Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Abbott Defends the Pharmaceutical Industry's Divine Right to be Free From Competition
Even the Republican-dominated state legislature thought it was a good idea to let Texans who need prescription drugs have information about Canadian sources for the prescriptions they need in order to live. But naturally, the giant corporate parasites that make tons of greedy profits off the medical needs of the disabled and the elderly would rather not have to compete with cheaper Canadian sources for the same medications.
They did not need to fear, for last week the corporate mouthpiece that sits in the Texas Attorney General's office performed the hatchet job on the people of Texas that the corporate elites put him in office to perform. True to form, incumbent Bush Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott ruled in a formal Attorney General opinion that a recently enacted state law requiring a state agency to post information about Canadian prescription drugs is invalid legislation because it supposedly conflicts with federal legislation enacted by the Bushites to protect the pharmaceutical industry's monopoly power.
Just like every other Bush Republican, Abbott loves welfare legislation when it protects corporate monopolies, and he forgets all about "states' rights" when they threaten government of, by, and for the corporations.
JOIN DISCUSSION >>
posted by snarko! at 10:54 AM
Democracy on the Rise
The party of the people is returning to its roots and democracy is on the rise. All over Texas, grassroots Democrats who are fed up with one-party monopoly government are filing for local offices in supposed Republican strongholds. There are too many to list here. But just for example, seven Democrats so far are running for countywide offices in Fort Bend County; and Democrats are running for County Commissioner seats that have long been held by Republicans in Denton and Collin Counties.
If any of the election districts that you reside in, at any level of government, do not yet have a Democratic challenger to a Republican incumbent, someone needs to file to run for that seat, and that someone is you!
You do not need permission from any celebrity, superstar, or party boss. You do not need to have served in political office before or to have run for political office before. You already hold the highest civic position in a democracy, that of citizen and voter. All you need is the desire to serve your fellow citizens for a time and to make government work better for them.
You have the ability, you have the qualifications, and you care about the world you live in. Now do it!
GET MORE INFORMATION ON RUNNING FOR OFFICE >>
posted by snarko! at 10:51 AM
My Message to George Bush and Alberto Gonzales:
Unconstitutional spying not allowed in Texas!
Let me make this perfectly clear. As Texas Attorney General I will tell George W. Bush, his puppy-dog Alberto Gonzales, and all the rest of the corrupt Constitution-hating Bushites, "Unconstitutional wiretapping and spying is not allowed in Texas!"
As the elected lawyer for the people of Texas I will fight the corrupt federal agencies every step of the way in defense of the Constitutional rights of Texans against unconstitutional wiretapping without warrants, searches without warrants, and spying without probable cause on peaceable First Amendment activities. Like Travis at the Alamo, I draw a line in the sand in defense of the Bill of Rights.
Constitutional Crisis >>
The Patriot Act versus the People of Texas >>
JOIN THE DISCUSSION >>
posted by snarko! at 10:49 AM
Sunday, December 18, 2005
George W. Bush has plunged the country into the kind of Constitutional crisis that was resolved in 1974 by the issuance of articles of impeachment against Richard Nixon and Nixon's subsequent resignation. Make no mistake about it -- the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution covers telephone communications, and warrants are required for wiretaps. (See for example, Berger v. New York, 388 U.S. 41 *). Federal judges can and do quickly issue warrants authorizing wiretaps whenever the government shows the need. George W. Bush cannot and does not claim that the judges have been stingy with such warrants; rather he claims that the legal and constitutional requirements simply do not apply to him. As if that were not bad enough, he also claims the authority to spy on peaceable American citizens who are engaging in traditional American freedom of speech and assembly. Make no mistake about this -- Bush's claim of the authority to wiretap Americans' telephones without warrants and to spy on peaceful First Amendment activities is in brazen defiance of the Constitution.
George W. Bush's arrogant claim that the "executive power" referenced in Article II of the Constitution authorizes him to override the First and Fourth Amendments is a declaration of war against the very notion of a Constitution, because if his claim wins out, then there are no longer any limits on what the chief executive can do, and we will be living under dictatorship instead of in a democracy. To George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Alberto Gonzalez, the Constitutional rights and liberties of Americans can be wiped away by a president's executive decree -- my dear friends and fellow Texans, a Bill of Rights that exists only at the sufferance of executive power is not a Bill of Rights at all, and an executive who claims such power is no longer the executor of Constitutional government, but has become by such actions an unconstitutional usurper. My words are provocative, because the situation is provocative when the U.S. president makes open war on the Bill of Rights that so many fearless American patriots sacrificed so much to preserve, protect and defend.
If Bush's claim of the power to wiretap the telephone communications of Americans without warrants and to spy on peaceful American citizens is not blocked now, he will have prevailed in claiming that he can overrule our Bill of Rights by executive decree. There is no tomorrow on this one. There is no middle ground on this, no room for normal protocols. George W. Bush has declared that he has been wiretapping Americans without warrants, that he has the power to do so, and that he is going to continue to do so. He has declared that he is going to continue to spy on Americans' freedom of speech and assembly. Bush has thrown down the gauntlet, and he has dared the people to pick it up.
A Texas Attorney General who understood that his job was to be the People's Lawyer would pick up that gauntlet. The Bill of Rights belongs just as much to the people of Texas as it does to anyone else in America. As Texas Attorney General I will fulfill my duty to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution, by fighting on behalf of Texans with every means and resource at my disposal against any and all such anti-constitutional federal usurpations.
For example, I would move swiftly into the courts as the lawyer for the people of Texas to challenge the Bushite government's defiance of the Bill of Rights and have their actions declared unconstitutional. The current Texas Attorney General clearly will not challenge them, since he is a Bushite mouthpiece and will not bite the hand of the master who appointed him to statewide Texas public office. Probably no other Texas public official will challenge them either; but under the Texas Constitution it is the Attorney General, more than other state office-holder, whom the people of Texas most depend upon to fight for their Constitutional rights and liberties; and I will do so against all comers.
*United States Supreme Court Justice Tom Clark in Berger v. New York (1967): "They [previous Supreme Court decisions] found 'conversation' was within the Fourth Amendment's protections, and that the use of electronic devices to capture it was a 'search' within the meaning of the Amendment, and we so hold. ...The purpose of the probable cause requirement of the Fourth Amendment [is] to keep the state out of constitutionally protected areas until it has reason to believe that a specific crime has been or is being committed." (Justice Tom Clark was from Texas.) Justice Louis Brandeis, 77 years ago in Olmstead v. United States, 277 U.S. 438 (1928): "The progress of science in furnishing the government with means of espionage is not likely to stop with wire tapping. Ways may some day be developed by which the government, without removing papers from secret drawers, can reproduce them in court, and by which it will be enabled to expose to a jury the most intimate occurrences of the home. ...As means of espionage, writs of assistance and general warrants [two examples of British abuse that contributed to the American Revolution] are but puny instruments of tyranny and oppression when compared with wire tapping. ...The makers of our Constitution... conferred, as against the government, the right to be left alone -- the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized men. To protect that right, every unjustifiable intrusion by the government upon the privacy of the individual, whatever the means employed, must be deemed a violation of the Fourth Amendment."
JOIN FURTHER DISCUSSION >>
posted by snarko! at 10:33 PM
Patriot Act Update
On Friday, December 16, the Senate blocked the proposed renewal of the Patriot Act. Forty-two Democratic and five Republican Senators joined forces to block cloture easily. Grassroots America's public outcry against the Bushite assault on our Bill of Rights was heard. I'm happy to have been wrong in my prediction that the Senators might not do the right thing. But it's no time for complacency. The Bushites will keep trying. There is never a time for complacency when it comes to protecting the Bill of Rights. As one of the Founders said, "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." As Texas Attorney General, my vigilance to protect the Constitutional rights and liberties of Texans from encroachment by power-hungry politicians will never slumber.
posted by snarko! at 11:41 AM
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Texas Republican Legal Corruption
When he got the news that the U.S. Supreme Court has decided to hear arguments in the Texas redistricting case, Bushite Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott quickly issued a press release blithely stating that it was "not surprising" for the Supreme Court to hear arguments on the case and that he expects the Court will find the Texas redistricting plan to be "wholly constitutional."
First of all, every lawyer worth his salt knows that the U.S. Supreme Court only rarely grants review in cases appealed to it. Putting aside the fact that his statement is misleading, one must wonder why Greg Abbott felt it necessary to editorialize at all. Is he perhaps feeling defensive about the role he played as Texas Attorney General in giving his legal blessing to Tom DeLay's power grab? Could he be feeling defensive about the fact that he was not successful in trying to persuade the Supreme Court to summarily affirm the lower court's decision without hearing argument? Or is he perhaps defensive because the professional legal staff in the U.S. Department of Justice concluded that the Texas redistricting was illegal?
Remember, this is the same Greg Abbott who tried to convince the Texas courts they had no authority to take action over an unconstitutional school finance system. Even the all-Republican Texas Supreme Court had no stomach for that stellar argument.
A Texas Attorney General who understood that his job was to be the People's Lawyer would have long ago sided with the people rather than with the Republican Party political bosses when it came to Texas redistricting. Greg Abbott may be concerned that Texans will learn the truth about their Attorney General's complicity with the rest of the Republican Party's power-grabbing political hacks in their arrogant pursuit of one-party rule -- and well he should be.
posted by snarko! at 11:42 AM
Monday, December 12, 2005
The "Patriot" Act versus The People of Texas
When the Constitutional Convention of 1787 proposed a Constitution to the people of the new nation known as the United States of America, the people demanded that a Bill of Rights be added, or else the Constitution would not be ratified. Thus we have the First Ten Amendments, the majestic Bill of Rights of the American Constitution. The Americans of 1787 intended the Bill of Rights to endure for all time, as the untouchable covenant ensuring that the people would be the masters and government the servant.
In the Bill of Rights, our forebears of yesteryear gave one of the greatest gifts that any people has ever given to all the people of the world. They intended that the protections of the Bill of Rights would belong to all succeeding generations of Americans as their national birthright, never to be taken away or given away. Many brave Americans have fought and bled on foreign shores in order to assure the fulfillment of the Founders' intent.
The American Bill of Rights is just as much a birthright of the people of Texas as it is of the people of Boston or Philadelphia. Texas has joined the United States of America twice, first through the Treaty of Annexation of 1845, and then upon readmission to the Union in 1866 after the ill-conceived affiliation with the so-called Confederate States of America. Every citizen of Texas is also a citizen of the nation. In every way, the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution belongs to every Texan.
When the Founders of Texas created a Constitution for their new republic after winning their independence from the dictator Santa Anna in 1836, they included a Bill of Rights, making it the first article of the Constitution of the Republic of Texas. Article 1, the Bill of Rights, of the Texas Constitution has continued since that time down through the centuries and decades of Texas history, even from nationhood to statehood, and through successive rewrites of the State Constitution, as a virtually unchanged, magnificent covenant of liberty belonging to all the people of Texas, protecting their rights and liberties in ways that are both similar to and in some cases even stronger than the protections of the U.S. Constitution.
These great covenants of liberty were intended to be permanent. They are supposed to be permanent for as long as our peoples endure. For any U.S. Congress or President to try to nullify anything in the American Bill of Rights is a betrayal of every reason that the public offices they hold even exist. For any Texas public official to sit still for nullification of anything in either Bill of Rights is a betrayal of the People of Texas.
Yet today, the United States Congress is on the verge of re-enacting, at the request of the Bushite president, a detestable legislative act that they have the gall to call the "Patriot" Act, and that on its face seeks to nullify Constitutional protections that were written for the very purpose of protecting the people from the very government action that is about to take place.
Under the misnamed Patriot Act (actually one of the most unpatriotic laws ever enacted), agents of the Federal Government will claim the right to seize private papers, records, and belongings of American citizens without obtaining warrants from judges, and without having to demonstrate probable cause to suspect the commission of crimes -- in direct contradiction to one of the very reasons the American Revolutionaries rose against the British Empire to create our nation.
As if that were not bad enough, agents of the Federal Government will also claim the right to compel librarians to inform the government what books an American citizen has checked out of a library -- as if we all lived in George Orwell's nightmarish Big Brother society instead of the United States of America. These provisions were abominable when the Patriot Act was first enacted four years ago. It would be even more abominable today to re-enact them, after so many voices in America have been raised against doing such damage to fundamental protections that were intended to protect us from tyranny for all time.
A small coalition of Senators from both parties, including Democrats Feingold (Wisconsin), Salazar (Colorado) and Durbin (Illinois), and Republicans Murkowski (Alaska), Craig (Idaho) and Sununu (New Hampshire), is threatening to filibuster these measures. Their battle is an uphill one, as majorities from both parties support these eviscerations of our liberties, with most Senate Republicans displaying their usual blind lemming obedience to their White House master, and most Senate Democrats once again running in fear from a Bushite play of the terrorism card. The opposition Senators need all the support we can give them. Nevertheless, the police-state provisions may pass; but if they do, there are other lines of defense against them that do not depend upon the votes of Senators.
After the voters of Texas choose me to serve them as Attorney General in next November's elections, before I can take office I will have to swear an oath to the Constitutions of the United States and Texas. In obedience to that oath, my highest duty will be to honor and protect the fundamental birthright of the people of Texas to their Constitutional protections.
No government agent has the Constitutional authority to seize your private possessions without a warrant or probable cause, no government agent has the Constitutional authority to pass judgment on what books you choose to read in a public library, and no pack of scaredy-cat politicians has the Constitutional authority to give any government agent such powers.
Let there be no doubt about it -- as Texas Attorney General, chief legal advisor to all the officers of State Government, and the People's Lawyer, I will apply every effort and resource of my office to defending the Constitutional rights of the people of Texas against these or similar provisions of the so-called Patriot Act or any other such legislation, no matter how many gutless politicians of no matter what political party enact them or seek to apply them.
posted by snarko! at 4:33 PM