Friday, June 27, 2008

The new Prodigy is kickin

It came out in the spring and I slept on it for a few months, but H.N.I.C. Part II is a good summer album.

Good beats, competent flow, and gangster posturing.

("Mobb Deep" Prodigy, not "Smack My Bitch Up" Prodigy)

The Grand New Party has a musty smell.

David "Applebees Salad Bar" Brooks has another rich editorial in the New York Times:

There have been other outstanding books on how the G.O.P. can rediscover its soul (like “Comeback” by David Frum), but if I could put one book on the desk of every Republican officeholder, “Grand New Party” would be it. You can discount my praise because of my friendship with the authors, but this is the best single roadmap of where the party should and is likely to head.

Several years ago, Tim Pawlenty, the Minnesota governor, said the Republicans should be the party of Sam’s Club, not the country club. This line is the animating spirit of “Grand New Party.” Douthat and Salam argue that the Republicans rode to the majority because of support from the Reagan Democrats, and if the party has a future, it will be because it understands the dreams and tribulations of working-class Americans.

The fact is that the right has attempted to court the working class. However, they have done so in a manner that is superficial and offers practically nothing to actually help them in any meaningful way. See the GOP's new-found populism in an attempt to defame Obama (try not to spit your coffee out when you read about Karl Rove attacking Obama for being an elitist who drinks martinis and makes snarky comments at a country club).

The Reagan comparison is telling: lots of cheap blue collar imagery papering over an agenda that favors massive tax cuts to the rich combined with the gutting of social programs. The right can only win the votes of workers by getting them to vote against their class interest with things like the 2004 gay marriage initiatives. People focus on immigrants, blacks, Muslims, and gays as if they were a real threat to their well-being instead of the economic forces that conspire at the top to keep them in their place.

The right can go on and on about superficial things like the fact that Obama has heard of arugala (along with all of the rest of us in rural America who get the Food Network), but it has nothing to offer the working and middle classes when they're out of a job and medical bills force them to declare bankruptcy. It has nothing to offer them when they want to send their children to college and can't afford it on their meager salary. It has nothing to offer but more Horatio Alger and bootstrapping bullshit.

The only thing that the Republican part has to offer us is cheap labels (Who do you want to have a beer with? Do you want to vote for a guy who shops at Whole Foods or Sam's Club?) and fear of otherness. Brooks can go on and on about "hard work conservatism," whatever the hell that means, but it doesn't amount to meaningful policies in an economic environment where hard work isn't enough to keep your head above water.

Brooks' myopia can be summed up in the following paragraph:
In the 1950s, divorce rates were low and jobs were plentiful, but over the next few decades that broke down. The social revolutions of the 1960s and the economic revolution of the information age have emancipated the well-educated but left the Sam’s Club voters feeling insecure.
That's right: the sixties were about emancipating the "well-educated." Forget about that silly Civil Rights thing. Was that just another example of uppety "elitist" negroes like Obama that didn't know their place, unlike the hard working, white Americans that Brooks imagines go to Sam's Club and put Hunts ketchup on their iceberg lettuce? Jesus Christ.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I know it's time to stop researching for the night when...

...I start laughing at the footnotes in a District Court opinion:
This Court first considered calling the motions a "phalanx" of motions. However, the phalanx was a tight group of Greek infantry with an impenetrable shell of soldiers' shields and a lethal extension of their lances capable of piercing the strongest of armies. Out of respect for the Greeks, this Court will not liken these motions to the Greek phalanx. So plethora, not phalanx.
Thurmond v. Compaq Computer Corp., 2000 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21880

I'm clearly not in my right mind.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Friday, June 20, 2008

As long as the Dems keep capitulating, they will never transform American politics. We're going to keep going down this road of selling out our principles that gave us losses in 2000, 2002, and 2004.

Deal Reached in Congress to Rewrite Rules on Wiretapping

WASHINGTON — After months of wrangling, Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress struck a deal on Thursday to overhaul the rules on the government’s wiretapping powers and provide what amounts to legal immunity to the phone companies that took part in President Bush’s warrantless eavesdropping program after the Sept. 11 attacks.

The deal, expanding the government’s powers in some key respects, would allow intelligence officials to use broad warrants to eavesdrop on foreign targets and conduct emergency wiretaps without court orders on American targets for a week if it is determined important national security information would be lost otherwise. If approved, as appears likely, it would be the most significant revision of surveillance law in 30 years.

The agreement would settle one of the thorniest issues in dispute by providing immunity to the phone companies in the Sept. 11 program as long as a federal district court determines that they received legitimate requests from the government directing their participation in the warrantless wiretapping operation.

With some AT&T and other telecommunications companies now facing some 40 lawsuits over their reported participation in the wiretapping program, Republican leaders described this narrow court review on the immunity question as a mere “formality.”

“The lawsuits will be dismissed,” Representative Roy Blunt of Missouri, the No. 2 Republican in the House, predicted with confidence.

The proposal — particularly the immunity provision — represents a major victory for the White House after months of dispute. “I think the White House got a better deal than they even they had hoped to get,” said Senator Christopher Bond, the Missouri Republican who led the negotiations.

The White House immediately endorsed the proposal, which is likely to be voted on in the House on Friday and in the Senate next week.

While passage seems almost certain in Congress, the plan will nonetheless face opposition from lawmakers on both political wings, with some conservatives asserting that it includes too many checks on government surveillance powers and liberals asserting that it gives legal sanction to a wiretapping program that they contend was illegal in the first place.

Senator Russ Feingold, the Wisconsin Democrat who pushed unsuccessfully for more civil liberties safeguards in the plan, called the deal “a capitulation” by his fellow Democrats.

But Democratic leaders, who squared off against the White House for more than five months over the issue and allowed a temporary surveillance measure to expire in February, called the plan a hard-fought bargain that included needed checks on governmental abuse.

“It is the result of compromise, and like any compromise is not perfect, but I believe it strikes a sound balance,” said Representative Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the House Democratic leader who helped draft the plan.

Perhaps the most important concession that Democratic leaders claimed in the proposal was a reaffirmation that the intelligence protocols are the “exclusive” means for the executive branch to conduct wiretapping operations in terrorism and espionage cases. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had insisted on that element, and Democratic staff members asserted that the language would prevent Mr. Bush, or any future president, from circumventing the law. The proposal asserts that “that the law is the exclusive authority and not the whim of the president of the United States,” Ms. Pelosi said.

In the wiretapping program approved by Mr. Bush after the Sept. 11 attacks, the White House asserted that the president had the constitutional authority to act outside the courts in allowing the National Security Agency to target the international communications of Americans with suspected terrorist ties, and that Congress had implicitly authorized that power when it voted to use military force against Al Qaeda.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

McCain's biggest Democratic supporters

McCain has an awesome list of prominent Democrats who support his campaign.

There's Lieberman and then there's... this guy...
As I wrote on Sunday, John McCain is touting an unlikely name in his list of "prominent" Democratic supporters: Phillip "Icky" Frye of West Virginia.

Just who is Icky Frye? Well, he's a TV and VCR repairman who decided to run for governor of West Virginia after discovering that his wife was having an extramarital affair with then-Governor Bob Wise.

Icky said his campaign "was fueled by revenge" and that he "wanted to embarrass Wise," who he called a "little weasel-faced bastard" and a "typical Democrat."

During the campaign, Icky told a West Virginia TV station that he didn't have any qualifications to serve as governor but wanted "to be a sheer nuisance to Bob Wise."

Icky's campaign slogan ("He'll do his job...not his staff.") was a reference to the affair between his wife, a state employee, and the governor

Not suprisingly, Icky finished in 7th place of out 8, winning just 1% of the vote.

Despite all this, according to the McCain campaign, Icky is one of the nation's most "prominent" Democratic "leaders and activists", and is one of the most important members of John McCain's effort to win over Democratic voters.

And now, according to a front-page report in The Charleston Gazette, the McCain campaign is defending their claim that Icky is a "prominent" Democrat.


Friday, June 13, 2008

McCain doesn't even know what habeas corpus is

For the love of god...
The United States Supreme Court yesterday rendered a decision which I think is one of the worst decisions in the history of this country. Sen. Graham and Sen. Lieberman and I had worked very hard to make sure that we didn't torture any prisoners, that we didn't mistreat them, that we abided by the Geneva Conventions, which applies to all prisoners. But we also made it perfectly clear, and I won't go through all the legislation we passed, and the prohibition against torture, but we made it very clear that these are enemy combatants, these are people who are not citizens, they do not and never have been given the rights that citizens of this country have. And my friends there are some bad people down there. There are some bad people. So now what are we going to do. We are now going to have the courts flooded with so-called, quote, Habeas Corpus suits against the government, whether it be about the diet, whether it be about the reading material. And we are going to be bollixed up in a way that is terribly unfortunate, because we need to go ahead and adjudicate these cases. By the way, 30 of the people who have already been released from Guantanamo Bay have already tried to attack America again, one of them just a couple weeks ago, a suicide bomber in Iraq. Our first obligation is the safety and security of this nation, and the men and women who defend it. This decision will harm our ability to do that.
After his continual inability to distinguish the Sunnis and the Shiites, I'm not sure if this guy is eve qualified to be President.

McCain is a bigger tool than we thought

McCain slams habeas corpus ruling
"The United States Supreme Court yesterday rendered a decision which I think is one of the worst decisions in the history of this country," McCain said. He went on to quote from Justice Roberts dissent in the case, rail against "unaccountable judges," and say that the courts are about to be clogged with cases from detainees.
This, along with his reversal on warrantless NSA wiretapping, torture, and "agents of intolerance" has revealed him as the shill that he is. This slide to the right is a calculated move and, if anyone ever felt that he actually had integrity, he has destroyed that illusion.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Hell yes: SCOTUS holds Guantanamo prisoners can challenge their status in federal court

This is a good day. I never thought this would happen, but it did.

In typical fashion, the conservative bloc resorts to right wing talking points in place of legal analysis.
“It will almost certainly cause more Americans to be killed,” [Scalia] said. “The nation will live to regret what the court has done today.” He said the decision was based not on principle, “but rather an inflated notion of judicial supremacy.”
The usual nutjobs are crying out against an "activist court" (whatever the fuck that means) and some are even calling for Bush to refuse to obey it (Constitutional crisis anyone):
On two separate occasions now, the United States Congress has duly enacted painstakingly specific laws to lawfully and Constitutionally strip the Supreme Court of jurisdiction to hear cases involving non-citizens currently detained outside of sovereign territory held by the United States. As Dan McLaughlin has noted, today the Supreme Court purports to ignore this clear limitation on its own authority to even hear the case before it (which by law has been confined to the CADC) and issue an opinion declaring the act which removed their jurisdiction unconstitutional. Savor the irony for a moment, if you will.
I don't think any manner of argument will convince these people that the U.S. has exclusive de facto jurisdiction over Guantanamo or that habeas rights extend to all people under U.S. jurisdiction. But that group is getting smaller and smaller and even Bush might realize that he has to abide by this decision. This group will become increasingly marginalized as the utter disaster of the past eight years continues to reveal itself for what it is.

Bush is finally getting reigned in over his insane executive overreach and we're looking at the real prospect of an Obama presidency. Maybe this shameful period in our history is almost over. I'm sure we'll see the best that the Republican slime machine has to offer (terrorist fist bumps, flag label pins, and jihadist Manchurian candidates), but I think I can see some light at the end of the tunnel.

Edit: Any Clinton supporters who are planning on voting for McCain have to be insane. Some of the justices on the court who made today's ruling possible are getting old. If McCain is President, he will appoint justices that will be around for life. The freedom to choose, civil rights, labor relations, and human dignity all hang in the balance and voting for McCain because you're sore about Clinton's loss is cutting off your nose to spite your face. I would say the same if Clinton had won the nomination.




Saturday, June 07, 2008

Friday, June 06, 2008

Senate report confirms deceptive nature of Bush's propaganda effort to sell the war

I am shocked.
-Statements and implications by the President and Secretary of State suggesting that Iraq and al-Qa'ida had a partnership, or that Iraq had provided al-Qa'ida with weapons training, were not substantiated by the intelligence.

--Statements by the President and the Vice President indicating that Saddam Hussein was prepared to give weapons of mass destruction to terrorist groups for attacks against the United States were contradicted by available intelligence information.

--Statements by President Bush and Vice President Cheney regarding the postwar situation in Iraq, in terms of the political, security, and economic, did not reflect the concerns and uncertainties expressed in the intelligence products.

--Statements by the President and Vice President prior to the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate regarding Iraq's chemical weapons production capability and activities did not reflect the intelligence community's uncertainties as to whether such production was ongoing.

--The Secretary of Defense's statement that the Iraqi government operated underground WMD facilities that were not vulnerable to conventional airstrikes because they were underground and deeply buried was not substantiated by available intelligence information.

--The Intelligence Community did not confirm that Muhammad Atta met an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague in 2001 as the Vice President repeatedly claimed.

Thursday, June 05, 2008