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    I Have An Intense Moment

    byronius, 2008/12/31 

    Of Obama Joy.

    Thank God. Thank Whatever. Thank The People. Thank Democracy, and the People Who Invented It.

    IT’S A BEGINNING.

    Prosecution.

    byronius,  

    Harper’s

    Justice after Bush:
    Prosecuting an outlaw administration
    By Scott Horton

    I. The Crimes
    Americans may wish to avoid what is necessary. We may believe that concerns about presidential lawbreaking are naive. That all presidents commit crimes. We may pretend that George W. Bush and his senior officers could not have committed crimes significantly worse than those of their predecessors. We may fear what it would mean to acknowledge such crimes, much less to punish them. But avoiding this task, simply “moving on,” is not possible.

    This administration did more than commit crimes. It waged war against the law itself. It transformed the Justice Department into a vehicle for voter suppression, and it also summarily dismissed the U.S. attorneys who attempted to investigate its wrongdoing. It issued wartime contracts to substandard vendors with inside connections, and it also defunded efforts to police their performance. It spied on church groups and political protesters, and it also introduced a sweeping surveillance program that was so clearly illegal that virtually the entire senior echelon of the Justice Department threatened to (but did not in fact) tender their resignations over it. It waged an illegal and disastrous war, and it did so by falsely representing to Congress and to the American public nearly every piece of intelligence it had on Iraq. And through it all, as if to underscore its contempt for any authority but its own, the administration issued more than a hundred carefully crafted “signing statements” that raised pervasive doubt about whether the president would even accede to bills that he himself had signed into law.

    No prior administration has been so systematically or so brazenly lawless. Yet it is no simple matter to prosecute a former president or his senior officers. There is no precedent for such a prosecution, and even if there was, the very breadth and audacity of the administration’s activities would make the process so complex as to defy systems of justice far less fragmented than our own. But that only means choices must be made. Indeed, in weighing the enormity of the administration’s transgressions against the realistic prospect of justice, it is possible to determine not only the crime that calls most clearly for prosecution but also the crime that is most likely to be successfully prosecuted. In both cases, that crime is torture.

    More

    One delicious rant

    Max,  

    From Pastor Agnostics diary:

    From the Church of Ineffable Stupidity, a good riddance Sermon:

    a) George W. Bush
    Incurious, unread, willful, and obstinate. One of Colin Powell’s top aides compared him to Sarah Palin, and not in favorable terms. His current vacation is probably the only high note from his presidency. His current rehabilitation theme is to claim that America was safe for seven years!

    He wants us to ignore the run up to 9/11, the warnings that he personally, and his top aides professionally ignored. It was their job to pick up on threats, to review the intelligence that strongly warned about the attack, and to prevent 9/11 from happening. They did not. Every single person who blew it on 9/11, Condi Rice, Dick Cheney, George Bush, Don Rumsfeld, the collective heads of the DIA, CIA, FBI, and other intel units – either they were rewarded for their failure, or in some cases, promoted. More than anyone else, Condi and George bear personal responsibility for 9/11 and never have they owned up to their own failures.

    Katrina? IraqNam? Osama Bin Laden? Enron? The Mortgage fiasco? The Derivatives Market? Even the TARP bailout? Lebanon? Palestine?

    No matter how hard Condi or Laura try to pull the wool over our eyes, you have been the worst president in America’s history, and your upcoming exit is the most welcome gift to America, indeed, to the world.
    - – -

    b) Dick Cheney
    You come in second, but not for want of effort, Mr. Cheney. We should have suspected it from the beginning. Any egotistical, power-hungry, PNAC, war-loving maniac who is given the right to choose America’s vice president, should never have been allowed to choose himself.

    You lied from the time you took office. Heck, you started SPYING on America, through telcoms, NSA, CIA and FBI even B E F O R E the 9/11 attacks. Then, when you had Americans properly shocked and awed, you used it to pass the Patriot Act, and later, FISA, and you reaped the gains of your illegal surveillance and spying.

    Who did you blackmail? Nancy Pelosi? Harry Reid? Does that explain their rather curious, spineless, and overall damaging behavior for the past two years? How else did you personally profit, other than Haliburton’s no-bid contracts, and the massive contractor frauds that took place in Iraq? Which of your friends cheered on your every move, which ended up so profitable to them, and to you?

    OH, and do tell. What ever happened to the $6 billion in cash that you ordered sent to Baghdad on a military cargo plane, and why have all investigators into that cash been fired, transfered or gone missing? How many GAO inspectors’ careers have you ordered ruined since you became VP? And despite your best shredding efforts, I wonder what other crimes we will find when your records finally become public.

    If George was the asshole of this administration, you were its cancerous, festering, genital cyst. – - -

    c) C is for Condi Rice
    We can be certain of one thing. If the NFL wishes to commit commercial hari kiri, the best way for them to destroy the league is to appoint you commissioner. That would virtually guarantee its demise.

    Have you no sense of shame or responsibility?
    Who chaired the National Security Council, the highest ranking, most powerful, and best informed group that advises the president? you.
    Who failed to even educate herself about what Al Qaida was? you.
    Who concentrated on a non-existent missile threat from the USSR, even though that country ceased to exist 9 years earlier? you.
    Who ignored her own terrorist advisor, Richard Clarke, who repeatedly tried to get your attention with hot intel about an upcoming attack on US soil? you.
    Who was the Iraq Invasion’s biggest cheerleader, after Dick Cheney? you.
    Who lied to the American people about smoking guns and mushroom clouds? you.
    Who was assigned the task of fixing the Iraq Reconstruction after Don Rumsfeld’s and Dick Cheney’s merry band of thieves screwed it up, while profiting greatly the first time? you.
    Who ignored Iraq, and your new task, and got promoted to SexState? you
    Who proved to be the worst, most petulant, least knowledgeable, most willful, least respected, and most demanding SexState in America’s history? you.
    Who was assigned the task of Fixing Iraq a SECOND TIME, this time as SexState? you?
    And who failed miserably, both times that George asked you to fix Iraq? you.

    Let’s ignore your hideous, deadly, and frankly, embarrassing behavior during Israel’s invasion of Lebanon. Let’s ignore your repeated embarrassments and diplomatic screw ups in Pakistan, India, Russia, Georgia, Iran, Syria, England, Egypt, Yemen, Zimbabwe, Sudan, South Africa, Venezuela, Brazil, Chile, Haiti, Columbia, Korea (both N & S), just to mention a few.

    Condi, when history properly rates George W. Bush the worst president in our country’s history, they will call you his second worst assistant/advisor. Only Darth Cheney served himself better, and this country and his president worse than you. But really, such comparisons are like comparing turds in the toilet before you flush. And On January 20, we get to flush you away.
    - – -

    d) The D list is tough.
    Don Rumsfeld, Alberto Gonzales, John Yoo, Scooter Libby, Dave Addington, Richard Perle, and so many more to add here.

    Who could have imagined (to paraphrase Condi) that a sick and ailing John Ashcroft would become the first, best defender of the Constitution of the United States, in the face of VP and presidential aides demanding “martial law” type of powers over the privacy of American citizens? Ashcroft, the religious maniac who draped the firm, pert, brassy breasts of Lady Justice. The man who lost a campaign to a corpse. An unlikely hero, but a hero nevertheless.

    It also serves to show us how far our standards have fallen. And what huge task faces us in the new year.

    e) Nancy Reid and Harry Pelosi.
    Wait . . . . That’s wrong somehow. But it is also instructive in that it is impossible to tell them apart, at least when you measure them against any living creature with a functioning spine. Hell, earthworms have more substance and integrity, compared to these two. Even with a majority, even though they had been lied to for 6 years, EVEN WHEN intel experts said there was no crisis, you guys managed to extend FISA, fund Iraq, take impeachment off the table, and effectively cover-up many high crimes and misdemeanors of the Bush Administration.

    Of course, let’s not talk about your $250,000 in AIG stock, Nancy, money which you would have lost, but for the socialist bailout by the US citizens. Loved your disclosure of that conflict, by the way.
    - – -

    f) Today’s GOP.
    It wasn’t just the Regent U fools you put in charge at Justice. It wasn’t just the flat-earthers in NASA. Nor the damage done to the EPA, and pretty much every other federal agency. It wasn’t even how your foreign policy marching orders came from AIPAC, or how the rights of individuals meant less than the ability of large corporations to increase their profits. It wasn’t even your efforts to force a particular religious creed into government, when it suited your plans.

    No, instead, let’s just talk convictions. Republican Convictions.
    Kinda like indictments, but one step further:

    2008. Rick Renzi, R-Ariz., extortion, wire fraud, money laundering and other crimes.

    2007. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, arrested in a bathroom sex sting at the Minneapolis airport. His original guilty plea now stands.

    2007. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, sentenced to prison for graft and bribes from Jack Abramoff.

    2006. “Duke” Cunningham, R-Calif., sentenced to eight years for bribes from military contractors.

    2005. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, laundering money and bribes.

    2003. William Janklow, R-S.D convicted of vehicular homicide and sentenced to 100 days in prison.

    Other Republicans in trouble? Scooter Libby, Jerry Lewis, John Doolittle, Duncan Hunter, Roy Blunt, Tom Foley, and most of the Bush White House aides.
    - – -

    g) One GOPer stands out and deserves special mention. Wassilly Sarah Palin
    This shining example of education, intellect, political curiosity and knowledge, who has an awe-inspiring grasp of constitutional issues, this family values conservative, whose single 17 yr old daughter gave birth to a baby born to a family of drug dealers, this outstanding citizen who took an offer to buy a TV suit and turned it into a $500,000 joke, not counting accessories, this self-serving, unethical, idiot who thinks that Africa is a country.

    The one new year’s hope for every democrat is that the GOP continues to view Sarah Palin as the future of their party. If that is the case, Democrats will stay in power for a generation.
    - – -

    h) Eternal vigilance is necessary.
    Democrats are neither immune to K Street bribes, nor inoculated against their worst personality flaws. Rod Blagojevich, William Jefferson, Charlie Rangel, and others can waste this great opportunity and take down the party. There is too much work to be done, and personal gain must take a distant second place until our nation is back on track.

    So, let’s start off the new year with this warning: To any democrat who acts like a republican, to jail with you.

    I think my favorite line of the whole piece comes from the Condi section:

    But really, such comparisons are like comparing turds in the toilet before you flush. And On January 20, we get to flush you away.

    ubiquitous

    aldous, 2008/12/30 

    haven’t you ever
    run amok
    in the kitchen
    always bitchin’
    traveling
    unscrupulous
    and boring with a
    script and a drift
    trough under
    sacksanded
    manatee fackers
    who you on clon
    dick would wither
    on the spoon
    savage weenie you
    tropolis! you’ve
    begander the legend
    whereby we and
    our comradeship
    will list wizeword
    to a crithpp

    The Costs Of Electing Indifferent Fake Christians To Power.

    byronius, 2008/12/29 

    C & L

    I have had a ringside seat to the economic downturn this year. It is not an abstraction to me. The folks at the bottom are always the first to feel the pinch, when it comes. Clients of the agency I work at come through our doors every day requesting assistance with basic necessities like food, clothing, shelter and medications. As the year has progressed and New York State has chosen to repeatedly victimize its most vulnerable citizens, it has become more difficult to help people meet these needs. I have visited food banks with empty shelves, been told clients were ineligible for help when I knew they were and had to challenge these decisions. I have sat with clients while their applications for public assistance were reviewed by fraud investigators at social services. Our local social services department actually hired fraud investigators at the same time that it was laying off child protective workers demonstrating conclusively where our values lie and how genuinely mean spirited we are as a people. At the federal level Social Security routinely denies people eligible for benefits in the hopes that they will not reapply. Many people who receive benefits must hire a lawyer before social security will concede that they are indeed eligible. As the resources have become more limited, the level of scrutiny and inhumanity has risen accordingly.

    I have, of course read about the rising unemployment numbers and the ensuing uptick in applicants for public assistance and food stamps nationwide like everyone else. It seems the chickens of Bill Clinton’s (Best moderate Republican president ever)welfare reform are finally coming home to roost. We always knew that the flaw of his plan was an economy without jobs and here we are. The reform has no provision for an unemployment rate like we are experiencing now. Once again, our policy in practice serves to punish most harshly children and the elderly. Perhaps, it is time to repeal the child labor laws and begin allowing them to work 12 hour days again.

    For nearly 30 years we have done our best to dismantle the safety net for the poor and struggling among us. I keep praying that we have reached the end of this folly. At 42, these policies are what I have known my entire work life. I dream about social service programs and rules that would treat people like human beings, rather than as an undesirable applicant to be culled out. I want so badly for us as a nation to stop punishing people for being poor, or elderly or a child of poor people. This holiday season was hellish as I watched scores of our clients navigate the realities of a holiday with nothing but further grinding poverty. Some days I am just weary from the strain of witnessing the suffering that goes on around me. It takes a toll that is more than physical, it eats away at the soul to see people ask for so little and receive far less.

    As I contemplate how to pry a few dollars from these systems designed to humiliate and degrade my clients, already struggling with being social outcasts, chronic illness, drug addiction and mental illness I sigh audibly. I read of billion dollar bailouts and disappearing pallettes of cash as I ponder how to help a family with $400.00 so they will not be homeless in three days. I am so very tired.

    Blaming the victim and baldfacedly denying all guilt whatsoever are the two most-exhibited characteristics of the GOP, and their harvest is Misery.

    With Disasters And Consequences For All (But Them).

    byronius,  

    Hunter

    I mean sure, now everyone in politics can vaguely agree that we shouldn’t go torturing people and then coming up with bullshit justifications that make it sound all legal and stuff. After this being a controversial or even anti-American notion, according to the foundational premises of the Bush years, all the usual suspects are, begrudgingly, recognizing that this new maybe-illegally-torturing-possibly-innocent-people-isn’t-such-a-great-idea idea is the way the wind is blowing, and for them to say otherwise might, you know, suck for them.

    But the thought that there should be consequences for prior endorsements or justifications for pro-torture positions, or advocacy for pro-domestic-espionage, or illegally premised detainment, or advocacy for utterly incompetent military strategies — that’s still a crazy, freakish notion in Washington or in politics. A bridge too far.

    If there’s one thing that nearly every politician and appointee and hanger-on in Washington can agree to, it’s that no matter how bad some heinous or flagrantly illegal action was, prosecuting someone for it would be simply inconceivable. And even punishing them for it by reducing their upward career mobility would be outrageous. And even just criticizing them for their past actions would be unnecessarily “divisive” or “confrontational,” the sign of a sick and addled population bent.

    After all, if we were to agree that torturing a few now-known-to-be-innocent people required even the barest, most minimal minuscule punitive actions be taken against those who facilitated that torture, where would it end? Next thing you know we’d be all up in arms about all the other corruption and legal violations, and that’d be as divisive as all hell, especially for all the people who would possibly be looking at jail time (or at the least, a possible pay cut.) Don’t forget, we’ve passed into a new era when there isn’t the slightest thing wrong with the premise that the President can declare any American he likes an “enemy combatant”, and that simply nullifies every Constitutional right that American possesses, on his say-so.

    For some reason, politicians facing consequences for illegal acts is always “divisive”. You or me or anyone else breaks the law, nobody gives a flying crap about “divisiveness.” Someone in a position of power does it, though, and it’s apparently a f’ing crisis of our f’ing legal system to contemplate taking any action against them. We’ll even get tsk-tsking comments directed our way by f-ing f-stick apparatchiks if we so much as express displeasure towards those poor, put upon souls.

    I don’t believe in Hell, so I don’t accept that these people will get their just desserts in the Afterlife. Obama has clearly stated that he will follow Constitutional Procedure in dealing with this matter. If that’s true, they’re all royally screwed, because the Law is quite clear in these matters, although it has been buried for these past eight years in a shallow grave.

    We’ll see if he’s serious about it. I’ll be watching closely, because consequences are the only way anyone ever learns anything; and the nation can’t afford to not learn the lessons of Disastrously Criminal Conservatism.

    eighty-six surf

    byronius, 2008/12/28 

    good old gorbachev
    taking it to the streets
    racking up an endless series of light-in-the-glass
    very few, very few
    no patterns like these
    think of space
    think of our dirt ball
    in space
    cold and alone
    half in the mother sun
    no one looks up
    the complex pheremone
    shape of the face
    distance of the eyes
    and roll of circumstance
    makes men to women
    that under-pulse
    beyond all of the car chases
    and the steel
    the sweet tastes of sand
    in mother sun
    thighs encircling
    seem to stretch to the End
    if they can hear us
    then they know
    we’re here

    Andrew McKinnon stands up
    no one else can

    RNC chairman candidate defends ‘Barack the Magic Negro’ song .

    byronius, 2008/12/26 

    CNN

    (CNN) — A candidate for the Republican National Committee chairmanship said Friday the CD he sent committee members for Christmas — which included a song titled “Barack the Magic Negro” — was clearly intended as a joke.

    “I think most people recognize political satire when they see it,” Tennessee Republican Chip Saltsman told CNN. “I think RNC members understand that.”

    The song, set to the tune of “Puff the Magic Dragon,” was first played on conservative political commentator Rush Limbaugh’s radio show in 2007.

    Today’s GOP — ‘The Gloves Are Off’.

    Along with the hoods.

    Lord, Where’s My Disaster?

    byronius,  

    Holiday dinner with the Big Family, such an excellent thing. Everyone there. Children roaming the house in gangs, involved in mysterious pursuits. Talk. Great Food. Wine.

    Bit and pieces of the Bad Times. Everyone knows. Thirty percent off gross? You’re lucky. Layoffs on January 5th for a chip manufacturer. R & D? Cancelled. Furloughs. Months off. Variable rate mortgage reboot coming to accelerate everything.

    700 Billion? ‘We don’t disclose that information’ huffed the Banker.

    Even the surely-safe are wincing. Big Ass Monsters are coming — feel the ground shake?

    There will be no holocaust. There will be no holocaust.

    ‘This is Barack Obama’s Recession’, huffs the Professional Liar. ‘Bush has done a Great Job’.

    The RNC plots the economy’s failure, concerned about timing, making sure the Thundering Giants do not appear over the horizon until the 21st.

    I’m utterly appalled by the continuing callousness, incompetence, and criminality of the Bush Cabal, and everyone who still supports any facet or tendril or tiny bit of conservative ideology may swiftly go to hell in my opinion, puffy-headed shit for brains that such a rotten crockpot would be.

    Still. This is Life. Amidst the Fear, Courage. In Bad News, Perhaps A Better Future. Everyone was committed to surviving, and doing their best to maintain that difficult balance between One’s Own and Everyone Else. The Eldest Of The Family predicted eventual recovery. The Wild Head predicted paradigm shift through emerging technology. (Me.) There was a lot of laughter, and love, and togetherness, and all that excellentness of human grouping.

    On the way home, I thought about the days when Max and I spent times pretty damned close to the edge of food insecurity, chased by demons and always somehow seeming to choose the path of not-safety, but inscribing life along the way with a narrative that still rings, in many forms. He wrote a song, ‘Lord, Where’s My Disaster’, which was actually a plea for a little peace of mind, which was in short supply. It seemed like Giants were always on the horizon. Sometimes, they appeared. We would generally then shamelessly run away, ignoring all reality, until they went away, or not, in which case we had to move yet again.

    But we live still. Some of us.

    Better leadership is coming. This won’t be like the 1930′s; it’s a wholly different world. Re-regulation of the financial world and some intense good spending can turn this tide quickly enough, although there has been and will be significant pain for many good (and bad) people. Solar films are due to ship in 2009 that will probably change the energy habits of the nation forever, and the world. The technological asymptote is jerking, the Theory of Everything is getting tested at the Hadron, and for all we know, Senrab has a Matter Transmogrifier in his garage. Or basement, whichever.

    It’s better together than apart. Respect and cooperation can overcome downward spirals.

    It’s going to be important to know and remember This, and what caused This. Greed. Abridgment of Common Sense, and Subversion Of Constitutional Government. Torture, Treason, Spying, Looting, Murder, Corruption, Bad Information. Stupidity. This Cannot Be Allowed Again In Our Lifetimes, and for as long as we can carry forward this Terrible Knowledge.

    I’m certain Max no longer sarcastically yearns for disaster, from danger of being misunderstood by some dull-witted Deity. Back then, we had nothing to lose, or so it seemed. It seemed Brave.

    Married with children will often decrease one’s bravado in such matters, I think.

    Still. Further.

    Dawkins is just like Fred Phelps?

    Max, 2008/12/24 

    A response by eugene X at Daily Kos to this diary.

    You must understand that Dawkins is essentially picking up a gauntlet thrown down by the religious right of this country, and, to some degree, by some other fundamentalists around the world. They have asserted that the existence of a divine being is a sort of testable fact, through their promotion of idiotic things like Intelligent Design. There has been a sort of notion of “non-overlapping magisteria” (to use Stephen Jay Gould’s term for it) in the sciences that has allowed them to mostly co-exist with the less fundamentalist religions of the world, a sort of gentleman’s agreement that some theological propositions simply cannot and should not be addressed by science. A sort of “don’t ask don’t tell.”

    The fundies have come along and broken the gentlemen’s agreement by essentially saying that they can “prove” the existence of the Christian god through scientific means. And all that Dawkins has done is said, “okay, if you make a scientific assertion about the existence of god, then let’s look at the evidence. You got jack, people.”

    In this, he is entirely fair, and quite reasonable, and quite a bit less confrontational that he would be if he were dealing with real scientists who had proposed some assertion on such non-existent evidence. If anything, he has gone out of his way to be kinder than he needs to be.

    Your assertion of atheism as an “ism” is patently asinine, and proves you don’t know what you are talking about. The “a” in front of “atheism” means non. (Perhaps you didn’t have the rudiments of Greek in high school science?) The “ism” without the “a” is theism. Thus, lack of theism.

    There is no atheist creed, there is no atheist society, there are no stars of atheism. There is no movement. There happen to have been a few popular books on the bestseller lists in the past few years, but not one of them has the work “atheism” in the title. Not one encourages the formation of any social edifices or organizations with anything called “atheist” or “atheism”.

    And if you’d bother to listen to Dawkins speak, he openly declares himself an agnostic, not an atheist.

    So much for putting him in the “ism” box with Fred Phelps. The comparison is repugnant, and does more to discredit you than tarnish him.

    Atheism is an “ism” the way not collecting stamps is a hobby.

    Read the above sentence to yourself over a few times until it makes sense.

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