Black and White Sand Dune wallpaper, Right-wing Conservatives Crusade Against Basic Rules of Law

Black and White Sand Dune wallpaper

Far Right conservatives such as Marc Thiessen, Andrew McCarthy and Liz Cheney do have values. They just happen to the values of some of history’s worse regimes and tyrants. The United States has a history which includes lynchings and internment camps. Horrible blemishes on our values. Those kinds of incidents are supposed to serve as history’s warnings, examples of taking the wrong turn and losing sight of ideals. Incidents that happened partly because some Americans let their fears and hate get in the way of basic morality and fidelity to founding principles of justice. Thiessen’s Inconsistency Undermines Claim That Detainee Lawyers Can’t Be Compared To John Adams

Thiessen’s argument that Adams was defending “fellow countrymen” and “not foreign enemies” is clever, but it’s undermined by the fact that some of the lawyers Thiessen and the ad impugn did work on behalf of American citizens. In a National Review blog post promoting his PostPartisan column, Thiessen directly attacks a lawyer who advocated on behalf of a detained American citizen:

Eric Holder vs. John Adams [Marc Thiessen]

I have a piece up for the Washington Post explaining why the al-Qaeda lawyers are wrong to wrap themselves in the mantle of John Adams. Thanks to the spade work of Bill Burck and Dana Perino, we now know why Holder was stonewalling on the identities of the “Al Qaeda 7” — he was one of them! If Holder and co. are simply carrying on the traditions of John Adams, why were they hiding their roles in seeking the release of enemy combatants? If they are proud of their work, why don’t they stand up and say so?

Yesterday, Perino and Burck published an article on National Review Online detailing how Holder contributed to, but neglected to tell the Senate about, an amicus brief to the Supreme Court supporting Jose Padilla, an American citizen who was held as an enemy combatant. Another one of the lawyers smeared by the ad, Joseph Guerra, now Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General, worked on a brief urging that the Supreme Court hear Padilla’s case. Another DoJ lawyer, Assistant Attorney General Tony West, worked on the case of “American Taliban” Johh Walker Lindh, an American citizen.

The discrepancy between Thiessen’s Post Partisan argument and the facts is indicative of his arguments in general. In discussing another one of Thiessen’s inconsistent arguments, Time’s Michael Scherer — who considers Thiessen’s vocal crusade to defend the Bush administration’s torture policies “a good thing” — remarked that he was “disappointed with the quality of Thiessen’s arguments, which seem to be designed more for cable news soundbites than for serious discussion.”

Theissen also does not make the distinction, as fine as it may be, that American colonists were a special type of British subject and the colonies had charters and agreements with King George that those who protested at the Boston massacre though the King had betrayed. The British soldiers fired on civilians. Rowdy civilians, but civilians. The colonists did ot decide as the pro tortrue/ pro assumption of guilt far Right conservatives such as Theissen would do – skip the trial and hang the soldiers immediately. The soldiers were indicted not by King George, but by the colonial government. Many Conservatives are constantly rewriting history to serve their agenda.

Orin Kerr also has a post up responding to Theissen, Lawyers, Treason, and Deception: A Response to Andrew McCarthy

Consider McCarthy’s basic argument that lawyers who represented detainees “aided the enemy in wartime,” and should normally be guilty of treason. If that’s true, isn’t the federal judiciary, and aren’t the Justices of the Supreme Court, also guilty of treason? In fact, aren’t the judges the kingpins of this treasonous plot to “hurt the war effort”? After all, lawyers only make arguments to judges. It doesn’t actually help detainees to make argument courts reject. It’s up to the judges to rule one way or the other. If the lawyers are aiding the enemy, they’re only minor players: It’s the judges, and especially the Justices, who are the real guilty parties, as they’re the ones that actually help the detainees by ruling in their favor. Does McCarthy think the Justices of the Supreme Court are guilty of aiding the enemy, and that (if we treat them like everybody else) they should be “indicted for coming to the enemy’s aid during wartime”?

Second, McCarthy’s claims about the right to counsel strike me as just wrong. The Bush Administration had initially taken the view that Yaser Hamdi, detained as an enemy combatant, did not have a right to counsel. The Administration caved when the case got to the Supreme Court, though, and the Supreme Court had this to say about Hamdi’s right to counsel….

A decidedly conservative and usually wankish Supreme Court ruled,

Hamdi asks us to hold that the Fourth Circuit also erred by denying him immediate access to counsel upon his detention and by disposing of the case without permitting him to meet with an attorney. Brief for Petitioners 19. Since our grant of certiorari in this case, Hamdi has been appointed counsel, with whom he has met for consultation purposes on several occasions, and with whom he is now being granted unmonitored meetings. He unquestionably has the right to access to counsel in connection with the proceedings on remand. No further consideration of this issue is necessary at this stage of the case.

