Sunday, May 29, 2005

Another Marvelous New Idea

Tired of listening to the Orwellian double-speak of Scott McClellan (or 'Puffy McMoonface', as he's known on the Stephanie Miller Show)? How about this idea, put forth by Martini Republic -

Suppose, during any further 'press conferences', no one asks any questions?

Wouldn't that be just great? That way, everyone would be happy. Bush and Puffy wouldn't have to listen to any pesky questions that they don't want to answer anyway, and we would not have to listen to the pack of lies and obfuscations that Puffy pulls out of his a**. Sure, the Jimmy/Jeffs and the hard-right media would still lob the cotton-candy softballs, but the silence of the rest of the credible media would eventually point out the absurdity of the joke that is a Bush 'press conference'.

Or, they could ask questions like, "Mr. President, sir - would it be out of place to say that you're one of the greatest presidents in history, and I can't imagine why anyone would be so uncouth and unpatriotic, sir, as to question any of your God-given decisions, and that you, sir, are my personal hero, if you'll forgive me for saying so, sir; and that's a particularly becoming tie, sir...have you lost weight, sir?"

Just Eddie-Haskell him to death...

A Vanishing Resource

Robert over at A Little Left of Centrist also put up a little snippet about "The Newseum" - a museum of news.

How prescient. Pretty soon that will be the only place you'll be able to find news - in a museum.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

John Conyers Is Taking Action on Downing Street Memo

Another patron saint of this blog is John Conyers, and he's taking some action. I've been on about the Downing Street Memo since 2 days after it appeared in the London Times, and it seems like the media at large have deliberately stuck their fingers in their ears about this. However, a few people are making enough noise about it (props to Robert at A Little Left of Centrist) that I think people are starting, oh-so-slowly, to take a little bit of notice.

He has written a letter to the President requesting some answers to these questions, and he's asking for our signatures. I for one am on board with this, and I hope you will be, too, by taking a minute to click on the link, read the letter, and if you agree, add your name to it.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am pessimistic about impeachment, as we'd have to wipe out that whole mob, and I don't see that happening, but we have to do something, say something, shine some light on the dark and ugly deeds being perpetrated in our names. If people can be made to see what's really going on, we may stand a chance of getting these criminals out of power in '08, and we can no longer count on the mainstream media to help us. We can't roll over any more. Too many have died already, and too many more will continue to die if we don't support the people who are taking action and standing up to these thugs (and there are too few of them).

Here's the link to John Conyers explaining about the memo.

Here's the link to the actual letter

Here's a great resource for all things Downing

Thanks, friends.

A Sad Day In Hooterville

It's a sad day here in Hooterville. Our patron saint, Mr. Eddie Albert, died Thursday night at the ripe old age of 99.

Not only was his humorous yet poignant T.V. character Oliver Wendell Douglas on 'Green Acres' the inspiration for this blog, but also an inspiration in real life. He was a humanitarian, a World War II war hero, an environmental activist, and with his wife Margo, taught arts and music to children on L.A.'s Eastside in the late 1940's.

Nominated for 2 Academy Awards for best supporting actor ("Roman Holiday", 1953; "The Heartbreak Kid", 1972), he was a versatile and talented actor, with nearly 100 film credits to his name, and equally at home on stage, screen, television and radio. He was a singer (and replaced Robert Preston in 'The Music Man' on Broadway) and a trapeze artist, with his friends the Escalante Brothers in Mexico (which I know from my own circus experience is no mean feat!). While sailing off Baja California in 1939, he heard rumors of secret submarine fueling stations, and began reporting to Army intelligence that Japanese 'fishermen' were making hydrographic surveys, and reported Nazi activities while working as a circus 'flyer'.

He joined the Navy 7 months after the US joined the war, and saw action in the South Pacific. He was credited with saving scores of Marines from a deadly triple cross-fire during the bloody battle for Tarawa, for which he was awarded a Bronze Star with a combat 'V' (for valor).

