Friday, September 28, 2007

Jack-August 07

Happy 8th Month Little Dude

Jack and Daddy Sometime In July, I Think

I'll put up a few newer pics soon. The boy has gotten considerably bigger since then.

Congress shall make no law ...abridging the freedom of speech

Jack is 8 months old today and he becomming a fine young fellow. His daddy is very proud. The Patriot has been thinking of retiring for a while. Kick up his heels and leaving the angry blogging to those with more time and energy. I can’t quite bring myself to pull the plug though. Especially when Bush is still up to his old capitalist running dog tricks. Last week he came out against the State Children's Health Insurance program which would essentially double -- from 4 million to 8 million -- the number of children covered because it was “too expensive”. Now no one likes to beat up on the Democrats more than yours truly, but even I had to hand it to Sen. Robert Byrd who aptly pointed out that the president has freely spent over $378 billion of our treasury in Iraq, so his protestation that $8 billion needed to fund the Children’s Health Insurance is too expensive rings a little hollow.

The Senate voted 67-29 Thursday night to expand the program, although for some reason Democrats Joseph Biden and Barack Obama did not vote. Maybe they were busy.
In local news, the trial of William Talen, a/k/a Reverend Billy got under way in New York Supreme Court his week. Mr. Talen, leader of the “ Church of Stop Shopping” was arrested June 29 during a protest against the city’s new permit requirements for the monthly Critical Mass bicycle rally and proposed restrictions on photographers and filmmakers in public places. He was charged with two counts of second-degree harassment, and stands accused of following a group of police officers while repeatedly reciting the 40-odd words of the First Amendment through a megaphone, which, as the Times described it, was “the kind commonly used by cheerleaders”.

In her opening statement he prosecutor told Judge Tanya Kennedy that Mr. Talen’s offense had been to shout the familiar lines beginning with “Congress shall make no law” while standing three feet from the officers, and ignoring their requests to stop. The prosecutor said his behavior was “obnoxious” by any standard. (The Patriot thinks that if obnoxious behavior is elevated to the status of a crime most New Yorkers would run afoul of the law on a regular basis.) His lawyers, Norman Siegel and Earl Ward, told Judge Kennedy that the law defined harassment as engaging in a course of conduct that is not only “alarming” and “annoying” but “which serves no legitimate purpose. Mr. Siegel argued that there could hardly be a more legitimate place than a protest rally to recite the First Amendment, with its lines barring Congress from “abridging the freedom of speech” and guaranteeing the rights “of the people peaceably to assemble.” Way to go Norm.

I feel kind of bad for the ADA who was told by her superiors to take this piece of shit to trial. If any case cries out for an outright dismissal it’s this one. Unfortunately the Manhattan prosecutor’s office has been charged with the responsibility of protecting the people from dangerous liberals reciting parts of the Constitution in public. Might start people thinking about their rights, and we can’t have that now can we?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Here's a Surprise

Two hours ago a Republican filibuster in the Senate shot down a bipartisan effort to restore the right of terrorism suspects to contest their detentions and treatment in federal courts by using a writ of habeas corpus.

The 56-43 vote fell short of the 60 needed to cut off debate and move to a final vote on the amendment to the Senate's annual defense policy bill. The measure did garner the support of six Republicans, a small victory for its supporters, but couldn’t snag Lieberman. Six Republicans -- Arlen Specter, Olympia Snowe, Chuck Hagel, Richard Lugar, John Sununu and Gordon Smith -- joined every Democrat in voting for cloture on the habeas corpus provision. Joseph Lieberman voted no.

As you may recall, last year's Military Commissions Act, which suspended the writ of habeas corpus for terrorism suspects at the military detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and other “off-shore” prisons.

When Democrats won Congress in November, liberal activists and civil libertarians naively assumed the new Democratic majority would quickly tackle address the excesses from President Bush's "war on terror," including the suspension of habeas corpus rights, wiretapping without court warrants, and the maintenance of the offshore prison in Guantanamo Bay. None of those constitutionally suspect laws have been reversed. Indeed, last month, our allegedly DemocraticCongress extended and expanded the administration's wiretapping program for six months.

Rather than bother activists appearing at meaningless speeches by ex-presidential candidates, the brownshirt cops who administered an electronic spanking to Andrew Meyer should take their Taser and be sent to wander around the halls of Congress, shocking some sense into the idiots who think the Constitution is a document of convenience and can be messed with like corporate financial statements.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Martial Law

I was reading an excellent Nat Hentoff article on Civil Liberties in the Village Voice yesterday and I realized that no matter how vigilant one is about tracking the steady stream of bullshit emanating from the White House and Congress, it is very easy to miss things if you aren’t paying close attention. In a column titled, “As our civil liberties disappear, where are the Democrats?” (great title by the way) Hentoff reminded me exactly how freaky and scary these Republi-fascists have become in the last six years, and exactly how little the dems have done to stop them:

“Last year, buried in the 591-page Defense Appropriations Act—as civil- liberties watchdog John Whitehead and others have reported—the Republican-controlled 109th Congress, doubtless at the Bush/Cheney administration's behest, inserted a provision that (in Whitehead's words) allows the president "to declare martial law and use the military as a domestic police force in response to a natural disaster, disease outbreak, terrorist attack or any 'other condition' " that undermines public order. (Emphasis added.)

How much due process would these military-police roundups of suspected internal enemies give those prisoners? And how long will that military power be in effect domestically?
Has Geoffrey Stone forgotten James Madison's warning: "A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive, will not long be safe companions to liberty"?

Let’s see, which Democrats crossed the isle to vote for this piece of shit? Surprise! Almost all of them. This bill the House of Representatives by roll call vote. The totals were 407 Ayes, 19 Nays, 6 Present/Not Voting. The Senate vote was even more of a disgrace, 98 Ayes, 0 Nays, 2 Present/Not Voting. Your opposition party at work folks. I wonder if Halliburton is getting the contract to build these concentration camps?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A Daily Quote or Two

Here is an excellent article from Margaret Kimberly posted on the Smirking Chimp. Highlights follow:

“Denial is not a river in Egypt, it is a toxic and dangerous force, leading to delusional and illogical behavior. Believing that the Democratic party will act in a different manner than it has been is truly delusional. The political process has done nothing but abandon the American people to terror committed by their government.

The only hope for America is mass dissent… The first step in activating those people who are willing to act is to first tell them the bitter truth. Cooperation with the system, including the Democratic party, is a recipe for continued warfare, loss of civil liberties and increased corporate power.

It makes no sense to beg John Conyers to begin an impeachment investigation. The Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee knows that the constitution demands it. Like every other politician he understands but one thing, the loss of his job. Conyers must face a challenge when he runs for re-election next year and he must not be alone.”

Yes dear readers I’ve said t before, its time to put pressure where pressure is due and run Reid, Pelosi and all the other mini Chamberlains out of Congress before we lose the country completely.

Patraeus Betrayed Us

So what is there to say really about the dog and pony show being put on in Congress this week that hasn’t been said already? The fact that Field Marshal Patraeus is willing to get up in front of the nation and regurgitate the spin which has been spoon fed to him by the White House speaks volumes about his character and about what it takes to rise to the top of the armed forces. I guess he’s been taking private lessons in reputation sullying from Colin Powell in his spare time. Ultimately Patraeus’s performance isn’t too surprising; the military gets its marching orders from the civilian leadership and can hardly stand up in Congress and tell the truth about the state of things in Iraq. This would reflect badly on the Commander in Chimp. Nor is it really surprising that the Democrats have been muted in their criticism of the general. Half the democratic interviewees spent precious soundbite time distancing themselves from Move On’s “Patraeus/betray us” campaign. (More on this in the next post). No, what surprises even me is how soft the mainstream media has been in reporting on the General's obvious misstatements, half-truths and outright falsehoods about what is going on in Iraq. It's as if Patraeus's uniform has rendered him immune to any discussion in the press about his motivations. Did the media learn nothing from Oliver North draping himself in the flag in the 1980s when testifying before Congress at the Iran-Contra hearings? Apparently not. Can't attack the generals, it would mean we aren't Supporting Our Troops!

One thing clear to anyone listening even half-heartedly to the news is that no matter what we liberal bloggers and the rest of America want, it is inescapably clear that we will remain in Iraq in full force through the end of the Bush presidency. Moreover, according to a Fox News report this morning, "'everyone in town' is now participating in a broad discussion about the costs and benefits of military action against Iran, with the likely timeframe for any such course of action being over the next eight to 10 months."Rock on fascists, rock on.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Get This Party Started

How many of you all thought that when field marshal Patraes delivers his report to Congress next week on the effects of the surge, the Democrats would be presented with a golden opportunity to hammer the administration on Iraq and demand troop withdrawals which they would take full advantage of? Show of hands. Anyone? Anyone? Right. According to the Washington Post today, our spineless boot lickers in Washington are planning on throwing in the towel before they even hear what our American Rommel of the shifting sands has to say about the pacification of Baghdad. According to the Post, “Democratic leaders have signaled they are open to a more bipartisan approach to Iraq that would force the Bush administration to begin publicly planning for troop withdrawals but would stop short of requiring a firm timeline.”"Clearly, we don't have the numbers to override the president's vetoes, as has been clearly demonstrated," said House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.), "nor do we expect to for a long time." That’s the spirit! If we can’t override a veto, why even express our discontent? After all only 4000 Americans have died in this bullshit exercise. Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) even said that he could drop his demand for a firm troop withdrawal next spring to win GOP votes. Of course it has nothing to do with votes and everything to do with political will.

As Salon notes in the War Room “Do the Democrats have the numbers to override Bush's veto? No, Hoyer's probably right about that. But the fact is, Bush can't fund the war himself, or at least not for very long. At some point, he needs an affirmative vote from Congress, giving him the funds to continue. And if Congress won't give that to him without a timeline, well, at some point, Bush, not Congress, would have to be the one who blinks. Will that happen? Of course it won't. But it won't be because the Democrats lack a veto-proof majority. It's because too many of them lack the courage of their convictions; they'll say that the war is going badly -- maybe even that it's "lost" -- but they won't take the political risk of saying, "We're not going to pay for it anymore."

The Democrats have betrayed the voters who gave them the majority last November and they should be punished. By punished I mean replaced by other representatives who will actually go to Washington to do the people’s work is currently testing the waters by circulating a survey among its members asking whether they would support funding primary challengers running against conservative Democrats next November. I think that is as good a place as any to get rid of these useless Republicrats and replace them with actual hardcore left-wing anti-war liberals. I invite you all to meander over to moveon and maybe drop a dime or two in the kitty so we can get the party started, so to speak.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Weapons of Mass Deception

Sorry for the gap between postings kids. Jack's been sick and work pretty busy. I hope you all will forgive me. Speaking of forgiveness, will I be forgiven for enjoying the spectacle of Senator Craig twisting in the glare of public humiliation? Apparently the Senator is rethinking his resignation from the Senate and looking to withdraw his guilty plea, all on the advice of some rather high-priced lawyers, including the attorney who recently represented Michael Vic, the erstwhile NFL star and dog killer. I still think Craig's as good as gone. I saw an interview with Dan Bolton on McNeil Lehrer and he was pretty adamant when he said the White House thought the Senator was doing the right thing by resigning and that in time, the Senator himself will realize that.

Something else in the news this morning caught my attention. A few days ago New York was in a tizzy because someone discovered some nerve gas, purportedly taken from an Iraqi chemical weapons plant, lying around in a file cabinet at the UN. Further investigation revealed that the substance found at a UN weapons inspectors' office last month appears to be a non-toxic solvent.

The material was originally found Aug. 24 at a UN office in midtown Manhattan. The material, from a bombed-out Iraqi research facility, was in inventory files with a label that indicated it could be phosgene, a chemical substance used in the First World War.But it wasn’t phosgene, was it? . “If it turns out to be something that was mislabelled, we'll need to find out why it was mislabelled," said a UN official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Yes, by all means let's find out why innocuous solvent was mislabeled as a WMD in the run up to the first gulf war, although I wouldn’t expect that the investigation into this “mislabeling” will go very far. What this tells me is that the plan to invade Iraq and depose Sadam Hussein based on manufactured evidence extends as far back as the first Bush administration. The fruit doesn’t fall too far from the tree does it? Of course Dick Cheney was the defense secretary under Bush I so the fact that there was phony WMD evidence around in 1991 isn’t really all that surprising.