Thursday, November 09, 2006

GOD BLESS AMERICA! VOTERS PUT BUSH ON A TIGHT LEASH

Americans Shout a Resounding 'No!' to Continued One-Party Rule and 'Staying the Course' on Iraq; Rumsfeld Gets the Boot 24 Hours Later

THURSDAY POST-ELECTION SPECIAL
By Skeeter Sanders


As this blogger watched the election returns Tuesday night, which saw the Democrats end a dozen years of Republican control of the House -- and break six years of one-party GOP rule overall -- I wanted to climb onto my rooftop and sing "God Bless America" at the top of my lungs.

God Bless America!


Americans by the millions exercised their constitutional right to vote and delivered a resounding repudiation of President Bush's handling of the war in Iraq and the multiple scandals that have rocked the Republicans on Capitol Hill. They swept the Republicans out of legislative power on Capitol Hill by turning control of both houses of Congress to the Democrats.

Frozen out of power for 12 long years in the House, the Democrats took back control of the lower chamber by capturing more than 25 seats held by Republicans. But it wasn't until late Wednesday night when it became clear that the Democrats would also take control of the Senate, albeit with the bare majority of 51 seats.

The new majority will include two New England independents who will caucus with the Democrats: Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who will move to the Senate after 16 years in the House, and Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, re-elected as an independent after losing the August Democratic primary to Ned Lamont.

Peter Welch, a Democrat, will succeed Sanders in the House. He'll be the first Democrat to hold Vermont's lone seat in the House of Representatives in 20 years.

Although neither of the incumbent Republican senators in the two remaining officially undecided contests, Conrad Burns of Montana and George Allen of Virginia, have conceded defeat to their Democratic opponents, Jon Tester and Jim Webb, respectively, both senators trail by enough votes to make recounts moot, according to The Associated Press.

Allen has scheduled a news conference for today (Thursday), when county-by-county canvassing of the electronic voting machines is due to be completed. There were unconfirmed reports that Allen, who has the right under Virgina law to ask for a recount, plans instead to formally concede to Webb.

Democrats Also Gain Majority of Governorships, State Legislatures


In addition to their congressional victory, Democrats also took 20 of 36 governors' races to give them a majority of state chief executives — 28 — for the first time since 1994. Arkansas, Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York and Ohio went into the Democratic column. Deval Patrick made history with his election as Massachusetts' first African-American governor.

Democrats also gained a decisive edge in state legislatures, taking control of several and solidifying their hold on others. With the wins, Democrats will be in a better position to shape state policy agendas and will play a key role in drawing congressional districts.

Iraq War Main Cause of GOP's Defeat -- And of Rumsfeld's Ouster

Within 24 hours after their Capitol Hill victory, the Democrats claimed their first Bush administration casualty as Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announced his resignation. The president reached back to his father's administration to tap Robert Gates, a former CIA director, to replace Rumsfeld.

The Iraq war was the central issue of Rumsfeld's often-contentious tenure and the public's growing unhappiness with the lack of progress with the war was the primary reason for the Democrats' electoral victory Tuesday — and the main impetus for his departure. Even some GOP lawmakers became critical of Rumsfeld's handling of the war, with growing numbers of Republicans urging Bush to replace Rumsfeld.

The final straw may have come in the form of a blistering editorial published in the Military Times newspapers which serve the nation's rank-and-file armed forces personnel demanding that Rumsfeld be dismissed.

Bush Now Knows How Bill Clinton Felt on Day After '94 Election

What goes around, comes around. Now Bush knows what President Bill Clinton felt on the day after the Republicans won control of Congress in 1994. But Bush faces a much more daunting political reality than Clinton did, primarily because unlike Clinton, Bush is in his final term in office and thus is already a lame duck, a full two years early.

And whereas the so-called "Republican Revolution" of 1994 was against 40 years of Democratic control of Congress, the "Democratic Counterrevolution" of 2006 -- if it can be called that --was squarely against the president.

For Republicans, a Nationwide Fall From Power, Greased By Scandals

Republicans -- even their last remaining liberal in the Senate, Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island -- fell from power in every region of the country, as well as in every type of district — urban, rural and suburban. Exit polls showed middle-class independent voters who defected from the Democrats to the GOP in 1994 returned to the Democrats by a two-to-one margin.

The 2006 House results were an eerie reversal of the 1994 Republican sweep, when the GOP captured 54 seats in the House without losing any seats. With 12 House seats still undecided as of early Thursday morning, Democrats ousted 28 Republicans without losing a single incumbent. If all 12 remaining contests go the Democrats' way, they will have picked up a total of 40 House seats, their biggest gain since the post-Watergate landslide of 1974.

