Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither, and lose both.
-- Benjamin Franklin

What a difference a chromosome makes.

We have politician ‘A’

‘A’ is currently being investigated for abuse of power.
‘A’ lies about what countries ‘A’ has been to.
‘A’ Is confused about the fact that Fannie Mae is (was) a private company
‘A’ was mayor of a small town of 6000 with a 0 budget deficit when ‘A’ entered office, and a debt of over $20,000,000 when ‘A’ left office, largely due to a construction project that was pushed forward before title to the land was obtained.
‘A’ lies about opposing federal pork barrel funding, first supporting it and then appearing to reject it when it is clearly defeated. (But keeping the money anyway).
‘A’ Does not know that the “Bush Doctrine” is the justification for preemptive war.
‘A’ has an education which consisted of 5 colleges in 6 years, ending with a degree in journalism, but feels qualified to guide the most powerful nation on earth.
‘A’ spent three years fundraising for a senator now under indictment and awaiting trial for corruption.

and more.

One political party criticizes ‘A’ for the reasons above.

One political party ignores the above, and rejoices in ‘A’ because ‘A’ does not have a Y chromosome.

Which party is being sexist?

Lyrics

I wanted to keep these lyrics somewhere where I could find them. If you feel the need to read something into that, be my guest.

Through early morning fog I see
visions of the things to be
the pains that are withheld for me
I realize and I can see…

[REFRAIN]:
that suicide is painless
It brings on many changes
and I can take or leave it if I please.

I try to find a way to make
all our little joys relate
without that ever-present hate
but now I know that it’s too late, and…

[REFRAIN]

The game of life is hard to play
I’m gonna lose it anyway
The losing card I’ll someday lay
so this is all I have to say.

[REFRAIN]

The only way to win is cheat
And lay it down before I’m beat
and to another give my seat
for that’s the only painless feat.

[REFRAIN]

The sword of time will pierce our skins
It doesn’t hurt when it begins
But as it works its way on in
The pain grows stronger…watch it grin, but…

[REFRAIN]

A brave man once requested me
to answer questions that are key
is it to be or not to be
and I replied ‘oh why ask me?’

[REFRAIN]

‘Cause suicide is painless
it brings on many changes
and I can take or leave it if I please.
…and you can do the same thing if you please.

Poor Sarah

snark…

How to react to Sarah Palin

A recent letter to the editor of mine:

Other than the talking heads on TV is there anyone who, deep in their hearts, is not insulted by McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin as a vice-presidential candidate?

Hillary Clinton supporters should be insulted that John McCain thinks their allegiance is to a configuration of body parts, rather than to the ideals and principles for which Hillary has fought. Sarah Palin represents the opposite of these.

Republican women should be insulted that the legion of far more qualified women such as Dole, Sibelius, and Hutchinson of their party were passed over, so that a pretty and young face could be chosen.

Republicans and Democrats alike who are concerned about the ethical problems in government should be insulted, when McCain chooses a running mate who is currently the subject of two ethics investigations which could, potentially, result in her impeachment.

Those who have bought into John McCain’s claim of the importance of experience should be insulted. Sarah Palin has been the governor of a state with the approximate population of Fort Worth Texas for a year and a half. Prior to that she was a (not particularly successful) mayor of Wasilla Alaska. I live in Warrington. If you take the population of Warrington and divide it by two, then subtract 1000, you will have roughly the population of Wasilla. I know and like my township supervisors, but I don’t believe they are qualified to be president.

Those who believe our leaders should be able to guide our country with wisdom through the difficult trials of the world should be insulted, when the candidate McCain chooses has no international experience, and who’s sole education is a degree in journalism from a third tier university. My twenty-five year old son spent a summer as an intern in a US embassy in Europe, and is currently attending the Georgetown Graduate School of Foreign Service. He has infinitely more foreign policy experience than Sarah Palin.

