Monday, December 11, 2006

--Ann Coulter's December 6, 2006 Article

You have to enjoy reading Ann Coulter's columns, if you enjoy reading fiction. If you're looking for facts, then you might want to look elsewhere. Take, for example, her December 6 article where she says:

Now that Democrats have won the House, they can concentrate on losing the war. Despite all the phony conservative Democrats who got elected as gun-totin' hawks, the Democrats will uniformly vote to dismantle every aspect of the war on terrorism.

Ann is actually looking at two different things here, so let's clarify them; the war in Iraq and the war on terrorism. Note that these are not the same thing. The war in Iraq is a war that was started by the Bush administration against an innocent country based on phony intelligence that Iraq was harboring Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs). It is important to state here that in over three years of the war, no such weaponry has been found.

The war on terrorism culminated on September 11, 2001 when the World Trade Center was attacked by Muslim extremists in a plot largely supported by Osama bin Laden. Since she includes this in the same paragraph as the war in Iraq, I must assume that she is referring to terrorism in that country, as opposed to terrorism here.

In Iraq, the terrorists we're fighting are ones we created by attacking their country, but are these all truly terrorists? Consider, for example, the same situation reversed. If Iraq were to attack and occupy the United States, and U.S. citizens armed themselves and began fighting back, would we be terrorists? No. We would be freedom fighters, therefore those Iraqis who are fighting against the occupying forces are not terrorists. Those Iraqis who are killing other Iraqis, however, ARE terrorists, but they are terrorists whom we created.

Now to get back to Ann's ridiculous comments. First she says that Democrats will concentrte on losing the war. This, apparently, in opposition to the Republicans who are already losing the war, they simply refuse to admit it. The Republicans had the silly idea that capturing Saddam Hussein (a deposed leader) would somehow end the war. This didn't happen, of course. Saddam was captured, but the war didn't end.

Let me take an aside here to say that Saddam's capture probably did not happen as we have been lead to believe. Long before American's heard the "We got him" speech, the following was already released in the Kurdish media:

Saddam Hussein, the former President of the Iraqi regime, was captured by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. A special intelligence unit led by Qusrat Rasul Ali, a high-ranking member of the PUK, found Saddam Hussein in the city of Tikrit, his birthplace. Qusrat's team was accompanied by a group of US soldiers. Further details of the capture will emerge during the day; but the global Kurdish party is about to begin!

So, the Democrats are not concentrating on losing the war, we're facing the reality of a war that we've already lost. We're looking at ways of getting out of this conflict with the minimum amount of damage, and possibly some shred of dignity, something the Republicans have completely stripped this country of for far too long.

The rest of her article deals with terrorism, and the idea of waterboarding terror suspects, something she is obviously in favor of, as opposed to most human beings who see that as torture and don't see a need for torture. Ann lives in a different world. She mentions September 11 five times in her article, and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed nine times, yet she never mentions Osama bin Laden at all. This seems odd in an article that deals with September 11 and terrorism against the United States, until you remember that Ann is not interested in facts. What Ann is trying to do is obfuscate the truth to further her own thwarted agenda.

So, Ann, let me put this simply so that even you can understand it. We, the American people, do not believe in torture. Period. To say that it's okay to torture those who would torture us goes against our sensibilities. As a professed Christian, I'm suprised at that hypocrisy coming from you. Jesus did not allow an eye for an eye, yet you support it. Interesting. We, the American people, do not see a need to torture anyone, even our enemies.

We, as a people, also realize that the mastermind behind 9/11 was Osama bin Laden, but you don't mention him because he's still at large, and that would be admitting to the world that the Republicans failed to get their man. Such an admission would be a show of honesty, and that's not something we've come to expect from Ann Coulter.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

--Michael Moore's Pledge to Disheartened Conservatives

I wish I had written this, but I didn't. This comes from the pen of Michael Moore, and I have to say, I agree with it, so much so that I signed it. If you agree with the petition, click the link at the end to sign it yourself, and pass it along to your progressive friends.


Tuesday, November 14th, 2006
A Liberal's Pledge to Disheartened Conservatives Michael Moore

To My Conservative Brothers and Sisters,

I know you are dismayed and disheartened at the results of last week's election. You're worried that the country is heading toward a very bad place you don't want it to go. Your 12-year Republican Revolution has ended with so much yet to do, so many promises left unfulfilled. You are in a funk, and I understand.

Well, cheer up, my friends! Do not despair. I have good news for you. I, and the millions of others who are now in charge with our Democratic Congress, have a pledge we would like to make to you, a list of promises that we offer you because we value you as our fellow Americans. You deserve to know what we plan to do with our newfound power -- and, to be specific, what we will do to you and for you.

Thus, here is our Liberal's Pledge to Disheartened Conservatives:

Dear Conservatives and Republicans,

I, and my fellow signatories, hereby make these promises to you:

1. We will always respect you for your conservative beliefs. We will never, ever, call you "unpatriotic" simply because you disagree with us. In fact, we encourage you to dissent and disagree with us.

2. We will let you marry whomever you want, even when some of us consider your behavior to be "different" or "immoral." Who you marry is none of our business. Love and be in love -- it's a wonderful gift.

3. We will not spend your grandchildren's money on our personal whims or to enrich our friends. It's your checkbook, too, and we will balance it for you.

4. When we soon bring our sons and daughters home from Iraq, we will bring your sons and daughters home, too. They deserve to live. We promise never to send your kids off to war based on either a mistake or a lie.

5. When we make America the last Western democracy to have universal health coverage, and all Americans are able to get help when they fall ill, we promise that you, too, will be able to see a doctor, regardless of your ability to pay. And when stem cell research delivers treatments and cures for diseases that affect you and your loved ones, we'll make sure those advances are available to you and your family, too.

6. Even though you have opposed environmental regulation, when we clean up our air and water, we, the Democratic majority, will let you, too, breathe the cleaner air and drink the purer water.

7. Should a mass murderer ever kill 3,000 people on our soil, we will devote every single resource to tracking him down and bringing him to justice. Immediately. We will protect you.

