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pdhski

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Location: O-town
Gender: Male


Posted: Jun 7, 2005 - 12:22pm

GolfRomeo wrote:
Look, for example, at the group of people who stood on the White House Lawn to support Clinton the day he was impeached. Gore, Gephardt, and Hilliary. Only one of those has a career still, and that is only because she plays the victim so well. You can't build a pyramid of support when you systematically destroy those within your organization.

It is conjecture, but I suspect that if either Al Gore or Gephardt had been honestly outraged at Bill's bullshit and had resigned out of honor, they would still be in politics today. Maybe even President.



Running for president is essentially an all-or-nothing gambit these days. Look at anyone who has put in for it and lost; where are they now (including Bob Dole?)
coding_to_music

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Location: Beantown
Gender: Male


Posted: Jun 7, 2005 - 12:15pm

ankhara99 wrote:
Um, the same could be said for the Reps, ya know. Except for their willingness to eat their own. The Reps seem to have learned Cosa Nostra from the Mob quite well.


I disagree, the biggest problem with the Republicans is they want to invade Iraq and kill lots of people and invade other countries and kill those people too. They do lots of other things too, like remove Social Security, install right-wing activist judges, remove rights from gays, women, workers. And they like to destroy the environment too.

And that's just before lunch, you should see the schedule for the rest of the day !
GolfRomeo

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Location: Way Down Yonder
Gender: Male


Posted: Jun 7, 2005 - 12:14pm

Hi sweetheart....

I'm not sure I agree. When you think of naked ambition, do you think of John McCain or Bill Clinton? Ron Reagan or Ted Kennedy? Most Reps at least tend to have had a job/career before office, unlike the career pols on the left side. Or that is the perception anyway, which is as good as reality.

And it is the lack of principle (rudder of the ship, to quote Khalil Gibran) that has got the Dems in their current predicament. The party without a message.... blowing in the wind, resorting to personal attacks and class warfare, fighting rearguard actions against the Rep agenda.

Whether or not you like it, the Dems are just reacting-- to the War, to Patriot Act, to Social Security Reform, to Filibuster busting, to whatever.

ankhara99 wrote:


Um, the same could be said for the Reps, ya know. Except for their willingness to eat their own. The Reps seem to have learned Cosa Nostra from the Mob quite well.

ankhara99

ankhara99 Avatar

Location: Over the Rainbow
Gender: Female


Posted: Jun 7, 2005 - 12:06pm

GolfRomeo wrote:
The biggest problem with the Dems is their naked ambition, their quick abandonment of principle, and their willingness to eat their own.



Um, the same could be said for the Reps, ya know. Except for their willingness to eat their own. The Reps seem to have learned Cosa Nostra from the Mob quite well.
ankhara99

ankhara99 Avatar

Location: Over the Rainbow
Gender: Female


Posted: Jun 7, 2005 - 12:04pm

Mugro wrote:


Are you saying that one's skill in public oratory proves their intelligence?? I would hope not.

I do expect my elected officials to see both sides of an argument, but once he or she has had an opportunity to consider both sides of an issue, I expect that politician to take a position and not try to be all things to all people. I think that this was Kerry's biggest downfall -- how could he be against the war and for the war at the same time? I think a lot of average Americans distanced themselves from Kerry because of his inability to speak succinctly and frankly about taking a stand on issues. Kerry did this to himself.


Like it or not people DO judge others on their oratory. No, it does not prove their intelligence, however it would seem to be a somewhat important part of a politician's career.

And honestly, if you can't express yourself well, then whatever intelligence you have is at a disadvantage. A lack of clear expression can limit your career choices. I would think it would limit a political career but apparently I'm mistaken. But of course, I've always expected more from others than most Americans do. Especially politicians. And yes, I'm frequently disappointed.

Kerry's fence riding did bite him in the ass, and it was his own fault. I never said he was the perfect candidate. I voted for him because, in my view, W has done a terrible job.
GolfRomeo

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Location: Way Down Yonder
Gender: Male


Posted: Jun 7, 2005 - 11:57am

The biggest problem with the Dems is their naked ambition, their quick abandonment of principle, and their willingness to eat their own.

Look, for example, at the group of people who stood on the White House Lawn to support Clinton the day he was impeached. Gore, Gephardt, and Hilliary. Only one of those has a career still, and that is only because she plays the victim so well. You can't build a pyramid of support when you systematically destroy those within your organization.

It is conjecture, but I suspect that if either Al Gore or Gephardt had been honestly outraged at Bill's bullshit and had resigned out of honor, they would still be in politics today. Maybe even President.

coding_to_music wrote:
Via NYTimes
A Party Inverted
By BILL BRADLEY



Mugro

Mugro Avatar

Location: 1,000 shades of green (Ireland)


Posted: Jun 7, 2005 - 11:04am

ankhara99 wrote:


People slam W for being stupid because he can't put a sentence together and because he says stupid things like Nooookuuuular. And for all the other stupid Bushisms that are out there.

Kerry may not have been a stellar student (like Bush) but he is a better orator. Kerry's problem is one face by most long term politicians - over time you can really see every side of an argument, and therefore you have to choose your words carefully in order to not be misquoted. You end up sounding like a wishy-washy beaurocrat because you're picking your words and even making some counter arguments against yourself. But honestly, don't we WANT our politicians to be aware of the pros and cons of each argument and make an INFORMED decision, rather than "if you not with us you're against us" kind of crap?

And personally, I think W may hold a high position (which some would consider the tantamount of success), but I think as President he's done a very, very poor job.


Are you saying that one's skill in public oratory proves their intelligence?? I would hope not.

I do expect my elected officials to see both sides of an argument, but once he or she has had an opportunity to consider both sides of an issue, I expect that politician to take a position and not try to be all things to all people. I think that this was Kerry's biggest downfall -- how could he be against the war and for the war at the same time? I think a lot of average Americans distanced themselves from Kerry because of his inability to speak succinctly and frankly about taking a stand on issues. Kerry did this to himself.
ankhara99

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Location: Over the Rainbow
Gender: Female


Posted: Jun 7, 2005 - 10:54am

Mugro wrote:


With regard to your comments in the first paragraph, I am not sure that they address the point. There is a (growing) myth out there promoted by liberals that conservatives are rednecks and stupid. This slam has been leveled against two prominent Republicans of late, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. People today constantly slam W as being stupid. I guess this shows that if you are going to say that George Bush is stupid, then you must say the same for Kerry. Either that or you must say that Kerry was not stupid but rather very lazy. I would be comfortable with whichever argument you take, for I believe that Kerry is not stupid, but that he is lazy to some degree. So, when you say that you are more concerned with what someone does after college, that is a fine opinion, but does not address the stereotype. But, to follow your point, I think that W has done quite well since college.....


People slam W for being stupid because he can't put a sentence together and because he says stupid things like Nooookuuuular. And for all the other stupid Bushisms that are out there.

Kerry may not have been a stellar student (like Bush) but he is a better orator. Kerry's problem is one face by most long term politicians - over time you can really see every side of an argument, and therefore you have to choose your words carefully in order to not be misquoted. You end up sounding like a wishy-washy beaurocrat because you're picking your words and even making some counter arguments against yourself. But honestly, don't we WANT our politicians to be aware of the pros and cons of each argument and make an INFORMED decision, rather than "if you not with us you're against us" kind of crap?

And personally, I think W may hold a high position (which some would consider the tantamount of success), but I think as President he's done a very, very poor job.
Mugro

Mugro Avatar

Location: 1,000 shades of green (Ireland)


Posted: Jun 7, 2005 - 10:40am

ankhara99 wrote:


I personally am more concerned with a person's performance since college, then their actual grades in school.

I know several business owners who will NOT hire anyone from an ivy league school because he's had to fire every single one he has hired (from Yale and Harvard), because they act like privelidged ninnys and are unwilling to actually work.


I will agree with your second paragraph, but question your first. I grew up competing with Harvard grads (I went to a Massachusetts grad school), and I was not impressed with the quality of education that Harvard students got. For example, the success rate for Harvard law students passing the bar exam was much lower than some of the "pedestrian" law school graduates (Suffolk Law School, New England School of Law). We were always under the impression that once a student got into the law school, that student stopped learning.

With regard to your comments in the first paragraph, I am not sure that they address the point. There is a (growing) myth out there promoted by liberals that conservatives are rednecks and stupid. This slam has been leveled against two prominent Republicans of late, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. People today constantly slam W as being stupid. I guess this shows that if you are going to say that George Bush is stupid, then you must say the same for Kerry. Either that or you must say that Kerry was not stupid but rather very lazy. I would be comfortable with whichever argument you take, for I believe that Kerry is not stupid, but that he is lazy to some degree. So, when you say that you are more concerned with what someone does after college, that is a fine opinion, but does not address the stereotype. But, to follow your point, I think that W has done quite well since college.....
ankhara99

ankhara99 Avatar

Location: Over the Rainbow
Gender: Female


Posted: Jun 7, 2005 - 9:59am

Mugro wrote:
I guess Kerry was not any smarter than Bush!!



I personally am more concerned with a person's performance since college, then their actual grades in school.

I know several business owners who will NOT hire anyone from an ivy league school because he's had to fire every single one he has hired (from Yale and Harvard), because they act like privelidged ninnys and are unwilling to actually work.
black321

black321 Avatar

Location: A sunset in the desert
Gender: Male


Posted: Jun 7, 2005 - 9:52am

Mugro wrote:

Bush went to Yale from 1964 to 1968; his highest grades were 88s in anthropology, history, and philosophy, according to The New Yorker article. He received one D in his four years, a 69 in astronomy. Bush has said he was a C student.



No way, Bush took anthropology?? Does Bill Graham know this?
Mugro

Mugro Avatar

Location: 1,000 shades of green (Ireland)


Posted: Jun 7, 2005 - 9:46am

I guess Kerry was not any smarter than Bush!!

Yale grades portray Kerry as a lackluster student
His 4-year average on par with Bush's
By Michael Kranish, Globe Staff | June 7, 2005

WASHINGTON -- During last year's presidential campaign, John F. Kerry was the candidate often portrayed as intellectual and complex, while George W. Bush was the populist who mangled his sentences.

But newly released records show that Bush and Kerry had a virtually identical grade average at Yale University four decades ago.

In 1999, The New Yorker published a transcript indicating that Bush had received a cumulative score of 77 for his first three years at Yale and a roughly similar average under a non-numerical rating system during his senior year.

Kerry, who graduated two years before Bush, got a cumulative 76 for his four years, according to a transcript that Kerry sent to the Navy when he was applying for officer training school. He received four D's in his freshman year out of 10 courses, but improved his average in later years.

The grade transcript, which Kerry has always declined to release, was included in his Navy record. During the campaign the Globe sought Kerry's naval records, but he refused to waive privacy restrictions for the full file. Late last month, Kerry gave the Navy permission to send the documents to the Globe.

Kerry appeared to be responding to critics who suspected that there might be damaging information in the file about his activities in Vietnam. The military and medical records, however, appear identical to what Kerry has already released. This marks the first time Kerry's grades have been publicly reported.

The transcript shows that Kerry's freshman-year average was 71. He scored a 61 in geology, a 63 and 68 in two history classes, and a 69 in political science. His top score was a 79, in another political science course. Another of his strongest efforts, a 77, came in French class.

Under Yale's grading system in effect at the time, grades between 90 and 100 equaled an A, 80-89 a B, 70-79 a C, 60 to 69 a D, and anything below that was a failing grade. In addition to Kerry's four D's in his freshman year, he received one D in his sophomore year. He did not fail any courses.

''I always told my Dad that D stood for distinction," Kerry said yesterday in a written response to questions, noting that he has previously acknowledged that he spent a lot of time learning to fly instead of focusing on his studies.

Kerry's weak grades came despite years of education at some of the world's most elite prep schools, ranging from Fessenden School in Massachusetts to St. Paul's School in New Hampshire.

It is noteworthy, however, that Kerry received a high honor at Yale despite his mediocre grades: He was chosen to deliver his senior class oration, a testament to his reputation as a public speaker. He delivered a speech questioning the wisdom of the Vietnam War, in which he would soon see combat.

Kerry gradually improved his grades, averaging 81 in his senior year. His highest single grade was an 89, for a political science class in his senior year. Despite his slow start, he went on to be a top student at Naval Candidate School, command a patrol boat in Vietnam, graduate from law school, and become a prosecutor, lieutenant governor, US senator, and presidential candidate.

