Friday, November 20, 2009

ROBERT BYRD : WHY TERM LIMITS ARE ESSENTIAL

THE 92 YEAR OLD POSTER BOY
FOR CONGRESSIONAL INERTIA














The former West Virginia Klansman and current US Senator
is now the longest serving member of Congress in history.


(November 18, Washington, DC) If one was in search of the perfect example of what is wrong with Congress, you'd need look no further than the quivering, blithering, drooling lump of fossilized flesh that is Robert Byrd. The West Virginia Democrat is serving his ninth six year term in the Senate. He has been a member of Congress since 1952.

Byrd is the perfect example of many of the most glaring faults in the Congress, the faults that have lead to perpetual legislative gridlock, ultra-partisanship and the corrupt art of delivering pork barrel money to constituents. Byrd has more buildings named after him in West Virginia than there are dirty, stinking coal mines. He is notorious for securing funds for West Virginia none of which seem to have ever really benefited the people and greater good of that forever impoverished state.

Prior to his long career as a politician he was a proud member of the Ku Klux Klan. He credits his Klan membership with his self discovery of untapped leadership abilities. Byrd was a tender 24 years old when he joined the KKK and later commented that a high ranking Klansman told him, "You have a talent for leadership, Bob... The country needs young men like you in the leadership of the nation." Years later Byrd recollected, "suddenly lights flashed in my mind! Someone important had recognized my abilities! I was only 23 or 24 years old, and the thought of a political career had never really hit me. But strike me that night, it did." The young Bobby Byrd eventually was elected Exalted Cyclops of his local Klan chapter. Byrd was indeed on his way to a successful career in Congress.

Near the end of World War II Bobby Byrd cemented his truest, most deeply held racist beliefs when he wrote a passionate letter to one of his heroes of the time, Mississippi segregationist Senator, Theodore Bilbo.  In that letter Byrd wrote, “I shall never fight in the armed forces with a Negro by my side... Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds.” One can easily see why this cretin was elected to Congress by the fine folks of 1952 West Virginia.

Once in Washington, the barely literate, in-bred, hillbilly Klansman quickly aligned himself with like minded southern Democrats and began what would become his life’s work - bringing federal money back to his impoverished home state. Arguably, no other Senator in history has delivered more pork to his home state than this racist, bigoted con man. Given the tremendous amount of federal dollars that have poured into West Virginia compliments of Robert Byrd and his ability to use the legislative process and in particular, his knack for attaching amendments and riders to larger spending bills, one would think that West Virginia would be tops in providing education, social services and health care to its residents. Unfortunately, that is not the case; it is nowhere near being the case.

Robert Byrd shunted most of the federal billions he secured to pork barrel projects that benefited his primary campaign donors and his most loyal supporters – the coal mining industry. He has been bought and paid for by the mining industry and related enterprises despite the health and environmental havoc they have induced on that small, mountainous state.

For the better part of Byrd's tenure in Congress his state has ranked near the bottom of the list in education, literacy, public health, and all manner of governmental services that could help lift his constituents out of pervasive poverty, un- and underemployment and a better quality of health care, more accessibility and affordability, that could result in a better quality of life and infant mortality rates. Byrd's only “constituents” are his corporate benefactors; the corporate donors who have assured his incumbency so he could protect their narrow, selfish interests. For all his 56 years in Congress what legislative measures has he authored or sponsored that have had any positive impact towards the greater good? You'd be hard pressed to find a bill with his name that meets that criteria. As Byrd has spent decades enriching himself and his corporate benefactors, West Virginians have continued to suffer, mired in profound illiteracy, obesity, alcoholism, high rates of teenage pregnancy, methamphetamine addiction, incest, bestiality, joblessness and a lack of good cable TV service.

Byrd is the living embodiment of the drastic need for term limits. It has been years since he has been in any way effective. His physical and mental health have steadily declined noticeably over the course of the last 15 years or so. One close, long serving aide to the Senator, speaking not for attribution revealed, “It is a real chore to get him going in the morning. A great deal of effort goes into making him able to get to the Capitol. We have to pump him full of Geritol, Red Bull, Ex-Lax, B-12 and Milk of Magnesia. Some days he demands a shot of moonshine. He is often incoherent and combative in the morning so sometimes we have to add a sedative to his morning cocktail. We have a group of four aides who are assigned to him and are close by him at all times he is in public. Lately, he has had more frequent episodes of urinary and rectal incontinence. He can be a real handful.”

