Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Bush: Train more science teachers. Me: Wha!?

I was at work so I had the good fortune of missing the state of the union address. However while bopping about the internets, my attention was really grabbed by the first paragraph in this article which included this doozy:
President Bush on Tuesday called for training 70,000 math and science teachers to improve the nation's competitiveness

This administrations war on science is simply legendary. Ask James Hansen head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies. He says:
"In my more than three decades in government, I have never seen anything approaching the degree to which information flow from scientists to the public has been screened and controlled as it is now,"
Ask Susan Wood, who resigned her position as director of the FDA's Office of Womens Health. Her resignation letter includes the following quotes:
"I can no longer serve as staff when scientific and clinical evidence, fully evaluated and recommended for approval by the professional staff here, has been overruled," snip "The recent decision announced by the Commissioner about emergency contraception, which continues to limit women's access to a product that would reduce unintended pregnancies and reduce abortions, is contrary to my core commitment to improving and advancing women's health."
This administrations willful ignorance of the overwhelming scientific evidence of human caused global warming has set the entire world on a course for calamity. I'm certain a simple Google search using the words Bush administration & science would load thousands of pages with all sorts of good stuff that shows the absolute disdain this administration has shown for the scientific community.

Let us consider what president Bush really is saying when he calls for the training of science teachers. He believes creationism should be taught in science class. As demonstrated with the two links above he also believes that science is only useful if it serves his ideological goals, which rarely happens. Therefore, when the president calls for the training of science teachers, are we to believe they will be ideologically suited for this administrations goals? Science is science! I believe truth be told, that the neo-cons are more interested in seeing to it that science is discarded, and perhaps the president meant to call for the training of 70,000 theologians rather than teachers of the very subject that he so disdains.

Believe it or not, this even applies to the call for math teachers. I certainly am not mathematically inclined, but I'm well aware that mathematics are based upon basic groundrules that must be adhered to in order to accurately reach a calculation. However, when this administration does the math, you really can not expect to get actual results based upon real numbers. If perchance an administration member were to be so bold as to actually rely upon real numbers, they have the example of Lawrence Greenfield, former leader of the Bureau of Justice Statistics to consider. What did he do to earn a premature exit from his position? He reported factual numbers and statistics on racial profiling during traffic stops. Unacceptable in Bushworld... out the door with this fella! But what do you expect from this crowd? Before the Iraqi quagmire the Mitchell Daniels, then director of the Office of Management and Budget told us the total cost to the American taxpayer of the war would be $50 - $60 billion. Perhaps hindsight helps in this matter, but the fact is that in yet another issue where-in a statistic was called upon from this administration, their initial estimate was woefully shy of the true state of affairs.

So the example set by this administration is that of fudging numbers and ignoring science in order to fit their distorted world view. And now this president calls upon 70,000 more science and math teachers? I say I'll believe that when I see it. And I don't want to see all these teachers graduating from Bob Jones, Liberty, and Oral Roberts university.

George Miller is one lucky s.o.b.!

NBC's Mike Viqueira reports on Rep. George Miller, who must be the luckiest congressional Democrat in D.C.

When the national leadership all gets together for these shindigs, a member of each branch of government is hustled to Dick Cheney's bunker in case God decides he's had enough and smites the gathering with... locusts or frogs or nucular annihilation, or whatever pestilence God uses to make the point. (Yes I know how to pronounce and spell nuclear! Ironic that the man who controls the arsenal will not even pronounce it correctly, no?)

The Democratic congressional representative for tonight's travesty is Rep. George Miller. Now I know most of those who choose to check out this blog probably agree he gets off easy on this one... but there are several factors to consider here.

George will be held in the Cheney dungeon, where he will be strapped to a chair with a ball gag, metallic picks holding his eyelids open as nurses wet his unblinking eyes. The SOTU will be played on a movie screen size t.v. as 37,000 volt subwoof magnetic resonance harmonic flapdoodle speakers pound his senses. When congress interrupts the president with applause rather than watching the camera pan to various politicians George will see rapid fire images of Saddam being checked for lice, the twin towers in flames, the Abu Graib human pyramid, floating bodies in New Orleans... you know, all the hallmarks of this administration. After the speech George will be strapped to a board with his feet slightly elevated over his head, have plastic wrap placed over his mouth to be doused with water whilst the democratic response is given.

But you know what? Given the choice here, Rep. George Miller is luckier than the rest of the Dems who have to show up for the SOTU!

Sort of makes you wonder. What would it be like if the president showed up to give a state of the union address and half the chamber was empty?

Monday, January 30, 2006

Club Lefty content...

I would like some comment if possible on the following subject. If you would be so kind as to let me know what you are thinking I would very much appreciate it.

My posting goal to this point generally speaking is to write on subjects that do not get much play in the lefty blogosphere. I do this because I figure if you want the lefty perspective about the issue/s that dominate the news on any given day that you can check out kos, Americablog, Atrios etc etc....

Of course when an issue is very near and dear to me, (stolen elections, Iraq war etc.) I'll let fly with my two cents regardless of who else is talking up the subject, but I digress...

The trouble with this from my way of thinking is that it can be difficult to find anything interesting and topical to post about when you limit posts that cover the issue of the day. Perhaps, while I do echo the lefty perspective, some readers would like to know what I in particular have to say on the hot issues.

Then again, when you check me out you are getting a perspective on a fresh subject quite often that you won't find by clicking on most of the big boy lefty blogger sites.

So the question boils down to this: Should I start posting about issues of the day more often than I do? Or do you think the content as I've progressed over the last several months is good and I should keep the same philosophy?

If you'd like to comment but do not wish to make a comment on site feel free to email your opinion to me @ bhfrik@gmail.com

U.S. service women shocker...

Truthout.org has the testimony of Col. Janis Karpinski that details the hair raising plight of female soldiers deployed to Iraq.
...several women had died of dehydration because they refused to drink liquids late in the day. They were afraid of being assaulted or even raped by male soldiers if they had to use the women's latrine after dark.

The latrine for female soldiers at Camp Victory wasn't located near their barracks, so they had to go outside if they needed to use the bathroom. "There were no lights near any of their facilities, so women were doubly easy targets in the dark of the night," Karpinski told retired US Army Col. David Hackworth in a September 2004 interview. It was there that male soldiers assaulted and raped women soldiers. So the women took matters into their own hands. They didn't drink in the late afternoon so they wouldn't have to urinate at night. They didn't get raped. But some died of dehydration in the desert heat, Karpinski said.
If this is true, it seems that once the situation became known to the upper echelon of the military that they would take steps to insure the safety of our women in uniform... right? Further reading of the article soon will disabuse the reader of the commanders seeing to this self evident necessity.
[Lt. Gen. Ricardo] Sanchez's, attitude was: "The women asked to be here, so now let them take what comes with the territory," Karpinski quoted him as saying. Karpinski told me that Sanchez, who was her boss, was very sensitive to the political ramifications of everything he did. She thinks it likely that when the information about the cause of these women's deaths was passed to the Pentagon, Donald Rumsfeld ordered that the details not be released. "That's how Rumsfeld works," she said.
The women asked to be here so let them take what comes with the territory? Unacceptable! Outrageous! Un-American! These women volunteered to serve our country, and their commander has that reaction. If this does not send your blood pressure through the roof, I really wish you would stop drinking the kool-aid...

We have American military service personnel dying because they will not drink water in the afternoons in the Iraqi desert for fear of being assaulted if they have to urinate after dark. And by gum... they asked for that! Only in Bush world is this even thinkable.

Friday, January 27, 2006

You think lying about sex was bad?

Remember when the moral majority crowd got their figurative pitchforks and torches out to impeach president Clinton because he was 'serviced' by an intern and then lied about it.

How would the nation react if it were to be shown that the leaders and grass roots activists of this very same group who are so concerned about honesty and integrity were instrumental in stealing elections? Which would YOU consider more morally represhensable? Adultery, and then lying to cover that up? (An act which surely is morally repugnant, but has been and will be with us for the rest of mankind as we know it. This practice seems to be rooted in simple human nature actually) Or fundamentally eroding the basis of this nations democratic institutions and altering the express will of the people as expressed through elections? To be honest, what I find a bit scary is that there are probably about 30% of the American people who would reflexively answer that the adultery issue would be more liable when considered against the stealing of our democracy on the scales of moral relativism.

Truthout.org has the transcript of an interview with Mark Crispin Miller, the author of Fooled Again: How The Right Stole The 2004 Election, And Why They'll Steal The Next One Too (Unless We Stop Them). What sets this interview apart from the rest of the exposes on these stolen elections is his focus on the role of the religious right in helping to commit these crimes against democracy:
MCM:This has to do with the peculiarly paranoid quality of the crusading mindset. I believe this theft was to a great extent carried out thanks to a kind of crusader mentality. I've got plenty of evidence in the book that the religious right played an enormously large role in the theft of the election last year.

TM: [interviewer Terrence McNally] I think first of Diebold, I think of the Ken Blackwells or the Kathryn Harrises. How does the religious right itself play a role beyond mobilizing its own troops?

MCM: That mobilization is significant when you consider that a lot of those troops have actually become embedded inside the election system.

TM: Local polling officials, that sort of thing?

MCM: One Democratic election judge tried to observe the vote count in Pima County, Arizona. A roomful of polling personnel who all belonged to the same evangelical church in the area started to call him a liberal demon, a liberal scum.
Whoa there... liberal scum? Where is the spirit of fellowship and harmony. If " by their fruits shall you know them" is to be taken as a measure of these folks, are they only giving good fruit to conservatives but bitter fruit and thorns to those who do not agree with them politically? How shallow is that? Do these folks truly believe that the only way to eternal salvation is through a belief in Christ and conservatism and that the political opposition are "liberal demons"? Judge not and yada yada yada, BUT do not express different political views lest you be judged a heathen!
TM: When you talk about a crusader mentality, you basically mean that if you do not support my candidate you are an infidel - and the ends justify the means?

MCM: Precisely. See, all these crimes that I attest to in the book were committed with impunity by people who regard their political adversaries as demons. And that's not an exaggeration. You know, this government is to a great extent dominated by people who have that metaphysical view of the current political situation.

It is a very serious mistake I believe to think that all of this is happening only because of the excessive greed of certain corporate powers. That greed is decisive It played an enormous role. There is no question about it. But it could not have succeeded without the vigorous grassroots assistance of a lot of people who are religious true believers. And I think that they include the likes of Tom DeLay and others.
The question to my way of thinking is this: If it is proven that these elections were stolen with the help of the religious right, what does that say of the morality of these folks? Not even considering how distasteful I find their support of an adminsistration that is attempting to subvert the constitution, allow for the torture of prisoners, fighting a needless war, lies to the public as a matter of policy, and the list goes on and on. For the sake of argument nevermind all that! Just on the issue of killing our democracy by subverting the vote... if this is proven what does this say of this segment of our society and their moral values?

I believe there is overwhelming evidence that our electoral system is seriously off the tracks, and that it has been hijacked to further the goals of the radical fringe of the Republican party. From the promise of then Diebold CEO Walden O'Dell to deliver Ohio to Bush in the 2004 election to the non partisan congressional GAO report that found system wide failures in voting machine security, and easily half a dozen commissions and organizations documentation in between, we are presented with the specter of democracy as we were raised to understand it becoming a historical footnote.

And this happens with the knowing acquiescence of the party that purports to stand for morality, truth and Christian values, because they benefit from this willful killing of our democracy. Shame!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Huh? 63%

According to the newest Harris poll 63% of all Republicans believe that the war in Iraq is going well.

My reaction to this is... What kind of a koolaid drinking, hide your head in the sand, ignore the world around you, Fox News watching, Bushovich, wingnut would think that things are going well in Iraq? You do not get that level of support when the active duty military is polled.

I know there is no way to verify this, but what do you think would be findings if you hooked up 1000 members of the presidents administration to a lie detector and asked them if they thought the war was going well? 63% yes? (Scoff!) Of course if a pollster simply called them or mailed them a survey I suppose you could get a 63 percentile to be all happy about Iraq, but this administration is so adept at lying that we really would have to question those results.

Democracies do not invade their neighbors... unless...

Yesterdays landslide victory by Hamas in the Palestinian elections brings to mind the assertion by president Bush that "We know that democracies do not forment [sic] terror or invade their neighbors".

As I noted in a a previous post, this can even be said of America, because we being the world superpower, have no need to invade our neighbors when we can project power half the world away and invade countries that do not border us.

But the quote noted above by the president brings to mind a question. How is it that one man can be so hopelessly wrong every time he opens his mouth? It is like the fates hear the word of Bush and conspire to ruin him. How could he possibly have known when he was talking up the peacefulness of democracies that a group which advocated the destruction of Israel would win the Palestinian election? Add this Bush contention to the growing heap of flat out wrong assertions by this bumblehead and would somebody please do the world a favor by pouring gas on the pile and tossing on a match?

Let us consider another conundrum presented by yesterdays election. In a press conference today , (click that link at your own risk, as that links to the white house web site and they do not seem particularly eager to protect your privacy these days) president Bush made this outlandish comment:
Q Are you cautioning Prime Minister Abbas not to resign? And --

THE PRESIDENT: We'd like him to stay in power. I mean, we'd like to stay in office. He is in power, we'd like him to stay in office.
And your question on Abbas was a good one. And our message to him was, we would hope he would stay in office and work to move the process forward.
This wish for a political leader to stay in office after his opposition has swept the election seems if anything to me to be fundamentally undemocratic. It would be similar to Democrats sweeping the 2006 mid term elections, but allowing Dennis Hastert or Bill Frist to remain as speaker of the house and senate majority leader. When elections are lost by the party in power, generally speaking (by generally I mean 100% of the time in lawful democracies) the leadership positions are taken by the winning party.

I suppose this would be a good time to wonder at the Freudian slip of the president in the answer he gave. When he said "we'd like to stay in office" we really have to wonder if deep in his inner being the president was not addressing the issue of having been found to be breaking the law repeatedly and possibly being impeached. Perhaps we should also consider the seeming disregard of the president to the results of elections when those results do not fit his vision of how things ought to be when looking at this comment. The lessons of Florida 2000 certainly have not been lost on this administration.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


The L.A. Times has an alarming article that details the curious case of a father/son household that informally adopted a bear they found whilst destroying the bears habitat.

