Tuesday, June 17, 2008

About that "September 10 mindset"

Since this bullshit line is being trotted out again in an attempt to scare people into who-knows-what, let’s look at what a September 10 mindset really means and relates to.

Bill Clinton’s transition team warned the Bush administration about al Qaeda in 2000: Senior Clinton administration officials called to testify next week before the independent commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks say they are prepared to detail how they repeatedly warned their Bush administration counterparts in late 2000 that Al Qaeda posed the worst security threat facing the nation -- and how the new administration was slow to act.

They said the warnings were delivered in urgent post-election intelligence briefings in December 2000 and January 2001 for Condoleezza Rice, who became Mr. Bush's national security adviser; Stephen Hadley, now Ms. Rice's deputy; and Philip D. Zelikow, a member of the Bush transition team, among others.

Hmmmm….recognizing the threat of al Qaeda and trying to deal with it before something catastrophic happened. What happened as a result of this?
We've known for years now that George W. Bush received a presidential daily briefing on Aug. 6, 2001, in which he was warned: "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S." We've known for almost as long that Bush went fishing afterward.

What we didn't know is what happened in between the briefing and the fishing, and now Suskind is here to tell us. Bush listened to the briefing, Suskind says, then told the CIA briefer: "All right. You've covered your ass, now."

Oh yeah…..that’s right.

What else was part of that “Democratic pre-9/11 mindset”? Well, we can look back to Democratic President Bill Clinton and his actions (which didn’t include shredding of the Bill of Rights or extraordinary rendition or indefinite detainment of people with no charges or torture). This “September 10 mindset” included dramatic increases in federal spending on counterterrorism between 1996 and 2000:

Between 1996 and 2001, federal spending on counterterrorism increased dramatically to more than $12 billion annually. The FBI's counterterrorism budget rose even more sharply, from $78 million in 1996 to $609 million in 2000, tripling the number of agents assigned to such activities and creating a new counterterrorism center at the bureau's Washington headquarters.


Besides strengthening law enforcement, the Clinton administration sponsored a series of wide-ranging simulations that brought together local, state and federal officials to determine how government would respond if terrorists attacked with nuclear, chemical or biological weapons. Clinton himself was reportedly obsessed with the potential threat of anthrax and other bio-weapons.

That is why, by the time he left office, scores of those planning exercises were taking place annually across the country. Spending on "domestic preparedness" programs rose from $42.6 million in 1997 to more than $1.2 billion in 2000. The foresight represented by those appropriations has given his administration's successors an important head start.

Wow….disaster preparedness for biological or nuclear attacks, including funding for 40 million smallpox vaccines. What else is indicative of a “September 10 mindset”?
And what happened at President Bush's very first National Security Council meeting is one of O'Neill's most startling revelations.

“From the very beginning, there was a conviction, that Saddam Hussein was a bad person and that he needed to go,” says O’Neill, who adds that going after Saddam was topic "A" 10 days after the inauguration - eight months before Sept. 11.

“From the very first instance, it was about Iraq. It was about what we can do to change this regime,” says Suskind. “Day one, these things were laid and sealed.”

Right. “Pre-emptive war”. That was also a September 10 mindset, and since we know that McCain totally supported Bush on the transcendent issues, we can assume that his September 10 mindset will involve invading other countries “just because”.

But let’s keep looking at what this “September 10 mindset” relates to. There is this April 2000 memo from Janet Reno indicating that counterterrorism is one of the highest priorities, and there is also a 1998 FBI Strategic Plan document which calls counterterrorism the Tier One priority.

