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Iran democracy vigil 012

Tex & I managed to stay silent for the entire minute of silence, but, o be perfectly fair, no one else at tonight’s Austin vigil was silent either.

iran-democracy-vigil-019

Most of the 700+ people who protested with candles were Iranian, and they all seemed to know each other.  Between me and Betsy, we knew three other people, but everyone was there for peaceful purposes.  In addition to the protesters, there were police officers on bicycles and a few regular joggers and bicycle riders who happened to be using the same bridge.

I spoke with a 19-yr-old student who has family in the South of Iran and a grandmother in Teheran.  She says that her grandmother hasn’t left her apartment at all in the past 10 days, but she feels safe living on the 19th floor of a large apartment building.

iran-democracy-vigil-005Tex spoke with a family that was in Iran in 1977-79 and the mom left with her infant daughter four days before Iranians took over the U.S. Embassy there.  The whole family are dual citizens and want their votes counted in both countries.

Austin has six TV stations, and five of them had satellite trucks at the vigil.  There were also print reporters and a few radio stations.

iran-democracy-vigil-019We walked back to the parking lot with a family from Iran, and the father of the family said that he missed Wednesday’s rally but was glad that he made it tonight.  He said that he’d have to stay better tuned in because we’ll be needing more vigils and protests, but I sincerely hope that we don’t need any more.

Iran democracy vigil 018

Hillary’s first public rally in Texas is this evening in El Paso. Our primary is March 4, so learn about the candidates and plan to vote!

Clinton launches Texas tour in El Paso

Locked in a tight battle for the Democratic presidential nomination, Hillary Clinton will kick off the Texas portion of her campaign in El Paso today with a free public rally at the Don Haskins Center, followed by a private $1,000-per-person fundraiser.

“The excitement is obvious,” said U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, one of the organizers of Clinton’s El Paso visit.

The Clinton rally begins at 6 p.m. today She is scheduled to speak at about 6:30 p.m. However, to accommodate the expected large crowd, the doors at the Don Haskins Center will open at 4:30 p.m., officials said.

Among those who plan to attend the rally is West Side voter Yolanda Uranga. She’s going along with her husband and several friends.

“We’ve got to have a good turnout because she needs us right now,” Uranga said.

Reyes urged people to show up early because the arena holds 12,000 people, and entrance is on a first-come, first-serve basis.

“In 1996 the Clintons had a rally at the airport with 44,000 people, and what people forget is that we turned away another 12,000 people,” Reyes said. “That’s how much interest there is.”El Pasoan Rick LoBello, who is helping organize Illinois Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in El Paso, said some Obama supporters will have their own cordial rally outside the Don Haskins Center today.

“Just like there is a lot of support for Clinton in El Paso and it is going to show tomorrow, there is a lot of support for Obama, and if he ever comes to El Paso it will show, too,” he said.

Clinton and Obama are locked in a tight race for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination. Among the states left to vote is Texas, which conducts its primary on March 4.

Reyes said former President Bill Clinton is also expected to visit El Paso in the next two weeks.

Ramon Bracamontes may be reached at rbracamontes@elpasotimes.com; 546-6142.

Update below!

Would someone please tell me why the story about Huckabee wanting to change the Constitution and start a theocracy here is NOT in regular newspapers? I am not allowed to use AlterNet or TPM or the blogs as sources for weekly “current events in politics” assignments. And if it isn’t even news for a high school history class, then it’s really not news for the American public!

Here’s what Google News Search had for the search terms huckabee “god’s standards” constitution:

Huckabee Advocates Changing the Constitution to Live By “God’s
AOL News Newsbloggers, VA – 1 hour ago
means what he says, he wants the turn the US into a Christian Taliban state, where we would be ruled by what Mike Huckabee believes is “God’s standards. .

Huck, the Constitution and ‘God’s standards’
MSNBC – Jan 15, 2008
WARREN, Mich. — Huckabee’s closing argument to voters here this evening featured a few new stories and two prolonged sections on illegal immigration and
Huckabee trades God for jobs in Michigan
Guardian Unlimited, UK – Jan 14, 2008
The former Baptist minister Mike Huckabee today discarded the emphasis on conservative social values that propelled him to victory in the Iowa caucuses
Huckabee, 3rd In Michigan, Looks Ahead To So. Carolina
WCPO, OH – Jan 15, 2008
By LIBBY QUAID, AP Writer LEXINGTON, SC (AP) — Mike Huckabee, nursing a second third-place finish in northern states, looked ahead to the South where he

Mike Huckabee Doesn’t Believe in Constitution
Stop the ACLU, PA – Jan 15, 2008
by Jay @ 9:42 pm on January 15, 2008. If I may quote a famouse liberal…”You say you wanna change the Constitution, well you know…we all wanna change your

Why not the New York Times or the Chicago Tribune or a newspaper my teacher accepts as real?!?!? Here’s what Huckabee ACTUALLY said:

“I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution,” Huckabee told a Michigan audience on Monday. “But I believe it’s a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living god. And that’s what we need to do — to amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards rather than try to change God’s standards so it lines up with some contemporary view.”

