RobbDogg's Rips

Serving the online community to bring awareness to political and social issues affecting Liberals and Progressives. Podcasts are posted every Monday morning and original commentaries are posted throughout the week.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

What's The Price of Your Integrity?

So readers, what's the price of your integrity? I hope it's much higher than $10,000.

That's how much Franklin County Board of Elections Director Matthew Damschroeder sold his for on January 9, 2004. On the first day Franklin County opened bids for voter-registration software, Damschroeder accepted a check on behalf of the Franklin County Republican Party from Pasquale "Pat" Gallinda, a contractor with Diebold Election Systems.

"I’m here to give you $10,000," the elections director recalls Gallina saying. "Who do I make it payable to?"

"Well, you’re certainly not going to make it out to me," Damschroder says he told Gallina. "But I’m sure the Franklin County Republican Party would appreciate a donation."

Click here to read the entire article in today's edition of The Columbus Dispatch

More Mainstream Media Stupidity

Conservative News Network thinks their viewers are stupid. Want proof?

Friday morning, I looked at the Quick Poll questions on both the United States and International versions of their website. They had the following poll questions on Harry Potter:

U.S. Version: Do the Harry Potter books promote an interest in witchcraft?

International Version: Do you think the Harry Potter books encourage an interest in literature among young people?

More proof Jonathan Klein is steering CNN's newscasts to the right to attract viewers away from Fox News.

Come on, Progressives! Do you think we even discuss witchcraft amongst ourselves when the subject of Harry Potter comes up in conversation? Well, the dumbshits at Conservative News Network seem to think that, and I find that insulting to our intelligence.

The funny part about this whole thing is about two hours after I started a thread on this subject in the Media forum at the Randi Rhodes Message Board, the U.S. poll question was changed to match the same one conducted on the International web site. I'm not taking credit for it, but I'm willing to bet someone in Atlanta got quite a bit of complaints on this.

Stupid mainstream media. They'll never learn.

Wasting Valuable Resources

What is it with these anti-immigration people? Is wasting valuable manpower one of their protesting tactics?

First, we had the Save Our State's protest in Baldwin Park, CA cause at least 50 policemen to stand guard in case anyone got hit upside the head with a water bottle.

Now, we have the San Diego-area police chiefs and law enforcement officials laying down their own law.

"We will see that those who are observing will not interfere in any way with law enforcement," Sheriff Bill Kolender said. "The bottom line is that so long as what they are doing is legal we will not get involved.

"We will, however, be vigilant."

Another waste of law enforcement manpower thanks to aniti-immigrations supporters, brought to you by the San Diego Union-Tribune.

The Latest on Zell Miller

I love it when a Republican gets caught in a scandal. Check out this article that appeared in Wednesday's edition of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution...

Zell Miller to return $113,000 to state

The Associated Press
Published on: 07/13/05

Zell Miller announced Wednesday that he plans to send a check for $112,956 plus interest to the state of Georgia to resolve a dust-up over how much money he got from the state treasury when he was governor.

At issue was the $40,000-a-year allowance that the state gives its governors to offset entertainment and hospitality costs at the executive mansion. A recent report by Atlanta's WSB-TV accused the notoriously frugal Miller of pocketing more than $60,000 that he did not spend on entertaining legislators, business leaders and assorted dignitaries when he was Georgia's governor from 1991 to 1999.

The practice appears to be perfectly legal. A 1969 opinion by the state's attorney general held that money paid to state officials for expenses "are part of such official's gross income and taxable to the extent they are not used for such business purposes."

In a statement released Wednesday, Miller said he followed the practice of four former governors — Lester Maddox, Jimmy Carter, George Busbee and Joe Frank Harris — and was guided by the 1969 attorney general's opinion in treating unused portions of the allowance as income and paying tax on it.

"I strictly obeyed the law," said Miller, a Democrat who retired this year from the U.S. Senate. "In my heart of hearts, I know I did nothing wrong. But I cannot live with some folks thinking I have taxpayers' money I should not have."

America's Finest Dirtbags

San Diego might be America's Finest City, but they can also claim to have America's Finest Dirtbags as well. Not only is it home to Randy "Duke" Cunningham, but they also have three city councilmen accused of taking illegal campaign contributions from a strip club owner, and a mayor who resigned amid a federal investigation into the city's deficit-ridden pension fund.

Here's the latest articles on all three stories:

Cunningham Announces He Won't Run Again

No Verdict As Corruption Trial Jurors Go Home For The Weekend

Conservative National Network Shows Loyalty To Traitor Bob

I guess this is how corporations stand behind their employee's actions, even if it's only a little crime like treason...

On the Conservative News Network (CNN) Friday morning, Daryn Kagan and Suzanne Malveaux both failed to mention that recent news articles stating Karl Rove knew the name of CIA operative Valerie Plame before leaking her identity to a reporter contradict his August 31st, 2004 statement in which he said, "I didn't know her name. I didn't leak her name."

It sure looks like Jonathan Klein really wants CNN to compete with Fox News for viewers because his network is beginning to resemble Fox's in reporting style with every passing day. Pretty soon, we'll be able to close our eyes, listen to Wolf Blitzer and Bill O'Reilly at the same time and not know the difference.

Thanks for David Brock's Media Matters for America and his staff for pointing these facts out. The full excerpts can be read here -

T&U: How To Commit Treason

Why on earth would I dare show you guys how to commit treason? So you don't repeat the mistake this jackass of a reporter did two years ago.

If you love your country and its CIA operatives, then you won't hurt it out of spite like our good buddy and co-Wingnut Of The Week Robert Novak did in the following column...

Mission to Niger
Robert Novak

July 14, 2003

Editor's Note: Robert Novak wrote a column on Oct. 1, 2003 in response to the story that began to unfold three months after this column originally ran.

WASHINGTON -- The CIA's decision to send retired diplomat Joseph C. Wilson to Africa in February 2002 to investigate possible Iraqi purchases of uranium was made routinely at a low level without Director George Tenet's knowledge. Remarkably, this produced a political firestorm that has not yet subsided.

Wilson's report that an Iraqi purchase of uranium yellowcake from Niger was highly unlikely was regarded by the CIA as less than definitive, and it is doubtful Tenet ever saw it. Certainly, President Bush did not, prior to his 2003 State of the Union address, when he attributed reports of attempted uranium purchases to the British government. That the British relied on forged documents made Wilson's mission, nearly a year earlier, the basis of furious Democratic accusations of burying intelligence though the report was forgotten by the time the president spoke.

Reluctance at the White House to admit a mistake has led Democrats ever closer to saying the president lied the country into war. Even after a belated admission of error last Monday, finger-pointing between Bush administration agencies continued. Messages between Washington and the presidential entourage traveling in Africa hashed over the mission to Niger.

Click here to read the entire column from

Friday, July 15, 2005

RobbDogg's Wingnuts Of The Week

Once again, I didn't have a clear-cut winner for this week's Wingnut Of The Week award. Don't blame me for not trying, though.

I laid down a challenge for two dirty old men to determine amongst themselves who would win this week's award. Did they settle it? Noooooooooo!!!!

Instead of one of them fessing up to blowing Valerie Plame's cover, both bitches were squawking insults at each other like a couple of crack whores fighting over a trick rolling Benzo-style. This time, the prize ride rolled away without a handjob, leaving our two candidates to share this week's award until one of them gets fingered for the dirty deed.

Robert Novak and Karl Rove, my bitches....I mean, Wingnuts Of The Week.

Downing Street Memo House Parties

July 23rd House Parties
Ambassador Joe Wilson, Randi Rhodes

Dear Friend,

July 23rd is the 3-year anniversary of the drafting of the Downing Street Minutes. I am organizing a series of house parties on this date throughout the country in order to broaden public understanding of how Karl Rove and the Bush Administration have manipulated intelligence, deceived the American people, and misled our nation into war.

Given that we learned in the past few days that Karl Rove served as a source for Robert Novak in his column outing Ms. Plame, it is becoming increasingly clear that we need to learn not only what and why Rove told the press, but what the president knew and when he knew it. If Rove is willing to spin this issue with the press, as today's New York Times story appears to show, he ought to be willing to come clean with the American people.

Today, 91 of my Democratic colleagues joined me in a letter to the President , demanding that Rove either explain his role in the outing of Valerie Plame or that he resign. I was also joined by 12 Democratic Members of the Judiciary Committee asking Chairman Sensenbrenner for hearings on the growing scandal. I believe these hearings will help illustrate how Rovegate is a part of the puzzle of the ongoing Iraq War deception.

