Let's get it started.
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Yeah, I'm nagging. And when I do this kind of fundraising for campaigns or causes or my book it makes me cringe. I don't generally like doing these things, but this is an exception.
I've alrady explained why I'm trying to raise some money for Jeremy and Gina. Both causes are just, and there have been already a combined 1,800 contributions, at an average of about $12 per contribution. With that many contributors, even $5 contributions quickly add up and are significant.
Let's make sure we take care of our own.
For Gina, who gave us the wonderful YearlyKos, working unpaid for over a year to make it happen. click here:
And for Jeremy, who is trying to pick up his life after a drunk driver and his Ford F-150 crashed into his house, click here:
By Hume's Ghost
"... there is now a widespread tendency to argue that one can only defend democracy by totalitarian methods ... These people don?t see that if you encourage totalitarian methods, the time may come when they will be used against you instead of for you. Make a habit of imprisoning Fascists without trial, and perhaps the process won?t stop at Fascists." - George Orwell, from The Freedom of the Press
The strength and importance of How Would A Patriot Act? as a polemic is that it lays out a clear and easy to follow case that the Bush administration, acting on radical legal theory developed by John Yoo, has claimed for itself unlimited executive power to prosecute an indefinite "war on terror." Glenn develops this central premise by going through various administration scandals - the use of torture, imprisonment of US citizens without due process, NSA domestic surveillance in violation of the law, etc - and relating how they follow logically from John Yoo's belief that nothing, not Congress, nor the Courts, can limit the president's power to act in the name of national security.
Yet, despite this being, frankly, clear as day, there are still many who just don't see a problem with it. These are the people who believe in democracy in principle, but in practice, not so much. They are able to rationalize the administration's totalitarian methods of prosecuting the "war on terror" for two reasons: 1) they lack sympathy for anyone designated a terrorist target and 2) they fail to see the use of totalitarian tactics as a threat to themselves, they see it as a kind of benign, virtous act necessary to defend democracy.
There are no doubt other factors, but I believe these two can for a large part account for why so many people seem so ambivalent about the use of totalitarian methods. They view complaints of violated civil liberties as hysterics, as worries of "phantom liberties" being lost because they don't perceive having lost any liberty themself. They are incredulous that the Bush administration could abuse such methods, the "noble motives" defense one might call this, and as an example of this defense I refer you to this entry where I respond to David Limbaugh's call for honest debate about the NSA surveillance program. Notice that by "honest debate" Limbaugh meant dismissing criticism of the program a priori on the grounds that the President couldn't possibly have any unpatriotic motives in authorizing the NSA surveillance.
This is something that has appeared obvious to me, but I find myself lacking the words to articulate a better response than the Orwell quote above. Which is why I would like to direct your attention to an article in the current issue of Free Inquiry entitled "Bush's Totalitarian Logic" in which the author, Lissa Skitolsky, has hit this proverbial nail on the head. She begins
There has been much outrcy from both the Left and the Right over the use of totalitarian tactics to fight the way against terror. However, these charges often sound hysterical and superficial; after all, we do not live under constant threat of imprisonment or death.Skitolsky then makes the point that comparing specific measures taken after 9/11 to totalitarianism is the wrong comparison, one should be comparing the logic that justifies such actions to see the true similarities between these acts and totalitarianism.
As I said, this is familiar. Recall reporter Ron Suskind's account of a conversation with a senior Bush advisor
A government that operates accourding to the view that "all is possible" does not distinguish between an idea of what is or what may occur and the reality of what is ocurring, and so the validity of an idea is not tested by empirical evidence that could serve to verify or refute the idea in question. Rather, as Arendt explains, such a view embraces a flawed logic whereby an idea is proven true by the events that occur as a result of acting on that idea.
The aide said that guys like me were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ''That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued. ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''Skitolsky writes that we see this logic at play in the invasion of Iraq, where the idea of Iraq as the central front in fighting terrorism was "proved" by the invasion itself. This logic is immune from criticism or rational consideration. Reality is what the state's actions define it to be.
