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SAY NO to Patriot EXTENSIONS!


 

Let The PATRIOT Act Expire!

BREAKING, February 8th: It’s working! The House vote to extend the PATRIOT Act just failed. But they’re not going to give up — now, more than ever, we need people to keep the pressure on. Sign the petition and tell your friends to sign as well!


UPDATE, February 7th:
The House is trying to ram through a sneaky renewal of the PATRIOT Act this week!  They’re doing it without debate, and without including any meaningful reforms.  Please sign the petition below, and use this page to call your lawmaker to urge him or her to vote no.


ORIGINAL: The PATRIOT Act is set to expire in just FOUR WEEKS, but Congress is trying to rush through a last minute extension!


Since it was passed almost a decade ago, some of the most noxious portions of the PATRIOT Act have burrowed their way deep into our legal system.  A year ago, President Obama signed a bill extending three provisions of the original PATRIOT Act; last week Congressman Mike Rogers (R-Michigan) introduced legislation to extend them again.


Together, these provisions make a mockery of our civil liberties: They let government officials spy on whomever they want, for any reason, without ever letting them know or giving them a chance to challenge the order in court.

Enough is enough: Will you join us in demanding that Congress finally let these provisions expire? Just add your name at right, and we’ll automatically send a message to your senator, representative, and President Obama:


TO MY ELECTED OFFICIALS:  After nearly ten years, it’s time to let the PATRIOT Act expire once and for all.  I urge you to oppose its re-authorization.

 

Add your name and we’ll deliver your message to Washington.

 

Here’s a more detailed article from the CATO Institute that explains some of the problems with the PATRIOT Act provisions that are up for extension.  And here’s an overview by the ACLU.

 

 

Help me out on this contest, please…

Rebekah Lloyd love for her father inspired this
entry. Even though she has to bend down to kiss her dad, Rebekah Lloyd said that in her eyes, he’s 8 feet tall. After an especially difficult two years for her father, David Gregory, the former Miss Teen Citrus and Miss Citrus wants to take this Father’s Day to honor the man she calls Daddy. “My dad is such an inspiration to me,” she said from her dad’s house in Homosassa. David came down to Florida from Vermont, with a B.A. in Sociology, in 1977 and adopted Rebekah and her two brothers, Zachary and James, when he met and married their mother. Rebekah was just a baby, and David is the only father she has ever known.

“It doesn’t take DNA to make a dad,” she said.

He was born with osteogenesis imperfecta, a brittle bone disease. He’s in an
electric wheelchair now, but he doesn’t let that stop him,” she said. “He has had over 100 broken bones and had to have steel rods put in his legs when he was a teenager; he has pain, and it hasn’t been easy for him. What’s most amazing is that the bone thing isn’t even an issue with him — he even walked me down the aisle at my wedding in 2004.”

Except for the joy of an only daughter’s wedding, 2004 was an especially
difficult year for David. A week after the wedding, his mother died, and then four months after that, his brother-in-law, who was his best friend, also died. Then his wife was diagnosed with heart disease and had two stints put in her heart.

Meanwhile, he was still walking, but started using a motorized scooter. However, he didn’t have a wheelchair-accessible van with a drive-up ramp like he has now.
So, to transfer the scooter onto the rack on the back of his car, he had to prop
himself against the car and “drive” the scooter using his hands onto the rack,
secure the gate behind it, then slowly make his way into the car. When he got to
work, he had to reverse the process, and then do it again when he got home.

Currently, Gregory works at the Property Appraiser’s office in Crystal River.
Prior to that he had various jobs: he operated Liberty Stagecoach delivery
service, managed a Wilson’s Leather store in a mall in New Port Richey, operated
boats at the Marine Science Center, worked at a bank, taught school as a substitute
and was a garage mechanic.

Also in 2004, Gregory developed chest pains and discovered that he needed heart
bypass and valve replacement surgery, which is serious enough for someone with
normal bones. For him, the risks were multiplied.

On the morning of his surgery, Gregory’s children, his wife and her family and
his dad all came to the hospital. “We all kissed him as he went into surgery; it
was that risky,” Lloyd said.

He recovered and returned to work 10 weeks later and is still there today, going to work every day in his electric wheelchair.

Please click on the pictures below to rate his story.

The LOST SYMBOL


I finished reading Dan Brown’s new book, The Lost Symbol. It is in the familiar style of The Da Vinci Code with the decoding of various clues to lead to the Lost Symbol. It was great with Robert Landon leading you through the well known and the less known streets of Washington D.C. and all the secrets they hold. With a hard look at the Freemason’s and all of their secrets, I came to the conclusion that they are not the as bad as the conspiracy throngs would have you believe. Ultimately, the more the manipulators of our society and government can point you at different benign organizations, the less likelihood you’ll discover the true conspirators of our shadow government. As always Dan Brown wraps an excellent story around historical locations and events, which in my opinion is the essence of a good book. With so many of our founding fathers being Freemasons it is an interesting journey on how our Nation was built with the Free Masons beliefs and designs in mind. Was the original Capital built with a Crypt that had an eternal flame that was kept lit for over fifty years at the beginning of our Nation? Was George Washington deified into a God? Was the United States founded upon Christianity? These are just a small sample of the questions that are raised during the telling of this tale! Dan Brown delves into all the religions and the underlying essence that each possess and into the Noetic Science arena and the power of thought. The self-castrated villain, Malakh is looking for the Lost Symbol of the Free Masons which he believes will give him almost “God” like powers! Does he find it? And how does the C.I.A. get involved in this search? It’s a roller coaster ride tailing off a little at the end but still leaving you wanting more. ENJOY….

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Angel Food Ministries

In these trying times this is a good organization to help you meet you food costs, click on the picture above and you’ll be taken to their site. Angel Food Ministries is nearly nationwide, when you get to their site just put in your zip code and find the nearest outlet to pick up your food.

Missing Richard Nixon

Many of the retrospectives on Ted Kennedy’s life mention his regret that he didn’t accept Richard Nixon’s offer of a bipartisan health care deal. The moral some commentators take from that regret is that today’s health care reformers should do what Mr. Kennedy balked at doing back then, and reach out to the other side.
Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

Paul Krugman

 But it’s a bad analogy, because today’s political scene is nothing like that of the early 1970s. In fact, surveying current politics, I find myself missing Richard Nixon.

No, I haven’t lost my mind. Nixon was surely the worst person other than Dick Cheney ever to control the executive branch.

But the Nixon era was a time in which leading figures in both parties were capable of speaking rationally about policy, and in which policy decisions weren’t as warped by corporate cash as they are now. America is a better country in many ways than it was 35 years ago, but our political system’s ability to deal with real problems has been degraded to such an extent that I sometimes wonder whether the country is still governable.

As many people have pointed out, Nixon’s proposal for health care reform looks a lot like Democratic proposals today. In fact, in some ways it was stronger. Right now, Republicans are balking at the idea of requiring that large employers offer health insurance to their workers; Nixon proposed requiring that all employers, not just large companies, offer insurance.

Nixon also embraced tighter regulation of insurers, calling on states to “approve specific plans, oversee rates, ensure adequate disclosure, require an annual audit and take other appropriate measures.” No illusions there about how the magic of the marketplace solves all problems.

So what happened to the days when a Republican president could sound so nonideological, and offer such a reasonable proposal?

Part of the answer is that the right-wing fringe, which has always been around — as an article by the historian Rick Perlstein puts it, “crazy is a pre-existing condition” — has now, in effect, taken over one of our two major parties. Moderate Republicans, the sort of people with whom one might have been able to negotiate a health care deal, have either been driven out of the party or intimidated into silence. Whom are Democrats supposed to reach out to, when Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, who was supposed to be the linchpin of any deal, helped feed the “death panel” lies?

