B After The Fact

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Hey! Senator Inhofe! Have Someone Read This To You

Al Gore -- Law Abiding Gas-Guzzling American

I also wrote this. That has some factual information in it about carbon offsets, but since I am not paying you anything, I don't expect that you care.

I will leave your reader with this excerpt from my carbon offset post.

"So the New York Post runs a lead editorial called Gore The Guzzler and complains that the former Vice President, a son of a Senator, a multi-millionaire, is a hypocrite, because he uses more energy than some immigrant family living off public assistance in the Bronx.

"Me, I wonder how Gore's energy use compares to that other son of a Senator turned Vice President (George 41). The Post complains about Gore wasting energy, but what about Dick Cheney's world-wide tour of spreading mischief and misinformation throughout the South Pacific? I wonder how much energy that uses.

"The New York Post doesn't make that comparison. That would be an honest comparison, and the Post doesn't seem to be up to anything honest."

Friday, March 16, 2007

Mitt Romney for President?

One of the reasons Sullivan might have printed my little post was that he was grappling with the same issues in his review of the Dinesh D'Sousa book in The New Republic .

I will be reading the D'Sousa book at around the same time I am reading Mein Kampf and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, so I have to take Sullivan's word for the description of the book.

Basically, the book says that fundamental Islam is not terrorism. It's not even bad, since it promotes a desirable social order (woman and homosexuals and Jews in their place). No pornography, no personal freedom, no thoughts that there might be personal freedom, or some play in the joints of the power structure where you might exercise personal freedom away from a moral code which -- surprise on surprise -- Dinesh D'Sousa gets to make up himself. But it looks an awful lot like Radical Islam (as D'Sousa invents it).

Apparently, D’Sousa says that blowing up buildings in New York in response to freedom is not terrorism. It is a more than reasonable reaction to American liberalism. Therefore, American Liberalism in and of itself blew up the World Trade Center. Therefore, according to D'Sousa, the United States may be on the wrong side of its own war. The United States should be helping Osama to root out American-style liberalism.

Essentially, according to Sullivan, D'Sousa wants a theocracy, but D'Sousa isn't even interested in theocracy as a means of enforcing even his own theories of the sacred. D'Sousa is just looking for the power of people like "him" to have control over people like "us."

Sounds to me, and its been sounding this way for a couple of years now, ever since, in my intellectual development at least, I was jumping up and down about Terri Schiavo:

The Republican Party, the Conservative movement, is slowly being dominated by a sort of nostalgia for pre-Reformation, pre-Lutheran Protestantism in the United States.

They are looking for a Protestantism that never was, mixed with a sort of pre-Vatican II Roman Catholicism. There would be no Pope, so it can be observed by Protestants. Then they want to use the power of the New Deal/ Fair Deal state to ram this new religion down everyone's throats. The head of the government would be the only person with the power to be the head of the church.

Some proof of the fact that this concoction is new is that there was no law for these people to turn to when they were making up rules for Terri Schiavo, and there is no law for these people to turn to when they try to get Scooter Libby off for perjury. And there is no law for Karl Rove and Alberto Gonzales to turn to when they are trying to claim voter fraud based on the fact that black citizens turn up to vote. These people hate judges, even conservative Republican judges, because even the most conservative Judge will look to the law to justify an exercise of power. These people want the judges to exercise “Higher Law” as they see it.

It is true that traditionally, it has been liberals -- from Ralph Waldo Emerson to Martin Luther King, Jr. -- who have tended to claim “Higher Law”, especially in the area of civil rights. Conservatives have long been outraged -- calling these people Massachusetts liberals (Emerson, Thoreau, Sumner) and anarchists (Joe Hill) and Communists (Martin Luther King, Jr.) who did not understand the nature of the rule of law and the Constitution.

Turns out the Conservatives were never outraged over appeals to “Higher Law.” They were just waiting to overturn the Government that defeated their ancestors in war, freed their slaves, and then, 100 years later, gave their slave’s ancestors some of the rights of human beings.

In today's lead editorial, The New York Times
(obviously not objective, but not necessarily wrong), claimed that U.S. Attorneys are being fired, basically for allowing the descendents of these slaves, the right to vote in accordance with the law.

These Republican John Ashcroft-appointed U.S. Attorneys had the audacity to actually take their jobs seriously.

They didn’t understand the role of law in the new America.

Now, these new conservatives are beginning to wrap themselves in a religion that never existed to claim this is what God wanted for them all along.

Why shouldn’t a Mormon be our next President?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The War For Oil

I spent have my life signing Internet petitions for "proper" causes.

These groups always want you to edit their suggested letters. I hardly ever bother.

However, I received a few petitions in the last few days asking me to write my Congressman regarding the Iraqi oil bill.

I wound up redrafting all but two paragraphs. (Mine in itals)

Dear Congressman Weiner,

I write you today with an urgent call for you to stop the theft of Iraq’s oil by the Bush administration and U.S. oil corporations.

When we went to war we were told that the Iraqi people would have control of the oil revenues coming out of Iraq.

I was more cynical than that. I thought that the American people would take the oil revenue.

However, these people have even out-cynicaled me.

Rather than a war for democracy, a small number of Iraqis apparently are poised to turn over their oil to a small number of oil consortiums.

Our men and women should not be fighting and dying to line the pockets of the few.

Take a stand by rejecting the Bush administration’s proposed oil law for Iraq and demanding that its passage be removed from the President’s official benchmarks for Iraq.

Obviously, as a working person, I don't have the time to read these agreements (assuming that they are public documents anyway).

However, this sounds like the same sort of grab for natural resources that marked the British and German imperialism of the late 19th century. You see what two World Wars did for those people.

Let's try to do the right thing by the people of Iraq. Let's try to do the right thing by ourselves.

P.S. --- Thanks for hosting the screen of An Inconvenient Truth at Queens College.


What Was Alberto Thinking? -- An Insomniac's Special

Hard to argue that this Administration and its millions of enablers care about the impartial administration of justice when we find out that the White House tried to have all the United States Attorneys fired.

I stand by this post from last week, which I wrote before I knew the half of it.

Somehow, the Republican Senators let this new law about the appointment of U.S. attorneys go into the PATRIOT Act without thinking that they would lose personal power over it.

By the way, it's that loss of Senate power that is going to keep this U.S. Attorney scandal alive.

The Republican Senators gave away their power. That's the first gazillion rules of power broken in one shot.

So there's a good chance that the Republican Senators will not stand in the way if the Democratic Senators attempt to grab some of that power back.

Strangely enough, I sort of see this thing from Alberto's point of view. He asked the Senate to change the law. The law is clear on its face, even if the Gonzales spin on it in front of Congress was disingenuous.

The law said that the Attorney General could do whatever he damn well pleased in the hiring of U.S Attorneys, and he did.

What Is Alberto thinking? Maybe his is thinking of singing the old Jimmy Durante song to Congress right about now --

How Could You Believe Me
When I Said I Love You
When You Know I've Been A Liar
All My Life

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Polar Bears SOS

Save The Polar Bears . A message from the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Andrew Sullivan Thinks I'm Brilliant!

Thanks, so much Andrew. That really means a lot to me!

Spector -v- Gonzales

You may have understood this part of the U.S. Attorneys firing scandal , before I did.

In firing the U.S. attorneys, Gonzales was relying on a new provision in the amended Patriot Act, which gives the Attorney General the right to fill vacancies in the U.S. attorney roster permanently. The previous law, I guess, was that U.S. attorneys were appointed either with the advise and consent of the Senate, or leastways, with the approval of the Senator from the attorneys home state (the Senator of the President's political party).

Apparently, Arlen Spector was talked into sneaking the new provision on Attorney General appointments into the Patriot Act. And whatever the Administration told him 18 months ago, it was unlikely that Gonzales told Spector that in order to "fill" vacancies, the Bushies would "create" vacancies. Like the one in Little Rock, where the new U.S. Attorney is a political operative for Karl Rove. His first priority, one would assume, would be to dig up dirt on Hillary.

It was unlikely that Gonzalez clued Spector into the thing that is probably making him madder than anything else. The Patriot Act amendment diminished the power of U.S. Senators.

That's why Arlen gave Alberto such a huge public spanking, and sent him to bed without any supper.

I assume business as usual will resume soon.

It wouldn't surprise me if all the other U.S. attorneys were fired solely to create a diversion for what was going on in Little Rock. That part of the Karl Rove scheme still hasn't backfired.

Just as the Republicans learned earlier in the week in the Scooter Libby verdict, they are learning again now.

Obstruction of Justice pays huge dividends. The Attorney General is not much interested in the rule of law. Neither it seems, is anyone else.

Use Terrapass

According to this op-ed piece, in today's New York Times Al Gore's carbon offset bill is $1,247.50 a year. Not so much. Terrapass uses the money, not to plant trees, but to pay for landfills that counteract the effects of methane gas.

Go to Terrapass . Buy your carbon offsets. It's not that expensive.

According to Gregg Easterbrook, when the mandatory carbon-offset legislation finally arrives, it would be most effective if we could buy carbon offsets use in China -- to counteract the inefficient coal plants going up at a rate that would do the soon-to-be ex-owners of TXU proud.


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Republican Civil War

What makes the whole Libby thing different is that the Republicans did it to themselves.

This is not the Democrats going after Nixon. This is not the Republicans going after Clinton.

No. The right hand man of the most powerful Republican Vice President in history was done in by a lot of other Republicans.

The John Ashcroft Justice Dept agreed with the CIA request to investigate the Valerie Plame leak. Ashcroft’s Republican assistant, James Comey, appointed one of his own, Patrick Fitzgerald, perhaps the only Republican in Chicago.

When Libby lied to Fitzgerald, and in so doing, made Fitzgerald’s leak investigation meaningless, Fitzgerald sought to expand his investigation by going to the same Republican three-judge panel that agreed to expand Kenneth Starr’s investigation some years earlier.

Then, after years of Republican complaints that the press had too much immunity under the First Amendment, Fitzgerald basically had the law completely reinterpreted, and forced a lot of very rich, very well-backed reporters to testify. In fact, the only person who saw, who is likely to see, jail time in this whole enterprise was a reporter for the Republican bete noir, the New York Times.

In the end, a Republican prosecutor got Republican judges to get Democratic reporters to testify against Republican politicians.

All the leading players on both sides of the fence in the Libby trial are Republicans. As far as I can tell, no Republicans were involved in the selection of any jurors. If the jury, as it now appears, was unusually well educated (does that mean that they are presumptively more something or other), then that is the fault of the Republican defense attorneys that allowed those jurors on the panel.

Just like all the leading players on both sides of the issue in the U.S. attorney firings are Republicans. Most of these U.S. attorneys were appointed by John Ashcroft, a former Republican elected official, with the support of Republican senators and congressmen.

Just like a new Republican Secretary of Defense is forcing the generals feet to the fire in the Walter Reed scandal.

But to hear the right-wing media tell it, Fitzgerald, the U.S. attorneys, and Secretary Gates are all bleeding heart liberals trying to bring good conservatives down.

Don’t let ‘em do it, Democrats. Don’t waste your time rearguing WMDs and 2002. Democrats should keep the House hearings focused on the nuts-and-bolts stuff about where the money went. Believe me, they’ll be entertaining enough.

In the Senate, why bother to do anything when no one has the votes? Instead, they might want to spend their time on special projects. By which I mean the Martha Stewart kind.

If Democrats just grind it out, or better yet, just do nothing at all, they can continue to make those Republicans eat each other.

The bones they spit out are those of new liberals -- the Republicans who made Lew Libby’s conviction, the U.S. attorneys firing scandal, and the Walter Reed scandal possible.

