Thursday, July 19, 2007

Happy Blogosphere Day!!

Hi Newshackers,

Happy Blogosphere Day!!

Today, July 19, 2007, is the fourth annual Blogosphere Day. This year, prominent Democrats and bloggers alike have been quick to claim the blogosphere as a primary force behind their resurgence in the 2006 elections.

There is no question that liberals and progressives have been quicker to jump on the blogging bandwagon than Republicans, though more and more conservatives are starting to blog as well. I wish them luck. If the conservative bloggers' ideas are substantial, they will get a hearing. That's fine with me. Some conservative positions make a lot of sense, as I've written before. If they promote their party as a party supporting conservative ideas like making government more cost-efficient, protecting our privacy rights, and rooting out corruption and corporate welfare, or structuring a way for the current corporate health care industry to provide good health care for all Americans at affordable costs - I'm all for that.

However, if they just continue to spout the same old Corpublican (my personal term for the corporate supporters of the party) rants about getting big government off our backs, privatizing Social Security, criminalizing guest workers, and reducing taxes, I suspect they will only dig their way into a hole deeper than the one George W. Bush has already dug for them. Their appeal is to rugged individualism, supposedly a core value of that party.

The days of rugged individualism really are past. There certainly are some people who live off the grid, arm themselves and join militias. However, most Americans who play rebel/outsider roles, and dress the part, do so for psychic satisfaction. But, when you talk to these people, they don't really expect to actually have to take care of themselves with no outside aid when faced with hurricanes, tornadoes, floods or catastrophic illness. Talk to most Harley riders these days and they aren't Hells Angels. They're off-duty cops, sales people, and factory workers. People who worry about health care for their families and pensions.

Most Americans these days, including most Republicans, understand that it is government that makes possible all of the various freedoms and protections we enjoy, as well as the social safety net on which many retired Americans depend to some degree, and without which many would be sick and destitute. Most people expect government to provide these protections and won't support parties and platforms that jeopardize them.

/Dick

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Sign Petitions to Restore Habeas Corpus

Hi Newshackers,

The link below will take you to Human Rights First's online petition to restore Habeas Corpus.

http://action.humanrightsfirst.org/campaign/habeas_vote

FindHabeas.org is the ACLU's site devoted to this issue. The link below is to their petition.

https://secure.aclu.org/site/SPageServer?pagename=habeas_petition&JServSessionIdr011=tw1wlntd32.app23a

If you have not already done so, please sign both petitions above. Signing these petitions will add you to the overall number of petition respondents, and will send emails to your state's representatives asking them to restore this most fundamental right, which we lost in the passage of the Military Commissions Act last fall.

Congress will act on new legislation to restore Habeas Corpus shortly. Can't urge you enough to act on this now.

/Dick

Libby Sentence Commutation is Tipping Point for Impeachment

Hi Newshackers,

As I write this, it's Friday night. I'm watching the Tough Talk About Impeachment episode of Bill Moyer's Journal on PBS.

In this report, Moyers often speaks and questions as the voice of those who resist impeachment, citing the usual fears of any constitutional crisis, and the fear having such a crisis during a "time of war, when terrorists are coming to America to do us harm." His guests for the discussion were Bill Nichols, of The Nation magazine, and Bruce Fein, Constitutional scholar from American Freedom Agenda. Both men strongly advocate impeaching both Bush and Cheney for a long list of provable offenses that have been revealed in the news media. They also cite a number of patriotic and constitutional reasons, including the need to show Americans that the rule of law still operates, that justice is even-handed, and the importance of setting binding precedents that will prevent future presidencies from attempting to overreach their authority the way the Bush administration has.

One of the first important points on which all three agreed is that Moyers would not even be recording a program about this topic, and PBS stations nationwide would not be airing it, if it wasn't clear to them all that a majority of the public is ready to seek both men's impeachment. Representative Dennis Kucinich has long since introduced articles of impeachment against Cheney, but Speaker Nancy Pelosi continues to maintain that "impeachment is off the table."

All agreed that what has recently increased the potential for impeachment is that the American public is in an absolute furor over the Scooter Libby commutation. Nichols believes this one act may be the tipping point where the majority of Americans now believe that the Bush Administration truly feels and acts above the law.

It seems the various impeachable offenses of which Bush and Cheney have been accused in the past year were somewhat obscure technical offenses to the average American, whose main concerns have been making a living and the Iraq War, whether pro or con. The war, and war weariness, has made people less attentive to a variety of unconstitutional actions by the administration during the past six years. So, many have not perceived the overall pattern of abuse the administration has pursued - UNTIL NOW!

It seems that the commutation of Scooter Libby's sentence was such a manifest injustice that it has outraged even the non-political.

I know this is true from personal experience. During the past week or so, I have heard these sentiments expressed by neighbors and casual acquaintances. People from a variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds with whom I have never discussed politics before. Most are nice people who usually don't talk politics with people they don't know well. And yet, they are overwhelmed by their need to bitch about this topic.

One by one they have walked up to me out of the blue and said some variation on, "What do you think about Bush commuting Libby's sentence?" It depresses me greatly. "Those people are ruining the country. They are making a mockery of our system of justice. Bush keeps defending the Iraq war and getting American soldiers killed when any idiot can see it's a total disaster and we should get out of there. We've got to get rid of this administration." The variations usually included a number of expletives, which I've deleted. I've even seen complete strangers talking about it on the bus, musing out loud over a newspaper article one was reading.

For nearly two-thirds of the program, the participants discussed the process of impeachment, the seriousness of the list of impeachable offenses charged, and why the ability to impeach high officials was considered crucial by the founding fathers. So much so, that it's mentioned six times in the Constitution.

Nichols told Moyers that many Americans have a common mistaken attitude about impeachment. They treat the threat of impeachment procedings as a constitutional crisis. Nichols believes impeachment should, instead, be seen as the medicine for fixing a constitutional crisis, such as this one brought on by Cheney and Bush.

I suggest you find, Tivo if necessary, and watch this insightful report. Whether you are for or against impeachment, this discussion will open your eyes.

/Dick

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Lessons Bush Learned From Hitler by The Existentialist Cowboy

Hi Newshackers,

Like the new color scheme? I have a habitual fondness for blue tones. Also, I found it necessary to change the old look, despite liking it really well. Why?

Well, today I visited an excellent blog called The Existentialist Cowboy and thought I'd clicked on NewsHacker by mistake. Though I'd never seen his blog before today, Len Hart's blog color scheme and layout were nearly identical to my own. It was freaky. It was also obvious that his blog was much older and more fully developed than mine. That being the case, I decided he had first dibs on that template and look and I would find another look for mine to avoid visual confusion. Especially because I hope to attract some of Len's audience to NewsHacker.

Back to business. I was really impressed with The Existentialist Cowboy's historical perspective in Lessons Bush Learned From Hitler. Hart lays out the numerous historical parallels between how the Hitler Regime came to power and the Bush Administration's selection by the Supreme Court, and the many subsequent events and strategies they had in common, in rigorous fashion. Uncanny, and well worth your time.

One could make a case that Bush learned these same basic lessons from Stalin, Mao, Franco, Pol Pot, Vlad Dracula, et al, but that would be quibbling. The corollaries between the Hitler and Bush regimes' tactics are startling.

/Dick