Wednesday, December 17, 2008

So, here's the deal. At the Obama office we told people that anything we collected in the way of contributions to the office, the sales of yard signs etc., that was past what was due on the actual offices expenses was going to be donated to a local charity.
Here we are (Mary, Jay, Bill - the director of Love Inc, and me) giving him that leftover money. It totaled $1,167.25. Sweet! Even sweeter was that we found out today that First Banking was matching all cash contributions through Dec. 24th so that is now doubled to $2,334.50 BONUS!
I do have to say it felt pretty damn good to be out in the community doing a good deed on behalf of all the generous Obama supporters who knew that what didn't go to the campaign efforts would go to a good a cause. Let me repeat that. BAP did this on behalf of the Obama supporters. We don't get all the credit, we just did the leg work and suggested it in the first place. BAPpers did contribute also, but most of the excess was from Obama supporters.

BTW, Love Inc. is well known and well respected for doing so much in this area for people in need. And, a FYI........if you want to contribute to the quickly emptying food banks giving some can goods is okay. But, money is the best because they can buy bulk foods at 14¢ a lb. Now, I know it's fun to put some yummy foods in a basket or collection barrel, but really, they need cash to get more food than they can collect easily. Plus then they can buy things that aren't donated like personal care items which don't seem to come in too often (hint, hint).

Also, before this gets into a debate of why and if we could do this. We spoke to an attorney and I called the FEC head office and spoke to an auditor myself and yes we can, so we did!
Feel free to use the link and give something yourself. It will make you feel good.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Depression Economics and the Nobel Prize

Back in 1999 Paul Krugman saw the economic crisis in Mexico, Argentina and Indonesia along with the collapse and bailout of the American hedgefund Long Term Capital Management as a wake up call in his book The Return of Depression Economics. He has recently updated, expanded and re-released the book and is on his way to Sweden to accept the Nobel Prize for Economics. In short he blames the over leveraging (gambling in the $ Trillions of dollars), lack of adequate cash reserves, lack of transparency and lack of common sense regulation of large swaths of the financial industry that allowed this all to happen and imperil people all over the globe.

Linked here is a brief interview with Mr. Krugman from

It's a short piece and well worth the read (especially for those who tend to rely on commercial TV for what passes as news and information there), but I've included a couple of the more pointed experpts below.

Andrew Leonard: What do you think is the one thread that links all these crises together?Paul

Krugman: Two threads, I think: leverage and the economic fragility it creates, on one side, and the limits to monetary policy on the other. The collapse of Indonesia or Argentina was all about leverage, and we've seen that replayed in the collapse of securitization in the United States. Japan showed us that central bankers can't always save the day, and Ben Bernanke is seeing that truth right now.

Andrew Leonard: What practical steps can we take to immunize ourselves from debilitating panics?

Paul Krugman: Well, we had about 60 years of financial stability, basically because we had an effectively regulated banking system. Then we fell prey to a combination of excessive optimism and excessive literalism. We started believing that financial markets always work, and we also believed that everything was OK as long as things we call banks were guaranteed, not realizing that lots of things we don't call banks are nonetheless subject to bank runs. So the answer is to relearn our grandfathers' lessons: Highly leveraged financial institutions have to be regulated and insured.

Andrew Leonard: What explains the growth of the unregulated shadow banking industry to a point where it could imperil the living standards of everyone on the globe? Was it simply the triumph of deregulatory ideology?

Paul Krugman: Ideology played a big role -- but we should also bear in mind that the shadow banking system was making a few people incredibly rich. And that much wealth distorts policy, not just through campaign contributions and the revolving door, but because people who make that much money come across as masters of the universe who know what they're doing.

Andrew Leonard: And how soon do you think it will be before Republican ideologues start blaming Obama for making it worse? Grover Norquist is already making the claim that the bear market is a result of the 2006 election.

Paul Krugman: To some extent you can't fight it -- people will believe what they want to believe. If they can make FDR the cause of the Great Depression, they can do anything. But one thing progressives can do is make sure that the story of the Bush administration is told, in all respects. There's going to be huge pressure from the usual suspects to let bygones be bygones, to forget about everything from torture to reckless disregard of financial warnings. But I want truth and reconciliation across the board, and progressives have to make it clear that it was an ideology, not an act of God, that made this crisis possible.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Torture Leads to U.S. Troop Deaths/Maimings

A Bronze Star awardee and former Special Intelligence Operations Officer in Iraq who obtained the information that lead to the killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq has concluded that the mistreatment and torture of prisoners by American authorities and contractors has lead to a significant portion of the deaths and maimings of American troops in Iraq.HE has written a book; How to Break a Terrorist: The US Interrogators Who Used Brains, Not Brutality, to Take Down the Deadliest Man in Iraq and an article for the Washigton Post

He discovered that the interrogation techniques developed at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba were transferred to Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and that the outrage over the torture and abuse that occured at Abu Ghraib was a primary monivating factor for foreign fighters to go to Iraq and attack American troops. He also notes that the revelation, not long after the Abu Ghraib atrocities, that the CIA's repeated use of waterboarding at it's black sites around the globe and by proxy through it's extraordinary rendition program of snatching people, including innocent people and sending them to other countries like Syria and Egypt to be tortured on our behalf added more fuel to the fire, further deminished America's moral standing in the world and provided a great recruiting tool for al-Qaeda.

He concludes that Americans and military officers need to fight to protect our values from al-Qaeda and from those in our own country who would erode them.

And here's another little tidbit for those so enamored with extra-judicial detention and torture, a quote from Bush's, and soon to be Obama's Secretary of defense Robert Gates, stating on Tuesday that closing Gitmo will be a "high priority" and that; “I think it is possible to close it. I think it does require a joint effort with the Congress. I think some legislation probably is needed as a part of it. And I think that it will—I think trying to move forward on that, at least from my standpoint, should be a high priority.”

Change is coming and for the good.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday Stomp

I see that all the news shows have been hyping that we all get out and shop like good little consumers, even more intensely than ussual and especially today. I rarely leave the house on black friday and absolutely avoid any commercial centers if I do. A couple years ago between beers and turkey samdwiches I imagined what it my be like if I were infected with the sort of crazed consumerism that would get me out in the dark and cold to paticipate in a stampede into a (shudder) mall or (wretch) a Walmart. A happy Thanksgiving and a very peaceful Black Friday to you.

