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

How to get to the bottom of the Plame affair.

The whitehouse has repeatedly stated that it wants to do whatever necessary to get to the truth about the leaking of Valerie Plame’s covert status. Given the arguments they advance in the preceeding post, are they willing to use torture to force Judith Miller to reveal her sources? If someone is obstructing the investigation into the exposure of our international information sources, isn’t that supporting the terrorists? See a tongue-in-cheek newsreport suggesting this.

Oh. Wait. Nevermind. She’s protecting someone inside the whitehouse who leaked this information. That makes it different, I guess. It does raise a question, though: if the whitehouse is cooperating fully, why is she still in jail?

If we need torture to accomplish our goals, we are no different from those we are fighting.

From the Washington Post:

The Bush administration in recent days has been lobbying to block legislation supported by Republican senators that would bar the US military from engaging in “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment” of detainees, from hiding prisoners from the Red Cross, and from using interrogation methods not authorized by a new Army field manual.

Vice President Cheney met Thursday evening with three senior Republican members of the Senate Armed Services Committee to press the administration’s case that legislation on these matters would usurp the president’s authority and – in the words of a White House official – interfere with his ability “to protect Americans effectively from terrorist attack.

So, the whitehouse is now fighting legislation that would require it to support its own manuals, instructions, and treaties regarding treatment of prisoners. What differentiates us from those we fight against, if not our willingness to operate under the rule of law? Is there now, or has there ever been, a tyrant who didn’t believe his cause was somehow “right” and thereby above the simple rule of law? Isn’t that what defines a tyrant from a legitimate ruler?

We are slipping into the biggest abrogation of our constitutional government in the history of this country, and the supposedly “morality based” republicans ignore it, as long as their man is in charge. I guess our constitution is intact, in the narrow minds of our republican leaders, as long as someone doesn’t lie about their sex life (and get caught). Ignoring our international treaties, ignoring the constitution, damaging our national security by exposing our agents for political purposes, lying to grand juries about how you lied previously to justify illegal and unnecessary wars that have cost thousands of american lives are all OK, as long as you tell the truth about how you have been getting your rocks off.

The hypocrisy is enough to make any true American vomit. Unfortunately, the true americans, judging from the last election, amount to only 49% of the voting population.

If you’re not Outraged, You’re not paying attention

Has anybody seen my civil rights???

From the Washington Post:

“RICHMOND, July 19 — A top government attorney declared Tuesday that, in the war on terror, the United States is a battlefield, and therefore President Bush has the authority to detain enemy combatants indefinitely in this country.

Solicitor General Paul D. Clement’s comments came as a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit is considering whether to overturn a lower court ruling that Jose Padilla should be charged with a crime or released. In 2002, Padilla, a former Chicago gang member and Muslim convert, was taken into custody by the military and has been held without trial since.

The government alleges that Padilla, a U.S. citizen, trained with al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan and arrived in this country in May 2002 with the intent of blowing up apartment buildings.”

So, the government is arguing that if a US Citizen is accused of terrorism, that person loses all protection under the US constitution. Who gets to make that accusation? Why, the executive branch, of course.

Call me crazy, but it seems I’ve heard of other despots who have reserved to themselves the right to determine to whom constitutional protection ought and ought not to apply. I don’t want to use any unpopular references, but if I recall correctly, 50 years ago there was a short person with an unflattering moustache who used an argument something like that to justify the murder of some 5 million jews.

If you’re not Outraged, You’re not paying attention.

Nice quote

Judging from his recent comments, I’d say that Rick Santorum has one of the finest minds of the 13th century.

Tom Ferrick, Philadelphia Inquirer columnist

Judge Roberts

Mr. Bush has nominated John G. Roberts, Jr. for the Supreme Court.

It is my sincere hope that the senate quickly confirms him to that post. Roberts is conservative, but despite that appears to have the intellectual capacity, and personal integrity, to serve well on the Bench. He is no Clarence Thomas, thank God.

While he would not be my first choice for the court, he does seem a good one, if from the conservative mold. Let the senate review be thorough, and assuming nothing egregious comes out, get the nomination approved and done with. With only two years as a judge, it is hard to see exactly where his opinions lie, but there were far worse names floated as possible replacements for O’Connor. I would personally prefer someone with more experience on the bench, but given the divisive atmosphere now, perhaps anyone with more experience would have provided too big a target for one side or the other.

If the hurried nomination of Roberts was meant to distract attention from the other issues of the failed Bush administration, it should not be allowed to succeed. Proceed with a review process of Roberts, of course, but don’t rush to trash him just because he is Bush’s nominee. Meanwhile, concentrate on those in power with no integrity, such as Rove and DeLay. Concentrate on the lies that lead to the Iraq war, and the thousands upon thousands dead because of it. Concentrate on the abuse of detainees. Concentrate on the increased danger in the world because of the administration’s iniquitous foreign policy. Concentrate on the apparent perjury in the ongoing investigation of leaks about CIA agents. (I would assume that if lying about your sex life under oath is serious enough to justify impeachment, then lying about your role in exposing agents of the government would be, but I don’t have the republican mindframe).

There are too many evil people in this administration to start partisan fights about the few associated with it who do have integrity.

Death Toll continues

American deaths in Iraq continue to rise. I expect we will have a major flurry of news about this, when the official toll climbs to 2000.

It is a common assumption that the British with 93 casualties, our most loyal allies, are the second-hardest hit group in the Iraq coalition. That’s not true, however. What the government doesn’t like to acknowledge is that there have been over 250 deaths of “contractors” employed by the US government, which are not figured into the official casualty total. Some of these are truck drivers, many are mercenary “security contractors.”

Adding those 252 to the official count of 1765, gives 2017, so we are already long past the 2000 casualty milestone, which we will no doubt hear so much about in a few months.

As horrible as this is, it pales in comparison to the estimated $25,000 Iraqi’s dead from combat, and the possible 100,000 Iraqi dead due to all the war’s effects.

WMD Found? 0
Ties to Al Qaeda in Iraq (prior to our invasion) 0
Ties to 9/11 in Iraq 0
Ties to Al Qaeda in Iraq (Subsequent to invasion) many

If you’re not Outraged, You’re not paying attention

New blog software, new question

OK, let me inaugurate the new blog software with a simple question:

How do you pronounce IOKIYAR?

Is it “Yawk-e-yar”?

The abbreviation stands for, of course, “It’s OK If You’re a Republican” and refers to the numerous things that are “OK” in the minds of those currently controlling congress and the whitehouse, as long as you’re one of their own.

Don’t like what the courts are ruling? Separation of Powers means nothing if you’re a republican, go ahead and interfere in the decades long battle in the courts about Terry Schiavo. After all, the freshman congressman know so much more about the law (and medicine) than the judges and doctors that have been involved in the case for 12 years.

Let’s see, If I’m a republican congressman and I sell my house for $1,600,000 to an aspiring defense contractor, and that contracter then turns around and sells it 6 months later for $900,000 (in the Calfornia housing market, which never seems to go down), and somehow that contractor then gets lots of new contracts, that’s not really an illegal $700,000 bribe, because I’m a republican.

If I’m a high-ranking Whitehouse advisor, and I somehow admit or confirm that a certain person is a CIA Operative, (thereby embarrassing her husband who truthfully reported that we had lied about justification for the Iaq war [not to mention exposing her clandestine informational contacts subjecting them to death or worse, and destroying the intelligence gathering capability]), it’s OK because I’m a republican, trying to protect the president.

If I’m a certain senator from a north-eastern state, who’s main claim to fame is bringing home the corpse of his four month premature still-born child for his other children to cuddle, and I blame the abuse of children by the Catholic Clergy on the liberalism of Boston, it’s OK because it can’t be the Catholic hierachy protecting the abusers, it must be the liberal attitude of all the non-catholics in Boston. Why? because I’m a republican, and I say so.

If I’m a republican governor, and I get $1,000,000/year from advertisements in fitness magazines, and I veto laws that would regulate unjustified claims about benefits of dietary supplements advertised in those magazines, it’s a simple misunderstanding rather than a major conlict-of-interest, because I’m a republican.

If I’m a republican governor and my state (Ohio) loses lots of money because state funds are invested in a rare coin fund run by one of my golfing buddies, it’s OK, because ob viously, I didn’t do anything wrong… I’m a republican!

Given this, those of us who care not only about the honest workers of this country, but our moral backbone in general, really need to understand:

How do you pronounce “IOKIYAR”?

New Blog Software

My previous blogging software (Greymatter) was antiquated, and not well maintained. When online gambling spammers found the address, I was overwhelmed with posts about casinos and whatnot. After trying to install a few fixes, it became clear that the software was not working as it should, and I needed to either modify it completely myself, or switch to another blog package.

After some research, I settled on WordPress. I’ll be making a few configuration changes, and then hopefully import the previous Greymatter posts, and switch over to this one.

My latest missive to my beloved Senator, Rick Santorum

Dear Senator Santorum:

For Catholic Online, regarding the sexual abuse scandals plaguing the Catholic Church, you wrote:

“When the culture is sick, every element in it becomes infected. While it is no excuse for this scandal, it is no surprise that Boston, a seat of academic, political and cultural liberalism in America, lies at the center of the storm.”

Thank you for pointing out the obvious tie between the abuse of innocents by the catholic clergy, and the liberalism rampant in the United States. The connection is clear.

There is another connection, however, which I believe you should investigate. A little known subversive group is even more closely tied to this scandal than the liberals. After months of investigation, I have discovered the little-recognized fact that 100% of the people involved in this abuse are…. Catholic!!!!

Clearly the entire Catholic community has been brainwashed by the liberal cabal to advance their nefarious plots. Please, I beg you, bring to light the details about this little-known cult, intent on the perversion of our youth, and the destruction of american values.

I remind you, fully 100% of the people involved in this attack on traditional american values are either avowed, or secretly, catholics! This fact should alarm every true American!! Please, before it is too late, act now to bring the lurid details about this subversive cult to light, and protect us from their plans to destroy our way of life.

It makes as much sense as the rest of what you say.

Al Folsom

With God on Our Side

Bob Dylan, copyright 1963 (pre Viet Nam, pre Nicaragua, pre Grenada, pre Iraq I, pre Iraq II)

Oh my name it is nothin’
My age it means less
The country I come from
Is called the Midwest
I’s taught and brought up there
The laws to abide
And that land that I live in
Has God on its side.

Oh the history books tell it
They tell it so well
The cavalries charged
The Indians fell
The cavalries charged
The Indians died
Oh the country was young
With God on its side.

Oh the Spanish-American
War had its day
And the Civil War too
Was soon laid away
And the names of the heroes
I’s made to memorize
With guns in their hands
And God on their side.

Oh the First World War, boys
It closed out its fate
The reason for fighting
I never got straight
But I learned to accept it
Accept it with pride
For you don’t count the dead
When God’s on your side.

When the Second World War
Came to an end
We forgave the Germans
And we were friends
Though they murdered six million
In the ovens they fried
The Germans now too
Have God on their side.

I’ve learned to hate Russians
All through my whole life
If another war starts
It’s them we must fight
To hate them and fear them
To run and to hide
And accept it all bravely
With God on my side.

But now we got weapons
Of the chemical dust
If fire them we’re forced to
Then fire them we must
One push of the button
And a shot the world wide
And you never ask questions
When God’s on your side.

In a many dark hour
I’ve been thinkin’ about this
That Jesus Christ
Was betrayed by a kiss
But I can’t think for you
You’ll have to decide
Whether Judas Iscariot
Had God on his side.

So now as I’m leavin’
I’m weary as Hell
The confusion I’m feelin’
Ain’t no tongue can tell
The words fill my head
And fall to the floor
If God’s on our side
He’ll stop the next war.