Our country is slowing beginning to confront the truth about the about the Bush Administration's deceitful rush to war in Iraq. This has only happened because of people like you are determined to make a difference by getting personally involved. Over 560,000 people to date have signed our Downing Street Minutes letter to the president . Through this effort, and because of the June 16 th hearing I held in the basement of the Capitol, the mainstream media has been forced to recognize that the American public does care about how we ended up in Iraq.

The house parties I have organized for next weekend provide a platform for people to come together and express their strong opposition to the Bush Administration's conduct of war. Please join us at a house party near you. If you can host a party, click here to sign up. We will provide media kits and other materials to assist with the event. If you would rather attend an event, click here.

I will be conducting a special conference call for house party hosts featuring Ambassador Joe Wilson and Randi Rhodes as my special guests.

Additionally, I would to keep in touch with you through news updates and additional action items. If you would like for me to keep you updated on events here in Washington.

Thank you again for your help and support.


Congressman John Conyers, Jr

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Call To Action: Donate to PANCAN in Andy Stephenson's Honor

Two days from now, there will be a memorial service for Andy Stephenson in Seattle. I encourage you to make a donation to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PANCAN) in Andy’s name. It doesn’t matter if it’s a few dollars or a hundred, just do it.

One day, someone you love may be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and maybe by then there will be a cure, all because you made a donation to honor Andy Stephenson.

Click here to visit PANCAN's website

Latest Podcast Available

This is my latest podcast, and today I'll be covering the following topics:

* Donate to PANCAN in Andy Stephenson’s name
*’s latest ad campaign
* petition to fire Karl Rove
* Ted Kennedy wants to hear from you!

* “Minutemen: Citizens On Patrol?” -- my latest commentary for Radio News America

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Wednesday's DSM Senate Targets


Please contact the following Senators (even if you havealready in the past contacted them) and if the senator's direct emaildoes not work, use the Chief of Staff's email address provided:

Senator Sen. Ron Wyden (Oregon)
230 Dirksen Senate Office Bldg.
Washington, DC 20510
email form:
email address:
phone: 202-224-5244
fax: 202-228-3954
Chief of Staff: Josh Kardonemail:

Sen. Gordon Smith (Oregon)
404 Russell Senate Office Bldg.
Washington, DC 20510
email form:
email address:
phone: 202-224-2023
fax: 202-224-6295
Chief of Staff: John Eastonemail:

And as always, if you wish, contact the man who reneged on his promise to the American people for an investigation into how intelligence was used:

Senator Pat Roberts R-KA, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee
phone: (202) 224-4774
fax: 202-224-3514
Jackie Cottrell, Chief of Staff

Call To Action: Ted Kennedy Wants To Hear From You!

With Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's retirement, Ted Kennedy is looking to hear stories from us on why we need to have our rights protected. Confused? Don't be.

Please read the following email for further information on why we need to make the selection of the next Supreme Court Justice an issue to unite Americans and not further divide them...

Dear Robbie,

With the retirement of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, the President faces a choice - further divide the country by succumbing to the pressure of his allies on the right, or unite the country by working with both parties in the Senate to appoint a consensus nominee, as Justice O'Connor was when President Reagan nominated her.

We know the American people want this county to move forward, not backward, in terms of protecting the fundamental rights and freedoms that make our country great. Because the Supreme Court is often the last line of defense against infringement on those rights, we need a Supreme Court Justice who is fair and independent, not ideological and partisan.
Sandra Day O'Connor leaves a legacy all Americans can be proud of.

Because of Sandra Day O'Connor, the disabled are guaranteed access to our public courts, and no one who uses a wheelchair will have to crawl up stairs to reach a courtroom the way a plaintiff did in Tennessee. Teachers can't be fired for opposing discrimination against girls in our public schools. Patients can get a second opinion when an HMO tries to deny them care. Our water is cleaner, because citizens can stop polluters who dump toxins into our waterways.

Each of us has a stake in protecting these rights and I want every one of us to be part of this discussion about how to protect them and who is best able to do so as a Supreme Court Justice.
This is not an inside-the-beltway battle - it is important to every American in every community in the country. We need to hear your own stories about why your rights are so important to you:

It is clear that the framers of the Constitution believed that the President should meaningfully consult the Senate before making the nomination, and the American people agree.

