And another victory in the war against terrorism

This a more positive one, though still it’s not an unequivocal one. And one that, again, highlights that religious extremists are the most dangerous people in the world today.

Yay! Finally the anti-discrimination bill passed in Washington, providing legal protection for all people, regardless of sexual orientation in housing, employment, and lending. I’m pleased as punch that it passed. Much rejoicing and all that.

But reading further in the PI article certainly dampened my excitement. The hate-filled and ignorant statements representing the 23 state senators who voted against the bill just left me flabberghasted and sad. Because the thrust of their argument is that the bill endorses discrimination by not allowing religious extremists to deny another group of people equal protection under the law.

Just think about the statement they are making here. What kind of religion–what kind of person–is dependent upon being able to legally repress another group of people?

According to Sen. Dan Swecker, “The bill would trample religious freedom for those who believe homosexuality is wrong.” The bill certainly doesn’t require any church to allow gay marriage, gay clergy, or even gay constituents. It doesn’t require that anyone be gay. It requires that people of all sexual orientations have the same basic rights in employment, lending, and housing. Anyone who feels that threatens their ability to practice their religion clearly belongs to a seriuosly fucked up church.

So I’m sorry I can’t be overjoyed by the bill passing, though I’m relieved and heartened, and my fullest congratulations to our Rep Ed Murray for sticking with this one all these years. You did good, Ed. I just wish more of your colleagues were made of the same good stock.

And it is a victory on the war against religious terrorism that the right is waging within our borders.

A clear victory in the war against terrorism

Unfortunately, it’s for the bin Laden side.

Very little commentary needed. 53% of Americans are ok with unwarranted wiretaps if they think it will help protect them from a terrorist act.

Bush can hem and haw all he wants about how passing laws to allow him to do what he’s doing anyway let the terrorists know what we’re doing. So what? They win. Americans fear terrorism more than they care about preserving the fundamental basis of what this country is about.

(I’m also tempted to talk about the emptiness of any of those 53% talking about supporting our troops who are out there protecting our liberties. The troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are apparently over their putting themselves in real jeopardy for a bunch of cowards who are perfectly willing to let someone risk their lives to protect not our freedom and liberty, but our lazy, gas-guzzling, selfish lifestyles.)

I leave you with two thoughts.

“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” –Benjamin Franklin, 1755

“Harsh times call for harsh measures. Americans have a greater right to be safe than to be private.” —Joseph Palladino, Jan 23, 2006

shame, and the shameful shamers who cry shame

Our dear leader, in defending his decision to BREAK THE LAW and spy on American citizens with no court oversight of his decision, called the New York Times shameful for making public that he has been BREAKING THE LAW for the past few years, ignoring the laws of the country, and deciding by himself what constitutes grounds for this kind of infraction of civil liberties. His justification? That the congress gave him the authority to do whatever he wants when they authorized the use of force in Afghanistan.

Uhm, what?

Every citizen of this country should, right now, be calling for his impeachment. He has overstepped his bounds, broken the law, violated the oath he took to uphold the constitution, and done more than anyone else to help the terrorists win by determining that we have to destroy what this country stands for in order to fight them. Any member of Congress not actively pursuing his impeachment right now should be ashamed of themselves.

And what’s more, in light of the fact that our president cares so little for what this country stands for that he would violate our constitution so flagrantly and then stand there unapologetically defending his actions, his APPROVAL RATINGS IMPROVED?!?

To all of those who approve of this action, and to all of those whose impression of him and his handling of the “war on terror” has been improved by this whole affair, you have a lot of nerve calling anyone else un-American. Because supporting him now is rejecting what this country stands for. The only patriotic action is to call for his impeachment at this point. Anything else is saying that our Constitution isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. And if you honestly believe that he’s only using this self-proclaimed power for fighting terrorism, think again, and then think of Nixon’s enemies list, and remember why we have laws against this in the first place.

A year ago, when enough people in this country showed that they were either bigoted, stupid, or selfish enough to have voted for this man, I was in absolute dispair. That’s nothing compared to the dispair I feel that he can actually improve his approval ratings by shitting on the constitution and our laws. Are the American people really, truly, that stupid? Or do they really want to live under a despot?

Before I end this rant, I’d like to point that Bush is a fucking lying bastard, by the way. The little shit had the nerve to go on TV just last year, and claim that it is illegal to conduct surveillance on Americans without court orders. It’s amazing how easily they and the American people can just ignore that fact, much as they so easily ignored Bush saying anyone involved in leaking Valerie Plame’s identity would be fired, until it became public who was responsible for it. Hypocrites and liars.

Unfortunately, the question is, who do you have to get a blow job from in order to get impeached in Washington today?

So opposing an unjustified war is encouraging terrorists

But Bill O’Reilly suggesting they attack San Francisco is not, huh? Again, I say, some liberal media. Remember when Bill Maher lost his show and gained the scorn of conservatives all over the country for suggesting that the guys who hit the twin towers weren’t cowards? And yet, that was worse than actively encouraging them attack an American city.

So here’s the way I see it. Bill O’Reilly just invited al-Qaeda to attack an American city, which has got to be as much a treasonous act as anything any other Americans being held without being charged on terrorism-related suspicions. So he, too, should be picked up, and put in a cell with Hamdi and all those others, until the Supreme Court decides whether it’s constitutional to suspend Americans’ rights in the justice system. If they go with the constitution, then let’s charge him and try him. If not, then the one good thing to come of it is that that asshole O’Reilly will be behind bars indefinitely where he can’t publicly advocate the mass killing of innocent Americans.

One more thing…

Nonfamosi, let’s do our best to spread the word that the Supreme Court should not be packed with people trying to take away our hard-won liberties!

Excerpted from

Dear MoveOn member,

On Monday, President Bush buckled under pressure from the radical right and nominated the extreme right wing Judge Samuel Alito. MoveOn members leapt into action, blowing away our original goal and gathering more than 350,000 signatures in just over 24 hours—a new MoveOn record.

So today we’re aiming to boost the total to half a million signatures, and do it by tomorrow. If we can get there, we’ll run an ad in Roll Call, the newspaper that Congress reads, to show them the new total.

To reach our national goal, we need just 6,044 more signatures from Washington.

Please sign today, if you haven’t already, and remember to forward this note on to friends.

Tomorrow’s an especially important deadline, because the so-called “Gang of 14″—a group of centrist Senators from both parties—will be meeting to discuss the possibility of a filibuster, and whether or not they’ll honor their agreement to keep the “nuclear option” off the table.2 We need to make sure those Senators, and all of Congress, understand that the public is fully engaged and prepared to defend our basic rights.

Can you help us reach 500,000 signers by tomorrow by forwarding this email on to your friends and colleagues? Below we’ve attached our original petition email, which provides some good basic information on Alito, to send around.

Thanks, as always, for all you do.

–Ben, Jennifer, Tanya, Marika and the Political Action Team
Wednesday, November 2nd 2005

P.S. The case against Alito is growing rapidly. Check out this paragraph from Business Week:

“One group is breathing a big sigh of relief: Corporate America. Of the dozen or so names on Bush’s rumored short list of high court candidates, Alito ranked near the top for the boardroom set. In the 800-plus opinions he has penned during his 15 years as a federal judge, Alito consistently has come down on the side of limiting corporate liability, limiting employee rights, and limiting federal regulation.”2


1. “Dems hint at filibuster” The Hill, November 1st 2005

2. “Why Big Business Likes Alito” Business Week, November 1st 2005

Freedom of Blogging

I don’t know how we missed this between the dueling hurricanes and the war and the Roberts hearings, but apparently the FEC is working on “regulations that would extend the nation’s campaign finance and spending limits to the Web.

Bloggers, at least the ones able to pay attention to this issue (what with the war and the Roberts hearings and and and) responded in a predicitable manner stating that the proposed new regulations amount to suppression of first amendment rights.

The proposed regulations, which I’m going to try to find time to read, are here. There’s a decent starter Q and A here.

Since I just stumbled across this this morning on Bloglines – they’ve submitted a statement to the commission – I’m still digesting the implications. Still, the price of freedom is eternal vigilance, right? This issue loudly calls for our vigilance – and perhaps our collective and indvidual action. We should use our voices while we still have them.

As with most civil rights erosion, this isn’t likely to hit us overnight. But with Roberts, the mystery justice sure to be on the bench any minute now and an open seat to be filled by another Bush nominee the prognosis for how this issue will play out before the Supreme Court isn’t good. We’re unlikely to get another Justice Douglas: “Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us.”


That’s the headline from Dateline: Hollywood. Can we “take him out?” Oh, I’m not suggesting we assisinate him. Really. But on the other hand, WTF?!?!?!

Pat Robertson on Sunday said that Hurricane Katrina was God’s way of expressing its anger at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for its selection of Ellen Degeneres to host this year’s Emmy Awards. “By choosing an avowed lesbian for this national event, these Hollywood elites have clearly invited God’s wrath,” Robertson said on “The 700 Club” on Sunday. “Is it any surprise that the Almighty chose to strike at Miss Degeneres’ hometown?”

Robertson also noted that the last time Degeneres hosted the Emmys, in 2001, the September 11 terrorism attacks took place shortly before the ceremony.

“This is the second time in a row that God has invoked a disaster shortly before lesbian Ellen Degeneres hosted the Emmy Awards,” Robertson explained to his approximately one million viewers. “America is waiting for her to apologize for the death and destruction that her sexual deviance has brought onto this great nation.”