Kerr also points out that the same court decided that yes non-citizens also have a right to counsel. The instance in which an innocent Afghanistan taxi driver was picked up and tortured is one of many testaments to the bone headed view of the law taken up by Theissen, McCarthy and Cheney. A view which assumes guilt in each and every circumstance where someone is arrested. Think of the millions we could save by doing away with the courts or correctional facilities and just having assassination squads.

David Luban at Balkinization also responds to right-wingers Andrew McCarthy, Marc Thiessen and former AG Michael Mukasey, A False Analogy: Detainee Lawyers and Torture Lawyers

Thiessen has no use for moral equivalence: for him, torture lawyers are good and detainee lawyers are the equivalent of mob lawyers. But, like Mukasey, he sees a parallel between the two sets of criticisms, and agrees that those who criticize the torture lawyers but not the detainee lawyers are using a double standard, probably for illicit political reasons.

That would include me, since I called the Cheney attacks McCarthyism and have criticized the torture lawyers for years.

But in fact, the parallel is completely bogus. What makes the Cheney attacks McCarthyism is guilt by association, wrapped in innuendo, and cynically appealing to paranoia: Because you represented a detainee, you very likely sympathize with Al Qaeda, and we need to smoke you out.

Nobody ever criticized the torture lawyers because of who they represented, and nobody questioned their loyalty. The criticisms were on three completely different grounds: first, that they made frivolous arguments to get around the law; second, that they violated their ethical and constitutional obligation to give candid, independent advice to the president; and third, that they facilitated a misbegotten plan to torture captives.

Yoo, wrapped in a blanket of arrogance  has admitted he found justification for torture because the administration “they want it in there”.There was no legal reasoning behind Yoo and Bybee’s. They took the desires of their boss, wrote them down and passed purely political opinions off as legal ones.

It is no coincidence that most of those anxious to defend the legal premise that anyone suspected of being a terrorist is not entitled to counsel are also defenders of torture as a matter of policy. Those beliefs are joined at the hip. Assuming guilt is the only way one can remotely began to justify torture. Exploring the Bush Torture Regime’s SERE Origins

As Cato Vice President Gene Healy says “Imagine if, shortly after 9/11, someone had told you that the US government would adopt an interrogation policy based on Chinese Communist techniques designed to elicit false confessions. You’d have thought that person was pretty cynical.” But that’s what they did. Really. SERE training is designed to help stiffen soldiers’ resistance to the sort of torture the North Vietnamese used to “break” John McCain and force him to “confess” to all manner of crimes. It specifically arises out of the experience of American detainees in the Korean War to imitate tactics applied by Communist regimes for the purpose of deriving false confessions. And why shouldn’t it? That’s what torture is good for.

Beautiful Evening City Skyline wallpaper

Beautiful Evening City Skyline wallpaper

Does anyone, Republican or Democrat remember the SOTU speech by President Obama or any other president for that matter. President Obama’s criticism of the SOTU decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission was memorable for many Americans regardless of party because the Court ( Chief Justice Roberts included) basically said that more free speech goes hand in hand with having deeper pockets. That goes against legal precedent and it also goes against what many Americans feel, is the spirit of egalitarianism that the U.S. has always stood for in theory, if not always practice. Here we are a couple months later and Chief Justice Robert’s feelings are still bruised. Roberts: Scene at State of Union ‘very troubling’

Roberts said anyone is free to criticize the court and that some have an obligation to do so because of their positions.

“So I have no problems with that,” he said. “On the other hand, there is the issue of the setting, the circumstances and the decorum. The image of having the members of one branch of government standing up, literally surrounding the Supreme Court, cheering and hollering while the court — according the requirements of protocol — has to sit there expressionless, I think is very troubling.”

Roberts knows he couldn’t sell the message – no criticism of my decisions – on the free speech front. So why not drag it through the back door as a breach of ‘decorum”. President Obama was not being presidential. A familiar line of attack we all expect from the right-wing peanut gallery – Limbaugh, Malkin, Bill Kristol, Drudge etc. As a matter of coincidence? Its a line up of the usually shady characters echoing Roberts whining – Hot Air, Sister Toldjah, Instapundit and Above the Law. So begins the umpteenth chapter of its OK when Weird-nuts do it, Media conservatives falsely claim Obama’s Supreme Court criticism was “unprecedented”

Reagan directly attacked the Supreme Court for Roe v. Wade. In his 1984 State of the Union address, Reagan attacked the 1973 Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade, during a discussion on abortion:

Harding criticized the Supreme Court for overturning the Child Labor Law in his 1922 State of the Union. In 1922, the Supreme Court found  the Child Labor Law of 1919 to be unconstitutional. In his State of the Union address, President Warren G. Harding criticized the court….

