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TomDispatch: The legacy of the “War President”

November 5th, 2008

The legacy of the “War President”………….

 

Tom Engelhardt: The End of a Subprime Administration

 

Source: TomDispatch.com (11-2-08)

 

[Tom Engelhardt, co-founder of the American Empire Project, runs the Nation Institute's TomDispatch.com. He is the author of The End of Victory Culture, a history of the American Age of Denial. The World According to TomDispatch: America in the New Age of Empire (Verso, 2008), a collection of some of the best pieces from his site and an alternative history of the mad Bush years, has recently been published. To listen to a podcast in which he discusses Bush's record abroad, click here. ] 

 

They may have been the most disastrous dreamers, the most reckless gamblers, and the most vigorous imperial hucksters and grifters in our history. Selling was their passion. And they were classic American salesmen — if you’re talking about underwater land in Florida, or the Brooklyn Bridge, or three-card monte, or bizarre visions of Iraqi unmanned aerial vehicles armed with chemical and biological weaponry let loose over the U.S., or Saddam Hussein‘s mushroom clouds rising over American cities, or a full-scale reordering of the Middle East to our taste, or simply eternal global dominance. 

 

When historians look back, it will be far clearer that the “commander-in-chief” of a “wartime” country and his top officials were focused, first and foremost, not on the shifting “central theaters” of the Global War on Terror, but on the theater that mattered most to them — the “home front” where they spent inordinate amounts of time selling the American people a bill of goods. Of his timing in ramping up a campaign to invade Iraq in September 2002, White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card infamously explained: “From a marketing point of view, you don’t introduce new products in August.” 

 

Indeed. 

 

From a White House where “victory strategies” meant purely for domestic consumption poured out, to the Pentagon where bevies of generals, admirals, and other high officers were constantly being mustered, not to lead armies but to lead public opinion, their selling focus was total. They were always releasing “new product.” 

 

And don’t forget their own set of soaring inside-the-Beltway fantasies. After all, if a salesman is going to sell you some defective product, it always helps if he can sell himself on it first. And on this score, they were world champs. 

 

Because events made it look so foolish, the phrase “shock and awe” that went with the initial attack on Iraq in March 2003 has now passed out of official language and (together with “mission accomplished”) into the annals of irony. Back then, though, as bombs and missiles blew up parts of Baghdad — to fabulous visual effect in that other “theater” of war, television — the phrase was constantly on official lips and in media reports everywhere. It went hand-in-glove with another curious political phrase: regime change. 

 

Given the supposed unique technological proficiency of the U.S. military and its array of “precision” weapons, the warriors of Bushworld convinced themselves that a new era in military affairs had truly dawned. An enemy “regime” could now be taken out — quite literally and with surgical precision, in its bedrooms, conference rooms, and offices, thanks to those precision weapons delivered long-distance from ship or plane — without taking out a country. Poof! You only had to say the word and an oppressive regime would be, as it was termed, “decapitated.” Its people would then welcome with open arms relatively small numbers of American troops as liberators. 

 

It all sounded so good, and high tech, and relatively simple, and casualty averse, and clean as a whistle. Even better, once there had been such a demonstration, a guaranteed “cakewalk” — as, say, in Iraq — who would ever dare stand up to American power again? Not only would one hated enemy dictator be dispatched to the dustbin of history, but evildoers everywhere, fearing the Bush equivalent of the wrath of Khan, would be shock-and-awed into submission or quickly dispatched in their own right. 

 

In reality (ah, “reality” — what a nasty word!), the shock-and-awe attacks used on Iraq got not a single leader of the Saddamist regime, not one of that pack of 52 cards (including of course the ace of spades, Saddam Hussein, found in his “spiderhole” so many months later). Iraqi civilians were the ones killed in that precise and shocking moment, while Iraqi society was set on the road to destruction, and the world was not awed. 

