27 September 2007

My e-mail to Senator Feinstein's office

Your automated e-mail reply says the staff "tallies" the input, but it seems to have no effect. The Senator continues to enable the right wing of the Republican party by voting for such atrocities as the Lieberman/Kyl amendment and the unconstitutional FISA extension. Surely Ms. Feinstein knows that these votes are inimical to the majority of her California Democratic constituents' views? Reliable and easily available polling data will advise her of this fact. I am wondering just what the Senator thinks it means to be a Democrat? I can tell you quite plainly what it does not mean. It does not mean endorsing conservative Republican foreign policy and "national security" initiatives which are contrary to the founding principles of our nation and counterproductive to our national interests. This, regrettably, the Senator has done repeatedly.

I'm sorry to have to put this so bluntly, but at this point I have to hope Senator Feinstein chooses to retire at the end of her term so we can elect a real Democrat.

26 September 2007

Greenwald: Iran baiting, telecom immunity, so depressing

Astounding. Read Greenwald today. Even Chris Matthews and Pat Buchanan (!!!) are repelled by the madness of Iran baiting that's going on in the media and political discourse in this country.

His other topic is so depressing. The damned Congressional Democrats are fixing to forfeit the rule of law again and hand extraordinary and just plain unAmerican immmunity to the telecoms for FISA violations. Why even have laws? The King and his minions need not obey them. Cause they say so, and that's that, and you have nothing to say about it.

Olbermann yesterday noted, and I think it was normally pretty tepid Howard Fineman who agreed, that any sort of logic of this particular Bush admin. request is utterly lacking. They claim, in their usual undocumented and dubious manner, that there were no FISA violations by the telecoms. If that's so, why are they and their Dem Congressional enablers so determined to cut a semi-secret deal, freezing out civil liberties advocates from even knowing what's in the bill, to immunize them for their past actions? Makes no sense. Or, wait. Sure it does. They're lying. Again. Big surprise.

The real reason, of course, is that they're afraid that the civil lawsuit against AT&T now pending in the Ninth Circuit will actually establish as irrefutable fact the already known massive illegal activities on the part of the Bush administration between 2001-2005. If this dirty deal passes, that suit is mooted immediately, and the Government's motion to dismiss is granted. Poof.

25 September 2007

Blackwater Mercenaries Out!

I cannot for the life of me understand how it is that the killing of unarmed civilians last week by Blackwater mercenaries in Iraq has not produced (1) an official condemnation and 'statement of regret,' at least, from the U.S. Government; and (2) an outpouring of condemnation from the U.S. Public, accompanied by a demand that the use of lawless mercenaries be first reined in, then ultimately eliminated, from any ongoing or future U.S. military involvement on foreign soil.

The use of mercenary troops by the British was one of the justifications for the American Revolution, lest we forget. Their use by the current administration in Iraq, like many of their other war policies, is despicable and unAmerican.

19 September 2007

My letter to both senators and Congressman re: no extension of FISA expansion and no retroactive immunity to telecoms

Dear Senator Feinstein/Senator Boxer/Congressman Berman:

I am writing to urge you to OPPOSE any extension of President Bush's previously and rightfully ILLEGAL use of warrantless wiretaps without court supervision; and further, to urge you to STRONGLY OPPOSE any retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies for their violation of then-existing law in the period 2001-2005 or at any other time.

It is vital that the secret usurpation of the rule of law by this White House be resisted, and that a strong message be sent that violations of the law will not be retroactively condoned.

I am of the view that this President, his Vice President, and others in the administration, should have been, and still should be, impeached for the clear commission of numerous felonies in connection with illegal wiretapping. But, AT THE VERY LEAST, it is vital that secret unconstitutional surveillance be stopped, and that those who violated the law be held to account.

Thank you.

David Studhalter

17 September 2007

My letter to Glenn Greenwald, how about some commitments to demand from presidential candidates?

