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Morning in America
Author: BobR    Date: 02/15/2008 13:31:33

It's almost morning in America again. Bush and the congressional Republicans are finally seeing that they won't get their way every time, and boy are they pissed. Once again, Bush babbled through an uninspired speech in a lame effort to strong-arm House Democrats into renewing his Constitution-breaking law. Watching it, you got the sense that Bush himself didn't even believe what he was saying.

This time, however, they didn't flinch. The Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence sent a letter to Bush that said:
I urge you, Mr. President, to put partisanship aside and allow Republicans in Congress to arrive at a compromise that will protect America and protect our Constitution.

I, for one, do not intend to back down – not to the terrorists and not to anyone, including a President, who wants Americans to cower in fear.

We are a strong nation. We cannot allow ourselves to be scared into suspending the Constitution. If we do that, we might as well call the terrorists and tell them that they have won.

The House Democrats instead took up a vote to indict two key Bush aides with Contempt charges, prompting the Republicans to stage an "impromptu" walkout (which ended up at a conveniently placed dais and mics on the House steps). By doing so, they ensured that the contempt vote would pass, and the FISA law would expire. Bush helped on that account by refusing a 21-day extension that would've allowed the House and Senate to reconcile the bills, hoping that once again the Dems would cave. He bluffed. He lost.

Now the Bush Administration is asking the SCOTUS to limit judges' authority to scrutinize evidence against detainees at Guantanamo Bay. Perhaps he'll have better luck with them. In the interests of fair trials, I certainly hope not.

Seven years ago, it must have seemed like a neo-con wet dream. A "charismatic", president that could be marshalled by his neo-con master of a vice president (and other advisers) ready to remake the world with their blueprints. With the advent of 9/11 (whether you believe it to be MIHOP, LIHOP, or something else), they had all the money, toys, and support they needed to put their plans into place. They wasted no time.

How disappointing it must be for them to see their dreams spiraling away into oblivion, like the water in a toilet bowl. Only Cheney remains, and - with the American people pushing and yelling and threatening - the Democrats and Congress are finally reasserting their rightful Constitutional powers.

Bush has cried "wolf!" one too many times. Congressional Democrats have stood up to the bully and found themselves unscathed.

It's almost morning in America again. I just hope it doesn't rain.

195 comments (Latest Comment: 02/16/2008 04:18:14 by livingonli)

Steroids? How about rape?
Author: Raine    Date: 02/14/2008 13:56:05

It isn't as fun to talk to woman about thier sexual assaults as it is to talk to a Famous baseball player, but tough shit. It is high time Congress does something about this issue. Woman make up more than half of our population and deserve better treatment than they are getting
Limbo for Woman Reporting Assualts in Iraq
Mary Beth Kineston, an Ohio resident who went to Iraq to drive trucks, thought she had endured the worst when her supply convoy was ambushed in April 2004. After car bombs exploded and insurgents began firing on the road between Baghdad and Balad, she and other military contractors were saved only when Army Black Hawk helicopters arrived.

But not long after the ambush, Ms. Kineston said, she was sexually assaulted by another driver, who remained on the job, at least temporarily, even after she reported the episode to KBR, the military contractor that employed the drivers. Later, she said she was groped by a second KBR worker. After complaining to the company about the threats and harassments endured by female employees in Iraq, she was fired.

“I felt safer on the convoys with the Army than I ever did working for KBR,” said Ms. Kineston, who won a modest arbitration award against KBR. “At least if you got in trouble on a convoy, you could radio the Army and they would come and help you out. But when I complained to KBR, they didn’t do anything. I still have nightmares. They changed my life forever, and they got away with it.”

Ms. Kineston is among a number of American women who have reported that they were sexually assaulted by co-workers while working as contractors in Iraq but now find themselves in legal limbo, unable to seek justice or even significant compensation.
[...]
The Criminal Investigation Command of the Army has reported that it investigated 124 cases of sexual assault in Iraq over the last three years. Those figures, provided to Senator Bill Nelson, the Florida Democrat who has taken the lead in the Senate on the issue, include cases involving both contractors and military personnel, but do not include cases involving contractors or soldiers investigated by other branches of the military.
[...]
Linda Lindsey, of Houston, who worked for KBR in Iraq from 2004 until early 2007, said that she often saw evidence of sexual harassment or discrimination, and that male supervisors often tried to force female employees to grant sexual favors in exchange for promotions or other benefits.
[..]
Pamela Jones, of Texas, a KBR logistics coordinator in Kuwait in 2003 and 2004, was sexually assaulted by a supervisor.
124 cases that do NOT include what is going on with private contractors. And NOTHING is being done. Arbitration is just not acceptable. People should be going to jail for these actions. JAIL. This is criminal and KBR is allowing it to be treated as a civil situation. Since when does a company get to decide what AMERICAN LAW IS?
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249 comments (Latest Comment: 02/15/2008 03:36:54 by shelaghc)

A Tale of Two Stories
Author: BobR    Date: 02/13/2008 13:14:26

There were two big stories yesterday, one which dominated the news, and the other which seemed to slip through unnoticed by most of the MainStream Media. The one getting all the press is that Obama swept the Potomac primaries and now leads in the delegate count.

The story that was eclipsed by the primaries was the spying bill vote. Yesterday, the Senate once again gave Bush everything he wanted:
After more than a year of heated political wrangling, the Senate handed the White House a major victory Tuesday by voting to broaden the government’s spy powers after giving legal protection to phone companies that cooperated in President Bush’s warrantless eavesdropping program.

The Senate rejected a series of amendments that would have restricted the government’s surveillance powers and eliminated immunity for the phone carriers, and it voted in convincing fashion — 69 to 29 — to end debate and bring the issue to a final vote. That vote on the overall billwas an almost identical 68 to 29.

The House has already rejected the idea of immunity for the phone companies, and Democratic leaders reacted angrily to the Senate vote. But Congressional officials said it appeared that the House would ultimately be forced to accept some sort of legal protection for the phone carriers in negotiations between the two chambers this week.

The Senate debate amounted to a proxy vote not only on the president’s warrantless wiretapping program, but also on a range of other issues that tested the president’s wartime authority, from secret detentions to wiretapping issues. The discussion in effect presaged the debate over national security that will play out this year in the presidential and congressional elections.

Senator Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut, who spoke on the Senate floor for more than 20 hours in an unsuccessful effort to stall the wiretapping bill, said the vote would be remembered by future generations as a test of whether the country heeds “the rule of law or the rule of men.”

But with Democrats defecting to the White House plan, he acknowledged that the national security issue had won the day in the Senate, even among many of his Democratic colleagues. “Unfortunately, those who are advocating this notion that you have to give up liberties to be more secure are apparently prevailing,” Mr. Dodd said. “They’re convincing people that we’re at risk either politically, or at risk as a nation.”

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164 comments (Latest Comment: 02/14/2008 04:10:12 by Mondobubba)

Four Freedoms DC MEETUP!
Author: Raine    Date: 02/12/2008 19:55:40

http://www.fourfreedomsblog.com/images/meetupboard.jpg


We're having a Four Freedoms meet up in Washington DC on the Weekend of April 26, 2008!


Some of us will be arriving on friday evening, but if anyone wants to come for an overnighter that is fine as well!

All members of Four Freedoms are invited as well as our progressivive friends around the internets. We will be staying at the Holiday Inn Rosslyn at Key Bridge. Many have found that it may be cheaper to book a room at one of the many travel sites out there, rather than directly thru the link provided.

The 4F Blog members and Staff hope you wil join us for a weekend of discussing politics, ending this war, getting some culture, visiting history and of course, cocktails...


So, if you would like to be a part of the meet-up, tell us here!

This blog is also the place to discuss all that we want to do for the weekend, including the possibility of carpooling if anyone needs or wants, sharing a room, travel information, and directions as the weekend nears, and other logistics as they arise.

We hope to see you in DC!
:peace: and :heart:
Four Freedoms

UPDATE: The photobucket location for the photos is: http://s203.photobucket.com/albums/aa213/FourFreedoms/Meetup08/

I've emailed the login and password to everyone that attended...
185 comments (Latest Comment: 04/29/2008 01:36:32 by shelaghc)

Ask a Vet
Author: TriSec    Date: 02/12/2008 11:39:04

Good Morning.

Today is our 1,791th day in Iraq.

We'll start this morning as we always do, with the latest casualty figures from the warron terra, courtesy of Antiwar.com:

American Deaths
Since war began (3/19/03): 3960
Since "Mission Accomplished" (5/1/03): 3821
Since Capture of Saddam (12/13/03): 3499
Since Handover (6/29/04): 3102
Since Election (1/31/05): 2522

Other Coalition Troops: 307
US Military Deaths - Afghanistan: 482

We find this morning's Cost of War passing through:

$ 493, 723, 975, 000. 00

You'll notice that the total is rapidly approaching $500,000,000,000.

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195 comments (Latest Comment: 02/13/2008 05:47:43 by shelaghc)

So now it's the sexism? or is it, really?
Author: Raine    Date: 02/11/2008 13:03:44

The Clinton Campaign is starting to really worry me. In case you all were not aware, David Schuster was suspended from MSNBC. Here is the comment in context, and the morning after... :

The Clintons, however took it to nth degree, IMO.
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181 comments (Latest Comment: 02/12/2008 03:54:27 by Mondobubba)

Velveeta the Decider!
Author: velveeta jones    Date: 02/10/2008 13:26:30

What better thing to do on a Sunday then lay in bed and day dream about how much better things would be if I were in charge. So over coffee and cheese grits I’ll just jot down a few things I want changed, while the world outside me flutters and flails into the abyss of the putrid trash heap we have created.

First up. Solving the biggest problem facing our great country today: Stupidity. Our last Decider brought an abundance of the stuff. In fact, this country is awash in stupidity and decisive action must be taken quickly to halt it. The obvious solution is a tax on stupid people.

Now, I am willing to consider, should Congress balk, with a proportional tax based on how stupid a person is. For example a person that occasionally watches a game show on TV, is not as stupid as a person that doesn’t think mankind has had any affect on the planet and is therefore not in any way responsible for global warming. However, a person that stays glued to a television, watching every reality show ever made and is up to date on the current jail/rehab status of Britney, Lindsay and Paris at any given moment, is, at the very least equal to a neo-con who doesn’t believe in global warming or evolution. Subscription(s) to People and/or Star magazine(s) notwithstanding.

Of course, your Decider is not without compassion. The real kind, not the phony “I’ll-say-I-care-about-you-and-want-to-help-you-while-your-homes-and-jobs-are-washed-away-by natural-disasters-and-then-complain-aloud-why-you-didn’t-leave-or-get-out-of-the-way-sooner” kind of compassionate person. No, no, Velveeta will only tax those whose brains have the capacity for being smart, but choose not to. After all, there must be incentive for stupid people to pull themselves up by the bootstraps and rise above their situation in life - and they would thereby be rewarded by paying little or no Stupid Tax.
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22 comments (Latest Comment: 02/11/2008 05:08:15 by Mondobubba)

Libertarian Saturday
Author: TriSec    Date: 02/09/2008 13:56:59

Good Morning!

We're doing a little better here in quarrantine this morning...fevers broke across the board in the past 24 hours, and all that generally remains now is some congestion and long-term tiredness. 'twas a tough week for many. In case you didn't see it last night on the blog, here's my commentary on the entire affair:
Comment by TriSec on 2/8/2008 9:2:25 PM
Evening folks. Recovering TriSec here, instead of at my first Blue & Gold banquet as Cubmaster...

Which now gives me an interesting observation on our new friend influenza and the alleged "vaccine".

The Waltham Public School system has been ravaged by it this week; anectodal reports indicate between 1/4 and 1/3 of students affected in the Bright, Fitzgerald, and Wittemore schools.

This has affected our Cub Pack to the same rate, roughly 1/3 of the expected participants called the chairman to cancel this evening.

And Athena has also had a rash of patients, though not at the same percentage. I have heard of at least one co-worker that has been out and has suffered to the same degree as we have on this one.

I'm surprised more by the achiness of this one...I was never really congested, never really had a cough, but my temp had skyrocketed earlier in the week (I reported 102º once, but upon further review of our inaccurate digital thermometer, that may have been as high as 104º)...and I've had such a general pain that it hurts to sit or recline in any one position for any length of time. And now I've got some low-grade abdominal/chest pains that had better damn well be muscular instead of cardio-vascular..

But in any case, Javi got his vaccine from his pediatrician; Maria got hers at the same time. Waltham Public runs a clinic for all their students, and AthenaHealth also does an annual free vaccine clinic...

So why did we all get it, and why did we get it so hard?

Either the vaccine was completely the wrong strain this year...or the formula was botched and it was completely ineffective.

Or maybe some of those predictions are right, and the virus is mutating too fast for us to react to it anymore...



Anyway...on to the news at hand. The National Libertarian Party is showing it's cojones in a clever way; they've just sent a funeral wreath to the RNC to mark the 'death of limited-government values within the Republican Party.'
Washington, D.C. - Following a solid McCain victory in the Super Tuesday primaries, the Libertarian Party has sent Republican headquarters a funeral wreath marking the death of limited-government values within the Republican Party. The wreath was hand-delivered to the D.C. offices of the Republican National Committee. "We simply felt the need to express our heartfelt sympathy for the Republican Party as they undergo this tough time within their party," says Libertarian Party National Media Coordinator Andrew Davis, who delivered the wreath.

"Given that it has become readily apparent that Senator McCain will soon be the presidential nominee for the Republican Party," reads a card that accompanied the wreath addressed to RNC Chairman Mike Duncan, "we, the staff of the Libertarian National Committee, send our condolences to you upon the death of small-government principles within the GOP."

The note continues:

Libertarians encourage competition within both the free-market and politics. Unfortunately, with the rise of John McCain and the big-spending practices of the Bush administration, the two-party system has emerged as representing only one philosophy - big-government liberalism.

With your loss, the Libertarian Party will continue to move forward to represent those American patriots who still believe in smaller government, lower taxes and more individual freedom.

"McCain's Super Tuesday win marks the death of limited government values within the Republican Party, which had struggled with its principles throughout the Bush administration," says Shane Cory, executive director of the Libertarian Party. "It is a day of mourning for the few remaining small-government Republicans."

For pictures of the wreath and its delivery to the RNC headquarters see below. For more information and interview requests, please call Andrew Davis at (202) 333-0008 during normal business hours, or at (202) 731-0002 during any other time.

The Libertarian Party is America's third largest political party, founded in 1971 as an alternative to the two main political parties. You can find more information on the Libertarian Party by visiting www.lp.org. The Libertarian Party proudly stands for smaller government, lower taxes and more freedom.


http://www.lp.org/main/uploads/rnc3.jpg


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25 comments (Latest Comment: 02/10/2008 07:38:33 by livingonli)

Water Wars
Author: BobR    Date: 02/08/2008 13:24:56

The water crisis in the southeast (and Atlanta in particular) was in the news last year when it was announced that Atlanta had less than 3 months of water left. The 30 year growth boom had bumped up against Mother Nature, and Mother Nature wasn't budging. The skimpy system of man-made lakes that Atlanta uses for water was tapped out (sorry ), and the drought had not refilled them.

Pictures like these really tell the story:
http://i203.photobucket.com/albums/aa213/FourFreedoms/Allatoona2007.jpg


http://i203.photobucket.com/albums/aa213/FourFreedoms/LanierNov2007.jpg

(note: That tree stump used to be under water)
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172 comments (Latest Comment: 02/09/2008 03:02:17 by livingonli)

Your Vaginas belong to Them
Author: Raine    Date: 02/07/2008 09:00:37

This is not a pretty blog today. The content is ugly and the story is not pretty.

We have a VERY serious problem. AMERICAN women are just another casualty in Bush's war on terror. In all the drama, the constant dribble of horrific stories we hear every day, the constant numbing down that we all feel, we are missing a VERY serious serial problem with one company in particular.

Halliburton/KBR ... They force employees to give up their civil rights in order to be employed. That means you as a woman have the right to be raped by your fellow workers.

No, I am not kidding. And YES, the Government is complicit.

From ABC news, On December 12, 2007:
Victim: Gang-Rape Cover-Up by U.S., Halliburton/KBR
KBR Told Victim She Could Lose Her Job If She Sought Help After Being Raped, She Says

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152 comments (Latest Comment: 02/08/2008 09:32:38 by m-hadley)

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