Thursday, January 31, 2008

Ragebot - The Battle Over Bush's Legacy

Blognonymous is dead. Long live Ragebot!


(SBT suggested that I cross-post this tidbit, the first "real" post on the new blog.
Thanks SBT!)

I read recently that Americans United for Change are going to create a fund to ensure that George Bush is 'deprived of his legacy'. By which they mean that they want to keep buildings, bridges, highways, memorial hedge-funds, new debt-consolidation instruments, public restrooms, etc... from being named in his honor. And you know what I say to this: What an enormous waste of $8.5M!

George W BushWho the f*ck cares if idiots want to name their public works after the worst president in history? Let 'em. It'll be a continual reminder to America of our folly in electing such a moron, not once, but...uh...well OK...once.

I mean is it any wonder that 'ol Ronnie Rayguns reputation is starting to tarnish? Ronnie of the monumental debt burden, of the economic policies that wrecked the middle class, of the dismantling of the social safety net? Why do you think it is that he's coming in for so much criticism these days? I'll tell you why, because Republicans went on a naming spree after Reagan left office. Reagan is f*cking everywhere. Here's just a selection:
  • The USS Ronald Reagan (nuclear powered aircraft carrier)
  • Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) (I still can't think of it as anything but 'Washington National')
  • The Reagan Highway (US 14), Memorial Tollway (Interstate 88), and Freeway (CA 118)
Jeez they even want to rename the Pentagon in his honor--how appropriate is that?--and put his smiling mug on the $10 bill. Might as well just rename the country Ronnieville.

And so it could be with Bush. There's no doubt that the 30%'ers are gonna keep pushing the tired canard of how Bush protected America, fought the t'rrorists, blah, blah, blah... So if we let them go on their own naming spree, Bush's reputation will suffer because we'll continually be reminded of what a monumental ass-wiping, Constitution busting, prick he was.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Red, White, and Blue Collar Crime

The blue collar-white collar crime dichotomy is fairly well know. One can distinguish Blue Collar Crime thus: Criminology, a branch of Sociology, defines blue-collar crime as any crime committed by an individual from a lower social class. The types of crimes involved are largely defined by opportunities to commit crime. Blue collar crime is typically contrasted with white collar crime: "Edwin Sutherland coined the term ‘white collar crime’ in 1939. During a speech to the American Sociological Society, he stated that a white collar crime was a “crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation.” Red Collar Crime is a lesser known and used term: Red collar crime is white collar crime that results in injury or death.

A nice typology, I suppose, but I think it is incomplete. Given the fascist shift we are experiencing and the pending End of America, I have created my own new category: "Red, White, and Blue Collar Crime."

"Red, White, and Blue Collar Crime" is crime committed against America in the name of patriotism.


Red White & Blue, originally uploaded by maxedaperture.

Allow me to illustrate with some examples:
  1. Lie the country into war in the name of national security (make stuff up)
  2. Torture people (like you used to torture animals) to keep America safe
  3. Secret rendition to help the war on terror (kidnap people so you can do #2 more easily)
  4. Suspend Habeas Corpus (give yourself permission to imprison people on a whim) in the name of national security
  5. Spy on America for the good of America (Hey, Nixon did it! Wait, it's the same people doing it!)
  6. Award lots of no-bid contracts to your friends, while removing oversight and auditing functions ("Some people call you the elite, I call you my base") because this is essential to protecting America from terrorism
  7. And perhaps the latest, greatest crime: Pardon yourself and your accomplices (you cover mine, I'll cover yours)
Though I admit, it's hard to tell if it's truly the latest, greatest; crime flows like blood under this administration.

Here's a clip of Cafferty speaking about Bush's deeply buried pardon of himself and his war criminal minions, along with a CNN poll about the post hoc pardon. (Text of clip available here.)



"...crime committed against America in the name of patriotism."
Even today, the Bush manipulators, led by Karl Rove, continue to utilize fear and hyped-up patriotism and a permanent war on terrorism as the basis for their policy agenda, the top item of which, at this juncture, consists of getting Bush elected in 2004. This, in order to continue to fulfill their primary objectives, not the least of which domestically is to roll back and, where possible, decimate and eliminate social programs that the far-right has hated since the New Deal/Great Society days.

Abrogate the rights and protections guaranteed to Americans by the Constitution in the name of American security and guess what you have?

Red, White, and Blue Collar Crime.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Jump to the LePhD?

Today's the day that mobster Jump to the Left defends her doctoral dissertation at UCLA. With any luck she'll find herself dressed something like this for at least part of a day in the not so distant future at her Hooding Ceremony.

That regalia ain't cheap by the way. The economy minded grad will shell out nearly $300 for cap and gown, the deluxe route going for almost $700. At that price, you might try to find some way of converting the ensemble for more everyday use. Or I would suggest she do the unruly thing, ignore convention, and wear her robes every casual Friday for the first year after the ceremony. And BTW, I understand the colours are a UCLA tradition, and non-negotiable. Ha!

At any rate, the entire mob is on pins and needles about this one, and sending Jump our best thoughts. And we're all hoping (some no doubt praying) that this form will be filled out in the proper fashion forthwith. Then I can finally talk to you about this nagging ache I've been getting in my shoulder.;)

Recommended activities for the evening after such an ordeal would include a glass or two of good wine, some dark chocolate, maybe a relaxing bubble bath, and some smooth jazz or even classical music to listen to. I can supply some of that last bit on both counts. A jazz version of a classical piece. Hope you like it Jump.

;-D

Bach Pastorale in C minor

Pastorale, Part 2


UPDATE:
SHE PASSED! Not that any of us had even the slightest doubts that she would.











I mean seriously, the woman is brilliant.

UPDATE 2: To read Jump's latest post, go HERE.
Les Enragés.org homepage

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Monday, January 28, 2008

Big Mouth Strikes Again

SOTU, 2008




Think Progress has some great analysis here.

(Please forgive my brevity; it's raining noodles, and I'm a little distracted.)

