Friday, June 29

Avoiding the Executive Privilege Sand Trap

In the last few days Contempt of Congress charges have begun to be considered against White House Personnel, new subpoenas have been issued for information on the NSA Domestic Spying program while the previously issued subpoenas on the White House's involvement in the DOJ firings have been rejected on the grounds of "Executive Priviledge."

We can now expect that these issues will be stalled in the courts for the next few months, and that if it reaches the SCOTUS that they in all likelyhood will rule in a 5-4 split for the White House.

But something Jonathan Turley said last night on Countdown just might be the key to breaking through this logjam and turn that very dim scenario on it's head.

last night on MSNBC’s Countdown, George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley claimed that Congress may be able to "get around the executive privilege in court" by saying "we are investigating a potential crime." Turley said this was possible because warrantless wiretapping is "a federal crime" that "the president has ordered hundreds of people to do."

Turley correctly points out that a Federal Judge has already found that the NSA program is unconstitutional, extremely illegal and ordered it stopped immediately.

Judge Taylor found that the program violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which was passed in the 1970s to curb executive abuses that included spying on civil rights leaders and Members of Congress. FISA requires a warrant before the executive can wiretap Americans. Judge Taylor also found that the program violated the separation of powers because it circumvented Congress’s power to regulate presidential authority, and that it violated Americans' rights to free speech and privacy under the First and Fourth Amendments of the Constitution. The government appealed the decision to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, which granted a stay of the decision pending appeal.

Although the Sixth Circuit has granted the stay allowing the program to continue, Judge Taylor's current rulings are controlling. The Program is Illegal.

In addition to this we have the crime of perjury committed by Alberto Gonzales when he testified before congress and claimed that "there were no major disputes" concerning the program. This contrast dramatically with the testimony of James Comey who recounted the dramatic attempt by Gonzales and Andrew Card to stage a sickbed intervention on former Attorney General John Ashcroft in order to have him override the decent of his own legal experts and implement what they said was an illegal program - and the mass resignations which nearly ensued.

Back at the Justice Department, there is an equally extraordinary scene. Appalled by the White House’s heavy-handed attempt to coerce the gravely ill attorney general, virtually the entire top leadership of the Justice Department is threatening to resign. The group includes the director of the FBI, Robert Mueller, Associate Attorney General Robert McCallum and the chief of the Criminal Division, Chris Wray. Some of them gather in the conference room of Deputy Attorney General James Comey, who describes Ashcroft’s bravely turning away the president’s men from his hospital bed. The mood that night in the conference room was tense–and sober. "This was a showdown," says a former senior Justice Department official who was there. "Everybody understood the choice they were making and the gravity of the situation. Everybody knew what the stakes were." A different source estimated that as many as 30 top DOJ officials would have resigned.

Former OLC attorney John Bradbury has testified to Congress that the program mentioned by Comey is not the same one that was revealed by the president and described by Gonzales to congress as not being under dispute.

MR. BRADBURY: Well, all I’ll say is what the attorney general has said, which is that disagreements arose, disagreements were addressed and resolved; however, those disagreements did not — were not about the particular activities that the president has publicly described, that we have termed the Terrorist Surveillance Program.

But this issue isn't the only problem, you see the previous program - the one that was rejected by the OLC and over which both Comey, Ashcroft and others threatened to resign if implement - WAS IMPLEMENTED BY THE WHITE HOUSE ANYWAY despite their objections and refusal to sign off on it.

SCHUMER: OK. And then did you meet with Mr. Card?

COMEY: I did. I went with Mr. Olson driving — my security detail drove us to the White House. We went into the West Wing. Mr. Card would not allow Mr. Olson to enter his office. He asked Mr. Olson to please sit outside in his sitting area. I relented and went in to meet with Mr. Card alone. We met, had a discussion, which was much more — much calmer than the discussion on the telephone.

After — I don’t remember how long, 10 or 15 minutes — Mr. Gonzales arrived and brought Mr. Olson into the room. And the four of us had a discussion. [...]

SCHUMER: Can you tell us what happened the next day?

COMEY: The program was reauthorized without us and without a signature from the Department of Justice attesting as to its legality. And I prepared a letter of resignation, intending to resign the next day, Friday, March the 12th.

Let me re-emphasize this point, the reason that Comey and 30 other members of the Justice Department were willing to resign isn't because of threat that the president would authorize an illegal program - it's because HE DID authorize and implement an illegal program over the objections of just about everyone at DOJ.

(NOTE: Ashcroft asked Comey to wait until Monday and he felt better - so that they could RESIGN TOGETHER!)

On Friday, the day Comey had originally planned to resign he had a private meeting with the president - afterwhich Bush decided to change the program in order for it to be "legal" in the view of the OLC.

COMEY: Right. We had the president’s direction to do what we believed, what the Justice Department believed was necessary to put this matter on a footing where we could certify to its legality.

And so we then set out to do that. And we did that.

It took some weeks for the DOJ to resolve the legal issues, and in the meanwhile the illegal version of the program continued to perculate away in the background.

If the program which Judge Ann Digg-Taylor determined to be illegal was the post-DOJ modified version, the pre-DOJ version must have been completely off the charts.

A numerous set of crimes were indeed committed here particularly gross violations of FISA.

In addition to the illegality of the NSA spying there is also the specture of multiple crimes involving the purging of the DOJ (which in hindsight may have been at least partially prompted by the previous battles between DOJ and the White House over the NSA issue.)

First and foremost there is the Hatch Act which prohibits the...

  • use of official authority or influence to interfere with an election
  • solicitation or discouragement of political activity of anyone with business before their agency
  • from engaging in political activity while on duty, or in a government office.

Agencies prohibited by the Hatch Act from political activity include the Department of Justice (Criminal Division).

We now know from Monica Goodling's testimony that she engaged in partisan solitication of potential hires for career positions through-out the DOJ, and that she did so with the knowledge and apparent approval of her bosses.

Although it's true that US Attorney's serve at the "Pleasure of the President" it is another matter when the White House's political wing uses a Patriot Act provision to avoid Senate scrutiny in order to slide into place several replacement USA's like Tim Griffin who had a known history of "influencing and interfering with elections", and Brad Schlozman who had violated DOJ guidelines to charge election workers with voter fraud just prior to an election (because of it's potential to influence the outcome) in a case that was found to be completely without merit.

Psst.. Voter Suppression is a Crime, particularly when voters are targeted on the basis of race - it's a violation of the Voting Rights Act.

Despite their initial protestations that the White House had nothing to do with the DOJ Firings and Replacements we now learn from Solicitor General Paul Clement's refusal to abide by Congressional Subpoenas that the White House was intimately involved.

Among other things, these communications discuss the wisdom of such a proposal, specific U.S. Attorneys who could be removed, potential replacement candidates, and possible responses to congressional and media inquiries about the dismissals.

Which happens to be all the things that Gonzales, McNulty, Goodling and Sampson just didn't seem to know when they all testified before congress.

Whatta coinkydink?

If the real reason these USA's were fired and summarily replaced with "Loyal Bushies" was to facilitate the implementation of a vast voter suppression scheme for the 2008 elections - ladies and gentlement we have a very massive criminal conspiracy implement and directed out of the White House.

Congress would have great latitude to fully investigate such a crime as has been pointed out by Columbia University law professor Michael Dorf...

the Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Nixon that, "where the President asserts only a generalized need for confidentiality, [executive privilege] must yield to the interests of the government and defendants in a criminal prosecution."

It also should be noted that the courts decision in US V Nixon was unanimous.

In both the NSA and DOJ purging cases, there is ample and compelling evidence based on existing Congressional testimony and documentation that multple crimes may have been committed by various White House personnel and that in a manner similar to US V Nixon, the claim of executive privilege should be voided and the relevant documents provided to Congress without delay.

Vyan

Thursday, June 28

A Day that will Live in Infamy

From Thinkprogress

<>
In the "biggest school desegregation ruling in more than a decade," the Supreme Court today ruled 5-4 to reject public school assignment plans "that take account of students’ race." The AP reports:

The decision in cases affecting schools in Louisville, Ky., and Seattle could imperil similar plans in hundreds of districts nationwide, and it leaves public school systems with a limited arsenal to maintain racial diversity. ...

[The case] was led by parents challenging the way race is used to assign students to schools for the purpose of integration.

<>
Like the multiple cases decided in favor of the Bush administration and corporations earlier this week, the majority was formed by Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia, Thomas, Alito, and Kennedy.

Brown V Board of Education was a landmark decision, one which finally overturned the disgusting Plessy V Ferguson which evicerated the clear language of the 14th Amendment that "all persons will have the equal protection of the laws" and establish the doctrine of "seperate but (un)equal)."

Today the Supreme Court has official disabled schools from being able to fix the problems that were the basis of Brown. Certainly times have changed, thanks largely to Brown, as well as the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act and the Public Accomodations Act we no longer have the open perpetration of Jim Crow.

But what about closet Jim Crow?

How are we to battle the preconceptions and presuppositions which trap both inner-city kids and suburban kids in a cycle of distrust and misunderstanding?

Chief Justice Roberts wrote in the majority opinion:

"The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race."

Uh huh. That's like saying the way to stop criminals is to stop paying attention to criminals. See, problem solved. Poof! No more criminals. Time for some Bran Muffins and re-runs of Chris Angel Mind-Freak. The SCOTUS could teach Chris a thing or three.

In dissent Justice Breyer wrote:

Finally, what of the hope and promise of Brown? For much of this Nation’s history, the races remained divided. It was not long ago that people of different races drank from separate fountains, rode on separate buses, and studied in separate schools. In this Court’s finest hour, Brown v. Board of Education challenged this history and helped to change it. For Brown held out a promise. ... It sought one law, one Nation, one people, not simply as a matter of legal principle but in terms of how we actually live. [...]

Many parents, white and black alike, want their children to attend schools with children of different races. Indeed, the very school districts that once spurned integration now strive for it. ... The plurality would decline their modest request.

The plurality is wrong to do so. The last half-century has witnessed great strides toward racial equality, but we have not yet realized the promise of Brown. To invalidate the plans under review is to threaten the promise of Brown. The plurality’s position, I fear, would break that promise. This is a decision that the Court and the Nation will come to regret.

You can bet that we will. I regret it already.