Exit polls by CNN and the AP showed that a series of scandals that have dogged Republicans for months -- topped by Mark Foley's sexually-explicit e-mails to teenage Capitol Hill pages -- hurt Republican incumbents even more than the president's low job-approval ratings and the increasing unpopularity of the three-and-a-half-year-old war in Iraq.

In Pennsylvania, Democrats defeated Representative Curt Weldon in the fallout from a federal corruption investigation and in upstate New York, voters tossed out Representative Don Sherwood, who admitted to a five-year extramarital affair with a much younger woman who says he choked her in a $5.5 million lawsuit against him.

The GOP lost the Texas seat of former Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who resigned from the House in disgrace after being indicted in a campaign finance scheme; the Ohio seat held by Bob Ney, who resigned only last Friday after pleading guilty in a lobbying scandal, and the Florida seat of Foley.

The Foley scandal, more than any other, is largely to blame for a significant decline in GOP support from conservative Christians, many of whom stayed home, according to the exit polls. Even in states where ballot measures banning same-sex marriage drew conservative Christians to the polls, as much as a third of those voters cast ballots for Democratic candidates. who stepped down after the disclosure that he sent sexually explicit messages to male congressional pages.

End to a "Rubber-Stamp" GOP Congress -- And a Drift to a One-Party State


More importantly to this blogger, the election decisively brings to an end a "rubber-stamp" Republican Congress -- and the threat of the nation drifting toward a China-like one-party regime, with Republicans in permanent control of all three branches of government.

I don't use the term "China-like" lightly. For the past six years -- and especially since 2004, the federal government has been sliding dangerously toward a right-wing, one-party dictatorship, with hard-line conservative Republicans -- already in control of the White House and the Congress -- coming to within one seat of taking control of the Supreme Court, with the appointment by Bush of conservatives John Roberts as chief justice and Samuel Alito as associate justice.

Combine that with Bush's warrantless electronic surveillance program -- which, despite White House assertions to the contrary, clearly violate the Fourth Amendment; the USA Patriot Act, several of its provisions are also constitutionally suspect; and now the new law governing the treatment of terrorism suspects, which blatantly violate the Constitution by denying habeas corpus and empowering the president to arrest anyone -- even U.S. citizens -- on the merest suspicion of being terrorists and hold them for months, even years, without charge or trial, and you have the recipe for an authoritarian dictatorship.

Thank God this blogger isn't the only American who believes this. And I thank God that the American people, whether consciously or unconsciously, put a stop to this dangerous drift toward dictatorship by breaking the one-party regime in Washington and restoring the constitutional system of checks and balances established by our nation's Founding Fathers.

Thank you, America! Thank you for restoring our democracy!

God Bless America!

# # #

Volume I, Number 53
Copyright 2006, Skeeter Sanders. All rights reserved.






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Monday, November 06, 2006

For the Sake of Our Democracy's Survival, We Must Have Regime Change in America

The Choice on November 7 Is Clear: Restore Our System of Checks and Balances With a Democratic Congress -- Or Continue a One-Party GOP Regime That Is Moving America Inexorably Toward a Right-Wing Dictatorship

ELECTION SPECIAL
By Skeeter Sanders

As this article is being posted, it is the pre-dawn hours of Election Eve. In just over 24 hours from now, electoral polling stations will open their doors and millions of Americans will begin casting their votes in what can only be described as the most fateful midterm congressional election since 1994.

Millions more -- including this blogger -- already have made up their minds and cast their votes early. Election officials across the country report a record-high number of absentee ballots -- generated in large part to distrust by many of controversial new electronic voting machines that don't leave a paper trail.

=================================================
COMING THURSDAY: A Post-Election Analysis and Commentary
=================================================

Then allow me to address those of you who haven't already voted and plan to cast your ballot tomorrow. The big question, of course, that cannot be answered until tomorrow is how many of you will actually show up at the voting booths.

With so many congressional and Senate races deemed tossups in pre-election polls, turnout will undoubtedly be crucial in determining which party will control the House and Senate. Not to mention 36 governors, all 50 state legislatures and thousands of county and municipal offices.

What's REALLY At Stake: The Survival Of Our Democracy

But there's much more at stake than which party controls Congress. What's at stake in this election is nothing less than the very survival of this, the world's oldest democracy.