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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Bush's Famous Final Scene

I'm ready for Bush's final scene.
Here's one depiction:


Famous Final Scene Lyrics
Artist(Band):Bob Seger
Words and Music by Bob Seger

Think in terms of bridges burned
Think of seasons that must end
See the rivers rise and fall
They will rise and fall again
Everything must have an end
Like an ocean to a shore
Like a river to a stream
Like a river to a stream
It's the famous final scene
And how you tried to make it work
Did you really think it could
How you tried to make it last
Did you really think it would
Like a guest who stayed too long
Now it's finally time to leave
Yes, it's finally time to leave
Take it calmly and serene
It's the famous final scene
It's been coming on so long
You were just the last to know
It's been a long time since you've smiled
Seems like oh so long ago
Now the stage has all been set
And the nights are growing cold
Soon the winter will be here
And there's no one warm to hold
Now the lines have all been read
And you knew them all by heart
Now you move toward the door
Here it comes the hardest part
Try the handle of the road
Feeling different feeling strange
This can never be arranged
As the light fades from the screen
From the famous final scene

What music, poetry, anthem would you choose to accompany Bush's famous final scene? Post ideas here. We'll save them for the party. (I'm looking for the "Goodbye to You" party playlist...)

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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Congressional Two Step

I'd be lying if I didn't add that I hear a sizable group of Democratic party members on stage joining in on the chorus.

That's nice. Fine. Sing it. But don't expect me to buy it. You can't seriously believe that after 7 years of lock-step obedience to and empowerment of a war criminal posing as a leader, I or anyone else will believe that you have "had enough." Because if you want me to buy it, "show me the money." Start voting in ways that restore the constitutional rights that you helped him gut. Start voting in ways that end the unchecked, unfettered, unaudited waste of money occupying that war-torn country, Iraq. Stop the president from torturing people today the way he used to torture small animals as a disturbed child. Stop protecting the President with retroactive immunity from crimes he and his administration committed. On YOUR watch.

Go ahead. Defend the constitution. I dare you.

Because you know what, you have no credibility. This, "Bush killed the party" song sounds rather a lot like the current Democratic anthem, "We oppose you George W. Bush, we won't let you get away with it, we're going to stop you, just as soon as we are done doing your bidding", "One Step Up, Two Steps Back" song.

And another thing. The, "Well, Bush lied to us about Iraq. If I'd have known then what I know now" line... You know what? You must not be very smart, because I knew he was lying when he lied, but you didn't, and I'm not paid to provide him oversight, but you are. Convenient for you, no?

And in case I haven't been clear about how I feel about impeachment, I believe that taking impeachment "off the table" because it would be a "waste of time" is failing to protect the constitution for personal gain. The oath taken wasn't, "I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States as long as it doesn't inconvenience my political career: So help me God."

Here's the oath taken by members of congress:
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God."
So, it's kind of like you're putting your personal aspirations ahead of the Constitution, no?

"The current salary for all Senators and Members is $165,200. The salary for the Speaker is $212,100 and the salary for the Majority and Minority Leaders is $183,500."

Think you got your money's worth?

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Saturday Open Thread.


Kris Kristofferson: "In The News."

Got a question for you, which I'm borrowing from Phillip over at Shakesville: What will you be spending your "stimulus" on?

First-Born Son just spent $720 on his textbooks for one semester at Rowan University here in The Garden State, so yeah, there went mine already.

How's about you?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Holding on for a leader...

On Monday, while I was home from work due to the King holiday, I took some time to read and listen to a few of Dr. King’s speeches. I also listened to an interview with an author who has written a book about Dr. King’s “I have a dream” speech.

And the question kept coming into my brain, over and over, all day long: Where is OUR Dr. King? Since 1968, with the deaths of Dr. King and Bobby Kennedy, where have all the LEADERS gone? When we look for real leadership, must we always look to the past, to our dead heroes? I’d settle for someone whose still alive who can SPEAK like one. Preferably in grammatically-correct sentences.

Where are the people who can come anywhere close to the oratorical power and majesty of a Dr. King? Every once in a while, we hear someone like Mario Cuomo, Jessie Jackson, or Barack Obama come up with a memorable speech. Every once in a while, some politician can spin a memorable metaphor that sticks in our brains for a while. But then we move on, and the fancy turn of phrase is forgotten.

Dr. King didn’t just move people with his words. He didn’t just have a “dream.” He had a plan. He had a vision, specifically of non-violent change. He had a set of things he was for, and a bunch of things he was against. He wasn’t afraid to say what he thought. He did not equivocate. He didn’t really compromise. He stood up, and refused to sit down.

He died for that. What, if anything, would our current day “leaders” die for?

What we have now is not a “political system.” ALL we have is poli-tics. When King talked about “change,” he was talking about a fundamental change in how people act, think, believe, and govern. He was talking about a radical agenda of equality, egalitarianism, economic and social justice, tolerance, non-violence, and anti-militarism.

Do we hear anyone in America talking this way? Do any of our political or social or cultural “leaders” push a similar agenda? No one can claim King’s mantle, and no one can realistically be expected to be able to inspire people the way he did, either by their words, their character, or their charisma. But geez louise, who is out there to inspire US? Who do our children get to listen to, to be moved by, to inspire them?

The people I’m thinking of are brave. They are compassionate. They are clever and creative. They are audacious. They have nerve. Bravado. Chutzpah. And they have principles. Core beliefs. And while they can change their beliefs based on education and experience, at the root, there is a basic set of core values from which they do not waiver. They have integrity. And they speak truth to power, rather than seeking power for themselves.

There are writers and commentators whose words inspire and move me: Naomi Klein, Naomi Wolf, Susan Faludi, Angela Davis, bell hooks, Samantha Power, Cornel West, Jim Hightower, Chris Hedges, John Nichols, Amy Goodman, Barbara Ehrenreich, Arundhati Roy, Howard Zinn. There are a few politicians whose work and dedication to progressive ideals give me some hope: John Lewis, Russ Feingold, Bernie Sanders, Dennis Kucinich, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. Overseas, I listen to and learn from His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma. Paul Wellstone did this for me, as did Shirley Chisholm and Cesar Chavez, but they’re all gone. I admire the humanitarian work of actors and creative folks like Don Cheadle, Mia Farrow, Khalid Hosseini, Bono, Billy Bragg, and Susan Sarandon.

And I miss Joe Strummer every day.

But I guess I’m still wishing that someone would come along who could pick up that torch.

Or am I wrong here? Maybe the answer is for all of us to pick up the torch and hold it up together.

Maybe we need to be our own leaders, our own heroes.

Got any ideas?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Another NeoCON Lazy Fare

Don't know much about financial industry science...

But I know a pattern when I see one.


337/365: The Big Money, originally uploaded by DavidDMuir.

The current Bush Sub-Prime Loan Debacle is reminiscent of the Reagan Savings and Loan debacle. Both came about as a consequence of neo-CONS "loosening" those big, bad rules so that their already wealthy friends could make even more money, now. First, Reagan's economic policies to remove the People's protections paved the way for the nasty recession of the late 80s, and now Bush's economic policies are coming home to roost. And it's arguably the greatest threat America faces. At least they have improved the spin this time around. I heard on the radio this morning, "It's the People's fault. They think they are richer than they are, and act on it. They have to pay the price." I have to agree; in the end, the People have to pay the price. Always.
"Here's the deal. You make this tiny personal profit, I'll make this giant corporate profit, eventually I'll bleed you dry, we'll call it your foolishness, and you can pay the tab. Restore Honor and Dignity!"
Come to think of it, the current economic crisis gets me thin king of the Great stock market crash, which came about not because of deregulated, but unregulated, financial dealings. Unregulated stockmarket speculation fed by bank loans running amok, actually. Conservatives, Coolidge in particular, failed to intervene, while Wall Street did its best Las Vegas Casino impression. Way to go. Laissez-faire. Let it be. Must not intervene. Let the theft continue. Let them eat cake. I could almost hear the proclamation at George Bush, the Lesser's inauguration, "Let the Plunder Begin!"

The underlying assumption on which all this financial folly hangs seems to be the notion that corporations act rationally for the greater good of the People, and that this vision somehow extends to the future. This is simply not true; the truth is diametrically opposed, in fact. Corporations rationally act to maximize profit in the present. The individual actors have little to lose. Corporations never face the same risks, nor the same consequences, as actual people. "Why, it's as if a bunch of rich and powerful people got together and cooked up a scheme to allow them to gamble with our money!" They take all the profit; we bear all the risk. Sounds like George Bush's theme song, and the blueprint for every neo-CON scheme ever hatched. No bid contracts in Iraq. No bid contracts at home. Oil profiteers at the the table, writing policy that should be designed to protect People, not maximize Profit. Money in Iraq given to friends to mismanage and lose track of, while auditors are "released from service." The blood of someone else's kid spilled while on security patrol for another oil venture. And on, and on, and on...

Maybe it's time we all got the protections of Corporate Personhood. I mean, equity is a good thing, right? Like Naomi Wolf, I think America is in the midst of a fascist shift, with the merging of government and business. One might think of it as a "hostile takeover." (WWND?) Wouldn't it be nice if it really were a "Wonderful Life?" George? Clarence? ZuZu? Anyone??

So once again, here we are, paying the price for all that enrichment enjoyed by the super-rich because a bunch of neo-CON politicians (i.e., actors) sold the idea that removing protections was good for America. "Love me, love my economic nightmare." They didn't restore dignity and honor; they restored exploitation and plunder. They restored the "robber baron" era. They restored our debt for their profit. They restored the neo-CON Dream.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Surge to Nowhere

The goal of the architects of the surge was to extend the life-sucking occupation in Iraq beyond the Presidency of George W. Bush. In an op-ed called "The Surge to Nowhere", International Relations Professor Andrew Bacevich takes apart the rhetoric of the surge.

From The Washington Post:
As the fifth anniversary of Operation Iraqi Freedom nears, the fabulists are again trying to weave their own version of the war. The latest myth is that the "surge" is working.

In President Bush's pithy formulation, the United States is now "kicking ass" in Iraq. The gallant Gen. David Petraeus, having been given the right tools, has performed miracles, redeeming a situation that once appeared hopeless. Sen. John McCain has gone so far as to declare that "we are winning in Iraq." While few others express themselves quite so categorically, McCain's remark captures the essence of the emerging story line: Events have (yet again) reached a turning point. There, at the far end of the tunnel, light flickers. Despite the hand-wringing of the defeatists and naysayers, victory beckons.

[skipping]

In only one respect has the surge achieved undeniable success: It has ensured that U.S. troops won't be coming home anytime soon. This was one of the main points of the exercise in the first place. As AEI military analyst Thomas Donnelly has acknowledged with admirable candor, "part of the purpose of the surge was to redefine the Washington narrative," thereby deflecting calls for a complete withdrawal of U.S. combat forces.

(more)
In May of last year Bacevich's son, a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army also named Andrew, was killed by a suicide bomber while serving in Iraq. He was 27, and one of 3,921 members of the U.S. military killed since the invasion.

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Monday, January 21, 2008

Remember.

"Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes
through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can't ride you unless your back is bent."

Stand up, America.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Sunday Night Unruly Caucus



Crazy weekend. Caucuses. Primaries. Speeches.





Let's have an unruly caucus! And might as well be the Dance Mob while we're at it.

What did I say the other night? "I'm not no limberger?" Yeah. That was it.









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Friday, January 18, 2008

Because Suckiness Doesn't Suck Enough


Economic Stimulus?!?!? BWAHAHAHAHAA!
The market sure was stimulated after the chimpenfuhrer spoke today. It stimulated itself WAY DOWN.
Which of the maladministration folks most resembles a vampire? Discuss....

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Conservative Ideology Deconstructed

A Theory Gone Horribly Wrong

There is a very simple reason that reight wingnuts have such a strong aversion to facts; the facts just don't support their warped world view. This is the apparent reason that they oppose the teaching of evolution, reject the idea that global warming exists, and fail to see that George W. Bush is both a sociopath and a cretin. And they still insist that Ronald Reagan was a genius that saved the country and defeated Communism. All lies that are easily exposed as such by the application of a little reality therapy. Paul Krugman takes apart Reaganomics like a cheap toy in this NY Times article:
If this Times report is at all right, Republicans will hold any attempt to help the economy now hostage to yet another try at making the Bush tax cuts permanent — thereby, among other things, crippling future possibilities for health care reform. I suspected that’s what would happen, but thought that maybe, just maybe, the GOP would be sufficiently scared by the prospect of a nasty recession in an election year that it would back off. Guess not.
Krugman provides this chart that graphically refutes anyone still clinging to Reaganomics and the trickle down theory, as practiced under the Bush regime.

There are of course other metrics that could have been used to illustrate the same point. Government revenues also fell during both the Reagan and Bush eras, resulting in the largest deficits in American history. This refutes another Reagan myth, that the 'economic stimulus' provided by tax cuts would actually increase revenues.

So why would they still be pushing an idea that is so patently false? Well, for the same reason that dogs lick their own genitals - because they can. These tax cuts are to the benefit of the same elite, a small fraction of one percent of the populace, who also control the media, run the lobbying industry, and fund both political parties. As long as they have the American public voting against their own interests based on this pack of lies, they will continue to deal bottom cards from that same old dogeared pack. And the news whores of the media will happily distract you while they steal from your stack of chips.

