Saturday, December 31, 2005

Republicans & Pseudo Christianity…

Republicans & Pseudo Christianity…

One of the more compelling passages of the Christian Gospel reads: "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?.…The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'” (Matt. 25:37)

The Republican controlled congress passed a bill making it a crime to “offer services or assistance to illegal immigrants.” The measure could mean a jail term of five years for priests, social workers, nurses or doctors who offer any “services or assistance” to illegal immigrants. The services could be as innocuous as teaching English or a matter of life and death such as medical assistance and other life saving services.

The Conference of Catholic Bishops opposes the legislation because it potentially threatens “church workers and doctors as well as ordinary citizens who provided urgent or life-saving assistance to illegal immigrants.” Yet, Rep. Charles Boustany and Bobby Jindal, both of whom ran as Catholics to get votes, voted for the draconian bill.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Do you like cookies? Your next cookie may not be one you expect…

The Associated Press gives more than a compelling reason to pause and ask, “Do I really need to be there?” before entering any Internet site supported or sponsored by the U.S. government.

According to AP, the Bush administration previously (in 2003) prohibited federal agencies from using cookies to electronically track U.S. citizens:

“In a 2003 memo, the White House's Office of Management and Budget prohibits federal agencies from using persistent cookies — those that aren't automatically deleted right away — unless there is a ‘compelling need.’ A senior official must sign off on any such use, and an agency that uses them must disclose and detail their use in its privacy policy."

But, the National Security Agency* (*psst! I’m not going to the NSA site, but you can: has been illegally using cookies like a high-tech tracking device:

“The National Security Agency's Internet site has been placing files on visitors' computers that can track their Web surfing activity despite strict federal rules banning most of them….Associated Press made inquiries this week, and agency officials acknowledged Wednesday they had made a mistake. "

And, to boot, the NSA cookies don’t expire until 2035!

The practice is illegal, according to Peter Swire, an official who dealt with similar questions for the Clinton administration, and Daniel Brandt, the guy who discovered the NSA cookies:

“Peter Swire, a Clinton administration official who had drafted an earlier version of the cookie guidelines, said clear notice is a must, and ‘vague assertions of national security, such as exist in the NSA policy, are not sufficient.’…Daniel Brandt, a privacy activist who discovered the NSA cookies, said mistakes happen, 'but in any case, it's illegal. The (guideline) doesn't say anything about doing it accidentally.'"

Commenting on the entire domestic spying scandal, Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis) said, “I tell you, he's President George Bush, not King George Bush. This is not the system of government we have and that we fought for.”

Well, it may not be what we fought for, Sen. Feingold, but that’s the mess we’re in.

Anthony Fazzio

What would you do if your 10-year-old daughter came home and said that police stripped searched her…..

What would you do if your 10-year-old daughter came home and said that police stripped searched her…..

What would you do if your 10-year-old daughter came home and said that the police stripped searched her?   Any normal person would be outraged.

But in Doe v. Groody - as if to preview things to come under the lash of Republican justice - Michael Chertoff, current Secretary of Home Land Security, and Samuel Alito, proposed appointee to the U.S. Supreme Court, ruled police could strip search of a 10-year-old kid even without a warrant.  

Alito, always the Ivy League space cadet, asked a profoundly naive question to one of the lawyers arguing the case.   ''Why do you,” Alito queried incredulously, “keep bringing up the fact that this case involves the strip search of a 10-year-old child?"  The response should have been, “Precisely because it involved the strip search of a 10-year-old kid, you ditz!”

Ah…but there’s more to come from the Republican Gulliverian yahoos who now control every level of the government.  Republican justice can be a flicked thing, one rule for the common man another for the king!

Anthony Fazzio

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Totalitarian statement of the year…………….

Spying Broader Than Bush Admitted….

As patriotic Americans continue to come forward, we learn more and more how little regard Bush has for the U.S. Constitution. Bush originally claimed domestic spying was “limited to people with known links to al-Qaida.” However, another Bush lie has been uncovered.

In the tradition of Richard Nixon, Bush directed the National Security Agency to intercept, without warrant, oversight or limitation, thousands of domestic and international communications, many from citizens who had no link to al-Qaida.

The larger question is: Who facilitated Bush’s totalitarian power grab? The answer: Corporate America!

The NSA, with help from American telecommunications companies, obtained access to streams of domestic and international communications, said the Times in the report late Friday, citing unidentified current and former government officials.”

The Trojan horse has gained entry, and the barbarians now guard our gates:

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Remember when Republicans belittled working class Americans by inventing the idea, compassionate conservative, to hide the great money grab of election year 2000. Well, no one exemplifies Republican disdain for working class Americans better than Tom Delay.