Maybe if we built a big altar and sacrificed Ellen on it, her blood would turn into butterflies of solid gold and we could pay off the national debt! Maybe if we burned the Fab Five at the stake their ashes would turn into magical sponges that would soak up all the water in New Orleans and scrub it clean! Maybe if reasonable Christians don’t stand up and offer Roberts a nice warm glass of shut the fuck up, I will never again be able to walk through the door of a church!

In Robertson’s world, curses and miracles and magical spells have replaced the Christ of the Golden Rule and the Beatitudes. He is a sick and sad embarrasment not just to Christians, but to all America. To the human race. And as one of America’s top evangelists, he’s clearly a failure– look at all the sin that has happened on his watch. Maybe God will strike him down! Oh what a happy day that will be.

Survivor, evacuee, refugee, internee?

Friends, I will go to the barracades over this. Not in my country, not in my home state. We are interning the survivors. As this Denver Post article begins:

If I didn’t know better, I’d have thought I was peering through the fence at a concentration camp.

The signs on the buildings say “Community College of Aurora,” though for now they’re serving as an impromptu Camp Katrina. About 160 hurricane survivors are being housed in the dorms, surrounded by fences, roadblocks, security guards and enough armed police officers to invade Grenada.

Via BoingBoing, I ran across this account of a rural Oklahoma mom whose family tried to bring food and other necessities to a Baptist church camp. What they heard and saw is stunning.

Granted, it’s posted to a conspiracy site but the narrative and photos ring too true to be fake. And you know what? Those crazy conspiracy theorists have been saying for years that FEMA had plans for incarcerating large civilian populations… they just didn’t realize the citizens in question would be the same color as the helicopters they have worried so much about.

We arrived at our cabin and started toting the clothes in. We finally found a group of men upstairs in the dorms trying to do something alien to them – make beds. They had almost completed the room of bunk beds and told us we could go over to the ladies’ dorm room and start on it. We lugged our sacks of clothes back down the stairs. Then we got the first negative message. “You can’t bring any clothes in. FEMA has stated they will accept no more clothes. They’ve had 30 people sorting clothes for days. They don’t want anymore.” My mind couldn’t help but go back over the news articles that have accused FEMA of refusing water in to Jefferson Parrish, or turning fuel away.

We lugged the bags of clothes back to the car. We then turned to bringing in our personal hygiene products. That’s when we learned our cabin had been designated a “male only” cabin. Approximately 40 men, ranging from age 13 on up would be housed there. We started resacking the female products and sorted out everything that would be useful for men.

We lugged the bags of female products back to the car. We asked if they knew of a cabin that had been designated for women. The “host” (the hosts are Oklahoma civilians who have been employeed??? by FEMA to reside at each cabin and have already gone through at least one “orientation” meeting conducted by FEMA at “BASE” which is some unknown but repetitively referred location within the camp) told us he believed McAlester cabin was dedicated to females. He then explained there were male, female and family cabins designated.

We then started lugging in our food products. The foods I had purchased were mainly snacks, but my mother – God bless her soul – had gone all out with fresh vegetables, fruits, canned goods, breakfast cereals, rice, and pancake fixings. That’s when we got the next message: They will not be able to use the kitchen.

Excuse me? I asked incredulously.

FEMA will not allow any of the kitchen facilities in any of the cabins to be used by the occupants due to fire hazards. FEMA will deliver meals to the cabins. The refugees will be given two meals per day by FEMA. They will not be able to cook. In fact, the “host” goes on to explain, some churches had already enquired about whether they could come in on weekends and fix meals for the people staying in their cabin. FEMA won’t allow it because there could be a situation where one cabin gets steaks and another gets hot dogs – and…

it could cause a riot.

It gets worse.

He then precedes to tell us that some churches had already enquired into whether they could send a van or bus on Sundays to pick up any occupants of their cabins who might be interested in attending church. FEMA will not allow this. The occupants of the camp cannot leave the camp for any reason. If they leave the camp they may never return. They will be issued FEMA identification cards and “a sum of money” and they will remain within the camp for the next 5 months.

My son looks at me and mumbles “Welcome to Krakow.”

That, sadly, is an insult on Krakow.

Something terrible is unfolding from the dark corners of our shared nightmare of America gone wrong. We can see the shape of it, but not the intent. Our government is powerless to rescue people, but can open detention centers almost over night. There was clearly more planning for warehousing the poor of New Orleans than there was for their evacuation. We are Gitmo-izing the survivors of Katrina. Their crime? Being black until proven innocent. All of that braying when Amnesty International called us on the New American Gulag? I do believe someone was protesting too much.

So what do we do? I’m ready for suggestions– but we’ve done the online activist thing pretty successfully before. If there were a few of you willing to help on this, we could really do it right.