December 2004 Archives
December 31, 2004
Quote of the Day - New Years Eve edition
"You may have a fresh start any moment you choose."
December 30, 2004
Quote of the Day
"Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man."
December 29, 2004
A Message to our Troops
If you read through the ABP you can see that we truly do support our troops. Anti-war, Pro-troops. That's us.
But, with our troops apparently voting 4-to-1 in favor of Bush it's time to say something to the troops;
First we support you. We've supported you all along. That's why we chose to go democrat this past presidential election.
You see, your brothers and sisters are dying in Iraq. And, for what? I know you think you're there to protect the United States, but from what? Saddam Hussein? Turns out that he could have done nothing more then sold oil for personal financial gain. Ahem... sounds like the business Bush Sr and Jr were in before politics? Right?
So, you can't have lunch with out being worried about a suicide bomber?
You do not have the right armor to protect you from loss of limb or life?
Your Secretary of Defense doesn't care that you have to fish for metal in waste dumps to armor your Humvees?
You're separated from your families longer then you were told you would be?
You want to retire, but the military won't let you?
You were only supposed to be called-up to active duty in case of "National Emergency", but you've been in Iraq for 6 months with no sign of coming home?
You were told you were liberators, but the people of Iraq want you dead, gone or both?
You're fighting to keep oil pipelines from being blown up, but Americans back home are still buying Hummers that consume more and more of the very fluid you're dying for?
You watched a buddy die a week ago for no good reason?
You are walking on an artificial leg now?
You are learning to write with your left hand because your writing hand was blown off?
Well, troops, it appears you voted for him. As one of your brethren said, "you break it, you bought it." And, it appears that your lack of personal insight has contributed to keeping a broken administration in office. You'll pay for it now. And, you'll continue to pay while you're on active duty.
Thanks troops, you own him now.
Niagara Falls Reporter predictions for 2005
It will be a bleak and painful year for Americans at home and our ship of state around the world is terribly off-course.
The insurrection in Iraq will continue and pacification will be increasingly difficult for our overstretched, overexposed and inadequately equipped occupation forces. The attack on the dining hall at the U.S. base in Mosul underscores the vulnerability of all our forces.
Elections in Iraq will proceed on schedule, regardless of what the Iraqi people want. George W. Bush wants the elections and his is the only voice that matters.
Voting will be marked by violence and widespread confusion. Vast regions of the country and large segments of the population will be unable to vote. Others will simply refuse to participate in such a contrived exercise in the American-imposed civics lesson.
George W. Bush will declare the elections a great victory and proof that his experiment in planting seeds of democracy will blossom throughout the Middle East -- except in Saudi Arabia, but that's a personal, family matter.
International observers will pronounce the elections a meaningless "political show," as the process will fuel more sectarian and ethnic hostilities. Iraqi security forces will be of little use in quelling the disturbances during the elections.
Field Marshall Rumsfeld will survive. His screw-ups don't matter. He has the unflinching support of Dick Cheney, who has told the president that "Rummy stays."
More evidence of abuse and torture of Iraqi prisoners will emerge and those horrors will be traced to "Do what you have to do" memos and OKs from the White House. The Red Cross, Red Crescent and Amnesty International will document torture and murder in the prisons. The military atrocities at Guantanamo Bay will make the civilized world sick.
The Bush administration will blame "rogue" National Guard units and media "hype."
But the man behind the curtain of fascism -- White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales, who wrote legal briefs enabling torture and, in effect, declaring the president is a king -- will become Attorney General of the United States.
Instead he should be facing indictment, imprisonment and disbarment. He's a first-rate toady and third-rate legal mind, but rises to undeserved respectability as a devoted, professional Bush loyalist, who will say and write anything to please the boss. Lawyers who take their oaths seriously should be outraged!
Democrats in the Senate will be politically correct, roll over and allow the confirmation of a man whose wanted poster should hang outside every respectable court of international justice.
Condoleezza Rice presents another portrait of easy confirmation. Forget that she ignored a specific warning that Osama bin Laden was planning to use airplanes to attack the United States. She will glibly defend the whole episode as misinterpretations about what the word "threat" meant. She will talk for days and say nothing.
A handful of senators might ask her a few tough questions. In the end, they will simply roll over.
Actually, she does have some expertise in the old Soviet Union, where she could prove herself invaluable in trying to get Bush's "soul mate," Russian Premier Vladimir Putin, to stop dancing with Stalin's ghost.
But Bush wants Condi nearby. In his world, personal convenience always looms larger than world issues. She, too, should not be confirmed. Her national security failures and her fabrications about Iraq and Saddam should make her political toast. But the Democratic wimps in the Senate will rescue her from the grill.
I predict Rudy Giuliani's halo will permanently disappear and his sidekick -- the once would-be Secretary of Homeland Security, Bernie Kerik -- will be in more legal hot water. These two are rewriting the book of sleaze and neither will hold public office ever again.
Bush will get the Congress to craft some kind of privatized Social Security accounts.
