Friday, October 17, 2008

ZOMG! ONOZ! Garrett freaks out over "boogyman"!!

In another sign of Scott Garrett?s priorities, he has now decided to not only go after an organization whose main purpose is to make sure that people who are eligible to vote are registered, but also to go after his opponent?s campaign manager for having the audacity to work for another organization that ?was aligned with? the organization that registers voters.

Got that?

In a time where our nation is facing a financial crisis unlike one we have seen in decades (not to mention Garrett?s own ties to players that caused this crisis), the burning issue of utmost importance is that Shulman?s campaign is being run by someone who ?has ties? to an activist organization that ?has ties? to ACORN, an organization that has followed the law and is guilty of?.wait for it?.trying to help people vote.


I guess the fact that he is even more extreme than Bush (voting close to 90% with him but on the other 10%, Bush was the one who was reasonable), has personal ties to convicted republican felon Jack Abramoff, was not only one of 34 to vote against the stimulus bill but put forth his own stimulus bill that consisted solely of corporate tax breaks and is out of step and out of touch with this district?s voters put him in this predicament.

To see him spend time, his supporters? and donor?s money, and waste the time of his constituents in order to play some twisted (and highly lame) game of guilt by sort of association by sort of association not only had me wondering if we are to find out that Kevin Bacon also ?had ties to? ACORN and the Shulman campaign, but also for doing exactly what McCain is doing in his desperate and losing campaign--

Making up phony strawmen and boogymen to scare voters into forgetting the major problems that we are facing domestically, financially, militarily and on an overall global basis in the name of distraction and desperation.

I don?t know if it is more disingenuous or pathetic.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Palin wants to be "McCain's Cheney"

In all of the mockery, post debate punditry and mocking, there is a very important point that I haven’t seen explored nearly as much as it should – and that is the issue of the unitary executive theory that the Bush/Cheney administration has pushed beyond all levels of reality and legality.

The other night in the debate, Palin basically agreed with the excessive power of the Vice President’s office, and expressed support for continuing these policies under a McCain administration.

Why is this important, other than the basic premise of an Executive Branch running wild and running roughshod over the Legislative Branch – including all of the Executive Orders issued by Bush, the secrecy asserted by the current administration, the signing statements, the “I’ll hold my breath unless I get whatever I want” mentality? Well, we know that Palin just so happens to be under investigation for abusing her power as Governor of Alaska, and has already set a precedent for this dangerous behavior.

Not withstanding the fact that Cheney has a lower favorability rating than the devil himself, it is a dangerous view of the Vice President’s office and the view of how the Legislative Branch is supposed to balance out the Executive Branch (except for the past eight years, of course). Yet, Palin said the following last night (emphasis mine):

IFILL: Governor, you mentioned a moment ago the constitution might give the vice president more power than it has in the past. Do you believe as Vice President Cheney does, that the Executive Branch does not hold complete sway over the office of the vice presidency, that it it is also a member of the Legislative Branch?

PALIN: Well, our founding fathers were very wise there in allowing through the Constitution much flexibility there in the office of the vice president. And we will do what is best for the American people in tapping into that position and ushering in an agenda that is supportive and cooperative with the president's agenda in that position. Yeah, so I do agree with him that we have a lot of flexibility in there, and we'll do what we have to do to administer very appropriately the plans that are needed for this nation. And it is my executive experience that is partly to be attributed to my pick as V.P. with McCain, not only as a governor, but earlier on as a mayor, as an oil and gas regulator, as a business owner. It is those years of experience on an executive level that will be put to good use in the White House also.

To make matters worse, she draws on her abusing power “experience” as Governor to support her position.

Biden, in contrast, indicated that Cheney is the most dangerous Vice President in history, and being one who comes from the Legislative Branch, knows how much meddling and strongarming this current Executive Branch did when it came to neutering the Legislative Branch and process.

We may make fun of Palin – and sometimes it is for very good reason. However, she has had a taste of power; whether it be as Mayor or as Governor, even for a relatively short period of time. And she made it perfectly clear last night what she would intend to do with the power entrusted to the Vice President if McCain was to be elected – or even moreso if she were to become President.

This country couldn’t afford that with a Vice President like Cheney, who at least thought about and planned his actions (no matter how illegal or misguided or dangerous). With Palin, who seems to take pride in being clueless about pesky facts and rules and laws, it would be just as dangerous, if not more so.

Last night, Sarah Palin not only agreed with the unitary executive theory, but all but told the nation that she would wholeheartedly continue it if she were to be the Vice President.

For that, she should be called “McCain’s Cheney”. All of the power and vindictiveness, but with less foresight.

