Tuesday, July 31, 2007

the game is just better from here

The atmosphere is only slightly better (more eyecandy), but the actual game is a lot more interesting to watch. When I'm in the cheap(er) seats I usually barely know who is winning.

The tickets were courtesy of a baseball fan who had sworn off the Rangers on the basis of its ownership and their policies (understandable), but suddenly swore them back on when he came into these seats (more than understandable).

Eric Gagne pitched the ninth. This guy is making a good comeback this year (just got traded to the BoSox to pitch the 8th in the playoffs) after being phenomenal for a while with the Dodgers (1 blown save in 2 years), then struggling badly with injury. He has a sick change-up. It worked better back when his fastball was routinely in the upper 90s. But even now when he's throwing mid to low 90s, it is simply amazing to watch close up. I swung my head around to look at the scoreboard mph readout after one particularly nasty one: 68! Unhittable.

while I'm preparing Parts II and III

of the US Attorneys series (yes, I worked verrry hard on it this past weekend), here is a surprisingly non-surprising little brief on how our congress is pursuing something known as "ethics reform":

Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) has been having a few problems of late. Most recently, he became the first Senator in the history of our country to have his home raided by federal agents. After sneaking out the backdoor of his Senate office building, an intrepid CNN reporter spied him skulking away. She gave chase, Stevens (despite his decrepidity) tried to get away. Upon catching up to him, she asked him several times for a comment, and was finally rewarded with this piece of gold:
STEVENS: Can you understand English? That's the only statement I'm going to make.

[CNN Correspondent] BASH: I do understand that sir, but obviously this is a very important issue, when federal agents and IRS agents come to the home of a U.S. senator.

STEVENS: I understand you're recording this, but I told you again I made the statement. It's issued, that's what my lawyers told me to say, and that's all I'm going to say.
Nice. The current leaders of our esteemed Fourth Estate (meaning: TeeVee News) don't often seem real big on investigating corrupt Republican politicians and operatives, finding the facts, and blasting the stories out over the airwaves (see, e.g., [well, nevermind. I started to put examples, but there's too many to list here, and this ain't about that anyway]), but, boy, when federal agents (!!!) are involved, CNN and their ilk literally RUN after the story.

But Senator Ted got something done before he scurried away from his office. He apparently told a meeting of top Republicans that he would place a "hold" on the ethics reform bill currently pending in the Senate. This bill is a companion to the bill just passed by the House by a 411-8 margin. Major parts of the bill would:
require lobbyists to disclose more of their activities, including the campaign contributions they raise from clients, friends and relatives, a key source of their influence.

It would require lawmakers to disclose the special-interest items they slip into bills — a process, known as earmarking, that has figured prominently in congressional scandals.

And it would deny congressional pensions in the future to lawmakers turned felons.
I'm guessing Senator Ted reaaallly didn't like that last bit.

UPDATE: If you're wondering how one Senator can block consideration of a measure all by his/her lonesome, well so was I. This wikipedia article explains that this maneuver, known as a "secret hold", is a longstanding part of the Senate's rules. Although the article isn't perfectly clear on the subject, it implies that the tactic rarely actually keeps a measure from coming up for a vote. It is designed to delay so that a senator with an unusually strong interest in something can take time to study it.

The article goes on to point out a particularly ironic use of the secret hold. It was used to block a vote on a law called "Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006". So, some meathead Senator used a secret, anonymous tactic to block passage of a bill requiring more openness and transparency in government. Funny.

But the kicker is: that Senator was later outed, and his name was none other than....

Ted Stevens.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

make no mistake

this white house considers the Constitution to be irrelevant. They view it as akin to an op-ed piece with which they disagree. Merely advisory, and bad advice at that.

Josh Marshall:

Without going into all the specifics, I think we are now moving into a situation where the White House, on various fronts, is openly ignoring the constitution, acting as though not just the law but the constitution itself, which is the fundamental law from which all the statutes gain their force and legitimacy, doesn't apply to them.

If that is allowed to continue, the defiance will congeal into precedent. And the whole structure of our system of government will be permanently changed.

