Powered by Blogger

Who links to me?

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Federalist Society Member Says Bush Broke the Law

Robert Levy, a member of the conservative Federalist society and a Senior Fellow at the conservative Cato institute, has this to say about Bush's use of warrantless domestic wiretaps:

The text of FISA §1809 is unambiguous: “A person is guilty of an offense if he intentionally engages in electronic surveillance … except as authorized by statute.” That provision covers communications from or to U.S. citizens or permanent resident aliens in the United States. Moreover, Title III (the Wiretap Act) further provides that “procedures in this chapter and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 shall be the exclusive means by which electronic surveillance … may be conducted.”

To be sure, FISA’s prohibition on unauthorized electronic surveillance applies “under circumstances in which a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy and a warrant would be required for law enforcement purposes.” §1801(f). Surely, U.S. citizens and permanent resident aliens have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their international phone calls and emails. Accordingly, warrants would be required for law enforcement purposes and, therefore, warrantless surveillance absent an authorizing statute would violate the FISA requirement.

In addition, he thinks Bush may have violated the Constitution:

First, Article II requires that the president “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” He definitely has not done so with respect to FISA §1809. And even if he believes in good faith that §1809 is trumped by his war powers, his use of secret executive orders is not the manner in which he should discharge his obligation to defend the Constitution and execute the law. Instead, he should have made his case to Congress, expanding on the list of FISA grievances that he would like to have amended by the PATRIOT Act.

Second, the Fifth Amendment proscribes deprivation of liberty without due process. Liberty, as we know from the Supreme Court’s recent decision in the Texas sodomy case, Lawrence v. Texas (2003), encompasses selected aspects of privacy. A Fifth Amendment challenge to the NSA program might transcend the question whether particular surveillance was “reasonable” in terms of the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement.

Read the whole article at the Federalist Society website. Although he never mentions the word, Levy's argument makes a compelling case for an impeachment of Bush on several counts. A pro-Bush supporter, David Rivkin, gives his weak, quasi-factual counterpoint in the second half of the article. An example of the lies is the repetition of the right-wing falsehood that Clinton violated FISA. This link proves that's false, but the right-wing conspiracy didn't get so powerful by sticking to the facts.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

A Motive for Bush's Crimes Is Revealed -- When the Conservative FISA Court Questioned Wiretaps, Bush Stopped Obeying the Law

One of the big questions relating to President Bush's illegal use of warrantless wiretaps has been simple: why? The FISA Court is known to be dominated by conservative judges, for several reasons. The PATRIOT Act increased the size of the Court from 7 to 11; just like FDR's infamous court-packing plan, the PATRIOT Act allowed Bush to increase his hold over the FISA Court by appointing 4 new members. (Technically, Chief Justice Rehnquist appointed all members to the Court, but it's pretty clear where his allegiances laid.) Since 17 of the last 25 years have featured a Republican President, it should come to no suprise that Federal Courts in general are dominated by Republicans. I don't have the stats to prove it, but the vast majority of the FISA court are Republican appointees, generally ones who are extremely pro-government. In short, Bush should have had no problem getting the wiretaps he wanted.

But something different happened: even far-right jurists rejected Bush's use of wiretaps. Only 2 of the first 13,000 wiretap requests that the FISA court handled were modified, over a course of 22 years. 179 of the 5,645 of the requests under Bush, on the other hand, were modified; 173 of those occurred in 2003 and 2004 alone. 6 requests were outrighted rejected in the past 2 years -- until 2003, a request for a wiretap had never been rejected by the FISA Court.

To obtain a FISA court-approved wiretap, the government must show probable cause that the target of the surveillance is a member of a foreign terrorist organization or foreign power and is engaged in activities that may involve a violation of criminal law. Even under this lax standard, Bush wasn't able to meet it constantly. It appears that the Republicans decided upon a different course of action: ignore the FISA court and get wiretaps in other ways. The mere existence of the court, and the Bush administration's 5,645 requests for wiretaps, prove that the Bush administration knew of the court's legitimacy and powers. They knew that all wiretaps had to be cleared by the court; if they felt the court's blessing was unnecessary under Article II or under the War Authorization, they could have just stopped going to the court. They didn't do that because they knew that would be a red-flag alerting others to Bush's impeachable crimes.

So even the conservative FISA court refused to go along with Bush's wiretaps. Conservative in thought but still somewhat dedicated to the law, these jurists felt that they could not participate in Bush's criminal conspiracy to spy on law-abiding Americans. Bush's motive is finally revealed: he broke the law because even right-wing courts don't condone spying on anyone Bush pleases. Many of those who were spied upon were likely political enemies of the President. Bush treated the Presidency like a cheap excuse to dig up dirt and he broke the law in the process. Anyone who honors and respects the law should be appalled.

Even conservative legal minds such as Orin Kerr have come out and admitted that Bush broke the law. If he broke the law, the Republicans' own standard set by the Clinton impeachment mandates a similar impeachment trial for President Bush. Only this time, we actually have an impeachable offense. I expect the Republican arguments against Bush's lawbreaking to end soon because they lack any credibility whatsoever. It's painfully obvious that Bush broke the law; the law said to get warrants for wiretaps and Bush didn't. The new line of GOP arguments, I predict, will be that Bush's crimes do not rise to the level of "high crimes and misdemeanors." I would even expect them to point to the Clinton impeachment as an example of crimes that do not deserve impeachment, as incredibly circular and ludicrous as that sounds considering the Republicans held the torches during the Clinton Witch Hunt.

Sunday, December 25, 2005


In November, Representative Duke Cunningham resigned in disgrace after pleading guilty to charges of bribery. He’s the epitome of a Republican – in bed with corporations and completely brazen. Cunningham was charged with felony conspiracy to commit bribery, mail fraud, wire fraud and tax evasion. Cunningham took at least $2.4 million in cash and gifts from these corporate contractors in exchange for aggressively pushing the interests of the Military Industrial Complex.

Randy Cunningham was a military expert who first made it big as a CNN commentator in the late 1980s. In 1990, GOP cronies convinced him to run for office against Democrat Jim Bates who was dealing with charges of sexual harassment. Cunningham promised to be “a congressman we can be proud of.” Cunningham would not make anyone proud. His love of violence and his affection for the bizarre are unmistakeable. He once called for Vietnam War Protestors to “be lined up and shot” and later called for House Democrats to also “be lined up and shot.” Yes, a Republican Congressman called for the mass execution of Democrats and no one cared. If a Democrat had done that, he’d be in Gitmo.

Cunningham would be revealed as hypocrite when it came to fighting the so-called “War on Drugs.” In September of 1996, Cunningham called out Bill Clinton for appointing what he felt were “soft on crime” judges. He wanted stiffer penalties and the death penalty for drug dealers. That’s right, the death penalty. However, Cunningham soon starting singing a different tune when his son was convicted of smuggling 400 lbs of marijuana across state lines. Despite the fact that his son tested positive for coke 3 times while on bail, Cunningham begged the judge for leniency. Another Republican who says one thing and does another.

In 1997, Cunningham helped force the Pentagon to build a $20 million machine to digitize documents. When the military delayed implementing the system, Cunningham called for the resignation of Lou Kratz, the Pentagon official supervising the program. The reason, of course, for Cunningham’s strange behavior is that the developer of the machine was a defense contractor lavishly granting him gifts.

In 1998, Cunningham told a group of prostate cancer survivors that a prostate test is “just not natural, unless maybe you’re Barney Frank.Barney Frank is a fellow Congressman who happens to be gay. Cunningham’s blatant homophobia was celebrated by his fellow Republicans.

