Tag Archives: bush

Should America have a secret police answerable only to the president?

10 Mar

Since it’s now apparently normal and OK for the president to have the power to execute American citizens with no judicial due process, congressional, or judicial oversight, why not a secret police force? If we’ve already established that it’s OK to execute citizens over seas, why not here inside the country? (The whitehouse has already acknowledged killing Americans overseas, but they won’t let on if they’re planning on using drones inside the country.) Why does it matter if the president uses a drone or a man with a gun? They both achieve the same effect. The executive branch, through Bush and now Obama, has already asserted it’s right to perform warrant-less wiretaps, searches and seizures, indefinite detention, and suspend habeus corpus. You just need to be labeled an enemy combatant or terrorist to lose all your rights. With the new ability to extrajudicial execute Americans, it would make a lot more sense for the president to form a special terror-fighting task force that combines all these powers. They would be able to spy on all Americans freely, arrest terrorists and dissidents, and imprison/execute offenders. Operating as an independent task-force answerable to only the executive branch would enable them to move quickly and decisively when protecting the state. We could call it something snazzy like the Security Task-force And Safety Initiative.

Why Obama is a fool

20 Aug

Last presidential election I voted for Obama. During the the previous 8 years under Bush, the political pendulum of the United States swung far to the right. Here, I thought, was a chance to swing it back and correct for the damage done in those 8 years; it was hard not to drink the Obama “hope kool-aid”. Did the pendulum swing equally far to the left after the election as it had swung to the right? No. If anything, since his election, Obama has shown himself to be pragmatic to a fault. So far he has proved to be extreme only in his mediocrity. He keeps playing to the middle of every issue, and he’s an idiot for it. Why is this foolish? Simple: he’s neglecting his base and breaking promises he made in an attempt to appease and include his opposition.

Normally, trying to compromise with your opposition and reach an agreement would be a good thing, but that’s assuming your opposition also wants what’s best for the country. Here’s where Obama goes wrong when trying to work with the republican leadership: The republican game plan is to make everything as horrible as possible in the run up to elections. Since the democrats are in control, they take the blame for when things go wrong. The republicans see that Obama is a push over and so they suggest the most damaging and radical ideas they can think of. They know they won’t get all of it in, but they can count on Obama to try and compromise, thus bad ideas get pushed through. When everything goes to shit, the republicans then through up their hands and go “See! What did I tell you? Government can’t make anything better, especially when the democrats are in charge! Vote republican!”

It’s brilliant really; brilliant and extremely sadistic at the same time. The fact is, despite all the drum beating and flag waving, republican leadership doesn’t give a shit about the rest of the country. All that matters are the super rich, the poor guy can go to hell. Off the top of my head, look at the unemployment relief package that just passed. $30bn to give aid to people who can’t afford to feed their families because they lost their jobs because of  mismanagement of the economy by super-banks. The republicans flipped out! They started crying about the deficit, suddenly caring now, in the middle of the worst recession since the great depression. (Where were they when Bush sunk us after Clinton’s surpluses? Oh wait, we were killing foreigners with the money so it was ok) You don’t cut government spending in a recession. The government is the only one around with the credit rating and ability to pump money into the system to jump start economic activity. You pay down the deficit during an economic boom as Clinton (D) did. But while the republicans were howling at spending $30bn to help the hardest hit families in the country, they started to dig in their heels on the issue of Bush’s tax cuts. Reinstating Bush’s tax cuts would cost us around $607bn dollars. That’s more than if we passed the unemployment aid 20 times over. The republicans are now trying to get popular support for the tax cuts from their gullible base. The fools see “tax cut” and think it’s a tax cut for them. It’s not. The tax cuts were for the richest Americans in the country. The rank and file republican voter won’t get shit, but he doesn’t know that.

Obama keeps giving in to these people while swatting away the very people who elected him. If he actually grew a pair and pushed the political pendulum back to the left, then things would start to get better, but he keeps trudging through this lukewarm crap. I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but I’m starting to think I should have voted for McCain. “Whoa! How the hell would that make things better?” Simple. Obama winning the election was the best thing that happened to the republicans. During the 8 years under Bush, republicans had fucked things up so badly, that they knew it was all going to come crashing down on the next president. (They really started to see this when the economy first started coughing up blood right before the election) It was like this looming tsunami that would inevitably crash on the next president, who would undoubtedly take the blame for all of it. Had McCain won, the entire house of cards, the effects of 8+ years of solid republican rule, would have come crashing down on him. It would have been the death of the republican party. But no, we elected Obama out of desperation and “the audacity to hope”. Predictably the shit hits the fan, and this gives the republicans the perfect fear filled fuel to fire up their base and regroup.