8. We will never stick our nose in your bedroom or your womb. What you do there as consenting adults is your business. We will continue to count your age from the moment you were born, not the moment you were conceived.

9. We will not take away your hunting guns. If you need an automatic weapon or a handgun to kill a bird or a deer, then you really aren't much of a hunter and you should, perhaps, pick up another sport. We will make our streets and schools as free as we can from these weapons and we will protect your children just as we would protect ours.

10. When we raise the minimum wage, we will pay you -- and your employees -- that new wage, too. When women are finally paid what men make, we will pay conservative women that wage, too.

11. We will respect your religious beliefs, even when you don't put those beliefs into practice. In fact, we will actively seek to promote your most radical religious beliefs ("Blessed are the poor," "Blessed are the peacemakers," "Love your enemies," "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God," and "Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."). We will let people in other countries know that God doesn't just bless America, he blesses everyone. We will discourage religious intolerance and fanaticism -- starting with the fanaticism here at home, thus setting a good example for the rest of the world.

12. We will not tolerate politicians who are corrupt and who are bought and paid for by the rich. We will go after any elected leader who puts him or herself ahead of the people. And we promise you we will go after the corrupt politicians on our side FIRST. If we fail to do this, we need you to call us on it. Simply because we are in power does not give us the right to turn our heads the other way when our party goes astray. Please perform this important duty as the loyal opposition.

I promise all of the above to you because this is your country, too. You are every bit as American as we are. We are all in this together. We sink or swim as one. Thank you for your years of service to this country and for giving us the opportunity to see if we can make things a bit better for our 300 million fellow Americans -- and for the rest of the world.

Michael Moore
(Click here to sign the pledge)

P.S. Please feel free to pass this on.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

-- Wal-Mart; Not a Friend of Progressives

I just finished watching a very good documentary on Wal-Mart titled, Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price. It's from 2005 and most of the data is from 2004, but I haven't seen anything in the news that would lead me to believe that anything at Wal-Mart's corporate culture has changed.

The documentary has created a website that houses much of the information from the video, which can be viewed here According to the site, the taxpayers wind up paying much for Wal-Mart's employees:

In 2004, a study released the UC Berkeley Labor Center (sic) found that "reliance by Wal-Mart workers on public assistance programs in California comes at a cost to taxpayers of an estimated $86 million annually; this is comprised of $32 million in health related expenses and $54 million in other assistance."

Why are Wal-Mart workers signing up for public assistance? Simply put, the wages that Wal-Mart pays to its employees are too low, and the cost of premiums for insurance that it offers is too high.

In 2001, sales associates, the most common job in Wal-Mart, earned on average $8.23 an hour for annual wages of $13,861. The 2001 poverty line for a family of three was $14,630. [“Is Wal-Mart Too Powerful?”, Business Week, 10/6/03, US Dept of Health and Human Services 2001 Poverty Guidelines, 2001]

A 2003 wage analysis reported that cashiers, the second most common job, earn approximately $7.92 per hour and work 29 hours a week. This brings in annual wages of only $11,948. [“Statistical Analysis of Gender Patterns in Wal-Mart’s Workforce”, Dr. Richard Drogin 2003]

Since the average full-time Wal-Mart employee earned $17,114 in 2005, he or she would have to spend between 7 and 25 percent of his or her income just to cover the premiums and medical deductibles, if electing for single coverage. [Wal-Mart 2006 Associate Guide and UFCW analysis]

The average full-time employee electing for family coverage would have to spend between 22 and 40 percent of his or her income just to cover the premiums and medical deductibles. These costs do not include other health-related expenses such as medical co-pays, prescription coverage, emergency room deductibles, and ambulance deductibles. [Wal-Mart 2006 Associate Guide and UFCW Analysis].

Wal-Mart trumps the affordability of its new health care plan. According to Wal-Mart, “In January [2006], …Coverage will be available for as little as $22 per month for individuals” []

What Wal-Mart’s website leaves out: Coverage is affordable, but using it will bankrupt many employees. Wal-Mart’s most affordable plan for 2006 includes a $1,000 deductible for single coverage and a $3,000 deductible for family coverage ($1,000 deductible per person covered up to $3,000). [Wal-Mart 2006 Associate Guide]
So, Wal-Mart pays too little and charges too much, resulting in huge profits. And what does it do with those profits? One of the things it does is support Republican candidates. According to Open Secrets, a website that tracks political contributions, during the 2006 cycle Wal-Mart's PAC donated $944,350 to political campaigns. Of that, $641,000 went to Republicans ($556,500 for House races, $84,500 for Senate) while only $303,350 went to Democrats ($275,800 for House and $27,550 for Senate). 68% of the political contributions from Wal-Mart's PAC went to Republican candidates, while only 32% went to Democrats.

What can be done? First, letters need to be sent to Wal-Mart's corporate headquarters demanding more equitable distribution of campaign funds, as well as higher wages and better healthcare for its employees. Their mailing address is:

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
702 SW 8th St.
Bentonville, AR 72716

Second, until policies change, stop shopping at Wal-Mart and encourage your friends, family and associates to do likewise. This can be done by sending out an email, or by simply sending a copy of the letter you send to Wal-Mart to your local paper's editor for publication. Boycotts work, but only if they are followed by a large number of people. As Wal-Mart's profits shrink, they will be forced to change their policies.

Lastly, divest your investments of any Wal-Mart stock. It doesn't help any progressive causes to continue investing in a company that is against us. With any and all of these moves, it is imperative that Wal-Mart's corporate office understand what you're doing and why, which is why sending them a letter is a must.

Corporations can and do change, but only if they can see that such change is for their benefit. Working together, we can make that change.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

-- Ann Coulter's November 22, 2006 Article

Ann Coulter is at it again. In her November 22 article she starts off with,

Six imams removed from a US Airways flight from Minneapolis to Phoenix are calling on Muslims to boycott the airline. If only we could get Muslims to boycott all airlines, we could dispense with airport security altogether.

Notice she doesn't say anything about terrorists, only about Muslims. She uses the terms interchangeably, as if all Muslims are terrorists, and all terrorists are Muslims. Apparently, the Timothy McVeigh incident escaped Ann's attention. Hint, Ann, he was neither Muslim nor Arab.