Whether because of prudence and pragmatism or mere intellectual inertia, I still have the same opinion on the big question: impeachment. But I think we're moving on to dangerous ground right now, more so than some of us realize. And I'm less sure now under these circumstances that operating by rules of 'normal politics' is justifiable or acquits us of our duty to our country.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

here's something worth 2 minutes

trey parker and matt stone animate a talk by someone named alan watts (who i've never heard of). a good time waste if nothing else. (h/t andrew sullivan)

highlight reel

TPM has compiled a devastating highlight reel of The Regime's Legal Apparatchik (you know him as the "Judge") testifying in congress yesterday. The words "craven" and "dastardly" barely even begin to describe it. If you can hold down your disgust level, it is comedy on par with the best you'll see on The Daily Show -- or anywhere else.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Puppet Justice Department (Part I of III)

Some people find it difficult to wrap their heads around the U.S. Attorney firing scandal. At first glance, it seems like a molehill-to-mountain type deal. (or, as Tony Soprano would say, "making a molehill out of it"). After all, the US Attorneys are appointed by the president, and, as you often hear the wingnuts say, they serve at his pleasure. Therefore, he can replace them as he sees fit.

Well, true enough. It is analogous to an employer/employee relationship in an at-will employment state, such that, absent any express contractual obligation, the employment relationship is "at-will", and just as the employee can sever the relationship (quit) at any time for any reason, the employer can sever the relationship (fire the employee) at any time "for any reason or no reason". This standard has been interpreted by courts to allow an employer to fire an employee for literally any reason (e.g., the employee is impolite. or too polite. or uses the word "polite". or has a tattoo of the word "polite" on an ass cheek, etc.).

But, no. It really doesn't mean any reason. It really means: any legitimate reason, any frivolous reason, or no reason at all, but not an illegitimate reason. Reasons falling into the "illegitimate" category include age, race, and gender. As an employer, you cannot fire someone for being old, young, black, white, brown, male, or female, etc. (You also cannot base your hiring decisions on any of these characteristics unless it is an essential characteristic needed for that specific employment (for example, you would be allowed to consider only hispanic applicants for the job of playing the role of Alberto Gonzales in your upcoming film -- working title: The Stooge)).

So, "at-will" employment has its limits, despite the oft-articulated "any reason or no reason" standard. Similarly, the US Attorney employment standard, "at the pleasure of the president", has its limits. The president can hire and fire these folks at his pleasure, for any reason or no reason, but just not for any illegitimate reason. And, here, the category of "illegitimate" reasons is expanded in one small way: the president cannot fire, or threaten to fire, US attorneys for a very narrow category of "political" reasons.

Might the president properly fire a US Attorney for not being sufficiently "loyal"? Clearly, yes. However, such a firing would be improper if the basis for the "loyalty" determination includes whether the fired US Attorney: (a) failed to prosecute Person D -- a person whom the white house wanted prosecuted, independent of the facts of the case, based merely on Person D's political affiliations, or (b) prosecuted Person R -- a person whom the white house did not want prosecuted, independent of the facts of the case, based merely on Person R's political affiliations.

Each of these scenarios would clearly constitute an improper exercise of the president's prerogative to hire and fire US Attorneys at his pleasure. This conclusion is not the subject of any debate. Even the current white house denizens -- masters of doublethink -- have not contended otherwise. The reason is simple: the administration of justice, here in the form of prosecutorial machinery, is a sacred trust, which must be exercised fairly, equally, and without favor. Not only that, but it must also have the appearance of being so. Otherwise, citizens lose respect for the law, the social contract is breached, and chaos ensues.

So, with that background, this is what appears to have happened with the US Attorney firings. The two congressional judiciary committees are now trying to determine whether the scandal amounts to actual impropriety (which would be severely, disastrously bad) or only an appearance of impropriety (which is merely a terrible debacle).

Which is it? The lengths to which the white house has gone to impede the investigations strongly suggests the former.

I'm at a loss for words

at least any words that I'm willing -- without some sober, cold-blooded reflection -- to place onto the internet at this point in time.

Witness Your Attorney General prevaricate and obfuscate:

Complete coverage (video clips and commentary) on TPM Muckraker.

Commentary by Andrew Cohen on his WaPo blog.

I genuinely don't know what to say. There are so many things wrong here that it just defies any cogent disquisition.

The best I could do right now is launch headlong into some extremely vulgar name-calling, and I just don't think that solves anything.

Monday, July 23, 2007

monarchs tend to find elections tedious and irrelevant

I wrote a post several days ago asking why congressional Republicans were so eager to support The Regime in its ongoing emasculation of congress as a co-equal branch of government, given their certain knowledge, based on the 200+ year history of our republic, that the shoe will inevitably be on the other foot, sooner or later (i.e., Democrats in the white house, Republicans controlling congress). My research since then has revealed an increasing number of voices being raised with one particular answer to that question.

But first this. A commenter on Glenn Greenwald's blog said this in answer to the related question of why congressional Democrats didn't really seem to be too eager to reject The Regime's marginalization of congress:
  • Fin de siecle

    I agree that this latest outrage was telegraphed, in flavor if not in degree of arrogance, long ago. And I agree that the real tragedy here not the abuse itself, but the acquiescence in it by Congress.

    This institutional failure -- this mass Stockholm Syndrome of unprecedented scope and reach -- defies understanding and easy solutions. If the failure is one of vision, it is difficult to imagine what would make the scales fall from their eyes. If it is a failure of will, I do not know what would give them spine.

    If it means what some cynics argue -- that Dems roll over now because they see themselves on the other side of the jackboot in 2008 -- our Republic is finished, and it is time to head for the lifeboats.

A very insightful comment. But the truth may simply be that Democrats have a razor thin margin, and are just unable to make any significant inroads against Regime usurpation, try as they might. Republicans, obviously, do not have this excuse. So why, then, are they allowing THEMSELVES, as legislators, to be stripped of the power clearly allocated to them by the Constitution? Sure, a few of them may see themselves as one day ascending to the presidency, where they would then have the jackboot on their own foot. But there are almost 50 of them in the Senate alone, and surely only a small number of these have any such realistic expectation.

So, then why? A growing number of people are starting to come around to the idea I posited here. The only logical conclusion I can think of is that The Regime does not intend to leave. Ever. I can see a scenario where, in these caucus meetings attended by senior Regime officials, the Republicans say "But what happens when the Dems take over and they start exercising all this executive power? We will have given up all our avenues of recourse. What then?" And the senior Regime official responds, with an air of supreme confidence: "Just leave that to us. You'll see." In response to follow up questions like "when?", "where?", and "how?" (but not, of course, "why?") , the Regime Official calmly and knowingly replies "It's better if you don't know."

democracy -- it has a foothold

A tenuous one.

Blog posts have been slow, mostly because I've been spending my alloted blog time doing a lot of reading. There are a whole lot of people out there with very good things to say, and they are saying them, daily, all the time. Mostly I only read the ones that tend to agree with me on ideas that are important to me -- but even doing so, there is a real mix of viewpoints -- plenty of contrarians commenting and links to articles containing opposing views. It is almost impossible not to be informed about all sides of a given issue, assuming you are a fair and objective-minded reader.

So there are a lot of people that read and comment on these blogs and news (or newsy) sites. Most of the comments on the sites I visit are highly astute, and beyond well-informed. Comments that are factually incorrect or contain a mistake in logic are almost instantly corrected (in the case of facts, with links for verification).

And so given the audience, their level of knowledge, their ability to represent their views and in a cogent and compelling way, and their obviously being among the most participatory section of the electorate, wouldn't these sites be a good place for one of our elected leaders to solicit from these people feedback on their policies and the conduct of our government?

Yes, it is true that maybe our elected leaders (more likely their staffs) may sometimes visit to see how a particular idea is received there. But due to the wonderment that is the internet (a series of tubes), this can be done much more directly.

Witness this, for example. Apparently for the second time, Senator Russ Feingold (D - Wisconsin) has done a blog post at DailyKos. He was touting the fact that he is going to introduce two censure bills in the Senate against Bush and The Cheney.

The commenters? A bit unkind, to say the least. The commenters, see, are very angry at the The Regime. And they do not believe that some half-ass censure from an impotent Congress is going to do one damn bit of good. And these people aren't much on holding back on account of politeness. Civility? Yes, for the most part. But certainly it is not there considered a breach of civility to harshly question and rail against an idea you disagree with.

There was very little support of these censure measures, at all. Those that didn't harshly criticize mostly said "well at least they're doing something." The only support Feingold got was for actually taking the trouble to put his idea out there and solicit comments from people who (typically) share his larger views on the substantive issues. He took it in the teeth -- and surely expected to based on what I was able to glean about his previous foray into blog posting there -- but he did something essentially democratic, and, given the current climate of our leaders and their politically safety conscious habit of only appearing for soundbytes on major television networks, with few if any questions asked by actual reporters, to do something like this takes a fair amount of guts.

Certainly, you won't see any Regime officials doing this. In fact, with The Regime, you find the utmost contempt for any input (of any kind whatsoever) from "outsiders", a term which in their view has always encompassed the public (the electorate, source of all government power), and now encompasses the courts, the congress, and the media.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Redneck wallpaper

Yes, for a period of time I had this picture as my PC wallpaper. At the office. Lots of raised eyebrows later, I replaced it with the standard Microsoft grassy-hill-blue-sky thing (not much of a conversation starter, that, but certainly more palatable to VP-types who did not, in fact, spend most of their previous lives in the WC).

Beyond the obvious, what I find funny about this picture is the contrast between the white-trash-y aspects of the photo and the fact that two of the subjects are wearing these nicely pleated khaki shorts, shirts tucked in, with nice silver-buckled belts... as if they were off on some accounting firm's golf retreat weekend. Rather than out in a pasture blowing shit up with firearms of questionable legality.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Why don't we have people like this running for president?

Another nugget from Bruce Fein, this from an appearance on Bill Moyers' PBS program:
The great genius of the founding fathers, their revolutionary idea, [was that] the chief mission of the state is to make you and them free to pursue their ambitions and faculties. Not to build empires, not to aggrandize government. That's the mission of the state, to make them free, to think, to chart their own destiny. And the burden is on government to give really good explanations as to why they're taking these extraordinary measures. And on that score, Bush has flunked on every single occasion. And we need to get the American people to think. Every time that there's an incursion on freedom, they have to demand why. What is the explanation? Give me a good reason before I give up my freedom.
The transcript is here.

Fein also wrote an article on Slate to explain how Congress should go about breaking the administration's preposterous stance with regard to prohibiting former WH staffers from testifying before Congress. The administration's assertion of privilege in this matter is so broad as to permit the president to, quite literally, prohibit any staffer from testifying before Congress on any matter whatsoever, ever.

In this connection, here's what I want to know, and this is meant as a real question, rather than a rhetorical one: do Republicans in congress not realize that at some time in the future (probably sooner rather than later) there will be a Democrat in the White House, and that at some point Congress may well want to investigate certain matters concerning that Democrat's administration, and that as part of that investigation they may want to subpoena the testimony of WH staffers, and that that WH may then, in accordance with the clear precedent being set in this case, prohibit such staffers from testifying or cooperating with such investigation in any meaningful way whatsoever?

And when I say this is meant as a serious question, I mean these people aren't stupid. How can they not have any realization of this? And if they do, why in the world are they going along with it? What possible reason could they have? I guess that is really my question. It seems incredibly short-sighted. And -- leaving aside all political and party considerations of any kind -- it is incredibly harmful to our democracy.

Saturday, July 14, 2007


In an earlier post, I pointed out that the president has now outsourced the question of whether we should be in Iraq to his military commanders. In his Independence Day speech (and probably many times since then), the president also called for Americans to continue making sacrifices in support of his Excellent Iraqi Adventure: "Victory in this struggle will require more patience, more courage, and more sacrifice."

I am reminded of a quote from The Fountainhead, where the villain Ellsworth Toohey is pulling back the curtain on his plan for world domination: "Just listen to any prophet and if you hear him speak of sacrifice—run. Run faster than from a plague. It stands to reason that where there’s sacrifice, there’s someone collecting sacrificial offerings. Where there’s service, there’s someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice, speaks of slaves and masters. And intends to be the master."

Monday, July 9, 2007

Avril Lavigne is Smart

She has been accused of plagiarism (or, as they say in court, copyright infringement). Her defense (which I hope for her sake is not her official "legal" defense), is that she only copied 5 words, and that, after all, everyone copies stuff from other people, so, you know, like, get off my case:

"[T]heir claim is based on five words! All songs share similar lyrics and emotions. As humans we speak one language."

Yes, truly, as humans we all speak one language. How beautifully fucking poignant. And factually inaccurate and, well, just really really dumb.

And also, look at this picture. Either she needs to head down to the battered woman's shelter pronto to have those shiners looked at, or her make-up guy is a crack addict with a blunt-tipped Sharpie and a hell of a funny sense of humor.

Friday, July 6, 2007

maybe too much for one post...

but so what. A few (or maybe only a couple) of personal notes (and, for purposes of this post anyway: what, if anything, is the point of adopting the moniker "HipHopLawyer" if you can't talk about yourself in the third person?):

1. HipHopLawyer, in the olden days, wasn't what you'd call the sharpest knife in the drawer. Born with a fertile mind, he -- due to certain psychological impairments which we won't go into here -- nevertheless never grew emotionally beyond the age of 14. At which age he dreamed of sports cars, and hot young girls.