Black Friday Stomp

Friday mornin six AM standin here in line
Thanksgivin that might‘ve been livin, but it’s time to do some buyin
Cold’n damp along the wall, like in years before
Gotta thirst to be the first when they open up them doors
On our black Friday shoppin stomp, parkin lot hoppin romp
Pilgrims flockin by the score to the big box store

Don’t you push, don’t you shove, don’t you cut in line
We ain’t here to mess around, we ain’t got the time
Got our lists clenched in our fists, our marchin orders clear
If you ain’t with us yer agin us, git on outta here
On our black Friday shoppin stomp, parkin lot hoppin romp
D-day is at hand, the moment crouches near

Sakes alive, believe our eyes, the doors flung open wide
Swept along by the throng as we push our way inside
Triumphant cries and giddy smiles fanning out along the aisles
Scanning high, peering low among the mounding piles
Got to have this year’s device, no other will suffice
Stand aside won’t be denied, I’ve traveled all these miles

Round the corner twist and spin, man I’ve got the moves
Weaving out and weaving in, each year my skill improves
Got here fast and glory be there upon the shelve
This year’s gotta have it gadget, gonna grab it for my self
On our black Friday shoppin stomp, parkin lot hoppin romp
Three reasons for my ceasing, quickness, cunning, stealth

There’s the last within my grasp, got here just in time
Hey you git your mits off, that item is mine
In a flash grab it dash off to the cashier
My nemesis will not desist chasin at my rear
On our black Friday shoppin stomp, parkin lot hoppin romp
Dear Lord make fleet my feet, git me outta here

With a last ditch dive, my pursuer brings me to the floor
As I stumbled, nearly fumbled, never done that before
In the aisle a people pile asses, ankles, elbows
Got to be in possession when that whistle blows
Eye gouging, ankle bitting, all to get my grip untightened
Felt the blackness welling up and I slipped below

When I came to and I looked down much to my despair
The space in between my hands, nothing there but air
How could I return home, face my family
See their expectant eyes gazing back at me
On black Friday I got stomped, in the big box I got romped
So I signed aboard a merchant freighter and headed off to sea.

Copyright Sean Cranley November 26, 2004 (till death +75yr)

Monday, November 24, 2008

What Do You Do When Your Party Sucks?

Suck harder!

I found this analysis of the state of our GOPster friends to be such an uplifting read that I simply had to share it and spread the good vibes:

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Gotchyer GOPropoganda on the AM Radio

Hello, Be afraid, be very afraid-eo
We gotchyer GOPropoganda on the AM radio.

Linked here is an excellent article from Milwaukee Magazine by a former WTMJ Radio news director which outlines wonderfully the methods and manipulations deployed by rightwing radio:

Those of us who don't count ourselves among the initiated noddinghead indoctrinants of this medium won't be surprised at all by this; those who are will simply choose to ignore it completely or stick it in a corner of their brain where it won't interfere with the machinations of their concrete belief system. But it does provide and interesting insider perspective with real people and real examples.

I have only one critique on the piece. While the author rightly points out how the hosts play on their listeners reptilian fears and their sense of righteous victimhood, he completely misses another avenue of mass mind management they employ, the ego.RWR listeners get their egos stroked on a regular basis. They are incessantly instructed in how they are better than "those people", how they are the bedrock of Merica the greatest nation ever in the universe!. Unlike those other people they are self-reliant, they got where they are all on their own, they don't need nobody else, they are rocks, islands. And so day after day they nod their heads in self-congratulation as they tool on down the public thoroughfare in their ostentatious SUVs. Fear and ego, one need only add greed to make the stool stand, but that's a topic for another day.

I know because I used to listen too. But then I engaged the critical thinking skills that I got from among other places, my public school education and realized they were trying to deceive me, to enlist me as a foot soldier in the War on Reality. So I went AWOL from their boot camp (figuratively, unlike our fearless flightsuit).Of course they don't lie outright, that would be too obvious. So they use the tactics above in concert with half truths and information taken out of context. Of course the intent (deception) and the desired outcome (manipulation) still make it in fact a lie.

Which is why I will not listen anything at all on stations like WTMJ and WISN, they are not serving the public interest as is their charge, quite the contrary. Oh sure from time to time I still get curious and tune in to El Snortbo or one of his clones to see what are the Rovian ganda-bytes of the day. But I always tune them out again at the first easily discerned deception or commercial, so my sessions are exceedingly brief.

Unlike the author though, I'm optimistic. I think the scales are finally falling from a lot of people's eyes and that the power of RWR lies to hold back the realities that are coming to pass from the failures of an extreme and deeply flawed belief system are on the wane. Which leads me to close with renewed confidence in the truth of my axiom:

If you must lie to advance your thoughts, your thoughts are not advanced.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

BAP Rolls On

This may seem obvious, but I'll say it anyway. The election victory last night does not mean the end of BAP. We'll continue getting together and putting on events and talking about the next election. Though first, we'll probably take a bit of time to enjoy this one. :-) See you soon.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Autism support from Sarah Palin - Thanks, but no thanks.

A guest editorial from a woman who has two kids with autism and is the sister of one of our friends in Burlington.

It is after midnight and I can't sleep because I am so shaken by Sarah Palin's comments today in regard to autism. Just in case you did not know, she says we (special needs parents) can count on her as a friend and she would be sure to spend money better. But she mocked research being done on fruit flies saying they have little to no value. She said with a smirk ".sometimes these dollars go to projects that have little or nothing to do with public good. Things like fruit fly research in Paris, France. I kid you not."

I am just shaken that she would make such a statement when fruit flies, for many years now, have been a standard in scientific research and that they have led to valuable discoveries related to autism and many other important causes. They have taught us about a protein called neurexin, which is required for nerve cell connections to form and function properly and how this plays a role in autism. What is she thinking?

It is nice that she offers to be my friend but I already have friends that support me (Thanks!). If we need anything, we need science and knowledge and information to solve this horrible epidemic. I do not expect her to know every detail of science, but to mock it and, worse yet, say you will stop it because it has little or no value when you obviously know nothing about it is so irresponsible. Does she think she knows better than the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and the National Institute of Mental Health and the state of North Carolina who funded this research? Oh my goodness she scares me! Doesn't she know how to use google? This was reported on September of last year.

If this is an issue she calls near and dear to her heart and she can't get facts straight enough to make a good judgment call, how will she manage anything else?

Wassup Now?

Years after the funny series of Wassup commercials, what are those guys up to during the Bush Depression?

Funny, sad, moving, true. Vote.

Friday, October 24, 2008

McCain's Real Record on the Environment

The League of Conservation Voters put together this video about McCain's terrible record on the environment and alternative energies:

For more information, check their web site:

McCain'ts Healthcare Plan

McCain'ts Healthcare Plan? Why it couldn't be more simple, marry and heiress and run for Congress. You see in today's treacherous healthcare environment it pays to have a backup plan (like John's), in case you get say, melanoma (like John) and become uninsurable in the private market place.

Be prepared. You never know when an extremist freemarket fundamentalist politician might come along with a scheme (like John's) to offer a $5000 tax credit to purchase a $12,000 family healthcare plan as an individual on the open market rather than as a member of a risk sharing pool.

But if you're a member of Congress (like John), no sweat you're covered. And if that should fail, no problem, you've married an heiress, you're independently wealthy (like John) and can pay your own bills, you're golden!

Now some of you will say; "I don't need to take personnal responsibility and marry an heiress or become a Congressman, this is America no one goes without healthcare! Simply go to the emergency room." But just try getting treatment for melanoma (like John's) in an emergency room and see how fast they laugh you out of the automatic sliding doors.

Without the health plan plan or the cash to get treatment for melanoma (like John's) chances are you'd be dead real fast. So take a tip from John and plan ahead. Because if it's good enough for John it's good enough for you!?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Real Americans

The usual incisive satirical commentary from the Daily Show.

I'm glad we have the GOP to us who the "real" Americans are.

Addendum: And in case you're confused as to whether you may be a Real American, the Daily Show has come up with the following quiz and helpful hints:

Clear now? Thought so.

If I Were a Terrorist

James Pence explains how terrorists could really take America down.

Good thing that could never happen.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Takin' It Back with Barack, Jack!

Kay found this video/song at, and it was too good not to share.

A little hip fun to get you swingin' for the last 2 weeks of the election. GOTV!

Here are the lyrics:

Hate to see the nation being run by a hack
Dig the situation that he dug in Iraq
Half the population wants to give him the sack
And now he’s lookin’ round for somebody else to attack
We need somebody great to get us back on the track

So we’re takin’ it back with Barack, Jack!

Choo Choo, Change to believe in
Woo woo, we can achieve it
Choo Choo, Change to believe in
Takin’ it back with Barack, Jack!

Now that global warming is a matter of fact
The only real question is just how to react
The new administration needs the guts to enact
Drastic legislation, leave the planet intact
We can’t be foolin’ round with some Republican Mac

So we’re takin’ it back with Barack, Jack!

Choo Choo….

He only gets his money from your regular macs
Doesn’t take a penny from some whackity PAC’s
For bringin’ folk together he’s the man with the knack
And he’ll supply the hope and inspiration we lack
Cause he’s the best we got and did I ….mention he’s black?

So we’re takin’ it back with Barack, Jack!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Colin Powell Endorses Barack Obama

A great endorsement from the former general and Secretary of State.

Check it out.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Joe the Plumber is a Fraud!

- JtheP does not have a plumbing license so he's not qualified to run the business.
- JtheP is a registered Republican, so his showing up at the Obama rally with "sincere" questions was just a sham.
- The plumbing business JtheP wants to buy only makes about $100K/year, well below Obama's $250K threashold. So under Obama he'd do BETTER if he bought it.
- He only made $40 last year (he better get that plumbing license) so the chances are that this cracker ain't buying a crackerjack stand, let alone a plumbing business.
- The business JtheP says he wants to buy is not for sale.
- Just another dishonest GOPster ploy. Cuz honesty just doesn't work for dishonest people with dishonest plans.
- How stupid can you get. You go on national TV with a contrived GOPoperative story that doesn't stand up for even 24 hours. I wonder how many interviews he'll be agreeing to do today. What a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive. JtheP is a liar.
- And the McCain campaign is hanging their hat on this guy. they found their "Jeff Gannon". What a surprise, more aimless thrashing about by the McCain't campaign.
- JtheP has a lien on his house because he hasn't paid his property taxes. Why SHOULD he pay his fair share, he's a GOPster!
- JT Plumber Patently pathetic.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Parade Magazine: Obama vs. McCain

I was very surprised to open my Sunday paper yesterday to discover Parade Magazine (not known for their political coverage - or left-wing leanings) with a chart detailing the differences in Obama & McCain's economic/tax plans.

Here's a link. Or, if that doesn't work in your browser, you can use the full URL below.

Their analysis shows that if you earn less than $112,000 per year, you'll do better with Obama in every case. At lower levels of income, substantially better.

And even up to $250,000 dollars, you'll have tax savings with Obama (though after 112k you'll get a bigger tax break with McCain).

Those of us who've been paying attention knew that Obama would save money for anyone earning less than $250,000. We also knew McCain's plan would give bigger tax breaks to those already well off.

What surprised me is the amount of "extra" money you'd have to pay under Obama if you earn between $250,000 and $600,000. (And I daresay that most of us earn less than 600k). According to the article, the extra tax you'd have to pay if you earn in that range is . . . a whopping total of $121. No misprint (unless it's on the magazine's side), that's one-hundred and twenty-one dollars per year.

Seems like a small sacrifice to make for most of the US population.

(Heck, even strapped as I am, I'd be happy to pitch in $121 a year to ensure universal health care.)

Of course, if you're making more than $600,000, under Obama you'd have to give up your W. Bush Tax cut. (And McCain would give you a big tax break -- whether you need it or not.)

I'll be carrying a copy of this article with me whenever I canvass or talk to other voters. I'm urging everyone in the campaign and BAP and all of my friends & family to do the same.

Spread the word. Let's get this to go viral.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

GOPster Samantha Kerkman’s supporters have now demonstrated beyond doubt what scumbag traitors to America and her democracy that they are!
This is that same deceitful GOPgarbage that we go through EVERY election with the stealing and destroying of signs that represent the free speech rights of people that they disagree with and are afraid of.
How did I miss that this morning on my way to work this morning? I guess I was looking left at the Zamba = Socialism Bulls**t attack signs.
This shows them for what they are!, small minded, fearful, violent and criminal!
From Larry Zamba: Last night Kerkman supporter(s) intentionally drove a vehicle 100 feet through a farmers field and smashed through our ZAMBA=HEALTHCARE billboard on Hwy 75 and 142. Rather than compete in the arena of ideas, my opponents supporters have chosen not only to steal our signs, but violently destroy private property.
I invite you to watch WTMJ tonight at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. to see an inerview with me. If you miss it, we’ll have it up on soon. I’ve tried to run a fun, informative, unique campaign. I was warned how this campaign would go on the west side of Kenosha. Somehow, I thought it would be different this year. I should have known. Kerkman’s afraid to debate me. And because her record has been so lacklauster after 8 years, I guess this is all her supporters have left. Drive trucks through our signs. Apparently these people think they are above the law. They violate our First Amendment rights. And they set a terrible example for our children. As fast as we put up signs, they steal them. One fellow likened their tactics to the brown shirts of Hitlers day.
They must be very afraid of losing this election. And they should be. In fact, canvasing numbers give us a 4000 person lead. But we need to win over those independents to make sure that victory is ours. We’re shifting gears into a different form of advertising now, and that requires money.
Will you please help by donating? This has been elevated by them to a state of violence now. I’m willing to fight them, but I need your financial help now.Please, go to and click on DONATE or mail a check to 24503-75 Street, Salem, WI 53168, made payable to Friends of Larry Zamba.
Thank you!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Cons Blaming Clinton (Again!)

Once again the the so called "conservatives are trying to blame Clinton for the failures of their Fearless Flightsuit. Only this time they're really desparate as they see their failed extremist utopian ideology crumbling in front of their eyes.

So Rush "Half-The-Truth-All-The-Time" Limbo and his ilk have concocted a fantasy whereby this financial meltdown is the fault of Bill Clinton all those years ago. And the Kool-aid drinkers are still swallowing hard to defend their rigid but deeply flawed belief system. They are ever-so-slightly right in a way, Bill and his side kick Paul Rubens acting as GOPwanabees went along with McCain Econ advisor Phil "Americans-Are-Whiners" Gram, Mr. Enron himself in dismantaling regulations put in place after the Great Depresson to prevent it's recurrance.

This is in fact the perfect storm with at least 5 converging factors working in concert to cause this crisis as outlined below:

1) There were a lot of people (lenders and borrowers) who were all convinced of the conventional wisdom, that house prices ALWAYS go up. So there was NO risk to either party because selling would always recoup the value (and more). I have to say that I didn't question that much myself, although I would NEVER borrow against most of my equity to finance consumer Shtuff. But you know that isn't so much because I'm smart or virtuous as it is because I'm lucky and had savy parents who had savy parents who taught them that, and who in turn tought me that.

2) A lot of people thought they were getting fixed rate loans only to find out at the last minute or after the fact that they were getting ARMs. You know, fraud (see #3 below) If an ARM scared you, well take comfort, see item #1 above!

