Saturday, May 03, 2008

Mitch McConnell Going Down In Western Kentucky

  I happen to live in Western Kentucky, and the fact that McConnell is dropping in his popularity pleases me to no end. This dirt-bag should have never been placed into a public office in the first place as he typifies the Republican to a tee.

  What I really do not like is the fact that many of the political organizations which I deal with are always wanting the viewers to write their Senators or Congressmen when it comes to certain issues, like FISA for one. That does no good in this neighborhood since it is McConnell who represents my area.

   But there is a small ray of light at the end of the tunnel.


You know, one thing I have been talking about whenever possible is how our party should fight for every Democratic voter in every district they appear. Conceding huge swaths of our country is just not a wise thing to do in my estimation. When Democrats in what many consider red areas are invested in, listened to, and spoken to they respond.

Case in point, Western Kentucky. I hear many people on the state and national level saying we are a lost cause for Democrats. However, I want to make the case that this region IS winnable for our party when these voters are paid attention to.

I think we can safely assume that this district makes up what would be known as "Western Kentucky". Now, one of the reasons Heather Ryan is in this race is because Mitch McConnell pulled strings to have her fired after she and her daughter lawfully dared to ask him a question.

Now, Heather Ryan is a young and energetic Democrat. With support from fellow Democrats she has been able to travel all across Western Kentucky listening to the voters and telling of her prepulsion into this race due to Mitch McConnell's meddling in a supposedly non-political organization. In the last month Heather has been all over this district, campaigning on her vision for Kentucky, and the corruption of Ed Whitfield and the entire McConnell machine.

Lets look at what has happened to McConnell's numbers during that time:

Western Kentucky
Approve     68%
Disapprove  21%
Not Sure    11%

Now, lets fast-forward almost a month:

Western Kentucky
Approve     48%
Disapprove  46%
Not Sure     6%

That represents a 20% drop in approval, and a 25% spike in disapproval in the time Heather has been speaking truth to power for Western Kentucky voters to hear. She is proving that when we take the time to speak to these voters, and let them know how we are and what we stand for, simply put they respond.

I would also like to say that Greg Fischer deserves some credit for these new McConnell numbers. While Bruce Lunsford is the establishment candidate, Greg Fischer is the one that has met the voters face to face and delievered the terrible record of Mitch McConnell to them. While he is running statewide, and can't be confined to Western Kentucky as Heather Ryan can, he has made many appearances in Western Kentucky to bring the sorry record of McConnell and the Republican machine in Kentucky front and center.

It all boils down to the fact that conventional wisdom about Western Kentucky is all wrong. Heather Ryan and Greg Fischer are successfully proving that in Western Kentucky, when we invest and engage these voters, we win!!

Impeachment Is The Only Alternative To Another War?

  An email that I received from The Peace Team

Inspired by the valiant primary challenge of Shirley Golub, now 
getting real traction against the Speaker of the House herself, other
candidates are rising up all over the country to issue impeachment
based congressional primary challenges of their own.

In Oregon in particular, which has a relatively early primary on May
22, Mark Welyczko OR-01, Joe Walsh OR-03 and Nancy Moran OR-05, are
teaming together to run joint radio spots on multiple radio stations
in Portland covering all three districts. You can listen to the radio
spot on this page.

Impeach Team Radio Spot:

The beautiful thing about these three districts is that they are
arranged around Portland like a pinwheel, and so each of these
candidates is sure of reaching the constituents of their own
district, plus demonstrating solidarity on the impeachment issue.
Won't you make a contribution from the page above to these brave
candidates today, to join with them in their solidarity?

With the forced retirement of Admiral Fallon, who famously said that
an attack on Iran would not happen on his watch, there is a real
threat the the White House could do something utterly insane if left
unconfronted by a cowardly and docile Congress just trying to tread
water through to the next election. But those in the Middle East know
how imminent and real the danger is. After Cheney visited the Saudis
last week, the next day they were warning their own people about how
to protect themselves from nuclear fallout, as from a nuclear first
strike on Iran.

And the only thing that will get Congress to even remotely pay
attention to we the people is to actually mount serious challenges to
their own seats in the primaries, which is what Shirley Golub is
doing in San Francisco, and what Mark Welyczko, Joe Walsh, and Nancy
Moran are now also doing in their own districts. On this same page
below are links to all their individual sites if you want to know
more about what they stand for on other issues.

Impeach Team Radio Spot:

But unless Congress acts on impeachment before the end of this term,
not only is there a threat of an even wider war, you can take it to
the bank that Bush will not only blanket pardon every one of his
cronies, he will also pardon himself. Those of you who might hold out
some hope of accountability after Jan 2009, remember we warned you
this was coming. Indeed, we believe starting an even bigger war is
their PLAN to elect another war president, on a wave of resurrected
war fever.

We have one and only one chance to save the Constitution, by forcing
Congress to stand up for itself, and for us, now. And only viable
primary challenges will do it. Otherwise the damage will be complete.
If Bush and Cheney are not guilty of the highest of high
Constitutional crimes then no president need ever fear being held to
account ever again. If we do not act now, whether there are 7 months
left or 7 minutes, then any future president will take that as a free
pass to do whatever the hell they want the last year or so of their
elected term.

Powered by The People's Email Network Copyright 2008, Patent pending, 
All rights reserved

OxyContin Tablets Getting A Makeover

  This will really make the OxyContin abusers a little ill as the pill is remade so that those addicts can't crush them up for injection and/or snorting.

  The pill will have a plastic coating to make them harder to crush and they will also turn into a " gooey mess " if needle users try to shoot it into their veins, according to their maker Purdue Pharma LP. There is one small problem with the studies which need to be done before this is okayed for the market.

The FDA will ask its scientific advisers on Monday if the reformulated drug seems tamper-resistant enough to allow on the market, before the required long-term studies are done to see if the changes thwart at least some abuse.  Newsday

   A little history on the drug.

OxyContin was hailed as a breakthrough in the treatment of severe chronic pain when it was introduced in 1996. A time-release version of the old narcotic oxycodone, it was designed to be swallowed whole and digested over 12 hours to keep a steady state of the painkiller in the bodies of seriously ill patients.
But abusers rapidly discovered the tablets can produce a heroin-like high if crushed and snorted or injected, thus dumping the dose all at once instead of letting it seep in slowly.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration found the number of oxycodone-related deaths nationwide had quintupled by 2001, as OxyContin prescriptions soared. The DEA cracked down, but OxyContin abuse steadily spread across the country. And a year ago, Purdue Pharma and some of its executives pleaded guilty to misleading the public about OxyContin's risk of addiction earlier in the decade, and agreed to millions in fines to settle state complaints that it encouraged over-prescribing of the drug.   A.P.

Friday, May 02, 2008

The Profit From Hunger

  Unless you are dead, you know that everything in the supermarket has been going up week after week after week. The price of wheat has gone through the roof as has rice as well as dairy and meat products, to name a few.

   Drought, lower crop yields, and a bigger population to feed have been named as some of the reasons for you and I having to pay more money to feed our families. But, according to this article, some of the finer people/companies from Wall Street and others are to blame also.

Making a killing from hunger

We need to overturn food policy, now!


For some time now the rising cost of food all over the world has taken households, governments and the media by storm. The price of wheat has gone up by 130% over the last year.[1] Rice has doubled in price in Asia in the first three months of 2008 alone,[2] and just last week it hit record highs on the Chicago futures market.[3] For most of 2007 the spiralling cost of cooking oil, fruit and vegetables, as well as of dairy and meat, led to a fall in the consumption of these items. From Haiti to Cameroon to Bangladesh, people have been taking to the streets in anger at being unable to afford the food they need. In fear of political turmoil, world leaders have been calling for more food aid, as well as for more funds and technology to boost agricultural production. Cereal exporting countries, meanwhile, are closing their borders to protect their domestic markets, while other countries have been forced into panic buying. Is this a price blip? No. A food shortage? Not that either. We are in a structural meltdown, the direct result of three decades of neoliberal globalisation.

