“I know no way of judging of the future but by the past,”-said by some guy named Edward Gibbons
Ah.... the more things change the more they stay the same eh?
This week I watched in horror as puggish Attorney General / Torture Czar Alberto Gonzalez came off like a righteously emboldened & happy lil eavesdropping bully at the FISA hearings before the Senate Judiciary Commitee...
While of course, as per recent Republican tradition, none of their own are sworn in, and Gonzalez was not asked by the chair of the hearing to provide his testimony under the customary oath. Curiously most major news outlets, who salivated and couldn't shut up over Oprah's recent James Frey "truth" controversy did not even mention the dispute over Arlen Specter's refusal to swear Gonzales to tell the truth at the hearing. The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Washington Post all omitted from their February 7 coverage of the hearing any mention of the dispute over the refusal to require Gonzales to testify under oath. TV was much the same, with ABC's World News Tonight, CBS Evening News, NBC's News, and PBS' NewsHour giving the occasion no mention, and never referring to the vote on his swearing in .
I guess some Democrat folks were just upset because they don't trust a guy who believes Congress authorized a warrantless domestic surveillance program in violation of the FISA court Congress itself established in 1978 to fight previoud such abuses, and that Congress didn't know they had authorized him to do so, and didn't find out about until he didn't tell them. Hey ! What's the big deal? Why should the media care when America and it's Congress doesn't know about it? In fact the whistleblowers are the real problem... at least in Roberto's all knowing, all seeing eye atop the pyramid.
America's Democratic Party, which has apparently rolled over and played dead for so long that it's bloated corpse is starting to stink, just nodded and mumbled as usual and made some sort of whiny bitch remarks. Meanwhile in a 10-8 party-line vote, the Senate Judiciary committee ignored one of the most common and familiar legal traditions and refused to swear in Gonzalez. Republicans shrugged and figured everyone now should just shut up & blindly trust and not insult any weasal in a suit.
I guess we really can't be expected to have we learned much from the suit wearing deceptions of Enron, Watergate and Used Car Salesmen?
One of the odder moments was when Gonzalez claimed Abe Lincoln & George Washington were also into "electronic" eavesdropping... or something like that...
President Washington, President Lincoln, President Wilson, President Roosevelt have all authorized electronic surveillance on a far broader scale.
In fact implied Gonzalez, our domestic electronic eavesdropping program is up to date, trendy and hipper than the I-Pod
"It's an early-warning system designed for the 21st century."
Even a few normally oblivious to checks & balances Republicans were put off by the Nah Nah Nah , You Can't Touch Me airs of the performance, or perhaps when Gonzalez ill advisedly referred to the President as "the client."...
However, in a long day of verbal back of forth, Gonzalez pulled some classics out for his defense, namely the idea that the Bush admin can go around the laws set up to protect citizens from unwarranted spying due to Presidential precedents set up in the way way back good ol' daze...
The daze when guys named Gonzalez hardly worked in The White House except maybe as gardeners...
Now a feller named Alberto can get in close to the big white man in chief and write him handy memos about sanctioning torture techniques, ignoring the Geneva Convention and spying on citizens without pesky judicial oversight.
Despite Article 1 of the constituition which states:
"All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States."We have a President & staff who believe they are "above" this law... Despite taking an oath about upholding the constituition, they are instead redacting it and rewriting it to suit their needs... and have no intention of following any suggestions they don't want even if the same Supreme Court that put them in power also found in the Hamdi case that Judicial Review is required before a U.S. citizen could be treated as a Foreign Agent/"Enemy Combatant".
Meanwhile , lost in the hearing hub bub was that the prez has submitted a bottomless budget that will increase military spending yet again, while cutting healthcare, education and social services and because we don't need the money, also somehow cuts taxes for the rich at the same time. Plus, all the while, it basically ignores the out of control national debt, which is very different from the deficit... I know i gets confusing.
The only reason I understand any of it is that I sat through an hour long C-Span presentation of some semi-sensible Democratic Senator named Kent Conrad from North Dakota. Conrad spent his time being a very flustered stern midwestern school teacher at a press conference decrying the lack of reasonable measures in Bush's budget and calling it unsustainable the entire time. He had charts... gotta love charts. Conrad produced graphics showing that the amount of federal government debt held by foreigners before Bush became president took numerous administrations and multiple decades to reach $1 trillion and now in only five years of his administration has more than doubled.
"This budget represents an absolute failure to face up to the country's fiscal condition,” typical Sen. Kent Conrad quote.
Disturbing things about The Bush budget include a litany of economic assumptions and miracles he counts on, like Congress somehow being able to cut spending indefinitely, that will somehow lead to deficit reductions in the future. Yet, his track record is the exact opposite, and since his inauguration in 2001, military spending alone has grown 45% including $120 Billion for 2006, with absolutely no war spending specified in Bush's future deficit projections.
It's insane ! and I can barely balance a checkbook and see it !
Gotta love the fact they haven't budgeted for anymore bullets... but then again... is it just cause they are idiots? Do you really think they intend to shut the military war spending down, say to the projected 50 billion for next year, a small fraction of what was spent just last year?
what drugs are they on?
how do they expect to get anywhere with their heads up there collective a$$?
don't they know you can't there from here?
REM - Can't Get There From Here
The Bush admin's "Iraq" / "Al Qaeda" whatever "war on whatever we say we are fighting" type policy is on a seemingly similar imperialist quest of the one 100 years ago. By this I refer to back when ol' Gen Arthur MacArthur went in to control the the Phillipines, and was surprised by the amount of resistence they found to our benevolent but forcefully imposed "sovereignty". MacArthur was aghast at the "civilians" who fought against the US and himself testified before the 56th Congress that
"…men who participate in hostilities without being part of a regular organized force, and without sharing continuously in its operations, but who do so with intermittent returns to their homes and vocation, divest themselves of the character of soldiers and if captured are not entitled to the privileges of prisoners of war."
Deja Rumsfeld eh?
Said one editorial of it's day unearthed from history by current Federal Judge Evan J Wallach :
The United States at the present moment is not, technically, engaged in any war. But it is engaged in the warlike enterprise of putting down what is technically an insurrection—a large and baffling one. It seems strange to Americans that the Filipinos—or so many of them—are bitterly opposed to our sovereignty. They must know it is likely to be a great improvement over former conditions…Nevertheless they fight on. The situation is a depressing one from every point of view. Good men are perplexed. Questions of right and wrong, of consistency with American ideals and principles, of stifling the ‘passion for independence,’ of national responsibility, of prudence—all are hard to decide.
Public Opinion 30 (1901) 326.
Since it seems the admin would love to turn back the clock, and revist the last hundred years, before limits were put on Presidential powers, I thought I'd finish up the post by playing some music & audio from the GOOD OL DAZE...
What wartime look back at our proud history would be complete without the miliatry marching band faves of John Phillip Sousa. Sousa still gets lots of love at every 4th of July parade, and his patriotic music has long been taught beginning in the elementary schools, on through collegiate levels.
John Phillip Sousa - The Darkies Temptation (1897)
John Phillip Sousa - American Patrol ( 1901)
John Phillip Sousa - A Coon Band Contest (1900)
John Phillip Sousa - Stars & Stripes Forever (1901)
Albert Farrington - It's A Long Way To Tipperary (1915)
A few months back I recounted the popular minstrel style Edison wax cylinder recordings of Byron Harlan, and here's some of his World War One era hits
Byron G Harlan - I'm Just An Old Jay From The USA
Byron G Harlan - How Ya Gonna Keep Em Down On The Farm
More Vintage Audio from First World War.com :
Enrico Caruso - Over There ( 1918)
Johnnie, get your gun,
Get your gun, get your gun,
Take it on the run,
On the run, on the run.
Hear them calling, you and me,
Every son of liberty.
Hurry right away,
No delay, go today,
Make your daddy glad
To have had such a lad.
Tell your sweetheart not to pine,
To be proud her boy's in line.
(chorus sung twice)
Arthur Fields - Where Do We Go From Here?( 1917)
First of all, at the call, when the war be-gan,
Pat en-list-ed in the ar-my as a fight-ing man,
When the drills be-gan they'd walk a hun-dred miles a day,
Tho' the rest got tir-ed, Pad-dy al-ways used to say:
that's all for now... but note:
"Where do we go from here, boys? Where do we go from here?"
Slip a pill to Kai-ser Bill and make him shed a tear,
And when we see the en-e-my we'll shoot them in the rear,
"Oh, joy! Oh, boy! Where do we go from here?"
this song was later a fave in World War II as well, with the Andrews Sisters having a big hit with it as well...
American Quartet w/ Billy Murray - Oh Johnny, Oh Johnny
The WW1 & Warren G Harding era is a time that most Republicans seem to miss. Back then we had no troubling anti-segregationists clogging up the courts, congress was down with the prez in crushing potentially socialist Unions, and as the first world war war ended, Republican Warren G Harding, a feller who opposed the US joining The League of Nations won by a landslide in 1920 elections...
Warren G Harding - The Republic Must Awaken
"A republic worth living in is worth fighting for, and sacrificing for, and dying for. In the fires of this conflict we shall wipe out the disloyalty of those who wear American garb without the faith, and establish a new concord of citizenship and a new devotion, so that we should have made a safe America the home and hope of a people who are truly American in heart and soul."
Corrine Roosevelt Robinson- Safeguard America
In this old Edison era recording Teddy Roosevelt's sister endorses the team of Harding and Coolidge in the 1920 elections and comes up sputtering a vehement dislike of the aged Democratic candidate Woodrow Wilson.
now some more recent War Time audio files...
SF Gate's Kim Komenich - US Soldiers In Iraq reflect on life & death
Monty Python - Always Look Upon The Bright Side Of Life
Gang Of Four - Ether( Ladytron Remix )
Eugene Chadbourne - New New New War War War
NOFX - The IDiots Are Taking Over
Nas Ft Lauryn Hill - If I Ruled The World
Cake - Guitar Man
Dido - White Flag
Psss looks like some folks are revving up the impeachment engines again, not only have Santa Cruz & SF CA elected officials brought it up, but A Group Of Vermont Citizens have taken action on impeachment. and started the process; Details on Daily KOS ]
that's all for now... but note: