Blue-shifting the Gem State, one blog entry at a time.

Ozzy! Ozzy!

At a concert on July 14th as Ozzy Osbourne sang the song War Pigs, a projected image of President Bush and Adolf Hitler side by side was shown. After some complaints, it was dropped from the show.

Linda Ronstandt was actually ran out of Las Vegas, not from lack of talent, but because she dedicated the song Desperado to Michael Moore and Fahrenheit 9/11. It seems some folks did not agree with her and threw drinks and stomped out.

Why is it ok for the right wingnuts to have fits, whine and complain if someone disagrees with them? Ask them about what Whoppi Goldberg said about Bush, literally, and they’ll tell you how sinful it was. Ask about what Cheney said to Congressman Leahy and well, he deserved it.

What is wrong with us liberals having fits, whining and complaining? I once ask a friend why don’t we? Her response was “we really don’t organize, liberals just deal with it.” Well here is a way we can be organized (kinda) and still deal with it. I urge all of us to get involved! When you see a 43rd State Blues request to email, write or act on something, let’s just do it! Really, it’s not that hard, a click here and there and we can make a difference.

As November draws closer, it is time to get moving! Time to take it up another notch, time for a strangle hold on the Republicans! (No, its not a death threat.) So grab that mouse, (I like cheese) and lets start having fits, whining (or wine) and complaining, and make the right as miserable as they make us.... remember it's not from JOHN 3:16 it’s from MIKE F:911.

IAI warns churches in Idaho against Bush/Cheney initiative

The Bush C.RE.E.P.'s want churches to turn over their membership lists so Bush's GOP minions can go after non-registered members and harass them for their vote. The Interfaith Alliance of Idaho wants churches in the state to realize that if they do this -- among other unpleasant possibilities -- their tax-exempt status could go bye-bye:

The Interfaith Alliance and The Interfaith Alliance of Idaho are issuing a strong warning to churches and other religious organizations that an initiative by the Bush-Cheney campaign could possibly lure them into jeopardizing their tax-exempt status, violating privacy laws, diminishing the positive role of religion and dividing congregations along political lines.

Among the 22 "duties" of religious volunteers listed by the Bush-Cheney document, volunteers are expected to send church directories to the Bush-Cheney campaign, which would then compare the names on the church directory with county voter registration rolls so that any non-registered church members could be contacted by "pro-Bush conservatives" and encouraged to register and vote for Bush-Cheney.

"As the pastor of a local congregation, if I found out that my church membership directory was shared with a campaign or political party, I would begin immediate legal action against the campaign or political party," said the Rev. Dr. Welton Gaddy, national President of The Interfaith Alliance, who also serves as Pastor for Preaching and Worship at Northminster (Baptist) Church in Monroe, LA. "This is totally inappropriate."


The Interfaith Alliance of Idaho's president, Louard Crumbaugh of Nampa, shares the concern, "One of the privileges of living in a democracy is the right and duty to participate in the electoral process, but not to politicize religion by endorsing candidates or political parties."

I swear, if you gave the Bush administration a magic wand, they'd manage to poke their own eyes out. Everything these yahoos do is either offensive, incompetant, or criminal. Usually a combination of the three. And yet, I can imagine a bunch of the nutters in the Idaho GOP giddy as schoolgirls over the idea of handing over the names of their fellow churchgoers -- whether their brethren like it or not.

Kill This Bill!

First it was the wingnut dunderheads in the U.S. Senate, now the twinks in the House want their shot at writing bigotry and hatred into law. The good folks at are on top of it:

Dear MoveOn Member,

You'd think President Bush and the right-wing leadership in Congress
would feel chastened after the resounding defeat last week of their
Constitutional amendment denying marriage equality to same-sex couples.

But you'd be wrong. They're now pushing a bill that would prevent
same-sex couples from going to federal court to challenge laws that
discriminate against them. The House is about to vote on this bill.

Your Representatives, Michael K. Simpson and C.L. "Butch" Otter, are key swing votes.

Please call now:

Representative Michael K. Simpson

Office Phone: 202-225-5531

Representative C.L. "Butch" Otter

Office Phone: 202-225-6611

Be sure the staff members know you're a constituent, then urge your
Representatives to:

"Vote NO on the Marriage Protection Act - H.R. 3313."

Please let us know you're calling, by clicking here.

H.R. 3313 would prevent federal courts from ruling on challenges to the
Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a bill passed in 1996 which allows
states to deny recognition to same-sex couples legally married in other

For the first time in U.S. history, the Bill of Rights would be defined
by state borders. "Equal Protection Under the Law" might mean one
thing in Pennsylvania, and another in California.

Checks and balances are a fundamental part of our Constitution --
federal courts protect individual rights from overreaching by Congress
or the president.

Now, President Bush and some in Congress want to set this principle
aside to score political points in an election year. Don't let them --
call your Representative today.

Thanks for all you're doing.


--Lee Bodner and Peter Schurman

Tuesday, July 20th, 2004

What more can I add, except to encourage you to call Simpson and Otter today. We stopped this foolishness once, let's do it again!

More Than A Feeling

Idaho Democratic delegates are ready and rarin' to go to Boston next week for the Democratic National Convention.

(Tom) Broz says the election is critical to his generation. "Many of us think George W. Bush will start another war if he's re-elected and then there will be a draft," he said.

But do national conventions really matter anymore? There will hardly be any suspense as to the outcome. The phrase "presumptive Democratic nominee" will surely be removed from John Kerry's title. But (Carolyn) Boyce says there is a lot going on at the convention people will not see on national television.

"There are training sessions and those will be important for Idaho Democrats," she said. "We'll be learning more ways to get the vote out. It's informative."

The article focuses quite a bit on security, but the energy and enthusiasm of our Gem State Democratic delegates shines through.

The big TV networks won't spend much time covering the convention, but C-SPAN should help pick up the slack.

Greetings Bechtel BWXT INEEL right-wingers

I see a number of you have visited here today, and done so from your computers at the INEEL during work hours. Tsk.

If you folks can spend the day searching your names in Google and coming here, I'm guessing you still don't have enough work to keep you busy. 'Zat about right?

Broken down, at an hourly rate, how much did it cost the taxpayers for you to play around on your computers today? And did you put off anything important to, let's say, national security while you were goofing off?

Just wondering...

Positive news for Idaho right-wingers

FDA OKs Botox to Curb Underarm Sweating

WASHINGTON (AP) -- It's now official: Wrinkle-smoothing Botox can be injected in the armpits to curb excessive sweating.


Side effects include injection site pain and bleeding, sweating in other parts of the body, flu-like symptoms, headache, fever, itching and anxiety, FDA said.

At this very moment, nearly the entire Idaho GOP legislature are phoning their physicians, desperate for an appointment. With the exception of Senator Craig, who only sweats through the palms of his hands and bottom of his feet, and tends to pant heavily to cool down.

And people say we never have any good news for our sweaty Idaho wingers...

"I am a conservative"

From last February's Oregonian, via comments at Orcinus:


Mark Oberzil

I am a conservative. I believe in staying solvent and out of debt.

I am a conservative. I believe in keeping my nose out of other people's business, their nations and their bedrooms.

I am a conservative. I believe in conserving our assets and our resources -- our air, our land, our water. Accordingly, I don't support or engage in wastefulness, inefficiency or lavish excesses.

I am a conservative. I think an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Therefore I support appropriate government spending on such things as infrastructure, schools, social welfare and crime prevention, because in the long run it's cheaper and more effective.

I am a conservative. I don't sign on to risky schemes. I think if you give Bob a dollar, it helps Bob, but it may not necessarily help Oscar, Fred or Maria.

I am a conservative. If I am attacked, I respond appropriately and conservatively. I do not swat mosquitoes with dynamite.

I am a conservative. I don't deal falsely or prematurely with facts.

I am a conservative. I understand the purposes of various institutions. It is the job of government to govern, the job of religion to address spiritual needs, and the job of business to secure profits by producing needed goods and services. I do not confuse these institutions.

I am a conservative. I understand my position in the world and that my opinions are not the only valid ones.

I do not have an exclusive claim on what is right, good or patriotic, and those who disagree with me are not automatically evil traitors.

What's really weird, though, is that I've always thought these things, but now everyone calls me a "liberal"!

State GOP Attempting to Usurp School Supt.'s Authority

Del Bunce, District 14B Democratic candidate for State House of Representatives, sends out a terrific newsletter via e-mail every week. His latest issue highlights a new plot by Governor Dirk Kempthorne, his handpicked State Board of Education and the GOP legislature to appropriate the authority of Dr. Marilyn Howard, State Superintendent of Public Instruction (and, of course, an elected Democrat). Del writes:

The State Board of Education (Governor's appointees) are advertising for a
"Chief Academic Officer" and a "Elementary - Secondary Academic Officer." The Chief Academic Officer's duties and the Elementary - Secondary Academic Officer's duties closely parallel the duties of your elected Superintendent of Schools and her existing staff.

"The Chief Academic Officer reports to the Executive Director of the Office
of the State Board of Education and will work directly with the State Board
of Education and our many education stakeholders.
This position assists the State Board of Education with the Board's responsibility for the general supervision, governance and control of Idaho's college and professional technical education."  read more »

Idaho Progressive Caucus seeks web honcho

The Idaho Progressive Caucus has an immediate need for a volunteer web expert to improve our web site at Must have experience with CSS, PHP, MySQL and technologies to enable the following features:

  • Multiple-user blog with comments
  • Sign up, volunteer, and contribution forms
  • Mailing list management
  • Event calendar and event search tool based on zip code

If you have these skills and are available to help for at least several hours a week this summer on a volunteer basis, please contact Chris Struble at or 208-229-6427.

Bush chisels divisions ever deeper across country

Found this Grand Forks Herald letter to the editor:

MINTO, N.D. In his recent "Fahrenheit 9/11" column, Leonard Pitts equates the 1960s "liberal smugness" with today's conservative "self-righteous anger".

I just can't see it. The "smugness" only hurt the Democrats, while the "anger" is a cancer that will harm the whole country. Pitts certainly is correct in his observation that anger is an infectious disease.

It would seem Michael Moore's movie and the many critical books are a sign that conservative anger already has split our nation, but we still can hope they are just a protest against the tide that is dragging America into the realm of radical right-wing extremism.

To those who think to restore happiness and harmony by urging Democrats to discard their principals and quietly go along with the neo-con philosophy: Forget it. My firsthand experience when they turned Idaho into a one-party state was that when it no longer was necessary to be "nice" or to even give lip service to civility, the hatred and animosity only increased.

Actually, you can see it in the country at large. The neo-cons control the presidency, the House, the Senate and the Supreme Court. They should be grinning from ear to ear, but if you think they're happy, just tune in to the right-wing radio talk shows some day.

When President Bush came to Washington, the right hailed him as the "great consensus builder." Instead, he is on the brink of dividing the country as it hasn't been since the Civil War. A "hate-filled, angry, genie" has been freed from his bottle, and I, like Pitts, don't have a clue as to getting him back inside.

Thomas Osowski

True Conservative Liberalism

David Neiwert at Orcinus has a new posting on his weblog about Bush and his administration trying to attack Kerry and Edwards for being "liberal, liberal, liberal!" Then Dubya and his minions get their panties all in a twist when John Kerry states, "I actually represent the conservative values that they feel."

So many right-wingers across the country claim to be "conservatives," but as David writes, we should judge them by their actions, not their words:

Bush, after all, lays claim to the mantle of conservatism, at least leadership of the movement that has seized control of all layers of the federal government. But how really conservative is it?

Is it conservative to rack up the largest national deficit in history, with only the vaguest outlines of a plan for putting the national budget back in the black?

Is it conservative to ignore warnings of imminent terrorist threats merely because a preoccupation with terrorism is seen as too similar to your predecessor's presidency?

Is it conservative to jettison a half-century's worth of mulitlateral diplomacy and cooperation to pursue a radical vision of a unilateralist America supposedly capable of imposing its will on the rest of the world?

Is it conservative to attack another nation under false pretenses?

Is it conservative to allow torture, rape and killing of civilians under the purview of interrogating prisoners in the nation we now occupy as a result of that vision?

Is it really conservative to adopt the legal position that the president's wartime powers allow him to supersede international law and the Geneva Conventions, and to argue before the Supreme Court that those powers allow the government to imprison American citizens at will without right to trial indefinitely?

And finally, is it really, really conservative to relentlessly and dishonestly attack your opponent, to smear and distort his words and his positions at every turn, to ultimately demonize him and, by extension all of liberalism?

Is that what conservatism is all about now? Hating liberals?

Because, you know, I grew up in a pretty conservative environment. Rural, like the people John Kerry was talking to. And I don't recall those kinds of people having anything to do with this kind of "conservatism."

If I remember correctly (I'll have to double check -- the email I received from David last year is on a computer I haven't access to at the moment), the conservative environment he grew up in was right here in Idaho.

As U.S. Senate candidate Scott McClure says, he used to be a moderate Republican here in Idaho, but those who now call themselves "conservative Republicans" in this state are anything but. Those here in the Gem State who truly believe in "compassionate conservatism" should most assuredly not continue to vote-in the wingnut wierdos of the past. If they really do believe in the classic definition of "conservative," they should be voting for Democrats.

As I've said here before, to realize the full potential of our great state, we need to reach a balance, between fiscal conservatism and social liberalism. Right now, that balance has been tossed into a cocked hat by the wingers running Idaho. Moderate Republicans and moderate Democrats (who I believe are the vast majority in Idaho) can and should work together. We just need to get rid of the jerkweed right-wingers to make it happen.

UPDATE: Yep, I remembered correctly -- Dave Neiwert is a 4th generation Idahoan, from Idaho Falls. Nice to know such a talent hails from Southeast Idaho.

Which former Republican would rather switch AND fight?

And the answer to the question we posted last week is --

Scott McClure, Idaho Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate. Mr. McClure was a former moderate Republican until he realized the right-wingers in this state had hijacked the GOP and no longer believed in anything that being a Republican used to stand for.

As Scott says on his website, "I realized that their policies ignore what used to be considered the cornerstones of the Republicanism that I grew up with as a child: 1) Fiscal responsibility, 2) Maintenance of a strong position of moral leadership in the world community, 3) Support of a strong military, and 4) Staunch defense of personal freedoms. On every point, the Democratic Party has taken the position of leadership. Therefore, changing title from Republican to Democrat allows me to defend those principles I held so dear throughout my life." Mr. McClure, we Democrats are proud and honored to have you working beside us.

Folks have been making guesses about this for a week. Some of the names bandied about were:

  • Former Idaho Governor Phil Batt (who has apparently taken some heat from right-wingers lately. Come on over, Phil -- nothin' but love here, bud...).
  • Butch Otter (In his younger day ol' Butch could have been a Dem, but he's pretty much lost to the dark side).
  • Former Idaho state legislator Vern Ravenscroft (now there's a name from when dinosaurs walked the earth. Last I'd heard of him, it was when wicked witch of the West Helen Chenoweth admitted to knockin' boots with him for six years -- unbeknownst to Mrs. Ravenscroft.)
  • Bruce Willis (I believe Bruno is a supporter of Commander Bunnypants Dubya -- I guess they both enjoy pretending to be military men).

To go to the Scott McClure for U.S. Senate website, click here.

Panic in the Idaho Pachyderm Party?

Sniff-sniff -- ahhhhh, can you smell it? It's the tangy scent of Gem State GOoPer desperation wafting on the breeze...

From: China Veldhouse-Gum


To: (someone who sure as hell isn't a Republican)

Sent: Friday, July 16, 2004 4:08 PM

Subject: (Dem recipiant), the Idaho GOP needs your help

Dear (amused Democrat),

There are just 109 days left until election day, and the Idaho Republican Party needs your help! We are busy planning the re-election of targeted legislators and the election of key races across the state and we need to know if we can count on you.

The Democrats are out in full force, registering voters at a record rate. We need to register two Republicans for every Democrat they register. We are in desperate need of people who can help walk precincts to identify voters, make phone calls, help with voter registration events, and assist with data entry in the state headquarters.

(Democratic recipiant who is now laughing his/her ass off), because the state party knows how important volunteers are to winning a campaign, a training program has been created that will get you up to speed on exactly what you can do to get out the Republican message and get your friends, family, and neighbors to vote Republican.

The training is called 72-hour training -- referring to the huge get out the vote push in the last 72 hours before the election. Training sessions take place at the State Headquarters:

1111 S. Orchard #230

(208) 343-6405

Tuesdays at 7pm

Saturdays at 10 am

The 72-Hour program training will go on until election day, but we need your help now!

Best Regards,

China Veldhouse

It appears China Veldhouse-Gum (now there's a name that rolls off the tongue) is in need of volunteers. Since China's been kind enough to send out an invitation to one Democrat, I have to assume it goes out to us all.

I suggest all you Boise-area Democrats head over to the Repubs meeting this Tuesday evening and next Saturday and see what you can do to assist them in any way you can.

No thanks necessary, China -- always glad to help.

Failure is not an option, it's mandatory.

"For more than three decades, the Republican Party has relied on the "culture war" to rescue their chances every four years, from Richard Nixon's campaign against the liberal news media to George H. W. Bush's campaign against the liberal flag-burners. In this culture war, the real divide is between "regular people" and an endlessly scheming "liberal elite." This strategy allows them to depict themselves as friends of the common people even as they gut workplace safety rules and lay plans to turn Social Security over to Wall Street. Most important, it has allowed Republicans to speak the language of populism."

An opinion about how the surety of losing wins votes for the Republican party.

AP Seeks Release of Bush Military Records

..."Records released so far do not put to rest questions over whether Bush fulfilled his National Guard service for a period during the Vietnam War, the AP argued in papers filed in federal court in New York. Those records came from federal records clearinghouses. Texas law requires separate record keeping for state National Guard service, and those records should exist on microfilm in Austin, the AP said. ..."

