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A snarky fly in
the right wing ointment

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Saturday, June 12, 2004

I Blame Clinton
 
Former Official of American Family Radio To Serve 15 Years For Child Pornography:

On Aug. 23, 2003, two California men renting Stevens' home during the Tupelo Furniture Market spotted images of possible child pornography on a computer disk while searching for an empty disk. They turned two disks over to Tupelo police.

Four days later, police arrested Stevens, who remarked "he had a problem with children pornography," but "had not touched any of the children."
...
In his letter to Wicker, Stevens wrote, "I took my eyes off of Jesus for a moment and did something terrible ... I took some pictures of one of my daughter's friends. [emphasis added - ed.] Suffice it to say that these pictures were of her in various sleeping positions. Let me hasten to add that I never touched her person, nor are there any ... showing her face, nor was there any involvement with the Internet. I did not do this for personal profit, but from a dark sin. Nor did I touch her, because I didn't want to wake her and have her damaged psychologically. And truthfully, I didn't want to take a chance on getting caught.

"I know what I did was wrong. Oh, how I wish I could simply undo what I've done!! But I can't."

But Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Roberts in court suggested Stevens did more than just snap pictures, saying photographs showed an adult hand adjusting clothing and in one case touching a minor child.

Days after the arrest, Wildmon met with Stevens. "He was just a shell of a person," Wildmon said. "We told him we forgive him."

Wednesday's sentencing serves as a reminder, Wildmon said. "It shows everybody is vulnerable. If not this, then something else along the way. All of us are weak in some area."


Clearly, it's Clinton's fault.

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Keeping Score
 
Divorces:

Rush Limbaugh: 3

Bill and Hillary Clinton: 0

Long-term drug addictions to opiates:

Rush Limbaugh: 1

Bill and Hillary Clinton: 0

Repeat after me:

Ha. Ha. Ha.

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Thursday, June 10, 2004

Saddam Who?
 
Isn't it kinda funny how you don't hear the Bushies, never known for modesty, bragging about capturing Saddam? I think that was almost exactly six months ago.

I do intend to blog about the rest of the 'torture memo' but I have been rather busy lately.

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Thomas Jefferson - Terrorist-Loving America-Hating Traitor
 
If you were to write a letter to the editor, or to the President or a Congresscritter, similar to this one, you'd probably get picked up by the Gestapo FBI:

Whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.... [W]hen a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.


And as if any further proof was needed of Jefferson's anti-American beliefs, he was a Democrat as well.

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W_r Cr_mes
 
What Josh Marshall says:

Even back home they're starting to wonder. This from an editorial in yesterday's Houston Chronicle ...
(snip)
The memos support the view that the prisoner abuses uncovered at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq were not merely the grave mistakes of a few soldiers, but resulted from policies formed at the highest levels of government. They strengthen concerns about how detainees at Guantanamo and in Afghanistan are being treated.

We're like contestants on Wheel of Fortune with a long phrase spelled out in front of us with maybe one or two letters missing. We know what the letters spell. It's obvious. We just don't have the heart to say it out loud.


Indeed.

The Bush regime has shown us, through this memo, how much contempt they have for democracy. Their lawyers successfully managed to use the Constitution to justify a dictatorship, where President King Bush can do whatever he likes, and all he has to say is, "It's part of the war!"

When he took seized office, Bush took the following oath:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.


Remember how violating a sworn oath meant a whole hell of a lot to the right-wingers a few years ago???

Bush has clearly violated his oath of office. He has not preserved, protected, nor defended the Constitution. Instead he has sought to subvert and pervert it to justify a dictatorship.

He should be impeached. He should be tried for war crimes. He is a traitor to this country and all that it stands for. The Bush regime's implementation of the 'torture memo' is the proof.

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Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Torture-gate Part 1
 
I've been reading through the "Torture Memo" made available by the Wall Street Journal. Not from front to back cover - it's pretty dense even for a fairly intelligent layman like myself - but reading a page or two, skipping forward, reading a couple more pages.

Someone with legal expertise should tell me if I am wrong, but it reads like a manual for getting around the law in order to employ torture and get away with it.

It should be noted there are some missing pages: pages 1-3, 29 and 30, 34, 41, 48, 51 are not included. The document only goes up to page 56; there are clearly more pages not included here.

The fun begins on page 19 of the PDF (page 20 of the original document), where the case is made for the President having the power to do whatever he wants in war, implying that torture can be authorized by the President as well, regardless of the law:

3. Legal doctrines under the Federal Criminal Law that could render specific conduct, otherwise criminal, NOT unlawful

Generally, the following discussion identifies legal doctrines and defenses applicable to the interrogation of unlawful combatants, and the decision process related to them....

a. Commander-in-Chief Authority

As the Supreme Court has recognized... the President enjoys complete discretion in the exercise of his Commander-in-Chief authority including in conducting operations against hostile forces....

In light of the President's complete authority over the conduct of war, without a clear statement otherwise, criminal statutes are not read as infringing on the President's ultimate authority in these areas.


In a war, the President is above the law. Perhaps he could even seize you or me off the streets, simply because the President deemed it necessary for the war... at least, according to this document.

Page 20 of the PDF, page 21 of the original document:

In order to respect the President's constitutional authority to manage a military campaign, 18 U.S.C 2340A (the prohibition against torture) must be construed as inapplicable to interrogations undertaken pursuant to his Commander-in-Chief authority. Congress lacks authority under Article I to set the terms and conditions under which the President may exercise his authority as Commander-in-Chief to control the conduct of operations during a war.... A construction of Section 2340A that applied the provision to regulate the President's authority as Commander-in-Chief to determine the interrogation and treatment of enemy combatants would raise serious constitutional questions. Congress may no more regulate the President's ability to detain and interrogate enemy combatants than it may regulate his ability to direct troop movements on the battlefield. Accordingly, we would construe Section 2340A to avoid this constitutional difficulty, and conclude that it does not apply to the President's detention and interrogation of enemy combatants pursuant to his Commander-in-Chief authority.


Section 2340A may 'raise serious constitutional questions'. That's why we have courts, to resolve these questions. It's not up to the executive branch to assume the responsibility of resolving these issues all on its own, is it?

So there you have it. The President as King. He can do whatever he wants during war, law be damned.

The document goes on from here to relate restrictions against the judicial branch of government prosecuting alleged violations of criminal law related to the exercise of the President's constitutional powers; for instance, executive privilege.

Page 21 of the PDF, page 22 of the original document:

The President's constitutional power to protect the security of the United States and the lives and safety of its people must be understood in the light of the Founders' intention to create a federal government "cloathed with all the powers requisite to the complete execution of Its trust." The Federalist No. 23, at 147 (Alexander Hamilton)... As Hamilton explained in arguing for the Constitution's adoption, because "the circumstances which may affect the public safety" are not reducible within certain determinate limits,
it must be admitted, as necessary consequence, that there can be no limitation of that authority, which is to provide for the defense and protection of the community, in any matter essential to its efficacy.


Continuing on Page 22 of the PDF, page 23 of the original document:
The text, structure and history of the Constitution establish that the Founders entrusted the President with the primary responsibility, and therefore the pwoer, to ensure the security of United States in situations of grave and unforeseen emergencies.... The Framers understood the Clause as investing the President with the fullest range of power understood at the time of the ratification of the Constitution as belonging to the military commander. In addition, the Structure of the Constitution demonstrates that any power traditionally understood as pertaining to the executive which includes the conduct of warfare and the defense of the nation unless expresly assigned in the Constitution to Congress, is vested in the President. Article II, Section 1 makes this clear by stating that the "executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America." That sweeping grant vests in the President an unenumerated "executive power" and contrasts with the specific enumeration of the powers-those "herein" granted to Congress in Article I. The implications of constitutional text and structure are confirmed by the practical consideration that national security decisions require the unity in purpose and energy in action that characterize the Presidency rather than Congress.


OK, again a trained legal mind can perhaps better dissect this than mine, but this seems to say, the Constitution placed restrictions on Congress but basically made the President a King; the legislative branch is subordinated to the executive branch. Could this truly have been the intent of the Founders?

OK I'm close to wrapping up this part. Page 23 of the PDF, page 24 of the original document:

As the Supreme Court has recognized, the Commander-in-Chief power and the President's obligation to protect the nation imply the ancillary powers necessary to their successful exercise.... In wartime, it is for the President alone to decide what methods to use to best prevail against the enemy. The President's complete discretion in exercisinig the Commander-in-Chief power has been recognized by the courts.... (a case from 1862 related to the rebellion of the Southern states is cited)

One of the core functions of the Commander-in-Chief is that of capturing, detaining, and interrogating members of the enemy. It is well settled that the President may seize and detain enemy combatants, at least for the duration of the conflict, and the laws of war make clear that prisoners may be interrogated for information concerning the enemy, its strength, and its plans.


I find it curious that they cite the 'laws of war' while simultaneously arguing that the President's war powers cannot be Constitutionally constrained in any way whatsoever. Continuing...

Numerous Presidents have ordered the capture, detention, and questioning of enemy combatants during virtually every major conflict in the Nation's history.... Recognizing this authority, Congress has never attempted to restrict or interfere with the President's authority on this score.

Any effort by Congress to regulate the interrogation of unlawful combatants would violate the Constitution's sole vesting of the Commander-in-Chief authority in the President.... It may be the case that only successful interrogations can provide the information necessary to prevent the success of covert terrorist attacks upon the United States and its citizens. Congress can no more interfere with the President's conduct of the interrogation of enemy combatants than it can dictate strategy or tactical decisions on the battlefield. Just as statutes that order the President to conduct warfare in a certain manner or for specific goals would be unconstitutional, so too are laws that seek to prevent the President from gaining the intelligence he believes necessary to prevent the attacks upon the United States.


You got that? The President can do whatever he pleases when it comes to war. Torture is not named explicitly; it certainly is implied. Presumably, according to this document, the President could even violate civil rights with impunity, and all he'd have to say is that it's for the sake of the war effort which he is directing.

Words fail me. OK, they don't. I'm thinking, "Nazi! Fascist! Dictator!"

Are you ready for the kicker?

As this authority is inherent in the President, exercise of it by subordinates would be best if it can be shown to have derived from the President's authority through Presidential directive or other writing.


In other words, "I was just following orders" is proposed as a perfectly legal defense for interrogation. And torture.

So now you understand how President Bush justifies 'anything goes' in war, including torture. Tune in tomorrow, where I'll dissect the memo's defense of those actually doing the torturing interrogation. Under the President's orders, of course. Which makes it OK.

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Reagasm
 
The body of He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named is still cooling, and already legislators are scrambling to place his image on our money:

On Tuesday Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) confirmed that he is considering sponsoring legislation in the Senate to have [He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named]'s image replace that of Alexander Hamilton, the nation's first treasury secretary, on the $10 bill.


Not to be outdone, Dana Rohrbacher (R-Dipshit) sees McConnell's $10 and raises him a $20 with his proposal to put what's-his-name's image on it instead of Jackson's. (ahhh, what did Andrew Jackson ever do for our country, anyway?)

The same article also notes that changing coins does not require an act of Congress, so we may soon see FDR and Reagan on the dime:

If Reagan is not put on the $10, an alternate proposal is to have half the nation's dimes carry Reagan's face, with the other half continuing to honor Franklin D. Roosevelt.... Unlike decisions about notes, coins can be changed at the discretion of the Treasury Secretary.


Surprise, surprise, guess who is pushing this... Grover Norquist.

Oy. If they succeed in getting his image on paper money, I'm going to go out and purchase an ink stamp and stamp every one of those fuckers that passes through my hands. It'll be a cartoon balloon that will say, "I gave arms to Iran!" or "I helped massacre thousands of Central Americans!" or "Your grandchildren will be paying off my deficits, suckers!!!"

You know, I might not be so opposed to this if we were to just wait some time before memorializing him in this way, in order to have some historical perspective. I certainly don't believe He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named was a better president made more positive contributions to our country than Jackson or Hamilton, one of whom would be displaced if the proposal to place him on our banknotes is followed through upon.

Make sure to vote in the poll on the same page:


On what currency should Ronald Reagan's image be placed?
[ ] Dime
[ ] $10 bill
[ ] $20 bill
[ ] Other
[ ] None

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Monday, June 07, 2004

Reverse Freep The AFA
 
The American Family Association is running another poll.

Poll Questions
Would a network promoting the homosexual lifestyle and agenda be good for America? [ ] No [ ] Yes
Should the homosexual network be part of the "basic" cable offering? [ ] No [ ] Yes
Would you have a positive or negative view of companies which financially support a homosexual network? [ ] Negative [ ] Positive


AFA polls have turned out badly (for them) before. Let's keep up the winning streak!


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Fixed Election - Bush Selected
 
(to the tune of "Science Fiction - Double Feature" from The Rocky Horror Picture Show)

Jeb Bush fixed the polls, he wiped blacks off the rolls
It was going how the GOP planned
Katherine Harris was there to make sure the vote wasn't fair
And then the shit hit the fan
The vote was a push, for Al Gore and George Bush
They were tied because of some chads
Baker called the Supremes, they came up with a scheme
And this is how the Fourth Reich began!

Fixed Election - Bush Selected
George W., was not elected
See right-wing thugs, expose our spies
Attack their critics, with vicious lies
Oh-oh, a four year nightmare, fixed election, horror show.

Then Saddam Hussein saw the end of his reign
When our army marched on Iraq
Chalabi said we'd be cheered when our forces appeared
Now we know that was quite a crock
Iraq's a quagmire, but nobody's been fired
It's a mess - Aw, what a shock!
But when November gets here, we'll give them something to fear
We'll throw out the whole neo-con flock! No more:

Fixed Election - Bush Selected
George W., was not elected
See right-wing thugs, expose our spies
Attack their critics, with vicious lies
Oh-oh, a four year nightmare, fixed election, horror show.
He's got to go, oh-oh, a four year nightmare, fixed election, horror show.
He really blows, oh-oh, a four year nightmare, fixed election, horror show.
Just say no, to our four year nightmare, fixed election, horror show.

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Reagan: Flip-flopper!
 
OK I'm going to flip-flop myself and blog on Ronnie. I can't resist.

Reagan campaigned on tax cuts, fiscal responsibility, shrinking government and 'getting the government off our backs'.

He worked with Congress to pass tax cuts in 1981, and then raised taxes almost every following year of his presidency. Flip-flopper!

He took a very hard line against the Soviet Union, dramatically raising defense spending and building up our nuclear stockpile. Then in his second term, he worked with Gorbachev to negotiate limits on nuclear weapons. Flip-flopper!

He campaigned on cutting government but government actually grew during his tenure. Flip-flopper! (by contrast, Clinton cut government payrolls by nearly 400,000 and turned Reagan-Bush deficits into a surplus)

Reagan ran up historically high deficits, at least until his successor Bush I came along. So much for fiscal responsibility. Flip-flopper!

Details here

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The Right-Wing's Vigilante Victim Mentality
 
This post by Adam Yoshida got me thinking on something that's been on my mind for a while.

There's a particularly vicious strain of victim mentality going on, on the right. It can be summed up thusly: "Somebody did something to me, so I'm justified in doing whatever, to anyone!"

Take Adam's post, for example. If you were to look through the DU comments on Reagan, they were nearly uniformly tasteful and polite, with several commenters admonishing the others to be nice. (would you ever see that happening at LGF? FR?)

But Adam searched high and low and managed to find one thread with some unkind comments about Ronnie (he forgot to mention commenters in the very same thread, telling the nasty folks to STFU). And so because Adam found the nasty needle in the haystack of condolences, he feels perfectly justified in writing, "I'm going to stop now. Reading what these bastards say already has me wanting to find the nearest liberal and beat him unconcious."

(which is rather humorous considering the only thing Adam could beat, is his meat. In case you don't know, he's rather large and definitely not muscular)

Right-wingers have done this with the media too. Any time conservatives are criticized or exposed when they lie (Nixon for example), their terribly thin skin is pierced and they imagine this as a partisan attack from the terrible vast Liberal Media Conspiracy?, with journalists and editors actively conspiring to put a liberal biased spin on the news. Which anyone who has actually ever worked in a newsroom knows, is an ocean of crap.

So in order to retaliate and 'do unto their enemies' as they've imagined that they've been done unto, they create Fox News, where "journalists" and editors really do conspire to put a right-wing spin on the news. They create monsters like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, and Michael Savage. Bernie Goldberg, the textbook definition of a 'disgruntled former employee', writes a 'behind-the-scenes' "exposè" of CBS News, which is really just an excuse to piss on everyone who ever crossed him at his former workplace.

All of this, plus the pliant NY Times which helped shill for war and gave Whitewater its momentum, and with virtually no counterparts on the left - you think that maybe the right now feels like they've leveled the playing field a bit? HELL NO!!! They still play the victim when it comes to the media. And why not? It's worked for them for so long. So long as you can claim to be a perpetual victim, you feel justified in doing anything whatsoever to your enemies, whether real or imagined.

Ambassador Joseph Wilson tells the press that there was nothing to the yellowcake uranium claim, and the Bushies perceive this simple act of truth-telling as a vicious partisan attack upon them, and they respond 'in kind' by outing his wife, a CIA agent specializing in WMDs. "Well, hey, he/she deserved it, because he did something that hurt us!!!"

Then of course, bringing this full-circle, there's the Little Green Fascists and Freeper crowds.

Imagine you're standing on the bus and you accidentally jostle a fellow busrider. He interprets it as an assault, whips out a gun and shoots you in the head, claiming self-defense.

That's pretty close to what we see the right-wing doing over and over again. Just something I wanted to note and I hope you'll place this in your mental file for future reference.

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Sunday, June 06, 2004

No, Really - Part Deux
 
Bill Clinton has a blog.

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Deadtime For Bonzo
 
We're sure to be drenched in Reagan worship for the next week. Once the body has cooled and rigor mortis has set in, you can be sure Hannity, Coulter, Rush and Fox News will rip off the limbs and use them to bash us lefties over the head for not being sufficiently mournful and worshipful of the Reagan myth.

With the exception of this post, this will be a Reagan-free zone.

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