But there’s another reason health care reform is much harder now than it would have been under Nixon: the vast expansion of corporate influence.

We tend to think of the way things are now, with a huge army of lobbyists permanently camped in the corridors of power, with corporations prepared to unleash misleading ads and organize fake grass-roots protests against any legislation that threatens their bottom line, as the way it always was. But our corporate-cash-dominated system is a relatively recent creation, dating mainly from the late 1970s.

And now that this system exists, reform of any kind has become extremely difficult. That’s especially true for health care, where growing spending has made the vested interests far more powerful than they were in Nixon’s day. The health insurance industry, in particular, saw its premiums go from 1.5 percent of G.D.P. in 1970 to 5.5 percent in 2007, so that a once minor player has become a political behemoth, one that is currently spending $1.4 million a day lobbying Congress.

That spending fuels debates that otherwise seem incomprehensible. Why are “centrist” Democrats like Senator Kent Conrad of North Dakota so opposed to letting a public plan, in which Americans can buy their insurance directly from the government, compete with private insurers? Never mind their often incoherent arguments; what it comes down to is the money.

Given the combination of G.O.P. extremism and corporate power, it’s now doubtful whether health reform, even if we get it — which is by no means certain — will be anywhere near as good as Nixon’s proposal, even though Democrats control the White House and have a large Congressional majority.

And what about other challenges? Every desperately needed reform I can think of, from controlling greenhouse gases to restoring fiscal balance, will have to run the same gantlet of lobbying and lies.

I’m not saying that reformers should give up. They do, however, have to realize what they’re up against. There was a lot of talk last year about how Barack Obama would be a “transformational” president — but true transformation, it turns out, requires a lot more than electing one telegenic leader. Actually turning this country around is going to take years of siege warfare against deeply entrenched interests, defending a deeply dysfunctional political system.

HealthCare change is needed by everyone

Failure to prosecute: why Obama is having trouble passing health care reform

By Don Smith

President Obama apparently believes that prosecuting Bush Administration officials for torture and other crimes would be a “distraction” from more important matters, such as health care reform.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The reason President Obama and the Democrats are having so much trouble passing health care reform is that they failed to hold conservatives accountable for their many misdeeds. The Democrats thereby empowered conservatives to continue their ample mischief. (I write “conservatives” rather than “Republicans” because some Democrats are amongst the conservatives who promoted harmful policies.)

Conservative misdeeds range from the unspeakably evil — such as torture, rendition, lying about the reasons for going to war, and the deaths of up to a million or more civilians — to the merely despicable — such as politically motivated prosecutions, reckless deregulation, suppression of evidence, tax cuts for rich folks, stolen elections, inadequate response to Hurricane Katrina, dirty tricks, and rampant corruption.

Had Democrats pursued impeachment early on they would have exposed the many lies, crimes, and dirty tricks of the conservatives to the light of day. Democrats would have even bigger majorities in Congress, and the ability of conservatives to influence public opinion would have been greatly diminished.

Instead, the Democrats, and President Obama in particular, have tried to be “bipartisan”.

What a stupid policy!

Conservatives in Congress have no intention of compromising on health care reform or on any other substantive issue. They continue to defend Bush Administration officials and policies in order to protect themselves and the GOP. This was discussed in Bipartisanship porn and Obama’s Trust Problem, where Paul Krugman writes:

It’s hard to avoid the sense that Mr. Obama has wasted months trying to appease people who can’t be appeased, and who take every concession as a sign that he can be rolled.

Indeed, no sooner were there reports that the administration might accept co-ops as an alternative to the public option than G.O.P. leaders announced that co-ops, too, were unacceptable.

The Democrats will continue to have trouble passing a reform agenda until they decisively confront the misdeeds of the recent past by rejecting bipartisanship and pursuing prosecution of Bush-era officials. This will have the triple effect of (1) bringing criminals to justice, (2) exposing the truth to the public, and (3) weakening the influence of conservative politicians and ideology.

