Habeas Corpus Still On Life Support

The Supremes have pitched the Bush Administration their 3rd strike.

I am cautiously hopeful with the slight majority for Democrats in Congress and the lame duck status of The Idiot. I am unsure this means we can immediately restore the foundation of democracy – the right to challenge detention by the government. When Congress originally passed the Military Commissions Act, I got a bit maudlin here. Rather than jump for joy I want to see what The Idiot’s Minions and Congress are going to do about this latest slap from The Supremes.

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Today, I surprised myself…

With the end of the Democratic Party primary, I took some time today to review two speeches (Hilary Clinton’s concession & Barack Obama’s St. Paul, MN, address). I listened to Senator Clinton’s speech first because of 2 major factors: 1) The meme going about that somehow Senator Clinton’s die-hard supporters could vote for McCain and 2) The months-long barrage of sexist attacks made upon the senator by the right-wing noise machine that ended up being echoed by the MSM.

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Lest you think the right isn’t racist

Some rightwing nutjob I’d never heard of convinced Dunkin Donuts to pull an ad featuring Rachel Ray. Not because it featured Rachel Ray (which is a perfectly valid reason not to show an ad), but because she was wearing a scarf which said nutjob thought seemed reminiscent of something some Muslims might wear, and was therefore, somehow, supporting terrorism. (insert sounds of disbelief here)

And the DD, whose donut I have always adored, caved.

Here’s the money quote from the nutjob:

“It’s refreshing to see an American company show sensitivity to the concerns of Americans opposed to Islamic jihad and its apologists. Too many of them bend over backward in the direction of anti-American political correctness…. Fashion statements may seem insignificant, but when they lead to the mainstreaming of violence — unintentionally or not — they matter. Ignorance is no longer an excuse. In post-9/11 America, vigilance must never go out of style.”

So, in addition to not eating my favorite donuts or buying their admittedly good coffee, from tomorrow on, I will be wearing a hejab. Because fashion statements may seem insignificant, but they can lead to mainstreaming perfectly reasonable cultural values and traditions that pose no threat to a post-9/11 America other than challenging ignorance and racism.

I’m actually quite interested if you all think that my quiet protest is going to offend Muslims (which is certianly not my intention). I have tremendous respect for what the hejab represents, in that I believe it is about keeping women from being objectified by society. You might well have a different impression, and I don’t mind offending anyone who has an issue with Islam, but I don’t want to offend anyone of the Islamic faith.

How to steal an election with negative votes

The principle of democratic elections is “one person, one vote”. But in the US in 2004, you could also add: “one particular person — Karl Rove — millions of negative votes”.

BBC reporter Greg Palast has 500 emails from Karl Rove (mistakenly sent to email addresses at spoof site georgewbush.org instead of RNC site georgewbush.com) that detail the process of “caging”. The basic idea is that the RNC would take addresses of typical Democratic voters (blacks, hispanics, etc.) and send them letters first-class marked “do not forward”. Each letter returned undeliverable was used as evidence that the registered voter was not entitled to vote. Of course, many of them were returned because they were sent to soldiers away in Iraq or Afghanistan. Overall, more than THREE MILLION votes were challenged. Soldiers sent home absentee ballots only to have them invalidated, and they never suspected a thing. How can democrats compete in elections decided by thousands of votes in the face of dirty tricks like this?

This video of Palast answering questions about his book is required viewing. It details the whole program, and how it’s connected to the US Attorney purge, the Iraq war, and even the high price of oil.

I’m really, truly depressed by the state of this country right now. The government is corrupt. The election system is broken, and Palast doesn’t hold high hopes for the 2008 election either. And the democrats, as judged by their recent capitulation to Bush with the no-strings-attached war funding bill don’t seem to be able to do a thing about it.

Pelosi Bitchslaps Bush

According to Americablog, this CBS News article doesn’t capture the full colour of the exchange between Madam Speaker and the President. Pelosi, skeptical of Bush’s confidence of success thanks to the new “surge” of 21,500 troops, asked him why he thought it was going to work this time given that an escalation of force had failed twice before:

PELOSI: Mr. President, why do you think this time it’s going to work?

