How stupid are Democrats?

July 12, 2010 at 8:17 pm | Posted in Bush, civil rights, law, politics straight up, Reality Bites | Leave a comment
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Pretty fucking stupid.

Deaf and Dumb Asylum, Jacksonville, Illinois. Between 1880 and 1901. (Library of Congress)

Even a Fox News legal analyst — former New Jersey district judge Andrew Napolitano — thinks Bush and Cheney should have been indicted for “for torturing, for spying, for arresting without warrants.” But the Obama administration, not wanting to be seen “politicizing politics,” turned its back on the rule of law, figuring that if a Democratic administration didn’t pursue criminal charges against the Bush, Cheney and other members of their administration, somehow Republicans would feel constrained from attempting to impeach another Democratic president for lying about getting his cock sucked, or some other manufactured hysteria.

Darrell Issa is making plans now to “investigate” the “corrupt” Obama administration.

What have Democrats accomplished by not doing the right thing and criminally indicting Bush and Cheney for crimes against humanity? Nothing, except to prove again that nice guys finish last. As an added bonus, they license future Republicans administrations to pick up where Bush/Cheney left off.

Did no one learn anything from the ill-conceived pardoning of Richard Nixon?

This is perhaps the most egregious example of Democrats making a huge concession in exchange for bupkis, but as we have seen with health care and financial reform, it’s the way this administration rolls.

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Why do Republicans hate America?

March 10, 2010 at 2:57 am | Posted in civil rights, law, Obama!, politics straight up, Reality Bites, senate | 1 Comment
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"Dynamite defendants leave Federal Bldg. Indianapolis" 1912 October 9

For over 25 years I have been employed preparing transcripts in criminal cases in Massachusetts. A large percentage of the work I do is for the Committee for Public Counselpublic defenders for indigent defendants. In my opinion, these men and women are unsung heroes who work long hours for very little pay in order to represent people who most of us would not care to meet at a backyard barbecue. The United States Constitution guarantees every defendant the right to an attorney. Unfortunately, not all of us have the wherewithal to afford to hire one.

Los Angeles was the first community to provide public defenders for indigent defendants, in 1913. In 1971, pursuant to the Criminal Justice Act, 18 U.S.C.§ 3006A, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit approved the creation of The Office of the Federal Public Defender for the Southern District of Texas.

In 1974 Congress created the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) whose mission is “to promote equal access to justice in our Nation and to provide high quality civil legal assistance to low-income persons.”

In keeping with the desire of members of the Republican party to destroy all meaningful protections of the Constitution, Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell recommended nomination for a position on the board of directors of LSC a person who has worked diligently to cut off public funding of attorneys for poor people. Her name is Sharon Browne.

But Ms. Browne is not awaiting confirmation simply by the good graces of Senator McConnell. She also has President Obama to thank. He was absolutely free to decline to include her name. It’s hard to imagine that no one inside the White House was aware of Sharon Browne’s agenda. And it’s disheartening to once again see this Democratic administration miss another opportunity to show that it had any more respect for the rule of law than Republican administrations.

Republican senators have demonstrated over and over and over and over and over and over again, ad nauseum, the ease with which confirmation of qualified nominees can be held up for no reason at all.

Has a single Democrat stepped up to put a hold on Ms. Browne’s nomination? No.

In fact, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), as chair of the senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee, has penciled her in on today’s schedule for a vote of approval prior to a allow her nomination to proceed to a full vote by the senate.

Do not allow sit idly by while the Republicans insert another corrosive element into the federal government. Their only intent is to so weaken the effectiveness of our government and our ability to enjoy the protections guaranteed each one of us under the Constitution. Call your Democratic senators. Ask that they grow a set and place a hold on this disgraceful nominee, or that at the very least they vote no on confirmation.

He says he didn’t say it.

February 22, 2010 at 12:34 pm | Posted in God machine, health, law, politics straight up | Leave a comment
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Mentally Retarded children in E.S.F.S. for Crippled Children. (Library of Congress)

At a Thursday, February 18, 2010 press conference to discuss opposition to state funding for Planned Parenthood, Virginia State Delegate Bob Marshall of Manassa is reported to have said:

(NewsLeader.com) “The number of children who are born subsequent to a first abortion with handicaps has increased dramatically. Why? Because when you abort the first born of any, nature takes its vengeance on the subsequent children.”

“In the Old Testament, the first born of every being, animal and man, was dedicated to the Lord. There’s a special punishment Christians would suggest.”

I called Marshall’s office to find out the basis of his statement but was told that he is now claiming that isn’t what he said.* Someone from his press office is supposed to call me back. I will update if they do.

* The woman who answers the phone is a state employee, not an employee of Marshall. She seemed embarrassed to be associated with him, so be kind if you call.

UPDATE: It’s astonishing how clueless Republicans can be about modern technology. Turns out Marshall’s remarks were video-recorded. Oops!

Who is David Margolis?

February 20, 2010 at 5:01 am | Posted in Judiciary, law, politics straight up, torture | 2 Comments
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Hahahahaha!

Many errors found in Department of Justice mural. Washington, D.C., Aug. 17. Aides of Attorney General Cummings are taking great delight these days in criticizing the realism of several of the murals which ... Boughe, New York artist painted for the new Department of Justice building. Miss Margaret Burgess, a sightseer, points to the Statue of Liberty which was painted facing shoreward instead of seaward other glaring errors showed a convict facing four members of the Federal Court of Parole, although actually he faces only one in real life, a fire starting in a large city, although Federal Investigators work only on arson cases on Indian Reservations, 8/17/37

Despite the headlines you’ll see, the report from the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) did not in any way clear Yoo or Bybee. It recommended referral to state bar disciplinary authorities by whom Yoo and Bybee are now licensed.

The OPR report concluded that “two key authors—Jay Bybee, now a federal appellate court judge, and John Yoo, now a law professor—violated their professional obligations as lawyers when they crafted a crucial 2002 memo approving the use of harsh tactics.

Who is this man who is protecting John Yoo and Jay Bybee by blocking the Justice Department from making referrals that could result in their disbarment and loss of their current employment?

I used the Google and here is what I found:

It appears that Margolis has been used on a number of occasions to clean up a mess for the Justice Department. In March 2007 Margolis defended the firing of one of the nine US Attorneys at about the same time that Monica Goodling hit the front page. Some apparently took it for granted that because he was not a Bush hire, he was “clearly a ‘Clean’ player.” I would have to agree with those less inclined to view him so favorably.

His participation in the prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman seemed a bit stinky:

After ethics complaints were brought to the Justice Department, Leura Canary was nominally removed from the case. But in a circumvention of normal Justice Department rules approved by Associate Deputy Attorney General David Margolis, she was allowed to pick one of her deputies to manage the case against Siegelman in her stead. Canary represented to Congress that she removed herself from the case “before any significant decisions” had been reached. Now internal communications have been disclosed within Canary’s own office calling into question these claims.

(Two earlier articles here and here.)

As to Margolis, it seems to me that he had an assigned role here — to provide a veneer of respectability to an expediency. We are left with the question: why is the Obama administration once again protecting members of the Bush crime family?

UPDATE: Isn’t it lovely that the Obama administration had someone with credibility already in the DOJ to whitewash the final results.

“OPR’s own analytical framework defines ‘professional misconduct’ such that a finding of misconduct depends on application of a known, unambiguous obligation or standard to the attorney’s conduct,” [Margolis] wrote. “I am unpersuaded that OPR has identified such a standard.”

The investigation was apparently political theater, perhaps to mollify those calling for investigations that will not happen during this administration of crimes committed by the Bush administration. They should have saved themselves the trouble.

UPDATE: “Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) has forwarded materials on the writing of the torture memos to state bars where John Yoo and Jay Bybee are licensed, calling on the bar association to consider possible disciplinary action, Nadler’s office announced today.

“The Best Democracy Money Can Buy”

January 28, 2010 at 6:47 pm | Posted in House of Representatives, law, politics straight up | 8 Comments
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Some members of the Supreme Court believe that their ruling in Citizens United case does not allow wholly foreign corporations to buy American elections. But will that stop foreign corporations or countries from doing so?

I would imagine that Prince Alwaleed bin Talal al-Saud of Saudi Arabia — the largest shareholder of News Corp outside the Murdoch family — as well as are many foreign governments, will have no problem influencing American politics thanks to Justices Roberts, Scalia, Alito, Kennedy and Thomas.

Thanks to the Supreme Court ruling, the next step in our country’s downward spiral will be that corporations themselves will run for elected office.

As a result, “the progressive PR firm Murray Hill Inc. has announced that it plans to satirically run for Congress in the Republican primary in Maryland’s 8th congressional district.”

Given the age requirement, I doubt that Murray Hill Inc. is qualified. But Exxon is. So are Walmart and Microsoft.

Here is Murray Hill’s first campaign ad:

Thanks, ThinkProgress!

The Cost of Doing Business

October 11, 2009 at 12:12 pm | Posted in God machine, law | Leave a comment
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St. Lukes Anglican Church

St. Luke's Anglican Church

(LA Times) The people of St. Luke’s Anglican Church have called their La Crescenta parish home for 85 years. Generations of families have grown up within its historic stone walls.

On Sunday, the Rev. Rob Holman will deliver his final sermon there, an epitaph to a bruising legal fight the congregation waged and lost to practice its conservative brand of Christian theology and hold on to the church.

[Well, they may have lost the fight to “hold on to the church,” but there never was a fight as to whether they would be able to continue to practice their “conservative brand of Christian theology” — just saying.]

On Monday, St. Luke’s leaders will hand over its keys to the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles.

The diocese sued to retain St. Luke’s property after the congregation voted overwhelmingly in 2006 to leave it and the national Episcopal Church over theological differences, including the consecration of a gay bishop in New Hampshire.

[The reporter has described their position in the kindest possible light.]

After rounds of costly litigation, the courts ruled in the diocese’s favor, concluding that St. Luke’s property was held in trust for the diocese and the national church.

People advocating their state’s secession should keep this outcome in mind.

H/T Skippy the bush kangaroo

What is wrong with these people?

September 30, 2009 at 2:18 pm | Posted in God machine, law, politics straight up, terrorism | Leave a comment
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Death as skeleton running and carrying newspapers announcing defeat of Federal Army.  Illus. in Harpers Weekly, 1862.  (Library of Congress)

Death as skeleton running and carrying newspapers announcing defeat of Federal Army. Illus. in Harper's Weekly, 1862. (Library of Congress)

The Newsmax op-ed explaining the advantages of “a bloodless coup to restore and defend the Constitution” has now been taken down from the website, but this is just one of many insane and dangerous statements made by members of the rightwing.

Secession is advocated directly and indirectly by numerous rightwing politicians.

John Derbyshire and Ann Coulter believe that women should not have the right to vote. “If we took away women’s right to vote, we’d never have to worry about another Democrat president.

Republican Representative Tom McClintock agrees with Phyllis Schlafly that “the feminist movement is the most dangerous, destructive force in our society today.

The Senate has approved an amendment proposed by Republican Senator Orrin Hatch to restore $50 million in funding to continue “abstinence-only sex education.” This taxpayer-funded program has already caused untold numbers of teenage pregnancies and increased rates of sexually-transmitted diseases, both of which further exacerbate the problems of our dysfunctional and inadequate health care system.

How many Americans need to be murdered before this is over?


Elected Republicans actively participate in de-legitimatizing the federal government and rule of law, but the real problem is ACORN?

Megan McArdle: Murder Apologist & Advocate

June 1, 2009 at 6:25 pm | Posted in Bush, God machine, law, terrorism | Leave a comment
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Sand destroying once fertile land. Maine.  Published 1936 May.  Paul Carter, photographer

Sand destroying once fertile land. Maine. Published 1936 May. Paul Carter, photographer

This is absolutely the most disgusting thing I have ever read. That her friends and family don’t shrink back from her in horror brings shame on them.

Megan McArdle spends the first few paragraphs of her response to Ezra Klein explaining how she’s pro-choice. I guess that’s an attempt to give her argument a patina of reasonableness. Her mind-blowing argument is that we should not impinge the terrorists’ ability to terrorize us:

We accept that when the law is powerless, people are entitled to kill in order to prevent other murders–had Tiller whipped out a gun at an elementary school, we would now be applauding his murderer’s actions. In this case, the law was powerless because the law supported late-term abortions. Moreover, that law had been ruled outside the normal political process by the Supreme Court. If you think that someone is committing hundreds of gruesome murders a year, and that the law cannot touch him, what is the moral action? To shrug? Is that what you think of ordinary Germans who ignored Nazi crimes? Is it really much of an excuse to say that, well, most of your neighbors didn’t seem to mind, so you concluded it must be all right? We are not morally required to obey an unjust law. In fact, when the death of innocents is involved, we are required to defy it.

This is what eight years of the lying, skeevy Bush/Cheney cabal has wrought. We now live in a country where torture goes unpunished and murder is not only justified but described as a reasonable response to “an unjust law.”

How is this not a nightmare?

How is this not deeply twisted and anathema to everything this country is supposed to represent?

The mind reels.

UPDATE: Apparently McArdle is channeling Francis Schaeffer, a 1980s advocate of using terrorism to achieve the goal of making abortion illegal.

Circumventing Congress Through Terrorism

June 1, 2009 at 12:34 pm | Posted in God machine, House of Representatives, law, senate, terrorism | Leave a comment
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Ewe and newborn lamb, Madison County, Montana.  1939 summer.  Arthur Rothstein, photographer.

Ewe and newborn lamb, Madison County, Montana. 1939 summer. Arthur Rothstein, photographer.

(Ezra Klein) Roeder was acting in direct competition with the United States Congress. And it’s quite likely that he changed the status quo. Legislative language and judicial rulings had made abortive procedures legal and thus accessible. Yesterday’s killing was meant to render abortive procedures unsafe for doctors to conduct and thus inaccessible.

If a woman cannot get an abortion because no nearby providers are willing to assume the risk of performing it, the actual outcome is precisely the same as if the procedure were illegal. Roeder has, in all likelihood, made abortion less accessible. It would be, in my view, a perfectly appropriate response for the Congress to decisively prove his action not only ineffectual, but, in a broad sense, counterproductive.”

Hilzoy has a short list of good recommendations.

Committee To Send Dangerous Criminals Into Outer Space

May 7, 2009 at 9:40 am | Posted in law, politics straight up, senate | Leave a comment
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Senate Republicans put together a video to warn Americans that President Obama “doesn’t have a plan for what to do with the terrorists — which means terrorists may soon be taking up residence in a neighborhood near you.”

Here’s Hilzoy‘s video response:

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