Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Blogworthy, September 26th, 2007

Here's the latest edition (the second in as many days!) of our occasional review feature touching on news and developments that we couldn't get around to writing about previously, as well as items we have accidentally overlooked.

(There's been so much happening recently that I figured another edition of Blogworthy was in order. So, here we go!)

The two day UAW strike against GM is over after the union and the automaker reached a tenative agreement early this morning. The new contract creates a health care trust known as a voluntary employee benefit association, or VEBA, which takes on the obligations from General Motors. The agreement still must be ratified by the union's membership and pass muster with the courts and the SEC.

Media Matters has a new special report out on Fox Noise Channel's problems with race. Meanwhile, Bill O'Reilly managed to capture two of Keith Olbermann's "Worst Person in the World" honors two days in a row for a stream of different derogatory remarks.

The U.S. House of Representatives, which alternates between attempting to legislate and wasting time with pointless discussions, joined the Senate today when it voted to condemn MoveOn's newspaper advertisement questioning whether General Petraeus had become a political hack for George W. Bush. Of our Northwest congresscritters, Only Representatives Jim McDermott, Earl Blumenauer, and Jay Inslee had the courage to vote against this nonsense: every other one of Washington and Oregon's U.S. representatives sadly voted in favor.

In response, MoveOn released this message:
They didn't condemn Vice President Cheney when he falsely connected Al Qaeda to Saddam Hussein.

They didn't condemn Colin Powell when he lied about WMD to the United Nations.

They didn't condemn President Bush when he started eavesdropping on American citizens without a warrant.

They didn't condemn President Bush and the Republicans when they attacked Sen. John Kerry's war record.

They didn't condemn Sen. Saxby Chambliss when he ran ads comparing triple-amputee and war hero Max Cleland to Osama bin Laden.

They still haven't done enough to slow this dreadful war or protect our troops...Republicans are hoping to use this to destroy us. Some Democrats are so afraid of being attacked that they're joining in a right-wing smear campaign.

Well, they need to know that we're not going to quiet down.

When you call, tell them that we're going to keep giving voice to the majority of Americans who want the war to end. We're going to keep the pressure on every scared Democrat and every pro-war Republican. We're going to demand they stand up--and turn them out of office if they don't. And we will never stand down until we have a majority of Congress with the guts to stand up for what's right.
With all the fury over MoveOn's newspaper advertisement, I can't help but shake my head at relative lack of outrage over John Boehner's comments about how the thousands of American lives lost in Iraq are a "small price" to pay when the (phantom, nonexistent) benefits of the occupation of Iraq are considered.

Interesting to see the Republican Noise Machine whip itself into a lather over the ad's language - "General Petraeus or General Betray Us" when that's exactly the type of word choice they use. Exhibit A? Rush Limbaugh attacked Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska as "Senator Betrayus" on the January 25th broadcast of his radio show.

Surprise, surprise.

Not that that matters to the Republican Noise Machine, which will be undoubtedly still howling about this for weeks to come, denouncing MoveOn even though it was troops under Petraeus' own command who first gave him the "Betray Us" moniker, and even though Petraeus' boss, Admiral Fallon, reportedly told him last March that he considered him to be an "an ***-kissing little chicken****". (Fallon is said to disagree with Petraeus on the U.S. role in Iraq).

The right wing has mocked and disrespected an untold number of public figures who don't tow their ideological line... but it goes nuts when somebody points out that the President of the United States is hiding behind an Army general who is being used to justify continuing the unpopular occupation of another country.

The U.S. House did pass legislation Tuesday night that renews and expands (PDF) a critical health insurance program for low-income children. The chamber approved the bill by a vote of 265 to 159.

Thanks to the work of Jay Inslee, HR 976 includes language that would allow Washington and 10 other states to use 100 percent of federal funds under the State Children’s Insurance Plan to cover kids just above the poverty level. Washington has only been able to use 20 percent of those funds until now.

Bush has threatened to veto the legislation; if he makes good on that threat, Congress will likely pass a temporary extension so it has a chance to override the veto or negotiate with the administration.

Governor Christine Gregoire's staff is getting a makeover with the departures of chief of staff Tom Fitzsimmons and communications director Holly Armstrong, who each left of their own accord.

Gregoire has already named a replacement for Fitzsimmons - Cindy Zehnder, who heads TVW, Washington's equivalent of C-SPAN. Zehnder has a rich background: she has served as Chief Clerk for the Washington State House of Representatives, as Deputy Commissioner of the Washington Employment Security Department and held numerous positions with the Teamsters Union. The Governor has not yet named a new communications director.

In other news from the Governor's office, Gregoire is kicking off a series of town hall meetings and citizen workshops required under state law next week to gather feedback from citizens and discuss the future of the state. Interested citizens who want to attend can sign up at the Governor's web site. The town halls will be held in Seattle, Bellingham, Aberdeen, Yakima, Tacoma, and Spokane Valley.

A federal judge in Oregon has tossed out two parts of the "Patriot" Act as unconstitutional because they allow search warrants to be issued without demonstration of probable cause. That's good news, but the whole travesty of a law needs to be stricken permanently. We can defend our country without infringing on our most precious civil liberties.


Post a Comment

<< Home