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Happy 4th of July (Update)

I hope that everyone has a safe and happy 4th of July.

Let me share this with you:

July 4, 1861 — exactly a hundred and fifty years ago — witnessed the reading aloud, on the floor of Congress, of Abraham Lincoln’s Message to Congress in Special Session.

The circumstantial appeal of Lincoln’s message turned on his defense of the Union against the threat posed by secession, and that is the part most people have in mind when they recall the most famous words of the address: “This is essentially a People’s contest.” Lincoln was speaking for democracy. He was also speaking for a Union, popular in character and progressive in direction, as the heart of all future hopes for democracy.

Another part of the Special Message matters more to us today. For Lincoln saw an unresolvable tension between the constitution of a democratic republic and the policies of aggrandizement and intemperate self-interest that lead from the manners of freedom to the slavish love of power. He spoke of the difference between the work of establishing a constitutional republic and the longer task of maintaining it. But maintaining it against what? Lincoln’s answer was always the same: against the internal pressure of greed, and the external pressure of war. The predicament of the country in 1861, he said, “forces us to ask: ‘Is there, in all republics, this inherent, and fatal weakness? Must a government,
of necessity, be too strong for the liberties of its own people, or too weak to maintain its own existence?'”

We are now ten years into a policy shared by two successive administrations to plant a new understanding of the spirit of the laws in America. That policy has pretended there is a “trade-off” between liberty and security, and that in a time of crisis, security ought to have the upper hand. The Cheney-Bush and Obama administrations have accustomed us to laws and language concerned above all with the “protection” of citizens — as if there were something higher or more worth protecting than the liberty that is guaranteed by our laws and
the framework of laws, the Constitution. (more…)

Update: I really liked this photo. It captures the 4th at least it did for me. So, I posted it.
American Puppy

By |2011-07-04T07:00:13-04:00July 4th, 2011|Domestic Issues|Comments Off on Happy 4th of July (Update)

New Pentagon Report: No Iraq – Al Qaeda links (updated)

It seems that everyone knows this now except for our president and vice president.  They continue to suggest (and, in Cheney’s case, outright state) that there were links between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein.


I guess I could’ve titled this post, “What is Old is New Again.” (I originally posted the above paragraphs back in 2007.) One of my commenters has made a full throated defense of our invasion of Iraq. I think that everybody’s entitled to their opinion. Everybody is not entitled to their own facts. We did not invade Iraq based on Saddam Hussein’s violations of UN sanctions. The American people would not invade a sovereign country based on Saddam Hussein playing hide and seek with UN weapons inspectors. Nor did we invade Iraq based on some continuum of the first Gulf War – going back to complete the mission. The Bush administration knew that the American people wouldn’t buy this. Yes, Saddam Hussein did fire at our jets patrolling the no-fly zones both in the north and the south. The Bush administration tried to make a lot out of this but the American people were not moved. They needed more. The Bush administration knew that the American people would defend themselves if we were directly threatened. Therefore, this is exactly what the Bush administration cooked up – a direct threat. They looked for not one thing but a combination of things that would frighten the American people into action.

The Bush administration came up with a unique combination of threats to attack the American psyche. Probably the most creative was the bombshell that Cheney dropped on Tim Russert. It was the connection between 9/11 hijacker and Iraqi government and a fictitious meeting in Prague. We can’t forget the aluminum tubes. These “proved” beyond a shadow of a doubt that Saddam Hussein was trying to build nuclear weapons. These aluminum tubes “could not be used for anything else” but for centrifuges used to concentrate uranium. Tony Blair (former British Prime Minister) was a great help when he talked about mobile biological labs which could strike England with less than 30 minutes’ notice. (We can thank Curveball for this.) Don’t forget the Yellowcake from Niger. These are the reasons that were sold to the American people. Whether there are other reasons, like protecting our oil supply and/or stabilizing the Middle East, those were minor reasons. The major reasons that were put forth by the Bush administration are listed above.

All of these reasons fell apart and were found to be untrue. To rewrite history and say that Saddam Hussein had links to terrorists and that’s why we went to war is simply not true. We, the American People, didn’t care that he had links to terrorists. Instead, what the Bush administration sold to the American people was that Saddam Hussein had specific links to Al Qaeda. There was a report that was commissioned by the Department of Defense which looked at thousands of Iraqi documents and found some minor communications between Saddam Hussein and some terrorist organizations. Saddam Hussein was not a state sponsor of terrorism. At least not in 2003 when we invaded. Finally, it should be restated that Saddam Hussein was not an imminent threat to the United States or any of our major interests throughout the world.

By |2013-10-26T15:46:30-04:00September 8th, 2010|9-11, Al Qaeda, Iraq|Comments Off on New Pentagon Report: No Iraq – Al Qaeda links (updated)

Wanda Sykes gets the expected blow back (Updated)

Wanda Sykes is not known for pulling punches.  She took aim at Cheney, Limbaugh and many others on the Right and she was funny at times.  At other times, though, she missed.  That’s just Wanda.  Whoever invited her should have known that she wasn’t going to be Rich Little (who was really not funny anyway).  I’m not sure that Rich Little had been funny since the late 70s or early 80s. but that’s another story.

Wanda Sykes at the Correspondents’ Dinner, Part I:

MSNBC has a poll: Did Wanda Sykes go too far with her Limbaugh joke?  Please.  Sykes is joking.  Limbaugh, the man who played the song Barack the Magic Negro.  What was that?  It wasn’t a joke.  It wasn’t intended to be a joke.  Limbaugh goes further on every show.

I thought she was sort of funny. I always find her sort of funny but Markos had a important point to make earlier this morning.  Why is the president chillin’ with the press?  It was odd when Bush was doing it.  Even though Barack was infinitely funnier, it was still odd.  I’m not saying that the president should have awful relations with the press, but I do find this back-slapping time a little odd.

In case you care… Bill Bennett is offended. (I guess he found an opportunity to take time away from the craps table to look at the dinner.)

Update from BuzzFlash:

Oh, Rush, just shut your pie hole — you and Dick Cheney and the whole Chickenhawk wing of whiners.

So Wanda Sykes nailed you with a sardonic joke at the normally servile, dowdy (except for the landmark Stephen Colbert lashing of Bush and the D.C. media a couple years back) White House Correspondents’ Association dinner.

You avoided the Vietnam draft because of an anal cyst; you’ve been everything but convicted of illegal addiction to drugs; you’ve been discovered on a hedonist trip to the Dominican Republic (engaging in sex with women, girls or boys); and you make tens of millions of dollars with hate talk radio that thrives on phrases like “feminazis” and “Barack the Magic Negro.”

As usual, The Daily Show brilliantly mocked the faux demand of the usual winger amen chorus accusing Sykes – and Obama by association – of being politically incorrect.

Well, if you dish it out, you better be able to take it. Otherwise, you look like the bully on the playground who just got the sh*t kicked out of him by the girl with thick bottle glasses – or in this case, even more embarrassing to the GOP joke police – by a black female lesbian comic.

Wanda Sykes, as BuzzFlash noted just after the Saturday WH Correspondents’ Association dinner, made us feel like someone opened the windows on the stuffy self-aggrandizing event, which is more like a gathering of media elite insider celebrities and Hollywood celebrities. After an initial uncertainty if they should be caught being amused, even the self-protective D.C. “scribes” and executives were laughing their heads off. (The California stars loved it from the beginning. It was great stand-up, and they knew it.)

Ironically, on the morning after the dinner, the now ubiquitous Dick Cheney – his Count Dracula coffin must be lonely without him – declared that Rush Limbaugh represented the future of the Republican Party, not Colin Powell. (We could say that Dick always has had a little bit of the racist vein in him, voting against a national holiday for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and supporting the apartheid South African government, but we won’t go there for the moment.)

If Rush Limbaugh and his posse are offended by the kind of joke that is common at a “roasting,” they could always just load up on a supply of Rush’s beloved OxyContin and chill out.

God knows, we wouldn’t miss them for a moment from the airwaves.

Their absence might even lead to the return of a civilized society.

I couldn’t agree more. Conservatives were laughing with their Barack monkey dolls and singing Barack the Magic Negro. They told us it was funny. Where is their sense of humor now? They had no moral qualms about racial jokes, but they come unglued when some says that they hope Rush’s kidneys fail? Whatever.

By |2009-05-11T19:41:21-04:00May 11th, 2009|Media, Obama administration|Comments Off on Wanda Sykes gets the expected blow back (Updated)
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