Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Another great post on my travels.....

From: www.fatladysings.typepad.com

October 21, 2006

What is Hope?


Senator Barak Obama (D-IL), addressing the DNC in 2004, gave hope to so many of us as he reaffirmed the genius of America. He quoted these words from the Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. That they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights. That among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." And then he talked about the true genius of America: that these simple dreams let us put our children to bed at night, knowing they are free from harm. "That we can say what we think, write what we think, without hearing a sudden knock on the door. That we can have an idea and start our own business without paying a bribe or hiring somebody's son. That we can participate in the political process without fear of retribution, and that our votes will he counted — or at least, most of the time."

He was speaking before a crowd who needed igniting, on a national podium, before a crucial election. Our nation stood at a turning point: the choices were the hammer of fear, or the glimmer of hope. And we chose fear. The end result of that choice is the Military Commissions Act of 2006 which turns bad policy into bad law. It strips away the very fundamental nature of our being, as Americans: that we will not be awakened in the middle of the night by a knock at the door for something we said, or wrote, or thought. The Military Commissions Act of 2006 means that any of us can be arrested and held without being charged - it strips away the meaning of the Writ of Habeas Corpus, and it shreds the First Amendment.

And still, still I have hope that this sleeping giant that has become the American People will wake up and say "NO MORE." We are less than 20 days before a mid-term election which actually means something. Traditionally voter turnout at mid-term elections is low. Yet I have hope that Americans will vote, and will vote for the truth, and for dignity, and for hope rather than for the hammer of fear.

Obama spoke about a common belief: A belief that we are connected as one people. If there's a child on the south side of Chicago who can't read, that matters to me, even if it's not my child. If there's a senior citizen somewhere who can't pay for her prescription and has to choose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer, even if it's not my grandmother. If there's an Arab American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that threatens my civil liberties. It's that fundamental belief — I am my brother's keeper, I am my sister's keeper — that makes this country work. It's what allows us to pursue our individual dreams, yet still come together as a single American family. "E pluribus unum." Out of many, one.

Still, the Republicans divide us, demonize us, hammer us with fear. The result of negative advertising is the voters lose. In an upcoming Cable Television ad, the Republicans are featuring the image and words of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and a warning to voters that "these are the stakes" in the November 7 election.

And tell me, please, how after six years of Republican leadership we are safer? Bin Laden remains at large, and Bush himself has said repeatedly that he's not concerned with Bin Laden. But the Republicans prey upon fear, and use it like a hammer.

I prefer hope. I prefer the path of dignity. I prefer the path of debate, discourse, disagreement and truth. I prefer the AUDACITY of hope. Obama said of the 2004 election that the choice was the choice of the politics of cynicism or the politics of hope. That holds true today, more than ever. We were a great nation, although flawed and capable of great mistakes. We can be again.

Dare to hope, and dare to not give up. Wake up!

Posted by Diva Jood in A Call to Arms

Moral? I think not.

Excellent post from: http://fatladysings.typepad.com/

Moral? I think not.
A guest post by Kelley Bell:

http://kelleybell.blogspot.com




When I read about the moral values debates in our country, I can not help but compare our rhetoric to that of the Islamists.

While reading news articles about U.S.conservatives pushing for Pro- Life and marriage laws, I also read how the Muslims are prohibiting women from swimming at “family beaches.” (A powerful cleric in Somalia said women are welcome to gather jars of ocean water, then take it home and “bathe in it” if they want to enjoy a day at the beach.) Apparently, having the women swim while fully covered in a giant black bag was not moral enough for these folks. It seems, no matter where the line is drawn, someone wants to move it even further.


The problem is not that Muslim and Christian conservatives value morality; rather, it lies in the fact, they both feel they have the duty to impose their version on the populace. Folks, morality can not be compelled. It must be learned, and embraced as a personal choice. If you feel strongly that your particular framework for morality is correct, and then by all means, spread it, by setting a good example for others to follow. But when you cross the line, and demand compliance through force, fear, or rule of law, be aware, the devil is behind your deeds.


It strikes me as ironic, how similar we are to the enemy we fight. Both sides seek a conservative moral world order, deeply rooted in Aberhamic tradition, and both sides focus on sex, and the control of women’s bodies to achieve their aim…Pretty shallow thinking, for a world with scores of bigger problems.

Quite frankly, as a woman, I am offended. I am quite capable of defining my own moral values without the strong arm of the law, thank you very much, and I am deeply saddened when I realize the horrors in Dafur are of less importance to Washington than my sex life.

Ladies, enough is enough; All this ranting and raving needs to come to an end. It is time we use our votes to step in and clean house.

Women represent over 50% of the vote, and account for somewhere near 75% of consumer spending in the United States, yet we comprise less than 25% of policy makers.

If we would stand together, and support each other, we could become the most powerful force in government. We could put an end to the attack ads, and the screaming extremists on the airwaves. We could change the focus of the debate to issues of world hunger, world peace, quality healthcare, and protection of the eco-system for future generations. We could change the model of “superpower” from military might to humanitarian rights.

We could bring the voice of reason into American politics, if we simply stood together and set an example of our own.


Let's shift the moral debate, and move the focus of politics out of the bedroom, and over to issues that really matter. For instance:

* The World Health Organization ranked the United States 37th in health performance. The irony is that the United States spends more per capita for health care than any other nation in the world" (The European Dream, pp.79-80).

* "The U.S.and South Africa are the only two developed countries in the world that do not provide health care for all their citizens" (The European Dream, p.80).

* Lack of health insurance coverage causes 18,000 unnecessary American deaths a year. (That's six times the number of people killed on 9/11.) (NYT, Jan. 12, 2005.)

* Women are 70 percent more likely to die in childbirth in America than in Europe. (NYT, Jan. 12, 2005).

* The United States is 41st in the world in infant mortality. (NYT, Jan. 12, 2005).

(I can not even comprehend how the Pro Life people can claim any moral dignity at all on this issue when they throw millions of dollars at in the political arena while ignoring this statistic. It represents the worst form of hypocrisy imaginable.)

* Three million six hundred thousand Americans ran out of unemployment insurance last year; (NYT, Jan. 9, 2005).

* "U.S.childhood poverty ranks 22nd, or second to last, among the developed nations. (The European Dream, p.81).

* Twelve million American families--more than 10 percent of all U.S. households--"continue to struggle, and not always successfully, to feed themselves." Families that "had members who actually went hungry at some point last year" numbered 3.9 million (NYT, Nov. 22, 2004).

* The leading cause of death of pregnant women in this country is murder (CNN, Dec. 14, 2004).

* Japan, China, Taiwan, and South Korea hold 40 percent of our government debt. "By helping keep mortgage rates from rising, China has come to play an enormous and little-noticed role in sustaining the American housing boom" (NYT, Dec. 4, 2004). “Read that twice. We owe our housing boom to China, because they want us to keep buying all that stuff they manufacture.”

* Bush: 62,027,582 votes. Kerry: 59,026,003 votes. Number of eligible voters who didn't show up: 79,279,000 (NYT, Dec. 26, 2004).

The Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University offers these statistics on women in American politics:

Congress: women hold 15.1%, of the seats in Congress: 14.0%, of the Senate, and 15.4%, in the House.

State Legislature: 22.8%, of state legislators in the United States are women. Women hold 20.8%, of state senate seats and 23.6%, of state house seats.

…And we have never elected a woman president.

Moral? I think not.

Posted by Kelley Bell in A Call to Arms

Gitmo Torture may let 20th Hijacker walk....way to go George !!!

Full story at this link: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15361462/

Gitmo Torture may let 20th Hijacker walk....way to go George !!!

Full story at this link: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15361462/

Gitmo Torture may let 20th Hijacker walk....way to go George !!!

Full story at this link: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15361462/

Gitmo Torture may let 20th Hijacker walk....way to go George !!!

Full story at this link: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15361462/

Kevin Tillman

It is Pat’s birthday on November 6, and elections are the day after. It gets me thinking about a conversation I had with Pat before we joined the military. He spoke about the risks with signing the papers. How once we committed, we were at the mercy of the American leadership and the American people. How we could be thrown in a direction not of our volition. How fighting as a soldier would leave us without a voice… until we got out.

Much has happened since we handed over our voice:

Somehow we were sent to invade a nation because it was a direct threat to the American people, or to the world, or harbored terrorists, or was involved in the September 11 attacks, or received weapons-grade uranium from Niger, or had mobile weapons labs, or WMD, or had a need to be liberated, or we needed to establish a democracy, or stop an insurgency, or stop a civil war we created that can’t be called a civil war even though it is. Something like that.

Somehow America has become a country that projects everything that it is not and condemns everything that it is.