Whether or not the Imams should have been removed from the flight I can't say as I wasn't there and I don't know exactly what they did. Some of the actions described certainly sound a bit odd, but I haven't seen anything that made them look threatening. Not according to Ann, however:

Witnesses said the imams stood to do their evening prayers in the terminal before boarding, chanting "Allah, Allah, Allah" — coincidentally, the last words heard by hundreds of airline passengers on 9/11 before they died. Witnesses also said that the imams were talking about Saddam Hussein, and denouncing America and the war in Iraq. About the only scary preflight ritual the imams didn't perform was the signing of last wills and testaments. After boarding, the imams did not sit together and some asked for seat belt extensions, although none were morbidly obese. Three of the men had one-way tickets and no checked baggage.

Also they were Muslims.

So, they were praying, which makes them suspect. Would they have been suspect if they had been praying the Our Father? Probably not, but because they were praying a Muslim prayer, they must be terrorists. They were denouncing the war in Iraq. I guess that makes me a terrorist as well, because I've been denouncing the war since before we attacked an innocent country. And oh yes, as Ann points out, they were Muslim.

When will we stop allowing hate speech in this country? There are millions of Muslims in the world who do not support the actions of the terrorists on 9/11, yet people like Ann Coulter would have us believe that all Muslims are hate-filled people whose only goal is the eradication of the United States. This is simply not true.

I would like to know how many mosques Ann has visited since 9/11. How many times have you gone to the Muslims who live in this country and talked to them? How many have you interviewed? How many have you sat and broken bread with? And lest Ann feel that I'm giving her instructions that I wouldn't do myself, I'd like to point out that I've done all of these things. I know a good number of Muslims who are beautiful, loving AMERICANS. They don't want to see people die any more than I do, but they do see that there are problems in this nation and that someone needs to work to change them.

Something Ann might notice if she'd get the hate out of her eyes.

Monday, November 20, 2006

-- The Immigration Issue

I couldn't say this better myself. The following is a letter sent to the editor of The Nation magazine in the August 8/September 4 issue dealing with the topic of immigration. Philip Kellerman runs the Harvest of Hope Foundation in Gainesville, Florida. He wrote:

Recently the City Council of Avon Park, Florida, narrowly defeated an ordinance that would have fined landlords who rent to undocumented people and punished businesses who employ them. Other states and cities are considering similar punitive initiatives.

For seventeen years I have been an advocate for migrant farmworkers and have responded to their calls for aid from Harvest of Hope (www
., my nonprofit foundation. Mostly our immigrant workers are humble, hardworking and family oriented. Yes, many are not here legally, but since 1996 there have been almost no legal mechanisms to change one's status--especially if you are poor and from Mexico or Central America. Agriculture, housing construction, hotels, housekeeping, landscaping, meat processing and restaurants are heavily dependent on immigrant labor.

We are all beginning to feel the impact of the crackdown. Florida may not be able to harvest all its citrus due to a lack of workers. Georgia has an outrageous new policy denying medical providers reimbursement for undocumented patients with chronic illnesses such as cancer or kidney failure. I know of a 10-year-old boy who has leukemia, but no Georgia health facility will provide follow-up treatment. Nonprofits like ours, private organizations and churches are being stretched beyond our limits trying to close the gaps in service.

Contrary to popular belief, migrant and immigrant workers contribute a lot of money to our economy. Many pay taxes. Companies turn a blind eye to false Social Security cards and put a percentage of wages into our pension system, but those undocumented workers will never see any of the billions they have contributed. Furthermore, these workers' hard-earned dollars are often spent at local businesses.

Doesn't it make sense to have an immigration policy that allows undocumented people who are working and staying out of trouble the opportunity to come out of the shadows and become citizens? We can't have it both ways--depending on their labor while doing everything we can to make their lives miserable and then trying to deport them.

When I get a call at night from a Texas migrant family whose car has broken down while traveling to Michigan to work the fields, I don't ask them their legal status. To deny them assistance because they might be undocumented would be inhumane. To me, no human being is illegal.

I thought this letter was brilliant because it addresses one aspect of this issue that most people have completely ignored, that these people are paying taxes. Many of the undocumented immigrants use false Social Security numbers in order to get employment. Because they have a number, they also have Social Security taxes withheld from their pay. This money goes into the fund that is used to pay current retirees. When the immigrants reach retirement age, they get nothing, because as undocumented workers, they are not eligible to receive these funds, even though they paid into them. Also, if they do become legal at a future time, they will get their own Social Security number and the funds they have already paid are still out of their reach.

On top of that, the workers, whether earning wages above or below the table, spend much of their money in their local communities. This means that they are paying sales tax on the items they purchase, which also adds to our economy. Gas, cigarettes, food, clothing, and other items are taxable, depending on the state where the purchase is made. These items are purchased daily by illegal immigrants, and that adds to our coffers.

Lastly, and most importantly, these people are not terrorists, they are here to work. They provide services that Americans simply don't want to peform. Many of the jobs they hold were held by high school students years ago, but today's students would rather work at McDonald's or Starbucks or the local movie theater. They don't want to work in the fields in the hot sun, or the pouring rain, picking fruit and hauling heavy baskets of produce. To say that our young people can take these jobs is simply not accurate. The students don't want these jobs. No one here does, but the immigrants are willing to do the work.

I agree that they should be allowed to come in to this country, and so long as they prove themselves to be hard working and keeping their records clean (i.e., no arrests), there should be a mechanism in place to assist them in becoming legal. Added to that, we (the United States) should also be working with the governments of Central and South America to help them create jobs in their own countries that would encourage the majority of their citizens to stay in their homeland and not have a desire to move to the United States.

The current system, simply does not work.

