Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Bush Learns a New Word

Bush Defends Detainee Treatment and Cites 'Stalling' on Bolton


By BRIAN KNOWLTON, International Herald Tribune
Published: May 31, 2005

WASHINGTON, May 31 - "President Bush today vigorously defended the administration's handling of its detainees from the war on terror, dismissing as "absurd" a human rights group's suggestion that the United States detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, had become "the gulag of our times."

While criticizing the report Dubya used the word "absurd" at least two more times, as if, when teaching him a new word, Rove or Chaney instructed him to use it three times in a short conversation.

Of course the report was not absurd, and has been documented many times. The report had to do with the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, prison camp that Newsweek reported and then retracted under intense pressure from the White House.

Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and then White House counsel Alberto Gonzales had both decreed that the Geneva Convention did not apply to Guantanamo and methods that some have likened to torture could be used.

"The language was insistent and unusually sharp for the president, but it echoed an earlier comment by Vice President Dick Cheney, who had said he was "offended" by Amnesty International's description. Both men suggested that freed detainees were spreading mistruths to harm the United States."
This afternoon, the executive director of Amnesty International USA, William F. Schulz, assailed Mr. Bush's response.
"What is 'absurd' is President Bush's attempt to deny the deliberate policies of his administration, which has detained individuals without charge or trial in prisons at Guantánamo Bay, Bagram Air Base and other locations," he said in a statement. "What is 'absurd' and indeed outrageous is the Bush administration's failure to undertake a full independent investigation."

Dr. Schulz added, "This administration never finds it 'absurd' when we criticize Cuba or China, or when we condemned the violations in Iraq under Saddam Hussein."

Dubya was also upset that the Demos had held up the Bolton (The crazy Dubya had picked to be UN Ambassador) nomination. Dubya apparently does not understand the word "advice." He thinks the Senate should rubberstamp his nominations of crazy people such as Bolton and Priscilla Owen.

2. The following is from Susan DuQuesnay's Juanita's.

" May 31 - Well, the Lege ended its reign of terror and a few Texans are left standing. The Republicans were fare more concerned about moving school board elections to November (making them partisan races) than how we’re going to fund public education in Texas. Speaker Craddick seriously suggested that we leave it to the Courts. No, really. He said that. I think if he ever comes to a resolution about activist judges, his head will explode. But, of course, these are the same Republicans who kept hollering for a balanced budget back in the 80’s. Our three Representatives from Fort Bend proved themselves to be worthless as a four card flush. Take a look at Republican Charlie Howard. Look at the bills he authored and then count the ones that were passed and sent to the Governor. Of course, he's one term past due on his term limit promise, but you can't trust a word those Baptists say anyway. Democrat Dora Olivo scored even higher on the worthless scale. Even with legislation written by local lawyers, her recent erratic behavior made her ineffective."

Well that should be enough for you to chew on fer a spell. yeller dawg apologizes, but he's been gettin his daughter married. (To a fine man-and, oh yes, he's a Democrat!)

yeller dawg

Monday, May 30, 2005

What Happened to the Volunteer Army?

Susan DuQuesnay published the following in her Juanita's coolumn. Yeller dawg is including it here because it is sooo timely and apropo:

"May 29 - In honor of Memorial Day, last week Tom DeLay was the deciding vote to deny returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan the medical and prosthetic care they desperately need. One vote. His one vote is keeping our newest veterans from returning to a normal life. One stinkin' vote. I'll be sure post pictures of DeLay at local services honoring veterans. He'll be there loudly proclaiming his support while stealing their prosthetic leg to trade for a tee time or a big ole steak dinner. DeLay also voted to deny TRICARE medical care to the guard and reserves, even though they are 40% of our fighting forces. DeLay never served in the military.

Careful, Susan, he might slap you or scratch your eyes out!

Too Few, Yet Too Many
By PAUL KRUGMAN
Published: May 30, 2005

"One of the more bizarre aspects of the Iraq war has been President Bush's repeated insistence that his generals tell him they have enough troops. Even more bizarrely, it may be true - I mean, that his generals tell him that they have enough troops, not that they actually have enough. An article in yesterday's Baltimore Sun explains why.

Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times ) Iraq 2004 Looks Like Vietnam 1966 (Slate)

"The article tells the tale of John Riggs, a former Army commander, who "publicly contradicted Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld by arguing that the Army was overstretched in Iraq and Afghanistan" - then abruptly found himself forced into retirement at a reduced rank, which normally only happens as a result of a major scandal.

"The truth, of course, is that there aren't nearly enough troops. Basically, we've got all the toys, but not enough boys," a Marine major in Anbar Province told The Los Angeles Times.

"Yet it's also true, in a different sense, that we have too many troops in Iraq.

"Back in September 2003 a report by the Congressional Budget Office concluded that the size of the U.S. force in Iraq would have to start shrinking rapidly in the spring of 2004 if the Army wanted to "maintain training and readiness levels, limit family separation and involuntary mobilization, and retain high-quality personnel."

"Let me put that in plainer English: our all-volunteer military is based on an implicit promise that those who serve their country in times of danger will also be able to get on with their lives. Full-time soldiers expect to spend enough time at home base to keep their marriages alive and see their children growing up. Reservists expect to be called up infrequently enough, and for short enough tours of duty, that they can hold on to their civilian jobs.

"To keep that promise, the Army has learned that it needs to follow certain rules, such as not deploying more than a third of the full-time forces overseas except during emergencies. The budget office analysis was based on those rules.

"But the Bush administration, which was ready neither to look for a way out of Iraq nor to admit that staying there would require a much bigger army, simply threw out the rulebook. Regular soldiers are spending a lot more than a third of their time overseas, and many reservists are finding their civilian lives destroyed by repeated, long-term call-ups.
Two things make the burden of repeated deployments even harder to bear. One is the intensity of the conflict. In Slate, Phillip Carter and Owen West, who adjusted casualty figures to take account of force size and improvements in battlefield medicine (which allow more of the severely wounded to survive), concluded that "infantry duty in Iraq circa 2004 comes out just as intense as infantry duty in Vietnam circa 1966."
The other is the way in which the administration cuts corners when it comes to supporting the troops. From their foot-dragging on armoring Humvees to their apparent policy of denying long-term disability payments to as many of the wounded as possible, officials seem almost pathologically determined to nickel-and-dime those who put their lives on the line for their country.

"Now, predictably, the supply of volunteers is drying up.
Most reporting has focused on the problems of recruiting, which has fallen far short of goals over the past few months. Serious as it is, however, the recruiting shortfall could be only a temporary problem. If and when we get out of Iraq - I know, a big if and a big when - it shouldn't be too hard to find enough volunteers to maintain the Army's manpower.

"Much more serious, because it would be irreversible, would be a mass exodus of mid-career military professionals. "That's essentially how we broke the professional Army we took into Vietnam," one officer told the National Journal. "At some point, people decided they could no longer weather the back-to-back deployments."

That doesn't bother Bush. He never served in Vietnam, or anywhere else that I know of.

yeller dawg

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Bush-is he working for you or Big Oil and Gas?

yeller dawg rec'd this flier from The Wilderness Society:

"George W. Bush, President, received $2.36 million in contributions from Big Oil and Gas in the 2004 election-more than any other candidate in a decade." The flier went on to detail some of Bush's rapes of our environment: dropping out of the Kyoto accords; loosening emission standards for chemical plants; opening drilling and logging in pristine wilderness areas; etc. Dubya, you were elected to protect the environment, not tear it down.

The Society's web site is www.wilderness.org. I hope some of you will visit it.

What is Bush trying to hide about Bolton? He won't release documents to the Senate that is investigating him. Looks like more lies, half truths, and obfuscating!

Did you know that the Democrats who are seeking to block his nomination, a "minority," represent more citizens than the Republican "majority?" Bolton would be a disaster.

yeller dawg

Thursday, May 26, 2005

DeLay's TRMPAC, CAFTA

In Ed Sills' letter to union activists he included the following about TRNPAC and CAFTA:

"5) A state district judge in Travis County ruled today that Texans for aRepublican Majority violated state law by failing to disclose hundreds ofthousands of dollars in corporate contributions during its quest to make TomCraddick speaker of the House.District Judge Joe Hart awarded five Democratic candidates who lost in theelection $196,660 in civil damages.The Democrats had sued former state Rep. Bill Ceverha, treasurer for TRMPAC.Ceverha's side said they would appeal.A separate grand jury investigation is under way to determine if anycriminal laws were violated.Texans for Public Justice Director Craig McDonald issued this statement:"Today's ruling is bad news for Tom DeLay and his TRMPAC cronies. Thisruling draws blood from the financial heart of DeLay's corrupt politicalempire. This is likely to be but the first of many guilty verdicts againstTRMPAC and its leaders.""Today's judgment confirms that TRMPAC blatantly violated Texas electionlaw. It's the first step in holding TRMPAC's leaders accountable for thecorruption they levied on Texas' politics." "This ruling will hasten the end of DeLay's white-collar crimes against democracy. It sends a strong message to all the Tom DeLays who act as ifthey are above the law: Don't mess with Texas elections."

I am with Howard Dean: DeLay belongs in jail.

6)" The San Antonio Current published this brief story on last week'santi-CAFTA rally:Lamar says yes, labor says no to CAFTALabor and elected leaders packed the Communication Workers of America Local6143 Wednesday morning to rally opposition to the controversial CentralAmerican Free Trade Agreement, which is modeled after the 11-year-old NorthAmerican Free Trade Agreement. If enacted, CAFTA would legalize tradeliberalization between the United States and Costa Rica, El Salvador,Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua."CAFTA is the bad brother of NAFTA," said Linda Chavez-Thompson, AFL-CIOexecutive vice president and former San Antonio organizer, during the pressconference. "It's a crime what NAFTA has done to people like to you and me,and CAFTA is going to do the same thing for the same reasons."More than 200,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost in Texas since June1998, but CAFTA could be a way to reverse that trend, according to U.S.Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX), who, in his address to the San AntonioFree Trade Alliance on May 9, said that the agreement would strengthen theSan Antonio job market and economy by allowing the forthcoming Toyota plantand Texas' electronic industries to export their goods duty-free."I don't understand how congressmen are in favor of this or on the fence onthis," said Becky Moeller, who lives in Smith's district and was inattendance Wednesday. "If you make 5 dollars and a nickel a day, I don'tknow how you can buy a computer or a Toyota."Reynaldo Federico Gonzalez of the Insurance and Bank Workers Federation inGuatemala says he has a warrant out for his arrest in his native country forparticipating in demonstrations against CAFTA. He was a panelist Wednesdayas part of the "CAFTA- We don't Hafta" tour, which ended its nationwide,week-long run in San Antonio."Our government will use the aberrations of the police to suppressmovements," said Gonzalez through a translator. "It is trulylife-threatening to form a union in Guatemala."CAFTA, which was drafted in 2004 and signed by all five of theLatin-American countries, has been aggressively backed by the BushAdministration but has not yet been brought before Congress, though a votecould occur as early as this month. Texas representatives Smith and HenryCuellar, a Democrat, have already pledged their support for the agreement.U.S. Representative Charlie Gonzalez (D-San Antonio) said via telephoneduring the rally that he has not yet decided his vote.-
5) A state district judge in Travis County ruled today that Texans for aRepublican Majority violated state law by failing to disclose hundreds ofthousands of dollars in corporate contributions during its quest to make TomCraddick speaker of the House.District Judge Joe Hart awarded five Democratic candidates who lost in theelection $196,660 in civil damages.The Democrats had sued former state Rep. Bill Ceverha, treasurer for TRMPAC.Ceverha's side said they would appeal.A separate grand jury investigation is under way to determine if anycriminal laws were violated.Texans for Public Justice Director Craig McDonald issued this statement:"Today's ruling is bad news for Tom DeLay and his TRMPAC cronies. Thisruling draws blood from the financial heart of DeLay's corrupt politicalempire. This is likely to be but the first of many guilty verdicts againstTRMPAC and its leaders.""Today's judgment confirms that TRMPAC blatantly violated Texas electionlaw. It's the first step in holding TRMPAC's leaders accountable for thecorruption they levied on Texas' politics.""This ruling will hasten the end of DeLay's white-collar crimes againstdemocracy. It sends a strong message to all the Tom DeLays who act as ifthey are above the law: Don't mess with Texas elections."6) The San Antonio Current published this brief story on last week'santi-CAFTA rally:Lamar says yes, labor says no to CAFTALabor and elected leaders packed the Communication Workers of America Local6143 Wednesday morning to rally opposition to the controversial CentralAmerican Free Trade Agreement, which is modeled after the 11-year-old NorthAmerican Free Trade Agreement. If enacted, CAFTA would legalize tradeliberalization between the United States and Costa Rica, El Salvador,Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua."CAFTA is the bad brother of NAFTA," said Linda Chavez-Thompson, AFL-CIOexecutive vice president and former San Antonio organizer, during the pressconference. "It's a crime what NAFTA has done to people like to you and me,and CAFTA is going to do the same thing for the same reasons."More than 200,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost in Texas since June1998, but CAFTA could be a way to reverse that trend, according to U.S.Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX), who, in his address to the San Antonio Free Trade Alliance on May 9, said that the agreement would strengthen theSan Antonio job market and economy by allowing the forthcoming Toyota plantand Texas' electronic industries to export their goods duty-free."I don't understand how congressmen are in favor of this or on the fence onthis," said Becky Moeller, who lives in Smith's district and was inattendance Wednesday. "If you make 5 dollars and a nickel a day, I don'tknow how you can buy a computer or a Toyota."Reynaldo Federico Gonzalez of the Insurance and Bank Workers Federation inGuatemala says he has a warrant out for his arrest in his native country forparticipating in demonstrations against CAFTA. He was a panelist Wednesdayas part of the "CAFTA- We don't Hafta" tour, which ended its nationwide,week-long run in San Antonio."Our government will use the aberrations of the police to suppressmovements," said Gonzalez through a translator. "It is trulylife-threatening to form a union in Guatemala."CAFTA, which was drafted in 2004 and signed by all five of theLatin-American countries, has been aggressively backed by the BushAdministration but has not yet been brought before Congress, though a votecould occur as early as this month. Texas representatives Smith and HenryCuellar, a Democrat, have already pledged their support for the agreement.U.S. Representative Charlie Gonzalez (D-San Antonio) said via telephoneduring the rally that he has not yet decided his vote."- Heather Holmes

Charlie, you had better decide whose side you are on. If you vote for CAFTA, its "Goodbye Charlie." Lamar, you belong in the hall of shame.

The Houston Chronicle must be reading this blog: today it came out with an article detailing all the abuses that have been documented at Gitmo. This blog detailed them yesterday. Hiowever, the HC said the "abuses could not be verified."

Well, dah! how can a prisoner verify abuses by a prison guard? Newsweek never should have caved.

Sen. Robert Duncan's amendment that would have screwed school teachers and retirees was killed tonight in the Texas State Senate by a vote of 19-12. Thanks you to the Democrates who voted to kill it. Sen. Duncan, how can a good little Methodist Sunday School boy be so niggardly and penurious (and also so hypocritical). I sure your mama is proud of yew.

While yeller dawg is passing out the kudos, how about little Scotty McClellan, Bush's liar, oops, I mean mouthpiece. When the news broke that the United Nations had castigated the U. S. for the abuses at Gitmo, Scotty said the complains were "rediculous and unsupported by the facts." (from the Houston Chronicle, May 26, 2005).

Refer to yeller dawg blog of May 25, 2005: numerous detainees have complained of abuses, and this has been documented many times. Scotty, does your mama know you lie for a living? I'm sure she is real proud of yew.

yeller dawg's hall of shame for today" Robert Duncan and Scotty McClellan.

yeller dawg

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Juanita's take on things

and what day would be complete without a couple of quotes from our friend Juanita of the Most Dangerous Beauty Salon, courtesy of Susan DuQuesnay: Aint this so true? Juanita has got it all figgered out!

"May 24 - Oh goodie, Tom DeLay is playing doctor again. Why is it that he only cares about people before they're born or as they are fixing to get their names on the Roll Up Yonder? When Tom DeLay skips a day of golf and adopts an embryo, I'll start taking him seriously. Maybe we could tell him that embryonic stem cell research might lead to making his next facelift a little less painful.
May 23 - You know what is amazing to me? Republicans don't have any friends. I mean that. Take a lookie right here. When Bill Clinton did the dirty deed, Democrats were livid. They cussed him; they chewed him out like a red-headed stepchild. There's a story going around that one of them even hit him with a lamp. But, not one of them claimed not to know him. In fact, most of them said, "He's my friend. He did wrong and I've hollered at him. But, he's still my friend." Republicans don't do that. And sometimes they don't even know three people all at once."

Be sure and go to the links. You might learn sumpin!

yeller dawg

Ed Sills, Communications Director for the state AFL-CIO sends a daily e-mail to labor activists that contains much of the news of interest to Texas unionists Ed has given me permission to use some of his material in my blog.

From Ed Sills' daily letter:

" News of the judicial filibuster deal in the U.S. Senate is mixed. Such isthe nature of compromise.On the positive side, the potential for a filibuster of future judicialnominees remains, though I'm not certain how valuable that is. Nothing inthis deal says the Senate can't have the same fight again. It is certainly possible that unwritten understandings among the negotiators will prevent a repeat of this battle in the near future. Business Week is already suggesting that the 14 senators might try to do a deal on Social Security that does not include privatized accounts. Senate Democrats do retain the ability to oppose an extreme nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court via filibuster.On the debit side, the definition of who is "extreme" is being stretchedbeyond recognition. The deal almost certainly means that Texas Supreme CourtJustice Priscilla Owen will be confirmed to the 5th Circuit. Indeed, cloturewas invoked on Owen's nomination today. Owen is a business shill who hastreated injury victims miserably in her jurisprudence. The Texas AFL-CIO waspart of a Texas coalition to oppose her nomination. We can take solace, Isuppose, in having helped delay her ascension to the federal bench for fouryears. Some have argued that the 5th Circuit is so right-wing that the addition of Owen will make little difference. That's a philosophical way of looking at a political sting. Still, the real fight for a balanced federal judiciary lies at the Supreme Court and in some of the other appellate circuits, this argument goes.As the filibuster war moves to cease-fire status, the Senate will continueto transact its business. Whether this is good or bad is in the eye of thebeholder. Both sides clearly paid a price. But despite the costs to our sideon this deal, this may be one of those moments in politics where it is wiseto declare victory and go home.The Daily Kos, a blog that has covered this issue closely, fell along these lines:"There are those who think any compromise is a sign of weakness, and there'slittle that can be said to change their mind.But here are the plain, unspun facts:Democrats hold 44 seats in the 100 seat Senate. One independent sides withthe Republicans, giving Dems a 10-seat deficit.Reid had 49 votes. He needed 51 to defeat Frist's nuclear option.Reid needed at least two of four undecided Republicans.Had Reid come up short, the filibuster would be dead in judicial matters.If the filibuster was dead, Bush would've been able to put anyone on theSupreme Court. Anyone.Radical Christian Rightist James Dobson is demanding the right to choose thenext Supreme Court nominee.Dobson's biggest enemy is the filibuster. Hence, he forced Frist to engagein the nuclear option.Because of the deal, Dobson can't choose the next Supreme Court justice.Bush's choice, if too extreme, faces the prospect of a filibuster.In order to save face, Republicans have gotten up or down votes on most ofthe handful of judges who are currently being filibustered. It's a price,but a relatively small one to pay to protect the filibuster during the nextSupreme Court battle.Given that we have a 10-seat deficit in the Senate, that's no small feat."Lest there be any doubt that the radical right is upset about the deal,here's the statement by James Dobson, the TV minister cited by kos. This is representative of the right-wing reaction:"This Senate agreement represents a complete bailout and betrayal by a cabalof Republicans and a great victory for united Democrats. Only three ofPresident Bush's nominees will be given the courtesy of an up-or-down vote,and it's business as usual for all the rest. The rules that blockedconservative nominees remain in effect, and nothing of significance haschanged. Justice Clarence Thomas, Justice Antonin Scalia, and Chief JusticeWilliam Rehnquist would never have served on the U. S. Supreme Court if thisagreement had been in place during their confirmations. The unconstitutionalfilibuster survives in the arsenal of Senate liberals."We are grateful to Majority Leader Frist for courageously fighting todefend the vital principle of basic fairness. That principle has now gonedown to defeat. We share the disappointment, outrage and sense ofabandonment felt by millions of conservative Americans who helped putRepublicans in power last November. I am certain that these voters willremember both Democrats and Republicans who betrayed their trust."

4)" The San Antonio Express-News published this article on the CAFTA battle,incorporating last week's San Antonio rally against the proposed treaty:Central American Free Trade AgreementWeb Posted: 05/24/2005 12:00 AM CDTMeena ThiruvengadamExpress-News Business WriterDepending on the point of view, the Central American Free Trade Agreement iseither a tool for economic growth and global development, or a giveaway tomultinational corporations at the expense of American jobs, the environmentand exploited foreign workers.The agreement, designed to promote foreign investment and trade, wascompleted nearly a year ago. With a congressional vote expected this month,controversy surrounding it has picked up. President Bush's calendar hasincluded meetings with Central American leaders, and anti-CAFTA groups haveheld protests and rallies across the country.The deal among the U.S., Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala,Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic - essentially an extension of the NorthAmerican Free Trade Agreement - would gradually cut tariffs on Americanproducts entering the region. The U.S. has already cut tariffs on CentralAmerican goods.About 80 percent of items from those countries already enter the U.S.duty-free, but the average tariffs on American products entering theirmarkets range from a low of about 35 percent in Honduras to 60 percent inNicaragua.The countries attached to the agreement constitute Texas' 12th-largestexport market, with an estimated $1.8 billion in items such as fabrics,motor vehicle parts, petroleum products and chemicals exported there lastyear, according to the Commerce Department. Nationwide exports to the regionwere $15.7 billion last year."Generally speaking, free trade is a good thing," Federal Reserve Bank ofDallas economist William Gruben said. "It reduces prices for consumers, andit reduces prices for producers."But the benefits of free trade aren't very large on an individual basis, hesaid, and the disadvantages often hit a small group of people morenoticeably, pushing them to be very vocal about their free trade opposition.Proponents, including business groups and trade organizations, say CAFTAwould boost business for U.S. exporters and farmers."A big chunk of the Texas potential is surrounding the agriculturalindustry," said Blake Hastings, executive director of Free Trade AllianceSan Antonio. Texas ranchers, rice growers and poultry farmers are amongthose who could profit from the agreement, according to the U.S. Departmentof Agriculture.Supporters also say approving CAFTA would make North America a strongercompetitor in the global marketplace and keep apparel makers using U.S.fabrics from sending work to China, where lower labor costs are offset byhigher transportation and shipping fees.Under NAFTA, other countries moved operations to Mexico or increased theirproduction there to take advantage of the agreement's benefits."NAFTA gave so many advantages to Mexico that other countries did not havein the 1990s, there was a lot of trade diversion," Hastings said.But CAFTA's opponents, including labor unions and sugar producers facingincreased competition from the region, argue that the pact would lead toenvironmental damage, the worsening of already-poor working conditions anddomestic job losses.And America's agricultural benefits would come at the expense of CentralAmerican farmers, they say. About 1.5 million Mexican farmers lost theirlivelihoods because of NAFTA, according to the watchdog group PublicCitizen."We're not against trade," said Lesley Ramsey, director of the Texas FairTrade Coalition, a group campaigning against CAFTA. "We're looking for anagreement that takes into consideration the needs of human beings to thesame degree that it does the needs of corporations. This agreement isdesigned only with corporate interests in mind."Opposition groups fear the agreement would make it easier for corporationsto move operations to lower-wage countries.Electrician Jim Hester, a member of the International Brotherhood ofElectrical Workers, views the fight against CAFTA as one for his job. "Wewant to keep workers in the U.S. working," he said.NAFTA, according to a 2003 report by the Economic Policy Institute, led tothe loss of nearly 900,000 American jobs."All it did is open the door for big corporations to take our jobs somewhereelse," said Clemente Guzman, who, after 11 years, lost his job at SanBenito's Levi Strauss factory when the company moved jobs abroad.Hastings argues that NAFTA isn't to blame for many of the U.S. jobs thathave disappeared since the agreement went into effect 11 years ago."The world economy already moved many jobs to Mexico before NAFTA," he said."There are more jobs lost everyday to automation than there are to tradeagreements."Still, he acknowledges some Americans may be pushed out of their jobs ifCAFTA passes."I don't expect them to understand it," he said. "They have families tofeed. But there is assistance and job training for them."AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Linda Chavez-Thompson maintains the group'sopposition to the agreement isn't just about protecting American jobs. Thebigger concern, she said, is switching out good American jobs fornot-so-good Central American ones such as what Marta Sonia Díaz Palaciosused to have in El Salvador.Now a textile union representative, Díaz Palacios spent a year sewing pantsand shorts for $5.30 a day. While traveling across the country as part ofthe AFL-CIO's "CAFTA We Don't Hafta" campaign, she described a workplacewhere employees are beaten, sexually assaulted and considered too old to beproductive by age 28."In our opinion, CAFTA will lead to more exploitation of workers and moreviolations of our rights," she said through a translator."

CAFTA would be a disaster for the United States, just the same as NAFTA was. And NAFTA was also a disaster for Mexico.

yeller dawg

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Bush is Winning the War?

This from the Daily Kos www.dailykos.com

Midday open threadby kos Tue May 24th, 2005 at 10:59:42 PDTGiven what today was supposed to be, it's sort of an anti-climactic Tuesday. Open Threads :: Permalink :: Trackback :: Discuss (182 comments)
Carnage continues in Iraqby kos Tue May 24th, 2005 at 10:42:16 PDTIt's not getting better.
A car bomb exploded Tuesday near a Baghdad junior high school for girls, killing six people, and eight American soldiers were killed in two days of insurgent attacks in and around Baghdad, the military said.But hey, according to Bush logic, that just means we're winning even more than before!
And nevermind that unfinished business in Afghanistan.
[UK] DEFENCE chiefs are planning to rush thousands of British troops to Afghanistan in a bid to stop the country sliding towards civil war, Scotland on Sunday can reveal.
Ministers have been warned they face a "complete strategic failure" of the effort to rebuild Afghanistan and that 5,500 extra troops will be needed within months if the situation continues to deteriorate.
An explosive cocktail of feuding tribal warlords, insurgents, the remnants of the Taliban, and under-performing Afghan institutions has left the fledgling democracy on the verge of disintegration, according to analysts and senior officers.
The looming crisis in Afghanistan is a serious setback for the US-led 'War on Terror' and its bid to promote western democratic values around the world.
Defence analysts say UK forces are already so over-stretched that any operation to restore order in Afghanistan can only succeed if substantial numbers of troops are redeployed from Iraq, itself in the grip of insurgency.According to Bush's logic, the fact that we're losing ground in Afghanistan, and that the UK has to pull troops from Iraq to try and stabilize the situation means we're really, really, winning!
How anyone can still defend this administration's handling of both these wars is beyond me. We could've snuffed out the Taliban, eradicated Al Qaida, and maybe even taken out Osama Bin Laden and the rest of his top cabal. Instead, we had to play out neocon fantasies in Iraq.
(Afghanistan link from gjohnsit's diary.) War :: Permalink ::

Kos said it best. yeller dawg

Newsweek, bad. Lying about Tillman? That's okayby kos Tue May 24th, 2005 at 09:14:03 PDTE & P:
Where, in the week after the Great Newsweek Error, is the comparable outrage in the press, in the blogosphere, and at the White House over the military's outright lying in the coverup of the death of former NFL star Pat Tillman? Where are the calls for apologies to the public and the firing of those responsible? Who is demanding that the Pentagon's word should never be trusted unless backed up by numerous named and credible sources?
Where is a Scott McClellan lecture on ethics and credibility?
The Tillman scandal is back in the news thanks not to the military coming clean but because of a newspaper account. Ironically, the newspaper in question, The Washington Post,which has taken the lead on this story since last December, is big brother to Newsweek.
The Post's Josh White reported this week that Tillman's parents are now ripping the Army, saying that the military's investigations into their son's 2004 friendly fire death in Afghanistan was a sham based on "lies" and that the Army cover-up made it harder for them to deal with their loss. They are speaking out now because they have finally had a chance to look at the full records of the military probe.
"Tillman's mother and father said in interviews that they believe the military and the government created a heroic tale about how their son died to foster a patriotic response across the country," White reported.
While military officials' lying to the parents have gained wide publicity in the past two days, hardly anyone has mentioned that they also lied to the public and to the press, which dutifully carried one report after another based on the Pentagon's spin.I've got nothing to add.


Last words on compromise dealby kos Tue May 24th, 2005 at 08:29:30 PDTThere are those who think any compromise is a sign of weakness, and there's little that can be said to change their mind.
But here are the plain, unspun facts:
Democrats hold 44 seats in the 100 seat Senate. One independent sides with the Democrats, giving Dems a 10-seat deficit.
Reid had 49 votes. He needed 51 to defeat Frist's nuclear option.
Reid needed at least two of four undecided Republicans.
Had Reid come up short, the filibuster would be dead in judicial matters.
If the filibuster was dead, Bush would've been able to put anyone on the Supreme Court. Anyone.
Radical Christian Rightist James Dobson is demanding the right to choose the next Supreme Court nominee.
Dobson's biggest enemy is the filibuster. Hence, he forced Frist to engage in the nuclear option.
Because of the deal, Dobson can't choose the next Supreme Court justice. Bush's choice, if too extreme, faces the prospect of a filibuster.
In order to save face, Republicans have gotten up or down votes on most of the handful of judges who are currently being filibustered. It's a price, but a relatively small one to pay to protect the filibuster during the next Supreme Court battle.
Given that we have a 10-seat deficit in the Senate, that's no small feat.

Yeah, but I still do not like it. We got blackmailed, bigtime.

yeller dawg

Monday, May 23, 2005

Whole Bunch of Stuff

Yeller Dawg apologizes but had eye surgery Friday and have not been able to read them little bitty letters.

1. Did you see poor Marian the Librarian getting heckled on her overseas trip. I actually felt sorry for her. In the first place, do not send a librarian to do a president's job. She is real nice, but I doubt she knows a whole lot of foreign policy, kinda like Condie Rice, or Dubya for that matter. Dubya, why didn't you go? Afraid ?

2. The Houston Bar Association held their Judicial Evaluation Poll last week. According to the Houston Chronicle, you guessed it, our own dear little Priscilla Owen finished dead last on the Supreme Court, nosing out Brister and Hecht, two equally (almost) dismal jurists. Now I figgered out why Bush appointed her. She aint real smart, and Bush does not want to appoint a person smarter than him (and that's practically everybody) to the federal bench. You can read the entire Poll online at hba.org.

3. There is so much stuff, I aint got time to tell it. Lots more is coming out on the Newsweek Koran flap. The New York Times ran a couple of items by one of their top reporters that indicated the abuse is more flagrant and widespread then Newsweek reported, and it had already been reported by numerous detainees and news outlets before with no comment from Dubya. Funny to me, the only American soldiers getting disciplined are very low ranking except for that poor Reserve General. Why not Rummy? Why not Alberto? Hell, why not Bush? Truman used to say "the buck stops here." Bush says, "The buck stops with Lyndie England."

Yeller Dawg

Thursday, May 19, 2005

"Newsweekgate"

Every now and then I read something in the Chronicle that warms my cockles. Just when I was beginning to think there were no more sensible people in Houston, I read two letters in the Chronicle, Wednesday, May 18, 2005:

Karen Moeck wrote that Bush was hypocrytical by ordering Newsweek to print a retraction for getting the facts wrong about Koran destruction in Gitmo, while conveniently overlooking the fact that he had got his facts wrong on Iraq, causing us to go to an uncecessary war that has cost over 1,600 US lives. No retraction or apology. Thanks, Dubya, you hypocrite.

Jose Rodriquez wrote in much the same vein.

Thanks Karen and Jose. You have renewed my faith in human nature.

yeller dawg

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Bush at Work?

1. A small plane flew over D.C. the other day. The threat of another 9-11 sent employees scurrying-Congress, congressional staffers, the first lady, Vice-President Cheney. Everyone was notified. Everyone, it seems, except the President. Where was he? In Maryland, riding his bicycle!

There's something wrong with this picture: everyone at work except Dubya? Jay Leno said it best: "Cheney was working and the President was riding a bicycle in Maryland. Shouldn't it be the other way around?"

Is Dubya even relevant any more? He takes more vacations than any other moden president. Vacation from what? Riding his bike? Campaigning to destroy Social Security?

2. If you haven't listened to KPFT, 90.1 FM, you should. They have a program called "Democracy Now" hosted by Amy Goodman that is really hard hitting-well, more hard hitting that your corporate homogonized news. Caught a Bill Moyers speech on the station last week. He was talking about Ken Tomlinson, the Bush flack who is head of the Center for Public Broadcasting. Tomlinson is trying to stifle content that may not meet with Republican approval. He spent $10,000 for a contractor to investigate Moyers' program for liberal bias. Moyers said, "He should have asked me. I'd have given him a tape, or, better yet, he could have watched the show, rather than to spend $10,000 of the public money for this."

3. Remember "Rathergate?" Dan Rather exposed Bush's deriliction of his National Guard duties. Because he could not prove definitively his source's were original and not copies, he was drummed out of CBS.

Why doesn't Bush bring forward the originals? Because he knows Rather was right. Now we have "NBCgate." NBC reported that some interrogator at Guantanamo ripped up the Koran and flushed it down the toilet. After some heat from Republicans, their source backed down, leaving them high and dry. No wonder the media wont report the news. They're afraid of the Thought Police.

Thats all, Folks! Feel free to come in with your comments. Hell, we even let Repubs and Damyankees on this blog!

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Tom DeLay in action- insulting teachers

From time to time I will bring you articles from DeLay's checkered past.

Susan DuQuesnay has chronicled several of his gaffes in her website, Juanitas. Here is one of them.

From Junitas:

It’s Hammer Time!
Susan DuQuesnay

Tom DeLay’s appearance at the Rosenberg Civic Center last weekend to explain teacher retirement was everything I could have wished for – Tom was arrogant, rude, patronizing, and I have 400 witnesses to prove it. And then, as if determined to make this the best day of my entire life, Tom threatened to have people “removed” and would not allow the news media into the room.
Thank you, Tom! I owe you a big one, Bub. For years, everybody thought I was exaggerating about your rotten attitude until you came to Rosenberg and made me look like Miss Understatement Festival Queen.
However, I did think that my fellow audience members were a little rough on Tom with all their booing and sardonic laughter. After all, Tom was slumming by coming to Rosenberg. With schoolteachers, for Socrates’ sake! Schoolteachers don’t have any money and the Rosenberg Civic Center is certainly a long slide down from the country club or Haughty’s Steak House. I think Tom was expecting the Mother Teresa Award for Being a Regular Guy because of this event. But instead, he got booed. And, worse yet, laughed at. By mostly women. Hundreds of them.
It restored my faith in sisterhood.

Thanks, Susan. Too bad more schoolteachers didn't vote in the last election!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Ariana Huffington, Dennis Miller

Good News: Ariana Huffington of Salon.com fame has started a blog entitled The Huffington Post. www.huffingtonpost.com. Check it out!

More good news: Dennis Miller was fired at MSNBC. Dennis Miller, Bush's favorite unfunny comedian (and I use the word "comedian" loosely), also was fired some time back as an analyst on one of the football sportscasts. Gee, Dennis, its hard for an unfunny "comedian" to keep a gig, aint it? Go back to washing dishes at IHOP. Am sure Dubya can find you a gig.

yeller dawg

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Family Fun Festival

This just in:

There will be a rally to "save America from Tom Delay" Saturday, May 14, 2005 at Tom Bass Park, 15108 Cullen Blvd., Houston, TX 77047. Democracy for America is putting it on. RSVP to www.democracyforamerica.com/DFHPicnic

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Stupid Legislature

I got this from Susan DuQuesnay's website, Juanitas, which is on www.Brazosriver.com. This is a great website, very funny, but with a lot of useful info also.

COMMENTARY: JOHN KELSO
Dumbest Legislature yet? At least it's providing plenty of funny material

Sunday, May 08, 2005

I'm thinking this might be the stupidest Legislature the state of Texas has ever enjoyed.
I really can't recall a session in which more inanities were discussed and less important business has been accomplished. We're a couple elephants short of a circus, but we've got more than our quota of clowns. . .

John, what do you expect? With Delay clones Craddick and that other feller from Midland in charge. We should be happy its not worse.

What's next ? A two-hour debate on a bill that would make it illegal for a fat topless dancer to sue Burger King for a Whopper because she can't touch her toes? Is it any wonder Texas has become a national punch line?

Thanks, Susan, for referring me to this column from the Austin-American Statesman.

What does the Texas Legislature have to do with Delay and Bush? Delay, through his Texans for a Republican Majority fund was instrumental in getting Craddick elected speaker. Because of Bush's tax cuts for the rich while he was governor, the state doesn't have the money to operate. The pols are afraid to do the logical thing, which would be to enact a state income tax.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Bush's Social Security Sleight of Hand

Paul Krugman, an economist and op-ed writer for the NY Times, had some interesting things to say about Bush's Social Security "non-plan" in his op-ed piece on May 9, 2005: (in part)www.nytimes.com/2005/05/09/opinion/09krugman.html?hp

Before I take on this final insult to our intelligence, let me deal with a fundamental misconception: the idea that President Bush's plan would somehow protect future Social Security benefits.
If the plan really would do that, it would be worth discussing. It's possible - not certain, but possible - that 40 or 50 years from now Social Security won't have enough money coming in to pay full benefits. (If the economy grows as fast over the next 50 years as it did over the past half-century, Social Security will do just fine.) So there's a case for making small sacrifices now to avoid bigger sacrifices later.
But Mr. Bush isn't calling for small sacrifices now. Instead, he's calling for zero sacrifice now, but big benefit cuts decades from now - which is exactly what he says will happen if we do nothing. Let me repeat that: to avert the danger of future cuts in benefits, Mr. Bush wants us to commit now to, um, future cuts in benefits.


In other words, Bush is trying the old smoke and mirrors trick. I hope some of our dear readers will have comments regarding this very important matter. Please go to the link and read the whole piece.

Yeller Dawg

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Houston Chronicle

To illustrate what a dud the HC is, consider this from "Hair Balls," by Richard Connelly, in the Houston Press. May 5, 2005: President Bush held a press conference announcing cuts in Social Security Benefits. The NY Times headlined, "Bush Cites Plan That Would Cut Social Security."

Our intrepid Chronicle: "Bush Proposes Reform to Save Social Security."

Liberal Press? I don't think so. Weigh in with your comments.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

dump delay

This is the first posting to my new blog. The new blog is dedicated to ridding the country of Bush, Delay, and company. We will attempt to bring you news and opinion that you may not get from your local news.

yeller dawg