"The United States participated actively and effectively in the negotiation of the Convention . It marks a significant step in the development during this century of international measures against torture and other inhuman treatment or punishment. Ratification of the Convention by the United States will clearly express United States opposition to torture, an abhorrent practice unfortunately still prevalent in the world today.
The core provisions of the Convention establish a regime for international cooperation in the criminal prosecution of torturers relying on so-called 'universal jurisdiction.' Each State Party is required either to prosecute torturers who are found in its territory or to extradite them to other countries for prosecution."
My italics. Reagan was admant [sic] about prosecuting torture, but also prosecuting inhuman treatment that some might claim was not full-on torture. Now go read National Review or The Weekly Standard. And look what has happened to conservatism in America.
Reagan was, of course, part of the Blame-America-First crowd. Soft on terror. Friend of the evil-doers. Why did Ronald Reagan hate America?
Kindra Muntz, president of Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections (SAFE) emailed over the weekend to request "nationwide pressure" be placed on legislators in Tallahassee and, given the ugliness of this particular effort, we'd agree. See the bottom of this article for some action links which Muntz suggests taking to counter what she describes as a "dangerous" and "devastating" bill being quietly fast-tracked through the FL legislature by the GOP down there this week.
Here's a couple of passages from two no-holds-barred editorials from over the weekend, excoriating this latest, blatant attempt at voter suppression by the Sunshine State Republicans who, this time, have got elderly voters (and much more) in their cross-hairs. Among a few pretty horrible things this bill does (see below for much more), it would end the use of "Retirement center identification" and "Neighborhood association identification" for the elderly when voting at the polling place.
The first editorial below comes from the St. Petersburg Times which calls the effort "disgraceful," a "naked grab for power," and charges, "Republican legislative leaders have lost all sense of shame with their 11th-hour bill to roll back voting rights in Florida."...
In my opinion voter suppression is an ugly act. When one party is in power and then pushes legislation that only serves to help to ensure they will stay in power then there is something wrong with our democracy. This is now the case in Florida where the party in power waited until week seven of a nine week legislative session to attempt to ram-rod through bills in both the House and Senate that will help to ensure they stay in power. Our two ‘Featured’ editorials (here and here) explain what is happening in Florida much better than I can. ...
Of course, the video above underscores the plain truth that the "protesting" tea baggers sore losers, had no real clue what the hell they were even doing at their tiny "protests" on Wednesday, which they only showed up for, to protest against their own best interests, because Fox "News" told them to. The photo below (courtesy "rumproast") may say it all...
All of Wednesday's confused, desperate (though rather amusing) "protests" were, of course, dwarfed in size, actual meaning, and actual grass-rootsness, by dozens of actual grass-roots protests during the Bush years, such as this one against the Iraq War and these when Bush was inaugurated in '05, even though somehow Fox "News" forgot to promote those actual protests, and the rest of the corporate media forgot to cover them at all.
But ssshhhh...don't tell the tea baggers sore losers, they think they've started a "revolution"...
I'm impressed, frankly, with the unflinching outspokenness of Meghan McCain (John's daughter) in her quest to restore sanity, and a future, to the Republican Party. No idea whether she'll have any success --- at least for the foreseeable future --- but her willingness to stand straight up to her own party's not-minimal thuggery is impressive.
Today, McCain is out and out calling for the GOP to "Go Gay" by embracing same sex marriage (she still calls it "gay marriage," but that's because she's still a Republican), and begins her case by pointing out that it was the GOP deity himself, Ronald Reagan, as Governor of CA in 1978, who fended off a ballot proposition which would have outlawed gays and lesbians from teaching in public schools.
"Reagan’s argument centered around the idea that parents already had all the rights they needed to protect their children and that the government did not need to interfere," McCain notes, pointing to an actual conservative doctrine which the GOP has all but abandoned in their bigoted, unConstitutional demands for Big Government intervention into the private lives of homosexual Americans.
I'm digging fairly deeply into the details of what could be a tremendously important story to come (unrelated to this issue), so for the moment I'll just leave you with a few of the money quotes from her essay at The Daily Beast today:
At the most basic level, sexual orientation should not be a factor in how you are treated. If the Republican Party has any hope of gaining substantial support from a wider, younger base, we need to get past our anti-gay rhetoric.
Lest we forget, our founding document, the Declaration of Independence, grants the same rights to everyone in this country—“All men are created equal.” If you think certain rights should not apply to certain people, then you are saying those people are not equal. People may always have a difference of opinion on certain lifestyles, but championing a position that wants to treat people unequally isn't just un-Republican. At its fundamental core, it's un-American.
She finishes with the incredibly overly optimistic notion: "I believe the Republican Party has, at this moment, the opportunity to come forward and play an instrumental role in securing gay rights." Nonetheless, she deserves credit and kudos for having the courage to say it. It's a pity it'll likely fall on so many deaf, crazy, tea-bagging ears.
By way of begrudging public service to those in the community at large who may not understand why so many --- such as Rachel Maddow as seen in the video at right --- are having such a difficult time not bursting into laughter whenever discussing the nutty rightwing "tea baggers," we offer this link to the Urban Dictionary in hopes of allowing you too in on the joke.