Of course I have fired off a missive to the Colbert Report because this story simply MUST gain top billing on his threatdown segment. Check out this SHOCKER from the article as one of these loggers describes how intelligent bears are:
"It's pretty intelligent when you can tell a bear, 'I love you, come give Momma a kiss,' and that bear comes right over and gives you a smack on the lips."
Being "smack[ed] on the lips" by a bear may seem like a grand idea for some, but just think about how embarrassed you will feel picking your lips up off of the floor before you decide trying this on your own. And inquiring minds want to know: Which of these logger fellas was "Momma"?

Here is another shocker from the article:
Their ursine guest learned to open the house's doors and often closed them behind her.
Can you imagine the chaos that is sure to ensue after this bear has cubs and teaches them to open doors and what not? After about 10 generations NO ONE will be safe from bear home invasions. What next? Teach the bear to operate a chainsaw!? Or bears driving cars? How would you like to flag down a taxi and, only after you hop in the back, realize that the driver is a Grizzley and you are on a one way trip to a cave down by the river? Let me ask you... which taxi licensing flunkie is going to say no to issuing a permit to drive a taxi to... A BEAR!? Next thing you know the bears will be potty trained and then what happens when someone responds to an obvious question with the tried and true refrain: "Does a bear crap in the woods?" Who knows!

There is a bit of a political angle here, so in all seriousness (no... really!) let me address one issue in the story:
the father and son would settle simply for retrieving their photos and videos of Windfall, [the bear] seized during the raid. Perkett said there's sentimental value attached - and proof of Windfall's amazing domestic exploits.

Law enforcement authorities aren't budging on that one. Burgett said state officials are concerned the photos and videos "would only glamorize" the Perketts' tale on TV, instead of conveying the message that they broke the law.
This really seems to be a politically motivated decision that needs to be reconsidered. Taking pictures and videos of a bear is not illegal. They are facing fines and what not for their actions as legal punishment. Keeping their property because they may glamorize the tale on T.V. seems a bit heavy handed in my humble opinion.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Republicans scientifically proven brain damaged...

According to MSNBC it has been scientifically shown that wingnuts are not right in the head. Two bricks shy of a full load. Born upstairs over a vacant lot. Playing solitaire with a 51 card deck as it were.

Ok... actually the study shows that both sides of the political spectrum have a problem recognizing facts which support the other side. I just thought it would be fun to actually prove the point, and get in a dig at the other side in the process! =oD

NSA spying & 500 LB. bombs...

According to former NSA director, Gen. Michael Hayden the NSA spy program is narrowly targeted:
"using the same tools and techniques employed to decide whether to drop a 500-pound bomb on a terrorist target."
If this does not raise alarm bells with my conservative brethren I must ask... what in the world ever will? This former NSA director is saying we use the same technology to figure out which citizens need spying on as we used to bomb the Chinese embassy in Yugoslavia. We use the same technology to determine who should be spied upon as was used to bomb the battlements of Qalai Janghi during the bloody prison revolt in Afghanistan that killed numerous Afghan allies and wounded several Americans. I think the point is made here... I could easily link to 10 other stories of mistaken targeting, such as the Canadians accidentally bombed in Afghanistan.

The point of all this follows. The methods by which targeting of suspected terrorists with 500 lb bombs has no judicial oversight. If every bomb had to have the approval of the FISA court before it was let go, I have no doubt that the incidents of friendly fire would decrease dramatically. PLEASE do not read this as a call from the frikster to require judicial oversight of military targeting on a case by case basis, because that would obviously be insane. But when it comes on the military deciding who or who is not connected with terrorism? You're darned tootin I want judicial review. And that is what the law calls for!

I remember very well when the 1st gulf war kicked off that allied vehicles all carried a bright orange triangle that was intended to stop incidents of friendly fire. How about as a protest of this illegal conduct by the administration patriotic Americans tape red white and blue triangles to their phones and computers, in an effort to not be wrongly targeted by the NSA spy program. If this were to really take off, I can see these triangles sprouting up on public payphones, on public library computers and sundry other such places. Of course I can also see my brilliant idea dying a pitifully lonely death in obscurity as well!

Monday, January 23, 2006

Change the subject...

After the year end administration blitz to garner support for the Iraq quagmire, one may wonder what happened to take the focus from that issue. Now everything from the administration is about domestic security and the global war on terror, minus any Iraq linkage.

The year end blitz really had a negligible effect on the overall support of the public for the misbegotten war in Iraq. Election after election in Iraq has been trumpeted as the landmark turning point, yet the violence and chaos never seem to dissipate following these benchmarks. Indeed leading up to each election we are given dire predictions by administration toadies that the insurgents will ratchet up the violence in the days prior to the election, and then we are given predictions that immediately following the balloting that the insurgents will ratchet up the violence to discredit the election. The only time the violence seems to truly dissipate is on election day, when cars are not allowed on the streets and the country is basically locked down out of concerns for security. And we can not do that on a daily basis...

Today brings the grim news of seven more grieving families of dead U.S. service members. This of course means that we must stay the course to honor those deaths. And as the death toll mounts we must continue to stay the course to honor the additional dead. A more circular argument could not be imagined except by the Rovian sickness that currently rules Washington.

If the administration can not point to progress in Iraq without being shouted down by the facts on a daily basis, what do you suppose is the best way for them to try to gain public support? When even traditional military backers see the folly in the Iraq war (embodied by the defection of John Murtha to the side of sanity) what is the strategy to garner flagging public support? Change the subject.

And the subject now raging, taking up front page headlines and top billing on the news is the NSA spying controversy. Seven dead G.I.'s? You will not find that story on the front page of Yahoo news... you have to go to the Iraq section. As of the time I'm ripping out this post these casualties are not even given a mention on MSNBC or CNN. Without checking the plethora of other news services right now, I'll wager that the same type of coverage can be found on most of the major sites. But what you can find on sites and front pages across the news spectrum is the presidents defense of willfully breaking the law...

I believe the NSA story is extremely important, and I in no way believe the coverage of it should be lessened. This may very well be the mechanism that proves the willful extra constitutional methods used by this administration to further it's agenda. But just remember this folks. Seven families are mourning tonight, and right now they could not care less about the NSA spy program.

Jill Carroll

Heeding the clarion call of Blue Gal, I would like to announce that I support Jill Carroll. Blue Gal links to a story by the Christian Science Monitor that details the near universal calls for the release of Ms. Carroll by the Iraqi and world Muslim community.

The point by Blue Gal that the U.S. media so often overlooks the good deeds of the Muslim community while focusing on the bad deeds of a decided minority needs to be acknowleged.

I'm Back!

Man what a week in politics to skip out on huh? Ray Nagan takes a swing at speaking for God from the lefty perspective. (Bad idea! Doesn't earn points for the righties from my point of view, and it won't earn points for you either Mr. Nagan. At least he had the good sense to take it back, but still...) The Bush administration re-discovered terrorism as a political issue. (Osama conveniently aided them with a tape. I swear that Bush is the biggest ally of Osama, not intentionally but because Bush has done so much to damage our cause in the war on terror while strengthening Al Qaida.) The Washington Post ombudsman had her two cents on the Abramoff scandal tossed back in her face... (We all know that he was "directing" all kinds of money to Democrats as well as Republicans, as long as those Democrats were "registered" as Republicans, but we know they really are Dems!)

Well I had a very relaxing week off. I only wish it had been a relaxing week in politics as well. Nevermind! I'm back, and thank you for reading this if you are.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

slow posting until next week...

I'm on vacation so I won't be posting on a daily basis til next monday.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Six degrees of separation: You are connected to terrorism.

According to president Bush, the NSA spy program was used only for gathering intelligence on citizens suspected of plotting with Al Qaida inside the United States. An article in Tuesdays N.Y. Times seems to bring up the question what is a clear link to a terrorist organization?
In the anxious months after the Sept. 11 attacks, the National Security Agency began sending a steady stream of telephone numbers, e-mail addresses and names to the F.B.I. in search of terrorists. The stream soon became a flood, requiring hundreds of agents to check out thousands of tips a month.

But virtually all of them, current and former officials say, led to dead ends or innocent Americans.


"We'd chase a number, find it's a schoolteacher with no indication they've ever been involved in international terrorism - case closed," said one former F.B.I. official, who was aware of the program and the data it generated for the bureau. "After you get a thousand numbers and not one is turning up anything, you get some frustration."


Officials who were briefed on the N.S.A. program said the agency collected much of the data passed on to the F.B.I. as tips by tracing phone numbers in the United States called by suspects overseas, and then by following the domestic numbers to other numbers called.


the N.S.A. material continued to be viewed as unproductive, prompting agents to joke that a new bunch of tips meant more "calls to Pizza Hut," one official, who supervised field agents, said.
The notion that a domestic phone number called by a suspected terrorist means that all the phone numbers associated with the domestic phone are suspects is truly incredible. By the theory of six degrees of separation you can be connected with any other individual on the planet through a chain of no less than five acquaintances. The Merriam online definition of acquaintance is: 1 a : the state of being acquainted b : personal knowledge : FAMILIARITY
2 a : the persons with whom one is acquainted b : a person whom one knows but who is not a particularly close friend.
If you toss in the use of any business phone line, I'd wager that the degree of separation would average about 1 1/2.

The theory of six degrees was first posited in the 1920's. Well before the internet was even a shadow in Al Gores fevered imagination. There I go again falling for some wingnut talking point... but the overall point remains. If a suspect in the U.S. orders out pizza, that pizza joint is now a lead? Just imagine the scope of the spying here!

I'll tell you one person who has direct ties to the Bin Laden family. President George Bush! I wonder, was the presidents phone tapped? You know who else had a direct connection with Bin Laden? The guys in this administration who supported him when he was at war with Russia during their occupation of Afghanistan. They created Al Qaida. They armed them. Lets tap their phones as well I say. Pizza Hut and the old lady down the street are far less in league with our enemy than the men currently in power.

The N.Y. times story goes into some detail at the frustration of FBI agents who were pulled off of real cases in order to follow mountains of leads which lead absolutely no where. This spy program according to the administration is indispensable in the war on terror? Considering that any case in which this program was used may be tossed out of court if the truth comes out, and that investigators had to spend countless man hours snooping through the lives of thousands of innocent people when they could have been tracking down real threats, my conclusion is that the program has been an overall boon to our enemies. We toss our constitutional freedoms, distract from real investigations, endanger prosecutions if this evidence is used to gain convictions, have the president lie through his teeth claiming that surveillance of terrorist requires a court order before the whole sordid affair comes to light, all in the course of promoting an illegal activity the terrorists assume is happening as a matter of course. It's not quite the favor given on a silver platter that the Iraq invasion was, but one must conclude that in the conduct of the war on terror that this administration has really governed with disaster after disaster for the American cause.

Once again, the contention that president Bush should be considered the top Al Qaida operative in Washington D.C. is borne out by the facts as they come to light.

If this were a dictatorship... Warning: this post is replete with personal type musings on Friks life.

In the course of bopping about the internets in search of fodder for this blog, I have recently noted a spate of other bloggers posting about a purported quote from George Bush. I put the quote into google, hit search and found the transcript. There is actually a video clip with the following quote from George Bush:
If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator.
This quote is from before his inauguration, following a meeting with the congressional leadership, during which Bush told them there would be disagreements (oddly enough despite all these differences the president has yet to veto one single bill) but that was ok. Then he pulls the dictatorship line out of his rear, intending for it to get a chuckle I suppose.

One must consider the means by which president Bush gained the presidency in order to see how chilling this quote should have been at the time. Only after a split supreme court stopped the counting of votes in Florida was the issue of the winner of the election put to rest. The tactics used by the Republican party during the election to purge mostly Democratic voters from the rolls in Florida, followed by the absolutely horrendous sham of the vote count in which Catherine Harris and the Republican staffers from the U.S. congress played such an odious role are really telling when considered against the administrations record on issues of democracy and freedom.

When the 2000 Florida vote counting debacle was really heated up my sister and I had a serious falling out over this political issue. It really affected us on a personal level and I'm afraid the relationship has never truly recovered. I recall telling her at that time that if the presidency were to be decided upon the insistence of the winning party that votes not be counted, that the presidency would inevitably be a disaster for our democracy. How can it not be so? The lesson is learned from the outset that the thwarting of the basic foundation which our democracy is founded upon, the right of citizens to vote, is the path to power. Why not simply ignore the rest of our democratic principles when they stand in the way?

I had hoped that congress would oversee the executive and check the over reach. After 9/11 this hope was effectively dashed, and with the cementing of Republican power over the congress with the 2002 election the remnant of that hope were themselves reduced to ashes. Whilst I had a passing interest in politics for well over a decade until that election, in effect I dropped out of politics for the most part until the 2004 presidential campaign. I followed the news, but spent most of my free time building an empire with an internet game called Neopets. During the 2004 election I started losing interest in the game, and picking up interest in politics again. In mid 2005 I totally dropped the game and started this blog.

Looking back over the course of this presidency I can see how the lesson learned in Florida 2000 was taken to heart by this administration. The democratic institutions that are the foundation of this nation are nothing but a bother to these folks. I sincerely wish I had been more involved with the leadup to the Iraq war. My lone voice certainly would not have made a difference but my efforts would have been far better put to use in voicing dissent to the neo con juggernaut than in building a fantasy empire in a game that in the long run has not one iota of consequence in the real world... with one notable exception. One thing that Neopets brought into my life that did make it worth while. It is where I met my girlfriend. So all in all I suppose I would not change it.

I have turned what could have been a great post regarding president Bush usurping power and being prescient with the quote linked above into a rambling discourse on my life. If you read this blog on a regular basis please forgive my digression in this post. I'll make sure this is a one time event and future posts will be all about the issues of the day.

Still think there is no difference Mr. Nader?

During the 2000 presidential election, Ralph Nader ran as an independent claiming that the differences between Al Gore and George Bush were only marginal. Six years later I would like to ask Mr. Nader and those who voted for him, (especially if you voted for him in Florida): Do you still believe the differences were only marginal? If you could have that vote back, would you switch it, knowing now what you did not know then?

Al Gore has been front and center through out the Bush presidency detailing major differences in matters of policy. Today Mr. Gore gave a withering speech which can only be taken as a clarion call to action by patriotic Americans to save our constitutional form of government. The differences in fundamental constitutional understanding could not be more stark between Bush and Gore.

We are brought to this crisis by the conduct of Mr. Nader in harpooning the democratic candidate for president in 2000. There is no doubt that if Gore had received the votes of the extremely progressive supporters of Nader he would have won that election. How would history have differed then?

Ralph Nader is responsible for the Iraq war. If Gore were president I have no doubt that we would not be involved in that war. The war is a long held neo conservative article of faith that has turned into a quagmire. The Clinton policy, even under the mistaken notion that Saddam continued to hold WMD was long term containment. And that policy self evidently worked as evidenced by the lack of WMD once Bush made the neo conservative doctrine/blunder.

Nader is responsible for the shredding of the constitution by this administration. I have no doubt that Gore would be a far better steward of this document. Can there possibly be a worse steward than we now witness? Gores speech makes clear that this administration is a danger to our very democracy. He asks

Nader is responsible for the budgetary abyss we currently find ourselves plunging through. His elevation of Bush to the presidency has seen a massive reduction of taxes on the wealthiest Americans whilst spending has boomed. The example set by Clinton/Gore during eight years of budgetary stewardship has been forsaken and the consequences could not be clearer. Nader ran in 2000 on a platform that included shifting more tax burden to the wealthy. Ironic, no?

I could continue ad nauseum with a list of stark differences between Gore & Bush. You think Mr. Nader is really going to like the consumer affairs driven rulings by the Roberts/Alito court for the next 30 years? But the list of true differences is book sized in length so I'll leave it alone for the time being.

I understand the wish of the left to unite at these dark times and not eat our own. This would be great except for the fact that even after Nader's complicity in electing George Bush to the presidency in 2000 was evident, he chose to try the same stunt in 2004, largely with the backing of Republicans. When it comes to unification of the left in these times, we are well served to remember the disunification given by Mr. Nader in 2000/2004 that has led us to the pass we find ourselves at now.

In the interest of progressive unification, I call upon Mr. Nader to disavow his previous contentions regarding Mr. Gore's and senator Kerry's supposed similarities with George Bush's governing style. Only when he admits his disastrous mistake and promises to not repeat it, will I be willing to forgive his role in bringing America to the brink of constitutional collapse, and welcome him back to the fold as a spokesman for progressive issues of our day.

Friday, January 13, 2006

I Like It, I Love It

Let me open this post with a statement of personal preference. I really detest country music. As a former karaoke host I spent many long hours on a weekly basis being subjected to horrendous renditions of various country favorites. (Country was by far the most popular preference of the singers in my area. Nothing like a rousing rendition of Friends in Low Places to get the crowd drinking or me wanting to take a shower... ) I was raised in Montana, and listened to lots of country music growing up. (No jokes about Hank being contemporary in my day please... although I will admit to finding Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson tolerable.) I just happen to like hard rock...

One thing I find objecionable about country stars is their tendency to be incorrigably right wing politically speaking. (And no... I don't listen to the Dixie Chicks if I can help it either so this isn't just about politics ok?) But today as I was bopping about the web I kept seeing this story headlined in the various political sections about country star Tim McGraw possibly getting into politics. So being a bit of an anti country bigot (I admit it!) I never actually clicked on the story to read the details... Of course if Tim McGraw gets into politics he'll be a wingnut, koolaid drinking, Republican right?

WRONG!! **gasp**

Heres the money quote from the article linked above...
one of his main reasons for wanting to enter politics is Clinton, whom he calls “the best president we ever had.”
Well I'm a very big fan of Bill Clinton, but even I do not believe he was the best president ever... But I must say that Mr. McGraws sentiment is definitely more in line with my line of thinking than I expected before I read the story. With this in mind, I may not find myself purchasing any of his music, but I could definitely picture myself contributing to a political campaign he may be running...

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Military called on to smear Rep. Murtha.

The Huffington Post is breaking news that the Bush administration is secretly attempting to have current military members denounce Congressman John Murtha.

The sheer audacity. This administration is chock full of people who used deferments, family ties and a host of other tactics to avoid combat in the Vietnam war. The attempted use of the military to smear Rep. Murtha brings to mind the admonition so widely credited with bringing low senator Joe McCarthy. "Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?"

This same crowd has shown a remarkable tendency whenever they are confronted with opposition from military heroes to denigrate that military service. Ask John McCain, Max Cleland or John Kerry about this.

One of the most remarkable differences I note in the conduct of our political parties is the response to military heroes who are involved in the political scene. I note that two of the last three Republican presidential candidates served honorably. I do not recall a hint of opposition or slander regarding the records of senator Bob Dole, or vice president/president George H.W. Bush. Contrast that with the record by the Republican smear machine of Kerry, Cleland, and McCain (in the 2000 South Carolina primary vs. Bush) and the difference in respect for service to this nation could not be clearer.

And now comes the attempted smearing of another Democratic war hero. So far according to the Huffington Post these attempts to have military leaders denounce Murtha have been refused, with one notable exception not mentioned in the article. The recent denunciation of Murtha by the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, general Peter Pace who said that Murtha's comments were hurting troop morale and inhibiting recruiting.

If president Bush is sincere when he calls upon all sides to engage in a respectful debate on the Iraq issue he would be well served to call off the attack dogs. I for one do not believe he really wishes to have a debate what so ever, and we can only expect more of the right wing ugliness in the days ahead.

Judge Alito's wife: The perfect allegory for modern politics...

Yesterday Martha-Ann Alito, the wife of supreme court nominee Samuel Alito burst into tears and left the hearing. Those big bad democrats were being mean and had finally driven this poor woman over the edge... is the message you got if you listen to or read most of the news that covered this issue. But actually the truth of the matter demonstrates the problem so often confronted by Democrats over the course of the last 6 years, if not longer.

First of all, yesterday was a contentious day in the hearings. But the main flare up occurred between senator Kennedy and the chair regarding the release of documents pertaining to the nominees possible (self admitted but now disavowed) membership in an extreme wingnut organization while attending Princeton university. Was it the exchange between the two senators that led to the water works? Nope.

Democratic senators did ratchet up the pressure on the nominee with their questioning. They tried (largely unsuccessfully) to get Judge Alito to answer questions on everything from abortion to possible conflicts of interest in cases he judged that involved corporations he held stock in. Was it during this questioning by any democratic senator that the Judges wife finally broke down? Nope.

The event that led to the breakdown was the statement of Republican senator Lindsay Graham. He opened the question that led to the breakdown thusly:
"Are you really a closet bigot?"
Did you get that? It was a Republican who asked Judge Alito if he was a bigot and lead to the breakdown of the judges wife! What we have in effect is a Republican defining the questions posed by the opposition in such a horrible way that we are treated to an emotional breakdown by the judges wife. Then the media hypes up the event, and the Republican spin machine goes into full cycle about the horrible Democrats and the poor beset Republicans who are literally driven to tears by the antics of the big meanie head Dems.

This seriously is the perfect microcosim of the American electorate during the past 6 years, with the Democrats and Republicans, judge Alito being the issue and his wife the American public. The Democrats raise an issue, and can not for the life of them get a straight answer. The Republicans use their mass media spin machine to portray any line of thinking that does not conform to the Borg mindset as horribly extreme and dangerous... A large section of the American people collectively burst into tears at the thought of Osama (who is still cavorting about his cave somewhere in the wilderness) and the Democrats plotting to kill their mothers, and the Republicans come out looking like the fatherly protector.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Difficulty posting...

I'm having a hard time opening pages on blogspot (love you guys, just saying is all). so even though I have been inspired by about 17 issues not widely covered from the lefty blogosphere I've not been able to get the pages to load when I try to open them...

God punishes Pat Robertson...'s pocketbook

Officials in Israel have nixed the plans of Pat Robertson to build a holy lands theme park in Galilee.
Avi Hartuv, spokesman for Israel's tourism minister, said officials are furious with Robertson's suggestion that the stroke was retribution for Sharon's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip last summer. "We can't accept this kind of statement," Hartuv said.

Robertson is leading a group of evangelicals who have pledged to raise $50 million to build the Christian Heritage Center in Israel's northern Galilee region, where tradition says Jesus lived and taught.
It ought to be obvious to any who are in tune with God that he has struck Pat Robertson where it hurts him greatly. Right in the pocketbook. Let us look at this from a biblical perspective shall we?

The one time in the bible that Jesus really lost his cool was when he went into the temple and flipped out on the money changers. It is exceedingly clear from this event that Jesus was not very keen on people who used his fathers house to make a buck. Would it not serve Mr. Robertson well to remember this if he truly were concerned for his spiritual well being? Mr. Robertson has made a mockery of Jesus express desire to keep his fathers house holy. And now Mr Robertson was going to defile Gods land with his money grubbing theme park? God has stopped this planned defilation (oh look kiddies... Frik made up a new word! Let us make that word defiling shall we?) of his land by filling Robertsons mouth with abusurdities about the prime minister of Israel causing officials in that land to withdraw their support!

Can you imagine the attractions at this abomination of a theme park? The holy roller coaster, the Holy Spirit haunted house, the Mary Magdalin love tunnel... the list could go on and on.

Let me close with this oft repeated disclaimer. (Any time I claim to see the work of God, which is always in response to someone like Mr. Robertson who sees the hand of God in events that are quite natural or political, I disclaim:) I honestly do not believe a word of the logic in the first several paragraphs. That is the logic of one who claims to understand God, and I certainly make no such claim. Anyone, from the president to the lowest insane criminal, who does claim to have this understanding is deluding themselves in my humble opinion... But it sure can be fun to turn the logic of those who make these claims back on them!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Off day...

During weekdays I try to post at least one post pertinent to current events but not seen so much around the lefty blogosphere. Today I went home from work with a head ache so I have not been on a computer. I think I'll be ship shape tomorrow so check in then if you are wondering what the frikster thinks about whatnot! :P

Monday, January 09, 2006

They were for it, before they were against it...

The New York Times offers an article detailing how the Republican party is hoping to hurt the candidacy of Eliot Spencer for New York governor due to his temper.
A spokesman for Representative Sue Kelly, a Republican, said Mr. Spitzer had acted like a thug during one argument by saying that he would cause trouble for her in her district if she continued to oppose legislation he favored.
He did WHAT?! He would cause trouble for her in her district? I'm quite certain this is the very first time in recorded history this has ever happened. Unless you count all the times Tom Delay prowled the house floor in close votes arm twisting to get his way. Other than that though I'm certain there has never been another example where someone was threatened in their home district if they did not vote a certain way.

Three fellow Democrats confirmed that he turned hot-tempered when they challenged him.

And in a quarrel with the attorney general of California, Mr. Spitzer told him that he was a kid from the Bronx who was willing to "step outside" to settle fights, according to a magazine article.
Holy Moly! What an out of control loose cannon Democrat we have on our hands. Obviously the Republican party has a hot button issue with which to portray the opposition and win overwhelming support for their candidate. But, upon further consideration let me bring to my readers recollection the nomination of... John Bolton.

You see, in New York there is another position that is filled where-in the temperament of the office holder may reflect upon the whole nation. And the president of the United States nominated a legendary hot head to fill this spot. The ambassador to the United Nations is the ambassador of the United States to the rest of the world. We now have an ambassador well known for amongst other things, trying to have subalterns from other departments fired for not agreeing with his conclusions, chasing a woman through a hotel and pounding on her door over a political dispute, multiple temper tantrums over political differences in which the recipient of the vitriol feared for their careers, and finally cultivating a mustache that has its own independent ecosystem. Well the last qualification may not be pertinent, but the rest of that list is pretty informative now that we have the meek and humble Republicans railing against the temperament of the presumptive Democratic nominee for New York governor.

Now to be fair we must recollect that not all Republican senators are kool aid drinking administration automatons, (most are but not all) so the president was not able to gain the constitutionally mandated advice and consent of the senate for Mr. Boltons appointment. The president therefore used a recess appointment to install Mr. Bolton into the ambassadorship. This is the same president we now know is famously intermperate with those who do not kow tow to his whims. The same president who called a reporter for the New York Times... a bad name. (One so HORRIBLE I dare not repeat it here for fear of my mortal soul! Ok he called her a bitch.) The same president who is legendary for blowing his stack when some poor staffer approaches him with bad news. The same president who on multiple occasions has extended his middle finger to the press in a universal sign of contempt. A gesture that is singly responsible for multiple instances of road rage on a daily basis.

So now the Democrats are being tagged by the Republicans for having someone with a bit of a temper running for office. Given the record of short tempered Republicans now serving I would have to conclude that truth be told they are not too concerned with Mr. Spitzers temperament. They are concerned he will draw a huge cross over vote from registered Republicans!

[update: I have the curse that president Bush portrayed the N.Y. times reporter with wrong. He actually called N.Y. times reporter Adam Clymer (to paraphrase) a major league a-hole...

Also I can't believe I took the time to pound out a post about Republicans flying off the handle and did not mention vice president Cheney once. Who can forget the time Mr. Cheney told senator Pat Leahy to (to paraphrase) f yourself. On the senate floor no less!

Finally all this leads me to comment on my personal preference when it comes to coarse language. I prefer to not use it, but if others around me do or if it is used in comments on the blog I personally take no offence. I certainly do NOT wish to come across all holier than thou in this regard, and I will in no way censor you if you choose to use profanity in comments.

Of course holding true to this policy can be a bit trying when quoting various wingnuts who despite their family values and piety are notorious for using vulgarity.]

Friday, January 06, 2006

Of basic constitutional procedure...

Article seven of the United States constitution reads :
Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States: If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law. But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively. If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law.

Every Order, Resolution, or Vote to which the Concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of Adjournment) shall be presented to the President of the United States; and before the Same shall take Effect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the Rules and Limitations prescribed in the Case of a Bill.

President Bush has yet to veto one piece of legislation presented to him. We would justifiably conclude that as far as the president is concerned every bill he has ever been presented with was sound law. But a recent phenomena has found its way into presidential bill signing that throws this conclusion into doubt. This phenomena is the presidential statement at signing.

The president and his legal advisors believe that the president has the constitutional right to authorize the torture of prisoners in the war on terror. Thus the recent McCain amendment to the defense appropriations bill to outlaw torture was threatened with veto during negotiations between the administration and senator McCain. Once the politics of the issue were demonstrated to be unbeatable, (after the house and senate both passed versions that were veto proof) the president agreed to sign the bill. Under normal circumstances that would be the end of the discussion, but this administration is hardly normal. Thus it is that upon signing the bill the president seemed to signal that he really did not intend to abide by the McCain amendment with the following statement upon signing the bill:
The executive branch shall construe Title X in Division A of the Act, relating to detainees, in a manner consistent with the constitutional authority of the President to supervise the unitary executive branch and as Commander in Chief and consistent with the constitutional limitations on the judicial power, which will assist in achieving the shared objective of the Congress and the President, evidenced in Title X, of protecting the American people from further terrorist attacks.
Having already determined that the administration asserts a constitutional basis to allow for torturing prisoners, this statement seems to justify actions specifically outlawed by the bill the president signed. How is it there can be this basic disconnect? How can the president sign a bill he intends full well to disregard and not be liable for sanction?

The answer to the question derives from a legal theory posited by current supreme court nominee Samuel Alito while he was legal cousel to president Reagan. Administrations long have experienced frustration that language in bills could be ambiguous and that the president may sign bills that he took to mean one thing only to have the courts later find congressional intent in a different light than the president allowed. Judge Alito felt the presidents understanding of the legislation he was signing should have a bearing on these considerations. The current administration has perverted the theory to fit their unconstitutional goals.

I mentioned previously that the president has yet to veto one single bill. But this administration has been party to a veritable explosion of presidential statements at signings. Thus we see that even though the president may expressly disapprove of language in a bill, it is his reasoning that by simply stating his view at the bill signing he is not bound by the law he just signed! The torture legislation is but one example of this, but here is an example of this unconstitutional power grab that is absolutely breath taking in its audacity:
In 2003, lawmakers tried to get a handle on Bush's use of signing statements by passing a Justice Department spending bill that required the department to inform Congress whenever the administration decided to ignore a legislative provision on constitutional grounds.

Bush signed the bill, but issued a statement asserting his right to ignore the notification requirement.
It seems obvious to me that if the intent of the bill is clear, that the president has no constitutional authority to bypass the bill if he signs it. This isn't even a question of his interpretation. In these signing statements he just says flat out (to paraphrase) ... 'This part of the bill is wrong, so I'm not going to abide by it.'

The constitution is clear here. The congress determines the language of the bill. The president then either signs or vetoes the bill. It really is that simple... unless you are this president. In which case you ignore the constitution and write your own language into the bill, and then sign that.

Senator McCain, not being a chump, noticed this and fired a shot over the bow of the administration today:
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, Jan 04, 2006

"We believe the President understands Congress's intent in passing by very large majorities legislation governing the treatment of detainees included in the 2006 Department of Defense Appropriations and Authorization bills. The Congress declined when asked by administration officials to include a presidential waiver of the restrictions included in our legislation. Our Committee intends through strict oversight to monitor the Administration's implementation of the new law."
The power grab by the administration is finally being brought into the spotlight. We should send a message forthwith. The president is not above the constitution. This is yet another justification for the impeachment of president Bush. He has knowingly flouted legislation he signed, and his presidential statements at signing are an unconstitutional usurpation of congressional authority.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Pat Robertson really is out there...

Raw Story links to a story from JTA that has Pat Roberston opening his mouth and inserting his foot yet again. When will this character ever learn?
The Rev. Pat Robertson said Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is being punished by God for dividing the Land of Israel. Robertson, speaking on the 700 Club on Thursday, suggested Sharon, who is currently in an induced coma, and former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, assassinated by an Israeli extremist in 1995, were being treated with enmity by God for dividing Israel. "He was dividing God's land," Robertson said. "And I would say, Woe unto any prime minister of Israel who takes a similar course to appease the E.U., the United Nations or the United States of America. God says, This land belongs to me. You better leave it alone."
Where to start? First of all it is not like God has punished Ariel Sharons impudence by revoking his immortality. Mr. Sharon is 77 years old and hardly the picture of fitness. Actually Mr. Sharon and I share many simlilarities in our rotund figures, and I would feel very lucky to make it to his age. I hereby declare that God has blessed Mr. Sharon with an unusually long and noted life.

I quite frankly find the Robertson claim that Yitzak Rabins assassination was somehow an act of punishment from God to be simply appalling! He has basically called the man who assassinated Mr. Rabin an instrument of God. How absoutely revolting! It appears to me that Robertson has it exactly backwards, but who am I to make this type of judgment? For that matter who is Mr. Robertson to make that judgment? Just some wingnut koolaid drinker with a direct line to God evidently... sort of like our president now that I think about it.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The new vociferously anti-gay paradigm...

We are witness to yet another example of a prominent member of society who uses his bully pulpit (literally in this case) to slam around the so called homosexual agenda, while living a life that is quite distinctly non traditional. As noted in the story from KOCO in Oklahoma city:
An executive committee member of the Southern Baptist Convention was arrested on a lewdness charge for propositioning a plainclothes policeman outside a hotel, police said.

Lonnie Latham, senior pastor at South Tulsa Baptist Church, was booked into Oklahoma County Jail Tuesday night on a misdemeanor charge of offering to engage in an act of lewdness, police Capt. Jeffrey Becker said. Latham was released on $500 bail Wednesday afternoon.

Latham, who has spoken out against homosexuality, asked the officer to join him in his hotel room for oral sex.

...When he left jail, he told Oklahoma City television station KFOR:

"I was set up. I was in the area pastoring to police."

...He has also spoken out against same-sex marriage and in support of a Southern Baptist Convention directive urging its 42,000 churches to befriend gays and lesbians and try to convince them that they can become heterosexual "if they accept Jesus Christ as their savior and reject their 'sinful, destructive lifestyle."'
This could be a great opportunity for some witty banter in the comments to this post about how we could read the whole "pastoring to police" line from pastor Latham. But there are two points I would like to make about this story.

First: I as a good liberal christian am simply MORTIFIED that my professed christian brothers and sisters of the conservative persuasion consistently display a lack of tolerance for gays and lesbians. The idea that Jesus Christ is the answer to a supposed aberrant lifestyle completely disregards the fact that humans do not choose their sexuality. I certainly do not remember waking up one day and choosing to be straight. That is simply what I am! I am what I am, you are what you are, and thats the way we were created. The thought of being anything other than the what I am is completely unimaginable, and I'm sure that is the way it is for (most of) the rest of us. The next time some intolerant nitwit starts going off about gays, just ask them if they remember the day they chose to be straight.

Second: This follows close on the heels of the recall of the mayor of Spokane Washington mayor Jim West, who was tossed from office after disclosure of the use of his office trappings to lure gay men into sexual trysts. Mr. West has a long political pedigree that included a litany of anti gay legislation while in the Washington state congress. We also have the case of U.S. Rep Ed Schrock who co sponsored the Federal Marriage Amendment aimed at disallowing gay marriage and also notably opposed basic rights for homosexuals such as protection from work place discrimination. He was caught using a phone service that arranged sexual trysts between gay men. Just search google with keywords 'anti gay hypocrite' and enjoy the hours of reading material that follows.

One really must wonder, following these examples of right wing nutjobs being exposed in a gay lifestyle, how long it will take until society as a whole considers the rest of the anti-gay blowhards to perhaps have a bit of a closet issue of their own? Would that not be the height of irony. The right wing anti gay noise machine silenced for fear of being perceived as homosexual.

NSA spied on generals orders

According to recently declassified documents as reported by the N.Y. Times, then head of the N.S.A Lt. Gen. Michael V. Hayden, expanded the authority of the NSA to spy on domestic communications without even presidential approval. This all comes to light after Rep. Nancy Pelosi requested communications she sent expressing misgivings over the program after being briefed in 2001 be declassified.
Ms. Pelosi, then the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said, "I am concerned whether, and to what extent, the National Security Agency has received specific presidential authorization for the operations you are conducting."

The answer, General Hayden suggested in his response to Ms. Pelosi a week later, was that it had not. "In my briefing," he wrote, "I was attempting to emphasize that I used my authorities to adjust N.S.A.'s collection and reporting."
If this is remotely true this general should be court martialed and dishonorably discharged. The notion that the military takes unconstitutional power and they do not even have the figleaf of presidential approval is simply alarming. He "used his authorities"? What authorities? What law? What constitution? Have we the people elected this general to any office that allows him to make extra constitutional determinations? The military is not given the power he took and the response now that this is public should be a swift and unmistakable rebuke to this usurpation of authority.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

1 down, 8 to go...

This story from THV is completely non political, but since I am a major league cat fanatic it sure caught my attention. This cat has used at least one of it's lives and is very lucky to come out of this scrape with any lives left at all.
Driving down the New Jersey Turnpike can be scary enough. But imagine doing it clinging to the drive train of an SUV. That was how a gray-and-white domestic shorthair cat traveled for 70 miles before being rescued.

The driver was going down the turnpike from Newark to Cherry Hill two days before Christmas when another driver spotted the cat through the wheel well.

The driver took the frightened feline into the Animal Welfare Association in Voorhees. The association's director speculated that the cat was warming up by the engine when the driver took off.

The cat's paws were burned, a claw was missing and its fur was singed. But otherwise, it's OK.

The shelter named the cat "Miracle" and hopes to find someone who will adopt it and keep it inside.
One note here from my perspective that really has nothing to do with the story. Why is it that any pet who goes through a hair raising adventure and winds up rescued is always given a name that details their moment of horror. I must admit, Miracle is a new twist on this theme. I'll guarantee that 90% of these unfortunate pets are renamed Lucky by their rescuers. Just one time I would love to hear the question answered after one of these stories:

"You've just rescued a dog who was frozen to the wing of an intercontinental jet liner for 16 hours... What are you going to name him?"

"We've talked about it with all the other rescuers, and we think Rover sounds nice!"

Monday, January 02, 2006

American general: insurgency lacks sustainability

General C.D. Alston , who is described by the white house as a 'senior U.S. general in Baghdad', claims the Iraq insurgency is showing no capacity to carry out numerous and persistent attacks. The next thing you know, some senior white house official is going to declare major combat operations in Iraq are over and that we've accomplished our mission. **snark**

Is it just me or is this an echo of Dick Cheneys famous last throes line from last year? I swear, the administration just pulls this stuff out of their rear end and spreads it liberally around for public consumption. What do they base this on? We can only hope and pray they are not listening to the intelligence being gotten by the Iraqi interior department in their torture chambers. That intelligence is not worth the blood stained confessions they beat and power drill out of their prisoners.

It is clear that the security situation in Iraq is deplorable. Only the most fervent koolaid drinkers find good news amid the daily car bombings and growing death toll from that horrible botchery of a neocon quagmire. The basic mile stones that mark the improvement of the situation in Iraq are bare for all to see. Less oil output than before the invasion, less electricity, running water, security and public satisfaction with their daily lives. If you do not believe these basic truths, put down the koolaid, switch the channel from Fox news, and step away from your NSA monitored computer.

More evidence the administration lied us to war.

Here is a story in the L.A. Times that briefly covers an upcoming book titled "State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration". The book covers various topics, but what caught my eye is what the book says about the CIA program to send family members of Iraqi scientists to Iraq to spy. According to the article:
The book said her brother was stunned by her questions about the nuclear program because -- he said -- it had been dead for a decade.


The book said Dr. Alhaddad flew home in mid-September 2002 and had a series of meetings with CIA analysts. She relayed her brother's information that there was no nuclear program.

A CIA operative later told Dr. Alhaddad's husband that the agency believed her brother was lying. In all, the book says, some 30 family members of Iraqis made trips to their native country to contact Iraqi weapons scientists, and all of them reported that the programs had been abandoned.
Thus, despite the fact that the CIA repeatedly sent family members to Iraq to spy, and they ALL told the same story (there was no nuclear program) somehow the CIA determined they were all lying, and actually helped formulate the National Intelligence Estimate that purported Iraq was building a nuclear weapon. This is willful disregard of the truth that was presented to the CIA and another example of the lies and deceit that led us to an unnecessary war in Iraq. As if we did not already have a mountain of evidence to prove the point.

The U.S. Ambassador to Uzbekistan is a bigot.

The more I think about it, the more outraged I am regarding the contention of former U.K. ambassador Craig Murray of what the U.S. ambassador said when approached about the torture of Uzbek prisoners:
The American ambassador said to me "well most of them are Muslims" as though that explained everything. I said that I didn't think that seemed like particularly good reason why they should be locked up. He said "But they're extreme Muslims".
The conclusion one must draw from this is that if Mr. Murray is accurately portraying the interplay between him and the U.S. ambassador that this ambassador is absolutely a bigot of the 1st order. By his line of thinking it is ok to inflict the worst forms of torture known to human kind (boiling alive is particularly gruesome) simply because the victims practice Islam. There is no concern that the victims are not actually involved with terrorism. They are Muslims, or 'extreme Muslims' and that's thats all the goody two shoes UK ambassador needs to know to justify it. Absolutely deplorable!

Even if the point of the American ambassador is that these torture victims are somehow proven to be associated with terrorists, that in no way justifies the torture. The fact that an American ambassador could justify that behavior in any context imaginable simply boggles the mind. These are evil men. Both the enabler and the executioner of the torture. Evil. I mean I'm certain the Uzbeks have reams of paper detailing how the victims of their torture confessed to terrorist connections. In the speech by Murray he details the following event.
An old man came in and he was charged, he had signed a statement saying that two of the accused who were nephews of his were associates of Osama Bin Laden, had been to Afghanistan, and met Bin Laden on a regular basis. He was standing there, and he was an old gentleman, frail and bowed, with a very oriental appearance, a long white beard, and a skull cap. And he was standing there while his sentence was given out, mumbling his answers and suddenly he pulled himself erect looked at the judge in the eye and he said "it's not true- they tortured my children in front of me until I signed this. We are poor farmers, what do we know of Osama Bin Laden? What have I to do with Bin Laden?" He was quickly hustled out by the military. It felt to me that what he was saying was the truth.
Well now the Uzbeks have proof that this family is associated with Osama, and I imagine the American ambassador thought this was perfectly fine activity by our Uzbek allies in the war on terror. We now find ourselves justifying an ally in the war on terror that tortures children. When will the good people of America wake up?

It is this type of example and the myriad other actions taken by our leaders that alienate those who we should be trying to win over in the war on terror. And when our leaders take overtly bigoted positions we would do well to not let it fly under the radar, but to sit up and take notice. It is vitally important to our success in the struggle we find ourselves in. A struggle both against militant Moslem extremists, and now against ourselves as our leaders effectively disregard the principles that we are supposed to stand for.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year!

Heres wishing anyone possibly reading Club Lefty a Happy New Year. I believe to the depths of my soul that this year is so very important to our nation. This is the year we may begin to rein in our imperial president, or that he is given carte blanche to continue this disaster until 2008. So Happ New Year and lets go to work.

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