Alas, failure to prosecute may not be the main reason why Obama and the Democrats are having trouble passing health care reform. There is evidence that the Democrat leadership never intended to pass real health care reform. This grim conclusion was sketched in Squandered Opportunity and Follow the Money. The Democrats may be too corrupted by money and power to follow through on their promises.

Progressives’ impatience with Obama is reaching a boiling point, not just over accountability but also over the bailouts, health care reform, militarism, and other issues. As Paul Krugman observes, “A backlash in the progressive base — which pushed President Obama over the top in the Democratic primary and played a major role in his general election victory — has been building for months.”

Indeed, we progressives have power over Obama. We are his base. If we turn against him — or, better yet perhaps, just threaten to turn against him — the news media will pick up on the story and Obama will be in trouble. Let us use that power wisely. If progressives appear too pushy, the effort might backfire. Recall that Congress voted to condemn MoveOn.org in 2007 when the group published their ill-fated New York Times ad questioning whether Gen. David Petraeus would “betray us” (MoveOn.org ad controversy).

For years progressives have been criticizing Democrats for appeasement. Maybe it’s time for progressives to follow our own advice and hold Obama accountable by saying, basically: either you stop protecting these torturers, stop continuing Bush era policies, and stop compromising on health care reform, or we on the left will withdraw our support and condemn you too. Progressives need to tread carefully, lest they be dismissed as radicals, but they need to demand their due.

“I want you to hold our government accountable. I want you to hold me accountable” — Barack Obama (September, 2008). Let us hold him accountable. Let us do our part to get the word out about how America is being screwed. And let us do our utmost to ensure that progressive Democrats such as Dennis Kucinich and brave independents such as Bernie Sanders prevail.

We’re HIRING

Democracy for America is hiring state-level Public Option Field Organizers for an intense three-month pressure campaign to pass a public option as part of healthcare reform.

We’re upping the ante and are looking to put full-time, hired, grassroots field organizers, on the ground to pressure elected leaders to pass healthcare reform with a public option in your state.

You can see the entire job description here: DemocracyForAmerica.com/PublicOptionApply

You know your state better than anyone and you have better contacts. We need your help to get the word out because time is critical and we have a very tight timeline to hire additional staff.

Can you pass this position onto anyone you think might be a good fit? Can you post this on a local blog? Send it to a local email list?

Public Option Field Organizers will have their work cut out for them. They need to hit the ground running to build grassroots pressure and get Senators and Representatives off the fence in support of the public option.

If you know anyone interested in joining this intense three-month campaign to get a public option passed, please send them this link:

DemocracyForAmerica.com/PublicOptionApply

Thank you for all that you do,

-AQ

Adam Quinn, Field Director
Democracy for America

P.S. Questions? As always, feel free to contact me and the rest of the DFA Field Team at field@democracyforamerica.com.

Homestead Exemption Deadline March 2, 2009

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For all the procrastinators out there, the deadline for signing up for Homestead Exemption in Citrus County is March 2, 2009 (this coming Monday!). Normally it would be March 1st, but because it falls on a Sunday, you have until the second. Do not come ill prepared, the items needed are; Florida Permanent Driver’s License, Florida Vehicle Registration, those two items need to show your new (intended) homestead address. You will also need your social security cards, or something official with your social security number on it. If your married you’ll need the information for both you and your spouse. All this information has to be copied (driver’s license copied front and back) to accompany the application. This is the easiest way to proceed, although there are variations for different circumstances and you can find that information on the Citrus County Property Appraiser Web site, Click Here. By the way, if you live in a mobile home then you must also bring in the Real Property Registration for the mobile home, if it is a double wide, you would have two, one for each half.

If you can not make the deadline, you can still apply, but you will have to submit a petition in order to do so and there is a $15.00 fee for doing that.

Contact @ ONCE for Impeachment

Contact your Representatives

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