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Saturday, April 29, 2006

Neil Young - Ignorance Never Sleeps

"Well I heard mister young sing about her
Well, I heard ole neil put her down
Well, I hope neil young will remember
A southern man don’t need him around anyhow"

Lynyrd Skynard

"If a man is not a socialist by the time he is 20, he has no heart.
If he is not a conservative by the time he is 40, he has no brain."


Winston Churchill

I remember a young man who could rock out or wax poetic. With Buffalo Springfield, with CSNY, Crazy Horse and as a solo artist, he was once the interesting folk/rocker who penned these wistful words:

"Expecting To Fly"


"There you stood
on the edge of your feather,
Expecting to fly.
While I laughed,
I wondered whether
I could wave goodbye,
Knowin' that you'd gone.
By the summer it was healing,
We had said goodbye.
All the years
we'd spent with feeling
Ended with a cry,
Babe, ended with a cry,
Babe, ended with a cry.

I tried so hard to stand
As I stumbled
and fell to the ground.
So hard to laugh as I fumbled
And reached for the love I found,
Knowin' it was gone.
If I never lived without you,
Now you know I'd die.
If I never said I loved you,
Now you know I'd try,
Babe, now you know I'd try.
Babe, now you know I'd try,
Babe."



Now he writes and sings this:

"Let’s impeach the president for lying
And leading our country into war
Abusing all the power that we gave him
And shipping all our money out the door

He’s the man who hired all the criminals
The White House shadows who hide behind closed doors
And bend the facts to fit with their new stories
Of why we have to send our men to war

Let’s impeach the president for spying
On citizens inside their own homes
Breaking every law in the country
By tapping our computers and telephones

What if Al Qaeda blew up the levees
Would New Orleans have been safer that way
Sheltered by our government’s protection
Or was someone just not home that day?

Let’s impeach the president
For hijacking our religion and using it to get elected
Dividing our country into colors
And still leaving black people neglected

Thank god he’s cracking down on steroids
Since he sold his old baseball team
There’s lot of people looking at big trouble
But of course the president is clean

Thank God"



Uhm, Neil? You are a Canadian, dude! This isn't even your country. That ignorant, insipid, juvenile rant you are singing now? It tells me you may be old, but you never did grow up. I agree with Lynyrd Skynard. We don't need you around anyhow.

23 comments:

oriolebird38 said...

I'm by no means a fan of George W. Bush, but the calls to impeach him are absurd. If running a sloppy war, having well-intentioned but flawed domestic programs, and having an average record on disaster response (which I think are the worst that one could argue for GWB) are grounds for impeachment, then we better start impeaching everyone. By that logic, LBJ, Hoover, Wilson, Lincoln, and a host of other presidents would be eligible for impeachment.

High crimes and misdemeanors imply actual crimes being committed. I don't think being wrong is a crime. If this were a parlimentary system, I might suggest a vote of no confidence. However, we are not, so lets reserve changing the president until 2008.

Kerwin said...

Oriolebird38,

It always scares me when I hear reason from the other side.

cranky old fart said...

Ah, but those BJs. Now that's an impeachable offense!

Sorry. As is always righteously pointed out by the right, it was lying about BJs that constituted the henious high crime.

Amy Proctor said...

What a jerk! To even try to debunk Neil Young's stupid assertions is a waste of time. Clearly he's been smoking too much dope and has now become one.

Interesting entry, Radar!

oriolebird38 said...

The only thing that would be a bigger joke than a George W impeachment, would of course be the Clinton impeachment.

Seriously, I'm still waiting to hear how the BJs that Clinton got or didn't get affected any of our lives in any way.

Kerwin said...

Clinton stated under oath that he did not have sex with Monica. He committed a serious federal crime called perjury. You can serve several years in jail for that crime. Scooter Libby is currently accused of the same crime and might actually do the time for it if convicted. So much for the equal protection under the law clause of the U.S. Constitution.

cranky old fart said...

Sorry Kerwin, but it actually does matter what you lie about. No matter how much you want to trump it up, no one, NO ONE, has ever been prosecuted for lying about a consensual sexual act.

Trying to remove a sitting president for it was just, well, insane partisan politics at its worst.

Kerwin said...

Cranky Old Fart,

You seem to have a problem with the law. You believe the law should only apply to some individuals and not others. You might look up perjury. It comes under The United States Code Collection Title 18 Part 1 Section 79 Section 23. I states the following.

