Friday, August 18, 2006

Enough Said

From John Amato at Crooks and Liars.

Judge Anna Diggs Taylor

Judge Anna Diggs Taylor is the Michigan US District court judge who has ruled that GW Bush's secret wiretapping/spying program is unconstitutional.
The defendants “are permanently enjoined from directly or indirectly utilising the Terrorist Surveillance Programme in any way, including, but not limited to, conducting warrantless wiretaps of telephone and Internet communications, in contravention of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and Title III”
So one, or both, of two things will happen next. She will be swiftboated as someone who hates America and loves the terrorists and/or the 6th Circuit court will overturn her decision. The decision almost certainly has to be overturned because if it is not, then GW Bush is almost certainly guilty of breaking many Federal laws. And, if that is the case, then impeachment proceeding must begin.

There is an excellent review of this finding by lawyer Glenn Greenwald HERE. Mr. Greenwald points out:
Even with this Order, the Bush administration is free to continue to do all the eavesdropping on terrorists they want to do. They just have to do so with approval of the FISA court -- just like all administrations have done since 1978, just as the law requires, and just as they did when eavesdropping as part of the surveillance they undertook on the U.K. terror plot.

Rep. John Sweeney - Push Poller?

Some of us live in the 'head' portion of the congressional disrict represented by republican John Sweeney. We don't get much coverage of Mr. Sweeney or his re-election campaign in this area. However, there is an interesting article in the Times Union concerning possible 'push polling' by the Sweeney campaign.
According to several people who got the call, it started out with fairly innocuous questions about whether the country is headed in the right direction and if President Bush is doing a good job. Next came the question about who the responder planned to vote for in the 20th CD race: Gillibrand or U.S. Rep. John Sweeney, R-Clifton Park.

Bob Hudak, a Corinth resident who is a “blank” (not enrolled in any political party), said he picked Gillibrand, and was then asked whether his choice would change if he knew, for example, that she doesn’t live in the district, that her law firm represented an Enron crook, or she had used the death of American soldiers in Iraq for political gain.
So who is paying for the 'push poll'? Well, Sweeney's campaign claim they have nothing to do with the poll. But it appears that it may be paid for by the National Republican Congressional Committee. This type of campaign tactic sure looks like Rove-inspired 'swiftboating' tactics.

Iraq War and Our Soldiers

I have a nephew that joing the army right out of high school 14 yrs ago. He serves as a medic. Since being in the army he has served in Panama, South Korea and is on his second tour in Afghanistan. When he comes back to the USA next February he will barely have time to unpack and will be sent to Iraq. My nephew, who wanted to serve 20 yrs, is considering getting out of the army. Anyone wonder why?

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Literacy Volunteers Luncheon

I just returned from Westport, NY where we had lunch at the Westport Hotel as a fund raiser for Literacy Volunteers of Essex and Franklin County. The author Russell Banks was there to read from his recent book 'Cloudsplitter'. A good time was had by all. I stupidly forgot to bring my camera so no pictures of Mr. Banks, Lake Champlain, the Westport Hotel etc.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Suppressing the Vote

Republicans want to stay in power. To do that they must make sure that the 'wrong kind of people' don't vote. Salon has an extensive discussion of six states that are trying to suppress the votes of the 'wrong' kind of people.
Across the country, they will have to contend with Republican-sponsored schemes to limit voting. In a series of laws passed since the 2004 elections, Republican legislators and officials have come up with measures to suppress the turnout of traditional Democratic voting blocs. This fall the favored GOP techniques are new photo I.D. laws, the criminalizing of voter registration drives, and database purges that have disqualified up to 40 percent of newly registered voters from voting
Arizona: The only state in the union that requires one to prove they are a citizen in order to vote. Could you easily prove you are a citizen?

when she learned that the state required a state-issued photo I.D. to vote, her husband drove her down to the delay-plagued Bureau of Motor Vehicles to get a photo I.D. On her first visit, she brought her Social Security card, her voter registration card, two bills and a credit card, but that wasn't good enough. She had to return three more times, with BMV drones telling her successively she needed a copy of her birth certificate, then a $28 state-certified birth certificate from Massachusetts, and finally a marriage certificate because her birth certificate listed only her maiden name -
the law that took effect in May allows the state to pursue felony prosecutions of workers for voter registration groups who turn in registration cards past a 10-day deadline. They face up to 12 months in prison and a $2,500 fine
43 percent of all new registered voters in her huge county were being disqualified
because their social security number or drivers license numbers don't match up with a voter registration database. Is that the voters fault or the person that maintains the database?

Other states include Florida (what a surprise) where fines for violations are now so stiff that they forced the League of Women Voters to suspend its voter drives in the state for the first time in nearly 70 years and Missouri Republicans are promoting "mass disenfranchisement" because African-American voters turned out in large numbers in 2004 and are expected to turn out again this fall because Republican Gov. Matt Blunt cut 100,000 people from Medicaid.

Democracy is being promoted in Iraq and demoted in the USA.

Show Me the Money

Whether you are in favor or opposed to Federal 'earmarks', the Sunlight Foundation has a cool 'google map' that shows who is NOT getting the money in NY state. So go HERE and either type in 12983 (or any other Adirondack Park zip code) or zoom out on the map. See all the pretty dollar signs all over the Northeast? See where they aren't?
Allen's Listening Tour

I hope everyone in the USA gets to listen to Mr. Allen and his racist remarks. There aren't words that are insulting enough to describe this guy. Ole George here also believes that anyone who doesn't look like him is 'new' to America.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Bush vs Gore

There is an interesting editorial in todays NYT concerning the Supreme Court Bush vs Gore ruling that handed the presidency to GW Bush. Here is the basis of the ruling:
“Having once granted the right to vote on equal terms,” the court declared, “the state may not, by later arbitrary and disparate treatment, value one person’s vote over that of another.”
But this editorial argues that valuing one person's vote over another is happening all the time.
If this equal protection principle is taken seriously, if it was not just a pretext to put a preferred candidate in the White House, it should mean that states cannot provide some voters better voting machines, shorter lines, or more lenient standards for when their provisional ballots get counted — precisely the system that exists across the country right now.
In making the Bush vs Gore ruling, the court said it pertained only to that particular case. However, this flies in the face of stare decisis which says courts cannot make a ruling that applies only to a single case.
Elections that systematically make it less likely that some voters will get to cast a vote that is counted are a denial of equal protection of the law. The conservative justices may have been able to see this unfairness only when they looked at the problem from Mr. Bush’s perspective, but it is just as true when the N.A.A.C.P. and groups like it raise the objection.
Attempts to use this decision to increase the fairness of elections have thus far failed.

Monday, August 14, 2006

More Photos

Berkley Square, looking down Main St. Saranac Lake, NY

Berkley Square, looking down Broadway, Saranac Lake, NY
Disney spends millions to get what we already have.

Franklin County Fair, not too scary this year. Found some good pulled pork sandwiches!

Bible Math

1 KINGS 7:23
And he made a molten sea, ten cubits from one brim to the other; it was round all about, and his height was five cubits: and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about.