Friday, June 28

One Nation, Under Vishnu / In the most religiously diverse country in the world, why should God get the only plug? "One nation, under whatever noble and/or beautiful belief system you want, or maybe nothing at all, or maybe a little of this and that, just don't be a freak about it, because this is America and we're nothing if not about religious freedom, even though that may be difficult to believe right now, but just bear with us, indivisible...."

Thursday, June 27

Boston Globe Online / Nation | World / 'Enemy combatant' issue rises to fore 'Enemy combatant' issue rises to fore
Bush's aides press for US powers to detain Americans.
When the Bush Admin first proposed this neogothic nightmare courtscape in the first place, I distinctly remember their reassuring statements directly contradicting the current positions they are heralding. I can't be the only one?!? As evidence that this is taking things a bit far, ask Timothy McVeigh how much it helped him getting a 'standard citizen's trial'? Oh that's right, he's dead. Which isn't to say he didn't deserve it, only to point out that there is NO REASON OTHER THAN BOLD FASCISM to extoll the current measures.

Thursday, June 20

Bush makes another surgical strike on the Constitution Wake up, America! George W. Bush says that we are at war with "people who hate freedom." If so, we'd all better brush up on what we learned about "freedom" back in grade school. Think hard now. This is something more than a pop quiz. Can the US military detain and incarcerate an American citizen on US soil indefinitely without charges? The correct answer, if this is still a "free" country, is a resounding and unequivocal, no. Outside of military bases, the U.S. military has no business arresting anyone on U.S. soil, period. We fought a revolution to expel that kind of arbitrary, autocratic power from our shores. The framers wrote the Constitution, particularly the 5th and 6th Amendments, to prevent such occurrences. Was Chicago under martial law last week? Had law and order broken down? Were the courts closed? No. As such, there is no way around the fact that something deeply offensive to our constitutional system of government happened in Chicago on June 10.

Monday, June 17

When Conservatives Sue Conservatives I DON'T GIVE GEORGE W. BUSH enough credit. The man's a genius. How else can you explain his clever plan for saving America from terrorists?
Bush defined our problem when, following the Sept. 11 attacks, he said the terrorists attacked us "because we are freedom's home and defender."
So Bush (with ample help from pliant, poll-reading congressional Democrats and an amenable public) set about removing America's freedoms.
How clever. When the the job is finished, when all our freedoms are gone, we'll finally be safe. The bad guys will no longer have reason to hate us.
What a brilliant scheme!
When fear attempts to take a shortcut -- The Washington Times The Constitution, as the fearful constantly remind us, is not a suicide pact. But neither is it a mere handbill, to be tossed away at the slightest inconvenience to the government's lawyers. Cutting corners no doubt makes the job easier for the government, but making the government's job easier is rarely a priority.
Preserving the Constitution, fighting off the nibblers and chippers, even nibblers and chippers with good intentions, was once regarded by conservatives as the first duty of the citizen. It still is. We can imagine what conservatives would think of shortcuts through the Constitution if they had been attempted by a certain president from Arkansas. Fear, legitimate or not, is no better excuse than convenience.

Friday, June 14

Plutocracy and Politics Kevin Phillips's new book, "Wealth and Democracy," is a 422-page doorstopper, but much of the book's message is contained in one stunning table. That table, in the middle of a chapter titled "Millennial Plutographics," reports the compensation of America's 10 most highly paid C.E.O.'s in 1981, 1988 and 2000.
In 1981 those captains of industry were paid an average of $3.5 million, which seemed like a lot at the time. By 1988 the average had soared to $19.3 million, which seemed outrageous. But by 2000 the average annual pay of the top 10 was $154 million. It's true that wages of ordinary workers roughly doubled over the same period, though the bulk of that gain was eaten up by inflation. But earnings of top executives rose 4,300 percent.

Wednesday, June 12

Summer of All Fears On the Hill yesterday, Republican lawmakers were using headlines about the dirty-bomb plot to try to hurriedly push through the president's homeland security makeover.
"This is what's at stake," said Representative Mac Thornberry of Texas. "This kind of attack, using chemical, biological, nuclear weapons, radiological weapons, or some other kinds of suicide bombers of the kind we've seen. We must act quickly."
It's bad enough that the terrorists are using fear as a device. Does the Bush administration have to do the same thing?
The Islamic enemy strums on our nerves to hurt our economy and get power. The American president strums on our nerves to help his popularity and retain power.
Earth First activists win case / FBI, cops must pay $4.4 million for actions after car bombing Of the $2.9 million in damages for Bari's estate, $1.3 million is punitive and $1.6 million is compensatory. Bari died of cancer in 1997.
The jury said Cherney should receive $550,000 in punitive damages and $950, 000 in compensatory damages.
An ecstatic Cherney said, "The American public needs to understand that the FBI can't be trusted. Ten jurors got a good, hard look at the FBI and they didn't like what they saw. It's not about the money."
Robert Bloom, an attorney for the activists, said the ruling "shows what the FBI did then, it shows America what the FBI does now."
"This verdict is critical for everyone to understand how law enforcement works in this country," he said. "This jury got a look at a new side of the FBI and saw their secrets. This jury told the truth."