He’s a FFFFing candidate for President who has already won a state! Tell me why that this shouldn’t be front page news on all the newspapers this week.

Update: It IS in a real newspaper! Just not in the United States. The UK Guardian has the story.

Why would anyone in congress keep the people of Washington from voting?

Washington DC vote

 

D.C. Vote Bill Dies in Senate

By Mary Beth Sheridan

Washington Post Staff Writer

Republican lawmakers yesterday blocked the Senate from taking up the D.C. vote bill, a potentially fatal setback for the District’s most promising effort in years to get a full member of Congress.

The opposition to the bill is this, but I think that the Republicans don’t want people in Washington, DC to vote because many of them are black and most of them are registered Democrats.

The Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and the White House have strongly criticized the legislation. They maintain that, because the District is not a state, the bill violates the constitutional mandate that House members be chosen by the “People of the several States.”

“I opposed this bill because it is clearly and unambiguously unconstitutional,” McConnell said in a statement. “If the residents of the District are to get a member for themselves, they have a remedy: amend the Constitution.”

The article points that out too.

In addition to voicing legal concerns, opponents were wary of the bill’s potential political repercussions. Some Republicans feared that the measure could eventually lead to the addition of two full D.C. senators, who probably would be Democrats.

If this is a real democracy, then the citizens of our country’s capital city should be able to participate also.

bush's legacyIt seems that George W is concerned about his legacy, and he is talking to a biographer named Robert Draper:

In book, Bush peeks ahead to his legacy

In an interview with a book author in the Oval Office one day last December, President George W. Bush daydreamed about the next phase of his life, when his time will be his own.

The articles talks about these kinds of issues

First, Bush said, “I’ll give some speeches, just to replenish the ol’ coffers.” With joint assets that have been estimated at as high as nearly $21 million, Bush added, “I don’t know what my dad gets – it’s more than 50-75” thousand dollars a speech, and “Clinton’s making a lot of money.”

Then he said, “We’ll have a nice place in Dallas,” where he will be running what he called “a fantastic Freedom Institute” promoting democracy around the world. But he added, “I can just envision getting in the car, getting bored, going down to the ranch.”

and

The transcripts and the book show Bush as being keenly interested in what history will say about his term despite his frequent comments to the contrary; as being in a reflective mode as his time at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue dwindles; and, ultimately, as being at once sorrowful and optimistic – but virtually alone as commander in chief, and aware of it.

Here is the worst line in the whole article:

And in apparent reference to the invasion of Iraq, he continued, “This group-think of ‘we all sat around and decided’ – there’s only one person that can decide, and that’s the president.”

HE just wants to make money, but I think that his real legacy will include these:

  1. a million people dead because of wars that we started
  2. 3000 dead at Ground Zero, flight 93 and the Pentagon, with bin Ladin still on the loose and not even a suspect by the CIA
  3. an unsolved anthrax terrorism case that killed five people
  4. increased opium exports all around the world
  5. privatization of everything from highways to schools to prisons hospitals to the maintenance of Walter Reed hospital and rehab
  6. many millions of uninsured and underinsured Americans with no access to decent health care when they need it
  7. the drowning of a city and a whole section of another state
  8. hard times for poor people, and a whole lot more poor people
  9. most of his administration resigning on him, and some of them being investigated and tried and convicted for crimes
  10. having the whole world hate us
  11. almost (I hope) starting a war with Iran
  12. stealing elections
  13. having hookers in the white house pretending to be reporters
  14. the giant corporations having a super time while the planet heats up and regular people suffer
  15. high gas prices and high prices to heat houses
  16. spying on Americans without a warrant or even telling the FISA court
  17. locking up Americans for years without a trial
  18. locking up thousands of other people in torture camps with no lawyers and no rights
  19. making students only learn stuff that is tested in April and not the important things in each subject

I bet George won’t talk about those things when he has speaking tours. (He’ll get more for one talk than my whole family has in a year!) What do you think his legacy will be? Can someone please call the Hague?

Like most of my political posts, this is cross-posted at
Political Teen Tidbits and at YouThinkLeft.

