Saturday, May 06, 2006

There's something rotten in Langley:

Dose anyone else feel the rumblings of another big scandal coming down the rails? The cashiering of Mary McCarthy, the CIA employee who is accused of leaking the CIA secret prisons story, is starting to make more sense now. When you consider that she worked in the Inspector General's office, the office that would be expected to investigate one of Goss' buddies Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, the #3 person at the agency, who apparently attended "occasional card games" organized by Brent Wilkes, a coconspirator in the Randy "Duke" Cunningham bribery scandal, you begin to see a pattern develop. Wilkes is being investigated by the FBI for providing Cunningham with prostitutes, hotel rooms and limos.

About those limos: The WaPo reports tha the Limo company, Shirlington Limousine and Transportation Inc, got "two transportation contracts from the Department of Homeland Security in 2004 and 2005 worth $25 million." They weren't the lowest bidder, they lied about being located in a poor neighborhood to qualify for a contract from the SBA, they "lost a contract for shuttle bus service with Howard University in 2002 amid charges of poor service and the owner" and the owner Christopher Baker, besides havning numerous "misdemeanors and two felony convictions," is deeply connected to Wilkes.

There isn't any chance that "Dusty" Foggo perhaps did more than play a little poker, is there? He was in charge of procurment and contracting, according to Talking Points Memo, and Brent Wilkes was a military contractor who specialized in 'black' intelligence equipment. Whatever he might have been up to, the CIA's inspector General's Office would be the ones to find out. Now, who worked at the IG's office again? Oh right, Mary McCarthy. Odd bit of timing there, her firing, I'm sure it’s all purely coincidental though.

CIA gets degossed:

As Lou Reed might say, things are going from bad to weird. In a bizarre twist yesterday the president hauled CIA director Porter Goss into the Oval Office and publicly fired him. Fittingly, the press found out about this latest high profile personnel change an hour before it was to happen at Scott McClellan's last press briefing. Typically McClellan "forgot" to mention it until the last minute as he was about to walk out.

The official story is that Goss "resigned," but even that was strange because there was no reason given as to why was felt he had to leave. (You mean he wasn't even interested in spending more time with his family?) Bush wasn't exactly falling over himself to offer praise for Goss saying only that he "led ably." In explaining how Goss had led ably W. said he had done a good job working on his "five-year plan." That's great, but he quit 2 years into it, I don't get it. (good enough for government work.)

Here's yet another example of W. and Cheney screwing things up. When they announced that Goss was going to be to new CIA director a lot of people were wondering what the hell they were thinking about. But this was never about appointing a competent official to run the country's premier spy agency; it was about pay-back; getting an ideological fellow traveler in there who would clean house. It was obvious from the start that the Cheney/Rummy cabal was out to get those people at the CIA who had been "disloyal" during the run up to the Iraq war. See in this administration, every governmental function is subordinate to the political whims of the cabal. Those with insufficient ideological ardor are eliminated.

In all the papers today you'll see the CIA described as having been "reeling" from the intelligence failures of 9/11 and the pre-Iraq war WMD claims before Goss came in. I'm not a big defender of the CIA, but I think the rank and file, at least, kind of got a raw deal. The CIA did give W. and Condi ample warnings about 9/11, they just chose to ignore them. And the agency did supply numerous caveats about Iraq's WMD: That's why Cheney had to go swooping into Langley on a regular basis to threaten everyone to get on board. Hell there was so much resistance to the crap that was being peddled that Rummy had to set up his own intelligence shop in the pentagon to make an end-round the CIA's naysaying. [Otherwise known as the Lie Factory]

There apparently were quite a few folks at the agency who did try to get the word out that the Iraq Intel being pushed by the administration was bogus; anyone reading Dana Priest or Walter Pincus ---the CIA conduits --- in the WaPo could have seen there was a lot of push back coming from the CIA during the later part of 2002. Their reward for doing their duty for the American people was having Goss go in there and fire or demote anyone suspected of being behind the "leaks" that were embarrassing the administration.

Its two years later and there's a whole bunch of experience that's walked out the door and the atmosphere inside the agency is said to be "mutinous." I don't see how anyone at the agency is going to be expected to be able to give their honest opinions about Iran's nukes or anything else if they constantly fear for their jobs. I guess, that's the point though.

