Too late to wash off the blood- Neocons....

The hundreds of thousands of dead, the tens of thousands of severely maimed Iraqi civilians and American soldiers and contractors, and now the Neocons are running as far away as possible from the Iraq debacle....they're trying to pin the tail on the donkey that is our president, but they bear a heavy burden for promoting this war. The PNAC (Project for a New American Century) was founded in the mid-90's as a group that pomoted U.S. intervention in Iraq and the world at large. As the sole superpower, they thought it was in our best interest to go abroad and impose our freedom and democracy on anyone who would dare to reject it. It was our duty as the good cop of the world to impose American rules on sovereign countries, regardless of whether they posed an imminent threat to us or not. They wrote to and tried handily to get Clinton to invade Iraq, and although Clinton refused, he did give them a lot of bombing and no fly zones over Iraq as a bone to chew on until they got a president that would do their bidding...with the oil boys having their own agenda to go into Iraq (Paul O'Neil and other Republican insiders have confirmed that there were plans to invade Iraq from day one of the administration) the Neocons were the finger on the scale that put us over the top and into the war. Within days of 9/11, they were in perfect concert with the White House and the entire Congress, repeating the lies so frequently, that the media and a lot of Dems feared speaking out. Richard Perle, William Kristol, Paul Wolfowitz, Kenneth Adelman....you were co-conspirators in starting this illegal war and whether you are criminally charged or not, you will pay the price in any Karmic response to your involvement...

James Baker-Statesman or Traitor? Media complicity continues.

It's no secret the close ties between the Bush dynasty and the Saudi Arabian royalty....as part of the Bush inner-circle, James Baker has profited greatly from his relationship with the oil sheiks to the tune of $200 million or more according to Carlyle Group investments. Right now the media is exhibiting its usual shallowness and lack of in-depth reporting, feeding into the Bush administrations plan to override the Democrats. The American public didn't just elect the Democrats as a check to the Bush administration, in order for Poppy Bush's ax-man to come in and set the agenda for our foreign policy. As we speak, Baker's law firm is representing the Saudis against a lawsuit filed by the 9/11 families. I haven't checked, but my guess is that a Lexis Nexis search would show little to no articles on this fact. With all of the lawyers available and with 9/11 being such a catastrophic event to this country, it would seem that a statesman would have the dignity and discretion to politely say no to representing the Saudis. A traitor on the other hand would have no problem profiting further from the collective misery of the 9/11 victim's families.


The Brain Drain Kidnapping- Military-Catch-22!

The first thing you do when creating a dictator-ship/theocracy-is you control and instigate a brain-drain. Get all of the engineers, scientists, academics, and round them up like a herd of cattle. With over 150 people kidnapped in Baghdad, the end is getting closer for U.S. troops involvement. We constantly hear that the Iraqi government has to stand up, and they have stood up and told our military to take a hands-off approach to reigning in certain militias. 2 weeks ago this mass-kidnapping couldn't have taken place, but now the U.S. policy leaders have given it the okay, through lack of intervention.


The Senators and I

It was a love-fest Friday night at Senator Durbin's 10th anniversary celebration at Fultons on the River in Chicago. The mood in the room was one of total satisfaction, as Congressional, Aldermanic and other pols were in the house to pay tribute to Durbin, the 3rd most powerful Democrat in the country. When Obama arrived, it was like a rock star entered the room as we all clamored to get close to him. The jazz band was excellent, the bar was open, and the appetizers weren't too shabby either.


Spare the rod or.....?

Now that they have met their goals of taking the halls of Congress, the Democrats have to figure out how to punish their child, even though they helped enable his bad behavior.

Many principled Dems voted against the war, including our own Senator Durbin, but many others voted for it even though they knew it wasn't a good idea. They did it to save their own hides, fearing the unbreakable unity of the media and the Republicans against dissension. The fear/war monger crowd bullied a now repentant mainstream media, and many seats might have been lost if some Dems stood on principle. Today's majority might not exist, so I guess that once again we're supposed to accept it as the lesser of two evils. But that begs the question....was all of the death, maiming, and tragedy worth the Dems having the Congress. If they would have kept us out of the war with fervent protests and filibustering, and lost their seats, would we be better off as a nation? Probably not, because the now defanged Neocons wouldn't have rested until they got their war, and a bigger Republican presence would have allowed that anyways....
So now what? With voices like Jack Murtha and Joe Biden now having the big megaphone to shout at Bush, they might be able to steer things towards some semblance of sanity. Perhaps a three state solution, with oil revenue sharing, and the U.S. troops redployed to somewhere in the area...perhaps in Northern Iraq with the Kurds who have the best chance at a more progressive, less repressive Democracy....they would be all too happy to have us set up shop and protect them from the Turks. It ain't going to be easy, but at least we can get the ball rolling immediately with higher wages and repealing the upper-brackets tax cuts.....


Poppy Bush to the rescue.......again!

Throughout his adult life, George W. Bush has relied on his father's helping hand to get him out of messes (Cocaine use causing missed Medical exams during VietNam war and AWOL from National Guard Unit, Arbusto business failure, Harken Energy insider trading investigation by S.E.C.) or into a no-risk sweetheart deal (300,000 loaned to him and then sold for 12 Million-Texas Rangers baseball deal). Now after plunging Iraq and the region into a Super-Terrorist center of WalMart proportions, and now having the threat of the new Democratic Congress actually Checking and Balancing his ass, W. has called on the old man's proteges. Robert Gates, an ex-CIA chief was named the new Defense Secretary, and he will be working with Poppy's consigliere James Baker of the Iraq Study Group to try and use some hard-headed pragmatism to help extricate ourselves from this debacle with the least amount of instability and death.

Democrats take Senate

AP is calling Virginia for Webb-Dems control both Houses. This blogger hopes Harry lets Durbin be Majority leader, but not holding his breath


Dems Take House!-Speaker Pelosi

Hello to all......we have become a little more genteel as a nation having elected Nancy Pelosi as the first female Speaker of the House in U.S. History.....Senate still too close to call
The voting problems have begun.



Here it goes........as predicted in Feb. 12th 2006 issue of Torch, but with greater numbers
U.S. House of Representatives- Dems gain 29 seats and therefore a majority!
U.S. Senate-Dems gain 6 seats and therefore a majority!

Congressman Waxman immediately sets up investigation by Thursday morning on variety of subjects.....
Impeachment will be rolling off of the tongues, even though they said it wouldn't...I hope

Tax, Lies, and Stock Market Tape!