Mr. Greenwald,

I'd like to suggest that you would be an ideal person to formulate and explain a list of ten or so commitments which voters should demand of candidates for president (of both parties, but particularly Democrats), to reverse some of the worst excesses of the present administration. Things like: no warrantless wiretapping without compliance with FISA; no more signing statements asserting the right to act above the law; full compliance with the War Powers Act in spirit and letter, restoration of habeas corpus and endorsement of the right not to be held without due process, etc. You, much better than I, can think of and prioritize what's really important.

I fear that many of Bush's 'unitary executive' powers will be more than comfy for Democratic presidents in the future unless it's made clear to them now that the people want their Constitutional government back. It seems to me a little holding of their feet to the fire, demanding that they commit now to reversing these horrible developments, is in order.

Thank you.

14 September 2007

Pathetic, W.

Josh Marshall about says it all with regard to the now completely pathetic explanations for the failed war coming out of President Bush's mouth:

Like I said, whatever. I know this reads like an expression of cynicism or disengagement. But while the president's chatter, with its brainlessness and brazenness, drives many to distraction, I think this is the only appropriate response. Anyone watching what's happening can see that what the president is talking about bears no relation to what's actually happening in Iraq -- a fact well confirmed by the fact that polls show no change in the public's take on what's happening in response to the president's speech. Primitive animals will sometimes keep chattering or twitching their muscles even after their heads have been cut off. And that's probably the best analogy today to the president's continuing enunciation of his policies.

The president's continuing power as commander-in-chief, behind a wall of 1/3+ support in the Congress, is key. His arguments aren't. They have simply predeceased his presidency.

The sad thing about all this is the victims: soldiers still dying and being injured for no legitimate American interests, Iraqis who by now would, on the whole, have been better off had we never been involved there, and the absolute fiasco that is American foreign policy and damage to its repuation in the world for decades to come.

Bush already setting up Dolschtoss

Here's the conclusion of Krugman's column today (unfortunately behind Times Select wall):

Here’s how I see it: At this point, Mr. Bush is looking forward to replaying the political aftermath of Vietnam, in which the right wing eventually achieved a rewriting of history that would have made George Orwell proud, convincing millions of Americans that our soldiers had victory in their grasp but were stabbed in the back by the peaceniks back home.

What all this means is that the next president, even as he or she tries to extricate us from Iraq — and prevent the country’s breakup from turning into a regional war — will have to deal with constant sniping from the people who lied us into an unnecessary war, then lost the war they started, but will never, ever, take responsibility for their failures.

Only a right-wing ideologue could disagree with this, I'd say. But in actual fact, they fully intend to use this Big Lie in the future to try to shift blame for 'losing the war' to Democrats.
-- * Dolschtoss (n. -Ger.): 'a stab in the back.' Used by Nazis as a code word for alleged betrayal by Weimar liberals in acquiescing to Versailles strictures, among other things.

12 September 2007

Moveon.org: General "Betray Us" and double standard in political rhetoric

Glenn is absolutely right that there's a huge double standard in the "permissible" rhetoric of pro-war and anti-war politics. When Fox News' most rabid right-wing loudmouth hosts (or fawningly approved guests like Michael Reagan) do things like call for Howard Dean to be "arrested" and "hung for treason," everybody just chuckles at the rhetorical excess, but when an anti-war ad refers to General "Betray-Us" in reference to the general's demonstrable deliberate political shilling for the administration and its failed policy, and in reference to the cooked numbers in his testimony before Congress, which are deceptive in a deliberate effort to influence policies that the majority of Americans now believe will harm America's interests, even the "liberal media" (like Time's Joe Klein) gets all in a lather about the "grave slander."

Slander (or libel), it should be pointed out, requires untruth, and opinion isn't slander. I read the moveon.org ad. Whatever you think of the use of the loaded pun (at worst, in my view, dumb because it stirred up a pointless controversy)... it isn't slander. We do still have a First Amendment in this country, at least for the present.