Cunningham only got caught because he was so brazen (he deposited a $70,000 check in his own bank account.) But the Republican culture of corruption extends beyond just Cunningham. The entire party takes the overwhelming share of political donations from defense contractors, insurance companies, energy companies and monopolist retailers like Wal-Mart and Home Depot. Strangely enough, the Republicans vote in lockstep with the interests of the leaders of those industries. The reality is that the entire Republican Party embezzle our tax dollars. It’s a kick back scheme – they take our tax dollars, give out enormous corporate welfare, then the big corporations give it right back to the Republicans. And we’re told that there’s no money for social programs.

The reason why we don’t have money for social programs is due to this particular brand of corporate evil. Shame on Representative Cunningham for getting caught, but shame on corporatist politicans everywhere for doing the exact same thing.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Republican Senator Calls Out President Bush for His Crime

Even Republicans are starting to admit that Bush committed a crime by violating FISA. Here's a snippet regarding Sen. Chuck Hagel:

"Every president, that we know of, has complied with the law (FISA)," Hagel said. "No president is above the law. We are a nation of laws and no president, majority leader, or chief justice of the Supreme Court can unilaterally or arbitrarily avoid a law or dismiss a law. If the vice president holds a different point of view, then he holds a different point of view."

Based on the facts that are out there concerning whether domestic spying abuses were taking place, Hagel said, there was a "breakdown."

"I take an oath of office to the Constitution," he said. "I don't take an oath of office to the vice president, a president or a political party. My obligation and responsibility are to the people I represent and the country I serve. I do what I think is right for the people I represent and the country I serve." [...]

Hagel, referring to President Ronald Reagan, said people trusted him because he was not a "vitriolic person or one to impugn the motives of people who disagreed with him."

"Never did he do that," Hagel said. "There is no place for that in politics because it debases our system and our process. You can agree or disagree with your leaders and say whatever you like about your elected leaders and throw them out, but I do draw the line on the vilification and impugning of motives because someone disagrees with you."

Impeachment is the only way to deal with Presidential law breaking according to the standard set up by the Republicans' unlawful impeachment of President Clinton. This should be the #1 news story every day and the War on Corporate Evil will not relent until Bush is either out of office or behind bars. Criminals have no place in the White House.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Senator Boxer Asks Presidential Scholars If Bush's Violation of FISA Amounts to An Impeachable Offense

The first steps have been taken. Read more.


Today, Senate Republicans were unable to come up with the necessary 60 votes to override a threatened Democratic filibuster on a Defense Spending Bill. The only reason Democrats threatened a filibuster was because Republican Sen. Ted Stevens attached a rider that would allow oil drilling in America's largest, most pristine environmental treasure -- the Artic National Wildlife Refuge. As such, the Democrats in the Senate are solely responsible for preventing the violent rape of ANWR by collosal oil corporations.

Although the media playing off the drilling in ANWR as a pet project of 82 year old Super Duper Corporate Tool Senator Stevens, the reality is that the entire Republican party has salivated at the chance to destroy the environment while simultaneously lining the pockets of their dear friends in the oil industry. In 1995, the Republicans passed drilling in ANWR as part of a filibuster-proof budget. Fortunately for the environment, President Bill Clinton vetoed the Republicans' evil plan.

We do not need to drill in ANWR. We wouldn't get any oil at all for 10 years and even then we would still rely heavily on foriegn imports. The U.S. Geological Service estimates that less than 1 year worth of oil lies under the refuge. One of the Republicans' favorite lies on the subject is that only 2,000 acres of the 1.5 million would need to be used for drilling. This is a total lie. As this map shows, the oil deposits are spread throught the Reserve. Drilling would be occuring over, essentially, the entire Refuge. Further, even if the actual pipelines only will make up 2,000 acres, that's not the only cost of drilling in ANWR. Roads, for one, would need to be built in places that have no roads. The delicate ecosytem of ANWR would be forever destroyed due to the massive human invasion.

Our dependence on foreign oil is a huge problem. But the remedy isn't just drilling for oil in every last place on Earth. That's like saying that a 600 pound man's hunger can only be satiated by buying 10 more Happy Meals. The solution is to get the fat man to lose weight. Similarly, our solution is to stop using oil in the long term and drastically cut back in the short run. All of you Republicans who are so concerned about "dependence on foreign oil" should stop driving your Earth-hating SUVs. You should start requiring auto manufacturers to produce more hybrids instead of the limited models presented today. You should demand that Republicans stop fighting increases in fuel efficiency. Cars are less fuel efficient today than 25 years ago, but the same Republicans allegedly concerned about "dependence on foreign oil" don't want to do anything to make us use less gas.

The bottom line: Republicans are lying about a concern that we are over-reliant on foreign oil. The truth is that they don't value the environment whatsoever and want to increase profits as much as possible for their cronies in the oil industry. Some focus group told them that the only way to sell the idea was by pointing to national security and reliance on foreign oil. Those arguments are completely bogus because Republicans could remedy those problems by encouraging conservation, which they refuse to.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

President Caught Lying on Tape -- The Law Mandates Impeachment

"A Wiretap Requires a Court Order. Nothing Has Changed." - George W. Bush, April 2004

You can see the video for yourself here. Bush's accurate statement of the law in April 2004 fails to comport with his current admission that his administration obtained wiretaps without warrants. President Bill Clinton, for example, comported with the federal law (FISA) requiring court orders for wiretaps.

President Clinton was impeached for perjuring himself during private litigation. A prima facie violation of FISA exists just by examining Bush's admission and the law itself. Without legal authority for a wiretap, it is a violation of the 4th amendment ban on unreasonable search and seizure. A constitutional violation, without question, amounts to a "high crime or misdemeanor." If Congress wants to maintain any degree of credibility and integrity, impeachment proceedings must begin soon. Even Corporate Tool Joe Lieberman seems to feel Bush broke the law. Our President is now a proven criminal.

This is the biggest scandal since Watergate, bar none. The American people need to rise up, mold public opinion, and use this crime to relieve Bush of the Presidency.
Five Ways to Fight Corporate Evil, #2

1. Donate Something for the Holidays

This holiday season, it's important for everyone to give something to those less fortunate. I consider myself rather poor but I've decided that even I must do something, no matter how small. All of us seating in front of computers have, at the minimum, plenty of food, a place to live and power. We take these things for granted but many Americans are forced to do without. Corporate Evil is the cause of poverty in America and one great way to fight Corporate Evil is to help solve poverty. I'll be donating some food through my workplace; I urge you to find a similar outlet. However, be weary about who you give to. I specifically recommend avoiding the Salvation Army because of their homophobic hiring practices.

2. Ship Your Packages With the Postal Service, Forget UPS and FedEx

I know we all hate going to the Post Office. The lines can be long and the service may be slow. Nevertheless, it's infinitely better than helping support a Purveyor of Corporate Evil such as UPS and FedEx. FedEx donates 71% of their political contributions to the Republican Party. That's not chump change either -- FedEx gave over $1,000,000 last year to the Republicans. FedEx has gotten into serious trouble for racial bias and they refuse to offer domestic partner benefits to their employees. UPS, meanwhile, gave even more money to the GOP last year. 72% of UPS' contributions went to the Republicans for a staggering total of over $1.5 million dollars. Both of these companies are providing essential capital to the Republicans in their war on the common man. The U.S. Postal Service, meanwhile, doesn't donate to either political party and is a quasi-independent agency of the Federal Government. The USPS is the 3rd largest employer in the United States, so money spent there helps save American jobs.

3. Join ATLA

ATLA is the American Trial Lawyers Association. Even non lawyers should join this great group. Right now, the Republicans want to limit access to the courtroom at all costs. They want to prevent those injured from getting their "make whole" recovery because the ones doing the injuring are mostly giant corporations. Since the Republican Party exists only to further the interests of these massive corporations, they want to save their campaign donors money at all costs. A key component to any democracy is the ability of citizens to have fair access to the judicial system. So-called "tort reform" should really be called "Limiting damage awards to save wrongdoers money." ATLA is fighting this evil movement with all its might and they need our support. A student membership is only $15 per year and looks great on your resume. Please join now.

4. Email Bush and Tell Him to Stop Breaking the Law

Yesterday, President Bush gave an appalling press conference where he admitted to an impeachable offense and promised to keep doing more. The reality, however, is that President Bush has no legal authority for his spying. The same group of Republicans who were infuriated over President Clinton's supposed disrespect for the rule of law have no problem with Bush's flagrant violation. E-mail President Bush and tell him to stop breaking the law. Here's my e-mail:

Dear President Bush,

In recent days you have admitted to authorizing warrantless wiretaps of American citizens. You have done so despite the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Survelliance Act (FISA) that requires the Executive to go to a secret court to obtain these types of wiretaps. Although you imply that you had no other way to conduct the spying, the law allowed you to obtain authorization through a secret court whose findings would never become public. The head of this court, Judge David Sentelle of the D.C. Circuit, is a close ally of the Republican Party and would have certainly granted any authorization that you requested.

You explictly stated in your 12/18 speech and 12/19 press conference that the Constitution and the Congressional authorization of force gave you the legal authority to violate FISA. This is despite your speech on April 20, 2004 when you explicitly asserted "When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so." Neither the authorization of force nor the Constitution says that you may violate FISA and authorize warrantless wiretaps against anyone you please.

The concern on my behalf is that you didn't go to the secret court because you sought warrantless wiretaps against your political enemies. The keeping of an enemy list dates back to another Republican president who also flagrantly violated the law. As an American citizen, I demand that you, President Bush, adhere to the rule of law and stop subverting the courts and obtaining warrantless wiretaps illegally. Mr. Bush, the young people of this nation need to know that their President has respect for the law and authority. The message this sends our young people is frightening -- it's ok to break the law.

I hope you consider this letter thoughtfully and consider the impacts of your actions upon this great nation.


Michael Alexander, A Concerned American Citizen

5. Join the United for Peace and Justice Legislative Action network

It's obviously time to leave Iraq. Even war hawk Rep. Murtha has called for our withdrawl. One of the best organizations that is fighting for us to leave Iraq is the United for Peace and Justice Legislative Action Network. Follow the link and join the network. You'll get e-mails notifying you of ways to fight the war and progress the group has made. It's not spam, trust me. We don't have much control over how wars are fought, so we need to band together to speak in one collective voice.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Democrats: Get Your Act Together

A joke poll from the Ironic Times:

Despite polling which shows two-thirds of Iraqis want us to leave and a solid majority of Americans believe the war was a mistake, the President intentionally misled them, has no exit strategy and no plan for victory, and that we should begin withdrawing our troops, Democratic politicians are still waiting for which sign that it's safe to advocate bringing our troops back home?
A )An armed revolution on the streets of all major U.S. cities.
B )The arrest and trial of top Administration officials by the International Criminal Court.
C )A coordinated attack on our troops by the insurgents and the Iraqi Security Forces.
D )An armada of UFOs from Mars simultaneously blasting the message, "GET OUT!" from loudspeakers.
Hint: Most Democrats are big fans of "Star Trek."
W Gives a Press Conference -- So Many Disgusting Lies, It's Pornography

Last night, President Bush gave a prime-time speech on how great things were going in the country. Spying? Not only is he not sorry, but he promises to keep it up. Illegal and immoral, but the man has chutzpuh. This morning, President Bush gave one of those rare press conferences; here's my analysis.

Bush on Iraq: Iraq, 9/11, Iraq, 9/11, Iraq, 9/11, Iraq, 9/11. Yes, George W. resorted to more phony connections between Iraq and 9/11. He no longer makes the mistake of simply lying and asserting some connection existed. Now he just talks about the two subjects simultaneously in order to convey the same message. Ignorant Americans tuning in for just a moment will still believe the connection exists. Here's an example of Bush's evil sleight of hand:

And we will keep working toward our goal of a democratic Iraq that can govern itself, sustain itself and defend itself.

Our mission in Iraq is critical to victory in the global war on terror. After our country was attacked on September the 11th, and nearly 3,000 lives were lost, I vowed to do everything within my power to bring justice to those who were responsible.

Bush on race: I love Black people. In fact, let's talk about the ownership society.... Bush quickly moves into private accounts as a way to fight racism. The thought, according to W, is that it will increase wealth transfers between generations. If private accounts actually increased wealth, that might be true. However, private accounts are just a way to drain social programs and funnel it into wealthy GOP stock market investors. In true GOP Corporate Tool fashion, Bush turned a conversation on race into one about destroying social security in favor of gambling on the stock market. You've got to give him credit for that one, even if it was deceitful, disrespectful and racist.

Bush on Phony Economic Indicators:
We added 215,000 new jobs in November. We've added nearly 4.5 million new jobs since May of 2003.

The unemployment rate is down to 5 percent; lower than the average of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

Sounds great right? No. During President Clinton's administration, the economy added an average of 236,000 jobs per month. That's just an AVERAGE, not a great total to brag about like Bush is trying with his pathetic 215,000 figure. Clinton presided over office when 23 months brought over 300,000 jobs created.

As for the unemployment rate, low unemployment doesn't mean a lot of good jobs. A lot of people have stopped looking for work; they are no longer counted as being "unemployed." Other people have taken lousy jobs at Wal-Mart and other low paying Republican supporters. Even though they are on government assistance and can't pay their bills, our stats consider them "employed." So you can just ignore the unemployment rate; it's a phony indicator that doesn't provide real information about how good our economy is doing.

Bush on spying: W takes the offense: If you talk about the spying program, you hate America and are helping the terrorists. Bush says the program is great, remember 9/11, it's helping us prevent another 9/11. "Shameful" was clearly the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy buzzword of the day. Bush chides reporters for revealing "sources" in the war on terror. Now, of course, Bush had no problem participating in the criminal conspiracy to destroy a source -- Valerie Plame. Still, Mr. President, isn't it illegal to spy on citizens?

As I mentioned in my remarks, the legal authority is derived from the Constitution, as well as the authorization of force by the United States Congress.

I'm checking the Constitution here...no mention of it being ok to spy on US citizens during times of war. Ok, let's check the authorization of force by Congress. Hmmm, no mention either of the legality of Bush's spy tactics. Well, sir, you lied. Bush's argument is that he's the commander-in-chief, the commander-in-chief must protect America, therefore anything Bush does that arguably protects America is legal. Under this line of reasoning, it would be ok for Bush to commit genocide in order to prevent another 9/11. Obviously that would be horribly illegal. Bush's disrespect for the rule of law is absolutely disgusting. He has no legal authority to spy on me.

Bush on the Patriot Act:

In the war on terror, we cannot afford to be without this law for a single moment.

Bush provides no details whatsoever as to how the Patriot Act fights terror. The reason is that it DOESN'T fight terror and there is no objective evidence that shows it helps in the war on terror. Here's an example of more GOP smear tactics:

Most of the senators now filibustering the Patriot Act actually voted for it in 2001. These senators need to explain why they thought the Patriot Act was a vital tool after the September the 11th attacks but now think it's no longer necessary.

BECAUSE THEY NEVER READ IT IN 2001. The voting version of the bill, over 1000 pages, was issued just hours before the vote. It was not possible for any single person to read it and John Conyers admitted it in Fahrenheit 9/11. Bush is engaging in outright lies and deception by seizing on the American public's ignorance and our press corps' incompetence. Outrageous.

Bush on a Reporter named Jackson: He calls him "Action Jackson." Bush loves to use disrespectful nicknames when addressing people. It's a way of him saying "I'm superior to you and I can belittle you by giving you a funny name." No reporter could call the President "Bushie," but this President is a man of entrenched privilege who despises anyone with less power and influence than him. Contrast him with President Clinton. Clinton was a man who emerged from poverty. President Clinton didn't need to make fun of everyone around him in order to feel superior. That wouldn't be right; Bush doesn't care.

If you are still a Republican after listening to Bush's remarks this morning, there's no hope for you. A dimwit liar is running our country into the ground and our corporate press corps is laughing all the way down.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Bush Won't Veto Ban on Torture

President Bush reversed course and said today that he will not veto the ban on torture which recently received over 90 votes in the US Senate. This is a huge victory for human rights everywhere. Although we will obviously defy the law and torture people anyways, it's an important first step in establishing a high level law to prosecute those who torture in the future.

Most importantly, Bush didn't do this because he realizes torture is immoral or doesn't work. He did it because he's wildly unpopular and his entire party, except for a few wingnuts , have called for the administration to stop its use of torture. Bush caved to political pressure in order to get some payback later on from McCain and his "moderate" GOP cronies in the Senate.
Turning Point

The most important news event that occurred during my recent hiatus was Rep. John Murtha's call for a pullout from Iraq "as soon as practicable." Although we likely disagree on many things, I am 100% behind Murtha. There's an old Vulcan proverb: "Only Nixon could go to China." Similarly, only a conservative hawk like John Murtha could come out and say that it's time to leave Iraq. He's a long-time friend of the military, regardless of the administration. He's a Democrat, technically, but he's as far to the right on national defense as one can be. He voted for the Iraq war. But now, Murtha admits what the President won't: we made a mistake and it's take to get out. Further, Murtha offers a moral solution -- declare victory and leave. After all, we've accomplished the President's stated mission -- the removal of Sadaam Hussein and the assurance that WMD are not in Iraq.

There is no longer any reason for us to be in Iraq. Our troops are just providing targets for the insurgency. The insurgency only exists because of their hatred of American occupation. We are encouraging the war at this point by providing the only reason to fight. I've often made this point to friends: I hate George Bush, but if the USA were attacked and our country was occupied, I would gladly take up arms and defend my country and my President. The insurgents don't necessarily support Sadaam -- they just despise the idea of Iraqis living like captives in their own country.

An occupying force is destined to lose to the occupied. The occupied are protecting their homeland, the invaders are just doing their job. The occupied have the numerical advantage. The occupied is willing to do anything and everything possible to free their homeland, while the invaders are not. Murtha has likened the situation to the Revolutionary War. If the French remained in the USA after the war was over because we were not a "real democracy" yet, the founding fathers would have turned on the French.

Right now we are running the risk that Iraqis will associate democracy with American occupation. The people of Iraq are beginning to hate "democracy" because they believe that means occupation and foreign control of their homeland. We cannot let this happen. A year ago, I supported John Kerry and agreed that, while Bush lied to get us into Iraq, we could not leave until the job was done. A year later, thousands of troops and Iraqis have died and we are no closer to "finishing" the job. Shortly before Murtha's call for a pullout, I was already telling friends that I thought we needed to leave Iraq at once.

In 25 years when people look back at the Iraq War, Murtha's courageous stand will be seen as the turning point in the public consciousness that got us out of there. Before his call, virtually no politican called for us to leave; now a broad coalition of Democrats and some Republicans are calling for an exit. John Kerry provided the voice of the turning point in Vietnam when he bravely asked the Senate Foreign Relations Committee "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?" Murtha's statement is this war's turning point, but Kerry's question rings true for Iraq as well.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

What Did Bush Know and When Did He Know It

Strangely enough, George Bush has thus far escaped blame for the Plamegate scandal. But as I suggested two months ago, the real story concerns the President's involvement in the scandal. Just as was asked of President Nixon, we need to know 1) what Bush knew and 2) when he knew it. We are dealing with a massive loss of intelligence assets during the midst of the War on Terror, so this story should be front page news each and every day.

Now the Dark Lord of the Sith himself, conservative shill columnist Bob Novak, says that Bush knows who the source of the leak is and should admit it. Novak, if you recall, got this entire affair started to begin with when he leaked Plame's name in his godawful column. Novak is a major Washington insider, especially among conservatives, so if he is making this claim, you can bet there is truth to it.

Should Bush have been involved with Plame's outing, that would certainly constitute a "high crime and misdemeanor" giving rise to impeachment under the Bill Clinton standard. The corporate media needs to stop reporting about irrelevant shootings aboard airplanes and start doing actual investigating.
Katrina’s Lingering Shadow

As a rising river bore down on New Orleans, city leaders made the decision to set off 30 tons of dynamite on the levee at Caernarvon, about 15 miles downriver from Canal Street. The explosion eased pressure on levees at New Orleans by speeding the water past the city, but it flooded St. Bernard Parish.

The flooding was horrific. In the midst of a horrible natural disaster, the leaders of New Orleans made a fateful decision. A plan was hatched to ease the pressure on the levees throughout the city: blow up other levees and flood impoverished St. Benard Parish. 30 tons of dynamite were purposely exploded on the levee at Caernarvon.

This is no conspiracy theory regarding Hurricane Katrina. The preceding was the true account of the Great Mississipi Flood of 1927.

Many people in the African-American community have accused the government of a repeat in 2005. Accounts of a large blast are widespread among locals in the lower 9th ward. Non-interested scientists, however, insist that there was no repeat of the 1927 event during Katrina. I don't believe the concurrent conspiracy theory either, but that's not the point of the story. Massive racism and poverty are so entrenched that the dynamite theory doesn't sound so far-fetched. The policies of the Republican party are doing essentially the same thing by destroying opportunity and entrenching privilege.

Just three and a half months after one of the worst natural disasters in American history, we seem to have forgotten. Republicans wouldn't stop chanting "9-11" because they successfully manipulated our fear to promote illegal wars. They want to forget Katrina as quickly as possible because the only thing anyone remembers is the poverty and the suffering.

The devastation of Katrina provided a rare opportunity to examine class inequalities in American society. The conservative plan for government necessarily leaves some people out in order to make the rich even wealthier. Capitalism is a great system, but without proper regulation it hurts the poor at the expense of the wealthy. Minimum safeguards should be provided for people so that individual merit can win out over entrenched privilege. Our current system is filled with inefficiencies because the people in power are not as smart or moral as they should be. People of low intelligence such as President Bush can fly through college if they have rich parents who can buy their children careers. The residents of the 9th ward in New Orleans had no such ability. A genius black girl has less of a chance for success than a stupid white male. This kind of society is going to lead to the destruction of the planet and horrendous suffering on the way there.

Katrina provided a grand opportunity to rethink poverty. Here are the words of the great, but highly flawed, Lyndon Johnson: "This administration today, here and now, declares unconditional war on poverty in America." "This administration today, here and now, declares unconditional war on poverty in America." Meanwhile, the Republican Party has never tried to do anything but oppress and exploit the poor. Tax cuts for the rich and cuts in social programs do not stimulate the economy but do result in millionaires becoming billionaires. Nevertheless, this became the Republican mantra when Reagan took control in the 1980s, and the War on Poverty was forgotten.

The issue of American poverty cannot be separated from the issue of race. Most of it these days isn’t through old-fashioned overt racism, but rather via institutional racism. The legacy of slavery persists today because 150 years, or 7 generations, is simply not enough enough time to undue the cycle of entrenched poverty. Similarly, President Bush comes from entrenched privilege due to his rich ancestors. As much as white America disagrees in order to feel better about their relative success, the legacy of slavery directly affects race relations in 2005.

New Orleans was a perfect example of tragedy of certain poverty and the disproportionate share of the suffering that African-Americans bear. Race played a direct role in the tragedy, contrary to what President Bush claims. Before Katrina, 18.4% of New Orleans residents were in poverty. For African-Americans, it was 35%. If that doesn’t sound so bad, here’s a chilling thought: for a family of 3, the poverty line is a combined household income of $16,090 per year. Certainly, huge masses of people make more than $16,090 per year and still struggle to take care of their basic needs. The racial imbalance is staggering. 21 percent of all children in the United States live in poverty, but 46% of African-American children and 40% of Latino children live in poverty.