The lid is blowing off. - global coverage of alleged child abuse at Abu Ghraib grows, US Media hides under the bed

Tom Tomorrow reports that the story of the 107 imprisoned, tortured, and raped children in Abu Ghraib is beginning to break all over the world, as the US media remains in patriotic silence. We're already about to lose our first ally over this, Norway.

ID Nat'l Guard talking points memo, or indirect orders?

News reports came out yesterday that the Idaho National Guard has issued a set of talking points for Guard soldiers to use when they speak to the media. These points tell them to focus on their confidence in U.S. troops and support for the war in Iraq. Ooookaaay...

In this month's newsletter to the 116th Brigade Combat Team, the unit's public affairs officer told soldiers that referring to the approved themes "adds continuity to the message we are portraying as a unit."

The five "command themes" are:

  • pride in being on active duty
  • support for the U.S. presence in Iraq
  • confidence in American troops
  • commitment to unified forces
  • appreciation for families and employers

"Those are the messages we want out there right now," said Capt. Monte Hibbert, the officer who wrote the article. Hibbert, with his wife Farhana, own and operate Idaho Unido, a spanish language newspaper out of Pocatello, and are both Republicans.

Hibbert claims he didn't intend to restrict comments the soldiers could make to the media, and I hope that's the case. After all, a newspaper man should be well acquainted with the 1st Amendment.

I don't believe there's anything wrong, per se, with the themes. But when soldiers are given "guidelines" like these, most of them are going to assume that if they cross them, they're going to feel heat from the brass. It has the subtle but chilling effect of making soldiers think twice if they talk to the media. Bland, watered-down statements or even silence would obviously be preferred by those who lean far-right in the military and, of course, to the Bush administration.

Here's my question to Capt. Hibbert and his superiors: with troops as smart and well-trained as the men and women in our Idaho National Guard, shouldn't we assume they're intelligent enough to decide for themselves what they can say to the media? I'm more than willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Democracy in the Balance - Bill Moyers

How do we nurture the healing side of religion over the killing side? How do we protect the soul of democracy against bad theology in service of an imperial state?

I trace my spiritual lineage back to a radical Baptist in England named Thomas Helwys who believed that God, and not the King, was Lord of conscience. In 1612 Roman Catholics were the embattled target of the Crown and Thomas Helwys, the Baptist, came to their defense with the first tract in English demanding full religious liberty. Here's what he said:  read more »

And carry a big stick

The news is slowly leaking out about the children being sodomized at Abu Ghraib. Sy Hersh, speaking at the ALCU convention, mentioned that not only did those working on behalf of the U.S. do it, they videotaped it. From the other bloggers' reports, it’s beyond appalling -- reading about the screams of the children, it just makes you sick to your stomach. Mothers and wives who were also detained sent out notes to their husbands to please kill them because of all the misery at the prison.

Naturally, the national news is very slow to report on these acts of violence due to their nature. American's wouldn't do anything this appalling! Currently it's up to the bloggers to spread the news of these atrocious acts.

We must keep the pressure on the major news sources to force them finally to admit how reprehensible this really is. I’m sure there is a lot of pressure from the government to keep this hush-hush. This would be another big black eye for the Bushes.

Since Rush Limbaugh believes these are college pranks, let’s have Rush take one for the team and see how he likes it. For more reports about this, the Daily Kos blog has some observant write-ups to fill in the vacant news reporting.

As we descend to an all time low, we must ask: who is in charge? My answer is, it goes all the way to the top. Bush and the Republican Party have one agenda on their mind -- to get what they want with no conscience to what happens to people who get in their way. This is what’s happening to the lower and middle classes currently, the big stick...

Boise's Nicole LeFavour makes Dean Dozen!

Just received this email from Democracy for America on their newest Dean Dozen, and it includes Idaho's own Nicole LeFavour:

Nicole LeFavour for Idaho State House. Idaho needs leaders like Nicole LeFavour -- people who will fight for smaller class sizes, better health care and the conservation of our natural resources. She has helped defeat an anti-gay ballot initiative, brought community groups together to fight pollution and discrimination, and taught school in Boise. Democracy for America proudly supports teacher, labor advocate and human rights campaigner Nicole LeFavour.

A big ol' shout out and congratulation to Ms. LeFavour and her team -- she's going to win her race, and this endorsement is just icing on the cake!

Besides the support of Howard Dean's Democracy for America organization, I hope it means she'll get more money for her campaign. Way to go, Nicole!

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