But these are the crises that are eating away at our country and milking the middle class dry.

I have news for the gang in Congress. We didn’t elect you to sit on your asses and do nothing and remain silent while our democracy is being hijacked and our greatness is being replaced with mediocrity. What is everybody so afraid of? That some bobblehead on Fox News will call them a name? Give me a break. Why don’t you guys show some spine for a change?

Had Enough?

Hey, I’m not trying to be the voice of gloom and doom here. I’m trying to light a fire. I’m speaking out because I have hope. I believe in America. In my lifetime I’ve had the privilege of living through some of America’s greatest moments. I’ve also experienced some of our worst crises—the Great Depression, World War II, the Korean War, the Kennedy assassination, the Vietnam War, the 1970s oil crisis, and the struggles of recent years culminating with 9/11. If I’ve learned one thing, it’s this: You don’t get anywhere by standing on the sidelines waiting for somebody else to take action. Whether it’s building a better car or building a better future for our children, we all have a role to play. That’s the challenge I’m raising in this book. It’s a call to action for people who, like me, believe in America. It’s not too late, but it’s getting pretty close. So let’s shake off the horseshit and go to work. Let’s tell ‘em all we’ve had enough.

Excerpted from Where Have All the Leaders Gone? by Lee Iacocca with Catherine Whitney

Monday, July 21, 2008

Voters For Peace: The power to end the war and prevent future wars of aggression

In recent comments you have urged voters to “hold you accountable” and make policy demands on you.  On January 31, 2008 you said "I want to end the mindset that got us into war in the first place."  This is the standard we urge you live-up to – the statement for which we write to hold you accountable.

As you embark on your tour of Europe, the Middle East and Afghanistan as the putative Democratic nominee it is time to begin to “end the mindset” of war.  When you visit Israel urge them do not bomb Iran; tell the Israelis and Palestinians that peace is the priority; urge U.S. commanders in Iraq to speed up the withdrawal you have proposed and make it a complete withdrawal – do not leave a residual force, mercenaries, a strike force in Kuwait or any long-term bases, and when you are in Afghanistan emphasize non-military solutions to the conflict there.  Militarism dominates U.S. statecraft. It is time for greater emphasis on negotiation, diplomacy, multi-lateralism and foreign aid.

Your recent writings and speeches on Iraq indicate that you have not backtracked.  It is critical that you do not do so.  Already many in the peace movement are concerned with some of your positions particularly the incomplete withdrawal that leaves tens of thousands of residual forces in Iraq, leaves more than 100,000 private military forces (mercenaries) and creates a combat strike force in Kuwait while continuing to threaten Iran.  DO NOT TAKE AMERICANS OPPOSED TO WAR FOR GRANTED.  Anti-war voters – the majority of Americans – have many options.  We do not have to donate time or money to your campaign, we can vote for clearly anti-war third party and independent candidates or we can not vote at all.

War is not the answer to any of these conflicts.  The U.S. is not made more secure by creating new enemies and draining our treasury.  The U.S. military budget is sapping the economic strength of the nation and making it impossible to face up to the urgent needs of a new energy economy, upgraded infrastructure, health care for all and other necessities of the American people.  When you “end the mindset” that led to the Iraq War it will allow for a re-prioritization of resources at home and abroad away from a military economy toward a civilian one.

Sign the petition here:
Voters For Peace: The power to end the war and prevent future wars of aggression

Is this what Chamberlain did with Hitler? That's what Bush said when he was in Israel.

U.S. Talks With Iran Exemplify Bush's New Approaches - washingtonpost.com

With his moves last week involving Iraq, Iran and North Korea, President Bush accelerated a shift toward centrist foreign policies, a change that has cheered Democrats, angered some Republicans and roiled the presidential campaign. Bush sent his first high-level emissary to sit in on nuclear talks with Iran, which ended without agreement Saturday. Also in the past two days, the president agreed for the first time to set a "time horizon" for withdrawing troops from Iraq, and authorized Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to join North Korean diplomats at six-party talks about ending that country's nuclear weapons program. The maneuvers underscore how much the Bush administration has changed since 2002, when the president proclaimed Iraq, Iran and North Korea to be an "axis of evil." Now Bush is pushing forward with diplomatic gestures toward Iran and North Korea while breaking with a long-held position on troop withdrawals in the interest of harmony with the Iraqi government.

