Saturday, July 8

Screaming for Freedom

America is Screaming.

No, you can't hear it out loud - not yet. It's a low rumble, just below the audible range - but you can see the signs of it.

I can hear it when Pete Hoekstra - the Republican House member who recently joined Rick Sanitorium to proclaim that there really were WMD's in Iraq, honest [Except that there aren't any, no matter what Sean Hannity says] - has just written a sharply worded letter to the President proclaiming that he may have broken the law by failing to inform Congress of various intelligence activities that go beyond the NSA Warrantless Wire-Tapping, Phone/Email Data Mining and Bank Data programs.

I can hear it in Joe Leiberman's voice, and see it in his eyes as he begins to stare at the end of his Senatorial career in the face.

We can see and hear it in among the 24 dead civilians in Haditha, and in the burned bodies of the Raped 15-year old Iraqi Girl and her family, all murdered by our troops.

We can see it in the now dead-stares of Soldiers Menchaka and Tucker, as well as the other 2,500 of our fallen in Iraq.

Meanwhile, the Bush Administation has shut-down the CIA Unit that had been dedicated to tracking down Osama Bin Laden for the past eleven years.

I hear it in Nora O'Donnell's snide tone as she interrogates Cindy Sheehan, while accusing her of risking her life by going on a hunger strike - "for the publicity".

I hear it as an undertone cutting through the din of Noron and her cohorts Joe Scumborough, Fuckerhead Carlson and Rita Missing-Blonde-Chaser Cosby as they cluck and chuckle over Ned Lamont and North Korea, desperate to keep everyones attention diverted.


Wingnut Radio Host Janet Parshall goes "La la la" with her fingers in her ears while Randi Rhodes speaks on Washington Journal!
But it continues to screech.

We can hear it loudly when the Supreme Court bitch-slaps the President over Geneva with the Hamdan decision.

It gets a bit louder as the NH Phone Jammer says the White House made him do it.

It grows greater as the Pentagon brass narrowly pull Bush and Cheney back from the brink of having Iran Nuked.

It makes us look up briefly as Vice President Dick Cheney has a "beer at lunch" before hunting, shoots some dude in the FACE, then goes out for dinner and drinks, and doesn't have to speak to police until the next day.

It's begins to turn into a low whine as Robert F Kennedy Jr. after releasing his explosive report on Ohio, announces that he plans to file suits against two Electronic Voting Companies.

Ken Lay dies, and Bush tries to cover his ears while claiming Lay was a "good guy". (But obviously, not all that good to his thousands of pension-less ex-employees or the taxpayers in the State of California)

Senator Clinton and Kerry can hear it as they pledge to toss Leiberman under the bus if he loses the Primary to Lamont.

Ten months after Katrina's land fall the Gulf Coast is still a fucking mess, just like Baghdad - and the whine is turning into a squeal.

We try to shout over it as we argue about Illegal Immigration as if it were the most important National Security Issue - even though all the 9-11 Hijackers entered the country legally - and in the background long dormant and well hidden Hate Groups grow emboldened and begin to infiltrate our Military in preparation for the "Coming Race War".

Democrats begin to hear it and respond, arguing for a review of the President's ever expanding War Powers.


It practically roars whenever Bill O'Lielly opens his piehole about Honor and the Troops

People start to wince from the sound, as allegations of vote fraud spread in relation the Bilbray/Busbay Election in San Diego to replace disgraced and convicted Congressman "Duke" Cunningham as calls begin for a full hand recount.

The rhetoric ratchets up a notch as Ann Coulter accuses the Jersey Girls on being media exploiting harpies. (Sorry - no link for the incredibly Adam Appled One)

And we all start to cover our ears and turn away. The sound is too loud, too painful. It tears through us like a hot white sword of fire. Searing. Merciless.

It's more than many of us can bear, we turn up the volume on the rest of our lives. The TV with it's breathless bimbos (of both sexes) on Elimidate get louder. We obsess over Tom Kat, the freakiness of Scientology, it's mystical hold on Katie Holmes and the oddly missing baby Suri.

What's Starr Jones going to do for grocery money and tummy-tuck touch-up surgery costs now?

Is Britany starting to date her Manny while K-Fed plays X-Box 360 in the basement?

Just when the hell is Jack on 24 going to finally die, or go to jail for all the underhanded shit he's been pulling for the last four years?

Are they gonna bring that really hot latina chick back to life on Lost (Once she gets out of Jail in real life)?

What Hollywood Starlet is going to join the Bump-Party and get pregnant next?


We get into petty territorial pissing contests over irrelevant Bullshit!

We do everything we can to try to avoid it --- but it's no use.

America is Screaming for us to pay attention. It's screaming for us To Stand Up and Do Something. To Speak out. Write LTE's. Organize. Raise money and knock on doors for worthy candidates. RUN FOR OFFICE. Seek the truth and share it. Read. Write. Blog. Talk. Shout it from the Windows like Howard Beale in Network if neccesary. Get your friends involved, your coworkers, your family - don't let them sit there in ignorance and complacency. We need them. Document the moment and share a vision of how things can and should be far better. For Democrats. For Republicans.

For all of us.

Can you hear it yet? If you do - ACT. Respond. Before you and the rest of us completely lose our ability to hear anything at all. Before we finally reach the tipping point of no return - where our First Amendment, Fourth Amendment, Fifth Amendment and Eight Amendment Rights - all of which have been under direct attack by the Bush Administration and their lackey's in Congress - are nothing but a long forgotten memory.

America is screaming for freedom, and time is running out.

Vyan

Crossposed on Democratic Underground and Dailykos.

Friday, July 7

Military Recruiting Neo-Nazis

From The New York Times.

A decade after the Pentagon declared a zero-tolerance policy for racist hate groups, recruiting shortfalls caused by the war in Iraq have allowed "large numbers of neo-Nazis and skinhead extremists" to infiltrate the military, according to a watchdog organization.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks racist and right-wing militia groups, estimated that the numbers could run into the thousands, citing interviews with Defense Department investigators and reports and postings on racist Web sites and magazines.

"We've got Aryan Nations graffiti in Baghdad," the group quoted a Defense Department investigator as saying in a report to be posted today on its Web site, www.splcenter.org. "That's a problem."

No Shit, that's a problem. This is a catastrophy, just waiting to explode on us all. We haven't had a report this ominous since the 1995 murders near Ft. Bragg by reported Skinheads in the Army.

Two Fort Bragg soldiers described as skinheads by Army acquaintances were arrested today and charged with murdering two people in what police called a racially motivated attack.

The suspects, Malcolm Wright Jr., 20, and James N. Burmeister, 21, both with the 82d Airborne Division, were each charged with two counts of first-degree murder, said Lieut. Tom Bergamine of the Fayetteville police. Both suspects are white; the victims, a man and a woman, were black.

The police described the killings as random and said the victims had been shot in the head with a semiautomatic handgun. The victims were found in downtown Fayetteville just after midnight Wednesday. They were identified as Michael James, 36, and Jackie Burden, 27.

What do you think is going to happen when this brand new breed of Skinheads, with military training return home to the U.S. after several years in Iraq and the kind of free reign to do as they will we've seen in killing of 24 civilians in Haditha and the Rape and Murder of a 15-year old Iraq Girl and her family? Stir some bad shit up - that's what.

Back to NYT.

The report said that neo-Nazi groups like the National Alliance, whose founder, William Pierce, wrote "The Turner Diaries," the novel that was the inspiration and blueprint for Timothy J. McVeigh's bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building, sought to enroll followers in the Army to get training for a race war.
Holy. Fucking. Shit. Not the Turner Diaries Boys again. You wanna talk about real home grown terrorist, you can forget about those pathetic kids from Liberty City, this is the real deal. You're talking Eric Rudolph (The Atlanta-Olympic Bomber) with training in munitions and counter insurgency.

"They're communicating with each other about weapons, about recruiting, about keeping their identities secret, about organizing within the military," he said. "Several of these individuals have since been deployed to combat missions in Iraq."

The report cited accounts by neo-Nazis of their infiltration of the military, including a discussion on the white supremacist Web site Stormfront. "There are others among you in the forces," one participant wrote. "You are never alone."