They won't do a damn thing to address the real problem and won't offer any specifics about reductions in benefits, older retirement age and greater payroll deductions. That would require courage and candor.
We have, as they say in Texas, a president who is "all hat and no cattle." He ain't gonna tell the real truth. He'll just swag and brag and "pray" for a good year to come. I worry about an unending war and the suffering it will cause, the desecration of our environment, a tidal wave of national debt and the fate of millions of Americans who don't have jobs.
But I do predict that 2005 will be a year of enlightenment for all of us.
Quote of the Day
"An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves."
December 28, 2004
The Constitution in 2020: Post by John Podesta
Open government is essential to democracy. The current administration’s penchant for secrecy, illustrated perhaps most famously by Vice President Cheney’s refusal to disclose the most basic information about whom he consulted with in developing the nation’s energy policies, has brought renewed vigor to progressives’ fundamental commitment to transparency and accountability in government.
But in what is that impulse grounded? The Constitution does not explicitly speak of a “right to information” or “open government.” The legal authority we have to demand information from government is rooted in statute (e.g., FOIA, FACA). While these laws play a valuable role in peeling back the curtain on government secrecy, the public’s right to know would be considerably strengthened if such a right could be constitutionalized.
One place to look for support of such an argument is Article I, Section 1, which grants to Congress “[a]ll legislative [p]owers” enumerated in Article I. Underlying that statement, and indeed all of Article I, is an assumption that Congress is in a position to exercise its legislative mandate. Few people may realize how that very assumption may be faulty. Congress has, arguably, never been less functional and less able to legislate. And an important element of this institutional paralysis comes from the lack of basic information that is shared by the executive branch and between the majority and minority parties, casting doubt on the ability of Congress to address matters of public policy, and perhaps more importantly, represent the public it purportedly serves.
The minority party in Congress often does not even see the text of major bills until a few hours before voting on them—leaving no time for them to be understood, much less read. The appropriations process in particular has become so disfigured that bipartisan outcry is growing. Congress now routinely fails to pass the bills, required by the Constitution, to fund the government, instead waiting until, almost literally, the last minute to issue an enormous omnibus bill that few members—and certainly no members of the minority—have time to digest. Hearings are scheduled on short notice in order to deprive minority members of the time necessary to prepare and gather witnesses. Critical reports, memoranda, and testimony are not shared. A Democratic leadership aide said last year, "From their perspective, they don't need to tell us anything. We're fundamentally not part of the process."
This might be acceptable in some parliamentary systems. But in our system, particularly with such a closely divided Congress, the withholding of information compromises the ability of the institution to do its job. Moreover, it deprives nearly half the people of the informed representation to which they are entitled.
The Supreme Court has recognized that Congress has the right to obtain information from the executive branch—a responsibility that is normally exercised by the majority party. But in a situation like the one we have today, where the majority has abandoned much of its oversight role, the question is: can a constitutional argument be framed that the minority party has a right to information in order to fulfill Congress’ obligation to oversee the executive branch?
The filibuster must live... for both sides sake.
Republican's want the filibuster to be eliminated. Of course they do. Why not start crossing out some more of the Constitution while you're at it?
We're pleasantly surprised by Reid's approach to this...
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has vowed to tie the Senate into procedural knots if Frist tries to change the filibuster rule. "It will be very difficult to get even the most routine work done in the Senate," Reid spokesman Jim Manley said in an interview Sunday.
The Senate, which must approve all presidential nominees to the federal bench, confirmed 204 of Bush's nominees during the last Congress. Of the 20 whom Bush intends to renominate, seven made it to the Senate floor — and then were blocked by Democrats from coming up for a vote. Reid said the candidates Bush intends to renominate are "extremist."
Rummy makes a Woopsy
Raw Story and Blue Lemer are both a "grain of salt" type of publication... but, they're correct more often then wrong.
In either a gargantuan slip of the tongue or a momentous gaffe departing from the Bush Administration-approved timeline, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld told troops in Iraq that the Sept. 11 flight over Pennsylvania was “shot down,” RAW STORY has discovered.
The quote was found in CNN’s transcript of a video of the Secretary’s visit to Camp Victory in Baghdad. The audio is available from National Public Radio (skip to 3:30) here.
Rumsfeld appears to suggest that terrorists shot down Flight 93, the flight immortalized with the possibly inaccurate “let’s roll” tale in which passengers struggled to retake the plane, driving it into the ground.
Anybody else sick of reading/hearing about Powell on the Ukraine elections?
I'm not even going to bother to link to all the garbage I'm reading this morning about how Colin Powell and the Bush administration are "hailing" the "legitimate" elections in the Ukraine.
What I'm surprised about is how the Ukraine government is not hailing the "legitimate" elections in the United States. As a matter of fact, has any "third world" country hailed our legitimate elections?
Are they even legitimate?
Oh wait, this just in; Libya is hailing the legitimate election of George W. Bush.
Quote of the Day
"It wouldn't be New Year's if I didn't have regrets."