Monday, January 16, 2006

Al Gore Speech: Law is King

Al Gore Speech: Law is King

Al Gore Speech - Raw Story has the complete text.

A president who breaks the law is a threat to the very structure of our government. Our Founding Fathers were adamant that they had established a government of laws and not men. Indeed, they recognized that the structure of government they had enshrined in our Constitution - our system of checks and balances - was designed with a central purpose of ensuring that it would govern through the rule of law. As John Adams said: "The executive shall never exercise the legislative and judicial powers, or either of them, to the end that it may be a government of laws and not of men."

An executive who arrogates to himself the power to ignore the legitimate legislative directives of the Congress or to act free of the check of the judiciary becomes the central threat that the Founders sought to nullify in the Constitution - an all-powerful executive too reminiscent of the King from whom they had broken free. In the words of James Madison, "the accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny."

Thomas Paine, whose pamphlet, "On Common Sense" ignited the American Revolution, succinctly described America's alternative. Here, he said, we intended to make certain that "the law is king."

Peter Daou - The Gore Example: Does the Democratic Establishment Get the Traditional Media Problem?
Al Gore delivers a scathing indictment of Bush's power-grab. Flipping on the cable nets, CNN, MSNBC and FOX are covering 'breaking' news: an overturned tanker truck on a New York highway. This after a week of roadblock coverage of Bush's worn-out terror speeches.

THIS is the Democrats' problem. Notwithstanding a cacophony of rightwing voices assailing the "liberal" media, the Dem establishment needs to understand that if it doesn't go after the media institutionally, things simply will not change.

Domestic Spying Challenged in Courts
Two U.S. civil liberties groups filed lawsuits on Tuesday challenging the legality of President George W. Bush's domestic spying program and demanding the practice be ended immediately...White House spokesman Scott McClellan called the lawsuits "frivolous"...

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

January 15, 1929 - April 4, 1968

"Yes, I see the Church as the body of Christ. But, oh! How we have blemished and scarred that body through social neglect and through fear of being nonconformists."

- Martin Luther King, Jr.

"....a man without wealth, without elected office, who managed as a single individual to change the world simply through the strength of his moral convictions. His power came from his faith and his willingness to act on what he knew to be right. That story could inspire many millions to similar action -- if only it were told. We could each be Dr. King." _ -_Geov Parrish

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
I criticize America because I love her. I want her to stand as the moral example of the world.

- Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Go to Iraq vet Fred Bieling's site today and hear and see the specially selected words of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr, who would have been 77 today.

Senator John Edwards has written these words in commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, reminding us that Dr. King's dream is not yet reality. Many challenges remain.

Part of what made Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. a great leader is that he challenged us to become leaders ourselves. He asked us what we are doing to serve others in our lives. Are we working to lift up the poor and the sick? Are we reaching out to a child who’s struggling to stay on the right path? Are we working hard to make sure our kids have the best education? Are we working to bring economic opportunity to every corner of the country? These are the questions that test the content of one’s character. And they are the questions that we as Americans must continue to ask and answer, particularly on this day, the day we remember one of the greatest leaders and patriots our nation has ever known.

Dr. King had an unshakable faith in the good of mankind, a faith that enabled him to dream of a better society in the midst so much evil and fear. He also possessed a keen awareness of how difficult it would be to make his dream a reality, and that awareness allowed him to hold onto his dream despite the dangers and strife he encountered. For he knew that his dream would not be fully realized in his own lifetime, or even in the span of his generation. His was a dream that was to endure and expand in the generations to come. He had faith in us, the future leaders of America. He had faith that we would inherit his dream and make it our own.

Here we are, almost thirty-eight years after Dr. King’s tragic death. We’ve accomplished a great deal since then, and for that we as a nation should be proud. But we are not yet the America that Dr. King described as he stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. His dream is not yet reality. And as long as injustice and inequality persist in our society, Dr. King’s legacy will endure not just as a dream but as a challenge – a challenge to live by the principles we as a nation were founded upon, a challenge to lift up those who struggle, a challenge to become a source of motivation, guidance, and hope in the lives of others, just as Dr. King has been for us. We as a nation are up to this challenge, for despite our many differences, we share faith in the ultimate power of human goodness. “With this faith,” said Dr. King, “we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.” May that stone of hope serve as a building block for the one America that we dream of, and know is possible.

- Senator John R. Edwards


“The great moral issue is the 37 million people in our country who live in poverty,” Edwards told about a thousand people attending Monday’s service for King at Mount Zion First Baptist Church in Baton Rouge, LA.

- Edwards: Dream is fading/Former candidate honors MLK with call to fight poverty

From: We could each be Dr. King

King is not a legend because he believed in diversity trainings and civic ceremonies, or because he had a nice dream. He is remembered because he took serious risks and, as the Quakers say, spoke truth to power. King is also remembered because, among a number of brave and committed civil rights leaders and activists, he had a flair for self-promotion, a style that also appealed to white liberals, and the extraordinary social strength of the black Southern churches behind him. And because he died before he had a chance to be widely believed a relic or buffoon....

.....we forget that of those many dreams King had, only one - equal access for non-whites - is significantly realized today. A half-century after the Montgomery bus boycott catapulted a 26-year-old King into prominence, even that is only partly achieved. Blacks are being systematically disenfranchised in our presidential elections, and affirmative action and school desegregation are all but dead. Urban school districts across the country these days are as segregated and unequal as ever, and the imminent confirmation of Samuel Alito to the U.S. Supreme Court likely heralds a new era where employers and landlords can discriminate with near-impunity.

- Geov Parrish, who says that the real story of Dr. King could inspire action; instead, we hear feel-good whitewash.

Other articles and blogposts:

SF Chronicle: A man without borders- Martin Luther King's appeal for peace with justice is as relevant as ever in our troubled world

Juan Cole - 10 Things Martin Luther King Would have Done about Iraq

Seen at Chancelucky blog:
Had he lived, I’m certain that any number of hard core supporters of the war would be calling Dr. King the same names they are applying to John Murtha, Howard Dean, Gold Star Mothers, and now likely Walter Cronkite.

RNC Claiming Non-Profits as Their Own?

RNC Claiming Non-Profits as Their Own?

John Byrne and Ron Brynaert are questioning a Republican National Committee listing of various conservative nonprofits as "GOP groups". This would be in direct violation of the nonprofit charter. At least six "GOP groups" listed and linked on the Republican National Committee website are tax-exempt nonprofits.
[Raw Story]

WaPo: Scowcroft Describes Success in Iraq

WaPo: Scowcroft Describes 'Success' in Iraq

I've got to give credit to Brent Scowcroft, who has had an extraordinary twenty-nine-year military career, for his ideas about how best to achieve a successful outcome and the necessary transition in Iraq - from a unilateral war with dubious beginnings to an international effort with his own idea about how to achieve success. ("Success" is described below - and please note that he didn't use the word "victory")

Neither debate from the two polarized political sides have convinced me that we'd be taking appropriate measures for a peaceful and productive Iraq from a moral, geopolitical or military strategic standpoint. Scocroft advises that the real challenge is not to choose between them but to make - and take - an option that is most likely to advance the overall U.S. national interest.

Scowcroft, while not ignoring the "bitter and emotional debate in the United States about the future of the U.S. presence in Iraq", reminds us that we are there nonetheless - and that a "failed Iraq" could be a catastrophe for the Middle East and a calamity for the world. He stresses that we must find an honorable and ethical track, and he doesn't mean "staying the course.". He says:
The coincidence of these events may provide a unique opportunity to review the role of foreign military forces and the international community as Iraq takes its next steps back into the community of nations. Such a review could usefully begin by turning over to the historians questions about how and why we got into Iraq. Whatever questions remain, we are there in force, and the central issue that confronts us is how we move forward most effectively.
Scowcroft's idea of "success":
1. A central government that meets the needs of the people well enough to secure their sustained support, shows sufficient consideration for minority rights to win the loyalty of those minorities and demonstrates a credible determination to live in peace with its neighbors

2. An effective, highly disciplined military and security establishment that gives its allegiance not to various elements within Iraqi society but solely to the central government
I think Mr. Scowcroft is a good servant of the public interest here - and I appreciate these ideas. The first George Bush (41) was lucky to have had him - and "43" should have respected and taken his counsel long ago. I regret to say that I believe we could have avoided the mess we've gotten ourselves into, had we only listened to the men and women who knew a hell of a lot more than the greedy chickenhawks and their neoconservative wonks about the bitter realities of war.

US Marine Asks: Will You Slander Me, Too?

US Marine Asks: Will You Slander Me, Too?
I am a Marine currently serving at 4th Marine Aircraft Wing in New Orleans. Right now my fellow Marines and I are watching as we slowly slouch towards war with Iran. If deployed to the area, I promise you this: we will fight together, and we will fight valiantly. We will fight for those we do not know and for a cause we might not share. But we will fight. And when we come home, we may continue our fight, in the halls of power, the state capitols, and DC, if we so choose. We have earned it in blood and sweat. No one, and I mean no one, has the right to impugn our service, or our credentials without expecting a defense. I am defending Mr. Murtha because he did in Vietnam what others would not do. And I thank God for giving me the chance to make my mark as he has. And when I come home, will you be there to slander me too?

Comment from a U.S. Marine - from an update on an op-ed by Bob Cesca titled The Party of 'Patriotism And The Military' Smears The Service of Another Military Patriot [Huffington Post]

Bush Admin. Launched Secret Smear Campaign Against Murtha

Bush Admin. Launched Secret Smear Campaign Against Murtha
"The Huffington Post has learned the Bush administration recently asked high ranking military leaders to denounce Congressman John Murtha. Congressman Murtha has called for the Bush Administration to withdraw US troops from Iraq.

The Bush Administration first attacked Rep. Murtha for his Iraq views by associating him with the filmmaker Michael Moore and Representative Jean Schmidt likened him to a coward on the floor of the House of Representatives. When those tactics backfired, Dick Cheney called Murtha "A good man, a marine, a patriot and he's taking a clear stand in an entirely legitimate discussion."
Though the White House has backed off publicly, administration officials have nevertheless recently made calls to military leaders to condemn the congressman. So far they have refused.

Rep. Murtha spent 37 years in the Marine Corps earning a Bronze Star, two Purple Hearts and a Navy Distinguished Service Medal. His service has earned him the respect of the military, and made him a trusted adviser to both Republican and Democratic presidents and leaders of the armed forces.


Military leaders have refused - but Brent Bozell III, David Thibaiult, and Howard Kurtz, along with the editors at the Washington Post seemed to have been willing lapdogs, tongues hanging out, drool a-dripping.

I come from a family with veterans of just about every war our nation has ever fought - including the Revolution. If you think this tactic of deliberate smearing of any of our veterans doesn't piss me off, you've got another thing coming.

Does President Bush make a promise to support the troops - or only the Republican troops? When you're fighting a war beside your buddies, it doesn't matter what party you're from when the bombs and bullets are flying. President Bush should separate himself from this unAmerican activity now - or be seen as a conspirator or a harborer of conspirators against the reputation of veterans who bravely and loyally defended their nation.