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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 03/27/2005 - 04/03/2005
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- Noam Chomsky
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And, yes, I DO take it personally

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Montana Legislature Bucks Patriot Act

i'll tell ya what... this is damn interesting NEWS... i could speculate on why it hasn't hit the msm but we all know what a waste of time and brainpower THAT is...

first we hear about gov. schweitzer giving the metaphorical finger to bush by requesting montana's nat'l guardsmen be returned from iraq in time to help with the forest fire season and now the legislature decides it has a few things to say too... strong stuff and so very, very cool...

2005 Montana Legislature


2005 Montana Legislature


WHEREAS, the citizens of Montana recognize the Constitution of the United States as our charter of liberty and that the Bill of Rights enshrines the fundamental and inalienable rights of Americans, including the freedoms of religion, speech, assembly, and privacy; and

WHEREAS, each of Montana's duly elected public servants has sworn to defend and uphold the United States Constitution and the Constitution of the State of Montana; and

WHEREAS, the citizens of Montana denounce and condemn all acts of terrorism by any entity, wherever the acts occur; and

WHEREAS, terrorist attacks against Americans, such as those that occurred on September 11, 2001, have necessitated the crafting of effective laws to protect citizens of the United States and others from terrorist attacks; and

WHEREAS, any new security measures of federal, state, and local governments should be carefully designed and employed to enhance public safety without infringing on the civil liberties and rights of innocent citizens of Montana and the United States; and

WHEREAS, certain provisions of the "Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001", also known as the USA PATRIOT Act, allow the federal government to more liberally detain and investigate citizens and to engage in surveillance activities that may violate or offend the rights and liberties guaranteed by our state and federal constitutions.


That the 59th Montana Legislature supports the government of the United States in its campaign against terrorism and affirms the commitment of the United States that the campaign not be waged at the expense of essential civil rights and liberties of citizens of this country that are protected in the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that it is the policy of the citizens of Montana to oppose any portion of the USA PATRIOT Act that violates the rights and liberties guaranteed under the Montana Constitution or the United States Constitution, including the Bill of Rights.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that in accordance with Montana state policy, in the absence of reasonable suspicion of criminal activity under Montana law, the 59th Montana Legislature exhorts agents and instrumentalities of this state to not:

(1) initiate or participate in or assist or cooperate with an inquiry, investigation, surveillance, or detention under the USA PATRIOT Act if the action violates constitutionally guaranteed civil rights or civil liberties;

(2) record, file, or share intelligence information concerning a person or organization, including library lending and research records, book and video store sales and rental records, medical records, financial records, student records, and other personal data, even if authorized under the USA PATRIOT Act, if the action violates constitutionally guaranteed civil rights or civil liberties; or

(3) retain any of the intelligence information described in subsections (1) and (2) of this clause if the information violates constitutionally guaranteed civil rights or civil liberties.

holy shit, folks... i am awestruck at their clarity and courage... hats off...

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thanks to armando at daily kos and john at americablog for getting this lovely quote from the new york post spread around...

"Cheney said he backed efforts to help save Terri Schiavo's life, but strongly disagreed with House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas), who wants retribution against judges who blocked restoration of her feeding tube."

Think Progress has this to say:

"Rule of Thumb: If Cheney says you’ve gone over the line, you’ve gone way over the line." (italics mine)

and in a Think Progress comment to the same post, musk shared this:

"i called the fbi, and the person i talked to told me that if i [average joe] had said what delay said about retribution, that i would mostly certainly be in custody. the guy i talked to was very agreeable, and told me that there was an undeniable double standard which he didn’t agree with."

how very interesting...!

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Sen. Harry Reid and the "Nuclear Option"

i had written senator reid earlier in the week, supporting him on his opposition to changing senate filibuster rules... he sent back a nice email (not something you can always expect from your elected officials these days) reaffirming his strong opposition... then, today, i read kargo x's excellent analysis posted at daily kos on senate rules where he set forth an extremely disturbing scenario which promoted me to fire off another one...


Dear Senator Reid,

I greatly appreciate your reply and take comfort from your stance against changing the filibuster rules. I am concerned, however, that raw opposition may not be enough if the following scenario plays out. For example -

Facing a filibuster on the nomination of former Interior Department counsel William G. Myers to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit (or on the motion to take up the nomination), Frist will posit a point of order to the Senate's presiding officer. In all likelihood, Vice President Cheney will have taken the chair for this purpose.

