Thursday, November 30, 2006
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
A federal judge in Los Angeles, who previously struck down sections of the Patriot Act, has ruled that provisions of an anti-terrorism order issued by President George W. Bush after September 11 are unconstitutional.
U.S. District Judge Audrey Collins found that part of the law, signed by Bush on September 23, 2001 and used to freeze the assets of terrorist organizations, violated the Constitution because it put no apparent limit on the president's powers to place groups on that list.
Ruling in a lawsuit brought against the Treasury Department in 2005 by the Center for Constitutional Rights, Collins also threw out a portion of Bush's order which applied the law to those who associate with the designated organizations.
"This law gave the president unfettered authority to create blacklists, an authority president Bush then used to empower the Secretary of the Treasury to impose guilt by association," said David Cole of the Washington-based Center for Constitutional Rights.
"The court's decision confirms that even in fighting terror, unchecked executive authority and trampling on fundamental freedoms is not a permissible option," he said in a statement
It's a start, it's a start....
But what got my attention was the next paragraph of the story:
"We need to get ahead of the curve before we actually lose a city, which I think could happen in the next decade," said Gingrich
For Newt's information, we actually have: it's called New Orleans, and we lost it not to terrorists, but to the design and construction failures of the US Army Corps of Engineers. Would less freedom of speech have saved it?
Of course, drowning 80% of a city is not the same as nuking 80% of it.
Still, the city has lost just about that percentage of its mental-health professionals after the citizens have undergone a profound civic trauma that might call for the services of, let's just hypothecate here, some mental-health professionals. Speaks well for the social conscience of the profession.
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich yesterday said the country will be forced to reexamine freedom of speech to meet the threat of terrorism.
Gingrich, speaking at a Manchester awards banquet, said a "different set of rules" may be needed to reduce terrorists' ability to use the Internet and free speech to recruit and get out their message.
"We need to get ahead of the curve before we actually lose a city, which I think could happen in the next decade," said Gingrich, a Republican who helped engineer the GOP's takeover of Congress in 1994.
Gingrich sharply criticized campaign finance laws he charged were reducing free speech and doing little to fight attack advertising. He also said court rulings over separation of church and state have hurt citizens' ability to express themselves and their faith.
So, money talks and freedom of speech walks? This is why we have to make EVERY effort at EVERY level, from the school board to the White House, to make sure these people don't get elected. They don't believe in freedom, democracy, or America.
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Edit: Sorry, senior moment.... I was talking about Maureen Dowd early, not Noron... but eventually, all the blowdried, brainfree talking heads start to coalesce into seemless unity.....
Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they're sure trying to do so, it's going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can't and won't compromise. I know, I've tried to deal with them...There's more, but that's the money shot.
Saturday, November 25, 2006
More on the voting problems in the mid-term elections:Voting experts say it is impossible to say how many votes were not counted that should have been. But in Florida alone, the discrepancies reported across Sarasota County and three others amount to more than 60,000 votes. In Colorado, as many as 20,000 people gave up trying to vote, election officials say, as new online systems for verifying voter registrations crashed repeatedly. And in Arkansas, election officials tallied votes three times in one county, and each time the number of ballots cast changed by more than 30,000.-- David Kurtz
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
I hope everyone does have a great holiday, basks in the warm glow of family and friends, and eats wayyyyyy too much turkey and stuffing. And, of course, in the spirit of love, joy, and comity that Thanksgiving engenders, I hope the Cowboys kick the crap out of the Bucs!
This is rank historical revisionism of the most deliberately dishonest strain, designed to cleanse the sins of neoconservatives and other Iraq war advocates, and it is spreading everywhere. It is vital to preserve the truth that the invasion of Iraq was not some slightly excessive extension of our long-standing idealistic desire to help the world's oppressed people. The opposite was true.
The invasion of Iraq constituted a radical departure from decades-long American foreign policy doctrine governing what constitutes a justifiable war against another country. To justify the war which Kaplan wanted so eagerly, the Bush administration issued a National Security Strategy in 2002 (.pdf) which "shifted U.S. foreign policy away from decades of deterrence and containment toward a more aggressive stance of attacking enemies before they attack the United States." That militaristic hubris is the doctrine which drove our invasion (and it is still in place, as the Bush administration re-affirmed it earlier this year).
Monday, November 20, 2006
Anyway, if something pops, I'll try to wake up enough to post; if not, see ya tomorrow.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Not since the Lewinsky/impeachment debacle have we seen this kind of pushback against a President from within his own party. The neo-cons are pissed (it's not THEIR fault, after all!!!! just ask 'em), and are starting to speak. Amazing what losing will do for party discipline. The SD and the Abwehr (Repug Editions) are going to be wailing at each other and the flying chunks of flesh will just provide more ummm red meat for them to feed on.
And all while Nancy Pelosi destroys the Dems from within, or whatever today's message from the MSM is......
Friday, November 17, 2006
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Perhaps this is something of an existential question. But do we really have to pretend that Rudy Giuliani has more than a snowball's chance in hell of getting the Republican presidential nomination? Or can we all just stipulate that a multiple adulterer, who supports gay civil rights and choice, has deep and on-going ties to mobbed-up and now-disgraced Police boss Bernie Kerik, has a largely unscrutinized (outside of New York) resume, and had the bright idea of locating the NYC disaster center in the already-once-bombed World Trade Center probably will have some rough sledding in Republican primaries?
Sunday, November 12, 2006
Morgan in Austin, at Dkos, has a great diary on how it was to work on a campaign, with the ups and down, and ins and out, and haves and have nots, of working in the Dem sphere.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
From dKos: Dallas Turning Indigo Blue
According to TPM, Burns has conceded as well (no details on the level of 'grace')
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
The Senate is still in play. There are three seats still up for grabs (MT, MO, and VA). Montana looks like a lock (roll that sentence over in your head for a minute), Missouri and Virginia are still VERY close, but at this moment look like the Dems should win. Virgina will be recounted by law, barring some really weird results in the final votes that push Webb past a 1 percentage point lead, but in all likelihood, there will be a recount. In Missouri, I don't the law but both CNN and MSNBC are talking recount, so I'll bow to their experts (on the law, if not the politics! :) )
Thank, welcome back. It appears that you were part of a (potentially record) heavy turnout to vote today. If the feedback from the exit polls is accurate (and that's always questionable), it looks good for the Dems to take the House. The Senate is horserace and a longshot, at best.
The early exit polls say that Dem turnout is running ahead of Repug turnout, and that response on the issues looks good for progresives/Dems. Keep your fingers crossed.
And if you live in Chicago or South Texas, go vote again ;)
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Saddam Hussein and his half brother were convicted and sentenced Sunday to death by hanging for war crimes in the 1982 killings of 148 people in the town of Dujail, as the visibly shaken former leader shouted "God is great!"
After the verdict was read, a trembling Saddam yelled out, "Life for the glorious nation, and death to its enemies!"
Well, mission accomplished. Can we go home now?
Friday, November 03, 2006
WE KNOW Republican Presidents Reagan and George Bush also provided chemical and biological weapons to Iraq, nuclear weapons to Pakistan, and chemical, biological and nuclear weapons to South Africa. And that this pattern persisted every time a Republican sat in the Oval office. Reagan played an especially damaging role, providing South Africa with the materials to manufacture chemical and biological weapons that have been linked to attacks by racist rightwing groups in the US.
And that's the FRIENDLY part!
I realize for many Democrats it has been so long since we won, we have completely forgotten the etiquette. And I realize I'm taking a chance here -- there's nothing more dangerous than overconfidence -- but you have to practice for victory as well as defeat.
First rule: No gloating. Actually, there is gloating allowed, but only in the exclusive presence of other Democrats. Gloating in the face of Republicans is rude and unsportsmanlike, and just gives them one more thing to complain about. Also, remember there is a possibility there may be some Republicans on the civil service staff -- I have seen this when the R's win -- and it is really not good manners to watch them wailing around with their eyes brimming with tears.
Second, I'm sure we will all be full of grand theories if Republicans lose and we win. Dems will be ready to be helpful, offer advice and sort of try to perk the R's up. I do not recommend this. It somehow never feels to me when R's are dumping truckloads of good advice on the D's that they are, actually, sincere about it.
Third, celebratory jigs, reels and renditions of "Danny Boy" are best limited to Irish bars.Fourth, try to refrain from insulting Republicans en masse. A good start would be, "You know, it was mostly the ones under indictment that hurt you."
Thursday, November 02, 2006
It may or may not be true (if not, thought, why did he resign so suddenly, forcing cancellation of a meeting of church 'elders' to support him), but if it turns out to be true, this could be the straw that really, truly annoyed the camel. Colorado, long a serious Red state, is already showing purplish tinges; this could help make things there a bright, cheery Blue.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
There is no line this president has not crossed — nor will not cross — to keep one political party in power.
He has spread any and every fear among us in a desperate effort to avoid that which he most fears — some check, some balance against what has become not an imperial, but a unilateral presidency.
And now it is evident that it no longer matters to him whether that effort to avoid the judgment of the people is subtle and nuanced or laughably transparent.
Sen. John Kerry called him out Monday.
He did it two years too late.
The context was unmistakable: Texas; the state of denial; stuck in Iraq. No interpretation required.
And Mr. Bush and his minions responded by appearing to be too stupid to realize that they had been called stupid.
They demanded Kerry apologize to the troops in Iraq.
And so he now has.
That phrase — “appearing to be too stupid” — is used deliberately, Mr. Bush.
Because there are only three possibilities here.
One, sir, is that you are far more stupid than the worst of your critics have suggested; that you could not follow the construction of a simple sentence; that you could not recognize your own life story when it was deftly summarized; that you could not perceive it was the sad ledger of your presidency that was being recounted.
This, of course, compliments you, Mr. Bush, because even those who do not “make the most of it,” who do not “study hard,” who do not “do their homework,” and who do not “make an effort to be smart” might still just be stupid, but honest.
No, the first option, sir, is, at best, improbable. You are not honest.
The second option is that you and those who work for you deliberately twisted what Sen. Kerry said to fit your political template; that you decided to take advantage of it, to once again pretend that the attacks, solely about your own incompetence, were in fact attacks on the troops or even on the nation itself.
The third possibility is, obviously, the nightmare scenario: that the first two options are in some way conflated.
That it is both politically convenient for you and personally satisfying to you, to confuse yourself with the country for which, sir, you work.
A brief reminder, Mr. Bush: You are not the United States of America.
And in leaving him out of the equation, Sen. Kerry gave an unwarranted pass to his old friend Sen. John McCain, who should be ashamed of himself tonight.
He rolled over and pretended Kerry had said what he obviously had not.
Only, the symbolic stick he broke over Kerry’s head came in a context even more disturbing.
Mr. McCain demanded the apology while electioneering for a Republican congressional candidate in Illinois.
He was speaking of how often he had been to Walter Reed Hospital to see the wounded Iraq veterans, of how “many of them have lost limbs.”
He said all this while demanding that the voters of Illinois reject a candidate who is not only a wounded Iraq veteran, but who lost two limbs there, Tammy Duckworth.
Support some of the wounded veterans. But bad-mouth the Democratic one.
"John Boehner ought to be ashamed. He's blaming our troops for failures in Iraq. If he wants to cast blame, he can start by looking in the mirror because he and his Congressional Republican colleagues have rubberstamped the Bush Administration's failed policy for nearly four years. Our troops in Iraq have performed bravely. It's political leaders like Congressman Boehner and Donald Rumsfeld, who have failed. I expect President Bush and Congressional Republicans, who demanded John Kerry apologize, hold their own party's majority leader to a much higher standard. There's no spinning his disparaging comments. He made them. He needs to apologize."
BLITZER: You said "he's the best thing that's happened to the Pentagon in 25 years." You know, a lot of people strongly disagree with you, including an increasing chorus of fellow Republicans.
BOEHNER: Well, there are a lot of people who want to blame what is happening in Iraq on Donald Rumsfeld, but when you look at the transformation that our military has been through, it's nothing short of remarkable.
And I think there's only one person in America who could have brought about that transformation, and that is Donald Rumsfeld. He's smart, he's been through the Pentagon, knows how it works. And now we have a lighter, more flexible force, a quicker force. It would not have happened without him.
BLITZER: But, you know, General Zinni, who used to be the commander, Anthony Zinni of the Central Command, he says that Rumsfeld threw out 10 years of planning for Iraq, 10 years of strategy with 500,000 troops that would be needed, not to necessarily topple Saddam Hussein, but to win the peace quickly. He just threw that out because he wanted that lighter force and, as a result, the U.S. is paying the price right now.
BOEHNER: Well, Wolf, you have to understand that the generals who have been in charge of the Pentagon have been very resistant to change. It's the younger generals who understand this new force structure that we need to be -- to have the military of the 21st century. And so I think Rumsfeld is the right guy for the job, and I know the president supports him and I'm glad he does.
BLITZER: Let me read to you what a few of your fellow Republicans have said in recent days. "I don't like the guy. I simply don't think he has measured up on running the war on Iraq. Would I vote for a no confidence resolution on Secretary Rumsfeld? Yes." Chris Shays, Republican of Connecticut.
"If I had my way, he wouldn't be secretary of defense now. I would have accepted his resignation after Abu Ghraib. I have lost confidence in him." That's the Republican candidate for the Senate from Washington state, Mike McGavick.
And Congresswoman Jo Ann Davis, Republican of Virginia: "It's probably the only thing in my life I've ever agreed with Hillary Clinton about. He's probably a nice guy, but I don't think he's a great secretary of defense."
BOEHNER: Wolf, I understand that, but let's not blame what's happening in Iraq on Rumsfeld.
BLITZER: But he's in charge of the military.
BOEHNER: But the fact is, the generals on the ground are in charge, and he works closely with them and the president. We've seen this run up in violence as we get closer to the election, as we get closer to Ramadan, same thing we've seen over the last couple of years.
As we enter into Ramadan, we see this big spike in violence and there's no question, in my mind, that the terrorists, very smart people, are also trying to increase the violence as we get closer to the U.S. elections.
BLITZER: Well, I want to move on and get to some other important issues, but a quick question. Were you satisfied in the planning that the Pentagon did, specifically the defense secretary, not necessarily for getting rid of Saddam Hussein's regime, but for the post-war? Because it's been three-and-a-half years and $300 billion, $400 billion, 3,000 almost U.S. deaths ...
BOEHNER: Wolf, there's no question that there have been mistakes along the way. We're fighting an enemy that's unconventional, and we're -- and this has become the central front in our war with al Qaeda. Al Qaeda continues to bring people into Iraq to let off these bombs, to stir up sectarian violence and we're always have to adapt on the ground.
So, let's get this straight.... Rumsfeld isnt responsible because he was too busy transforming the Army into something that he can't use properly to do what he wants, and the Generals using the transformed Army are responsible cuz they're in charge. That's a Republican 'talking point' we need to hammer and hammer and hammer.