HipHopLawyer went through certain trials and tribulations. He did a lot of things that were, candidly, "bad" by any rational, grown-up measure of things. And HipHopLawyer was poor, financially and otherwise, largely through his own doing, for most of his life.

But now? Not so much, buddy. HipHopLawyer just bought a sweet house, with a backyard and a pool, in a place where mature affluent people live. He has achieved this despite his failure to grow in any way emotionally -- he now has a hot girlfriend 11 years his junior, plus a flashy sports car. What a great fucking country this is, HipHopLawyer frequently thinks.

2. HipHopLawyer once banged the hottest girl in the entire 199x class of Accounting majors at his university. (which one? let's just say it was A Large University in Texas). The "hottest girl" claim was verified by two horndog accounting guys (read: puuure d geeks) who had spent their waking hours considering the question, and who had no earthly reason to fan the substantial flames of HipHopLawyer's (at the time) unwarrantedly large ego. These two dorks practically fell over themselves in reverence when they found out.

But anyway. HipHopLawyer, while being reasonably suave and a swell guy to boot, ain't exactly what you call a ladykiller. The way he did it was: one night, at a drunken brawl of a college yard party, he decided he would scope and determine which girl, among the dozens assembled, was, in the parlance of the day, the finest girl there, and then go up and hit on her, and damn the consequences. After much scoping (and several trips to the phalanx of kegs), he picked one (her name, as it turned out, was Paula). After a moment of review, to ensure the validity of the "finest" tag, he walked straight up to her and introduced himself: "Hi. My name is Trent Reznor."

Paula then, without any visible glitch, introduced herownself. She commented on his hat, his shirt, his jeans, and his footwear: in order: (i) a black baseball cap with neon block letters stating "NIKE", (ii) Guess, (iii) Girbaud(!), and (iii) Red Wings (condition: falling apart, literally, at the seams). Apparently HipHopLawyer was suitably dressed.

Later (after we had already made out near the keg phalanx), one of HHL's buddies came up to him and Paula and -- purely incidentally and not in a cock-blocking manner at all -- called him by his actual first name. This, inevitably, caused the almost-sober Paula to double-take. "But I thought you said your name was Trent...?" Much hilarity ensued, as HHL eventually produced his driver's license, and explained that "Trent Reznor" was actually a (at the time) little known musician, and was used by HHL as a pseudonym when hitting on women whom he (typically, rightly) assumed would shoot him down.

Paula had a good (and good-natured) laugh at this. And the rest... well, the two dorky accounting majors know the rest.


Here's a guy who really really really wants to TEAR SHIT DOWN. He's angry, and he's one of the most brilliant (though possibly psychotic) rhetoricians I've come across. Also apparently a talented graphic artist. Click here to see the pic high res in its original context (it is part of a good post).

Thursday, July 5, 2007


As I previously noted here, the word "liberal" is nowadays often used by idiots as a slur to describe people who do not agree with them on a given issue. This happens constantly in the comment section on Liberal Lean. These modern day monarchists (i.e., supporters of Bush and the Regal (or Imperial, if you prefer) Presidency) will frequently blabber "LIBERAL!", usually in all-caps, sometimes with exclamation points, in response to an argument (or statement of facts) that they understand only barely well enough to know that it is in opposition to whatever spoon-fed talking points they picked up the last time they listened to Hannity or watched Fox News.

This tactic is akin to keying someone's car after that person has stolen your high school girlfriend. Or, more likely, has gotten a date with a girl that you regularly whack off to but have never actually engaged in conversation. In other words, it is the last, most cowardly resort of the rhetorically helpless.

So, I'm wondering if there is a corresponding epithet hurled by those on the "left" against those who disagree with them and have presented arguments or facts that they are incapable of refuting. I think I have seen the word "fascist" used in this way, though that word in many cases may actually make some kind of (barely) articulate point in the context. (see the post linked above for an explanation of why this rarely (if ever) applies to a similar use of "liberal" -- short synopsis: it doesn't mean what they think it means). What I haven't seen is a similar use of the word "conservative". For some reason, this just doesn't have the necessary "slur" factor.

But anyway, I said all of that to say this: despite having the "liberal" tag hurled at me repeatedly in blog comments (typically in response to a principled, unassailable analysis that, by virtue of its unassailability, engenders fear and panic), I actually believe myself to be a "conservative", albeit in a fairly narrow (and today, rarely used) sense of that word.