BUSH: Because I told them [the generals] it had to.

PELOSI: Why didn’t you tell them that the other two times?

A classic comeback, if the transcript is accurate.

We beg your pardon, America

The passing of President Gerald Ford, “Oatmeal Man,” got me listening again to Gil Scott Heron and wondering about how little our country has learned in the last 30 years.

The pardon you gave, this time, was not yours to give.
They call it due process and some people are overdue…
Said they were going to slap his wrists and retire him with $850,000
And America was shocked! America leads the world in shocks…

The man who tried to steal America is not in jail…
The poor and ignorant go to jail, while the rich go to San Clemente…
and pardon us, while we get sick…
we have an understanding of Karma; what goes around, comes around…

And here we are looking at the long job ahead of cleaning up after the “national tragedy” that has been the Bush administration and its adventures to enrich the corporate class. Illegal wiretaps, the suspension of habeas corpus, the lies and fabrications to start an unnecessary war, the abandonment of a just military action, the sell-out of Americans to a system that crushes those without the cash to pay their way. How did we come back to this?  Did we just get fat and happy, losing our way?  Were we hijacked, hoodwinked or harrassed into letting go of our rights?

Will the Bush Administration ever really be held accountable for the damage it has wrought on our system, nation and reputation?  Will they pay for the hundreds of thousands of lives they have destroyed with their “pre-emptive strike” foreign policy?  When will we see the full impact of their ruinous fiscal policies?

The answer of course, is no, the administration will never truly be held accountable.  They will trot out all of the same old tired reasons used to send Nixon to San Clemente.  National security, health, etc. The MSM and their corporate ownership structure will ensure the short term legacy of this administration and the political wonks and bureaucrats will wrap the rest in the ponderous obscurity of the archives.  And the Democratic candidate that will succeed him will inherit a system so fundametally broken that he will be lucky to escape the worst of what Jimmy Carter had to deal with during his years in office.  Stagflation, anyone?

Another Scheme for Waking Up in the Morning

When I was in college, I tried various methods for waking up in the morning. I found that having the alarm clock next to the bed made it too easy to turn off and go back to sleep. Putting the clock on my desk at the foot of my bed still allowed an easy return to horizontal and, thus, slumber. During a couple of times that I didn’t have a roommate in the second bedroom of my apartment, I put the alarm clock in the bathroom so that I’d need to stand upright and navigate a couple of doorways to make the noise stop.

Even that location had some routine to it that, after a while, I’d probably have been able to do half-asleep with more practice. Technology has an answer: Clocky.

Clocky is an alarm clock that wheels itself away from you and your reach. Alledgedly, it will find different locations each morning. I can imagine after too much drinking and not enough sleep wanting to silence the noisy rodent with a firearm.

O Happy Day!

I think all of us were just too nervous to blog in the lead-up to the midterm elections, for fear of jinxing it. But yesterday’s results exceeded my expectations. I really did not believe we would win the Senate. I stayed up late last night watching the numbers trickle in, growing ever happier. (I’m still convinced that Darcy Burner might beat Dave Reichert–how is it that only 50% of the returns are in yet?)

I was almost giddy today. Imagine how that giddiness became sheer wonder when I learned that newly re-elected Senator Maria Cantwell was visiting my office for a meeting! She’s headed on a trip to China that our public affairs team help put together. We were all invited (not commanded, in case there were a few Repubs in the office) to greet her when she arrived. About 75 of us crowded into the lobby, surprising her with thunderous applause and whoops of joy. Though she was a bit shocked at the reception–and no doubt exhausted after the end of a grueling campaign–but she launched into some great impromptu remarks and the early news that Montana was considered a done deal. I was positioned perfectly to get one of the first handshakes when she decided she wanted to meet everyone who had greeted her so warmly.

I interned in the Senate and have been around a lot of politicians… I am, frankly, pretty jaded. But when Senator Cantwell asked me what I did, I had a hard time getting the words out. She radiates poise and intellect–no surprise–but she has an almost (Bill) Clinton-esque personal charm that surprised me. Shaking her hand was the perfect memory to seal the joy I felt as the great American pendulum paused weightless at its scary apogee and began to swing back toward sanity.