Category Archives: constitutional rights

David Frum calls for retreat

In the Washington Post this morning, David Frum calls for a full scale retreat of conservatives from the McCain presidential campaign.  In his piece, “Sorry Senator.  Let’s Salvage What We Can,” Frum argues that all resources should be diverted to saving what the Republicans can in Congress:

There are many ways to lose a presidential election. John McCain is losing in a way that threatens to take the entire Republican Party down with him.

Frum cites a “senior Republican House member:”

There is not a safe Republican seat in the country.  I don’t mean that we’re going to lose all of them. But we could lose any of them.

Things aren’t better in the Senate where he cites 8 seats that could go down, including in such stalwart Republican states as Virginia (where Sen. John Warner’s seat … he’s retiring …. is almost a guaranteed loss) and North Carolina (where Elizabeth Dole will probably lose to Democrat Kay Hagan).  I’m getting almost daily emails about the GA race, where, extraordinarily, Republican Saxby Chambliss is in a death match against his Democratic opponent Jim Martin.  Democrats are not quick to forget the despicable campaign Chambliss ran against Dem Max Cleland last time around and the drag on Chambliss by the McCain campaign gives them just enough of a crack in the door to perhaps throw Chambliss through it. 

The Frum article takes a nasty turn when he begins to criticize “liberal Democrats” and MSNBC and the “left-wing blogosphere” for “a more militant style and an angry intolerance of dissent and criticism.”  That’s sort of a pot-meet-kettle argument.  The conservative media (think Limbaugh and O’Reilly for reference) has been, and continues to be, the most vitriolic voice on the airwaves.  The fact that Democrats are beginning to grow a collective spine should be threatening to the Republicans.  But militant?  Well, that’s a stretch.

Frum’s concern is that:

… this angry new wing of the Democratic Party will seek to stifle opposition by changing the rules of the political game. Some will want to silence conservative talk radio by tightening regulation of the airwaves via the misleadingly named “fairness doctrine”; others may seek to police the activities of right-leaning think tanks by a stricter interpretation of what is tax-deductible and what is not.

Angry?  Well, yeah, we’re angry.  We’re angry that the Republican administration has mucked about in our Constitution and tramped on our civil liberties.  We’re so angry, that we want stricter regulations to make sure that citizens are guaranteed free speech … even if we hate what they’re saying.  We want tighter controls to ensure that citizens cannot be surveilled without cause.  We’d like a strict interpretation of what is tax deductible so that folks going to church on Sunday won’t be subjected to political intimidation.  We’re angry enough to not want to silence conservative radio.  As much as we may hate the lies, the vitriol, the violence inspiring hate speech that can spew forth, we recognize that, too, is free speech and without it, this just wouldn’t be America. 

I encourage you to read the rest of Frum’s piece.  He lays out his opinion of what the Republican party should do at this point.  It’s a sort of cut and run strategy:  leave the McCain camp out to dry and focus on the Congress which will be your base for the next presidential election.  When leading conservatives begin calling for all support, both moral and financial, to be pulled from a presidential campaign, the writing is probably on the wall.

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Filed under constitutional rights, John McCain, McCain Campaign, Political Opinion

Naomi Wolf: The End of America

We’ve talked before about Naomi Wolf’s book, The End of America. Now, My America Project has created a film based on her work. Watch the teaser below and then click to watch the full film.  There’s something going on, a subtle slipping away of our constitutional freedoms.  Your vote is critical.  Please watch.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Naomi Wolf: The End of America“, posted with vodpod



**Update:  For further reading, please see Ms. Wolf’s piece at Huffington Post, “Dear Conservatives, Will You Help Save the Republic from Military Takeover?”  An excerpt:

I warned that the executive would soon simply start to subvert the rule of law. See what the administration has done in response to congressional subpoenas.

I warned that the torture we saw in U.S.-held prisons was certainly directed from the top — a fact that Jane Mayer and others have fully documented since.

I warned that within six months we would see the definition of “terrorist” expanded so that the “terrorists” in the news would soon look like heartland, mainstream Americans. We now hear that mere protesters at the RNC in Minnesota have been charged as terrorists.

Another definition of a police state is when the leader seeks to seize control of big chunks of the national economy — with no oversight or accountability. Sound familiar?

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Prop 8: Leonce Gaiter weighs in

We’ve already talked some about Proposition 8 in CA.  In case you’ve been completely out of touch, this is the proposition on the ballot that would eliminate same-sex marriage in the state of California.  One of my favorite bloggers at HuffPo, Leonce Gaiter, has weighed in on the subject, wondering why African Americans are polling with a strong level of support for the measure.

According to a SurveyUSA poll, 58% of black voters support Proposition 8, which would enshrine irrational fear and rank bigotry into the California Constitution in order to deny gays the right to marry. Black support is 10% higher than support of any other ethnic group. This is ironic, considering that in striking down the law banning same sex marriage, the California Supreme Court cited the landmark 1967 civil rights case Loving vs. Virginia that struck down the prohibition of interracial marriage.

A majority of California’s voting African-Americans seem blind to that irony, however. They see no kinship to their own past as a reviled minority whose sexual touch toward a single white man or woman would sully the entire “race” of American whites–just as legally sanctioning the sexual touch of same sex partners would so sully heterosexuals’ unions that they will… what? Seek immediate divorce? Abandon their children to the streets? Suffer mass orgasmic dysfunction?

58% of the black voting population sees no irony in accepting a “separate but equal” status for gays despite the fact that the Supreme Court freed us from just such subjugation with Brown vs. Board of Education; without it we would still be classifiable as second class citizens.

We see no slippery slope in enshrining hatred and bigotry against a specific group into our ruling document–our California Constitution. If we can enshrine the second-class citizenship of gays with respect to marriage, why not the second-class citizenship of blacks with respect to education, or Hispanics with respect to citizenship itself? Someone will always hate you with equal vociferousness to your hate for someone else. It’s simply a matter of convincing enough to do so–as has been done in convincing 58% of blacks to support the same kind of irrational hatred that kept us in figurative shackles for most of the last century.

There’s more and I hope you’ll read it.

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What this election is about

This election is about a lot of things.  It’s about the economy, it’s about health care, it’s about education, it’s about Iraq ….  For me, though, what it’s really about is restoring America to what it once was and what it should be again.  It’s about restoring our Constitutional rights.  It’s about the appointment of at least one, if not three, Supreme Court Justices.  It’s about the Military Commissions Act and the Patriot Act.  It’s about FISA.  It’s about Guantanamo Bay and whether or not America stands for torture

I was looking through old editorial cartoons at Cagle this morning and came across one from 2004 that sums up this election, for me, perfectly:

Daryl Cagle, 2004

Daryl Cagle, 2004


Decide what this election is about for you, educate yourself and then, please, use your vote wisely.

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Filed under Bush Administration, constitutional rights, guantanamo bay, John McCain, political cartoons

Virginia bans campaign clothing on election day

The state of Virginia has imposed a ban on campaign clothing at the polls on election day, joining Maine, Vermont, Kansas, and Montana in an alleged effort to free voters from undue influence or pressure.  The ACLU is arguing that this is a violation of First Amendment rights. 

Rules are constantly shifting in states on this matter.  Please make sure that you understand your state’s regulations before you head out to vote on November 4 if you plan on wearing anything (shirt, hat, button, etc.) advocating for your candidate or against another candidate.

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Filed under constitutional rights, How to vote / voter info, Voter Suppression / Voter Fraud

Sunday morning cartoons

Two cartoons for you this morning, because they seem appropriate.

This one, to go with all the pieces on the McCain campaign’s recent tactics:

Mike Keefe, The Denver Post
Mike Keefe, The Denver Post

 And this one, to go with my piece on the NSA listening in to just about everything:

Mike Lane, Baltimore, MD

Mike Lane, Baltimore, MD



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Filed under constitutional rights, McCain Campaign, political cartoons, Racism

NSA Eavesdropping

What we all feared, knew somewhere in some part of our brains, about the near-blanket authorization we gave the Bush Administration to eavesdrop on our telephone calls has come to pass.  NSA whistleblowers have reported that they routinely listened to phone calls between generic Americans overseas (military personnel, American aid workers, journalists, etc.) and their offices and loved ones back home.  They listened in on the most private, separated lovers creating intimate spaces over long distance telephone lines.  And they made light,

… telling each other things like “hey, check this out, there’s some good phone sex … pull up this call, it’s really funny.

Our military members serving overseas and their spouses at home looking for comfort from each other.  Yeah, that’s hysterical.

In his piece this morning, Shayana Kadidial, senior managing attorney of the Guantánamo project at the Center for Constitutional Rights, raises an issue beyond simple impropriety with these revelations:  if they’re listening to the mundane, what else could they be listening to?  Writing from Gitmo, he asks:

… if the NSA was willing (to) illegally eavesdrop on private conversations of journalists and the Red Cross, would they do the same with lawyers? In 2006, William Haynes, the defense department’s general counsel, was asked by John Conyers’ House committee whether attorney-client conversations were swept up in the NSA’s dragnet, and Haynes specifically said that attorney-client calls “would not be categorically excluded from interception.” One wonders: how long before we hear that the real reason this administration – led by a pathetic combination of Richard Nixon and Herbert Hoover, now cementing his legacy as the worst President in American history – decided to get around the spying-friendly FISA court was in order to listen to calls that even the most conservative of federal judges would never countenance them listening to? And thereby make it harder for lawyers like us to sue them over all their other illegal activities for the last 8 years?

It’s an interesting question and one to consider as we look at this election.  We need to ensure that the next President, whoever he may be, restores our Constitutional rights and reigns in these sorts of programs which have clearly crossed the boundaries.

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If this doesn’t make you angry ….

I know, y’all must think I’m the angriest chick on the planet.  But I read this shit and get so mad and then I come here and unleash it all on y’all.  I truly, truly hope that it makes you angry, too, and that you then share your anger with someone who shares their anger and on and on.  Maybe then something will change.

So you know we’ve talked about Guantanamo Bay and, specifically, the cases of Omar Khadr and Mohamed Jawad.  As a refresher, remember that in June the Supreme Court ruled in the Boumediene v. Bush case that Guantanamo Bay detainees do have a right to habeas corpus.  While hailed as a victory for the detainees, realists understood that the Bush administration would continue to use every possible option to keep these cases out of court.  An article in the New York Times this morning bears this out. 

According to Vijay Padmanabhan, a former State Department lawyer with responsibility for detainee issues who left in July to teach at Cardozo Law School:

The legal issues that are being raised by the administration are going to take longer than the remaining time of the administration.  It is part of a broader strategy which is not to make difficult decisions about Guantánamo and leave it to the next president.

So let’s see, the Bush administration has screwed the next administration into a massive national debt, an $800b+ economic rescue plan for a sinking economy, some sort of agreement on our long term presence in Iraq (details tba), and Gitmo.  And in the meantime, these detainees, many of whom have been there for five years or more (Khadr has been there for seven), are stuck in legal limbo, even after the Supreme Court restored their rights.  It’s pure insanity and not what we are about … or should be about … as Americans.

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Filed under constitutional rights, guantanamo bay

Oh, people, relax

So all over the ‘net, folks are flipping out that Rep. Burgess from TX “let slip” that we are under martial law!!!  Damn.

This is what makes me crazy about people … on both sides of the political divide … who don’t educate themselves before they open their damn mouths.  Martial law in the House is essentially (and, yes, I’m way dumbing this down) a provision that says, “let’s not take time to go through every fine point of the 1700 pages of this bill and just ram it through.”  It allows the Speaker and House flexibility to not follow certain procedural rules, like waiting periods, in order to pass legislation more quickly.  In the case of the bailout plan, this makes sense, no?

So, no, folks, the Speaker of the House, even if it were in her purview, has not declared Martial Law in the US.  And next time you wanna go flippin’ out and scaring your friends and neighbors … why don’t you do a little reading first?  Thank you.

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What did Bush do re: Gonzales and the surveillance program?

Murray Waas over at The Atlantic has two exclusives on Bush’s possible role in the Alberto Gonzales case regarding the surveillance program.  You’ll recall that this has to do with the now infamous late night visit to then Attorney General John Ashcroft’s hospital room, as he was recovering from surgery.  The questions are whether Gonzales perjured himself and, now, what role Bush played in possibly having Gonzales falsify notes of a meeting with “the gang of 8” Congressional leaders; notes used in the Congressional testimony in which Gonzales is accused of perjuring himself.  Go read Waas’ pieces:

The Case of the Gonzales Notes

What Did Bush Tell Gonzales?

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Filed under Bush Administration, constitutional rights