B After The Fact

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day!

Go Carbon-Neutral with Terra Pass

An unpaid endorsement.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Partial Birth Abortion Case

Lynn Paltrow, writing in American Prospect:

"Perhaps in the only good news that can be culled from the opinion, it constitutes the death knell of one of the anti-choice movement's favorite political ruses. For years the anti-abortion movement has argued that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided, in part, because it federalized abortion and took power away from individual states to decide how to address the abortion issue. In this way, anti-choice activists implicitly reassured the public that even if Roe were overturned, abortion would undoubtedly remain legal at least in states like California, New York, and Washington."

"But in the wake of yesterday's ruling in Gonzales v. Carhart, there is now little to stand in the way of a federal law banning abortions everywhere if Roe is overturned. In other words, abortion is not really a question of states' rights, but rather of controlling all pregnant women regardless of the state in which they live."

It has always been absurd to think that after almost 40 years of fighting, the Supreme Court would overturn Roe v Wade on a Tuesday only to watch Vermont or Hawaii or some other state turn into a magnet for people seeking choice the next day.

Lynn Paltrow continues:

"According to Kennedy, failing to reverse the unanimous rulings of three lower federal courts, all finding the abortion ban unconstitutional, would risk repudiating "that the government has a legitimate and substantial interest in preserving and promoting fetal life."

Of course, this is where the Supreme Court and I go down different roads, since as a matter of law enforcement, I don't believe that the rights of a fetus should trump the rights of a living person. The emphasis I want to make here is on law enforcement, and exactly how invasive we want the government to be in certain family matters. We'll leave the implications of all of that for another day.

In the remainder of her analyses, Ms. Paltrow, an attorney, and the executive director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women cites extraordinary examples of law enforcement demanding that a fetus trumps the life and liberty of a person:

"At least one federal court has said that sending police to a woman's home, taking her into custody while in active labor and near delivery, strapping her legs together and her body down to transport her against her will to a hospital, and then forcing her, without access to counsel or court review to undergo major surgery"

It's a Brave New World that the Supreme Court is hurtling down.

"All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. – Article XIV, Section 1."

Notes for Posts I will never have the time to research (NRA/ Alberto Gonzales edition)

Second Amendment --- A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.

When the Framers came to discuss the Second Amendment, they were not interested in anyone’s right to shoot animals. They weren’t even concerned with the right of anyone to shoot animals or starve to death.

Nor were they concerned about anyone’s right to defend themselves against violence that may be committed against them by neighbors.

The Second Amendment is radical, not in the right wing way that the NRA states, but in the way that the SDS should have stated.

The purpose of the Second Amendment is to insure that the government does not have a monopoly on firearms.

The purpose is to insure that the people, if they choose to, can organize a militia for their collective defense. And the thing that the Founders thought that the people were most likely to need collective defense against is their own tyrannical government.

A government regulation to try to prevent you from carrying a concealed weapon to church or work or school has nothing to do with the Second Amendment.


Article II; Section IV -The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.

"And doesn’t the Constitution specifically limit Congress’s role in removal of United States attorneys to impeaching them or their superiors for high crimes and misdemeanors?" -- Professor Calabresi, New York Times, April 19, 2007

I pulled Professor Calabresi’s quote because it was right in front of me, but I believe it fairly states a view expressed (incorrectly, in my opinion) by many.

My own view is that the purpose of the phrase “high crimes and misdemeanors” is that it is meant to cover the waterfront. I read it the same way I read “soup to nuts” or “chief cook and bottle washer.”

The flip side to the “unitary theory of the executive,” where the President can do whatever he wants, subject to Congress’s impeachment power, is that Congress is allowed to impeach the President whenever it wants for whatever it can get the requisite number of Senators and Representatives to agree to.

So that if Scooter Libby leaked the name of a CIA agent (never mind that other people on similar tracks were also doing it), then committed perjury about it, and then got convicted, that is an impeachable offense against the Vice President.

Scooter Libby is not a President, Vice President or a civil officer. He was operating under the apparent authority of the Vice President, who should have known and should have stopped him.

So that if Karl Rove deleted 5,000,000 e-mails or even 1 e-mail in violation of a Federal policy, that is an impeachable offense against the President.

There are political reasons not to impeach Presidents for these sorts of things. However, once you start making up new theories like “unitary executive,” Congress needs to have no pity when using the checks and balances given to it by the impeachment power for “misdemeanors”

Saturday, April 14, 2007

A Sea of People Step It Up

What a great day! Hundreds and Hundred of people Stepped It Up in Battery Park --- an event to warn about global warming just a day before we're supposed to have a record rainfall in New York City.

We came all the way from Queens to attend a fantastic rally. We were proud to see our own Congressman, Anthony Weiner, had not only Stepped It Up, but came down to Battery Park to address the crowd.

Everyone who spoke to the crowd was inspiring, not only for what they said, but for who they were. So many young people were speaking, were volunteering, were dressing in blue. Everyone was in high spirits. Certainly our future leaders are very inspiring.

We arrived early, all dressed in blue, and stood all the way in front to hear the speakers. When we turned around at the end, we were so excited to see thousands of people, all ages and backgrounds, dressed in blue, seeking peaceful change.

