Singing the Bite Me Song


Democracy


March 04, 2007

What it will take to begin to restore the United States from where the Bush Administration has decimated it

The New York Times lays out a roadmap in this editorial, and as a list, it's a good start. Had to save it, before it goes behind the firewall in a few weeks.

Link: The Must-Do List - New York Times.

Editorial

The Must-Do List

Published: March 4, 2007
 

The Bush administration’s assault on some of the founding principles of American democracy marches onward despite the Democratic victory in the 2006 elections. The new Democratic majorities in Congress can block the sort of noxious measures that the Republican majority rubber-stamped. But preventing new assaults on civil liberties is not nearly enough.

Five years of presidential overreaching and Congressional collaboration continue to exact a high toll in human lives, America’s global reputation and the architecture of democracy. Brutality toward prisoners, and the denial of their human rights, have been institutionalized; unlawful spying on Americans continues; and the courts are being closed to legal challenges of these practices.

It will require forceful steps by this Congress to undo the damage. A few lawmakers are offering bills intended to do just that, but they are only a start. Taking on this task is a moral imperative that will show the world the United States can be tough on terrorism without sacrificing its humanity and the rule of law.

Today we’re offering a list — which, sadly, is hardly exhaustive — of things that need to be done to reverse the unwise and lawless policies of President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. Many will require a rewrite of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, an atrocious measure pushed through Congress with the help of three Republican senators, Arlen Specter, Lindsey Graham and John McCain; Senator McCain lent his moral authority to improving one part of the bill and thus obscured its many other problems.

Our list starts with three fundamental tasks:

Restore Habeas Corpus   

One of the new act’s most indecent provisions denies anyone Mr. Bush labels an “illegal enemy combatant” the ancient right to challenge his imprisonment in court. The arguments for doing this were specious.

[...]

Stop Illegal Spying   

Mr. Bush’s program of intercepting Americans’ international calls and e-mail messages without a warrant has not ceased.

[...]

Ban Torture, Really

 

The provisions in the Military Commissions Act that Senator McCain trumpeted as a ban on torture are hardly that. It is still largely up to the president to decide what constitutes torture and abuse for the purpose of prosecuting anyone who breaks the rules.

[...]

Close the C.I.A. Prisons

[...]

Account for ‘Ghost Prisoners’

[...]

Ban Extraordinary Rendition

 

This is the odious practice of abducting foreign citizens and secretly flying them to countries where everyone knows they will be tortured. It is already illegal to send a prisoner to a country if there is reason to believe he will be tortured. The administration’s claim that it got “diplomatic assurances” that prisoners would not be abused is laughable.

[...]

Tighten the Definition of Combatant   

“Illegal enemy combatant” is assigned a dangerously broad definition in the Military Commissions Act. It allows Mr. Bush — or for that matter anyone he chooses to designate to do the job — to apply this label to virtually any foreigner anywhere, including those living legally in the United States.

Screen Prisoners Fairly and Effectively   

When the administration began taking prisoners in Afghanistan, it did not much bother to screen them. Hundreds of innocent men were sent to Gitmo, where far too many remain to this day. The vast majority will never even be brought before tribunals and still face indefinite detention without charges.

[...]

Ban Tainted Evidence   

The Military Commissions Act and the regulations drawn up by the Pentagon to put it into action, are far too permissive on evidence obtained through physical abuse or coercion. This evidence is unreliable. The method of obtaining it is an affront.

Ban Secret Evidence   

Under the Pentagon’s new rules for military tribunals, judges are allowed to keep evidence secret from a prisoner’s lawyer if the government persuades the judge it is classified. The information that may be withheld can include interrogation methods, which would make it hard, if not impossible, to prove torture or abuse.

      

[KAFKA WOULD BE TURNING OVER IN HIS GRAVE! Or maybe he'd expect such an absurd and ridiculous excuse for a "trial." That this ever happened with a straight face puts the United States RIGHT BACK IN SALEM, MA CIRCA 1692, and with about as much credibility.]

Better Define ‘Classified’ Evidence   

The military commission rules define this sort of secret evidence as “any information or material that has been determined by the United States government pursuant to statute, executive order or regulation to require protection against unauthorized disclosure for reasons of national security.” This is too broad, even if a president can be trusted to exercise the power fairly and carefully. Mr. Bush has shown he cannot be trusted to do that.

Respect the Right to Counsel   

Soon after 9/11, the Bush administration allowed the government to listen to conversations and intercept mail between some prisoners and their lawyers. This had the effect of suspending their right to effective legal representation.

[...]


March 4, 2007 at 10:56 AM in Democracy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 27, 2007

Utter Fucking Insanity... the idea of attacking Iran

Could somebody please give Vice President Dick Cheney a REAL psychiatric evaluation?! I mean, one that can actually determine WHY this man is so utterly out of touch with reality and so completely delusional?

