March 16, 2006


Democracy for America features highlights from DFA-Link groups around the country each week. Dave Reiter is a member of DFA Miami-Dade. You can see more local DFA actions going on at

Every week DFA members across the nation activate their communities, spread the Progressive DFA message, and communicate with our elected officials. A few of the unifying themes that the Southern DFA groups rally behind are ending the Iraq war, ensuring physically verifiable elections, and holding our elected officials accountable for their actions. As the South goes about holding candidate forums, members are sure to let their voices be heard, and hold the candidates accountable to Progressive ideals.

Houston DFA is showing people how they can be more involved with the election process. 'Participating In your Democratic Party Senate District Convention' is the current training guide they have posted on-line to help members understand how to effectively influence the State Democratic Platform and its Party leaders. Group organizer, Phillip McNutt, reminds members that, " 'make our voices heard' we must be an active part of the political process."

Boulder DFA and Las Vegas DFA are urging members to write their Senators about the Feingold motion on the floor to censure the President. On Tuesday, Senator Feingold introduced a motion to censure President Bush for illegally wiretapping Americans and purposely avoiding FISA laws. Boulder DFA offers talking points people can use in the letters that include the fact that in America, no man is above the law…and we need not wait for an investigation because the President has already admitted to sidestepping FISA laws. Both groups are urging us all to write Senator Feingold to say thank you in addition to writing our local Senators to support his motion for censure.

DFA Santa Monica decided to help Floridians by asking their members to write Florida State Senators, Representatives, and election officials about creating a verifiable election process. Working with VoteTrust, USA, the letter they are asking people to write scolds Florida officials for mistreating, deliberately ignoring, and rejecting recommendations by Leon County Supervisor of Elections, Ion Sancho. Sancho ran the same tests that the state of California ran that determined that there is severe security vulnerabilities in the Diebold voting system; because of the tests, the State decided to take Leon County's $564,421 in HAVA funds away, threatened Mr. Sancho, personally, with legal action, and said voting system vendors cannot do business with him.

While the Bush ignited election reform debacles rage throughout the country, groups still have the energy to tackle other issues important to its members. DFA Miami and the Coral Park Young Dems participated in the UofM janitor strike organized by the SEIU and UofM political group, STAND ...which is headed by longtime DFA member, Jake Coker-Dukowitz. The janitors at UofM are currently receiving $6.40 an hour on average, and have no health benefits. 2 weeks ago, in conjunction with the SEIU, janitors decided to strike in hopes of gaining health care benefits and a livable wage. The strike continues today.

—Dave Reiter

Categories: Blogs
What they want:

Two of the Web’s most famous blogs, the liberal Daily Kos and the conservative RedState, have trumpeted the Hensarling bill since it failed on the suspensions calendar during a November vote, falling short of the two-thirds majority needed for passage but snagging more than half of the House. The bloggers of Daily Kos, RedState and other online forums argue that the Allen-Bass alternative, which would provide targeted exceptions from the law for individuals and some websites, would force them to register as political committees.

Allen did not dispute that possibility. He noted that his bill would allow websites unrestricted operations as long as their annual expenditures did not exceed $10,000.

“They might well have to file,” Allen said of blogs as large as Daily Kos, “but that’s the point. If the Internet becomes more important, the types of financial abuses that occurred within the campaign-finance system in general” are more prone to occurring.

No one can explain why Markos should be treated differently than the National Review Online,, Fox News, Air America, etc... but they really really want to nonetheless.

Idiots, as are plenty of commenters at kos who seem to think the issue is that since Kos makes money from his site he needs to be regulated by the FEC.
Source: Atrios Blog
Categories: Blogs
Slowly, Senators are publicly standing up against the President's blatant lawlessness:  Senators Feingold, Harkin, Boxer are confirmed to support censure. Senators Kerry and Menendez are possible supporters as well.  

As for the rest of the Senate Democrats, I can only imagine what has transpired in the last few days.  Meeting in locked rooms in huddled groups, whispering about how to deal with this "situation." The phone lines in D.C. are burning up as they contact their consultants, the Dan Gersteins of the world who advise them to delay, delay, distract, distract, and maybe the "situation" will go away.  "Distance yourself from the angry bloggers," I bet is a mantra repeated by those consultants. "You don't want to appear extreme," they probably claim.  Never mind that censure is one of the most reasonable and prudent steps a Senator can take in the face of the President's extraordinary crimes.  If you've wondered why the Democrats have been so silent, it is because they're consulting--with polls (though not the ones that say 52% support impeachment, or the ones that say 77% don't buy the unitary executive theory); with mealy-mouthed consultants; with other Democrats who are pissed off Feingold sprung this on them; with the D.C. establishment who with chuckles and an obliviousness to the gravity of the situation asks them "how are you going to get out of this one?"

That process of appeasement and slipping away into the shadows is the root of our minority status.  Democrats, there is one consultation to be had on this issue: a consultation with your conscience. Lock yourself alone in a room, take the phone off the hook, and pull out a copy of the Constitution.  Hold that fiber of our democracy in your hands.  Feel how such a light piece of paper has managed to carry the weight of national chaos, year after year,war after war for over 200 years.  Hold it in your hands, and ask yourself: am I prepared to rip this into pieces? Are your trembling hands willing to shred it and let the tattered remains of our democracy fall silently to your feet?

Consult your conscience.  The censure resolution will fail in the full Congress, but the success to be had is that the Democratic Party, in unison and in unwaivering voice, declares that the rule of law still means something in the United States of America.  That our party is not willing to unravel the Constitution thread by thread to weave the Emperor's clothes.  

The "angry bloggers" that your consultants warn you about are "angry" because we're not ready to toss the Constitution into the fire.  We're the ones who you will ask to vote for you in upcoming elections. We're the ones you will send fundraising emails too. We're the ones you rely on to get out the vote. And we're the ones urging you to consult your conscience--and nothing more--on this critical issue.

And we'll keep urging you, day after day, to side with the rule of law and not the lawbreaker. So come on, citizens, let's remind the Senators of their oath, and let's get more than five Senators to save our Constitution.


Update: To clarify, the above is speculation on my part about what may be going on behind the scenes. It's not to imply that Senators aren't consulting their conscience. I'm sure they are. But it's possible that in the days and weeks to come, they'll also be bombarding with such advice, as has happened in the past. I would hope that the decision is based on what feels right, rather than what they're told is right. As for actually making that decision, it will take some time. Don't get frustrated by the undecideds. This is going to be a prolonged discussion, and a discussion our country needs to have.

Source: Daily Kos Blog
Categories: Blogs
Probably not, but Senator Harkin gives it a try anyway:

We have a President who likes to break things. He has broken the federal budget, running up $3 trillion in new debt. He has broken the Geneva Conventions, giving the green light to torture. He has repeatedly broken promises – and broken faith – with the American people. And now, worst of all, he has broken the law.

In brazen violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), he ordered the National Security Agency to conduct warrantless wiretaps of American citizens. And, despite getting caught red-handed, he refuses to stop.

Let's be clear: No American – and that must include the President – is above the law. And if we fail to hold Bush to account, then he will be confirmed in his conviction that he can pick and choose among the laws he wants to obey. This is profoundly dangerous to our democracy.

So it is time for Congress to stand up and say enough! That's why, this week, Senator Russ Feingold proposed a resolution to censure George W. Bush for breaking the FISA law. And that's why I fully support this resolution of censure.

Nothing is more important to me than the security of our country. Of course, we need to be listening to the terrorists' conversations. And sometimes there is not time to get a warrant. That's why the FISA law allows the President, when necessary, to wiretap first, and obtain a warrant afterward. But that's not acceptable to this above-the-law President. He rejects the idea that he should have to obtain a warrant before or after wiretapping.

We have an out-of-control President whose arrogant and, now, illegal behavior is running our country into the ditch. It's time to rein him in. And a fine place to start is by passing this resolution of censure. I hope that Senator Feingold's measure will be brought to the floor. And when it is, I will proudly vote yes.
Source: Atrios Blog
Categories: Blogs
Uh, the smart thing to do is, you know, do the opposite?
Source: Atrios Blog
Categories: Blogs

Been a little intense around here lately.  Anyone in the mood for some late-night snark? Okay then...

"Everybody excited about March Madness...the big NCAA tournament?  Here's how it works: It starts at 65, then 64, then 32, then 16.  It's just like Bush's approval rating."
---David Letterman:


"The Sopranos are a lot like the Bush administration. There are wiretaps, people going to jail, and the second-in-command accidentally shoots his best friend."
---Jay Leno


"Pentagon records show that at least 8,000 members of the all-volunteer U.S. military have deserted since the Iraq war began.  Hey, at least somebody has an exit strategy."
---Tina Fey


"More people, particularly Republicans, disapprove of President Bush's performance. They're questioning his character now and they no longer consider him a strong leader on terrorism. Apparently there's a little more to this whole presidency thing than just not getting blown."
 ---Bill Maher


"The other day new-age musician Yanni was arrested for fighting with his girlfriend.  Not to be outdone, John Tesh and Kenny G have gone on a killing spree."
---Conan O'Brien

And now take a deeeep breath.  And hold it.  Hold it.  Hold it.  Keep holding.  Cheers and Jeers starts in There's Moreville... [Swoosh!!]  RIGHTNOW!  [Gong!!]

Source: Daily Kos Blog
Categories: Blogs
Via Atrios:

All of the printed and voiced prophecies should be saved in an archive. When these false prophets again appear, they can be reminded of the error of their previous ways and at least be offered an opportunity to recant and repent.--Cal Thomas [Conservative elitist blowhard]

In Cal's tradition, let's do just that:

[Link] "Tommy Franks and the coalition forces have demonstrated the old axiom that boldness on the battlefield produces swift and relatively bloodless victory. The three-week swing through Iraq has utterly shattered skeptics' complaints." (Fox News Channel's Tony Snow, 4/27/03)
"The only people who think this wasn't a victory are Upper Westside liberals, and a few people here in Washington." (Charles Krauthammer, Inside Washington, WUSA-TV, 4/19/03)
"We're all neo-cons now."  (MSNBC's Chris Matthews, 4/9/03)
"I will bet you the best dinner in the gaslight district of San Diego that military action will not last more than a week. Are you willing to take that wager?" (Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly, 1/29/03)

Here's a winner:

"I'm waiting to hear the words 'I was wrong' from some of the world's most elite journalists, politicians and Hollywood types.... I just wonder, who's going to be the first elitist to show the character to say: 'Hey, America, guess what? I was wrong'? (MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, 4/10/03)

Good point Joe, let us know when you and your fellow elitists are going to admit you were wrong. But don't stop with saying it to 'America'. How about all you media cheerleaders say you were wrong during your routine ratings whore visits to Walter Reed, to the faces of each and every injured man and woman, and to each Gold Star Family member? Compared to the price paid by almost twenty-thousand US Service People, that's not asking for too much character, is it? For more anniversary memories, see this superb post by Meteorblades.

Source: Daily Kos Blog
Categories: Blogs
Arnold's been left twisting in the wind. Thanks to his own Republican Party.

Categories: Blogs

March 15, 2006

  • The battle over drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge continues as the Senate takes up the budget bill Thursday. Republicans shoehorned the drilling provision into the budget resolution because budget bills can't be filibustered. Senators Kerry and Cantwell will introduce legislation to strip the provision from the bill.

  • Speaking of the budget bill, it could "increase the national debt by an additional $781 billion, to $9 trillion."
    The debt limit bill is the fourth such measure required since Bush took office five years ago. If approved, the latest version would mean that the debt had grown over that span from about $6 trillion to $9 trillion -- about $30,000 for every man, woman and child in the United States.

  • Taylor Marsh, guest posting at Crooks & Liars, has come up with a great contest: "EDWARD R. MURROW for a MINUTE". Come up with your best "Murrowism" on a current issue and compete to win a DVD copy of "Good Night and Good Luck."

  • Even Jessica Simpson is smart enough to distance herself from Bush, "a snub that left Republicans dismayed." That's just so sad.

  • Maybe Simpson has been watching the polls. As Olbermann pointed out tonight (you DID watch, didn't you?) Bush is at 37% in the just-released NBC/Wall Street Journal poll. What's more, "26 percent of respondents surveyed said they believe the nation is headed in the right direction, a tie from the previous Bush administration low."

  • The Culture of Corruption has even hit Idaho. Like Republicans need to be corrupt to get elected there. Crapo has taken in more campaign money from residents of the Virgin Islands, $39,000 by the end of the 2005-06 election cycle, than Idahoans--under $20,000. And the story that has my dad (kossack Old Timer) really excited, details $43,500 received by Craig from contributors connected with Cunningham. The Idaho Statesman has done a good job of tying donations to legislation sponsored by Craig. Unfortunately, they haven't put that information online. Once this was all found out, Craig donated the money to charity. Not that it helps right now, neither being up this cycle, but we can always look ahead.

Source: Daily Kos Blog
Categories: Blogs
Today, Condoleezza Rice called Iran "the central banker of terrorism." Tomorrow, Stephen Hadley will give a speech and release a revised 49-page National Security Strategy, reaffirming the doctrine of preemptive war.

Hadley will give his speech - I kid you not - at the U.S. Institute of Peace.

From the Washington Post (tomorrow's edition):

In his revised version, Bush offers no second thoughts about the preemption policy, saying it "remains the same" and defending it as necessary for a country in the "early years of a long struggle" akin to the Cold War. In a nod to critics in Europe, the document places a greater emphasis on working with allies and declares diplomacy to be "our strong preference" in tackling the threat of weapons of mass destruction.

Ah, back to the good old days of the Cold War. McCarthyism. Bogeymen. Black lists.

Security experts interviewed by the Post are none too thrilled.

"Preemption is and always will be a potentially useful tool, but it's not something you want to trot out and throw in everybody's face," said Harlan Ullman, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "To have a strategy on preemption and make it central is a huge error."

But where would the Bush administration be without trotting threats out and throwing it in everybody's face? Hasn't that been the grand design of diplomacy for the past few years?

Just to clear up any confusion about what country or countries we're getting in the world's face about, the National Security Strategy report makes it clear:

Without saying what action would be taken against them, the strategy singles out seven nations as prime examples of "despotic systems" -- North Korea, Iran, Syria, Cuba, Belarus, Burma and Zimbabwe. Iran and North Korea receive special attention because of their nuclear programs, and the strategy vows in both cases "to take all necessary measures" to protect the United States against them.
"We may face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran," the document says, echoing a statement made by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice last week. It recommits to efforts with European allies to pressure Tehran to give up any aspirations of nuclear weapons, then adds ominously: "This diplomatic effort must succeed if confrontation is to be avoided."

We have all been here before .... We have all been here before .... Come to think of it, Bush has shown a partiality for spring invasions ....

Source: Daily Kos Blog
Categories: Blogs
HR 1606 was pulled after the Rules committee failed to come to a compromise on how to address the bill.

The "reformers" and their allies in Congress want a floor vote on the CDT bill (HR 4900).

HR 1606 went through hearings and much debate. But when it was brought up in Congress under suspension rules, opponents wailed that this was a gross violation of House etiquette (as Pelosi's office told me). It was merely a procedural disagreement, I was told.

Now, after HR 1606 has gone through the whole process, those hypocritical opponents are now pushing the CDT bill as an alternative, even though it hasn't gone through committee hearings and it hasn't been properly debated. And it looks like Pelosi is right there with them.

What we are asking is not unreasonable --

  1. Pass HR 1606 to preserve the status quo and preempt potentially crippling FEC regulations (which they are under court order to produce).

  2. Run the CDT bill through the normal legislative process. None of us are reflexively opposed to it. It's just that NO ONE has had the time to properly vet it.

That's it. Seems simple enough, right?

Yet the "reformer" groups, the same people who have overtly vowed to destroy this site, are suddenly running to the CDT bill. Why do so if it supposedly doesn't affect the very site they've set out to destroy? This has nothing to do with CDT, whose intentions I don't doubt. It's the Fred Wertheimers and Carol Darrs who I don't trust.

And despite Adam's call for them to guarantee they wouldn't use the CDT bill to attack Daily Kos, the only response has been silence.

I will not stand for attacks on a medium based on fantasies, when reality clearly shows that those problems do not (currently) exist. I have a responsibility and duty to this medium, and I will fight to protect all of us who operate in this space.

Given time and proper study, we may find that the CDT bill is actually not cause for concern and I'll drop my opposition. But we need that time for proper study. Rushing it into the floor of the House, bypassing the committee process and avoiding substantive debate and testimony is NOT the way to do it.

Update: Congress is in recess next week, so unless the FEC does another delay (and it should), we'll be seeing regulations next week.

Update II: Adam gives a great rundown of what happened today in the comments.

This much, we know: Congress has had since September 18, 2004 to tell the FEC and the courts that it never intended for political activity on the Internet to be regulated, or that they prefered that it be regulated in a certain way. The FEC, in turn, has afforded Congress every opportunity to speak on these issues and stalled as long as it could to allow the legislature to act first. Congress has abdicated this responsibility. They failed to speak. They punted.

It could make one wonder: was anyone serious in Congress about this? Did those supporting HR 1606 really want it to pass, or did they just want to look good in front of netroots on the right and left? Did the "reformers" really support a CDT proposal which would have granted some significant boosts to blogger freedoms, or did they only care about scuttling HR 1606?

Do not listen to what they say; watch what they do. For all their talk about caring about bloggers, the members of Congress has failed to protect bloggers from FEC regulation or guide the regulatory process in any way. Next Thursday, the FEC will now fill their silence with rules and regulations, and it will be up to Congress again to decide whether it cares to do anything about it.

Source: Daily Kos Blog
Categories: Blogs

Sacramento for Democracy has done it again—holding a second, of three, successful anti-war rallies in their city.

Photo by Gary Zimmerman

Read more about the event and view more photos...

Categories: Blogs
No link yet, but here's what she says. "I'm staying. I'm in this race. I'm going to win." She's going to put all of her own money ($10 mill?) into the race.

This is the best news I've heard all day. And now I can turn off Fox News.

Update [2006-3-15 21:42:36 by mcjoan]: What are they saying in Florida? Republicans can't be too thrilled must be crying in their pina coladas with this. Here's a story from the Palm Beach Post today: J. M. "Mac" Stipanovich, a Republican lobbyist and political consultant, said he thinks Harris will stay in the race.

"I have not talked to her or anyone in her campaign. I'm just sifting the tea leaves like everyone else," he said, adding that it would not make sense for Harris to go to New York to announce she was getting out. . . .

Rumors also are flying that Harris will resign from her congressional seat and pump $5 million to $10 million of her own cash into the campaign....

Stipanovich said if Harris stays in the race she will still have trouble defeating incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson because her campaign "is fundamentally flawed, and putting more money into is not going to fix that."

Source: Daily Kos Blog
Categories: Blogs

Hello Blog for America! Before I start to describe my chapter in Get This Party Started: How Progressives Can Fight Back and Win, I'd first like to say that even though I have been blogging on the front page over at MyDD for nearly two years now, being able to post here is the thrill of my blogging career. I spent nearly all of 2003 reading every post and every comment on Blog for America, as we all followed the campaign that changed us all. Also, for much of 2005, I was on the Steering Committee for Philly DFA, and I am very happy to be here tonight.

My article in the book focuses on several meta-blogging issues on which I have written extensively over at MyDD.

  • How can political blogging be defined as an activity related, though distinct, from journalism?

  • What is the importance of blogging as both a journalistic and political activity?

  • How can a better understanding of those two questions help us produce structures and practices which better support the work bloggers and blog readers are doing?

Now before I go into my answers to these questions, I want to note that one of the things I have learned from my experiences as a blogger and my new experience in being published in print is that compared to the world of the blogosphere, the world of book publishing moves very, very slowly. Rarely, if ever, have I written something on MyDD that I fully expected to stand up without any need of revision for a period of ten months. While I am proud of the work I produce on MyDD, I also like to think of blogging as a way to record my thoughts as they develop and change, rather than as something that will be recorded in posterity. This is not even to mention the fact that the netroots and the blogosphere is an extremely new phenomenon, and the general parameters for discussing the nature of the blogosphere have not been very well developed. Given all of this, it shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that many of the ideas I wrote about last May have undergone a decent amount of revision in my own mind. However, since the main purpose of this book is to start a conversation among people on how we can all push for a more progressive America, I don't think this is a problem. These ideas are open for discussion, not written in stone.

Categories: Blogs
Markos did a great job on Countdown.  I'm sure there will be clips circulating soon.  Here's another open thread for you guys. Enjoy.

Update [2006-3-15 21:16:35 by mcjoan]: CanOFun has the video. Thanks cof!

Next up, Harris on whether she's staying in. I'm actually watching Fox to see this. And I know Drudge has reported she's still in. I'm not posting it 'til I hear it out of her own grotesquely overly lip-sticked mouth.

Source: Daily Kos Blog
Categories: Blogs

Live Online Discussion with Chris Bowers Tonight

Join Chris Bowers of the political blog for a live blog discussion on Blog for America tonight at 9:00pm EST. He will be discussing his chapter on "Blogging for Political Change" in the book Get This Party Started: How Progressives Can Fight Back and Win.

Congressional panel to study Iraq war

Today, Congress unveiled an independent, bipartisan panel to study the Iraq war and make policy reccomendations for both the White House and Capitol Hill. The group is led by former Secretary of State James Baker, a Republican, and Democratic congressman Lee Hamilton, and, according to Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) was designed to focus "fresh eyes" on the war debate from people who "love their country more than their party."

Bush urged to bring new blood to staff

CNN learned today that friends and confidantes of President Bush to persuade him to bring in at least one seasoned Republican to help his struggling staff. Anonymous sources have said that some veteran Republicans have been quietly trying to convince White House chief of staff Andy Card to bring in an "experienced hand," to help the President reach out to congressional leaders.

—Meredith Adams

Categories: Blogs
I'm headed out to a studio in Hartford to do Keith Olbermann's show tonight, via satellite.

And I've been away from my computer for long stretches of time, so I've lost track of how well the comments transition has gone. So take the poll.

Source: Daily Kos Blog
Categories: Blogs
Continuing lickety-split down the road of militarization of civilian life - and turning what used to be considered straightforward law enforcement policies into gung-ho, army-oriented problem solving - CBC News brings us the latest:

For the first time since 1817, U.S. Coast Guard vessels on the Great Lakes are being outfitted with weapons - machine-guns capable of firing 600 bullets a minute.
The Rush-Bagot Treaty of 1817 allowed each country to station four vessels, each equipped with an 18-pound cannon, to safeguard the Great Lakes. The antiquated treaty has recently been reinterpreted because of U.S. concerns about customs violations, human smuggling and international terrorism.
Each vessel is now equipped with a 7.62-mm machine-gun, a light military gun that is the same calibre as a deer rifle but capable of shooting 600 bullets per minute.
Under the reinterpretation, which both sides say honours the spirit of the original treaty, vessels may be outfitted with machine-guns of sizes up to .50-calibre. That would be big enough to bring down a helicopter and shoot through a light-armoured vehicle.

Funny how the Bush administration, chock full of people who declined to serve in the operating theater of a war when they had the chance, seem so enamored with finding military-style solutions to various domestic policing problems.

Feel safer yet?

Update: Many wise commenters here have made me re-think this news article and view it as not a bad thing. I think what so alarmed me when first reading the article was the last sentence in the blockquote ... that weapons are authorized under this treaty that would bring down helicopters or shoot through an armed vehicle.

However, the combined knowledge and great discussion has changed my view of this. The Coast Guard is a superbly trained force (and as one wise commenter pointed out, one of the few agencies involved in Katrina that seemed to know what it was doing).

Thanks for opening up my eyes and mind, particuliarly: chemsmith, TheCrank, snookybeh, JeffSCinNY, Mike S, dannyinla, bosdcla14, Roosevelt Democrat, BoyWonder, Chris Andersen, The Baculum King, bohdi777, catleigh, marksb, philgoblue, lesliet and sterno.

You all are why I love this place.

Source: Daily Kos Blog
Categories: Blogs
Record US trade deficits of $804 billion are far more alarming than the Dubai flap. But bloggers and mainstream media can't be bothered.

Categories: Blogs
Anti-war campaigners will make House Speaker the focus of effort to highlight concerns about today's vote on "supplmental" war funding.

Categories: Blogs