3) The people who wrote the loans had ZERO stake in the ability of the borrowers to make the payments because they sold them as fast as they got'em (See the fricken Countrywide CEO who walked with $Ms while his employees and shaeholders gotthe shaft as just one example).

4) The late 1990's repeal of the Roosevelt Era Glass-Steagle Act by GOPderegulators such as such as McCain Economic Advisor Phil "Enron" Gram and GOPwannabees like Paul Rubens and his master Bill "where kin I stick it" Clinton created a conflict of interest between the banks who want to sell the mortgages and the brokerages who want to bundle the mortgages into bonds/securities and sell tham all over the globe because they became one company, which was wisely prohibited since the 1930's. The incentive of the brokerages to check the teeth of what they were buying from the banks and selling to their clients was gone when the banks bought them upafter GOPderegulation.

5) Leveraged Hedge Funds and Deriviatives. Out of my league to explain.It's the perfect storm. ALL FIVE were required to created this crisis. Fixed interest loans and this doesn't happen. A stake in the viability of the borrower by the initial lender and this doesn't happen. Transparency in the process of selling and re-selling these loans and THIS DOESN'T HAPPEN! Leveraging the risk all over the the global economy and THIS . . . !

But what is the root sin? GREED. Greed and the enabled desire of the greedy ones (through moneyed lobbying of OUR government) to pursue their vice through the "conservative" plank of wontan and unbalanced deregulation which was what brought us our last Great Depression.

YOU (not the sinners) are now paying the wages of SIN! What more evidence could anyone need of the need to reform our democracy and make it work for people and not money?

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Republican Double Standards

Many of you may have gotten the "I'm a little confused" email decrying the double standards Republicans apply to their candidates as opposed to the ones they apply to Democratic candidates. Now someone has made a YouTube video illustrating that chain letter. Check it out.

Friday, September 26, 2008

McCain's Anti-Environment Record

Despite his posture in the debate, McCain has an abysmal record on voting for renewable energy. Here's the truth from the League of Conservation Voters:

McCain has rejected even the weakest renewable energy programs. Sen. McCain voted against giving increased funding to solar and renewable energy programs in 1994 and 1999.3 In 2005, he voted against a national renewable electricity standard (RES) that would have required utilities to get 10 percent of their electricity from alternative energy.4 Last year, he missed all of the renewable electricity votes.5 Sen. McCain supports giving billions of dollars in subsidies to the nuclear industry while actively opposing similar support for wind and solar energy.6 Renewable energy must be an essential part of any global warming plan, yet Sen. McCain has stood in the way of such progress throughout his career.7

You can read the full details (with footnotes) here.

Additionally, his overall record on environmental voting is pitiful:

McCain LCV lifetime voting score - 24%
Obama LCV lifetime voting score - 86%

And in 2007 (most recent year available)?

McCain LCV 2007 voting score - 0%
Obama LCV 2007 voting score - 67%

You can find the full details on that here.

Is is possible to have a worse environmental voting score than McCain did last year? I don't think the scale goes into negative numbers.

Don't believe McCain's lies. He's no friend of the environment.

McCain vs. Everybody

Watching the debate at the moment, I want Barack to ask McCain this question, "John, is there anybody in the world you don't want to fight?"

Just now, McCain is posturing to fight both Iran and Russia. And, of course, he doesn't want to get out of Iraq or Afghanistan. Of course, there's no mention of how to pay for any of this adventureism, nor where we're going to get the troops for it, as our military is already stretched near the breaking point.

I think our President should not only stick up for America, but he also needs to pick our fights carefully. I see no signs of such care in McCain.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Obama On the Economic Crisis

Barack's press conference today (longer than many of Bush's) where he talks about the current economic crisis, the tack he thinks we should take on it, and how that relates to postponing Friday's debate (or not).

It's worth hearing his rational (as usual) approach to the country's problems.

Do we want calm and reasoned reactions like this, or a series of "Stop everything!" crisis points and knee-jerk reactions -- which is what McCain seems to be offering.

And here's what Barack sent out in a letter on the crisis yesterday. I'm leaving in the "ads," because some of you might want to sign aboard at this point:

The era of greed and irresponsibility on Wall Street and in Washington has created a financial crisis as profound as any we have faced since the Great Depression.

Congress and the President are debating a bailout of our financial institutions with a price tag of $700 billion or more in taxpayer dollars. We cannot underestimate our responsibility in taking such an enormous step.

Whatever shape our recovery plan takes, it must be guided by core principles of fairness, balance, and responsibility to one another.

By clicking here, you are signing on to support an economic recovery plan based on the following:

No Golden Parachutes -- Taxpayer dollars should not be used to reward the irresponsible Wall Street executives who helmed this disaster.

Main Street, Not Just Wall Street -- Any bailout plan must include a payback strategy for taxpayers who are footing the bill and aid to innocent homeowners who are facing foreclosure.

Bipartisan Oversight -- The staggering amount of taxpayer money involved demands a bipartisan board to ensure accountability and oversight.

Show your support and encourage your friends and family to join you:

The failed economic policies and the same corrupt culture that led us into this mess will not help get us out of it. We need to get to work immediately on reforming the broken government -- and the broken politics -- that allowed this crisis to happen in the first place.

And we have to understand that a recovery package is just the beginning. We have a plan that will guarantee our long-term prosperity -- including tax cuts for 95 percent of families, an economic stimulus package that creates millions of new jobs and leads us towards energy independence, and health care that is affordable to every American.

It won't be easy. The kind of change we're looking for never is.

But if we work together and stand by these principles, we can get through this crisis and emerge a stronger nation.

Thank you,


Burlington For Obama Grand Opening

Monday, September 22, 2008

I'm Voting Republican Because . . .

This is hilarious!

Speaking of hilarious, does anyone know if Paul Ryan is still pushing Ryan's Reactionary Roadmap after the events of this past week? Could even the Paul Pandering Privateer himself still be ideologically blind enough to think handing Social Security and Medicare over to the fast hands on Wall Street would be anything but a complete disaster? Could he still promote this worn out idea to his constituents with a straight face?

Voter Bias

An interesting article Kay dug up about why people vote irrationally:

I'm all for putting our candidates through challenges that test their thinking before we elect them.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

How Ignorant Do You Have To Be?

Just how ignorant do you have to be to vote Republican this time around? After 81 long months of lockstep GOPsupport for the Bu$hite regime and it's extreme Un-American criminality, immorality, secrecy, deceit, and bloodshed not to mention incompetence and ideological myopia, people all around the world know (and the American people should) that under this brand leadership you just can't trust America anymore.

-You can't trust America on International Law
-You can't trust America on use of Military Force
-You can't trust America on Foreign Policy
-You can't trust America on Human Rights
-You can't trust America on Environmental Issues
-You can't trust America on world Leadership

And the final straw?-You can't even trust America on Financial Management

If after all this we're collectively ignorant enough to elect another member of this partynow, the rest of the world may very well shake their heads, wash their hands and turn their backs on us to suffer the consequences of our folly. And they would be more than justified in doing so.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Alas It's Constution Day

To day is the 221st anniversary of the signing of our Constitution of the United States of America. Flags, which represent the Constitution should be flying at half-mast in mourning. For eight years of treacherous rule by the GOPsters have left our founding document and our principles that it embodies in tatters. Without that document and those principles, I don't know what it is, but it sure as hell ain't America!

