Thursday, July 31, 2008

Hey, Karl

Federal judge ruled that Bush's absolute immunity claim is crap. Maybe that adds a bit more contemptibility weight to Karl Rove.

"A landmark decision, I think."
Marty Lederman:

When the history of the Bush Administration's executive aggrandizement campaign is finally written, a very large and important part of that story -- a central theme in Jane Mayer's new book, for instance -- is just how many very strongly conservative Republicans resisted the Cheney/Addington/Gonzales/Rove agenda.

Glenn Greenwald:

In unusually strong language, the court pointed out that the President's claim that his aides enjoyed absolute immunity from Congressional investigations was "unprecedented" and "without any support in case law"

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Tennessee Shootings

Today I was thinking of the heroes there. A couple of those mentioned: John Bohstedt, who subdued Adkisson in a flying tackle; Greg McKendry, who died shielding others from the gunfire.

The nutcase with a gun meant to target what's so wrong and bad in our country, but he did just the opposite. Men who care about life enough to make the sacrifice, if necessary, to spare others. They are shining examples of what is so right and good in our country.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Indiana is No. 7

Ranking States' Oil Vulnerability and Solutions for Change

A report from Natural Resources Defense Council (via Paul Krugman, July 22).

Indiana is 7th in the top 10, moving up from 12th last year.

McCain's Smear Ad

Atrios calls it "inexplicable." Members of the media repeat McCain's false charges in the ad, and create an "issue."

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Strange Bedfellows

NYT Op-Ed, Bob Herbert:
Senator Thad Cochran, a Mississippi Republican, said of Mr. McCain: “The thought of his being president sends a cold chill down my spine.”

Senator Pete Domenici, a New Mexico Republican, told Newsweek in 2000: “I decided I didn’t want this guy anywhere near a trigger.”

Both senators have since endorsed Senator McCain’s presidential bid...

The way we elect presidents, in a nutshell.

We understood clearly that the McCain campaign would make the worst out of any aspect of Obama's recent travels. That's because nut-kickin' Republican campaigns have been standard these many years. So the ad comes out with, "He doesn't care about the troops, but I am always there for the troops." It's so predictable and stupid, why bother? Yet, I'm remembering George W. Bush's declaration that U.S. senators didn't care about national security. An unfounded attack on the Senate, an insult to our intelligence, but we approved anyway. It worked. A McSame ad now, apparently calculated to be an unfounded, insulting attack that voters will approve.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Imperial Not Impeachable

"The decision before us is whether to stand up for the checks and balances designed by our founding fathers to prevent excessive power grabs by either the judicial, legislative or executive branch of government.

"The decision before us is whether to restore faith in government, in justice, and in the rule of law.

"The decision before us is whether Congress will endorse with its silence the methods used to take us into the Iraq war."

Dennis Kucinich

* * * * * *

Impeachment a hot topic at 'not Impeachment' hearing:
Raw Story

"Based on all of the things this administration has done, it is probably the most impeachable administration in the history of America.” - Maurice Hinchey

After Downing Street: Live Blogging

2:26 Lofgren is still pushing idea of a truth and reconciliation commission. And Schwartz is recommending the 9-11 Commission as a model [I may be tired but I'm not hallucinating this.]

2:25 OK I've covered up my IMPEACH shirt because a friend thinks they'll try to arrest me for wearing it.

Farewell Trifles

Trifles from Anderson, Indiana posted Wednesday that the blog has been discontinued. It's that pesky reality factor about only so many hours in a day. I've enjoyed the link to Anderson. But here's to the affirmation of the value of your personal hours. Cheers, and farewell.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Mortgage Spree

"Fresh out of prison after serving time for bank fraud, he never went through a criminal background check before selling loans. He never took a competency exam. ... He never had to."
Miami Herald

One subject in a report on "loan originators" in Florida. They're like mortgage brokers but they don't need to be licensed. So, guess what happened. The multimedia report (via BuzzFlash) has some amazing details.

While The Miami Herald found breakdowns in the state's licensing system for mortgage brokers, the lack of controls over originators created even more problems for an industry steeped in the highest fraud rate in the nation.
That's the report from just one state. Bloomberg reports the "Fannie-Freddie bill" in Congress aims to rescue 400,000 subprime borrowers. Estimated cost is $25 billion.

"But, this being Washington, there's a catch," writes Brian Wingfield, Forbes. "CBO [Congressional Budget Office] Director Peter Orszag told reporters Tuesday that the plan could also cost nothing--or as much as $100 billion."

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Fort Wayne "ERA"

MapQuest image

Everything Is An “Economic Revitalization Area
Fort Wayne Politics

Related to a public hearing on a decision to declare property at Wallen & Coldwater an ERA, the post provides information to the question, "So what is an economic revitalization area anyway?"

Oh, yeah -- let's hear the story on this one. There's a development boom in that area, so I'd expect it to be amusing to hear how it needs to be "re"-vitalized.

I hate going to that part of town because the traffic is so intense and aggressive. But as business and housing continue to gravitate, I have to go there sometimes. Just a bit north of the intersection in question is Dupont Road. Twenty years ago the area was a nouveau riche enclave surrounding a country club. Now it's the American Dream (albeit with the nuisance factor of additional red lights between driveway and freeway). "There's no there there," of course. In a couple of the housing additions I visited, I saw that they dropped the pretense of sidewalks. The front door is the garage door.


Monday, July 21, 2008

Suicide Epidemics

In Japan, the suicide assures some benefits for the family. This is according to a USA Today report (via Democratic Underground).
Among Japanese suicides, nearly 71% are men, more than 73% are 40 or older, and more than 57% are jobless.

For an unemployed, former "salaryman," suicide can be "a rational decision"...

Angry Bear had a post on Saturday regarding the epidemic of suicides in India.

"Thousands of farmers commit suicide in India every year," reports the BBC, "...saddled by debts they could not repay."

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Friday, July 18, 2008

Kucinich to Committee


The most Dennis Kucinich can hope to achieve is a committee hearing on only one of 35 articles of impeachment. On that one article, "Deceiving Congress with fabricated threats of Iraq WMDs to fraudulently obtain support for an authorization of the use of military force against Iraq," nine Republicans voted to send it to committee. Needless to say, none from Indiana [GovTrack].

Judiciary Committee Chair John Conyers said there will be no action, but maybe some sort of hearing. From CQ Politics:

Conyers said he wants a public discussion of the issues being raised by Kucinich, but does not plan to take any action on the resolution. “We’re not doing impeachment, but he can talk about it,” the chairman said.
Kucinich expressed his appreciation because House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had relented to the extent that, well okay, maybe the House of Representatives will hear a teensy bit about the Bush administration's doings. That's a gracious public statement by Kucinich. In fact, this is a statement that I could trust, and Pelosi, and scaredy-cat Democrats, dog-pack Republicans could trust:

"If it is tabled, I will bring another Impeachment resolution back this week."

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Monday, July 14, 2008

Blue Dogs & FISA

"Who Voted for FISA? And How Much $$$ Have They Received From Telecom Companies?"
[American News Project, via Alternet - video]

The report uses data compiled at OpenSecrets.org.

Among the Blue Dogs, referring to this data, all but five of them voted yea on the FISA bill, and all but two of them have received money from AT&T and/or Verizon PACs.

Steve Israel NY-02, who voted nay on FISA, is not listed on the current membership roster at BlueDogDems or Blue Dog Coalition, but I don't know if that means anything.

Update:
Rep. Israel was a member; formed the Center Aisle Caucus. So the original count on Blue Dogs' FISA votes is off a bit, the correction showing even more solidarity in their statement that the new law enhances security and protects civil liberties. This has pleased W very much. Good dogs.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Nation Joins FISA Lawsuit

I don't know if President Bush really said the Constitution is just a piece of paper. But yesterday as I thought of the many encroachments on the Constitution I got queasy. How are we going to restore it?

The Nation:
July 10

For 143 years, The Nation has believed that an essential element of patriotism is the unyielding defense of civil liberties. Immediately after 9/11, as a fog of national security enveloped official Washington and the mainstream media enlisted in the Administration's war, it was clear to us that the need for an independent and critical press seemed never more urgent. The speedy passage of the repressive Patriot Act, with scarcely a murmur of dissent in Congress, and the establishment of military tribunals were troubling signs that a wartime crackdown on civil liberties was under way and called for vigorous opposition. Criticizing government policy in wartime is a not a path to popularity. Our patriotism was questioned, we were called "anti-American." Yet, as it has at different times in our country's turbulent history, The Nation marched to a different drummer and stood firm in defense of our core constitutional values--believing then, as we do now, that it is possible to defend this country from terrorists while also protecting the rights and freedoms that define our nation.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Hip-Hop VP?

I dunno. Hip-hop activist as Vice President?

Impeachment XXX

Remember the Urinary Executive's happy talk before the vote?

