Saturday, December 20, 2008

Justice After Bush, Prosecuting an outlaw administration

Scott Horton wrote in the December, 2008 issue of Harper's Magazine:

No prior administration has been so systematically or so brazenly lawless. Yet it is no simple matter to prosecute a former president or his senior officers. There is no precedent for such a prosecution, and even if there was, the very breadth and audacity of the administration’s activities would make the process so complex as to defy systems of justice far less fragmented than our own. But that only means choices must be made. Indeed, in weighing the enormity of the administration’s transgressions against the realistic prospect of justice, it is possible to determine not only the crime that calls most clearly for prosecution but also the crime that is most likely to be successfully prosecuted. In both cases, that crime is torture.

Anyone who thinks I'm some nutcase for wanting to prosecute the entire Bush "administration" for war crimes should read what Scott Horton has to say. I dare any wing nut Republican to argue any of it.

Who is Scott Horton?

A New York attorney known for his work in emerging markets and international law, especially human rights law and the law of armed conflict, Horton lectures at Columbia Law School. A life-long human rights advocate, Scott served as counsel to Andrei Sakharov and Elena Bonner, among other activists in the former Soviet Union. He is a co-founder of the American University in Central Asia, and has been involved in some of the most significant foreign investment projects in the Central Eurasian region. Scott recently led a number of studies of abuse issues associated with the conduct of the war on terror for the New York City Bar Association, where he has chaired several committees, including, most recently, the Committee on International Law. He is also a member of the board of the National Institute of Military Justice, the Andrei Sakharov Foundation, the EurasiaGroup and the American Branch of the International Law Association.

Step on up, wing nuts.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Bush Should Have Signed This Guy with the Rangers

"This is a gift from the Iraqis. This is the farewell kiss, you dog. This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq."--Muntather Zaidi

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The Penultimate Bush Quotes Update

I haven't updated my Bush quotes page in a while, and man did I miss some doozies, like this one:
"And I, unfortunately, have been to too many disasters as president."—discussing flooding in the Midwest, Washington, D.C., June 17, 2008

Recently, the publishers of The War in Quotes sent me a copy of their book. It is horrifying! I wish I had read it before Halloween! It got me to thinking about how a lot of these quotes (not just Bush's) are actually windows that tell you exactly what these criminals are thinking! They're little Freudian slips of truthiness that tell you exactly what they're thinking.

Honestly, I'm so sick of the man that I might have just gone on without every touching that quote page again. But I've started to feel a tug toward forgiving this cruel, evil, spoiled little frat boy, and I just can't stand the thought of people saying "Oh, he meant well."

No he didn't. He meant to make a lot of money for himself and his friends in the military industrial complex. He meant to cripple the federal budget for years to come, and there's probably a whole bunch of shit he did, that he meant to do, that we will only learn about in the years to come.

And if he, and his cronies, aren't prosecuted, then it's proof that there is no justice, and this country is broken.

And we all know who broke it.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

This is what happens when a Junta steals everything

From Bloomberg:

Employers cut 240,000 jobs last month, for a total so far this year of 1.2 million jobs lost, while the total number of unemployed Americans jumped to 10.1 million, the highest level in a quarter century, according to last week's jobs report from the Labor Department.

The Bush Junta has spent 8 years robbing the US Treasury. From no-bid contracts, to pallets of cash "lost" in Iraq, to Wall Street getting "bailed out" (bailed out from what? robbing us blind?), the Bush cronies have stolen everything that's not nailed down. In fact, I think I can hear the pry bars and claw hammers working their way through the White House now.

Now the increased tax of paying off all this debt will fall on our grandchildren. And I still have people telling me I should be nice? A good friend of mine forwarded a typical right wing email full of crap about Pelosi, and I went off on the guy (who's email I got out of the forwarded mail)...

Well, my good friend was a little perturbed at me for attacking a long-time friend of his. Oh well. I refuse to apologize for treating this wing nuts like the idiots they are. They should be shamed and marginalized. Here's my reply to my friend, who suggested I play nice if I want to get people like that guy thinking....