In his Navy application, Kerry made clear that he spent much of his college time on extracurricular activities, including the Yale Political Union, the Debating Association, soccer, hockey, fencing, and membership in the elite Skull and Bones Society. Asked to describe nonschool training that qualified him for the Navy, Kerry wrote: ''A great deal of sailing -- ocean and otherwise, including some navigation. Scuba diving. Rifle. Beginning of life saving." He said his special interests were ''filming," writing, and politics, noting that the latter subject occupied 15 hours per week.

Gaddis Smith, a retired Yale history professor who taught both Kerry and Bush, said in a telephone interview that he vividly remembers Kerry as a student during the 1964-1965 school year, when Kerry would have been a junior. However, Smith said he doesn't have a specific memory about Bush.

Based on what Smith recalls teaching that year, Kerry scored a 71 and 79 in two of Smith's courses. When Smith was told those scores, he responded: ''Uh, oh. I thought he was good student. Those aren't very good grades." To put the grades in perspective, Smith said that he had a well-earned reputation for being tough, and noted that such grades would probably be about 10 points higher in a similar class today because of the impact of what he called ''grade inflation."

Bush went to Yale from 1964 to 1968; his highest grades were 88s in anthropology, history, and philosophy, according to The New Yorker article. He received one D in his four years, a 69 in astronomy. Bush has said he was a C student.

Like Kerry, Bush reportedly suffered through a difficult freshman year and then pulled his grades up.

Michael Kranish can be reached at kranish@globe.com.



© Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company


coding_to_music

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Location: Beantown
Gender: Male


Posted: Jun 6, 2005 - 8:39pm

Seeking re-election, Sen. Clinton pans Bush agenda
By Ellen Wulfhorst
Reuters
Monday, June 6, 2005; 6:20 PM

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, considered a likely presidential contender in 2008, told supporters of her 2006 Senate reelection bid on Monday that America can no longer "give in" to the Republican agenda.

The administration of President Bush wants to stifle debate and suppress facts on issues from the deficit to global warming, Clinton told a crowd of more than 900 people at a "New York Women for Hillary" fund-raiser.

"There has never been an administration, I don't think in our history, more intent on consolidating and abusing power to further their own agenda," said Clinton.


The New York event was the first high-profile fund-raiser of her re-election bid and has served as an occasion for a new round of speculation over her presidential prospects.

The former first lady is favored to win a second Senate term next year, but Republicans are expected to run a tough campaign against her as a prelude to any possible bid by Clinton for the White House in 2008.

"The Republicans will spend a lot of money against her next year," said Ann Lewis, communications director for Clinton's campaign. "They've been very open about their intention to do as much damage to her as they can."

Among potential Republican challengers for her Senate seat are Edward Cox, son-in-law of the late President Richard Nixon; Westchester County., N.Y., District Attorney Jeanine Pirro and former Yonkers, N.Y., Mayor John Spencer, who announced plans last week to seek his party's nomination.

It was critical for Democrats to capture Congress in 2006 and the White House in 2008, Clinton said, but she did not discuss her own potential presidential run.

Analysts say Clinton would be a strong candidate for her party's presidential nomination, but she could be hampered in a general-election race by her status as a lightning rod for conservative criticism ever since the administration of her husband, former President Bill Clinton.

The chairman of the Republican National Committee, Ken Mehlman, said on Sunday that Clinton would be a formidable candidate, but called her one of the most liberal members of Congress who has opposed tax cuts and an anti-abortion agenda.

"Sen. Clinton is smart, she's effective and she certainly ... has a massive fund-raising network," Mehlman said on NBC's "Meet the Press." However, he said, "What I think people are going to look for is what she in her record has done."

AWAKE AT NIGHT

"I stay awake at night thinking about all the mistakes and the wrong direction and all the bad decisions being made in Washington," Clinton said at the fund-raiser. "It's very hard to stop people who have no shame about what they're doing. It's very hard to stop people who have never been acquainted with the truth.

"We cannot give them (Republicans) another two years of majority. We cannot give them another four years after that," she said.

She characterized the Bush administration's financial priorities as tax cuts for the wealthy and funding the war in Iraq, rather than the needs of Americans who lack health insurance, affordable housing and good schools.

"We can't ever, ever give in to the Republican agenda," she said. "It is not good for New York, and it is not good for America.

The next nomination of a U.S. Supreme Court justice, as early as this summer, will be "excruciating," she noted.

"He (Bush) wants to nominate someone, I believe, who will be a confrontational nominee so he can provide support to his far-right extremist base," she said.


The event raised $250,000, organizers said. Supporters took home "Give 'em Hill" bumper stickers.

The Clintons are among the Democrats' biggest fund-raisers. Her campaign raised almost $4 million in the first three months of 2005 and had $8.7 million on hand at the end of the first quarter.

She spent about $30 million in her 2000 Senate campaign, her first attempt at political office.

R_P

R_P Avatar



Posted: Jun 4, 2005 - 3:07pm

Iraq Is the Issue
by John Nichols
They came to hear Howard Dean.

But they got the message that matters from Arianna Huffington.

That's because, while the chairman of the Democratic National Committee delivered a tepid and predictable address to the Campaign for America's Future's "Take Back America" conference on Thursday, the columnist and author who not that many years ago identified as a Newt Gingrich conservative was the speaker who showed up with a road map for renewal of the Democratic Party.

Where Dean made no direct mention of the war in Iraq during a lengthy address to the morning plenary that kicked off the fullest day of the annual gathering of progressive activists, Huffington went to the heart of the matter.

"We cannot continue to ignore the debacle in Iraq if we are going to have any hope of ever again being a majority party," said Huffington, the conservative who came in from the cold and has recently lent her name and energy to the Huffington Post.

At a conference where the schedule was heavy with domestic-policy discussions but short on discourse regarding foreign policy, Huffington bluntly told the crowd, "We cannot have a solution on the domestic front without addressing what is happening in Iraq."

After a quick tour of the quagmire ("Ahmed Chalabi is the oil minister -- this is like something out of Saturday Night Live") and of the Bush Administration's steady pattern of misdeeds and missteps, Huffington asked the fundamental question of Congressional Democrats and party leaders: "Where is the oversight?"

"There is no oversight going on in this most corrupt and most immoral Congress that we have right now," she said, adding that, "I'm very troubled by the way our Democratic leaders go on television and sound like spineless Republicans." (Later in the day, at the one conference session that was devoted to foreign policy issues, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern recalled Dean's recent "now that we're there, we're there" comment regarding the "need" to remain in Iraq and then said, "That sounds like Rumsfeld to me.")

Noting that, in a recent television appearance, US Senator Hillary Clinton said she was not comfortable talking about developing an "exit strategy" to withdraw US troops from Iraq, Huffington said, "With respect to Senator Clinton, if you are not comfortable setting an exit strategy, please point us to someone who is."

Clinton is much discussed as a potential Democratic presidential nominee in 2008. But Huffington drew some of the loudest applause of the conference when she said of the 2008 race, "I want a Democratic presidential candidate who can give a straight, unambiguous answer on Iraq."

It was deserved applause; if Democrats do not come to understand this message, they will doom themselves to an agonizing repetition of the electoral debacles of 2002 and 2004.

"There is no way in a time of war that you can be a majority party without having a policy position ," explained Huffington, who suggested that, instead of avoiding the debate about national security, Democrats need to turn the debate on its head.

"The Democratic leaders need to make it clear that these men running our foreign policy are dangerous," she said. "There is no way Democrats can win an election unless they make it clear that these Republicans are not making this country safer."

John Nichols is the author of Jews for Buchanan (The New Press), a review of the Florida recount fight that was hailed by Studs Terkel as "the best thing anyone has written on that whole damn election."

coding_to_music

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Location: Beantown
Gender: Male


Posted: Jun 3, 2005 - 3:02pm

black321 wrote:
I listened to an interesting interview yesterday of an author discussing the role of religion/bible/God in politics throughout this country's history. Obviously, the commingling is nothing new and in fact has reached another peak. But is it such a bad thing? He used the example of slavery. All parties involved used the bible to support their position, the south (citing deuteronomy and other old text stuff), the slaves(citing exodus of the jews from egypt), and the abolitionists (citing the spirit of the bible is peace, love...). He came back to the point that the reason the democrats are suffering of late is that they have lost that connection with this country's roots. God/religion/bible are bad words to democrats. Yet, this country not only wants those things, but needs them as an integral part of their life. Most of us believe in God.

Unfortunately, while the democrats have abandoned religion and adopted an almost Alleister Crowley like motto of "do what thou whilst", the neocons have totally cornered the market with their version of God. Bottom line I guess is, this is a God fearing country (mostly christian) and you gotta give the people what they want. I'm not saying the democrats adopt a religious strategy of sorts, rather, assuming they are representative of the country as a whole (hell, even clinton went to church), they be more at ease with their relationship with the big Guy. Did we really forget that some of our greatest liberal spokesmen used the bible extensively to support their agenda (see FDR, and the greatest of all MLK).

Maybe it's not even about religion but just adopting a clearer moral code. The country as a whole doesnt seem to trust the democrats b/c they see them without a moral backbone. Kerry certainly didn't exhibit any fragment of vertebrae in his run.

Just an idea, but the Democrats need to get back to the roots of this country if they want to regain some power and return the system to some form of balance from its current state. We need leaders to convince us, using a language we all speak, another course is better than the one we are on. Without pretending to think this is the most moral or greatest country there is/was, this is a country that does aspire to do what is right and to be moral.

By the way, in no way am I proposing anything that crosses the concept of seperation of church and state. We need that just as much to protect religion, as to protect government.


Great post

I'm a lapsed Catholic (they dragged all the perps into Jail here in Boston)
So I have no authentic religous beliefs that would not sound corny.
I do think there is *something* out there, but wether it is that that or that other concept of god, well, who knows. Thus concludes my political career...

But your right, Dems need to say the words and authentically mean them...

We all probably know about cynical politicians who clothe themselves in religious cloth and then cut the children's food stamps budget etc...
black321

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Location: A sunset in the desert
Gender: Male


Posted: Jun 3, 2005 - 2:57pm

I listened to an interesting interview yesterday of an author discussing the role of religion/bible/God in politics throughout this country's history. Obviously, the commingling is nothing new and in fact has reached another peak. But is it such a bad thing? He used the example of slavery. All parties involved used the bible to support their position, the south (citing deuteronomy and other old text stuff), the slaves(citing exodus of the jews from egypt), and the abolitionists (citing the spirit of the bible is peace, love...). He came back to the point that the reason the democrats are suffering of late is that they have lost that connection with this country's roots. God/religion/bible are bad words to democrats. Yet, this country not only wants those things, but needs them as an integral part of their life. Most of us believe in God.

Unfortunately, while the democrats have abandoned religion and adopted an almost Alleister Crowley like motto of "do what thou whilst", the neocons have totally cornered the market with their version of God. Bottom line I guess is, this is a God fearing country (mostly christian) and you gotta give the people what they want. I'm not saying the democrats adopt a religious strategy of sorts, rather, assuming they are representative of the country as a whole (hell, even clinton went to church), they be more at ease with their relationship with the big Guy. Did we really forget that some of our greatest liberal spokesmen used the bible extensively to support their agenda (see FDR, and the greatest of all MLK).

Maybe it's not even about religion but just adopting a clearer moral code. The country as a whole doesnt seem to trust the democrats b/c they see them without a moral backbone. Kerry certainly didn't exhibit any fragment of vertebrae in his run.

Just an idea, but the Democrats need to get back to the roots of this country if they want to regain some power and return the system to some form of balance from its current state. We need leaders to convince us, using a language we all speak, another course is better than the one we are on. Without pretending to think this is the most moral or greatest country there is/was, this is a country that does aspire to do what is right and to be moral.

By the way, in no way am I proposing anything that crosses the concept of seperation of church and state. We need that just as much to protect religion, as to protect government.
coding_to_music

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Location: Beantown
Gender: Male


Posted: Jun 2, 2005 - 7:26pm

The 50 state strategy
The Democratic Party is committed to winning elections at every level in every region of the country, and we're getting started right now with a massive effort to fund organizers on the ground in every state.

The ultimate goal? An active, effective group of Democrats organized in every single precinct in the country. Here's what we're doing to get there:


More Here:
http://democrats.org/specialreports/50states/index.html
coding_to_music

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Location: Beantown
Gender: Male


Posted: May 10, 2005 - 3:25pm

A GOP Plan to 'Fix' the Democrats
By E. J. Dionne Jr.
Washington Post
Tuesday, May 10, 2005; A21

The stakes in politics are about to get a lot higher.

The partisan battles in the coming weeks -- on judges, Social Security and the future of Tom DeLay -- are part of a larger struggle in which Republicans are seeking to establish themselves as the dominant party in American politics. Essential to their quest is persuading Democrats, or at least a significant number in their ranks, to accept long-term minority status.

The current acrimony in politics is incomprehensible unless it is understood as the inevitable next act of a long-term struggle. Its ferocity arises from the Democrats' refusal to accept the role assigned them by their opponents. They are taking a stand across a broad front not simply to "obstruct" current GOP designs but to reverse a Republican political offensive that began during Bill Clinton's presidency.

In fact, every one of today's fights can be seen as a response to something that happened in the 1990s.

Democrats in the Senate insist on their right to stop some of President Bush's judges because Republicans were so aggressive in stopping Clinton judges in the '90s.

Privately, Senate Democrats are especially furious that Republicans have completely reversed their position on whether there is even a need for more federal judicial appointments. During the Clinton administration, many Republican senators insisted that there were too many federal judges and that it was therefore unnecessary for the president to fill all the vacancies that came up at the time. Republicans changed their story after President Bush's election, talking about a "vacancy crisis." Democrats are dug in on judges precisely because they do not want to reward Republican obstruction in the 1990s. The theory is that one wave of obstruction deserves -- even demands -- another.

In refusing to deal with Bush on Social Security privatization, Democrats recall the battle over Clinton's health care plan. While a few moderate Republicans, notably the late Sen. John Chafee of Rhode Island, were willing to bargain with Clinton, the party as a whole put up a front of opposition. Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich made it a matter of party discipline to bar anyone in his caucus from negotiating with the Democrats.

Now that Republicans are in control of the presidency and both houses, Democrats -- even moderates who might otherwise favor modest Social Security changes -- see no reason to help Republicans dismantle any aspect of a program that is central to the Democratic legacy. They note (sometimes with grudging admiration) that Republicans paid no price for obstructing health care reform in the 1990s and that Republicans have no right to demand Democratic complicity with Bush now.

As for DeLay, there is singular Democratic satisfaction in seeing that the moralist who insisted that Clinton be impeached is now embroiled in a series of ethical scandals. DeLay, it should be recalled, pressured many House Republicans to vote, against their own instincts, for impeachment.

Moreover, the DeLay scandals go to the heart of how Republicans have achieved power since 1994: the creation of an interlocking directorate of politicians, lobbyists, fundraisers and interest groups. For Democrats, the DeLay scandal is not simply a political gift but also an opportunity for public education on the nature of the Republicans' congressional machine.

DeLay's fate will depend on how long his party stays loyal to him and whether there are new revelations. But even on the issues of Social Security and judges, there can be no easy compromise, because both sides understand the stakes in these battles in exactly the same way.

DeLay himself drew the line sharply the day after the 2004 elections. "The Republican Party is a permanent majority for the future of this country," DeLay declared. "We're going to be able to lead this country in the direction we've been dreaming of for years."

Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform and a leading figure in both the DeLay and Bush political operations, chose more colorful post-election language to describe the future. "Once the minority of House and Senate are comfortable in their minority status, they will have no problem socializing with the Republicans," he told Richard Leiby of The Post. "Any farmer will tell you that certain animals run around and are unpleasant. But when they've been 'fixed,' then they are happy and sedate. They are contented and cheerful."

If you wonder in the coming weeks why Democrats are so reluctant to give ground, remember Norquist's jocular reference to neutering the opposition party. Democrats are neither contented nor cheerful over the prospect of being "fixed." Should that surprise anyone?

R_P

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Posted: Apr 30, 2005 - 5:02am

coding_to_music wrote:
...
Shows where the tax cuts have the most effect (not for the middle class or lower)...
coding_to_music

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Location: Beantown
Gender: Male


Posted: Apr 29, 2005 - 12:41pm

RichardPrins wrote:
Dumb Dems Let GOP Run Wild
The unholy combination of theocracy and plutocracy that now rules this country is, in fact, enabled by dumb liberals
By Molly Ivins, AlterNet
<snip>
The Tax Justice Network recently reported the world's richest individuals have placed $11.5 trillion in assets in offshore tax havens to avoid paying taxes, a sum 10 times the GDP of Great Britain. The most authoritative study yet done shows that rich people clip $860 billion in coupons a year off this money.

"Governments appear unable, or unwilling, to prevent the rich employing aggressive strategies to minimize their tax liabilities," said the Observer of Britain. We can emphasize the "unwilling" with this administration.
<snip>
Molly Ivins is a best-selling author and columnist who writes about politics, Texas and other bizarre happenings.

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