“(a) Whoever under oath (or in any declaration, certificate, verification, or statement under penalty of perjury as permitted under section 1746 of title 28, United States Code) in any proceeding before or ancillary to any court or grand jury of the United States knowingly makes any false material declaration or makes or uses any other information, including any book, paper, document, record, recording, or other material, knowing the same to contain any false material declaration, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both. “

Clinton is guilty of that crime. He lied in order to influence the court in his advantage as the lawsuit had to also do with sexual conduct.

If the rule of law in our country was respected then Clinton should have been charged with perjury and should have faced a jury of his pears. Instead a mockery was made of the law and broke the law without repercussions. His impeachment was extralegal as it would not of been considered double jeopardy.

A Hermit said...

Neil is a Canadian (a Manitoba boy. like me) but he's lived in th eUSA for forty years.

And he's not afraid to tell the truth.

And besides, up north here we feel like the mouse sleeping beside the elephant. Doesn't matter how good natured the elephant is, the mouse gets nervous whenever the beast rolls over in its sleep.

Bush is either incompetent, a liar, or both. He has admitted to violating the FISA law and declared that he won't follow the anti-torture staute passed by Congress.

You're supposed ot have a president, not a king. I'm frankly embarrased for my American friends; too many of you have allowed yourselves to be so frightened by one terrorist attack that you are you willing to abandon the very principles of liberty and representation that have made America great in return for false security.

I look forward to the day when Americans of good sense and good will regain the upper hand in the political discourse and I can go back to admiring my neighbour again.

radar said...

"Bush is either incompetent, a liar, or both. He has admitted to violating the FISA law and declared that he won't follow the anti-torture staute passed by Congress."

Back atcha, Hermit. Back up those two statements or withdraw them. They are both factually untrue.

oriolebird38 said...

i don't think it's hard to argue that Bush is incompetant. I think the Katrina fiasco is all you need to point to (though I could probably find much more, like the fact that my old elementary school is cut off from funding for failing the No Child Left Behind system, which occurred because it contained more than the allowed quota of special needs kids).

However, the test is "high crimes and misdemeanors," not "arguably incompetant and possibly a liar". So, Canadian, American, Iraqi, doesn't matter. Impeaching Bush is a horrible idea and people need to stop suggesting it.

Anonymous said...

Whether or not Bush has committed impeachable offenses in an open question. More germane would be calls for investigations (actual investigations, not toothless wonders) into his conduct and actions. My guess is that the answer is yes (the FISA follies and perhaps the Plame leak are obvious example, among several, but I suspect that once full-scale stone-turning commenced in earnest, all sorts of beasties would come crawling out - and Radar, the defense that Bush hasn't violated FISA on the grounds that he's not legally bound by it (essentially) only works if you buy it. And if you do, have I got a bridge for you!).

Impeachment aside, Bush poses real problems far beyond personal incompetence, far beyond being just another average-to-poor president. I honestly believe that the administration is undermining the very workings of our government. This is occurring in (at least) two ways, two themes, you might say, that unify the litany of complaints, problems, and scandals that have driven Bush's approval ratings into the 30s, and caused an increasing number of conservatives to jump ship.

The first is that the administration simply isn't interested in government as we understand it - more specifically, good government, as used not just now but also in reform campaigns of over a century ago. One way this plays out (as we're increasingly realizing) is in the appointment of government officials based on patronage, donations, other connections, or ideology rather than merit. A serious Republican administration might, for example, appoint a FEMA director with views I disagreed with, but with obvious, demonstrated ability. They wouldn't appoint someone whose previous experience was as a Commissioner for the International Arabian Horse Association (and, most importantly, as a GOP activist. (And this is only part of the story: Brown was brought in by childhood friend Joe Allbaugh. Allbaugh, a long time Bush confidant who had been his chief of staff in Texas and national campaign manager in 2000, was rewarded by being appointed as FEMA head after the election, despite (as far as I know) a lack of any specific expertise. A great deal of the crapification of FEMA seems to have occurred under his watch (his actions after leaving the position have led to allegations of questionable involvement in post-Katrina no-bid contracts).

(One variation of this involves appointing people to important positions where there is a reasonable expectation that they would only work to subvert rather then fulfill the agency's mission - the equivalent of appointing Willie Nelson as drug czar.)

It's like we're back to the spoils system. I mean, this was a big issue towards the end of the 19th Century. One would have imagined that we wouldn't have wanted to revisit it!

The Iraq was is in part another example. Certainly any administation is susceptible to groupthink and cherrypicking and errors in planning and etc., but most serious, grown-up administrations attempt to minimize these possibilities. While other factors were certainly involved, some of the glaring screw-ups in regard to Iraq - from not bothering to plan for the postwar period, to ignoring or attacking actual experts, to stocking the CPA (to a small but still too excessive degree) with completely unqualifed (if well-meaning) young Republicans, via the Heritage Foundation, come under this heading as well.

There are certainly issues of personal and even systematic incompetence, but that clouds the issue, implying that competence is a goal of the administration. More accurately, competency or incompetency is irrelevent. They probably don't especially desire incompetent government officials (except perhaps in certain areas), but it's beside the point - what' important is party loyalty, fundraising, favors, rewards, kickbacks, and the consolidation of power.

The second, and the far more serious long-term threat, is the administration's attempt to enormously expand the power of the executive branch, removing or ignoring inconvenient checks and balances - an agenda pushed in part by old Nixonians who have spent decades now wishing for the old imperial presidency (dismantled largely as a consequence of Nixon's actions) and in part by a President who doesn't understand (or care?) why the Founders and subsequent leaders put all those inconvenient checks and balances there in the first place. Certainly there are situations - wars, etc. - in which some temporary expansion of Presidential powers is probably inevitable, or even necessary. What is little understood is how far beyond this the administration is going, how radical the claims they're making actually are. Additionally, what Bush loyalists apparently completely fail to grasp is that these powers will not simply disappear when Bush leaves off, but (unless squashed) apply to each successive occupant of the White House. Do you really want Hillary being able to conduct domestic spying without oversight? (It takes a village . . . to wiretap you!) This is the aspect of the Bush administration that would leave the Founders - wel-attuned to the risks of tyranny - spinning in their graves, and which no honest conservative (if that label means anything nowadays) can possibly support.

Examples of this include warrantless domestic spying and Bush's use of 'signing statements' - that is, publicly signing a bill into law, and then going and filing a statement essentially saying taht regardless what Congress intended, this is how the executive branch understands and intends to apply the law (often, in effect, saying 'this doesn't apply to me!'). See, for example, John Dean's piece on The Problem with Presidential Signing Statements: Their Use and Misuse by the Bush Administration (and really, when the former counsel to Nixon has spent the last few years comparing you unfavorably to his old boss, it probably should tell you something . . .). (and this is what hermit's talking about, Radar, re: torture). See also, linked to that article, Jennifer Van Bergen on The Unitary Executive.

If you're interested, read Glenn Greenwald's (not yet out) book How Would a Patriot Act? when it comes out, or go read his blog Unclaimed Territory - for example, this post, which isn't amazingly outstanding or anything, but is a very recent one (Sunday) touching on these matters.

Anybody care for a banana (republic)?

A Hermit - I'm embarrassed too, and increasingly worried. At least a lot of us down here are trying to wake up that slumbering elephant before - thrashing around in the grip of nightmares or other delusions - it causes further damage to itself and others. And 'waking the elephant' works both ways - according to poll results and any number of anecdotes, an increasing number of Republicans disapprove of Bush's performance - they're starting to realize that something is very, very wrong.

For all y'all who haven't . . . I don't know what to say. I mean, this is beyond partisan bickering or 'Bush-hatred' - the administration is damaging our country. I wonder if you'll ever realize this, or whether you'll just go on, like the people who are still convinced that Nixon was a great president who didn't do anything wrong, and that we only lost in Vietnam because of the media and the hippies . .

Anyway, Bush is, since 2004, a legitimately elected president, and unless (until?) he is impeached and forced to step down, we're stuck with him for some time yet. So it's all about damage control. One of my concerns is that as the damage already inflicted (and whatever's up ahead) becomes undeniably obvious, as Republicans lose the reins of government (whether in 2006, in impeachment hearings, or in 2008), as reality reveals it's "well-known liberal bias," some of the people for whom Bush and Bushism has become an article of faith, and an important component of their self-image, will just go berserk, in a way that would make the constant refrain of 'traitor! traitor! America-hater!' sound like loving sweet nothings.

Maybe not. Hope not.

-Dan S.

A Hermit said...

"Back atcha, Hermit. Back up those two statements or withdraw them. They are both factually untrue."

Here you go:

Bush could bypass new torture ban"After approving the bill last Friday, Bush issued a ''signing statement" -- an official document in which a president lays out his interpretation of a new law -- declaring that he will view the interrogation limits in the context of his broader powers to protect national security. This means Bush believes he can waive the restrictions, the White House and legal specialists said."


George W. Bush as the New Richard M. Nixon

Bush acknowledges approving secret eavesdropping on US residents

Bush claims he doesn't have to follow the law.

"President Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office, asserting that he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with his interpretation of the Constitution."

Is the president above the law, Radar? Do you have a king now?

Sincerely

A Well Documented Hermit

radar said...

A Hermit - "We are not going to ignore this law," the official said, noting that Bush, when signing laws, routinely issues signing statements saying he will construe them consistent with his own constitutional authority. ''We consider it a valid statute. We consider ourselves bound by the prohibition on cruel, unusual, and degrading treatment."

You are wrong on point one.

Point two was already refuted. The Attorney General agreed that the President has and had the power to enact the wire-tapping and that the power to do so had been claimed by previous Presidents.

From the WSJ - The courts have been explicit on this point, most recently in In Re: Sealed Case, the 2002 opinion by the special panel of appellate judges established to hear FISA appeals. In its per curiam opinion, the court noted that in a previous FISA case (U.S. v. Truong), a federal "court, as did all the other courts to have decided the issue [our emphasis], held that the President did have inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence information." And further that "we take for granted that the President does have that authority and, assuming that is so, FISA could not encroach on the President's constitutional power."

You are wrong on point two.

radar said...

By the way, Hermit, this is why the calls to impeach fell on deaf ears. The Dems know he has the law on his side and they also understand that since these wiretaps are involved only when a terrorist is on one end of the conversation that the public wants them to continue.

Able Danger and other revelations have shown us that the previous administration had left us open to the 9/11 attacks and had hamstrung the agencies charged with our security so that we were not able to see the danger in time and stop the terrorists. Does anyone think that Sandy Berger stole and destroyed classified documents relating to the 9/11 investigation because he needed some scrap paper???

Despite the odds, there has still not been a successful terrorist attack on our country since 9/11 and I for one am glad we have people that are watching out for the next attempt.

A Hermit, it may be safe where you are. I am near a major US city, one that would be a logical target of terrorists. I no longer work downtown, but I still have friends who do. I am not willing to make you happy at the risk of their lives.

radar said...

Finally, as to the BJ's.

Nixon went down because he covered up the activities of others. He lied.

Clinton covered up his own activities, lied, and got away with it. How is it Nixon had to leave office and Clinton didn't? Probably the pressure from the news media.

Me, I knew Clinton was a womanizing, draft-dodging liar long before he was first elected President. I didn't think dallying with a intern was an impeachable offense. JFK did stuff like that all the time. It was the coverup that should have done Bill in.

Whatever, he is a great politician and a guy I would probably find interesting in person. I am sure you could go have a beer with the guy and enjoy yourself.

Anyway, Nixon covered up and go the shaft. Clinton covered up and got a free pass. That's life. But it wasn't the BJ, it was the L-I-E.

Anonymous said...

"How is it Nixon had to leave office and Clinton didn't? Probably the pressure from the news media."

Or could it be that Ol' Slick lied about getting his willy wiped and Tricky Dick lied about undermining democracy?

Nah.

Pressure from the news media? Did you see the media during the Clinton scandal? I think some of them needed dry-cleaning services!

"We consider ourselves bound by the prohibition on cruel, unusual, and degrading treatment."
Except when we're not.

"From the WSJ"
Editorial page.

"and they also understand that since these wiretaps are involved only when a terrorist is on one end of the conversation"

Are you sure of this? How do you know?

"that the public wants them to continue."
I can't find clear evidence either way, at least nothing recent. The impression I get is that as the issue became more widely discussed in the beginning of the year - and when polls started specifying that it was being done without a warrant, etc. - public opinion became rather less favorable, and at least fairly evenly divided. If anybody has info . .

"Despite the odds, there has still not been a successful terrorist attack on our country since 9/11"

We haven't heard about too many thwarted ones either. No doubt there are various things not being released to the public (not even leaked!), but . . . I dunno. It's either reassuring or worrying.

" I am near a major US city . .."
I'll see your major US city and raise you one. Several, actually. I live in a major US city, have family and friends in both of the cities actually hit on 9/11 (both likely targets for a future attack), and my wife has family in another - probably the one you're near, I think.

And I am not willing to make you happy at the risk of our liberties.

A Hermit said...

I am not wrong on either point, Radar; Bush admits he did not get the warrants required by FISA. He can claim he has the authority to ignore the law I suppose, (I haven't seen anyone outside his administration support that idea, by way) but that's not the same as actually following the law.

And as for those "signing statements"; sorry, but "trust me, we don't really mean it" isn't very convincing.

"Despite the odds, there has still not been a successful terrorist attack on our country since 9/11 and I for one am glad we have people that are watching out for the next attempt."

I have some Tiger repellant I'd like to sell you. I know it works because I haven't been attacked by a Tiger since I started using it...

Truth is the Bush crowd aren't watching your ports, airport security is no better today than it was 5 years ago, and chemical and nuclear sites in the US are still unguarded. But the truth is the terrorists don't need to attack the US again because the Bush administration gave Al Qaeda exactly what they wanted - a large American force bogged down in a guerilla war in an Arab country...even better, Bush got rid of Saddam who was hated by the Islamists. Meanwhile, terrorist attacks worldwide have more than tripled in the last couple of years, so pardon me for not being impressed.

Oh, and friends of mine are fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan right now, risking their lives because George took his eye off the ball and didn't finish the real job, so don't lecture me about danger. I live near a military base, so we're prime targets in any conflict.

In any case, you have about thousand times greater chance of dying in a car accident than you do of ever even coming close to a terrorist. You Americans need to take a deep breath, step back, take a look at the real world and stop being such frightened little duckies and bending over for Bush and his "Daddy State" every time they threaten you with the bearded bogeyman.

I was as horrified as anyone on Sept. 11, but after the initial shock my first thought was "I refuse to live in fear". The terrorists win by scaring you into changing the way you live. I'll be damned if I'll surrender that easily.

An Unbowed Hermit

A Hermit said...

Here's an excellent analysis of The Bush justifications for law-breaking.

And my concerns, as a Canadian citizen, about Bush's cavalier attitude towards the torture of innocent people are perhaps best explained by Maher Arar's story

cranky old fart said...

"Anyway, Nixon covered up and go the shaft. Clinton covered up and got a free pass. That's life. But it wasn't the BJ, it was the L-I-E".

Nixon, Libby, et. al. lied about matters that directly concerned the governance of our nation, the corruption of our political system.

Clinton lied about whether a grown up woman sucked his c**k.

If honestly can't see the distinction..........

A Hermit said...

"Clinton covered up and got a free pass."

No, Clinton covered up and got impeached, remember?

By the way, lest you dismiss my concernes about King George's lawbreaking as some of sort of "liberal lie" here's a link to The Cato Institue's take on the subject:

"Unfortunately, far from defending the Constitution, President Bush has repeatedly sought to strip out the limits the document places on federal power. In its official legal briefs and public actions, the Bush administration has advanced a view of federal power that is astonishingly broad, a view that includes

* a federal government empowered to regulate core political speech—and restrict it greatly when it counts the most: in the days before a federal election;
* a president who cannot be restrained, through validly enacted statutes, from pursuing any tactic he believes to be effective in the war on terror;
* a president who has the inherent constitutional authority to designate American citizens suspected of terrorist activity as "enemy combatants," strip them of any constitutional protection, and lock them up without charges for the duration of the war on terror— in other words, perhaps forever; and
* a federal government with the power to supervise virtually every aspect of American life, from kindergarten, to marriage, to the grave.


President Bush's constitutional vision is, in short, sharply at odds with the text, history, and structure of our Constitution, which authorizes a government of limited powers."

Anonymous said...

"If honestly can't see the distinction.........."

Arguing that those two things are equivalent is simply a phallusy.

Sorry, couldn't help myself.

Dan S., lowering the level of discussion

Anonymous said...

Kerwin, you're a master of bringing clarity and the proper degree of even-handed righteousness to the situation:

"You seem to have a problem with the law. You believe the law should only apply to some individuals and not others. You might look up perjury. It comes under The United States Code Collection Title 18 Part 1 Section 79 Section 23. I states the following.

“(a) Whoever under oath (or in any declaration, certificate, verification, or statement under penalty of perjury as permitted under section 1746 of title 28, United States Code) in any proceeding before or ancillary to any court or grand jury of the United States knowingly makes any false material declaration or makes or uses any other information, including any book, paper, document, record, recording, or other material, knowing the same to contain any false material declaration, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both. “"


But frankly I gotta tell ya this has me a little confused. By what technical distinction does Bush's lying under oath then not amount to perjury? Does he have to be convicted first, or what?

"So much for the equal protection under the law clause of the U.S. Constitution."

Exactly.

--- Sincerely, Fred R.