|Amazing!!! Game six of the 1986 world series re-enacted in RBI Baseball. All the drama, all the intrigue, all the heartbreak, all the Mookie!|
Courtesy of: http://www.nationalhighfiveday.com
Saturday, December 30, 2006
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Needless to say, I'm a big pro wrestling fan. I don't watch it as much I did in the 80s and 90s, but I still follow it. I've written matches for e-feds and created numerous characters. I wrote a screenplay for a pro-wrestling cartoon called the LAWF. One of our angles in the screenplay had a group of wrestlers attempting to take over the league similar to the NWO/WCW in 1996-98.
When I first decided to run for office, many critics denounced me as a "carpetbagger." While there was not a lot I could do about such statements, my friends & I wanted to have some fun with it. Therefore, we decided to write up a proposed angle to Jerry Lawler for the Congressional primary. My friend Nick Wiz was ready to drop everything in LA and head to Memphis for the duration. After writing the angle, I never did anything with it. Needless to say that had I proceeded with the angle, it would have been political suicide. However, it would have been a lot of fun! Please remember the goal here was to be a "heel" or bad guy. It was all for show! Here is the proposed wrestling angle that never was...ENJOY!
From: Joseph S. Ford, Jr. [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Monday, March 13, 2006 2:27 PM
To: 'nick fury'; 'Nick fury'
Cc: 'justinford2006'; 'bigoak'; 'Big Roob'
Subject: Jerry Lawler vs. Nick Wiz
So the campaigning is going GREAT...I did an interview for local channel WPTY, and the interview took place on the same set as the MEMPHIS WRESTLING set. Once I saw that, I wasn’t even worried about my campaign interview. I kept talking about getting on the show. However, WPTY only leases the set to MEMPHIS WRESTLING, so they couldn’t hook anything up.
However, my brother is going to speak with Jerry Lawler about your proposed Andy Kaufman Part 2 angle. Here is what I need from you. I need you to draft up the proposed angle from your perspective since you would be the one directly involved. It doesn’t have to be more than a couple of pages.
Here is how I would book it, but feel free to add your thoughts:
--Sometime around Memorial Day, you show up at the end of a live MEMPHIS WRESTLING event ala Scott Hall when he first appeared solo on WCW at the end of a Nitro. You would introduce yourself to Lawler and basically say that you represent me, and that you are there to right a wrong. Basically, you’ll say that Lawler cost my dad the mayoral election in 1999 and that once I win the Congress seat, we’re shutting down this backwoods wrestling organization and starting LAWF in its place. Lawler will be pissed and demand that I come out. You say that I’m too LA for this league, but I will be appearing soon when they can put on a MAJOR EVENT. For now, Nick Wiz will be controlling MEMPHIS WRESTLING, and is the new man in town.
--Each week, you’ll come out at random times and screw Lawler and his allies in their various matches. You can play up the Kaufman type stuff and say that I will be appearing soon. Over the weeks, the heat builds. I won’t appear live, but I’ll cut a promo or two where it appears that I endorse what you are doing. Certain MEMPHIS WRESTLERS can even jump ship to LAWF. You give them LAWF t-shirts on the promise to take them to the top in wrestling. You can even help them win matches with briefcase shots.
--You can also heckle Lawler from the crowd at WWE Raw events.
--Lawler starts getting pissed at some point and demands that I appear. You say that you will produce me, but only at a major event about 2-3 weeks out from the primary election. The primary election is August 3, 2006.
--When the event happens in mid-July, you along with the other LAWF wrestlers come out to huge heat. You get on the mic and start riling up the crowd. Finally, you introduce me and when I come out, I get some huge heel heat. You have an LAWF t-shirt for me to put on, and that is symbolic of me leaving Memphis behind once and for all. After a few moments, I flip the script, throw the LAWF shirt in your face and reveal a Memphis jersey. I grab the mic and hype that I am Memphis 4 Life or something. At that point Lawler suddenly comes out in the ring, and you get your bump (piledriver, table shot, etc.) to a huge applause. Lawler and I shake hands and the event ends.
--From there, you can continue the LAWF angle if you want. If not, then we can then sell our LAWF script. No matter what, we would be a part of wrestling history forever.
Add your thoughts, because I would love to propose this idea to Lawler.
Now he's back. Sen. Lott has regained his leadership post in the Senate among the Republicans as the Minority Whip. For the record, Sen. McConnell will be the top-ranking Senate GOP leader.
Well he really didn't say it like that, but he was probably thinking it. Like or dislike Sen. Lott, the man is the consummate politician. If you look up politician in a dictionary, you'll likely see Sen. Lott's picture. This move tells me that the Republicans are hoping to take it back to the glory days of 2002.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
On a serious tip, I alluded to this next question in a previous post, but who will be running for Mayor of Memphis next year? That is the $2,000,000.00 question!
I don't recall which blog I read it on, but I recall seeing someone make the point that W.W. might not even run in 2007. If someone can give me the cite, I'll link it here. The blogger further stated that W.W may be delaying an announcement so that he can "annoint" a successor to file in the last days. That would be genius! I had not even considered that possibility, but it would make sense.
I had assumed that W.W. wanted one final political war to cement his legacy forever in the eyes of Memphians. However, if he could put one of his people into the office, the W.W. legacy (good or bad) would be complete without having to battle.
To whomever is considering a mayoral run in 2007, please file ASAP! You should not base your decision on what W.W. does or does not do. If there are no strong candidates in the race, then W.W. will not need to run. However, if there is a strong candidate, then W.W. will likely have to run or risk not having one of his people in the seat. If W.W. waits until the last minute to announce that he IS NOT running, then there will be a race to file down at the Election Commission from scores of candidates. Think of the 2006 9th District Congressional Democratic primary times five!
It will take a lot of effort to defeat W.W., but perhaps the voters do not want to vote him out. W.W. has been in power since 1991, and I do not see him giving it up so easily. I also do not see his base of voters giving it up so easily. In fact a politician like W.W. gets stronger the more odds are stacked against him. 2007 will be a HUGE battle that lesser politicans will not survive.
So who will be the next "King of Memphis?" Here is my analysis of some possible contenders. I don't do odds, because that would be promoting gambling and this site does not promote gambling unless it's a back-alley cards game.
Harold Ford, Jr. -- This is the position that he should be running for, but he has indicated that he is not interested in this battle. While HFJ could beat W.W., W.W. would deliver some serious wounds to young HFJ (even more so than Sen. Corker). I would not completely discount HFJ running despite what he said, because if he truly wants to be the President, he has to realize that you reach that seat through an executive position. If HFJ waits until 2010 to run for Governor, then he's old news and forgotten. There are no other executive positions on the horizon that make sense except for the mayor's seat. Jr's national and international appeal would definitely attract glamour and celebrity to the city. 3/4 term as the Mayor of Memphis (2007-2010), 2 terms as TN governor (2010-2018), and then you're ready for the Presidency in the year 2020. HFJ will not become the President as a CNN sock puppet.
Carol Chumney -- I heard that she will be running against W.W. While stranger things have happened, I do not see Memphis electing a female mayor in 2007. It would probably make the most sense considering the way the office has been run lately, but I do not see it happening. If there are 20+ candidates in the race, then she may be able to pull it off especially if she has an excited base. She will get a lot of the progressive voters -- but will it be enough?
Jerry Lawler -- If you can't get out of a Chris Masters' Master Lock on Monday Night Raw, then how can you be the Mayor?
Rickey Peete -- This is the dark horse in the race. While he has been convicted of crimes, that is not necessarily to his detriment. D.C. voters elected Marion Berry after he got caught with the crack pipes. He has proven that he can raise a lot of money, so he could battle with W.W. However, Peete & W.W. are aligned in the same cliques, so he would not likely go directly against W.W. However, he could be W.W.'s potential "annointee."
Deidre Malone -- I believe it was the LWC who first stated she might be running. Now I hear she is not interested. However, she would be the PERFECT person for W.W. to hand the mayoral seat if he wants to annoint the mayor. I don't hear many negatives about her as a politician, and she is good around people. She has also remained scandal-free as far as I can tell. A W.W. endorsement for the seat could surprisingly put her in power.
Myron Lowery -- No chance in my opinion. He barely beat Sir Isaac for the City Council in 2003. Next.
Ed Stanton III -- He fought hard in the Congressional primary finishing in 5th place, and acquired many supporters. He has the Fed Ex money behind him, so that is always a consideration. As a former Assistant City Attorney, he can point to experience in the municipal government. One of my good friends always says, "only a young person will be beat Willie." I agree. If someone does defeat W.W., he/she will likely be under the age of 40. Is Ed Stanton ready to be the mayor?
Marvell Mitchell/Ron Redwing -- Like Ed Stanton, they competed well in the Congressional primary. Redwing alienated some people with racial comments, but he had thousands of supporters. Mitchell has money which will be a MAJOR factor in this race. However, do enough people know them?
Jerry West -- I am a huge NBA fan, so I would love to see the Logo as Mayor. A longshot, but if West could pull it off, then perhaps the Grizzlies could win their 1st playoff game.
Nikki Tinker -- Great showing in the Congressional race. Unfortunately, there are no bronze and silver medals in politics. I do not see her having much of a chance to win the mayor's race. W.W. would dissect her being from Alabama like the prize-fighter he dreams of becoming. However, if Ms. Tinker could get Oprah to walk the stump with her (or even do a live show somewhere in Memphis with Ms. Tinker), then we may be addressing her in October 2007 as Mayor Tinker.
Joe Ford Sr. -- The current County Commissioner Chairman and 2nd place finisher to W.W. in 1999. Many people want Joe Sr. to run. People LOVE rematches and this would be a biggest political rematch in recent Memphis politics. I agree with them. However with the Jake and HFJ losses last week, many say that the Ford machine is finished. However, Ophelia was the one Ford winner last week -- and she won with over 70% of the votes. She's from the original generation of Fords just like Joe Sr. Jake and HFJ are from the next generation, so they're more like sequels. And except for the movie Aliens, people typically do not like sequels. If Joe Sr. can put together a solid campaign team, he could beat W.W., because Joe Sr. has a lot of cross-over appeal to whites and Republicans. Any candidate will need cross-over appeal to defeat W.W.
(**UPDATE** - Thanks to the Wintermute who informed me that this was originally discussed on 55-40 at WILLIE STAY OR GO.)
Friday, November 10, 2006
- Congrats to all the winners in the primaries and general elections around the country;
- Congrats to all candidates;
- I will never forget the Democratic primary for the 9th Congressional seat, though I doubt I will run for a political office anytime soon.
- I first met Bob Corker at the Dutch Treat Luncheon in March, 2006. We both spoke and he said that we would see each other up on Capitol Hill. It reminded me of that old Marino/Montana Pepsi commercial in 1985 where Montana bought Marino a Diet Pepsi in light of the 49ers Super Bowl victory over the Dolphins. Marino promised he would be buying next year. Unfortunately, QB Marino never made it to the Bowl again, so he couldn't hold up his end of the bargain. Just like Marino, I didn't hold up my end of the bargain.
- If I couldn't win the Congress seat, I wanted to see Steve Cohen win. He was the most qualified candidate for the position. Good luck in DC! The District will need your best efforts.
- HFJ ran a great campaign and he should be proud of his efforts. He's now a true national personality. I am interested in seeing what HFJ does next...mayor? governor? corporate executive? lobbyist? actor? model? attorney? media host?
- Speaking of mayor, who is going to run against W.W. Herenton or will he rule forever? I hear people in the streets yelling for HFJ to run against Willie.
- With that being said, would you support HFJ over Willie for Mayor?
- Except for Joe Sr., Ophelia and Roderic, it was not a great political year for Fords (myself included). There are still people who support the family and non-family with the same last name, but any future candidates must definitely be qualified for the position or there will be other losses.
- As my brother Justin said, the machine is not broken. There are merely a few defective parts. When you have defective parts, you don't destroy the machine. You send the defective parts back to the factory for retooling and modification. If the parts are beyond repair, then you get new parts. That is what needs to happen here. Candidates need to prove themselves worthy at a local level.
- Democrats should not worry about impeaching Bush right now. There are too many problems in our country and an impeachment would open up a partisan battle that would be economically wasteful. It would then give Republicans ammunition in 2008 to win back the House and retain the Presidency.
- Although I lost in the primary, I was able to garner 9,334 votes with only two full-time members on my campaign staff and very little money. The alleged carpetbagger candidate and his 21-year old campaign manager brother - that was pretty much it. We ran a grassroots campaign that simply couldn't compete when Tinker and Cohen broke out their bank and started their commercial wars. However, I am still proud of our efforts and the respect we gained in the Memphis political scene.
- Thanks to all the supporters and staff!
- Julian Bolton, where are you? I still owe you one for your last campaign commercial. It is too bad that your flawed strategy didn't get you a sufficient number of votes to advance.
- Who will get Sen. Cohen's state senate seat (try saying that 3 times fast)? I hope that he/she is a qualified candidate.
- Where there be another People's Convention for the Memphis mayor's race?
- The Governator won a sequel out in California. I never really liked Angelides and that sentiment seemed to be widespread.
- Mr. T, thanks for keeping my name out of your mouth.
- Many of the candidates in the 2006 Congressional race need to run for city offices in 2007. I'm talking about Lee Harris, Bill Whitman, Ed Stanton and Joe Kyles. Run, run, run!
- Hillary, please do not run for President! You will not win.
- Hang onto your hats...the 2007 Memphis City elections will be wilder than the 2006 County and General Elections.
- Web logs (blogs) have made politics into an entirely different animal. I know that I turned to the blogs for all the latest information (true or not). This was true throughout the country. I tried to catch them all whether positive or negative...Volunteer Voters, The Ford Report, Blogging for Corker, Pesky Fly, Leftwingcracker, 55-40, West TN Liberal, River City Mud, Freedonian, Daily Docket, Voting in Memphis, Blue Collar Republican, Thaddeus Matthews, Polar Donkey, Daily Kos, etc...
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Hey, how are you doing? Julia Hawkins from your Washington D.C. office asked me to contact you regarding the opportunity to speak with Sen. Feinstein. With the current state of affairs in the domestic and international world, I want to let my voice be heard by Sen. Feinstein before any potential conflict may erupt in Iraq or elsewhere on or after 3/17/2003. Please pass the below letter along to Senator Feinstein.
Dear Senator Feinstein:
Thank you so much for your valuable time. I really appreciate your letter of congratulations for my Pepperdine law school graduation last spring. It was definitely a motivating factor throughout my study for last summer's CA bar exam. I passed the exam in November and will finally be swearing in on April 4 here in Los Angeles. I will also be taking the Tennessee bar and possibly waiving into the D.C. bar later this year.
I have two things I want to discuss with you: (1) the U.S. war with Iraq...
...(1) As a concerned citizen exercising his civic duty, I want to let my voice be heard on the record in these times of seeming chaos and conflict throughout the world. It seems imminent that our country will soon go to war -- a war that will possibly change the way of life for our country permanently. While I am not in the political sector, my family in Memphis, Tennessee is, including my dad, my uncles and my cousin U.S. Rep. Harold Ford. During high school, I participated in the TN Senate Youth and Boys State programs, so I keep abreast of the world political events and issues.
