24 February 2007

Congressional Sovereignty Over Executive Authority Amendment of 2007 (BR)

Congressional Democrats plan to introduce a bill in the coming days that would strip President Bush of the authority they voted to grant him in 2002 to wage war in Iraq. However, given the structure of the Constitutional system, this cause is more or less lost before it is to begin, as it would require the President to sign off on a cut to his own power.

This eventuality seems to have been overlooked by the founders of our country, and the inability of Congress to take power away from a President must be addressed. The Constitution must be amended to allow Congress to draw the parameters of presidential power and deny authority which is used irresponsibly or renders the commander-in-chief a de facto monarch.

With that in mind, here is the text of the Congressional Sovereignty Over Executive Authority Amendment of 2007:
To: United States Congress and State Houses

Being that the authority of the President of the United States tends toward expansion; and that the practice of Presidents signing into law enhancements of their own power lacks the mechanism of a Constitutional check that is the bedrock of a functioning Republic; and that the Congress, having endowed a President with power, lacks currently the authority to later remove it without approval of that very President;

We, the People of the United States of America, do hereby affirm and ratify this Twenty-Eighth Amendment to the Constitution:

Section 1 - All legislation pertaining to the augmentation or diminution of Presidential authority shall be enacted as law upon passage by a supermajority, or sixty per cent, of both Houses of Congress, and shall not be subject to veto by the President.

Section 2 - Bills of this nature shall be introduced as standalone legislation only and shall not be subject to floor amendments in the Senate or House of Representatives.
I encourage our readers to view the petition I have drawn up and sign on if you agree. Any opinions, comments and partisan flames are also welcome.

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23 February 2007

Freepers Creepers

We don't approve of the practice of tarring this or that candidate or faction with the message board postings of their most, er, passionate supporters. That being said, however, we would like to offer, without commentary or prejudice, the sentiments of one Free Republic user posting under the moniker "Prophet in the wildnerness" ...
We are getting dangerously near the point where the Democrats might attempt a military coup and take over the White House and Congress.

Mercenary troops from Pakistan or Norway or some other Blue-helmet soldiers would have to be imported, but it is a very real possibility.

I am perfectly serious.
More like this at Free Republic

22 February 2007

To the Other Heroes (BR)
Overdue props for the daunting job of war journalism

ABC News has posted a gallery of some highly moving photos of Bob Woodruff, who was anchor of World News Tonight for less than a month before being brained and nearly killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq in January, 2006.

Woodruff has made a remarkable recovery, considering that surgeons had to remove part of his skull in order to allow his brain to swell following the attack. He is even back on the job, and will be hosting "To Iraq and Back: Bob Woodruff Reports" next Tuesday at 10 on ABC.

Journalists find themselves on the receiving end of a considerable amount of grief for merely doing their jobs. Accusations of injecting politics into stories and selective placement of news items to serve some agenda or another, and, in general, questions about personal patriotism and loyalty are inordinately common. But embedded reporters put themselves in harm's way every day to do a job which stodgy romantics like myself believe is the people's best weapon against unaccountable and tyrannical government.

The Iraq war has been particularly perilous. It has, in fact, been the deadliest conflict for journalists in history. The independent Committee to Protect Journalists counts 93 reporters and 37 media support workers -- drivers, interpreters and other logistical staff -- who have been killed in just under four years of fighting. Compare that to 66 dead in the 20 years of Vietnam (1955-75), and 68 killed in World War II. Granted, there are more news outlets in our day and age and therefore more individuals working as journalists, but the numbers also reflect an erosion of the unspoken pact not to target media personnel in combat.

War correspondents serve in conditions comparable in danger to those faced by military infantry, without means of self-defense and with no expectation of glory and praise for the work they do. Most Americans, if pressed to consider the matter, would likely admit the indispensiblity of their labor, but for the moment, the political environment is noxious and journalists, who bring us inconvenient truths on a daily basis, are an easy target, in both the metaphoric and literal senses. Bob Woodruff's story is a needed reminder of the wartime heroism of people, not just warriors, who stare down death in order to keep the public informed.

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17 February 2007

An Attempt To Criminalize Debate and Dissent (CS)
Next up, Thoughtcrime?

