Sunday, June 29, 2008

Lifting The Offshore Oil Drilling Ban, Feeding The Oil Habit

Video Transcript for:
Lifting The Offshore Oil Drilling Ban
Feeding The Oil Habit

Hello, welcome to Real World Politics. My name is Larry Halstead. The topic today is about the issue of offshore oil drilling and the proposal for Congress to lift the ban on offshore oil drilling that has been proposed by both President Bush and Senator McCain.

Right about now, the Republican nominee, John McBush is looking at the pathetically low approval rating of who the vast majority of Americans now consider to be the worst president EVER. McCain is working overtime to distance himself from the president and the policies of the current administration. Since securing the nomination, McCain is treating Bush like the plague and going out of his way to avoid being photographed or even seen together.

But as anyone who has taken the Bush/McCain Challenge can tell you that the real significant difference between George and John doesn’t amount to more than a teaspoon full of spit. Clearly McCain is running for Bush’s third term.

For over seven years now, the oil boys in the White House have set us on the course for increased dependency on foreign oil and making a bigger profit for the oil companies they represent. Americans are currently paying more than three times the price at the pump than they were at the beginning of this national nightmare presidency.

When George W. Bush was first appointed president by the Supreme Court, the price of a barrel of oil war was around twenty four dollars and we were paying about a buck forty-seven per gallon. Today we see oil prices have soared under the Bush/Cheney Oil Company to one hundred and thirty-eight dollars per barrel and we are paying over four dollars per gallon. Every day the price of oil surges skyward and we all now realize that $5 per gallon is just around the corner.

Look at this chart on the history of oil prices prepared by the oil industry itself. This chart shows the fluctuation in gas prices as influenced by crisis and war in the Mideast. On the right side of the chart you will notice the price spike that began on 9/11 and has continued to sky rocketed at an alarming rate. This graph was current as of May 2008 and you will notice that the all time record at that time is still way below the one hundred dollar mark. Within a month of completing this chart, oil prices spiked again to an astounding one hundred and thirty eight dollars per barrel and climbing.

We are fighting a costly war over oil while the oil companies are enjoying record windfall profits in the billions of dollars, Bush and McCain are again singing from the same hymnal. They want to exploit the American pain at the pump and the resulting higher prices for food and all other goods and services.

On the exact same day, both Bush and McCain seized the opportunity to exploit our misery of high prices at the pump into even more profits by violating our ocean resources. Bush started urging leaders in Congress to lift the ban on offshore oil drilling on the same day that McCain was pitching his own energy policy calling for….SURPRISE…. ending the ban on offshore drilling.

From Barack Obama on down, every single leader in the Democratic Party are leading the effort to end our dependence on oil and make the switch to renewable resources.

Yet McCain, who has the oil lobbyist running his campaign, has made it the corner stone of his energy policy to help stay the course on oil dependency and continue the Republican strategy of oil exploration and production with no regard for the devastating environmental destruction and global warming it represents.

For both Bush and McCain, the only solution to our skyrocketing energy crisis is to drill, drill, drill. Their two top targets are the protected Artic regions and the Outer Continental Shelf.

Congress chose to protect these federal waters from oil exploitation in 1981, and has voted to renew that ban every year since then.

But today, these federal protections are under attack.

Lifting this critical environmental ban on offshore drilling is a false promise and an unnecessary risk to our oceans and our coastline. Worse yet, it keeps us on the same path of oil dependence that has been the primary source for global warming.

Lifting the ban on offshore drilling will not help the price we pay at the pump and it will hurt our environment.

The House Committee on Natural Resources just released a new investigative report which studied the current system of drilling permits on federal lands and in federal waters. The Committee found that our current energy crisis is just NOT a crisis that we can drill our way out of.

Here’s what the report found:

-There is no correlation between increased drilling and lower gas prices. The number of drilling permits increased by 361 percent from 1999 to 2007. And yet gas prices more than doubled in that time.

-The vast majority of the oil and natural gas believed to be on the Outer Continental Shelf is already available for exploitation. In fact, 82 percent of natural gas and 79 percent of oil believed to exist on the Outer Continental Shelf is available for drilling throughout existing leases - right now.

-Oil and gas companies are failing to exploit the existing drilling permits they have been issued. In fact, there are 10,000 additional permits for 68 million acres of federal lands and waters where drilling leases have been issued, but are not being used to increase production leases are located in federal waters.

Efforts to reopen the federal waters off coast of California to drilling could allow unreliable oil rigs to be as close as three miles to our beaches.

