Thursday, June 19, 2008

House Dems capitulate to Bush, allowing illegal spying of Americans

Un-fucking-believeable. Steny Hoyer (who's recently gotten over $12,000 from the telecoms) has reached a "compromise" bill that would grant retroactive immunity for the telecoms and the Bush administration for illegally spying on our phone calls. If this passes, the wording seems to show that we CANNOT pass another law next year repealing this. So we can NEVER hold Bush accountable in a court of law for violating the Constitution. He gets off scot free.

Thanks to Steny Hoyer. A "Democrat". Constitutional law expert Glenn Greenwald explains just how bad this is.

The provision granting amnesty to lawbreaking telecoms, Title VIII, has the exact Orwellian title it should have: "Protection of Persons Assisting the Government." Section 802(a) provides:

[A] civil action may not lie or be maintained in a Federal or State court against any person for providing assistance to an element of the intelligence community, and shall be properly dismissed, if the Attorney General certifies to the district court of the United States in which such action is pending that . . . (4) the assistance alleged to have been provided . . . was --

(A) in connection with intelligence activity involving communications that was (i) authorized by the President during the period beginning on September 11, 2001, and ending on January 17, 2007 and (ii) designed to prevent or detect a terrorist attack, or activities in preparation of a terrorist attack, against the United States" and

(B) the subject of a written request or directive . . . indicating that the activity was (i) authorized by the President; and (ii) determined to be lawful.

So all the Attorney General has to do is recite those magic words -- the President requested this eavesdropping and did it in order to save us from the Terrorists -- and the minute he utters those words, the courts are required to dismiss the lawsuits against the telecoms, no matter how illegal their behavior was.

That's the "compromise" Steny Hoyer negotiated and which he is now -- according to very credible reports -- pressuring every member of the Democratic caucus to support. It's full-scale, unconditional amnesty with no inquiry into whether anyone broke the law. In the U.S. now, thanks to the Democratic Congress, we'll have a new law based on the premise that the President has the power to order private actors to break the law, and when he issues such an order, the private actors will be protected from liability of any kind on the ground that the Leader told them to do it -- the very theory that the Nuremberg Trial rejected.

And for those of you who think Obama will do anything about this, because he could definitely stop the bill in its tracks if he applies pressure on the House to do so, Glenn also shows it looks like Obama will do nothing about this, and will let Bush get away with this.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Political Pokemon


MO-06: Worst. Ad. Ever.

Since I can't embed YouTube videos in the comments, this is in response to Gabe's post on that laughable "bio" ad for John Cornyn. And all I gotta say is, you ain't seen nothin' yet. In MO-06, incumbent Sam Graves (R) is being challenged by former Kansas City mayor Kay Barnes (D). Graves released an ad that was considered a real stinker that "borders on the racist". See for yourself. And note that Graves was too chicken to run this TV ad in Kansas City, but rather only in one smaller TV market in Missouri.

Gotta love all those stereotypes. But wait! He wasn't done. Check out this follow-up ad from Graves. And listen carefully, the second time the voiceover mentions Barnes by name, she says "Gay Barnes". Listen for it.

Barnes isn't taking this lying down, and quickly hit back with this rebuttal.

This race will be one to watch. The DCCC has placed Barnes on their Red to Blue program, and a SurveyUSA poll from last month showed Graves under the 50% re-election mark. For an incumbent, that's sign of vulnerability. And Barnes will be quite financially competitive with Graves too.

[Interestingly enough, Sam's brother is Todd Graves, who was originally on the list of U.S. attorneys to be fired in that massive scandal that eventually forced Alberto Gonzales to resign. Seems Todd Graves didn't want to pursue a meritless lawsuit to force Missouri to purge its voter rolls (which could've knocked off registered voters in the process). Graves was replaced by Bradley Schlozman, known for pushing cases of "voter fraud", with the intent of suppressing minority voters.]

See here for previous Congressional diaries.

Watching this might change your life

For those of you that don't read dailykos, I didn't want you to miss out on the best political video since... well, it may just be the best ever.


Lakers lost... Democrats win?

Now, I know that many of my fellow Bruin Democrats were cheering on the Lakers as they battled the Boston Celtics for the chance to take home a NBA championship ring. I, more of a Warriors fan myself, was cheering the Lakers on, hoping that UCLA Alum Jordan Farmar and Trevor Ariza would bring another championship to L.A.

Yet, despite MVP Kobe Bryant and all the prayers of L.A., the Lakers lost to the Celtics in a pretty nasty game five defeat. And while our home team may have lost, this bodes well for a Barack Obama win in November.

Every year the Lakers have won a NBA Championship during an election year in recent history, the Republican candidate has won.

In 1972, the Lakers won, paving the way for a Nixon victory that fall. In 1980 the Lakers won again, as did Ronald Reagan. The 1984-85 season started with Reagan's reelection and was punctuated with--you guessed it--a Lakers championship. The Lakers won again in 1988 and so did George Bush Sr. George Bush was 'elected' in 2000, while the Lakers won another championship. And, as we all know, Bush was reelected in 2004 despite the Detroit Piston's best efforts (they beat the Lakers in the finals 4-1).

I am sure many Democrats would have enjoyed a Laker win followed by an Obama win in November. But at least the Laker's loss is joining a strong tide of unfavorable conditions for Republican John McCain.

So, sorry Kobe, and thanks Boston for making this a good year for Democrats to take back the white house.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Texas GOP's racist pin

Take a look at what was being sold at the Texas GOP convention over the weekend.

That the Texas GOP allowed the vendor to sell the button at their convention says a lot about these people's inner racism. Get ready for a lot more of this shit in the coming months, folks.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Tim Russert Passes Away

NBC Journalist and host of 'Meet the Press' passes away from a heart attack at only 58 years old. Rest in Peace.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Terrorist Fist Jab??

Fox News is at it again..

Teasing a segment on the "gesture everyone seems to interpret differently," Fox News' E.D. Hill said: "A fist bump? A pound? A terrorist fist jab? ... We'll show you some interesting body communication and find out what it really says." In the ensuing discussion with a "body language expert," Hill referred to the "Michelle and Barack Obama fist bump or fist pound," but at no point did she explain her earlier reference to "a terrorist fist jab."


Sunday, June 08, 2008

Hillary Clinton: One Classy Lady

Below you'll find a video Hillary Clinton's concession speech. Essentially universally lauded by pundits as being 'extraordinary,' Senator Hillary Clinton unequivocally endorses Senator Barack Obama, thanks her supporters, and makes some immensely insightful remarks regarding gender and politics.

This speech made me feel 100 times better about Hillary's loss and Obama's win. Now a lot of you in Bruin Democrats and around this blog know that I have never been a fan of Barack Obama. However, for any Obama partisans who think that Hillary Clinton is working to have her supporters defect and vote for John McCain, or hoping that Senator Obama fails so that she can run again in 2012, I suggest you look at the speech and use me as an example of its impact. Hillary's speech compelled me to strongly support Barack Obama not because of any lofty ideals of 'hope' and 'change,' or the not-so-lofty ideal of generational warfare (too soon?), but because the election of Barack Obama is paramount to the implementation of Democratic ideals. This speech will serve as a catalyst for for the 18 million Americans who voted for Senator Clinton, and she should be applauded for its eloquence.

To the Obama supporters: congratulations on your win. But remember, the party was split right down the middle 52-48. Now is the time for unity, humility, and magnanimity.

Let's work to get a Democratic president elected in 2008! Happy Studying!