Thursday, September 18, 2008


Vermont Candidate Backs Prosecution of President Bush For Murder

by Dan Barlow

BURLINGTON - Charlotte Dennett, the Progressive Party candidate for Vermont attorney general, said Thursday that if elected she would prosecute President Bush for murder.

[Vincent Bugliosi, left, speaks at a news conference in Burlington, Vt., Thursday, Sept. 18, 2008. Bugliosi, the author of the book, "The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder." was in Vermont to support the candidacy of Progressive candidate for attorney general of Vermont, Charlotte Dennett, right.(AP Photo/Toby Talbot)]Vincent Bugliosi, left, speaks at a news conference in Burlington, Vt., Thursday, Sept. 18, 2008. Bugliosi, the author of the book, "The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder." was in Vermont to support the candidacy of Progressive candidate for attorney general of Vermont, Charlotte Dennett, right.(AP Photo/Toby Talbot)
Dennett, an attorney from Cambridge challenging incumbent Democrat William Sorrell, was joined by Vincent Bugliosi, a famed prosecutor who took on Charles Manson in the early 1970s, at a press conference in downtown Burlington.

As Vermont attorney general, Dennett said she would appoint Bugliosi, who published a book this year called "The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder," as a special prosecutor to hold Bush accountable for deaths stemming from the Iraq war.

Dennett said Vermont is the ideal state to bring murder charges against Bush, since the state has carried the country's highest per capita deaths of soldiers in the war. It is also home to nearly 40 communities that moved to impeach the president last year.

"Lots of Vermonters feel very frustrated that the impeachment efforts did not go anywhere," she said. "This is another avenue for us."

Bugliosi, a 74-year-old Los Angeles resident and author of the famed "Helter Skelter" book about his prosecution of Manson, called Dennett a "valiant and patriotic woman" willing to put her reputation on the line to bring to justice what he sees as one of the worst criminal acts in recent history.

He told a small crowd gathered in downtown Burlington on Thursday morning that his book clearly lays out evidence showing that Bush and his administration misled the American people and the U.S. Congress into war in 2003.

"George Bush and his people have gotten away with thousands and thousands of murders," Bugliosi said, citing both American and Iraqi deaths in the five-year-old war. "We, the American people, cannot let him get away with this."

Bugliosi said any state attorney general or local district attorney can bring criminal charges against Bush once he leaves office early next year. He said Vermont could take on the soon-to-be ex-president by bringing conspiracy to murder charges against him, using his own public statements during the build-up to the Iraq war as evidence.

"Bush and his administration deliberately told lies to deceive people and get the support of the country behind the war," he said. "That information went out through the media and was heard by residents of the state of Vermont."

Sorrell said Thursday that promises to prosecute Bush for murder makes "good political sound bites," but said he does not believe he - or any other local or state prosecutor - has that authority.

To bring about a murder or conspiracy to murder charge against Bush, the actual crime - the death of an individual - would need to take place within his jurisdiction, Sorrell said, which in this case is the Green Mountain State.

"And if I remember correctly, Vermont is still the only state George Bush has not visited while president," Sorrell said.

Dennett said she read "The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder" earlier this year and was interested in pursuing Bugliosi's notion that local prosecutors could bring criminal charges against the president.

She was put in touch with him through a friend who has a mutual publicist with Bugliosi. Within a half hour, the two were on the phone discussing the possibility of prosecuting Bush once he leaves office, she explained.

"Right away I felt a real rapport with him," she said.

But Dennett said she is not a single-issue candidate, adding that she is also interested in issues surrounding the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon and its proposal to extend its operating license beyond 2012.

When asked by a reporter if she thinks she has a chance against Sorrell, a well-entrenched incumbent, Dennett said she thinks the Democrat is a "nice man," but that her push to hold Bush accountable for the deaths in Iraq will "strike a chord" with Vermonters.

"I think I will have a groundswell of support," she said.

The general election is Tuesday, Nov. 4.


You decide.


There are really only two conditions of the human mind: Very, very happy. Or about to become very, very happy.

Which are you today?



This just in: With a steady hand, Obama is growing his lead in the national polls. As of this moment (8:09a.m.), O has increased his lead in the realclearpolitics national average to 2.1 over McCain. The race now stands at 47.3 to 45.2. In even better news, he's increased his average lead in Colorado to 2.5 over McCain and his Michigan numbers are shooting up. See earlier post - The Battle for Boulder - trying to make some sense of the battleground states. All roads lead to a Rocky Mountain High.

Election 2008ObamaMcCainSpread
RCP National Average47.345.2Obama +2.1
Favorable Ratings+17.3+16.3Obama +1.0
Intrade Market Odds49.049.0-
Electoral CollegeObamaMcCainSpread
RCP Electoral Count202216McCain +14
No Toss Up States273265Obama +8
Battleground StatesObamaMcCainSpread
Michigan47.345.0Obama +2.3
Ohio45.146.6McCain +1.5
Pennsylvania46.845.5Obama +1.3
Virginia45.447.7McCain +2.3
Colorado47.344.8Obama +2.5
Florida44.448.9McCain +4.5

Chillin' Today


12th Amendment Update: Tie Probability Continues to Increase

The latest in our occasional series informing you about the country's worst nightmare: a 269-269 Electoral College tie...

As you may have noticed from our scenario chart, the probability of a tie has increased dramatically in recent days and now stands at 3.2 percent. This is partly because, as we draw closer to election day with the race remaining tight, the probability of any one candidate running away with the election diminishes -- meaning that all "close" electoral permutations, including ties, become more likely.


Bush Emerges From The White House... For A Minute


What's the Top Electoral College State This Year?

By Stuart Rothenberg

Two months ago in this space, I identified five states that I argued would pick the next president. Tell me how these states -- Ohio, Colorado, Virginia, Nevada and Michigan -- will go in November, I wrote, and I'll tell you who will be our next president ("The Big 5: Picking the States That Will Pick the President").

As the presidential race has developed, those five states seem to hold the same predictive value now that they did then. Sure, there are a handful of additional states that could turn the election to either Democratic Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) or Republican Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) -- New Hampshire, New Mexico, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and North Carolina -- but the longer the list, the less it tells us about who'll win.

I've become convinced that my initial list of five states probably can be boiled down to just one -- one state that is most likely to determine who will be the next occupant of the White House. And that state is Colorado.

If John McCain carries Colorado in November, I'd expect him to hold onto all of George W. Bush's 2000 states, with the exception of New Hampshire. If he does that, and if Obama holds all of Al Gore's states, plus New Hampshire, McCain would win 274 electoral votes to 264 for Obama.

If Obama carries the state, he has altered the arithmetic of the Electoral College so as to make it difficult for McCain to win.

It's true, of course, that Obama could win Colorado and still lose the election. Republicans continue to look at Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Minnesota as possible swing states they could win to offset the loss of Colorado or Virginia. But if there is a single state among this group that is most likely to switch parties and therefore determine the winner of the presidential contest, it now appears to be the Centennial State.

Colorado, which generally has been characterized as a part of the conservative, Republican Mountain West, has voted Republican in nine of the past 10 presidential elections. George W. Bush carried it twice, including by 5 points in 2004.

But recently, the state has been trending Democratic. Democrats won a Senate seat in 2004 with Ken Salazar and the governorship two years later. With Sen. Wayne Allard (R) calling it quits, Democratic Rep. Mark Udall is a slight favorite to win the state's other Senate seat this year. And Democrats now hold majorities in both chambers of the Colorado Legislature.

Until late July, polling in the state showed Obama ahead, from anywhere between 2 and 9 points. But recent polling has been more mixed. Polls have generally shown one candidate or the other ahead by the low single digits, making for a race that looks to be a tossup.

But my confidence in these surveys is not great. A number of the surveys are automated, and some of the internals look more than a little odd. That doesn't mean the results are wrong. It just means that I don't have a great deal of confidence that they are correct.

One of the recent surveys, conducted on Sept. 11 by Insider Advantage, showed Obama up by 3 points. But the survey found McCain getting an unbelievable one-quarter of the African-American vote and Obama winning both men and women by an identical 49 percent to 46 percent margin.

Given the gender gaps everywhere -- with McCain running well ahead of Obama among men nationally, as well as in Colorado surveys conducted by Public Policy Polling (D) and even Rasmussen Reports for Fox News -- it seems unlikely that there would be no gender gap in Colorado. And if McCain wins 25 percent of the black vote anywhere, I'd be stunned.

Still, the state looks to be made for a tight contest. With upscale white voters who would seem likely to prefer Obama, Hispanics, Boulder liberals and plenty of swing suburbanites, Colorado looks like a one-time Republican state where Obama should have appeal.

One of the problems facing Obama is that the Democratic nominee for president has not won more than 47 percent of the vote in the state since 1964, when Colorado went for Lyndon Johnson (D). Bill Clinton carried the state with only 40.1 percent of the vote in a three-way race in 1992, and John Kerry drew 47 percent last time.

Of course, with Bob Barr running as a Libertarian, Cynthia McKinney as a Green and Ralph Nader as an Independent (to say nothing of the 11 other tickets on the ballot in the state), the presidential candidate who carries the state need not win a majority of the total votes cast.

A month from now, the national landscape could look very different. The contest for the White House might have blown wide open. But at this point, with the race looking very tight, Colorado surely is one of the key swing states, and it now looks like the best indicator of how the nation will go.

Stuart Rothenberg is the editor of the The Rothenberg Political Report, and a regular columnist for Roll Call Newspaper.


Alaska Governor Sarah Palin Wins 2008 Rubber Dodo Award

Palin Has Sought to Remove Endangered Species Act Protection for the Polar Bear, Suppressed and Lied About State Global Warming Studies, and Denied That Global Warming Is Caused by Greenhouse Gas Emissions

TUSCON, Ariz - September 17 - The Center for Biological Diversity today awarded Alaska Governor Sarah Palin the 2008 Rubber Dodo Award. Last year's award, which inaugurated the prize, went to Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne for setting a new record in refusing to add imperiled plants and animals to the endangered species list. This year's award goes to Governor Palin for fighting Kempthorne's designation of the polar bear as a threatened species.

The 2008 Rubber Dodo Award goes to Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. (For a high-resolution version of this image, click here.)

"Governor Palin has waged a deceptive, dangerous, and costly battle against the polar bear," said Kieran Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity. "Her position on global warming is so extreme, she makes Dick Cheney look like an Al Gore devotee."

Palin has waged a deceptive public relations campaign, asserting that the polar bear is increasing. But many populations (including Alaska's southern Beaufort Sea) are in decline and two-thirds (including all Alaska bears) are projected to disappear by 2050 by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Palin has repeatedly asserted that Alaska Department of Fish and Game scientists found fatal flaws in the sea ice models used by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine the polar bear is threatened. When challenged, Palin refused to release the alleged state review. Independent scientists eventually obtained a summary through the federal Freedom of Information Act, revealing that Palin had lied: The state mammalogists concurred with the Fish and Wildlife Service determination that Arctic sea ice is melting at an extraordinary rate and threatens the polar bear with extinction.

"All global warming deniers are eventually forced to suppress scientific studies, and Palin is no different," said Suckling. "To maintain her ludicrous opposition to protecting the polar bear in the face of massive scientific consensus, Palin stepped over the line to lie about and suppress government science."

Palin has since filed a frivolous lawsuit against the Bush administration to have the threatened listing overturned. Meanwhile, the U.S. Geological Survey announced on September 16th that the 2008 summertime Arctic sea-ice melt was the second greatest on record, nearly matching the extraordinary melt of 2007.

"Palin's insistence that Arctic melting is ‘uncertain' is like someone debating the theory of gravity as they plunge off a cliff," said Suckling. "It's hopeless, reckless, and extremely cynical."


In 1598, Dutch sailors landing on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius discovered a flightless, three-foot-tall, extraordinarily friendly bird. Its original scientific name was Didus ineptus. (Contemporary scientists use the less defamatory Raphus cucullatus.) To the rest of the world, it's the dodo - the most famous extinct species on Earth. It evolved over millions of years with no natural predators and eventually lost the ability to fly, becoming a land-based consumer of fruits, nuts, and berries. Having never known predators, it showed no fear of humans or the menagerie of animals accompanying them to Mauritius.

Its trusting nature led to its rapid extinction. By 1681, the dodo was extinct, having been hunted and out-competed by humans, dogs, cats, rats, macaques, and pigs. Humans logged its forest cover and pigs uprooted and ate much of the understory vegetation.

The origin of the name dodo is unclear. It likely came from the Dutch word dodoor, meaning "sluggard," the Portuguese word doudo, meaning "fool" or "crazy," or the Dutch word dodaars meaning "plump-arse" (that nation's name for the little grebe).

The dodo's reputation as a foolish, ungainly bird derives in part from its friendly naiveté and the very plump captives that were taken on tour across Europe. The animal's reputation was cemented with the 1865 publication of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Based on skeleton reconstructions and the discovery of early drawings, scientists now believe that the dodo was a much sleeker animal than commonly portrayed. The rotund European exhibitions were accidentally produced by overfeeding captive birds.


The Center for Biological Diversity is a nonprofit conservation organization with more than 180,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.


Barack's most serious speech on the economy to date.


Obama and The Palin Effect

From: Deepak Chopra

Sometimes politics has the uncanny effect of mirroring the national psyche even when nobody intended to do that. This is perfectly illustrated by the rousing effect that Gov. Sarah Palin had on the Republican convention in Minneapolis this week. On the surface, she outdoes former Vice President Dan Quayle as an unlikely choice, given her negligent parochial expertise in the complex affairs of governing. Her state of Alaska has less than 700,000 residents, which reduces the job of governor to the scale of running one-tenth of New York City. By comparison, Rudy Giuliani is a towering international figure. Palin’s pluck has been admired, and her forthrightness, but her real appeal goes deeper.

She is the reverse of Barack Obama, in essence his shadow, deriding his idealism and exhorting people to obey their worst impulses. In psychological terms the shadow is that part of the psyche that hides out of sight, countering our aspirations, virtue, and vision with qualities we are ashamed to face: anger, fear, revenge, violence, selfishness, and suspicion of “the other.” For millions of Americans, Obama triggers those feelings, but they don’t want to express them. He is calling for us to reach for our higher selves, and frankly, that stirs up hidden reactions of an unsavory kind. (Just to be perfectly clear, I am not making a verbal play out of the fact that Sen. Obama is black. The shadow is a metaphor widely in use before his arrival on the scene.)

I recognize that psychological analysis of politics is usually not welcome by the public, but I believe such a perspective can be helpful here to understand Palin’s message. In her acceptance speech Gov. Palin sent a rousing call to those who want to celebrate their resistance to change and a higher vision.

Look at what she stands for:

~ Small town values — a denial of America’s global role, a return to petty, small-minded parochialism.

~ Ignorance of world affairs — a repudiation of the need to repair America’s image abroad.

~ Family values — a code for walling out anybody who makes a claim for social justice. Such strangers, being outside the family, don’t need to be heeded.

~ Rigid stands on guns and abortion — a scornful repudiation that these issues can be negotiated with those who disagree.

~ Patriotism — the usual fallback in a failed war.

~ “Reform” — an italicized term, since in addition to cleaning out corruption and excessive spending, one also throws out anyone who doesn’t fit your ideology.

~ Palin reinforces the overall message of the reactionary right, which has been in play since 1980, that social justice is liberal-radical, that minorities and immigrants, being different from “us” pure American types, can be ignored, that progressivism takes too much effort and globalism is a foreign threat. The radical right marches under the banners of “I’m all right, Jack,” and “Why change? Everything’s OK as it is.” The irony, of course, is that Gov. Palin is a woman and a reactionary at the same time. She can add mom to apple pie on her resume, while blithely reversing forty years of feminist progress. The irony is superficial; there are millions of women who stand on the side of conservatism, however obviously they are voting against their own good. The Republicans have won multiple national elections by raising shadow issues based on fear, rejection, hostility to change, and narrow-mindedness.

Obama’s call for higher ideals in politics can’t be seen in a vacuum. The shadow is real; it was bound to respond. Not just conservatives possess a shadow — we all do. So what comes next is a contest between the two forces of progress and inertia. Will the shadow win again, or has its furtive appeal become exhausted? No one can predict. The best thing about Gov. Palin is that she brought this conflict to light, which makes the upcoming debate honest. It would be a shame to elect another Reagan, whose smiling persona was a stalking horse for the reactionary forces that have brought us to the demoralized state we are in. We deserve to see what we are getting, without disguise.

A Chiller's Nightmares

Eve Ensler, the American playwright, performer, feminist and activist best known for "The Vagina Monologues", wrote the following about Sarah Palin:

Drill, Drill, Drill I am having Sarah Palin nightmares. I dreamt last night that she was a member of a club where they rode snowmobiles and wore the claws of drowned and starved polar bears around their necks. I have a particular thing for Polar Bears. Maybe it's their snowy whiteness or their bigness or the fact that they live in the arctic or that I have never seen one in person or touched one. Maybe it is the fact that they live so comfortably on ice. Whatever it is, I need the polar bears.. I don't like raging at women. I am a Feminist and have spent my life trying to build community, help empower women and stop violence against them. It is hard to write about Sarah Palin. This is why the Sarah Palin choice was all the more insidious and cynical. The people who made this choice count on the goodness and solidarity of Feminists. But everything Sarah Palin believes in and practices is antithetical to Feminism which for me is part of one story -- connected to saving the earth, ending racism, empowering women, giving young girls options, opening our minds, deepening tolerance, and ending violence and war. I believe that the McCain/Palin ticket is one of the most dangerous choices of my lifetime, and should this country chose those candidates the fall-out may be so great, the destruction so vast in so many areas that America may never recover. But what is equally disturbing is the impact that duo would have on the rest of the world. Unfortunately, this is not a joke. In my lifetime I have seen the clownish, the inept, the bizarre be elected to the presidency with regularity.. Sarah Palin does not believe in evolution. I take this as a metaphor. In her world and the world of Fundamentalists nothing changes or gets better or evolves. She does not believe in global warming. The melting of the arctic, the storms that are destroying our cities, the pollution and rise of cancers, are all part of God's plan. She is fighting to take the polar bears off the endangered species list. The earth, in Palin's view, is here to be taken and plundered. The wolves and the bears are here to be shot and plundered. The oil is here to be taken and plundered. Iraq is here to be taken and plundered. As she said herself of the Iraqi war, "It was a task from God." Sarah Palin does not believe in abortion. She does not believe women who are raped and incested and ripped open against their will should have a right to determine whether they have their rapist's baby or not. She obviously does not believe in sex education or birth control. I imagine her daughter was practicing abstinence and we know how many babies that makes. Sarah Palin does not much believe in thinking. From what I gather she has tried to ban books from the library, has a tendency to dispense with people who think independently. She cannot tolerate an environment of ambiguity and difference. This is a woman who could and might very well be the next president of the United States. She would govern one of the most diverse populations on the earth. Sarah believes in guns. She has her own custom Austrian hunting rifle. She has been known to kill 40 caribou at a clip. She has shot hundreds of wolves from the air. Sarah believes in God. That is of course her right, her private right. But when God and Guns come together in the public sector, when war is declared in God's name, when the rights of women are denied in his name, that is the end of separation of church and state and the undoing of everything America has ever tried to be. I write to my sisters. I write because I believe we hold this election in our hands. This vote is a vote that will determine the future not just of the U.S., but of the planet. It will determine whether we create policies to save the earth or make it forever uninhabitable for humans. It will determine whether we move towards dialogue and diplomacy in the world or whether we escalate violence through invasion, undermining and attack. It will determine whether we go for oil, strip mining, coal burning or invest our money in alternatives that will free us from dependency and destruction. It will determine if money gets spent on education and healthcare or whether we build more and more methods of killing. It will determine whether America is a free open tolerant society or a closed place of fear, fundamentalism and aggression. If the Polar Bears don't move you to go and do everything in your power to get Obama elected then consider the chant that filled the hall after Palin spoke at the RNC, "Drill Drill Drill." I think of teeth when I think of drills. I think of rape. I think of destruction. I think of domination. I think of military exercises that force mindless repetition, emptying the brain of analysis, doubt, ambiguity or dissent. I think of pain. Do we want a future of drilling? More holes in the ozone, in the floor of the sea, more holes in our thinking, in the trust between nations and peoples, more holes in the fabric of this precious thing we call life?