One of the most troubling aspects of this old coot's longevity in Congress is that in this day and age of terrorist threats, Byrd is the third in the “line of succession” to the Presidency positioned behind The Vice President and Speaker of the House. Even some of his closest friends in the Senate like the ferret-faced, chinless, spineless wonder Mitch “Little Bitch” McConnell express great concern about Byrd's position in the Presidential line of succession. “I've known Bob since I came to Washington. We share many deeply held racist and conservative views even though he sits on the Democrat side of the aisle. After 9 11 we all became very aware of issue related to security and continuity of government. God help us all if Bob ever became President due to highly unusual circumstances. It would be a disaster”, said McConnell.

Today is Byrd's 92nd birthday and the addled, demented Senator shows no signs of slowing down. The lesson that should be extracted from his career is the absolute need for term limits and campaign finance reform. There are many other Byrd's in the making; seniority insures incumbency and when a politician answers only to his corporate sponsors and donors, they are essentially useless in the legislative process as we are now witnessing in the health care reform efforts. Not one Republican member voted for the bill to be debated because they are secure in their incumbency. What America needs is an infusion of new blood in both Houses of Congress so that there will never be another Senator serving for over 50 years. Clearly Byrd is not what our Founding Fathers intended when they crafted a legislative branch of citizen-statesman. We limit the term of our President, isn't it about time we allow for the fossilized, ossified, senile “lifers” in Congress, life long politicians who have become wealthy in public office at the expense of the American people and legislation that could address the concerns of the majority of the populace.



Links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Byrd

http://www.latimes.com/news/nation-and-world/la-na-byrd19-2009nov19,0,7046990.story

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/11/17/byrd-make-history-longest-serving-member-congress/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%253A+foxnews%252Fpolitics+%2528FOXNews.com+-+Politics%2529

http://www.herald-mail.com/?cmd=displaystory&story_id=234642&format=html

http://blogs.dailymail.com/donsurber/archives/4326





Copyright TBC 2009 © All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

9 11 TERRORISTS WILL FINALLY FACE JUSTICE

THE ONLY THING TO FEAR IS FEAR ITSELF














The Metropolitan Correctional Facility located across from
the Federal Court House in Foley Square, Lower Manhattan.




(November 17, Foley Square, NYC) The hardest core right wingers, neo-cons and GOP hawks are proving to be what they have long been suspected of being – fear-mongering cowards. Their near apoplectic reactions to the thought of having some of the Guantanamo Base prisoners transported to and incarcerated in American prisons reveal the true colors of these ignorant people and that color is decidedly yellow. For such tough talkers who had been rabidly gung ho to support the Cheney / Bush war of choice in Iraq and send others to die for their ideology, they look petty and weak in light of their criticism of the Obama Administration to try several of the “detainees” in Federal Court. Most of the loudest, staunchest hawks never served in the military. Morons like Dick Cheney managed to avoid service in Viet Nam remaining securely on American soil compliments of five, yes five, deferments.

The controversy resulting from the Administration's decision to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) and four other “enemy combatants” in New York City and to possibly transfer many of the remaining Guantanamo inmates to a vacant prison in northwest Illinois, is largely predicated on falsehoods, partisanship and fear. To listen to some of the most outspoken on the Right is to think that these detainees are superhuman, that they cannot be held safely and securely on American soil. That is a bogus, misinformed, idiotic premise.

After Attorney General Eric Holder announced the decision to try KSM, the self confessed architect of the terrorist attacks that struck the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, DC, many prominent Republican and conservative politicians, pundits and has-beens, leveled vicious attacks on everyone from Holder to the Department of Justice and the Obama White House. Much of the criticism was in response to the decision to try KSM and four others in Federal Court rather than in some military court or setting. These critics seem to have zero faith in our legal system. Their cries of doubt regarding the Federal Court and Federal Prosecutors ability to obtain convictions expose their belief that our legal process cannot overcome the challenges these trials will pose.

Given the unprecedented nature of these trials, it is doubtful the DOJ would proceed in Federal Court if they were not highly confident the trials will result in convictions. There are a number of approaches the Prosecution has available by which to try these men and other detainees. The Federal Courts allows the most legal latitude in that most of the “charges” leveled against the defendants are but variations of charges that are successfully argued in Federal Courts across the land on a daily basis. There is no need to “reinvent the wheel” in the effort to bring these murderous zealots to justice.

Certainly there are Federal Judges infinitely capable of managing their Court Room in an orderly, efficient, effective, professional manner. The critics concerns that the Court Room will be transformed into a circus implies their lack of confidence in the ability of those Justices sitting on the Bench in the Southern District of New York. Actually, that particular Office has successfully prosecuted more diverse if not disparate cases (including other terrorists) than any other in the country. This Court is uniquely capable and equipped to conduct these trials.

The fear-mongers on the Right fretting over “security” concerns are simply not familiar with the setting – New York City is blessed in that it is the home of the premiere law enforcement agency in the world – the New York Police Department (NYPD). New York City has historically been a most unique urban environment for a host of reasons and the NYPD has evolved into a highly sophisticated, innovative, efficient, Department staffed with the most well trained and experienced Officers in the world. Their capabilities are legendary; the array of Special Units and tactics permit them to handle any situation or scenario.

NYPD MORE THAN UP TO THE TASK


















NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly



New York City is home to the United Nations, the Embassies and Consulates to the member nations, the Stock Exchange, banking and finance industries, communications and is an international city in every sense of the word. Because the nature and composition of NYC is so unique, the NYPD can claim a wealth of experience that no other Police Department in America and, arguably, the world can match or even come close to. That is a fact.

When the trials of the “detainees” begin, there should be no doubt whatsoever that the NYPD will provide sufficient security and safety. Of course, their ranks will be bolstered by members of the Federal Marshall's Service, the NYC Department of Corrections, NYC Sheriff's, the FBI and, perhaps, some military detail. While the precise nature of these trials may be more unusual than most, NYPD will not view it that way. “Sure, we are acutely aware of the challenges involved but we do not perceive them as unmanageable”, commented Captain Patrick McCann of the famed Emergency Services Unit (ESU).

According to a senior high ranking command officer assigned to the Manhattan Operations Unit, speaking anonymously, said, “ We will be ready when the day comes. We have seen a variety of situations that other police departments have never and will never see. We have several Special Units designed for this type of high profile event and the threats that will no doubt be generated by these trials. Since 9 11 we have formed our own Intelligence Unit as well as enhanced our Joint Terrorism Task Force presence. We strategize and plan for events such as this and we can assure the good people of New York City we will be rigorously diligent in providing security not just in the Foley Square area but across the City. We do this everyday.”

Retired NYPD Deputy Inspector Timothy Dowd said, “I think it is very appropriate that these vermin will face justice in a court of law in the City of New York. I want them here, I want them to be convicted here and to ultimately receive the death penalty here. If I had my way, their executions would be held in Yankee Stadium and you can bet the place would be packed. They thought they could hurt us, break us, somehow demoralize us. Man, were they ever wrong.”




Links

http://nymag.com/nymetro/news/features/n_8286/

http://www.newsday.com/news/new-york/nypd-plans-security-cordon-for-terror-trial-1.1603994

http://www.examiner.com/x-25812-NY-Law-Enforcement-Examiner~y2009m11d14-911-terrorists-trialkeeping-New-York-City-secure

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ny_crime/2009/11/18/2009-11-18_president_obama_ag_holder_predict_khalid_shaikh_mohammed_guilty_verdict_will_vin.html
http://www.nydailynews.com/opinions/2009/11/20/2009-11-20_pay_up_mr_president_the_feds_should_eat_security_cost_of_foolhardy_ksm_terror_tr.html

http://ny1.com/5-manhattan-news-content/top_stories/109031/nypd-lays-out-safety-plan-ahead-of-9-11-trials





Copyright TBC 2009 © All Rights Reserved

Monday, November 16, 2009

KSM TO BE TRIED IN NYC

FINALLY JUSTICE WILL BE SERVED














Khalid Shaikh Mohammed self proclaimed
9 11 “mastermind”


(November 16, New York, New York) After being held prisoner by the United States for over six years, the self proclaimed “mastermind” of the terrorist attacks perpetrated on September 11, 2001, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (KSM), is slated to stand trial in the Federal Court for the Southern District of New York. Since the Attorney General, Eric Holder, made this announcement there has been a great deal of vocal reaction both for and against this decision. The most hyperbolic of the reactions are emanating from the perpetually in motion mouths of Republicans and conservative opponents of President Obama.

The Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomburg, has expressed his support for trying the Kuwait born terrorist just blocks from the site where the World Trade Center Towers once stood. Polling data indicates that the people of New York City are evenly split over the issue of having his trial, and that of four other Al Qaeda prisoners, in New York City. KSM is the uncle of convicted terrorist Ramzi Yousef, the man responsible for the first World Trade Center attack in February 1993. He was convicted in this very same Federal Courthouse in September 1996 and is serving a life sentence in solitary confinement.

At the heart of what is rapidly escalating into a controversy for the Obama Administration, is the core question of whether or not terrorists should be tried in Federal Court or in a military tribunal or other military court setting. Those opposed to the NYC trials claim that such a venue will be inadequate for such proceedings emphasizing that national security and intelligence gathering methods will be compromised. Additionally, those opposed predict that the Federal Court will provide Mr. Mohammed with a platform from which he will be afforded the opportunity to rant and rave about all manner of complaints from his alleged exposure to harsh interrogation techniques to his outrage over his perceived belief that the US is at war with Islam.

Other terrorists have been tried in Federal Courts and convictions were handed down. There is no reason to believe that the results will be any different in this case. Yes, there are concerns regarding having the trials held in New York City. Yes, there are legal matters that will need to be determined in the pre-trial phase. Certainly the defense will seek a change of venue. Despite some new and novel legal, logistic and security challenges, our legal system is more than capable of providing for justice for these defendants.

Many of the yammering critics opposed to the trials exclaim that these men are not defendants but rather “enemy combatants” or they employ some other ill defined term to describe their status. Whatever the case may be, they will be designated as defendants in order to be tried in accordance with applicable judicial procedures. Our Constitution is sufficiently robust to allow these men to be tried in a US Court of law with all the “rights” granted them under our laws. The critics harangue over this concept expressing outrage and dismay that we would grant them any “rights” whatsoever. The fact of the matter is they have been held by the US for years and they must be dealt with legally. Trying them in Federal Court is the most effective means to the ends of conviction and ultimately, execution. There is a wealth of substantive evidence that will assure KSM's conviction without ever having to mention information he may or may not have revealed while reportedly being “water-boarded” while in captivity. The asinine critics who fear what this cowardly thug might do or say in Court are essentially revealing their own cowardice and certainly there own doubts in our Constitutional system, the Federal Court and the cases assembled against these men.

What some of the most ignorant of the blithering critics fail to recognize is that the day the United States took custody of these men, they became our prisoners as well as our responsibility. How they are treated and adjudicated will be watched not only by the terrorists out there but by the entire world. Our reputation was scarred enough under the Cheney / Bush era and having these goons prosecuted in Federal Court, transparently and within the well demarcated borders of our legal structures will be noticed and noted. They were not captured on the “field of battle” and, therefore are not prisoners of war in the conventional sense. We have held them off shore in Guantanamo Naval Base at a prison designed specifically for such captives. Critics act as if the moment these murderous men step foot on US soil, we will all automatically be thrust into an age of jeopardy; that our very existence will be threatened. This is idiotic at best, base fear-mongering at worse.

No matter what these men have done or who they are they are men – not endowed with superhuman powers that will melt prison bars and crumble penitentiary walls. As for the terrorists around the world and possibly here at home who continue in the pursuit to perpetrate mass murder on our soil, yes, they will no doubt issue fatwas and war cries condemning our legal process and the validity of the Court. So be it. We have been under threat since long before 9 11 01 and, since that dreadful day, we have significantly improved our security particularly in New York City.

It is just and fitting that KSM and his co-conspirators stand for the horrific crimes of which they are accused and no doubt guilty in New York City. Having them return to the scene of the crime and appear in Federal Court will diminish them; they are not martyrs. As long as they were held under the auspices of the US military, they could claim they were political prisoners and, if executed by the military, say their lives were sacrificed for their delusional “cause”. We need not make these men martyrs, that would satisfy them and their cohorts worldwide.






Links:

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/67907-dems-portray-911-trials-as-nycs-justice

http://themoderatevoice.com/53292/new-yorkers-react-to-the-ksm-terror-trials/

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703683804574533622533459520.html?mod=rss_com_mostcommentart

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1109/29661.html

http://www.frumforum.com/terror-trial-a-risk-we-have-to-take

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khalid_Sheikh_Mohammed




Copyright TBC 2009 © All Rights Reserved