And the bigger question is why we are letting this administration take the entire country down with their idiotic dick-waving and war-mongering for oil.

In my darker moments, I suspect Bush and Cheney think Iraq was Czechoslavakia, and Iran is Poland. Except unlike the Nazis they are trance-channeling from beyond the grave, we are (and will continue to, if these plans go through) get our asses kicked.

Meanwhile, Seymour Hersh strikes again. Go Sy! Meanwhile, we all need to go read the New Yorker.

Link: The New Yorker : THE REDIRECTION: Is the Administration’s new policy benefitting our enemies in the war on terrorism? by SEYMOUR M. HERSH

Here's just a little summary from the Guardian. BTW, the last paragraph below is just mind-boggling.

Link: US accused of drawing up plan to bomb Iran | Iran | Guardian Unlimited.

US accused of drawing up plan to bomb Iran

Suzanne Goldenberg in Washington
Monday    February  26, 2007
The Guardian

  Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad raises his fist during a public rally. Photograph: Mehdi Ghasemi/Getty

 
President George Bush has charged the Pentagon with devising an expanded bombing plan for Iran that can be carried out at 24 hours' notice, it was reported yesterday.

An extensive article in the New Yorker magazine by the investigative journalist Seymour Hersh describes the contingency bombing plan as part of a general overhaul by the Bush administration of its policy towards Iran.

It said a special planning group at the highest levels of the US military had expanded its mission from selecting potential targets connected to Iranian nuclear facilities, and had been directed to add sites that may be involved in aiding Shia militant forces in Iraq to its list.

That new strategy, intended to reverse the rise in Iranian power that has been an unintended consequence of the war in Iraq, could bring the countries much closer to open confrontation and risks igniting a regional sectarian war between Shia and Sunni Muslims, the New Yorker says.

Elements of the tough new approach towards Tehran outlined by Hersh include:

  • Clandestine operations against Iran and Syria, as well as the Hizbullah movement in Lebanon - even to the extent of bolstering Sunni extremist groups that are sympathetic to al-Qaida
  • Sending US special forces into Iranian territory in pursuit of Iranian operatives, as well as to gather intelligence
  • Secret operations are being funded by Saudi Arabia to avoid scrutiny by
    Congress. "There are many, many pots of black money, scattered in many
    places and used all over the world on a variety of missions," Hersh
    quotes a Pentagon consultant as saying.

As in the run-up to the Iraq war, the vice-president, Dick Cheney, has bypassed other administration officials to take charge of the aggressive new policy, working along with the deputy national security adviser, Elliott Abrams, and the former ambassador to Kabul and Baghdad, Zalmay Khalilzad.

Mr Cheney is also relying heavily on Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi national security adviser, who spent 22 years as ambassador to the US, and who has been offering his advice on foreign policy to Mr Bush since he first contemplated running for president.

The New Yorker revelations, arriving soon after Mr Cheney reaffirmed that war with Iran remained an option if it did not dismantle its nuclear programme, further ratcheted up fears of a military confrontation between Washington and Tehran.

[...]

His assertion that the Bush administration was actively preparing for an attack on Iran was denied by the Pentagon. "The United States is not planning to go to war with Iran. To suggest anything to the contrary is simply wrong, misleading and mischievous," the Pentagon spokesman, Bryan Whitman, told reporters.

Hersh was just as adamant. "This president is not going to leave office without doing something about Iran," he told CNN. Hersh claims that the former director of national intelligence, John Negroponte, resigned his post to take a parallel job as the deputy director of the state department because of his discomfort with an approach that so closely echoed the Iran-contra scandal of the 1980s.

[...]

One prime arena for the new strategy is Lebanon where the administration has been trying to prop up the government of Fouad Siniora, which faces a resurgent Hizbullah movement in the aftermath of last summer's war with Israel.

Some of the billions of aid to the Beirut government has ended up in the hands of radical Sunnis in the Beka'a valley, Hersh writes. Syrian extremist groups have also benefited from the new policy. "These groups, though small, are seen as a buffer to Hizbullah; at the same time, their ideological ties are with al-Qaida," Hersh writes.


February 27, 2007 at 11:42 PM in Democracy, Favorite Links, Orwell, Politics, Rhetoric, War/Terrorism | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 31, 2006

Another reason to be suspicious of foaming-at-the-mouth anti-abortion nutjobs

This Nation article on Rush Limbaugh's laughably lambastic attack on Michael J. Fox contains some interesting observations down below the lead.

Call me naive, but given all my past history of counter-protesting the Friday afternoon anti-abortion nutjobs outside our local Planned Parenthood clinic, this particular angle, that the anti-abortion groups are so ridiculous and crazy, they serve as a little-noticed front for GOP big money special interest funds, somehow never occurred to me before.

Anti-abortionists as a nutty button for big money corporate manipulators to push at will, with massive funds?

Well, think about it. They must be getting money somewhere, and right-wing money seems much more likely to come top down with fake astro-turfing than truly from grassroots bottom up (unless the so-called "grassroots" is on some GOP moneybags' payroll). The media doesn't take Flat Earther's seriously, or those who deny the Holocaust occurred. But no matter how nutty these folks get, how many clinics they bomb, how much they conspire like terrorists, they still get a fair hearing in the media.

I guess I got inklings of that in reading about the odd PACs that Tom DeLay was affiliated with, like that supposed "family" political action committee that his wife even worked for, but was nothing more than a front to funnel major influence-buying money from some Russian kingpins (why doesn't anyone cry "treason" when these folks are so eager to allow international cartels and money-bags to have more influence over legislation and U.S. policy than people in the U.S?).

Anyway, here's the deep down bits. I don't see documentation on these claims, but I do take refuge in the knowledge that The Nation is one of the most rigorously fact-checked long-running publications in the country. Although this is in a blog, and not in the print edition that I know of.

Link: The Nation: Limbaugh's Savage Crusade.

BLOG | Posted 10/28/2006 @ 12:44am

Limbaugh's Savage Crusade

John Nichols' "The Online Beat"

[...]

For the better part of three hours each day this week, the radio ranter has been "Swift Boating the television and film star for daring to do what Limbaugh -- who freely admits that he is an entertainer -- does every day.

In Limbaugh's warped assessment of the political process, it's fine for him to try and influence the votes of Americans. But woe be it to anyone else who attempts to do so.

[Don't you wish he'd used the phrase "woe betide" instead of "woe be it"? I think I'm going to try to find a reason to say "woe betide" at least three times this week. I just like the way it sounds.]

[...]

Because it is easier to criticize the way that Michael J. Fox looks than it is to criticize the content of his message.

Fox's ads are fact-based. They reference the voting records, public statements and policy initiatives of the Democratic and Republican candidates he is talking about.

That being the case, beating up on the "Back to the Future" kid would not seem like a smart political strategy. And it certainly is not going to help Limbaugh soften his image as a partisan hitman who knows a little too much about what it means to be on or off particular medications.

So why are Limbaugh and other readers of Republican talking points continuing to accuse Fox of "acting" sick, and of lying his own disease and about the role that stem-cell research may play in the search for treatments and a cure? Why devote so much time and energy to attacking one ailing actor and one set of commercials? It has a lot to do with the powerful lobby that is opposing serious stem-cell research.

Unspoken in much of the debate over this issue is the real reason why candidates such as U.S. Senator Jim Talent, the embattled Republican incumbent who is the target of Fox's criticism in Missouri, and U.S. Representative Mark Green, the Republican gubernatorial candidate who is mentioned in Fox's ads in Wisconsin, so vehemently oppose embryonic stem-cell research. [emphasis mine]

[...]

...it is because Talent, Green and other politicians who are campaigning not just against their Democratic opponents but against scientific inquiry want to maintain the support of the groups that oppose serious stem-cell research: the powerful and influential anti-choice political action committees that in each election cycle spend millions of dollars in questionable cash to support candidates who are willing to echo their faith-based opposition to research that could identify treatments and perhaps even cures for for life-threatening illnesses...

[...]

Groups that oppose reproductive rights are central players in our politics because they have established networks that serve as some of the most effective hidden conduits for special-interest money that is used to pay for crude attack campaigns against mainstream candidates. [again, emphasis mine]

They also mobilize voters on behalf of contenders who cynically embrace the ugliest forms of anti-scientific dogma to make the rounds since the evolution deniers ginned up the Scopes trial. For this reason, the antiabortion machine gets what it wants when it wants it.

[...]

In states across the country, so-called "Right-to-Life" and "Pro-Life" groups spend freely on behalf of the candidates they back. And much of that spending goes essentially undetected, as the groups often do not give money directly to candidates but instead run "issue ads" and mount independent-expenditure campaigns.

Republican politicians like Talent and Green fully understand that, without the behind-the-scenes work of antiabortion groups -- most of which flies under the radar of the media and campaign-finance regulators -- they could not possibly win. And Limbaugh, whose stated goal is to maintain Republican hegemony, is perhaps even more aware of the fact than the candidates he is working so feverishly to elect. That's why the radio personality is on a personal crusade against Fox. That's also why Limbaugh has been willing to stick to his outlandish claims about the actor, even while acknowledging that he's gotten the facts wrong.

Like the Republican politicians who are scrambling to smear Fox, Limbaugh is doing the bidding of one of the most powerful behind-the-scenes political forces in America -- a force that is essential to Republican prospects. And he is not going to let a little thing like the truth make him back off.