As Californians we are all too familiar with the consequences of offshore drilling. An oil spill in 1969 off the coast of Santa Barbara Killed thousands of birds, as well as dolphins, seals, and other marine animals. In 1971, there was another oil spill in the San Francisco Bay. In 1989, the Exxon Valdez spilled 11 million gallons of crude oil in the environmentally sensitive Alaskan coastal regions. Less than a year later, another tanker, the American Trader spilled another 300,000 gallons of crude oil off Huntington Beach in Southern California. And we know this could happen again.

That’s why California has had in place additional protections to prohibit oil and gas drilling State waters since 1994. The people of California feel strongly about protecting the coast of California from offshore drilling. We pride ourselves in our coastline and the beaches of California are part of our American culture.

It is time for us to get off our long-term dependency, addiction and obsession to fossil fuels. Our oil habit is killing our planet and all living things that live on planet Earth.
Americans are now suffering through a major recession with a record number of foreclosures. At the very same time, we are paying higher and higher gas prices every time we go to fill up. While the extra price at the pump cuts into our food budgets, the higher price of petroleum adds to the cost of transportation and manufacturing, which in turn equates to higher prices for us at the grocery store.

It is long past time to break the habit of fossil fuels and move away from energy that pollutes the planet, creates war, and fuels the terrorist actions against us while keeping us enslaved by the special interest of big oil.

While the reality of over $4 per gallon is already here, $5 per gallon is just around the corner. But meanwhile, Exxon reports record profits of almost 12 billion dollars just last quarter alone. And that breaks the record just set in the previous quarter.

We must wean ourselves off of petroleum and we must NOT create new dependency by further investments in offshore drilling that puts our ocean environment at further risk. Simply put, we must not go backwards by lifting the ban on offshore oil drilling. Our environment is in danger and we must take extraordinary measures to protect and restore it.

Please take a moment to contact your Congressman and both of the two U. S. Senators that represent the state you live in. Tell them not to lift the ban on offshore oil drilling. Tell them you expect them to take measures to protect our environment. Finally tell them we need to invest in renewable resources like solar, wind, and bio-fuels.

It is past time to turn a page on our energy policies. We must break our insatiable oil habit and make the transition to renewable environmentally safe energy, now referred to as GREEN ENERGY.

Right now I am working on some new videos on breaking our dependencies to fossil fuels and about what we need to do to development and implement a new energy policy based on alternative renewable energy.

Green Energy is our future. Let’s unite to embrace it together.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Conference to Plan Bush War Crimes Prosecution

Law Schools

Law School Dean Calls Conference to Plan Bush War Crimes Prosecution

Posted Jun 17, 2008, 06:51 am CDT
Debra Cassens Weiss

The dean of Massachusetts School of Law at Andover is planning a September conference to map out war crimes prosecutions, and the targets are President Bush and other administration officials.

The dean, Lawrence Velvel, says in a statement that “plans will be laid and necessary organizational structures set up, to pursue the guilty as long as necessary and, if need be, to the ends of the Earth."

Other possible defendants, he said, include federal judges and John Yoo, the former Justice Department official who wrote one of the so-called torture memos.

“We must insist on appropriate punishments,” he continued, “including, if guilt is found, the hangings visited upon top German and Japanese war criminals in the 1940s."

Velvel elaborates in an introduction to a series of articles published in The Long Term View (PDF). He writes “there is no question” that Bush and other officials are guilty of the federal crime of conspiracy to commit torture.

He also criticizes Justice Department officials for their legal memos. “The DOJ lawyers who wrote the corrupt legal memos giving attempted cover to Bush's actions have been rewarded by federal judgeships, cabinet positions, and high falutin' professorships,” he writes. Yoo is a professor at the University of California-Berkeley law school, while another former Justice Department official who signed a Yoo memo, Jay Bybee, is a judge on the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Velvel tears into President Bush as well, writing: “The man ultimately responsible for the torture had a unique preparation and persona for the presidency: he is a former drunk, was a serial failure in business who had to repeatedly be bailed out by daddy's friends and wanna-be-friends, was unable to speak articulately despite the finest education(s) that money and influence can buy, has a dislike of reading, so that 100-page memos have to be boiled down to one page for him, is heedless of facts and evidence, and appears not even to know the meaning of truth.”

A Wall Street Journal editorial published today stands in stark contrast to Velvel’s criticism. It assails House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers for issuing subpoenas seeking information about the possible torture of Sept. 11 suspects. The editorial mentions the testimony of British professor Philippe Sands, who also contends U.S. officials are guilty of war crimes.

“Nearly seven years after 9/11, the U.S. homeland hasn't been struck again and American civil liberties remain intact,” the newspaper writes. “So how does Congress say ‘thank you’? By trying to ruin the men who in good faith set the legal rules that have kept us safe.”