He was an avid world traveler, spending time on a deserted island in Nova Scotia, as well as the Mexican wilderness during the 30s. In the 50s, he visited the Congo to discuss malnutrition with Dr. Albert Schweitzer, staying for several months.

In the 60s he became interested in ecology, studying and spending time with experts in the field. He observed first-hand the deadly effects of DDT runoff while visiting Anacapa Island off Ventura County and observing the nesting of pelicans, finding thousands of collapsed pelican eggs.

He became, in the words of a T.V. Guide reporter in 1970, a "kind of ecological Paul Revere", but he did not want to be called an ecologist:

"Ecologist, hell! Too mild a word. Check the Department of Agriculture; 60% of the world is hungry already. With our soil impoverished, our air poisoned, our wildlife crippled by DDT, our rivers and lakes turning into giant cesspools, and mass starvation an apparent inevitability by 1976, I call myself a human survivalist!"

In 1963, he served as a special world envoy for Meals for Millions, providing nutritious, low-cost food to underprivileged people around the world. In 1970, he helped launch the first Earth Day on his birthday, April 22, and four years later he served as a special consultant at the World Hunger Conference in Rome.

His work with East L.A. kids, along with his Mexico City-born wife Margo, helped to create Plaza De La Raza, a well-known community arts center in Lincoln Heights, CA.

He battled Alzheimer's the last 10 years of his life, but was still fit and active, shooting baskets and doing push-ups as recently as last month.

This biographical information comes from today's L.A. Times.

What a life! What a man! What an American!

When I started this blog, I did not know anything about Eddie Albert, the man. Even though it was a silly sitcom, I always had a soft spot in my heart for Mr. Douglas, but now I discover that his acting career, successful as it was, was the least part of this amazing, inspirational human being, who put not only his money, but his time, his energy, his intellect, his talent and his heart where his mouth was. That is his real legacy in this world; one to which we should all aspire, and of which we are all capable, no matter what our life circumstances.

Thank you, Eddie Albert. You were the farmer Mr. Douglas wanted to be, working tirelessly to encourage and nurture life, making things grow. You made many, many acres green. As you get on board the Hooterville Cannonball for your journey home, I hope you know that the world is a better place because of you.

Eddie Albert's family has suggested, in lieu of flowers, that donations be made to:

Plaza De La Raza

Attn: Rose Cano
3540 N. Mission Road
Los Angeles, CA 90031

Friday, May 27, 2005

Just Asking...

If George W. Bush were to be impeached, would that mean that Dick Cheney would be President?

Talk to me...

Friday Cat Blogging

This is Venus, one of our Burmese cats who thinks she is a dog. Here she is, fetching her favorite toy, a coiled-up pipe cleaner. She will bring you a 'fetch' and drop it on you until you throw it for her. She will mercilessly hunt it down, bring it back and drop it in front of you. She also drinks from the toilet and eats homework.

For more about Venus and Mercury, visit the Venus and Mercury Cat Blog!

Have a nice Friday.

And, as I was reminded by Lab Kat, go visit the Friday Ark on Fridays and the Carnival of the Cats on Sundays.

Why Bolton?

If you were looking for the person who would be the worst choice for U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, you would need to look no further than John Bolton. So why is Dubya so adamant about shoving this obviously destructive, anti-diplomatic, tantrum-throwing, unsuitable, incompetent bully down our throats?

Well, he has to.

He owes him 'big time'.

Remember 2000? Here's a little refresher course:

"I'm with the Bush-Cheney team, and I'm here to stop the count."

Those were the words John Bolton yelled as he burst into a Tallahassee library on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2000, where local election workers were recounting ballots cast in Florida's disputed presidential race between George W. Bush and Al Gore.

Bolton was one of the pack of lawyers for the Republican presidential ticket who repeatedly sought to shut down recounts of the ballots from Florida counties before those counts revealed that Gore had actually won the state's electoral votes and the presidency.

read the rest here...

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

I Love Helen Thomas

Q The other day -- in fact, this week, you said that we, the United States, is in Afghanistan and Iraq by invitation. Would you like to correct that incredible distortion of American history --

MR. McCLELLAN: No, we are -- that's where we currently --

Q -- in view of your credibility is already mired? How can you say that?

MR. McCLELLAN: Helen, I think everyone in this room knows that you're taking that comment out of context. There are two democratically-elected governments in Iraq and --

Q We're we invited into Iraq?

MR. McCLELLAN: There are two democratically-elected governments now in Iraq and Afghanistan, and we are there at their invitation. They are sovereign governments, and we are there today --

Q You mean if they had asked us out, that we would have left?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, Helen, I'm talking about today. We are there at their invitation. They are sovereign governments --

Q I'm talking about today, too.

MR. McCLELLAN: -- and we are doing all we can to train and equip their security forces so that they can provide for their own security as they move forward on a free and democratic future.

Q Did we invade those countries?

MR. McCLELLAN: Go ahead, Steve.

All press briefings available here. At least, for the time being...

Monday, May 23, 2005

You Are My Wife

A post over at The Curmudgeonly Crab got me thinking. It was referencing Jan LaRue, a member of the Concerned Women of America ('concerned' with getting all up in other peoples' private lives!) - a lawyer, for gosh sakes - talking about why gay marriage is so very wrong...
Granting a marriage license to homosexuals because they engage in sex is as illogical as granting a medical license to a barber because he wears a white coat or a law license to a salesman because he carries a briefcase. Real doctors, lawyers and the public would suffer as a result of licensing the unqualified and granting them rights, benefits and responsibilities as if they were qualified.

Qualified? Qualified?!?

Yes, I guess the lovely and talented Lyle Menendez is 'qualified' to get married. No doubt the devilishly handsome Scott Peterson, with his boyish charm, will be married before you know it, taking his pick of jailhouse proposals from the coterie of killer-hags that are inundating him with marriage offers. After all, he is single!

And if the purpose of marriage is to procreate only, are they going to snatch away the marriage licenses of the couples who don't have kids? Administer the 'Fertility Test' when you go for your marriage-license blood test?

If God indeed made us all, aren't you thwarting God's Will by interfering with the sexual orientation that God, in His Infinite Wisdom, conferred upon approximately 10% of His children?

And, no, you can't include child molesters (of either orientation) and sexual predators - they are not born with those urges, but have become psychologically twisted somewhere along the way. I know you'd like to include gays among their ranks, but it's simply not so. There are gay perverts, but it's the perversion that's the problem, not their gayness. Because there are straight child molesters, is that a reason to outlaw marriage between straight people?

So the vilest of the vile - if heterosexual - are 'qualified' to be married, and yet the most upright, responsible, well-adjusted, loving people - if gay - are not?

I don't know if you got the memo, Mrs. Concerned Woman, but Christians did not invent marriage. Marriage is a civil right first, which is legally binding, and covers so many facets of life, including property rights, next-of-kin rights, insurance rights, inheritance rights and other important life issues, that to deny them to one segment of the population is indeed a civil rights violation. You can get married without any religious ceremony at all and it is legally binding, but you can't get married in a religious ceremony and have it be legal without a civil license.

Of course, the religious right insists that people are not 'born gay', and that you can change your sexual orientation with enough prayer and church pressure, and they trot out their 'converted' poster children (most likely bisexual) as proof. If scientists were to come up with irrefutable proof that sexual orientation is an innate physical characteristic, fundamentalists would not suddenly say, "Oh, well, that's different! Who are we to question God's intention?" But that's really a smoke screen, like 'intelligent design', for their real position, which is "God sez it's a sin". Well, believe that all you like; I'm not in charge of what you believe, and wouldn't want to be if I could. But your belief system is not enough authority to deny someone else their civil rights under our Constitution.

Update - found an interesting article that notes that the lowest divorce rate in the country belongs to...what state allows gay marriage? And also notes that born-again Christians have among the highest. Check it out...

Friday, May 20, 2005

Marvelous New Idea

You know, after thinking about it, I guess the Bankruptcy Bill has its merits. Take, for instance, United Airlines (please!). It wants to file for bankruptcy - fine. So how about the people responsible - the ones who pull down the fat salaries, bonuses, stock options, golden parachutes, etc. - selling everything they own, going for credit counseling, and giving the lion's share of their future earnings in perpetuity to pay back their employees' pensions?

That sounds pretty fair to me. After all, isn't that what they've been insisting we do?

Galloway Testimony Gone Missing!

Found at Raw Story:
Well, well, well...according to the Brad Blog , it seems as if George Galloway's testimony has gone missing from the official Subcommittee website. They have PDFs of all the testimony except Galloway's, claiming that he 'did not submit a statement'.

How odd. How very odd.

Update: Now they claim he did not submit a written statement. Of course, there are certainly no secretaries or stenographers available to transcribe...

Simple But True

I found this snippet on The Smirking Chimp, in an article written by Stephen Pizzo of AlterNet, called 'Bush: Worst President Ever?':

During Bush's first term the economy perked up because Bush pumped $1.6 trillion in tax rebates into it. That was like giving a dying patient an injection of meth and then claiming he was cured because he was up and jerking around in bed.

It just seemed like such an apt metaphor.

Do yourself a favor and read the whole article here.

And Now For Something Completely Different - Cat Blog

Well, I have to lighten up for a sec -

here's the link to my Cat Blog.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Why Does It Matter Who Calls It What?

The reason it's so important is that this is indicative of the overall Republican strategy of using emotional language to slant issues, like 'death tax' instead of 'estate tax'. Once their own phrase (courtesy of Trent Lott) began testing badly for them, they immediately assigned it to the Democrats.

What is so galling is that the media aid and abet them instead of doing their job, which is to try to report what's really going on, not take the talking points straight out of the Karl Rove/Frank Luntz playbook.

'Words don't matter'? What are the media but words? Believe me, every word and phrase that is spoken in politics is carefully chosen, honed and crafted for a specific emotional intent, that may be the opposite of the literal meaning of the word or phrase (can you say 'Clear Skies'?). So to say that it doesn't matter who says 'Nuclear Option' is disingenuous at best. And we deserve better from the media than the laziness of taking everything said at face value.

Monday, May 16, 2005

The Republicans Call It The Nuclear Option

The Republicans Call It The Nuclear Option.

The Republicans Call It The Nuclear Option.

The Republicans Call It The Nuclear Option.

The Republicans Call It The Nuclear Option.

The Republicans Call It The Nuclear Option.

The Republicans Call It The Nuclear Option.

The Republicans Call It The Nuclear Option.

The Republicans Call It The Nuclear Option.

Get it?

Curious George Rides A Bike

Curious George was out for a spin on his neat new bike. He pedaled faster and faster. Whee! This was fun! The red, white and blue streamers on his handlebars fluttered in the breeze. He was riding with his big friends, when suddenly a plane flew overhead. But George didn't see it. His best girl Laura and his pal Dick were hustled off to a safe location, but George pedaled on and on. His big friends knew about the plane. They talked to each other on their neat new walkie-talkies, but they did not talk to George. They did not want to spoil George's fun. He loved to ride his bike. He zipped along, waving to his friends. After a while, George got tired. He had ridden his bike so far and fast! He turned around and rode back to his big White House, huffing and puffing. Then George's big friends told him about the plane.

What an exciting day!

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes (and kills you!)

This is a little bit of a departure from my usual topics, but not really. I got this from Robert, who blogs at A Little Left Of Centrist. It's about a vaccine that is supposed to keep nicotine from binding to the receptors in your brain, thereby avoiding addiction.

Now, just about anyone who knows me knows that I'm somewhat rabid on the subject of cigarettes. But it's difficult for me to see any justification for keeping these things on the market. Robert mentions a 'civil liberties' issue, but that's pretty murky, it seems, if the 'civil liberties' apply to cigarettes only, and not to food substances, or drugs - legal or illegal.

