Friday, July 29, 2005

Absurd editorial in the Denver Post supporting CAFTA

Who exactly do they think they are kidding?

"We welcome the removal of trade barriers between the U.S. and Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua and hope that increasing trade will bolster fragile Central American democracies and improve the livelihood of impoverished families."

That would be lovely wouldn' it? Raising these poor countries up and out of poverty through free trade. Unfortunately we've already tried this once before with NAFTA and the standard of living in the Mexico has stayed stagnanat and the rela wages have actually fallen. We already know it doesn't work, NAFTA was launched in 1994 with promises of raisng up Mexico's standard of living, you can see for yourself that it hasn't done that and it has at the same time hurt American workers.

"I think it can only be positive that all the trade barriers ... are coming down," said Chuck Berry of the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry.

Who exactly has been helped by NAFTA Mr. Berry? Mexican Workers? No. US Workers? No. US International Corporations? Yes, they've been able to further exploit our Mexican neighbors.

The Economic Policy Institute has a good piece on the possible effects of CAFTA.

Frist to support stem-cell research....

This is a huge suprise, Senator Frist has broken ranks with the Religous Right and President Bush.
"In a break with President Bush, the Senate Republican leader, Bill Frist, has decided to support a bill to expand federal financing for embryonic stem cell research, a move that could push it closer to passage and force a confrontation with the White House, which is threatening to veto the measure."

Can Bush really veto a bill which has strong (around 56%) public support? I could see him let the bill lie on his desk and pass into law without his signature.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

CAFTA vote could prove costly to Musgrave

Rep. Marilyn Musgrave cast a "Yes" vote for CAFTA last night, typical of Musgrave she put her loyalty to Republican leadership above the priorities of her district. The CD-4 is a rural district with many farmers - including sugar-beet farmers - who will be directly (and negatively) impacted by CAFTA. Their is concern that the entire US Sugar industry could collapse under CAFTA.

Thanks to Musgrave's vote Sugar Beet farmers now have to worry about making ends meet and feeding their families. If you polled her district where would same-sex marriage rate in relation to basic economic issues?

At some point her preoocupation with fringe social issues will cost her. The people of the 4th now have real economic worries because their own Representative sold them up the river.

In the 2004 election the suga-beet farmers let it be known that they opposed CAFTA.

Here's a cached Denver Post article from October 2004 on the issue,
"...others claim Musgrave's views on morality have always obscured other problems that need tending.

"I think she's dropped the ball, basically,'"said Sterling sugar beet farmer Darren Luft. "She's not paying attention to the issues that could be devastating to our industry."...

...Beet Farmers in the area, however, say Musgrave's reluctance to oppose the Central American Free Trade Agreement could ruin the Colorado sugar beet industry. They say the agreement could dump 100,000 tons of sugar in the U.S. every year and cost the last remaining family farms in eastern Colorado.

But Musgrav is not interested in intervening and keeping local sugar beet growers out of the pact, Luft said. "She's right in the heart of agriculture, and she's letting some of her main constituents down," he said.

Denver Post editorial on the AFL-CIO split

I am not one who has thought that the recent split of the Teamsters and the SEIU from the AFL-CIO was reason to panic. In fact I think it may ultimately be beneficial to the labor movement. Both groups have different goals and different methods and it will be better for the overall health of labor if they split now and pursue those goals.

This morning the Denver Post chimmed in here are the highlights,

"It's possible instead that the split will give labor leaders the jolt they need to update their movement to the benefit of working Americans seeking a secure place in the global economy."

"
Labor's last big breakup came in 1938, when member unions of the American Federation of Labor broke away to form the Congress of Industrial Organizations. The two federations competed and registered big gains before reuniting in 1955."

"
The union split will be mended sooner or later. In the meantime, both sides will be motivated to seek creative solutions to the challenges that beset the movement.

Labor leaders like to say they work for all workers, not just union members, and non-unionized workers shouldn't forget that organized labor has made enormous contributions in areas such as safer workplaces, eight-hour days and fair vacations and benefits. We hope the sudden split will lead the movement to modernize, lest it continue to wither."



Republican's are trashing the service of another Vet


First it was one of their own, Sen. McCain in the 2000 South Carolina Republican Presidential Primary. Then they attacked a Vet who lost 3 limbs in Vietnam, Sen. Cleland, in 2002. In 2004 they smeared Sen. Kerry.

Now the Republican's in a desperate attempt to hold onto a Republican "safe" seat in Ohio's 2nd District are smearing the service of Paul Hackett (pictured at left with Sen. Cleland).

Swing State Project has all of the details.

Smearing America's veteran's, that is today's Republican Party... so drunk with power that they will do anything to maintain control. Despicable doesn't even begin to describe the actions of this Party when it comes to their treatment of America's veterans - from the previous campaigns, to their slashing of VA benefits, to underfunding our VA hospitals. This is supposed to be the Party of values and morals? Disgusting. A Party run by chicken-hawk cowards who never served a day in their lives, who callously sends our soldiers off to fight and die over weapons they knew didn't exist, a Party who ignores the veterans when they come home, this Party is attacking Veteran's and questioning their service? Outrageous, simply outrageous.

CAFTA passes the House 217-215

A sad day for America's workers. You can view the roll call vote here

Here's how Colorado's Representative's voted

1. DeGette - No
2. Udall - No
3. Salazar - No
4. Musgrave - Yes
5. Hefley - Yes
6. Tancredo - No
7. Beauprez - Yes

I applaud Colorado's Dems for sticking together on this one and putting up a fight for American workers. Could someone explain to me how CAFTA will benefit the working people of Colorado's 4th, 5th, and 7th districts?

15 Democrats crossed over and supported CAFTA. The DNC and the DCCC need to cut them off at the legs, no national funding should go to these DINO's. If a Democrat isn't willing to fight for the American worker then he's not a Democrat.

Here are the traitors to the Democratic Party,
Bean, Cooper, Cuellar, Dicks, Hinojosa, Jefferson, Matheson, Meeks (NY), Moore (KS), Moran (VA), Ortiz, Skelton, Snyder, Tanner, and Towns.

I am absolutely serious about no longer funding these "Democrats", that's not just internet hyperbole. It's time the Party takes a stand and tells these DINO's that they either get in line with the Party in terms of economic policy or they take a hike. If Democrats cannot come together to stand up for America's workers then the Party is lost.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

DeLay sneaks $1.5 Billion in pork into the energy bill

This is just disgraceful. I thought that Republican's were supposed to be the party of fiscal
moderation? Thinkprogress.org has the details,

"Tom DeLay thinks the federal treasury is his personal piggy bank. DeLay slipped “a $1.5 billion giveaway to the oil industry, Halliburton, and Sugar Land, Texas” into the energy bill.

But this isn’t a normal case of government pork. DeLay has completely dispensed with the democratic process. From a letter Rep. Henry Waxman just sent Speaker Dennis Hastert:

The provision was inserted into the energy legislation after the conference was closed, so members of the conference committee had no opportunity to consider or reject this measure.

The $1.5 billion won’t be administered by the government by a private consortium in DeLay’s district:

The subtitle appears to steer the administration of 75% of the $1.5 billion fund to a private consortium located in the district of Majority Leader Tom DeLay."


Here in Colorado we Democrats need to be making a lot of noise everytime Rep.DeLay pulls a stunt like this. The man is a walking scandal and Bob Beauprez and Marily Musgrave both vote slavishly in line with Delay (94+% of the time). We need to be making the case to the American people that Republican's are corrupt and not to be trusted, every one of these ethical violations - from Delay's numerous violations, to Duke Cunningham's bribery, to Coin-Gate in Ohio, to the scandal in the Kentucky's Governor's office - needs to become an issue. Just as Congressional Dems in 1994 were rightfully run out on a rail for being lazy and corrupt so to do these 21st century Republican's. A backlash is already brewing, its time to stoke the fire and ride the wave..


My take on the DLC

I can't say that I agree with most of what gets posted over www.dailykos.com but sometimes I find my views are completely in line with theirs. Those of you who have read a majority of what I have posted have probably come to see that I am a pro-labor, economically progressive, socially moderate Democrat; given that perspective it should come as little suprise to anyone that I hold a low opinion of the Democratic Leadership Council. I think Bill Clinton is probably the greatest politician of my 26 years and for me there are many reasons to like the man, but the way he and the DLC have completely discarded the working family and inparticuarly labor families leaves a bad taste in my mouth. In my opinion the DLC has really contributed mightily to the Democratic slide of the last 10+ years. They have ceded the economic high road and the pro-Corporate wing of the Party has been bungling elections at all levels. All of that said I sign onto this from Hunter at dailykos wholeheartededly,

"I come neither to bury the DLC, nor to praise them. And in truth, I am utterly opinionless on who should get the nomination for the next presidential election -- it's not that I'm uninformed; it's just that I really don't, six months into the current presidential term, give a tinker's damn, and I don't particularly think anyone else should either. In the next few years, I will personally come to support whoever accomplishes the most -- or, given the current climate, anything -- towards actual Democratic objectives. You want to be a leader? Then show me you can lead. It's that simple.

But the DLC has become really quite detested among many Democratic circles -- and by that I mean, by most Democrats not already aligned with the DLC. And I don't think the reasons are terribly complicated, and I know the reasons are nothing that can be solved by a call for cease-fire, rally 'round the flag, etc. The problems are these:

  • The more corporate-tailored elements of the DLC agenda are frequently at odds with Democratic "heartland" interests.

  • The DLC "framing" of candidates and issues is so forcefully homogenized as to render those candidates and issues politically and morally translucent.

  • The DLC has a remarkable track record of losing."

I encourage everyone else to read the entire post,
http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2005/7/27/191753/611

Cook county Republican's offer $10,000 for conviction of Daley

This is just bizarre, I've never heard of such a thing. Shouldn't the Cook County Republican's have more respect for the investigation process?

" The Cook County Republican Party is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to an indictment and conviction of Mayor Richard M. Daley, whose administration has been buffeted by scandal."

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

IRA to lay down their weapons...

As an Irish-Catholic I found this story interesting,
"The Irish Republican Army has given up its armed struggle for a united Ireland, agreeing to turn solely to political methods, an American businessman said yesterday after being briefed on a statement expected from the guerrilla group later this week."


It is still just a first step but it is promising.

Taking the fight to the GOP, one district at a time...

Great story in the NY Times about Paul Hackett who is running as a Democrat in a special election in the heavily Republican 2nd District of Ohio. Mr. Hackett just returned from Iraq and has gone so far as to refer to President Bush as a "chicken hawk" during campaign stops. Mr. Hackett's position on gun control is, I think very interesting, and is a position I am slowly coming around to supporting,

"The two [candidates], however, support broad gun rights. His opposition to banning assault weapons has gotten Mr. Hackett, who says he owns military-style rifles and has a permit to carry concealed weapons, into arguments with many Democrats.

'The Democratic Party is wrong on this,' he said. 'We don't want government dictating a woman's right to choose. How do I tell people it's O.K. to dictate their gun ownership?'"

Monday, July 25, 2005

Are Democrats prepared to be more inclusive on the issue of abortion?

It appears as though there is a push to get the DNC to recognize the group Democrats For Life. I myself am Pro-Choice but abortion is just not an issue that gets me all worked up. Perhaps it's the 8 years of Catholic grade school and the 4 years of Jesuit high school but I think our efforts as a Party would be better spent pushing an economic-populist agenda and not being so closely tied to abortion. I have long felt that the Party should be more inclusive of Pro-Life party members, I really don't see any detrimental effect to the Party and I think it would help lure some voters who are fringe-Republican's.

The Hill has the story,
"Senate and House Democrats, with the support of Minority Leaders Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), are pressing party Chairman Howard Dean to establish an official relationship with Democrats for Life, an anti-abortion-rights group that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) has previously shunned...

The efforts to build a relationship seem to be having an impact on Dean. A day after meeting with Democrats for Life, the Associated Press reported, he told a group of college Democrats: 'We do have a big tent. I do think we need to welcome pro-life Democrats into this party...'

People attending the meeting between Dean and Democrats for Life said that he was very receptive and that he would look into building a stronger relationship with the group. "
Once again Howard Dean demonstrates that he is not the far left wingnut that the media, the DLC, and Republican's paint him as. The above quote from Dean demonstrates that he is actually a political moderate with vision and foresight, I have more confidence in his leadership everyday.


some thoughts on the Roberts nomination...

I haven't blogged about Mr. Roberts at all other than immediately after his nomination and I haven't closely followed all of the various dust-ups in the last week or so about him. To me this battle over the Supreme Court was fought last November, the Republican's maintained control of Congress and the White House and so the Democrats lost the Supreme Court fight. If Roberts had a lengthy record of controversial opinions from his days on the D.C. Circuit perhaps this would be a nomination worth contesting. As it stands though today it appears that Roberts is a strong conservative with impeccable academic and professional credentials. When his confirmation hearings take place the Senators are free to ask him any question of their liking, even a specific question about Roe, Mr. Roberts is free to dodge and obfuscate. There will be at least one more Supreme Court nomination for this President and most likely two more. I think the Democrats and their activists would be better served to save the screaching for a nominee with more easily impeachable credentials than Mr. Roberts. Certainly they should not shy away from tough questions during his confirmation and if there is really something of merit in his personal or professional life that would make him unfit to serve let us hear it. In the meantime I don't care what Mrs. Roberts views on abortion are and I don't care if Mr. Roberts was a member of the Federalist Society. At this point the Democratic activists are flailing about wasting what "capital" they have with the American public. My advice would be to save it for a truly rainy day.

Ken Salazar signs onto letter demanding an investigation of Rove-Gate

26 Democratic Senators signed on to this letter, which was sent to Tom Delay and Bill Frist. Interestingly 7 of these Dems (Rockefeller, Levine, Feinstein, Corzine, Wyden, Mikulski, and Bayh) sit on Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. According to the rules of the Committee it only takes 5 members to call a special meeting of the committee. It looks like we may see Congressional Republican's forced to officially address this growing scandal.

Here is the text of the letter,

Dear Mr. Speaker and Mr. Majority Leader:

The press has reported on information strongly suggesting that senior Administration officials, including White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove and the Vice President’s Chief of Staff Lewis Libby, exposed the identity of American intelligence operative Valerie Plame, despite the repeated denial of the White House at the time.

The public revelation of Ms. Plame’s identity, whether it amounts to a crime or an irresponsible breach of security protocol that doesn’t meet the standard of criminal conduct, almost certainly compromised her intelligence networks and may have compromised the safety and welfare of anyone who had worked with her overseas. As a group of respected former intelligence officials wrote in 2004: “Any breach of the code of confidentiality and cover weakens the overall fabric of intelligence, and, directly or indirectly, jeopardizes the work and safety of intelligence workers and their sources.”

The United States Congress has a constitutional responsibility to provide oversight of the executive branch, whether a law has been broken or not. It is time for Congress to fulfill that constitutional responsibility in this matter by initiating a thorough investigation.

We recognize that a criminal investigation is underway and that a special prosecutor continues to present testimony before a grand jury. These actions in no way preclude Congress’ responsibility to provide oversight. We urge you to exercise your authority as Congressional leaders by requesting the appropriate committees to begin oversight hearings and an investigation immediately.

Sincerely,

Senators Kerry, Levin, Stabenow, Schumer, Lautenberg, Rockefeller, Reed, Feinstein, Dorgan, Harkin, Kohl, Durbin, Carper, Salazar, Boxer, Inouye, Corzine, Wyden, Mikulski, Obama, Murray, Bayh, Johnson, Clinton, Sarbanes, and Landrieu.

Just returned from a trip to NYC...

I took the red eye out last Wednesday evening and just returned yesterday afternoon, it was my first tripto New York in some 5 years. On Friday morning I made my way over to Ground Zero to pay my respects, to say that it was a moving experience would not do it justice.

One of the things that struck me about Ground Zero was the lack of street vendors, the lack of bills and advertising around the area, and the reverance and respect for the victims. I was struck at the amount of respect tourists and New Yorkers showed to the victims of 9/11, and thought about how Republican's and George W. Bush have selfishly exploited the victims of 9/11.

It has been almost 4 years now since those attacks, Osama Bin Laden is still free and the President says that he doesn't really think about him much anymore, after visitinf Ground Zero I find that comment by Bush to be even more absurd. Bin Laden of course escaped at Tora Bora because Bush out-sourced the mission, instead of sending our troops after him Bush Co. decided to hire Afghans. Funds and troops from Afghanistan were already being diverted away from finding the actual perpetrators of 9/11, to prepare for Bush's folly in Iraq.

Bush has gone to the 9/11 well time and time again when he needed a political boost. He exploited the death of 3,000 American's so he could have his war in Iraq. The Republican Party has exploited the death of 3,000 American's every time someone questions their poor handling of the budget and the economy. Indeed, the Republican Party has made it policy to exploit the mass murder of 3,000 American's every time someone questions any portion of the Republican's domestic or foreign policy.

It is truly appalling the way the Republican Party and George W. Bush have exploited the attacks of 9/11 for their personal political gain.