Saturday, March 7, 2009

America's Shame Memos - #4

We have been doing a series of posts on what we call the shame memos.

These memos were written during a time when Bush II unabashedly said:
If this was a dictatorship it'd be a heck of a lot easier ... Just so long as I'm the dictator.
(Raw Story). Some people thought he was kidding and some knew he was not kidding.

His Department of Just Us was trying to make him the dictator by removing "quaint" constitutional law from consideration, so "it'd be a heck of a lot easier" to do whatever he wanted to do.

What we are calling the 4th Memo deals with the use of the military within the United States.

This issue was dealt with after the civil war in 1878 by a statute called the Posse Comitatus act. That criminal statute reads:
Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army or the Air Force as a posse comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.
(18 USC 1385). John C. Yoo's memorandum said neither the constitution nor this posse comitatus law said Bush II could not use the military to deal with "terrorists" within the boundaries of the United States (Yoo Memo 10-23-01).

Note that the FBI arrested each and every alleged terrorist, whether a citizen of the US or a citizen of another nation, with no problem if they did violent acts before this memo was written.

That is because any violent act like terrorism is unlawful in the United States and law enforcement always prosecutes such violations of the law.

It is a crime to use the military for such law enforcement purposes.

Evidently this 4th memo written to then White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales was simply designed to make Bush II's job "a heck of a lot easier".

Popcorn Time Again For Minnesota

Minnesota says the Franken Coleman show must go on.

Like Hannity & Colmes one could surmise.

Brad Blog must be happy to have this movie going on and on and on.

Does that "election integrity blog" still think Minnesota election law is a model for the other states?

We talked about this a while back, but the senate seat is still empty and the Brad Blog theatre seats are still full.

Pass the popcorn to T.O.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Urgent Letter From Planned Parenthood

Guest Post from Christie Mills

It concerns a letter she received from Cecile Richards, President
Planned Parenthood Federation of America

Dear Christie,

They just won't stop. Yesterday, I wrote to you with breaking news about an attempt to strip Title X funding for Planned Parenthood from the Appropriations Act — now anti-choice senators are pushing a new amendment to undermine access to birth control.

The debate is happening today in the Senate. We need you to call your senators right now and tell them to vote "NO" on the DeMint Amendment to strip affordable birth control provisions from the Appropriations Act. Call the Senate switchboard at 202-224-3121 to contact your senators.

Planned Parenthood has been working to restore access to affordable birth control since 2007, when a legislative error caused the price of birth control to skyrocket by up to 900 percent for low-income women and college students. The no-cost fix to this problem has passed in the House of Representatives, and it's strongly supported by President Obama — but anti-choice senators are making one last effort to derail the affordable birth control fix.

Call 202-224-3121 and make sure your senators know: The affordable birth control fix is not an earmark. It's a vital piece of legislation that will expand access to family planning services for thousands of low-income women and college students and help them prevent unintended pregnancies at no cost to the federal government or to tax payers.

Senator DeMint, a long-time opponent of family planning, has submitted an amendment to remove affordable birth control provisions from the bill, claiming that the vital legislation is nothing but an earmark for Planned Parenthood. But here are the facts: this fix does not provide funding to Planned Parenthood — or anyone else! It simply fixes a mistake in the law that put up a roadblock for pharmaceutical companies who wanted to offer cheaper drugs to health clinics.

In these economic times, government should be removing unnecessary barriers like this one — and supporting common sense policies that give women the ability to plan their families and their futures.

I know we've been asking a lot of you recently, and I want you to know that your support is making a huge difference in Congress. It's so important for those of us who support family planning and expanding health care access to speak out, loud and clear.

Call your senators at 202-224-3121 and tell them to keep affordable birth control provisions in the Appropriations Act.

I've had enough of anti-choice politicians hiding their opposition to family planning behind claims of fiscal responsibility. Don't let them get away with it. Please, call your senators now and help us pass the affordable birth control fix once and for all.

Thank you for standing with us as we work to secure an important victory for family planning and women across the country.