And if we want to look at specifically what the “September 10 mindset” is all about, let’s take a look at September 10, 2001. We have a document from John Ashcroft, which is the official FY 2003 budget request of the Department of Justice that ignores the FBI’s prior requests for more translators, counterintelligence agents and researchers (see the FBI request from August 2001 here). Not to be overlooked is the finishing touches that then-National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice was putting on her “major national security speech”:

National Security Adviser Rice is scheduled to deliver a speech claiming to address “the threats and problems of today and the day after, not the world of yesterday.” The speech is never given due to the 9/11 attacks earlier in the day, but the text is later leaked to the media. The Washington Post calls the speech “telling Insight into the administration’s thinking” because it promotes missile defense and contains no mention of al-Qaeda, bin Laden, or Islamic extremist groups. The only mention of terrorism is in the context of the danger of rogue nations such as Iraq. In fact, there are almost no public mentions of bin Laden or al-Qaeda by Bush or other top Bush administration officials before 9/11, and the focus instead is on missile defense.

So now, after looking things over, maybe it is a compliment for republicans - especially ones that are so tied to the Bush administration policies - to be telling Democrats that they have a “September 10” or a “pre-9/11” mindset. It is clear who was focusing on terrorism and counterterrorism activities in this critical period and who was ignoring them.

Monday, June 16, 2008

...and what happens when Mukasey ignores these subpoenas?

On one hand, I gotta express support, yet again, for Rep. Waxman, as he is one of a shrinking number of Congressional officials that dare to investigate, ask tough questions and follow up to a large extent.

On the other hand, I can’t help but feel that we have been down this road more than once over the past few years and still are in the same crappy place we were had no subpoenas been issued in the first place.

And when it comes to Attorney General (in name only) Mukasey - the recipient of the latest Congressional subpoenas, his track record is nothing short of abhorrent when it comes to views and disdain for the rule of law.

This round of subpoenas relates to Scotty McClellan’s revelations about Dick Cheney and the CIA leak investigation, and maybe it could uncover what many of us thought all along about Cheney’s role in selling a war based on lies and bullying. And yes, it is something, just as so many of the other subpoena and investigation and impeachment worthy actions, lies, crimes, stolen elections, illegal voter suppression as well as other offenses and cover ups are, that is necessary as part of moving this country forward.

To ignore or “let slide” the myriad of atrocities committed over the past 8 years will be a stain on this nation forever. To not hold these criminals accountable to the fullest extent of the law will not only be a travesty of justice of the highest order but will also set a dangerous precedent whereby subpoenas can be ignored without consequence, where crimes can be committed and covered up only to not be investigated further, where governmental officials can be held in contempt of Congress with absolutely no punishment and where wars can be waged based on admitted and proven lies and laws can be disregarded based on a signing statement with no fear of retribution.

Bravo to Rep. Waxman for continuing to push back and look for answers. But as with so many other “strongly worded letters”, ignored subpoenas, cases that should be prosecuted, pursued or investigated by the Justice Department but aren’t, abuses of power, crimes, destroyed evidence and other impeachable offenses that are so blatant yet not discussed for fear of “sounding partisan” - what happens when Mukasey decides to ignore these subpoenas?

As much as a dereliction of duty it is to not investigate or not issue subpoenas, it may actually be worse to investigate or issue subpoenas only to not follow all the way through if the investigations lead to potential crimes or cover ups to which there are no consequences or ramification, or if the subpoenas are ignored with no consequence.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

This was done in your name

This is a disturbing diary, so I am warning you up front.

A report out of Iraq this past week by Dahr Jamail highlights another stunningly horrific result of the illegal use of white phosphorus and chemical weapons in Fallujah by “coalition forces” back in late 2004 and 2005.

Babies born in Fallujah are showing illnesses and deformities on a scale never seen before, doctors and residents say.

The new cases, and the number of deaths among children, have risen after "special weaponry" was used in the two massive bombing campaigns in Fallujah in 2004.

After denying it at first, the Pentagon admitted in November 2005 that white phosphorous, a restricted incendiary weapon, was used a year earlier in Fallujah.

In addition, depleted uranium (DU) munitions, which contain low-level radioactive waste, were used heavily in Fallujah. The Pentagon admits to having used 1,200 tons of DU in Iraq thus far.

Between the white phosphorus and depleted uranium (as reported back in early 2006, as many as 50% of Iraqi cancer patients were under the age of 5 years old. This number from 2006 is up from around 13% just over a decade years earlier.

Brain damage, cleft palate, deformities, cancer, early death, Down’s Syndrome, stillborn babies, miscarriages, heart defects and missing limbs are just some of the “abnormalities” that are being seen at an alarming rate over the past few years, not to mention bodies where the skin basically melted off after exposure to these dangerous and immoral chemical weapons use.

"We saw all the colors of the rainbow coming out of the exploding American shells and missiles," Ali Sarhan, a 50-year-old teacher who lived through the two US sieges of 2004 told IPS. "I saw bodies that turned into bones and coal right after they were exposed to bombs that we learned later to be phosphorus.

Were these mothers terrorists? What about the babies or children that were exposed to the chemicals and have either died or now have to suffer a life full of health issues - a life that will no doubt be shortened and full of difficulty as a result?

And by the way, this is not limited to Iraqis. As noted last year, Iraq vets have an alarming increase in cancer rates as well:

The number of these cancers remains undisclosed, with military officials citing patient privacy issues, as well as lack of evidence the cases are linked to conditions in the war zone. The U.S. Congress has ordered a probe of suspect toxins and may soon begin widespread testing of our armed forces.


None of these soldiers know for sure what's killing them. But they suspect it's a cascade of multiple toxic exposures, coupled with the intense stress of daily life in a war zone weakening their immune systems.

"There's so much pollution from so many sources, your body can't fight what's coming at it," Valentin said. "And you don't eat well or sleep well, ever. That weakens you, too. There's no chance to gather your strength. These are kids 19, 20 and 21 getting all kinds of cancers. The Walter Reed cancer ward is packed full with them."

The prime suspect in all this, in the minds of many victims — and some scientists — is what's known as depleted uranium — the radioactive chemical prized by the military for its ability to penetrate armored vehicles. When munitions explode, the substance hits the air as fine dust, easily inhaled.

This is yet another huge issue that will need to be dealt with, and like so many others, is a humanitarian matter that will cast a dark cloud on what has been done in our names. Deformities and high cancer rates can’t be ignored - whether it is for Iraqi civilians or for our troops who are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. The pictures are absolutely heartwrenching (warning: these are very graphic).

The effects are just starting to be seen, and whether it is in Walter Reed for our returning troops, or in the hospitals in Iraq - it is overwhelming:

The doctor added, "I can say all kinds of problems related to toxic pollution took place in Fallujah after the November 2004 massacre."

Many doctors speak of similar cases and a similar pattern. The indications remain anecdotal, in the absence of either a study, or any available official records.

The Fallujah General Hospital administration was unwilling to give any statistics on deformed babies, but one doctor volunteered to speak on condition of anonymity -- for fear of reprisals if seen to be critical of the administration.


A senior Iraqi health ministry official was quoted as saying Feb. 26 that the health sector is under "great pressure", with scores of doctors killed, an exodus of medical personnel, poor medical infrastructure, and shortage of medicines.

The atrocities committed in the name of “freedom” and “liberation” are countless. The fact that this was covered up, then downplayed by this administration is nothing short of disgusting. The ignoring and black out by the corporate media is inexcusable. But the truth is not hard to find - if you can stomach reading through it.

What’s worse is that all of this was done in our names, and most people don’t even know it (or want to know it).

Saturday, June 14, 2008

How about some straight talk on abortion, Senator McCain?

A week or so back, I created a bit of a stir with a diary whose title referred to SCOTUS overturning Roe. And while I make no apologies for the title, I did only talk about McCain’s “fondness” for judges like Alito, Scalia and Roberts, and how he would like to appoint SCOTUS justices in their mold.

McCain’s positions on abortion have been, even for someone who is firmly on the anti-privacy and choice side of the ledger, all over the road. But the least odious of the miserable positions that he takes is that he would like to see the decision revert back to the states, where a good number of states already have “trigger laws” on the books, which would effectively ban the right for a woman to have control over her personal private medical decisions.

And if we look at the extremists such as LifeNews, we will find that they too are not all that happy about the media coverage of McCain - but not in ways that many of us are unhappy with the media coverage.

No, what LifeNews wants all of America to know, and on this point I agree wholeheartedly with them, is that McCain not only is against a woman’s right of personal private medical decisions over her own body, but he is in favor of a Constitutional Amendment to ban abortions.

Don’t you think this is something that all of the independents and people who think McCain is a “moderate” or not completely insane or who is respectful of women should know?

Let’s take a look at a few things that show what the real McCain is all about. First, here is the republican Party’s platform on abortion:

Human Life Amendment to the Constitution (from 2004’s platform)

We must keep our pledge to the first guarantee of the Declaration of Independence. That is why we say the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and we endorse legislation to make it clear that the 14th Amendment's protections apply to unborn children. Our purpose is to have legislative and judicial protection of that right against those who perform abortions. We oppose using public revenues for abortion and will not fund organizations which advocate it. We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life.

Ban abortion with Constitutional amendment (from the 2000 platform)

We say the unborn child has a fundamental right to life. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and we endorse legislation that the 14th Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children. Our purpose is to have legislative and judicial protection of that right against those who perform abortions. We oppose using public revenues for abortion and will not fund organizations which advocate it. We support the appointment of judges who respect the sanctity of innocent human life.

So, let’s start with that. There is also this exchange between McCain and Sean Hannity from this past March:
”I got a call from a lot of people and they knew I was going to interview you today," Hannity said. "And I think one of the areas that came up the most is would you leave the pro-life language in the platform and the marriage amendment in the platform."

McCain responded, "yes,"

OK, you may say, that just shows that a weak candidate doesn’t want to rock the boat when it comes to riling up the fundie wing of the party. But then you see this exchange with George Stephanopoulos in 2006:
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me ask one question about abortion. Then I want to turn to Iraq. You’re for a constitutional amendment banning abortion, with some exceptions for life and rape and incest.

MCCAIN: Rape, incest and the life of the mother. Yes.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So is President Bush, yet that hasn’t advanced in the six years he’s been in office. What are you going to do to advance a constitutional amendment that President Bush hasn’t done?

MCCAIN: I don’t think a constitutional amendment is probably going to take place, but I do believe that it’s very likely or possible that the Supreme Court should — could overturn Roe v. Wade, which would then return these decisions to the states, which I support.

So here, we have McCain supporting a Constitutional amendment and a “return of Roe to the states”, although he thinks that a SCOTUS reversal of Roe is more feasible. And with trigger laws already on the books, we can see that this may be the path of lesser resistance. However, there is, at least in 2006, an outright support by McCain to ban abortion via a Constitutional amendment except in extreme circumstances. Interestingly, this (as well as the call for a “marriage amendment”) would be the only potential Constitutional amendments that take away rights of Americans.

Let’s look back a few years - to 1999, which is a time that McCain actually said how he truly felt more often than not and had an element of “straight talk” to him - certainly light years more than today. As uncovered by Media Matters, on the January 30 edition of Meet the Press, there was this exchange with McCain on abortion and a Constitutional amendment:

Russert: "A constitutional amendment to ban all abortions?"

McCain: "Yes, sir."

Russert: "You're for that?"

McCain: "Yes, sir."

The problem here is that, to this day, whether it is coming from LifeNews or Media Matters - the corporate media is not telling the truth about McCain’s position on banning a woman’s right to make private medical decisions for herself. Granted, it is difficult to tell the total truth about McCain when he doesn’t do so himself and so frequently contradicts himself.

But one thing is clear - McCain has consistently looked to restrict a woman’s right to make her own decisions - whether it be overturning Roe and allowing states to outlaw a woman’s right to make her own medical decisions, whether it be a Constitutional amendment that would be the first (other than the since-repealed prohibition) to restrict people’s rights, or whether it is a modified version that outlaws women’s rights with limited exceptions.

So which one is it, Senator? And just as importantly, what would you propose as a punishment for women who “break the laws or amendments” that you seek to enforce? Would you imprison them? Would you imprison their doctors?

I think the country has a right to know just how far you would go to restrict people’s rights to make their own personal medical decisions and what you would do to “punish” those who don’t comply with your draconian wishes.

How about a little straight talk, for once?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Just how is it NOT a 3rd Bush term, Senator McCain?

Not one week ago, John W. McSame got a bit defensive when addressing charges that he is running for Bush’s third term:
"You will hear from my opponent's campaign in every speech, every interview, every press release that I'm running for President Bush's third term," McCain said. "You will hear every policy of the president described as the Bush-McCain policy. Why does Senator Obama believe it's so important to repeat that idea over and over again? Because he knows it's very difficult to get Americans to believe something they know is false."

False, eh?

Care to explain just how that is false, and in what particular area or issue or topic or vote or policy that would be, Senator? Because frankly, I’ve been doing quite a bit of writing and reading about what you stand for and what your positions are and how you vote and who you associate yourself with and what you believe in and I’ll be damned if I can see any real difference.


It wouldn’t be your voting record, which was 100% with Bush in 2008, and 95% in 2007 (not to mention an average of over 90% in just about every year since 2001 with one exception.). And it wouldn’t be your role in the notorious “Gang of 14” to ensure that Bush’s odious judicial appointments got through (not to mention the fact that SCOTUS judges like Alito, Roberts and Scalia would be precisely who you would appoint).

It wouldn’t be in the area of leveling with the American public, as evidenced by Bush-like double talk on Hurricane Katrina (and just remember what you were doing and who you were with the day that Katrina hit) or on health care (more on that below).

It wouldn’t be on the domestic front either - since the very same tax cuts that you said you were against are the very tax cuts you voted to extend and have proposed yourself. And it wouldn’t be on social security privatization where your positions are pretty consistent with each other. Nor would it be in the area of health care, where experts in the industry say it falls far short of covering people who need it and need it now. Couple this with your support of Bush’s SCHIP veto or your rating as the worst Senator for children’s issues.

Or more-of-the-same foreign policy, where your top foreign policy advisor is a major neoconservative and your agreement with Bush on Iran (whether it be echoing talking points, threatening to bomb bomb bomb them or falsely linking Iran to al Qaeda). Iraq is no different as there is no plan to do anything - not just not do anything different, but not do anything. Anything, that is, except for wishing that things will be all rosy and just plain not knowing what the hell is going on there (or willfully ignoring what is going on there).

And on the economy, where other republicans proudly crow about how the economic policies will be a third Bush term and how “that’s a good thing”, or how bailing out Bear Stearns is more important than helping taxpayers.

Of course, we can ask what Bush thinks of this? It is a good thing that he is on record here:

Mark Halperin: The President behind the scenes has told people for months that he thought McCain would be the nominee. Even during some of those dark periods he still thought he could win. And also that McCain would be the best to carry forth his agenda. I've got news for you before the president starts, Karl Rove, a friend of Fox, Fox Contributor, yesterday delivered a check for $2,300 to John McCain."

Maybe you are right - just by saying something over and over, doesn’t make it more true. And by saying something over and over because it is very difficult to get Americans to believe something they know to be false.

Like you not being as close to a third Bush term as anyone could possibly get.

Corporate media finally wising up to the real McCain?

I’ve been quick to point out the coddling of John McCain by the corporate media, and have (like many) been frustrated when his verbal diarrhea went virtually unnoticed during the Democratic primary process.

But over the past week or so (as a coincidence or not), it seems like there is a breaking through of the various “gaffes”, other comments, crazy-ass policy positions and general confusion by McCain – and the coverage has started to show.

Of course, there are still the strong denials and stubborn comments made by McCain or Lieberman or his neocon and lobbyist advisors, those at Fox News or the NRO or whoever else is making to deny the reality, but (and here is the key) there does look like an opportunity exists where we can continue to force the narrative on McCrazy’s comments and positions and since they are so far out there, they may get the additional coverage that has been lacking for so very long.

