Joe Biden's Debate: A Reminder of the Difference Oct 12, '12 4:27 AM
I just watched the Vice Presidential debate, and I am proud of Joe Biden. He did an excellent job of calling Lyin' Ryan on his attempts to attack Obama's record and accomplishments.
More than that, the debate brought up some important points that anyone who thinks this election doesn't matter-- that it's ok to "punish" the President for not being perfectly aligned with their own view.
No, damn it, it's NOT ok to sit on the sidelines and feel superior. Apathy, or voting for an irrelevant third party is not a superior act. It is the act of putting your self-image ahead of the real-world concerns of your fellow citizens to whom the issues at stake really matter.
 The Supreme Court
Women's right to control their own bodies, the Voting Rights Act, and gender preference equality are just three major issues than can be won, maintained, or lost in a Supreme Court decision. All or parts of the Patriot Act, Military Detention Act, and multiple editions of the NDAA may also be brought to the Supreme Court.
Who the 9 Justices are matters immensely. George Bush added two dogmatic conservatives to the Court, and we got Corporate Personhood, devastating to the struggle to get huge sums of corporate wealth out of our elections, opening the floodgates of influence when they need to be shut down.
The makeup of the court could change for the better or the worse in the next 4 years. Who do you want to pick the next Justice, or the one after that?
 Protecting the Poor
Republicans have tried to privatize Social Security already, under Bush, and that is what Romney and Ryan would like to do as well. The most successful government program ever in this country, and one that can easily be maintained far into the future, is a target of the Republicans. So is Medicare, and Affordable Health Care. They even attack food stamps, the reason millions of families have enough to eat, whether they are unemployed, or are of the working poor, disabled, or elderly.
Eisenhower once said Republicans would be stupid to try to dismantle the social safety net. He knew that a successful productive economy cannot afford to ignore any of its citizens- not the workers who make it run, nor those who are unable to work.
But Republicans ARE that stupid now. They have lost the moderate wisdom some of them once had. We CANNOT afford to let them succeed in their class warfare.
 Foreign Policy
Some are unhappy that Obama hasn't changed US foreign policy 180 degrees. There are changes I would like to see myself, but I am realistic, and know it takes more time than four years, and it will need a lot more demand for change by the people. What the President has done right is not just a change in tone and attitude, but a great deal of hard work and attention to detail in diplomacy that have kept potential crisis situations from getting worse, and avoided new ground wars, while winding down and ending two wars he didn't start.
In foreign affairs, major positive achievements are rare, and depend on opportunity. You have to pay attention to the finer points to see the skilled and dedicated ability of the President and his diplomatic team. Whether you think he could have done more or not, do you really want anyone less competent handling critical issues that could mean major war?
Let us remember that the alternative is Mitt Romney, whose attempts at foreign policy statements have been clearly lacking in understanding. He has advisors, of course. Many of them are Bush-era neocons.
 Everything else.
There are dozens more issues on which President Obama is clearly the right choice, and not a single one on which an intelligent person, whether moderate or more radically progressive, would choose Romney. I will probably write about them in the future.
But one or the other, Obama or Romney, will win. It may be a close election. Please don't fail to help the side you know should win.
-cosmicrat Oct. 12, 2012
ANOTHER GOLDWATER INSTITUTE ATTACK Sep 5, '12 5:58 PM
The right-wing pro-corporate Goldwater Institute is at it again. Not only have they pushed the "Secret Ballot Initiative", but now they've defended it in court for Arizona.
In their own words, from an email:
"Today the Goldwater Institute won the opening round of our fight against the NLRB, when a federal district judge ruled that the Save Our Secret Ballot amendment is constitutional.
Drafted by the Goldwater Institute in 2009 and now law in six states, the Save Our Secret Ballot amendment protects the right of workers to vote by secret ballot in union-organizing elections. You may remember voting to pass this law by initiative in 2010. The NLRB, which has been hard at work trying to end the use of secret ballots, sued Arizona over the law.
Thank you for making this great victory possible.
Sincerely, (Darcy Olsen)"
As most should know by now, this isn't about an electoral secret ballot, it's a way to make union organizing more difficult, and, as we've seen, Republicans would like nothing better than to kill labor unions and strip workers of their rights.
Although it wasn't addressed to me, I replied to the Goldwater Institute:
Sure, it's a victory for YOU, who are trying to destroy the rights of labor and its ability to effectively organize and collectively bargain.