Between the whackazoid self-proclaimed tea baggers and the anti-marriage, anti-homosexual hate group National Organization for Marriage's new, unfortunately acronymed "Two Million for Marriage" (2M4M) campaign, seriously, you folks may wanna do just two or three minutes of Googling before you come up with your next new, snazzy, self-identifying catch-phrase.
Or, at the very least, consult former Congressman Dick Armey for some advice first.
During the exchange between Rove and Roe, as reported by Schroeder, Rove tells Roe that he has a file on Feeney, and Roe, who was angry with Rove for cracks he'd made on Fox "News" at Feeney's expense just after the extremely corrupt FL Republican had lost his 2008 election, says angrily to Rove: "You guys wouldn't be in the White House without Tom."
Given the coverage we've offered over the years on Feeney, and former Republican computer programmer Clint Curtis' allegations against him, several folks --- including our friends Marcy Wheeler of emptywheel and Patty Sharaf, filmmaker of Murder, Spies & Voting Lies: The Clint Curtis Story --- sent us the link to the Politico article, asking our opinion on what Roe may have meant by that crack.
In the interest of keeping links to that story from continuing to pile up in our Inbox, here's our take on Roe's purported comment to Rove...
No. He's not crazy at all. Glenn Beck pours metaphorical "gasoline" on "himself," his viewers, and his imagined newly-tyrannical America, and his own, and his viewers', rapidly accelerating, self-perpetuated sense of victim-hood. When he/they eventually --- and it shouldn't be long at this rate --- actually light the match and blow themselves/us up, feel free to point back to this item, when we're told "who could have predicted it?"...
Beck's daily hour on governmentally subsidized cable TV, and three hours daily on our publicly owned radio waves, is a tremendously responsible use government welfare, and reflects brilliantly on our Founding Fathers' guarantee to one single industry --- and one single industry only (the press) --- in our U.S. Constitution.
That's a very responsible use of that singular Constitutional dispensation, Glenn. Keep up the bad work.
BTW, in case you missed it on Wednesday, Jon Stewart --- an actually responsible steward of public largess --- spoke directly and brilliantly to the crazies like Beck and Hannity and O'Reilly and Levin and Bachmann et al, by informing them (since they don't seem to know): "I think you might be confusing tyranny with losing...that's not tyranny, that's democracy"...
That video --- actually worth watching and taking notes --- follows below...
Republican Army and Marine vet caller to Rush: "You're one reason to blame for the Republicans losing...You're a brain-washed, Nazi...Anybody who could believe in torture, has got to have something wrong with them...What's the matter with you?! You never even served in the Army!"
Rush replies: "You're stupid and ignorant...you don't know diddly-squat..."
Seriously, give it a listen above right. Media Matters has the transcript, Scholars and Rogues has more details. It's getting ugly out there in Limbaugh Land.
Must-Listen Musical Addendum: And as long as we're on the topic...We'll opportunistically take this opportunity to share Rush 'admitting' he's 'a Nazi'. If you haven't heard this brilliantly hilarious satirical tune, featuring Rush in his own words (as created by Atlanta's WNNX-FM), well, get your goose-stepping boots on, turn it up loud, and hit play below...
While out on the stump for VA's Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell, former Gov. Mike Huckabee made an hysterical joke to the laughing assembled crowd of Republicans, instructing them to "Do the lord's work" by not letting voters to the polls if they don't plan to vote for McDonnell.
HUCKABEE: You have two jobs. One - get all those people who are gonna vote for Bob out to the polls and vote. If they're not gonna vote for Bob, you have another job. Let the air out of their tires and do not let them out of their driveway on Election Day. Keep 'em home. Do the lord's work, my friend. I'm giving you an opportunity...yes, do the right thing.
Of course, it was just a joke. Who in the Republican Party would ever do such a thing in this country?!
Well, other than the guy in the video on the right, Paul Weyrich, one of the founding fathers of the modern Republican vote suppression movement, who, until he recently died, was a regular, legendary consultant to the nation's top Republicans, and also another hysterically funny Republican Baptist just like Huckabee.
WEYRICH: Now many of our Christians have what I call the goo-goo syndrome - good government. They want everybody to vote. I don't want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people, they never have been from the beginning of our country and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down."
McDonnell's Democratic opponent in the VA race, former DNC chair Terry McAuliffe, wasn't laughing. He sent a letter to supporters describing Huckabee's comment as "no joking matter," noting: "People died for the right to vote in this country, and we have to protect it." Rachel Weiner has the full letter tonight at HuffPo.
Beyond that, we'll spare you the photographs of the who-knows-how-many African-Americans who not only were kept from voting in this nation by others just "doing the right thing" and "the lord's work," but who were strung up in trees by their necks in order to keep them from voting and to send the hilarious message to others that they'd best not be let out of their "driveways" come Election Day. We'd go on, but it's all just so funny, we can't even keep typing.
There's folks to the right of Ann Coulter? Well, yeah, since Coulter is little more than a phony "conservative" opportunist (and voter fraud felon). We always enjoy it, of course, when these guys eat themselves alive. So who are we to stop them? And we're equally glad to know that the cowardly Coulter also now runs away during interviews with them on the radio, just as she did with us way back in 2005.
Here's the latest video campaign, launched by the anti-choicers on the right, wherein Coulter can't run fast enough...over and over again. As Coulter's '08 endorsed Mitt Romney is likely the closest thing resembling a "legitimate" front-runner for 2012 --- at least by GOP standards --- it'll be fun to watch this internecine fight ramp up between now and then...
(Hat-tip Wendy Norris, who has more at Colorado Independent)
As we wait for the 3-judge panel in Minnesota to issue their verdict in former Sen. Norm Coleman's U.S. Senate race, in which the Democratic challenger Al Franken was found to be the winner by a bi-partisan state canvassing board, D.C. lawmakers are cranking up the political battle which awaits beyond that decision, which could come any day now, and its predictable appeal to the MN Supreme Court by the loser (who will "probably" be Coleman, according to his own attorney).
Sen. "Big Bad" John Cornyn (R-TX), the chair of the National Republican SenatorialConspiratorial Committee (NRSC), is now threatening "World War III" if the Dems try to seat Franken before a U.S. Supreme Court appeal is completed, or even a new federal suit that could be filed by Coleman in U.S. District Court if he chooses...even if those additional judicial processes could take "years"...
Since I first covered the story of the arrest of election officials (including a circuit court judge, the county clerk, the school superintendent and other members of the county elections board) in Clay County, KY, for buying and selling votes, as well as manipulating votes on electronic voting machines without the knowledge of voters, folks have been asking about the political affiliation of the conspirators and whether they were working on behalf of any particular political party.
The subject came up, as well, while I was on the Mike Malloy Show last Friday discussing these arrests, as they had just come to light.
You can download the MP3 of that interview, or listen to it online here (appx. 17 mins)...
While the federal indictment [PDF] notes that a number of those involved in the cabal appear to be members of the local Democratic Party, the scheme also involved at least one conspirator who served as the Republican Party's polling place judge at one of the precincts. Clay County is also a heavily Republican county.
On this point, a commenter who wrote in to respond to last week's article, who claims to be "from Clay County" and to know "each of the people arrested," writes that "ALL of the eight arrested this week" were actually Republican. "They registered as Democrat and took leadership roles in the local party to control precinct officer seats, ensuring all officers at the precinct were hand picked." I can't yet confirm that fact, but that reader's comment is posted in full below, with another one from a Kentucky writer, as both contain some helpful background.
Of course, it could still very well be the case that the crooks were Democrats at work. Either way, from what I'm able to understand about the scheme so far, it seems that it was more about personal power and financial enrichment than anything else. If they were Democrats, they don't seem to have been particularly successful in affecting Democratic wins in their county, even though their scheme was "successful" enough to be repeated election after election and year after year. At the heart of their scheme, after all, was bribing money out of candidates in order to be placed on a "slate" that the cabal would then help to get elected.
As the commenter suggests, it could well be that these "Democratic" officials were only signed up as such in order to affect primary elections (in order to ensure the weakest possible "D" candidate, for example) or even in hopes of adversely affecting general elections as "Democrats," secretly working on behalf of the Republican Party.
I've been unable to learn the party affiliations, yet, of the candidates who paid to be on their "slate," which, once we learn that, could be somewhat instructive. Maybe. But until then, a major point that I'd to make in any case: I don't really care what their party affiliations were.
I guess I'm just in the minority here, but I'm having a bit of trouble getting exercised about $165 million (just to put that into perspective, the movie sequel The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian had a budget of $200 million) in bonuses to AIG employees.
Yeah, it's a shame that approximately one-tenth of one-percent of the $144 billion made available to the company by the federal government in bailout monies went to such bonuses, but where is all the furor from public officials, media outlets and bloggers --- from both Right and Left --- over the 12 billions of dollars (with a "b") sent over to Iraq as pallets of cash (literally, shrink-wrapped $100 bills), which then simply disappeared into that trillion (with a "t") dollar rat hole without accounting or explanation?
Where is the outrage and accountability there? Nowhere.
How about the $4 billion (with a "b") that went to the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002 to purchase privately made electronic voting systems which don't work and don't meet the federal standards it was claimed that they did?
It's curious, but not particularly surprising by now, the stuff that folks in Congress get selectively pissed off about, the stuff that media (both mainstream and blogosphere) go selectively wall-to-wall over, versus the stuff they don't.
You'll pardon me if I'm not particularly moved much at all by the latest round of AIG sturm-und-drang, hand-wringing, navel-gazing, finger-pointing and speechifying. Oh, and about the still-free bin Laden, and the still-free anthrax killer...well, don't get me started. Guess those things don't much matter.
Firedoglake's Jane Hamsher dropped me a note over the weekend to inquire if I'd heard anything about a company called Universal Identification Solutions (UIS) who was to be announcing the results of El Salvador's presidential elections over the weekend. A bunch of election observers down there had been "suddenly" informed that the company would be responsible for election night reporting, yet nobody had heard of them, and their website was "really sketchy and vague" at best, as Jane noted.