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culture, politics, commentary, criticism

Modified: 2006-11-13T19:58:33Z


Maf54, where are you?Maf54, where are you?


Maf54, where are you? The election's over. Has Mark Foley been cured of "alcohol" addiction yet?

The dynasty replaces Donald Rumsfeld.The dynasty replaces Donald Rumsfeld.


The dynasty replaces Donald Rumsfeld. A new variation on military inexperience arrives in the form of Robert Gates:
He arrives at the post with a résumé burnished during the administration of Bush's father, whom he served as director of the Central Intelligence Agency. It is long on analytical and bureaucratic achievement and short on direct policymaking — foreign or domestic — or any military connections. [...]

He finally got the top job in 1991 after President George H.W. Bush tabbed him. The second confirmation process did not go much more easily than the first.

He did manage to gain approval, albeit while receiving the most nay votes of any intelligence-director nominee. He was criticized in testimony for "politicizing" his intelligence analysis to fit his hard-line, anti-Soviet feelings or prevailing White House attitudes...
Politicizing intelligence analysis? Is this guy related to Cheney too?

This government didn't work... I want my money back.This government didn't work... I want my money back.


This government didn't work... I want my money back. Time to starting thinking about how we want to structure our refund for the hundreds of billions of dollars we lent the Republicans in tax relief for the wealthy, corporate mercenary profiteering in Iraq, not to mention the outright windfalls enjoyed by all the major oil companies.

But the energy plutocrats won't let us get off this easy. American voters will need to be punished for their insubordinate defiance. Gas prices should start zooming upward again soon — expect prices at the pump to go back up by Baby Jesus's birthday and recordbreaking new high prices for gasoline by Memorial Day 2007.

Thoughts for Election Day.Thoughts for Election Day.


Thoughts for Election Day.

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I'm sorry, but I don't want to be an Emperor - that's not my business. I don't want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone, if possible -- Jew, gentile, black man, white. We all want to help one another; human beings are like that. We want to live by each other's happiness, not by each other's misery. We don't want to hate and despise one another. In this world there's room for everyone and the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone.

The way of life can be free and beautiful.

But we have lost the way.

Greed has poisoned men's souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical, our cleverness hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery, we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost.

The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men, cries out for universal brotherhood for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women, and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people.

To those who can hear me I say, "Do not despair." The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass and dictators die; and the power they took from the people will return to the people and so long as men die, liberty will never perish.

Soldiers: Don't give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you, enslave you, who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel; who drill you, diet you, treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder. Don't give yourselves to these unnatural men, machine men, with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts. You don't hate; only the unloved hate, the unloved and the unnatural.

Soldiers: Don't fight for slavery! Fight for liberty! In the seventeenth chapter of Saint Luke it is written, "the kingdom of God is within man" -- not one man, nor a group of men, but in all men, in you, you the people have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness. You the people have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure.

Then, in the name of democracy, let us use that power! Let us all unite!! Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give you the future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power, but they lie! They do not fulfill their promise; they never will. Dictators free themselves, but they enslave the people!! Now, let us fight to fulfill that promise!! Let us fight to free the world, to do away with national barriers, to do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men's happiness.

Soldiers: In the name of democracy, let us all unite!!!

— Charles Chaplin, The Great Dictator

GOP Elephants Gone Wild!GOP Elephants Gone Wild!


GOP Elephants Gone Wild!


First Foley and now Haggard have established the Republican Party platform: family values and teen cock!

While Kerry apologized...While Kerry apologized...


While Kerry apologized... other things happened in business news (WSJ):
Former CA Inc. Chief Executive Sanjay Kumar was sentenced to 12 years in prison and fined $8 million Thursday for his role artificially boosting financial results at the software maker. [...]

Prosecutor Eric Komitee said Mr. Kumar deserved severe punishment as the architect of an elaborate coverup that was "the most brazen in the modern era of corporate crime.''
Do I even need to add that he was a generous Bush contributor?

Also from the business pages: Who's cutting and running from Iraq? Bush's hand-picked crony Riley Bechtel.

Ecology of slime molds.Ecology of slime molds.


Ecology of slime molds. No wonder they don't believe in evolution &mdash they can't rise above their own slime (WSJ):
On a lavish, weeklong Caribbean cruise last year, software entrepreneur Warren Trepp wined and dined friends and business partners aboard the 560-foot Seven Seas Navigator.

Among Mr. Trepp's guests on the cruise ship: Rep. Jim Gibbons of Nevada and his family. The two men have enjoyed a long friendship that has been good for both. Mr. Trepp has been a big contributor to Mr. Gibbons's campaigns, and the congressman has used his clout to intervene on behalf of Mr. Trepp's company, according to congressional records, court documents and interviews. The tiny Reno, Nev., company, eTreppid Technologies, has won millions of dollars in classified federal software contracts from the Air Force, U.S. Special Operations Command and the Central Intelligence Agency.

At a time of rising concern over lawmakers who direct or "earmark" federal spending to their supporters and business partners, a growing part of the budget is shielded from scrutiny. This is the "black budget," mostly for defense and intelligence, which is disclosed only in the vaguest terms. The ties between Mr. Trepp and Mr. Gibbons raise questions about an influential politician in America's fastest-growing state, and also offer a rare glimpse of contracts in this secret budget being awarded to a politically connected businessman without competitive bidding.

Mr. Gibbons, a 61-year-old Republican, has been elected to five terms in the House and has served on the Intelligence and Armed Services committees. A former combat pilot and decorated Vietnam veteran, he is stepping down at the end of this term and is running for governor of Nevada in next week's election. His wife, Dawn, ran unsuccessfully in the Republican primary for the House seat being vacated by her husband.

Mr. Gibbons is in a tight and bitterly fought race. He held a double-digit lead until two weeks ago, when a cocktail waitress said he accosted her after a night of drinking. Mr. Gibbons has forcefully denied the claim, which is unproven, but details of the case have been page-one news in Nevada, and his lead slipped to six points in a weekend poll.

Mr. Trepp, 56, is known on Wall Street as the one-time chief trader for Michael Milken at Drexel Burnham Lambert, which collapsed in 1990 following a criminal investigation of junk-bond abuses.
Because this is front-page news in the most conservative of financial newspapers, the tide is indeed turning.

If only its ostrich-headed editorial board would read its own newspaper, maybe the finger-waggers of the Wall Street Journal would learn something.

GOP gets out the noncitizen vote.GOP gets out the noncitizen vote.


GOP gets out the noncitizen vote. Look what ten bucks or less will get you in Republican stronghold Orange County, California:
Eleven people who were paid as much as $10 for each voter they registered in a Republican recruiting drive targeting central Orange County were charged with fraud.

Fraudulent voter registration charges were filed this week by prosecutors who said Democrats were unwittingly signed up as Republicans. Central Orange County includes the district represented by Democratic Rep. Loretta Sanchez.

There were at least 37 instances in which Democratic, Green Party voters and a noncitizen were registered as Republicans. Each defendant was charged with felony counts of fraudulent completion of registration affidavits.

No charges were filed against the companies or executives hired by the Republican Party to conduct the registration drive.

County GOP chairman Scott Baugh said he got complaints from people who received letters welcoming them to the Republican Party. Registration workers were fired for being too aggressive or submitting faulty paperwork, he said.
County GOP chairman Scott Baugh was last noted here for his loyal assistance to a Republican NAMBLA porn collector.

Send Chevron to Guantanamo.Send Chevron to Guantanamo.


Send Chevron to Guantanamo. Enemy combatant in the War against the American Taxpayer, Chevron:
WASHINGTON, Oct. 30 — The Interior Department has dropped claims that the Chevron Corporation systematically underpaid the government for natural gas produced in the Gulf of Mexico, a decision that could allow energy companies to avoid paying hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties.

The agency had ordered Chevron to pay $6 million in additional royalties but could have sought tens of millions more had it prevailed. The decision also sets a precedent that could make it easier for oil and gas companies to lower the value of what they pump each year from federal property and thus their payments to the government.

Interior officials said on Friday that they had no choice but to drop their order to Chevron because a department appeals board had ruled against auditors in a separate case.
They "had no choice" but to drop their order.

Funny how their political will dries up when it means confronting Chevron versus interrogating an innocent Pakistani taxi driver whom they want to torture for no good reason.

At least if we tortured Chevron, Condi's ex-playground, we'd get a few hundred million dollars to help us pay for all the renditions and the Abu Ghraibs.


Jenna's private army.Jenna's private army.


Jenna's private army. The person who directed me to the "new Bush ranch in Paraguay" story (see here) also had this to say via email:
[Eventually] Jenna will wind up engaged to the son of some rich industrialist or someone with a claim to a royal bloodline in South America. Those 400 Marines are probably the beginnings of what will eventually be Bush's private army. The Bushes are starting to wear out their welcome in the US. They have to move on to somewhere with less oversight.
And that's what this election in twelve days is really all about — oversight and accountability.


--AZ-Sen: Jon Kyl--AZ-01: Rick Renzi--AZ-05: J.D. Hayworth--CA-04: John Doolittle--CA-11: Richard Pombo--CA-50: Brian Bilbray--CO-04: Marilyn Musgrave--CO-05: Doug Lamborn--CO-07: Rick O'Donnell--CT-04: Christopher Shays--FL-13: Vernon Buchanan--FL-16: Joe Negron--FL-22: Clay Shaw--ID-01: Bill Sali--IL-06: Peter Roskam--IL-10: Mark Kirk--IL-14: Dennis Hastert--IN-02: Chris Chocola--IN-08: John Hostettler--IA-01: Mike Whalen--KS-02: Jim Ryun--KY-03: Anne Northup--KY-04: Geoff Davis--MD-Sen: Michael Steele--MN-01: Gil Gutknecht--MN-06: Michele Bachmann--MO-Sen: Jim Talent--MT-Sen: Conrad Burns--NV-03: Jon Porter--NH-02: Charlie Bass--NJ-07: Mike Ferguson--NM-01: Heather Wilson--NY-03: Peter King--NY-20: John Sweeney--NY-26: Tom Reynolds--NY-29: Randy Kuhl--NC-08: Robin Hayes--NC-11: Charles Taylor--OH-01: Steve Chabot--OH-02: Jean Schmidt--OH-15: Deborah Pryce--OH-18: Joy Padgett--PA-04: Melissa Hart--PA-07: Curt Weldon--PA-08: Mike Fitzpatrick--PA-10: Don Sherwood--RI-Sen: Lincoln Chafee--TN-Sen: Bob Corker--VA-Sen: George Allen--VA-10: Frank Wolf--WA-Sen: Mike McGavick--WA-08: Dave Reichert[...]

Illinois GOP plans appointment to replace dead sex predator.Illinois GOP plans appointment to replace dead sex predator.


Illinois GOP plans appointment to replace dead sex predator. What a sweet Republican family values story:
Brent Schepp's name will remain on the ballot as the Republican candidate for the Kane County Board's 3rd District in Aurora, despite his death Tuesday in a car crash.

Carole Holtz, Aurora Election Commission director, said it would be "very expensive" to reprint ballots without his name at this point.

"My ballots are printed, everything is set," for the Nov. 7 general election, she said Wednesday.

But it would not be set if the Kane County Republican Organization decided to put a new candidate in Schepp's place. The GOP can slate a candidate up to 15 days before the election, which is Monday, Oct. 23.

If officials did that, the Election Commission would have to reprint its ballots. Still, Kane GOP Chairman Dennis Wiggins said Wednesday the county organization is "not planning to put anyone in there."

"We can't stop a write-in, obviously," Wiggins said. "But my recommendation is we just leave it alone."

If Schepp's name stays on the ballot, people still can vote for him. If Schepp were to win, it then would be up to the county board to replace him.

Board Chairwoman Karen McConnaughay, R-St. Charles, would make the appointment, with the advice of the county GOP organization.
Then the board would have to approve the appointment. That is the standard situation when there is a county board vacancy.

Schepp, 36, died Tuesday morning when his car crashed into the concrete support of a pedestrian bridge over Eola Road, south of Diehl Road, on Aurora's far-northeast side. The accident occurred four days after a Kane County grand jury indicted Schepp with felonies of criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual abuse, and a misdemeanor count of providing alcohol to minors.

The 26-count indictment alleged that Schepp had sexual contact with two girls, now 15 and 16 years old, between June 1 and Dec. 31, 2005.

Police on Tuesday said it appeared preliminarily the crash was "a self-inflicted act," because there was no sign of braking or evasive maneuvers at the accident scene.
Let's see: the girls were 14 and 15 years old at the time Schepp molested them. And just one short year later Karen McConnaughay, R-St. Charles, may get to appoint a replacement for their molester.

Rather than run a new candidate, the Kane County GOP decided to let people vote for their dead sex predator and only afterward select an appropriate replacement, whatever that might mean.

More background on this story here.

Why the future sucks ass.Why the future sucks ass.


Why the future sucks ass. The prosecutor's argument in the Enron Skilling case:
"The Enron fraud is as large and as serious as any other fraud in the nation's history," said prosecutor Sean Berkowitz.

"This was not a one-time event where someone made an judgment in error," Berkowitz said.

He also said Skilling's philanthropy was worth noting but " ... It is not unusual for someone in his position to give back to the community, in fact it is required."

Berkowitz quoted from a victims letter: "Mr. Skilling's philanthropy was paid out of my future."
The Iraq invasion was paid out of my future.

The tax cuts to America's richest 1 percent were paid out of my future.

The no-bid Halliburton contracts were paid out of my future.

The stolen Iraqi reconstruction funds were paid out of my future.

The failure to catch bin Laden was paid out of my future.

The failure to reform Afghanistan was paid out of my future.

The destruction of New Orleans was paid out of my future.

The failures of national security were paid out of my future.

The loss of respect for America around the world was paid out of my future.

The failure of our medical system was paid out of my future.

Lay and Skilling are but symptoms of the Republican disease. Enron, which was instrumental in putting Bush-Cheney 2000 into the White House, was the virus that sickened America's future.

Crawford, Paraguay.Crawford, Paraguay.


Crawford, Paraguay. Guardian:
As worries go, however, having the US president move in next door must come fairly low on the list.

Unless of course you are a resident of northern Paraguay and believe reports in the South American press that he has bought up a 100,000 acre (40,500 hectare) ranch in your neck of the woods.

The rumours, as yet unconfirmed but which began with the state-run Cuban news agency Prensa Latina, have triggered an outpouring of conspiracy theories, with speculation rife about what President Bush's supposed interest in the "chaco", a semi-arid lowland in the Paraguay's north, might be.
Some have speculated that he might be trying to wrestle control of the Guarani Aquifer, one of the largest underground water reserves, from the Paraguayans.

Rumours of Mr Bush's supposed forays into South American real estate surfaced during a recent 10-day visit to the country by his daughter Jenna Bush. Little is known about her trip to Paraguay, although officially she travelled with the UN children's agency Unicef to visit social projects. Photographers from the Paraguayan newspaper ABC Color tracked her down to one restaurant in Paraguay's capital Asunción, where she was seen flanked by 10 security guards, and was also reported to have met Paraguay's president, Nicanor Duarte, and the US ambassador to Paraguay, James Cason. Reports in sections of the Paraguayan media suggested she was sent on a family "mission" to tie up the land purchase in the "chaco".

Erasmo Rodríguez Acosta, the governor of the Alto Paraguay region where Mr Bush's new acquisition supposedly lies, told one Paraguayan news agency there were indications that Mr Bush had bought land in Paso de Patria, near the border with Brazil and Bolivia. He was, however, unable to prove this, he added.

Last week the Paraguayan news group Neike suggested that Ms Bush was in Paraguay to "visit the land acquired by her father - relatively close to the Brazilian Pantanal [wetlands] and the Bolivian gas reserves".

The US presence in Paraguay has been under scrutiny since May 2005 when the country's Congress agreed to allow 400 American marines to operate there for 18 months in exchange for financial aid.
As a hideout for expatriated war criminals, in addition to its energy and water (the newest precious liquid commodity) reserves, Paraguay makes perfect sense for George and Family.


Dubya's second cousin nearly kills a cop.Dubya's second cousin nearly kills a cop.


Dubya's second cousin nearly kills a cop. The pretzel-accident, Segway-crashing behavior runs in the family:
(AP) - NEW HAVEN, Conn.-A federal judge in a sport utility ran into a police officer directing traffic in the rain, critically injuring the officer, authorities said Thursday.

New Haven police Chief Francisco Ortiz said Senior Judge John M. Walker was "very much distraught" over the Tuesday night crash.

Officer Dan Picagli, 38, was in critical condition Thursday at Yale-New Haven Hospital. He had been wearing a black raincoat and a reflective vest when he was hit, Ortiz said.

Ortiz said Walker is cooperating, and police did not feel it was necessary to test him for drugs or alcohol.

Walker, 65, stepped down this month as chief judge of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals but he maintains court chambers in New Haven. He was appointed to the New York-based court in 1989 by President George H.W. Bush, who is a cousin of the judge.
Why is it that an innocent applicant for any janitorial job is routinely subjected to drug testing, but a federal judge who nearly kills a cop is not?

Is he still here?Is he still here?


Is he still here? Hastert remains a huge bag of gas:
Oil company executives have been cringing at the poll results, economists all but screaming.

Nearly a third of all Americans believe the oil industry, in cahoots with the White House, is orchestrating the recent drop in energy prices to help Republicans in November.

So there was groaning again on Thursday when House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., issued a news release that was headlined: "Gas prices continue to fall during a Republican majority."
Oil price manipulation is only the second conspiracy he's been discovered to be involved in since the beginning of this month. And, despite the unseemliness of teenage penis measurement by Republican lawmakers, this is the more serious one.

Our local Republican pedophile crisis.Our local Republican pedophile crisis.


Our local Republican pedophile crisis. The sexual abuse of kids by Republicans — will it ever stop? One GOP pedophile's campaign hit a wall near Chicago (Tribune):
A Kane County Board candidate arrested last week on sexual assault charges died Tuesday when his vehicle slammed head-on into a concrete bridge support, Aurora police said.

Brent K. Schepp, 36, a father of four from Aurora, was traveling at "a very high rate of speed" on Eola Road and did not try to brake or take any evasive action, said Dan Ferrelli, police spokesman.

"At this point in the investigation, we believe this to be self-inflicted," Ferrelli said, adding that the coroner and an inquest will determine the cause of death.

Schepp was seeking the board's District 3 seat, but his first bid for office quickly unraveled with the announcement Friday of charges that he sexually abused and assaulted two teenage girls in 2005. The Kane County Republican Central Committee withdrew its endorsement of his candidacy that afternoon.
As Schepp may have learned from the example of fellow Republican Ken Lay, death, possibly by suicide, is one sure way to avoid criminal accountability.

Suicide is blameless, part 2.Suicide is blameless, part 2.


Suicide is blameless, part 2. Ken Lay achieves innocence after death:
A federal judge in Houston this afternoon wiped away the fraud and conspiracy conviction of Kenneth L. Lay, the Enron Corp. founder who died of heart disease in July, bowing to decades of legal precedent but frustrating government attempts to seize nearly $44 million from his estate.

The ruling worried employees and investors who lost billions of dollars when the Houston energy trading company filed for bankruptcy protection in December 2001. It also came weeks after Congress recessed for the November elections without acting on a last-ditch Justice Department proposal that would have changed the law to allow prosecutors to seize millions in investments and other assets that Lay controlled.

With the judge's order, Lay's conviction on 10 criminal charges will be erased from the record. "The indictment against Kenneth L. Lay is dismissed," U.S. District Judge Simeon T. Lake III wrote in a spare, 13-page order.
Five years to convict, three months to exonerate?

Who's responsible for this speedy reversal of fortune? Lay's evil stepchildren, the spawn of Linda, in all probability.

Father or son?Father or son?


GOP: the party of racially conscious White persons.GOP: the party of racially conscious White persons.


GOP: the party of racially conscious White persons. Somehow, saying "whoops, my bad" over and over and over and over about racism and pedophilia and corruption and lying just isn't gonna cut it:
(AP) - PHOENIX-A state lawmaker who wants to reinstate a 1950s federal deportation program known as "Operation Wetback" is under fire again for sending supporters information from a white separatist group.

Republican Rep. Russell Pearce has apologized for e-mailing the article from the West Virginia-based National Alliance. But that hasn't stopped criticism from all directions, including state GOP leaders. [...]

The article lashes out at how the media portrays "any racially conscious White person who looks askance at miscegenation or at the rapidly darkening racial situation in America."

It says the "media masters" force on the public their view of "a world in which every voice proclaims the equality of the races, the inerrant nature of the Jewish 'Holocaust' tale, the wickedness of attempting to halt the flood of non-White aliens pouring across our borders ... ."
Party of Lincoln, or party of lynchin'?

Rove hearts Foley.Rove hearts Foley.


Rove hearts Foley. The White House apparently played a big role in keeping those teenage pages' crotches scrupulously examined (Ryan Lizza in the New Republican):
Yesterday, a source close to Foley explained to THE NEW REPUBLIC that in early 2006 the congressman had all but decided to retire from the House and set up shop on K Street. "Mark's a friend of mine," says this source. "He told me, 'I'm thinking about getting out of it and becoming a lobbyist.'"

But when Foley's friend saw the Congressman again this spring, something had changed. To the source's surprise, Foley told him he would indeed be standing for re-election. What happened? Karl Rove intervened.

According to the source, Foley said he was being pressured by "the White House and Rove gang," who insisted that Foley run. If he didn't, Foley was told, it might impact his lobbying career.

"He said, 'The White House made it very clear I have to run,'" explains Foley's friend, adding that Foley told him that the White House promised that if Foley served for two more years it would "enhance his success" as a lobbyist. "I said, 'I thought you wanted out of this?' And he said, 'I do, but they're scared of losing the House and the thought of two years of Congressional hearings, so I have two more years of duty.'"
Let the two years of Congressional hearings begin!

What liberals believe.What liberals believe.


What liberals believe. Because of the Chicago Tribune's registration process, I'm quoting in full the ten propositions of what it means to be a liberal by Geoffrey R. Stone, a law professor at the University of Chicago, and the author of Perilous Times: Free Speech in Wartime. I added the boldface to each proposition:1. Liberals believe individuals should doubt their own truths and consider fairly and open-mindedly the truths of others. This is at the very heart of liberalism. Liberals understand, as Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes once observed, that "time has upset many fighting faiths." Liberals are skeptical of censorship and celebrate free and open debate.2. Liberals believe individuals should be tolerant and respectful of difference. It is liberals who have supported and continue to support the civil rights movement, affirmative action, the Equal Rights Amendment and the rights of gays and lesbians. (Note that a conflict between propositions 1 and 2 leads to divisions among liberals on issues like pornography and hate speech.)3. Liberals believe individuals have a right and a responsibility to participate in public debate. It is liberals who have championed and continue to champion expansion of the franchise; the elimination of obstacles to voting; "one person, one vote;" limits on partisan gerrymandering; campaign-finance reform; and a more vibrant freedom of speech. They believe, with Justice Louis Brandeis, that "the greatest menace to freedom is an inert people."4. Liberals believe "we the people" are the governors and not the subjects of government, and that government must treat each person with that in mind. It is liberals who have defended and continue to defend the freedom of the press to investigate and challenge the government, the protection of individual privacy from overbearing government monitoring, and the right of individuals to reproductive freedom. (Note that libertarians, often thought of as "conservatives," share this value with liberals.)5. Liberals believe government must respect and affirmatively safeguard the liberty, equality and dignity of each individual. It is liberals who have championed and continue to champion the rights of racial, religious and ethnic minorities, political dissidents, persons accused of crime and the outcasts of society. It is liberals who have insisted on the right to counsel, a broad application of the right to due process of law and the principle of equal protection for all people.6. Liberals believe government has a fundamental responsibility to help those who are less fortunate. It is liberals who have supported and continue to support government programs to improve health care, education, social security, job training and welfare for the neediest members of society. It is liberals who maintain that a national community is like a family and that government exists in part to "promote the general welfare."7. Liberals believe government should never act on the basis of sectarian faith. It is liberals who have opposed and continue to oppose school prayer and the teaching of creationism in public schools and who support government funding for stem-cell research, the rights of gays and lesbians and the freedom of choice for women.8. Liberals believe courts have a special responsibility to protect individual liberties. [...]