Sunday, October 29, 2006

Hannah Arendt

I attended the "Thinking in Dark Times: The Legacy of Hannah Arendt" conference at Bard College this weekend ( I was struck by the relevancy of her thinking to the times we live in. Arendt valued constitutional republics, of which the US was once the premiere example.
I was also struck by the disconnect between some of the presenters analysis of her work as a public intellectual thinking in dark times --she thought and wrote on the political issues of her time from the Holocaust through the Pentagon Papers--and the dark times we are living in today.
We live in dark times for our constitutional republic: our constitution has been decimated. The president not only is dismissive of international treaties and documents [for instance, the ABM Treaty --see:, and the "pesky" according to Bush (9/17/06) Geneva Conventions] , he has called the Constitution "a god damned piece of paper" (see:

We are in the midst of a constitutional crisis. These are very dark times for our constitutional republic.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

"Stay the Course"

Who do do you believe:President Bush or President Bush?

See what Columbia Journalism Review says:

Friday, October 20, 2006

Got Democracy?

This administration are doing exactly what the terrorists wanted: they are destroying the fabric and values of America. And, its all done in double-speak that panders to fear ( Bush's signing of the Military Commission Act was in his words" a rare occassion when a president can sign a bill he nows will save American Lives" and prevent aother 9/11. See
We are now an agressor state --witness the war in Iraq.
Free speech only happens in Free Speech Zones which are usually fenced in areas far from the site of what might be protested, far from the sight of the public and the media(and to think I had thought the whole of the US was a free speech zone). (see article from the American Conservative :
We now torture--though we do not call it torture every since that infamous memo (1/22/o2 see for analysis) that re-defined torture.
We now can disappear enemies of our state, as defined by the President, and those disappeared have no recourse, no rights since the Military Commission Act has killed habeas corpus. (For a great commentary on this see Olbermann on Youtube: ).
We have become anti-immigrant: witness the fence we plan to build.

We need to re-claim demoracy and our American Values.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Sad Day

Bush is supposed to sign the Military Commissions Act into law today. Its a sad day for our republican democracy.

Saturday, October 07, 2006


Once again the Bush administration has performed a slight of hand: they have re-purposed our (now 5 year) mission in Afghanistan. We are no longer fighting the war of terror there,we are no longer trying to capture Osama bin Laden, we are no longer try to eliminate al-Qaeda as a threat. We (and NATO) are there to fight "the War against the Taliban."
Yes, the Taliban had harbored al Qaeda--though just years before we had helped the Taliban gain power because they were fighting the Soviets (the once upon a time "Evil Empire" as Reagan descried them)--and we follow that age old foreign policy: "the enemy of my enemy is my friend."
But now the Taliban is gaining strength and threatening the President ( Harmid Karzai) and government we put into place there.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Fox guarding the Henhouse?

The recent resignation of Congressman Mark Foley (R-Fl) over the sexually explicit e-mail exchange he had with a 16 year old (former) Congressional Page raises a big question: was the fox guarding the henhouse?
Foley was the co-chair of the Congressional Missing and Exploited Children's Caucus. He was supposed to be protecting children from adults who might sexually exploit them. ?
Foley co-sponsored the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006,. The act expanded the definition of sex offenders who must register with state authorities to include those who "use ... the Internet to facilitate or commit a crime against a minor."
In Foley's own words testifying before the House Judiciary Committee in 2005:
"Sex offenders are not petty criminals. They prey on our children like animals and will continue to do it unless stopped. We need to change the way we track these pedophiles. ... It has often been noted that a society can be judged on how it best treats it children. We have a moral responsibility to do everything in our power to protect our kids from these animals. This bill will turn the tables and make prey out of these predators. Failing to act on this measure is just playing Russian roulette with our children's lives."

And, then there is the Congressional Leadership, they are culpable, too.
Hassert knew about Foley's misconduct as far back as 2001, as did others in GOP leadership positions. Was there a cover-up?
Now, Hassert is calling for an investigation into why are these e-mail messages surfacing now--as if there might be a conspiracy. (It might be that they can use the cover of "under investigation" to hide behind). The real question is: Why did the Congressional / GOP leadership
not do anything to protect the pages from this illegal conduct, this sexual harassment/abuse ?

The National Republican Congressional Committee "would gladly accept Mr. Foley's [campaign war chest] money or part of it to devote to House races." ( Carl Forti, Communications director of the NRC as quoted in thre NYT 10/2/06 p.15)

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