Saturday, February 28, 2009

Conservative Quandary

This is from an article in Friday’s Washington Post.

Court Rejects Obama Bid to Stop Wiretapping Suit

The Obama administration has lost its argument that a potential threat to national security should stop a lawsuit challenging the government's warrantless wiretapping program.
A federal appeals court in San Francisco on Friday rejected the Justice Department's request for an emergency stay in a case involving a defunct Islamic charity.

Yet government lawyers signaled they would continue fighting to keep the information secret, setting up a new showdown between the courts and the White House over national security.
The Obama administration, like the Bush administration before it, claimed national security would be compromised if a lawsuit brought by the Oregon chapter of the charity, Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, was allowed to proceed.

Now, civil libertarians hope the case will become the first chance for a court to rule on whether the warrantless wiretapping program was legal or not. It cited the so-called state secrets privilege as a defense against the lawsuit.

"All we wanted was our day in court and it looks like we're finally going to get our day in court," said Al-Haramain's lawyer, Steven Goldberg. "This case is all about challenging an assertion of power by the executive branch which is extraordinary."

But hours after the appeals court made its decision, government lawyers filed new papers insisting they still did not have to turn over any sensitive information.

"The government respectfully requests that the court refrain from further actions to provide plaintiffs with access to classified information," said the filing, suggesting the Obama administration may appeal the matter again to keep the information secret and block the case from going forward.

The decision by the three-judge appeals panel is a setback for the new Obama administration as it adopts some of the same positions on national security and secrecy as the Bush administration.
Yet even as that review continues, the administration has invoked the privilege in several different cases, including the Al-Haramain matter.

The case began when the Bush administration accidentally turned over documents to Al-Haramain attorneys. Lawyers for the defunct charity said the papers showed illegal wiretapping by the National Security Agency.

The documents were returned to the government, which quickly locked them away, claiming they were state secrets that could threaten national security if released.

Lawyers for Al-Haramain argued that they needed the documents to prove the wiretapping.
A number of organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union, tried to sue the government over warrantless wiretapping but were denied standing because they could not show they were targeted.

Ann Brick, a lawyer for the ACLU of Northern California, said the court has now crafted a way to review the issue in which "national security isn't put at risk, but the rule of law can still be observed."

Well, well. What have we here? The “liberal” Obama Administration is challenged by the “activist” federal appeals court in the ongoing struggle between Fourth Amendment supporters and the Executive Branch of the US Government.

Like many of you, I’d be fascinated to learn what the conservative view is on this. Who are they for on this one? Will they defend the former “most liberal senator”, or do they support the “activist judges”?

I can’t wait to hear from them. So far all I hear are chirping crickets...

Maybe that’s because they've all been busy wetting their linen while jumping up and down and chanting to Rush Limbaugh as he spewed his bile, hot air, lies, contradictions and projection at the CPAC convention.

But that’s another post.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

My Little Dream

IF the US didn't have a hopelessly corrupt rogue government, I'd suggest these simple remedies to restore our country's honor, values and economy.

What needs to be done is a bi-partisan effort. I think the American people would go for it, if we just told them the facts for once. It would be worth it for the MSM to tell the truth for a change, if only to have a full blown media circus covering the comeuppance of those who deserve it. It's past time for impeachments and indictments. The Karmic wheel has got to turn on the slimy scoundrels before it turns even more on the rest of us.

First we need to fire and prosecute all the greedy thieving Wall Street swindlers who bankrupted our country. The taxpayers may as well have bought the banks, so we may also as well nationalize them. Obviously nobody could manage them any worse than those silk suited reptiles did.

Then we need to make examples of the politicians who screwed everything up.

The Republicans can impeach Pelosi, Hoyer, Harmon, Nelson, Reid, and Rockefeller for aiding and abetting torture and illegal wiretaps. I bet they'd like that.

Let's even allow that to proceed first, in the spirit of bipartisanship. After that gets under way, we'll have Obama's Department of Justice live up to its name and indict Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle, Gonzales, etc. for torture, war crimes, and illegal surveillance.

That's my little dream of justice for a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Reich Wing American

I have often used certain words or phrases that are not found in corporate media. Many of you do so as well, and I’m not speaking of obscenities. There is accepted meaning and usage of words that have yet to appear in a dictionary.

One example we use out here in the free speech zone is the word “corporatism”. We all know what it is. It is the nexus of Big Money and government. Anyone paying a lick of attention these days is well aware that our government has been co-opted into a government of, by, and for the corporations.

There are also dozens of descriptive and/or derogatory words used by political bloggers and activists to label the persons of the opposite political persuasion. Here’s a shout out to all you wing-nuts and lefty wackos out there. For some reason or another, liberal and conservative don’t seem to convey the intended impact anymore.

I have no problem with little old church ladies, or reserved, incurious, old gentlemen who like to think of themselves as conservatives. Especially if they look at others who are different or foreign and simply shrug, “It takes all kinds, but that’s not for me.” We all have relatives like that.

However, there are some others who also identify themselves as conservatives, and they are not a bit like our meek unassuming relatives. They are so far to the right they would be in the SS and Gestapo if they were in Nazi Germany. I’m not talking about Republicans, although these angry bigots, sociopaths, and racists would never vote for a Democrat. These are the idiots who like to say they love America, but would be willing to kill fellow citizens who disagree with them.

They are arrogant and fanatical true believers in their own self-righteousness. They disdain the very notion of equality because, in their mind, they are truly superior to others. I have been using my own term for these hateful, ignorant, intolerant authoritarians. I call them Reich Wingers.

We’ve seen them all over. They are the Klansmen who lynched black men and their supporters.

They are the cops clubbing union members in a picket line, or spraying tear gas into the faces of peaceful protesters.

They are the bullies who would, without provocation, beat or murder gay men who just happen to be in the area.

They are the thugs who would harass and assault Hippies for simply minding their own business.

You get the idea

Yes, and I would also add to that list any corporatist authoritarians who would lie and deceive a nation into a war for their own re-election, power and profit.

Speaking of Bush and Cheney, remember their little “legacy tour” between Election Day and Inauguration Day? They were frantically attempting to get in the last word about what a glorious success their leadership had been.

My favorite part was the repetition of their favorite lie; that they kept us safe. Right. We’re not counting, of course, the attacks of September 11th. Remember the corporate TV networks showing them crowing about there being no further terrorist attacks on the “homeland”?

Maybe we’re not supposed to remember the anthrax murders and accompanying terror. Or is it a rule that only Islamic extremists are qualified to be terrorists? Or, maybe it has something to do with the fact that the intended targets of the anthrax were Democrats and media figures. It seems it’s not terrorism if it’s directed at liberals.

“That’s crazy talk,” I can hear some of you saying. Well, let’s have a look at another case.

Last Monday Jim David Adkisson was sentenced to life in prison after he pleaded guilty to two counts of murder he committed in a church in Tennessee. He also wounded six others at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville.

Why did he do it? Was he a schizophrenic hearing voices in his head telling him to kill witches and demons?

No, he gunned down innocent people because he thought they were liberals.

He is not insane, at least by legal definition. And the voices he was influenced by were those of fellow conservative hate mongers. Police found books and material in his home by Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, and Bill O’Reilly.

We have a clear picture of how and what these Reich Wing nuts think. Adkisson released a sort of suicide note he’d written before his rampage. After complaining about not getting a good job, he explained his violent hateful act as a political expression. We see him refer to the book about 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America by Bernard Goldberg. Here are some excerpts from his “manifesto”.

“Lately I’ve been feeling helpless in our war on terrorism. But I realized I could engage the terrorists’ allies here in America. The best allies they’ve got. The Democrats! The democrats have done everything they can do to tie our hands in this War on Terror. They’re all a bunch of traitors. They want America to loose this war for reasons I can not understand. It makes me soooo mad!”

Why is that, you may wonder. He tells us:

“The worst problem America faces today is Liberalism...Liberals have attacked every major institution that made America great. From the Boy Scouts to the Military, from education to Religion. The major news outlets have become the propaganda arm of the Democrat Party. Liberals are evil, they embrace the tenets of Karl Marx, they’re Marxist, socialist, communists.”

Wherever would an American get such enlightenment? Or would that just be Reich Wing “entertainment”? Hitler would have loved this guy.

He devoted one page to his venomous diatribe against the “Ultra-Liberal” Unitarians.

Just to be clear, he gives us three points on the page titled, “Know This If Nothing Else”.

"1. This was a hate Crime:
I hate the damn left-wing liberals. There is a vast left-wing conspiracy in this country and these liberals are working together to attack every decent and honorable institution in the nation, trying to turn this country into a communist state. Shame on them.

2. This was a Political Protest:
I’m protesting the liberal Supreme Court Justices for giving the terrorists at GITMO constitutional rights. I’m protesting the major news outlets ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, PBS, for being the propaganda wing of the Democrat Party. It’s criminal what they’re getting away with. They’re traitors! They must be stopped. I’m protesting the DNC for running such a radical leftist candidate. Osama Hussein Obama, yo mama. No experience, no brains, a joke. Dangerous to America. Hell he looks like Curious George!

3. This was a Symbolic Killing:
Who I wanted to kill was every Democrat in the Senate and House, the 100 people in Bernard Goldberg’s book. I’d like to kill everyone in the main stream media. But I know these people were inaccesible to me. I couldn’t get to the generals and high ranking officers in the Marxist movement so I went after the foot soldiers, the chickenshit liberals that vote in these traitorous people. Someone had to get the ball rolling. I volunteered. I hope others do the same. It’s the only way we can rid America of this cancerous pestilence!"

He thoughtfully wraps things up in the last page, “In Conclusion”.

“No one gets out of this world alive so I’ve chosen to skip the bad years of poverty. I know my life is going downhill fast from here. The future looks bleak. I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired. I’m absolutely fed up.

So I thought I’d do something good for the country. Kill Democrats til the cops kill me...Liberals are a pest like termites. Millions of them. Each little bite contributes to the downfall of this great nation. The only way we can rid ourselves of this evil is kill them in the streets. Kill them where they gather. I’d like to encourage other like minded people to do what I’ve done.”

At least he won’t be skipping those last bad years of poverty, in prison. And to top it off he’s unrepentant. Fellow inmate Matthew David Chamberlain said Adkisson insisted that the motive behind the attack was purely ideological.

“He said if he got out (of prison), he’d do it again,” Chamberlain said.

So, there you have it. In his mind he’s a good Christian American patriot.

Adkisson is certainly they type I would label a Reich Winger. And he’s something more, too. We all know what this hateful sociopath is. So why do you suppose the corporate media will not call Adkisson a domestic terrorist?

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Capitalism Conundrum

Daisy asked me to comment at her post on Gordon Gekko Capitalism. (Thanks so much for your kind invitation, Daisy.) Instead of my usual smart-ass comment, I left something that could be an extension of my previous Freedom Rants post.

What's wrong with Capitalism? What's right about it? Is it better than Socialism or Communism?

This area of socio-economics has so many shades of gray amid the shadows and glare; we can hardly have a balanced view of it.

To begin with, the meanings of the words, Capitalism, Socialism, and Communism may have morphed so much by this day and age that they are impossible to debate without an agreement on the definition of such terms.

There are many governments and societies that likely have elements of all three systems. Those Chinese sure are getting the hang of Capitalism, aren’t they?

That's confusing enough. The real problem is the system now in place has dwarfed all of them. And I can't even find the word "corporatism" in the dictionary.

This will sound simplistic, but the foundation needed for any fair and just system is democracy. We may have had a little bit of that at one time or another in the US, but not anymore. The anti-democratic forces have gained power.

Communism, as developed by the Soviets, Chinese, etc., is not the only nemesis of democracy. Unregulated Capitalism, or corporatism, is now showing us what can go wrong.

Capitalism can mean anything from the kid's lemonade stand on the corner to hedge fund managing. It seems like the very act of defining it also limits it.

What has become clear, though, is democracy in the US has been usurped by corporatism. Corporatism may be the most lethal enemy of democracy yet. Its tentacles are so entwined into our government; I can't even see how to extricate them within our current system. A good start may be public financed elections and reversal of media conglomeration.

The only hope I see is to somehow educate the masses into realizing the need to reclaim democracy. We need a government of, by, and for the people, and that would include, by definition, more Socialism.

You know, if we have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, we would also have the right to the health care needed to achieve it.

Anyway, it’s not all about anti-capitalism. It’s more about promoting a more democratic Socialism along with regulated Capitalism.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Just Imagine

It's past time to scream at the ill-informed American public that Socialism is their best hope.

Republican conservatism, henceforth called Corporatism, does nothing to put food on hungry jobless Americans' tables. It does nothing to provide health care to those without insurance.

Since all I have as a national platform is my little blog, (and I thank you, my dear loyal readers. All twelve of you) I will have to share my Lottery Fantasy Social Movement Platform here at Freedom Rants.

I always thought if the wealthy elite really loved America, they would pay their taxes and shut up. I am so sick of whiney-assed, greedy, rich jerks crying about not having more money.

So, what would I do if I were one of the super rich?

Just imagine what could be accomplished if someone with a heart had the money Rush Limbaugh has. His latest Contract on America is about 400 million bucks.

I have some ideas that could come in handy to launch Operation American Freedom.

Wouldn’t it be fun to buy up radio stations and broadcast Air America into the Red South and West? We could hire Southerners to talk to their people about Wall Street Republicans treating them as slave labor.

How about funding the campaigns of non-corporatist Democratic opponents of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi? Maybe we could put up some billboards in California and Nevada with pictures of Harry and Nancy next to Bush/Cheney and say, “Let’s impeach the war crimes appeasers".

I would also put billboards on every highway stating these points.


1. Corporatism Failed You!

2. With regulated Capitalism, Socialism is the sane alternative.

3. Socialism is NOT Communism.

Then I’d print up a few million bumper stickers with these slogans to pass out free at demonstrations, concerts, and other gatherings.

I think I would also donate money to replace all touch screen voting machines in Democratic –leaning precincts with accurate paper trail ballots.

How about funding some urban youth recreation centers with messages on the walls reading, “Republicans Hate You”, “Don’t Let Them Play You For Chumps”, and “Take Your Future Back”.

I would give NORML and the ACLU a couple million dollars each.

I would buy air time in Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan and apologize in the name of our people for the crimes our government committed against them. And I would denounce both Bush and bin-Laden as terrorists.

I could probably think of a few more things to do if I had the money, but by this time I’d likely be taken out by some Reich Winger or government spook.