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Friday, July 29, 2005

And now the Senate wants to track your use of cold-medicine.

Mike Rezulli writes about the "anti-meth" bill.

Why was the Defense Appropriations Bill REALLY put on hold in the Senate?

While some folks like Chris Woods of The Political Forecast have questioned the priorities of Bill Frist/Senate Republicans in postponing the Defense Appropriations bill in favor of the legislation to block liability lawsuits against gun manufacturers, this editorial from The Washington Post suggests that it may have more to do with trying to block the McCain/Graham Amendment "that would exclude exceptional interrogation techniques at Guantanamo Bay and ban the use of "cruel, inhumane and degrading" treatment for all prisoners held by the United States."

I have to admit that it's a pretty slick technique to throw up legislation sure to raise the hackles of the pro-victim-disarmament crowd, who would normally be clamoring (as do I) for passage of this appropriations amendment, while the White House and Senate leadership try to do damage control and twist some arms to keep it from passing.

Live on the Radio

1 Political Junkie on WPTT This AM!

Tony Norman columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is subbing for Lynn Cullen (9 - noon) on WPTT Radio - 1360AM this morning and he will have David, 1 of the 2 Political Junkies, on as a guest.

You can stream WPTT live online at

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Does lil Ricky need a new pair of Flip-flops?

2 days ago, Senator Man-On-Dog said that his intention was not to run for President in 2008.

Now he says that he is open to a 2008 candidacy.

Probably because he'll be out of a job as of January 2007.

George Bush's America -- The goal of a neo-fascist state.

Many (most?) people equate fascism with Hitler's state, and while they are related fascism is more Mussolini than Hitler, and many of the same qualities make up neo-fascism.

Wikipedia defines fascism as any system of government that in various combinations:

  • exalts the nation, (and sometimes the race or culture) above the individual, with the state apparatus being supreme.
  • stresses loyalty to a single leader.
  • uses violence and modern techniques of and to forcibly suppress political opposition.
  • engages in severe economic and social regimentation.
  • engages in syndicalist corporatism.
  • implements totalitarian systems.

Where does this put America today?

The nation/state is exalted, with to the degree that the rhetoric says that dissent is unpatriotic and tantamount to treason.

George Bush is seen as the Supreme Commander, whose policies are not to be questioned.

We've seen the Orwellian speak of the Bush Administration, the extreme amount of documents classified, the attacks on those who try to disseminate information like the Downing Street Memos or question motivations for the War in Iraq or Turd-Blossom-Gate.

We see extremes of corporate welfare, with the pork in all spending bills, no-bid contracts, the "bancruptcy reform." Corporations play a large part in making government policy for their benefits, not the citizens.

We have the (anti-)PATRIOT Act, the (un-)REAL ID, and so many searches that we "consent" to (to engage in basic rights such as freedom to travel) as to render the 4th Amendment meaningless. Citizens are told that their security depends on infringement of their civil liberties. Everything is justified by "The War on Terror."

So, read more about fascism.


Two more articles. Fascism Anyone? Take the Red Pill.

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A very serious case with very serious implications for personal freedom and discrimination in the work place

From Reason:

"A Good Fit"
Transgendered rights at the Library of Congress

Retired Special Forces Col. Dave Schroer seemed like the perfect fit for the terrorism analyst position with the Congressional Research Service at the Library of Congress. Last December, two weeks before he was due to start work, he met for lunch with the supervisor who'd hired him, Charlotte Preece, at a Chinese restaurant on Capitol Hill. According to Schroer, Preece assured him that his impressive resume--25 years of Army service, a master's degree from the National War College, and a stint as the head of a classified 120-person group dedicated to tracking terrorists in the wake of 9/11--put him leaps and bounds ahead of the next best candidate they'd considered.

Then Dave explained that by the time he started work, he would be a she: Diane Schroer.

The next afternoon, Schroer says, Preece called to tell her that in light of their
conversation, "After a very long and sleepless night, I've determined that you're not what we're looking for, you're not a good fit for the Library."

Full article here.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Gubernatorial Candidate Gov. William Weld?

Now the George Pataki has bowed out of running for a 4th term as Governor of New York, will former Massachusetts Republican Governor Bill Weld through his hat in the ring?

I lived in Boston while Weld was Governor and have nothing but great respect for him -- very libertarian on social issues and a fiscal conservative. New Yorkers would be well served with a Governor like Weld.

Ron Paul on the (anti-)PATRIOT act

The Police State Act: A Report

Money quote:
The Patriot Act, like every political issue, boils down to a simple choice: Should we expand government power, or reduce it? This is the fundamental political question of our day, but it's quickly forgotten by politicians who once promised to stand for smaller government. Most governments, including our own, tend to do what they can get away with rather than what the law allows them to do. All governments seek to increase their power over the people they govern, whether we want to recognize it or not. The Patriot Act is a vivid example of this. Constitutions and laws don't keep government power in check; only a vigilant populace can do that.

What's wrong with being a member of the Federalist Society?

One thing that I really don't get is why so many people get in a huff about a lawyer's membership in the Federalist Society.

From it's Our Background page:
Founded in 1982, the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies is ... dedicated to reforming the current legal order. We are committed to the principles that the state exists to preserve freedom, that the separation of governmental powers is central to our Constitution, and that it is emphatically the province and duty of the judiciary to say what the law is, not what it should be. The Society seeks to promote awareness of these principles and to further their application through its activities.
Sounds like good principles to me.

Roll Call Results for HR 3199 (The [anti-]PATRIOT act reauthorization)

These 43 Democrats need to be told that they are violating their oaths of office to support and defend the Constitution, and fighting against the civil liberties that make us American.

Andrews, Baca, Barrow, Bean, Bishop (GA), Boren, Boswell, Butterfield, Cardin, Carnahan, Case, Chandler, Clyburn, Cooper, Cramer, Davis (AL), Davis (FL), Davis (TN), Edwards, Emmanuel, Ethridge, Gordon, Gene Green, Harman, Herseth, Higgins, Holden, Hoyer*, Lipinski, Marshall, Melancon, Menendez, Miller (NC), Ortiz, Pomeroy, Reyes, Ross, Ruppersburger, Schwartz (PA), Scott (GA), Skelton, Spratt

* Steny Hoyer (D-MD) is House Minority Whip. This is a pretty heinous vote for a member of the Minority Leadership.

These 14 Republicans voted against the Reauthorization. They deserve our heartfelt thanks.

Bartlett (MD), Bishop (UT), Duncan, Johnson (IL), LaHood, Lucas, Mack, Manzullo, Ney, Otter, Paul, Price (GA), Rohrabacher, Young (AK)

If the Press is the 4th estate, does that make bloggers and online publishers the 5th Estate?

I don't care where you are on any political spectrum, this story reported over on the Knappster should concern everyone.

Please link to it, write about it, keep it from getting buried.

An excerpt:

We knew it had to happen eventually: A blogger arrested for pissing off the powers that be.

DuBois' "crime?" Exposing some fairly nasty political corruption and prosecutorial abuse in his little corner of Ohio. Here's a chronology of events.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

7 Questions for John Roberts

Matt Welch of Reason wants the Senate to ask John Roberts 7 Questions:

1) What isn't interstate commerce?
2) How much reverence should be given to precedence?
3) Quick—Recite the Tenth Amendment.
4) Do you agree with United States v. Reynolds, and if so how do you square that agreement with the fact that the federal government, in successfully arguing for what was then a new right to keep secrets from the judicial branch, has been recently shown to have lied its ever-lovin' ass off?
5) You're on a lifeboat, but it can only hold 8 of the original 10 amendments without sinking, killing your whole family. Which ones go?
6) Do you think the 5th Amendment right to a grand jury has been perverted over time to become an enabler of, and not a protection from, prosecutors gone wild?
7) What is your working definition of "public use," as spelled out in the Takings Clause of the 5th Amendment?

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What does it mean to "support and defend the Constitution?"

This Entry over at 2 Political Junkies prompted me to write this, a proposal for every sitting federal elected office, judicial nominee, and candidate for federal office.

First, the following Oaths of Office are required by the Constitution:

For Representatives and Senators:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.

For the President:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of the President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

So....What does it mean for a Senator or Representative to Support and Defend the Constitution? What does it mean for the President to Preserve, Protect, and Defend the Constitution?

We need to ask them for a serious (not sound bites) answer to these questions, and what the 9th and 10th Amendments mean to them.

The ones that say:

Article [IX.]
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
Article [X.]
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Our own (in PA) Senator up for re-election, lil' Ricky "Man-on-Dog" Santorum, has stated that the Government has rights over the people --
"The idea is that the state doesn't have rights to limit individuals' wants and
passions. I disagree with that," said the Senator, "I think we absolutely have
rights because there are consequences to letting people live out whatever wants or passions they desire. And we're seeing it in our society."
So Ricky -- where in the Constitution do you find these rights for the Government?

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How to read the Bill of Rights

(Adapted from: Because the Government is evil and stupid...)

We hold this truth to be self evident— Government is prone to excess and unless watched like a hawk, will abuse people, violate their rights and their property.

So we're setting down some limitations here—the government shall NOT:

  • Have any opinion on any religion, pro or con.
  • Limit what anyone, anywhere at any time has to say
  • Limit any where, at any time under any circumstance what some one wants to print.
  • Prevent people from assembling in any place, for any reason they want
  • Prevent people from addressing government officials to demand redress of grievances.

Because government is prone to excess, if it violates any of these principles, individuals may need to shoot it.

There fore the Government May NOT:

  • Have any opinion, pro or con about any weapon anyone owns or carries at any time, under any circumstances.
  • Force anyone to Support the Troops
Because the government is prone to excess—

  • It may NOT search anyone at any time or any of their belongings, unless it has a damned good reason, in writing, first. These reasons and the searches must be very specific, because we all know how the government loves to push the limits.
The government is prone to excess and therefore—

  • Can not decide if anyone is charged with a serious crime—the government must submit its evidence to a grand jury and then let THEM say if anyone is charged with the crime.
  • The government cannot try someone again and again.
  • The government cannot force anyone to confess to anything, ever.
  • The government cannot imprison anyone at any time without due process.
  • The government cannot take anyone's property away. They may buy property on the open market.
  • When the government does accuse anyone of anything—assume they're innocent and make the government prove its case rigorously.
  • When the government accuses anyone of anything, the government must put up or shut up immediately. All evidence, witnesses and charges have to be made available to the accused along with a Lawyer to help him defend himself. The accused gets a trial by jury in the area where the crime supposedly occurred. If the government does accuse anyone of any crime, they must present their case publicly in full view.
  • The accused has a right to a trial by Jury. If the Jury says it's so, the government has to accept it.
The Government is prone to excess and therefore will NOT ever—

  • Demand excessive bail, impose excessive fines, inflict torture, or inflict cruel and unusual punishments on ANYONE.
Just because there are certain rights illustrated here by limits on what the government does—that doesn't mean there are no others. Don't let the government trample these other rights either.

If it's not explicitly stated here then it's not a Federal government power—it belongs to the states or to the people. The States can restrict these powers further if they deem necessary.

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Monday, July 25, 2005

Civil Discourse

Our polarized society seems to be inclined to shout at each other, not listen to the arguments at all (why should we let little things like facts get in the way of propaganda and talking points anyway?), and engage in vicious ad hominem attacks. I think a lot of this has to do with the Limbaughs and Honsbergers out there, taking away the civil discourse and serious policy discussions. But even among some people I talk with among DFAers and Young Dems can't get past dogmatic positions, to reason.

10 years ago I used to listen to G. Gordon Liddy. My job involved a lot of driving during the day, and he was on the radio. I maybe agreed with 25% of what he had to say, but I always respected him as a radio host, for he would have guests on his show that he disagreed with (sometimes even friends -- He and Timothy Leary used to debate on the college talk circuit, and they grew to have a friendship), and callers that disagreed with him, he would not be abusive to, or belittle them, but try to argue (not in the angry sense of the word) with them, and eventually, it would come to him saying "you and I will have to agree to disagree."

One of the reasons to read a good cross section of ideas out there is to see different levels of discourse. I like to go into comments sections especially and see what's going on. On some sites, there are plenty of trolls out there, on others it's almost all "you're right on," but occasionally you can find sites that actually have good discussions and debates in their comments. Some of the best of these are The Knappster, The Political Forecast, Freedom Democrats, and 2 Political Junkies.

Our challenge -- ignore the trolls and the baiting, the ad hominem attacks and the reductio ad absurdum arguments, try to avoid the "right on" comments, and raise the level of discourse.

It's very easy in cyberspace, due to its relative anonymous nature, to engage in flame wars. Having got my own start with LISTSERV and usenet groups around 1990, I've seen it for along time. But it can be done, one person at a time.