Sunday, December 25, 2005

Santa brings a surprise for Olivia!

Paul Wells brings this gem to our attention: A gift for the Olivia Chow campaign of beer-and-popcorn dimensions.

Mike Klander, Liberal riding-association president for Trinity-Spadina compares NDP candidate Olivia Chow to, get this, oh so clever, wait for it...a Chow Chow.

He offends just about everybody else in this campaign, and single-handedly makes up for the lack of negative campaigning to date with three entires on his blog, since yanked, likely faster than it took his incisive and observant wit to come up with the dog-candidate comparisons.

The kicker is that Klander used the same template as the Mike and Dean Cross-Border Tagteam.

That hurts.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Just to be clear

We're not getting paid by anyone. Dammit.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Pundit Hair Watch

I once wrote Paul Wells to congratulate him on having better hair than Chantal Hebert. That not being a difficult task to achieve (much to his disagreement). However, based on her latest appearance on CBC The National's At Issue panel, Chantal appears to be using some sort of product, creating that bed-head look. It works quite nicely.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Fourth Circuit Smackdown

The Fourth Circuit today handed down a stunning rebuke of the Bush administration in the Padilla case. (Side note: his name doesn't rhyme with tortilla.)

For those who haven't been following, Padilla has been held by the Government with almost no access to lawyers on charges that we so super duper secret they couldn't even be revealed to the public, because he was such a terrible threat to national security.

Well, Dubya won in the Fourth Circuit, which held he did have authority to hold Padilla as an enemy combatant. Padilla obviously appealed to the Supreme Court, which was just about to decide whether to take the case. And then something funny happened. As Michael Lutting wrote:
The Government has held Padilla militarily for over three and a half years, steadfastly maintaining that it was imperative in the interests of national security that he be so held. However, a short time after our decision issued on the government's representation that Padilla's military custody was indeed necessary in the interest of national security, the government determined that it was no long necessary that Padilla be held militarily. Instead, it announced, Padilla would be transferred to the custody of federal civilian law enforcement authorities and criminally prosecuted . . . For alleged offenses considerably different from, and less serious than, those acts for which the government had militarily detained Padilla.
So, let's see. Padilla's about to get his day in the Supreme Court, and then the Government decides, oh, whoops, he's not so bad after all, let's just charge him criminally. The Fourth Circuit didn't like this much: "The government cannot be seen as conducting litigation with the enormous implications of this litigation - litigation imbued with significant public interest - in such a way as to select by which forum as between the Supreme Court of the United States and an inferior appellate court it wishes to be bound."

And then the kicker:

[The government's actions] have left the impression that the government may even have come to the belief that the principle in reliance upon which it has detained Padilla for this time, that the President possesses the authority to detain enemy combatants who enter into this country . . . can, in the end, yield to expediency with little or no cost to its conduct of the war against terror - an impression we would have thought the government . . . could ill afford to leave extant. And these impressions have been left, we fear, at what may ultimately prove to be substantial cost to the government's credibility before the courts, to whom it will one day need to argue again in support of a principle of assertedly like importance and necessity to the one that it seems to abandon today. While there could be an objective that could command such a price as all of this, it is difficult to imagine what that objective would be.

But then, are we to be surprised that the facts can change for the Bush administration? Recall, these are the people who once derided those who lived in a reality-based world. For them, facts can change. For them, well, what does it matter if a man was held on baseless charges (or, as Luttig so delicately put it, "by mistake"), because, hey, we can always change the facts to suit our purposes. Bush liked the Fourth Circuit's result, and presumably would rather have the opinion of a three-judge panel of the conservative Fourth Circuit than face full review before the Supremes, where he might run into a problem in the form of Souter, Breyer, Ginsburg, Stevens, and maybe even Kennedy.

If this is the society we live in - where the government can hold you on one charge, and then when forced to justify it, can change those charges - where does it end? What sort of mad Orwellian culture is it, where the past can be changed to suit the present?

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Blowjobs bad, spying good

Jonathan Turley, a law professor at GW Law School recently said, in regard to secret wire tapping:
We have finally reached the constitutional Rubicon. If Congress cannot stand firm against the open violation of federal law by the president, then we have truly become an autocracy.

(Parenthetically, Turley testified before Congress in favour of Clinton's impeachment).

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, 38 U.S.C. 1802 is very clear that such surveillance needs judicial authorization - which can be received retroactively

Of course, Bush says that the resolution by congress after September 11, authorizing him to use "all necessary force" to combat terrorists in Afghanistan, gives him permission to do that.

This is a staggering claim. They always taught me in law school that a statute overruling another statute does so to the narrowest extent possible - that if Congress is overruling a prior act, it has to be clear in doing so. I'd be shocked if the conservative trio on the Court - Scalia, Thomas, and Roberts - would disagree.

But if this is the case - if a Congressional resolution, not an Act, can sweep away the Constitutionally-mandated judicial oversight of wiretapping, without specifically stating it is doing so, then what have we arrived at?

And where are the Congressional hounds now? Clinton lying about sex with Lewinsky (and really, what self-respecting man would admit to getting a hummer from her) demanded impeachment, whereas Bush repeatedly breaking the law and admitting to it does not?

This much of course is obvious. But the greater problem is if we sit back and let Bush get away with saying that a Congressional resolution sweeps away all sorts of protections, then what is next? Does it authorize him to search your houses without a warrant? If the language of the Congressional resolution is so broad that it can annul a statute which it doesn't even reference, then it must annul many other statutes and protections as well.

So really, what we need is for someone to give Bush a blowjob.

I'll take one for the team.