TV clipartThink Progress has a post up called

If It’s Sunday, It’s Karl Rove

and in it they have a list of questions that they want the talk show hosts to ask Rove. Here’s the list:

In addition to those, I think they should also ask him about these things:

  • Who Jeff Gannon was spending nights with in the White House?
  • Is George Bush drinking or doing drugs?
  • Who is the real president, Bush or Cheney?
  • Why did you decide to leave now?
  • What gave you the idea that there are no rules for you and your friends?
  • Why did you decide Congress doesn’t matter anymore?
  • Did you rig the voting machines?
  • Don’t you feel guilty destroying the country like this?

What else would you ask him?

Democratic presidential hopeful New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson responds to a question about NAFTA during a presidential forum hosted by the AFL-CIO at Soldier Field in Chicago, Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2007. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

 

AP Photo: Democratic presidential hopeful New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson responds to a question about NAFTA during…

The mainstream media makes it seem like Clinton and Obama are the only Democratic candidates, but there are a lot of them, and some say some pretty good stuff. Here’s some of what Governor Bill Richardson from New Mexico has been saying:

“I believe that school reform should improve schools,” he said. “But our nation’s school reform has made our schools look more like reform schools, with all the mindless testing and bureaucratic rules and regulations.”

Richardson ticked through his accomplishments as governor, including his Making Schools Work plan. That effort addresses not only classroom instruction but health and nutrition, parental involvement and clean schools.

“Our children can’t learn if they aren’t healthy,” he said. “In New Mexico, we now provide access to free health insurance to every child under the age of 5. We have expanded our state immunization program. … We’ve implemented statewide breakfast programs for our neediest kids. And we’ve gotten junk food out and put physical education back in.”

He also wants to get spend more on education and less on war. He wants to get rid of No Child Left Behind and give better salaries to teachers:

Democratic presidential hopeful Bill Richardson says schools should be a higher budget priority than the war in Iraq.

“We need to get out of Iraq, where precious lives and needed dollars have been wasted,” New Mexico‘s governor said in remarks prepared for delivery Wednesday to New Hampshire educators. “We could use these resources to improve our schools and make the economy, once again, work for the middle class.”

Richardson proposed an extended school year, a longer school day and a complete repeal of President Bush‘s No Child Left Behind plan. He also pledged to seek a federal minimum wage of $40,000 for teachers. The average first-year teacher earned $31,753 in 2004-2005, according to the American Federation of Teachers’ most recent survey.

“Too often, you’ve been ignored, taken for granted, underpaid and blamed,” Richardson said in remarks obtained by The Associated Press. “It was Aristotle, 2,300 years ago, who wrote that the fate of nations depends more on educating youth than any other factor. Not the military. Not the political leadership. Not the economy.”

Which other candidates are saying important things that the media is not reporting?

Like most of my political posts, this is cross-posted at

Political Teen Tidbits and at YouThinkLeft.

impeachThis is from Democrats.com:

Ten Reasons to Impeach George Bush and Dick Cheney

I ask Congress to impeach President Bush and Vice President Cheney for the following reasons: 1. Violating the United Nations Charter by launching an illegal “War of Aggression” against Iraq without cause, using fraud to sell the war to Congress and the public, misusing government funds to begin bombing without Congressional authorization, and subjecting our military personnel to unnecessary harm, debilitating injuries, and deaths.

2. Violating U.S. and international law by authorizing the torture of thousands of captives, resulting in dozens of deaths, and keeping prisoners hidden from the International Committee of the Red Cross.

3. Violating the Constitution by arbitrarily detaining Americans, legal residents, and non-Americans, without due process, without charge, and without access to counsel.

4. Violating the Geneva Conventions by targeting civilians, journalists, hospitals, and ambulances, and using illegal weapons, including white phosphorous, depleted uranium, and a new type of napalm.

5. Violating U.S. law and the Constitution through widespread wiretapping of the phone calls and emails of Americans without a warrant.

6. Violating the Constitution by using “signing statements” to defy hundreds of laws passed by Congress.

7. Violating U.S. and state law by obstructing honest elections in 2000, 2002, 2004, and 2006.

8. Violating U.S. law by using paid propaganda and disinformation, selectively and misleadingly leaking classified information, and exposing the identity of a covert CIA operative working on sensitive WMD proliferation for political retribution.

9. Subverting the Constitution and abusing Presidential power by asserting a “Unitary Executive Theory” giving unlimited powers to the President, by obstructing efforts by Congress and the Courts to review and restrict Presidential actions, and by promoting and signing legislation negating the Bill of Rights and the Writ of Habeas Corpus.

10. Gross negligence in failing to assist New Orleans residents after Hurricane Katrina, in ignoring urgent warnings of an Al Qaeda attack prior to Sept. 11, 2001, and in increasing air pollution causing global warming.

Buzzflash is having a contest (with cash prizes!) to list the
“Top 10 Reasons to Impeach Bush and Cheney”.

And here is one from AfterDowningStreet:

 

Accountability Demands Impeachment
Marcel J. Harmon, Ph.D.

I’m outraged – again.

I recently finished reading Seymour Hersh’s piece in the June 25th New Yorker on Army General Antonio Taguba’s investigation and resulting report regarding the Abu Ghraib scandal. In the third to last paragraph, Hersh quotes Taguba as follows: “’There was no doubt in my mind that this stuff’ – the explicit images – ‘was gravitating upward. It was standard operating procedure to assume that this had to go higher. The President had to be aware of this.’ He [Taguba] said that Rumsfeld, his senior aides, and the high-ranking generals and admirals who stood with him as he misrepresented what he knew about Abu Ghraib had failed the nation.”

As I’ve done so many times before, I wondered again how this administration has managed to leave its six-year wake of political, social, economic, and environmental damage, in such an arrogant and incompetent manner, without more of a demand for accountability. I turned to my wife and again asked how we could begin impeachment proceedings against a president who lied about having sex, yet let the George W. administration skate.

But my wife simply replied, “I’m not going to waste my energy and time on this when nothing will get done – I’m just not going to get outraged.”

How many times have I heard others express the same sentiment? How many times have I let my own outrage fizzle as the day-to-day issues of life take over? The all-encompassing daily grind, our culture of consumption, and mind-numbing 24/7 mass media – all act as a distraction to the benefit of those in power. And the growing divide between the have and have-nots only magnifies our day-to-day struggle, further distracting us from the bigger picture. The corporate sector implicitly and explicitly promotes this for it’s own benefit, via corporate lobbying and huge political donations to both Democratic and Republican candidates.

But if any administration has deserved to be held accountable, it is this one.

The Bush administration started a war of choice in Iraq due to dubious intelligence and poor reasoning at best, and at worst by outright lying to the American public and bullying its critics. Our resulting role as the aggressor and extreme mismanagement of the war has taken the lives of US and coalition soldiers, private contractors, and countless Iraqi civilians. It has cost us over $500 billion, greatly reduced out standing in the world, functioned as a prime recruiting device for terrorists across the globe, and arguably made the world a less safe place to be.

Where is your outrage?

And what about Osama Bin Laden? Why has this administration failed to bring the architect of 9/11 to justice? The fiasco in Iraq has distracted us from bringing in the man who brought down the twin towers.

Where is your outrage?

This administration, through its placement of woefully unqualified individuals in charge of FEMA, it’s failure to grasp prior warnings, and lack of a quick initial reaction, greatly bungled the federal government’s response to Hurricane Katrina’s devastation of the Gulf region.

Where is your outrage?

This administration’s misrepresentation of scientific data for its own agenda – its utter disregard for science – has delayed a proper US response to global warming. It has stymied stem-cell research, marginalized the position of Surgeon General, and may severely impact the recruitment of young people into the sciences for years to come.

Where is your outrage?

The administration was, at the very least, indirectly involved in the outing of a CIA agent, an act that when done knowingly is a criminal violation of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act. The one bit of accountability that emerged from this scandal – the conviction and sentencing of Scooter Libby for lying to prosecutors – was muted after the president commuted his sentence.

And the list goes on. Yet Speaker Pelosi and other prominent democrats have said that impeachment is “off the table.” Why? Because it’s a “waste of time?” Or does it have more to do with political inconvenience?

Holding those in power accountable for their actions is critical for maintaining a functioning democracy. It can be messy. It can be painful. But it must be done – to remind our elected officials that they ultimately answer to the American public, and not to powerful corporate interests, not to the demands of their own egos, and certainly not to a personal ideology based on a narrow perception of God.

The outrage is growing. A July 6th pole by the American Research Group indicates that 45 percent of Americans favor initiating impeachment proceedings against the president, and 54 percent favor impeaching the vice president. Congress could very well act on this, but it’s unlikely unless we demand this of our elected officials.

Where is your outrage?


When our country first started, only free white male citizens who owned land could vote or become elected. Now, outside of Washington DC, all adult citizens who are not felons can vote, and it’s supposed to be that they can all become elected officials. Right? Then why are there so many very rich people in Congress?

NYC Mayor Bloomberg left the Republican party yesterday, probably because he plans to run for President. I like the fact that he knows the Republican party is dying and can never win in 2008, but I dislike the idea that he can possibly win BECAUSE he is willing to use hundreds of millions, possibly a billion!!! of his OWN MONEY!

He should have no more right to bypass the primary system and get into the highest public office than anyone else. Already a candidate has to have enough money that they don’t need to work at a regular job while they campaign, but no one should be able to buy the presidency.

The solution? Public financing of elections, like Arizona and Vermont already do.

Like most of my political posts, this is cross-posted at Political Teen Tidbits and at YouThinkLeft.

Electronic voting machineThe Republican Party plays dirty when it comes to elections.  In 2000, they STOPPED the Florida vote count and have been disenfranchising black voters for years in many places.  Bobby Kennedy Jr has had two important articles recently about election fraud.  (Will The Next Election Be Hacked and Was the 2004 Election Stolen?”)  Now there is a new article in the Free Press that talks about four different ways that the election might have been stolen.    In the article, Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman connect the 5 million missing RNC emails to the election results and talk about the RNC email servers and the official Ohio election servers being housed in the same place and run by the same company.Here are some of the interesting things in the article itself:

E-mails being sought from Karl Rove’s computers, and recent revelations about critical electronic conflicts of interest, may be the smoking guns of Ohio’s stolen 2004 election. A thorough recount of ballots and electronic files. preserved by a federal lawsuit, could tell the tale.

….

 But two felony convictions have thus far resulted from what prosecutors have called the “rigging” of the recount in Cuyahoga County (where Bennett has been forced to resign his chairmanship of the board of elections). More are likely to follow.

The practices that led to these convictions were apparently repeated in many of Ohio’s 88 counties. The order to violate the law—or at least tacit approval to do so—is almost certain to have come from Blackwell.

Please this article in the Free Press for more information.

Jon Stewart and Stephen ColbertYou know how you keep hearing that 31% or so Americans still support Bush? And then you shake your head and ask yourself, “But WHY? Don’t they know any better?” Turns out …. they don’t!

Now these may not be exactly the same 31%, but it turns out that 31% of American adults do not know the name of the vice-President. Also, according to a Pew survey,

Told that Shia was one group of Muslims struggling
in Iraq, only 32% of the total sample could name “Sunni” as the other
key group.

The best of the findings though is that

those who scored the highest were regular watchers of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show and Colbert Report.


Oh good grief! The news has gotten so bad that fake news on a comedy channel is better than the regular news.

Scariest thing? All those uninformed adults have the right to vote, and only one or two of the YouThinkLeft writers are old enough for that right. But we can all name Dick Cheney and tell you that the other group of Muslims in Iraq is the Sunni.


Like most of my posts, this is cross-posted at Political Teen Tidbits and at YouThinkLeft.

 

electronic voting machineI just got this in my mail box from VoteRescue.org, and I think it is really cool!

—Freckles

Vote


Call to Action: Print & Sign Our Petition (PDF)

Volunteer to Hand Count Paper Ballots

House Bill 3894 Introduced

VoteRescue in Austin, Texas is proud to announce the submission yesterday of HB 3894 by Texas Rep. Lon Burnam of Tarrant County, which calls for hand-counted paper ballots, and the elimination of electronic voting systems for our elections in Texas. The exception would be ballot marking machines such as Automark. Our founder, Karen Renick, had a major hand in crafting this bill.

Vote-PADS or Equalivote systems, both non-electronic voting systems, will be recommended for use with the disabled community to fulfill the Help American Vote Act mandate.

This victory follows many weeks of preparation, lobbying with the state House Committee on Elections and their legislative aides, and a multi-pronged presentation to this Committee on February 21st to argue against any bill that would add printers to electronic voting machines, (one of which was presented that day; at least two more are in the wings) and for hand-counted paper ballots.

VoteRescue presenters of that perspective at the Capitol that day, February 21st, included Karen Renick, Abbe Waldman DeLozier, Vickie Karp, Joni Ashbrook, Kathleen Wynne, Paul Alotto, Babs Warren; from Tarrant County, Texas, were Doreen Geiger and Jerry Lobdill. Laura Killins was unable to attend due to illness, but did a lot of the preparation with Joni for cost analyses between electronic voting systems and hand-counted paper ballot elections.

This presentation led to a meeting with Rep. Burnam in which he expressed alignment with our HCPB position and a willingness to help us move forward in this direction.

We believe this victory is a FIRST in the nation since the “takeover” of our elections by electronic voting system beginning around 2000 – 2002.

Thank you to all VoteRescuers and supporters for your help! We will be announcing soon a date, time and place for a celebration!

Press release to follow, which will include major points of the bill.