It's not because they are so stupid as to believe their own lies. They don't. They just want you to believe them while they rob you.
"A man who does not know the truth is just an idiot
but a man who knows the truth and calls it a lie is a crook."
-- Bertolt Brecht --
Let's back up to that Krugman quote from earlier. "If this Times report is at all right.." If you follow that link, it highlights how complicit the Democrats are in the class war the corporate elite are carrying out.
...even as Ms. Pelosi renewed a call by Democratic leaders for cooperation with President Bush and Republicans in Congress, lawmakers in both parties said that efforts to develop a short-term stimulus plan could easily fall prey to partisan disputes like whether to extend Mr. Bush’s tax cuts of 2001 and 2003, which expire after 2010.

The Democrats are insisting that Republicans not inject their desire to extend the tax cuts into negotiations of a short-term rescue package intended to dampen the impact of a recession. But in interviews, several Republican lawmakers said they could not imagine a debate not involving long-term tax policy.

“The planning for 2010 in a business sense is happening now,” said Representative Dave Camp, Republican of Michigan. “So it isn’t too soon to talk about making permanent the Bush tax cuts.”
Given recent history, would anyone want to bet that the spineless Democrats are going to stand up to the Republicans now on this issue? I didn't think so.

And there are a couple of good reasons to think that they won't change things much even if elected by a wide margin in November. This post from Digby points out why, as does this post from Station Agent. The two front running Democratic presidential hopefuls are entrenched corporatists, and O'Bama (put that apostrophe in there and it's a fine Irish sounding name isn't it? Should be good for a few votes in the Boston area.) has just compared himself to Ronald Reagan for crying out loud.
I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not. He put us on a fundamentally different path because the country was ready for it. I think they felt like with all the excesses of the 1960s and 1970s and government had grown and grown but there wasn't much sense of accountability in terms of how it was operating. I think people, he just tapped into what people were already feeling, which was we want clarity we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing.
And as Digby points out, as much as Obama promises to co-operate with the elite, Hillary's husband already has.
In the global economy of the 1990s, economic growth won't come from government spending. It will come instead from individuals working smarter and learning more, from entrepreneurs taking more risks and going after new markets, and from corporations designing better products and taking a longer view...
Which all goes a long way to explaining why John Edwards is invisible in the mainstream media, doesn't it? It also explains the long-term failure to bring about meaningful campaign finance reform, and how the already nearly monopolistic mass media is becoming even more consolidated than ever. They would like you to think that there is still some kind of democratic contest for control of the world's mightiest nation. There is no dualism, no duel - it's all Kabuki theater, a Punch and Judy puppet show.

The public is being played like a cheap banjo.
Right now I see John Edwards as probably America's last best hope to ever recover from the nightmare. He's having a fundraising drive right now, I hope you can contribute. You can visit his site for details. (Disclaimer: This is just me talking. The rest of the unruly mob may feel differently, support another candidate or even a third party solution.)

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Drop a Dime

Stop Dick Cheney Before He Kills Again!


We interrupt our regularly scheduled unruliness to bring you this important Public Service Announcement. Today is National Call-In Day, and we ask you to contact your congressman in support of Congressman Robert Wexler's efforts to impeach Vice President Dick "Darth" Cheney. More from After Downing Street.org.
Congressman Robert Wexler is organizing his colleagues to ask House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers to begin Cheney impeachment hearings. Wexler is asking his fellow Judiciary Committee Members to co-sign a letter to Conyers. We support Wexler in this, and we are also asking congress members not on the committee to send their own letters to Conyers. Please Email your Congress Member here: http://www.democrats.com/peoplesemailnetwork/125

Then please call the Capitol Hill Switchboard: (202) 224-3121. They can tell you who your Congress Member is if you don't know, and they can connect you to their office. Ask your representative to urge Chairman Conyers to begin impeachment hearings against Dick Cheney. This is especially important if your representative is a member of the Judiciary Committee. Once you've sent your Email and made your phone call, please urge everyone you know to do the same. If you have further time to help advance impeachment, please call and Email the media.
We remind our visitors that Cheney is an unprincipled psychopath, and possibly responsible for more deaths than anyone since Pol Pot. He is motivated by an unbridled greed and will spill untold amounts of human blood in his quest to increase the value of his substantial portfolio in oil stock. Should you encounter Cheney, do not approach him, and definitely DON'T contact authorities unless you want to end up in a secret prison in Eastern Europe. If you can get close enough to tell him to go f#@k himself, good on ya'. It's not easy to do,
but not impossible.


Please take the time to make this call. The Vice President cannot, repeat CANNOT be allowed to complete the Dick cheney evolutionary cycle. If he ever emerges from his current pupal stage, he will be unstoppable.

And yeah, I know that it's been a long time since a pay phone (if you can find such a thing anymore in the era of the cell phone) only cost a dime. 'Drop a Dime' is just a figure of speech. We now return to our regularly scheduled unruliness.

h/t Ellie from comments.

Cross-posted to Ice Station Tango. Roll to the Pole, and chill out with the penguins.

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Michael Chertoff Has Lost His Mind

Says that Europe 'Poses Key Threat to the U.S.'

Full-time Count Olaf impersonator Michael Chertoff, (who moonlights as the U.S. Homeland Security chief) has told the BBC there is "a real risk that Europe will become a platform for terrorists."
Mr Chertoff said it was likely security checks on travellers from Europe would be increased.

But he said steps would be taken to ensure travel and trade were not hit.

In the interview on the BBC's World News America, Mr Chertoff said he had seen "home-grown terrorism begin to rise in Europe".

He cited deadly bomb attacks on Madrid and London, and a terror alert affecting UK-US flights in August 2006, as well as "people travelling from South Asia and the Middle East into Europe and carrying out attacks there".
You see, right there - if you blink you might miss it. Incontrovertible proof that Chertoff has taken up permanent residence in Flip City. Mad as a monkey on a trike. A few clowns short of a circus act. Nuttier than squirrel poo. Although to his credit he didn't go off on a rant about how the French were trying to kill us with the trans fats in McDonald French Fries or even using the cholesterol in those delicious soft cheeses as a weapon. And he didn't accuse the British of terrorism just because they talk funny, at least not publicly. Well, at least not while being interviewed by the BBC.

No, the proof comes in this statement about "a terror alert affecting UK-US flights in August 2006." Because we all know that that is just plain bullshit. Anybody who remembers that story knows that the terror alert was caused by the precipitous arrest of a 'terror cell' who 1) had no materials with which one could plausibly make a bomb 2) were not trying to acquire any such materials 3) had not so much as contemplated buying an airline ticket to the U.S. and 4) didn't even have passports, nor had they applied for them. And pretty much anybody who has two firing synapses can tell you that this story came out on the eve of the mid-term elections in the U.S., and was designed to frighten people into voting Republican.

Einstein said that the definition of insanity was when you did the same thing (in this case fear-mongering) over and over again expecting a different result. One metric that psychiatrists use is the degree of disassociation from reality, but that's a job requirement in the reality challenged Bush administration. Those are certainly red flags, but the compelling diagnostic factor here is simple: Chertoff believes his own bullshit. A word of advice, Mike (can I call you Mike? It's rhymes with Monkey on a trike.) You can shovel bullshit, recycle it, fertilize your imaginary rooftop garden with it, but you should never believe it yourself.

That's just crazy.

Maybe you should just stick with the Count Olaf gig. You're a natural at that. But I should warn you, I'm pretty sure that Count Olaf is European.

Doesn't that just drive you nuts?

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Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Oligarchs Strike Back

War Declared on Populism

Or maybe it would be safer to say that a surge has been declared in a war on the ordinary people that business has been waging pretty much since the American Revolution. Here's the item that has me upset, from TPMMuckraker.
Alarmed at the increasingly populist tone of the 2008 political campaign, the president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is set to issue a fiery promise to spend millions of dollars to defeat candidates deemed to be anti-business.

"We plan to build a grass-roots business organization so strong that when it bites you in the butt, you bleed," chamber President Tom Donohue said....

Although Donohue shied away from precise figures, he indicated that his organization would spend in excess of the approximately $60 million it spent in the last presidential cycle. That approaches the spending levels planned by the largest labor unions....

"I'm concerned about anti-corporate and populist rhetoric from candidates for the presidency, members of Congress and the media," he said. "It suggests to us that we have to demonstrate who it is in this society that creates jobs, wealth and benefits -- and who it is that eats them."
I'm bewildered. What 'candidates deemed to be anti-business' could Lord Donohue be referring to? All of the front runners of both parties are clearly bought and paid for. Sure, John Edwards has declared a desire to reduce the power of the biggest multinational corporations, but the furniture stores on Main Street don't have to be afraid of anything. In fact if you look at the Saudi princes who are the biggest beneficiaries of tax breaks to Exxon, Enron and others, maybe the 'U.S.' chamber of commerce should consider changing their name. Besides, Edwards isn't doing that well. So do you think Ralph Nader is poised to make a miracle comeback? I think the concern about anti-corporatist rhetoric is misplaced.

So, I've written an open letter in response to Tom Donahue, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce:

I think it's time for a reality check Mr. Donohue. Is there any validity to your complaint that you're not getting enough input into the political process?

Current campaign laws combined with the dubious principle of Corporate Personhood make your donations to candidates and your third party political ads to be 'free speech.' Imagine that - a corporation that speaks. Not only that, but the major media are owned by corporations - so you also have the power to stifle the free speech of anyone whose ideas you don't like, as Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul know only too well. The synergy of this is awesome to behold. The candidates have to toe your line to get advertising dollars, which you just get back in revenues at the television and radio stations you own. Pretty slick.

You've created a special industry of over 30,000 lobbyists, the vast majority working for corporations to make sure your point of view is always on the agenda of every elected representative in the country between election cycles. It would seem on the surface that your influence on the political process is overpowering. And you have the nerve to begrudge the common man his input for the less than a minute he spends in the booth every four years? It just doesn't pass the laugh test.

OK, reality check part 2: While you're busy whining about how hard done by your ultra-wealthy membership is, how have you been doing on advancing your agenda?

Well, the percentage of government revenues coming from taxes on business has steadily declined over the last half century. Environmental regulations have been weakened, and those still left are no longer enforced. The heads of regulatory bodies under the Bu$hCo regime are themselves from the industries they are supposed to police. Likewise, business-friendly labor laws have weakened the unions, who now have a much smaller fraction of the workforce on their roles than they used to.

Antitrust laws haven't produced a meaningful lawsuit in some time. There was a significant judgment against Microsoft over Windows 95, but it was never enforced. Hell, Exxon still hasn't paid any fines over the Valdez oilspill in Alaska. CEOs salaries are off the charts, golden parachutes assure that there is no accountability. The most recent outrage is this story about Stanley O'Neal - whose stewardship of Merril Lynch cost the company $15 Billion in write-downs, but left him with a handsome $101 million pay-out. That's pretty hard to swallow for the working stiff who can't even cope with the rising cost of just about everything or the possible loss of his job or home.

Reality check, part 3 - What are the electorate seeing as the result of your success at getting your own way?

Globalisation has allowed you to outsource to other countries, increasing your profits, decreasing the taxes paid to the U.S. government - all on the backs of your workers, many of whom are now your ex-workers. Unemployment is up by 5%, but that should make you happy because it drives the cost of labor down domestically. Who cares how many people lose their homes over it? Or that the result is a nation-wide recession? The fact is the top 1/10th of 1% have been strip mining the American economy since the Reagan years, and this is the result. You've got yours, to hell with anyone else, right? I swear your overall objective is to bring back the Dark Ages under a system of Corporate Feudalism.

As for who it is that creates wealth and benefits for society, it is and always has been the 'little guy' whose input into the political process you so fear. I'm calling you on that bullshit Mr. Donahue. If you want to call your beloved corrupt Republican party "the party of Lincoln," perhaps you should heed what he had to say on the subject:
"Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital.
Capital is only the fruit of labor,
and could never have existed if Labor had not first existed.
Labor is superior to capital,
and deserves much the higher consideration."
-- Abraham Lincoln --
That must sound like Marxism to your ears. In fact, I would almost guess old Karl may have read Lincoln when I read this.
"Capital is dead labor,
which, vampire-like, lives only by sucking living labor,
and lives the more, the more labor it sucks."
-- Karl Marx --
And speaking of Karl Marx and Corporate Personhood, don't forget he also said,
"In bourgeois society capital is independent and has individuality,
while the living person is dependent and has no individuality."
-- Karl Marx --
Sounds pretty prophetic to this LIVING, BREATHING person. Have a nice day, Mr. Donahue. On second thought, don't bother. Frankly I found that threat about biting me on the butt kind of distasteful.

Further Reading:
John Edwards: My Plan to Stop Corporate Abuses
Corporate Media Trashes Edwards
Alicia Morgan: Neocons fear Populism

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All We Are Saying



I have seen much unruliness in our mob.


This pic is inspired by our Australian mobster, Aunty. It's in a town in OZ called Cronulla. People were disagreeing. Way much. Obviously.


Here's the deal. People are supposed to, and MUST disagree. On ideas. On ideals. On hope and dreams.


These things: ideas, ideals, hopes and dreams make us so totally unique and individual, that they're indistingushable from making us ourselves, and human.


Strange how on reading this, I capitalized MUST, but I didn't capitalize IDEAS, IDEALS, HOPE or DREAMS. Glad I realized that. Anyways to continue...


There need not be conflict between the religious left, and the non-believers on this blog. There are more than one set of things that unite us on either side of the belief aisle:


-Justice
-Fairness
-Peace


It's peace that I really wish to address. Have a look:

I am a non-believer in a belief system for the most part in the U.S. that is given for granted. I think that peace and justice goals transcend uber-religio-belief goals. I believe those goals are transcendant themselves. Just look up the word "transcend."

Ultimately, I believe we live and do what we believe. So for the religious left, we, the agnostic or athiest left must make room for the religious. For those who are religious, with that ever important small "r" , those religious folk must let us us non-believers on the left be free as well. There is so much cross-over.
The reason why? It's because we live as we believe. Totally makes the difference. And thus, each of us make a difference.
Bottom line, belief is as belief does.



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Friday, January 11, 2008

Dear Mr Bush Jr., WhyTorture?


Dear Mr. Bush Jr.,

Please ask Laura to read this to you before you go to bed tonight. Then pass it along at your daily morning briefing and ask them to explainify it to you.

The USA has many strengths. We have wide open spaces, amber waves of grain, and a diverse population of citizens and residents whom collectively create who we are as a nation. We have Big Guns and other things that go Boom. We have lots of money. Well, some of us do. For now.

However, Mr Bush Jr, we have developed a significant weakness. We have lost our reputation as a nation of people who want to be fair, just, and morally virtuous. I’m not talking about Viet Nam, Watergate, Contragate, Votergate, or even Foleygate, although those topics are worthy of discussion here. Mr. Bush Jr, we torture people. Human beings, just like you, just like your daughters. We deny people due process, habeas corpus, and other “inalienable rights” for which we used to stand.

I know, “they” are bad, very bad people, and the gloves are off. I know that “they” torture people, too. I know that you just want to win this War on Terror so that We won’t have to fight’em over here. For that reason, I must tell you, torture does not work. Many, many intelligent people (some of whom have served or are serving in our military and/or intelligence services now) have studied this at length and conclude that there are better methods of obtaining actionable intelligence. Here is one :

http://www.mcitta.org/torture.htm

I refer you to this Google page, http://www.google.com.au/search?hl=en&q=torture+doesn%27t+work&btnG=Search&meta=

also this page on the ethics of torture: http://ethics.sandiego.edu/Applied/Military/Torture.asp

just to get you started.

One of my favourite articles about an alternative to torture is about Marine Major Sherwood F. Moran, who was a Christian missionary in Japan before he joined the Marines in December 1941 at the age of 56. Here is a biography: http://home.comcast.net/~drmoran/home.htm

I have found a letter written by this most patriotic, gentle, yet effective interrogator of Japanese prisoners of war, where he outlines his techniques. Please read it and pass it along to the appropriate people:

http://mythingthepoint.blogspot.com/2006_07_09_archive.html

(My thanks to the keeper of that blog, it is one of the few places to find that letter in its entirety)

You see, Mr. Bush Jr, there are other ways to “enhance” interrogation techniques which may render more reliable information.

By the way, since we may conclude from the above information that abuse and torture don’t work, why are these techniques being used? What effect does torture have on the torturer? hmmm? And, how will they cope with their experiences when they once again walk among civilian compatriots? What kind of military and civilian intelligence network are we training here, Mr Bush Jr, and to what purpose?

May you feel better soon, Mr Bush Jr.



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Thursday, January 10, 2008

155,000 "eggs."

Give or take...

GENEVA (Reuters) Jan. 9 - About 151,000 Iraqi civilians were killed in the three years following the U.S.-led invasion of their country, according to World Health Organization (WHO) research published on Wednesday.

The new study, which said violent deaths could have ranged from 104,000 to 223,000 between March 2003 and June 2006, is the most comprehensive since the war started.

The study drew on an Iraqi health ministry survey of nearly 10,000 households — five times the number of those interviewed in a disputed 2006 John Hopkins University study that said more than 600,000 Iraqis had died over the period.

While well below that figure, the United Nations agency’s estimate exceeds the widely-cited 80,000 to 87,000 death toll by the human rights group Iraq Body Count, which uses media reports and hospital and morgue records to calculate its tally…

The White House said it had not seen the study, but mourned the deaths of Iraqi civilians.

“The unmistakable fact is that the vast majority of these deaths are caused by the willful, murderous intentions of extremists committed to taking innocent life,” said White House spokesman Tony Fratto...

The rest is here. Another “unmistakable fact” that Mr. Fratto conveniently left out is that these people would probably not have died if the Bush/Cheney regime had not launched an unnecessary, illegal, immoral, indefensible war of aggression based on lies and media manipulation against a country which posed no immediate threat to us.

But hey, these aren’t Americans we’re talking about here. During the summer after the Iraq War began, my family and I took a day trip down to the Jersey Shore. I had my “Peacemonger” and “War Is Not The Answer” bumper stickers emblazoned (as always) across the back window of my Honda CR-V. We were curbside unloading our beach paraphernalia when this guy comes by on his very expensive imported Italian racing bike (the kind with peddles) and starts heckling me. He didn’t like my stickers. My wife told me to ignore him, but that just made him angrier. So my son said, “Let him have it, Dad.” So I did. Very politely. With my usual litany of peacemongering questions:

- “How many of the September 11th hijackers were from Iraq?”

- “How can you justify attacking a country which has never attacked us?”

- “How can you say that oil isn’t what this war is about, when Iraq sits on the third largest oil deposit on the planet?”

That kind of thing. The biker guy started sputtering. And then I said, “Sir, with all due respect, I am not willing to have your president kill my sons so that he can try to prove he’s right about what is obviously so wrong.” And the guy says, “Well, you gotta break a few eggs to make an omelet.“ And then he rode off.

I still can’t get over that.

“Egg” count, as of Jan. 10, 2008:

- Total U.S. combat deaths in Iraq: 3921 (NINE just yesterday)

- Total U.S. combat wounded: 28,000 +

- Iraq civilian deaths: 151,000 (est.)

- Iraq civilian wounded: Only God knows

- Progress made by the new Iraqi government towards peace and reconciliation: Zero.

- End in sight: None.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Further Erosion of American Values

A couple of recent events have gotten little attention due to the New Hampshire primary and the endless 'analysis' from the misbegotten pundit class. Either is more important than the question of whether Hillary's emotional episode was real or calculated. Let's not let them go down the memory hole.

Item #1, from ABC News:
The Defense Department's top watchdog has declined to investigate allegations that an American woman working under an Army contract in Iraq was raped by her co-workers.

The case of former Halliburton/KBR employee Jamie Leigh Jones gained national attention last month. An ABC News investigation revealed how an earlier investigation into Jones' alleged gang-rape in 2005 had not resulted in any prosecution, and that neither Jones nor Democratic and Republican lawmakers have been able to get answers from the Bush administration on the state of her case.

In letters to lawmakers, DoD Inspector General Claude Kicklighter said that because the Justice Department still considers the investigation into Jones' case open, there is no need for him to look into the matter.
Uh huh. And the fact that the DoJ didn't even deign to send anyone to testify at the congressional hearing into this dark matter - what exactly does that tell us? After two and a half years, and with the events having taken place in a war zone, how is this being investigated anyway? The primary evidence in the case, the rape kit performed by an army doctor, disappeared while in the custody of KBR security. Looks like a clear case of spoliation to me, but DoJ's performance in the last seven years doesn't hold up much hope for this one. What can you expect from a bunch of 'loyal Bushies' anyway?

Item #2, from TPMMuckraker:
A federal judge refused on Wednesday to delve into the destruction of CIA interrogation videos, saying there was no evidence the Bush administration violated a court order and the Justice Department deserved time to conduct its own investigation.
Sound familiar? Let's hand all cases involving Bu$hCo™ malfeasance over to the loyal Bushies who have shown themselves to be so spectacularly partisan and unwilling to pursue any case against a Republican. How this came to pass bears looking at.

This is the inevitable and predictable result of Congress's inexplicably letting off the pressure on the Prosecutors' Purge scandal. Once a top item, they took it to the point last July where administration officials were defying Congressional subpoenas left and right, and Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy was making all sorts of noise about ordering arrests for contempt. Demanding documents, that sort of thing. Then the Senate and Congress went on a month long vacation. When they came back they seem to have left there spines on the beach. No progress has been made since late last summer on the Prosecutors' Purge case, the plethora of FISA violations, or any other Justice matter. The main thing though is the failure to clean up Justice, gutted and left in tatters by ex Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, and the further failure to ensure a clean broom replacement for Gone-Zo to sweep it clean. Mukasey? Give me a fucking break! Anybody who can't tell that waterboarding is clearly torture under US law (Japanese were prosecuted for war crimes over it after WWII - it's called PRECEDENT you pinhead!) should automatically be disqualified for any position in law that doesn't involve fetching coffee or pushing a broom. Indeed those pushing brooms and fetching coffee within the court system can hold their heads a lot higher than the ones with sheepskins on their walls.

One could argue that providing a functioning court system is the first and most essential duty of government to the people. All three branches of government are equally complicit, as are both political parties. And the so-called press! OMG! Has anybody heard a statement from any of the candidates for the highest office in the land to indicate any desire to stem this tide of anarchy? The absence of any concern from any quarter for these most vital issues bodes ill for not only the country, but the whole world.

Isn't it well past time that something be done about this? The Democrats have had control of both legislative houses for a year now. It's high time we started demanding results.

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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Monday, January 07, 2008

This Day In History

On today's date, January 7th the following events happened in the years noted (no particular order):

1782: The First Commercial Bank opens in North America

1789: George Washington is elected as the first president of the United States

1913: The process to obtain gasoline from crude oil is patented.

1924: George Gershwin begins work on "Rhapsody In Blue"

1927: Commercial phone service across the Atlantic begins.

1953: In the State of the Union Address, Harry Truman reveals the United States had developed the H-bomb

1954: Marian Anderson became the first African-American to sing at the Met, in "Un Ballo in maschera" (A clown in a mask)

1999: The Impeachment trial of Bill Clinton began.

UPDATE: (SadButTrue)
One other thing: It's CHRISTMAS DAY in the Eastern Orthodox religion. Seems they never accepted that new-fangled Gregorian calendar, since it was imposed by the heretical Catholic Pope Gregory II in 1582. In that year the month of October was only 21 days long in Catholic countries, putting the vernal equinox back to where it was at the time of the Council of Nicaea in 135. This was necessary for the 'correct' calculation of Easter.

"Accordingly, when the new calendar was put in use, the error accumulated in the 13 centuries since the Council of Nicaea was corrected by a deletion of ten days. The last day of the Julian calendar was Thursday October 4, 1582 and this was followed by the first day of the Gregorian calendar, Friday October 15, 1582 (the cycle of weekdays was not affected)." (Wikipedia)

The fact that Protestant countries rejected Gregory's reform led to what historians aptly refer to as the Years of Confusion, as one after another Protestant countries adopted the 'new style' calendar. England's reform was in 1752 - Czarist Russia didn't follow until the Bolshevik Revolution. As a result key historical events (like the Spanish Armada's attempted invasion of England in 1588) are reported as occurring on different days, depending on which side's account you're reading.

By the time England reformed their calendar the 10 day difference was now 13 days. It led to rioting in the streets, with people shouting, 'give us back our fortnight!' Landlords wanted their entire month's rent, and tenants understandably felt that was a rip off. Try to imagine an uneducated peasantry trying to cope with this. Many people felt that their lives had somehow been shortened by decree.

BTW, the Orthodox do NOT celebrate Christmas on Jan. 7. By their reckoning today is Dec. 25.


Notice that TODAY'S DATE is pivotal in the realm of Weapons, Communications Technology, Oil, and at the very least, the beginnings of our Republic. This just brings home to me that every day counts, doesn't matter what year it is.
Artists are a blessed counter balance to this madness. Witness both national treasures, Anderson and Gershwin.

Since I am enamored of musicians, I'll close with a video I found of Marian Anderson, talking and singing at the memorial of what I'll call a patron saint of this blog: Mahatma Ghandi. The first words of the narrator I think are as applicable to us as they are to the Hindi;

"A French poet once wrote: if you wish to influence the Indians, rather than a thousand missionaries, send one saint."

Since both Mahatma and Marian are gone, amongst others, please send more saints.


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Sunday, January 06, 2008

The Tide Continues To Swell

The calls for impeachment are growing. Here's some excerpts of what George McGovern wrote today in the Washington Post:
How could a once-admired, great nation fall into such a quagmire of killing, immorality and lawlessness?

It happened in part because the Bush-Cheney team repeatedly deceived Congress, the press and the public into believing that Saddam Hussein had nuclear arms and other horrifying banned weapons that were an "imminent threat" to the United States. The administration also led the public to believe that Iraq was involved in the 9/11 attacks -- another blatant falsehood. Many times in recent years, I have recalled Jefferson's observation: "Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just."

[...]

Although the president was advised by the intelligence agencies last August that Iran had no program to develop nuclear weapons, he continued to lie to the country and the world. This is the same strategy of deception that brought us into war in the Arabian Desert and could lead us into an unjustified invasion of Iran. I can say with some professional knowledge and experience that if Bush invades yet another Muslim oil state, it would mark the end of U.S. influence in the crucial Middle East for decades.

Ironically, while Bush and Cheney made counterterrorism the battle cry of their administration, their policies -- especially the war in Iraq -- have increased the terrorist threat and reduced the security of the United States. Consider the difference between the policies of the first President Bush and those of his son. When the Iraqi army marched into Kuwait in August 1990, President George H.W. Bush gathered the support of the entire world, including the United Nations, the European Union and most of the Arab League, to quickly expel Iraqi forces from Kuwait. The Saudis and Japanese paid most of the cost. Instead of getting bogged down in a costly occupation, the administration established a policy of containing the Baathist regime with international arms inspectors, no-fly zones and economic sanctions. Iraq was left as a stable country with little or no capacity to threaten others.

Today, after five years of clumsy, mistaken policies and U.S. military occupation, Iraq has become a breeding ground of terrorism and bloody civil strife. It is no secret that former president Bush, his secretary of state, James A. Baker III, and his national security adviser, Gen. Brent Scowcroft, all opposed the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq.

In addition to the shocking breakdown of presidential legal and moral responsibility, there is the scandalous neglect and mishandling of the Hurricane Katrina catastrophe. The veteran CNN commentator Jack Cafferty condenses it to a sentence: "I have never ever seen anything as badly bungled and poorly handled as this situation in New Orleans." Any impeachment proceeding must include a careful and critical look at the collapse of presidential leadership in response to perhaps the worst natural disaster in U.S. history.

Can you believe that Fred Hiatt actually let this one through? I am heartened by this.

By the way at the time of this posting, 181,472 people have signed Wexler's hearing petition.


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Friday, January 04, 2008

The Spoliation of America

The What!? !?

Spoliation. OK, I'll admit I've never heard the word before either until Jonathan Turley brought it up in passing on this segment of COUNTDOWN with Keith Olbermann. The subject: the opening of a criminal probe into "Waterboarding-Gate" - the destruction of interrogation tapes by the CIA. The quote:
"There's a compelling basis for at least six [criminal charges.] You've got obstruction of congress, obstruction of justice, you have perjury, conspiracy, a thing called spoliation... There is also a chance that you might have false statements, so the list gets longer, but the original one is torture.

You know, many people in Congress, and in the White House, and at Justice Department are framing this as an obstruction investigation as if what's on those tapes is an episode of Barney. What's on those tapes is the original crime in the scandal, and that's the crime of torturing people."
There's a lot of good stuff on this video. Please watch the whole thing. As usual Olbermann and Turley explore issues in a way that is lamentably unique on network news these days. I was especially interested to hear Turley announce once again that the Bush administration has gone far beyond the Nixon Watergate era in malfeasance. And lamentably they are getting away with it because of the execrable performance of what passes these days for a free press.

What I'm going to concentrate on here is this obscure (to me anyway) legal term 'spoliation of evidence.' Obviously it's a form of obstruction of justice, and maybe Turley could have given a better explanation of its impact. Here's some relevant material from Wikipedia:
"Lawyers and courts use the term spoliation to refer to the withholding, hiding, or destruction of evidence relevant to a legal proceeding and is a criminal act in the United States under Federal and most State law.

Spoliation has two consequences: first the act is criminal by statute and may result in fines and incarceration for the parties who engaged in the spoliation, secondly case law has established that proceedings which might have been altered by the spoliation may be interpreted under a spoliation inference. The spoliation inference is a negative evidentiary inference that a finder of fact can draw from a party's destruction of a document or thing that is relevant to an ongoing or reasonably foreseeable civil or criminal proceeding: The finder of fact can review all evidence uncovered in as strong a light as possible against the spoliator and in favor of the opposing party. The theory of the spoliation inference is that when a party destroys evidence, it may be reasonable to infer that the party had consciousness of guilt or other motivation to avoid the evidence. Therefore, the factfinder may conclude that the evidence would have been unfavorable to the spoliator."
The underlines are mine, and point out what I think is key to Turley's use of this term. The implication is that evidence against the spoliator that has not been destroyed is for lack of a better term amplified in its impact on the case. And the way I see it that could be very bad for this administration in any legal proceedings against them in the future. Very, very bad. Why? Because their whole strategy has been one of obfuscation, stonewalling, and destruction of evidence.

Remember the story last year about the shredding trucks spotted outside of Dick Cheney's official residence? Looks like we got us some bigtime spoliation goin' on here. Or how about the story about the loss of millions of White House emails from an RNC server that they shouldn't even have been on in the first place? That's right, my friends. Spoliation, plain and simple.

Clearly the purpose of Extraordinary Rendition of 'suspected terrorists' to black sites in countries where the US has no jurisdiction can be none other than, you guessed it - spoliation. Perhaps the worst kind of spoliation occurs when these suspects turn out to be innocent after the most vigorous interrogation. There is a terrible but Inescapable Logic which suggests the interrogator must practice the most extreme act of spoliation imaginable in those instances - murder of the torture victim/potential witness.

And the infamous Prosecutors Purge scandal? Wow, with all the witnesses in the White House and Department of Justice claiming amnesia over that one, it looks like they all got some serious spoliation IN THEIR BRAINS! Not only does it sound like a communicable disease, apparently it actually is. I think Alberto Gonzales is a carrier, like typhoid Mary or something.

I think the most significant and far-reaching spoliation of all is the proliferation of electronic paperless voting systems throughout the country. This almost certainly resulted in persons unknown tampering with perhaps hundreds of thousands, even millions of votes in the last two general elections, and perhaps the 2006 midterms as well. Effectively allowing the retroactive 'caging' of votes that the powers that be don't like and the simultaneous destruction of any evidence of the crime. The spoliation of democracy. The spoliation of America to serve a criminal regime.

Spoliation.
It's the word of the day.
With any luck it might become the word of 2008.
I already like it better than truthiness.


Note: image at top of article is the painting "The spoliation of Christ" by el Greco. In that context spoliation means when the Centurions stripped his clothes off. It has nothing to do with the content of my post, but it's what I came up with in an image search, and hey - a little unruly culture never hurt anybody. Click for link to the online art museum where I found it.

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