Monday, September 15, 2008

My Proposed New Obama Ad

*This proposed ad was written by Steve Sullivan. See note at end.*

Hello, I’m Barack Obama, and I approved this message.

Republican John McCain and his running mate are lying to you about me and my positions.

Here’s the truth:

My tax plan will mean lower taxes for every American earning less than $250,000 a year—that’s 95% of all Americans. And the cost for my plan will be covered by rolling back the tax rate for the people earning more than $2 million a year, back to the same tax rate we had under Bill Clinton. And, if you remember, people all across the US—even the very rich—did pretty well under Bill Clinton.

That simple roll-back pays for tax cuts for everyone else: working families who are struggling to make ends meet. If you’re earning less than $250,000, you’ll get a $500 rebate—$1000 if you’re married or have children. And I will completely eliminate income taxes for senior citizens earning less than $50,000.

Don’t take my word for all this, check the report by the non-partisan Tax Policy Center.

John McCain and the Republicans don’t want you to know that. He’s trying to muddy the waters, and you have to ask yourself, “Why?”

Maybe it’s because, for the past seven years, John McCain has been part of the problem, rather than part of the solution. By his own admission, he’s voted with George W. Bush over 90% of the time. That’s not change—that’s more of the same.

My name is Barack Obama, and I stand for Change You Can Believe In: lower taxes and a government that cares about working people.

Please vote for me on November 4th.

*This proposed add was written by Steve Sullivan, based on position papers by Barack Obama. I believe all of the statements in it to be correct representations of Barack’s positions—though I cannot personally speak for the candidate.

Friday, September 12, 2008

I'm John McCain, and I approved these LIES.

Here's a short film that calls McCain out for many of his lying campaign ads.

Our current president lied us into the Iraq war. Do we need more liars in the White House?

I don't think so.

If you agree, and like this film, please pass it along to your friends and family.

And if anyone has a link to McCain saying -- as I and others remember -- that he wouldn't use negative ads or Swift-Boating this campaign, I'd love to add that to this post.

ADDENDUM: Okay, here's two links (Thanks, Matt!) to McCain promising not to do what he's now doing:

And here's a juxtaposition between those promises and what he's actually done:

As I said at the top, "I'm John McCain, and I approved these lies."

Thursday, September 04, 2008

GOP vs. America

Just some random links about this week's Republican National Convention -- which tend to prove that what was said at the convention bears no resemblance to what is scientifically known as "reality" or morally known as "the truth."

First up, John Stewart of the Daily Show on Palin playing the Gender Card. (Click on the link to see the video.)

As a follow-up, Steven Colbert points out that Alaska has Mt. McKinley, which is the highest point in America and the part of our country closest to outer space. Therefore (following GOP logic) Sarah Palin has outer-space policy experience.

Next, an AP analysis of the Palin Speech on Huffington Post. (Click link to read.)

A few days back, Fresh Air was talking rationally and calmly about Sarah Palin's positions on things from Abstinence Education to Global Warming, here's a link for that. Today, they did a similar analysis of John McCain. To know these people is to be able to better counter her spin.

Here's the definitive article about the candidates' plans on health care -- something we should all care about. You can read the NE Journal of Medicine assessment here, or listen to the recent talk about it on Fresh Air, but the gist is that McCain wants to tax the health benefits you get from your employer, deregulate the health care industry, give people a tax rebate (less than the cost of the coverage), have people buy their own coverage individually, and let the market take care of things.

And in case you've forgotten what kind of antidote Obama offers for all this greed, hypocrisy, bullying, and irrationality, here's a link to Obama's Acceptance Speech.

Now that the Obama office in Burlington is open, there's plenty of opportunities to help fight the good fight. See you there! (Check the top of the page for the address.)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Bush Calls Kettles Black

I know Bushieboy probably can't spell hypocrisy, let alone pronounce it. But you'd think he'd at least know what it is and have a minor sense of shame and irony for the situation he and his minder Dick have put America in. Last week before attention was diverted to the Caucasus, the Torturor-In-Chief was lecturing China on its human right record. This is a man who through his lies and criminal acts created a humanitarian crisis in Iraq where some 5 million people are refugees and tens to hundreds of thousands of Iraqis are dead and more than 30,000 Americans where mislead to there deaths and dismemberment. This is a man who has knowingly presided over the imprisonment, torture and murder of the innocent along with the guilty and consistently shredded the very bedrock of what America is, the Constitution, all in the name of an imperial presidency.

This week Bush and his neocon bretheren are waging their fingers at Russia for invading a sovereign nation and calling on the U.N. Security Council (on which Russia sits) to condemn the action because it wasn't authorized by by the Security Council. Russia is claiming that its response is humanitarian because Georgian president Saakashvili attacked his own people (he did) and that Russia is acting its own interest, pre-empting a threat to national security. Oh and by the way, there is control of natural gas and oil at stake as well.

If this doesn't all sound familiar it should. Bush did not have the U.N Security Council authorization required for all military action against another nation with the exception of when actually attacked and he used the rationale that Saddam had attacked his own people. And we're not in Dafur why? Oh right, no oil there. Bush and Cheney have also claimed and acted on the right to attack another country if there is even a perceived 1% threat that they might threaten America's security (The Bush Doctrine AKA the 1% Doctrine).

The bushites have undermined international law and America's moral standing in the world. Bush condemning the Chinese and Russians for their actions simply exposes him for the empty-headed hypocrit that he is and the world is laughing at him. Putin isn't just laughing though, he's using Bush's own actions to poke him right in the eye. And since we're so bogged down in his Iraq boondoggle there's nothing Bush can do about it because he has also undermined America's strategic position by bring America's all volunteer military to the breaking point. And Vlad, the man whose soul Bush gazed upon with approval when he looked into his eyes is calling Georgie's Georgian bluff and proving that when Bush look into his eyes he saw only exactly what his "friend" Vlad wanted him to see. Just another piece of evidence among many that Bushieboy was never really up to the task that he thought was his by right of descent. The more Bush wags his finger the more foolish he looks for paving Putin's way (and perhaps others) in justifying his actions by mirroring those of Dubya.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

CIA Forged Letter Linking Saddam to Al Qaeda

Ron Suskind's new book The Way of the World, with the support of on-the-record CIA officials, states that the Whitehouse ordered the CIA to forge a letter from Iraq's head of intelligence to Saddam stating that 9/11 ring leader Mohammed Atta was trained in Iraq for the attacks.

This letter published by the Sunday London Telegraph in December 2003 was designed to provide justification for the invasion that had been planned since Bush took office before 9/11.

Suskind further claims that based on a report by British Intelligence (among other sources, including inspectors on the ground) that the bushites knew that Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction and no programs to produce such weapons. They of course ignored this information because it didn't suit their goals of war on Iraq and war on reality.

This provides one more set of evidence in an ever mounting pile of evidence that George W. Bush is murderer and a traitor and should be brought to legitimate justice before the law.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Paul Ryan's Reform Misses The Mark

Paul Ryan completely missed the mark with his opinion piece about the need to reform Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae in last week’s Standard Press. Although perhaps that was intentional since what really needs reform is the Republican Party. The problems faced by these two institutions are not the result of internal flaws, but rather the deeply flawed and greed motivated deregulation agenda of the GOPsters. You see in 1999 the Glass-Steagall Act was repealed under the sponsorship of none other than former Sen. Phil Gramm (R-TX), millionaire and McCain’s “economic advisor” before he had to be thrown under the Straight Talk Express for among other things, calling the American People “whiners”.

Glass-Steagall was enacted after the Great Depression to prohibit banks from owning brokerage firms and vice versa, to prevent conflicts of interest between these two sectors of the financial system and it worked well for 60 years. But greed got the better of the banking industry and our representatives and upon repeal the big banks went on a feeding frenzy, buying up the brokerage firms. So when all these bad loans were made and sold as quickly as possible to the big banks to keep the fees but offload the risk, the big banks in turn used their brokerage arms to bundle these loans into securities to sell for investment. But whereas there was once an incentive for the brokerage to check the teeth of what they were buying from the banks for bundling and resale to their customers, now there is in fact a disincentive to question the value of your own assets. Bad for business don’t you know. So they passed along bad paper and Freddie and Fannie along with financial institutions and investors around the world bought it on good faith in the American financial system, faith that was unfortunately misplaced.

Of course Paul Ryan isn’t going to point out these facts. Instead he sees it as another opportunity to push the shock doctrine capitalism and privatization agenda of the far right who don’t believe that we should share in anything in this country, that nothing should be public. Paul makes the laughable argument that, if privatized, the citizenry would not be called upon to bail out these entities again in the future should the need arise. Apparently Ryan has never heard of Bear-Stearns & Co., a private “too big fail” firm bailed out by the Federal Reserve just last spring.

There is a constantly repeated theme of GOPish deregulation followed by financial meltdown and public bailout from the savings & loan crisis to WorldCom, to Enron (also the result of Sen. Gramm’s manipulations) to the current sub-prime mortgage mess. I know that it’s an article of faith in the GOP that all corporate regulation is bad, but it’s an article of blind faith that in revelation has been shown to be wrong over and over again. You’d think the American people would learn from this history. A certain amount of regulation actually makes sense for the public good and obviously in the end for the good of the overall business sector as well, except for the few greedy and corrupt individuals who manage to profit from debacles like these. Not that Mr. Ryan will ever come around to see that, but at least if you’re going propose cures you ought to treat the cause of the disease and not just address its symptoms, or we’ll be right back here again in a few years with another GOP inspired fiasco, throwing more good money after bad. That’s just plain old common sense.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Sign Of The Times

Last week I was afforded a sight that warmed the cockles of my heart (whatever they are). I was coming back down from the north woods and went past the Hummer dealership on HWY 45 in Menominee Falls. I've been driving past and cursing this this temple to glutonous excess for several years now, but this time to my delight it was being torn down. And to add a knife twist to to GM's nearsightedness, there was a Smart Car dealership going up right next to it.

I've never figured out just exaclty what deficiency the drivers of these monstrosities are trying to compensate for, but I do know this HUMMERS ARE FOR DICKHEADS!>

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Supreme Hackery

It’s long past time to publicly finance Wisconsin’s Supreme Court races. Last week we saw the injustice and cost to the citizenry that results from allowing democracy subverting special interests to buy seats on Wisconsin’s Supreme Court as Annette Ziegler led the charge for her corporate sponsors at Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC). The corporatists at WMC paid millions of dollars to put the ethically bankrupt Ziegler on the bench and now she’s dutifully returned their investment to the detriment of the citizenry.

Menasha Corporation bought SAP, a several million dollar canned software package, thousands of copies of which are sold worldwide, and they had to pay sales tax on it. They then claimed it was a custom package, therefore tax exempt because they had to pay consulting fees to integrate it and learn how to use it. They then sued the state, in conjunction with WMC, who filed a friend of the court brief on behalf of Menasha.

Annette of course sided with the corporate interests rather than the citizen’s interest and ordered not only Menasha’s money to be returned, but another $300 million in similar taxes. Talk about your judicial activism!

Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson stated correctly that the citizens of Wisconsin will now have to make up for the returned money and an estimated $100 million every year from now on because of this ludicrous ruling. That’s a pretty sweet deal for the corporatists. Spend a few tens of thousands of dollars in “consulting” fees and skate on the $300,000 tax bill owed to the People of Wisconsin.

In her former position Zeigler not only didn’t recuse herself from cases that involved her husband’s business, but kept those conflicted interests secret from the parties involved. For this violation of ethics rules she got a slap on the wrist from her fellow “justices” on the bench and as a result the citizenry has been slapped in the face. And once again she failed to recuse herself, in this case involving the group who paid for her seat on the bench. But then again there really is no conflict in her interest, we know exactly where that lies.

Justice Abrahamson is up for re-election next year and you can bet that WMC and national groups interested in forcing the corporatist agenda on America will spare no expense in buying that seat as well (as they did for Gableman this year) to put the final nail in the coffin of supreme justice here in Wisconsin.

Fortunately a good corporate citizen, Epic Systems of Verona has stepped in and made the following statement; “We believe that what we tolerate is what we stand for, and as corporate citizens, we stand for the preservation of the foundation of the judicial system," "… After careful consideration, we made a decision to try to work only with vendors that do not support WMC with its current management. This was not a decision we made lightly, but believe it is the right thing to do.” BRAVO!
These ”justices” can put on robes if they want to in a vain effort to instill a sense of mystery and awe surrounding their deliberations. But there’s no mystery about what lies beneath the robes of the likes of Zeigler and Gableman, a couple of bought and paid for supreme political hacks. It’s time for the citizens resume ownership of their court and the justices that sit on it by funding the elections with public money.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Campaign Office grand Opening Celebrations!

The Grand Opening Celebration of the Racine for Obama Campaign for Change headquarters is next Wednesday July 16th – 6:00 PM at 522 6th Street in downtown Racine.

The Walworth Co. Democrats are celebrating the opening of their campaign office at 21 E Walworth St. in downtown Elkhorn tomorrow Sat. July 12th at 3:00 PM, with Congressional and State Assembly candidate speeches beginning at 4:00.

As many people of goodwill as possible are encouraged to attend both events!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Great News!

Dr. Jeffrey Thomas did not file his 1st CD nomination papers to reprise his repeated role as a non-viable democratic candidate. This makes it far more likely that we will get a real candidate running as democrat to unseat the regressive Mr. Ryan.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Empirial Over Reach

This is what the Bushite Neocons mean establishing a free and sovereign Iraq. Yeah turn Blackwater and CACI loose with immunity on the already beleaguered citizens of Iraq, that'll go well. Not to mention the launching pad for war with Iran and then Syria that this is intended to facilitate. From today's Democracy Now!

Iraqi PM: Talks With US at "Dead End"

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is claiming talks on a long-term agreement with the US have reached what he calls "a dead end." US demands have included maintaining fifty-eight permanent military bases in Iraq, immunity for American troops and contractors, a free hand to conduct military operations without Iraqi approval, and control of Iraqi airspace. Speaking in Jordan, Maliki said, "We have reached an impasse, because when we opened these negotiations we did not realize that the US demands would so deeply affect Iraqi sovereignty, and this is something we can never accept." The Independent of London reported last week the US is leveraging tens of billions of dollars in seized Iraqi assets to push through its demands. The Bush administration has angered Iraqi officials by refusing to lift support for Iraq's UN designation as a threat to international security. The New York Times reports Iraqi officials will ask the UN Security Council today to expend its protection of Iraq against compensation claims.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Pre-Existing Political Condition (You're Denied!)