It is a defeat for the working people of Arizona, and I am angry about it, as should be every American who is aware of the vital role of organized labor in creating and maintaining the American middle class.
Shame on you.
Lance Armstrong- a victim of unjust persecution by the USADA Aug 24, '12 6:07 AM
I believe the USADA needs to be investigated, and reformed or eliminated. Lance's statement speaks for itself, most eloquently.
Lance Armstong's Statement of August 23, 2012
AUSTIN, Texas - August 23rd, 2012 - There comes a point in every man's life when he has to say, "Enough is enough." For me, that time is now. I have been dealing with claims that I cheated and had an unfair advantage in winning my seven Tours since 1999. Over the past three years, I have been subjected to a two-year federal criminal investigation followed by Travis Tygart's unconstitutional witch hunt. The toll this has taken on my family, and my work for our foundation and on me leads me to where I am today – finished with this nonsense.
I had hoped that a federal court would stop USADA’s charade. Although the court was sympathetic to my concerns and recognized the many improprieties and deficiencies in USADA’s motives, its conduct, and its process, the court ultimately decided that it could not intervene.
If I thought for one moment that by participating in USADA’s process, I could confront these allegations in a fair setting and – once and for all – put these charges to rest, I would jump at the chance. But I refuse to participate in a process that is so one-sided and unfair. Regardless of what Travis Tygart says, there is zero physical evidence to support his outlandish and heinous claims. The only physical evidence here is the hundreds of controls I have passed with flying colors. I made myself available around the clock and around the world. In-competition. Out of competition. Blood. Urine. Whatever they asked for I provided. What is the point of all this testing if, in the end, USADA will not stand by it?
From the beginning, however, this investigation has not been about learning the truth or cleaning up cycling, but about punishing me at all costs. I am a retired cyclist, yet USADA has lodged charges over 17 years old despite its own 8-year limitation. As respected organizations such as UCI and USA Cycling have made clear, USADA lacks jurisdiction even to bring these charges. The international bodies governing cycling have ordered USADA to stop, have given notice that no one should participate in USADA’s improper proceedings, and have made it clear the pronouncements by USADA that it has banned people for life or stripped them of their accomplishments are made without authority.
And as many others, including USADA’s own arbitrators, have found, there is nothing even remotely fair about its process. USADA has broken the law, turned its back on its own rules, and stiff-armed those who have tried to persuade USADA to honor its obligations. At every turn, USADA has played the role of a bully, threatening everyone in its way and challenging the good faith of anyone who questions its motives or its methods, all at U.S. taxpayers’ expense. For the last two months, USADA has endlessly repeated the mantra that there should be a single set of rules, applicable to all, but they have arrogantly refused to practice what they preach. On top of all that, USADA has allegedly made deals with other riders that circumvent their own rules as long as they said I cheated. Many of those riders continue to race today.
The bottom line is I played by the rules that were put in place by the UCI, WADA and USADA when I raced. The idea that athletes can be convicted today without positive A and B samples, under the same rules and procedures that apply to athletes with positive tests, perverts the system and creates a process where any begrudged ex-teammate can open a USADA case out of spite or for personal gain or a cheating cyclist can cut a sweetheart deal for themselves. It’s an unfair approach, applied selectively, in opposition to all the rules. It’s just not right.
USADA cannot assert control of a professional international sport and attempt to strip my seven Tour de France titles. I know who won those seven Tours, my teammates know who won those seven Tours, and everyone I competed against knows who won those seven Tours. We all raced together. For three weeks over the same roads, the same mountains, and against all the weather and elements that we had to confront. There were no shortcuts, there was no special treatment. The same courses, the same rules. The toughest event in the world where the strongest man wins. Nobody can ever change that. Especially not Travis Tygart.
Today I turn the page. I will no longer address this issue, regardless of the circumstances. I will commit myself to the work I began before ever winning a single Tour de France title: serving people and families affected by cancer, especially those in underserved communities. This October, my Foundation will celebrate 15 years of service to cancer survivors and the milestone of raising nearly $500 million.
We have a lot of work to do and I'm looking forward to an end to this pointless distraction. I have a responsibility to all those who have stepped forward to devote their time and energy to the cancer cause. I will not stop fighting for that mission. Going forward, I am going to devote myself to raising my five beautiful (and energetic) kids, fighting cancer, and attempting to be the fittest 40-year old on the planet.
-cosmic rat 8/24/2012