As the mid-term elections close in on us with the Republicans looking vulnerable, they have fallen back on their tried and true propaganda campaign with one noticeable difference: the Democrats will raise your taxes and you will die because they want to be friends with the terrorists. Let’s leave the terrorist aspect aside, as it is so patently ridiculous, and focus more on the fiscal debate. The aforementioned noticeable difference in this years’ lie-fest is that the Dems were always referred to as the ‘tax and spenders’, but the spend part is conveniently missing. The Republicans or Conservatives as they like to pretend they are, were supposed to be the party that reigned in spending and promoted balanced budgets. Their Contract on America specifically called for balanced budgets. Casual defenders will say that since 9/11, we have to spend whatever it takes to protect ourselves, yet putting aside all of the Iraq war, Homeland Security, Social Security and Medicare spending, these Republicans make the Dems look like penny pinchers. John McCain compared their discretionary and earmark spending to a bunch of drunken sailors on leave. So they’ve proven they can’t control their spending, now let’s look at the tax question. As soon as Bush was appointed in 2000, he claimed that because of the surpluses, we needed tax cuts to give back to the American people, their hard earned money. Of course that meant a pittance of $300 to the middle-class and 80% of the benefits to the top 2% of wage earners. The next year we entered a short-lived recession, and lo and behold, the answer was more tax cuts. So for those of you keeping score: surpluses and strong economy = tax cuts for the rich, recessions and weak economy = tax cuts for the rich. See a pattern? Republicans always were for lower taxes, and it made sense at certain times, like when the tax rate on top earners was 70%+. At those high levels of taxation, there really might be a disincentive for capital investment, and the government did the right thing by lowering them to more reasonable levels in the 30-40% range. Then came Reagan and his supply-siders that claimed tax cuts would energize the economy and pay for themselves. That claim was controversial then, as Reagan’s presidential primary opponent George H. W. Bush called it "voodoo economics". The ‘Starve the Beast’ hypothesis came into fruition after the conservatives realized they didn’t want to promote spending cuts on pork, which legislators and voters liked, and claimed that tax cuts would shrink federal spending by starving it of resources, thus causing cuts in spending. Ever since, tax cutting has been the mantra of conservatism, but there have always been dissenting voices, some of the most prominent from within the conservative camp. One of those dissenters is William A. Niskanen, the chairman of the libertarian Cato Institute, who trained at the University of Chicago, and spent his formative years crunching numbers at the RAND Corporation and then in the Pentagon in the Nixon administration’s Office of Management and Budget. In the Reagan administration, he served as acting chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers. Niskanen recently analyzed data from 1981 to 2005 and performed a statistical regression that controlled for unemployment. He says there are "no signs that deficits have ever acted as a constraint on spending." "To the contrary: judging by the last twenty-five years, a tax cut of 1 percent of the GDP increases the rate of spending growth by about 0.15 percent of the GDP a year. A comparable tax hike reduces spending growth by the same amount. "

Niskanen then asked at what level taxes neither increase nor decrease spending. The answer: about 19 percent of the GDP. In other words, taxation above that level shrinks government, and taxation below it makes government grow. Thanks to the Bush tax cuts, revenues have been well below 19 percent since 2002 (17.8 percent last year),and not surprisingly, government spending has risen under Bush. "Conservatives who are serious about halting or reversing the Bush-era of big spending should stop defending Bush’s tax cuts. Instead, they should be talking about raising taxes to at least 19 percent of the GDP. Voters will not shrink Big Government until they feel the pinch of its true cost." said Niskanen. The most effective constraint of all is to raise taxes and cut spending, exactly the sort of anti-deficit package that anti-tax conservatives punished the first President Bush and President Clinton for approving, and exactly the sort of package that W. and his anti-tax allies oppose wholeheartedly. The conservatives are in no position to accept or even acknowledge those implications, now that tax cutting has become their only remaining sound bite. Therein lies the irony: by turning a small-government platform into an anti-tax platform, conservatism has effectively gone into business with the Big Government that it claims to oppose. It is not starving the beast. It is fueling the beast’s appetite. And the beast has a credit card, which future generations of kids will pay for. We hear all of the talk of the Dow Jones being at a record high, as an indicator of how well the economy is doing, and this is another charade that the media helps perpetuate. For those that don’t know, the Dow is made up of only 30 companies, while the much broader pictures of the stock market, the S&P 500 (500 companies), and the Nasdaq (3,000 companies) are still well off of their previous highs, especially the Nasdaq. I’m sure all of the families out there that are struggling to pay for school and braces and mortgages, are happy to hear that 30 big industrial companies and their executives are doing so well. Maybe they can get a job landscaping the estates of the CEO’s after they’ve outsourced all of the remaining U.S. jobs.


During these troubling political times, it has been especially gratifying to be at a University that sprung from the idealism of Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt. The world was looking bleak before F.D.R. replaced Herbert Hoover and his nattering neigh-bobs of negativity. F.D.R. would have none of that, and soon gave his famous speech on reducing and eliminating fear and replacing it with hope and optimism. Now we seem to have the two front-runners for the 2008 Democrats, Hillary and Obama, as the hopes for righting our ship before we hit the melting iceberg. People are already anointing the junior Senator from Illinois as the savior of the party and I’m sure Hillary is taken aback by this neophyte’s star power. But never underestimate the power of the Clintons when they are on political ground. I am struggling with the choice myself after having met them both and being in the convention hall in Boston when Obama became an overnight sensation with his uplifting speech to the delegates and the nation. Being a pragmatist, I find that I am leaning towards Hillary, because of the Bill factor. Just as Bill said that if we elect him we would be getting 2 for the price of one, the same is true the other way around. After 8 years of fear and war and stealing from the middle class, people are longing to go back to blue dresses and bimbos. This column will drop the day before the elections, and as I pointed out a few weeks back, the issues may not matter at all in many races. According to a report by a non-partisan watchdog group, electionline.org, as many as ten states face serious problems with this election. "Machine failures, database delays and foul-ups, inconsistent procedures, new rules and new equipment have some predicting chaos at the polls", the report says. Also widely reported recently in the media, many precincts have the election workers taking home the Diebold voting machines, because they don’t have the resources to store them. People are signing up with zero background checks, and being handed the voting machines to take home and store until the election. Even more troubling is a new report that the Feds are investigating the takeover last year of a leading American manufacturer of electronic voting systems by a small software company that has been linked to the government of President Chávez of Venezuela.

The federal inquiry is focusing on the Venezuelan owners of the software company
Smartmatic Corporation, and is being conducted by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), the same agency that reviewed the Dubai ports deal earlier this year. According to the Miami Herald, "Smartmatic was a little-known firm with no experience in voting technology before it was chosen by the Venezuelan authorities to replace the country's elections machinery ahead of a contentious referendum that confirmed Mr. Chávez as president in August 2004. With the $120 million from its initial contracts with Venezuela, Smartmatic then bought the much larger and more established Sequoia Voting Systems, which now has voting equipment installed in 17 states and the District of Columbia. The role of the young Venezuelan engineers who founded Smartmatic have become less visible in public documents as the company has been restructured into an elaborate web of offshore companies and foreign trusts. "The government should know who owns our voting machines - that is a national-security concern," said Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, Democrat of New York, who asked the Bush administration in May to review the Sequoia takeover. "There seems to have been an obvious effort to obscure the ownership of the company," Ms. Maloney said. Since the political fallout over the Dubai ports deal, members of Congress from both parties have sought to strengthen CFIUS reviews to include other national security issues. Opposition members of Venezuela's electoral council said they were excluded from the bidding process, which concluded in February 2004 with the selection of Smartmatic and a partner, Bizta, over companies with ample experience to replace a system built by another American firm, Election Systems and Software. At the time, Smartmatic was a technology start-up that operated in the United States from a small house in Boca Raton, Florida, in a one-room office. Its chief officers were two 30-year-old Venezuelan engineers, Antonio Mugica and Alfredo Anzola. Company documents first reported in 2004 by The Miami Herald show that Bizta, which was then virtually a shell company, had received $200,000 from an investment fund controlled by the Venezuelan Finance Ministry in return for 3 million shares in the firm. More recent corporate documents show that before and after Smartmatic's purchase of Sequoia from a British-owned firm, the company was reorganized in an array of holding companies based in Delaware, the Netherlands, and Curaçao. The firm's ownership was further shielded in two Curaçao trusts. After a municipal primary election in Chicago in March, in which Sequoia voting machines were blamed for delays and irregularities, Smartmatic's new president, Jack A. Blaine, acknowledged in a public hearing that Smartmatic workers had been flown up from Venezuela to help with the vote. Some problems with the election were later blamed on a software component that was developed in Venezuela to transmit the results of voting to a central computer system.
So this is what it’s come down to: our voting process and therefore our democracy has been reduced to a hackable, take-home, Venezuelan manipulated joke. Look for there to be several congressional voting debacles that lead to total re-votes instead of recounts, due to the Republican led (see Bob Ney) mandate that there be no paper trail to these machines. What would Eleanor and Franklin think of all of this vote manipulation and suppression of the last five years? We have nothing to fear except those who would steal our liberty, and stealing it they are.