Monumental Lie of the Yes on 8 Campaign

October 28, 2008 · Posted in Election 2008 · 8 Comments 

New Yes on 8 lies

In living color. These misguided people somehow think handing the state a strict definition of marriage guarantees their constitutional freedoms? Don’t they realize the consequences of abrogating what the church has been free to define themselves to the state?

See, they want you to think that somehow churches will be forced to perform same-sex marriages. Of course, that’s simply not true. But they think their argument works.

To the Yes on 8 folks: I really hope I don’t hear wailing and gnashing of teeth in your churches about how you can’t reach young people. Because this campaign, more than any other, has alienated those you most hoped to reach.

Very sad.

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No on Proposition 8: Preserve Religious Freedoms

October 22, 2008 · Posted in Election 2008 · 4 Comments 

I’m sure the title of this post will have many churchgoers aghast, but I am deadly serious about it. Proposition 8 does far more harm to churches than it does any other institution, including marriage.

Despite the fact that this proposition made it to the ballot via petitions circulated among churches and heavily sponsored by the conservative church movements in this state (including the Mormon church), the truth of the matter is that the one single institution with the most to lose is the church itself.

In purely legal terms, marriage is a contract entered into by two parties. By applying for and receiving a marriage license and going through either a civil or church ceremony, that contract is sealed. Right now, churches have the absolute right to define the terms under which their clergy will perform a marriage ceremony.

But if Proposition 8 passes, Pandora’s box is flung open, as the barrier between church and state is shattered. Here is what Proposition 8 does: It sends a state mandate to churches telling them exactly what criteria they may consider in order to administer marriage. It clearly dictates doctrine on the question of marriage to the church.

Forget everything you’ve seen on TV; forget the red herring arguments (lies) about teaching children about gay marriage in second grade. Stand back and consider Proposition 8 from a distance.

Here is the authority the church will cede to the state if Proposition 8 passes:

  • Who it can marry
  • Who it can ordain
  • Who may attend church-sponsored schools and what those schools must teach
  • How tithes and offerings are spent

Don’t cluck your teeth and assume I’m the prophet of doom here. I’m not. If churches open the door for the state to dictate doctrine, churches also open the door for the state to dictate to them.

Think about that. As Steveaudio says:

In other words, the wall protects both sides. Did you forget that? Water flows both ways, and so does power. If you think you can control the Government, the Government can control you and your churches.

Oh, and in case you’re reading this and see the words I’ve written as those of a typical California liberal (which I am), let me share the thoughts of some Republicans who oppose Proposition 8:

Whether you are Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal, Christian, Muslim, Jew, or atheist, Proposition 8 is bad for people, for religion, and for the state. Don’t let a narrow-minded bunch of homophobes knock down the wall between church and state.

Just vote no.

And visit NoOnProp8.com. Consider a donation. To protect your church’s right to make it’s own decisions, because that is really the bottom line.

(though I believe it’s also a mean-spirited and stupid idea to ban anyone from marrying…that’s my opinion. FACT is that churches put way too much at risk with this proposition)

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Obama’s Response to Constituent’s FISA Protest

June 25, 2008 · Posted in Domestic Policy · 2 Comments 

Sorry, but it’s FISA night again. I’m really unhappy about the telecom immunity, and have been unhappier still about the somewhat vague response Barack Obama has given regarding his support for it.

However, one of his constituents wrote a letter to him urging him to vote no and received a more complete response.

The House and Senate worked out a compromise, reconciling differences between the two versions of the bill before it can be signed into law. While I recognize that this compromise is imperfect, I will support this legislation, which provides an important tool to fight the war on terrorism and provides for an Inspectors General report so that we can finally get to the bottom of the warrantless wiretapping program and how it undermined our civil liberties.

It’s still not enough for me, but I’m willing to accept that these affidavits that will have to be filed with the court by the Inspectors General will contain enough information to cast light on the illegal actions of the current Administration.

Dianne Feinstein is on notice, though, along with Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the caving Democrats in the House. This is not one I will forget when you’re up for re-election.

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WTF Items for the Day

June 24, 2008 · Posted in Bush Administration, Domestic Policy, Foreign Policy · Comments Off 
  • Appeals Court Invalidates Detainee’s ‘Enemy’ Status

    A federal appeals court in Washington has invalidated the Bush administration’s finding that a detainee held for more than six years in the Guantanamo Bay military prison in Cuba is an “enemy combatant,” and has ordered the government to release him, transfer him or offer him a new hearing.

    Oh, and the White House pooh-poohed legal advice saying he risked judicial scrutiny of detention policies.

  • Report Says Partisanship Reigned in Justice Department Hiring Program

    High-ranking political appointees at the Justice Department labored to stock a prestigious hiring program with young conservatives in a five-year-long attempt to reshape the department’s ranks, according to an inspector general’s report to be released today.

    Wow, there’s a surprise. After firing US Attorneys that didn’t toe the Bushies’ line, who’s surprised by this?

  • McCain: No Habeas for Bin Laden, Right to the Gallows John McCain says:

    …After enthusiastically embracing the Supreme Court decision granting habeas in U.S. civilian courts to dangerous terrorist detainees, he is now running away from the consequences of that decision and what it would mean if Osama bin Laden were captured. Senator Obama refuses to clarify whether he believes habeas should be granted to Osama bin Laden, and instead cites the precedent of the Nuremburg [sic] war trials…There was no habeas at Nuremburg [sic] and there should be no habeas for Osama bin Laden.

    ..Let me be clear, under my administration Osama bin Laden will either be killed on the battlefield or executed.

    Just to be clear here, does anyone seriously believe bin Laden would set foot on American soil. Pulease! Meanwhile, Al Qaeda grows more vocal online.

  • The new FISA bill now in the Senate gives “wholesale approval for NSAt o conduct bulk monitoring of electronic communications.
  • Bush Administration shoots down plan to overhaul army contract oversight. After all, why be accountable for nearly 5 billion charged in fraud or another 5 billion spent without documentation?
  • Wexler points out how the McClellan testimony points to the Bush Administration crimes, and calls for accountability

This is really why the American electorate should not be so dumb about their constitutional rights. I have just listed six separate stories published in one day, all pointing to the utter disregard this administration has for basic civil rights guaranteed by our Constitution.

While the mainstream media stokes the fear that Iran will attack, participating once again in the administration’s plan to keep us in line by keeping us afraid, no one is paying attention to the true goal of Bush and the neocons: To erode civil rights and the constitution so deeply that Americans will not understand what they have surrendered through ignorance, nor what they have lost.

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It’s the Constitution, Stupid!

June 18, 2008 · Posted in Domestic Policy, Foreign Policy · 4 Comments 

I caught a few minutes of Dan Abrams’ broadcast on MSNBC where the heads were flapping about the differences in attitude between Barack Obama and John McCain on the recent US Supreme Court decision to restore habeas corpus to detainees held at Guantanamo. McCain even trotted out Rudy Guiliani, Mr. 9-1-1, to underscore his point.

The way they framed it was like this: “Obama would allow Bin Laden to appeal to the US Courts.”

Well, yes, provided the following circumstances existed:

  1. Bin Laden would have to be brought to the US
  2. Bin Laden would then have to be arrested in the US
  3. He would have to be charged under US law

Why? Because that’s how things work. If Bin Laden is caught in Afghanistan, he falls under international law.

Let’s just say the perfect Bin Laden storm exists and all of those conditions are met. Why would we rape the United States Constitution in the name of revenge? Of COURSE he’d have the right to appeal his case to the US civilian courts, because our Constitution says he has that right. And like it or not, John McCain is not going to be able to legislate this away.

In case anyone is interested in what Barack Obama (via surrogates and then again on the video below) really said, it’s this:

“The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that they have those rights,” he said. “If John McCain were president, he would have to give them those rights.”

It might be worth a reminder here about what our elected officials in Washington DC (particularly the President and Vice President) swear when they are elected to office.

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Maybe it’s more important what it doesn’t say.

It doesn’t say “preserve, protect and defend the PREFERRED PEOPLE of the United States”.

It doesn’t say “preserve, protect and defend the elected officials of the United States.”

It doesn’t say “this is open to interpretation depending upon who my enemies are today”.

The Founding Fathers understood this much: Binding the leaders of our country to uphold the fundamental principles upon which this country was founded and operates and holding them to a sworn oath to uphold the rule of law meant they could not act in their own self interest or in the interests of people, but were first and foremost to uphold the guiding principles upon which all other pillars are built.

John McCain should understand this well. It’s a pity that he’s selling out to the Republican hardliners instead of applying his knowledge and experience to interpret a clear-cut case of Constitutional Law.

This is one of the main reasons I’m such an ardent Obama supporter. Our constitution is supposed to be the guide by which our government operates, not something that they plot to subvert. Because if it is subverted, our democracy is doomed, and George W. Bush and his merry band of neocons have very nearly done exactly that.

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True Patriot Acts

February 15, 2008 · Posted in Bush Administration, Domestic Policy, Foreign Policy · Comments Off 
Standing on the ashes of the man
Standing on the ashes of the man,
originally uploaded by herby_fr.

Today’s attack on democracy in the United States began with George W. Bush’s efforts to strongarm the House of Representatives into extending the Protect America Act.

Failure to act would harm our ability to monitor new terrorist activities and could re-open dangerous gaps in our intelligence. Failure to act would also make the private sector less willing to help us protect the country, and this is unacceptable.

The lives of countless Americans depend on our ability to monitor terrorist communications. Our intelligence professionals are working day and night to keep us safe, and they’re waiting to see whether Congress will give them the tools they need to succeed or tie their hands by failing to act.

Determined not to be upstaged by their faithful leader, House Republicans called a vote during the memorial service for Tom Lantos, forcing Congressmen to leave the memorial service to return for a vote on…nothing.

And like the two-year-old babies that they are, when confronted with a vote on a resolution to cite Harriet Miers and Josh Bolton for contempt of Congress (which they are), House Republicans, save two, walked out in a huff to a bank of microphones and reporters conveniently waiting on the steps of the Capitol.

The House Democrats, in their first act of patriotic bravery, passed two resolutions, one of which holds Bolton and Miers in contempt. It is refreshing to see Nancy Pelosi finally stand up for what’s right instead of backing down and dropping the ball.

“This is beyond arrogance,” said Pelosi. “It’s hubris taken to the ultimate degree.”

Conyers said he had already discovered “plenty of evidence of wrongdoing at the Department of Justice. He said officials made the decision to fire attorneys on the basis of whether they had pursued public corruption charges against Democratic government officials. He also said that Justice officials made misleading statements to investigators minimizing the apparent involvement of White House personnel in the firings.

Emboldened by the adrenaline that comes with doing the right thing for a change, Speaker Pelosi adjourned the House of Representatives until a week from Monday, allowing the Protect America Act to expire on Saturday.

Can you imagine this happening a year ago? Even six months ago? Why the difference? Could it be that our elected Representatives are hearing us when we tell them via vote and voice that we refuse to be intimidated, bullied and controlled by fear? Could it be that they are finally getting the message that we expect them to represent us and do the right thing instead of the political thing? It would seem so.

Another Patriot Act: Congressman Silvestre Reyes sent a letter to President Bush Thursday, forcefully reminding him that his statements about leaving America vulnerable are patently false and that the House of Representatives will not be bullied into passing a law on the basis of empty threats. His closing paragraphs seem to echo something I’ve been hearing recently in one of the candidates’ Presidential campaigns:

I, for one, do not intend to back down – not to the terrorists and not to anyone, including a President, who wants Americans to cower in fear.

We are a strong nation. We cannot allow ourselves to be scared into suspending the Constitution. If we do that, we might as well call the terrorists and tell them that they have won.

The entire letter should be framed and placed squarely on the Oval Office desk.

In a parting shot, Nancy Pelosi said :

President Bush tells the American people he has nothing to offer but fear.

I believe that our representatives are hearing our voices, the voices that call, fax, email, blog and write. The voices of the voters who are turning out in droves to say they are tired of being the pawns in a big political game. The voices that think it’s wrong for our government to ignore the same laws we obey.

Keith Olbermann’s Special Comment tonight articulated the outrage that I feel when I think about the payoff Bush wants to give the telephone companies for spying on me, especially this:

Mark Klein was the AT&T Whistleblower, the one who explained in the placid, dull terms of your local neighborhood I-T desk, how he personally attached all AT&T circuits — everything — carrying every one of your phone calls, every one of your e-mails, every bit of your web browsing into a secure room, room number 641-A at the Folsom Street facility in San Francisco, where it was all copied so the government could look at it.

Not some of it, not just the international part of it, certainly not just the stuff some spy — a spy both patriotic and telepathic — might able to divine had been sent or spoken by — or to — a terrorist.

Everything!

Every time you looked at a naked picture.

Every time you bid on eBay.

Every time you phoned in a donation to a Democrat.

Oh, go ahead and watch the whole thing. You know you want to. Even when Keith gets shrill, he makes good points and tonight’s were especially well-spoken.

Will the newly-emboldened House of Representatives inspire the Senate to do the right thing? Will we finally have elected representatives who understand that we’re refusing to allow them to run roughshod over the Constitution for political and personal gain? Will George Bush join the board of AT&T when he leaves office?

Stay tuned for upcoming Patriot Acts, and the inevitable whimpers of cowards, fading away into better, bolder times. We can always hope.

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