Cecile Richards, President
Planned Parenthood Federation of America

Thursday, March 5, 2009

America's Shame Memos - #3

We are doing a series on Bush II regime memos.

The first one pleads for us to believe that the memos we will mention should not be taken too seriously.

Yeah right. This notion was indicated in a "C.Y.A." memo 5 days before Bush II left town.

The Second one contrasts what was said in private and what was said in public by Bush II propagandists.

Newsweek journalist Mike Isikoff explains the Third memo quite well, so we will simply make some quotes from his article and suggest that you go read it.

This Third memo says:
"First Amendment speech and press rights may also be subordinated to the overriding need to wage war successfully," Yoo wrote in the memo entitled "Authority for Use of Military Force to Combat Terrorist Activity Within the United States."
(Newsweek, emphasis added). In other words Bush II was informed by his Department of Just Us that he could shut down the press and free speech so he could whip some "turrisstss ass".

America's Shame Memos - #2

We began a series of posts on the Bush II regime memos just released by Attorney General Holder in the Department of Justice. Memos which originated in the Bush II Department of Just Us.

We covered the "C.Y.A." memo first.

Now lets turn to the "Jesus is just all right with me" memo, written on September 25, 2001.

That memorandum was directed to David S. Kris and was written by John C. Yoo.

Yoo for some reason took a leave of absence from his tenured professorship where he "taught law" at the University of California at Berkeley, and came to work for the Bush II Department of Just Us.

The setting is shortly after 9/11. If you remember the rhetoric of the republican congress and the propagandists at the White House, it was that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) was antiquated and could not work because there were too many requirements to get a warrant.

If you fell for the propaganda you surmised that the Bush II regime could not get warrants very easily, and that the FISA law was on the side of terrorists.

That was propaganda designed to deceive the public, because Yoo comes out saying:
... the courts have been exceedingly deferential to the government and have almost invariably declined to suppress the evidence, whether they applied the 'primary purpose' test or left open the possibility of a less demanding standard ... We believe that the Department would continue to win such deference from the courts ...
(11-25-01_Yoo-Memo, PDF, emphasis added). In other words the courts would let the Bush II regime get away with almost everything under FISA, even when they sometimes violated FISA.

An article in Salon written in May of 2007 points out that the government propaganda was saying the opposite of what Yoo was saying in classified (hidden from public scrutiny) documents. For example:
The same President who demanded changes to FISA in light of the terrorist threat, who received all the changes he demanded, and who then assured the nation he had all the surveillance tools he needed under the law, then proceeded -- the very same month -- to eavesdrop on Americans in violation of that law. Then, once caught, he sought to excuse his lawbreaking by claiming that the law (which his own administration re-wrote and heralded as sufficient) was somehow inadequate.
(Salon Article May 2007). Clearly and without any doubt the propaganda of the Bush II regime was designed to deceive the public, you and me.

The truth is much more likely that the Bush II regime had already started a massive and illegal spy program against its own American citizens a few days into the regime, and months before 9/11, and they needed to change the law to try to cover their illegal activities.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Deja Vu All Over Again and Again

We ran the ground hog day story about Karl Rove recently.

He has repeatedly refused to show up when he has been issued a subpoena to do so.

We asserted that Rove would have to change his ways.

The time was coming when he would have to answer the subpoena or he would eventually face prosecution for contempt of congress.

We said:
Rove won't think it is funny, but he will talk either to congress or to cell mates. His choice.

And each morning Rove wakes up the same thing is going to play on the radio.

Stay tuned.
(Groundhog Day Deja Vu). He will testify under penalty of perjury, along with Meirs, at a deposition by lawyers for John Conyers, Chairman of The House Judiciary Committee.

And later if Chairman Conyers determines it fitting, he will testify in a public hearing before the committee.

America's Shame Memos

The worst of them are still in the deep dark shadows of a fake national security system called our 'must be classified isn't that special' documents. Only the most special Americans can see them.

A system corrupted by despots to hide their unconstitutional, illegal, and hopelessly wrong headed tyrannical lust for power.

