Friday, April 15, 2005

A comment I posted on prying1's blog

I wanted to reproduce for my own readers:

Read the quote at the top of your page. The people you laud are men of zeal. I'm an independent, I have voted for men of both parties. I voted for my own Republican rep, Joe Knollenberg, and supported GOP candidate Andrew Raczkowski over Carl Levin in the 2002 Senate race, for example. However, I believe my faith and the faith of others is not compatible with government. Just because I am Catholic does not mean that my beliefs are shared by those I might govern. This country comprises of Christians of several denominations, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, agnostics, atheists, and the like.
I don't agree with the tenets of some of those faiths, and I'm sure they disagree with some of mine. I cannot, though, in good conscience, impose my Catholic beliefs on them. The problem with some of these judges is that they wish to use their Christian beliefs as the basis for legal decisions. The Constitution of the United States does not preach religion, it guarantees freedom of religion for all. Every religion has different beliefs, so why should Frist, DeLay, et al. legislate against their beliefs because they have the power? Are their beliefs somehow superior?
I do not believe Catholicism is in any way superior to another faith. I lead my life based on my conscience, which St. Augustine said is a sovereign force. If I were to legislate, though, I would err on the side of minority rights. If I were a judge, I would rule based on the law, not on my own personal beliefs. The law is impartial and unbiased. Bringing our religious beliefs to the law or the bench is un-American. Just imagine: could an atheist get a truly fair hearing in front of a judge who has publicly made their faith an issue? Jesus warned against those who broadcast their faith publicly. I believe in works, not words, and a group of people who have done little to help the poor, the disabled, the sick while broadcasting they believe in Jesus makes me sick.
Medicaid has helped loved ones who fell on hard times. Social Security saved my family when my father died. These people wish to destroy both. They are the modern-day Pharisees, and anyone of either party who stands up and says "No" is doing the right thing. I'd believe these people if they were more concerned about the less fortunate. I'd believe these people if they didn't line their pockets with contributions from the companies that are shipping our jobs to China and India. I'd believe these people if they worked for the good of all. I'd believe these people if they hadn't just waived the estate tax, which does not help the family farmer, but helps Paris Hilton and Bill Gates' kids. I don't give a damn whether they say (D) or (R) in front of their name. I just want them to follow the Constitution they swore to uphold, and do more to help all Americans, not just those who give them money.

About time

Well, I've found one Republican who has come to his senses and is finally working to change the ridiculous formula of Homeland Security spending. Rep. Christopher Cox (R-CA) is introducing a bill to change that formula to be risk-based instead of a "political proportional formula." Secondly, he wants to make sure that Customs and Border Patrol work more closely with INS, since they have diverging interests. These are great goals, and I'm happy to see Rep. Cox make a real effort to fix this major problem that had Wyoming getting as much money as NYC.
Republicans can be worked with and can be rational. The GOP has, by and large, used the religious right, and they in turn have been using back. Now it's starting to blow up on them. It is imperative on independents and Democrats to help sever the two, so more productive relationships can be built for the good of our nation. Rep. Cox's bill is a prime example of productivity. We all need to get behind this effort.

What a sick group of people

Hat tip: Josh

April 15, 2005 -- 01:49 AM EDT // link // print)
Sick, dark and demented. Hyperbole? I don't think so. According to a piece by David Kirkpatrick in tomorrow's Times, Bill Frist is going to participate in a big anti-filibuster telecast, sponsored by the Family Research Council, in which Democratic opposition to President Bush's most conervative judicial appointments will be cast as a Democratic war against believing Christians.
A flier advertising the event refers to "the filibuster against people of faith" and says: "The filibuster was once abused to protect racial bias, and it is now being used against people of faith."
So Frist wants to cast this, literally, as a war between the believers and the unbelievers. I guess this is part of toning down the rhetoric.
(How much do we have to endure so that this guy can run for president?)

There's more in his post, so I'll let you read it through him. This is the problem Democrats created for themselves. Kerry would've been a solid candidate, except that he let himself get painted early, and the attempts to bring his faith to the forefront later fell short, and since Bush got reelected, all these hacks who call themselves bearers of the faith think it's because of them, so they can impose their narrow-minded bullshit on the rest of America. This might sound a little dumb, but the wrestler John Cena has a nice line, "There are those who talk about it, and there are those who be about it."
It is quite obvious these charlatans are all about the talk, because if they believed for one single second in the meaning of the teachings of Christ, they wouldn't be on this deranged mission to demean women, to kill homosexuals, to force their religion upon everyone else. Am I the only one who sees the disconnect here? All of these people, summed up real nice by Ann Coulter (she of the "We should kill all their leaders and convert them to Christianity," line), don't think it's alright for Islamics to force their religion and religious law upon others. The Bush administration's desperate push to keep Iraq from going to Islamic law, and the freeing of Afghanistan from Islamic law are prime examples. Yet, it is these same people who then turn around and tell Americans, we think you need to worship our principles, and we want to enshrine them into law, into the Constitution, and into the court system. If they don't think there should be a theocracy in Iraq or Afghanistan, then why in the name of the good Lord Jesus Christ do they think it's okay for them to impose a theocracy here?
These people insult the very name of Jesus. Christians were supposed to go out and convert people by the power of truth, by the power of what they were preaching, by the power of persuasion. Nowhere did Jesus ever, ever, tell his disciples to convert people by the power of the sword. Today's so-called "believers" leading the evangelical movement want to use raw power to force their version of Christianity on us. Somewhere right now, Jesus is crying over the terrible misuse of his name and teachings. The only thing we can do is fight back, because if we don't, this country is going to go straight to hell.

Now this is what I like to see

Bipartisanship working for a well-needed bill: Sens. Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Richard Lugar (R-IN) working together with Reps. Rick Boucher (D-VA) and Mike Pence (R-IN) for a national press shield law.,
While Pence and Lugar go into more detail here, I'll just review the basics. Gives the same protections that 31 states and D.C. give journalists, which is the right to not have to reveal sources. Prosecutors must show an urgent and credible need before any information has to be turned over. Journalists can't use classified information (as before), but would not face jail time for not cooperating.
In short, this is a big win for freedom of the press, and if these four men can get it through, then the press will be safe for some time to come.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Tom DeLay, invader of privacy

Hat tip: Wonkette

WASHINGTON TIMES: You've recently said you blame Congress for not being zealous in oversight.

MR. DeLAY: Not zealous. I blame Congress over the last 50 to 100 years for not standing up and taking its responsibility given to it by the Constitution. The reason the judiciary has been able to impose a separation of church and state that's nowhere in the Constitution is that Congress didn't stop them. The reason we had judicial review is because Congress didn't stop them. The reason we had a right to privacy is because Congress didn't stop them.

You know, there's two names for someone like that. One of them is "overbearing jackass." The other? "Peeping Tom," and that's pretty ironic, given who it is we're describing.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Well, well

It seems that the New York Times and Washington Post have almost reversed roles today. To wit: Inside the WaPo's op-ed pages is a call from the editorial board to end the "don't ask, don't tell" policy in the military (surprising considering that the board there is more conservative than years past), Harold Meyerson's column about Mexico (seems Dubya is going along with Vicente's plan to jail a presidential candidate on bogus charges), and David Ignatius' column on how Democrats can take back Congress. All of this found here.

Meanwhile, on the Times' op-ed page, the editorial board attacks Bolton (rightfully so) but Thomas Friedman disappoints big time today, enough so that he deserves a slap in the face (not necessarily literally). Usually I like Friedman, and I think he's a very smart guy, but this column was crap. Key quotes (all bolded words mine):

"Despite all of that, I fear that we may now be entering the most dangerous period since 9/11. Why? Because I've always believed that one of the most important reasons there has been no new terrorist attack in America has to do with the U.S. invasions of both Iraq and Afghanistan. It is not only that the Bush administration has taken the fight to the enemy, but that the enemy has welcomed that fight...