Bush condemned “activist judges” who are “redefining marriage by court order.” In his 2004 State of the Union address, Bush criticized “activist judges” who, according to him, were “redefining marriage by court order”

Roberts has not exactly been the shining beacon of conservative movement legal virtue. Then we have  Justice Antonin Scalia who should have been impeached long along. Then there is Clarence Thomas who’s legal opinions descend from the ether or via memo from  Antonin. Justice Samuel Alito is a second rate hack who is only on the court to carry the Right’s water. Current Conservative members of the court are an insult to justice and American values. President Obama was not just within his rights to point out a glaring instance of that, but should be praised for ignoring the political correctness and faux outrage of the right-wing fringe. If Roberts elite attitudes towards the role and decorum of the SCOTUS  are giving him fits, he can always resign. That would require the character of his convictions. So just expect more whimpering followed by praise from the sheeple.

From Bloomberg no less, Obama Defies Pessimists as Rising Economy Converges With Stocks

Job Losses Ease

Since then, monthly job losses have abated, from 779,000 during the month Obama took office to 36,000 last month. Corporate profits have grown; among 491 companies in the S&P 500 that reported fourth-quarter earnings, profits rose 180 percent from a year ago, according to Bloomberg data. Durable goods orders in January were up 9.3 percent from a year earlier. Inflation is tame, and long-term interest rates remain low.

An economist at Morgan Stanley predicts the economy will produce 300,000 new jobs in March. If we manage even half that and the media notices than Obama should start to get a little of the credit he deserves.

Reconciliation? Republicans are Two Faced Scallywags. 34 Of 41 Senate Republicans Supported Passing Major Domestic Policy Legislation Through Reconciliation

I’ve looked up Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich voting record o VoteSmart. On paper he’s not a bad Democrat – generally pro labor, pro education, pro environment, pro civil rights. He’s just got a bug up his back side about abortion funding. Its aggravating because the language in the Senate bill does not fund abortions. I’m wondering what he and his staff are reading. Why Stupak Is WrongThe Senate bill doesn’t  fund abortions. Here’s why he thinks it does.

Let’s go to Page 2069 through Page 2078 of the Senate-passed bill. It says, “If a qualified plan provides [abortion] coverage … the issuer of the plan shall not use any amount attributable to [health reform’s government-funding mechanisms] for purposes of paying for such services.” (This is on Page 2072.) That seems pretty straightforward. No government funding for abortions. (Except in the case of rape, incest, or a threat to the mother’s life—the same exceptions granted under current law.) If a health insurer selling through the exchanges wishes to offer abortion coverage—the federal government may not require it to do so, and the state where the exchange is located may (the bill states) pass a law forbidding it to do so—then the insurer must collect from each enrollee (regardless of sex or age) a separate payment to cover abortion. The insurer must keep this pool of money separate to ensure it won’t be commingled with so much as a nickel of government subsidy. (This is on Pages 2072-2074.)

Stupak is right that anyone who enrolls through the exchange in a health plan that covers abortions must pay a nominal sum (defined on Page 125 of the bill as not less than “$1 per enrollee, per month”) into the specially segregated abortion fund. But Stupak is wrong to say this applies to “every enrollee.” If an enrollee objects morally to spending one un-government-subsidized dollar to cover abortion, then he or she can simply choose a different health plan offered through the exchange, one that doesn’t cover abortions. (Under the Senate bill, every insurance exchange must offer at least one abortion-free health plan.)

What Stupak appears to want is for Congress to specially forbid private insurance from offering abortion coverage. Stupak does not appear to be acting on ethics or principle, but on some kind of compulsive obsession. If anyone wants to e-mail the Congressman with their thoughts and a clipping of the column from Slate – he as a form here for contact.

Limbaugh unwittingly praises socialized medicine, again

“I did not say I’m going to Costa Rica,” Limbaugh claimed, even though the audio of him saying exactly that is readily available. “The stupid people in the media who cannot trouble themselves to read my transcripts or listen to this program, listen to out of context stuff. I was asked yesterday where will I go for health care if Obama’s health care passes, and I said if doctors here are not permitted to form private practice little clinics with individuals paying a fee, a retainer, and for services, then I’ll go to Costa Rica to get major medical health care. I didn’t say I would move there.”

This is the second time Limbaugh has unwittingly praised the very type of health care system he claims to despise.

Black and White Desert Tree wallpaper, Liz Cheney and Bill Kristol Torture the Truth

Black and White Desert Tree wallpaper

Liz Cheney’s Impeccable Timing

Cheney and her small but highly vocal group Keep America Safe know how to prey on people’s worst fears and prejudices. So I’m not all that surprised by their attack on lawyers like Neal Katyal, a Georgetown law professor, now Principal Deputy Solicitor General, who previously argued that the Bush administration’s military commissions were unconstitutional — and convinced a conservative U.S. Supreme Court that he was right.

But there’s another reason Cheney’s latest attack should not have come as a surprise. Consider the timing: late on Friday, February 18, the Department of Justice released a long-delayed report that set out the details of how two Justice Department lawyers, in close contact with the Vice President’s office, wrote a series of legal memos that grossly perverted existing law and longstanding legal precedent to justify some of the most heinous acts of torture and institutionalized abuse of U.S. prisoners in American history.

Yoo and Bybee were in the spotlight, but so were Bush and Dick Cheney’s sanctions for torturing those merely suspected they might be terrorists. Imagine if the same standards were applied to Conservative groups  like the Campaign for Liberty to which the shooter in the recent Pentagon shooter belonged. Bedell certainly committed an act of terrorism. This get a mob together, find’em and hang’em mentality is not a train that a rational citizen wants to attach their political beliefs. Historically it has always gotten out of hand and eventually the rope swings in directions that were not intended. That OLC report was not exactly a glowing review of John Yoo or Bybee,

The final OPR report chastises the two OLC lawyers for reaching bizarre legal conclusions that were wholly unsupported by the law.

[  ]…Justice Department lawyer Patrick Philbin at one point asked John Yoo why he included a wholly unsubstantiated section in one of the memos that concluded that the president of the United States, as commander in chief, can completely ignore any law he wanted – such as the prohibition against torture. Yoo said it was in the memo because “they want it in there” — “they” presumably being whoever had requested the opinion.

[   ]…In concluding that Yoo and Bybee exercised “poor judgment” rather than “professional misconduct”, Margolis emphasizes that “his decision should not be viewed as an endorsement of the legal work that underlies these memoranda,” which he notes were “seriously flawed” and represent “an unfortunate chapter in the history of the Office of Legal Counsel.” In Yoo’s case, his conclusions represented a “loyalty to his own ideology and convictions” which “clouded his view of his obligations to his client” and led him to author opinions reflecting “extreme” views of executive power.

The Dick and now Liz Cheney bizarre and sadistic legal mentality has been defeated. Oops, lets start calling Republican lawyers that defended detainees jihadist sympathizers, that’s the ticket to shifting attention away from a deeply troubling and repugnant chapter in U.S. history. Liz Cheney says terrorists have no rights. Also, you’re a terrorist.

When the “al-Qaida Seven” and their two DoJ colleagues fought to defend alleged terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, they weren’t fighting to protect jihadist murderers. They were defending the U.S. Constitution—the great whomping chunks of the Bill of Rights that Cheney and her friends are so eager to write out of existence. They did it because that’s what lawyers are ethically obligated to do. They did it because—as Spencer Ackerman points out—the Military Commissions Act of 2006 expressly provided that detainees get defense lawyers. And they did it, as Jay Bookman notes, for the same reason John Adams agreed to represent British soldiers charged with killing civilians during the Boston Massacre in 1770. Because long before Liz Cheney was born and long after she’s gone, the Bill of Rights requires serious people to take it seriously.

Certainly some serious people have thoughtful differences of opinion on interpretations of the Bill of Rights, but Liz Cheney and her co-conspirator Bill Kristol are tossing it around like a ball of playdough. It’s not that mailable in regards torture. There is an element of gallows humor here. As the tea baggers and other assorted unhinged wing-nuts accuse President Obama of abusing his powers of office, Liz Cheney and Bill Krsitol are still arguing that the office of the president and his appointees have unlimited powers. What they really mean is that anything a conservative does is legal while everything a Democrat does is outside the main stream. Cons like Cheney and Kristol live in a pretty fetid stream.

I demand to see Glenn Reynolds birth certificate and more importantly his law degree, Glenn Harlan Reynolds: Consent of the governed – and the lack thereof

Well, the Declaration of Independence allows for the prospect of altering or abolishing the government we have in order to get a government that’s closer to what we want. That needn’t involve anything as violent as the American Revolution or the Civil War, but the need for change — real, structural change as opposed to campaign-slogan “change” — is becoming more obvious.

In the past, America has managed to reinvent itself without transformations as wrenching as the Civil War or the Revolution. As the legitimacy of our current arrangements becomes increasingly threadbare, it is perhaps worth thinking about how this might be accomplished again. Because when a great beer dies, it’s sad. But when a great nation dies, it’s tragic.

Jesse Taylor rips Glenn a new one here – The Consent Of The Glibertarian and unbossed uses Glenn’s inane logic him in addition to pointing out that Reynolds obviously did not read the entire poll or look up the history of the findings of similar polls ( like when Bush and Reagan were in office) – Further Annals of Illiteracy. The short version is Reynolds rally hated the results of the 2008 elections and hopes we can all remedy the situation without wink-wink, resorting to violence. Reynolds teaches at a law school. The U.S. as beer thing might have worked in better hands such as The Onion, but it dies a horrible death at Reynold’s hand, his talent for droll wit died in infancy.

Antique 18th Century World Map

old world maps

Antique 18th Century World Map It is possible this was a very early 19th C. map.

Three columns from Salon that are worth a read. Joan Walsh’s Are 2010 Dems as corrupt as the 2006 GOP?

But this is another dramatic case of the double standard the media can’t seem to avoid when it comes to Republicans and Democrats. The big difference between the two sets of scandals is that GOP corruption in 2006 was big-time, it was systemic — and much of it was covered up, ignored and, in some cases (House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, anyone?), perpetrated by congressional leadership. Nancy Pelosi’s team came in and developed ethics standards and investigation protocols that are working in the Rangel case, standards that many Republicans, including House Minority Leader John Boehner, opposed.

Some Democrats and ethics organizations are not happy that Rangel just losing his chairmanship rather than being pushed out all together. Rangel is a Korean war vet that has served a relatively honorable stint in Congress and there is some disagreement to the extent to which he did favors. As Walsh points out this is not a great situation, but far from the deep corruption of the Delay-Bush years. Joe Conason’s GOP leaders shrieking “Democrat corruption” — like junket-loving John Boehner — rarely worry much over ethics and another from Joe, Why probe Charlie Rangel — but not Mitch McConnell?

Yet  of all the dubious donors to the McConnell Center, the worst smell emanates from BAE Systems, the British-based defense firm that just settled a years-long, transatlantic bribery investigation last month by paying a record $450 million fine negotiated by prosecutors in London and Washington. BAE subsidiary United Defense Industries gave $500,000 to the McConnell Center because, as a spokesman proudly  explained to the Courier-Journal, “We have a very good relationship with Senator McConnell. We appreciate all he’s done for our company and our employees in Louisville.”

Mitch (R-KY) knew BAE was going down and still tripped over his wallet in the rush to get them $25 million in earmarks.

This all seems business as usual – the Right, corrupt as ever planning to make a campaign issue out of a few Democratic wrong turns – which we should not condone – but should insist that if the Rangels are going to get slapped down so should McConnell and Boehner. The media going along with what Walsh identifies as yet more false equivalence is also well worn territory. We’ve all heard of the black tax – the extra effort and excellence expected from African-Americans. There has always been an extra media tax on Democrats. Often times it is not the media deciding to be assclowns as much as the fear instilled by fifty years of right-wing whining about the librul media. The media has bad news to report about a Conservative, they grasp for a Democrat to bash in kind – even though often the cases are not comparable. The Rangel/Boehner/McConnell story is a reverse play in which Rangel is the big scandal, while Republicans doing the same or worse is just too mush research for network producers and senior paper editors. And if they did note the disparity of coverage, right-wingers will say mean things about them. A dire situation to be avoided at all costs.

Glenn Beck, Andrew Breitbart and right-wing media grossly distort Reid’s jobs comments. Its not quite as arrogant and sleazy as the manipulated ACORN videos, but the same tactic.

Andrew Romano at Newsweek must have had a sudden urge to bang his head against a wall for all the good yet another piece about the factless Republican spin on reconciliation and health-care reform. Seven arguments Republicans should not be making against using reconciliation for health-care reform, and the one that they should

7. The referee is biased.
In interviews with Politico earlier this week, several Republican senators and aides attempted to portray Senate Parliamentarian Alan Frumin, a 33-year veteran, as a partisan who will inevitably side with the Democrats if they attempt to use reconciliation. As South Carolina’s Jim DeMint put it, “I think clearly the majority leader has his ear, and I’ve got concerns.” The only problem? Frumin was chosen for the post in 2001 by Republican leadership after they fired his predecessor, Robert Dove, for blocking their efforts to (surprise!) pass aspects of the Bush tax cuts and budgets through reconciliation. At the time, Republicans explained their move by saying Frumin was widely known for putting his personal beliefs aside and sticking to the rules. “It’s going to be pretty hard for anybody to be too critical of it,” Majority Leader Trent Lott said of the appointment. Until now, that is.

Number one of course is that sham that Democrats are actually passing health-care reform via reconciliation. The Senate passed their bill already with a filibuster proof majority of 60 votes. The House has already passed their bill. All bills that are passed by both Houses of Congress that do not have the exact same language have to go to reconciliation anyway. The issue is passing those tweaks with a simple majority – as Republican did previously – 14 times.

Strange days – I’m linking to LGF – The Pentagon Shooter’s Extreme Right-Libertarian Beliefs. Michelle Malkin and some of the usual suspects drooled over quite a few keyboards with the news that the guy was a registered Democrat. As LGF notes he had not voted for five years. Aligned himself with far right anti-government libertarians and ranted many of the same thoughts we’re hearing from the tea baggers. That said I tend to think the guy’s mental problems had more to do with his actions than his politics. Together they pushed him to what most of us would acknowledge would be a murder-suicide. What rational person would expect to open fire at the Pentagon and not expect to be killed.

Very Old School Baseball wallpaper

Very Old School Baseball wallpaper

Adam Serwer writes a must read piece on the lawyers that defended some prisoners at Gitmo, How a smearing of Justice Department lawyers as “terrorist sympathizers” traveled from the conservative media to the United States Senate

“These lawyers were advocating on behalf of our Constitution and our laws. The detention policies of the Bush administration were unconstitutional and illegal, and no higher a legal authority than the Supreme Court of the United States agreed,” says Ken Gude, a human-rights expert with the Center for American Progress, of the recent assault on the Justice Department. “The disgusting logic of these attacks is that the Supreme Court is in league with al-Qaeda.”

That would be a very Conservative Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Roberts.

Even former military prosecutors have expressed views similar to those of the “Gitmo Nine.” Col. Morris Davis (retired) served as the former chief prosecutor for the Guantanamo Bay military commissions and has since argued that they should be abandoned. But initially, when the commissions were formed, he volunteered to be chief defense counsel. “I thought for the good of our system, they needed zealous representation,” says Davis. He dismissed the charge that having represented a detainee indicated “sympathy” for terrorist goals. “I don’t think that anyone, because they signed up to represent a detainee means they’ve signed up with al-Qaeda.”

“[McCarthy] was a prosecutor for a number of years, so he knows better than that,” Davis adds. “I think he’s just saying it for the shock value of it.”

Once again we have bedwetters such as Andrew McCarthy at the National Review, Byron York at the Washington Examiner and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) having the American public believe that everyone at Gitmo – merely because they have been accused, are guilty. In addition to assuming guilt in every case – how UnAmerican can one get -and  they are portraying suspects and actual terrorists of being super human villains. So dangerous that do not deserve a defense. Whether the man they arrested for the murder of Chelsea King is guilty is yet to be decided, but whoever committed that murder is certainly a monster. Yet even with DNA evidence and record that includes assaults, we do not precede to rig the noose and skip the trial. And most of the American public is not shaking in abject fear at the prospect of a fair trail. The McCarthys, Yorks and Grassley’s want the U.S to turn its back on the Constitution, legal precedent ( reestablished by a Conservative Supreme Court) and moral traditions which most of us cherish. We all want the actual terrorists and murderers of innocent young women to be punished, but turning the nation into a hateful lynch mob is not the path to justice. McCarthy probably believes every crazy thing he’s ever written. Most of it meant to get his readers to pee themselves in fear as often and gloriously he does. That cultivation of fear seems to be the unhinged Right’s aim. They’ve been doing it since the days of Joe McCarthy and enjoyed quite the revival after 9-11. It worked to get that disaster in $2000 cowboy boots who was afraid of horses a second term, so why not go with what has worked before. Related, Will Liz Cheney Attack Rudy Giuliani’s Firm For Representing ‘Terrorist Detainees’?

It turns out that among the many high-profile lawyers who have represented so-called “terrorist detainees” is a top attorney with Rudy Giuliani’s firm, Bracewell Giuliani, according to court documents examined by TPMmuckraker.

Karl Rove is going to revel us with another work of Conservative fiction, Rove Book: No Pushback on Iraq WMD My Bad

Sarah Palin is also planning to write a non-reality based tome about virtue and strength. Two things which will require Palin to do a lot of research considering the knowledge she has displayed about those subjects thus far.

Blue Man Jazz wallpaper, Torture Enablers Will Not Escape History’s Judgement

Blue Man Jazz wallpaper

There are two good analogies that apply to John Yoo and Jay Bybee. Yoo, especially seem to be suffering from O.J. Syndrome – Yoo telling himself everyday that he is not a war criminal and has for all apperances come to believe it. Yoo and Bybee  also echo convicted traitor Scooter Libby, except  at least Libby was put on trial and his felonies are a matter of record. Yoo and Bybee, predictably have their lackey apologists such as Stuart Taylor, Stuart Taylor’s Stuck Record

Writing behind the paywall at the National Journal, Stuart Taylor makes a sustained effort to defend Jay Bybee and John Yoo. He expresses his support for the analytical approach that Yoo pioneered in the memos, starting with the idea that while techniques like waterboarding may well be “torture” as the term is commonly used, it is not “torture” within the specific definition that Congress put forward. That is the key Yoo premise: that Congress chose to punish only some exotic exceedingly rare kinds of torture. Indeed, Yoo doesn’t seem to be able to identify anything that always constitutes torture, even if it results in death. David Luban makes short work of the Taylor apology ( must reading for those following the issue) in a recent post:

The 1971 OED: “severe or excruciating pain or suffering (of body or mind)….”

Webster’s Third International (1971): “intense pain”

Webster’s Second International (1953): “severe pain” and “extreme pain”

American Heritage Dictionary (1976): “severe physical pain”.

In other words: the colloquial meaning of ‘torture’ is virtually the same as the legal definition. The OED definition, by the way, is so similar to the CAT definition that it seems likely that whoever drafted article 1 of CAT may have drawn on the OED.

There is an update to the post by Luban at Balkinization in which Taylor responds, and once again Luban swats down Taylor’s incredibly lame legal and moral rationalizations. Yoo and Bybee are destined for history’s harshest judgments and deservedly so. They actually deserve worse and should consider themselves lucky they dodged the legal consequences of their actions.

The tears and rants of a clown – Andrew Breitbart’s side of the story – The right-wing provocateur’s backers say anyone would act crazy given how liberals treat him. I would hunt down this huge powerful liberal conspiracy and attend the meetings – if only it actually existed.

ACORN cleared in Brooklyn: ‘No criminality’ – NY Daily News law enforcement source: ‘They edited the tape to meet their agenda’… – “They” would be O’Keefe, with Andrew Breitbart’s hand up his back pulling the strings.

I’m not completely up to speed on their agenda, but the woman that statred it seems to get a basic tenant of the moderate-to-liberal political spectrum, Coffee Party, With a Taste for Civic Participation, Is Added to the Political Menu

The slogan is “Wake Up and Stand Up.” The mission statement declares that the federal government is “not the enemy of the people, but the expression of our collective will, and that we must participate in the democratic process in order to address the challenges we face as Americans.”

Local chapters are planning meetings in cities from Washington to San Antonio to Los Angeles (where there have been four in the last month.) The party ( is planning nationwide coffee houses for March 13, where people can gather to decide which issues they want to take on and even which candidates they want to support.

Obama to Promote Home Energy Efficiency as Path to Job Growth – between this and the soon to be reconciled Jobs Bill late this year should see some better employment numbers.

The economy grew at a 5.7 percent annual pace in the fourth quarter of last year, the fastest in six years. Manufacturing expanded in February for a seventh consecutive month, indicating factories are leading the U.S. economic recovery, according to the Institute for Supply Management’s factory index.

“Perhaps the biggest challenge facing the economy, as we move from rescue to recovery, is the weak labor market,”


Pardon the headlines. Its the moderate to liberal version of Drudge and Andrew Breitbart – both of whom have an addiction to CAPS and tabloid style headlines. Sen. Jon Kyl(R-AZ) and Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) statements and obstructionism are not shocking to me. In a way their public confessions of contempt for American workers and their Stroogeish attitude toward the unemployed are a refreshing bit of public confession. Unhinged and out of touch with working class America, Republican have a freakish break down and  public confession of alliance to let the peasants eat cake social policy. Rarely have conservative politicians ( conservative pundits such as Limbaugh, Coulter, Beck etc regularly accuse average Americans of being lazy thieves) expressed such blunt honesty in their assessment of working Americans doing their best to deal with consequences of economic policies largely based on literally bankrupt Conservative ideology.   This Is Getting Good

Jim Bunning is doing all of us a favor. As this comment from the Number 2 Senate Republican, Jon Kyl of Arizona, makes clear, the Republicans are turning toward a form of reactionary radicalism that is well to the right not only of traditional conservatism, but also of post-Victorian concepts of government and–not to put too fine a point on it–of common decency as well:

Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona, the Republican whip, argued that unemployment benefits dissuade people from job-hunting “because people are being paid even though they’re not working.” Unemployment insurance “doesn’t create new jobs. In fact, if anything, continuing to pay people unemployment compensation is a disincentive for them to seek new work,”

The idea that those who have lost their jobs in this Wall Street/mortgage-scam recession are simply deadbeats, choosing to stay on unemployment rather than look for work, seems more appropriate to Scrooge’s London than the 21st century.

To say that Kyl and Bunning are out of touch with the average America is an under statement. They seem to be calling it in from another planet. This is generally the way unemployment benefits go though there are slight variations in formula from state to state,

Determine the maximum amount of weekly compensation provided by your state. This amount varies significantly depending upon which state you live in, and can be as low as $200 or as high as $600. This is one of the most important figures that you need, and it can be obtained by contacting the department of labor in your state or looking up the information on their official government website.

Listen carefully to that echo from sea to shining sea and you’ll hear what Republican hear – Yea boy let’s get that $200 to $600 dollars and we’ll be living high on the hog. Colorado’s formula is typical of what to expect regardless if you were roofing houses, teaching or a mechanical engineer,

1. The first formula begins with the total wages paid for the highest two consecutive quarters in the base period. The total earnings for this six-month period is divided by 26 (the number of weeks in the six-month period). That number is then multiplied by 0.6 to determine your weekly benefit amount. According to Colorado law, this weekly benefit amount currently cannot exceed $443 per week, or be less than $25.

2. The second formula begins with the total wages paid in the 12-month base period and divides that total by 52 (the number of weeks in a year). That number is then divided by 2 to determine your weekly benefit amount. According to Colorado law, this weekly benefit amount currently cannot exceed $487 per week or be less than $25.

In other words if you were making $8 an hour and based your monthly budget on the standard formula 25-30% for rent, then an average utility bill, plus groceries and gas – at the end of the month it’s a matter of deciding to sit in the dark or eat baloney sandwiches everyday. From Economist View, The “Threat of an Arrogant Laboring Class, …a Threat to the Foundation not Merely of Wealth but of Existence Itself”

The quote from Kyl reminds me of a quote from Nassau William Senior (1790-1864). Senior was head of the Poor Law Commission that rewrote the existing laws dictating when relief to the poor would be paid. To give you some idea of what this was all about, note that “Oliver Twist was written in retaliation against the Poor Law.”

In his book Three Lectures on the Rate of Wages, Senior explains why he believes that relief for the poor will lead them to acquire the attitude that they have the right to exist without having to do any work:

greater exertion and severer economy are … [the laborer’s] resources in distress; and what they cannot supply, he receives with gratitude from the benevolent. The connexion between him and his master has the kindliness of a voluntary association, in which each party is conscious of benefit, and each feels that his own welfare depends … on the welfare of the other. But the instant wages cease to be a bargain-the instant the labourer is paid, not according to his value, but his wants, he ceases to be a free man. He acquires the indolence, the improvidence, the rapacity, and the malignity, but not the subordination of a slave. He is told that he has a right to wages …. But who can doubt that he will measure his rights by his wishes, or that his wishes will extend with the prospect of gratification?

It is not – as the Media Matters links to conservative pundits shows – simply two Republican senators, but the vast majority of the conservative movement that commonly holds forth the attitudes of Nassau William Senior and does their best to implement that philosophy as legislated social policy. No doubt there are a few lazy poor working class Americans, maybe even as many as there are lazy 3rd and 4th generation brats of millionaire family wealth. Republicans have no problem with unearned wealth at the top 25% of wage earners, they just have a problem with subsistence amounts of public aid when it goes to a couple percent of working class Americans. Who really gets hurt when GOP’s Bunning blocks this bill?

The Department of Transportation furloughed nearly 2,000 employees without pay Monday as the government began to feel the impact of Republican Sen. Jim Bunning’s one-man blockage of legislation that would keep a host of federal programs operating.

Bunning’s “hold” also affects jobless benefits for thousands of unemployed workers, rural television customers, doctors receiving Medicare payments and others.

[  ]…Federal projects shut down include more than $38 million in project funding for Idaho’s Nez Perce National Forest and Fernan Lakes Idaho Panhandle National Forest and $86 million for bridge replacements in the Washington, D.C., area. Bunning’s home state of Kentucky has no projects affected by his action.

However, nearly 1.2 million unemployed workers, including 14,000 in Kentucky, would lose federal jobless benefits this month if Congress doesn’t extend them