 

Strangely enough, though, the phrase, once reversed, proved applicable to the Bush administration’s seven-year post-9/11 history. They were, in a sense, the awe-and-shock administration. Initially, they were awed by the supposedly singular power of the American military to dominate and transform the planet; then, they were continually shocked and disbelieving when that same military, despite its massive destructive power, turned out to be incapable of doing so, or even of handling two ragtag insurgencies in two weakened countries, one of which, Afghanistan, was among the poorest and least technologically advanced on the planet. 

 

The Theater of War 

 

In remarkably short order, historically speaking, the administration’s soaring imperial fantasies turned into planetary nightmares. After 9/11, of course, George W. and crew promised Americans the global equivalent — and Republicans the domestic equivalent — of a 36,000 stock market and we know just where the stock market is today: only about 27,000 points short of that irreality. 

 

Once upon a time, they really did think that, via the U.S. Armed Forces, or, as George W. Bush once so breathlessly put it, “the greatest force for human liberation the world has ever known,” they could dominate the planet without significant help from allies or international institutions of any sort. Who else had a shot at it? In the post-Soviet world, who but a leadership backed by the full force of the U.S. military could possibly be a contender for the leading role in this epic movie? Who else could even turn out for a casting call? Impoverished Russia? China, still rebuilding its military and back then considered to have a host of potential problems? A bunch of terrorists? I mean come on! 

 

As they saw it, the situation was pretty basic. In fact, it gave the phrase “power politics” real meaning. After all, they had in their hands the reins attached to the sole superpower on this small orb. And wasn’t everyone — at least, everyone they cared to listen to, at least Charles Krauthammer and the editorial page of the Washington Post — saying no less? 

 

I mean, what else would you do, if you suddenly, almost miraculously (after an election improbably settled by the Supreme Court), found yourself in sole command of the globe’s only “hyperpower,” the only sheriff on planet Earth, the New Rome. To make matters more delicious, in terms of getting just what you wanted, those hands were on those reins right after “the Pearl Harbor of the twenty-first century,” when Americans were shocked and awed and terrified enough that anything-goes seemed a reasonable response? 

 

It might have gone to anyone’s head in imperial Washington at that moment, but it went to their heads in such a striking way. After all, theirs was a plan — labeled in 2002 the Bush Doctrine — of global domination conceptually so un-American that, in my childhood, the only place you would have heard it was in the mouths of the most evil, snickering imperial Japanese, Nazi, or Soviet on-screen villains. And yet, in their moment of moments, it just rolled right out of their heads and off their tongues — and they were proud of it. 

 

Here’s a question for 2009 you don’t have to answer: What should the former “new Rome” be called now? That will, of course, be someone else’s problem. 

 

The Cast of Characters 

 

And what a debacle the Bush Doctrine proved to be. What a legacy the legacy President and his pals are leaving behind. A wrecked economy, deflated global stock markets, collapsing banks and financial institutions, soaring unemployment, a smashed Republican Party, a bloated Pentagon overseeing a strained, overstretched military, enmired in an incoherent set of still-expanding wars gone sour, a network of secret prisons, as well as Guantanamo, that “jewel in the crown” of Bush’s Bermuda Triangle of injustice, and all the grim practices that went with those offshore prisons, including widespread torture and abuse, kidnapping, assassination, and the disappearing of prisoners (once associated only with South America dictatorships and military juntas). 

 

They headed a government that couldn’t shoot straight or plan ahead or do anything halfway effectively, an administration that emphasized “defense” — or “homeland security” as it came to be called in their years — above all else; yet they were always readying themselves for the last battle, and so were caught utterly, embarrassingly unready for 19 terrorists with box cutters, a hurricane named Katrina, and an arcane set of Wall Street derivatives heading south. 

 

As the supposed party of small government, they succeeded mainly in strangling civilian services, privatizing government operations into the hands of crony corporations, and bulking up state power in a massive way — making an already vast intelligence apparatus yet larger and more labyrinthine, expanding spying and surveillance of every kind, raising secrecy to a first principle, establishing a new U.S. military command for North America, endorsing a massive Pentagon build-up, establishing a second Defense Department labeled the Department of Homeland Security with its own mini-homeland-security-industrial complex, evading checks and powers in the Constitution whenever possible, and claiming new powers for a “unitary executive” commander-in-chief presidency. 

