Monday, July 03, 2006

My Motto's Ready For 2006

I've finished the text of my mailing for 2006. Often these things come down to one phrase that defines what is really happening. One example was "It's the economy, stupid." I'm going to be offering mine to the Dems in the hopes that the American People rise up in November and vote the Republican party out. We need a margin so great that not even the electronic voting machines can hide it. Feel free to pass this along if you see fit. I believe in getting it to the one person who can make a difference, and I've got some ideas in mind.

Republicans: Scared To Be Free

The national debate in 2006 is being defined by the Republican Party

as a referendum on National Security and whether we’ll “cut and run”

in Iraq. It’s time to clarify what is really going on here. The

Republican Party is turning more and more of our freedoms over to

the President, in the name of National Security. America is the Land

of the Free and the Home of the Brave. They are trying to turn us into

the Land of the Weak and the Home of the Scared: “Please, take our

privacy. Just make us safe. Ignore the Law and be the Decider.”

Freedom has never been an easy path, but we have found through

painful experience that the Rights of the People are best preserved

when they are in the People’s hands – not in the hands of a

Powerful Ruler. Early Americans fought King George to set up the

United States of America. Let’s repudiate those who seek to undo our

past. It takes courage to live under the ideals this Nation was

founded upon. The Republicans might talk tough about

National Security, but they are really acting afraid. Let’s have the

courage to be the Home of the Brave. Let’s vote these Republicans

out in November. They have lost their nerve. It’s time to get back

to America.

There once was a motto: Don’t Tread On Me.

We need a new motto for 2006 -- Republicans: Scared To Be Free.

Bill McDonald - The Portland Freelancer - 4th of July, 2006


At 8:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Bill, I have a question for you. What "freedoms" in particular have you personally lost since the Republicans have been in charge? Your freedom to receive un-monitored phone calls from suspected overseas terrorists? Your freedom to receive un-monitored large money transfers from suspected terrorists through foreign banking cartels? Or are you peeved because you've lost your freedom to board a commercial jetliner without having your shoes checked for explosives. Seriously.....what is it in particular that set you off? And hyperbole like "my freedom to have my vote counted" or "my freedom to criticise my government". That's merely 'slogan-speak' from the left. Let's be specific here. I'm really curious what it takes to move one into activism. I suspect it has more to do with day to day boardom, but please prove me wrong.

At 10:33 AM, Blogger Bill McDonald said...

First, you're right to exclude the freedom to have your vote counted, because if the 2000 election hadn't been rigged this administration would never have happened.
I resent having the laws of Congress taken as mere suggestions that the President can decide not to follow with the stroke of a pen. 750 laws including McCain's bill about torture. In fact Gonzalez and company believe the President has the right to declare any citizen a terrorist, and literally have them tried and executed solely within the executive branch. That includes you, by the way.
My question foir his supporters is why you give in so easily. Why do you trust these people so much? I wouldn't give the best President in history these powers, much less this guy. Of course, these powers more aptly describe a monarch, and I want to be free to live where there isn't a king around.
It takes courage to live free. I'd prefer doing that than taking this course of action.

At 1:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You didn't answer the question, so I'll assume that NONE of your personal freedoms have been compromised. As for the torture issue, which administration had the more "humane" policy - the Bush Administration who has been utilizing 'torture' methods that amounts to psy-ops (sleep deprevation, humiliation, hot/cold rooms, etc), or the Clinton Administration that instigated a practice of rendition - sending prisoners to foreign countries such as Egypt that freely tortured them physically - beating, electrodes on genitals and what not.

As for Gonzales believing "the President has the right to declare any citizen a terrorist" is not just Gonzales. This administrations view of a President's war powers is no different than the previous administration's. I suggest you do a quick Google search of assistant AG Jamie Gorlick's papers on the subject. And while were on this topic, what say you about the previous administration's un-warranted physical searches of an American Citizen's private home? Sending the Feds to ransack a suspects home without a warrant - tisk tisk. But by golly, the mean ol' Bush administration is the unprecidented trampler of the American Way?

As for why we Bush supporters "give in" so easily - that is a loaded question. I'm not "giving in" on anything. This President is not exercising any powers that weren't wielded by ANY previous president.

As for you 'stolen 2000 election' comment, why don't you ask those guys in the black helicopter that's been hoving over you house for six years.

At 3:06 PM, Blogger Bill McDonald said...

Here's how it works: Congress is our representatives in Washington. We elect them to pass laws, which the President can veto and they can override. This President doesn't veto. He just signs the bills and also signs a finding stating he will not follow these laws. That means we have lost our representation in the federal government. We are not free to control our destiny and have our voice heard through the legislative process, because this President ignores laws whenever he wants. President Bush believes he is the law. If you don't see that as a loss of personal freedom, I can't help you.
P.S. I don't mind them searching shoes when I've made the decision to fly. I just mind a President who thinks he is a King. That doesn't fly. Freedom is a feeling and I feel less of it under this man. Recently the Supreme Court found his activities to be illegal in the Guantanemo case. The Republicans are now rushing to return that power to him. I would prefer we put in another group and if the President does something illegal he has to face the consequences. This also applies to illegal wars, that turn out to be based on lies and deception. That also goes for a policy of preemptive strikes that is the definition of crazy. We need the rule of law, not the law of the jungle. Think long term. Let's say for a moment that this President is a wise and learned man. But what do we do if these powers are granted the executive branch and then an idiot takes over?

At 3:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see what the problem here is - ignorance. You are correct that Congress passes the laws. You obviously are simply not aware of a little law they passed in 1973 entitled, "The War Powers Act". And spare me the "King George" references....more shrill hyperbole. At least this President got permission from Congress to attack ttpIraq. That's a huge step further than Saint Bill went before he went to war with Kosovo.

Again, Bush is not exercising any "powers" not held and utilized by every President that preceded him. The difference between this President and ones in recent history is that this President is facing greater challeges than those pedecessors. He could have 'turned the other cheek' after 9/11 (like his predecessor did following the fist WTC bombing, the Khobar Towers, Mogadishu, the two African Embassy bombings, and the USS Cole - whew...quite a track record!), but he didn't. He said enough is enough, its time to inject some Chemotherapy (democracy) into this cancerous region. He understood that in the short term it would be arduous, tiring, and dangerous. But it was a gamble on the future because the status quo was no longer acceptable.

At 5:21 PM, Blogger Bill McDonald said...

I know of the War Powers Act. Are you saying the War on Terror counts as a War? How about the War on Drugs or the War on Obesity? This is word games to justify a power grab. That's why they say the War on Terror will not end in our lifetimes so they never have to give the power back.

At 5:33 PM, Anonymous wetman said...

I am a Vietnam vet, my father is a disabled WW2 vet, my grandfather was a WW1 vet and my great-great grandfather fought for the preservation of the Union in the Civil War. These were wars, not political inventions. A war is over when an enemy’s army is defeated. Saddam Hussein’s army was defeated. Saddam Hussein was captured. At that point the war was over. What we have now is an occupation. That is reality. Why do we have more generals publicly complaining about the planning, execution, and out and out lying about this so called war than in any other conflict in our country’s history? It is because they are frightened by the dissembling and incompetence of this group of tough talking draft dodging desk jockeys who have put us in this quagmire.

At 8:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A "war" is "A state of open, armed, often prolonged conflict carried on between nations, states, or parties."

Bill, you epitomize the problem the left has on this issue. Clinton and his cohorts didn't consider terrorism to be a National Security threat any more than they did the Meth epodemic. To them, it was a policing problem. His failure to take decisive action following the myriad of attacks listed above merely showed Al Quaeda that they could have their way with us and get away with it. That dynamic has changed dramatically in the past five years, don't you think?

Thank God the men in charge take this threat seriously and believe it truly IS a war....maybe not in the traditional sense with two nations sending tanks and airplanes against each other - but a war with a DEFINED enemy that wishes to indescriminently KILL us. If you can't recognize the difference between that and "Drugs" or "Obesity", there's no hope for you. Enjoy you activism.

At 9:45 AM, Blogger Bill McDonald said...

I see terrorism as a National Security threat. I just think we can fight it without giving up our freedom, especially to government officials who've proven to be incompetent liars. Ben Franklin put it best: "They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security." The first comment here talked about, "Your freedom to receive un-monitored phone calls from suspected overseas terrorists" That has already been proven false. They've used these programs to check domestic records of reporters talking to government officials. So the scope of what you think is happening is already been disproved. Don't you see that giving a President the right to do basically anything as long as he says it's a national security matter, is too much power? We were founded to try and avoid that sort of concentration of power with no checks or balances. Imagine if Bill Clinton had that kind of power. Imagine if Bill suddenly said it's a national security matter to come over to your house and read your mail. Under your version of the law, that would be okay. Under mine it wouldn't. I'd prefer that Bill Clinton only do what the People allow him to do, not to make it legal just by saying that's how he feels.

At 10:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You, as most on the left who reference that Franklin quote, simply ignore one of the most defining words in it: "ESSENTIAL".

The truth is that we have, are, and always will be balancing freedom and security. Show me a measure that increases security and I'll show you a measure that, in some way, decreases freedom. The reverse is true as well. An increase in freedom means, in some way, that you will become less secure.

Society is not a stoic, unchanging medium to which we apply our laws. That is why many laws are written or applied with some level of ambiguity. As conditions change, so must our application of such laws, or new laws must be written to compensate.