[...]

October 31, 2006 at 04:18 PM in Democracy, Favorite Links, Media & Journalism, News to Note, Politics, Privacy & Free Speech, Rhetoric, Science, Television | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 19, 2006

Just pause to consider what this new habeas corpus-suspending military tribunal law really means

I only have one comment to add:

"Fascist fucks!"

Link: A Dangerous New Order - New York Times.

Editorial

A Dangerous New Order

Published: October 19, 2006 

Once President Bush signed the new law on military tribunals, administration officials and Republican leaders in Congress wasted no time giving Americans a taste of the new order created by this unconstitutional act.

Within hours, Justice Department lawyers notified the federal courts that they no longer had the authority to hear pending lawsuits filed by attorneys on behalf of
inmates of the penal camp at Guantánamo Bay. They cited passages in the bill that suspend the fundamental principle of habeas corpus, making Mr. Bush the first president since the Civil War to take that undemocratic step.

Not satisfied with having won the vote, Dennis Hastert, the speaker of the House, quickly issued a statement accusing Democrats who opposed the Military Commissions Act of 2006 of putting “their liberal agenda ahead of the security of America.” He said the Democrats “would gingerly pamper the terrorists who plan to destroy innocent Americans’ lives” and create “new rights for terrorists.”

This nonsense is part of the Republicans’ scare-America-first strategy for the elections. No Democrat advocated pampering terrorists — gingerly or otherwise — or giving them new rights. Democratic amendments to the bill sought to protect everyone’s right to a fair trial while providing a legal way to convict terrorists.

Americans will hear more of this ahead of the election. They also will hear Mr. Bush say that he finally has the power to bring to justice a handful of men behind the 9/11 attacks. The truth is that Mr. Bush could have done that long ago, but chose to detain them illegally at hidden C.I.A. camps to extract information. He sent them to Guantánamo only to stampede Congress into passing the new law.

[...]

October 19, 2006 at 09:30 PM in Democracy, Favorite Links, News to Note, Orwell, Politics, War/Terrorism | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 29, 2006

The old "Wonkette" as Time.com Washington Editor?

Link: COX IN THE HEN HOUSE.

OK, what's wrong with this picture? I get that Ana Marie Cox was a serious journalist before becoming Wonkette, as the article says below, working at Mother Jones and the Chronicle of Higher Ed. Fine. But Washington Editor?! Replacing Matt Cooper? WTF?

And I'm all for bloggers making an end run around the traditional journalistic pecking order gauntlet, where usually it means you came from a prep school and went to Harvard or a famous journalism program, then bought your famous media internship. Generally, the idea that the only way to the top in the Washington press corp was through an impossible labyrinth of trenches and who-you-know (right up there with K-Street? Do you get hired for your Rollodex? That reinforces the prep-school feeling about it all.) galls me greatly.

But a thousand political blogs are blooming in a reborn social commons, and there are some REALLY FINE voices out there, WOMEN, people I can respect a hell of a lot more than "Wonkette." You gotta be kidding me if you think she's the cream of the crop with all the heavy snark and sex talk. Time.com should be at Blogher Conference right now, like I wish I were.

And I LOVE that they picked a woman, but good god, why THAT woman? Please note, I don't know Ana Marie Cox from Eve, and while I'd probably immensely enjoy going out for beers with her, I take my opinion only from the tone and scope of the old "Wonkette" blog, which I'd call fun, but not exactly Washington editor material.

If they wanted someone who has taken a blog leadership role and rejuvinated a sense of holding government accountable, why not go after Arianna Huffington? (she probably wouldn't take it anyway, heh) She has accomplished something substantial in the blogosphere, creating a powerful stable of bloggers who are actively holding government far more accountable than Time.com is. (Maybe Time.com accurately realizes that Huffington Post is becoming its competition, something Wonkette NEVER was.)

I dunno, maybe Time.com was doing one of those GOP-token women things, where the women Republicans put in prominent positions are PR flash, fake placeholder fronts for the MEN who get the real responsibility (like Christine Todd Whitman, who didn't like being a fake woman figurehead all that much, or like our current president, who doesn't seem to mind being a fake figurehead leader at all), just so they can be seen to be publicly promoting women for the PR value of it, even though the good ol' boys in the smoke-filled rooms are deeply loathe to share any REAL power.

I sure would hope Cox would take 'em on, if that is the case, and I'm betting if they expect her to act properly de-fanged, she'd tell them precisely where they could stick it. I mean, of course I'd take the offer if I were in her shoes, but damn if I wouldn't be on the lookout for some other shoe to drop.

I'm just projecting, making all that up, but this just chaps my hide. Does Time.com expect to hold any crediblity with this? Or is that somehow the point? Perhaps Time is just delightedly certain that Cox will never be subpoenaed for her sources by the government, the way Cooper was.

I mean, would Time pick someone from a supermarket gossip tabloid to run other major coverage efforts?

Ana_marie_cox Is it a bald-faced play for that coveted youth-babe-loving male demographic with advertising buying power? Strictly a PR hire to "buy cred" in the blogosphere?

Does it reflect the male assumption that mature, experienced, competent women have no place in this newly-reborn out-of-the-closet 2000s sexism, where women are tolerated so long as they don't look like they know what they're doing or threaten the male power establishment? In other words, mouthy Ann Coulter clones, of any political stripe?

Would they have given this same job to Cox if she had the same writing "voice" and looked like, say, Madeline Albright or Donna Shalala or even Arianna Huffington?

Or is the Washington editor just a nothing job? (I bet there's a fair number of folks inside Time.com who'd been bucking for the job, working their way up, who just got leap-frogged.)

Maybe government sources are rejoicing at the potentially free-er ride they'll get from at least one major newsweekly, so long as they obfuscate with juicy sex and gossip bits to hide pork, kickbacks, incompetence, or other corruptions.

Or maybe Time.com actually strategized that the Ann Coulter-loving GOP power-brokers who don't take women seriously will let their guard down more with the likes of Cox. You know, the kind who let the "girls" froth and foam, take a puff from a stinky cigar, pat them on the head, and say, "There there, honey. You tell 'em, all right. Are you sure you won't fuck me now? I just love it when you get all worked up."

Cox in the Henhouse?

Former Wonkette Ana Maria Cox's transformation from blogger cover girl to Old Media's new hope is almost complete. Cox on Thursday was named Washington editor of Time.com, where she will coordinate political coverage and continue to contribute articles. "I've been trying to sell out for a very long time," Cox wrote in an e-mail to WWD. "I'm proud to say I finally have."

Cox will succeed Matt Cooper, who jumped ship for Condé Nast's upcoming business magazine Portfolio, and who often served as blog fodder in Cox's Wonkette days. Said Cox, "Matt asked me to inscribe his copy of my book with, ‘Thanks for all the material.'" She expects to write more often than Cooper did in the role, as well as amp up the magazine's quotient of "satirical, biting D.C. commentary."

Time, suffering like all newsweeklies to maintain its relevance in a 24-hour news cycle, is evidently pinning its hopes on Cox to bring buzz to its Web site. For those who remember her mostly for her bawdiness and outing of Capitol Hill indiscretions and who doubt her prowess on subjects such as the midterm elections, Cox cited her years as a serious journalist for publications like Mother Jones and The Chronicle of Higher Education. But that doesn't mean the new gig signals a new, soberer Cox. "I won't change much about what I write about or the way I write it," she said, "because that's how I got here." — Irin Carmon

July 29, 2006 at 11:35 AM in Best Essays, Cyberculture, Democracy, Favorite Links, Media & Journalism, News to Note, Politics, Rhetoric, Satire, Singing the Bite Me Song, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 24, 2006

Things to remember...

Thanks to the Daily Kos for assembling them for me!

Link: Daily Kos: Anticipa-ay-tion ... It's Making Me Lie.

Katrina:

"I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees."
-- President Bush, September 1, 2005

WASHINGTON-- The Homeland Security Department was warned a day before Hurricane Katrina hit that the storm's surge could breach levees and leave New Orleans flooded for weeks or months, documents released Monday show.
-- Newsday, January 23, 2006

And who can forget the recent Monty Python "Spanish Inquisition" moment for Bremer:

Washington -- Paul Bremer, who led the U.S. civilian occupation authority in Iraq after the 2003 invasion, has admitted the United States did not anticipate the insurgency, NBC Television said yesterday.
-- Globe and Mail, January 7, 2006

Rebuilding Iraq will require a considerable commitment of American resources, but the longer U.S. presence is maintained, the more likely violent resistance will develop.
-- Army War College Report, February 2003

And, of course, the granddaddy of them all, that "plane flying into buildings" thing:

"I don't think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center, take another one and slam it into the Pentagon."
-- Condoleezza Rice, May 16, 2002

WASHINGTON -- In the two years before the Sept. 11 attacks, the North American Aerospace Defense Command conducted exercises simulating what the White House says was unimaginable at the time: hijacked airliners used as weapons to crash into targets and cause mass casualties.

One of the imagined targets was the World Trade Center. In another exercise, jets performed a mock shootdown over the Atlantic Ocean of a jet supposedly laden with chemical poisons headed toward a target in the United States. In a third scenario, the target was the Pentagon -- but that drill was not run after Defense officials said it was unrealistic, NORAD and Defense officials say.
-- USA Today, April 18, 2004

January 24, 2006 at 04:20 AM in Democracy, Favorite Links, News to Note, Politics, Singing the Bite Me Song, War/Terrorism | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 26, 2005

GOP Rep. Ron Paul on a future martial law nightmare: The US policed by international mercenaries?