Frist's point of order will posit: 1) that debate has gone on long enough, and; 2) that because the Constitution requires the Senate's advice and consent on judicial appointments, preventing a vote on that consent is unconstitutional.

If he wants to make a further point, he might also posit: 3) that Article I, Section 5 of the Constitution gives each house of Congress the right to determine its own rules of procedure, and; 4) that therefore the Senate may, under Art. I, Sec. 5, vote by a simple majority to change the rules, henceforth to permit ending debate on judicial nominations (and/or motions to consider such nominations) by majority vote.

Strictly speaking, though, all the situation requires is a point of order raising issues #1 and #2. Raising numbers 3 and 4 might help save time on the next nominations brought under consideration, but that's it. In other words, the "nuclear option" doesn't even require an actual change to Senate rules. It depends only on getting a favorable ruling from the presiding officer.

The Senate rules -- notwithstanding provisions for their continuation from one Congress to the next, or their requirement that changes be approved by 2/3 vote -- would now be... what Dick Cheney says they are.

This would be an unconscionable tragedy as I'm sure you would agree. Please, whatever is within your power to do to prevent this from happening, I urge you to do it. I have to confess that, for the first time in my 57 years, I am deeply afraid for the future of our country.

Thanks again for your time and attention and the very best of luck to you and your colleagues in the difficult weeks and months ahead.

Best regards,

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I hate grasping at straws

but sometimes, straws is all ya got to grab on to...

josh at Talking Points Memo dug this up in the aftermath of the incident in denver where, without any provocation, three people were ejected from dubya's social security road show... rep. bob beauprez (r), the congressman who represents a large portion of the most affluent area in colorado, jefferson county, and the sponsor of the event, may have gotten a wake-up call...

Here's part of what the congressman said on Peter Boyle’s morning show on KHOW-AM in Denver ...

"It’s unfortunate. This kind of stuff should never really happen. At least as I understand it, these folks showed up – they’ve got every right to be there. There was a pro-Bush leaning crowd but by no means at all, my understanding, a 100% pro-Bush crowd. And unless they did something wrong there’s no reason why they should be yanked out of there and escorted through the door."

josh adds this commentary...

"But I have to imagine that Beauprez's statement will raise the pressure to find out just who these people were who tossed the non-Bush-True attendees out. After all, it was an event in his district, thrown for him. We know similar incidents have occurred at Bamboozlepalooza events across the country, so there's really no serious question that this is White House policy. So let's get to the bottom of it."

let's hope he's heard the alarm going off and doesn't end up wearing the metaphorical rove "concrete overshoes..."

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Junk science hits schools themselves, not just curriculum

often below the radar screen is the concerted, on-going, repub effort to privatize the public school system and bust the teachers' union, the aft... but as this post from teacherken in daily kos, Education and the "Mighty Wurlitzer", makes clear, our educational system is under the same kind of attack that the rabidly ideological christian and social conservatives are waging in every sector of our society...

the bulk of teacherken's post is a long analysis of the battle over charter vs. public schools by gerald bracey, reprinted by permission... it's long but well worth the read...

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Speaking of bowing to the dictates of authority...

when i was writing the previous post about the pope, i was reminded of a book that had a tremendous influence on my thinking and, subsequently, how i have been able to make sense out of a lot of things that guide our societies and personal lives...

the book is Coming to Our Senses and the author is morris berman... the thing i found particularly intriguing about the book which, oddly, is not even mentioned in the Publishers Weekly review (included with the book link), is that berman traces 2000 years of western history in the context of heresy... yes, ok, the main thesis of the book, as the review states, is a "call for a life of the body--as opposed to an emphasis on success, material possessions and divisive 'isms...' '' but the point that stuck with me is berman's convincing argument (he footnotes extensively as befits a former professor of the history of science at johns hopkins) that the definition of heresy, as has been demonstrated over two millenia, is a refusal to accept the dictates of external authority and instead relying on our own direct experience to guide the conduct of our lives...


for me, that was one of those flashes of insight that literally changed everything... berman's examples of Gnostic seers' fusion with godhead, Jewish mysticism, 11th century French Cathar heretics with their trance and ecstasy techniques, the soul travel of Renaissance occultists, suddenly threw a blinding light on all sorts of things from Joan of Arc, papal infallability, all varieties of religious dogma, worshipping at the altar of scientific method, right on up to today's fundamentalist christian extremists... anybody who dares to listen to their inner voice and chart their life's course based on a direct experience of the world and/or their spirituality risks running afoul of the "authorities..." they're there, after all, to give you that direction and, moreover, to insure you follow it... those who think for themselves and live according to their inner dictates, beware...! ok, it's obvious that this line of thinking can lead directly to the school of "if it feels good, do it" and we certainly have seen where that mindset can take us... but the notion of "doing your own thing" has a connotation that does not fit what i believe personally nor is it what, i believe, berman was attempting to communicate...

it was during some of the darkest moments in my roller-coaster life that as a last resort i turned to meditation and, in so doing, discovered my "inner voice..." my only previous experience with such a phenomenon had been mere weeks before... i was driving to an interview for a job i desperately wanted and needed... we (i was married at the time) had just filed bankruptcy and i was feeling lost and forlorn... it was a sub-zero day with the kind of intense blue sky that can sometimes accompany a severe cold front... there was plenty of snow which made for a ferocious glare... as i drove down the interstate, i did something rare for me... i prayed... "help me, higher power, whoever you are... i REALLY need this job..." of course i was nervous and, as i often do in hard times, had lapsed into self-pity and whining... suddenly, as if someone had suddenly switched on the radio at full volume, i heard a voice in my head saying, "shut up, will you? look...! it's a beautiful day...!"

i'm not gonna try to make any case whatsoever for god, higher power, spirit guides, angels, familiars, my sub-conscious, or anything else... what i do know is that, since then, when i have succeeded in chilling out my constant mental blabber (no easy task, i assure you), i have encountered that voice numerous times... and here's the really strange part... when it speaks, i know, at a level that i cannot articulate, that it speaks the truth... it's never foretold my future, it's never told me directly what to do or how to behave, and, with the exception of the example above, never butts in... more telling, i think, is that the wisdom i have received in this manner is often not to my liking... in fact, i've often laughingly thought at the time, "hey, is there somebody else up there i can talk to...?"

this, then, is what i think berman means when he talks about direct experience - you determine your path, choose and observe your values and beliefs, and behave in a way that is congruent with what you know to be inner truth... damn...! sure puts the pope, dubya, the anglican communion, and the grand ayatollah in a different light, doesn't it...? it also clearly points out what fundamentalist religious zealots are panting for - the subjugation of everyone to the external authority that they and only they deem valid...

kinda scarey, isn't it...?

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Do you suppose we'll get some honesty with the new Pope...?

Faithful shout "Long live the pope!" before dawn today in St. Peter's Square.

i used to describe myself as a "recovering catholic" until my catholic education and upbringing seemed so far in the distant past as to be irrelevant...

i suppose i still have a soft spot for catholics (rather than catholicism)... however, catholicism's insistence on sex solely for procreation, condemning contraception and abortion, and generally trying to dictate how one expresses one's inner self seems to me out of touch both with today's realities and the fundamental message of christ in the gospels... then there's the doctrine of infallability, the cult of the virgin, celibacy, complicity with the nazi regime in wwII, sexual abuse by the clergy, hal turner, but, hey...!

the publisher's commentary on the book Papal Sin: Structures of Deceit, written by the highly-regarded Northwestern University professor, Garry Wills, himself a devout catholic, spells it out...

"Wills describes a papacy that seems steadfastly unwilling to face the truth about itself, its past, and its relations with others. The refusal of the authorities of the Church to admit that they could err or do wrong to others has needlessly exacerbated their original mistakes.


The resulting distrust is in fact a neglected reason for today's shortage of priests. Entirely aside from the public uproar over celibacy, potential clergy have proven unwilling to put themselves in a position in which they must support dishonest teachings.


Wills shows that the righteous path can still be taken, if only the Vatican will muster the courage to speak even embarrassing truths in the name of Truth itself."

do i expect anything to change under a new papacy...? nah... they've been dug in for over 2000 years and they're not about to change now...

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The best defense...

Would you want your grandchildren to have a grandfather with the nickname "The Hammer?" Not a nice man. Posted by Hello

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Look out, here he comes...

not that we didn't guess what he was up to with terri schiavo, tom delay has now made it official... he is going to lead the charge to purge the judiciary... first they wanna be able to get judges in on a straight up or down vote with minimal debate, fully taking advantage of the republican majority to stack the courts with the ideologically and religiously "correct" and then they wanna establish a standard of "good behavior" so they can get rid of the ones that aren't... the latter, of course, is code for


and guess what all this self-righteous barnyard manure provides a cover for...? awww, c'mon... it ain't hard to figure out... it diverts attention from mr. delay's staggering


let's just hope that travis county district attorney, ronnie earle, paragon of virtue that he is (story in christian science monitor), gets the third grand jury empaneled soon and shines some light on the reality of this slimeball...

georgia at Daily Kos has a nice run-down and the Washington Post covers this in today's edition...

here's what ronnie himself has to say... (Common Cause)

In case Mr. Earle couldn't be any more clear he emphasizes it with the often repeated catch-phrase in today's political landscape -

"There is no limit to what you can do if you have the power to change the rules. Congress may make its own rules, but the public makes the rule of law, and depends for its peace on the enforcement of the law. Hypocrisy at the highest levels of government is toxic to the moral fiber that holds our communities together.

The open contempt for moral values by our elected officials has a corrosive effect. It is a sad day for law enforcement when Congress offers such poor leadership on moral values and ethical behavior. We are a moral people, and the first lesson of democracy is not to hold the public in contempt."

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Friday, April 01, 2005

The Most Dangerous Man in America

the guy who's taking our country down

he is diabolical... i remember sidney blumenthal's column in the November 25 Guardian following the dedication of the Clinton Library in Arkansas...

According to two eyewitnesses, Rove had shown keen interest in everything he saw, and asked questions, including about costs, obviously thinking about a future George W Bush library and legacy. "You're not such a scary guy," joked his guide. "Yes, I am," Rove replied. Walking away, he muttered deliberately and loudly: "I change constitutions, I put churches in schools ..." Thus he identified himself as more than the ruthless campaign tactician; he was also the invisible hand of power, pervasive and expansive, designing to alter the fundamental American compact.

if there was ever a scarier quote from a scarier man, i would like to know about it... my sad, futile wish is that the devil will call in karl's marker before he succeeds in toppling everything that gives us any hope for the future...

mommy, mommy, made the bad man stop... Posted by Hello

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and NOW, something from tango-land

this is precisely the kind of stuff that we NEVER get in u.s. media cuz, after all, who basically gives a shit about what's happening in other countries, right...? but, it's damn interesting nonetheless... here's our simian prez, schmoozing argentine president kirchner, and the Buenos Aires Herald cocks an eyebrow in their editorial... (and, btw, did anyone else know that dubya was going to be visiting argentina eight months from now...?)

boldface emphases are mine...

A Bush in the hand ...

"United States President George W. Bush’s 20-minute telephone call to President Néstor Kirchner on Tuesday morning (the first direct contact between the two men in the last 17 months) should be placed firmly in a regional rather than bilateral context. Bush’s praise of economic progress and positive view of investment prospects were so much flattery (even if a nine percent growth rate is impressive by any standards) — the bottom line is Argentina’s contribution to regional stability. The policies of the centre-left Kirchner administration may not all be to the taste of the Bush team (which would doubtless welcome a more positive attitude towards joint military exercises or Northrop radar contracts, for example) but this does not matter if Argentina is doing more to bolster than disrupt stability in the region — by maintaining peacekeepers in Haiti or defending the beleaguered Carlos Mesa government in Bolivia (enlightened self-interest for Argentina if it values this winter’s gas supplies). If Argentina alarms Washington at all as a weak link in the region, it is far more for the sloppy incompetence exposed by the Southern Winds cocaine-smuggling scandal than for any hostile intentions.

The timing of the call was perhaps significant — on the same day as the summit in Venezuela between host president Hugo Chávez, Brazil’s Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva, Colombia’s Alvaro Uribe and Spanish premier José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero (from which Bush may even have been trying to distract attention). Undoubtedly fears of Chávez were at the heart of Bush’s call and Washington’s concern about Venezuela’s destabilizing role in the region is legitimate if probably exaggerated. Chávez may be buying arms from Spain and Brazil among others but this could also be “toys for the boys” — for all its populist rhetoric, the Chávez régime is firmly military in both origins and staffing. And how could Uribe possibly appear at the summit if Chávez funding of Colombia’s FARC guerrillas were the proven fact Washington often implies?

With Bush due here in eight months’ time, Argentina’s relationship with the US seems in good shape even if next month’s vote on Cuba’s human rights record will be an earlier test. But within a region generally swinging to the centre-left, Bush’s conservatives are forced to choose between governments which export their mistakes and governments which do not and they would definitely place Argentina in the latter category."

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gag me with a spoon

see if you can catch the flat-out bull poop in these quotes from scott mcclellan, sonny boy dubya's mouthpiece... (article taken from the April 2 edition of Dawn, the English-language daily from Karachi, Pakistan...

WASHINGTON, April 1: The White House said on Friday that Pakistan and India were both US partners in the global war on terrorism and the United States administration would continue to work closely with them.

White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan made the remarks while commenting on a suggestion at a briefing that the US should stop all weapon sales to South Asia for 10 years and encourage Pakistan and India on more pressing needs such as health and education.

"Education and health care are important, they are priorities for this president (Bush), as well, in his country," said Mr McClellan. "In terms of those countries, I think you need to address those questions to those countries."

The US, he said, provided "a lot of support" to developing countries in their efforts to develop educational and health care institutions. "And we will continue to do so."

Going back to the US offer to sell sophisticated weapons to both Pakistan and India, Mr McClellan said: "They are both partners in the global war on terrorism, and we are working closely with both to confront the threats that we face today."

The US, he said, consulted its allies on issues related to the war on terror and helped them overcome the threats they might face. "And we are going to continue to show support for our partners in the global war on terrorism," he added.

stop weapons sales...? are you NUTS...? shit, man, that's our economy right there if you don't count McDonalds... and this is my favorite... "Education and health care are important [. . .] priorities for this President..." O-H, M-Y G-O-D, scott...!! didn't your grandma tell you that you get nasty sore spots on your tongue every time you tell a lie...? puhleeeeeze...

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Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Open Letter to the President

March 30, 2005

Dear Mr. President:

I call your attention to the incident in Denver as reported by Knight Ridder and carried on Yahoo News concerning three individuals who were escorted out of your Social Security presentation on March 21.

If the story is accurate and these individuals had not demonstrated any behavior that prompted their ejection from the hall, I am deeply concerned. I am even more concerned when spokesmen from your office at the White House attribute the action to "overzealous supporters" and Scott McClellan responds that "We welcome a diversity of opinion at the events."

Respectfully, Mr. President, if indeed the ejection was due to overzealous supporters and you do welcome a diversity of opinion at the events as Mr. McClellan claims, I strongly recommend that you publicly denounce this type of action and take immediate steps to insure that there is in fact a diversity of opinions present at your events. There have been similar reported instances not only relating to Social Security and your silence on the matter is beginning to seriously erode your credibility.

What I would welcome, particularly on an issue as important as Social Security, is an open, public discussion led by you in which all aspects of the matter can be explored without hype and without rancor. Your passion for your proposal is clear. With your solid, no-nonsense, "bring-it-on" approach, I would think you would be the first to insist that your audiences truly reflect all of the diverse viewpoints. Since the outcome impacts me, my children, my grandchildren, and their children's children, I for one would welcome solid give-and-take with all voices being heard and acknowledged. How can we afford to do otherwise?

The cornerstone of a democracy is an informed and educated citizenry who can then select their leaders wisely. The corollary is that our leaders must insure that adequate means to obtain that information and education is available, accessible, factual, comprehensible, and utilized. This is the essence of good citizenship. To effectively silence opposing voices, as seems to be happening at your events, is to turn our beloved country into the very thing we claim to most thoroughly despise.

Take the high road, Mr. President. Show us that you can really lead and that the courage of your convictions can withstand exposure in front of an audience composed of other than your proven supporters.

Best regards,

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Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Outside Terri Schiavo's hospice

god bless him, whoever he is Posted by Hello

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Sunday, March 27, 2005

Where do ya wanna be when it comes time to stand up and be counted...?

Just in case you were wondering...
The blue states ARE smarter...

(sorry, it's impossible to read this wonderful chart in print this small; clicking to enlarge the image will make it big enough for someone with really good eyesight to read or you may just have to copy it to a photo editor and enlarge it there)Posted by Hello

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