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    1. One of the most obvious reasons to vote for a progressive President in 2008 is that a progressive President is needed to counter the right wing Republican grip on the federal government that has existed throughout most of the presidency of George W. Bush. The Republicans have had no shame and no restraint in using the power of government promote a radical right wing agenda. Only a progressive President in the Oval Office will be able to restore the balance of responsible government throughout the federal government's vast bureaucracy. Having a few progressive members of Congress won't be enough. Progressive idealism needs to be more than a voice of dissent. It needs to be a voice of active reform, and the office of the President of the United States is the most potent platform for serious reform that has ever existed.

    2. On November 8, 2005, an historic vote was held on the floor of the United States Senate - and the Senate's Republicans chose to keep America's eyes clenched shut.

      Senator Carl Levin offered a simple amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006 that all America should be able to rally around: To create a commission to investigate the policies and practices in Bush's system of secret prisons. Was abuse taking place in these secret prisons? Was torture occurring? Senator Levin's commission would have investigated these important questions.

      Of course, George W. Bush says that no torture has taken place, but what evidence has he produced? None, just his word. We all know how much that's worth. In the meantime, a mountain of evidence has accumulated, all suggesting that a worldwide system of torture prison has been established by the Bush Administration.

      We deserve the truth. America needs a commission to uncover the whole truth on what happens in these prisons. Yet, Carl Levin's amendment to create such a commission was voted down by the Senate Republicans. Not a single Republican voted in favor of the commission. No, not even Senator John McCain. (Source: Library of Congress, S.AMDT.2430 to S.1042, November 8, 2005)

    3. Senator John McCain, who plans on running for President in 2008, has made a big deal about saying that he is personally dedicated to opposing torture by the American government. He's made plenty of speeches on the subject. Consider, though, how Senator John McCain has actually voted on the matter.

      In November, 2005, the United States Senate passed an amendment from Senator Lindsey Graham to the Defense Authorization Act last week that rescinds the right of habeas corpus and allows Donald Rumsfeld to imprison and torture people without reason and with impunity. The amendment contained the following language:

      1) IN GENERAL - Section 2241 of title 28, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection: (e) No court, justice, or judge shall have jurisdiction to consider - (1) an application for a writ of habeas corpus based on policies established by the Secretary of Defense under section 1071(a) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006 filed on behalf of an alien who is detained by the Secretary of Defense as an enemy combatant; or (2) any other action, challenging any aspect of the detention of an alien who is detained by the Secretary of Defense as an enemy combatant. (2) EFFECTIVE DATE - The amendment made by paragraph (1) shall apply to any application or other action pending on or after the date of the enactment of this Act
      Consider what this legislation would have done, if it were allowed to pass into law:

      1. It would have removed the power of the courts to hear a writ of habeas corpus from any non-citizen who is held prisoner by the Secretary of Defense. That means that no court will have the power to determine the identities of people being held prisoner by the Secretary of Defense, where they are being held prisoner, and why they are being held prisoner.

      2. It would have removed the power of the courts to make any ruling on any aspect of any prisoner's detention. This includes torture.

      3. It would have made the changes retroactive. That means that even if torture was done two years ago, the amendment takes away the power of the courts to do anything about it.

      In effect, this legislation would have given the Secretary of Defense the power to commit war crimes without fear of ever having anyone stop him. In effect, this legislation puts the Secretary of Defense beyond the law. By putting the Secretary of Defense beyond the law, it would have given the President of the United States a means to act beyond the reach of the law as well. Luckily, the amendment was itself amended, after being added onto the National Defense Authorization Act.

      Thus, through the Graham Amendment, President Bush was almost given the power to, through the Secretary of Defense, act as a dictator. John McCain went along with this scheme, along with almost all the other Republicans in the United States Senate. That action alone proves that Republicans cannot be trusted with the power of government. We need a progressive President in the White House to counter this kind of outrageous abuse. (Source: Library of Congress, S.Amdt. 2516 to S.Amdt. 2515 to S. 1042, November 10, 2005)

    4. As the 109th Congress wound down, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives decided that it would rather not pass 8 out of the 11 appropriations bills required each year in order for the government to enact laws, deliver social services and defend the nation. Indiana Republican Congressman Mike Pence explained the lack of action with two words: "We're tired."

      When the Republican-controlled government is too tired out to carry out even the barest bones of government operation, it's time to bring in some fresh leadership, leadership that isn't tired, leadership that has enough energy to do something. Progressives have energy to spare and a belief that government can accomplish something if only we try. Let's try giving the progressives a chance, from the top of the government on down, in 2008. (Source: Washington Post, December 2, 2006)
    5. Over the last few years, the Republicans have stretched the phrase "up or down vote" so far that it has deformed political reality into a shape that is beyond all recognition. In George W. Bush's official statement complaining about the resignation of Ambassador John Bolton, for example, Bush said, "I am deeply disappointed that a handful of United States Senators prevented Ambassador Bolton from receiving the up or down vote he deserved in the Senate."

      The "handful of United Sates Senators" that George W. Bush refers to as preventing John Bolton from receiving an up or down vote were, in fact, the Senators on the Foreign Relations Committee, who voted not to endorse John Bolton's nomination for the ambassadorship back in 2005. After that vote, the full Senate was prepared to take an up or down vote on John Bolton's nomination to become Ambassador to the United Nations, but it looked as if Bolton would be voted down. So, Bush made a recess appointment of John Bolton to the ambassadorship, evading the normal Senate confirmation process.

      It was George W. Bush who circumvented the normal procedure through which a nominee receives an "up or down vote" in the Senate. This occurred because John Bolton's qualifications were called into question even by the Republican majority that controlled the Senate at the time. Progressives won't use this ridiculous kind of "up or down vote" distortion in arguments about judicial nominees. (Source: Jurist, December 4, 2006)

    6. Why vote for a progressive president in 2008? Because the majority leader of Republicans for four years, Doctor and Senator Bill Frist, provided a medical diagnosis of Terri Schiavo after watching her on an edited videotape. That's the sort of distance from which Republicans have been governing the United States of America, and it's gone on for far too long. (Source: Washington Post, March 19, 2005)

    7. The Republicans don't deserve to keep political power because they have a track record of just making stuff up in order to win. Take the case of Terri Schiavo. Republicans said Terri Schiavo could see and responded to visual stimuli. They said she joked with the gang at the nurses' station. They said she could drink and eat for herself if the evil doctors would only let her. And when they got really mad at her husband for not playing along with their bizarre claims, they said he had poisoned her.

      All of these claims were shown to be without merit by the coroner's autopsy. The Republicans were caught in another episode of fact-free politicking. (Source: Washington Post, June 16, 2005)

    8. Watch how the Republicans criticize others. The terms they use to denigrate others most accurately characterize themselves.

      Here's a perfect illustration of that tendency. Republicans criticize their opponents as "big government" nuts who are "anti-marriage" and "anti-family." But in the case of Terri Schiavo case, the Republican Party has shown that it is willing to use all the powers of big government at its disposal to sieze control over an individual's life. In order to do this, Republican politicians have done everything they can to diminish the significance of the bond they have held is most central in the family: the bond between a husband and wife. When Terri Schiavo was thoroughly incapacitated, they would not let her husband Michael Schiavo make decisions in her interest. They wanted to overrule the marital bond, because the expressed positions of both husband and wife didn't agree with Republican Party ideology. Do you want these sorts of people in office trying to overrule your marriage? (Source: St. Petersburg Times, March 20, 2005)

    9. During the whole conservative fuss-fest about Terri Schiavo, her husband Michael Schiavo correctly pointed out that he was not the only one to lose when conservatives focused all their energies on their factually-inaccurate attempt to interfere with a married couple's medical decision. The country lost valuable time and resources that could have been devoted to solving undeniably real and consequential problems. Said Mr. Schiavo, "Why doesn't Congress worry about people not having health insurance? Or the budget? Let's talk about all the children who don't have homes."

      Years later, the conservatives are still unwilling to confront these real problems, problems that progressives are eager to address. But the progressives aren't in charge. The conservatives are in charge, and they're too busy coming up with time-wasting attempts to meddle in our private lives. How pathetic. (Source: St. Petersburg Times. March 20, 2005)

    10. In the case of Elian Gonzalez, conservatives (in both the Republican and Democratic Parties) showed again that they were willing to split up a family, using all the tools of big government at their disposal to separate a child from his only living parent. All because the father lived in a country that didn't agree with conservatives' ideology.

      That's big government meddling at the expense of the parenting relationship between a father and a son. Why do the conservatives hate and distrust families so much? (Source: International Herald Tribune, January 25, 2000)

    11. Conservatives got the facts wrong in the case of Terri Schiavo, and they got their priorities wrong too when they tried to interfere with the medical decisions of a married couple. Numerous state and federal judges agreed with that assessment. But the conservatives didn't respond to the resounding defeat of their nutty case with anything approaching serenity. Facts and a marriage be damned: they had political points to make!

      And so the conservatives continued flogging the dead body of Terri Schiavo in search of votes. Republican House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, for one, began an attempt to impeach the judges involved in the numerous rulings regarding Terri Schiavo that he didn't agree with.

      DeLay promised to use his control over the House of Representatives to bring action against "an arrogant and out-of-control judiciary that thumbs its nose at Congress and the presidentĀ - . The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior."

      Let's see here - nullifying judges in state courts, DeLay pushed a measure through Congress creating a special new law applying solely to the parents of Terri Schiavo granting them new special rights to file briefs in federal court seeking what would otherwise be extraordinary, extralegal remediation. The judges ordered by DeLay to receive Schiavo's parents and consider their arguments did so, and then dared to issue rulings that DeLay personally disagreed with.

      Literally speaking, these judges were indeed out of the control of Tom DeLay. That's what has made him hopping mad. Arrogance is certainly in play here, characterizing the approach of the conservatives in charge at the time, who yet again made clear that government authority is meant to be their toy, all theirs, no sharing.

      Let's not pretend that the crazily crooked DeLay was the only one working on this idea. Over in the Senate, Christian Conservative Rick Santorum seconded the notion that judges should be punished for the act of disagreement. And while attending a conference specially devoted to "Confronting the Judicial War on Faith," the Chief of Staff for Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn remarked, "I don't want to impeach judges. I want to impale them."

      The conservatives in America have made it clear that they're after power for power's sake. And now we are told we should put another self-interested megalomaniacal navel gazer in the White House? No thanks, I think I'll pass. How about you? (Sources: Washington Post, April 11, 2005; The Nation, April 11, 2005; Associated Press, April 1, 2005)

    12. How out of touch with reality have American conservatives become? In December of 2006, the right-wing news filter website NewsMax.com featured a sincere advertisement featuring this text: "Memory Training Secrets of Top Politicians. Speeches Without Notes. Recall Names!" The accompanying portraits: George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan. I can't recall having seen political endorsements more inappropriately placed. (Source: NewsMax.com, December 10, 2006)

    13. In a darkly elegant irony, Republican Senator John McCain, who once promised to support a package of lobbying reform measures in the Senate, changed his mind after he met with lobbyists who opposed the reforms. John McCain complied with the lobbyists' requests, and decided to obstruct the lobbying reforms. What kinds of lobbyists convinced John McCain to flip flop on lobbying reform? Among those who convinced John McCain to turn tail were lobbyists from Focus on the Family, an ultra-right wing fundamentalist religious group led by James Dobson. Dobson has called lobbying reform "a passion by congressional liberals to consolidate power and operate within a cloak of secrecy."

      That's an odd accusation for Dobson to make, given that the lobbying reforms he convinced John McCain to help sink would have actually removed the cloak of secrecy from the activities of Washington D.C. lobbyists and the networks that they use to consolidate their power. The reforms would have required the lobbying groups reveal where they get the money that enables them to lobby members of Congress.

      Why is James Dobson so eager to hide where the money that supports Focus on the Family comes from? What doesn't he want us to know about the true backers of Focus on the Family?

      The facts are that there are plenty of lobbying organizations that claim to represent groups of American citizens, when in fact they represent corporate interests. They set up fake grassroots operations in which people purport to be citizen activists, but are really just public relations employees. Members of Congress ought to know who lobbyists are really speaking for, and the American people deserve to know as well.

      It's a shame that political insiders like James Dobson and John McCain prefer to work in the dark. (Sources: PR Newswire, January 19, 2007; Think Progress, January 18, 2007)

    14. In 2005, the Bush White House and USA Next became furious at AARP, because the AARP was rightfully resisting President Bush's attempt to rip the guts out of the Social Security system and leave it to bleed to death. So, what was the natural Republican response? A shrill accusation that the AARP part of the secret global gay agenda, and hates American soldiers.

      As if that weren't extreme enough, the USA Next web site has run material that actually suggests that AARP is a communist organization. Boy, that's going back in history a bit. Why not go back further, and accuse the AARP of being Nazi sympathizers, or pro-monarchy Tories, or members of the Mongol Golden Horde, poised to destroy Europe at any minute?

      When I heard the Republicans claiming that the AARP is opposing attacks on Social Security because "the REAL AARP agenda" is to force men to kiss each other, put big red Xes on American soldiers, and advance a secret communist plot to take over the world, the first words that come to mind were "conspiracy theory". What other interesting theories will the Republicans and USA Next collaborate on for the 2008 presidential election?

      Here are some possibilities:

      - Prince Charles and Camilla are really getting married because their "REAL agenda" is to replace all the soccer fields in the United Kingdom with jai alai courts.
      - Big Bird sings about the alphabet because the "REAL agenda" of Sesame Street is to teach the children of America's enemies to our read top secret classified documents.
      - American Idol gave its big prize to Clay Aiken in spite of that silly red hair because the "REAL agenda" of American Idol is to put Clay Aiken, who is a priest in the Egyptian cult of Osiris, in contact with all the communist actors and musicians in Hollywood, so that they can build a new temple for idol worship and bring about Armageddon.

    15. The Bush White House has tried to keep Americans as hyped up about the threat of terrorist attack as much as possible. This state of perpetual hypervigilance has been justified by supposed evidence of terrorists lurking everywhere, always on the verge of attack.

      Among other things, the right wingers have pointed to the large number of anti-terrorist prosecutions conducted by the Department of Justice. If there are so many anti-terrorist cases being prosecuted, the argument goes, there must be a lot of terrorists.

      What if those anti-terrorist cases weren't against terrorists at all? Well, according to the logic used by the right wing, that would mean that there actually are not so many terrorists threatening us. As luck would have it, that's just what an audit has found. According to a new audit of the Department of Justice, many of the cases that the Bush Administration has claimed as anti-terrorist victories actually have nothing to do with terrorism at all.

      One of the examples from the audit is the case of a prosecution of a marriage broker who arranged fake marriages between foreigners and American citizens. That's illegal, but it has nothing to do with terrorism. The marriage broker wasn't trying to smuggle terrorists into the USA.

      In another case, a Mexican citizen tried to use someone else's name on an application for a passport. That's a crime, but is it terrorism? In the world of the right wing, it is. The rest of us can recognize that it isn't.

      Terrorism is a bad thing, to be sure, but it isn't nearly as pervasive as the right wing claims it is. We need a new President who can see terrorist threats as they really are, not as their overworked imaginations would like them to be. (Source: Associated Press, February 20, 2007)

    16. In a letter to supporters of the Republican National Committee, Chairman Mike Duncan accused liberal Democrats of being determined to "turn back every reform you helped helped President Bush achieve over the last six years."

      Is it true? Do we liberals really want to turn back every way in which the Bush Republicans have tried to reshape America over the last six years?

      Well, one thing we've learned about the Republicans is that they have a downright awful time when things that they believed were true turn out not to be true at all. That's happened to the Republicans a lot lately, and it's hard on them.

      So, it's a relatively superficial reason, compared to a lot of those that we've compiled, but I'll add this one to the list of 2008 reasons to elect a progressive President in 2008: Let the Mike Duncan and his Republican followers be right about just one thing. Let them be right when they say that we liberals want to turn back the terrible policies of George W. Bush. Vote progressive for President, and make it true. (Source: Letter from the Republican National Committee, March 2, 2007)

    17. In 2005, Bill O'Reilly, in a rant for Fox News, declared that "the continuing reportage of the torture allegations is putting lives in danger."

      This claim by O'Reilly spins so fast that it's warping the space-time continuum. Just consider this for a second: Bill O'Reilly seriously wants us to believe that when American reporters say anything about the rapidly increasing number of incidents of torture by American soldiers in Afghanistan, Iraq, Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere, human lives are somehow, somewhere endangered.

      On the other hand, O'Reilly seems to have completely overlooked the fact that when people are electrocuted, beaten, forced to jump off bridges, shoved headfirst underwater, starved and left without water, deprived of medical treatment, shoved into tiny, airtight metal boxes for hours on end, or are subjected to the many other methods of torture that have been reported as used by agents of the American government in recent years, human lives are very literally put at risk. O'Reilly just can't seem to recall that scores of prisoners have actually died while being tortured by the American government. If that's not "in danger", I don't know what is. (Source: Fox News, February 16, 2005

    18. In the 2008 presidential campaign, Rudolph Giuliani is playing a hypocritical game with issues of family life. When it comes to his own family problems, he wants everyone to butt out and mind their own business. "The more privacy I can have for my family, the better we are going to be able to deal with all these difficulties," Giuliani says.

      When it comes to other people's families, however, Rudolph Giuliani doesn't seem to think that the right to privacy is so important. On the issue of parental notification about abortion, for example, Giuliani wants the government to come barging in and meddle with family affairs. Giuliani is on the record saying that he thinks its okay for the government to mandate how pregnant teenagers will communicate with their parents about their decisions on abortion.

      How come Rudolph Giuliani wants privacy for his family's problems, but wants the problems of other families exposed to government regulation? In 2008, we must not elect another President who believes that there should be one standard for himself, and another standard for everybody else. (Sources: Associated Press, March 7, 2007; New York Times, February 10, 2007)

    19. Our Republican federal government has a delusional self-conception that doesn't meet reality.

      First, George W. Bush declared of himself, "I will restore honor and integrity to the White House." -- George W. Bush, October 3, 2000

      Then, we read in the newspaper what the government has really been up to in "Libby, 56, who was both chief of staff and national security adviser to Vice President Cheney before resigning in 2005, was convicted of one count of obstruction of justice, one count of false statements to investigators and two counts of perjury before the grand jury." (Source: USA Today, March 6, 2007)

    20. To consider the significance of the criminal conviction of Lewis Libby, top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, it helps to consider the how long it had been since the last time a government official of a high position equivalent to that help by Libby was convicted: 130 years. (Source: Harper's Magazine, January, 2007)

    21. If you're thinking of voting for a "moderate" ticket in 2008 rather than for a progressive ticket, you might want to consider what "moderate" politicians are standing for these days in Washington, DC.

      Take, for instance, Senator John McCain, one of the frontrunners in the race to gain the Republican nomination for president in 2008. McCain has built a reputation as a maverick moderate who is willing to break with the Republican Party to reach across the aisle to the Democratic Party for legislative and other purposes.

      What does a "moderate" like McCain have to say about the use of condoms to prevent disease? Here is a transcript of a conversation held between McCain and a reporter on his "Straight Talk Express" campaign bus this week:

      Q: What about grants for sex education in the United States? Should they include instructions about using contraceptives? Or should it be Bush s policy, which is just abstinence?

      Mr. McCain: (Long pause) Ahhh. I think I support the president s policy.

      Q: So no contraception, no counseling on contraception. Just abstinence. Do you think contraceptives help stop the spread of HIV?

      Mr. McCain: (Long pause) You've stumped me.

      Q: I mean, I think you'd probably agree it probably does help stop it?

      Mr. McCain: (Laughs) Are we on the Straight Talk express? I'm not informed enough on it. Let me find out. You know, I'm sure I've taken a position on it on the past. I have to find out what my position was. Brian, would you find out what my position is on contraception I'm sure I'm opposed to government spending on it, I'm sure I support the president s policies on it.

      Q: But you would agree that condoms do stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Would you say: No, we re not going to distribute them, knowing that?

      Mr. McCain: (Twelve-second pause) Get me Coburn's thing, ask Weaver to get me Coburn's paper that he just gave me in the last couple of days. I've never gotten into these issues before.
      This is a high-profile health policy issue on which empirical studies are quite clear: condoms effectively prevent the spread of diseases such as HPV and , more effectively than abstinence pledges, which do not reduce disease rates and actually may be associated with in increase in high-risk sexual behaviors.

      John McCain has been on Capitol Hill for 25 years, so if he really is so ignorant on sexual health policy as to be "stumped" about whether condoms prevent HIV, then he has betrayed such a lack of diligence on the issue that he has no earthly business being president. Do you really think Senator McCain doesn't know that condoms prevent the spread of HIV? The other, more reasonable, possibility is that John McCain knows full well that condoms and condom distribution policies not only prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, but do so better than abstinence promotion policies. In that case, what we see above is a pander by a man who doesn't want to lose anti-empirical right wing voters.

      After the Bush years, that's where we are now in politics: "moderates" like McCain are willing to feign an embarrassing ignorance regarding clear-cut policy issues in order to stay in the good graces of right-wing America. McCain has swallowed the Kool-Aid, but you don't have to follow suit. This time around, vote with the people who are willing to state the obvious. Vote progressive. (Sources: The Caucus, New York Times blog, March 16, 2007; Slate, July 3, 2006; San Francisco Chronicle, February 24, 2005; USA Today, March 9, 2004; USA Today, March 18, 2005)

    22. Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo has a habit of doing things that are a little bit odd. So when Tancredo announced that he would run for President in 2008, it was to be expected that he would use unusual campaign tactics. No one anticipated, however, that Tancredo would try to raise money by coddling convicted criminals.

      As part of his campaign for President of the United States, Congressman Tancredo is calling for legal amnesty for two convicted criminals who shot a man from behind while he was running away from them. Shooting someone while they're running away is generally recognized as cowardly behavior. That doesn't bother Representative Tancredo, apparently. Tancredo wants to give the criminals convicted of this act to receive a pardon. Tancredo does not deny that these men are guilty of assault with a deadly weapon, but he has written a campaign letter saying that they ought to be released from prison. That same letter asks people for donations - for Tancredo's presidential campaign exploratory committee.

      That gives me an idea of for a slogan for the Tom Tancredo for President campaign: Do It For The Criminals: Vote Tancredo for President! (Source: Denver Post, March 16, 2007)

    23. Congressman Tom DeLay, chosen by Republicans to lead them in the House of Representatives, managed to be fairly generous with his political staff before he was brought down on charges of corruption. He managed to pay two of them, for example, over 500, 000 dollars in funds from his political action committee. The two people who got that half a million dollars were Tom DeLay's wife and daughter. (Source: New York Times, April 6, 2005)

    24. The disdainful attitude Republican politicians have toward the American people was shown in its plain ugliness today, when President George W. Bush announced that Karl Rove would be quite willing to testify in front of Congress, as has been demanded by Senator Patrick Leahy. There was one condition that Bush insisted upon, however: Karl Rove would only talk to Congress if he did not have to swear an oath to tell the truth.

      Doesn't that nicely sum up what the Republicans in government have been doing to us for years? They'll agree tell us what they're doing with the power of our government behind closed doors, but only on the condition that they're allowed to lie, and no one can hold them accountable when they do. (Source: Associated Press, March 20, 2007)

    25. Robert Scheer was right when he wrote, back in 2001, that "One cannot be both a moderate and remain a Republican senator." So, senators like John McCain have made their choice. As the Republican Party has become a home to right wing extremism, they have chosen to become more extreme. Rather than abandon the increasingly dangerous Republican Party, they have abandoned their moderation. (Source: Los Angeles Times, May 25, 2001)

    26. Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain went to Iraq to try to justify his support for an escalation of the war there. During his visit, McCain walked around in a Baghdad market to try to prove that it is safe for people to live normally in Baghdad.

      During that quick walk through the market, McCain was wearing a bulletproof vest and was guarded by over one hundred American soldiers, three Blackhawk helicopters, and two Apache gunships. When John McCain cites such a heavily guarded incursion into a marketplace as evidence of how safe a neighborhood is, he is only proving how out of touch he is with reality. Ordinary Iraqis don't even have one armed guard or one bulletproof vest to protect them. They cannot take a small army with them every time they need to go to market.

      While Senator McCain cowered behind his armed escorts and proclaimed Iraq safe, six American soldiers in Iraq who did not have the benefit of the extraordinary protection John McCain enjoyed were killed.

      If John McCain really thought that the streets of Baghdad were safe, he would have gone on his walk without any extra protection. McCain knew that Baghdad was unsafe, but that's not what McCain told the American people. McCain would not tell us the truth about conditions in Iraq. How can we trust McCain to be President? (Source: MSNBC, April 1, 2007)

    27. Remember those oval Pro-Bush bumper stickers that that Republican Party distributed for free all over the country during the 2004 presidential election? They had that big W followed by a little American flag - as if George W. Bush came first, and American idealism came second. You'll still see them around today, on the backs of the cars owned by Republicans who just can't get over the glee in knowing that their candidate won with a slim 51% percent of the vote.

      We always knew that the Republican message behind the bumper sticker was a sham, but what we didn't know is that the stickers themselves were the product of fraud as well.

      It turns out that the Republican Party probably stole the idea for those bumper stickers. A Republican businessman came to the Republican Party's suppliers with the idea for the design way back in 2001. They told him "no thanks" but kept a copy of the design. Then, the Republican supplier made huge amounts of money providing the bumper stickers to the Republican Party, and the Republican Party distributed the stickers all over America without giving the actual designer a single red cent.

      That's a pretty telling story about what the Republican Party is really doing to business in America. Big insiders with political connections get to make big profits and get special tax breaks, but small businesses get left out in the cold.

    28. Rudolph Giuliani is a powerful political insider with connections deep in the heart of the Republican Party. He knows lots of rich and influential people. Rudolph Giuliani is hoping to ride into the presidency based on those connections, without ever having to get serious with the American people about his terrible track record.

      The truth is that Rudolph Giuliani has been part of the years of serious Republican failures that have bankrupted America's economy, corrupted America's traditional values of liberty, equality and justice, and put a stain on America's reputation in the world.

      Rudolph Giuliani stood side by side with George W. Bush, mistake after mistake after mistake. After all this time, Giuliani still can't admit that he was wrong. Giuliani still thinks that starting the war in Iraq was a great idea.

      Rudolph Giuliani says he "believes in supply-side economics," even though even prominent Republicans call this discredited approach "voodoo economics". What supply side economics really means is that corporations and millionaires get special tax breaks, and the rest of us, the working Americans, have to pick up the bill for their luxurious lifestyle. Giuliani's idea of a campaign appearance is to go ring the bell to open up a stock exchange on Wall Street.

      Rudolph Giuliani sides with right wing radicals like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson on social issues. Giuliani supports forcing right wing values on everyone, restricting reproductive choices, eroding support for public education,and outlawing equal marriage rights for all Americans.

      On issue after issue, Rudolph Giuliani sides with the intolerant, the bigoted, and the just plain mean.

      Where are Rudolph Giuliani's moral values when it comes to torture? Where does Rudolph Giuliani stand on the Military Commissions Act, which ripped away America's most beloved freedoms, including habeas corpus, the presumption of innocence, and the right to a fair and speedy trial?

      Giuliani refuses to say. Giuliani won't come clean.

      America deserves a straight answer. America needs more than the years of failure that Giuliani's Republican ideology represents. America can do better than Rudolph Giuliani.

    29. In April 2007, in a debate with Senator John Kerry, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich admitted that the he and the Republican Party have failed to lead on the issue of the environment. "I'm not going to stand up here and defend our failure to lead," Gingrich said.

      Nonetheless, Gingrich and his Republican allies expect us voters to overlook their grave failures of leadership, and give them the power to lead the Executive Branch of the federal government for four more years anyhow. (Source: Boston Globe, April 11, 2007)

    30. During that same debate, Newt Gingrich also admitted that human responsibility for global warming has been proven by science, saying, "We have now passed the tipping point of that argument." Still, Gingrich refused to support serious action to deal with the problem of human activity heating up the climate of the Earth.

      Gingrich proposed giving money to polluters to stop them from spewing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and allowing their pollution to continue unchecked if the polluters don't want to change. That's like paying gangs of thugs to stop beating up shopkeepers. It's a protection racket. Progressives want to hold polluters to account, not coddle them as Gingrich suggests.(Source: Boston Globe, April 11, 2007)

    31. While President Bush is busy undermining the Bill of Rights on a national level, a lot of people don't perceive what is happening at the state level of government. Across America, Republicans in state governments have been pushing through radical new laws that encourage corruption, increase secrecy, strengthen discrimination against cultural minorities, and chew gaping holes in the separation of Church and State. These laws tend to be even more extreme than what Bush is pushing in the national level because, well, the Republicans know that most people just don't pay attention to state government.

      In Texas, for example, the Republicans introduced H.B. 2479. H.B. 2479 would have created a special fund controlled by nobody but the governor. The money in this fund is specifically designated to be given to religious organizations. The governor gets to choose which religious organizations get the money. So, it would not be enough just to be religious in Texas. If you wanted to get on the government dole, your religious group would have to have the personal favor of the governor. Is it any surprise that churches are starting to get directly involved in Republican political campaigns, when bills like H.B. 2479 are being pushed by the Republican Party? The churches smell money.

      There's a good reason that we in America have large legislatures that have the authority to direct spending. In a large legislature, it's difficult for any one person to push through a bill to grant government money to a program or person. For that reason, bribery is more difficult, and less likely to produce results. Honest government depends upon shared responsibility for spending decisions. H.B. 2479 would have removed this pillar of honest government.

      I will give this praise to the Texas Republicans: They have a fine appreciation of symmetry. You see, H.B. 2479 does not just allow the Texas governor to use public money to buy the political allegiance of religious organizations. H. B. 2479 also contains this little, but very powerful, statement: "The governor may accept for deposit into the fund gifts, grants, or donations." There are no restrictions on this line anywhere else in the bill.

      Let me describe plainly what that line does: It enables bribery of the governor of Texas by any person or organization, inside or outside Texas, and even outside the borders of the United States of America.

      What a tidy scheme! Here's how it works: Some organization that wants influence over the governor of Texas places a a nice multi-million dollar gift into the religious slush fund. This money gives the governor the ability to buy the political allegiance of religious organizations. So, then, the governor has the political wherewithal to engage in actions that favor the private interests of the organization that made the gift into the public trust fund.

      The organization that makes the bribe gains power. The governor gains power. Religious organizations that are favored by the governor gain power.

      Who doesn't gain power? Anyone who doesn't have enough money to bribe the governor loses power. Religious groups that the governor doesn't like lose power. Anyone who disagrees with the governor's political agenda loses power. The voters of Texas lose power.

      The proposed law was a recipe for the creation of a corrupt theocracy right here in the United States of America. Republican politicians all across the United States are eager to recreate this dirty little Texas miracle. So, what can you do? The most important thing of all is to pay attention. State government may not seem glamorous. It doesn't get a lot of time on television. But, state government matters - state governments control elections. If progressive Americans don't start paying attention to state government, they'll wake up very soon to find that their beloved democracy has been stripped away, under the cover of boring state government news.

    32. Republicans often try to convince the rest of us that Rudolph Giuliani would be an acceptable presidential candidate for all Americans, uniting people of all political backgrounds with a common sense approach to government. The trouble is that Giuliani actually campaigns in coordination with some of the most radical Republicans there are.

      In the spring of 2007, for example, Rudy Giuliani was scheduled to go speak at Pat Robertson's evangelical Christian Regent University. Pat Robertson is known for claiming that he is capable of remotely detecting and healing people's serious medical ailments over broadcast television signals using the power of Jesus, and declaring that Hurricane Katrina was a punishment directed by God against New Orleans. Pat Robertson personally introduced Giuliani at Regent University.

      Giuliani doesn't look like much of a common sense centrist when we pay attention to the company he keeps. Pat Robertson's agenda is not something that all Americans can unite behind. (Source: Associated Press, April 17, 2006)

    33. One story that the mainstream news media didn't pay much attention to this year is the revelation that, in January 2001, France warned the CIA that Osama Bin Laden's organization planned to hijack American airplanes in an attack against the United States.

      It turns out that no extra spying powers were necessary to prevent the attacks of September 11, 2001. George W. Bush just needed to stop celebrating his own inauguration long enough to pay attention to the information that was already available to him. (Source: Independent Online, April 16, 2007)

    34. While doing some reading on another political web site this morning, I glanced at an advertisement for the Conservative Book Club, a business that claims to be "the #1 source for great works by the best conservative thinkers". The best conservative thinkers, huh? Well, that may explain all the problems we've had with conservatives running the government for so long.

      The advertisement identifies the "best conservative thinkers" as Bill O'Reilly, Ann Coulter, Newt Gingrich, and Sean Hannity.

      Dear me. If those people are the best that the so-called conservatives have, it's even more important than I realized that we elect a progressive President in 2008.

    35. The next time you hear about the moral values of the Family Research Council, that powerful Christian Republican support organization, remember this: In 1997, the Family Research Council got a big boost into power by purchasing the mailing list of former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke. The Family Research Council paid $82,500 for the list. (Source: The Nation, April 26, 2005)

    36. Mike Huckabee is a Republican candidate for President, which means that he needs to work with campaign finance laws, which restrict campaign contributions... except in the state of Virginia. Even though he lives hundreds of miles outside of Virginia, Mike Huckabee has set up a campaign political action committee in Virginia, so that he can accept unlimited donations from individuals - even if those individuals do not live in Virginia themselves.

      So, what does Mike Huckabee's political action committee have to do with Virginia? Nothing at all. It's just that Virginia's campaign finance laws make it a great place for wealthy people to buy themselves a presidential candidate. Oops. Did I say "buy themselves a presidential candidate"? Perhaps I should have said, "buy themselves influence with a presidential candidate".

      Mike Huckabee uses the shadowy world of unrestricted campaign donations in Virginia because he doesn't care if rich people purchase influence over his presidential campaign and, if he wins, his presidency. Progressives are against this kind of influence. Progressives have been demanding more open government, accessible to ordinary people regardless of money. Mike Huckabee's big money campaign shows why we need the progressives' more egalitarian vision of government in the White House as a counter to corruption. (Source: Washington Post, May 8, 2007)

    37. In 2005, the Republican Party of Pennnsylvania appeared to be running hard in the competition for the Trophy for Weirdest Bunch of Political Kooks in America. They ran Rick Santorum for re-election in spite of Santorum's consistent support for laws that would result in the nearly constant police investigations of American's private sex lives. They also tried to pass a law that would force children to pledge allegiance whether they want to or not - because in the minds of Pennsylvania Republicans, loyalty means nothing if you can't compel someone to give it.

      And then came word that the Pennsylvania Republican leadership picked Lynn Swann as its best choice for a candidate to run for Governor in 2006, because… well… because Lynn Swann played football really well 25 years ago.

      Lynn Swann truly used to be a joy to watch playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers, but playing football is not the same thing as being Governor of Pennsylvania, obnoxious sports metaphors aside. Lynn Swann has never held elected office. Lynn Swann has absolutely zero public policy experience.

      The Pennsylvania Republicans said that's a good thing. They said that Lynn Swann's complete lack of experience made him an "outsider". That's swell, but my housecat also has no experience with any of the skills required to run the state of Pennsylvania, and yet, I have restrained myself from nominating him for the position of Governor.

      If you think that the Pennsylvania Republicans' pick of Lynn Swann was kind of kooky, you're not alone. The Green Party's former gubernatorial nominee at the time, Michael Morrill, responded to the news of the Republicans' pick for Governor by announcing that he would be trying out for a position playing football for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Morrill asked, "If Lynn Swann can run for governor with absolutely no public policy experience, why shouldn't I be able to try out for the Steelers?"

      Mr. Morrill, for asking the right question at the right time, I thank you.

    38. At a Republican presidential debate, candidate Tommy Thompson was asked, "If a private employer finds homosexuality immoral, should he be allowed to fire a gay worker?"

      Here's what Thompson said in response: "I think that is left up to the individual business. I really sincerely believe that that is an issue that business people have got to make their own determination as to whether or not they should be."

      After Tommy Thompson came under political pressure for that bigoted statement, the former governor of Wisconsin claimed that he advocated firing gay people because he happened to feel the sudden urge to go to the bathroom at the very moment when the question was asked, and he became so distracted that he couldn't give the respectful, tolerant answer he meant to give.

      Can we trust a person who will advocate crazy policies whenever he has to use the potty? What might happen if Tommy Thompson drank a lot of coffee just before a military crisis? Launch a nuclear attack? Huh? Oh, sure, whatever. Listen, I have to run!

      You will never hear progressive presidential candidates justifying the firings of people because they are gay by saying that they had to go poo. (Source: Associated Press, May 12, 2007)

    39. Last year, Kansas Senator Sam Brownback impeded the mechanisms of justice in Michigan by placing a hold on the nomination of Janet T. Neff to become a federal District Court judge. In his position as a United States Senator, that action is legitimately within Sam Brownback's power.

      However, just because a politician has the power to do something does not mean that the politician ought to do it. Wisdom requires the ability to make reasonable decisions about how one's power should be used.

      In this case, Senator Brownback's use of power was rather injudicious. Brownback placed the hold on Janet Neff's nomination because of a same-sex union ceremony. Janet Neff was not part of the couple being united in the ceremony. She did not officiate over the ceremony. She did not organize the ceremony.

      Janet Neff merely saw the same-sex union ceremony. It was on that basis, and no other basis at all, that Senator Sam Brownback blocked Janet Neff's nomination.

      As a right wing Republican, Sam Brownback thinks that same-sex marriage is bad. That's a rather peculiar opinion, for someone who claims to be pro-family. What kind of pro-family politician wants to stop people from getting married?

      Even if you agree with Sam Brownback's extremist idea that same-sex marriage is bad, you'd still have to wonder what caused Senator Brownback to block Janet Neff's nomination. The ceremony she saw wasn't a marriage. It was a union ceremony.

      If you're willing to follow Senator Brownback this far, and conclude that union ceremonies for same-sex couples, as well as marriages, are bad things, then Senator Brownback's block on Janet Neff's confirmation as a federal District Court judge still does't make any sense. After all, Neff wasn't one of the people being united, and wasn't officiating at the ceremony. She just saw it.

      In Senator Brownback's bizarre right wing ideology, it's not good enough for a person to abstain from doing bad things. In order to be considered morally worthy by Sam Brownback, a person has to have not seen other people doing bad things either.

      These kind of kooky ideas about morality affect us all when they are enforced by a politician using his power as a United States Sentor, but they're even more important for us to consider now that Sam Brownback is running for President of the United States. Just imagine this kind of see-no-evil morality in force in the Oval Office.

      Lucky us, we don't have to support the contorted political morality of Sam Brownback and his right wing allies. We can vote to elect a progressive in 2008 instead. (Source: Associated Press, May 10, 2007)

    40. Earlier this year, I listened to the latest debate of Republican presidential candidates, and I heard this from former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee:

      I believe life begins at conception. And I believe that we should do everything possible to protect that life .... and that's why we go out for the 12-year-old Boy Scout in North Carolina when he's lost. That's why we look for the 13 miners in Sago, W.Va., when the mine explodes. That's why we go looking for the hikers on Mount Hood: Because we value life.
      Pay attention: Mike Huckabee not only said that life begins at conception, but also said "we should do everything possible to protect that life." Just in case you didn't get it, Huckabee went on, saying that we should mount operations parallel to the search parties for lost Boy Scouts and to the rescue operations for lost miners.

      There are three possibilities here:

      Possibility One: It's possible Mike Huckabee really means what he says. In that case, if "life begins at conception" and "we should do everything possible to protect that life," then Governor Huckabee should be made aware that, according to testimony before President Bush's own Bioethics Panel, 60 to 80 percent of human conceptions fail to implant or otherwise fail in pregnancy, and 40 to 50 percent of those failed conceptions "did not contain defects or abnormalities, could have been born... and become babies."

      There are approximately 4 million births in the United States each year. To be conservative, let's assume that only 60 percent (not the higher 80 percent estimate) of conceptions fail to come to term. Those 4 million births therefore represent 40 percent of conceptions. That in turn means there are 6 million conceptions which fail to come to term each year. Now, to be conservative again, let's assume that only 40 percent (not the higher 50 percent estimate) of those failed conceptions "did not contain defects or abnormalities, could have been born... and become babies." This means that there are approximately 2,400,000 conceptions each year resulting in embryos that "could have been born... and become babies" but did not. 2.4 million needless deaths! 2.4 million little hikers, trapped in the wilderness! 2.4 million human lives which, according to Mike Huckabee, we should do "everything possible to protect."

      Current thinking within the Republican mainstream is that interfering with the liberty and bodily autonomy of a woman is acceptable in order to prevent abortions, because a little human life is at stake -- a life that begins at conception, whose liberty takes precedence over the liberty of a woman at conception, too. Surely, women's freedom can be restricted to save a life, the argument goes.

      Fine, then. If Mike Huckabee really believes we should do "everything possible to protect" human lives beginning right at conception, and if he is going to make analogies to search parties for Boy Scouts and rescue operations for miners, then surely he must have in mind a program of search and rescue for those 2,400,000 little embryos that could be born and become babies but fail to implant. We don't flinch at shoveling out government resources to find missing 8 year olds lost in the Okeefenokee Swamp, do we? Then we shouldn't flinch at shoveling out government resources to search every sexually-active woman's body to save these little human lives, should we? Well, first we'll need an accurate accounting of every woman's sexual activity so that we know where those little lost embryos might be (the other choice is to search every American woman between the onset of puberty and the onset of menopause). Then, we'll need to have daily blood analysis in the lab to measure changes in gonadotrophins, so that we can tell when a pregnancy begins and when a failure of that pregnancy might be commencing. Then we'll need doctors at the ready to intervene with a thorough search of a woman's body cavity so that the little kiddo can be found and reimplanted. Sure, that's a violation of liberty on a massive scale. Sure, it's a huge big government program that would probably bankrupt the nation. But "we should do everything possible to protect that life!"

      Possibility Two: Mike Huckabee doesn't understand the ramifications of what he has said, and feels comfortable making policy prescriptions limiting the liberty of half the population based on half-baked ideas.

      Possibility Three: Mike Huckabee doesn't really believe what he has said, and is willing to misrepresent himself and his ideas to the American people in order to win election.

      If Possibility One is true, we simply can't afford to support Mike Huckabee's bid for president.

      If Possibility Two is true, a vote for Mike Huckabee is a vote for eight more years of half-baked ideas.

      If Possibility Three is true, a vote for Mike Huckabee is a vote for eight more years of a liar in the Oval Office.

      Mike Huckabee doesn't present any alternative to these possibilities, but there are alternatives beyond Mike Huckabee. For the presidential election of 2008, let's look for someone who is willing to embrace a more nuanced possibility: that while surely some form of human life begins at conception, there are different forms, levels and extents of human life that are more or less worthy of our concern. Let's look for a presidential candidate who is willing to look at the empirical details of pregnancy when formulating policy. Let's look for a presidential candidate who is willing to consider the value of liberty, and not just the value of protection. To avoid the absurdities of Mike Huckabee, we need nuanced philosophy, empiricism, and concern for civil liberty. We need a progressive president. (Sources: President's Council on Bioethics, January 16, 2003; National Center for Health Statistics, December 2006; )

    41. When I was a kid, I used to take cookies out of the cookie jar without asking permission first. It wasn't the worst crime, but I wanted to keep it secret. So, when my mom asked me, "Did you take a cookie from the cookie jar?" I looked my mother straight in the eye and said "No." Once, when I did this, my mother pointed out that I had a smudge of chocolate on the corner of my mouth. "Is that from a cookie?" she asked me. Cornered, I admitted the truth. "Why didn't you tell me that you took the cookie when I asked you before?" she demanded. "I forgot," I told her.

      Did I really forget that I took the cookie, or did I lie about it? I lied of course. I knew all along what I had done.

      Republican politicians are trying the same tactic when they have been caught lying. Supreme Court John Roberts tried it when documents surfaced proving that he was a top leader of the Washington D.C. radical right wing Federalist Society within the last five years. John Roberts, aware of the bad reputation of the Federalist Society, had earlier claimed that he was never a member of that group. So what did he say when he was confronted with this discrepancy? John Roberts said that he had forgotten about it. That's about as believable as a kid saying he doesn't know where the smudge of chocolate on his face came from.

    42. Newt Gingrich did his best to grab the support of Jerry Falwell's followers by giving a political speech before them just a few days after Falwell's death, calling those who oppose Falwell's agenda "radicals". That's right - according to Newt Gingrich, the people who oppose racism, hatred of gays and lesbians, and destroying the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights are radical.

      Gingrich also said, whipping up the audience's religiously-motivated hatred of Jerry Falwell's opponents, "In hostility to American history, the radical secularists insist that religious belief is inherently divisive and that public debate can only proceed on secular terms."

      Isn't it a funny thing how, with that very statement, Newt Gingrich proved that the secularists he's talking about are right? (Source: Seattle Post- Intelligencer, May 19, 2007)

    43. Republican presidential candidate James Gilmore The Third likes to portray himself as a ready guy, seeing the threats on the horizon that America will have to face. The odd thing about Mr. Gilmore, though, is that he is very selective about the kinds of threats he is able to perceive.

      James Gilmore thinks that liberalism is a threat to America. He also worries about what would happen if Americans didn't have a lot of guns. He fears the consequences of civil unions for same-sex couples.

      But global warming? Mention that threat, and James Gilmore won't know what you're talking about. Go ahead and search the Gilmore for President web site. You won't find the phrases "global warming" or "climate change" there at all. The site doesn't use the word "environment" even once.

      When the League of Conservation Voters tried to find a statement by James Gilmore about the threat of global warming for its Heat is On web site, they had to go way back to 2001, when Gilmore denied human responsibility for global warming, saying, "There is not a solid link between greenhouse gases in that warming or at least human conduct and industrial conduct in that warming."

      It seems that, when it comes to threats that are not palatable to his political base, James Gilmore is dedicated to denial. Talk about gun control or gays, and Gilmore will gladly give dire warnings of coming disaster. Mention environmental security, however, and Gilmore becomes strangely silent.

      I suppose James Gilmore the Third has discovered that he can't speak out when he's got his head buried in the sand. (Sources: HeatIsOn.org, JimGilmore08.com)

    44. Every time Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee opens his mouth, he ends up looking a little more nutty than before. Huckabee's latest wild idea is to replace sex education in public schools with religious instruction. While trying to defend abstinence-only education programs in public school, Huckabee said, "I miss the America I grew up in where the Gideons gave Bibles to fifth graders instead of school nurses giving condoms to eighth graders."

      Thanks to Mike Huckabee for illustrating how religious power and sexual repression come together in one kinky little package for right wing activists. Huckabee manages in one breath to promote the transformation of American public schools into Christian madrassas and the continued denial of full and honest sex education for teenagers. Huckabee seems to believe that a Bible is an effective form of contraception. Don't try it at home - the paper cuts can be particularly nasty. (Source: Christian Broadcasting Network News, May 21, 2007)

    45. I always knew that Duncan Hunter was an especially creepy kind of Republican, what with his links to corporations involved in torture, like Titan Corporation. I never realized how kooky he is, too, until I read an article by the right wing Cybercast News Service about a meeting that Duncan Hunter had with a group of people who call themselves Christian Zionists, trying to get their support for his presidential campaign.

      Christian Zionists?!? What the heck is a Christian Zionist? Aren't Zionists supposed to be Jewish? Is this some kind of weird turnaround of Jews for Jesus?

      Not by a long shot. A Christian Zionist is someone who supports Jews going to Israel to push a militaristic attitude on the part of the Israeli government, so that Greater Israel can be established through war, and then all the Jews (except for those that convert to Christianity) can be killed in the aftermath of the second coming of Jesus. As Uri Avnery, leader of an Israeli peace group, explains, Christian Zionists believe that, in the end, "the Jews must convert to Christianity. Those who don't will perish in a gigantic holocaust in the battle of Armageddon."

      It's not really a friendly ideology, is it?

      Duncan Hunter thinks these Christian Zionists are just the kind of people who need to be at the center of the selection of the next President of the United States. I'm inclined to disagree. I'm inclined to think that people who advocate war on the basis of weird prophecies invented thousands of years ago are a threat to our survival when they're given special access to the President of the United States. (Sources: Cybercast News Service, May 21, 2007; The Independent, July 9, 2002)

    46. When considering how you'll vote in the 2008 presidential election, keep in mind the the ideological flights of fanaticism indulged in by some of the candidates. As an example, take Fred Thompson.

      Sure, Fred Thompson hasn't done much for the American public lately, but once upon a time he was a United States Senator. And what did Senator Thompson do with the power that was granted to him by the people of Tennessee?

      Fred Thompson demonstrated his true priorities when, on December 12, 1995, he voted in favor of S. J. Res. 31, which would have established an Amendment to the United States Constitution that would have allowed some forms of political speech to be outlawed. It would have made flag burning a crime.

      Fred Thompson would rather burn American freedoms than allow anyone to burn American flags. Progressives see the issue the other way around. We'd rather see people burning flags than burning our freedoms. (Source: Library of Congress, 104th Congress)

    47. In 2007, it became a big thing among progressives to praise Republican Ron Paul. The reason is Representative Paul's stand on one issue: Iraq.

      However, a candidate for President must deal with more than one issue. So, progressives ought to be careful before praising Ron Paul to the skies just on the basis of his opposition to the continued occupation of Iraq. If they would only take a closer look at Congressman Paul, progressives would recoil at what they discover.

      Consider one issue we don't hear much about with Ron Paul these days: His fear and loathing of African-Americans. The following statements were made by Ron Paul in his newsletter in the 1990s:

      "Given the inefficiencies of what D.C. laughingly calls the 'criminal justice system,' I think we can safely assume that 95 percent of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal."

      "If you have ever been robbed by a black teen-aged male, you know how unbelievably fleet-footed they can be."

      "We are constantly told that it is evil to be afraid of black men, it is hardly irrational. Black men commit murders, rapes, robberies, muggings and burglaries all out of proportion to their numbers."

      "We don't think a child of 13 should be held responsible as a man of 23. That's true for most people, but black males age 13 who have been raised on the streets and who have joined criminal gangs are as big, strong, tough, scary and culpable as any adult and should be treated as such."

      That's just a sample of Ron Paul's racist remarks. Do you still think that he's a great candidate for President? (Source: Houston Chronicle, May 22, 1996)

    48. Republican presidential candidate James Gilmore is getting scared. He's tried to be faithful to the core beliefs of the Religious Right: That foreigners and evildoers threaten to kill us and disintegrate American society, that traditional values are threatened by the liberties of the Bill of Rights, and that global warming is nowhere near as serious a threat as a progressive tax system.

      Still, James Gilmore (his campaign wants you to call him Jim) has not surged in the polls. It's a confusing circumstance, for a politician who has repeatedly gained power in the past by pandering to right wing zealotry.

      So now, James Gilmore has been reduced to pleading. In the Pueblo Chieftan, Gilmore begs for the Religious Right to come to his rescue, warning, "I still believe the faith community could play a role, but . . . they better decide pretty soon, because the three front-runners . . . will become the de facto field unless the conservatives in this country get involved."

      On his own campaign web site, Gilmore searches for ideological moorings as he asks for more right wing support. "Are Republican conservatives going to have a candidate to carry our banner in this process? Or, are we going to be sitting on the sidelines while the GOP nominee is chosen? I believe that unless we begin to work together soon to unite behind a consistent conservative candidate who can speak for us on national security, economic security and traditional family issues, we have little chance of having a Republican nominee who shares our values."

      James Gilmore has noticed something rather striking in the dynamic of the 2008 presidential election. In spite of a lot of hype about the importance of right wing so-called "values voters", the American public, including most Republican voters, just doesn't seem very interested in hearing all the old right wing ideological babbling that has traditionally been the fuel for Republican politics. America has tried the right wing version of reality for years, and found that it brings division, debt, and destruction.

      That shift in American voters' attitudes leaves James Gilmore feeling confused as he flails, ever more vainly, in search of a Christian fundamentalist bandwagon that he can ride into the White House. For us, the disillusionment of American voters with the faith-based nationalist jingoism of the Republican Party only brings additional clarity to the conclusion that 2008 is the year to elect a progressive President. (Sources: Pueblo Chieftan, May 26, 2007; GilmoreForPresident.com)

    49. John Bolton was interviewed as a part of an official investigation about his role in the fraudulent inclusion of false claims about Iraq seeking Nigerian yellowcake uranium used to make nuclear weapons. Later, George W. Bush nominated Bolton to be the next ambassador to the United Nations. Yet, when the United States Senate asked Bolton if he had ever been interviewed in connection to an investigation, Bolton said that he had not.

      During the process of his nomination to the position of U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, the American public learned that John Bolton was, in fact, interviewed as part of an official investigation, what is Bolton's excuse for saying that he had never been interviewed? John Bolton says he forgot.

      Being interviewed in connection with a government investigation is not the sort of thing that most people forget. If John Bolton really did forget his interview, and didn't lie to the Senate, I wonder if he now has forgotten that he was ever kicked out of his position as Ambassador to the United Nations in disgrace.

    50. Two and a half years ago, I wrote about James Hart, the Republican candidate for Congress in Tennessee's 8th congressional district. In 2004, James Hart got 78 percent of the vote in the Republican primary for Congress. He earned that support by promoting a program of eugenics in which members "favored races" are promoted over others.

      Hart blames the decline of Detroit on the presence of "less favored races" there (rather than the idiotic reliance of Ford, GM and Chrysler executives upon short term promotional activities rather than long-term preparation of hybrid and other energy efficient technology). He created a special graphic in order to compare people of non-European descent to cavemen, australopithecines, and apes.

      Guess what? James Hart is running for the Republican nomination to Congress again in 2008.

      Right wing presidential candidates try to win by appealing to the same kind of Republican voters who provide support to politicians like James Hart. I think that counts as another reason to counter the right wing agenda in 2008, and vote to elect a progressive President instead. (Source: JamesHartForCongress.com, November 2004 and May 2007)

    51. The Republican candidates for President are running hard to court the fanatical right wing base of the Republican Party, even while they're pretending to present a more reasonable face to the rest of us. The result is a dishonest cover-up of their core right wing agenda. Mitt Romney wants to deny equal rights to same-sex couples, but then protests that he's not an anti-gay bigot. Mike Huckabee says that he doesn't believe in evolution and wants Christian Creationist theology taught in high school science classes, but then insists that he is not trying to replace science with religion in public schools. John McCain supports George W. Bush on the Iraq War all the way, but then tries to get us to believe that he's a maverick who goes his own way.

      There is one Republican candidate for President, however, who doesn't mince words. He comes right out and says all the nasty stuff that the other Republicans only hint and gesture at.