So I’d like to welcome, to the liberal side, John Ashcroft, James Comey, Patrick Fitzgerald, and 8 Republican former U.S. attorneys.

I’d like to welcome Secretary of Defense Gates to the liberal side. A good betting pool can be formed by guessing how long Secretary Gates is going to survive in the Pentagon now that he insisted on shedding some light on the Walter Reed scandal.

Most poignantly, I’d like to welcome as new liberals all those poor wounded soldiers and their families – most from Red States, an overwhelming number of whom support the President. Their only crime against the Republicans is to ask the Bush Administration to keep its own promises.

It seems that one group of Republicans has a problem with another group of Republicans. You know, the old fashion type of Republican, who may disagree with me on policy, and even on procedures, and even on what the Constitution says, but at least believes in the primacy of the Constitution and the rule of law.

I wonder what Ann Coulter, new fangled Republican, would call those old fashioned rule-of-law-loving Republicans.

Ideas for Posts I Can't Get Around To

(Why did Bush even allow Ashcroft to let an internal White House matter go into the criminal justice system? Why didn’t Gonzalez fire Fitzgerald while he was going around firing people?)

(Don’t believe anything you hear about how the Democrats criminalized a political matter. That was all Bush, all the time.)

[John Ashcroft is not my favorite fellow, but at least he faced the voters once or twice, and won an election (several?) along the way. How many Republicans in the Bush Administration have ever faced a voter? Think it might have given them some badly-needed perspective?]

[What did Libby’s little love letter to Judy Miller mean anyway? The one about the tangling tumbleweeds, or whatever it was.]

(I’d never call a paper that publishes Maureen Dowd on a regular basis liberal, but I know where the consensus lies).

(A good essay question would be to compare and contrast the Administration’s treatment of soldiers and government employees doing their jobs properly with its treatment of private contractors doing the same jobs incompetently. Oops, just short-circuited about 50,000,000 American brains.)

(Whatever you do, pray for President Bush’s continued good health. You don’t want Bush to die on us, and to have Cheney become President, and you don’t want Cheney to resign, and allow Bush nominate someone for Vice-President, like say, Jeb Bush, and enable him to be the front-runner in the 2008 Presidential race.)

Where's Karl Rove?

Where's Karl Rove?

This is a really funny, creative video.

Thanks Barry A for sending it along!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


Let’s start the Libby discussion by reminding ourselves that (a) the Prosecutor was a Republican, and (b) there wouldn’t have been a Prosecutor if Bush had simply gone to Cheney and said, “Hey, Dick, WTF?”

Virtually all the time, when someone tries to obstruct justice, they apparently fail to obstruct justice. Liars tend to delay the facts from coming out, but cannot really destroy them. So you wind up scratching your head wondering why someone would take such a major risk to obstruct justice over some trivial matter.

Most people think they are smart enough to outsmart the entire Federal justice apparatus.

Turns out that Lew Libby is as smart as he thinks he is.

Libby has actually succeeded in obstructing justice.

Yeah, it turns out that outing a CIA agent is a crime that is just about impossible to prove. However, it is unlikely that Libby was worried about leaking information on Valerie Plame when he went to the grand jury. Must have been something else in the Joe Wilson/ Valerie Plame/ Niger/ uranium/ British intelligence forged documents chain (remember those)that was making Lewis a wee bit nervous.

What might it be?

How would I know? Scooter Libby has successfully obstructed justice.

It is five years after the trip to Niger, four years after the State of the Union, and we still don’t know.

Years and years where Bush has constantly been able to say that he cannot comment on, he will not act in the middle of, an ongoing investigation, an ongoing trial, and soon an ongoing appeal.

Sort of like what Bush said about Abu Gharib, sort of like what Bush said about Katrina, sort of like what Bush is saying about Walter Reed.

It seems that the answer to Abu Gharib is to look to the private contractors. It seems that the answer to Katrina is look to the private contractors. It seems that the answer to Walter Reed will be to look to the private contractors. Kind of makes you wonder where the answer to this obstruction of justice issue, the answer to what was troubling in the trail up to the WMD fraud that Libby has short circuited, may lie.

Now, I bet that Bush will say he cannot comment, will not act on Libby, until the appeals process is exhausted. If Libby has any kind of legal representation (and we know he does), they should be able to stretch this out until January, 2009. Then Libby can get his pardon (he was only doing his job, helping the President win the war), and pay his lawyers back from his book and movie deals. Maybe even get to keep a little extra for himself.

Thanks for serving your country, Scooter! Thanks for keeping so many people on the government payroll, wasting the taxpayers money, chasing after you.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Al Gore -- Law Abiding Gas-Guzzling American

After seeing An Inconvenient Truth 4 times:

Al Gore is NOT telling people to live in the cold and the dark to save the polar bears.

In the course of the movie, you see Al Gore fly all over the planet, and use computers like they are going out of style.

His so-called "slide show" is full of energy-consuming visual effects.

Gore is just asking people to use less energy when they can.

And to buy carbon offsets.

And anyone can do that. You don't need to be rich.It's a very small use tax.

Gore is not being a hypocrite. And he is not being a martyr.

My most liberal teacher at Harvard Law School -- my tax professor -- taught us:

If you don't believe in tax loopholes, then lobby against them. But as long as there are tax loopholes, and everyone else is using them, make sure you tell your clients to use them. That's being a good lawyer. And use them yourself. Don't be a fool.

Al Gore is not a hypocrite. He's not a fool. He's trying to change the law. But in the meantime, he will obey the laws on the book. Al Gore is just a law-abiding gas guzzling American. Who buys carbon offsets.

And the WSJ and the Foxies and the Post and the Rushies all know that.

But they choose to make up an issue out of thin air and slam Gore for it.

As if destroying Al Gore will make global warming go away.

That's why I called it a smear.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Al Gore and Carbon Offsets

According to Wikipedia

"A carbon offset is a service that tries to reduce the net carbon emissions of individuals or organizations indirectly, through proxies who reduce their emissions and/or increase their absorption of greenhouse gases. A wide variety of offset actions are available; tree planting is the most common. Renewable energy and energy conservation offsets are also popular, including emissions trading credits."

"The intended goal of carbon offsets is to combat global warming."

So the New York Post runs a lead editorial called Gore The Guzzler and complains that the former Vice President, a son of a Senator, a multi-millionaire, is a hypocrite, because he uses more energy than some immigrant family living off public assistance in the Bronx.

Me, I wonder how Gore's energy use compares to that other son of a Senator turned Vice President (George 41). The Post complains about Gore wasting energy, but what about Dick Cheney's world-wide tour of spreading mischief and misinformation throughout the South Pacific? I wonder how much energy that uses.

The New York Post doesn't make that comparison. That would be an honest comparison, and the Post doesn't seem to be up to anything honest.

Nevertheless, the Post goes on to say:

"A spokeswoman for Gore didn't dispute the figures, but insisted the former Second Family purchases enough energy from renewable sources to offset their sizable carbon footprint."

"No doubt."

But then the Post tries to finesse the matter by saying.

"But that's just another way of saying that the rich truly are different."

And a statement like that is all the proof you need that no matter how dishonest and sleazy you think the Clintons are, Bill and Hillary are no match for even a mainstream Republican outfit like The New York Post when they start to run a smear campaign.

Because the rich are not different. Anyone can buy carbon offsets.

Just mosey on over to Terrapass and see for yourself.

If you can't afford carbon offsets for your lifestyle, then you can't afford your lifestyle.

And I don't mean you can't afford your lifestyle in the bleeding heart don't-you-care-what-you're-doing-to-poor-Mother-Earth sense.

I mean in the you need to see a bankruptcy lawyer sense.

I think that the people who are writing the New York Post know that.

Unless, of course, the people writing the New York Post get their information from reading the New York Post.