Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Who should bail out the automakers?

Impeach before Bush leaves office

A Detroit Free Press columnist argues that Congress shouldn't let President Bush's last two months in office go by without pressing for impeachment.

Rochelle Riley argues that immediate impeachment hearings would prevent Bush from issuing preemptive pardons for government officials accused of crimes and would prevent the president from further pursuing economy-wrecking deregulatory policies.

If Congress moves quickly and forces the president to focus on impeachment, then he won't have so much time to push through last-minute regulatory changes that will continue to hurt our country and our ideals. He already has pushed deregulation that would allow employers to talk directly with employees' doctors and allow power companies to build polluting facilities close to national parks.

Anyone worried that our congressional representatives can't tie their shoes and chew gum at the same time, or cannot focus on the economic crisis and impeachment hearings at the same time, will find that many answers to our economic and global defense problems will come from those hearings.
It's unclear precisely how those two ideas can co-exist. Riley doesn't explain how impeachment will prevent Bush from enacting his bad economic policies, while simultaneously not distracting Congress from developing its own economic policies.

It almost certainly doesn't matter, though. Although Riley urges Congress to follow through with impeachment articles introduced earlier this year by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has maintained a strict opposition to beginning impeachment hearings.

Bigger problems

America's Farewell Letter to George W. Bush

'From Merica to George'

On Looking Back and Connecting the Dots

by Loren Adams 

To my unfaithful husband, George:

Guess what? I was clearing coat pockets before taking your suit to the cleaners the other day and found that little letter you wrote six years ago to Tony. Yeah, that one. You know, where you explained you had to pull the wool over my eyes in order to arrange a little tryst on the side. You Jerk!

You wrote Tony, "I've got to fix the intelligence around the policy so Merica doesn't find out my true intent to screw Erica to grab her inheritance -- Gotta make it look like Erica was the one who seduced me, not the other way around, in case Merica finds out."

You cheating, conniving, lying son of a bitch!

I trusted you. After the accident September 11, the kids and I put complete confidence in you. All the neighbors rushed to our side.

But what did you do with that good will?

You cheated! You schemed! You squandered our savings and threw us into bankruptcy!

Looking back, I now know what you were up to, George. It took my discovering that little letter to open my eyes to the bigger picture. Now I see how you are, you lying piece of s--t!

September 11 was no accident, was it? Weren't you in business 30 years before with the guy who crashed into us? What's his name -- Ben Ladyman? What a strange coincidence he would happen to be driving recklessly in a part of town not his own. How much did you collect from the insurance policy?

Who profited? Only you, of course. And then you had the nerve to call it "My trifecta," remember? For a brief moment I was puzzled why you described that awful accident as "MY TRIFECTA." But even then I foolishly went back to believing you because we were in such deep crisis. In hindsight, you had no concern for our security -- only for your own and how the incident would benefit you personally. Maybe I should call the insurance company to report fraud.

There were little hints along the way, but I was so naive -- too blinded by trust. And you used religion to cover your evil ways like a pedophile priest hiding an insatiable raunchy appetite. You claimed to be "born-again," but it was more like "porn-again" -- given you cursed like a sailor and fornicated with everyone in sight. You damned hypocrite!

BE WARNED: Now those obscure hints of past misdeeds are resurfacing and I'm connecting the dots.

Students rally for ironic 'Princeton Proposition 8'

By Raymond Brusca
Princetonians protest Proposition 8

Click below to play video.

Video by Naomi Nix, Tasnim Shamma, and Michael Collins
Students gathered, sang, and confronted passers-by Thursday with flyers for "Princeton Proposition 8" to ban freshmen from sidewalks to protest California's recent reversal of gay marriage rights.
Alexis Kleinman '12 (l.), Newton Allen '11 (center) and Jessica Lander '10 hold signs in Firestone Plaza on Thursday afternoon as they take part in a four-day demonstration against California's Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage that passed on Nov. 4.
Freshman should not have the right to walk on Princeton's sidewalks, supporters of Princeton Proposition 8 (PP8) said Thursday in a demonstration on Firestone Plaza.

"We're not froshophobes.  We just think they should stay on the grass," they chanted to passersby.

Also known as "The Princeton Sidewalk Protection Act," PP8 states that "only sidewalk use by sophomore, juniors, and seniors is valid or recognized in Princeton."

The act seeks to satirize the passage of Proposition 8, a ballot measure in California that eliminated the right of same-sex couples to marry, PP8 movement founder Chris Simpson '09 explained. Freshmen are equivalent to same-sex couples in California in the eyes of the PP8 movement.  

The group seeks to bring national debate about the California ballot measure to Princeton.

"The overall effort stems from a frustration with the lack of political engagement and discussion on campus, and in particular the absence of any outrage over the seemingly immoral/illegal/unconstitutional way in which gay marriage was banned in California," Simpson said in an e-mail.

To get students to identify with what Simpson called the "injustice" of Proposition 8, he explained that PP8 is taking painstaking efforts to heighten its similarities to California's Proposition 8. "We hope to parallel the language and actions of the real Prop 8 as much as possible, as we believe the injustice speaks for itself and needs no exaggeration," Simpson said.

Here he comes to save the day

Lieberman Keeps "Made Man" Status

The "three wise guys" at the Republican National Convention

Triumph of The Money Party & the Collective Amnesia

(Wash. DC) The full exoneration of a clear traitor to the Democratic Party predicts how Congress will treat the dire challenges facing the country.

There is no opposition to the arranged marriage between corporate and government interests.

There will be no remedies for the problems that were created as a result of this arrangement.

There will be no accountability for the crimes committed over the past eight years. The looting of the United States Treasury will continue.

And the projection of power in behalf of corporate interests will continue when needed, unopposed, without regard to the well being of the nation as a whole or the interests of citizens. The Senate cave-in is a paradigm for past behavior by corporatist Democrats in both houses of Congress.

Lieberman's retention of his committee chairmanship and caucus membership is all the proof we need that a majority of the Senate Democratic Caucus finds nothing objectionable to a member actively campaigning for the Republican nominee for president, live and in person. It doesn't matter that Lieberman dismissed the Democratic nominee's qualifications to be president. Could they be any more obvious?

Support Nadler Resolution on Bush Pardons

32992 of 100000 people have signed – see totals by state and Congressional District.

Dear Representative,

I urge you to co-sponsor Rep. Jerrold Nadler's H.Res. 1531 urging President Bush not to pardon senior members of his administration for crimes authorized by the President - and to investigate those crimes both in the House and the Justice Department, and prosecute if warranted.

(1) it is the sense of the House of Representatives that the granting of preemptive pardons by the President to senior officials of his administration for acts they may have taken in the course of their official duties is a dangerous abuse of the pardon power;

(2) it is the sense of the House of Representatives that the President should not grant preemptive pardons to senior officials in his administration for acts they may have taken in the course of their official duties;

(3) it is the sense of the House of Representatives that James Madison was correct in his observation that "[i]f the President be connected, in any suspicious manner, with any person, and there be grounds [to] believe he will shelter him, the House of Representatives can impeach him; they can remove him if found guilty";

(4) it is the sense of the House of Representatives that a special investigative commission, or a Select Committee be tasked with investigating possible illegal activities by senior officials of the administration of President George W. Bush, including, if necessary, any abuse of the President's pardon power; and

(5) the next Attorney General of the United States appoint an independent counsel to investigate, and, where appropriate, prosecute illegal acts by senior officials of the administration of President George W. Bush.


Passing the torch

Barack Obama, honeymoon killer?

The Clintonites in his Cabinet, forgiveness for Lieberman, the creeping signs of centrism -- progressives aren't ready to panic, yet.

By Mike Madden

NewsWASHINGTON -- One of the first things Barack Obama did after winning the election two weeks ago was put an old-school political brawler in charge of his White House. Next, he saved Joe Lieberman. Then, he met with John McCain, and asked Hillary Clinton to run his State Department. For good measure, he's also apparently weighing whether to keep George W. Bush's Defense secretary, Robert Gates, on at the Pentagon.

This is the guy Republicans called a socialist, maybe a Marxist, and National Journal said was the most liberal member of the U.S. Senate? McCain aides were saying on Election Night that their own polling showed 60 percent of the country thought Obama was a liberal (and many voted for him anyway). Barely two weeks into the transition, that number might already be dropping fast.

In fact, in his appointments, and in what can be divined of his foreign policy, there are loud echoes of the last Democratic administration, and also of that lady he beat in the primaries, the one the netroots didn't like very much. Certainly, some of Obama's supporters are getting a little nervous about what this all presages about an Obama White House. "The list [of disappointments] is getting awfully long," wrote the blogger bmaz at Firedoglake. "Almost as long as Barack Obama's arm that he used to take our money and efforts to get himself elected. All we have seen is the short arm he has used to punch us in the face and collect street cred with villagers for having done so." Open Left's Chris Bowers wrote on Friday that he felt "incredibly frustrated ... [W]hy isn't there a single member of Obama's cabinet who will be advising him from the left?" Even Pat Buchanan -- not exactly the world's most liberal guy -- apparently thinks Obama needs to throw a bone to progressives after the start the transition is off to.

Consciousness of a Conservative: A Philosophy Without a Party

by Ted Rall

Conservatives think the election results prove that conservatism is in trouble. Actually, conservatism is fine. It's the Republican Party that's in trouble.

For the sake of argument, however, let's posit that Obama represents a dramatic political realignment and repudiation of the Republican Party. Certainly, Republicans do face massive demographic challenges, mainly as an influx of Latino immigration and naturalization turns places like Arizona, Colorado and California's Orange County from red to blue. The GOP may well have to get used to losing. But that doesn't mean conservatives do.

In the United States, conservatism is a philosophy without a party. Take Ronald Reagan, considered the patron saint of late 20th century conservatism. Coupled with extravagant military spending, Reagan's tax cuts for wealthy individuals and corporations increased the national debt from $700 billion to $3 trillion, transforming the U.S. into the world's biggest debtor nation. Under Reagan, William Voegeli wrote in The Los Angeles Times in 2007, "government did nothing but expand. In 1981, the federal government spent $678 billion; in 1989 it spent $1.144 trillion. Factoring out inflation, that was an increase of 19% in real spending. Republicans never expected that Reagan would leave office with a 'federal establishment' one-fifth larger than when he arrived."

George W. Bush campaigned as a "compassionate conservative," but conservatism was as absent from his governance as compassion. He has increased the federal deficit from $3.3 to $5.9 trillion. Add in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq--estimated at $2.4 trillion as of 2007--and he will have put the country a staggering $5 trillion deeper into the hole. He hired 180,000 federal employees for a new cabinet-level department, Homeland Security, all to make you take off your shoes at the airport.

Conservative? Not these guys.

For the sake of my long-suffering conservative friends as well as the country, it's time to unravel the conflation of conservatism and the Republican Party.


Trust Obama on Clinton

Joan Walsh

I find myself in a very strange position this week. When the world was overtaken by Obamamania last year, I was a late swooner. Some may recall that I even occasionally criticized the Democratic nominee. So why am I mainly happy with the way Obama's handled the presidential transition, when so many early swooners, especially in the blogosphere and mainstream media, are so critical?

Since his most controversial move is (reportedly) considering Hillary Clinton for secretary of state, it's clear my respect for Clinton has a lot to do with it. I thought she'd be an excellent president, so it's not surprising I think she'd be a good choice for secretary of state. She's smart and tough, has a lot of respect worldwide, she had an international portfolio as first lady, and she's strengthened that experience as a senator and on the Armed Services Committee. She'd also be a strong voice for women's rights globally.

But there's one qualification to my belief that she'd be a good choice: I only think so if Barack Obama thinks so. If he believes she can contribute to his foreign policy, but most important, carry it out; that she can represent him well and inform his worldview; that she can improve our standing abroad, well, then, I believe she can, too. This choice is neither a popularity contest nor a meritocracy; it's all about the person the president believes can best represent his foreign policy and America's interests in the world. He has to deeply trust the man or woman in that role.

One reason I believe Clinton could loyally represent Obama's foreign policy is that I think the differences between them were exaggerated for political reasons during the primary season. He had a political stake in portraying her as a hawk; she had one in portraying him as naive and unready. He was right about Iraq from the get-go and she was wrong, but their positions on how to get out were virtually identical. Despite their debates about how and when to sit down with dictators, I think they'd take much the same approach to dealing with both our enemies and our friends. So it makes sense to me that Obama would seriously consider her for the post.

The Meaning of Life

by Tom Robbins 

THE SEARCH FOR MEANING is not a whole lot different than the yearning for certainty, which is to say, an unsuitable pursuit for any who might aspire to nimbleness of mind, amplitude of soul, or freedom of spirit.
    Our human purpose, inasmuch as we have a purpose, is to consciously, deliberately evolve toward a wiser, more liberated, and luminous state of being; to return to Eden, make friends with the snake, and set up our computers among the wild apple trees. When there's meaning in this, it's because individuals created that meaning to their own specifications, rather than discovering an intrinsic, universal secret.
    Deep down, all of us are probably aware that some kind of mystical evolution—a melding into the godhead, into love—is our true task. Yet we suppress the notion with considerable force because to admit it is to acknowledge that most of our political gyrations, religious dogmas, social ambitions, and financial ploys are not merely counterproductive but trivial.
    Our mission, then, is to jettison those pointless preoccupations and take on once again the primordial cargo of inexhaustible ecstasy. Or, barring that, to turn out a good thin-crust pizza and a strong glass of beer.
    Now, despite the absence of a single pixel of verifiable evidence, the pious maintain that there's an afterlife in which the tap is eternally open, the oven forever hot. However, since their tap would doubtlessly dribble only lemonade, and since those of us who've broken their rules would end up inside their oven, it's probably best that we eat, drink, love, and strive for higher consciousness in this one life we can actually count on, leaving the gamble on postmortem fulfillment to those who find earthly existence to be overly carbonated, too fraught with garlic and spice.

Sometimes you don’t need Photoshop