Republicans blocking the Oil andi-speculation bill.

The republicans are blocking a vote on this anti-speculation bill.  Can you call your senators and tell them to get off the pot and allow this bill to be voted on?  all the experts said this regulation will decrease the price of a barrel of oil by half over night. (it's already gone down $15 in one week just on news that this bill was coming to the floor today.)  republicans are holding it up because they want their "drill drill drill" bill passed even though 80% of the known oil fields we have are already leased and 90 million acres on land are just sitting waiting for oil to go higher.  120 million acres are already leased on the continental shelf, not being drilled.  they just want their greedy campaign contributors to be able to own every acre of land that might have oil on it.  they're even talking Yosemite and the grand canyon!  the earliest date that any drilling at all will produce even a drop of oil is estimated to be 7 years.  is that going to help you now?  is it going to stop speculators?  The republicans want their bill so that when this speculation bill passes and the price of oil drops by half over night, they can say, see!  it's because of our drilling bill!  but did you know that all of the oil we own on american land comes to about 3% of the total in the world?  Did you know that we use 25% of the worlds energy resources?  WE CANNOT DRILL OUR WAY OUT OF THIS PROBLEM.  but we can reduce the price of oil while where putting alternative energy on the menu.  honda already has a car that runs on hydrogen alone.  only emissions are water emissions.  we can do this now but we have to stop these ass holes from blocking every bill that will move us out of the oil addiction we find ourselves in.
here is the toll free number to contact your senator.  if you don't know who your senator is, go to my blog and click the link at the top of the page to find yours.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Following Obama’s lead on foreign policy - The Carpetbagger Report

From: Bill Burton

To: Interested Parties
From: The Obama Campaign
RE: Obama Leading on Foreign Policy, McCain Following

There are two problems with John McCain’s political attacks on Barack Obama’s foreign policy. First, on the biggest foreign policy questions of the last eight years, Barack Obama has made the right judgment and John McCain has sided with George Bush in making the wrong one. Second, the failure of the McCain-Bush foreign policy has forced John McCain to change his position, and to embrace the very same Obama approaches that he once attacked.

Just this week, Senator McCain has been forced by events to switch to Barack Obama’s position on two fundamental issues: more troops in Afghanistan, and more diplomacy with Iran. On both issues, Obama took stands that weren’t politically popular at the time – opposing the war in Iraq as a diversion from the critical mission in Afghanistan, and standing up for direct diplomacy with Iran – while John McCain lined up with George Bush. Time has proven Obama’s judgment right and McCain wrong.

The next shift appears to be Iraq. For months, Senator McCain has called any plan to redeploy our troops from Iraq “surrender” – even though we’d be leaving Iraq to a sovereign Iraqi government. Now, the Bush Administration is embracing the negotiation of troop withdrawals with the Iraqi government – a position that Senator Obama called for last September, and reiterated on Monday in the New York Times. And now, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki supports Barack Obama’s timeline, telling Der Speigel that, “Barack Obama is right when he talks about 16 months.”


Following Obama’s lead on foreign policy - The Carpetbagger Report

Adm. Mullen on FOX: “Right now I’m fighting 2 wars, and I don’t need a third one…”

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Mike Mullen, appeared on FOX today and delivered a message that’s sure to upset Bill Kristol and the rest of the neocon armchair generals
 WALLACE: I want to ask you two questions about Iran. How do you weigh as a military man, as the top military man, the downside risk if either the U.S. or Israel were to militarily strike Iran in terms of blowback from Iran and its allies in the region, increased turmoil in that area, increased turmoil in the oil market?
MULLEN: I think it would be significant. I worry about it a lot. I’ve said when I’ve been asked this before right now I’m fighting two wars, and I don’t need a third one. […] But I worry about the instability in that part of the world and, in fact, the possible unintended consequences of a strike like that and, in fact, having an impact throughout the region that would be difficult to both predict exactly what it would be and then the actions that we would have to take to contain it.
Crooks and Liars » Adm. Mullen on FOX: “Right now I’m fighting 2 wars, and I don’t need a third one…”