We followed the fish banners and joined the East group down Pearl Street, over to South Street Seaport. We were told by the volunteers that at a certain point we would spread our arms -- so that every one would be arms-length from the person next to them, in order to make the wave that would signify the Sea of People.

We never did the arms-length thing. We had too many people to do the arms-length thing.

We made a lot of waves, though.

We had a real good time, and we know that we are not alone out there. A lot of people want change. They hope to lead different lives.

Congratulations to everyone who got to attend any of the StepItUp events.

Special congrats and thank yous to Bill McKibben, who spoke at the rally, and who was fighting this issue long before any of us knew what the words "global warming" meant.

We have a chance to save the world.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

StepItUp -- Action on Climate Change

StepItUp 2007

"This April 14th, tens of thousands of Americans will gather all across the country at meaningful, iconic places to call for action on climate change. We will hike, bike, climb, walk, swim, kayak, canoe, or simply sit or stand with banners of our call to action:

"Step it up, Congress! Cut Carbon 80% by 2050."

We plan to be part of the Sea of People .[video here]

"The SEA OF PEOPLE project combines the dynamics of a mass rally with the expressive power of an interactive artistic installation. A noon rally at Battery Park (main lawn) will kick off the event. Then, thousands of participants, ideally dressed in blue, will stretch north in two columns along the projected eastern and western 10-foot waterlines that may one day redefine lower Manhattan under the ten-foot sea level rise scenario. Creating, in essence, a Sea of People!"

Hope to see you there. If you can't make it down to Battery Park, think about joining an action closer to home

Monday, April 09, 2007

Ideas For Posts I Can't Get Around To (Immigration)

(My own view on Immigration Reform is that we already had a guest worker program in this country -- it was called Slavery.)

(I cannot trust the motives of anyone proposing a systematic guest worker program. Anything with a guest worker program is a non-starter in my eyes, no matter how many good things it is attached to in a legislative package.)

(Illegal immigration is illegal, and that has to count for something. The laws need to be enforced, and if the laws are unenforceable they need to be changed to something that is enforceable. I don't know how we are going to deport 10 million plus illegal immigrants.)

(Of course, I know that all the Republicans calling for deportation are also calling for the fair treatment of the children who are born here -- who are born U.S. citizens.)

(We already had a series of laws in this country where people born in this country were not considered citizens of this country, or of anywhere else, either. That was called slavery.)

(The idea that we need illegal immigrants to take jobs that Americans do not want to do is unfathomable to me. I can't even figure out how to respond to that. I hate to sound like someone out of the 19th century, but it appears that we want illegal immigrants to subsidize the price of pork, cotton and oranges.)

(An immigration debate that fails to take into account the effect that the refugees from the War on Terror will have on immigration by the end of the decade, and the effect that the refugees from Global Warming will have on immigration by the end of the next decade, is an immigration debate not worth having.)

(My conclusion on Immigration Reform is that nothing that Bush proposes or this current Congress is likely to approve will make the situation any better. It will actually make things worse because it will lead to the false conclusion that we actually are doing something to solve the problem.)

Giuliani and Kerik

The Los Angeles Times

"Officials from a national firefighters union, along with some relatives of Sept. 11 victims, say they will publicly attack decisions Giuliani made as New York mayor before and after the terrorist strikes.

"Among other complaints, they say that Giuliani failed to support modernized radios that might have spared the lives of more firefighters at the World Trade Center, and that he located the city's main emergency command center in the complex, even though it had been targeted by terrorists eight years earlier. ...

"So far, the International Assn. of Fire Fighters, the country's biggest firefighter union, says it will aim its anti-Giuliani effort at its own 280,000 members. But union President Harold A. Schaitberger said the group will also "stand ready" to support a much more public campaign by families of firefighters and workers who died in the World Trade Center. ...

"It might have the same effect [as the Swift Boat campaign], but our effort will be 100% accurate and truthful," Schaitberger said.

The Washington Post ran this absolutely schizo article, stating that Alberto Gonzales definitely knew about every one of Kerik's bad acts before the nomination of Kerik for Homeland Security was made, but that the President went ahead with the nomination anyway.

It is hard to say what WaPo's agenda was with this article, but it remains the case --

The vetting process for the Director of Homeland Security was rushed and flawed. What does that say about the vetting process for everyone else?

Bernard Kerik was Giuliani's guy, and still is.

Bernard Kerik, on surface appearances, seems to treat Homeland Security primarily as an excuse to make money.

Bernard Kerik was Giuliani's guy, and still is.

The Bush Administration trusted Giuliani and Kerik, and that trust appears to have been misplaced.

According to the Washington Post article, Rudy is not to blame.

Kerik may have lied, but even Alberto Gonzales saw through that. They knew Kerik was lying.

Nevertheless, Bush nominated Kerik for whatever reason. Maybe Bush looks at Kerik and sees a person who values Homeland Security for the same reason Bush does.

Did Alberto tell the President what he knew about Kerik? Did the POTUS even care?

Something about the WaPo article does not add up.