Friday, September 29, 2006

Do We Need Under God In The Pledge?

I was driving through rural Pa. last weekend. While I may be a high falut'n New York city-slicker now, I grew up in the corn fields, dairy farms and mountain forests of central Pennsylvania. My grandmother had been rushed to the hospital, and at age 91, all trips to the hospital are serious. I had spent the day visiting with her in the cardiac care center and was driving through the corn fields to the home I had grown up in and which my grandmother now resides.

On the radio came an ad that started off with a grandson talking to his grandfather, asking the grandfather what it was like when he was the boys age.

"Well, America was a different place back then. People cared about each other then." Said the grand pappy

"So, what changed?"

"Well," the grandfather responds, "they decided to take 'under god' out of the pledge of allegiance because it was unconstitutional. Then they took 'in God we trust' off of the dollar bill. Next thing you know, they made all open religion a criminal offense... that is why I am here in prison now."

A voice is heard in the background saying that visiting time is over and the grandson must leave. Then an announcer comes on and touts a petition to make it illegal for judges to declare under God unconstitutional because it will destroy our country.

I could not both laughing and feeling sad at the same time. How could the people who made this ad be so wrong on so many levels but feel they are so right? Could America really be destroyed by having the words under God removed from the pledge of allegiance?

To understand how wrong this concept is, you need to know the history of under God in our pledge. For some unknown reason, conservatives seems to think that under God was added by George Washington himself.

Well, it wasn't. The pledge was created in 1892 by a Baptist minister named Francis Bellamy. In the original pledge, God was not mentioned. The country was a Republic. It was indivisible and had liberty and justice. But it was never under God, even though it was written by a Christian clergyman. Not only that, Francis deleted the word equality because he knew that it would not be accepted by educators since women and blacks were not considered to be equal at that time.

In 1940, the Supreme Court ruled that a school board could make it mandatory for children to recite the pledge even though some Christian religious groups found it against their religious and moral beliefs because it created idolatry in the flag. In 1943, the supreme court reversed its ruling, saying that requiring the recitation was state control of religion.

Still, there was no under God in the pledge.

The words under God were not in the pledge that my father learned as a school boy. It was not in the pledge that any of the heroes of WWI or WWII learned. It was added by President Eisenhower in 1954 during the height of the red scare. One of the rationale behind the addition of the under God words was because it was believed that no communist spy or sympathizer could bring themselves to recite the words, and thus, give themselves away as traitors to the United States. Seriously... someone actually believed this to be true. Similarly, in God we trust was not added to the dollar bill until 1959.

178 years had passed between the Declaration of Independence and the words under God appearing in any type of pledge. If the grandfather in the radio ad was right, America must have been a horrible, horrible place to live in those 178 years. No one cared about anyone. It was just masses of godless heathens muddling around the streets cursing at each other. It was not until 1954 that this country began to become a decent place to live. I obviously say this tongue in cheek, but what an insult that that radio ad is to all of those who came before us. What an insult it is the the hundreds of thousands of Americans who fought in WWII to free the world of tyranny but never recited under God once in the pledge of allegiance. Was the moral compass of what we deem to be the greatest generation inept due to the lack of public acknowledgement of God?

The radio ad also made me think of James Madison, the creator of the Bill of Rights. He was the person who enshrined our freedom of religion in the constitution so that the government could and would never interfere in the matters of personal faith. Madison in his Remonstrance of proposed legislation for Christian teachers to be paid for with public funds said:

Because the establishment proposed by the Bill is not requisite for the support of the Christian Religion...for it is known that this Religion both existed and flourished, not only without the support of human laws, but in spite of every opposition from them, and not only during the period of miraculous aid, but long after it had been left to its own evidence and the ordinary care of Providence. Nay, it is a contradiction in terms; for a Religion not invented by human policy, must have pre-existed and been supported, before it was established by human policy. It is moreover to weaken in those who profess this Religion a pious confidence in its innate excellence and the patronage of its Author; and to foster in those who still reject it, a suspicion that its friends are too conscious of its fallacies to trust it to its own merits.

Basically what Madison is saying is that if God is real, than he does not need the support of the state. He exists because he exists and this is with or without the state and in fact, has endured direct opposition from countless governments before we existed. It, in fact, weakens the faith to need government support. If your faith in God is real, you must believe that he is bigger than the state and is in no need of governmental support. It is only those who have questions in their own faith that do not believe that God can exist without state sponsorship and the words under God in their pledge. Ultimately, not having state sponsorship of religion and not having under God in the pledge does not diminish religious freedom, it ensures it.

God will exist if the words under God are not recited by school children. He will exist if in God we trust is no longer on our money. Removing words will not remove him, and to think that the only thing that makes this country great is the words under God and in God we trust, then you have a serious lack of understanding about this county.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Anti-Science White House

The Bush administration blocked another report on global warming from being released to the public. This time, it is about how global warming may be increasing the intensity of hurricanes.

Bush continues to claim that reducing green house gas emissions will hurt the economy.

I guess he thinks Katrina had no adverse effect on the economy.

Journal: Agency blocked hurricane report
By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID, AP Science Writer
Tue Sep 26, 6:54 PM ET

WASHINGTON - The Bush administration has blocked release of a report that suggests global warming is contributing to the frequency and strength of hurricanes, the journal Nature reported Tuesday.