Somehow our elected leaders were subverting international law and humanity by setting up secret prisons around the world, secretly kidnapping people, secretly holding them indefinitely, secretly not charging them with anything, secretly torturing them. Somehow that overt policy of torture became the fault of a few “bad apples” in the military.

Somehow back at home, support for the soldiers meant having a five-year-old kindergartener scribble a picture with crayons and send it overseas, or slapping stickers on cars, or lobbying Congress for an extra pad in a helmet. It’s interesting that a soldier on his third or fourth tour should care about a drawing from a five-year-old; or a faded sticker on a car as his friends die around him; or an extra pad in a helmet, as if it will protect him when an IED throws his vehicle 50 feet into the air as his body comes apart and his skin melts to the seat.

Somehow the more soldiers that die, the more legitimate the illegal invasion becomes.

Somehow American leadership, whose only credit is lying to its people and illegally invading a nation, has been allowed to steal the courage, virtue and honor of its soldiers on the ground.

Somehow those afraid to fight an illegal invasion decades ago are allowed to send soldiers to die for an illegal invasion they started.
Somehow faking character, virtue and strength is tolerated.
Somehow profiting from tragedy and horror is tolerated.
Somehow the death of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people is tolerated.
Somehow subversion of the Bill of Rights and The Constitution is tolerated.
Somehow suspension of Habeas Corpus is supposed to keep this country safe.
Somehow torture is tolerated.
Somehow lying is tolerated.
Somehow reason is being discarded for faith, dogma, and nonsense.
Somehow American leadership managed to create a more dangerous world.
Somehow a narrative is more important than reality.

Somehow America has become a country that projects everything that it is not and condemns everything that it is.

Somehow the most reasonable, trusted and respected country in the world has become one of the most irrational, belligerent, feared, and distrusted countries in the world.

Somehow being politically informed, diligent, and skeptical has been replaced by apathy through active ignorance.

Somehow the same incompetent, narcissistic, virtueless, vacuous, malicious criminals are still in charge of this country.

Somehow this is tolerated.
Somehow nobody is accountable for this.

In a democracy, the policy of the leaders is the policy of the people. So don’t be shocked when our grandkids bury much of this generation as traitors to the nation, to the world and to humanity. Most likely, they will come to know that “somehow” was nurtured by fear, insecurity and indifference, leaving the country vulnerable to unchecked, unchallenged parasites.

Luckily this country is still a democracy. People still have a voice. People still can take action. It can start after Pat’s birthday.

Brother and Friend of Pat Tillman,

Kevin Tillman

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Real Face of the Republican Party....Exposed

Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Mark Foley and the unmasked Republican Party

Denny Hastert is smack in the middle of one of the tawdriest and ugliest sex scandals in American political history. As a result, he has been the target of aggressive criticism, even from a few members of his own party, and, by all accounts, is desperately battling to keep his job.

In need of moral absolution and support from a respected and admired figure who possesses moral authority among Hastert's morally upstanding Republican base, to whom does Hastert turn? A priest or respected reverend? An older wise political statesman with a reputation for integrity and dignity? No, there is only one person with sufficient moral credibility among the increasingly uncomfortable moralistic Republican base who can give Hastert the blessing he needs:

Rush Limbaugh. And so that is where Hastert went yesterday in order to obtain the Decree that He Did Nothing Wrong.

As much as I tried -- and, trust me, I really tried -- I couldn't expunge this picture from my mind yesterday because, in all its visceral hideousness, it really illustrates what I think is the principal reason why this Foley scandal is resonating so strongly. This is the real face of the ruling Republican party, and it has been unmasked -- violently -- by the exposure of Mark Foley and his allies who protected and harbored him.

If the term "moral degenerate" has any validity and can be fairly applied to anyone, there are few people who merit that term more than Rush Limbaugh. He is the living and breathing embodiment of moral degeneracy, with his countless overlapping sexual affairs, his series of shattered, dissolved marriages, his hedonistic and illegal drug abuse, his jaunts, with fistfulls of Viagra (but no wife), to an impoverished Latin American island renowned for its easy access to underage female prostitutes.

Yet that is who Hastert chose as the High Priest of the Values Voters to whom he made his pilgrimage and from whom he received his benediction. The difference between Rush Limbaugh and Mark Foley, to the extent there is one, is one of hedonistic tastes, not moral level. Rush Limbaugh isn't just tolerated within the party that stands for religious piety and moral strength. He is a leader of it, arguably the leader of its most righteous wing. Is it really all that surprising that a political movement that has chosen a moral degenerate like Rush Limbaugh as one of its most revered and morally respected leaders is not all that bothered by -- and therefore actively harbors -- the Mark Foleys of the world?

The individuals who never tire of making public displays of how concerned they are with our moral fabric -- the Kathryn Jean Lopezs of the world who find Bill Clinton's sex life such a cause for condemnation and who publicly crusade to have John Kerry shunned by good Catholics because of how immoral he is and interrupt such crusades only in order to coo with giddy love and profound respect for Rush Limbaugh -- are well aware that their party is filled to the rim with sleazy, corrupt hedonists with as bloated and piggish a sense of entitlement as can be imagined. But as long as they help keep the party in power, they are not just tolerated but embraced. That dynamic is a core operating principle of the Bush-led Republican Party, and it is why Mark Foley was able to rise within it despite its being an "open secret" in Washington GOP power circles -- a very open secret -- exactly what he was.

When this scandal first broke, I spent a few hours researching federal law with regard to Internet sexual activities and "minors" and, while I knew that Foley was involved in enacting some of these bills, I was really amazed how far beyond that it went. Mark Foley was literally at the center of virtually every activity and law and program over the last 10 years ostensibly designed to battle the evils of Internet sex and minors. Mark Foley spent 12 years in Congress and it is not an exaggeration to say that he basically devoted his whole Congressional career to adding decades of imprisonment on to the mandatory punishments for those who use the Internet to talk about sex with children. He didn't just condemn that which he was doing. He made the crusade against it his life's work, in the most vocal and public way possible.

Mark Foley isn't some isolated case of shocking hypocrisy. Quite the contrary. People who have a publicly and vocally expressed obsession with other people's moral behavior and who want to use the power of the Government to enforce that obsession -- the Rick Santorums and Rush Limbaughs and Newt Gingrichs and Jim Bakkers and Ralph Reeds and Mark Foleys of the world -- are almost always fighting their own demons, not anyone else's. It is so important for them to parade around as moral protectors and moral warriors precisely because they have no other way to cleanse themselves, despite being in desperate need of a cleansing. That's why, all over the Internet, one easily finds things like this:


STATEMENT OF ATTORNEY GENERAL JOHN ASHCROFT ON THE PASSAGE OF THE SMITH-POMEROY-FOLEY CHILD OBSCENITY AND PORNOGRAPHY PREVENTION ACT

"I am pleased that the House of Representatives passed the Child Obscenity and Pornography Prevention Act, a bill that will strengthen the ability of law enforcement to protect children from abuse and exploitation. I urge the Senate to bring this important legislation to the floor as soon as possible.

"I want to thank Chairman Sensenbrenner for guiding this important legislation through the Judiciary Commitee (sic), and Congressmen Lamar Smith, Mark Foley, and Earl Pomeroy for their leadership on this bill. They have worked tirelessly to protect the health and safety of children.

"The Department of Justice remains solid in its commitment to identify, investigate, and prosecute those who sexually exploit children. I look forward to working with Congress to see to it that this legislation becomes law, so that we may continue in our efforts to eliminate child pornography and prosecute offenders."


This isn't some "great find" or specially revealing document. Documents like this are everywhere, because this is the twisted, warped, dysfunctional and rotted political rule to which we have been subjected for the last six years and even before that (though not with the unchallenged power it has now). Mark Foley is the GOP face of efforts to combat the use of the Internet to sexualize minors, and Rush Limbaugh is their High Moral Priest.
We have been barraged with laws, programs, sermons, demagoguery and all sorts of moral demonization from a political movement whose most powerful pundit is a multiple-times-divorced drug addict who flamboyantly cavorts around with a new girlfriend every few months in between Viagra-fueled jaunts to the Dominican Republic.
It is a political movement whose legacy will be torture, waterboards, naked, sadomasochistic games in Iraqi dungeons (or, to Rush, "blowing off steam"), with all sorts of varied sleaze and corruption deeply engrained throughout its DNA -- all propped up by a facade of moralism and dependent upon the support of those who have been propagandized into believing that they are voting for the Party of Values and Morals.

It is not a coincidence that the GOP was harboring someone like Mark Foley within its highest ranks while their most powerful political officials purposely looked the other way and even actively helped to conceal what he was up to, thereby enabling him to continue. After all, even now that this conduct has been exposed, their instinct -- all the way to the highest levels -- is to excuse and defend those leaders and offer up the most disgusting defenses -- all because preservation of their political power depends on it. This is not some bizarre aberration. This is how they operate and it is what they are. And the Mark Foley scandal is making it virutally impossible for anyone to convincingly deny it any longer.

posted by Glenn Greenwald | 8:55 AM www.glenngreenwald.blogspot.com

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Condi - Another new job?

"If Condoleezza Rice Were A Mall Security Guard"


"Ms. Rice, the Banana Republic has been looted by armed thugs and the Sunglasses Hut is on fire!"

"Nobody could have foreseen such a thing." (blows nose)

"What are you blowing your nose on?"

(unwads paper) "Some kinda Saf-T-Guards memorandum from last month: 'Armed Thugs Determined To Strike Panda Express.' Whatever that means."

"I think it means that armed thugs were going to hide in vats of Panda Express sweet and sour sauce and pop out during the lunch rush, terrorizing the customers."
"Jesus, like anybody could have seen that coming.""Well, it happened at Northcross Mall about a year ago. Didn't you get the continuity notebook from the previous security guard?"
"I don't do historical documents. I'm all about the future.""What about the JC Penney floor manager? Didn't he mention the skateboarding problem?"

"I can't really remember what I even had for breakfast this morning."

"But we have it on videotape!"

"Fucking stop riding me, asshole, I gotta get a manicure at Visible Changes and hit the Payless Shoes clearance sale!"

"That's the kind of spunk I like! You're promoted to Highland Mall Armed Punk Liaison! Long may your community dialogues be facilitated!"


More here for the metaphorically impaired. You can also construct your own Dennis Hastert as the general manager of a Chuck E. Cheese Funtime Pizza Parlor scenario, so long as it ends with his being fired after overlooking the shenanigans of the deviant employee who installed a risque soundtrack for the animatronic animal musicians. Or skimming cheesy pepperoni rolls for personal consumption.


From: www.norbizness.com

FU GWB

Found the following on www.fuckyougeorgebush.com ... I find it cathartic and reminds me of the rude pundit. LOL

Fuck you, George W. Bush.

Fuck you for not cutting off your vacation when you got the PDB on August 6, 2001. Fuck you for telling the briefer, “You covered your ass.” Fuck you for those seven minutes in that Florida classroom.

Fuck you for not listening to the warnings of Richard Clarke. Fuck you for appointing John Ashcroft, who told aides that he didn’t want to hear anything about terrorism.

Fuck you for using the horrific deaths of 2,973 on 9/11/2001 to justify the invasion of Iraq, which we now know you had planned since the day you took office, and started ratcheting up within days of 9/11.

Fuck you for squandering the good will and sympathy of the world that existed on 9/12, when even people in Tehran mourned our loss. Fuck you for thumbing your nose at our allies, who were willing to commit unlimited resources to helping us catch the perpetrators of 911, but most of whom rightly couldn’t see the logic of invading a country that had nothing to do with it.

Fuck you for promising to catch or kill Osama Bin Laden, but quickly dropping that pursuit, and to allowing him to still breath the sweet air of freedom, now 5 fucking years after his minions murdered our citizens. Fuck you for letting him escape at Tora Bora, when a decisive or even competent leader would have committed enough forces to make sure he was caught. Fuck you for pulling our Special Forces from the pursuit and sending them to Iraq. Fuck you for disbanding the unit changed with tracking him down. Fuck you for telling the American people that you just don’t think about bin Laden. Fuck you for not thinking about him. Fuck you for allowing Pakistan to pretend to try to catch him. Fuck you for letting them cut a deal with the Taliban. Fuck you for appointing as CIA director a partisan hack, Porter Goss, who said that we could catch bin Laden but for political niceties.

Fuck you for not enacting the 911 commission’s recommendations. Fuck you for not protecting the ports. Fuck you for not protecting chemical and nuclear plants. Fuck you for turning Homeland Security into a corrupt bureaucracy that spends more money guarding flea markets and petting zoos than it does major cities.

Fuck you for claiming, both yourself and through your minions, that Iraq was linked to 911. Fuck you for claiming that the clusterfuck that you created in Iraq is part of the war against terrorism. Fuck you for invading and occupying Iraq INSTEAD of fighting the war against the terrorists who attached us on 911. Fuck you for insisting that Iraq had WMD. Fuck you for not allowing Hanz Blitz and team to confirm that. Fuck you for telling them to leave Iraq before they proved to the world that you were wrong.