In a designed sequence the Department of Justice (DOJ) has released what are evidently the least tyrannical of those memos. The Shame Memos [The Department of Just Us hid the memos, so use the Wayback Machine link: The Shame Memos].

But even those least tyrannical documents would make our founding fathers so ashamed. So very ashamed.

America's Shame Memos from the most shameful presidency in our national history.

Each memo will be discussed in the next few days, but the C.Y.A. (cover your arse) memo will be discussed in this post.

Five days before Bush II left office his Department of Just Us wrote a C.Y.A. memo to disavow the Shame Memos.

The C.Y.A. memo says:
The purpose of this memorandum is to confirm that certain propositions stated in several opinions issued by the Office of Legal Counsel in 2001-2003 respecting the allocation of authorities between the President and Congress in matters of war and national security do not reflect the current views of this Office.
(The C.Y.A. Memo). It is signed by Steven G. Bradbury, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General.

Oh yeah Steve it was a mistake. But do you think you can play second grader and scrub all that tyranny away with a phoney remorseful piece of paper a mere 5 days before you can't play mobster despot any longer?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

"Co-Equal Branch" Is A Misnomer

In a very important sense it is not true to say that the US's way of governing is based on equal sections or equal parts.

It is likely to confuse us if we look at it that way. To say that the legislative branch, the judicial branch, and the administrative branch of the United States government are "co-equal" is unavailing.

The graphic shows that there is really nothing similar among them, and the glaring reality is how different they are. The only true statement is that they are equally subordinate to the US Constitution, which is the supreme law of our land.

It is clear that they have unequal characteristics, in that only one legislates (congress), only one adjudicates (courts), and only one administers (president).

They are comparable in the sense that each is sovereign in its own constitutionally specified power zone, but the others are to stay out of that area.

The the separation of powers doctrine is fundamental in our system of government.

A recent article on this blog shows how the "co-equal" misnomer was perverted even further. Bush II administration officials seized power that is not theirs under our constitution, thereby doing great damage to governmental balance.

That ideological coup led us down many a dark path and now we suffer and argue about how to fix it.

In a "CYA" attempt to cover their tracks, they wrote memos recently, saying they really did not follow those "doubtful ... propositions". Yeah right.

Clearly they tried to revise constitutional law (pervert it) even after leaving office (Rove still refuses to honor congressional subpoenas). Now they are trying to write revisionist history (pervert history).

An article on this blog a while back discusses how the nature of deceit has crept into our national persona.

UPDATE: Gallup is a conservative poll, yet when asked if an immediate criminal prosecution should take place, or investigations should take place, Gallup indicated:
While no more than 41% of Americans favor a criminal investigation into any of the matters, at least 6 in 10 say there should be either a criminal investigation or an independent probe into all three. This includes 62% who favor some type of investigation into the possible use of torture when interrogating terrorism suspects, 63% who do so with respect to the possible use of telephone wiretaps without obtaining a warrant, and 71% who support investigating possible attempts to use the Justice Department for political purposes.
(Gallup). I think that is a mandate. Especially since people are really, really focused on the economy. Contrary to Gallup it is clear that the people want something done about bad policies and lies that brought on the economic collapse, wars, torture, and illegal spying.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Spying On US 7 Months Before 911?

The Bush II regime has stated over and over that they spied on us after 9/11 without warrants.

They say they did so because the president has those "special war powers" under Article II of the US Constitution.

The story goes that in time of war, since he is commander in chief, he does not need congressional approval or judicial approval to do wiretaps or other searches.

That is not the general legal consensus however.

Be that as it may, remember that before 9/11 there was no war and therefore no special super duper presidential war powers. There was no war till quite a while after 9/11.

We have discussed spying on Americans and other intelligence gathering here, here, and here.

Now there is sworn testimony in court that such spying on Americans was happening well before 9/11:
Startling statements from former Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio's defense documents alleging the National Security Agency began building a massive call records database seven months before 9/11 aren't the only accusations that the controversial program predated the attacks of 9/11.
(Wired). The complaint filed in one court case, at paragraphs 81 and 82 alleges:
81. Within eleven (11) days of the onset of the Bush administration, and at least seven (7) months prior to the attacks of September 11, 2001, defendant ATT began development of a center for monitoring long distance calls and internet transmissions and other digital information for the exclusive use of the NSA.

82. The center was put into development by ATT following a proposal by the NSA for the construction and development of a network operations center identical to ATT’s own network operations center located in Bedminster, New Jersey for the exclusive use of the NSA.
(Link To Complaint in PDF format). All that might be fine if there had been a court ordered search warrant pursuant to the Fourth Amendment.

There wasn't and that is why the plaintiffs sued.

UPDATE: The current Department of Justice leadership is disavowing the Bush II regime's self deceit. It is publishing the deceitful memos that led to torture and illegal spying on Americans (Link to Memos).

We did an article about the veracity of those who used those memo's to present the "I was following orders" defense (Dredd Blog Article).

Natural Economy vs National Economy

We have discussed the reality that the fate of California (and other states of course) can determine the fate of our national economy. California's current natural economy is troubled because they are running out of water.

The natural economy can "fail" and destroy the state economy. "This ain't no party. This ain't no disco. This ain't no foolin' around" goes the song.

Yes, this is stone cold for real:
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency Friday because of three years of below-average rain and snowfall in California, a step that urges urban water agencies to reduce water use by 20 percent.

"This drought is having a devastating impact on our people, our communities, our economy and our environment, making today's action absolutely necessary," the Republican governor said in his statement.

Mandatory rationing is an option if the declaration and other measures are insufficient.

The drought has forced farmers to fallow their fields, put thousands of agricultural workers out of work and led to conservation measures in cities throughout the state, which is the nation's top agricultural producer.

Agriculture losses could reach $2.8 billion this year and cost 95,000 jobs, said Lester Snow, the state water director.
(Breitbart, emphasis added). Everyone knows that jobs are the fundamental player in our national recovery plans at this time.

The fact that environmental failure in California is already causing job loss shows us that the natural economy is already impacting the state and national economy.

One of the reasons that global climate change must be taken seriously, then, is the fact that it can damage or destroy national economies.

Nations printing more money or borrowing more money won't start or stop the rains, droughts, storms, and rising oceans.

It will take the greatest of efforts to keep damage to the environment down to current levels, but we are not going to be able to make that goal.

Saving civilization may be the only option remaining to us.

The continuation of Beavis & Butthead national policies will guarantee both natural and national economic collapse at some point in our future or our children's future.

The notion that economy can prevail over environmental concerns is a false notion at the macro level. When the environmental penalty comes it is too late to avoid its impact on economy.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Freeman At NIC Adds Balance

Most would agree that US mid-east policy has been lopsided these past 8 years.

The religious right felt their prayers had been answered.

The election of Bush II added lopsided control of US policy to the republicans, since the republicans were already in control of the House and the Senate when Bush II was sworn in.

The unmitigated disaster that their policy has wrought has now clearly surfaced, and many of their heroes have turned out to be zeroes.

One of their writings says "Where there is no vision the people perish (Prov 29:18)." Look around, notice any people dying these past 8 years? People perishing?

We have said that taking sides is imbalanced and will not lead to peace in the middle east. We have criticized imbalanced anti-Israel policy and imbalanced pro-Palestinian policy.

We like the pick of Freeman because it shows that our policy is intended to not choose sides. For that reason we like an article written by Dreyfus:
A thunderous, coordinated assault against one of President Obama's intelligence picks is now underway. It started in a few right-wing blogs, migrated to semi-official mouthpieces like the Jewish Telegraph Agency, and today it reached the op-ed pages of the Wall Street Journal, in the form of the scurrilous piece by Gabriel Schoenfeld, a resident scholar at some outfit called "the Witherspoon Institute."
(The Nation). As a referee for peace the US cannot favor one side over the other.

We want peace for Israel and for Palestinians.

May all their children live in peace and dignity.

Open Thread

Talk about anything on your mind.

Life According To Science

This post has been moved to the Ecocosmology blog.