Farmers across the world produced a record 2.3 billion tons of grain in 2007, up 4% on the previous year. Since 1961 the world’s cereal output has tripled, while the population has doubled. Stocks are at their lowest level in 30 years, it’s true,[4] but the bottom line is that there is enough food produced in the world to feed the population. The problem is that it doesn’t get to all of those who need it. Less than half of the world’s grain production is directly eaten by people. Most goes into animal feed and, increasingly, biofuels – massive inflexible industrial chains. In fact, once you look behind the cold curtain of statistics, you realise that something is fundamentally wrong with our food system. We have allowed food to be transformed from something that nourishes people and provides them with secure livelihoods into a commodity for speculation and bargaining. The perverse logic of this system has come to a head. Today it is staring us in the face that this system puts the profits of investors before the food needs of people.

Market realities

The policy makers who have shaped today’s world food system – and who are supposed to be responsible for averting such catastrophes – have come out with a number of explanations for the current crisis that everyone has heard over and over again: drought and other problems affecting harvests; rising demand in China and India where people are supposedly eating more and better than in the past; crops and lands being massively diverted into biofuel production; and so on. All of these issues, of course, are contributing to the current food crisis. But they do not account for the full depth of what is happening. There is something more fundamental at work, something that brings all these issues together, and which the world’s finance and development chiefs are keeping out of public discussion.

Nothing that the policy makers say should obscure the fact that today’s food crisis is the outcome of both an incessant push towards a “Green Revolution” agricultural model since the 1950s and the trade liberalisation and structural adjustment policies imposed on poor countries by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund since the 1970s. These policy prescriptions were reinforced with the establishment of the World Trade Organisation in the mid-1990s and, more recently, through a barrage of bilateral free trade and investment agreements. Together with a series of other measures, they have led to the ruthless dismantling of tariffs and other tools that developing countries had created to protect local agricultural production. These countries have been forced to open their markets and lands to global agribusiness, speculators and subsidised food exports from rich countries. In that process, fertile lands have been diverted away from serving local food markets to the production of global commodities or off-season and high-value crops for Western supermarkets. Today, roughly 70% of all so-called developing countries are net importers of food.[5] And of the estimated 845 million hungry people in the world, 80% are small farmers.[6] Add to this the re-engineering of credit and financial markets to create a massive debt industry, with no control on investors, and the depth of the problem becomes clear.

Agricultural policy has completely lost touch with its most basic goal of feeding people. Hunger hurts and people are desperate. The UN World Food Programme estimates that recent price hikes have meant that an additional 100 million people can no longer afford to eat adequately.[7] Governments are frantically seeking shelter from the system. The fortunate ones, with export stocks, are pulling out of the global market to cut their domestic prices off from the skyrocketing world prices. With wheat, export bans or restrictions in Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine and Argentina mean that a third of the global market has now been closed off. The situation with rice is even worse: China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, India and Cambodia have banned or severely restricted exports, leaving just a few sources of export supply, mainly Thailand and the US. Countries like Bangladesh can’t buy the rice they need now because the prices are so high. For years the World Bank and the IMF have told countries that a liberalised market would provide the most efficient system for producing and distributing food, yet today the world’s poorest countries are forced into an intense bidding war against speculators and traders, who are having a field day. Hedge funds and other sources of hot money are pouring billions of dollars into commodities to escape sliding stock markets and the credit crunch, putting food stocks further out of poor people’s reach.[8] According to some estimates, investment funds now control 50–60% of the wheat traded on the world’s biggest commodity markets.[9] One firm calculates that the amount of speculative money in commodities futures – markets where investors do not buy or sell a physical commodity, like rice or wheat, but merely bet on price movements – has ballooned from US$5 billion in 2000 to US$175 billion to 2007.[10]

