Wednesday, May 24, 2006

He is Trampling Out Our Rights

Here's a clip from a great article on the Bush administration's trampling of our civil rights. Click here to red the whole article...

The Bush administration’s steady garroting of American liberties – already strangling the right to a fair trial and protections against warrantless searches – is now tightening its chokehold around the First Amendment’s guarantee of a free press and respect for Congress as a co-equal branch of government.

Over the past weekend, George W. Bush and his Justice Department signaled to the U.S. press corps and Congress that they are not beyond the reach of Bush’s “plenary” – or unlimited – powers as Commander in Chief or his authority as “unitary executive,” deciding what laws to enforce and how.

On May 21, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales told ABC’s “This Week” that news organizations like the New York Times could be prosecuted for publishing classified information about the “war on terror,” such as the disclosure of Bush’s secret program of warrantless wiretapping inside the United States.

Bush's Small Brain

The President has the intellectual curiosity of a gnat. Do we really care if global warming is being created by carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as a result of human behavior or by natural causes? The question should be, given the likely environmental impact, are there things we can do to slow or eliminate the problem? But, wiat - here's a description of the President's response...



ENVIRONMENT -- BUSH URGES AMERICANS TO 'SET ASIDE' GLOBAL WARMING SCIENCE:

President Bush was asked yesterday if he will watch former Vice President Al Gore's new movie on global warming, An Inconvenient Truth . "Doubt it," the President answered. He went on to argue that we need to "set aside whether or not greenhouse gases have been caused by mankind or because of natural effects." Bush's response attempts to cast doubt on the scientific consensus that global warming is caused by human activity.

"Why should we set aside the global scientific consensus," Gore responded . "Is it because Exxon Mobil wants us to set it aside? Why should we set aside the conclusion of scientists in the United States, including the National Academy of Sciences, and around the world including the 11 most important national academies of science on the globe and substitute for their view the view of Exxon Mobil. Why? I'm a grandfather and he's a father and this should not be a political issue," Gore said. "And he should ask the National Academy of Sciences...whether or not human beings are contributing to global warming."

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Poking Fun at the President



From IndoLink.com - click here to read all...

The president's job-approval rating is actually quite high, but you wouldn't know that from the flawed polls conducted by the liberal media. Thankfully, Fox News Channel has conducted a "fair and balanced" poll, which shows that Americans overwhelmingly approve of their president. Some of the findings:

---Almost 70 percent of 1,000 U.S. adults surveyed in a telephone poll think President Bush is doing an "excellent or pretty good job" of dressing himself. The other 30 percent approve of the suits he wears, but would prefer not to see him in tight jeans.

---More than 50 percent of respondents say that if the 2004 presidential election were held again, they would not change their vote. Yes, they'd still vote for the same guy and we all know who that guy is.

---When given several choices and asked to rank them in "likeability," 90 percent of respondents put President Bush first, finding him much more likeable than enemas, rattlesnakes, and telemarketers, in that order.

Just More Evidence...


...that President Bush is incompetent and unstruthworthy.

Former Border Patrol sector chief and Border Patrol Academy director (and former Bush supporter) William King told THE NEW AMERICAN that the president “may put some National Guard down there for a little while, but he’s already saying that they won’t be allowed to do anything substantive. So they’ll be put there for show for a few months before the election. President Bush has shown over and over again that he’s very good at making promises to secure the border, but also very dependable on breaking those promises.”

Alliances Against the U.S.

The Bush policy of "attack, don't negotiate" is having serious consequences around the world as we have built fear into the hearts of our world neighbors. As Bush and Cheney have built their empire here in the U.S. based on instilling fear in the hearts of all Americans, so have many (powerful and large, in some cases) become fearful of a world in which the U.S. dominates. And those nations are beginning to fight back.

George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are so wrong for us in so many ways...




Ironically, this is precisely what President Bush has pledged to prevent. The national security doctrine that Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have proclaimed in public rests upon a determination to discourage any combination of countries from mounting a challenge to the United States. By building a military force so awesome that no cluster of countries could even hope to match it -- and by demonstrating a willingness to stay clear of constraining international treaties and obligations -- administration hardliners planned to intimidate all potential challengers into meekly accepting Washington's dictates.

But after five years of trial and error, it is clear that the Bush doctrine is having the opposite effect. Instead of inciting awe and submission, the policies associated with Vice President Dick Cheney and other administration hawks are motivating countries in Eurasia, the Middle East, and Latin America to seek channels for cooperation against US hegemony.

Click here to read the entire article...

Ann Coulter Blasts Bush

I've never read an Ann Coulter column before, but I found this one interesting - she's attacking Bush on the immigration issue. Here's a clip...

"At least Bush has dropped his infernal references to slacker Americans when talking about illegal immigrants. In his speech Monday night, instead of 47 mentions of "jobs Americans won't do," Bush referred only once to "jobs Americans are not doing" -- which I take it means other than border enforcement and intelligence-gathering at the CIA.

For the record, I'll volunteer right now to clean other people's apartments if I don't have to pay taxes on what I earn.

Also, someone must have finally told Bush that the point about America being a "nation of immigrants" is moronic. All nations are "nations of immigrants" -- as Peter Brimelow pointed out brilliantly in his 1992 article in National Review on immigration, which left nothing for anyone else to say ."

To read the entire article, click here...

Monday, May 22, 2006

Society is not working

From Daily Kos - click here to read more...

It's shocking enough to read that 1 in 136 Americans is incarcerated, according to AP :
U.S. Prisons, Jails Grew by 1,000 Inmates a Week From '04 to '05; 1 in 136 Residents Behind Bars
Prisons and jails added more than 1,000 inmates each week for a year, putting almost 2.2 million people, or one in every 136 U.S. residents, behind bars by last summer.

But to read on and find out it's because the untried are swelling the ranks takes your breath away:

The report by the Justice Department agency found that 62 percent of people in jails have not been convicted, meaning many of them are awaiting trial.

Sixty-two percent! Still in the category of "innocent until proven guilty," yet doing time. Why that's starting to sound like ... a certain American-run Cuban detention center, spread out within our own borders.

This speaks to such a sweeping failure of society on so many levels, it's hard to know where to begin. We can start, I suppose, with funding the justice system adequately so that "right to a speedy trial" is something more than a pipe dream. Next we could take a look at how many of these arrests are due to the "war on drugs" and how that little PR adventure can be feeding people who are no danger to others into an overcrowded and clearly dysfunctional system - yes, dysfunctional. If close to two-thirds of people imprisoned in this country haven't even been found guilty, you've got yourself a system that is inarguably not working.

9-11 and the Spin


This cartoon has some great commentary on the way Republicans have used 9-11 to foster fear and patriotism.

Lying News Leakers


This is a great cartoon highlighting the manner in which the Republicans have used the gullible press to work their magic for the past 6-years. Click on the image for a larger view. If that is still not big enough to make out, roll your mouse pointer off of the picture, then back on to the picture - then pause for just a few seconds. A small graphical icon should pop up in the lower right corner of the image - click on this icon and it should blow the cartoon up to full size.

Voting Trends - REALLY



There's been quite a bit of discussion, for the past six years or so, both in the blogs and in the news, about the irregularities in the Presidential votes. There were issues in Florida in the 2000 elections, to begin with. Then there was news in New England of Republicans blocking phone calls being made by Democrats in the 2004 elections (a couple of folks were just convicted) and there are phone records linking those involved with the White House. There were also reports of gross irregularities in 2004 in both Florida and in Ohio. There have been a number of reports of Diebold voting machines that were tampered with and other Diebold machines that have back-doors in them which would allow anyone with a computer and access to alter the vote.

Don't you just wonder who REALLY won the last two Presidential elections and just how crooked are the Republicans REALLY?

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Political Commentary Through Images



Bullies

My own impression of the history of this great nation is that the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were all written with the underlying principal that everyone was entitled to some basic rights. There are provisions in all 3 documents that provide protection for the weakest (politically) among us, those who are different and those who may be scorned by some factions within our society. One must believe that there were gays and lesbians around even as these documents were being created.

But now there are some among us who no longer wish to protect some factions of our society - they wish to single them out, harrass them and segregate them from the rest. In high school these same people were the bullies who preyed on the weak. Assholes.

From the Center for American Progress - click here to read more....


Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage, and likely prohibit civil unions and other forms of domestic partnerships. S.J. Res 1 -- the so-called "Marriage Protection Amendment" -- passed the committee on a 10-8 party-line vote after Chairman Arlen Specter (R-PA), who said he was "totally opposed " to the bill, voted for it. The vote took place in a room just off the Senate floor that was closed to the general public. Instead of acting on the issues that most Americans indicate they are concerned about -- Iraq, gas prices , and stem cells among them -- the Senate is moving ahead with a divisive bill that growing numbers of Americans oppose . Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the committee's ranking member, said the measure is "part of an election-year political agenda" to satisfy the right wing. "The Constitution's too important to be used for such base partisan politics ." The Constitution has been amended to eliminate slavery, to give women the right to vote, and to secure for every person the equal protection of the laws. It has never been amended to mandate discrimination .

Friday, May 19, 2006

Republican Women

(Click any image to enlarge)



Arrest Bush and Cheney

From Molly Ivens - on the website - Working For Change - click here to read the entire article...
Trouble is, the world is not apt to hold still for two years. It seems to me pointless to impeach Bush. In the first place, the Republicans so trivialized impeachment into partisan piffle, it would look like little more than payback. In the second place, I believe Dick Cheney is seriously off the rails, apparently deeply paranoid -- let's not put him in charge. The minimum we should expect of Bush in return for dropping impeachment (or not) is that he cease breaking the law. Despite the opinions of Dick Cheney, Alberto Gonzales, David Addington, etc., the president of the United States does not have the authority to set aside the law.
But I have a major disagreement with Molly here - I think that G.W. Bush and R. Cheney should BOTH be impeached - and I don't think it should stop there.
I believe that in order to strengthen our nation of laws, once they are impeached they should both be put on trial for high crimes and misdemeanors against the United States of America. I believe they are traitors to this country as they have repeatedly used their offices to lie and decieve the American public while leading us into a loss of our basic freedoms.
They have changed the basic philosophy of this nation so that it no longer represents a nation of people, but, to paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, it is now a nation 'of the corporations and wealthy, by the corporations and wealthy, for the corporations and wealthy.'
Throw them both in the slammer and maybe the next 43 Presidents will think a little more carefully about their behavior in office.

Telling It Like It Is - In Images

(Click any image to enlarge)



The Truth About Collecting Call Records

Written by John McDonald in Op Ed News - click here to read more...

The Tip of the Iceberg

President Bush is top recipient of political funds from phone companies that turned over calling records of millions of Americans. AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth gave Bush $511,955

If there were any justice in the world, federal agents would appear at the White House and arrest President Bush, Vice President Cheney and their lackeys tomorrow morning for multiple violations of laws protecting the privacy of Americans and their rights against illegal search and seizure. But given that Bush’s attorney general Alberto Gonzales is using Nazi lawyer Carl Schmidtt as his role model, that is not likely to happen. As for me, I’d settle for even a modicum of Congressional oversight of a presidential administration that appears to be careening dangerously out of control.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Political Images



Immigration Fun

Here's a great humor-piece on the immigration issue from the blog "That's Going Too Far." Click here to connect.
Just days after announcing his intention to station National Guard troops along the U.S. border with Mexico, President Bush made an unexpected statement today concerning the Canadian border.

“It is true that our most immediate national security need is to secure our southern border. However, we cannot ignore the risks posed by a three thousand mile-long, largely unsecured border to our north. While our attention is diverted to the southern states, thousands of Al-Qaeda terrorists could be quietly slipping into America disguised in moose or squirrel costumes, forming sleeper cells in unsuspecting towns like International Falls or Fargo. The threat is real, and must be met.”

Today, I am calling up our brave young Americans in Boy Scout, Girl Scout and Cub Scout troops all along the northern tier of states, from Washington to Maine. Scout units will be stationed along the Canadian border at designated intervals for four-week rotations. The Scouts will be issued BB guns, slingshots and Swiss Army Knives with which they will secure our borders and allow Americans to sleep easy in their beds.”

Some of you may ask, ‘Is sending a nine-year old child out into the Northern woods with little more than Ritalin, a dull knife and a backpack full of Snickers bars a good idea?’” I say, give our children more credit. Sure they’ll miss their TVs and their mommies, but they know what it means to wear a uniform and that sacrifices are necessary in the war on terror. “

The first Scout units will be in position shortly after the end of school in June. Scout Masters will receive field promotions to full colonel and receive all respective benefits. All scouts will be given photocopies of known Al-Qaeda operatives, and they will be issued shoot-to-kill or really-really-hurt-bad orders.”