President Bush met this morning with the leaders of the Senate and the Judiciary Committee, and I'm sure we all have the same questions.Was this really the first step in a serious consultation process that will be meaningful and will continue in the days and weeks ahead? Will the process result in an effort to select nominees who can bring the nation and the Senate together, instead of further dividing us?

I believe, and sincerely hope, that the answer to these questions is "yes." I hope we are not just going through the motions.

True consultation is not a one-sided conversation. The nation wants and needs us to proceed in good faith and with open minds. The conditions are right for serious cooperation between the Senate and the President, whom the framers of the Constitution made jointly responsible for assuring the quality and independence of the federal judiciary.

President Bush has won a second term and does not have to run again. He is freer to carry out his desire to be a uniter, not a divider, despite the pleas from the fringes of the party he leads. Today's meeting was a good first step in terms of uniting the country, but consensus is about an outcome, not just a process. I've been through 20 Supreme Court nominations, and meaningful consultation could not be more important in choosing a justice who will protect the rights and freedoms of all Americans.

White House officials have made ample time to meet with their right-wing allies bent on nominating a judge driven by right-wing ideology. They have put an $18 million war chest to defend that nominee in the media and across the country. Their advice to the President is clear--they will go all out to support any right-wing judge he nominates for the High Court, and they will be very unhappy if he chooses a consensus nominee instead.

This is not the "advice and consent" the framers of the Constitution intended. We cannot let the views of an extreme segment of America dominate the process of nominating and confirming the next justice of the highest court in the land.

This debate cannot simply be a discussion between President Bush and his right-wing allies. We all need you need to speak up - and ensure the many voices of as many Americans as possible are heard:

The decisions of the Supreme Court profoundly affects us all. Our ability to speak freely and worship in our faiths, the opportunity to succeed regardless of our race or gender, and our basic right to privacy, -these are just some of the vital rights that the Court can protect or deny.

At, we number over one hundred thousand strong - and we can affect the debate about the Supreme Court over the coming weeks. Your statements will explain why the progress we have made is so important to you or someone you know.

This is not simply about online action. It is about making it clear in this debate about what these rights mean to Americans:

Hearing from you and many more Americans in their own words will be the way our community will join this debate. Each story will be a powerful reminder that a Supreme Court nomination must not create partisan division or be used to advance a narrow ideology. It is far more serious than any such consideration.

Thank you for lending your story to help keep this debate steadily grounded in the rights and issues that affect us all.


Senator Edward M. Kennedy

Call To Action: Bush, Keep Your Promise: Fire Karl Rove has a petition for you to sign! They are looking to get George W. Bush to keep his word and fire anyone involved in leaking Valerie Plame's name. As you know, Newsweek revealed Karl Rove as the person responsible for disclosing her identity.

Please take a moment to read the following email and take action...

Dear MoveOn member,

On Sunday, Newsweek magazine revealed that Karl Rove, the President's key political advisor, was responsible for disclosing the identity of undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame.1 Rove's lawyer has confirmed that he was involved.2

Last year, President Bush promised that anyone at the White House involved in the leak would be fired.3 We believe that the President should stick to his word. That's why we're calling on him to fire Karl Rove.

Sign the petition to Bush right now at:

Valerie Plame was an operative working on stopping the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction—the most important beat at the CIA and one of the most important jobs in the country.4 Rove revealed her identity and destroyed her network of connections to settle a political score. He weakened America's national security. For that alone, he deserves to be fired.

But as it turns out, that's also the White House's official position. Press Secretary Scott McClellan told the press in September of 2003, when the story first broke, that anyone at the White House who was involved would be fired "at a minimum."5 And when asked on June 10th, 2004, if he would "stand by your pledge to fire anyone found" to have leaked the agent's name, President Bush responded, simply, "Yes."6

Of course, in the past the White House has strenuously denied that Rove had anything to do with it. In 2003, McClellan said that he'd asked Rove if he was involved, and Rove had said he wasn't.7 "The president knows that Karl Rove wasn't involved."8 "I've made it very clear, he was not involved, that there's no truth to the suggestion that he was."9 Asked again if Rove was involved, McClellan responded, "That's just totally ridiculous."10

So what did McClellan have to say about the clear discrepancies between what the President Bush and he had said in 2003 and what Newsweek reported on Sunday? Nothing. Here's an excerpt from the transcript:

Q: Do you want to retract your statement that Rove, Karl Rove, was not involved in the Valerie Plame expose?

A: I appreciate the question. This is an ongoing investigation at this point. The president directed the White House to cooperate fully with the investigation, and as part of cooperating fully with the investigation, that means we're not going to be commenting on it while it is ongoing.

Q: But Rove has apparently commented, through his lawyer, that he was definitely involved.

A: You're asking me to comment on an ongoing investigation.

Q: I'm saying, why did you stand there and say he was not involved?

A: Again, while there is an ongoing investigation, I'm not going to be commenting on it nor is ... .

Q: Any remorse?11

It's worth noting that both Bush and McClellan have commented on the case repeatedly since 2003.12

Republicans claim that the furor over this case is just politics as usual. But what Rove did has serious ramifications. Here's the story in a nutshell: In 2002, former Ambassador Joe Wilson was sent by the CIA to investigate rumors that Saddam Hussein had attempted to purchase uranium from Niger. Wilson found nothing, and wrote about it in a New York Times op-ed column on July 6, 2003 after President Bush used the claim as part of the case for war. Wilson was married to Valerie Plame, an undercover operative, who was revealed shortly thereafter by conservative columnist Robert Novak. Novak cited "senior administration officials" as his source that Plame was an operative.13

Why out Plame? While we don't know the full story, there are a couple of reasons to do so: to exact revenge on Wilson for refusing to toe the Administration line, and to send a message to would-be whistle-blowers that they should keep their mouths shut.

In any case, Plame's work was important, and by exposing her identity, the leaker destroyed ten years of covert relationship-building and could have jeopardized the lives of other covert agents in the field. At best, it was recklessly irresponsible; at worst, it was malicious; and either way, the leaker undermined our national security.

That's why we, like the President, believe it's time to fire anyone who was involved with the leaking of Plame's name. And now we know that means firing Karl Rove.

Sign our petition now at:

And thanks for everything you're doing.

Sincerely,—Eli, Jennifer, Wes, Matt and the MoveOn PAC Team
Tuesday, July 12th, 2005


Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

Call To Action: Help Run Their Ad!

I received this email from Paul Rieckoff at They need your donations in support of their new ad campaign and are seeking to raise $95,000 by Friday so they can run a full-page ad in The Washington Post in the near future. Click Here to read the full text of the ad.

Dear OpTruth Supporter,

Time is short, so I'll be blunt: Our Troops need your help now. This week, the President and Congress are faced with a choice to stand either with or against our Veterans. The Bush Administration recently admitted that they miscalculated the health care costs for Veterans of the War on Terror by at least $1 billion this year and $3 billion next year. That means four-out-of-five returning Veterans could be turned away from care at the V.A.

Well now there's something you can do about it! This week, you can make a difference by donating in support of our new ad campaign.

We're hoping to run this ad as soon as possible in The Washington Post -- putting it squarely in front of the D.C. policy makers.

This ad calls on President Bush, in no uncertain terms, to provide the leadership needed to ensure that America's promise to Support the Troops isn't broken. It also demands that Congress pass the Senate's version of an emergency spending bill to cover this year's $1-billion shortfall, and next year's $3-billion budget gap.

So please, support our ad by clicking here.

$12,000 will buy one, quarter-page ad in The Washington Post on an unspecified day. For $25,000, we get to pick a date when the ad is guaranteed to run, and given the timely nature of this issue, that could be crucial. But our goal is really to raise enough by Friday to run the ad as a full page this week: $95,000.

So please, send this email to your friends and family, and urge them to support the Troops and fund our Veterans' health care system.

Paul Rieckhoff, OIF Veteran
Executive Director

Latest Commentary For Radio News America

Minutemen: Citizens On Patrol?
Original commentary by Robbie Michaels
Radio News America - July 12, 2005

"The immigrants are coming! The immigrants are coming!"