"Light infantry is your branch of choice because the coming race war and the ethnic cleansing to follow will be very much an infantryman's war," he wrote. "It will be house-to-house, neighborhood-by-neighborhood until your town or city is cleared and the alien races are driven into the countryside where they can be hunted down and 'cleansed.' "

He concluded: "As a professional soldier, my goal is to fill the ranks of the United States Army with skinheads. As street brawlers, you will be useless in the coming race war. As trained infantrymen, you will join the ranks of the Aryan warrior brotherhood."

It was cute when David McSwane pulled a Sting on Army recruiters by pretending to be a high-school dropout with a marijuana problem and filming the recruiters as they helped him fake a Diploma and pass the drug tests -- but this shit isn't funny anymore.

This puts all of us at risk for the long haul if these nutty fuckers actually try to implement the race war that McVeigh was trying to start. And considering the level of Racist Rhetoric coming from the Reich-wing of the Repulican Party these days -- it's not hard to figure out how this stories going to play out.

Vyan

Graham wants to override SCOTUS

From Thinkprogress:

In an interview with the National Review, Sen. Lindsey Graham strongly objected to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld that the Geneva Conventions applied to enemy combatants. Graham suggested that Congress should reverse the Supreme Court’s interpretation:

We’ve got to put a fence around this decision by the Court to grant Common Article Three of the Geneva Convention rights to terrorists. In 2002, Bush said that enemy combatant terrorists will be treated humanely within the spirit of the Convention but not given Convention status. I think he was right. You don’t want to erode the Convention.

What Graham is suggesting is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court has the final say on how treaties should be interpreted. The Court explained in another case, Sanchez-Llamas v. Oregon, issued the same day has Hamdan:

Under our Constitution, “[t]he judicial Power of theUnited States” is “vested in one supreme Court, and insuch inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.” Art. III, §1. That “judicialPower . . . extend[s] to . . . Treaties.” Id., §2. And, as Chief Justice Marshall famously explained, that judicial power includes the duty “to say what the law is.” Marbury v. Madison, 1 Cranch 137, 177 (1803). If treaties are to be given effect as federal law under our legal system, determining their meaning as a matter of federal law “is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department,” headed by the “one supreme Court” established by the Constitution.

It’s difficult for Graham and other loyal supporters of the Bush administration to accept that their legal approach to combating terrorism is dysfunctional. The Hamdan decision spelled this out. And it’s not a problem they can rubber stamp their way out of.

Graham, the reserve JAG Officer, has made it his own mission to undermine Geneva and the SCOTUS. His amendment to the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, which obstensibly banned torture, inhumane and degrading treatment of detainees and prisoners of war - also banned the courts from accept petitions from those who may have received that treatment, making the law literaly unenforceable.

The argument about whether detainees are covered by Geneva has been settled by the court. In fact, Geneva in plain english makes it clear that default position is that Geneva applies to anyone captured on the field of battle under Article 5.

Should any doubt arise as to whether persons, having committed a belligerent act and having fallen into the hands of the enemy, belong to any of the categories enumerated in Article 4, such persons shall enjoy the protection of the present Convention until such time as their status has been determined by a competent tribunal.
By definition, detainees are covered by Geneva. The only way to change this is either to change Geneva, or for the U.S. to officially break the treaty. Under both the UCMJ and 18 USC § 2441 the U.S. is bound legally to abide by Geneva, but even if both these laws where changed there would still be Article VI of the Constitution which states:

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.
Geneva is a treaty signed under the Authority of the United States and as such - is the Supreme Law of the Land. This push to scuttle Geneva through various means has even been fought by those within the Military:


WASHINGTON — For four years, they waged what may have been the loneliest fight in the war on terrorism. Facing Bush administration hard-liners intent on finding novel ways to deal with enemy combatants, the armed services' own lawyers fought attempts to rewrite the rules of war.

"We argued that this would come back to haunt us and it would taint the military justice system," said retired Rear Adm. Donald Guter, the Navy's top uniformed lawyer when "military commission" trials for Guantanamo Bay detainees were first proposed in 2001. "We were warning that you would have to be careful to provide basic protections."

In meeting rooms and internal debates, the military lawyers again and again challenged the Defense Department's civilian leaders, insisting that the fight against terrorism was best waged under the recognized rules: the Geneva Convention and the U.S. Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Until now, administration hawks, led by Vice President Dick Cheney and his chief of staff, David S. Addington, had won almost every argument. This fight, they said, required more flexible guidelines, with fewer rights for those captured and fewer limits on their captors.

But after Thursday's Supreme Court decision, the Pentagon faces the prospect not only of ditching the military commissions, but of rewriting large parts of the rule book it created for fighting the war on terrorism. The court's majority decision held that the war on Al Qaeda and others must be fought under international rules.
Now we have those in Congress like Graham who want to keep the status quo in place, regardless of what the Supreme Court says. Gee, that's a special kind of treason isn't it? But the truth is this has nothing to do with Al Qaeda, this has to do with restoring the sweeping powers of the Presidency - powers we haven't seen in action since, Nixon.

Senior administration officials told Guter and the other JAGs that the urgency to extract intelligence meant the traditional military justice system could not be used. But there was, Guter detected, more to the administration's maneuvering.

"There was another motive," he said. "This was seen as an opportunity, a vehicle to restore presidential power and authority. It was a very convenient vehicle. It was perfect. Fear tends to drive power to authority and to the executive branch."
All the Supreme Court did was reaffirm what is already the law. Even though President Bush has attempted to subvert that law.

On Feb. 2, 2002, President Bush signed an order that said the Geneva Convention did not apply to the war on terrorism. Though prisoners held in that war, the order said, would be treated humanely, they were not subject to the Geneva Convention measure known as Common Article 3, a baseline provision that had been applied to all conflicts and all detainees in recent military history.
This means that all acts that violated Geneva which were taken by lower levels officers, even Abu Ghraib, were essentially authorized by the President when he rejected the application of Geneva in the War on Terror. This happened on his watch.

Although the SCOTUS has put forth a clear decision, where not even the dissenters argued that Geneva doesn't apply, Graham and other are hell bent on protecting the President from the consequences of his own actions and intent to continue to twist and contort reality and the law until they reach their ends.

This can not be allowed to happen, Graham's attempt to shift power from the Supreme Court to the Presidency must. be. stopped.

Vyan

Playing the Independance Day Song

From Blogbox on DU:

Joseph Cannon at Cannonfire urges us to "hear the tune, not the notes":

The opening four notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony gain power only when played together. Similarly, these six headlines gain power when viewed as a group:

Al-Zarqawi's wife: Al-Qaida sold him out: "The woman...said al-Qaida's top leadership reached a deal with U.S. intelligence because al-Zarqawi had become too powerful."

C.I.A. Closes Unit Focused on Capture of bin Laden: "The unit, known as Alec Station, was disbanded late last year and its analysts reassigned within the C.I.A. Counterterrorist Center..."

CIA: Osama Helped Bush in '04 Acting CIA Director John McLaughlin concluded that Bin Laden released a video just before the 2004 election with the intention of scuttling John Kerry's chances of winning.

NYT: Bank program not news to terrorists

Olbermann named Melanie Morgan "Worst Person" for suggesting NY Times' Keller might deserve "gas chamber" Conservatives scream for the blood of an editor who "revealed" something Al Qaida already knew.

Feinstein says she was not briefed on the Bank Program

Play the notes in sequence. Can you hear the tune? Bush does not consider Osama Bin Laden the enemy. We are the enemy.

How's that for fireworks?

Vyan

Thursday, July 6

Rockstar: Supernova - First Elimination

Ok, it's only the second night and the bullcrap has already gotten thick.

First of all the fact the neither Zarya nor Jenny wound up in the bottom three based on their performances on the first show is ridiculous. I guess their cute tight toned little asses are safe for a while at least. (Having now watched the Reality Portion of the first week on MSN.com, I can see that Zarya's vocal limitations are going to be a major factor very soon anyway. Her in the studio is some truly embarrasing footage, even worse than "Stop Go" - trust me).

Ugh, Dilana doing the Chicken Dance Again - Stop. The. Murder!!!