The possibility that warming conditions may cause storms to become stronger has generated debate among climate and weather experts, particularly in the wake of the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

In the new case, Nature said weather experts at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ? part of the Commerce Department ? in February set up a seven-member panel to prepare a consensus report on the views of agency scientists about global warming and hurricanes.

According to Nature, a draft of the statement said that warming may be having an effect.

(Full Story)

Bush Comes Up Short Defending His Policies On Terror

Bush spoke about the NIE report that says that Bush's invasion of Iraq has made us less safe in the United States. He tried to turn the tables by saying that the leak was politically motivated. Even if it was, the substance of the report is the same. Bush's policies are wrong. Dead wrong.

And they use it as a recruitment tool because they understand the stakes. They understand what will happen to them when we defeat them in Iraq.

You know, to suggest that if we weren't in Iraq we would see a rosier scenario, with fewer extremists joining the radical movement, requires us to ignore 20 years of experience.

We weren't in Iraq when we got attacked on September the 11th. We weren't in Iraq and thousands of fighters were trained in terror camps inside your country, Mr. President. We weren't in Iraq when they first attacked the World Trade Center in 1993.

Yes, we were not in Iraq then... and neither was Al Qaida. They were in Afghanistan. A nation that we have put 1/7th the effort into as Iraq. Why is it that the terrorist were 1/7th as important to Bush as Saddam?

Now, you know what's interesting about the NIE? It was an intelligence report done last April. As I understand, the conclusions — the evidence on the conclusions reached was stopped being gathered on February — at the end of February.

And here we are coming down the stretch in an election campaign and it's on the front page of your newspapers. Isn't that interesting? Somebody's taken it upon themselves to leak classified information for political purposes.

Hmmmm.... I am trying to remember if anyone has leaked an NIE report for political purposes before... Oh, yes... THE WHITE HOUSE! Live by the leak, die by the leak. And where is the proof that it was released for political purposes? And even if it was, is not keeping the damaging report secret not political also? If you can release the key findings now, you could have released the key findings 6 months ago also.

But once again there's a leak out of our government, coming right down the stretch in this campaign in order to create confusion in the minds of the American people.

I wonder if that is anything like raising the terror threat constantly just before the 2004 election and then having the vice president coming out and saying if you vote for Kerry, you will die?

And so we're going to — I told the DNI to declassify this document. You can read it for yourself. It will stop all the speculation, all the politics about somebody saying something about Iraq; you know, somebody trying to confuse the American people about the nature of this enemy.

Again, is using selective and distorting reports about the WMDs in Iraq "somebody trying to confuse the American people about the nature of the enemy?"

And so John Negroponte, the DNI, is going to declassify the document as quickly as possible — declassify the key judgments for you to read yourself.

So, basically, it is a declassification of the NIE report for political purposes... and not even the entire thing. Only the sections that Bush agrees with.

Bush exploits 9/11 at every chance he gets. You can play a drinking game with the number of times he says 9/11. But the fact remains. Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. The people that did have something to do with 9/11, Bush has ignored before and after the fact. His grand experiment is failing to keep us safer. I still believe that we need to stay in Iraq to finish the job. But the key was to have never gone in to Iraq in the first place. The immanent threat was not Saddam, but Bin Laden. Now the Bush administration has no clue as to his wereabouts.

Sobering Conclusions On Why Jihad Has Spread

In addition to the "politics" Bush claims is surrounding the leak of the NIE, comes the claims that Bush is hiding an even more damning report. The report is being held as a draft until after the elections.

Amid furor over Iraq report, calls to release another
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- As political debate churned over an intelligence report released Tuesday, a top Democrat called for the release of a second, new National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq that she says "paints a grim picture."

The White House denied a charge by Rep. Jane Harman, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, that another intelligence report is being kept in draft form so that its contents won't be public until the midterm elections in November are over.

"I hear it paints a grim picture. And because it does, I am told it is being held until after the November elections. If this estimate is finished, it should not be stamped 'draft' and hidden from the American people until after the elections," Harman said in a statement.

(Full Story)

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

U.S. Less Safe Under Bush's Lead

It is now official. Bush sucks at everything. The National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) has described the invasion of Iraq as making us less safe. It states that Iraq has been a distraction from the real war against terror and that we have played into the hands of Bin Laden.

The White House is on the defensive, stating that White "that the reports reflected a selective and distorted interpretation of the study."

I suppose if anyone would know about selective and dissertations of information, it would be the White House. After all, it was selective and distorted information that they used to get us into this war in the first place. But, as we left-wing-pinko-commie-bastards have been saying from the get go, this was is making us less safe. We should have gone after Bin Laden in stead of Hussein. We should have completed the job in Afghanistan and left Iraq for another day.

But instead of worrying about terrorism, Bush decided to finish the job of his daddy. And we will pay the price.

Democrats Focus on Terrorism Report in Attacks on Bush
By Michael Abramowitz and Jonathan Weisman
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, September 26, 2006; Page A03

Democratic lawmakers yesterday seized on elements of a new classified intelligence assessment as validation of their long-standing position that the Iraq war has been a distraction from the broader war against terrorists, seeing the new study as an opportunity to undermine President Bush's determined offensive to turn terrorism to political advantage in the midterm elections.