What an interesting sector that this voice is heard from. Rep. Paul is a conservative (perhaps an isolationist) who is pushing to pull the U.S. out of the U.N., which is not a position I support, but I find his point of view below very interesting, especially in the manner Blackwater Securities, Hallibuton, Chilean troops, etc. have been used in Iraq, not as U.N. Peacekeepers, but in the hire of the United States. Blackwater etc. were also seen patrolling with submachine guns without question in New Orleans.

I found this at PrisonPlanet.com.

Congressman Ron Paul Reiterates Danger Of Foreign Troops Being Used For Martial Law

Paul Joseph Watson & Alex Jones | November 24 2005    

Republican Congressman Ron Paul recently appeared on nationally syndicated radio and again reiterated his deep concern that foreign troops are mobilizing outside and inside America to be used as assets in a martial law takeover by the Bush administration.

"It's a horrible precedent and it's all part of the NAFTA scheme and globalization and world government," Paul told the Alex Jones Show.    

"Obviously they shouldn't be permitted. What I'd like to see is that we don't have our troops in foreign countries and if we needed a national guard that they were back here at home, that's the bigger problem. Then if there were foreign troops on our soil maybe our state officials could deal with that with their own national guard."

Paul elaborated on his fear that after  the next crisis the government, in line with their own public statements, will use military assets to police Americans on a regular basis.

"They're putting their back up against the wall and saying, if need be we're going to have martial law."

"We've heard all these statements by the President, by the administration, why they need more militarism at the federal government to keep people in check so nobody knows how this  will turn out but I do know that the only thing we can do about it is try  to alert the American people to what's going on so they can be prepared."

Paul offered his take on why the government seemed to be acting in a deranged and reckless manner on every issue.

"It's almost like they're going overboard  that they lose their rationality and that's part of the reason why they usually fail too is they get overly bold and I think our government is overly  bold thinking they are invincible and they feel invincible with their finances. Our government controls the reserve currency of the world, they literally  have the ability to print gold."

[...]

November 26, 2005 at 01:42 PM in Current Affairs, Democracy, Favorite Links, News to Note, Privacy & Free Speech, War/Terrorism | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Deborah Davis challenges the federal government

OUTRAGEOUS!

Link: Deborah Davis :: Want to Ride? Papers, Please..

Commuting By Bus In Denver? Papers, Please.

DEB DAVIS LIKES to commute to work by public bus. She uses the time to read, crochet or pay bills. It's her quiet time. What with the high price of gas, she saves money, too: a week's worth of gas money gets her a month's worth of bus rides.

Deborah Davis and Son

Deborah Davis defends freedom at home while her son serves abroad in Iraq.

The bus she rides crosses the property of the Denver Federal Center, a collection of government offices such as the Veterans Administration, the U.S. Geological Survey, and part of the National Archives. The Denver Federal Center is not a high security area: it's not Area 51 or NORAD.

On her first day commuting to work by bus, the bus stopped at the gates of the Denver Federal Center. A security guard got on and demanded that all of the passengers on this public bus produce ID.  She was surprised by the demand of the man in uniform, but she complied: it would have meant a walk of several miles if she hadn't.  Her ID was not taken and compared to any "no-ride" list. The guard barely glanced at it.

When she got home, what had happened on the bus began to bother her.  'This is not a police state or communist Russia', she thought.  From her 8th grade Civics class she knew there is no law requiring her, as an American citizen, to carry ID or any papers, much less show them to anyone on a public bus.

She decided she would no longer show her ID on the bus.

The Compliance Test

On Monday, September 26th 2005, Deb Davis headed off to work on the route 100 bus.  When the bus got to the gates of the Denver Federal Center, a guard got on and asked her if she had an ID.  She answered in the affirmative.  He asked if he could see it.  She said no.

Welcome.

Visitors Welcome (to be arrested). The entrance to the Denver Federal Center.

When the guard asked why she wouldn't show her ID, Deb told him that she didn't have to do so.  The guard then ordered her off the bus.  Deb refused, stating she was riding a public bus and just trying to get to work.

The guard then went to call his supervisor, and returned shortly with a federal policeman.  The federal cop then demanded her ID.  Deb politely explained once again that she would not show her ID, and she was simply commuting to work.  He left, returning shortly thereafter with a second policeman in tow.

The Second Compliance Test

This second cop asked the same question and got the same answer: no showing of ID, no getting off the bus.

The cop was also annoyed with the fact that she was on the phone with a friend and didn't feel like hanging up, even when he 'ordered' her to do so.

The second cop said everyone had to show ID any time they were asked by the police, adding that if she were in a Wal-Mart and was asked by the police for ID, that she would have to show it there, too.

She explained that she didn't have to show him or any other policeman my ID on a public bus or in a  Wal-Mart.  She told him she was simply trying to go to work.

The Arrest

Suddenly, the second policeman shouted "Grab her!" and he grabbed the cell phone from her and threw it to the back of the bus.  With each of the policemen wrenching one of her arms behind her back, she was jerked out of her seat, the contents of her purse and book bag flying everywhere.  The cops shoved her out of the bus, handcuffed her, threw her into the back seat of a police cruiser, and drove her to a police station inside the confines of the Denver Federal Center.

Once inside, she was taken down a hall and told to sit in a chair, still handcuffed, while one of the policemen went through her purse, now retrieved from the bus.

The two policemen sat in front of their computers, typing and conferring, trying to figure out what they should charge her with.  Eventually, they wrote up several tickets, took her outside and removed the handcuffs, returned her belongings, and pointed her toward the bus stop.  She was told that if she ever entered the Denver Federal Center again, she would go to jail.

She hasn't commuted by public bus since that day.

Here's are some legal aspects of the case cited on the Papers Please site:

The Legal Case

Deborah Davis' case is about one thing: the right to travel.

The reason why she was charged has absolutely nothing to do with security. The guard at the Denver Federal Center wasn't checking IDs against a 'no ride' list: there is no such thing. The demands made against Deb Davis were nothing more than a compliance test, a demand that she kowtow to officialdom. And lest we forget, having to show your ID is a search without a warrant.

Welcome.

By 'Welcome', they mean 'Show us your papers'. Yet more signs at a Denver Federal Center entrance.

The significance of Deb's case was readily apparent to the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado, who immediately arranged free legal representation.  The first-rate legal team of ACLU volunteers Norman Mueller and Gail Johnson — attorneys from the prominent Colorado criminal defense firm of Haddon, Morgan, Mueller, Jordan, Mackey & Foreman, P.C. — are mounting a vigorous defense on Deborah Davis' behalf.

[...]

When Deb is arraigned in U.S. District Court on the 9th of December, she will most likely be charged with the following federal criminal misdemeanors: 41 CFR § 102-74.375 (Admission to Property) and 41 CFR § 102-74.385 (Conformity to Official Signs and Directions).

[...]

Be sure to go to the site and check all this stuff out. It's amazing!

Miasma

 

November 26, 2005 at 03:24 AM in Democracy, Favorite Links, News to Note, Privacy & Free Speech, Singing the Bite Me Song, War/Terrorism | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 23, 2005

What did Scooter Libby complain to Tim Russert about?

This quotation is from earlier this month, but it bears recording for our memory in order to be ready when the conversation finally comes out in court with Russert's testimony (since he's less than forthcoming about it now, following that new trend of journalists like Russert, Woodward, and Miller concealing more than revealing in the stories they cover, with an astonishing and highly suspect coyness and lack of transparency that is old media's biggest credibility problem these days).

Libby says he talked about former Ambassador Wilson's wife in a phone conversation with Russert on July 10, 2003. Russert says Libby called to complain about an MSNBC report and never mentioned Valerie Plame.

So folks in blogland speculate endlessly on what Libby was so incensed about that day, that led him to follow the urge to call the NBC bureau chief with the desire to rip him a new one. The one guy other than Russert who could shed some light on the subject, Chris Matthews, the most vocal Bush administration critic at MSNBC, had this to say, reprinted from Michael Smerconish at the Philadelphia Daily News [emphasis mine]:

Link: Philadelphia Daily News | 11/03/2005 | Michael Smerconish | WILL MATTHEWS CORROBORATE RUSSERT?.

 

[...]

Watching from here, in Matthews' hometown, my instincts tell me that if Russert had received a complaint call about Matthews from the vice president's chief of staff, his next call would probably have been to Matthews himself to tell him what Libby had said. (At least that's how it worked in the schoolyard: "Guess what so-and-so just said about you.")

So, did Russert make such a call to Matthews after hanging up with Libby? I got the chance to ask Chris Matthews. His reply: "No, I never got such a call."

I'm glad I didn't leave it there. I immediately worried that my question had been too restrictive with regard to timing, so I asked Matthews he "ever" had any conversation with Russert where Russert told him that Libby had a beef with him? I was really asking whether Matthews could corroborate Russert's version.

He hedged a bit. Here's my transcription of what Chris Matthews told me:

"Well, let me just tell you this, without getting into that, because I know the answer generally to your question, is that, because all of this involves testimony that Russert is probably going to have to make, and let me just tell you this, that those people in the White House, especially Libby and the vice president, working as a team, "connected as a root," to use Libby's favorite phrase, basically pulled off an alley-oop play to get us into war in Iraq by feeding to the New York Times stories about nuclear potential in the hands of Saddam Hussein, to get it into the Sunday paper, and then deploying the vice president on "Meet the Press" and other administration officials like Condi Rice on the other Sunday talk shows in a kinda alley-oop play.

"So they put the ball in the air, and then on Sunday mornings, these guys put it in the basket, and then all of a sudden we're at war over Iraq because a lot of Americans in the middle politically say, 'I don't know how we're getting into that mess or why we're getting in it, but I guess we have to protect ourselves against a mushroom cloud,' that is Condi's phrase.

"So, having pulled this masterful move of moving the undecided middle into the war, they then became very sensitive to the charge by Joseph Wilson that they had done the very thing, pushed the nuclear button and then covered up any threat to that nuclear button, and Wilson was that threat, and then, going volcanic against anybody including me, who dared to say, 'Wait a minute, there is a pattern here of how we got into the war, and how they promoted the nuclear case and how they protected the nuclear case against Wilson.'

"They didn't like me doing that. I know that a number of administration officials were screaming at my network at all levels about me raising this issue, the very points I've just made. They don't like hearing it, Libby is in trouble now because he doesn't like hearing it, the vice president is very much a part of this, and the answer to your question is that you are on the right trail, Michael."

What does all that mean? To me, that Russert may not have called Matthews immediately after hanging up with Libby, but he did tell his colleague of that call, which doesn't bode well for Libby.


November 23, 2005 at 09:49 PM in Democracy, Favorite Links, Media & Journalism, News to Note, Politics, Rhetoric, War/Terrorism | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 25, 2005

Where are those indictments?!

Am I the only one who's getting antsy for Patrick Fitzgerald to shit or get off the pot?

A radio talk show host on Air America (I forget which one, Al Franken?) is calling that much-anticipated day "Fitzmas," because some of us will see the indictments as Christmas come early.

Meanwhile, the plot thickens as the investigation gets closer to Vice President Cheney, which is not unprecedented. Can you say "Spiro Agnew?" Back before the press had Richard Nixon to kick around, Agnew had been the Grade A poster child for ignominy.

Link: CNN.com - White House sidesteps questions about Cheney - Oct 25, 2005.

White House sidesteps questions about Cheney


NYT: Vice president told top aide CIA officer's identity

Tuesday, October 25, 2005; Posted: 2:00 p.m. EDT (18:00 GMT)

NEW YORK (AP) -- The White House on Tuesday sidestepped questions about whether Vice President Dick Cheney passed on to his top aide the identity of a CIA officer central to a federal grand jury probe.

Notes in the hands of a federal prosecutor suggest that Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, first heard of the CIA officer from Cheney himself, The New York Times reported in Tuesday's editions.

[...]

The Times said notes of a previously undisclosed June 12, 2003, conversation between Libby and Cheney appear to differ from Libby's grand jury testimony that he first heard of Valerie Plame from journalists.

"This is a question relating to an ongoing investigation and we're not having any further comment on the investigation while it's ongoing," White House press secretary Scott McClellan said.

[...]

The New York Times identified its sources in the story as lawyers involved in the case.

Libby at center of inquiry

Libby has emerged at the center of Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald's criminal investigation in recent weeks because of the Cheney aide's conversations about Plame with Times reporter Judith Miller.

Miller said Libby spoke to her about Plame and her husband, Bush administration critic Joseph Wilson, on three occasions -- although not necessarily by name and without indicating he knew she was undercover.

Libby's notes show that Cheney knew Plame worked at the CIA more than a month before her identity was publicly exposed by columnist Robert Novak.

At the time of the Cheney-Libby conversation, Wilson had been referred to -- but not by name -- in the Times and on the morning of June 12, 2003 on the front page of The Washington Post.

The Times reported that Libby's notes indicate Cheney got his information about Wilson from then-CIA Director George Tenet, but said there was no indication he knew her name.

The notes also contain no suggestion that Cheney or Libby knew at the time of their conversation of Plame's undercover status or that her identity was classified, the paper said.

Disclosing the identify of a covert CIA agent can be a crime, but only if the person who discloses it knows the agent is classified as working undercover.

Charges against Cheney unlikely

The Times quoted lawyers involved in the case as saying they had no indication Fitzgerald was considering charging Cheney with a crime.

But the paper said any efforts by Libby to steer investigators away from his conversation with Cheney might be viewed by a prosecutor as attempt to impede the inquiry, which could be a crime.

[...]

October 25, 2005 at 04:46 PM in Current Affairs, Democracy, Favorite Links, Politics, Singing the Bite Me Song, War/Terrorism | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack