You'll notice on the upper left hand side of this page two links to help those folks and animals that have been effected by the wrath of Katrina.
I have made what contributions I could swing. Will you do the same?
via Shakespeare's Sister, it appears that there is US confirmation of the Downing Street Memos. This specifically addresses that Bush & Co started >planning the war in Iraq as early as October 2001, among other issues.
Washington, D.C., August 17, 2005: Newly declassified State Department documents show that government experts warned the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) in early 2003 about "serious planning gaps for post-conflict public security and humanitarian assistance," well before Operation Iraqi Freedom began.
In a February 7, 2003, memo to Under Secretary of State Paula Dobriansky, three senior Department officials noted CENTCOM's "focus on its primary military objectives and its reluctance to take on 'policing' roles," but warned that "a failure to address short-term public security and humanitarian assistance concerns could result in serious human rights abuses which would undermine an otherwise successful military campaign, and our reputation internationally." The memo adds "We have raised these issues with top CENTCOM officials."
By contrast, a December 2003 report to Congress, also released by the State Department, offers a relatively rosy picture of the security situation, saying U.S. forces are "increasingly successful in preventing planned hostile attacks; and in capturing former regime loyalists, would-be terrorists and planners; and seizing weapons caches." The document acknowledges that "Challenges remain."
What is so important about these documents is that there is now proof beyond the DSMs that Bush has lied to the American people AND Congress.
Let the spin begin.
NARAL became the target of their ad, instead of the work that John Roberts did in support of people/groups that condoned and perpetrated violence against women trying to access reproductive health care, during Bush I's time. What was and is ALWAYS the most important fact about Roberts, is that the government CHOSE to get involved, and Roberts CHOSE to argue against women's rights and forviolent offenders.
I do know that during this era, Bray v. Alexandria Women's Health Clinic was wending its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, where John Roberts, the most recent nominee for that esteemed and critically important body, would argue on behalf of his client, President George H. W. Bush's Department of Justice. He argued against the rights of women to access reproductive health care -- and thus on behalf of anti-abortion protesters, including Operation Rescue and Michael Bray, who was previously convicted for involvement in a string of 10 clinic bombings.
My colleagues and I often discussed the fact that we were civil libertarians who supported free speech rights to picket peacefully. But we knew in our hearts and guts that the gathering storm of anti-choice assaults was not free speech -- it was hate speech at best and domestic terrorism at worst.
From 1977 to 2000, there were 675 blockades, 365 invasions, 322 death threats, 502 bomb threats, 112 assaults and batteries, 40 bombings, 16 attempted murders and 8 murders in the name of "life.” I personally was stalked, picketed at home and subjected to death threats, in addition to enduring bomb and arson attempts, vandalism, and an invasion at the health centers for which I was responsible.
The year Bray was decided, 1991, was smack in the middle of this period years. It was a pivotal time, before any murders had occurred. It was a moment of opportunity when the violence and harassment could have de-escalated if law enforcement at all levels had joined together and taken strong stands against it.
One of the things I learned during this time was that local law enforcement takes many cues from the Justice Department, and further, that the Justice Department has a unique capacity to bring law enforcement at all levels together, to enhance the effectiveness of local law enforcement when it is overwhelmed by massive actions like OR. They can proactively set a pattern of enforcing the law and keeping the peace.
Instead, the Bush I justice department -- with Ken Starr as its chief litigator and John Roberts as his top deputy, strategist and chief arguer -- did no such thing. Indeed, they chose to do just the opposite.
They chose to file an amicus brief when they could have remained silent in the case or to file on behalf of the clinic. The Solicitor General has broad discretion regarding whether to intervene in any case.
They chose to side with an organization with a history of violence and lawbreaking and a convicted bomber, when they could have sided with the reproductive health clinics who were abiding by the law and are equally convinced of the righteousness of their cause and entitled to freedom of speech.
They chose to make the argument that regardless of whether gender discrimination was covered by the Ku Klux Klan Act at issue, clinic blockades were not gender discrimination. The brief further says that, even if the act was "broad enough to reach gender-based animus, the actions taken by the petitioners are not a form of gender-based discrimination."
Though Roberts says he was merely arguing on behalf of the administration's position, in the end that is an inexcusable reason. He appeared twice before the Court to argue Bray, and appeared in the media to speak for his case. And though the case was decided 6-3 in favor of the protestors on a technicality concerning the law's applicability to this case, quotes from dissenting justices, including Sandra Day O'Connor, whose seat Roberts wants to fill, are telling.
This is an issue that will not go away, and many, many progressive women and men will not stand to have their reproductive rights used as "cannon fodder", given away by other "dem" men as a bargining chip.
The fact of the matter is, whether you like it or not, Roberts work against women's rights and in support of violent offenders did happen. It is a part of his history, and no one, not even Karl Rove, can wipe that away.
The NARAL ad was visceral, it was meant to be, in my opinion. It was meant to wake people up to some of the violence that could have been stopped by the man nominated to sit on the bench for the rest of his life, making precedent. Instead, Roberts, through the DOJ, chose to fight hard against that. That should have been a wake up call to many men and women that are currently willing to hand over women's reporductive rights as some sort of bargining chip.
Nutshell version, that ad was the statement to both the right, particularly the extremist right, AS WELL AS the dems handing over women's rights as if they were a piece of fruit on a platter, that we will not stand for this any longer, and we will not stand for an ideologue on the highest judicial bench.
NARAL is taking heat for their hard-hitting advertisement on John Roberts. If you haven't seen the ad, you can view it here.
Liberal Oasis points out today that so far, NARAL is the ONLY group that is going after the nominated judical REACTIVIST, Roberts, and wonders WHY this is?
Well maybe if labor, environmental and consumer groups adopted NARAL’s attitude, the discussion would broaden and Roberts would be further on the defensive.
LO makes a good point. Roberts, from what we do know, is no friend to the worker nor is he a friend to the environment. It's time these groups grew a backbone, just as NARAL has. Wonderous things may happen if they did.
And by the by:
LiberalOasis advice to everyone else: NARAL is not the target. Roberts is. Get with the program.
I couldn't have said it better myself.
Bush works for the people. ALL the people, and not just the 51% that voted for him. He also works for the 49% of people that did not vote for him. So, we have a mother who has lost her son wants clarification from the president, based on his own words, on why her son die and what the heck is this "noble cause" our loved ones are dying for?
Cindy Sheehan is camped out, in front of Bush's Crawford, Tx ranch. She has vowed to stay there until Bush speaks to her again, and answer her questions. Now, I'm currently listening to C-SPAN's Washington Journal, and self professed republican's have called in saying, in short "too bad, Bush has already talked to her," and he has, there is no arguing that -- and no one is. The connection these folks, including sites like Drudge, are IGNORING come from his speech on August 3, 2005 and the statements he uttered to ALL the American people, more than a year AFTER he met with Cindy. How in the world could she have anticipated his future statements? She can't, no one can unless they are clairvoyant, and most people aren't. As has happened in the past, this is so damned predictible, the smear campaign has started in the right-wing "press" (like Drudge is the press -- and no, I won't give him the link).
So, we have a mom who wants answers from her president on why her son died and what was this 'NOBLE CAUSE'? This woman is entitled to an answer, as are all the families of fallen troops, and the families with loved ones in Iraq. Because this woman is camped outside his ranch, waiting to see the president, she is now deemed a threat to national security. As of yesterday, she and others with her, will be arrested on Thursday, the very day Rice and Rumsfeld will be at the ranch.
I got Cindy on the phone and she continued to maintain that the threat of arrest was real, but said that it came to her via Diane Wilson. I spoke to Diane, who said that it came from Texas State Rep Lon Burman, a Democrat. She said that he was not speaking on behalf of or communicating any information from the Bush Administration or the Secret Service or the Sheriff's Department. But she maintained that what he had predicted was already starting.
The threat of arrest is telling of this adminstiration, get rid of those that disagree; get rid of those that point out the inconsistencies and lies of this adminstration. After all, Bush may have to drive by her on his way to a repugnut findraiser on Friday night.
Who is the REAL threat to national security here? The man that LIES to the American people and has caused over 1800 troops to die, and thousands others to be wounded, or the mom who is camped outside his home, while he is on a 5-week vacation, and wants answers as to this "noble cause" for which her son died?
Update: Check Shakespeare's Sister for a round-up of blogs posting on Cindy and William Rivers Pitt
In the midst of the lobbying scandals, lawmakers continue to whore themselves to corporate interests. Are you surpried?
[J]ust look at the latest figures from the Center for Responsive Politics, which show that total lobbyist spending, already at $1.44 billion eight years ago, soared to $2.38 billion in 2005.
And this largesse is doled out with precision; industries know who’s running things, tilting their cash heavily toward the ruling party. But it’s interesting to note the degree of tilt. The oil and gas industries truly love the Republicans, giving them 84 percent of their money, and tobacco is not far behind, at 75 percent. Pharmaceuticals are at 69 percent, insurance at 66 and military contractors at 61.
I'm the first to admit that I have very mixed feelings about lobbying. It is necessary, in many instances, for lobbyists to work closely with lawmakers. Where I balk at this industry (lobbying), is when they are so closely involved in creating legislation that is solely for the purposes of profit for the specific industry at the expense of the average person. I also, cannot wrap myself around the notion of the amount of money spent to get the desired legislation, and thus the profits for the specific industry.
I hopped on over the Center for Responsive Politics lobbying page, and used their handy-dandy database to find the top speders for 2005. Not surprisingly, I found that AT&T was the 6th largest spender last year. How cozy is that when AT&T is front and center in the NSA spying on American's, as well as their concerted efforts to become THE only telecom provider in the nation. Not to mention AT&T's Stalinistic policy revision. Never fear, the US Telecom Assoc. and Verizon are also on the 8-digit spending list for 2005.
I definately think that there needs to be changes in the lobbying system. Specific rules and regulations limiting spending and contributions to lawmakers, from the local level all the way up to the top of our governmental system. I also feel that strict limmitations of lobbyists deciding policy should be put in place and, most importantly, enforced.
When lobbyists go to a lawmaker to point out how legislation policy will effect the people, I have no problem with that, well, at least when the lobbyist tells the naked truth, not some made-up claptrap that is designed to get their way for whatever purpose.
Obviously, this will create some problems, as everyone has their "own truth."
Here's my question for the day: Should lobbying and lobbyists be more closely regulated and/or controled?