If the Jihadists can defeat us in the heart of their world, and force us from Iraq, it will have a huge impact on the Arab street and shake every pro-American Arab regime. The Jihadists have always understood that Iraq is the ballgame. Iraq is the big one. Winning there is what really advances their agendas...

In short, the more the Jihadists lose in Iraq, the more likely they are to use their rump forces to try something really crazy in America to make up for it. So let's stay the course in Iraq, but stay extra-vigilant at home."

This was a column attempting to explain why no more terrorist attacks have occurred in the U.S. since 9/11. And it's mainly full of crap. Friedman, who really does know better, pays no attention to a couple of salient facts: bin Laden and crew take breaks between attacks on America/American strategic targets. Disregarding Iraq, because, really, that isn't bin Laden's crew (he's just cheering them on), let's look at that timeline, shall we?

1993: First World Trade Center attack. 1996: U.S. barracks in Saudi Arabia. 1998: U.S. embassies in Africa. 2000: U.S.S. Cole. 2001: 9/11 attacks.

With the exception of the Cole and 9/11, there's a two-three year gap involved. And since we did have Osama running for a while there (before we blew it at Tora Bora), that set back his planning time. Friedman is right to say that we are probably entering a period of danger, but that's because of history, not because of Iraq. Even if we'd avoided Iraq (which, full disclosure here, I supported mainly for non-WMD reasons. I know Iraqi expatriates who hated having to flee and leave their nation to Hussein, and they deserved help, as did the Iraqi people. WMD was just a bonus at the time), it wouldn't have changed anything. The timeline screams that we're in a danger period.

To sit there and say suddenly that Iraq was the reason terrorists were avoiding us is to give Bush credit that you haven't done before, Mr. Friedman. You are buying the spin that the all-great President Bush is the reason that terrorists haven't struck again, because he was so smart to know that terrorists would attack us in Iraq. What was that quote from Dick Cheney again?

"Now, I think things have gotten so bad inside Iraq, from the standpoint of the Iraqi people, my belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators."

In that entire interview on "Meet the Press," the only mentions of terrorists were of "terrorists" joining up with Saddamn Hussein, or the terrorists who did 9/11. Not once, not one stupid time, did he mention that terrorists were operating in Iraq. You know why? Because, for the most part, they were not there. They flocked there once we did exactly what they hoped, and the President said, "Bring it on." Hell, he might as well have said, "Hey, come kill us!"

Iraq was the right thing to do, but we did it all wrong going in, we've done it wrong having been there, and only now are we starting to get it right, over 1,500 American and thousands of Iraqi lives later. Once again, I ask myself, how in the hell did this man get reelected? Then I ask, why is Friedman reversing course in such a RWNM manner? Sadly, we'll probably never know either answer.

Once again

Editor's note: this is reprinted from my post at dKos.

the wingnut's favorite statement: "Yeah, you liberals love terrorists. They're your allies in your war on America. Liberals HATE America. How come you never mention terrorist victims."
To that, I respond: Please cut the fucking shit. I give a damn about the terrorists running amok, so much so that I voted for someone who actually had some ideas on how to stop it (hint, not GWB). Secondly, what good is our lives if we are shackled, sheltered, falsely arrested and/or imprisoned, our civil rights stomped on (go talk to Bob Barr, wingnut), our privacy gone, the government shredding any sort of safety net for its citizens, our economy going to hell because of reckless behavior by those in charge, and 1,500 soldiers dead, not because we went to war (and I have supported the war since day 1 [yell at me if you want, kossacks, but I have my own beliefs unrelated to WMD on this one]) but because the leadership was so incredibly arrogant and incompetent as to believe that everyone would LOVE us there, just like everyone LOVED us in Gulf War I (that's what pissed off Osama. Not justifying, just explaining).
In short, if all those things are going on at home, then our lives are no better off in many ways then that of a terrorist victim. Al Franken said it best, "Liberals love America in an adult way, while right-wingers love America like a kid loves mommy: mommy can do no wrong, ever."
Part of being a true patriot means facing and admitting when you're wrong, and standing up to power when it is wrong, and fighting for everyone, not just a privileged few. Basically, most wingnuts don't have a clue what patriotism is all about. They practice nationalism. It's a little different.
To echo another diary tonight, I bleed red, white and blue, and nobody is going to tell me that I hate America, or that I should leave, or that I'm not a patriot. I believe in these United States, and these United States work best when there is liberty and justice for all.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Trouble in the backyard

This is going to be kind of away from my normal political talk, but I kind of feel a need to just state my opinion here.

My alma mater high school, North Farmington, is part of an unprecedented lawsuit by an African-American mother on behalf of her children, claiming that they have been harassed and discriminated against since their kindergarten year.

I've paid to download the lawsuit filing (and it's not cheap, either) because I wanted to know. I'm still plowing through it right now, but I think there's a point where disbelief rightfully takes over, and I find it quite improbable that a systemic discrimination exists in a school system as large as Farmington Public Schools.

Moreover, I know Rick Jones. He helped with my father's funeral. He guided me and many others through high school, people of all races and creeds, never showing an ounce of racism or prejudice. And, maybe this sounds crazy, and perhaps naive, and maybe even ignorant (and if I'm off-base on this, tell me), but I find it hard to say that black people can discriminate and be racist to other blacks. It's like the black security guard in Dearborn who was accused of racism in targeting a shoplifting family, with the father dying in an altercation with the guard. The store and the guard was sued for being racist, and Sharpton came to town and protested. It just seems ridiculous. And this case, involving multiple black administrators, just seems like a bit too much.

I could be wrong. I don't know. That's for a court to decide. But right now, at face value, I think maybe it's the filers who have a perception problem, and I don't like seeing people I know to be good people get wrongfully accused. Hopefully this can be resolved in a fair manner.

I get kinda tired of writing the word hyprocrisy

But somehow it keeps coming up. Republicans are the Democrats of 1989 on Capitol Hill, with a speaker who isn't inspiring (Denny Hastert), a majority leader from Texas in trouble (Jim Wright), a fiery whip who is losing people (Roy Blunt) and ethics and corruption charges galore. Add in a new level of abuse of power, and you have a real scandal here.
Of course, cable news and news broadcasts in 1989 paid much more attention to real issues. This is the challenge facing the Democrats and moderates who hate this entrenched theocracy, and that's what it is. We all have a dog in this fight, and we need to win. Except for Clinton, who was pursued by the Republicans, the last president to pick up seats in the sixth year was James Monroe. We need to keep Bush from breaking history. This party leadership makes Democratic excesses of the past look like a frat party. And even during some of those times, the leadership, like Senator Mike Mansfield, the Senate majority leader, was ultimately in favor of what was best for the nation. Mansfield supported Henry Kissinger at the end of the Nixon reign when it looked like Kissinger might go down with Nixon. Mansfield considered him important to the nation, even though Kissinger was a Republican. That is something no Republican would do today, I'm sure.
To paraphrase Franz Ferdinand: "This party is out of control, so let's burn this party, burn this party." That's the Republicans. I've had it. The lies, the theocratic intrusions into secular law, the bullying, the running of Congress as Bush's rubber stamp, the attempt to change the history of our nation by eliminating the filibuster. They refuse to admit that they are doing anything wrong, they are mainly defending Tom DeLay, they are not admitting to their excesses, and call it all a vendetta by the so-called "liberal" media, which is funny, because the media spent far more time on Clinton's scandals than they have on ANY Republican scandal of the past ten years.
E.J. Dionne is right when he pointed out the Republicans represent less people than the Democrats. The Democrats may not be a political majority, but they are a populational majority, and that means the Republicans should be working with them, but instead they are the American equivalent of the Ba'ath Party in Iraq or Syria: a populational majority using bullying tactics and raw power to push through an agenda that a majority of the nation does not truly want. How much you want to bet most of Bush's slim majority is regretting their votes? I can only hope that they are.


George Allen is an ass for not questioning, but instead lionizing, John Bolton, and accusing the Democrats of not focusing on the issues as well. Chafee, well, he sidestepped serious questions, from what I saw, and therefore is asking to be targeted in 2006, and I hope he is if what I saw was indicative of all his questioning. John Kerry, continuing to show a newfound toughness, is obviously building a portfolio for another presidential run, but the tough, detailed questioning is welcome nonetheless.

On a side note, I thought the protestors were great. How funny to see another stage-managed Republican event get busted into by regular people. Also notice how slow Capitol Police were to escort these people out. Wonder how soon it is before the GOP leadership then tries to close the public hearings or galleries to prevent more embarassments? That would be great, because America would see the power-mad nature of these jerks.

Late update: Steve Clemons' Washington Note has a great review of today's hearing. Please go read it if you want more.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

What is wrong with people?

This is going to be vulgar, but this is a rant, not deliberate opinion. If this offends you, I apologize in advance.

What the fuck is wrong with all of these ignorant, criminal, uncaring, disgusting, cocksuckers who think it's so fucking great to shoot people in the head or elsewhere? Why would you kill innocent children on a regular basis? What kind of community is Detroit coming to? I love the city, I love driving through it, looking at the history. I love going to its restaurants and venues and enjoying myself. I want the city to make a comeback. But the city is killing itself. Many officials are on the take, gangbangers are killing each other, but worse, now they are killing innocent children on a staggering basis. How can the city make a comeback if these dumb motherfuckers keep murdering its future? Not that any of these guys will read my blog, but I beg, I plead, STOP WIPING OUT THE ONLY THING THAT'S GOING TO MAKE YOUR LIFE GET BETTER.

Enough already...

(Hat tip: Andrew Sullivan)

Another gay soldier has been silenced by the Army, and the likelihood is that he will join many other skilled soldiers in being discharged from the military for their homosexuality. You know why, the old feeling that gays will cause unit breakdown. Apparently, only gay sex can cause unit problems, but hetero sex is no problem whatsoever.

I could go on about the incredible hypocrisy. I could talk about the over $200 million that this has cost the U.S. over the past 12 years to replace these trained men and women. I could talk about the fact that they said the same when it came to blacks and women in the military. I could talk about how we are hurting national security by discharging hundreds of gay Arabic translators, something that we need right now. I could talk about the fact that enlistments are going down, and instead of creating a civil war in this country by possibly returning to the draft, they could simply let willing, able, eager gay men and women serve their country.

Key quote from this debacle of a story:

"Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, a conservative advocacy group that opposes gays serving in the military, said a better way to avoid the cost of replacing soldiers who are discharged for being gay is to make it very clear to people who enlist in the military, including Stout, that they are ineligible to serve if they are gay. "I honor and respect his service to this country, but the fact that he's wounded really doesn't change the underlying fact. ... He is not eligible to serve," Donnelly said, adding that there are many reasons (emphasis mine) why people aren't eligible to serve. "This is just one of them."

Those many reasons, as of now, have yet to be named.

The subject of the story recieved a Purple Heart for his valor. My uncle won two. It's an important award, it is a measure of your sacrifice to your nation. Apparently, the wingnuts have gone so far in gay-bashing that a wounded gay soldier who fought proudly for his country isn't good enough to be a soldier because he's gay. Hell, what's next, we declare gays to be aliens, or some petty bullshit like that? For the absolute last fucking time, please, I'm begging you, oh crazy wingnuts, listen to me:

Homosexuals are human beings deserving of equal rights, and if they want to serve our country voluntarily, then for the love of Jesus Christ Almighty, LET THEM.

Thank you.