Thursday, August 28, 2008

McCain advisor solves health insurance crisis!

In 2004, the Bush administration hit on a novel idea for coping with the loss of manufacturing jobs. A simple reclassification of a well-known service job, and voila, assembling a fast food burger becomes a manufacturing job.

It is in that same spirit of creativity that McCain advisor John Goodman has solved the health care crisis:

"So I have a solution. And it will cost not one thin dime," Mr. Goodman said. "The next president of the United States should sign an executive order requiring the Census Bureau to cease and desist from describing any American - even illegal aliens - as uninsured. Instead, the bureau should categorize people according to the likely source of payment should they need care.
"So, there you have it. Voila! Problem solved."

This is the kind of innovative thinking that has gotten the GOP where they are today!

The US Political Olympics

The end of the Olympics this year meant the beginning of the US political Olympics, the Democratic National Convention this week, to be followed by the GOP convention next week. At the Democratic Convention the traditional media has worked hard on pushing the meme that there is a great deal of dissent within the party, that Hillary supporters are going to vote for McCain, and so on. There is a group calling itself PUMA, who have received an inordinate amount of media attention, given that they are a relatively small group of people who don’t come across as particularly informed when questioned. They are found where the media is, hovering over Chris Matthews in particular, much to his glee. The fabrication of “splitting the party” is so much more fun than telling the actual truth. These women claim to be all about supporting one woman, yet will vote for McCain, who would do his best to eliminate reproductive choice, and do nothing to ensure equal pay or justice for all woman. A man who has called his wife abusive names in public. We’re supposed to take these malcontents seriously? Only the PUMAs themselves and the corporate media do.

The Democratic Convention seems to have accomplished what it intended to. Michelle Obama had a chance to make a very good speech, that may allay the fears of some who seemed to envision her in the way she was portrayed on the New Yorker cover. Senator Clinton was given her due, and made a terrific speech about her candidacy, and her support for Obama. She walked a fine line with grace and good humor – and set herself up for a future run for the White House. President Clinton was given his due, as was Joe Biden. Biden was a tad overshadowed by the emotional introduction given by his son Beau. Governor Brian Schweitzer of Montana rocked the house on Tuesday night, with his energetic call to action. It was thrilling to see NH Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter on stage with a large group of Democratic women leaders.

One of the great moments of the convention was the speech given on Wednesday night by New Hampshire’s own John Hutson. John Hutson is a retired Rear Admiral, former Judge Advocate General, and Dean and President of the Franklin Pierce Law Center, in Concord. Dean Hutson has been a critic of the Bush administration’s policies on torture, on rendition, on treatment of detainees, on habeas corpus, and the Geneva Conventions. He’s testified many times in front of Congress, notably in 2005, in opposition to the appointment of Alberto Gonzales as US Attorney General. Hutson has also appeared in two documentaries, The Ghost of Abu-Ghraib, and Taxi to the Dark Side. The latter movie focuses on the death of an Afghan taxi driver named Dilawar. In 2001, Dilawar was arrested by the US military, and brought to the prison at Bagram Air Base, where he was tortured and beaten to death. He was arrested on a tip from some men who claimed Dilawar had been part of a rocket attack on the US military. It was later revealed that the men who framed Dilawar were the real attackers. The film won the Academy Award for Best Documentary of 2007.

Last summer, when working for the Kucinich for President campaign, I had the honor of being present while Congressman Kucinich met with a group of retired generals and admirals assembled by Dean Hutson. These men and women questioned Kucinich at length about his views on the military and the future. It was remarkable to be in the presence of so many powerful men and one woman who have thought deeply about the future of the US military and the rest of the world.

John Hutson isn’t always in front of a Congressional committee. He visited Carroll County on a Thursday night in March 2005, where he spoke in Tamworth about military prisons, torture, Abu-Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, and how the US torture of prisoners might affect our own troops. Approximately 150 people turned out that night to hear Dean Hutson. It was an event that drew people from all areas of the political spectrum.

Dean Hutson gave his speech at the Democratic Convention during prime time on Wednesday night. His speech came between those of President Clinton and Senator Joe Biden. When Hutson announced he’d been a lifelong Republican, he was greeted with boos – but those boos turned to cheers when he announced that he was there as a proud registered Democrat endorsing Barak Obama. Hutson said: “Why? Because the Republican Party I once knew has become something different, something I no longer recognize. The "Grand Old Party" is no longer grand. It's just old. The same old, failed policies.”

As I listened, I was struck by the loss to the Republican Party. Losing intelligent, articulate men like John Hutson should be a wake-up call to the GOP. I’ve heard the same kind of reasoning from others, including NH Senate candidate Bud Martin, who told me that he felt as though his party left him behind. The GOP doesn’t seem to be listening, just repeating the same familiar themes of the Reagan years. All they have to sell us is their vision of the glorious past, a vision that doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. We can’t move forward into that past.

“From the invasion of Iraq to the devastation of Katrina, I see arrogance abroad and incompetence at home. And I simply cannot tolerate, and America simply can't afford, more of the same. “ Retired Rear Admiral John Hutson of NH.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hooray for Bloggers!

It's always a great day when candidates recognize the importance of the blogosphere. Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH CD 1) is one of those candidates. Today, she chose to preview her new TV ad at the Daily Kos.

Here's the ad:

Here's the link to Carol's first post at Kos

Stay tuned for live blogging with the Congresswoman at Blue Hampshire
I'll be posting the date and time soon.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Forward Into the Past

New Hampshire’s own US Senator, John E. Sununu has been to Conway twice in recent weeks. He is running for re-election this year, running against the same candidate he opposed in the questionable 2002 election, former governor Jeanne Shaheen. That was the election where the NH GOP jammed phones in Manchester – so that Democrats weren’t able to receive calls asking for rides to the polls in the biggest city in the state.

Sununu spoke to folks at the opening of the Carroll County Republicans office in Conway, attempting to make the case that the GOP ticket headed up by Senator John McCain is a strong ticket. He also tried to make the case that the Republicans are right on energy; that they understand the need for a balanced approach to our nation’s energy needs. No word on whether he was able to say that without blushing.

It’s hard to know where Senator Sununu has been for the last 8 years, but one thing is certain – apparently he hasn’t been paying attention to his own party’s energy policies. There has been absolutely no move to diversify our energy portfolio, quite the contrary. The lions share of tax breaks have gone to big oil and big nuke (often one in the same). Money for renewable energy has been cut at every opportunity. The GOP hasn’t even been able to show leadership on the most basic energy saver of all – conservation. Instead, CAFÉ standards have not been raised, and tax rebates for gas guzzling vehicles continued unabated. It’s not as if the oil crisis was unexpected. We all new it was coming. The GOP had 8 years to do something, anything – and all they did was shovel money at Big Oil. Now that prices have skyrocketed, the GOP mantra is drill, drill, drill – even though Big Oil holds 68 million acres in leases they aren’t using. If there isn’t any oil in that acreage, let the leases go. The GOP answer to our energy needs is STILL oil, oil, oil, with tax breaks for nukes, too. Uranium is a finite resource, and one that requires a great deal of energy, and water to mine, and leaves behind dangerous waste. On top of that the nuclear industry is heavily subsidized by taxpayers and ratepayers. I see no reason why we should have to pay, and pay, and pay for a dirty, and dangerous form of energy.

Senator Sununu also said (unblushingly) that the way to create jobs is by keeping taxes low. The Bush tax cuts lowered taxes on the wealthiest one percent. Has that translated into jobs? Not in northern NH. Not anywhere else, either. Unemployment is spiking up all around the nation. It’s the same foolish rhetoric Reagan spouted – and it didn’t work for him either. I’m sure I’m not alone in remembering what the Reagan years were like in this part of the state. Our Senator spoke of helping small businesses afford health insurance. The free market, the altar at which Sununu worships, has done nothing to lower the cost of health insurance, or make it affordable for many working people. Sununu said that helping small business is the Republican way. The Republican way isn’t working out so well for the uninsured. This is the same Sununu who told NH business leaders back in December 2006 that they should stop complaining about the cost of health insurance, since there was nothing that could be done about it. At the Conway Rotary, Sununu said that he’d support tax credits for individuals to buy insurance. Folks that are already dealing with the increasing cost of gas, oil, and food – not to mention college tuitions, will undoubtedly have all kinds of money left over to buy expensive health insurance.

The GOP ticket is headed by a 72 year-old man who doesn’t know how to get on the internet without help. He is a man of the past. Sununu isn’t offering anything new, or innovative. The Republican Party is offering a rehashed version of the kinds of policies that got us into the mess we’re in. Shame on anyone who thinks we should march forward into the past.

h/t to for the picture

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Who Decides?

John Edwards served one term as a US Senator from North Carolina. He was chosen as John Kerry’s running mate in 2004. He ran for president in the 2008 election, but failed to win the nomination. At this point in time, he is not a candidate, and he is not holding any public office. He is, however, being excoriated all over the media for having been caught cheating on his wife.

Edwards was an absolute idiot – visiting his ex-mistress and her baby of uncertain paternity, in a hotel in Beverly Hills, was the height of stupidity. As my little old lady friend Fran pointed out, “He should have gone to Omaha.” We can all agree that his conduct was reprehensible. Cheating on one’s spouse is never a good thing. When one’s wife is America’s sweetheart, Elizabeth Edwards, who has terminal cancer, it’s even worse. The thing is – since Edwards is not a candidate or an elected official, this story is being blown way out of proportion. If Willard “Mitt” Romney was caught cheating – would talking heads on CNN be saying that Romney “owes us” an explanation? And when did CNN become a Fox News clone, anyhow?

The media is so busy exploiting the Edwards family, it’s a wonder that there’s been time to cover the Olympics. It may explain why the conduct of President Bush at the Olympics hasn’t received so much coverage. Google up “Bush drunk at the Olympics” and take a look at the pictures, especially the pictures of five Secret Service agents “helping” Bush out of the stands. Shouldn’t we the people be made aware if the president is so frail that he needs five guys to help him out of the stands? Should we be informed if our president is so drunk in another country that he can’t stand up in public? Is the conduct of a sitting president more or less important that the conduct of a former presidential candidate? Who decides? How much do we have a “right” to know?

Predictably, right wing hate radio has had a field day with all of this. Rush Limbaugh was caught on video squirming in his seat like a ten year old boy getting ready to launch a spitball, as he chortled gleefully that perhaps the real problem was that Elizabeth Edwards talks too much. He didn’t stop there. He went on to say that if she’d spent more time doing something with her mouth other than talking, perhaps John wouldn’t have strayed. A tasteful commentary from a thrice divorced man, who was caught with someone else’s Viagra in his suitcase on his way back from Thailand, where child prostitution is quite common.

The hypocrisy of the right finally made the biggest patsy on Fox News finally grow a spine. Alan Colmes has long been the liberal foil to blustering, right-wing bully Sean Hannity on the Fox News show “Hannity and Colmes.” Hannity was blabbering on and on, and on about how cheating on his spouse would make Edwards unfit to lead, and the normally mild mannered Colmes pointed out that John McCain was an adulterer – which sent Hannity into a tizzy of epic proportions. From Hannity’s response, I gather that cheating on your wife after spending time as a POW is justifiable. Or more to the point – it’s okay when Republicans do it. Holmes didn’t back down as he customarily does – he pushed Hannity into loudly spouting his hypocrisy for all of us to hear.

For too long the dishonesty of right wing hate radio and TV has been unquestioned. Those days seem to be coming to an end. Hannity’s endless condemnation of Edwards was bound to lead into a discussion of John McCain’s adultery. Hannity just wasn’t smart enough to realize it. John McCain’s wife was injured in a car accident while he was in the POW camp. When he came back, she was on crutches, having lost 4 inches in height and having gained some weight. She wasn’t the model he married. So, he went out and played around, finally meeting his current spouse, the heiress whose money launched his political career. He dumped the wife who faithfully waited for him, and married the heiress. We don’t hear much about that, just as we don’t hear much about the Keating Five, or the unsavory ties McCain has to so many lobbyists. We also don’t hear much about the newer Mrs. McCain’s illegal (yet unprosecuted) conduct when she was stealing drugs from her non-profit.

How much do we need to know about a candidate’s life? Who decides? Who decides that we need to roast a former candidate and his wife over an open pit, while giving a pass to a current candidate who seems to have some serious problems in his history? We can all say that we don’t care what people do in the privacy of their own homes and relationships, but that doesn’t seem to be true. Somewhere out there, clearly many, many people care – because rather than discussing the ethically challenged current candidate, we’re far more concerned with the salacious conduct of a man who will never be a candidate again.

“Scandal is gossip made tedious by morality.” Oscar Wilde

Hannity Loses His Mind

Rush Limbaugh is a scum sucking misogynist

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


2008 Peace Declaration

Another August 6, and the horrors of 63 years ago arise undiminished in the minds of our hibakusha, whose average age now exceeds 75. "Water, please!" "Help me!""Mommy!" ― On this day, we, too, etch in our hearts the voices, faces and forms that vanished in the hell no hibakusha can ever forget, renewing our determination that VNo one else should ever suffer as we did."

Because the effects of that atomic bomb, still eating away at the minds and bodies of the hibakusha, have for decades been so underestimated, a complete picture of the damage has yet to emerge. Most severely neglected have been the emotional injuries. Therefore, the city of Hiroshima is initiating a two-year scientific exploration of the psychological impact of the A-bomb experience.

This study should teach us the grave import of the truth, born of tragedy and suffering, that "the only role for nuclear weapons is to be abolished."

This truth received strong support from a report compiled last November by the city of Hiroshima. Scientists and other nuclear-related experts exploring the damage from a postulated nuclear attack found once again that only way to protect citizens from such an attack is the total abolition of nuclear weapons. This is precisely why the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the International Court of Justice advisory opinion state clearly that all nations are obligated to engage in good-faith negotiations leading to complete nuclear disarmament. Furthermore, even leaders previously central to creating and implementing US nuclear policy are now repeatedly demanding a world without nuclear weapons.

We who seek the abolition of nuclear weapons are the majority. United Cities and Local Governments, which represents the majority of the Earth''s population, has endorsed the Mayors for Peace campaign. One hundred ninety states have ratified the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. One hundred thirteen countries and regions have signed nuclear-weapon-free zone treaties. Last year, 170 countries voted in favor of Japan's UN resolution calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons. Only three countries, the US among them, opposed this resolution. We can only hope that the president of the United States elected this November will listen conscientiously to the majority, for whom the top priority is human survival.

To achieve the will of the majority by 2020, Mayors for Peace, now with 2,368 city members worldwide, proposed in April of this year a Hiroshima-Nagasaki Protocol to supplement the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. This Protocol calls for an immediate halt to all efforts, including by nuclear-weapon states, to obtain or deploy nuclear weapons, with a legal ban on all acquisition or use to follow by 2015. Thus, it draws a concrete road map to a nuclear-weapon-free world. Now, with our destination and the map to that destination clear, all we need is the strong will and capacity to act to guard the future for our children.

World citizens and like-minded nations have achieved treaties banning anti-personnel landmines and cluster munitions. Meanwhile, the most effective measures against global warming are coming from cities. Citizens cooperating at the city level can solve the problems of the human family because cities are home to the majority of the world’s population, cities do not have militaries, and cities have built genuine partnerships around the world based on mutual understanding and trust.

The Japanese Constitution is an appropriate point of departure for a "paradigm shift" toward modeling the world on intercity relationships. I hereby call on the Japanese government to fiercely defend our Constitution, press all governments to adopt the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Protocol, and play a leading role in the effort to abolish nuclear weapons. I further request greater generosity in designating A-bomb illnesses and in relief measures appropriate to the current situations of our aging hibakusha, including those exposed in “black rain areas” and those living overseas.

Next month the G8 Speakers' Meeting will, for the first time, take place in Japan. I fervently hope that Hiroshima's hosting of this meeting will help our "hibakusha philosophy" spread throughout the world.

Now, on the occasion of this 63rd anniversary Peace Memorial Ceremony, we offer our heartfelt lamentations for the souls of the atomic bomb victims and, in concert with the city of Nagasaki and with citizens around the world, pledge to do everything in our power to accomplish the total eradication of nuclear weapons.

Tadatoshi Akiba
The City of Hiroshima

For a demonstration of the current US nuclear arsenal:

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

McCain pimps wife to bikers

Indeed, McCain felt so comfortable at the event that he even volunteered his wife for the rally’s traditional beauty pageant, an infamously debauched event that’s been known to feature topless women.

“I encouraged Cindy to compete,” McCain said to cheers. “I told her with a little luck she could be the only woman ever to serve as first lady and Miss Buffalo Chip.”

What a classy guy! Offering his wife up to a bunch of drunken bikers!
Combine that with his "jokes" about women:
Chelsea Clinton joke

woman raped joke

How do we beat the bitch?

and you could get the idea that he's a dyed in the wool misogynist. How gentlemanly of him to suggest that Cindy participate in a topless biker beauty contest. Since she's the one with the money it's hard to imagine why she's keeping the neanderthal around.

Jeb in Jackson

This morning former NH CD1 Congressman Jeb Bradley visited the J-Town Deli in Jackson, at 8:30 am. Bradley was greeted by a small group of Democrats, Independents, and Republicans. Did I say small? There were six of us.

During Bradley's last term, Congress was working a 3 day week. When the Democrats took over, they pledged a 5 day work week, which Jeb says is a promise they haven't honored. When asked about the policy that prevented solar and wind power generation on public lands, Bradley responded by attempting to compare that with Cape Wind - the windmills proposed for off Nantucket that have been bitterly fought against by the wealthy residents of the island, including Senator Edward Kennedy. I pointed out that the two were hardly comparable, but Jeb was unwilling to acknowledge that. Bradley and his staff of 3 left for other unspecified destinations in the area.

In today's Conway Daily Sun is a letter from a Bradley supporter in Wolfeboro who mentions Bradley's stance on immigration. Most folks I talk to in Carroll County are worried about heating their homes this winter. As usual, Bradley and his supporters are out of touch with the concerns of average voters.