Congressman Robert Wexler - An American Patriot and Role Model for Political Integrity

He's for Impeachment; He's Against the War; He's Been a Hoot on Stephen Colbert; He's Got on His Boxing Gloves -- You Gotta' Love Congressman Robert Wexler!
Fire-Breathing Liberal: How I Learned to Survive (and Thrive) in the Contact Sport of Congress (Hardcover)
Congressman Robert Wexler's Review (excerpt)
"Wexler, a six-term Democratic congressman, opens his memoir-cum-civics lesson by saying, “I want to proclaim on every page of this book that I am a liberal Democrat and proud of it.” Fortunately for the reader, he is able to weave his proclamations into entertaining vignettes from the campaign trail to the halls of Congress in blow-by-blows of his involvement in defining moments of recent history: defending President Clinton from impeachment and challenging the Gore v. Bush decision. There is a fair amount of stumping in the book as the congressman lauds his district, defends his actions and criticizes his foes. But he shines when describing the absurdities of his political career, particularly the pitfalls of his early campaigns -- a manager with a weak bladder and running over a dog in his Wexler-emblazoned campaign car -- and his controversial appearance on the Colbert Report. While the prose is occasionally clunky, it does not detract from the pleasures of this fascinating and humorous insider account of the House of Representatives."

--Publishers Weekly

What a guy. Not only was he the first person in Congress to co-sponsor Dennis Kucinich's impeachment articles against George W. Bush, he is a perennial outspoken U.S. Representative, serving on the Judiciary Committee, who speaks out for justice and peace, even if it flies in the face of the party leadership's desire to let Bush and company get off without any prosecution for their crimes.

Wexler also has a unique view of the 2000 election theft, since it was his Florida congressional district that was home of the infamous Butterfly ballot.

The photo on the cover of his memoir shows him in a box stance, albeit while wearing a suit. Congressman Wexler is a die-hard progressive, a mensch and a hoot -- as his now legendary appearance on the Stephen Colbert Report proves.

This is much more enjoyable than your standard political book. Wexler is a straight talker and mixes it up with humor and provocative stances.

BuzzFlash will be interviewing him soon about his book. We'll bring our boxing gloves.

Representing parts of Broward and Palm Beach County, Wexler ran unopposed in 2004 and 2006.

You can watch some of Wexler's appearances on The Colbert Report by clicking here.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Barbara Boxer on Global Warming

Barbara Boxer on Dick Cheney and Global Warming

Here's the latest from Dick Cheney: "All Americans can be grateful" that the global warming debate was derailed in the Senate.

And Cheney's solution? "Good old oil." UNBELIEVABLE.

We must fight this outrageous defense of the status quo by electing Senators who will stand up for a new America. Click here to contribute to PAC for a Change today!

Last week, the vast majority of Senate Democrats said yes to finally attacking global warming -- not only to save the planet for future generations, but also to put in motion the policies that would lead to new, clean energy alternatives. This means America would finally lead the world on the environment again, exporting new technologies and creating millions of good-paying green jobs. And a critical effect of all this would be saying good-bye to our total dependence on big oil and foreign oil.

So how many Republicans said yes? Only 8! That meant we didn't have enough votes to break the Republican Leadership's filibuster, and the global warming bill had to be pulled from the Senate floor.

That's why I'm asking you, in the strongest possible way, to help us elect more Democrats to the United States Senate -- and, just like in 2006, our PAC for a Change will be leading the charge.

Last week, 46 Democrats stood up for change, while only 8 Republicans stood with us. The Republicans in Congress are fierce defenders of the status quo -- and the status quo is dangerous, especially when it comes to global warming.

We know what science is telling us about the warming of our planet, but most national Republicans would rather stand with the special interests. Senate Republicans stood with the special interests again when we turned our attention to go after gasoline price gouging earlier this week -- and they killed that bill too!

Our PAC for a Change community was a key player in helping Democrats take back the Senate against all odds in 2006, raising over $1,000,000 for Democratic candidates. But we have such a small majority right now -- 51-49. It's way too close.

That's why this November's election is so important. By picking up just six seats, we can overcome the right-wing's roadblocks to change on global warming. And by picking up as many as nine seats, we can reach a solid 60 vote Democratic majority to make even more progress on the war in Iraq, on health care, and on so many issues.

Our PAC for a Change community has already helped some of my current friends and colleagues in the Senate fight off right-wing efforts to defeat them in 2008.