While going to school in L.A., I saw both sides of this issue. At first attending inner-city schools in South Central LA during the 70's when school shootings were common enough that teachers openly joked about them during class. At the same time I was part of an advanced program of students while attending Bret Harte Jr. High. There were about 30 or so "gifted" students who were being taught at classes one year in advance of everyone else. We were given college prep and an understanding of what most university requirements would be, such as a minimum of two-years foreign language study.

There was also a downside.

Besides the obvious, which included crime, drug dealers and prostitution and completely indifferent police which nearly over-ran the neighborhood there were also resource issues. Starting in elementary school I had become a gymnast. Starting literally on the hard rubber mats on our playground me and few friends who were rabid Bruce Lee fans had taught ourselves how to tumble. Round-offs, flip-flops, somersaults the works. Well, almost. Gymnastics is actually far more than that, which I learned when my mom enrolled me in a private classes in Glendale where I learned all six olympic events (Floor Exercize, Rings, High Bar, Parrellel Bar, Vault and Pommel Horse) from a former of the 1968 Japanese Olympic Team, Mitsuo Mori. I studied for about two years and competed with other kids my age from the Valley to Orange County. One of them at my very first meet (me looking riduclous in these cheesy shorts with a huge funky fro) was the really accomplished and confident kid by the name of Mitch Gaylord. We would meet again over the years.

When I reached Jr. High, that all stopped. Cold. My mom was working night-shift and the time it took to take my half-way across town three times a week was wrecking her sleep, not to mention the cost. But Bret Hart didn't have any Gymnastics Equipment available to it what so ever. None. Just some old rusty and disgusting looking deformed pommel horse and a few matts. They had no personel who were knowledgable about Gymnastic on staff - so I had to quit the sport for three years.

We did try to find other trainers who were closer to us than Glendale, and even for a time flirted with the idea of working with 1968 U.S. Olympic team member Mako Sakamoto who had a faciilty in Culver City. As you can imagine Mako and Mori were literally cross-town rivals and somewhat out of loyalty to Mori we didn't take up with Mako. He was also even more expensive than Mori.

When time came to go to High School, a set of marching band recruiters from Birmingham High came to our school. These were inner-city kids like us, but they were also part of the voluantary busing program which took them to a High School in the San Fernando Valley. I was inspired. I had been playing trumpet since I was 10, and had been in band that entire time. Music was a passion but so was Gymnastic were I thought I might have a shot at a potential scholarship. So even though I would have gone to Locke High which had a world class band program, I decided to be join the voluantary busing program. It was a trade-off but it wasn't a hard decision. Birmingham had a great band, but also a decent gymnastics team.

Win-Win right?

Most importantly though, I wanted to get the Hell Out of South Central. Being labeled one of the "smart kids" in a gang neighborhood was no picnic. As it turned out, I didn't go to Birmingham (which is the same school that Moon Unit Zappa of "Valley Girl" infamy went to), I was bused to another school down the road named Cleveland High. Their band wasn't that great, and neither was their gymnastics team - but at least they had both, while Locke only had a band and the same rusted out broken down Gym equipment I'd had to contend with at Bret Hart.

I soldiered on. The pick-up time for the Bus was 6am, after which it would drive 35 miles north up the 405 through the Sepulveda Pass, past Bell Aire, Encino and into Northridge where Cleveland High was located. Because I was in either the band, which practiced afterschool and a during half-time at Football games or at afterschool gymnatics practice I didn't take the normal Bus home at 4pm, I took the late Bus at 6:30 arriving home at 8pm. Oh, and did I mention the walk? The bus didn't stop right at my house, I had to walk about 15 blocks to the stop - so now we're talking leaving the house at 5:30 am and returning home at 8:30-9pm.

Oddly enough I went from being one of the "gifted" kids at Bret Harte to being just another average kid at Cleveland. Maybe it's because I wasn't as smart as everyone seemed to think, or maybe it was the fact that they didn't have a gifted program. Getting back into Gymnastics was a lot harder than it seemed after taking three years off. It took me nearly a year to get back up to the level I had been with Mori - almost four years previously. It was pretty discouraging. And unfortunately I didn't really leave South Central behind - because it rode with me every morning and evening on the bus. Yet again, I was still "the smart kid" to all the jocks who had been recruited by the Valley Schools for their football and basketball teams.

"I bet you get straight 'A's don't cha?" they would say mockingly.

"No, look I got a "C" right here." I would sheepishly defend. "I'm not perfect."

Riding home, I would never get a seat, cuz all these guys were way too macho to sit with another dude. Particular a skinny little guy like me. Fortunately I didn't give a shit, I had my trumpet case - so I sat on that in the middle of the aisle far enough back that the bus driver wouldn't have a heart-attack. Since Cleveland's band was going nowhere I joined the All City Marching Band during my senior year and was able to march in the 1981 Rose Parade. Big whoop. That same year Locke's Band won the Grand Sweepstakes in the City wide competition for the first time ever.

Eventually I graduated, without a scholarship either in academics (because being too much of a brain would have been "uncool"?) or gymnastics. Y'see the kids who'd stayed in private training had effectively kicked my ass during competition season, some of them at Monroe High even kicked the ass of some of the kids who I used to compete with back in my Mori days (Jim Rix, who was my age and a senior was also on the Monroe High team with these two tenth graders who were just Insanely good.) If Jim - who was effectively neck and neck with me back in the day - couldn't keep up with them, I pretty much didn't have a chance at it after falling three years behind. Still, one of best gymnasts in town was Mitch Gaylord who went to Grant High. I met him once at an semi-final meet, he was kind of an egotistical prick.

Anyway, I was accepted to UCLA - my dream school - but couldn't afford it.

Ironically one of my old team-mates with Mori, Tippy Schoolhouse (yes, that's his real name - don't ask) actually did get a gymnastics scholarship to UCLA only he decided to pass on it in moment of indecision and it was given to the next person in line - wouldn't you know - it was Mitch Gaylord.

UCLA's coach during that time was - get this - Mako Sakamoto. Mako would later become the coach for the 1984 Oympic Team in Los Angeles, which included, you guessed it - Mitch Gaylord.

Mitch went on to make a really shitty movie about Gymnastics, so I guess I got my (and Tippy's) revenge of sorts.

In conclusion, I'm not sure I have a conclusion. Being voluantarily bused was an amazing, weird, enlightening, scary experience. I met a lot of people besides latinos and blacks from South Central, that I simply would have never gotten to know otherwise. And also - they got to meet me. As much as the others kids who were bused with me may have succombed to racist stereotypes themselves and effectively embraced them, taking pride in their "Dumb Macho Jock" status - I was able to defy that stereotype and show that we weren't all cut from the "same cloth."

Here's the thing I suppose. One of the other kids who had been with me at Bret Harte was named Gary Rippetoe (no, I am NOT making these names up!) he played clarinet in the band and was a couple years older. Gary didn't chose to be bused and instead went to Locke High and joined their band. Both of us would meet up again working in the IT department of Northrop Grumman just a few years later. We may have taken different paths, but we arrived at the same place.

Thinkprogress is linking to a study on integration which indicates that it is one of the best ways to "narrow the educational gap".

A key study by University of Wisconsin professor Douglas Harris, using empirical data gathered from No Child Left Behind, shows that desegregation remains the most effective way of closing this gap:

African Americans and Hispanics learn more in integrated schools. Minorities attending integrated schools also perform better in college attendance and employment.

– Controlled choice and other forms of desegregation benefit minority students.
– Racial integration is a rare case where an educational policy appears to improve educational equity at little financial cost.

Empirical evidence may indicate this is true. To hear him tell it, Gary experienced a great deal of the same ostricization that I had during my bus trips. I guess that one difference was, once I was off the bus, I didn't have to deal with those guys unless I wanted to - and I didn't. In Gary's case it was everywhere. He had no escape and simply chose to persevere in self-imposed isolation anyway.

Another aspect of this which is frequently overlooked, isn't just a matter of how inner-city kids perform when you change their environment - it's also how they can affect and change the perceptions of those they meet from other communities. School isn't just about what you learn in class, it's also about what you learn about and from the other students. Sports teaches you teamwork, planning, strategy and organization. Some stereotypes may be confirmed, others may be shattered. The most important thing to learn is that any individual, is first and foremost - an individual who may or may not confirm to any of your expectations. Anyone at anytime just might surprise you.

You can't learn that if you never meet or interact with anyone different from yourself.

Today I mourn the loss of the oppurtunity that I had to learn that lesson may now be lost to generations of young people who should've been able to benefit from Brown and have the experiences I gained, but Gary didn't.

To me, this day will live in infamy.

Vyan

P.S. Gary died of Cancer about a decade ago - he wasn't even 40 yet.


How Progressives can use Ann Coulter

Ann Coulter has been in the news, hasn't she?

First on Good Morning America the other day she says:

"I've learned my lesson, If I'm gonna say anything about John Edwards in the future, I'll just wish he had been killed in a terrorist assassination plot."

Which I suppose supposed to a smart-assed reference to the ongoing right-wing fantasy about something Bill Maher said concerning various Huffpo comments that were removed supporting the bombing attack on Dick Cheney in Afghanistan. Except that Bill didn't wish Cheney dead - he actually said:

I have zero doubt that if Dick Cheney wasn't in power, people wouldn't be dying needlessly tomorrow.

Yesterday on Hardball she gets a call from Elizabeth Edwards asking her to "Please stop the personal attacks and instead engage the issues..."

To which she does exactly what we'd all expect her to do...

She personally attacks the Edwards campaign and accuses them of using her name to raise money.

And y'know what - she actually has a valid point.

I know Elizabeth was probably sincere when she asked Ann to stop saying things like..

"I wanted to talk about John Edwards, but if I use the word 'faggot' I'll be sent to rehab."

(In reference to the aftermath of Isaiah Washington's comments on the set of Grey's Anatomy)

Or what she said in a 2003 column suggesting that Edwards drove around with a bumper sticker that said.

"Ask me about my son’s death in a horrific car accident."

But the truth is we should be using Coulter every chance we get to help raise money - just as the Edwards Campaign is doing right now - and to raise awareness of just what pond-scum some of these neo-con boot-lickers are.

I know I'm just speaking for myself, but the last thing I want her to do is stop - it's way to much fun to point out how full of shit she is.

Just look at some of the things she said during the confrontation with Elizabeth Edwards.

Coulter: I don't mind you trying to raise money, it's better this than giving $50,000 speeches to the poor - just so you can use my name on the webpages.

Edwards: I'm asking you to stop the personal attacks.

Coutler: How about you stop raising money on your webpages?

Y'see to Ann, hate speech is the same as fundraising. I don't mean a little bit similar - it's exactly the same thing. What she's trying to do with her books and comments, is rally the base. She also happens to think that she's funny.

We all have to realize that Coulter isn't a pundit, she's a fake comedian in the same way that John Stewart and Stephen Colbert really are comedians while being fake newsmen.

The thing is, she's doesn't just rally the base with her comments, she rallies us too.

Coulter: I think we heard all we need to hear. The wife of a presidential candidate is asking me to stop speaking. No.

Matthews: No, she asked you to stop being so negative to people individually.

Coulter: Right, as opposed to bankrupting doctors by giving a schyster Las Vegas routine in front of juries based on science — wait, you said I’d have as long as I would have, then you instantly interrupt me.

M: Go ahead, go ahead.

C: As I was saying, doing these psychic routines in front of illiterate juries to bankrupt doctors who now can’t deliver babies, and to charge a poverty group $50,000 for a speech. Don’t talk to me about how to use language.

M: Elizabeth?

E: ...the language of hate, and I’m going to ask you again to politely stop using personal attacks as part of your dialogue.

C: Okay, I’ll stop writing books.

E: If you can’t write them without them, that is fine.

Y'know what I find truly hilarious about this portion of Ann comments, besides the fact that she's making them just as SiCKO is coming out and sympathy for millionaire doctors who'se incompetence has crippled and killed people is probably nearing an all-time low, is the fact that she attacking trial lawyers and SHE'S A LAWYER!

Her first "claim to fame" was working behind the scenes with the Paula Jones legal team to help set an perjury trap for Bill Clinton. David Brock, now of Media Matters, when he was still a unrepentant right-wing shill for Richard Mellon-Scaif used to call Ann "My Lawyer Friend" back in the days when he used to hang out with Dinesh D'Souza ex-girlfriend Laura Ingraham and Matt Drudge would try to hit on him at West Hollywood gay bars.

Eventually she even got Chris Matthews to finally respond.

Matthews: Why do you call out Hillary’s chubby legs in your book? Why do you — this may fall under the category of personal attacks, I don’t know, but why do you do that? Why do you talk about Monica Lewinsky’s chubbiness? If she were skinny, would it have been okay?

Since this was actually a good question, it only makes sense that Coulter ducked it.

We progressives have a few choices here.

We can attempt to raise the level of discourse as Elizabeth attempted to do.

We can point out that although Glenn Greenwald and Marcy Wheeler are both outselling Coulter, they don't get to go on National TV to promote their books.

We can point out that Ann Coulter is very likely guilty of voter fraud.

We can point out that her comments threatening the life of a Presidential Candidate may have violated the Patriot Act.

We can get mad at the injustice of it all.

We shout and scream at the heaven's in frustration.

We can donate $25, $50 or $100 to the Edwards Campaign in protest of Coulter-geist.

Or we can follow the lead of an actual commedian - Kathy Griffin - who took Ann Coulter apart like a seasoned pro on Bravo last night. (Please note I'm only quoting - all the following smack-down is Kathy's not mine. Address all complaints to BravoTv.com, I'm just reporting the comedy - I didn't make it)

I was on GMA the same day as that b*tch Ann Coulter who said that the 9-11 widoes were "harpies" and that their (dead) husbands probably wanted to divorce them anyway.

Y'just know Ann Coulter is the wet-dream of all those creepy old conservative dudes. Like when Rumsfeld is beating off he's thinking...

"Oh, suck it Ann!"

Or Cheney..

"Yeah, tea-bag my sh*t Ann."

Ouch! But wait, she wasn't nearly done.

When you hear somethig like what she said, you literally turn into Scoobie Do.

"Those widows are Harpies"

Ruh!!

(Head turns, lifing her hands up like the ears of a dog perking up)

"They just wanted the money, and they're husbands were gonna leave them anyway"

RUHH!!

As an American I was offended, but as a Comedian... (Winks).

(To her assistant...)

"Jessica, send her a fruit basket!"

So later, Al Rocher was inviewing me and I said "What's up with that nutbag Ann Coulter? Why's she still rockin' the black mini-cocktail dress at 7 in the morning? What was she banging someone last night and didn't have time to go home and change?

It's like it's 1980 and she's in a Robert Palmer Video.

(Does the qualude addled side to side dance) "...The lights are on... but you're not home..."

So I went over to Matt Lauer and said. "You're not F*cking her are ya?"

And he goes "What?"

"You're not F*cking her are ya?"

And he says "Not after today!"

There, doesn't that make you feel better?

Point being, the last the we should let a shallow bint like Coulter do is get under our skin because as Kathy points out, she's not a joke-ster - she is a joke.

Vyan

Wednesday, June 27

Elizebeth Edwards clown Coulter-geist

From Thinkprogress

Elizabeth Edwards confronted right-wing pundit Ann Coulter during a live interview on MSNBC this afternoon, charging that Coulter’s “personal attacks” on former senator John Edwards and others were based on “the language of hate.”

Yesterday on ABC’s Good Morning America, Coulter said, “[I]f I’m gonna say anything about John Edwards in the future, I’ll just wish he had been killed in a terrorist assassination plot.” She has previously called Edwards a “faggot.” In 2003, she wrote a column claiming that John Edwards drove around with a bumper sticker saying “Ask me about my son’s death in a horrific car accident.”

During an hour-long interview with Coulter today on MSNBC, host Chris Matthews announced that Elizabeth Edwards was on the line. Edwards referenced the attacks above, saying, “I’m the mother of that boy who died. These young people behind you…you’re asking them to participate in a dialogue that is based on hatefulness and ugliness instead of on the issues, and I don’t think that’s serving them or this country very well.” The live audience cheered. Watch it:

Responding to Edwards, Coulter first inexplicably claimed that she “didn’t say anything about [Edwards]” on the previous day. Then Coulter tried to claim that Edwards just wanted her to “stop speaking” and stop writing books, but Matthews rebutted her, saying, “No, she said you should stop being so negative to people individually.”

When her first two attempts to spin the situation faulted, Coulter then launched into another baseless, personal attack, accusing John Edwards of “bankrupting doctors by giving a shyster Las Vegas routine in front of juries…doing these psychic routines in front of illiterate juries to bankrupt doctors who now can’t deliver babies.”

Tuesday, June 26

From the Mouth's of Babes

This week President Bush received a verbal spanking from a set of 50 High School students who visited the White House to be honored as "Presidential Scholars." The 50 teens deliverered a hand written note to the President asking him to - Halt all Human Rights Violations by the United States.



Olbermann says these kids are "His Heroes."

The President says "The U.S. Doesn't Torture."

Yeah, right.

Vyan

Quick Truths

“President Bush was presented with a letter Monday signed by 50 high school seniors in the Presidential Scholars program urging a halt to ‘violations of the human rights’ of terror suspects held by the United States.” The handwritten letter said in part, “We do not want America to represent torture.” Bush “took a moment to read it and talk with a young woman who handed it to him.”

“Iraq’s conflict is exacting an immense and largely unnoticed psychological toll on children and youth that will have long-term consequences.” A World Health Organization survey of Iraqi children under 10 found that 47 percent reported being “exposed to a major traumatic event over the past two years.”

239. Number of bills the House of Representatives has passed and sent to the Senate only to be held up, with conservatives “objecting to just about every major piece of legislation that [Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV)] has tried to bring up.”

Yesterday’s Supreme Court decisions show the new “muscle” of the conservative majority, but USA Today notes a division between the far-right justices who are “eager to overturn previous decisions” and the new Bush appointees who are “reluctant” to “completely gut court precedents.”

“The U.S. Conference of Mayors narrowly endorsed a resolution Monday calling for the Bush administration to begin planning for the swift withdrawal of troops from Iraq.” The war is reducing federal funds “for needed domestic investments in education, health care, public safety, homeland security and more,” the resolution states.

The ACLU and other civil liberties groups have declared today a Day of Action to Restore Law and Justice. The ACLU will be “rallying on Capitol Hill and visiting congressional offices asking Congress to restore the right of habeas corpus.” Christy Hardin Smith has toll-free call-in numbers so you can contact your representatives, or sign MoveOn’s petition HERE. ACLU’s FindHabeas will be live-blogging throughout the day.

50,000. Estimated number of Iraqi refugees, “many alarmingly young,” now employed as sex workers and prostitutes in Syria.

Drowning Pool - Soldiers

Drowning Pool - Soldiers

Fishbone - Servitude

Fishbone - Servitude

Monday, June 25

Lock Up - Peacekeeper

Lock Up - Peacekeeper (Feat Tom Morello)

Hynogaja - Nothing Box

Hypnogaja - Nothingbox

Mother's Finest - Interview w/ Raw Power

MOther's Finest Interview on Raw Power

Audioslave - Wide Awake (Katrina Tribute)

Audioslave - Wide Awake (Tribute to Katrina)

The Cheney Branch of Government

Olbermann on the Cheney Branch of Government

Sunday, June 24

In Defense of Impeach and Remove vs Impeach Now

I wasn't planning on writing this diary today. But circumstances have forced my hand.

I'm not complaining mind you because it gives me a chance to further clarify and focus some issues on the Impeachment Front as I respond directly to yesterday's diary by buhdydharma on The Apparently Misunderstood Strategy Behind Impeach 'Now'. who was in turn responding to me (and others) when I said "One Thing We Shouldn't Do - Is Impeach Too Soon."

And just for the record I understand perfectly, I simply disagree tactically with "Impeach Now" particularly if we actually want to have a successful Conviction and Removal in the Senate.

As of now, that's not gonna happen - but it might in the future if we play our cards carefully.

The first issue is "Impeach Who" exactly?

Just for the record, I think we're only a hair's breath away from Impeaching Gonzales. If the IG investigation of his obstruction with Monica Goodling isn't just a white-wash, and Congress doesn't sit on it's hands with his obvious and repeated perjury before various committees - his ass his grass.

Gonzo needs to be taken out first, that's clear. He's the cock-blocker that's keeping us from establish a a Special Counsel to look into all the other wrong-doings of Bush and Co.

But if you're talking about Impeaching either Bush or Cheney - I think that's simply going to have to wait for a few more months, possible even a year or so until after the above (Removing Gonzales, Implementing a Special Counsel) is accomplished.

(I should note however that with Cheney's little "I'm not in the executive branch" speil while trying to avoid reporting requirements for classified information and today's revelations that he spied on White House Staffers, and set up a secret campaign of Global Warming Denial he just might be gone sooner than Gonzo at this rate. You never can predict these things perfectly.)

buhdydharma said:

It is my contention that these comments come from reading PARTS of impeachment diaries...as well as conflating a FEW poorly reasoned and presented impeach arguments with those of the more responsible impeachment advocates.

Speaking entirely for myself, I didn't write my diary yesterday based on "PARTS" of anything. I've written my own share of Impeachment diaries. To Wit.

The other direct inspiration for my comments yesterday were many of the comments I recieved to my Contempt of Congress Diary from the day before that. Examples:

I'm not optimistic this will acccomplish (28+ / 0-)

anything.

Chairman Conyers needs to start Impeachment hearings.

If he doesn't, the stonewalling will never end.

Futility. (4+ / 0-)

"The process was designed to be slow and deliberate, to prevent its being abused and misused."

How's that working out?

We can't dick around any longer; no more little (0 / 0)

bricks!

We need to start impeachment hearings for BOTH Gonzales AND Cheney NOW!

The clock is ticking!

(This I happen to think is a somewhat fair point, the timetable I suggested yesterday would put Impeachment taking place right after the Presidential Primaries in June of '08 - which could be more than a little bit awkward, but if the case is strong and air-tight enough - ultimately that won't matter.)

We aren't gonna remove anyone, just like (1+ / 0-)

we are not gonna stop this war in this current term.

However, we CAN establish for posterity formal articles of impeachment, which will put on the record the crimes of the Bush admin.

Such will also reinvigorate our own base.

Such will also shake up the Bushie "I can't recall" defense. And the "executive privilege" defense.

And, it will be during the impeachment hearings themselves where we will discover new & interesting things;

Another poster here astutely said, when Rodino & Dash (of Watergate fame) proceeded to formal impeachment hearings, they never knew beforehand that John Dean would flip or that Butterfield would tell us about the WH taping system.

Rodino & Dash proceeded to formal impeachment hearings of NIXON with a lot LESS stuff than Conyers ALREADY has!

Impeachment isn't the real goal, and neither is removal the real goal;

THE FORMAL DISCOVERY AND FORMAL DOCUMENTATION OF BUSH CRIMES is the real goal!

Oh yeah,

THE NIXON TAPES CAME OUT ONLY AS A RESULT OF FORMAL IMPEACHMENT HEARINGS, WHICH HAD TO FIRST BE HELD!!

My diary yesterday was simply an attempt to consolidate and organize my responses to some of the above comments - particularly the last one since I felt it operated under a historical fallacy.

The simple fact is that the Nixon Tapes came out months before formal impeachment hearings began - so that's clearly an invalid justification to "Impeach Now". I was correcting his (or her) misunderstanding.

Next buhdydharma said:

To reiterate one point that somehow has been constantly and I dare say, maliciously ignored....NO responsible Impeach advocate has suggested that impeachment is not reliant on thorough investigations.

EVER.

We can certainly debate the "responsible" issue, but just from the comments I've quoted some people have indeed made that very suggestion, essentially arguing that we either already have everything we need or it's only through Impeachment proceedings that we can peirce the veil of "executive priveledge" as was noted by this commenter.

Sorry, but (21+ / 0-)

Impeachment means starting the investigation.

Conviction only comes after the evidence. My guess is that if you polled Americans on the question, "would you support the removal of the President if he were found to have committed crimes against the country and the constitution?" an overwhelming majority would say yes.

Impeachment, and impeachment alone, can enable those revelations, because only by impeachment can we cut through "executive privilege" stonewalling. That is why it is urgent and necessary.

The "Executive Priviledge" issue may also be a fair point, but there's more than one way to skin a Bush. We still have some time left to let the court battle over that issue resolve itself.

And, in point of fact, a very similar question to the one suggested by that commenter was asked by an LA Times Bloomberg Poll last April.

"If George W. Bush broke the law when he authorized government agencies to use electronic surveillance to monitor American citizens without a court warrant, do you think that is an impeachable offense, or not an impeachable offense?"

  • All Adults IS 36% IS NOT 56%
  • Democrats IS 53% IS NOT 36%
  • Republicans IS 17% IS NOT 80%
  • Independants IS 37% IS NOT 53%

"Democratic Congressman John Conyers has called for creation of a committee to look into impeaching Bush and removing him from office. Do you think Congress should or should not impeach Bush and remove him from office?"

  • Should 33% Should Not 66%

Not exactly the stunning results one would expect, eh?

The point here is that the case for Impeachment has not even begun to be made yet (and the MSM isn't helping since they've hardly ever bothered to poll on the question since last year!) Congress has yet to find the "smoking gun" that would make the case complete in Bush's case.

Then buhdydharma said:

Point two, and the one that has been highlighted recently....NO ONE expects Nancy Pelosi to read an impeachment diary and suddenly throw up her hands and throw her own assessment, her own read of the politics and her common sense to the wind because of an impeachment diary on Dkos....and immediately start proceedings!

Well, of course not... but - and this is big but - we do have to hope that we, in our own small way, can have an impact on policy. These diaries aren't neccesarily written specifically for legislators - we write them primarily for each other. To help ourselves negotiate and develop activist action plans, build marching orders and implement them.

Nancy Pelosi may not read a specific Impeachment Diary, but many of us will and then get on the phone and call her office at (202) 225-0100...

Or write her a letter at

Office of the Speaker
H-232, US Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

Or post on her blog The Gavel and let her know what you think directly.

Secondly, my issue isn't with Speaker Pelosi doing "something against her better judgement" - I personally was more concerned with the level of growing impatience, cynicism and frustration that was clearly evident when Congress failed to override Bush's Veto of the Troop Redeployment plan and choose to Punt Until September, at which point I wrote Don't Panic to point out that despite Kucinich and Edwards' posturing Dems had no more viable options until they were able to gain more Republican support. As Dana Milbank pointed out that evening on Countdown they didn't even have the requisite 60 votes to re-submit the vetoed bill again It was D.O.A. Time for Plan B.

As a result of that fracus - We Lost Cindy Sheehan!

This is what I don't want to see continue. We need to stay in this fight for the long haul, we can't afford to let cynicism and defeatism push us out of the public sphere as an activist force.

I was speaking to US - not them (Congress).

Then buhdydharma said:

Demanding impeachment on Dkos WILL NOT make it happen. To think we don't know that is ridiculous and as I have said, insulting. So instead of thinking all impeachment advocates are idiots, try taking a second to ask what our strategy and thinking actually is!

On this point I actually completely disagree. Demanding that Congress change - via DKOS and other outlets - DID MAKE IT HAPPEN. Oh sure, the Repubs did a lot to help what with the Abramov, The Dukester, The Foley Follies and Maccaca Man. But we helped keep those stories alive and kicking GOP Ass.

It not so much a matter of "demanding" but of making consistent persuasive arguements which gradually change the mind of others progressives, and those people tell two people.. and they tell two people... and eventually you have a groundswell that Congress can't possibly ignore.

BUT... my point remains that although we should absolutely be pushing for Impeachment, since there are literally hundreds of good reasons for it, we Don't have to kick a gift horse like possible Contempt of Congress Charges in the Mouth simply because the issue isn't moving fast enough for our tastes.

Patience is not Appeasement!

There's a huge difference between Impeaching Now... and Impeaching with the intent of Winning in the Senate and Removing Bush (and Cheney) from Office. I know many people don't believe that can be done - but I can tell you one thing, it sure as shit won't get done if we don't even try to visualize it.

To me: Impeachment's Too GOOD For 'em, they need to be Removed.

We may or may not get there, but Removal should be the goal.

There are two primary reasons for this 1) We are not going to end the Iraq Occupation while Bush is still President, he'll go down to the last gasp of his Administration on Jan 19th 2009 still clutching Baghdad in his cold dead fingers and 2) We are not going to send a serious message to all future Presidents that the type of blatant lawlessness and arrogance that this Adminstration has perpetrated Will Not Be Tolerated by this nation or we risk Permenent Damage to The Rule of Law - unless we Impeach, Remove and hopefully Convict!

If we don't reign these fuckers in - and I mean Hard - there is literally nothing to stop it from happening again, and again and again. Just listen to Mitt Romney "I would open Two Guantanemos" - or listen to Guiliani whose practically ready to launch a pre-emptive strike against Iran. Or McCain...

"Bomb bomb bomb.. bomb bomb I..."

This shit has to be stopped cold.

These guys are too irresponsible to be trusted with the family car, let alone the country. The Authoritarian Dickheads who've totally hijacked the GOP have to know that they can't get away with it. Ever.

On every other point made by buhdydharma I completely agree.

I don't think or expect that Nancy Pelosi will become President even if somehow my best case scenario does manage to pan out and both Shooter and Bushie are removed. Most likely we'll wind up with a limp Senate-safe "Ford II" regent to ride out the demise of Bushco. It simply wouldn't be appropriate to make this issue into a partisan coup.

That's not what it's about.

(Although in full disclosure it hasn't stopped me from making a "President Pelosi '07" T-Shirt Design just for the fun of it.)

Anyway....

I stand in solidarity with buhdydharma on the point that we need to address these issues wisely and strategically. We need to be strong, DKOS Strong, learn to handle the setbacks and contain ourselves from lashing out at our own side when they're honestly paddling as fast as they can through the morass of obstruction and that our government was designed to be.

A government that works too quickly, works rashly. Isn't that exactly what we saw under the Republican Congress as they passed bills in the middle of the night and decided to stop doing the entire country's business to invervene in the health decisions of one lone florida woman in a hospice?

I was not intending to shout-down those who feel passionate about Impeachment, or to discourage them from speaking out and letting people know how they feel - rather I sought to re-assure them that "Yes, brother - look at what Conyers is doing - and recognize that It is good"

Yeah, verily.

Contempt of Congress is for Today.

Impeachment (of Gonzales) is for Tommorrow (or in the next fwe weeks)

Cheney and Bush have a few months before it's their turn.

Vyan