Lukas has definately got the JD-Asshole-IT-Factor happening, but in this particular case - I happen to agree with him completely. Jenny stunk, the Chicken Dance had best not return and Dana the little delicate flower is going to need to go to T.O.U.G.H. School real quick.

On tonights bottom three:

I had problems with Chris's rendition of Roxanne as well as Phil doing Cult on the first show, but again from the Reality Show it's clear that Butch the producer really likes Phil's voice for it's unique tone and his melody choice. Ok, fine. Phil's safe for now, even if his performance tonight was totally mush-mouthed.

Chris doing L A. woman was unimpressive, particular for one of the "best vocalists on the planet". Feh. Even though I wasn't wild about his Coldplay performance, Matt on the other hand really did a nice job on Planet Earth. Of this first set of final three vocalists he actually sounded the best and was able to really make the song his own without emulating Simon La Bon or sounding disjointed with his delivery. For his voice, this was a great song choice -- but apparently the SN guys have a big stick up their ass over Duran Duran - for them it was really, really bad choice.

Honestly that's not surprising - all those Metallica guys have had their hide chapped in general about other forms of music - particularly anything glam! It's a mad mad HATE-On they've been carrying for 25 plus years. I'm actually surprised Tommy escapes it because of how Hollywood Sunset Strip GLAM the Crue was at times, but then again as the top for Rock Star Website reminds us - this is The Tommy Lee Project. He's the one with the TV-Q and hot silicone encased ex-wife that makes this little engine go - so I suppose Jason has to just swallow it for the duration.

Unfortunately that means Matt had to take it in chops due to Jason's (and probably Gilby's) limited taste and was the first person eliminated. The performance was good, and so was the arrangement, I would have changed the high-hat part in the pre-chorus from sixteenth notes to eliminate that "disco feel" of that section, but otherwise it was fine. It definately rawked.

The truth is none of the people in the final fifteen are Metal singers anyway. I know - cuz I am one. I mean c'mon, Gilby said you guys said you weren't a "Metal" band so what do you expect really? If you open things up - then you've opened them up, ok? It's obvious the group is looking for someone with mainstream appeal - a rocker, but not too much of a Rocker, and apparently - not too little. But you really can't have it both ways at the same time. Are they gonna slam somebody if they do an INXS cover because their songs got played on the same stations and in the same clubs as Duran Duran? (And trust me, they were - I was there) Lame.

All three of these guys were dull on stage physically, but Matt's vocals were better than the two. Too bad that didn't save him at least a little while longer.

And now we're actually going to have to listen even more of Zarya? And more chicken-dancing? Oh heaven help me and pass the advil, it's gonna be looong summer.

Vyan

Nora O'Donnell - Attack Poodle

lThe always on point Crooks and Liars has the video from Nora O'Donnell's interview with Cindy Sheehan on Hardball. Just look at the subtitle from the screenshot - "Starving for Attention" just about says it all.

Video - WMV - QT

We often rant at the likes of O'Reilly and Gibson on Faux News, but there are also those on supposedly neutral "mainstream" networks such as like O'Donnell on CNN and MSNBC or Katie Couric who frequently sound like full-on Wing-bats during their interviews of prominent anti-War critics.

O`DONNELL: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Cindy Sheehan is America`s most outspoken anti-war activist. But does she speak for America, or just the fringes? She`s called President Bush "the biggest terrorist in the world" and she stood side-by-side with socialist dictator Hugo Chavez in Venezuela.

As it turns out according to Polling Report.com, 62% of the public disapproves of how George Bush is handing the War 58% of the public feels that War in Iraq "Wasn't worth fighting for" - so just where are these "fringes" that O'Donnell speaks of?

Transcript.

CINDY SHEEHAN, ANTI-WAR ACTIVIST: Actually, I don`t hate the president, either. And I don`t trash the president; I trash the president`s foreign policy, which is fundamentally and inherently wrong and immoral. And I don`t tell people around the world anything that they don`t know.

O`DONNELL: But you called him "the biggest terrorist in the world."

So you are trashing the president.

SHEEHAN: Well, you know, he says a terrorist is somebody who kills innocent men, women and children, and there have been over 100,000 innocent men, women and children killed in Iraq on his orders.

Poor Cindy, doesn't she know that daring to criticize the President is like insulting America itself? How Dare She, uh... um... actually Use one of the right thingees from the 1st Amendment. The nerve.


O`DONNELL: Cindy, you have just begun a two-month hunger strike.

Isn`t this really just more of a publicity stunt?

SHEEHAN: No, actually it`s not. It`s a moral reaction to an immoral war. Thousands of people all over the world are joining us. And hunger strikes have proven to be effective tools in civil disobedience and changing policy.

O`DONNELL: But do you honestly expect Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld or the president of the United States to say, Cindy Sheehan is going on a hunger strike and so I`m going to end this war?

SHEEHAN: Well, that would be nice, but what we`re trying to do is also awaken consciousness in the United States and around the world to get more people out and active, because we know two-thirds of America disapprove of George Bush and his policies in Iraq, but I don`t see two-thirds of America out protesting, writing their congresspeople and changing policy.

In fact, Hunger strikes were used by Gandi to drasticly change the policies of the English Government in India, but let's not confuse ole' Nora with facts or history. She's having so much fun making shit up to stop now.

O`DONNELL: You speak very passionately about your cause. You lost a son in Iraq. We honor his service and sacrifice. But you`ve been traveling the world--Scotland, Spain, Venezuela, Ireland, Australia, Austria--how does that help the cause when, again, you`re around the world trashing the president, calling him a terrorist, calling him worse than Osama bin Laden. How do you honestly expect to affect change with those types of remarks?

SHEEHAN: Well, it`s really important too that the people in the world know that there are Americans on their side, because as anti-Bush sentiment goes up in the world, anti-American sentiment goes up also.

When exactly did Sheehan call Bush "worse than Osama bin Laden"? And even if she did - what the fuck does it matter whether she did in her own backyard or in Timbuktu? Why do we constantly see this arguement not only that American citizens don't have the civic duty as well as right to criticize their government when they disagree with it's policies - but that somehow that barely existent right is somehow neo-treason if it's said overseas?

How do we win the hearts of minds of Mainstream America back to common sense when even the so-called Mainstream Media has out-an-out attack poodles like O'Donnell nipping at our heals while using the so-called neutrality of MSNBC to hide their bias?

Those who take the time and effort to speak out about what they believe, particularly those who've shed and lost flesh and blood in the battle, be they Cindy Sheehan or the Jersey Girls - deserve better than this.

America deserves better than this.

Vyan

American Facism Reborn

There used to be time where some Americans had to be afraid of who they were. If you were Black, or Gay or heaven for fend - a Communist - you lived in permenent fear. Your rights, your livelyhood, your very life could be ripped away from you at a moments notice - and not only would the authorities not help, they would sometimes be the ones doing it.

Many of us thought those days were long gone, erased by the Civil Rights Movement and a generation and a half of history. A distant dark memory. Buried forever and best forgotten.

Well, those days are back with a vengence. From Hunter on Dkos.
A Jewish family in Delaware that objected to extensive Christian proselytizing by their public school district...was attacked, subjected to threats, and has now been explicitly singled out by an organization called Stop The ACLU. [Who have] published the families home phone number and home address on their website.

This jewish family - and a second one of undetermined religion as they are listed annonymously in the suit - had previously been forced to relocate due to harrisment and threats against them by the areas "Christians" and even members of the School Board.

A large Delaware school district promoted Christianity so aggressively that a Jewish family felt it necessary to move to Wilmington, two hours away, because they feared retaliation for filing a lawsuit. The religion (if any) of a second family in the lawsuit is not known, because they're suing as Jane and John Doe; they also fear retaliation. Both families are asking relief from "state-sponsored religion." [...]
Further...

On the evening in August 2004 when the board was to announce its new policy, hundreds of people turned out for the meeitng. The Dobrich family and Jane Doe felt intimidated and asked a state trooper to escort them.

The complaint recounts a raucous crowd that applauded the board's opening prayer and then, when sixth-grader Alexander Dobrich stood up to read a statement, yelled at him "take your yarmulke off!" His statement, read by Samantha, confided "I feel bad when kids in my class call me Jew boy." [...]

A former board member suggested that Mona Dobrich might "disappear" like Madalyn Murray O'Hair, the atheist whose Supreme Court case resulted in ending organized school prayer. She disappeared in 1995 and her dismembered body was found six years later.

The crowd booed an ACLU speaker and told her to "go back up north."

In the days after the meeting the community poured venom on the Dobriches. Callers to the local radio station said the family they should convert or leave the area. Someone called them and said the Ku Klux Klan was nearby.

Hunter continues and calls it like it is as we realize we've entered Newt Gingrich World.
It is noteworthy that the Stop The ACLU project is supported, by their claims, by a "team" of over two hundred right-wing bloggers. They've gotten positive attention from World Net Daily and Free Republic, been invited to low-class radio outfits, and been the benefactors of links from a passel of blogs that ranges from Debbie Schlussel and Michelle Malkin to even more batshit insane elements of the far-far-right.

This is the face of the hard core of the Republican base: the base represented by Front Page Magazine, NewsMax, and a host of vicious and frequently racist sites. This is the base David Horowitz and his band of venomous "reporters" attempt to reach, when "exposing" supposed traitors in academia or the press. This is what Malkin and others attempt to mainstream through VDare and similar groups. This is the face of the assault on so-called "liberalism" -- an assault against Jewish Americans, against those of all other faiths and heritages, presuming they don't keep their mouths shut, and, when necessary, against sixth graders.
Just two days after Independance Day, a moment that eventually sparked the Revolutionary War which was fought at least in part, to guarantee the freedom of individuals to the worship of their choice without the interference of a State Sponsored religion, we seem to have completely forgetten who we are as a Nation. The children in this case have been subjected to the following:
Among numerous specific examples in the complaint was what happened at plaintiff Samantha Dobrich's graduation in 2004 from the district's high school. She was the only Jewish student in her graduating class. The complaint relates that local pastor, Jerry Fike, in his invocation, followed requests for "our heavenly Father's" guidance for the graduates with:
I also pray for one specific student, that You be with her and guide her in the path that You have for her. And we ask all these things in Jesus' name.

In addition to the ruined graduation experience, the Dobrich-Doe lawsuit alleges that:

  • The district's "custom and practice of school-sponsored prayer" frequently imposed ... on impressionable non-Christian students," violating their constitutional rights.
  • The district ignored the Supreme Court's 1992 Lee decision limiting prayer at graduation ceremonies -- even after a district employee complained about the prayer at her child's 2003 graduation..
  • District teachers and staff led Bible clubs at several schools. Club members got to go to the head of the lunch line.
  • While Bible clubs were widely available, student book clubs were rare and often canceled by the district.
  • When Jane Doe complained that her non-Christian son "Jordan Doe" was left alone when his classmates when to Bible club meetings, district staff insisted that Jordan should attend the club regardless of his religion.
  • The district schools attended by Jordan and his sister "Jamie Doe" distributed Bibles to students in 2003, giving them time off from class to pick up the books.
  • Prayer --often sectarian -- is a routine part of district sports programs and social events
  • One of the district's middle schools gave students the choice of attending a special Bible Club if they did not want to attend the lesson on evolution.
  • A middle school teacher told students there was only "one true religion" and gave them pamphlets for his surfing ministry.
  • Samantha Dobrich's honors English teacher frequently discussed Christianity, but no other religion.
  • Students frequently made mandatory appearances at district board meetings -- where they were a captive audience for board members' prayers to Jesus.

The Dobriches said the prayers to Jesus' ruined the graduation experience for Samantha. Mona Dobrich, Samantha's mother, repeatedly called district officials to complain. A board member told her she would have to get the matter put on a meeting agenda -- then refused to put it on the agenda. The school superintendent slipped the topic onto the agenda and then told Mona Dobrich she would need to raise it during the public comment period.

And now that they've filed a complaint they've had their lives threatened? Is this America - or is this the f-ing Taliban? We're fighting - over there - to bring freedom to the middle east, when it seems we have more than a few battles to wage over here when it comes to tolerance, and resisting religious zealotry.

People - regardless of whether they are Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Agnostic or frankly worship Beelzebub - shouldn't have to go this crap like this. It's part of our very first Constitutional Amendment in the Bill of Rights. How is this possible in the 21st Century?

I fully understand that the people doing this absolutely do not think they are the bad guys. I'm sure they see themselves as saviors, doing God's Will in his name. But they are not. Jesus did not demand prostelyzation by his disciples as they went forward to spread his word.

Matthew 10:14 (Whole Chapter)
If a village doesn't welcome you or listen to you, shake off the dust of that place from your feet as you leave.

Mark 6:11 (Whole Chapter)
"And if a village won't welcome you or listen to you, shake off its dust from your feet as you leave. It is a sign that you have abandoned that village to its fate."

Luke 9:5 (Whole Chapter)
If the people of the village won't receive your message when you enter it, shake off its dust from your feet as you leave. It is a sign that you have abandoned that village to its fate."
There is no disagrement on this point, from the book these people insist on having everyone study in a public school. It's not like being able to study the Bible in their own home is enough. It's not like having Sunday School at your own church is enough - they have to force their beliefs on everyone in the community. The fact that someone, anyone disagrees is a threat - and that threat has to be eliminated. In truth this isn't about Christianity or Judism, it's about power, control and conformity.

It's Facism, plain and simple. American Facism Reborn.

And may the Lord (of your choice) have mercy on us all, for clearly - we know not what we do.

Vyan

Rock Star: Supernova - Episode 1

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Well, Rock Star is back. I have to admit to having an addiction to this show. I also have to admit to not being completely unbiased about it, since after hearing about the involvement of Tommy Lee, Gilby Clarke and Jason Newsted, I happen to have auditioned for it this year and had a chance to get a good look at all the competition.

With that perspective my very first impression of the Final Fifteen was that they're pretty damn Lilly White. Slim bow-flexed bodies, with the requisit Don Johnson face-stubble and/or goatees on the guys, with two-toned hair coloring and huge (mostly fake) boobs on the girls. They look like that were stamped out by a cookie-doe machine. Ka-chunk. That's number one. Ka-Chunk! That's number two....

(In full disclosure mode: I also have to admit that I myself went to the audition with florencent blue-hair gel, a big goatee - like Dave Navarro's - and wearing black vinyl pants, so to some extent I was knowingly trying to be one of those cookies, except that I'm not... and never will be for various reasons. Still, I had a good idea what they were looking for and it seems I was right.)

The second thing is that I recognized one of them. Storm Large is a great singer, performer and band leader who I first saw on late-night Cable Access in northern California performing with her then band Storm Inc. I've been a fan of hers for years and have three songs from her band in rotation on Truth 2 Power Radio.

For Episode 1, Storm was up first and kicked the shit out of her song, the Who's "Pinball Wizard". Great stage presence, total command of the audience and absolutely perfect vocals. Storm is going to do well in this competition, and judging by what I already know of her songwriting - she's heads and shoulders above the average in that area too.

From watching the overall show, the women vocalist were almost all much better than the men. Storm has a heavy challenge coming from both Dana (From Georgia who did Melissa Etheridge) and Jill (who slammed hard on Janis Joplin) both of whom are powerhouse singers. Tiny Jill is probably the strongest all-around both vocally and again - absolute command of the stage. Dilana is scary. And Jenny just plain fucking sucked on that Nickleback song, the guitar did not cover-up the fact that she couldn't sing the hook.

But the one girl who really screwed the pooch on night one was Zarya - also the one lone non-anglo on the show - who just butchered "Bring me to Life" by Evanescence. If you can't really hit the notes on that song - you shoudn't fucking try. And if you're timing and phrasing is also weak -- again, stop before you begin. I saw a girl at the Hollywood auditions do a much better job on that very same song (But it's now clear she wouldn't have had a chance getting on this show since she was in her late 30's and about 50 lbs heavier than Zarya!! Eye candy obviously counts!)

When it comes to the guys, as far as I was concerned they were all weak, but some were less weak than others. Matt, Magni, and Ryan (Star? How in the hell did we wind up with another "Ryan Star" on a reality show? What the fuck is that about? Hopefully, this one isn't a bitch like the other one) were all boring.

Phil (aka Mr. I could be making $100,000 but I chose to Rawk instead) just completely embarrised himself on "Cult of Personality". Sure, it was an interesting song to do since his voice is nothing like Corey Glovers, but maybe he should reconsider that career choice? I realize he may have been attempting to put his own stamp on it, but he didn't - it was a total crash and burn. The last person to do that song on this show - Ty Taylor - kicked the crap out of it, and wound up being pigeon-holed as the "Black Rocker Guy". Then he became the "Broadway Guy" -- both of which are bullshit stereotypes. Hands down he was the best all around singer and performer of that season, but obviously that doesn't really mean jack in the end. Last years winner J.D. Fucktune made the late-night joke reel with his initial performance - so who knows, Phil might be going nowhere.

The other completely FUBAR'd performance was Chris doing "Roxanne". Uh , I mean trying to do Roxanne, and her telling him she doesn't sink that low. They might as well have just gotten the joke vocal from Eddie Murphy in "48 Hours" on that one. Sheesh.

Rooxxanee... you'd have tuh put on the da red light....

When Gilby told him it "sucked" - I jumped up and cheered, cuz it did - badly.

Josh's white-eyed soul act on the Black Crowes song was very good and unique without being obnoxious. I don't know if it's going to work with this group for that same reasons the Ty had troubles last year. It's dangerous to let yourself be pigeon-holed in a specific style right away, but he sounded real good. We'll see.

The ringer in my opinion is Lukas the Orgy-wannabe. He's definately got a look. He's energenic on stage if somewhat limited. I couldn't really hear his vocals, as with a lot of the singers he was swallowed by the band, and in his case the guitar was crushing him. But he's got something. I don't know if it contagious or whether their's a vaccine for it, but he's got it. He's this years J.D. hands down.

I have to say that they claim that these are the "15 Best Unsigned Rockers" is a load of crap. Some of them are truly oustanding and are definately in the same category as Ty was last year. (Where as none of the other performers except maybe Jordis from the first year really ranked with him after that first show, and only caught up later when issues besides actually singing and performing become more important. Y'know, important stuff like his hair-style!) But some of these people either shouldn't be on stage period, or shouldn't have done the songs they did. In some cases, both. I saw and heard at lot more than 15 people at the Hollywood audition who were better than the bottom seven who managed to slip onto this show by clearly having the "right look" instead of actual talent. The fact the Neal Patrick (of Sunburn) and Brian O'Connor (of Vicious Rumours) who were both at the Hollywood auditions and didn't get to the final fifteen based on vocal talent alone tells me a ton.

Bias for the pin-up people aside, this should be an interesting ride. I plan to stay tuned.

Vyan

Wednesday, July 5

Republicans: The Mushroom Party

In a recent Hoffpo column, Journalist Nicolas Kristof puts forward the novel notion that the lies and distortions of right-wing media outlets such as Fox News are actually more harmful to Republicans than they are to Democrats.

When I was covering the war in Iraq, we reporters would sometimes tune to Fox News and watch, mystified, as it purported to describe how Iraqis loved Americans. Such coverage (backed by delusional Journal editorials baffling to anyone who was actually in Iraq) misled conservatives about Iraq from the beginning. In retrospect, the real victims of Fox News weren't the liberals it attacked but the conservatives who believed it.
Historically, we in the press have done more damage to our nation by withholding secret information than by publishing it. One example was this newspaper's withholding details of the plans for the Bay of Pigs invasion. President Kennedy himself suggested that the U.S. would have been better served if The Times had published the full story and derailed the invasion.

Then there were the C.I.A. abuses that journalists kept mum about until they spilled over and prompted the Church Committee investigation in the 1970's. And there are secrets we should have found, but didn't: in the run-up to the Iraq war, the press -- particularly this newspaper -- was too credulous about claims that Iraq possessed large amounts of W.M.D.

In each of these cases, we were too compliant. We failed in our watchdog role, and we failed our country.

I would strongly concur.

I recently discovered via Technorati that a blog post of mine on "Hating the enemy, Y'know Us." had received some commentary on Myspace by a 45-year-old Conservative Mother from Pennsylvania.

After recovering from the shock that there are 45-year-old people on Myspace, I read what she had to say.

If you want more young people to join the Rep. Party then...

the Liberal bashing has to end. Its my opinion that bashing in any form, whether it is towards a certain nationality eg, is a form of hate.

How can we gain the respect of the younger generation if they are hearing ultra conservative points of views on a continual basis? Our younger generation is very impressionable, and we have to remember many of them are still very liberal in their own way of thinking due to lack of maturation. (No offense to those of you that have matured at a much faster pace), but most 18-20 yr olds are still a bit rebellious, so it is my belief that if they are hearing constant liberal bashing, we (The GOP) is actually swaying them in the wrong direction.

I am not saying forget the values of the Republican party. What I am saying is that things need to tone down quite a bit, because it is pushing others towards the democratic party, they don't even want to hear what the Republican party stands for, nor do they care. I have heard this first hand by many younger people, so that is what I am basing this on, along with intuition. I always try to put the shoe on the other foot, and when I am able to really stand back and listen objectively, I can see why others turn to the Dem's. We may even be able to gain more Democrats on our side if the liberal bashing stopped.

Now, she seems to feel that it's the level of vitriol from the right that is driving younger people away from the GOP. I tend to disagree, I think the high vitriol is more attractive to the young who are still feisty and rebellious. There isn't anything more rebellious then saying something outrageous and politically incorrect.

It's why the right-wing attracts so many skinheads and other hate groups.

But what she's ignoring, are the lies. The constant denial of facts and reality that is driving a wedge between what may be genuinely held values by those on the right - and most people with any common sense left. According to the right - Global Warming still needs more "Study". There really were WMD's in Iraq. Joe Wilson is a Liar. There isn't any proof of torture going on a Gitmo. There's "War on Christmas and Easter". Not knowing how to use Condoms and being denied access to medicines which can prevent Cercival Cancer ia a "Good thing". Revealing the identify of a undercover CIA operative working on Nuclear proliferation in Iran (Valerie Plame-Wilson) is no big deal - but the talking about the Bank Data program actually hurt National Security, even though the details had already been revealed by the Bush Admin itself. Voting irregularities are just the cost of doing business. America shot down those North Korean Test Missles.

The vitriol on the right is simply a tool to "kill the messenger" of those who would expose these lies and failures of logic, thereby shutting down legitimate debate.

Yes, there is vitriol on the left. But I would argue that when we see people on the right argue for example that the New York times tried to setup a "hit" on Donald Rumsfled and Dick Cheney by revealing details about their homes. They refuse to correct their error, while when someone on the left such as Jason Leopold makes an outrageous and unsubstaniated claim - the left itself crushes him into powder. (A reaction I still feel was far over-the-top in it's own way)

Both may be angry at times, but it is the right - thanks to the constant Provda-like bleatings of Faux News, The Washington Times and the Wall Street Journal Editorial Page - that remains grossly fact-challenged.

Yes, I think that in the long run the right has been hurt far more seriously by this brain-washing, they've been turned into the Mushroom Party - kept in the dark and fed nothing but crap.

But since the right is still a part of our nation -- ultimately we've all been hurt. It's going to take a long time, and a lot of deprograming before we begin to heal as a nation, and can start having honest open debates once again.

Vyan

Bush authorized push against Wilson

Murrah Waas has a report up now on the National Review which details how President Bush personally authorized VP Dick Cheney to "get the facts out" against Ambassador Joe Wilsons claims that the Niger Uranium story was bogus.
President Bush told the special prosecutor in the CIA leak case that he directed Vice President Dick Cheney to personally lead an effort to counter allegations made by former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV that his administration had misrepresented intelligence information to make the case to go to war with Iraq, according to people familiar with the president's interview.

Bush also told federal prosecutors during his June 24, 2004, interview in the Oval Office that he had directed Cheney, as part of that broader effort, to disclose highly classified intelligence information that would not only defend his administration but also discredit Wilson, the sources said.
This in and of itself isn't surprising news as previous reports had revealed that President Bush had authorized classified portions of the NIE to be released, and had even delegated part of his own authority to Dick Cheney for doing just that. But when it comes to the critical issue, did Bush authorize Cheney or Libby to reveal classified information about Joseph Wilson's CIA agent wife?
But Bush told investigators that he was unaware that Cheney had directed I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the vice president's chief of staff, to covertly leak the classified information to the media instead of releasing it to the public after undergoing the formal governmental declassification processes.

Bush also said during his interview with prosecutors that he had never directed anyone to disclose the identity of then-covert CIA officer Valerie Plame, Wilson's wife. Bush said he had no information that Cheney had disclosed Plame's identity or directed anyone else to do so.
So we don't exactly have an admission against interests here. But this doesn't do much to take the target off of Cheney's back, especially since his scribblings in the margins have already been revealed by Patrick Fitzgerald.

On July 6, 2003, Wilson himself went public in an op-ed piece in The New York Times and on NBC's "Meet the Press" with his claims that the Bush administration had misrepresented the Niger information to make the case for war.

Among those who took notice was Cheney.

Cheney cut Wilson's op-ed out of the newspaper and wrote in the margins: "Have they done this sort of thing before? Send an Amb[assador] to answer a question. Do we ordinarily send people out pro bono to work for us? Or did his wife send him on a junket?"

In grand jury testimony, Libby testified that Cheney would "often... cut out from a newspaper an article using a little penknife he had" and "look at, think about it." Whether Libby saw Cheney's annotation of Wilson's column is not clear. Libby testified: "It's possible if it was sitting on his desk that, you know, my eye went across it."

Not exactly a smoking gun, but definately food for thought.

Vyan

Tuesday, July 4

Kerry on Huffpo : How to Love Your Country

<> For today's Independance Day, Senator John Kerry - our last, next President - has submitted an inspiring Huffington Post commentary on what loving your country truly means. Not the kind of child-like tantrum filled love of the right, but a mature love that understand that our country is not perfect, and the that only path to improvement involves honesty, humility, courage and conviction. Harkening back to his days as a protesting Vietnam Veteran, Senator Kerry sets the tone.

When we protested the war in Vietnam some would weigh in against us saying: "My country right or wrong." Our response was simple: "Yes, my country right or wrong.
When right, keep it right and when wrong, make it right."

I feel history repeating itself.

He slams the Senate for shirking it's responsibilities.

What did the United States Senate do before leaving town for the 4th of July break? In a summer when things are decidedly not right for American soldiers in harm's way in Iraq and Afghanistan, while their families at home are hit with record gas prices, health care costs a mess, and veterans still go without the health care they were promised, did we unite in some big hearted cause to make these urgent challenges right?

No. We debated a craven effort to amend the Constitution allegedly to protect the flag we all love. The Senate -- the place the original patriots -- the Founding Fathers -- imagined as the place big national issues would be addressed out of love of country, became a place where the Constitution itself was nearly shredded for political convenience, for ideology, for short term political gain and political timidity.

On Patriotism.

That's why I get so angry to see politics -- again and again -- fail to live up to our flag, and to our values -- in the way politics too often has become a food-fight, in the way news is too often treated as mere entertainment, in the way millions tune out because they're so sickened by what's happening they've given up on the idea of changing it.

We desperately need a real debate about patriotism -- about service, about American values.

We don't need another series of phony debates about whether we love our country, we need an injection of honesty about how to love our country.

I think patriotism starts with telling the truth. Truth is the American bottom line. I don't think it's an accident that among the first words of the first declaration of our national existence it is proclaimed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident...".

On Speaking out, particularly when what you have to say isn't particularly popular (See New York Times)

Patriotism also means dissent -- when it's hardest. The bedrock of America's greatest advances--the foundation of what we know today are defining values--was formed not by cheering on things as they were, but by taking them on and demanding change.

He speaks to the ramifications of the Hamdan Decision.

Patriotism demands we debate how we live by our principles and our values in the world. America has always embraced the best traditions of civilized conduct toward combatants and non-combatants in war. But does anyone think we're well served when leaders hold themselves above the law--in the way they not only treat prisoners in Abu Ghraib, but assert unchecked power to spy on American citizens? The Supreme Court certainly doesn't!

And on the President.


Patriotism demands telling the truth to Americans -- America can handle the truth about the Administration's boastful claim of "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq. The true pessimists are those who cannot accept that America's power and prestige depend on our credibility at home and around the world -- and the most dangerous defeatists, the most are those who invoke September 11th to argue that our traditional values are a luxury we can no longer afford.

But it's more than that. It's not just what we fight against, but what we fight for. Patriotism means not just ending this war, but preventing the next one -- to act now so that at some future date America will never have to fight for its economic security because we are permanently held hostage to foreign oil. Patriotism ought to be commanding us for the second time in our history to declare and win our independence, this time not from foreign rule but from foreign oil. To live out the patriotism of Abraham Lincoln who said we were the "last best hope of Earth," leaders should be insisting that we stop being the denier of global warming that endangers the Earth. Al Gore is a patriot this Fourth of July who is living out that kind of love of country -- and we need more like him.

I only have a short commentary of my own, I think John said quite well what I felt for quite some time. In the aftermath of Hamdan I feel energized and rejuvinated. The SCOTUS has put a door stopper between us and the tipping point of knee-jerk, gingoistic, neo-fascist doom.

As Devilstower has laid out so wonderfully in They Think We're Orcs, and as Hunter has exposed the people we oppose will stop at nothing, to see that their dark, homophobic, racist, angry, fearful, brutally violent and religiously crazed vision of America becomes a permanent reality.

But we can stop them.

We can bring America back to it's true roots in the Enlightment. The first age where men began to seriously codify that the primary task of the state and government was to protect the freedom and libery of it's citizens - not to rule over them.

So let us celebrate this Independance Day, and recall truly and clearly the vision of the American Fore Fathers - and pledge together that we will commit ourselves to ensuring that we will not let their vision be destroyed in blind ignorance and fear. We will not let those who wish to wrap themselves in the flag and proclaim that it should be held sacred and sancrosanct - while they simultaneously destroy the very values that it respresents - accomplish their mission.

I love America. Warts, Imperfections and All. I love what it is, and I love what it could become, if we simply have the courage to make it live up to it's promise. For me this day, Independance Day, is the most holy of American days, and this is our prayer - one which I know is shared with many in the faith (or athiesm/agnosticism) of their preference in this country where we have freedom of religion as well as freedom from Religion.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident - that all men are created equal, and are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights....

Amen.

I stand with Kerry, I stand with Gore - I stand with you if you will only stand up and fight for life, justice and freedom, even if that means protecting that which you hate.

Vyan

Monday, July 3

Feinstein: Republicans will Rue The Day...

In her appearance this Sunday on This Week with George Stephanopolous, California Senator Diane Feinstein showed that she completely gets it when it comes to the ramifications of the Hamdan Decision.
Feinstein: The court's opinion was a very major opinion. An essentially what it said was that the President exceeded his authority with setting up this commission, and that he can't just establish a commission, that anything that tries these people has to be authorized by the congress. And that goes back to Article I of the Constitution that gives Congress the right to declare war, and establish the rules.
Stephanopolous: And what kind of rules do you think the Congress should establish. How much protection do these detainees deserve? Do they get what's in the uniform code of military justice, or do they get something less, or something that would conform to the Geneva Convention?

Feinstein: Well according to the decision I think there are two things. The first, it has to meet the parameters of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the second thing is that it has to meet Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, which spells out treatment in non-state types of war.
And Feinstein is exactly correct. From the Majority Opinion in Hamdan.
The military commission at issue lacks the power to proceed because its structure and procedures violate both the UCMJ and the four Geneva Conventions signed in 1949.
John McCain on the other hand - isn't even getting close enough to sniff it.
Stephanopolous: The First question, of course, is what to do with these detainees and military tribunals? The Chairman of the Senate Armes Services Commitee this week said "Just putting them throught the Courts Marshall system will work". Which approach makes more sense to you?

McCain: Well, uh, the thing that, uh, makes sense to me with the Judiciary and Armed Services committe hearings. We're gonna having hearings, we're gonna examine the court decision very carefully. Uh, obviously they called for a UCMJ type framework.
Bzzt. That is incorrect Senator. They didn't call for a "UCMJ type framework" they said specifically that Geneva has to be abided, and Geneva requires that all persons being tried for War Crimes be handled by a regularly convened tribunal. From Glenn Greenwald.
Article 3 requires that detainees be tried by a "regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples," and the Court ruled [Sec. VI(D)(iii)] that the military commissions established at Guantanamo violate that requirement because they are not regularly constituted tribunals but instead are specially constituted courts in the absence of any emergency. Thus, under the Geneva Conventions, any and all detainees captured in armed conflict can be tried only by a "regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples."
Therefore, Special Tribunals with Special Rules for Special Classes of individuals are out of the question.
McCain: There were basically three parts, as I understand it, of this decision. 1) Congress should play a role, and I certainly agree with that 2) That the Uniform Code of Military Justice should be the framework for these tribunals and 3) uh, Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions calls for certain treatment of these detainees which is, uh, somewhat of a departure in my view of people who are stateless terrorists.
Bzzzt! That's two strikes Senator.

Article 3 of Geneva sets the quality of treatment that will be afforded, Article 4 establishes who is covered, but it's Article 5 that is most relevant. It establishes the following:
Should any doubt arise as to whether persons, having committed a belligerent act and having fallen into the hands of the enemy, belong to any of the categories enumerated in Article 4, such persons shall enjoy the protection of the present Convention until such time as their status has been determined by a competent tribunal.
Media Matters also addressed this issue long before Hamdan.
Fourth Geneva Convention provides protection for "Civilians" which would include "Persons protected by the Convention are those who, at a given moment and in any manner whatsoever, find themselves, in case of a conflict or occupation, in the hands of a Party to the conflict or Occupying Power of which they are not nationals.
It's not a matter of granting Al Qaeda or the Taliban Geneva protections - they already have it by default - the question is whether or not America is going to abide by Geneva or not?

Moreover, current U.S. Law in the form of 18 USC § 2441 requires that Geneva Conventions be followed and designates failure to do so as a War Crime.
(a) Offense.— Whoever, whether inside or outside the United States, commits a war crime, in any of the circumstances described in subsection (b), shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for life or any term of years, or both, and if death results to the victim, shall also be subject to the penalty of death.

(c) Definition.— As used in this section the term “war crime” means any conduct—
(1) defined as a grave breach in any of the international conventions signed at Geneva 12 August 1949, or any protocol to such convention to which the United States is a party;
(2) prohibited by Article 23, 25, 27, or 28 of the Annex to the Hague Convention IV, Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, signed 18 October 1907;
(3) which constitutes a violation of common Article 3 of the international conventions signed at Geneva, 12 August 1949, or any protocol to such convention to which the United States is a party and which deals with non-international armed conflict; or
Failure to abide by the Rules of Geneva, even in regard to Al Qaeda is a War Crime under U.S. law. Republicans seem to be having a derailure on this train of logic.
Stephanopolous to Feinsten: Are you worried that this will become a political issue? You California collegeue in the House said that "This decision reaffirms the basic ideal that ALL are guaranteed to the basic protections of our justice system", which drew a sharp response from the House Majority Leader, John Boehner, who put out a statement saying that "Capitol Hill Democrats advocate Special Priviledges for Terrorists. Al Qaeda, who terrorist thugs are not a part to nor bound by the Geneva Conventions, is surely pleased at the show of Capitol Hill Democrats". Aid and comfort to Al Qaeda from Capitol Hill Democrats according to the Republicans?

Feinstein: Well, I think the American People knew exacly what Leader Pelosi was saying. I think her comment has been distorted, particularly by talk show hosts, and I think that is really unfortunate. We're at a kind of important Constitutional Nexus right now. The whole strength of our Democracy is our Constitution. I took an oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies. The Constitution is a living sound document, that when followed, keeps us on a straight and narrow path. I think Republicans will rue the day, if they politicize this.
The idea that requiring the same consistent process to be followed for all military defendants - including members of Al Qeada - is somehow granting "Special Rights" is just plain ridiculous, and a very dangerous idea. Senator Feinstein is absolutely correct, we have virilently reject this notion - it's poisonous to the very foundations of our Democracy and the ideals of "Liberty and Justice - for all." We can have neither Justice nor Liberty if some people are above the law (the President and his staff) while others (Al Qaeda/Taliban) are below it.

Meanwhile some Republicans are flat out thumbing their noses at the SCOTUS as well as Geneva.
Stephanopolous: Some Republicans are saying they want the debate over whether enemy Combatants or detainees should have the same protections as our military, and their talking about passing a resolution that simply re-authorizes the President's program as is - and dares Democrats to oppose it.

McCain: Well' I I, think it shouldn't be exactly the same as what is applied to a member of the military, but it's a good framework. And I don't think the Supreme Court said it had to be exact.

Bzzzt - Strike Three! Well - no, that's a tip foul - this really the same false point as his first one. Play on...
McCain: We have a Lindsey Graham who is a reserve Jag Officer, we have a lot of talent in the Congress - I see no reason why we can't work this out. We were stuck, and this gives us an oppurtunity to move forward. I don't quite understand all of the Article 3, Geneva Conventions part of it - but we did pass a law already that prohibited torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.
Besides the rather frightening admission that John McCain, author of the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 doesn't understand the Geneva Conventions - it's also important to point out that the same law featured an Amendment, co-sponsored by Lindsey Graham, which tried to prohibit the court from accepting petitions on behalf of detainees at Gitmo who actually might have been tortured or received cruel, inhumane or degradign treatment. Such a lovely law he and Lindsey made there - one that can't possibly be enforced. Yes, that Lindsey Graham sure is a talented fellow.

Speaking of Above the Law, the contrast on McCain and Feinstein's reaction on whether this decision has ramifications on the NSA Domestic Spying program was also quite telling.
Stephanopolous: Doesn't this decision call into question the President's Terrorist Surveillance program?

McCain: Umm....I, I don't.. I don't think that this particularly applies. I think this was directly related to the situation with detainees. We'll have an ongoing debate, ranging from what programs should go on without the consultation of congress to whether the New York Times should have divulged the sensitive program tracking finances.
Nice feint and redirect, sir - always blame the media - yes, well played. Feinstein on this same point:
Where I differ from Senator McCain: I do think this applies to the terrorist surveillance program," she said. "I've been briefed on that program, and I do beleive that it can be brought under the parameters of [the FISA court]. And should be, all of it. The specific collection of information as well as the meta-data parts.

I have seen nothing in the program that wouldn't allowfor all content collection to be with a warrant, and all meta-data to be with a program warrant.

The overwhelming signifigance of this is that the president is somewhat bridled by the Constitution and the law … and he must follow this in this war on terror.
Wouldn't that be something - a President that followed the law and the Constitution?

Later in the program during the Roundtable discussion former Republican Senator, and sometimes actor on Flaw and Disorder, Fred Thompson claimed that this decision is very narrow and that they simply needed to address the issue of removing the witness from the room during the presentation of classified evidence.

I think he's wrong that the issue is narrow as was pointed out by Senator Feinstein, but in terms of the tribunal procedures - what clearly needs to occur is that security protocols need to be added to the existing standard military tribunal/court marshal procedure. If neccesary I suggest that a temporary Interim Clearance be granted to the detainee, if he agrees to sign the customary non-disclosure agreement, which would allow him to be in the room while that evidence is presented as required by Geneva.

If he fails to sign, he can not be present and if he is ever released he is still bound by the agreement - if he fails to honor it he can be prosecuted for violating national security. I doubt Geneva would allow for such a conditional situation, but it's worth considering - at least if the issue really is the divulging of sensitive information. But it's possible that this actually has to do with the divuling of sources and methods which may not have been legal, such as the use of torture against one detainee to generate an allegation against another. Such illegally gathered evidence would be inadmissable in a standard court, and even within a normal Military Tribunal, hence the big fight over the Special Tribunals where the normal rules don't apply, illegally gathered evidence, include coerced allegations and confessions can be used.