Friday, November 17, 2006

-- Another Example of Right-Wing Hate Speech

According to Media Matters (and many others):

On the November 14 edition of his CNN Headline News program, Glenn Beck interviewed Rep.-elect Keith Ellison (D-MN), who became the first Muslim ever elected to Congress on November 7, and asked Ellison if he could "have five minutes here where we're just politically incorrect and I play the cards up on the table." After Ellison agreed, Beck said: "I have been nervous about this interview with you, because what I feel like saying is, 'Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies.' " Beck added: "I'm not accusing you of being an enemy, but that's the way I feel, and I think a lot of Americans will feel that way."
I find this to be appalling. If an employee of CNN asked the same question of a visitor to their studio, that employee would be disciplined. The Human Resources department would be involved, and if they have one, their Diversity Manager would be contacted, and disciplinary action would be taken.
Beck's statement is discriminatory and bigoted and needs to be addressed promptly and treated appropriately. CNN needs to take action against this man, as it would against any other employee. In this day in America we understand that it is imperative that all Americans work together and get along, and to discriminate against anyone based on their religious beliefs cannot be tolerated. As such, CNN has a duty to its audience and the American public to ensure that anyone airing on their network follow appropriate protocol in their speech toward others. Beck did not act appropriately, and must be disciplined.
I have written to CNN to ask what they intend to do about this incident, and when (if) I hear back from them, I will post their response. Hopefully they will do the right thing and take action against Beck to ensure that this kind of discrimination is not repeated on CNN.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

-- Is the Right Right?

For years we've referred to the Republican party as the right and the Democrats as the left, indicating their relationship toward the center, but it needs to be stressed that when we call the Republicans the right we are indicating the opposite of left, and not correct. Take, as an example, some of the words of Republican pundits.

Ann Coulter, for example, has attacked four widows of the 9/11 attack claiming:

These broads are millionaires, lionized on TV and in articles about them, reveling in their status as celebrities and stalked by grief-arazzis. These self-obsessed women seemed genuinely unaware that 9/11 was an attack on our nation and acted as if the terrorist attacks happened only to them. ... I've never seen people enjoying their husbands' deaths so much ... the Democrat ratpack gals endorsed John Kerry for president ... cutting campaign commercials... how do we know their husbands weren't planning to divorce these harpies? Now that their shelf life is dwindling, they'd better hurry up and appear in Playboy.
Or Rush Limbaugh, speaking about Michael J. Fox when the actor appeared in an ad supporting a measure to allow embryonic stem-cell research:
"He is exaggerating the effects of the disease," Limbaugh told listeners. "He's moving all around and shaking and it's purely an act. . . . This is really shameless of Michael J. Fox. Either he didn't take his medication or he's acting."
How about this from Michael Savage:
And I want to tell you something, and I'm going to say it to you loud and clear. The radical homosexual agenda will not stop until religion is outlawed in this country. Make no mistake about it. They're all not nice decorators. You better get it through your head before it's too late. They threaten your very survival. They went after the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church is now caving in to the homosexual mafia. They will not stop until they force their agenda down your throats. Gay marriage is just the tip of the iceberg. They want full and total subjugation of this society to their agenda. Now, if you want that and if you don't think it's a threat -- believe me, that is what's going to occur in this country.
How about Bill O'Reilly, speaking about bloggers:
I think - I have to say President Bush has a much healthier attitude toward this than I do. Because if I can get away with it, boy, I’d go in with a hand grenade.
All of these commentators have two things in common; first, they're all right-wing conservatives, in varying degrees, and second, they're all hate-mongers. They aren't giving an issue with a logical conclusion, they're giving an issue and then saying horrible things about other people, trying to instill fear in their listeners to further their belief, or use outright violence against those who disagree. All of these indicate a hatred for other people, or other groups of people.
When did we, the American people, become so shallow and so inhumane that we would promote such actions? Why are people who spew hate not only allowed to do so on our airwaves, but are among the highest listened to shows on talk radio? Why are their books on best seller lists when they spew such hatred?
Ironically, many of these people claim to be Christian, yet there is nothing about hatred that is a Christian value. Consider that both Matthew and Luke state that Jesus said, "Love your enemies" (Matt: 5:43, Luke 6:27). How, then, can these people claim to be Christian, yet put out such vitriol against others? It doesn't matter who the others are, because even if they are enemies, Jesus' teaching is that we are to love them. Going after them with hand grenades brings "tough love" to a whole new level.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

-- Another President Clinton?

It seems that every time you hear the name of Hillary Clinton you hear something hateful being associated with it. She is scorned, ridiculed, vilified, and openly hated in every state in this country, and is constantly assailed in the press for everything she says or does. Yet she was re-elected to the Senate by an overwhelming majority of 67%, up considerably from the 55% who elected her in 2000.

In her home state of New York only 33% of the people voted against her, yet she is still one of the most hated people living today. Why? What has she done that is so heinous as to deserve such treatment?

Put that question out and you'll get many answers, but what you won't get are any tangible facts that support them. People hate Hillary for no apparent reason other than they want to hate her. Period. She hasn't done anything, or said anything so terrible to deserve the horrible things that are said about her daily, but the hatred continues.

So, let's take a look at some of the things Hillary has done; she continued to work on her career while her husband was the governor of Arkansas. She became the first first-lady with a post-graduate degree, which she earned by writing a thesis on the rights of children. As first-lady she continued to work for the rights of children, as well as the rights of women. She's a mother. She is the first first-lady to leave the white house and begin her own political career.

As first-lady she lead a task force that was charged with solving the health care problem in our country. I won't try to suggest that her plan was a success, or even the right plan for our nation, but she at least came up with a plan. Name me one person since who has done the same. Health care is still a major problem, and was named as one of the major issues by voters in 2006.

When her husband cheated on her, she refused to leave him. This should be her right and her choice, but for some reason she seems to have garnered quite a bit of animosity for her decision. Had she left him, she would undoubtedly still have been hated, albeit for making a different decision, and probably by the same people.

Personally, I admire Hillary. I think she's a caring woman who only wants to do what she believes to be right, and I don't think it's fair of people to hate her without reason. Show just cause or rethink your position. I also hope she runs for President, and if she does, I hope she chooses her husband as her running mate. Our laws prevent him from becoming president again, but they don't prevent him from being vice-president. I think having the two Clintons officially running this country would be the best thing we could do following the devastation of our civil rights under the current administration.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

-- Should George Bush be Impeached?

