Saturday, August 30, 2008

Unending War In The Police State Of America

Bush wants Congress to authorize an open-ended, permanent state of war.
Tucked deep into a recent proposal from the Bush administration is a provision that has received almost no public attention, yet in many ways captures one of President Bush’s defining legacies: an affirmation that the United States is still at war with Al Qaeda.

Seven years after the Sept. 11 attacks, Mr. Bush’s advisers assert that many Americans may have forgotten that. So they want Congress to say so and “acknowledge again and explicitly that this nation remains engaged in an armed conflict with Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated organizations, who have already proclaimed themselves at war with us and who are dedicated to the slaughter of Americans.”

The language, part of a proposal for hearing legal appeals from detainees at the United States naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, goes beyond political symbolism. Echoing a measure that Congress passed just days after the Sept. 11 attacks, it carries significant legal and public policy implications for Mr. Bush, and potentially his successor, to claim the imprimatur of Congress to use the tools of war, including detention, interrogation and surveillance, against the enemy, legal and political analysts say.

Some lawmakers are concerned that the administration’s effort to declare anew a war footing is an 11th-hour maneuver to re-establish its broad interpretation of the president’s wartime powers, even in the face of challenges from the Supreme Court and Congress.

The proposal is also the latest step that the administration, in its waning months, has taken to make permanent important aspects of its “long war” against terrorism. From a new wiretapping law approved by Congress to a rewriting of intelligence procedures and F.B.I. investigative techniques, the administration is moving to institutionalize by law, regulation or order a wide variety of antiterrorism tactics.

“This seems like a final push by the administration before they go out the door,” said Suzanne Spaulding, a former lawyer for the Central Intelligence Agency and an expert on national security law. The cumulative effect of the actions, Ms. Spaulding said, is to “put the onus on the next administration” — particularly a Barack Obama administration — to justify undoing what Mr. Bush has done.

And Obama would be seen as weak on terrorism if he did so...and so would the already-proven spineless Dems in Congress. They would never un-authorize it. Besides, Obama's already said on multiple occasions that he wishes out of Iraq, only to focus on Afghanistan and possibly even Pakistan.

But the permanent state of war primarily would allow continuing abuses of power by Bush and his friends. These abuses would be permanently codified into law if McSame and Palin got control of the White House and even one more Supreme Court justice was installed along the lines of Alito, Scalia, Thomas and Roberts.

Bush's police state legacy must be dismantled by the next President, or it will become law for our children and possibly our grandchildren as well.

Explain this to your friends out there that tell you "Obama, McSame, it doesn't matter who I vote for." Don't believe me about the police state?

Look what the GOP is doing in the Twin Cities this weekend to keep the Republican National Convention free of dissent: raiding, arresting, and detaining suspected protesters who have yet to break any law, commit any crimes, or threaten anyone.

Protesters here in Minneapolis have been targeted by a series of highly intimidating, sweeping police raids across the city, involving teams of 25-30 officers in riot gear, with semi-automatic weapons drawn, entering homes of those suspected of planning protests, handcuffing and forcing them to lay on the floor, while law enforcement officers searched the homes, seizing computers, journals, and political pamphlets. Last night, members of the St. Paul police department and the Ramsey County sheriff's department handcuffed, photographed and detained dozens of people meeting at a public venue to plan a demonstration, charging them with no crime other than "fire code violations," and early this morning, the Sheriff's department sent teams of officers into at least four Minneapolis area homes where suspected protesters were staying.

Jane Hamsher and I were at two of those homes this morning -- one which had just been raided and one which was in the process of being raided. Each of the raided houses is known by neighbors as a "hippie house," where 5-10 college-aged individuals live in a communal setting, and everyone we spoke with said that there had never been any problems of any kind in those houses, that they were filled with "peaceful kids" who are politically active but entirely unthreatening and friendly. Posted below is the video of the scene, including various interviews, which convey a very clear sense of what is actually going on here.

In the house that had just been raided, those inside described how a team of roughly 25 officers had barged into their homes with masks and black swat gear, holding large semi-automatic rifles, and ordered them to lie on the floor, where they were handcuffed and ordered not to move. The officers refused to state why they were there and, until the very end, refused to show whether they had a search warrant. They were forced to remain on the floor for 45 minutes while the officers took away the laptops, computers, individual journals, and political materials kept in the house. One of the individuals renting the house, an 18-year-old woman, was extremely shaken as she and others described how the officers were deliberately making intimidating statements such as "Do you have Terminator ready?" as they lay on the floor in handcuffs. The 10 or so individuals in the house all said that though they found the experience very jarring, they still intended to protest against the GOP Convention, and several said that being subjected to raids of that sort made them more emboldened than ever to do so.

This is what the police state is doing already in this country. Give it four more years of McSame and Palin, and this will be the new face of "law enforcement" in your hometown.

Gustav Goes Prime Time

It's now a Category 5 storm as of this afternoon. Once again, NOLA is being evacuated.
Forecasters said there is a better-than-even chance that New Orleans will get slammed by the storm. That raised the likelihood people will have to flee, and the city suggested a full-scale mandatory evacuation call could come as soon as Sunday.

Having just yesterday marked the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans is not waiting for the storm (which has already killed 78 people in the Caribbean) to make landfall.

Cars packed with clothes, boxes and pet carriers drove north among heavy traffic on Interstate 55, a major route out of the city. Gas stations around the city hummed. And nursing homes and hospitals began sending patients farther inland.

"I'm getting out of here. I can't take another hurricane," said Ramona Summers, 59, whose house flooded during Hurricane Katrina three years ago. She hurried to help friends gather their belongings. Her car was already packed for Gonzales, nearly 60 miles away to the west of New Orleans.

A line of people well over a mile long stretched in six loops through the parking lot at Union Passenger Terminal waiting for buses out of the city. Under a blazing sun, many led children or pushed strollers with one hand and pulled luggage with the other. Volunteers handed out bottled water, and medics were nearby in case people became heatsick.

Once again, America is going to be tested. Jesus, Mary, Mother and Joseph it's happening all over again.

A Light(weight) Shade Of Palin

BooMan notes a number of national newspaper editorials (as well as those in Palin's home state of Alaska) have opinions this morning on McSame's VPILF ranging from polite shock to outright hostility. McCain's age just became the albatross around his neck.
I have a sampling of media reaction to the selection of Sarah Palin as John McCain's running mate. It starts with the reaction from Alaskan newspapers. They HATE the choice. Then it moves on to lower-48 papers, large and small. They also HATE it. In fact, I don't remember anything approaching this level of disdain for Dan Quayle. Dan Quayle ruined his reputation over time by his performance on the national stage. But, as a sitting U.S. Senator, he was accorded some initial respect. Sarah Palin is getting no respect. Or, to be more accurate, no one is pretending for one moment that she is qualified to be president of the United States or is accepting any of McCain's talking points as anything but rubbish. You can walk back a nomination to the Supreme Court, like Harriet Miers. But you can't walk back a vice-presidential pick. Just ask George McGovern.
Do check them out, especially the ones from Alaska:

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (EDITORIAL): She has never publicly demonstrated the kind of interest, much less expertise, in federal issues and foreign affairs that should mark a candidate for the second-highest office in the land. Republicans rightfully have criticized the Democratic nominee, Sen. Barack Obama, for his lack of experience, but Palin is a neophyte in comparison; how will Republicans reconcile the criticism of Obama with the obligatory cheering for Palin?…Most people would acknowledge that, regardless of her charm and good intentions, Palin is not ready for the top job. McCain seems to have put his political interests ahead of the nation's when he created the possibility that she might fill it. It's clear that McCain picked Palin for reasons of image, not substance. LINK

Anchorage Daily News: "She's not prepared to be governor. How can she be prepared to be vice president or president? said [State Senate President Lyda Green, a Republican from Palin's hometown of Wasilla]. "Look at what she's done to this state. What would she do to the nation?" LINK

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Lately her reputation within the state has been bit by allegations of mixing political and family business, and by mistreating one of the state's premier marine mammals. Palin's catch-phrase of "openness and transparency" has been tarnished by revelations that staff members tried to have Palin's former brother-in-law fired from his job as an Alaska state trooper. Also, the governor of the only state with polar bears has adamantly opposed listing the animals as a threatened species, despite strong evidence that global warming has devastated their sea ice environment off Alaska's coast. Dermot Cole, a longtime columnist for Alaska's second largest newspaper, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, called McCain's choice of Palin "reckless" and questioned her credentials. "Sarah Palin's chief qualification for being elected governor was that she was not Frank Murkowski," Cole said of her enormously unpopular predecessor, who lost favor with Alaskans in part because of unpopular budget cuts. "She was not elected because she was a conservative. She was not elected because of her grasp of issues or because of her track record as the mayor of Wasilla." LINK

Juneau Empire (Kate Golden) "Some in Ketchikan react to nomination with concern, ire": In her acceptance speech as McCain's running mate Friday morning, Palin held up her opposition to the bridge from Ketchikan to Gravina - the "bridge to nowhere" - as an example of "the abuses of earmark spending."…When campaigning in Ketchikan in September 2006, Palin promised Ketchikan residents the bridge LINK

When's the last time you can honestly say a VP pick actually helped a Presidential candidate LOSE that VP's state? I think she's so bad she might help McSame lose Alaska!

Lowest Common Duh-Nominate-Her

I've decided that all of yesterday's analysis of Sarah Palin, and yes, even my own, is missing the point of why Sarah Palin was selected.

It all boils down to this: She's a pretty face to excite the base.

In a country where a quarter of us think Obama is a Muslim, a third to 40% of us still think Saddam Hussein was personally behind 9/11, and over half of us don't believe in evolution of humans at all, Sarah Palin is the perfect VP choice for an ignorant, 21st century populace.

The GOP believes it doesn't matter what she has to say about foreign policy, or tax burdens, or balancing the budget. She's a former beauty queen who still looks like one. With the sound off, McSame and Palin look like they're ready to run this country. The pretty nastyVPILF meme is off and running. "She's pretty damn hot." That's the whole point of the cynical exercise.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Karl Rove's brilliant plan is to assure that presidential politics in this great country after 232 years has been reduced to "I would vote for McSame because I would so bang Sarah Palin until she couldn't walk."

Yes, it's misogynist, sexist, insulting, rude, disturbing, infuriating, disgusting, and in every possible aspect, completely 100% wrong. But you know what? Republicans think they'll win anyhow, because we've proven how stupid, easily mislead, gullible, vulnerable to fear, bigoted, irrational, moronic and downright ignorant WE are as a populace, because we voted in George W. Bush. TWICE.

Sarah Palin is there to get McSame close enough so that Karl Rove is able to steal the election a third time. Nothing more. Nothing less. They figure with the Bradley Effect, two months of vicious sliming, McSame acting like your kindly old grandpa and Sarah Palin's rack, enough of you will vote for them even though a massive majority of us are sick of the Bush policies that have wrecked this country.

You'll vote yourself right out of affordable health care, civil rights, civil liberties, and whatever respect the US has left for a team of folks who will keep you ignorant enough to get away with pillaging every last dime and sending us into a deep depression where they can rule us by fear and by rifle, if necessary. It'll be a land of unending war, bigotry and anger, where we exist only to serve the richest Americans and their interests.

Americans are a great people when motivated. When we're not motivated, we're lazy f'ckin bastards.

Karl Rove hopes you're not motivated. He doesn't think you give a shit about this country anymore. He's counting on it.

That's why Sarah Palin. Because the GOP doesn't give a shit about anything other than power. The Politics of Against in action.

I'd say "Remember that in November" but millions of us won't and will vote for McSame/VPILF anyway. Pray Obama wins.

McSame's only chance to win is if Sarah Palin can charm the media. But she'll have to charm Washington's powerful media women too: Village matrons like Maureen Dowd, Cokie Roberts, Katie Couric, Linda Wertheimer, and so on.

I don't think McSame's Operation VPILF will find a very receptive audience on that, and I honestly don't know if GOP luminaries like Kay Baliey Hutchinson and Liddy Dole are going to go along with this, especially the pro-choice moderates like Olympia Snowe and Christie Todd Whitman. They may revolt.

But if the Village goes along with Palin...especially the Village women, then Obama is in serious, serious danger. America's got two months to fall in love with Sarah Palin. She just may be able to pull it off...or get it close enough so that Karl Rove and Diebold can steal it.

StupidiNews, Weekend Edition

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