Making Conservatives Cringe Since 1977

I'm not Liberal, I'm paying attention.

31 December 2005

 

The Biggest Story of 2005

Aerial panorama of downtown New Orleans and the Superdome from a helicopter 400 ft. above the Pontchartrain Expressway at Baronne St. This was shot almost a month after Hurricane Katrina and three days after Hurricane Rita, which accounts for the eerie look of the almost streets and highways. The Greater New Orleans bridge over the Mississippi River is normally the fifth busiest toll bridge in the U.S.
*Must have Quicktime installed to view* - Happy New Year to all, here's to having not to much to bitch about in 2006! -Item, a quick look back ahead:
But out of the gobbledygook, comes a very clear thing: [unclear] you can’t trust the government; you can’t believe what they say; and you can’t rely on their judgment; and the – the implicit infallibility of presidents, which has been an accepted thing in America, is badly hurt by this, because it shows that people do things the President wants to do even though it’s wrong, and the President can be wrong.
-- H.R. Haldeman to President Nixon, Monday, 14 June 1971, 3:09 p.m. meeting.

30 December 2005

 

Faith Based 2005

 

Fight!

29 December 2005

 

The new Chain of Command

27 December 2005

 

From Media Matters:

Top 12 media myths and falsehoods on the Bush administration's spying scandal
Summary: Media Matters presents the top 12 myths and falsehoods promoted by the media on President Bush's spying scandal stemming from the recent revelation in The New York Times that he authorized the National Security Agency (NSA) to eavesdrop on domestic communications without the required approval of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance court.
1: Timeliness necessitated bypassing the FISA court 2: Congress was adequately informed of -- and approved -- the administration's actions 3: Warrantless searches of Americans are legal under the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act 4: Clinton, Carter also authorized warrantless searches of U.S. citizens 5: Only Democrats are concerned about the Bush administration's secret surveillance 6: Debate is between those supporting civil liberties and those seeking to prevent terrorism 7: Bin Laden phone leak demonstrates how leak of spy operation could damage national security 8: Gorelick testimony proved Clinton asserted "the same authority" as Bush 9: Aldrich Ames investigation is example of Clinton administration bypassing FISA regulations 10: Clinton administration conducted domestic spying 11: Moussaoui case proved that FISA probable-cause standard impedes terrorism probes 12: A 2002 FISA review court opinion makes clear that Bush acted legally -Lies, all lies!!!

23 December 2005

 

Where did all my Mike Watt go?

Looking back. Fridays Random Ten. 1. Frank Black and the Catholics- St Francis Dam Disaster 2. Joy Division-Warsaw 3. Primus- Making Plans for Nigel 4. Kyuss- Demon Cleaner 5. Mother Love Bone- Bone China 6. Social Distortion- Story of my Life 7. Dinosaur Jr.- Feel the Pain 8. Mad Season- River of Deceit 9. Nada Surf- Blizzard of 77' 10. The Jesus and the Mary Chain- Just Like Honey -If there is one thing history has taught us it's that Conservatives can only slow Progress, never stop it, or reverse it, but only temperarily. Happy Holidays, Happy ḥănukkāh, and have a Merry Christmas!
 

"O'Reilly wants cab drivers shot dead"

21 December 2005

 

They've already got us on some list somewhere, why not another?

Click here to read the full FOIA request (PDF document).

Add your name to our Freedom of Information Act request to get the facts about George Bush's use of the National Security Agency to spy on American citizens:

Click here to sign. ________________________________________________

Update from Think Progress:

Fact Check: Clinton/Carter Executive Orders Did Not Authorize Warrantless Searches of Americans

The top of the Drudge Report claims “CLINTON EXECUTIVE ORDER: SECRET SEARCH ON AMERICANS WITHOUT COURT ORDER…” It’s not true. Here’s the breakdown –

What Drudge says:

Clinton, February 9, 1995: “The Attorney General is authorized to approve physical searches, without a court order”

What Clinton actually signed:

Section 1. Pursuant to section 302(a)(1) [50 U.S.C. 1822(a)] of the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance] Act, the Attorney General is authorized to approve physical searches, without a court order, to acquire foreign intelligence information for periods of up to one year, if the Attorney General makes the certifications required by that section.

That section requires the Attorney General to certify is the search will not involve “the premises, information, material, or property of a United States person.” That means U.S. citizens or anyone inside of the United States.

The entire controversy about Bush’s program is that, for the first time ever, allows warrantless surveillance of U.S. citizens and other people inside of the United States. Clinton’s 1995 executive order did not authorize that.

Drudge pulls the same trick with Carter.

What Drudge says:

Jimmy Carter Signed Executive Order on May 23, 1979: “Attorney General is authorized to approve electronic surveillance to acquire foreign intelligence information without a court order.”

What Carter’s executive order actually says:

1-101. Pursuant to Section 102(a)(1) of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1802(a)), the Attorney General is authorized to approve electronic surveillance to acquire foreign intelligence information without a court order, but only if the Attorney General makes the certifications required by that Section.

What the Attorney General has to certify under that section is that the surveillance will not contain “the contents of any communication to which a United States person is a party.” So again, no U.S. persons are involved.

-we must stop these un-American bastards from ruining this country


20 December 2005

 

All right smart asses

I brought my camera to work so I could document a beautiful Central New York morning at the armory:
. . . and later while cleaning out a file cabinate I found some interesting items I thought might make for a good humerous post.
Raffle tickets and a map of Gitmo.
Then I made the mistake of leaving my camera on the desk:
You think cabin fever is starting to set in early? Well things aren't that bad, you should see what it looks like outside. In the daylight.
-My chief finacial officer tells me it's cheaper to get Earthlink DSL as opposed to what we're paying for Adelphia cable, so I'll be offline after work hours till the modem arrives. It's sucks trying to upload pictures from work so I thought I'd go out with a bang. Looks like it's time to finish up that Faulkner I've been putting off.

19 December 2005

 

In praise of a Republican

In 1755, Benjamin Franklin observed that “Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Our belief in the primacy of individual liberty makes America unique and keeps us strong. This principle is eternal, and should be applied always consistently during times of prosperity and want, and times of war and peace.

Establishing reasonable standards of evidence and allowing judicial review of subpoenas and “gag orders” does not threaten anyone’s security; but, these allowances will ensure that civil liberties are protected and maintained today and in the future. It may not be a politically popular stand, but it is one that I believe our country’s Founders would very much understand.

Sen. John Sununu (R-N.H.)

Many of my regular readership--however small and humble their number maybe--may do a double take at the title of this post, but I believe the above statements would ring true from whatever quarter it had been issued. However, others have characterized Senator Sununu’s bi-partisan efforts to ensure the inherent checks and balances established by our Founding Fathers as a hindrance to prosecuting The War Against Terror Global The Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism The War on Islamo-Fascism.

Sununu, Feingold, and others who’ve joined this fight for our civil liberties have repeatedly made it clear that they are not in favor of gutting the act of the most vital law enforcement tools the law provides, but simply extending the act so that further debate upon essential safeguards for our freedoms can continue. A significant number of Republicans oppose this debate, so much so that they would rather see the act expire than be modified in any form, to the detriment of the varied law enforcement agencies that rely on the most pertinent parts of The Patriot Act. Although it has been noted, “The expiration of the law isn't likely to immediately hamper terror investigations,” and that “Federal authorities may still use the existing law to complete probes initiated before the end of the year and launch new investigations using the old act for crimes committed before Dec. 31,” a time will come when the very roadblocks between agencies such as the CIA and FBI that contributed the failures of the “Able Danger” program could arise again.

Simply put, in the Senators own words, "They haven't provided any substantive example of how that judicial review would weaken law enforcement's ability... I support an extension - three months, six months, so that we can work out these differences... We should deal with this like adults."


 

Bom Bom Bom

I'll be at state today. I wonder what the ol' Erie Canal will look like with a fine dusting of snow? Did any of you catch the special on NBC about the troops from the 2-108th INF from Glen Falls? I'll be thinking of them as I make my rounds through the halls of Headquarters today. And President Bush, you have 6-8 months to get results. It's your last chance to get it right. Heres to them that went away boys, and came back Men.

P.S. This doesn't mean we've forgotten everything else either.

17 December 2005

 

Patriot Act never hurt nobody.

Agents' visit chills UMass Dartmouth senior By AARON NICODEMUS, Standard-Times staff writer NEW BEDFORD -- A senior at UMass Dartmouth was visited by federal agents two months ago, after he requested a copy of Mao Tse-Tung's tome on Communism called "The Little Red Book." Two history professors at UMass Dartmouth, Brian Glyn Williams and Robert Pontbriand, said the student told them he requested the book through the UMass Dartmouth library's interlibrary loan program. The student, who was completing a research paper on Communism for Professor Pontbriand's class on fascism and totalitarianism, filled out a form for the request, leaving his name, address, phone number and Social Security number. He was later visited at his parents' home in New Bedford by two agents of the Department of Homeland Security, the professors said.
-Hat tip to The Raw Story -Update, never let it be said that I don't retract shit: From Daily Kos

UMass Mao library book story is a hoax

Sat Dec 24, 2005 at 01:24:44 AM PDT

(From the diaries -- Plutonium Page. Please spread the word.)

The story of the student who received a visit from homeland security agents because he had checked out Mao's Little Red Book has now been confirmed to be a fabrication.


 

From the Washington Post

Bush Authorized Domestic Spying Post-9/11 Order Bypassed Special Court By Dan Eggen Washington Post Staff Writer Friday, December 16, 2005; A01 Excerpt:
The law governing clandestine surveillance in the United States, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, prohibits conducting electronic surveillance not authorized by statute. A government agent can try to avoid prosecution if he can show he was "engaged in the course of his official duties and the electronic surveillance was authorized by and conducted pursuant to a search warrant or court order of a court of competent jurisdiction," according to the law. "This is as shocking a revelation as we have ever seen from the Bush administration," said Martin, who has been sharply critical of the administration's surveillance and detention policies. "It is, I believe, the first time a president has authorized government agencies to violate a specific criminal prohibition and eavesdrop on Americans." Caroline Fredrickson, director of the Washington legislative office of the American Civil Liberties Union, said she is "dismayed" by the report. "It's clear that the administration has been very willing to sacrifice civil liberties in its effort to exercise its authority on terrorism, to the extent that it authorizes criminal activity," Fredrickson said. The NSA activities were justified by a classified Justice Department legal opinion authored by John C. Yoo, a former deputy in the Office of Legal Counsel who argued that congressional approval of the war on al Qaeda gave broad authority to the president, according to the Times. That legal argument was similar to another 2002 memo authored primarily by Yoo, which outlined an extremely narrow definition of torture. That opinion, which was signed by another Justice official, was formally disavowed after it was disclosed by the Washington Post. Justice Department spokeswoman Tasia Scolinos would not comment on the report last night.
-take me to your gulag

16 December 2005

 

Holy Shit!!! Revised and updated.