Some Conservatives have a new favorite word they like to toss around... A new label they like to pin to any of their enemies. Not in the know? Confused? Well, today's cover of the New York Post will help you out in big, bold, black print:

This accusation coming from the right (parroted by pundits and politicians, "justified" by a falsified quote from Abraham Lincoln) is about as responsible and thoughtful as the Post's front page is classy.* They conveniently forget the truth on the ground, the various reports coming from Iraq. They conveniently forget all studies that indicate our fighting in Iraq has been a massive motivator for Al-Qaeda recruitment and terrorists in general. If the critics of the war were so inclined, they could probably make the same accusations based on these reports and evidence, that it is staying in Iraq which is aiding the enemy.

All this furor over a non-binding resolution, the political equivalent of picking lint out of your belly (slightly above "staring at one's own-navel" which is the equivalent of doing nothing at all). I would actually hope that they would do MORE to get our troops out of Iraq. It'd be great if Congress were capable of doing something real and productive which would not only help our troops and help our standing in the world, but also help our actual ongoing conflict with terrorism and extremism. But as it stands, this is simply a rebuke. A criticism. Hanging and imprisoning those who might criticize the current government is something to be expected of a Fascist state. It's this sort of talk that makes me less afraid of what might possibly be aiding the enemy from without because of the budding/fermenting rhetoric of the possible enemy from within.

*Perhaps they aren't serious about this treason accusation, sandwiching it between celebrity junk about spousal abuse and some sort of trailer trash's bout with rehab. Then again, these seem to be the things the Post takes VERY seriously with their journalistic integrity equal to a drunken gossip with a grammar school education.

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16 February 2007

To Sum It Up In A Word.... (CS)

I've been horribly MIA lately, but in my defense I've been mind-numbingly busy with my grad work. One thing I couldn't let fly under the radar though was this recent quote from George Bush where, when asked how he would be remembered, he said, "I made a name by being compassionate."

That such a statement is delusional and ignorant is readily apparant. We could speak all day about how Bush has quite filppantly ignored the actions and (what will be) long lasting effects of his administration. His entire administration has been defined by war, but he believes he'll be remembered for compassion. Figures.

But reading Bush's quote makes me wonder.... What happened to that George W. Bush we actually might have believed in for those briefest of moments after we were attacked and he seemed committed to going after Osama Bin Laden? For that matter, what happened to the President who has continually talked about bringing terrorists to justice? This is a theme that has probably come up in his speeches a thousand more times than compassion. In fact, using this nifty tool from the New York Times we can see that in his State of the Union addresses, over the course of 7 years, Bush has used the word "compassion" 21 times, but "terror" 145 times. "Love" has come up 12 times compared to the 58 mentions of "war."

More often than not, I prescribe to peaceful solutions. But there is something to be said for wanting to make our lives safe and hunt down those who would see us dead. My feelings are along the lines of New Model Army's in their song "Vengeance":

Their first verse in "Vengeance" applies to Nazi officers who escaped to South America:
Escaped the net in '45, hiding out in South America
Protected by money and powerful friends
Hoping the world has forgotten by now
All the things that you did in the Nazi Death camps
The people that you tortured and killed
You can live you life in expectant fear
Sure some day you'll be made to pay
It's somewhat similar to the situation with Osama Bin Laden. He's escaped capture so far. He's protected by friends in Afghanistan and Pakistan. But we hope that someday he'll "be made to pay."
New Model Army's chorus goes on:
I believe in justice
I believe in vengeance
I believe in getting the bastard
And yknow what? I do. I believe first in preventing the conditions in which terrorist groups find a foothold, but after that, when a violent act has been perpetrated (or even as one is being planned), I do believe in justice. And the more we think about actually getting the bastards responsible, the more it becomes apparent why Bush chose "compassion" as his (hopeful) legacy rather than "justice"... Because we haven't gotten any. The joke is old (and actually no longer applicable) that if you type in "failure" to Google, your #1 result will be the bio of George W. Bush... But if we had to guess one word regarding how Bush and his administration will be remembered, is there a better choice?

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50 Arguments Against a Hillary Presidency (BR)

I'm really sick of Hillary Clinton. Not just her, but also the prevailing thought that her winning in the Democratic nomination for President is a fait accompli. The woman is underqualified, not as brilliant as she's generally credited as being, and has said and done some incredibly stupid things.

