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And So What Is Wrong with the Idea of a Caliphate? Jan. 13th, 2006 @ 11:24 pm
I don't get it.

My red-blooded American mind says, that if the Islamic people of the Mid East want it, why not?

    The goal of reuniting Muslims under a single flag stands at the heart of the radical Islamic ideology Bush has warned of repeatedly.

    ...the caliphate is also esteemed by many ordinary Muslims. For most, its revival is not an urgent concern. Public opinion polls show immediate issues such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and discrimination rank as more pressing. But Muslims regard themselves as members of the umma , or community of believers, that forms the heart of Islam. And as earthly head of that community, the caliph is cherished both as memory and ideal, interviews indicate.

    That reservoir of respect represents a risk for the Bush administration as it addresses an issue closely watched by a global Islamic population estimated at 1.2 billion. Already, many surveys show that since the U.S.-led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, Muslims almost universally have seen the war against terrorism as a war on Islam.

Interesting. I'm wondering though, if we had stoppped at Afghanistan, really gotten bin Laden like the Bush people said they would and if we'd rebuilt Afghanistan right instead of letting the drug lords run it, then would Muslims have felt under attack? It's very hard to say what would have happened if we had taken the path that our leaders rejected for us.

They took the path more traveled (by dictators and despots) and that has made all the difference.

But to get back to the Caliphate.

Well, I'm thinking that a strong Islamic confederation or even "gasp" nation would be hard for even the US to control with colonialism. Yeah, I guess that is scary if you're a fat cat businessman to whom the Bushies promised to make war until you get cheaper resources, and labor, and guaranteed acceptance of your products.

Funny, though, but Bush's warmongering in the Islamic world is one of the most important factors driving the Muslims to think about a new Caliphate.

Violence begets violence. Good going Bushie! Here's another fine mess you've gotten us into.

IRS Grabbing people's tax refunds. Jan. 10th, 2006 @ 01:16 pm
Way to pay off the massive debt the Republicans have forced on our nation. This is what we are trying to get people to understand. The Republicans made incredible claims on the Clinton administration as outrageous as calling Bill Clinton a mass murderer and including claims of IRS taking people's money. But what they have done in power has been so much worse than anything that happened under Clinton.

    Many taxpayers whose refunds were hung up in the process were low-income taxpayers claiming the earned-income tax credit, and in a sample examined by the Taxpayer Advocate Service nearly two-thirds of them were fully entitled to receive a refund.

    "Even in cases where CI has made 'conclusive' determinations of fraud and characterized the taxpayers as 'criminals,' it has not provided the affected taxpayers with any notice or opportunity to present documentation to rebut CI's suspicion before a final 'determination' is made." Some refunds are eventually released or the taxpayers subjected to audit. But in many cases, the report said, refunds remain frozen for years.

    Taxpayers mystified at the disappearance of their refunds have flooded the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) with requests for assistance. Last year TAS handled more than 28,000 such requests, up from about 16,400 a year earlier, and such complaints now represent the largest number that the advocate service gets about any IRS program.

    However, IRS employees, including those of TAS, are generally forbidden to give a taxpayer any information about a missing refund until six months after the taxpayer contacts the agency, Olson's report said.

Robert H. Jackson comes out against presidential power grabs Jan. 10th, 2006 @ 12:21 am
Yes, I know that Jackson has been dead since 1954, but his explanation of a concurrent decision as Supreme Court Justice lives on.

    [A] 1952 opinion, a concurrence by Justice Robert H. Jackson, rejected President Harry S. Truman's assertion that he had the constitutional power to seize the nation's steel mills to aid the war effort in Korea.


    Quoting from the Jackson concurrence and referring to the surveillance program, [Senator Arlen] Specter [R-PA} said, "What is at stake is the equilibrium established by our constitutional system."

Senator Patrick Leahy pointed out that Justice Sandra Day OConner, whom Alito is hoping to replace, also believed in limits to presidential power.

(Everyone but you and your neocon friends, Mr. Alito.)

    "We have long since made clear that a state of war is not a blank check for the president when it comes to the rights of the nation's citizens," Justice O'Connor wrote for herself and three other justices in 2004. She cited one case as precedent for that proposition: Youngstown.
Youngstown refers to the 1952 case mentioned above.
    In June 1952, in a 6-to-3 decision, the Supreme Court rejected the various legal rationales offered by the Truman administration for the seizures. Many of those rationales have echoes in the justifications offered by the Bush administration for its detention of enemy combatants, harsh interrogations and domestic surveillance without court approval.

    Writing for the court, Justice Hugo L. Black said the president's power was extensive but not unlimited.

    "Even though 'theater of war' be an expanding concept," Justice Black wrote, "we cannot with faithfulness to our constitutional system hold that the commander in chief of the armed forces has the ultimate power as such to take possession of private property in order to keep labor disputes from stopping production. This is a job for the nation's lawmakers, not for its military authorities."

See Mr. Alito, Chief Justice John Roberts is on board. The only one tardy to class is you Sammy.

    Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., at his confirmation hearings in September, endorsed Justice Jackson's concurrence. It has, Judge Roberts said, "set the framework for consideration of questions of executive power in times of war and with respect to foreign affairs since it was decided."

    The president's authority is at its maximum, Justice Jackson wrote, when he "acts pursuant to an express or implied authorization of Congress." The [Bush] administration says a resolution authorizing the president to use military force after the Sept. 11 attacks was such authorization.
Focus of Hearings Quickly Turns to Limits of Presidential Power

And the NY Times reporter fails to remember that couple of weeks ago Tom Daschle wrote an op-ed telling America that the Senate expressly forbid the Bush administration warrantless spying on Americans. The Bush people put the wording into the Patriot Act and Congressional leaders took it out.

That was an expression of forbidding as clear as the Arizona sun.

And I know that Senator Daschle's op-ed was in the Washington Post, but still. News reporters should read other people's stuff too, just to be informed.

Alito doing the "You Don't Know Me" shuffle and jive. Jan. 9th, 2006 @ 11:35 pm
(Goes to the tune of whatever's in your head.)

Everything I ever said is nada! You don't know me!

You can't judge what I'll do by what I've done! You don't know me!

I might change my mind. I might even get an abortion!

I might be a real nice chap who'd swim the whole ocean!

Don't think that because I said the president

can do what he wants, I won't follow precedent.

And don't think that you know me,

cause you don't know me.

Yep, typical song and dance for a Bush nominee.

Quickies Jan 10, 2005 Jan. 9th, 2006 @ 11:10 pm
George Will talks some sense

Actual bashing of his side, not, though without double bashing (bashing based on lies) liberals. Hey, they can't change their spots.

Former CIA, now at the neocon American Enterprise Institute calls for more propaganda. Let's lay aside the disgusting matter of what propaganda sounds like, the former CIA officer (and probably soon to be employee of the Lincoln group or whatever new privatized propaganda service there will be) forgets to mention the cost.

The Lincoln group got $300 million for a little over a year's work.

The highest paid major news anchor in America got 2.5 million a year in 2004.

Taxpayer that's your dough. And, with tax changes the Republicans intend to make in the next two years, the middle class will be bearing more and the upper classes less of that burden. No wonder the Republicans feel gleeful about piling it on.

In Slanted Press or Slanted Blogs? Howard has us bloggers pinned to the mat.

Well, at least, the right wing talking points ones.

Only one point I'd like to make here is that just because news people are better than the pure propagandist right wingers, does that mean they shouldn't be held up to scrutiny. And, in fact, we know the pressures you are under (well, we know them intellectually) from the administration and the coporations that pay nearly every professional writer's paycheck.

And Kurtz does offer a good rebuttal.

One thing we'd like to add: though, apparently non profits do not have to announce their donors (except, I presume, to the IRS), it has been found that the RNC gave c. $38k to 2 South Dakota bloggers who leveled never proven charges on Tom Daschle's campaign, some provided to them by Jeff Gannon, and whom, apparently, the RNC considered instrumental in Daschle's defeat.

It really makes one wonder how much other money is heading to right wing bloggers from the RNC or 'interest groups' because of the bloggers' willingness to pass on the right wing talking points.

The info on the SD bloggers is to be found in these 2 CBS reports: 1, 2

Sorry, about the real quick job on those links, but CBS has even more Flash junk (ads) than Washington Post, maybe as much as the New York Times, and Flash turns my computer which is normally quite servicable into a quagmire of slowly hopping mouse trails and delayed to moribund keyboard recognition. The computer gets so messed up with a few tabs containing flash open that sometimes I can't even get the offending pages closed for 5 minutes.

New York Times Reporter murdered for 'wallet'. Thieves left ring and watch. Jan. 9th, 2006 @ 11:05 pm
David Rosenbaum was one of the NY Time's bravest reporters (recently retired we are told, but he co-authored a report showing that Supreme Court nominee Samuel. A Alito favored immunity for an attorney general who ordered warrantless wiretapping as recently as Christmas Eve, and wrote 3 other NY Times articles in December 2005. It makes me wonder how recently he was retired.) (Abstract of article mentioned above is here

January 9th, 2005 David Rosenbaum was walking in one of the safest neighborhoods in DC.

Thieves are suspected in the beating death, but the ring and watch were left.

Ambulance was delayed for 22 minutes. It is well known that the rapid response of an ambulance and the scoop and go system of getting a patient to a hospital rapidly saves numerous lives.

More distraction needed. Cheney runs to the hospital Jan. 9th, 2006 @ 10:28 am
Yep, you can always count on good ol' Cheney.

The American public is still in the dark about how Alito wrote that giving the president dicatorial powers is a good thing.

They think he will protect Roe V Wade.

Now stuff the news with some extra BS and their corporate masters will do the rest

Quickies Jan. 9th, 2006 @ 01:25 am
Long Puff Piece on Samuel Alito. Okay, we know what the corporations that own the news media want in this matter. But can we forget that Alito approves of spying on Americans?

Well, here's another time that Schwarzenegger should've stopped and didn't. Actually this time he has a good excuse as he ran into a car coming out of a driveway. But still there's those little matters of the recall election and last November's special election.

And a puff piece on a major Samuel Alito (anti choice) supporter

And now they take on the Postal Service Yup, when they destroy that and we pay $5 a letter, the fat cats can get another tax cut.

Hastert Pretends He's a Reformer, but won't say what charities his Abramhoff money will go to

We wonder what Pat Robertson's reasoning is on the Fires in OK, TX, and, now, CO and AR. Since he seems to know the reason for everything.

Bird Flu Appears to Spread West Yeah, um, Duh! We all heard about Turkey last week.


Cartoon Movement in the Capital Jan. 9th, 2006 @ 01:16 am
Pure abject running away

Abramhoff and friends have soiled the idea of the nonprofit charity Jan. 9th, 2006 @ 01:11 am
Molly Ivins:
"Public documents reviewed by the Associated Press tell the story: at least 48 visits to golf clubs, and resorts with lush fairways, 100 flights aboard company planes, 200 stays at hotels, many world class, and 500 meals at restaurants, some averaging nearly $2,000 for a dinner for two.

"Instead of his personal expense, the meals and trips for DeLay and his associates were paid with donations collected by the campaign committees, political action committees and children's charity the Texas Republican created during his rise to the top of Congress."

How cynical does that make you? When I hear Speaker Dennis Hastert is returning his campaign contributions from Jack Abramoff or "donating it to charity," I wonder which little charmer of a Republican campaign fund masquerading as a charity he's sending it to.

The DeLay Foundation for Kids was set up 18 years ago and works on behalf of foster children. But it is also a way for companies to give unregulated and undisclosed funds: It's a way for companies to get into DeLay's good graces or, as Fred Lewis from Campaign for People says, "another way for donors to get their hooks into politicians."

Meanwhile, Abramoff was even more cavalier about "charity." He created the Capital Athletic Foundation supposedly to help inner-city children through organized sports. There is no evidence any of the money ever went to that purpose, but The Washington Post reports it went to a sniper school for Israelis on the West Bank, a golf trip to Scotland for Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio) and a Jewish religious academy in Columbia, Md. Abramoff's hapless Indian clients were generous contributors: I wonder if he thought it was funny that Indians would more likely identify with Palestinians than Israelis.
Proud to be an American

To see where the Abramhoff donations are being sent to see: Bush, Lawmakers Drop Cash Tied to Abramoff

Notable drops:
_House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., about $77,000 to charity.

_House Majority Leader Roy Blunt, R-Mo., $8,500 to charity.

_Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, $15,000 to local charities in suburban Houston.

Yep, just like the lady said. Big dumps being sent into unnamed charity ether showing Hastert and Blunt are cut from the same mold as DeLay and Abramhoff.
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