A classified National Intelligence Estimate, completed in April but disclosed in news reports over the weekend, offers the U.S. intelligence community's first formal evaluation of global trends in terrorism since the April 2003 invasion of Iraq. U.S. officials said the report concludes that the Iraq war has fueled the growth of Islamic extremism and terror groups, but White House officials responded that the reports reflected a selective and distorted interpretation of the study.

(Full Story)

George Allen Claims He Is Not A Bigot

After all, you can't be a Bigot if you hate everyone equally, right?

Four of George Allen's former college football teammates have come forward to assert that Allen commonly called African-American's "niggers," a charge that he vehemently denies. He even was reported to have shoved a severed deer's head into the mailbox of a black family. Yet, again, he denies this claim.

Allen says that he has never-ever once in his life used the N-word.

Ok, lets review.

Allen drove around Southern California with a confederate flag on his car.

Allen reportedly was busted for spray painting ethnic slurs on his high school walls.

Allen courted and hung out with known racists in his early political career.

Allen hung a confederate flag in his office, along with a noose.

Allen voted against the establishment of Martin Luther King day, but voted in favor of confederate history month.

Allen used racial slurs against an Indian-American and presumes that he is a recent immigrant to the US just because his skin is darker. - And I am not buying Allen's excuse that he didn't know what 'Macaca' meant. It is a French slur and Allen's mother is French.

He was raised by a family that would not accept Allen's mother if they knew she was Jewish.

If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and hangs nooses in his office like a duck, it is probably a duck.

I don't believe for one second that he has never used the word "nigger" once in his life. I don't think I know a single person who has never used that word once in his or her life, racist or not. I am not a racist, and I have used it twice in this post alone.

As I said months ago before this all started coming out, Allen may win re-election, but his presidential aspirations would be dashed. I have always know that Allen is a phony front and that, in the end, he would be proved that way.

Allen Denies Using Epithet to Describe Blacks
By Michael D. Shear and Tim Craig
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, September 26, 2006; Page B01

RICHMOND, Sept. 25 -- Virginia Sen. George Allen on Monday denied allegations by a college football teammate and another former acquaintance that the senator used a racial epithet to refer to blacks during and after his time at the University of Virginia in the early 1970s.

The accusations by R. Kendall Shelton, 53, a radiologist in North Carolina, and Christopher C. Taylor, 59, an anthropologist at the University of Alabama, reignited questions about Allen and race as he campaigns for reelection against Democrat James Webb.

Shelton said Allen frequently used the "N-word" to describe blacks and nicknamed him "Wizard" because of the similarity of his name to that of Robert Shelton, a former imperial wizard of the Alabama Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. He also recounted an event from 1973 or 1974 in which he, Allen and a third friend were hunting deer. After the deer was killed, Shelton said, Allen cut off the doe's head, asked for directions to the home of the nearest black person and shoved the head into that person's mailbox.

Taylor said that during a visit to Allen's Charlottesville house in 1982, Allen pointed to turtles in a pond on his property and said only "the [epithets] eat them."

(Full Story)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Swift Boat Back Fire

If you are going to start running attack ads, at least get the facts right. I saw the ad that Santorum was running against Casey in Pennsylvania. It portrayed a group of me sitting around, splitting up money, then it pans out to show them behind bars because of federal indictments. If the ad were true, it could be quite damaging to Casey's run. But it wasn't true.

Here the "Oops!"

Santorum's campaign team had to admit that they lied in the ad. None of the four men in the ad gave any money to Casey's campaign, and in fact, two of the men gave money to Santorum's campaign. It looks like Santorum is trying to model his campaign after George Allan's.

Santorum aired a spot featuring actors supposedly portraying four big donors to Casey's campaign meeting in a smoke-filled jail cell. The senator's campaign later conceded that none of the men had given money to Casey's Senate campaign and that two had contributed to Santorum's campaign, which donated the money to nonprofit groups.

(Full story)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Response To Freedom Vs. Security

Reuben Yakobovich asked a very poignant question in response to my post yesterday, Freedom Vs. Security

Taking the position you do in the freedom vs. security debate begs a fundamental question that Liberals have not been able to adequately answer.

Given the threat posed by the Islamists to convert the world to Islam or kill those that won't (their words, not mine) how would you propose we protect ourselves? Oh, and just to make the task more difficult, how would you protect us against an enemy that welcomes death and uses a violent end to their own lives as a weapon?

While my post yesterday was not to answer such questions, just to explore the fundamental differences between the two views in relation to the founding fathers. The question is legitimate.

I don't have the magic bullet answer to that question as I would like to have. I did, in fact, ask the question myself. Why do liberals hold fundamental freedoms higher than a real and tangible threat?

I guess the answer lies in several options.

One, it is more important to live free than to live secure. As expressed by the New Hampshire license plates so boldly claims, "Live Free or Die." To some people, it is more noble to die on your feet than live on your knees. This is not an absurd position. We have a word for those who adhere to this - Martyr. Many of our Saints would rather die than to renounce their beliefs. Gandhi is another such person, even though he did not die for his cause, he was willing to.

Two, there are ways to both preserve our security without rendering too much of our freedoms. The illegal NSA wiretapping is one example. Conservatives claim that we cannot track terrorist within the framework of FISA. To this, I call BS.

If the FISA court is too overburdened, you expand it capacity! We have spent billions of dollars to fight the war in Iraq. For one millionth of the price it cost to fight that war we could have enough judges to hear every warrant application within 24 hours of its submission. This is well within the 72 hours that the law gives to authorities to retroactively request a warrant. Just because something is slow is no excuse to break the law. You do not have the right to drive on the shoulder of the road just because there is a continual traffic jam. You widen the roads. You make the stop light work in unison. Basically you redesign the system to fit the congestion. Bush would have us believe this is impossible. That is not true. If it is broke, fix it. Don't ignore it.

Three, fighting for security can make you less secure. It depends on how you are fighting for it. By creating a system of fear and perceived oppression, you do not foster security at home or abroad. If you fear the government, you do not have a vested interest in preserving it. It is possible to make it virtually impossible for terrorist to ever strike us again. The Soviet Union was a very secure place, but we saw what happened once the government was no longer able to control the people. When you monitor all people in order to protect the people, you drive all of the people underground, thus making it more difficult to actually differentiate those of us who are a real threat to society, and those of us who are merely disliking the government looking over our shoulder.

This is the same with our actions overseas. Directly after 9/11, we were the victims who were attacked. We had the good will of the world, and they were willing to help us defend ourselves. Subsequent to that, we turned from the victims to the aggressors. The man who had been cold cocked on the street went on a rampage. How does this make us safer? What compels moderate Muslims who were on our side to speak up for us and to aid us in finding those who still wish to harm us. If we do not present an ideological model that is superior to those who wish to harm us, how do we ask others to help us. Currently, the rest of the world can not differentiate us from our enemies. It is just two jerks fighting each other in a bar. No body is jumping in to break up the fight because they are kind of hoping we will knock each other out and leave the rest of them alone.

As for the jihadist that already exist. Frankly there is not much you can do about them except limit the amount of tacit support they receive so as to make their mission more difficult, if not impossible. It is like arguing with someone who is willing to kill women's clinics Dr.s to stop abortion. There is no logic in it. Morality has been hijacked by warped rationalization. The key is not creating new jihadist. There is no way to stop someone who is inststant from converting everyone to Islam any more than those who insist that all people become Christian. The only way to limit this in America is to protect the freedom of religion and to live within the laws that ensure this protection.

There is no easy answer to his question. But I will say that blindly trusting Bush to protect us, and by handing over all of our freedoms to the president so he may do as he seems fit to protect us will bring us neither security or freedom. It has been proven over and over again, the government must work within the bounds of the law or it will abuse its powers. This is not a possibility, but a certainty.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Freedom Vs. Security

With George Bush putting on his media blitz the past two weeks, trying to shore up support for his failing policies at home and abroad, he constantly returns to the rally cry of "War Against Terror." His only option these days in his talking points, whether it be illegal wire taps or treatment of detainees is to say "trust me" or "freedom isn't free." He seems to have placed security of our nation far ahead of freedom. Is this American?

This rhetoric made me think of a quote by James Madison, the father of the Bill of Rights:

The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become the instruments of tyranny at home.

Of course, the split in support of the president is sharpest along party lines. This made me wonder, what was the difference between liberals and conservatives on this matter? Why is it that liberals are more concerned with freedom and conservatives more concerned with security? Why is it that conservatives don't see the grandeur of freedom the same as the founding fathers did? And why liberals see a tangible danger to safety less important than fundamental freedom?

I remembered reading something over at My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.

I saw National Treasure this weekend with some family, and it had some interesting lines in it. At one point, he quite rightly said that by signing the Declaration of Independence, they were signing their own treason. They were doing what was right, for the safety and security of their own people, to pull away from a tyrannical government.

This is where the difference lies. Not only do conservatives make a fundamental misjudgment about the founding of our nation, they fail to see that they are fundamentally different than our founders.

First, the misjudgment of our founding fathers. The founding fathers were not fighting for safety and security. This is an assertion I have seen over and over from conservative bloggers. Yes, we were separating ourselves from a tyrannical government. No, it was not for safety and security. The rule of King George was not like the rule of Saddam Hussein. King George did not have torture chambers set up across the colonies. King George was not gassing the Virginians. We fought not for safety, but for freedom.

In fact, the founders made a conscious decision to give up safety and security for fundamental freedom. The founders decided the risk of death was less important than the acquisition of freedom. To them, the trade of was security for freedom, not freedom for security. The founders fought and gave their lives willingly to enshrine in a constitution certain freedoms that were more important than temporary security. Benjamin Franklin said it best:

They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security

Second, conservatives fail to see that they are in fact they are the ones that were the loyalists, not the revolutionaries. The passage of two hundred years does not change the fact that the founding fathers were "barking moonbats," as conservatives like to call liberals now. The founders' ideas were bold and, without question, the most liberal the world had seen in over 2000 years. Shrugging off the yoke of thousands of years of hereditary rule for the liberalization of law, rights and freedom was not the work of conservatives. It was the work of men who were embarking on the greatest experiment the world had ever seen.

Conservatives of the day thought the revolutionaries were crazy. "Separate from our king? You can do that... he is our king." Is there any question who's side Rush Limbaugh would have been on? He would have been on his soap box, somewhere in colonial American yelling, "friends!... these revolutionaries!... these traitors to the crown want to destroy everything that makes these British colonies great! They call themselves patriots, but they want to depose the king, the god appointed sovereign."

I have often said, conservatives are just those who accept the ideas of liberals that came several generations before them. Every idea was new at some point.

This is not to say that all liberal ideas are good, nor will they all be accepted with the passage of time. But, all of the things we accept now as fundamental American principals, were new liberal ideas in their day.

End to slavery, end to segregation, women's right to vote. All of these were moonbat ideas at their inception, but are embraced as fundamental by both conservatives and liberals now.

So, when thinking about what our founding fathers would have thought about the current NSA warrantless spying or denying basic human rights to anyone, think of what our founding fathers really thought, not what you may want them to have thought.

Posterity, you will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in heaven that ever I took half the pains to preserve it. - James Madison

George Allen Continues to Implode

Lil' George Allen continued his public implosion, and this time, it is getting just plain weird.

In a debate with Jim Webb, his democratic opponent, Allen was asked about his grandfather, whom Allen repeatedly points out was in a Nazi concentration camp.

"It has been reported," said Fox, that "your grandfather Felix, whom you were given your middle name for, was Jewish. Could you please tell us whether your forebears include Jews and, if so, at which point Jewish identity might have ended?"

This is a legitimate question. If you are going to say that your grandfather was in a concentration camp, it is logical to assume that he was Jewish. It is not a definite, but that why the question is asked.

But that is when things start getting weird. All of the Allen supporters started booing and hissing at the moderator, showing that such a contention that their guy might have any "Christ killer" in him is completely unthinkable.

Allen then recoils like someone had just called his mother a two bit whore. He exploded saying that freedom of religion is the first amendment and that he should never have to answer such hideous questions.

Lil' Georgie exclaimed after stating he would not answer that question:
"My mother is French-Italian with a little Spanish blood in her."

YOu could hear see he just wanted to shout out, "I'm not a Jew!.. I'm not, I'm not, I'm not!!!!" I was just waiting for him to throw himself on the floor and start kicking a screaming. He then went on to claim that she was making aspersions against him for bring up the quesiton. If it is no big deal, why is it and aspersion?

For Pete's sake, George! Having Jewish ancestry is nothing to be ashamed about. There have been thousands of contributions from Jews that make our lives better. Einstein was a Jew. Not too shabby... Mel Brooks is a Jew. Think where this world would be right now without "Blazing Saddles." Think about it George!

And if you weren't going to answer the question, why did you have to then go rattle off what your mother was? Isn't that answering the question?

No George, having a Jewish grandfather is nothing to be ashamed of.

Assuming that someone is a foreigner and calling them Macaca just because they don't look like the other whities at the country club is something to be ashamed of.

Voting against Martin Luther King day, but voting for Confederate history month is something to be ashamed of.

Associating with know racists and actively seeking their help is something to be ashamed of.

Keeping a noose and a confederate flag in your office when you were the governor is something to be ashamed of.

Writing ethnic slurs on your high school walls is something to be ashamed of.

I think Wonkette said it best:

And George Allen — whose mother was, yes, of the prosperous and well-known Jewish Lumbroso family — clearly so shocked — shocked! — at the question that he can’t bring himself to just f*cking say “yes, my mom was a Jew, that’s why I bring up the fact that my grandfather was in a f*cking concentration camp.”

H/T and video link - Wonkette

UN In Session - The World Is Out To Lunch

The UN General Assemble is in session, and that means it is protest week here in New York. 15 blocks of war protestors just marched past my window. Last night, it was Pakistanis protesting "honor killings" in their home country. The protestors are parked day and night in front of the Iranian Embassy, and there are uniformed police 24/7 in front of the Iraqi Embassy. I am sure there are multitutdes of others going on that I will not see.

The best was yesterday afternoon though. They had closed down 6th Ave for Bush to come through on. My office window directly looks onto 6th Ave, so I had a good shot of the president driving by. I could see him waiving from the window of his limo.

About two minutes later, my office mate walks into the room, returning from a meeting. He was grumbling.

"bad meeting?" I asked.

"No, it was the freaking president driving by. He had a big ol' grin on his face and he was waiving at us like we had all come out to cheer him on. The only reason we were there at the barricades is because they wouldn't let us cross the damn street. The only person who was there to see him was this old lady who came out to give him a one finger salute. I had never heard a geriatric cures like a sailor like that before."

So, Bush will go before the UN and attempt not to bump into any Iranians in the halls. No one will listen because no one trusts him, and the world will go on being as messed up as before.

Monday, September 18, 2006

The Pope's Comments

Ok, now let me get this right. The Pope recites some comments written in the 14th century that, admittedly, can be offensive to Muslims. The 14th century writer basically said that the followers of Mohammad spread their religion through violence and that Islam brought "only evil and inhuman" things to the world.

To protest this, Muslims go on a rampage, bombing churches and firing bullets willy-nilly. (Iraq al-Qaida says pope, West are doomed). Basically, they said, "We are not a religion of violence! And if you say that again, we will kill you!"

Do they not get the point? If you are a religion of peace, you do not get violent to protest someone saying your religion is violent!

I agree that the pope should apologize for his comments (Pope 'Sorry' About Reaction to Islam Remark). They were not necessary in order to have the debate on the problems surrounding Islam. I don't necessarily think they were the most hurtful words in the world, but the theological debate could have been started in a much better way than quoting a 14th century Byzantine emperor.

But to go on a rampage? You are only proving his point. Muslims basically said, "were not violent, and to prove it, we are going to blow up the Vatican."