 

No summary can quite do justice to what the administration “accomplished” in these years. If there was, however, a single quote from the world of George W. Bush that caught the deepest nature of the president and his core followers, it was offered by an “unnamed administration official” — often assumed to be Karl Rove — to journalist Ron Suskind back in October 2004: 

 

 

 

“He] said that guys like me were ‘in what we call the reality-based community,’ which he defined as people who ‘believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.’ I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ‘That’s not the way the world really works anymore,’ he continued. ‘We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…. and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.’”

 

“We create our own reality We’re history’s actors.” 

 

It must for years have seemed that way and everything about the lives they lived only reinforced that impression. After all, the President himself, as so many wrote, lived in a literal bubble world. Those who met him were carefully vetted; audiences were screened so that no one who didn’t fawn over him got near him; and when he traveled through foreign cities, they were cleared of life, turned into the equivalent of Potemkin villages, while he and his many armored cars and Blackhawk helicopters, his huge contingent of Secret Service agents and White House aides, his sniffer dogs and military sharpshooters, his chefs and who knows what else passed through. 

 

Of course, the President had been in a close race with the reality principle (which, in his case, was the principle of failure) all his life — and whenever reality nipped at his heels, his father’s boys stepped in and whisked him off stage. He got by at his prep school, Andover, and then at Yale, a c-level legacy student and, appropriately enough when it came to sports, a cheerleader and, at Yale, a party animal as well as the president of the hardest drinking fraternity on campus. He was there in the first place only because of who he wasn’t (or rather who his relations were). 

 

Faced with the crises of the Vietnam era, he joined the Texas Air National Guard and more or less went missing in action. Faced with life, he became a drunk. Faced with business, he failed repeatedly and yet, thanks to his dad’s friends, became a multi-millionaire in the process. He was supported, cosseted, encouraged, and finally — to use an omnipresent word of our moment — bailed out. The first MBA president was a business bust. A certain well-honed, homey congeniality got him to the governorship and then to the presidency of the United States without real accomplishments. If there ever was a case for not voting for the guy you’d most like to “have a beer with,” this was it. 

 

On that pile of rubble at Ground Zero on September 14, 2001, with a bullhorn in his hands and various rescuers shouting, “USA! USA!” he genuinely found his “calling” as the country’s cheerleader-in-chief (as he had evidently found his religious calling earlier in life). He not only took the job seriously, he visibly loved it. He took a childlike pleasure in being in the “theater” of war. He was thrilled when some of the soldiers who captured Saddam Hussein in that “spiderhole” later presented him with the dictator’s pistol. (“‘He really liked showing it off,’ says a… visitor to the White House who has seen the gun. ‘He was really proud of it.’”) He was similarly thrilled, on a trip to Baghdad in 2007, to meet the American pilot “whose plane’s missiles killed Iraq’s Al Qaeda leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi” and “returned to Washington in a buoyant mood.” 

 

While transforming himself into the national cheerleader-in-chief, he even kept “his own personal scorecard for the war” in a desk drawer in the Oval Office — photos with brief biographies and personality sketches of leading al-Qaeda figures, whose faces could be satisfyingly crossed out when killed or captured. He clearly adored it when he got to dress up, whether in a flight suit landing on the deck of an aircraft carrier in May 2003, or in front of hoo-aahing crowds of soldiers wearing a specially tailored military-style jacket with “George W. Bush, Commander In Chief” hand-stitched across the heart. As earlier in life, he was supported (Karl Rove), enabled (Condoleezza Rice), cosseted (various officials), and so became “the decider,” a willing figurehead (as he had been, for instance, when he was an “owner” of the Texas Rangers), manipulated by his co-president Dick Cheney. In these surroundings, he was able to take war play to an imperial level. In the end, however, this act of his life, too, could lead nowhere but to failure. 