Fuck you for squandering the lives of nearly 3,000 brave Americans in your unprovoked war. Fuck you for not sending those brave Americans to fight Al-Qaeda instead. Fuck you for directly or indirectly causing the deaths of 50,000 to 100,000 or more innocent Iraqis.

Fuck you for using 911 as a political cudgel against your foes. Fuck you for impugning the patriotism of Max Cleland. Fuck you for calling Democrats weak on terror. Fuck you for swiftboating Kerry. Fuck you for ratcheting up the terror alert every time your poll numbers require it.

Fuck you for using 911 as yet another justification for cutting taxes. Fuck you for cutting taxes for yourself, Dick Cheney, Mary Cheney, the Bush twins, and Paris Hilton, while sticking my kids with the bill, and running up more federal debt than any president in history. Fuck you for blaming that debt on 911.

Fuck you for pissing away $313,679,500,000 of our tax money in Iraq. Fuck you for not spending that on finding and killing bin Laden. Fuck you for not spending that money working to prevent more bin Ladens and more Al-Qaedas from popping up. Fuck you for insuring that they will.

Fuck you for not knowing the difference between Sunni and Shia. Fuck you for not listening to those who warned that the aftermath of the invasion would be chaos. Fuck you for not planning for it. Fuck you for continuing to claim that it’s all good even as it gets worse day by day. Fuck you for hiring Rumsfeld, who, we’ve recently learned, forbade his staff to even talk about postwar planning. Fuck you for pretending that all you need to make a democrasy is a bunch of purple fingers.

Fuck all the people who work for you, who have all been complicit in your failure to fight the war against Al Qaeda. Fuck Cheney and Rumsfeld and Rice, of course, and fuck the theorists, Perle and Wolfowitz and Feith, and fuck the chickenshit enablers, Powell and Armitage, and fuck the mouthpieces, McClellen, Mehlman, Gillespie, and especially Fleisher. Fuck every staff member, fuck every intern, fuck anybody and everybody who worked in your administration and didn’t go screaming to the media about your mendacity and incompetence. And fuck all the old “grown up” republicans, like James Baker and George HW Bush, for not smacking you down before you caused some serious damage.

Fuck all the people in the mainstream media, who have failed to this day to remind the public that bin Laden is still alive and that you have failed to find him. Fuck the right wing media for hypocrisy and their non-stop lies about everything you do.

Fuck all of the people in Congress who have supported you, your war, and your refusal to protect the nation against further attack from al Quada.

Fuck everybody who voted for you in 2004. They get a pass for 2000, cause they didn’t know any better but in 2004 everybody should have known better, so fuck all of you - even if you’re a relative of mine, in which case, double fuck you!

Fuck you, Tony Blair, for being Bush’s bitch. Fuck you, Supreme Court, for appointing him.

And finally, for not storming the gates of the White House tomorrow and tossing the incompetent son of a bitch out on his ear for letting bin Laden get away with 911, fuck each and every one of us.

Soviet America

By Charlie Brennan, Rocky Mountain News
October 3, 2006

A Denver-area man filed a lawsuit today against a member of the Secret Service for causing him to be arrested after he approached Vice President Dick Cheney in Beaver Creek this summer and criticized him for his policies concerning Iraq.
Attorney David Lane said that on June 16, Steve Howards was walking his 7-year-old son to a piano practice, when he saw Cheney surrounded by a group of people in an outdoor mall area, shaking hands and posing for pictures with several people.

According to the lawsuit filed at U.S. District Court in Denver, Howards and his son walked to about two-to-three feet from where Cheney was standing, and said to the vice president, "I think your policies in Iraq are reprehensible," or words to that effect, then walked on.

Ten minutes later, according to Howards' lawsuit, he and his son were walking back through the same area, when they were approached by Secret Service agent Virgil D. "Gus" Reichle Jr., who asked Howards if he had "assaulted" the vice president. Howards denied doing so, but was nonetheless placed in handcuffs and taken to the Eagle County Jail.

The lawsuit states that the Secret Service agent instructed that Howards should be issued a summons for harassment, but that on July 6 the Eagle County District Attorney's Office dismissed all charges against Howards.

The lawsuit filed today alleges that Howards was arrested in retaliation for having exercised his First Amendment right of free speech, and that his arrest violated his Fourth Amendment protection against unlawful seizure.