Jack Cafferty on the administration: Just Do it!

Jack spelled out all the abuses that have been conducted by this administration since it took over office in about one minute.

Video-WMP Video-QT

Cafferty: Who cares if the Patriot Act get's renewed.

Want to abuse our civil liberties-Just do it!

Who cares about the Geneva conventions?

Want to torture prisoners-Just do it!

Who cares about rules concerning the identity of CIA gents.

Want to reveal the name of a covert operative? Just do it!

Who cares about whether the intelligence concerning WMD's is accurate.

You want to invade Iraq? Just do it.

Who cares about qualifications to serve on the nation's highest court.

Want to nominate a personal friend with no qualifications? Just do it. And the latest outrage, which I read about in "The New York Times" this morning, who cares about needing a court order to eavesdrop on American citizens. Want to wiretap their phones conversations? Just do it.... What a joke. A very cruel, very sad joke.

-this is were I come in: BLITZER: Let's go back to Jack Cafferty in New York with "The Cafferty File" -- Jack?
JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf, the "New York Times," pretty good story on Page 1 this morning. President Bush signed a secret order after the 9/11 terror attacks. In the "Times" story, it's reported that this order allows the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on U.S. citizens without first getting a warrant. So the question this hour: Is it appropriate for the president to order wiretaps on American citizens without a warrant? Got to be kidding me. Linda in Newport News, Virginia, writes, "The fact the president of the United States authorized spying on its very own citizens should send chills down the spines of every person in this country. When the president took office, he swore to uphold the Constitution. He has not done so. He should be impeached." Paul in Santa Clara, California, "Nyet, nyet, a thousand times nyet. If wiretaps are not controlled, the president has the ability to interfere with the rights of free speech, religion, assembly, protection from illegal search and seizures, even the right to vote, not to mention the privacy of any American." Phil in Rochester, New York: "Not only is it not OK, the 'New York Times' has also done the general electorate a significant disservice by sitting on this story for over a year. This is the kind of underhanded behavior the populace had a right to know about before the 2004 presidential elections." Jerry in Sandston, Virginia: "I want President Bush to catch every terrorist he can. I have nothing to hide, so he can tap anything he wants." Fred in Auburn, New York: "No, no, and no. Bush has no such authority. He has simply made a mockery of everything American used to stand for. Is it impeachment time yet? I guess we'll know after the changing of the guard next year in November." And Norma in Richmond, California: "Bush's abrogation of the Bill of Rights makes perfect sense in the war on terror. Since terrorists hate us for our freedoms, if we get rid of our freedoms, they won't hate us anymore. We'll all be the same, and peace will then prevail. See how simple it is?" BLITZER: Not simple at all, but we'll move on from that, Jack. Thanks very much. And we'll check back with you very, very soon. -my thanks to NavySwan for finding the transcripts,video from Crooks and Liars

 

The 2005 Koufax Awards

All right all you Lefties out there, now that we've swept the 2005 Weblog Awards, it's time to do battle amongst ourselves!

The following are the sites I've nominated:

Best Blog

Agitprop

Best Blog -- Pro Division

Daily Kos

Best Blog Community

Big Brass Blog

Best Writing

The Heretik

The Rude Pundit

Best Single Issue Blog

Wake up from your Slumber

Best Group Blog

The Defeatists

Night Birds Fountain

Most Humorous Blog

Jesus' General

Most Humorous Post

Rox Populi

Most Deserving of Wider Recognition

Making conservatives cringe since 1977

Norwegianity

Best New Blog

Making conservatives cringe since 1977

Best Coverage of State or Local Issues

Blanton's and Ashton's

Best Commenter

Comandante Agi T. Prop

So stop by Wampum and nominate your favorite!!! Trackback: http://wampum.wabanaki.net/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.cgi/1814
 

Retreat and Defeat, GOP Style.

To: President George Bush December 10, 2005 It’s yours. It’s your war. You decided to start it, we didn’t. You decided to lie to congress and the American people to get your war. We are not surrendering Mr. Bush, you are: You surrendered the claim that there were WMD in Iraq. Perhaps you’d like to resurrect it? After all, it is how you “justified” all of this. You surrendered your claim that the revenue from oil would pay for the reconstruction. Perhaps you’d like to return several hundred billions of dollars back into the United States treasury? No? Now you’ve waved 2 white flags in front of the world. But there is more. A lot more. You surrendered your claim that there was a link between Al Queda and Saddam Hussien. You admitted there wasn’t, before you continued making the claim through your proxies. What do we call someone who waves a white flag and then has someone else start shooting again? Three white flags. You surrendered your administration’s claims that we’d “probably be out of Iraq in 12 weeks”. 3 months has turned into three years. The price has been the lives of more than two thousand two hundred of our children; the one’s you lied to. 4 white flags, yet the bodies of our children still stack up every week like grotesque firewood on the kindling of your lies. You surrendered our economy; you surrendered a multi-trillion dollar surplus to the communist government of China, whom you’ve placed the American people in debt to for trillions more. 5 white flags. You surrendered the honor of the fallen in Iraq; refusing to let the American people see their sacrifice, choosing to hide their funerals from our sight. This is the shame of any murderer. This is now 6 white flags Mr. Bush. You surrendered in Afghanistan; you withdrew 80 percent of our forces when they had not achieved victory by your own definition; Bin Laden was not captured or killed, and YOU quit the mission. 7 white flags Mr. Bush. You surrendered America’s reputation as a decent nation to the entire world Mr. Bush. You were repeated warned, and you valued your diabolical blood lust and messianic delusions of grandeur more than the United States good name. 8 white flags Mr. Bush. You surrendered our constitution and Bill of Rights to the 9-11 hijackers after September 11th. 9 white flags Mr. Bush. Speaking of 9-11, you surrendered New York City immediately, choosing to spend your time after you knew we were under attack, sitting in a kindergarten reading “The Pet Goat”. 3,000 US citizens died horrible deaths on international television as you did…..NOTHING. 10 white flags Mr. Bush. You did it all again when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and Mississippi. Maybe you were tying to be consistent; You sat on your useless a$$ on vacation after you were warned, and again, our people died. And even their daily deaths did not move you to take command until the damage was complete; Like New York. Like Iraq. 11 white flags now Mr. Bush. You surrendered the Geneva Convention Mr. Bush; saying “we do not torture”. After you tortured, again and again, and were caught. This you said as you said you’d veto any bill banning…torture. A dozen white flags for what you have surrendered Mr. Bush. You surrendered America’s war on poverty. You actually cut funding to pay for school lunches for poverty stricken children too poor to actually eat properly. You surrendered this to less than 1 fifth of one percent of the people; billionaires. 13 white flags Mr. Bush. You surrendered our borders after 9-11; you even went so far as to attempt to grant amnesty to foreign nationals who’d committed the crime of breaching our borders. This you did after you claimed you were going to make us safer. I guess shredding the Bill of Rights was your preference Mr. Bush. 14 white flags. You surrendered every American’s right to privacy. In it’s place you put a slogan with the word “patriot” in it. 15 white flags Mr. Bush. You surrendered a chance to build an actual coalition to deal with the supposed “threat” presented by Saddam Hussien. Oh you called it a “coalition of the willing”. You even claimed it was “bigger than your [sic] Father’s”. Of course it wasn’t. You went so far as to list Micronesia as a member. I suggest that the reality is that compared to your Father, it is tragically “micro” Mr. Bush. Perhaps this has been the problem all along? Has America been held hostage to little George’s personal shower trauma from childhood? 16 white flags Mr. Bush. You surrendered you own opportunity to actually fight for your country; You argued that Vietnam was "just” and that the United States “had to win”. Then you had your Dad get you into a unit of the Texas Air National Guard which insured you’d never have to see combat. Maybe we should have started with this one; it’s one of your first white flags as a so-called man. But we’ll call it number 17 here; 17 white flags of surrender you’ve waved Mr. Bush. You’ve surrendered America’s war on pollution. You’ve chosen to supposedly believe that “global warming” is “a myth”, and to let industry dump millions of tons of toxic waste into our precious rivers and air. 18 white flags Mr. Bush. You surrendered our public education system; You created a law called “No child left behind” which demands students test higher or teachers would be penalized, and then you provided no funding for the phony mandate. It appears that you loath the people who teach our children. I wonder why. 19 white flags Mr. Bush. You surrendered in Saudi Arabia. Usama Bin Laden demanded that “American infidels leave the Holy Soil of Medina and Mecca”; you pulled the troops out. You surrendered to Bin Laden’s demands that Saddam Hussein be removed as Iraq’s ruler, and that Iraq become an Islamic State; You did just as he asked, and now alcohol, “western music”, and unvieled women are gone from Iraq, it’s formerly secular government replaced by one based on Sharia; Islamic law. That is 20 white flags Mr. Bush. As for the 21st white flag, this one you refuse to finally wave; You get to avoid waving it, so long as our children continue to die by the dozens for nothing; our own children are now “presented” in death as “flags”; you call it “honor”. We call it a disgrace to all that is decent, a crime against the military, a crime against everything this nation once stood for, the principles of which you’ve surrendered again and again and again. Let me be clear with you Mr. Bush: This is not our white flag. We are not surrendering to our enemy. Not in the least. What you have failed to understand is who the enemy is; It’s you. You are our enemy. You are the enemy of America. We have not surrendered to you Mr. Bush. We are intent upon driving you and your kind from our midst. We’re sick of the surrendering our country by the likes of you. The 21st flag will be waved by you Mr. Bush. I have it on 20 to one odds. Sincerely, Jay, an American still fighting for his country and unwilling to surrender. Seattle , WA Hat tip to WTF, Over!


15 December 2005

 

Justice?

A Mom in America, not for nothing: Bhutan, Egypt, Guinea, Mauritania, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Swaziland, Togo, China, Cuba, Eritrea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Belarus, Burma (Myanmar), China, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Haiti, Laos, Libya, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Chechnya, Tibet, Western Sahara, all countries with as severe, or even worse, conditions than (pre-war) Iraq. Are we to invade all of them? Are we the world‚’s police? I seem to recall that someone said a few years back that we were not into Nation building. It is sad that so many can be ignored because exploitation of their cheap labor and natural resources make us the nation we are today. Even more disgusting is the perversion of the values, rights, and freedoms we used to hold so dear right here at home, exploited to wage a War that on the surface seems just. What we are really showing the world is whose interest we really care about and what we really stand for. Just-us.
____________________________________________________________
-Mom. I made this comment at your site in haste. One thing I want to make clear is that the rage I feel is not directed toward the troops that have served in such a noble and self-sacrificing manner throughout this debacle in Iraq. I'm sure that they didn't envision--as I didn't when I served my part in this war--that Iraq would be transformed into a Shiite dominated theocracy that would turn around and extract vengeance upon their countrymen. Yeah for Democracy. Yeah. -Item:

Official: Al-Zarqawi caught, released

Authorities didn't realize prisoner was terrorist mastermind

Thursday, December 15, 2005; Posted: 5:44 p.m. EST (22:44 GMT)

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Iraqi security forces caught the most wanted man in the country last year, but released him because they didn't know who he was, the Iraqi deputy minister of interior said Thursday.

Hussain Kamal confirmed that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi -- the al Qaeda in Iraq leader who has a $25 million bounty on his head -- was in custody at some point last year, but he wouldn't provide further details.


 

If it aint O'Reilly, it's the other hypocrite, Hannity

From ThinkProgress:

Hannity’s Hypocrisy: Criticizing Colleges For Taking Money From Saudi Prince Who Funds Fox

Sean Hannity and his guest last night attacked Harvard and Georgetown Universities for accepting money from Saudi Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal:

HANNITY: Now, you may remember this Saudi prince from the days after September 11, when Rudy Giuliani turned down his so-called gift of $10 million, because he said that the U.S. needed to, quote, “reexamine its policies in the Middle East and adopt a more balanced stance towards the Palestinian cause,” unquote.

Well, Harvard and Georgetown universities are now accepting $20 million each from Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal for their Islamic studies programs. … This is a bad guy. Rudy was right to decline the money. Why would these universities take money from him?

MINITER (GUEST): Because these universities already believe this message. They already believe that America is the problem, that our support for Israel and our arguments against terrorism are the problem. And some professors on these campuses — Churchill doesn’t teach there, but they still do teach at Harvard and at Georgetown in many cases — they believe his message.

So it’s not as if this Saudi prince is changing their views. He is rewarding them financially for views they already have.

Hannity conveniently forgot to mention that his own employer, Fox News, also accepts money from Talal; he owns 5.5% of Fox News. Not only is Talal “rewarding them [Fox News] financially for views they already have,” he’s also changing their views.

(HT: News Hounds)


14 December 2005

 

Bush's unbroadcast 5th speech.

13 December 2005

 

Unfit; up or down, backwards and forwards.

Senator Bill Frist recently reiterated his oft repeated statement that, "Supreme Court justice nominees deserve an up-or-down vote, and it would be absolutely wrong to deny him that." In the wake of the Harriet Miers nomination these words ring even hollower than ever. It’s understandable that Mr. Frist is distracted by the current Federal inquiries he is under, but not that much time has passed since the same phrase was uttered in regards to counselor Meirs’s nomination—before the Conservative base of the Republican Party threw a tantrum and the nomination was withdrawn. Are we now supposed to believe that, after having been passed over for Harriet Miers, Judge Alito is now the best the legal community has to offer? Could this have been anymore of a transparent political move tendered for the benefit of a small segment of American instead of the Nation as a whole? Some would point to the disheartening fact that President Bush declined to follow even his wife’s advice to replace Justice O’Connor with another women, or to follow in the footsteps of President Lyndon Johnson's landmark nomination of Thurgood Marshall to the Supreme Court in 1967 with the nomination of what could have been the first Hispanic appointed to the Court, yet the most compelling reason to fight Alito’s nomination is his record. A prospect for the highest court in the land must be a person of honesty and integrity. Does a person possessing such qualities renege on a promise to recuse himself from cases where he had a personal interest? Judge Alito pledged to the U.S. Senate during hearings for his position on 3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals that he would do just that if the situation called for it, yet on numerous occasions Alito has failed to live up to his word. In 1995, despite an unequivocal written response in the affirmative to questions from the US Senate just five year previous, Bush’s nominee failed to remove himself from a case involving his sister Rosemary Alito’s employer, law firm McCarter & English. In addition he failed to recuse himself from a 2002 case involving Smith Barney, a brokerage firm that managed his six-figure personal investment. Instead of offering an honest explanation for these actions, a succession of disingenuous rationales has been offered to the public. First it was all because of a computer glitch, then, a decade after the fact, his pledge was suddenly to restrictive. Just as disturbing is Judge Alito’s submission on a job application for a position in the Reagan administration, in which he pointed to his membership in an organization, called the Concerned Alumni of Princeton as evidence of his "philosophical commitment" toward Reagan administration policy. During his time at Princeton and when he was still promoting his membership over a decade later, this group made its name fighting integration of women and minorities on campus. While his job application clearly points out his membership in this organization, he has now reversed course -- his response to questions from Senators last month was, "I have no recollection of being a member or attending meetings." The sudden memory loss, reminiscent of Chief Justice John Roberts memory lapse concerning his membership in The Federalist society, is understandable when you consider that, “ In 1975, an alumni panel that included Senator Bill Frist of Tennessee, the current Republican leader and a 1974 Princeton graduate, concluded that Concerned Alumni had "presented a distorted, narrow and hostile view of the university that cannot help but have misinformed and even alarmed many alumni" and "undoubtedly generated adverse national publicity." The lifetime appointment of a Supreme Court Justice has significant ramification for the future of our country, and a person seeking a lifetime appointment must be upfront and honest with the Senate – as well as the American people. Americans deserve a Supreme Court Justice who doesn't need a computer to tell the difference between right and wrong. It’s time for the White House to treat this process with the respect it deserves, and for Bill Frist to back off his posturing, blustering, and unproductive threats to subvert said process by using the “nuclear option.”
__________________________________________________
I know, I know, so much for the 12 days of commenting. I see this situation though, and I find my voice, however talking point heavy. Join me. Click on the picture below to write a letter to the editor.

