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My Opinion Of The Democrats LGBT Forum

Posted by nytexan on August 10, 2007

First let me say that for some reason BossKitty’s post on HRC Democratic Candidate Forum is not showing the comment number, however, there are several good comments posted.

Now my thoughts; I liked the intimate forum but the time for each candidate seemed very short. Wrong move for Dodd and Binden as no shows……hmmmm trying to keep those conservative happy. If you’re going to talk about being an inclusive president then show up and prove it.

Obama: He used the word semantics for “marriage” and “civil unions”; however he was in full support for all legal rights to gay couples. That translated to me has all 1100+ federal marriage rights into law. He seemed to connect and understand the fight. I personally got a different view of him last night.

Edwards: Well he just seemed flat uncomfortable to be around gays. I think Elizabeth made him attend. The huge revelation to him about the gay youth facility in L.A., well John you need to get out in the community more. His religion seems to weight to heavy on his view of gay marriage. That’s a big issue since we’ve had a religious zealot in office for the past 7 years. Edwards needs to finish his journey and come back in a future campaign.

Kucinich: What can I say, he had all the right answers and he has been fighting the fight for a long time. He’s all about his belief in our founding documents and the true meaning of the words equal rights. He has the right ideas; he’s on the right track but is our country ready for a forward evolved thinker that we saw last night. It would be refreshing.

Richardson: Well let’s just say he should stay in New Mexico. He looked uncomfortable and out of place. He probably did more damage to himself showing up. Richardson would have been a good bathroom break.

Gravel: He was himself. He is for full marriage and thinks this will be a non issue in 5 years. I think he was a bit out there on that. We all know he won’t make it but the nice having about Gravel showing up is he gets in the face of the other candidates.

Hillary: Too smug, too self confident that she has the election in the bag. Her statement “I strongly support states rights determining gay marriage,” is she kidding me. Many states tried to change their constitutions against gays. What freaking country does she live in? She uses the line “I’m your girl” funny she said the same thing at the AFL-CIO debate. I wonder if she said that at the NAACP forum. Personally I’m not going for the Bush/Clinton dynasty. A vote for change is not a vote for Hillary.

Here are poll results from LOGO:

39% Barack Obama

25% Dennis Kucinich

18% Hillary Clinton

9% Mike Gravel

7% John Edwards

3% Bill Richardson


Posted in candidates, Clinton, Democrat, Dodd, Edwards, Election, gay, Gravel, Headlines, Hillary, Kucinich, LGBT, National, Obama, Politics, Richardson | 8 Comments »

Edwards Decries U.S. Trade Policy

Posted by nytexan on August 7, 2007

CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA — Contending that corporate profits dictate the nation’s foreign trade pacts, Democratic presidential contender John Edwards on Monday called for a “zero tolerance” policy that would freeze imports of harmful food, toys and other goods.

Speaking with an eye toward a forum of Democratic candidates to be sponsored by the AFL-CIO today in Chicago, Edwards proposed new rules on trade policies that he said would boost the standing of workers in the U.S. and across the world.

Edwards said he would not abrogate the North American Free Trade Agreement among the United States, Canada and Mexico. But, he said, he would renegotiate it to reflect his priorities for future trade pacts, including standards that allow for unionization of workers, environmental protection and controls on currency manipulation.

“When it comes to trade, the only thing that matters in Washington, D.C., is corporate profits,” the former North Carolina senator told nearly 300 people at the union hall of Local 405 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. “We need trade without trade-offs for America.”

Edwards said the nation needed trade rules that protected consumers. He said he would enforce mandatory labeling of foods and other products detailing their country of origin and give the Food and Drug Administration the resources needed to keep tainted food out of the country.

“We’ll enforce zero tolerance and immediately freeze the specific import of any food, toys, medicines or other goods that threaten the health of our families and our children,” Edwards said. “We will not let them in until we, in fact, know they’re safe.”

In recent weeks, the Tribune has reported on the importation of lead-tainted toys and other products from China. Last week, more than 1 million Fisher-Price toys were recalled, and before that, pet food manufactured with a tainted China-produced ingredient sickened and killed dogs and cats in the U.S.

Edwards maintained that past trade pacts, such as NAFTA, came at the expense of workers.

Although he criticized trade polices under President Bush, Edwards said the downside of economic globalization “isn’t just his doing.”

“For far too long, presidents from both parties have entered into trade agreements, like NAFTA, promising that they would create millions of new jobs and enrich communities,” said Edwards, who was the Democratic vice presidential nominee in 2004. “Instead, too many of these agreements have cost us jobs and devastated communities across this country.”

NAFTA was a major initiative of the administration of Bill Clinton, whose wife, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, is a main rival of Edwards and Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Although Edwards brought up NAFTA, he did not mention either Clinton by name.

Edwards said he would eliminate business tax breaks that favor moving jobs overseas and would conduct economic-impact assessments of proposed trade deals to determine what industries, workers and communities might be harmed and how they could be helped.

“We need to restore some honesty to the trade-deal debate and not claim, like too many presidents have in the past, from both parties by the way, that trade will help everybody,” Edwards said.

Posted in AFL-CIO, Edwards, Election, Headlines, Trade policy | 13 Comments »

Watchdog Calls For Probe On John Boehner

Posted by nytexan on August 6, 2007

An ethics watchdog charged Monday that House Minority Leader John Boehner broke the law and endangered national security by releasing classified information last week in a Fox News interview.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has asked the Justice Department’s Counterespionage Section to investigate whether Boehner violated US law by releasing the information.

The Ohio Republican told Neil Cavuto of a classified ruling by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court that led to Congress expanding President Bush’s authority to spy on overseas communications.

“By revealing classified information, the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives appears to have compromised national security for partisan political gain,” CREW’s executive director, Melanie Sloan, said in a news release. “We urge the Justice Department to immediately commence an investigation.”

CREW cites a July 31 interview Boehner gave on Fox News.

“There’s been a ruling, over the last four or five months, that prohibits the ability of our intelligence services and our counterintelligence people from listening in to two terrorists in other parts of the world where the communication could come through the United States,” Boehner said.

CREW argues that Boehner could face up to 10 years in prison for willfully communicating classified national defense information, “which would be used to the injury of the United States.”

Although Boehner has previously criticized illegal leaks for political gain, the liberal watchdog group says his remarks to Cavuto appeared to be an effort to blame Democrats for failing to pass legislation modifying the FISA law. Congress finally adopted an update to the FISA law that eliminated the Court’s objection by allowing warrantless surveillance of international communications routed through the United States.

The following video of Boehner’s comments was posted by ThinkProgress on YouTube:

Posted in Congress, FISA, GOP, Headlines, John Boehner, national security, News, Politics | 7 Comments »

US Department of Interior Investigates Bush

Posted by nytexan on July 27, 2007

How many investigations can one administration have? I suppose if you’re Bush and Cheney and you completely ignore laws, you could technically be investigated every month. Well this time it’s the US Department of Interior going after them for the Endangered Species Act.

Mother Jones

  • Two government entities are investigating the Bush administration over the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Christian Science Monitor reports the US Interior Department is reviewing the scientific integrity of decisions made by a political appointee, Julie MacDonald, who recently resigned under fire. Fish and Wildlife Service employees complained that MacDonald bullied, insulted, and harassed the professional staff to alter their biological reporting. The inspector noted that although she has no formal educational background in biology, she nevertheless labored long and hard editing, commenting on, and reshaping the endangered species program’s scientific reports from the field. Last week Fish and Wildlife announced that eight decisions MacDonald made under the ESA would be examined for scientific and legal discrepancies.

Legal discrepancies seem to be the standard operating procedure for the Bush administration.

Bush has a habit of putting incompetent people to oversee and bully scientist. This is exactly what Bush did with the national weather scientist so global warming would be watered down.

