Sunday, July 31, 2005

2006 - 2008 Campaign Suggestions For Democrat Challengers

Here’s a summary of some of the suggestions from Bryan Nelson at the TPM Café 2006 Elections Table.

  1. Health Care is a Right and Not a Commodity – We should capitalize on the growing disillusionment of the populace regarding the growing health care crisis. The part of corporate America that is not in control of health care should join the effort.
    Nobody Left Behind - This could better wages/increased job security, gay rights, women’s sovereignty, educational opportunities, etc.
  2. Protecting God's Planet – True Christians know that everyone has an obligation to protect their Creator's planet. It is more important than some of their other 'moral imperatives' they use to justify votes for the Republicans.
  3. Enhancing our Security by Protecting our Freedoms – We should equate constitutionally protected freedoms to our security as a nation. The Republicans have used the terrorists to get at some of the liberties they hate. Democrats should reverse this propaganda with strong counter argument.

Illinois has Democrat challengers. The ones that have already announced are listed in the sidebar. They need your support!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

More Democrat Challengers

10th Congressional District

Zane Smith has announced his candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives from the 10th CD in Illinois. He is challenging Rep. Kirk. People are capable of great things in this country - including leadership - to realize full potential. Supporting Zane's candidacy is the one of the first steps in regaining moral & economic leadership.

The 10th CD Democrats have many reasons to vote Zane in & Rep. Kirk out of office.

14th Congressional District

Ruben K. Zamora is challenging Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert for the U.S. House of Representatives from the 14th CD in Illinois. Committed Democrats should join him in this endeavor to reclaim the district & build a better Illinois, a better America, and a better tomorrow. He is not a career politician. He is an educated businessman. He knows constituents need to reclaim their democracy & their nation from corporate interests & people upholding those interests. He would be a representative supporting the rights & issues affecting daily lives. He will listen & work with the people to ensure a better life for every man, woman, & child he represents.

The 14th CD Democrats have many reasons to vote Ruben in & Speaker Hastert out of office.

Now the state needs Democrat challengers to run against Rep. Judy Biggert in the 13th CD, Rep. Don Manzullo in the 16th CD, & whoever in the 18th CD.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Strip Mining in the Banner Natural Area

Capital Resources Development Corporation of Chicago wants to put a strip mine between a conservation area and wildlife preserve. Not a good thing.

Lt. Governor Pat Quinn is organizing an on-line petition drive to support the Heart of Illinois Sierra Club's effort to protect an area along the Illinois River from the proposed strip mine. The mine, to be located on 643 acres between Rice Lake State Conservation Area and Banner Marsh State Fish and Wildlife Area is less than a mile from the Illinois River, just southwest of Peoria. Strip mining operations on the site could threaten American Bald Eagle and America White Pelican habitat and might pollute protected waterways with heavy metals and other mine waste. Local residents are concerned that a mine would drain local drinking water wells and even rupture Banner's sewage treatment plant.

The Banner area is the winter home to hundreds of bald eagles and a major stop on the migratory path of the American White Pelican. Great Blue Herons, ospreys and many other birds call the area home, with both Rice Lake and the Banner Marsh sites offering a wide range of recreation and nature-based tourism opportunities. Outdoor enthusiasts from hunters to hikers, bird watchers to campers and boaters all enjoy an area slated for recognition as a national scenic byway.

Please take action now to save this local natural treasure!! Sign the petition to protect Banner Natural Areas.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Issues vs. Image

Thomas Frank, the author of What's the Matter With Kansas?, is a guest at the TPM Cafe. It is a wonderful book that explains why people consider Democrats "elitists" out of touch with the needs of the "normal people".

James J. Kroeger wrote the essay, The Republican Nemesis. It is another good read. Here is the first paragraph:

When historians look back on the current era in American politics it will likely stand out as the period when Republican cunning & marketing savvy completely dominated the political landscape. Obliging Democrats have thrown themselves into the fray with enthusiasm, armed with idealistic visions of civil “discourse”, only to be humbled repeatedly by their political masters. Republican strategists have been able to blend their astute grasp of marketing principles & human nature & social psychology into a formula that delivers almost guaranteed success at the polls. While Democrats knock themselves out every election cycle trying to talk to Swing Voters about The Issues, Republicans have calmly focused their attention on winning THE Image Campaign. Quite simply: Democrats lose because they don’t understand what moves their target audience.
Mr. Kroeger also wrote about The Emotional Element & Respect and Fear. He ended his essay with the following paragraph:
The problem with fear is not that politicians use to inspire voters; the problem is that some politicians create fears that are irrational or unjustified or exaggerated. When such fears are used to intentionally mislead citizens into voting against their own best interests, then the use of fear is unethical. In contrast, if the fear that politicians inspire is legitimate—and their intention is to alert voters to a danger that they can protect themselves from—then the use of fear is virtuous. What Democrats need to understand clearly is that Swing Voters can be persuaded to fear either party. Right now, too many of them fear The Democrats more than they fear The Republicans. They will return to their identification with the Democratic Party only after they have been persuaded that it is The Republicans whom they ought to fear, not the Democrats. It is the Republicans who are not like them, who are simply looking for yet another opportunity to play them for fools.
Together they are a strong message -- a wake up call for Party leaders to start paying attention. Nothing else is working.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Gifted Eloquence

Last year novelist Edgar Lawrence Doctorow wrote The Unfeeling President. Here is the text in its entirety.

I fault this president (George W. Bush) for not knowing what death is. He does not suffer the death of our twenty-one year olds who wanted to be what they could be.

On the eve of D-day in 1944 General Eisenhower prayed to God for the lives of the young soldiers he knew were going to die. He knew what death was. Even in a justifiable war, a war not of choice but of necessity, a war of survival, the cost was almost more than Eisenhower could bear.

But this president does not know what death is. He hasn't the mind for it. You see him joking with the press, peering under the table for the WMDs he can't seem to find, you see him at rallies strutting up to the stage in shirt sleeves to the roar of the carefully screened crowd, smiling and waving, triumphal, a he-man. He does not mourn. He doesn't understand why he should mourn. He is satisfied during the course of a speech written for him to look solemn for a moment and speak of the brave young Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

But you study him, you look into his eyes and know he dissembles an emotion which he does not feel in the depths of his being because he has no capacity for it. He does not feel a personal responsibility for the thousand dead young men and women who wanted be what they could be.

They come to his desk not as youngsters with mothers and fathers or wives and children who will suffer to the end of their days a terribly torn fabric of familial relationships and the inconsolable remembrance of aborted life.... They come to his desk as a political liability which is why the press is not permitted to photograph the arrival of their coffins from Iraq.

How then can he mourn? To mourn is to express regret and he regrets nothing. He does not regret that his reason for going to war was, as he knew, unsubstantiated by the facts. He does not regret that his bungled plan for the war's aftermath has made of his mission-accomplished a disaster. He does not regret that rather than controlling terrorism his war in Iraq has licensed it.

So he never mourns for the dead and crippled youngsters who havefought this war of his choice. He wanted to go to war and he did. He had not the mind to perceive the costs of war, or to listen to those who knew those costs. He did not understand that you do not go to war when it is one of the options, but when itis the only option; you go not because you want to but because you have to.

This president knew it would be difficult for Americans not to cheer the overthrow of a foreign dictator. He knew that much. This president and his supporters would seem to have a mind for only one thing --- to take power, to remain in power, and to use that power for the sake of themselves and their friends. A war will do that as well as anything. You become a wartime leader. The country gets behind you. Dissent becomes inappropriate. And so he does not drop to his knees, he is not contrite, he does not sit in the church with the grieving parents and wives and children.

He is the President who does not feel. He does not feel for the families of the dead; he does not feel for the thirty five million of us who live in poverty; he does not feel for the forty percent who cannot afford health insurance; he does not feel for the miners whose lungs are turning black or for the working people he has deprived of the chance to work overtime at time-and-a-half to pay their bills --- it is amazing for how many people in this country this President does not feel.

But he will dissemble feeling. He will say in all sincerity he is relieving the wealthiest one percent of the population of their tax burden for the sake of the rest of us, and that he is polluting the air we breathe for the sake of our economy, and that he is decreasing the safety regulations for coal mines to save the coal miners' jobs, and that he is depriving workers of their time-and-a- half benefits for overtime because this is actually a way to honor them by raising them into the professional class.

And this litany of lies he will versify with reverences for God and the flag and democracy, when just what he and his party are doing to our democracy is choking the life out of it.

But there is one more terribly sad thing about all of this. I remember the millions of people here and around the world who marched against the war. It was extraordinary, that spontaneously aroused oversoul of alarm and protest that transcended national borders. Why did it happen? After all, this was not the only war anyone had ever seen coming. There are little wars all over the world most of the time.

But the cry of protest was the appalled understanding of millions of people that America was ceding its role as the last best hope of mankind. It was their perception that the classic archetype of democracy was morphing into a rogue nation. The greatest democratic republic in history was turning its back on the future, using its extraordinary power and standing not to advance the ideal of a concordance of civilizations but to endorse the kind of tribal combat that originated with the Neanderthals, a people, now extinct, who could imagine ensuring their survival by no other means than pre-emptive war.

The president we get is the country we get. With each president the nation is conformed spiritually. He is the artificer of our malleable national soul. He proposes not only the laws but also the kinds of lawlessness that govern our lives and invoke our responses. The people he appoints are cast in his image. The trouble they get into and get us into is his characteristic trouble.

Finally the media amplify his character into our moral weatherreport. He becomes the face of our sky, the conditions that prevail: How can we sustain ourselves as the United States of America given the stupid and ineffective war making, the constitutionally insensitive lawgiving, and the monarchal economics of this president?

He cannot mourn but is a figure of
such moral vacancy as to make us mourn for ourselves.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Living on Less Than $19K

This is an article from a faith-based movement to overcome poverty. The organization has run the numbers. A poverty-level family of 4 has an annual income of less than $19,000 per year. These families cannot afford the basic needs of housing, utilities, transportation, food, & child care. "Luxuries" are toiletries, school supplies, shoes, clothes, holiday or birthday gifts, education, insurance, furnishings, recreation, cleaning supplies, & entertainment. This certainly does not adhere to Isaiah 65:20-25.

Budgets, Social Security, and the common good
by Yonce Shelton

The gap between rich and poor continues to widen, threatening not only low-income families, but also the middle class. Yet Congress is working on annual spending bills that will cut more than $200 billion from family and community supports such as health care, education, housing, nutrition, and more. When people play by society's rules but can't provide for their families, there is a problem. Government is not the entire solution, but it should help - not hurt - those working to attain a living family income (see Call to Renewal's "Living Family Income" campaign).

Our communities are affected, too, by deep domestic spending cuts. From Head Start to housing vouchers, communities are challenged to do a better job with fewer resources. As a result, hope, dignity, and opportunity for all suffer. Is this government for the common good?

In September, one week after Congress takes the final vote to cut billions from social programs in 2006 (and after they hope the outrage has died down), they'll vote on a separate budget bill expected to contain more than $100 billion in new tax cuts heavily favoring the rich. As in the past, social program cuts will be made in the name of fiscal restraint even though the new tax spending would increase the deficit by more than $100 billion over five years. Many leaders won't connect the dots publicly. In addition, like the recent tax cuts for the rich, new cuts probably won't really help low- and middle-income families. Help for struggling families was taken out of the 2003 bill at the last minute behind closed doors. Why should we expect anything different now, even though with poverty on the rise for the past three years it doesn't look like the so-called "trickle down" effect has helped?

Tax cuts during recession, tax cuts during prosperity, tax cuts during war, tax cuts during peace, tax cuts with the third largest deficit in history. A broken record? Try broken public policy. When are tax cuts for the rich not the solution to a better tomorrow? What about long-term investment in all people and all families? Is this government for the common good?

The country needs better moral vision and political will. The nation needs broader perspectives, deeper thought, and less bitter partisanship. If leaders can't see the imbalance in Washington, the people should point it out and challenge priorities. Values based mainly on tax cuts, community neglect, and disregard for a positive role for government do not add up. People of faith should raise concerns about our future and offer better political solutions to growing challenges. Social Security is an opportunity to do just that.

To the detriment of the common good, the discussion of Social Security has been almost exclusively focused on privatization. Fifty-seven percent of Americans now say that privatization is a "bad idea" and 71% of seniors are "hostile" to the idea (The Wall Street Journal, July 14, 2005). Nevertheless, the only Social Security proposals with a chance of being addressed by Congress include private accounts, cut benefits, and do not address the coming Social Security shortfall or include steps to extend the program's solvency. Republican leaders have noted their intent for any bill moving along the legislative process to eventually adopt private accounts. Social Security does not exist in a vacuum. New York Times op-ed writer Matt Miller recounts what one Republican told him privately: "It's lunacy to think we can keep [federal] revenue this low as we start to double the number of seniors on Social Security...endless tax cuts in this context amounts to a shocking case of collective denial." (The New York Times, June 1, 2005). Is this government for the common good?

People of faith should be troubled by the narrow focus thus far in the Social Security debate. Addressing Social Security requires a moral framework that helps shape prudential judgments about proposals and political leadership. If we want congressional leaders to listen to the people and broaden the debate, we must help them understand what is at stake for all Americans, including widows and orphans, the ill and disabled, low-income elderly and children. We need to put the people - us - back in the conversation, help move the discussion to higher ground, and urge leaders to keep the promise for all God's people. As Miller says, "All it would take is enough of us rebelling against a perverse culture in which 'political courage' is oddly defined as 'telling the truth.'"

Enough is enough. Let's demand better and more prophetic political leadership and a deeper understanding of the role of values, community, and government in strengthening the common good. Social Security, a covenant for the common good, is a place to make that stand. It's a place to define our vision for faith in politics - for government for the people, and by the people.

Yonce Shelton is national coordinator and policy director of Call to Renewal.

Thank you to Kankakee Voice for this Update:

A young homeless Bangkok woman takes a break from begging to sleep with a child on a busy sidewalk Tuesday, July 19, 2005, in downtown. Bangkok authorities in the past have been tolerant of beggars, however recently have begun to crackdown on groups that exploit illegal aliens from Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.

(AP Photo/David Longstreath)

Monday, July 18, 2005

CNN’s BS Coverage

From the Crooks and Liars on-line virtual magazine. Lou Dobbs Tonight, (7/15/05) as Lou was introducing a piece on the Rove story. This is a very illuminating wave file to watch. Listen close to the woman’s comment in the background.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

A “Good” Representative

As successful as John Shimkus is with monumental mediocrity, people still keep the man in office. Recently DSP provided a reason or two why he is such a "good" representative. Yet, the public trust deserves better than having Wal-Mart in an elected office.

Wal-Mart-level quality customer service is innate to the job description of the elected official & staff. Everyone should have someone to complain to, & they should expect superhuman patience while they complain. If people have nothing else to do with their lives, they can always visit the local office of their representative & spend some time with the staff.

The public trust deserves a Klingon-level fighter in Congress.
A good representative fights hard on the issues affecting the CD & all Illinoisans. People deserve to receive more bang for their vote than a Roll Call vote & a good little soldier.

Yes, they also deserve higher moral standards from their representatives. A "moral" representative does not keep a guilty employee on the payroll, returns or never accepts ARMPAC money, doesn't protect the oil & gas industry from the proposed MTBE legislation, never takes credit for someone else's successes, & increases the quality of life for everyone not a select few.

Environmental degradation, economic conditions, health services, retirement benefits, etc. concern quality of life. They are issues (definition: final results, conclusions). They are the solutions to constituent problems. Without a reasonable expectation of receiving solutions to their problems, constituents vote Wal-Mart in office. In a testament to the middling, they receive the high-quality customer service they expect & do not receive the fight for the quality of life that they deserve.

Constituents of the 19th CD would have been so much better off if Rep. Shimkus had become a Lutheran minister instead of being in the lower half of his graduating West Point class.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Surprise Friday Night Party Attendee

Someone beat me to the John Shimkus siting on Friday (early Saturday morning hours) at Borders in Fairview Heights, IL. A Harry Potter fan?? Good thing I'm not a gambler. Maybe parts of the First Amendment are safe (unless Tom DeLay withholds a campaign contribution because his family has the book(s) in their possession).

I agree with the writer of the newest blog in town,
The Unfavorable Opinion, Rep. Shimkus is not looking good at all. Best thing for his health is to stay home.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Dave Gill Needs Your Help in the 15th CD

David Gill is the Democrat challenger for the 15th CD. When he ran in 2004, he did quite well for a challenger that was not supposed to exist. He received the average 39% of the total vote.

He states his position on the following issues on his website:

  1. National Security – The current way we fight the War on Terror allocates money for fighting nation-states instead of rogue terrorist cells.
  2. Healthcare – A single-payer National Healthcare Plan would save you money, improve your quality of care, and expand your choice of providers.
  3. Environment - A healthy environment is necessary for farms
  4. Education – He believes in the value of education and will work to grant our children the best educational opportunities.
  5. Economy – Quality of life means keeping jobs in America by keeping the international job market fair.
  6. Civil Liberties - Our civil liberties are the cornerstone of our democracy.
  7. Agriculture – He’ll work for the family farmer as opposed to major agribusiness.

Archpundit noticed that Dave filed his 2nd Quarter numbers with just under $14,000 raised and $20,000 on hand. . . Most of it is mid-level donations from the district with Robert McChesney being the biggest name on the list.

Unlike Rep. Johnson who received $25,000 from Tom DeLay's ARMPAC one year, Dave could use everyone’s support.

Donating to his campaign & voting for him are beyond conventional wisdom. He is a committed Democrat - a "good" Democrat. He is a "good" political candidate & the better choice for the constituents of the 15th CD & the public trust.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Stepping on a Bug

Rep. Tom DeLay (TX-22) has been cashing in on a lot of favors. $1.3 million can buy a lot of campaign knickknacks & media time. It could also provide an acquittal in federal court. Cleaning himself of the corrupt filth that shrouds him will take more than all the money in the world.

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's campaign raised nearly $800,000 in the past three months, while his Democratic challenger added $500,000, putting both on pace for an expensive election next year.

DeLay has never raised so much during one quarter in 22 years. Analysts say both his campaign and that of former congressman Nick Lampson are on pace to raise $5 million in the race for the Houston-area district.

"Tom DeLay can out-raise and out-spend anyone," said Robert Stein, dean of the School of Social Sciences at Rice University. "The truth is, should his problems get worse, it won't be Nick Lampson he's worried about."

Democrats have rekindled their interest in the seat in the wake of DeLay's ethics troubles, including questions about his fundraising techniques and lobbyist-financed travel. DeLay has denied wrongdoing.

Lampson announced his candidacy eight weeks ago.

"We have a long way to go," campaign manager Mike Malaise said. "Tom DeLay's shady lobbyist friends and special interest sponsors are going to dump millions of dollars into this race."

The latest tally puts DeLay's total for the 2005-06 election cycle at almost $1.3 million.

"Congressman DeLay's support remains strong in the district and around Texas," spokeswoman Shannon Flaherty said. She said labor unions, trial lawyers and liberal groups will probably support Lampson.

Lampson represented an adjacent district until redistricting that DeLay engineered cost him enough Democratic voters that he lost to Republican Ted Poe in 2004.
Rep. DeLay should spend his million-plus wisely. "Spawn of Satan", his under-educated, telemarketer friend, could be a financial dry well.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Articulating Democratic Values

Many citizens believe that the Democrats stand for nothing. They have no core set of convictions or point of view. This is a completely untrue statement. The principal underpinnings are quite real for the voters. Unfortunately, the entrenched Democrat incumbents give citizens the illusion of elitism & have run the party into the ground over the last decade. When elected Democrat Congressional members . . .

  • vote with Republicans for an energy bill that showers huge oil/gas companies with massive tax breaks at a time of record deficits, & that energy bill won't lower the cost of gasoline;
  • ignore public demands for a withdrawal/exit strategy from Iraq, & instead vote against legislation requesting the President to explain an exit strategy from the war;
  • say they are for economic fairness, & then the Democart "leaders" begin negotiating to eliminate the Estate Tax for the wealthiest two-percent of citizens;
  • deride facts (e.g., the Bush administration lied to the country about the war & about its behavior before 09/11/2001, & then vote to confirm chief liar Condoleezza Rice as Secretary of State);
  • claim to care about protecting ordinary citizens' economic rights, & then corral corporate lobbyists to help pass a bill allowing credit card companies to gouge those same ordinary citizens;
  • say they want workers to be protected in their workplace, & then vote to limit workers' ability to fight for their rights in court; or
  • say they oppose unfair trade deals that sell workers out, & then refuse to voice any opposition to the latest corporate-written trade deal that sells workers out . . .
. . . Americans will believe Democrats stand for nothing.

The core group of committed progressive Congressional Democrats fights everyday to bring the party back to its roots. Recent signs suggest that these leaders have had some success (e.g., votes to reform the Patriot Act, & end massive corporate subsidies; the introduction of lobbying/ethics reform legislation; the roll out of the Progressive Promise platform; the tenacious opposition to CAFTA in the House; & the support of a bill to prevent Big Business from testing hazardous chemicals on humans). Unfortunately, the giant list of core sellouts & Republican-lite capitulations definitely overshadow those successes.

If the party really wants America to believe it stands for something, then the party has to actually stand for something - not just talk about standing for something. Americans aren't stupid - they know the difference between lip service, & action.

The timid entrenched Democrat incumbents have become an operative, adviser, elite class. They are not representative of Democrat citizens. These elected officials arrogantly believing that they can fool their constituents with hollow rhetoric only appearing that they care about the dwindling middle-class. Their attitude ultimately becomes an insult to Americans' intelligence because it proves that they think their constituents so stupid that they are oblivious to the reality of current events. – NOT!!! – Democrat constituents DO know what's going on, & they don't like it when slick political hacks in Washington try to fool them.

Every member of the Republican Party is completely aware of the facts. No amount of rhetoric will ever outweigh authenticity & conviction. Incumbent Democrat “leaders” should dictate policy decisions & should not continue thumb-in-the-wind political calculations.

Abraham Lincoln once said that with public sentiment nothing can fail. Without it, nothing can succeed. Consequently he who molds public sentiment goes deeper than he who enacts statutes or pronounces decisions. The entire population should expect Democrat incumbents to understand significantly more than how to protect their own careers in the Establishment. When the incumbents do not elevate political discourse beyond conventional wisdom, constituents should remember that there are other people that can do the job. Vote them out of office so that the Democrat Party can become the majority once again.

Sunday, July 10, 2005


Congress is set to approve a so-called "free trade" deal. The Senate already has, and the House could vote on it at any time. The Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) extends NAFTA to five additional countries south of the border. There are specific worker protection mechanisms in NAFTA that no one enforces. CAFTA has none - period.

Also keep in mind that embedded in this bill is a provision overriding the 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994. Unregulated personal use of vitamins and nutritional supplements would end, & the U. S. would comply with the World Trade Organization's (WTO) Codex Alimentarius Commission (e.g., food standards board). The bottom line for dietary supplements is a lower potency requiring people to purchase a great deal more to receive today's equivalent benefit. Consequently, the expense increases, the availability decreases, a doctor's prescription becomes a requirement. Major pharmaceutical companies would benefit considerably with the elimination of competitor supplement manufacturers.

Here's a quote from Ron Paul - a Republican Congressman with true free trade in mind:

I oppose CAFTA for a very simple reason: it is unconstitutional. The Constitution clearly grants Congress alone the authority to regulate international trade. The plain text of Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 is incontrovertible. Neither Congress nor the President can give this authority away by treaty, any more than they can repeal the First Amendment by treaty. This fundamental point, based on the plain meaning of the Constitution, cannot be overstated. Every member of Congress who votes for CAFTA is voting to abdicate power to an international body in direct violation of the Constitution.

We don't need government agreements to have free trade. We merely need to lower or eliminate taxes on the American people, without regard to what other nations do. Remember, tariffs are simply taxes on consumers. Americans have always bought goods from abroad; the only question is how much our government taxes us for doing so... We don't need CAFTA or any other international agreement to reap the economic benefits promised by CAFTA supporters, we only need to change our own harmful economic and tax policies. Let the rest of the world hurt their citizens with tariffs; if we simply reduce tariffs and taxes at home, we will attract capital and see our economy flourish.

It is absurd to believe that CAFTA and other trade agreements do not diminish American sovereignty. When we grant quasi-governmental international bodies the power to make decisions about American trade rules, we lose sovereignty plain, and simple. I can assure you firsthand that Congress has changed American tax laws for the sole reason that the World Trade Organization decided our rules unfairly impacted the European Union. Hundreds of tax bills languish in the House Ways and Means committee, while the one bill drafted strictly to satisfy the WTO was brought to the floor and passed with great urgency last year.

The tax bill in question is just the tip of the iceberg. The quasi-judicial regime created under CAFTA will have the same power to coerce our cowardly legislature into changing American laws in the future. Labor and environmental rules are inherently associated with trade laws, and we can be sure that CAFTA will provide yet another avenue for globalists to impose the Kyoto Accord and similar agreements on the American people. CAFTA also imposes the International Labor Organization's manifesto, which could have been written by Karl Marx, on American business . . .

CAFTA means more government! Like the UN, NAFTA, and the WTO, it represents another stone in the foundation of a global government system. Most Americans already understand they are governed by largely unaccountable forces in Washington, yet now they face having their domestic laws influenced by bureaucrats in Brussels, Zurich, or Mexico City.

CAFTA and other international trade agreements do not represent free trade. Free trade occurs in the absence of government interference in the flow of goods, while CAFTA represents more government in the form of an international body. It is incompatible with our Constitution and national sovereignty, and we don't need it to benefit from international trade.

The vote spread on CAFTA is very, very close. A change of as little as four votes, either way, could make the difference. If you oppose CAFTA, let your Representative in the U.S. House know about it.

Monday, July 04, 2005

All the Wrong Nominees

The list of Supreme Court nominees to replace Justice O'Connor has a typical look to it. There are no Natives or Asians. Adding insult to injury is Justice Scalia, a man desperate to become Chief Justice, & the most wrong person for the job. The Court also has Justice Thomas. One man no one should have never nominated.

The Supreme Court’s next term is loaded with huge cases: abortion, assisted suicide, gay rights, & the death penalty: Justices already have a full lineup of cases for the nine-month term that begins the first Monday in October. The court has agreed to hear about 40 appeals, including four death penalty cases and two abortion-related cases. About 40 more appeals will be added later. During the new term in Fall 2005, the Supreme Court will face some of the country's toughest issues.

The selection of people for the Court is important because the decisions of nine people in black robes affect everyone not a select few. Important? Yes. Difficult? It shouldn't be. The National Review correctly states the following:

Both Ginsburg and Breyer were nominated and confirmed at a time (1993-1994) in which the president's party -– Democrats –- also controlled the Senate. And both were given relatively easy passage through the Senate because the minority party -- Republicans -- cooperated with Democrats to ensure a quick confirmation. Ginsburg was nominated on June 14, 1993 and confirmed by the Senate on August 3, 1993. Breyer was nominated on May 13, 1994 and confirmed on July 29, 1994.

They moved with such speed because Republicans, in particular Sen. Orrin Hatch, the ranking GOP member on the Senate Judiciary Committee at the time, declined to challenge their records. Ginsburg, in particular, received something of a bye from Republicans despite her former position as general counsel of the American Civil Liberties Union; had they chosen to, Republicans could have hung every extreme ACLU position around Ginsburg's neck. Instead, "Sen. Hatch put an orderly and fair process above scoring political points," says one high-ranking staffer involved at the time. "It ensured that the Senate's conduct of the hearings was constructive rather than divisive."

The current divisiveness is due to the current Administration. Pres. Bush lords over the country with an attitude that requires everyone to agree with him because disagreeing is "anti-American" & "unpatriotic" (although the right to disagree is in everyone's "job description"). Consequently, the Bush Administration has been nothing short of a despotic autocracy especially when he needs to make a decision, refuses to tell the Senate about it until after the fact, & expects everyone to agree with him.

Sycophants aren't the answer. Sycophancy isn't grace in any situation. It's nothing more than harmful obsequiousness - on a national scale.

Here's an out-of-the-box alternative: The Senate hearings on the short list of nominees need more egalitarianism, less totalitarianism, & better nominees.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Ten Thousand Dollars a Day

With approximately 500 days left until the next election, challengers need to raise $10,000 everyday for an adequate campaign. Sen. Susan Garrett should be the Democrat candidate to challenge Rep. Kirk in the 10th CD. Although she’s the best person for the job & deserves the support of every Democrat leader & incumbent, there's no way she can raise that kind of money AND still maintain a modicum level of effectiveness as an IL state senator.

Rep. Emanuel lacks the leadership skills required for the job of DCCC Chairman & is no where to be found. His friendship with Rep. Kirk is a conflict of interest & makes him ineffective. The IL Party "leadership" wouldn't know how to lead if someone gave them third-grade-level step-by-step instructions.

Money without leadership
  1. guarantees a Minority status for the Democrats;
  2. increases the risk of electing Congressional representatives with less integrity than the constituents deserve;
  3. hurts the best interests of the public trust;
  4. is nothing more than he who dies with the most toys wins.

Democracy – it is not.

Sen. Susan Garrett is a true leader in the Democrat Party – with or without money.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Introducing HR 3037

Republican Ron Paul (R-TX) & cosponsors Sam Farr (D-CA), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Jim McDermott (D-WA), George Miller (D-CA), & Peter Stark (D-CA), introduced HR 3037, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2005. It would would remove non-psychoactive industrial hemp from the federal Controlled Substances Act & grant state legislatures "exclusive authority" to regulate the growing & processing of the crop.

Currently, the U. S. is the only developed nation that fails to cultivate industrial hemp. Farmers in Canada, the European Union, & in numerous countries throughout the world grow hemp commercially for fiber, seed, & oil for use in a variety of industrial & consumer products, including food. Hemp fiber & hemp-based products are legally imported to the U. S. complying with several economic treaties, including North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) & General Agreement on Tariffs & Trade (GATT).

Several US states have passed legislation authorizing the cultivation of industrial hemp for research and commercial purposes. However, farmers in these states cannot legally grow hemp without federal permission. House Bill 3037 would remove this hurdle by creating a distinction in federal law between marijuana and industrial hemp (defined as cannabis with less than 0.3% THC), & granting states the authority to regulate it as a legal agricultural crop.

Tell your representative to support the bill. The economic possibilities are endless.

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