31 March 2006

Your conservative blogosphere at work

I was going to gloss this post "Douchebags of the Week" or "Today in Cowardly Bastard-dom," or some other equally (and quite deservedly) vulgar expression of my contempt for these folks. But that might've conveyed the impression that the douchbags in question are somehow unique, or their level of cowardly bastard-dom is rare.

Neither is the case.

No sooner was Christian Science Monitor reporter, Jill Carroll, released from captivity in Iraq, then the brain trust at Little Green Footballs took issue with how she conducted herself after reaching safety. (Thanks to the folks at LGFWatch for continuing to shine the light on these feces-flingers and saving the rest of us from sullying our browsers by giving them even one additional hit).
#2 Ward Cleaver 3/30/2006 08:50AM PST

She's probably coming home with a suitcase full of cash (her kickback) and a dose of the clap.

#14 Kragar (proud to be kafir) 3/30/2006 08:58AM PST

When asked how she felt about her captors, Jill went on record as saying: He never calls, he never writes.

16 Earth to Satan 3/30/2006 09:00AM PST

I've been watching this traitor bitch fawn all over her captors this morning. "Nice furniture, safe, nice clothes, they NEVER threatened me". I'm very glad you were so comforatble while working to undermine our efforts in Iraq. Now, wipe that muslim DNA from your face and confess to pre-planning this?

137 yehoshua 3/30/2006 12:13PM PST

This just in: Jill Carroll has just announced impending nuptials with Osama Bin Laden
Clearly, Ms. Carroll's remarks didn't contain quite enough "Ay-rab" and "rag-head" punctuated invective for their taste. Probably had to console themselves with Don Imus' comparably braindead toadies pulling their heads from their asses long enough to opine on "Taliban Jill" being a suicide bomber and the likelihood that she's "carrying Habib's baby."

This is your far-right wing, America. This is who is being courted and whose sensibilities, such as they are, are being appealed to by the Limbaughs, Hannitys and O'Reillys of the world. When you hear Dems, lefties, progressives--any non-Bushista, really--being smeared as unamerican, think about the target audience. Is that the sort of "American" you want to be? Is that the patriotic benchmark we're to aspire to?

Because if it is, we're not in the war against terror...we've already lost it.

Your liberal media at work

Just an observation, here. These are all snippets from a 03/20/06 article in the (increasingly Washington Times-like) Washington Post:
"While it is a Republican refrain that Democrats criticize Bush but have no positive vision..."

"Their goal is to concentrate less on the kind of positive message they have challenged the Democrats to produce..."

"Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds (R-N.Y.), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, chided the Democrats last Thursday for not producing an agenda..."

"Blunt said it is more important for Democrats to produce a governing agenda because Republicans have a record to run on..."
Believe it or not, the title of the article was "GOP struggles to define its message for 2006 elections." Yet, throughout, the "Dems have no agenda" bit is dutifully rehashed again and again. Fast forward to this week's Democratic national security proposal which received scant attention (completely absent from the NYT) except for stenographic repetition of factually challenged GOP criticisms.

If this is "liberal bias," I'd hate to see what happens when the media turns against you.

Running on the border

Well, until gay marriage/adoption gets elevated--once again--to the greatest menace the country's seen since the Civil War (after all, it's still early, yet), it looks like immigration is the grandstand du jour for this election cycle. As usual, if you squint into the distance you can see the boat...and by just how far all of our politicians have missed it.

Make no mistake, illegal immigration is a serious problem requiring an equally serious solution. However, instead of a solution, all we're treated to, are our duly elected gasbags burying the needle on the pompous-o-meter with endless bloviations about "guest-workers" versus "strict enforcement" and what does or doesn't constitute "amnesty." Meanwhile, the talking heads on TV perpetuate this embarrassing (un)intellectual circle-jerk by droning on about the complexity of the problem and how difficult it will be to figure out. Airtime filling, contemplative chin-stroking aside, it comes down to one word, and one word only.


Water follows the lay of the land. The ready availability of jobs is what makes--and keeps--the U.S. the immigration equivalent of a flood plain. The solution that nobody wants to figure out, is to bite the bullet and go after those businesses that are breaking the law (just as much as those that are actually crossing the borders) and providing the employment that not only keeps illegals here, but serves to draw more to the country.

You think the answer is to make illegal immigration a felony?

G'head, hero.

Casting that vote feel good? Hope so, 'cause that sort of psychological comfort is the only good that can come from locking the barn door after the horses are gone.

In case anyone forgot, our prisons are packed to the gills as it is. A massive influx of immigration convictons requiring jail time will demand the construction of more prisons, the hiring of more guards, not to mention the tax dollars to house, clothe, feed, and care for the prisoners for 2 years, 5 years, 10 years, whatever the case. All until they're deported and are free to try again--alongside those that continue to try every day.

Because of the JOBS.

Images of lazy, deadbeat immigrants make for good campaign fodder. (Hell, it's nothing more than "Welfare Queens" 2.0; give 'em credit for recycling). But the crux of the issue isn't about taking advantage of welfare or health care; it's about paying jobs, money, and extended families. For example, the Mexican economy receives $17 billion (USD) annually from Mexicans living (both legally and not) abroad. That's a little more than it makes from all of its oil exports, and almost twice what it makes from tourism. Almost one in five adults in Mexico receives money from abroad, and $13 billion of that comes from the U.S.

Immigrants aren't coming here to use the safety net of our welfare system as a hammock, they're coming for real paychecks to send home. To broaden the picture further:
Last May the Inter-American Development Bank published results from a survey by the Multilateral Investments Fund that reported remittances totaling US$30 billion will be sent to Latin America this year from the U.S., where around 16 million Latin Americans live.
The real kicker there is tucked away in the middle:

"reported remittances"

One can only guess how much goes unreported.

We clearly see the "why" behind the tide of illegal immigration. And, just as clearly, that "why" points out the "what" that we need to do to fix it. The only thing left is to have the courage to deal with it head-on.

And that means politicians--from both parties--have to suck it up and, for once, separate what's good for the country from what's good for their re-election war chests.

30 March 2006

Street Teachers

Whatever your take on the myriad problems of illegal immigration, you have to be impressed with the demonstrations seen this week in cities all over the country. In this day and age of photo ops, soundbites, and handpicked, carefully screened "town halls," there's something singularly unique about so many everyday people--not just activists--getting out and speaking their minds over a cause they feel so strongly about. Sure, there are there are undoubtedly young people whose participation stemmed more from their poor preparation for an algebra test than any substantive concern about the immigration debate. But on the vast scale we witnessed, such cynical dismissals just don't hold up.

500,000 in Los Angeles, alone.

This is what people do when they care. This is what people do when they're angry. This is what people do when they've decided that they will not stay silent one moment longer. When it comes to the so-called "American Spirit," what could exemplify it better?


And yet...disheartening, all the same.

Why haven't we seen this sooner? Between dying, spying, and lying, has there really been nothing over the past five years that warrants this type of action? More than once this week, I've heard individuals--each, doubtlessly, believing that he was the first to show such rapier-like wit--say that we'd solve the immigration problem by fencing in the protesters and checking for green cards. What those deep thinkers fail to see, is that the people thronging the streets aren't the problem, they're a solution. One that shows all of America what it really means to care about this country and the value of your place in it.

The smattering of deaf ears aside, here's to the lesson not coming too late.

29 March 2006

There's "Democracy," and then there's "Democracy"

And we sure do like us some "Democracy," dont we? The other stuff, not so much:
Shiites Say U.S. Is Pressuring Iraqi Leader to Step Aside
Published: March 28, 2006

Senior Shiite politicians said today that the American ambassador has told Shiite officials to inform the Iraqi prime minister that President Bush does not want him to remain the country's leader in the next government.

It is the first time the Americans have directly intervened in the furious debate over the country's top job, the politicians said, and it is inflaming tensions between the Americans and some Shiite leaders.

The ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad, told the head of the main Shiite political bloc at a meeting last Saturday to pass a "personal message from President Bush" on to the prime minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, who the Shiites insist should stay in his post for four more years, said Redha Jowad Taki, a Shiite politician and member of Parliament who was at the meeting.

Ambassador Khalilzad said that President Bush "doesn't want, doesn't support, doesn't accept" Mr. Jaafari to be the next prime minister, according to Mr. Taki, a senior aide to Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, the head of the Shiite bloc. It was the first "clear and direct message" from the Americans on the issue of the candidate for prime minister, Mr. Taki said.
So much for the purple-fingered perfection of the political science project we call "Iraq."

Once again, it appears that El Presidente didn't realize that "the will of the people" doesn't necessarily mean the will of HIS people. First, the Palestinians put their trust in Hamas. Then, the Afghan goverment comes within a hairsbreadth of putting an official stamp on executing people for apostasy. And, every time, we're left, alone, sweating bullets on the world stage trying to do some sort of majority rule mambo.

This is what happens when the architects of your foreign policy seek their inspiration from an Incredible Hulk comic book.

"Democracy good! Other stuff bad! Uncle Sam smash!"

Obviously, there are international developments that we're obligated to weigh in on, negatively . We can probably all agree that, popular support or not, a terrorist organization ascending to regional political power in the Middle East is not a good thing. That said, by hitching our national wagon to the sort of Crayola-penned, absolutist rhetoric that we have, we're consistently caught in glaring reversals when the world turns out to be more Dostoyevsky than Dick & Jane.

Or My Pet Goat, for that matter.

Does anyone think that things are going so well for the U.S. that we can afford to invite charges of hypocrisy through careless--and emphatic--posturing that doesn't even rise to the level of "dumbed down?" We're fighting for our global reputation, as it is. The sooner we realize that sloganeering and policy-making aren't interchangeable, the better.

The most dangerous thing in South Dakota

...and the Evangeliban's worst nightmare: A woman with an education, an opinion, and the power to back them up:
South Dakota's abortion law

Tim Giago (Nanwica Kciji) 3/20/2006
© 2006 Native American Journalists Foundation, Inc.

When Governor Mike Rounds signed HB 1215 into law it effectively banned all abortions in the state with the exception that it did allow saving the mother's life. There were, however, no exceptions for victims of rape or incest. His actions, and the comments of State Senators like Bill Napoli of Rapid City, SD, set of a maelstrom of protests within the state.

Napoli suggested that if it was a case of "simple rape," there should be no thoughts of ending a pregnancy. Letters by the hundreds appeared in local newspapers, mostly written by women, challenging Napoli's description of rape as "simple." He has yet to explain satisfactorily what he meant by "simple rape."

The President of the Oglala Sioux Tribe on the Pine Ridge Reservation, Cecilia Fire Thunder, was incensed. A former nurse and healthcare giver she was very angry that a state body made up mostly of white males, would make such a stupid law against women.

"To me, it is now a question of sovereignty," she said to me last week. "I will personally establish a Planned Parenthood clinic on my own land which is within the boundaries of the Pine Ridge Reservation where the State of South Dakota has absolutely no jurisdiction."
Damn straight.

28 March 2006

Recuse me?

Today, the SCOTUS began hearing arguments in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, the case challenging the legitimacy of the military tribunal system for adjudicating the detainees being held in the "war on terror." Chief Justice John Roberts is recused from the case owing to a prior ruling he made, but, interestingly, Antonin Scalia was front and center for the March 28th session. Interesting, because of these comments Scalia made back on March 8:
Scalia dismissed the idea that the detainees have rights under the U.S. Constitution or international conventions, adding he was "astounded" at the "hypocritical" reaction in Europe to Gitmo. "War is war, and it has never been the case that when you captured a combatant you have to give them a jury trial in your civil courts," he says on a tape of the talk reviewed by NEWSWEEK. "Give me a break." Challenged by one audience member about whether the Gitmo detainees don't have protections under the Geneva or human-rights conventions, Scalia shot back: "If he was captured by my army on a battlefield, that is where he belongs. I had a son on that battlefield and they were shooting at my son and I'm not about to give this man who was captured in a war a full jury trial. I mean it's crazy."
Nothing like making explicit, public denials of rights that might be held by detainees, mere weeks away from being asked to determine whether or not the military tribunal system abrogates such rights. After that little off-topic aside, does it come as any surprise, whatsoever, that it was Scalia who "provid(ed) the only clearcut signs of unstinting support for the federal government's arguments?"

Remember the good old days, a few months back, when we were told, over and over, how inappropriate it would be for a nominee to comment on issues that might come before him/her on the court? Virtually overnight, the so-called "Ginsburg Doctrine" became the cornerstone of our judicial system. They never mentioned its underpublicized, post-confirmation corollary that makes it no big deal for a sitting justice to openly make up his mind before hearing word one of the relevant arguments. Clearly, in this climate, the Scalia Doctrine has legs.

Bottom line, wearing that robe is a hell of a gig. In addition to rock-solid job security and being oh-so-slimming, to boot, it apparently comes with the freedom from having to uphold even the pretense of anything resembling impartiality.

Good show, your "honor."

27 March 2006

Son of Quote of the Day

Saw this and just couldn't resist.
(Tom Tancredo, R-CO) has positioned himself as the loudest, angriest voice against the estimated 11 million illegal aliens now living in the United States. They are "a scourge that threatens the very future of our nation," he says. He laments "the cult of multiculturalism," and worries about America's becoming a "Tower of Babel." If Republican presidential candidates don't put the problem atop the agenda in 2008, he says he'll run himself, just to force the front runners to talk about it...If the Republicans lose the election because he's too tough on the issue, he says, "So be it."
And, in case you forgot:
"When we conduct this debate it must be done in a civil way...No one should play on people's fears or try to pit neighbors against each other." -- George W. Bush
Not to steal Jon Stewart's schtick, but, "Mmmm, me likey GOP cannibalism."

Quote of the Day

"No one should play on people's fears or try to pit neighbors against each other." -- George Bush, on the raging immigration debate, 03/27/06
Pot, meet kettle.

Prez sez: "In case you missed it the first time..."

"Piss off."
Bush shuns Patriot Act requirement

By Charlie Savage, Globe Staff

WASHINGTON -- When President Bush signed the reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act this month, he included an addendum saying that he did not feel obliged to obey requirements that he inform Congress about how the FBI was using the act's expanded police powers.

Bush signed the bill with fanfare at a White House ceremony March 9, calling it ''a piece of legislation that's vital to win the war on terror and to protect the American people." But after the reporters and guests had left, the White House quietly issued a ''signing statement," an official document in which a president lays out his interpretation of a new law.

In the statement, Bush said that he did not consider himself bound to tell Congress how the Patriot Act powers were being used and that, despite the law's requirements, he could withhold the information if he decided that disclosure would ''impair foreign relations, national security, the deliberative process of the executive, or the performance of the executive's constitutional duties."
Wonder of wonders. Just like with the torture amendment, all that wrangling and debate over hashing out a "compromise" on the oversight provisions for the PATRIOT Act turned out to be just another dog and pony show. After all was said and done and the Congress finished playing "democracy," Dear Leader just dusted off his generalissimo's uniform and, once again, went banana Republican dictator.

"Nice law. I'll obey it if, and when, I feel like it."

For those that believe his little crossed fingers tricks aren't that capricious, think about this: what does the President do that couldn't be considered part of the "deliberative process of the executive?" There is no standard for withholding information other than his say-so and, based on that and that alone, the laws don't apply.

And no one has said anything.

All those Senators who trumpeted their compromise as a victory for civil rights and oversight just got slapped square in the face. El Presidente used them and then proceeded to neuter them--again--dismissing the notion that he was bound by their laws. And, true to form, they responded with cowed and cowardly silence. As CNN noted, only a handful of Senators stood up and voted against the "compromise" bill that the President later decided to ignore anyway: Jim Jeffords, I-Vermont, and Feingold (D-WI), Byrd (D-WV) and seven other Senate Democrats: Daniel Akaka of Hawaii, Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, Tom Harkin of Iowa, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Carl Levin of Michigan, Patty Murray of Washington and Ron Wyden of Oregon. The integrity that they showed is only further magnified when compared to the other 90 members' meek acceptance of their own marginalization.

This week sees two major initiatives: Judiciary Committee hearings on Bush's illegal spying program, and Feingold's censure motion. Sadly, humiliation and trivialization at the hands of the executive branch has yet to inspire any more passion in the Senate for either.

I love a good anniversary party

No, it wasn't a St. Patrick's hangover that kept me on the sidelines. I've actually been just too darn busy celebrating the progress we've seen in Iraq over the past three years. Think about that. It's already been three years of tollin' the bell of freedom for our brothers and sisters in Baghdad. Why, it seems as if it were just yesterday that Donnie Rumsfeld was telling us,

"It is unknowable how long that conflict will last. It could last six days, six weeks. I doubt six months." (Feb. 7, 2003)
Yet here we are, thirty-six months of progress later. Those magnificent folks at Think Progress--there's that magical word again--were kind enough to sum up those years with the headlines about El Presidente's reactions to the ever-improving situation in the Gulf:
"Bush Goes on Offensive To Explain War Strategy: Speeches to Combat Public Pessimism [Washington Post,03/11/06]

“Bush supporters cite Iraq speeches as start of rebound” [AP, 12/13/05]

“Bush vows victory, not retreat; Speech gives strategy for winning Iraq war, rejects exit timetable” [Toledo Blade, 12/1/05]

“Bush Goes on the Offensive Against Critics of War in Iraq” [Los Angeles Times, 11/12/05]

“In Speech, Bush To Get Specific On Iraq Strategy” [Boston Globe, 6/28/05]

“President spotlights Iraq war successes; Bush plans summer offensive to tout progress against insurgency” [Fresno Bee, 6/19/05]

“Bush to define Iraq strategy in major speeches” [Washington Times, 5/22/04]
In what must be a world record for amount of polish applied to a turd, never has so much definition, specification, and explanation amounted to so pathetically little. For all the (relentlessly redundant) speechifying, our soldiers are still dying, their civilians are still dying, we're no closer to leaving, and the American people are less convinced than ever. And Dear Leader still thinks the real problem lies in how he's saying it. Once again, it seems, we're left with a familiar choice: doltish ignorance or utter insanity.

Can we really sleep better either way?

17 March 2006

House GOP: We disagreed with the President before we agreed with him

Joe at A-blog spotted this newest fiction being pushed by the GOP stenographers at the WaPo:
"President Bush's troubles with congressional Republicans, which erupted during the backlash to the Dubai seaport deal, are rooted in policy frustrations and personal resentments that GOP lawmakers say stretch back to the opening days of the administration.

For years, the Bush White House and its allies on Capitol Hill seemed like one of the most unified teams Washington had ever seen, passing most of Bush's agenda with little dissent. Privately, however, many lawmakers felt underappreciated, ignored and sometimes bullied by what they regarded as a White House intent on running government with little input from them. Often it was to pass items -- an expanded federal role in education under the No Child Left Behind law and an expensive prescription drug benefit under Medicare -- that left conservatives deeply uneasy."
You were being asked to support bills and proposals that left you "deeply uneasy?" Granted, I don't have the benefit of years of political study or time spent as a statesman, but here's an idea: Vote "no."

Don't do something you don't agree with. Radical, isn't it?

You had your chance, but--time and again, according to the story you're going with now--you voted against your better judgement. That's no isolated mistake for people to look past. Far from it. What you've engaged in, is a five-year pattern of callow subservience and surrender. Now, you own it. All of it. Every last "yea" you used to sell out the principles your party allegedly stands for, the American people, even the Constitution, itself.

No Child Left Behind.

Prescription Drug Bill.

The Bankruptcy Bill.

The seas of red ink in the budget.

The tax giveaways to the wealthiest of the wealthy.

The abdication of oversight of the Executive Branch.

The unforgivable silence as the President claims to the right to ignore the laws you do pass, when and how he sees fit.

None of these things happened in a vacuum. Your votes are on record, which means that these are YOUR policies, now. El Presidente isn't able to create his own laws. At least not yet. The way this Congress has veritably sprinted down the road to irrelevancy, however, makes one wonder if they'd even bat an eye if he did.

Operation: Snorer

"Major show of force"

"Largest air assault since 2003"

"Airborn sweep of insurgent resistance"

"US leads huge airborne assault"

"US/Iraqi forces continue major offensive"

Yes, this is what we heard about "Operation: Swarmer," conjuring all sorts of images of sorties and gunships and F-16s. Troops seeking out the insurgents where they live, on their turf, and rooting them out of their entrenched positions.

Too bad it wasn't remotely close to the truth.

CNN, MSNBC, and Faux News worked themselves into a lather with "Breaking Story"-style coverage, graphics, the whole nine yards. And for what? 47 low level suspects that we've already started to release, and 6 weapons caches, consisting of only about 300 total pieces of equipment. Word play about air power managed to turn a minor search mission into Operation: Overlord 2, The Next Day.

And why? The BBC got it spot-on, right off the bat:
"The reasons for it being given such high-profile publicity are clearly open to speculation.

The operation came at a time when support at home for President Bush and his campaign in Iraq is running very low, and when the international media were preparing to focus on the third anniversary of the war, just three days later."
Open to speculation? Once you've started a war under false pretenses, the notion of using a simple PR blitz as a fig leaf for your 1000 day debacle is hardly a reach.

11 March 2006

The Evangeliban: sex is worse than (other peoples') death

From The New Yorker, as noted by Sully:
"Religious conservatives are unapologetic; not only do they believe that mass use of an HPV vaccine or the availability of emergency contraception will encourage adolescents to engage in unacceptable sexual behavior; some have even stated that they would feel similarly about an H.I.V. vaccine, if one became available. 'We would have to look at that closely,' Reginald Finger, an evangelical Christian and a former medical adviser to the conservative political organization Focus on the Family, said. 'With any vaccine for H.I.V., disinhibition' - a medical term for the absence of fear - 'would certainly be a factor, and it is something we will have to pay attention to with a great deal of care.' Finger sits on the Centers for Disease Control's Immunization Committee, which makes those recommendations."
This is how determined the "Christian" fudamentalists are to force their views upon everyone else. When considering a vaccine that would prevent an illness that's killed 25 million people in the last 20+ years, the effect such a treatment would have on people's attitudes towards sex would "certainly be a factor" in deciding how to proceed. In their minds, people being more likely to have sex is a legitimate cost to be weighed against the benefit of saving millions of lives. And, as the article shows, these aren't just isolated crackpots; they're crackpots with real power to effect--and inflict--their agenda on all of us.

If a preventative cure for cancer were discovered, can anyone imagine wasting even a moment contemplating the influence it might have on smoking habits before making it immediately available? What about cirrhosis of the liver? Or any other affliction correlated with some sort of behavior? It would be laughable. But that dirty, dirty sex-shul innercourse? THAT still needs proper "consequences." Because Jesus says so.

Such are the priorities of these theocons: to make their piousness policy and, thus, their so-called "morality" mandatory--even if it kills you.

09 March 2006

Abject Cowardice: The Mike Rounds Story

Once again, gracias to EKO for the picture that speaks a thousand words. The bottom line is: nothing's gone, only gone underground. Make no mistake about it, South Dakotans, this is exactly what your representatives (and, by extension, you) voted for.

Apparently, though, that responsibility flow chart stops just short of your governor's office:
Opponents, who say they intend to make a court challenge, also have talked in recent days about circulating petitions and placing the issue on the South Dakota ballot in November...If that happened, a loud and rowdy campaign could be expected. Rounds wouldn't be among those making the noise, he said.

"I would not actively campaign either way on this particular issue at this stage of the game," the governor said.

Asked about the lack of an exception for victims of rape or incest, Rounds said, "I did not write this bill." Another time during the questions and answers, he said "This isn't my bill.''
Bull. Shit.

Or, more accurately, "chickenshit."

If the president's attempt at handwashing was ridiculous, Rounds' is patently offensive. His spineless responses showcase a pathetic, new low in avoiding responsibility in a political era absolutely rife with such contortions. While he obviously lacks the courage of his convictions, what's equally clear are his choices as an executive.

It's one or the other: If you disagree, you veto the bill and let the legislature try to override. If you support it, you say so and sign on the line. What you do not do, is stand there, like the lone toddler in a room with a broken vase, mumbling, "it wasn't me."

Time to grow up, "Mike."

Callous Ignorance: The South Dakota Legislature Story

(Graphic courtesy EKO in the comments at Kos)

The repugnance of this bill has been well-known since its proposal in the state legislature. However, it wasn't until being signed into law that its breathtaking cruelty was revealed to be matched only by its stupidity.
CHICAGO (AFP) - The governor of the US state of South Dakota signed a near blanket ban on abortion, including in rape cases, launching a major challenge to a landmark 1973 Supreme Court ruling that made the procedure legal.

The bill signed by Republican Governor Mike Rounds makes it illegal to terminate a pregnancy except in rare cases when it may be necessary to save the mother's life.

It grants no allowances for women who have been raped or are victims of incest. It provides for criminal charges against doctors who perform abortion. It also prohibits the sale of emergency contraception and asserts that life begins at fertilization.

Rounds described the law as a "direct challenge" to the Roe versus Wade decision of 1973, in which the US Supreme Court ruled that bans on abortion violated a woman's constitutional right to privacy.
Tacking on the prohibition of emergency contraception was a nice touch. Considering some types of EC are virtually identical to otherwise readily available birth control pills, how do you propose banning the sale of one, but not the other? Certainly, it won't be long before how many/what type to take in order to achieve the same effect becomes common knowledge, like this. Anyone think that people who believe rape victims should be denied abortions would even blink at outlawing these legal drugs as a result?

As bad as that is, the assertion that life begins at fertilization really shows you the type of deep thinking that went into this nasty piece of legislation. By that virtue, every clinic and hospital that does fertility therapy will need to be carefully policed, lest they illegally dispose of any blastulae who, according to the law, have already begun their lives.

Felonious defrosting: coming soon, to a viciously backward state legislature near you.

08 March 2006

El Presidente remembers he's supposed to be "conservative"

And resurrects the push for a Line Item Veto.

Clinton actually got the holy grail of budget politics passed back in 1996, only to have the SCOTUS toss it on constitutional grounds two years later. Seems they had a little problem with the President being able to arbitrarily change bills that had already been passed by Congress, not to mention with Congress for conferring such a power. Be that as it may, Dear Leader thinks he's found away around that particular thicket.
But White House spokesman Scott McClellan said the Bush proposal would differ from that 1996 law, which allowed the president to pencil out specific spending items only after a bill was passed by Congress.

Under the Bush proposal, the president would identify areas in a spending bill he considered wasteful and then send the package back to Congress. Congress would have 10 days to hold an up or down vote on the package.
Leaving aside the obvious likelihood of Generalissimo Bush using this as another tool to exact petty vengeance against those who cross him...any guesses on how many legislators are actually going to vote to uphold a veto knowing that their pet project might be the next one on the chopping block? Anyone think the folks on the Hill don't have a pretty long memory for such slights? Only the hopelessly naive or the abysmally ignorant could believe that home state/district self-preservation isn't going to kick in when it comes time to go on the record for pissing in the other guy's pool.

As is par for the course with this administration, we're left with two equally pathetic choices: Either the President honestly can't see that state-level politics doom this initiative before it starts, or he just doesn't care and is going ahead, anyway, to regain some of the conservative street cred he lost with his drunken sailor spending.

Moron or lip-servicing opportunist.

Which do you prefer steering the ship of state?

04 March 2006

S.D. "Rapists' Rights" abortion bill too much for the Preznit

Recently, the South Dakota state legislature passed a bill that would result in the most draconian anti-abortion statute in the country:
PIERRE, S.D. - Gov. Mike Rounds said he is inclined to sign a bill that would ban nearly all abortions in South Dakota, making it a crime for doctors to perform an abortion unless it was necessary to save the woman's life.

The ban, including in cases of rape or incest, was approved Friday by South Dakota lawmakers, setting up a deliberate frontal assault on Roe v. Wade at a time when some activists see the U.S. Supreme Court as more willing than ever to overturn the 33-year-old decision.

In the aftermath of the legislature's principled stand to make sure rapists can see the fruit of their assaults carried to term, El Presidente weighed in:

Asked about the provisions in the state law, Bush replied, "Well, that, of course, is a state law, but my position has always been three exceptions: rape, incest and the life of the mother."
I guess that's what they mean when they talk about "compassionate conservatism."

First, his claim of deference to "state law" is as pathetic as it is conditional, extending only until it becomes inconvenient for pushing the Evangeliban's radical right social agenda. You'll notice that "state law" enjoys no such support when it differs from his views on the right to die, drug legalization/medicinal use statutes, or same sex marriage. Clearly, the judgement of state legislatures can only be trusted as far as it falls in line with his conservative constituency.

Secondly, his attempt to separate himself from the "uterus-as-eminent-domain" set is a sham.

These were the voters he courted.

These were the people he promised the courts to.

These were the people whom he tried to appease after the Miers nomination.

George Bush owns this abominable measure as surely as if he'd penned it himself.

02 March 2006

Just call him "Mary Kay"

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Dubai Ports World's $6.85 billion acquisition of Britain's P&O will close on Friday or Monday, despite an additional 45-day review by the U.S. government in response to security concerns, a U.S. Treasury Department official said on Thursday.

"My understanding is that the deal will not close today," Deputy Treasury Secretary Robert Kimmitt told a Senate panel. "Although they had announced March 2 as the closing date ... that deal will not now close until tomorrow or Monday."
Looks like, in addition to his war of choice that bears new, rotten fruit almost daily, George Bush's legacy will be that of the "Cosmetic President." Detainee treatment bills you don't intend to honor, prisoner abuse investigations that discipline next to no one, now a "review" that won't start until the deal it focuses on is already done and in the books. So much window dressing, so little time.
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