The reality is that the rebuilding process is, itself, racist. Federal dollars went mostly to Republican cronies such as Halliburton. Karl Rove, after all, is in charge of the reconstruction effort despite having no qualifications to do so. The rebuilding is occuring in the rich, white neighborhoods. Meanwhile, poor neighborhoods such as the Ninth Ward remain toxic wastelands. The wooden neighborhoods will certainly need to be condemned; the plans for rebuilding are slow and sketchy. A report from the Urban Land Institute commissioned by Mayor Ray Nagin suggested that resources should be focused on the wealthier and less damaged areas of the city first. More dangerous was the report’s suggestion as to whether it made sense at all to repopulate areas such as the Ninth Ward that faced the worst flooding.

Before Katrina, African-Americans composed 65% of the New Orleans population. The Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates the new percentage will be 35-40 percent. Conservatives frothed at the mouth at the idea of using New Orleans as a testsite for a conservative New Deal. They wanted a city built for rich people and corporations. Plans for the poor were non-existent. This reflects the Republican tendency to believe in Social Darwinism in order to justify their entrenched privilege and success.

We can't let the government forget about the horrors Katrina's aftermath exposed.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Bush : "I look at the newspaper"

In a pathetic attempt to dispel myths that he is intellectually lazy, President Bush claimed yesterday that "Every morning I look at the newspaper...I can't say I've read every single article in the newspaper. But, I definitely know what's in the news." "I'm very aware of what's in the news. I'm aware because I see clips. I see summaries."

The leader of the free world believes that he is fully informed because he "looks" at the newspaper and because he's seen news clips and seen summaries. As anyone can tell you, "reading" involves more than "seeing." Although that could just be use of Texas slang, Bush seems to be indicating that he believes he is informed because he glances at the news every now and then.

"I feel like I'm getting really good advice from very capable people, and that people from all walks of life have informed me and informed those who advise me.

First, if George Bush thinks he's getting good advice, I'd hate to see what bad advice is. After all, President Bush has been in office during a horrible economic downturn, a war of choice that has crippled our economy and destroyed our international reputation, not to mention his "advisors" who told him to ignore the threats of 9-11 and go on vacation instead.

Second, if George Bush thinks that "people from all walks of life" inform him, he's nuts. Bush has no connection, whatsoever, to the poor. He surrounds himself with yes-men of different flavors -- religious conservatives, tax cut conservatives, racist conservatives -- but that doesn't equate with "people from all walks of life."

This man has no business running a small business, let alone the greatest country on Earth. Shame on anyone who voted for this stunning example of incompetence.

"You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also…"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven."

- Jesus Christ, Matthew 5:38-39

Just hours ago, the state of California executed Stanley Tookie Williams. By the state of California, I mean the people of California. Since I am one of the people of California, there is blood on my hands. My friends, we Californians killed Stanley Tookie Williams in cold blood. While Williams was a sick deviant, we are rational, sensible people who premeditated and deliberately killed Tookie.

Tookie Williams was a disgusting criminal. He committed four murders and created the Crips, one of the most deadly gangs in American history. In some ways, if we are going to execute anyone, Tookie deserves execution. On the other hand, Tookie has reformed his life by writing children's books discouraging gang violence. He has been nominated for Nobel Prizes in peace and literature. Many people say that if Tookie doesn't deserve clemency, no one does.

Yet, Tookie is no different than any other person on death row -- a terrible criminal, but also a human being with basic dignity. Human life is too valuable to be taken away for no reason whatsoever. Killing is wrong; that's the lesson I want my children to understand. Imperfect humans should not be deciding between life and death. The whole concept of clemency only exists because we feel so uncertain about the death penalty. If killing really was as great and accurate as its proponents claim, then there would be no need for clemency. After all, if the punishment was too harsh, that would have been sorted out at sentencing or during the appeals process. Clemency exists because people, even those in favor of the death penalty, realize that the system is flawed.

There is no way to rationalize the desire to kill criminals with the desire to prevent the killing of innocents. The criminal system has never been and never will be foolproof. We are humans; it's simply impossible. If you are to accept the death penalty, then you must necessarily accept the fact that innocent people will die at some point. You must accept that the benefits of killing criminals outweighs the costs of killing innocents. In the past 32 years, 119 condemned prisoners on death row have been later exonerated. If the conservatives had gotten their wish and the executions occurred sooner, a mass slaughter of innocents would have resulted.

Tookie Williams' killing presented an obvious injustice. His humanity and dignity was apparent; yet we had to pretend to deny it in order to kill the man. Going forward, we must use this tragic killing to reignite the debate over the death penalty and, someday, have it abolished. As liberals are beginning to recognize, the more successful argument is to emphasize that the death penalty doesn't work, not to emphasize our personal feelings about government sanctioned killing. There is simply no evidence that the death penalty serves any deterrent effect. In fact, all the evidence indicates the opposite. The death penalty is unnecessary because, as Pope John Paul II argued, modern prisons have made life in prison without parole a certain punishment. The financial costs from killing criminals are enormous and far outweigh the costs of life imprisonment. Florida spent $3.2 million per execution between 1973 and 1988. Texas officials acknowledged that it costs 3 times as much to kill a criminal than to pay for 40 years in a top security cell. Instead of going to better education so as to create less criminals, we redirect our money into purchasing instruments of death and hiring attorneys to justify that killing.

There is a brutalizing effect from the death penalty. A lesson is taught to every man, woman and child -- violence is an acceptable way to deal with problems and killing can be an acceptable form of punishment. This kind of violence is far worse than the cartoon violence of Mortal Kombat that Corporate Tool Joe Lieberman railed against.

There are more horrors behind the death penalty. Although the lethal injection process looks medicinal and antiseptic, it's not. Qualified medical professionals are not allowed to participate due to that pesky thing they call the Hippocratic Oath. Instead, prison workers don scrubs and guess their way into administering injections. Lethal injection has the highest rate of botched executions compared to any other method of killing. Further, it can be torturously painful, especially if untrained prison workers are the ones doing the killing. Tookie Williams' execution was, unfortunately, one of the botched executions. It took 12 minutes to find a vein; onlookers watched Williams wince in pain as the non-professional tried to inflict the killing poison. He writhed in pain during the killing. The act was vile and brutal.

The death penalty does not help the victims. Some victims suffer deep emotional trauma from the extended ordeal of an execution. Instead of moving on after a short trial, victims are forced to wait years in court for some kind of justice they will never truly acheive. Others feel responsible for the killing of the criminal.

In order to kill criminals, proponents need to be comfortable with the fact that those who kill whites are more likely to be executed than those who kill blacks. This fact is backed up by a 1990 GAO study. 50% of murders involve white victims, but 80% of death penalty cases involve white victims. 43% of those executed have been people of color; 55% of people on death row are non-white. There can be no denial of these facts: the death penalty punishes people more for killing whites and punishes non-whites more than whites.

During his legendary study that led to the Supreme Court's 1987 decision in McClesky v. Kemp, David Baldus found that Georgia prosecutors sought the death penalty for 70% of black defendants with white victims but only 15% of white defendants with black victims. 98% of prosecutors are white. In McClesky, the Supreme Court was asked to overturn the death penalty based on Baldus' statistics that proved the racist nature of the death penalty. The Court, in a 5-4 decision, declined. They accepted the statistics but claimed that it was outside of the court's province to strike down the death penalty based upon racial injustice that pervades our society. In a cruel twist of fate, Justice Powell, the author of the majority opinion in McClesky, decided 4 years later he made a terrible mistake and said he would have voted to abolish the death penalty if given a second chance.

Baldus has continued to try and use statistical evidence to prove that the death penalty is racist. In 1997, he showed that black defendants in Philadelphia were 38% more likely to receive the death penalty. The conservative Supreme Court refuses to act.

Finally, the death penalty simply does not comport with a Christian lifestyle. I do not profess myself to be a Christian, although I've gone through the steps to become a full-fledged Catholic, but the lessons of the Bible are still useful. Jesus specifically rejected the old way of the Old Testament and rejected "eye for an eye" and the use of the death penalty. In John 8, a sinner is about to be stoned. Jesus tells the crowd to "let he who has not sinned" throw the first stone. Even though Jesus himself has not sinned, he does not kill the woman. Death penalty proponents find no support for their desire to kill in the New Testament. Conservative Christians instead cite to Old Testament books such as Romans and Genesis, ignoring the fact that Jesus made a new covenant that changed much of Old Testament law. Conservatives need to stop being hypocrites regarding their religious beliefs.

Because it doesn't work, we need to get rid of the death penalty. Because killing is inherently immoral, we need to stop. Because we are better than criminals, we can't do this again. Murder is the unlawful killing of another, with malice. Malice can be the mere intent to kill. The Constitution prohibits cruel and unusual punishment; several Supreme Court justices have argued that this prohibition makes the death penalty unlawful. Since we intended to kill Tookie Williams, an unlawful act under the Constitution, we committed murder with express malice. First degree murder can be reached if premeditation and deliberation was used in the killing. We planned the killing for years, we have a vengeful motive and we used a deadly manner of killing. So our murder was in the first degree. It's been an ugly day for us all.

Monday, December 12, 2005


"It is time for Democrats who distrust President Bush to acknowledge that he will be Commander-in-Chief for three more critical years, and that in matters of war we undermine Presidential credibility at our nation's peril."

- Sen. Joe Lieberman on December 6, 2005

It's time, Joe. Come out of the closet, there's no shame in being who you are. Look at yourself in the mirror and admit it: I’m Joe Lieberman, and I'm a Republican.

At least if Senator Lieberman admitted his true political leanings, he would be honest. As is, he's destroying the Democratic Party with his disgraceful lack of party loyalty. And any time you hurt the Democrats, you help the Republicans, and when you help them, you've just launched a torpedo against the common man in the War on Corporate Evil.

The problem is that Senator Lieberman is a wolf in sheep's clothing. When he goes on TV, they put "D" next to his name. They constantly refer to him as "Democratic Senator" Joe Lieberman. They ask him what other Democrats think of his ideas. To the talking heads on TV, the only reasonable Democrat is the one who is least to the left. As such, Lieberman sets a misleading standard for Democrats everywhere.


Joe Lieberman's misdeeds first entered my life when he was hell bent on taking away my copies of Mortal Kombat and Night Trap. Millions of dollars were wasted on Congressional Hearings that focused on the "violent" content of both games. I played both extensively as a child; I turned out completely normal. The games were less violent than the news. No one realistically dies, no one suffers from lack of health care, poor people aren't dying in the streets. Senator Lieberman used this distraction to take our attention away from the real problems in America: poverty and race. This is a classic trick of Corporate Tools such as the Senator -- distract people from the real issues, focus on nonsense that the Corporate Media can exploit for ratings.

Lieberman next made his conservative self known when he publicly bashed President Clinton prior to the the Republican Party's illegal impeachment. Joe took the Senate Floor and bashed our Democratic President at the time when he needed support the most, right before Ken Starr made his decision to impeach. One of Lieberman's hateful comments reveals him to be a hypocrite:

The president is a role model. And because of his prominence in the moral authority that emanates from his office, sets standards of behavior for the people he serves.

Recap: Clinton was a role model and he has set a terrible example for Americans everywhere. Lieberman doesn't care, however, that Bush has been a far worse role model. President Bush lied to start a war that has killed over 100,000 people and 2100 American Troops. The 9/11 commission just announced that we are less safe now than 9/11, in part because of the Iraq distraction. How is lying that results in massive killing not setting a terrible example for our kids? Are you prepared to call out President Bush for being a terrible role model?

Further, isn't the President's actual work provide more guidance to citizens than his sex life? How does Bush set a "good example" for Americans by cutting taxes on the filthy rich and cutting Medicare for the poor? How does Bush set a "good example" by increasing pollution that makes small children sick? How does Bush set a "good example" by purposely appointing a madman to be our UN Ambassador, which undermines the UN mission world wide? How does Bush set a "good example" by disrespecting the Constitution and using religion to justify controlling women's choice in medical procedures? President Bush sets an appaling example for humans everywhere.He has disgraced his office by catering to the wealthy, privileged, and religiously inclined at the cost of all others.

Lieberman felt fit to attack Clinton over his sexual encounters even though they were of the same party. He refuses, however, to attack Bush over his moral bankruptcy regarding poverty and abortion even though Lieberman generally is pro-poor and pro-choice. Why? Because Joe Lieberman is a Corporate Tool who wants to please the conservative movement at all costs. He gets on TV because he's the Conservative Democrat, he gets invited to private breakfasts with Donald Rumsfeld, he gets a kiss from President Bush before the State of the Union Address. In short, Lieberman has his niche and it works for him -- and gets him the influence and power he so desperately craves.

When it comes to Progressive Causes, Joe sides with the interests of the Christian Right and Corporate Evil. School vouchers? Joe loves 'em; who cares about public schools when the state could be giving out cash to religious schools! If Joe had his way, my hard earned tax dollars would go to fund religious education. That's a far right position, and if adopted by the Democratic Party, would mean the end of public schools in this nation. Affirmative Action? Joe thinks that society is colorblind and people just need to stop talking about race. His former running mate, the amazing yet flawed Al Gore, said that conservatives hide behind the word "colorblind" like hunters behind a "duck blind." Gore knows that saying we have a "colorblind" society is saying we should ignore racism; Joe loves it. Why? Because Joe isn't black and he doesn't have to worry about race. How nice for him.

In the 1990s, Joe Lieberman sided with the far-right Project for a New American Century in saying that Bill Clinton was a terrible President for not going to war in Iraq. In fact, he fought Clinton nearly every step of the way with regards to foreign policy. Now, Lieberman and his Project for a New American Century cohorts have gotten their way -- and because of their bloodthirst, over 2100 American troops are dead, over 100,000 Iraqi civilians are dead, hundreds of billions of dollars have been diverted from American needs into the pockets of war profiteers like Halliburton. And most importantly, Iraq is now a dangerous haven for terrorists instead of the isolated Iraq of the 1990s that presented no threat.

And yes, unfortunately, Al Gore made the worst decision of his life when he chose Lieberman to be his running mate in 2000. Lieberman criticized Gore's populist message in the campaign. To Lieberman, he didn't want to work for the people or call out the powerful -- because he was sitting at the table with the powerful getting waited on by the people. Lieberman continued to show his Corporate Tool side when he undermined the recount campaign as well. When the Gore campaign was fighting Republican efforts to have invalid military votes discounted, since those votes were made after the Election without the postmarks the law requires, Lieberman went on TV and blabbed that the Republicans could have those votes. In a single moment, no Democrat could make the counter argument because the running mate had just punted. Of course the Democrats aren't against lawful military votes, but we can't allow people to vote who didn't do it until the day after Election Day. These votes helped turn the election to Bush and Lieberman is to blame.

