Read a Pacific Northwest, liberal perspective on world, national, and local politics. From majestic Redmond, Washington - the Northwest Progressive Institute Official Blog.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Bush shortchanging National Parks

KOMO 4 reports that Washington's Olympic National Park will be facing shortfalls in funding this year, thanks to the Bush administration's continued ignorance of national parks.
Budget constraints mean there will be fewer staffers and fewer services this summer at Olympic National Park, officials say.

The park is one of many across the nation facing cutbacks this season.

The number of staff members at the 923,000-acre preserve is as low as it's been in a decade, park Superintendent Bill Laitner said Tuesday. A lack of adequate funding, coupled with a 4.1 percent employee pay increase, will also force the closure of the park's visitor center in Forks two days a week, he said.

"One of the things the Bush administration promised was to fund the national parks," said U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, who toured the park on Tuesday. The Washington Democrat's visit was led by officials from the National Park Service and the National Parks Conservation Association, a nonprofit advocate for national parks. "They haven't kept that promise."
The KOMO TV story goes into more depth.

Bush planning to cut funding for schools and veterans if elected in 2004

More fiscal irresponsibility.

George W, already looking beyond the November 2004 election, is planning to slash funding for schools and veterans in order to pay for his two wars and massive tax cuts to the rich.

Despite the President's thinly veiled plans for "No Child Left Behind", "Healthy Forests", and yes, "Clear Skies", his administration is planning to cut funding for not just his own proposed programs, but for existing programs!
The Bush administration has told officials who oversee federal education, domestic security, veterans and other programs to prepare preliminary 2006 budgets that would cut spending after the presidential election, according to White House documents.

The programs facing reductions - should President Bush be re-elected in November - would also include the National Institutes of Health, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Interior Department.

Many of the targeted programs are widely popular. Cuts could carry a political price for a president who has touted his support for schools, the environment and other domestic initiatives.
The Seattle P-I has the full article.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Permanent Defense Launches May Campaign Update

Permanent Defense has launched its May Campaign Update. Here's what's new:

Announcement from the Chair. Read the Chair's statement on our efforts from here on to the beginning of July.

Reasons to Oppose Eyman Section. The Reasons to Oppose section has expanded to include pages opposing both Initiative 864 and Initiative 892. On the main page is a list of all the endorsements for NO on 864 and 892. Check it out by clicking here.

Voter Education Center. The new Voter Education Center includes resources, ways for you to get involved, an explanation of why we're involved in this effort, and useful information on petition/ballot awareness.

Updated Action Center. The new Action Center, which debuted in recent months, is more updated than ever. Find out how you can get involved and Take Action by visiting this section.

Editorials & Cartoons Update. The Editorials & Cartoons section has some new columns for you to check out relevant to our current campaign.

Release Center Additions. New statements, links, Extra! content and resources were added to the Release Center. Be sure to check it out!

New TaxSanity Flyer. Get the new TaxSanity flyer (Decline to Sign I-864 and I-892) by clicking here. The file is in Adobe Acrobat PDF.

Other Downloads. You can download other flyers, the new Eymanism 101 PowerPoint, and other media at the Voter Education Center, Release Center, or the Action Center.

New Essay. Permanent Defense's Research Director on the recent vote in Yacolt, Washington.

Check it out at Permanent Defense.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Analysis of Bush's Latest Iraq Speech

A great piece from Dan Froomkin:
If the goal was simply to regain control of the message, then it may have worked -- at least for the moment.

The major news providers this morning all lead with imagery and stories out of President Bush's speech last night. From the White House perspective, that sure beats stories and picture of prison abuse and car bombs.

But to those looking for news, or details of an exit strategy, or a recalibration of the White House approach in Iraq, the speech was a bust. At best, some observers detected subtle shifts in Bush's message.

And on a purely theatrical level, the reviews weren't very good. Bush's delivery was largely lackluster and his pronunciation was off -- though his makeup was wizardly.

So was it enough? The stakes are high, both on the ground in Iraq and here at home, where Iraq could be life or death for Bush's re-election hopes.

Just hours before he gave his speech, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll came out showing Bush's approval rating at an all-time low due to fears that the United States is bogged down and rising criticism of his handling of the prison abuse scandal.
Read the whole article at the Washington Post.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

It's not science, it's politics

Junk science at its worst:
House Democrats stepped up their charges yesterday that the White House rigs the membership of scientific advisory panels to support its political decisions.

"The White House has essentially been vetting people for these committees on political and ideological grounds, rather than on whether they are qualified scientifically," said Rep. Brian Baird, D-Wash.

Baird and Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, released a report by the General Accounting Office recommending that scientists invited to serve on the committees be more thoroughly investigated to eliminate possible conflicts of interest, and that the process of selecting them be made more transparent.
Science need to guide politics - not be distorted to support bad politics.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Horsey at His Best

Check out this cartoon, which appeared in the Seattle Post Intelligencer last April about the war in Iraq:

alternate text

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Wolfowitz Feeling the Heat

An excerpt article from an AP article carried by the Boston Globe:
As details of prison abuses in Iraq surfaced, many Democrats on Capitol Hill demanded that Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld resign. But not Sen. Carl Levin. The top Senate Democrat on a key military committee said he is wary about who might be the post-Rumsfeld secretary.

''If it would be his deputy, I don't see that that would represent a change at all in terms of the direction we should go,'' Levin told reporters this month.

Rumsfeld's deputy is Paul Wolfowitz. If Democrats are dissatisfied with Rumsfeld, that doesn't compare to the disdain some feel for the man seen as the intellectual architect of the Iraq war.
Wolfowitz, like so many other cronies in the Bush administration, needs to go.

Monday, May 17, 2004

The Disaster in Iraq

Last year we were told, many dozens of times, why going to war in Iraq was a good idea. The Bush Administration convinced countless Americans that Saddam Hussein was a real threat to the world, and conveniently ignored the threats of North Korea and al-Qaeda or the promises we made to the Afghans in the Administration's first war.

The major reason that we were going to war, we were told, was because Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. Not willing to allow diplomacy a chance (yet another outrage) the Administration moved American troops in.

Over one year later, our only victory has really been the capture of Saddam. Americans soldiers are dying in Iraq, American troops designated as "prison guards" are abusing Iraqi prisoners, and Americans have yet to find any weapons of mass destruction.

It's great that Saddam is behind bars. But Iraq has turned into a major disaster. American troops simply can't keep order in Iraq. And the war that we went into to ensure "our safety" is costing us billions and billions of dollars. Pretty much everything in Iraq right now is going badly. Consider:
  • The high cost of the war that American taxpayers are shouldering, when we chose to go our own path and ignore the UN,
  • The damage we are inflicting upon ourselves with embarrassing, humiliating scandals such as prisoner abuse,
  • The number of American troops that are tied up in Iraq, (when they could be helping in say, Afghanistan or Haiti) and dying in Iraq,
  • The fact that we have so far been unable to find any weapons of mass destruction,
  • That private contractors in Iraq are paid more than our nation's men and women in uniform,
  • That we cannot quell the violence that continues to erupt across Iraq, particularly in Fallujah,
  • That we went into Iraq after having invaded another country and not sustaining our commitments to that country (Afghanistan),
  • We have a double standard we practice in our dealings with other countries thanks to this administration's policy of choosing to ignore the world community and world opinion,
  • That the administration expects our soldiers to be treated respectfully and under the Geneva Conventions by their captors when we abuse our prisoners and refuse to recognize their rights,
  • That this war was proposed, planned, and executed for the benefit of major corporations like Halliburton
  • That this Administration now plans to hand over leadership in Iraq to the Iraqis on June 30th, when the Iraqis are clearly not ready for the transition
Iraq has been a disaster for America. Will it be possible to correct the mistakes we have made and ensure that we leave Iraq better than we found it? Probably not if we can't get rid of George W. Bush.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Bush approval hits new lows in poll

No surprise why:
President Bush holds a single-point lead over Democratic challenger John Kerry in the latest CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll of likely voters, but voters' approval of Bush's performance and support for the war in Iraq dropped to new lows in the survey.

With nearly six months remaining before the November election, Bush led Kerry 48 percent to 47 percent in the survey -- a reversal of a poll taken last week, which found the Massachusetts senator with a 1-point edge, 49-48.
CNN has more.

Donald Rumsfeld should resign

Recently, we've been hearing a lot of news about the prisoner abuse in Iraq. NPI is disgusted that this administration did not bother to disclose the problems happening in Iraq. Instead, a leak and CBS's 60 Minutes was required to bring this to the attention of the American public. This failure does not rest simply with the troops that committed these atrocities. Higher leadership is also responsible, and this authority ultimately rests with Rumsfeld.

Read the editorials:

Monday, May 03, 2004

Democrats sick of being shafted

Republicans are abusing power again:
Senate Democrats, shut out of Congressional negotiations on Medicare and other important bills last year, are blocking House-Senate negotiations on other bills unless they are guaranteed a voice in writing the final legislation.

The tactic has infuriated Republicans and contributed to election-year paralysis as the House and Senate struggle to work out compromises needed to make law. The conflict intensified late last week and almost caused a partial shutdown of the Transportation Department.
Read the rest of this article at the New York Times.