Monday, February 18, 2008

Simpsons vs. Star Trek

Greetings. I am from the Planet Unrulia.

In the years that we have been receiving your earthly generated communication waves, a great debate amongst my people; "Simpsons or Star Trek?" has arisen.

[Enterprising Unrulians shall seek out and find this theremin playing creature and the pianimal. They would be fun to have at parties it appears.]

We really, really like the theremin playing by the yellow helmeted bozo.

This is a political ad, yes? But we can't tell WHO this unruly ensemble is backing for your next United States president? Is it Kodos or Kang? I can't believe they would be for the Kirk Party. He switched from the Space-o-crats to the P's (Priceline) you know.

Thank you.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Tears of Rage

We carried you in our arms
On Independence Day,
And now you'd throw us all aside
And put us on our way."
-- Tears of Rage --
(Bob Dylan & Richard Manuel)
Throwing us all aside, the US Senate has capitulated once again to the UberFührer's President's demands, this time on the issue of telecom immunity. As infuriating as it was at first blush, it only became more so on further reflection. In last night's lively thread I made an oblique observation that the DINO problem may be much worse than we thought. Look at the way the voting breaks down by how close those Democratic Senators who voted with the Republicans are to facing the polls:
Here is the list, with the cohort to which each Senator belongs. I think It shows an interesting trend.

Evan Bayh (D-IA) - III
Tom Carper (D-DE) - I
Kent Conrad (D-ND) - I
Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) - I
Daniel Inouye (D-HI) - III
Tim Johnson (D-SD) - II
Herb Kohl (D-WI) - I
Mary Landrieu (D-LA) - II
Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) - III
Claire McCaskill (D-MO) - I
Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) - III
Ben Nelson (D-NE) - I
Bill Nelson (D-FL) - I
Mark Pryor (D-AR) - II
Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) - II
Ken Salazar (D-CO) - III
Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) - I
Jim Webb (D-VA) - I

This year's cohort II (4 out of 12)
Tim Johnson, Mary Landrieu, Mark Pryor, Jay Rockefeller

2010 cohort III (5 out of 15)
Evan Bayh, Daniel Inouye, Blanche Lincoln, Barbara Mikulski, Ken Salazar

2012 cohort I (9 out of 22)
Tom Carper, Kent Conrad, Dianne Feinstein, Herb Kohl, Claire McCaskill, Ben Nelson, Bill Nelson, Debbie Stabenow, Jim Webb
I think the numbers pretty much provide their own analysis. There may be any number of stealth Republicans with D's attached to their names who will vote with the R's when necessary to get a measure passed, but refrain from doing so unless necessary in order not to blow their cover. I could be wrong, but when Nosybear remarked that I had implied such a premise, I ran the numbers and here you see the result. You do the math, as they say. To be honest I haven't done any stats or probability problems in decades, and wouldn't know how to test this result to see if it passes a significance threshold.

At the very least this way of looking at the vote demonstrates one thing. The Democrats seem to be much more afraid of being punished at the polls for being soft on Republican terror than for being soft on Islamofascist (or whatever you want to call it) terror.
Another observation I made is of just how much will have been given to this foul administration and their corporate enablers should retroactive immunity ever become law. Remember, the reason they're pushing so hard for this is that with the Department of Justice in their pocket, they can assure that no court will ever get to scrutinize their actions.
Without judicial review, and able to hide behind the State Secrets wall, there are no limits. The telecoms, the alphabet soupers, or the White House can spy on Congressmen of the opposition or even their own side for purposes of blackmail. They can listen in to conference calls of their competitors, steal trade secrets, practice insider trading without 'officially' being an insider. They could even bug trysts between lovers just for some kind of sick sexual gratification.
Jenn provided a link to this Raw Story piece about Bush's recent revelation that there were indeed telecoms who co-operated with illegal activities, something he has never come right out and said before. Man, that is one cocky bastard, filled with the certainty that he has destroyed the very concept of Justice in America! May he die the death of Herod the Great.

One line in that Raw Story sticks out from the others. "Bush has pledged to veto any bill without immunity, and he said Tuesday that he would not accept any more temporary FISA extensions."

Here's what I see playing out:
-Buoyed by his success in the Senate, Bush is trying to set yet another 'soft on terrorism' trap for the Democrats in the house. This is typical of his brat-like habit of, when given exactly what he wants, demanding more.

-Should the house fail to comply he will veto the bill and then, bewildering to anyone with two functioning synapses, blame the Democrats for denying him the tools to fight terrorism.

This should scare the hell out of us, because it implies that he is either:
1) absolutely certain that the corporate media will spin this to look the exact opposite of what it is or
2) planning on letting FISA lapse then springing yet another false flag operation, the 'third pearl harbor' that will justify him suspending the November elections and declaring martial law outright.

Clearly, tears are not nearly enough. This is like attending a funeral for human rights, perhaps for democracy itself. Like the passage of the Military Commissions Act last September, this is a time for sackcloth and ashes, a time for tearing at the hems of one's garments. A time for weeping.

We pointed out the way to go
And scratched your name in sand,
Though you just thought it was nothing more
Than a place for you to stand.
Now, I want you to know that while we watched,
You discover there was no one true.
Most ev'rybody really thought
It was a childish thing to do.

It was all very painless
When you went out to receive
All that false instruction
Which we never could believe.
And now the heart is filled with gold
As if it was a purse.
But, oh, what kind of love is this
Which goes from bad to worse?
Tears of rage, tears of grief,
Must I always be the thief?
Come to me now, you know
We're so low
And life is brief.
(This post is a follow-on to Unconventional Conventionist's excellent And Liberty Cried..)

"HOPE has two children.
The first is ANGER at the way things are.
The second is COURAGE to DO SOMETHING about it."
-- St. Augustine --

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

And Liberty Cried

As I write this, it was within the last hour that the 110th Session of the Senate of the United States passed by 68 - 29 the most constitutional damage EVER. Consider the 4th Amendment wrecked unless some miracle happens in the House and/or in the Conference report.

Here is a pretty good summary of what went on, what will happen next.

But let's have a look at this in a total context.

THE PRIMARIES: Both Senators Obama and McCain were on the floor, voted on the amendments and the actual final bill. Senator Clinton was not on the floor and did not vote.

THE PRESS: SadButTrue's post below pretty much sums the climate up; LIES.

THE COURTS: Bear with me here. This is a little complex. The FISA court continues to say that there is likely information that the public should know that exists in the classified materials the ACLU seeks. Christy Hardin Smith at FDL puts it better than I can:

In other words, there is likely information that the public should know that exists in these classified materials, but the Congress, and not the courts, is the place in which these matters ought to be investigated. It's a strong hint from the FISA court, but they are not going to go beyond that because to do so, in their opinion, would be a violation of their role in this oversight tango. (And I have to wonder if the documents that the House is combing through contain this information -- or is it something beyond what they have been given?)

That the FISA Court has gone on record publicly not once -- but twice now-- on this issue screams volumes. That there is no clear resolution to these issues says a lot about where we are politically, and about the levels of frustration that is engendering among a whole host of people inside and outside the Beltway.

Contrast the FISC Court against Antonin "It’s ‘Absurd’ To Say The Gov’t Can’t ‘Smack’ A Suspect ‘In The Face’" Scalia. In light of the fact that testimony under water torture hasn't been in use since, oh, the Spanish Inquisition.

All this and a Healthy Dose of Unitary Executive.

Personal Gain Trumping Duty. Lies. Secrets. Legal Versus Justice System. Unchecked Executive Power.

You now understand why I titled this post "And Liberty Cried..."

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Thursday, February 7, 2008

See this guy? He sucks

See this guy? He's your Attorney General.

And he sucks.





The big reason, which I never actually came face to face to, until today, is that his refusal to actually act like an Attorney General, means that cases of Gitmo, Waterboarding, and nasty activity in the Department of Justice, are now NOT ACTIONABLE by the Courts.

There is no check and balance on the Unitary Executive.

Who'd have thunk it?