And this sordid past leads us back to now. At a time when it's become painfully obvious that 1) we have no prayer of stopping the freedom fighters in Iraq, 2) Bush knew we couldn't win and lied to us by promising things like "flowers in the streets" and 3) Bush knew that Iraq was no threat but viciously lied to the American people. Worse, Iraq has completely distracted our military from the real war on terrorism -- the one against actual terrorists. Right now, the Democrats need to come together to get us out of Iraq as soon as practicable. So what does Lieberman do? Just like in 1998, he decides to bash his own party in an editorial. He claims that Bush didn't lie about Iraq (which is itself a complete lie) and that Democrats are helping the terrorists by questioning Bush. This is pure lunacy. Under Lieberman's "rationale", people should never speak against their President while the nation is at war, even if the President lied to get us to war and there is no reason to keep fighting the war. The counterargument is more sound and painfully obvious: Anyone who doesn't speak their mind and feels that Bush is needlessly killing has a moral and ethical obligation to speak the truth. Under Lieberman's rationale, he would support Adolph Hitler if he were a German in the early 1940s because "in matters of war we undermine Presidential credibility at our nation's peril."

Lieberman's call for Democrats to censor themselves should be no surprise considering his chilling hatred of free speech. From his bizarre, pointless war on Video Games, to his attack on Marilyn Manson, to his outrageous public speech against President Clinton's private sexual affairs, Joe Lieberman has made it clear that government should be a tool to control speech and limit freedom of choice to only those choices that meet the approval of himself and his fellow moral conservatives.

Most importantly, Joe Lieberman has no respect for party loyalty. The Republicans have extraordinarily high party loyalty and as such, are more effective at attaining Republican goals than Democrats are at attaining Democrat goals. Our party is completely fractured. We have Corporate Tools like Lieberman saying "Keep on fighting in Iraq, boys, I'll be watching you on Fox News" while other Democrats are saying "For the love of God, stop the slaughter." There isn't a comparable divide in the Republicans. Mr. Lieberman, if you don't like the Democrat position on Iraq, leave the party or shut your mouth. Sometimes it's ok to speak against party leadership, but on an issue as important as this, any dissent destroys the party loyalty necessary to effectuate change. 99% of Democrats are on board and Lieberman is breaching his duty to the party that got him elected by destroying our message.

Since Joe Lieberman has worked so hard to undermine the Democrats and assist President Bush, he's the perfect choice to be War on Corporate Evil's first Corporate Tool.


1. Do some Holiday shopping at Costco.

Most giant retailers are purveyors of Corporate Evil. They donate heavily to Republicans and exploit their workers. Not so with Costco. 99% of Costco's donations go to Democrats. In addition, Costco treats their workers right. Unions are allowed, but only 13% of Costco workers are unionized because the high wages and good benefits make it mostly unnecessary. After 4 years at Costco, a cashier can earn $44,000. Costco covers 92% of health care costs. Finally, they give you the savings without having to sell your soul. Please shop Costco -- the only way to win the War on Corporate Evil is to help the good corporations and injure the evil ones.

2. E-Mail Bill Frist and tell him not to Eliminate the Filibuster

Yesterday, Bill Frist promised to try and eliminate the filibuster for judicial appointees should Democrats try and filibuster Samuel Alito. This would mean a frightening imbalance of power. The Republicans would be able to appoint virtually any right wing judge they please without so much as a peep from the Democrats. The public is overwhelmingly pro-choice, but the far right Republicans in Congress are determined to steal a woman's right to choose and rewrite the Constitution. Samuel Alito is just the kind of man who must be filibustered: an activist judge who boasted that he felt great working for causes he personally believed in, such as trying to dismantle Roe v. Wade.

E-mail Bill Frist, the Republican Senate Majority Leader, and tell him that he should not eliminate the filibuster. Here's my email; feel free to just copy and paste it:

To Senator Bill Frist,

I am a concerned citizen writing to express my fear regarding the potential elimination of the filibuster. The filibuster is a tool that has existed since the beginning of this great nation and has served as a limit on the power of both political parties. This limit is crucial for democracy because the American people prefer incremental change, not revolutionary change. Without the filibuster, both liberals and conservatives alike will see drastic changes in our judicial systems because extremists will be allowed to become judges.

Senator Frist, we need to retain the filibuster as a key element of democracy. Judges will still get up and down votes; only extremists face the potential for filibuster. If the Republican majority eliminates the filibuster, I will never vote Republican again. In addition, I will work as hard as I can to defeat any and all Republicans in 2006 and beyond should your party take this drastic measure.

The future of America is at hand, and I fear for our democracy should you decide to eliminate the filibuster.

Obviously I never have and never will vote Republican, but the email will get more attention if they think you are a swing voter. It's wrong to lie but not wrong to spin the facts in your favor.

3. Visit Buzzflash, Forget Corporate News

I've linked to Buzzflash since this site's inception, but it's worth mentioning again. Buzzflash is a 100% independent news source. A small band of progressives monitor news headlines and provide links to them on Buzzflash. In addition, Buzzflash has some of its own original editorials. They also have a great weekly feature: GOP Hypocrite of the Week.

Of course, the War on Corporate Evil now provides headlines as well, but Buzzflash! is great for when you want to know everything that's going on right now. Patronize their store as well -- they take ZERO money from corporations and rely upon donations to continue.

4. Ditch the plastic bags.

Next time you are at the supermarket, say "No plastic, I'll take paper." If you buy a small item, just carry it out and save the bag. Here's what I wrote about plastic bags on August 5th:

Corporations don't account for costs to society in their ledger book, just costs to themselves. So while a plastic bag may have a total cost of $1 -- $0.01 to the corporation for manufacture and $0.99 to the environment due to the fact that the plastic bag wasted gas and will never biodegrade -- the corporation's ledger just lists the cost of the bag as "$0.01". I'm sure most of you prefer the nice paper bags with handles to plastic ones (or like them equally), but stores mostly don't even offer paper anymore and if they do, the bags are handle-less so as to keep the corporate cost low and discourage paper bag use.

It's all still true. Plastic bags are made with oil and take millions of years to biodegrade. Paper bags contain zero oil and degrade in about 100 years. We need to preserve this planet for our children, so quit it already with the plastic bags.

5. Visit Oakland's Grand Lake Theatre.

Grand Lake Theatre, in Oakland's Lake Merritt district, is a real rarity: an independent, progressive, activist movie house. On the outside it looks the movie theatres of yesteryear; on the inside, various remodels have kept the building and it's 20s décor in pristine fashion. The owner, Allen Michaan, has preserved 2 other historical Bay Area theatres.

What makes the Grand Lake so special is its' marquee. On the outside of the building, they always have a message attacking Republicans and/or corporatists. Here's two examples:

Check out more marquee photos here. Allen Michaan is a great man to use his small position of power to help spread the message that Bush and his cronies are a bunch of criminals ruining our great country. He risks losing business and offending conservatives, but he doesn't care. For this, we need to support this great theatre. Take in a great movie in super comfortable chairs and take pleasure knowing you are fighting the War on Corporate Evil.


Greeting avid readers, I am back for good. Finals went well and with some careful planning, I will never need to stop blogging again.

You will notice some changes to the site. The look is new and hopefully is more reader friendly. The left sidebar is composed of links; the right sidebar is mostly my original content. The "News" section contains headlines that I have chosen because I feel they are of some importance. There are two new archive sections for the two new regular features: Corporate Tool and 5 Ways to Fight Corporate Evil.

I will post more often, but most of the time I'll be more brief than I have been in the past. Sometimes, it's breadth not depth.

War on Corporate Evil's Mantra remains the same: The Republican party exists only to further the interests of massive corporations at the expense of the common man, the free market and the environment. However, expect more potshots at Democrats who have sold out our party and the people.

One final thing: some of the old posts aren't displaying correctly on screens with lower resolutions. I'm trying to go back and fix the archives, but for now, sorry.

Let me know how you like the site's new look by posting a Comment here.

Friday, December 02, 2005

WAR ON WOMEN: ifeminists.net is a hateful right-wing pile of disinformation

Although I'm taking a break from blogging until December 11, this one couldn't wait. I got a response to my GunGuys.com post from yesterday extensively quoting ifeminists.net . The problem? ifeminists.net is a right-wing propaganda site that seeks to harm the rights of women by undermining the real feminist movement.

Here are some of the outlandish philosophies espoused on this website along with my retorts. Note that my retorts involve actual thinking while the philosophies are just parrotted viewpoints from the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy:

Verbal sexual harassment? If women want an equal right to explore their own sexuality, they risk encountering the offensive sexual attitudes of others.

TRANSLATION: Women should accept sexual harassment and allow men to exploit them in the workplace. The idea that men and women are equal victims of sexual harassment defies common sense and objective facts.
Verbal sexual harassment has no place in the workplace as it discourages women from moving up the ladder, reinforces negative stereotypes about women and psychologically damages women. These are 100% tort claims that deserve to be "made whole." Thankfully, verbal sexual harassment is no longer acceptable in society, although it would be if ifeminists.com had their way.

Affirmative action? You cannot create equality with men by embedding gender privilege for women into the law.

TRANSLATION: Women should stop the fight against being second-class citizens and hope that the whole problem will just go away if we stop talking about it.
There is no gender equality. Men still earn more than women. There is embedded gender privilege in our government and society and the facts demonstrate this. The only way to fight this is through legislation designed to force fairness upon sexists businesses. The idea that you can't fight discrimination with discrimination sounds appealing, but makes no sense once you get past the "sounds appealing" part.

Ifeminism supports the right of individuals to defend against violence. Firearms are a legitimate tool of self-defense.

TRANSLATION: Despite the only available evidence indicating that, in fact, firearms are not a legitimate tool of self-defense because they are more likely to kill you or a loved one rather than protect you, ifeminism supports guns because we get big donations from wacko-gun nuts.

Ifeminists oppose the use of non-defensive violence by any person regardless of gender. We recognize that the conventional wisdom- that men are the perpetrators while women are the victims- is based on politics rather than on fact.

TRANSLATION: Men are the victims of domestic violence just as often as women.
Wait a second. Did they really say that? Holy smokes, they did. This is so patently false that I hestitate to respond, but I will. IFeminists are lying here. A 1998 United States Department of Justice study found the following:
25 % of women report being victims of domestic violence; only 8% of men do. Women are twice as likely to be injured from the assault.

Women's studies programs are a good example of why universities should not be publicly funded.
First, it's SIMPLY INSANE to say that universities should not be publicly funded. This is a far-right position that essentially calls for the dismantling of every Community College and State University system in America. Anyone making such a claim is either loony or excessively privileged. If we got rid of public universities, poor people such as myself never would have received a college education. Dumber, but richer, people would be the only ones with degrees. Horrible economic inefficiences would result and our nation would end up being destroyed due to all the dumbell silver spoons at the top.
Second, Women's Studies programs are just as legitimate as any other field of learning. Women are essentially ignored in the history books and underrepresented in fields such as science and literature. The story of women's movements and the nature of women's rights would cease to exist under the infeminists platform.

Who would fund disinformation such as this?
ifeminists is funded by the Eugene B. Casey Foundation . They support organizations such as the Salvation Army. The Salvation Army receives federal funds under Bush's "faith-based" initiative and use MY TAX DOLLARS to support explicit discrimination against gays. If you are gay, you don't get a job or any help from the Salvation Army. This kind of hate is criminal.

Other than donating to the anti-gay Salvation Army, the Eugene B. Casey Foundation mostly donates to prevent crime in Maryland, gives to a few universities and supports throat cancer. Good causes, but all of these causes have a common theme: they help rich white people and do nothing for the poor.

I need to get back to studying, but the War on Corporate Evil will return permanently and in full force on December 11.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

I'm still taking a break from blogging to study for law school finals, but this is an article I just had to share from GunGuys.com. Guns are violent weapons that have no purpose other than to kill human beings. "Gun shows" provide an easy source for people to buy guns so that they can kill people with them. Note how the article points out that every 2 years as many Americans die from gun violence as died in the entire Vietnam war. Quite frankly, it's disgusting that anyone would be advocating the spread of these vile killing machines. What Would Jesus Pack?

Gun Shows are Wellsprings of Illegal Weapons

Can you feel the tide turning in this nation against guns? It is. For far too long, the NRA has held sway over the debate, and tried to convince America that it needed guns, that it needed the death and destruction that they rain down on the country. But now it seems that every day someone else is realizing that weapons are trouble, is understanding just how widespread the danger of firearms is.

Today, it’s Steve Bailey, columnist for the Boston Globe. He’s written a terrifically scathing editorial about gun shows, those “secondary markets” for firearms where a background check is almost never required, and waiting periods are simply laughed at. He went to a show, and what he wrote about it is must-read stuff.

In the manic environment of the first shopping weekend after Thanksgiving, the competition was fierce. We hesitated and lost out on a lovely, slightly used grenade launcher, bargain priced in tax-free New Hampshire at $190.

Not to worry. The dozens of dealers at the Fireside Inn gun show came well armed. Andrew Heggie, a Randolph police officer, spotted a Bushmaster, similar to the rifle he carried in two tours of duty in Afghanistan. And he found an AK-47, the same gun the enemy carried. There were military sniper rifles and an M-16-type ‘’machine pistol” capable of firing off 100 rounds before reloading — the kind of gun only an angry high school student could love. Saturday night specials were cheap and plentiful.

In the end, we settled on a .38-caliber revolver, a trashy little thing popular with thugs in cities like Boston. Made by Connecticut’s Charter 2000 Inc. in New England’s ‘’Gun Valley,” the revolver retails for $349, but my fellow New Hampshire shopper, Walter Belair, picked it up, cash and carry, for just $240. It took Belair, a former prison guard, less than 20 minutes to fill out the federal forms and get approved over the phone. It took me longer to buy a refrigerator at Sears a few weeks ago.

But this is New Hampshire, the ‘’Live Free or Die” state, where no gun license is required, and there is no limit on what a resident can buy.

‘’I can buy all the guns I want,” Belair says. And he could sell his new .38 down the street, too, no questions asked.

That’s what buying guns is like in this country. Is there any doubt that we need stricter gun laws? Not in our minds, and not in Steve’s either. But who’s to blame for the lax laws we have now?

Dramatically reducing the flow of illegal guns would be a relatively straightforward matter if it were not for the lunatic gun lobby and its political enablers. What is needed is uniform national gun laws that require background checks for all gun purchases whether from licensed dealers or from private individuals. In addition, we need to limit gun purchases for individuals to one per month, a policy that has proven effective in Virginia. Question: How many legitimate buyers need more than a dozen guns a year?

Exactly what we’ve been saying all along. One-gun-a-month inconveniences no one. It’s a simple, effective law to limit gun purchases, and yet the NRA is whining and barking against it to no end. The newspaper loophole is an open invitation for criminals to get guns, and it should have been closed years ago. The gun immunity bill was a blatant piece of special interest legislation, and the passage of it is a slap in the face to victims of gun violence everywhere.

Thirty thousand people a year — 82 a day — are killed by guns every year in this country. Every two years more Americans die of firearms than all the American soldiers killed in eight years in Vietnam. And yet there is more accountability for dog owners than gun owners; at least dog owners have to have a license. ‘’If there were white kids in the suburbs dying, we would end gun trafficking,” says Heggie, the Randolph cop.

Nationally there are 45 gun shows scheduled for next weekend alone, according to the Big Show Journal, a trade magazine. If you missed last weekend’s show in West Lebanon, you’ll have another chance before Christmas on Dec. 17 and 18 at the Rockingham Race Park in Salem. And there are four more New Hampshire shows before spring ends. Children under 12 are admitted free.

The tide is turning against weapons. Americans everywhere are speaking out against gun violence– we can only hope and pray that lawmakers will start listening.

Source: gunguys.com