I think Bush should convert to Islam and become there leader. He makes as little sense as they do.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Flawed Logic

Today, President Bush claimed that those of us who believe that torture is immoral and that Bush's policies in the war on terror have strayed from the foundations of what makes this country great and respected around the world, have "flawed logic."

Let me tell you what is flawed logic - anything and everything that is coming from the White House.

We cannot and will not win the war on terror following the lead of George Bush. The war on terror is not for the conquest of land. It is not over the rights of waterways or over natural resources.

The war on terror is over the mind. We are fighting a war of ideology and to win a war of ideology, we must have the decisively better ideological model.

This is not a theoretical scenario, but an actuality. No nation has ever 'won' a ideological war based on the suppression of an opposition group. It can only win the ideological war when the ideas that one nation possesses are seen as superior and embraced by the opposition. And we can be seen as being better if we are not better.

In Viet Nam, we only started to win once we change the ideological campaign, but by then, the political will was gone at home.

The Soviet Union had legions of secret police that would suppress and oppress, abduct and torture, but it also lost the war because we were seen as ideologically superior.

If we do not differentiate ourselves from the terrorist as being morally and ideologically superior to them, we will lose this war because we can never win it in that fashion. Bush lacks moral clerity of his own to understand the importance of this need.

Would it me easier to catch terrorist by torturing prisoners? Yes, without question. But all we do is create hate and resentment through out the region and the world. Everyone is afraid of the bully and will do what he says because they are afraid of him. But everyone is secretly hating him and wishing for someone to come along and knock him out.

Bush wants to be the bully. I want us to be the guy who protects the other kids from the bully. Not only is he only going to make us less saf at home, he risks the troops on the ground.

The only ideological flaw going on here is Bush's brain... or lack thereof.

Bush fights GOP revolt over terror bill
By TERENCE HUNT, AP White House Correspondent
19 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - President Bush fought back Friday against a Republican revolt in the Senate over tough anti-terror legislation and rejected warnings that the United States had lost the high moral ground to adversaries. "It's flawed logic," he snapped.

Bush urged lawmakers to quickly approve legislation authorizing military tribunals and harsh interrogations of terror suspects in order to shield U.S. personnel from being prosecuted for war crimes under the Geneva Conventions, which set international standards for the treatment of prisoners of war.

Tough interrogations have been instrumental in preventing attacks against the United States, Bush said. "Time's running out" for the legislation, he warned, with Congress set to adjourn in a few weeks.

The president called a Rose Garden news conference to confront a Republican rebellion led by Sens. John Warner of Virginia, John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Susan Collins of Maine.

To the administration's dismay, Colin Powell, Bush's former secretary of state, has joined with the lawmakers. Powell said Bush's plan to redefine the Geneva Conventions would cause the world "to doubt the moral basis" of the fight against terror and "put our own troops at risk."

(Full Story)

Also see - Senators Defy Bush On Terror Measure

Update: Bush Detainee Plan Adds to World Doubts Of U.S., Powell Says
By Karen DeYoung and Peter Baker
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, September 19, 2006; Page A04

Former secretary of state Colin L. Powell said yesterday that he decided to publicly oppose the Bush administration's proposed rules for the treatment of terrorism suspects in part because the plan would add to growing doubts about whether the United States adheres to its own moral code.

"If you just look at how we are perceived in the world and the kind of criticism we have taken over Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and renditions," Powell said in an interview, "whether we believe it or not, people are now starting to question whether we're following our own high standards."

(Full Story)

Update: TGL has a good skit on Bush Vs. Powell

The Newest Monument on the White House Grounds

Today, in a grand ceremony, King George unveiled the newest monument on the White House grounds. It was designed by George himself to represent his administration's view on freedom in the U.S.

Amnisty International Accuses Hezbollah of War Crimes

While this is quite evident to everyone with a brain, it appears that there are a lot of people lacking brains these days.

Hezbollah attacked civilians purposfully, with the intent to cause death and terror to an innocent population.

Regardless of your feelings on the conflict (who was right and who was wrong), there is no justification for hezbollah's attacks against civilians.

Amnesty accuses Hezbollah of war crimes against Israelis
by Phil Hazlewood
Thu Sep 14, 12:54 PM ET

LONDON (AFP) - The militant Shiite group Hezbollah committed war crimes in its deliberate targeting of civilians in the recent conflict with Israel, according to Amnesty International.

The London-based human rights group said the guerillas fired nearly 4,000 rockets into northern Israel, killing 43 civilians, seriously injuring 33 others and forcing hundreds of thousands to take refuge or flee.

About a quarter of all rockets -- some packed with thousands of metal ball bearings -- were fired directly into urban areas, it added in a nine-page document called "Under fire -- Hezbollah's attacks on northern Israel".

It was only because Israeli civilians fled their homes or took shelter in bunkers that a higher death toll was prevented, it said.

"The scale of Hezbollah's attacks on Israeli cities, towns and villages, the indiscriminate nature of the weapons used and statements from the leadership confirming their intent to target civilians make it all too clear that Hezbollah violated the laws of war," said Amnesty's secretary-general Irene Khan.

"The fact that Israel has also committed serious violations in no way justifies violations by Hezbollah. Civilians must not be made to pay the price for unlawful conduct on either side."

(Full Story)

Republican Bob Ney to Plead Guilty

Ohio Republican Senator, Bob Ney, has decided to plead guilty to federal charges today.

Ney, who has been implicated by Jack Abramoff as one of the several prominent Republicans guilty of bribery. Last month, the GOP talked him into not running for re-election due to the corruption scandal. It looks like he knew that the writing was on the wall.

Now, we just need to get Jefferson out to.

Ney to Plead Guilty in Scandal
By Jonathan Weisman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 15, 2006; Page A04

Rep. Robert W. Ney (R-Ohio) is expected to plead guilty in the coming days to charges stemming from his association with convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff, and he will blame a long-standing problem with alcohol for behavior that spiraled down to illegality, sources close to the congressman said last night.

Ney, known in Abramoff-related court documents as "Representative No. 1," checked into a rehabilitation clinic for alcoholism yesterday, a senior House official and personal friend said yesterday. Under pressure from Republican leaders worried about losing his seat, Ney announced this summer that he would retire from Congress at the end of the year.

(Full Story)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

George Allen - Very Bad Things

It looks as though George Allen, incumbent Republican Senator from Virginia, is trying to self destruct.

Not only is Allen now holding "ethnic rallies" (although I will give Allen credit for nixing the original rally title "the darkies like me") to try to wash his hands of a questionably racist past, but now he is plagiarizing fellow senators amendments.

On the senate floor, Allen blazingly proposed an amendment that he stole from Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill). Dick Durbin distributed an amendment on the house floor that he planned to introduce later that day. Allen, asked for some time to speak prior to Durbin's allotted time. Allen basically crossed Durbin's name off the top of the bill and wrote his own name in.

It was not like Allen proposed a substantially similar bill... Noooo... except for changing one word ('Will' to 'Shall'), it was the exact same bill.

At 2:30 PM this afternoon the U.S. Senate began debate of the Department of Defense appropriations for FY 2007.

Already on the docket was Senator Dick Durbin, who was scheduled to introduce an amendment to the bill providing $19 million in additional funding for the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center program, which provides treatment care and research for veterans suffering from traumatic brain injuries.

That meant that Durbin’s amendment had already been written, printed and prepared for introduction by Durbin. Yet, before Durbin could take the floor to introduce his amendment, George Allen entered the Senate Chamber and asked for permission to speak before Durbin.

When permission was granted ahead of Durbin, lo and behold, Allen introduced an amendment to the DOD appropriations bill that, how could this be, was identical in language to Durbin’s bill with the exception of one word – the word “will” was changed in Allen’s amendment and replaced with the word “shall.” Other than that, the amendments were identical – Durbin’s amendment had been printed and set to be formally introduced, Allen’s bill had not been written or been placed on the docket to be introduced. - James Webb for Senate

You know your campeign is hitting the skids when you start trying to win political points by stealing amendments. Allen's presidential aspirations are completely over now. I am starting to wonder if he can even pull out a re-election to the Senate.

Chafee Hangs On In R.I.

Incumbent Republican Senator of Rhode Island, Lincoln Chafee, barely held on to his parties nomination yesterday in the R.I. primaries. Even though Chafee beat his opponent by 8% points (54%-46%), I say barely because Chafee is not the choice of R.I. Republicans. Going into Tuesdays primaries, I saw one poll putting Stephen Laffey ahead at 64% with registered Republicans.

The only way that Chafee squeaked this one out is because independents are able to vote in either party primaries. Without the support of moderate independents, Laffey would have upset Chafee.

National Republicans were taking the offensive against Laffey because he would have gone on to almost certain defeat against the Democratic contender. The National Republican Senatorial Committee even funneled its own money into attack ads against Laffey in order to help Chafee win the parties nomination.

It will be interesting to see how things will turn out in November. Has Chafee been damaged by the close race? Only time will tell.

Moderate GOP Senator Beats Conservative Challenger in R.I.
By Shailagh Murray and Zachary A. Goldfarb
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, September 13, 2006; Page A01

PROVIDENCE, R.I., Sept. 12 -- Sen. Lincoln D. Chafee, a moderate who has frequently clashed with the Bush administration, beat back a strong conservative challenger Tuesday night in the GOP primary in Rhode Island.

The victory came amid heavy turnout, after the same Republican establishment that Chafee has so often defied rallied to his side with money and logistical support for a vigorous get-out-the-vote effort. While there is little personal affection for Chafee at the White House, operatives there and in the Republican Party leadership calculated that he is the GOP's best chance of holding the seat in a Democratic-leaning state in November.

(Full Story)

Constitutional Matters Project

There is a new web-site with a conglomeration of articles from right, left and center called the Constitutional Matters Project. I recommend a look-see. There is some humor, some serious, some reasonable and some outrageous, but something for everyone.

Monday, September 11, 2006

9/11 Remembered

Today is not about partisan politics, and shame on anyone who makes it so. Today is about remembering those who lost there lives on a beautiful September morning for no other reason than hate.

It is another beautiful September morning here in New York, much like that day five years ago. It is hard to imagine that so much carnage can happen on a day such as this. I watched some of the memorial this morning. The pain is still there for those who lost loved ones. The anxiety in New York is still drilled deep into our souls.

I will leave you today with what I wrote last year on this somber day. It is nothing special in the grand scope of how words can hurt or heal. Just words about being American. A year has gone by and many things have changed, and many remain the same...

