The Lady Speaks

Amerika

Article IV, U.S. Constitution, as amended on July 9, 2008:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Hitler didn’t not rise to power by show of force; he was elected. The rights of the German people were not first taken away at the point of a gun, but were eroded by the power of the pen.

With back-room deals and plenty of intimidation, laws contrary to the public good and in violation of the German Constitution were passed by lawmakers whipped to a frenzy by an atmosphere of fear-mongering and hysteria. The Reichstag — the elected representatives of the German people — voted to destroy their Constitution and disband themselves in order that the country be “protected” from “terrorists.”

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July 9, 2008 Posted by | America, Bush, Congress, Election '08, Government, Politics, Republicans, Senate, Terrorism, White House | 3 Comments

Huckabee Wants a Christian Constitution

Remember that stuff we learned in classes like Civics and American History and Principles of Democracy? Well, some of us learned. Obviously, considering El Pollo Loco is still the President, some of us slept through them.

But I digress….

We learned that the founders, having the examples of the Old World right there in front of their faces, believed in a government invested and run by its people. A government without a state-sponsored religion, that allowed any of its citizens – well, the white and male ones — to hold any office regardless of their private religious beliefs and practices.

Thomas Jefferson is spinning in his grave after hearing Mike Huckabee talk to a Michigan audience yesterday.

From Raw Story: [and yes, there’s video — Jenn]

“I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution,” Huckabee told a Michigan audience on Monday. “But I believe it’s a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living god. And that’s what we need to do — to amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards rather than try to change God’s standards so it lines up with some contemporary view.” [my emphasis]

Say what??

Shortly after this aired, small rumbles were heard coming from the ground near Monticello.

You know what we call this, Mike Huckabee, when someone takes a perfectly good Constitution — one that’s lasted 230 years or so — and changes it to “God’s standards”? We call that a “theocracy.” We also tend to call it “complete and utter bullshit spewed from the mouth of a madman.” (Well, most of us do. The Christianist nuts who support you call it something else, I’m sure.)

Let me give you a few examples of countries in which “God’s standards” reign (or reigned) supreme: The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, The Islamic Republic of Pakistan, The Islamic Republic of Iran

But wait … there’s more! Saudi Arabia? Oligarchy for the wealthy, theocracy for everyone else. Iraq used to be a dictatorship, but we went and brought them “freedom,” so now it’s a …. fucking mess. Democracy, theocracy, and thuggery.

Back in what’s often called the “Dark Ages”, there were Christian-based governments all over Europe. Britain, France, Spain, etc. Know what came of that? Lots of rich priests, religious wars, and a whole lot of Inquisition.

Here at home, the Massachusetts colony, founded by people — fundamentalists, as a matter of fact — who sought relief from the religious persecution they faced in Britain only to turn around and make religious persecution the heart and soul of their laws.

Roger Williams, he man who founded Providence, Rhode Island was expelled from the Massachusetts Puritan colony in 1636 for dissent. 1

Rhode Island, the colony founded by Williams, was the first colony to truly embrace religious freedom was established in 1647 and became a destination for those persecuted for their beliefs. Just five years later, it would become the first colony to abolish slavery.2

The Salem “witches” weren’t the only ones killed by the religious fervor of our Pilgrim ancestors. Four Quakers were killed by the colony, including a woman named Mary Dyer, for “repeatedly defying a law banning Quakers from the territory.” 3

In 1835, Alexis de Tocqueville, had this to say about his tour of the United States and the idea of separation of church and state.

I found that they [clergymen, including several Roman Catholic priests] differed upon matters of detail alone, and that they all attributed the peaceful dominion of religion in their country mainly to the separation of church and state. I do not hesitate to affirm that during my stay in America I did not meet a single individual, of the clergy or the laity, who was not of the same opinion on this point.4

Now, lest anyone think I’m completely against all forms of religion – no. Do I hate Christians? No. In fact, a great many people I love and care about are Christians. However, I am against the government enshrining the principles of any one religion, regardless of its name.

I do not want a Christian-based, nor an Islamic-based, nor a Hindu-based, nor a Wiccan-based government. I want a government that keeps its nose out of religious affairs except when those practices and doctrines are in direct conflict with the law (ie: no sacrificing of infants, no dancing naked on Main Street, etc.) and/or presents a danger to those outside the religion (ie: Christianist militia-types planning attacks).

Truth be told, if you want to kill all your followers with poisoned koolaid, the government and the ATF should stay out of it. A few less crazies cannot be a bad thing.

I would also like the various religions to keep their noses out of government. I don’t want the Mike Huckabees of the world telling me what I can and cannot do based on what their particular sky god says. If you believe abortion is wrong, don’t have one. If you think premarital sex – or sex in general – is wrong, don’t do it. If you think homosexuality is wrong, don’t have gay sex. If you think the use of birth control is wrong, stop using it.

When it comes to morality, the only person your gods or goddesses should be able to control is yourself.
But, most of all, stop telling the rest of us how to behave.

And now, a few words from one of our Founders, before he begins tunneling to the center of the earth:

“[If] the nature of… government [were] a subordination of the civil to the ecclesiastical power, I [would] consider it as desperate for long years to come. Their steady habits [will] exclude the advances of information, and they [will] seem exactly where they [have always been]. And there [the] clergy will always keep them if they can. [They] will follow the bark of liberty only by the help of a tow-rope.” –Thomas Jefferson to Pierrepont Edwards, July 1801. 5

“History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes.” –Thomas Jefferson to Alexander von Humboldt, 1813. ME 14:21 5

“I have been just reading the new constitution of Spain. One of its fundamental bases is expressed in these words: ‘The Roman Catholic religion, the only true one, is, and always shall be, that of the Spanish nation. The government protects it by wise and just laws, and prohibits the exercise of any other whatever.’ Now I wish this presented to those who question what [a bookseller] may sell or we may buy, with a request to strike out the words, ‘Roman Catholic,’ and to insert the denomination of their own religion. This would ascertain the code of dogmas which each wishes should domineer over the opinions of all others, and be taken, like the Spanish religion, under the ‘protection of wise and just laws.’ It would show to what they wish to reduce the liberty for which one generation has sacrificed life and happiness. It would present our boasted freedom of religion as a thing of theory only, and not of practice, as what would be a poor exchange for the theoretic thraldom, but practical freedom of Europe.” –Thomas Jefferson to N. G. Dufief, 1814. ME 14:128 5

“Whenever… preachers, instead of a lesson in religion, put [their congregation] off with a discourse on the Copernican system, on chemical affinities, on the construction of government, or the characters or conduct of those administering it, it is a breach of contract, depriving their audience of the kind of service for which they are salaried, and giving them, instead of it, what they did not want, or, if wanted, would rather seek from better sources in that particular art of science.” –Thomas Jefferson to P. H. Wendover, 1815. ME 14:281 5

– – – – –

1. Wikipedia

2. Wikipedia

3. Women’s History

4. Democracy in America,1835, Book One Part 3 Chapter 17, Section 6. “Principal Causes Which Render Religion Powerful in America.” via Wikipedia

5. Thomas Jefferson on Politics and Government

January 16, 2008 Posted by | America, Christianity, Constitution, Election '08, Government, Politics, Religion, Republicans | 5 Comments

Friday Anti-War Song

In a World Gone Mad
— Beastie Boys

In a world gone mad it’s hard to think right
So much violence hate and spite
Murder going on all day and night
Due time we fight the non-violent fight

Mirrors, smokescreens and lies
It’s not the politicians but their actions I despise
You and Saddam should kick it like back in the day
With the cocaine and Courvoisier
But you build more bombs as you get more bold
As your mid-life crisis war unfolds
All you want to do is take control
Now put that axis of evil bullshit on hold
Citizen rule number 2080
Politicians are shady
So people watch your back ’cause I think they smoke crack
I don’t doubt it look at how they act

In a world gone mad it’s hard to think right
So much violence hate and spite
Murder going on all day and night
Due time we fight the non-violent fight

First the ‘War On Terror’ now war on Iraq
We’re reaching a point where we can’t turn back
Let’s lose the guns and let’s lose the bombs
And stop the corporate contributions that they’re built upon
Well I’ll be sleeping on your speeches til I start to snore
‘Cause I won’t carry guns for an oil war
As-Salamu alaikum, wa alaikum assalam
Peace to the Middle East peace to Islam
Now don’t get us wrong ’cause we love America
But that’s no reason to get hysterica
They’re layin’ on the syrup thick
We ain’t waffles we ain’t havin’ it

In a world gone mad it’s hard to think right
So much violence hate and spite
Murder going on all day and night
Due time we fight the non-violent fight

Now how many people must get killed?
For oil families pockets to get filled?
How many oil families get killed?
Not a damn one so what’s the deal?

It’s time to lead the way and de-escalate
Lose the weapons of mass destruction and the hate
Say ooh ah what’s the White House doin’?
Oh no! Say, what in tarnation have they got brewing??!!!!???!!
Well I’m not pro Bush and I’m not pro Saddam
We need these fools to remain calm
George Bush you’re looking like Zoolander
Trying to play tough for the camera
What am I on crazy pills? We’ve got to stop it
Get your hand out my grandma’s pocket
We need health care more than going to war
You think it’s democracy they’re fighting for?

In a world gone mad it’s hard to think right
So much violence hate and spite
Murder going on all day and night
Due time we fight the non-violent fight

December 14, 2007 Posted by | America, Bush, Cheney, Children, Civil War, Government, Human Rights, Iraq, Middle East, Military, Music, Pentagon, Politics, Protest, Republicans, War, White House, World Peace | Leave a comment

Democratic Leadership and Other Oxymorons

Oh holy fucking shit.

No wonder.

No wonder neither Reid nor Pelosi has shown enough spine to investigate, why impeachment has been pulled off the table, why they’ve allowed Republicans to continue obstructing and subverting.

They knew we – as in our country – was using torture.

They knew we were torturing suspected terrorists – in 2002.

From the Washington Post:

In September 2002, four members of Congress met in secret for a first look at a unique CIA program designed to wring vital information from reticent terrorism suspects in U.S. custody. For more than an hour, the bipartisan group, which included current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), was given a virtual tour of the CIA’s overseas detention sites and the harsh techniques interrogators had devised to try to make their prisoners talk.

Among the techniques described, said two officials present, was waterboarding, a practice that years later would be condemned as torture by Democrats and some Republicans on Capitol Hill. But on that day, no objections were raised. Instead, at least two lawmakers in the room asked the CIA to push harder, two U.S. officials said. [my emphasis] Continue reading

December 9, 2007 Posted by | America, Bush, Congress, Democrats, Government, Human Rights, Politics, Republicans, War, White House | 5 Comments

“The Most Insidious of Traitors”

Evil Incarnate forced himself out of his undisclosed location to give a speech in which he threatens the US will take action against Iran.

Once again, the misAdministration proves that it only goes after o-i-l and countries that do not already have nuclear weapons. North Korea, anyone? China? Israel? Britain? Pakistan, where Mr. Bin Forgotten is getting his groove on and encouraging his Taliban buddies?

From the Associated Press:

The United States and other nations will not allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon, Vice President Dick Cheney said Sunday.

[snip]

He said Iran’s efforts to pursue technology that would allow it to build a nuclear weapon are obvious and that “the regime continues to practice delay and deceit in an obvious effort to buy time.” [Not that the Big Dick would know anything about practicing delay and deceit … – Jenn]

If Iran continues on its current course, Cheney said the U.S. and other nations are prepared to take action. The vice president made no specific reference to military action.

“We will not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon,” he said.

Gee, Mr. Vice-President, wouldn’t that have been easier if you and your minions hadn’t decided that Valerie Plame was “fair game”?

From ThinkProgress:

PLAME: Our mission was to make sure that the bad guys, basically, did not get nuclear weapons.

COURIC: When senior administration officials leaked her name to reporters, they may have exposed other spies and damaged operations targeting Iran. CBS News has learned that she was involved in one highly classified mission to deliver fake nuclear weapons blueprints to Tehran. It was called Operation Merlin, and it was first revealed in a book by investigative reporter James Risen. [my emphasis]

Continue reading

October 22, 2007 Posted by | America, Bush, Cheney, Government, Homeland Security, Intelligence, Iran, Iraq, Nuclear Weapons, Plame case, Politics, Republicans | Leave a comment

Insanity Claims More Republicans

You’ve just gotta see this!

From the website of the House Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans:

Bipartisanship on SCHIP!*

Republican businessman Montgomery Burns today joined with Mayor Joe Quimby, D-Springfield, to support the Senate’s gazillion-dollar SCHIP bill.

Yes, those would be characters from “The Simpsons.” Rich and evil gazillionaire Monty Burns and woman-chasing Mayor Quimby. If they’re for something, it must be bad, right??

So, does this mean Bart and Lisa’s parents are supporters of the President’s veto of SCHIP? Is Apu? What about Moe, or Barney, or Willie? Has anyone spoken to Principal Skinner, or Ms. Crabapple??

Do cartoon characters have trouble paying their health insurance premiums?

Obviously, there are a few disturbing possibilities here.

1) The House Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans had their site hacked. By hackers using copyrighted characters and images.

2) The House Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans, intentionally and with zero forethought, used copyrighted characters and images without permission in a press release designed to gather support for the President’s veto of SCHIP.

3) The House Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans, intentionally and with zero forethought, used copyrighted characters and images with permission in a press release designed to gather support for the President’s veto of SCHIP.

4) The House Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans, intentionally and with not much forethought, used copyrighted characters and images without permission in a press release designed to gather support for the override of the President’s veto of SCHIP.

5) The House Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans, intentionally and with not much forethought, used copyrighted characters and images with permission in a press release designed to gather support for the override of the President’s veto of SCHIP.

October 13, 2007 Posted by | America, Children, Government, Health, Republicans, SCHIP, White House | 1 Comment

DoD, DHS Fail Audits

Anyone surprised?

From the AP:

Ten years after Congress ordered federal agencies to have outside auditors review their books, neither the Defense Department nor the newer Department of Homeland Security has met even basic accounting requirements, leaving them vulnerable to waste, fraud and abuse.

An Associated Press review shows that the two departments’ financial records are so disorganized and inconsistent that they have repeatedly earned “disclaimer” opinions, meaning that they simply cannot be fully audited.

“It means we really can’t put any faith in the numbers they use,” said Ross Rubenstein, who teaches public administration at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School.  [my emphasis]

[snip]

The entire Homeland Security Department with a $35 billion budget this fiscal year, passed its first audit in 2003 with strong stipulations but has failed every one since.

And the Defense Department, with a $460 billion budget this fiscal year, has never even come close to passing. Because that department makes up at least 20 percent of all federal spending, the entire federal government also has failed its audits since the congressional mandate took effect.

 

September 16, 2007 Posted by | America, Bush, Federal Debt, Government, Homeland Security, Military, Republicans, White House | 2 Comments

A Small Price?!

By now, we’re all so inured to the stupidity that rushes out of the average Republican mouth that most of us don’t even bother actually listening to them anymore. Occasionally the dumb comment forces us to pay attention to them – like Florida Rep. Bob Allen’s “I was afraid of the black guy so I offered to suck his willie in a desperate attempt to escape!” or Sen. Larry Craig’s “I have a wide stance…”

We shake our heads sadly and go back to ignoring them in order to preserve our own sanity. And then…

One of them goes and says something so incredibly stupid and derisive, and on national television no less, that – if life were fair – would result in them being dragged by horses into a football stadium, stripped naked in front of the jeering crowd, and then whipped with a cat ‘o nine tails, preferably one with spiked barbs on the end.

Yesterday, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Assholeville) opened his mouth and became that man.

Read the rest of this entry…

September 13, 2007 Posted by | America, Middle East, Republicans, US Military, War, Whacko Nut Cases | Leave a comment

Sunday Sermon – Greed and Corruption Edition

“I want to know why I’m planning a funeral while George Bush is planning a wedding.”
Anika Lawal, of Maryland, whose daughter, an Army sergeant, was recently killed in Iraq
— in Newsweek

From The Great Iraq Swindle, Rolling Stone: [all emphasis mine]

How is it done? How do you screw the taxpayer for millions, get away with it and then ride off into the sunset with one middle finger extended, the other wrapped around a chilled martini? Ask Earnest O. Robbins — he knows all about being a successful contractor in Iraq.

[snip]

A few months later, in March 2004, your company magically wins a contract from the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq to design and build the Baghdad Police College, a facility that’s supposed to house and train at least 4,000 police recruits. But two years and $72 million later, you deliver not a functioning police academy but one of the great engineering clusterfucks of all time, a practically useless pile of rubble so badly constructed that its walls and ceilings are literally caked in shit and piss, a result of subpar plumbing in the upper floors.

You’ve done such a terrible job, in fact, that when auditors from the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction visit the college in the summer of 2006, their report sounds like something out of one of the Saw movies: “We witnessed a light fixture so full of diluted urine and feces that it would not operate,” they write, adding that “the urine was so pervasive that it had permanently stained the ceiling tiles” and that “during our visit, a substance dripped from the ceiling onto an assessment team member’s shirt.” The final report helpfully includes a photo of a sloppy brown splotch on the outstretched arm of the unlucky auditor.

[snip]

For all the creative ways that contractors came up with to waste, mismanage and steal public money in Iraq, the standard remained good old-fashioned fucking up. Take the case of the Basra Children’s Hospital, a much-ballyhooed “do-gooder” project championed by Laura Bush and Condi Rice. […] the Basra Children’s Hospital was a state-of-the-art medical facility set to be built in a town without safe drinking water. “Why build a hospital for kids, when the kids have no clean water?” said Rep. Jim Kolbe, a Republican from Arizona.Bechtel was given $50 million to build the hospital — but a year later, with the price tag soaring to $169 million, the company was pulled off the project without a single bed being ready for use. The government was unfazed: Bechtel, explained USAID spokesman David Snider, was “under a ‘term contract,’ which means their job is over when their money ends.”

The article’s concluding paragraph says it all:

If catastrophic failure is worth billions, where’s the incentive to deliver success? There’s no profit in patriotism, no cost-plus angle on common decency. Sixty years after America liberated Europe, those are just words, and words don’t pay the bills.

Read the whole thing – and keep a bottle of Mylanta handy.

As the article makes clear, the answer to Ms. Lawal’s question – and that of so many others – is spelled M.O.N.E.Y.

There’s money to be made in Iraq — lots of it — and you don’t even need to do a good job or even a fair-to-middling job. BushCo rewards fuckups – mainly because fucking up is all they can manage. (Can anyone name one thing — just one — that this mis-Administration and its cronies and hangers-on haven’t managed to fuck up beyond all repair?)

Just write up a half-assed contract for a rigged award system, and you’ll be rolling in dough while never fulfilling the contract – or doing it so badly that it can’t even be called a half-assed job, so badly it’ll look like a cardboard-and-tarp fort put together by kindergarteners.

And, hell, if you do all that and manage to fuck with the troops – either through piss-poor R&R areas, or contaminated water, or having refrigeration mechanics fixing Humvees or exposing them to unnecessary danger by charging the government for moving empty – but heavily-guarded – trucks back and forth across the desert … all the better.

How many more of our children will die for the great money-maker that is Iraq?

August 26, 2007 Posted by | America, Business, Federal Debt, Government, Iraq, Pentagon, Politics, Republicans, US Military, War, White House | 3 Comments

Karl Rove Resigns!

Quickie post as I head out the door:

What should I say? What could I say that hasn’t been said better by the big names? Hmmm….

Nah, nah, nah, nah

Nah, nah, nah, nah

Hey Hey Hey

Goodbye! 

August 13, 2007 Posted by | America, Politics, Republicans, White House | 4 Comments