Saturday, January 07, 2006

Question for Judge Alito: What About One Person One Vote?

Question for Judge Alito: What About One Person One Vote?
Rejecting the one-person-one-vote principle is a radical position. If Judge Alito still holds this view today, he could lead the court to accept a very different vision of American democracy, one in which it would be far easier for powerful special interests to get a stranglehold on government.

Even if Judge Alito has changed his position on the reapportionment cases, the fact that he was drawn to constitutional law because of his opposition to those rulings raises serious questions about his views on democracy and equality.

Nomination Watch has a top 10 list of what to look for in the Alito confirmation hearings...What to watch for in the Alito hearing next week
4. How will he walk the stare decisis tightrope – showing enough respect for leaving past precedents alone, even if he disagrees with them, to satisfy those who want Roe v. Wade to remain the law of the land, without raising the hackles of those looking for an added vote on the Court to overturn Roe?

5. Will he stand by his extreme views on the limits of Congress’s power to protect the public, such as his position – repudiated by all nine Circuit Courts to address the issue – that Congress lacks the power under the Commerce Clause to regulate the possession and transfer of machine guns, or his decision striking down a key provision of the Family and Medical Leave Act as outside Congress’s authority?

Well everyone deserves there day in court so to speak, its pretty clear from wading through Alito's rulings and published thoughts that he is a clever but, extreme ideoloque. If nominated, those few genuinely small governement conservatives keft will be the ones that probably regret it most. Liberals are almost resigned at this point to both conservative hypocrisy on judicial activism, which Alito could be a poster child for, and government intrusion into their personal lives. Its truly unfortunate, perhaps because of the internet and 9-11 that people under 25 seem to have such low expectations of privacy. What is difficult for me to understand is why there is so little across the board outrage at the opinion Alito holds of women as less then equal under the law.

Oil drilling alters landscape, life for tiny Inupiat village
Settled 30 years ago by Inupiat seeking a more traditional life of hunting and bartering, this once-barren meadow is now ringed by pipelines and well pads that some villagers blame for chasing off wildlife.

An NSA Whistleblower Speaks Out

An NSA Whistleblower Speaks Out
In his letter, Tice wrote, quote, "It's with my oath as a U.S. intelligence officer weighing heavy on my mind that I wish to report to Congress acts I believe are unlawful and unconstitutional. The freedom of the American people cannot be protected when our constitutional liberties are ignored and our nation has decayed into a police state." Russell Tice joins us now in our Washington studio. Welcome to Democracy Now!

If the righties attack this guy on character or principles they'll find themselves on a dead-end street and if they attack him on the filmsy legal arguments they've used so far Bush will be a lame duck yelling at the whitehouse staff about his shoe shine.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Cheney Falsely Suggests Warrantless Domestic Surveillance Could Have Prevented 9/11
Cheney’s claim isn’t true. Any surveillence involving known al Qaeda or affiliates could be conducted consistent with the law, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which permits domestic surveillence involving any terrorist group. On Sunday, President Bush confirmed his warrantless domestic surveillance program only targets people speaking to known al Qaeda and affliates:

But Billy Joe Redneck right-winger over at freeperville heard, ate it all up like like a good little sheep should cause Dick was on the TV and said it was true.

Cheney has a proven track record of playing the lying chicken-little, from Meet the Press
MR. RUSSERT: The Washington Post asked the American people about Saddam Hussein, and this is what they said: 69 percent said he was involved in the September 11 attacks. Are you surprised by that?

VICE PRES. CHENEY: No. I think it’s not surprising that people make that connection.

MR. RUSSERT: But is there a connection?

VICE PRES. CHENEY: We don’t know. You and I talked about this two years ago. I can remember you asking me this question just a few days after the original attack. At the time I said no, we didn’t have any evidence of that. Subsequent to that, we’ve learned a couple of things. We learned more and more that there was a relationship between Iraq and al-Qaeda that stretched back through most of the decade of the ’90s, that it involved training, for example, on BW and CW, that al-Qaeda sent personnel to Baghdad to get trained on the systems that are involved. The Iraqis providing bomb-making expertise and advice to the al-Qaeda organization.

A total, complete lie, and since Dick Cheney has done this repeatedly, there's no reason to believe anything he says. When the VP of the USA has know credibility, it clearly puts the nation at risk. The conservatives response to this dangerous situation ? Insult liberals, blame Clinton, deny, deny, deny.

Putting the Howard Dean can't raise money myth to rest

from Daily Kos, The Dean misinformation campaign
The Democratic National Committee raised more than $51M in 2005, a record for an off-year and twenty percent higher than the comparable period in 2003.

and here, Dean's efforts
When Dean was running for chair, he took a keen interest in that state's tale of woe. And it was typical of what he saw in states across the country. So Dean promised state chairs: where the party had nothing, it would have something. The DNC would pay for organizers to spend four years in their states, training county chairs and precinct captains. In return for the paid staff, Dean would expect results -- larger voter files, more volunteers, higher vote totals. State chairs liked the message. Dems like Soechting, in TX, had complained for years that the national party saw them as ATMs and ignored them most of the time. Dean promised he'd repair the relationship between the party and its state affiliates. In large measure, he did. (Soecthing says today that the state party feels more connected to the DNC than ever before.)

We have had the insane or sometimes just plain weird outburst of various right-wingers for years ranging from Jerry Falwell/Pat Robertson blaming Amrerica for 9-11 to Rush Limbaugh calling for the elimination of all liberals except for two to be kept in a zoo, but the mainstream media was all over a couple of Dean's mild insults directed at political adversaries. If the press wants to take a microscope to Democratic spokesmen, then its only fair they play it the same way with the wombat righties. As to the accusations that fly between left and right over campaign money, that dust covered idea called public campaign financing is still available. The Right whines either way, if the Democrats raise a lot of money we're elitists, if we don't we're losers; so much for any hoest debate about money in politics.

Update: came across this just after I mentioned Robertson, maybe it was God whispering in my ear that he's tired of certain people misrepresenting his words and spirit...... It’s Just Pat.
Right-wing evangelist Pat Robertson suggested that Ariel Sharon’s stroke occurred because he was “dividing God’s land.” Robertson: “I would say woe unto any prime minister of Israel who takes a similar course…God said, ‘This land belongs to me, you better leave it alone.’”

I may have misspoken, Pat doesn't rmisrepresent God, he thinks he is God. There are people in mental wards across America less delusional then the multimillionaire false prophet in Virginia.

Veterans better tow the ideological line or else Conservatives "will crush you".

Conservatives seem to have very flexible morals
I came across some more disturbing comments abouts veterans today. There tends to be a vicious cycle with Conservative attacka on veterans. This is bizarre because a list of right-wing pundits ranging from Bill O'Reilly to Ann Coulter to Powerline to Rusn Limbaugh have all attacked center to center-left folks for being anti-military. Googling the phrase "the left hates the military" brings up on the first hit, " Left hates the American military " by a web site that consistantly supports Bush. At a right-wing web site called Newsbusters I found these comments,
Letterman: "I'm not smart enough to debate you". You're right, you are an ignorant liberal who only reads the headlines of the New York Times. Cindy Sheehan is not even worth commenting on anymore.
So sad that Dave has gone off the deep end. Not by just having guests like Howard Dean and Al(ie) Franken, but then unabashedly siding with their far left anti-american ideals and policies.

Sympathy for Cindy Sheehan? Are you kidding me, Dave? Come on Dave, your dumb, but your not stupid.

Not a direct attack on the military, but the family of a soldier that died in combat. Where's the moral highground here? Would these internet punks be so hateful toward Cindy Sheehan if after her son had been killed ina war based on lies and distortions, said that it didn't matter, she thought Bush was still God's gift to America. Cindy, short of losing her own life, has paid the ultimate sacrifice, but according to these right-wingers it doesn't really count because she, God forbid has expressed an opinion that doesn't tow the ideological line....Sympathy for Cindy Sheehan? Are you kidding me, Dave?

Then later I dropped by One Veteran's Voice, a veteran from Iraq and some right-wing nut case apparently found his site and found it not only neccessary to insult Brian and accuse him of lying, but threatened him too.
Skeptik said...
Just a question on your "rack" in your blogger profile...

I notice you don't have your PLDC ribbon or your good conduct medal. This could mean a few things: either you are a two-year enlistee, or you are a shit-bird, or you are a liar. Which one is it? Unless you did some pretty spectacular shit, a junior enlisted person (that is what you have to be since you didn't go to a leadership development school) doesn't get a bronze star. And how can stop-loss be a bitch if you are only a two-year enlistee? I think you're probably full of shit. How 'bout it?
I don't care what your political affiliation is. I just can't stand liars who claim to be war heros just to seem credible to their audience. Trust me, I will crush you.

To the readers out there: you must understand that pretending to have a Bronze Star brings discredit on all those who legitimately earned it. This guy is full of shit. I know combat arms NCOs and Officers who had their BSMs w/ V denied...and those dudes kicked some serious ass. Fobbits like this turd burglar don't get awarded BSMs...that is just the way the Army is.

Skeptic: Might be a good idea to take that shit down now...and did you register your blog?

Don't think we can track you? Did you make any entries from a government network lately? Take it

This is a link Brian provided to his rack for the Bronze Star. Brian has stated that he has no official affiliation, but that shouldn't matter. I would never dream of going to a veteran's site, insulting his service and threatening him regardless of his pollitical views. Yes I might state my opinion on the issues, but wierd stuff like what "skeptic" wrote is as sickening as those comments about a mother that lost her son.
And let's not forget the attacks on John Murtha, who had the gaul to say enough is enough, let's have an exit strategy. Karl Rove had his fingerprints all over a campaign to smear Murtha, Let the Swiftboating Begin!
Fineman was remarkably blunt in his assertions that the "ethics" and other attacks on Murtha are being orchestrated by Karl Rove -- by name -- and the White House, which intends to hit Murtha with everything "necessary". He stated directly that the White House sees everything as a political operation. He was blunt in Murtha's record and leadership position in the war, and in attributing to Murtha the behind-the-scenes voices of many top Pentagon voices who are unhappy with both the state of the war effort and with Rumsfeld's planning in the specific.

In short, he made it perfectly, bitterly clear that the White House itself sees Murtha as a tremendous threat, considers itself at war with Murtha, and that Rove -- again, by name -- intends to hit him with everything at the administration's disposal.

I'm not a big fan of John McCain, while I appreciate his service, his far-right score card is almost as bad as Bill Frist. The Bush team in 1999 savaged McCain with a typical Rovian gossip campaign, Rove's role
In South Carolina in 2000, rumors circulated that John McCain was gay, had a black child, had a Vietnamese child, and got special treatment while a POW in Vietnam. In 2004, a direct link was established between the Bush campaign -- of which Rove was ''the architect," in Bush's words -- and the libels against John Kerry from the swift boat veterans. With such a history, is it possible that Rove encouraged the Catholic bishops who questioned Kerry's fitness to take Communion?

The freepers, who I just can't bring myself to link to have taken up the false stories about McCain on their site and repeated them as fact. Once you throw that mud, you can always rely on a wing-nut to keep it flying.
We all known about the original Swiiftboating of John Kerry,
Swift Boat Veterans Anti-Kerry Ad: "He Betrayed Us" With 1971 Anti-War Testimony 08.23.2004
Group quotes Kerry's descriptions of atrocities by US forces. In fact, atrocities did happen.

Republican-funded Group Attacks Kerry's War Record 08.06.2004
Ad features vets who claim Kerry "lied" to get Vietnam medals. But other witnesses disagree -- and so do Navy records.

I guess if you're a cynical political hack you could give these guys a big slap on the back for making being a war hero a negative while AWOL Bush protected the whiskey bars in Texas and Dick Cheney one getting one of his serial deferments, but I'm not feeling that cynical today.

update: the troll over at One Veteran's Voice did come back and apologize, but the question remains, who appointed him the supreme judge of all things veteran.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The A-Bomb goes off on a plea

via the Federal Crimes Blog, Public Corruption—Jack Abramoff Guilty Plea
According to the AP, prosecutors in the DC case “will recommend a sentence of 9 ½ to 11 years, providing he cooperates with federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging corruption investigation believed to be focusing on as many as 20 members of Congress and aides.”[7] According to the Washington Post, “his eventual sentence from the case in Washington will run concurrently with whatever sentence he receives in the Miami case.”[8] This is known as a “global” settlement.

Conyers calls for Bush Censure

Too bad we can't censure his enablers in Congress who keep the Preznit enveloped in a shield of teflon.
A Motion for Censure
As further detailed in the report, there is at least a prima facie case that these actions by the President, Vice President and other members of the Bush Administration violate a number of federal laws, including:
Committing a fraud against the United States, for example, the President saying he has not made up his mind about invading Iraq, when all of the documentary evidence shows otherwise.

Making false statements to Congress, for example, the President saying he has learned Iraq is attempting to buy uranium from Niger, when he had been warned by the CIA not to say that.

The War Powers Resolution and misuse of government funds, for example, redeploying troops and initiating bombing raids before receiving Congressional authorization.

Federal laws and international treaties prohibiting torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment--for example, ordering detainees to be ghosted and removed--and tolerating and laying the legal ground work for torture and mistreatment

Federal laws concerning retaliations against witnesses and other individuals; for example, demoting Bunnatine Greenhouse from the Army Corps of Engineers because she exposed contracting abuse involving Halliburton.

Federal laws and regulations concerning leaking and other misuse of intelligence; for example, the President's failure to enforce the law requiring disciplining those who leak classified information, whether intentional or not.

The Royal Guard has not gotten that waxed sealed parchment to Conyers explaining that 9-11 gave Bush license to be the Emperial Wizard. Osama is in a cave somewhere snickering, never dreaming that Bush and his apologists would do such a bang up job ofdelivering such great damage to this democracy.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Bush can't break the law for the same reason you can't roll a fat one

Ezra Klein makes a very good point while including just incidently an issue that died a quiet death in the dark ally of political untouchables. He Ain't The Law
When Congress passes a law that certain groups think to be unconstitutional, there's a procedure worked out for pursuing resolution. It involves a handful of old dudes and a couple old women who wear long robes and issue complex legal opinions on constitutional matters. And until they rule one way or the other (or pass an injunction), the controversial legislation remains legally binding. That's why a member of NORML can't walk down the street smoking a spliff and a wingnut mayor in Mississippi can't prosecute women who have abortions.

While most people arrested for simple possession of marijuana do not go to prison, the fact that 646,042 were arrested for possession in 2000 is still an amazing waste of resources.
Like most Americans, people who smoke marijuana also pay taxes, love and support their families, and work hard to make a better life for their children. Suddenly they are arrested, jailed and treated like criminals solely because of their recreational drug of choice. State agencies frequently step in and declare children of marijuana smokers to be "in danger", and many children are placed into foster homes as a result. This causes enormous pain, suffering and financial hardship for millions of American families. It also engenders distrust and disrespect for the law and for the criminal justice system overall. Responsible marijuana smokers present no threat or danger to America or its children, and there is no reason to treat them as criminals, or to take their children away. As a society we need to find ways to discourage personal conduct of all kinds that is abusive or harmful to others. Responsible marijuana smokers are not the problem and it is time to stop arresting them.

"declare children of marijuana smokers to be 'in danger' ", certainly these parents are less of a threat to children then a president that endangers the future of this democratic republic by creating a culture in which law breaking can be justified by simply declaring that circumstances permit him do do so. Those 646,042 people have done little damage to society, less damage then taking a nation to war based on trumped up fear mongering. For smoking an ocassional spliff these marijuana smokers will have an arrest record and the stigma that goes with it, while Bush uses the constitution like a piece of fish wrap. maybe this is why so many people cling to the idea of an idealic afterlife, they know that justice in this life is so rare.

Shakespeares's Sister with her take on the Bush legacy, or better the lack of a positive legacy. Bush’s Legacy, in Three Stories

And the real life story of the Sopranos continues with G.O.P. Lobbyist Pleads Guilty in Deal With Prosecutors, Why did I mention the Sopranos, just look at the picture with the story.
Official Washington has been on edge for months awaiting word of Mr. Abramoff's legal future. Once a masterful Republican lobbyist with close ties to the former House majority leader, Representative Tom DeLay, Mr. Abramoff earned tens of millions of dollars representing Indian casino interests and farflung entities like the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands.

Through a complicated web of financial arrangements, he helped funnel donations to his lawmaker friends' and their campaigns, and took members of Congress, mainly the Republicans in power, on lavish trips.

Mr. Abramoff is also scheduled to appear in Florida Wednesday in a related case, in which he was indicted last year. In that case, he is expected to plead guilty to fraud and conspiracy in connection with his purchase of the SunCruz casino boat line, and will face a maximum of about seven years' prison time.

and this just in Agency First Acted on Its Own to Broaden Spying, Files Show
The way the N.S.A.'s role has expanded has prompted concern even from some of its former leaders, like Bobby R. Inman, a retired admiral who was N.S.A. director from 1977 to 1981. Admiral Inman said that while he supported the decision to step up eavesdropping against potential terrorists immediately after the 2001 attacks, the Bush administration should have tried to change the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to provide explicit legal authorization for what N.S.A. was doing.

"What I don't understand is why when you're proposing the Patriot Act, you don't set up an oversight mechanism for this?" Admiral Inman said in an interview. "I would have preferred an approach to try to gain legislation to try to operate with new technology and with an audit of how this technology was used."

There have been spy thriller paperbacks whose plots are more gentile and believeable then what is evolving with this story. We need an investigation and a very large broom to do some house/government cleaning. here's the punch-line to the NYT piece, In the briefing, Ms. Pelosi wrote to General Hayden, "you indicated that you had been operating since the Sept. 11 attacks with an expansive view of your authorities" with respect to electronic surveillance and intelligence-gathering operations." Gee where do you think this General got the idea that the constitution didn't matter any more.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Some patriots have asked, What's the difference between AWOL Bush and a tyrant? Bad Attitudes has a handy chart:
DICTATOR: Uses government resources to create and distribute propaganda, CHECK.
Bush: Uses government resources to create and distribute propaganda, CHECK.

BLUE IN THE FACE about the whole data mining business via The Slideshow
It was collected by tapping directly into some of the American telecommunication system's main arteries, they said.

As part of the program approved by President Bush for domestic surveillance without warrants, the N.S.A. has gained the cooperation of American telecommunications companies to obtain backdoor access to streams of domestic and international communications, the officials said.


"There was a lot of discussion about the switches" in conversations with the court, a Justice Department official said, referring to the gateways through which much of the communications traffic flows. "You're talking about access to such a vast amount of communications, and the question was, How do you minimize something that's on a switch that's carrying such large volumes of traffic? The court was very, very concerned about that."

I keep looking for evidence to support my view that the economy may not be all the big bowl of cherries that many on the right and left say it is. I think the center left economists are holding back because economists are , as a group, fairly cautious. Even in everyday conversation, someone is just going to acuse you of being a pessimist, a conversation stopper for sure. I think the economy is thin ice on a frozen lake, not so much because people aren't willing to work hard and sacrifice, but because so much of it is fueled by government giveaways to the private sector.
These giveaways are financed by the middle and lower middle class that can least afford it. I may have to forego my I-was-right-moment for a year to three years when the huge national debt has to be paid....more in this line at Mahablog, Party Time
There is no shortage of numbers and studies detailing the widening gap between what American companies pay workers and the millions of dollars those same companies pay top executives. But just in case anyone hasn’t been paying attention, here enters David Brooks, chief executive of the bulletproof vest manufacturer DHB Industries Inc., to provide a fuller picture.

Thanks to defense contracts, Mr. Brooks (not to be confused with Bobo, the Times’s famous keyboarding vegetable) is a fabulously wealthy man. He recently threw a $10 million private party for his daughter and her friends at the Rainbow Room at Rockefeller Center. Meanwhile, much of the body armor Brooks sold to the DoD has been recalled for being defective.

Recent history, the Dotcom bubble burst because too many companies were running on potential, not real value; this cycle is like that only its based on suppy side voodoo. I wonder why the bed-rock Christians that I grew up around aren't decrying this Bush bubble credit card economy instead of enabling it.

Why I Am Not a Conservative By Nobel laureate F. A. Hayek
Let me return, however, to the main point, which is the characteristic complacency of the conservative toward the action of established authority and his prime concern that this authority be not weakened rather than that its power be kept within bounds. This is difficult to reconcile with the preservation of liberty. In general, it can probably be said that the conservative does not object to coercion or arbitrary power so long as it is used for what he regards as the right purposes. He believes that if government is in the hands of decent men, it ought not to be too much restricted by rigid rules. Since he is essentially opportunist and lacks principles, his main hope must be that the wise and the good will rule - not merely by example, as we all must wish, but by authority given to them and enforced by them.[7] Like the socialist, he is less concerned with the problem of how the powers of government should be limited than with that of who wields them; and, like the socialist, he regards himself as entitled to force the value he holds on other people.

Well that's a good reason, but the bizarre world of conservatism spews out so much new nuttiness everyday that if I was a conservative apologist it would give me the worse kinds of headaches trying to explain thingd like this..Dr. Germ and Mrs. Anthrax may not be guilty of anything, but when were they not guilty, back in the run up to stop those mushroom clouds alluded to by Condi Rice or are they not guilty now and never were.
.Dr. Germ and Mrs. Anthrax Set Free

After all, it was to stop these mad leaders of Saddam Hussein’s allegedly booming weapons-of-mass-destruction programs that the United States invaded Iraq in March 2003. We were told at the time by the White House that the U.N. inspectors scouring the country were being blocked by lying officials and scientists, themselves complicit in breaking U.N. sanctions, and so we wouldn’t get the truth until we could interrogate them as prisoners.

Yet, when Rihab “Dr. Germ” Taha and Huda “Mrs. Anthrax” Ammash, both of whom were once on a Pentagon most-wanted list, were released after two-and-a-half years, their U.S. captors didn’t even announce it. When questioned afterward as to why no war crimes charges had been brought against the pair, U.S. commander Gen. George Casey said in a joint statement with the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, that they “no longer posed a security threat to the people of Iraq and to the Coalition forces.” U.S. forces “therefore, had no legal basis to hold them any longer.”

Sunday, January 01, 2006

New, Troubling Questions Over Bush Domestic Spying

New, Troubling Questions Over Bush Domestic Spying........The Moderate Voice asks a compelling question about this article from Newsweek
If this was so justified in doing as warrantless wiretaps, then, why did they bother to go to Comey or Ashcroft in the first place?
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