The situation today is untenable. Look at Haiti. A few decades ago it was self-sufficient in rice. But conditions on foreign loans, particularly a 1994 package from the IMF, forced it to liberalise its market. Cheap rice flooded in from the US, backed by subsidies and corruption, and local production was wiped out.[11] Now prices for rice have risen 50% since last year and the average Haitian can’t afford to eat. So people are taking to the streets or risking their lives to journey by boat to the US. Food protests have also erupted in West Africa, from Mauritania to Burkina Faso. There, too, structural adjustment programmes and food-aid dumping have destroyed the region’s own rice production, leaving people at the mercy of the international market. In Asia, the World Bank constantly assured the Philippines, even as recently as last year, that self-sufficiency in rice was unnecessary and that the world market would take care of its needs.[12] Now the government is in a desperate plight: its domestic supply of subsidised rice is nearly exhausted and it cannot import all it needs because traders’ asking prices are too high.

Making a killing from hunger

The truth about who profits and who loses from our global food system has never been more obvious. Take the most basic element of food production: soil. The industrial food system is a chemical-fertiliser junkie. It needs more and more of the stuff just to keep alive, eroding soils and their potential to support crop yields in the process. In the current context of tight food supplies, the small clique of corporations that control the world’s fertiliser market can charge what they want – and that’s exactly what they are doing. Profits at Cargill’s Mosaic Corporation, which controls much of the world’s potash and phosphate supply, more than doubled last year.[13] The world’s largest potash producer, Canada’s Potash Corp, made more than US$1 billion in profit, up more than 70% from 2006.[14] Panicking now about future supplies, governments are becoming desperate to boost their harvests, giving these corporations additional leverage. In April 2008, the joint offshore trading arm for Mosaic and Potash hiked the price of its potash by 40% for buyers from Southeast Asia and by 85% for those from Latin American. India had to pay 130% more than last year, and China 227% more.[15]

While big money is being made from fertilisers, it is just a sideline for Cargill. Its biggest profits come from global trading in agricultural commodities, which, together with a few other big traders, it pretty much monopolises. On 14 April 2008, Cargill announced that its profits from commodity trading for the first quarter of 2008 were 86% higher than the same period in 2007. “Demand for food in developing economies and for energy worldwide is boosting demand for agricultural goods, at the same time that investment monies have streamed into commodity markets,” said Greg Page, Cargill’s chairman and chief executive officer. “Prices are setting new highs and markets are extraordinarily volatile. In this environment, Cargill’s team has done an exceptional job measuring and assessing price risk, and managing the large volume of grains, oilseeds and other commodities moving through our supply chains for customers globally.”[16]

Managing and assessing are not so difficult for a company like Cargill, with its near monopoly position and a global team of analysts the size of a UN agency. Indeed, all of the big grain traders are making record profits. Bunge, another big food trader, saw its profits of the last fiscal quarter of 2007 increase by US$245 million, or 77%, compared with the same period of the previous year. The 2007 profits registered by ADM, the second largest grain trader in the world, rose by 65% to a record US$2.2 billion. Thailand’s Charoen Pokphand Foods, a major player in Asia, is forecasting revenue growth of 237% this year.

The world’s big food processors, some of which are commodity traders themselves, are also cashing in. Nestlé’s global sales grew 7% last year. “We saw this coming, so we hedged by forward-buying raw materials”, says François-Xavier Perroud, Nestlé’s spokesman.[17] Margins are up at Unilever, too. “Commodity pressures have increased sharply, but we have successfully offset these through timely pricing action and continued delivery from our savings programmes”, says Patrick Cescau, Group CEO of Unilever. “We will not sacrifice our margins and market share.”[18] The food corporations don’t seem to be making these profits off the back of the retailers. UK supermarket Tesco reports profits up 12.3% from last year, a record rise. Other major retailers, such as France’s Carrefour and the US’s Wal-Mart, say that food sales are the main factor sustaining their profit increases.[19] Wal-Mart’s Mexican division, Wal-Mex, which handles a third of overall food sales in Mexico, reported an 11% increase in profits for the first quarter of 2008. (At the same time Mexicans are demonstrating in the streets because they can no longer afford to make tortillas.[20])

It seems that nearly every corporate player in the global food chain is making a killing from the food crisis. The seed and agrochemical companies are doing well too. Monsanto, the world’s largest seed company, reported a 44% increase in overall profits in 2007.[21] DuPont, the second-largest, said that its 2007 profits from seeds increased by 19%, while Syngenta, the top pesticide manufacturer and third-largest company for seeds, saw profits rise 28% in the first quarter of 2008.[22]      Read More at


Thursday, May 01, 2008

Stimulus Checks Begin Arriving. Will They Help The Economy?

  My take on this is that these checks which we are now getting will do nothing to help our economy go up again. Let's face it, they might have helped a little bit if it weren't for the fact that our gas, food, and other items have  been going up through the roof, but not now. These checks won't help us out at all, but they'll help out poor companies like ExxonMobile who only made 10 billion or so the last quarter.

  Here is what one couple did with their $1,200 check.

 Murray Ledger & Times

The long-awaited economic stimulus packages have started arriving and what the government had hoped would serve as an economic boost has become money for things like gas, milk and paying off credit cards.
For most, payments are spent as quickly as they come.
Sara, a shopper at Goodys who declined to give her last name, said she and her husband received their $1,200 check on Tuesday and by Wednesday it was gone. She said they used $600 to pay off a refrigerator at Lowes and the other $600 at an unexpected opthamology appointment.

“There went all our $1,200 in one day,” she said.

House Sends Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) to President

From   The Gavel

May 1st, 2008 by Jesse Lee

The House has just concurred in Senate amendments to H.R. 493, Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act by a vote of 414-1. This landmark bill would prohibit health insurance companies and employers from discriminating against people on the basis of genetic test results. By prohibiting the improper use of genetic information, this bill encourages Americans to undergo testing necessary for early treatment and prevention of genetic-based diseases. House passage today sends this bill to the President’s desk for his signature. The House originally passed the bill by a vote of 420 to 3 on April 25, 2007. The Senate passed the bill with relatively minor amendments and clarifications on April 24, 2008 by a vote of 95 to 0. House passage today sends this landmark bill to the President’s desk for his signature.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Appropriations Chairman Obey Responds to President’s Veto Threat

  As you probably all know, Resident Bush is threatening to veto the new Iraq war bill because the punk doesn't like a few other appropriations that have been added to it. Namely, that would be the expansion of the GI Bill to bring it up into the 21 century, and the extension of unemployment benefits to workers whose benefits have expired.

April 30th, 2008 by Jesse Lee

From the Appropriations Committee:

Obey Responds to Veto Threat

WASHINGTON – Dave Obey (D-WI), Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, responded to yet another veto threat from a President unwilling to work with Congress to help veterans and the unemployed.

“The President is asking us to provide $108 billion in additional spending for the war in Iraq this year and almost $70 billion in additional war spending for next year, yet this morning he said that he would veto our efforts to expand the GI Bill for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and to extend unemployment benefits for workers who’s benefits have been exhausted.

“Those two items cost less than one-tenth of what the President wants to spend in Iraq.

“The President seems to think that he can issue pronouncements like the great Yoda, and that the American people and the Congress will comply with his insistence to provide billions for the war in Iraq, but table scraps – or less – for war fighters and workers at home.

“That is not the way a democracy is supposed to work. In the Congress we will continue to press forward to meet our domestic and international obligations across the board. This is not the time for the President to hold his breath and turn blue. It’s time for reasonable adults to compromise for the good of the country.”  The Gavel

  bush will veto this bill, and as it seems right now, he has Senator John McCain's backing. McCain has not signed on to this bill yet.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Cheney's Lawyer Says That Congress Has No Oversite Authority

  It is bullshit such as this that you and I should make sure that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are fired on their next election dates. This country would not have so many problems from Cheney/Bush if impeachment hadn't been taken off the table by Pelosi and Reid.


Tuesday April 29 2008

The lawyer for US vice-president Dick Cheney claimed today that the Congress lacks any authority to examine his behaviour on the job.

The exception claimed by Cheney's counsel came in response to requests from congressional Democrats that David Addington, the vice-president's chief of staff, testify about his involvement in the approval of interrogation tactics used at Guantanamo Bay.

Ruling out voluntary cooperation by Addington, Cheney lawyer Kathryn Wheelbarger said Cheney's conduct is "not within the [congressional] committee's power of inquiry".

"Congress lacks the constitutional power to regulate by law what a vice-president communicates in the performance of the vice president's official duties, or what a vice president recommends that a president communicate," Wheelbarger wrote to senior aides on Capitol Hill.

The exception claimed by Cheney's office recalls his attempt last year to evade rules for classified documents by deeming the vice-president's office a hybrid branch of government - both executive and legislative.

The Democratic congressman who is investigating the legal framework for the violent interrogation of terrorist suspects, John Conyers, has asked Addington and several other top Bush administration lawyers to testify. Thus far all have claimed their deliberations are privileged.

However, Philippe Sands QC, law professor at University College, London, has agreed to appear in Washington and discuss the revelations in Torture Team, his new book on the consequences of the brutal tactics used at Guantanamo.

Excerpts from Torture Team were previewed exclusively by the Guardian earlier this month.

Two witnesses sought by Conyers, former US attorney general John Ashcroft and former US justice department lawyer John Yoo, claimed that their involvement in civil lawsuits related to harsh interrogations allows them to avoid appearing before Congress.

In letters to attorneys representing Ashcroft and Yoo, Conyers shot down their arguments and indicated he would pursue subpoenas if their clients did not testify at his May 6 hearing.

"I am aware of no basis for the remarkable claim that pending civil litigation somehow immunises an individual from testifying before Congress," Conyers wrote.

Conyers, who chairs the House of Representatives judiciary committee, also questioned the reasoning of Cheney's lawyer in a letter to Addington.

"It is hard to know what aspect of the invitation [to you] has given rise to concern that the committee might seek to regulate the vice president's recommendations to the president," Conyers wrote.

"Especially since far more obvious potential subjects of legislation are plentiful," he added, mentioning several: US laws on the use of torture on terrorist suspects, the 15-year-old War Crimes Act, and the rules that allowed the Bush White House to receive legal advice from a specialised office within the justice department.

This article was first published on on Tuesday April 29 2008. It was last updated at 03:37 on April 29 2008.

Monday, April 28, 2008

News you May Have Missed

MERCED, Calif. - A sheriff's deputy has fatally shot a man who stormed through security at a northern California county courthouse carrying two large butcher knives.

District Attorney Larry Morse II says guards chased the man as he ran down the hallway on Monday afternoon carrying the knives and entered a courtroom holding them above his head.  A.P.


WEBSTER, Mass. - Two police officers and a firefighter rescued a toddler and infant twins from a fire that authorities say started after the mother left the children alone while she went shopping. The mother was arrested.     A.P.


OAKLAND, Calif. - A jury has found an Oakland software programmer guilty in the death of his estranged wife.

Nina Reiser disappeared more than a year ago after dropping the couple's children off at Hans Reiser's home. Her body has never been found.   A.P.

  I threw this one in just for the hell of it

TORONTO, April 28 (UPI) -- The number of strippers and strip clubs in Toronto is declining, with former dancers blaming the Internet for putting them out of work.
A 23-year-old ex-dancer identified only as Madeline told the Toronto Star she could make as much as $1,000 per night after she started working in strip clubs four years ago, but gave it up for a clothed bartending job when fewer men would pay $20 for a lap dance.
"Why would a guy go to a club and pay to sit there if he could get it all for free on his computer at home?" she asked.  U.P.I.