Soldiers--Let Karl Know How You Feel

ACTION ALERT:  If you are a veteran or an active member of the armed forces and you want to tell Karl Rove what you think of his comments, then email FightingLiberals at yahoo dot com and we will post your email anonymously.  

Karl Rove cannot get away with what he said without American soldiers of all ideological stripes setting him straight--on the record.  

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Have Fun and Make Fun--and Take Our Country Back

One of the my favorite parts of the Democracy Fest program this weekend was the advice that the thousands of activists received from Texan humorist and pundit Molly Ivins. According to her, there is nothing in today's America that can't be cured by "beer and laughter." Her advice: work hard but have fun and laugh while doing it.

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EXCLUSIVE CB Interview with Chip Pitts of Amnesty International USA, Part One

As I mentioned at Corked Bats, this is an exclusive email interview with Chip Pitts, who represented Amnesty International at the House Judiciary Committee Hearing regarding the USA PATRIOT Act on June 10, 2005.  Chairman Sensenbrenner abruptly gaveled the hearing to a close after claiming that the statements and questions were largely irrelevent to the PATRIOT Act.  There will be several installments as Mr. Pitts finds the time in his busy schedule to respond to the questions.

Chip Pitts is the Chair of the Board of Directors of Amnesty International USA.  You can read more about him here.  In this portion of the interview, Pitts addresses Sensenbrenner's specific call to produce a list of librarians who have been investigated under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act and then goes into more detail about the extent of PATRIOT Act usage since 9-11.  Sensenbrenner shut down the hearing in part because he claimed that the PATRIOT Act was not being abused or used in the manner in which critics charge.   In the following exchange, Pitts talks about both potential uses of the PATRIOT Act--which he argues have a chilling effect on the Bill of Rights--and actual uses since its passage.

Thank you to Mr. Pitts for answering these questions so that we may all have a better idea of what, exactly, critics of the PATRIOT Act are saying and why they are saying it.  It should also be noted that Amnesty International is a non-partisan organization.  Mr. Pitts is not answering these questions in order to provide partisan ammunition--these are his views as an expert on human rights worldwide.  I conducted this interview in order to understand more completely the issues that the PATRIOT Act does and does not raise.  I appreciate the time he has taken to help us learn.

Without further ado, here is the first part:

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Special Guest to Call in at the Nationwide Chris Bell House Parties

The Bell folks are really excited and want to get the word out that they will have a special guest, former Congressman Max Sandlin, on the conference call that will take place on Sunday, June 12 at the nationwide house parties. Bell, the Congressman who filed the ethics complaint against Tom DeLay, is exploring a run for Texas governor. These fundraising parties are going to break new ground for a gubernatorial race--they represent one of the most significant netroots outreach efforts by a statewide candidate yet.  Sandlin was one of the Texas Congressmen who lost a seat due to Rick Perry's Tom DeLay-and-federal-government-assisted "redistricting" (gerrymandering) bamboozle. More details here.

The nationwide conference call will begin at 6:00PM EDT/5:00 PM CDT.

Visit Chris Bell's Website!

[Disclosure: I am interested in working for the Bell campaign.]

I blog at Corked Bats Blog.

Bush Tanking in the Polls? Not so fast. We've Got Problems...

Bush is really unpopular if you look at the polls these days.  

His mandate has evaporated under pressure from the Democratic Party opposition and because of his vapid leadership on the Iraq War, which is clearly a quagmire.  He has even been exposed as a fraud on terrorism issues--as now only 50% say they approve of his handling of that issue.

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Democratic Pundit Penalty Box: One Month for Susan Estrich

We need one.  If you go on Fox News and actually lie and say that DNC Chairman Howard Dean is spending all of his time defending himself and no time raising money and then when challenged you repeat the lie, you go to the penalty box for a month.  No media appearances for you.  Just an all expenses paid trip to the Rockridge Institute.  I will let Jerry Seinfeld talk to Susan Estrich, while you go watch her penalty on Fox (click on VIDEO and then 'watch the video'):

You know you really need some help. A regular psychiatrist couldn't even help you. You need to go to like Vienna or something. You know what I mean? You need to get involved at the University level. Like where Freud studied and have all those people looking at you and checking up on you. That's the kind of help you need. Not the once a week for eighty bucks. No. You need a team. A team of psychiatrists working round the clock thinking about you, having conferences, observing you, like the way they did with the Elephant Man. That's what I'm talking about because that's the only way you're going to get better.
Sad but true. Just keep on clickin' through...

Corked Bats

Come and Take It (Texas)

Front Line Blogs: Got Any?

I have a quick question.  One of the great things about blogging is that you can, on occasion, get a very personal, ground level look at a difficult situation.  I am thinking here of the power of soldier and civilian blogs in Iraq (some of which I have linked at the right) and the blogging coverage of the tsunami disasters.  I have not yet found, however, blogs written specifically to document life on the front lines in some of America's own struggles.  I am particularly interested in finding and linking blogs that document life in poor communities.  If there are none, how do we encourage this kind of reporting?

If you know of any of these blogs, just do me a favor and leave a link in the comments.  There will be more on this subject in the future.  It would help our cause to find intimate information about life in poor America--probably even more than it helps us to know about Iraq from that level.

Democratic Decision Calculus: 2008

Remember this come nomination season, 2008: the key question for you deciding who to vote for in the primaries is not whether or not this or that candidate is "electable." It is whether or not you agree with what the candidate supports. If you happen to line up best with Al Sharpton, vote for him. If it happens to be Feingold, vote for him. If it happens to be Clinton, vote for her. But, do not hold off voting for somebody with whom you agree simply because you think you have figured out what "electability" means. You don't. The very idea of what constitues electability in this country has been polluted by GOP talking points and the noise machine.  And you can't game the machine--you gotta become the machine.

I found myself saying that Clinton looked like she could win "if you look at the numbers" yesterday and I realized that I was falling into the electability trap again. We have to work extra hard to make sure we don't make that error this time around or we will never have a Democratic Party that speaks with conviction.  And that means continuing to lose elections we should win.

Corked Bats.  A "blog" unworthy of attention.

HEY, Texas Bloggers... Come and Take It!

Charlie, Democrats Have a Plan. It is Called Social Security and We Oppose Its Destruction

Former Texas Democratic Congressman Charlie Stenholm missed badly in his op-ed in the Dallas Morning News, and chose to flog his own party--the party committed to preserving Social Security--while at the same time praising President Bush--who has wanted to destroy Social Security since at least 1976.

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Colonialism Ain't What It Used to Be

When the Whole World Has Guns

When the British decided to force "open the door" to trade with China in the mid-19th century, the traditional Chinese government had no guns. The Opium Wars were one-sided conflicts in which the British practiced "gunboat diplomacy"--send in the gunboats, shell, repeat and then force diplomatic concessions. And it worked. The Chinese government could not match the British Navy and was forced to make concessions in a series of treaties. The British got richer and more powerful. This kind of hard power was the advantage that European technological development had given the British as they built a vast empire during the 1800s, encountering people who had no guns across the globe.

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