That could very well be the rally cry heard throughout the rolling hills of Campo, California. Earlier today, it was announced that the Oceanside-based United States Border Patrol Auxiliary will be patrolling the Mexican border in that region. James Chase, an advanceman for the Minuteman Project, arrived in Campo earlier today. His group of vigilantes expects to operate out of the local VFW Post during the next month, starting their patrols this Saturday.

According to an article, Chase stated that many of the approximately 100 members who will patrol the area will be armed, but will only use their weapons for self-defense. Minutemen are allowed to bring long rifles, but were instructed to keep them inside their vehicles.

In addition, Chase stated that they are going to try and offer water to the illegal aliens and contact the Border Patrol. What raised my eyebrow was the fact that later in the same article, Chase stated his group would contact the Border Patrol if they spotted illegal immigrants, but would not make an effort to stop them.

I'm confused. Is this supposed to be a humanitarian mission or a vigilante patrol gone amok?

If this is a humanitarian mission, then I'm all for it. Temperatures in the region often exceed 100 degrees this time of year, so there's also the added risk of getting heat stroke. But considering Chase and a few Minutemen were photographed and identified at the June 26th Save Our State protest in Baldwin Park, which had absolutely nothing to do with illegal immigration, it makes me wonder how this volunteer patrol will do their job.

After all, why do they need guns, especially long-range rifles? Do they plan on doing some hunting while they're out there? With temperatures hovering near 100 degrees this week, the only living things they're going to find are rattlesnakes, protestors, illegal immigrants, and coyotes.

Coyotes? Yes, they'll get to hunt coyotes but not the cute, Wile E. Coyote kind. These coyotes are the individuals who bring illegal immigrants across the border into the United States. Most likely, these coyotes will be armed and not afraid to use their weapons if approached or obstructed in any way. James Chase also stated hypothetically that there could be a need for his members to protect themselves if someone from the other side of the border shot at them.

Just the kind of altercation the Border Patrol needs to worry about in addition to their duties.

If getting shot at is a possibility, then why go there and provoke trouble in the first place? Doesn't James Chase and his organization realize that if a non-Mexican illegal immigrant is crossing the border, they are going to be the first people they will run to? The federal government doesn't have the resources to detain non-Mexican illegal immigrants, so instead of keeping our borders safe, the vigilantes will instead help provide amnesty when they report them to the Border Patrol.

Doesn't that sound counterproductive to their cause?

The United States Border Patrol Auxiliary should stay home and let the professionals handle the job. The Border Patrol should be the ones risking their lives to stop illegal immigration, regardless of whether they have the resources or not.

Besides, didn't James Chase learn a few weeks ago that the Baldwin Park city limits are a lot safer to patrol?

Minutemen Coming To San Diego County, article, July 12th, 2005
What Are They Fighting For?, RobbDogg's Rips Archives & Radio News America July 7th, 2005 commentary
Local Forecast for Campo, California, The Weather Channel web site
Loophole to America, SignOnSanDiego article, June 4th, 2005

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Tuesday's DSM Senate Targets

These are the latest targets to contact. You know the drill...


Please contact the following Senators (even if you havealready in the past contacted them):

Senator Dianne Feinstein (California)
phone: 202-224-3841
fax: 202-228-3954
(Chief of Staff: Mark Karesh)

Senator John Warner (Virginia)
phone: 202-224-2023
fax: 202-224-6295
(Chief of staff Susan Magill)

And as always, if you wish, contact the man who reneged on his promise to the American people for an investigation into how intelligence was used:

Senator Pat Roberts R-KA, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee
phone: (202) 224-4774
fax: 202-224-3514
(Jackie Cottrell, Chief of Staff)

T&U: JFK's 1960 What Is A Liberal Speech

This is the first in a series of posts for my Therapy & Understanding online class. Enjoy!

Acceptance of the New York Liberal Party Nomination
John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States

September 14, 1960

What do our opponents mean when they apply to us the label "Liberal?" If by "Liberal" they mean, as they want people to believe, someone who is soft in his policies abroad, who is against local government, and who is unconcerned with the taxpayer's dollar, then the record of this party and its members demonstrate that we are not that kind of "Liberal." But if by a "Liberal" they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people -- their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties -- someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a "Liberal," then I'm proud to say I'm a "Liberal."

But first, I would like to say what I understand the word "Liberal" to mean and explain in the process why I consider myself to be a "Liberal," and what it means in the presidential election of 1960.