This is no recent epiphany. I've long had conservative leanings on a wide variety of issues. I believe in free markets, small government, strong defense, low taxes, and (aside from a short list of social issues which don't include any of the foregoing areas) I generally believe in maintaining the status quo in preference to abrupt change.

But the one thing I am not -- and never will be -- is a Republican. There is a reason that the current administration is called (and calls themselves) NEO-conservatives: they are NOT conservatives. And what brings all of this to mind is an article by Bruce Fein, a principled man with unimpeachable "conservative" credentials. He offers this scathing indictment of the Bush Monarchy, listing many of the clear and unavoidable reasons why true conservatives could never support it or the people behind it.

Here's a guy who

appears to be tired of treating the electorate -- that is, the sovereign people at whose pleasure he serves -- as if they are small retarded children.

He is Australian Defence Minister Brendan Nelson. According to this story: "Dr Nelson said 'energy security' and stability in the Middle East were crucial to Australia's future. 'The entire (Middle East) region is an important supplier of energy, oil in particular, to the rest of the world,' Dr Nelson said on ABC Radio. 'Australians and all of us need to think well what would happen if there were a premature withdrawal from Iraq?' "

This story quotes him as further stating: "We need to ensure, notwithstanding the significant natural resources that our country has been blessed with, that we are able to access the energy requirements in our region and throughout the world."

Today the Australian prime minister repudiated these comments, stating: "We are not there because of oil and we didn't go there because of oil. We don't remain there because of oil. Oil is not the reason." Ummm, ok then.

But really, we all know it, it is totally obvious to anyone who honestly approaches the question. Why bother to deny it? And by the way, I don't think there is much question that "energy security" is a legitimate and important goal of any nation's foreign policy. Should we (or the Australians) be invading sovereign nations in order to achieve this goal? The easy answer is: of course not, though I think principled arguments could be made the other way, and certainly it would be a closer question if, in fact, doing so were the only available means to achieve the goal.

Without here going into detail on the various lines of argument for and against, let me just say that this is an interesting philosophic, ethical, and moral issue. And certainly one that should have been the subject of thorough public debate BEFORE the decision was made by a handful of maniacs.

Are there any people left

who really buy this horseshit?

In a free and democratic society, "transparency" is crucial. The electorate needs to understand the "what, how, and why?" of government decisionmaking so that they -- electorate, as the sovereign -- can decide whether the government is actually doing what they want it to do.

Unfortunately, the only thing transparent about the Bush Administration is the transparently stooopid talking points they keep pumping out to justify whatever horrible policies need to be justified at any given time.

Example: According to this story, Bush's Independence Day speech (in addition to making reprehensible comparisons between the Iraq War and the American Revolution -- an impeachable offense in and of itself, if you ask me -- featured the following quote: "Withdrawing our troops prematurely based on politics, not on the advice and recommendation of our military commanders, would not be in our national interest."

To even respond to this, I feel like I have to adopt my speaking-to-third-graders voice. A decision to enter, continue, or withdraw from an armed conflict is A PURELY POLITICAL DECISION. Always has been, always will be. How a conflict is conducted, strategery-wise, is probably best left to military commanders. But to suggest that the decision to withdraw from the war has somehow been delegated to the military is just bizarre.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Declaration of Independence (Revised)

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form[Administration] of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government[Administration], laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments[Administrations] long established[politically elected] should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government[Administration], and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies[United States]; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain[President of the United States] is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors[Congress] to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

[Through his Signing Statements,] He has refused to pass[enforce] other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people [...]

He has dissolved[dismissed] Representative Houses[United States Attorneys] repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness of his invasions on the rights of the people.


He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws[…].

He has made Judges [and Prosecutors] dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us[the people of other Nations], in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures[the People].

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:


For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders[Tortures] which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States [and other Nations[:


For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English[American] Laws in a neighbouring Province[Island], establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies[States]:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures[Laws], and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.


He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt[let] our towns [flood], and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.


He has excited domestic insurrections amongst[against] us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages[Islamic Terrorists] whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

… We have warned them[the Administration] from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies[States], solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies[States] are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown[President of the United States], and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain[Administration], is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Monday, July 2, 2007

(Very) Extended Forecast

I was a bit taken aback when I saw this forecast. The rest looked like this: