Saturday, March 18, 2006

Despite Consultant worries, Ethics DO matter to Americans.

It appears that the knee-knocking spineless excuses for Congressional Democrats and the consultants the RNC were kind enough to suggest to them are wrong about the American people.

We do know the difference between Right and Wrong. And it's not as Limbaugh would define it.

People are looking for effective, honest, compassionate leaders that put their issues and concerns first - not as begrudging afterthought to appeasing their own ambitions.

They don't have to be either Democrats or Republicans.

Unclaimed Territory - by Glenn Greenwald:

"The Censure Resolution -- which is a great political boon to Republicans, massive self-destruction by Democrats, the greatest political blunder in 100 years, and the life raft that will single-handedly save George Bush's drowning presidency -- is already supported by a plurality of Americans, 46% to 44%. According to the first poll on censure, from the American Research Group:

Do you favor or oppose the United States Senate passing a resolution censuring President George W. Bush for authorizing wiretaps of Americans within the United States without obtaining court orders?

All Adults - 3/15/06

Favor - 46%
Oppose - 44%
Undecided - 10%

Based on 1,100 completed telephone interviews among a random sample of adults nationwide March 13-15, 2006. The theoretical margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points, 95% of the time."


He also cites this Pew Report as being very interesting:

The changing impressions of the president can best be viewed by tracking over time how often words come up in these top-of-the-mind associations. Until now, the most frequently offered word to describe the president was "honest," but this comes up far less often today than in the past. Other positive traits such as "integrity" are also cited less, and virtually no respondent used superlatives such as "excellent" or "great" ­ terms that came up fairly often in previous surveys.

The single word most frequently associated with George W. Bush today is "incompetent,"and close behind are two other increasingly mentioned descriptors: "idiot" and "liar." All three are mentioned far more often today than a year ago.

King's Corollary to Godwn's Law

"When you realize that your opponent actually IS a Nazi, no further discussion is needed. Your Grandfather knew what to do about Nazis and so do you."

ECHIDNE OF THE SNAKES:
"The Sudden Moments of Clarity

I had one of those when I went over to the Eschaton to read what Atrios has dug up today. One of the posts was about some wingnut woman telling us that women must have more children and less fun having sex without consequences, and another post was about the preparation for a new war against Iran and the lying that must be carefully turned into facts first. I had one of those click moments, moments when you actually see a theory turned into facts.

Here we have the militant type of patriarchy preparing to waste more lives of young men and here we have the same patriarchy telling women to make more young men to kill this way.

Oh, there is even more clarity to be had.

Lebensborn was one of several programs initiated by Nazi leader Heinrich Himmler to secure the racial heredity of the Third Reich. Following the end of the Second World War it has become a widespread notion that this particular program intended to secretly establish houses where the Nazi regime would methodically breed, through copulation, racially pure humans to create a strong race of Aryans.

Now, in searching for that citation, I fond this quotation, which sounds oddly familiar.

A dictate from Hitler in October of 1938 stated: "All means, even if they are not in conformity with existing laws and precedents, are legal if they subserve the will of the Führer."

See King's Corollary to Godwin's Law, above.

If I could be bothered, I'm quite sure it would be possible to turn up half a dozen or more vastly apt quotations from various well-known Fascists about the utility of a state of perpetual warfare - and the fate of seasoned line officers who disagreed with them.

But it would be somewhat redundant at this point.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Rigorous Intuition

Rigorous Intuition
is worth a visit. There are many dark insights here and just on the front page it's hard to choose one from each. But I was particularly struck by this one. Of couse, anyone who quotes Leonard Cohen is worth a second look any day. But this goes a lot deeper, asking questions many of us probably really do not want answers to.

Jackson 5.0


So I work in that same beauty salon, I'm chained to the old masquerade
The lipstick, the shadow, the silicone: I follow my father's trade - Leonard Cohen


Michael Jackson may be another example of a celebrity distraction which, upon examination, reveals more about our society's mortal condition than a tabloid could imagine. Almost certainly more than it would dare to describe.
Last week's real Jackson story ran in the New York Daily News, under the snappy banner "Creepy dad was root of all clan's woe, singer sez." The singer was brother Jermaine, and the claims based on the projected outline for his abandoned "tell-all" family story.

Reading that Joseph was a nightmare of a father and sexually abusive towards his daughters is not exactly a "stop the presses" moment. What's new is this:

Jermaine even suggested his father may have set up Michael to be somehow victimized by older men.

He tells how his father would have Michael join in at late-night hotel room meetings with "important business people," and wondered whether "something happened" to Michael at those sessions.

He said he sensed something was wrong because Michael would be sick for days after. "What was Joseph doing?" Jermaine wrote.


This lifts the Jackson family horror show to a whole new order of dysfunction, one that sees parents network with power and trade their children for privilege. This should be a motif familiar to anyone acquainted with the literature of mind control and ritual abuse survivors: the father and first controller, passing his child-victim up the social ladder of abuse in return for status, protection and reward. All that's missing is the element of occult terror. Or maybe not: "LaToya also described being awakened in the night by Joseph wearing a 'monster mask.'"
Not that any of this actually surprises me, much less shocks me. But it is rather odd that it takes wierdness of Jacksonian magnitude to get people to even consider how much twisting it takes to become so obviously twisted.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

ECHIDNE OF THE SNAKES

ECHIDNE OF THE SNAKES:

"..we need to bring up emotions and spiritual context. We need to remind Americans that we have great ethics, strong consciences, courage and love for this country. We need to tell them that we care about our neighbors, that we care about this wonderful world and the plants and animals in it, that we care about the future, that we care about peace and prosperity and that we are strong in the defense of all good things."



Oh, and as Echidne was quoting Digby, I will too.

This is an election about throwing the bums out and Democrats need to make a clear statement of fundamental values, not policy differences. Some strategists insist that Democrats must adopt the religious code words that Republicans use to signal character and values to evangelical voters. I would suggest that all Americans, religious and secular alike, share a language that is full of words that describe character and values. How about we start using some plain English words like unethical, dishonest, unfair, untrustworthy, dishonorable and lies. I think everybody can understand what those mean.


And that pretty much covers anything I could have said.

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Former top judge says US risks edging near to dictatorship

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Former top judge says US risks edging near to dictatorship


Sandra Day O'Connor, a Republican-appointed judge who retired last month after 24 years on the supreme court, has said the US is in danger of edging towards dictatorship if the party's rightwingers continue to attack the judiciary.
And we hear this from the British press!

Note that The Guardian Unlimited seems to have more substantial coverage of US political news than any comparable US source. I wonder why.

When you don't know who to vote for...

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If there are no other supporters of Sen. Fiengold's resolution...

Capitol Hill Blue - Feingold pissed at fellow Dems

"I'm amazed at Democrats ... cowering with this president's numbers so low," Feingold said.

Perhaps we need to elect some non-cowards, perhaps starting with the district of Senate Minority Leader his own self. Because when a fellow Democrat gets up on his hind legs and takes a stand, he's got a right to expect some backing from his leader and his colleagues.

I am not impressed and I won't be sending him a dime or endorsing him in any way - and he's MY Senator. I'll vote for whoever seems to have some grasp of the issues at stake, because Harry doesn't seem like he's got anything in his pocket the RNC doesn't let him keep.

I'm frankly embarrassed to state that Senate Majority Leader Harry "Lapdog" Reid seems to be exactly the sort of Minority Leader that every Majority Leader is happy to work with.

Now, given our current climate of fear and intimidation, and given the stunts our Administration likes to pull with monitoring and surveillance, perhaps it's that Harry has too many skeletons in his closet to afford principles. Or perhaps he's just been in Washington too long to remember that some principles are non-negotiable.

Fine. Let him declare himself for what he is; a Republican. Or let him step down in favor of a "Fighting' Dem.

A Minority leader that cannot or will not lead on an issue this critical isn't to anyone's benefit; not mine, not to the Democratic Party - and not to this Constitutional Republic.

Harry - I invite you to reconsider your oath and it's implications. What part of it promised that such service and such duties would be easy or painless? Who said you always got to pick your fights?

Too many young Nevadans have died for you to be casual about this, or try the path of reconciliation and compromise once again.

If they can risk their lives due to the lies told by this administration, YOU can risk some of your precious "political capital."

Lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way.




I attempted to contact Sen. Reid's office for comment prior to publication, but after two staffers ducked me, I was directed to the voicemail of the Nevada Broadcast Media somethingoranother.

It wasn't a difficult question.

So there you go.

I've been unable to contact Sen. Fiengold's office because the lines are jammed.

Do the math, Harry.


Other takes:

Unclaimed Territory - by Glenn Greenwald: Everything you ever wanted to know about how our government and media work

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Fill in the blanks with Bob!


Redact2
Originally uploaded by Bob King.

I invite you to speculate along with me as to the nature of the remaining redactions found within this document.

Kansas City Star | 03/12/2006 | The buzz

Kansas City Star | 03/12/2006 | The buzz: "Union revolt

Andy Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union, pulled the union out of the AFL-CIO last year. Now he may be splitting from Democrats.

Stern said that while many Americans have lost faith in GOPers, Democrats have let American workers down. In response, he said, the SEIU will recruit its own candidates, even if that means running them against Democrats: “We are not angry. We are going to get even.”

He claimed GOPers are more adept at reaching out to ordinary voters: “The Democrats think elections are ‘Jeopardy’ or ‘College Bowl,’ and Republicans think they are ‘American Idol.’”"



Hello! Give that man a pension fund! Oh, wait - he has one!

This could be fun. I hope the NEA follows suit.

Capitol Hill Blue - A call for a New American Civil War

Capitol Hill Blue - A call for a New American Civil War

I just read this and was moved to comment. Well, that comment exceeded all decent standards for brevity, so I'll call it a post.



While I generally approve of civil discourse, it need not be bland, nor should it be confused with "being nice" or "polite."

Possibly the most important words you have ever uttered, Doug, are these:

"Fuck You! Strong letter to follow." (All proceeds to Doug, should he need them or to the ACLU, should he not.)

Sometimes a visceral response to an unconscionable act is called for. This was understood by our Founders, for the custom of the duel was still well regarded for such violations of proper behavior, just as elaborate customs of civility were intended to avoid occasions of deadly offense.

But short of outright uncivil behavior, disrespect for the rights of the citizenry and the decent opinion of the world; let us abide by the common view of civil discourse, for if the only words we use are fo http://www.capitolhillblue.com/blog/2006/03/a_call_for_a_new_american_civi.htmlul and our only response to abuse is to behave the same, then our words may be easily dismissed, and the times the only proper and intelligent response is visceral – the offending party will seem the offended.

But your particularly skillful combination of words - "Fuck you! Strong letter to follow" is immune to that consequence. It is a slap – followed by reason. And you have indeed shared with us the meaning and intent of what an unnamed person might have communicated to a lawyer, if they had one, to a government official who deserves to be unnamed for the sake of their family’s honor. The repute of the government he is employed by is, alas, irretrievable for countenancing such stupidity. But I digress.

Regardless of the current legal situation you find yourself in - or should I say, your current entanglement with the illegal and unethical abuse of government power clad in a fig-leaf of legalism - the fact is the Bushites need to be slapped repeatedly until they regain self-awareness.

While I recognize that it's no longer arguable to dispute a comparison of Bushites to Fascists - it seems to me that their implementation of Fascist ideals is in line with all their other initiatives, and therefore to compare Bush to Hitler is something of an insult the frighteningly effective Germanic competence of that unlamented regime.

Indeed, I don't think it would be fair to Italian fascism, either.

But, alas, this is not surprising. The willful ignorance, superstition, blind and Unchristian faith of "The Base" as expressed by the drive-by "contributions" to this thread are telling.

And that is why I echo your call for civility - within limits.

"Never argue with fools; people may not be able to tell the difference." Contemptible folly deserves only contempt. Factual, reasoned, relentless, visible contempt.

The arguments used by Bushites are purely jingoistic; persuasive only to those who slept through third grade civics. It is an insult to the intelligence of anyone capable of reading a newspaper to actually read a newspaper these days.

But as the “heartlanders” equate debate and pointed questions with "liberalism" and "moral decay," and intelligence with demonic possession, they are not insulted; they are incapable of insult. They cannot comprehend how it is an insult to them to presume upon their informational deficits and learned aversion to critical thinking.

They speak instead of the free and legal choices of individuals to variously believe and act in accordance with their own ethics and their own moral vision as “a lack of a moral compass.”

I do not understand how it's possible to say that with a straight face in support of our Lords of Misrule, who have set a record for flagrant disregard of all standards of moral conduct, save for the Eleventh Law; “Thou shall not get caught.” (at least, not when there’s a Democratic prosecutor around…)

When people speak of a general lack of a "moral compass" - they mean "not in compliance with the dictates of The Assemblies of God or other such Dominist Evangelical cults.

And yes, I believe I am using the word cult meaningfully and accurately, even if it may seem impolite of me to observe that people such as Alexandria, speaking from within the viewpoint of politically active "big-box" churches are clearly raving loons who's viewpoints are not just repugnant, but insupportable with fact, reason or even the Scripture they thump so loudly.

We must be civil in this war for the heart, mind and soul of America, for only by being civil and insisting on rational, reasoned debate may we distinguish the right from the ridiculous.

The fish rots from the head down

Moussaoui Death Penalty Case May Be Tossed - Yahoo! News

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Prosecutors are struggling to save their bid to execute al-Qaida conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui after the judge said a government lawyer's misconduct makes it very difficult for the case to go forward.

Visibly angry, U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema summoned the offending lawyer, Carla J. Martin of the Transportation Security Administration, to a hearing Tuesday to assess what damage she may have done by coaching seven witnesses.

The worst-case outcome for the government here is that Moussaoui spends the rest of his life in jail. This trial is all about putting a needle in his arm - and of course making the Government look good in the process.

Martin e-mailed the upcoming witnesses a transcript of the trial's first day and her analysis of the government's opening statement and of vulnerabilities exposed in the government's case by questioning of the first witness. Until recently, Martin had been the government lawyer representing the FAA witnesses.

Martin said the opening statement "has created a credibility gap that the defense can drive a truck through." She expressed concern that FAA witnesses would be made to look foolish on cross-examination and tried to shape their future testimony to meet or deflect possible defense attacks.

Brinkema said she also would reconsider the defense's request of last week for a mistrial — made after a question from Novak suggested to the jury that Moussaoui might have had an obligation to confess his terrorist connections to the
FBI even after he had invoked his right to an attorney.

Ruling the question out of order, she warned the government it was treading on shaky legal ground because she knew of no case where a failure to act resulted in a death penalty as a matter of law.

"This is the second significant error by the government affecting the constitutional rights of this defendant and, more importantly, the integrity of the criminal justice system in this country," Brinkema said Monday.

Too many people have died upholding the Constitution for it be casuallyviolatedd in order to kill someone and further the careers of prosecutors. And as much as Idespisee the man and all he stands for, Idespisee him no more than those who are working equally hard from within our society to destroy everything I love and Zacarias Moussaoui hates - our individual liberties, our freedom to act as we choose without harm to others and without fear of some idiot bastard like him deciding that choice makes us deserving of death.

The man haspleadd guilty to conspiring to fly airplanes into buildings; something he seems quite proud of. He's going to rot in a supermax for the rest of his life. Is this not enough revenge?

Considering he was more than willing to sacrifice his life in order to achieve the results he longed for and considering that the US Government seems more than willing to spit on the Constitution in order to martyr him in public, I think life in prison without parole is more than just - it's just ironic as hell.

Especially if Dick, George, Carl and the rest of The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight are on the same tier.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Give 'Em Hell, Harry!

harry

Russ Fiengold just put a motion of Censure onto the floor of the Senate. May this encourage him to get behind all the reluctant Democrats and PUSH!

Frankly, I think it likely he could shake loose a few Republicans on this vote...

Russ Fiengold :; Censuring the President

Daily Kos: Sen. Russ Fiengold's Diary : Censuring the President

Today I will introduce a Senate resolution censuring the President.

The facts and the case for censure are clear. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, makes it a crime to wiretap American citizens without a court warrant - which is what the President has admitted doing. Before the program was revealed, he also misled Congress and the American people about the wiretapping that was being done. For example, at a 2004 speech in Buffalo, he said, "Any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires, a wiretap requires a court order." And at a 2004 speech in my home state of Wisconsin, he said that "the government can't move on wiretaps or roving wiretaps without getting a court order."

When the domestic spying story first broke, the President went from saying he wouldn't be able to talk about it, to suggesting there was no other way to wiretap terrorists, to implying that the FISA law is out of date. He went on to claim that sweeping inherent powers of the presidency or the authorization of force back in 2001 gave him such authority -- neither of which is legally or factually correct. While the President has cherry-picked information before, he cannot do the same with the laws of our land.

Censuring the President is not something that should be taken lightly. But the President has BROKEN the law and there needs to be action and accountability.


Why not just IMPEACH the sonofabitch? Censure is a slap on the wrist when a knee to the crotch is called for.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Metablogging

There are many ways to blog, and many things to blog about. I've come to the conclusion that I'm a "Metablogger."

As much as I may be caught up in the issue of the day, or captivated by some new trend or gizmo, it all comes down to "what is it all about?"

For me, it's often about the underlying ethic, ethos, and cultural implications.

So expect to see more from me, less often. Oh, I'll keep up with my quickie stuff, using de.licio.us - and link it here. I'll keep up with my blogroll - now that I've found it again.

But I'm going to try and write something I consider important and timely once a week. Because there are enough, and better bloggers out there hitting it every day for me to compete. I'm best long, and rewritten. :)

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