I did send him a link. It carefully explained how there was no evidence that Pelosi owns stock in Star Kist.

However, the bigger point was that to dare to compare that one little thing, even if it was true, which it's not, to the long litany of disaster created by this president and his cronies, is the most specious of all their bad arguments. It's like a little kid going, yeah, I ruined your sandcastle and the entire beach with this oil spill, but you ruined my Popsicle with this tiny spec of sand.

I lost sleep over this last night, because I sure don't want to make you mad at me. And losing sleep is not something I need right now, as I have to take a shit load of drugs to make it through the pain and get any sleep at all.

But I will tell you that this isn't about left vs. right. This is about the fact that people like this guy supported this right wing junta that has ruined this country, that is busy robbing us and our grandchildren of trillions right now, and yet he, and people like him, continue this bullshit that is just sand in the eyes to stop us from seeing what is really going on.

This is about reality.

This crap goes back further than Gingrich. I don't really care about getting him thinking. His response to me was so condescending that I just wanted to piss him off. I hope I did. And I hope it sticks with him. Frankly, I've learned that pissing wing nuts off actually is what makes them think. Trying to play nice with them is just a waste of time. Their whole philosophy is confrontation and agitation. They really hate me because I'm very good at their silly game.

Honestly. Here we are on the brink of a depression and environmental ruin brought on by the Philosophy of people like that, and you're saying we should be nice to them and try to get them to think? I don't think it's possible to get them to think. They need to be shamed. They need to be shown, over and over again, the connection between their Laissez-Faire, Trickle-Down, economics and the current condition of this country, from the environment to the economy.

Besides, they are a small minority now. As long as we keep them marginalized and ridiculed, they will not be able to affect things any more. Their days are over, and they will have to re-invent themselves into something more reality based to come back. Honestly. We're talking about a whole political wing of this country that doesn't believe in evolution or global warming.

It's like with religion. If they would only admit that they don't know... If they would just admit to the reality that ideology spits out standard answers and prescriptions for action that are not based on facts. The right wing philosophy, like practically any religion, is simply not pragmatic. It used to be, but then it was taken over by the ideologues, mostly from Nixon and Reagan (like Cheney and the Neo-cons, and Bush, the Theo-con).

Now, if this guy wants to admit that this disaster is the direct result of a Wild West Deregulatory environment that festered in the Enron Accounting and Halliburton No-Bid contract petri dish in some right wing laboratory, then maybe we could all come to some Obamaesque understanding and cooperation. But do you think this person is reality based? When he just forwards whatever right wing talking points come through his machine?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Epic Fail

Odd that the conservatives I occasionally hear from have gotten so quiet. Plotting the fascist overthrow of the newly elected government, or are you putting "country first" these days?

Well, at the risk of saying "I told you so" yet again about the Bush "administration" I'd like to point out that the looting of the US Treasury, of our children's and grandchildren's tax dollars, is going on at break neck pace in Washington. And all you Bush voters should be even more ashamed. This isn't capitalism. Hell, it's not even conservative. The fascist corporate right wing of America has taken control of your money, and I hear nary a peep out of you. Not one single, hey, that hard left liberal lunatic Supak was actually right about these Bushies! They're robbing us blind!

Ah, well, all the better to drown Obama's government in a bath tub. Where is Grover Norquist on this bailout issue? Where are the true conservatives who should be first in line demanding that there be transparency in the bail out?

Could it be that it was never conservatism that interested you? Could it be that you only care about pouring the next generation's tax dollars into paying off the credit card bills accrued during these heady days of Christo-Military-Corporo-fascism? As long as you get your private Blackwater armies and Halliburton support services paid for in perpetuity with stolen pallets of cash, right? As long as you hand out more free money to the CEOs who robbed their companies and their investors blind, right? As long as that fucking socialist Obama doesn't get to spend it on health care for a bunch of lazy welfare queens, right?

As I write this, the financial world is abuzz with this news:

The financial world was fixated on Capitol Hill as Congress battled over the Bush administration's request for a $700 billion bailout of the banking industry. In the midst of this late-September drama, the Treasury Department issued a five-sentence notice that attracted almost no public attention.

But corporate tax lawyers quickly realized the enormous implications of the document: Administration officials had just given American banks a windfall of as much as $140 billion.

..."Did the Treasury Department have the authority to do this? I think almost every tax expert would agree that the answer is no," said George K. Yin, the former chief of staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation, the nonpartisan congressional authority on taxes. "They basically repealed a 22-year-old law that Congress passed as a backdoor way of providing aid to banks."

And which banks specifically benefited from this centralized, fascist takeover of our financial system? None of your damn business, that's who.

Nov. 10 (Bloomberg) -- The Federal Reserve is refusing to identify the recipients of almost $2 trillion of emergency loans from American taxpayers or the troubled assets the central bank is accepting as collateral.

Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said in September they would comply with congressional demands for transparency in a $700 billion bailout of the banking system. Two months later, as the Fed lends far more than that in separate rescue programs that didn't require approval by Congress, Americans have no idea where their money is going or what securities the banks are pledging in return.

I find it astounding that many of the conservatives who have insulted my over the last 8 years are sitting on their hands right now, lest they type something a little, shall we say unflattering, about their hero president?

Well, maybe this will help:

Nov. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Let’s say you were the chief risk officer of the former Bear Stearns Cos. in the two years preceding the bank’s collapse in March.

And let’s say, just for argument’s sake, that the postmortems revealed Bear to have had too much risk and too little management of it. The only way JPMorgan Chase & Co. would agree to acquire Bear was with a $29 billion sweetener from the Federal Reserve for some of the less-palatable assets.

Following the acquisition of Bear Stearns by JPMorgan, you would expect said chief risk officer to:

a) Retire quietly to his country home;

b) Open a "consulting" business, allowing him to deduct the costs of a home office at the country home;

c) Land a plum job offer from another Wall Street bank;

d) Land a job as a bank supervisor at the Federal Reserve.

If you picked a, b or c, you would be incorrect. The correct answer is d.

Michael Alix, chief risk officer at Bear Stearns from 2006 until its demise in March, was named senior vice president in the Bank Supervision Group of the New York Fed on Oct. 31.

It’s not unusual for Wall Street to reward its own, offering rogue traders -- the ones who escape criminal prosecution -- new jobs at different firms. But the Fed? At a time when its balance sheet is exploding with increasingly risky assets?

I'm not the least bit surprised by a lack of accountability in the Bush Jr. "administration." I am surprised that more conservatives aren't waving some torches and pitchforks right now, as this lack of transparency, lack of accountability, and apparent lack of competency (unless they are competent crooks) reveals the depths to which Bush and Cheney will sink in order to reward his cronies who have epically failed us all.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Saying Bush is Socialist While He Implements Fascism

(or, Wasted Away Again in Frame-a-ritaville)

The Paulson Bailout happened so fast, who even noticed that while the "true conservatives" vituperated against this socialist move by the Bush administration, we all bought the political characterization. The negative connotation of Socialism immediately became the framing of the anti-Bush sentiment. We in the left, especially, were eager to tap the Schadenfreude of yet another chance to point out Bush's hypocrisy. Meanwhile, the conservatives call Obama socialist, and presto, they've associated Obama with Bush.

I had a Euripidean Revelation, then, when I stumbled across this nugget: Former Assistant Secretary of Treasury for Reagan and a former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal, Paul Craig Roberts, made the case recently on Democracy Now that the Paulson plan is, in fact, fascist.

AMY GOODMAN: Paul Craig Roberts, the piece you’ve written, one of them, asks, “Has deregulation sired fascism?” What do you mean?

PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS: Well, the original Paulson plan was to give the Secretary of the Treasury $700 billion with no accountability and give him complete control over the financial system. And that, of course, is state capitalism or fascism. If you control the financial system, you control the economy. And so, that was my way of pointing out the dramatic sort of power that was said to be necessary to stem a crisis that, in my view, could be fixed just by refinancing mortgages, like they did during the Great Depression.

Of course, fascism has other necessary conditions, which I'll get to. But it's an important point that the concentration of power in the executive branch is, in and of itself, a fascist move. While the ultimate result of the nationalization of these financial firms might be socialistic (assuming we all share in the upside), the actual administrative move, approved by congress, is, in and of itself, fascist.

Moving on to further conditions that should set our fascism alarms blaring, we can see that the money, power, and control under this bailout is concentrated throughout the upper class, especially the lobbyist class that pulls the executive levers. They are using their power to perpetrate a crime, exhibiting a blatant disregard for the law. If they can't change a law they don't like, they just break it, and dare anyone to do anything about it. After all, what can we do to a runaway executive branch? Arrest them? Aren't they the cops? Don't they have the guns? Who's going to arrest the ones who are supposed to do the arresting?

AMY GOODMAN: Who is driving this? Who framed this bailout? And explain exactly who it is who benefits right now.

PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS: Well, what the bailout does is it takes troubled financial instruments off the balance sheet of the banks and puts them on the balance sheet of the taxpayer at the US Treasury. So it’s a bailout of the financial institutions whose recklessness caused the problem. And as I’ve already said, it does not address the problem. It only addresses the problem of the banks. So the foreclosures and the defaulting mortgages will continue as the economy worsens, and yet nothing is being done to stabilize that default rate or to stop these foreclosures. So the money is essentially being poured into the coffers of Washington’s financial donor base.

This is not a complex problem. Follow the money. First you loosen it up. Then you swap it around. Then you say, "Don't worry!" Then you make it disappear. Then you ask for a refund. So exactly how do you steal the money the first time around?

PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS: [...] In 1999, in the Clinton administration, they repealed the Glass-Steagall Act. This was the Depression-era legislation that separated commercial from investment banking. In 2000, they deregulated all derivatives. And in 2004, Hank Paulson, the current Treasury Secretary, who at the time was chairman of Goldman Sachs, he convinced the Securities and Exchange Commission to remove all capital requirements for investment banks, and thus they were able to drive up their profits by amazing leverage. For example, when Bear Stearns finally went under, it had $33 in debt for every dollar in equity. So this is an amazing leverage. And it’s amazing that all reserves against debt would have been removed by the Securities and Exchange Commission. So, the whole thing is reckless beyond imagination. Now, they claim that they had new mathematical models that assessed risk and that they didn’t need these reserves. Well, that was all a bunch of hooey, as we now see.

We were just conned out of yet another generation's taxes and we're supposed to settle for "oops"? Is this power grab more justified because they say it was an accident? We're supposed to think that after the systematic dismantling of regulations, starting in 1999 with the repeal of Glass-Steagall, that they were simply reckless? Asst. Secretary Roberts should be commended for his liberal view of the goodness of man. I don't share his forgiving nature. You don't have to be an expert on the Bush Administration to see what seems pretty clear: a federal prosecutor could make a career out of it. If something is "reckless beyond imagination," then it's likely to be illegal as well.

The religious component of pure corporate fascism is the God of the Market. Nothing rings the opening/church bells like the holy grail of 700 Billion Dollars. When searching for a definition to demonize for the Nationalization of Financial Institutions, the Republican Party once again associated "socialism" with "communism" while the opposite was true. This financial rein-seizing will do little to nothing for society as a whole. It will do everything for society at the Country Club. This is fascist plutocracy.

A unitary executive is one of the necessary conditions for fascism. Another is disregard for the rule of law. Another is hate. The "dirty-fucking-hippie" meme is being whipped up by the standard bearers of the Republican party right now, with their Christian Right zealots right behind, and you have the very model of a fascist system. Sprinkle in some racism, and they get their picture in the fascist textbook.

And yet we go on with the crude caricature that associates the Bush administration with leftist philosophy. Even worse, of course, is that all this framing takes our eye off the Ace in this game of political three card monty. While our heads spin with the dissonance of inaccurate name-calling and right-wing red meat keywords, they pass another trillion dollars in corporate welfare, concentrate more power into the executive branch, incite violence, ignore the law, and steal more money from our children. Anyone who dares to call what they're doing is singled out as a "hater" because they didn't mean to steal this money. They were just reckless.

