Saturday, January 20, 2007

One of my least favorite people gets a smackdown

The "intellectual" right has been feeling uppity lately, with moron Dinesh D'Souza explaining how gays and drugs and permissiveness casued 9/11. He's not the only one out there explaining, under the guise of intellectualism, how liberals are ruining the world. One of his compatriots in idiocy is David Horowitz, who had a brainiectomy and has decided to spew venom against those who do the most harm to our society - college professors.

On a website called "The Beast," they ranked the 50 most loathsome people in America, 2006. The list includes many of the obvious people (Bush, Cheney, et al), as well as some less obvious, such as "You" and "Us". It's a worthy read, if you enjoy reading insulting things about obnoxious people. My favorite, though, is what they have to say about the aforementioned Mr. Horowitz:

Like most fascist converts, Horowitz sees disseminating information as an act of treason. His favorite targets are university professors he declares enemies of "academic freedom," because nothing is more dangerous to a neocon than someone who actually knows what they’re talking about.

Madame Speaker, the President of the United States

The state of the union drinking game.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

What time is it?

It's Dumbass Time!

Jimbow, a good friend of this space, submitted what he aptly called the trifecta, from a local paper:

To the Editor:

Unfortunately, this country is at war with two enemies, the terrorists and the liberal leftists who rely on the media to support that lose-at-any-cost agenda. Had Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stood with President Bush and looked the terrorists in the eye and said, “We are one. This country is united and we will not be defeated,” this war would have been over in months, but no. Our own people constantly and wrongly drag this country, which is winning the war and is doing a good job, through the mud. We are enjoying a thriving economy, record unemployment, a deficit on the decline and troops who are re-enlisting in record numbers.Why are people not uniting as one? Those who voted for Sen. Dick Durbin, D–Ill., please, stop and think before you vote next time or just toss your ballot in the garbage. Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Ted Kennedy – is that who you want running this country? For those of you who are older, remember, we had our Jimmy Carter. Please don’t make the same mistake. Let’s try unity before we choose defeatism, I believe that we are called the United States. Let’s start acting like it.

Bruce Bocian
Lake in the Hills


To the Editor:

Since the Democrats have taken control of Congress, there have been a few letters expressing desires to get rid of President Bush before his term is up. I wholeheartedly agree with this. After all, Bush didn’t respond to an attack on the World Trade Center [editor's note: the attempt at sarcasm here is correct. He did not respond] , ignored the threat posed by Osama bin Laden [editor's note: again, the intended sarcasm is correct, Bush did ignore the threat, and of course the Sudan stuff following is lies and urban legend.] (refusing to take him from the Sudanese government three times), gave us the largest tax hike in American history[editor's note: No], bombed Iraq to avoid an impeachment hearing, [editor's note: No], lied under oath [editor's note: Well, yeah, but it wasn't perjurious because it was not "material."], trampled our Second Amendment rights, [editor's note: No], gave nuclear technology to North Korea [editor's note: No], and, oh, wait a minute.That’s right, Bush cut taxes [editor's note: On the super-rich], put Osama bin Laden on the run [editor's note: No], has protected our Second Amendment rights [editor's note: HOW?], has disrupted uncountable numbers of terrorist attacks [editor's note: No], deposed Saddam Hussein [editor's note: So? Fat lot a good that did you, upsetting the balance of power and creating a `Shi'a Crescent], freed 25 million people in Iraq and Afghanistan from murderous totalitarians [editor's note: No], has signed legislation protecting unborn children [editor's note: Symbolic legislation as part of a partisan agenda], stopped “negotiating” with North Korea because of their broken promises to us [editor's note: and that got us where???] ,and is the reason Saddam no longer is alive. [editor's note: I repeat, that does what for us?]

And, by the way, Bush didn’t lie about weapons of mass destruction. [editor's note: No] Every major intelligence agency in the world supported this claim [editor's note: No], as did former Iraqi soldiers in Senate hearings on the subject, not to mention the Kurds and Iranian army.

Jake Justen


To the Editor:

Impeach President Bush? Articles of Impeachment:

1) The stock market is at a new all-time high [editor's note: Not whwn adjusted for inflation and historic expansion] 2) Unemployment is at 25-year low [editor's note: "Fuzzy math" takes many out of the equation, those who are embittered to the point of giving up] 3) Oil prices are plummeting [editor's note: from record highs???] 4) Taxes are at 20-year lows [editor's note: and the deficit/debt is at a post-1789 high] 5) Federal tax revenues is at all-time highs [editor's note: Nice verb tense there. We have to adjust for inflation and consider the grotesquely would put a Keynsian to shame spending levels and that pesky deficit] and 6) The federal deficit is down almost 50 percent, as projected [editor's note: HIS deficit. HIS projections! 7) Home valuations are up at least 75 percent over the past 3.5 years [editor's note: SOURCE????], 8) Inflation is in check, hovering at 20-year lows [editor's note: while real wages and retirement security are decreasing] 9) Not a single attack on United States’ soil since Sept. 11. [editor's note: SO????], 10) Osama bin Laden is living under a rock, if he is alive. Or in a hole like his cowardly compatriot, the late Saddam Hussein [editor's note: as compared to what?] 11) Terrorist cells are flooding into Iraq to get their heads blown off rather than boarding planes and heading to America to wage war on us here [editor's note: No]. 12) Several terrorist attacks have been thwarted by U.S. and British Intelligence [editor's note: No]Yeah, President Bush sure hasn’t protected the personal and financial security of the American people. [editor's note: Yes]

What a crock.

Lester J. Ballerine

So Bruce, Jake and Lester:

Habeas Corpus ad Subjiciendum and original intent

Kudos to Doc below.

Habeas Corpus ad Subjiciendum, also known as "The Great Writ." As the Supreme Court stated, `[t]he writ of habeas corpus is the fundamental instrument for safeguarding individual freedom against arbitrary and lawless state action.'

Such conduct just demonstrates the lack of regard that this administration has for the constitution and their abject hypocrisy in proclaiming their love for "original intent."

The revolutionary thinkers valued the "Great Writ," and of course presumed its universal application. Another galling aspect of their hypocrisy goes to the very heart of revolutionary sentiment. No, it wasn't "no taxation without representation." That was a shibboleth, albeit one well-used by Sam Adams and the Sons of Liberty. They didn't want "representation," as the British parliament in the late 18th century was not a "representative" body in any sense of the word. Taxes on the colonies were also much lower than those levied in Britain, and here, they were almost exclusively transactional (i.e., avoidable).

No, what angered the colonists were "general writs," the right and power to forceably search without cause. You see that definitively written into the 4th Amendment, which includes elements of both cause and specificity. This administration trashes the very basis for the existence of revolutionary America as they become more invasive.

The framers would also be appalled at this war. There are libraries full of explanations of the American Revolution, dating WAY back historiographically speaking to (fellow DePauw alum) Charles Beard who wrote that the founding fathers rebelled basically to avoid paying off their debts to English merchants. You find a much more nuanced view in Bernard Bailyn's Ideological Origins of the American Revolution. In this seminal, albeit dated, work, Bailyn traces revolutionary ideology back to English opposition writers, and grounds revolutionary thought in the notion of "republicanism" and "republican" ideology. This is a political theory that in effect establishes a duality between good and evil, cast as "virtue" and "corruption." The thinkers of the day looked to the few "pure" republics, Athens and Rome (even though their historical grasp of classical Athens and the Roman republic was quite idealized, and the history was just not very good) and saw righteous states overcome by "corruption."

There were two key roots of "corruption" in the revolutionary ideologue's view. The first is selfishness. While we tend to think of our country rooted on capitalism, its revolutionary ideology was based on selflessness and the "commonwealth." According to republican (obviously with a lower case "r") theory, greed is NOT good, it is destructive.

The other great fear of republican thinkers was the mischief of "standing armies." As these 17th and 18th-century theorists saw it, and of course have been proven right time and again, standing peacetime armies are a BAD thing. The framers opposed them because hereditary rulers, often being of less than full control of their mental faculties and flush with the notion that they were God's instrument (thankfully, THAT never happens!) tended to use standing armies to make mischief.

Republican theory may not explain the revolution (I don't think it does), but it explains a lot of constitution-making. For example, the standing army fear is why you see the militia featured so prominently in the Constitution. The 2nd Amendment does not exist to allow Cooter to protect his "rahts" with his squirrel rifle. Rather, it is there to prevent the federal government from disarming the militias.

The framers also blended the war powers between Congress and the president so that this most solemn of obligations and actions would be carried out thoughtfully and deliberatively. Admittedly, the constitutional language is mushy. The Articles of Confederation vested the war power in Congress, while the constitution obviously tempers that with the Commander-in-Chief notion. However, the framers clearly expected a congressional role, as Congress is authorized to "raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years"

In other words, the framers expected congressional diligence and oversight. Simply put--do your job. At LEAST every two years. They would not be de-funding the troops. They would be following the constitution.

I would refer you to the archives over at Alternet for the brilliant writings of my pal Joshua Holland on this topic.

Shut up, Torture Boy

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, at hearings in front of the Senate Juniciary Committee (unofficial transcript, h/t Kos):

Specter: Now wait a minute, wait a minute. The Constitution says you can't take it away except in the case of invasion or rebellion. Doesn't that mean you have the right of habeas corpus?

Gonzales: I meant by that comment that the Constitution doesn't say that every individual in the United States or every citizen has or is assured the right of habeas corpus. It doesn't say that. It simply says that the right of habeas corpus shall not be suspended.

What the hell is he talking about? The right of habeus corpus shall not be suspended, but every individual doesn't have the right? Who, then, does have the right? The trees? How the hell does that make any sense?

On the other hand, it does fit in with other actions of the Murderer in Chief's administration. Consider the Fourth Amendment: 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.

So, under TB's interpretation, when they wiretap people without a warrant, or read their mail, it's okay, because the Constitution doesn't guarantee that everyone has the right to a warrant, but just that the right to a warrant shall not be violated.

These people need to go away now.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Remarkably stupid, even for Sean Hannity

The great Sean Hannity actually suggested that the decapitation below might have happened because, and I'm not kidding--"the noose might have been too tight." Think about that for a sec...

Monday, January 15, 2007

Those wacky Iraqi hangmen!

They know how to have a good time!

Saddam aides hanged, but not as planned
Half-brother's head is severed; Sunnis claim he was 'mutilated'