Saturday, January 14, 2006

The Vermont Grassroots Organize to Elect Bernie Sanders

Most of you probably know who Bernie Sanders is, but just in case...He represents the great state of Vermont as the only Independant in the US House.

Bernie is running for the Senate this year to replace Independant Jim Jeffords who is retiring. No Democrat is running, but there is a Republican running who happens to be the richest person in Vermont. Not second or third richest, but THE richest. He is predicted to spend $5 million of his own money for his campaign.

So how do you compete with that kind of money? The same way Bernie has always won elections. With Grassroots Power!

Bernie is holding organizational meetings in every county in Vermont to organize the grassroots and win this election. The Rutland Organizing meeting was today. Here's my report, orginally posted on Bernie's Blog:


About 60 people came to the Rutland Organizing meeting. I got there at 11:30 with the tv recording equipment from our local access tv station and helped Ethan (from the campaign) set up the sign-in table.

The people coming in were all friendly and ready to help. Many people that came in from the "suburbs" of Rutland said it was really foggy out there so some people probably didn't come. Lots of familiar faces from the regular political crowd came, but also many people I didn't know, so that was great. (Ethan seemed obsessed with asking people how they heard about the event: postcard, phone, or email. The responses seemed about equal to me.)

Bernie sat at my table for lunch, and ate his whole lunch in about 2 time for eating when you're busy fighting the right wing!

He then got up and spoke about the terrible economic situation the Republicans have put us into, the need for Universal Health Care, the dispicable way that the Republicans use "support the troops" for political gain but underfund veterans' needs, and the need to continue to protect Social Security. He was interupted several times by the audience's applause.

There was a Q&A session where people asked about verified voting (Bernie thinks Gore should have won FL, but that Bush really did win OH), IRV (Bernie thinks the VT legislature should work towrds passing IRV), and other issues that I forget (sorry!).

Then Phil (from the campaign) got up and outlined the field plan for Rutland, which included canvassing, registering new voters, advertising, rallies, and tabling. There was a volunteer sign-up card that everyone filled out. There were more volunteer opportunities on the card which I think were the same as the ones listed here:

So that's about it. The campaign will contact people that signed up for certain activities, we'll all do everything we signed up for, and the grassroots will win this election Bernie.

As Bernie said at the meeting: The Republicans will outspend us, and people will see their ads, but we will have a neighbor-to-neighbor campaign, and one neighbor talking to another is more powerful than any amount of advertising.

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Al Gore Speech to Address Constitutional Crisis

Update: Really wanted to add a picture to this post, but wasn't finding a recent one that I liked. So I'm going to use an old one instead--of Howard Dean endorsing Al Gore back in 2000.

Here's the Yahoo News article about the speech Al Gore is scheduled to give on Monday. (The Nation is the original source.)

Aides who are familiar with the preparations for the address say that Gore will frame his remarks in Constitutional language. The Democrat who beat Bush by more than 500,000 votes in the 2000 presidential election has agreed to deliver his remarks in a symbolically powerful location: the historic Constitution Hall of the Daughters of the American Revolution. But this will not be the sort of cautious, bureacratic speech for which Gore was frequently criticized during his years in the Senate and the White House.

Indeed, his aides and allies are framing it as a "call to arms" in defense of the Bill of Rights and the rule of law in a time of executive excess.

The vice president will, according to the groups that have arranged for his appearance -- the bipartisan Liberty Coalition and the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy -- address "the threat posed by policies of the Bush Administration to the Constitution and the checks and balances it created. The speech will specifically point to domestic wiretapping and torture as examples of the administration's efforts to extend executive power beyond Congressional direction and judicial review."

You can read the rest here. Also, check out the CurrentTV web site if you haven't already. And, if you don't have cable, you can tune in to Gore's speech on C-SPAN. It is scheduled to air approximately from noon to 3 p.m. E.S.T.

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Friday, January 13, 2006

Grassroots for Cegelis

It was a bummer, but not especially surprising, I suppose, to see this diary by Michael in Chicago, "Union Endorses Non-Union Candidate". After all, Howard Dean had union support when he looked like he was going to be the Democratic nominee and started to lose that support as soon as the tides seemed to be turning.

When it became clear that the Democratic machine was pushing Christine's opponent, Tammy Duckworth, I felt it was important to do what we could to rally behind one of our former "Dean Dozen" candidates.

Christine Cegelis and Howard Dean

Because loyalty means something to Deaniacs. And so does the courage to be the one to stand up and fight in the first place, when the odds don't look so good. The DC Dem attitude of, "Oh, we have a chance at this seat now? We'll put up our *own* hand-picked candidate, thank you very much!" That's why I made the button graphic (seen on the right side of this blog) that links to Christine Cegelis' campaign web site. Feel free to download that graphic to use on your own web site or blog if you'd like to support Christine as well. If you are able, donate to her campaign--remember how all those little contributions added up when we were backing Howard in the primaries! Or drop by her blog to offer your support. This would be a good time to let her know that even if the AFL-CIO supported her opponent, we, the Dean-inspired grassroots, support Christine Cegelis.

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Where's the !@#%$ Outrage?

In the comments on the previous thread about the lack of commotion over the confirmation hearings of Judge Sam Alito to the Supreme Court, Renee asked, "This appointment is for LIFE--why do we care what he says to get the job? Promises he makes in the job interview are not as important as his record."

Renee has a point. Alito came into this process with a much longer paper trail to evaluate than John Roberts did. But he refused to not only defend his record, he ran away from it. Fortunately, we only have to go as far back as 1985 to get a sense of his judicial philosophy:

I am and always have been a conservative and an adherent to the same philosophical views that I believe are central to this [Reagan] Administration. . . . I believe very strongly in limited government, federalism, free enterprise, the supremacy of the elected branches of government, the need for a strong defense and effective law enforcement, and the legitimacy of a government role in protecting traditional values. In the field of law, I disagree strenuously with the usurpation of the judiciary of decision-making authority that should be exercised by the branches of government responsible to the electorate....

. . .I am particularly proud of my contributions in recent cases which the government has argued in the Supreme Court that racial and ethnic quotas should not be allowed and that the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion.

. . . I am a life-long registered Republican . . . I am a member of the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy and a regular participant at its luncheon meetings and a member of the Concerned Alumni of Princeton University, a conservative alumni group. During the past year, I have submitted articles for publication in the National Review and the American Spectator.

Why has there been no fuss when there was plenty of material to work with? As Robert Bork said, "The object nowadays is to get confirmed. People will say pretty much -- or avoid saying pretty much in order to get confirmed." And the media went right along by declaring that Alito was headed toward confirmation.

Over at Kos, georgia10 vehemently disagreed: "The burden, from the start, was on Alito to counter his record as an ideologue. Alito walked into that hearing room saddled with a record as one of the most pro-government Republican judges in the nation. [...] The burden was on him to explain his record. And he didn't."

She's right: Alito confirmed suspicions that he's the type who'll say anything to get the job he wants. During the hearings he never embraced his record--he wouldn't touch it with a 10-foot pole, droning on and on, probably hoping that the original question would be forgotten. If you can't convince them, confuse them.

But I also think georgia10 was wrong about the burden of proof being solely on Alito. The Judiciary Committee went along with Alito's well-memorized script. Lindsay Graham and Orrin Hatch were the lead Republican cheerleaders when they should have been serving up questions to demonstrate Alito's fitness to serve on the Supreme Court. And Republican moderates like Susan Collins, Arlen Specter and Olympia Snowe are expected to confirm Alito because they see no reason not to.

All the saber-rattling proved was that yet again, the Democrats didn't have the stomach for the fight. "The fact that Sam Alito spent all week stonewalling was to be expected, but I think some of the Democrats on the Judiciary Committee deserve equal blame for treating this more like political theater than a job interview. ... a lot of the exchanges makes it clear that most of the Democrats think they're a tough question away from getting Alito to blurt out some incriminating remark like "Abortion is worse than the holocaust" or "the President should be considered a monarch". ...the hunt for a smoking gun is coming at the expense of helping the American people figure out who the hell this Alito guy is." (The Talent Show)

The Democrats blew this in a big way. They absolutely failed to show just how dangerous Alito will be on the court even though there were moments when I thought they could pull this one off, such as Russ Feingold asking about the "murder court" and Biden asking about John Yoo. In the end, though, they couldn't make the charge stick because the Democrats lack a sense of self-preservation. What did they do when charged with making Martha-Ann Bomgardner cry? Not a thing.

Why the lack of outrage over Alito's record? Because the blogs have been trying to do a Sisyphean task--generate the necessary opposition on our own. As Peter Daou said: "Simply put, without the participation of the media and the political establishment, the netroots alone cannot generate the critical mass necessary to alter or create conventional wisdom."

Daou continues: "But rather than a Democratic triumph, the Alito hearings have thrown the dichotomy between the netroots and the Democratic leadership into even starker relief, illustrating the profound dysfunction of the left’s triangle. As well, the depth and breadth of media complicity and the obliviousness of so many Democrats to it, is alarming. From the choreography of Specter and Alito creating the "open mind on abortion" sound bite that media outlets dutifully ran with, to the Sen. Graham/Mrs. Alito tear-fest that should have prompted Dems to slam the Republicans for bringing the Judge's wife to tears but instead turned into another Dem-bashing occasion, to the complete failure of the Democratic leadership to create the appropriate tone of outrage (in sound bite form), the chronic breakdown of the establishment and media sides of the left's triangle is apparent.

"This, then, is the reality: progressive bloggers and online activists - positioned on the front lines of a cold civil war - face a thankless and daunting task: battle the Bush administration and its legions of online and offline apologists, battle the so-called "liberal" media and its tireless weaving of pro-GOP narratives, battle the ineffectual Democratic leadership, and battle the demoralization and frustration that comes with a long, steep uphill struggle."

And you know what really pisses me off about this? This incompetence is going to make Howard's job that much more difficult to do. As if his job wasn't hard enough already.

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The Grok Box Rocks! (from Subway Serenade)

Sixties' icon Dr. Timothy Leary predicted shortly before his passing that one day someone would create a computerized device that could teach people how to see God. As it turns out he was probably right. The concept seemed simple enough. If you could align your brainwaves to the frequency of Love, you could unlock the pan-dimensional capabilities of the human consciousness and achieve the "Oneness" described in Scripture, or "grok" as they say in science fiction.

As one who well remembers when "Virtual Reality" came in sugar cubes, and who recalls the research in the early 1970's into primitive "Biofeedback" technology, I was intrigued with Leary's prediction. Perhaps someone was working on such a "Grok Box." So in the spring of 1997 I began my search for the latest information on what I've come to call "Astral Technology." What I found, surprisingly was a field that was much further along than I had imagined. for example, Dr. Andrew Junker of Brain Actuated Technologies, was pioneering computer interfaces for the disabled. His "Brain fingers" device boasts several "Hands Free" computer games that encourage biofeed-back interaction.

Other people were expanding the boundaries of Phi Music, Microtone Brainwave Generators, and Fractal Animation. And an emerging consensus seemed to indicate that transcendent consciousness can be achieved simply through the subtle manipulation of certain internal harmonics.

The big breakthrough came on July 4 1997 with the invention of what was then called "The Heart link Interface." Its creator, Dan Winter worked on the long held notion that the human heart is the"Primary Harmonic Oscillator" of the body. Meaning that the heart was in fact,a complex musical instrument that could theoretically be"tuned' like any other. The two question to be answered were,"What happens in the heart when we feel Compassionate Love?" and "Can this feeling measured? The answer to the first question is a bit complex.

Under normal circumstances, the heart "sings" at many harmonic frequencies at the same time. However these frequencies become focused and begin to converge much like a whirlpool as compassion grows, and these harmonic waves begin to spin at a specific harmonic base note of .618hz or PHI. During times of more analytical tthought,the ratio becomes 1.6, which is still a ratio of PHI.

The important thing to note here is that when using the Interface,(Now called "The Heart Tuner") you can see your heart's harmonics represented on a screen much like an ekg in a doctor's office. So if you can learn to touch the point where compassion begins, it becomes easier to sustain.

Many people in the medical community are stressing the benefits of something called "Heart Rate Variability" (HRV) which simply put is the ability of the heart to sing at the full range of it's musical instrumentation. Apparently as we age, the range of the heart's "voice" narrows.

Imagine a piano whose notes at each end of the keyboard begin to fade with age. So where a child's heart may have an eight octave range, a middle aged person may be down to 6 octaves or less. Medical research has shown a direct link between the harmonic range of the heart and overall health. So one benefit of Cardiofeedback technology is that it "teaches" HRV in real time.

Yet the ultimate benefit of Cardiofeedback is that two people using the same device can teach their hearts to "sing" in unison at the exact harmonic frequency of Compassionate Love. This same capacity can be expanded to include millions of people in a simple "chat" environment.

This is not to say that I wanted to sound like some kind of advertisement for this device. First of all, at over $1200 apiece this is sold as a research tool, it's made in Europe and is NOT available commercally in the US. So unless you work in areas where Heart Rate Variability is an important part, or if you are therapist studying things such as Attention Deficit Disorder, you can safely say that this is not in the realm of "Consumer Electronics."

My point is that even though Cardiofeedback is in its early stages, it already boasts several game environments that essentially use the human heart as its "joystick," and over the next five to seven years, this technology will filter down into some new version of a hands free PlayStation or XBox.. In the not too distant future, children will playing games that induce transcendant states of consciousness.

How many hearts, singing in unison like a global choir, would it take for Compassionate Love to achieve the "critical mass" necessary for human ascension?

Are you ready to Grok?

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Unions Beat Wal-Mart

The union movement scored a significant success in Maryland as the state legislature passed a law yesterday requiring Wal-Mart stores to increase spending on employee health insurance.

The legislature overrode a veto by Republican Governor Robert Ehrlich to pass the law, which was a response to the growing criticism that Wal-Mart has skimped on employee benefits, forcing employees to turn to the government for health insurance.

According to the New York Times, "Wal-Mart has come under severe criticism because it insures less than half its United States work force and because its employees routinely show up, in larger numbers than employees of other retailers, on state Medicaid rolls."

Dozens of states, whose legislatures are considering similar laws, are watching Maryland closely in the context of fast-rising Medicaid costs. Under the Maryland law, employers with 10,000 or more workers in the state must spend at least 8 percent of their payrolls on health insurance, or else pay the difference into a state Medicaid fund.

Because Wal-Mart will not disclose publicly how much it spends on health care, the effect of the law on Wal-Mart is unclear. Wal-Mart was concerned enough about the bill, however, to hire four firms to lobby the legislature and to contribute $4,000 to Gov. Ehrlich's reelection campaign.

State Senator Gloria G. Lawlah, a Democrat who sponsored the bill, said: "This is not a Wal-Mart bill, it's a Medicaid bill." This bill says to the conglomerates, 'Don't dump the employees that you refuse to insure into our Medicaid systems.' " There are four employers in Maryland with more than 10,000 workers - Johns Hopkins University, the grocery chain Giant Food and the military contractor Northrop Grumman, but only Wal-Mart falls below the 8% threshold on health care spending. Wal-Mart has 53 stores and employs about 17,000 people in Maryland.

Opponents claim that the bill will send the message that Maryland is antibusiness. Wal-Mart recently announced plans to build a distribution center on Maryland's Eastern Shore that would employ up to 1,000. The company "strongly suggested" that they might build the center elsewhere if lawmakers passed the health care bill.

This is in fact the second time that this bill passed. When Gov. Ehrlich vetoed it late last year, he invited a senior Wal-Mart executive to sit by his side as he did so. The bill will be a definite issue in this year's campaign.

For its part, Wal-Mart is considering its options, including a lawsuit to challenge the law because it is close to the required 8% threshold. A Wal-Mart spokesperson said that everyone should have access to affordable health insurance but this bill "does nothing to accomplish that goal."

It isn't clear whether Wal-Mart's claim will have any legal merit. Nor is it clear that this is an effective way to deal with health care reform in the absence of a more comprehensive health care system. What is clear is that something had to be done as the number of jobs with health insurance benefits declines and the number of people who end up on state Medicaid increases (unless you're stuck in limbo where you don't have insurance but you're not poor enough for Medicaid).

A wise man once said, "All I'm asking is that we not let the perfect become the enemy of the good." Maybe this is good enough--for now.

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Take Care of Your Blood Pressure

Teri Mills is a longtime Democracy For America community member. Her guest column on health care appears on Blog for America on Fridays and she blogs at

Let's face it; all of our blood pressures are going up. These next few weeks are not going to be easy if you are of a progressive mind. We watch helplessly as the war in Iraq rages on with no apparent end in sight. On Blog For America, wowser lets us know on a daily basis how many troops have being senselessly killed. The Republican majority in the Senate is ready to vote in another conservative judge to the Supreme Court, Samuel Alito. Many in New Orleans and Biloxi remain homeless and without electricity. There is so much corruption in Congress taking place among our elected officials that it seems to have come to a screeching halt. We can't even get a bill introduced that would improve the nation's healthcare, which should be bipartisan since cancer or germs don't seem to mind invading a blue or a red body and cost the same amount of money to cure.

Watching our country continue to flounder will definitely make your blood pressure rise, as stress is a major contributing factor. Blood pressure is the result of blood pushing against your blood vessels, and when it is higher than normal, your heart has to work even harder to pump blood through the body. High blood pressure is known as a "silent" killer, because there are no visible symptoms. The normal range has been readjusted and is now defined as 130/85 or less by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. If you go into your local pharmacy, there are often blood pressure machines where you can test yourself. Be aware that these don't always work properly, but still if your blood pressure is higher than this normal range, you need to see your health care provider for further evaluation. High blood pressure can lead to stroke, heart attack, kidney problems, eye problems, and even death.

Here are some ways you can maintain a normal blood pressure during these upcoming stressful months. First, make every effort to maintain a healthy weight. Start by cutting out those sugary drinks and deep fried foods. Be more active every day. Take a thirty-minute walk and dream about all that will be accomplished with a Blue Congress. Eat fewer foods high in salt and sodium. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Cut back on the number of alcoholic beverages, if you drink. Have blood pressure checked. Take medicine the way the doctor says. Above all, do not stop taking your blood pressure medicine without the supervision of your health care provider as this can cause one of the above mentioned health conditions.

Finally, think again about signing the petition for a National Nurse. A representative from nursing teaching the nation about ways to live healthy may be just what is needed to save lives and dollars in our country.

Teri Mills, RN, MS
ANPDemocracy for Oregon

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Thursday, January 12, 2006

Statement on the Supreme Court's Decision in Goodman v Georgia

Principally dealing with Disability Rights and the ADA, this statement also touches on other matters including the views of Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito.

crossposted at Disabled Americans for Democracy

For Immediate Release
January 10, 2006
The Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law issued the following statement by its legal director, Ira Burnim, about the Supreme Court's unanimous ruling today in Goodman v. Georgia.

"In a narrow decision that leaves many questions unanswered, the Supreme Court has ruled that Congress has the authority to apply the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to state prisons, at least insofar as it reaches conduct that could also be challenged under the Fourteenth Amendment.

"People with disabilities remain concerned about whether the Supreme Court will uphold critical rights under the ADA. Just today, Senator Mike DeWine (R-OH) raised these issues in the confirmation hearing of Samuel Alito, who is nominated to replace Justice O'Connor on the Supreme Court. Justice O'Connor was often the swing vote in disability rights cases. Last year she voted to uphold Congress's power to apply the ADA to state courthouses in Tennessee v. Lane. By contrast, Judge Alito has interpreted Congress' powers to legislate in an extremely narrow way.

"We are encouraged that the decision gives Congress more authority than the states have argued it has in this and other cases. Today's decision is a victory for Tony Goodman, who had lost his ADA claims in the lower courts. Nonetheless, it remains unclear how plaintiffs in other situations will fare with claims under Title II of the ADA, which bars discrimination in public services. The justices today avoided the central issue of whether Congress had the power to apply the ADA to state prisons generally."

Goodman v. Georgia was brought by a prisoner with paraplegia who had alleged that he was confined for 23 to 24 hours per day in a 12-by-3 foot cell in which he could not turn his wheelchair around. Mr. Goodman alleged that he was unable to use the toilet and shower at Georgia State Prison without assistance, due to the state's failure to provide accessible facilities. He was often denied assistance, and as a result he injured himself multiple times attempting to transfer from his wheelchair to the shower or toilet; on other occasions he was forced to sit in his own feces and urine. He also claimed that he was denied medical treatment and access to virtually all prison programs and services because of his disability.

Georgia argued that Goodman could not sue the prison for damages because Congress had exceeded its power in authorizing damage suits against states under the ADA's public services provisions. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals had thrown out Goodman's ADA claims on that basis, but the Supreme Court reversed. In writing the decision for a unanimous court, Justice Scalia said that Goodman's claims differed from those of plaintiffs in other Supreme Court cases in this area because they also alleged independent violations of the Constitution itself.

The decision states that while the justices have disagreed about the scope of Congress' power to bar conduct that goes beyond the reach of the Constitution, "no one doubts" that Congress has the power to pass laws that enforce the Fourteenth Amendment by creating remedies against the states for conduct that actually violates the Fourteenth Amendment. However, the court declined to decide how far beyond the boundaries of the Constitution Congress could go. Justice Scalia noted that the Eleventh Circuit had sent Goodman's case back to the trial court to allow him to file a revised complaint, and that once the new complaint was filed, the courts could sort out precisely which ADA claims were authorized.

The Bazelon Center spearheaded the disability community's efforts in the Supreme Court on behalf of Tony Goodman. More information on the case including the briefs of the parties and amiciis available at:

The Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law is a national legal advocate for the civil rights and human dignity of people with mental disabilities. For more information, please see
Lee Carty, 202-467-5730 x121,
Jennifer Mathis, 202-467-5730 x122,

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Being "uniquely American"

Remember when, in one of his infamous "town hall meetings" about Social Security, a woman mentioned working three jobs to keep her family afloat, and Bush blithely came back with, "You work three jobs? That's uniquely American!" We all heard that and thought, "What a jackass!"

At present, I am only working two jobs, so I haven't reached the stress and energy depletion level of Uniquely American just yet. Thankfully, this is not the situation all the time. I am also mindful that at least neither of my jobs are physically exhausting, dangerous, or gradually leading to physical disability due to working under unsafe conditions. But I can tell you this much--I'm tired. My brain is tired. In my free time, I don't want to read anything too complex, and, for heaven's sake, PLEASE don't tell me about another problem I need to try to do something about.

Running out of time here, but I did want to at least open this discussion--put it out as "food for thought" at least. *Please* know I'm not complaining--everyone has been fantastic about picking up on the posting around here when I am not able. But feeling like this reminded me of how many people out there have schedules like mine, only for the long term, and under poorer conditions. If they don't already know about how messed up the political situation is right now, they probably don't *want* to know, because that would be one more thing to worry about, be responsible for, and try to deal with.

Yet we need their help. And, more likely than not, the Bush economy did this to them, and it is in their best interest to change the larger situation that leads to this level of overwork. It's a conundrum that deserves some thought.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Scott McClellan: Howard Dean is Irresponsible

Howard Dean: Chicken soup for the Democratic soul.

It's official, according to White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan: Howard Dean is on George Bush's list of Iraq war critics behaving "irresponsibly." Editor & Publisher reports--

In his latest statement on Iraq, President George W. Bush again charged that some of the critics of the war in Iraq were acting responsibly--and others, not. At his White House press briefing today, Press Secretary Scott McClellan fielded a number of questions trying to determine the difference, and possibly produce a few names on the irresponsible team.

After some prodding, McClellan finally identified the Democratic Party chairman, Howard Dean, as one of those on the president's bad side. "The Chairman of the party has made numerous irresponsible comments," McClellan said.

Here is one of the exchanges:

MR. McCLELLAN: So you're not letting me have an honest, open debate here. I welcome the opportunity to do this -- but they know the difference between honest critics who question the way the war is being prosecuted -- we welcome that. In fact, the President has met with some of those honest critics. He met with a number of them just last week. And partisan critics who claim we acted in Iraq because of oil, or that we acted because of Israel, or that we acted based on misleading the American people --

Q Who has made that charge? Which Democrat in Congress has said he did it for oil or for Israel?

MR. McCLELLAN: He didn't single out members of Congress. He singled out people that --

Q -- elected officials responsible --

MR. McCLELLAN: We can point to --

Q Who are you talking about? Are you talking about Harry Belafonte and Sheryl Crow? Is he really worried about those people?

MR. McCLELLAN: We can point to a number of people. I think the Chairman of the Democratic Party has made numerous statements that are --

Q Who else is part of --

Q Why did he go in then?

MR. McCLELLAN: The Chairman of the party has made numerous irresponsible comments. We have confronted these issues head on, and we will continue to take them on. You might want to back us down from challenging people, but when they make irresponsible comments, we're going to challenge them.

Q You just said one of the irresponsible comments was that he doesn't have a strategy for victory, that people have made that comment and that they've been briefed on it. They might just not agree with the strategy for victory, or whether it is a strategy for victory.

MR. McCLELLAN: But they're implying to the American people that we don't have a strategy in place. And this is after they were -- just after they were briefed by our commanders on the ground who put that strategy in place.

Q So that's irresponsible to imply that they just don't like the strategy?

MR. McCLELLAN: No. I said that "we don't have a strategy" -- there's a difference.

Q -- semantics --

MR. McCLELLAN: No. People have made that point, said that we don't have a strategy in place for winning in Iraq. That is irresponsible.

Q That's exactly my point, that they think it's not a strategy for winning.

I Already Know, Thank You

From SusanD...

I was going to write a post about the "9 numbers that tell just how
bad George Bush and the GOP have been for America" that I got from the

But then, we already know how bad he is, don't we?

And I'm thinking....the Democrats still aren't getting it right. It's
useless to tell us how bad Bush is, because we already know. And,
please G-d, Bush will not be running for President again.

So, Democrats, what are *you* going to do? Attacking Bush, while it
might make me feel all warm and vindicated, doesn't tell me what
Democrats would do instead.

Attacking Bush also exemplifies what I call "booga-booga politics",
meaning scaring people into going along with you. I think we've had
quite enough of that from Georgie and the Boyz, thank you.

Listing Bush's failures also puts Democrats in the REacting, instead
of acting, category. It makes Democrats look weak when everything you
hear from them is a reaction to the Republicans. In a very real sense
they're letting the Republicans set the agenda.

And if Bush is so bad (and we know that he is), why aren't you guys in
D.C. fighting him harder? Why are you letting him get by with so many
atrocities? In some cases, like the bankruptcy bill, you even aid and
abet him by voting for his anti-people policies.

If you Democrats in D.C. have forgotten how to be a Democrat here's a
tip. Watch Howard Dean, Barbara Boxer and Paul Hackett. They know
how to do it right.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

'They Won't Know What Hit Them'

Thanks, jc, for including this in the comments. A daily dose of Howard is always good for the Democratic soul.--Corinne

As 2006 begins, I am reaching out to you and every other Democratic Party supporter I can find. I'm urging you to immediately contribute to the Democratic National Committee.

This is what we've been waiting for - our opportunity to lead, our chance to win.

Help make January the biggest month ever with Democrats making more donations than in any previous month in history.

Contribute to the DNC through the Howard Empowered People Bat -

This is the year when the corruption, cronyism, and incompetence of the Republican Party collides with a powerful grassroots Democratic campaign. They won't know what hit them.

If we can count on the 2006 support of loyal friends like you, we'll take the power out of their hands. And we'll move America forward.

Here is why your donation means so much.

With your support, we can recruit strong Democratic candidates to challenge the increasing number of vulnerable Republican incumbents.

With your support, we can stand behind Democratic candidates who are taking strong stands on the issues and giving powerful voice to our values.

I'm talking about Democrats who understand, like you and I do, the two principles that should guide everything we do in 2006:

If we want to lead, we have to win.

And, if we want to win, we have to lead.

Contribute to the DNC through the Howard Empowered People Bat -

Are you ready to take it to the Republicans every day in 2006?

Are you ready to continue our work building a year-round, 50-state grassroots Democratic Party capable of carrying our candidates to victory?

Then now is the time to act. Be part of the biggest single month of Democratic membership support in history. Contribute now with as generous a donation as you can possibly afford.

Contribute to the DNC through the Howard Empowered People Bat -

This is the month when - in a collective act of political will - we're going to propel our 2006 campaign forward all across America. And, from this point on, we're never looking back, never stopping until we win.

We've got the Republicans on the ropes. Let's go for it.

On to victory,
Governor Howard Dean, M.D.

P.S. Please act right now. The sooner you contribute, the better our chances of victory in this crucial election year.

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Being Howard Empowered ~~ Musings on a Fine January Day

Remember? This time last year the BBB was in a fever. Howard was running for DNC Chair, and the blog was jumping! HQ staff also seemed to be in a fever to keep us from doing "too much" ~~ Or, their idear of the *wrong* things. No one official ever seemed to really figure where to put all that blog energy. Where to direct it.

Looking further back, to the '03/'04 campaign, that seemed to be a problem, too. Hence, the frantic letter writing (My score: over 560 letters to Iowa, Arizona, North Carolina, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, New York, Florida. Oh, I've forgotten some. . . . )

Sure, our fundraising prowess was phenomenal. Still is. But everywhere I look around the Howard Empowered World (us, the BBB, DFA, DNC), I still see a paucity of real idears about what to DO with us! A goodly percentage of the Democratic Base is never going to be flush. Is always going to be struggling to bring home bacon, put food on their families, and find a little space for some pleasure. And yet they (we) once touched by Howard, seeing the dream (as yet, still dream) of what a good man, an honest man, an energized man could possibly bring about want to, beg to, be used.

I wish I saw someone, somewhere, looking to fix that hole. To be looking to find a way to use that energy, hope, time, and stamps. Of every where I go, this blog is the most effective, in fact: gathering idears and plans from everywhere, making this a central place to come if one *needs* to do something. But we're still small, and much devolves on one very busy woman's shoulders. . . .

Idears, anyone?

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Tuesday Comics

And the Democrats say President Bush is not listening.

The Lobbyist or the Terrorist?
Lobbyist Go Shopping
Health Care for the Texas Democratic Party
The Real World of George W Bush
Of Constitution Authority

You could see that dust storm coming the cloud looked deathlike black,
And through our mighty nation, it left a dreadful track.

Dust Storm
Contract With America

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Monday, January 09, 2006

What Do I Owe?

From Susan D...

Oscar's Sunday morning thread got me thinking. Mainly because it reminded me that people concentrate on what is due to them, but not what they owe.

In a completely secular sense you can see this all over our society. My brother has worked for Delphi for nearly thirty years. They have demanded mandatory overtime and forced vacations. They demand total loyalty (submission) to the company.

Yet now they ask the workers to take a nearly 50% cut in pay, and *at the same time* award substantial bonuses to management.

We saw this blindness to what is owed in the Bush administration's response to Katrina. Since Bush appears to lack the capacity for simple humanity I won't even go there. least some of those people had to be Republicans who gave him their support and voted for him. He accepted that support as his due. Obviously he felt no obligation to return that support. He didn't feel he owed them anything.

The greed that reigns in our government and in most corporations is killing America. We will continue the downward spiral because they do not believe that they owe anything in return.

If you use up thirty year's of somebody's working life you owe them the pension you promised. You got your dues, now you owe.

If you're a politician who got voted into office you need to deliver what you promised. You got your dues, now you owe.

For most of us.....well, we're not getting any dues. We're getting lied to, spied on, unemployed and undereducated. What do we owe?

To the Bush administration and the corporations, nothing. But don't we owe something to each other? We're all in this together, all genders, races, political parties, religious denominations, non-religious, whatever. At least 98% of us suffer in one way or another from the failure of our society to meet its obligations. To pay what they owe.

I don't know if we can make it better. I hope we can. But I feel sure that Howard Dean and every Deaniac out there believes we owe it to each other to try our hardest to see that everyone realizes that for everything you are due there is something you owe.

Susan D.

And adding a quick note from Jessica..."MViMV's guest blogger tonight at 8pm EST is Kety Esquivel from CrossLeft."

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Monday Comics

Who are these people and where did I get all the Money?

Psst! Want to buy some influence?
Just how many hands are in the cookie jar?
At what point does one step in?
Homeland Security makes some cuts
The Republican Revolution
Closed for Business

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Sunday, January 08, 2006

Howard Dean on Late Edition that the whole video has been posted at Crooks and Liars, I can add this screen capture of the only smile I noticed from Howard during this interview. He was appropriately serious throughout the interview, but flashed that smile right when Wolf said at the end, "...always, speaking out bluntly, candidly...". From Crooks and Liars:

They are trying so hard to link Democrats to Abramoff's scandal that on today's Late Edition, Howard Dean almost set Wolfie's beard on fire.
Commenter: 8 seconds of dead air time as Wolf lets out a heavy sigh and ends the interview...

Blitzer: Thank you very much for joining us. On the Samuel Alito confirmation hearings which begin in Washington tomorrow, do you think the Democrats should realistically go ahead and filibuster if necessary to prevent his confirmation?

Dean: There are a couple of problems with Judge Alito. First of all, he appears to be outside the mainstream of where most Americans are on privacy for individuals. Not just women's issues, but okaying strip-searching of a 10-year-old, these kinds of things. The other thing which is also troubling is the conflict of interests case where he owned $400,000 worth of mutual funds and was willing to sit on a case involving a company. His order was later vacated. Now he *promised* the American people when he was confirmed that he would recuse himself. So the question I have is when he's answering the questions from Senator Leahy and Senator Spector and others, how are they going to know he's going to tell the truth. Because he did not tell the truth when he said to the Senate Judiciary Committee fifteen years ago that he would recuse himself from cases in which he had a financial interest.

Blitzer: Well he later explained that that was a technical slip-up for which he apologized. That's not a good enough explanation?

Dean: The chief judge disagreed with him. The chief judge removed him from the case and ordered a new judge to hear it. So this is an ethically charged climate in Washington. There's enormous corruption scandals in both the White House involving the chief procurement officer, and Karl Rove, and the Vice President's office, and both the Senate and the House--I don't think we want scandal to begin to touch the Supreme Court. We're going to watch very very carefully what the answers are to the Judiciary Committee. I think there are some very disturbing questions around Judge Alito, and I think we'll be looking forward to seeing what the answers to those questions are next week.

Blitzer: So on the issue of a filibuster, where do you stand?

Dean: Well I don't have a vote on that one. That's going to be decided by Senator Leahy and Senator Reid and others. They'll decide, after they hear the answers, whether Judge Alito belongs on the bench or not and that's what their perogative is in the Senate.

Blitzer: Let's talk a little bit about Iraq. The President sought to reach out to some of his critics earlier in the week, bringing in some former Secretaries of State, including Madeline Albright among others, William Cohen (sp?) the former Defense Secretary during the Clinton administration. Are you satisfied right now that the President's getting enough information from a variety of sources, to better move forward as far as the situation in Iraq is concerned?

Dean: Well, most of the reports that came after that meeting sounded like the President engaged in a filibuster of his own in there. He talked at them for quite some time and then went in for a photo-op, and really didn't bother to ask most of them for their advice at all. So I think that these photo-op idears that he's going to get advice are really nothing more than photo-ops. I think that we're in a big pickle in Iraq--I was *disgusted* when I read in the New York times yesterday that 80% of the torso injuries and fatalities in the Marine Corps could have been prevented if the Pentagon, the Secretary of Defense and the President had supplied them with armor that they already had. They had requested that from the field, the Pentagon refused--you know I thought two years ago that Secretary Rumsfeld ought to resign. He ought to resign. These people are not qualified. They haven't served themselves, they don't know what it takes. They ought to protect our troops. Our troops are doing a hell of a job, and they deserve better leadership in Washington than what they're getting.

You know, I was INCENSED when I saw the story--80% of the torso-based wounds that led to fatalities in our Marine Corps. SURELY our Marines are worth something more than that!

Blitzer: About a month ago, Senator Lieberman, the former Democraticic Vice-Presidential nominee spoke out urging his fellow Democrats including yourself to restrain themselves in criticizing the President's position on Iraq. Listen to what Lieberman said...

(video clip) Lieberman: It's time for Democrats who distrust President Bush to acknowledge that he will be the Commander in Chief for three more critical years, and that in matters of war, we undermine our President's credibility at our nation's peril.

Blitzer: Is that advice good advice from Senator Lieberman?

Dean: Uh, no. This president has lacked credibility almost from the day he took office because of the way he took office. He's not reached out to other people, he's shown he's willing to abuse his power, he's not consulted others, and he's not interested in consulting others. And I think, frankly, that Joe is absolutely wrong. It is incumbent on every American who's patriotic and cares about their country to stand up for what's right, and not go along with the president who's leading us in a wrong direction. We're going in the wrong direction economically at home, we're going in the wrong direction abroad. Looks what's happened in Latin America. This president, while saying that he wants to further democracy and capitalism is *driving* people in the opposite direction. We need real leadership in this country and we don't have it right now.

Blitzer: Are you *blaming* the President on the elections in Bolivia or the elections in Venezuela, is that what you're saying?

Dean: We had an enormous opportunity when this president took office--and he *said* he was going to reach out to Latin America--instead, he has turned them off. He's been high-handed with them, he's rejected them, he's ignored the economic plight of their folks. And so we're getting something that I think most Americans wish we didn't have, which is left-leaning regimes in these places. We need a president who will work constructively and cooperatively with our allies around the world, so that we really can move capitalism and democracy into the world, and not turn off people. When you turn people off, as the most powerful nation in the world, they are obviously going to do something that is not in our best interest and that is exactly what's going on right now.

Blitzer: Getting back to the war in Iraq, you were highly quoted when you suggested, I guess it must be about a month ago, that the war really was not winnable any longer. Later you clarified your remarks. But in the aftermath of the elections, which seem to have been pretty smoothly run--lots of violence still unfolding in Iraq--there are plenty of people who say it's still winnable if certain things take place. Where do you stand on the winnability, if there is such a word, of the war in Iraq?

Dean: Well, I laid out a strategy that I thought *would* make the war on terror winnable. We *need* to win the war on terror. We have to protect ourselves. The question is, do we have the kind of leadership in Washington that's going to allow that. There is a plan, put together by Lawrence Korb and a fellow by the name of Louis Katula (sp?). Lawrence Korb was in the Reagan administration. It's a plan that I think makes a great deal of sense. It's a moderate plan that calls for strategic redeployment of our troops while we're removing them from Iraq we're keeping some in the region to fight the terrorism the President's invasion of Iraq has spawned in Iraq. That's a sensible plan for defending America.

Right now, we have a lot of happy talk, we have some folks who frankly aren't treating our troops properly, not arming and equipping them properly. That doesn't give me confidence about the leadership in this White House.

Blitzer: Should Democrats who took money from Jack Abramoff, who's now pleaded guilty to bribery charges among other charges, should the Democrats who took money from him give that money to charity or give it back?

Dean: There are no Democrats who took money from Jack Abramoff. Not one. Not one single Democrat. Every person named in the scandal is a Republican, every person under investigation is a Republican, every person indicted is a Republican. This is a Republican finance scandal--there is *no* evidence that Jack Abramoff ever gave any Democrat any money. We've looked through all those FEC reports to make sure that's true.

Blitzer: But through various Abramoff-related organizations and outfits, a bunch of Democrats did take money, presumably originating with Jack Abramoff.

Dean: That's not true either. There's no evidence for that either. There's no evidence--

Blitzer: What about Senator Byron Dorgan?

Dean: Senator Byron Dorgan and others took money from Indian tribes. They're not agents of Jack Abramoff. There's no evidence that I've seen that Jack Abramoff directed any contributions to Democrats. I *know* the Republican National Committee would like to get the Democrats involved in this. They're scared. They should be scared. They haven't told the truth, they've misled the American people, and now it appears they're stealing from Indian tribes. The Democrats are not involved in this.

Blitzer: Unfortunately, Mr. Chairman, we've got to leave it right there. Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic party, always speaking out bluntly, candidly. Appreciate your joining us on Late Edition.

Dean: Thanks, Wolf. Have a safe flight back.

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What's Love Got To Do With It?

Originally posted on The Underground Railroad

Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
Ephesians 5:22

This passage wads up more undergarments than any other in all of Scripture, so let's dive into it this morning. Read the full context of the passage here and then continue below.


Anyone who grew up in the church learned a song at an early age, a song of encouragement entitled Jesus Loves Me:

Jesus loves me! This I know,
for the Bible tells me so.
little ones to Him belong;
they are weak, but He is strong.

Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.

There are two truths asserted in this song that bears directly on our text today - Jesus loves us and the Bible is our authoritative source. We know that all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. Some will say that only certain parts of the Bible are true (the parts that they like) while others will say that since we live under grace we are not bound by the Law, but do not think that Jesus came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; He did not come to abolish but to fulfill. Until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished, according to Jesus.

But what's love got to do with it?

God demonstrated His own love toward us in this: while we were yet sinners, Christ died for our sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit. All of us have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord, such that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead you will be saved.

But what's love got to do with our text?

Everything that the Christian does should flow out of love. When asked about the greatest commandment of all of the Old Testament, Jesus replied with two: "'You shall love the lord your god with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments depend the whole law and the prophets." In our relationship with God and our relationship with our fellow man, love should rule our every action and interaction - it is the more excellent way, and it is the evidence of our salvation. Jesus said, "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." Paul noted that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And Jesus said that you can tell the difference between those who are real and those who are fake by the fruit they bear.

But what does love have to do with this submission thing?

It's in the text - like Ragu, it's in there. First, we have to understand what the will of the LORD is. Our biggest problem is that we fail to ask what God wants and instead insist on doing whatever we want. The first problem is that we don't submit to God our Father. You would think that those who call themselves "Christians" would follow Christ's example. Jesus said, "I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me." Jesus said, "If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me." Jesus said, "Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works." Now, if Jesus submitted to the Father then don't you think that we mere mortals should submit to the Father as well?

The second problem is that we don't submit to the Spirit. It's in the text. This is the purpose of Paul imploring the Christian to be filled with the Spirit. Paul gives some initial examples of what being filled with the Spirit looks like - speaking lovingly to one another, singing and making melodies, giving thanks to God, and submitting to one another - but it is the next section of the text that gets people up in arms, ready to storm the Church with torches and pitchforks:

Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.

Postmodern women often have two words for that command, and the second word is, "Naw!" I believe there are three causes for this errant reaction. The first, and most obvious, is the historic abuse of women and this particular passage by men. This is nothing new. Even back in Jesus' own day, when He corrected the Pharisees about marriage and divorce - telling them that they may not divorce their wives - Jesus' own disciples said, in so many words, "But Jesus, how in the world are we going to keep them women in their place if we can't threaten them with starvation through divorce? It would be better to never marry than to give up that leverage!" To which Jesus essentially said, "If you are indeed a Christian then you will not only accept this but embrace and promote it - I wouldn't expect those whom I do not know to accept it, for those will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." Men have been wrong about this for a long time, and Jesus checked them on it way back then.

The second cause of this reaction is a confusing of terms. Wives are called to submit to their husbands - husbands are not called to dominate their wives. Submission and domination are two totally different things. Submission is an act of the will and, protestations to the contrary notwithstanding, we do it all the time. When we come to a red light at an intersection we stop - we submit. When a police officer pulls behind us with his lights flashing we pull over - we submit. When we go to buy groceries we wait in line until it is our turn to check out - we submit. We submit all the time, the true question is one of legitimacy - do we believe in the legitimacy of the authority to which we are commanded to submit?

This is what love has to do with it.

A husband and a wife should love one another, obviously, and if she loves her husband then she should submit to his authority. But it doesn't end there - the husband is called to love his wife as Jesus Christ loves the Church. Jesus sacrificed all that He was and had for the well-being of the Church. He gave up His life for the Church. When the Church ignores Jesus, He still loves us. When the Church defies Jesus, He still loves us. When the Church is plain acting a fool, He still loves us. This is how a husband is called to love His wife. He is responsible for her well-being, and just like Jesus loves, respects, and protects the Church husbands must likewise love their wives. Keep in mind, Jesus doesn't dominate the Church - Jesus doesn't bark commands and then issue stark punishments for nonconformity - Jesus said, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me." Jesus was talking to the Church which He loves - He doesn't kick the door down and barge in; He stands at the door of your heart and knocks.

This brings us to the third problem, the third cause for postmodern peoples' reaction to this passage. The third problem is that they haven't submitted to the Son of God. Obviously, a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. In other words, it is foolishness to expect those who have not submitted to Jesus Christ to act like those who have. We're worlds apart - literally - and the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. Children are to submit to their parents, wives are to submit to their own husbands, Christians are to submit to Jesus, and the Son submits to the Father. Likewise, the Father loves the Son, the Son loves the Church, husbands are to love their wives, and parents are to love their children. That's how it works in the Kingdom of God.

This love of which I speak is more than a second-hand emotion, it is the kind of love that made my mother snatch my sister out of the mouth of an attacking bulldog. It is the kind of love that had my father working two jobs to provide for his family. It is the kind of love that kept Jesus nailed to that old rugged cross, and it is the kind of love that caused the Father to raise His Son from the grave. I'm not talking about that "Luv ya!" kind of love, I'm talking about the greatest love of all, the kind of love that Jesus spoke about: "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends." That kind of love has everything to do with it.

Can you submit to being loved like that?

May the LORD bless you and keep you;
May the LORD make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
And may the LORD,
Who wants to be your friend,
May He turn His face toward you and give you peace.

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