Muse in the MorningO beautiful for spacious skies,For amber waves of grain,For purple mountain majestiesAbove the fruited plain!America! America!God shed his grace on theeAnd crown thy good with brotherhoodFrom sea to shining sea!--Katharine Lee[...]
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For those of you watching television in the Topeka media market this morning you've probably already seen it, but Jim Ryun's newest campaign commercial takes credit for keeping Kansas military bases from being closed during the last round of the Base Re-Alignment and Closure program (BRAC).
Never mind Ryun & his old buddies in Congress dropped the ball at the very end of 2006 and refused to fund 2007 BRAC projects, specifically Kansas BRAC projects...never mind Ryun, because of his inaction, nearly lost Kansas military bases more than $300 million.
From the Topeka Capital-Journal:
Bottom line, the lame-duck Congress didn't pass a fiscal 2007 budget last fall. Instead, the 109th Congress approved a continuing resolution, financing the Base Realignment and Closure Commission at 2006 levels but eliminating money for projects at both Fort Riley and Fort Leavenworth.That's money Ryun cut- and that Congresswoman Nancy Boyda put back in. She did better than just put back in, though:
By late January, with the second continuing resolution on the verge of expiring, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives passed another resolution that actually raised BRAC funding by $1 billion.Never mind that.
Not nearly as compelling a visual as the Christie Brinkley divorce proceedings (at right), the votes in the U.S. Senate tomorrow on using the Nixon crimes-inspired FISA law to immunize unlawful presidential abuses that FISA was crafted to prevent ought draw the attention of every news organization and blog in the country.
But do not bet on saturation coverage of the FISA votes this week, no matter the advocacy of Russ Feingold, Chris Dodd and others. The Fourth Amendment is just not as sexy as Christie Brinkley, nor as powerful as the fear gripping too many supine Democratic U.S. Senators.
?... I hope that over the July 4th holiday, Senators will take a closer look at this deeply flawed legislation and understand how it threatens the civil liberties of the American people. It is possible to defend this country from terrorists while also protecting the rights and freedoms that define our nation,? said Feingold in late June, as he and others pursue a quest that we hope is not quixotic.
Fortunately, a growing coalition is taking some action. To protect the Fourth Amendment and hold Bush and his corporate cronies accountable for lawless surveillance of innocent American citizens, see Strange Bedfellows.
Pictured below is a full-page ad in the Washington Post paid for by the related Blue America PAC, intended to shame the D.C. political culture (specifically the Senate), and that includes Barack Obama, into striking passages of the House-approved FISA bill legalizing past illegal surveillance, immunizing corporate and presidential law-breaking.
Few are hopeful that the Senate has the courage to stand up to the lawless Republicans, but one or two amendments stand a chance of passage.
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Worries congressmen who voted for warrantless wiretaps violated their oaths of office
In November, 2005, it was Arkansas Democrat Marion Berry who famously referred to Florida wingnut Adam Putnam as that "Howdy Doody-looking nimrod." Back then Putnam was working hard to set up the conditions that have led to the economic collapse this country is experiencing now. The bill he was pushing and that Berry was opposing was an attempt to throw "220,000 people off food stamps, allow states to impose new costs on Medicaid beneficiaries, squeeze student lenders and cut education funding, cut aid to state child-support enforcement programs and trim farm supports."
Republicans, particularly his mentor, Tom DeLay, liked Putnam's reactionary ideas and he was brought into their House leadership. Last week he was leading the House Republicans to destroy the U.S. Constitution and arbitrarily moving away from the concept of the rule of law. Nazi Germany didn't go from a democratic republic to a fascist dictatorship in one night. It took many years of hard work by politicians exactly like Adam Putnam to bring that about.
