Friday, January 06, 2006

The Lesser of Two Evils

If you have been a long time reader of Bring It On, your bound to have come across this weeks guest poster, Ken Granlund. Ken is the author of the Common Sense blog, and one of the producers of our Contract With America video. We really enjoy Ken's insights because he brings a view that isn't Democract or Republican, but American. Thank you Ken for contributing as this weeks Guest columinst.

For over 60 years, U.S. Foreign policy has been predicated upon a doctrine known as “the lesser of two evils.” In essence, this policy was used as rationale for engaging in alliances with foreign dictators whose disdain for democracy held their own countrymen in virtual bondage to their whims. These dictatorships were free to act as they pleased within their own countries without pressure from the U.S. government with regards to human rights and freedoms so long as they sided with the U.S. in international matters or engaged in capitalistic endeavors with our government and corporations. Despite a stated goal of promoting democracy and freedom across the world (the chief rationale for a half century of opposing communism and a worthy ideal to be sure), successive U.S. administrations and Congresses have made pacts with tyrants who abhor individual freedoms and seek power and wealth at the expense of their countrymen.

The Shah of Iran was one. Idi Amin was one. Manuel Noriega was one. Ferdinand Marcos was another. So was Saddam Hussein. Osama bin Laden was one too. These and many others were at one time or another allied with the government of the United States in our battle against Soviet communism. Yet their tyrannical rule of their own people, with the acquiescence of U.S. governments and in total contradiction to our own stated beliefs of the state of man’s rights to freedom, led to tumultuous political upheavals in those countries and fostered an aura of distrust and outright hostility to the United States. We may have saved the world from the monstrosity of Nazism and Japanese totalitarianism, but we weren’t raising the lives of anyone but ourselves. In fact, we were nothing but hypocrites of the worst sort. We espoused ideas for the whole of humanity while embracing them for ourselves only.

Americans in general understood the concept at play, and recognizing Soviet communism to be a direct threat to freedom and democracy, accepted the rules of the game as the government wrote them. After all, American prosperity exploded. So what if the Arabs and Asians and Africans were being beaten and killed and starved around the world. We were too busy enjoying our access to cheap oil and trinkets to care about anyone else. The policy of the lesser of two evils had done us well, so why rock the boat?

Why indeed?

The simple truth is that the lesser of two evils policy is a fallacy. By choosing this method of foreign relations, the U.S. has not endeared itself to the people of the world. Despite the charity of our individual citizens to poor or ravaged countries around the world, the reputation of America is based on the actions of our government. We tout our freedoms and democratic principals everywhere we go, so the people of the world can only assume that we not only approve of what our government does abroad, we dictate that policy ourselves. They may want to come here and share in that power, but that doesn’t mean they like us. By choosing the lesser of two evils, we’ve shown the world that our means justify any ends, especially if the ends means more money and leisure for us. This approach to foreign policy has made us many false allies and real enemies, and the fruition of this approach is coming home to roost in the form of terror attacks and nuclear proliferation. And while the worst tyrants operate abroad, it is we who let them. Who is worse: the man who kicks the puppy or the one who pays to watch?

The lesser of two evils policy has come to haunt us in others ways too, ways equally as threatening to our way of life as the foreign enemies who are rising against us. So indoctrinated are we in this way of thinking, so convinced that there is always a time and a place to sacrifice our ideals to further our own comfort or success, we have adopted the theory to our own daily lives and politics. We accept throw away consumerism in exchange for cheap prices. We ignore illegal immigration for cheap produce. We vote for political hacks instead of people who really want to help their neighbors.

Well, we reap what we sow, both as a government and as a people. Not only do we have vicious enemies who really want to kill us and our way of life, we have a government who is becoming increasingly more like those dictatorships we propped up in the past. We have a government who espouses the use of torture, secret eavesdropping, indefinite detention, and defamation as a means of securing our freedom. We have a government who meets dissent with a sneer and a slur while telling us that our enemy is evil because they don’t let their people speak freely. We have an administration that will stop at nothing to protect us from our enemies, even if that means destroying the freedoms we hold so dear. We see the evidence mounting, and yet we allow it to continue.


It is because of the lesser of two evils theory, that foul, false policy that does nothing but decrease the total amount of liberty in this world by promoting fear over freedom; profit over people? Our government is telling us that unless we give them the power to do anything, anywhere, and anytime that they see fit, to stop the enemy from attacking us again, then we will surely lose the war on terror and fall victim to a dictatorial theocracy. They want us to believe that by suspending our own liberties to them at home, we will be averting an even greater decimation of our liberty in the long run. They are presenting themselves as the lesser of two evils.

By accepting the doctrine of the lesser of two evils, we may have driven Soviet aggression into the ground. But the price we are paying for our chosen method is an even more unstable world and a more unpredictable array of enemies. Perhaps had we chosen another path of confrontation, we would have won that battle with some real friends in the world. We can’t change the past, but we can learn from it. And we should start our first lesson here.

Our government still pursues the lesser of two evils doctrine abroad, and now they want to use it at home. We are at a crossroads. By choosing the lesser of two evils, we are giving up on the chance of choosing good. We are giving up on the promise of freedom, equality, and peace. We must oppose those who support the tyranny of others for our own prosperity. We must cast out those who would destroy freedom for the sake of false security. We must choose to follow those who will defend freedom for freedoms sake.

Posted by The Bastard at 12:22 AM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (15) | TrackBack

Thursday, January 05, 2006

It's Official We Are Now Living In a Dictatorship

Bush went around congress and appointed not 1 recess appointment but 17 recess appointments. Count them folks 17 fucking recess appointments, all of them coming with some form of cronyism or controversy.

Dorrance Smith - assistant secretary of defense for public affairs

In November, Smith penned an article for The Wall Street Journal blasting all major US television networks and the government of Qatar for cooperating with Al-Jazeera in showing gruesome battlefield footage obtained by the Arab television channel in Iraq.

He decried what he called "the ongoing relationship between terrorists, Al-Jazeera and the networks" and asked if the US government should maintain normal relations with Qatar as long as its government continued to subsidize Al-Jazeera.

Ellen Sauerbrey - assistant secretary of state for population, refugees and migration

A former unsuccessful Republican gubernatorial candidate in Maryland, Sauerbrey has infuriated most women's groups by her staunch opposition to abortion rights in her current job as ambassador to the UN Commission on the Status of Women.

And then you have...

fucking Julie Myers - assistant secretary of homeland security in charge of immigration and customs

The 36-year-old lawyer from Kansas lacks significant management experience, her critics said, but has the distinction of being a niece of the former chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff General Richard Myers, who retired from the Pentagon last year.

Even The National Review, a leading conservative mouthpiece that rarely disagrees with Bush, editorialized last September that Myers' appointment "smacks of cronyism."

Bush can't get wiretaps approved so he ignores the FISA court and breaks the law. He knows most of these appointments would not have made it through Senate hearings so he waits for Congress to be out of session and just goes around them. What the fuck has happened to checks and balances in this country? God damn it!!! This really pisses me off! And where are the fucking Democrats? I hardly see any of them playing hard ball on this shit. Democracy is being stripped right off our backs and not one of our elected officials are willing to cry foul!!!!

Posted by The Bastard at 06:01 AM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack

al-Qaeda Spokeswoman

Why is Bush spying on Christiane Amanpour? Lets connect the dots, Rove outted Valerie Plame because her husband was outspoken about the Administrations policy so lets remember who Christiane's husband is:

Then there is the issue of Amanpour's husband, Jamie Rubin, former official in the Clinton administration State Department. You may have forgotten (we did, frankly), but Rubin re-emerged in 2004 -- as a foreign policy advisor to John Kerry. Do husbands and wives use the same telephones and computers? Is the Pope German?

We are losing our damn democracy and nobody seems to give a fuck! One has to wonder, did Bush also spy on the Kerry/Edwards campaign? Oh and "al-Qaeda Spokeswoman" is what FOX News labeled Christiane Amanpour two years ago.

AmericaBlog has more on all of this.

Posted by The Bastard at 02:00 AM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


Well, it's the start of another New Year, with all the promise and worry that ever goes along with that.  So, it should be of no surprise that the ever-lucky, ol' Jersey McJones tore the living hell out of his "lower abdomen" over the holidays. I may well need more surgery (this would make it six for this little problem) sometime in the near future, unless I manage to heal up - which I might.  I have a plastic screen holding it all together now, but this tear seems to have circumvented it.  It's not that I physically over-do it much anymore, but my body is settling and the problem has been with me since birth.

I asked one of my surgeons, once, "Why does this keep happening to me?"

"Evolution," he said, without so much as blink.  "The human animal's physical development still hasn't fully caught up with walking upright.  The muscle walls in the groin take a lot of pressure from the abdomen and so occasionally break."  We call this an inguinal hernia.  He even drew me a diagram.

It just goes to show that Evolution is not some grand plan to perfect species.  It is simply change - or lack of - over time.  (and if this is "Intelligent Design," there's a certain deity who deserves a smack on the head...)

But that's not what this post is about.

I am lucky, multiple surgeries or not.  I have quality health insurance and I pay very, very little for it (and I live in an area that still has good hospitals!).  Not all Americans are so lucky - job or no job.  One reason that I have, and have most always had, good coverage is that I avoid working for Americans - and especially small firms.  Yes, American companies tend to pay a little better, but that's because you are working far more hours, and their benefits, from time off to insurance, are the obnoxious. They just plain work you like a dog.  It's the Protestant Work ethic gone awry.  "Work," like "Business," in and of itself is held up as the prime indicator of who we are as human beings - not what we actually accomplish.  We are not even "Personell" anymore -  now we are "Resources," like coal or timber.  And it doesn't matter why we work or do business, just that we do.  The Protestants, the bulk of our nation, took the "Good" out of "Good Works."  A concept like Universal Healthcare is anathema to such thinking.

Yet, we already sort of have Universal Healthcare.  When an uninsured person needs treatment, they show up somewhere that will treat them (usually an emergency room, though more and more it's some clinic) and the taxpayors flit the bill.  If I were uninsured, and had to go to an emergency room for my little problem, the total cost would be much higher than it is through my insurance.  But the costs to the employers is much lower if they can just shift the burdon to the taxpayors.

Take Walmart, the nation's biggest retail chain:  Not only do they avoid most any American labor standards through their 32 hour work week and other anti-worker practices, but they actually intentionally show their employees how to get on the public dole.  When the Maryland legislature tried to work around Walmart by actually dealing with the healthcare costs that late Sam Walton's company creates, they were rebuffed.  "We don't support a tax on payroll to subsidize government health care," says Ellen Valentino of the National Federation of Independent Businesses.  Someone forgot to tell Ms. Valentino that there's nothing "independent" about the way Walmart handles it's employees' healthcare.  Subsidation of Walmart employees is something all of us taxpayors are doing.

In a way, a very sleazy way, Walmart's actions makes some sense.  Employer-based healthcare is a heavy burden on our employers.  It is a significant reason for our astounding trade deficit, as our more even competitors (Germany, for example, has a trade surplus) do not place that burden on employers.  It's a huge overhead.  But the CEOs and the corporate cronies have no intentions of changing the status quo because they know, individually, that they will see some devaluation in their easy-money investments in Insurance and the Pharmies, and because they would have to pay more personal income taxes to make Universal Healthcare happen.  They would rather cannibalize their own country than fix the system.  Another problem with these Americans - they suffer serious near-sightedness.

The irony here is that two out of three Americans want Universal Healthcare!  But the Powers that Be have no intention of doing that either.  The Insurance Industry has little or nothing to do with treating the ailing - they are all about Investment Banking. That is why Prudential Insurance changed it's name to Prudential Investments, and it's also why the whole Tort "Reform" issue raised it's ugly, sleazy head after the last serious market down-turn, even though tort cases add up to a few percentage points of cost.  The politicians are just as vested in the Insurance/Investment Banking Industry as their masters on Wall Street - just ask the Clintons about when the their healthcare plan was beaten by the lying, Insurance Industry-funded "Harry & Louise" ads! 

The obstacle - the only reason we do not have Universal Healthcare - is that the "Insurance" industry is a deeply entrenched financial interest in our economy.  It's status quo, and the weak amongst us have a hard time with change.  But it could be done.  If we simply installed a plan that would phase in over the years and allowed for private, competitive actuation, we could make it work.  It would take guts and far-sightedness - two traits absent from the Majority's idium.

So what to do?

I have an idea...

Since International Outsourcing of Employees is okay with the politicians and the CEOs, how about we workers Outsource our Labor to Foreign Companies?  There are lots of them here.  The Brits, Germans, et al - they're all here for one reason or another, and they have benefits actually worth the work!  The fact is that we working Americans - as opposed to the sleazy corporatists - are pretty darn hard-working, productive people.  These foreign employers respect that - and they give us benefits like time off with our families, and healthcare!  I've worked for Mexicans, Chinese, Brits and Germans. They all treated me very, very well - like a Human Being as opposed to coal or timber.  Being a vagabond when I was younger, I didn't appreciate them as much as I do now that I am settled and have put in the years.  Now I'll never go back.

Let's start an Outsource Employers Movement!

(eh, it's a thought...)

Posted by jerseymcjones at 12:01 AM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (15) | TrackBack

Monday, January 02, 2006

2005: What A Year

Happy New Year.  And now, one more (yet another one) of those end-of-the-year articles.

Terry Schiavo.  Justice Sunday.  Nuclear Option.  Social Security Privatization.  Downing Street Memos.  Cindy Sheehan.  John Murtha.  John Roberts.  Harriet Miers.  Samuel Alito.  Scooter Libby.  Jack Abramoff.  Mean Jean Schmidt.  Katrina/FEMA/Browniegate.  Tookie Williams.  Pope Benedict XVI.  War on Christmas.  Rendition.

Whew!  What a year.  This time last year, those household names and phrases would’ve been meaningless.  And don’t forget some of 2005’s most (in)famous quotes.  Katrinagate was a gold mine:

“I don’t think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees.”  “Brownie you’re doing a heckuva job.”  “So many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them.”

Lesser known but maybe the most infamous:  Rep. Richard Baker, R-La., telling lobbyists “We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans.  We couldn’t do it, but God did.”

Besides FEMAgate, 2005 was full of those open-mouth-insert-foot moments:

“You know, I don’t know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we’re trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It’s a whole lot cheaper than starting a war.”

“This is not somebody in a persistent vegetative state.”

“I’d like to say to the good citizens of Dover: If there is a disaster in your area, don’t turn to God. You just rejected him from your city.”

“I do know that it’s true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could, if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down.”

This time last year, George W. Bush was basking in his re-election “mandate” and bragging about all his political capital.  He was all set to march right in and privatize Social Security, turn the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge into a giant oil field, and make the Patriot Act bigger and better (and written in stone).


Now, this time next year what will we be looking back at?  Will Bush’s poll ratings continue to sink?  Will Republican politicians continue avoiding him for the sake of their own careers?  Will the newly-Democratic House of Representatives begin impeachment proceedings?

Or will Karl Rove bounce back from his legal troubles and come up with a whole slew of new dirty tricks?  Will Rove and his Swiftboat Chickenhawks succeed in sliming all critics of the administration and reviving Bush’s popularity?  Will the Hitler Youth Patriot Act expire in February ‘06, or will it be made permanent and bigger and better than ever?

Maybe Rove will invent another phony gay-marriage type issue that will get millions more Americans to vote Republican.

Or maybe that Avian Flu pandemic will actually happen and all the above questions will be moot.

If  we’re living in “interesting times,” then 2006 oughtta be fascinating.

cross-posted at Who Hijacked Our Country

Posted by Tom Harper at 03:01 AM in Current Affairs, Politics | Permalink | Comments (12) | TrackBack

Sunday, January 01, 2006

9/11 -- The Gift That Keeps on Giving


Some may say "only a face a mother could love" but we at Bring It On love ourselves some Bulldog!

Written By Bulldog Manifesto

(I feel a rant coming on......)

So what if the Bush administration wants to conduct illegal wiretaps, they are fighting the terrorists!

So what if the Bush administration wants to attack a country that has never attacked us and was not a threat to us, they are fighting the terrorists!

So what if the Bush administration wants to take away all my liberties, they are fighting the terrorists!

So what if the Bush administration outs a CIA operative in order to smear a political opponent, they are fighting the terrorists!

So what if the Bush administration has encumbered more foreign debt in the past five years then all of the preceding administrations did combined, they are fighting the terrorists!

So what if the Bush administration paid American journalists to write deceptive and administration-friendly news stories, they are fighting the terrorists!

So what if the Bush administration hasn't enacted an exit plan in Iraq, they are fighting the terrorists!

So what if the Bush administration has destroyed the United States' reputation overseas, they are fighting the terrorists!

Wanna break the law? Invoke 9/11!

Wanna start a war? Invoke 9/11!

Wanna piss on the Constitution? Invoke 9/11!

Wanna make sure your family business profits off the war? Invoke 9/11!

Wanna fuck with people you just don't like? Invoke 9/11!

Wanna make your political adversary look like a treasonous bastard? Invoke 9/11!

I'm so sick and tired of 9/11. The Bush regime uses 9/11 like a heroin addict uses a spoon. It's the ultimate political weapon. Meanwhile, ignorant bastards keep driving around town in their cars with their "9/11- Never Forget" bumper stickers. That's akin to a southern slave in the 1800's wearing a shirt that says "I Need to Be Whipped Some Mo' Masseh"

For fuck's sake, who has gained the most from 9/11? Who? Isn't it obvious?

Terrorists? Who the fuck are these terrorists? The only terrorists I see are the ones sitting in Washington D.C. fucking over my country. Who is fighing against those bastards, that's what I wanna know.

The only terrorists I see are the ones handing out tax breaks to the rich while the poor fight over the scraps. Why isn't the Army fighing those dangerous thugs?

The only terrorists I see are the CEOs making $27 million dollars while the grunts make $17,000 (Walmart). Shouldn't we call in the Navy SEALS?

My government is one big organized crime family. That's the way I see it. Like any strong crime family, you gotta have muscle. And we certainly have the muscle. We make up 5% of the world's population, and yet we are responsible for 50% of all money spent on defense worldwide. "Luca Brasi swims with the fishes!"

Speaking of which, when can we begin calling "military defense" by it's rightful name? It should be called "military offense." For pete's sake, we've been on the offense for about 60 fucking years now. I think the days of "defense" are long gone, aren't they?

Yes indeed, 9/11 is the ultimate lotto prize for the neocon pigs. Full Spectrum Dominance? Try Full Spectrum Fascism.

Oh they danced and danced, drank lots of wine, and listened to lots of Wagner and Beethoven. Meanwhile their "brave leader" was out there fighing against the scourge of communism, the scourge of the Jews, and the scourge of everything else that wasn't Nazi. Yup, the Germans in the early 1940's were asleep too. Their leader had saved them from the communists who, after all, were accused of burning down the Reichstag building. (Oh wait, Hitler actually set the building on fire himself. Sounds so familiar?) Ah yes, because Germany was "under attack", they let Hitler enact the Enabling Act, thereby giving him dictatorial authority over Germany.

Dictatorial power. Where have I heard that before?

Yup, it all goes back to that eleventh day in September, 2001. The day when our country did a swan dive off the top of the World Trade Center, straight fucking down!

9/11-- the gift that keeps giving.

Posted by The Bastard at 12:01 AM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (18) | TrackBack

Saturday, December 31, 2005

2005 End of the Year News Quiz

There’s nothing like wrapping up a year with a news quiz! (Did I just say that?)

1) On March 31, Terry Schiavo died after her feeding tubes were removed, ending her 15 year vegetative state. The story caused a major news sensation around the country as politicians and advocacy groups rallied around their positions from Right-to-Life to Right-to-Die. Though some were convinced that Terry could recover, the autopsy showed she would never. Why is Bill Frist such an asshole?

2) On October 15, the Iraqi people went to the polls to vote for the ratification of a new constitution. The constitution was neither to everyone’s total satisfaction nor consternation, though it did manage to pass. How long will it be for Ahmad Chalabi to embezzle billions from their national coffers?

3) With the start of the 2005 season, Major League Baseball implemented it’s new drug testing policy after the embarrassment of the BALCO steroid scandal. The new rules involved a 5-chance penalty system that ranged from a ten day suspension to whatever Selig so chooses. This was not enough to satiate the fans or the US Congress who, on November 15, imposed far more stringent standards and penalties. What is the circumference of Rafael Palmiero’s left testicle?

4) On April 2, Pope John Paul II died, concluding a quarter century at the top of the Catholic Church. He was universally liked and popular, by Catholics, Christians of all sects, and even by Godless kooks like me. The only blemish on his tenure was the Priest-sex-abuse scandals - concentrated mostly in the United States. The Vatican did little to remedy the situation and the Church (especially in America) has suffered for this ambivalence. Clerical Celibacy and Catholic guilt over homosexuality seem to be the culprits in the matter. What’s the most honest advice a priest can give a marrying couple?

5) On August 29, Hurricane Katrina made landfall in New Orleans. The city was devastated, 1300 lives were lost and, though it was little surprise that Louisiana state and local officials were inept, it was a shock to see that after 9/11 the Bush Homeland security agency and FEMA were utterly unprepared and stuffed with nepotistic, crony appointments. The people of New Orleans, mostly black and poor, have been scattered throughout the nation, most never will return. Connected developers are now swooping in to turn the ruined city into yet another playground for the wealthy. What are the odds of the new, wealthy, adult-playground New Orleans ever flooding again?

6) On December 20, U.S. District Judge John E. Jones ruled that Intelligent Design can not constitutionally be taught in the science classroom, bringing to yet another temporary end the efforts of the Christian Fundamentalists to bring religion bring into the classroom. Where did God place the “Made in Heaven” sticker on all creation?

