Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Over 15,000 PDA activists voted in the presidential straw poll. Full results here.
You can cast your vote here on the right hand side of the screen to voice your opinion via the Farmer-Labor caucus.
Sunday, December 2, 2007
By Max Blumenthal, AlterNet. Posted December 1, 2007.
Anti-immigration zealot and GOP presidential candidate Tom Tancredo hired what he often refers to as "criminal aliens" to renovate his Colorado house.
When Republican Representative Tom Tancredo isn’t railing against the “scourge” of illegal immigration on the presidential campaign trail, he relaxes in the 1053 square foot basement recreation room of his Littleton, Colorado McMansion. There, he and his family can rack up a game of billiards on their tournament size pool table, play pinball, or enjoy their favorite movies in the terraced seating area of a home theater system. Tancredo, who dodged the draft during the Vietnam War by producing evidence that he suffered from mentally illnesses, especially likes entertaining his buddies with classic war movies.
“We have friends over and I have now shown Pearl Harbor about six times,” Tancredo boasted to the Rocky Mountain News about his 102-inch television. “But I mainly just show the attack scene because the sound is so good.”
When Tancredo hired a construction crew to transform his drab basement into a high-tech pleasure den in October 2001, however, he did not express concern that only two of its members spoke English. Nor did he bother to check the workers’ documentation to see if they were legal residents of the United States. Had Tancredo done so, he would have learned that most of the crew consisted of undocumented immigrants, or “criminal aliens” as he likes to call them. Instead, Tancredo paid the crew $60,000 for its labor and waited innocently for the completion of his elaborate entertainment complex.
During the renovation process, two illegal workers hired by Tancredo were alerted to his reputation for immigrant bashing. They went straight to the Denver Post to complain. Tancredo “doesn't want us here, but he'll take advantage of our sweat and our labor,” one of the workers complained to the Post on September 19, 2002. “It's just not right.”
The Post report momentarily threw Tancredo on the defensive. In a fiery speech soon after the story’s publication, Tancredo blamed his foibles on the INS. “I haven't the foggiest idea how many people I may have hired in the past as taxi drivers, as waiters, waitresses, home improvement people,” he boomed from the House floor. “I haven't the foggiest idea how many of those people may have been here illegally, and it is not my job to ask them.” Then defiance gave way to vitriol as the congressman dubbed undocumented immigrants, “the face of murder.”
Only days before the Post’s story appeared, Tancredo had personally reported an honor student profiled in the Denver Post to the INS because the 14-year-old was not a legal resident of the United States. The stunt forced the boy’s family to go into hiding. Fortunately for Tancredo, the ensuing revelations of his hiring of illegal labor fell below the radar of the national media, allowing his anti-immigrant crusade to proceed unabated.
Tancredo proceeded to organize over 90 anti-immigration House members into an informal but powerful caucus that has effectively prevented any non-enforcement related immigration legislation from reaching the President’s desk. His Team America PAC, which is chaired by right-wing pundit Bay Buchanan, has donated tens of thousands of dollars this election cycle to nativist candidates who hope to fill Tancredo’s caucus with new blood when he retires next year. Down on the border, Tancredo announced his support for the Minutemen, providing the anti-immigrant militia with a veneer of respectability while its pistol-packing members hunt for brown-skinned evildoers.
Tancredo has also played an instrumental role in shaping the way immigration is discussed in the media. Despite his third tier status in the presidential campaign, as of November 19 the congressman has appeared on Fox News more times during 2007 than any other presidential candidate. A former Tancredo staffer speaking on condition of anonymity told me recently that the congressman spends extensive time on the phone with top-rated CNN anchor Lou Dobbs, offering him tips and ideas for his daily “Broken Borders” segments.
Dobbs, in turn, has produced an unending string of specious “reports” painting undocumented immigrants from Latin America as disease-ridden criminals. In May, for example, Dobbs falsely claimed that illegal migrants from Mexico were responsible for 7000 new cases of leprosy in the United States. A wave of negative publicity forced Dobbs to acknowledge his source for the bogus story as Madeleine Cosman, a deceased white supremacist activist who often appeared at anti-immigrant rallies beside her pal Tancredo.
The success of Tancredo’s efforts to project his nativist politics onto the national stage were apparent during CNN’s November 26 Republican Youtube debate. In a heated exchange that highlighted press coverage of the debate, presidential frontrunners Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney competed with one another over who could appear the most draconian towards “illegals.” When Romney accused Giuliani of running a “sanctuary city” for undocumented immigrants while serving as mayor of New York, Giuliani shot back that Romney had run a “sanctuary mansion” when he was governor of Massachusetts. Giuliani pointed to a lengthy Boston Globe report revealing that Romney paid a gardening service that employed illegal workers to tend the lawns of his mansion. Suddenly, the candidates with the most tolerant records on immigration issues sounded like Tancredo.
While the two rivals clashed, Tancredo stood at the far end of the stage smiling contentedly. The cause he championed for years with a band of ornery border vigilantes, white supremacists, and assorted dregs by his side had become a central theme in the race for the White House. Of all the major GOP candidates, only Sen. John McCain has countered Tancredo with big tent appeals to socially conservative Latinos. The other candidates have reliably parroted his talking points, parrying accusations of ideological impurity by accusing one another of being soft on illegal immigration. “All I've heard is people trying to out-Tancredo Tancredo,” Tancredo observed during the debate. “It is great.”
But there is one way the Republican candidates can never out-Tancredo Tancredo. The congressman lives in a “sanctuary mansion” built by the kind of people he has made a career out of demonizing. Tom Tancredo may have no hope of winning the Republican nomination, but in the cause of hypocrisy, he is the frontrunner.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Sonia Morphew Pitt, the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s former director of the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, caused the state to incur over $11,500 of unauthorized, unreasonable, or inappropriate expenses and charged the state for over $14,500 of work time that should have been recorded as personal leave.
You can read the report for yourself here.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Monday, November 26, 2007
Mississippi mudslinger Trent Lott reportedly decided over turkey and stuffing to resign from Congress by the end of the year, creating a vacuum for the minority whip post. Thanks, Trent! Maybe if the sometime-segregationist embarrassed by racially insensitive remarks in support of Strom Thurmond in 2002 had chosen to resign in, say, '81, we wouldn't have all these problems we're having today....
Friday, November 16, 2007
Rep. Dennis Kucinich got to speak only once in the last hour of the debate and at one point when the entire panel was asked to answer a question Rep. Kucinich was skipped.
These debates have become a farce that do more to advance what the stations believe are good ratings and leave substance behind.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
A word from a top the Fortune 500 list:
Mr. Buffett said that in the last 20 years, tax laws have allowed the “superrich” to become richer.