      Republican presidential candidate Hugh Cort not only makes the blatant claim that Saddam Hussein was responsible for the attacks of September 11, 2001, he's even written a book promoting this discredited conspiracy theory, entitled, Saddam's Attacks on America: 1993; September 11, 2001; and the Anthrax Attacks.

      Cort says that being the ideological heir of Ronald Reagan is not good enough. "I believe we need a President who is more conservative than Ronald Reagan and I am that candidate," he says.

      Cort doesn't pussy foot around with suggestions of adding just 30,000 or 40,000 soldiers to the war in Iraq. He wants a real escalation: "If we get 100,000-200,000 more boots on the ground, like the wise General Shinseki wanted, we can finally secure Iraq and win the war."

      Cort doesn't just follow the Republican example of saying that he's against abortion without ever trying to get a law passed to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision. Cort plans to amend the Constitution to ban abortion nationwide. "Not only will I fight to get Roe v. Wade overturned, I will fight to pass an amendment protecting all human life," he explains. Would that amendment ban war to protect human life, Mr Cort?

      Cort doesn't engage in bigotry against gays with pretty phrases designed to cushion the blow. He promises Biblical genocide against America if it refuses to outlaw homosexual relationships, saying, "Gay marriage is wrong. Not even Sodom and Gomorrah had the nerve to call the homosexual relationship ‘marriage' and look what happened to them."

      Cort doesn't make mealy-mouthed statements about the relevance of faith in public life. He believes that he is a prophet directly chosen by God to be the next Republican of the United States. "I believe God has called me to run for the presidency to get America back to God so He can bless us and protect us," he writes.

      Hugh Cort is a kook, but he's an honest kook, revealing the concealed political ideology that motivates support for the other Republican candidates. Cort's open kookiness is the heart of the right wing, unmasked. (Source: HughCort2008.com)

    52. Those politicians who urge American voters to reject progressive ideals in favor of right wing ideology don't seem to stand up to much scrutiny. For example, Republican Fred Thompson is asking Americans to elect him President of the United States in 2008. As President, Fred Thompson would be given the task of managing the entire Executive Branch of the Federal Government. What experience does Fred Thompson have that would lead anyone to expect that he would be capable of such a job?

      Fred Thompson did serve on the board of directors for an engineering firm called Stone and Webster. However, that board was sued by shareholders outraged at the extreme mismanagement that took place with Fred Thompson's help. Fred Thompson was personally accused of having an unethical conflict of interest.

      Fred Thompson's kind of leadership didn't serve Stone and Webster very well. While Thompson was on the Stone and Webster board of directors, the company lost money. Finally, in part because of Fred Thompson's mismanagement, Stone and Webster went bankrupt. People lost jobs. Families paid the price of Fred Thompson's failure to lead.

      With his history of failed leadership, Fred Thompson has the gall to suggest that he's a better pick for President than the progressive alternatives. If you want Fred Thompson to do to America what he did to Stone and Webster, then, by all means vote for him. Otherwise, support a progressive candidate for President in 2008. (Source: USA Today, June 6, 2007)

    53. Progressives get involved in politics because of their dedication to their principles. That doesn't seem to be why politics appealed to Fred Thompson. On the contrary, Fred Thompson's professional resume shows that he has used politics mainly for two reasons: To serve the rich and powerful, and to make some money for himself.

      Fred Thompson's entry into politics was as a lobbyist. Fred Thompson's career as a lobbyist began way back in the 1970s, but has continued almost right up to his entry into the field of politicians seeking the Republican nomination in 2008.

      The influence of Fred Thompson appears to be for hire. He's worked, for instance, as a lobbyist for big energy corporations like General Electric and Westinghouse Electric Corporation. He promoted the dishonest economic schemes of the savings and loan industry as one of its hired hands back in the 1980s, right before the savings and loan institutions were exposed as part of a sham that profited at the expense of ordinary working Americans.

      Fred Thompson has spent almost all of his political life as lobbyist, promoting the selfish schemes of the rich and powerful. What makes anyone think he wouldn't continue this aspect of his career if elected President? (Sources: USA Today, June 6, 2007; The Nation, May 2, 2007; Media Matters, June 5, 2007)

    54. Republican Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee thinks that the gulags of Guantanamo Bay are lovely places. "I can tell you, most of our prisoners would love to be in a facility more like Guantanamo and less like the state prisons that people are in in the United States," Huckabee says.

      Having read through the government's own investigations of the prisons at Guantanamo Bay, I know at least one prisoner there who would disagree with Mike Huckabee.

      The following statements come from document DOJFBI-001773, obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union. That document is a report on a series of interrogations of a prisoner being held by the United States government at Camp Delta in Guantanamo Bay.

      On [censored] slammed his head against his cell door in an attempt to injure himself. [censored] was unconscious for a short period of time and received stitches on his forehead.

      [censored] was asked about a scar on his right arm. he replied that it was the result of a suicide attempt, which he claimed was one of several since his incarceration at Camp Delta. It was explained to [censored] that his conditions at Camp Delta would improve only if he fully cooperated.
      This document makes it clear that the conditions at Camp Delta, which are unspecified in document DOJFBI-001773, are of such a condition that the prisoner has begun to engage in severely self-destructive behavior, indicating severe psychological damage. The interrogators observe the prisoner purposefully hitting his head so hard against a door that he is knocked unconscious and requires stitches, and have reason to believe that the prisoner has attempted suicide several times while at Camp Delta.

      Any ordinary person would recognize that interrogation of a prisoner in such a mental state is useless, because a person who is so mentally disturbed as to attempt suicide several times and smash his skull on purpose is not in a state to give reliable information.

      Yet, the American interrogators did not seek to place the prisoner in a state of mind that would elicit reliable testimony. Instead, they abused the mental instability of the prisoner. They tried to use the conditions at Camp Delta, conditions that were at the very least contributing to the unhinged suicidal masochistic state of the prisoner, to coerce testimony. The interrogators told the insane prisoner that they would not alter the conditions that were making him insane unless he started telling them what they wanted to hear.

      Progressives perceive that the system of interrogation that tries to increase the mental illness of the prisoners it is trying to get information from is as insane as the prisoners it tortures. Yet, American right wingers believe that this system is a model for how the American system of justice ought to work.

      The choice between these ideas ought to be easy to make. Forget Mike Huckabee and his sadistic right wing colleagues. Pick the progressive for President in 2008. (Sources: Department of Justice document DOJFBI-001773; ACLU; Associated Press, June 10, 2007)

    55. George W. Bush needs a new White House counselor, someone to tell him what to do. So he's picked (or had picked for him) Ed Gillespie. Gillespie is the past head of the Republican National Committee who informed us that any criticism of Bush's Iraq war policy is "political hate speech". I'd counsel Gillespie not to try that line again.

      Ed Gillespie is also a corporate lobbyist with an extensive history of representing big business interests. Senate lobbying disclosure records show the following list of corporations for which Ed Gillespie has carried the torch:

      Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care (nursing home industry)
      The American Trucking Association
      Amgen
      Bank of America
      Bell South
      Bristol Myers Squibb
      Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation
      Catholic Health Association
      CBS
      Coalition for Encryption Reform/Americans for Computer Privacy (corporate shell group)
      College Loan Corporation
      Daimler Chrysler
      Environmental Communications
      Equitas Limited
      Federal Express
      FM Policy Focus (mortgage lender PR front group)
      FM Watch (same)
      Genworth Financial
      International Dairy Foods Association
      Lorillard Tobacco Company
      MassMutual Life Insurance Corporation
      McDermott, Will and Emery Government Development Bank
      National Air Traffic Controllers Association
      Philip Morris Tobacco Corporation
      PriceWaterHouseCoopers LLP
      Recording Industry Association of America
      RJR Nabisco
      Sabre Incorporated
      Safeway
      Southern Co. Services
      State Street Bank and Trust
      Teaming Against Taxes Coalition (manufacturers front group)
      Technology Network
      US Telecom Association
      US Tobacco
      Verizon
      Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz (mergers and acquisitions corporate law firm)
      Williams & Connolly

      What interests will Ed Gillespie represent when he has the president's ear? Is this sort of branded counsel what you have in mind for the American presidency?

    56. Why does Republican presidential candidate Tom Tancredo want to outlaw immigration to the United States? It's because he's tired of having to "press 1 for English". I'm not kidding: that's exactly what Tancredo asserted in a Republican presidential debate of June 2007 - and the Republican audience cheered for him. Tancredo's larger point was that he was tired of being inconvenienced by people being different from him. Tancredo's solution to all this difference? "Assimilate them!"

      If you're tired of politicians who can't handle a little bit of difference, if you'd like your president to sound more like Jean-Luc Picard and less like a Borg drone, you'll have to look beyond the Republican field this season.

      Fight the hive mentality. Resistance is not futile. Make a stand against the American Borg; vote Progressive in 2008. (Source: Republican Presidential Debate Transcript, June 2007)

    57. Back in March, White House spokesperson Dana Perino said that "only a handful" of White House employees had been conducting official White House business on email accounts owned and operated by the Republican National Committee.

      It sounds like a small issue until one realizes its implications. The President is required by the Presidential Records Act to "take all such steps as may be necessary to assure that the activities, deliberations, decisions, and policies that reflect the performance of his constitutional, statutory, or other official or ceremonial duties are adequately documented and maintained as Presidential records." That means that it is against the law for White House officials to conduct business in such a way that purposefully evades the requirement of keeping records of their activities and communications.

      Conducting White House business on email accounts owned and operated by the Republican National Committee is a way of purposefully evading the requirements of the Presidential Records Act. It is therefore a grave violation of the law.

      When the White House does not follow the Presidential Records Act, the Congress cannot know what the Executive Branch of government is really doing. If Congress does not know what the Executive Branch of government is doing, then it cannot oversee Executive activities, as it its constitutional power and duty.

      Keep that in mind when I tell you that Dana Perino lied when she said that only a handful of White House employees were using email accounts from the Republican National Committee to conduct official White House business. Dana Perino later said that 50 White House employees were using Republican Party email accounts, violating the Presidential Records Act. She was lying again. The actual number of White House employees that have been using GOP email accounts to keep their official White House activities undocumented was 88.

      That's 88 White House officials who have been caught violating federal law, and more may be uncovered. What's more, the national Republican Party was involved in helping them break the law. This politically-motivated Republican effort to help White House officials break that law brings into doubt any presidential candidate who runs under the label of Republican. (Source: House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, June 18, 2007)

    58. It's bad enough that the Bush White House systematically worked with the Republican National Committee to set up RNC email accounts for at least 88 White House officials to use in order to avoid keeping official records of their activities that could be reviewed by Congress. That's a violation of the Presidential Records Act. White House officials are required by law to use White House email for official business, and to preserve the emails as official records.

      What's worse is that the Presidential Records Act was broken yet again when the Republican National Committee deleted all the emails written by 51 out of the 88 known White House officials using Republican National Committee email accounts. Those email accounts have been subpoenaed by Congress in order to investigate the activities of the White House, but the congressional investigation has been stifled by the deleted accounts.

      Furthermore, in the Republican Party email accounts that were preserved, there are what the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform calls "major gaps" in which emails over long periods of time have been deleted.

      The Republican National Committee says that its deletion of huge numbers of official White House records is all just a big mistake. Well, yes, it is a mistake. It's a mistake akin to the one made by President Richard Nixon when he deleted portions of the White House tapes recordings made in the Oval Office.

      The Bush White House's supposed mistake ought to be dealt with in the same way that Richard Nixon's mistaken deletion was dealt with. The trust of the American people is broken when the Bush White House and the Republican Party engage in such a thorough effort to hide and destroy public documents that record the activities of their government. (Source: House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, June 18, 2007)

    59. Think Ron Paul is a progressive kind of Republican just because he's against continuing the Iraq War? Pay attention to the details. For example, there's Ron Paul's opposition to international organizations in a way that is reminiscent of the beliefs of John Birch Society members that United Nations black helicopters are planning to invade the United States.

      Ron Paul opposes the International Criminal Court, saying, "organizations like the International Criminal Court are a threat to our independence as a nation. They transfer power from our government to unelected foreign elites. The ICC wants to try our soldiers as war criminals."

      Of course, some American soldiers are war criminals, having tortured prisoners of war or engaged in deliberate massacres. Why is Ron Paul defending them?

      Ron Paul joins in with the wacky right in claiming that there's a special conspiracy to replace the United States with a new nation "called the North American Union. This spawn of powerful special interests, would create a single nation out of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, with a new unelected bureaucracy and money system. Forget about controlling immigration under this scheme."

      Ron Paul teaches us the lesson that what progressive-for-a-Republican really means is not-progressive-at- all. In 2008, we need to elect the real thing, a genuine progressive. (Source: American Independence and Sovereignty, RonPaul2008.com)

    60. Rudolph Giuliani makes a big deal of talking about his leadership as he goes around the country campaigning to become President in 2008. But, when it comes down to the most basic aspect of leadership, Rudy Giuliani has a pattern of failure.

      When he is called upon to lead, Giuliani just doesn't show up.

      New York Newsday is reporting that Rudolph Giuliani was selected to serve on the Iraq Study Group, but was later forced to quit when he didn't bother to show up for even one meeting.

      What was Giuliani doing that was so much more important than working with others to figure out how to solve the mess in Iraq? He was out earning millions of dollars, giving paid political speeches to groups of rich and powerful insiders.

      That gives an indication of Giuliani's real moral values. He'll gladly abandon the needs of the soldiers fighting in Iraq in order to make a buck for himself. If Giuliani does get elected President in 2008, will he bother to show up to work? Giuliani could go down in history as the President who wasn't there. (Source: New York Newsday, June 19, 2007)

    61. Back in the autumn of 2002, as Fred Thompson was preparing to cast a vote in favor of starting a war in Iraq, where the American military is still stuck in a deepening quagmire five years later, he gave gushing praise to George W. Bush. Reflecting on the speech that President Bush gave before the United Nations urging the world to unite to wage war in Iraq, Fred Thompson declared, "The President made a magnificent speech."

      Oh, it was a good speech all right. It was effective in convincing the American people that starting a war in Iraq was a great idea.

      The trouble is that Bush's good speech was an act of rotten leadership. There's a big difference between making a persuasive speech and leading a nation in the right direction. Effective leaders don't just make compelling speeches. They also craft effective policies and plan for the future. Bush didn't do that. He just gave a speech and trusted that everything else would work itself out in the end.

      The trouble with Fred Thompson is that he didn't seem to know the difference between good speechmaking and good leadership any more than Bush himself did. Though he was a powerful Senator with close ties to the Bush White House at the time, Fred Thompson did nothing to ensure that the Bush Administration developed sound plans for the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

      No, George W. Bush made a magnificent speech, and that was enough for Fred Thompson.

      It makes sense, in a way, that Fred Thompson does not understand the difference between putting on a show and providing solid leadership. After all, Thompson has spent much of his life being an actor, pretending to be characters on TV and in the movies in order to entertain people, even though he didn't really have the substance to sustain the substance of those characters. For Fred Thompson's career, holding up a few moments of the appearance of seriousness has been enough. Apparently, Fred Thompson is hoping that kind of show will be enough to keep voters enthralled during the 2008 presidential election.

      The international prestige of the United States has been diminished enough by this emphasis of style above substance. In 2008, we need to elect a President who has the substance of well-considered progressive ideals, not just the glitz of show business. (Source: News Release from the Office of Senator Fred Thompson, September 12, 2002)

    62. In a speech praising George W. Bush's push for war in Iraq, Fred Thompson demonstrated a particularly authoritarian streak. When he joins the Republican debates, I doubt you'll hear Fred Thompson even utter George W. Bush's name; Thompson's pollsters have undoubtedly informed him that references to the deeply unpopular Bush are strategically unwise. But when it counted back in 2002, when millions of Americans were beginning to question the wisdom of Bush's leadership and the veracity of his contentions, Fred Thompson used his power as a U.S. Senator to tell Americans that it was our job to sit down, shut up, stop questioning and fall in line behind George W. Bush.

      The U.S. Congress is designated by the Constitution to act as a check on a reckless president. Yet Senator Fred Thompson declared that the Congress ought to abandon its responsibility and just fall in line instead. "I urge we maintain the status quo there; that we not take another step to restrict the President," intoned Senator Thompson with his expressive jowls a-waggling. When it came to the question of either questioning authority or obeying authority, Fred Thompson came down firmly on the side of authoritarianism:

      I believe on these close questions, if indeed my colleagues believe it is a close question, that we ought to give the President the benefit of the doubt. He is now, without boast, the leader of the free world. As we are facing the challenge of terrorism and the challenge that is presented by Saddam Hussein, as evidenced by his speech today, the ears of the entire world were trained upon him. That is not anything to do with him personally. That is the position of the President of the United States.

      In times such as these, if you can compare any other time with this - especially in times of war, especially in times of issues of war and peace whoever is President of the United States is the leader of the free world and is the leader in espousing those values that we hold dear, knowing as the entire world does that we are going to be on the front lines of any enforcement action the world deems necessary for the cause of freedom and democracy.

      That is not a hokie sentiment. That is not Democrat-Republican. That is just reality.
      We know what happened after the U.S. Senate fell in line as Fred Thompson suggested. Thanks to the likes of Fred Thompson and those who marched under his authoritarian banner, America is stuck in a quagmire and weaker than ever before. The problem is not just that Fred Thompson was substantively dead wrong in his factual assertions when backing up George W. Bush's gung-ho line. The problem is also that Fred Thompson led the charge for Americans to stop asking questions, stop thinking for themselves, and just let the president go ahead with his plans. Thompson's speech was full of the kind of inaccurate scaremongering that poisoned our political atmosphere and drove our country on dangerous errands to toward destructive ends.

      And the problem doesn't stop there. After all, Fred Thompson said, it was nothing personal. We should blindly fall in line behind whomever the President of the United States might happen to be. "That is just reality", Thompson declares. Do you want another eight years with a man in office who thinks it is Americans' job to shut up, toe the line, and salute the president? We can't afford another eight years like that. That's why a man like Fred Thompson should never be our president. In place of authoritarianism, we need to return to the energetic questioning of a president, and we need a president who thinks that questions aren't the work of evildoers. (Source: Remarks of Fred Thompson on the Floor of the U.S. Senate, September 12 2002)

    63. The separation between the Bush administration and reality has just gained new breadth. You know it's time for a big change in Washington when the Vice President of the United States declares in all sincerity that his office: "does not consider itself an 'entity within the executive branch that comes into the possession of classified information'."

      Dick Cheney makes this assertion in order to claim that he doesn't have to detail or justify his handling of classified information, even though federal law specifically requires him, as part of the "executive branch that comes into the possession of classified information," to do so.

      Clearly, the Office of the Vice President of the United States comes into the possession of classified information. After all, Dick Cheney personally authorized his Chief of Staff in the Vice President's Office to release classified information to gain political advantage. You can't release classified information if you don't have it. If that isn't enough for you, there's the White House's own description of Dick Cheney's relationship to classified information. Read this official photograph caption from the White House itself:

      "Vice President Dick Cheney participates in a classified briefing Wednesday, May 9, 2007, inside the Green Zone in Baghdad with U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker and General David Petraeus, Commader of U.S. forces in Iraq."

      Clearly Vice President Dick Cheney "comes into the possession of classified information." That means the part of the clause to which Dick Cheney's denial pertains must be the bit about the Office of the Vice President being an "entity within the executive branch."

      Either Dick Cheney's gourd is completely scraped out, or he has seceded from the Union! To what body does the Office of the Vice President now belong - the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists? (Sources: Letter from Rep. Henry Waxman to Vice President Dick Cheney, June 21, 2007; National Journal February 9, 2006; White House News Release May 9, 2007)

    64. In the Irregular Times Diaries earlier this year, I took a look at the issues that Fred Thompson chose to deal with at the height of his time in the United States Senate, and concluded that Fred Thompson was an unremarkable senator.

      It wasn't too long before a Thompson-supporter came along to explain that it's actually a really good thing that Fred Thompson never amounted to much in the United States Senate. This person wrote, "You fail to understand what most Americans understand is that we want Senators and House reps that do less. If they do nothing at all that's fine with most Americans."

      I promise that I didn't make this comment up. The argument from the right wing in defense of Fred Thompson's mediocrity is that not achieving anything important is exactly what we need in the next President of the United States.

      Well, my next door neighbor has done even less politically than Fred Thompson. Why not pick him as a presidential candidate then, if inaction is really the highest qualification for the Oval Office? For that matter, if having politicians that do nothing is really what Americans want, why not elect a big slab of rock as President?

      The only response to that question, from the right wing perspective, would seem to be that rocks are not valid citizens of the United States.

      We have to do better than that.



      Campaigning for President in Littleton, New Hampshire, Republican Tom Tancredo told a crowd of people, "I'm running for President to win back our sovereignty, our identity, and our destiny." What Tancredo meant by that comment is not clear to most Americans, though right wing zealots may pick up on some cues that evade the rest of us.

      The United States has sovereignty. The Congress and the President together choose which international agreements to enter into, and are free to revoke American participation in those agreements if there's enough political agreement to do so.

      I think I might understand what Tom Tancredo means when he talks about winning back the American identity, but I don't understand why he in particular is talking in that way. After all, the right wing movement which Tom Tancredo belongs to has been in control of the American government for years.

      Most of all, I don't understand what Tom Tancredo means when he talks about winning back America's destiny. What destiny is Tom Tancredo talking about? Does Tom Tancredo really believe that there is a special destiny for America, and if so, how does he know what that is? Does Tom Tancredo believe that he is a prophet who has been given special powers to see what will happen in the future?

      Furthermore, if Tom Tancredo wants to win America's destiny back, who does he want to win it back from? How will that work? How do you go about winning back a destiny?

      If Tom Tancredo is winning back America's destiny, then how come he's doing so poorly with his presidential campaign? If it were really the destiny of America to fit Tom Tancredo's vision for what it ought to be, wouldn't he be doing better in his campaign?

      The weirdest idea among all of Tancredo's suggestions is that a destiny is something that can be lost and is something that you can win back. The American Heritage Dictionary defines the word destiny as follows:

      1. The inevitable or necessary fate to which a particular person or thing is destined; one's lot 2. A predetermined course of events considered as something beyond human power or control 3. The power or agency thought to predetermine events The essence of destiny is that it is neither won nor lost. It just is. The essence of destiny is that the outcome of events has already been decided - and not by human beings. It's a weird, cosmic, supernatural idea akin to fate. If you really believe in destiny, then you've got to believe that there's nothing anyone - not even Tom Tancredo - can do about it.

      There are two possible explanations of Tom Tancredo's declaration that he is going to win back America's destiny. The first explanation is that Tom Tancredo believes in the predestination of events, but also believes that he has the supernatural power to shape the cosmos and change destiny itself. The second explanation is that Tom Tancredo doesn't really believe that can win back America's destiny from whomever it has been lost to, but thought that saying that he could sounded good.

      In the first case, Tom Tancredo is insane. In the second case, Tom Tancredo is a sloppy thinker who says whatever he thinks sounds good, whether it makes sense or not. In neither case is Tom Tancredo a good choice for President of the United States. (Sources: American Heritage Dictionary, Fourth Edition; New Hampshire Union Leader, June 24, 2007)

    65. Republicans just can't seem to get their minds around the concept of personal responsibility. Take Colorado Republican Tom Tancredo, for example.

      At a Republican picnic in Dubuque, Iowa, Congressman Tancredo acknowledged that the Republican Congress had messed things up for America. "We have paid a price as Republicans because we are no longer in control, but it's what we deserved," he said.

      I'm glad to see Tom Tancredo acknowledge that he and his Republican colleagues share responsibility for the mess America has gotten into over the last several years. I just wish that he would follow that idea to its logical consequence.

      The problem with Tom Tancredo is that, after acknowledging his blame, he promoted his campaign for President in 2008 anyway. Even though Tancredo admits that he and his colleagues don't deserve to be in control of Congress, he asks to be put in charge of the White House.

      That's the Republican idea of responsibility for you: Give a little mea culpa, and then act like nothing ever happened. (Source: Des Moines Register, June 25, 2007)

    66. Republican President George W. Bush has been issued congressional subpoenas with the mandatory force of law behind them. These subpoenas legally require Bush to turn over documents regarding Bush's illegal actions in unleashing wiretaps without warrants, which are clearly required by the 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution. It appears that the Bush administration illegally withheld information regarding these illegal warrantless wiretaps from the Congress. And now George W. Bush has declared that he will ignore the congressional subpoenas, asserting that he is above the law. When you have to read a paragraph regarding the president multiple times in order to figure out how many violations of the law are involved, you know something is very wrong. None of the conservatives running for President in 2008 under the Republican Party banner have repudiated George W. Bush for his extralegal behavior. If you want a presidential candidate who respects the rule of law, you'll have to look elsewhere. (Sources: Washington Post June 28, 2007; Washington Post January 1, 2006)

    67. The political character of Ron Paul is defined by suspicion. Sometimes, that suspicion leads Ron Paul into a justified opposition to destructive government policies, like the occupation of Iraq and the Patriot Act.

      At other times, however, Ron Paul's propensity for suspicion leads him to perceive grand conspiracies where there is little sign of any significant threat. Usually, Paul's paranoia leads him into an explanation of how the United Nations is out to get us all by depriving the United States of its sovereignty.

      So it is that, in October 2005, Ron Paul announced his opposition to the effort to establish a Peacebuilding Commission and a Democracy Fund at the United Nations. Paul called these efforts a "big step toward destroying national sovereignty - a step that could threaten the United States in the future."

      How do the Peacebuilding Commission and Democracy Fund at the UN destroy national sovereignty and threaten the United States? Ron Paul wasn't exactly clear in explaining that.

      Reading Ron Paul's own criticism of the Peacebuilding Commission, it's clear to see that his fears are based upon some sizeable leaps in speculation. For example, Paul encourages readers to interpret the Peacebuilding Commission's work to integrate the prevention of war, and reconstruction after war into development strategies as evidence of an attempt to create an international military force. "Think of this as the core of a future UN army that will claim the right to intervene in any conflict anywhere," Ron Paul suggests. To think of the Peacebuilding Commission this way, however, requires a great deal of presumption. We might as well think of the Peacebuilding Commission as the core of a future international public broadcasting system as the core of a future UN army.

      Ron Paul then leaps to the Democracy Fund, and accuses it of being a false front in the effort to pay for "this UN army" - the army that doesn't exist yet. Paul asks a lot of rhetorical questions that are intended to lead people to share his belief in the threat of the Democracy Fund and its supposed UN army. Paul writes,

      "We must ask ourselves whether this "global democracy fund" will be used to undermine or overthrow elected governments that do not meet some UN-created democratic criteria. Will it be used to further the kinds of color-coded revolutions we have seen from Eastern Europe to the Middle East, which far from being genuine expressions of popular will are in fact fomented with outside money and influence? Could it eventually be used against the United States? What if the U.S. is determined lacking when it comes to UN-defined democratic responsibilities such as providing free public housing or universal health care?"

      Well, those are some interesting questions, but Ron Paul doesn't provide the answer to any of them. The reason is that he doesn't have any of the answers. Ron Paul can suggest that the Democracy Fund will be used in conjunction with the Peacebuilding Commission to create a UN army that will then invade the United States because we have inadequate health care, but he doesn't have any actual evidence for such a plan.

      Progressives understand that there is too much need for positive international cooperation to bother following right wing conspiracy theories about invasions by secret United Nations armies that don't even exist yet. (Source: AntiWar.com, October 4, 2005)

    68. Hillary Clinton has given a much-deserved criticism of a paranoid and ill-informed characterization of Cuban immigrants made by Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson. Last week, while campaigning in South Carolina, Thompson declared that 1,000 Cubans had been picked up entering the United States in 2005.

      "I don't imagine they're coming here to bring greetings from Castro. We're living in the era of the suitcase bomb," said Thompson. Catch the message? It seems that Fred Thompson thinks that people trying to come to the United States from Cuba are all a bunch of terrorists, with their suitcase bombs hidden in their rickety boats.

      Hillary Clinton said of Thompson's remark, "Apparently he doesn't have a lot of experience in Florida or anywhere else, and doesn't know a lot of Cuban-Americans."

      Fred Thompson has tried to justify his remark by saying that he was just talking about spies from Cuba, not Cuban immigrants. Really? Does Fred Thompson really think that a big wave of one thousand spies from Cuba tried to enter the United States in 2005, with suitcase bombs?

      That's silly, and so is Thompson's claim that we are "living in the era of the suitcase bomb". When historians look back on this decade, they won't have much reason to call this period in time the Era Of The Suitcase Bomb. There have not been many suitcase bombers, really, in the big scheme of things.

      There have been a lot of people speculating that terrorists could use suitcase bombs to wreak havoc within the United States, but their speculation has never come to fruition. Fred Thompson ought to be ashamed of himself for mistaking speculation with actual events.

      In 2008, we need a President who doesn't confuse the elaborate leaps in logic in TV show scripts with reality. (Source: Associated Press, July 1, 2007)

    69. New York Times reporters David Barstow and Robin Stein discovered a system of Bush administration propaganda, masquerading as independently-reported "news", that is much more extensive than previously thought. The Bush administration has sent out loads of video clips, narrated by "reporters" who are actually government agents, sometimes not even using their real names — but the video clips don't tell you that. It turns out that local news outfits across the country, strapped for ideas and cutting back reporting staff, have eaten this stuff like candy. The result: news programs directly present the Bush administration line while leading viewers to believe that such propaganda is unvarnished, unbiased local reporting.

      The Government's General Accounting Office ruled that such behavior is illegal. But the Bush administration has sent out a memo to its staffers, telling them to just keep on doing what they've been doing, and not to mind the law. (Source: New York Times, March 13, 2007)

    70. Those who have promoted the idea of making Republican Tommy Thompson the next President of the United States would do well to explain Thompson's obsession with America washing its hands.

      Back in 2001, Tommy Thompson helped feed the Homeland Security paranoia in reaction to a few isolated incidents using non-weaponized anthrax spores. As Secretary of Health and Human Services, Thompson held a question-and-answer session, and told Americans that they ought to protect themselves from terrorism by washing their hands every time they touched a package that seemed unusual.

      As nice as it may have been to have shiny, clean hands across America, all this extra hand washing really wasn't necessary. Only a very tiny number of Americans came in contact with packages that had anthrax spores on them.

      There wasn't a widespread anthrax attack. Almost no one in the United States had any reason to be concerned. Yet, Tommy Thompson encouraged everyone to be afraid, to view any package that was unusual in some way as a potential source of death by bioterrorism. Thompson told Americans that they should wash their hands to deal with the fear he had provoked.

      In short, Tommy Thompson reacted to an isolated problem by nudging Americans toward obsessive compulsive disorder. America needs to wash its hands of this right wing obsession with an omnipresent state of security. (Source: CNN, October 23, 2001)

    71. Republican James Gilmore is asking for the opportunity to lead the United States as President in 2008. Prime among the qualifications that he cites is his leadership of the Republican Party during much of the presidency of George W. Bush. In fact, Gilmore was chosen as the chair of the Republican National Committee by Bush just after Bush's election in 2000.

      The criterion for success as chair of the Republican National Committee was set by Gilmore himself, who said, upon the announcement of his selection by Bush,

      "The president-elect has shared with me, over a long period of time now, his desire to see the party broaden, to broaden its base, and to bring additional people in. He has led by example in this regard here in the state of Texas. He's made it clear that this is the goal that he wishes that the party to achieve, to bring more people in from the Hispanic community, the African-American community, all regions of the United States of America, and to make this party broader even than it is now."

      Jim Gilmore saw it as his job to increase the number of Hispanic Republicans, African-American Republicans, and Republicans from districts not traditionally known as Republican strongholds. By that criterion, James Gilmore failed in his job as chair of the RNC. The Republican Party did not become more ethnically or regionally diverse during the time that Gilmore became its leader.

      By his own standards, James Gilmore is a failed leader. Why would Americans elect him to lead their nation in 2008? (Source: CNN, December 22, 2000)

    72. One way to evaluate the candidates for President is to check how closely their personal perceptions match political reality. A politician who doesn't understand the difference between political reality and his or her own perceptions won't be able to respond to the desires of the American people or to advance his or her own agenda in a way that is relevant to the country as a whole. In this respect, it seems that Fred Thompson has a serious problem. Fred Thompson's perception of political reality is shaped more by the opinions of Washington D.C. elite insiders than by the political impressions of people living outside of the nation's capital.

      For example, consider Fred Thompson's opinion of what people think about Dick Cheney. Here's what Thompson has had to say on the matter:

      "People like Dick Cheney. So many of the people around here have known him for many years and they just like him personally because he's a guy of superb character."

      Fred Thompson made this statement upon the selection of Dick Cheney as the vice presidential running mate for George W. Bush back in 2000. You know, I'm not a Washington D.C. insider like Fred Thompson or Dick Cheney. So, I don't know if Dick Cheney really was popular with the Washington D.C. crowd at that time.

      The point is that likability has not actually been one of Dick Cheney's strongest political assets as Vice President. In fact, among the American people as a whole, Dick Cheney is even less well liked than George W. Bush.

      Fred Thompson doesn't seem to have been able to pick up on that liability. In fact, Thompson's perceptions have been proven to be directly at odds with those of the American people. It appears that Thompson has spent so many years working the corridors as a lobbyist and politician in Washington D.C. that he became unable, years ago, to tell the difference between the inside-the-beltway buzz and the interests of the American people. (Source: CNN, July 31, 2000)

    73. Republican Senator David Vitter of Louisiana, May 25 2006, speaking in support of a constitutional amendment to keep gays and lesbians from being able to marry, proclaimed,
      "I'm proud to join Matt and the entire Alliance for Marriage in support of the Marriage Protection Amendment and other pro-family, pro-marriage initiatives that we are pursuing in the Congress. Matt, I think your group, including the representatives here today, illustrate what a broad and deep consensus this is in the country that marriage is the union between a man and a woman... Your group recognizes a central truth from throughout human history, that marriage is the most important social institution in human history and is the most significant factor in terms of minimizing all sorts of social ills."
      On Wednesday, March 29 2006, David Vitter sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, asking him to support passage of the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act, which by upping penalties for the saying of naughty words would "be very beneficial to the life and the health of the family in America& "

      David Vitter of Louisiana voted YES on the Largent Amendment in the House in 1999, to prohibit gay couples from being able to adopt children in Washington, DC. David Vitter of Louisiana voted YES on the Hyde Amendment in the House in 2001, to prohibit the funding of overseas family planning organizations. Republican Senator David Vitter of Louisiana cosponsored a Senate bill in 2005 to revoke the approval of RU-486, an emergency contraception medicine that also can be used to induce abortions in early pregnancy. As Republican Senator from Louisiana in the 110th Congress, David Vitter has failed to cosponsor S. 21, a bill to expand access to preventative health care for women including distribution of contraception, teen pregnancy prevention programs and rape prevention education to lower the personal, economic and social costs of teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted disease, and sexual assault. Those are just a sample of statements, cosponsorships and votes from David Vitter, who has a long history of using his position in government to try to ram his vision of sexual moral values down everyone else's throats, while failing to support programs for the provision of sexual health care services. Are you at all surprised to find out that Republican Senator David Vitter had his phone number turn up on the list of a Washington, DC, madam? And are you at all surprised to find out that he hid this information from the public while trying to legislatively force his overtly conservative sexual agenda down the throats of all Americans? You shouldn't be surprised. David Vitter's story joins a long list of stories of ultra-conservatives who publicly push an agenda of sexual moralizing at the expense of civil liberty while secretly engaging in the sexual conduct they have publicly condemned (Newt Gingrich, Mark Foley, Bob Bauman, Ted Haggard, Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart, we hardly knew ye). Perhaps some future journal article will give a name to this pattern, which seems to be some sort of psychopolitical syndrome having to do with overcompensating for feelings of sexual shame and guilt. Perhaps we should have some personal sympathy for people like David Vitter who have twisted themselves into such knots. But why should we continue to vote for them? Let's stop supporting politicians who use the Congress and the White House for purgative sexual therapy. Vote for the progressives instead; however faulted they may or may not be in their personal lives, you can count on them to support policies of sexual liberty for all Americans. (Sources: Senate Press Conference, May 25 2006; Christian Coalition Weekly Review April 1 2006; Bill information for S. 511; Roll Call Vote on Hyde Amendment; Roll Call Vote on Largent Amendment; Washington Post July 10, 2007)

    74. North Carolina Republican U.S. Representative Virginia Foxx has been speaking out against the use of earmarks in congressional legislation for two years now. It might be surprising to her supporters to learn, therefore, that Representative Foxx has maneuvered to get 4.5 million dollars inserted into congressional legislation this year.

      Foxx says that it's all okay, though, because she's going to stop trying to get earmarks to reward her campaign supporters… sometime later… maybe next year.

      Virginia Foxx used to be against earmarks, but then she was for them, though she promises to be against them some time in the future. Typical Republican doubletalk. (Sources: Official Virginia Foxx congressional web site; Earmarks Watch; Wiston-Salem Journal, December 20, 2007)

    75. In 2007, Chairman Henry Waxman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform attempted to exercise his constitutionally-established right to exercise oversight of Executive Branch activities, requesting information from the Department of Transportation related to the Department's efforts to lobby against state government efforts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

      The Department of Transportation provided only some of the documents, declaring that it "intends to withhold 53 responsive documents from the Committee." It seems that the Republican-run Department of Transportation does not regard itself as subject to the Constitution of the United States of America. What are those 53 documents, and why are they being concealed from Congress?

      We won't know until the leadership of the federal government is changed. In 2008, we need to vote for a candidate who believes in constitutional government, and will get the DOT back under control. (Source: House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, July 2, 2007)

    76. Now that George W. Bush is about as popular as a big mug of hot chocolate during summer in Death Valley, Fred Thompson is afraid of even mentioning President Bush. Back, years ago, when Thompson was a member of the United States Senate, however, he couldn't praise Bush enough.

      Even in April, 2001, without enough real experience to make a credible statement about the presidential skills of George W. Bush, Fred Thompson was as eager in celebrating Bush as a puppy dog for table scraps from the master. He wrote, "The President has led with a steady hand without compromising our country's principles. The President has been decisive, measured, and realistic with regard to foreign policy."

      George W. Bush leading with a steady hand? George W. Bush not compromising our country's principles? George W. Bush measured and realistic on foreign policy?

      Fred Thompson's own words show that he is a remarkably bad judge of character. America cannot afford Thompson's sort of bad judgment in the Oval Office. (Source: Weekly Column, Senator Fred Thompson, April 27, 2001)

    77. Golly, but the old saw that Republican politicians don't care about black people is really irritating. What the heck are they talking about? I mean, OK, so there isn't a single Republican member of the U.S. Senate who is black. And, OK, there isn't a single Republican member of the House of Representatives who is black. And, OK, there isn't a single black Republican governor out there. And, OK, so for the 2000 Republican National Convention they had to paint black faces on the floor and bus in black Gospel singers for entertainment in order to put some color in the crowd. I remember watching the Republicans' paint jobs during the convention and thinking they had mixed in too much red ochre. But, I mean, besides that, geez! OK, and Hurricane Katrina, but that was like ten years ago or something! Besides that, come on!

      I hear nothing but complain, complain, complain, whine, whine, whine from those, those black people when they ask Republican presidential candidates to come to some forum or another sponsored for them by some little off-shoot group like the NAACP. They don't whine nearly as much when they ask the Democrats. Why is that?

      Joe Biden was there at the NAACP forum. So were Hillary Clinton, and Bill Richardson, and Barack Obama, and John Edwards, and Dennis Kucinich, and Christopher Dodd, and Mike Gravel.

      Then there were all the Republican presidential candidates who showed up for the NAACP forum - all one of them. Only Tom Tancredo showed up.

      Before everyone gets all uppity and says Republican candidates just don't care about black people, has anyone considered that the Republican candidates might be employing cloaking devices? Another possibility is the "other commitment." Mitt Romney, for instance, said he had "another commitment," although he didn't have any public engagements scheduled. Maybe he had a dentist's appointment, you know. I mean, a candidate like Romney has to look after his teeth. Maybe all of the other Republican presidential candidates had dentists' appointments, too. Maybe Tancredo thought he'd have to have bridgework done but only needed a cleaning, so he could make it at the last minute. Or maybe Tom Tancredo just doesn't care enough about good dental hygiene, which would be a shame if he is going to try to convince me he's a good enough role model to be President! Who will think of the children? Not Tom Tancredo, apparently!

      And I bet for the Democrats, they have dental hygiene on a different night of the week, like a Tuesday. You know, if only the NAACP had taken the time to do some research and find out when the Republicans' night for dentists' visits was, they wouldn't have had this kind of mess in the first place. But noooooo, they just didn't bother, did they? And who got blamed? The Republicans, that's who, yet again! That's discrimination, I tell you, that's what it is. Nobody cares about rich white Republican teeth anymore. (Sources: Detroit Free Press July 13, 2007 and July 10, 2007)

    78. One of the best ways to judge the political judgment of Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson is to take a look at his words and deeds during his time in the United States Senate. Unfortunately, Thompson's statements from that time do not reflect well upon his qualifications for the presidency.

      For example, as a senator, Fred Thompson fawned over George W. Bush. Thompson said that George W. Bush was bringing a new tone into Washington D.C. politics: "During his first 100 days in office, the President has worked to set a new tone in Washington, building on his promise to work with both Republicans and Democrats to address the issues that are important to Americans and Tennesseans. He promised to usher in a new way of thinking, and he is keeping his word."

      I suppose I have to agree with Fred Thompson, in the literal word if not the intended meaning of his statement. President Bush certainly brought a new way of thinking to Washington D.C.. That new way of thinking was based upon the idea that scientists aren't the best source of scientific expertise, newspapers don't have much relevant news to report, and weapons inspectors shouldn't be relied upon to determine whether the countries they inspect actually have weapons.

      The new George W. Bush way of thinking could be called Thinking Lite, and unfortunately, Fred Thompson seems to be an eager practitioner of it. (Source: Weekly Column, Senator Fred Thompson, April 27, 2001)
    79. You can tell the Republican party has gone off the deep end when even the people it calls its "moderates" are extremists.

      Take Republican Senator Olympia Snowe, for instance. She's often called one of the Republican Party's "moderates." Yet in the 109th Congress, Senator Snowe voted twice to reauthorize the USA Patriot Act that lets the government snoop on your legal business without probable cause, but forbids your friends, coworkers or acquaintances from even telling you that the spooks have been asking about you! That's not moderate; that's extreme. Or take Snowe's Senatorial colleague from Maine, Susan Collins. The Republicans are fond of calling Collins a moderate, too. But she voted to reauthorize the Patriot Act just like Snowe. And in another episode of marching in step with Snowe and her fellow Senate Republicans, Senator Susan Collins voted to declare that "no person has a right, entitlement, or claim to have the Government of the United States or any of its officials or representatives act, communicate, perform or provide services, or provide materials in any language other than English." Taking away citizenship rights based on language isn't a "moderate" act it's extremist. Sure, Senators Collins and Snowe smile gently, and they're very good at having their photographers take their pictures with a soft focus. But when push comes to legislative shove, they've marched right along in support of the Republican Party's anti-constitution, authoritarian agenda.

      Let's not stop there. Let's consider the man who more than any Republican presidential candidate is called a "moderate" Rudolph Giuliani. Giuliani's handlers, perhaps thinking they've got the nomination in the bag, have been positioning him as the "moderate candidate," and have the media dancing to the same tune. Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post terms Giuliani "by far the most moderate candidate in the field" of Republicans, and that may be true. But just because Rudolph Giuliani may be the most moderate Republican running for President doesn't mean that Rudolph Giuliani is actually a political moderate.

      This past year has seen Supreme Court justices John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Antonin Scalia form an authoritarian alliance that has decided a woman does not have the right to bodily self-determination even when her health is in danger, that racial desegregation is not a compelling American interest, and that while corporations as artificial citizens have an absolute right to free speech, students who are actual citizens do not. Scalia, Thomas, Alito and Roberts have consistently used their positions of authority in defense of the prerogatives of powerful authority figures like themselves and against the liberty of individual citizens. They're extremists, pushing America away from its basis in liberty and toward the kind of state that Emperor Palpatine would have adored.

      Well, guess what. In an essay for Pajamas Media, Republican Presidential candidate Rudolph Giuliani has made perfectly clear where he stands: "As President, I will nominate strict constructionist judges with respect for the rule of law and a proven fidelity to the Constitution judges in the mold of Justices Scalia, Thomas and Alito and Chief Justice Roberts."

      It looks like even the most "moderate" Republican in the 2008 race is an authoritarian extremist. (Sources: Library of Congress Voting Records; Washington Post July 10 2007; Supreme Court Decision of Gonzales v. Carhart; National Public Radio June 29 2007; Supreme Court Decision of Morse v. Frederick; Supreme Court Decision of Federal Election Commmission v. Wisconsin Right to Life; Pajamas Media July 18 2007)

    80. On July 19, 2007, the Senate Finance Committee voted to send Children's Health Insurance Program to the floor of the Senate, where it is expected to pass. All of the Democrats and some Republicans on the committee voted in favor of the measure, which would dramatically increase health care coverage for children without draining the federal budget. The children's health care spending would be paid for with a tax on cigarettes.

      Pat Roberts, one of the senators who defied pressure from President Bush and voted in favor of the legislation, commented, "I am proud to support this important bill, which will provide health insurance coverage to approximately four million more children who would otherwise be uninsured."

      However, the following Republican Senators voted against the measure: Jim Bunning of Kentucky, John Ensign of Nevada, Jon Kyl of Arizona, and Trent Lott of Mississippi.

      Why would these senators vote against a measure to help huge numbers of sick children get healthy again? In the view of these Republicans, it's just not fair to smokers. Like George W. Bush, who has promised to veto the legislation, they are determined to protect smokers from sick children. (Source: New York Times, July 19, 2007)

    81. Even right wingers recognize that the Republicans presidential candidates are unsuited to occupy the Oval Office. When they're honest, they even admit as much.

      This summer, Newt Gingrich called the Republican presidential candidates "pathetic". Newt Gingrich isn't right about much, but on this issue, he's spot on. (Source: Angus Reid Global Monitor, July 26, 2007)

    82. You would think that, if George W. Bush were not a complete idiot, that he would have by now learned the primary lesson of Iraq: Don't twist information in order to make it support the position you want to take, but use the information available to determine your position. Apparently, Bush is stupid after all. These years later, President Bush is still manipulating the information he gets about Iraq from the top intelligence experts in the government.

      That's the conclusion of Abraham Wagner, senior researcher at the Center for Advanced Studies on Terrorism at Columbia University. Wagner, upon examining the claims that George W. Bush is making about Al Quaeda in Iraq, and the intelligence reports that Bush uses as the basis for those claims, concludes that Bush is intent upon distorting the intelligence in order to support his political position. "The administration, in their last gasp to justify what they are doing, are inventing threats and misrepresenting what they are getting from the intelligence community," says Wagner. "Al Qaeda in Iraq never existed prior to the US activity in Iraq and I think it is still a small operation."

      The American occupation of Iraq is being perpetuated by the same kind of intentional dishonesty, what Wagner calls a "spin job" that started the war in Iraq in the first place. It's not just George W. Bush who is engaged in the ongoing spin job on the information available about Iraq and terrorism. The Republican presidential candidates and their supporters join in with Bush's unfounded claims about Al Quaeda in Iraq.

      Mitt Romney slams those who question whether Iraqi is the central front in the struggle against terrorism. As members of the House of Representatives, Tom Tancredo and Duncan Hunter voted in favor of H. Res. 861, a 2006 congressional resolution declaring, in spite of government intelligence to the contrary, "Iraq to be the central front" in the war against terrorists.

      The Republicans' distortions of the intelligence on Iraq has gone on too long. In 2008, we need to elect a progressive President who is willing to listen to what the intelligence on Iraq really says, instead of twisting the intelligence into knots until it fits a political agenda. (Sources: EvangelicalsForMitt.com, August 12, 2006; Boston Globe, July 26, 2007; The Library of Congress)

    83. 2008, it appears, will be the year of the Republican flip flopper. Back in 2004, Republicans dragged John Kerry down with the label of flip flopper, but now the flip flop insult has turned around 180 degrees to bite the Republican presidential candidates in the behind.

      The flip flopping of Mitt Romney, on issues like abortion, same-sex marriage, and even the Bush tax cuts has become infamous. However, Romney's supporters are not taking the flip flop label sitting down. No, they're lashing out at other Republican presidential candidates, pointing out that they're as much flip floppers as Mitt Romney.

      For example, a writer at EvangelicalsForMitt.com, who writes, "I'm the last one to think that Sam Brownback has credibility as a presidential candidate," slams Senator Brownback as a flagrant flip flopper on the issue of immigration, saying, "The whole idea that Sam Brownback is leading the charge in labeling Governor Romney a 'flip-flopper' after he changed his immigration vote (only one of the two or three most important votes of the last two years) in ten minutes has literally endless comic potential."

      Let me be the one to play peacemaker in this flip flop feud. Let's find the win-win. I think that the supporters of Sam Brownback are right when they call Mitt Romney a flip flopper. However, I also think that the supporters of Mitt Romney are correct. Sam Brownback is a flip flopper too. (Sources: EvangelicalsForMitt, July 25, 2007, RomneyFacts.com)

    84. One good reason to vote for a progressive candidate for President in 2008 is that the right wing candidates are downright indecisive, offering only weak leadership in a time of great need. It's not just me who says so. Even the supporters of the right wing candidates admit it.

      Fred Thompson, for example, has offered such namby-pamby, unsure leadership in his emergent presidential campaign that even his most dedicated supporters are complaining. The founder of FredHeads, for example, writes to Thompson in a plea for an end to the weakness, "Enough with the ambiguities. Enough with those around you being more decisive than you are."

      If Fred Thompson cannot even muster enough resolve to start his own presidential campaign without infighting and indecision, why should we trust him to lead our nation out of the dangerous waters his political allies have left us in? (Source: New York Times, July 28, 2007)

    85. The Washington Post reports that Republican Surgeon General Richard Carmona blocked distribution of a Surgeon General's report on connections between poverty and poor health, "chiefly because the report did not promote the administration's policy accomplishments." In response, I say that we need to turn the Republicans out of the White House, chiefly because they have not promoted the health interests of the American people. (Source: Washington Post, July 29, 2007)

    86. Oh, I know he doesn't say it that way, but Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani has proposed huge levels of new federal spending on immigration.

      Mr. Giuliani has sent me a letter in which he writes: "I have a sign at the front of my desk that says, I'm responsible. I want you to look at the Twelve Commitments attached to this letter and hold me accountable for implementing them."

      One of Giuliani's Twelve Commitments: "End illegal immigration, secure our borders, and identify every non-citizen in our nation."

      Giuliani says he is committed to ending illegal immigration. Not decreasing it. Ending it. The only way to end illegal immigration is to implement a Korea-style zone with mines and multiple razor-wire electrified fences along the entire length of the U.S. - Mexico and U.S. - Canada borders. But there's more. We'll also have to post constant armed guards every 100 feet along the more than 12,000 miles of saltwater coastline, plus the Great Lakes coastline too. That's the only way to end illegal immigration, and it will bankrupt our nation. But Giuliani's made his commitment, so there you go!

      Then there's Giuliani's commitment to identifying every non- citizen in our nation. This is a more intensive process than the decennial U.S. Census, which will cost an estimated $11.3 Billion in 2010. To find and identify every non-citizen in the nation requires looking for people many of whom are undocumented, many of whom do not have social security numbers, and who may be even hiding. Citizens will have to regularly be stopped and told to supply identity papers to make sure they are not really non-citizens. When government agents somehow finally find every non-citizen in America, they will have to be identified. That means they'll have to be questioned, and definitive records will have to be shipped from home countries. Where those records don't exist, the U.S. government will have to send people overseas to interview family members and other known contacts. And so we have another intrusive, hugely expensive big government program.

      Big government. Huge amounts of new spending. That's what Rudolph Giuliani has committed himself to& unless he's not being serious when making commitments he says we should hold him to.

    87. One way to judge what a right wing President would do is to look at the ideology that right wing politicians in Congress are already promoting. Republican Don Young, who speaks for Alaska in the House of Representatives, reminds us of the animosity the right wing feels toward public lands:

      "I don't believe the government, unless it's a Communist government, should own lands," Don Young says.

      Does Don Young really believe this, that only a Communist government would own public lands? Well, gosh, Yellowstone National Park is government owned land. Does that make Yellowstone part of a Communist conspiracy?

      To equate Yellowstone with Communism is far outside the American mainstream. Progressives don't agree with that kind of nonsense. Progressives believe that public lands are an important tool for the preservation of natural resources for future generations.

      Help protect Yellowstone National Park from nuts like Congressman Don Young. Help elect a progressive President in 2008. (Sources: DropDon.com, Alaska Public Radio, February 14, 1996)

    88. It's bad enough that so many members of Congress voted for the Protect America Act, which devastates the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure, allowing an unchecked new system of nationwide electronic surveillance of American citizens. What's even worse is that some members of Congress, like Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, didn't even bother to show up to cast a vote either way.

      The Midnight Nap of Ron Paul

      Listen my children, I'll tell you all
      of the midnight nap taken by Ron Paul,
      on the fourth of August in 2007
      well before the time of eleven
      in a hotel room not far from the mall.

      He said in his speech, "If liberty falls
      in Washington D.C. tonight
      I won't be there to heed the call,
      but phone my office and we'll talk all right,
      press one to leave a message, two to speak to an aide
      and I, in Iowa, will be laid,
      ready to sleep but not to vote
      or defend liberty from spies who dote
      on Alberto Gonzales and the law I'll quote."

      "On the oral instructions' that Gonzales makes
      and compulsory orders a citizen takes
      he will listen in on the telephone line
      that could be yours and might even be mine.
      No one will check or certify
      that the spying is just or is based on a lie
      or is made where they say and can justify.
      Alas, I cannot make the vote to defend.
      I have a fundraiser to attend."

      More important to campaign
      for personal power there was to gain
      than the duty which Ron Paul had sworn
      to the Constitution the new law had torn.
      He would speak to crowds about liberty,
      but not come to its aid in the halls of D.C.,
      where he was registered absentee.
      And so they expanded Gonzales's power
      to spy on you at that dark hour.
      Then he said "Good-night!", and with muffled ears,
      a TV movie and two lite beers
      Ron Paul closed his eyes to the spies that raced
      across the countryside as we faced
      an end to the freedom obtained before
      by Paul Revere and his friends of yore
      with midnight rides and the loss of war,
      and the bulk of his resting head was magnified
      by lengthening shadows in the room where he lied.

      So through the night slept Ron Paul here,
      while through every blog went a cry of alarm
      to every American city and farm
      a cry of defiance and of fear
      of a voice in the darkness, a knock at the door
      a tap on the phone or a bug in the floor,
      for borne on the night wind away from the past
      carrying our freedom away at last,
      in the hour of darkness and peril and need,
      no one will waken and listen to hear
      the snores we were given in absence of deed
      from the napping Ron Paul who would never appear.

    89. Americans learn more about the 2008 presidential candidates with every passing month, as the candidates campaign around the United States and journalists and bloggers provide more information about the candidates, including information that the candidates would rather not was made public.

      Usually, knowing more about the candidates leads voters closer to choosing a candidate to support. In 2008, however, that's not the case for Republican voters. In an ongoing Associated Press poll of Republican voters, the percentage of respondents who refused to commit to any of the Republican candidates for President actually increased between June and July 2007, by nine percent.

      It seems that the more that Republican voters know about the Republican presidential candidates, the less sure they are that any of the Republican candidates are worth supporting. (Source: Associated Press, July 17, 2007)

    90. The Republicans have come up with a new racist insult against Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. They're now refering to him as Osambo . Get it? Like Little Black Sambo?

      On one level, this type of Jim Crow ugliness is disgusting. On a more subtle level, however, it's reassuring. After all, the nature of this insult is completely devoid of substance, and yet it is vicious. That actually says something good about the strength of the Barack Obama campaign for President of the United States. It indicates to me that, on the one hand, the racist Republicans recognize Barack Obama as a serious threat to their cruel ideology, while, on the other hand, they cannot find anything substantially wrong with Barack Obama. In their tiny-minded frustration, they resort to calling him "Osambo".

      The right wing is getting particularly nasty, but that's because they're on the defensive. I don't agree with every idea Barack Obama promotes, but on the whole he's running a very responsible and quite strong campaign. That's got to drive the Republican extremists crazy. Barack Obama disproves every hateful idea that the right wing clings to for security.

      Keep up the good work, Mr. Obama, and rest assured that no matter what they call you, we're evaluating your campaign according to its merits, which appear to be far superior to the merits of any of the Republicans in the race.

    91. Rudolph Giuliani hangs all of his presidential hopes on the idea that, because he happened to be the mayor of a city where a terrorist attack occurred, he is better qualified to deal with terrorists than anyone else. It's kind of equivalent to R.T. Rybak, Mayor of Minneapolis, claiming that, because of the bridge collapse that happened to occur in his city, he is more qualified than anyone else to lead search and rescue missions.

      Looking at Rudy Giuliani's claims about his role in dealing with the aftermath of the attacks of September 11, 2001, it seems clear that Giuliani understands that there isn't much substance underneath all of his claims of anti-terrorist genius. Without much substance to base these claims on, Giuliani tries to make up the difference with bluster.

      Recently, Giuliani puffed out his chest and said that he spent "as much time, if not more" at the site of the World Trade Center attack than rescue workers did.

      Think about that for a minute. How could Rudolph Giuliani have spent more time at the site of the demolished World Trade Center than rescue workers who were there 24 hours a day?

      The answer, of course, is that what Giuliani said was a load of bull. Even Giuliani admits it was not literally true. Giuliani says, "I think I could have said it better". He says that what he meant to say is that he was there at the site of the attacks all the time, in his mind, you know, in spirit, even if he was actually somewhere far, far away.

      Many of those who were at the site of the attacks a great deal more than Rudolph Giuliani don't take well to Giuliani's use of the tragedy of the attacks for his own personal political gain. Deputy Chief of the New York City Fire Department Jim Riches, whose son was killed on September 11, 2001, calls Giuliani's boasting "a joke".

      Riches asks, "What's next - he's going to say he ran into the building and rescued everybody?" Be patient, Mr. Riches. Giuliani's presidential campaign has just begun. You may not have to wait too long to hear just that.

      Giuliani is, as Bugs Bunny would have said, an ultramaroon. (Source: New York Daily News, August 11, 2007)

    92. Rudolph Giuliani is running for President based on the idea that he is the presidential candidate best qualified to deal with the threat of terrorism. Giuliani backs up that claim with a pure accident: He just so happened to be mayor of a major American city when it was attacked by terrorists.

      That's happenstance, of course. Being attacked by terrorists does not necessarily bring about effective anti- terrorist policies. George W. Bush's complete failure to diminish the strength of Al Quaeda or capture Osama Bin Laden is a great example of that.

      So, Rudy Giuliani clearly needs to back up his claims of antiterrorist prowess with some substance. His campaign gives him the chance to do that, but so far, Giuliani isn't taking the opportunity to prepare an antiterrorism policy for if he becomes President.

      I'm not just speculating when I say that. The proof is in Rudolph Giuliani's 12 Commitments, the promises that he makes to the American people about what he will do if elected President.

      Giuliani's very first promise is this: "I will keep America on offense in the Terrorists' War on us". His tenth Commitment also relates to terrorism, stating, "I will ensure that every community in America is prepared for terrorist attacks and natural disasters."

      Well, okay, Mr. Giuliani. Those are nice promises. Now, where's the substance?

      The fact is that the Giuliani for President campaign doesn't actually have any plan yet for how to follow through on those two promises to protect America from terrorists. On the web page of Giuliani's campaign, these two commitments are displayed in faded colors to indicate that the policy plans to support Giuliani's promises are not yet ready to share with the public.

      Just five months before the first polls in the 2008 presidential election, Rudolph Giuliani still doesn't have a plan for how to confront the threat of terrorism. With all Giuliani's huffing and puffing about what a great antiterrorist President he would be, he ought to be able to back up his bluster with some demonstration of actual ability. Yet, Giuliani has come to the campaign completely unprepared to take action, should he become President and need to cope with terrorist activity.

      Six years after the attacks of September 11, 2001, Rudolph Giuliani still hasn't organized his ideas about what to do about terrorism. His lack of preparation is bad enough, but what's really dangerous for America is that Giuliani is not allowing his lack of antiterrorist preparation to stop him from bragging and making big promises.

      In 2008, we need to elect a President who is prepared to take action, not just talk big. Rudolph Giuliani is not that candidate. (Source: JoinRudy2008.com)

    93. The presidential campaign of Fred Thompson is getting desperate. Once hailed as the natural frontrunner in the race for the Republican nomination, Fred Thompson is now limping in a struggle even to get to the starting line.

      So, Fred Thompson is doing what comes naturally to Republicans who are in political trouble. He's lashing out at other Republicans for not being extremist enough.

      Specifically, Thompson is blasting Rudolph Giuliani for a supposed connection to a effort to stand up to criminal gun dealers who sell firearms illegally.

      The Second Amendment to the Constitution ensures the right to bear arms, in the context of a well-regulated milita. The Second Amendment does not, however, guarantee unregulated sales of guns and other weapons. For that reason, there are common-sense laws regulating the sales of firearms.

      One of those laws makes it illegal for one person to buy a gun on behalf of another person who is not elligible to buy a gun - because they've been convicted violent felonies, for example. That kind of indirect sale is called a straw purchase. Straw purchases are an important means through which criminal organizations obtain guns that cannot be traced to any of their members, and are also a means of getting guns onto the black market.

      When New York City found out that black market guns were being pumped into its neighborhoods through straw purchases, a criminal investigation was begun. Investigators went out to gun shops and posed as people interested in making straw purchases. When the gun shops agreed to make the illegal gun sales, the New York City government sued.

      Fred Thompson says that acting to stop the black market in gun sales was a bad idea. He says that when New York City tries to stop illegal gun sales designed to funnel firearms to convicted violent criminals, it's a "bizarre" effort by New York State "to force its ways on the rest of us", and interfere with "free commerce".

      Fred Thompson just can't see the value in stopping convicted violent criminals from buying guns that cannot be traced to them. He says of New York City's lawsuit against the gun shops, "Obviously, New York won't get much cash out of the few dozen shops being sued in Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia; so the purpose can only be political."

      Actually, Fred Thompson's conclusion is not obvious at all. New York City is not suing gun shops that are sending weapons to criminals in New York City in order to gain money for its city budget, but that doesn't mean that the object of the suit is a political effort to stop legitimate sales of hunting rifles to peaceful citizens elsewhere in the country. The obvious purpose of New York City's lawsuit is to stop the illegal sale of black market weapons to criminals within its borders. What Fred Thompson cannot conceive of is that the government of New York City is trying to protect its citizens.

      For all that, Fred Thompson's weird defense of black market gun sales as "free commerce" is not primarily intended to help organized criminal organizations arm themselves. No, Thompson only made this argument in order to try to take out one of his rivals, Rudolph Giuliani.

      What's the Giuliani connection to the New York City lawsuit? It's the connection that only an NRA-addled gun nut could grab onto. The lawsuit is being made under the direction of New York City's current mayor, former Republican Michael Bloomberg. Rudy Giuliani's connection to the lawsuit to stop black market gun sales is that he was once the mayor of New York City too. That's it.

      I'm no fan of Rudolph Giuliani, who is just plain wrong on a huge number of important issues, like the war in Iraq, the environment, and constitutional rights. However, my opposition to Giuliani doesn't stop me from seeing that Fred Thompson's attempt to link Giuliani to a New York City lawsuit that Giuliani has nothing to do with is outrageous. By Fred Thompson's logic, George H. W. Bush could be accused of having sex with Monica Lewinski, because Bill Clinton had sex with Monica Lewinski, and George H. W. Bush once held the position of President of the United States too.

      It's a cheap shot, a desperate attack that will not bring Fred Thompson's presidential campaign out of the ditch. To all but the FredHeads, the most die-hard followers in Fred Thompson, this incident reveals that Fred Thompson is incapable of rational evaluation of public policy, and is not suited for public office. (Source: Fred File, August 21st, 2007)
    94. In August, 2007, Fred Thompson wrote an article blasting New York City for trying to track down people who illegally sell guns under false pretenses. The title of the article was "A New York State of Mind", and in that article Fred Thompson implied that states with lax gun laws, like his home state of Tennessee, have lower rates of violent crime than states with vigorous gun laws, like New York State. However, the facts show that Fred Thompson is wrong - dead wrong.

      Compare the murder rate in Tennessee with the murder rate in New York State, and you'll see that the Tennessee state of mind is much more violent than the New York state of mind. New York State's murder rate in 2005, the last year currently reported by the FBI, was 4.5 per one hundred thousand residents. In Tennessee, however, the murder rate was 7.2 per hundred thousand residents.

      That wasn't just a one year anomaly. Look back over the last decade, and you'll see that the murder rate in Tennessee is well above the murder rate in New York State every year.

      In 2008, we need to elect a President who cares enough to look at the facts about gun laws and violent crime instead of just making presumptions based on regional bias. Clearly, Fred Thompson is not capable of being that President. (Sources: FBI Uniform Crime Statistics, published September 2006; ImWithFred.com, August 21, 2007)

    95. If it weren't so destructive, I might almost admire the chutzpah with which the Republican presidential candidates ask voters to ignore all of the dramatic failures of their ideology, and vote for them anyway. In the latest example of this bizarre strategy, Mike Huckabee said of his Republican Party, "We didn't fight corruption like we should, we didn't curtail spending, we didn't resolve problems."

      Huckabee went right on to advise Americans to vote Republican anyway. That approach certainly shows political courage, but it is severely lacking in wisdom.

      In 2008, let's not accept Mike Huckabee's offer to be hit around by a Republican president some more. (Source: Associated Press, August 24, 2007)

    96. It is already known that in the 1970s, Fred Thompson was an unauthorized Watergate leaker, informing the White House of details in the Watergate investigation so Richard Nixon could take care of any messy little problems.

      But wait, there's more: it turns out that on the very first day he was assigned to investigate the ethical mess of Ronald Reagan's new CIA chief, William J. Casey, Fred Thompson let the Reagan administration know that no "smoking gun" would be found. Thompson hadn't even interviewed his first witness.

      Leaker. Fixer. President? (Source: New York Times August 27, 2007)

    97. For years now the following text, written by a Republican Party operative, continues to appear as a letter to the editor in multiple papers with false claims of authorship by people with local names and addresses:
      "President Bush has a clear plan for victory in Iraq that begins with training Iraqi forces so they can defend their country and fight the terrorists. We are making tremendous progress towards this objective. Withdrawing from Iraq, as Democrats in Washington propose, would send a dangerous signal to our enemies that we cut and run when the going gets tough. President Bush is offering a clear strategy to win, not a political quick fix."

      The latest example of this comes with the signature of William York of Princeton, who falsely signs his name as author to this Republican National Committee letter in a letter published in the Bluefield Daily Telegraph of August 29, 2007.

    98. The campaign of a Republican Party insider for President in 2008 is the campaign of a hypocrite. "Elect me," the Republican insider says, "and I'll fix everything that's wrong with the government& even though I've been working for years to make it just the way it is." All right, I admit that I'm exaggerating. No Republican presidential candidate would actually say that. They'll just leave off the last part, and hope that no one else brings it up.

      In a statement identifying September 6 as the date that he will officially announce his candidacy for President of the United States, Fred Thompson calls "a government that can't seem to get the most basic responsibilities right for its citizens" one of the great challenges of our times. That's a very odd comment for Fred Thompson to say, given that he has been one of the people centrally involved in establishing the current government.

      In the year 2000, Fred Thompson helped George W. Bush get elected as President, and also helped maintain the Republican majority in Congress that in turn gave the right wing control over the Judicial Branch of the government. As a United States Senator, Thompson helped the Republicans maintain that irresponsible and corrupt government. Even after he retired from the United States Senate, Fred Thompson remained a Washington D.C. insider, operating behind the scenes to help the Republicans maintain their dirty hold on the American government.

      It was Fred Thompson, for example, who was behind the effort to get John Roberts appointed as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. As we have all seen since, John Roberts has been a part of the right wing movement to help the President of the United States avoid his sworn governmental responsibility to protect the rights of the people.

      When it comes to irresponsible government, Fred Thompson has been a large part of the problem in Washington D.C. Yet, now that he's campaigning to become President, Mr. Thompson expects us all just to forget about that, and to accept his line that he's going to make government responsible.

      As an actor, Fred Thompson always plays the same character - and it's always an act. Don't let Fred Thompson pull the same old act on you in 2008.

      Outside of a television studio, saying you did one thing after you just did the opposite isn't called acting. It's called hypocrisy.(Source: Associated Press, August 30, 2006)

    99. A sure sign that the right wing agenda of the Bush-Cheney administration has jumped the shark is that even the nuns are calling for impeachment. According to the National Coalition of American Nuns, "the time for impeachment is now before the example of George W. Bush's regime is set in stone. Future generations will thank you for preserving the freedom of our nation and its relation to the entire human community." (Source: Winston-Salem Journal, September 1 2007)

    100. I've got a bone to pick with the major news media. Over and over again, I read in what are supposed to be professional journalistic articles about how Fred Thompson is "folksy". Back in September 2007, for example, Steve Holland from Reuters used the word "folksy" to describe Fred Thompson.

      If reporters like Steve Holland stopped to actually think about the words that they are using, they would be realize that they're being used, that they've accepted a fraud promoted by the Fred Thompson for President campaign.

      What exactly qualifies Fred Thompson to be called folksy? Is it because he is paying people on his campaign team to look for an old, beat-up looking pickup truck that he can buy, to drive around and look like one of the common people, even though he more often flies around in a private jet than he rides in a pickup truck? That's not very folksy.

      Is it Fred Thompson's decades of work as a Washington D.C. political insider and a lobbyist for the interests of his corporate clients? Folks don't do that kind of work.

      Or, is it the fact that Fred Thompson knows how to speak with a Southern accent? Is that what makes him folksy? Are we really supposed to believe that a powerful and wealthy Washington D.C. insider, a lobbyist, a lawyer, is more folksy than someone who works for 30,000 dollars a year in New Hampshire, just because the person in New Hampshire speaks with a northern accent?

      Fred Thompson is not folksy. In fact, Fred Thompson is downright anti-folksy. He has gotten rich by helping other rich and powerful people get even richer and more powerful. If Fred Thompson is folksy, then what does that make the firefighters who just endorsed Chris Dodd for President? Elites?

      Progressives don't believe in this new definition of the word "folksy". We believe that Washington D.C. lobbysts who jet around the country in an effort to buy off powerful politicians are not crooks, not folks. We need to elect a President who understands the difference too, and doesn't live in a television fantasy land where appearance is all that matters. (Source: Reuters, September 6, 2007)

    101. In a stunning display of ignorance, Republican presidential candidate John McCain admitted that he had no idea what the acronym LGBT stands for. In Concord, New Hampshire, McCain was asked by a high school student what he intended to do to protect LGBT rights.

      McCain looked confused, and then, when it was explained to him that LGBT stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, McCain stammered, "I had not heard that phrase before".

      As a United States Senator, John McCain is supposed to keep himself informed on the important political issues of the day, but it appears that McCain has neglected this duty. America cannot afford to have such an ill- informed man as President.

      After all, if a President does not even know what the LGBT community is, there is very little likelihood that he will act to protect the rights of people in that community. (Source: New York Times, September 4, 2007)

    102. In case you were wondering what might be going on behind the Republicans' anti-immigrant grandstanding, here's a clue:

      On September 9, 2007 at 7 pm EST, every Democratic presidential candidate except for Joseph Biden is in attendance for a presidential debate to be translated into Spanish, hosted and moderated by anchors from the Spanish-language channel Univision (available to watch online at Univision.com).

      For September 16, 2007, every Republican presidential candidate except for John McCain has turned down the invitation to appear for a Spanish-language Republican debate, also to have been hosted by Univision.

      Scheduling conflicts? Just as one example of the kind of "scheduling conflicts" we're talking about, here's Ron Paul's schedule for September 15-17, taken straight from his website:

      Sep 15
      * A Brunch Reception with Ron Paul 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM MT, The Gateway, Salt Lake City, UT
      * Constitution Celebration and Public Rally 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM MT, Historic Grand Hall at the Union Pacific Depot at the Gateway, Salt Lake City, UT
      * Private Briefing and Evening Reception 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM MT, Private Residence, Salt Lake City, UT

      Sep 17
      * A Cocktail Reception with Ron Paul 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM ET, The River House, Fort Lauderdale, FL
      * Values Voters Debate 7:30 PM, Broward Center for the Performing Arts, Fort Lauderdale, FL

      So you see, Ron Paul just couldn't squeeze the debate in on that day when he had absolutely nothing else scheduled, not even until 4 PM the next day. He had to get his, um, what? Armpits waxed?

      Fred Thompson, on the other hand, seems to be simply opposed to all debates, period. (Sources: Associated Press, September 9 2007; Ron Paul website as of September 9 2007)

    103. There's something that I don't understand about Republicans. Going into the presidential election of 2008, why are Republicans still obsessed with hippies?

      The time of hippies was 40 years ago. Almost no one on the left regards hippies as a significant political force in present day politics. Yet, Republicans are still focusing on hippies as one their most significant targets.

      Consider the graphic you see here, created in favor of Fred Thompson's Republican presidential campaign. It presents three targets picked by people who support Fred Thompson for President:

      1. Terrorists
      2. Foreigners
      3. Hippies

      Foreigners and terrorists are not eligible to vote. So, within the United States, it seems that Fred Thompson's supporters are focusing their wrath on hippies& forty years after the fact.

      Think about this. When was the last time that you actually saw a real hippie? I'm not just talking about someone wearing a tie dye t-shirt, which might just as well have been won on Margarita Night at the local bar. When was the last time that you saw a genuine, commune-living, folk-song-singing hippie? I can't remember the last time I saw such a person.

      The people who used to be hippies are now in their fifties and sixties. Is it the plan of Fred Thompson's supporters to go around punching these senior citizens, the huge majority of whom ceased being hippies decades ago?

      Really, what's the point of this bizarre focus of Fred Thompson's supporters of threatening to go out and attack a political-cultural group that has not been relevant since the 1960s? What are they trying to prove?

      For Republicans to say that they're going to get the hippies is as weird as it would be for present-day Democrats to say that they were going to target people who support President Nixon. The 1960s is long past, but the right wing Republican agenda for America promoted by Fred Thompson supporters is still organized around settling the old grudges of that time.

      In 2008, we need to elect a President who is willing to learn from the lessons of history instead of living in the past. We need a President who looks forward. That's why we need to elect a progressive President.

    104. In his new book, The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan criticizes the Republican Party, of which he has been a member for his whole life. Writing of the Republican loss of majority control of both houses of the United States Congress in 2006, Greenspan states, "They swapped principle for power. They ended up with neither. They deserved to lose."

      Of course, the Republican presidential candidates for the 2008 election are still promoting the same tired agenda that they did back in 2006. They are still choosing to trade principle for power. That's why, by Alan Greenspan's own accounting, the Republicans deserve to lose the White House in 2008. (Source: The Age, September 17, 2007)

    105. The entry of Republican Alan Keyes into the presidential race is highly clarifying in matters of church, state, and Christ. Back in 2004, Alan Keyes provided us with the insight that "Christ would not vote for Barack Obama". Certainly the Son of God wouldn't just have thrown his vote away on a write-in candidate, not with that flaming sword of his. And since Keyes was Barack Obama's only competition in a race for the United States Senate, it stands to reason that Christ would have voted for Alan Keyes instead. Are you going to stand up and tell me that Christ is inconsistent over time? No! Christ is a rock, the foundation on wihch we stand (take off those cleats, if you please). If Christ would have voted for Alan Keyes in 2004, then surely He would vote for Alan Keyes in 2008.

      Christ for Keyes in 2008! Either that, or Alan Keyes is insane. You pick which. (Source: CBS News September 8 2004)

    106. In the Values Voter Debate held on September 17, 2007, Republican presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Sam Brownback reminded viewers what's at stake in the 2008 presidential election: "I want to be the president to appoint the justice that is the final vote that we need to overturn Roe vs. Wade and end this Night of wrong. I have fought for this in the Judiciary Committee, I fought for Samuel Alito, I fought for Justice Roberts, and I think that these are two new Oaks we've planted. And we need one more vote to overturn Roe.

      You won't find a transcript of these remarks anywhere on the web. The people behind the Values Voter Debate know very well that in order for a conservative anti-choice presidential candidate to win election to the White House in November of 2008, he will have to make a rote, practiced turn toward moderate speech in the general election cycle. They don't want the general public to know what kind of crazy impositions against liberty the Republicans actually have in mind. But last night at the Values Voter Debate the right-wing anti- liberty lobby extracted its promises from Senator Brownback and others on that stage. They made themselves perfectly clear: vote for them and they'll make abortions illegal in America.

      These are the stakes. Your vote stands between right-wing presidential aspirants like Sam Brownback and the deletion of a woman's right to choose what happens to her own body. (Source: Values Voter Debate of September 17 2007)

    107. It's not just Sam Brownback who promises to outlaw abortion if elected president of the United States. Tom Tancredo promised the same during the Values Voter Debate of September 17 2007, referring to his fellow Republican candidates and to himself: "Of course I believe all of us would appoint judges who would do exactly what we've said here and overturn Roe vs. Wade. I guarantee you I would do that. That would be a litmus test."

      Right from the Republican presidential candidate's mouth: you vote for a Republican in 2008, and abortion will be made illegal. The choice is stark and clear. (Source: Values Voter Debate of September 17 2007)

    108. A good measure of the disrespect that Republican voters have for their own presidential candidates came this week from Politics1, one of the briefest yet most useful political reads on the web.

      James Dobson, leader of politically active right wing Christians, sent an email to his followers in which he despaired that Fred Thompson "can't speak his way out of a paper bag on the campaign trail," and commented, "He has no passion, no zeal and no apparent 'want to.' And yet he is apparently the Great Hope that burns in the breasts of many conservative Christians? Well, not for me, my brothers. Not for me!"

      The flareup is not just between Dobson and Thompson, of course. It reflects a deeper loss of direction within the Republican Party. For years, the Republicans claimed that, if only they could get control of the federal government, they'd solve all America's problems. Now we see that the Republicans have only been able to make a mess of everything they touch. Every issue that used to be a rallying point for the Republicans now has become a point of shame. It's no wonder that Republican presidential candidates like Fred Thompson can only offer half-hearted, tired performances on the campaign trail. (Source: Politics1.com, September 21, 2007)

    109. Republican New Jersey State Assemblyman Craig Stanley, also a Baptist deacon, introduced legislation to require the New Jersey Devils to change their name. Why? In a CBC interview Stanley explained that it just wasn't Christian, and that churchgoers might be upset. The solution to Republican Christians being upset with somebody else's use of religious imagery is, of course, to pass a law to ban it.

    110. In September, it was discovered that Rudolph Giuliani's campaign sponsored a fundraiser for his presidential campaign for which the gimmick was that people would be asked to write checks for $9.11 (and then another check for more money).

      Get it? 9/11, like September 11, 2001. You remember, don't you? That was the day when the Twin Towers fell, and a plane slammed into the Pentagon.

      Of course you remember it. Everyone does, but that's not good enough for Republicans like Rudy Giuliani. They want you to be thinking about September 11, 2001 all day, every day, non-stop, in a life-long marathon of memories of fear and panic.

      What's more, Republicans like Rudolph Giuliani think that they own September 11, 2001. They think that it's their day in history. They've made it their brand, and even shortened into a logo-like shorthand: 9/11. The Republicans think it's their version of the Nike Swoosh. They figure that, whenever things don't go their way, they can just say 9/11, and everyone will stop asking the tough questions.

      So it is that one of Giuliani's supporters thought up the idea of holding a fundraiser at which everyone would promise to give Rudolph Giuliani a check for $9.11. That's what the families of the victims of September 11, 2001 would have wanted, Giuliani's presidential campaign activists must have figured - to use the memories of the dead as a way to make money for themselves.

      Now that the plan has been revealed, Harold Schaitberger, the president of the International Association of Fire Fighters calls Giuliani's $9.11 fundraiser "disrespectful to the legacy of the thousands of civilians and 343 brave firefighters who died at Ground Zero," and Giuliani is on the defensive.

      Giuliani says that his campaign had absolutely no knowledge of the fundraiser theme, and that the organizer of the event must have thought up the idea. That's not what the the organizer, Abraham Soefer, says. He says that someone else thought of the idea to ask for checks for $9.11, and he just played along. So much for Republican claims to have a monopoly on personal responsibility.

      What's next for Rudolph Giuliani? Selling 9/11 snowglobes to raise money for his campaign? (Source: BBC, September 26, 2007)

    111. Ron Paul, speaking at a Republican presidential debate in September 2007, made the following argument about health care reform:

      1. Doctors and patients alike are being abused by corporations such as the huge pharmaceutical companies.

      2. Therefore, the solution is to "get the government out of the way".

      As for myself, I'm not in favor of Ron Paul's plan to let the pharmaceutical corporations abuse me without the government getting in the way.

    112. CNN has revealed that the initial State Department report on an incident in which a young family was killed the report that exonerated Blackwater of responsibility was not written by an impartial, unconnected departmental auditor. That report was written by an employee of Blackwater.

      Blackwater is not a politically neutral mercenary corporation. The corporation has received $800 million in contracts to carry out its mercenary work, but the money doesn't just flow in one direction. Blackwater CEO Erik Prince has donated $221750 to Republican and conservative national political causes since 1998, in the following distribution:

      Republican Party:

      Republican National Committee 2000: $88,000 - 2001: $3,950 - 2004: $25,000

      National Republican Congressional Committee 2005: $25,000 - 2007: $20,000

      Republican Party of Virginia (under misspelling of "Eric Prince) 2006: $800

      Conservative Political Committees:

      Restoring the American Dream 1998: $5,000 - 1999: $5,000

      Susan B. Anthony List 1998: $2,500

      Principles Exalt A Nation 2006: $1,000

      America's Foundation 2004: $1,000 - 2006: $1,000

      National Conservative Campaign Fund 2003: $500

      Drake-Virginia Victory Committee 2006: $5,000

      Republican Political Candidates:

      George W. Bush 2003: $2,000

      Spencer Abraham 1999: $2,000

      Peter Hoekstra 1999: $500 - 2004: $1,000 - 2005: $1,000

      Gary Hofmeister 1999: $1,000

      Ted Poe 2004: $750

      Jim Talent 2006: $2,100

      Todd Tiahrt 2005: $1,000

      Duncan Hunter 2004: $1,000

      Jim Saxton 2005: $1,500

      Tom DeLay 2004: $1,000 - 2005: $2,100

      Mike Pence 2005: $2,000 - 2006: $1,000

      Jon Kyl 2006: $2,100

      Rick Santorum 2005: $2,100

      Marilyn Musgrave 2004: $1,000

      Max Burns 2004: $1,000

      Tom Coburn 2004: $1,000

      George Allen 2006: $2,100

      Jim DeMint 2004: $1,000

      Walter Jones 2002: $1,000 - 2004: $750

      Jerry Lewis 2004: $1,000

      Green Party: Green Party of Luzerne County, PA 2006: $5,000

      Then there are the contributions made by another member of the Prince household named Joanna. Mysteriously, this is not his first wife Joan, who died of cancer in 2003. But they are of the same address as Erik Prince in the FEC records. Is this Erik Prince using his child to make contributions? Seemingly, no; "Joanna" is listed as a "Homemaker" in occupation. Is Erik Prince's second wife named Joanna? I cannot find any source for this information. Well, we know they are part of the same household, and as you can see by their pattern, they are not at all independent contributions:

      Principles Exalt A Nation 2006: $1,000

      Green Party:

      Green Party of Luzerne County, PA 2006: $5,000

      George Allen 2006: $2,100

      Rick Santorum 2005: $2,100

      Jim Talent 2006: $2,100

      Adding in Joanna Prince's $12,300 to the mix, that brings us to a total so far of $234,050 in campaign contributions.

      What's going on with those contributions to the Pennsylvania Green Party? They were part of an attempt in 2006 to prop up the Green Party candidate for Senate in Pennsylvania, in the hope that the Green candidate would siphon away votes from Democratic candidate Robert Casey and thereby help conservative Senator Rick Santorum win re-election. The gambit didn't work.

      But wait, there's more. Look at these contributions by those in Blackwater USA's leadership. These are, again, not at all independent in their structure:

      Justin Heiderich of the Blackwater Security Consulting branch contributed $1,000 to the Republican National Committee in 2006.

      Gary Jackson, President of Blackwater USA, contributed $1,000 to Tom DeLay in 2004, $1,000 to Duncan Hunter in 2004, $1,000 to Jerry Lewis in 2004, and $1,000 to Mike Pence in 2006.

      Joseph Schmitz, "Executive" of Blackwater USA, contributed $1,000 to Principles Exalt a Nation in 2006, and $1,000 to Rick Santorum in 2006.

      That brings us to a total of $241,050 contributed by Blackwater individuals to Republican and associated causes. Not a bad investment for a $800 million return& but a very bad investment for the Iraqi civilians who have gotten in Blackwater's way.

      The next time you go out into public and you see a mother, a father and their baby, pause a moment to think of their counterparts in Iraq. It didn't have to be this way. With the next election, let's do what we can to make sure this doesn't happen again.(Sources: CNN October 2 2007; Federal Election Commission Database Search October 2 2007; National Public Radio September 25 2007)

    113. The profound legal incompetence that forms the basis of the right wing approach to government was exposed by one of the right wing's own top lawyers, Harvard University professor of law Jack L. Goldsmith. Professor Goldsmith was called to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on October 2, 2007. When he was asked about the condition of the White House Office of Legal Counsel under George W. Bush when he arrived to take over as the new head of the office, Goldsmith called it "the biggest legal mess I had ever encountered".

      For a lawyer of Jack Goldsmith's experience, that's saying a great deal. When even Republicans describe the right wing's management of legal affairs in the federal government as a tremendous mess, you know that it's time for America to find a better alternative. (Source: New York Times, October 2, 2007)

    114. The Republican-dominated Mississippi State House and Senate passed a bill that would have the Sermon on the Mount posted on the walls of public schools and government buildings. Republican Governor Haley Barbour has signed the bill, giving it the force of law. Says Barbour, "When I went to Yazoo High, we started each day with prayer and a Ten Commandments monument stood right outside the front door on the grounds of the school. Those were good things back then, and they would be good things today." Haley Barbour has considered running for President in 2008?

    115. A large collection of Republican politicians are asking the American people to allow them to continue Republican Party administration of the Executive Branch of the American federal government. However, the Republicans have proved to be inept in their administration of even the most straightforward government functions.

      For example, the Republicans determined to build a new American embassy in Iraq after the invasion of 2003. Building the embassy should have been a simple and straightforward project, but Republican planners turned the embassy construction project into a labyrinth of relationships between private contractors, centered around an overextravagant plan to expand the embassy into a virtual city, bogged down by corruption and incompetence.

      The result is that now, four and a half years after the invasion of Iraq, the State Department has delayed the opening of the American embassy in Iraq indefinitely.

      If the Republicans cannot even manage to build an embassy, how can we expect them to rebuild the wreck that they have made of the Executive Branch as a whole? (Source: Letter from Henry Waxman, Chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, October 9, 2007)

    116. Congressman Henry Waxman hit the nail on the head when he wrote in a letter to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice this month, "I am growing increasingly dismayed by the State Department's resistance to responsible oversight." The dishonesty with which Condoleeza Rice and the State Department has dealt with Congress on the abuses of the mercenary force deployed in Iraq by Blackwater USA are just part of a history of deceit.

      In July 2007, for example, the State Department testified before Congress that the American embassy in Iraq would be built on time and on budget. Just a few weeks later, it was revealed that the embassy construction was more than 100 million dollars over budget and that the State Department had no idea when the embassy might be built.

      To believe that the State Department really thought that everything was going fine with the embassy construction in July, and then suddenly found about 144 million dollars in new costs and substantial delays only a few weeks later stretches credulity beyond the breaking point. A much more plausible explanation is that the State Department knew full well what was going on, and lied to Congress to try to cover it up.

      It's bad enough that the Republicans are incompetent administrators of our government. It's even worse that they lie to Congress about it, thwarting the legislature's constitutionally established power of oversight in the process. If we elect a Republican candidate President in 2008, we can expect four more years of combined incompetence and deception. (Source: Letter from Henry Waxman, Chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, October 9, 2007)

    117. You know that the failures of the Republican presidency are bad when even the Republican presidential candidates admit to them. That's just what is happening in the 2008 presidential campaign. For instance, this week, Republican John McCain admitted, "We Republicans have been slow to offer bold solutions in the areas of health care and the environment, and our silence has eroded American's trust in our party."

      The crazy thing is that John McCain thinks that this is a good reason to vote for him, a Republican. For eight years, America has seen the disasters that come from Republicans in the White House. About this one thing, John McCain is right. The Republicans have eroded the trust Americans once granted them. It's time to leave the eroded Republicans behind. (Source: Baltimore Sun, October 13, 2007)

    118. Back in 1980, Fred Thompson worked for Carbonex, a company that strip mined mountains in Tennessee for coal. He made it his job to represent the interests of Carbonex, using his political influence to help them get their way.

      In 1980, Carbonex's way included getting a mine inspector fired for standing in the way of its commercial interests.

      At the time, Brooks Garland, a lawyer for the state's surface mining division wrote, "We have had trouble with Carbonex ever since they came into Tennessee."

      Mine inspector Francis Baker wrote of Carbonex's sloppy operation of coal mines "It is evident that this company willingly ignores their mining plans, notices of noncompliance, the department's designee and the state law." When Carbonex started the political pressure to get Baker fired, Baker's superiors supported him, and said that his work was "to be commended". Nonetheless Francis Baker was removed as an inspector of Carbonex's mines.

      Baker contends that Fred Thompson worked as the legal representative of Carbonex to have him removed from the mine so that Carbonex could continue to do its slipshod mining without interference. Fred Thompson flew in a plane chartered by Carbonex with state officials and arranged for those officials to meet with Carbonex company officials.

      Right after Fred Thompson arranged this meeting, Francis Baker was fired.

      That's the kind of lawyer that Fred Thompson has been, helping corporate clients like Carbonex to avoid obeying the law. Just imagine how Fred Thompson the disdain with which he would regard the law if he were elected President of the United States.(Source: Associated Press, October 18, 2007)

    119. Just in case you were suffering under the notion that electing a Republican to be our next president might help return this country to the middle, Mitt Romney has had the honesty to tell you otherwise. Romney says, "You know, this is a critical time for our nation and for our party. We have to decide which direction we're going to head. And in my view, we're going to have to bring together the same coalition that Ronald Reagan brought together, conservatives fiscally, conservatives from a military standpoint and conservatives socially, and I believe that a candidate and all of us here are Republicans, all of us are trying to put together that same coalition, but it's essential that the strength of the house Ronald Reagan built is going to lead us to become the successful nation that we've always been, and our party to be successful. Because we're not going to we're not going to keep Hillary Clinton out of the White House by acting like Hillary Clinton."

      Hillary Clinton is not a liberal Democrat: she's only got a 60 percent progressive rating for her legislative record in the 110th Congress. That makes her a centrist Democrat whose platform is unappealing to many liberals. Mitt Romney's told you that he and any Republican candidate for president are going to reject the centrism of Hillary Clinton. Romney's further told you that he and any Republican candidate for president are going to embrace conservatism in all policy dimensions. Mitt Romney's just told you that if even if you're a centrist, the Republican party is not for you.(Source: Republican Party Debate of October 21 2007)

    120. Have you noticed that all the big talk from the campaign of Ron Paul for President these days is about money? It's not even about you saving money by Ron Paul cutting your taxes. It's about how much money Ron Paul can convince people to give him.

      The latest version is called New Years Revolution - at newyearsrevolution08.com. Guess what kind of revolution you'll be able to take part in, if you visit that web site?

      You'll be able to give Ron Paul one hundred dollars!

      Do you hear the people sing, singing the songs of angry men? It is the music of a people who will not be slaves again! When the music of your heart, echoes the beating of a drum…

      …wait a minute. How is it a revolution for you to give a politician one hundred dollars?

      Actually, that's not a very revolutionary act at all. Politicians have been taking money from people for a long, long time, after all.

      Most of the money that gets sent to Ron Paul is then given to political consultants who get rich only if things stay just as they are. How is that revolutionary?

      There isn't a single revolutionary thing that a visitor to newyearsrevolution08.com can do, other than give Ron Paul money. That's it. There isn't even a fake petition to sign.

      Ron Paul ought to be ashamed of himself for taking so much money from people who would be better off paying down the balance on their credit cards, but on the New Years Revolution web site, the picture of Ron Paul is smiling.

      Mothers and fathers of America, please think about this for a minute. If your son or daughter came to you and asked you for a hundred dollars, because some man had come to town and told them that there would be a revolution, if only a whole lot of people gave him a hundred dollars, what would you say?

      That's what America needs to say to Ron Paul and his little "revolution".

    121. George W. Bush promised America, after the failure of the federal government to help Americans cope with the effects of Hurricane Katrina, that he would reform the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Then, when gigantic wildfires struck California this year, it seemed that President Bush had kept his promise. It seemed that FEMA was doing a great job.

      As we have all learned, however, things are often not what they seem in the Bush Administration. After huge numbers of Americans watched a FEMA press conference that seemed to show just what a great job FEMA was doing in California, it was revealed that the press conference was fake.

      It seemed at the press conference that Vice Admiral Harvey E. Johnson, the Deputy Director of FEMA, was intelligently dealing with questions asked of him by professional journalists. Actually, those supposed journalists were really just FEMA employees who were told to pretend to be journalists, and ask questions that Deputy Director Johnson was already prepared to answer.

      This incident is an expression of Republicans' idea of government reform: When a problem is identified, find a new way to cover it up. America will face more disasters in the future. We deserve a government that will prepare to cope with those disasters, not prepare to commit fraud in order to conceal its lack of preparedness. (Source: CNN, October 26, 2007)

    122. What's worse than the Bush administration stunt in which a FEMA news conference contains FEMA staffers pretending to be reporters, asking a FEMA spokesman canned questions, and shoving real reporters onto a listen-only phone line to watch it all?

      How about the Bush administration tapping Pat Philbin, who helped plan and participate in the stunt, for a promotion? That's right: the Bush administration picked Philbin to become the new head of Public Affairs for the Director of National Intelligence. Heckuva job! (Source: Washington Post, October 28 2007)

    123. One of the biggest supporters for the Fred Thompson for President campaign, the founder of the web site Blogs For Fred, has announced that "I'm cutting my support for Fred Thompson.". Joe Carter explains that the initially high level of excitement about Fred Thompson running for President was really just "hype". One problem cited by Carter is Thompson's lazy work habits: "doing it 'Fred's Way' means not doing much at all."

      Carter concludes, "I've been frustrated with his campaign even before it launched and have grown increasingly tired of having to justify to myself why Thompson deserves my vote. I won't waste time elaborating all the reasons for my decision, but they are many. Still, I hung on until this past weekend. After seeing his sloppy, lackluster, uninspiring speech at the Washington Briefing I realized I couldn't do it anymore."

      When Republicans are uninspired by the speeches given by one of their frontrunners in the 2008 presidential campaign, it's a sign that Republican ideology has become as tired as Fred Thompson. (Source: EvangelicalOutpost.com, October 24, 2007)

    124. You know George W. Bush's record is unrecoverably bad when a simple question, "Who do you think was a better president, Bill Clinton or George W. Bush?", is taken by conservative Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison as unanswerably unfair. Conversation between Bill Maher and Senator Hutchison:

      Bill Maher: Who do you think was a better president, Bill Clinton or George W. Bush?

      Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison: Well, that's not a fair question, as you know.

      Maher: It's not?

      Senator Hutchison: You didn't intend for it to be a fair question, I'm sure.

      Maher: Why isn't that fair?

      Senator Hutchison: [Silence.] Well, because, I'm a Republican.

      How can a partisan defend fellow Republican George W. Bush? Even Kay Bailey Hutchison admits that it's not possible. Even to a Texas Republican, a question asking her to defend Bush's record seems unfair. (Source: Real Time with Bill Maher, October 26 2007)

    125. Anyone who has been paying attention to the 2008 presidential campaign knows that the supporters of Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul have countered the obvious lack of support for Ron Paul in opinion polls by pointing to the huge amount of interest Ron Paul's campaign has been able to generate online. I've been keeping track of signs of that apparent interest myself for months now. Among other things, Ron Paul's name has consistently, almost unceasingly, been one of the top ten search terms on blog search engine Technorati.

      How could that be? How could Ron Paul's campaign stay up so high in Technorati's rankings for so long, when no other candidate, even those with much more general public support, have failed to rise to that level of online interest? Now it seems that we may have our answer.

      Ron Paul's campaign has been promoted through the use of email spam, using techniques that are at minimum harassing and dishonest, and are likely to be actually criminal. For those people who aren't familiar with the term "spam", it refers to junk email sent out in massive amounts without any sign of interest or permission from recipients. Anyone who has left their email address somewhere visible online is likely to receive email spam, with messages promoting things like prescription drugs, cosmetic surgery for sexual organs, and pornography.

      You can add Ron Paul to that list of annoying categories of spam. The pro-Paul email spam operation, which has been sending out messages with titles like "Ron Paul Wins GOP Debate!", and messages such as "Ron Paul is for the people, unless you want your children to have human implant RFID chips, a National ID card and create a North American Union and see an economic collapse far worse than the great depression. Vote for Ron Paul he speaks the truth and the media and government is afraid of him."

      The media is afraid of Ron Paul? No, I'm afraid I'm going to keep on getting junk messages promoting Ron Paul like this in my inbox.

      The Ron Paul for President campaign is, so far, denying involvement in the email spam operation. Whether Ron Paul is telling the truth about that or not, we can judge the candidate according to the kind of people his campaign attracts as supporters. Online, it seems that Ron Paul's campaign has attracted dishonest hackers who have such disrespect for voters that they're willing to subject us to torrents of garbage clogging up our email accounts.

      The once ballyhooed popularity of Ron Paul in the online world seems likely now to be the result of fraud. (Source: Wired, October 31, 2007)

    126. The Bush White House denied any knowledge of Jack Abramoff at one time. And yet the crooked and corrupt Jack Abramoff visited the White House 115 times. Now it comes to light that the Bush administration is withholding 600 pages of documents pertaining to "internal White House deliberations" having to do with Jack Abramoff and his very special activities.

      Oh, what will we tell the children? (Source: House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform)

    127. Rudolph Giuliani, in a recent campaign radio advertisement, made a shocking claim: "My chances of surviving prostate cancer and thank God I was cured of it in the United States, 82 percent. My chances of surviving prostate cancer in England, only 44 percent under socialized medicine."

      Could socialized medicine be so much worse in curing people of cancer than the United States? Well, no. It turns out that Giuliani's claim is just plain false.

      Giuliani based his claim upon outdated information that was misinterpreted by a right wing publication. Up to date information and a proper analysis of statistics show that men in England and men in the United States have about the same rate of death from prostate cancer. Men in the two countries who have prostate cancer also have an equivalent survival rate.

      If you want to elect a sloppy thinker who allows his ideological agenda to lead him into acceptance of inaccurate claims about health care, then Rudy Giuliani would be your pick. (Source: Eugene Register-Guard, November 5, 2007)

    128. It's just a little over two years since Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and sent destructive economic shock waves throughout the American economy. The United States is still trying to get back to where it was before Hurricane Katrina. Already, some Republicans seem to have forgotten all about Hurricane Katrina, and is determined to repeat the mistakes that made the disaster worse.

      It wasn't just the hurricane itself that killed and destroyed, after all. Inadequate levees broke when they should have held, and sent waters into neighborhoods that were supposed to be protected.

      In spite of all this, George W. Bush has vetoed a bill, the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), that would fund levees and other projects to protect people from hurricanes and catastrophic floods. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi explains that, "In New Orleans, where the damage is already done, WRDA is essential to rebuilding that great city."

      So great is the need for the Water Resources Development Act that 138 Republicans in the House of Representatives joined with congressional democrats to override Bush's veto of the legislation. Unfortunately, many Republicans went along with Bush's absurd opposition to the bill. Every single one of the members of the House who voted against the Water Resources Development Act were Republicans.

      Among those was Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul. I can't for the life of me think of what excuse he can come up with for opposing this bill. Could Ron Paul really say with a straight face that spending on levees is wasteful, after what we saw during Hurricane Katrina? Would Ron Paul seriously pull out his tired old libertarian line that this kind of congressional spending is unconstitutional, in spite of the Constitution's explicit endorsement of congressional action for the general welfare of the American people?

      Any candidate who supports the neglects of America's defenses against Hurricanes like Katrina is not fit to become President of the United States. It's too late to vote against George W. Bush for President. It is not too late to vote against Ron Paul for President. (Sources: Library of Congress; Nancy Pelosi press release, November 2, 2007)

    129. You know things are going bad for the Republican Party when right wing activist Jack Carter acknowledges that Newt Gingrich is "the only intellectual-politician we have left in the GOP." (Source: Evangelical Outpost, November 5, 2007)

    130. The problem that the close political allegiance between Rudolph Giuliani and Bernard Kerik poses for Giuliani's presidential campaign is so straightforward that it can be expressed in the short form poem of a haiku:

      Giuliani can't
      give us a clean government
      with friends like Kerik.

      Kerik has been caught in a web of corruption going back to his days in New York City government as Giuliani's police commissioner. He is now under indictment for wire and mail fraud, lying on a mortgage application, lying on an application to become leader of the Department of Homeland Security, and tax fraud. (Source: New York Times, November 9, 2007)

    131. Michael Mukasey has been confirmed by the United States Senate, even though Mukasey indicated that he would not challenge the use of torture planned by the Bush White House. The confirmation of Mukasey came in spite of the promised change of the 2006 election, when the Democrats swore that they would change things if they got the majority in the Senate. The six Senate Democrats who voted to confirm Mukasey place a stain on the reputation of the Democratic Party.

      Things are even worse for the Republican Party, however. Not one single Republican senator had the basic human decency to vote against the confirmation of Mukasey.

      The Democratic Party is stained with the support of torture shown by some of its leaders. The Republican Party, however, seems to be pro-torture through and through. (Source: Library of Congress)

    132. Shocking news from the pharmaceuticals industry sent stock prices for Eli Lilly & Company, a gigantic pharmaceuticals manufacturer, tumbling in January, 2005. The British Medical Journal says that it has given confidential documents to the regulators at the Food and Drug Administration. These documents show that Eli Lilly & Company knew as far back as the 1980s that the drug Prozac has disturbing side effects, such as an increased risk for suicidal thoughts and extremely violent behaviors.

      Eli Lilly & Company has kept this information private for the last two decades. The pharmaceuticals giant has not informed physicians of the risks, has not warned people taking the drug, and has not bothered to tell the FDA about its concerns. This cover-up of medical research is on the scale of the fraud committed by tobacco producers up until the 1990s.

      This is just the latest in a series of scandals involving pharmaceuticals manufacturers that has hit the front pages over the last few months. It is becoming increasingly clear that the pharmaceuticals industry has betrayed the trust of the American people.

      What has been the reaction of the Republicans? Many loud voices from powerful Republican politicians argue that no reform is necessary.

      In what is getting to be a pattern of delay and detachment, the Bush Administration has yet to say or do anything about the cover-up of Prozac's problems by Eli Lilly & Company However, just last year, George W. Bush cozied up to the pharmaceuticals industry by refusing to allow Americans access to less expensive drugs on the Canadian market, even when those drugs had already gone through American regulatory channels. Bush also pushed through a new law that makes it illegal for the United States government to negotiate lower prices for bulk purchases of drugs for government medical programs.

      Over and over again, the Bush Adminstration has sided with the pharmaceuticals industry against the interests of the American people. When corporate interests are given such wide berth by the United States government, they owe it to the American people to behave in an ethical manner. Time and time again, Eli Lilly & Company and its corporate peers have betrayed this obligation.

      We need the President and the Congress to speak out loud and clear, responding to these abuses by enacting new procedures in the FDA to ensure that pharmaceuticals manufacturers engage in ethical practices.

      As we enter into 2008, Eli Lilly is still doing business, and still making huge profits. Some of the people who have taken its medications are not doing so well. Until the Republican federal government can be reformed, you had better be careful about the pills that you pop. (Source: CNN, January 4, 2005)

    133. Take a guess: Which major Republican presidential candidate has received campaign donations from an American neo-Nazi who is the former leader of the KKK and currently owner of Stormfront, a prominent white supremacist web site?

      Take note: It's Ron Paul. The neo-Nazi is Don Black, who wrote a 500 dollar contribution to the Ron Paul for President campaign. The Ron Paul for President campaign has refused to return the donation.

      This isn't an isolated incident of White Supremacist ties to Ron Paul. For one thing, there's the incident of the racist comments made in Ron Paul's newsletter that Ron Paul later claimed were made by a ghostwriter, and not by him. Ron Paul's claims trying to excuse him from responsibility for the remarks have not been substantiated, but even if they were, Ron Paul and his staff would have had editorial control of the newsletter, and would have hired the racist ghostwriter in the first place. When Ron Paul was asked to release all of his newsletters to the public to be read and examined for racist comment, Paul refused.

      Back in the 1990s, on the web site of the Neo-Nazi group Heritage Front under the category, "Racialist Addresses and Phone Numbers" along with the American Nazi Party, the Aryan Women's Society, Children of the Reich, David Duke, Jew Watch, The Klansman, the Mighty White Skinheads, The Seditionist, the Southern National Party, Stormfront Magazine, and United White Youth, was listed Ron Paul's newsletter: The Ron Paul Political Report. Ron Paul a "racialist", huh? Where I come from, they use a shorter word: Racist.

      Ron Paul has also received the endorsement of Hutton Gibson, another neo-Nazi who blames the Jews for most of the problems in the world, saying of the Holocaust, for example, "I've known a lot of Germans. The society I went to school to were Germans and they were thorough they were good teachers. They were efficient and they know how to do things. If they had set out to kill six million Jews they would have done it. But all we hear about is Holocaust survivors. Oh, we know it happened, cause over there is a survivor. Oh, my mother and father were survivors,' they say. This is absolutely ridiculous. And it's all - maybe not all fiction - but most of it is. For instance the gas chambers and crematoria at Auschwitz would not do the job. Do you know what it takes to get rid of a dead body? To cremate it? It takes a liter of petrol and 20 minutes - now six million of them? They did not have the gas to do it. That's why they lost the war."

      In October, Ron Paul spoke before the Robert A. Taft Club, a group with multiple ties to white supremacism.

      Stormfront has officially endorsed Ron Paul for President, telling its audience, "Whatever organization you belong to, remember first and foremost that you're a white nationalist, then put aside your differences with one another and work together. Work together to strive to get someone in the Oval Office who agrees with much of what we want for our future. Look at the man, look at the issues, look at our future. Vote for Ron Paul, 2008."

      WhiteCivilRights.com, the racist web site run by former KKK leader David Duke, urges its readers to "join together with Ron Paul and march on toward victory." The neo-Nazi site also organizes online traffic to donate money to the Ron Paul for President campaign. This summer, David Duke's site directed its white supremacist members to support Ron Paul at the Iowa Republican Straw Poll, as well as in Republican straw polls in other states. Ron Paul's famous November 11 online fundraiser, in which he raised 4 million dollars, appears to have been made possible in part by promotional efforts made by the David Duke web site.

      And there's more, and more, and more, and more. The more you look into Ron Paul, beyond the vapid headlines of the cable TV news networks, the more clear it becomes that a substantial part of Ron Paul's highly energized support comes from right wing racists. Progressive candidates just don't get this kind of racist support, and there's a good reason for it. Progressives don't support the kind of unjust government policies that white supremacists are hoping for. Ron Paul does, and whether Ron Paul is a racist or not, the racists love him for it. (Sources: HeritageFront.org; Lone Star Times, October 30, 2007; Lone Star Times, November 16, 2007; Austin Chronicle, Volume 16, Issue 9, 1996; American Thinker, November 18, 2007; WhiteCivilRights.com; Movie City News, March 3, 2004; Southern Poverty Law Center, October 8, 2007)

    134. Ron Paul supporters, hang on to your hates - I mean, your hats. We've already reported on how the Ron Paul newsletter has contained racist slurs, how white supremacists are campaigning for Ron Paul, and how Ron Paul refuses to turn down campaign donations that he knows is coming from white supremacist leaders.

      What none of us knew is that there is good reason to believe that Ron Paul regularly meets with leaders of white supremacist and neo-Nazi organizations. Says who? So says Bill White, leader of the American National Socialist Workers Party. Hint to those not familiar with the organizations of America's extreme right wing: "National Socialist" is shortened to Nazi. Bill White is a self-avowed, proud Nazi.

      Here's what he wrote about the denials from the Ron Paul campaign that Ron Paul is affiliated with white supremacist groups:

      "Ron Paul Lies About Lack Of Involvement With White Nationalists

      Comrades:

      I have kept quiet about the Ron Paul campaign for a while, because I didn't see any need to say anything that would cause any trouble. However, reading the latest release from his campaign spokesman, I am compelled to tell the truth about Ron Paul's extensive involvement in white nationalism.

      Both Congressman Paul and his aides regularly meet with members of the Stormfront set, American Renaissance, the Institute for Historic Review, and others at the Tara Thai restaurant in Arlington, Virginia, usually on Wednesdays. This is part of a dinner that was originally organized by Pat Buchanan, Sam Francis and Joe Sobran, and has since been mostly taken over by the Council of Conservative Citizens.

      I have attended these dinners, seen Paul and his aides there, and been invited to his offices in Washington to discuss policy.

      For his spokesman to call white racialism a 'small ideology' and claim white activists are 'wasting their money' trying to influence Paul is ridiculous. Paul is a white nationalist of the Stormfront type who has always kept his racial views and his views about world Judaism quiet because of his political position.

      I don't know that it is necessarily good for Paul to 'expose' this. However, he really is someone with extensive ties to white nationalism and for him to deny that in the belief he will be more respectable by denying it is outrageous — and I hate seeing people in the press who denounce racialism merely because they think it is not fashionable.

      Bill White, Commander American National Socialist Workers Party"

      To sum up: Bill White says that he and other Neo-Nazi and white supremacist leaders have been meeting with Ron Paul on a regular basis, at public gatherings in restaurants and in private at Ron Paul's own offices.

      Bill White's message was posted on the VNN (Vanguard News Network) forum, a place where white supremacists meet online. In response to White's revelation, a user with the handle "RonPaulSupporter" writes, "I know alot of white supremacist involved in the Ron Paul campaign. I wish he would not shun away from his true supporters. I will stick with him till the ened but he shouldn't act like a typical politiician." Another white supremacist writes, "If this is all true, I'm happy to hear this about the guy. I'll be voting for Ron Paul in January here in Florida in the primary."

      Others white supremacists on the VNN forum are more upset with Bill White for exposing Ron Paul's connections. Another user, "McKinley", who uses the tag phrase "nothing says lovin' like a jew in the oven" for a signature, writes of Bill White, "Some one ban this piece of shit for the no outing rule." Note that "McKinley" doesn't deny the connection, but merely is angry that someone has let it out in the open - "outing" Ron Paul.

      Even those who are angry with Bill White for saying out in the open what so many white supremacists have been whispering about Ron Paul agree, even in their anger, that Ron Paul is presidential candidate who is doing the most for the American Neo-Nazi movement. VNN user "Darren" writes, for example,

      "Ron Paul is the only candidate that comes close to matching our views in the mainstream political debate. I know you don't like people who only go half-way in their political views, however, half-way is better than nothing at all.

      Ron Paul may say things to please the media regarding racism, but he is hardly a hardcore left-wing commie who wants to merge the races into a gray goo. Please get a sense of proportion here.

      If Ron Paul is hurt by this information, you have done those of us trying to effect meaningful political change a big disservice.

      I like the ANSWP [American National Socialist Workers Party] and the leadership you have given it, but we have to be realistic when it comes to making big political changes. Ron Paul is our first step. Please don't ruin it!"
      There is no denial of the allegations on the Ron Paul campaign web site.

      It is possible, of course, that Bill White is lying. I can't say that I know for sure. I don't live in Washington D.C., and I've never been to the Tara Thai restaurant.

      I haven't been to the Tara Thai restaurant, but Ron Paul has, and not just as a private citizen. Campaign finance records filed with the FEC show that the Ron Paul for President campaign spent $314.59 at the Tara Thai restaurant in the third quarter of 2007 alone. That's the restaurant where Bill White claims to have met with Ron Paul and Ron Paul's aides.

      A consistent pattern of contact between Ron Paul and white supremacists has come to light in a way that has not occurred for any other presidential candidates. Bill White claims that the contact is purposeful, though secretive, with the intention of deceiving the American people. Maybe he's telling the truth. Maybe he isn't. Maybe the contact has been accidental on Ron Paul's part.

      If that's the case, then Ron Paul needs to do more than just say so. He needs to prove it. He needs to provide evidence, including witnesses from outside his campaign, that can refute the specifics of Bill White's allegations, as well as the general accusation that Ron Paul is coordinating with white supremacists. Ron Paul needs to cut all ties with white supremacists, blocking their fundraising efforts on his behalf. He needs to return their money. Furthermore, Ron Paul needs to come out with an agenda that counters the neo-Nazi movement, proving that he is not their friend. Ron Paul needs to show that the many white supremacists who believe that Ron Paul is working on their behalf in Washington D.C. are wrong.

      If this were a simple matter of a criminal trial, Ron Paul would need to do none of these things to establish his innocence. After all, in a court of law, a person is innocent until proven guilty. However, the Ron Paul for President campaign is not in a court of law, but rather, in a court of public trust. Ron Paul is asking the American people to trust him with the most powerful political position in the most powerful nation on Earth. It is his responsibility to prove that he can be trusted, and to defend himself from allegations such as those made about his connection to racist organizations. It is not the responsibility of us voters to trust him.(Sources: VNN Forum; Federal Election Commission, third quarterly disbursement statement, Ron Paul for President Campaign; LittleGreenFootballs, December 19, 2007)

    135. For those of you who believe that Republicans are better at maintaining law and order than Democrats, here's a little fact that you need to contend with: In the City Crime Rankings of 2007, only one out of the ten top safest cities in the United States was in a red state (a state that voted Republican in the last presidential election). The rest were all in blue states (states that voted for the Democrat in the presidential election of 2004). (Source: Associated Press, November 19, 2007)

    136. Many Americans worry that a right wing President could continue the momentum gained through George W. Bush's judicial appointments toward an overturning of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court. If Roe v. Wade were overturned, then many states would probably ban abortion once again, as they did decades ago.

      If Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee wins the 2008 election, however, things could get much worse than that. Huckabee has declared his intention, if elected President, to seek a nationwide ban on abortion, so that state governments would not have the option to keep abortion legal if their residents wanted to do so. (Source: Associated Press, November 18, 2007)

    137. Mike Huckabee has set a new standard for how frivolous a presidential candidate can be. Trying to outdo other Republican presidential candidates in asserting his hypervigilance in turning the American border with Mexico into a new Berlin Wall, Huckabee declared, "My plan to secure the border. Two words: Chuck Norris."

      Chuck Norris is Mike Huckabee's plan to secure the border with Mexico? Even if one accepts the questionable idea that there is any actual crisis in border security, how can Chuck Norris be a plan to fix the problem?

      Chuck Norris is Hollywood actor known for appearing in bad action movies in the 1980s. How will bad action movies from the 1980s stop people from crossing the border from Mexico into the United States?

      I have a counterproposal that speaks on Mike Huckabee's level.

      My plan for border reform. Three words: Maria Von Trapp.

      At least Maria Von Trapp had some real experience dealing with borders. (Source: Associated Press, November 18, 2007)

    138. Public Affairs Books has posted an excerpt of former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan's book, to be published in full in the spring 2008:
      "The most powerful leader in the world had called upon me to speak on his behalf and help restore credibility he lost amid the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. So I stood at the White house briefing room podium in front of the glare of the klieg lights for the better part of two weeks and publicly exonerated two of the senior-most aides in the White House: Karl Rove and Scooter Libby.

      There was one problem. It was not true.

      I had unknowingly passed along false information. And five of the highest ranking officials in the administration were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the vice President, the President's chief of staff, and the President himself.
      The President himself. George W. Bush, along with Dick Cheney, Andrew Card, Karl Rove and Scooter Libby, sent Scott McClellan out to utter this set of untruths:

      Q All right. Let me just follow up. You said this morning, "The President knows" that Karl Rove wasn't involved. How does he know that?

      MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I've made it very clear that it was a ridiculous suggestion in the first place. I saw some comments this morning from the person who made that suggestion, backing away from that. And I said it is simply not true. So, I mean, it's public knowledge. I've said that it's not true. And I have spoken with Karl Rove

      Q But how does

      MR. McCLELLAN: I'm not going to get into conversations that the President has with advisors or staff or anything of that nature; that's not my practice.

      Q But the President has a factual basis for knowing that Karl Rove

      MR. McCLELLAN: I said it publicly. I said that

      Q But I'm not asking what you said, I'm asking if the President has a factual basis for saying for your statement that he knows Karl Rove

      MR. McCLELLAN: He's aware of what I've said, that there is simply no truth to that suggestion. And I have spoken with Karl about it.

      Q Does he know whether or not the Vice President's Chief of Staff, Lewis Libby

      MR. McCLELLAN: If you have any specific information to bring to my attention like I said, there has been nothing that's been brought to our attention. You asked me earlier if we were looking into it, there is nothing that's been brought to our attention beyond the media reports. But if someone did something like this, it needs to be looked at by the Department of Justice, they're the appropriate agency charged with looking into matters like this

      Q Well, you do know that they are looking at it, don't you?

      MR. McCLELLAN: and so they're the ones that should do that.

      Q They're telling reporters that they're looking at it; haven't they told you that they're looking at it?

      MR. McCLELLAN: Well, there you have it. There you have it.

      Q Haven't they told you? Haven't you asked?

      MR. McCLELLAN: We've seen the media reports. There has been no requests made of us at this time.

      Q But, Scott, it gets to the question if you know, if the President knows that Karl Rove was not involved, then maybe you can tell us more about what the President specifically is doing to get to the bottom of this, or what has he ordered to be done within the White House to get to the bottom of this?

      MR. McCLELLAN: The President wants anyone, anyone who has information relating to this to report that information to the appropriate agency, the Department of Justice. That's what the President wants, and I've been very clear about that.

      Q Is the President convinced that there was no White House involvement in this?

      MR. McCLELLAN: Well, if I could get "anonymous" to fess up, that would make my life a whole lot easier.

      Q That's not the question. That's not the question.

      MR. McCLELLAN: But there has been nothing there has been absolutely

      Q Does the President

      MR. McCLELLAN: I'm answering that.

      Q Scott, does he know is he convinced that no one in the White House was involved with this?

      MR. McCLELLAN: There has been absolutely nothing brought to our attention to suggest any White House involvement. All we've seen is what is in the media reports. The media reports cite "senior administration official," or "senior administration officials."

      McClellan told the American people things that just weren't true. And George W. Bush sent him to do it. That's some kinda restoration of honor and integrity right there, it is. (Sources: Public Affairs Book Excerpt; White House Press Briefing, September 29 2003; Reuters November 20 2007)

    139. Tom Tancredo, a Republican who represents the 6th district of Colorado in the House of Representatives, is running for President in 2008. As President, it would be his job to represent all the people of the United States of America, including those who do not want to live in filth.

      Keeping the nation clean is really what environmentalism is all about. Environmentalists seek to keep the air, ground and water clean, so that people have the chance to lead healthy lives without unhealthy levels of industrial contamination.

      Sadly, Congressman Tancredo seems unwilling to provide the leadership necessary to enable Americans to live free of the filth of industrial pollution. On the National Environmental Scorecard assembled by the League of Conservation Voters for 2006, Tancredo earns only a rating of eight percent. Of twelve key pieces of environmental legislation in the House of Representatives in 2006, Tancredo only voted in favor of one.

      A one-in-twelve record of environmental success is not the kind of record we need to see in our next President. (Source: League of Conservation Voters, National Environmental Scorecard, 2006)

    140. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Who would have possibly thought that yet another Republican would use a position of power for personal pursuits? Okay, just about anybody who has picked up a newspaper during the past seven years could have guessed as much.

      Another Bush administration official, this time Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson, has been caught with his hand in the cookie jar and lying about it too. After he told officials he would never, oh never, give out favors to buddies, Jackson got caught giving his friend with no experience in the area a position as HUD director for the Virgin Islands. His pal got paid a cool million of taxpayer dollars for assuming the position. Another pal got paid well over half a million in stucco contracts, and it appears he ended up doling out improvements to Jackson's home. Coincidence?

      Someone's given Secretary Jackson word that time is running short on his stuccoed tenure; he's resigned in order to & guess what? Yes, spend more time with his family. (Sources: National Journal November 15 2007; TPM Muckraker November 21 2007)

    141. During the Republican presidential debate on November 28, 2007, Mitt Romney refused to admit that waterboarding is torture. He justified his refusal to rule out torturing prisoners with waterboarding by citing the advice of a man named Cofur Black. Romney said, "I get that advice from Cofer Black, who is a person who was responsible for counterterrorism in the CIA for some 35 years."

      Who is this Cofur Black? He's Vice Chairman at Blackwater USA, the company that sends mercenaries over to Iraq and has been caught murdering unarmed Iraqi civilians.

      Cofur Black also became infamous for promising to impale the severed heads of prisoners on sticks: "We're going to put their heads on sticks. When we're through with them they will have flies walking across their eyeballs."

      Mitt Romney thinks that someone like Cofur Black is just the sort of person who ought to be advising the President of the United States about whether torture is a good idea.

      That's why Mitt Romney must never become President. (Source: Think Progress, November 28, 2007)

    142. In the Republican YouTube debate of November 2007, presidential candidates Tom Tancredo and Mike Huckabee noted that they were in favor of the death penalty. Tancredo and Huckabee were then asked regarding the death penalty, "What Jesus Would Do?"

      Neither one answered. That they were asked this question demonstrates yet again that religious tests are being applied to candidates to determine their fitness for the presidency, which runs counter to the spirit of our nation's constitution. That they refused to answer the question betrays the candidates' knowledge that their public faces of piety and their authoritarian policy preferences stand in opposition to one another. The Republicans' religiously bellicose authoritarianism is internally inconsistent. (Source: CNN, November 28, 2007)

    143. The last time Congress did anything to improve the fuel efficiency standards of American automobiles, Gerald Ford was President. This December, the House of Representatives has worked to update the profoundly obsolete standards for fuel efficiency, however, by passing the Creating Long-Term Energy Alternatives for the Nation Act, which would require automobile manufacturers to have a fleet-wide average of 35 miles per gallon by the year 2020. The Union of Concerned Scientists reports that the increased fuel efficiency would save 1.1 million barrels of oil every day.

      Given the economic, environmental and foreign policy stakes involved in fuel efficiency, what kind of fool wouldn't vote for the Creating Long-Term Energy Alternatives for the Nation Act? The Ron Paul kind of fool.

      Congressman Ron Paul didn't even bother to show up to vote on the Creating Long-Term Energy Alternatives for the Nation Act. He's decided that there are nore important things for him to work on… like promoting himself through his campaign. It must be nice for Ron Paul to see his name in the newspaper. Seeing his name in the congressional roll call of members of Congress who actually show up to do their jobs doesn't give him the same thrill, I guess.

      The problem isn't just that Ron Paul is lazy as a member of Congress, however. It's that he has declared his opposition to increasing fuel efficiency standards. Ron Paul wants to do away with fuel efficiency standards, and let automobile manufacturers make cars as wasteful as they want to make. If General Motors wanted to make a car that could move only one mile per gallon of gasoline, that would be fine, according to Ron Paul's plan.

      On this issue, as in many others, Ron Paul is a free market fetishist. For fuel efficiency, "My answer to energy is to let the market work. Let supply and demand make the decision. Let prices make the decision," he says.

      Allowing as much waste and pollution as people want to make, with the knowledge that future generations will have to pay the price, is not the kind of philosophy we need to see entering the White House in January of 2009. (Sources: Library of Congress; Washington Post, December 6, 2007; Grist, October 16, 2007)

    144. The House of Representatives fulfilled its responsibility this year by passing the Creating Long-Term Energy Alternatives for the Nation Act. It's a cumbersome name for a great piece of legislation that would have set mandatory fuel efficiency standards for the first time since the presidency of Gerald Ford, would have saved American consumers tens of billions of dollars every year, and would have invigorated the market for alternative, clean sources of electrical energy.

      Then, the time came for the Senate to pass the bill. The Republicans refused to allow the legislation to come for a vote.

      Where was Senator John McCain? He didn't even bother to show up to vote. He wasn't in the Senate. He went instead to the towns of Atkinson and Bedford, in New Hampshire to promote himself and his presidential campaign.

      That's John McCain all over. He'll talk big, but when it comes time for him to do the work for the American people as he promised to in the Senate, he doesn't even bother to show up.

      Thanks for nothing, Senator McCain. (Source: Library of Congress)

    145. Not one of the of the three Republican presidential candidates from the House of Representatives voted in favor of the Creating Long-Term Energy Alternatives for the Nation Act. By all appearances, Duncan Hunter, Tom Tancredo and Ron Paul don't really give a damn if the American petroleum economy continues on down the current road of filth, disease, waste and war.

      Dennis Kucinich is different. Congressman Kucinich not only voted for the Creating Long-Term Energy Alternatives for the Nation Act - H.R. 6 - he cosponsored the legislation, helping it to get to the floor of the House of Representatives where it could receive an up or down vote by the full body of the House.

      The Creating Long-Term Energy Alternatives for the Nation Act was passed by the House, thanks to Kucinich - and no thanks to his Republican opponents. (Source: Library of Congress)

    146. The following three items appeared in the newspaper on the same day:

      Item 1: Republican First Lady Laura Bush lectures the Middle East about liberating women from seclusion and suppression.

      Item 2: Republicans in the House of Representatives move a bill forward that would prohibit women from filling all but a certain number of particular positions in the U.S. military

      Item 3: Military recruitment is down so far that American military missions are threatened and military recruiters have taken to using abusive and dishonest tactics to get young people to join the military

      If Republicans are using Laura Bush to lecture people in foreign countries about women's rights, then how come the Republicans are working so hard to restrict human rights here in America?

      If military recruitment is at such low levels, then how come the Republicans want to outlaw 50 percent of the American population from filling certain positions in the military?

    147. Poor Ron Paul. He's been lost in the abstract alternative reality proposed by his right wing libertarian economic theory for so long that he's lost touch with reality. At least, that's the most generous interpretation of Congressman Paul's comments about the idea of burning coal to get more electric power for residents of the United States.

      Asked whether he supports the idea of continuing to burn coal in order to generate electricity, Ron Paul answered, "Coal is a source of energy and it should be used, but it has to be used without ever hurting anybody. I think we're smart enough to do it. Technology is improving all the time."

      We should use coal, but without ever hurting anybody?

      What kind of bizarre alternative reality does Ron Paul live in? To get coal, you have to either send people deep underground to dig it out, or take entire mountains apart. Then, you've got to ship the coal and burn it up in order to get energy out of it. All this uses a lot of energy and creates a lot of waste.

      Even if we had Buck Rogers technology, how in the world could this be done without ever hurting anybody? Does Ron Paul propose his standard answer, market forces, to take care of the problem, so that everything will be perfect, and we'll all sing in perfect harmony as the coal burns in the background?

      We need a President who is more in touch with physical reality than Ron Paul seems to be. (Source: Grist, October 16, 2007)

    148. Oh dear, oh dear. Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee isn't just claiming that God is on his side in the presidential race. He's telling his followers that God is actually intervening in the race:

      In a video taken at Liberty University, a student asks of Huckabee's rise in the polls, "what do you attribute this surge to?"

      Huckabee responds:

      "There's only one explanation for it, and it's not a human one. It's the same power that helped a little boy with two fish and five loaves feed a crowd of 5,000 people. And that's the only way that our campaign could be doing what it's doing. And I'm not being facetious nor am I trying to be trite. There literally are thousands of people across this country who are praying that a little will become much. And it has. And it defies all explanation, it has confounded the pundits and I'm enjoying every minute of their trying to figure it out and until they look at from a — just, experience beyond human, they'll never figure it out. That's probably just as well. That's honestly why it's happening."

      This kind of explanation stands literally beyond explanation, because by definition you can never examine the supernatural (if you could, it would be natural). Huckabee attributes developments in the world to forces beyond his knowledge, then makes assertions of certainty about his uncertifiable ideas, and then tells the world that his is the only possible explanation.

      We've already had this kind of delusional thinking in the White House, and we've had it for too long. Our nation can't afford another president who does things for reasons that nobody can verify, another president who mistakes the presumptions of his own mind for the word of God, another president who imposes his delusions on the rest of us. (Source: ABC News December 4 2007)

    149. Duncan Hunter, Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives and presidential candidate in 2008, seems to hardly have ever met an environmental cause that he gave a damn about. In fact, in 2006, Congressman Hunter didn't meet a single piece of environmental legislation that he was willing to support. His rating in the League of Conservation Voters National Environmental Scorecard for 2006 was zero percent. Duncan Hunter didn't vote in favor of keeping the environment clean one single time. That kind of extremist, stubborn refusal to act as a steward of the Earth has no place in the White House in this time of escalating environmental crisis. (Source: League of Conservation Voters, National Environmental Scorecard, 2006)

    150. Rudolph Giuliani, while running for President of the United States, is still taking a paycheck from his legal firm. His legal firm, Giuliani Partners, is representing the government of Qatar. The government of Qatar is accused of protecting people who were behind the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

      Giuliani refuses to cut his ties to the firm, even just temporarily, for the period of his candidacy. Giuliani, taking money that comes indirectly from the government of Qatar even while he campaigns for President, refuses to explain what he and his firm are doing on behalf of Qatar.

      Given Giuliani's refusal to answer questions about this financial link he has with the government of Qatar, American voters can appropriately ask themselves who Rudy Giuliani would really be representing, if he were elected to the White House.

      Haven't we had enough of the Republican President with dirty ties to Middle East petroleum czars who is already in the White House? Do we really need another? (Source: New York Times, December 9, 2007)

    151. The decision to engage in obstruction of justice by destroying videotapes of CIA water torture was the product not only of internal deliberation at the Central Intelligence Agency, but also included discussions at the White House and Department of Justice. That makes the obstruction of justice a Bush administration problem.

      Yet, even faced with Justice Department involvement in the matter the head of the Justice Department, Attorney General Michael Mukasey, refused to promptly appoint a special prosecutor. Said Mukasey: "I think the Justice Department is capable of doing whatever it appears needs to be done. The question of a special prosecutor is the most hypothetical of hypotheticals."

      Instead, the investigation of the CIA and Justice Department by the CIA and Justice Department will continue for now. Only in the current bizarro administration would that be considered ethically appropriate. (Source: New York Times December 11 2007; Associated Press December 11 2007)

    152. When you think of Rudolph Giuliani, think of this name as well: Sheldon Adelson.

      Only five people in the world are more wealthy than Sheldon Adelson, but it's not just the amount of money that Adelson has that should pique your interest. The way that Adelson has made much of his money matters too: Adelson is primarily known as a casino boss. Adelson is CEO and Treasurer of Sands Corporation, which owns casinos in Las Vegas.

      Sands Corporation also owns Interface Operations, which owns jets that Sheldon Adelson has made available to the Giuliani for President campaign. Rudy Giuliani has paid more than $119,000 in compensation to Interface Operations for flights the company has provided to his campaign.

      Here's the trick: Until September of this year, Giuliani's campaign was required by campaign finance law to pay only the price of a first class ticket for the use of the jet. Imagine that - a jet flying at your command for just the cost of a seat on a commercial airline. That's practically a gift, and at 119,000 dollars worth of tickets, that's a lot of gifts from Sheldon Adelson to the Giuliani for President campaign.

      The American public has got a right, I think, to hear from Giuliani just what Sheldon Adelson expects to get in return for the use of that private jet, once Giuliani becomes President. So far, however, Giuliani isn't talking. I think that's as good a reason as any not to let Rudy Giuliani become President. (Sources: New York Post, November 18, 2007; JTA, November 22, 2007)

    153. Political ideology aside, America needs a President who has a proven the ability to get things done in politics. Whatever you think of the ideas promoted by Ron Paul, it's clear that he doesn't have much political ability.

      That's not just a claim I'm pulling out of thin air. I can back it up with the official record of Ron Paul's legislative activity as a member of Congress in 2007. So far, Ron Paul has introduced 62 different pieces of legislation. Not one of them is even close to being passed into law.

      You can't just blame that failure on the fact that the House of Representatives is now controlled by the Democrats. There are hundreds of Republicans in the House of Representatives, members of Ron Paul's own party, who would co-sponsor his legislation, if they took his leadership seriously.

      That's not what's happened. Most of Ron Paul's legislation has no more than a handful of co-sponsors. The largest number of cosponsors Ron Paul has been able to assemble to support any of his legislation, out of hundreds of Republicans, is just 23. Many of Ron Paul's bills and amendments have no cosponsors at all.

      Ron Paul has proven that he cannot lead within his own political party in his current job in Congress. Why in the world would anyone want to make such an ineffectual politician President of the United States? (Source: Library of Congress)

    154. Will someone tell Mike Huckabee that he is running for the office of President of the United States, not the office of Deacon of the East Binglesbury Baptist Church?

      Mike Huckabee aired a television advertisement on December 17, 2007 under the rules for political campaign ads, paid for by his presidential campaign and with references to his campaign website. In the advertisement, Mike Huckabee tells us:

      "Are you about worn out of all the television commercials you've been seeing, mostly about politics? I don't blame you. At this time of year, sometimes it's nice to pull away from all of that and just remember that what really matters is the celebration of the birth of Christ and being with our family and our friends. I hope that you and your family will have a magnificent Christmas season. And on behalf of all of us a blessed and Merry Christmas. I'm Mike Huckabee, and I approve this message."

      What really matters is the celebration of the birth of Christ? This is Mike Huckabee's presidential campaign message? Pardon me if I pass on Mike Huckabee's message of presidential religious exclusion.

    155. In an implicit admission that he cannot win the Republican presidential nomination, Ron Paul has filed papers to run for re-election to his seat in Congress. All the talk about a Ron Paul Revolution appears to have been just talk, as Ron Paul plans to go back to business as usual… with a lot of money in the bank.

      What, oh what, will Ron Paul do with the millions and millions of dollars that his supporters have given him for his presidential campaign?

      Will Ron Paul, A) Hand out the millions of dollars to political consultants to make him look good before he closes up his presidential campaign shop, or B) Keep the millions of dollars in a campaign war chest so that he can spend it later, in order to buy himself political influence with other Republicans? Either way, it's not the revolution that Ron Paul's supporters thought that they would purchase with their donations. (Source: Roll Call, December 18, 2007)

    156. Even in the speech during which he dropped out of the 2008 presidential campaign, Tom Tancredo managed to illustrate how truly kooky his campaign was. Tancredo attempted to convince people that, although he only had one percent support even among Republican voters, he had been successful in promoting the central idea of his campaign had been.

      He explained, without any idea of the inherent contradiction in his statement, "For the past 10 years I have dedicated my public life to warning the nation of the perilous consequences of massive uncontrolled illegal immigration."

      Ten years of "perilous consequences"? Does Tom Tancredo realize what the word "peril" means? In the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, the very first definition of the word "peril" is: Imminent danger.

      How can there have been an imminent danger from illegal immigration for ten years? Tom Tancredo, and his right wing followers, haven't bothered to ask themselves that basic question. The reason is that their fears of foreigners are stronger than any appeal to reason. They begin with the assumption that illegal immigration poses an imminent danger to the United States, and make all their decisions based upon that assumption, never doubting, never asking why their predictions of doom never have come true. They're like people who, day after day, year after year, carry signs declaring "The world will end tomorrow."

      The world has not ended. There has been no genuine peril for the United States from illegal immigration. The obsession that fueled Tom Tancredo's presidential campaign was never based in reality. It's no wonder that the hopes of the Tom Tancredo for President campaign turned out to be as much of a fantasy as the idea that the United States is suffering from "massive uncontrolled illegal immigration." (Source: Associated Press, December 20, 2007; American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language)

    157. Ron Paul and his supporters are always going on about how Ron Paul is against big government and wasteful spending. Infamously, Ron Paul voted against giving Rosa Parks a congressional medal recognizing her contributions to the nation. Paul's excuse: He said that Rosa Parks wasn't worth the 30,000 dollars that the medal would have cost. He said that the government had no constitutional authority to spend that money, in spite of the Constitution's clear declaration that Congress is supposed to act to promote the "general welfare".

      It's a funny thing, then, that Ron Paul campaigned vigorously this year to get a four million dollar earmark to give money to the following businesses:

      - Bear Metallurgical
      - Strategic Minerals Corporation
      - Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center
      - Metallurg Vanadium

      Ron Paul will support a four million dollar earmark for metallurgical businesses, but not thirty thousand dollars for recognition of the achievements of Rosa Parks?

      Where is Ron Paul's stingy libertarian political philosophy when it comes to the Strategic Minerals Corporation? What kind of twisted does Ron Paul have that can claim that that a big government subsidy for a company like Metallurg Vanadium is in the general welfare, but a congressional medal for Rosa Parks is not?

      I arrive at two conclusions from the news about Ron Paul's selective big spending:

      1. The hypocrisy with the Rosa Parks medal adds another piece to the growing pile of information supporting long-standing allegations of Ron Paul's association with racist extremism
      2. Ron Paul is a libertarian only when it suits him. (Source: Earmark Watch)

    158. Ron Paul supporters are working overtime trying to refute the growing pile of information linking Ron Paul with racists, white supremacists and even neo-Nazis. Yet, while they can contest particular pieces of information, they have been unable to contest the general picture that's emerging: That Ron Paul's presidential campaign is being fueled by support from extreme right wing racist individuals and organizations.

      Ron Paul supporters have been furious at the claim made by one of their own, American Nazi Bill White, that he has personally witnessed many meetings between white supremacists and Ron Paul and members of Ron Paul's presidential campaign. They claim that Bill White has lied.

      Well, now there's a photograph that shows Ron Paul standing right next to the leader of a white supremacist organization: Stormfront. The man next to Ron Paul in the photographs is Don Black, who runs Stormfront as what he calls a "White Nationalist / White Pride Resource".

      Don Black is one of the white supremacist leaders who sent in a campaign donation to the Ron Paul for President campaign. Even when Ron Paul was confronted about who Don Black was, Ron Paul refused to return the money.

      This photograph shows that the campaign donation from Don Black to Ron Paul was not just a single point of contact. Ron Paul didn't just take Don Black's money, but stood with the white supremacist and smiled.

      Ron Paul supporters can no longer claim that their candidate has not met with white supremacists. Here Ron Paul is, meeting with a white supremacist. We don't know what they said to each other, but Ron Paul and this white supremacist did meet. Their meeting makes the refusal of Ron Paul to return Don Black's check all the more suspicious.

      Thanks again to Lone Star Times for bringing this story to our attention. They've been at the forefront of this story from the start, and will be, I assume, as it continues to develop. Visit them to keep abreast of the latest. (Source: Lone Star Times, December 20, 2007)

    159. Sometimes progressives hamper themselves by constructing the Myth of the Infallible Republican Conspiracy. Republicans, the myth goes, have infiltrated all parts of government, business and the media, placing themselves strategically so they can rig an inevitable win. Resistance is futile, so you might as well stay home.

      The more that progressives believe in the Myth of the Infallible Republican Conspiracy, the more that it will turn out to be true, because more progressives will sit on their hands and moan and whine. That's sad, because this myth is so demonstrably untrue. Here's just one example of a pathetically botched Republican operation.

      Back in April of 2007, Ohio Republican Party Chairman Robert Bennett promised that during the following year and a half, the Ohio Republican party "will initiate letters-to-the-editor, phone calls to local radio stations, website postings" whenever a Democratic presidential candidate appears in Ohio media. This was to occur through the organization of Republican Ohioans in a "rapid response" team, ready to spout GOP talking points in newspapers and on radio stations whenever they were called on to do so.

      Every month since then, I've checked the Ohio Republican Party website and news releases for the creation of such an activist tool. It's not there. I've even signed up on an Ohio GOP volunteer e-mail list, so that I would intercept any such alerts. None have come. The most that's come down the pike is a handful of requests for people to come on down and staff a phone bank center for an hour or two to call individual Ohioans and ask them for money.

      Bottom line? The Ohio GOP Chairman made a commitment to engineer some media-swamping program, but he's failed to follow through. The Republican's boast has gone bust. The Republicans are just as fallible as the rest of us. Resistance is not futile. What you do to resist the Republican agenda matters. Writing letters matters. Standing on a street corner and holding a sign as people pass matters. Lawn signs matter. Showing up to local board and council meetings matters. Running for election yourself matters. And yes, voting matters, too. Act progressive and vote progressive, because the Republicans are just as vulnerable and fallible as the rest of us.

    160. The Concord Monitor, a major New Hampshire newspaper, has a tradition of offering endorsements in the Republican and Democratic presidential primary contests. This year, the Concord Monitor has broken with its tradition. This year, it has offered an anti-endorsement.

      The Concord Monitor has written an editorial advising voters to, whatever they do, not vote for Mitt Romney. The paper writes, "When New Hampshire partisans are asked to defend the state's first-in-the-nation primary, we talk about our ability to see the candidates up close, ask tough questions and see through the baloney. If a candidate is a phony, we assure ourselves and the rest of the world, we'll know it. Mitt Romney is such a candidate. New Hampshire Republicans and independents must vote no." (Source: New Hampshire Monitor, December 22, 2007)

    161. Motivated by an irrationally twisted Republican fear of the foreigner, Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson has taken to telling his audience that the presence of immigrants in America are the reason we have our current mortgage crisis. It comes, Thompson explains, from all these immigrants who don't know English signing onto mortgages they don't understand. Because the mortgage documents are in English, see, and so that's where the mortgage crisis came from. Those damned immigrants, they're just behind everything. (Source: Los Angeles Times December 23 2007)

    162. Mike Huckabee is running for President of the Unites States, but he seems to keep forgetting that. Consider what he once had to say to the Southern Baptist Pastors' Conference: "Government knows it does not have the answer, but it's arrogant and acts as though it does. Church does have the answer but will cowardly deny that it does and wonder when the world will be changed."

      So, Mike Huckabee wants to change the world, and wants church to do it. In fact, he doesn't want the government to do it, and doesn't think that government ought to act to change the world.

      If Mike Huckabee really believes that to be true, why is he running for President of the U.S. government?

      Huckabee explained to the Southern Baptist gathering that, "I didn't get into politics because I thought government had a better answer. I got into politics because I knew government didn't have the real answers, that the real answers lie in accepting Jesus Christ into our lives."

      So, what does that mean, practically speaking? How would Mike Huckabee apply these ideas if he became President?

      It seems that Mike Huckabee doesn't believe that he would be able to solve any problems as Executive leader of the government. He got into politics, as a matter of fact, because he didn't want government to have the answers.

      Mike Huckabee wants the Christian Church to regain the courage to assert its power to provide the answers for society, instead of the government. To put this vision, of a weak government and a strong church, into reality is the reason he got into politics, and it seems that this vision remains Huckabee's motivation.

      There is another nation that has already followed that model, of weak secular government and powerful religious authority. It's the country of Iran.

      Mike Huckabee, perhaps without knowing it, is urging that the United States abandon its secular democracy in order to follow the example of leadership provided by the ayatollahs in Iran. For that reason, I'm suggesting that he change the name of his campaign, from Mike Huckabee for President to Mike Huckabee for Ayatollah. (Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, June 8, 1998)

    163. Back in 1998, Mike Huckabee attended the Southern Baptist Pastors' Conference, to explain why he had left his work as a Southern Baptist preacher to become a politician. Huckabee used the parable of his days as a Southern Baptist preacher, and what he discovered about the right kind of leadership. The right kind of leadership, he explained, was not about making people happy.

      In his first church, Huckabee explained, "they wanted the captain of the Love Boat. They just wanted everybody to be happy. It was not about how many people were won to Christ or how many teens were pulled away from drugs or how many marriages were saved. Instead, it was about the seniors having a great trip going to watch the fall leaves change, the teen-agers going to a better summer camp than the church across town."

      Instead, Huckabee learned that "I was supposed to be the captain of a warship leading the congregation into a battle against spiritual darkness."

      This vision of leadership still dominates Mike Huckabee's political philosophy. He doesn't want to use the power of the Presidency to actually serve people, by providing the services that they need. Instead, Huckabee wants to gain the White House so that he can lead the United States on a moral crusade against sin.

      Mike Huckabee is so obsessed with his Southern Baptist vision of righteousness that he's unwilling to attend to the business that government is supposed to attend to - providing services for the general welfare. The last thing America needs is another president who will take America on rambling, incoherent crusades while leaving practical matters to moulder. (Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, June 8, 1998)

    164. The more we learn about Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, the more clear it becomes that he is a genuine right wing extremist. That's a harsh judgment, but wouldn't you include embracing anti-semitism as a clear sign of right wing extremism?

      That's just what Mike Huckabee has done with his shameless embrace of radical preacher John Hagee. John Hagee has a clear and well known history of anti-Jewish bigotry. In his book, Jerusalem Countdown: A Prelude To War, John Hagee wrote,

      "It was the disobedience and rebellion of the Jews, God's chosen people, to their covenantal responsibility to serve only the one true God, Jehovah, that gave rise to the opposition and persecution that they experienced beginning in Canaan and continuing to this very day….

      How utterly repulsive, insulting, and heartbreaking to God for His chosen people to credit idols with bringing blessings He had showered upon the chosen people. Their own rebellion had birthed the seed of anti-Semitism that would arise and bring destruction to them for centuries to come…. it rises from the judgment of God upon his rebellious chosen people."

      In these passages, John Hagee is making one of the most ancient anti-semitic claims: That Jews deserve everything bad that happens to them, because they have refused to become Christians and are somehow responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus. Hagee actually claims that the Nazi holocaust organized by Adolph Hitler was the will of God in judgment "upon his rebellious chosen people."

      John Hagee is on the record as making excuses for Nazi death camps, and Mike Huckabee surely knows that. Apparently, Huckabee doesn't care, so long as Hagee can deliver him votes.

      Mike Huckabee calls John Hagee "one of the great Christian leaders of our nation". (Sources: Jerusalem Countdown: A Prelude To War, New York Post, December 24, 2007)

    165. Ron Paul's weird theories about secret conspiracties by international bureaucrats to overthrow American democracy within the United States using a highway, of all things, certainly are kooky. However, even Ron Paul's kooky conspiracy theories are outdone by those that are promoted by the political allies of Mike Huckabee.

      Christian preacher John Hagee has claimed that there is a secret conspiracy afoot within the European Union to establish a "a one-world government, a one-world currency and a one-world religion" that will be led Satan himself. Hagee doesn't think that such a conspiracy will be realized far into a mythical future. Rather, Hagee believes that the conspiracy will be put into action in the near future. Furthermore, Hagee thinks that American foreign policy should be changed in order to confront the satanic conspiracy in Europe.

      For John Hagee to have these weird satanic conspiracy theories would be one thing, if he were on the periphery of power in America. Unfortunately, Hagee is not on the periphery of power at all. Hagee is a top political ally of Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.

      When Mike Huckabee calls John Hagee "one of the great Christian leaders of our nation", Huckabee is declaring that foreign policy based on conspiracy theories about satanic influence on the European Union are just the ticket for the USA. Remember that Mike Huckabee is running for President on the basis of his own status as a Christian leader. Thus John Hagee's eccentric ramblings about Satan's impact on American foreign policy can be seen as at the core of Mike Huckabee's plan for the White House, if he should win it. (Sources: American Prospect, May 21, 2006; Reuters, December 24, 2007)

    166. Presidential and congressional candidates are permitted to pay themselves a salary from their campaign funds so that they can pay living expenses during a campaign, and so that they need not take ethically questionable side payments from third parties in order to sustain themselves on the road. (If Huckabee had applied for federal matching funds for his campaign, he would not be permitted to pay himself a salary, but he has not applied for those funds.)

      I say this because it renders Mike Huckabee's excuse for taking payments on the side from churches bogus. Huckabee says:

      Unlike the members of the Senate or Congress who continue to get their paycheck and get a taxpayer-funded salary, and unlike people who are independently wealthy, if I don't work, I don't eat… I'd like some more, if you wanna give me some publicity — tell 'em to call the [speakers'] bureau… it's good. I'd like for it to be even more.

      Baloney. If Mike Huckabee wants to eat, he doesn't have to be taking payments on the side from churches during his presidential campaign. He just has to pay himself a salary out of his campaign contribution coffers.

      Extra baloney: This financial statement from Mike Huckabee reveals that he is a multimillionaire. Mike Huckabee can afford to eat. He doesn't need to be taking payments on the side from churches.

      Yes, taking payments on the side from churches. Website Politico.com engaged in a bit of a sting operation in which they had someone posing as "Randy" ask if Mike Huckabee could come and speak to them. "Randy" got a canned response that "Due to the ongoing presidential campaign, Mr. Huckabee is not accepting speaking engagements." Then "Randy" mentioned he was writing on behalf of a large church. Suddenly came a different tune: "I would be happy to help you with Mike Huckabee… He charges a minimum of $25,000 per engagement plus expenses, and he can not address anything to do with his running for president. Do you have a date in mind for your event?"

      Mike Huckabee is trying to backtrack, insisting that when he has ended up taking payments on the side from churches during his presidential campaign, it's been all their idea, and he's protested, but gosh, he's such a nice guy that he took the money so as not to be mean or offensive or anything. Seriously.

      There is this little eensy detail in the IRS code. If churches choose (like any other non-profit organization) to file for tax-exempt status, then exchange for tax-exempt status they must agree to these terms:

      Under the Internal Revenue Code, all IRC section 501(c)(3) organizations, including churches and religious organizations,absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made by or on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity. Violation of this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise tax.

      I think a little investigation is called for here, don't you? My, such appearances of impropriety from a man of the cloth! Whoda thunk? (Sources: New York Times, November 26 2002; Ballot Access News December 20 2007; IRS Publication P1828; Politico.com December 26 2007)

    167. In official Congressional hearings into the renewal of the "USA Patriot Act," Republican Chair F. James Sensenbrenner decided that he didn't like what witnesses were saying. So he turned off the microphones even as Democratic committee member Jerrold Nadler was questioning a witness. Rep. Nadler raised a point of order. Rep. Sensenbrenner ignored it. Multiple representatives raised points of parliamentary order and privilege. Rep. Sensenbrenner ignored them. Rep. Sensenbrenner seized the gavel, turned off the microphones, and walked out of the hearing room. Like sheep, Sensenbrenner's fellow Republicans lined out of the room.

      This is not the first time Republicans have trampled on the speech rights of others, but it is to me the most shocking, blatant, and disastrous because it happened in the very halls of the United States Congress. If Republicans think they can do this to privileged members of the House of Representatives, where do the rest of us stand?

      The Republicans cannot handle dissent.
      The Republicans cannot handle being questioned.
      The Republicans cannot handle being challenged.
      The Republicans cannot handle other people's ideas.
      The Republicans cannot handle different points of view.
      The Republicans cannot handle free speech.

      In short, the Republicans cannot handle democracy. (Source: C-Span, June 6, 2005)

    168. Mike Huckabee loves to tell people about how he is an ordained Southern Baptist minister. What he has been more reluctant to share is that he took tens of thousands of dollars from a cigarette company while he was Lieutenant Governor of Arkansas. Forty thousand dollars is more than what many Americans make from an entire year of work, but it's what Mike Huckabee got for making just one speech in front of the group representing a secret source of money, which was in turn funded by a cigarette company. Huckabee claims not to have known about that, but witnesses place him meeting with an executive from the cigarette company about the fund and where its money came from.

      Taking money from big corporations while he was in public office was no big deal, says Huckabee. If that kind of payoff is okay with you, then Mike Huckabee for President may just be your favorite campaign. If not, vote for a clean, progressive candidate for President instead. (Source: Newsweek, December 17, 2007)

    169. There's a saying that ranchers have about people who like to put on a fake country pose of being a cowboy: They're all hat and no cattle. That saying perfectly fits Mike Huckabee, who likes to put on the posture of a folksy manner, but lives a life of elite luxury, using his power to gain wealth for himself.

      Mike Huckabee's record as Governor of Arkansas is a sadly thorough illustration of this weakness of character. During his time as Governor, Huckabee took a huge number of gifts from people who were seeking to purchase influence with his office.

      Among those gifts were four cowboy hats: Two for Mike Huckabee, and two for his wife. One of those cowboy hats did not have its value listed. The other three, were listed as worth 400 dollars - each.

      Huckabee also received four pair of cowboy boots as Governor. One pair of boots was custom made to fit Huckabee's feet, and were valued at $3,695.

      Someone actually working with cattle would wear clothing much more humble than a four hundred dollar hat and boots worth more than three and a half thousand dollars. Huckabee's luxury cowboy hats and designer cowboy boots are an obscene distortion of working clothes into elitist status symbols. That distortion is all the more twisted given that the pricey hats and boots were given to Mike Huckabee to flatter his egotistical desire to display his political power and to buy influence over his position as a public official in a government that is supposed to be of the people, by the people and for the people, not of the bribe, by the bribe and for the bribe. (Source: Politico, December 15, 2007)

    170. Earlier, I discussed the influence-buying gifts (more commonly known as bribes) of cowboy hats and cowboy boots that Mike Huckabee received while Governor of Arkansas. Since I wrote them, however, a doubt has been burning in my mind: Did the cowboy hats and boots match the cuff links worth one thousand dollars given to Mike Huckabee by Jerry and Shirley Davis while Huckabee was governor?

      Every Arkansas cowboy needs thousand-dollar cuff links, you know. The worst thing that can happen to a cowboy out on the trail is to have his cuffs come undone. However, rough and tumble cowboys just won't work the range if their outfits don't match. The most important word amongst ranch hands is "ensemble".

      The same goes for cowgirls. The cuff links came along with a pendant also estimated as worth one thousand dollars, a cashmere and fox cape worth $795, and a gold necklace and earings worth $495 for Janet Huckabee, Mike Huckabee's wife. Such clothing is customary for cowboy's wives, apparently.

      To round out the gift set from Jerry and Shirley Davis came a shotgun worth 800 dollars. A shotgun goes with a cashmere and fox cape, you see. If you've never worked with cattle, you wouldn't understand that. (Source: Politico, December 15, 2007)

    171. Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee gave more reason for concern to those who doubt that he has the intelligence or experience necessary to deal with foreign policy matters as President of the United States when, in reaction to the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, he declared that we're all in danger from Pakistani wickedness because Pakistan is the source of the largest number of illegal immigrants into the United States except for Latin America.

      First, there's an assassination in Pakistan. Then, Mike Huckabee informs us all that there's a flood of Pakistanis illegally entering the United States. It's clearly designed as a recipe for fear.

      Luckily, it's a recipe for fear souffle, easily deflated. You see, what Mike Huckabee says about the national threat from Pakistanis sneaking into the United States just isn't true.

      Pakistanis are not at the top of the of the list the Department of Homeland Security keeps of people caught entering the United States illegally. That's the official word from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Service.

      According to the Department of Homeland Security, 435 Pakistanis were deported from the United States in the fiscal year of 2007. However, 521 Filipinos were deported during that time as well. You don't hear Mike Huckabee warning about a crisis of Filipinos flooding over the nation's borders.

      Mike Huckabee got the facts just plain wrong, but he won't admit it. Haven't we already had enough of that kind of arrogance from our President? (Source: Boston Globe, December 28, 2007)

    172. As if we needed it, December 2007 gave us another reason to question the capability of Mike Huckabee to serve as President of the United States. Faced with a series of critics doubting Huckabee's flimsy qualifications on foreign policy, Huckabee announced that he had an expert advisor on board: Former Ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton. "I've corresponded with John Bolton, who's agreed to work with us on developing foreign policy," Huckabee said.

      The obvious problem, for anybody who has paid attention to the news over the last few years, is that John Bolton is commonly regarded as a pariah, not an expert, in foreign policy. John Bolton was not confirmed as Ambassador to the United Nations, but was put in place through an unapproved recess appointment by George W. Bush. Bolton's rabid fury against the United Nations made him an embarrassment to the United States for as long as he was in office, and he was forced to leave the ambassadorship in shame after he proved to be unable to deal effectively with the ambassadors of other nations.

      John Bolton was publicly exposed as unfit to make pronouncements on foreign policy. Mike Huckabee's choice as a source of advice on foreign policy only serves to expose him as unfit to lead on foreign policy himself. (Source: Politico, December 28, 2007)

    173. As bad as Mike Huckabee's pick of John Bolton as a foreign policy advisor was, it gets worse. Though Huckabee said that he had been in contact with John Bolton on foreign policy matters, Bolton says that he's never spoken to Huckabee about foreign policy. Mike Huckabee couldn't even be honest with the American about his bad pick to bolster his inexperience on foreign policy matters. (Source: Politico, December 28, 2007)

    174. George W. Bush went into the presidency not knowing who Pakistani dictator Pervez Musharraf was, and later defending his ignorance as unimportant. Now top Republican presidential contender Mike Huckabee fails another geography lesson regarding Pakistan, asserting in a bold but incorrect voice that Pakistan shares its eastern border with Afghanistan. No, actually, Pakistan shares its eastern border with India. We know the dangers of a man who is ignorant of world affairs. We should not choose such a man to lead us again. (Source: MSNBC December 28, 2007)

    175. In reaction to the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, former leader of Pakistan, Mike Huckabee said that the United States is under specific threat from Pakistani terrorists who are sneaking across the borders of the United States to try to kill us all. It's the threat from Pakistani evildoers, Huckabee suggested, that makes closing off American borders so important. "The fact is the immigration issue is not so much about people coming across the border to pick lettuce or make beds, it's about people who can come with a shoulder fired missile and can do serious damage and harm us," Huckabee said.

      This claim from the Huckabee for President campaign can be met with a series of practical questions: How many Pakistanis carrying shoulder-fired missiles have actually been caught trying to catch the border? How many people in the United States have been killed by Pakistanis carrying shoulder-fired missiles? When was the last time you saw a Pakistani in the United States carrying a shoulder-fired missile?

      The answers to these questions are clear: Zero, zero and you haven't.

      Mike Huckabee might as well be talking about a threat from angry goblins crossing American borders as ranting on about Pakistanis in the United States with shoulder-fired missiles. Both are equally imaginary. (Source: PRNewswire, December 28, 2007)

    176. When former Pakistani leaders Benazir Bhutto was assassinated, Mike Huckabee's first impulse was to change the administration of U.S. law to discriminate against Pakistanis. Huckabee, who governed a state that has no international borders, says that the U.S. Customs Service needs to be on the watch for Pakistanis and "single them out" for special scrutiny.

      Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich stood up and called Huckabee to task for his ill-informed discriminatory reflex. Kucinich said, "Implying that Pakistani immigrants, visitors, and even Pakistani Americans should be singled out as potential terrorists is the kind of unwarranted, unconscionable ethnic profiling and ethnic baiting that is the hallmark of Republican thinking - in foreign policy, in immigration policy, and in so-called homeland security policy. No racial, ethnic, or religious group is safe from their audacious affronts to human decency and their continued assaults on Constitutional liberties and protections."

      Dennis Kucinich is right. Mike Huckabee's plans to transform the American borders into a tool of ethnic and cultural purification are based on ignorant and mean-spirited assumptions. Mike Huckabee has demonstrated once again that he has no business becoming President of the United States. (Source: PRNewswire, December 28, 2007)

    177. We already know that Mike Huckabee has endorsed John Hagee, calling the man who says the Holocaust is God's punishment against the Jews for crucifying Jesus (erm, the Romans did that) "one of the great Christian leaders of our nation." But thanks to the Cincinnati Beacon (December 13, 2007), we know now that Huckabee's connections extend to other bizarre corners of fundamentalist Christianity. As Governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee promoted the idea of taking Bill Gothard's Institute in Basic Life Principles and expanding it into state-supported juvenile rehabilitation programs. Bill Gothard has taken a letter of endorsement from Mike Huckabee and used it to get his programs initiated in a variety of communities across the nation with local governmental funding.

      Problem is that Bill Gothard's programs include a stance against women working outside the home, crazy notions about Cabbage Patch dolls being the source of deviant behavior and modern medicine killing people, and a discipline program that includes beating children until they are bruised and welted. When the beatings don't shove Jesus into kids, the next step is to lock them in closets for days, sitting in puddles of their own urine.

      This is the program that Mike Huckabee endorsed. This is the Institute that Mike Huckabee tried to get expanded into the Arkansas social service infrastructure.

      If Mike Huckabee becomes your next president, what does he have in store for you? (Source: Cincinnati Beacon, December 16, 2007)

    178. We have focused on the dangers of the link between Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee and right wing extremist religious leader John Hagee. Really, though, this focus has not been completely fair. After all, Mike Huckabee is not the only Republican presidential candidate to associate himself with the violent, lunatic ideology promoted by Hagee. John McCain, it turns out, has linked himself to John Hagee as well.

      In early 2007, John McCain and John Hagee had an "extended breakfast" meeting at which they discussed American foreign policy in the Middle East, including Hagee's idea that Iran needs to be bombed so that the wars of Armageddon can begin and Jesus can return to Earth. Hagee has been working on all the practical items necessary to bring about prophecies of the end of the world, even including a breeding project in Texas to create a “perfect red heifer” to sacrifice to Jesus.

      Then came summer, and the McCain for President campaign began openly courting the support of John Hagee and his cadre of right wing supporters. McCain announced that he would make a surprise speech before Hagee's pro-Armageddon organization, Christians United for Israel.

      John Hagee introduced John McCain himself, proudly saying, "I have had the privilege to meet and talk with Senator McCain on several occasions." The two men then hugged, in a display of mutual political affection.

      McCain, for his part, slathered praise on John Hagee's organization, saying "God bless you, God bless you for your commitment," and appreciating the groups vision of the United States as a "Judeo-Christian principled nation".

      As he embraces a political partnership with John Hagee, John McCain embraces Hagee's outlandish religious political beliefs, which include:

      - The idea that the European Union is involved in a conspiracy to place Satan at the head of a united world government
      - Plans to create a theocratic regime that rules over the United States
      - Use of the U.S. military to conduct religious warfare
      - Claims that God himself planned the Nazi holocaust
      - Belief in groups of terrorists organized by God and ready to attack the United States if Christian religious law is broken

      If you don't want a President who leads according to these kinds of beliefs, then you don't want to see John McCain elected in 2008. (Sources: John McCain speech at Christians United For Israel, 2007; AlterNet, January 30, 2007; People for the American Way; July 16, 2007)

    179. Mitt Romney is so obviously a phony that even Republicans admit that his political speeches are nothing but a load of bull. Check out what Mike Huckabee had to say about Mitt Romney: "What Gov. Romney has said is off the charts in terms of being inaccurate and not just inaccurate, but being blatantly untrue." Huckabee also said that, "Mitt Romney is running a very desperate and, frankly, a dishonest campaign."

      Well, if even the infamously corrupt Mike Huckabee can see the dishonesty of fellow Republican Mitt Romney, why should any of the rest of us trust him? (Source: Politico, December 30, 2007)