Write Your Representative About Alberto Gonzales.

Who: Alberto Gonzales, the Bush nominee for Attorney General

What: If you are interested in why this guy is unfit to be attorney general for reasons of torture or what he did in Texas with regards to the death penalty, that is another story. The latest story is that he perjured himself by giving an incorrect account of an incident in Texas to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Long story short, he was covering up a Bush DUI - the same one that came out in the 2000 election - back in '96. He didn't want to share this with the Senate Judiciary Committee, so he lied.

Where: Newsweek has the full scoop

When: The Gonzales vote in the Judiciary Committee is expected to be Wednesday (Jan 26).

Why: 1) He's a sick fuck and 2) we have a chance to prevent him from being confirmed


The most notable news from the Sunday shows is that on ABC’s This Week, Sen. Joe Biden said his “inclination” is to vote against the nomination of Alberto Gonzales.

That’s the second Dem member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, after Ted Kennedy, to publicly announce their leaning against confirmation.

But Biden’s announcement is much more important than Kennedy’s.

Since Biden is considered more centrist than Kennedy, Biden’s move makes it easier for other “deferential” Dems to stand up to Bush.

Biden may not publicly acknowledge it, but it is doubtful that he would entertain a “No” vote absent pressure from the grassroots.

But while we now have some momentum, we don’t have any “No” votes in hand.

If the pressure doesn’t continue, it is far less likely that the Dems will vote their values -- making it clear which party believes torture harms our nation’s efforts to spread freedom, and which party doesn’t.

How: Contact members of the Senate Judiciary Committee

You can see examples of other letters to Senators here and here.

Valerie Plame Wilson

Update on the Valerie Plame Wilson leak

If you didn't hear about this when it happened, here is the long story short. Valerie Plame Wilson's husband said something that pissed off Bush. A few days later, a "senior official" from the White House (which typically refers to someone as high up as, say, Cheney) leaked to 6 columnists that his wife, Valerie, is a covert CIA agent. If you've got the full story, post it as a comment please.

The significance: Leaking such information is a HUGE crime. It put her life in danger and our national security in danger. Also, training for people like her does not come easy, and it's not every person who could even do the job. Whoever committed this crime put the nation at a disadvantage in terms of fighting terrorism.

Why it still matters: The Bush administration has been stonewalling on this from the start. Instead of taking action to get to the bottom of this, the Bush administration is trying to slow things down and keep it out of the news spotlight.

Earlier this year I read Worse Than Watergate by John Dean. He was involved in Watergate and the book details the parallels of secrecy between the Nixon administration and the Bush administration. While it starts as an honest academic comparison, it ends more as a criticism of Bush. The book is a quick read and very informative. I highly recommend it. The Valerie Plame Wilson thing is one of several potential Bush scandals he writes about in the book.

Social Security: NOT in Crisis

Wow, look at the Republicans, lying again. I am shocked. Read their lies listed below. Then scroll further down for the truth.

The Right's Social Security Talking Points

Opponents of President Bush's plan to rescue and modernize Social Security increasingly are claiming "there is no crisis." But Social Security is pledged to pay out $25 trillion more by 2077 than it expects to have available.1 How can that not be a crisis?

* In 15 years we will need to use 25 percent of federal income tax revenues just to cover the funding needs of Social Security and Medicare. By 2030, we will need half.2

* Medicare and Social Security's combined unfunded liability is seven times the size of our economy.

* The "Social Security Trust Fund" is essentially an IOU from the federal government. As such, from the taxpayers' perspective, the Trust Fund is essentially nonexistent. When Social Security starts needing Trust Fund assets to pay benefits, taxpayers will be expected to pony up cash - $5 trillion worth4 - to restore funds spent from what many mistakenly believe is a genuine trust fund.

* Social Security will need to tap the "Trust Fund" in approximately 2018.5 But, because the federal government has gotten used to spending Social Security taxes as if they were general revenues, the Social Security cash crunch - the "crisis," if you will - actually begins in 2009, the year the Social Security revenue surplus begins to shrink.

* A December 2004 Washington Post-ABC News poll found 63 percent of Americans do not think Social Security will have enough money to pay the benefits they are entitled to, while 74 percent believe Social Security faces either major problems or is in crisis.

America's options to solve the crisis: Reduce benefits to seniors, or increase savings to avert the cash crunch. President Bush is choosing the latter option. Doesn't it make sense for critics to work with the White House to craft the best plan possible, rather than deny action is needed?

From the Left

Two major points: 1) There's no problem and 2) Whether there's a problem or no, Bush's plan makes it worse not better

Social Security, the Wrong Retirement Crisis
President Bush has been working hard to promote belief in a Social Security crisis. Unfortunately for him, the numbers refuse to cooperate. The latest numbers from the Social Security trustees show that the program can pay all scheduled benefits through the year 2042 with no changes whatsoever.

White House Memo Implies Tax Hike
On January 3, an internal White House memo on Social Security privatization made the rounds in Washington. It outlines in rough sketches, the president's plan to privatize Social Security. Two things are clear about this plan: First, it will mean higher taxes in the future; and second, workers will receive worse benefits and face a greater gamble with their retirement savings in return.

Cross-posted in demsforchange

Four More Wars?

Cross posted in anti_righty, humanmajority, live_n_let_live, and the_leftorium

Published on Monday, January 17, 2004 by the Associated Press
U.S. Gathering Nuclear Intelligence Inside Iran for Possible Strike: New Yorker

TEHRAN, Iran - Iran said Sunday that environmental samples taken from a military complex this weekend by UN nuclear inspectors will prove that the country's atomic program is for peaceful purposes and not for making weapons as the United States alleges.

Meanwhile, the New Yorker magazine reported Monday that Washington has been conducting secret reconnaissance of Iranian nuclear installations inside that country for several months as a possible prelude to a military strike.Read more...Collapse )