“Look what happens when you elect a liberal! The country goes to hell!” (Even though Obama is a really conservative liberal, and what’s happening now was set in motion long before he was elected; but the American electorate are stupid children with Attention Deficit Disorder) So now the republican base is frothing at the mouth and can see blood in the water. Elections are fast approaching and the democrats are going to lose BIG. With a yet again a republican controlled congress, Obama will quickly become the conservative’s bitch in his desperate bid for approval from the people who despise him. A dark time for progressives indeed.

Just watched “Capitalism: A love story”

7 Jun

I will state up front that I consider myself a socialist. Not the “Zomg! Obama’s a fascist/socialist/communist/racist/muslim!!!11” kind that the people with tinfoil hats seem to think is socialism, but the one of the actual kinds of socialism.

To be completely honest, I’m not quite sure exactly where I fit on the socialist spectrum. I think I land somewhere between “progressive” and “democratic socialist“.  (At least those were my top too according to this test)

I’m of the position that a government, formed by the people, should be charged with conducting itself in a manner that best protects the interests of the people as a whole. In other words, the government should work to make sure the greatest number of people possible have the best standard of living possible. (Yet the rights/views of minorities should be protected, hence why I don’t believe in direct democracies that lead to mob rule, but I digress)

I feel that hard work should be rewarded, and that people should benefit from their labor. But then this is where my views get confusing, even to me. I do not feel that the wealthiest people in America are necessarily “hard workers”. I feel they cynically game the system much the same way welfare freebooters game the system.

My view that the wealthiest people unfairly manipulate the system was really confirmed by this movie. Now before you make the assumption that I am some Michael Moore fan boy, there was a lot about this movie that did not sit well with me. I felt the lion share of this movie was an appeal to emotion, which makes sense, Moore is trying to outrage you into action, yet I would have preferred he focus more on facts rather than sensationalist teary-eyed families being forced out of their homes.

The facts that are in this movie should speak for themselves. The most compelling part of the film is when Moore weaves together the story of how America became a plutonomy starting with the recession of the Carter years and the capturing of the government by Wall Street during Reagan’s presidency. The scene where Don Regan tells president Ronald Reagan to “speed it [his speech to the NY stock exchange] up” is amazing.

The whole tale of a calculated and organized hijacking of the nation by Wall Street’s CEOs seemed to smack of conspiracy theory. It’s an amazing, and infuriating, story, but I would like to find some evidence outside of Moore’s documentary in order to decide for myself if it’s true. There is one thing, however, that this conspiracy story has going for it that others don’t:

In most conspiracies, the actors are the government. The problem with this is that the government is notoriously incompetent.* The “9/11 was an inside job” conspiracy is extremely improbable merely because of the high level of planning and competency required to pull off such and act and then cover it up. A government is just not capable of that level of finesse. (Especially under Bush’s incompetent reign) In this conspiracy story, however, the actors are not some clumsy government, but a small collection of some of the smartest, most brilliant people in America, the CEOs on Wall Street.

“But wouldn’t market competition dictate that different CEOs be working against each other?” Yes and no. While they most assuredly were in competition with one another, it makes more sense for them to work together on something that would benefit them all greatly. (Like no regulations) However, the ultimate “winner” was Goldman Sachs. Under Clinton and Bush, Goldman Sachs managed to fill top Treasury Department positions with its “former” employees, including even the position of Secretary of Treasury with Henry Paulson, former CEO of Goldman Sachs. (His net worth was $700 million when he left to become Sec. of Treas.) With this superior posturing, Goldman Sachs was in prime position to pressure its will on the government.

(Goldman Sachs also had their CEO in the Sec. of Treas. position with Robert Rubin. (Who also served as CEO of Citigroup) The current Sec. of Treas., Timothy Geithner, is a protegee of Rubin’s)

The most shocking and outrageous part of the film for me came when Moore discussed the recent bailouts of the super banks.  Two months before elections, Sec. Paulson drew up a 3 page plan to bail out Wall Street. (Keep in mind, usually legislation passed by congress is hundreds, if not thousands, of pages long) In that plan Paulson stipulated that all laws, including court review, would be waived:

Sec. 8. Review.

Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.

