Jeb Bush

As though one needed a reason 1 to oppose another Bush in the White House…

In his announcement Tuesday that he would explore a 2016 presidential bid, former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL) promised to focus on “ideas and policies that will expand opportunity and prosperity for all Americans.” But he made no mention of his most controversial act during his two terms in office: his attempts to take custody of Terri Schiavo and overrule her husband Michael’s decision to remove her feeding tube, fifteen years after cardiac arrest had left her in a vegetative state.

ThinkProgress spoke with Michael Schiavo and the attorney who represented him in the matter, George Felos, about Bush’s presidential candidacy. Both expressed concern that Bush’s record was one of government interference and opposing individual liberty.

“If you want a government that’s gonna intrude on your life, enforce their personal views on you, then I guess Jeb Bush is your man,” Schiavo explained, adding, “We really don’t need another Bush in office.”

Felos described Bush’s actions interference in Schiavo case as, “An egregious example of the fat hand of government inserting itself into a family’s medical decision and the obtrusive hand of government trying to override their decision.”

Jeb Bush

Show 1 footnote

  1. For those of you with short memories: 1. The Silverado Savings and Loan debacle (Neil Bush); 2. the JFK assignation; Panama and Noriega (George Herbert Walker Bush); 3. Katrina, Iraq, Afghanistan, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Karl Rove, the secret renditions and torture, the initial assault on the 4th Amendment {Patriot Act}, the Great Depression, et al (George “The Lesser” Bush); hey, the Bush family in general. And these are just the highlights…

On Race

1. Race is a modern idea. Ancient societies, like the Greeks, did not divide people according to physical distinctions, but according to religion, status, class, even language. The English language didn’t even have the word ‘race’ until it turns up in 1508 in a poem by William Dunbar referring to a line of kings.

2. Race has no genetic basis. Not one characteristic, trait or even gene distinguishes all the members of one so-called race from all the members of another so-called race.

3. Human subspecies don’t exist. Unlike many animals, modern humans simply haven’t been around long enough or isolated enough to evolve into separate subspecies or races. 1 Despite surface appearances, we are one of the most similar of all species.

4. Skin color really is only skin deep. Most traits are inherited independently from one another. The genes influencing skin color have nothing to do with the genes influencing hair form, eye shape, blood type, musical talent, athletic ability or forms of intelligence. Knowing someone’s skin color doesn’t necessarily tell you anything else about him or her.

5. Most variation is within, not between, “races.” Of the small amount of total human variation, 85% exists within any local population, be they Italians, Kurds, Koreans or Cherokees. About 94% can be found within any continent. That means two random Koreans may be as genetically different as a Korean and an Italian.

6. Slavery predates race. Throughout much of human history, societies have enslaved others, often as a result of conquest or war, even debt, but not because of physical characteristics or a belief in natural inferiority. Due to a unique set of historical circumstances, ours was the first slave system where all the slaves shared similar physical characteristics.

7. Race and freedom evolved together. The U.S. was founded on the radical new principle that “All men are created equal.” But our early economy was based largely on slavery. How could this anomaly be rationalized? The new idea of race helped explain why some people could be denied the rights and freedoms that others took for granted.

8. Race justified social inequalities as natural. As the race idea evolved, white superiority became “common sense” in America. It justified not only slavery but also the extermination of Indians, exclusion of Asian immigrants, and the taking of Mexican lands by a nation that professed a belief in democracy. Racial practices were institutionalized within American government, laws, and society.

9. Race isn’t biological, but racism is still real. Race is a powerful social idea that gives people different access to opportunities and resources. Our government and social institutions have created advantages that disproportionately channel wealth, power, and resources to white people. This affects everyone, whether we are aware of it or not.

10. Colorblindness will not end racism. Pretending race doesn’t exist is not the same as creating equality. Race is more than stereotypes and individual prejudice. To combat racism, we need to identify and remedy social policies and institutional practices that advantage some groups at the expense of others.

On Race

Show 1 footnote

  1. Here we would beg to differ; it is very clear to us a subspecies -H. monastic- has separated itself and is intent on destroying the world in order to save it. Yeah, we know – go figure.

IAA 2015

You can be forgiven for not noticing that IAA  2015 (H.R. 4681) was double-timed onto the House floor and passed last week. Congress did that deliberately, you bet.

The reason they did so is because this travesty (as yet unsigned by Obama, though it’s all but a given) contains a section (309) that statutorily authorizes spying on U.S. citizens sans any legal process.

Of all the corrupt and bought-off Congress critters there, only Representative Justin Amash (R-MI) attempted to call attention to the draconian bill. In fact, without Amish’s demanding a roll call the Congess critters would have passed this piece of shit on a “voice vote”, wherein no record is kept as to who voted what. 1

“When I learned that the Intelligence Authorization Act for FY 2015 was being rushed to the floor for a vote—with little debate and only a voice vote expected (i.e., simply declared “passed” with almost nobody in the room) — I asked my legislative staff to quickly review the bill for unusual language. What they discovered is one of the most egregious sections of law I’ve encountered during my time as a representative: It grants the executive branch virtually unlimited access to the communications of every American.”

Amish even took the time to put out a “Dear Colleague” letter to every member of congress: 2

Dear Colleague:

The intelligence reauthorization bill, which the House will vote on today, contains a troubling new provision that for the first time statutorily authorizes spying on U.S. citizens without legal process.

Last night, the Senate passed an amended version of the intelligence reauthorization bill with a new Sec. 309 — one the House never has considered. Sec. 309 authorizes “the acquisition, retention, and dissemination” of nonpublic communications, including those to and from U.S. persons. The section contemplates that those private communications of Americans, obtained without a court order, may be transferred to domestic law enforcement for criminal investigations.

To be clear, Sec. 309 provides the first statutory authority for the acquisition, retention, and dissemination of U.S. persons’ private communications obtained without legal process such as a court order or a subpoena. The administration currently may conduct such surveillance under a claim of executive authority, such as E.O. 12333. However, Congress never has approved of using executive authority in that way to capture and use Americans’ private telephone records, electronic communications, or cloud data.

Supporters of Sec. 309 claim that the provision actually reins in the executive branch’s power to retain Americans’ private communications. It is true that Sec. 309 includes exceedingly weak limits on the executive’s retention of Americans’ communications. With many exceptions, the provision requires the executive to dispose of Americans’ communications within five years of acquiring them — although, as HPSCI admits, the executive branch already follows procedures along these lines.

In exchange for the data retention requirements that the executive already follows, Sec. 309 provides a novel statutory basis for the executive branch’s capture and use of Americans’ private communications. The Senate inserted the provision into the intelligence reauthorization bill late last night. That is no way for Congress to address the sensitive, private information of our constituents—especially when we are asked to expand our government’s surveillance powers.

I’ll say it again: this allows information gleaned via warrantless federal surveillance to be transferred to local law enforcement for criminal investigations without a court order, subpoena or warrant.

There is a We, the People petition working to force Obama to not sign this, but it’s woefully short of signatures. 3

This will now be the new “normal.” Privacy, even as a concept, is over in America.

Wake up, people.

IAA 2015

Show 3 footnotes

  1. I can save the locals some time: voting YES were – (MO) Clay Jr., Cleaver, Graves, Hartzler, Long, Luetkemeyer, Smith and Wagner; (KS) Jenkins, Pompeo and Yoder’s penis; only Huelskamp voted NAY. Readers from other states checking on their own Representatives can click here.
  2. Not that it did any good. Points for the effort, however.
  3. As though Obama would pay attention to the petition, right?