Article XXX:

MISLEADING CONGRESS AND THE AMERICAN PEOPLE IN AN ATTEMPT TO DESTROY MEDICARE

... The President created, manipulated, and disseminated information given to the citizens and Congress of the United States in support of his prescription drug plan for Medicare that enriched drug companies while failing to save beneficiaries sufficient money on their prescription drugs. He misled Congress and the American people into thinking the cost of the benefit was $400 billion. It was widely understood that if the cost exceeded that amount, the bill would not pass due to concerns about fiscal irresponsibility.

A Medicare Actuary who possessed information regarding the true cost of the plan, $539 billion, was instructed by the Medicare Administrator to deny Congressional requests for it. The Actuary was threatened with sanctions if the information was disclosed to Congress, which, unaware of the information, approved the bill. Despite the fact that official cost estimates far exceeded $400 billion, President Bush offered assurances to Congress that the cost was $400 billion, when his office had information to the contrary. In the House of Representatives, the bill passed by a single vote and the Conference Report passed by only five votes. The White House knew the actual cost of the drug benefit was high enough to prevent its passage. Yet the White House concealed the truth and impeded an investigation into its culpability. ...

Friday, July 11, 2008

Impeachment XXIX and Another I

"In his conduct while President of the United States, George W. Bush, in violation of his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty under Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution "to take care that the laws be faithfully executed,” has both personally and acting through his agents and subordinates, willfully corrupted and manipulated the electoral process of the United States for his personal gain and the personal gain of his co-conspirators and allies; violated the United States Constitution and law by failing to protect the civil rights of African-American voters and others in the 2004 Election, and impeded the right of the people to vote and have their vote properly and accurately counted..."
Article XXIX

Raw Story:

Kucinich said he would move to refer the single impeachment article to the Judiciary Committee either on Monday or Tuesday of next week. His primary concern, he said, is that he be able to testify on the contents of the measure to the committee.

ARTICLE ONE

DECEIVING CONGRESS WITH FABRICATED THREATS OF IRAQ WMDs TO FRAUDULENTLY OBTAIN SUPPORT FOR AN AUTHORIZATION OF THE USE OF MILITARY FORCE AGAINST IRAQ.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Impeachment XXVI, XXVII, XXVIII

I-26:
Announcing the intent to violate laws with signing statements, and violating those laws. "...In June 2007, the Government Accountability Office reported that in a sample of Bush signing statements the office had studied, for 30 percent of them the Bush administration had already proceeded to violate the laws the statements claimed the right to violate."


I-27:
Failing to comply with congressional subpoenas and instructing former employees not to comply. "...has both personally and acting through his agents and subordinates, refused..."


I-28:
Tampering with free and fair elections, corruption of the administration of justice. "...by United States Attorneys and other employees of the Department of Justice, through abuse of the appointment power."


Bingo!






Hello?




Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Senate Votes on Spying

ON JULY 4TH, AMERICA CELEBRATED THE RULE OF LAW.
ON JULY 9TH, THE SENATE WILL VOTE TO BURY IT.


UPDATE:
And, bury it they did. I linked immediately to Glenn Greenwald's blog to read the postmortem. I want to express my gratitude for all of his efforts.

This is not the first time Democrats have betrayed the USA. October 2002 is another glaring time. In the clip Greenwald posted, Jonathan Turley says this act is "otherworldly," but, after Congress gave Bush thumbs-up to hit Iraq, all the rest is very much this-worldly now. He said nobody wants a confrontation over the fact that the President committed a felony, not once but 30 times.

McCain's Magical Math

John McCain's assurances on a balanced budget sound just like George W. Bush's first-term and second-term pledges, which boil down to something like It shall be done, because I'm the balancer guy.

"McCain doesn't have any numbers. None. Not vague numbers of fuzzy math. He just says he's going to do it." - Josh Marshall

"Well, I’m going to do the biggest supply-side tax cut in history, mostly for corporations and the well-to-do. And I’m going to tell you I’ll balance the budget. If you believe this, you’ll believe anything." - Robert Reich

Monday, July 07, 2008

FISA & Impeachment Articles

“Our highest political officials and largest corporations shouldn’t face consequences when they break our laws as long as they claim it was for our own good.” That’s the destructive premise that lies at the heart of this deeply corrupt measure, the reason it matters so much. Just like the pardon of Nixon, the protection of Iran-contra criminals, and the commutation of Lewis Libby’s sentence, this bill is yet another step in cementing a two-tiered system of justice in America where our highest political officials and connected elite can break our laws with impunity. - Glenn Greenwald

Impeachment of George W. Bush, Articles XXIV and XXV:

Spying on American Citizens, Without a Court-Ordered Warrant, in Violation of the Law and the Fourth Amendment.

Directing Telecommunications Companies to Create an Illegal and Unconstitutional Database of the Private Telephone Numbers and Emails of American Citizens.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Hey, Tax Breaks on SUVs!

We are not innocent lambs here, what with electing oil men into the White House, going hog wild on SUVs, and then beating the war drums to "free the Iraqi people."

"We've invested $650 billion to liberate a nation of 25 million people. Shouldn't we just demand that they give us oil? There should be tankers after tankers backed up like a traffic jam getting into the Lincoln Tunnel, the Stinkin' Lincoln, at rush hour with thank-you notes from the Iraqi government ... . Why don't we just take the oil? We've invested it liberating a country. I can have the problem solved of gas prices coming down in ten days, not ten years." [Naomi Klein quoting Jerry Doyle]

There were a couple of problems with Doyle's plan, of course. The first was that he was describing the biggest stickup in world history. The second, that he was too late: "We" are already heisting Iraq's oil, or at least are on the cusp of doing so.

Under a subheading in Klein's article,
Oil Price Shock: Give Us the Arctic or Never Drive Again,

Take the massive oil boom under way in Alberta's notorious tar sands. The tar sands (sometimes called the oil sands) have the same things going for them as Bush's proposed drill sites: they are nearby and perfectly secure, since the North American Free Trade Agreement contains a provision barring Canada from cutting off supply to the United States. And with little fanfare, oil from this largely untapped source has been pouring into the market, so much so that Canada is now the largest supplier of oil to the United States, surpassing Saudi Arabia. Between 2005 and 2007, Canada increased its exports to the States by almost 100 million barrels. Yet despite this significant increase in secure supplies, oil prices have been going up the entire time.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Protesters in the Bush Zone

"Why We Interrupted Bush at Monticello"

Bush and protesters in the same zone. How'd that happen?

Rep. Dennis Kucinich's articles of impeachment continued:

ARTICLE XXII

CREATING SECRET LAWS

...established a body of secret laws through the issuance of legal opinions by the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC).

The OLC's March 14, 2003, interrogation memorandum ("Yoo Memorandum") was declassified years after it served as law for the executive branch. ...

ARTICLE XXIII

VIOLATION OF THE POSSE COMITATUS ACT

In his conduct while President of the United States, George W. Bush, in violation of his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty under Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution "to take care that the laws be faithfully executed,” has both personally and acting through his agents and subordinates, repeatedly and illegally established programs to appropriate the power of the military for use in law enforcement. Specifically, he has contravened U.S.C. Title 18. Section 1385, originally enacted in 1878, subsequently amended as "Use of Army and Air Force as Posse Comitatus" and commonly known as the Posse Comitatus Act. ...

Friday, July 04, 2008

Independence Day

Carectomy cites a report on 50 cities' liveability ratings with 4-dollar gas figgered in. Indy came in at number 46.

Hey, is that potato sal

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Lying Again: Article XXI

"...one detainee, an employee of the Afghan interior ministry, repeatedly asked his guards to simply call the Afghan officials to verify his story that he was actually a government official and friend of the U.S. But he was never allowed to present any evidence of his innocence. The McClatchy reporter made a couple of phone calls and verified the man’s story. He was held for four years."

Item 33, The Handy Reference Guide, Part II

On the articles of impeachment, we're at no. XXI, about lying again:

Misleading Congress and the American People About Threats From Iran...

Even after the National Intelligence Estimate was released to Congress and the American people, the president stated that he did not believe anything had changed and suggested that he and members of his administration would continue to argue that Iran should be seen as posing a threat to the United States. He did this despite the fact that United States intelligence agencies had clearly and officially stated that this was not the case.
This is exactly the same thing he did after Hans Blix reported on WMD in Iraq.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

More on Torture: XIX and XX

Kidnapping people and imprisoning children, impeachment articles XIX and XX.

During the past few years as the realization sank in, that I will not ever vote for a Republican again, the irritating feeling of getting stuck in either/or terrain -- either a Democrat or a third-party candidate -- started easing. I know my experience and feelings are not unique; others have gone through this fire, too. Others have felt the serenity of resolve.

A friend noted that "never's a long time." Well, of course my never has a lifespan. But for the duration, I'm not looking to Republicans for anything good for my country, and now I'm looking at other parties.