[E]very new "fact" - whether the establishment of secret prisons or the endless violence and senseless deaths in Iraq - only serves to provide evidence for the validity of our policies and actions. If we are not attacked, then our policies are "proved" to be working and if we are attacked, then our policies are "proved" to be necessary.The use of signing statement to usurp legislative branches power, Skitolsky says, "indicates that the word of the president now determines the meaning of and binding force of the law." This is a particularly devastating critique considering that earlier in the passage she had noted that a fundamental feature of the Nazi regime was that the word of the Fuhrer was law.
That our national "security" is always invoked as the ultimate justification for every extra-legal measure only obscures the fact that we are, in fact, much less secure than before the war in Iraq and the pasasage of the PATRIOT Act. That so many Americans affirm the right of the president to suspend civil liberties for the sake of this much need and elusive "security" only confirms that our values have changed no longer willing to die for the sake of our democratic ideals, we are now willing to indefinitely suspend those ideals in order to avoid an unexpected death."Speaking about the warrantless NSA surveillance program Skitolsky explains how Vice President Cheney's contention that the program helps "prevent possible terrorist attacks" is circular totalitarian logic that justifies the program on the grounds that it might prevent a possible attack. She also notes that "in a world where 'all is possible,' facts take a backseat to possibilities, and, since every citizen is a possible terrorist, then every citizen is a possible threat and so also a possible detainee."
Dear Mickey, What's different about Kos's mercenaries comment and Coulter's smear against the 9/11 widows is that Kos's comment was a snap reaction thrown up in a blog post while Coulter's came within a considered, edited work. The two are...[...]
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This could get very interesting. Cuban has plenty of money to work with and wants the new site to uncover stock fraud and corporate wrongdoing. With the growing list of stock option abuse scandals that are breaking not to mention the standard run of the mill corporate scandals that are making news, there could be an endless supply of material. Now that the housing market is cooling, it is even more important for people to have trust and faith in the stock market if people are going to be investing for their future. Keep a look out for the July start of Sharesleuth.com.
"I'm a firm believer that out of (the more than 10,000) public companies the odds are that there are more than just a few crooks and frauds," Cuban said Tuesday in an interview with The Associated Press. "Finding them can be rewarding and entertaining."
Stewart: Perfume those turds...Ken Mehlman stepped onto the set of The Daily Show last night and was so easily carved up by Stewart that you could see Jon was holding back..
Stewart: You're the guy--I have sympathy for you because you're the guy who has to spray perfume on these turds. You know what I mean? You're the guy that has to go out and like no matter what (garbled) It's not an easy job. I mean what happened to these guys...
Did Ken say that Afghanistan was a failed state? When an interviewer (fake of course) asks pointed questions to the Mehlman's out there; they just cave. I keep posting these clips and keep shaking my head at how these talking point junkies are so easily debunked. Stewart has that ability. Mehlman actually looked very nervous.
There are many great clips on Comedy Central's website.
Now that Brownie isn't around to be the whipping boy, how come Chertoff comes clean in this AP piece or isn't he in charge of anything that goes wrong? The new FEMA has excelled when it comes to setting new standards in incompetence time after time but Bush's friend is unscathed again. If Congress is going to start investigations, who exactly is it that is ruining a once great organization into the ground? This also shows how much the GOP can throw money at problems instead of solving anything.
The government doled out as much as $1.4 billion in bogus assistance to victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, getting hoodwinked to pay for season football tickets, a tropical vacation and even a divorce lawyer, congressional investigators have found.So why is Chertoff still around?
Connecticut Bob, again, produces a terrific video of Ned at the Greek Festival this weekend.
Be sure to stop by and check-out the Ned Lamont YouTube group for more videos. 100+ and growing by the day.
Dan Bartlett and Tony Snow of the Ministry of Truth bravely get a first hand look at the daily lives of our soldiers stationed in Baghdad's Green Zone.
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Give a HUGE hurrah to the diary rescue team who subbed so brilliantly in my absence: Avila, cmkay, dannyinla, jlynne, ksh01, melvin, odum, Patriot Daily, Unitary Moonbat and bebacker. And many kudos to Georgia10 for posting the final output from the team.
Due to my own lack of communication, yesterday's rescued diaries didn't go up (the volunteers did their job, but the file went astray due to my lousy pre-Vegas communication) and tonight they can be found in the extended text box below. Mea culpa.
Today's diaries up for rescue: