Wednesday, January 26, 2005

No on Condoleezza Rice

I recently got this message from MoveOn

Dear MoveOn member,

Late last year, George W. Bush nominated National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice to replace Colin Powell as Secretary of State -- the top diplomat for the United States abroad. The Senate is debating today and will vote tomorrow on her promotion.

No one in the country, except perhaps President Bush, is more responsible for pushing the pre-war lie that Iraq was developing weapons of mass destruction. At the same time CIA briefings told Dr. Rice that Iraq had no active nuclear program, she was appearing on TV talk shows raising that possibility. "We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud," after all, was Rice's line. And when the war started, Rice was one of its central architects and continued the WMD deception asserting, "I believe that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction," and telling us, "we're finding interesting things." Last month the U.S. military formally ended the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

No National Security Advisor in recent history has been more deceptive or more inept. And there are few people in the world who enjoy less credibility with our foreign allies than Condoleezza Rice.

Senate Democrats have signaled their willingness to hold her accountable for these mistakes -- they've delayed her confirmation by a week for more intense questioning. And senators Barbara Boxer and John Kerry have already announced that they're voting against her confirmation. Please call your senators, listed below, and urge them to join Boxer and Kerry in opposing Dr. Rice's confirmation.

Senator Charles Schumer: 202-224-6542
Senator Hillary Clinton: 202-224-4451

After you make your call, please click on the link below to let us know you called.

Because Republicans control the Senate, it's likely that Rice will be confirmed. But if there was ever a moment for Democrats to hold someone accountable for the disastrous war in Iraq, it's today.

Please make your phone call today. Let's make it clear that Condoleezza Rice should be reprimanded, not promoted.

Thanks for all you do.

--Tom Matzzie
January 25th, 2005

P.S. You might find these articles helpful.

Senate Begins Debate on Rice Nomination

U.S. Gives Up Search for Iraq WMD


Wednesday, January 19, 2005


Ok! So I'm not keeping my New Year's resolution and
blogging every day. That's why I don't make resolutions. But I'm still going to try to keep this one.

"Free Iraq"

Check out "Free Iraq" and "Baghdad Burning" two important Iraqi liberation blogs.
The New York Times has a very interesting article on current struggles within the community of Iraqi bloggers by Sarah Boxer (NYT, 1/18/05, E1)

Monday, January 17, 2005

Privatization of Social Security

I recently got this info from MoveOn about fighting privatization of social security so here it is in full.It's important

George Bush and Republican leaders have made phasing out Social Security – through privatization and massive benefit cuts – their top priority for 2005. We want to deliver 200,000 signatures to Congress to let them know that the American people oppose gutting Social Security. Sign now:Click to Sign

Dear MoveOn member,
Social Security is the crown jewel of progressive government -- a singular achievement that has reshaped what used to be penniless old age. Now George Bush and Republican leaders have made phasing out Social Security as we know it through privatization and massive benefit cuts their top priority for 2005.
Even House Republicans are skeptical about the scheme. According to a recent Washington Post article, as many as 40 Republican members are considering voting against it. So the final vote is likely to be extremely close, and Bush and the Wall Street firms that stand to make billions are pulling out all the stops. According to some reports, they're raising up to $100 million for advertising to apply pressure.
Bush started his publicity blitz on Tuesday, and now the clock is ticking for House and Senate members to state their position. We need to send them a message before it is too late. Let your members of Congress know that you want them to protect Social Security by signing our petition at the link below:
Our goal is to deliver 200,000 signatures on a petition to Congress when they return after the January 20 inauguration. That is a big goal in such a short time but we know that you can help make it happen by forwarding this alert to your friends, family and coworkers.
In pushing this issue, Bush is working out of the same play book that he used for the war in Iraq. First, he's manufacturing a crisis, by grossly distorting the scale of the threat. Then, when Americans are convinced that the problem is clear and imminent, he'll propose a reckless solution -- privatization -- which just happens to help a lot of his corporate friends.
And of course, the gap between Bush's rhetoric and the truth is enormous. Social Security is a complicated issue, but the basics are really pretty simple:
Social Security provides monthly benefits to some 44 million Americans who are retired, disabled or the survivor of a deceased parent. It provides most of the income for older Americans -- some 64 percent of their support. It has lifted generations of seniors out of poverty.
Social Security is not in crisis. That is an outright lie perpetrated in order to create the urgency for radical changes. Under conservative forecasts, the long-term challenges in Social Security do not manifest themselves until 2042. Even then Social Security has 70 percent of needed funds. That shortfall is smaller than the amount needed in 1983, the last time we overhauled Social Security. George Bush's Social Security crisis-talk is an effort to create a specter of doom -- just like the weapons of mass destruction claim in Iraq.
Phasing out Social Security and replacing it with privatized accounts means one thing: massive cuts in monthly benefits for everybody. Social Security privatization requires diverting taxes used to pay current benefits into privatized accounts invested in risky stocks. Without that money, Social Security benefits will inevitably be cut -- some proposals even cut benefits of current retirees. These benefit cuts are inevitable, since diverting Social Security money into privatized accounts means less money to pay current and future benefits.
Every serious privatization proposal raises the Social Security retirement age to 70. That might be fine if you're a Washington special interest lobbyist but it is incredibly unfair to blue-collar Americans with tough, physical jobs, or for African Americans and Latinos with lower life expectancies.
Privatization means gambling with your retirement security. There is probably an appropriate place for a little stock market risk in retirement planning -- but it isn't Social Security. Privatization exposes your entire retirement portfolio to stock market risks -- and the risk that you'll outlive any of your savings at retirement. You can't outlive your Social Security benefit.
So who does benefit? Wall Street. Giant financial services firms have been salivating for decades over the prospect of taking over Social Security. Wall Street would make billions of dollars in profit by managing the privatized accounts -- money that would come directly from your benefits.
So far, the Democrats are united in the cause of protecting Social Security. If the Democrats are going to show some real backbone we need to back them. Show your support by signing the petition at the link below:
And after signing the petition, please help debunk the misinformation that's circulating by forwarding this email on to your friends and family.
Thanks for all you do.
--Tom Matzzie and Eli Pariser January 13th, 2005
P.S.: For more information, here are some good resources:
Campaign for America's Future on Social Security
The Social Security Network by The Century Foundation
"The Iceberg Cometh" by Paul Krugman. The New York Times. January 11, 2005 (registration required)
"Bush Launches PR Campaign to change Social Security" by Richard Benedetto and Judy Keen, USA TODAY January 11, 2005

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Howard Dean announces for DNC Chair

As expected Howard Dean announced yesterday that he is running for Chair of the Democratic National Committee. My instinct is to agree with: "Go! Howard! Go!." But there seems to be a bit of dissent.

The more I think about it, the more it seems as if anything short of supporting the Dean candidacy would be giving in to media bashing and the current tendency to move the Party to the right.

Anyway I would love to know what you think.

End of search for WMD in Iraq

The Bush administration search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq has always seemed to me a bit like O.J. Simpson's search for the "real killer." So the fact that the search is officially over today and none have been found is hardly surprising.
It's also hardly surprising that Bush continues to justify the invasion of Iraq despite the failure to realize the primary reason given for it at the time. (This also makes a lie of the reason that Bush gave Congress and the United Nations at the time to justify the invasion.)
(for full story)

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Here we go again: religious symbols in public places

Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition, states, "By prohibiting the public display of crosses at the Inauguration Parade, the Secret Service has trampled the First Amendment and crushed religious freedom in the public square. Simply put, it is religious bigotry and censorship. It is even more troubling when one realizes that it is only Christian symbols that have been excluded from the Inauguration Parade. We also want to make it clear that we will be on the public sidewalks holding crosses at the Inauguration Parade even if that means risking arrest and jail. The First Amendment should be celebrated at this Inauguration...not crushed."

Can you say: paranoia

"Only Christian symbols have been excluded" Oh! was there a great demand for menorahs and Jewish stars in the inauguration parade?

For full story

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Busy season for God 2

My son suggested that perhaps God's new job as Holyfield's manager and the need to make sure that all the Oscars and Grammys get into the right hands might account for the tsunami. It is after all possible that even omnipotence and omniscience have their temporal limitations.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Busy season for God

I thought God was very busy these days, particularly helping George W. Bush decide which nations are evil enough to invade.
But it seems, according to sportswriter Ira Berkow in the New York Times (1/7/05, D1) God is also managing boxer Evander Holyfield's career. According to Berkow, "Many people in boxing are concerned that [Holyfield] is risking his well-being by prolonging his career." "But," continues Berkow, "Holyfield, a religious man who says he believes the Bible speaks to him, is convinced that his pursuit of a fifth heavyweight title is preordained."
Well! I'm not certain how all this will work out for Mr. Holyfield, I certainly wish him well, but with all the movie and music-award shows on the horizon, I expect God to be headed into the busiest season for career help.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Protest against the certification of the Bush election

Once again Sen. John Kerry stuck his finger up in the air, checked which way the wind was blowing and completely missed the point of the challenge to the Bush electoral vote.

Sen Barbara Boxer and Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones said their purpose in objecting to the certification of the Bush election was to "draw attention to the need for aggressive election reform in the wake of ...widespread voter problems."

"This is my opening shot to be able to focus the light of truth on these terrible problems in the electoral system," Boxer told the joint press conference with Tubbs Jones.
"While we have men and women dying to bring democracy abroad, we've got to make it the best it can be here at home, and that's why I'm doing this."

Kerry, thinking only in the most short-sighted terms and ignoring the possibility that there may be a greater principle at sake,
released a letter Wednesday saying he would not take part in the protest.
"Our legal teams on the ground have found no evidence that would change the outcome of the election," Kerry said.

Well, anyway, thanks to Boxer, Tubbs Jones and their 30-odd colleagues who stood up for democracy at a time when courage is in short supply in the nation's capitol.

(full story)

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

The Uncanny Bushmen (cont.)

This is a message from MoveOn regarding the probably illigitimate election in Ohio. I thought you might find it interesting

Dear MoveOn member,
When Congress reconvenes this Thursday to ratify the 2004 Presidential election, Representative John Conyers (D-Michigan) will object to the vote count in Ohio, and if even one Senator joins him, Congress will have to debate the widespread voting problems that have been exposed. Nobody expects this election to be overturned, but it's time in this country to seriously grapple with the issues of voting rights, un-auditable computerized voting, and the suppression of minority votes.
Call your Democratic Senators today and ask them to join Representative Conyers in challenging the 2004 voting process. With your support, they can step forward and force this important debate.
Just call: Senator Charles Schumer: 202-224-6542 Senator Hillary Clinton: 202-224-4451
Please let us know you've made these calls at:

In November's election, Americans in inner cities were prevented from voting by eight-hour lines. Local officials changed the rules on which votes were counted. Technicians were allowed to tamper with balloting machines unsupervised.
We've attached an editorial by Rev. Jesse Jackson with more details below.

The winners of these tainted elections assert that their outcomes didn't depend on the fraud. But even in sports, referees call penalties and enforce the rules, whether or not the game is at stake. Nowhere in the Constitution does it describe some acceptable level of denying Americans their votes. When Congress meets this Thursday, January 6, we'll have a good opportunity to make it clear that Americans want every vote counted, period.
A sound democracy depends on elections that everyone, winners and losers, can agree were held fairly and honestly. America doesn't have that now, and it's got to change.
Thanks for everything you do,
--The MoveOn PAC Team January 5th, 2004____________

Senators should object to Ohio vote January 4, 2005
This Thursday in Washington Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), the senior minority member of the House Judiciary Committee, will formally object to the counting of the Ohio electoral vote in the 2004 presidential election. If any senator joins him, the counting of the vote is suspended and the House and the Senate must convene separately to hear the objections filed, and to vote on whether to accept them.
The grounds for the objections are clear: The irregularities in the Ohio vote and vote count are widespread and blatant. If the Ohio election were held in the Ukraine, it would not have been certified by the international community.
In Ohio, the gulf between exit polls and counted votes is vast and glaring. Blatant discrimination in the distribution of voting machines ensured long lines in inner-city and working-class precincts that favored John Kerry, while the exurban districts that favored President Bush had no similar problems.
Systematic efforts were made to suppress and challenge the new voters in Kerry precincts, whether students or African Americans. Some precincts were certified with more votes than the number registered; others were certified with preposterously low turnouts. Voting machines, produced by a company headed by [an a] vowed Bush supporter, provide no paper record. Ohio's secretary of state, the inappropriately partisan head of the state's Bush campaign, has resisted any systematic recount of the ballots.
The systematic bias and potential for fraud is unmistakable. An in-depth investigation is vital -- and the partisan secretary of state has opposed it every step of the way. In this context, Conyers and his colleagues in the House are serving the nation's best interests in demanding an investigation of the irregularities in Ohio, and objecting to business as usual in counting the vote.
If Harry Reid, the new leader of the Democratic minority in the Senate, has any sense, he will lead members of the caucus to support their colleagues from the House and demand a debate that will expose the irregularities in Ohio. If Kerry wants to establish his continued leadership, he will stand first to join with Conyers and demand a debate.
Will the debate overturn the outcome of the election? That is doubtful, although the irregularities in Ohio suggest that Kerry may well have won if a true count could be had. But the debate is vital anyway. This country's elections, each run with different standards by different states, with partisan tricks, racial bias, and too often widespread incompetence, are an open scandal.
We need national standards to ensure that we get an honest count across the country. National standards, accompanied by a constitutional amendment to guarantee the right to vote for all Americans, will be passed only if leaders in the Congress refuse to close their eyes to the scandal, and instead stop business as usual.
Conyers, Reid and Kerry will face harsh criticism for violating what might be called the Nixon precedent. When Kennedy beat Nixon by a few thousand votes in an election marked by irregularities in Illinois and Texas, Nixon chose not to challenge the result. Gore essentially followed that rule after the gang of five in the Supreme Court disgraced themselves by stopping the vote count in Florida. But the effect of the Nixon precedent is to provide those who would cheat with essentially a free pass. Particularly when the state officials are partisans, they can put in the fix with little fear of exposure so long as they win.
So Conyers will step up, accompanied by other courageous members of the House. They will object to the count and demand a debate. To force that debate, they need only one member of the Senate to join them. Reid should lead the entire caucus to join them. Kerry should stand alone if necessary to demand clean elections in America.
If America is to be a champion of democracy abroad, it must clean up its elections at home. If it is to complain of fraudulent and dishonest election practices abroad, it cannot condone them at home. But more important, if our own elections are to be legitimate, then they must be honest, open, with high national standards.
The time has come to stand up for clean elections, and to let it be known that massive irregularities will not go unchallenged.

It's time for Congress to grapple with the issues of voting rights, un-auditable computerized voting, and the suppression of minority votes. Call your Democratic Senators today and ask them to join Rep. Conyers in challenging the 2004 voting process. Let us know you called. The

Good NewsVictory in WA State Congratulations on the incredible victory in Washington State: Democratic candidate Christine Gregoire has been declared the winner of the tight race for governor -- because your contributions allowed a decisive statewide hand recount.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

The uncanny Bushmen

I've been thinking recently. How is it possible for my fellow Americans to have elected George W. Bush? They have to be smarter than that.
We know that in 2000 the Uncanny Bushmen stole the election using Governor-brother Bush and his hand picked sec'y of state, Katherine Harris. This coup was then confirmed by their Supreme Court puppets.
This time, seemingly, the drama was played out in Ohio. The part of Katherine Harris was played by sec'y of state Kenneth Blackwell. Harris has been rewarded by a seat in Congress, we'll see what Blackwell's reward will be. Just as Harris was the co-chair of the Bush campaign in Florida in 2000; so Blackwell was the co-chair of the Bush campaign in Ohio this year. He is also the "top election supervisor in the state." He makes all the decisions regarding the on-going recount.
As Juan Gonzalez says in his New York Daily News column today, "...the litany of irregularities and acts alleged in the recount lawsuit is chilling." Gonzalez concludes, "A hearing on the petition for a clean recount in Ohio will not be held until later this month. By then, Congress will have certified the [Bush election]." "Even the 'democratic elections' Bush has been pressing for war-torn Iraq may be over before Ohio's recount is resolved."
(see Gonzalez full column)

Democratic Party Chair?

There is a fight brewing in the Democratic Party to replace the about-to-retire Chair, Terry Macauliffe. Chris Smith (in New York Magazine) provides a scorecard with which to identify the players.
In order for this to have much significance, it does require you to care, at least a little bit, which direction the Democratic Party takes in the immediate future.
Although when you realize that there are no women and only one person of color in the mix (I have no idea whether or not any are gay-which seems like an important question at this point in time), it would seem as if the Party has some very basic political issues to address before it can even begin to think about where it's going and whose best suited to get it there.
Although I am not now and was only once very briefly a member of the Democratic Party, since the Bush-led Republicans have essentially abdicated any connection to anything human, decent or American, it does seem of some import which way this intra-Democratic fight goes.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

2004 in religion, part I

New York Daily News religion editor, Charles W. Bell, has an interesting, if incomplete, take on 2004 in religion:

Summing up the year in religion isn't easy when one of stories involved the eBay auction of a 10-year-old grilled-cheese
sandwich bearing what the seller described as an image of the Virgin
Mary. The news was that it sold for $28,000

The buyer was an online casino that said it considered the sandwich a piece of pop art. The seller was a Florida homemaker who called the sandwich lucky - it helped her win $70,000 playing the slots, she said.

And 2004 was also the year a dozen members of congress hosted a reception in the Senate Building for the founder of the Unification Church, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, who was crowned there in a ritual proclaiming him the "Second Coming." He used the occasion to announce that thanks to him, Hitler and Stalin had been "born again."

According to Bell it just gets stranger and stranger after that.

(for Bell's complete column)

Saturday, January 01, 2005

The People's Voice Cafe - Jan. 15th

We'll be heading to The People's Voice Cafe (at Workman's Circle) 45 East 33 St. (NYC) on Jan 15th for another great evening of music, we'd love to see you there:
($10 or TDF ($7 members; $5 seniors/on strike/up against the machine)
Doors open at 7:30 pm
(for further information:

JAN. 15th 8 pm

Bev Grant

Singer/songwriter Bev Grant, has spent the last four decades performing socially-conscious music full of deftly told stories and inspirational themes. The director of the Brooklyn Women's Chorus and co-creator of a multi-media presentation about women's labor history entitled "We Were There!" Bev has also recorded several albums and appeared on numerous compilations, including the recent Grammy-nominated Smithsonian/Folkways Best of Broadside album, featuring Bev among the other great topical songwriters whose work appeared in Broadside Magazine.

Bev will be joined by special guests: Robin Burdulis and Bruce Markow

More info & CD's at


Pat Humphries & Sandy Opatow

Get energized with a musical uprising of truth and hope from emma's revolution, the new duo of award-winning, activist songwriters Pat Humphries & Sandy O. Their music has been featured on NPR's All Things Considered and Pacifica's Democracy Now! Their songs "Peace, Salaam, Shalom" and "Keep on Moving Forward" are sung at vigils and demonstrations around the world.
Their eagerly awaited debut CD, one x 1,000,000 = change, is out now.

More info, cds and "Salaam, Shalom, Peace" T-shirts at:

South Asia Relief

I am sorry that I just got this e-mail today (1/1/05). So I am posting it as soon as possible:

Please help us to raise money to send emergency aid to women's organizations in Sri Lanka. Forward this message to all your friends and family, lists and listservs, and anyone else you can think of. The best way to raise the support is to forward this letter and ask everyone to forward it to their lists, etc.Thank you to those of you who already contributed.


Dear Friends,
We are writing to you today with an absolutely urgent request for help.The December 26th earthquake in South Asia, which caused huge tidalwaves from Malaysia to Africa, is one of the worst natural disasters ever. MADRE is working to help the survivors obtain the services they so desperately need in this terrible moment, and we need your support.As I write, death tolls are rising hourly; already more than 68,000 have died. The UN faces an unprecedented challenge in distributing aid to 10 countries at once. Millions of people are homeless. And the disaster zone is now threatened with outbreaks of disease caused by rotting bodies, broken sewage lines, and the destruction of water supplies. According to the World Health Organization, "In the coming days, additional threats to human life such as diarrheal diseases and acute respiratory infections can be expected to arise from contaminated water sources". A UN health agency has warned that such outbreaks could double the death toll. Sri Lanka and Indonesia are likely to have the greatest need for humanitarian support. In Sri Lanka alone over one million people have been displaced. Among them are tens of thousands of pregnant and nursing women, who are especially susceptible to waterborne diseasesand require emergency medical attention and trauma counseling.We know that this is a time to unite and work with organizations that have the broadest reach possible. That’s why MADRE has chosen to partner with INFORM. They are part of a regional network of women’s groups that can reach out immediately to many different communities. Our partners tell us that medicines, doctors, and clean water are needed urgently. With your tax-deductible donation, MADRE will help establish and equip emergency health centers where:
*survivors can receive the emergency medical attention and clean drinking water they so desperately require and
*displaced women and families can receive crucial trauma counseling,which will help them cope with the deaths of their children and other loved ones, gradually heal from their trauma, and begin to rebuild.
Alone, we can’t do much to help. But together, our power is multiplied and we can make a real difference. Don’t wait. Send as generous agift as you possibly can right now, so that MADRE can help the survivors of the worst natural disaster in recent history.
Vivian Stromberg Executive Director P.S.

Women in Sri Lanka turned to MADRE because they know that we will respond. Your support can literally make the difference between life and death. Please respond today

MADRE 121 W. 27th Street, #301 New York, NY 10001

Vivian Stromberg Executive Director MADRE 121 West 27th Street #301 New York, NY 10001 tel. 212-627-0444 Fax.212-675-3704

Happy New Year

Here I am blogging my way from 2004 into 2005.
Historically, I have always avoided New Year's resolutions; but, I think, this year I will make an exception. So here goes:

I will try to enter something in this blog every day.

For many of you that may seem easier than it has been for me. But I think I can do it. If I don't keep this resolution, you will know it and I will certainly owe you all (whoever reads this) an explanation.
My problem, I should say, isn't not having enough to fill the space, I have plenty to say. It's setting aside the time to do it.
I will also be developing my skills (manipulating photos and art, creating links, etc.)
Well let's see how it goes. Wish me luck.