Good Stewards

ABQjournal: Dumped Cattle Carcasses Increase in Curry

CLOVIS — The Curry County sheriff says the area is seeing an increasing number of cattle carcasses dumped on the rights of way of roads and highways.

“It’s mostly Holsteins and it’s mostly calves,” said Sheriff Roger Hatcher.

He predicts the problem will get worse with the growing dairy and cattle industry.

New Mexico law requires livestock owners to dispose of dead animals by burning, burying or contracting with a removal service. …

Hatcher said the problem isn’t fuel prices? it’s a blatant disregard for the law.

Identifying marks, such as ear tags, are often missing from the dumped carcasses, he said.

“People are doing this at night. They know it is wrong,” he said.

Ranchers can’t be doing this! They’re good stewards of the land! No, it must be environmentalists feeding wolves. Yeah, that’s it. mjh


[Lifted from Whiskey Bar: Rush to Judgment, where there are still more. Well done, Billmon.]

We have laws against selling drugs, pushing drugs, using drugs, importing drugs. And the laws are good because we know what happens to people in societies and neighborhoods, which become consumed by them. And so if people are violating the law by doing drugs, they ought to be accused and they ought to be convicted and they ought to be sent up.

Rush Limbaugh
Rush Limbaugh TV Show
October 5, 1995

I warned you about this ever-broadening interpretation of the so-called right to privacy. It’s not a ‘right’ specifically enumerated in the Constitution or Bill of Rights.

Rush Limbaugh
August 22nd, 2003

Let’s be clear about something, folks. All these so-called human rights groups like People for the American Way and so forth, ACLU, all these Democrats, they claim to be standing up for human dignity and human rights. Well, like hell they are.

Rush Limbaugh
Truth Detector
January 5, 2005

Limbaugh has maintained his innocence throughout the investigation and argues that the case threatens the privacy rights of all Floridians — a point which has drawn the support of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Associated Press
Florida Supreme Court refuses
to hear Rush Limbaugh appeal
April 28, 2005

This aggressive new strain of right-wing religious zealotry is actually a throwback

Breaking the Rules to Destroy Our Courts
Remarks as prepared by former Vice President Al Gore

Alexander Hamilton, in Federalist # 78, wrote that the “independence of the judges is equally requisite to guard the Constitution and the rights of individuals from the effects of those ill-humors which the arts of designing men… have a tendency, in the meantime, to occasion dangerous innovations in the government, and serious oppressions of the minor party in the community.”

When James Madison introduced the Bill of Rights, he explained that “independent tribunals of justice will consider themselves… the guardians of [these] rights, … an impenetrable bulwark against every assumption of power in the legislature or executive.” …

[T]he Republican leader of the House of Representatives responded to rulings in the Terri Schiavo case, by saying ominously: “The time will come for the men responsible for this to pay for their behavior.”

When the outrage following this comment worsened Rep. DeLay’s problems during the House Ethics scandal, he claimed that his words had been chosen badly, but in the next breath, he issued new threats against the same courts: “We set up the courts. We can unset the courts. We have the power of the purse.”

In previous remarks on the subject, DeLay has said, “Judges need to be intimidated,” adding that if they don’t behave, “we’re going to go after them in a big way.”

Moreover, a whole host of prominent Republicans have been making similar threats on a regular basis.

A Republican Congressman from Iowa added: “When their budget starts to dry up, we’ll get their attention. If we’re going to preserve the Constitution, we must get them in line.”

A Republican Senator from Texas directly connected the “spate of courthouse violence lately” to his view that unpopular decisions might be the explanation. “I wonder whether there may be some connection between the perception in some quarters on some occasions where judges are making political decisions, yet are unaccountable to the public, that it builds and builds to the point where some people engage in violence.”

One of the best-known conservative political commentators has openly recommended that “liberals should be physically intimidated.”

The spokesman for the Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee said: “There does seem to be this misunderstanding out there that our system was created with a completely independent judiciary.” Misunderstanding?

The Chief of Staff for another Republican senator called for “mass impeachment” by using the bizarre right-wing theory that the president can declare that any judge is no longer exhibiting “good behavior,” adding that, “then the judge’s term has simply come to an end. The President gives them a call and says: ‘Clean out your desk. The Capitol police will be in to help you find your way home.'”

The elected and appointed Republican officials who made these dangerous statements are reflecting an even more broadly-held belief system of grassroots extremist organizations that have made the destruction of judicial independence the centerpiece of their political agenda.

Tony Perkins, leader of the Family Research Council, who hosted a speech by the Senate Majority Leader last Sunday, has said, “There’s more than one way to skin a cat, and there’s more than one way to take a black robe off the bench.” Explaining that during his meeting with Republican leaders, the leaders discussed stripping funding from certain courts, Perkins said, “What they’re thinking of is not only the fact of just making these courts go away and recreating them the next day, but also de-funding them.” Congress could use its appropriations authority to just “take away the bench, all of its staff, and he’s just sitting out there with nothing to do.”

Another influential leader of one of these groups, James Dobson, who heads Focus on the Family, focused his anger on the 9th circuit court of appeals: “Very few people know this, that the Congress can simply disenfranchise a court. They don’t have to fire anybody or impeach them or go through that battle. All they have to do is say the 9th circuit doesn’t exist anymore, and it’s gone.”

Edwin Vieira (at the “Confronting the Judicial War on Faith” conference) said his “bottom line” for dealing with the Supreme Court comes from Stalin: “He had a slogan, and it worked very well for him whenever he ran into difficulty: ‘no man, no problem.'”

Through their words and threats, these Republicans are creating an atmosphere in which judges may well hesitate to exercise their independence for fear of Congressional retribution, or worse.

It is no accident that this assault on the integrity of our constitutional design has been fueled by a small group claiming special knowledge of God’s will in American politics. They even claim that those of us who disagree with their point of view are waging war against “people of faith.” How dare they?

Long before our founders met in Philadelphia, their forebears first came to these shores to escape oppression at the hands of despots in the old world who mixed religion with politics and claimed dominion over both their pocketbooks and their souls.

This aggressive new strain of right-wing religious zealotry is actually a throwback to the intolerance that led to the creation of America in the first place.

James Madison warned us in Federalist #10 that sometimes, “A religious sect may degenerate into a political faction.”

Foreign Exchange with Fareed Zakaria

I stumbled upon this show Thursday night at 11:30pm on PBS:
Foreign Exchange with Fareed Zakaria | Where America Meets the World.

It was very interesting to hear 3 Muslims discussing the rights of women in Islam. Guests were Afeefa Syeed, who founded the Al-Fatih Academy, a Muslim school in Northern Virginia, and Irshad Manji, author of The Trouble with Islam Today: A Muslim?s Call for Reform in Her Faith. Manji has appeared on NOW.

Here in New Mexico, the show repeats at 5pm Friday on KNME Channel 5. However, it is also available on the Web (link above). The rest of the show is worthwhile, but this discussion of gender and religion is at the beginning and lasts 13 minutes. [Kudos for having transcripts and video available for free.]

You will see two women who seem so different and get a sense of a struggle for common ground over their shared faith. mjh

Here’s a snippet from the transcript (linked):

Show 4 Transcript | Foreign Exchange with Fareed Zakaria

Irshad Manji: I find this very exciting because there?s a diversity of opinion and viewpoints among Muslim women and they?re going to be you know contesting one another which is in my view one of the things that needs to happen if we?re going to see the Islamic world as much more diverse than monolithic in the way that it has been for the last many, many generations. …

Fareed Zakaria: When people listen to you Irshad, I think there?s a tendency to wonder are you telling Americans what they want to hear.

Irshad Manji: [Laughs]

Fareed Zakaria: That is to say this sounds very comforting. Are you really a Muslim in that sense?

Irshad Manji: Well to many people I am not really a Muslim; that?s fine. I can tell you that you know I?ve done enough of my homework to know that when the first dissidents within Islam emerged from the woodwork only 100 years after Islam was established they, too, were accused not just of being real Muslims–or sorry–of not being real Muslims, but they were also accused of being in the pay of the Jews, and all kinds of conspiracy theories that still persist to this day. The thing though, Fareed, and I speak from hard experience here is that I know that the emerging generation of Muslims–not just in North America, but around the world, is desperate for debate and discussion–so much so that this was the number one reason that I had the emotional commitment and not just the intellectual commitment to write a book called The Trouble with Islam Today.

Fareed Zakaria: Is she a real Muslim?

Afeefa Syeed: Well only she and only God knows and that?s–that?s the essence of what being a Muslim is that you know the responsibilities between yourself and your creator. But I?d like to speak to the issue of representation and authenticity.

Irshad Manji: And I don?t represent–I don?t represent; I represent myself–no one else.
Seat at the Table
Women in Congress/Parliament
Saudi Arabia: 0%
Iran: 4%
Pakistan: 21%
Iraq: 31%
US: 15%
[If you enjoy programming like this, please be sure to read Republican Broadcasting Corporation by Ari Berman]

The Nation | Blog | The Daily Outrage | Republican Broadcasting Corporation | Ari Berman

A conservative coup is underway at PBS.

The new head of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (the gatekeeper between lawmakers and public broadcasters), Ken Ferree, is a staunch Republican proponent of media deregulation and a former top adviser to FCC Chairman Michael Powell. Three top CPB officials, all with Democratic affiliations, departed or were dismissed in recent months. For the first time in its 38-year history, the CPB ordered a comprehensive review of public TV and radio programming for “evidence of bias.” The CPB even tried to condition all new PBS funding agreements upon the network following “objectivity and balance” requirements for each of its programs.

Last January, Education Secretary Margaret Spellings denounced the cartoon rabbit Buster, of “Postcards from Buster” fame, for visiting a lesbian family in Vermont. The decision to slash in half the popular investigative show NOW after Bill Moyers’ departure, and the addition of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Tucker Carlson (who has since left for MSNBC) to the programming line-up proves just how far right PBS has moved in an attempt to appear fair and balanced. “This is the first time in my thirty-two years in public broadcasting that CPB has ordered up programs for ideological instead of journalistic reasons,” Moyers told The New Yorker last year.

A majority of the CPB’s eight-member board–chaired by Ken Tomlinson, a good friend of Karl Rove–are now Republican appointees. Two of the newest, Gay Hart Gaines and Cheryl Halpern, have donated more than $800,000 to the Republican Party since 1995. Gaines once ran a political action committee for Newt Gingrich, who as speaker of the House pushed to “zero out” all of PBS’s federal funding. In 2003, PBS President Pat Mitchell offered Gingrich a town-hall style show. It would’ve happened if Gingrich wasn’t already under contract with Fox News.

Ironically, the CPB was created to shield PBS from political pressure, just as PBS was intended to address the “needs of unserved and underserved audiences.” One can hardly argue that the WSJ edit page or Tucker Carlson fit into that category. “To find the same combination of conviction, partisanship and ideological extremism on the far left,” wrote my colleague Eric Alterman, “A network would need to convene a ’roundtable’ featuring Noam Chomsky, Alexander Cockburn, Vanessa Redgrave and Fidel Castro.”

These days, PBS is more likely to give James Dobson his own special on religion.

A Real World Test of Private Accounts


In 1981, three counties in Texas–Galveston, Matagorda, and Brazoria–decided to opt out of Social Security and instead provide their public employees with a system of privatized accounts.

While the privatization proposal advocated by President Bush is not an exact replication of the Texas plan, the concept is similar enough to warrant an examination of the Texas plan to see the impact of plans to privatize Social Security. …

Under the Texas plan, a married couple that has earned the median income would receive a monthly annuity benefit of $1568. Under Social Security, that married couple would receive $1818 at retirement–$3000 more over the course of the first year of retirement. Because Social Security beneficiaries receive an annual cost-of-living adjustment, at age 80, that gap increases to $13,440 more per year under Social Security than under the Texas plan.

Minor children are clearly better off with Social Security’s survivor benefits. If a worker who earned the median income dies at the age of 40, after working 20 years, the surviving spouse and two minor children would receive Social Security survivor benefits more than two and half times greater than they would receive under the Texas Alternate Plans.

Conservatives For a Free Press

Recently, I wrote a blog entry for about the public clash of two New Mexican Republicans. In public comments on that blog (see the link above), a very polite Mr Bohnsack respectfully approaches me for an education regarding a parenthetical remark in that blog entry.

Before I oblige his gracious request, I have to wonder: why doesn’t he want to talk about the “swell” story? Oh, he might say it is boring or he has nothing to add. But, before we follow his tangent, let’s not forget what he distracts us from: Republicans are not as united as they pretend (or as they vote). There are important divisions within the Republican party and when Duhbya’s days are done and he rides off into the sunset, it will be very interesting to see where the power goes. My money is on Karl Rove, god’s architect of victory.

As to Matt’s inquiry, let me first thank him for raising me into the company of the Founders. Yes, I am a blogger, a pamphleteer, child of Tom Paine (no kin to Greg). Yes, over two hundered years after the Revolution and the ratifying of the Constitution with its Bill of Rights, I am the epitome of all that. Thanks, Matt, you flatter me, even more than you flatter me by suggesting that I could educate you.

Now, I will agree with Matt that corporate news, like all corporations, is to be regarded with suspicion. Corporations put profits before everything, including the Constitution, the well-being of their workers, the health of their customers. That’s why — libertarians, please look away for a moment — we need laws to curtail man’s greed, selfishness and cruelty. I’m no friend of corporations and I am a natural ally of any schmo sitting at a keyboard expounding on the Truth. Matt and I are brothers.

I have nothing to teach Matt about rhetoric. In short order, he equates bloggers with the Free Press and then suggests that I would try to silence bloggers. Matt, I have 5 or 6 of my own and read dozens, including yours. Find someone I’ve ever tried to silence.

Understand, I’m really tired of this technique of redefining the argument. I’ve watched extreme conservatives hijack public policy with this since Goldwater. Define the terms, create the strawmen, set the agenda.

Still, it is very successful. My response is proof that you can goad people into following you on any tangent. So, though I owe Matt no explanation for a parenthetical remark — 10 words out of 300 — I’ll play along.

In the last 18 months or so, conservatives attacked CBS and stopped them from showing a biography of Raygun. Before it appeared on TV, before most of us had any idea what it might say, conservatives silenced Big Media. I don’t really care — I wouldn’t have watched — but I care about censorship, as I know Matt does.

So, one wonders, what’s that got to do with Rathergate. First, CBS News was planning a different report relevant to the election to follow the one that flowered into Blathergate. And, based on the fallout, they canned that one. I wish I could tell you what it was about, but I didn’t get to see it because censors scared the shit out of CBS. A nail in the coffin? Or a knife to the balls?

Second, the furor over a supposedly faked letter completely drowned out all other facts. There was simply no discussion of how nobly our War President served during Vietnam. No, it was all about fonts and CBS’s liberal bias (Joe Monahan has a great summary of Rather’s long career.).

Liberal bias of the Media. Another gem foisted on us by the Radical Right. And, setting up their own Isvestia — Fox — they explain all media is biased and their Pravda is just one small correction to the leftward tilt. Yeah, right.

Finally, it is nauseating to see the word Watergate twisted into Rathergate (after countless other -gates). Let us not forget that Watergate was a symptom and symbol of astonishing corruption at the top of a paranoid Republican administration. A criminal Republican administration that in turn provided top players in the current administration AND which pales in comparison regarding secrecy. A Republican administration brought down, in part, by a Free Press not nearly so corporate and unaided by bloggers.

Most of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudis. None were Iraqi.The Radical Right works steadily to undermine your confidence in absolutely anything outside of their control. Don’t trust the corporate media (except for the biggest cable news service, Fox, or the most widely heard commentator, Lush Limbaugh). Don’t trust the judges, most of whom were appointed by conservatives. Don’t trust the RINOs who want to rein in their fellow Republicans. Don’t trust the queers, the liberals, the Democrats, the non-Evangelicals or — god forbid — the atheists. No, don’t trust anyone but those holding hands with Duhbya.

And remember, history proves the Right is never wrong. Yeah, right. mjh

PS: Most of the 9/11 terrorists were Saudis; none were Iraqis. No WMDs were ever found in Iraq. There were more terrorist acts worldwide last year than ever before. Facts.