In the name of putting Sen. Clinton under the microscope and cutting through the phony hype and sensation stirred up on the left and right, here are 50 reasons to say "Hell no" to Hillary when the Democratic primaries roll around:
  • 1. "Aye" vote for the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force that started the war in Iraq.
  • 2. Incredible ability to turn $1,000 into $100,000 overnight.
  • 3. She's no Slick Willie, that's for damn sure.
  • 4. Coining of the phrase "vast right-wing conspiracy."
  • 5. HillaryCare.
  • 6. "Let's chat. Let's have a dialogue."
  • 7. Carpetbagging from Illinois to Arkansas, then to New York.
  • 8. "We are the president."
  • 9. "We must stop thinking of the individual and start thinking about what is best for society."
  • 10. "We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good."
  • 11. Dozens of men and women more competent and qualified for the job, for example:
  • 12. Al Gore.
  • 13. Barack Obama.
  • 14. Oprah Winfrey.
  • 15. Russ Feingold.
  • 16. Rudy Giuliani
  • 17. Barbara Boxer.
  • 18. Ron Paul.
  • 19. Joseph Biden.
  • 20. Oscar the Grouch.
  • 21. A Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton presidential succession would look SO lame, not to mention monarchical, in history books.
  • 22. "I have gone from a Barry Goldwater Republican to a New Democrat, but I think my underlying values have remained pretty constant."
  • 23. Her annoying and pointless crusade against video games.
  • 24. Introduction of a "compromise" bill as an alternative to the Flag Desecration Amendment that would nevertheless have criminalized flag burning.
  • 25. If we ever have another Clinton running the country it had sure as hell better be George.
  • 26. Wearing Yankees hats at Yankee games and Mets hats at Met games.
  • 27. Ideally all presidents, but particularly the first female president, would be someone whom reasonable people can respect, if not agree with.
  • 28. Kissing Suha Arafat following a speech in which the late PLO leader's wife falsely accused Israel of using "poison gas" on Palestinians.
  • 29. Both the liberal and conservative press had coronated her the 2008 nominee even before John Kerry threw in the towel.
  • 30. Quick: Name an important piece of legislation Hillary has introduced, sponsored or otherwise ushered toward passage.
  • 31. When not reading from a prepared script, she says "Uh" at least every third word.
  • 32. Even the use of her maiden name has been the subject of elaborate political calculation on her and Bill's part.
  • 33. Fawning support from the Democratic Leadership Committee and her nitwit coterie of neoliberal gasbags like Lanny Davis and Tom Friedman.
  • 34. The melange "Billary" paved the way for later couples' media monikers like "Bennifer" and "Vaughniston" (also, to be fair, "Filliam H. Muffman," but more credit is due to Stephen Colbert for that).
  • 35. Chris Matthews: "[Bush] made it pretty clear from day one we were going to war. How come she still pretends that she didn't know he was going to war? It's like she didn't know anything about Bill and his behavior. How many times is she going to be confused by men?" It bears repeating.
  • 36. Who actually bought It Takes a Village and gave it a serious, thoughtful read?
  • 37. Inability to answer a question with "Yes" or "No" even when the questioner takes pains to make absolutely clear that "Yes" or "No" are the only two acceptable answers.
  • 38. Complaining about the double standards imposed upon females but being too timid to defy them.
  • 39. Teaming up with Newt Gingrich to promote expansion of health care? Are you serious?
  • 40. "I do not think it is a smart policy ... to set a date certain [for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq]." - June 15, 2006
  • 41. "If we in Congress don't end this war before January 2009, as president, I will." - February 5, 2007
  • 42. "I wonder if it's possible to be a Republican and a Christian at the same time."
  • 43. Her campaign logo reads simply, "Hillary." Like she was friggin' Elvis or something.
  • 44. She has served as a lawyer, First Lady and U.S. Senator, but where is the evidence that she would be a competent executive? Has she ever been endowed with authority and not subsequently bungled it?
  • 45. On her watch, New York, her adopted state and my home, arguably the foremost terrorist target on the planet, has had its Homeland Security funds slashed by the Bush administration and handed to high-risk locales like Des Moines and Bismarck;
  • 46. its ports under federal control offered up to private corporations in Dubai; and
  • 47. its heroic citizens suffering debilitating respiratory cancers from substances inhaled at Ground Zero on Sept. 11 denied sufficient medical care.
  • 48. "Look what the Iraq Study Group came up with. You know, that was a totally nonpartisan group of, you know, 10 wise Americans, you know, some of them Republican, some of them Democrats from different, you know, experiences." You know?
  • 49. The success of her run for U.S. Senate was based not on experience or competence but name recognition and a cynical move to a big state with politics similar to her own, a common liberal criticism of George W. Bush's rise to power.
  • 50. "Ségolène Royal is hotter. And smarter. And more qualified." - a female friend of the site
All quotes taken from Wikiquote

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Quote of the century

"Everybody in America knew we were going to war ... [Bush] made it pretty clear from day one we were going to war. How come she still pretends that she didn't know he was going to war? It's like she didn't know anything about Bill and his behavior. How many times is she going to be confused by men?"
Chris Matthews, on Sen. Hillary Clinton

12 February 2007

Let's try to get a grip (BR)
Here's to the housebroads!

