Saturday, December 29, 2007

Talking to Politicians Who Will Never Hear Me - 2

Nancy Pelosi

Take a tip from your friend Harry Reid and find a Congressional representative in the DC area to accept that damn bill from the White House and stop this pocket veto nonsense. Bush has made it clear that he doesn't believe that he has to uphold the Constitution of the United States. If the House does not accept the bill from the White House, Bush believes he can then declare Congress in recess and make recess appointments for Hans von Spakovsky to the Federal Elections Commission and Steven Bradbury to head the Office of Legal Counsel.

I've talked about von Spakovsky earlier and I'm not so sure that not having the FEC in action during a Presidential Election year is all that terrible. First, the FEC's decisions are not made in a timely (to me) fashion and since it will be 3-2 Republicans, just like the Federal Communications Commission, it might be less able to create mischief.

But Bradbury is a serious piece of work. He clerked for Clarence Thomas, says that the Supreme Courts ruling about military tribunals was incorrectly decided, thinks the Geneva Conventions language is vague and subject to uncertain and unpredictable application (it seems pretty clear to me and I'm not even a lawyer). He also advocated on behalf of the act which suspended habeas corpus, and wrote opinions justifying torture.

The only thing keeping Bush from appointing him was the Senate's staying in session. But now, if the House cannot accept the omnibus Defense Bill (with the $70 million without strings), Bush and his legal minnions will declare that Congress is at recess and that he can make these and other appointments.

Really, you must stop trying to please the Republicans. There is no pleasing them. They will only be happy when there is a complete and total dictatorship in the US with no chance of any opposition.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Obama and Lieberman

UPDATE: So, I get a comment saying that Obama really didn't say that he'd like Arnold (I can't spell his last name and am too tired at 12:20 am on the day after Christmas to look it up) to be a member of his cabinet, although he did praise Chuck Hagel and Richard Lugar; fellow Senators although they are both Republicans.

Then I learn that Obama is is picking a fight with John Edwards about 527s and Unions. Say what? Without unions we wouldn't have the 8 hour work week, paid vacations, sick leave, etc. Without unions most of us wouldn't have grown up in middle class families. Unions and PACs are not the same thing and why would Obama keep giving Republicans ideas about how to Swift Boat other Democrats?

I won't comment on Krugman's discussion of the Harry and Louise redux ad because I couldn't find it on YouTube, which doesn't mean much - but I figure if it is being shown in Iowa I should be able to find it. But the crux of Krugman's argument is that if anyone has to buy health insurance, every should have to buy it - like auto insurance. Although, having health insurance does not mean that you will receive medical care. Will Obama be willing to mandate that insurance companies actually cover the people who pay their premiums month after month?

Obama says he'd pick Arnold, Lugar, and Hagel for his cabinet. What? He doesn't know any good Democrats?

This action is making me think more and more about the ways in which Obama is too much like Lieberman.

Both like to beat on Democrats with Republican talking points. Both see good across the aisle before they deign to mention the good in their own party. I mean, hell, Lieberman endorsed McCain because "no Democrat asked him!" Wonder why!

I had always thought Obama just wasn't ready yet. Felt a few more years in the Senate would help him articulate his positions beyond hope and optimism. I know I'm a cynic; maybe I'm just leaping ahead to the curmudgeon years.

I admit to supporting Edwards -- he's the only one I trust to protect my interests and the interests of most of Americans. Hillary shows something, but it isn't passion (I need to know what my candidate is passionate about) and Obama is just too nice! The world isn't a nice place. But I digress.

So, will Barak Obama be the next Democratic Senator to lose his primary election bid in his home state? If he keeps endorsing Republicans, he just might.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

What to do About Israel and Palestine

A friend of mine in Helada asked me what I would do about the problems in Israel and Palestine. Here's my response:

Israel exists - no one should have to affirm their right to exist. We Americans didn't ask the Native Americans to affirm our right to their country. We took it, signed a few treaties (most of which we have continuously ignored) and all have moved on. To ask the Palestinians to affirm Israel existence really means to say that the Israelis were correct to take their country and that they fully agree with those actions. Even we Americans were quite that bold!

But Israel must return to the 1967 borders. Israel must affirm the right to return and I truly believe that if this is done, Israel's security issues will be far fewer than they are now.

But it is hard to give up power, especially that power which is maintained through force so I don't see this happening anytime soon.

But this would be my solution.


Of course, I wrote that before waking up this morning to see that Israel plans to build a 10,000 home new development in East Jerusalem. Boy, they really know how to negotiate a peace treaty, eh?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Modern Day Disenfranchisement - Part 3

In Part 1, I talked about how the Supreme Court is going to look at Indiana's voter ID requirements. Now comes word that the Bush Justice Department is taking this disenfranchisement activity another step closer to banning all minority, poor, and Democratic leaning voters from the polls:

"A new legal strategy that allows states to pass repressive election laws in the name of fighting voter fraud -- even if there is scant evidence such fraud exists or threatens election outcomes -- is emerging before the 2008 election, and the Department of Justice's Voting Section appears to be its biggest champion.

In legal briefs filed at the Supreme Court before a January hearing over the constitutionality of Indiana's 2005 voter I.D. law, the Department of Justice and other defenders of the ID law are making several new arguments that, if accepted by the court, would allow states to create barriers to voting without showing these laws address real problems."

In other words, just the thought that there might be possible future fraud, means the states can take pre-emptive action (think Iraq) against its citizens and disenfranchise them.

Again, read the entire link,

Modern Day Disenfranchisement - Part 2

Here's another example of voter disenfranchisement:

New Jersey's state Republican Party also claimed that 4,397 people had voted twice in 2000, and another 6,572 voted both in New Jersey and in one of five other states. But a systematic review by the Brennan Justice Center at New York University Law School found most of the matches ignored different middle names, dates of birth, or other discrepancies. All told, the center found that eight of the 3.6 million New Jersey voters in 2004 intentionally cast invalid votes - a "fraud rate" of four ten-thousandths of one percent.

Do read the entire article -- it is breathtaking!