I am currently producing movies and developing an entertainment/intellectual property law practice in Los Angeles. As I look around my city, I see and hear people worried about the imminent war and the possible worldwide financial recession/collapse (possibly due to the upcoming peak of the world's oil production which is rumored to happen later this decade). When U.S. domestic oil production peaked in the early 1970s, the gas and energy shortages here substantially affected the U.S. economy in many negative ways. What will be the result for the world's economy when the oil production of the entire world peaks? Unless some cheap energy source is available as soon as the production peak is reached, there will be much destruction and chaos as the world's countries and corporations battle to control the remaining limited oil reserves. Oil will still be around for another 50-60 years after the production peak is reached, but only the rich and powerful will have access to it as it gets more and more scarce.
While I am not privy to the information that my elected officials have, various internet sites leak independent, underground news stories that our mainstream, corporate media seems to miss. While some of these underground stories may be true, many of these stories may simply just be the product of some radical, creative thinkers. However, a few of these news reports make much more sense than the news which is reported (or not) in our mainstream media -- namely the true motives, effects and beneficiaries of this upcoming war.
Since only my elected officials have the classified information that is leading us to war, I can only form conclusions using my knowledge and analyzing information from a number of different sources. Since I am usually correct in my well-researched conclusions, it is because of my conclusion of where this war will eventually lead that I am fearful for the future of my country and my republic. I really hope my conclusions are wrong!
With your knowledge from various select congressional committee memberships, I have faith that equipped with the real knowledge you will make the right decisions. While my country has not been perfect over its existence, it has contributed more to human society than any other country in recorded history. For hundreds of years, nations have looked to us for guidance in hopes that their respective countries could flourish and prosper like our country. In two great wars and a cold war last century, the U.S. brought freedom to oppressed societies and brought hope to other nations worldwide. However at some point over the last fifty years, our united country has changed from being a beacon of hope to a disunited beacon of force. Perhaps it was Sept. 11, or perhaps it was at some other time. Nevertheless, this country has changed.
Now a majority of the world views this country as a bully concerned only about profit. People are fleeing the country to immigrate elsewhere, fifty years of beneficial alliances are eroding and career government officials are resigning all in protest to the war plans. This is unprecedented in the modern American era. I saw your recent appearance on Chris Matthews' "Hardball", and I agree with many of the views that you expressed. However, I disagree with our current executive administration's stance and position on invading Iraq to remove its leader. While Saddam is a dangerous man who eliminates all rivals to his power in rather inhumane ways, he is not the only evil leader in the world. Some of the world's other evil leaders are in some cases, our closest allies and friends. In fact, during the times that Saddam was using chemical weapons both on his people and the people of Iran, Saddam was one of our biggest allies in the Middle East. To remove one "gangster" (who I believe was declared 95% disarmed by the U.N. in the mid-1990s) which will likely kill a potential of 500,000 Iraqi civilians known as "collateral damage" is ridiculous especially when the U.N. weapons inspectors are asking for more time to complete their operations peacefully.
A unilateral war killing even one innocent Iraqi civilian will brand America and its leadership as war criminals in the eyes of many nations around the world if it happens without U.N. approval. It will also ignite fury amongst the 1 billion Muslims of the world. If 19 extremist terrorists can take out our financial base in New York with only boxcutters, what will 1 billion do to our country when they see the destruction inflicted on their brothers/sisters by the huge 21,000 pound bombs dropped in the middle of the night? Is the worst-case scenario of losing American troops, enraging the entire Muslim world against us, racking up a huge $1 trillion bill during a recession for the war expenses, diverting military resources away from our war on terrorism which is still on-going, ignoring the rising crisis on the Korean peninsula, indirectly causing the deaths of some 500,000 innocent Iraqis including some 200,000 children, and contaminating Iraq for many years with cancer-causing depleted uranium munitions really worth it to "free" the country from Saddam's tyranny and oppression when no imminent threat to our security has been proven by the executive branch? Merely saying that you have proof is not proof, though the executive branch uses such logic to justify its unilateral action.
If Saddam Hussein is really the threat so claimed, wouldn't it be more efficient to simply conduct a covert, "G.I. Joe-style" operation to take him out with minimal casualties instead of destroying the five million-populated Baghdad? Although current Presidential executive orders forbid these types of operations, this rule could be easily changed by merely having the President sign a new executive order. If there is credible, provable evidence linking Saddam to an imminent U.S. security threat, surely such an operation would be completely justified both legally and morally. From the pictures of the city I have seen online, the scenery of Baghdad resembles the cosmopolitan metropolis scenery here in Los Angeles. Hypothetically, if in the future the countries of the world decide to rid the U.S. of its weapons of mass destruction for the actions of its leaders, I would hate for Los Angeles and its people to be on the receiving end of a "Shock and Awe" as Baghdad will be hit with during the first few days of the war. I cannot imagine the horror that millions of ordinary Iraqis, unaffiliated whatsoever to the country's politics or Saddam, feel each night as they go to sleep -- wondering if they will wake up in a pile of rubble or whether they will wake up at all.
If the members of Congress truly believe that our executive branch is doing what is right for the true security and principles of our country as founded, then you all have my full support. Several of my family members and friends have been called up to active military status, so I pray for their safe return home. The U.S. troops and soldiers of this war have my unconditional support. I have truly been blessed to live my entire 29 years in the greatest country of all-time thanks to the sacrifices and blood of soldiers from generations past fighting to preserve liberty, civil rights, freedom and the Constitution. Our forefathers designed our government with a checks and balances system to keep us from falling into a unilateral tyranny. When the executive branch is the only branch of our government making war decisions, it is apparent that some, if not all, of these checks have bounced. Given the significant importance of the Iraqi situation, I do not hear Congress exercising any of its powerful given rights. If our country is destined to go to war with Iraq, then it is time for Congress to stand-up and call for an emergency meeting to formally declare war on Iraq. If there is not enough support for the war declaration amongst the representatives of the people, then the war effort needs to be stopped immediately and real meaningful diplomacy must be reinstated. If there is enough support for the formal war declaration from Congress, then our President would be vindicated and would be fully authorized under our laws and Constitution to do whatever is necessary in Iraq. In these trying times, the President should do everything by the book to ensure that he is making the correct decisions based on what is best for the people of America and the country as a whole, and not for the benefit of a few appointed officials and/or various lobby groups who may have allegiances to entities other than the U.S. If the President's evidence is completely solid, then he should have no problem convincing Congress to authorize the declaration (though I personally do not believe there would be enough support for a congressional war declaration).
If the President's stated goal is to bring democracy to the world, then he should begin first by practicing the principles of democracy both at home with Congress and abroad with the U.N. However, the President was not even elected according to the democratic wishes of his own people who cast over 600,000 more votes for the President's 2000 challenger Al Gore, Jr. If there are so many nations and people of the world against this war, shouldn't the President be asking the reasons why instead trying to bluff or bribe these nations to go along with his position? Of course legitimate U.S. interests must take precedence over U.N mandates, but aren't these sovereign U.N. nation's considerations and concerns all a part of the democratic process? Unfortunately, I believe that Congress gave away its war powers to the executive branch back before the Nov. 2002 elections, so it may already be too late for Congress to stop the war as it so already appears. Nevertheless, I truly believe that you will do everything in your power to ensure that our country continues to abide by the principles and ideals of our Constitution as we approach this crucial point in American History.
Friday, October 20, 2006
What effect, if any, will a guilty verdict have on the close races?