12 December 2005

 

The 12 days of Commenting

-Because I don't feel like writing December 12, 2005 "RADICAL" HILLARY CLINTON
THE BIGGEST JOKE in politics is the Republican desire to run against not at all “radical” Hillary Clinton in 2008. Hillary Clinton is a radical candidate the way wheat bread is radical for somebody who thinks lunch must be another sandwich and the supermarket is out of white bread. If there is mustard on her sandwich, it won’t be French dijon or anything with a bold flavor. Her allies call her cautious, which is another way of saying I will wait and see what works. Dan Balz in the WaPo has some “analysis” on her on the war
Click here to read more.
Monday, December 12, 2005
Social Darwinism
It's called the "Ownership society" in Washington. This isn't the first time this philosophy has appeared. It used to be called Social Darwinism....They have a philosophy they have implemented and that is doing exactly what it was designed to do. They basically don't believe in government. They have a different philosophy that says, "We're going to dismantle government"....Republicans running the federal government believe, "You are on your own to buy your own health care, to buy your own retirement security ... to buy your own roads and levees."
He's right, of course, but a few things need to be added: Social Darwinism was invented by a 19th-century English writer called Herbert Spencer. It was he, not Darwin, who coined the phrase "survival of the fittest." Spencer's basic idea was that economies and societies should mirror the recently discovered "laws of the jungle" of Darwinian evolution. It became very popular among the ruling classes of the time, because it told them that they were themselves the fittest -- after all, they were the ones on the top, and Spencer's theory told them that they deserved to be there. So, not only did they not have to care for the poor anymore, but it actually was seen as irresponsible and unnatural to do so. Charles Dickens's Scrooge was the archetypal Social Darwinist
Click here to read more.
Monday, December 12, 2005
The War on Christmas
Sam Seder did a pretty good job on CNN today giving this issue the degree of respect it deseserves:
SEDER: Listen, as far as the war on Christmas goes, I feel like we should be waging a war on Christmas. I mean, I believe that Christmas, it's almost proven that Christmas has nuclear weapons, can be an imminent threat to this country, that they have operative ties with terrorists and I believe that we should sacrifice thousands of American lives in pursuit of this war on Christmas. And hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer money.
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Monday, December 12, 2005
Same Old Garbage
"Alleged" Dr. Frist: "Supreme Court justice nominees deserve an up-or-down vote, and it would be absolutely wrong to deny him that."How can this a-hole get on TV and say that with a straight face? Wasn't this talking point made obsolete by how the conservatives sunk Harriet Miers? Maybe he's too distracted by being the subject of two federal inquiries.
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- a fair up or down vote...after they've passed the litmus test. Anyways 12 squared is the goal for this post. Let the great 12 Days of Commenting begin!

 

O'Reilly, "Somebody stop me!"

From Crooks and Liars: Bill O'Reilly argues against himself

This is the hostility that O'Reilly's "Wwar on Chritsams" has started. Just because a waitress told this guy, "Happy Holidays," the guy wanted to punch her in the face. (Like O'Reilly, I don't know if the guy was serious.) Update: This has got to be a crank call.

Caller: I wanted to punch her in the face...

O'Reilly: I think you're out of line.----if somebody says "Happy Holiday," there's no reason to get offended.

Brad has the audio.

Emailer Joe: "So then Bill O'Reilly ripped into the guy and said he was a jerk for not tipping her. O'Reilly said "What if you had been Jewish or Muslim" she didn't know what your religion was. She was just trying to be respectful. Then O'Reilly discovered he had contradicted himself and tried to back pedal and explain the difference."


11 December 2005

 

Get off yer duff and VOTE!!!

 

Not to hard to believe...

 

Then as now, "It doesn't make any sense."

EUGENE McCARTHY 1916-2005 McCarthy was hero of antiwar movement Eugene McCarthy, the senator whose run for the 1968 Democratic nomination galvanized the antiwar movement and crippled the presidency of Lyndon Johnson, died at age 89. BY MARTIN MERZER mmerzer@herald.com An unpopular war was going badly. The nation was restless. One politician stepped up. The year was 1968. The war was in Vietnam. The politician was Eugene J. McCarthy. McCarthy died in his sleep Saturday at an assisted living facility in Washington, D.C. He was 89 years old, and in his way, he was a hero. At a crucial point of his life and in the nation's history, McCarthy took a stand and he helped to end a war, and he showed that it could be done within the system. ''The fellows running this war don't know where they're going or what they're up to,'' McCarthy said in retrospect during an interview years later. 'You didn't have to make a great moral judgment on it. You could simply say, `It doesn't make any sense.' ''

 

That was one funny MotherFucker.

10 December 2005

 

The Review

There is something I don't do but two or three time a year; go to the movie theater. I can easily name the last three or four movies I’ve seen in the big screen: Star Wars Episode III, Sin City, and Kill Bill volumes One and Two. Last night one of those rare occasions came about where I deemed it worth my while to journey out in the world. Last night I took my daughter to see The Chronicles of Narnia. Simply stated, I don’t go out to see a movie unless I think it can deliver. Through some complicated internal process whose machinations are curtained even to my conscience mind, this determination is made and seeing it is set in stone , the exception being “Good Morning, Good Night” which never came to a theater near me because of what appears to be a Conservative conspiracy. It’s been over a decade since I’ve read any of The Chronicles of Narnia, so, unlike when I watched The Fellowship of the Ring, many of the fine details have faded with time. It was easy to catch the missing scenes in Peter Jackson’s adaptation of the Tolkien classic, not so much with The Chronicles of Narnia. I can say that the whole thing flowed smoothly, with no revisionist fantasy, and the underlying Christian aspects of the story weren't overwrought. In fact it did leave me grinning at the thought that there are Christian families that will go to see the movie and be exposed to as many or more mythological creatures and as much witchcraft as was seen in Harry Potter movies. It is good, but in the wake of a new Harry Potter movie and the Lord of the Rings trilogy it feels a little light. It didn’t feel as English as the first and the CG wasn’t as strong as the latter. I guess the only test that matters is the one it passed. When I asked my daughter if she liked it she said yes. When I said, “better than the goblet of fire,” she said, “unhuh.”

09 December 2005

 

From Common Dreams:

Published on Wednesday, December 7, 2005 by CommonDreams.org USA Patriot Act O'Reilly Factor: Al-Arian Acquitted, But Inquisition Boils On by Pierre Tristam
Sami al-Arian is a Palestinian born in Kuwait and living in the United States for the last 30 years. He’s married and has five children, all of them American citizens (one of them a graduate of Duke University). Until 2002, al-Arian was a $66,000-a-year tenured professor in computer science at the University of South Florida, where he’d been teaching 16 years. He was also a guest of Karl Rove at the White House in June 2001, part of a Muslim group of activists the White House wanted to thank for their support in the 2000 election: Yes, conservative Muslims in the United States are natural allies of the GOP. The always-expedient George Bush, with Laura, had personally thanked al-Arian for his support during a campaign appearance in Florida, captured in a picture by the St. Petersburg Times. All along, and since 1995, the FBI’s Division of McCarthyism had been on al-Arian’s tail following a television documentary and articles in the Tampa Tribune linking him, by word and image but never by deed, to violent Palestinian causes, jihad, suicide bombers, terrorism. Note the prejudice of the last sentence: It assumes that because al-Arian supported Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation, he was a participant in terrorism. The leap is entirely specious on two grounds: Opinions, including fund-raising, are not deeds (ask the Republican or Democratic Party whose campaign-finance payola system always hides behind the First Amendment). And “terrorism” is itself an incendiary bomb of a word. In a few cases terrorism is clear-cut: willful attacks on civilians with no other immediate goal but to massacre civilians. In most cases terrorism is in the eyes of the beholder, and in most of those cases, the beholder see no further than immediate prejudices, fears, misconceptions and easy slanders. Cue in Bill O’Reilly ambushing al-Arian on the O’Reilly Factor on September 26, 2001. Al-Arian and his mosque in Florida had immediately and unequivocally condemned the 9/11 attacks (as had the mass of Muslims everywhere, though you’d never know it from this side of the American media’s filters). Al-Arian, unaware of O’Reilly’s fetish for slander, thought O’Reilly would query him about those issues. “It was stupid,” Al-Arian would later tell the Washington Post. “I should have known better.” Al-Arian’s hatred for Israel is well documented. It may be bigoted and anti-Semitic to the core. But it’s not a crime. Besides making it appear as if it were, O’Reilly couldn’t get anything on al-Arian. The best he had was that one of al-Arian’s colleagues who’d worked at USF at his behest left the university and joined Palestinian Islamic Jihad, making al-Arian a “terrorist” by association. That sort of argument would make everyone who befriended Pol-Pot and taught him engineering in Paris in the early 1950s, beginning with those who brought him there on a French scholarship, guilty by association of the Cambodian genocide. Idiotic argument. But no one ever factors intelligence into the O’Reilly equation. Failing on evidence, O’Reilly slandered al-Arian with innuendo: O’Reilly: “Well, Doctor, you know, with all due respect -- I appreciate you coming on the program, but if I was the CIA, I'd follow you wherever you went. I'd follow you 24 hours ... Al-Arian: Well, you don't know me. You don't know me. You do not ... O'Reilly: That doesn't matter. With all of this circumstantial evidence ... I'd go to Denny's with you, and I'd go everywhere you went. We appreciate you coming on. [The transcript is available here.] With that, death threats to al-Arian began, and so did the witch hunt for al-Arian’s head, led by the disgraceful, O’Reillyesque attacks on the associate professor by University of South Florida President Judy Genshaft, who wanted him fired. Genshaft’s justification was that al-Arian was harming his responsibilities to the university’s “interests” (fund-raising, research grants, alumni relations. No word about the university’s foremost interest: academic freedom.) The USF faculty senate and faculty union both voted against Genshaft’s decision to fire al-Arian, and for a time his fate looked no different than that of the late Edward Said, the Palestinian professor at Columbia University who’d been photographed lobbing stones at Israel, from the Lebanese side of a border fence. At Columbia, faculty and student unions wanted Said fired but university trustees stood by him. Plus, he was a superstar. Leukemia got to Said. The FBI got to al-Arian. He was arrested in February 2003, fired from the university, and locked up, mostly in solitary confinement, for more than two years. His trial began on June 6, ending yesterday as it began: As nothing more credible than if Bill O’Reilly had led the prosecution. There was one difference: Jurors had a chance to make a fair and balanced decision, because they heard all the evidence, something O’Reilly never allows his viewers to do. Jurors heard this instruction from the judge, and made it the deciding factor in their verdict: “Our law does not criminalize beliefs or mere membership in an organization. A person who is in sympathy with the legitimate aim of an organization but does not intend to accomplish that aim by a resort to illegal activity is not punished for adherence to lawful purposes of speech.” Of course al-Arian is not free. The FBI is looking for ways to retry him on some of the charges that resulted in a mistrial. And the Department of Homeland Security’s immigration brigades, our government’s default setting for vindictiveness, can’t wait to get their hands on al-Arian’s deportation proceedings. The father to five American children who’d led a life no less valuable and interesting and enriching for also being controversial—and a man whose abilities were sought after by this White House—will likely find himself shuttled out of the very country for which he said these words soon after his not-guilty verdict: “God bless America.” He’s not in free, because the country itself is not in the clear from the witch-hunt mentality that resulted in al-Arian’s arrest in the first place, and many like it (with less just outcomes) across the country. I’ve been picking on O’Reilly, but only because his “Factor” lit the inquisition’s fires. O’Reilly’s likes from Sean Hannity to Joe Sacrborough to talk radio’s chorus of brown-shirted voices daily reduce American discourse to a wasteland. Without so much baseness and baselessness on the air, the nation’s leaders couldn’t possibly be as base and the nation’s liberty crushing laws as baseless, or as popular. You need only read the New York Times’ first paragraph in Wednesday’s front-page article on the trial: “In a major defeat for law enforcement officials, a jury in Florida failed to return guilty verdicts Tuesday on any of 51 criminal counts against a former Florida professor and three co-defendants accused of operating a North American front for Palestinian terrorists.” Why a “major defeat for law-enforcement officials” and not a major victory for free speech, civil rights, due process? Why judge that a jury “failed” by not returning guilty verdicts—why the failure of negatives—rather than the more affirmative emphasis on the not-guilty angle, on al-Arian’s acquittal, on the victory of positive liberty? Because in the popular interpretation and prosecution of this so-called war on terror, evidence has nothing to do with guilt. Perception is enough. That’s why the jury was hung on several charges. As one juror told the St. Petersburg Times, “Ten of us wanted to acquit them on all charges, but two wouldn’t tell us what the evidence was to convict, but wouldn’t go along with acquittal.” That’s the sobering lesson of the al-Arian story from its beginnings, and the lesson of Patriot Act-America since 2001: We are no longer a society of evidence, fairness and due process, those qualities of law we’re supposedly trying to impose on Iraq and Afghanistan. We’re all guilty until proven innocent. Al-Arian got lucky. He’s the exception for now, and not much of one. His deportation plane is fueling up. And his prosecutors, Bill O’Reilly-like inquisitors among them, still gang about, as deaf and blind to American principles as a mob of neo-McCarthyites. Tristam is an editorial writer and columnist at the Daytona Beach News-Journal, and editor of Candide’s Notebooks.
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-This week I noticed that Media Matters unveiled a new format. I left one comment there and received over 280 hits in one day. Amazing (too bad none of them translated into comments). I printed the above article in its entirety because I believe that it's important that we of sound mind and body support sites like Common Dreams and Media Matters when they expose the truth about people like Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and the like.

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