Celtic Graveyard Scotland wallpaper

Celtic Graveyard Scotland wallpaper

Democrats are not perfect when it comes to privacy rights ( one of the reasons for the never ending intra-party battles between conservative Democrats and progressives), but denying those rights are not part and parcel of the Democratic philosophy as they are with conservatism, A Pressing Need to Revive Privacy Rights

There are other sources we can look to for change:

• A vigorous line of Supreme Court dissents to key Fourth Amendment cases, which articulate the problems with current doctrines and provide the groundwork for the court to eventually shift or reverse course.
• Many U.S. states have rejected the Supreme Court’s approaches to privacy law, in some cases because of state constitutions that provide more explicit privacy protections than the U.S. Constitution, but in other cases because state judges have simply gone the other way. The spread of alternative interpretations of privacy rights within the states could gain influence at the national level, as has happened before on other issues.
• Conservative justices like Justice Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas have taken positions on privacy issues that suggest they might be open to strengthening the Fourth Amendment in some ways, raising the possibility of the kinds of Supreme Court coalitions necessary to change the direction of federal jurisprudence.

Unfortunately president Obama does not see appointments to the courts with the same priority as conservatives. Which helps explain why he has not pushed past conservative road blocks to his judicial or government post appointees – Weakening America: Mitch McConnell Shows How

As you may have heard elsewhere, the Obama Administration has been relatively slow in vetting and choosing nominees for many of its important posts — but then has encountered extreme slowness from the Senate in approving the appointments once they get made. If you go to this White House site, you’ll find a searchable, sortable list of all 820+ nominations and appointments made so far in the Administration; about 240 have not even come up for a Senate vote. If you go to this U.S. Senate site and click on the link for “Executive Calendar,” you’ll get a long PDF showing in its “nominations” section the scores and scores of people who have come through committees but not received a vote on the Senate floor. (Direct link to the PDF here.)

On Thursday afternoon, just before its Memorial Day recess, the Senate had planned to consider about 80 of these nominations as a group. They all had been through financial and security vetting; they had been through committee consideration; they were headed for jobs that in many cases now stood vacant; they were ready to go. Sen. Tom Harkin, Democrat of Iowa, moved for approval by unanimous consent, apparently believing that a deal to clear out the huge backlog had been struck. Sen. Mitch McConnell, the minority leader, begged to differ. He was still sore about the recess appointment of Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board. Therefore he wouldn’t agree to the en-bloc vote.

McConnell helped Bush get a recess appointment for a mining executive to be the Mine and Health Safety Administrator. The kind of administrator that looked the other way for companies like Massey. In order to convince their followers that government is in every situation a bad thing, Mitch and company have to make sure that government does indeed not work. Conservatism, the movement of crony-fied self fulfilling prophesies.

Oops! Legal Expert Tells Jamie Colby Fox’s “Breathless” Coverage Of Sestak Is “Much Ado About Nothing”

A professor specializing in election law visited On The Record last night (5/28/10) and told substitute guest host Jamie Colby that no statutes were broken in the Sestak affair, that the statute Fox News personnel keep obsessively citing, Section 600 of the U.S. Code was not designed to prevent the kind of political deals that might have been made between the White House and Sestak and, for good measure, added, “The coverage on your network sounds pretty breathless. It seems to me that this is really much ado about nothing.”

Once in a while Fox will call in an expert on something thinking they will get an echo of the point of view they’re pushing and will surprised that not everyone in America drinks the kool-aid.

Showdown at the GOP Corral Western conservatives and Southern conservatives battle for the soul of the Republican Party.

The new Western conservatism is not simply a reincarnation of the old Goldwater version. Lacking anti-communism as an organizing principle, it has been forced to invent a collectivistic demon, depicting Obama’s centrist liberalism as socialism with American face. Where the old Western conservatives had serious thinkers lurking in the background—Harry Jaffa, the Straussian political philosopher, wrote Goldwater’s famous convention speech—the new wave is authentically anti-intellectual. At the same time, Western conservatism has become more inclusive. The embodiment of its frontier spirit is now a woman who proclaims, “There’s plenty of room for all Alaska’s animals—right next to the mashed potatoes.”

Palin and Beck are terrific entertainers and the Tea Party is a great show, all of which has made the conservative movement fun to watch lately. But cowboy-style constitutional fundamentalism is unlikely to prove a winning philosophy for Republicans beyond 2010. For that, they need a conservatism that hasn’t been in evidence lately—a version that’s not Western or Southern, but instead tolerant, moderate, and mainstream.

Weisberg’s history and observations seem spot on. Though his mild concern trolling will no doubt fall on foil covered hard heads.

Joan Walsh continues to be worth checking in with. The meme from far right or moderates that Obama getting more emotive will somehow plug the leak is tiresome and bizarre, Peggy Noonan says his presidency is doomed. Even Democrats want him to be more “emotional.” This is getting silly

From cable television, 24/7, we’re told that even if there’s nothing more Obama and his administration could do to stop the leak and contain the damage, he’s at fault because he’s just not feeling our pain. On MSNBC Friday morning I watched former Rep. David Bonior, last seen peddling John Edwards to Democrats, complain about Obama’s cool. “He’s got to get emotional,” the Democrat (who was there to balance the anti-Obama ranting of Pat Buchanan) insisted.

During national disasters I tend to find presidents that run around like chickens with their heads cut off not the least bit reassuring. I thought Frank Rich was going down that road, but it turned out he only took half a step in that direction, acknowledging the battle of public perceptions versus reality, Obama’s Katrina? Maybe Worse

The Obama administration has been engaged with the oil spill from the start — however haltingly and inarticulately at times. It was way too trusting of BP but was never AWOL. For all the second-guessing, it’s still not clear what else the president might have done to make a definitive, as opposed to cosmetic, difference in plugging the hole: yell louder at BP, send in troops and tankers, or, as James Carville would have it, assume the role of Big Daddy? The spill is not a Tennessee Williams play, its setting notwithstanding, and it’s hard to see what more drama would add, particularly since No Drama Obama’s considerable talents do not include credible play-acting.

[   ]…This is why the more revealing strand of Rand Paul’s post-primary victory romp may have been his musings about BP, not civil rights law — although they are two sides of the same ideological coin. He called out Obama and his administration for sounding “really un-American” in their “criticism of business.” He asked that we stop the “blame game” over the disaster and instead just accept the fact that “accidents happen.” Much as Paul questioned the federal government’s role in ordering lunch counters to desegregate, so he belittled its intrusion into BP’s toxic private enterprise. But unlike the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the role of government in corporate regulation is a continuing battle, not settled law.

Well Rich has done it now. He has pissed off a right-wing libertarian. Liberty Pundits writes Frank Rich’s Unrequited Obama Love And Facing Hard Truths

You see where I’m going here. The problem with guys like Frank Rich is that he has no stop on the jobs the Federal government should do and not only that, he’s all for taxing the productive and businesses to fulfill his pet projects and big government desires to Right All Wrongs.

Whether they are right-wing libertarians or conservatives they  love their straw man arguments. Absolutely nowhere in Rich’s column does he propose, argue and even suggest the government should “Right All Wrongs”. Only the government has a role and responsibility to work on some solutions to some problems that are too large for individuals or business to handle. Not all libertarians are that lazy and moronic.

Camas Prairie Landscape Idaho wallpaper, Conservative’s National Security Reputation Coming Undone

Camas Prairie Landscape Idaho wallpaper

Contrary to conventional wisdom there is never going to be a deadline reached at which the legacy of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney should be forgotten. Not because some of us might justifiably have a grudge. But because their legacy lives on with real life consequences. George and Dick were sold to us as the A-Team. They knew what was best for the economy, their stellar national security and foreign policy expertise were the standard by which all future policies would be measured. Even given the span of two terms Bush and Cheney’s policies, trumpeted regularly by his supporters on TV and in print, turned out to be dismal failures. Then and now Dick Cheney, who has the gull to pop up occasionally and offer up his expertise, was a former Secretary of Defense under Reagan ( where he cut ten divisions from the armed forces) was always cast as the national security expert. On that basis, or that continued misplaced perception, many conservatives would like to see him as president in 2012. Out of office in 2009 Dick Cheney said this about President Obama’s national security policies,

As I’ve watched the events of the last few days it is clear once again that President Obama is trying to pretend we are not at war. [. . .] He seems to think if he closes Guantanamo and releases the hard-core al Qaeda trained terrorists still there, we won’t be at war.

For seven years Cheney and like-minded sycophants used similar language to attack anyone that dared disagree with the mighty voice of right-wing authority on all things pertaining to terrorism. Critics of the Bush administration were more than wrong they were terrorist sympathizers. There was always that arrogance of absolute tactical and moral authority. To their credit it was a clever tactic. Stick to a message that appealed to the base fears of much of the public and repeat daily. Silencing the Lawyers

A total of 779 prisoners have been held in Guantánamo in connection with the war on terror. Five hundred seventy-nine were released, most by the Bush Administration, a quiet recognition of errors made in the decisions to detain them. A large number of those still detained are contesting their imprisonment through habeas corpus—under which the government must make a minimal showing that it has a reasonable basis for holding the prisoner. In roughly three-quarters of these cases so far (36 out of 50 decided), which are being heard before largely Republican-appointed, conservative federal judges in Washington, the court has found that the United States has no reason to hold the prisoner.

[   ]…What happened to the 600–800 Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders for whom the prison was originally conceived? We now have a pretty good idea. In the late fall of 2001, military operations in Afghanistan were successful, and Taliban and Al Qaeda leadership figures had fled to two last redoubts—the city of Kunduz in the northeast, and the Tora Bora region along the Pakistani frontier. But for reasons known only to him, Vice President Dick Cheney ordered a halt to the bombardment of Kunduz and opened an air corridor to allow the Pakistani military to airlift the Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders out of Kunduz. The maneuver was ridiculed by one U.S. military official present at the time as “Operation Evil Airlift.” The United States quickly moved to fill Gitmo with nobodies.

The Conservative A-Team of terror fighting let Bin Laden get away at Tora Bora, squandered victory in Afghanistan and assisted Al Qaeda. To shore up their reputations as the national security pros the Bush administration threw a combination of predominately low-level stooges and innocent bystanders into Gitmo. Some lawyers have been successful at pushing the cases of those detainees for whom the reasons for detainment are dubious. The mythical legacy of Bush-Cheney and the conservative movement as the Gurus of national security has and continues to come undone. What can conservatives do to stop the ever widening erosion of their national security credentials. They can persecute the lawyers, who are proving to Bush appointed judges no less, for exposing the ineptitude and lawlessness of the Bush administration’s actions in the “war on terror”.

Instead, influential Republicans in Congress are crying out for an investigation of the lawyers. Florida Republican Jeff Miller has secured a provision in the current defense appropriations act (PDF) requiring that the Defense Department’s inspector general “conduct an investigation of the conduct and practices of lawyers” who represent clients at Guantánamo if there is some reason to believe that they “interfered with the operations” at Gitmo or “violated any applicable policy of the Department.” Of course, as Steven Vladeck has explained, in the thinking of the Bush era, prisoners were to be held at Gitmo without access to attorneys or the ability to make legal arguments, so everything that the defense counsel did amounted to “interference with the operations”–starting with securing a series of Supreme Court decisions holding that those operations were illegal.

The defense counsel working at Guantánamo have been subjected to a barrage of officially sponsored indignities. They have been tarred with ethnic slurs and accusations of homosexuality, accused of undermining national security, subjected to continual petty harassment. They have also had their livelihoods threatened through appeals to their paying clients. These events have been reported as separate incidents in the press, but this conduct results from a carefully orchestrated Bush Administration policy that goes under the rubric of “lawfare.” With the Bush Administration out of power, these efforts have been taken up by former Vice President Dick Cheney, his daughter, and a collection of Republican hacks. There’s nothing remotely “disgraceful” about the efforts of defense counsel to identify witnesses and collect evidence, and to prove torture if indeed torture was used. That’s the essence of justice. Congressman Miller is afraid that the truth of what happened to these prisoners will be fully exposed and that they may be proven innocent.