Yesterday, DWT contacted Doug Tudor, a twenty year naval veteran who has decided to challenge Putnam is his central Florida bastion east of Tampa. Formerly a strong Democratic district, dispirited Democrats didn't even bother running a candidate in 2006. Tudor is shaking up politics in Polk County, not by trying to echo Republican talking points but by presenting a clear and powerful alternative, the alternative Americans want to hear. Predictably, the cowardly Democratic Establishment, which prefers Republican-lite candidates, is trying to ignore his grassroots race. Tudor, who traveled to Iraq over 30 times, has been endorsed by Democracy for America. His politics are strongly progressive across the board. He wants to end the war in Iraq. He defends a woman's right to choice. He would never support inequality for any Americans and he supports the equal rights for gay men and women. He knows Bush will never end the war and in his campaign speeches he calls on Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Florida Senator Bill Nelson to end the war. I had a feeling he might have something to say about warrantless wiretapping and retroactive immunity. He did:
?On five occasions during my Navy career, I raised my hand and affirmed ?to protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic.? Members of Congress take a similar oath. I believe that those members who voted in favor of HR 6304 did so in violation of their oath of office. I would have voted against this bill.?
[Brought to you courtesy of the same people who failed to do anything to prevent or minimize 9/11 despite repeated, urgent, explicit, and credible warnings from numerous foreign governments and from individuals within U.S. law enforcement directly transmitted to George Bush.]
By Jeffrey Denning
Just when you thought you?ve heard it all...
A senior government official with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has expressed great interest in a so-called safety bracelet that would serve as a stun device, similar to that of a police TaserŪ. According to this promotional video found at the Lamperd Less Lethal website, the bracelet would be worn by all airline passengers.
This bracelet would:
? take the place of an airline boarding pass
? contain personal information about the traveler
? be able to monitor the whereabouts of each passenger and his/her luggage
? shock the wearer on command, completely immobilizing him/her for several minutes
The Electronic ID Bracelet, as it?s referred to as, would be worn by every traveler ?until they disembark the flight at their destination.? Yes, you read that correctly. Every airline passenger would be tracked by a government-funded GPS, containing personal, private and confidential information, and that it would shock the customer worse than an electronic dog collar if he/she got out of line?
See the rest of this article here.
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BY TAYLOR MARSH via Greg Sargent You can’t say unity any louder than Terry McAuliffe headlining an Obama event."We’re all on the same team now! This election is too important." -[...]
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In today's NY Times, Adam Nagourney takes a look at the snake pit that is the McCain campaign. It's a primer for all the other political reporters and pundits so they can figure out who is up and who is down on the Lap Dog Express. Political reporters love this kind of internecine intrigue, which does not exist in the Obama campaign. But, the article, of course, misses the larger point: John McCain is a terrible manager. Instead of providing a scorecard, Nagourney should be asking: If his campaign is this screwed up, how could he ever run the country?:
After a period of relative calm on that score, it is becoming clear that his campaign is once again a swirl of competing spheres of influence, clusters of friends, consultants and media advisers who represent a matrix of clashing ambitions and festering feuds. The cast includes the surviving members of Mr. McCain?s 2000 campaign, led by Rick Davis and Mark Salter; a new camp out of the world of Karl Rove, led by the recently ascendant Steve Schmidt; and on the periphery, the ever-present Mike Murphy, Mr. McCain?s strategist in the 2000 presidential race who has been dispensing advice to the candidate to the annoyance of the other camps, and is the subject of intensifying rumors in Republican circles that he is about to re-enter the campaign.Okay, if there was a "matrix of clashing ambitions and festering feuds" on the Democratic side, the punditry would be agog, constantly challenging Obama's capacity to lead. Yet, with McCain, they treat this like their own personal side-show. The political reporters covering McCain are like the old Kremlinologists hunting for any sign of change or intrigue. It's all a game for them, but it's not a game for the rest of us.
Mr. McCain is uncomfortable firing people or banishing them entirely. His orbit remains filled with people who have been demoted without being told they are being demoted, like Mr. Davis, who continues to hold the title of campaign manager even as Mr. Schmidt manages the campaign. Yet, Mr. McCain inspires uncommon loyalty in those who serve with him ? hence the willingness of Mr. Murphy to consider coming back into the McCain campaign, despite his own rather brutal history of enmity with Mr. Davis.
McCain's problems simply multiply every single time you think about them. He's anxious not to be perceived as offering simply another four years of George Bush's policies and yet he's flip flopping like mad in an attempt to keep the right wing loons on board.
Now, the flip-flopper is actually going to have to put something on paper which defines his position. Does he please the Bush base and offer another four years of McSame, or does he enrage the base and offer something different?
Conservative activists are preparing to do battle with allies of Sen. John McCain in advance of September's Republican National Convention, hoping to prevent his views on global warming, immigration, stem cell research and campaign finance from becoming enshrined in the party's official declaration of principles.Oh, it's an anticipation we all share.
McCain has not yet signaled the changes he plans to make in the GOP platform, but many conservatives say they fear wholesale revisions could emerge as candidate McCain seeks to put his stamp on a document that currently reflects the policies and principles of President Bush.
"There is just no way that you can avoid anticipating what is going to come. Everyone is aware that McCain is different on these issues," said Jessica Echard, executive director of the conservative Eagle Forum. "We're all kind of waiting with anticipation because we just don't know how he's going to thread this needle."
The battle may not be avoidable. The current GOP platform is a 100-page document, and all but nine pages mention Bush's name. Virtually the entire platform will have to be rewritten to lessen the imprint of the president, who has the highest disapproval rating of any White House occupant since Richard M. Nixon.
It is the prospect of a total rewrite that worries some.
McCain is "really out of step with the strong majority of his party," said Myron Ebell, director of energy and global warming policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which opposes McCain's positions on climate change. "He might get what he wants. And he might get a change. But I don't think it's going to sit well with a lot of Republicans."
Why, in God's name, did the Republicans elect this guy? Now he's got to attempt to put the square peg into the round hole. And the end result is guaranteed to please no-one.
Dear Media, a little search term on the internet can be your friend...even if it won't get you next to the Maverick in his "captain's chair".[...]
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Over the course of the next week, more than 130 radio spots will advertise the newest installment of Congresswoman Nancy Boyda's newspaper inserts, one of the grassroots campaign tools Boyda used in 2006 to provide voters in the Congressional district with as much information as they could possibly want regarding where she stood on the issues.
The first installment this year follows a similar vein, but rather than feeding the voter's desire for policy, this insert, instead, focuses on what Boyda had done since being elected in 2006.
It's 20 pages long, and over the next week will be distributed in 48 Kansas newspapers.
From the campaign press release from yesterday:
"Democracy depends on a thoughtful, informed debate, and newspapers are the perfect forum for engaging voters," Congresswoman Boyda said. "Voters are sick and tired of seeing the most important decisions in our democracy fought out in 30-second ads. They want real, in-depth information. They want to be respected and included."A PDF of the insert, along with an .mp3 of the radio ad can be found at Boyda's Campaign web site.
Among the features of the Congressional Update:
- County by County, Working for You: A section detailing Congresswoman Boyda's official visits and accomplishments for each of the 26 counties of the Kansas Second Congressional District, including her 58 Congress on Your Corner events.
- Working for You in Kansas: An update on the constituent service work by Congresswoman Boyda's office, highlighting the 2,600+ Kansans her office helped in 2007. Also featured are several success stories written by constituents, including a cancer patient who was denied coverage by Medicare and a church group leader who sought help with passport applications for a mission trip.
- Working for You in Washington, D.C.: An in-depth section focusing on two laws that Congresswoman Boyda has helped to author during her first term in Congress: the Heroes Earning Assistance and Relief Tax Act, which permanently ended the Soldier Tax; and the Honest Leadership, Open Government Act, which abolished Congressional pensions for convicted felons.
"There's no academic work on this at all," [KU Professor Burdett Loomis] said. "But I think the last time (Boyda ran), it clearly didn't hurt. It may have worked very well."Distribution and printing of the insert cost approximately $50,000.
"It honestly works better for an incumbent because the sheer volume of stuff she's done, the numbers of cases she's done, passports helped with, is pretty impressive," he said.
Washburn University political scientist Bob Beatty said it appeared to work.
"I think it'd be great if all the candidates did the 30-page circulars and ran a few TV ads and told voters, 'Make up your mind.' "
He noted that Boyda took an unusual approach last time with the newspaper inserts and low-dollar TV ads that countered the slick politician image.
"The anti-campaign campaign was sort of their strategy," Beatty said. "I think the newspapers did help, though we'll never know how much."
Now Boyda will want to hold onto those voters who read and were swayed.
"If she picked up only a few thousand votes it's worth it, because they're so relatively cheap," Beatty said. "In modern political campaigning that's not a lot of money."