But it's also important that we support Senate challengers who will expand the map and help us reach that critical 60-vote majority in the Senate. That means winning seats back in "blue" states while taking the fight to "red" states where we haven't always won in the past.

Based on the latest polling, Democrats are currently ahead in 11 key Senate races. Through PAC for a Change, I want to send financial support to these 11 Democratic Senate candidates and many others who need our help to propel them to victory this November -- but we can only do it if you help us build up our PAC war chest.

There's power in our numbers. By sending $100, $50, $25, or whatever you can afford, it all adds up to many thousands of dollars -- which we can then rush out to the Democratic candidates who can use it the most.

Please contribute to PAC for a Change today -- and help us pick up 6, 8, or even 10 Democratic seats to build a progressive working majority in the U.S. Senate!

Just imagine what a 60-seat majority would mean not just for us, but for our children's generation: we could take stronger action on global warming, see our troops return from Iraq, provide relief to homeowners facing foreclosure, and restore our civil liberties.

Let's make sure Democratic Senate challengers all across America have all the resources they need to win this year.

Thanks so much for your help.

In Friendship,

Barbara Boxer
U.S. Senator

P.S. We're making progress: The last time climate change legislation came to the Senate floor, we only got 38 votes. Now, we need just 6 more votes to gain a working majority that will help us lead the fight against global warming. Please contribute to PAC for a Change today -- and help us pick up the 6 seats we need to pass strong global warming legislation next year!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Why I Am Voting Republican This Time (or not)!

I started breaking down all of the issues in American politics for 2008. I urge you to do the same and at least consider all the arguments before making up YOUR mind.

Watch This Video!

Dennis Kucinich Introduces Articles of Impeachment Against Bush

Impeachment vote set for this afternoon

by Kagro X

Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 10:00:18 AM PDT

The House is set to deal today with Dennis Kucinich's impeachment resolution, which he introduced on Monday night. By rule, his assertion that his resolution constitutes a question of the privileges of the House must be ruled on within two legislative days. The chair ruled yesterday -- correctly -- that an impeachment proposition does constitute a question of the privileges of the House, and announced that the procedure would be to move the previous question and close debate on the matter pending the resolution of a motion to refer the resolution to the Judiciary committee.

The motion to refer failed on a voice vote yesterday, and Rep. Kucinich exercised his right to demand a recorded vote instead. That vote is expected this afternoon.

Interestingly, it was Kucinich himself who moved that the resolution be referred to the committee. That's a better alternative than tabling it (if you don't want the whole thing buried with no chance of resurrection, that is), but not the only alternative. It could instead be debated right then and there on the House floor.

That Kucinich himself would rather see it referred to committee might be taken as an indication that he acknowledges that the charges he makes in the resolution require a thorough examination. Whether they'll get that examination, though, is another matter. Almost everyone expects the resolution to die of neglect in committee. An immediate vote on the merits of the resolution -- the default alternative to a defeat of the motion to refer -- is probably something mischievous Republicans would like to see, and they might therefore be expected to vote no on referral. That leaves Democrats who want to put a lid on impeachment in the position of voting affirmatively to commit the issue to the jurisdiction of Chairman Conyers and the Judiciary Committee, though they'll deny that they actually want the Chairman to exercise that jurisdiction.

Strange days.

UPDATE: The motion to refer is adopted by a vote of 251-166, with no Democrats voting against, and 24 Republicans voting in the affirmative.

UPDATE 2: Kucinich Vows to Keep Up Impeachment Fight

"Leadership wants to bury it, but this is one resolution that will be coming back from the dead," Kucinich told Capitol Briefing. "Thirty days from now, if there is no action, I will be bringing the resolution up again, and I won't be the only one reading it."

On Monday, Rep. Dennis Kucinich made history on the floor of the House by reading 35 Articles of Impeachment against President George W. Bush.

At last!!!!!

We've waited years to find one Member of Congress brave enough to stand up for our Constitution, for which generations of Americans have fought and died. We are thrilled and honored that Dennis Kucinich has chosen to be that one genuine patriot.

We congratulate him on his historic leadership, and pledge to do everything in our power to persuade the House to adopt all 35 Articles and put George W. Bush on trial before the Senate of the United States, exactly as the Founding Fathers wanted.

Of course, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA-8), Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (MD-5), and Democratic Caucus Chair Rahm Emanuel (IL-5) all remain adamantly opposed to impeachment - despite the overwhelming evidence of High Crimes, including the "Phase II" report by the Senate Intellligence Committee and Scott McClellan's new book.

