Saturday, March 31, 2007

Defamation of Religion

The UN Human Rights Council voted 24-14 to urge a global ban on public defamation of religion, specifically, Islam. Now I think it is rude silliness to poke sharpened sticks at people's religion, but I was also under the impression that Human Rights involved some little items like freedom of speech. I'm real sure there are Christians who will get their panties in a knot because Islam is mentioned, even though they'd applaud this as applied to their brand of god. Fortunately this sort of short sighted stupidity doesn't make anyone do anything, it is, however, illustrative. Quite frankly if your religion is soooooo fragile that it can't withstand some ridicule your god ain't worth spit. If you want to talk to me about creators of a universe that wilt because I thumb my nose at them, I'm entirely underwhelmed. It might be fairly rude to publish a picture of Mohammed with a bomb for a penis, but it would be funny and it would make a point and if Mohammed can't take it, well, he's a pussy. Oh yeah, Christians, there are things that could be done with your god as well and be just as funny and make just as good a point. No, I wouldn't expect you to like it either. So what?

It sure isn't hard to find all kinds of political/religious stupidity to poke fun at...

Forest Rules Tossed

US District Court Judge Phyllis Hamilton ruled that the Bush rules allowing forest managers more discretion regarding environmental studies for resource extraction fail to adequately consider the effects on the environment and did not properly gather public comment. I do not propose that the rule changes were across the board bad for the forests but the previous status quo was. So, we're back to that. And why are we back to that?

There are environmental whackos who do not want a stick of wood cut, a road built, or a hole dug, they'll always be around and so will flat earthers and others. The reason we're back in the mess is not that these people exist, it is the BushCo arrogance and disregard for law that puts us there. It is hard work to amend existing law and it is even harder work to develop good policy. BushCo never seems to want to do the work, they want short cuts. Executive fiat is a poor way to run a country, the excluded parties don't like it and the courts don't like it and the chances are the hambone that tries it is just that, a hambone, and the fiat is junk.

Our forests have some serious problems that need addressed and they have some real uses as natural resource sources, these need not be mutually exclusive but stupid positions guarantee that they are. I'm still trying to think of something this administration has done right, it may take awhile...

Rove and the Hatch Act

It isn't real news to my readers that Karl Rove and the rest of BushCo has had a policy to politicize the Agencies of the Federal Government, some of this is fairly ordinary political paybacks in positions that are ordinarily patronage positions and most Agency heads and their deputies. It becomes more worrisome when career positions begin to be politicized, very worrisome when Prosecutors become political tools, and it is horrifying to find the government itself turned into a political arm. In 1939 the Hatch Act was passed in the face of corruption to limit the political activities of the federal government employees and in some cases state and municipal employees. The following activities are prohibited to federal employees in general (there are special cases with more stringent regulations):

use official authority or influence to interfere with an election
solicit or discourage political activity of anyone with business before their agency
solicit or receive political contributions (may be done in certain limited situations by federal labor or other employee organizations)
be candidates for public office in partisan elections
engage in political activity while:
on duty
in a government office
wearing an official uniform
using a government vehicle
wear partisan political buttons on duty

Enter Lurita Alexis Doan, GSA head, who has had a rather tumultuous 10 month tenure. She began to stir the pot by reducing the budget of the Office of the Inspector General, GSA is the lead procurement agency at $56 billion worth of federal contracts, she handed out a no-bid contract to a former business associate and friend, and finally put on a tele-conference from Rove's office with J Scott Jennings presiding. He is the White House Deputy Director of Political Affairs and the 28 page presentation included 2006 election results and listed the names of Democratic candidates considered beatable and Republican lawmakers thought to need help. This was made to up to 40 Regional Administrators with Doan in attendance, after the presentation Doan asked, "how they could help our candidates in the next elections." Some of the suggested methods involved targeted public events, such as the opening of federal facilities around the country.

You might wonder who Jennings is and you'd be interested to find that besides working for Karl Rove he was a long time Kentucky political operative including being Sen Mitch McConnel's (R-KY) Political Director. His name has shown up in the firing of the 8 US Attorneys when he used the RNC's email account to urge the appointment of former Rove aide Tim Griffin, an RNC political opposition researcher, to the DOJ for the Arkansas position.

Regarding the Powerpoint presentation to the GSA Scott Stanzel said, "There is regular communication from the White House to political appointees throughout the administration." On the other hand Doan stated to Henry Waxman's House Oversight and Government Reform Committee 10 times that she does not recall asking employees to help the GOP or does not recall details about the presentation. She did, however, remember that nothing improper happened. Apparently this is so ordinary in BushCo that it's just slipped her mind, along with the Hatch Act and her use of GSA facilities for a blatantly political activity including asking federal employees to help a political party (um, Republican Party).

This stuff continues to dribble out, like drool from a senile geezer's mouth, disgusting drip after drip. I've stated before that Karl Rove is similar to a criminal thug in his inability to see beyond immediate advantage and short term gains, here it is in all its brilliant stupidity. Rather than pursue the electoral advantage of having policies that benefit the country at large and publicizing them they secretly advance the privileged few and use narrowly effective propaganda tools and administrative tools to gain little. As the President sinks into the approval mire and is considered by a majority to be simply incompetent and by many as nearly criminal, we have his "Brain" on display. I sincerely hope this is an education for political operatives for a long time to come.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Justice ?

All the shennanigans at DOJ lately ought to have us questioning what we mean by justice and how we go about getting it. Going to court is an incredibly risky affair, without any of the nonsense BushCo got passed by its Congressional lackies. We tend to think that the guilty get off and the innocent have little to fear. This case in New York ought to make people re-think that, but there have been plenty of occasions previously and you still hear, "If you didn't do anything you don't have anything to worry about." Maybe eyewitness testimony from three seperate women would be something to worry about, particularly if you're innocent and they say you did it. Anthony Capozzi of the Buffalo has been in custody since he was arrested in 1985, on Wednesday the Erie County DA Frank Clark announced that DNA "lost" in Erie County Medical Center had been found and tested and it matched one Altemio Sanchez not Capozzi. He gets out next week. That would make it right around 22 years he's been locked up with no physical evidence linking him to the rape of the three women whose testimony sent him away.

Considering the risks, it might seem reasonable for people to worry that something other than competence was required to be a US Attorney. Let's get something real clear, all you've got going for you against the full might and resources of the government is your "presumption" of innocence. Presumption is questionable, most people do not believe you're in court for any other reason than guilt. Judges can say all they want to a jury, they're still people with their own thinking going on, and the presumption that you're innocent ain't part of it. So it becomes a large issue that the prosecution and law enforcement are impartial and competent. The first safety net is not being in court at all, because the Prosecution doesn't like the case. Prosecutors have high conviction rates; for two reasons
1) they take cases they can win
2) juries like the prosecution

In Mr Capozzi's case there were multiple rapes in W Buffalo, there were pressing reasons to get an arrest and a conviction. My Capozzi also suffers from schizophrenia, which may have had something to do with him remaining a suspect, despite weighing 200 lbs. versus the witnesses estimate of 150 lbs and sporting a three inch scar over his left eye which wasn't mentioned. When the State tells you it doesn't have the tools to deal with the criminal, you might reflect on this case. When you've got an Albie Gonzales and his ilk running amok at DOJ you might want to think about the consequences. No, they never get it wrong...

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Machiavellian Politics

Politics have been studied and analyzed for a very long time, and written about for very nearly as long as writing has existed. One of the best known, and most reviled writers on the subject is Machiavelli; his book, The Prince, is a classic and much misunderstood work. The most often quoted piece of the book is, "the ends justify the means." The cliche term for short-sighted vicious politics is "Machiavellian."

This is not quite accurate, Machiavelli put forth solutions to problems and generally several solutions for a problem. A common problem was a noble plotting against the ruler, several solutions were mentioned, banishment of the noble, banishment of the noble and his family, confiscation of family property, killing the noble, killing the noble and his family, etc, etc. Along with the solutions came analysis of probable outcomes. Oddly enough, considering his reputation, Machiavelli preferred to take the long-term outlook and the solution that favored it. For instance, banishment put the noble out of reach and free to stir up trouble, compounded if the family was also banished by more people stirring the pot and the extended family/associates resentment, confiscation worked the same way and stirred resentment among others of property and other members of the family, killing creates martyrs, etc. There really is a need for a new adjective describing short-sighted vicious politics; I think maybe the term could be Rovian, as in Karl.

I've heard Rove described as a genius, or by perfectly good lefties, a despicable genius. I disagree, what has passed for genius is simply the willingness to use whatever means are available for short term gain, reflective of certain elements in 18th and 19th Century politics, the nastier elements. He is a nasty man who plays dirty for a short term payoff. The problem with this approach is illustrated by the current BushCo poll numbers and the general reputation of the Republican Party. Any political movement generates opposition, this is normal and to be expected, but opposition is a different animal from enemies. Rovian politics creates enemies, these are mortal foes, they will not agree with you and they will seek your downfall and expend serious assets to bring it about. People in general will begin to see through lies and be offended for being taken and become enemies. The art of politics becomes slash and burn warfare, a policy of scorched earth with little regard for the welfare of the state. Policy decisions become hostage to the accrual of power and failed policies become sacrosanct - the expenditure in their implementation now drives their continuation, the leader cannot fail. Fear becomes a handy weapon, but it is a very blunt instrument and the objects of its use soon tire of it or become inured to its effects.

Politics is about getting things accomplished, power is an aspect of that end but it is not the prime mover. In a system like ours you may have the power to force things through, for a while, but at some point the opposition must be taken into account. The trick is to offer something to the opposition that will take some of the sting out while showing the voters a willingness to "work together" and be "reasonable." If it is impossible to give the opposition enough to bring them into the process then it is of paramount importance to show them the respect of listening and debating the issue. You cannot afford more than a handful of enemies. There are going to be times when there is a congruence in your ends and the opposition's ends and their cooperation will be needed to succeed, it is important that they are not your enemies at that point.

Karl Rove has essentially two strategies, the accrual of power and the demonization (and thereby discrediting) of opponents. All government and it's appurtenances (media, etc) become objects of political advantage and the consolidation of power. Opponents no longer are policy opponents they become traitors and agents of class (etc) warfare. In the short run it is possible to show real gains with this methodology, in the long run real problems arise and depending on the force of application the recoil can be tremendous.

The latest problem, the US Attorneys, is a perfect example. The DOJ is subject to political appointments, the tenor of the establishment is going to be set by the AG and the political leanings of the operational end - US Attorneys - can be determined. This works well for instituting a philosophy of operation, but it is a poor way to accrue power. The DOJ enforces the laws and those laws apply to all citizens, if it becomes obvious that the law is being used as a political power lever or cudgel, the populous becomes unhappy and the other power centers become very unhappy. The general population is pretty law-abiding, primarily because they see reasonableness in the laws and a general application of them, remove these considerations and the people who write them begin to worry about being paid attention to. Rovian politics determines that a narrow advantage in voter roles outweighs public perception of law-enforcement. The math is extremely faulty, the few votes that might be discarded are long-term overwhelmed by public anger and political backlash.

This is exactly what has happened repeatedly in the last couple years and a solid Republican edge has not only dwindled but been put in serious danger of becoming a long term small minority. Best to leave Machiavelli out of the adjectives describing this Administration's politics, he was pretty good at it, this stuff is strictly Rovian. (and Bush league)

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Taking The Fifth

Everybody has a right to not incriminate themselves, they also have the responsibility to not do things that would incriminate them, commit crimes. Monica Goodling, Gonzales' counsel and White House liaison, seems to have some worries in that area and will take the Fifth before Congress. Here lawyer says to see Scooter Libby, I don't want to carp, but ringing in Scooter Libby is fairly stupid, he lied under oath and was convicted on four out of five counts. That's a fair amount of lying.

Telling the truth is fairly simple, you recite the facts and that's the show; it gets complicated when you lie and "spin." Somewhere in the lies there's a hole, that hole will suck you in. The alternative is that it's not about fear of a perjury trap, there actually is a criminal act underlying the invocation of the Fifth. Oh boy, that's not good. It gets worse, if there is a crime then somebody else knows and that somebody surely doesn't want to get swamped by it. That means more Fifthes or - baby I'll rat you out in a New York minute. Monica has problems, I'd say employment just became difficult at the least. Lawyers who take the Fifth are useful to not many other than say...crime bosses - or maybe BushCo - if there's a difference.

Tom DeLay shot off his trap the other day about Hitler and big lies, he ought to know, but the point Tommyboy missed is that after awhile those big lies start to unravel and the news gets around. BushCo has told some whoppers and we know about them because they unravelled, sounds like cloth unzipping to me right about now.

Monday, March 26, 2007

They Gave Assurances

Sen John Sununu (R-NH) said,
“They gave us assurances that when we raised concerns about civil liberties that they have strong procedures and checks in place for issuing national security letters, and all of those assurances have proven to be unfounded,” about bills he strongly supported, Patriot Act and Military Commissions Act. Does anybody other than me see a problem with this statement?

Who the hell are "They"? The Constitution is clear you dimwitted Republican thug, it's not your damn business to get assurances from anybody about our civil liberties. You DO NOT give them to us, we have them despite your ilk. You jump around and squeal about how the terrorists are going to kill us while you strangle our democracy, you cowardly lying BushCo shill and then have the nerve to say, "well they said they wouldn't." You are more dangerous than all the Bin Ladins in the world.

Maybe in your fear induced state of coma you can't realize just how close to the dictatorial rule of personality you've pushed this country. Yes John Sununu, YOU. In your comatose state you neglected one of the basics of power politics, all power seeks power and the grant of power assures it will be used. Every school yard bully knows this one and a US Senator doesn't?

Harsh language? I'll tell you what's harsh, torture, disappearances, renditions, no day in court, secret testimony, governmental burglary and eavesdropping, domestic spying, letters of marque for federal police. Let me be plain and clear, once you've removed the barriers and people can no longer trust having their day in a fair court, why should they allow you to take them alive? What possible reason is there to not have it out, then and there, before the manacles go on? The law enforcement officer who comes has the misfortune to represent a criminal lawless enterprise stripped of all pretence to any more than physical force, he is therefore, a criminal. You and your pals are stupid thugs if you can't realize that outcome and think you get away with it.

I think my head's going to explode. I cannot fathom the depths of that kind of stupidity, "they gave assurances," for pete's sake, 'oooh, I was concerned about civil liberties...' If you're concerned then the answer is no, don't do that. How simple is that? No. But oh boy, you had control of Congress, the Executive, and a big chunk of the Judicial branches so you just thought, what?? That your kind of people were soooo good nothing could go wrong? That's what that "assurances" bull hockey is about, you do understand that my fine readers, denizens of the great unwashed, the good people in the Republican eternal majority will look out for your best interests because they're sooo special and sooo nice. Much too nice to take bribes, sell influence, try to bugger kids, or stomp on your freedom. Oh no, they wouldn't hide you from lawyers, deny you a hearing, torture you (unless your name happened to be Padilla), they certainly wouldn't burgle a Portland Oregon lawyer's home and hold him with NO evidence, no, nothing can go wrong.

Every Congressman that voted for those pieces of garbage needs to go in 08, Republicans and Democrats. The operative word is treason. Every member of this Congress that does not take a hand in cleaning this mess up needs to go. No ifs, no buts, do it or get the heck out. Any District that returns them deserves the iron boot on their neck that these weasels perpetrated on this country. Barring that, it falls on the responsible citizenry to demand redress of these grievances and a document signed in 1776 states clearly to what lengths that demand can be taken.

F*** you John Sununu and your assurances. Oh, same to you DOJ, FBI, NSA, and BushCo.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Take Your Allies Where You Find Them, AFA

Awhile back I posted about the formation of the American Freedom Agenda and said that I would find out what I could. You will find the AFA website here . Do not think that Barr, Keene, or Viguerie have changed their political stripes, they are Conservatives. Yes, with a capital 'C.' On social and economic issues our paths may coincide infrequently, our ideas about the role of government in those arenas is quite different, but here we are in complete agreement. I am going to directly copy and paste their 10 point agenda, so there is no mistaking my words or wishes with theirs :

Prohibit military commissions whose verdicts are suspect except in places of active hostilities where a battlefield tribunal is necessary to obtain fresh testimony or to prevent anarchy;

Prohibit the use of secret evidence or evidence obtained by torture or coercion in military or civilian tribunals;

Prohibit the detention of American citizens as unlawful enemy combatants without proof of criminal activity on the President’s say-so;

Restore habeas corpus for alleged alien enemy combatants, i.e., non-citizens who have allegedly participated in active hostilities against the United States, to protect the innocent;

Prohibit the National Security Agency from intercepting phone conversations or emails or breaking and entering homes on the President’s say-so in violation of federal law;

Empower the House of Representatives and the Senate collectively to challenge in the Supreme Court the constitutionality of signing statements that declare the intent of the President to disregard duly enacted provisions of bills he has signed into law because he maintains they are unconstitutional;

Prohibit the executive from invoking the state secrets privilege to deny justice to victims of constitutional violations perpetrated by government officers or agents; and, establish legislative-executive committees in the House and Senate to adjudicate the withholding of information from Congress based on executive privilege that obstructs oversight and government in the sunshine;

Prohibit the President from kidnapping, detaining, and torturing persons abroad in collaboration with foreign governments;

Amend the Espionage Act to permit journalists to report on classified national security matters without fear of prosecution; and;

Prohibit the listing of individuals or organizations with a presence in the United States as global terrorists or global terrorist organizations based on secret evidence.

Since their roll-out was March 20th the website is a little bare yet, but you should see it for yourself to ensure you know what I'm talking about. I am under no illusions about the differences in our Party affiliations, I also am under no illusions as to whether these matters supersede those affiliations. What is at stake is so basic to the structure of the US that our disagreements amount to small change. There is absolutely no point in trying to advance Democratic agenda absent our basic structure of government and law. That amounts to no more than spitting into the wind. The DOJ fight marks a beginning of Congressional interest in this, but is not any more than a first baby step.

The AFA has a Freedom Pledge for candidates, which is at least something. I am interested, but only in concrete pressure our public representatives to redress these grievances. Posturing bores me, quite plainly there is an ass kicking over due and it needs to be an enthusiastic one. This stance will put more stress on the politics of Republicans than Democrats for the obvious reason that Democrats didn't instigate this mess, though the amount of their kicking and screaming about it left quite a bit to be desired.

A little over 200 hundred years ago the instigators of this Constitutional mess would have been taken out and hanged for trying it. Today generating something close to discontent is difficult. It takes no more than the latest details of the affairs of a deceased blond to distract our attention. I will point out that in the face of all the BushCo crap, a NY Democratic Representative has the temerity to bring forward an assault weapons ban just to add to the insult and injury inflicted by the Republicans. Sometimes I really wonder just exactly how such stupid and asinine people manage to get themselves elected and if we really do deserve the kind of government the Framers put together.

Eight years ago I'd have fallen out laughing my butt off if somebody had suggested to me that Bob Barr could be an ally. I ain't laughing, I ain't smiling, I'm flat out pissed off and I'll take his hand, gladly. If you can't, maybe you'd better think over what kind of country you want to live in.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Drop Partisan Politics

President Bush on Saturday said about Democrats, "put partisan politics aside and come together to enact important legislation for the American people." I see, the Democrats are playing partisan politics, that's an odd statement considering the source. On just exactly what occasion has this Texass peckerwood not played partisanship politics? The Rovian doctrine involved a permanent Republican majority and there's just exactly one way to get there, demonize the opposition, you cannot allow the opposition to appear at all credible as an alternative if you mean to marginalize them.

"By choosing to make a political statement and passing a bill they know will never become law..." traitors, Quislings, Defeatocrats, terrorist enablers, spit on the troops to make me look bad. Ah Georgie, we understand that you think you should be allowed to run things just exactly as you please, we just don't agree. There are fairly large differences between traditional Democratic and Republican thinking, these have been before the voters for years, but the idea that one Party or the other has completely lost it's justification for existence is new to the scene, relatively new. In the process of demonizing the Democrats the Republicans have become the very thing they accuse the Democrats of, a destructive force corrosive of the basic rights of the country. They have ramped up the rhetoric to a point unseen since the youth movement of the 60's, fear and loathing run rampant through their discourse.

The Gingrich Republicans thought they had a fiscal club to use on President Clinton, it didn't work well, they also were working on an issue with narrow support, this may crack up to be an entirely different deal. Congress can keep offering him the stark choice between funds with limits and no funds, putting the onus on him. BushCo had best remember that on the Iraq War issue a large majority disapproves of their handling of it.

Vote Different Ad

Phil de Vellis aka parkridge47 made the 1984 themed ad providing amusement, media grist, and the announcement of something new in politics. The edginess of the ad was not the new thing, that could have been made for MSM, it wouldn't have been made by a serious Democrat, but the new thing is the complete low cost divorcement of internet political advertising from campaigns. It has been a very long since pamphleteers could influence politics, they did at one time, so the newness of de Vellis' approach is only relative, but in the world of high dollar political advertising this is a tsunami. Internet political advertising isn't new, most of the larger blogs have "click on" for whatever nearly mainstream politics you care for. I personally ran an ad on Blue Oregon, but what is going to cause heartburn is candidates being identified with independent productions. It is going to become very important what caliber of supporters a candidate attracts.

A certain amount of overblown rhetoric has accompanied this ad, the U-Tubers are not the main voting public, just as the Bloggers and their readers are not. The biggest impact of this "parkridge47" ad was due to MSM attention which was drawn by the hit numbers and the sophistication of production. Mr de Vellis is pretty proud of his ad and his motivations for making it, I will agree with him on that within the limitations of the media. But it is important to remember that we Internet users are not a huge power by numbers, we are a power by our ability to start a discussion which spreads beyond the limits of our computer monitors.

I do not fool myself into thinking that this blog is of great impact in itself, my readership is small within the blogging community, but I hopefully try to hand out thinking points, things that will enter into other conversations. In the end run my header states my objectives, to kick back at those kicking at me and my "constituents." Kos, et al, reach a lot of people - a lot of people within narrow confines, the point is to take whats gotten 'here' out into the world at large and make some use of it.

My "Comments" usage is low, I might like to see some more active discussions - for my interest - but those are really little more than that. Of narrow limitted interest. I repeatedly express my interest and participation in the Democratic Party of Oregon because I hope these discussions spark interest in participation in the process. If these kinds of ads help with that, then they are a huge benefit, if they simply become an interesting adjunct to Interneting then they are no more than that. This nation will stand or fall on the basis of our interest and participation in its political processes, that is what counts.

Covering Up Is Stupid

I suppose that anyone paying attention to the US Attorneys mess has heard multiple times, "the cover-up is worse than the crime," and is probably sick of it. There is a real truth in that bromide, and it bears some thinking about it. Most of the things that get attempted covered-ups are the result of over-reaching over-zealous subordinates. Something gets a "I wish" and turns into "I want." Some idiots burgled a Watergate office because somebody said "I wish I knew what they're up to," regarding a campaign that was a walk-over. There was nothing to actually be gained, a tremendous risk, and the act was carried out by entirely disposable subordinates. Covering up a piece of massive stupidity led to the downfall of one of the most politically astute Presidents.

Nixon was not innocent of responsibility, but certainly of having given such an order. His responsibility was the creation of an atmosphere conducive to such stupidity, a bunkered-up enemies list mentality which devalues opposition by demonizing it. The words enemies, traitors, and fifth columnists abounded, it took little stretch to reach the idea that spying on such was a good idea, one that would be supported by the "Boss." It is beginning to look as though the genesis of the Attorney firings was political. How large a reach is it to see an "appointed" president and his Rove looking at shrinking support demographics and a real threat to a permanent majority wishing some of those ne'er do well Democrats didn't vote. A cult of personal loyalty doesn't see independent thinking or decision making as acceptable and an echo chamber effect begins. These guys aren't following our agenda, something is wrong, somebody ought to do something, and we're off to the races. Some things are self-perpetuating and self-feeding. Once the idea is planted and somebody starts to work on it, it begins to look possible and in that possibility lies respectability, "after all they do serve at the pleasure of the President."

While George W Bush is not a retard, he also is not an intellectual heavy weight, if it gets more complicated than I win you lose don't look to him as the instigator. Harriet Meirs (oh you're the bestest...) fingerprints are all over the place along with Albies and it begins to look like Karl's. But even here people were just working over scenarios. Great goobered gobs of stinking mess scenarios, the kind engendered by people in fear of enemies, traitors, ... Then it started looking reasonable as it became more possible. "What use is power to appoint without Senate approval if we don't use it?" Look at how the possibilities for advantage multiply with each little bit of progress. Where did the actual policy enactment come from? At a guess, AG AG, though farther down the line is entirely possible.

I would bet that complete informational access would not place Bush or Rove's fingers in the pie, though their complicity in creating an atmosphere where this could flourish is absolute. The idea of gaining political advantage through use of the powers of the Justice Dept had to be appealing in the world of Republican power politics. These folks long term goals are always so amorphous and their short term ends so entrancing to them that they do not see probable fallout. For example they see "no Saddam" as so attractive that they fail to run alternate scenarios, because the short term end is "good" only their "good" can follow.