Leaked transcript of Palin giving McCain advice

So in response to questions of whether he would ask Palin for advice on certain matters, especially ones concerning foreign policy, McCain said that he has “turned to her advice many times in the past”.

And luckily, this is a day and age where conversations are overheard, meetings are recorded and the public is able to see or hear many discussions between or comments by high level officials that we never would have been able to have heard a few short years ago.

This is such a time. In a long discussion on various foreign policy matters, we see how McCain and Palin interact, as well as the types of issues that McCain has turned to Palin for advice on, not to mention the advice or wisdom that she has provided to McCain based on her “worldview”. The topics range from nuclear proliferation to the Middle East to Iraq to general strategy, and is quite stunning.

JM: So, we should probably make sure we are on the same page, and even though I have been to every country in the world and you haven’t left the United States until earlier this year, there are some things that I wanted to get your opinion on.

SP: You betcha!!!

JM: Now that the surge in Iraq has proven to be a huge success, we need to figure out what to do in terms of keeping the violence down so that we can declare victory. There are billions of dollars in surplus in Iraq and we need to make sure it doesn’t go into the hands of our enemies. What is the best approach?

SP: Oh gosh, I know that our troops are the bravest and boldest and we will be victorious. And as long as we keep Putin from rearing his head.....

JM: No, Sarah, Putin isn’t be involved in Iraq.

SP: You know that he is real dangerous though. And because they are right next to us, we need to make sure that we stay vigilant against any Russian invasion.

JM: Um, sure. Back to the Middle East.

SP:Okey dokey

JM: Well, the Taliban and al Qaeda are regrouping in Pakistan and are attacking our troops and since I already called Afghanistan a success and told Obama that he shouldn’t be striking targets into Pakistan – or at least not announcing it – I am kind of boxed in. What do you think we need to do here?

SP: Ya, well, first we have to recognize that those who attacked us on 9/11 and who we are fighting for our freedom are now not only in Iraq like they were when they attacked us, but now we have to take the fight to them and show no mercy.

JM: Sarah, that is sort of what Obama had already said, except that the 9/11 attackers were not from Iraq. We need another plan.

SP: Well, since spreading freedom and democracy in places like the Middle East are what we need to keep focusing on, then we need to make sure that the people in these countries can see the fruits of our freedom spreading and how we were able to win in Iraq and avenge the attacks on 9/11...

JM: Iraq didn’t attack us on 9/11.

SP: what about Russia? You know that I know a lot about Russia. I like your idea about kicking them out of the V-8. Then they won’t be invading our NATO allies, and invading a NATO ally is like invading us. Which you know, they can do right in my state of Alaska.

JM: Well, yes, but Georgia isn’t in NATO yet, and it is the G-8, not the V-8. V-8 is a drink and...

SP: Not a good drink though. Unless you have it in a bloody mary, which I always found offensive for 2 reasons. First, it is near blasphemous to say something like that about the Blessed Virgin who gave birth to our dear Lord and second, a bloody mary uses vodka, which is the drink of choice in Russia. And you always have to watch out for the Russians. Which, by the way, I can do right from my window.

JM: OK, let’s move on. Recently, the Queen of Jordan has been in the US recently talking about women’s rights, and since she is a hot piece of ass and you were in beauty pageants, I wanted to see how you can show her that we are serious about women’s rights issues

SP: Well, ya, sure. You know that we are all freedom loving humans and she just needs to know that the most important thing is to make sure that we rid their country of the evil terrorists. Once we do that, women in her country can share in all of the freedoms that you and I believe women should have.

JM: Let’s talk about terrorism in the Middle East. We know that Iran is a state sponsor of Hezbollah, and

SP: God Bless You

JM: What?

SP: You just sneezed.

JM: No, I was talking about Hezbollah, the terr...

SP: See, ya just sneezed again.

JM: You know what, just forget it. We’re done here.

The press blackout on McCain's medical records and cancer

We are all aware of the fact that John McCain is a survivor of melanoma – at least 2, if not 4 times, actually. And we also know that McCain, someone who was tortured (and there is ample evidence of the long term effects of torture, both physically and mentally) is not the shining example of someone in top physical shape.

And yet, when McCain, someone whose medical records are well over 1,100 pages and has a history of cancer, takes medication to sleep (not to mention whatever other medications he is currently taking for high cholesterol, arthritis and whatever else) not only released his records to a limited group of reporters for a three hour period of time with no ability for anyone to take notes or other documentation but also declined to release any further information, the press sits on its’ hands.

Here is someone whose health situation is more precarious than any other Presidential candidate (with the possible exception of Reagan in his 2nd term or Paul Tsongas), yet when 2,500 doctors call on him to release his medical records and answer questions about his cancer history, there is not a peep.

Oh wait, there WAS a peep. Matt Stoller wrote a long post about melanoma not too long ago. Americablog had a number of posts, including this one. Also, Brave New Films put together a must see video, which I have embedded below:

And an advertisement was put together talking about McCain’s age and health history - questions that not only should be answered completely and truthfully but also verified by independent doctors. Yet, after CNN declined to run the ad, MSNBC ran this ad a few times, only to stop under pressure from Fox News and Bill O’Reilly.

With a job as stressful as that of President, and with the poor health history of John McCain, it is simply baffling why there isn’t complete outrage with it comes to what McCain is hiding in his health records. I would think that if there were no major health issues with McCain, then he would be happy to put these questions to rest once and for all. Since he is refusing to open up his medical records, we do not know if he is dying of cancer. We do not know what medications he is taking. We do not know what other ailments he has. We do not know if he has been tested for Alzheimer’s, whether he has PTSD, or whether he has a hangnail.

This leaves not one but two main questions in my mind:

  • What is John McCain hiding in his health records with respect to his cancer and other potential health issues?

  • Why is the corporate media covering for him, when over 2,500 physicians have weighed in on their concern as well?

While we can all guess as to the answers here, I think that it is imperative that we keep asking these questions. We probably won’t get any answers, but at least we can keep this very important story out there - even more so with the growing concern over his running mate.

If not for Biden, she (and many other women) may be dead

It is well documented how much of a horrific record John McCain has when it comes to his views and votes and policies towards women. And while some people know about the Violence Against Women Act that Joe Biden was nearly singlehandedly responsible for drafting and getting passed, the stark contrast between how the two tickets approach issues important to women is not getting nearly enough attention.

Hopefully the following story will help change that.

I will keep the identity of this individual anonymous, but it is the story of someone who I have been corresponding with for the past couple of years on many issues, including voting rights, other political issues and more recently, some personal matters and discussions. She is someone in the progressive community, and has asked if I would help tell her story - a story that could very well have ended with her losing her life as well as her 2 daughters - if it wasn’t for this landmark legislation that Joe Biden was responsible for.

Although Biden’s legislation wasn’t passed until the 1990’s, she is certain that she and her daughters would still be running and hiding from her ex-husband, wondering if they would have the relevant protection from him if not for the provisions contained in the Violence Against Women Act.

I have received copies of the divorce papers, which included a lifetime order of protection, and her story includes a name change, numerous threats with guns and knives and her family’s fleeing 1,000 miles to get away from his stalking. The story includes her being dismissed from her job at a law firm because he was waiting in the lobby for her 2 days after he beat her, and the Firm “didn’t want any trouble”. At the time, there was no law against a husband merely “waiting for his wife”, despite what I am about to share with you. The divorce decree noted that he was guilty “without cause or provocation...of extreme and repeated physical cruelty”, and she “established by competent, material and relevant proof all of the allegations and charges” against him, some of which are noted below.

She was married around 1970, and here is a brief summary of some things that she had to endure before fleeing for her life in 1979 (it is in her exact words, so that is why it is in the first person):

  • One day I tried to defend myself while he was beating me and grabbed a steak knife and threatened him with it. He took it away from me and stabbed me with it. I carry that scar to this day.

  • As he was beating me he would always point his finger in my face and say "I don't try to leave me, because I find you and kill you and the kids."

  • Or Christmas Eve, 1974. I was 3 months pregnant with my 2nd child and his brothers were late for dinner. He beat me and choked me until I passed out. But before that, he threw the christmas tree and all the gifts out the 2nd floor window of our apartment.

  • In 1975, the cops pointed their finger at my husband and basically said we know she's your property, but don't get us called out here again.

  • In 1979, the cops hunted him down, escorted us out of the county when they didn't know where he was, escorted us to the hospital and stood guard the whole time we were there, and a judge signed a warrant for his arrest.

  • In 1979, the DA said it was my word against him that he even HAD a gun, much less tried to kill me and his daughters (4 and 8 yrs. old) because the girls were too young to testify. Even the neighbor child who was spending the night at my house was "too young to testify."

I am putting the rest in blockquotes because it shows how bad it got, and how little was done for years for it to get to this point.

[After moving out and hiding for a few months] one night he broke my door down in a drunken rage at 2:00 in the morning.

And he held us at gunpoint for 2 hours. Simultaneously, he was threatening all 3 of us, pistol whipping me, trying to convince myoldest daughter to come live with him (in his car). At one point, he put the gun in his 3 yr. old daughter's mouth (who was screaming at the top of her lungs on my hips) and told me "shut her up or I will."

When he came in, he threw the phone out the plate glass window, then the sofa.

Finally, I got all 3 kids between him and the only exit out of the apartment. I grabbed their hands and ran out the door and down the stairs. I was headed for the local 7-11 because they were open 24 hours. I figured someone would call the cops for me there.

As we ran down the street - me beaten and bloody - a woman and 3 kids, he got in his car and came up on the sidewalk. He shouted "bye kids" as he gunned it and tried to run us all down.

I ran into an apartment building, locked the door and just started shouting "Help me, someone help me. He's trying to kill us."

He, by the way was stopped by the cops shortly afterwards and was arrested for pulling a gun on the cop. After three days, she had to go back to work, because she had to support the children (he didn’t work for the past few years), and that is where he was “waiting in the lobby” for her. With no domestic violence laws, and despite the arrests, the beatings and everything else, not only was nothing done to stop him from threatening her, but her firm dismissed her (as stated above) because they didn’t “want trouble”.

This is when she fled 1,000 miles away to a city she never lived in, knew nothing about and knew nobody in. Her story has a good ending - she got counseling for the kids, changed their names, enrolled them in school and got a job.

But the hell that she had to endure would have been very different, and many women today would have to endure the same “do nothing until he tries to kill you again” mentality that existed at the time, if it wasn’t for the landmark legislation that Joe Biden was responsible for.

Because of that legislation, there are now shelters that battered women can turn to, there are hotlines and thousands of lawyers available and there is coordination between states and localities with respect to responding to domestic violence and rape - literally hundreds of new laws.

No woman should have to go through what she did. Not even close. Thankfully, she was able to start her life anew - to whatever extent someone that had to deal with years of such severe abuse can “start anew”. But at least she is alive.

It could have ended very differently if she didn’t get lucky and didn’t flee the way she did. And for millions of other women today, they don’t have to endure the living hell that she went through.

Joe Biden is a large reason why.

Scott Garrett: on the wrong side of the financial crisis.

Back in April, Scott Garrett lamented the end of deregulation:
“It’s disconcerting to see the end of deregulation, more so because it’s coming from our own administration,” said Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.), a member of the Republican Study Committee, a panel of about 100 House conservatives. “As conservatives, we need to get our Republican, conservative brand back. … I can tell you we’re not going to get that brand back by embracing Democratic economic regulations.”

Not only is this in line with Garrett’s so-called “free market” approach which has resulted in predatory lending practices and the massive tax breaks for corporate America at the expense of the middle class, but is also in line with his campaign pledge in 2002 when he talked about deregulation being the answer to help businesses.

Make no mistake – Scott Garrett’s views on business are not taxpayer friendly (as evidenced by his very own stimulus plan that was entirely business tax breaks and his earlier votes on a bill regarding Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac).

But let’s look a bit deeper into Garrett’s actions when they directly related to companies like Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Countrywide Insurance and Washington Mutual.

Garrett is on the House Financial Services Committee, and is therefore in a direct position to help taxpayers when it comes to the financial crisis. Yet, his votes have been on the side of the same corporate entities that have donated over $800,000 to Garrett over the years, including Countrywide and AIG.

His Chief of Staff, Amy Smith has longstanding ties to lobbying for the financial industry, including almost $400,000 in lobbying fees paid to her firm by disgraced mortgage giant Countrywide Financial over a 2 year period

A new ad was released by Dennis Shulman’s campaign that hits Garrett hard on his conflict of interest and cluelessness when it comes to the problems in the financial services industry. In a press release earlier today, Shulman said the following:

"Scott Garrett has been one of Washington's greatest advocates for deregulation while scooping up enormous amounts of campaign cash from predatory lenders seeking to avoid reasonable regulation," said Dennis Shulman, the Democratic nominee in New Jersey's Fifth Congressional District. "Scott Garrett has literally entrusted his taxpayer-funded office to a former lobbyist for one of his major donors, Countrywide Financial, while arguing that it is `disconcerting to see the end of deregulation.' I believe it is disconcerting to see a member of Congress continue to embrace the agenda of the corrupt predatory lenders who created the financial crisis that has destabilized the entire economy."

"Garrett consistently plays the corrupt Washington DC special interest game, building his campaign war chest by courting the special interests that he is supposed to be regulating. I have made a solemn pledge to refuse campaign contributions from any corporation I would oversee in Congress."

Let’s help Dennis send Scott back to NJ-5 for good. Here is where you can donate.