Monday, May 15, 2006

Yo granddaddy

Screen capture from Crooks and Liars

Here he goes...he wants us to know that he's met people like us...people whose parents or grandparents came over from the old country. Of course, he couldn't pass up the opportunity to exploit the story of a man, a Latino, a non-citizen and U.S. Marine, who was wounded in the Iraq conflict (which the president convinced the country to accept based on a pack of lies.)

Your blogstress, though of immigrant stock, knew only the U.S.-born generations of her family. But of his grandfather, who fled to America to escape conscription in the tzar's army, le père de la blogstresse, discussing the current debate over immigrants, said, "When my grandfather wanted to come over, all he had to do was get on the boat."

Of course, that's when the nation was desperate for factory workers, and before unions won a minimum wage and an eight-hour day for workers. Today, an employer would have to give a documented worker overtime after eight hours, and a minimum wage (though that is laughably low). Today's undocumented worker, vulnerable to deportation, can be made to work 13-hour shifts and otherwise exploited. And so it is the undocumented who are built into our economy, in much the same way that famine-plagued Irish or draft-dodgers from Poland were in the 19th century.

So, let's stop kidding ourselves: we're just blaming the victims for the problem. If we didn't keep all the goodies up here above the border, these folks would have no interest in leaving their homes and families. If your family was hungry, wouldn't you do what you had to do to feed them?

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Who gets out?

What with the soldiers, the drones, the satellite cameras, the motion detectors, the biometric devices, your blogstress wonders, are they trying to keep the Mexicans out, or preparing the infrastructure for keeping the rest of us in?

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It will be technology, the president implies, that will really solve the illegal immigration program. We'll use drones, aerial photography and motion sensors. Yesterday, on "Meet the Press," former House Speaker Newt Gingrich called for a worker program authenticated by biometric means, such as retinal scans.

Sounds like a boon for the nation's defense contractors, no? (Hey, isn't that the sector where the Bahrainis finally got a contract?)

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If the border isn't militarized, then what is the military doing there?

The president is insisting that the National Guard will not be used in a law enforcement capacity at the Southern Border. So, then, what will they be doing? Building the fence? Filling out paperwork? What?

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A nation of laws; a nation of immigrants
Bush speaks from the Oval

For decades now, says the president, America has failed to take full control of its border. And guess what? adds your blogstress. We never will.

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The buzz on Time

While the wags wag away about the future of Time magazine, they have fixated on word from the honchos that the successor to Time editor Jim Kelly, who is said to be on his way out, will "come from the outside." And so the inevitable names of Tina Brown and Adam Moss are being bandied about.

Your blogstress, however, speculates that while the magazine's new editor may well come from outside the magazine, this person may very well be lurking amid the upper ranks of Time Inc. And it will be a surprise -- no one will have seen this one coming.

Of course, your cybertrix is way out on a limb here, but she suspects that Time is on her side. Need a hint: Tell Barbra Streisand to tune up her pipes and start warbling her theme song.

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Cheney unfit for office?

Cheney asks Libby, on a copy of Wilson's op-ed piece, if Wilson was sent "on a junket by his wife," CIA operative Valerie Plame. The notated newspaper clipping was entered into evidence on Friday by Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald.

It was Vice President Richard V. Cheney, we learned yesterday, who pushed the National Intelligence Agency (NSA) into its data-mining venture on the phone calls of virtually every American, according to The New York Times. According to the Times's Scott Shane and Eric Lichtblau, only too happy to do the vice president's bidding was Gen. Michael Hayden, the president's nominee for CIA director -- despite the reticence of the NSA's attorneys. From Shane and Lichtblau:

For his part, Mr. Cheney helped justify the program with an expansive theory of presidential power, which he explained to traveling reporters a few days after The Times first reported on the program last December.

Mr. Cheney traced his views to his service as chief of staff to President Gerald R. Ford in the 1970's, when post-Watergate changes, which included the FISA law, "served to erode the authority I think the president needs to be effective, especially in a national security area."
The FISA law of which Cheney spoke is the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which defined the terms by which the NSA could spy on U.S. citizens, and set up a secret court for the issuance of search warrants to the agency.

Photo humor by Frank G. of

If the thought of Dick Cheney deciding single-handedly to override the will of Congress -- not to mention the U.S. Constitution -- in order to violate your Fourth Amendment rights, consider the evidence being gathered that puts him closer to the leak of the name of undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson to the media. In the photocopy shown above, Cheney's handwritten notes appear on a clipped copy of the op-ed piece published in The New York Times by Joseph Wilson IV, the former ambassador to Niger and husband of Valerie Plame. Wilson's piece focuses on the journey to Niger he undertook at the behest of the CIA in order to research the administration's claim that Sadaam Hussein had sought to buy yellowcake uranium from that country. As everyone knows, Wilson upset a lot of people at the White House with his contention that it never happened. The newspaper clipping with Cheney's marks was entered into evidence on Friday by the prosecutor in the CIA leak investigation.

Cheney's notes read: "Have they done this sort of thing before? Send an ambassador to answer a question? Do we ordinarily send people out pro bono to work for us? Or did his wife send him on a junket?"

In fact, wherever one finds trouble in this administration, one more often than not finds Cheney. It has gotten so bad, apparently, that, according to Watergate veteran Carl Bernstein, former Secretary of State Colin Powell (who famously took up the cause of the purported Niger/Iraq collusion before the United Nations as part of the administration's case for war) "has, in private, made statements interpreted by many important figures in Washington as seemingly questioning Cheney's emotional stability..."

Bernstein urges the Senate to open hearings right away on the apparently criminal enterprises of the Bush administration, and sees Cheney as something of a kingpin. He compares the leaking of Plame's name to the Watergate burglary -- a small transgression when compared to the larger conspiracy of illegal spying and whatnot, but the one with the potential to expose the whole lot. Could Powell be the John Dean to Cheney's Haldeman?

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My friend, Moammar

Well, whattaya know? Moammar Qaddafi is our friend. That's right, mes amis, Secretary of State Condaleezza Rice has announced that the United States of America is normalizing its relations with oil-rich Libya, the North African land of the nomadic Bedouin tribes, once known to Americans primarily as a haven for terrorists. Most notably, Libya was implicated in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, which killed everybody on board. MSNBC quotes Secretary Rice as follows:

“We are taking these actions in recognition of Libya's continued commitment to its renunciation of terrorism and the excellent cooperation Libya has provided to the United States and other members of the international community in response to common global threats faced by the civilized world since September 11, 2001,” Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in a statement.
Wonder who's getting the contract to build the new embassy the U.S. plans to erect in Tripoli. (Halliburton? Bechtel?)

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Blogging the speech tonight

Visit the breakaway republic this evening during the president's speech for your blogstress's real-time commentary. Advance word is that he will call for militarizing the U.S. border.

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