Will the American people restore the system of checks and balances between the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government, as established in the Constitution by the founders of this nation, by electing a Democratic Party-controlled Congress?

Or will the American people continue the one-party Republican regime that has been in power for the past six years and has been systematically destroying our most cherished principles of democracy in the name of "national security" -- and daring to brand opponents of that destruction as "unpatriotic" or worse, "traitors?"

Will the American people accord the opposition party real power to hold the ruling party's reckless foreign and domestic policies in check -- and force the ruling party to abide by the Constitution it has flagrantly and repeatedly violated for the past five years?

Or will the American people reward the ruling party with two more years of absolute, unfettered power, enabling it to ride completely roughshod over its opponents' rights and aspirations -- and the Constitution be damned, moving this country inexorably toward a Mussolini-style dictatorship?

These are the real stakes in this election -- not that garbage TV ad put out by the Republican National Committee about terrorism striking on American soil again if the American people vote to turn control of Congress to the Democrats.

Forget the presidential election of 2008. This election, this year -- 2006 -- will determine whether our democracy will survive or be slowly choked to death.

This election, this year -- 2006 -- will determine whether the constitutional system of checks and balances established by our nation's Founding Fathers will be restored with a Democratic Party-controlled Congress, or be utterly destroyed by an all-Republican regime that bears absolutely no resemblance to the Republican Party of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower and even Ronald Reagan.

Why Americans Must End One-Party Rule Tomorrow

Never, in the 42 years that this blogger has been paying close attention to American politics, have I ever seen a Congress more corrupt, more power-hungry and more morally hypocritical than the one currently in office.

Never has this blogger ever seen a Congress more derelict of its constitutional responsibility to oversee the foreign policy actions of the executive branch than the one currently in office; indeed, this has been a rubber-stamp Republican Congress that more closely resembles the old rubber-stamp Soviet Communist Party Congress.

Never has this blogger ever seen a Congress more determined to curb the constitutionally-guaranteed right of American citizens to the privacy of their electronic communications than the one currently in office, by allowing the Bush administration to continue wiretaps without court warrants -- in blatant violation of the Fourth Amendment.

Never has this blogger ever seen a Congress more openly contemptuous of the third branch of government -- the judiciary -- than the one currently in office, by ramming through blatantly unconstitutional legislation barring habeas corpus and judicial oversight over the prosecution of terrorist suspects in clear defiance of a Supreme Court ruling issued earlier this year that both are mandated by the Constitution.

Never has this blogger ever seen a Congress more willing to insert discrimination against an entire class of Americans into our nation's supreme law -- our Constitution -- than the one currently in office, solely because the persons that class of Americans love the most are of the same gender as themselves -- and in doing so, endorse an anti-gay religious doctrine in blatant violation of the First Amendment separation of church and state.

Never has this blogger ever seen a Congress reward the wealthiest Americans with record-high tax cuts than the one currently in office, shifting the burden of taxation to the already-overburdened middle class and racking up the biggest budget deficits in the nation's history.

Never has this blogger ever seen a Congress more determined to curb the rights of the 52 percent majority of the American populace that is female of their right to reproductive choice than the one currently in office, a Congress dominated by the 48 percent minority of the American populace that is male.

Nor has this blogger ever seen a Congress -- dominated by a party that's supposed to champion less government interference in Americans' personal affairs -- so willing to interfere in the very personal affairs of the Schiavo and Schindler families than the one currently in office, by passing emergency legislation to intervene in the the end-of-life decision of the comatose Terri Schiavo.

Are We Going to Reward GOP Corruption and Moral Hypocrisy?

And never has this blogger ever seen a Congress more ethically and morally hypocritical than the one currently in office.

For a party that for the better part of the past 25 years cultivated an image of itself as the party that will defend "traditional moral values" and "traditional family values," the Republicans have repeatedly demonstrated an appalling hypocrisy on both fronts.

Just ask former Representative Dan Crane (R-Illinois), who ran on a platform of "preserving traditional family values," only to see the married father of three caught having sex with a female congressional page in the same 1983 scandal that saw the late Representative Gerry Studds (D-Massachusetts) found out to have had sex with a male page.

Studds was never a defender of "traditional family values." On the contrary, Studds was a staunch believer of and practitioner in alternative values. It helped that Studds was also single. So when Studds came out of the closet, he was being true to himself and to the values he believed in. And he forthrightly challenged his constituents by saying, in effect, "I am what I am. If you don't like what I am, you can vote me out. But I'm no longer going to pretend to be something that I'm not." They re-elected him -- five times.