This is why the FDA has no credibility, as far as I'm concerned. They'll yank a sweetener off the market in a hot second if they discover that a 500 X dose of a normal portion will give a rat cancer, but a proven killer of humans like tobacco products are fine - it's 'personal freedom' to choose what to put into your body. It's not personal freedom at all - it's just money. And when a product is not only guaranteed dangerous, but highly addictive, it's a little tougher to justify it as a 'personal choice'. Robert was fortunate in being able to overcome the addiction, and my hat is off to him. Too many people are not able to. Studies have proven that nicotine is more addictive than heroin. Especially if you have a genetic predisposition to addiction, quitting is much harder than just saying "I think I won't smoke any more." To an addict (and anyone who smokes regularly has a physical addiction), it's a necessity. Your body has genuinely come to need nicotine. So it is not really 'personal choice', although many smokers who do not want to admit that they are addicted will say defiantly, "I like to smoke. I choose to smoke. I smoke because I want to." It's easy to quit using an artificial sweetener. But if you're a regular smoker, it is the challenge of your life. Even alcohol, as destructive as it can be, is not physically addictive in the same way that nicotine is. It takes a lot of alcoholic drinking to be physically addicted, although if you have the genetic predisposition it will happen sooner, but of itself alcohol is not immediately (say, within weeks of consistent use) physically addictive. Cigarettes are. So it's completely hypocritical to say that smoking is a personal choice. Crack is a personal choice, too.

And it doesn't just hurt the person who smokes. Second-hand smoke is dangerous, too. I watched a friend who never smoked in her life die a horrible slow suffocating death from emphysema, because her husband smoked. The cost to society of smoking is enormous. Include in that the families who lose a loved one to smoking-related illness, and the staggering medical costs of cancer, heart disease, and emphysema. We all pay.

Either the FDA should get out of business altogether, and allow the public the 'personal freedom' to choose what dangerous products to ingest, or be consistent and ban tobacco.

The profits are just too good, the tobacco lobby too rich and strong, and so the addiction that leads directly to suffering and death (as the tobacco industry was aware of long before the general public) is just fine, so long as the shekels keep on a-rollin' in.

If they want to make it a personal choice issue, then be consistent and allow any product (including 'illegal' drugs) on the market, as long as the dangers are clearly labeled, and 'caveat emptor'. But I've seen so many grotesque and unnecessary deaths from cigarettes including people who desperately tried to quit and were not able to, that, as far as I'm concerned, it's just premeditatated murder for profit.

Which, I understand, is a capital crime.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Go, Pat, Go

I just love me some Pat Robertson. He's always good for a hoot. He never lets you down in the crazy-ass department. If only he'd take another run at the Presidency.

"Tax-and-Spend" Jesus

I ran across this it!

Disclaimer - this is a parody, courtesy of the Timothy McSweeney blog.

- - - -

June 25, 2004

Fellow Christians,

The Second-Coming of Jesus Christ was a magnificent and joyous day for all. Interrupting a brand-new holiday episode of 7th Heaven with his divine electronic prowess, Jesus informed the world on the first night of Hanukkah that he would return on December 25, 2003, somewhere in Washington D.C. Cynics dismissed the announcement as a hoax, while the faithful flocked to churches everywhere in anticipation of Christ's reappearance. Doubts of His authenticity vanished on Christmas Day as He walked across the Potomac River and quietly addressed a breathless crowd gathering for the annual Anti-Kwanzaa rally at Christian Coalition headquarters. He connected with the masses as only Jesus can, mesmerizing on-lookers with profound messages of peace and hope. He outlined the steps necessary to steer the world toward a path of deliverance, stressing tolerance and compassion. With such virtuous ideals in mind, Jesus announced His intention to run for President of the United States. As President, Jesus insisted, He could rid the world of evil, unite humankind, end world hunger, and achieve eternal peace—shaping God's Land in the glorious image of Heaven.

And so it is with great sadness that I write this letter urging you to vote against Jesus Christ for President.

here's the rest...

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

It's A Joke, Right?

I keep thinking lately, "Come on - it has to be a joke, right?" I keep expecting someone to come out and say "Psyche! We really had you going there for a while, didn't we?"

Real ID? Excommunicating Democrats? 'Fixing facts' so we can attack a country who has not and cannot attack us? Gutting Social Security? Teaching creationism ('scuse me - intelligent design) in science class? Trying to abolish the separation of church and state? To criticize the President in any way, even by 'faint praise', is un-American, even treasonous? Attorneys-General like John "Patriot Act" Ashcroft and Alberto "No Pain, No Gain" Gonzales? 400 billion dollar deficit?

Imagine this going on five years ago - I can't! It sounds like crazy talk.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Why Isn't Anyone Screaming?

Am I crazy? Does anyone else see this as a big deal?
This from Buzzflash by Greg Palast:
Here it is. The smoking gun. The memo that has, "IMPEACH HIM" written all over it.

The top-level government memo marked "SECRET AND STRICTLY PERSONAL," dated eight months before Bush sent us into Iraq, following a closed meeting with the President, reads, "Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam through military action justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WDM. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."

Read that again: "The intelligence and facts were being fixed...."

For years, after each damning report on BBC TV, "Isn't this grounds for impeachment?" Vote rigging, a blind eye to terror and the bin Ladens before 9-11, and so on. Evil, stupidity and self-dealing are shameful but not impeachable. What's needed is a "high crime or misdemeanor."

And if this ain't it, nothing is.

The memo, uncovered this week by the Times, goes on to describe an elaborate plan by George Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair to hoodwink the planet into supporting an attack on Iraq knowing full well the evidence for war was a phony.

Please, please read the rest of this and then tell me why this man is not being impeached this very minute.

Is this untrue? Does it not matter?

Bill Clinton was impeached over a sad little affair (if it could be dignified by the term). No one died. And his most vociferous and self-righteous attackers were - almost to a man, it seemed - guilty of marital transgressions many, many times more serious.

But it seems as if George W. Bush could hold up the bleeding, severed head of John Kerry and no one would give a rat's ass.

"He's a man of faith"
(so was Torquemada)
"He's the kind of guy you could sit and have a beer with"
(or two, or five, or fifteen - oh, I forgot he doesn't do that any more)
"He's a strong leader"
(so was Stalin)

Talk about your Teflon President.

Well, it's just another beautiful day in Hooterville.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

John Conyers on Secret Iraq Plan

From Raw Story - this is simply stunning.
Congressman John Conyers (D-MI) is circulating a letter calling for a further inquiry into a secret U.S.-UK agreement to attack Iraq, RAW STORY has learned.

In a statement, Conyers says he is disappointed the mainstream media has not touched the revelations.

"Unfortunately, the mainstream media in the United States was too busy with wall-to-wall coverage of a "runaway bride" to cover a bombshell report out of the British newspapers," Conyers writes. "The London Times reports that the British government and the United States government had secretly agreed to attack Iraq in 2002, before authorization was sought for such an attack in Congress, and had discussed creating pretextual justifications for doing so."

"The Times reports, based on a newly discovered document, that in 2002 British Prime Minister Tony Blair chaired a meeting in which he expressed his support for "regime change" through the use of force in Iraq and was warned by the nation's top lawyer that such an action would be illegal," he adds. "Blair also discussed the need for America to "create" conditions to justify the war."

Read the rest at Raw Story.
Read the U.K. version here.

Monday, May 02, 2005

The Streets Are Paved With Gold Heaven, but it seems that televangelist Pat Robertson is trying to get a head start here on Earth.

While bitterly decrying "the tyranny of an oligarchy", he was busily laying up treasures in cahoots with one of the most despotic and savage tyrants in the world - Charles Taylor, former 'President' of Liberia. Now in exile in Nigeria, Taylor has been indicted by the Special Court of Sierra Leone on 17 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role in contributing to the death, rape, abduction, and mutilation of thousands of civilians during Sierra Leone’s civil war from 1991 to 2002.

