Progressive Minds

Blogging live, from somewhere in the reality-based community. Speaking truth to power. You've entered the real "no spin zone." Republicans beware!


Alberto Gonzales: Don't Blame Me! George Washington Did It!

@ 11:21 PM (109 months, 6 days ago)

I don't know whether to laugh or cry!  Alberto Gonzales, our cluessless, law-breaking Attorney General, says that George Washington and Abe Lincoln were doing more spying than BushCo, and on a greater scale!

During today's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Gonzales said:  "President Washington, President Lincoln, President Wilson, President Roosevelt have all authorized electronic surveillance on a far broader scale."

Ok, call me crazy here.  I would imagine that during George Washington's time, electronic surveillance wasn't exactly something our first President had at his disposal, if only because we were not as technologically advanced then as we are now.  Secondly, let's just say, Alberto, for the sake of argument, that George Washington and Abe Lincoln did do electronic surveillance.  That doesn't necessarily mean you have the right to follow suit!  If you saw someone jump off a cliff, does that mean you're supposed to jump off the cliff as well?

 Link to video footage from today's hearing, courtesy of Crooks and Liars:

Federal Food Program Gives The Ax To The Hungry

@ 10:56 PM (109 months, 6 days ago)

Our wonderful American values at work here.....(insert sarcasim)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has given the ax to 59,000 hungry Americans nationwide, by cutting them from the Commodity Supplemental Food Program effective February 1.

The program had been providing them with 25-pound boxes of free groceries every month.

A spokeswoman says the Agriculture Department reduced the program because of rising food costs and budget costs.  The federal government is encouraging those who have been dropped from the program, to apply for food stamps.

Jan Pruitt, a local food bank officer in Texas, says: "The reality of the situation is, people are going to fall through the cracks.  They're going to go pick up their box, and it's not going to be there, and they're not going to go anywhere else.  We know these government cuts are going to mean seniors going without food because we can't reach everybody.  This is really impacting a very vulnerable population."

Ok, so let me see if I can wrap my brain around this.  George Bush and the neo-cons are still talking about cutting taxes (by tring to make the tax cuts permanent), and yet our government can't seem to find it within themselves to do the right thing by the most vulnerable among our citizentry?

Food program cuts 700 local seniors

Former Reagan Administration Official: BushCo Using Spying To Blackmail The Media and Democrats

@ 10:09 PM (109 months, 6 days ago)

Paul Craig Roberts, who served in the Reagan Administration as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, says in a new op/ed that the Bush Crime Team is using it's illegal spy program to blackmail members of the media, as well as the Democratic Party.

From his op/ed, Who Will Save America: My Ephiphany:

"We have reached a point where the Bush administration is determined to totally eclipse the people. Bewitched by neoconservatives and lustful for power, the Bush administration and the Republican Party are aligning themselves firmly against the American people. Their first victims, of course, were the true conservatives. Having eliminated internal opposition, the Bush administration is now using blackmail obtained through illegal spying on American citizens to silence the media and the opposition party.

Before flinching at my assertion of blackmail, ask yourself why President Bush refuses to obey the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The purpose of the FISA court is to ensure that administrations do not spy for partisan political reasons. The warrant requirement is to ensure that a panel of independent federal judges hears a legitimate reason for the spying, thus protecting a president from the temptation to abuse the powers of government. The only reason for the Bush administration to evade the court is that the Bush administration had no legitimate reasons for its spying. This should be obvious even to a naif.

The United States is undergoing a coup against the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, civil liberties, and democracy itself. The "liberal press" has been co-opted. As everyone must know by now, the New York Times has totally failed its First Amendment obligations, allowing Judith Miller to make war propaganda for the Bush administration, suppressing for an entire year the news that the Bush administration was illegally spying on American citizens, and denying coverage to Al Gore's speech that challenged the criminal deeds of the Bush administration."

Who Will Save America: My Epiphany

A few things to keep in mind, re: Alberto Gonzales

@ 10:29 AM (109 months, 7 days ago)
As we watch or listen to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales testify about the domestic spy program before the Senate Judiciary Committee today, there are two things worth noting.
-  Alberto Gonzales has already shown he has no respect for the rule of law.  It can very well be said he laid the foundation for the abuse that occurred at Abu Gharib prison.  Gonzales wrote a now-infamous memo in which he called the Geneva Conventions "quaint" and "obsolete" and which George Bused used to say he has the right to not abide by anti-torture law and international treaties protecting prisoners of war.
So when you hear Gonzales say today, that the domestic spy program is lawful and that George W. Bush is within his rights to not obtain court orders to spy on Americans, just remember that Gonzales has no respect for the rule of law to begin with.
-  If you wonder why Sen. Patrick Leahy raised the issue of swearing in Gonzales, perhaps its because Gonzales has already shown that he doesn't mind being less than forthcoming and truthful on the facts.
During his confirmation process, he provided written answers to the Senate Judiciary Committee, regarding how, as an Advisor to then Governor George W. Bush, he helped Bush prepare for possible jury duty.
When Bush was Governor of Texas, he was called for jury duty on a DUI case, and made a big public to-do out of saying he was ready to serve on jury duty as asked.
However, the judge in the case, as well as others involved, say Gonzales left out some crucial details in his written statement to the Judiciary Committee.
He did not tell the Committee, that on the day Bush went to jury duty, Gonzales requested a private meeting in the Judge's chambers.  Even before jury selection got underway, Gonzales asked the judge to excuse Bush from the case, based on potential conflict of interest, because the defendent in the case one day might ask Bush to pardon him.
However, Governors rarely are asked to pardon individuals for convictions in DUI cases.  Moreover, by getting Bush excused from the case, Gonzales might have very well been helping Bush cover up his own DUI conviction.
Gonzales: Did He Help Bush Keep His DUI Quiet?

Arlen Specter Just Gave Gonzales Room To Lie

@ 09:57 AM (109 months, 7 days ago)
Looks like Republican Arlen Specter, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, just gave Attorney General Alberto Gonzales wiggle room to lie his way through the hearings on the domestic spy program.
Specter refused to swear in Gonzales.  He wouldn't make Gonzales raise his right hand to swear to tell the truth and nothing but the truth.
Why don't the Republicans want to swear in Gonzales?  According to Specter's own account, Gonzales indicated he had no problems with being sworn in for the hearings, but Specter refused to do it.
Perhaps it's because they already know that Gonzales will lie and perjure his way through the hearings, and subsequently don't want Gonzales to be accused of lying under oath.   Lying while not under oath is o.k. though, according to the Rethugs.
Not even an hour into the spy hearings, and it's already clear the Republicans intend for these hearings to be nothing more than a dog and pony show.
Shame on them for making a mockery out of our democracy, and their responsibility for Congressional oversight.