7) On September 3, Chief Justice William Rehnquist succumb to cancer and died. He was replaced as Chief by SCOTUS rookie John Roberts, a Rehnquist protégé. With the retirement of Justice O’Connor now on the table, the appointment of Samuel Alito, a corporatist, religious-right nut-job is now pending. Alito was a second choice, however, to Bush lawyer Harriet Miers, who withdrew her nomination once it was discovered that she knew even less about the Constitution than the President. Following that pattern, who would be the alternate nominee if Alito doesn’t make it?

8) On October 8, a massive earthquake rocked Kashmir. 80,000 lives perished and hundreds of thousands were displaced. The Bush administration missed a grand opportunity to shore up support in that part of the world. Instead of sending massive aid, and troops already in neighboring Afghanistan, Bush summoned his father and his father’s new best-bud, Bill Clinton, to raise money and supplies for the victims of the quake. Which Bush daughter do you think Clinton would rather do?

9) On July 4, a major scientific breakthrough was accomplished when the Deep Impact probe crashed into the comet Tempel 1. What was discovered on that comet?

10) On January 20, George W. Bush was sworn in for his second term as President of the United States. Again, controversy surrounded the election and questions were raised about the veracity of the results. Headlines around the world ridiculed the American people for once again proving that uneducated, anti-intellectual buffoons tend not to vote smartly. The margin of victory was small, though, and the other candidate wasn’t much to speak of, and the campaigns were exceedingly negative and dishonest. The worst offenders were the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, who neither served with Kerry nor cared at all for truth. They are still fighting the Vietnam War. Even though 3 million Vietnamese were killed, and the equivalent of all the explosives we dropped in WWII were dropped on them, 58,000 Americans died in action, and some 8 years of intense fighting were expended, we still couldn’t win that war. Why?

Answer Key:

1) His underwear is too tight.
2) I give it a year and a half.
3) Three Feet.
4) “I don’t have a friggin’ clue what to tell you.”
5) 1/1,000,000,000,000,000.
6) Pat Robertson’s ass.
7) Elbert McWinkington, George Bush’s personal facial expression trainer.
8) Jenna.
9) The Heaven’s Gate cult.
10) The “liberal media.”

*Yes, this list covers all sorts of years, but what? Do you think years happen in a vacuum?

Posted by jerseymcjones at 12:04 AM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Thursday, December 29, 2005

From The First to The Fourth Amendments; The Constitution Rules

I thought I would continue The Christmas Wars.  No, if I never hear about any holiday, secular or not, again I will be very happy.  And I have banned certain words from my vocabula

I want to briefly talk about Judge Jones and the Intelligent Design decison.  No, I don't.  I want to gloat over it.  Why?  Several months back I wrote a post that used very similiar reasoning to Judge Jones's.

Why when we at Bring it on! have been saying this since we began am I bringing this up now?  Because many radical Christian Rightists still don't get it.  It's simple; it's the Amendment that guarantees the most basic of rights, the right to practice or not practice a religion, and never have to worry that a state religion will be formed, and also and equal, guarantees freedom of speech.

That's the first time I have ever quoted myself.  I explained how faith is untestable.  No matter how much you want to believe that something bigger than us created the universe, nobody is able to test faith.

It's easy to test one type of faith: Faith in ones ability to do something.  I have faith that I will cross the street without being killed.  If I'm not, I have prove my hypothesis.  But the type of faith that proponents of Intelligent Design believe in is simply not testable.

Here's Judge Jones;

To be sure, Darwin's theory of evolution is imperfect. However, the fact that a scientific theory cannot yet render an explanation on every point should not be used as a pretext to thrust an untestable alternative hypothesis grounded in religion into the science classroom or to misrepresent well-established scientific propositions.

If you haven't read Judge Jones decision; I have linked it.  Okay I have gloated enough.


I found an article in that blew me away.  Yes, really. Fox or as we like to call it here Faux News.   It's by Martin Frost, former Democratic Congressman from Dallas/Fort Worth  He was in Congress for 26 years, and isn't faux anything.

Recently I have been trying to figure out who President Bush reminded me of.

Was it Richard Nixon with his willingness to break the law to hold onto the presidency? Was it FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover who bugged Martin Luther King Jr. and anyone he considered to be a political enemy?

And then it struck me. President Bush most closely resembles King George III of England. You remember him -- he’s the guy whose high-handed rule led to the American Revolution.

Frost reread The Constitution; he's a lawyer, was a Fellow at the Institute of Politics, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, and was a Congressman for a long time.  When he talks about the Fourth Amendment I will listen:

Now the "new King George" would have us believe one of three things: (1) the president’s powers as commander-in-chief supersede the fourth amendment during the war on terror (2) the resolution adopted by Congress shortly after the 9/11 attack can be read to give the president the authority to conduct domestic wiretaps against American citizens without going to court to seek a warrant and (3) modern technology is such that the founding fathers could never have anticipated the need to conduct wiretaps without a warrant.

Let's see Frost debase these arguments:

First, it takes a very broad reading of the commander-in-chief clause to justify any conduct as superseding the constitution. President Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus during the U.S. Civil War, an action that was very controversial at the time; it is hard to equate the ongoing war on terror with the American Civil War, which threatened the very existence of the Republic.

Second, I was a member of Congress when we passed the resolution giving the president the authority to use all force necessary against the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11. Congress clearly meant this as authorization to go into Afghanistan and find Usama bin Laden. No one ever thought this authorized our government to wiretap American citizens in our own country without court approval.

Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle wrote an op-ed piece in the Dec. 23rd Washington Post detailing how the Bush administration proposed last minute language to the 9/11 resolution which would have given the president the power to engage in domestic spying without a search warrant, and that this language was specifically rejected by the bills’ authors.

And third, the modern technology argument is an interesting one but is not very persuasive. Congress in 1978 passed legislation permitting spying inside the United States under certain circumstances. That law created a special court that can respond within hours to a request for search warrants. And the law also contained an exception, permitting the Attorney General to authorize wiretaps in an emergency situation and then seek a warrant within 72 hours.

Frost then asks if Bush...  Oh, he says it so well, and I never want to be accused of mangling words.

Does he simply want dictatorial powers? Does he so mistrust the court system (even a secret one specifically set up to make it easier to wiretap people inside the United States) that he doesn’t want any of the traditional checks on the power of the executive to violate basic civil liberties? Does he just want a political issue that makes him look tough and opponents (Democrats and some Republicans) look weak?

This is our country and this is our Constitution. Even if for some reason you like Bush, he has seriously abused the powers of the presidency.  Don't tell me that I'm convicting him without a trial.  What has Bush been doing?  Here's the one question that you should ask yourself:

"The Bush administration simply cannot answer this one question - if time was of the essence, why didn't they conduct the searches and get the warrants after the fact, something that is allowed under the FISA law? They conducted the searches alright, but they never once sought the retroactive warrants."

Then join us, Bulldog, and the entire Impeach Bush Blog Coalition in taking these steps:

2. Send an email to all of these media folks and ask them "The Question."

3. Sign Senator Boxer's petition .

4. Contact your senator.

5. Contact your congressman.

6. Contact Congressman Pete Hoekstra too.

7. File a Freedom of Information Act request HERE.

8. Sign John Conyers' petition to censure and investigate impeachment.

9. Join the guerilla marketing campaign .

10. Make a donation to ImpeachPAC.

11. Join the Impeach Bush Coalition.

(Thanks to Redneck Mother for inspiring the list.)

Please read the articles in The Impeach Bush Coalition.  More people and newspapers than you would imagine are joining us.  Join with everybody at BIO, in calling for an impeachment hearing.  It's the only way that we're going to ever learn anything unless Bush muzzles the prosecuter, and that's a possiblity that our Congress, and judical system won't allow.  Why?  We have an incredible Constitution and Bill of Rights. Nobody will allow that to be mocked.

We already know that Fitzgerald is incredible; he's the perfect antitode to Ken Starr and that mockery of an impeachment hearing..  Maybe lying about sex is a minor crime; but everything Bush has been doing is a high crime and misdemenor.

Let me end by saying that the only way 2006 can be a great year is by getting rid of Bush and all the Bushettes.

Personally I would like to thank everybody at BIO! for being so great; and Bulldog for beginning the Impeach Bush Coalition.

Let the lost children of New Orleans be found; New Orleans to be rebuilt quickly, and bring the troops home now, please.  We don't belong in Iraq; it's the only way we can ensure their safety.

Peace in 2006.

Posted by Pia Savage at 12:01 AM in Current Affairs, Education, Politics, Religion, Science | Permalink | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Mr. Bush, You Are No Boy Scout

I was a Boy Scout.

Before the molestation jokes start, let me just say that no, nothing like that ever happened to me. One year at summer camp, there was one leader from another troop who was doing some very suspicious stuff that, in retrospect, seems like it was what pedophiles call 'grooming'. Nothing bad happened (at least to anyone in our troop) -- but our scoutmaster sent him packing pretty quickly when he found out that the guy had been hanging around. Turns out El Creepo was also trying to become a Catholic priest. Go figure.

Anyway, like I said, I was a Boy Scout. This was during the mid-80s, the second boom of Scouting. I learned a lot of incredibly useful stuff, hiked about a bazillion miles, camped every month of the year -- including the ones ending in 'ember' and 'ary', and generally got my nose out of the ever-present book once in a while.

But more importantly, there was an element of character building to it and an emphasis on religious tolerance and racial diversity.  This was before things started to get weird -- before the BSA's sex scandals, before the country started to re-polarize and before the Scouting movement apparently abandoned tolerance and lined up with the far Right. Sadly, I always thought it'd be really cool to get my kids involved in Scouting. Right now, I wouldn't even consider it.

Even if you're not familiar with the Boy Scouts, you probably know the Scout Motto. The Scout Law isn't exactly a household phrase, but anyone involved with Scouting for any length of time knows it by heart.

It occurred to me the other day that the current administration could learn a lot from the Boy Scouts of America, at least the version I grew up with.

The Scout Law: A Scout is...


And the Scout Motto, of course, is: Be Prepared.

I've known some Scouts, Mr. George W. Bush, and you are no Boy Scout.

George W Bush, Boy Scouts of America, Yellowcake Forgery, Darfur, Veterans Benefits, environmental policy, Bush temper tantrums, Bush AWOL, Bush Foreign Policy, Wiretaps, Bush clemency, Bush deficit.

Posted by joesnitty at 07:00 AM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (19) | TrackBack

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Herring Anyone?

Over the past couple of months, a great deal of discussion was heard about the war on Christmas. Most of that diatribe came from Faux News and Bill O'Lielly in particular.

I looked long and hard for evidence of this so-called war from avenues outside the Faux News sound machine.  Not so surprisingly, I didn't find a one.  Oh, I found a lot of "a friend of a friend" stuff that typically falls under the category urban legend, but nothing of any merit.

I began to ask myself, "Why all the fuss over a non-issue?"  Sure, I can see the ultra-religious right trying to make it into a big hoopla to raise their status at this time of year.  But why would O'Lielly allow himself to be lead like a bull by the nose to this trifle?

Then it came to me.  This whole thing was a red-herring.  A distraction from other important issues. 

There are many that I could talk about, but today I'm just going to mention one.  A very important one, in my eyes.

Christmas is a time of family.  A time when families get together and share their love and think of all the great times they had during the year.  If the year has been a sad one, it's a time for families to plan for a better future.

Many families devastated by Katrina didn't get to experience that this year.

I'm talking specifically about those families that still don't know where their children are.  Homes can be rebuilt, but missing children can tear a hole in a family's heart.  They don't know if the children are alive or dead.  If alive, they don't know if they are with people who are taking care of them.

As of December 23, 2005, 500 children were still classified as missing in Katrina's aftermath.  Sadly, the very organization that is supposed to be helping the victims of Katrina is prolonging their pain.

Why? The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will not share its evacuee database with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.  FEMA is blaming privacy laws for its lack of co-operation.

The FBI, which is also trying to resolve these cases, has also had trouble getting information from FEMA. 

It's shameful.

One of the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission's Final Report was for government-wide information sharing.  On December 5, 2005 the Commission came out with a report card on how all areas of the government have been doing meeting their recommendations.  The grade for government-wide information sharing?  D.

Some of you might be saying, "Well, the FBI is part of the government so, yeah FEMA should share information with them but the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children isn't.  FEMA was right to withhold information from them. "

You're right and you're wrong.  A look at the mandate and mission for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children shows that it is a private, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization.  Read a little further, though, and you see that it has congressional mandates.  One of those mandates is to

Provides technical assistance to individuals and law-enforcement agencies in the prevention, investigation, prosecution, and treatment of cases involving missing and exploited children.

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children can't follow a government mandate if FEMA won't share information.

Not much attention has been given to the 9/11 Commission's Report Card by Faux News.  Faux News tended to deride the report with the fact that we haven't been hit by terrorist inside the United States.  They conveniently forgot that the handling of the aftermath's of Katrina, Rita, and Wilma would have also been improved by better efforts to meet the Commission's recommendations.

So has the so-called war on Christmas been a red-herring?  Ask yourself, what other issues have we heard little about because of this "war"?  What else has our attention be diverted from?  How are things going in the areas of civil rights, economic issues, education, immigration, and the budget to name a few?  Has enough attention been given to these areas?  Or has Faux News and O'Lielly's red herring distracted everyone just like a cat distracted by a waving light?

Crossposted on Can't Keep Quiet!

Posted by Mulligan at 03:52 AM in Current Affairs, Politics | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack