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MySpace Democrats just posted a bulletin with a great video from an organization I was previously unfamiliar with, truthandhope.org, but one of which I’m now a fan.  This video does a fantastic job of pointing out the important history of community organizing Sarah Failin’ Palin and other GOP folks disgustingly mocked at their liars convention last week.  THANKFULLY someone is out there responding to the BS the repugs, I mean repubs, are dishing out; BS which, sadly, folks with no interest in discovering the truth are lapping up.  Truthandhope.org needs help getting this ad on TV, so if you can muster up some dinero, please help them out.  Just click on this link to find out more.

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Apparently the story of Mitt Romney making a conscious choice back in 1983 to take a 12-hour car trip with his Irish Setter, Seamus (photo below), in a dog carrier attached to the roof of the Romney station wagon was first made public last summer as part of a Boston Globe article, and honestly I can’t believe I didn’t hear about it then. I was recently made aware of the unbelievable, yet true, story while reading “The Presidential Files: Evaluating the Elephants” on the Humane Society Legislative Fund blog. I have to assume there are others who are as blissfully ignorant about the situation as I was, so I feel a strong need to post links to the story for them below.

  • Journeys of a Shared Life-Boston Globe
    • Before beginning the drive, Mitt Romney put Seamus, the family’s hulking Irish setter, in a dog carrier and attached it to the station wagon’s roof rack. He’d built a windshield for the carrier, to make the ride more comfortable for the dog.
  • Dog on Roof? What Was It Like for Romney’s Pooch?-ABC News
    • “It would be one thing if someone put it down or forgot and then drove 50 feet and realized what they did,” said Kaplan. “I don’t know anyone who would purposefully do that to a dog.”
  • Romney’s Cruel Canine Vacation-Time
    • The incident: dog excrement found on the roof and windows of the Romney station wagon. How it got there: Romney strapped a dog carrier — with the family dog Seamus, an Irish Setter, in it — to the roof of the family station wagon for a twelve hour drive from Boston to Ontario, which the family apparently completed, despite Seamus’s rather visceral protest.
  • Romney-vs-PETA-Archy blog
    • “He scrambled up there every time we went on trips,” Romney said at a campaign stop in Pittsburgh Thursday. “He got it all by himself and enjoyed it.”

After reading the various articles on the situation I have to seriously wonder what kind of moron straps his dog carrier on the roof of his car WITH THE DOG INSIDE, then proceeds to drive off on a twelve-hour family vacation road trip?!?! What on EARTH was this man thinking (see video below to see him ‘try’ to make sense of what he did…stupid is as stupid does…argh!) and what kind of example was he setting for his children inside the car, let alone the danger he put Seamus in on that long, miserable drive?!?! And why didn’t anyone who witnessed this abusive activity report it to someone? Come on folks, let’s take a little responsibility for not only ourselves but others (animals included) with whom we share this planet. Sheesh.

I say we strap Romney to the roof of a car for 12 hours, drive about 75 mph, and see how HE feels. And if he loses control of his bowels, as poor Seamus did, let’s do as Romney did and pull over to a gas station to hose him down, then hit the road again like nothing out of the ordinary is taking place. Now that I think about it, if we strapped Romney to the roof and started driving at a high speed I’m sure his plastered down and “perfect” hair would probably change the aerodynamics and send the car into some flying pattern. Hey, might that get Homeland Security a tad confused by this “UFO” and have them take some trigger-finger action? Hmmmm…. (And speaking of security, for the record, no, I do not buy the whole “Iranian boats antagonizing the US Navy” scenario; something fishy going on there, but we all know Georgie Boy wants to get us into war with Iran before he leaves office, so…)

  • Introducing Seamus Romney, ‘Mr. Personality’-Political Intelligence/Boston Globe
    • She says he was such a social dog that he often left Mitt Romney’s Belmont home to visit his “dog friends” around town. “He kept ending up at the pound,” she says. “They were worried about him getting hit crossing the street.”
Not that I ever had any intention of even thinking of voting for Mitt Romney, but something as horrible as what he did would surely have given me pause for thought. I hope it does just that for anyone out there that might still believe this is the type of individual we want running our country. As much as I can’t stand George Bush, I cannot imagine even him doing something as cruel as what Mitt Romney did to Seamus. Shame on you, Mitt, shame on you!

Perhaps if there were pictures instead of words he might read it? Nah, probably not.

Would love to write a more in-depth blog entry on the fantastic Make It Right organization, but don’t seem to be able to find the time and am worried I’ll forget to post about it at all. I first heard about it a couple nights ago when Brad Pitt (founder of Make It Right) was the hour-long guest on Charlie Rose on PBS (clips/link to the interview are offered below). Here’s some information from the Make It Right web site that will help you understand their vision:

In December 2006, Brad Pitt convened a group of experts in New Orleans to brainstorm about building green affordable housing on a large scale to help victims of Hurricane Katrina. Having spent time with community leaders and displaced residents determined to return home, Pitt realized that an opportunity existed to build houses that were not only stronger and healthier, but that had less impact on the environment.

Previously, Pitt sponsored an architecture competition organized by Global Green with the goal of generating ideas about how to rebuild sustainably. Several of those designs are currently under construction in the Lower 9th Ward and the project inspired him to expand his efforts.

After discussing the hurdles associated with rebuilding in a devastated area, the group determined that a large-scale redevelopment project focused on green affordable housing and incorporating innovative design was indeed possible.

The group settled on the goal of constructing 150 homes (one of the larger rebuilding projects in the city), with an emphasis on developing an affordable system that could be replicated.

To demonstrate replicability, Pitt determined to locate the project in the Lower 9th Ward, one of the most devastated areas of New Orleans, proving that safe homes could and should be rebuilt. Pitt hopes that this project would be a catalyst for recovery and redevelopment throughout the Lower 9th Ward and across the city of New Orleans.

Having listened to one former resident’s plea to help “make this right,” Pitt was inspired to name the project “Make It Right” (MIR).

While I’ve never been one of those folks to go ga-ga over Mr. Pitt (although he IS admittedly adorable!), I do have to say that after seeing the Charlie Rose interview I am incredibly impressed with Brad’s down-to-earth nature, the thought he puts into his answers, and his apparent genuine desire to truly improve the quality of life for others while at the same time respecting and bettering our environment. Count me in as someone who has now developed a healthy respect and admiration for Brad, and who also finds him even MORE adorable than before–beauty, brains, AND compassion! You are a fortunate lady, Angelina! 😉

Below are a couple of short videos clips of Brad on Charlie Rose, but for the interview in its entirety click here.

PART I-Brad Pitt on Charlie Rose-12/17/07

PART II-Brad Pitt on Charlie Rose-12/17/07

Today’s email from the Human Rights Campaign:

 
  Take  action against hate crimes  
 

The hate crimes bill has been derailed.

But we’re not giving up.

