Friday, June 27, 2008

Do You Remember Matt?

Well, he's still dancing.

and it's beautiful.

Thanks, Kelly.


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Feingold's Objections Delay FISA!

If you are wondering how a patriot acts, look no further than Russ Feingold. Because of his principled stand on not allowing retroactive immunity, FISA is postponed until after July 4.

Way to go, Russ!

If only more Senators understood the implications of FISA as it now stands, the country would be a better place.

via Think Progress

If you haven't yet, call you senator and tell him or her that the FISA bill cannot pass with retroacive immunity for the telecoms.


Labels: ,

How Fucked-Up Is FISA? Really Fucked-Up!

Myth No. 1: This bill is a compromise.

The House bill "is the result of a compromise," one of its architects, Steny Hoyer, D-Md., maintained the other day. But in truth, Hoyer and his colleagues gave the White House most of what it asked for, dramatically expanding the government's surveillance capabilities without demanding any serious concessions in exchange. Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., calls the deal "a capitulation," and he's right. Why else would the White House express its approval so quickly, after a full year in which President Bush petulantly vowed not to sign any legislation that obliged him to concede too much? Sen. Kit Bond, R-Mo., offered an honest appraisal: "I think the White House got a better deal than even they had hoped." (emphasis mine)

Myth No. 2: We need the bill to intercept our enemies abroad.

One frequent refrain in favor of the new legislation is that without it, America's intelligence capabilities will dry up, leaving the country vulnerable to attack. The National Security Agency wants to intercept communications that pass through routers in the United States, even when both parties to the communication are abroad. The administration has argued that the NSA should not have to obtain a court order to intercept those communications. Seems reasonable, right?

Of course it's reasonable. So reasonable, in fact, that House Democrats proposed to fix the problem a year ago. They were rebuffed. Why? Because their plan contained too much judicial oversight. (They ended up folding, just as they have this time around.) So when people say that this legislation is all about exempting foreign-to-foreign communications that happen to pass through the United States from the warrant requirement, don't buy it.

You see, the new law goes a lot further, basically doing away with warrants altogether in the domestic-to-international context. Under the proposal, the NSA can engage in what David Kris calls "vacuum cleaner surveillance" of phone calls and e-mails entering and leaving the United States through our nation's telecom switches. Provided that the "target" of the surveillance is reasonably believed to be abroad, the NSA can intercept a massive volume of communications, which might, however incidentally, include yours. When authorities want to target purely domestic communications, they still have to apply for a warrant from the FISA court (albeit only after a weeklong grace period of warrantless surveillance). But where communications between the United States and another country are concerned, the secret court is relegated to a vestigial role, consulted on the soundness of the "targeting procedures," but not on the legitimacy of the targets themselves.

This is a huge departure from FISA. As Glenn Greenwald argues in Salon, the underlying suggestion of the new proposal is "not that the FISA law is obsolete, but rather, that the key instrument imposed by the Founders to preserve basic liberty—warrants—is something that we must now abolish."

Myth No. 3: The courts will still review the telecom cases.

Perhaps most controversially, the bill effectively pardons the telecom giants that assisted the Bush administration in the warrantless wiretapping program. They will now be shielded from dozens of civil lawsuits brought against them after their involvement was exposed. House Democrats insist that the telecoms are not automatically getting off the hook. Instead, the companies must go before a federal judge. But here's the catch: For the suits against them to be "promptly dismissed," they must demonstrate to the judge not that what they did was legal but only that the White House told them to do it.

This is another bit of face-saving window dressing, and its essence is best captured in a breathtaking remark from Sen. Bond: "I'm not here to say that the government is always right. But when the government tells you to do something, I'm sure you would all agree … that is something you need to do." That more or less sums it up—one part Nuremberg defense, the other part Nixon.

Myth No. 4: The Democrats must fold because of the November election.

It's no secret that congressional Democrats wanted to resolve the FISA debate before the August convention in order to avoid the perennial charge that they're softies. After the House vote last week, Barack Obama issued a statement backing off his earlier tough stance on telecom immunity. The calculus seemed clear: McCain had just reversed his own position on illegal wiretapping and was spoiling for a fight, arguing that "House Democrats, the ACLU, and the trial lawyers have held up legislation to modernize our nation's terrorist surveillance laws." You can't stand with the trial lawyers and the ACLU if you want to win a general election.

But does it really make sense to stand with AT&T and George W. Bush instead? As the Anonymous Liberal blogger pointed out, you could hardly ask for a more disreputable opposing team than a president with historic-low popularity and a bunch of corporate fat cats. And by reneging on his earlier position, Obama put himself in a box: If he lets the bill sail through the Senate, he will alienate his base. But if he attempts a filibuster or an amendment now, he will appear to be pandering to the objections of and other groups. It would have made more sense for the party leadership and the nominee to stick to their guns.

Myth No. 5: The law will be the "exclusive means" for surveillance.

The Democrats' most pathetic bit of self-deluded posturing involves the inclusion of a clause suggesting that the new law represents the "exclusive means" by which "electronic surveillance and interception of certain communications may be conducted." According to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., this means "the law is the exclusive authority and not the whim of the president." But, then, FISA always said that it was the "exclusive means." And in 2001, pretty much on a whim, the president set it aside. So for those of you keeping score back home, the Democratic leadership is patting itself on the back for including in the new law a provision that was already in the old law—and which the Bush White House chose to ignore.

Here, then, is the bitter joke of the new legislation: From 2001 to 2007, the NSA engaged in a secret program that was a straightforward violation of America's wiretapping laws. Since the program was revealed, the administration has succeeded in preventing the judiciary from making a definitive declaration that the wiretapping was a crime. Suits against the government get dismissed on state-secrets grounds, because while the program may have been illegal, it was also so highly classified that its legality can never be litigated in open court. And now suits against the telecoms will by dismissed en masse as well. Meanwhile, the new law moves the goal posts, taking illegal things the administration was doing and making them legal.

Whatever Hoyer and Pelosi—and even Obama—say, this amounts to a retroactive blessing of the illegal program, and historically it means that the country will probably be deprived of any rigorous assessment of what precisely the administration did between 2001 and 2007. No judge will have an opportunity to call the president's willful violation of a federal statute a crime, and no landmark ruling by the courts can serve as a warning for future generations about government excesses in dangerous times. What's more, because the proposal so completely plays into the Bush conception of executive power, it renders meaningless any of its own provisions. After all, if the main lesson of the wiretapping scandal is that we need more surveillance power for the government, what is to stop President Bush—or President Obama or President McCain—from one day choosing to set this new law aside, too? "How will we be judged?" Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., asked in a stirring speech deploring the legislation yesterday. "The technical argument obscures the defining question: the rule of law, or the rule of men?"

via Slate

That tearing sound you hear? That's our Constitutionally protected rights being shredded by bottom feeding idiots.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Telecom Immunity

There is something very wrong with the Untied State of America if we allow the FISA bill that is now in the Senate to pass(it has already passed the House).
If we give retroactive immunity to the telecom companies for breaking the law, we will have just lost a part of what it means to be an American. I cannot stress enough the importance that this FISA bill fail in the Senate. If we allow this bill to pass in its current form, not only will we be setting a precedent that the law only apply when convenient, we will, effectively allowing any future Presidents a free hand in dictating what laws should be applied under whatever arbitrary circumstance.
The Constitution was not written with an addendum stating "all laws are to be ignored if the President says so." That is essentially what this FISA bill is saying. We cannot allow that kind of thinking to stand.
Thank goodness Senator Dodd (you can read Dodd's great speech here), and Senator Feingold are standing up for the Constitution and the rule of law. Because of their leadership, the FISA bill has been tabled. If we could only have more Senators like Dodd and Feingold in the Senate, then the true meaning of America would be realized. As it is, too many Senators feel the law are an inconvenience for large multinational corporations.
It pains me to see how many in our Congress feel the 4th amendment should not apply to large corporations or on the whim of the President. When did our Constitution discriminate based on the size of a corporation or the amount of lobbyist are on the payroll?

I urge everyone to write your Senators and tell them we cannot let this FISA bill pass.

Write/Call your Senator

This bill goes to the very heart of what the United States is supposed to stand for. If we allow this FISA bill to pass, we are throwing away something so important to all of us, The Constitution.

Finally, I cannot express strongly enough my disappointment with Obama's support of the FISA bill as it stands. Especially since Obama had previously stated his opposition to telecom immunity. The only thing that has changed, I guess, is that he is now the Democratic Nominee for President. I am still processing what this means. I had such hope for Obama and his ability to see what is right. I'm just so dissappointed...

Labels: ,

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


On the advice of some readers I picked up Jack Weatherford's Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World where I learned that Genghis Khan banned torture in his empire.

So, yes, under George W. Bush the United States of America is regressing to an understanding of humane treatment of people that doesn't reflect the enlightened views of Genghis Khan. That's your feel-good thought of the day.

Matthew Yglesias


Monday, June 23, 2008

Public Financing

Obama has decided to opt out of public financing for the general election. I'm okay with that, but not okay with the silly excuse he came up with. His stated reason is that the system is broken. Not a good excuse, he should have just come out and said, "look, I am not influenced by large cash donors like politicians before, I have received the majority of my money from $25-$100 donations. Public financing of campaigns was designed to stop the influence of large cash only donations, I have proved we can run campaigns with greater participation from the general public. Because of that, I will not take public money for my campaign."

It would have been that simple. Obama's stated reason is silly.

But I also think the hand-wringing of the MSM is also silly. They should realize that what Obama has done. He has made the political process more assessable to the general public, and, therefore, politicians more accountable. Rather than poo-pooing what Obama has done re. Public Financing, they should be applauding the way he has been able to bring the public into the democratic process. More participation = more democracy as it should be practiced. The MSM need to see that.

Labels: ,

Friday, June 20, 2008

Rice Appeases Our Enemy...Naively...Or Something

Secretary Rice is appeasing the enemy by talking to Hesbollah, which, correct me if I'm wrong, is exactly what Obama was trashed for saying his administration would do.

It's a shame when a official of the United States of America willingly puts American lives in danger by talking to the enemy. It's a shocking development that, I'm sure, the Bush Administration will denounce with all do haste. Um...

So naive


Crime Without Punishment

With 80% saying the country is going in the wrong direction, the Dimocrats continue going in that very direction by giving the White House everything they want. Illegal wirtapping of American's phone? Yeah, that's cool!


The Democrats just said "Fuck You" to the Constitution.

Glenn Greenwald has it all.

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Obama, Stop Comparing McCain To Bush!

Saturday, June 14, 2008


There is a video blogger (the kids call it vlogging) that I watch every's a sample of one of littleBIGGERchris' vlogs. Chris usually speaks when on his vlog, but I thought the song was catchy and oh so true.

Go and take a look at his other vlogs - Chris is a kick.
I've posted Chris' blog link to the right

Labels: ,

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Supreme Court Reinstates Habeas Corpus

The Supreme Court, in a narrow 5 to 4 victory, has reinstated a core right, Habeas Corpus.

For those that supported Clinton and now say they will vote for McCain instead of voting for Obama, I ask you to think about this...
Three of the five Justices in the majority -- John Paul Stevens (age 88), Ruth Bader Ginsburg (age 75) and David Souter (age 68) -- are widely expected by court observers to retire or otherwise leave the Court in the first term of the next President. By contrast, the four judges who dissented -- Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, John Roberts and Sam Alito -- are expected to stay right where they are for many years to come.

John McCain has identified Roberts and Alito as ideal justices of the type he would nominate, while Barack Obama has identified Stephen Breyer, David Souter and Ginsberg (all in the majority today). It's not hyperbole to say that, from Supreme Court appointments alone, our core constitutional protections could easily depend upon the outcome of the 2008 election.

via Glenn Greenwald

If you vote for McCain, you vote for a deletion of our rights as citizens of the United States of America.

And think about what Scalia said:

Scalia said the nation is "at war with radical Islamists" and that the court's decision "will make the war harder on us. It will almost certainly cause more Americans to be killed."

I'm afraid of the dark man isn't a legal argument, Antonin. Nor is "it will save lives." Having cops on the street summarily execute anyone suspected of any crime in America might save lives, it probably would in fact. That doesn't justify suspending the Constitution and doing it. Scalia, like many conservatives, thinks that the Constitution was only written for the good times. In other words, it's only for when you don't need it.

via Americablog

Scalia and his buddies on the Supreme Court seem confused about their job. It is not the job of the Surpeme Court to protect the citizens of the U.S. from violence, it is the job of the Supreme Court to uphold the Constitution of the United States.

The oath taken the by the Justices of the Supreme Court:
"I, [NAME], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as [TITLE] under the Constitution and laws of the United States. So help me God.''


I hope the varous people that supported Clinton and now say they will cross over to McCain know what is at stake.

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Search in Yosemite for missing man who asked to be alone to read Bible

"A search is under way at Yosemite National Park for a 22-year-old man who disappeared Sunday after telling friends he wanted to be alone for half an hour to read his Bible."
via SFGate

Clearly, we have all been Left Behind


Friday, June 06, 2008

Quote Of The Day

"The RNC's new Barack Obama oppo site lists his experience in Chicago as "street organizer," rather than "community organizer," as the job is actually known. Classy. But I think Chris Hayes is correct to suggest they're not being creative enough. He writes, "Frankly, in order to elicit the maximum degree of racial stereotyping I would have gone with 'ghetto operative' or 'slum captain.'" I do like slum captain, but I'd probably opt for "corner agitator" or "stoop organizer." Or you could just cut the bullshit and say "Barack Obama is a known and unrepentant associate of many Chicago-based African Americans."
via Ezra Klein


Tuesday, June 03, 2008

A Tale Of Two Speeches

First, Clinton.

It was all about her less than veiled innuendo that the election was stolen from her. She got the most votes. She won the most important states...etc...etc...etc. She cannot let go. Her speech was as classless as the Clintons have been througout this campaign. Not once did she even mention McCain, the real opponent, because in Clinton's mind, it is not John McCain that is the enemy, it is Obama. It was all about her and how she is stronger. Her speech was not given to uplift or unite the Democratic Party, it was to wound Obama. If there is any doubt that she won't help Obama, tonight she sealed the deal. She is against Obama. She will do what she can to wound him so she can say, in the end, if he loses, "see, I told you." Nothing said that more than her plea to her supporters to go to her website and leave their thoughts. The politics of triangulation at it's Clintonian best.
I wrote early on in the election that Primaries are about finding the best person for the Party, and early on, Clinton made it clear she is not running for the Party, she is running for herself, and she is willing to destroy anyone that gets in her way, including the Democratic Party.


Now Obama.

The contrast of Obama's graciousness towards Clinton, his stated respect for her hard work at the beginning of his speech stands out in diametric opposites to Clinton's gracelessness, her classless, polarizing speech is profound.
Obama's speech was what we, we can do together to make the United States a better place. Obama's speech hit hard on McCain, the real opponent in the race, but not before Obama, deserved, praise of McCain's heroism and service to the United States.
Obama showed he can give as good as he gets in his speech tonight.
Obama's sound and reasoned postion on Iraq showed me he gets Iraq, but he also knows we cannot continue to allow the lack of political prgress to continue.
Obama was uplifting, hopefull and inspiring. What a change from the last 7 1/2 years of Bush fear and bullying.


I'm going to read what other bloggers have said now...'night!

Labels: ,