I don't want to make a big deal out of this; people are obviously going to read what they will into my commentary and anyone without a skin thick enough to take criticism shouldn't be putting their ideas out on the internet and asking more popular websites to syndicate them.

That being said, I personally think one would have to navigate an extremely circuitous path to come to the impression some visitors reached regarding my views on gender relations, based solely on the previous article.

Housewifery, the maintenance and upkeep of the home and the care of children, is real work and necessary, more strenuous and taxing than the vast majority of occupations. If performed well, it is generally rewarded with a pleasant, healthy environment and well-adjusted, responsible children, both of which are more important and valuable than mere money. Let there be no mistake: It is noble and indispensable labor, on the same level with callings like medicine and public service, certainly worlds apart from picking tomatoes for Taco Bell.

As a short aside, I am a strong advocate for having one parent at home with children at all times, and I care not a whit whether said parent has a vagina.

Though I can't say I've ever sat and watched an episode of ABC's Desperate Housewives, I know enough about the show to surmise that its intrigue and popularity are probably not due to the housekeeping aspects of the lives of the titular subjects. In fact, I'm fairly sure that the characters' exploits are made possible by the fact that the women on the show do little or no work of any kind, which brings us neatly back to the point I was making all along.

Perhaps there was the whiff of intentional emasculation of Mr. Rove and his apparently delicate son in my article, but so what? I have no qualms about holding up for ridicule a healthy, able-bodied young man who is afraid of physical toil (or, for that matter, a "housewife" who engages in adulterous love affairs in lieu of housework).

I meant absolutely no disrespect to anyone in any occupation, but I make no apologies for how this one innocuous sentence has been interpreted, particularly considering the fact that the article itself was laudatory of hard work, as one of the angry commentators observed, without irony.

However, I will give the detractors the benefit of the doubt, assume their outrage is genuine and assure them that I did not mean what they thought I meant, in spite of my nagging suspicion that the couple of fans Rove still has left were trolling over here and zeroed in on the "housewives" quip in order to change the subject and make me look like the insensitive wretch.


09 February 2007

Karl Rove Fucking Hates You (BR)
The political self-destruction of a human worm

There was a time, not too long ago, when Karl Rove was the golden child of the Republican party, the master calculator, President Bush's disembodied, piggly-looking brain. Some may even remember him telling All Things Considered host Robert Siegel -- in a Jonah Goldberg moment -- that in spite of every poll under the sun predicting a Democrat takeover of Congress in November, he was in possession of "The Math;" internal polls which assured him the Republicans would maintain their majorities in both Houses. We all know how that turned out

Until then, most people, even those who depended on Rove, admitted fairly readily -- in so many words -- that the President's current Deputy Chief of Staff was a scum-sucking weasel and an unethical thug, if an apparently brilliant tactician. Now he's been exposed as a mediocre political strategist as well, and, seeing the house he built crumbling around him, he's apparently decided to burn the damn thing to the ground while he can.

In defense of the Bush administration's laissez-faire tack on illegal immigration and border security -- favored by high-ranking officials in both parties -- Rove, in classic form, stated on Thursday: "I don't want my 17-year-old son to have to pick tomatoes or make beds in Las Vegas."

In one masterful stroke, Rove, who is also credited as a main policy architect, has managed to expose the true impetus behind the work he and his bosses have been doing lo these past seven years: A genuine and enduring contempt for physically demanding work and the people who do it for a living.

We make fun of The National Review quite a bit in this forum because their writers are mostly fools and political hacks who have never met an appeal to emotion they didn't like. But today's contribution to The Corner, their blog, by Mark Krikorian is absolutely right and deserving of applause for its brave rebuke of this bipedal pig of a man:
There should be no need to explain why this is an obscene statement ... It's not that I want my kids to make careers of picking tomatoes; Mexican farmworkers don't want that either. But we must inculcate in our children, especially those likely to go on to high-paying occupations, that there is no such thing as work that is beneath them.
If you're a powerful appointee in an allegedly conservative administration, getting a dressing-down from a blogger on NRO, your career is dead in the water.

Krikorian goes on to quote Tocqueville: "In the United States professions are more or less laborious, more or less profitable; but they are never either high or low: every honest calling is honorable[,]" adding himself that "[t]he farther we move from that notion, the closer we come to the idea that the lawyer is somehow better than the parking-lot attendant, undercutting the very foundation of republican government."

This last sentence really cuts at the heart of the matter. Rove, and the people whose interests he is paid to advance, is an aristocrat, and a cynical Darwinist. Rove would actually rather his son be an unemployed leech, a veritable desperate housewife, lounging about daddy's house and surrounded by all the accoutrements of the good life than to roll up his sleeves and do an honest day's work. His belief that wealth is the measure of a man consigns most Americans to a classist dung-heap.

But given the outrageousness and visibility of this latest gaffe, the unwanted scrutiny it has earned him, and the backlash it is likely to inspire among Republicans, Rove himself may just want to start checking the classifieds for post-Bush employment. I'm sure there's a spot in the tomato field with his name on it.

06 February 2007

Savage (Michael, not Fred) Mulls '08 Bid
Whippersnapp endorses paranoid madman for GOP nomination

Some days you wake up and everything just falls into place. Today is one of those days. The train pulled into the station just as I walked through the turnstile, the guy at the deli toasted my bagel just the way I like it, then I pulled up the ol' internets and what do I see?

No less than my favorite psychopath, Michael Savage, floating the idea of a run for the Republican nomination for President in 2008. O Happy Day!

Savage, or Michael Weiner as his parents named him, is an avowedly anti-gay, anti-immigration conservative radio host with the third-largest audience on talk radio, after Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. His style, which could be fairly described as outright cruelty, has won him legions of fans in the coveted "stupid goon" demographic, as well as, one assumes, a strong base of rubberneckers and gawkers among the more civilized segment of the American audience.

To casual spectators of the political circus, Savage is perhaps best known for a virulent rant on his short-lived MSNBC TV show, for which he was immediately fired:
"Oh, so you're one of those sodomites. You should only get AIDS and die, you pig, how's that? Why don't you see if you can sue me, you pig. You got nothing better to do than to put me down, you piece of garbage, you got nothing better to do today, go eat a sausage and choke on it. Get trichinosis. ..."
This all is highly interesting not just for the patina of martyrdom this bluster and subsequent shit-canning would impart to a Savage candidacy, but also for its incongruity to earlier chapters in the host's bio.

As a twenty-something writer in San Francisco -- Heavens! -- in the 1970's, Savage was well in with beat luminaries like Allen Ginsberg and Lawrence Ferlinghetti. A friend who knew Savage at the time, Stephen Schwartz, tells of a photo of Savage and Ginsberg swimming together naked, a photo which Savage would delight in showing off.

Some hard-line devotees of Savage may also be surprised to know that the drum-beating warrior of conflicts cultural and military alike is actually an academic with fancypants Masters' and Ph.D. degrees in fruity-sounding subjects like ethnobotany and nutritional ethnomedicine. This red-white-and-blue-blood also spent nearly a decade in the South Pacific studying plants and making out with trees like some common gutter hippie.

But as a media personality with a loyal following and unmistakably right-wing principles, Savage is an intriguing wild card for the Republican nomination for president. He is outspoken in his disdain for most of the party's high-profile announced or presumptive candidates like Sen. John McCain and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, and frequently derides figures like Bill Bennett and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich for espousing moral values while nursing a gambling addiction or going on three marriages, respectively (Savage himself has divorced and remarried once).

In a GOP horserace where the only conservative firebrands (Sen. Sam Brownback and Reps. Tom Tancredo and Duncan Hunter) range from listless to uninspiring and don't figure to arouse any enthusiasm from the conservative base, a colorful candidate like Savage, with nothing to lose politically and everything to gain as a star of his particular medium, could inject some life into the stodgy safety dance that's sure to go down between front-runners McCain, Romney and Rudolph Giuliani.

So we at Whippersnapp, in the name of entertainment and assuring the fair-and-square defeat of fringe right-wing politics in the marketplace of ideas heartily endorse Michael Weiner Savage for the Republican nomination for President of the United States. Good luck, Michael, and for God's sake keep talking.

Updated: Oh yeah, and he named his kid Russell Goldencloud Weiner. What the hell?

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