Who can forget - or forgive - DeLay’s degradation of working folks in the Congressional Record! "Emotional appeals,” Delay pontificated, “about working families trying to get by on $4.25 an hour [the minimum wage in 1996] are hard to resist. Fortunately, such families do not exist." (1996 April 23 Congressional Record, H3706). Right…

"The trouble with the world,” Mark Twain keenly observed, “is not that people know too little, but that they know so many things that ain’t so." And, Delay’s pontification was one of the “many things that ain’t so." Raising minimum wage, which Delay opposed, rescued hundreds of thousands from poverty, many of them kids.

But then, no one really understood the depth of Republican vulgarity, until Pres. Bush identified “compassionate conservatives” as the “haves and have more.” Delay is one of the “haves and have more,” who has lived the good-life so well and so long, we really can’t fault him for not knowing that millions of Americans can’t survive on minimum wage.

The Associated Press reports that public records show that bon vivant, DeLay, could never survive on minimum wage:

While most people scrape to live on minimum wage, DeLay and his buddies lived very well at the Republican hog-trough. Here are a few of Delay’s favorite “wine & dine” locations. Follow the link and vicariously savor the Delay delights:

Palmas del Mar (Caribbean),
Ritz-Carlton (Jamaica);
Baltusrol Golf Club, Springfield, N.J.;
Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, Farmington, Pa., and
Harbour Town Golf Links, Hilton Head Island, S.C.

So how much did our epicurean, Tom Delay, pay for his opulent lifestyle? According to The Associated Press, nothing! Political donors, even a children’s charity, picked up the tab:

“Tom DeLay became a king of campaign fundraising, he lived like one too. He visited cliff-top Caribbean resorts, golf courses designed by PGA champions and four-star restaurants — all courtesy of donors who bankrolled his political money empire.…Instead of his personal expense, the meals and trips for DeLay and his associates were paid with donations collected by the campaign committees, political action committees and children's charity the Texas Republican created during his rise to the top of Congress.”

Paying nothing? Well that’s about as conservative as one can get. But, fleecing working folks and a children’s charity is anything but compassionate!

Anthony Fazzio

Monday, December 19, 2005

Defiant King George II vows to continue spying on U.S. citizens....

In what may well be the most outrageous example of dictatorship, Pres. Bush vows to continue spying on U.S. citizens. Associated Press reports:

The president said he would continue the program "for so long as the nation faces the continuing threat of an enemy that wants to kill American citizens," and added it included safeguards to protect civil liberties.”

Bush, who is known more for brashness than brains, tried to strong-arm senators who disagree with him:

"’I want senators from New York or Los Angeles or Las Vegas to go home and explain why these cities are safer’ without the extension [of the Patriot Act].”

Democrats are up to the challenge!

Sen. Carl Levin responded, “Where does he find in the Constitution the authority to tap the wires and the phones of American citizens without any court oversight?"

Sen. Russ Feingold said, "We will not tolerate a president who believes that he is the sole decision-maker when it comes to the policies that this country should have in the war against terror and the policies we should have to protect the rights of completely innocent Americans…He is the president, not a king."

Anthony Fazzio
The world moves left in response to Bush’s reactionary agenda…

What’s the old saying: What goes around comes around. Such is the case with Bush’s far-right reactionary agenda.

In 1989, the Soviet Union collapsed. But, it didn’t take long for the reactionary right-wing Neo-cons to wreak havoc throughout the world.

“A reactionary is sometimes described as an extreme conservative, but whereas a conservative seeks, in the simplest terms, to preserve the status quo, a reactionary seeks to return to the situation of a prior time. In particular the term is used to describe those who are seen to oppose "progress" and particularly revolutionary change, and is used in revolutionary contexts interchangeably with the word counterrevolutionary.”

By 1991, reactionary Neo-cons had engulfed the U.S. in the First Persian Gulf War. Then, they moved quickly to form the Project for the New American Century, a think-tank whose stated purpose was U.S. world-domination:
Without regard for the consequences, even before the invasion of Iraq, reactionary Neo-cons arrogated to themselves unprecedented interference in all areas of the world. In effect, putting the world on notice!

They divided nations into quaint but irrational groups that inflamed and antagonized. They presumptively divided humanity into good and evil that virtually covered the globe and isolated America. They alienated U.S. allies by denigrating Europe into “Old Europe and New Europe” and calling France and Germany the problem.

And while the reactionaires arrogantly asserted U.S. supremacy, consequences nonetheless slowly began to solidify:

Disappointed by the election of Socialist Hugo Chavez as president of Venezuela, reactionary Neo-cons spoke openly about the political assassination of Chavez, thereby alienating South America and insuring a drift to the left.

Fearing too much U.S. influence in the Mid-East, Russia has agreed to sell military equipment to Iran.

Indeed, because of George W. Bush and his gang of reactionary thugs, the world drifts left and it’s coming to the U.S.

Anthony Fazzio

Sunday, December 18, 2005

The unrepentant President and violation of 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act….

Associated Press Writer, Jennifer Loven, has been following the recent events surrounding the disclosure of government surveillance of U.S. citizens. In her recent article, Bush Defends Secret Spying in the U.S., Loven described an angry unrepentant President:

“Often appearing angry in an eight-minute address, the president made clear he has no intention of halting his authorizations of the monitoring activities and said public disclosure of the program by the news media had endangered Americans.”

Pres. Bush still doesn’t understand that most patriotic Americans fear government more than they fear terrorist thugs. “It is important, likewise,” George Washington observed, “that the habits of thinking in a free country should inspire caution in those intrusted with its administration, to confine themselves within their respective constitutional spheres; avoiding in the exercise of the powers of one department to encroach upon another.”

Loven said Bush “unapologetically defended his administration's right to conduct secret post-Sept. 11 spying in the United States as ‘critical to saving American lives.’" According to Loven, Bush made these remarks from Roosevelt Room where “he lashed out at the senators blocking the Patriot Act as irresponsible and confirmed the NSA program,” claiming “inherent authority as commander in chief to protect national security through secret spying.”

It’s interesting that Bush used the Roosevelt Room as the setting to claim “inherent authority” to spy on Americans. Beginning with Pres. Roosevelt and continuing for decades thereafter, surveillance based upon “inherent presidential authority” without judicial oversight has always been illegal. And, for a quarter century it has been violation of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which provides for judicial oversight for electronic surveillance of or physical search of persons engaged in espionage or international terrorism against the United States on behalf of a foreign power.


Saturday, December 17, 2005

Jennifer Loven (Associated Press) reports that Pres. Bush has now publicly admitted that he personally authorized secret surveillance of US citizens. The admission breaks with Bush’s habit of denial and ambiguity.

Loven reports that, drawing on images of Franklin Roosevelt’s “fireside chats,” Bush defended his actions claiming:

What Bush doesn’t seem to get is everyone who abuses power justifies it by claiming that it’s done for the “common good.” If asked, Saddam Hussein would say the same thing.

The problem is there are laws against secret surveillance of US citizens, which, by definition, means it's not for the common good.


Friday, December 16, 2005

The Unmaking of a President….

When Richard Nixon did it, he resigned. It wasn’t sex in the White House; it was obstruction of justice: knowingly preventing the prosecution of a burglary.

News today revealed Pres. Bush knowingly violated US law by authorizing illegal domestic surveillance. In her article, Shocked Lawmakers Demand Spy Program Probe, Associated Press reporter Katherine Shrader followed the story as it developed.

Shrader notes that even Republicans were shocked by the revelation:

“Dismayed lawmakers demanded on Friday that Congress look into whether the highly secretive National Security Agency was granted new powers to eavesdrop without warrants on people inside the United States.”

Shrader further notes:

"I want to know precisely what they did," said Specter. "How NSA utilized their technical equipment, whose conversations they overheard, how many conversations they overheard, what they did with the material, what purported justification there was.”

Typical of Bush, he offered no answer. No explanation. Not even an apology. Shrader notes:

“’I will make this point…That whatever I do to protect the American people — and I have an obligation to do so — that we will uphold the law, and decisions made are made understanding we have an obligation to protect the civil liberties of the American people."

"Bush Won't Discuss Report of NSA Spying," at least that's how Jennifer Loven of the Associated Press reports Bush's response to the allegations.

Loven goes on to explain:

"President Bush refused to say whether the National Security Agency eavesdropped without warrants on people inside the United States but leaders of Congress condemned the practice on Friday and promised to look into what the administration has done. "

Even Republicans have problems with the latest episode of presidential abuse. Loven reports that Republican Sen. Arlen Specter said, "There is no doubt that this is inappropriate."

Loven reports that Republicans pledged "hearings early next year" that would have "a very, very high priority."

Republican Sen. John McCain called the domestic spying disclosure "troubling."

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in the Fallujah area last year but released....

Military blunder takes on a new meaning under the Bush administration.

Robert H. Reid of the Associated Press reports:
“BAGHDAD, Iraq - Iraqi security forces caught terror leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in the Fallujah area last year but released him because they didn't realize who he was, the deputy interior minister said in an interview broadcast Friday.”
Of course, one is tempted to conclude that it was intentional. By keeping the nation on “red alert” there remains a need for the Patriot Act and the continued erosion of our civil liberties.


Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Investigator links Europe's spy agencies to CIA flights

While publicly denying wrongdoing, news from Europe continues to expose Gestapo-like tactics of the Bush administration. In Investigator links Europe's spy agencies to CIA flights, the Guardian reports:

“CIA prisoners in Europe were apparently abducted and moved between countries illegally, possibly with the aid of national secret services who did not tell their governments, according to the first official report on the so-called "renditions" scandal.”

Meanwhile the image of the US continues to deteriorate worldwide.

In Let's Not Mince Words About America's 'Death Camps', Hungary’s Index says:

“Each year, the U.S. State Department issues a report on Hungary that measures our respect for human rights, and how we're proceeding on our road to democracy. Basically, it's about whether we're behaving ourselves. Anyone can see it on the Embassy's homepage. I'm reading it now, and it's making my blood boil. I know I should be ashamed, but I'm thinking: Why don't you report on your mother, you Yankee peasant! America has no moral basis for this….”
Documents Highlight Bush-Blanco Standoff….

Nero played the fiddle while Rome burned. George W. Bush played politics while New Orleans drowned.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Republican assault on the elderly continues……

Republicans control the US Senate, the US House, the Vice-Presidency, the Presidency, and the US Supreme Court. By controlling every level of government, Republicans ensure that their political base, the Fortune 500, is protected. But, what about the Unfortunate 50 Million, who struggle to live from day to day, trying to make ends meet?

Beginning with trickle down Reaganomics, or voodoo economics as some called it, Republicans proposed giving the wealthiest Americans gluttonous tax breaks because the excess would ultimately trickle down to the middle class. Eventually, Reaganomics caused the collapse of the middle class:

"The corporate media doesn't talk about it much, but the United States is rapidly on its way to becoming three separate nations. First, there are a small number of incredibly wealthy people who own and control more and more of our country. Second, there is a shrinking middle class in which ordinary people are, in most instances, working longer hours for lower wages and benefits. Third, an increasing number of Americans are living in abject poverty -- going hungry and sleeping out on the streets….Today, the richest 1 percent own more wealth than the bottom 95 percent, and the CEOs of large corporations earn more than 500 times what their average employees make. The nation's 13,000 wealthiest families, 1/100th of one percent of the population, receive almost as much income as the poorest 20 million families in America."

Well the chickens of Reaganomics have come home to roost again. This time for the elderly!

In Seniors Charged With Selling Prescriptions, Roger Alford reports that elderly Americans living on social security are compelled to sell their prescription pain pills to make ends meet:

But, when Republican policies compel the elderly to sell their prescription drugs “to bring in a little extra money," then it has gone too far.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

When all is said and written about him, history will record that he was a Democrat…..

He wrote 21 books. He was a professor of economics and sociology. And, he was a maverick. It was the maverick in him that compelled him to challenge Joe McCarthy and Joe McCarthy’s jingoistic patriotism.

He was elected to congress where he championed oversight of the intelligence services, argued for the civil rights of migrant workers and the disabled. He ran for President.

When this nation was once again torn apart by irrational commitment to war as if war were a game without bloody consequence, he courageously said “No!” He said “No!” without equivocation. He said “No!” without apology or fear. When all is said and written about him, history will record that he was a DEMOCRAT!

And, because he was a Democrat, those who shared his ideals will miss Eugene McCarthy, who died December 10, 2005.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Many people object to The Patriot Act because, in practice, it repeals the Bill of Rights. Others view The Patriot Act as nothing more than George W. Bush’s cynical Domestic Manifesto that advocates, “Shoot first and ask questions later - if at all.
Most of us remember when London police officers chased down and shot 27 year-old Jean Charles de Menezes because they thought he was a terrorist. The London police were carrying out Tony Blair’s version of the Bush Domestic Manifesto. Of course Tony Blaire, “Bush’s lap dog,” was “dead wrong.” That is to say, the London police were wrong, and an innocent man was dead. After the hysteria subsided, the BBC reported that Menezes had nothing to do with terrorism:

Now, Bush’s ill-conceived, unjust Domestic Manifesto has brought death to an innocent man in the USA. The other day, sky marshals shot and killed 44-year-old Rigoberto Alpizar, claiming Alpizar made bomb threats.

Typically, once the hysteria subsided, a different story unfolded. Neighbors and co-workers described Alpizar as a quiet and calm man. Further, passengers aboard the plane denied Alpizar said anything about a bomb:

And yet, the Republican controlled Congress is on the verge of reenacting The Patriot Act, the most anti-American piece of legislation ever conceived in this country. Who is at risk? Well anyone and everyone, but most of all those who do not fit the jingoistic profile of a patriotic American, and especially Arabs, Latinos, Blacks, and Asians.