Bottom line: Studds was honest about himself and what he believed in and was rewarded for his honesty, however distasteful his honesty was to some. Crane, on the other hand, was a hypocrite -- and was ultimately punished for his hypocrisy by getting tossed out of office.

Remember Jack Abramoff, Tom DeLay -- And Mark Foley

The Republicans were swept into power in Congress in 1994 on a platform of reform and cleaning up Congress of corruption after more than 40 years of Democratic control. They also promised to "change the climate" to restore decency to American politics and culture.

But what did the GOP do instead? They accepted millions of dollars in illegal contributions from super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff. The House Republican leader, Tom DeLay, ran things with an iron fist, as though he was El Jefe of one of the many Latin American dictatorships that were in power up till the 1980s.

DeLay rammed through a redistricting plan in Texas that ensured a GOP majority in the Texas congressional delegation, despite the fact that the lines were already redrawn after the 2000 Census -- and that it's unconstitutional to redraw congressional districts more than once every ten years, unless a court declares the original redistricting plan is itself unconstitutional or illegal under federal voting-rights laws.

In this blogger's opinion, those Texas Republicans now in Congress under the DeLay gerrymander are holding their seats illegally and should be tossed out of office.

The House Republican leadership was warned about the online predatory peccadilloes of one of their own, the now-disgraced former Representative Mark Foley (R-Florida). But for three solid years, they did nothing to discipline him until his pedophile attraction to teenage male Capitol Hill pages was exposed by ABC News in late September.

We've now learned that the White House even pressured Foley to run for a seventh term this fall, instead of retiring, as he had originally planned to do.

For the GOP, It's All About Power -- And They're Determined to Keep It

There should be little doubt what this election is about. No, I'm not talking about the war in Iraq -- although it's clearly the dominant issue, as it should be. But let's not kid ourselves; the real name of the game is power. No incumbent party wants to lose an election. But the Republicans are clearly drunk with power; they're resolutely determined to keep it -- and accumulate more of it -- by whatever means necessary.

As I wrote earlier, this is not the Republican Party of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower and even Ronald Reagan. This is a Republican Party dominated by plutocratic corporate interests that care only about accumulating more wealth and power. The Christian Right are merely the shock troops -- pawns in a corporate army. The GOP uses wedge issues like abortion and gay marriage to fire them up.

But now, thanks to the worsening situation in Iraq, the Foley scandal -- and now the sudden fall from grace of one of the Christian Right's own, the Rev. Ted Haggard, in a sex-for-drugs scandal -- the coalition that had held the GOP in power for the past six years is fraying, if not falling apart completely.

An independent oversight board on Saturday fired Haggard as senior pastor of the conservative Colorado mega-church he founded, determining the influential evangelist had committed "sexually immoral conduct."

The board's decision cuts Haggard off from leadership of the 14,000-member New Life Church of Colorado Springs. He had resigned two days earlier as president of the National Association of Evangelicals -- where he held sway in Washington and condemned homosexuality -- after a Denver man claimed to have had drug-fueled trysts with him.

If Vote Tallies Don't Match Exit Polls, WATCH OUT!

Every pre-election poll now shows that the Democrats are certain to take back control of the House, gaining anywhere from 20 to 30 seats (they need to gain 15 seats to take control) and are poised to come within an eyelash of taking back the Senate, where the Democrats need to gain six seats.

While this blogger is still not convinced that the Democrats will do better than a 50-50 tie in the Senate, I'm much more concerned about Karl Rove's insistence that the GOP will keep control of the House, for it's in the House that the more radical right-wing members of the party hold sway.

On Election Night, watch very carefully to see if the actual vote tallies match the exit polls that the Associated Press will conduct for itself and the TV networks (the exit poll results from each state will be sequestered at AP headquarters in New York until that state's polls close to prevent premature leaks to the blogosphere).

If the tallies vary widely from the exit polls, then we're in deep trouble. With four out of every five polling places across the country using electronic voting machines, such variance would be seen as evidence that the machines were rigged to favor one party over another. You can guess which party.

Already, there have been many technical problems reported with the machines in test votes. In Florida, the problems held up results of that state's September primary.

Bottom line, the Democrats must win tomorrow's election if for no other reason than to preserve the integrity of our electoral system. If they don't, you can say goodbye to our democracy and say hello to Big Brother.

# # #

Volume I, Number 52
Copyright 2006, Skeeter Sanders. All rights reserved.





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