 

As it happened, reality possessed its own set of shock-and-awe weaponry. Above all, reality was unimpressed with history’s self-proclaimed “actors,” working so hard on the global stage to create their own reality. When it came to who really owned what, it turned out that reality owned the works and that possession was indeed nine-tenths of one law that even George Bush’s handlers and his fervent neocon followers couldn’t suspend. 

 

Exit Stage Right 

 

The results were sadly predictable. The bubble world of George W. Bush was bound to be burst. Based on fantasies, false promises, lies, and bait-and-switch tactics, it was destined for foreclosure. At home and abroad, after all, it had been created using the equivalent of subprime mortgages and the result, unsurprisingly, was a dismally subprime administration. 

 

Now, of course, the bill collector is at the door and the property — the USA — is worth a good deal less than on November 4, 2000. George W. Bush is a discredited president; his job approval ratings could hardly be lower; his bubble world gone bust. 

 

Nonetheless, let’s remember one other theme of his previous life. Whatever his failures, Bush always walked away from disastrous dealings enriched, while others were left holding the bag. Don’t imagine for a second that the equivalent isn’t about to repeat itself. He will leave a country functionally under the gun of foreclosure, a world far more aflame and dangerous than the one he faced on entering the Oval Office. But he won’t suffer. 

 

He will have his new house in Dallas (not to speak of the “ranch” in Crawford) and his more than $200 million presidential “library” and “freedom institute” at Southern Methodist University; and then there’s always that 20% of America — they know who they are — who think his presidency was the greatest thing since sliced bread. Believe me, 20% of America is more than enough to pony up spectacular sums, once Bush takes to the talk circuit. As the president himself put it enthusiastically,”‘I’ll give some speeches, just to replenish the ol’ coffers.’ With assets that have been estimated as high as nearly $21 million, Mr. 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.’” 

 

This is how a legacy-student-turned-president fails upward. Every disaster leaves him better off. 

 

The same can’t be said for the country or the world, saddled with his “legacy.” 

 

Still, his administration has been foreclosed. Perhaps there’s ignominy in that. Now, the rest of us need to get out the brooms and start sweeping the stables. 

 

 

————————————————————————

Netscape.  Just the Net You Need.

 

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Stealbackyourvote.org

October 18th, 2008

 

Don’t worry about Mickey Mouse or ACORN stealing the election. 

According to an investigative report out today in Rolling Stone 

magazine, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Greg Palast, after a year-long 

investigation, reveal a systematic program of “GOP vote tampering” on

a massive scale.

- Republican Secretaries of State of swing-state Colorado have quietly 

purged one in six names from their voter rolls.

Over several months, the GOP politicos in Colorado stonewalled every 

attempt by Rolling Stone to get an answer

 to the massive purge – ten 

times the average state’s rate of removal.

- While Obama dreams of riding to the White House on a wave of new 

voters, more then 2.7 million have had their registrations REJECTED 

under new procedures signed into law by George Bush.

Kennedy, a voting rights lawyer, charges this is a resurgence of ‘Jim 

Crow’ tactics to wrongly block Black and Hispanic voters.

- A fired US prosecutor levels new charges – accusing leaders of his 

own party, Republicans, with criminal acts in an attempt to block legal 

voters as “fraudulent.”

- Digging through government records, the Kennedy-Palast team 

discovered that, in 2004, a GOP scheme called “caging” ultimately

took 

away the rights of 1.1 million voters. The Rolling Stone duo predict 

that, this November 4, it will be far worse.

There’s more:

- Since the last presidential race, “States used dubious ‘list

 

management’ rules to scrub at least 10 million voters from their 

rolls.”

Among those was Paul Maez of Las Vegas, New Mexico – a victim of an 

unreported but devastating purge of voters in that state that left as 

many as one in nine Democrats without a vote. For Maez, the state’s 

purging his registration was particularly shocking – he’s the county 

elections supervisor.

The Kennedy-Palast revelations go far beyond the sum of questionably 

purged voters recently reported by the New York Times.

“Republican operatives – the party’s elite commandos of bare-knuckle 

politics,” report Kennedy and Palast, under the cover of fighting 

fraudulent voting, are “systematically disenfranchis[ing] Democrats.”

The investigators level a deadly serious charge:

“If Democrats are to win the 2008 election, they must not simply beat 

McCain at the polls – they must beat him by a margin that exceeds the

 

level of GOP vote tampering.”

Block the Vote by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. & Greg Palast in the current 

issue (#1064) of Rolling Stone. [Media enquiries - Dave Falkenstein, 

Sunshine Sachs & Assoc, via interviews@gregpalast.com.]

Note – Kennedy and Palast are releasing, simultaneously with the 

Rolling Stone investigative report what they call, the vote-theft 

‘antidote’: a 24-page full-color comic book, Steal Back Your Vote, 

which can be downloaded or obtained in print from their non-partisan 

website, StealBackYourVote.org

For updates and video reports, go to RollingStone.com, 

www.GregPalast.com and StealBackYourVote.org.

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Can we believe McCain?

October 15th, 2008

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=GEtZlR3zp4c

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Rolling Stone scoop on McCain

October 15th, 2008

Know anyone who is planning to vote for this man?
Long story but convincingly deep.

Link to Full Article (10 page in-depth cover story):
[http://www.rollingstone.com/news/coverstory/make_believe_maverick_the_real_john_mccain]
http://www.rollingstone.com/news/coverstory/make_believe_maverick_the_real_john_mccain
 

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NOW endorsement

October 13th, 2008

 

Friends,

Please take time to read this important endorsement from the National Organization of Women!  Thank you

FYI: The National Organization for Women has endorsed the Obamba-Biden ticket for just the reasons listed below. They usually do not endorse, but in this case believed it was absolutely necessary to take a stand. If you agree, please pass this on.

Subject: Women and Sarah Palin

We are writing to you because of the fury and dread we have felt since the announcement of Sarah Palin as the Vice-Presidential candidate for the Republican Party. We believe that this terrible (?) decision has surpassed mere partisanship, and that it is a dangerous farce on the part of a pandering and rudderless Presidential candidate that has a real possibility of becoming fact.

Perhaps like us, as American women, you share the fear of what Ms. Palin and her professed beliefs and proven record could lead to for ourselves and for our present or future daughters. To date, she is against sex education, birth control, the pro-choice platform, environmental protection, alternative energy development, freedom of speech, gun control, the separation of church and state, and polar bears — to say nothing of her complete lack of real preparation to become the second-(and possibly first)-most-powerful person on the planet.

We want to clarify that we are not against Sarah Palin as a woman, a mother, or, for that matter, a parent of a pregnant teenager, but solely as a rash, incompetent, and altogether devastating choice for Vice President. Ms. Palin’s political views are in every way a slap in the face to the accomplishments that our mothers and grandmothers and great-grandmothers so fiercely fought for, and from which we’ve so demonstrably benefited.

First and foremost, Ms. Palin does not represent us. She does not demonstrate or uphold our interests as American women. It is presumed that the inclusion of a woman on the Republican ticket could win over women voters.

We want to disagree, publicly. If you agree that Palin is an irresponsible, even dangerous, choice for VP, please consider participating in this drive. Gentlemen, send this to the women you know and care for. I know it’s tough to understand the way this choice is impacting women, but I have never seen so many women so outraged, angry and distraught in my entire life. We’d like our voices heard.

If you agree, PLEASE FORWARD WIDELY! If you send this to 20 women in the next hour, you could be blessed with a country that takes your concerns? Seriously. Stranger things have happened.

 

 

“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”   

– DR. WAYNE DYER

 

 

 

 

Checked by AVG. 

Version: 7.5.526 / Virus Database: 270.8.0/1721 – Release Date: 10/12/2008 12:00 PM

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Naomi Wolf’s Oct 4 ’08 interview

October 7th, 2008

This woman knows her stuff! Looks like 9 out of 10 have happened.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XgkeTanCGI

 

A lot of what she mentions has happened and a lot of what she speaks of is overwhelming if it’s true.  

Book- The End of America

In “The End of America” Wolf takes a historical look at the rise of fascism, outlining the 10 steps necessary for a state to take control of individuals’ lives:

   1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy.

   2. Create secret prisons where torture takes place.

   3. Develop a thug caste or paramilitary force not answerable to citizens.

   4. Set up an internal surveillance system.

   5. Harass citizens’ groups.

   6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release.

   7. Target key individuals.

   8. Control the press.

   9. Treat all political dissidents as traitors.

  10. Suspend the rule of law.

 

The book explains how this pattern was followed in Nazi Germany and Mussolini’s Italy as well as elsewhere, and compares it to the current state of affairs in American Political power since September 11, 2001.

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Facts about McCain

October 7th, 2008

Hi all,
 
The McCain campaign announced over the weekend that they are going to go “100% negative” until the election, so I thought I’d write up a little fact sheet on John McCain.  The so-called “liberal press” has barely touched on these issues, but thanks to the blogosphere, the truth is coming out.  Feel free to forward this to as many people as you like, preferably to those who are still on the fence.   Thanks~~H
 
Facts about John McCain

Keating 5:

John McCain was part of the “Keating 5″ in the Keating 5 scandal in 1989 which was caused by deregulation and greed, and resulted in the collapse of hundreds of savings and loans banks across the U.S. and the loss of over $500 billion dollars of people’s savings, and cost taxpayers $300B in bailouts.  Senator McCain was publicly chastized on the Senate floor for his participation, and declared in his book that it was the “biggest mistake” of his life. Keating went to prison for five years.
 
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxBCAaulG-k&feature=related-Short <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxBCAaulG-k&amp;feature=related-Short>  Keating 5 synopsis.
 
www.youtube.com/watch?v=ju7zjDnF_d8&feature=related <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ju7zjDnF_d8&amp;feature=related>
Another short Keating 5 synopsis–less than 2 minutes.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=AmoRh3IWzlw <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AmoRh3IWzlw>  John McCain talks about the scandal in 2002 and his participation, while promoting his book.  Please note the parallels of what is happening today.
 
Senator Obama’s campaign site also has a longer documentary up of 13 minutes, detailing Senator McCain’s involvement in Keating 5 on www.barackobama.com
 
CNN’s Jack Cafferty laments the lack of media coverage of Keating 5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dW3mj_FktnU

Today, October 6, 2008, John McCain denied any wrongdoing in the Keating 5 scandal,  http://briefingroom.thehill.com/2008/10/06/mccain-campaign-denies-wrongdoing-in-keating-five-scandal/ and then he declared Senator Obama was a “liar” in response to the Keating 5 documentary that posted today on his website (link above).  
McCain lawyers pushed back today and claimed McCain was treated “unfairly” by the Senate during the scandal, and that McCain withdrew from the illegal dealings once he realized the DOJ was investigating. (So, that makes it legal, right? This is exactly what McCain was chastised for on the Senate floor–he claimed innocence only when he learned he was being investigated.)  
“In an interview, Bennett (McCain’s lawyer) said McCain should never have been dragged into the ethics case to begin with. He said that after his own lengthy investigation, he came to the conclusion that the case against McCain and former Sen. John Glenn (D-Ohio) “should have been dropped” because the evidence suggested that once McCain understood that the Justice Department was investigating Keating, he backed off any involvement.” http://voices.washingtonpost.com/the-trail/2008/10/06/mccain_lawyers_push_back_on_ob.html

Senator John McCain Has Consistently Voted Against Troops and Veterans Safety and Health and In Favor of Corporations

Given the hype around McCain’s POW and military record, this is undoubtedly an eye-opener.  But, have a look at his voting record which favors corporate tax loopholes over the safety and health of our troops time and time again.  Here is a sampler:
 


1) April 2003:  Voted to table (kill) the Landrieu Amendment which would have provided $1B for equipment for the National Guard and Reserves (look at wording at top of document which explains it was a vote to table): http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=108&session=1&vote=00116

2)  October 2003:  Voted to table an amendment by Sen. Chris Dodd which was to provide additional money to troops’ safety equipment (look at wording at top of document which explains it was a vote to table): http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=108&session=1&vote=00376
 
3)  March 2004:  Voted against creating a reserve fund to allow for an increase in Veterans’ medical care by $1.8 billion by eliminating corporate tax loopholes: http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=108&session=2&vote=00040 .
 
4)  March 2006:  Voted against increasing Veterans medical services funding by $1.5 billion in FY 2007 to be paid for by closing corporate tax loopholes: http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=109&session=2&vote=00041

5)  April 2006:  McCain was one of only 13 Senators who voted against $430,000,000 for the Dept. of Veteran Affairs for Medical Services for outpatient care and treatment for veterans: http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=109&session=2&vote=00098

6)  Sept. 2007: Voted against the Webb Amendment which would have given troops adequate rest between deployments: http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=110&session=1&vote=00341

7)  Sept. 2007: Voted against giving the Dept of Veteran Affairs $20,000,000 for veteran medical facilities: http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=109&session=2&vote=00111

 
As mentioned, please check out the Vote Vets article above, it is full of information about McCain’s voting record with regard to our troops and veterans. And please erase my email address if you forward…and please forward widely.
 
More later on Sarah Palin, with love,
 
Heather

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protecting whistleblowers–take action

October 6th, 2008

 

 

Call Today!* 

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*Today your urgent help is needed.*

 

After eight years of relentless work to strengthen the Whistleblower 

Protection Act (WPA), we are at the moment of truth. Thanks to your 

support for whistleblower rights for government employees, a bipartisan 

group of Senate offices recently came to an agreement on a 

reconciliation bill, and they are attempting to pass their legislation 

and send it to a supportive House of Representatives for final passage 

before Congress leaves to campaign at the end of the week.

 

The much-improved compromise bill is being offered now for approval by 

unanimous consent. However, more than one anonymous Republican office 

has placed a “secret hold” on the bill – halting this good government 

effort in the end game. It is no small irony that senators are not 

willing to be held accountable for blocking a government accountability 

bill!

 

Time is short to remove these holds. Public Citizen and allies are on 

the Hill visiting key offices today to see whether they are supporting 

this critical reform, and will be reporting back if they find out who is 

holding this bill.

 

*We need your help! Please call the offices that we are visiting to 

smoke out the secret holds and ensure these senators are supporting 

accountability.

*

We have no way of knowing for sure which offices have placed holds on 

the bill – but our legislative team is seeking assurances from those 

listed below.

 

This reform could not be timelier as Congress and the nation face a 

crisis of accountability on Wall Street and in government. We must act 

now to provide employees on the front lines witnessing waste, fraud and 

abuse the protections they need to come forward.

 

*Please call the following offices as a concerned taxpayer, asking if 

the Senator has placed a hold, and if so, insist that the hold be lifted 

(language below):

*

 

Sen. Christopher Bond (R-MO)

Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY)

Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC)

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC)

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)

Sen. Jon Kyl (R-NC)

Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS)

Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS)

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)

 

Please call the Capitol switchboard at 202.224.3121 to be directed to 

the above Senate offices or go here to find a direct number 

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, with the following talking points:

 

    * I am calling Senator X today as a concerned constituent and

      taxpayer to ask if the Senator is objecting to a critical

      government accountability bill to strengthen protections for

      federal employees when they witness waste, fraud and abuse.

    * Is the Senator holding, blocking or otherwise objecting to passage

      of Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act?

    * Please tell the Senator and relevant staff that I called today to

      urge immediate passage of the amendments to the Whistleblower

      Protection Act being offered now.

    * Thank you.

 

 

After your call, let us know what you learn by emailing us at 

action@citizen.org 

<mailto:action@citizen.org?subject=Re%3A%20Please%20Call%20to%20End%20the%20Hold!> 

<mailto:action@citizen.org?subject=Re%3A%20Please%20Call%20to%20End%20the%20Hold%21

. For more information on the comprised whistleblower legislation, learn 

more at www.WhistleblowerAction.org 

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.

 

 

Thanks for your support and efforts. Together, we can make a difference.

 

In thanks,

 

The Congress Watch Action Team

Public Citizen

action@citizen.org

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Learn more about whistleblowers: 

http://action.citizen.org/t/5489/content.jsp?content_KEY=4147 

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Support Public Citizen and help protect whistleblowers and taxpayers: 

https://secure.citizen.org/shop/custom.jsp?donate_page_KEY=761&t=DIA_Secure.dwt&track=W8CWEmai 

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If this message was forwarded to you, sign up to receive action alerts 

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Palin’s gibberish, pure and simple

September 29th, 2008

From my belly dancing friend:

Subject: Ok, now Sara Palin is really scaring me!

 

I never thought we would ever see a politician as dumb as GW Bush

gain power again, but Sara Palin’s latest interview with CBS’s Katie

Couric proved she is now the turkey to Dan’s Quayle. Her star has

pretty much faded. It is turning into a Black Hole. She is not what

she is made out to be, nor is she what she appears to be. In fact,

she is just a curvaceous hood ornament. Please! This is not the time

for an Airhead Barbie to be a heartbeat away from the presidency.

 

FROM Newsweek:

When Couric questioned her in her trademark sympathetic style. It

didn’t help. When asked how living in the state closest to Russia

gave her foreign-policy experience, Palin responded thus:

 

“It’s very important when you consider even national-security issues

with Russia as Putin rears his head and comes into the airspace of

the United States of America. Where It’s just right over the border. It is 

from Alaska that we send those

out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful

nation, Russia, because they are right there. They are right next to<

to our state.”

 

There is, of course, the sheer absurdity of the premise. Two weeks

ago I flew to Tokyo, crossing over the North Pole. Does that make me

an expert on Santa Claus? (Thanks, Jon Stewart.) But even beyond

that, read the rest of her response. “It is from Alaska that we send

out those S” What does this mean? This is not an isolated example.

Palin has been given a set of talking points by campaign advisers,

simple ideological mantras that she repeats and repeats as long as

she can. (“We mustn’t blink.”) But if forced off those rehearsed

lines, what she has to say is often, quite frankly, gibberish.

 

Couric asked her a smart question about the proposed $700 billion

bailout of the American financial sector. Here’s the entire exchange:

 

COURIC: Why isn’t it better, Governor Palin, to spend $700 billion

helping middle-class families who are struggling with health care,

housing, gas and groceries; allow them to spend more and put more

money into the economy instead of helping these big financial

institutions that played a role in creating this mess?

 

PALIN: That’s why I say I, like every American I’m speaking with,

were ill about this position that we have been put in where it is the

taxpayers looking to bail out. But ultimately, what the bailout does

is help those who are concerned about the health-care reform that is

needed to help shore up our economy, helping the about job creation, too, 

shoring up our economy and putting it back

on the right track. So health-care reform and reducing taxes and

reining in spending has got to accompany tax reductions and tax

relief for Americans. And trade, we’ve got to see trade as

opportunity, not as a competitive, scary thing. But one in five jobs

being created in the trade sector today, we’ve got to look at that as

more opportunity. All those things under the umbrella of job

creation. This bailout is a part of that.

 

DOES ANYONE UNDERSTAND THAT PARAGRAPH?

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I get all kinds of email! On the (dark) light side

September 29th, 2008


To:  Peaceful People of Hawaii,

Paula Donovan lives over on the far side. She sent this message:

There are fewer than three months until the election, an election that will decide the next President of the United States. The person elected will be the president of all Americans, not just the Democrats or the Republicans.

To show our solidarity as Americans, let’s all get together and show each other our support for the candidate of our choice. It’s time that we come together, Democrats and Republicans alike.
 
If you support the policies and character of Senator Obama, please drive with your headlights on during the day.
 
If you support John McCain, please drive with your headlights off at night.
 
Thank you for your participation.
 

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