The snake oil we've been sold was cranked out by computers, but it was just as slimy as what you could get off a wagon a hundred years ago. This isn't the first time that markets and the treasury have been gamed. And it won't be the first time that the guilty parties walk away, probably with presidential pardons.

Another of the right's favorite frames is "Who could have seen it coming?" As in, "Who could have predicted terrorists would fly planes into buildings?" Or, "Who could have predicted that Iraq didn't have WMD?" Or, "Who could have predicted that deregulation would lead to financial trickery?" In The Rise of the Machines, Richard Dooling points out that this latest crime was, of course, predicted.

“BEWARE of geeks bearing formulas.” So saith Warren Buffett, the Wizard of Omaha. Words to bear in mind as we bail out banks and buy up mortgages and tweak interest rates and nothing, nothing seems to make any difference on Wall Street or Main Street. Years ago, Mr. Buffett called derivatives “weapons of financial mass destruction” — an apt metaphor considering that the Manhattan Project’s math and physics geeks bearing formulas brought us the original weapon of mass destruction, at Trinity in New Mexico on July 16, 1945.

Dooling goes on to make the case that the entire scheme is essentially one giant computer crime. Keep in mind that Paulson, as chairman of Goldman Sachs, convinced the administration (of which he was about to become a cabinet member) to obliterate the capitalization rule, the lack of which helped create the "crisis." Then, as Treasury Secretary, he engineered a "bail out" that makes us all pay, again. What gall they have to even ask that he have total control of the $700 billion! Well-connected corporate directors perpetrated the fleecing of America by sending their insiders and lobbyists to run the White House, aiding and abetting the crime. Looking at the Bush Administration as a whole, wasn't it obvious where this was leading? When it was said foxes were guarding the hen house, did we trust them in spite of knowing that foxes eat chickens?

Dooling, again, uncovers the crime:

Somehow the genius quants — the best and brightest geeks Wall Street firms could buy — fed $1 trillion in subprime mortgage debt into their supercomputers, added some derivatives, massaged the arrangements with computer algorithms and — poof! — created $62 trillion in imaginary wealth.

Their was nothing imaginary about the cut of that wealth that the upper classes took out of the system during the last 8 years. Enron was simply foreshadowing. An executive branch already injecting the steroids of military industrial complex money and unchecked war making power forced us to purchase a seat on the board of their corrupt and broken corporation. There is nothing free about a market that can force the sale of failure to the taxpayer. These CEO's took over our government. They infused it with Religion and War. They created the United Corporations of America, aka the Bush Administration, and their chief export is war. It was heavily subsidized with tax cuts, defense spending, and corporate welfare. CEO pay inflated to the point that even astrophysicists object to calling the numbers astronomical. After all, there are only a hundred billion stars in the galaxy.

Now these unrepentant financial terrorists sip lattes on the porches of their devalued McMansions, hung-over from their drunken spending spree, and they want us to pay for it all? They complain that Obama wants to take away their Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. They scream about socialism as if it's some evil to which even George Bush has sold out. They propose more tax cuts for themselves, and tax increases on the middle class. They demand cuts in social programs, education, and infrastructure investments. They want the people who stole our future in charge of the justice that protects it? That isn't just fascism. That's an insult.

It was nice to hear Colin Powell stand up for reason and dignity when he endorsed Obama. But in his comments to the press after the endorsement, he said it was wrong to call Obama a socialist. It was a lot like hearing McCain say Obama's not an Arab, as if being an Arab was evil. I'm not sure if Powell understands that the point is not whether socialism is bad, but that after the fascism of George Bush, it's hard not to move to the left, if only because there's no room left on the right.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Hard to make money when they're stealing it from you...

Since George W. Bush became president, on 1-20-01, the DJIA has now lost 1946.19 points, or 18.49%. Think that money just evaporated? No. It went somewhere.

American history provides us with an apt description of people who take control of the country and rob us all blind. They're called robber barons. And the Republican party has spent the last 40 years perpetuating one long Baron von Robsalot end run on the US Treasury, financed by the Future Generations of America (TM). If you just look back over the archives of this blog, you will find case after case of the Bush administration apologetically pilfering every dime they could get, right down to literally flying pallets of cash to Iraq, where it disappeared into blood-thick air.

Who (besides Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman) would have thought that they could possibly follow Iraq with a bank robbery of such epic fail proportions that it will eventually dwarf the Iraq war?

Of course, when the bankers opened their vaults and realized their computer traded derivatives and credit default swaps were really just smoke and broken mirrors, someone had to pay! So what if we're all just the victims of the largest crime in history, perpetrated by computer trading ponzi scheme wizards with golden parachutes and private islands to suffer on while the rest of the world writes the next Mad Max movie.

So, as election day approaches, all you greedy capitalist Republicans who have somehow wound up in bed with the Armageddon Hugging Pentecostal Secessionists should take a good hard look at this fun little graph (above). There are more fun graphs and the story from the dreaded New York Times. Hell, if you don't believe it, go check it out yourself. The DOW Jones Average closings are a matter of history. Indisputable. Unless, of course, facts about your money don't matter to you.

As of Friday, a $10,000 investment in the S.& P. stock market index would have grown to $11,733 if invested under Republican presidents only, although that would be $51,211 if we exclude Herbert Hoover’s presidency during the Great Depression. Invested under Democratic presidents only, $10,000 would have grown to $300,671 at a compound rate of 8.9 percent over nearly 40 years.

I'm taking suggestions as to where we should spread the ashes of "trickle down" economics.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Shit Burger Supreme

"Any change is as good as a vacation at this point. I don't know if you've paid much attention to the past eight years, but it has been a shit burger supreme. If somebody gives me an empty burger, it's better than eating shit." -- Stephen Colbert

Saturday, February 23, 2008

We already brought you the Captain

Hey, all you bloviating military industrial complex drones complaining about Obama mentioning a Captain in Afghanistan who says we don't have the supplies to fight there because everything's in Iraq! You really think Obama's lying about this?

This is from last May, assholes.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Star Wars

From Scout Finch at the Daily Kos:

The US Navy announced that due to bad weather, it will postpone the attempt to shoot down the impaired satellite until tomorrow at the earliest. Our zillion dollar "star wars" technology is clearly capable of stopping incoming missiles so long as: they come one at a time, are the size of a school bus, travel in orbits that have been calculated for months, don't deploy any decoys, and the weather is clear.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

380,000 Words of Treason

"Simply stated, there is no doubt that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction."--Dick Cheney.

The Center for Public Integrity has launched a web site documenting the Bush administration's lies in the run up to the war in Iraq. The sustained, deliberate, orchestrated lying has led us into the largest rip-off of American taxpayers in the history of the country.

From the CPI's Iraq War Card:

President George W. Bush and seven of his administration's top officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, made at least 935 false statements in the two years following September 11, 2001, about the national security threat posed by Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Nearly five years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, an exhaustive examination of the record shows that the statements were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses.

And yet, we have had no investigations into the White House actions. They have refused to testify under oath. They have ignored congress (now that we have a congress that doesn't ignore them). They won't even appoint one of their friends to "investigate" them.

Odd that many conservatives, who are so ready to string up welfare "queens" (like the ones Reagan could never produce examples of) for ripping off the people who work to pay for it all, don't care that we will wind up spending more than a trillion (that's Trillion with a T) on this war and its aftermath. Says a lot for a block of voters who gladly voted for Bush again in 2004, a vote that says it's OK to kill innocent children (collateral damage), wreak havoc on an entire country that didn't attack us, cost the lives of thousands of soldiers (straining the army to the breaking point in the process), and create massive war profiteering by everyone from the bomb makers to the oil companies to the Saudis (who's non-democracy created 15 of the 19 9-11 hijackers and financed most of their operations). A vote for Bush in 2004 was, essentially, an American saying that was all OK, that lying to get us into it was OK, and that they'd do it again.

And this will make us safer how?

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Stop HR 888 - Dominionist Lies about History

Maybe because lying us into the modern Crusades, lying about global warming, lying about pollution, lying about our health and threats to it, and even lying about their own proselytizing under the guise of "faith-based initiatives" wasn't enough, now the American Dominionists (sounds so much better than fascist or Taliban, doesn't it?) are trying to pass House Resolution 888.

But, wait! The description of this resolution sounds all warm, fuzzy, and Godly. How could it be bad?

"Affirming the rich spiritual and religious history of our Nation's founding and subsequent history and expressing support for designation of the first week in May as 'American Religious History Week' for the appreciation of and education on America's history of religious faith."

If that's all it did, it would be just another harmless waste of congress's time, like supporting the makers of Peeps. HR 888 is actually a pack of lies put together by Christian Nationalists in an attempt to enter falsified American history into the congressional record.

I first heard about this over at the KOS. In today's diary on this subject, Troutfishing asks that smaller blogs pick this up, and I was surprised no one over here had anything to say about it (that I could find).

Christian Nationalists seek to make the US a "Christian Nation." Despite the obvious problems with introducing lies into the congressional record, we should look at the deeper motives of those who are attempting to place those lies there, and in as many other places as they can. It is a blatant attempt by these people to convince Americans, wrongly, that the founding fathers intended for the US to be a Christian Nation.

This is from George Grant, in Changing of the Guard:

"Christians have an obligation, a mandate, a commission, a holy responsibility to reclaim the land for Jesus Christ -- to have dominion in civil structures, just as in every other aspect of life and godliness. But it is dominion we are after. Not just a voice. It is dominion we are after. Not just influence. It is dominion we are after. Not just equal time. It is dominion we are after. World conquest. That's what Christ has commissioned us to accomplish."

If the name George Grant sounds familiar, that's because he co-wrote the book Kids Who Kill with Iowa Republican caucus winner Mike Huckabee. Odd that no MSM has asked Huckabee if he share's Grant's views.

Steve Hotze, who has raised funds for Huckabee, is another familiar name to these theocrats. Hotze actually signed a manifesto that included these little nuggets of Dominionist wisdom:

* A wife may work outside the home only with her husband's consent
* "Biblical spanking" that results in "temporary or superficial bruises or welts" should not be considered a crime
* No doctor shall provide medical service on the Sabbath
* Medical problems are frequently caused by personal sin
* Doctors have a priestly calling
* Physicians should preach to their patients because salvation is the key to their health.

The medical angle is particularly disturbing in light of this SP Diary by br t: Abusing Children in the Name of God.

Gaining dominion over this country (and its vast military might, as documented by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation) is no easy task, and could never be accomplished without a big dose of propaganda. Since most of their lies about American history have been so much preaching (and book selling) to their already duped followers, they need to catapult the propaganda. What better way to heave the exploding showers of stone behind the walls of secularism than to pass a resolution in the US House of Representatives?

For a line-item debunking of this garbage, see Chris Rodda's article from last week: Think the "Christmas Resolution" was Bad? Check Out H. Res. 888.

I hope that the kind, sane, loving people here will recognize this resolution for what it is: blatant lies about American history and the great men who wanted to create a country where no religion has dominion over man.

Cross-posted at Street Prophets.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Straits of Wrath

The Straits of Hormuz from spaceIn the John Steinbeck novel (and great Henry Fonda movie) The Grapes of Wrath, the agribusiness thugs wanted to start a fight with the farm workers inside the federal camp during a dance, so the club-wielding cops could enter the camp, warrantless, under the auspices of quelling a riot.

In the Straits of Hormuz today, according to the Pentagon, Iran's Revolutionary Guard's "fast boats"1 charged US Navy ships.

In the book, the camp residents see the plot unfold and concoct a group abduction of the agitators. In Iran, perhaps a few more people realized that the people running the Revolutionary Guards aren't exactly helping them. In America, perhaps a few more people realized something similar about the Bush administration.

In The Grapes of Wrath, the people of the camp execute their plan flawlessly. They overwhelm the thugs and remove them from view. The police are unable to come in and beat up the "red threat."

In Iran today, conservatives likely cheered the "maneuver," although the Government there, of course, denies the incident happened. The vast majority of the country probably didn't cheer, but wondered what on earth they can do? At the least, the US Administration's credibility has been questioned yet again in a region where they already have precious little.

The Pentagon's Tales of the Revolutionary Guard adds another sordid episode. It's like they're hedging their bets, in case they do "have to act" in "the interests of the US," they'll be able to say that they're only targeting the Guard. In the New York Times story of the incident, note the care taken by the Pentagon spokesperson to praise Iran's "regular" Navy.
“We have found in the past that the regular Iranian Navy was a courteous and professional organization, and our relations are as we would have with any other navy in the world,” said one Pentagon official who has studied the issue. “The I.R.G.C. Navy has a tendency to act in these unprofessional ways, and to be very provocative at times.”
How convenient. We don't have anything against you people, just the ones we don't like. The rest of you can move along...

Do our White House thugs want to keep this down to a small brawl and some kind of limited, warrantless quelling of dangerous unrest? Do they honestly believe that Iran's other military branches would understand the distinction if the next time this happens, the US sinks the charging fast boats2?

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the infiltrators are trying to start yet another fight, and we the citizens of the camp have done nothing, other than count backwards, to stop them. We have no serious impeachment proceedings. The Mullahs are still calling the shots in Iran. The price of oil goes ever upward, often in very predetermined-looking ways.

Maybe Dick Cheney and his well-funded private war machine actually have people inside Iran who occasionally do something like this on the eve of a Presidential visit to the Middle East. Maybe some people in Iran understand that what's good for Dick is good for the rest of the oil oligarchy. Russian super-sonic cruise missiles and nuclear power plants aren't cheap, you know.

In a camp where the agitators are always picking fights so they can move in the troops, the people of the camp are no longer vigilant enough to see the agitators before the fights break out. Our complacent certitude that elections have consequences, instead of all actions while in office having consequences, is a gaping hole in the defense of this country, this camp, where the people decide.

Jefferson said, "The price of Democracy is eternal vigilance." Looks like a lot of people have been asleep at their post.

Cross-posted at the The Daily KOS.

1 Apparently, "fast boats" are faster than "swift boats" but the distortion effect on the truth seems to be similar.

2 Does this Republican hatred for small, quick water craft go back to Nixon's hatred of Kennedy's heroics on PT109?

Saturday, January 05, 2008

What would happen if you ignored the law?

I've taken a lot of flak from right wing "law and order" types, who, especially when they talk about illegal immigration, always come back to "the law is the law and they broke it."

Well, last year, congress voted to cut off funding for a pilot program that allows Mexican trucks drive deep into the US, a provision of NAFTA. Bush signed the bill cutting off funding for the controversial program, making it the law of the land. The program, administered by the Bush administration's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, part of the Department of Transporation, has not been cut. In fact, the FMCSA

...quietly acknowledged last week that the program is still under way, adding that it has issued permits to 11 Mexican companies with a total of 56 trucks.

Senator Byron Dorgan (D, ND), in a letter to Transportation Secretary Mary Peters, called for an immediate end to the program. Well, that ought to stop it, eh? After all, when the branch of government that is supposed to enforce the laws is actually breaking the law, what's a lonely executive brancher to do? Go to court? The Teamsters union is suing. But, how much will the anti-union CEOs make in the mean time by using cheaper Mexican labor as truckers in this country?

What do you GOP voters think about an administration that just ignores laws it doesn't like. Bush signed this law. Why not just veto it? This pattern of ignoring the law looks like a full assault on the constitution, the opposite of what Bush and Cheney swore in their oaths of office.

This is, of course, another example of what David Addington, Cheney's Chief of Staff,
told us was going to happen.

"We're going to push and push and push until some larger force makes us stop."

There is only one larger force that will stop these people. Impeachment.