I would guess that Kyle Sampson sees himself as the fall guy and will try to hand responsibility back up the chain. The problem is that there may be no evidence what so ever up-chain. Or, if it can actually get handed up to Albie, the sword will be fallen on and that'll be it. No one will make the case that the problem isn't who ordered what, but that the mentality was fostered, that the entire White House is sick.

"Oh no, somebody tried to do that?? Well they're fired," would have put a stop to this entire mess. But they cannot do that. They have to cover, there's a sickness to be kept out of sight. The might be seen as what they are.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Congress Abdicates

You really have to wonder what kind of bubble the BushCo operates in, do you suppose any of George II's speech writers are aware of the references to Imperial Presidency or George II or Kinglet? To include in a scathing reference to the House Emergency Military Appropriations bill the word "abdicates" signifies a complete ignorance of irony.

In fact the reference was to "abdicate responsibility," an odd sort of thing to say about the first Congress in 6 years to actually ask questions of the Executive Branch, and put some strings on how the Administration spends money. Now as a matter of comparison, GWB also put his hand on something and swore to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States, do you suppose he had his fingers crossed? No, Congress is not supposed to wage war, but they are required to take care of the funding. BushCo doesn't like the funding, well it doesn't like the strings attached to the funding, strings like, "Iraq, do something," and "No, this is not an opened ended until the world ends conflict of ours." He dislikes it enough to promise to veto it. That surely is his prerogative, it is also the Congress' prerogative to send him another one he won't like, ad nauseum.

The President says that Congress is cutting off the important equipment needed by the troops. I'm sorry George, so far they can't fix the troops up with the really important equipment they really really need, a real Commander in Chief. Some people thought they were re-electing a C-i-C, what they go was a petulant spoiled rich kid stamping his feet and crying, "I'm the Decider." No you balless wonder, you are not the Decider, you are one of three co-equal branches of government, either one of which can smack you down in a New York second.

Bush, Cheney, Rove, and the other neocons don't like this fact, they haven't had to deal with the realities of the Constitution other than a slap from the Supremes quickly and messily rectified by their toady Republican Congress. The House is entirely free to send him the money he wants with whatever strings they choose to hang on it, just as he is entirely free to refuse it. At some point it becomes a moot issue when the military runs out of money. Congress is offering to support the troops, just not his way.

About a week ago I threw a couple roundhouses at the Congressional Democrats for letting things go. I doubt they read it, but maybe they've listened to the folks out here who are getting real tired of watching the same ole show go on and on. I'd like to thank them for not abdicating, and also note, we're watching you.

Bush's Other War

It's not news that George made Congress a "generous offer" to get to the bottom of the US Attorney firings, I lost count count of how many times that phrase was used, and it will certainly get more currency as days progress and Republicans get their memo. I don't think anyone is especially surprised that Congress didn't take it well, Democrats at least. The presence of Mr Fielding as WH counsel ought to speak to the idea that this fight has been brewing.

Absent the lick spittle Republican Congress Mr Bush's Imperial Presidency has been running into some resistance. The things we're aware of have created some serious resentment among those who think Congress has a bit more power than just rubber stamping a President's agenda. Some Congressmen seem to have that idea as well. The President isn't used to it and doesn't want to be used to it, hence Mr Fielding, John Dean's deputy counsel for RM Nixon. The US Attorneys, Republicans appointed by a Republican were manna for Congressional Democrats, a tussle couldn't be portrayed as them looking out for their own. But it was manna. There is so much "there" that at some point the Congress was going to insist on looking at something the WH didn't want them to and hearing testimony from someone (Rove) that BushCo definitely didn't want on the stand and Fred Fielding is not Albie or Harriet, you're looking at actual competency.

If you're thinking that the WH obstinacy on this means there's something really bad underneath, you're looking in the wrong direction. There may be something really bad underneath but it is not signified by the BushCo reaction. They have to react this way, now. If they let Congress get away with this, there is other real stuff they won't be able to keep Congress away from. George II has over-reached previously, we already know this, that alone can cause him problems and the chances that the known is all of it are slim. People in the Administration know things and can be made to answer about them short of the 5th Amendment and that, as an answer, is a real problem.

When the Committees were being formed after the 06 election some Democrats put a shot across George's bow, they stated that they wanted to know what was going on and would find out. Harriet was out and Mr Fielding was hired. George will be a wartime president, despite Iraq and the war will be with Congress. He has stated that his intention was to restore the Presidency, his successors may curse him. It is rather doubtful that the Democrats would push this far if they didn't have some other Aces up their sleeves, like unhappy people who want to say something uncomfortable. That could put blood in the water.

John and Elizabeth Edwards

Whatever you might think about John Edwards' politics you have to agree that he knows how to marry. Elizabeth Edwards showed Thursday just how much pluck and grit she has, she knows just how serious her illness is and has decided that the campaign outweighs grief. My family has been through what the Edwards face, it is tough stuff.

I have made no selection, it is early days with much to learn and to weigh, but one thing has been added to the scale, that is John Edwards' judgement of character. Perhaps it's not something to choose a Presidential candidate on, but it does say something. Particularly in these days.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Alleged War In Iraq

Steve Culley March 2007

When I was just starting High School I saw on television the police dogs attacking black people while they fought to end segregation. It was a new thing for me to see people treat other people that way. I was no stranger to the bloody facts of life. I was a farm kid. I knew why sheep and cattle were being raised. They were for people to eat. We butchered our own meat and it wasn't long before I was killing and butchering animals for our own table. Still when I saw southern police using dogs and clubs on people it was disturbing.I graduated high school in May of 1966 and was in Marine Corps boot camp on the 7th of July. I was in Viet Nam on the 28th of December as a Marine Rifleman. I wasn't there 2 days when I rode shotgun for a doctor to go out in the field to see about a wounded PF, popular force, Vietnamese. We armed some villagers so they could fight the Viet Cong. He was dead by the time the marines got him out of the field. They put the body in the back of the jeep with me and the bumpy road made his head jar back and forth and he bled all over my boots. We dropped him off at his home village and I can still see the wife and kids bent down over him in the Monsoon rain. I saw dead marines after that and a kid just 50 yards or so in front of me stepped on a mine and it blew him straight up in the air. It killed him and wounded the marines in front and back of him. There were others. My fire team partner's name is inscribed in the black marble of the Viet Nam War Memorial.When I got back those who weren't involved in the war seemed to live the lives they were living when I left. Some were in college and some were working. They knew there was a war on because the Nightly News showed pictures of dead and dying Marines and soldiers being loaded onto helicopters, napalm dropping on villages and tree lines, and cargo nets slung under helicopters full of North Vietnamese dead soldiers being hauled to mass graves. After TET an ARVN colonel , Army of the Republic of Vietnam, shot a Viet cong in the head and it ran many times. It is still an Icon of the Viet Nam War. Most baby boomers are familiar with the little Vietnamese girl running naked down the road after having her clothes burned off by napalm and the pictures of Buddhist monks pouring gasoline over themselves and lighting it on fire. Viet Nam was broadcast into our homes very night. The press didn't pull punches when telling the story of war. The reality of it most likely fired the anti war movement and brought it to an end. Whether that was good or bad is still debated. Americans, during the civil war, got the first battle field photos and the reality of World Wars One and Two, although not in real time eventually made it home.Now I'm beginning to think that there really isn't a war in Iraq. It could be an alleged war, a wag the dog scenario. I hear of car bombings and mass casualties. The press reports that Iraqis are doing unspeakable things to each other. I've heard tell that they are drilling holes in each other with electric drills and other barbaric acts but I've not seen the evidence on TV or even a news paper photo. I see burned out cars and rubble in the streets. Broken glass seems to be everywhere and it would appear the new icon of the second war in Iraq is a close up of someone's shoes and a pool of blood in the street or a car seat. It seems like the cameras don't roll while the actual carnage is there. Do the editors at CNN, and Fox and the Net works choose to wait for that shot of the ambulances rolling away then broadcast the aftermath? The reporters on the scene then tell us what they saw . We get a verbal description but visual reality is off limits. After a couple of years of this war started we are starting to see wounded as they recover in the hospitals and a special or two showing how our combat wounded are cared for in the field but not the raw reality. If there is some actual combat footage then there is a huge caption either with a Fox or CNN footer blocking half the screen usually informing me that the marines are shooting. I could see that for myself. I want to see if they are hitting what they are shooting at. I want to see how my team is doing. If the same thing happened during a basketball or football game where the play was blocked by a huge caption the American people would be up in arms. Cable brings in advertising money with captioning so the practice is not going away. "Captioning brought to you by (Corporate advertiser)" but usually it tells us nothing we couldn't see for ourselves.I've heard that the press actually had footage of people jumping from the twin towers. The beheading of hostages by Islamo fascists was seen by the rest of the world but not here. We were denied the opportunity to be enraged.So what am I getting at? Do I love the carnage of war and get a rush when I hear about someone getting their heads cut off? No, it's disturbing. Its reality and it should be disturbing. My question, "why is reality off limits?" Do they teach in journalism school that we are too soft, to sensitive for the world as it is? Who decided that here in America we should displace reality with reality TV? Our kids can play with the XBOX and pretend that is war. The reality only comes after the recruiter signs them up. The warning that "what you are about to see might be disturbing to some people", allows us to be warned to switch to American Idol or some other soap opera and not be bothered with the things that really affect us. There is always a celebrity to be covered. Someone in the news room decided that Anna Nichole Smith or Britney Spears hair cut was news. There is always a wounded puppy or a rabbit to rescue. The Taliban got away with their religious dictatorship for ten years before Christian Amanpour's special enlightened us. Investigative reporting takes a back seat to the car chase or a sex and murder mystery. Michel Jackson got more coverage than our fighting men and women. The question I have is, "does that really help us, inform us, or help us make decisions based on the world as it really is?" The Fantasy Island that is modern America goes on as before. But if you happen to believe there really is a war because CNN showed a close up of a burning car or a blood spot on the street or broken glass everywhere you might have the idea that the war should be ended or fought much harder, depending on your point of view. But it is a half-assed belief because you are being shown half-assed news. I say that a full dose of reality, the visual reality of the broken and dead bodies, the carnage and the rubble would move us one way or the other. We would either pull out or fight a total war. It would end one way or the other. This new compassionate press will slowly bleed our military and our treasury to death. Our young men and women still go into the fire and feel the heat while on the home front it's just a little disturbing and uncomfortable.


Steve Culley is a friend of mine from Baker City, he is a frequent contributor to various Letters to the Editor and sometimes shares his writings with me. I'm sharing this one with you, unedited, exactly as received.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

American Freedom Agenda

An impressive sounding name, the founders are equally impressive, Bruce Fein, Richard Viguerie, David Keene, and Bob Barr, impressive in a Conservative fashion. Their Agenda is to "to restore checks and balances and civil liberties protections under assault by the Executive Branch," and to that end they "are issuing this call to Americans of all political and philosophical persuasions to join us in urging Congress to enact The American Freedom Agenda."

They are proposing legislation "to restore congressional oversight and habeas corpus, end torture and extraordinary rendition, narrow the President's authority to designate 'enemy combatants,' prevent unconstitutional wiretaps, email and mail openings, protect journalists from prosecution under the Espionage Act, and more." If my readers feel like they've seen this stuff before, I'll admit to it. I'll also admit to being in near direct opposition to these guys in social and economic politics, but this issue is of sufficient import that I don't care if they get political capital out of it. When Barr was leading the charge against Clinton I thought he was a smug self-satisfied prig, I also thought Clinton was an ass for putting himself and the rest of us in that mess.

It's worth taking a look at what they've got going, when I can find more details I'll post them. Whatever else is going on in this country right now, including the Iraq War, takes a back seat to this. That's what frosts me, we've got kids dying and maimed fighting for the very things the BushCo is taking away and people aren't taking it to heart.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Republican Illegal Immigration Woes

I don't suppose anybody that reads here would be surprised to find that Republican Presidential candidate's positions evolve. (or depending on the candidate are immaculately conceived, etc) We all know that the candidate's stands matters the religious right adores have ... ( evolved is so awkward in this context ) ... changed over time to suit the environment and apparently illegal immigration is another, Mitt Romney has taken to calling the Senate attempt the McCain - Kennedy Bill and deriding it although in November 2005 he called them "reasonable proposals" in the Boston Globe. McCain now also wants something different, Pence's go home and come back approach. Brownback has seemed to support some sort of path to citizenship and is having problems with Iowans over it.

Numbers are a problem, 45% of Republicans say illegals should be deported immediately, compared to 36% of the general electorate. Once the serious campaigning starts these amnesty programs are going to run into more opposition as "respectable" individuals start talking about the realities entailed.

Why should you care? Maybe there's no reason, but business sure cares, ask the Essential Worker Immigration Coalition, "business has always been skeptical about any requirement to make workers leave the U.S. to obtain legal status,” just in case you thought it was about immigrants, they represent service industries. I wonder why wages are so low...

Bad Day?

One of my frequent commenters asked if I was having a bad day in regard to "The First 100" and my rather unhappy frame of mind. The answer is no, not a bad day, but I'm beginning to be very unhappy with 2007. I had an idea that Congress would actually make some moves at the BushCo mess. I didn't expect a lot to be accomplished, veto over-ride isn't there, but just write the damn bills anyhow. Be seen doing something.

At least Leahy seems to be done with letting the Administration's shills report to Congress, he says testify under oath - in public. He says. I won't bet anything I care about on it. Keeripes, you'd have thought the Democrats won something last fall and would like to again. Not if they keep shying away from shadows.

The collective stupidity of the WaPo editorial board regarding the Second Amendment stopped me in my tracks. I hadn't expected them to be real pleased, but to dig up Miller and misstate the case ruling and justify the lunacy of "the people" actually meaning 'the states' had me shaking my head. I had understood they were literate.

The absolute namby pamby pretty boy pussies at Fox have the nerve to call a covert CIA agent a liar, people who have risked their hair do's in a stiff breeze... Somebody called them journalists, a joke I think. I was pretty peeved at the lack of outrage, well, Olberman named them today's Worst People in the World.

There's the little issue of the start of year five of Iraq. I'd say something but being seen foaming at the mouth is unattractive.

Oregon Republican representatives can't seem to NOT play stupid games. Yes, when you're down in politics you do need to look for an edge, it also helps to be smart about it.

Greg Walden claims credit for timber credits. Excuse my falling down laugh Waldenbush, maybe if you'd been doing your job last year... Hey, the sun came up - my name is Greg ... Oregon media actually paid attention to this crap.

Gordon Smith has yet to see a fence he can't climb over, jump back across, and straddle simultaneously.

Oregon cigarette smokers will get stuck with the bill for Oregon's children's health care, not because it makes a bit of sense; but because they can do it. They can't pass a tax on the general citizenry. Guess where the tax actually belongs. That's right Governor, I worked for your election, voted for you, and now I'm telling you you're wrong.

The push of American labor into serfdom continues unabated, in fact, abetted by those who claim to represent workers. If George II is in favor of something, what's wrong with you that you agree?

63% of Americans think Iraq is bad, 76% of Republicans think it is good. What???

Hillary hasn't quit.

I got to shoot the two new guns that have sat collecting dust, the 1873 Win .45 Colt is a nice shooter, the Ruger #1 45-70 Govt. with moderately heavy loads beat the snot out of me, that was fun and it only took 1 day to recover. Best part of 07 so far.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Dangerous Ruling Says WaPo

This stalwart of American civil liberties, the Washington Post maintains a myth that is perpetuated by the Brady Bunch, that the Second Amendment is in place to allow the government to arm itself. No kidding, "the right of the people," actually means the state governments. Dangerous Ruling regarding the US Appeals Court for DC Circuit actually states, " the unconscionable campaign, led by the National Rife Association and abetted by the Bush administration, to broadly reinterpret the Constitution so as to give individuals Second Amendment rights" was the prelude to "this radical ruling will inevitably mean more people killed and wounded as keeping guns out of the city becomes harder. Moreover, if the legal principles used in the decision are applied nationally, every gun control law on the books would be imperiled."

I'm sure that since the WaPo is a large corporate entity they have no fear of liberties like freedom of speech or freedom from unreasonable search and seizure not being applied to them. Surely large elite groups have those rights but not the smelly mob. People is a dangerous concept in liberty, they might get uppity and want the same rights as their betters. Worse yet, if they're armed they might demand them.

The court found that the Second Amendment protections "are not limited to militia service, nor is an individual's enjoyment of the right contingent upon his or continued intermittent enrollment in the militia." Oddly enough the Democratic Party of Oregon also says


Section 1. To recognize and support the right to keep and bear arms in Article 1 Section 27 of the Oregon State Constitution and the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America as an individual right not granted by the government, but rather guaranteed by the government.

Section 2. In recognition of the tremendous personal responsibility engendered by the right to keep and bear arms, the Democratic Party of Oregon further advocates severe penalties and their enforcement for criminal use or misuse of the right.

If the acolytes of liberal bias media myth can't figure out that the DPO is a little more left than the WaPo and that we do not stand with the WaPo in this kind of nonsense, but rather stand with the citizens of the United States of America and their liberty then they pay no attention at all. By the way Republicans, why don't you go read your Party's statement? Indies, we're not kidding around, if this has been bothering you, read it again. The Gun Owners Caucus of the DPO has a blog, Blue Steel Democrats as a public forum. I don't think you'll find us exactly supportive of the WaPo's stance.

March Madness Pool - Executive Privilege

How about we take a cue from the Senator from Arizona, the McCain guy who wanted Internet gambling squashed and run a pool? Here's the rules, all bets are made in BushCo-head pennies (the ones with the White House as a garbage bin), you bet on who gets executive privilege and who gets thrown to the wolves, pairing each. Only pairs count (if you pick Rove EP - Gonzales TW and both work - credit otherwise no credit) most pairs wins, no hedging bets - Gone-zales can't be TW in one and EP in another.

You can use the comments to give your picks. I won't tilt it by betting. Fame and fortune could be your's...

Don't try to use real money, the Feds will be on you like stink on poo, just like OBL. The winner also gets to be a White House Leaks suspect.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The First 100, So What?

OK folks, now you've passed your pet bills and dealt with stuff that has been clogged for some time. I'm sure you feel virtuous and accomplished. So What?

Yes the half-assed minimum wage bill you passed is at least something, too little, too late, and strung out too long; but you did do it.

So how about taking care of that Constitution you swore to uphold? You know the one, it says things about Habeas Corpus, trials, warrants, cruel and unusual punishment, the stuff the Patriot Act and Military Commissions Act undo. Some of you sat in that Congress, some of you to your eternal discredit voted for that crap. You're going to turn right back around and ask for votes from us again. You're going to do that in the face of complete dereliction of duty. YOU asked for those seats, you came to us. Maybe it is time you did your jobs, the ones you swore to do. I don't care if George II vetoes you, do it again. Then if he wants to play kinglet you quit funding him. Completely. Shut the White House down. If the government is out of control, you make it stop. Every funding bill has a Patriot Act/Military Commissions Act repeal attached to it. No money moves anywhere without it. He thinks he's a badass and Mr Imperial Presidency, you can show him different.

Here's the deal, though. He's counting on your spinelessness to continue on his merry way. You do realize that he's right? He laughs at your little game playing, Karl Rove tells him how it will go. Karl is an amoral idiot but he does know something about political will, and he knows for sure you bunch don't have it.

Oh sure, I just think everything is so simple, well, you make it way too complicated. Pick what has to be funded, no military, no Justice Dept, no White House, no State Dept, none of George's levers. You're pussies. That wouldn't be so bad, if it weren't that everybody except you knows it.

Patriot Act, FBI, Idiots

When the cowering BushCo Republican Congress passed the Patriot Act some folks (me included) raised concerns about the that unmitigated piece of junk. Anyone paying the least attention could see that this thing invested the Executive Branch with police state powers, now it appears that the Executive Branch doesn't mind using police state tactics. When you give children matches they will light them and the same holds true of bureaucracies, if they have a conceivable power they will use it, and probably in a childish fashion. Our fine representatives gave the FBI the ability to force release of private information with "exigent circumstances" letters, the idea being that in an emergency they could get their hands on information and later follow up with subpoenas. Oddly enough,once the FBI had the information, they saw no need to do "follow-up" paper work. At some point they also no longer saw the need for the demands to be based in active investigations. Children - Matches.

Is this a fault with the FBI? There is a mindset within any such agency that there are dangerous guilty people out there who must be found, quickly. The more hoops to be jumped through the slower and "less effectively" things move. All very true, and also exactly why the government of the USA is so hamstrung when dealing with its citizenry. Did the authors of this "Patriot Act" bother to stop and think that the Framers of the Constitution and Bill of Rights had some experience with unbridled bureaucracy? There are worms with more backbone than that Congress.

The government of the USA exists to serve the citizens of that State, not any other purpose. It is subordinate to the will and interests of the citizenry. We are not here for their convenience, their use, their abuse; they are here because we tolerate them. Whatever use the FBI has to the citizenry of the State is at the pleasure of the citizenry and subservient to their Rights. If the Idiots in Congress tell them they can do something, they will do it, and in the natural fashion of bureaucracies, they will over-do it. These people were given cover of law to break the law (that is what the Constitution is) and break the spirit of the law. You cannot ignore the spirit of the founding document of a nation and get results that are congruent with the interests of that nation.

The entire reason Checks and Balances were written into the Constitution and that the Bill of Rights was appended was to make sure that the government did not become a power unto itself. That no branch could over-reach. Any government chafes at restriction, it has a conception of purpose that includes taking actions and any restriction on that ability is seen as an obstacle to be overcome. People are exactly what they are, no better or worse, and that is why we create documents to govern their behavior, they are not universally trustworthy, they are simply human beings. An entire group of people got together and fought, wrangled, debated, and struggled to find the exact language that would form a government of, for, and by the people and still function. That was their sole purpose. They accepted that freedom entails risks and considered the alternative as unacceptable.

The Patriot Act is the product of fearful idiots and may ruin the FBI.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Now What, Albie?

Sens. Durbin, Feingold, Kennedy, and Schumer sent Alberto Gonzales a letter on official stationary asking just what the heck he's been up to. Not too long ago the NSA was wiretapping calls from the US without warrants and the DOJ's Office of Professional Responsibility started nosing around after a couple Senators complained, after they NY Times broke the story. The OPR was denied the security clearances required to interview Jack Goldsmith Asst. AG of Office of Legal Counsel and James A Baker of Intelligence Policy and Review, both of whom hadn't liked the NSA program, for legal reasons. Geo. Bush denied the clearances. Nobody has ever heard of such a thing. In fact, the same clearances were issued to investigators of the leak to the Times, including civilians. Odd.

Even odder is that the investigation was headed straight for Albie. It not only looks very much as though the AG A.G. knew he was a target, but he also informed Geo II of that. This raises some ethics questions that are real tough to just blow off. An officer of the court cannot interfere with legal investigations and particularly not when they may be involved, recusing themselves is the proper procedure. For sure Alberto discussed the matter with Bush, what he told him is open to some question. If he did not tell him that he was a target, he is guilty of impeding an investigation and misleading the President, if he told him, they both are guilty of impeding an investigation.

What the Senators are asking Albie is: When did you know you were a target, who told you, did you tell the President, and did you recommend that Bush deny clearances? They'd like an answer by Tuesday, March 20. They have "concerns about the independence and integrity of the Justice Dept under your leadership." Jeeze, ya think so? I actually have a few more concerns than that, but...

Credit the National Journal for stirring this pot, the Senators do in their Letter to Albie. Oh man, you've got to love it. Oversight

Justice Is A Political Football

The DOJ just cannot get its stories straight, when 8 US Attorneys were fired it was a simple personnel change and had something to do with performance. Time passes. The Federal Prosecutors object to the performance issue, with glowing performance evaluations in hand. The little 'appoint without Senate approval' clause comes to light, and scepticism mounts. Oh, a Karl Rove flunky is appointed, a political hack. More doubts are spoken. Congress starts nosing around and it appears that there was some coercion of Prosecutors to not complain - since some didn't seem to like being called incompetent. The idiot AG who can't find a right to Habeas Corpus in the Constitution insists that this is simply a personnel matter that's gotten out of hand. Then it comes out that a couple Republican Congresspeople were nosing around an investigation and were displeased that it wasn't going to impact the '06 election. There's a certain amount of impropriety involved, enough that Pete Domeneci lawyers up - big time. Things are starting to look a little more complicated than a simple personnel matter, in fact things are starting to look political. More AG 'there's nothing to see here,' kind of stuff, just a personnel matter that wasn't handled too well. Harriet Miers fingers show up in the pie, Kyle Sampson resigns as Deputy AG - the personnel guy - and the AG is back, and he was mislead (sound familiar?) and had incomplete info and didn't know what was going on and ...

So, now it appears that Karl Rove was one of the instigators. What struck me about the actual email that shows he was messing about was Kyle Sampson's question as to whether Karl thought "there is the political will to do it," asked of David Leitch who had forwarded Colin Newman's note that Rove wanted to know what they were going to do about the US Attorneys. This was a month before when the White House has admitted they were thinking about it. And what they were thinking about was how "loyal" to the Administration these guys were and how dedicated they were to the Administration's agendas, primarily voter fraud - Democratic. You know, voter purges like they got in Florida under Katherine Harris, almost completely Democratic and to a great extent unwarranted. What they were getting was competent prosecutions of federal crimes, not what they apparently wanted.

You remember that Gonzales didn't know about all this? Odd considering he and Sampson had discussed the idea while he was still White House council. He'll be explaining this one somehow, pretty soon.

So here's the deal, the Dept of Justice which is supposed to look out for the interests of all Americans is more interested in Democratic votes than crimes, and evidently, considering that Carol Lam bit it after Duke Cunningham's prosecution, way more interested in something other than political corruption. She wasn't doing enough about immigration cases, that may be important, but it might have been farther up the "to do" scale if the Republicans hadn't afforded so much corruption prosecution time. I'd guess that out of all the Republican appointed Republican US Attorneys there might be some who aren't doing such a hot job and could easily have superior replacements found, maybe they're just very "loyal Bushies." (a direct quote from Sampson's email)

There's a lot the AG "doesn't know about," somehow a person would think he'd be a little better informed, he doesn't know anything about any FBI misuse of the Patriot Act, the Constitution's provisions regarding Habeas Corpus, the Geneva Convention (it's "quaint"), in fact what he seems to know about is being George II's bitch.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Bush Administration Ineptitude

Joe Biden got up on his hind legs and raised hell in the Senate today, in a fury he asked if anyone in the body realized the depths of this Administration's ineptitude when they asked for the authorization to use force. That is actually a fair question, the Idjit in Chief hadn't had a chance to make a real hash of much by then. The Wilson/Plame affair should have been a sign post, but DC may kill that kind of vision.

I think the evidence is in now. A person could move backward in time from now and have quite a litany. I think I'll leave it at that, use the Comments button and make or add to a list. I'm tired.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Cal Thomas Will Say Anything

Since disclaimers have become popular, I'll start out with one, I think Cal Thomas is a right wing Republican apologist idiot and a hypocrite. Chances are, I'm not going to write something nice about him and his screed.

"Evangelical Christian Voters Maturing Politically" is the headline and here's what's to be had from Cal. They "have come a long way in a short time," from their "nearly unanimous condemnation of Bill Clinton for his extramarital affairs a growing number of these 'pro-family' voters appear ready to accept several Republican presidential candidates who do not share their ideal of marriage and faith." Do not share?? Rudy had an affair while married to his second ex with the current Mrs, Newt had an affair with his current Mrs while married to his second ex and she was in the hospital with cancer. They're not too hot on Mitt who is a member of a cult and McCain who has said he thinks some of their leaders are "agents of intolerance." That they are even considering these guys is a "sign of their political maturation and of their more pragmatic view of what can be expected from politics and politicians." It gets better.

"...many of them are awakening to at least two other realities - (1) they are not electing a church deacon; and (2) government has limited power to rebuild a crumbling social construct." They come from states where divorce rates are the highest and they overwhelmingly oppose same sex marriage. "Conservative evangelicals have grown up" even though they can't stand once married Methodist Hillary. He actually wrote this stuff and had it published.

There is a Democratic candidate that I'd rather went home, oddly I agree with the god-nuts on her, but for entirely different reasons. I would prefer some seriously tough talk and hard action from the others - at least the ones in office, but generally speaking I'm not ready to revolt. The god-patrol on the other hand has to stand on its head in order to get along with this bunch. They want a theocracy where they get to tell everybody how to be godly and yet this is the bunch they'll support? You'd require back surgery if you flip-flopped as hard as two of these and a couple others have the marital ethics of an alley cat. Now I don't care if they have open marriages or same sex marriages but for this crew to swallow this stuff is ludicrous. I can't tell if ole Cal is propagandizing his audience or actually believes this.

Speaking of propagandizing, I can see all sorts of opportunities for abetting blood-letting during the Republican Primaries for a progressive PAC. I'd think a "Truth in Politics PAC" could stir the pot real well by publicizing some of the goings on of the candidates, each with his own ad. Targeting the ads to the proper programing ought to be easy enough. I believe I could even donate a couple nickels to such a PAC, as long as it was tastelessly done.

DPO Slate

Baker County Democrats' delegates Mike Braymen and myself were in Salem for the DPO reorganization meeting. Four good people ran for Chair and three good people ran for Secretary, a second candidate for male Vice-Chair materialized and both candidates were fine people, Jill Thorn, rockstar candidate for female Vice-Chair ran unopposed. Meredith Wood Smith is Chair, Jill Thorn and Jesse Cornett are Vice-Chairs, and Becky Gladstone is Secretary. Baker County is 4/4 in this one. I'd like you to think about that for a moment, it is not a case of us going along with the big boys, we got who we wanted.

The toughest vote was male V-C, Bill Kroger has been a standout DPO and it was darn hard not to reward that dedication, talent, and ability. Jesse promised to use his youth outreach and his own (relative) youthfulness as counter balance to the rest of the officers took our votes. If you read this Jesse, you know why and that we're paying attention.

Out here in the 2nd Congressional District we face tough sledding, the Republicans are Republicans and the Indies are a pretty shade of pink. Democrats face some real obstacles and the DPO is only a piece of that puzzle but a valuable one. Our plot needs some careful tending over a long term if it is ever to bring in some crops and we need that understanding at the top. We have got to do youth recruitment, there's way too much grey hair (or lack of) at our meetings, there will be no Party without the young people.

We have a good slate of officers, people who have shown an understanding, and while things will be a little disjointed for awhile with recent resignations, we will move ahead. Thanks to all the people who put themselves up for positions, we need their dedication.

Republican Funk

It looks like the Republicans don't particularly like the choices they've got so far as Presidential candidates. Nearly 60% of them want more choices, I can't say I blame them, but they have a problem, they've got Republicans to chose from. What they do want is:

More tax cuts
More war
Less abortions
No gay marriages

Not too surprising considering that 76% approve of GeorgeII. Yes, folks, Iraq was the right thing to do, it's being done right, and more is better. The economy is great, by overwhelming number the Repubs support BushCo's management. In fact, these people have pushed the president's approval numbers from 29% to 34%. Now consider that 34% of those polled had a positive view of the Republican Party and these whack jobs start to look a little lonely. The question that goes begging is just exactly why they believe this guy is doing anything right. As BS oriented as Fox is, they show stuff getting blown up in Iraq and even mention our soldiers getting killed and maimed, although the Walter Reed story was blown out of proportion by others ( the usual suspects - liberal media ). If you look at the demographics of the Repubs you have to wonder what two brain cells are talking to each other. Most of these people got squat in tax breaks, their jobs are in jeopardy, their pay is falling, and their kids are getting misused and abused in Iraq and they approve. It's astonishing, the plutocrats are 0.1% of the population and workers are supporting their gains and ignoring their own losses? Queers and baby killers must be powerful mojo, 'cause it sure ain't anything else.

They want Ronnie Reagan back, and frankly if they were to dig him up and stick a pole up his butt they'd have as good as he ever was and a vast improvement over their current "hero." To understand the depths of this stupidity you have to understand that RR killed the Soviet Union, you know, the communism and socialism can never work sort of place; when it didn't work at all it's deux machina - RR as god. What I cannot, in the final estimation, work out; is why so many people over the past dozen years have bought into the Republican mythology. Man, the Democrats must've been real bad.

I'm more than willing to admit that the Democrats have spent some real quality time shooting themselves in the foot and being arrogant while doing it, but holy smokes, the Republicans have taken dead aim at their heads with cannons, stuck their middle finger in the air, and they still believe. This goes beyond ideology, beyond brand identification, all the way to tribalism. No, I don't get it.

Friday, March 09, 2007


I have to take some time off from this Blog to go to the DPO Re-organization meeting this weekend. Considering the distance from Baker City to Salem I'm going to leave early and come back later, so, Friday through Sunday afternoon I'll be away from the keyboard. Most likely, unless I get access to a lap top, I'm sure not dragging a desk top with me just for you people...