We’ve made huge progress already, and we’ll work tirelessly to get this legislation through in 2008.

Dear *****,

As I write this, I am filled with both deep disappointment and gratitude. I am disappointed because our fight for a hate crimes bill has been derailed, but grateful for the historic advances that we were able to achieve this year.

As you all know, we have made momentous advancements this year by moving the federal hate crimes legislation the closest it has ever been to becoming law. For the first time ever, in one year we were able to pass the fully-inclusive legislation through both chambers of Congress – a truly historic feat.

If you recall, the Matthew Shepard Act first passed the House of Representatives back in May as a stand-alone piece of legislation. It then moved to the Senate, where it passed 60 to 39 in September as an amendment to the Department of Defense Authorization bill. Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Senator Gordon Smith (R-OR) attached the Matthew Shepard Act to the Department of Defense Authorization bill because President Bush had announced that he would veto a free-standing hate crimes bill. By amending hate crimes to this larger bill, Senators Kennedy and Smith thought that we had a better chance of getting the president’s signature. After all, Bush would have to veto the entire piece of legislation – hate crimes AND programs for his war in Iraq – to reject hate crimes protections.

But in a frustrating move yesterday, during the very last legislative step – a conference committee working out the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill – we received word that the Matthew Shepard Act would be dropped from the final version of the bill. The hate crimes veto threat issued by the White House and organized opposition by House Republican Leadership cost significant numbers of votes on the right. Iraq-related provisions, which many progressive Democrats opposed, cost votes on the left. Moderate Democrats, many of whom voted for the hate crimes bill in May, did not want to test the President’s veto threat and risk a delay in increased pay for military personnel. All of these factors resulted in insufficient votes to secure passage of the bill with the hate crimes provision.

HRC coordinated a major final push to protect this bill. 40,000 HRC activists responded to our call and wrote to Congress. We helped organize a coalition effort with 120 national and local organizations. We held 11th-hour meetings with lawmakers.

Despite the anger we all feel that we fell short so close to the finish line, we cannot lose sight of the fact that we did succeed in moving hate crimes legislation the closest it has ever been to hitting the President’s desk for signature. And rest assured, the Human Rights Campaign is not done fighting. We are not giving up on efforts to find another legislative vehicle, in the second half of this Congress, to move the Matthew Shepard Act. Yes, we made historic advancements, but we will not be satisfied until we get a President who will use his or her pen to enshrine into our federal law books that violence against the GLBT community will not be tolerated in this country.

We have been a leader in the fight for hate crimes legislation for over a decade, and we’re not about to let this setback deter us. We will not rest until these protections are law.

We also can’t lose track of the bigger picture for 2008. On top of working to advance this bill and the rest of our equality agenda, we are already mobilizing around the 2008 elections. We are investing major resources to:

  • Elect local pro-equality officials who will be tomorrow’s national leaders,
  • Expand our majority in Congress – so that we will have the votes we need to thwart roadblocks like this – and
  • Elect a leader in the White House who would NEVER veto a bill protecting Americans from hate crimes.

These are the moments when your support counts most. Together, we’ll find the right path to victory. We know it is there.

Warmly,
Joe Solmonese
Joe Solmonese
President

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket(***Pictures/commments from our rally below***)

I know this is a rhetorical question, but just how stupid DOES George Bush think the American people are?!?! This man just deprived 4 million children the health care they would have received had he NOT VETOED the bipartisan bill to expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), since he claimed it was “too expensive” with the $35 billion being spread out over 7 years. Yet he has NO CONCERNS about expenses when he continues to ask Congress to give more and more money to HIS no-end-in-sight war in Iraq, to the tune of $189 billion for GWB’s latest emergency war-funding bill. Somebody explain to me why it’s okay to continue spending money on a losing war in Iraq, yet not on our country’s own children? (If all requests for spending are allowed, that would total nearly $611 BILLION spent on the war in Iraq!)

If you are as frustrated by this whole scenario as I am and want to let George Bush know that we are NOT as stupid as he apparently thinks we are, you have the opportunity to voice your opinion during rallies being held tonight throughout our nation. Yesterday afternoon MoveOn.org sent out emails to its members and the response has been incredible with over 250 rallies organized in a matter of hours. To find a rally near you, or to form one, just click here to enter your zip code. PLEASE take an hour tonight to make sure your voice is heard by not only the rest of our country and our government, but especially by the 15 or so Republicans needed to help override Bush’s veto. We can do this folks, we really can!

From MoveOn.org:

Rally for Our Children’s Health Care

President Bush just vetoed health care for children. In only his fourth veto ever, he blocked health care coverage for millions of uninsured—and mostly poor—kids. We need just 15 more Republicans in Congress to break with Bush to override the veto.

MoveOn members are hosting emergency rallies around the country to urge Republicans in Congress to override Bush’s veto.

Check here to find the gathering near you—and create one if there’s not one already.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thoughts and Pictures from Our Rally Tonight

I drove about 6 miles to get to the area where about 15-20 of us gathered for our emergency rally to make our voices heard regarding George W. Bush’s veto of the expansion of State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). I can’t EVEN tell you how wonderful it was to be around so many like-minded individuals since it’s quite easy to feel alone in the bastion of right-wing, conservative folks where we live. Our host, Judy, brought signs for us to hold, but our lesson learned from the evening was to bring a long stick next time to put the signs on; let’s just say there will be many sore arms tomorrow! 😉

The intersection we were at is one of the busiest in the area, so we definitely got hundreds (if not more!) folks to read our variety of signs, with many honking their horns in support. We had at least 5 different cars of folks hollering out “We hate/can’t stand Bush, either!” which was delightful to hear. Out of the hundreds of cars that passed by us we only had one, yes ONE, person holler “If you want socialized medicine, go to Canada!” I thought we’d get more folks giving us grief, but I’ll take the pleasant surprise of not seeing that occur. (Oops, just remembered that there was one woman who shouted out  “Be an American and support the President.”  Biting my tongue, biting my tongue, biting my tongue…)  In all honesty, I question how many folks driving by actually were aware of Bush’s veto. Sad to say, but I’m just not sure people are paying as much attention to such matters as they should, since they are pretty burned out on government, this war, the lies, and the nonsense.

All in all, I am so happy I took part in this event and will definitely plan on doing it again. I really do feel it made a difference, if for no other reason than at least exposing citizens to what Bush is doing. Whether the rallies across the country will actually help sway the votes of the 15 Republicans needed to override the veto, I don’t know, but I do now know that there is at least a small group of determined activists in my area who are willing to stand at a busy intersection for nearly an hour, endure some windy and cold weather, along with sore arms, all to make SURE that their fellow citizens know we are not going to sit idly by and let George and his regime do whatever they want without hearing about it from us. Thank you to all who joined me tonight at our location, and the thousands of you who took part across the country.

Abuse refers to the use or treatment of something (a person, item, substance, concept, or vocabulary) that is seen as harmful. The term can be used for anything ranging from the misuse of a piece of equipment to the severe maltreatment of a person.-Wikipedia

Today is BlogCatalog’s latest blogging challenge, “Blogging Against Abuse“, which aims to have thousands of bloggers internet-wide take part in blogging about putting an end to abuse of any sort. I only found out about this event two days ago, and really had no idea exactly what type of abuse I would write about since so many, especially child abuse and animal abuse, are worthy of attention. I had decided that I would allow my readers to peruse Wikipedia’s offering under abuse, and hope that in having just a few of the various forms of abuse staring back at them from their computer monitor, they might realize that we all (more than likely) take part in one form of abuse or another; from the abuse we inflict upon ourselves with drugs or alcohol to abuse inflicted upon others such as physical abuse, elder abuse, child abuse, domestic violence, and animal abuse. Perhaps the one we think of less as an abuse is that of verbal abuse, however the sting and lasting effects of being lashed out at with hurtful, hateful, and harmful words can have as much of an impression as that of a physical blow.

While all of these forms of abuse are worthy of deep thought, discussion, and plans for constructive steps to be taken to end them, the one that is resonating most with me at this particular moment is the abuse of power. Mind you, all of the abuses I have already mentioned are abuses of power of some sort, but the one I am thinking of more specifically is the abuse of power in which government officials (elected or public safety) have been partaking far too long, far too often, and with far too many negative ramifications for innocent bystanders. Any reader of this blog knows my opinions on this horrific, no-end-in-sight war, my frustration with the non-action by our government before/during/after Hurricane Katrina, and my absolute and total disgust with George W. Bush and his cohorts in crime. George and his cronies are the epitome of the abuse of power and their ability to have duped the American public for so long, and to underhandedly mold the laws of our land to fit the shape and the ideal of what THEY think it should be, regardless of the will of the people, simply astounds me.

I just finished watching the movie Bobby, by Emilio Estevez, and it was Robert F. Kennedy’s brilliant speech, “On the Mindless Menace of Violence”, played over the last scenes of the movie, which gave me that mental and emotional push to choose abuse of power as my topic to blog about for this “Blogging Against Abuse” event. I am somewhat ashamed to say that I had never heard that particular speech before, but it is truly one of the most touching, insightful, and beautiful stringing together of words and mental imagery that I have ever come across. The connection between abuse of power (be it citizen-to-citizen or government official-to-citizen) and the violence RFK spoke of is obvious, and unfortunately one that continues today, and sadly one that will probably always remain in one form or another unless we all take the time to search inside ourselves to see if we are guilty of planting even the tiniest seed of abuse in any form, which could ultimately lead to the flowering of abuse of other sorts.

Please take a few moments to watch this video I found which contains the audio of Robert Kennedy giving his “On the Mindless Menace of Violence” speech over some gripping and heart wrenching images. They are truly words and images which are bound to give you pause for thought. And that pause for thought, my friends, is where change begins.

On the Mindless Menace of Violence

Robert F. Kennedy

City Club of Cleveland, Cleveland, Ohio
April 5, 1968

This is a time of shame and sorrow. It is not a day for politics. I have saved this one opportunity, my only event of today, to speak briefly to you about the mindless menace of violence in America which again stains our land and every one of our lives.

It is not the concern of any one race. The victims of the violence are black and white, rich and poor, young and old, famous and unknown. They are, most important of all, human beings whom other human beings loved and needed. No one – no matter where he lives or what he does – can be certain who will suffer from some senseless act of bloodshed. And yet it goes on and on and on in this country of ours.

Why? What has violence ever accomplished? What has it ever created? No martyr’s cause has ever been stilled by an assassin’s bullet.

No wrongs have ever been righted by riots and civil disorders. A sniper is only a coward, not a hero; and an uncontrolled, uncontrollable mob is only the voice of madness, not the voice of reason.

Whenever any American’s life is taken by another American unnecessarily – whether it is done in the name of the law or in the defiance of the law, by one man or a gang, in cold blood or in passion, in an attack of violence or in response to violence – whenever we tear at the fabric of the life which another man has painfully and clumsily woven for himself and his children, the whole nation is degraded.

“Among free men,” said Abraham Lincoln, “there can be no successful appeal from the ballot to the bullet; and those who take such appeal are sure to lose their cause and pay the costs.”

Yet we seemingly tolerate a rising level of violence that ignores our common humanity and our claims to civilization alike. We calmly accept newspaper reports of civilian slaughter in far-off lands. We glorify killing on movie and television screens and call it entertainment. We make it easy for men of all shades of sanity to acquire whatever weapons and ammunition they desire.

Too often we honor swagger and bluster and wielders of force; too often we excuse those who are willing to build their own lives on the shattered dreams of others. Some Americans who preach non-violence abroad fail to practice it here at home. Some who accuse others of inciting riots have by their own conduct invited them.

Some look for scapegoats, others look for conspiracies, but this much is clear: violence breeds violence, repression brings retaliation, and only a cleansing of our whole society can remove this sickness from our soul.

For there is another kind of violence, slower but just as deadly destructive as the shot or the bomb in the night. This is the violence of institutions; indifference and inaction and slow decay. This is the violence that afflicts the poor, that poisons relations between men because their skin has different colors. This is the slow destruction of a child by hunger, and schools without books and homes without heat in the winter.

This is the breaking of a man’s spirit by denying him the chance to stand as a father and as a man among other men. And this too afflicts us all.

I have not come here to propose a set of specific remedies nor is there a single set. For a broad and adequate outline we know what must be done. When you teach a man to hate and fear his brother, when you teach that he is a lesser man because of his color or his beliefs or the policies he pursues, when you teach that those who differ from you threaten your freedom or your job or your family, then you also learn to confront others not as fellow citizens but as enemies, to be met not with cooperation but with conquest; to be subjugated and mastered.

We learn, at the last, to look at our brothers as aliens, men with whom we share a city, but not a community; men bound to us in common dwelling, but not in common effort. We learn to share only a common fear, only a common desire to retreat from each other, only a common impulse to meet disagreement with force. For all this, there are no final answers.

Yet we know what we must do. It is to achieve true justice among our fellow citizens. The question is not what programs we should seek to enact. The question is whether we can find in our own midst and in our own hearts that leadership of humane purpose that will recognize the terrible truths of our existence.

We must admit the vanity of our false distinctions among men and learn to find our own advancement in the search for the advancement of others. We must admit in ourselves that our own children’s future cannot be built on the misfortunes of others. We must recognize that this short life can neither be ennobled or enriched by hatred or revenge.

Our lives on this planet are too short and the work to be done too great to let this spirit flourish any longer in our land. Of course we cannot vanquish it with a program, nor with a resolution.

But we can perhaps remember, if only for a time, that those who live with us are our brothers, that they share with us the same short moment of life; that they seek, as do we, nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and in happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment they can.

Surely, this bond of common faith, this bond of common goal, can begin to teach us something. Surely, we can learn, at least, to look at those around us as fellow men, and surely we can begin to work a little harder to bind up the wounds among us and to become in our own hearts brothers and countrymen once again.

(***UPDATE 9/27/07: GREAT NEWS: Amendment added!!!***)

It is expected that the U.S. Senate will finally be voting on The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act/Matthew Shepard Act (H.R. 1592 / S. 1105) TOMORROW! It is vital that you contact your Senators TODAY to remind them that you are one of their constituents, that you strongly support this very important hate crimes bill legislation to protect ALL people, and that you fully expect them to do the same despite the fact that George W. Bush has vowed to veto the bill. Please DO YOUR PART to make sure prejudice and bigotry is not allowed to flourish in our country by contacting your Senators and spreading the word to others.

From The Matthew Shepard Foundation:

The U.S. Senate is expected to vote on the Matthew Shepard Act as an amendment to the Department of Defense bill to ensure that all people regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability deserve to be free from violent crimes committed because of hatred and bias.

Please call your Senators NOW and ask for him/her to the vote for the passage of the Matthew Shepard Act.

URGENT: CONTACT YOUR SENATORS NOW!
CALL (202) 224-3121
& ask for your Senators office

Ask for their support of the Matthew Shepard Act and let them know that all Americans regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability deserve to be free from violent crimes committed because of hatred and bias.

From HRC Backstory:

BREAKING NEWS: Senate vote on hate crimes bill expected on Thursday

September 25, 2007 4:36PM
Chris Johnson

This afternoon, Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA), one of the lead sponsors of the Senate hate crimes bill, took to the Senate floor to urge the Senate to pass the hate crimes bill (S. 1105) and for President Bush to sign the legislation into law. Earlier today, Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) filed a cloture motion on the hate crimes bill, a procedural move to overcome Senator McCain’s objection to bringing the amendment to the floor. Our side must achieve 60 votes on the cloture motion to win; that vote is scheduled for Thursday. The Senate should then move towards passages of the hate crimes bill as an amendment to the Department of Defense authorization bill.

Senator Kennedy’s prepared statement on the Senate floor can be read here.

Senator Kennedy Speaks On Hate Crimes

From the Human Rights Campaign web site:

Hate Crimes Affect More than Just the Individual Attacked
All violent crimes are reprehensible. But the damage done by hate crimes cannot be measured solely in terms of physical injury or dollars and cents. Hate crimes rend the fabric of our society and fragment communities because they target a whole group and not just the individual victim. Hate crimes are committed to cause fear to a whole community. A violent hate crime is intended to “send a message” that an individual and “their kind” will not be tolerated, many times leaving the victim and others in their group feeling isolated, vulnerable and unprotected.

The Truth About Hate Crimes Laws

Related articles/information:

  • Complete text of Senator Kennedy’s statement on the floor of the US Senate regarding The Matthew Shepard Act
    • Hate crimes are a form of domestic terrorism. They send the poisonous message that some Americans deserve to be victimized solely because of who they are. Like other acts of terrorism, hate crimes have an impact far greater than the impact on the individual victims. They are crimes against entire communities, against the whole nation, and against the fundamental ideals on which America was founded. They are a violation of all our country stands for.
  • Fabricated fears about hate crime legislation (Cornel West and Sylvia Rhue Op-Ed piece from The Boston Globe)
    • The truth is that the Matthew Shepard Act protects all First Amendment rights. And, although that is a given, this bill goes out of its way to protect the free speech of ministers. Those pastors who wish to continue condemning and dehumanizing the gay community will be free to do so.
  • Hate Crimes and Justice in the Black Community (Melissa Harris-Lacewell on the Huffington Post)
    • The proposed federal statute does not punish nor prohibit free expression of one’s religious beliefs. The hate crimes bill includes language protecting individuals from race-based and religion-based crimes as well. The Act protects first Amendment rights for everyone while ensuring that the authorities fully investigate all violent crimes intended to degrade and oppress their victims. The bill protects our children, because black youth are disproportionately targeted and victimized in anti-gay hate crimes.
  • Transcript: Judy Shepard Urges Passage of Hate Crimes Law (NOW on pbs.org)
    • HINOJOSA: So right now the House has already passed the bill. And the Senate is—is set to vote on it shortly. But President Bush is expected to veto the bill. The White House has said that state and local criminal laws already cover the new crimes that are defined under the bill. So—the—basically—the President is saying this kind of legislation just isn’t necessary. So what do you say to that?
    • SHEPARD: It’s very disheartening when the leader of our nation goes on national T.V. and says that gay people aren’t—aren’t deserving of every—every equality that everyone else is. I’m very disappointed that they don’t see the difference, if nothing else than the message that it sends, that we need to protect—all of our citizens. Everyone is a race. Everyone is a sexual orientation. It just gives permission for people to continue to harass sexual orientation until we mark them as protected.
  • Senator Kennedy press release on the Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007
    • Crimes motivated by hate because of the victim’s race, religion, ethnic background, sexual orientation, disability, or gender are not confined to the geographical boundaries of our great nation. The current conflicts in the Middle East and Northern Ireland, the ethnic cleansing campaigns in Bosnia and Rwanda, or the Holocaust itself demonstrate that violence motivated by hate is a world-wide danger, and we have a special responsibility to combat it here at home.
  • Support for the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007

I am so shocked, disappointed, and disgusted by what went down yesterday with OUR Senate, OUR government, OUR system of free speech, and the blinders that Americans seem to be wearing in regard to what exactly it is that Bush and his cronies are doing to OUR country, that I don’t even know how to put it into words. Are Americans so clueless that they don’t see that the minute the anti-war movement gains any sort of substantial ground, Bush & Crew pull some ridiculous BS, and typical sleight-of-hand out of the closet to take the focus off of all they are doing wrong. And for Bush to say in his press conference that HE was disgusted by the MoveOn.org ad, well Georgie Boy I’m beyond totally disgusted by what YOU and your regime are doing to MY country, and MY freedoms. The nerve of you to say that YOU are disgusted, considering everything you have done. Disgusted. I’M just totally disgusted.

I’ll allow Keith Olbermann to try and sort this latest disaster out for me in his usual intelligent and eloquent manner:

Here is a link to how the vote went down on the resolution. Shame on you to my senator, Dianne Feinstein, for voting in favor of it. Shame on you.

Here are some items from MoveOn.org, a group I hope those of you who are not currently involved with WILL join. We need SOME sort of group that helps us get our voices, our concerns, and our thoughts out there. Goodness knows our elected officials aren’t doing it.

George Bush: A Betrayal of Trust

Here is an email MoveOn.org sent out to its members after yesterday’s asinine resolution:

Dear ******,

The U.S. Senate just told you to sit down and be quiet when they passed a Republican amendment condemning MoveOn.1

Every day, our brave men and women are dying in a bloody civil war this Senate has done nothing to stop. Yesterday, they couldn’t even pass a bill to give soldiers adequate leave with their families before redeploying.2 But they’re spending time cracking down on a newspaper ad?

So, we’re making clear where America stands. We’re releasing a statement from MoveOn members—and anyone else who feels the same way—saying, “We will not be quiet, we will fight back. We will keep speaking out until Congress forces an exit plan for this awful war.”

Clicking here will add your name:

http://pol.moveon.org/fightback/o.pl?id=11268-3414425-KnI3_g&t=3

Maybe you liked our General Petraeus ad.3 Maybe you thought the language went too far. But make no mistake: this is much bigger than one ad.

It’s part of a larger campaign by Fox, the right-wing echo chamber, and Republicans like John McCain (who said we should be “thrown out of the country”).4

They’re doing it because they’re hurting: Polls show last week’s Bush Administration PR blitz increased the number of Americans favoring withdrawal5 and vulnerable Republicans are sinking lower and lower in the polls (or announcing their retirement).

And it has one purpose: to intimidate all of us. To send a message that anyone who speaks unpleasant truths about this war will pay. To make everyone—especially politicians—think twice before they accuse the administration of lying.

If it looks like we’re on the run, people will think twice before they speak out. Will you send a message today to Dick Cheney, Fox, Bill O’Reilly, John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Karl Rove—and the Democrats without the guts to vote against this—that it’s not working?

We’ve changed our home page to just run the names of people who sign on. We’ll report the totals to the media all day. And if we can find an electronic billboard in Washington, D.C., we’ll run the names there, too.

And after you add your name, you can go one step further. We’ve put together a fair but hard-hitting ad that highlights how, yesterday, Republicans blocked a bill to give our troops adequate family leave before going back to Iraq. If we can raise enough money, we’ll air this ad across the country and take the fight back to the real issues—this terrible war and its impact on our troops and the Iraqi people.

Clicking here will add your name to our statement:

http://pol.moveon.org/fightback/o.pl?id=11268-3414425-KnI3_g&t=4

This morning, the Senate didn’t pass an exit strategy for Iraq. They didn’t pass a bill to cover millions of uninsured Americans or combat the climate crisis. Nope—they condemned 3.4 million Americans for speaking out against the war.

Let them know them it’s not going to work.

Thank you for all you do, every day, to get the truth out.

–Eli, Aaron, Adam G., Adam R., Anna, Carrie, Daniel, Erik, Ilyse, Jennifer, Joan, Justin, Karin, Laura, Marika, Matt, Natalie, Nita, Noah, Tanya, Tom & Wes
MoveOn.org Political Action
Thursday, September 20th, 2007
PS. I will join MoveOn members tonight for a live webcast at 8:30 EST/ 5:30 PST. We’ll update this situation, talk about next steps, and answer your questions. To join in, click here:

http://pol.moveon.org/fight_back_call.html?id=11268-3414425-KnI3_g&t=5

Sources:

1. You can see the resolution text here and the roll call of who voted for it here. Absurdly, it claims that MoveOn “impugns the honor and integrity of … all the members of the United States Armed Force”—despite the fact that MoveOn includes hundreds of thousands of veterans and military family members, who’ve led our campaign to bring our troops home.
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=2988&id=11268-3414425-KnI3_g&t=7

2. “Effort to Shift Course in Iraq Fails in Senate,” New York Times , September 19, 2007.
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/20/washington/20cong.html?hp

3. You can read the ad text and why we ran it here:
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=2987&id=11268-3414425-KnI3_g&t=8

4. “McCain To MoveOn: Get Out,” CBS News, September 14, 2007.
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=2973&id=11268-3414425-KnI3_g&t=9

5. “Poll: Most Say Bush Iraq Plan Falls Short,” CBS News, September 17, 2007.
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=2974&id=11268-3414425-KnI3_g&t=10

PAID FOR BY MOVEON.ORG POLITICAL ACTION, http://pol.moveon.org/
Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.

A friend sent this joke (origin unknown) along today and I just HAD to post it, especially considering I AM one of the 56 million. May seem a tad mean-spirited, but considering the lack of consideration Bush and Cheney have shown for the world I’m not feeling too bad about posting it. Besides, I need a good laugh after the miserable showing my Chargers had last night…sigh.

President Bush, First Lady Laura and Dick Cheney were flying on Air Force One.

George looked at Laura, chuckled and said, “You know, I could throw a $1,000 bill out of the window right now and make somebody very happy.”

Laura shrugged her shoulders and replied, “I could throw ten $100 bills out of the window and make ten people very happy.”

Cheney says, “That being the case, I could throw one hundred $10 bills out of the window and make a hundred people very happy.”

Hearing their exchange, the pilot rolled his eyes and said to his co-pilot, “Such big-shots back there. Shit, I could throw all of your asses out the window and make 56 million people very happy.”

If you’re one of the 56 million…. repost

I’ve always admired Keith Olbermann’s ability to put into words many of the thoughts I am unable to eloquently express. He has outdone himself with this video showcasing the outright lies, hypocrisy, immorality and lunacy of George W. Bush. (Here is the text for this video from 9/4/07).

While the entire video is incredible, it’s the last thirty seconds which especially touch upon the outrage I, and countless other Americans, feel toward this entire Iraq situation; Keith gives a voice to our concerns–our demands. It’s in this last half-minute of time that I can’t help but be reminded of a definite “must see” movie I didn’t think I’d like at all, but found myself loving, “V for Vendetta.” I can see legions of citizens fed up with GWB and his regime’s status quo, figuratively standing alongside Keith Olbermann during this video, as were the thousands of masked citizens in the final scenes of “V for Vendetta” fed up with the fascist “Norsefire” party. Could someone please hand me a Guy Hawkes Keith Olbermann mask, please?

Keith Olbermann Special Comment from 9/4/07

Found out about this little gem via a MoveOn.org email I just received. Dick, Dick, Dick, Dick, Dick, where on earth did the apparent common sense, common decency, and intelligence you obviously had shades of in 1994 disappear to come the GWB regime? How different the world would be today, and how many thousands upon thousands of lives on both sides of this disgusting war would not be shattered due to death and injuries, if ONLY you had retained some of your correct thoughts from 1994. Shame on you for losing your way, thereby leading others to lose their lives.

Cheney in 1994 on Iraq

I’m feeling a strong need to seek out some uplifting and positive news stories. Maybe it’s just my personal frustration with several things in my own little universe or the bigger frustrations I feel with everything from this inexcusable, disgusting, and sad war to the ridiculous amount of time a not-to-be-named hotel heiress is garnering for being a spoiled brat. Who knows what exactly it is that’s sticking in my craw, but it’s got me having a mad desire to do something proactive to change my mood and hopefully change the mood of some of you as well. So in my sudden quest to seek out something (anything!) that is making this world a better place I decided to add a “Doing Good” regular feature to this blog. Okay, first step taken (truth be told, the first step was popping iTunes on party shuffle since music is usually my panacea for a cruddy mood), next step was to set about the internet seeking out positive sites. Easier said than done, sadly. Ultimately I found myself smack-dab on my MySpace friends list, which is mostly full of causes and bands I support, so it makes sense I’d find my first “Doing Good” subject there: The New Orleans Kid Camera Project(their MySpace page).

I’ll introduce this great organization by posting their mission statement:

The New Orleans Kid Camera Project was created to address the psychological and emotional impacts of Hurricane Katrina on children returning home to New Orleans. Through the use of photography, creative writing and mixed media, children from flooded neighborhoods explore their environment and express themselves, their stories and feelings with their friends. This project provides a venue for growth and recovery. By teaching the children tangible skills and exposing them to new means of expression, we hope to empower them to impact their lives and environment.

Those of you who have been frequent visitors to this blog are well aware that I’m working toward getting my teaching credential, and with my minor being in Visual and Performing Arts, it goes without saying that ANYTHING which involves children in such a productive and creative manner, such as The New Orleans Kid Camera Project, is going to be something I wholeheartedly support. My disgust with the lack of support by George Bush’s administration for those affected by Hurricane Katrina is something that still gets my blood boiling. Just thinking back on those first few days of the catastrophe, with our own citizens being disregarded in the degrading manner they were, the people and animals scavenging for safety and food, the buses and trailers sitting empty, all has me going between sadness and fury in a matter of minutes. And to think apathy on the part of our government still continues–appalling. So to see a group of people in New Orleans addressing the various needs the children in the area are facing, and will continue to face for some time to come, is something which definitely brings a smile to my face and warms my heart.

I hope many of you will visit their site, read their fantastic Philosophy/Visions/Goals page, share in the fine photos and videos created by the children, and especially donate any time/money/equipment that you can. I also hope that everyone’s mood is a bit better now–mine is! 🙂


(***Added 6/15/07:UNSEENAMERICA “New Orleans Kid Camera Project”
Gallery 1199
310 West 43rd St New York
Admission: FREE. Exhibition from Wednesday, June 6 through Friday, June 29, 2007.
Reception- Thursday June 21, 2007 from 5:00 to 7:30pm
http://www.bread-and-roses.com/whatsnew.html***)

 

This has to be one of my favorite lines from Michael Moore‘s 5/17/07 email I’m copying below, “There are only two people in need of an investigation and a trial, and the desire for this across America is so widespread you don’t even need to see the one’s smirk or hear the other’s sneer to know who I am talking about.” Gee, ya think? 😉 Here’s my previous post on the topic. Best of luck in Cannes, Michael!

“Sicko” Is Completed and We’re Off to Cannes!

May 17, 2007

Friends,

It’s a wrap! My new film, “Sicko,” is all done and will have its world premiere this Saturday night at the Cannes Film Festival. As with “Bowling for Columbine” and “Fahrenheit 9/11,” we are honored to have been chosen by this prestigious festival to screen our work there.

My intention was to keep “Sicko” under wraps and show it to virtually no one before its premiere in Cannes. That is what I have done and, as you may have noticed if you are a recipient of my infrequent Internet letters, I have been very silent about what I’ve been up to. In part, that’s because I was working very hard to complete the film. But my silence was also because I knew that the health care industry — an industry which makes up more than 15 percent of our GDP — was not going to like much of what they were going to see in this movie and I thought it best not to upset them any sooner than need be.

Well, going quietly to Cannes, I guess, was not to be. For some strange reason, on May 2nd the Bush administration initiated an action against me over how I obtained some of the content they believe is in my film. As none of them have actually seen the film (or so I hope!), they decided, unlike with “Fahrenheit 9/11,” not to wait until the film was out of the gate and too far down the road to begin their attack.

Bush’s Treasury Secretary, Henry Paulson, launched an investigation of a trip I took to Cuba to film scenes for the movie. These scenes involve a group of 9/11 rescue workers who are suffering from illnesses obtained from working down at Ground Zero. They have received little or no help with their health care from the government. I do not want to give away what actually happens in the movie because I don’t want to spoil it for you (although I’m sure you’ll hear much about it after it unspools Saturday). Plus, our lawyers have advised me to say little at this point, as the film goes somewhere far scarier than “Cuba.” Rest assured of one thing: no laws were broken. All I’ve done is violate the modern-day rule of journalism that says, “ask no questions of those in power or your luncheon privileges will be revoked.”

This preemptive action taken by the Bush administration on the eve of the “Sicko” premiere in Cannes led our attorneys to fear for the safety of our film, noting that Secretary Paulson may try to claim that the content of the movie was obtained through a violation of the trade embargo that our country has against Cuba and the travel laws that prohibit average citizens of our free country from traveling to Cuba. (The law does not prohibit anyone from exercising their first amendment right of a free press and documentaries are protected works of journalism.)

I was floored when our lawyers told me this. “Are you saying they might actually confiscate our movie?” “Yes,” was the answer. “These days, anything is possible. Even if there is just a 20 percent chance the government would seize our movie before Cannes, does anyone want to take that risk?”

Certainly not. So there we were last week, spiriting a duplicate master negative out of the country just so no one from the government would take it from us. (Seriously, I can’t believe I just typed those words! Did I mention that I’m an American, and this is America and NO ONE should ever have to say they had to do such a thing?)

I mean, folks, I have just about had it. Investigating ME because I’m trying to help some 9/11 rescue workers our government has abandoned? Once again, up is down and black is white. There are only two people in need of an investigation and a trial, and the desire for this across America is so widespread you don’t even need to see the one’s smirk or hear the other’s sneer to know who I am talking about.

But no, I’m the one who now has to hire lawyers and sneak my documentary out of the country just so people can see a friggin’ movie. I mean, it’s just a movie! What on earth could I have placed on celluloid that would require such a nonsensical action against me?

Ok. Scratch that.

Well, I’m on my way to Cannes right now, a copy of the movie in my bag. Don’t feel too bad for me, I’ll be in the south of France for a week! But then it’s back to the U.S. for a number of premieres and benefits and then, finally, a chance for all of you to see this film that I have made. Circle June 29th on your calendar because that’s when it opens in theaters everywhere across the country and Canada (for the rest of the world, it opens in the fall).

I can’t wait for you to see it.

Yours,

Michael Moore

P.S. I will write more about what happens from Cannes. Stay tuned on my website, MichaelMoore.com.

Anyone else feel like the past several AGONIZING years of the Bush administration has been one continuous tweaking of a con artist shell game? Under shell #1 is ANY legitimate concern by Americans (and the rest of the world, too!) regarding anything from the mishandling of Iraq, to the shenanigans Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez and crew have been doing in the Justice Department. As soon as there is building interest in shell #1, Bush and crew attempt to throw the unsuspecting victims of this con game off with some fancy sleight of hand, and this time it’s Michael Moore’s trip to Cuba with 10 first responders to the WTC on 9/11, who are now suffering debilitating medical ailments. (Keep in mind the trip was taken in March, yet the letter from the government to Mr. Moore telling him of the investigation was dated May 2, 2007, a mere few weeks prior to his new movie, SiCKO being released…hmmm.) I’m sure shell #3 will probably be some “heightened terror alert” since we haven’t seen that lovely rainbow colored item pulled out of the mothballs for awhile. And it’s always been a favorite of this administration, since it’s so easy to pull the strings of the marionette public and create an artificial sense of fear and panic at the drop of a hat.

Let it be known at the outset that I am a fan of Michael Moore, and applaud what he has done to bring issues to light and have everyone engage in discussions pertinent to the welfare of ALL Americans (health care, our government and its falsehoods, outsourcing, gun control, and many more). That being said, I may not always agree with every move he makes (heck, I don’t even agree with every move I make! ;)), but this is a man who I strongly believe has the best interests of America at heart. Personally I’m pretty fed up with either being chastised or made to feel “unpatriotic” just because I strongly disagree with just about everything the current administration has done, so I can only imagine how Michael Moore must feel having such an enormous spotlight on him 24/7. And yes, I realize he brings it upon himself, but that just makes me appreciate his dedication even more. To put yourself up to the possibility of such scrutiny, ridicule, and hate, shows devotion and dedication to your beliefs. And yes, I even feel that way about those with whom I wholeheartedly disagree. Have strength in your convictions, but also show respect for differing viewpoints. Fine line, I know, but one we all really do need to try and walk–sometimes unsuccessfully.

Another reason I’m a fan of Michael’s is because of what he did for my alma mater, California State University, San Marcos. In October of 2003, Mr. Moore was scheduled to be a speaker at one of our CSUSM Arts & Lectures Series events. Due to the horrific wildfires in our area at the time, the engagement was postponed. By the time it was rescheduled it was close to the 2004 election and Karen Haynes, President of CSUSM, refused to allow Michael to speak saying that there wouldn’t be adequate time to schedule another speaker with an opposing political viewpoint. Thankfully students and community members would NOT let President Haynes control everything, and raised enough funds to have Mr. Moore speak at an off-campus area (Del Mar Fairgrounds) to approximately 10,000 of us (yes, I was there! ;)). Here is one story about the entire flap and subsequent venue change.

While hearing Michael speak in front of so many people with such fervor and determination was exciting enough, it was actually a HUGE surprise he shared with us all that really made the evening spectacular. (And mind you, this is an evening that had Joan Baez as a surprise performer!) The fantastic news that Michael shared with the crowd was that he was creating a “Freedom of Speech” scholarship at CSUSM to give $5,000 to a student who stood up to the administration the most. Due to the number of applicants Mr. Moore found outstanding, he ended up increasing the scholarship amount to $15,000, which was divided between 6 students. Here is a news article about his appearance that night and the impending scholarship.

And yes, I own countless works from Mr. Moore: “Stupid White Men” and “Dude, Where’s My Country?” in my reading library, along with “Fahrenheit 9/11”, “Roger & Me”, “Bowling for Columbine”, and “The Big One” in my media library, and looking forward to catching Michael’s upcoming flick, “Sicko“, as soon as it hits theaters this June 29th. And yes, I realize not everyone shares my opinion of Mr. Moore, but it’s my blog and my opinion, AND I truly believe there are far more folks who agree with Mr. Moore than disagree with him. 🙂 It will be interesting to see how this Michael Moore/Cuba/Bush administration story plays out. Heck, even an online betting site is wagering odds on how far this situation will go!

I’ll leave you with Michael’s open letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary, Henry Paulson. Take care, folks.

Friday, May 11th, 2007
Open Letter from Michael Moore to U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson

Secretary Henry Paulson
Department of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington, DC 20220

May 11, 2007

Secretary Paulson,

I am contacting you in light of the document sent to me dated May 2, 2007, which was received May 7, 2007 indicating that an investigation has been opened up with regards to a trip I took to Cuba with a group of Americans that included some 9/11 heroes in March 2007 related to the filming of my next documentary, on the American Healthcare system. SiCKO, which will be seen in theaters this summer, will expose the health care industry’s greed and control over America’s political processes.

I believe that the decision to conduct this investigation represents the latest example of the Bush Administration abusing the federal government for raw, crass, political purposes. Over the last seven years of the Bush Presidency, we have seen the abuse of government to promote a political agenda designed to benefit the conservative base of the Republican Party, special interests and major financial contributors. From holding secret meetings for the energy industry to re-writing science findings to cooking the books on intelligence to the firing of U.S. Attorneys, this Administration has shown time and time again that it will abuse its power and authority.

There are a number of specific facts that have led me to conclude that politics could very well be driving this Bush Administration investigation of me and my film.

First, the Bush Administration has been aware of this matter for months (since October 2006) and never took any action until less than two weeks before SiCKO is set to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival and a little more than a month before it is scheduled to open in the United States.

Second, the health care and insurance industry, which is exposed in the movie and has expressed concerns about the impact of the movie on their industries, is a major corporate underwriter of President George W. Bush and the Republican Party, having contributed over $13 million to the Bush presidential campaign in 2004 and more than $180 million to Republican candidates over the last two campaign cycles. It is well documented that the industry is very concerned about the impact of SiCKO. They have threatened their employees if they talk to me. They have set up special internal crises lines should I show up at their headquarters. Employees have been warned about the consequences of participating in SiCKO. Despite this, some employees, at great risk to themselves, have gone on camera to tell the American people the truth about the health care industry. I can understand why that industry’s main recipient of its contributions — President Bush — would want to harass, intimidate and potentially prevent this film from having its widest possible audience.

And, third, this investigation is being opened in the wake of misleading attacks on the purpose of the Cuba trip from a possible leading Republican candidate for president, Fred Thompson, a major conservative newspaper, The New York Post, and various right wing blogs.

For five and a half years, the Bush administration has ignored and neglected the heroes of the 9/11 community. These heroic first responders have been left to fend for themselves, without coverage and without care. I understand why the Bush administration is coming after me — I have tried to help the very people they refuse to help, but until George W. Bush outlaws helping your fellow man, I have broken no laws and I have nothing to hide.

I demand that the Bush Administration immediately end this investigation and spend its time and resources trying to support some of the real heroes of 9/11.

Sincerely,

Michael Moore

Mom is one of those folks that keeps saying she’s going to learn all about the internet, but has yet to even figure out how to get past clicking the on button…sigh. And it’s not like I haven’t tried to get her to learn. Oh well, she does peruse the blog when she’s visiting and since she’ll be here on Mother’s Day I thought I’d throw some well wishes out into the universe. So HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM, even though I know it’s that (gulp) birthday that has a special significance with the government. 😉 Here are a few classic videos of performers you’ve always enjoyed. As a matter of fact I think I’ve sent you and dad off to see each of them over the past few years. Hope the videos at least help make you feel a bit younger…memories, eh? Love ya, Mom!:)

“She’s A Lady”-Tom Jones (1973)

“The Last Waltz”=Engelbert Humperdinck (1967)

“Soul and Inspiration”=The Righteous Brothers (1966)

Someone might need to get the paddles for me because I think my heart stopped the minute I realized I was actually applauding something George W. Bush had done. I’m all for giving credit where credit is due, so (deep breath) kudos to you, GWB, for doing something for the animals. Now can you get the government (FDA and USDA for a start) to get things straightened out with our pet food supply and our human food supply? Of course my “to do” list for you is much longer, but we’ll start there–for now.

Click HERE to read the press release from the Humane Society of the United States regarding the Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act being signed into law.

The following is from the HSUS web site (shout out to my Senator, Dianne Feinstein, for being one of the Senators who introduced the new law into the Senate! 🙂):

May 3, 2007


 
 

Today, President Bush signed into law a bill that will help law enforcement rid the United States of dogfighting, cockfighting, and other forms of animal fighting.

Dogfighting and cockfighting crimes are rampant in the United States, with individuals arrested every week in scores of locations under state laws. The vast underground networks generate pervasive animal cruelty, drug trafficking, illegal gambling, public corruption and even violence and murder. The Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act, which passed Congress with large bi-partisan support, will give law enforcement a stronger tool to crack down on this illegal activity.

“Animal fighting is a barbaric and inhumane practice, and it is fitting and appropriate that we now have a national policy condemning and criminalizing this form of organized animal cruelty,” states Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, which has led the national battle against animal fighting and been the primary advocate for this federal legislation.

The law takes effect immediately. It provides felony penalties for interstate commerce, import and export related to animal fighting activities, including commerce in cockfighting weapons. It will make it much harder for criminals who engage in dogfighting and cockfighting to continue their operations. Each violation of the federal law may bring up to three years in jail and up to a $250,000 fine for perpetrators.

Cockfighting is outlawed in every state except Louisiana, although there is mounting pressure in that state to ban the practice. Many states still have misdemeanor penalties for cockfighting. The federal law slaps felony penalties on interstate cockfighting trafficking, and this should provide an enormous deterrent for the tens of thousands of people involved in this criminal industry.

The law will have a devastating impact on major breeders of fighting animals, who depend on customers from all over the United States and abroad. Dog kennels rely on transporting their fighting dogs across state lines and across the world to customers. The new law should substantially curb the transport of fighting animals across state and U.S. borders. The HSUS is already seeing some major breeders of fighting roosters cutting back on production.

The Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act will help end the export of fighting animals to other countries. Selling roosters to customers in the Philippines and other nations can be lucrative for American cockfighters. The new law puts increased pressure on the airlines to stop shipping roosters to cockfighting hot spots.

The new law had been introduced by Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-Calif.), Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), and Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.) in the House, and by Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.), Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) in the Senate. It had also been endorsed by more than 500 groups, including all major humane organizations, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the National Chicken Council, the National Sheriffs’ Association, and more than 400 local law enforcement agencies covering all 50 states.

George W. Bush’s veto has elicited some powerful statements from six US military leaders. You know, the ones that actually SERVED in the military. The ones that have a clue what is going on in Iraq. Service members who are the exact opposite of our “Commander-In-Chief”.

From the blog of our Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi:

Military Leaders Against the President’s Veto

May 2nd, 2007 by Karina

“With this veto, the president has doomed us to repeating a terrible history. President Bush’s current position is hauntingly reminiscent of March 1968 in Vietnam. At that time, both the Secretary of Defense and the President had recognized that the war could not be won militarily – just as our military commanders in Iraq have acknowledged. But not wanting to be tainted with losing a war, President Johnson authorized a surge of 25,000 troops. At that point, there had been 24,000 U.S. troops killed in action. Five years later, when the withdrawal of U.S. troops was complete, we had suffered 34,000 additional combat deaths.”
– Lt. Gen. Robert Gard, USA, Ret.

“By vetoing this bill and failing to initiate an immediate and phased withdrawal, the President has effectively gone AWOL, deserting his duty post, leaving American forces with an impossible mission, suffering wholly unnecessary casualties.”
– Lt. Gen. William E. Odom, USA, Ret.

“The rhetoric of Congress not supporting our troops is pure ‘hogwash’. The real non support of our troops is the Presidential Veto. Vetoing this Bill sends a message to our troops, that the President will fund them to fight but is not concerned about returning them to their families.”
– Maj. Gen. Mel Montano, USANG, Ret.

“The President vetoed our troops and the American people. His stubborn commitment to a failed strategy in Iraq is incomprehensible. He committed our great military to a failed strategy in violation of basic principles of war. His failure to mobilize the nation to defeat world wide Islamic extremism is tragic. We deserve more from our commander-in-chief and his administration.”
– Maj. Gen. John Batiste, USA, Ret.

“This administration and the previously Republican controlled legislature have been the most caustic agents against America’s Armed Forces in memory. Less than a year ago, the Republicans imposed great hardship on the Army and Marine Corps by their failure to pass a necessary funding language. This time, the President of the United States is holding our Soldiers hostage to his ego. More than ever apparent, only the Army and the Marine Corps are at war – alone, without their President’s support.”
– Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, USA, Ret.

“Almost 5 years ago, Congress trusted the President enough to give him the power to transform Iraq. Bush violated that trust and deceived us with a misuse of force. Today, the President violated the trust of the American people, our troops, and their families by vetoing this bill and not choosing to do what is right. He has let us down.”
– Brigadier General John Johns, USA, Ret.

Check these out:

VERY powerful video put to John Fogerty’s “Deja Vu”:

CODEPINK

TIMZ

Unfortunately most of us eventually become numb to the news reports and the statistics we hear each day about how many more individuals have lost their lives in Iraq. We never really take the time to find out more about the person behind the headlines. Hopefully a new online memorial, the Iraq Veterans Memorial, will bridge the gap between the statistics and the reality, between the flag-draped coffins and the memories left behind. Please take a few moments to check out this unique way of getting to know some of those who have died in this senseless war.

If you would like to take a more active role in voicing your concerns about this war, one group you may want to check out is MoveOn.org. If you are curious about the staggering losses suffered during the past four years, AntiWar.com has a constantly updated list.

Here’s hoping we will not be meeting again for a 5th anniversary of this horrific mistake.


Sniffin’ out the info

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