Just as the methamphetamine epidemic in Portland may cause society to take away my freedom to purchase Ephedrine without a prescription, terrorists murdering US citizens may lead to the government applying some laws in ways that restrict traditional freedoms, or drafting new laws that do the same.

"Imagine if Bill Clinton had that kind of power." Guess what Bill, he DID: "The Department of Justice believes -- and the case law supports -- that the president has inherent authority to conduct warrantless physical searches for foreign intelligence purposes and that the president may, as he has done, delegate this authority to the attorney general," Clinton Deputy Attorney General Jamie S. Gorelick - 1994. One of the most famous examples of warrantless searches in recent years was the investigation of CIA official Aldrich H. Ames, who ultimately pleaded guilty to spying for the former Soviet Union. That case was largely built upon secret searches of Ames' home and office in 1993, conducted without federal warrants.

Jimmy Carter also exercised this authority. In 1978, his Attorney General Griffin B. Bell testified before a federal judge about warrantless searches he and President Carter had authorized against two men suspected of spying on behalf of the Vietnam government.

In 1994, President Clinton expanded the use of warrantless searches to entirely domestic situations with no foreign intelligence value whatsoever. In a radio address promoting a crime-fighting bill, Mr. Clinton discussed a new policy to conduct warrantless searches in highly violent public housing projects. Was there a great outcry from leftist "activists" then? No. Why? Its not the acts they detest, it is the man perpetrating them.

At 10:30 AM, Blogger Bill McDonald said...

Address the example of a reporter's phone records checked to see what government officials they'd been talking to.

At 10:34 AM, Anonymous Roger said...

I should point out one GOP talking point that is nothing more than revisionist history. Bill Clinton did not sit idly by after the embassy bombings. Instead, he ordered American missle launches aimed at killing Osama bin Laden.

However, this was 1998, and the actions of Islamic terrorists were not frightening enough to take Republican attention away from the far more dangerous threat to the country posed by Monica Lewinsky's dress. At that point, in fact, Republicans were screaming that the attacks aimed at bin Laden were merely diversionary tactics to deflect public attention from the Lewinsky circus.

At 10:36 AM, Blogger Bill McDonald said...

The problem with your defense of President Bush is that you're assuming all these acts have made things better. The reason I lept to activism over this administration is that I feel all these acts are making things worse. The only thing Osama regrets about President Bush is that he can't serve a third term. You do remember Osama? He's the one we blame for 9/11 before getting sidetracked in Iraq and generating more terrorists every day. The trouble with President Bush is that he's a screw-up, and he's screwing up the world. I don't care about his rationale for doing what he does. I just want his power checked by a Congress of a different party.

At 11:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your "reporter's phone records" argument is merely a red herring, nothing more. What is wrong with seeking a reporter's phone records as part of a criminal investigation? Does their occupation make them immune to this process? Do you harbor the same objection to prosecuters seeking Tom Delay's phone records as part of their investigation into his alleged money laundering? "Freedom of the Press" does not equate to "Diplomatic Immunity". The FBI sought reporters' records through legal channels. It was not political, and was not even ordered by the Executive Branch. It was part of a routine criminal investigation. Why do I get the feeling you would not be so incensed about it if the intent were no go after Karl Rove in the Plame investigation? Selective outrage seems to be one of your predominating traits Bill.

At 3:51 PM, Blogger LaurelhurstDad said...

> Anonymous said...
> You, as most on the left who >reference that Franklin quote, >simply ignore one of the most >defining words in it: "ESSENTIAL".

I wonder which liberties Mr./Ms. Anonymous would be wiling to give up in order to feel safe?

Anyway, I always thought one of the main purposes of a government is to protect its citizens. Bush and Co. have done the opposite. That is probably far more damaging than all their lies and illegal activities combined.

At 5:13 PM, Blogger Bill McDonald said...

Selective outrage? That seems more like your bag than mine. Let me ask you this: Is there anything President Bush could do to make you question his leadership? I actually met George W. Bush on the campaign trail and I was very cordial with him. I did think, "There's no way the American People will fall for this act." I was wrong. What is it about him that you like so much? Do you think he would have risen to the top without help from his Dad? Or is this the familiar tale of the screw-up son, also currently being played out in North Korea?

At 5:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are lots of areas where I criticise Bush. I'm am no Bush apologist by any means. I'm no fan of his administrations failure to curb congressional 'earmark' spending. I'm critical of his lack of direction on the immigration issue. And vehemently disagree with his stance on gay marriage.

As for "which liberties Mr./Ms. Anonymous would be wiling to give up in order to feel safe", that is a very interesting question. So lets examine that a moment, shall we?

There are a myriad of freedoms/liberties Americans give up EVERY DAY in the name of safety. Aren't seatbelt and helmet laws intrusive infringments on our civil liberties? They're not like smoking bans or speed limits that are implemented to protect other citizens.

Everytime I fly on an airplane, I subject myself to emptying my pockets and an x-ray search of my personal belongings.

To obtain a job these days, you have to subject yourself to criminal background checks and credit checks. To own a handgun in this country - a Constitutional right - one has to undergo a criminal background check. If you sue an insurance company for a personal injury, you have to reveal you entire medical history to the defendant if they request it.

So, what liberties am I willing to give up for safety? Well, I - and you - already give up quite a dang few if you stop to think about. And I'd be willing to give up quite a few more - if reasonable and not overly obstructive - if it means greater safety for me, my wife, and my two young children. I'd be willing allow the government access to my phone and financial records if it helps keep me safe. I have nothing to hide.

Like I said, "selective outrage". Bill, why don't you direct your 'activism' toward our own beloved Governor Kulongowski who is proposing mandating GPS monitors in every Oregonian's car to track thier milage for road taxes? Isn't that tantamount to requiring all drivers to wear an ankle bracelet? Funny how the left has been mysteriously silent on that. Must be because Bush didn't propose it.

At 6:46 PM, Blogger Bill McDonald said...

Actually, I was ready to write a column about that when I parted ways with my last newspaper gig over letting me write on national politics. I am outraged about a system that will track your car's every move as a way to determine your gas tax. I'm really mad about that. I think it's extremely offensive to go to the open road - one of the great feelings of freedom there is, and track the citizens.
I also get irritated with the "I have nothing to hide" defense. It assumes so much about the government, as if the government was this beacon of infallibility and virtue. The history of government is full of abuses of power. That's why we don't give them the opportunity and the means to do that. Then there's the area of screw-ups. Finally, there's the area of impact. If you change what you say on the phone or who you call just to prevent the appearance of impropriety, then you are living in a diminshed freedom. The Patriot Act was designed for one thing and has been used repeatedly for another. I don't want the government having my financial records or phone records. Freedom is a feeling. Once you give into an intrusive government and start turning over your privacy and rights its a disaster. There's no end to it.
I believe in making the world a safer place for you and your family. I have an extremely right wing friend who has a dual citizenship. She finished a long diatribe about liberals and how they just don't get it, by discussing her vacation. She said she's decided to use her Dutch passport because she doesn't want to be identified as an American right now. Why? President Bush's actions have made it too dangerous.

At 7:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm glad you have the sanity and groundedness to have the same contempt for the GPS/milage plan that I do. See, even right wing Nazis like myself and Commie Bastards like you can find common ground once in awhile ;)

The "I have nothing to hide defense" is a natural one. And you use it as well. You use it everytime you pass through airport security, apply for a home refinance, apply for a job, file an insurance claim, or even drive across the Oregon/California border. In every instance, government regulation requires that you disclose or allow access to personal information that could potentially be incriminating. Why do you do it? Because you have nothing to hide. I suspect that if you had a suitcase full of grenades to transport 1000 miles or so, knowing that you had to hide them and they would be detected going through airport security, you would forgo the liberty of that convenience and drive instead, right?

As for your friend being afraid to be identified as American - Being unpopular doesn't make one wrong. Abraham Lincoln's decision to free the slaves and fight to preserve the union didn't cement his popularity with the American People at the time those decisions were made. Harry S. Truman was one of the most unpopular Presidents on record it you go by opinion polls taken during his presidency. Truman fired Douglas MacArthur when the rest of the country worshiped the man. But he is historically viewed as one of the best.

Last, I understand your point about living in 'diminished freedom' if we change what we do or say to avoid the appearance of impropriety. But again....isn't that something we do everyday anyways? Heck, you'd probably be the recipient of a bunch of "Mr. Anonymous" F-Bomb flurries if it wasn't for the fact that I'm typing half of these posts from work :)

At 8:54 PM, Blogger Bill McDonald said...

This has been a fun discussion. I await either the realization that you were right, or the same old tired feeling I always get when I realize I was right once again.
Like I've said to my like-minded friends, I hope I'm wrong and President Bush goes into the books as the greatest President this country has ever seen. Maybe I'll run into you when we're vacationing in a beautiful resort in a democratic, peaceful iraq.
We both should live so long.

At 9:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always enjoy a lively debate. I don't portend to think I am right about everything, but do try to argument toward my 'leanings' as if they are truth, as I'm sure you and everyone else does as well.

I personally doubt you'll accomplish any change with your 'activism'....if anything, I think it will have the opposite effect you are hoping for. Cindy Sheehan managed to cement my support for the Iraq War with her media-seeking rantings comparing Bush to Hitler, etc. She may rally the far-far-far left to her cause, but she turns away moderates and conservatives in droves. Good luck.


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