For me, I spent 9/11 doing one of the most American of activities - Baseball. Yankees vs. Red Sox. It was nice because there is no politics involved. We sat next to my friends father who is an Israeli immigrant. No discussions of the Gaza pullout, just about when the pitcher should be pulled. No one in the crowd cared who held the Ohio 2nd congressional seat, just about who was on 2nd base.

That night, from my balcony, I could see the two beams of light that reached into the sky from the footprints of the twin towers. It was somber to say the least. But, I also realized that they reached into the sky about as far as our potential reaches... In other words, far beyond our own vision.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Once Again - No Iraq/ Al Qaida Connection Confirmed

One again, it has been confirmed that there was no connection between Saddam and al-Qaeda, this time by the Senate.

Al-Qaeda was in Afghanistan, chumming around with the Taliban...

This is the same Afghanistan that we basically abandoned to go war a completely unrelated war in Iraq. Meanwhile, the Taliban is growing stronger in Afghanistan and most of the country is still a haven to terrorist.

So, please tell me again - How is Bush making us safer and fighting a war on terror? If he were really fighting a war on terror, he would have finished the job in Afghanistan.

Everytime he says "9/11" or the "war on terror," he just makes me want to puke.

Face it people. The only connection that al-Queda and Saddam had was when Rumsfeld was dealing with them both.

Senate: No prewar Saddam-al-Qaida ties
By JIM ABRAMS, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - There's no evidence Saddam Hussein had ties with al-Qaida, according to a Senate report on prewar intelligence that Democrats say undercuts President Bush's justification for invading Iraq.

Bush administration officials have insisted on a link between the Iraqi regime and terror leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Intelligence agencies, however, concluded there was none.

Republicans countered that there was little new in the report and Democrats were trying to score election-year points with it.

The declassified document released Friday by the intelligence committee also explores the role that inaccurate information supplied by the anti-Saddam exile group the Iraqi National Congress had in the march to war.

(Full Story)

Thursday, September 07, 2006

World Dunce Champion of the World

Looks like my idea of televising a royal smack down debate between the President of the United States and the President or Iran is making headway.

My post on the challenge from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to debate Bush live on TV was picked up by the Constitutional Matters Project which goes live on the web on the 10th.

I'll post again on the CMP once it is up and running.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Iran to Purge Liberal Profs

Iran's president, Ahmadinejad, is calling for the universities to purge all of the liberal professors from it ranks in order to get back to a more "fundamental" form of education.

Now, where have I heard this before?... Hmmm... Oh yes, that is right. The conservatives in our own country are constantly calling for the liberal professors to be purged from the ranks of academia. It has long been the cry of American conservatives that liberal educators are destroying the traditional, wholesome Christian values in this country.

This is just more proof that conservatives of middle east and west are ideologically the same. If conservatives in this country had their way, liberal professors in this country would be heading for early retirement as well.

Iran head wants liberal teachers ousted
By NASSER KARIMI, Associated Press Writer
Tue Sep 5, 6:50 PM ET

TEHRAN, Iran - Iran's hard-line president urged students Tuesday to push for a purge of liberal and secular university teachers, another sign of his determination to strengthen Islamic fundamentalism in the country.

With his call echoing the rhetoric of the nation's 1979 Islamic revolution, Ahmadinejad appears determined to remake Iran by reviving the fundamentalist goals pursued under the republic's late founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

Ahmadinejad's call was not a surprise — since taking office a year ago, he also has moved to replace pragmatic veterans in the government and diplomatic corps with former military commanders and inexperienced religious hard-liners.

Iran still has strong moderate factions but Ahmadinejad's administration also has launched crackdowns on independent journalists, Web sites and bloggers.

Speaking to a group of students Tuesday, Ahmadinejad called on them to pressure his administration to keep driving out moderate instructors, a process that began earlier this year.

Dozens of liberal university professors and teachers were sent into retirement this year after Ahmadinejad's administration, sparking strong protests from students, named the first cleric to head Tehran University.

(Full Story)

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Reading Is Good

Having problems finding enough time to sit down and finaly finishing My Pet Goat?

H/T - Book Lust

Friday, September 01, 2006

BLM Gets Called Out By Internal Investigation

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is known by anyone who has any experience with environmental law, to be an agency of industry (mainly oil, gas, and mining) and not really an agency of the government. It is supposed to protect and preserve the lands owned by the American people while also putting it to productive uses.

Well, it puts the lands to productive use... but only in order to make industry a lot of money at the expense of the taxpayer. Industry can get drilling and mining rights for pennies on the dollar compared to what would be paid to a private land owner.

Now, the BLM is not even monitoring the oil & gas industry as it promised to do to get around the fact that they are not protecting and preserving the land as is in there mandate.

Neglected Vows Cited At BLM
By Blaine Harden
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 1, 2006; Page A03

The Bureau of Land Management has neglected its public commitments to monitor and limit harm to wildlife and air quality from natural gas drilling in western Wyoming, according to an internal BLM assessment.

In the Pinedale, Wyo., field office of the BLM, which oversees one of the most productive and profitable gas fields on public land in the West, there is often "no evaluation, analysis or compiling" of data tracking the environmental consequences of drilling, according to the document, which was written in May and which BLM officials confirm is genuine.

(Full Story)