  • Meanwhile Congress is investigating evidence that Vice President Dick Cheney interfered with decisions involving water in California and Oregon resulting in a mass kill of Klamath River salmon, including threatened species. As the CSM reports, both episodes illustrate the Bush administration’s resistance to the law. Earlier, the Washington Post ran the story of Cheney’s personal interference in the water decision that killed the salmon in 2002:
  • In Oregon, a battleground state that the Bush-Cheney ticket had lost by less than half of 1 percent, drought-stricken farmers and ranchers were about to be cut off from the irrigation water that kept their cropland and pastures green. Federal biologists said the Endangered Species Act left the government no choice: The survival of two imperiled species of fish was at stake. Law and science seemed to be on the side of the fish. Then the vice president stepped in. First Cheney looked for a way around the law, aides said. Next he set in motion a process to challenge the science protecting the fish, according to a former Oregon congressman who lobbied for the farmers. Because of Cheney’s intervention, the government reversed itself and let the water flow in time to save the 2002 growing season, declaring that there was no threat to the fish. What followed was the largest fish kill the West had ever seen, with tens of thousands of salmon rotting on the banks of the Klamath River.

Or, in the words of Bruce Barcott in MoJo’s piece, What’s A River For?:

  • On the morning of September 19, 2002, the Yurok fishermen who set their gill nets near the mouth of the Klamath River arrived to find the largest salmon run in years fully under way. The fish had returned from the ocean to the Klamath, on the Northern California coast, to begin their long trip upstream to spawn; there were thousands of them, as far as the eye could see. And they were dying. Full-grown 30-pounders lay beached on shore-line rocks. Smaller fish floated in midriver eddies. Day after day they kept washing up; by the third day, biologists were estimating that 33,000 fish had been killed [since revised upward to 70,000] in one of the largest salmon die-offs in U.S. history. The Yurok knew immediately what had happened. For months they, along with state experts and commercial fishermen, had been pleading with the federal government to stop diverting most of the river’s water into the potato and alfalfa fields of Oregon’s upper Klamath Basin. But the Bureau of Reclamation, the agency in charge of federal irrigation projects, refused to intervene.
  • The CSM reports the House Natural Resources Committee has scheduled a hearing next week to investigate political influence on agency science and decision making. As reported in the Blue Marblescientists are aware of the persistent unsciencing of their work. Thirty-eight prominent wildlife biologists and environmental ethics specialists recently signed a letter protesting a new Bush administration interpretation of the Endangered Species Act. They’re concerned for the future of animals such as wolves and grizzly bears. If Interior Department Solicitor David Bernhardt has his way, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will have to protect animals and plants only where they’re actually battling for survival, not where they’re in good shape. That means, for instance, that Bald Eagles would never have been protected decades ago since they were doing fine in Alaska, although practically extinct in the lower 48.
  • During Bush/Cheney, the listing of endangered and threatened species has slowed to a fraction the number the Bush senior made in only four years (58 new listings compared with 231), and most of those were court-ordered, according to the CSM. New funding has been cut as well, and only 278 candidate species are waiting to join the list of 1,352. Mother Jones’ recent piece, Gone, detailed why the presence of many kinds of life on earth is important to the survival of life itself. Seven of 10 biologists believe the sixth great extinction currently underway is a greater threat to life on earth than even global climate change.
  • It’s ephemerally comforting to think George W. Bush might go down in history as the worst of all U.S. presidents. More realistically, Dick Cheney will get the honor. . . Assuming there’s a history to come.

Disgraceful, this administration has managed to strip away every bit of progress we’ve made. It will take us decades to correct all the damage they have done in 6+ years.

Posted in Bush, Cheney, Endangered Species Act, Headlines, Julie MacDonald, Klamath River, News, Politics, US Department of Interior | 5 Comments »

Spector To Probe Supreme Court Decisions

Posted by nytexan on July 26, 2007

Is there anyone that Bush nominates, is associated with or appoints who doesn’t come under investigation or question? I think not. Arlen Spector, former chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, plans to review the confirmation testimony of Supreme Court Justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito. It appears that after both nominees gave their assurances to uphold stare decisis, they swiftly moved in the opposite direction. Bravo Spector.

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) plans to review the Senate testimony of U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel A. Alito to determine if their reversal of several long-standing opinions conflicts with promises they made to senators to win confirmation.

Specter, who championed their confirmation, said Tuesday he will personally re-examine the testimony to see if their actions in court match what they told the Senate.

“There are things he has said, and I want to see how well he has complied with it,” Specter said, singling out Roberts.

The Specter inquiry poses a potential political problem for the GOP and future nominees because Democrats are increasingly complaining that the Supreme Court moved quicker and more dramatically than advertised to overturn or chip away at prior decisions.

Specter, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, who served as chairman during the hearings, said he wants to examine whether Roberts and Alito have “lived up” to their assurances that they would respect legal precedents.

Judicial independence is “so important,” Specter said, but an examination could help with future nominations. “I have done a lot of analyzing and have come to the conclusion that these nominees answer just as many questions as they have to.”

“Certainly Justice Roberts left a distinct impression of his service as chief justice. And his performance on the court since, I think, has been in conflict with many of the statements he has made privately, as well as to the committee,” said Durbin, who was unaware of Specter’s idea.

“They are off to a very disturbing start, these two new justices. I am afraid before long they will call into question some of the most established laws and precedents in our nation.”

Breyer, an appointee of President Bill Clinton, drew attention last month for suggesting that Roberts and the conservative majority were flouting stare decisis, the legal doctrine that, for the sake of stability, courts should generally leave past decisions undisturbed.

“It is not often in the law that so few have so quickly changed so much,” Breyer said, reading his dissent from the bench to a 5-4 ruling that overturned school desegregation policies in two cities.

Roberts has defended his rulings as applications of “existing precedent.”

Specter, however, said Breyer’s statement was “an especially forceful criticism of the Roberts court.”

Like other Republicans and many Democrats, Specter grilled the nominees on their approach to precedent, often as a way to discern their thoughts on Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling establishing abortion rights. And Specter repeatedly sought assurances that Roberts and Alito would respect what the senator considered settled law.

Before voting to confirm Roberts and Alito, Specter cited their statements on precedent as reason enough to put them on the high court.  

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said the testimony from Roberts and Alito was misleading in light of their rulings.

“I very much got the idea, the strong chain of reasoning, that they had great respect for stare decisis and they didn’t want to be activist judges,” said Feinstein, who voted against both nominees. “As you know, some of these latest cases have pretty much shattered precedent.”

A review could put “judges on notice that they can’t come in front of the Judiciary Committee, say one thing and leave one impression, and then go out and do another,” she added.

Posted in "Supreme Court", Arlen Specter, Headlines, Judiciary Committee, Justice John Roberts, Justice Samuel A. Alito, News, Senate | Leave a Comment »

Dole-Shalala Commission Issues Final Report

Posted by nytexan on July 25, 2007

Hopefully these recommendations will not sit on a shelf like the 9/11 Commission report.

From Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America

WASHINGTON (AP) – A presidential commission on Wednesday urged broad changes to veterans’ care that would boost benefits for family members helping the wounded, establish an easy-to-use Web site for medical records and overhaul the way disability pay is awarded.

The nine-member panel, led by former Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kan., and Donna Shalala, health and human services secretary during the Clinton administration, also recommended stronger partnerships between the Pentagon and the private sector to boost treatment for traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.

“Gone will be the days of injured soldiers telling the same information to doctors over and over again,” said Shalala, who said the proposals seek to provide more customized, personalized care to injured Iraq war veterans.

She called the report a set of recommendations that could be implemented right away. About six of the 35 proposals require legislation, while the rest call for action primarily by the Pentagon and Department of Veterans Affairs.

Among the recommendations was an indirect rebuke of the VA – a call for Congress to “enable all veterans who have been deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq who need post-traumatic stress disorder care to receive it from the VA.”

Only recently, the VA has taken steps to add mental health counselors and 24-hour suicide prevention services at all facilities, following high-profile incidents of suicides involving veterans. In the past, the VA had failed to use all the money for mental health that was allotted to it.

Here are some of the recommendations:

  • Boost staff and money for Walter Reed until it closes in the coming years. Also urges Pentagon to work with the VA to create “integrated care teams” of doctors and nurses to see injured troops through their recovery.
  • Restructure the disability pay systems to give the VA more responsibility for awarding benefits.
  • Require comprehensive training programs in post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries for military leaders, VA and Pentagon personnel.
  • Create a “My eBenefits” Web site, developed jointly by the VA and Pentagon, that would allow service members and doctors to access private medical information as the injured move from facility to facility to receive treatment.
  • Provide better family support, because one-third of injured Iraq war veterans reported that a family member or close friend had to relocate to care for them. It calls for training and counseling for families of service members who require long-term care and improved family leave and insurance benefits for family members

Posted in Afghanistan, Dole, Headlines, Health Care, Iraq, mental health, Pentagon, Politics, PTSD, Shalala, VA, veterans, War | 5 Comments »

Judiciary Committee Passes Contempt Resolution

Posted by nytexan on July 25, 2007

The panel’s decision now goes to the House floor for a vote.

The full House is unlikely to take up the issue before the August recess, a Democratic leadership aide told CNN.

The Committee has approved the report recommending to the House that Miers and Bolten be cited for Contempt of Congress.

Subcommittee Chairwoman Linda Sánchez gives opening remarks:

Rep. Adam Schiff (CA-29) speaks on the contempt that Miers and Bolton have, in fact, shown for the Congress, and rebuts opposition criticisms:

Posted in Adam Schiff, Bush, Congress, Contempt, Conyers, executive privilege, Harriet Miers, Headlines, josh bolten, Judiciary Committee, Politics, Sanchez | 20 Comments »

Pelosi Promises Contempt Charge For Harriet Miers

Posted by nytexan on July 23, 2007

SF Chronicle

  • Congress this week will take the next step to force the Bush administration to hand over information about the dismissal of U.S. attorneys and the politicization of the Justice Department, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Saturday.

  • The House Judiciary Committee will bring contempt of Congress charges against the administration this week, said the San Francisco Democrat. She did not specify who the subject of the action would be, but Pelosi spokesman, Brendan Daly, said later it would be former White House counsel Harriet Miers, who defied a House Judiciary Committee subpoena to appear.

  • “They have disregarded the call of Congress for information about their politicizing the Department of Justice. We can document that. Those are actual facts and we will bring the contempt of Congress forth,” said Pelosi, who spoke with reporters at a San Francisco workshop for people who want to become U.S. citizens.

  • Congress has for months been seeking information about which administration officials were involved in the dismissals of the attorneys. The White House, however, has claimed “executive privilege” for many of those requests, meaning the executive branch is free from oversight of the legislative and judiciary branches of the government in those instances. A House judiciary subcommittee has voted to reject such reasoning.

  • Contempt of Congress is defined by federal law as action that obstructs the work of Congress, including investigations. If both the White House and Congress stick to these positions, the matter could become a constitutional question for the courts to decide.

On Impeachment of Bush 

Notice in Pelosi’s statement  she doesn’t address Cheney. I think the veep is on the table. With Cheney out of the way Bush won’t know what to do.

  • Pelosi also reiterated Saturday that she would not engage in what would perhaps be the biggest confrontation possible with the White House — seeking the impeachment of Bush over the Iraq war.

  • The speaker said she had “no hesitation” criticizing the president about his handling of the war, but said there were more important priorities for lawmakers — such as health care and creating jobs — than the divisive pursuit of impeachment.

  • “Look, it’s hard enough for us to end the war. I don’t know how we would be successful in impeaching the president,” Pelosi said.

  • She did note that calls for the president’s removal are not coming just from San Francisco.

  • “I’m not unsympathetic to the concern people have — I hear it all over the country. People here have said to me, ‘Well, people on the left want the president to be impeached.’ I hear it across the board across the country. It’s not just the left,” Pelosi said.

If Congress brings us the head of Cheney, I could very well look past Bush. For Bush will be lost without the puppet master.

Posted in Bush, Cheney, Congress, Constitution, Contempt, Conyers, Department of Justice, executive privilege, Harriet Miers, Headlines, Impeach, Inherent Contempt, Judiciary Committee, News, Pelosi, President, Republican | 6 Comments »

Bush Executive Order: Criminalizes the Antiwar Movement

Posted by nytexan on July 21, 2007

So you thought you lived in a free society, where dissent is patriotic, where speaking your mind is your Constitutional right. Well, not any more my friends. A new Bush Executive Order, signed July 17th allows Bush to seize property and other fun stuff from anyone who is against the war. So I guess Congress, all the anti-war movements, all the progressive movements and blogs are in for a treat.

The executive order violates the First, Fourth and Fifth Amendments of the US Constitution.

This seems to go hand in hand with the Executive Order Bush signed in May giving him complete control after a catastrophic event is announced.

Global Research, July 20, 2007, by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky

The Executive Order entitled “Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq” provides the President with the authority to confiscate the assets of whoever opposes the US led war.

A presidential Executive Order issued on July 17th, repeals with the stroke of a pen the right to dissent and to oppose the Pentagon’s military agenda in Iraq.

The Executive Order entitled “Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq” provides the President with the authority to confiscate the assets of “certain persons” who oppose the US led war in Iraq:

“I have issued an Executive Order blocking property of persons determined to have committed, or to pose a significant risk of committing, an act or acts of violence that have the purpose or effect of threatening the peace or stability of Iraq or the Government of Iraq or undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq or to provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people.”

In substance, under this executive order, opposing the war becomes an illegal act.

The Executive Order criminalizes the antiwar movement. It is intended to “blocking property” of US citizens and organizations actively involved in the peace movement. It allows the Department of Defense to interfere in financial affairs and instruct the Treasury to “block the property” and/or confiscate/ freeze the assets of “Certain Persons” involved in antiwar activities. It targets those “Certain Persons” in America, including civil society organizatioins, who oppose the Bush Administration’s “peace and stability” program in Iraq, characterized, in plain English, by an illegal occupation and the continued killing of innocent civilians.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Anti-War, Bush, civil liberties, civil rights, Congress, Constitution, Democracy, Freedom, Headlines, King George, Monarchy, News, Politics | 45 Comments »

John Edwards Challenges Bush On Poverty

Posted by nytexan on July 20, 2007

Boy here’s a letter to president incompent that will surley fall on blind eyes and deaf ears.

  • Chapel Hill, North Carolina – Senator John Edwards today sent a letter to President Bush challenging the president to join him on a tour of places in America that are too often ignored and to talk to Americans who are working hard, but still living in poverty. Yesterday, Edwards concluded a three-day, eight-state “Road to One America” tour to shine a bright spotlight on the issue of poverty in America.

July 19, 2007 President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20400

Dear Mr. President:

Earlier this week, I went on a journey that started in New Orleans, went through the Mississippi Delta, Memphis, Cleveland, Youngstown, Pittsburgh, Virginia and ended in Prestonsburg, Kentucky. At every stop, I met with incredible people who are working hard every day and still living in poverty. I did it to try to help the rest of the country hear the voices of people who are often forgotten — people living in poverty and on the losing end of economic unfairness. I did it to show that we can solve these problems and there is hope.

Mr. President, that what’s true leaders do, they lead with big, bold ideas that actually solve problems. They do not wait to be told about problems that stare them in the face, they never follow, and they should never have to wait for a convenient time to address the incredible challenges that face so many hard-working families in this nation.

As you approach your final days in office, you have a chance to finally stand up and lead on this important issue. However, unless you choose to lead and start helping solve poverty in America, the next 550 days of your presidency will all but ensure that the 37 million Americans who wake up in poverty today will only grow. If you choose to do nothing on poverty, the next 550 days of your presidency will only ensure that the more than 5 million Americans who have fallen into poverty during your presidency will only grow.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in America, Bush, Edwards, Headlines, Poor, Povery | 1 Comment »