Pardoning the Unpardenable

Avedon argues that impeachment will prevent bush from pardoning the many criminals in his administration:

Brent Budowski is predicting Bush will issue mass pardons of all the criminals in his administration, and I have no reason to think he’s wrong, because there is only one thing that can prevent it: impeachment.

Well, it may take more than simply impeaching bush. There is, you see, a line of succession. You will have to take out cheney before he becomes president. Then numbers 2 and 3 are democrats, byrd and pelosi, who have spent the past 7 years enabling the bush debacle.
byrd might be more likely than pelosi to not issue pardons before the next president takes office. But, really, what makes you think a president obama would not issue pardons? Bringing all these perps to trial would lead to a diminishment of the very power obama seeks.

On the less dim side of this: it will be clear that anyone bush pardons was, indeed, guilty!

It’s ok, the pres told me to do it.

The dems do more for bush and the police state than the repubs:

I’d like to underscore the fact that in 2006, when the Congress was controlled by Bill Frist and Denny Hastert, the administration tried to get a bill passed legalizing warrantless eavesdropping and telecom amnesty, but was unable. They had to wait until the Congress was controlled by Steny Hoyer, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid to accomplish that.

In short form, the house just passed legislation (to call it law completely demeans the concept of law) that says that even if it is illegal if the president says it was ok it’s, well, not illegal. So why do we have a congress and judicial system….?
Unfortunately, the legislation is even worse…read the above link and, heck, even the Washington Post for more nauseous details.
Blue Girl suggests that there was some big lever used on the dems:

But there is one thing no one knows–and that is, how bad was the thing that was used to threaten the Democratic Party to roll over on this issue? How bad was the thing they were threatening to use against anyone who opposed them? Was it the fact that there are archives on every Democratic politician kept sealed away–archives of their personal conversations, archives of their monetary dealings, details of their sex lives?

Nah, this is just the way these folks are. dems and repubs alike continue to cravenly build executive power, line the wallets of their corporate masters and shred the constitution.

Some day all you folks that wear your donkey and elephant pins will realize that these parties and their hacks are not interested in you but only in the power that they wield.

Hat tip to Steve for the original abomination sighting.

Who Has the Rights?

In a recent article discussing a ruling that terminally ill people do not have a right to access to experimental drugs is this quote from one of the judges:

“We conclude there is no fundamental right … of access to experimental drugs for the terminally ill,” said Judge Thomas Griffith, an appointee of President Bush.

Beginning at the end:

  1. Why should we care that the Judge drafting the opinion is a bush appointee?
  2. The terminally ill do not have any fundamental rights that other humans do not also have. Thus, this ruling appears partially correct.
  3. Unfortunately, it is also very wrong. All humans have the fundamental right to voluntarily exchange goods and services with one another.
  4. Any government that interferes with #3 should be replaced.
  5. A corollary to #3 is that even though you, I and anyone else have the right to buy and use experimental drugs the manufacturer has no obligation to sell them to us.

You can find background on and discussion of this case in this Reason article.

Trains, Planes, Roads and Ships

Kip calls senator lautenberg to task for calling for more subsidies for Amtrak:

How much more remedial can one make it: Amtrak loses money because people don’t use it. People don’t use it because people neither need nor want to use it. People are — gasp! — relying entirely on airplanes and roads.

……

So when Lautenberg says, “We cannot depend entirely on airplanes and roads,” what he really means is “I get a warm fuzzy feeling from the thought of having Amtrak, and that’s more important than any other use that you might have for your tax dollars.”

Amtrak, roads, planes (airports), public transit and shipping are all heavily subsidized at the federal, state and local levels. Non-Amtrak trains have been historically heavily subsidized.

I don’t pretend to know which mode(s) of transport would win out without tax subsidies but it is time to find out. Let’s eliminate all the tax subsidies and put the mechanisms in place to assure that the folks using a particular transportation service are paying the full cost per use.

It will take time but I suspect that we will see dramatically different answers rise up than we have seen with the centralized planning of the last 150 years.

An Amtrak like service may or may not be one of the answers.

I Passed. Can You?

The INS wants you score 80% or better on an oral version of this test.
I scored 90% and will make the usual disclaimer that at least one of the questions I got wrong was not particularly germane to being a good citizen. It was something that most folks would look up rather than remember.
How well did you do?
Here is the current list of possible questions (PDF) with answers.
In the new pilot exam (PDF) applicants are required to anwer only 6 out of 10 questions during the pilot period.

Via Rants From The Rookery.

Orange Coast College Student Government Gets Rid of the Pledge

There will be no more reciting of the pledge of allegiance at Orange Coast College student government meetings:

Student leaders at a community college voted to drop the Pledge of Allegiance after a tense meeting in which one flag-waving pledge supporter berated them as anti-American radicals.
Orange Coast College’s student trustees voted Wednesday not to recognize the pledge, with three of the five board members saying it should be dropped from their meetings.
Board member Jason Ball argued that the pledge inspires nationalism, violates the separation between church and state with the phrase “under God,” and is irrelevant to the business of student government.

To which Edwonk suggests:

Since these student “leaders” have taken it upon themselves to make a “statement” by rejecting the United States Flag, I wonder if these same student “leaders” would be willing to make an even bigger “statement” by rejecting all government-supplied financial aid as well.

Nope, not until the government stops collecting the funds used for financial aid via taxation.

Update (11/21/06): It’s back for now:

At an intense two-and-a-half-hour meeting in the faculty lounge, the student trustees listened to — and often expressed — passionate opinions both for and against making the pledge an official item. In the end, by a 3-2 vote, the board opted to reinstate the pledge as an “opportunity” for any attendees who wish to recite it and promised to hold a forum or take an opinion poll in the near future to determine students’ feelings on the matter.
“In my view, this is a fair compromise,” said student body president Lynne Riddle, who suggested the compromise that the trustees accepted but is not a voting member of the board. “I feel strongly still that the board made no mistake. However, we have heard additional voices from students and the community.”

If they can create an environment that supports those who do and those who don’t choose to recite the pledge great. If not, then eliminating it was the correct choice.

Just Say NO!

gonzales and mueller can simply go spend their time sharing their personal transactions with each other:

Gonzales and FBI Director Robert Mueller privately met with representatives of AOL, Comcast, Google, Microsoft and Verizon last week and said that Internet providers–and perhaps search engines–must retain data for two years to aid in anti-terrorism prosecutions, according to multiple sources familiar with the discussion who spoke on condition of anonymity on Tuesday.

If there is an active investigation and these twinks have demonstrated probable cause to a judge in a non-secret court that some one may be involved in the commission of a crime or has committed a crime then you can start tapping that one person’s data now. You do not get to build a massive fishing pond.
Yet another reason to toss’m all out…and not replace’m.
Via Why Now.

Validate Your Sources

In an editorial kind of calling for more congressional oversight of the NSA this Miami Herald editorial says:

Let’s be clear about what this program is and is not. ”The government does not listen to domestic phone calls without court approval,” President Bush insisted shortly after the furor was ignited by a story in USA Today. In short, no indiscriminate wiretapping.

Really, these folks consider this quote from bush as a valid source to justify their clarification of what this program is and is not?
The authors should take the advice of their own closing sentence:

We should be well past the time when ”trust me” is an acceptable response to questions about what the government is up to. That’s the way freedom is lost.

Well, yes. But congress has failed to provide so called oversight and the executive branch seems to be out of control. Ample evidence that the concept of checks and balances is severely flawed.

Better than enhanced congressional oversight might be a complete elimination of these rotting organs which seem unconcerned with our freedom and liberty.