George Bush Becomes Pro-Choice

Some of the phrasing in George Bush’™s speech looks like it could have come out of a NARAL brochure. Is George now a pro-choice guy? Nah! I’™m thinking this is just one more example of the patented incompetence of the Bush team.

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

Mr. Bush has spent seven years doing exactly what Republicans accuse liberals of. He’™s not raised taxes, for sure, but he’™s spent our tax dollars like a drunken Yale cheerleader. He’™s not dismantled the military, but he’™s misused time and time again. And Bush has certainly not called for abortion on demand, but here he is, in the 2008 State of the Union speech, his last important speech, supporting the main tenet of the pro-choice crowd. From the White House transcript of the SOTU (my emphasis):

To build a future of quality health care, we must trust patients and doctors to make medical decisions and empower them with better information and better options. We share a common goal: making health care more affordable and accessible for all Americans. (Applause.) The best way to achieve that goal is by expanding consumer choice, not government control. (Applause.) So I have proposed ending the bias in the tax code against those who do not get their health insurance through their employer. This one refor

Friday, August 5th, 2011 by Richard Blair |

Obama Acts, Cornyn Whines, Specter Snivels

Barack Obama denounced torture in his Inaugural speech, and now he has signed four executive orders helping to end the practice by US personnel. John Cornyn, on the other hand, is holding up Eric Holder’s AG nomination because Holder won’t swear not to prosecute torturers, or those who gave the orders. Specter is with Cornyn.


Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

Surely it should have dawned on Senator John Cornyn Tuesday that there’s a new regime in town and that Barack Hussein Obama will not tolerate torture. Surely he hard this section in Barack Obama’s Inaugural Address:

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake.

Maybe Cornyn didn’t understand the Inaugural address, and that’s why he’s holding up Attorney General nominee Eric Holder’s confirmation? Well, if Senator Cornyn did not understand Barack Obama’s stand on torture, then the executive orders Barack Obama signed today just might get through Cornyn’s thick skull. Heck, maybe Cornyn needs some help from George Bush to understand this, after all, Cornyn is thought to be one of the stupidest Senators in the Senate. But back to Obama’s executive orders today. He is closing Gitmo within a year, forming a commission to figure out what to do with the inmates at Gitmo, some of whom are dangerous, eliminate torture by US personnel by requiring the strict adherence to the US Army Field Manual, and special circumstances concerning Ali al-Marri. Sounds to me like there’s a new sheriff in town.

But Senator Cornyn wants to leave that sheriff without his chief officer, the Attorney General. Why does Cornyn oppose Eric Holder’s nomination? Holder has yet to say whether he will or will not prosecute cases of torture perpetrated by US personnel. Cornyn is defending those who have tortured on the floor of the Senate. He’s taking up the cause Bush didn’t have the stones to do when he failed to give a blanket pardon to all who tortured in Bush’s name.

Senator Cornyn isn’t the only one who wants the torturers and those who ordered them to go scot free. Here’s a bit from the Washington Post report:

But even as Cornyn was getting out of the way of one appointee to President Obama’s Cabinet, he raised new questions about another. The Senate Judiciary Committee decided yesterday morning to delay a vote to send Holder’s nomination to the full Senate while lawmakers attended the morning National Prayer Service with Obama. The hearing was rescheduled for yesterday, but Republicans then requested a one-week delay on the nomination that Democrats were required to grant under committee rules.

. . .

Holder has generated more controversy than any other Obama nominee and was sharply questioned in an appearance before the committee last week. Many senators, including some Democrats, said they were troubled by his role in the pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich in the final days of the Clinton administration.

Led by the ranking Republican on the committee, Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.), GOP lawmakers also said they had more questions for Holder about whether he would favor prosecuting Bush administration officials for their involvement in warrantless wiretapping and harsh detainee interrogation practices. Cornyn said he would press for Holder to take a stand on the Military Commissions Act, which the Texas Republican described as providing interrogators with immunity from prosecution if they believed they were acting legally.