Below is a piece by Jack Lohman of from most recent edition of his bimonthly newsletter on clean elections and healthcare reform. It's an excellent snapshot of the train wreck we find ourselves in with regard to healthcare and disfunctional politics, with a republican party both in denial of the problem and ideologically unequiped to address the healthcare issue and two parties that are enmeshed in the status quo of money driven politics. The full newsletter can be viewed at You can sign up for this excellent source of information by sending a blank email to with “Subscribe eNewsletter” in the subject line.

Three steps to Health Care Reform
By Jack E. Lohman
I’ve got it!
Step One: Refuse insurance coverage for 15% of our politicians, under-insure another 15%, and put the rest on a high-deductible health savings account.
Step Two: Ban all campaign contributions moving from the healthcare and insurance industries to the politicians.
Step Three: Actually, step three isn’t needed. Without health insurance or industry money, the politicians will fix the system virtually overnight. Even if we just eliminated the industry money, the politicians would do the right thing.
Sad, isn’t it? That the guys and gals that are paid by us actually work for them. But that’s the world we live in.
That’s the way it’s going to be until November and we throw out the old and bring in the new.
Yeah, some of the indestructible young bucks will be okay with the high deductible plans, at least until one of their kids is diagnosed with genetically contracted diabetes or something of the like. No amount of, what do they call it, personal responsibility and keeping fit, will protect them from this family tragedy.
Then they’ll want to convert to a standard policy, but it’ll be too late. It’s that “pre-existing disease” thingy we’ve been talking about.
It is what it is; live with it.
This just puzzles the hell out of me. We are all paying for everyone’s health care already. . . . in cost shifting, bankruptcy costs, and when businesses add their costs to the price of their product and we (even us old geezers) reimburse them at the cash register.
Why don’t we just pool everybody into one system and all share the costs in a forthright manner, and pay less dollars than we are paying today? And at the same time make our businesses more competitive with imports!
For the same amount of dollars we are spending on health care today, we could provide first class care to 100% of our population. We’d use the same private doctors, the same private hospitals and we’d have wait times no longer than we have today.
Under a single-payer universal healthcare system, no one would have to declare bankruptcy because of exhorbitant healthcare costs, where those costs are now borne by the rest of us.
Why are we spending more to avoid doing it the right way, than it would cost to do it right in the first place?
I know of no intelligent business leader that would design a system like today’s. But I do know of many politicians who would. What’s that tell you?


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

BAP at Chocolatefest

The Burlington Area Progressives had a successful run promoting progressive values at this year's chocolatefest. We would like to thank the Kenosha, Racine and Walworth Co. Democratic Parties for supporting this effort and the progressive candidates that spent some time at C-Fest and our booth including State Assembly candidates Doug Herrod (Dist. 32), Mike Orr (Dist. 66) and Larry Zamba (Dist 66), as well as Wisconsin 1st Congressional District Candidates Paulette Garin and Marge Krupp.
We also had information and literature provided for distribution by State Senator Robert Wirch (Dist. 22) and Linda Flashinski, candidate for State Assembly (Dist. 63)
Our presence was well received. We met people and handed out literature. To see the BAP literature that we posted and/or handed out please see the Chocolatefest 2008 file on our yahoo group, the link to which is under "Join the Discussion" on the left-hand side of this page. Photos of our booth will also be posted soon. We also registered 8 new voters!
The results of our presidential straw poll are as follows:
McCain 0
Clinton 8
Obama 8
Well it seems there's just no decisive result to be had in this regard (at least between the dems).
Thanks again to all who helped, stopped by or provided general encouragement. Particular thanks go out to Kay Collins-Schultz for meritorius service above and beyond the call. We couldn't have done it with out you!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

BAP at C-Fest

If you're at C-Fest this weekend stop in, say hi and see our booth in cooperation with the Dems of Kenosha, Racine and Walworth Co.

Our booths looks great and it's awesome to see that finally the GOPsters don't have C-Fest to themselves anymore. In addition to Our booth, Assembly cadidates Larry Zamba and Mike Orr also have booths and other progressive candidates Marge Krupp (House) and Doug Harrod (Assembly) have alsp put in appearance with more expected. The GOP doesn't know what hit 'em!

We're registering voters , handing out literature and conducting a one dollar/vote presidential straw poll with proceeds going to BAP to defray the costs. So stike a blow (or $5) for your cadidate!

Have a great Holiday!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Bush Torturer-In-Chief

Well Bush has finally admitted that he is a war criminal. In discussing the use of torture by the U.S. government with ABC news recently Bush stated "And yes, I'm aware our national security team met on this issue. And I approved." He was referring to Dick Cheney, Condolezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeldt, George Tenet, John Ashcroft and Colin Powel who met and authorized specific techniques for use on suspected terrorists, including water boarding.

Water boarding AKA the drowning torture, conceived by the Spanish Inquisition is used to repeatedly induce the sensation and terror of drowning. Since the U.S. prosecuted Japanese troops after WWII for war crimes for using this technique on our troops it is clearly a war crime and a form of torture as recognized the world over.Our founders held that certain truths were self evident, that all men, not all Americans, but ALL men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights including due process and not to be subjected to cruel and inhuman punishment. George Bush has betrayed the very foundation of what America stands for in the world.

Furthermore, George Bush has asserted that as Commander-In-Chief of the armed forces during wartime he is above justice and the rule of law. This is a further betrayal of the Constitution and our founding. Do we want to confer these powers on Obama, Clinton, McCain or any other future executive? NO! If this principle is allowed to carry forward we are unlikely to ever see the end of wartime, as we will elect a series of dictators to four-year terms.

It’s time for our representative Paul Ryan and the rest of the House, to stop collaborating with the Torturer-In-Chief and clean up the moral cesspool that is the Bush Administration once and for all by bringing to bear impeachment and criminal proceedings against these perpetrators.

From Abu Grabh to Gitmo to the secret blacksites around the globe this President has betrayed American values and diminished our standing as a nation. This is self-evident, torture is evil! By any name, for any purpose, by anyone, to anyone, no ifs, ands or moral relativisms.

If the Executive can detain you secretly, indefinitely, without charge, recourse or due process, if he/she can torture you, extract testimony and use it against you in a tribunal, you are not free. You are merely at large at the executive’s discretion. The Bushites have done all of these things. It’s time to stand up for freedom and put the criminal George Bush behind bars where he belongs.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Return to Sender - Iraq Veteran Gets the Call Again

The following are snippets from a letter in the SF Chronicle Open Forum (emphasis mine)

Colby Buzzell
Thursday, May 8, 2008

"When I voluntarily enlisted in the Army, I remember asking my recruiter about the fine print on the contract about being called back up to active duty once my enlistment was completed. He assured me not to worry, that every contract said that and it would only happen if "World War III" broke out."

"On way out of my building two weeks ago, I checked my mailbox and found a letter from the Department of the Army with "Important Document" printed in all caps on the middle. I immediately felt sick, so I went back to my room, locked the door, grabbed a beer from the fridge and stared out my window for a while. People outside were all wearing sunglasses and walking about enjoying the sun. I took a picture."

"Looking back, would I have joined the military if I were doing something that I loved? Or had a job that paid $100,000 a year? Probably not. Those are the men and women I feel that we need to mail these letters to. Let's see what happens when they receive letters telling them to put on a uniform and ship out immediately to the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan."

Read the rest of his letter and get the link to where he blogs here.

Faith groups mount campaign against torture

They're protesting Bush administration policies. But polls show Americans are split on the issue.
By Jane Lampman Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
from the May 8, 2008 edition
As Congress and the Bush administration skirmish over still-secret interrogation techniques, American faith communities are mounting a national campaign to prohibit torture and cruel and inhumane treatment of US-held detainees.
More than 175 religious organizations have joined the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT). Their aim is to build a moral consensus among Americans on the issue and to bring government policies in line with US law and international norms.
"Religions of the world do agree on basic tenets about how people should treat each other because of the dignity of the human person," says the Rev. Richard Killmer, executive director. The group involves mainline and evangelical Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, and other members.
The campaign has its work cut out for it. Polls since 2001 show great divergence and ambivalence in public attitudes toward the interrogation and treatment of alleged terrorists. And Congress so far has not convinced the administration to change course.
NRCAT worked for congressional passage of the 2008 intelligence bill, which required the Central Intelligence Agency and other agencies to conform to the Army Field Manual in their interrogations. The manual, revised in 2006 after the abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, prohibits the use of waterboarding (simulated drowning), military dogs, beatings, and electric shocks, among other techniques.
Rest of story here

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Scumbag Scalia

Scumbag Scalia says that torture is not cruel and unusual punishment. Here we have a reactivist judge twisting words and using pretzel logic that is easily undone. Scalia is struggling to arrive at a predetermined conclusion regarding our Constitution that the founder would have never endorsed, to excuse the actions of our Torturer-In-Chief and to take us back to a time when the executive could do as he please with his subjects.

The Scumbag Scalia’s argument turns on his ludicrous conclusion that torture is not “punishment” but merely an attempt to extract information. Scalia in making this lead asks; “What’s he punishing you for?”

My simple and completely obvious reply is that you are being PUNISHED for not divulging information that your torturer believes you may have and that he believes he is entitled to. Logical? DUH!

It is absolutely pathetic that this is the caliber of man who wraps himself in the robes of justice and has sworn to protect our Constitution. This shows that for Scalia the end justifies the means when it comes to executive power and that his proclaimed originalist interpretation of our Constitution is just a sham.

Below is Scalia’s stuttering defense of his medieval beliefs in an interview with Leslie Stahl on CBS’s 60 minutes.

Oh and by the way, his final conclusion that “Anyway, that’s my view. And it happens to be correct.” Is also ridiculous.

The justice has been explaining his positions publicly more and more, and even delving into some thorny issues, like torture. "I don't like torture," Scalia says. "Although defining it is going to be a nice trick. But who's in favor of it? Nobody. And we have a law against torture. But if the - everything that is hateful and odious is not covered by some provision of the Constitution," he says.

"If someone's in custody, as in Abu Ghraib, and they are brutalized by a law enforcement person, if you listen to the expression 'cruel and unusual punishment,' doesn't that apply?" Stahl asks.

"No, No," Scalia replies. "Cruel and unusual punishment?" Stahl asks.

"To the contrary," Scalia says. "Has anybody ever referred to torture as punishment? I don't think so."

"Well, I think if you are in custody, and you have a policeman who's taken you into custody…," Stahl says.

"And you say he's punishing you?" Scalia asks.

"Sure," Stahl replies.

"What's he punishing you for? You punish somebody…," Scalia says.

"Well because he assumes you, one, either committed a crime…or that you know something that he wants to know," Stahl says.

"It's the latter. And when he's hurting you in order to get information from you…you don’t say he's punishing you. What’s he punishing you for? He's trying to extract…," Scalia says.

"Because he thinks you are a terrorist and he's going to beat the you-know-what out of you…," Stahl replies.

"Anyway, that’s my view," Scalia says. "And it happens to be correct."

Friday, April 04, 2008

The Blog Is Back

After a prolonged sleep, the Burlington Area Progressives blog is active again. In fact, the blog will now be the main venue for sharing information and opinions related to BAP. The BAP Yahoo group will continue, and probably continue to be a lively forum for debate among group members, both progressive and otherwise. Check the bottom of the page to subscribe to this blog. Thanks for dropping by!

Healthy Wisconsin

Recently I had the pleasure of hearing State Senators Jon Erpenbach and Robert Wirch give presentations on the Healthy Wisconsin Bill to the Burlington Area Chamber of Commerce and the Burlington Area Progressives, respectively.

Healthy Wisconsin (HW) is not socialized medicine. HW will create a pool of all working Wisconsinites to buy the same private health insurance our legislators enjoy, saving $1.76 BILLION per year and slowing the increase in medical costs. HW will cover the 600,000 of our fellow citizens, including many children, farmers and small business people who have no health coverage. The more than 10,000 family bankruptcies per year due to medical expenses will be eliminated, ceasing the endless parade of feel-good but ineffective tavern fundraiser band-aids.

Our citizens will be able to choose their own doctor and have prescription, physician, hospital and mental health coverage, because the brain is an organ too. Pre-existing conditions that make benefit slaves out of workers will no longer exist and health coverage will be portable. Doctors will be able to practice their craft rather than doing paperwork and fighting insurance companies. Preventive care will be encouraged and emergency rooms will cease to be the health care source of last resort for the uninsured, which we all pay for. Businesses will be attracted to Wisconsin and will be more competitive globally. People will not come to Wisconsin just for HW because you need to have a job to be covered. For more information visit

At the Chamber, State Assembly members Robin Vos and Samantha Kerkman, in denial of the fact that we have a health care crisis tried unsuccessfully to attack HW and defend the status quo that is preferred by the insurance and health industry lobbyists they represent. Mr. Vos made the argument that with healthcare costs anticipated to rise 6% per year under HW and working people’s pay barely keeping pace with inflation at 3% per year, something would have to give with respect to the payroll based funding. This is a potentially logical argument until you consider the rest of the truth, that without HW medical expenses are predicted to rise at over 10% per year, doubling in a decade, thus making his point meaningless as the ship sinks twice as fast.

Ms. Kerkman discussed the fact that during her recent difficult pregnancy she had to drive to Kenosha for medical services, making one wonder what her point was with respect to the bill and what she would do if she lacked coverage like roughly 10% of her constituents. The only solution offered by the Republicans are expensive health savings accounts (HSAs). But with median family income at $42,000 average Wisconsinites just can’t afford HSAs and will remain without coverage, demonstrating the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of GOP.
It’s time to use OUR government to promote progress in making the private sector work efficiently for the citizens of Wisconsin. If Vos and Kerkman are opposed to citizens having the same health coverage that they do, perhaps they should forego that coverage and turn to the golden bull of the supposed “free” market that they worship so dutifully and see how they fare. Come on in ya’ll, the water’s cold!