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Left In Lowell » Unconstitutional Governance

Left In Lowell

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November 28, 2007

Rove Claims Congress Pushed WH to War

by at 12:09 pm.

Why this particular crazy revisionist tidbit from Karl Rove, from an 11/21 interview with Charlie Rose, isn’t on every news channel and in every paper in the nation is beyond me. Rove wants to claim that Congress pushed the White House into a premature war with Iraq:

Rove: One of the untold stories, about the war, is why did the United States Congress, the United States Senate, vote on the war resolution in the fall of 2002?
CR: Why?
Rove: This administration was opposed to it. I’m going to talk about that in my book.
CR: Well tell me, give me something…
Rove: I just did. I told you the administration was opposed to voting on it in the fall of 2002.
CR: Because?
Rove: Because we didn’t think it belonged within the confines of the election. There was an election coming up in a matter of weeks. We thought it made it too political. We wanted it outside the confines of it. It seemed to make things move too fast. There were things that needed to be done, to bring along allies and potential allies abroad.

Incredible. It’s hard where to begin without laughing uncontrollably, or crying. But Obermann knows. (Watch the video, it’s worth it.) Keith tells us that according to a Rove website - “whitehouse.gov” - that despite Rove’s current claim that the WH opposed voting on the resolution on Iraq at the time, on the first day of fall 2002 they had a press release “urging” passage of the resolution “promptly.” A week after the resolution to authorize force was approved in the House, WH.gov said Bush was “pleased” with the House vote. What’s more, former minority majority leader Daschle recounted his meeting with the WH in Sept 2002, asking Bush why the rush, and getting the response, “We just have to do this now.”

What appears to be happening here, is that Rove is trying to trick Americans into forgetting that the Republicans were in charge at the time of the House and virtually in charge of the Senate (since even with Jeffords’ switch, they threatened to filibuster everything, and you need 60 votes with these jokers) when this resolution was passed, in hopes that people will not vote more Dems into Congress in 2008. He wants to cast the shadow of “being rushed” to fake people into faulting someone other than the Bushies.

I mean, what the hell are these guys smoking, thinking that they can so blatantly rewrite history like this? Does anyone in their right mind think that there was any indication that the Bushies weren’t lobbying their asses off for this use of force resolution in 2002? Anyone?

Any comparisons to the book 1984 are now just simply too obvious for words. Good god.

October 12, 2007

Senate FISA Bill Contains Retroactive Immunity for Telcos

by at 1:04 pm.

Firedoglake has the scoop, and action you can take. Go read. We need everyone on this - and calling Kerry and Kennedy, even if they are not on the Select Intell Committee, to ask them to tell the Committee that under no terms will they vote for a new FISA bill that has immunity from prosecution for telcos that illegally turned over records of their customers over to the Bush administration. Make sure it’s clear that bill should be DOA now, before it comes out of the Senate committee and onto the floor.

Secondarily, you need to read this narrative that Kagro X has formed regarding the telco, Qwest, that refused to turn over records on the basis that it was unconstitutional without a warrant - and whose CEO since been prosecuted for insider trading for selling stock a couple months before Qwest had bad earnings…when those earning only turned bad because the federal government took contracts that Qwest expected to other contractors.

July 18, 2007

UpperDown Vote

by at 12:02 pm.

Susan H has some great videos of the Dems and their call to action to pressure the lackluster Republicans on the Iraq bill with a timetable for withdrawal, those who, as some put it, make speeches at home about changing the course and standing up to Bush, but go to Washington and filibuster such real change.

Does anyone else recall the shrill, nay, war-cry passion of the Republicans whenever there was a controversial vote up in the Senate under their majority, and the Dems made any noise at all about possibly thinking about filibustering? Ohhhh…that’s when they screamed about the morality of allowing an upperdown vote…terrible to be an obstructionist…it’s wrong not to vote…in fact, we’ll pull the nuclear option if you do, and kill the filibuster once and for all…

Does the cognitive dissonance on the floor of the Senate ever threaten to bring the building down around their ears? My. God.

July 17, 2007


by at 9:18 pm.

The Democrats are doing what I’ve been hoping for - if the Republicans want to filibuster a sane change of course in Iraq (as opposed to a few cowardly “moderate” Republican proposals to send an unbinding gentle nudge to President Religious Megalomaniac to maybe sort of think about changing course you know if he thinks it’s swell), they better be prepared to stop the Senate and goddamned filibuster the thing.

Go tell Kerry and Kennedy that we got their back. If you are in another state and have a spineless Republican backpeddler as your Senator, say, like Sen. Snow, or something, go tell them not to vote to continue the filibuster already. Hey, they’re already likely to lose their seats anyway, they might as well for once become a moral politician who finally made the right choice for our troops before the door hit them on the ass on the way out - bringing our kids the hell home.

And yeah, hell yeah, I’m using some harsh language. It’s our very democracy at stake with these Republicans - they want to knuckle under and do whatever King Bush and Chancellor Cheney want them to do. We want a sound and more perfect union? We need to fight. These’s fightin’ words.

You got two days to watch the spineless “Iraq-moderate” Republicans attempt to explain their cowardly support of their Overlord…oh, and of Bush, too.

Daily Show Material

by at 2:48 pm.

Irony, thy name is Republican.

Update: On a serious…seriously disturbing note, you cannot miss this Glenn Greenwald post. Read the Third Religious Awakening part. *shudder*

April 29, 2007

Inherent Contempt: Alert Your US Reps and Senators

by at 4:29 pm.

Well, we have our first major refusal by a high-level Bushie to a Congressional subpoena (Condi). As many have noted, the recourse via the courts to force testimony under that subpoena goes to the US District Attorney for D.C. Those same US Attorneys which, if you’ve been following national news, appear to have their independence compromised.

Dkos’ Kagro X notes that there is another, non-executive-branch option (quote via the Congressional Research Service’s “Congressional Oversight Manual” (PDF):

Under the inherent contempt power, the individual is brought before the House or Senate by the Sergeant-at-Arms, tried at the bar of the body, and can be imprisoned. The purpose of the imprisonment or other sanction may be either punitive or coercive. Thus, the witness can be imprisoned for a specified period of time as punishment, or for an indefinite period (but not, at least in the case of the House, beyond the adjournment of a session of the Congress) until he agrees to comply. The inherent contempt power has been recognized by the Supreme Court as inextricably related to Congress’s constitutionally-based power to investigate.

But in a new post, Kagro also says it’s up to us to educate our US Rep and Senators, because they don’t appear to have known about this statute:

Does your delegation know what inherent contempt is?
by Kagro X
Sun Apr 29, 2007 at 09:56:53 AM PDT

That’s a serious question. And it’s not meant to impugn anyone’s intelligence or integrity. The plain fact is that sometimes, you’d be surprised what you know about that your Represenative or your Senators don’t. To be sure, they’ll sometimes amaze you with their knowledge of legislative arcana. But the truth is that the schedule of a legislator is tight, and casual perusal of the blogs just isn’t something they often have time for. Which means that if you’ve been reading (here or elsewhere) about the looming crisis in enforcement of the Congressional subpoena power, and have thereby gained an understanding of the “inherent contempt” process, you may actually know considerably more about it than your representatives in Congress.
There have got to be more Members who know about the process that we just haven’t heard from yet. But so far, the only Member of Congress I know who’s been thinking anything other than “we’ll take ‘em to court” when the Bush “administration” defies Congressional subpoenas is Rep. Brad Miller of North Carolina. As chairman of the Investigations and Oversight subcommittee of the Science and Technology panel, he’s run into “administration” intransigence that’s just as brazen and stunning as any of the high-profile situations we’re witnessing at Judiciary and Government Oversight, but without the “sexiness” of involving the “A-list” cabinet members. He’s been working quietly, behind the scenes to make his colleagues aware of his read on the situation, but it’s an uphill battle. Everyone’s busy, and everyone’s freaking out. But not everyone is convinced, as both of us are, that the courts are not likely to clarify the situation for us, at least not in time to actually do anything about it.
So, what to do? I’m inclined to go with the old stand-by: write your Members of Congress. Study up a bit on what happens when the subpoenas are defied. Learn about inherent contempt. Then drop a friendly line to your Members of Congress, expressing your support for the investigations the Congress is conducting, and urging them to think ahead and game out the “administration’s” refusal to acknowledge the legislature’s power as a co-equal branch. Let them know that when push comes to shove, you’d support enforcing that power through the inherent contempt procedure, and ask them if they’re aware of it.

Meehan is on a couple of the oversight committees Kagro lists. Let’s be sure that before he goes, he understands (and informs the other members) about inherent contempt and that if it comes to it, we need them to use the means at their disposal to get the testimony of those members of the Bush administration that have refused subpoenas.

February 26, 2007

Bush Funding Jihadist Groups?

by at 1:20 pm.

Sy Hersh has gotten it right so many times before. This should be on the front cover of every newspaper in the country:

New Yorker columnist Sy Hersh says the “single most explosive” element of his latest article involves an effort by the Bush administration to stem the growth of Shiite influence in the Middle East (specifically the Iranian government and Hezbollah in Lebanon) by funding violent Sunni groups.

Hersh says the U.S. has been “pumping money, a great deal of money, without congressional authority, without any congressional oversight” for covert operations in the Middle East where it wants to “stop the Shiite spread or the Shiite influence.” Hersh says these funds have ended up in the hands of “three Sunni jihadist groups” who are “connected to al Qaeda” but “want to take on Hezbollah.”

This is chilling. And goes in the face of every moral and ethical reason Bush said he should stay in power, when running for reelection in 2004. If true, there can be no remedy other than impeachment. Will the Democrats investigate?

UPDATE: A reminder…remember, al Quada/bin Laden is primarily Sunni (bin Laden specifically follows a form of Sunni Wahhabism - fundamentalism). Bin Laden’s main goal was never the annihilation of the US on our own soil, but indeed, to throw out the infidels and effect a Sunni Caliphate rule on the entire oil-rich Middle East. The Shi’ia/Sunni battle has been waged for a thousand years, and its modern equivalent is the fight over oil. As the Shi’ia gain prominence in the region (Iran and Hezbollah, for instance), the Sunnis grow more desperate. Even the Saudis spend a lot of their energy to keeping their own small Shi’ia population in line. But it is Sunni terrorists which have hit our interests overseas, and here at home. As such, Bush is directly funding our enemies, strengthening the very ones who are killing and maiming our own soldiers in Iraq. Of course, we’ve funded the Sunnis, including bin Laden, before, haven’t we? In the Iran-Iraq war, in Afghanistan. Our fingerprints were on this civil war long before we ever popped the lid off the boiling pot in Iraq. It has never bode well in the past and it doesn’t now.

September 5, 2006

No More ‘Lost’ or ‘Boston Legal’

by at 2:38 pm.

Or “Desperate Housewives” or “Grey’s Anatomy.” Not unless ABC pulls the very obviously fact-averse new fakumentary, due to arrogantly air in two parts next Sunday and Monday (Sept 10th and 11th), “Path to 9/11.” It will, of course, blame everything on former President Clinton, with no mention of any lapses by Mr. Bush.

Thank God “House MD” is on another channel, I’d be devastated to have to boycott that.

Why should you, a reality-based person, be outraged and demand ABC pull this crass docudrama or else you will stop watching any of their shows?

Maybe because they will falsely claim that the CIA had bin Laden’s surrounded and Clinton’s administration refused to take him out? (It never happened.)

Perhaps because ABC proved this docucrap is propaganda of the Right by releasing advanced copies only to GOP bloggers so they can give it glowing reviews and drum up the authoritarian conservative audience? (Despite the largest blogs being the left-leaning ones.)

Maybe because it purports to be “objective” while playing fast and loose with facts, or maybe because its creator is a longtime conservative and Rush Limbaugh friend? Or because they hired the Republican 9/11 Commission chair but not the Democrat?

There were a lot of failures leading up to 9/11, many of them laid directly at the feet of a president who was recieving reports of imminent attack but stayed on vacation.

Write to ABC and tell them you are through watching all of their (pretty mediocre) shows unless they agree to pull this crap off the air. I’ve slowly weaned myself off of most of the drek spewing out of the mainstream channels, but I’ll even give up Bill Shatner. No more ABC News, no more sitcoms, not until they figure out how they are hurting America.

9/11 was a painful, terrible event that touched every one of us, no matter what our political stripes. It deserves to be treated better than to be used as manipulated political propaganda, something the Republicans know only too well how to do. Now, our public airwaves are being used as one such arm of 9/11 propaganda, just when Republicans are hoping to stave off anti-incumbant sentiment in the 2006 elections. ABC should have its airwave licence taken away. In the meantime, ABC exists no more in my household (sorry, hon).

August 28, 2006

US Citizens Denied Reentry Into US

by at 5:50 pm.

I know you guys prefer me to talk about more local politics, but when my husband mentioned it yesterday, I couldn’t believe it, then I came across it again today, so I am posting about it. The Bush administration is officially insane.

What have we become?? Was it worth it, America? Feel safer?

August 8, 2006

Seperation of Church and State - But Not In Lowell

by at 10:19 am.

I’m so glad this council meeting prayer thing has come up as a subject to be discussed. Longtime readers will remember I’ve been ranting about this since I started this blog.

There is no legal or moral argument that supports the recitation of The Lord’s Prayer as part of the city council meeting. Not only does this mix church and state, it is promoting a specific religion, Catholicism. This is a no-brainer should someone challenge it in court. The Bill of Rights says:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…

And with the Fourteenth Amendment, these laws of the land were made to apply to any government underneath the federal level…state and local.

Long held precedent has created this wall between church and state which has stood the test of time. I will tell you, as a former Catholic (born, raised, and Confirmed) turned atheist, the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer makes me feel inordinately uncomfortable in my own city’s council chambers. It’s the sort of peer pressure (the pressure to not be left out, stand up, and recite something in which you don’t believe) that is illegal under the Constitution of the United States. I deliberately sit out the Lord’s Prayer, I certainly don’t recite it, but it is the state’s job to ensure it doesn’t take an act of courage (trust me, it is, albeit a small one) to be involved in one’s own elected government.

So I disagree with the motion made two weeks ago…we should not be examining the inclusion of other prayers in addition to this one. We should be nixing the inclusion of any sort of prayer from any religion in the official Council chambers of the City of Lowell. Unless, of course, the city wants to wait for someone to bring up a lawsuit which is sure to embarrass them.

If some of the Councilors, and members of the public, want to engage in reflective prayer before the meeting, they should feel free to do so - in a private room somewhere before the meeting starts. Then they can join the rest of us in furthering the State’s work…not the Lord’s. There is a time and place for religion and it is not during official city business.

By the way, Councilor Armand Mercier was quoted as saying, “It’s not broke. I don’t want to fix it. I have not had a complaint in all the years I’ve been there about saying the Lord’s Prayer, nor has anybody complained to me that it should be another prayer, so I don’t know where they’re coming from to say it’s not fair. What’s next, no Pledge of Allegiance to the flag?”

I think Councilor Mercier needs to hear those complaints from those of you who feel as I do - maybe you are a Catholic, but feel this is a misuse of government. Maybe you’re an atheist like me, or else of another religion. But it’s time to set aside such unconstitutional practices, just like we are hoping to set aside some ethically-challenged political practices in this city under our new City Manager. While you’re at it, send a note to all the other councilors as well. You can email them all at once or one at a time at this webpage.

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