Friday, September 29, 2006

Seminole Commission Keeps Us Safe from Paper Signs

How does the GOP-controlled Seminole Co. commission try to deal with a resurgent Democratic Party? Be being petty and lame. They are seeing a lot of signs for Jeremiah Jaspon, (which are getting stolen in large numbers, by the way), as well as for Curtis, Langdon, and Williams. Therefore, the commission decided for the first time that there is a need for a “sign” sweep—-signs that violate rules concerning placement within a certain amount of feet from medians and the right of way will be pulled up.

Now, I can’t recall a Seminole election where signs didn’t violate the rules, but since the candidates were usually GOPers running against each other it didn’t bother them. Now with an influx of Democratic candidates, the commission figured it would be a fantastic use of commission time and taxpayer dollars to pull up candidate’s signs-- Right BEFORE an election.

By the way, I am seeing a lot of Lee Constantine signs violating the rules, such as those on the side of the road on 436 and Tuskawilla. I even saw a big one nailed to a telephone post on 46 in Sanford.

Of course, I expect the commission to treat ALL of these signs equally, whether they are for the Democratic candidate or the GOPer.

I will know when I see several Constantine signs gone—but I’m not holding my breath.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Reverse Robin Hood

Lori M. LeVasseur, CPA, is the Deputy Treasurer for the DEC in Seminole county. She has 25 years of tax preparation experience and a Master’s degree in Taxation. I appreciate her wisdom and sincerely hopes she will become a regular contributor. (See how at the end of the post).

Share in her wisdom: My hope is that one of those guys in a beat-up pickup truck with a "W" sticker will read it and learn something:

Taking from the Poor, to Give to the Rich

By Lori LeVasseur, CPA

What has this country become when we are giving huge tax cuts to the most wealthy of our citizens and cutting the Medicaid and Social Security of the poorest of our citizens? The highest marginal tax rate is now at 35%. When I began doing tax work 25 years ago, the highest marginal tax rate was 50%. This 35% rate is the lowest top marginal tax rate in my 25 years in practice and in the history of US taxation.

How can we, as humane people, take money from those who need it for survival and give that money to those who already have plenty? As a CPA I have worked for rich, middle class and poor taxpayers. And there is one observation that I will make. I have never seen a wealthy client “suffer” from paying a little more tax. However, I see plenty of poor and middle class people “suffer” from lack of health care, lack of affordable education, bankruptcy and other problems that the wealthy are immune to. My wealthy clients complain about their tax bills all the while polishing their Mercedes and Rolex watches.

I think some of these Republican senators who think it’s a good idea to take from the poor and give to the rich should sit at my desk for a tax season and see how the tax law applies to real people. Let me give you two real live examples:

Jack: Jack is one of my high income clients. Jack is in sales and his taxable income is about $500,000 a year. Jack took last year’s tax cut and invested it in mutual funds that buy stock in China and India. He sends his son to Princeton. He has top of the line health insurance. He has two houses and two expensive cars. His wife likes jewelry.

Pauline: Pauline is 78 years old. She receives about $9,000 in Social Security and $7,000 in pension income for a grand total of $16,000 in income. She has a small and dwindling bank account. She is a breast cancer survivor, has severe rheumatoid arthritis and last year she broke her hip. She has no family to care for her and depends on people from her church to take her to the grocery store and church. Her only insurance is Medicare and she receives Medicaid benefits.

If we raised the top marginal tax rate back up to 39.6%, Jack would pay approximately $8,000 more in income tax. This is less than 2% of his income. He may have to trim his wife’s jewelry allowance. This would not negatively affect his quality of life.

If we reduce Pauline’s Medicare coverage and Medicaid benefits, her health care will suffer. She has NO other option for her health care. No one is going to insure an already sick 78 year old lady and she lacks the funds to pay for private insurance anyway. This would negatively affect the quality of her life.

Now that you know both Pauline and Jack, do you think it would make sense to take money from Pauline and give it to Jack??

Before Bush began his tax cuts in 2001, the top marginal tax rate was at 39.5%. This was lower than the top rate of 50% the wealthy paid previously. It was an amount that allowed the government to take care of our most unfortunate citizens and yet was fair to the wealthy. Bush then brought the top rate, where THE MAJORITY OF TAX IS PAID, down to 35% in the face of 2 wars and the pending baby boomers retirement. This just does not make sense. The Republicans argue that if they now raise taxes (I would just call it reversing a big mistake) it would be “unfair” to the wealthy and would harm the economy. They credit the tax cuts to the wealthy with fueling the economy. If only tax cuts can fuel an economy, then how did Bill Clinton have a booming economy with the tax rate at 39.6%? Tax cutting is not the only way or the best way to fuel the economy.

Consider this scenario. Follow the money. OK, you give the wealthy person a tax cut. He takes the money and spends it or invests it. Theoretically this “trickles down” and fuels the economy by creating jobs, etc. But what about my wealthy clients who are now more likely to invest their tax cuts in China and India? The US dollar is falling and the wealthy are good investors. They are investing abroad. How is that fueling the US economy? Now follow the money if this same money is not given in a tax cut but collected as tax on the wealthy and paid for Medicaid benefits or Social Security benefits for the poor. This money goes into the US economy when the elderly person pays for doctors, prescriptions or necessary consumer goods. This money isn’t likely to end up in China or India. This money benefits the poor and fuels the economy. This is a better idea than benefiting the wealthy and foreign countries.

Capitalism by its very nature will create poor people. Capitalism creates a competition for income that will insist that some people be poor. We can’t all win with capitalism. So there will always be economic losers, poor elderly people, poor children and disabled people. We have to take care of them somehow. If we don’t take care of these people with Social Security and Medicare, then how will we take care of them? How are budget cuts to these benefits that help the poor going to solve the problem of the poor? As much as Republicans would like them to, the poor are not going away.


Note: I am always glad to accept contributions for the blog. You will receive proper credit. Email me at vflango@yahoo.com

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Little Help....

Winning the majority in the House and Senate, not to mention changing the GOP dominance here in Florida, is dependent on grassroots efforts in getting out the vote. The GOP has lost the issues and any moral authority to lead with their corruption and incompetence—but they have the advantage: more money, a cohesive strategy, more investment in the media and in the companies that count the votes. But most of all, starting in the 90s they focused their money and efforts where we had previously dominated--grassroots.

Their “microtageting” efforts have been brutally effective in past elections and with the 2006 primaries, which is why if you have never helped before, we need you now.

Sign up to canvass with us on October 7 here. It’s a lousy two hours we spend meeting and talking with Democratic voters who don’t normally vote in midterm elections. We meet at 10 am at the at the old Pic-n-Save Plaza in Longwood at the intersection of SR 434 and Rangeline Rd. (If you live outside of Seminole and want to help in your specific area, Democrats.org has a post called "Find Events" that will tell you where to go.)

We also have opportunities to be poll watchers, poll greeters, and if you don’t want to leave your house, virtual callers who contact voters whenever its convenient for you.

Come to the meeting on Thursday, September 28 at 7 pm at the Eastmonte Civic Center, Altamonte Springs to learn more and to sign up. Or call 407.330.9988 www.seminoledemocrats.org

It’s going to take all of us putting in a little work to pull this off in November, and this is the best opportunity we have had in over a decade. I don’t know when we will get a better chance, so let’s make sure we don’t blow it

Meet the Seminole Dem Candidates

Nothing says Oviedo politics like a Fish Fry. Come by 280 South Central Avenue, Oviedo, FL on Friday Sept 29th at 4:30. Make sure you RSVP by emailing elangdon2@cfl.rr.com so they can prepare the food situation. You'll meet the candidates I've been talking about:
  • Clint Curtis Dist 24 for US Congress



  • Ernie Langdon Dist 33 for State Representative



  • Jeremiah Jaspon Dist 22 for State Senate



  • Marian Williams for Supervisor of Elections Seminole County
There is no payment to get in or anything like that. They are coming together to answer any questions you might have about them and their candidacy. Isn't that refreshing? Come on down and say hi.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

I'm a Democrat Because...

The following is a list of responses from Democrats themselves. I got the idea from the first-rate, professional advertisement our county chairman made which showed local Democrats expressing why they stand with the Democratic Party. She is donating it to other Dem county parties, as well as putting together many new vehicles to get our message out, including a new show.

In the meeting, she challenged a room full of party supporters to think about and express why they are Democrats. I posed that very question on a diary that was featured on America’s most popular webblog, the DailyKos. I received a ton of responses, some of which are printed here.

If you have any to add, feel free. It may be used in a future advertisement.
Just take a moment and think. Finish this statement:

I am a Democrat because…

. ..I strongly believe in effective and open government that promotes our Constitutional values.

…I believe in helping those who need it most, not who need it least.

…I am serious about national security.

…I believe in fairness and the right of every person to vote and be heard.

…I believe in the Geneva Conventions.

…I care about the health of the environment.

…I believe in the value of human life.

…I believe in basic human dignity.

…I believe in balancing budgets.

…I believe in accountability.

…I believe in “The Buck Stops Here”.

…I strongly believe in honesty in government.

…I don’t think I’m more important than everyone else.

…I believe We the People means all of us, not just corporate CEOs.

…I believe in fairness and opportunity for ALL.

…I know the difference between right and wrong.

…I believe that we are all in this together.

…I believe that citizens should have more power than corporations.

…I believe that the freedoms enshrined in the Constitution need the most protection when we are threatened. This burden will always fall on the Democratic politicians.

…I believe in Liberty and Justice for all.

…I am Hopeful not Fearful for the Future.

…I want my kids to swim in rivers and play in fields.

…I want free and fair elections.

…I want a living wage.

…this country was founded on a commonwealth principle.

… I learned how to share.

… I will always stand by the Constitution.

…I reject fear of terrorism, and I refuse to fear our freedoms.

…I believe in tolerance and am not threatened by the free exchange of ideas.

…I believe in and stand by our veterans. I believe that they should be given the tools, armor, and strategies needed to win the battles, instead of just being exploited in speeches.

…I believe in fiscal responsibility.

…I believe in freedom from government intrusion in our private lives.

…I believe in Active diplomacy and working through alliances.

…I respect the rule of law domestically and internationally.

…I believe in the protection of individual (not just states', not just corporate) rights.

… I think the minimum wage should be $15 an hour, not $5.

… I believe no government should tell me what I can or can't do with my body.

…I believe tax breaks should help the middle-class, not the wealthiest.

… I’m tired of the culture of corruption, the lies, and the incompetence.

… at least one party needs to represent the middle-class and the working people.

…I believe that racism and the new subtle racism is wrong.

...Jesus said, “Whatever you do to the least of my brethren you do to me.”

…I am patriotic American who is not intimidated by new ideas or dissenting opinions.

…I believe that people should come before special interests.

… I believe that when the condition of the least of us is improved, the condition of all of us is improved.

…I believe that the purpose of government is to set the conditions where each and every one of us is allowed to develop to their full potential and share fully in the blessings of liberty.

…I believe diplomacy should be the first option, and since we will not always succeed in achieving security through dialogue, we must maintain a strong defense capability.

…I believe in the rule of law and the sanctity of the Constitution of the United Sates of America.

…I was taught to respect my fellow human beings; and because I have come to the conclusion that the moral justification for breaking that rule was never "because I said so"; and finally, because I also learned that living in fear of an event that may never come is not living at all.
But most of all, I am a Democrat, because the Republican Party believes the opposite of all three to be true.

Friday, September 22, 2006

The War is SOOO Yesterday...


The local news here in Orlando was saturated yesterday and today on Bush's fundraising visit here. He says the same thing over and over and over and over again; but it must be news, because that is all that I see on the TV,

That, along with hundreds of stories on goddamned spinach!

Meanwhile, Baghdad had one of its deadliest days, and not a word on the media.

I guess the war is yesterday's news...

Thursday, September 21, 2006

See Seminole DEMS on Daily Show Tonight!

The Seminole Democrats are starting a media blitz on CNN and on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with John Stewart. Be sure to tune in tonight 9/21/06 at 11pm (Eastern).

Congratulations to Carol Cox and the newly energized Seminole Democrats. With the national party kickoff we had right here in April with Gov. Vilsack, and with our brand being broadcast on national television starting tonight--I don't think I will be hearing "I didn't know there were Democrats in Seminole". Our dormant period has ended. Carol has begun many bold new initiatives here at the local level, and we finally are seeing the commitment at the national level from Chairman Dean to rebuild the party in areas previously written off.

It's easy to be a Democrat in a blue area, but something about all this red has motivated us. We have the wind in our sails for a change, come join us. It has never been a better time to be a Democrat in Seminole.

Florida taxpayers screwed by GOP-AGAIN

I told you so is getting sooo old. A few months ago, I wrote about the last GOP tax bill in Congress which overwhelmingly benefited the uber-wealthy (by 87%, according to the nonpartisan Brookings Institute). This was criminal given the high rate of inflation, high education costs, high health care costs, and high gas prices that the rest of us are stuck with. And to pour salt in the wound, the GOP TOOK AWAY tax benefits that the average American enjoys. They cut the pell grants we use, and then decided to deny Florida, and 7 other states, the right to deduct state and local taxes. (And yet, Seminole is still red—-go figure).

Democrats tried to bring the vote to restore the state tax deduction twice last week, and even included a deduction for college tuition and an R&D tax credit for businesses. They were summarily rebuffed. Senate Leader Bill Frist and his GOP colleagues did not allow that measure to come to a vote. Cynically, they insisted it become part of a package that included, you guessed it, ANOTHER tax break for the wealthy. The GOP will not allow relief for the rest of us unless the estate tax gets some ax’n (along with a special $900 million break for the timber special interest).

The estate tax is another tax that only affects the super-wealthy. In fact, the first $2.0 million of the value of any estate ($4.0 million for a couple) is totally exempt from the estate tax, but eliminating it will add TRILLIONS to the national debt.

By the way, since the last minimum wage increase, the GOP reduced this tax 8 times! Thanks guys.

Several GOP lawmakers promised their cult-like followers that the state tax deduction cut was only temporary, and I received angry emails from their cult-like followers blasting me for even suggesting that it wouldn’t be restored.

I don’t think I’ll be getting any emails from them this time…

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Seminole Democrats to Premiere Unprecedented New Campaign

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Seminole County Democratic Party has been selected to test market the “I Am A Democrat” campaign, an exciting, ground-breaking, strategic initiative to raise public awareness of the Democratic Party, collect and analyze voter data, and ultimately increase Democratic voter turnout.

“For years, the Republican Party has focused on building infrastructure and shaping the image of what it means to be a Republican. And, it’s clear now that image is one of corruption and incompetence,” said Carol Cox, chair of the Seminole County Democratic Party. “What has not been clear is what it means to be a Democrat. This new breakthrough campaign will not only define what it means to be a Democrat but will also allow people to easily plug in and get involved. As a party, we had fallen behind in technology, fundraising, and organization. But, with this new integrated campaign, that is no longer the case."

You won’t want to miss the opening salvos of the “I Am A Democrat” campaign as we premiere the first television commercial this Thursday, September 21 at 11:00 am. You will also get a sneak preview of the other elements of the “I Am A Democrat” campaign.

This event is open to the press, but is by invitation only to the public. Seating is limited, so please RSVP to Carol Cox at 407.330.9988 or at chair@seminoledemocrats.com. Doors will open at 10:30 am for a complimentary continental breakfast buffet. The premiere will begin promptly at 11:00 am. Location information will be provided when you RSVP.

“I am excited that the Seminole County Democratic Party has been selected to launch this new, pioneering campaign. This type of innovative concept has never been done before and is sure to stir up the Democratic base and show Republicans that we are back in full force. Based on the current political climate, Republicans may not want to admit who they are, but we Democrats are proud to say ‘I am a Democrat’”, explained Carol Cox.

Based on its success here in Central Florida, this cutting-edge campaign will then be rolled out throughout Florida, empowering the Democratic Party to have a competitive advantage over the Republican Party.

For more information and to RSVP, contact Carol Cox at 407.330.9988 or at chair@seminoledemocrats.com.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Seminole Guide on Skirting Election Law

Florida election law is very clear: an individual or corporation can only give $500 to a campaign. This prevents a few wealthy individuals from controlling the electoral process.

How do you get around this? Simple, just ask Oviedo City Councilman Jim Greer. All you need to do is make more corporations. They don’t have to do anything, just be a front to donate money. As of June 13 this year, according to the Seminole Chronicle, Mr. Greer has 19 corporations, most of which are not operational. Yet they allowed Mr. Greer to make multiple $500 donations. Charlie Crist has benefited, as has our own Sandy Adams, who has received $1500 from two companies of J. Greer, as well as a personal donation. (Sandy Adams is running against Democrat Ernie Langdon).

Both Councilman Greer and Seminole’s elections chief are quick to point out that this in not illegal. It is, however, immoral and undemocratic—a distinction that apparently has little relevance with the Seminole GOP. (PS, we still want to know who the heck Haley is!).


As long as the GOP has a lock on this county, expect more to come.

Good Website

This is what I use to check our score. We are close folks, let's not blow it.

www.electoral-vote.com

Thursday, September 14, 2006

"Crazy" is Re-electing Corrupt Congressman Feeney

The nonpartisan Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington listed Tom Feeney as the third most corrupt member of Congress. (Of course, this was before Tom Delay was drummed out and Cunningham imprisoned, so I believe he can take his place as #1).

Yes, Seminole County’s favorite son really made a name for himself with the GOP culture of corruption. He has taken tens of thousands from disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramhoff, who also took him on an extravagant golf outing to Scotland in direct violation of House rules that strictly forbid accepting travel expenses from “a registered lobbyist or agent of a foreign principal." (House rule 26). I mention that rule because it was violated on several occasions with Feeney. Even when not breaking the law, most Congressmen had the good sense to at least temporarily stop taking trips paid for by private groups at the height of the Abramoff-GOP corruption scandal. Tom Feeney decided it was a good time to allow one of them to fly him to China.

He also ranked number one in the DeLay Rankings, which looked at several categories including how much DeLay’s tainted PAC donated to the rep, how much the member donated to DeLay’s legal fund, how often they voted with DeLay, etc. Feeney even defended DeLay after his indictment, and told the St. Pete Times: “He takes very good care of his members”. (OF that, I don’t have any doubt).

Feeney’s supporters counter that he was never indicted for any of his activities—which I guess passes as an accomplishment in Congress these days. But that is precicely the problem. Investigations are whitewashes when it involves their own members, and it will continue unless there is a change.

Remember the big cleanup we were promised by the GOP? They hoped America would forget—and they think they have.

Just today, they proposed their “reform” package, which won’t even make it through before the elections. The GOP proposal is an embarrasment. It doesn’t ban earmarks, doesn’t restrict lobbyists gifts to campaigns, doesn’t restrict private travel on corporate jets, and doesn’t do what most Dems want—form an INDEPENDENT ethics commission that will take over from Congress policing themselves.

Tom Feeney is not one to rock the boat. If this was truly a case of “good vs. evil”, as he says it is, then you would think his election strategy would be to promise to do better, return his tainted Abramoff money, and stop embarrasing our district with his unethical behavior. At least promise to move down on the “Most Corrupt” list.

No, his strategy for re-election is to smear his opponent, Clint Curtis, by calling him “The craziest man in America”.

Clint Curtis testified before Congress that Feeney requested him to create a vote fraud prototype to exploit the vulnerability of electronic voting systems. (Click here to see his testimony before the Conyers' Committee) In March of last year, he submitted to and passed a polygraph test, and then challenged Feeney to do the same. Feeney just says he’s crazy. Sure, that would never happen. After all, Feeney’s ethics are always above reproach.

No, crazy is re-electing the most corrupt member of Congress.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Florida’s K Street

I think that people would agree that the majority of money your candidate uses for his or her election should come from the people in the district he or she is representing. That way you know he or she is representing the people of that district. But that’s just not how it’s done these days. Many Florida politicians get their money from the Florida lobbyists on Monroe Street—which is our own version of DC’s K Street.

The top beneficiary of the powerful insurance lobby is, no surprise, the GOP. This is one special interest group that is no stranger to Monroe Street, and it is also no stranger to GOP Representative Sandy Adams. For fun, compare the contributors of Democratic challenger Ernie Langdon and then take a look at the incumbent Sandy Adams. Be sure to note where they are from, as well. (Keep in mind that District 33 streches through Seminole County--It does not include Tallahassee or Miami).

Go ahead, I’ll wait…

Sunday, September 10, 2006

9/11 Five Years Later: An Introspective

I remember how angry I was when we were attacked 5 years ago. Our very way of life and our very freedoms were assaulted. I remember, like most people, thinking it was just the beginning of more to come. I remember driving to my reserve unit at Patrick AFB, when A1A was closed, and going through sandbag mazes at armored checkpoints to get to work. I remember thinking how much it looked like the checkpoints I worked when I was at Prince Sultan Air Base, Saudi Arabia—and thinking I how odd it was to see them on a civilian highway in my homeland.

During the attack, I was not a Democrat—there were no political parties on that day. There were no petty differences between Rs and Ds, because we were all Americans and we were ALL under attack.

I remember wanting vengeance against Al Qaeda and the Taliban (we all were pretty sure who it was—though they denied it). I prayed that W would find his voice, and for a change say something meaningful and articulate, and I remember cheering when he said “we will not distinguish between the terrorists themselves and those who harbor them”.

Congress united in supported of going to war against the Taliban. We were a united front against the terrorists. I remember during that time thinking that things have changed for the better. We had a real enemy, and we had to destroy them. And we would rally around the president and work together to do it. The era of partisanship was over.

How wrong I was.

Although America was ready to put petty differences aside to confront a common enemy, Bush and the conservative extremists who controlled Congress had a much different agenda. They saw this as an opportunity to grab power, to turn this into a political issue to use against their opponents, and to cram a narrow-minded ideological agenda down the throats of all Americans.

Speaking against any of the measures that assaulted our Constitution or to demand accountability was immediately labeled as supporting the terrorists. (Of course everyone should have their phone tapped, I was told—Do you want Al Qaeda to win?) Max Cleland, war hero and triple amputee from Vietnam, was shown in ads morphing into Osama, because he dared to say that Bush shouldn’t be given a blank check by Congress with no oversight for policies that weren’t working. (Other GOPers in trouble this election are doing the same thing—-DeWine in Ohio even digitally added smoke to the burning WTC in one ad. I guess he felt the real thing wasn’t scary enough).

Cheney is telling supporters, in a last gasp desperate plea, that the GOP has to hold power or Al Qaeda will strike again. Americans have finally wised up to this garbage. Al Qaeda, as I just stated, hates ALL OF US. They don’t care what political party holds the House and they don’t care about these local races. They hate us for who we are and they hate our freedoms (which, if anything, means they should like this administration and Congress better—since they have systematically taken away many of our freedoms in the name of fear).

SO WHERE ARE WE NOW? Five years later, the Taliban has re-emerged in Afghanistan. Osama is still on the loose and still able to make high-tech videos to mock us while our troops our bogged down refereeing a civil war in Iraq. Our ports and infrastructure are insecure, along with our borders. Worldwide support has turned to worldwide condemnation. And the GOP has still not adopted many of the 9/11 Commission recommendations. The government experts agree that we are not safer then 5 years ago.

And then there is the quagmire called Iraq—a nation that had a pathetic leader but didn’t harbor Al Qaeda and was no threat to us. Bush admitted twice in press conferences that THERE WAS NO LINK BETWEEN 9/11 AND SADDAM, and the latest Senate report confirms this, but somehow, this is still being represented by the GOP as front to the war on terror. And as the situation in Iraq rapidly spirals downward, the president and the rubber-stamp Congress still refuse to change course, which makes our real enemy, the terrorists, very happy.

Finally, America remembers Katrina, which blew away any credibility of competence—how can they respond to a terror attack when they couldn’t even figure out what was happening in New Orleans on live television? That reality scares people a lot more than the GOP scare tactics, which have finally seemed to run their course.

Five years later- and the anger I felt then is now replaced by another type of anger. The anger that we are not any safer, that our freedoms the enemy hates have been assaulted by those who were supposed to protect them, that we have been lied to, that we have been divided, and that our fears have been exploited for partisan gain. The silver lining to all of this is that Americans are no longer afraid, and are finally rejecting the politics of fear. It looks like we may get our country back after all. At last, we will be able to refocus on fighting the real enemy and not each other.

God Bless America.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Take action against the Mickey-mentary!


A right-wing extremist who has written extensively against Bill Clinton, and who also happens to be Rush Limbaugh's best friend, wrote The Path to 9/11, ABC's so-called "docu-drama", set to air next week in Prime Time. Expectedly, it is filled with outright lies; and ABC admits there are several parts that are "fictionalized". The film shows Clinton officials hanging up on CIA operatives, suggests that we had a clear shot to Osama that was called off suddenly, and even suggests Albright tried to tip off that a strike was coming.

900 copies have been sent to right-wing bloggers and commentators like Rush and Hugh Hewitt, but none have been sent to any independent or left-leaning outlets. In fact, the Clinton officials who are being smeared have not received any copies after repeatedly asking! They are furious, and rightfully so.

It is so bad, an FBI agent who served as a consultant to ABC on this program quit halfway through because they were "making things up."

Clinton is the obvious bad guy, and Bush is portrayed as the hero who gives a heroic speech to the nation. (You don't see Bush sitting helplessly reading a children's book for 7 minutes after being told "Our nation is under attack!")

Scholastic, which was supposed to work with ABC on a school guide based on the film, pulled out because they determined it was a propoganda film that didn't meet their "high standards".

You can Help!! Contact their advertisers here or here. Several have withdrawn, but we need to keep the pressure going!

Send Robert A. Iger, the CEO of Walt Disney Company, a message. Some sites are also recommending emailing George Mitchell at george.mitchell@dlapiper.com, a Disney chairman and our old friend.

ABC ironically wouldn't allow Miramax to release Faranheit 9/11 because they said it was too divisive and political, and didn't want to offend. But they must not think we make as much noise so they are free to mess with us. Let's send Mickey a message!

Picture from DailyKos

NO Confidence in Rumsfeld

The Senate Dems tried to force a vote of no confidence of Rumsfeld. I spoke in a previous blog about the many problems with the worst SecDef in history:

He swore that he knew where the weapons of mass destruction were; he reassured the troops the conflict would last “six days” or “six weeks. I doubt six months”, (Try at least 6 years); he ignored the advice of his own military leaders who knew we needed more troops to stabilize the nation, (General Eric Shinseki wanted the minimum CENTCOM had planned for, 350,000—Rumsfeld cut it to 140,000); he ignored concerns when crime and looting was getting out of hand, (that’s right, they are just expressing their freedom); he cherry-picked the units on the deployment list, skipping certain units that were at a higher degree of readiness; knew about the Abu Ghraib abuses for months and intentionally withheld them from Congress; he completely bungled getting the troops the equipment and armor they need (and still need!); and even when he wasn’t being wrong, he was still harmful. (Remember when he insulted our allies (“Old Europe”) when we should have been asking for help?)

He has continued his bungling, still ignores his military commanders and reality, and now calls anyone who disagrees with the "stay the course" policy Nazi appeasers--which includes the overwhelming majority of Americans. The GOP refused to allow the vote of confidence--which speaks volumes in itself. If Rumsfeld was doing such a great job, they wouldn't hesitate to be on the record to stand with him.

But they didn't want to embarass themselves and face their angry constituents by saying they think Rumsfeld is doing a bang-up job. Unlike the prez, many are in a tough re-election fight, and they knew it would be political suicide to stand with such an admitted liability. In fact, several of those GOPers have called for his resignation. We actually had a chance it it would have come to a vote. Furthermore, almost every GOPer who spoke out against the measure chided the Dems, but didn't say word one about Rumsfeld.

I think we made our point.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The Lazy GOP Playbook

From looking at the GOP blogs, you would think that we are in an economic boom that rivaled the Clinton years. The economy, I hear, is fantastic, and the GOP can’t understand why that’s not rubbing off on their candidates.

Its true that many sectors of the economy are doing quite well: big corporations and big oil are huge beneficiaries right now. This has translated to high executive pay—in fact, CEOs make more now than ever before. It has also helped India and Mexico, where a lot of jobs have been outsourced. However, the problem is that it hasn’t translated to the average American. Worker's wages have remained stagnant for the entire term of the Bush presidency, the minimum wage hasn’t been increased in over a decade, variable interest mortgage rates, education costs, and health insurance have all skyrocketed. Furthermore, gas prices have tripled—which has led to a rapid increase in inflation. The red state poor has called out to Bush and the GOP-controlled Congress to do something to help.

And they did. Congress gave several massive tax breaks that benefited the wealthiest Americans, as well as to the needy oil companies. These tax breaks bankrupted America, turning our surplus into the largest deficit in history. To add insult to injury, they cut our tax benefits, such as pell grants and the ability to deduct state sales tax. A year ago they also passed bankruptcy legislation that, over Dem objections, made NO exceptions for bankruptcies due to medical debt—which, according to a Harvard study, is now the number one reason why people file for bankruptcy.

Americans are suffering, as they have been for years under the GOP leadership. But one thing we have learned in these dark years is that Congress is never to be used to help people, but as a platform for extremism and maintaining control. That is why in June, instead of addressing America’s many concerns, we were treated to an embarrassing barrage of legislation dealing with our foremost concerns: gay marriage and flag burning.

And now, with the new session in September, the GOP has completely neglected any domestic agenda in favor of trying to shore up their base with what they hope will be their trump card: national security. You will hear them scream their new phrases, “Islamofacists, cut and run, stay the course”. But snazzy slogans have finally run their course. The cold hard fact is that the GOP leadership has ran this war so poorly, that they only succeeded in alienating our closest allies, and turning us into the most despised nation in the world. By the way, the angry would-be terrorists NOW have a fertile recruiting ground and a future terror training camp thanks to Congress not facing reality about this quagmire.

And what has "staying the course" gotten us? What have we received for the hundreds of billions pouring into Iraq, not to mention our soldier's blood?
  • The largest welfare state in human history (an entire Persian nation)
  • Our troops moderating a civil war between Sunni and Shia while terrorists are free to plot in Pakistan
  • A pathetic Iraqi leadership that ignored Bush’s pleas to “get governing”, because the Moron-in-Chief promised them our troops for as long as they want

Try to politicize this all you want, guys. America has finally wised up, and it's time for a new playbook.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Support GOP values--support Haley for Co. Commission

The Seminole Chronicle is trying hard to find Richard Haley, the mystery “write-in” candidate who is keeping the majority of Seminole voters from being able to choose between the two viable candidates of Michael Blake and Michael McLean for Sem County Commissioner.

Another stupid Florida election law: primaries are closed if there is a write-in candidate. In other words, if there was no token write-in candidate, then Democrats and Independents could vote in this primary between Blake and McLean. Strategically, it makes sense for the GOP. By having this candidate, Blake and McLean need to only appeal to their conservative base. Morally, however, it is extremely unfair to the overwhelming majority of Seminole residents. It is also undemocratic and unAmerican. Unfortunately, however, it is not unexpected.

Not much anyone outside the GOP can do here, so I’d like to throw my support behind Richard Haley. In fact, I would love to see some Richard Haley signs to compliment the thousands of McLean and Blake signs around the county.

I even offer my own suggestion. Feel free to borrow it: