Panhandle (W.Va.) Grassroots for Democracy

The Panhandle Grassroots for Democracy is working to improve our corner of eastern West Virginia, our state and our nation.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Senator Byrd supports the troops

From an email from General Wesley Clark:

On Friday, the Washington Post reported that the Bush Administration "is short $1 billion" to cover the health care needs of America's veterans at the Department of Veterans Affairs this year. The current shortfall is made worse by the Bush Administration's inadequate budget request for next year's funding.

This is a moral outrage. This Administration -- which sent our nation to war based on faulty information, and then failed to provide the body armor to protect our soldiers in combat -- is now turning its back on our heroes after they come home.

As one who has answered the call to duty, and who has spent my share of time in VA hospitals, I find this unconscionable.

But there is hope for America's veterans. Senator Robert Byrd has been a longtime champion for America's men and women in uniform. He has consistently supported our troops -- while they are in harm's way and after they come home.

Support America's veterans by supporting Senator Byrd

In fact, just yesterday, Senator Byrd offered an amendment to provide $1.4 billion in emergency funding to cover the Bush Administration's shortfall for Veterans care. Senator Byrd is a tireless advocate for our troops, and because of his influential position as the top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Byrd has been a champion for our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines -- and all of our nation's veterans.

But Senator Byrd is coming under fire from the same sleazy Republican political machine that attacked John Kerry in 2004 and Max Cleland in 2002. They are shameless, they are scurrilous, and there is no attack too slanderous for them to make.

Don't let the Washington Republicans -- who refuse to support our troops after they fight -- do to Senator Byrd what they did to John Kerry and Max Cleland.

Please make an immediate contribution today to send a strong message that we stand by our heroes.

Sincerely,



Wes Clark
U.S. Army (retired)


I agree with everything the General says.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

"Top Ten Conservative Idiots"

After a great meeting tonite of the BCDA I think it's appropriate to remember why we have a party of like-minded individuals instead of this administration's individuals who follow the party-line...enjoy....

Monday, June 27, 2005

Cheer harder

Also if you clap hard enough, Tinkerbell will survive to fly again. But ZackPunk at DailyKos hit this satire out of the ball park:
Karl Ravech: So what do you attribute to Randy Johnson's ballooning ERA?

Harold Reynolds: Oh, the lack of support from the spectators, definitely.

Karl Ravech: Really... you don't think there's a problem with his delivery?

Harold Reynolds: Now you're trying to divert the issue. This isn't about mechanics. When Yankees fans fail to cheer loudly enough, the opponents start to feel like they can win. That's what this is about.

Karl Ravech: But you don't think his age might be a factor?

Harold Reynolds: Shut up, Karl. Out of respect for the men who go out there on the field every day, just shut the hell up. I'm cutting your mike. Just shut up.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

"The War President"

Interesting article from the NY Times writer Klugman, he reiterates the need for accountability for actions which led this country into the ill-fated Iraqi occupation which costs our nation hundreds of lives per month and getting worse all the time. I was watching our war prez yesterday on C-Span and he was off on a tangeant again and referred to the war as a quagmire, finally telling the american people the truth though he let his guard down and would never admit to saying it. Link here.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Bush hates Americans

Mahablog has a great post on Karl Rove. But one should always remember Bush stands behind Rove's statements because Rove does the dirty work Bush is too cowardly to do himself. But make no mistake, Rove+Bush=Hate America. From Mahablog:
Words cannot express the contempt I feel for Karl Rove and for the chorus of brainless little yappers applauding his recent remarks on liberal reactions to 9/11.

I'd like to ask Karl and his puppies to stand anywhere in the vincinity of Ground Zero and repeat Karl's fatuous, lying remarks to a crowd of New Yorkers.

Whole lotta liberals in New York. Whole lotta those liberal New Yorkers lost someone in the towers. Whole lotta liberal New Yorkers who lost someone in the towers might want to break Karl's jaw today. Karl would be well advised to keep his sorry ass out of New York from now on.

Junior got less than a quarter of the New York City vote last November, as I recall. Yeah, the people most closely affected by 9/11, who are most intimate with it, are less than impressed with Junior and his war on terra.

It was the Bush that remained on vacation when the warnings were issued of the pending terrorist attacks on Sept. 11th. It was Bush that said only six months after the attacks he "didn't care" where Osama bin Laden was, and it was Bush that diverted the troops from Afghanistan to Iraq. It was Bush that sent the soldiers in without the proper body armor and equipment. It was Bush that did not send in enough troops into Iraq as recommended by the top ranking Pentagon generals. It was Bush that sent troops in to war based on lies. It was Bush that sent troops in with out an exit plan. It was Bush that told Iraqi fighters to "Bring it on." It was Bush that has no plan on how to improve Iraq now. It was Bush who Republican Senator Chuck Hagel called "delusional" when it came to Iraq policy. And it was Bush who spit on those who united behind him after the Sept. 11th attacks to push an agenda that benefits the most wealthy 1 percent at the expense of everyone else.
Bush, Cheney and Karl Rove should resign in disgrace for their mismanagement of this country.

Karl Rove needs help

Here's a great post on Karl Rove:
Karl Rove's un-American attacks on those who disagree with him deserve the condemnation they're receiving. I've known him for 20 years, and I'm not surprised he said them. He's a socially inept but patient thug whose willingness to haunt the nation's dark political alleys for years, waiting for the right time and the right victims, is too often taken for unparalleled political intelligence.

Being attacked by Rove is a little like being criticized by the Boston Strangler. At least you know you're alive. If we want to understand Rove, maybe we should get an FBI profiler.

Rove's a hack. His strength comes from his immorality. There are no barriers. If power didn't corrupt, Rove would have corrupted it.

I've been on the road in America for much of the last two years. I'm asked all the time about the need for Democrats to find their own Karl Rove. If we ever find such a monster in our midst, we should exile him.

I like the black hat Rove wears, but it troubles me that so many people believe he really is a political genius. He's just pathological.

For years I've suspected that Rove is stuck in an adolescent rage, taking revenge upon the Civil Rights marchers (whose courage he couldn't match), the anti-war organizers (who beat him), and those who believe in and struggle for democracy (who drove off Nixon).

I don't recommend therapy for Bin Laden. But Rove might give Dr. Laura a call.

The differences

Karl Rove was correct that there are differences between Republicans and Democrats. From DNC: Kicking Ass:
White House spokesman Scott McClellan says that Karl Rove just meant that Democrats and Republicans had "different philosophies" when it comes to their reactions following 9/11. We agree. Our philosophies couldn't be more different when it comes to fighting international terrorism. Let's compare:

Democrats
Believe capturing the person primarily responsible for the attack should be a top priority.

Republicans
It's been four years, and Osama bin Laden is still free, even though Bush's CIA chief says he knows where he is.

Democrats
Investigate the intelligence failures that led to 9/11.

Republicans
Do everything in their power to block the 9/11 Commission from doing its work.

Democrats
Propose creating the Department of Homeland Security.

Republicans
Push tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.

Democrats
Believe we should have stayed the course in Afghanistan, not allowing the Taliban to resurge, the warlords to take power, and the opium trade to skyrocket.

Republicans
Ignore Afghanistan as the situation worsens.

Democrats
Believe that we should be honest with our troops about the reasons we go to war, give them everything they need to be safe, and make sure we go in with an exit plan.

Republicans
Manipulate intelligence to trump up reasons to go to war, don't give our troops the support they need, constantly mislead the public about the direction the war is going, and fail to make an exit plan. And turn Iraq into the ultimate terrorist training ground.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Why the Downing Street Memo Matters!!!

I'm posting this article from Mother Jones, it's a little wordy but I think it explains to no end in chronological order the exact decisions that led to the ill-fated war in Iraq.
Link here.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Pakistan

Let us hope and pray for a happy ending to this terribly sad story. And let us not forget the type of nation W has supported. When W claims he's spreading democracy, remember what happened to Mukhtaran Bibi.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Senator Byrd for 2006

Senator Robert C. Byrd's web site for the 2006 race is up.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Obstructionism in America

We’re Obstructionist???

The President this week at a fundraiser (I swear that is all this guy can do right) said that the Democrats are obstructionist, the equivalent of a stop sign. I am getting sick and tired of this president, senate republicans, and house republicans calling the democrats the party of no. Does it seem odd that every amendment the democrats put forward is voted down on a straight party line vote? Does it seem odd that the Republicans control the all branches of government and we are the obstructionist?

I’m sorry the American people are not falling into line on your Wall Street Welfare Scheme Mr. President, but maybe it is time for you to take a page out of John Kerry’s book. That’s right I said it you need to flip flop. You Privatization scheme is not going to fly and you need to stop wasting tax payer dollars going around the country to tell hand picked crowds how great it is. I know wealthy Americans would benefit and that is your base, but enough is enough. It is a loser and you need to let it go. I don’t care how much money Wall Street dumped into your inauguration celebration ($40 million), they spent it and you just have to face the music you will not be able to deliver this windfall back to them.

As for obstructionism, I think that a government that will not allow the press to do it job is obstructionist. I think a President unwilling to release his National Guard service record is an obstructionist. I think a White House unwilling to tell us how Jeff Gannon got a press pass is an obstructionist. I think a White House that influenced CIA intelligence reports is obstructionist. I think the Republicans trying to stifle debate on life appointments to the bench are obstructionist. I think No Child Educated Properly (No Child left Behind for you right wingers) obstructs a teacher’s ability to teach. I think the Dirty Skies plan obstructs my child’s ability to breath. I think the War in Iraq obstructs Iraqi’s children ability to be safe. I think using a term like “Axis of Evil” obstructs your ability to be diplomatic with countries like Iran and North Korea. I think giving tax breaks to companies who ship working class jobs over seas obstructs real Americans ability to earn a living wage. I think tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans obstructs our countries ability to pay its bills.

After all this who is really the Obstructionist to a healthy, vibrant, inclusive America?

Bush's mess

Listening to talk radio the other morning, I heard a Bush cultist describe Iraq like this: He said it was like the United States was a police officer who received a tip about a bank robbery. When the officer went to arrest the robbery suspect, the police officer discovered the suspect was innocent of the robbery (Iraq's possession of WMDs), but he was holding a woman hostage and the police officer rescued the hostage.

That's a fine analogy except it has nothing to do with reality.

Let's use the same metaphor of the United States as a police officer. The officer is in pursuit of the killer of 3,000 people on Sept. 11th. He has the killer cornered. But he sends all the backup officers who could surround the killer and capture or kill him away to go investigate a report of a man with a gun on the other side of town. And it turns out the report of the man holding a gun is not only wrong, but the police officer knew it was trumped up when he sent all of the other officers away from the hunt for the killer.

From the Charleston Gazette:
Worst of all, Americans still don’t know why the war was started. The original claim — that Iraq possessed horror weapons, and would give them to terrorists to use on America — turned out to be imaginary. Americans are left to wonder whether the attack was launched to gain control of Iraq’s oil, or to improve Israel’s security, or to finish a vendetta that began under the first President Bush, or for all those reasons. No official explanation has been provided.

Last month, British newspapers unearthed a secret memo showing that the White House planned the attack long before telling Congress or the U.S. public. The July 2002 memo, relating “recent talks in Washington” by Britain’s intelligence chief, said:

“Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.... It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbors, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran.”

Months later, the White House stampeded America into the war it had long desired. In fact, the administration’s key leaders had been advocating an attack on Iraq since the 1990s, before taking office, and well before the 9/11 terror strike provided a pretext.

Now America and the world are stuck with the tragic result.

And going back to the radio caller's comparison to the Iraqi people as a rescued "hostage." The "hostage" thinks life was better before her "rescue." Meanwhile Osama bin Laden and the other masterminds of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks remain free.

Bond panel created

From the Charleston Gazette:
In hopes of convincing voters that selling $5.5 billion of pension bonds is not the “big gamble” that critics say, Gov. Joe Manchin Tuesday introduced a 10-member panel of “fiscal and financial experts” that will have to approve any bond issues.

“This is another safeguard for the people of West Virginia,” said one of the panelists, Charleston lawyer/lobbyist Tom Heywood. “It is a bipartisan committee made up of experts in their fields.”

The Pension Bond Financial Advisory Committee includes business people, lawyers, certified public accountants, and business professors from Marshall University and West Virginia University.

The panel doesn’t include Massey Energy Chairman Don Blankenship.

Blankenship, who is personally underwriting an advertising campaign opposing the bond referendum, turned down Manchin’s invitation to serve on the committee.

“I just wanted to harness that energy,” Manchin said of his personal invitation to Blankenship. “If he wants to help the state, I wanted to give him every opportunity I can.”

Blankenship didn't comment.

The bond issue shows Manchin and the Democrats acting responsibly about West Virginia's long-term financial obligations unlike the GOP-controlled Congress which is running up federal debt to saddle our children with.

Blankenship sues

Oh the irony! GOP corporate baron Don Blankenship, who is funding the campaign to smear Gov. Joe Manchin's bond levy, has filed a frivilous, $300 million lawsuit against the Charleston Gazette, an environmental advocacy group and the United Mine Workers for telling the truth about him. From The State Journal (no friend of the Charleston Gazette):
Jim Haught, editor of The Charleston Gazette, told 13 News reporter Kimberly Beary, "We report Massey coal problems simply factually."

"Massey has many more coal problems than any of the other coal companies put together. To me, we put them together in the newspaper as a matter of fact," Haught said. "I can't imagine why anyone would sue about reporting facts.

"I don't know if we said anything about Blankenship himself except describing his role in public life in West Virginia," he continued. "He has chosen to be a part of an active political scene. It baffles me that he would file a lawsuit when we didn't ever really attack him for anything. We just report the facts that Massey really ruined all those former Cannelton miners, but that's just business. We just reported the way business went."

Friday, June 10, 2005

Bush's numbers falling

Corruption, lies, mismanagement catching up with George W. Bush. From the Associated Press:
About one-third of adults, 35 percent, said they think the country is headed in the right direction, while 43 percent said they approve of the job being done by Bush. Just 41 percent say they support his handling of the war, also a low-water mark.

snip

Thirty-seven percent support Bush's handling of Social Security, while 59 percent disapprove. Those numbers haven't budged after more than four months of the president traveling the country to sell his plan to create private accounts in Social Security.

Support for his handling of the economy was at 43 percent.

snip

Congress gets even lower grades than Bush, a potentially troubling development for those seeking re-election next year.

Only about three in 10 polled said they approve of the job being done by Congress, while 64 percent disapprove.


The Tom DeLay Republicans like Shelley Moore Capito control Congress and set the extreme rightwing agenda disapproved of by the American people while statesmen like Robert C. Byrd represent the mainstream of America.

Freedom

James Wolcott directed me to this post by Lance Mannion that seems to some up perfectly why the right wingers hate the left now more than ever after Sept. 11. Make sure you read all the way to the end.

Rude Pundit has Howard Dean's back

Go read Rude Pundit but be warned: Not work safe or for tender eyes and ears, but he tells it like it is about Howard Dean and why he's a great DNC Chairman and why the rightwing corporate media is trying to muzzle him.

One America Blog

Added a new blog to the side bar, One America Blog and it's a really good one. Former U.S. Sen. John Edwards is among those posting there. Here's from his latest post:
What a flap has arisen over a disagreement about the way something is said! I was in Nashville over the weekend, thanking the good people of Tennessee who supported the Democratic presidential ticket this year, when I was asked whether I thought that it was fair to say that people who were Republican hadn’t done a good day’s work. Of course, I didn’t think so, and I said that. I don’t think our DNC chair, Howard Dean, would put it that way again if asked either. I disagreed with him, and I said so. And, I want to be clear, I would have to say so again if I were asked again. I said a lot of good things about Howard’s outreach program and invigoration of the internet as a communication and fundraising tool, but no one wrote about that. Instead the headlines blared that I disagreed with Howard. And then the flap arose: A chasm! A split! A revolt!

Instead, how about: Nonsense!
We are both talking about the Republicans and their failure to address the needs of working people. We both agree with this basic truth: This Republican president and this Republican majority are not doing what they should be doing for working people in this country. That’s a core belief we need to fight for. And what’s more, we agree that we - all Democrats and all working people - should be complaining, criticizing, and generally speaking out about this critical failure of the Republican party and offering our positive vision for America. And we have.

Howard and I have been saying the same thing about this for years. Hear that? The same thing. For years. Have I ever put it some way that Howard wouldn't agree with? Probably. And he put it in a way, once, just the other day, that I can’t agree with, since I come from a place where hard-working people, who are better served by the agenda and passion of the Democrats, somehow still vote Republican. But Howard and I are committed to a 50-state strategy that will reach out to those voters, in North Carolina, and in Kansas, and in Tennessee, across this country and tell the truth about what is happening in this country to their jobs, to their health care, to their forests and streams, to their vision of what this country is and should be.

This President is not fighting for our jobs. His administration has on numerous occasions said that the out-sourcing of American jobs is good for this country. Well, it may be good for Wall Street, but it is lousy on Main Street. If he thinks that jobs moving overseas is good for us, why would he ever fight for American jobs?

Our labor laws have seen weak enforcement during the time we have had this Republican administration in place. Companies that skirt this country’s labor laws have gotten a slap on the hand, and even that has come too slowly. Efforts to allow workers to choose whether to unionize have not been protected in the way that they should, and the mutually beneficial bargain between labor and management that made this country the greatest economic power in the world has been broken, all while the Republican administration and Republican majority stand idle, with their hands dug deep in their pockets.

Those working people I grew up with that I talked about earlier live where I lived, in our rural communities, which is exactly where this Republican president wants to cut broadband extension, firefighter grants and investment and market access programs that will protect our rural jobs. The manufacturing extension program, which helps small manufacturers everywhere stay profitable - and therefore open, gets little support from this President. How are our towns going to remain vital with policies that ignore them? Where will the sons and daughters in our rural communities have to go to find jobs?

And this President has made choices that, if enacted by the Republican majority in Congress, will deny the opportunity to learn the skills for a new job to an untold number of Americans. Vocational and adult education would be cut by 89%. He wants to drastically cut adult education and retraining programs that allow American workers to better their skills either to get ahead or to get a new job when theirs leaves for overseas.

And if you happen to be a working man or woman in the United States military, this Republican president doesn’t support loan forgiveness for your student loans or top quality health care when you get out of the military.

The safety net is eroding. The ladder has been pulled up. This is not new. For more than two decades, the Republican Party has talked about an agenda that addresses concerns of working people while they have passed an agenda that serves the goals of the wealthiest among us. Howard and I know that these are the wrong choices for America. We won’t always use the same words. But we will always fight the same fight: for the dignity, the respect, and the rights of those who built this country, the working people in America.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

"Iraq before the War"

As a constant reminder that we are involved in a stupid, costly, illegal, bloodbath I post this article from Citizen's Clearinghouse:

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article9045.htm

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

The rightwing conservatives vs. the GOP

There was a time when the Republican party stood for smaller government, sound fiscal budgets, foreign intervention only when absolutely necessary to defend the United States. The GOP once stood for a time for Main Street values. Protection of the Constitution. Small businesses.

No longer.

Don't believe me? Look at how the federal government has grown to its largest size ever, with huge bloated bureacracies and billions of dollars unaccounted for. Look at the Downing Street Minutes which showed the Bush administration intended to go to war with Iraq and manufactured the "evidence" to justify the war hy deliberately lying to the American people. Look at the Patriot Act and the upcoming Patriot Act II which would allow police to enter our homes without warrants, which would allow those suspected of crimes to be stripped of their citizenship so that they could be shipped to Guatanmo Bay to be held with terror suspects there. Look at how the Bush administration's trade and economic policies benefit the largest corporations while not giving the same support to businesses that create jobs in the United States. Look at how the Republican party thrust itself into a private family matter in the Terri Schiavo case, the kind of heartwrenching decision families must make daily for their loved ones in hospice care. Look at Tom DeLay and his unethical behavior and forcing out ethics committee members who voted three times to censure him for his immoral acts.

Today's Republican Party has sold out putting party over the American people, putting party above nation, party above ethics, party above principles, party above old people, party above veterans, party above students.

Do you know who stands for and works for all of those things the Republican Party once professed to support?

State Sen. John Unger. He's worked hard to create economic development opportunities for small businesses in the region. He's supported the West Virginia State Police troopers by making sure they get a new barracks in Martinsburg. He's worked hard for more efficient government to make certain our tax dollars are spent properly. He's worked hard to provide benefits for our state's veterans.

He's a Democrat and like the Democratic Party, he represents the true mainstream of America.

And I'm proud to call him my state senator.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Big Oil, Big Price, Total Economic Collapse?

I found this article very interesting regarding our dependence on oil and the impact of a much higher price in terms of our ability to survive/commute/stay employed et al...I don't think this is a "chicken little " type concept. Link here.