My fellow Americans, I know what it means to serve one’s country in uniform and the sacrifices that are required. I spent countless days away from home and family in strange nightclubs and at parties where I didn’t know a soul. It’s true. But America’s young people today understand that freedom isn’t free, and that everyone must do their part in the war on terror. All I can say is God bless them, and God bless you.”

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Fun Political Images



They Came

This needs to be posted, somewhere, from time to time, just to remind us all why we have the Bill of Rights - to protect the weakest among us from the most powerful among us.

First they came for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up,
because I wasn't a Communist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up,
because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn't speak up,
because I was a Protestant.

Then they came for me,
and by that time there was no one
left to speak up for me.


by Rev. Martin Niemoller, 1945

Net Neutrality - Infringing On Your Freedom

When enough people have lost enough of their rights, to the point of frustration and anger, there will be a revolt against the right-wing-nuts who want to control everything about your life. Following is an the best description I've seen of the issue of "net neutrality" legislation working its way through Congress.

By not including network neutrality protections, the COPE Act upholds a 2005 ruling from the Federal Communications Commission that allows Internet service providers—telephone companies like AT&T and Verizon and cable companies like Comcast—to charge Web content creators a fee to make their sites readily accessible.

For example, take a filmmaker who wants to produce a documentary and distribute it to the public on his Web site. Under this new legislation, a service provider like AT&T would be able to charge the filmmaker for making his content available to their customers. Or, if AT&T did not approve of the documentary, it could refuse to let its customers access it all together—thereby allowing corporate censorship of a medium now characterized by the freewheeling exchange of ideas. In effect, the legislation allows the telecom industry to become the tollbooth operator on the information superhighway. The Internet will begin to look like cable TV, where viewers can only choose from available options.

More on the NSA

The Republicans have begun to understand - as has the entire bi-partisan ruling class - that Dubya and his entourage are a pig in a poke. On May 15, the conservative Moony sheet, The Washington Times, published an editorial by Bruce Fein, wherein he quoted (of all people) then-Congressman Porter Goss, the recently fired Director of Central Intelligence whom Hayden is designated to replace. The 2000 quote, from the floor of Congress as then-chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, stated:

"The NSA General Counsel's Office contended ... that its legal opinions, decisional memoranda, and policy guidance, all of which govern the operations and mechanisms of that federal agency, are free from scrutiny by Congress. This would result in the envelopment of the executive branch in a cloak of secrecy that would insulate the executive branch from effective oversight. It would also undermine the intent of the 94th and 95th Congresses to establish stringent oversight of the intelligence community. This outcome would seriously hobble the legislative oversight contemplated by the Constitution."

Fun with politics and religion



Thoughts on phone-call tracking

The Washington Post found in a snap poll that a majority of Americans are willing to accept the trade-off of diminished privacy for enhanced security. As I discussed in a recent op-ed , this is a false choice. Security and liberty are flip sides of the same coin and are very much entwined. It's important to remember that before Bush took office, the U.S. effectively uncovered and thwarted terrorist plots without epic collection of phone and other third party records, without extralegal surveillance, and certainly without stooping to torture. The millennium attack, for example, was discovered and thwarted using tried-and-true investigative techniques, which furthermore yielded a wealth of information about al-Qaeda's plans for the U.S. --- information which might have prevented further attacks if the right people had paid attention .

Fun with Dick and Cheney



Quote of the Day

From Hammer of Truth - click here to read more...
Quote of the Day on NSA Wiretap Scandal


Jack Kenny knocks this one out of the ballbark:
[T]his is the government that paid scant attention to a report, reaching the president’s desk barely a month before the 9-11 attacks, that Al-Qaeda was planning a major attack in the United States. Now it is protecting us from terrorism by scrutinizing the calling records of some 224 million conventional and cellular phone customers. The Bush administration’s idea of how to find a needle in a haystack is to order more hay.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Andy Borowitz - Funny Stuff

From the Borowitz Report - click here for the article...
The National Security Agency reported a sharp increase in long distance telephone usage yesterday, causing high-ranking intelligence officers in the Bush administration to fear that al-Qaeda might be planning a terror plot to coincide with Mother?s Day.

Vice President Cheney is Very Unpopular