So Snarlin’ Arlen is right there with his buddy John Cornyn. I’m sick of Arlen Specter. He may have a reputation for bipartisanship, but Arlen Specter failed to protect us from Bush’s authorization of the use of torture, he failed to protect us from Bush’s politicization of the Justice Department, he failed to prevent domestic spying, and he now looks to be a failure in tracking down just how the Bush Administration instituted its regime of lawlessness. Maybe he’s got a magic waterboarding theory or something that makes everybody immune.

OK, I’m angry at Arlen Specter once again. If there is any man in the US Senate who knows his own complicity in allowing the Bush Administration destruction of the Department of Justice, it should be Specter. And if Specter has a hope in Hell of negotiating his way to victory in 2010 against Allyson Schwartz or Pat Murphy or Joe Sestak, then he needs to show that he understands that the rule of law is important. Murphy and Sestak, at least, will pound him on the issue, and they’ve both got battlefield cred. Any of those candidates will use this opposition to Eric Holder as Specter trying to give one last bone to Bush, who abused the constitution far worse than any President we have had in years. For Specter’s own sake he needs to get behind Holder immediately.

I know someone who is having lunch with Mr. Specter tomorrow. OK, I know several someones, and I just might pass along a question and see if one of the folks, Specter donors all, will ask it. Give me some suggestions, please, but make them politic, something that can be asked in a roomful of people who know the constitution well and are dedicated to defending it.

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009 by Steven Reynolds |

Bicycle Enthusiasts are Terrorists

The Washington Post ran a stellar report yesterday about illegal surveillance by the Maryland Police, which stooped to investigating people advocating for bicycle lanes in cities. Oh, the HORROR! Bicycle lanes. A coincidence that the Maryland government at the time was run by Robert Ehrlich and Michael Steele, both Republicans? No.


Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

In Maryland that was evidently the case, according to an article by Lisa Rein and Josh White in yesterday’s Washington Post. More complete details are now out about the suveillance program conducted by the Maryland State Police, and it is shocking the kinds of citizens groups that agency decided to infiltrate and report on, on the slim rationalization that the groups might be harboring terrorists. This is a mighty report, that’s for sure. Here’s the lead, from the Washington Post:

The Maryland State Police surveillance of advocacy groups was far more extensive than previously acknowledged, with records showing that troopers monitored – and labeled as terrorists – activists devoted to such wide-ranging causes as promoting human rights and establishing bike lanes.

Intelligence officers created a voluminous file on Norfolk-based People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, calling the group a “security threat” because of concerns that members would disrupt the circus. Angry consumers fighting a 72 percent electricity rate increase in 2006 were targeted. The DC Anti-War Network, which opposes the Iraq war, was designated a white supremacist group, without explanation.

One of the possible “crimes” in the file police opened on Amnesty International, a world-renowned human rights group: “civil rights.”

According to hundreds of pages of newly obtained police documents, the groups were swept into a broad surveillance operation that started in 2005 with routine preparations for the scheduled executions of two men on death row.

The operation has been called a “waste of resources” by the current police superintendent and “undemocratic” by the governor.

I’m willing to bet, based on the fearmongering inherent in these actions, and the incompetence the officers showed in choosing who to monitor, that every single one of the officers who hatched this illegal and unconstitutional surveillance program were Republicans. Though he was not implicated in any of this wrongdoing, the Governor of Maryland at the time, Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr., is a Republican. Micheal Steele, current GOPAC Chair and candidate for the Chair of the RNC, was Lietenant Governor of Maryland when these ugly crimes took place. Alas, Republicans will counter that they are not crimes since no charges have been filed, but I value the constitution far more highly than they do.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am a bicycle enthusist, and log ten to forty mile trips quite often throughout the spring and summer. I have even joined an advocacy group here in PA, the Friends of Schuylkill River Park. Thankfully I live in Pennsylvania, and there is no evidence, as yet, that police or others gone wild in their zeal to perform Homeland Security tasks have targeted that organization.

Monday, January 5th, 2009 by Steven Reynolds |

Alberto Gonzales Can’t Find a Job, Whines

Alberto Gonzlaes has decided to write a book. It will consist of several hundred blank pages, as he simply doesn’™t recall much of what he did during his tenure in the Bush Administration. What is pitiful is that Gonzales compares himself to victims of the War on Terror, because the Senate picked on him, I suppose. Shameful and pitiful.

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

Republicans have been unable or unwilling to protect their own, and have not found a nice, cushy job for amnesiac and former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Poor Alberto Gonzales. He’™s whining to the Wall Street Journal about his treatment on Captial Hill and et cetera, and has now decided to write a tell all book. (OK, the jokes about how he could possibly write a book if he ‘œcan’™t recall’ are cheap, if accurate.) Gonzales, famous for tracking down John Ashcroft in order to justify violating the constitution with the NSA domestic surveillance program, is now whining because, as a lawyer charged with knowing the law, he’™s got a track record of not recalling how he violated the constitution. But the whiney complaints are good reading, at least when in a Wall Street Journal blog:

Mr. Gonzales has been portrayed by critics both as unqualified for his position and instrumental in laying the groundwork for the administration’™s ‘œwar on terror.’ He was pilloried by Congress in a manner not usually directed toward cabinet officials.

‘œWhat is it that I did that is so fundamentally wrong, that deserves this kind of response to my service?’ he said during an interview Tuesday, offering his most extensive comments since leaving government.

During a lunch meeting two blocks from the White House, where he served under his longtime friend, President George W. Bush, Mr. Gonzales said that ‘œfor some reason, I am portrayed as the one who is evil in formulating policies that people disagree with. I consider myself a casualty, one of the many casualties of the war on terror.’

This is pretty much the most clueless statement I can imagine. The treatment Gonzales received concerned the program of politicizing the department he was in charge of, the Department of Justice. It came after a string of answers which showed Gonzales either didn’™t know at all what was happening in his own DOJ, or was purposely misleading Senators with a string of ‘œI do not recall’ answers. Gonzales now doesn’™t just fail to recall, he fails to understand the enormity of his incometencies. Look for no responsibility taken in this book.

Worse here is that Gonzales compares himself to the real victims in the War on Terror, the men and women who died on 9/11, the soldiers who died because of Bush’™s policies, the tens of thousands of Iraqi dead. . . those are victims of the ‘œWar on Terror.’ Mr. Gonzales is at worst complicit in some of those deaths in that he helped justify some ugly policies. At best, Gonzales is merely a bumbling incompetent, and thus his is not a tragic story. Tragedy requires one fall from great heights, after all, and while Gonzales’™ role in the Bush Administration was a high-ranking one, it was still a role in the failed and incompetent Bush Administration.

The interview with the WSJ is a bit pitiful and self-serving, of course. Gonzales is a Republican, after all. Here’™s another excerpt:

Among other things, Mr. Gonzales said Tuesday that he didn’™t play a central role in drafting the widely criticized legal opinions that allowed the Central Intelligence Agency to use aggressive interrogation techniques on terrorism suspects and expanded the president’™s power to hold ‘œunlawful combatants’ and terrorism suspects indefinitely. He also said he told the truth to Congress about a classified eavesdropping program authorized by the president, and admitted to making mistakes in handling the U.S. attorney firings while maintaining that he made the right decisions. He says that while he bears responsibility as former Attorney General that ‘œdoesn’™t absolve other individuals of responsibility.’

Mr. Gonzales, 53 years old, doesn’™t have a publisher for his book. He said he is writing it if only ‘œfor my sons, so at least they know the story.’

This last bit seems a bit poignant. Gonzales gives excuses about his behavior concerning the NSA program and the torture policies of the Bush Administration, and then cops a little responsibility about the US Attorney scandal. I’™m surprised he admits to anything, really. This guy is universally considered a liar and an incompetent, after all. But it is poignant because it appears Gonzales knows that the only ones he can convince about his good name and reputation are his own sons. How far he has fallen.

Let’™s not let Alberto Gonzales off the hook, though. He was a lawyer with a degree from Harvard when he was hired by President Bush. He’™d worked for Bush in Texas, so likely knew what he was getting himself in for. There are no excuses for the damage he did to our constitution, and while Alberto Gonzales’™ sons may indeed believe his accounts, it is unlikely anyone else will. I’™m just wondering where the man finds a publisher who will touch the book.

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008 by Richard Blair |

Christmas in Baghdad, Shamelessness on Fox News Sunday

Iraq is celebrating Christmas and CNN is making it out like there never was such freedom before the US invaded, forgetting, perhaps, that Saddam did not persecute Christians. This is not an excuse for the US invasion, as it will be played, nor is it an excuse for the excesses defended by Dick Cheney on Fox News Sunday.


Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

My first reaction to the story on CNN about the first public Christmas to be celebrated in Baghdad was quite wary. A hot air balloon supporting a huge poster of Jesus is not going to go over very well among the Muslims there, is it, no matter whether they are Sunni or Shiite. And I am not often impressed by the kumbaya nature of the depiction of the celebration, with one woman, a Muslim, explaining why she attended.

On a large stage, children dressed in costumes representing Iraq’s many ethnic and religious groups – Kurds, Turkmen, Yazidis, Christians, Arab Muslims not defined as Sunni or Shiite – hold their hands aloft and sing “We are building Iraq!” Two young boys, a mini-policeman and a mini-soldier sporting painted-on mustaches, march stiffly and salute.

Even before I can ask Interior Ministry spokesman Major-General Abdul Karim Khalaf a question, he greets me with a big smile. “All Iraqis are Christian today!” he says.

Khalaf says sectarian and ethnic violence killed thousands of Iraqis. “Now that we have crossed that hurdle and destroyed the incubators of terrorism,” he says, “and the security situation is good, we have to go back and strengthen community ties.”

In spite of his claim, the spokesman is surrounded by heavy security. Yet this celebration shows that the security situation in Baghdad is improving.

Many of the people attending the Christmas celebration appear to be Muslims, with women wearing head scarves. Suad Mahmoud, holding her 16-month-old daughter, Sara, tells me she is indeed Muslim, but she’s very happy to be here. “My mother’s birthday also is this month, so we celebrate all occasions,” she says, “especially in this lovely month of Christmas and New Year.”

I suppose this celebration of Christmas in a country wracked by violence ever since the US invasion seven years ago is going to be touted as a good thing. Heck, Dick Cheney may use this as evidence as to why it was OK to torture, spy on Americans, get hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians killed, etc., etc. That wouldn’t surprise me at all. But Cheney is trumped by the celebrants themselves. On display at the celebration are some dioramas made by school children, and in them you can see the kind of terror and pain Bush/Cheney’s invasion of Iraq brought (from CNN):

In the middle of the park there’s an art exhibit, the creation of 11- and 12-year-olds: six displays, each about three feet wide, constructed of cardboard and Styrofoam, filled with tiny dolls dressed like ordinary people, along with model soldiers and police. They look like model movie sets depicting everyday life in Baghdad.

Afnan, 12 years old, shows me her model called “Arresting the Terrorists.”

“These are the terrorists,” she tells me. “They were trying to blow up the school.” In the middle of the street a dead “terrorist” sprawls on the asphalt, his bloody arm torn from his body by an explosion. Afnan tells me she used red nail polish to paint the blood. A little plastic dog stands nearby. “What is he doing?” I ask. “He looks for terrorists and searches for weapons and explosives,” Afnan says.

Afnan was likely six years old or so when Dick Cheney and George Bush invaded Iraq on the series of false pretexts Cheney is still defending. As I understand it, Christianity was not persecuted in the days before the US invasion, so Cheney and Bush cannot lay claim to having brought freedom of religion. Afnan’s diorama of ethnic and religious violence was brought to her directly from Bush and Cheney. Indeed, in a remarkable performance for its baldfaced defense of wrongdoing, Dick Cheney appeared on Fox News Sunday and laid out a case for Bush Administration successes, a performance stunning in its tenuous grip on reality, at least the reality young Afnan sees. From the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Cheney, speaking less than a month before he and President Bush leave the White House, was blunt and unapologetic about his central role in some of the most controversial issues of the last eight years, including the invasion of Iraq, warrantless surveillance of U.S. citizens, and harsh interrogation tactics. Cheney also said he disagreed with Bush’s decision to remove embattled Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld in 2006, saying that “the president doesn’t always take my advice.”

“I was a Rumsfeld man,” Cheney said. “I’d helped recruit him, and I thought he did a good job for us.”

The interview was the second in less than a week for the normally reclusive vice president, and it comes as part of a broad effort by Bush and his aides to focus attention on issues that they consider major accomplishments of their two terms in office. In an interview with ABC News last week, Cheney suggested the administration would have gone to war with Iraq even without erroneous intelligence showing that Saddam Hussein had developed weapons of mass destruction. Cheney also said in that interview that he approved of the administration’s use of coercive interrogation tactics, including a type of simulated drowning known as waterboarding, against Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, and others.

Dick Cheney seals his reputation for all time as the puppetmaster behind the throne who supported policies of spying on US citiznes, invading Iraq, supporting Rumsfeld’s failed strategies, torture, etc. Perhaps because the performance was on Fox News Cheney’s immediate viewing audience did not sit in shock at the man responsible for the disasters of the last seven years. Perhaps those viewers even cheered. The rest of us know that Cheney’s policies have mangled our constitution, have destroyed our reputation in the world, have killed hundreds of thousands of innocents, and have led to the terror in young Afnan’s art project.

Again, a Republican such as Dick Cheney proves he has no sense of shame.

Monday, December 22nd, 2008 by Steven Reynolds |

One Leg Raised on the Bush–Cheney Legacy: Deconstructing the Spin and Propaganda

The Republican Party, in the person of its lame duck Chair, Mike Duncan, has already begun its campaign to vilify the supposed leftist Obama government, but the same extremist Republicans ignore their history of trampling on the constitution, of incompetence, of fearmongering, etc. The Party of Honest Abe has lost touch with honesty, opting for distortion as usual.


Commentary By: Walter Brasch

by Walter Brasch

The chairman of the Republican National Committee may have begun an irreversible descent into a future as a fear-bound paranoid victim of functional amnesia, possibly caused by a hysterical post-traumatic event such as the overwhelming victory of Democrats in the 2008 election and the nation’s repudiation of Republican policies.

In a two-page vitriol-loaded letter dated “Friday morning”–he apparently was unable to remember the exact date–Robert M. (Mike) Duncan, RNC chairman, told Americans that the Democrats plan to “impose their radical leftist agenda on America,” and that Republicans “must work vigilantly to guard our country’s freedoms from the inevitable assault [by Democrats] they will face.” He didn’t mention that not one of Barack Obama’s proposed cabinet members nor any of the members of the current Congress is a “radical leftist.”

It’s really sad that Mike forgot that fear-mongering, obstruction of justice, reduction of public information, distrust and resentment of the worker, and curtailment of civil liberties–with the complicity of millions of Americans and much of the Democratic leadership who willingly crumpled under unremitting Neocon assaults–have been the base of the Bush–Cheney Administration and a Republican-dominated Congress for most of the past eight years. Perhaps I can shock what little memory Mike may have left in the hope that some of his brain cells may once again function.

It was the Republicans, not the Democrats, who systematically violated the Constitution, while screaming “The terrorists are coming! The terrorists ar

Sunday, December 21st, 2008 by Walter Brasch |

8/8/08: Accountability Now / Strange Bedfellows Money Bomb

On August 8th, 1974, Richard Nixon resigned the presidency of the United States over issues that carry much less weight than the current political climate in America. How is it that Nixon could be run out of power by his own party, yet the current Democratic Party-controlled congress has failed to act against the Bush administration’s abuses of power?


/wp/

Become a StrangeBedfellow!Today’s the day.

A few weeks back, the Democratic Party leadership, in both the House and the Senate, capitulated to the petulant demands of George W. Bush, and passed the revised FISA bill. The bill not only codified warrentless wiretapping, but retroactively provided telecommunications companies with immunity from civil lawsuits on the behalf of U.S. citizens who have had their privacy violated at the behest of the Bush administration.

Accountability Now was formed by online activists from across the political spectrum in order to create public education campaigns (TV, print, and internet advertising), and to hold politicians accountable for their actions that run counter to constitutional principles. More information on the organization is available here.

Progressives, conservatives, and libertarians are being asked to contribute today to the effort. Whether it’s $5, $10, $20, $5000, or simply a show of support by whatever means available, today’s “money bomb” (similar to the fundraising efforts that drove Ron Paul’s presidential campaign earlier this year) is key to the success in holding our political leaders accountable to we, the people.

It sounds trite. It’s not. Now more than ever before, it’s clear that corporate interests are driving the political agenda in America. That’s not what the founders intended. Accountability Now can serve as the start of a truly well funded, people-power movement, but only if we support it. Listen, I’m not a rich guy by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m kicking in a few bucks. If you believe in the constitutional principles upon which this country was born, I encourage – no, urge – you to take a few minutes and consider the potential power of thousands like us taking a stake in our collective future.

Conservative, progressive, libertarian, green – it doesn’t matter. At the end of the day, we’re all in this boat together, and none of us are happy with the way things are being run right now. Though the initial focus of the campaign is to hold the Democratic Party leaders (and blue dog Democrats) accountable for their FISA votes, the scope going forward is quite ambitious. But it can only happen if each of us individually seizes this moment of empowerment.

Glenn Greenwald has an extensive kick-off post on Salon today, which I’ve take the liberty of copying in full below the jump…

(more…)

Friday, August 8th, 2008 by Richard Blair |

Sam “FISA” Brownback is OUTRAGED that China Will Spy on Guests

International hotel chains are making a fuss about having to install internet surveillance software at their Chinese properties, at the request of China’™s government. Senator Sam Brownback is incensed that another government would potentially spy on their own people, as well as foreigners. Funny, that, since Brownback is one of the more vocal supporters of FISA in the U.S.

/wp/

This is snort-out-loud laughable.

Sen. Sam Brownback is hopping mad that the Chinese government is requiring all international hotels in China to install internet monitoring software prior to the Olympics. Apparently, a few of the hotel chains have made a fuss.

Listen, it’™s not like the Chinese government (unlike the American government) hasn’™t been right up front about controlling use of the internet / world wide web within the borders of their country. In fact, back in 2005, China forced Yahoo! to give up email records on dissidents, and Google was forced to redesign their search engine software to make it easier for the Chinese government to spy and conduct oversight:

‘¦However, some [U.S.] lawmakers at the hearing thought this argument dubious at best. Choices to operate in China have also led to Yahoo’™s cooperation with Chinese authorities to arrest a dissident and Google’™ redesign of its search engine to reflect Chinese censorship.

‘œU.S. technology companies today are engaged in a sickening cooperation decapitating the movements of Chinese dissidents,’ human rights subcommittee chair Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., said at the hearing. Smith will soon introduce the Global Online Freedom Act of 2006 that aims to ‘œprotect United States businesses from coercion to participate in repression by authoritarian foreign governments.’ ‘¦

So, Sam Brownback is now carrying the anti-spy water for the hotel chains operating in China. As I said at the outset of this post, that’™s quite laughable, coming from one of the strongest proponents of FISA, warrentless wiretapping, and internet surveillance. Glenn Greenwald has the details, but this stands out:

‘œThese hotels are justifiably outraged by this order, which puts them in the awkward position of having to craft pop-up messages explaining to their customers that their Web history, communications, searches and key strokes are being spied on by the Chinese government,’ Brownback said at a news conference’¦

At least you get a pop-up message in China. In the U.S., DHS just pops up at your door.

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008 by Richard Blair |

How Many Terrorists Does It Take. . .

Homeland Security’s Terrorism Watch List has grown to 1,000,000 entries. Oh, that’s far too big to be effective, but the CEO President, Mr. Bush, has his folks defending the list as one of the most important tools in the War on Terror. Given his advocacy of the War in Iraq, why isn’t Dick Cheney on the list? Has he not shot enough people?


Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

Oh, this seems like a big joke. The Terrorist Watch List Counter at the ACLU web site just passed one million. As I write this it is 1,000,167. OK, according to Reuters that’s 1,000,000 records on the watch list, and that corresponds to 400,000 people. That’s a freakingly big list, and it is impossible to believe that all the people on it belong on it. Perhaps the Bush Administration thinks we are all criminals. (No comments needed on THAT!) But the Bushies think the list is one of the most important tools in the War on Terror! Huzzah! Here’s a bit of the Reuters article:

The Terrorism Screening Center, which maintains the list, has already put in place several steps to ensure the list is accurate and up-to-date, spokesman Chad Kolton said.

He cited a report last year by the Government Accountability Office that said there was general agreement within the federal government that the watch list had helped to combat terrorism.

“The list is very effective. In fact it’s one of the most effective counterterrorism tools that our country has,” he said.

Let’s see, the subset of this list, the “no-fly” list, has caught Ted Kennedy, John Lewis, and Yusuf Islam, not one of whom, in the wildest demonic fantasy of Dick Cheney, could be called a terrorist threat. No, I don’t imagine the list, as it is managed by the Bush Administration, is an important tool in the fight against terrorism. But I have no problem imagining Bush Administration people thinking so.

By the way, is Dick Cheney on the list? Given his history of violence, I was just wondering why he isn’t on the list. Surely he deserves to be on the list more than this guy.

Monday, July 14th, 2008 by Steven Reynolds |

FISA: Why I Can No Longer Vote for Barack Obama

Barack Obama lost my vote today. I was never a rah-rah supporter, yet prior to the FISA bill vote today, I believed that I could suck it up and vote for whoever ended up being the eventual Democratic Party nominee. For the first time in my adult life, I’m faced with the unhappy prospect of staying home on November 4th.

Commentary By: Richard Blair

As a true, progressive Democrat, this is incredibly hard for me to write.

Since the start of the presidential election season, I’ve been quite clear that Barack Obama was not my first – or even second – choice as the presidential nominee for the Democratic Party. But I’ve been consistent in saying that I’d support the eventual nominee, whoever he or she might be.

That all changed today. Actually, I’ve become more and more uncomfortable with the now-presumptive nominee since the time that the primary season officially ended. Barack Obama has been tacking toward the center since the time that Hillary Clinton quit her challenge in the race. From Iraq, to the abortion issue, to the Telecom Immunity Act of 2008, I’ve watched closely as Obama has tried to grab some middle ground, and attempt to diffuse future criticism of him by the GOP as being “soft on terrorists” and not a heartland values type of guy.

Earlier today, ASZ’s good friend Brendan commented on a prior post that as an Obama supporter, he’s experiencing extreme “buyers regret”. I can understand that feeling on the part of many starry eyed Obama supporters who felt that he was (in essence) the second coming of John F. Kennedy.

Let me pose a hypothetical: would John F. Kennedy have voted for the FISA bill today had it come up during his time as Senator? … (more…)

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008 by Richard Blair |
Next Page »