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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Obama is a Creeper

Let me get this straight.  Obama is cool with an all-powerful computer program that essentially tracks everything we do online, erasing any sort of privacy we thought we might have had.  Big Brother knows everything we look at, what we write about, what we look like, what we eat, and everything else there is to fucking know.

But hey, it's all cool, because it's "helped with some terrorism arrests."  No more details, and certainly no word of convictions.

Guess what:  I don't give a fuck if it helped arrest 1000 terrorists who wanted to destroy me personally, I'd rather risk it than have PRISM.

I live in America, bold and underlined bitches, the US of A, the land of the free, the home of the brave.  These colors don't run, that sort of shit.  We have a god damn constitutional amendment protecting guns just to say "hey, fuck you."  We aren't the home of a bunch of wussie cowards who are so damn afraid of some real or imagined Boogeyman that we will gladly give up everything we've spent 200 years to work for. 

So now we are just like China, except without money.  Get ready for  the mobile death vans, I suppose.

On the positive side, Obama sure is good a giving a heartwarming speech full of lies.  Behind the mask, he's just another George W.  Remember when you said you were for medical marijuana, for example?  You were full of shit, as always.

It's sad because it means our country is almost certainly doomed.  It's one thing with Bush does warrantless wiretapping; he's a shitbag Rethuglican who never pretended to give a flying fuck about our rights.  It's another thing with Obama, the great liberal hope, the former Constitutional Law professor, says "yeah, we have terrorism now, so your privacy can go fuck itself."

There's more to this story, so let's keep talking.  We know the government's listening, which is pretty cool, because it ensures me at least a couple page views.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Mitt Romney is a smarmy fuck.
Rick Santorum is a Piece of Shit.

"In a spirited debate with gay rights supporters, GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum on Thursday defended his opposition to liberalizing marriage laws by raising the specter of polygamy. "What about three men?" he asked."

Need I say more?

Let's see...fuck the wars, fuck the economy, fuck the environment, the real problem are the hypothetical three-way gay marriages that permeate Rick Santorum's wet dreams.

Guess what assholes: the War on Corporate Evil is back. This time: more angry, less words.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Americans Reject Corporate Evil
For the rest of our lives, we will all remember exactly where we were when we heard the news that Barack Obama was elected President. It was a monumental event for several reasons, including the fact that President-elect Obama is African-American; is a bonafide liberal; and won the election in a dominating fashion. However, I would like to focus on just one of the meanings of this election: in large numbers, the American people turned out and rejected the corporate evil agenda of the Republican party.

It is erroneous to view this election as merely one in which the people voted against the incumbent party due to an economic disaster. It is also false to view this election in which the guy people were more comfortable "having a beer with" won, as nearly always occurs. The reality is that the American people were disgusted with Republican economic policies and wanted to reject them.

One amazing thing from this election is the fact that Democrats are now much more trusted on the economy than Republicans. This is a wholesale change from the conventional wisdom of my youth. In those days, it was always assumed that Republicans were stronger on the economy, whereas the Democrats were viewed as weaker because of their indebtedness to entitlements and the poor. The old CW was that Republicans made this country work efficiently and profitably, even if the poor were usually left out or harmed. No more. Now, people view the Democrats as reliable stewards of the economy while the Republicans are viewed as robber barons only interested in exploiting our economic system.

In a very large way, the pro-corporate evil agenda of the last eight years has been rejected by the people. The election of Barack Obama symbolizes the new perception of the Democratic party as the party that will keep us safe. Hopefully, President-elect Obama will further this perception and save our country from the horrible situation in which we are stuck.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

You Get What You Pay For

The U.S. economy is teetering on the brink of collapse. Will we survive? In the short term, yes, but in the long term we will need a new path. Polls show that the American people are finally waking up to the fact that the Republicans have wrecked the country's economy -- Obama now leads McCain in the Gallup Tracking Poll.

For years, the Republicans have cried for deregulation at all costs. They have largely gotten what they wanted. In return, we got a number of businesses making shady deals that would have been illegal a generation ago. Those deals caused our ship to start sinking.

McCain wants to cut taxes no matter what, even if we cannot afford to pay our bills. Well, ultimately that credit card bill is going to come due. It seems like it's coming right now. Blame the Republicans. We have wasted hundreds of billions of dollars fighting a pointless war in Iraq. Meanwhile, people are beginning to wonder if FDIC can really back all these loans. Enough already. Let's run this country like a business and start taking in more than we spend. Period. We can't afford to cut off revenue streams.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The San Francisco Chronicle speculates that Barack Obama could lose Colorado -- and the presidency -- if Mitt Romney is John McCain's VP. Why? Because 7% of people in Colorado are Mormon. That's like saying Obama will lose everyone who likes McDonalds if John McCain chooses Mayor McCheese as his running mate. The truth of the matter, which conveniently is never mentioned in the Chronicle's article, is that Mormons are overwhelmingly Republican to begin with. Even if there are some Mormons who would have voted Obama if Romney was not the VP nominee, those people have got to be numbered in the single digits.

Oakland is undergoing a terrible crime wave...or is it? Regardless, the media tells us it is, and the takeover robbery problem is real. However, everyone in the media is apparently too stupid to connect the takeover robbery problem with the millions of dollars that are missing from Oakland's finances. Here's a thought: maybe we are having a crime wave because the city is blowing all that crime prevention money on embezzlement?

Finally, thank god that the Olympics have mercifully ended. Watching a grown man run or swim is about the last thing on Earth I'd care to do. Thank god we spent all this money making China seem legitimate instead of using it to help poor people. Good to know our priorities are straight, as always.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

War Returns

It's been over 800 days since the last post on the War on Corporate Evil. The war is back.

In the past 800 days, a lot of things have happened. Not much of it has been good, but let's briefly summarize. 4134 Americans have now died in Iraq. The Democrats retook Congress in 2006. They've spent most of the last two years quietly fighting the Bush agenda while being villified from both the right and the left. The left wants Bush impeached, Rumsfeld charged with war crimes, and Cheney sent to prison for life without possibility of parole. The right hates Nancy Pelosi, gay marriage, and anything Congress does. No one's happy with Congress.

Now we have a new villain, but he's clearly not as convincing as the last one. John McCain is to Bush sort of like Tommy Lee Jones is to Jack Nicholson in the Batman movies. John McCain is a complete joke. Obviously I respect his war service, just like I like puppies and babies. That's not the point. Everything he has done since has been pure evil. He is worse than George Bush because he talks as if he were some sort of "maverick." The truth is that he is just another Republican, in favor of lower taxes, ending social programs, going to war, and hating gay people.

So why does the War on Corporate Evil return? Because John McCain is the worst thing since "Joey" on NBC. He has to be stopped. Barack Obama is the finest presidential candidate that the Democratic Party has had in my entire life. He can change this country and put us on the right track. We need him.

Mr. McCain, the War on Corporate Evil challenges you to a duel. Blogposts at dusk. We'll be seeing you often and soon.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

War's End

It's been on my mind for some time now. I'm not happy with this decision, but I'm not upset either. I'm confused. But I think the time has come. I'm shutting down the War on Corporate Evil.

The reasons for this are many, so let me try to explain. First, I really don't like the name anymore. It's a catchy name that makes people interested, but that's about it. I'm not thrilled with corporations and their ability to act as psycopaths hell bent on destruction, but then again they aren't going anywhere either. Corporate excess is indeed a big problem in the world, but then again it's not the only problem. Human greed in all of its manifestations is the cause behind most of the problems that we face. Second, we are going to need the support of corporations in order to solve many of the world's problems. The climate crisis will destroy Earth unless corporations find it in their best interest to help effectuate change. Al Gore is trying to work to provide incentives to corporations to fix the environment, and I think that's a crucial task. Third, it's just a little too polarizing to send a message of hatred regarding all corporations. It even turns off some of my other would-be supporters. I never meant to send that message -- I only wanted to attack "corporate evil," not corporations per se -- but that's a difficult line for people to understand.

But it's more than just the name. I just don't have the time that I would need to write the kind of blog that I can be proud of writing. The blogosphere is simply amazing and there's no way that I can compete with people like Kos who devote their lives to blogging. There are better blogs in existence than this blog and there's really nothing I can do about it. I recommend you check them out.

So to my friends, this has been fun. To the strangers out there, I'm honored that you spent your valuable time reading my little blog. I hope everyone enjoyed my rantings here as much as I have enjoyed writing them. It's not Shakespeare, it's just one man's opinion. I'll keep fighting the good fight and I hope you will too.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Richard Cohen: Al Gore is "the near-perfect Democratic candidate for 2008"

I've never felt more strongly about anything in my life: Al Gore must become President or massive corporations and their Republican cronies will destroy Planet Earth. Richard Cohen of the Washington Post seems to agree after watching Al Gore's upcoming film, "An Inconvenient Truth." I've reprinted this excellent article in full below.

Boring Al Gore has made a movie. It is on the most boring of all subjects -- global warming. It is more than 80 minutes long, and the first two or three go by slowly enough that you can notice that Gore has gained weight and that his speech still seems oddly out of sync. But a moment later, I promise, you will be captivated, and then riveted and then scared out of your wits. Our Earth is going to hell in a handbasket.

You will see the Arctic and Antarctic ice caps melting. You will see Greenland oozing into the sea. You will see the atmosphere polluted with greenhouse gases that block heat from escaping. You will see photos from space of what the ice caps looked like once and what they look like now and, in animation, you will see how high the oceans might rise. Shanghai and Calcutta swamped. Much of Florida, too. The water takes a hunk of New York. The fuss about what to do with Ground Zero will turn to naught. It will be underwater.

"An Inconvenient Truth" is a cinematic version of the lecture that Gore has given for years warning of the dangers of global warming. Davis Guggenheim, the director, opened it up a bit. For instance, he added some shots of Gore mulling the fate of the Earth as he is driven here or there in some city, sometimes talking about personal matters such as the death of his beloved older sister from lung cancer and the close call his son had after being hit by a car. These are all traumas that Gore had mentioned in his presidential campaign and that seemed cloying at the time. Here they seem appropriate.

The case Gore makes is worthy of sleepless nights: Our Earth is in extremis . It's not just that polar bears are drowning because they cannot reach receding ice flows or that "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" will exist someday only as a Hemingway short story -- we can all live with that. It's rather that Hurricane Katrina is not past but prologue. In the future, people will not yearn for the winters of yesteryear but for the summers. Katrina produced several hundred thousand evacuees. The flooding of Calcutta would produce many millions. We are in for an awful time.

You cannot see this film and not think of George W. Bush, the man who beat Gore in 2000. The contrast is stark. Gore -- more at ease in the lecture hall than he ever was on the stump -- summons science to tell a harrowing story and offers science as the antidote. No feat of imagination could have Bush do something similar -- even the sentences are beyond him.

But it is the thought that matters -- the application of intellect to an intellectual problem. Bush has been studiously anti-science, a man of applied ignorance who has undernourished his mind with the empty calories of comfy dogma. For instance, his insistence on abstinence as the preferred method of birth control would be laughable were it not so reckless. It is similar to Bush's initial approach to global warming and his rejection of the Kyoto Protocol -- ideology trumping science. It may be that Gore will do more good for his country and the world with this movie than Bush ever did by beating him in 2000.

Gore insists his presidential aspirations are behind him. "I think there are other ways to serve," he told me. No doubt. But on paper, he is the near-perfect Democratic candidate for 2008. Among other things, he won the popular vote in 2000. He opposed going to war in Iraq, but he supported the Persian Gulf War -- right both times. He is smart, experienced and, despite the false caricatures, a man versed in the new technologies -- especially the Internet. He is much more a person of the 21st century than most of the other potential candidates. Trouble is, a campaign is not a film. Gore could be a great president. First, though, he has to be a good candidate.

In the meantime, he is a man on a mission. Wherever he goes -- and he travels incessantly -- he finds time and an audience to deliver his (free) lecture on global warming. It and the film leave no doubt of the peril we face, nor do they leave any doubt that Gore, at last, is a man at home in his role. He is master teacher, pedagogue, know-it-all, smarter than most of us, better informed and, having tried and failed to gain the presidency, he has raised his sights to save the world. We simply cannot afford for Al Gore to lose again.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Oprah Winfrey: A Waste of Opportunity

In his book, Dude, Where's My Country?, Michael Moore begged Oprah to run for President. Moore pointed out Oprah's universal appeal, good politics, and immense social and financial power. Moore still has a petition on his website imploring Oprah to run. Others have shared Moore's goal of persuading Oprah to run for President and take America back from the conservatives.

But Oprah doesn't want to be President. In fact, it's becoming more and more clear that Oprah doesn't want to do anything to drastically help society. To be fair, Oprah is one of the most charitable women in the world. Through Oprah's Angel Network and the Oprah Winfrey Foundation, Oprah has donated untold millions of dollars to good causes. The problem is that Oprah falsely believes that relatively small charitable donations are all that she needs to do, or perhaps can do, to help the world.

People are starving to death all over the world. Most of Africa cannot even access clean water. Our environment is being destroyed by mega-rich corporations who immorally exploit it for greed. In short, there simply isn't enough money to go around. If Oprah were a true philanthropist, she would give up the opulence, keep enough for her to be comfortable and give the rest away. More importantly, she would actually speak her voice and use her influence to do good.

Oprah realizes these contradictions and has found a way to cope -- she believes that extravagant, unneccessary spending is "a good thing." At a school fundraiser this week, Oprah callously and shockingly made the following statement:

"I have lots of things, like all these Manolo Blahniks. I have all that and I think it's great. I'm not one of those people like, 'Well, we must renounce ourselves.' No, I have a closet full of shoes and it's a good thing."

"I was coming back from Africa on one of my trips...I had taken one of my wealthy friends with me. She said, 'Don't you just feel guilty? Don't you just feel terrible?' I said, 'No, I don't. I do not know how me being destitute is going to help them.' Then I said when we got home, 'I'm going home to sleep on my Pratesi sheets right now and I'll feel good about it.' "

Wow. Oprah has recast the world into a strict, binary terms: either you are filthy rich or you are destitute. Either she sleeps on Pratesi sheets and has a closet full of shoes or she sleeps on a cardboard box in an alley. Oprah doesn't consider that she could do away with spending ridiculous amounts on expensive sheets and could have 10 pairs of shoes instead of a closet full of shoes. Oprah doesn't consider that she could live a lower upper class lifestyle -- with a nice home and car, with plenty of money for retirement -- and give a lot more to good causes than she currently does. Hundreds of millions being wasted on Oprah's opulence could be used to help feed starving people, provide clean water and help fight the corporate destruction of the environment. I suppose Oprah believes that I live "destitute" despite the fact that I have a roof over my head and food in my belly. Perhaps this is why Jesus said that a camel go go through the eye of a needle before a rich person enters Heaven.

To me, the larger problem with Oprah's statement is that she isn't guilty about being so rich. She doesn't see that she has a duty to help make the world a better place instead of living a bizarre life where money provides her main source of fulfillment. Although Oprah likely votes Democrat and is what some might consider a "liberal", I certainly don't believe she is a liberal. Oprah is part of the problem, not the solution. Oprah has always been totally unwilling to use her position of power to help affectuate positive change in the world. If Oprah would have implored viewers not to re-elect President Bush, he would have lost in a landslide. Instead she kept quiet and African-Americans faced increased oppression under four more years of W. Bush. Oprah even helped President Bush by having him on her show alongside Laura Bush to conduct a softball interview devoid of tough questions that helped increase Bush's potential re-election changes.

Oprah should be ashamed of continuing to waste her life interviewing petty celebrities while this world has so many problems. To be sure, there's nothing wrong with her show or the kind of entertainment it provides. But the kind of power that Oprah has attained via her wildly successful show should not be used simply to provide her with a ridiculously wealthy lifestyle. Small amounts of charitable giving (and considering her 1.2 billion net worth, her charitable giving is indeed relatively small) cannot compensate for a complete lack of public comment about the horrors of the white corporate world in which we live. As the (arguably) most powerful Black American in the world, Oprah has a duty to her race in particular, and the human race as well, to use her power for good. Her failure to do so makes her a waste of opportunity, and nothing more.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Playing Dirty

It's starting to get to the point that Bush's corruption is so intense and far-reaching that it's no longer big news when another criminal act is revealed. Even some of us who criticize Bush are beginning to suffer burnout from his plethora of crimes. So when it was revealed last week that Bush ordered the declassification of intelligence estimates in order to attack Iraq war critics, no huge uproar resulted.

The real revelation from "Scooter" Libby's testimony is that Prosecutor Fitzgerald is beginning to admit openly that the Bush administration was engaged in game of dirty political warfare against Joseph Wilson. In his filings, Fitzgerald asserts that there was "a strong desire by many, including multiple people in the White House" to "discredit, punish or seek revenge against Mr. Wilson."

Fitzgerald's filings contain this bombshell that, while obvious to most thinking Americans, is now being admitted by Republicans such as Fitzgerald: "It is hard to conceive of what evidence there could be that would disprove the existence of White House efforts to 'punish Wilson.'"

So let's get this story straight. A CIA agent was outed and had her cover blown. Millions of dollars in resources were lost, all her contacts became compromised, and certain individuals may very well have died as a result. The White House was directly responsible for blowing her cover simply in an effort to increase their political standing via an assault upon her husband's credibility. In the 3 years since this occurred, the White House has acted like guilty criminals by involving themselves in a huge coverup designed to mislead the American people, the office of Prosecutor Fitzgerald, and escape criminal punishment.

Impeachment, impeachment, impeachment. How many more causes of action are necessary? The Democrats do need to focus on this fall's elections for the time being, however they should use the GOP's constant criminality as a way to bolster their electoral prospects. And once the Democrats retake the House, the Senate, or both, they need to begin impeachment proceedings as soon as possible. Bush is a devious criminal and with each passing day our Nation's security and integrity are compromised further. If President Clinton, a man who kept the peace and helped repair 12 years of Republican mismanagement of the economy, can be impeached for lying about oral sex, then President Bush should be impeached for the treasonous outing of a CIA agent, for unconstitutionally spying on American citizens without a warrant, for providing fraudulent information to Congress and the American people in order to go to Iraq, for starting an illegal war, for violating the Geneva conventions through his reckless use of torture, for flagrantly disregarding Congressional actions via his illegal use of signing statements...

Need we go on? If you support Bush at this point, you have to support the use of treason to score political points, the use of torture regardless of the law and illegal searches and seizures regardless of the Fourth Amendment. This is even before you begin to talk about legal policy decisions that he has made -- his commitment to fighting the war in Iraq notwithstanding the civil war there, the lack of progress we have made and over 2000 dead American troops; his unholy assault upon our environment in order to help his rich corporate cronies make even more money; his patently unfair tax breaks to the wealthy; his reckless spending that is causing the deficit to soar; and his commitment to un-American ideals that are making the United States hated throughout the world and providing ample recruitment tools for terrorists.

In short, he's the worst President in the history of this Nation and one of the most evil men in recent history.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Molly Ivins Reveals a Truth: "Al Gore is all we've got"

Molly Ivins makes some good points about the media's role in the global warming disaster and how one man stands between armageddon and Earth's redemption:

The political fight over global warming is over, except in the Bush administration, which has some weird problem with science in general. I’m still not sure what’s behind that: I recall Rush Limbaugh and the radio right taking great glee in pooh-poohing the Kyoto treaty and the whole idea of global warming. Maybe they associated global warming with Canadians or something equally awful.

* * *

The shame for journalism is that it has always been so easy to expose those few “scientific” voices claiming there is nothing to global warming. When the money for “scientific research” on such a subject comes from oil companies, skepticism is required.

Instead, many “journalists” let the bullies on the right cow us with the “liberal media” nonsense and reported there was “a debate” over global warming. There was no debate. The only question is how fast it’s happening. And the answer that keeps coming up is “faster than we thought. And still faster.”

Time magazine, in its warm and fuzzy way, proposes that capitalism can solve much of the problem of global warming—Henry Luce would be so proud. Can’t you see it now? Boy, I’ll bet those titans can hardly wait to cut into next quarter’s profits. The insurance industry, for obvious reasons of its own, has long taken global warming seriously. By simply refusing to insure housing or enterprises near low shores, insurance can make quite a difference.

It’s true the United States could make a good thing out of specializing in green energy and green technology—but we are still living with an administration that subsidizes the oil industry. The question is where the political leadership is going to come from before we reach the Panic Point, before Miami Beach sinks underwater, before Wall Street needs a seawall.

Al Gore is all we’ve got, and the right wing is still prepared to dismiss him with contempt and ridicule, not because he’s wrong but because they’d rather talk about the time he was supposedly advised to wear earth tones.

As the Earth drifts toward crisis, our president does not yet seem capable of grasping even the First Rule of Holes. We’re in one, and it is time to quit digging.

The only thing I would add is that the reason the Republican party wishes to dismiss Al Gore so dishonestly and viciously is because they know that he is the only man aiming to end their wholesale for-profit destruction of the Earth. I again call on readers of this blog to send Al Gore a letter begging him to run for President in 2008. It might be the most important thing you do in your lifetime. The alternative is a mushy, pro-corporate Democrat runs for office and the issue of global warming gets as throughly ignored as it did in the last election. The future of the Earth depends on this man, as dramatic as that sounds. Here's his address:

The Office of the Honorable Al Gore
2100 West End Avenue
Nashville, TN 37203
Phone: (615) 327-2227
Fax: (615) 327-1323

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Scalia: "F*** You"

What can I really say about this? He's obviously incredibly smart, but he lacks common sense and seems to have serious emotional issues.

BOSTON, March 27 (UPI) -- U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia startled reporters in Boston just minutes after attending a mass, by making a hand gesture some consider obscene.

A Boston Herald reporter asked the 70-year-old conservative Roman Catholic if he faces much questioning over impartiality when it comes to issues separating church and state.

"You know what I say to those people?" Scalia replied, making the gesture and explaining "That's Sicilian."

The 20-year veteran of the high court was caught making the gesture by a photographer with The Pilot, the Archdiocese of Boston's newspaper.

"Don't publish that," Scalia told the photographer, the Herald said.

Friday, March 24, 2006

The Lawless President

George W. Bush thinks that any legislation from Congress is only what he makes of it. Anyone arguing otherwise is either misinformed or lying. For this, George W. Bush is the biggest threat to our nation since King George.

George Bush again made his disdain for the rule of law clear when he signed the reauthorization of the USA PATRIOT Act. As Presidents have done in the past, Bush attached a Signing Statement describing his interpretation of the law. Unlike past Presidents, George W. Bush has not used these Signing Statements to give his interpretation of ambiguous parts of the law but rather to assert that he will freely and openly violate the law. He justifies this using a ludicrous reading of part the Constitution while conveniently ignoring another part -- the part where he has to faithfully execute the laws of Congress. Bush has taken the use of a signing statement, a rare tool used only when necessary to clarify ambiguous legislation, and has transformed it into an instrument of tyranny. Before you think that I am guilty of hyperbole, consider this: From President Monroe through Clinton, 332 signing statements were issued. Bush is already up to 435. To Bush, the signing statement is a way to implement his radical "unitary executive" agenda that undermines our democracy and pushes this great Nation towards de-facto tyranny.

Under the reauthorized PATRIOT Act, the executive must provide information to Congress, on a specific timetable, as to how often the FBI uses its expanded powers under the law. This makes sense. Congress requires this study in order to know if the additional power that they have granted the Executive is truly justified. In other words, Congress requires the Executive to provide this information so that Congress can properly do its Constitutional duties -- to legislate.

Bush's signing statement states that he will not comply with the reporting requirements if he feels that it would "impair foreign relations, national security, the deliberative process of the executive, or the performance of the executive's constitutional duties." This essentially says "Thanks for the increased powers, I'll take 'em, but I'm not telling you how I use them so that Congress can know whether its legislation is proper."

The highly flawed, anti-democratic Unitary Executive theory is to blame. This theory posits, in part, that the executive can determine the scope of the power granted to him in the Constitution. The real problem here is that Bush is clearly violating the intent of Congress based only upon the legal interpretation of his counsel, who are by their very nature advocates seeking to gain as much as they can for their client. Such is the inevitable nature of attorneys. That's why here in the USA we have a judiciary branch that interprets the law. That way an independent branch of government interprets the scope of the constitutional powers given to the other branches of government, which also works as a check on the power of the other branches. The judiciary, of course, gets to interpret the scope of their own powers, but the judiciary's scope -- judicial review -- was long ago defined, for the most part. Further, the power of appointment along with other checks keep the judiciary in line. My point is that if the Executive can interpret the scope of his own power, then White House counsel will continue to push that line because all attorneys want to interpret the law in the light that most favors their client. The end result of this pushing will be de-facto tyranny. The judiciary and the Congress will exist only as tokens and will be subject to the absolute power of the "Unitary Executive."

The Unitary Executive theory only works if you accept that the Framers intended the scope of the executive's power to be determined by appointed White House counsel who owe their jobs to the President. It only works if you ignore Article II, Section III of the Constitution that states that the Executive "shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed." It only works if you think it's just and right for the President to willfully disobey laws of Congress, an offense that would put normal individuals behind bars. It only works if you think that the separation of powers which so clearly underlay our entire Constitutional democracy are somehow bad.

I guarantee you that the GOP and their cohorts in the Federalist Society would not be such huge supporters of the Unitary Executive theory if we had a Democratic President. It's but a partisan tactic designed for short-term political gain. But the ramifications are far too large to indulge in such schemery. New York University law professor David Golove considers this theory to be a "mind-bogglingly expansive conception" of executive power. The only way to turn back the tide and save our democracy is to oust all Republicans everywhere from office this fall. Enough is enough and the Republican Party has abused the public trust and the Constitution enough.

Finally, I leave you with this. If President Bush really believed that he needed to ignore the PATRIOT ACT's reporting provisions, he could have refused to sign the law. The veto power is an actual Constitutional power granted to the President and is a way for him to protect his interests in "foreign relations, national security, the deliberative process of the executive, and the performance of the executive's constitutional duties." The reason he did not take this lawful alternative is because President Bush is the lawless President. As Bush once said (and I only wish I was making this up): "If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator."

Thursday, March 23, 2006

People of Reason, Men of Results, and the Man with the Power

In Georgia v. Randolph, a 5-3 decision decided yesterday, John Roberts stood with Scalia and Thomas to argue for limited Fourth Amendment protections. The court's four "liberal" Justices -- liberal only when considered relative to the far-right bloc of Roberts, Scalia, Thomas and Alito (who did not get to vote in this case due to his too-recent appointment to the court) -- sided with the conservative, yet comparatively moderate Justice Kennedy in the majority. The Court held that warrantless searches of home executed with the consent of one co-occupant violate the Fourth Amendment when another co-occupant expressly refuses police entry at the front door.

This heartening case is noteworthy in muliple aspects.

First, it was Chief Justice Roberts' first dissent. Predictably, he showed himself to be a strong ally of the Scalia/Thomas wing of the bench, as I told everyone on this blog would be true 7 months ago. He also showed himself to use crass politics as a way to distract people from the way he was undermining our rights -- the classic "shell game" trick of far-right conservatives. Roberts argued that the majority's decision would harm women and help domestic abusers by making it harder for police to enter their homes. This is not only a false argument, but it is a Rehnquistian results-oriented one that implores the Court to disregard the law in order to "punish the bad guy." The argument is false because if there really is domestic abuse apparent, the police can constitutionally enter to protect the woman without going upstairs to search for drugs (such as is the case here.) Roberts deceptively acts as if a search and an entrance to protect a victim of abuse are the same thing. The argument is further false because the police can still search upon probable cause or upon exigent circumstances, something that is likely to exist if abuse is clear. Roberts is no champion of women's rights and I trust that we will see further examples of this in the future that will make his dissent in this case look like utter hypocrisy.

Second, the far-right conservatives continued their long march to divorce the warrant clause from the Fourth Amendment. As a general rule, police searches without a warrant violate the Fourth Amendment. Any reasonable search without a warrant must fit into one of the many exceptions to the warrant clause. When a resident in his own home explicitly and unambiguously denies police entry, they should have to have either 1) a warrant or 2) probable cause. These exceptions have already been expanded too far and the Court did a great thing in denying yet another exception, especially when it would have led to more intrusive searches in the privacy of one's home.

This situation is distinguished, and rightfully so, from when a resident would have denied police entry but wasn't around to do it. It's ok for a person to allow the police into their home to search, even if there are co-occupants not nearby to consent as well, but the situation changes drastically when the police receive an explicit denial from a co-occupant. Such is at the very core of the Fourth Amendment. In this modern era of alternative living situations, the idea that the permission of one co-occupant is enough to make a search reasonable despite the explicit denial of all others in the home would severely erode the Fourth Amendment. Where would this line be drawn? Would it be ok for children to consent to home searches? For the elderly? For the mentally-challenged? For the vindicitve roommate?

The police are still free to search these homes; they just need to have probable cause or a warrant. Without either, the adoption of the dissent's "free pass" theory would lead to massive fishing expeditions and a marked decrease in the protections and privacy of the home. When you consider that the Supreme Court has already established that consent searches are valid even if the one who gives consent is not a true co-occupant as long as the police reasonably believe that person to be a co-occupant, the results of the dissent's position are frightening. Not only can strangers give permission for police to enter your home, but now they could do it over your explicit objections while you stand in the front door. Fortunately for those of us who love liberty and despise tyranny, the majority did not adopt this radical position.

Finally, and most importantly, the reality that the Supreme Court is now controlled by the whims of one man displayed itself to the public. That man is Justice Kennedy. Although the so-called "liberals" are really moderates who often side with the conservatives (Souter and Ginsburg are simply not liberal in their view of the criminal justice system, for example), and we cannot yet be certain of the idiosyncrasies of Alito and Roberts, the situation for the most part is a court divided 4-4-1. In the 90s we had a court divided 4-3-2 with O'Connor and Kennedy in the majority for most decisions. As a result, these two Justices alone literally rewrote entire swaths of Constitutional Law. With O'Connor gone, the balance of power lies only with Kennedy.

Justice Kennedy is a Republican appointee and lifelong conservative. People remember his protection of the right to choose in Casey, his unilteral decision to allow future gerrymandering claims despite the lack of a standard and his opinion in Lawrence v. Texas, and assume that Kennedy is some kind of liberal. Not true. He's also been a vehement opponent of affirmative action, a supporter of ambiguous "partial birth" abortion laws, and violated his oath of office when he wrote a patently fraudulent opinion in Bush v. Gore. (Note -- although Kennedy is not listed as the author of the unsigned majority opinion, is the author according to the book Closed Chambers.) The fact that this great nation's future lies in the hands of this man gives me no comfort. We deserve a court of nine reasonable people, unencumbered by politics and bound only to the law. The polarizing events of recent times have effectively given us a court of one. The results are usually going to be bad and victories such as Georgia v. Randolph should not get us too excited.

FINAL NOTE: I want to thank my friend, colleague and study partner James Fox Corpuz for his kind mention of this blog in his sublime column "The Procrastinator," featured in the official newspaper of USF School of Law, The Forum. James singlehandedly is responsible for The Forum's publication of my article on the horrible consequences of the Alito nomination. James is the rare person who is funny in person and in writing. As longtime readers of this blog will assure you, I am incapable of inserting humor into blogging. Also I hear James plays pretty mean basketball for a short dude. I pray for the day that James sees it fit to unleash The Procrastinator on the web and allow the entire planet access to his irreverent thoughts.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

An Open Letter to Al Gore

I'm mailing a copy of my letter below to Mr. Gore himself, but I felt that my opinions were relevant enough to re-post here. I urge others to write Al Gore as well and urge him to run for President.

Dear Vice President Gore,

I write this letter to you today as one patriot to another. Six years ago, I voted in my first Presidential election and proudly voted for you. I have since remained one of your biggest supporters. You are a great man who has changed the world for the better. The situation today has led me to conclude that if you do not run for President in 2008, our nation and perhaps the entire planet may be doomed. Although there will be immense personal costs, I beg you to seek the Democratic nomination for President in 2008.

We are living in a world on the brink of a catastrophe. Global warming is out of control and the Republicans controlling Congress and the White House are doing their best to ignore it. Scientists seem to be in complete agreement that we are on a path for destruction unless we change our harmful policies. The GOP prides itself on a distrust of science that coincidentally justifies their deplorable record of caving to corporate polluters at all costs. While the Democratic party's record is not without blemishes, you and I both know that we Democrats are the only ones who can turn the tide and prevent an environmental disaster. The reason is that Democrats are beholden to the people, not special interests.

You are seen by people of my generation as the foremost champion of environmentalism among politicians. Your book Earth in the Balance is a stunning example of the kind of leadership and foresight that our nation requires. The 2008 Presidential election may very well be the last chance that we have to reverse the damage humans have done. Another Republican President, or even a misguided Democrat President, would likely put the planet on an irreversible course for doom.

Not only do I believe that you are by far the best person for the job, I believe you are the only Democrat capable of appealing to the broad cross-section of America that is necessary to win a national election. There are two main reasons for my belief. The first, less important reason, is your Southern heritage. The Democrats will never win national elections if we concede the entire South to the Republicans. The second, more important reason, is your ability to freely speak your mind. In recent years, you have consistently been ahead of the curve when it comes to pointing out the problems caused by the Bush administration. When craven Democrats feared to take a stand against the Iraq war, you were there to tell the world the fallacy to come. When people feared to point out the constitutional violations implicit in domestic warrantless wiretapping, you were there to expose the truth. The media and the Republican machine tries to spin your frankness as a negative. They are dead wrong. No reasonable American sees your truth-telling as a negative. The American people want a strong leader who is not afraid to tell it likes he sees it. They want someone just like you.

I am currently in my second year at University of San Francisco School of Law. I have decided to become a public defender and dedicate my life to helping those less fortunate. I have begun to wonder, however, if the United States will be the kind of place in which I can raise children. The abominable environmental policies of the Bush administration combined with their flagrant disregard of the Constitution causes me great concern. I feel that you provide our best, and perhaps last, hope to change the course of history and ensure that this great nation thrives well into the next century. I realize that you have been in public service for many years and that you deserve to pursue happiness in other channels. But the imperatives of our nation are calling you back into service. Should you run for President, I will do anything and everything in my power to help you get elected.

Mr. Gore, the United States and the world at large desperately needs your leadership in these troubled times.

Friday, March 10, 2006

A New Chapter

Some of you may have noticed that I have not been posting much lately. There are three reasons for this: 1) a lack of fresh news combined with the fact that I have already written about many of my views, 2) a lack of time due to a particularly intense semester at law school and 3) my desire to only write posts that present fresh ideas arrived at through thoughtful deliberation. This third reason demands further explanation.

Nearly all of the views I've written about have been arrived at only after a long, deliberative process. Sometimes it's easy to express these long-held views as they apply to new situations that arise in the news. Other times, it's not so easy. Often situations are so complex and involve such a wide array of issues that it would be intellectually dishonest to begin writing about them as if I were fully informed. One example would be the recent flack over the United Arab Emirates control of U.S. ports. Many liberals thought Bush + further weakening of port security automatically made this a horrible decision. But those same liberals allied themselves with racists on the right who just didn't want people with brown skin running U.S. ports. Sometimes these kinds of coalitions are inevitable due to the multitude of issues involved in a given situation. Other times these coalitions indicate that one side or the other is leaping to a conclusion without properly considering all the issues involved. My opinion on this matter was never that emotional nor interesting to merit an article. I think that as long as we are going to allow foreign countries to control our ports, we shouldn't discriminate on the basis of the race of the country. My personal wish would be to make the operation of our ports a government enterprise considering the massive safety ramifications. On the other hand, I don't really know enough about the finer points of port management to honestly say that my proposal is the best idea.

My larger point is that I have come to dislike knee-jerk reactions to complicated social problems. Those problems which have an easy solution -- the problems of SUVs, the unconstitutionality of the death penalty, the horrible failures of Bush during Katrina, the deplorable records of Justices Roberts and Alito -- these problems provide me the best opportunity to speak my voice. For I can speak it knowing that I have been intellectually honest. The problem for me is that I have written about most of the easy issues for which I am duly informed.

Blogging is, in a way, very easy when someone like George Bush is in charge. His absolute moral bankruptcy -- reflected by his aggressive corporate agenda, his war on the environment, his failure to separate church and state and his illegal war in Iraq -- all provide clear examples of what's obviously wrong. At the same time, I find these kinds of posts to often be the "low-hanging fruit," i.e., obvious to spot and therefore somewhat uninteresting. I've tried to provide a unique angle on this blog and have stayed away from posts that merely restate the obvious. An example of this would be the recent video that proved that Bush knew that the levees in New Orleans would not last. But I said the same thing months ago due to the enormous amount of circumstantial evidence; there's nothing that newsworthy about this video because the logical conclusion was already clear to all those willing to think about it. As such, I found no reason to write about this unless I had something original to add.

My point is only to explain my lack of fresh posts and to explain the limited amount of posts that will come in the future. Part of my training to become a lawyer involves the careful process of crafting law. Some people who I admire very much, such as Justice Brennan, at times became too results-oriented and harmed the integrity of the judicial process. (I plan to write on this issue in a future post.) I certainly do not want to stray down that path. I believe liberalism is the correct ideology because it is more fundamentally sound and reasoned than conservatism. Similarly, I'd like the quality of my posts to outweigh the quantity of my posts. Mainstream blogs rely upon daily posts, often several daily posts. This blog will never become one of those because I lack the time necessary to write duly informed comments on a daily basis. (Most mainstream bloggers do as well, so they write crap instead. I digress.) Nonetheless, the War on Corporate Evil must continue. Expect new posts weekly, or perhaps bi-weekly, but expect the posts to be more thorough, unique and thoughtful.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Their Wealth Matters More Than Your Health

Tomorrow, the GOP-dominated House of Representatives will vote on H.R. 4167, the "National Uniformity for Food Act." This bill will require all state regulation of food to be identical to the federal government's regualtion of food products. In other words, states will be unable to enact any food safety laws beyond those mandated by the FDA. The bill has yet to receive a hearing, but the GOP wants to vote anyways.

This is a horrible idea for two reasons. First, this bill unneccessarily tramples on the principles of federalism. States have an interest in the safety of their food and should be allowed to develop standards specifically targeted towards the residents of particular states. Alaska, for example, has a law in place to require genetically engineered fish to be labeled as such. State officials presumably deemed such a regulation especially important for their state because of the high level of fish consumption in Alaska.

Second, and more important, this will clearly result in lower food safety standards and increased risk to consumers. 80% of all food safety regulations are currently enforced at the state level. Having two levels of enforcement necessarily causes more regulation to be enacted. More regulation means more standards which means more lives will be saved. The existence of 51 independent food safety agencies serves as checks on the FDA and on each other. If the FDA isn't regulating something due to ineptitude, conflicts of interest or an agressive pro-business mindset, one or more of the states will pick up the slack and regulate the problem.

Further, the states will start to look around and see what other states are regulating. California may like a safety regulation from Montana and adopt it as their own, even though California never would have come up with it on its own and the FDA doesn't have a similar regulation in place. The states serve as laboratories for new regulations that can result in new scientific revelations that the FDA alone would not have made.

Obviously, the Republicans in the House want to do this because they do anything and everything that wealthy corporations want. The health of the common man means nothing to these old white men who desire nothing more in life than money and power. They would rather see 5 children die than have a corporation pay a million dollars to comply with a state food safety regulation. To them, it's just another cost-benefit analysis, with the people paying the costs and the corporations reaping the benefits. The supporters of this bill include the mega-rich Grocery Manufacturers of America. The interest groups involved have donated millions, mostly to Republicans, in recent elections.

It is imperative that we do anything we can at this late stage. E-mail your Representative using this easy link or give them a phone call at (202) 224-3121. I'll post a follow up later this week and let readers know whether the GOP House really thinks that their wealth matters more than your health.

Monday, February 27, 2006

A Moral Obligation Exists to Stop Genocide

180,000 people have been killed in a massive genocide. You wouldn't know it from looking at the news. Among the top 5 stories on Yahoo News today: Microsoft Plans New Windows Products. That's not news; that's a press release. At best, it's technology news ; it's not a top 5 news story. Drivel like this gets top billing by a corporate media that is increasingly clueless about what actually constitutes news.

The #1 story should be the genocide in Darfur. 180,000 people have died since early 2003 as Janjaweed militas protected by the Sudanese government attack African Sudanese villages. When these villages began rebeling in a quest for more autonomy, the government launched the genocide. Meanwhile, our government has been too distracted by the fraudulent war in Iraq to address this pressing need. Sadaam may have gassed "his people," but the horror in Iraq pre-invasion failed to be as problematic as the massacre in Darfur. Worse, more people are dying than ever in Iraq as an inevitable civil war begins.

The media had other priorities. When they weren't releasing Bush administration press releases as actual news, they were busy covering Nick and Jessica or Brad and Angelina. Oprah's berating of an author made top headlines while the killings in Darfur were ignored. Bush made the destruction of Social Security a top agenda in 2005 instead of trying to push the end of violence in Darfur. No legitimate Christian could stand by and ignore this massive human rights violation. But Bush had no problem doing so.

Nicholas Kristof, a columnist for the New York Times, has been the media's #1 voice bringing attention to the catastrophe in Darfur. He recently told a group at Yale University how the militias use wells as mechanisms of disaster. They poison the wells to kill the villagers and lie in wait nearby to attack people looking for a drink of water. Kristof has been pushing the media to address the issue more. He's engaged in a very public drive to get Bill O'Reilly to take a trip with him to Darfur.
He's already raised over $700,000 to gather money so that O'Reilly can take the trip and do his "news analysis" from the country. O'Reilly early protested that he wouldn't go to Darfur because his commitments to Faux News prevented him from doing so. Kristof proposes raising money to buy satellite phones that would allow O'Reilly to shovel his load of crap on the American people from abroad. While some might claim this is all a waste of money, it's not. Kristof has raised public awareness with his campaign against O'Reilly and helped push our leaders to take action.

I don't know enough about this highly complex situation to propose a reasonable solution. If I were in a position for power, I would order experts to conduct studies proposing the best way to end the killings. The United States is morally required to address this problem. If we want to make the world "love freedom" and support our efforts, we need to start doing some good things instead of starting illegal wars. Perhaps the Bush administration realizes this, if only from a PR standpoint and not a moral one.

Led by the U.S., the United Nations has recently began to push for action in Darfur. On Feb. 3, the Security Council called for the UN to take over peacekeeping operations in the region. The Council has already authorized sanctions but those have yet to take effect. On Feb. 17, our president -- that's right, George W. Bush -- finally spoke out on the topic after completely ignoring it in his State of the Union address. After a visit with UN
Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Bush announced his support for a peacekeeping mission twice the size of the current one handled by the weak African Union. UN Ambassador John Bolton, a man notorious for his conflicts of interests and bizarre demeanor, is actively pushing for the UN to enact a resolution creating the peacekeeping force. All this is a great sign from the normally inept Bush administration. Still, not much has happened yet. Although Bush has turned it around in the last few weeks, his administration has been criminally negligent in the past 3 years. Our nation can no longer deal with actual threats to world security because they are too involved in a war of choice.

Nicholas Kristof has a laundry list of suggestions for what we could do in Iraq. Considering his expertise on the issue, I'm inclined to listen. Kristof posits that President Bush could:

...enforce a no-fly zone to stop air attacks on civilians in Darfur, lobby Arab leaders to become involved, call President Hu Jintao and ask China to stop protecting Sudan, invite Darfur refugees to a photo op at the White House, attend a coming donor conference for Darfur, visit Darfur or the refugee camps next door in Chad, push France and other allies for a NATO bridging force to provide protection until United Nations troops arrive, offer to support the United Nations force with American military airlift and logistical support (though not ground troops, which would help Sudan's hard-liners by allowing them to claim that the United States was starting a new invasion of the Arab world), make a major speech about Darfur, and arrange for Colin Powell to be appointed a United Nations special envoy to seek peace among Darfur's tribal sheiks.

We can't ignore this issue any longer. It is simply immoral to continue to allow people to be massacred in droves. We aren't the world policemen, but we should work to be the world's moral compass. The time to act was 3 years ago, but we'll have to settle for now.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

There's No Easy Way to Kill

Lethal injection constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. Putting aside the fact that the death penalty always violates the 8th amendment, the method of killing itself can violate the US Constitution or the California Constitution.

Lethal injection was introduced as a "more humane" way to execute prisoners. To those watching the execution, it certainly looks more humane than when someone catches on fire during an electrocution. It certainly seems less cruel than gassing a man and watching him choke to death while spitting blood. But is it really?

California has postponed the execution of convicted killer Michael Morales due to a federal District Court judge's order that trained medical professionals must conduct the execution. The conflict here is that the AMA and every other medical association is 100% opposed to the participation of trained medical professionals in executions. Monitoring Morales' execution would require the professionals to be prepared to administer more drugs if the killing did not go as planned. This would require doctors to take affirmative steps to kill, a clear violation of the hippocratic oath.

Further, Judge Fogel wanted the state to only use sodium pentothal to execute Morales. Currently, the state puts the prisoner to sleep with sodium pentothal, then a second drug stops the prisoner's muscle movement so that the viewers can have a clean show, and a third drug stops the prisoner's heart and delivers the killing blow. The judge's rationale is that the second and third drugs are cruel and unneccessary considering that sodium pentothal will get the job done.

Judge Fogel's view regarding the lethal injection process is shared by some unlikely suspects. Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court halted an execution based upon the same premise that was supported by Dr. David A. Lubarsky's research. Dr. Lubarsky is a conservative Republican. Nonetheless, he is also the head of the University of Miami medical school's anesthesiology department. His research revealed some startling information:

Lubarsky and three colleagues, Koniaris, Teresa A. Zimmers and Jonathan P. Sheldon, obtained postmortem toxicology reports on 49 executed inmates and measured the level of a particular anesthetic, thiopental, in the inmates' bloodstream.

According to the lethal injection protocol in use in most states, the anesthetic is used to render the inmate unconscious before a second drug paralyzes him. A third drug, potassium chloride, induces a heart attack.

But Lubarsky's research suggested that perhaps 43 of the 49 inmates did not have enough thiopental in their bloodstream to ensure unconsciousness.

''Methods of lethal injection anesthesia are flawed, and some inmates might experience awareness and suffering during execution,'' the article concluded. ``Without anesthesia, the condemned person would experience asphyxiation, a severe burning sensation, massive muscle cramping and, finally, cardiac arrest.''

Wow. 87.7% of the murdered prisoners could have felt severe pain during their lethal injections. Although there is some contrary research, the fact remains that the scientific community cannot guarantee that lethal injections are not a horrific, painful procedure that ruthlessly tortures convicts at the end of their lives. Some conservatives not only don't care about this fact, but they seem to want it to be true: "I am not too worried about his feelings after the lethal injection, as he had absolutely no feelings for the 17-year-old girl he killed." But this entire process has only dragged out the victims suffering by promising some sort of salvation at the end of the killing rainbow. Expecting a man's death to make your life whole again is pure nonsense, but that's exactly the message we send to victims by instituting the death penalty. The mother of the woman that Morales killed had this to say: "We feel devastated and angry...We waited 25 years with expectancy, and now this?'" 25 years with expectancy. An expectation that one day, justice would prevail and the world would somehow be right again. But of course that isn't so. Killing Morales with premediation and deliberation isn't going to bring back the life of the woman he killed. The state's promise that it will do so has unreasonably dragged out the suffering of this poor woman. It's time to stop killing prisoners and promising victims that these deaths will help them in some macabre way.

Dr. Lubarsky has come to the belief that the death penalty is wrong: "Should we be lowering ourselves to the level of the people we are seeking to execute?...That's what separates us from them: We don't torture people on purpose.'' Dr. Corey Weinstein, a consultant to California Prison Focus, points out the irreconcilable problem with the death penalty: "Maybe it is because there is not a way to be humane and do this act."