And when Rep. Robert Wexler (FL-19) called for Judiciary Committee hearings on Kucinich's Articles of Impeachment against Vice President Cheney in January, only 17 Democrats joined them: Neil Abercrombie (HI-1), Tammy Baldwin (WI-2), Michael Capuano (MA-8), Yvette Clarke (NY-11), Lacy Clay (MO-1), Steve Cohen (TN-9), Peter DeFazio (OR-4), Keith Ellison (MN-5), Sam Farr (CA-17), Raúl Grijalva (AZ-7), Luis Gutierrez (IL-4), Barbara Lee (CA-9), Gwen Moore (WI-4), Jim Moran (VA-8), Mike Thompson (CA-1), Ed Towns (NY-10), and Lynn Woolsey (CA-6).

So Kucinich's heroic efforts will be in vain unless we inundate Congress with emails and calls (202-224-3121) showing our full support for Rep. Kucinich's 35 Articles of Impeachment:

And if you have time to do more, please login to, click "Local" and connect with other activists in your Congressional District to organize a Honk-To-Impeach gathering at the District Office of your Representative or a major local intersection:

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your constant support throughout this long and historic struggle.

Bob Fertik

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Looking to November - The Big Blue Wave by Eric C. Bauman

Eric Bauman - 2008 Rep. George Brown Awards Dinner

Looking to November

-The Big Blue Wave

by Eric C. Bauman
May 30, 2008

If you look out over the coming weeks and months, there is a huge dust storm brewing. Actually, it's not really a dust storm -- it's a big blue wave about to hit our state and our nation, from sea to shining sea.

One would need to ignore reality and suspend disbelief to imagine that the American public believes the Republican Party stands for fiscal responsibility, has genuine moral authority to preach about right and wrong or is the party of national security.

Americans have watched as President Bush, John McCain and others have led us into a recession, plundered the national treasury and created the largest national debt in world history. Rather than shrinking the size of government, there are now more people on the federal payroll than ever. Mike, there is not enough room here to detail the many acts that have undermined your party's claim to moral righteousness and superiority.

And then there's the Iraq war.

More than five years, untold billions of dollars, 4,000-plus American lives lost and thousands more with long-term injuries (to say nothing of Iraqis killed), the war keeps rolling on. And McCain fully embraces it, having said that U.S. forces could have a presence in Iraq for another 100 years!

When Democrats won the Illinois seat held by former Republican House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, you had to sit up and take notice. When we snatched a decades-long GOP House seat in Louisiana, one had to wonder what was going on. But when Democrats picked up a seat in the heart of red Mississippi -- even after Dick Cheney and McCain campaigned there -- you know this is not just a coincidence. The American people are rejecting the GOP brand and no longer believe its bromides and fairy tales.

The architects of the GOP revolution in the 1990s told us to give them control of Congress and they would reform it and make it work; they would cut waste, fraud and abuse and shrink government. They said for us to give them the White House and they would end international interventionism and lead a small, fiscally and socially conservative government that would transform our nation and create a permanent GOP majority. Now, after years of GOP control of the White House and Congress, the only things growing red in Washington are the government's account balances and the hemorrhaging of former Republican voters.

In California, the evidence of the big blue wave grows with every report of voter registration. Since the first of the year, Ventura, Stanislaus and Alpine counties have swung from red to blue. The spread between Democrats and Republicans in Fresno County is below 3%; in San Diego County it's less than 2%; and in San Bernardino County it's below 1%. Here in Los Angeles, there are now more than 2 million registered Democrats, a number that exceeds 50% of all voters in the county for the first time in many years.

With Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger unable to find the billions in waste he claimed he would save, his unwillingness to cut up the state's credit cards, and last week's San Francisco Chronicle report that state government has grown exponentially under him, the voters are not happy.

Voters have tired of the lecturing, pontificating, holier-than-thou, me-first, save-yourself conservative nostrums of recent years. They are rejecting the politics of division and subtraction and responding to the Democratic message of progress and inclusion, built on a positive belief in hope, opportunity and possibility. It is the Democratic Party's approach of addition and multiplication that will replace the divide-and-conquer mentality of Karl Rove we had come to know.

Mike, the big blue wave is so strong that the L.A. County Democratic Party is running a full-bore, fully-funded "red zone" program to try to turn L.A.'s Republican areas blue. We are working with our colleagues in the Inland Empire, the Central Valley and the rural north to build for the future and transform these areas from red to purple and eventually to blue. We Democrats learned an important lesson from former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich: We must invest time and resources in every part of our state if we are to achieve a long-lasting blue majority. We're not there yet, but make no mistake, that dust cloud you see hanging around November is really a big blue wave of change.

Eric C. Bauman is the chair of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party. He can be reached at