Thursday, January 12, 2006

The Democrats didn't make Mrs. Alito cry

And it's not just me and people on the left saying it. It's conservative writer John Cole:

This headline is pretty hacktacular even for Drudge:

The headline states:


Judge Samuel A. Alito's wife Martha left the confirmation hearing room in tears this evening, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) apologized to the Judge's family for the behavior of his fellow committee members during the course of the last three days.

Sen. Graham said: "Judge Alito, I am sorry that you've had to go through this. I am sorry that your family has had to sit here and listen to this."

I don't like Kennedy. At all. I think Schumer is a grandstanding fool and a pompous ass. . . . But only the most patently dishonest person on the planet would claim that Mrs. Alito left after a Democratic attack. She left after REPUBLICAN Sen. Lindsey Graham was basically praising Alito, defending him and reciting some of the things that have been said about Alito.

But it was not a withering attack from Democrats which unsettled Mrs. Alito. Not at all.

I am so sick and tired of everyone just lying about every-damned-thing.

Even conservatives are sick of where the conservative movement is going. What does that tell you?

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Liberals aren't religious

at least according to Bob Cohn, a conservative writer who appeared on O'Reilly's show last night, made that ridiculous claim. He said people who say, "Happy Hanukah" at Macy's are crowding religion out of our lives. He followed that by saying that religious people are the conservatives in our society, and liberals are the secularists (I'm going from the audio I heard, not a transcript, sorry).

Both of these claims deserve a smackdown, but I've already blown this stupid theory apart once, and I refuse to dignify this absolute trash with any more of my time.

Today's conservative movement: Doing its best to make it 1900 in America.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


This Guardian piece is rather disturbing. In short, here's what happened.

"American troops in Baghdad yesterday blasted their way into the home of an Iraqi journalist working for the Guardian and Channel 4, firing bullets into the bedroom where he was sleeping with his wife and children.

Ali Fadhil, who two months ago won the Foreign Press Association young journalist of the year award, was hooded and taken for questioning. He was released hours later.

Dr Fadhil is working with Guardian Films on an investigation for Channel 4's Dispatches programme into claims that tens of millions of dollars worth of Iraqi funds held by the Americans and British have been misused or misappropriated.

The troops told Dr Fadhil that they were looking for an Iraqi insurgent and seized video tapes he had shot for the programme. These have not yet been returned."

This is not good, for a couple of reasons. First of all, it hurts the free press idea in Iraq. If we're arresting journalists (and turning out to be completely wrong), it does not give Iraqis faith that their press is free. Especially since they released him and have yet to return the videotapes. Somehow I doubt they are looking for terrorists on there. Key words: " investigation for Channel 4's Dispatches programme into claims that tens of millions of dollars worth of Iraqi funds held by the Americans and British have been misused or misappropriated."

Secondly, shooting first, when the soldiers already have surprise? Are things that bad that our soldiers are getting orders to fire first and ask questions later? They had the jump on this guy, who ended up being the wrong person, and still they shot first before verifying they had the right house. Again, how are we supposed to win the support of Iraqis with screwups like this?

I'm not blaming the soldiers. They get orders and they have to follow them, and they do a lot out of pure fear right now, fear that wouldn't exist had we secured Iraq properly almost three years ago. For something the Bush administration wanted so bad, they never moved the troops to show the commitment level they claimed, and they never moved to correct the situation. Bremer is saying in his new book that he wanted the troops after seeing how bad things were and got shot down by Washington. Again, another Bush administration official leaves the administration and writes about how screwed up things were. How many people will it take before the Republicans realize they're backing a failed idea, an idea that could've been successful had proper military rules been followed?

Since Bush never wanted to get all the way in, and a majority of Americans are behind the idea of leaving, either we do one or the other. Either pull troops from places like Germany to jack up the numbers and shut this thing down for good, or we start a phased withdrawal and end our time there. This is not a time for half-measures, because they are killing us. The words "We're losing," are not defeatist or unpatriotic. They are what's happening. They are the truth. And we're doing it not because of our brave soldiers, but because of incompetence, corruption, outsourcing to private security companies, failure to involve Iraqi companies in the rebuilding (therefore stimulating the Iraqi economy), lack of manpower, overstretching, and a general lack of freaking sense of anything. I'm sorry, but more people dying in more coordinated, smartly executed attacks does not mean we're winning.

There's a line from The Commanders, Bob Woodward's 1991 book on the Pentagon, where James Baker reflected that Bush Sr. had fully internalized the lessons of Vietnam, giving the military commanders whatever they asked for, and not forcing a combat strategy on them. In short, the opposite of his son and Don Rumsfeld, who pushed Tommy Franks into cutting, cutting, cutting (clearly demonstrated in Plan of Attack) the 2003 force. 1991=successful. 2006=near disaster. America needs to ask itself why that is.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Oh, for God's sake

Lines like this drive me crazy: "The emphasis on presidential power reflects a debate over the legality of President Bush's secret authorization of a domestic spying program in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Bush authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on telephone calls and e-mails between U.S. citizens and suspected terrorist contacts overseas without first obtaining a warrant from a special court set up by Congress in 1978 to regulate such domestic intelligence-gathering."--Today's WaPo online story about the Alito hearing.

Let's get this straight. It's illegal, it's unconstitutional, it's wrong on so many levels. I don't care who the President is, if he says that he has been wiretapping American citizens (and he did admit this), without a warrant, it's an impeachable offense. He bypassed regular courts, he bypassed the FISA court, even though he had three days after the fact to get approval (making his claim of due speed a bunch of crap), he bypassed proper Congressional oversight. It's the stuff that dictatorships are made of. This isn't meant to be all tinfoil-hatty. It is what it is. When Sam Brownback is questioning Bush's authority and proclaiming this program to be shady, then there is clearly a problem here.

That Clinton and Carter stuff is crap, too, because the quote that my friend Em put up from Clinton's deputy attorney general Jamie Gorelick related to physical searches of the person, and the case, as I recall, involved foreign nationals, not American citizens. This is spying on the American citizenry, and I will not take any leader simply at their word that they did not abuse an illegal spying effort. If you are willing to break the law, you're willing to abuse your power on a scale that cannot be comprehended.

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), chair of the Judiciary Committee (which is also hearing Alito) is calling Alberto Gonzales, Attorney General and Bush enabler, to testify publicly on these efforts. Thank God.

How does Alito justify

a ban on machine guns being overturned but yet approve of a president wiretapping citizens without a warrant?

Alito's positions would indicate that a President has broad authority to do whatever is necessary to protect our "national security," so if Bush were to ban machine guns, would he consider that legal? And if he said yes, then how can he decide what the Constitution means if he is unable to understand its basic tenet of separation of powers? Wartime powers are granted by Congress. Only a judge can approve a wiretap by granting a search warrant. The President seems to think all authority lies in his hands, and the courts and Congress are there to rubber stamp any decision made in the name of "national security." If Judge Alito agrees with this formulation, he is supremely unqualified to be a Supreme Court justice, since he has no idea of the Founders' intent, let alone the meaning of their words.

It is a dangerous slope when judges put politics ahead of the Constitution itself. It is a breeding ground for totalitarianism when a judge does not understand his or her basic reason for existence in our system, and promotes one strong leader over the democracy and weak executive that our Founders wrote into the Constitution. We are seeing now why no oversight and rubber-stamping were so feared by our Founders. You get rampant abuses of power that threaten our way of life.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Wow...glad I'm done

So, I am so glad I graduated when I did, because apparently there is some serious drama among some of my own friends, and as is typical of the modern age, it's playing out online. The usual relationship stuff gone amok, but I know that if I were there in the middle of it, I'd probably be screaming myself blue while covering my ears. I don't know what happened in the in between to cause it, but I've got a good idea what it was, and if what I think it is is what happened, then it is probably even more retarded than it looks.

Of course, I could be completely wrong and sound like a jackass in writing this, but it's 2 AM, so who cares?