From my understanding of the deision before any detainee can be tried, under Geneava, his status would need to be determined as a POW or not. You can't make up an imaginary status like "Enemy Combantant" to duck around Geneva or U.S. Law. If they are a POW they can be held until hostilities end - or in this case, indefinately. If they have commited War Crimes, they can be tried by the regular Military Courts, with upgraded security provisions. If they are not POW's, they must be remanded to civil courts and tried as Moussoui was - or else released.

The point is as Secretary Powell pointed out as he dissented to the adoption of this policy - it puts our troops in danger. This fact may have been most clearly illustrated by the capture and brutal execution of two U.S. Soldiers last month.



And it may so far just be idle speculation, but the fact that these soldiers were members of the same platoon that apparently contained five solders who stalked, raped and murder a young Iraq woman and her entire family this past February.

Could the deaths of Menchaca and Tucker have been retaliation? I would hope not, but if so - it yet again goes to prove the Sen Feinstein, Rep. Pelosi and Secretary Powell are all absolute correct - while the neo-con Republicans in the House, Senate and White House are dead wrong.

We have to rise above our atavistic instinct to lash out viciously against our enemies, and instead hold ourselves accountable to the laws of war, the Constitution and genuine Justice.

Vyan

Damnocracy: Taking Back the Rock


I've been waiting a long time for a show like Vh1's Supergroup. A show that really shows what it's like to be in a band. Regardless of what P-Diddy thinks he's been making for the last four or five years on eMpTyV, it's hasn't yet been a band - and I for one have always resented the idea that throwing a bunch of singers, dancers and rappers together constituted - "A Band". The Season II group from Diddy's little clusterfuck even had the nerve to call themselves "Da band".

Or is it "Duh, Band...?" - I forget.

At any rate, the new show Supergroup, featuring Sebastian Bach of Skid Row, Ted Nugent, Scott Ian of Anthrax, Evan Seinfield of Biohazard and Jason Bonham of Foreigner, which aired it's season finale last nigth has been like a long lost gift from heaven for a long-time musician like myself. I've been in a half dozen bands over the last 16 years, and this program was like going home. Everything was familiar. The confusion during rehearsals, as songs get worked out - the squabbles, brotherly in-fighting, trying to figure out a freaking NAME, dealing with outside clueless pressures and all the bullshit that goes along with being in a Rock band.

It was all there.

First let me address the big blonde elephant in the room, Sebastian Bach. Thanks to snarky gossip sites like MetalSludge.com, he's been known as Sebitchian Bach for the past ten years - ever since his behavior led to his being fired from Skid Row. Bas, as he's often called, was notorious back in the day for his "Aids kills fags dead" t-shirt (yes, rude - but he was young, dumb and full of cum) and throwing a peice of glass into the audience in anger after being hit in the head with a bottle - an act which resulted in major surgery for an innocent young girl who happened to get caught in the crossfire. Only the manic-depressive riot inducing antics of Axl Rose were more volatile than Bas.

On this show he was rather mellow, by comparison. If you consider a bull, a china shop and 5 lbs of TNT to be "mellow". But I have stand in defense of Bas, his clashes with the Vh1 promo team (aka Mr. Who-do-you-want-to-be? and his pet Bulimic Skipper) over his workout schedule and his hair were just classic. I've been a lead singer, and Bas was absolutely right to focus on making sure he was going to be in the correct physical conditioning to be able to do the gig, and that he was going to have the right look to deal with pictures and press. Photographer, and asshole extradonaire, Ross Halfin certainly gave him a rash of shit - 'You just don't have the body for it, Sebastian".

For a second it was like watching an episode of "America's Top Model" as Bas, who looks like he has 6% body fat and went running in the Nevada heat just about every day got pummelled for being overweight. Prick.

Then there was the fucking clueless AP reporter, "Do you feel that you're being yourself [on the show]?" Well, what the hell else would he be, a ham sandwitch? And the wardrobe people trying to talk Scott Ian into this silver lame cape - "That's not gonna happen". Classic.

It was interesting watching them musically collaborate, and actually go through the process of writing songs and working out their parts (Something all those other so-called "Bands" on TV don't do - because they aren't F-ing Bands!) Or trying to get a demo of their song recorded with inadequate gear. Oh lordy, can I relate.

But the absolute worst had to be the producer, Rob Cavallo, the balding Green Day producer who had the nerve to completely miss the point of their of song "Take it Back".

"Take What Back?"

Take back The Rock, you nitwit. From the Boy Bands, from the Pop Divas from all that Shit.

Highlight for Album: Day 1 at Disgraceland
And I just about exploded when I heard this one - "Uh, I think it sounds kinda - dated. Like something from 1982" You have a band with 57-year-old Ted Nugent and your like expecting Avenged Sevenfold or Coldplay or something? "Maybe if you tried some more Punk like beats - I could should you on the drums?" He's saying this shit to a band with John Bonham's son on the kit?

Jason's response nailed it : "Bonham doesn't - do - punk!"

Damn straight. Jason's about my age, I know exactly where he's coming from. If you think these guys, with the experience they have doing what they want to do the way they want to do it are going to get together and start trying to sound like the hip band at the moment like Green Day, - who are an excellent band at any rate - you've got a screw loose. It's like asking them to do an Asslee Simpson cover.

Not. Gonna. Happen.

If Velvet Revolver can put it all back together, so can these guys.

I would say that the demo tracks were badly recorded, and it's obvious that Sebastian did the production because they're all vocals with a teeny, tiny little band off in the corner. But saying it's "Dated" is the same stupid B.S. I heard about most of my bands all during the 90's. As if playing Rock the way it's been done for the last 40 years since Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin isn't allowed anymore. Total Crap.

There were so many great moments in this show, Sebastian battling with his drinking issues, the death of this father, spooging as his wife and Evan's porn star wife Tera Patrick pose in some risque lingere. Scott's meltdown as Mister-Zen-Coolness through the entire show discovered his guitar rig stopped working - 'STOP - EVERYONE SHUTUP, MY SHIT ISN'T WORKING!"

What a total Exorcist moment. He was about ready to spit green pea soup and recite the national anthem backwards.

Then there was Ted Nugent over the bar-b-que with a peice of fresh venison having a Nicholson moment: "It's Dead - made for Ted - enough Said". With his guns, stalker hunter, anti-drug, neo-pedophallic tendencies - in the end Ted Nugent actually has a huge heart under all that crust. His stepping up and taking the dad role to help Sebastian straighten out after his drunken brawl with Evan was admirable.

Somebody has to be the Poppa Bear in the cave, and Ted was it. And he was absolutely right about Rock being Tribal, Primal even. You're aren't getting that from the Back Door Boys or Taylor the Hick.

And lastly there was Manager Doc McGhee. Ah, what to say about Doc. Sebastian once again was absolutely correct to face the Doc issues head on. Yes, Doc was the one who hired Sebastian and put him in Skid Row, plucking him out of Roxy (Vixen) Petruccia's band Madam X. At the time Doc managed Motley Crue and Bon Jovi. Jon and Richie Sambora took their fellow Jersey natives Skid Row under their wing, nurtured them, and took them out on tour. But when the checks started rolling in for "Youth Gone Wild", "18 and Life" and "I remember you" - they had Richie and Jon's name on them. And Doc's. This caused a huge stink with the Skid Row guys, including Bas and primary song-writer Dave "Snake" Sabo. But I have to give credit to the BJ Boy's, they were man enough to take their names off the publishing and give Skid Row back the money they'd earned. But getting burned like that was an learning experience for Bas, and something that anyone with musical aspirations should remember.

Your Publishing is your Pension. It's your retirement money, don't let anyone fuck with it.

Watching the VH-1 Post Show it was made evident that Sebastian hasn't had a drink - except for one and a half beers - since the end of taping. He's on the wagon and feeling good about it. Ted's off hunting in Alaska, Scott's still with Antrax, Evan's got his porn stuff going with Tera and Jason is still performing with Foreigner -- but if the oppurtunity and the timing arrizes, they're ALL up and ready for some more Damnocracy, an album and a tour.

I for one, am definately looking forward to it.

Vyan