Best Quote from a Billionaire Ever:
"Frankly, an economy where my receptionist pays a lot higher tax rate than, than I do does not strike me as a just economy," Buffett told lawmakers.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Legos Awards Eight-Year-Old $5,000 For Singing "Bush Is Over"
And finally an eight year old from Bethesda Maryland is making headlines this week after winning a $5,000 prize from the toy company Legos. Kelsie Kimberlin was one of 10 children to win Lego's first annual Creativity Awards. In order to win the award she wrote an essay saying that her creativity came through singing songs like "Happy Springtime," a reworking of John Lennon's "Happy Xmas." A video of Kelsie singing the song was also posted on YouTube. In the song her father changed the lyrics to the song from "Happy Christmas (War is Over)" to "Happy Springtime (Bush is Over)." Officials from Legos claim they didn't see the video before awarding Kelsie Kimberlin the prize money. When asked to describe her winning entry, she told the Washington Post: "I don't want kids to lose any parents in the war."
You can watch the youtube here
How did he get Hussein to confess to slaughtering 180,000 Kurds and plotting to build a doomsday nuke?
Was it bright lights and loud music that got him to tell it all?
Nope. Instead it was talking about sports and Hussein's pulp novels and chatting "over thick cups of Folger's."
You can read the rest of it here.
Friday, November 9, 2007
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Eugene McCarthy turned war opponents into a political force.
Published: November 08, 2007
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Clean for Gene
"In New Hampshire, McCarthy was the ideal person to lead the vanguard of a generation hoping to define itself by living outside as many norms as possible."
Charles Kaiser, "1968 in America."
Anniversaries are often tinged with mixed emotions. One with many colors will be marked this month. Forty years ago, a principled Minnesota maverick, Sen. Eugene McCarthy, took on the leaders of his own Democratic Party -- including fellow Minnesotan Hubert Humphrey -- with a presidential bid aimed at ending the Vietnam War.
The occasion evokes in Minnesotans past a certain age a complex stew of memories, as they recall how their state -- perhaps more than any other -- became a highly personalized battleground over American policy in Southeast Asia. The anniversary also cries out for comparisons with today's unpopular war and those who are trying to end it.
Opposition to the Vietnam War was rising, but it had not yet fully ripened in Minnesota in the fall of 1967. In launching an intraparty challenge of President Lyndon Johnson that November, McCarthy was stepping far outside the comfort zone most politicians choose to occupy, and inviting his Minnesota allies to join him out in the cold.
Many of those who did were youthful idealists. They cut their hair, became "clean for Gene," and threw themselves into his New Hampshire primary campaign. They clashed with supporters of the Johnson-Humphrey administration's war policy, many of whom were people in their own party, their own communities and their own households.
Today, history judges America's involvement in Vietnam negatively and puts McCarthy's presidential candidacy in a mostly favorable light. It galvanized swelling antiwar sentiment into a political force. The campaign's strong New Hampshire showing is credited for pushing Johnson out of the 1968 presidential race and starting the nation on its long road home from an unwise war.
History must also note the high personal cost of a principled political stand. Relationships torn in 1968 took many years to mend, if they were mended at all. McCarthy was never fully forgiven by Humphrey's DFL. He left office in 1970, moved to Virginia, wrote tart, incisive poetry and commentary, and died in 2005 at age 89.
Those who enter politics to be loved won't see in McCarthy a desirable model. But for those politicians, present and future, who aim to create a stronger America and a more peaceful world, McCarthy is required study. He demonstrated that while standing apart from one's allies for the sake of principle can be a lonely act, it can also be a very effective one.
A 949-acre Wisconsin farming operation — in which Bachmann owns up to a quarter-million-dollars interest has collected as much as $127,868 in federal farm subsidies since the partnership was established in 2001.
You can read the rest of it here.
It's not like progressives needed a reason to not like Michelle Bachmann already.
But seriously, she espouses the belief that the closer we are to a total free-market, plutocracy the better. Then she goes off and benefits from a progressive program like farm subsidies.
What a hypocrite.
MINNEAPOLIS - Election day brought wins and losses for labor-endorsed school board candidates and school levies in the Minneapolis area.
The Minneapolis Central Labor Union Council, AFL-CIO had endorsed school board candidates in two school districts, helping to win three of four races.
read the rest here.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Press Releases › Ron Paul Campaign Has Top Day in 2008 Election Cycle
November 5, 2007 6:00 pm EST
ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA—Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul has raised over $3.1 million in the past 19 hours, making today’s the single largest fundraising effort of the 2008 election cycle. At 4:00 pm, the campaign’s $2.7 million broke the record for the largest online presidential primary fundraising effort in a single day, and by 6:30 pm, the campaign broke Mitt Romney’s $3.1 million record for single-day fundraising this year.
Thus far today, approximately 25,000 supporters have contributed to the so-called “money bomb.”
Monday, November 5, 2007
by Stephanie Hemphill, Minnesota Public Radio
November 5, 2007
About 100 students from Minnesota, along with thousands from around the country, are in Washington D.C. Monday to ask their representatives in Congress to sign on to a pledge -- a promise to take three specific steps to respond to global warming.
The grassroots movement -- called 1 Sky -- says it'll be working over the next year to talk to incumbents and their challengers to convince them to take a hard line on climate change.
St. Paul, Minn. — About 50 leaders from around the country have been meeting since April to try to define a policy on global warming they could all agree on.
Michael Noble, from the Minnesota group Fresh Energy, says the participants are coming at it from a lot of different viewpoints.
Allan S. King power plant
"We see religious groups, we see labor groups, we see social justice groups, progressive businesses, investors, entrepreneurs," Noble says. "All different stripes of people are recognizing that we need a really thorough-going energy revolution."
Congress is already considering several bills, and some states, including Minnesota, have set goals to cut down on greenhouse gases. But Noble says it's too easy for politicians to be squishy on climate change.
"The worst thing that can happen now is -- everyone is agreed, global warming is a serious problem, and the politicians' response is, 'Hey, look busy. We're doing something, we're doing something,'" Noble says. "You need to have a clarity as to what constitutes real action."
And this is what the group calls real action: They're drawing a "bright line" on three key ways to address global warming.
"When you start getting into re-engineering a major part of our economy that's going to have big impact on voters, that's when politicians get worried."
- U of M political scientist Larry Jacobs
They want political leaders to promise to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050, starting right away. They want to create five million new jobs in alternative energy and conservation technologies. And they want to ban any new coal-fired power plants until someone figures out how to capture the carbon they produce.