Checks and balances anyone? The American people were rightfully outraged, but Paulson and his goons ramped up the fear factor, hoping to cram through the bill with a little debate as possible, just as Bush had done for the Patriot Act and the war in Iraq. Amazingly, for once, the American people fought back and the bill was defeated, by 12 votes. Congress then went home to prepare for elections.

Here is where I become really furious: Enter the democratic party leadership. Paulson and company rush back to DC and enter in backroom deals with the democrats. Promises are made, futures are sealed, and then congress does a complete 180, the American people be damned. Paulson gets the key to our pockets and makes off with 700 Billion; proof Wall Street has muscles to flex over our government.

The film is very thought provoking to say the least. It’s clear that our “free market” system is being manipulated to the benefit of a very select few. Employment near 10%, thousands of people being evicted from their homes, corporations making millions off of “dead peasant” policies, meanwhile banks take billions in our money, only to send their executives on luxurious vacations and the CEOs retire with unholy amounts of money. This isn’t working, but what’s the answer?

Despite the film being directed by Michael Moore, a person people on the right hate as strongly as they love Reagan, I feel a large portion of the movie would appeal to the right as well, especially the Tea Party movement. The fact that we’re being universally fucked by our leaders is something we can all rally behind, and I think this is one of the great points the movie tries to make. Moore references a Citigroup memo that was leaked where Citigroup explained to it’s top investors that they [Wall Street] had successfully turned America into a plutonomy, and that it was no longer a democracy. (Seriously, go read it, it’s scary) The memos explained that the top 1% of America now had more wealth than the bottom 95% COMBINED. Here’s the real kicker: Citigroup states in the memos that the biggest threat to their “gravy train” (yes, that is a direct quote) would be if society demanded a more equitable share of the wealth. The biggest problem was that despite having more money, a rich person can only cast as many votes as a poor person, 1. In other words, if the peasants realized that they were never going to get that carrot, the “American dream” of wealth, that they would revolt and vote the puppet government out of office. (Seriously, go read the memos)

I certainly feel communism is just as evil as American style unregulated capitalism. While we have vast economic inequity, communism, as practiced as a political system, is totalitarian and oppressive. I want there to be a middle ground, that’s why I call my self a progressive socialist. But do my views work? I don’t know. To be honest, I’m not sure how closely my views fall to those in Europe. I’ve always dreamed about moving to Europe because there they work to live, whereas here we live to work. Unfortunately, Europe is going through a financial crisis right now because Greece took that to the extreme, completely unbalancing their budget. I’m interested to see how European style socialism weathers this crisis.

*unless you work for the Coast Guard

I’m sick of Democrats and Republicans

12 Mar

Growing up I was pretty politically active. At the age of 14 I started writing political notes on toilet paper in the bathroom. Once I got my car at 16 I started putting up bumper stickers. Around the same time I started volunteering for local democratic campaigns, and joined young democrats clubs.

I was in 8th grade when 9/11 happened, and so my entire teen years growing up were under Bush. All I’ve ever knew growing up was Bush. I lived in a really republican part of Virginia Beach, and I used to get my thrills putting out liberal yard signs early in the morning, only to be enraged that they were all stolen by the time I drove to school. I even put together a “battle binder”. I hated how I could not argue as well as the talking heads on tv, and so I spent hours one night compiling statistics, facts, data, etc on all the various political issues of the time and putting them neatly into a binder. I then lugged this massive thing with me everywhere I went. If I got into a debate, I could pull out facts and sources right there and shut people down.

I became a democrat fanatic. In my naive state the democrats became all that was good in the world, the cause, justice. I remember I used to fantasize about being part of a democrat task force, acting like a guerrilla unit if we went to war with the republicans. It got really bad and looking back I’m not proud of it, but hey, I was an angry teenager, and instead of turning to pot or crime, I vented my frustration in politics.

Well 2006 was the big year when congressional elections took place. My local guy Kellam lost, but our senator, Webb, won. I was ecstatic. The democrats took control of congress! I thought “surely, now the reign of terror under Bush will end, things will start getting better”. But it didn’t. Nothing changed. Despite losing control of congress, the republicans managed to push through everything they wanted. The democrats just rolled over and surrendered.

I was crushed. I was betrayed. I worked hard for them. I volunteered, worked phone databases, went door to door! And they just turned their backs on me. The democrats we elected were only marginally liberal. The democratic party leaders believed the conservative spin that “liberal” was a bad thing, and went on a campaign to elect anyone with a “D” by their name, regardless if they were democrats in name only or not. As a consequence, many of our newly elected democrats defected to the republicans.

In 2008 I made the mistake of letting myself hope Obama would be the solution to all our problems. I was just so ecstatic that the Bush years were coming to an end, anything seemed better. Here we had a charismatic guy who wasn’t a baby boomer. He was to be our savior. He promised to end don’t ask don’t tell, to bring the troops home, to close Gitmo. When he won I thought everything would get better. But it didn’t. The democratic congress continued to stonewall his efforts. Just about everything he wanted to do, the republicans would threaten to filibuster. To them, he was the anti-christ, to be stopped at all costs. And again, the democrats just rolled over and died.

When republicans get power, they bust in, guns blazing, and ram through their agendas. When democrats get power they tip-toe in, feeling like they secretly don’t belong, and are so eager to please their republican colleagues.
It’s sickening. I’m so sick of both of them. Why should I vote for democrats who repeatably roll over and die? No one will stand up for my values. No one. And worst of all, I feel like I don’t have a choice. If I don’t vote, the republicans win. When I do vote there’s no way in hell I’m voting republican, but I hate the other side almost as much. Damned if I do, damned if I don’t. But I guess that’s a major flaw in the 2 party system. If both parties suck, you don’t have a choice.

What’s sad is that the democrats are going to get creamed in the upcoming elections. Everyone knows it. People are furious. The republicans are about to reach for their guns, and massive chucks of the democratic base are just as disillusioned and heartbroken as I am. The worst part is that when the democratic leaders lose big time, they’re going to think “Oh, it was because we were not conservative enough.” And then they will proceed to try and grovel to the republicans even more.

I really wish we could just fire congress, all of them.

If you defends terrorists, you are one.

9 Mar

So recently Liz Cheney has come out with a group “Keep America Safe” which ran this ad:

They want to know the identities of the other defense attorneys assigned to defend accused terrorists. Why don’t they just look? It’s not like the government is hiding it.

Whose values do they share? Seriously? Well aparently they have American values because they are defending people they most likely have a loathing for because the constitution says they must!

The sixth amendment to the constitution states:

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district where in the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.

The defense attorneys are assigned cases. Just because they defend a client because the constitution requires it does not mean they agree with the client’s alleged actions.

“Oh, but the terrorists don’t get the protection guaranteed by the constitution because they are not Americans!”

Wrong!

First off, until they are convicted in a trial by jury they are “alleged” terrorists. Sorry, but “innocent until proven guilty” still applies, even when you don’t want it to.

Secondly, the constitution applies to all people, not just citizens.

The fifth amendment to the constitution:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

The idea of “citizens” doesn’t even enter the constitution until the 14th amendment:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Notice how after the amendment defines citizen, it switches back to using “person” instead of citizen. The constitution applies to all people when they are interacting with the government.

But no, Liz Cheney, ever as raving mad and paranoid as her father, wants to just skip the constitution and execute anyone they deem a terrorist. Don’t give them a trial. If you do and someone defends them, their defender is a terrorist themselves. Why not just shoot them in the head and save time? Glenn Beck advocates doing that. So ideally, Liz and Beck would skip trials and shoot suspected terrorists right then and there. But I thought conservatives believed the government can never do anything right. And now they want to trust the government to execute people without a trial just because they suspect them of being terrorists?

He’s not white and he has a beard! Kill him!!!!

I cannot convey the utter disgust I have for Liz Cheney and Glenn Beck on this. Their views are the very definition of anti-American. They run directly counter to what is explicitly stated in the U.S. Constitution.

Cheney’s “Keep America Safe” group is also pro-torture, which is not only horrendously illegal, but morally bankrupt. Oh yes, let us throw away any moral high ground we have, and ignore all the laws that make us a civilized society, so we can cater to your rabid paranoia. HELL NO!

Impeach Obama!

23 Feb

Impeachment is a formal process in which an elected official is accused of unlawful activity, and which may or may not lead to the removal of that official from office. It is the first of two stages. Impeachment does not necessarily result in removal from office; it is only a legal statement of charges, parallel to an indictment in criminal law.

So what has Obama done that is illegal? Oh he’s enacted policies that you really hate, but that is not illegal.

Bush on the other hand did several things illegally.

The 4th Amendment to the constitution:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Wiretapping the American public without getting warrants first anyone?

Oh, and how about torture, secret government facilities, indefinite detention? Well, the United States is a signatory to a  little get together called the Geneva convention. At that convention they defined something called a “Grave breach” of the convention:

Grave Breaches

Not all violations of the treaty are treated equally. The most serious crimes are termed grave breaches, and provide a legal definition of a war crime. Grave breaches of the Third and Fourth Geneva Conventions include the following acts if committed against a person protected by the convention:

  • willful killing, torture or inhuman treatment, including biological experiments
  • willfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health
  • compelling one to serve in the forces of a hostile power
  • willfully depriving one of the right to a fair trial.

Also considered grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention are the following:

  • taking of hostages
  • extensive destruction and appropriation of property not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly
  • unlawful deportation, transfer, or confinement.[8]

Gee… Guantanamo bay anyone?

There is also the matter of treason. You see, last time I checked, reviling the identitiy of one of your nations covert operatives was treason. You put not only that person in danger for their life, but everyone associated with them. Ousting them because that operative’s husband called “bullshit” on your claim that a country had WMD’s is even more heinous.

Also, last time I checked, the punishment for treason was death….

So if you want to impeach Obama, wait until he’s done something illegal. In the mean time, call for the trial and punishment of the clowns responsible for the above crimes. (But oh wait, it’s only a crime if a liberal does it)

Take the Tea Party seriously

8 Feb

I can’t stand those Tea bagger idiots, I don’t think the majority of America can either, yet we must not underestimate them. The represent a angry, ill-informed, “reality don’t matter” mob, but if we don’t take them head on, soon they will be in control of the government.

If they were serious about cutting government waste and minimizing government involvement then I’d be with them, but they’re not.  The poor bastards are being manipulated by very powerful corporations like Fox into screwing themselves over. Their messiah, Sarah Palin, is a complete fucking bimbo who believes Jebus is coming back in her life time, and that Africa is a country. How unintelligent can you get? Gah, I digress. I am overwhelmed with seething rage when I think of her.

What really gets me is that they claim to be against government involvement in people’s lives, yet what they really mean is “I want the government to leave my money alone, but at the same time I want it to police your bedroom, force your children to say my religion’s prayers in public schools, and generally just enforce my world views and morals on you!”

You really want smaller government? FINE. Then quit trying to legislate your religion into my life!!!!!

To be honest. I HATE the bailouts. Yeah our entire economy would have crashed, but maybe then we would have executed some of these big bankers who are still getting million dollar bonuses. Did conservatives get the message that repealing government safeguards on the economy causes this shit? Nope. This whole thing builds up under Bush and crashes on Obama’s head, and there is no way he could have come out ok. (Yeah, maybe in the long run our economy will be better for the bailouts, but I’d still sleep better at night if some bankers had been shot)

Oh, that’s another thing, they tea baggers are hypocrites. “It’s only a crime when a liberal does it!” Bush took fiscal conservatism and strangled it; brutally. Where were the tea party people when Bush took Clinton’s record government surplus and drove it straight through the ground with the multi-trillion dollar wars in Iraq (no connection to 9-11) and Afghanistan? Nowhere. They were silent because he is a conservative good ol’boy and was doing god’s will, just like Palin claims to be. Bullshit.

I also can’t stand the double speak they put out. “Freedom” is now a worthless word. It used to mean something, now it’s hollow and twisted. To the tea baggers, “Freedom” means letting pharmaceutical, insurance, and energy corporations royally fuck America. To them “freedom” means the ability to impose their social/religious views on the rest of the country. Shove gays back into the shadows, kick science out of schools, silence non christians, and enslave women in their own bodies. Sorry, but you don’t have the “right” or the “freedom” to do that.

Fighting these people will be difficult. The large majority of this country is un-intelligent, fickle, and gullible. If we could get them to agree that an idea is only as valid as how well it works in reality, then we could beat them. Unfortunately they don’t play by those rules. Has anyone ever said something so off the wall, so stupid, that you just gawk at them, speechless? That’s how I feel about the tea party people. It’s a challenge to take them on because you simply don’t know where to start correcting them. And worse, they take your speechlessness as proof they have a point!

As hard as it may be, we must meet them head on with reason and facts again and again, and constantly demand evidence supporting their positions. If this does not work then we must get out of the way and let them win. (Yeah, I know…) Things in America will then crash and the world will go to hell, but only then will the fucktards that voted them in start to make the connection that maybe, just maybe, reality does matter.