Saturday, July 24, 2010

What we Really Need is Freedom from Intolerance

What came first...the chicken or the egg? In this case, it was an article dated 7/19/10 from Catholic Online by Randy Sly, Obama Moves away from 'Freedom of Religion' toward 'Freedom of Worship.' Then Glenn Beck picked up this theme on his radio program from 7/19/10 and went on a rant about President Obama using the term “freedom of worship” instead of “freedom of religion.”

The inference of both Sly and Beck is that President Obama is heading toward removing everyone's right to religious freedom. Both Sly and Beck are using misguided, misinformed and outright lies as a scare tactic for their followers.

Media Matters puts some perspective on this issue in their article, Beck’s “freedom to worship” rant undermined by the Gipper. You betcha, Ronald Reagan also used the term 'freedom of worship.'
On his radio show today, Glenn Beck went off on President Obama for using the term “freedom of worship” instead of “freedom of religion.” The two are not the same thing, Beck insisted -- the constitution of the old Soviet Union also referenced “freedom of worship.” This led to Beck ranting about the separation of church and state and how “freedom of worship” equates to not practicing your religion in public and that it really means “you can speak out against [religion] but you don’t really have a right to speak out for it.”

Just one little problem with Beck’s line of reasoning: Obama is far from the only president to have used the term “freedom of worship.”

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette religion editor Frank Lockwood did the footwork (well, Google work). It’s not just Democratic presidents who have used the term -- he found an instance of Franklin Roosevelt referencing “the freedom of every person to worship God in his own way” – but Republican presidents as well, including, yes, Ronald Reagan:

Speaking at the United Nations on Jan. 30, 1988, he condemned the Evil Empire.
“Religious intolerance, particularly in the Soviet Union, continues to deprive millions of the freedom to worship as they choose.”
And here’s the Gipper, speaking at the Vatican after meeting with Pope John Paul II:
Perhaps it’s not too much to hope that true change will come to all countries that now deny or hinder the freedom to worship God. And perhaps we’ll see that change comes through the reemergence of faith, through the irresistible power of a religious renewal. For despite all the attempts to extinguish it, the people’s faith burns with a passionate heat; once allowed to breathe free, that faith will burn so brightly it will light the world.

And the Great Communicator, again, at the 1988 Republican Convention:
I know I’ve said this before, but I believe that God put this land between the two great oceans to be found by special people from every corner of the world who had that extra love for freedom that prompted them to leave their homeland and come to this land to make it a brilliant light beam of freedom to the world. It’s our gift to have visions, and I want to share that of a young boy who wrote to me shortly after I took office. In his letter he said, “I love America because you can join Cub Scouts if you want to. You have a right to worship as you please. If you have the ability, you can try to be anything you want to be. And I also like America because we have about 200 flavors of ice cream.” Well, truth through the eyes of a child: freedom of association, freedom of worship, freedom of hope and opportunity, and the pursuit of happiness — in this case, choosing among 200 flavors of ice cream — that’s America, everyone with his or her vision of the American promise.
Lockwood also pointed out that Obama has also frequently used the phrase “freedom of religion,” including in his 2009 speech in Cairo.

As State Department spokesman Andy Laine told Christianity Today, “the terms 'freedom of religion' and 'freedom of worship' have often been used interchangeably through U.S. history, and policymakers in this administration will sometimes do likewise."

Unless Beck wants to make the case that Ronald Reagan was some kind of commie -- and also wants to argue that Obama is sending some kind of coded message to his secret Muslim atheist friends -- he shouldn’t pretend that there’s a meaningful distinction between two words that have long been synonymous for pretty much everyone.
The shift in language to which Catholic Online refers to is found in four speeches of President Obama and three speeches from Hillary Clinton. There is an acknowledgment of the reference by Roosevelt. But no reference to Reagan.

Both Catholic Online and Glenn Beck never mentioned three important points of this discussion while they spewed their fear and lies.

The first is the right of "freedom of religion." The second is the right of "freedom of speech." Both of theses rights are granted to the citizens of the United Sates of America through Amendment I of the Constitution.

Amendment 1 - Amendment 1 - Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression Ratified 12/15/1791.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances

The third element is the process needed to amend the United States Constitution is no small task.

There are essentially two ways spelled out in the Constitution for how to propose an amendment. One has never been used.

The first method is for a bill to pass both houses of the legislature, by a two-thirds majority in each. Once the bill has passed both houses, it goes on to the states. This is the route taken by all current amendments. Because of some long outstanding amendments, such as the 27th, Congress will normally put a time limit (typically seven years) for the bill to be approved as an amendment (for example, see the 21st and 22nd).

The second method prescribed is for a Constitutional Convention to be called by two-thirds of the legislatures of the States, and for that Convention to propose one or more amendments. These amendments are then sent to the states to be approved by three-fourths of the legislatures or conventions. This route has never been taken, and there is discussion in political science circles about just how such a convention would be convened, and what kind of changes it would bring about.

Regardless of which of the two proposal routes is taken, the amendment must be ratified, or approved, by three-fourths of states. There are two ways to do this, too. The text of the amendment may specify whether the bill must be passed by the state legislatures or by a state convention. See the Ratification Convention Page for a discussion of the make up of a convention. Amendments are sent to the legislatures of the states by default. Only one amendment, the 21st, specified a convention. In any case, passage by the legislature or convention is by simple majority.

The Constitution, then, spells out four paths for an amendment:

  • Proposal by convention of states, ratification by state conventions (never used)
  • Proposal by convention of states, ratification by state legislatures (never used)
  • Proposal by Congress, ratification by state conventions (used once)
  • Proposal by Congress, ratification by state legislatures (used all other times)

It is interesting to note that at no point does the President have a role in the formal amendment process (though he would be free to make his opinion known). He cannot veto an amendment proposal, nor a ratification. This point is clear in Article 5, and was reaffirmed by the Supreme Court in Hollingsworth v Virginia (3 US 378 [1798]):

The negative of the President applies only to the ordinary cases of legislation: He has nothing to do with the proposition, or adoption, of amendments to the Constitution.
The founding fathers, in their wisdom, wrote into the Constitution which was later ratified by the Supreme Court, that the President of the USA can have no input into any phase of the amendment of the Constitution. Unfortunately what the founding fathers could not write into the Constitution was the 'right of tolerance.'

Friday, July 23, 2010

Fringe or Not Fringe, that is the Question

The lexicon of today's politics includes labels such as 'Birthers,' 'Tenthers' & 'Tea Partiers.' These are all off-shoots of the Republican Party but not necessarily affiliated with the G.O.P. and therefore seem to have a life of their own. In case you are unaware of the distinctions between these groups, here is a simple run down.

The Birther Movement

The Birthers are dedicated to the renewal of the constitutional government, starting with insuring that the President and Commander in Chief is a "natural born citizen."

They seek strict adherence to the Constitution of the USA.

The Tenther Movement

This is a movement urging states to exert their rights under the 10th Amendment. The Amendment, part of the Bill of Rights, states: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

The 'Tenther' movement comes from what advocates see as the federal government's forcing policies on the states -- most notably on health care reform, economic recovery measures and social issues.

The Tea Bag Movement

According to the official home of the American Tea Party movement, the Tea Party Patriots are a "community committed to standing together, shoulder to shoulder, to protect our country and the Constitution upon which we were founded!"

The name the "Tea Party" is a reference to the Boston Tea Party of 1773 when the colonists felt disenfranchised. Today the Tea Party is an acronym standing for Taxed Enough Already.

The Tea Party protesters want government off their backs and less taxes.

What all three movements have in common is a desire to interpret the constitution according to what they think the founding fathers intended, which means deregulation, less taxation and no social programs. In many ways, each of these groups is really a Tenther at heart.

Ian Millhiser from Center for American Progress wants to know if, "The Right Re-embraces Lunatic Legal Arguments from the Past" are we "Doomed to Repeat History?"

Spend a week listening to the right, and you’ll think the founders were all modern-day Tea Partiers. Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) thinks the Constitution forbids Congress to spend federal money on programs he personally disapproves of. Justice Clarence Thomas thinks that the minimum wage, child labor laws, and the federal ban on whites-only lunch counters all violate the Constitution. And of course, everyone on the right thinks that health reform is unconstitutional.

It’s enough to make you think they’re just making it up as they go along. It clearly can’t be the case that every single law cherished by progressives just happens to be unconstitutional.

Yet the reality is even worse. When the right’s view of the Constitution was ascendant 75 years ago, basic protections such as a restriction on child labor were declared unconstitutional; laws banning discrimination were unthinkable; and Social Security was widely viewed as next in line for the Supreme Court’s chopping block.

America’s right now wants nothing more than to revive this discredited theory of the Constitution. These conservatives are over-reading the Tenth Amendment, a provision of the Constitution that provides Congress’s power is not unlimited. So-called “tenther” conservatives are determined to use their twisted reinterpretation to shrink national leaders’ power to the point where it can be drowned in a bathtub. They must not be allowed to succeed for three reasons:

  • Tentherism is dangerous. Monopolists seized control of entire industries during tentherism’s last period of ascendance. Workers were denied the most basic protections, while management happily invoked the long arm of the law when a labor dispute arose. Worst of all, Congress was powerless against this effort. And the Court swiftly declared congressional action unconstitutional when elected officials took even the most modest steps to protect workers or limit corporate power.
  • Tentherism has no basis in constitutional text or history. Nothing in the Constitution supports tenther arguments. And tenther claims are nothing new. Each of them was raised as early as the Washington administration, and each was rejected by George Washington himself.
  • Tentherism is authoritarian. Health reform, Social Security, and the Civil Rights Act all exist because the people’s representatives said they should exist. The tenthers express goal is to make the Supreme Court strip these elected representatives of power and impose a conservative agenda upon the nation.

The right’s quizzical lawsuits challenging health reform are just the tip of the tenther iceberg. If these lawsuits succeed, much of America’s most cherished laws could be next against the wall.

Read the complete article HERE.

These 'fringe' groups are becoming anything but fringe. Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) just recently chaired the first meeting of the House "Tea Party" Caucus. The group’s goal is to “promote Americans’ call for fiscal responsibility, adherence to the Constitution and limited government.”

The issue for many Republicans is how closely aligned do they want to be with the Tea Party, when much their agenda is not considered to be part of the mainstream.

Prominent GOP-ers who have joined the Tea Party Caucus so far:

  • GOP Conference Chairman Mike Pence (R-IN)
  • NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX)
  • Secretary of the House Republican Conference Rep. John Carter (R-TX)
  • Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) -- the ranking member on the Select Committee on Intelligence who is also running for governor of Michigan
  • Five other Republican members of the Texas congressional delegation: Joe Barton, Michael Burgess, John Culberson, Louie Gohmert, and Lamar Smith, (R-TX).
Also other GOP members include:
  • Rep. Jerry Moran (R-KS)
  • Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-KS)

Prominent GOP-ers who have declined invitations so far:

  • Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH)
  • Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA)
While the followers of these groups believe in their cause, others think that these splinter groups will either doom the country or be the doom of the Republican Party.

Rachel Tells It Like It Is

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Falling for False News

Once again, the story making the rounds on cable news and in the main-steam media is a fabricated story about racism. Shouldn't the emphasis of this story be focused on the person who manipulated the information? Shouldn't the anger be focused on the lies that were touted as truth. Shouldn't the outrage be directed at the pervasive fake news that dominates right-wing media, blogs and pundits. Shouldn't the focus be on the scumbag who doctored the video tape? Instead, the emphasis has been on the allegation that the administration's actions stemmed from their fear of Fox News.

Jonathan Alter has a different take on this story. He believes the Obama Administration mishandled this fabricated scandal in order to create a "no distraction" zone.

How could the White House have screwed up so badly in the case of Shirley Sherrod, the Georgia USDA official who Wednesday received an apology from the Obama administration (through Robert Gibbs and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack)?

Sherrod was the victim of a smear by the right-wing agent provocateur Andrew Breitbart and his fellow travelers at Fox News. (Yes, that side has adopted some Leninist tactics, as conservative antitax activist Grover Norquist has admitted over the years.) They took a two-and-a-half-minute clip from Sherrod's address to the NAACP and used it to depict her as a black racist who discriminated years ago against a white farmer. It turns out the farmer thought Sherrod had been a terrific help, and a full review of Sherrod's speech suggests that, far from being a racist, she had honestly (and successfully) worked through the complex racial preconceptions we all carry around in our heads.

The NAACP, which says it was "snookered" by Breitbart, acted first and asked questions later. This gave Vilsack and the White House cover to do the same. Only when Sherrod was allowed to defend herself on legitimate news programs (i.e., not on Fox) was the administration's rash and unjust firing fully exposed. So-called journalists didn't do the most elemental checking before running with the story.

The question is, why? Are the president and his team cowed by right-wingers? Doubtful. It seems more likely that the White House's astonishingly ham-handed response to this matter was the result of overreacting to criticism that Obama has suffered recently for his slow political reflexes. Combine that with a firm policy of "no distractions" and you have a recipe for a political hash and serious embarrassment.

To understand this story, you have to go back to the sacking of Van Jones, a midlevel White House aide of little importance (he worked on weatherizing inner-city homes) who was pilloried for days last year for signing a 2002 we-had-it-coming-on-9/11 petition. Fox made it seem as though this was the most critical issue facing America. The White House rightly concluded that Jones had to go and regretted having let the topic dominate Fox News and leach into the rest of the press. Better to have cut their losses earlier, aides concluded in retrospect. Then on Christmas Day with the case of the "underpants bomber" and again in May with the BP oil spill, Obama was legitimately criticized for not moving quickly enough to reassure the country and get on top of the story.

So now we come to the week of July 19, which was supposed to be all about the signing Wednesday of the financial-regulation bill, the largest piece of legislation regulating markets in 75 years. A secondary theme for the White House was the difference between the parties on extending unemployment benefits. In other words, real issues that affect real people, not cable flaps of little or no lasting consequence. So the White House had hoped to cut its losses on the Sherrod story.

"No distractions" has been Obama's mantra from the beginning. For most of 2009 and early 2010, this meant nothing was to distract from health care. It's not that Obama doesn't think race issues are significant—he has no trouble identifying himself as a proud African-American president—but he gets very irritated at having a racial conversation forced on him, especially by right-wingers. He wants to decide for himself when and where to discuss sensitive issues. But that's where Obama the control freak runs up against the realities of Washington. He can't always control the timing of public discussion, and when his administration neglects basic staff research (not to mention basic fairness to Sherrod), he looks lame. The policy of "no distractions" led to a big distraction—and another example of how the supposedly slick Chicago political operators are often all thumbs.
The news has been dominated by the Obama Administration's faux pas that accepted this negative false information as fact and did not sufficiently check for truth. That aspect should be highlighted but it should not be the only story told.

Now, there's a story! Rachel Maddox explains.


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What do Politicians Know?

Just received this story from a friend.
A Congressman was seated next to a little girl on an airplane so he turned to her and said, "Do you want to talk? Flights go quicker if you strike up a conversation with your fellow passenger."

The little girl, who had just started to read her book, replied to the total stranger, "What would you want to talk about?"

"Oh, I don't know," said the congressman. "How about global warming, universal health care, or stimulus packages?" as he smiled smugly.

"OK," she said. "Those could be interesting topics but let me ask you a question first. A horse, a cow, and a deer all eat the same stuff - grass. Yet a deer excretes little pellets, while a cow turns out a flat patty, but a horse produces clumps. Why do you suppose that is?"

The legislator, visibly surprised by the little girl's intelligence, thinks about it and says, "Hmmm, I have no idea."

To which the little girl replies, "Do you really feel qualified to discuss global warming, universal health care, or the economy, when you don't know shit?" and, then she went back to reading her book.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Protecting American Consumers

There is a battle brewing over who President Obama will choose to fill the position of Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection. This bureau was created by the Wall Street reform legislation that passed recently in Congress.

David Corn points out that there is controversy over who will become the head of this agency.
No sooner had President Obama and his congressional Democrats achieved victory in passing Wall Street reform legislation last week when an internal catfight broke out over who would lead the new Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection created by the bill. The Wall Street reform package is a mixed bag. Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich calls it "a mountain of legislative paper, a molehill of reform." Progressives, though, have generally cheered the new consumer protection board, which will possess the independent authority to pursue and punish abusive lenders, including credit card companies and mortgage firms. But how this outfit operates will partly depend on who runs it. And that's the fight at hand.
An obvious choice.
The obvious candidate for this new financial sheriff position is Warren, the Harvard law professor who first proposed such an agency in 2007 -- before the Wall Street meltdown. As head of a congressional panel overseeing the TARP bank bailout, she's been an outspoken and plain-speaking foe of Wall Street and the big banks. She has denounced shifty credit card companies and shady mortgage lenders. She deserves this position. And progressives love Warren. But Geithner may not. Last week, the Huffington Post, citing one "source with knowledge of Geithner's view," reported that Geithner was opposing Warren for this position.
Geithner's statement.
That story created a firestorm within the world of people who care about such things. The Treasury Department quickly put out a statement: "Given her strong leadership on consumer protection, Secretary Geithner believes that Elizabeth Warren is exceptionally well qualified to lead the new bureau, and, ultimately, that's a decision the president will have to make." But this was only an endorsement of her qualifications. You didn't have to hold inside information to know that Geithner prefers another contender for the post: Michael Barr, an assistant secretary of the Treasury, who was one of the architects of the Wall Street reform measure. Barr fought against GOP efforts to weaken the consumer agency and could well be a strong head of the bureau, but he does lack the prominence and communications skills of Warren, who has already proved herself a media-savvy consumer champion.
Warren, a thorn in Geithner's side.
That Geithner would not be hot on Warren is no surprise. As head of the bailout oversight panel, Warren has fiercely called out Geithner and Treasury on a number of fronts: for providing a backdoor bailout to AIG, for botching homeowner relief programs, for failing to get mega-banks to resume lending. Moreover, she's an articulate and thoughtful populist, who applies a Main Street-first perspective toward financial matters and who has been a scourge of credit card companies and banks. Geithner is a member of the Big Finance establishment; he's no crusader. Whether or not he's actively lobbying the White House against Warren, he obviously would be far more keen on Barr, his department colleague. There's also a third candidate: Gene Kimmelman, a Justice Department official who's worked for numerous consumer organizations. (He'd be a good pick, too.)
Progressives are worried.
This whole dust-up has progressives worried. (MoveOn, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, and the Project on Government Oversight have each called on the White House to nominate Warren.) On Friday, White House senior adviser David Axelrod told reporters, "Elizabeth Warren is a great, great champion for consumers. She's obviously a candidate to lead this effort." But he didn't refer to her as a leading candidate, and he made it clear there were other well-positioned contenders. And while the Treasury Department was officially praising her qualifications last week, a Geithner aide, speaking on background, said that Treasury has "some concerns about a nomination fight," should Warren be appointed.
Arguments for and against Warren.
That might be Geithner's best argument against Warren: The banks and many Senate Republicans do not like her and a Warren nomination could turn into a battle royal, akin to a contentious Supreme Court fight. But this is also an argument for Warren.

Presently, Obama's economic policies are made and sold by people like Geithner and Lawrence Summers, Obama's chief economic adviser. How many Americans really believe these guys are looking out for them? The president's economic team is short on non-Wall Streeters who can connect with folks at home. Placing Warren in a high-profile position would show that Obama recognizes that protecting American consumers is as important as bailing out big banks and auto companies. He would be adding a vital and clear voice to his administration. And in an election season -- when Obama cannot do much to create 8 million jobs to make up for the ones lost before and after he became president -- waging a fight against the banks and GOPers on behalf of a passionate consumer advocate would have political benefits.
Obama vs Progressives
Though Treasury has tried to downplay the Warren drama, this is an important moment for Obama. Progressive reformers are already defining a potential rejection of Warren as a White House betrayal. Simon Johnson, the former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, writes,
This can now go only one of two ways.

1. Elizabeth Warren gets the job. Bridges are mended and the White House regains some political capital. Secretary Geithner is weakened slightly but he'll recover.

2. Someone else gets the job, despite Treasury's claims that Elizabeth Warren was not blocked. The deception in this scenario would be nauseating -- and completely blatant. "Everyone was considered on their merits" and "the best candidate won" will convince who exactly?
He adds, "Failing to appoint Elizabeth Warren would be the straw that breaks the camel's back. It will go down in the history books as a turning point -- downwards -- for this administration."

If Obama dumps Warren, the White House will justifiably enrage reformers and progressives -- that is, part of its base. If Obama nominates Warren, the White House will have a major fight with banks and GOPers. "That may be a fight worth having," a Treasury Department official says, "but that's up to the White House to decide." It's a mighty big decision.
Public Citizen believes that Warren is the correct choice.
A real reformer will have the power to crack down on predatory mortgage loans, hidden bank fees, college loan traps and much more. Under a lesser leader, the new agency will quickly degenerate into just another part of the Washington bureaucracy.

There's no doubt who would be the most effective leader of the new bureau: Harvard law Professor Elizabeth Warren.
If you think President Obama should appoint Warren to lead the new consumer bureau...

Monday, July 19, 2010

Political Fun

Here is a picture of Condoleezza Rice while she held the position of Secretary of State.

War iz hell, honey...thoughtcha knew.

Here is a picture of Hillary Clinton before she took on the position of Secretary of State.

Photo of Hillary Rodham Clinton

Here is a recent picture of Hillary in her role of Secretary of State.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton participates in a  discussion with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi at the  State Department on March 24, 2010 in Washington, DC. Secretary Clinton  hosted a forum that focused on U.S.- Pakistan strategic dialogue.  Pakistan is seeking U.S. involvement in dealing with a peaceful  resolution in conflicts with Kashmir.

During Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's visit to Latin American countries in March of 2010, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez called her the "blond" version of her predecessor Condoleezza Rice.

He might be talking politics. But the similarities seem to have crossed-over into their hair styles.

'Refudiate?' You Betchya!

The former Alaska Governor is back in the news again. The Thrilla from Wasilla posted a series of tweets on the subject of a mosque at ground zero.

Her first two posts were removed. She pulled down one of them after concocting the word "refudiate" and then the other after she used the word "refute" incorrectly.

Ground Zero Mosque supporters: doesn't it stab you in the heart, as it does ours throughout the heartland? Peaceful Muslims, pls refudiate via Twitter for BlackBerry®

Peaceful New Yorkers, pls refute the Ground Zero mosque plan if you believe catastrophic pain caused @ Twin Towers site is too raw, too real via Twitter for BlackBerry®
Peace-seeking Muslims, pls understand, Ground Zero mosque is UNNECESSARY provocation; it stabs hearts. Pls reject it in interest of healing via Twitter for BlackBerry®
In an attempt at humor, she finally compared herself to Shakespeare!
'Refudiate,' 'misunderestimate,' 'wee-wee'd up.' English is a living language. Shakespeare liked to coin new words too. Got to celebrate it!'

But really the humorous aspect of this story is that Palin has used her word 'refudiate' before to try to "repudiate" racism in the Tea Party movement..


Andy Borowitz had the best and most humorous quote about Sarah Palin:
"Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin today defended her use of the non-word “refudiate,” telling her critics, “Look it up in the fictionary.”

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Lies, the Deceit, the Torture of Bush/Cheney

Judge Andrew Napolitano, Fox News' senior judicial analyst stated in an interview with Ralph Nadar on C-SPAN's Book TV that President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney should have been indicted for "torturing, for spying, for arresting without warrant."


Nader: What about the more serious violations of habeas corpus. You know after 9-11 Bush rounded up thousands of them, Americans, many of them Muslim Americans or Arabic Americans and they were thrown in jail without charges, they didn't have lawyers, some of them were pretty mistreated in New York City. You know they were all released eventually.

Napolitano: Correct.

Nader: Is that what you mean also about throwing people in jail without charges violating habeas corpus?

Napolitano: Well that is so obviously a violation of the natural law, the natural right to be brought before a neutral arbiter within moments of the government taking your freedom away from you. And the Constitution itself, as the Supreme Court in the Boumediene case pretty much said, wherever the government goes, the Constitution goes with it and wherever the Constitution goes are the rights of the Constitution as a guarantee and habeas corpus cannot be suspended by the president ever. It can only be suspended by the Congress in times of rebellion which in read Milligan says meaning rebellion of such magnitude that judges can't get into their court houses. That has not happened in American history.

So what President Bush did with the suspension of habeas corpus, with the whole concept of Guantanamo Bay, with the whole idea that he could avoid and evade federal laws, treaties, federal judges and the Constitution was blatantly unconstitutional and is some cases criminal.

Nader: What's the sanction for President Bush and Vice President Cheney?

Napolitano: There's been no sanction except what history will say about them.

Nader: What should be the sanctions?

Napolitano: They should have been indicted. They absolutely should have been indicted for torturing, for spying, for arresting without warrants. I'd like to say they should be indicted for lying but believe it or not, unless you're under oath, lying is not a crime. At least not an indictable crime. It's a moral crime.

Nader: So you think George W. Bush and Dick Cheney should even though they've left office, they haven't escaped the criminal laws, they should be indicted and prosecuted?

Napolitano: The evidence in this book and in others, our colleague the great Vincent Bugliosi has amassed an incredible amount of evidence. The purpose of this book was not to amass that evidence but I do discuss it, is overwhelming when you compare it to the level of evidence required for a normal indictment that George W. Bush as President and Dick Cheney as Vice President participated in criminal conspiracies to violate the federal law and the guaranteed civil liberties of hundreds, maybe thousands of human beings.

For the complete and fascinating hour long interview click HERE.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Nutty, Crazy or Just Off-The-Wall?

The GOP has opened its arms to the Tea Party and other fringe groups. By doing so, the GOP is accepting and adopting far-right policies. Some of these policies, as The New Republic has pointed out, are just plain CRAZY!!!!

Is "one-world government," whereby the United States would cede all sovereignty to a manipulative international force, a real threat to the country? Republican leaders in many states seem to think so: The platforms they've written this year explicitly ban it.

This is just one example of the kind of language that's working its way into state Republican platforms this election cycle, perhaps thanks to the growing influence of Tea Party conservatives. TNR searched for some of the most outrageous planks out there. Here is what we found:


The GOP wants the make it illegal "to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple and for any civil official to perform a marriage ceremony for such." Gay marriage is already banned in Texas—so, for people to break this proposed law, they'd have to be … already breaking the law?


Republicans want to abolish the seventeenth amendment, because having state legislatures appoint U.S. senators again would "[restore] the constitution’s checks and balances that protects the rights and sovereignty of the states." Apparently, states' rights trump those of individual voters.


Republicans want to get rid of the federal agriculture and energy departments, the federal and state education departments, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the International Revenue Service (IRS). The party also calls for "the reintroduction and ratification of the original 13th Amendment, not the 13th Amendment in today’s Constitution." The original amendment would have outlawed the taking of noble titles and foreign offices; the final amendment, of course, abolished slavery.


Republicans "oppose the concept of 'gun free zones' in any form or in any place except detention facilities." Schools need not apply.

Iowa (Again)

The GOP "oppose[s] any effort to implement Islamic Shariah law in this country." I have yet to see a bill in Congress—or the Iowa legislature—that would legalize caning or stoning. Also, percentage of Iowans who are Muslim: less than 0.5.

Texas (Again)

"We support eliminating bureaucratic prohibitions on corporal discipline … in foster homes to help alleviate the shortage of foster parents." So the GOP thinks there are Texans who would take in foster children if they were allowed to hit them. And the party supports them.


The GOP wants to "[r]eject the UN Treaty on Rights of the Child." The only countries in the world that haven't approved the treaty are the United States and Somalia.

The Tea Party and the GOP has come out screaming that the government is too controlling. Have they looked in the mirror lately?

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Mission in Afghanistan

As General David Petraeus takes over the command of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, he sets forth the mission in a letter to the troops.

“We must also continue our emphasis on reducing the loss of innocent civilian life to an absolute minimum. We must never forget that the decisive terrain in Afghanistan is the human terrain.

Protecting those we are here to help nonetheless does require killing, capturing, or turning the insurgents. We will not shrink from that; indeed, you have been taking the fight to the enemy and we will continue to do so. Beyond that, as you and our Afghan partners on the ground get into tough situations, we must employ all assets to ensure your safety, keeping in mind, again, the importance of avoiding civilian casualties.

His words state that, "We'll kill insurgents and protect Afghans too." Is he also saying that by doing this we will be, "Destroying Afghanistan in order to save it?"

Glenn Beck's Viral Rants

If you or someone you know exhibits these symptoms....

Expose the Lies!!!!

Conservative Media Nuttiness

Media Matters for America has put together a road guide to the insane comments that conservative media has proffered in creating fear and loathing against the president of the U.S.A., Barack Obama. In the article, "Summer of rage": Obama Derangement Syndrome grips conservative media once again, the following categories are delineated and attributed to Obama: anti-government speech, civil war, undermining and destroying U.S., mental state, collusion with Russians, prolonging crisis in Gulf, controlling everything, one world government and running a "thugocracy."

In recent weeks, conservative media have been consumed by "Obama Derangement Syndrome," accusing President Obama of being insane, of colluding with Russian spies, of trying to create a civil war and implement one world government, among other things, while also claiming that his administration is trying to control everything under the sun, including the Internet and, inexplicably, your toilet.

Conservative media ratchet up anti-government speech

On the June 10 edition of his Fox News show, Glenn Beck turned to his blackboard, on which he had outlined his theory that "the politicians [had] joined with the revolutionaries so they could gain power," and said that now is the "time to break apart" that conspiracy. He then warned his viewers that the "summer of rage is about to begin." Other conservative media figures, including Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, Jay Severin, and Pam Geller, have similarly elevated their anti-government rhetoric to new heights, not only spewing baseless facts and utter falsehoods, but alluding to violent revolution and civil war, all to attack and undermine the Obama administration and progressives.

Media Matters previously documented the violent, doomsday, and anti-intellectual rhetoric that had arisen in the conservative media just a few months after Obama was sworn in as president, in which conservative media figures appealed overtly, just as today, to feelings of anger and paranoia in their audience. At the time, David Horowitz dubbed this particular "hysteria" the "Obama Derangement Syndrome."

Conservative media: Obama is "trying to create a civil war"

Conservative media figures have been warning of the coming "rivers of blood" and that Obama is pushing America toward civil war.

Geller: Obama "is itching for a civil war. And at the rate he is going, he is going to get one"

Beck still beating war drums: "I think we're headed for a civil war"

Beck suggests Obama is "trying to destroy the country" and is pushing America toward civil war

Limbaugh on LA's Arizona boycott: "This is the kind of stuff that starts civil wars folks; this is not coincidental"

Savage: "I almost feel as though Obama's trying to create a civil war in America for his own reasons"

"You need to riot": Right-wing uses violent rhetoric

Conservative media: Obama is undermining U.S., wants to cut it "down to size" and destroy it

Conservative media figures have accused Obama of trying to destabilize and destroy the United States, as well as its economy and social systems.

Limbaugh distorts Obama's remarks to accuse him of wanting to cut U.S. "down to size"

Limbaugh: Obama "thinks the problem with this country has been too much liberty"

Pushing falsehoods about oil spill, Quinn declares: "Barack Obama was sent here to destroy America"

Quinn: "Yes," Obama is "trying to destroy the country"

Limbaugh: Freedom evaporating "right in front of our eyes," Obama "loves punishing this country"

Savage sub Kuhner: Obama "is a dictator," wants to "destroy corporate America and create a green socialist utopia"

Conservative media discuss Obama's mental state

Much like conservative media figures did months ago when they discussed Obama's mental state, alleging that "something is not right" and that Obama has "deep psychological problems" and "deep-seated inferiority feelings," they have once again turned to psychoanalyzing Obama.

War Room fill-in Glen Meakem cites Krauthammer to say Obama is "a clinically diagnosable narcissist"

Savage compares Obama to allegedly insane King Ludwig II of Bavaria

Conservative media: Obama may be a Russian spy, in collusion with Russians

Since the FBI arrested 11 people it suspects of being Russian undercover spies, conservative media have speculated that Obama is "one of them" and have asked why the Russians "have to spy on us" considering "Obama will tell them anything they want to know." Limbaugh has also said Obama "wants to expand" the rights of Russian spies.

Severin: "If it comes out that Barack Obama is" a Russian spy, "I will have been right"

Limbaugh: "Why do they [Russians] have to spy on us? Obama will tell them anything they want to know"

Limbaugh: Obama "wants to create an illegal alien bill of rights," "always wants to expand" rights of terrorists, spies

Conservative media: Obama wants the disaster in the Gulf to push through agenda

Conservative media figures have pushed falsehoods and wild allegations in claiming that Obama is intentionally prolonging the crisis in the Gulf, in order to, among other things, push his cap and trade agenda and "shut down" offshore drilling.

Savage on his "wild allegations": "Haven't you watched enough movies to understand how this works?"

Levin repeats Jones Act & foreign aid myths, says Obama would better respond to disaster in blue states

Beck conspiracy theory: Obama waited 71 days to accept intl. help with oil spill in order to pass cap and trade

Beck: "It's almost like we're intentionally making things much, much worse" in the Gulf of Mexico

Savage's "logical" analysis calls for investigating Obama to determine whether he "purposely did not help Louisiana"

Bolling wonders if Obama "let" oil rig leak so he "could renege on his promise" to "allow some offshore drilling"

Michael Brown on Fox News: Obama wanted oil spill so he could "shut down" offshore drilling

"Sabotage!" Right-wing media respond to oil spill by dreaming up conspiracy theories

Conservative media: Obama administration vying to control everything including Internet, "your toilet"

Conservative media have been saying that the federal government is in the process of taking over everything -- from companies, to the Internet, to "your toilet," and that it is trying to control not only the people but the information in an endless "power grab."

Levin's bizzare rant: The "iron fist" of government "is in your toilet, it's in your light socket"

Beck suggests "internet kill switch" is communist because Chinese government has similar authority

Levin says government "would take us off the air in a second" -- "They're picking us off one industry at a time"

Beck falsely claims financial reform bill would let government shut down Fox News

Fox's Payne calls financial reform bill a "giant power grab"

Severin repeats falsehood that financial reform bill lets government "take over any business" that might hurt economy

Fox's Napolitano on conspiracy show: Government wants the same "power over the internet that the Chinese" have

Beck fears gov't "will need to control the people" because they'll be "hungry," "frightened, and there will be civil unrest"

Beck falsely claims government will take control of Internet, tells listeners to "buy a short-wave radio"

Limbaugh claims Obama, Kagan, and Sunstein want "forced neutrality" to make sure you're reading their "garbage"

Sunstein Internet control falsehood migrates to Fox

Beck: "Stuff is being scrubbed" from the Internet "overnight"

Beck says the FCC is "marching forward" with net neutrality plans, suggests it's putting a "boot on your throat"

Beck on net neutrality: "This will control every aspect of the Internet ... We are losing our country"

Beck scares about net neutrality, says "please share that with your friends" "while you have access to the Internet"

Beck renews witch hunt: Sunstein has "more power than the Fed," "will control your every move"

Conservative media: Obama is working toward one world government

Conservative media figures have been fomenting fear that Obama is pushing the United States toward a "new world order" and trying to institute a "global government" and a "single [world] currency."

Limbaugh: Obama is "all for a single [world] currency"

Drudge links Greek debt story with "New World Order"

Without offering any evidence, Beck claims Clinton Global Initiative is about "global government"

Encouraging viewers to use their "imagination," Beck links health care, "overspending," and "global government"

Beck: "A new world order" and "global government" is "being cobbled together today"

Black helicopter alert! Conservative media suggest Obama supporting one-world government

Conservative media: Obama is a thug running a "thugocracy"

Conservative media figures have falsely claimed Obama's proposal for a BP escrow account amounts to "seizing private assets" and letting the administration "run the money" and have accused Obama of being a "thug" running a "thugocracy."

Conservative media defend BP against "shakedowns," "show trials," and environmentalists at least 62 times

Limbaugh: The way Obama is dealing with BP is "far more than thugocracy," it's "straight out of Communist Manifesto"

Stossel Repeats 'Shakedown' Claim Against Obama, Calls Him 'Thuggish'

Limbaugh: Hugo Chavez "is a thug, but unlike Mr. Obama, he's a patriotic thug"

Savage: If the country survives Obama, historians will say his was "the most terroristic regime in the history" of the U.S.

Fox lobs falsehoods to attack BP escrow account as "Chavez-like"

Limbaugh: Obama administration is "going after Toyota" through "thug politics"

Stossel says escrow fund is a "thuggish Chicago shakedown," refers to "Vladimir Obama"

Limbaugh: "If I didn't know better, I would say that Hugo Chavez is actually running this country"

It is a shame that mainstream journalism doesn't call out these wild allegations as nothing more than fear mongering and lies.