All of Minnesota's leading candidates for U.S. Senate say they agree in theory with the goals of 1 Sky. The only one willing to sign on to it point-by-point is DFLer Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer. He says the urgency of the 1 Sky appeal matches the urgency of the global warming problem.
A spokesman for DFLer Al Franken's campaign says Franken is open to various approaches. He really likes the green jobs idea, but he wouldn't commit to the ban on new coal-fired power plants. He says we should develop technology to capture the greenhouse gas emissions.
DFLer Mike Cerisi also won't support a ban on new coal plants; he says it depends on conditions in each region of the country.
Incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman issued a statement saying he wants to reduce greenhouse gases without losing jobs, and he's co-sponsoring of one of the bills in Congress, the Warner-Lieberman bill, which would cut emissions 70 percent by 2050.
DFL Candidate Jim Cohen couldn't be reached for comment.
Of course, politicians are under pressure from lots of different groups with different agendas.
Larry Jacobs, who directs the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the University of Minnesota, says voters and politicians will find the ideas behind 1 Sky appealing, but he says getting a commitment on the specific priorities will be a challenge.
"When you start getting into re-engineering a major part of our economy that's going to have big-time impact on voters, that's when politicians get worried," Jacobs says. "Because it becomes the ammunition for attack ads, that can point out the dangers, the risks at stake, and the ways in which voters can be hurt."
He says voters will feel pain in the short term, but in the long term, Minnesota is likely to come out a winner in the transformation to a clean-energy world.
One Sky activists promise the candidates will be hearing from them a lot more in the coming year.
Friday, November 2, 2007
Today, Klobuchar's office said the Senator hadn't made up her mind but was very concerned about Mukasey's answers and she was waiting on a full response from Mukasey.
A Coleman staffer read a statement saying Coleman WILL VOTE FOR MUKASEY. Not a real shocker that Coleman would be a "yes man" to Bush, but here's the kicker: when asked for a statement that could be emailed to the Farmer-Labor Caucus, the staffer said she was reading Coleman's statement from Eric Black's Blog.
Call your senators and make your voice heard.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar: 202-224-3244
Sen. Norm Coleman: 202-224-5641
You can visit his campaign website and contribute to him here.
Thursday, November 1, 2007
And oh yeah, Rumsfeld is on the run for torture crimes.
60 Minutes deals the latest blow to the administration from a 2 year investigation. Something we already knew but lacked a smoking gun on. Read it here.
Best (saddest) quote ever. The reason the guy made up "intellegence" on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? "It was a guy trying to get his green card essentially..."
In a series of internal musings and memos to his staff, then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld argued that Muslims avoid "physical labor" and wrote of the need to "keep elevating the threat," "link Iraqto Iran" and develop "bumper sticker statements" to rally public support for an increasingly unpopular war.
Seriously "Bumper sticker statements." Wow. Wowee Wow Wow.
But wait there's more:
In one of his longer ruminations, in May 2004, Rumsfeld considered whether to redefine the terrorism fight as a "worldwide insurgency." The goal of the enemy, he wrote, is to "end the state system, using terrorism, to drive the non-radicals from the world." He then advised aides "to test what the results could be" if the war on terrorism were renamed.
Read the rest here.
The complaint was filed with the Paris prosecutor's office as Rumsfeld arrived in France for a visit, according to the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights, the Berlin-based European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, and two Paris-based groups, the International Federation of Human Rights and the League of Human Rights.
Lawrence Di Rita, former Pentagon spokesman under Rumsfeld, said: "These assertions have no merit, and they have been completely dismissed when made in other jurisdictions."
"Complaints such as this have zero foundation in the truth or the facts as presented in countless investigations," he said.
The rights groups say their complaint could go forward because people suspected of torture can be prosecuted in France if they are on French soil.
The complaint will now be examined by French prosecutors, who will decide whether it is well-founded and should be pursued or whether it should be rejected. The Paris prosecutor's office said on Friday night that it was checking whether Rumsfeld is protected by any sort of diplomatic immunity and whether he was still in France.
U.S. embassy officials whisked Rumsfeld away yesterday from a breakfast meeting in Paris organized by the Foreign Policy magazine after human rights groups filed a criminal complaint against the man who spearheaded President George W. Bush's "war on terror" for six years.
Under international law, authorities in France are obliged to open an investigation when a complaint is made while the alleged torturer is on French soil.
According to the newspaper's online edition, Wal-Mart filed a motion Tuesday with a North Carolina state judge requesting to have a host of future filings in the case sealed. Past filings wouldn't be affected, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Representatives from Wal-Mart were not immediately available to comment.
North Carolina's attorney general is challenging Wal-Mart's tax cutting structure involving real-estate investment trusts, the newspaper said.
The company transferred ownership of its stores a decade ago to various in-house REITs -- according to the Wall Street Journal -- and then reduced the tax bill by claiming deductions for store-rent payments which never left the company.
The newspaper said a Wal-Mart spokesman declined to comment. (Reporting by Justin Grant, editing by Tomasz Janowski)
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Read it all here.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Three times in the debate Tuesday night he called for the impeachment of Bush/ Cheney and chided the Democratic party powers that be for not doing enough to stand up to them.
"The war in Iraq is illegal, even planning for the war with Iran is illegal," Kucinich said. "I want to know when this Democratic Congress is going to stand up for the Constitution and hold the president accountable with ... an impeachment act. I think our democracy is in peril and unless the Democrats and the Congress stand up for the Constitution we are going to lose our country."
Zogby is also the polling group that predicted Sen. John Kerry would win more than 300 electoral votes and the presidency. They admitted later that projection was flawed after the election.
Anyone who believes a preemptive strike against Iran would be the best idea should read the last chapter of "Blind Into Baghdad" by James Fallows. The main point is:
In war games on Iran, Fallows explored three escalating levels of intervention: raids on Revolutionary Guard units, a preemptive strike on possible nuclear facilities, and regime change. The panel made up of former government officials and Mideast experts concluded: "You have no military solution for the issues of Iran. And you have to make diplomacy work."
A further conclusion was that air strikes would only slow Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, not stop them, and only strengthen their resolve to get one.
Iran getting a nuclear weapon is not desirable by any means. But a really upset Iran that will eventually get one anyway is worse.
He will be broadcasting LIVE via WebCast tonight from Philadelphia across from the debate site at Drexel University and he will be answering all of the same debate questions that Hillary and the others are answering at the MSNBC debate. That WebCast will be LIVE at 8pm central.
You can visit his campaign here.
Kevin DiazFarm bill advocates want Congress to channel more subsidies to fruits and vegetables.
Video: Trailer from 'King Corn' 10/26/2007
Curt Ellis and Ian Cheney's documentary film, "King Corn," might have found a rapt audience among fringe public health advocates and then been promptly forgotten. But this year, obesity has become a national obsession just as Congress is embarking...
Candidate- # of Votes- % of Votes
Al Gore (write in) 26,813 26.47%
Dennis Kucinich 24,609 24.3%
Barack Obama 18,373 18.14%
John Edwards 15,215 15.02%
Bill Richardson 5,745 5.67%
Hillary Clinton 4,489 4.43%
You can still vote there if you click on the link.
This plus another polls showing an alarming support for Stephen Colbert is evidence the presidential candidate field is anything but sorted. It's been a constant theme in the media lately that "It's Hillary and that's it."
But there is still votes to be counted and as polls show, minds to be made up.
St. Anselm's College, Manchester, New HamphshireOctober 29, 2007
Many of you know that I am the son of a mill worker -- that I rose from modest means and have been blessed in so many ways in life.
Elizabeth and I have so much to be grateful for.
And all of you know about some of the challenges we have faced in my family. But there came a time, a few months ago, when Elizabeth and I had to decide, in the quiet of a hospital room, after many hours of tests and getting pretty bad news -- what we were going to do with our lives.And we made our decision. That we were not going to go quietly into the night -- that we were going to stand and fight for what we believe in.As Elizabeth and I have campaigned across America, I've come to a better understanding of what that decision really meant -- and why we made it.Earlier this year, I spoke at Riverside Church in New York, where, forty years ago, Martin Luther King gave a historic speech. I talked about that speech then, and I want to talk about it today. Dr. King was tormented by the way he had kept silent for two years about the Vietnam War. He was told that if he spoke out he would hurt the civil rights movement and all that he had worked for -- but he could not take it any more -- instead of decrying the silence of others -- he spoke the truth about himself.
"Over the past two years" he said, "I have moved to break the betrayal of my own silence and speak from the burning of my own heart."
I am not holier than thou. I am not perfect by any means. But there are events in life that you learn from, and which remind you what this is really all about. Maybe I have been freed from the system and the fear that holds back politicians because I have learned there are much more important things in life than winning elections at the cost of selling your soul. Especially right now, when our country requires so much more of us, and needs to hear the truth from its leaders.And, although I have spent my entire life taking on the big powerful interests and winning -- which is why I have never taken a dime from Washington lobbyists or political action committees -- I too have been guilty of my own silence -- but no more.It's time to tell the truth. And the truth is the system in Washington is corrupt. It is rigged by the powerful special interests to benefit they very few at the expense of the many. And as a result, the American people have lost faith in our broken system in Washington, and believe it no longer works for ordinary Americans. They're right.As I look across the political landscape of both parties today -- what I see are politicians too afraid to tell the truth -- good people caught in a bad system that overwhelms their good intentions and requires them to chase millions of dollars in campaign contributions in order to perpetuate their careers and continue their climb to higher office.
Read the rest of the speech here.
Friday, October 26, 2007
That is Senator Bernie Sanders' summation on the confirmation of Michael B. Mukasey. Sen. Sanders will vote "no" on a person who refuses to call waterboarding torture. You can read the rest here.
How will our Senators vote?
A staffer at Sen. Amy Klobuchar's office said that they did not know how the Senator was going to vote. You can call them yourself at 202-224-3244 and tell her to vote "No."
Senator Norm Coleman's office would not say how the Senator was going to vote. You can call him at 202-224-5641. Tell him to vote "No" too.
The Mujahideen-e Khalq (MEK)
Who are they? This comes courtesy Frontline:
Self-styled "Islamic-Marxists," the MEK targeted Americans in the '70s and the State Department considers it a terrorist group. After the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the MEK was disarmed, but it remains under the protection of U.S. forces at its base north of Baghdad. Iran says the MEK is supplying intelligence to the U.S. on Iran's covert nuclear program and Iranian operations in Iraq.
That's right Islamic-Marxists. Wow.
And as the U.S. is beating the wardrums to start a war in Iran. Who is keeping time?
Here is a Q & A with a former MEK member here:
Q:... The Iranians officials told us that in the meetings in Baghdad they laid out what they said was evidence that the MEK was providing intelligence to the U.S. military. Are they?
A:The Mujahideen-e Khalq have been providing information about the Iranian regime's operations both in terms of their terrorist operation and their nuclear weapons program in open, public press conferences to the whole world. (From Frontline)
The MEK has wanted to have a Marxist style overthrow of Iran for some time. What kind of intellegence do we think we are going to get from them?
Saturday, October 27th is national mobilization to end the war in Iraq day.
From noon to 1pm there will be an Anti-War Protest on Hiawatha & Lake Street in Minneapolis.
Be there to show where you stand.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Poland's pro-business opposition Civic Platform Party has emerged victorious in Sunday's parliamentary elections.
With more than 90 percent of the votes counted, Donald Tusk's Civic Platform has captured more than 41 percent of the vote. About 32 percent went to outgoing Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski's Law and Justice Party.
Mr. Kaczynski has conceded defeat, and Mr. Tusk has pledged to help Poles feel comfortable in their own country again.
Mr. Tusk is expected to seek a coalition with the Peasant Party.
Civic Platform is pushing for lower taxes on businesses, a smaller bureaucracy, and closer integration into the European economic system. It also wants to withdraw Polish troops from Iraq.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
In May 2001, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. issued an appeal to big accounting firms: Find us creative new ways to cut our state tax bills.
Ernst & Young LLP swung into action. Senior tax experts at the big accounting firm swapped ideas via email and in a series of meetings. At least one gathering, according to an internal Ernst & Young calendar, took place in Wal-Mart's headquarters in the "Tax Shelter Room."
How the heck is it fiscally responsible to let this big corporation get corporate welfare?
They shelled out millions on a new ad campaign to help change the company's image. The main theme is that you should feel lucky Wal-Mart came to your town and how much money you save if you did all of your shopping there. But while consumers may enjoy a short-term saving in their pocket, what is happening in the long term?
So they are skiming a few million dollars in taxes to keep prices low. But compare that to the figure of $18 billion. That's the amount they imported from China in 2004. How about paying a little more taxes and a little less importing?
Monday, October 22, 2007
Why NBC and the DNC Want Me Out of the Debates
By Senator Mike Gravel- Courtesy the Huffington Post
In the past year, I have attended 11 national Democratic debates of which two were sponsored by corporate media giant NBC. However, last week, the network suddenly conjured up arbitrary polling and fundraising requirements specifically designed to exclude me. None of the previous debates I attended held such requirements.
When my staff called NBC directly to find out why I was now barred from attending, Chuck Todd, NBC news' political director, told us that there were three criteria we did not meet, namely that I had not campaigned in New Hampshire and/or Iowa at least 14 times in the past year, that I was not polling at 5% and that I hadn't raised $1 million.
It is abundantly clear that NBC just wants me out of the race. This was made evident by the fact that NBC did not even inform me of its arbitrary criteria before making the decision to stifle my campaign. NBC's Todd waited until 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 19, to inform my staff that I was not invited to the Oct. 30 debate at Drexel University in Philadelphia.
Since I announced my candidacy for the Democratic Nomination for President of the United States on April 17, 2006, I have certainly traveled to New Hampshire and Iowa at least 14 times. And, according to a recent CNN poll, I am tied with Joe Biden, Dennis Kucinich and Chris Dodd.
NBC claims I haven't raised enough money to qualify. I'm proud of the fact that I don't collect millions from special interests (or fugitives like Norman Hsu). The reason why Senator Hillary Clinton seems to have a fundraising scandal every month is because money has corrupted our democracy. By stifling my voice on the basis of fundraising dollars, NBC is reinforcing the power of money over our national political discussion and our freedom.
But why has NBC suddenly come up with "requirements" designed to exclude me from the debate?
NBC's decision is proof that our corporate media do not want a genuine debate over our impending war with Iran. During the last debate I was the only one to aggressively confront Senator Clinton over her vote to label the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization. Had I not brought up the subject, seasoned NBC commentator Tim Russert, the moderator of the Sept. 26 debate, would not have even asked about it.
Most Americans still don't appreciate the gravity of that vote and they don't understand that our government is intentionally raising roadblocks to diplomacy. Corporate media have once again failed to investigate how Bush and a compliant congress have set us on the warpath. Instead the media simply parrots the demonization of Iranian President Ahmadinejad and the administration's unproven accusations against Iran. NBC and the other corporate media have jumped on the war bandwagon and they are determined to shut up anyone who tries to stop it.
The fact that NBC is owned by General Electric, one of the world's leading military contractors, is frightening and certainly smacks of censorship directed at the most outspoken critic of the influence that the military-industrial complex holds over this great nation. In the past decade, GE has benefited financially from the global war on terrorism and currently holds almost $2 billion in military contracts.
So I ask that anyone, who is as concerned as I am about the power of the mainstream media and the military-industrial complex, speak out in support of my campaign today. And, even if you support another candidate, surely you understand the implications of NBC's decision for our democracy and the future peace and security of our nation.
And since the powers that be now require that I raise $1 million in order to participate in the debates, please make a donation to my campaign. Unlike my fellow candidates, I am not focused on raising million of dollars; I am focused on fixing representative government. Help us reach that arbitrary threshold, and I will continue to fight for democracy and peace.
Saturday, October 20, 2007
“Minnesota is facing a jobs crisis like never before in state history,” said Rukavina, who noted that the state has traditionally enjoyed job growth and unemployment rates that were better than the nation as a whole.
“I'm calling on Gov. Tim Pawlenty to call a special session to address our deteriorating unemployment situation and other neglected state needs,” said Rukavina, a Democrat who heads the state House committee dealing with work force issues.
“We are the Land of 10,000 Lakes, and we were the land of plentiful jobs, but since Tim Pawlenty took over, a dangerous and disturbing pattern has affected our job market,” Rukavina said. “Instead of the North Star State, we're becoming the No Jobs State.”
Friday, October 19, 2007
Thursday, October 18, 2007
On passage, the objections of the President to the contrary notwithstanding Failed by the Yeas and Nays: (2/3 required): 273 - 156
You can read the roll call here.
From time to time, we bring up things on here that you can do to advance the progressive cause keep moving Minnesota forward.
In the short time this blog/caucus has been up and running, we have already pointed out Rep. Jeremy Kalin as one of the shining lights on the progressive horizon.
Yesterday on the Daily Kos, Kalin started a fundraising campaign asking for $17 to fund his campaign. So we in turn are asking you to do the same.
The link to donate to Kalin is here.
$17 for him to keep his seat in 17B is well worth it. He is an important voice for Minnesota.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Finding the answer to the first question is complicated and perhaps unfulfilling, as the efficacy of Wastler's decision has been debated somewhat endlessly by both Paul's rabid online support community and other talking heads at CNBC. The answer to the second question, however, is a concrete "yes, it does matter!" You may not care about Ron Paul, but you should care about the way the media directs our attention to mainstream candidates.
There's no doubting that the media has a bias towards candidates that are "electable"--a term that has much more to do with money raised than ideology. Take Ohio Congressman and Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich as an example. During the first Democratic debate in April, The Nation's Bob Moser, wrote that "As the first big question about Iraq was lobbed at the Big Three--Clinton, Obama and Edwards--the mediocracy collectively pounded away at their laptops, taking down every word in a veritable symphony of typing. When the same question then went to Kucinich, the man who intrepidly preached against the war in 2004 when the others would not, all hands rested. All typing ceased. The music stopped. Attention wandered."
It hasn't just been the media marginalizing Kucinich (The New York Times, for one, hasn't mentioned his name since June and left his opinion of the war out of its coverage of the debates), but his party has also left him high and dry. Nancy Pelosi and Henry Waxman recently passed Kucinich over for chairman of the National Security and Foreign Affairs Subcommittee, which he was in line to take over.
Never-the-less, polls have shown that the electorate are very much in sync with his positions. Of over 153,000 people who filled out an online form asking for their opinions on 25 issues, 57 percent were found to identify with Kucinich more than any other candidate--Democrat or Republican. This may not be a broad representation of America, but unlike other online polls (the CNBC.com one, included) it was a "blind" analysis rather than a popularity contest, meaning respondents voted on issues, not candidates. Also worth noting is that Paul was the highest ranked Republican with 28 percent of those polled identifying with his positions.
Yet another candidate being left out of the debate is Democratic hopeful (and former senator of Alaska) Mike Gravel. He spurred a lot of "Who the hell is this guy?" interest after the first debate--which by many accounts he won. Then a few months later at a forum held at the NAACP's annual convention, Gravel explicitly attacked Hillary Clinton and John Edwards for authorizing the use of force in Iraq in 2002, as well as Clinton's husband for the devastating effects of NAFTA on Mexico. Moderator Russ Mitchell of CBS shot down any chance of rebuttal under the technicality that it was a forum, not a debate. Clinton and Edwards were caught on tape conferring afterwards about the possibility of limiting the number of Democrats in presidential debates. Edwards, in particular, said, "We should try to have a more serious and a smaller group."
Gravel poses an interesting threat to the current political power structure. For the past ten years he has been conducting research and working with constitutional law experts to enact a law called the National Initiative for Democracy that would make the people a fourth branch of government. Much like local and state initiatives, voters would have a say on what becomes law in this country. That means people would be able to address issues such as the Iraq war, climate change, healthcare, or even the electoral college.
Ralph Nader has praised Gravel and his initiative, saying "No candidate for President from the two major parties has ever demonstrated such a detailed position regarding the sovereign power of People to amend the Constitution and make laws." Of course Nader's endorsement probably doesn't help Gravel's cause among the Democratic faithful, being that many still hold him personally responsible (and quite unfairly so) for the election of Bush in 2000. It should, however, stir some thought as to why such a disparity in ideology between so-called "fringe" candidates and mainstream candidates within the same party can exist--not to mention why so many people identify more with the "fringe" candidates.
With the primary elections creeping up, Americans should stop and consider who more embodies their opinions on the issues and not who has the most money and power to be a viable force against the other side. When you think about it, that's really a vote for Democracy and a vote against the marriage between the mainstream media and the political status quo that has for too long undermined our values.
Bryan Farrell is an independent journalist in New York.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Published on Saturday, October 13, 2007 by CommonDreams.orgCan Al Gore Be Trusted?
by Jeff Cohen
This is a repint of a vintage 2006 CommonDreams column exploring an Al Gore presidential candidacy and the old Gore vs. the new Gore.
“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”
The wise old Chinese proverb on who is to blame for repeat gullibility was famously mangled by our Embarrasser in Chief: “Fool me once, shame on — shame on you,” Bush stammered, with that deer-in-the-headlights look. “Fool me — you can’t get fooled again!” The video of that golden Bushism can bring down the house on The Daily Show.
But these words of wisdom are no laughing matter when applied to the man who defeated Bush in the 2000 election: Al Gore.
Many solid progressives want Gore to be the Democratic presidential candidate in 2008. A recent AlterNet reader survey (in which Noam Chomsky won the MVP for “Most Valuable Progressive”) showed Gore way in front of the pack — with Russ Feingold second and corporate media “front-runner” Hillary Clinton way back.
If Gore does run in 2008, big questions will nag: Didn’t he fool a lot of us once before? Can we trust him?
Monday, October 15, 2007
Looks like Rep. Joe Mullery will have a progressive challenger for his House seat 58A.
Joe Bodell at Minnesota Campaign Report breaks the story here.
58A is a pretty safe seat for the DFL and while there has been no specific issues mentioned for the challenge, observers in St. Paul at the Capitol could point out Mullery's chaotic chairman style, general aloofness and sponsorship of a bill that would allow officers to detain parolees without probable cause as causes for concern.
Mullery is a classic progressive liberal of the old guard and can campaign on a career of being "one of the good guys."
His challenger, Peggy Flanagan, has very good progressive creds too.
Will this race shape up to be a battle of the new guard versus the old guard?
In numbers released by the campaigns, Ciresi was trailing Franken by about about one-sixth the total Coleman and Franken reported raising during the same period. Ciresi reported raising a little over $300,o00 for this quarter and about a million total. Franken raised over a million in the last quarter alone.
It will be interesting to see how much money really matters at this point in the race. But the constant drone of money aspect of politics is uglier this year than any other.
Biden, who is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has been the most prominent advocate of a plan in Congress that would limit the power of Iraq's central government and give more control to three ethnically divided states.
Read it all here.
OK maybe stuff you don't NEED to know. But Radar Magazine breaks down the 08 Presidential race in a way now one else does. Is Dick Cheney going to Hell? Who's more unpopular the President or Paris Hilton? All that and more is here.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
They say MN's very own "I won by how much?" boy, Tim Pawlenty is all set for the VP slot.
But wait there's more.
The NR column spouts off such nuttiness as "Republicans still have a good shot to win next year" and talking about a solid Bush win in Ohio in 2004 while Wisconsin was lost by fraud and tricks. That's right the Dems stole Wisconsin.
The best part is when the column talks about all the wonderful things Pawlenty stands for and what he would bring to the GOP.
Things like saying the GOP needs to be “the party of Sam’s Club, not just the country club.”
Then the article just goes off the rails of reality.
For instance, is says that Pawlenty's stance FOR an increase on the gas tax will hurt him with conservatives. NR must have missed the memo from Pawlenty saying: screw paying for the 35W bridge I want to be popular with the neocons.
You would think someone at National Review would have read a Minnesota paper in the last month to see where he stood on that now.
Then there is the astounding comparison of a hometown convention nominating Dole to Ford's ticket in 1976.
Anyone at NR look up who won that one?
BY RACHEL E. STASSEN-BERGER Pioneer Press
Outside of Republican U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman's St. Paul office, Democrat Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer today announced his own candidacy for the Senate and solicited his supporters to dial their cell phones.
"Friends, start up those cell phones," Nelson-Pallmeyer asked the crowd of cover 100 supporters who turned out to see him officially declare his bid to unseat Coleman. "We are launching the largest mobile phone bank in Minnesota history."
And indeed, immediately after his brief announcement speech, supporters spread out in a nearby parking lot and on the sidewalk to pitch the candidate to Minnesotans. Among his supporters today were several of the more liberal members of state Legislature, including Minneapolis Reps. Karen Clark and Jim Davnie, and former state Sen. Becky Lourey.
The cell phone gimmick may be one way Nelson-Pallmeyer, 56, plans to counter the superior fundraising capacity and name identification of the two Democrats considered frontrunners in the race - comedian Al Franken and attorney Mike Ciresi. Attorney and environmental activist Jim Cohen and frequent candidate Dick Franson are also running for the seat.
Like Nelson-Pallmeyer, Franken, Cohen and Ciresi have said they will abide by the DFL endorsement next summer.
Nelson-Pallmeyer, a peace and justice professor at the Univ. of St. Thomas. The endorsement went to Keith Ellison, who went on to win the general election.
In that race, Nelson-Pallmeyer was seen as the strongest opponent of the war in Iraq and today he maintained his "peace candidate" status.
He proudly said that before the Iraq war started he debated Rep. Jim Ramstad about the potential conflict.
"I said then we were being lied to. I said then that we were being manipulated by a well-crafted politics of fear. I said then that the Bush administration was leading us into a pre-planned war for oil. I said then that the war would be a disaster for Iraq and for the United States," said Nelson-Pallmeyer, who referenced Paul Wellstone in his announcement speech.
Today Nelson-Pallmeyer expanded his pitch to include:
-Health care, he wants a national single-payer system.
-Environmental issues, he wants use of more alternatives to oil and more public transit.
-Immigration, he wants to welcome immigrants not crackdown on them, and raising the minimum wage.