Click here to read the entire speech at

Monday, July 11, 2005

RobbDogg's Therapy And Understanding Class - Now Enrolling!

Brand new for the Fall 2005 Semester, RobbDogg's Rips will be offering its own "Therapy and Understanding" online class for recovering wingnuts and the liberal/progressive curious. Your local community college isn't offering this course, nor is The Learning Annex, so take advantage of this unique opportunity to learn about liberals and progressives.

Starting today (summer vacation's over!), I will post important links to various liberal/progressive web sites in the left-hand column under the "Therapy and Understanding Coursework" heading. Your suceess in this non-transferable college-level course depends on your commitment to learn and understand the various topics discussed.

New blog entries in the "Therapy and Understanding Course Materials" section will be posted on the blog with T&U before the title, and will be posted intermittently so it is up to you to stay focused and pay attention!

There are no enrollment fees, and attendance isn't mandatory. Required classroom materials you must furnish are an open mind, tolerance, and compassion.

You may read my blog posts and commentaries for extra credit. They are for your benefit.

There is no syllabus, there are no Cliff Notes, and there are no afterschool tutoring sessions available without an appointment. California doesn't pay overtime, so I'm out the door on time, all the time.

Arriving to class and leaving a 22oz. bottle of Arrogant Bastard Ale on my desk is the only known way to get in my good graces.

I will not grade you on a curve, nor will I give letter grades to demean slow learners. You either pass or fail depending on whether you're willing to broaden your horizons, see things from a liberal/progressive point of view, and practice them upon course completion.

Enroll now, and good luck!
--Robbie Michaels

Latest Podcast Available

My latest podcast is now available for download. Today, I'll spend the entire podcast on the recent passing of voting activist Andy Stephenson, and what we can do to honor his legacy.

Latest Commentary For Radio News America

This is my latest commentary that will appear on the Radio News America web site later today. Instead of doing a hatchet job on those who conspired to hurt Andy Stephenson, I elected to write something a little more tasteful in his honor.

The hatchet job I really wanted to do will be posted on my blog in the very near future, and I won't pull any punches or edit out the vulgar language. I promise!

Andy Stephenson – A Real American Hero

Original commentary by Robbie Michaels
Radio News America - July 11th, 2005

When I heard the news Friday afternoon that Andy Stephenson lost his battle with pancreatic cancer, I cried my eyes out. Although I never met him personally, I lost someone I looked up to as a hero. It was painful for me to read about the circumstances of his death because it made me relive my mother’s battle with pancreatic cancer.

I probably took the news just as hard as his family and friends, because the wounds from this disease cut very deep into your soul. But those wounds are nothing compared to the stories I heard about the circumstances of Andy’s illness, treatment, and resulting death.

At about the same time I got word of his passing Friday afternoon, I heard whispers of sabotage, deceit, and of unadulterated hatred of this wonderful man. I found this very disturbing, and I needed to know everything that happened to him and why.

When I sat down Saturday night to begin writing this commentary, my mind was full of questions. Was the medical treatment Andy received adequate? Who delayed his surgery, and why? Who had the callousness to accuse him of faking a life-threatening illness? I had to search for the truth, regardless how much it would hurt to learn those answers.

So where do we begin our quest? Before we get to that, I feel it’s necessary for all of you to learn a little more about pancreatic cancer. I want you to understand how formidable a foe Andy fought during the past seven months, and you will see why I’m so angry at those wingnuts.

Pancreatic Cancer & Andy’s Battle Against It

Although it is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States, the mortality rate of pancreatic cancer is among the highest. Even with today's technology, there is still no test to diagnose this disease in its earliest stages. In most cases, patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer suffer symptoms only after it has metastasized, or spread throughout your body to other vital organs. If this happens, your survival rate after five years is less than 3 percent.

However, in some cases the disease is locoregional, or localized in the pancreas. Those who have this diagnosis have over a 20% chance of survival thanks to a surgery called the Whipple procedure. This surgery removes the gallbladder, common bile duct, part of the duodenum, and the head of the pancreas. Once the patient recovers, he or she will undergo approximately eight weeks of chemotherapy and radiation treatment to increase the chances of the cancer going into remission.

I am not familiar with Andy’s medical records, but it is safe to say that based on the information on his web site, his cancer was locoregional and he had a good chance for a complete recovery. But because an individual or an organization contacted PayPal and had his personal account suspended, Andy missed the deadline to pay for his surgery on May 12 and waited an additional two weeks for the operation.

Did Accusers Play A Role In Andy’s Death?

The events that took place leading up to May 12th leave one question unanswered: Did Andy Stephenson’s accusers play a role in his death?

It’s possible we may never know for sure. Pancreatic cancer is a very aggressive form of cancer that could easily spread throughout the body through the lymph nodes, aorta, stomach, and liver. If there is any delay in medical treatment, it could easily mean the difference between a fair chance of survival and a death sentence.

For instance, when my mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, it was too late for her to have the Whipple procedure done. By the time it was discovered, it had already spread to various internal organs, including her aorta and lymph nodes.

With surgery no longer an option, and too weak for chemotherapy and radiation treatments, my mother transformed in a matter of weeks from walking upright without assistance to an invalid confined to a bed. Watching her rapidly waste away, lying in bed and waiting to die is something I would never wish on anyone.

What my mother endured easily could have been the same fate that awaited Andy Stephenson if he didn’t get his surgery done. But it doesn’t matter anymore if the two-week delay in Andy’s surgery would’ve made a difference in increasing his chances of survival. That’s a moot point now.

In fact, we should be concentrating our energy on finding out who contacted PayPal, told them Andy’s illness was a hoax, and forced the company, under their terms and conditions, to put a stop payment on the checks Andy received for his surgery.

I believe whoever did this destroyed Andy’s chances of a complete recovery. They not only delayed his surgery, but also unnecessarily tested his will to fight this deadly disease.

What these wingnuts did to Andy was below callousness. What they did was criminal, and I’m calling on the FBI to conduct an investigation and press charges against whoever committed this malicious act.

What You Can Do To Honor Andy Stephenson

There will come a time when we will know the names of the wingnuts responsible for this disgusting display of human compassion, and then we can take appropriate action to make sure this never happens again. When that time arrives, then we can write the final chapter in Andy’s story and let him enjoy the legacy he built with his hard work to protect our voting rights.

For now, it’s a time of mourning for Andy’s friends, loved ones, and the online community. Andy’s memorial service will be this coming Saturday, but this week we have a chance to show those closest to him the real meaning of human compassion.

Here are two things we can do in the coming days to honor Andy Stephenson:

  • Sign the petition to end the price gouging of uninsured hospital patients. I’m certain if Andy had hospital insurance, the cost of the Whipple procedure he underwent would’ve been cheaper if he didn’t have to pay cash.
  • Make a donation to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PANCAN) in Andy’s name. This organization is working with Congress and the scientific community to bring awareness to this disease, provide funding for research, and ultimately their efforts will lead to a cure. On their donation page, you also have the option of making the donation to honor Andy, and you can also have PANCAN send an acknowledgement letter to his loved ones.

If you choose that option, here’s the address Andy used, assuming it’s still available:

Andy Stephenson
P.O. Box 25624
Seattle WA 98165-1124

His Legacy Will Live On

Andy Stephenson touched our lives for a brief moment in time, but he will live forever in our hearts. The next time we sign a petition to protect our voting rights, to save Roe vs. Wade, or to ask employers to provide health insurance for same-sex couples, Andy will be there in spirit. The next time we protest in public against the government to protect the rights of the poor, Andy will be there alongside us. When we celebrate our future victories, Andy will be there, flashing that cherubic smile of his.

As you can see, Andy Stephenson's story does not begin with his candidacy for Washington Secretary of State, nor does it end with his death. We cannot tell Andy’s complete story because we have yet to help him finish writing the final chapter.

In the coming weeks, each and every one of us will get an opportunity to restore Andy’s reputation, and to assist in bringing judgment against those who, out of their hatred for all that is right in the world, conspired to hurt him. Only then will this story have a happy ending, and Andy’s soul can rest in peace.

Wherever you are, God bless you Andy Stephenson. You and your contributions to the Progressive movement will never be forgotten, and we will continue the fight in your name and honor.

"To you from failing hands we throw the torch; be yours to hold it high..." -- from the World War I poem “In Flanders Fields" & the motto of the Montreal Canadiens hockey team.