February 4, 2007

"Is America Ready For a Woman President?" Go To Hell
by Elayne Boosler

Two years to go until the presidential election, and it boggles my mind how many times I've already seen this sentence: "Is America ready for a woman president?" That's usually followed by some stuff about how much you would like to have a beer with the candidate being a predictor of electability.

Maybe this question keeps being written by some of the 79% of Americans who don't have passports, because here's a flash: while Americans perceive this country to be on the cutting edge of, well, everything, the world is already waaayyy ahead of us this time.

While Americans clapped wildly at the last State of the Union address when George Bush said he was making history with these words, "Madame Speaker", it was only American history. Sixty seven years earlier, in 1940, Khertek Anchimaa-Toka was the Head of State of Tannu Tuva, which then joined the Soviet Union in 1944. She continued in various government positions until 1972. No word on how many people wanted to have a vodka with her.

In 2007, a record 13 countries have currently serving, elected female Presidents or Prime Ministers; Ireland, New Zealand, Latvia, Finland, The Philippines, Bangladesh, Mozambique, Iberia, Chile, Jamaica, South Korea, Switzerland, and a Chancellor in Germany. None have renowned ballet companies, or have ever asked neighboring countries if their maps make them look fat. All play some kick-ass soccer. more...

February 3, 2007

How To End The War
by Russ Feingold  

Our founders wisely kept the power to fund a war separate from the power to conduct a war. In their brilliant design of our system of government, Congress got the power of the purse, and the president got the power of the sword. As James Madison wrote, „Those who are to conduct a war cannot in the nature of things, be proper or safe judges, whether a war ought to be commenced, continued or concluded.š

Earlier this week, I chaired a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee to remind my colleagues in the Senate that, through the power of the purse, we have the constitutional power to end a war. At the hearing, a wide range of constitutional scholars agreed that Congress can use its power to end a military engagement.

The Constitution gives Congress the explicit power „[to] declare War,š „[t]o raise and support Armies,š „[t]o provide and maintain a Navyš and „[t]o make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces.š In addition, under Article I, „No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.š These are direct quotes from the Constitution of the United States. Yet to hear some in the Administration talk, it is as if these powers were written in invisible ink. They were not. These powers are a clear and direct statement from the founders of our republic that Congress has authority to declare, to define and, ultimately, to end a war.

If and when Congress acts on the will of the American people by ending our involvement in the Iraq war, Congress will be performing the role assigned it by the founding fathersųdefining the nature of our military commitments and acting as a check on a president whose policies are weakening our nation. more...

February 2, 2007

National Health Insurance Now, Not Later
By Stephen Fleischman

Health care costs continue to skyrocket, and 47 million people remain uninsured. Sooner, if not later, the system will crash. Must we wait for that to happen?

Who's afraid of the single payer health plan, otherwise known as National Health Insurance? Big Pharma and the medical establishment, that's who -- because "single payer" is the big bad wolf that's huffing and puffing and is about to blow their house down. And it's a big house, bloated by excess profits, government subsidies and sheer theft of the people's money.

To paraphrase our former President, Richard Nixon, "you're not going to have America's healthcare system to kick around forever." more...

February 1, 2007

Case for Impeachment

President Bush presents former CIA Director George Tenet the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

By Robert Scheer

Not all lies are created equal. It is understood that there is a chasm of importance between little white lies and big black ones. Most would agree that lying about a consensual sexual affair, even by the president, is of significantly lesser concern than lying about the proliferation of nuclear weapons as an excuse to take the nation to war.

How then is it possible that a Republican-controlled Congress impeached President Bill Clinton over his attempt to conceal marital infidelity but that a Democratic-led Congress will not even consider impeaching this president for far more serious transgressions against the public trust? That is the question that arises from early revelations in the trial of Lewis „Scooterš Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney‚s former chief of staff. more...

**********

from DavidCorn.com
Molly Ivins, 1944-2007

Molly Ivins died today. It is hard to imagine a better human being. Passion, intelligence, sass, kindness, compassion, wit, talent--she was a walking gift. The world was such a better place with her around. It was a blessing to be her friend and colleague. I am immensely sad she is gone--and don't have much more to say about her passing now. A cliche--words don't do her justice--comes to mind. You can read about her death in The Texas Observer, a paper she once edited. As the obituary notes, tax-deductible contributions in her honor may be made to The Texas Observer, 307 West Seventh Street, Austin, TX 78701 or the American Civil Liberties Union, 127 Broad Street, 18th floor, New York, NY 10004, www.aclu.org.

Molly was full of piss, vinegar and joy. She always smiled when she brawled. She turned anger and outrage into dissent and power--and made you laugh along the way. She'd be the first to say, Don't get all mopey about me dying, raise hell instead--and don't forget to have a damn lot of fun while doing so.

I'm going to try hard to keep that in mind.

January 31, 2007

Engagement with War
by Kathy Kelly

We should insist that decision makers in the U.S. come to grips with the consequences of the past four years of military invasion and occupation and demand that U.S. wealth be directed toward humanitarian concerns, unhinged from U.S. military control. We should welcome and support diplomatic means to resolve crises.  

Earlier this week, I received a joyful phone call from Baghdad. Members of a family I've known since 1996 announced that one of their younger daughters was engaged. Broken Arabic and broken English crossed the lines -"We love you! We miss you!" My colleague here in Amman, who also knows this family well, shook her head smiling when I gave her the happy news. "What an amazing family," she said. "Imagine all that they've survived." A few hours later, the family sent us a text message: "now bombs destroy all the glasses in our home - no one hurt."

No one was home when the explosion shattered every window and damaged ceilings and walls. This was exceptionally fortunate given that they are a family of nine living in a very small dwelling. The family has moved into an even smaller home where one daughter lives with her husband and newborn baby. It happens that their aunt and her three children are also with them. The aunt had traveled from Amman to secure needed documents in Baghdad. Seventeen people are crowded into an apartment the size of a small one car garage.

This family suddenly joined the ranks of over a million people in Iraq who are homeless, displaced. I watched television coverage of the gruesome carnage at the intersection of the street where they had lived. The blood-spattered streets, charred vehicles, and desperate bereavement are part of everyday footage filmed in cities throughout the region, whether in Iraq, Lebanon, the West Bank, or Israel. The humanitarian crisis that mounts as a consequence of the catastrophic explosions and attacks is more difficult to portray. more...

January 30, 2007

Brave New Films put together this devastating film on "Straight Talkin'" John McCain's whack-a-mole positions regarding Iraq, gay marriage, and the Christian Right as the champagne smash across the bow of a new website, therealmccain.com.

January 29, 2007

FRANK RICH: Hillary Clinton‚s Mission Unaccomplished

HILLARY CLINTON has an answer to those who suspect that her „I‚m in to winš Webcast last weekend was forced by Barack Obama‚s Webcast of just four days earlier. „I wanted to do it before the president‚s State of the Union,š she explained to Brian Williams on NBC, „because I wanted to draw the contrast between what we‚ve seen over the last six years, and the kind of leadership and experience that I would bring to the office.

šShe couldn‚t have set the bar any lower. President Bush‚s speech was less compelling than the Monty Python sketch playing out behind it: the unacknowledged race between Nancy Pelosi and Dick Cheney to be the first to stand up for each bipartisan ovation. (Winner: Pelosi.)

As we‚ve been much reminded, the most recent presidents to face Congress in such low estate were Harry Truman in 1952 and Richard Nixon in 1974, both in the last ebbs of their administrations, both mired in unpopular wars that their successors would soon end, and both eager to change the subject just as Mr. Bush did. In his ‚52 State of the Union address, Truman vowed „to bring the cost of modern medical care within the reach of all the peopleš while Nixon, 22 years later, promised „a new system that makes high-quality health care available to every American.š Not to be outdone, Mr. Bush offered a dead-on-arrival proposal that „all our citizens have affordable and available health care.š The empty promise of a free intravenous lunch, it seems, is the last refuge of desperate war presidents. more...
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