Bad guy? Not according to Pat. In fact, according to Demopedia
Robertson and Taylor are good friends, so much so that in 1998 Robertson negotiated a business partnership with the Taylor regime giving him the rights to gold mining interests in Liberia in exchange for a 10% kick back to the Taylor government. To move on this opportunity Robertson created a for-profit company -- Freedom Gold -- in which he was listed as President as well as Chairman of Board; Robertson being the Board's only member. The company was chartered within the tax evading borders of the Cayman Islands.

Robertson also defended Taylor in his time of need. The strongest critic of the President (When it came to Charles Taylor stepping down) is televangelist Pat Roberston, who has been lecturing his national television audience regularly about how wrong headed it would be for the US to intervene in Liberia. Indeed, Robertson has been critical of US policy toward Liberia for several years. "We're undermining a Christian, Baptist president to bring in Muslim rebels to take over the country," Robertson told his 700 Club audience recently. "And how dare the president of the United States say to the duly elected president of another country, 'You've got to step down."

Strong words for the President, huh, Pat?

But, interestingly enough, there seemed to be a bit of a sticky wicket, legally, according to a 2001 article in The Perspective, a Liberian newsmagazine, which stated that

Under Liberian law, specifically Chapter V: Article 34 section (f) of the Liberian constitution states "The Legislature shall have the power: to approve treaties, conventions and such international agreements negotiated or signed on behalf of the Republic."

The Liberian Legislature refused to ratify the Freedom Gold agreement signed by President Taylor and Pat Robertson. So on Oct. 30,2000, a second contract, which is virtually identical to the first, except for one significant passage, was drawn up. Section 2 of the document was modified, according to GQ and Liberian legal experts familiar with the deal, to read that the contract will go in effect "when approved by the president of Republic of Liberia." Gone is the language that reads that the contract is to become valid only "in accordance with the constitution and laws of the Republic."

Clearly Mr. Robertson, a graduate of Yale Law School who was represented by Gerald Padmore, a Liberian-born Harvard Law School graduate, must know that his agreement with Taylor is unconstitutional.

Amazing. Just amazing. So last Sunday we find Pat holding forth with George Stephanopoulos on "This Week" (here's the transcript, thanks to the Randi Rhodes Show) and opining (in all seriousness) that the worst problem facing the nation is the "out-of-control judiciary". When Stephanopoulos asks him, "How can you say that these judges are a more serious threat than Islamic terrorists who slammed into the World Trade Center?", he answers (I kid you not):
"It depends on how you look at culture. If you look over the course of a hundred years, I think the gradual erosion of the consensus that's held our country together is probably more serious than a few bearded terrorists who fly into buildings. I think we're going to control al Qaeda. I think we're going to get Osama bin Laden. We won in Afghanistan. We won in Iraq, and we can contain that. But if there's an erosion at home, you know, Thomas Jefferson warned about a tyranny of an oligarchy and if we surrender our democracy to the tyranny of an oligarchy, we've made a terrible mistake."

A few bearded terrorists who fly into buildings. No big deal.

I can understand why it's no big deal to Pat. It's obvious that he's not squeamish about a li'l bit o' terrorism where his financial interests are concerned. After all, another interesting but little-discussed factoid about his "Christian buddy" Charles Taylor is that the Washington Post reported that Taylor received at least $1 million for providing safe harbor to agents of Osama bin Laden in the weeks following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. According to the American Atheist Newsletter in 2003,
The operatives were there to supervise "a $20 million diamond-buying spree that effectively cornered the market on the region's precious stones." Indeed, diamonds are part of a culture where deals are struck on a handshake and often leave no trace or records, including electronic "footprints" that are monitored by international police and intelligence services. Diamonds are more convenient to use than gold or other precious metals. They can be easily transported, re-cut, and serve as the ultimate black market currency.

Taylor's wealth and political power stem from his ties to the Revolution United Front (RUF) of neighboring Sierra Leon. The RUF controls extensive diamond mining operations which ship the stones to Liberia where they often sold for hard currency at discount to willing buyers, including al Qaeda agents. For providing safe harbor and anonymity, Taylor receives a commission on each transaction.

But it's OK, cause he's a "fellow Baptist".

I get it.

I may have to continue this post later, because at this point words are kind of failing me...