Click here to read more.
SCIENTISTS CREATE CLOAK OF INVISIBILITY
***UPDATE: Based on the fact that I cannot think of many positive uses for invisibility, it MAY NOT be the best thing.
***UPDATE #2: Thanks to Wintermute for pointing out my typo.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
By Matt Kelley and Peter Eisler
Members of Congress and their staffs are barred from using their positions for personal profit. But their spouses and other relatives can — and often do — cash in when lawmakers spend taxpayer dollars.
Lobbying groups employed 30 family members last year to influence spending bills that their relatives with ties to the House and Senate appropriations committees oversaw or helped write, a USA TODAY investigation found. Combined, they generated millions of dollars in fees for themselves or their firms.
The connections are so pervasive that, in 2005 alone, appropriations bills contained about $750 million for projects championed by lobbyists whose relatives were involved in writing the spending bills.
"It smells bad; it is bad," Mickey Edwards, a Princeton University lecturer, said when told of the newspaper's findings. "If it is not already completely outlawed, it should be." Edwards served on the House Appropriations Committee during his 16 years as a Republican congressman from Oklahoma.
Click here to read the rest of the article.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Earlier today, I received word that one of Jake Ford's campaign managers (I believe his name was Tyrone or something similar) wanted to speak with me. It seems that Mr. T (as I'll call him, but no disrespect to the former A-Team star) did not like the fact that I endorsed Sen. Cohen for the 9th Congressional District seat over Jake Ford. As I stated way back in early April, I would be supporting the winner of the Democratic primary...period! Mr. T is now accusing me of sabotaging Jake's campaign (as if Jake isn't doing a bang-up job already without my assistance).
Well, I called Mr. T, but I knew immediately that it was not going to be a friendly conversation. Mr. T started using all these random mob words that I'm sure he picked up from watching "Scarface" or "Goodfellas" one too many times. Needless to say, Mr. T started trying to out-talk me on the phone by raising his voice...a big no no! When I immediately told him to shut the hell up, he basically told me that he would see me in the streets and hung up. I called him back wanting to hear more of his not-so-veiled threats, but he hung up again saying that there was no need to talk.
I do not know if Mr. T is truly a member of the Jake Ford camp. If he is not an official staff member, then I apologize to Jake Ford and to the entire Jake Ford for Congress staff and crew for any negativity that may be associated with this ass-clown. But if Mr. T is a part of the Jake Ford camp, then this Mr. T guy is a certified idiot.
I have held my tongue about Jake's campaign throughout this general election season, but my patience is wearing thin. As Mr. Scott Hall used to say (see picture above), if you have a problem with me Mr. T, then "don't sing it, bring it." However based on the fact that you hung up the phone after only 20 seconds of me dissing you, you are the type of coward who hides behind much stronger people.
I guess you are getting desperate Mr. T, because the election is winding down and as a campaign manager, you have been an utter failure. And I'm not talking about the likely ass-whooping that your candidate is about the receive. I'm talking about you trying to bring the streets into this race. Can you be a little bit more original?
My advice...stop watching so many gangster movies and pick up a book. You might learn something.
So Mr. T, keep my name out of your mouth from this point forward and worry about winning your election. In case you don't know, one of the many advantages of being able to practice law is that you have the full legal system at your disposal to use as necessary. If you bring up my name again Mr. T, you'll have a lot more to worry about than your imminent loss.
Monday, October 16, 2006
The MYSPACE SOCIAL GUIDE is the first and only book about social life on Myspace.com! The book has expert advice from some of the hottest bands, artists, celebrities, and personalities in America. It’s real, raw, funny, and slightly offensive. It’s entertaining. The ultimate guide to making business connections, promoting yourself, promoting your music, promoting your art, promoting your film, expressing your creativity, finding hot dates, and entertaining yourself!!!
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
The Military Commissions Act of 2006 governing the treatment of detainees is the culmination of relentless fear-mongering by the Bush administration since the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Because the bill was adopted with lightning speed, barely anyone noticed that it empowers Bush to declare not just aliens, but also U.S. citizens, "unlawful enemy combatants."
Bush & Co. has portrayed the bill as a tough way to deal with aliens to protect us against terrorism. Frightened they might lose their majority in Congress in the November elections, the Republicans rammed the bill through Congress with little substantive debate.
Anyone who donates money to a charity that turns up on Bush's list of "terrorist" organizations, or who speaks out against the government's policies could be declared an "unlawful enemy combatant" and imprisoned indefinitely. That includes American citizens.
The bill also strips habeas corpus rights from detained aliens who have been declared enemy combatants. Congress has the constitutional power to suspend habeas corpus only in times of rebellion or invasion. The habeas-stripping provision in the new bill is unconstitutional and the Supreme Court will likely say so when the issue comes before it.
Although more insidious, this law follows in the footsteps of other unnecessarily repressive legislation. In times of war and national crisis, the government has targeted immigrants and dissidents.
In 1798, the Federalist-led Congress, capitalizing on the fear of war, passed the four Alien and Sedition Acts to stifle dissent against the Federalist Party's political agenda. The Naturalization Act extended the time necessary for immigrants to reside in the U.S. because most immigrants sympathized with the Republicans.
The Alien Enemies Act provided for the arrest, detention and deportation of male citizens of any foreign nation at war with the United States. Many of the 25,000 French citizens living in the U.S. could have been expelled had France and America gone to war, but this law was never used. The Alien Friends Act authorized the deportation of any non-citizen suspected of endangering the security of the U.S. government; the law lasted only two years and no one was deported under it.
The Sedition Act provided criminal penalties for any person who wrote, printed, published, or spoke anything "false, scandalous and malicious" with the intent to hold the government in "contempt or disrepute." The Federalists argued it was necessary to suppress criticism of the government in time of war. The Republicans objected that the Sedition Act violated the First Amendment, which had become part of the Constitution seven years earlier. Employed exclusively against Republicans, the Sedition Act was used to target congressmen and newspaper editors who criticized President John Adams.
Subsequent examples of laws passed and actions taken as a result of fear-mongering during periods of xenophobia are the Espionage Act of 1917, the Sedition Act of 1918, the Red Scare following World War I, the forcible internment of people of Japanese descent during World War II, and the Alien Registration Act of 1940 (the Smith Act).
During the McCarthy period of the 1950s, in an effort to eradicate the perceived threat of communism, the government engaged in widespread illegal surveillance to threaten and silence anyone who had an unorthodox political viewpoint. Many people were jailed, blacklisted and lost their jobs. Thousands of lives were shattered as the FBI engaged in "red-baiting." One month after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, United States Attorney General John Ashcroft rushed the U.S.A. Patriot Act through a timid Congress. The Patriot Act created a crime of domestic terrorism aimed at political activists who protest government policies, and set forth an ideological test for entry into the United States.
In 1944, the Supreme Court upheld the legality of the internment of Japanese and Japanese-American citizens in Korematsu v. United States. Justice Robert Jackson warned in his dissent that the ruling would "lie about like a loaded weapon ready for the hand of any authority that can bring forward a plausible claim of an urgent need."
That day has come with the Military Commissions Act of 2006. It provides the basis for the President to round-up both aliens and U.S. citizens he determines have given material support to terrorists. Kellogg Brown & Root, a subsidiary of Cheney's Halliburton, is constructing a huge facility at an undisclosed location to hold tens of thousands of undesirables.
In his 1928 dissent in Olmstead v. United States, Justice Louis Brandeis cautioned, "The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding." Seventy-three years later, former White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, speaking for a zealous President, warned Americans "they need to watch what they say, watch what they do."
We can expect Bush to continue to exploit 9/11 to strip us of more of our liberties. Our constitutional right to dissent is in serious jeopardy. Benjamin Franklin's prescient warning should give us pause: "They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security."
Marjorie Cohn, a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, is president-elect of the National Lawyers Guild, and the U.S. representative to the executive committee of the American Association of Jurists. Her new book, "Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law," will be published in 2007 by PoliPointPress.
Thursday, September 28, 2006
I guess this means no more MGD for awhile, which is a good thing. Have you ever seen a ninja with a beer belly? It's definitely not a pretty sight.
Address to the United Nations
Rise Up Against the Empire
By HUGO CHAVEZ
Representatives of the governments of the world, good morning to all of you. First of all, I would like to invite you, very respectfully, to those who have not read this book, to read it.
Noam Chomsky, one of the most prestigious American and world intellectuals, Noam Chomsky, and this is one of his most recent books, ‘ Hegemony or Survival: The Imperialist Strategy of the United States.’” [Holds up book, waves it in front of General Assembly.] “It’s an excellent book to help us understand what has been happening in the world throughout the 20th century, and what’s happening now, and the greatest threat looming over our planet.
The hegemonic pretensions of the American empire are placing at risk the very survival of the human species. We continue to warn you about this danger and we appeal to the people of the United States and the world to halt this threat, which is like a sword hanging over our heads. I had considered reading from this book, but, for the sake of time,” [flips through the pages, which are numerous] “I will just leave it as a recommendation.
It reads easily, it is a very good book, I’m sure Madame [President] you are familiar with it. It appears in English, in Russian, in Arabic, in German. I think that the first people who should read this book are our brothers and sisters in the United States, because their threat is right in their own house.
The devil is right at home. The devil, the devil himself, is right in the house.
“And the devil came here yesterday. Yesterday the devil came here. Right here.” [crosses himself] “And it smells of sulfur still today.
Yesterday, ladies and gentlemen, from this rostrum, the president of the United States, the gentleman to whom I refer as the devil, came here, talking as if he owned the world. Truly. As the owner of the world.
I think we could call a psychiatrist to analyze yesterday’s statement made by the president of the United States. As the spokesman of imperialism, he came to share his nostrums, to try to preserve the current pattern of domination, exploitation and pillage of the peoples of the world.
An Alfred Hitchcock movie could use it as a scenario. I would even propose a title: “The Devil’s Recipe.”
As Chomsky says here, clearly and in depth, the American empire is doing all it can to consolidate its system of domination. And we cannot allow them to do that. We cannot allow world dictatorship to be consolidated.
The world parent’s statement — cynical, hypocritical, full of this imperial hypocrisy from the need they have to control everything.
They say they want to impose a democratic model. But that’s their democratic model. It’s the false democracy of elites, and, I would say, a very original democracy that’s imposed by weapons and bombs and firing weapons.
What a strange democracy. Aristotle might not recognize it or others who are at the root of democracy.
What type of democracy do you impose with marines and bombs?
The president of the United States, yesterday, said to us, right here, in this room, and I’m quoting, “Anywhere you look, you hear extremists telling you can escape from poverty and recover your dignity through violence, terror and martyrdom.”
Wherever he looks, he sees extremists. And you, my brother — he looks at your color, and he says, oh, there’s an extremist. Evo Morales, the worthy president of Bolivia, looks like an extremist to him.
The imperialists see extremists everywhere. It’s not that we are extremists. It’s that the world is waking up. It’s waking up all over. And people are standing up.
I have the feeling, dear world dictator, that you are going to live the rest of your days as a nightmare because the rest of us are standing up, all those who are rising up against American imperialism, who are shouting for equality, for respect, for the sovereignty of nations.
Yes, you can call us extremists, but we are rising up against the empire, against the model of domination.
The president then — and this he said himself, he said: “I have come to speak directly to the populations in the Middle East, to tell them that my country wants peace.”
That’s true. If we walk in the streets of the Bronx, if we walk around New York, Washington, San Diego, in any city, San Antonio, San Francisco, and we ask individuals, the citizens of the United States, what does this country want? Does it want peace? They’ll say yes.
But the government doesn’t want peace. The government of the United States doesn’t want peace. It wants to exploit its system of exploitation, of pillage, of hegemony through war.
It wants peace. But what’s happening in Iraq? What happened in Lebanon? In Palestine? What’s happening? What’s happened over the last 100 years in Latin America and in the world? And now threatening Venezuela — new threats against Venezuela, against Iran?
He spoke to the people of Lebanon. Many of you, he said, have seen how your homes and communities were caught in the crossfire. How cynical can you get? What a capacity to lie shamefacedly. The bombs in Beirut with millimetric precision?
This is crossfire? He’s thinking of a western, when people would shoot from the hip and somebody would be caught in the crossfire.
This is imperialist, fascist, assassin, genocidal, the empire and Israel firing on the people of Palestine and Lebanon. That is what happened. And now we hear, “We’re suffering because we see homes destroyed.’
The president of the United States came to talk to the peoples — to the peoples of the world. He came to say — I brought some documents with me, because this morning I was reading some statements, and I see that he talked to the people of Afghanistan, the people of Lebanon, the people of Iran. And he addressed all these peoples directly.
And you can wonder, just as the president of the United States addresses those peoples of the world, what would those peoples of the world tell him if they were given the floor? What would they have to say?
And I think I have some inkling of what the peoples of the south, the oppressed people think. They would say, “Yankee imperialist, go home.” I think that is what those people would say if they were given the microphone and if they could speak with one voice to the American imperialists.
And that is why, Madam President, my colleagues, my friends, last year we came here to this same hall as we have been doing for the past eight years, and we said something that has now been confirmed — fully, fully confirmed.
I don’t think anybody in this room could defend the system. Let’s accept — let’s be honest. The U.N. system, born after the Second World War, collapsed. It’s worthless.
Oh, yes, it’s good to bring us together once a year, see each other, make statements and prepare all kinds of long documents, and listen to good speeches, like Abel’s yesterday, or President Mullah’s . Yes, it’s good for that.
And there are a lot of speeches, and we’ve heard lots from the president of Sri Lanka, for instance, and the president of Chile.
But we, the assembly, have been turned into a merely deliberative organ. We have no power, no power to make any impact on the terrible situation in the world. And that is why Venezuela once again proposes, here, today, 20 September, that we re-establish the United Nations.
Last year, Madam, we made four modest proposals that we felt to be crucially important. We have to assume the responsibility our heads of state, our ambassadors, our representatives, and we have to discuss it.
The first is expansion, and Mullah talked about this yesterday right here. The Security Council, both as it has permanent and non-permanent categories, (inaudible) developing countries and LDCs must be given access as new permanent members. That’s step one.
Second, effective methods to address and resolve world conflicts, transparent decisions.
Point three, the immediate suppression — and that is something everyone’s calling for — of the anti-democratic mechanism known as the veto, the veto on decisions of the Security Council.
Let me give you a recent example. The immoral veto of the United States allowed the Israelis, with impunity, to destroy Lebanon. Right in front of all of us as we stood there watching, a resolution in the council was prevented.
Fourthly, we have to strengthen, as we’ve always said, the role and the powers of the secretary general of the United Nations.
Yesterday, the secretary general practically gave us his speech of farewell. And he recognized that over the last 10 years, things have just gotten more complicated; hunger, poverty, violence, human rights violations have just worsened. That is the tremendous consequence of the collapse of the United Nations system and American hegemonistic pretensions.
Madam, Venezuela a few years ago decided to wage this battle within the United Nations by recognizing the United Nations, as members of it that we are, and lending it our voice, our thinking.