This is just another disastrous episode in the annals of the Bush administration's criminal mismanagement of the government. Let's hope it doesn't come back to bite us in the form of another al-Qaeda attack or another trumped up war.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Workers unite:

The NYT reported yesterday that there is some unease in the African-American community about the current Latino immigrant movement and its call for civil rights. Some blacks bristle at the suggestion that the civil rights struggle and the immigrant rights demonstrations are similar. Blacks, after all, were unwilling immigrants forced to come here to become slaves. Mexicans on the other hand come here willingly and it is feared that they are in the process taking jobs away from lower income blacks and forcing wages down.

Rachel Swarns writes also that, "some fear the unfinished business of the civil rights movement will fall to the wayside as American turns its attention to a newly energized Hispanic minority with growing political and economic clout."

I would say Jesse Jackson probably has a better take on this when he says, "We too were denied citizenship. We too were undocumented workers working without wages, without benefits, without the vote. We should feel honored that other people are using tactics and strategies from our struggle. We shouldn't say they're stealing from us. They're learning from us."

What those who fear the Latins must keep in mind is that the powers-that-be don't want black Americans siding with the Latinos. Imagine a solid bloc of blacks and Latinos marching together demanding higher wages for all, not just for legal workers. (Marching with the Minutemen won't get you there.) If employers were forced to pay workers a decent wage regardless of their legal status that would pretty much eliminate the race to the bottom.

Throughout history, big corporations and southern landlords have pitted poor blacks against poor whites in order to control both. Blacks were used as strike breakers, which assured that their white unionized counterparts, hated them and would never join up with them to fight the common enemy. In the 30's the New Deal through the AAA tried to bring fair compensation to black and white share croppers alike in the south, but were stymied by the intransigence of the southern cotton barons and their influence with southern congressmen in the Democratic party. FDR needed southern lawmakers to get his New Deal legislation passed and he couldn't afford to jeopardize the greater good, so he had to make a trade off.

Regardless of the odds stacked against them, though, dirt poor white and black share croppers joined together to form a union. In July of 1935, in a schoolhouse in Tyronza Arkansas, the croppers met to form the Southern Tenet Farmers Union. Ultimately, the landlords and the local sheriffs prevailed and broke up the union but their efforts were historic and heroic.

An elderly black share cropper explained the facts to his white brethren:

"The same chain that holds my people holds your people too. If we're chained together outside we ought to stay chained together in the union. The landlord is always betwixt us, beatin' us and starvin' us and making us fight each other. There ain't but one way for us to get him where he can't help himself and that's for us to get together and stay together."

The same goes for low wage blacks, whites and Latinos today. It may be a tired old cliché, but there is safety and power in numbers.

Another historical fact that people should keep in mind is the preemptive war that president Polk started in 1846 against Mexico, which was waged in part to get more land for the southern slave interests and to increase their political and economic influence versus the richer north. The war cost the U.S. $27 million and 27,000 dead over two years and ended when the Marines marched into the Halls of Montezuma and forced the Mexicans to give up half their territory for $15 million. Presently, California is such a rich state that it would be the fourth or fifth richest country if it was on its own. Imagine if Mexico still had it and most of the south west. Probably, we wouldn't be too worried about illegal immigration from Mexico.

Ulysses S. Grant wrote "To this day regard the war which resulted as one of the most unjust ever waged by a stronger against a weaker nation. The Southern rebellion was largely the outgrowth of the Mexican war. Nations like individuals, are punished for their transgressions," and we still are. Viewed in this light we shouldn't be so high and mighty our great moral superiority.

[Note: While we're not forgetting the Alamo, let's not forget the Tejanos.}

Writer's note:

Be sure to check out Let's Talk About Democracy, which is my foreign policy blog. A while ago I decided to separate my domestic politics from my foreign policy musings, as a lot of blog readers these days are so particular about the subjects they're into. Some of my readers, mainly from overseas, prefer LTAD to my political ramblings here and I found that many readers of the lefty blogs didn't give a rat's ass about foreign policy. It was all tending to get mixed up over at LTAD and no one was happy.

So, if you're interested in taking a walk on the wild side, go over to LTAD and see what I have to say about things other than the lefty issues of the this moment's news cycle.

Brett Kavanaugh: Bad news.

Arlen Specter is at it again. This guy is amazing! Is he the only actually doing any work up there on the Hill? This time around, the Inquirer reports, he has "granted Democrats a hearing to question White House aide and judicial nominee Brett Kavanaugh on his role in the administration's secret wiretapping program, its torture policy, and any relationship with convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff." Wow, that's quite an impressive resume this guy has. It gets better: People for the American Way says that he coauthored the Starr report, too.

People For the American Way President Ralph G. Neas. says that:

"A lifetime appointment to a powerful federal appellate court should not be a reward for a highly partisan political warrior. This nomination is more evidence that the White House views the nomination process as a political weapon rather than a means to getting excellent mainstream judges on the appeals courts. President Bush is committed to political confrontation rather than bipartisan consultation and compromise."

Specter is trying to avoid a nasty showdown and a possible filibuster. "I don't want to place the Senate in the position where we were in a year ago at this time," Specter said. Rahter than just reschedule this nomination to the second highest court in the country, he should dump it.

Is it my imagination or is W. trying to pack the courts with people who believe the executive is the ultimate power in the government? It seems like he's attempting to co-opt the courts to make sure they always rule in his favor.

This must just be my liberal paranoia right?

Thursday, May 04, 2006

When will Congress wake up?

Arlen Specter is a busy man these days. The Boston Globe reports that he'll be holding hearings in June to look into the president's nasty habit of using "signing statements" to nullify laws passed by Congress that he doesn't like. Angus Reid Consultants says of these signing statements, "While the constitution of the United States clearly intends for the president to be an important actor in the legislative process, it is a matter of some discourse whether it permits such unchecked presidential caveats on legislation...The power to nullify selective clauses in legislation, known as a line-item veto, is not constitutionally available to the president." It is to this one, apparently.

The Globe reported on Sunday that W. has bypassed 750 statutes with signing statements, thereby effectively saying he doesn't feel like he has to obey them. These include John McCain's torture law that said we don't torture (W. begs to differ) and the Patriot Act.

"There is some need for some oversight by Congress to assert its authority here. What's the point of having a statute if . . . the president can cherry-pick what he likes and what he doesn't like?" Specter asks.

See the problem here is that Congress is the legislative branch and their constitutional role is to make the laws that the executive then executes. If the executive decides he doesn't need Congress anymore, that he can just legislate by executive order; which pretty much does away with our entire system of governemnt.

Russ Feingold asked FBI director Robert Mueller yesterday at a Judiciary Committee hearing, "How can we know whether the government will comply with the new laws that we passed?...How can we have any assurance that you or your agents have not received a secret directive from above requiring you to violate laws that we all think apply today?" Good question.

Mueller replied not very reassuringly, "I can assure with you with regard to the FBI that our actions would be taken according to appropriate legal authorities." But in this case, the president says he's the legal authority as the "unitary leader" and commander-in-chief.

Specter warns that,"We're undergoing a tsunami here with the flood coming from the executive branch on one side and the judicial branch on the other. There may as well soon not be a Congress. . . . And I think that most members don't understand what's happening."

Moussaoui goes bye-bye.

As many of you who come here on a regular basis might know, I never thought that Zacharias Moussaoui should have been given the death penalty. It appears that his jurors (and, at least, thirteen 9/11 family members), felt the same way. Despite all the emotionally wrenching testimony presented by the prosecution, yesterday the jury delivered a verdict of life in prison without the chance of parole. I congratulate the jury for doing their civic duty and making sure justice was done.

I know it couldn't have been easy. Moussaoui is a major jackass, but the more he blathered on the more they must have gotten the idea that he really was small potatos. The WaPo reports that today, U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema "formally sentenced al-Qaeda conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui to life in prison without parole for his part in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist plot." Moussaoui in characteristic fashion yelled, "God curse America! And God save Osama bin Laden. You will never get him." Judge Brinkema told him he would "die with a whimper" never to be heard again and then he was whisked away into obvilion.

To me it was clear that Moussaoui was just a pathetic figure who had nothing to do with 9/11. The government was obviously unable to get at the actual perpetrators of the attacks so they spent a lot of time and money to make Moussaoui the fall guy. I'm glad that the jury was able to see through this rouse and make the correct call.

The question now is when if ever is the government going to do anything about the people who were really behind 9/11? OBL is still wandering around free in Afghanistan making audio tapes and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the master mind of the attacks, is in U.S. custody but will never be tried because any evidence the government might have against him was tortured out of him.

It looks like the families of those killed on 9/11 might never get the justice they deserve and the main reason is; for all its bluster about the "war on terror," the government has chosen to spend all its time and resources going after countries that had nothing to do with 9/11 and arresting ice cream truck drivers.

Holding press conferences to list the lurid activities of hapless idiots who eventually get acquitted and aircraft carrier landings photo-ops don't get the job done. Hopefully some day, all the families of the 9/11 victims and the American people will be able to see through the multiple layers of American flags and bull horn BS and realize what this president has really done for them, which is exactly nothing.

Congress goes to town with your money.

After passing a resolution calling for the national anthem to be sung in English and declaring puppies to be cute, Congress is really getting down to doing the people's business, which to them is the same as feathering their own nests.

The WaPo reports:

"Senators keep stuffing new provisions into an emergency spending bill for Iraq and hurricane recovery, ignoring President Bush's veto threat to advance their priorities."

The Senate version of the funding bill now stands at $109 billion and could go higher. Beyond the $72 billion for Iraq and $27 billion for Katrina, there's: $4 billion to help farmers offset the higher cost of natural gas, $800 million for additional highway funding, and --- this is the best one--- $500 million for the Northrop Grumman ship yard in Pascagoula, Miss. to make up for the amount they lost in Katrina which their insurance company isn't going to pay for.

Some might ask why the tax payers should be picking up the tab for Northrop Grumman's insurance bill, but not Trent Lott. He explains this special gift to one of his more well-off constituents like this: "We are the co-equal branch of government. We do have a say in these issues. Sometimes we can help." He should have said 'most times we help ourselves.'

So the only time Congress feels it actually has a co-equal role to play in the government is when it comes to bellying up to the money troth. [Let the executive worry about civil liberties and making war] Lott was pulling the 'co-equal branch' card because W. is threatening to veto the bill if it's too expensive. W. said yesterday, "Congress is considering a piece of legislation that will test its commitment to spending restraint." That's rich! He's never used his veto once, he never saw a spening bill he didn't like, until now apparently. Congress knows what happened when the little boy cried wolf too often, so they're ladling on the pork, damning the torpedoes and charging full speed ahead.

Next stop, making W.'s tax breaks to the rich permanent. This is your government in action.

Arlen Specter, lone gunman on the Hill.

Arlen Specter is going to try again today to get his colleagues on the Senate Judiciary Committee to grow a pair and get to the bottom of Bush's domestic spying program. Specter, a Republican, is pretty much the only member of Congress that is concerned about the government running rough shod over our civil liberties. After four hearings, including a whole bunch of bull from AG Alberto 'waterboard' Gonzales, Specter has so far come up empty. The White House is refusing to cooperate and Specter's fellow Senators are afraid of their own shadows.

Is the president violating the law, who knows? This should be a pretty serious concern for all Americans but Specter says, "On the question of whether the president has done something wrong, candidly, we don't know, because we don't know what the program is." That's the crux of the issue, how can Congress exercise its oversight duties if the White House keeps stonewalling on what it has been up to? The administration claims its NSA spying program is too secret to even tell Congress about, but something tells me that the terrorists know they're being spied on. The only people who don't know whether or not their emails are being read and their conversations bugged are the American people.

Many may feel that they don't care if their emails are being read because they're doing nothing wrong, but how do you know you're not doing anything wrong? There are peace activist out there who are being bugged, are they terrorists? A lot of what the NSA is apparently doing is called data-mining. What happens if you just happened to write a word that they just happen to be looking for that day? What happens if they look into your personal information a little closer and find out other things about you that you might not necessarily want the government looking into? Whether or not you think you’re a red blooded patriot or not, there might be someone in a dark room somewhere in the bowels of the government who doesn't like tree huggers, knitting bees or Democrats or whatever. Who knows? This is the problem with having no one looking over the government’s shoulder to make sure they're obeying the law, something this administration has a real problem doing.

This is why Specter is currently working on legislation that would require a secret court to review the spying program. Another step he has threatened to take, but hasn't made good on yet, is to pull the funding for the program. This new legislation he introduced last week would enact a "prohibition on use of funds for domestic electronic surveillance for foreign intelligence purposes unless Congress is kept fully and currently informed."

Another arrow in Specter's quiver is the congressional subpoena. If he wanted to, he could drag in officials from the Justice Department and force them to testify as to what they're really doing. A better option might be to call in executives from AT&T, Yahoo, Google and others and get them to testify under oath about what the government has had them doing. W. & Co. could stonewall a subpoena but private citizens can't.

Trying to reason with the White House has proven to be a fruitless endeavor, just go ahead and yank the funding Mr. Senator, that's Congress' prerogative after all, isn't it? Specter says Congress is "inert," and he's absolutely correct, it's time for them wake up before they wind up being just an assembly of toothless rubber stamps. Whether he can roust any other members of the Senate out of their slumber is the big question. If Congress is content to continue to allow the executive to break what ever law it wants to and pick and choose which laws it will or will not obey, then they might has well just pack their bags and go home. Why bother to keep paying 535 people who aren't going to do their damn jobs?

Go to Hallwatch and send a fax to Senator Specter to show your suppot for his good work.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Star spangled idiots:

The WaPo reports today that:

"The State Department posts four Spanish versions of "The Star-Spangled Banner" on its Web site, and accounts from the 2000 election suggest that the song was at times performed in Spanish at Bush campaign events. Critics even turned up one reference to Bush himself singing the anthem in Spanish on the trail, but there was no confirmation."

Where's the outrage? Didn't Bush say last week that, "I think people who want to be a citizen of this country ought to learn English and they ought to learn to sing the national anthem in English." I guess, this is just like everything else with Bush: 'do as I say, but not as I do.'

Maybe, someone ought to send him a brick! The WaPo reports that, "Congressional leaders in Washington have gotten bricks in the mail from a group that advocates building a border fence." The backlash over the "day without an immigrant" marches on Monday have really got some folks 'pigbiting mad,' but if I were one of the march organizers I wouldn't be too concerned.

The people they're up against are paying some scheister at $11 to mail a brick to congress. Not only is that completly idiotic, but it will not change any minds in Congress. It will show, though, just how gullible and moronic the opposition to immigration reform really is. Besides Tom Tancrado's big mouth, is this the best they can do?

Next thing you know, someone will be charging $20 to send one of those novelty bombs with a fuse on the top to Congress to demand that Mecca be bombed.

Let's have our own Evo moment:

In the current ferment over skyrocketing gas prices and corporate profits headed moonward, maybe we should think about nationalizing our own oil companies, like Evo and Hugo have. Never mind windfall profit's taxes, let's cut out the golden parachutes and subsidies to research the fallacy of global warming and all the other complete wastes of money and put those massive profits into better roads, better schools, free health care and a reliable, renewable source of energy that will get us off oil.

Or barring that, let's get all the oil companies to reimburse the taxpayers for the billions upon billions that we pay to protect the world's sea lanes for their tankers; and how about they chip in for the war in Iraq, which was launched in part to provide the military with a great big aircraft carrier in the heart of the Middle East to protect Exxon/Mobil's financial assets. If we could force the energy industry to just pay for what we spend on protecting their asses around the world, that alone would wipe out our $ 3 trillion budget deficit. And if they won't pony up the funds, we'll turn their companies over to public control; their choice.

Seems like a good idea to me. The United States, after all, is one of only three countries in the entire world that doesn't own its own energy industry…some how the rest of the world manage to keep from spinning off it axis with its publicly owned power, water and energy companies. I don't know how they do it, but we ought to find out, because this system just isn't working for the majority of Americans.

When this government is supposedly so broke that is can't provide money for cheap heating oil for the poor during the winter, yet big bad Hugo Chavez can, you know there's something wrong. How is it that the poor in this country have to rely on a foreign leader to come to their rescue? The Republicans talked a good game about how Chavez was pulling a political stunt, but they just couldn't find their way to actually putting their money where their mouths were by keeping little old ladies and children warm this winter.

'If the Democrats would only let us drill in ANWAR, all our problems would be solved! How about a $100 rebate check?' Now that's leadership!

Annals of the Axis of Evo:

There he goes again: The WaPo reports that Bolivian president Evo Morales has nationalized the foreign owned oil and natural gas fields in his country. "The time has come, the awaited day, a historic day in which Bolivia retakes absolute control of our natural resources. The looting by foreign companies has ended," Chavez delared on TV.

Civilization should be crumbling any time now, right? No, actually the companies that own the oil and gas fields are still in control of their assets and now have 180 days to renegotiate a deal to keep doing business there. Spain, Brazil and the UK are the countries most affected by this seizure, and though Evo probably could have gone about this slightly less bombastically, there isn't any great move on by the foreign owners to leave.

Why would they, they'll still make their money; just not at the outrageous rates they had before. In the past they just sent in their economic hitmen to strong-arm previous, more pliant governments into giving the store away, but there's a new sheriff in town and he doesn't drop his gun and put his hands up in the air when bandits try to rob him.

This whole thing shouldn't come as any great surprise, as this was one of Evo's campaign promises. We might be confused by a politician actually making good on a campaign promise, but it some times happens in other countries, even ones run by populist demagogues in the thrall of Hugo Chavez.

Gosh, I guess, sovereign countries really do have the right to control their own resources and tell big corporation to take a hike. But, no, this must all be nationalist populism ---or populist nationalism ---dressed up as democracy, right? (Is Evo an indigino-fascist?)

Evo has been in power for only a thousand days and already the media is painting his government as an anti-democratic authoritarian one. A typical example of this is from yesterday's FT, which breathlessly reports:

"Yesterday's forced nationalization of the country's oil and gas fields has fuelled fears about Morales' attempts to centralize power through election of an assembly to rewrite Bolivia's constitution and his close ties to Hugo Chavez, Venezuela’s president...'The constituent assembly is not so much a forum to strike a "social pact" as a way for this administration to impose its hegemony,' says Carlos Toranzo, a political analyst in La Paz."

Sounds pretty bleak: Imagine a democratically elected leader trying to form a majority government! And it gets worse, not only is he telling the foreign companies that they'll have to pay a fair price for the county's resources, but he's trying to rewrite the constitution; the constitution those very same foreign corporations had a hand in writing, which up until now have provided them with Bolivian oil and gas at rock bottom prices. And now, all of a sudden, the non-indigenous elite who have been running the country for all these centuries want a "social pact." When they were in power clinking their Champaign glasses with BP --- while the majority of the people were dinning on mounds of garbage ---they were surprisingly quiet on the subject of social pacts. Odd, isn't it?

So, let me get this straight: the problem the right is having with Morales is that he won the election with 54 percent of the vote, he's trying to get a majority in the congress to run things his way and he's launched a "systematic campaign to discredit the judicial branch" which is attacking "democratic institutions and damag (ing) the fundamental principles of the rule of law."

Sounds kind of like what's going on here, doesn't it? [except for the winning the election part] W. came into power, he rules through a gerrymandered GOP majority and now these forces of doom are working on wiping out the few activist judges still out there; a campaign, by the way, that even Sandra Day O'Conner says could lead to the destruction of the judiciary and a dictatorship.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Abramoff logs and the right wingers who got them.

The WaPo reports that the Secret Service has agreed to turn over the White House visiter logs that will show when Jack Abramoff was there. The records are being released because of a Judicial Watch FOIA law suit.

Scotty McClellan says, though, before anyone gets too excited, "I don't know exactly what they'll be providing, but they only have certain records and so I just wouldn't view it as a complete historical record."

Another WaPo article reports that:

"McClellan has said that Abramoff attended Hanukkah receptions at the White House in 2001 and 2002, and some additional staff-level meetings. 'But I said I couldn't rule out that there might be other large events that may have taken place that he attended, but that's what I know and that still stands,' McClellan said."

Are they already preparing for more damaging revelations, before we've even seen the initial logs? It's kind of an odd thing for McClellan to be saying.

Of course, we all know that W. said of Abramoff, "I don't know him." Abramoff, however, said W. did know him and that he can't have forgotten about him because he's got one of the best memories in town. Abramoff said, "The guy saw me in almost a dozen settings and joked with me about a bunch of things, including details of my kids. Perhaps he has forgotten everything, who knows." Yeah, who knows.

By the way, Karl Rove has some some memory problems, too, which has landed him in some hot water, which is getting a lot hotter all the time. It's funny he doesn't remember a conversation he had with Matt Cooper a few years ago, yet he can remember getting beat up by a girl when he was nine.

Well anyway, it took a good right wing organization to ferret out these logs because you know the spinless Dems didn't want this stuff coming out, since they were just as likely to get Abramoff's money. What, they weren't? Abramoff never gave a penny to the Dems?

Another good right wing organization, the Cato Institue just came out with a report saying the W. has gone over the line with his "astonishingly broad" interpretation of his consitutional powers.

In part, the report says:

"Since the start of the war on terror, the Bush administration has singlemindedly advanced the view that, in time of war, the president is the law, and no statute, no constitutional barrier, no coordinate branch of the U.S. government can stand in the president's way when, by his lights, he is acting to preserve national security."

The authors, Gene Healy and Timothy Lynch, conclude that:

"The pattern that emerges is one of a ceaseless push for power, unchecked by either the courts or Congress, one in short of disdain for constitutional limits."

Even Bob Barr said that Congress should show some "leadership by putting the constitution above party politics and insisting on the facts," when it comes to domestic spying.

What's going on here? The Democrats really don't have to lift a finger when W.'s base is savaging him so effectively. We can just sit back and watch W. fume as Stephen Colbert 'crosses the line' and lampoons W. to his heart's content.

It's good to be a Democrat, right now.

The fizzle and the marxist threat.

Last night on the NewsHour Impacto Group's Leslie Sanchez took the immigrant protesters and their organizers to task. She told Ray Suarez that:

"I really think, overall, it's a fizzle...It not a coincidence that they picked May Day, the international socialist day of the worker, to celebrate this. [You know what that means] I think the battle cry for comprehensive reform is legitimate, but these type of politicized protests, where you're basically allowing several on the fringe elements of the radical left, including some organizations that are bringing in Iraq and the war and other discussions to disrupt U.S. economies, is not going to bode well with, I think, the American public or mainstream Hispanics."

She's right, you know, most Americans hold no truck with hardcore leftist radical organizations like the AFL-CIO and Tysons foods. I really got the sense yesterday from what I saw that there was a deep undercurrent of radical Fedelismo entitlement going on, didn't you?

"This is something where people do not have rights to come into this country illegally and then have a right to have certain, you know, expectations for entitlement. That is the part that is really hard for many in our country to stomach. And I think the more that they do this in your face, "We are entitled to something."

Yeah, what's all this 'in your face' stuff? Who do these people think they are? I'm entitled to whatever the hell I want as an American because my mom and dad had sex in the U.S., but these people come here from Mexico and they expect the moon because they get paid nothing. Just clean my house and shut the hell up, you can get your passport back when I'm done with you.

Sanchez goes on, "I mean, we're a very generous country. I think the United States gives $30 billion to Mexico and Latin America every year, in terms of remittances. And now you say you're entitled to those things? That is really not going to fly in America."

Yeah, that's right, what about all those remittances? $17 billion alone goes to Mexico from undocumented workers here back home, and the U.S. allows them to come here and work these backbreaking, lowpaying jobs to do it, too. I really feel like us white Americans, like Leslie and me, are being taken advantage of. We're so generous! There are millions of Phillipinos and South Asians out there who would love to come here and clean our toilets. I bet they wouldn't get uppity like these ungreatful Latinos.

Basically, I think, a lot of people are saying, protest is not the way to go. Just keep working and maybe some day the government will get around to coming up with some sort of immigration policy that actually works. Don't piss off white people.

