Tuesday, May 31, 2005

3 items from BuzzFlash and one from In These Times

It's hard these days to get very excited when George Bush or his minions tell another lie. They've lied to the American people and to the world at an astonishing rate. The lies are calculated, hateful, sometimes deadly and legion. Place them end-to-end and they could reach from the Oval Office in Washington to the bluebonnets of Crawford, Texas; -- and then there would still be plenty left over to reach the sun-drenched poppy fields of Afghanistan or the burning streets of Baghdad. His is a veritable factory of lies.
In their zeal for the ever-greater fib, they are taking the "Big Lie" concept to a whole other level. Not simply happy with telling the same lie so often that those listening eventually accept it as fact; they appear to have signed on to the vile theory that if you lie all the time, the lies will metastasize, multiply, and spread, like a cancer eating at the truth, engulfing and consuming all reason until the lies become a new reality out of sheer force of gravity. In Bushworld, lies are the new truth.

The above is from Wayne Scallon's "Texas Size Lies and Ideologues" at BuzzFlash and was sent in by Billie.

Dallas e-mails (from BuzzFlash) Mike Reinholz's "The Buck Stops with Lynndie England (or Newsweek):"

A presidential administration reflects the man at the top. Harry Truman proudly displayed a plaque emblazoned with "The Buck Stops Here." Bush, on the other hand, accepts responsibility for nothing. His motto is "The Buck Stops with Lynndie England" (or whoever else is convenient, such as Newsweek.)
I knew dozens of kids like Bush when I was in school. They were bullies and blowhards, the lot of them. Zero integrity and zero intellectual curiosity. Many of these people ended up in jail because they lacked a moral compass. (For the defining portrait of a Bush-like prep school bully, watch "The Scent of a Woman" with Al Pacino.)
I can't believe we elected (appointed) one of these lazy bullies as President of the United States (remember the mockery of Bush's "Bring 'em on" taunt?). Now we are reaping the whirlwind as our reputation around the world plummets. Torture is officially sanctioned, 100,000 people are dead in a war based on a pack-of-lies, our deficit skyrockets, health care costs are soaring, energy costs are soaring, and now Bush wants to eviscerate Social Security, shredding the New Deal safety net for the working class, while at the same time giving humongous tax cuts to millionaires. My dying father can't even get desperately needed 24/7 healthcare because the insurance companies and Medicare refuse to pay for it.

And we'll note Michael Fox's "Time To Mess With Texas:"

A gay man in Los Angeles, deliriously happy as he is about to enter a joyous union with his beloved partner, has a lot to be thankful for. I have more than most to be thankful for. But on my radar comes some horrifying news from Texas. Yes, Texas, the second largest state in the nation. Granted it has been, of late, and due to some crafty and underhanded mid-census redistricting, the home to some of the most antediluvian legislation in the country, but, still, it is home to Austin, Houston, and Dallas. Surely with the bulk of its population in such cosmopolitan locales, THIS couldn't happen. Surely I jest. Surely I wish it was funny.Gay people are easy to attack, because we are, and always will be, a minority. Even if every gay man and lesbian were "out," we would still always be a minority, and therefore easily bullied by those who choose to remain ignorant, those who perniciously misinterpret the Bible, and those who simply choose to trade on hate for political expediency. Of late, the barrage of malice leveled against the gay community in this country might've sent a less thick-skinned group to the borders. But now we have an unlikely group of scarlet lettered partners: the entire unmarried heterosexual community! I couldn't have made it up.Clearly, couples seeking to live together - gay or straight - but without a piece of paper from a church or justice-of-the-peace are harming NO ONE. But in Texas, and (Heaven help us) spreading elsewhere, BOTH groups have somehow become the nation's most urgent moral crisis. In truth, of course, it is neither urgent nor a crisis, and there is nothing immoral in it, because love is never immoral!

All three are examples of original content you can find at BuzzFlash.

Wally e-mails to highlight Before Sunset Dave Lindorff's "A broad coalition is pushing Congress to rein in the Patriot Act" from In These Times:

Last October, agents from the FBI and Treasury Department, accompanied by a gaggle of TV news crews, raided the Columbia, Mo., offices of a small charity called the Islamic-American Relief Agency (IARA). Computers and records were seized, and several hundred thousand dollars in donated funds destined for relief work in Kenya were frozen. There were no arrests or charges, though federal agents visited the homes of many of the charity's local donors. IARA, according to its attorney, Shereef Akeel, was effectively shut down under a little-known provision of the USA PATRIOT Act, which expanded the International Emergency Economic Powers Act to allow the government to freeze the assets of organizations while it investigates for links to terrorism.
"The government has not presented one shred of evidence linking IARA to funding for terror, but by seizing their funds and interviewing their donors, they have effectively destroyed the charity and created a chilling effect in the Muslim community in Columbia," Akeel says. He suggests the government may have confused IARA, founded two decades ago as the Islamic African Relief Agency (the name changed during the Bosnia conflict when demands for aid moved beyond an African focus), with a Sudan-based charity called the Islamic African Relief Agency, which the government claims has links to terrorists.
The USA PATRIOT (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism) Act, signed into law six weeks after the 9/11 attacks with no congressional debate, faces review in Congress, as 16 of its provisions "sunset" at the end of the year.
Patriots to Restore Checks and Balances (PRCB), an unusual right/left coalition that includes the ACLU, the American Conservative Union and the Free Congress Foundation, is pressing to end some of the act's particularly egregious civil liberties abuses--specifically, the sneak-and-peek provision, which allows the government to spy on people without notifying them or obtaining a court order, and the library provision, which grants federal authorities the power to inspect library, video, and bookstore user records without a warrant, and which bars librarians and store owners from alerting customers.

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