It'll be a busy day considering I'm a member of several rather important caucuses - all trying to meet at about the same time.

Gonzales - Idiot or Worse?

Remember the sneaky little bit about the Administration being able to appoint replacement federal prosecutors without Senate confirmation? There was that bit about the Appeals Courts doing it being Unconstitutional and tooooooooo time consuming in this era of imminent danger. Apparently now that everybody and their brother is hot about it, The Admin is no longer committed to it, they will no longer oppose legislation limiting the AG's power. After the meeting Sen Arlen Spector had this to say, "One day there will be a new attorney general, maybe sooner rather than later," which might lead one to think he's unhappy and that maybe a little pushing around occurred. This is the same nit picker that stated that because the Constitution only prohibits the suspension of Habeas Corpus in certain circumstances that it's not otherwise a guaranteed right. Now why would anybody talk about replacing such an intellect?

Gonzales also allowed the Senate to call five top level Justice officials involved in the Pearl Harbor, um, Dec. 7th firing of 7 federal prosecutors. For some reason these prosecutors took to heart allegations that their firings had to do with performance issues and began to object. Some people other than the fired ones found it odd that their latest performance ratings were fine. Some Senators are concerned that the firings and the hiring procedure would be used to place political cronies. Karl Rove, one of whose cronies has already been appointed, said these actions are, "normal and ordinary," after the AG's appearance. Someone must've forgotten to tell him. I've heard somebody runs the show over there...

So, how bad does all this stink? Bad enough to get the lap dogs in the Senate stirred up.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Do You Know Who K. Lee Blalack II Is?

First if you want to use his services you'd better have lots of money, lots, and then judging from his client list powerful friends and high position yourself. (in other words, not you, reader) People like Bill Frist, the Dukester, and now Sen Domenici get his lawyerly council. Those three are Republicans and seem to have difficulties in ethical matters, but I don't know it it's an exclusive club. You could probably make a pretty good living as a lawyer representing only crooked Republicans. Frist played fast and loose with health care stocks and the law, the Duke liked bribes, and Sen Domenici seems to make phone calls to a federal prosecutor, later fired federal prosecutor, federal prosecutors that wouldn't hurry up a politically sensitive investigation - in time for elections - Democrat investigation - Republicans take a loss election.

Wasn't it the Republicans who told us we had nothing to fear from the government's new investigative powers? Wasn't Domenici one of the Senators who scoffed about it? An ethics committee is nothing new, so why's he so worried? Surely the specter of Scooter getting a fair trial couldn't weigh on him. So why does he need one of the highest powered attorneys in DC? Do you get the feeling I don't like the way these jerks stomp all over the rest of us and try to buy their way out if somebody looks askance at their peccadillo's?

It really is time to seriously clean house, folks.

Fox - Confused

Sometimes reality takes a little zig and people like Fox News zag and the result is an alternate reality. Fox banner : Libby Not Guilty Of Lying To FBI. Uhuh, guilty of 4 other counts of lying, but the big news is... Britt Hume, et al: Oh no the jurors were confused, that's a big problem, that's what happened. Nice job of cherry picking boys, you didn't bother to finish with, confused as to why the rest of Fox's hero rat bastards weren't in court as well.

The big problem Fitz faced on the disclosure of Plame's identity prosecution is the wiggle phrase "deliberately and knowingly." Had this involved liberals or Democrats or other verminous lefties the Faux Noise machine would've battered your ears bloody over "technicalities" and sloppy justice. Padilla tortured with sensory deprivation and isolation while deprived of Habeas Corpus is just an example of stern measures to secure us, Libby's lies are an oops and witchhunt.

Let's be clear about something, Plame's cover in weapon's proliferation was blown, along with anybody who ever had contact with her. WMgodamnD proliferation, Fox, you know the basis for all your cheerleading during "Shock&Awe," America the Insecure. People's lives are screwed because your Dear Leader had to lie and his hit patrol had to whack those who exposed him. Then the shit hit the fan and all your "heroes" had to cover their asses. Is the Scoot just a cowardly liar like the rest or is he an idiot standup fall guy?

The alternate reality? Here's the outfit who, along with fatboy Rush, jump up and down bemoaning the "free passes" criminals get from weak-kneed judges and appeals courts trashing a successful prosecutor and no-nonsense judge. But then Rush was persecuted as a doper and BillO was hounded as a sex predator and that was all bullshit, too.

If you watch any of their junk, you're helping finance this crappola.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Scooter Takes One For the Team

So, Scooter, 4 of 5 isn't so hot. You could get 20 years, we all know 1-2 would be a real whack, though. If you can drag out sentencing and muck about with appeals long enough, GeorgeII will be headed out the door in time to hand you your pardon. That's taking one for the team.

Funny how nobody in the political end of this administration ever has to take responsibility, yes the Scooter is a fall guy for Cheney and Rove, but it won't cost him more than this trial. You know there's a good Republican employer for Scooter and other people have paid for his lawyering up and like any good criminal he'll work the appeals system so in the end run the only harm is to his reputation, and who is that hurt with? I'll just bet he gives a rat's patoot that the opposition to the current regime thinks he's pond scum.

So in the world of Republican politics all is well, Cheney isn't looking any worse than ever, Rove still has his job, and the Prez hasn't fired all those "leakers." Everybody gets to walk away. I strongly suggest that none of my readers try it, though, you might find the game is played a little differently for you.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The Welcome Mat

Maybe someone will explain to me just exactly how this (New Haven Welcomes a Booming Population of Immigrants, Legal or Not ) will reduce the numbers of people coming to the US illegally. Now, or at any time in the future. Let's just assume for a second, for the sake of argument, that we solve the illegal alien problem by an instant amnesty. Hurry down to the local PD & register and you're good, as of today. Nobody after today is good. There's the nice, nice solution.

New Haven makes it clear that the numbers of immigrants make it imperative that they be nice, so what is going to happen in another 5 years? Will the numbers again make it imperative to be nice? Why would anybody who wants to come on in, not come on in? You certainly are not going to suggest that the stuff won't need picked, houses won't be built, or are you?

Now, splitting the differences 12 million/30 million, you've already added 17 million illegal workers to the labor pool and gotten today's suppression of wages, what is going to happen when you add another 7-10 million to the bottom of the wage pool? Then, just for giggles, toss in the outsourced job losses, although as wages plummet it might slow. It will stop happening when there's no difference between 3rd world wages and our own. I'd rather pull them up, than us rush down, but that apparently is racist xenophobia. Ah hell, throw out the welcome mat, those of us old enough to remember labor as an honest way to support a family will all be dead soon, anyhow. It does pay to remember that when the worker bees ain't got any money to spend, your jobs become superfluous also.

I'd really like to go one week without this issue getting rammed in my face...

More Money, More Money

The White House is embarrassed, not to ask for more money for Iraq, but because Congress already said they'd 'lowballed' the escalation costs. The AP Story makes it pretty clear another $2 billion or so needs to be added to the $93.4 billion requested to run the show through September.

You needn't be bothered by that number, it certainly won't cause taxes to go up, and you won't be expected to pay it. Your children will be stuck with the bill, or grand kids. At some point this mess will hit a brick wall, called interest on the debt. That's awhile down the pike, but here's the bad news, we are fast approaching the point where we will not be able to tax ourselves out of the collision. Grover Norquist may have gotten his wish to drown the system in the tub.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Try To Understand the Problem

Inmates Will Replace Migrants in Colorado Fields is a New York Times piece regarding the scarcity of illegal migrant workers in Colorado. Since the serfs won't come around law enforcement another serf labor force must be found.

Does anybody understand the consequences of business behavior that crushes wages to this level? Why, exactly, is it racism and xenophobia to oppose this direction in the US? The fact that the tools of this repression of labor happen to be primarily of one race and one nationality has absolutely not one thing to do with the merits. It would make no difference to the issue if these people were green Martians.

This is the logical outcome of work that pays serf wages, it is the only outcome possible. No guest worker, path to citizenship, amnesty, or other policy that does not address wages will accomplish one thing, other than flood the country with those willing to be serfs. If you want a country with a population of serfs then you have no problem with the direction we're headed in.

This is old news, if you aren't aware that in previous times (Robber Barons?) immigrants have been used to crush the working class then you are neither informed nor competent to have an opinion. If you are aware of this and support its continuation it is fairly obvious where you stand in regard to those who work with their hands. I'm sorry, your sympathy for the green Martians is immaterial to the problem. You either support the plutocrats or you do not.