Obviously, since there are so many, they aren’t ALL going to get coverage (like the “bottled hot water to dehydrated babies” or the “vetoing every beer” comments he made last week), but a quick search of the various news articles and corporate media web sites does provide hope.

On USA Today’s home page, the two top stories under “Path to the White House” are McCain Troop Withdrawal Remarks Draw Fire and Polls: Women Favor Obama. Similarly, a quick search – you know, it’s a google, shows a number of other recent not-so-flattering articles about McCain.

There is the Boston Herald headline John McCain: I can’t be a referee which discusses the fact that he is flip flopping on his positions regarding the 527s that will be running attack ads and how he is helpless to do anything about them. Yahoo News asks “Did John McCain just say what I think he said about Iraq?” and MSNBC asks, is “John McCain ‘confused’ on foreign policy?”.

Today’s Wall Street Journal discusses McCain’s and Obama’s tax plans, but the headline is “McCain’s Tax Plan Favors Wealthiest, Analysis Says”, and that is complimented by the Boston Globe’s Obama promotes middle class tax cut. Interestingly and on the flip side, Lifenews is calling out the corporate media for erroneously NOT indicating that McCain would try to seek a Constitutional amendment banning abortion. Now, THAT is something that I would love to see pointed out.

Even the ultra rightist US News & World Report had the following to say in a post titled Obama blasts McCain on the economy:

In a speech in Raleigh, NC that is receiving largely positive coverage, Sen. Barack Obama sharply attacked Sen. John McCain's economic proposals, seeking to tie then to Bush Administration's policies. Media accounts generally describe Obama's remarks as a shrewd strategic move.

Almost as shocking is the Washington Times (no, that is not a misprint) hits McCain on taxes in a post titled “Tax record catches up with McCain” which talks about his voting record not matching his rhetoric on taxes.

ABC News has one of it’s main posts on the front page titled “Strange bedfellows: Obama and evangelicals” that talks about the “animus that many have for McCain”, the Houston Chronicle has a similar type article titled “Baptists are left guessing about McCain” and even Novakula himself penned a post titled “McCain’s evangelical problem”.

CBS News (via Politico) has a post titled “Record Gas Prices Could Hurt McCain” and the LA Times discusses “John McCain’s Ohio disconnect”.

And these are just over the past few days. Granted, this isn’t necessarily more than an indication of a few stories in a relatively short period of time. But there was this Newsweek article from February that was titled “Why the Right Hates McCain” and now that the entire political media climate isn’t sucked in by the Democratic primary battle, and as the country continues in the downward spiral economically, this does present an opportunity to keep pushing the narrative on McCain.

Not everything will break through – probably not nearly enough, but if the past few days are any indication, then it does show a willingness to point out the inconsistencies of McCain’s comments, actions and voting record. Also, notice that I did not include anything from the New York Times and the only thing I included from the Washington Post was from Novak. McCain is one of the most flawed candidates that we have seen in years.

And even the corporate media can’t continue to hide all of his flaws – especially when there are so many, there are so many missteps, misstatements and positions that go against what the vast majority of Americans want, need or believe in.

We regularly and rightfully rail against the corporate media when the so very often fail to do their jobs. But here is an opportunity to recognize the opening that has been given and exploit it in order to establish the narrative on McCain – and have it driven through in a way that we never would have otherwise expected.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

"SCOTUS overturns 'Roe', eliminates right of privacy"

You can expect to see that headline if John McCain wins the Presidency.

It is no secret that the non-”activist judges” on the Supreme Court are the older ones, and it is no secret that there could be two, maybe even three appointments over the next 4 years. And it is also no secret that McCain has been pandering to those who want to erode the Constitution further - ironically in the name of “strictly interpreting it”.

One of the more difficult things that face Democrats and progressives is to undo the “maverick” and “moderate” brand that McCain has spent decades building and crafting. There are mountains of evidence, hundreds of votes, countless comments, actions and people that he has closely aligned himself with - yet he is STILL though of as more likely to reach across the aisle and more likely to effectively work with the other party than Obama.

There are millions of independent or moderate voters who don’t know The real McCain and are unable to or unwilling to accept the cold hard reality that he is precisely the opposite of the carefully crafted persona that he is perceived to have.

I’ve been doing a lot of opposition research and writing about McCain over the past few months, and have been trying to figure out (as have many others) what the best way to rebrand him, convince uninformed voters about, and get information out regarding him. There are a lot of ways - there is the ties to lobbyists, there is the “double talk”, there is the “bomb bomb bomb Iran”, the “100 years in Iraq”, the Hagee endorsement, the “angry and unstable” approach, the “third Bush term” approach and there is the approach of using his words and votes against him.

As we all know, McCain is a highly flawed candidate in so many ways. And while some of these are better than others to convince people of just what John McCain is all about, there hasn’t been nearly enough focus on what he would do with the Supreme Court and how drastically his preferred choices would restrict personal privacy and freedoms as well as expand corporate secrecy, executive power and erode the Church/State separation.

The attack is simple: McCain’s ideal SCOTUS would take away your privacy and expand his.

We have his own words to back this up as well. Just as Bush used code words in talking to his “base”, McCain has done the same. Back in January, McCain said the following to Byron York:

"Let me just look you in the eye," McCain told me. "I've said a thousand times on this campaign trail, I've said as often as I can, that I want to find clones of Alito and Roberts. I worked as hard as anybody to get them confirmed. I look you in the eye and tell you I've said a thousand times that I wanted Alito and Roberts. I have told anybody who will listen. I flat-out tell you I will have people as close to Roberts and Alito [as possible], and I am proud of my record of working to get them confirmed, and people who worked to get them confirmed will tell you how hard I worked."

Clones of Roberts and Alito. The two SCOTUS justices who have driven the Court further to the right than any other Court in recent memory. Alito - one who was all for the unauthorized strip searching a ten year old girl during a search that was only authorized for her father and his home. Roberts, who thinks that parolees who are not in violation of their parole can be searched without any cause or suspicion. And both, who think that mentally ill should be able to receive the death penalty - just to name a few cases.

Let’s also remember that McCain voted for every single one of Bush’s judicial appointees, and that the court he is looking to expand has done the following things in a short period of time:

in just three years the Roberts Court has crippled school-desegregation efforts (and hinted that affirmative action may be next); approved a federal law that bans a form of abortion; limited the reach of job-discrimination laws; and made it more difficult to challenge the mixing of church and state.

Besides the fact that this is the very definition of “activist judges” or “legislating from the bench”, the SCOTUS that McCain wants to see will continue to erode personal freedoms and rights. Not only that, but McCain also cited Scalia as a “model” of who he would select.

Scalia - the most extreme of the Justices - one who approves of torture and one who, unlike Thomas (who I may disagree with on nearly everything but is at least relatively consistent in his decision making process) is highly hypocritical in his views and decisions and has a long history of not supporting personal rights and freedoms.

This is the reality - the Constitution has been eroded on a tremendous scale by the Bush administration, and abetted in no small part by Scalia, Alito and the Roberts SCOTUS. John McCain’s dream is to pack and stack the Court with more Justices that will eliminate or erode personal rights and freedoms under the Bill of Rights, whether it be the First, Fourth or Eight amendments, whether it be in the area of a woman’s right of privacy, whether it be intruding into people’s personal lives or expanding Executive power and secrecy (as Scalia has already proven when he protected Cheney and his secret energy commission, despite being duck hunting buddies).

For me, this is the biggest reason to make sure that McCain does not win in November. It is bad enough that we have to deal with a couple of decades of Roberts and Alito and Thomas and Scalia. To add two or three more Justices to this draconian line of thinking will be devastating to the future and direction of this country.