And what was this all about anyway? As David Montgomery poijnts out in the WaPo,

"...The work boycott sent an odd, ambiguous message...When immigrants list the personal attributes they are proudest of, 'hardworking' is at or near the top of every list. And now they were going to show their value to society by not working?"

What's that all about? Just crazy!

Que pasa Lamar?

Finally, someone is taking the bull by the horns and dealing with all the most pressing challenges facing our country today! Tennesee Sen. Lamar Alexander has put his foot down and said, 'enough!'

Yesterday he introduced a Senate resolution calling for the national anthem to be sung in ENGLISH! Yes!

Alexander's letter to the president of the Senate reads in part:

"Mr. President, across the country today, thousands and thousands of immigrants - legal and illegal - are marching in a nationwide rally. Many are saying that they, too, want to be Americans. But, Mr. President, I’m afraid the message is, quite literally, getting lost in translation. [Good one!] As part of these demonstrations, a new version of our national anthem, the Star-Spangled Banner, has been produced – in Spanish."

He goes on to say that no matter where all of us might have come from, we all use English as a unifying language. He points out that, "In order for a legal immigrant to become a citizen of the United States, one requirement is that he or she demonstrate at least an eighth-grade level understanding of the English language," just like those voting Republican or joining the Minutemen patrol.

Joining him in this very brave stand against this onslaught to out national identity were Sen. Frist, Sen. McConnell, Sen. Stevens, Sen. Isakson, and Sen. Roberts.

Maybe, this will be followed by a new law to issue $100 rebates to all of us who have irrepairably harmed by these immigrants and their liberal socialist supporters bent on burning the flag and those insidious papist hiding behind them!

Monday, May 01, 2006

A day without bigots: Now there's something to march for!

Today is being called "A Day without Immigrants" by various immigrant rights groups around the country who are organizing thousands of immigrants to come out and show their economic power. This and other demonstrations around the country recently are in response to a bill passed in the House back in December that would make undocumented workers and anyone who assists them a felon. To counter the surprisingly large numbers of people turning out for these protests, so far, neo-know-nothing groups are building fences and mounting "minutemen" patrols on the border.

The Federal government did its part by arresting almost 1,200 undocumented workers in an effort to show how serious it is about cracking down on employers who violate the immigration laws. [USA Today] Out of all of those arrested, seven were Americans, but something tells me they had absolutely nothing to do with hiring illegals. Their bosses, no doubt, were far, far away when La Migra came crashing in. If the government really wanted to go after employers who hired illegals they should go after Wal-Mart, which regularly violates every employment rule there is. [BBC]

But the reality is that the government isn't interested in going after the employers because they're the ones filing up the politician's re-election coffers. More than likely, these raids were aimed at showing the GOP base that the government is really doing something and as an added benefit the arrests might discourage immigrants from coming out into the streets to demonstrate. On the east coast, at least, there are a lot of rumors going around that the government is planning to pounce on illegal workers and even school students who show their faces in public.

So far, today, the WaPo reports "Washington area immigrants do not appear to be heeding the call for a national economic boycott in overwhelming numbers this morning," but that could change later on; it's still early on the West Coast.

Anoter WaPo reports says that "An estimated 300,000 people gathered by early afternoon in Chicago, and hundreds of thousands more were expected later at rallies in New York and Los Angeles. Smaller rallies were planned in more than 50 other cities across the nation, even in such far-flung places as Connecticut and South Dakota." (Wow, South Dekota? How no one out there wants an abortion on demand while they're protesting!)

I really hope these protests do what they're advertised to do, it's about time those in the rest of the country finally figure out what those of us who live, or lived, in LA or Miami already know:

It's over, get used to it!

Who are the bloggers?

The WaPo reports:

"In an unscientific Web survey of 36,000 people, Blogads reported that political blog readers tend to be age 41 to 50, male (72 percent), and earn $60,000 to $90,000 per year. Two in five have college degrees, while just a tad less have graduate degrees."

Really? Maybe, this means if I keep blogging I'll be making $90,000 a year? Alright!

Writers note:

Just in case anyone is interested, I've been dealing with the flu for the past few days and I haven't really been in the loop, but I should be back to full force tomorrow.

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