Many right-wing pundits have stated for months that if the Democrats take control, one of the first orders of business will be to try to impeach George Bush. Nancy Pelosi has stated that this will not happen (see my post, "Ann Coulter's November 8, 2006 Article at, but is she correct? Even though the Democrats are not planning on impeaching the president at this point, could there be circumstances that would make it not only feasible but necessary?

Possibly. Bruce Bendinger of Chicao, Illinois has put together a fascinating video of George Bush comparing his performance in a debate ten years ago, when he was running for Governor of Texas with more recent examples, and in this video, the change in the man in such a short period is striking. The video can be viewed at which also contains information on how the video came to be created.

Briefly, it started with an article in the Atlantic Magazine about the change in Bush over the years. The article, written by James Fallows, drew several responses, and one of the letters came from a doctor who said that the change could be caused by presenile dementia. For a full text of the letter, see either a copy of the magazine, or their site at Note that to read the full articles on their site you'll need a subscription.

You can also read more about this in an article in the Boston Globe here

What is important about this issue is that it's not new. When Mr. Bendinger writes about reading an article in the October issue, he fails to mention that it was in 2004. This is incredibly important, as it indicates that our president may be deteriorating mentally, and has been for years. If this is the case, then it changes everything. In a telephone conversation I had with Mr. Bendinger, he mentioned that one physician he spoke to said that if you stuttered ten years ago and you stutter today, you have a history of stuttering, but if you didn't stutter ten years ago and you do today, something must be causing the stuttering. That, in essence, is the issue with our President.

I have never been a fan of either of the Bush presidents, and I wouldn't be unhappy to see this one removed from office, however, if the cause for his removal is a mentally incapacitating illness, then there will not be any joy in seeing him leave office. If he does, in fact, have any kind of disease or infirmity that will limit is mental capacities, it is imperative that he be removed from office before such deterioration causes him to do something that will harm either himself or the American people.

Arguments can be made that he has already done this (invading Iraq springs readily to mind), and in listening to his speeches, even very recent ones, it is easy to say that such a diagnosis might very well be valid. Of course, as the articles linked above will discuss, it is possible that his stumbling over, and creation of new words has another cause, and one that is not linked to any abnormality in the brain, but the difference between his performance of ten years ago and those of late is astounding.

As the President of the United States and the leader of the free world, the President has a duty to his people. Not just to his constituents, but to all people, and that duty includes being completely honest about any medical condition that may adversely effect his ability to perform his duties. I think it is imperative that a neurologist, chosen by Nancy Pelosi be brought in to examine Mr. Bush thoroughly, and those findings need to be reported to the American people.

I would suggest that this be done immediately, simply because if it is found that Mr. Bush does suffer from a disease that is destroying his mental ability, for his own good and the good of this country he needs to be removed from office. Such removal should be done now, while the Republicans are still in control of the House and Senate. If George Bush is removed from office during 2006, Dick Cheney will assume the presidency and Dennis Hastert will become the Vice President. If, however, the impeachment doesn't happen until after the new Congress takes office, Dick Cheney will still take over the role of President, but the office of Vice President will likely be assumed by Nancy Pelosi.

It would not be fair for the Democrats to take the Vice Presidency if it could be held by the Republicans, who are, after all, in power. This action, however, needs to be initiated by the Republicans. Should they refuse to impeach their president (and it's understandable why they would refuse to do so), they have to realize that if it becomes necessary for our own safety to do this, they'll lose the Vice Presidency out of their own fault. The ramifications of this could be historic. Since Mr. Cheney has not been shown to be the healthiest physical specimen among the Republicans, should he assume the top spot with Ms. Pelosi second, and should he die in office, not only will the Democrats assume total control, but we will have the first female President of the United States.

Note, however, that no Democrat, Independent, Moderate, Liberal or Progressive (pick a label, any label) should find any joy in gloating over the removal from office of a man who has a medical condition that prevents him from leading this country. If this does, in fact, turn out to be the case (just as it was for Ronald Reagan), then we need to offer understanding and compassion to George Bush and his family. As I said, I've never been a fan of this president, but I would not wish Alzheimer's on anyone.

-- Ann Coulter's November 8, 2006 Article

Let's see what Ann Coulter is up to since the election. On her site, her most recent article states:

Democrats support surrender in Iraq, higher taxes and the impeachment of President Bush. They just won an election by pretending to be against all three.
Ann Coulter - November 8, 2006

So, how true are Ann's statments? Let's start with her first item, Iraq. She claims Democrats want to surrender, or as she put it later in the same writing, the Democrats' policy is to:

Stay, leave ... stay for a while then leave ... redeploy and then come back ... leave and stay ... cut and run ... win, lose or draw policy.

Is that what the Democrats want? Do we really want to just up and leave Iraq and not clean up the mess we made? Consider what leaders of the Democratic party in both the House and Senate said in a letter to President Bush in July:

We believe that a phased redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq should begin before the end of 2006. U.S. forces in Iraq should transition to a more limited mission focused on counterterrorism, training and logistical support of Iraqi security forces, and force protection of U.S. personnel.

Additionally, every effort should be made to urge the Iraqis to take the steps necessary to achieve a broad-based and sustainable political settlement, including amending the constitution to achieve a fair sharing of power and resources. It is also essential to disarm the militias and ensure forces loyal to the national government. Finally, an international conference should be convened to persuade other governments to be more involved, and to secure the resources necessary to finance Iraq's reconstruction and rebuild its economy.
Letter to President Bush from Democrats in both the House and Senate, July 31, 2006

Wow. That doesn't sound like cut and run, Ann, that sounds like the Democrats actually have a plan. Empower the Iraqis to be able to take over their own country again, with all factions being fairly represented and guaranteed such representation in their own constitution. That sounds a lot like what we did here in America when our government was being formed, by the way. Get other countries from around the globe involved in this so it stops being America versus Iraq and shows that we have broad support in our mission. Bring our troops home in stages, so that the progress made in Iraq won't be undone as we leave.

This is a much more sound policy than the "stay the course" alternative that the Republicans have been touting for the past three years, and have recently dropped because of how far from reality it actually is.

How about her second claim of Democrats wanting higher taxes? Are the Democrats really hoping to increase taxes? Consider this from MSNBC:

Pelosi criticized congressional Republicans who have shown support for a new national sales tax, which she said would hurt the middle class ... House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., called for a national sales tax or consumption-based tax in a recent book. But Bush’s suggestion this summer that a national sales tax is worth serious consideration drew a backlash from Democrats and many Republicans, and the idea was quickly discarded.
MSNBC September 25, 2004

Aren't Dennis Hastert and George Bush Republicans? They were the last time I looked, but maybe I missed something. If they are, then it looks like it's the Republicans who are looking to raise taxes, not the Democrats. In fact, every time Democrats start to pull ahead in elections, Republicans start spewing the same old spin, that if they're elected the Democrats will increase taxes. Why, then, are the Republicans the ones who have been trying to do that? Note that this goes back over two years ago, Ann. Nothing new here.

Finally, Ann says that the Democrats are for impeachment. According to an article in the Washington Post:

Seeking to choke off a Republican rallying cry, the House's top Democrat has told colleagues that the party will not seek to impeach President Bush even if it gains control of the House in November's elections, her office said last night.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) told her caucus members during their weekly closed meeting Wednesday "that impeachment is off the table; she is not interested in pursuing it," spokesman Brendan Daly said.
May 12, 2006

Note that this was last May. Has anything changed since Democrats are now coming into control? No. Consider:

Presumptive House Speaker Nancy Pelosi took the podium Wednesday to outline her party’s plans for the future and to reassure voters that she won’t lead a liberal inquisition against President Bush.

“Impeachment is off the table,” said Pelosi, D-Calif. “Democrats are not about getting even. Democrats are about helping people get ahead.”
November 9, 2006

Does that mean that Bush will not be impeached? Not necessarily, and I'll explore that in another post, but for now, it's not being considered by the Democrats, unlike the pathetic attempt that the Republicans made at doing something similar with Bill Clinton, one of the best presidents this country has ever seen. The major difference between the two is that after Clinton's impeachment, he remained as President, while Bush would not. He would be tried for high crimes that would not only remove him from office, but could very well land him in prison.

One thing about Ann's latest writing really surprised me. In a move that will distance her from other right-wing pundits, she admits that the Democrats won the election. Most of the others claim that the Democrats didn't win so much as the Republicans lost. Apparently, they don't think the American voting public had any interest in things like Iraq, torturing of prisoners or illegal wire-tapping, but Ann did.

Imagine Ann getting a fact right!

Monday, November 13, 2006

-- The Democrats' Agenda

Rush Limbaugh recently said of the Democrats and their landslide victory in taking over both the House and the Senate, "They advance no agenda other than their usual anti-war position. They have no contract. They really do not get specific. Their message was one of, 'vote for us, the other guys have been in power too long.'"

So, let's see if we can shine some light on the Democratic Agenda for Rush and others of his ilk who don't seem to understand why the American voters felt it was necessary to remove the Republicans from power on November 7, 2006.

1. We will end the Republican culture of corruption and restore a government as good as the people it serves, starting with real ethics reform.

If you think this isn't necessary, you might want to remember Mark Foley, Duke Cunningham and Tom Delay. Do you need more examples? Fortunately, they can be provided.

2. We will protect Americans at home and lead the world by telling the truth to our troops, our citizens and our allies. We believe in a strong national defense that is both tough and smart, recognizing that homeland security begins with hometown security.

Let's put that another way. We will not claim that there are Weapons of Mass Destruction when we know there are not. We will not try to obfuscate the truth by bringing up September 11 every time we want to further our own objectives.

3. We will create a cleaner, greener and stronger America by reducing our dependence on foreign oil, eliminating billions in subsidies for oil and gas companies and use the savings to provide consumer relief and develop energy alternatives, and investing in energy independent technology.

This does not mean that we reduce the Alaska wilderness to rubble by over-exploiting it, as some would like us to do. This means finding new means of energy, while working to conserve our environment.

4. We will create jobs that stay in America and restore opportunity for all Americans, starting with raising the minimum wage, expanding Pell grants and making college tuition tax deductible. We also believe in budget discipline that reduces our deficit.

Raising the minimum wage. Does that sound familiar? It was raised to $5.15 in 1997 and has not been increased since, despite the fact that Democrats have tried to get it raised. In fact, only by tying it to a decrease in estate taxes were the Republicans even willing to bring it to the floor, where it was rejected by Democrats and many moderate Republicans for the shameless sham that it was.

5. We will join 36 other industrialized nations in making sure everyone has access to affordable health care, starting by fixing the prescription drug program and investing in stem cell and other medical research.

Remember when the Clinton Administration tried to fix the healtchare problem and in 1994, the Republicans soundly defeated any chance of it? I'm not suggesting that the proposal put forth by Hillary and her Commission was the perfect solution, but at least it was a start. What has happened since? What solutions have the Republicans put forth to provide equitable health care for all Americans? For twelve years the Republicans have controlled the House and Senate, and for six years they've held the White House as well, yet nothing has changed. Why isn't Medicare allowed to negotiate with drug companies for lower prices for our senior citizens? Maybe Rush meant if it's not important enough to be on the Republicans' Agenda, they can ignore it when the Democrats bring it up.

6. We will ensure
that a retirement with dignity is the right and expectation of every single American, starting with pension reform, expanding saving incentives and preventing the privatization of social security.

Does that one scare you? Social Security will remain federally funded, even though the Republicans would love to see it taken out of the government's control so that it stops bleeding the government, but Democrats understand that hard working men and women in this country paid into the system and they deserve to reap whatever benefit from it they can. If it were left to the Republicans, many of our retirees would be on Skid Row.

7. The Democratic Party believes that it is our responsibility to protect America's extraordinary natural resources. The health of our families and the strength of our economy depend on our stewardship of the environment.

This is probably a difficult concept for many Republicans, since they see natural resources as an impediment to progress. Republicans would clear cut the nation's forests, strip mine our fields, pollute our waters and reduce our mountain ranges to fields all in the name of profits. Democrats understand that natural habitats are vital parts of the ecosystem, and that we are responsible for the other creatures with which we share this planet. We'll continue to ensure that they have their place here.

8. Democrats
are unwavering in our support of equal opportunity for all Americans. That's why we’ve worked to pass every one of our nation’s Civil Rights laws, and every law that protects workers. Most recently, Democrats stood together to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act.

Were it not for Democrats, we wouldn't have unions; we wouldn't have the American's with Disabilities Act; we wouldn't have Minimum Wage; we wouldn't have laws regulating safe working environments. In fact, the civil liberties that most of us take for granted we have because Democrats fought hard in the face of Republicans to ensure their passage.

9. A fundamental tenet of our democracy is the right to vote and have that vote counted. We must be vigilant in protecting this right and ensuring that our voting system is fair for every American.

I think what most upsets Rush and others like him is that the Democrats were finally successful in thwarting attempts to steal another election. We ensured that there were people at the polling places to keep an eye on the Republicans. Even in Florida, where nothing even close to a fair election is held, a Democrat by the name of Ion Sancho worked tirelessly to make sure that the voting in Leon County was fair and accurate, something that never seemed to concern Republican Katherine Harris. Note that her bid for Bill Nelson's job failed in the November 7 election.

By the way, all
of these agenda items can be found on the website for the Democratic party at It would certainly be uncharacteristic of Rush Limbaugh to actually do some research before shooting off his mouth, but if, instead of stating that the Democrats don't have an agenda, he had simply Googled "Democrats Agenda" he would have found this for himself. Imagine, Rush not taking the time to do that before making a total fool of himself.

-- Legalizing Marijuana

Several states have followed California's lead and have either amended their laws or tried to amend their laws to allow the use of marijuana, particularly for medicinal purposes. This move is being fought by the federal government which views marijuana as an illegal substance and the use of such as a crime. The United States government has been fighting the "War on Drugs" for many years, and most of the lifetimes of the U.S. citizens living today. Has their fight been successful? Doubtful.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, arrests for drug possession grew from less than 500,000 in 1980 to over 1,500,000 in 2005 ( A three times increase in twenty five years can hardly be called a success. Note that these figures are for adults. Throughout this discussion when I speak of drug use, I will be referring specifically to adults, as I don't believe that children should be using drugs.

By the DOJ's own statistics, it's fairly easy to see that our current war on drugs is failing, so what can be done? The most logical answer is to legalize drugs. Immediately this suggestion will get most people in an uproar, making such claims as that children will be using drugs, and people will be driving while high, and that pushers will be free to walk onto playgrounds, and all kinds of other nonsense. As in any issue, the first thing that needs to be done is to put emotions aside and look at the problem logically. This, then, is my rational, logical approach to dealing with drugs.

First, legalize all drugs, not just marijuana and not just for the sick. By legalizing drugs they will be brought into the light and out of hiding. No, legalizing drugs is not going to entice more people to use them, any more than legalizing alcohol encourages more people to drink or legalizing cigarettes encourages more people to smoke. It merely allows those who choose to do so the freedom. Nothing more.

Legalizing drugs has several serious advantages, however. First, those 1.5 million adults arrested would not be, thus allowing our police to go after actual criminals. You know, the ones who are knocking over liquor stores, raping young women and shooting innocent bystanders. It also frees up room in our prisons, hopefully reducing the overcrowded conditions in some, and making building more unnecessary. It will also mean less money spent by our government on trying these people, thus saving the taxpayers money.

More importantly, it provides a source of revenue for our government, which should result in lowered taxes for the rest of us. Just like liquor and cigarettes are taxed, so too would drugs be taxed, so instead of being a debit for our country, they'd be an asset. Legalizing also allows the government the ability to regulate them, ensuring that the drugs that reach the market are safe and have been manufactured (or grown) under strict standards.

Since drugs will now be available at the local market (or liquor store, or whatever each state chooses), drug cartels will be a thing of the past, as will gangs supported by drug money. In fact, much of the drugs can be grown here in the United States thus reducing the traffic coming across our border, since some of that traffic is for illegal drugs. And since we have a free enterprise system in this country, different drug manufacturers will undoubtedly have different prices, thus driving costs down for the users. This might not sound like a good idea, but consider that many drug addicts currently commit crimes in order to get the money to purchase very expensive drugs. By making them more affordable, the potential of reducing crime exists.

It is important to note that not all people who use drugs are addicts, any more than all people who drink are alcoholics. There are a great many men and women who can handle the effects of alcohol, and only drink in moderation. There are just as many men and women who use drugs in the same way. For those who are addicts, by keeping drugs illegal it makes it more difficult for them to get help, as doing so would force them to admit that they're criminals. Legalizing drugs allows addicts (and their familes) to see their problems and possibly get help.

The laws for drugs would be the same as for alcohol, namely that its use is limited in public, and driving under the influence can cost you your license. Added to that, violent crime committed while under the influence will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, since violent crime is violent crime regardless of the situation.

Legalizing drugs would reduce the money spent by the government on arrests and trials, increase the money paid to the government in the way of taxes, reduce the drug lords and cartels that increase crime in this country, and allow those who are addicted to get help. I really don't see a downside to this.

-- Abortion - A Wedge Issue

Abortion has been a wedge issue used by the Republicans ever since Roe v. Wade back in the 70s. This issue is not new, but it is something that should have been settled long before now. It's long past time for us as a nation to put this issue to rest and get on with the more important items that need to be addressed.

In order to properly address this issue, it is first necessary to understand that for too many years there has been too much spin put on it. The issue stopped being intelligently discussed a long time ago, and in order to put it to rest, it is first necessary to reduce it to what it is, and remove everything else. The first thing that needs to be removed is the emotional angle that both sides have put on it. Second, we need to logically look at the issue, and finally put it to rest.

When you hear someone refer to Democrats as "baby killers" or show you signs of a fetus in the womb, your emotions are being manipulated. Don't allow this. If you hear someone speaking out against (or for) abortion (or any issue, for that matter), and they begin raising their voice or calling those who hold an opposing opinion by unfavorable names, ignore them. If their argument is sound they don't need to resort to yelling or name-calling. Those are tactics that are only necessary when the argument isn't solid enough to carry itself.

Next, we need to logically look at what the objective of abortion should be. There shouldn't be any argument that the goal of abortions in this country should be zero. For that matter, the number of children who die each year from disease, or people who die from drug overdoses, or people who die from automobile accidents should all be zero. That's not reality, however. In life comes death and there will always be people dying. Sadly, that also at times applies to children.

The issue of abortion was made a legal matter when the Supreme Court made the decision that it should not be illegal. This decision was correct. By making abortion legal it now becomes possible to regulate those who perform them. This does not mean that every pregnant woman should run out and have an abortion, and that has certainly not happened, but that is how the anti-abortionists act.

The goal should not be to outlaw abortion, as that will not end abortion. Outlawing it only sends it underground, and won't do anything to reduce the number of abortions performed each year. Look at drug use; it's illegal to use drugs in this country, but it still happens. The same can be said for speeding, cheating on taxes and jay-walking. All of these are illegal, and all happen daily.

In order to solve this problem we first need to end the emotional ties and look at it intellectually. First, who has abortions? Women. No man has ever had an abortion, yet one of the most vocal voices against abortions is the Roman Catholic Church, an organization comprised of men, run by men, who only allow men in their priesthood. That seems like a strange dichotomy to me. If women are the ones who have abortions, it should be women who make the final decision on this issue, not men.

That having been said, and even though I'm a man, I'm going to continue with my opinion anyway. Following on the same intellectual discussion, do all women have abortions? No, only pregnant women do. All pregnant women? No, only certain ones. The issue then should be to look at who are these women and what are the circumstances surrounding their pregnancies.

First, there are those who were raped or are the victims of incest. Does anyone have the right to tell these women that they must give birth to the child of the man who raped them? I don't see how anyone can force that upon any woman. Yes, she would be able to put the child up for adoption, but that still forces her to grow a child inside her that was formed through violence against her. I can't see that anyone has the right to force that upon her. She certainly has the right to decide to have the child, and the right to put it up for adoption or not, but no one has the right to force her.

Second are those who find that either the life of the child or the life of the mother is in danger. That decision rests solely with the pregnant woman. Again, no one has the right to tell her that she has to give birth when it could kill her, or to give birth to a child who will only die anyway. It's very easy to sit back and say that it's God's will that the child dies, but it's not a fair argument because a) it can't be proven, and b) it is inhumane to force a mother to watch her child die. Again, this decision has to rest with the woman.

Last are the women who never wanted to get pregnant, and I would guess that this is the vast majority of women having abortions. This is also the easiest group to address because it only requires education to end this. Education would include sex education, so that women (and men) understand what can be done to ensure that pregnancy does not occur, and providing birth control. By ensuring that people know how to prevent pregnancy, you eliminate the majority of abortions, because non-pregnant women don't have a need for them.

Now the argument becomes that people should not have sex if they're not re-producing, and that argument is seriously flawed. There is nothing wrong with having sex, and no one in this country has the right to regulate morality. If you believe that sex out of wedlock is immoral, don't have sex out of wedlock, but don't tell anyone else that they can't. No one has the right to tell you what to do with your body. This, of course, goes for adults. Parents certainly have the right to raise their children with their own religious and moral beliefs, but once those children reach adulthood, they have to start making their own decisions.

By teaching sex education to young adults, and providing birth control to all adults (male and female, it's not only up to the women) we could reduce the vast majority of abortions in this country. This is what the goal of the anti-abortionists should be; to reduce all of the abortions possible, not to make them all illegal. For that matter, we should also be working harder to end rape in this country, but that doesn't seem to be an issue. We're more interested in punishing men after they commit the act rather than identifying possible rapists and curing them before the act. We're interested in stopping women from having abortions of unwanted babies rather than helping them to prevent the pregnancy in the first place. We are more concerned with reacting to a problem once it happens rather than preventing the problem from occuring in the first place.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

-- Financially Backing the Republican party

We tend to focus less on social issues and more on who's gettin' screwed and who's doin' the screwin'. In my opinion, Americans are not getting screwed by the Republican Party. They are getting screwed by Large Corporations that bought and own the Republican Party.

It's not a news flash to anyone to find out that the Republicans have more funds than the Democrats. This has always been the case, and is attributed to the Republicans being more interested in careers in business while Democrats lean more toward education and social causes, which often pay less; however, is this necessarily a true belief?

I would say that it's not. Yes, Republican candidates outspend their Democrat (and other) counterparts, but is that because Republicans have more money or because their party can raise more money? It seems to be the latter more than the former, and one of the areas where they raise much of their funds is from corporations.

This is where the Democrats can make a difference. If the companies where you do business are supporting Republicans, or supporting Republicans more than Democrats, you can do something about this. First, write to them and ask them to make their contributions more equitable. As a customer, you have the right to express your opinions. If they refuse, simply take your business elsewhere.

To find out how your companies contribute, you can start with the following site, and click on Categorized under the search window to see all of the companies listed by category. If the company you're looking for isn't listed, simply send them a letter and ask them if they support political campaigns, and if they do, what their contributions were last year (2005) for Republicans, Democrats and Others. For larger companies you can usually address their Corporate Governance Department. Otherwise, you can simply contact the president of the company.

One thing to look for is a letter back stating that the company does not make contributions, but those contributions are from the employees, and the company has no control over the way employees spend their money. This is true, however, in most cases, the "employees" that are making the contributions are executives of the company, and while it's true that employees have the right to spend their money as they see fit, it is also your right to spend your money on those companies that are not going to turn around and give it to the Republicans. If that money comes from their executives, let them know that you don't agree with that policy, and if the executives choose to support Republicans over Democrats, then you choose to support other companies. Whether they care to admit it or not, executives do represent their companies, even in their personal life.

The goal is not to remove all funding from Republican candidates, but to make it more equitable between the parties. If a company gives $10,000 to Democrats and $90,000 to Republicans, it's not reasonable to expect them to kick in an additional $80,000 in order to give each $90,000, as that would increase their total contributions from $100,000 to $180,000. It is entirely reasonable, however, to ask them to contribute $50,000 to each. This doesn't increase the company's giving at all, but it levels the playing field between the parties.