Our voice is an independent voice to represent the dignity and the search for peace and the reformulation of the international system; to denounce persecution and aggression of hegemonistic forces on the planet.
This is how Venezuela has presented itself. Bolivar’s home has sought a nonpermanent seat on the Security Council.
Let’s see. Well, there’s been an open attack by the U.S. government, an immoral attack, to try and prevent Venezuela from being freely elected to a post in the Security Council.
The imperium is afraid of truth, is afraid of independent voices. It calls us extremists, but they are the extremists.
And I would like to thank all the countries that have kindly announced their support for Venezuela, even though the ballot is a secret one and there’s no need to announce things.
But since the imperium has attacked, openly, they strengthened the convictions of many countries. And their support strengthens us.
Mercosur, as a bloc, has expressed its support, our brothers in Mercosur. Venezuela, with Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, is a full member of Mercosur.
And many other Latin American countries, CARICOM, Bolivia have expressed their support for Venezuela. The Arab League, the full Arab League has voiced its support. And I am immensely grateful to the Arab world, to our Arab brothers, our Caribbean brothers, the African Union. Almost all of Africa has expressed its support for Venezuela and countries such as Russia or China and many others.
I thank you all warmly on behalf of Venezuela, on behalf of our people, and on behalf of the truth, because Venezuela, with a seat on the Security Council, will be expressing not only Venezuela’s thoughts, but it will also be the voice of all the peoples of the world, and we will defend dignity and truth.
Over and above all of this, Madam President, I think there are reasons to be optimistic. A poet would have said “helplessly optimistic,” because over and above the wars and the bombs and the aggressive and the preventive war and the destruction of entire peoples, one can see that a new era is dawning.
As Silvio Rodriguez says, the era is giving birth to a heart. There are alternative ways of thinking. There are young people who think differently. And this has already been seen within the space of a mere decade. It was shown that the end of history was a totally false assumption, and the same was shown about Pax Americana and the establishment of the capitalist neo-liberal world. It has been shown, this system, to generate mere poverty. Who believes in it now?
What we now have to do is define the future of the world. Dawn is breaking out all over. You can see it in Africa and Europe and Latin America and Oceanea. I want to emphasize that optimistic vision.
We have to strengthen ourselves, our will to do battle, our awareness. We have to build a new and better world.
Venezuela joins that struggle, and that’s why we are threatened. The U.S. has already planned, financed and set in motion a coup in Venezuela, and it continues to support coup attempts in Venezuela and elsewhere.
President Michelle Bachelet reminded us just a moment ago of the horrendous assassination of the former foreign minister, Orlando Letelier.
And I would just add one thing: Those who perpetrated this crime are free. And that other event where an American citizen also died were American themselves. They were CIA killers, terrorists.
And we must recall in this room that in just a few days there will be another anniversary. Thirty years will have passed from this other horrendous terrorist attack on the Cuban plane, where 73 innocents died, a Cubana de Aviacion airliner.
And where is the biggest terrorist of this continent who took the responsibility for blowing up the plane? He spent a few years in jail in Venezuela. Thanks to CIA and then government officials, he was allowed to escape, and he lives here in this country, protected by the government.
And he was convicted. He has confessed to his crime. But the U.S. government has double standards. It protects terrorism when it wants to.
And this is to say that Venezuela is fully committed to combating terrorism and violence. And we are one of the people who are fighting for peace.
Luis Posada Carriles is the name of that terrorist who is protected here. And other tremendously corrupt people who escaped from Venezuela are also living here under protection: a group that bombed various embassies, that assassinated people during the coup. They kidnapped me and they were going to kill me, but I think God reached down and our people came out into the streets and the army was too, and so I’m here today.
But these people who led that coup are here today in this country protected by the American government. And I accuse the American government of protecting terrorists and of having a completely cynical discourse.
We mentioned Cuba. Yes, we were just there a few days ago. We just came from there happily.
And there you see another era born. The Summit of the 15, the Summit of the Nonaligned, adopted a historic resolution. This is the outcome document. Don’t worry, I’m not going to read it.
But you have a whole set of resolutions here that were adopted after open debate in a transparent matter — more than 50 heads of state. Havana was the capital of the south for a few weeks, and we have now launched, once again, the group of the nonaligned with new momentum.
And if there is anything I could ask all of you here, my companions, my brothers and sisters, it is to please lend your good will to lend momentum to the Nonaligned Movement for the birth of the new era, to prevent hegemony and prevent further advances of imperialism.
And as you know, Fidel Castro is the president of the nonaligned for the next three years, and we can trust him to lead the charge very efficiently.
Unfortunately they thought, “Oh, Fidel was going to die.” But they’re going to be disappointed because he didn’t. And he’s not only alive, he’s back in his green fatigues, and he’s now presiding the nonaligned.
So, my dear colleagues, Madam President, a new, strong movement has been born, a movement of the south. We are men and women of the south.
With this document, with these ideas, with these criticisms, I’m now closing my file. I’m taking the book with me. And, don’t forget, I’m recommending it very warmly and very humbly to all of you.
We want ideas to save our planet, to save the planet from the imperialist threat. And hopefully in this very century, in not too long a time, we will see this, we will see this new era, and for our children and our grandchildren a world of peace based on the fundamental principles of the United Nations, but a renewed United Nations.
And maybe we have to change location. Maybe we have to put the United Nations somewhere else; maybe a city of the south. We’ve proposed Venezuela.
You know that my personal doctor had to stay in the plane. The chief of security had to be left in a locked plane. Neither of these gentlemen was allowed to arrive and attend the U.N. meeting. This is another abuse and another abuse of power on the part of the Devil. It smells of sulfur here, but God is with us and I embrace you all.
May God bless us all. Good day to you.
Monday, September 25, 2006
Click here for further details.
I look forward to the remaining debates.
I'll leave the rest of the commentary to Channel 5 and Darrell Phillips.
Click here for the rest of the commentary and the VIDEO:
By: Nomi Prins
Had enough of 'conservative' rip-off artists in Washington? Here's a list of the worst offenses we've seen since 2001.
1) The Bush administration has created the biggest budget deficit, debt, and trade imbalance ever while cutting funding for domestic needs like education, Medicare, and Medicaid.
2) The administration’s tax cuts favor the rich, no matter how you look at it. About 87 percent of tax benefits go to the 14 percent of households with incomes above $100,000. Households with incomes below $75,000 -- three-quarters of all households -- get just 5 percent of those benefits.
3) Bush signed the largest corporate tax break package in two decades, $136 billion. After World War II, corporations paid half the cost of running the federal government. Today, they pay 7%.
4) The price of gas doubled under Bush. The top oil companies earned $25 billion during the quarter that Hurricane Katrina struck compared to $50 billion for all of 2004. Former Exxon-Mobil, CEO, Lee Raymond got a $400 million exit package.
5) The Republican Congress has voted against every minimum wage increase, except the one linked to getting rid of the estate tax for the rich. The real income of the average American household has fallen five years in a row.
6) House Republicans chopped education programs by $14.3 billion -- the highest cuts ever. College tuition has increased 34 percent since Bush took office.
7) Since 2001, average monthly health care premiums have risen from $342 to $603. Annual deductibles have doubled. Today 46 million Americans (including 8.4 million children) have no health insurance, an increase of 6 million since Bush took office.
8) The Senate approved the biggest bankruptcy law in a quarter of a century. Republicans voted AGAINST protecting senior citizens, the seriously ill, military members, veterans, and employees.
9) In 1983, the Greenspan Commission put Social Security measures in place that created a $1.7 trillion surplus in the system. This administration borrowed against and cut that to $153 billion while blaming citizens for not dying young enough.
10) In 2005, Americans paid $4.3 billion in withdrawal fees at ATM’s and $16 billion to credit card companies in late fees alone. Republicans have suggested no remedies.
Nomi Prins is a senior fellow at the public policy center Demos and author of Other People's Money and Jacked: How "Conservatives" are Picking your Pocket (Whether you voted for them or not).
Posted Monday, Sep. 25, 2006
A couple of mainstream polls have begun to show that Democrat Harold Ford Jr. is topping Republican Bob Corker in Tennessee's pivotal U.S. Senate race, but Ford may have a little problem on his hands in home-base Memphis: his younger brother Jake — who's running for big brother's old 9th Congressional district seat. Jake is running as an independent against the Democratic nominee with the blessing of the family patriarch and onetime local party boss, Harold Ford Sr.
State Senator Steve Cohen won last month's winner-take-all Democratic primary to fill Ford's seat, with 31% overall, in a field that included a dozen black candidates. A respected, sometimes pugnacious legislator, Cohen is probably the Tennessee General Assembly's best-known liberal. The Midtown Memphis district he has represented for a quarter century contains a generous number of blacks. Indeed, Cohen carried several predominantly black precincts and two local black mayors, Willie Herenton of Memphis and A. C. Wharton of Shelby County, enthusiastically endorsed him two weeks ago in an elaborate downtown ceremony.
But Cohen was, and continues to be, too white and too Jewish for a number of black ministers and other African-American activists who made an abortive effort during the primary to arrange for a consensus black candidate. Activists are fearful that as the Rev. La Simba Gray put it, "for the first time in 32 years, African Americans will be without representation in the U.S. Congress from West Tennessee."
Rep. Ford himself has said he'll stay neutral regarding Cohen and his brother Jake. But the rest of the family is splitting over the race. Joe Ford Jr., an entertainment lawyer who finished third in the congressional primary — and is first cousin to both Jake Ford and Harold Ford Jr. — has endorsed Cohen. But Harold Sr., a former congressman, has gone all-out for son Jake, especially since longtime rival Herenton put down young Ford as unqualified (he dropped out of high school) and accused the Fords of seeking "a monopoly on all elected positions in this state and this county." Jake, if elected as an independent, has promised to caucus with House Democrats.
Harold Sr., now a blue-ribbon consultant dividing time between Florida and Memphis, is energetically working his former support base in inner-city Memphis for his sons. Meanwhile, the Black Ministers Association and the other erstwhile African-American consensus seekers, including a handful of Democratic activists, have also endorsed Jake. Then there's Mark White, a young white businessman and the Republican candidate, who would ordinarily stand to get no more than 30% in a heavily black district. But the split among Democrats may give him a better-than-usual shot — unless Republican moderates get worried about a reawakened Ford dynasty and go for Cohen.
Rhetoric has been heated. Thaddeus Matthews, a politically independent African American whose widely read local blog is part scandal sheet, part political tip sheet, early in the campaign dismissed "Joke Ford" as an uncredentialed political novice and high school dropout who lacked his congressman brother's finesse and did odd jobs for his father. That has also been the perspective of an influential corps of liberal white bloggers who pooled their efforts on Cohen's behalf during the primary.
The bloggers see themselves as representatives of Democratic Party progressives who long ago soured on Harold Ford Jr.'s ever-more-conservative rhetoric and voting record. Ford's strategy has been to woo middle-of-the-road and conservative voters in Middle and East Tennessee while holding on to party-line Democrats and the solid bloc of black voters in home-town Memphis. But a resumption of the once-raging Ford-Herenton civil war could cost him, and so could simmering discontent among Democrats over his neutrality in the race to replace him in Congress. The venerable Nashville Tennessean, historically the voice of the state's Democratic establishment, felt obliged recently to editorialize against the racial-consensus rhetoric backing Jake Ford as "too blatant to ignore." College Democrats at the University of Memphis publicly groused last week at what they saw as collusion between the Harold Ford Jr. and Jake Ford campaigns.
The political history of Rep. Ford's extended family is interesting, to say the least, and could be a factor. Aunt Ophelia's state Senate seat was recently voided because of a voting scandal last year. Uncle John was forced out of the selfsame Senate seat after being indicted on several counts of bribery and extortion.
On the other hand, the younger Ford brother, an Unknown Quantity if there ever was one, has surprised everyone with two consecutive strong showings — in a radio interview and in a health-care debate last week where he put in an well-prepped performance. Jake Ford and the Republican White appeared but Cohen, being feted at a local fund-raiser by celeb Cybill Shepherd, skipped the event. As blogger Matthews headlined in his latest post: "Jake Ford May Not Be A Joke After All."
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
By Senator Robert C. Byrd
US Senate Floor Remarks
09/13/06 "Information Clearing House" -- --
September 11 has come and gone, and as we remember those lost on that fateful day, and contemplate events since the horrific attack, one truth stands out.
The war in Iraq has backfired, producing more recruits for terrorism, and deep divisions within our own country. It is a war we should never have begun. The detour from our attack on Bin Laden and his minions, hiding in the cracks and crevices of the rough terrain of Afghanistan, to the unwise and unprovoked attack on Iraq has been a disastrous one. Mr. Bush’s war has damaged the country because he drove our blessed land into an unnecessary conflict, utterly misreading the consequences, with the result now being a daily display of America’s vulnerabilities to those who wish us ill. The United States is a weaker power now, especially in the Middle East, but also in the court of world opinion. Where is the America of restraint, of peace and of inspiration to millions? Where is the America respected not only for her military might, but also for her powerful ideas and her reasonable diplomacy?
Our country may have deviated occasionally from its positive global image in the past, but Abu Ghraib, the body snatching for torture, euphemistically called rendition, Presidential directives which unilaterally alter conditions of the Geneva Convention -- these are not the stuff of mere slight deviations from the America of peacefulness, fairness, and goodwill. These are major policy and attitudinal changes of Tsunami-sized proportions. Our friends shake their heads in disbelief. Our enemies nod wisely and claim they knew all the while. I cannot remember a time in our history when our elected leaders have failed the people so completely, and yet, so far, are not held accountable for costly misjudgments and outright deceptions.
Take our Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, for example. He misread the Iraqi situation entirely. He adamantly dismisses suggestions for a larger force in Iraq. He failed to object when the White House’s Coalition Provisional Authority disbanded the Iraqi army, only to have them go underground and provide fodder for the insurgency. He insisted that the Iraqi people would view our soldiers as liberators not occupiers, and even failed to properly anticipate the equipment needs of our men and women in harm’s way.
Secretary Rumsfeld continues to insist that we are not facing a civil war in Iraq despite convincing evidence to the contrary, and yet he sits comfortably in his office as the echo of his errors in judgment and strategy continues to cost thousands of lives.
Then there is President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. These men continue to try to make the American public swallow whole the line that the war in Iraq is the front line of a global war on terror, which must be continued at all costs. Stay the course, they say, despite three years of discouragingly little progress in Iraq. The body count is approaching 2,700 for our side, tens of thousands for the beleaguered Iraqi people, and billions of American tax dollars, of which an embarrassingly large chunk has been wasted by irresponsible contractors, and government officials who lack the proper respect for the public purse. Many of our allies have left the field, recognizing the truth that the Administration fails to see: namely, we had the weapons to win the war, but not the wisdom to secure the peace.
Yet, too many in the public are complacent about the numerous violations of their trust and the continuing loss of life in Iraq. Some of our citizens have apparently been convinced that it is unpatriotic to criticize one’s country when that country is engaged in an armed conflict. In fact, in our land today, there is a troubling tolerance for government overreaching on fronts at home as well as abroad. This Administration has repeatedly used fear and flag-waving to blunt the traditional American insistence on the Bill of Rights, personal freedom of thought and action, privacy, and one’s right to speak and write as one pleases. Such a cynical exercise on the part of high officials of our government is unconscionable. It is shameful behavior for which there is no excuse.
The Congress, under the control of the President’s party has been submissive, a lap dog wagging its tail in appreciation of White House secrecy and deception. Even the vast majority of the opposition party has been too quiet for too long -- unable to find its voice, stunted by the demand to “support the troops.” We forget, too often, that there is a very real difference between support for the troops and support for an unnecessary war. The men and women of our military did not ask to go to those faraway places, but they were willing. They answered their country’s call. We have an obligation to support them, but we do not need to follow blindly the unthinking policies that keep them mired in the middle of a civil war.
The American public is our last best hope now. Our people must demand more from their representatives in the Congress and from their leaders in the White House. Donald Rumsfeld should be replaced by the President because he has made so many grievous errors in judgement on Iraq and because a new voice at the helm of the Department of Defense could be a breath of fresh air for our policies in Iraq. His replacement would be good for our country. Yet even a sense of the Senate vote of “no confidence” in Mr. Rumsfeld’s leadership has been blocked by the President’s party in the Senate. Personal accountability has been long absent from this Administration, and this Senator would like to see it return.
One would hope that men and women who rise to positions of awesome responsibility would have the grace, dignity, and honor to know in their own hearts when a well-timed resignation would advance patriotic goals. But, too often, the selfish love of power or some misguided show of toughness wins the days to the detriment of our country’s fortunes. Donald Rumsfeld ought to step down or his President ought to ask him to. There is too much at stake for any other course. Personally, I believe the President is derelict in his duties when he does not ask for Mr. Rumsfeld’s latchkey. The bungling and loss of life attendant to this tragic three-year long debacle in Iraq have hurt this country, its public image, and its ability to achieve numerous other national and international goals. That kind of dangerous ineptitude cannot be excused.
But like so many things when it comes to Iraq and the Middle East in general, the United States of America is stuck in neutral, with the only thing showing vigorous movement the ever spiraling price of gasoline. We have destabilized the Middle East, and handed the mullahs a way to affect the daily lives and livelihood of every American, and the efficacy of our military might -- the oil supply lines upon which our economy and our military depend.
Now that oil supply is a favorite target for terrorists who have learned the joys of bombing pipelines, and listening to America bite its nails about the high cost of gasoline, while it laments its lack of foresight in developing alternative fuels.
Now, we have passed yet another anniversary of the bloody attacks which precipitated the disastrous situation in which our country finds itself today. Yet, while we mourn, there are hard truths to confront.
Our attention has been shifted, by design and deception, too quickly from the war in Afghanistan -- a war that we needed to fight and win. Now the Taliban is on the rise in that country. Al Qaeda continues to find sanctuary in the mountains. Violence is on the rise, and peace and stability are in jeopardy.
North Korea, probably reacting to our doctrine of preemption and our newfound bellicosity, has increased its nuclear capability. Iran has been emboldened by our inability to stop the violence in Iraq, and by the lukewarm support we have garnered from traditional allies. Even the people of Turkey, one of the United States’ staunchest allies with Turkey a member of NATO, and a model of secular Muslim democracy, have turned against us. A survey conducted by the German Marshall Fund of the United States indicates that Iran has become one of the most popular countries in Turkey, and that there is a growing willingness to identify with radical Islam. A display of ineptitude and spectacular miscalculation in Iraq has cost us dearly. Disenchantment at home with the dismal results in Iraq will have reverberations for years, much like the failure in Vietnam did in the 1960's.
President Bush insists that his war must go on. He defends warrantless wiretapping of our own citizens as essential to his cause, despite a court decision that the President has no such authority under our Constitution. He defends torture and rendition, and says that they have produced valuable evidence which has subverted several terror attacks on our country. But, his credibility is so damaged that it is difficult to believe him. He demands the authority to hold terror suspects indefinitely, and then to try them using military tribunals which deny basic rights, also in defiance of a Supreme Court ruling. He seems convinced that he can “win” a global war on terror despite the demonstrated failure of his policies of unilateralism, militarism, overheated rhetoric, and a pathological dislike of diplomacy. It is up to the Congress to change course and to stop the heinous raiding of constitutionally protected liberties by a White House which does not fully appreciate the true meaning of the word freedom. I hope that we may find the courage.
Extraordinary Rendition, Torture and Disappearances in the "War on Terror"
Human rights groups and several public inquiries in Europe have found the U.S. government, with the complicity of numerous governments worldwide, to be engaged in the illegal practice of extraordinary rendition, secret detention, and torture. The U.S. government-sponsored program of renditions is an unlawful practice in which numerous persons have been illegally detained and secretly flown to third countries, where they have suffered additional human rights abuses including torture and enforced disappearance. No one knows the exact number of persons affected, due to the secrecy under which the operations are carried out.
For more information visit www.witness.org.
by Anna Thompson
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (unverified!) 18 Sep 2006
Nashville, TN: Green Party of Tennessee candidate for US Senate Chris Lugo is urging the League of Women Voters and other organizations sponsoring debates in Tennessee to open up the debates to all candidates on the ballot,"This is a democracy and the only way the voters can know who they are voting for is if they have a chance to see them and hear them. It is of vital importance in this important statewide election that the media not exclude candidates and thereby hand the elections over to the campaigns with the most money."
The League of Women voters has scheduled a debate between Democrat Harold Ford Jr. and Republican Bob Corker on October 28th in candidate Chris Lugo's home town of Nashville. The Green Party of Tennessee has been fielding candidates for office since 1996. The National Green Party has been in existence for almost three decades and has elected officials in over 250 positions nationally and is running hundreds of candidates this year. In Tennessee, the Green Party is fielding candidates in two Congressional races as well as the Gubenatorial and Senate races.
"The voters deserve a chance to hear from the candidates. This public forum is an opportunity for Vanderbilt University and CBS News as well as the League of Women Voters to live up to the promise of the Constitution of the United States. We cannot have fair elections if the candidates are excluded. "
Unlike Corker or Ford, Green Party of Tennessee Candidate Chris Lugo represents a clear distinction for Tennessee Voters. Chris Lugo supports and immediate withdrawal of armed forces from Iraq and supports other liberal issues which the Democratic Party of Tennessee has abandoned, such as Civil Rights for Gays and Lesbians. Additionally, Lugo has not resorted to immigrant bashing or fear mongering as part of his campaign this season. "I stand fully behind the rights of immigrants. I believe they deserve the dignity and respect that they have earned as persons who have come to this country to work and to live the American dream."
Other issues which the Democrats and Republicans have avoided this campaign season, such as protection of First Amendment Rights and Universal Health Care are part of Lugo's platform. Chris Lugo is the only candidate running for office in the Senate campaign who supports implementing universal health care to address the needs of Tennessee's 600,000 uninsured, including over 300,000 who were kicked off of Tenncare this year.
"I will debate Harold Ford Jr on Meet the Press. I will debate Harold Ford Jr. and Bob Corker in Chattanooga. I will debate them in Nashville. I am ready to show that there is a choice for voters in Tennessee this election season. Americans are tired of the war in Iraq. They want a quick and speedy end to the war. Tennesseans want health care, they want a clean environment, they want a politician who will address the environmental crisis of global warming. Tennesseans want a candidate who will look to the future, and will provide real solutions to the problems we are facing."
Contact: Chris Lugo for US Senate
9 Music Sq So #164
Nashville, TN 37230