When John McCain returned from his captivity in Viet Nam, he abandoned the wife that had stood by him during that trying time for a younger, prettier face with lots of money. He has done it again, abandoning his own principles and those who have supported him, for a young pretty face who can bring in money from the oil companies and the single-issue prolifers. If you are uncertain how to vote in November, consider what John McCain has done with his very first presidential level decision.

Floating around the internet…

“A Day in the Life of a Middle-Class Republican”

Tom gets up at 6:00 AM to prepare his morning coffee. He fills his pot with good, clean drinking water because some liberal fought for minimum water quality standards. He takes his daily medication with his first swallow of coffee. His medications are safe to take because some liberal fought to insure their safety and that they work as advertised.

All but $10.00 of his medications are paid for by his employer’s medical plan. Because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance, now Tom gets it too. He prepares his morning breakfast — bacon and eggs this day. Tom’s bacon is safe to eat because some liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry. Tom takes his morning shower, reaching for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with every ingredient and the amount that is contains because some liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and the breakdown of its contents. Tom dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some tree-hugging liberal fought for laws to stop industries from polluting our air. He walks to the subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work; it saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees. You see, some liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

Tom begins his work day; he has a good job with excellent pay, medicals benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Tom’s employer meets these standards because Tom’s employer doesn’t want his employees to call the union. If Tom is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed he’ll get worker’s compensation or an unemployment check because some liberal didn’t think he should lose his home to temporary misfortune.

It’s noon time. Tom needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. Tom’s deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC because some liberal wanted to protect Tom’s money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the depression.

Tom has to pay his Fannie Mae underwritten mortgage and his below market federal student loan because some stupid liberal decided that Tom and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime.

Tom is home from work. He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive to dads; his car is among the safest in the world because some liberal fought for car safety standards. He arrives at his boyhood home. He was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers Home Administration because bankers didn’t want to make rural loans. The house didn’t have electric until some big government liberal stuck his nose where it didn’t belong and demanded rural electrification (those rural Republican’s would still be sitting in the dark).

Tom is happy to see his dad, who is now retired. Tom’s dad lives on Social Security and his union pension because some liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Tom wouldn’t have to. After his visit with dad, Tom gets back in his car for the ride home. He turns on a radio talk show. The host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. He doesn’t tell Tom that his beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Tom enjoys throughout his day. Tom agrees, “We don’t need those big government liberals ruining our lives. After all, I’m a self-made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have.”

Alex

Why I’m voting republican (not)

An Open letter from Larisa Alexandrovna

This is an open letter from Larisa Alexandrovna in the At-Largely Blog and cross-posted to the Huffington Post. It is a materpiece, and I am quoting it here in its entirety so that I don’t lose it.

Dear Mr. Bush,

Your speech on the Knesset floor today was not only a disgrace; it was nothing short of treachery. Worse still, your exploitation of the Holocaust in a country carved out of the wounds of that very crime, in order to strike a low blow at American citizens whose politics differs from your own is unforgivable and unpardonable. Let me remind you, Mr. Bush, of your words today:
“Some seem to believe we should negotiate with terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along,” Bush said at Israel’s 60th anniversary celebration in Jerusalem.

“We have heard this foolish delusion before,” Bush said in remarks to Israel’s parliament, the Knesset. “As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: ‘Lord, if only I could have talked to Hitler, all of this might have been avoided.’ We have an obligation to call this what it is — the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history.”

Well Mr. Bush, the only thing this comment lacked was a mirror and some historical facts. You want to discuss the crimes of Nazis against my family and millions of other families in Europe during World War II? Let me revive a favorite phrase of yours: Bring. It. On!

The All-American Nazi

Your family’s fortune is built on the bones of the very people butchered by the Nazis, my family and the families of those in the Knesset who applauded you today:
WASHINGTON — President Bush’s grandfather was a director of a bank seized by the federal government because of its ties to a German industrialist who helped bankroll Adolf Hitler’s rise to power, government documents show.

Prescott Bush was one of seven directors of Union Banking Corp. (search), a New York investment bank owned by a bank controlled by the Thyssen family, according to recently declassified National Archives documents reviewed by The Associated Press.

Fritz Thyssen was an early financial supporter of Hitler, whose Nazi party Thyssen believed was preferable to communism.

–snip–

Both Harrimans and Bush were partners in the New York investment firm of Brown Brothers, Harriman and Co., which handled the financial transactions of the bank as well as other financial dealings with several other companies linked to Bank voor Handel that were confiscated by the U.S. government during World War II.

Union Banking was seized by the government in October 1942 under the Trading with the Enemy Act.

Oh, but there is much more too:
The two Holocaust survivors suing the US government and the Bush family for a total of $40bn in compensation claim both materially benefited from Auschwitz slave labour during the second world war, Kurt Julius Goldstein, 87, and Peter Gingold, 85, began a class action in America in 2001, but the case was thrown out by Judge Rosemary Collier on the grounds that the government cannot be held liable under the principle of “state sovereignty”.

I cannot think of one Democrat who can boast this kind of lineage. Can you? No, I don’t think so. But you can lie brazenly and attack a sitting US Senator on foreign soil by comparing him to Nazi sympathizers? Let us continue down memory lane to help those who applaud you understand just what it is they are celebrating.

The All American Traitor

You family did not stop with supporting fascists and Nazis abroad, did they Mr. Bush? Surely you must know of your grandfather’s role in the treasonous plot of 1933 to overthrow democracy in America? Let me remind you.

Grandpa Bush – that is to say, your grandfather – wanted fascism imported into the United States, or as you now call this type of transformation, “exporting democracy.” Prescott went so far as to subsidize a coup attempt in order to achieve his dream of a fascist America (see BBC report below):
Document uncovers details of a planned coup in the USA in 1933 by right-wing American businessmen. The coup was aimed at toppling President Franklin D Roosevelt with the help of half-a-million war veterans. The plotters, who were alleged to involve some of the most famous families in America, (owners of Heinz, Birds Eye, Goodtea, Maxwell Hse & George Bush’s Grandfather, Prescott) believed that their country should adopt the policies of Hitler and Mussolini to beat the great depression. Mike Thomson investigates why so little is known about this biggest ever peacetime threat to American

In other words, not only was your grandfather a self-professed fascist, he was a Nazi sympathizer and a war profiteer who should have stood trial at the Hague instead of buying his way into the US Senate. He was also a traitor, twice over.

Now clearly the crimes of Prescott Bush are not your fault, Mr. George W. Bush. Let us therefore judge your actions and words on their own merit.

Iraq is your Poland

Your reminiscence today about the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany should have been seen as your own condemnation of your own abhorrent actions against Iraq. The morbid irony of what you said will likely never register with your or your speechwriter. To truly grasp the grotesqueness of what you said requires that you have both a conscience and some understanding of history. We know you possess neither.

I will therefore make your history lesson brief, but to the point. The unprovoked attack on Poland by Germany was a war crime just as your attack against Iraq – based on lies – is a war crime. This is not my opinion. This is not a political attack. This is a fact. Consider the words of the esteemed former chief prosecutor in the Nuremburg trials, Benjamin Ferencz, regarding your war of aggression against Iraq:
“…Prima facie case can be made that the United States is guilty of the supreme crime against humanity, that being an illegal war of aggression against a sovereign nation.”

Moreover, your reckless verbiage and partisan pandering using something as tragic and criminal as Germany’s war of aggression against Poland is an insult to all victims of those atrocities.

My grandfather’s sister and parents were having supper in their Warsaw home when a German bomb erased them from this planet. Your evoking the German atrocities against Poland in order to play dirty politics against Democrats is as offensive to me as if you had pinned a swastika onto your lapel.

Even your own words appear to be penned by Hitler’s ghost all the while you imply that Democrats are Nazis and/or terrorists – something you have done over and over. Your lies and Hitler’s lies even have the same purpose.

When you, Mr. Bush, said “see in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda,” were you aware of Adolph Hitler’s eerily similar statement? Hitler said “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.”

Yet if words alone were your only weapon and words strung together into lies your only crime, you might be seen as simply the loathsome, unethical dilettante and despot that you are. Unfortunately, your crimes are many and so similar to those of the Nazi regime that at times one wonders if you are not yourself reenacting that very history you used today as an insult against a political opponent.

Your very own concentration camps

You ordered the creation of secret camps all over the world and on US territory where you also authorized the torture of countless men, women and children is a violation of the Geneva Conventions, international law, and domestic law. In other words, you authorized war crimes.

We don’t know the number of people you have had disappeared, tortured, and possibly murdered. Although we have some idea of what these numbers may be, I doubt the full truth of it all will ever be known.

In 2005, I had a CENTCOM document leaked to me illustrating that since the start of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, more than 70,000 men, women, and children have been detained at one of your various camps Mr. Bush. We don’t know what happened to them, if they were tortured, raped, or murdered. What we do know is that less than 2% of those 70,000 had any sort of charge brought against them in a court of law. None of those alleged crimes, by the way, were acts of terrorism. We don’t know if that 70,000 figure was the actual and full count of detainees in US custody around the world in 2005. But it is safe to say that in the last 3 years since this document was published, the number of detainees has likely grown.

What we also now know, in great horror, is that at least one of your camps had a crematorium in it, which some of the US soldiers stationed there suspected was used for burning bodies:

“We had some kind of incinerator at the end of our building,” Specialist Megan Ambuhl said. “It was this huge circular thing. We just didn’t know what was incinerated in there. It could have been people, for all we knew–bodies.” Sergeant Davis was not in doubt. “It had bones in it,” he said, and he called it the crematorium. “But hey, you’re at war,” he said. “Suck it up or drive on.”

What we also now know is that Dick Cheney and senior members of your administration carried out a plan of torture and abuse that violated international and domestic law with regard to human rights, down to the type of torture tactics that would be used against prisoners in our custody. This plan, we now know, was approved by you.

Has the mirror cracked yet from this much fact or are you still peering into the political sphere hoping to ascribe your own crimes to others? It won’t work. It never has and it certainly won’t work now. We know far too much about you and yours.

I could continue listing the litany of your crimes, both against the United States and against foreign nations. I won’t. We know what you are and what you have done. Having roughly 1,000,000 dead Iraqis under your belt should have shamed you into the parasitic hole you came out of, attaching yourself to the blood of this nation and sucking it dry. Instead, you parade around, the globe-trotting horror show and anti-Semite that you are.

Yes, you are an anti-Semite

Would you say no, you are not an anti-Semite? Consider your own words when you thought no one was keeping score:

“You know what I’m gonna tell those Jews when I get to Israel, don’t you Herman?” a then Governor George W. Bush allegedly asked a reporter for the Austin American-Statesman.

When the journalist, Ken Herman, replied that he did not know, Bush reportedly delivered the punch line: “I’m telling ‘em they’re all going to hell.”

Only an anti-Semite would think this type of humor is acceptable. Did you tell the Jews of Israel they were going to hell? No, instead, you told them that American Democrats are Nazi sympathizers and in an act of sheer indecency, the right wing Likud party orchestrated the greatest applause you ever got. For shame!

What this blind adoration finally proves to me is that the right-wing regime that has overtaken Israel cares nothing for its people, its heritage, and the tragic history that they now honor by applauding a man whose family-fortune was built on the bodies of their loved ones. Like their Republican (and Lieberman) counterparts in the United States, Likud does not represent its people, rather, it represents its owners. Likud has traded Israel, its Jews, their heritage and history for the same golden calf purchased and sold by the far-right wing in the United States.

I am ashamed of you Mr. Bush. I am ashamed of those who applauded your political porn played out against the hallowed backdrop of the Holocaust. I am ashamed of those reporters with you, who between them could not muster the moral courage to call you out on your ugly rhetoric and ask you about your own family Nazi ties. You are, sir, the most abhorrent human being of my lifetime. I dare say, in the lifetime of this nation.

A year goes by…

It appears that it has been over a year since I last posted on this blog.

I can’t, and won’t, apologize for that. The blog exists as my personal sanity check, and any postings here are really just for my benefit: either to vent or to otherwise maintain my own personal mental health. Not that there haven’t been some problems in that area in the last year.

Politics continues to drive me crazy. I can’t even begin to enumerate the issues of the last twelve months that reinforce my belief that this is the most corrupt administration in our nation’s history. If nothing else, the use of the Justice Department to suppress votes and support pro-Bush candidates has got to be one of the biggest subversions of our nation’s basic tenets in the 230 year history of our existence.

In the past few months I’ve found myself looking forward to a week at scout camp as never before. Usually, this does not seem like much of a vacation — taking care of other peoples’ children for a week. Given my frustration and problems at work recently though, I was truly looking forward to this as a time not only away, but a chance at self-validation.

Camp was to have been this last week. It started well, but was abruptly shut down early Thursday when the camp was hit with an attack of a norovirus. This was a repeat of the previous week, and the decision was made to shut down immediately and send all the troops home. No one in my unit got sick (we may have been the only one – a testament to how we enforced hand washing), and I was tempted to tell the camp director I couldn’t leave because my mommy couldn’t come get me. Of course I left, though, feeling completely frustrated not only over my time lost, but more importantly the disappointment for my scouts who did not get a chance to complete the programs with which they were involved.

My sons who were on staff did not get the chance to leave. They worked doubly hard, spraying the entire (and I mean entire) camp down with bleach solution, down to and including the sand at the volleyball court.

I honestly don’t know what to look forward to now. I will go back to work after the 4th, and will continue to feel frustrated, inadequate, and futile. The best I can hope for is that this will only last thirteen more years, until I can retire.

Oh well. At least I can continue to watch the GOP become an increasingly bizarre parody of itself, as it abandons its once reasonable position in our political discourse.

This from
The General
. I’ve had it printed on postcards and a travel mug:

Supreme Court

Sometimes, the system does work. Today the supreme court held that the Guantanamo prisoners must be treated as prisoners of war, and that the so-called “military tribunals” are not an acceptable recourse to legal rights.

This from ScotusBlog

As I predicted below, the Court held that Congress had, by statute, required that the commissions comply with the laws of war — and held further that these commissions do not (for various reasons). I have not yet read the complete opinions, but from what I’ve seen of not only the Stevens majority, but also the Kennedy and Breyer concurrences (see Orin Kerr with the relevant AMK and SGB excerpts here), it is hard to overstate the principal, powerfully stated themes emanating from the Court, which are (i) that the President’s conduct is subject to the limitations of statute and treaty; and (ii) that Congress’s enactments are best construed to require compliance with the international laws of armed conflict.

Even more importantly for present purposes, the Court held that Common Article 3 of Geneva aplies as a matter of treaty obligation to the conflict against Al Qaeda. That is the HUGE part of today’s ruling. The commissions are the least of it. This basically resolves the debate about interrogation techniques, because Common Article 3 provides that detained persons “shall in all circumstances be treated humanely,” and that “[t]o this end,” certain specified acts “are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever”—including “cruel treatment and torture,” and “outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment.” This standard, not limited to the restrictions of the due process clause, is much more restrictive than even the McCain Amendment. See my further discussion here.

This almost certainly means that the CIA’s interrogation regime is unlawful, and indeed, that many techniques the Administation has been using, such as waterboarding and hypothermia (and others) violate the War Crimes Act (because violations of Common Article 3 are deemed war crimes).

Dissenting opinions, of course, from Scalia, Alito, and Thomas.