"Minnesotans, we may not always agree but I promise to listen and you will always know exactly where I stand," Nelson-Pallmeyer said. "Together, we can solve problems."
You know you are in trouble when you are a newly elected Senator and a major poll shows huge approval ratings for you but you are worried about your party's base bolting because of your wish washiness to become popular in the first place.
If this is happening to you, then your name is Sen. Klobuchar.
Recently she meet with bloggers to try to stem the tide of people calling her on her phony views. Progressives are waking up to the fact that we could have nominated anyone to beat Kennedy, but we picked Norm Coleman's twin.
You can read about her attempt to keep the left wing from bolting here and here.
Let's ask Spain and New Zealand who pulled out troops in 2004. Ask the Netherlands, Hungary, Singapore, Norway and Ukraine who left in 2005.
How important is a stable Iraq to Japan and Italy? It'll be hard to find one of them to ask in Iraq. They left last year.
Now the British are leaving. They will be down to 2,500 troops and possibly gone in the spring. Did they do their chores in Basra so they could go home earlier than the Americans? Nope. The violence there persists. But not for ideological reasons. As the LA Times points out: "[The violence] has plenty to do with who controls lucrative smuggling, as well as the port through which much of Iraq's oil moves." And much of it is Shiite-on-Shiite fighting.
Every argument that has been made in favor of the war in Iraq has turned out to be wrong.
And now the arguments to stay are turning out to be just as faulty.
End the WAR NOW.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Rita Katz, who runs the Washington-based SITE Institute, said her decision to pass the video to an official in the Bush administration has had an impact on the ways that the group has for obtaining these videos before they are made available by al-Qaida.
"Due to the leak, sources that took years to develop are now ineffective," Katz told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "A rare window into the world of al-Qaida has now been sealed shut." She declined to elaborate on whether she meant people or methods.
Read it all here.
When will the madness end?
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
When told that Thompson was going to be the lead Republican on the Senate Watergate investigation, Nixon's response was:"Oh Shit."
Not because he thought Thompson was going to be smart enough to uncover any corruption, but because he would not be smart enough to help defend the Nixon White House.
Today, Thompson brags about his role in the Watergate investigation. He especially likes people to remember when he asked White House Aide Alexander Butterfield: "Mr. Butterfield, are you aware of the installation of any listening devices in the Oval Office of the president?"
Butterfield responded: "I was aware of listening devices, yes, sir."
It was a bombshell that opened up Nixon's White House to the public. Every conversation was recorded. Every illeagal deed saved for posterity. Every opinion of who Nixon thought was an idiot saved for ever.
But Thompson may not be as valiant a hero as he likes to portray himself now. Thompson admitted that he tipped off Nixon and his henchmen that he was going to ask Butterfield the quesiton to give them time to prepare for what would happen next.
In fact a former investigator for the committee, Scott Armstrong, outlined Thompson's role in the Watergate hearings this way:
"Thompson was a mole for the White House," Armstrong said in an interview. "Fred was working hammer and tong to defeat the investigation of finding out what happened to authorize Watergate and find out what the role of the president was." 7/4/07 Boston Globe
Thompson said that he thought that the tape system would provide evidence Nixon wasn't guilty.
Thompson's role in Watergate did prove one thing. Nixon was right. Fred Thompson is dumb as hell.
Monday, October 8, 2007
Saturday, October 27th is national mobilization to end the war in Iraq day.
From noon to 1pm there will be an Anti-War Protest on Hiawatha & Lake Street in Minneapolis.
Be there to show where you stand.
To make you own End the War Now poster:
Click on the picture.
Save it somewhere you can find it.
Or find the option to "Print."
And Spread the word.
Sunday, October 7, 2007
651-917-0383 http://www.fnvw.org/ http://www.peaceintheprecincts.org/
Minnesota will win only when we decide what we really want for our families and communities —
justice, peace, jobs and a clean environment. Let’s put our money where our values are —
let’s improve national security, cut reckless military spending and debt, and convert the savings
to investment in a stronger Minnesota!
Toward this end, we expect Congressional candidates and ourselves to commit to
bold action to end U.S. involvement in the war in Iraq, rebuild our
democracy and create a green economy.
THE 2008 PEACE FIRST! STANDARD
• Peace in Iraq
Secure funding for our troops
Vote to fund troop pay and protection during responsible and prompt
withdrawal of forces and bases from Iraq, and to fund full veterans’ benefits.
Cut off funding for war in Iraq
Vote against funding for military action and bases in Iraq and the Middle East.
Convert funding to rebuilding Iraq
Vote to fund emergency relief for Iraqi refugees, Iraqi-led reconstruction,
and regional diplomacy.
• Peace Conversion to Sustainability and Justice
Secure funding for essential security
Vote to fund essential national and domestic security programs, such as harbor
security and first responders, as identified by the 9/11 commission.
Cut the defense budget to reasonable levels
Vote to cut the defense budget 25% by eliminating funding for obsolete and wasteful
Convert funding to equal rights, a green economy and constitutional integrity:
• Medicare expansion to cover all Americans by 2015
• 100% funding for education including Special Education, Head Start,
and the Dream Act, and replacement of "No Child Left Behind" by 2012
A Green Economy
• $10 Billion increase in annual federal investment in renewable energy and
“green collar” jobs each of in the next 5 years
• 50% cut in fossil fuel burning by 2018
• 100% verified paper ballot for every vote in every state by 2012
• Full investigation and punishment of racist disenfranchisement by 2010
Friday, October 5, 2007
Word on the street is that it's not looking good for an override to the veto.
That story is here.
That is why the Farmer-Labor Caucus is calling on you.
Michele Bachmann voted against this thing and will probably vote to uphold the veto to make sure kids don't have access to health care. You can call her at 202-225-2331 or 651-731-5400 or 320-253-5931. Leave a message at all three just to be sure.
Then you can call these Democrats who voted against it in the House.
Reps. David Boren (Okla.), Betty Castor (Fla.), Bobby Etheridge (N.C.), Baron Hill (Ind.), Jim Marshall (Ga.), Mike McIntyre (N.C.), and Gene Taylor (Miss.).
Also in the list of Dems who voted "nay" is Dennis Kucinich who didn't vote for SCHIP because it doesn't do enough.
“HR 676 [not SCHIP] guarantees full health care coverage for all children. When considering a universal health care proposal, HR 676, the Medicare for All bill, is the only health care plan that addresses three important issues: quality, accessibility, and cost. HR 676 stands alone in an increasingly crowded field of efforts to provide health care coverage to all,” Kucinich said.
He is a person of integrity that is for sure. It will be interesting to see how he votes on the override.
How do you think Kucinich should vote on the override?
A 19-year Army veteran who recently returned from a 22-month deployment in Iraq with the Minnesota National Guard filed papers on Thursday as a Democrat candidate to oppose incumbent Republican John Kline in Minnesota's Second Congressional District.
Steve Sarvi, the former mayor of Watertown and currently the city administrator of Victoria, said he gave a great deal of thought to running while serving with the Minnesota Guard in southern Iraq. His father, acting as a surrogate, crisscrossed the district to find out what the issues were and what chances Sarvi might have against Kline, a 25-year Marine veteran serving his third term in Congress.
"Sometimes when you are away as long as I was, you get a chance to think about things that are really important in life," Sarvi said. "I'm just worried about the way we're going not only internationally but domestically as well."
Read it all here
Best quote in the article:
"It's time for us to start stepping back out of there [IRAQ], pulling our forces back and making the Iraqis step up and take charge of the country," said Sarvi, who did civil affairs work with Iraqis and helped to train Iraqi police as a first sergeant. "At some point we're getting in the way."
How's that for listening to the troops on the ground?
Check out the campaign here.
His website and blog are packed with great information and ideas for progressives on local issues.
This is regular website: http://www.jeremykalin.com/
And this is his blog: http://thefiresideblog.blogspot.com/
Check 'em out.
White House and Justice Department press officers said legal opinions written in 2005 did not reverse an administration policy issued in 2004 that publicly renounced torture as "abhorrent."
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller sent a letter to the acting attorney general saying the administration's credibility is at risk if the documents are not turned over to Congress.
The memos are "critical to an appropriate assessment" of interrogation tactics approved by the White House and the Justice Department, Rockefeller wrote to Acting Attorney General Peter D. Keisler. "Why should the public have confidence that the program is either legal or in the best interests of the United States?" the West Virginia Democrat asked.
House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers and Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., promised a congressional inquiry into the two Justice Department legal opinions that reportedly explicitly authorized the use of painful and psychological tactics on terrorism suspects.
"Both the alleged content of these opinions and the fact that they have been kept secret from Congress are extremely troubling, especially in light of the department's 2004 withdrawal of an earlier opinion similarly approving such methods," Conyers, D-Mich., and fellow House Judiciary member Nadler wrote in a letter Thursday. Their letter to Keisler requested copies of the memos.
The two Democrats also asked that Steven Bradbury, the Justice Department's acting chief of legal counsel, "be made available for prompt committee hearings."
Thursday, October 4, 2007
On November 19, 1945, only 7 months into his presidency, Harry S. Truman gave a speech to the United States Congress proposing a new national health care program. In his speech, Truman argued that the federal government should play a role in health care, saying "The health of American children, like their education, should be recognized as a definite public responsibility." One of the chief aims of President Truman's plan was to insure that all communities, regardless of their size or income level, had access to doctors and hospitals.
If we were to put together a platform for a Farmer-Labor platform this would be plank one in my book. What should the other planks be?
By Richard Simon, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer October 4, 2007
WASHINGTON -- Just when it looked like things couldn't get worse for the Republicans, Pete V. Domenici of New Mexico, a 35-year Senate veteran, is expected to announce today that he plans to retire at the end of his term -- boosting Democrats' hopes of expanding their control of the chamber in next year's elections.Domenici, 75, a leading voice on budget and energy policy, would become the fifth GOP senator to announce his retirement. The lawmaker, who was entangled in the scandal about the firing of nine U.S. attorneys, scheduled a news conference for today in Albuquerque. Two Senate Republican sources, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the decision, said Domenici would not seek a seventh term.
TOP OF THE TICKET Blog on the GOP's Senate Troubles
"So, yet another seat that Republicans have to defend that's going to be tough," said Jennifer Duffy, an analyst at the independent Cook Political Report.The Senate's 49 Democrats, who usually are joined by its two independents, control the chamber, but often are blocked from advancing their agenda by Republican-led filibusters, which take 60 votes to overcome.Also retiring at the end of this term are Republican Sens. John W. Warner of Virginia, Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and Wayne Allard of Colorado, all states where Democrats believe their party can be elected.Republicans also are dealing with Idaho Sen. Larry E. Craig's guilty plea to disorderly conduct in a men's restroom. Craig has said he plans to retire if he loses his effort to withdraw the plea and clear his name. But with Idaho a reliably red state, the seat would be expected to remain in GOP hands.Next year, Republicans must defend 22 of their 49 Senate seats, compared with 12 for Democrats, in an election where the war in Iraq is likely to weigh heavily on GOP incumbents. Political handicappers already have declared the New Hampshire Senate race a tossup. Republican incumbent John E. Sununu faces a challenge from Democrat Jeanne Shaheen, a former governor.In New Mexico, Gov. Bill Richardson is a Democrat, as is the state's other senator, Jeff Bingaman. President Bush barely won the state in 2004."As our longest-serving senator in the history of New Mexico, Pete Domenici has earned a position of great respect in our state and Washington," Bingaman said. "I consider him a good friend and greatly admire his public service to the people of New Mexico."Richardson is running for his party's presidential nomination but is considered a long hot who might opt to go after Domenici's seat instead. The state's three House members -- Democrat Tom Udall and Republicans Heather A. Wilson and Steve Pearce -- are considered possible candidates as well.Domenici, the son of Italian immigrants who ran a grocery in Albuquerque, was a minor league pitcher for the Albuquerque Dukes. He is second only to Alaska's Ted Stevens as the most senior Republican in the Senate.He spent two decades leading the Budget Committee, which put him in the center of major battles over spending. More recently, he has been the top Republican on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, where he has been among the leading champions of nuclear power and helped write the 2005 energy bill.This year, Domenici got caught in the controversy surrounding the U.S. attorneys' firing. One of the dismissed prosecutors, David C. Iglesias, the former U.S. attorney in Albuquerque, said Domenici expressed disgust that there would be no indictments in the investigation into alleged Democratic corruption before the November 2006 election. The senator also contacted top Justice Department officials to complain about Iglesias' performance.Domenici denied attempting to pressure the prosecutor. Iglesias was fired in December.
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
You really have to hand it to Brian McClung. He could sell ice to Eskimos.
Will this set an example for the saber-rattling, war drum beating let’s got get Iran next crowd? Probably not. But it is interesting to think what would have happened if we had just spent all the billions of dollars the war Iraq is costing us on diplomacy.
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Now, 90 years later the need for the Farmer-Labor party as a voice of the common person may be just as great.
For those who believe the Minnesota DFL party has forgotten its "FL" roots, this website can be a place for information and action. We hope to give a voice to Minnesota progressives a place to discuss ideas and ways to move Minnesota forward again.